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The Expansionist
Friday, July 27, 2012
Deflating Self-Important Rightwingers
A recent speech by President Obama — attacked by the ungrateful fools in the Romney campaign — made a point I have myself made here more than once, that entrepreneurs do NOT "do it all themselves", but in reality could do almost NOTHING without all the contributions of society and the "little people" who created every single thing that the creators of businesses need to make a business work. Obama spoke, July 13th, of roads and bridges without which businesspeople could not even get to the office. He might also have mentioned little things like electricity and telecommunications, education for the workforce, a stable government, and a large, unified market for the goods and services offered by any business. I present below one expression I offered of this construct, from this blog's entry of October 18, 2009. I think I've said it a little better in another post, but can't remember a keyword to search for, to find any better expression of the same idea. This will have to do.
The rich benefit from the work of the poor and middle class. Everything they own was made by people who don't "earn" a lot of money. The rich would be living under leantos made of brush, and sh*tting behind a bush and wiping their ass with leaves if it weren't for "the little people" who built their house and bathroom, made their toilet and toilet paper, installed the plumbing, drove the toilet paper to the store, and on and on — all the myriad little contributions made by "little people" at every step of the way. The rich couldn't make a phone call if there were no telephone instrument, nor cell tower, nor electricity-generating plant, all of them built by "little people". They wouldn't have a car to drive, nor a road to drive it on without the "little people". "I did it all"? No, you stupid rich bastard. You did NOTHING, absolutely nothing, save with the help of literally countless "little people" who built every last thing you used to make "your" money. And it is only OUR name on that money that gives it any value whatsoever. Without our name, without the economy we sustain with our work and spending, "your" "money" wouldn't be more than decorative bits of paper or electronic zeros in a make-believe bank account.
At end, it's all make-believe. We believe that the "money" we have in paper or electronic numbers will buy things, and as long as other people believe the same thing, everything works. But as soon as people STOP believing that the money is good, it stops having value. And then a wheelbarrowful of paper money won't buy you a single stalk of celery, and all the zeros in the world won't keep the electricity or water flowing. For that, you need the "little people", and if they decide you shouldn't have it, you won't get it. Let's see you then "do it all": grow your own food, generate your own electricity by pedaling a human-powered generator. And you still won't be able to make a fone call or flush your toilet. More to the point, you'll starve long before you can grow your own food — if anyone will even let you have seed with which to do that.
So the Big People indisputably NEED the Little People. The reverse is not at all true. We don't need billionaires or millionaires. A lot of bosses don't know half what the people on the manufacturing line or in the cube farm know about crucial parts of any enterprise. If every millionaire in the country were to die Monday nite from some mysterious Millionaire's Flu, 99.5% of all the businesses in the Nation would find new leadership before the week was out. * * *
... these bastards have all the money in the world and don't want to take care of the people who made it possible, without whom they would have NOTHING. They couldn't survive for 60 days without the food that other people grew; they couldn't survive for 5 days without the water that other people provide. But they are content to have the people on whom their very lives depend, DIE if they can't afford health insurance.
This statement of the importance of the "little people" to society is a perfect pair to the concept of "standing on the shoulders of giants". We wouldn't have things like an electric grid or telefone or artificial liting without genius inventors. But without non-genius working people to build the power plants and produce the coal or oil to fire them, and build the electric transmission lines and string the telefone lines, first, then erect the cellfone towers, none of these self-important entrepreneurs could have done a damned thing. They couldn't even work those long hours they are so proud of if there were no lites in their offices or home offices.
For ANYONE to brag that he is a "self-made man" is the height of arrogance. NO, you are NOT. You are the creature of schools you didn't build, books you didn't write, print, or distribute, and economic, political, scientific, and technological complexes you did not create. All you did was make a tiny, tiny — indeed, infinitesimal — contribution to things that OTHER people invented, manufactured, and built, from your house to your toilet to your bed, fone, computer, and on and on and on.
"Did it all"? You didn't do so much as 1/100th of 1%. If you cannot acknowledge that almost everything you have ever accomplished in life would not be possible without MILLIONS of other people, then just shut the f* up.

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