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The PIC - Connections

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For many centuries the vast majority of labor was not exchanged for wages on a daily basis. The industrialization of labor that developed in conjunction with the mechanization of manufacture created a need for people who would exchange their labor for currency and coin. As the population grew, so did the need for men to work long hours at some repetitive task such as mining, smelting, cutting and sawing timbers, attending lathes and looms. The economic shift was toward the standard industrial processes that generated huge quantities of uniform product.

In large parts of the globe, the agrarian life remains the predominant activity for subsistence living. Currency and coin is not the essential medium of exchange that industrialized nations have come to rely upon. Although the people do subsist at a poverty level, they do subsist. They do so on only a few dollar-equivalents per year. But then they do not need to buy $100 footwear, logo sportswear, designer purses and $600 cosmetic kits. They don't get $50 haircuts and spa treatments. They don't buy Lexus and BMW. They don't have broadband Internet and cable TV bills.

They may not have the accoutrements of Western consumer culture, but neither does their government depend on them for hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes. They do not pay monthly cell-phone service bills and send hundreds of text messages to each other. No one is bleeding them for interest payments on installment contracts for automobiles, college educations, plasma televisions, or $200,000 houses. They may be poor and miserable but they are not economic slaves of people and corporations that derive their earnings from a few percentage points of the annual income. As long as the process continues to function, Americans are quite happy to be in the position of economic slave who is producing wealth for others by engaging in the consumption of comfortable things.

Americans earn a living and spend their money. They buy essential commodities and discretionary things that are either wholly essential or wholly unnecessary. The characterization of the purchase is unimportant as long as the purchase is made. What is most important is that in the aggregate a minimum amount of purchases are made annually by everyone together. That minimum level may or may not be supported by the total annual income generated by the 300 million people who are counted as US residents.

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