The Plight of the Parasites

Probably since the dawn of settled society, there have been people who found some way to live off the labor of others. Even hunter-gatherer populations had some freeloading, as some members of the group would be less productive than others. Settled society made freeloading a bit easier. Settled life required rules, which required enforcement and that meant government. Even the most streamlined administrations had extras and hangers-on, who figured out how to game the system so they could get paid to do nothing.

In modern America, government is a form of workfare for the most part. There are roughly 2.8 million Federal workers, not including uniformed personnel. When you add in state and local government, there are roughly 22 million people employed by government in the United States. The labor force is roughly 150 million so that means 15% of the nation’s workers are employed by government. Of course, literally no one knows the size of the contract workforce. The best guess is about 5 million, but it could be much more.

Then you get into the vendor side of things. The Imperial Capital is ringed by companies that do nothing but serve the government. It is not uncommon to run into firms that have done business with no one other than government. Some of these firms exist solely to fulfill diversity clauses in government contracts. There are firms around DC that don’t actually do real work. They just provide the right amount of color to the vendor pool as subcontractors in a contract. How many of these exist is an unknown.

The fact is, about a third of the people working today are in jobs that exist because of government. The fact that blacks are over represented in these fields is well known and deliberate. In cities across America, a city job has been a form of workfare and patronage for generations. If the government was ever pared back to just what is needed, the essential services like police and road maintenance, tens of millions would be thrown out of work and we would have riots in our major cities. A government job is riot insurance.

The thing is, even without automation, most of these jobs are pointless. There’s no getting around the fact that we support millions of freeloaders this way. The cost of the job is not the only cost. There’s the nuisance factor and the damage caused by battalions of government bureaucrats meddling in the productive economy. Then there is the layer of senior bureaucrats that sit atop the workforce, dreaming up ways to game the system so the managerial class can skim from the economy. This is very expensive riot insurance.

Of course, this leads to the basic question of where is the tipping point? At what point does it become prohibitive to carry all of these freeloaders? That’s been a libertarian topic for generations. A bigger question though is what happens when the essential point of government becomes less important? In a town with no crime, for example, there’s no need for cops. If renewing a driving license can be done at a kiosk or on-line, what’s the point of having a department of motor vehicles fully staffed with bureaucrats?

Smart people like to wring their hands in public about the robot revolution eliminating jobs for the Dirt People, but there’s a similar force working on the Cloud People and their army of soldiers known as the bureaucracy. It’s not just robots taking the jobs of functionaries at the Post Office either. It’s changes in society that are eliminating the need for constant supervision by our rulers. Crime is the most obvious example. For instance, car theft has collapsed as a criminal pastime due to technology. The same thing is happening with home security systems that make burglary a high risk, low reward occupation.

It is not just the government end of the managerial state that will come under extreme pressure from the changes wrought by technology. Look at the media. CNN draws an average 2 million viewers for its top shows. They get a little over a buck per month from every cable household, even though 99% do not watch CNN. Cord cutting is blowing up this model, which means technology is threatening 95% of CNN’s revenue base. This is the crisis facing every cable TV channel. When the damn breaks and those revenues disappear, it means jobs for media people disappear with them.

Just look at the pop music business. Technology obliterated their business model. The mp3 revolution killed the album business and now less than half the number of people are employed in the music business compared to twenty years ago. Not only that, there’s less music being produced. It turns out that all those extra people in the music business were busying themselves making records that no one bought. In other words, the changes that come with technology seem to be closing off the points of entry for freeloaders.

The thing is though, the Dirt People have been adjusting to automation for decades. The dreaded private sector is already very automated and efficient as anyone with a job can attest. It is not unusual to walk into an office of an old company and see a lot of empty desks. The reason is they used to have many more people but automation eliminated the need. The real impact for Dirt People has been the slowing of job growth, not so much the elimination of existing jobs.

The world of the Cloud People, on the other hand, has always been littered with freeloaders. In fact, it is a world where most are freeloaders, which is why they invest so heavily in the self-actualizing part of the career. In the Cloud, you are not defined by your work product, so much as by your titles within your field. A “senior correspondent” for CNN does the same thing as a correspondent, but the “senior” modifier to his title confers extra status. Title are coveted in the Cloud because hardly anyone does real work so titles are how they keep score.

There’s a lot of extra that can be cut even before technology knocks the legs out from under them. This is why newspapers went through round after round of layoffs in the last 20 years. Long before technology undermined them, they suffered from what all monopolies suffer, a lack of cost control. As a result, there was much that could be cut, but a resistance to doing it. When the red ink spread, we saw wave after wave of cuts and downsizing. The same fate awaits many parts of the Cloud economy.

