Saturday, May 31, 2008
The blue collar/poor getting bent over an oil barrel
Aside from the fact that this piece could benefit from the attention of a good editor (it tends to wander and it should be more concise), its author does have some excellent points about the reaction of the masses to ever-increasing fuel prices. I also think he nailed the intelligence, or lack thereof, and mindset of blue collar/poor folk. (The blue collar/poor live on a perceptual versus a conceptual level; they always have and always will. That's a big part of the reason why they are blue collar/poor. They're not bad people when compared to, say, criminals, but after having supervised them for eleven years, I view most of them as little more than bipedal organisms devoid of any interests beyond sports, alcohol/drugs, junk food, empty sex, gossip, and goldbricking. Hey, I come from that background, although I've tried to lift myself a bit higher than it, so if you don't like my criticism, tough.)
Here's the link to the piece, followed by a few excerpts from it. How Will Gas Prices affect the Blue Collar/Poor.
There is a lot of talk about how gas prices affect stock brokers, middle-class homeowners, corporations, and people who can afford Hummers. But how much can the blue collar/poor take? Where do they stand in all this? What are their views on the gas prices? Will they eventually start rioting? What will make them riot?
Now we must not take into consideration the science, the geology of Peak Oil nor take into account the price of a barrel of oil when discussing blue collar/poor people's view on oil. The only thing that affects them is price. They have been trained to be consumers, they view themselves as consumers. They view this problem in terms of consumption. All they see and feel with their hands empirically is that they are having less money to spend on things they want like vacations, four-wheelers, new car stereos, and intoxicants. They see that their raises have stopped coming or not being as large. They can see that their employers are trying to get by with less employees.
They do not concern themselves with stocks or geology. This is not because of America's education system or even because of apathy particular to the American character. There is no point in history where the workers and peasants were intellectual geniuses. [Emphasis DAL357.] The fact that they know how to read is a first in human history. If we had a limitless supply of resources perhaps in two hundred years they could have advanced to the point of being rational, empirical and logical. (Probably not though, if there were limitless or alternative resources for 200 years the world would probably end up being completely owned by Wal-Mart.)...also...20 percent of American adults do not know how to read above a fifth grade level.
The Blue Collar/Poor View: There are three main views.
1. Gas prices are so high because corporations are doing it to make a profit. They do not understand economics and that the ways to make a profit are through cheaper machinery, cheaper labor, advertising, and coupons. It is absurd to raise the price of a product by 100 percent in one year. That will only cause a decrease in sales. Most blue collar/poor have no idea how capitalism works.
2. There is oil in Alaska and in the gulf and “tree-huggers” will not let us use it. Even though the science shows that there isn't that much oil there and it is expensive to get it out and refine.
3. I have heard many white males say that it is because of the blacks in Nigeria and the Arabs who hate American freedom. (The racist theory of oil prices.)
Why gas prices are so high is abstract, too distant. Blue collar/poor people live small lives, very empirical lives. They are trained since they are little by their blue collar/poor parents to only care about what is around them. It must be noted that that the blue collar/poor way of life does not require thought or truth. They grow up in public school getting told what to do, their parents tell them what to do, then they get a job where they are told what to do. It is not a necessity to read above a fifth grade reading level. If there is any reading at the blue collar job it is usually in one or two word phrases. A trucker looks at the address, the cook looks at the food ordered. There are no paragraphs to be understood, no three page memos to be read. We have to recognize that reading a single word is different than reading a sentence. A single word is an object. A sentence is a thought. Their jobs do not require thought. Why they are not a thinking/analyzing people comes directly from their environment.
Blue collar/poor rely on television like 1250 A.D. Europeans relied on the church. The television tells them what to do, what to think, what to purchase. They go to the television seeking answers on love, relationships, family, work, what kind of hand soap to use, what shoes to wear, where to buy lumber, what outfits look the best, how to cut their hair. We have to view the television's influence on blue collar/poor people's lives like Islam is to the Arab. The television completely engulfs their existence. We know from Communist countries that people do not react well when their religion is taken away. But unlike religion television can't be practiced in secret locations.
Although some of his facts seem a bit off, he does have an excellent grasp of the psychology/incomplete thinking of the blue collar/poor.