Management Cycle

Anyone who has spent time in a large corporation has lived through at least one period of downsizing, the modern way of saying layoffs. Revenues fall short, so management scrambles to bring costs in line with the new reality. It starts with getting rid of symbolic things like pizza Friday and the company picnic. That never works so the next step is a series of layoffs to “right size” the staff. The British have a great term for this. They say people have been made redundant.

One of the things people often notice about these periods of mass redundancy is that the redundant are also superfluous. That woman who was in every meeting and handed out reports once a month is now gone. No one is asking for her reports or struggling to produce her reports in addition to their own. The reports simply stopped being produced and her chair in the meeting is now empty. It does not take long before no one remembers her name or her job description.

Those who have some years under their belt know that corporate bloat is just one of those things that infects every large company. Even after a company goes through one of these periods, it does not take long before it begins to re-bloat. Profits return, the economy looks better and people start thinking outside the box again. The empty cubicles begin to fill up with nice people who maintain spreadsheets that everyone thinks are vital until the next time there is a downsizing.

In the dreaded private sector, bloat is constrained by the need to make a profit, but in the public sector there is no such constraint. Universities are so bloated with administrators it is hard to find the faculty. Ideally, a university has one administrator for every three faculty members. This is a well-known metric. At least it was well-known until the explosion of administrators happened. Now most public universities have close to three administrators for every faculty member.

In government, the number of people who do essential work is too small to measure, so the ratio of managers to workers is impossible to state. Even in government, dividing by zero is not allowed. This has crept into the private sector through the door of government contractors. The reporting required to work on government programs requires an army of those nice people who sit in cubicles producing snappy spreadsheet reports that no one reads.

Even in something like military procurement bloat is an issue. One of the things that is becoming clear with the war in the Ukraine is that the United States has a massively bloated military industrial complex. They just assumed this was true for the Russians, which is why they assumed Russia would run out of munitions by now. It turns out that Russia “right-sized” their military industrial complex a long time ago so now they can produce much more for much less than the West.

When you step back and look at the American economy as a whole, it is clear that bloat is the way to describe it. It is packed with jobs that have no real reason to exist, other than the rules created by managers. Most people do work that has no utility other than it ticks some box somewhere in the system. It may be a big reason for why people are dropping out of the workforce. Sitting in a cubicle all day doing busy work is not worth the paycheck for many people.

This may be a clue as to where managerialism ends. The Soviets followed a similar path that eventually led to collapse. After the revolution and civil war, a new class began to emerge that took control of the system. First it was party members gaining control of important parts of the country. Then the party itself became the primary mechanism for running the system. After the war and the death of Stalin, this new class exploded to take control of the Soviet Union.

It has been forgotten, but there was a tremendous amount of optimism in the USSR after the war into the 1960’s. Experts were building and rebuilding the Soviet economy along scientific lines. Many people, even in the West, thought that maybe the communist would catch or even surpass the West economically. That collapsed with the overthrow of Khrushchev. The experimentation and optimism were replaced with dull technocratic conservatism. The managers were back in charge.

That is the way to think about the last twenty-five years of the USSR. It was a lot like the American car makers in the 1970’s. The lack of competition meant that all the bad habits of the managers went unchecked. Before long, the workers stopped caring because why would anyone care when the bosses do not care? By the end of the Soviet era, the Russian economy was festooned with people who produced reports no one read and attended meetings where nothing was decided.

There are lots of theories for why the Soviet Union collapse, but one reason is simply that it became bogged down in corporate bloat. The system got so gummed up with layers of managers looking for something to do or looking for a reason to not do anything that the system itself began to seize up. By the end, a country with vast fertile farmland was struggling to feed itself. Events like Chernobyl were embarrassing emblems of a system that are reached its logical end.

The Global American Empire may be near that same point. The liberal democratic system of the empire is purpose build for war. It was created in war and has been at war with the world for generations. It should be incredibly good at war. Instead, it is on the verge of another ignominious defeat, this time in the Ukraine. A system so bogged down with empty suits and cubicle jockeys that it cannot do the thing for which it was designed is not a system with a long future ahead of it.

The one thing unique about America that the Soviets lacked is the ability to create massive amounts of money from thin air. This covers a lot of sins, but that may be coming to an end as well. Once it is no longer feasible to print up enough cash to pay the growing managerial class, downsizing is inevitable. Unlike a company, the managers of this system are not going to exit the premises quietly. Downsizing in countries tends to be chaotic and violent.

One final point of comparison between this age and the dynamics in a corporation is the lack of institutional memory. Many have noted that this age bears a striking resemblance to the 1970’s. One reason for that is the people in charge today have no memory of that time, even though most were alive back then. Just like a company never remembers the last downsizing and starts to re-bloat the ranks, the managerial system never seems to learn from past errors.

Again, the war in the Ukraine is a good example. Backing a puppet government in a civil war never turns out well. The defining event of the current political class was the war in Vietnam, yet they appear to have learned nothing from it. Management induced amnesia seems to be a feature of managerialism. Like puppies, everyone lives in the moment, excited about the next thing. No one can see disaster coming, because no one seems to remember what happened yesterday.

The old line about bankruptcy attributed Hemingway probably applies to the dynamics within the managerial system. Everyone was surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union, even the people inside it. In retrospect it made sense. The system was going bankrupt a little at a time. Even though that should have been obvious, few people predicted it. In all probability, the same fate awaits the West. First it will be the satellite countries and then the empire proper.

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199 thoughts on “Management Cycle

  1. Great article z. With that being said, I have to disagree with you on one point. You believe that the satellite nations to the GAE will fail first and then the empire. I’m not so sure. John Stossel actually did a great video on the topic of bloat in western nations by exploring how expensive it is to build things like roads, highways, and bridges. When you compare “socialist” Europe to the GAE, the GAE spends multiples larger amounts of money to build every mile of road for example. This is because of all the regulators and middle managers in between the money and the road builders that need to get greased. It’s truly unsustainable

    • People on the American right worry to much about money and debt. The GAE spends – wastes – enormous amounts of money on everything it does because it can. At some level it has too. Because it is an empire sucking resource from the peripheral/ subject areas – funneling them through the center of power and then vomiting them out again. That has always been the case with empires from the beginning of history.