Much of the Cloud infrastructure has value to the people in charge so they will seek to maintain much of it. Billionaires buying dead newspapers being an obvious example. Other parts of the system will she sloughed off, like the vast army of vendors and contractors that work as a shadow government. Just as technology made private enterprise more efficient and more ruthless, the world of the Cloud people is about to get smaller and much more ruthless, with one another at first and then with the rest of us.

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Matt
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Matt

The ideal Beltway bandit isn’t about color alone. Female owned and minority status puts you at the top of the heap.

I wouldn’t be surprised if LGBTQ is the new qualification.

What happensn when whites are a minority’? That day is coming.

kokor hekkus
Guest
kokor hekkus

We are familiar with this scam in Chicago. The woman-owned enterprises are invariably fronts for the real, politically connected men….

Member

Actually, the triple word score is female veteran minority owned… I had a bunch of guys who worked for me (and a couple other managers) when I was a contractor. They poached us for training while still employed there, then all the white guys started a “minority owned” small business and put their token “owner” in front of it. They turned right around and starting coming after my work. I won, but that was very close to when I just looked at the appalling state of government contracting, and got out of that racket. The guy was a complete moron,… Read more »

Member

The cloud environments of major cities are going to be disrupted in a big way due to the pension crises that are looming about. Whole state systems are going to be affected. The most interesting to me is going to be the educational systems. Living in a university town brings this home in a big way. The frenzy about the Dept of Ed pick wasn’t just about the nominee, it was about those in the educational establishments having to come to grips with reality sooner than they wanted to. A bunch of middle class Christians in our community organized and… Read more »

PRCD
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PRCD

Martin Van Creveld, in “the Rise and Decline of the State,” noted that the word ‘public’ as in ‘public school’ has become synonymous with ‘low quality.’ Even if the schools are ‘good’, they could be better and more efficient. The problem the Cloud people have is that they are still taking in unprecedented levels of taxation but providing nothing in return such as quality roads, schools, and border controls. Every time something threatens Cloud people money, they reply that they’re going to cut funding for police, prisons, and schools rather than a million other things they could cut. If the… Read more »

Daniel K Day
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Daniel K Day

“Every time something threatens Cloud people money, they reply that they’re going to cut funding for police, prisons, and schools rather than a million other things they could cut.”
I’ve heard that called the “Washington Monument defense”.

Calsdad
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Calsdad

The correct response to that threat is :

GOOD

DO IT.

trutherator
Guest

Better than charter schools are tax credits. That way, no money goes to the grubby looters’ hands, and fathers in poor and middle class families have more incentive to work their buns off to provide.

Member

I don’t know about this. In the ideal world there would be no freeloading and dead weight. But this isn’t the ideal world and we see what happens when we strive for “maximum efficiency” and lowest cost over the last 30 years: Income Inequality. As much as Obama was mocked for “spreading the wealth” (and I was one of the people mocking), in a way, isn’t this what’s going on here? If I had to do it over again, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t get a job with the government.

Calsdad
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Calsdad

I think the best you’re ever going to get – is a world where freeloading can’t be enforced at the barrel of a government owned gun. It used to be in this country that “welfare” was handled by private organizations and churches. It was typically funded locally – and administered locally. So the people funding the charity knew the people doling out the money – as well as the people receiving the money. This was natural check and balance on corruption and graft and cheating. FIrst off people who really didn’t need charity – would be denied. People with an… Read more »

trutherator
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But government IS by definition, a freeloader. The parasite middle-man that takes whatever it darn well pleases (try to tell Irwin Schiff otherwise) whenever it darn well pleases (civil forfeiture), and as much of its own money that you thought was yours (income taxes and property taxes and all other taxes). And then it dribbles out just enough to (in their own minds) claim that they are doing it for the benefit of their own victims? Nah, this racket is busted, brother! Protection from aggression and theft? Nobody believes that. Private sector hires FIVE TIMES as many people as does… Read more »

trutherator
Guest

Also, income inequality is a never-ending fake SJW cause. Just like a “war on terror”. That’s a TACTIC, not an enemy. Name the enemy. Then you can calculate victory when it happens. See instead of saying Afghanistan, Bush said “terror”. Bait and switch. Income inequality will NEVER end. In pure socialist states where profit is criminalized, the salaries of the dictators and ruling class will own everything, paying themselves whatever they want. They deserve it because they will be the protectors of the people. Serfdom. In a hybrid system, part state-owned and everything else state-controlled, you get the same effect… Read more »

Alex
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Alex

I’ve been in the contracting biz for about 15 years and witnessed the buildout of the 267 and I-66 corridors in VA. Each brick and pane of glass represents a dollar taken from the rest of the country and deposited by some KO in Fairfax County. I think about this on approach from the Heartland into Dulles.

