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writing for godot

US, the book, Part 5, We Don't Need Them, They Need US

Written by Tom Cantlon   
Friday, 12 March 2021 17:11

This is a chapter in the book:


Everything is Done By US

We Can Make it For US

by Tom Cantlon


The list of links to chapters can be found at:


This is the second half of the section We Don't Need Them, They Need US.



The third item is supply. When there is a need to ramp up the supply of some kind of product, when we suddenly need to make more of something, then existing companies, especially large ones, can sometimes be very good at ramping up production quickly. But sometimes they don't. Sometimes they just misunderstand the market for a product, or sometimes they just don't know that there's a market for a product at all. Maybe the public is ready for a new innovation that the big companies miss, and sometimes it takes the small entrepreneurs to fill the need.

Way back when, there were a couple of brothers in San Bernardino who started a little burger joint and figured it could be spread like crazy, and they developed it into McDonald's. It can be a couple of guys in a garage who think that the existing computer companies are missing the mark on what the market really wants, and they grow to be Apple Computer.

And it doesn't even have to be the case of entrepreneurs starting a little thing that grows into something huge. Often times it is the huge number of small players who fill a need. Most of the homes that are built in the country are built by small contractors. It's a lot a small independent businesses that build most of these homes. In a sense they build the nation. It is not built by some big corporation or a handful of big corporations. It's built by a million small contractors. Same thing with the million independent dentists or landscapers or accountants or a thousand other categories. That's where supply comes from. It comes either from the big players bringing in a bunch more of US to ramp up production, or sometimes from some of US taking the bull by the horns and just making it happen.



The fourth thing is capital, the money needed to do any of these things. Now that's a part of the economy where clearly we need the rich, the big players, the big banks and financiers. Right? No. We don't. No, we don't. The money to start or expand some operation can come from a few big investors or it can come from many small ones, and often does. Very often. Even companies that have tons of money, for various reasons, when they go to do some big expansion, generally don't spend their own money. Generally they borrow money.

Companies choose where to borrow depending on their size. In small operations they go to the local bank. Bigger operations have to go to bigger banks or sell stock or take in more investors. Do you think all of those investors are big players? No. Where does the bank get a lot of the money that it has for lending out? From the million-and-one small savers. From everyone from the Warren Buffetts down to the people who are just barely getting by and it's a miracle they can save anything, but by goodness they're determined to save some money. So they save a little out of each paycheck, and that goes into a savings account, and that gets loaned out by the bank.

And it's not just bank loans. Who are the big investors that do a lot of big stock buying, the big investors who end up owning significant portions of companies? Some of the biggest players in investing are pension funds and mutual funds, and they are big players. But where do they get such big money to invest? From the million and one little people they represent. Mutual funds take in money from some big players and many small players. Much of the money in pension funds comes from the small amounts out of every paycheck that people direct into their pension savings. Many of the other big pools of money come from outfits that represent many small players. Insurance companies have to keep tons of money available so they can pay out against big claims when there's a hurricane or other disaster. They have to have enough money available, but they also invest it to make it grow, and so they end up being huge players in the finance world. But where does all that money come from? From US. From the premiums we all pay on home insurance and every other kind of insurance. It then belongs to the insurance companies and they take their profit, but they have to hold an enormous amount of it for US and invest it for US so that it's available to pay back to US when we are hit with disasters.

All of the money held by everyone, rich and poor, goes into one big pool of money that all mixes together and becomes the total pool of money that is available to be invested. Invested into new business and employment and growth. Consider this. If you could magically flip a switch and instantly have every employee in the country suddenly get 10 percent more pay, and in turn every profitable company got 10 percent less profit, and every wealthy owner or investor got 10 percent less income, so that more of it went to employees, it wouldn't change the total amount of money in the country at all. It's just that rather than so much of it being in the huge bank accounts of the top, a little more of it would be in each little bank account of workers. It would all still be the same pool of money, and just as big of a pool either way, just a little less in the big accounts and a little more in the little accounts. Businesses and entrepreneurs, both big and small entrepreneurs, looking to find funding from the banks and other finance sources would still find just as much money available, because it's all still part of the same big pool.