  2. Bob Slydell comes to mind.

    “What would you say it is….ya do here…?”

    “I’d like to move us right to Peter Gibbons. We had a chance to meet this young man, and boy he’s just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.“

    “Well just a second there, professor. We uh, we fixed the *glitch*. So he won’t be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it will just work itself out naturally.”

    Not to mention Bob’s affinity for Michael Bolton. The singer. Not the cubicle drone.

    Cubicle drones either start fires or start shooting, or stay forever (Smykowski), or cling to their staplers (Milton), or escape the cubicle farms and become actually productive (lumberjacks etc.), or become Lumberg. Lumberjacks, or Lumberg… uh, Yeahhhhh.

    • So according to Putin, Germany is selling gas to the Poles because they can make money on the spread. Screw their citizens.

      I wonder who would be lining their pockets?

      I would venture a guess, but by now it’s overused.

  3. here’s the thing – what’s the difference between communism and feudalism? I’ve recently come to the conclusion that communism is just j–ish feudalism or rather feudalism with them on top.

    Like look at 1930s Soviet Union. It was basically a feudal system not unlike serf era Russia. Likewise Larry Fink, despite being a billionaire, clearly has a fantasy for a gosplan/five year plan system in the us.

    • Except that under the mature feudal system, there were mutual obligations as well as mutual expectations with some surveillance by the Church to enforce some measure of equity.

      Not so in the “neoliberal” feudal system. Wonder why? Hint: What factor has been expunged and replaced with what?

  4. Hey, maybe those WEF guys are on to something. They’re just trying to reduce the overall world population bloat – the only difference is death vs firing – simple nuance…

    When my wife began her teaching career, any downsizing was referred to as RIF – reduction in force. Another catchy tune.

  5. One of your best. I just did a piece on Keynesianism. Yeah! Do a stimulus! Keynes said so.

    So Carter did a stimulus; Obama did a stimulus, now Biden. None of them worked. But have any of the puppies stopped to wonder why?

    Even when a brilliant idea works, very few people understand why. And as the years pass, fewer and fewer remember.

    Take Bretton Woods in 1944, Harry Dexter White presiding. After long pondering, I realized that Bretton Woods ended the gold standard (and post-war deflation) while pretending to keep it. But who has a clue about that?

  6. Here is my probably won’t happen this way, but a man can dream scenario.

    The corporate world is forced to downsize radically and can’t afford to cull its producers. That leaves them to cull the cultural destroyers in HR and the many utterly incompetent and entirely not needed managers. I’ve had one good manager in my career. The rest always inhibited productive work by smart highly cooperative teams. The HR beast can’t be slayed because of civil rights laws. The corporate decision makers are forced to become the leading advocates for getting rid of the civil rights laws, as they finally impose too high of a permanent cost.

    That would cut out the need for white people to use the civil rights laws to sue these racist and sexist companies as a tactic with a strategic aim of burning them down with the help of the business class, (people who actually do business), when they have served their purpose. I think we are way too disorganized and sheepish for that. So, let’s pray for the day of reckoning where the HR departments and armies of DIE consultants have to be the first to go so the producers can stay.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. These companies are managed by true believers and I feel they’d be more inclined to lose their last dollar in the name of “equity”.

    • At some level, large corporations are features of the GAE governing structure. Their viability is driven by their association with that entity and not by market forces or normal business activity. There is really no other way to justify their valuation. Especially for traditional media companies that haven’t had a viable business model for almost three decades and social media companies that have never had viable business models. Go through them sector by sector and just about everyone of them continues to exist via government contracting, regulatory capture, subsidies and over broad ip.

  7. The problems with defense procurement are multi-fold. First, the customer (the DOD) doesn’t always have a clear idea of what it wants in an airplane, tank or ship.

    Or the DOD wants something all-singing, all-dancing that stretches an engineering staff to its max. When you go edge of the envelope when writing specifications, the risks multiply exponentially.

    Sometimes they have hair-brained ideas that are designed to save money, but end up costing more in the end, like the F-35 being a “common airframe.” Wonder why the A- and C-models don’t have any rear visibility? The hunchback on the fuselage is designed to accommodate a lift fan for the B-model that is capable of V/STOL that isn’t in the A- or C-models. The parts commonality that was supposed to provide massive cost savings hasn’t come to pass.

    Much of the aerodynamic issues with the F-35 are because the Marines and Royal Navy needed a V/STOL aircraft, which are horribly compromised when compared to conventional aircraft.

    The same thing happened with the F-111 program in the 1960s, which was supposed to produce a long-range, all-weather precision bomber (it had little or no air-to-air capability) for the Air Force and a missile hurling interceptor for the Navy designed to shoot down Soviet bombers carrying carrier-killing antiship missiles before they could get a shot at the carrier. The admirals rebelled when the F-111 turned out to be a useless hulk in a dogfight that also sucked when it came to landing on a carrier and got a real fighter, the F-14.

    Lastly, the DOD likes to change its mind on the specifications. A lot. That adds costs. Also, the present contract structure almost encourages contractors to make things more expensive and almost make things unreliable so numerous fixes are required.

    In defense technology, gradual evolution rather than “transformational” leaps is the way to go. The Russians build updated versions of their Su-30s (based on a 1970s design) and have come out with a new plane, the Su-57, that uses a lot of the same tech and has more stealthiness than its previous aircraft.

    We do this too little. The E-2 Hawkeye radar plane and its newest version, which is a quantum leap improvement from its predecessor, is one example. Another is the ageless C-130, which we re-engined and put it in a glass cockpit. Now it flies 30% farther on the same gas, is faster and carries more cargo.

    The system isn’t intended to be agile and that’s the fault of the command structure known as Goldwater/Nicholls.