I came across this article in the FP the other day and it made me laugh. The line “Human Rights Prom” is memorable, but the entire article describes the finest Long Con of the Cloud People, the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/02/21/saving-the-world-one-meaningless-buzzword-at-a-time-human-rights/

Anonymous White Male
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Anonymous White Male

There is no way of knowing the number of people that either directly or indirectly suck on the federal government teat. A study from 5 years ago determined the percentage was 16.42%, but that did not include private contractors and vendors. Plus, you have State employees which, in some States like California, mirror the parasitic nature of the federal government, just on a slightly smaller scale. I speculate that the number of individuals and their families that receive a paycheck from their government sinecure that the taxpayers finance is around 25%, although I don’t have any statistics to prove this.… Read more »

Dr. Mabuse
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Somewhere in all his voluminous articles, Chesterton wrote about this too. He said something like, the danger of being part of a successful system is that you come to believe that the way things are is the way things MUST be. The music industry is a perfect example. Instead of realizing that the system of studios, contracts, record sales, radio airtime etc. was just the way things came together to spell success in the 20th century, the people who were part of (and became rich from) it came think of this as the only possible or correct way of selling… Read more »

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

The Predator–Pray Cycle used to be on of the few certainties in quantitative ecology (don’t laugh; It was serious work in the pre PC days). The main certainty was a sudden and catastrophic collapse of the predator population after they had eaten up most of the prey and couldn’t find any more. Maybe coming to a government bureau near you.

Doug
Guest
Doug

The plight of the dirt people are the parasites. Other than “essential services” and if we are talking absolute truths here, we have to pare those essentials down in human terms to their essentials too. Liberty In practical terms is the complete opposite of our governments, because liberty is something nobody can give you, it naturally belongs to you all ready. That in itself is the indictment that proves the parasital nature of our governments have become a kind of reverse perpetual motion machine, they take in more than they put out. By that I’m saying if we are talking… Read more »

Jamesgc
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Jamesgc

Anyone who ever designed a budgeting system for a large business enterprise (been there, did that) knows that in addition to requiring departments, divisions, etc., to budget dollar amount it requires them to request approval for any planned new additions to the payroll. Any competent CFO knows that you must control headcount as well as dollars. As a spectator I’m amazed that no one makes a big deal about Federal headcount. Republicans should publicize the headcount in such departments as Education (which teaches no one), Energy (which drills no oil wells), Transportation (which transports not a ton of freight) and… Read more »

Drake
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Drake

The lack of fuss over headcount is a reveal that most Republicans in Congress are in on the grift. I work for an actual business and am always stunned when I compare the headcounts of Federal Agencies to their actual responsibilities.

Brooklyn
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Brooklyn

“There’s the nuisance factor and the damage caused by battalions of government bureaucrats meddling in the productive economy.” The issue of a workfare job boils down to the problem that if a job doesn’t seem like it has a point, most normal people will eventually rebel against it or go crazy. Its probably why you couldn’t just pay people to play video games or something like that. Bureaucrats will always end up meddling and causing damage because they are following an illusion that they are doing something productive. If all those bureaucrats were told to just come in and stare… Read more »

Abelard Lindsey
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Abelard Lindsey

The office environment has yet to experience the automation that has pervaded manufacturing since the 1970’s. Indeed, they will be hit harder. Office work consists of managing information, a task that computers are especially effective at. Manufacturing involves physical work (vision, dexterity, hand eye coordination) that is inherently more difficult for computers to do. However, it is true that the deep learning algorithms will make for better machine vision and motion control.

Doug
Guest
Doug

Past is prologue. Like to share with everyone probably the greatest document on rejection of the leviathan state ever written. Actually the greatest act, because it was rejection both intellectual and physical. A wholly unique feature. I find it is an act and instrument, instrumental in understanding the crux of our plight as dirt people. It is uncanny the similarity’s between 1776 and 2017. It must have shocked the world. It certainly moves my heart with every read. Personally I have made it mandatory weekly reading. It refreshes my spirit and resolve. It clarifies my desire and my personal actions… Read more »

Member

Everyone? Horse hockey!!! I vote for what’s best for the country first, my state second. I am an optimist about voting even though I don’t trust the people who tally the votes.

kokor hekkus
Guest
kokor hekkus

The biggest and most toxic group of parasites are in public “education.” We need to return to strictly private education, which has always produced a far superior product, and get rid of the gang of parasites enforcing public education, which has failed utterly. Since when is it the government’s business how you educate your children? Woodrow Wilson and Henry Ford, among many, agreed that public education should produce docile factory workers, while the elites would always receive a real education in private schools…Read John Taylor Gatto for the horrifying details of the “public education” conspiracy….

kokor hekkus
Guest
kokor hekkus

BTW, there was no freeloading in the hunter-gatherer societies, except to the extent that some people are always going to be worse at hunting or flint making than others. All food was shared equally, and all men were involved in warfare when necessary. Farming introduced stored food (H/Gs had little), which created a target for thuggery in the form of government, and for nomadic raiders.

