March 12, 2024
Capitalism is a Harsh Mistress

Desolation in winter Just a normal day in my Mastodon feed.

Justin Oser got laid off. I've seen technology jobs go “poof” every damn day for the past 18 months.

Sometimes conferences seem to make presenters pay to appear? Because conferences are expensive and it’s easy to lose money overall, so organizers try to get away with what they can, alas.

Tim Mak reports that Russia is producing 3x the munitions as Ukraine receives from allies. I’m watching Masters of the Air right now, which ably demonstrates what it looks like when the US decides it’s going to simply make more stuff than the enemy. And now they’re not, because… they've already spent “too much”, to preserve democracy from a crooked authoritarian thug?

Jonathan Zdziarski posted this devastating story of his own experience flailing in the job market, because he didn’t have a college degree, even though he’s actually qualified af. This kinda hit close to home.

And Matt Gemmell reminded us about our wages under capitalism; they are necessarily less than the money it makes our employer.

So. You feel that? It’s the cold breath of capitalism creeping up behind you. It’s whispering in your ear, the rug can be pulled at any time. It’s the assurance that you’re on your own. It’s the reality that if just the right sequence of events occur, the fruits of your labours could be lost.

Building resiliance is hard. It’s the work of your lifetime, actually. Set aside cash every time you get paid. Rack up those savings. Get to a three-month cushion, then a 6-month cushion. Put some different money aside for retirement. Pay for your child’s post-secondary education.

Help them pay for their first home if you can. Because actually, as hard as it was for you, your Gen-Z spawn is living in a far-harsher world, where wages will seemingly never allow a down-payment, thanks to inflation, and boomers not letting go of their homes (and frankly, their options suck too — ruinously expensive retirement home, anyone?).

So yeah, capitalism is a harsh mistress. I think it’s built this way on purpose: to make you afraid of being idle, letting up on the gas. it’s the whip at your back, to keep hustling, keep scrambling.

I wish there was a better system. I wish our governments took a firmer and more-expert hand in regulating the system.

I wish I could relax.

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