    The Chinese are putting hulls in the water and rolling airframes out of the factory at rates that would’ve made Rosie the Riveter proud. On the other hand, we’re too busy worrying about butt sex and racial grievances to build our gold-plated ships, vehicles and aircraft in enough numbers to matter if a war with China turned hot.

    • Regarding out there specs, I’ve personally seen prime contractors flow down mechanical shock and vibration specs so bonkers that a mechanical design engineer with 20-25 years of experience could not believe them.

      That disbelief led to three weeks of conference calls to ask the prime team to confirm those specs, indecisive responses from the prime team, and this mechanical designer developing a prototype design that could withstand about half the magnitude of the unbelievable spec.

      Then, the fourth week’s conference call arrived and the prime team confirmed, “Yeah…that spec is real….”

      ….and just like that, over one month of billable manhours went up in smoke.

    • I realize it’s not high tech in the least, but the B-52 has been in continuous use since 1952 (70 years!!!)

  8. “The old line about bankruptcy attributed to Hemingway probably applies to the dynamics within the managerial system.”

    It wasn’t attributed. It appears in “The Sun Also Rises.” The line is, “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

    I don’t point this out to be priggish, and it doesn’t change anything you wrote. But it is such a great quote, I just wanted to clarify the source.

    • when i first saw it in this post, I thought “that’s Fitzgerald!” but after a few long seconds, Hemingway took credit 😛

  9. “That woman who was in every meeting and handed out reports once a month ” took the specifications from the customers to the engineers. Also, she had people skills, goddamnit!

    • “It’s a ‘Jump to Conclusions’ mat!”

      Took a gal I was dating at the time to see “Office Space”. I’m ROARING laughing 🤣. Her? A giggle or two. We leave and she asks me “Why was the movie so funny to you?”

      I replied “That’s my life honey.”

      “The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”

  10. “The reporting required to work on government programs requires an army of those nice people who sit in cubicles producing snappy spreadsheet reports that no one reads.”

    Correction: No one SANE reads them. You’ve overlooked Heidi Beirich–and that’s not an easy task. She of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Safe Communications Institute (I kid you not), and the Aspen Ideas Festival (can you even imagine?).

    Here’s a VERY (trust me) flattering picture of her:

    SHE reads ALL that stuff. Spreadsheets, annual reports, you name it. ‘Ts how fundraising works.

    • Technically speaking that was once in the job description of a journalist: read boring 500-page releases but not for fun, instead under the assumption the gov’t is going to lie to you and cover up inauspicious facts which, with a little pluck and professional expertise, can be inferred from the context of the mind-numbing “reports”—it was kind of like the Hollywood image of a CSI detective or trial lawyer; Vietnam-era had many such cases.

      Today, “journalist” = gov’t spokespersyn.

  11. Another problem with organizations on the downslope is one that Jordan Peterson identified in his early lectures: Downsizing tends to bleed talent and retain chaff.

    One factor may be bullshit job dynamics. Per Charles Murray, the highest rung on the Maslow pyramid may well be the ability to practice one’s life’s art at the highest level. Those with genuine talent won’t tolerate 8 hours per day of xeroxing pointless forms that could have been emailed or doing Powerpoints for contemptible HRores.

    Another is that organizations losing their grip are simply in no position to retain the best; if a top CFO can make $500k more per year at a better-positioned and -budgeted competitor, pulling the trigger is a no-brainer.

    Add to this that companies in the private sector requiring serious downsizing rarely survive intact. It’s easy conjure examples: Sears, old GM, Woolworth’s, Enron, Kmart and an endless list of local companies that only those in the region would remember. Thinking of successful downsizings that didn’t end in some form of buyout, takeover or bankruptcy is much harder.

    Part of this may be that as the organization slides down the slope to oblivion, the previous second-best managers become the new best, subject to the same process described above. By the third or fourth year of downsizing, the company has reverse-selected itself into a moribund state, a corporate Robert Taylor Homes where only those too stupid, broke or shortsighted to have left remain.

    • To clarify, the bullshit job dynamics may be more of a factor prior to the actual downsizing. But they are going to be a strong presence in any company that has reached morbid bloat.

      And as it becomes unignorably clear the team is a loser, the bogged-down MVPs will have it that much easier deciding to bail.

    • ‘Part of this may be that as the organization slides down the slope to oblivion, the previous second-best managers become the new best, subject to the same process described above. By the third or fourth year of downsizing, the company has reverse-selected itself into a moribund state, a corporate Robert Taylor Homes where only those too stupid, broke or shortsighted to have left remain.”

      Scott Adams (Yeah, I know, I know, he of the 4D Chess game) calls it “Bright-sizing”. The smart people get wind of trouble and get out to greener pastures before the downsizing, and those who can man the lifeboats when the downsizing starts skedaddle.

      “Thinking of successful downsizings that didn’t end in some form of buyout, takeover or bankruptcy is much harder.”

      Chrysler Corporation, or whatever they call themselves today, is this in spades. They SHOULD have gone bankrupt in the late 1970s, but FedGov agreed to be the guarantor of last resort for their lenders, and they made it into the 1980s. The K-Car and all its derivatives (especially the minivan) saved their collective asses. Then once again they took their eye off the ball, lost market share in the early 1990s, put their eye back on the ball, got bought by Daimler-Benz, got sold to an investment bank group, went bankrupt, got bailed out by Obama, got shotgun-married to Fiat (the one car company with worse quality control than Chrysler), was acquired by Fiat, and is now part of Stellantis, aka the automotive equivalent of “The Island of Misfit Toys”.

      Phew! Well Chrysler is down to the 300 and the Pacifica, and Dodge is down to the Charger, Challenger, and Durango. Chrysler will be the “Electric Vehicle” division of Stellantis, which means it ain’t long for this world.

      • Stellantis really does resemble a 1970s/80s parody of a dysfunctional hyperconglomerate in real life (think Philip K. Dick or direct-to-video sci-fi corporation villains). I notice that zoomers have a strangely reverent attitude toward the Church of Google (sleazy advertising firm and copyright pirate) or First Apostolic Amazon (welfare leech living off multiple women’s salaries e.g. Ms. Pentagon, Ms. Postal Service, and Ms. Office of Ordering Binders/Staplers).