Calsdad
Guest
Calsdad

I bet that isn’t true. There are ALWAYS freeloaders of one form or another or to some extent. Is every single infantryman in a unit pulling equal weight? I don’t think so. I’ve seen the studies undertaken after WW2 where they found that many infantrymen often wouldn’t even shoot their rifle. Is every player on a football team pulling his weight? Maybe at the professional level they are – but anything below that there are always going to be superstars who do the bulk of the work. If twenty men go out to hunt and run down some elk –… Read more »

Rod1963
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Rod1963

You know what happens in close knit tribal societies to blithering incompetents and moochers – they first get a nasty beating by the headman or top hunter for not pulling their weight. If they persist, they’re kicked out of the tribe or killed. You know what the retirement policy among the Indians was? They’d abandon you or stick you in the nearest cave with no food or water and you waited until the next wolf or bear came along to eat you. You just can’t hide mooching in such environments. Even in a lot of private sector gigs the slackers… Read more »

soapweed
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soapweed

Sir hekkus: You have stated as fact that there was no freeloading in hunter-gatherer societies. Disagree.
You think that the backstrap meat was divvied up equally amongst all? Small example for larger truths.
Pretty funny……Soapweed

Tdurden
Guest
Tdurden

One of the solid job areas for a few decades now has been the divorce industry. I did some work for several lawyers in a previous life and I can tell you that most people simply cannot get their around just how many jobs (government and private) depend on that 50%+ divorce rate. The precipitous drop in men willing to marry has only been a minor hick-up because the real money involves child custody and the multi-decade forced transfers of wealth from fathers to the mothers is where the gravy is. No marriage required for that. Remember folks…chances are there… Read more »

Calsdad
Guest
Calsdad

MGTOW. Go to Youtube and start watching. Men are catching on to that scam. I know I did probably 30 years ago.

JimVonYork
Guest
JimVonYork

While I am in a very good marriage now, wish that site had existed prior to my first one, would have never done it.

Member

One of the first signs that gay marriage had little to do with love, and much to do with litigation, was how quickly the lawyers descended on law abiding citizens to compel them into photography and cake baking. “Well, not as much divorce business, how can we come up with new customers?”

That’s why pot legalization gets so little pushback in some quarters. There are lawyers just sitting back rubbing their hands together in glee because the Tobacco Lawsuits Are Coming.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson

This 22 million is the second most destructive demographic to legacy America, right behind female suffrage. The ones who cause the greatest damage are the (mis)educators. 60% of college graduates are first looking for work in government.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

When automation has taken over all of the necessary tasks of mankind, we humans will be left with nothing to do but talk about it all day on blogs. May as well practice up on it now.

Severian
Guest

That’s where the Left really missed a trick in abandoning Communism. It’d be easy to transfer all those parasites from the government to The Party — the DMV lady could easily be a block warden, the senior correspondent for CNN becomes a senior correspondent for The Daily Worker, and of course every business, social group, etc. needs its political officer. Then there’s the Young Pioneers, the various Patriotic and Fraternal Socialist organizations… the parasites are all but DNC employees anyway, so what’s the diff?

Member

No, this is where abandoning “Communism” (while socializing everything) was genius. Our corporations have no political officers — just HR making sure that no black is every offended, and every woman is touched only by alphas. Our universities don’t have a Party line — they just teach science! Our judges are completely apolitical — the necessity for gay cake baking is in the Constitution!

Member

Yeah, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart having spent 10 years in uniform and another decade as a slimy contractor. The number of contractors is not small, particularly once you start adding in the state and locals. Remember, the guys that build the roads in this country are contractors. It’s a very big number, and I suspect north of your 5M guesstimate. Then you have to factor in things like CPA tax services which is a HUGE industry in this country. Then all the companies that sell supplemental insurance to Medicare patients. Hell, Obamacare… Read more »

bangagong
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bangagong

I think robots should replace news presenters and reporters. Why do I need to hear and see some tart or bo -hunk Ken doll read the news? Why are these twits paid millions ?? I think you could could have a speaker on a desk and just broadcast the news via an electronic digital voice. I think cameras and drones should replace reporters also.. I don’t need some fool telling me a protest is peaceful or the size of a crowd, just show me the pictures and I’ll decide…..

soapweed
Guest
soapweed

Hmmmmm ,sounds a bit like something called radio.

