I’m a Trollaholic

I sometimes get onto these threads with a few comments, and end up writing a screed. This was with this person, Ras Lyon, who I suppose is a rasta-capitalist.

@Mr. Ras Lyon Here’s what you said: “Investors and owners don’t live off of the employees, they live off of the return on the investment they made.”

How is that return created? It’s by the work of the employees. Workers produced the goods or services, the company sold it at a price higher than what it costs to produce, and that profit margin increases the wealth of the company’s owners. That is then turned into the “return on investment”, either as dividends, or as an increase in the company’s assets, and thus, an increase in the equity they own.

Can this profit be created without employees? No. The only exceptions are if it’s a one-person business, and the owner is also the worker, or if the business is owned collectively by all the workers. In the latter case, there’s still some imbalances about which workers contribute to the profit, so some may live off other workers.

If the work is outsourced to another company, then the profit is created by these other employees. Look at what’s happened with the coronavirus – it’s knocked out the workers in a part of China, and production stopped; the stock market has responded by declining.

Also, you say: “This is very simple. Investors want to create (invest) in a business based on a product/idea/service. They may not have the know how to perform or create it, so they front the money to those who can make it.”

How is that not employing workers?

Also, you are describing an entrepreneur or venture capitalist. “Investors” are a larger class of owner, who generally do not invest in newly formed companies, but invest in existing companies that already have a track record for profitability.

When workers “invest”, it’s generally via retirement funds that are controlled by banks or insurance companies, and they invest in larger profitable companies. The amount they make from this investment is modest – getting an annualized 10% return would be remarkable, and people are happy to make 5%.

Many workers also do “own a business”, but it’s a “side hustle” or “hobby” that turns a small profit.

Those who are successful often end up hiring someone to work for them, even before the owner goes full-time into the business, because hiring someone at a lower wage is more profitable than quitting their high-paid job.

The small worker-owner can extract a small profit from a minimum wage worker (or they can hire people online and pay less than minimum wage), while the worker-owner is having a larger profit extracted off their labor, by the bigger company.

The worker-owner probably sacrifices some profit by doing this – still making a profit – but frees up time to scale up the business and produce more goods and services, or hire more employees.

According to bankrate, nearly 40% of workers do other work aside from their primary waged work. They are either working for someone else as an “independent contractor”, or own a small business. Someone is performing work, and the owner is getting a profit.

Also, at no point did I mention slavery, much less conflate it with wage labor. Re-read the comments. YOU were the only one using that argument. YOU claimed I said that, twice. You’re not only not seeing reality, you are constantly fabricating your own illusions, in a constant cycle or rhetorical self-delusion.

In that last part, he accused me of equating slavery and wage labor, when, in fact, he merely wrote, two times, that I was equating slavery and labor. He said that I said it, so many times, he believed himself.


March 3rd 2020 Election

How I voted.

City of LA 14th – Kevin De Leon. He’s OK. I was leaning for Zamora but did some horse trading for Bernie. I look forward to hearing more from Zamora (her messaging was pretty limited). I did not vote for Garcia because I didn’t like the ads, that were mainly attacking De Leon.

Assembly 53rd – Godfrey Santos Plata. Based on the endorsement from the Roofer’s union. Santiago has been acceptable to me, and I hope he keeps doing well, but I am putting in a vote as an “attack from the left” to show that Plata’s issues also matter.

Representantive 34th – Keanakay Scott – This is a vanity run for Congress, and probably trying to boost her writing, but she has a sad story of aging out of foster care, and then struggling out of homelessness for 10 years. I think the homeless experience will produce a generation of new Left leaders. Here’s a letter she had published in LAIst a couple years ago. Please read it, even if you aren’t voting for her.

Frances Yasmeen Motiwalla is the preferred progressive, but she blew off a boycott against a hipster coffee bar, so this is a protest vote against what I consider a decisionmaking error. Retail politics is like that. A lot of my comrades do not like Jimmy Gomez, because he got oil company employee money, but I’ve thought he’s not too bad. He’s just no Bernie Sanders.

District Attorney – Rachel Rossi – I looked at the endorsement list, and found a bunch of people I follow on social media, and have “liked” or “hearted”, or have otherwise heard of. Specifically: Jasmyne Cannick, Victor Narro, Knock LA, DSA LA, LA Progressive, Justice for Gemmel and all of Ed Buck’s Victims, Greg Akili, Dr. Ron Birnbaum. There are others, but these, I generally trust. Gascon is the Democratic Party choice, and Lacey has been rejected by progressives as a big disappointment.

Measure R – YES – A continuation of my disappointment with the LASD and their corruption compels this vote.

Prop 13 School Bonds – YES – This is some bond, and, half the time, I basically don’t like bonds. It would be better to tax-and-spend, rather than borrow and spend. However, this also creates an investment vehicle that helps middle class and wealthy savers avoid taxes. I might buy some shares of muni bonds, and this might be part of that portfolio. I think Cal munis are around 2% to 3% right now. Interest rates are so shitty, that looks good. It also looks acceptable from the borrowing side. It’s either buy some muni bond mutual fund, or “upgrade” from my 95 Corolla to something built after 2005. Historically, I’ve chosen either not to work a regular job, and scrounge for money, or to work and save, and still not get a newer car. I’m not sure I can continue this. I really don’t care which way this proposition goes.

Green Party Presidential Candidate – I don’t know. Really. I am just going with what Rodolfo Cortes Barragan said, which was Hawkins. He has two things I like in the platform: ecosocialism, and community control of police. I also like Dario Hunter. David Rolde has a valid criticism, and maybe I should have voted for him. I don’t know Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry’s platform, because she has only a Facebook page. Dennis Lambert has a generic Green platform that doesn’t even seem specifically GP.

From the Howie Hawkins platform: Implementing the Green New Deal will require ecosocialism—social ownership in key sectors in order to democratically plan the coordinated reconstruction of all economic sectors for ecological sustainability.

My comments:

This is a radical idea for 2020, but before too long, I don’t think it’ll seem radical at all. The shift to new forms of energy are a fundamental “revolutionary” change. The basic material conditions are changing, and that causes all the “stuff” that’s built around that, to change.

The capitalists are going to want to monopolize solar power via controlling solar panel tech, battery tech, grids, copper, minerals, high quality silicon sources, etc. That’s just how business works. Once they have enough control, progress will slow to a crawl as the capitalists engage in rentier behavior. Meanwhile, the climate will continue to get worse if the masses of poor people are still burning fossil fuels to have growth economies. Only public action, by the people, exerting democratic power, will be able to realize a fair and equitable renewable energy future, and slow climate change to the maximum extent possible.

An energy change, alone, is insufficient. Considerable labor will be required to remediate the land, and re-green. This will be expensive, laborious, and require public funding. There is simply no other way, because existing capitalism is extractive: there is zero profit in putting carbon back into the earth. Moreover, some of these schemes, like burying carbonated substances in dug-out mines, are like a reprise of the horrors of industrialization. Good green jobs will put people back in touch with the land, plants, and animals. For this work, people must be compensated. Thus, ecosocialism will, increasingly, emerge as a rational way forward.

I’m not a specialist or thinker in this subject. It just seems obvious to me, just looking at what’s happening with solar, with battery pollution, fires, and reading the occasional post from Meleiza Figueroa on FB.