        It can’t just be that zoomers are opportunistically religious and hoping to work there— seems they actually think a giant cat-video database is ingenious dynamism and proof of do-well-by-doing-good. When the tide comes back in it’s gonna be brutal.

  12. Look at the Fed Funds rate. Historically still quite low and already bone crushing for the economy. It tells you the size and scope of this bubble. A healthy economy, a balanced economy, wouldn’t blink at much higher interest rates. I really think this increase will be the final piercing of the bubble, or more likely, the bubble is already pierced and the hole is going to get ripped bigger. The Fed will be left reeling by November as they attempt to back peddle. And you think the Covid stimmy was big, just wait until the 2023 stimmies. This is what John Adams predicted with muh democracy “bankrupting itself.” Human nature doesn’t change. Millenia of wanting our cake and eating it too.

    • To add, the corporate propaganda organs get the vapors and trash talk even the minimal hikes Powell imposes. There is awareness that all is near collapse, and I would argue that artificially low rates are the greatest fraud ever perpetuated and I include Covid in that hierarchy.

  13. So after my many years of ‘forced unemployment’ by the GAE Police State, I have now nearly completed my first year back in the work force. My current role gives me insight into something I’ve brushed up against over the years which is highly relevant to today’s topic. How government contracts operate in 2022.

    My observations will mirror many others already posted in this thread as it seems to be pretty obvious by this point both societally and anecdotally from stories shared here how this all works now.

    I’ll start with the absurdity & lies these people tell themselves. This is a direct quote from an RFP I’m going to share-

    “The Department of Education (DOE) is the largest school system in the country, serving over 1.1 million children across 1,800 schools. The mission of the DOE is to work collaboratively with parents, educators, school communities, and external stakeholders to improve student achievement and ensure that every child graduates from high school prepared for college, a career, and a future as a productive, critically thinking adult.”

    Read that last line carefully and if you can manage not to laugh your ass off, I congratulate you. This type of language is ALL over these government RFPs in nearly every sector. This unreality language. This school system cannot produce LITERATE students much less collegiates, career professionals, productives, and most comical of all, critical thinkers. What they do produce are welfare queens, violent thugs, layabouts, druggies, and lifelong system dependents who will leech tax dollars with the collective power of a Godzilla sized vampire squid. And, its multi-generational at this point!

    But these lefty bureaucrats in charge of these places don’t care either because they are True Believers that actually think the horsesh-t in that opening statement is true, or they are simply paper pushers happy to be on the take at a high paying, low-effort, make work job funded by -you-, Joe Taxpayer.

    And they are Legion. I have seen dozens of departments from every major blue hive now. Chicago, NYC, DC, LA and in every case the setup and rhythm is exactly the same.

    Multi-million dollar contracts are doled out by unqualified minority hires who can barely understand what is written on the paper. There is one ‘smart fraction’ mino in charge directing traffic for the rest who do makework paper pushing jobs to keep the process moving. LOTS of black women in these roles, because… of course. The actual system is held together by sub-continentals. Armies of them in every major blue hive. Broken English, but just technically competent enough to keep the failing bureaucratic systems & machines from falling apart long enough to bring in ‘consultants & contractors’ (read: White Men). The Indians don’t ask too many questions and let the Shaneequas run the show, just doing what they are tasked with by the More Important Pets™ of the white liberal machine that set the entire thing into place and motion.

    Often times, these systems were built by the lowest bidder, and more recently, by minority owned businesses. You can imagine the results of that now that the Most Important Thing Ever is making sure even MORE diversity is involved, thereby crippling the systems even worse. So you paid the minimum amount for a barely functional system and now you need to hire Accenture, Deloitte, Booz-Allen, whoever… to come in at 10X the rate and I’m talking $150-250 per HOUR per resource and there may be dozens, in many cases. And have them unf-ck everything that the Pajeets were not able to maintain or upgrade on their own, roll back and damage the ‘Minority Owned Businesses’ inflicted with their meddling, and generally make the thing work right.

    They could have just hired a bunch of White Men to do this right from the start at a fraction of the cost but then where is the fun in that? Far better to go through this byzantine process of spending, more spending, even more spending, realize nothing works right, then spend 10x the amount to bring you to baseline. Now repeat this across every major Blue Bug Hive and probably any blue State and county system too and you see why the government’s absurd spending & budget is what it is.

    It has been ‘educational’ to me, not in a good way…

    • “… ensure that every child graduates from high school prepared for college…”

      AP has rightly pointed out the numbers of incompetent minorities in play here, but the above excerpt from the mission statement of the DOE says it all. Their MS is a denial of realities.

      Even disregarding known racial “group” differences, differences *within* races would preclude fulfillment of the DOE’s stated goals. They (we) are living in fantasy land…a “Lake Wobegon, where…all children are above average”. Garrison Keeler used this line as a show ending joke, but it seems the joke was taken as a truth by too many in his audience.

    • Hell, the goal of most school districts across the US is to graduate all or almost all kids from high school. Even with White kids, half of them have an IQ under 100. The only way to graduate all or almost all (say, 90%) of kids is to make a HS diploma attainable by 90% of the kids. If those sub 100 kids can attain a HS diploma, what good is a HS diploma?

      We can realistically graduate all or nearly all elementary school students to a proper 6th grade education. My parents knew a lot of people who had a functional 6th or 7th grade education. But they only graduated from elementary school. if they dropped out of 10th grade, they had a 9th grade education. I know a lot of people who have HS diplomas with a 6th or 7th grade education. There are a lot of adults with college degrees who have a functional 9th grade education.