You may have heard the supposedly clever phrase, "You've never gotten a job from a poor person". Yes, you have. If that poor person has even one dollar saved in the bank and that bank loaned money to the company you work for to start or grow, then, yes, you have gotten a job in part from that poor person, and from a whole bunch more of US, the typical, small-account, working people.

We don't need the rich to have the money to start or grow business. The money can come from a few rich people or from the pooled money of the many of US, and more often it is from that big pool of all of US. The money to do things comes from all of US.



The fifth part is the labor itself. Despite technological advances and outsourcing and such, when an economy is doing well, it takes darn near everyone who's capable of working to be working. To create a nation's worth of sufficient wealth takes many, many hands. We certainly can't rely on a few big players to provide that. It takes the many.



Finally, the sixth part of the economy is demand. Demand is the people out there wanting to buy things, with money in hand ready to make purchases.

Rich people buy more than the average person, and they buy more expensive stuff, but there are lots of things where there's just kind of a human limitation on how much they buy. Even if someone had a million times the wealth of the ordinary person (yes, there really are a few of them), who maybe owns ten homes and every home has ten bedrooms, they still only need 200 pillows on those beds. They are not going to buy a million pillows because they have a million times the wealth. To have a healthy economy, almost by definition, the key thing is to have a lot of demand. In order to have a lot of demand it takes pretty much everyone in the economy having money. Money they can use to go out and buy the things that they need and want in order to have a reasonable standard of living. It won't do any good to have a handful of people who buy a few hundred pillows and then have millions of other people who don't have the money to buy one. We need everybody who needs pillows to have the money to go out and buy them.

The way they get money is to have jobs, good-paying jobs. But even more so, they need jobs that make for a stable middle-income living. Jobs that are steady and long term, that they can grow with, and that have retirement plans. Those kinds of jobs.

It is the demand of the many that creates enough total demand, enough to make a thriving economy. And it is demand that is often the piece that's missing. That is the key thing. That's what creates jobs. Companies can't start or grow unless there are people who will buy their product. On the other hand, if there's some product or service that people want more of, you can bet someone will start or grow a company to fill that demand and therefore get the profit from doing that. Starting or growing a company to fill some need requires, what? Employees. So it is demand that really is the driving creator of jobs. And demand comes from all of US having the income to purchase a decent way of life. It's a wonderful self-fulfilling cycle. Pay people well and they'll have the money to buy stuff. Their buying of stuff leads to the creation of more jobs.

Major companies and major investors are sitting on record amounts of cash. They're investing it in very low-yield investments because there just isn't more demand. They could invest it in making bigger factories, but only if there are more people with money out there ready to buy what they would make. If there aren't enough people out there with enough money then they can't build bigger factories, so they have to find other ways to invest their money. Other ways that generally don't pay as much as selling their product, if only there were more people with more money able to buy.

For those companies to have all this money on hand available to them, and not be able to invest it in increased production which would give a really good rate of return? It's excruciating. They want to make their money work, to make it grow. It's like a drag racer revved up and ready to explode off the starting line, but the starting light just won't light. The race car is the abundance of supply that's ready to spring into action, but demand is the light that just won't light.

You can be 100 percent certain that the moment these companies that are sitting on record amounts of cash, the moment they think there is more demand for whatever their product is, they will ramp up production and the jobs that go with that, so they can make more money. Regulations be darned. Taxes be darned. If there's better profit to made from production rather than having their money sit in safe but not-very-profitable investments, they'll climb over each other trying to be the first to get more production out there. What's standing in the way is there aren't enough people out there with enough money wanting to buy the product. Demand is missing. Enough money in the hands of the millions of people who would otherwise go out and buy stuff is missing. Without demand, nobody's going to ramp up production, nobody's going to hire people. It's a self-fulfilling downward cycle when demand is less than what it would be if we were all receiving our full value.


