San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jobs Are Fungible

"Fungible" is an economic term that is used for "goods contracted for without an individual specimen being specified that are able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; or put another way, they are mutually interchangeable."  I give you this definition not to insult your high intelligence but in recognition of the fact that most people are probably not aware of the term and how it is used in circles of economists.  Now that we are all on the same page, I have something to tell you that, if you are Bernie Sanders or Donald the Trumpet, will shock your socks off.
Jobs are fungible.  Let me write that again so it can sink in.  Jobs are fungible.  Both Bernie and Donald love to rattle their sabers at China when it comes time to discuss "jobs," whatever they are.  They are licking their chops in anticipation of being elected and declaring a trade war with China.  Idiots, all of them.  The talking heads moderating the various panels discussions we have been subjected to these past several months speak a lot about jobs but seem to have no idea what a job is.  They ask the candidates for King what they are going to do to create more jobs, as if career politicians have some magic power to do so.  Then they ask those same candidates what they are going to do to keep jobs in the SDA, as if they are as controllable as herds of migrating reindeer heading back to Norway.  So, in  light of all this confusion,  let's take a moment and define another term. What is a job?
Everyone who makes the decision to participate in the economy must bring something to the dance.  A free market economy will not allow you in the door if you do not first bring something.  That distinguishes a free market economy from government coercion.  When you go to a party sponsored by the government you are only allowed to bring a large, empty bag and a long list of things you want the government to steal from your neighbor and give to you.  But that is another issue for another day.   When you come to the free market party you must bring something.  Some people bring goods they have made and hope to sell to willing buyers.  Others bring what they hope are desired services which they can sell to willing customers.  A small number of people bring ideas to the free market, and hope to find someone, usually a bank sitting in a dark corner and smoking an aromatic cigar, to sponsor them and the pursuit of their ideas.  Most people, however, are not entrepreneurial and they come to the free market bearing nothing but their ability to perform some sort of task.  These people are called laborers and economists, for no good reason, divide them into skilled and unskilled categories.  
When I first started out in the world I went to my first free market party carrying nothing but my ability to clean up the messes of other people.  I ended up getting a job as a janitor.  That was a job that fit my skills and allowed me to pay my bills.  I exchanged my ability to clean up after others with various businesses in exchange for cash payments.  When someone agreed to pay me money to clean up after him we both were responsible for the creation of that job.  I now had a job as a janitor and my employer had an employee who would, hopefully, do a good job cleaning up his messes.  I have continued cleaning up messes down to this very day.
You should be able to see that a job is nothing more than two people willing to serve each other in some fashion.  In my case I serve by cleaning and my employers serve by paying me cash.  Each of us goes away happy and content with the situation.  If either of us does not do our job or if circumstances change and my skills are no longer needed or if the employers cash runs out, the job ceases to exist.  Jobs are created and destroyed by the millions every single day.  The people responsible for the creation and destruction of jobs are the very same people who make the voluntary decision to go to the free market dance.  Once at the dance all sorts of fancy dancing takes place and, if they are lucky, people pair up and create jobs.  The whole process can be seen as quite economically erotic.  It represents a beautiful melding of people in search of something they do not have but want to have, exchanging what they do have with others who can provide what they want.  That was a bit of an awkward sentence, as if talk about erotic dancing were not awkward enough, but I think you get the point.
Now along come Bernie and Donald and they tell us that China is stealing our jobs.  Are you beginning to see the lunacy in that statement?  Who is the "our" that these crazy men are talking about?  My job as a janitor belongs to me and no one else.  I, along with the person who is paying me, created my job.  In addition, since I have more work than I can do myself, I have created many more jobs as I pay people to do the work I have been contracted to perform.  Nobody else created the jobs I have created and I resent the idea that the jobs I have created somehow belong to someone else, especially if that person is a politician.
It is not likely to happen but you tell me what you think I should do if when I wake up tomorrow I discover that China is now on the southern border of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika and I can hire Chinese workers to do the jobs my current employees are performing for half the cost.  For the purpose of the argument I will posit that I have just fulfilled each of the employment contracts I have with my various employees.  Everyone was paid exactly as promised and I am now looking to fill my jobs for another year.  As I look at my need for ten employees I believe we all know that Bernie and Donald would tell me that I must hire the same ten people who just finished their contracts with me even though it will cost me twice as much to do when compared to hiring ten new Chinese employees.  Hummm.....I wonder if the Donald practices this principle when he hires people to build his buildings?  It should be obvious to all but the most envy-filled person that I am free to do whatever I want to do with my money and I am free to hire whoever I want to do my work.  I will hire the Chinese citizens and increase my profits by 30%.  Unfortunately very few people in the SDA are not shot-through with envy so many people would be angry with me for hiring Chinese workers.  I would be accused of shipping "our jobs overseas."  I would be accused of being unpatriotic.  I would be threatened by career politicians with new laws designed to keep me from creating jobs as I see fit.
Jobs are fungible and they are free to go wherever they want to go or, more accurately, wherever they are directed via voluntary contracts. No businessman is morally required to hire any particular people in his pursuit of profits.  Every businessman is free to create jobs anywhere in the world he wishes to do so.  Those who come along and claim to own the jobs the businessmen have created are thieving socialists up to no good.  Moving a job to another country can be good business.  Informing a businessman that he is immoral for doing so is always good democratic politics in a God-hating, envy-filled country.  When good business clashes with good (read "bad" in the sense of immoral) politics guess who wins?  You got that right.  I might have to lay off a couple of employees this year because of my increased costs associated with compliance to government made rules regarding my business.  Guess who will be blamed for the loss of jobs?  You got that right again.

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