      A lot fewer kids graduated high school in the 60s and before, but the ones who did possessed a high school education. This problem was well known to the government for many decades before the federal education bureau was even created. The government has all kinds of information on the IQ requirements of almost all jobs. They know from both their own experience and the experience of private industry that if a job requires a higher IQ (by a couple of points) than the candidate has, no amount of training helps. We just cannot accept that people are not equal and that people have limitations, hard limitations which cannot be overcome. A LOT of people make a lot of money trying to do the impossible.

      • It’s even worse when you look at colleges. They dumped the SAT because they raciss, but even before they did that there was always the community to university pipeline. The dumb kids in high school wouldn’t get immediately accepted into the state university, so they had to go to community college. But instead of getting an associate’s degree in something vocational, they could just later transfer to the university and walk away with the same B.S. (pun intended) as everyone else.

        So a Bachelor’s Degree holder can likely have an IQ as low as 90, which I believe is about the competence level required to fill out paperwork, perform a repetitive task, and not hurt themselves going to the bathroom. Real elite education there.

        • Ploppy, no complaint about your analysis, but an addition/clarification. The SAT’s are being dumped because they are a proxy for IQ. To have them as information wrt student admission and graduation rates is to have direct and incontrovertible evidence of the malfeasance and lowering standards in our institutions of “higher learning”. That they are termed “racist” is simply the cover to justify their removal.

      • May answer Tars to your astute observation was to make two types of HS degrees. One basically, “He/she successfully attended 4 years”, the second, “He/she successfully attended four years *and* passed the State’s academic proficiencies certification exam’s”

        This was in response to a decade or so ago when the State mandated their private exam for all HS’s wishing to graduate. It of course only lasted a few years because the parents would not accept that little Suzy and Johnny did not cut the mustard.

        • This is what the American “four-year” bachelor’s is: a second HS diploma.

          Mind you, I think that was a terrible, lousy, rent-seeking “decision” but that is where we’re at and on the level of most hirers’ practical views. You had 1 reference vouch for you (the high school), then you had the reference from the other (the presumably stricter college/university— big asterisk for NCAA scholars). Of course the latter certifier brings in a bunch of new socialization/manners features the employer is interested in. It’s lamentable but impossible to expect them to treat an HS graduate fairly pre-hiring. American HS will graduate savage goons who set fire to animals.

    • ooooo….. somebody panties in a twist over all the bad-isms in this SPOT-ON post.
      all the politically correct ‘so unfair’, mus’nt hurt little snowflake fweelings, feminist bullshit, yada yada is finally working it’s magic to termite the edifice White men built: as noted- slowly then all at once it falls.

  14. Finacialization and bloat has hollowed out every aspect of Western economies.

    One prominent example is the auto industry that now builds cars from expensive plastic crap. The auto industry does this because they are more interested in looting consumers via originating loans, leasing, and the fees generated from servicing those products.

    The Car Wizard touches on this in his video about the extremely well-built 1995 Lexus LS400 sedan:

    He also discusses several other late 90s vehicles of Japanese origin that have seen shocking gains in used prices because people are realizing modern vehicles are scams filled with expensive plastic crap.

    The downside to those better-built, more easily maintained 90s vehicles is obviously long-term parts availability. Some of that can probably be mitigated with custom, low-volume additive manufacturing.

    • If you are going to get and keep a used car, it needs to be one with an enthusiast niche. Chevy trucks will never die, only move on to the next enthusiast. You can still buy new aftermarket and oem parts for any BMW “3” series from the 70s onwards. New BMWs are allegedly going to charge you a monthly subscription to turn on the already-installed seat warmers, though. There oughtta be a law….
      If K&N makes filters for it and Bilstein makes shocks for it, thats probably a good choice.

      • I wouldn’t touch a BMW newer than the early ’00s.

        The turbo inline 6 engines all have a plastic flange between the engine block and a coolant return line to the radiator. The replacement part for that is aluminum. The turbo v8s are worse because they place the turbos between the cylinder banks in a, “hot-V” setup that quickly fries your engine oil.

        The other German makes are similarly bad.

        Meanwhile, there are guys on YouTube pulling late 90s Chevy small blocks out of salvage yards and firing them up after minor repairs. Supposedly, one can easily and reliably make 500-600 hp on those engines with minor mods.

        You just love to see it.

    • New cars are not just “scams”—whatever you consider that to be—they are dangerous to your freedoms and liberties. New cars are tracked, record your driving habits, and are under control (via proprietary software) of the car manufacturers—which means the Fed’s. It is only a matter of time before these new vehicles will be linked centrally and will drive themselves, making you a public passenger in you own car.

      • “It is only a matter of time before these new vehicles will be linked centrally and will drive themselves, making you a public passenger in you own car.”

        Yeah. IFF you are lucky,

      • We need to outright ban “self-driving” vehicles from all US roads (along with renting hardware to you which you already own).

        Most of these cars can update themselves over the internet. I don’t care how secure they claim them to be or how unlikely it is to ever happen, I don’t want to wake up some Sept 11th morning and find cars deliberately ramming into people, other cars and buildings. They cannot keep anything secure. Nuclear weapons have been hacked., Critical infrastructure has been hacked and weaponized (water treatment plants). Every bank in the world has been hacked.

        Not to mention all the social problems self-driving will cause.

    • Wild Geese: If all the reports I’ve been seeing about a massive increase in car repos are true, then hopefully with the supply of ‘used’ cars eased (the crappy 1-3 year olds) the prices on the older and more reliable ones will drop to more reasonable levels. I’m counting on a larger inventory to choose from 3-6 months from now. As you note, there’s the issue of long-term parts availability with the really old ones, as well as being able to do competent repairs oneself or knowing a capable and trustworthy mechanic.

      I would never consider a new car today – regardless of cost, they’re riddled with unnecessary tech and chips and surveillance and controls. Husband is concerned with parts, mileage, and overall wear and tear. We’ve reached a compromise, but it’s that sweet spot that a lot of people are focusing on – a 5-10 year old moderate mileage reliable 4 x 4 vehicle. I’m watching the listings and waiting to spot the right deal.

        • Being located in an area with a good salvage yard is a huge blessing.