In each of those six aspects, the roles that we each play take on all forms, from the carpenter to the office administrator to the high-level manager and even the CEO, and we need all of them to be doing what they're good at. We're all in this economy together. The labor of all can be honored. There's nothing biased against the CEO or the big investor in this view from the bottom up. What there is, is reality. And the reality is that we are not dependent on the big players; the big players are dependent on the millions of little people. They need our labor, they need our purchasing, they need our capital.

We need to break this notion, this almost hypnotic notion, that we are dependent on what's big. The opposite is true.

There's nothing in the free-market system that requires big, wealthy, powerful players to make it work. This nation started off largely as a farming economy, with the people who came over here on ships mostly just having what little they could bring with them. Yet somehow we built up from there into an industrial nation. It's because the little people, those farmers, the individual businesses, the entrepreneurs, built up from there. It is because it is possible to build from small up to big. It is the small that's needed and can build up to the big. It is the small end of the spectrum that is important. It is the massive wealth creation of millions and millions of people going to work every day and doing productive stuff that makes us a wealthy nation.

Not just economic wealth, but social fiber, strength as a nation. It includes people who are working but not at a paid job. If a couple decides that one spouse is going to stay home and make sure the kids get a good start, they're both contributing to the strength of that family, that household. That, in turn, contributes to the strength not only of the economy, but of their community, the society. It is the strength of the many doing their jobs that makes a strong country. It is all of those people, it is the small end of the spectrum, it is the small contributions of the millions that create the real strength of this economy.

If you look at each of those points above, one thing is clear about every key aspect of the economy. It's...all...about...US. A healthy economy needs US, is about US, is dependent on US, and all the work that makes it happen comes from our hands.

The shift to thinking it's about US and by US is almost like trying to help someone who has gotten lured into a cult to break free from the mind control of it. Someone in a cult might think that what the cult does is good work and essential and it would be horrible if the members left the cult. That's uncomfortably close to how we often think of the wealthy and powerful as people that we need or we wouldn't have jobs.

Someone in a cult might think the cult leaders, who've gotten wealthy and live comfortably while the members sacrifice and give, that those leaders are doing good things and if the members leave, how would those leaders continue to have the money to do their good work? That's uncomfortably close to how we think that if anything diminishes the wealth of the wealthy it will hurt the economy when in fact some changes, like higher wages, would make it a better and fairer economy. Someone in a cult might think that if they had to leave they wouldn't know how they'd live, where they'd sleep, who would feed them, who would provide for them, when in fact they're capable of building their own life and would be better for it. That's uncomfortably close to how we think that the wealthy and big corporations not only are the source of jobs, but we think they are the source of the capital to run the economy. We think they are the source of the products we need, when, in fact, we are the ones who do all of that, and we would be better off for being more aware of that. We would all be better off for running the economy and the country in general with that in mind.

Several themes in this book come up multiple times in part because we are locked into those thinking patterns that we need to see clearly and change. It's also because the themes all tie together and when one aspect is looked at it leads to seeing how the other parts tie to it. But it's partly because of that almost cult-like thinking that is hard to become fully aware of. It takes some practice, some repetition, to get used to looking at things in a truer way.

That our minds are locked into some thinking ruts is not surprising. It's normal human behavior. If you're raised and live all your life in a culture that constantly tells you and gives you the understanding that certain things are truths, then your mind gets locked into thinking that way. It's not surprising that powerful interests push these ideas. Even when powerful interests aren't intending to be deceptive, they're going to promote their own interests, like anyone does. Only their wealth makes them much better able to push things in their direction. It's not a surprising situation, but it's not one we need to buy or accept or fail to push back on. We can correct our own thinking, see the reality more clearly, and encourage our fellows to do the same.

So why aren't we in charge? Why aren't we receiving our full value? Why aren't things run the way we want so that they work out well for US and for the priorities that we want to focus on? That's what this book is about. It's about how it's in our hands to change that.



Who, exactly, are considered part of US, and who aren't. your social media marketing partner
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