I am ambivalent about the Wisconsin protests. I think it’s fantastic that 30,000 Americans simultaneously unassed themselves from their TV couches long enough to show up to the Capitol building in Madison and pitch a fit.
I am in favor of a higher minimum wage, unions, and economic protectionism. Specifically, I think we should be a nation of artisans (small farms, small factories, high quality), but an artisan nation would need to be protected from Capital, which doesn’t care about quality of products or quality of life, but only as much profit as fast as possible.
I have a resource/energy argument in favor of “artisan nation.” Specifically, artisan farms produce nutritionally superior food at a more favorable EROEI (energy returned on energy invested). Artisan factories would produce products that would last forever, with easily replaceable and high quality parts. For example, Maytag washing machines from the 1930′s are all wood, rubber and porcelain, and are made to last literally FOREVER. The rubber hoses may rot and need to be replaced every 20 years, the electric motor might need to be changed once per generation, but the wood and porcelain can last 1000 years.
The economy ruled by Capital has people changing out washing machines (and other appliances) every 10 years, at most. Manufacture and delivery of so many new appliances, so frequently, requires massive fossil fuel inputs. The economy ruled by Capital is wasteful by design. When we can no longer afford to waste resources, then the economy will be ruled by practitioners of husbandry and stewardship, rather than by bankster-gangsters.
The Cargo Culters in Wisconsin want to keep their benefits. It’s understandable. But they aren’t doing anything to bring us back to a stewardship economy. They happily participate in the wasteful, Capital economy and want to do more of the same, forever. They are also “paycheck anti-racists” who would throw White advocates under the bus in a heartbeat.
We have to start the process of transitioning to a localized, stewardship economy. But Americans aren’t going to do it until they are forced to do so, even though voluntarily transitioning now could help maintain something like their current standard of living. We could be sewing our parachutes now, for a softer landing later.