          I would characterize a good yard as one that actively strips parts and assemblies from their yard, moves those out of the weather into their warehouse, and maintains their own local inventory database to search the warehouse.

          They should also maintain a good map of their yard so people can go look for and pull parts that are not already in the warehouse.

          Being near a good yard may also be a good metric for those looking to relocate in the US.

      • It’s quite amazing to me that someone doesn’t see the market for a truck stripped back to the basics. Marketing line: Barely legal. Start from manual windows and mirrors as a trim level.
        I’d be shocked if it didn’t sell, hell, even a Wokel could buy it: Like my new truck?- No plastic!

        • That gap in the market is so blatant that anyone with a gorilla IQ can see it. And *nobody* fills it because everyone with more than a gorilla IQ knows it’s not allowed.

          Capitalism (Rand/Paul version) is not a thing. Never has been, never will be. For any company bigger than a family, there is no “profit motive,” no “fiduciary responsibility,” no competition—nothing any libertarian has ever said there is.

          Corporate product is produced solely to humiliate its consumers.

    • “He also discusses several other late 90s vehicles of Japanese origin that have seen shocking gains in used prices … .”

      Can confirm, at least partially. I would never think of selling or trading my ’99 Toyota with a manual transmission. It looks for all the world as though the Clampetts or the Munsters ought to come piling out of it, but it runs like a top and gets incredible gas mileage. And NO automatic transmission!

      I’m told that if that’s what I want–and it is–that I must keep my ’99 b/c they don’t make manual transmissions anymore.

      Pigs. “Let them eat bugs!” what I say.

    • Thanks. The Car Wizard is an endless font of actionable intel for those of us who are non-mechanics or know just enough to be dangerous.

    • I drove a 1994 Toyota Comfort (Cressida outside of Japan, IIRC) with a 5-speed manual until 2007. 」

    • For BMWs I’d say anything before electronics became common, mid-80s or before, 3 or 5 series. The motors are pretty bulletproof and with minimal sensors there isn’t much to go wrong.

      For SUVs the 60 series Land Cruisers especially one that has a small-block Chevy with transmission dropped in. With proper care they’ll go forever.

  15. I think that the Global American Empire (GAE) made a bigger mistake in Ukraine than simply backing a puppet. The GAE was actively promoting that puppet’s war with Russia as a pretext for a campaign to destabilize and replace the government of Russia via economic pressure, with the objective of first restoring the situation in the 1990s when Boris Yeltsin permitted the west to loot Russian resources. The eventual goal was to break Russia up into smaller territories, all to be economically exploited by western plutocrats. Not only is the military campaign going badly for the GAE, the overall objective is rapidly proving unobtainable–Russia is economically stronger than it was before the campaign and Vladimir Putin is more solidly in power. Russia may be able to eventually reverse the operation and begin peeling off GAE members in Europe and eventually contribute to the breakup of the United States itself.

    • more than that, the economic war blew up in the faces of the GAE, and is actively destabilizing every western country. this cannot be overstated.

    • I can tell you that the prior military people I work with daily will tell you that if a NATO country gets a broken nail that can be attributed to Russia, the “gloves will come off” and Russia will be curb stomped by the USA in very short order.

      Even after Iraq, Afghanistan, and Viet Nam, they truly believe this.

      So yeah, theZman is right; the long term institutional memory even in a “conersvative” place like the military is somewhere in the order of a goldfish. Managerialism is brain rot.

      • The Western people can not, will not, accept casualties of war. Whatever happens, Russia will extract major casualties from the West. This was the lesson taught by Vietnam. This was the major understanding/insight of Ho Chi Minh and the reason they won in the end. They were willing to accept 10 to 1 casualty ratios indefinitely.

        The bravado of the MIC is simply whistling pass the graveyard. It ignores a weak-spined populous and assumes an enemy that will not fight the long war.

        • The squeamishness of the West is compounded by its terrible recruiting rates and total fertility rates.

          The West simply doesn’t have the bodies to fight a major war. The trannies and immivaders are not going to step in for the good ol’ boys from the South, Midwest, and Mountain West.

          I think this is a driver for the monomaniacal focus on dumping so-called, “wonder weapons,” into Ukraine as well as the willingness to throw Ukrainians into the Russian meat grinder.

          Sadly, there are signs that the GAE is prepping Poland to be the next nation to enter combat against Russia.

        • Compsci: I love you friend, so please take this in the spirit it is intended. “Populous” is an adjective and refers to larger numbers of people (i.e. a populous city). “Populace” is a noun and means the people residing in a specific area.

          • Yep, you got me there. An oversight from poor proof reading and not thinking—one can think it, yet not “see” it. Populace it is. An apology for correcting such a mistake is unnecessary.

            “Through all my teachers, I am made wiser.”

        • The Russians have correctly identified this conflict as the commencement of an actively existential fight for their national and cultural survival. They are as ready as they could realistically be for this. Their minds are, and have been resolved to face this for some time guided by this assessment.

          I knew that the brain dead aggression of the West had fully firmed up this perception when the Russians re-formed the 1st Tank Army maybe a couple of years ago. This was preparation for a full-scale industrial war with a continental sweep.

          Put this together with their likely air superiority over the conflict area, and their possession of cruise missiles, semi-ballistic missiles, and now hypersonic missiles, with the capability to decimate follow-on forces, command centers, and logistical chains, with all of these systems generations ahead of the West, and I have a pretty good idea who would get “curb stomped” if things were to get spicy through “Our Elites” stupidity, arrogance, and comprehensive lack of situational awareness.

          • I can see a very short war with massive elite casualties if they keep pushing their luck. The Russian hypersonics and the rest of their arsenal can do massive damage to local targets all over the world without resorting to nukes. A couple of the new Sarmat ICBMs can destroy NYC, DC, London or Brussels with no radiation but with severe elite casualties.

            Also destroy a carrier group and watch the elites try to get away from the rest of us. We as a nation aren’t able to fight a war now.

          • JJ-

            Putin’s reactivation of that Russian unit in 2014 following the Maidan coup was highly historically symbolic because that was the unit that basically led the way from Moscow to Berlin in WW2.