Abelard Lindsey
Guest
Abelard Lindsey

Settled society made freeloading a bit easier. Settled life required rules, which required enforcement and that meant government. Even the most streamlined administrations had extras and hangers-on, who figured out how to game the system so they could get paid to do nothing.

Some of us believe that the ability to deceive others was the driver in the mergence of verbal (but not visual-spacial) intelligence. You will note that written language and organized religion, with its priesthood, emerged at roughly the same time.

obligato
Guest
obligato

Count yourselves lucky guys – over here in the UK we long since passed this point.The proportion of employment in the public sector passed 50% in the parasite nations of Scotland,Wales and NI back around the turn of the century and is way above 40% in England, whose teats the others suckle at. Plus which all these bloodsuckers have defined benefits pensions that we poor saps who pay for them can only dream of..

ArtHouseForOurHouse
Guest
ArtHouseForOurHouse

Damn/dam. She/be.

Member

The very worst are the empire builders. Those are the ones who spend five years writing a regulation — five years full of meetings and phone conferences — that could have been written in three months of 40-hour work weeks (somehow we managed without his magnum opus since the birth of the Republic). Of course the new reg will require a ten-person division and a manager who just happens to have the same qualifications as Kid Charlemagne here. As soon as he gets promoted, he’ll start cranking out the work studies to show how the reg he wrote needs another… Read more »

Member

A side comment, maybe related. Dirt people are better at manipulating dirt, by which I mean the physical universe. Plumbers, carpenters, truck drivers, engineers, doctors, usw. Cloud people are better at manipulating other people. Lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, usw. The best of both require very high IQs. I still believe a mix of both types are needed for the future of humanity. We didn’t get as far as we did without some persuasive salesmen convincing us to build shelters, plant those seeds, put wheels on those idiot sticks, fund my ship voyage to India by going west and wash your butts… Read more »

Tom Saunders
Guest
Tom Saunders

Epsilon and Delta tasks have all but been eliminated. Robotization is eating an ever larger chunk of the Gamma rice bowl. The portion of the population that is permanently unemployable grows ever larger with no imaginable way of reversing the trend. There is a reason Hollywood churns out dystopian scenario after scenario. No one can imagine of world of full, purposeful employment. What happens when some bright Beta sells the idea that the Alphas no longer require hordes of voters, and a Beta hive works out the details of political drag reduction. What happens when, due to an ever shrinking… Read more »

Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon

fast forward 6 months later when the food runs out…

Tom Saunders
Guest
Tom Saunders

That’s the problem. Increased automation means that it won’t. U.S. ag lead the world’s industries in increased productivity. The Alphas have not crunched the numbers yet and processed the potential. Only about 100,000 true Alphas in the world. They only require about 10:1 Betas. They,in turn, would require about 100:1 Gamma. Keep a few Epsilon and Deltas; everything would work just fine, for the Alphas with a world population well under the magical 500 mil.

Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon

l’d like to see the cat whose ass you pulled those numbers from

UKer
Guest
UKer

It’s when your leaders think it essential to hire super-organisers to organise the organisers that you know you are in trouble.

CaptDMO
Guest
CaptDMO

I wonder how many credentialed gub’mint supernumeraries can be supplanted with ONE “FAQ” ‘puter page?

trutherator
Guest

True story…

Friend of mine’s wife works in Immigration office that handles asylum request disputes. (If the appeals court had ruled that Elian Gonzalez’ case must be heard, they would have handled it, but the fix was in, meaning the conclusion was pre-decided)

I was in his office one day, and to illustrate he called his wife. “Whatcha doin’, Honey?” (Nothing) “Whatcha been doing today?” (Talking about where to go for lunch)

She told him that was the typical day. She was so bored she was thinking of quitting.

Adrian Vance
Guest

Excellent piece, or study, and one we will use on our blog, “Two Minute Conservative.” Compliments to the chef.

Adrian Vance
Guest

Excellent Piece

J Cass
Guest
J Cass

Z-Man gittin down to brass tacks now.

joe K
Guest
joe K

you don’t know what you are talking about…i am a retired fed worker, and the work i did required a lot of education, organizational skills etc…i have a 150 IQ….and several degrees….yes, the blacks got away with a lot…still do…if you want a fed govt worker gravy train, those jobs are in the defense industry and the security industry….