            Equally symbolic was the regime’s recent move to establish a permanent US Army Fifth Corps HQ in Poland because that was the US unit that sent the first US troops to Europe, landed at Omaha Beach, and made first contact with the Red Army near the end of WW2.

            To me, this symbolism is a tell both sides know there is a major conflict coming.

      • “So yeah, theZman is right; the long term institutional memory even in a “conersvative” place like the military … .”

        Yeah, they’re not so conservative anymore. I recall reading (somewhere) that Biden got 65% of votes cast by active-duty Navy personnel. The purges seem to have been pretty effective. So have the gov’t schools. And TV.

      • Blinken often makes noises like this. Guy seems to think of himself as a well-bred gangsta. If you watch NPR and listen to CNN it’s possible to miss that deplorable countries are openly rolling their eyes at our best/brightest now. This is not pugnacious North Korea/Iran-style poking at our political firmament. Regardless of their own competencies the Russians certainly don’t believe we have any. Cocky commentators in Mandarin have been a few notches more blunt about this.

      • Good point.

        Russia’s number one priority ought to be assassinations of politicians. This ordinary soldier against ordinary soldier model is grossly immoral. Kill the politicians and leave the boys alone. “Rich man’s war; poor man’s fight” or “Old men’s war and young men’s fight” and all that.

    • About the Ukraine and all the rest of it:
      Go here:

      After watching the video, click on “more” below the viewing window and read the text and follow the links that you will see.

      It’s either true or it’s damned good disinfo. But Z’s readers ought to know about this, just because.

      • Germany Must Perish! by Theodore Newman Kaufman

        This March 1941 book written by a New Jersey Jewish-German émigré-caused a storm in Germany and America with its open advocacy of the physical extermination of all Germans and Germany itself. This was to be achieved through a process of mass sterilization, and the physical dismemberment of that country.

        And it goes back well before ’41

        Those darn American Global Empire-ists

        • “Stick with the plan”, sez the Khazarians down to this day. And by golly, today’s Germans seem willing to oblige. Sad.

        • The Morgenthal Plan that Roosevelt pretty much agreed with would have removed all industry from Germany and turned it into a foreign occupied peasant state.

  16. The other thing to keep in mind is that private companies will restructure to return to viability. The public sector is about sucking as much blood as possible before the host dies. The first instinct is always to put the knife to anyone who does actual work so that they can claim that their insane budget was absolutely necessary.

    • “The other thing to keep in mind is that private companies will restructure to return to viability.”

      Will they? How many “private” companies are even left these days? Google: gets tons of money from .gov
      Apple: gets tons of money from .gov
      Microsoft: gets tons of money from .gov
      All the start ups that were “disrupting” markets since 2010: Get tons of money from .gov (via low interest rates which makes it cheaper for them to get loans and also investor money since they have no where else to park it)
      Boing: gets tons of money from .gov and prob couldn’t survive without .gov
      Walmart: Tons of money via foodstamps and other programs, heck i think i read once quite a few of their employees are on foodstamps
      I could go on but i think you get the point. Do you right size when you’ll just get bailed out? If you’re too big to fail because the market is shrinking or empire is dying and you need .gov to inject money every few years to stay at size or “grow” are you really a private company? Most of these companies only grew to the size they did because they had advantageous funding, interest rates have been dropping since the 80’s, ya know, when “greed was good” and now that they’ve monopolized just about everything except eateries and bars, what “growth” is really left to be had?

      • If .gov subsidizes the “value” of your company via inflating stocks and keeping interest rates low, which as the foundation of a “capitalist” economy sets prices. What is private?

        We’ve been the Soviet Union for a long time, but just like many didn’t think the republic ended with Augustus because he hid it very well (which caeser should have done), the mask is coming off.

      • What you’ve described is one definition of a “zombie company.” Direct or indirect support of corporations is hardly a new thing. An alternate, sightly more “market” version of the term (e.g. no direct bail-out required) is a corporation that makes enough to pay its expenses including interest but cannot pay back principal.

  17. How does one decide to give up an income? Are there a ton of trophy wives in the workforce? I have a hard time believing people would generally choose a simpler life. A hard time believing in miracles, maybe lol.

    • The anecdotes I’ve read state there are many couples who realize the costs of commuting and daycare actually exceed the net income from the second job, so it make sense to leave that job.

      • This won’t be a popular sentiment, but if you’re a man and can’t support your wife on your income alone, maybe you shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. Yeah, there are material sacrifices involved, but what kind of man asks his wife to be a necessary breadwinner?

        And if your wife thinks it’s more important to be an utterly replaceable cog in a giant wheel instead of focusing her energy on her husband and especially her kids, she shouldn’t have married either.

        Most jobs (esp women jobs) are BS jobs with BS benefits to match.

        • Yeah, just tug on those bootstraps harder, you’ll eventually get out of debt and buy a house and support a family just tugging on yourself as proznoz suggests. Just tug harder, maybe change hands.
          What color is the sky on the planet that you are from? You understand that all you are doing is insulting people out of your own gross ignorance? Why boomerpost?

          • It’s a bit insulting I admit—but not without historic precedent. Little more than a century ago, something like 40% of folk did not marry. The main reason is that women, and their families, looked for potential spouses that could afford marriage and family. That meant ambitious men with well paying jobs with a career path of sorts. Of course today, we’ve created an economy that tends to preclude one spouse supporting another *and* having children and the life we’ve come to see on TV.

          • Rebel: Bemoaning women in the workforce and the poison of feminism and daycare is not boomerposting. It’s criminal that young White people cannot afford to have families or a house to raise them in. No one is disputing that modern economics is built on destroying the family and atomizing everyone, and the ‘bootstraps’ argument is something I only hear from Silents. But women in the workforce is a net negative for society in every way possible.

      • Wild Geese: Even before Bidenflation and the scamdemic, most women’s ‘net’ income after commuting and daycare and dressing for success and ‘lunches’ was minimal. Just cut out the big tvs and vacations and do your primary job of being a wife and mother. My husband and I agreed on that 30 years ago and planned accordingly. We didn’t plan for private school costs which really hurt us, but we still had an ironclad agreement that our children would be raised at home by me, not by minimal wage strangers in a daycare. No regrets.

        • So you’re saying you put your kids and family before yourself?

          What a novel idea!

        • Well done! The math is pretty easy. If the average daycare cost is around $225 per kid per week, a wife with 3 kids would need a salary of about $50K just to break even ($225*3*52 weeks, divided by 70% to adjust for taxes). There are many other factors, most importantly having a spouse you trust. But for many women, being a cubical drone is soul killing, for no economic benefit.

          • “… many women, being a cubical drone is soul killing…”

            I must admit that my wife—who is demonstrably more academically and intellectually inclined than myself—did understand/accept her basic biological imperative wrt to children. She is a great mother and a better grandmother than I could ever have imagined. Just lucky I guess.

            If it had been up to me, we’d be childless.

      • There are so many factors in that equation. The first one being existing financial obligations. It’s become increasingly difficult for median income (and below) families to get ahead in a world of double-digit inflation and the deliberate importation of several million “immigrants” every year since the gov’t abandoned enforcing existing law competing for housing, health care, jobs, etc.

    • This is one of the things that makes it hard to understand what’s going on. People are leaving the workforce in droves, but real estate is going through the roof.

      What are people buying these houses with if they aren’t working? Did everyone win the lottery?

      I’m left with two possible conclusions.
      1.) Reality has changed such that my previous understanding is obsolete, and I’m too old and crusty to keep up.
      2.) There’s nothing wrong with my understanding of reality, and the reason things look like they can’t possibly work is because they don’t work, and disaster is imminent.

      I expect I’ll have my answer in the not too distant future.

      • I’ve heard realtors are buying up houses to rent. Makes sense, but I can’t imagine realtors of all people would believe these prices are sustainable.

        Locally, I’ve heard of boomers passing on the wealth they’ve accumulated by buying their kids houses. Not a bad strategy, actually, other than reinforcing stereotypes.

        But I tend to think disaster is imminent this fall/winter.

        • Painter may have hit on it: it isnt reality you need to better understand, its realty!
          In my hood, the recent additions (prices have doubled since I got here) are ALL realtors buying on the upswing. Its easy to have money in the realty/housing market when you make money from the realty/housing market. Also, all of it (that I see) are “laterals,” people who are just “trading in & up” as it were. The haves keep having.

      • Supposedly, the increase in real estate prices was driven by people fleeting blue cities and firms like Blackrock buying up as much as possible with free money from the Fed.

        There are signs that some of the hottest markets are beginning to cool off. Zerohedge posted an article that noted large numbers of price reductions in what were the hottest markets.

        • Wild Geese: To use the standard real estate slogan, it’s all about “location, location, location.” All the real estate ‘experts’ I’ve seen online are from California – talk about a distortion of reality! Fwiw, although prices have come down a bit from their peak here in my area of DFW, plenty of people are still buying and our realtor is listing our house at a price that seems to us highly inflated – but she seems quite confident it will still be easy to sell.

          And the area we are moving to is still on fire – there is a serious shortage of standard housing stock (lots of mobile homes and/or serious fixer-uppers) and still lots of people from all over trying to move in. They are desperate for skilled tradesmen (brickwork, drywall, plumbers, electrician, etc.) and the local talent is booked up for the next 2-3 years.

          All that being said, we are in a recession and the national housing bubble will burst. The people currently priced out of the market are first-time homebuyers and/or double income working class people trying to find something under $400k in a not-too-diverse area. You know, all the people the clouds want to see eating bugs and living in rented pods.

          To echo Tom A, get out of the city (any city of over 25k) if you can, as soon as you can.

          • Out of curiosity, where does the DFW area get it’s water from? Reservoirs all over the SW are in dire circumstances. Aquifers across the US are depleted. People seem to be proceeding under the assumption that the “people in charge” have everything under control. What could be further from the truth?

          • RoBG: Damned if I know! Our ground is hard as a rock and all cracked from the drought here. That was a vital concern when we decided to relocate – not merely that we have a well on our property, but lots of water around in general (creeks, rivers, etc.). That pretty much precludes almost all of Texas and the southwest.

      • I suspect foreign cash flows. I have some first hand information that Israelis are setting up massive real estate buying operations in the US.

        I suspect one of the tidal waves of our exported inflation will come back by buying land and homes to rent. That doesn’t mean it is a bubble that can’t pop. I’ve been waiting for the super bubble to pop for over 15 years. Who knows how much life it has.

        I think the best strategy is to invest in the fundamental real assets necessary to our life that generate income: energy; energy and energy. One of the things we all need to do is weather the storm better than anyone else so we come out with a relatively stronger hand. If we can do that and discredit the neocons and their financiers then we have a chance at instituting our own great replacement.

      • “This is one of the things that makes it hard to understand what’s going on. People are leaving the workforce in droves, but real estate is going through the roof.

        “What are people buying these houses with if they aren’t working?”

        WHERE is real estate going through the ceiling?

        People are abandoning the “People’s Republic” states and moving to (mostly) still-free states.

        Richland County, South Carolina, put a total moratorium on all new construction last year b/c their infrastructure is maxed out with new people moving in. Once again the South is being flooded with carpetbaggers.

        My daughter and her family live in Richland County SC, and she is the president of their neighborhood property-owners association. And when I was there on Hallowe’en to go trick-or-treating with my granddaughters, my daughter and son-in-law and I were strolling behind the girls with our Bloody Marys–the girls having run on ahead–and suddenly my daughter stopped and looked at a young couple sitting out by the street with their table and goodies. The house had been vacant the day before.

        As president of the organization, she went over to talk to the young couple. I went, too. The kids had bought the house sight-unseen on the internet. Had moved in the day before (Oct 30). To escape, they told us, from Maryland.

        It’s happening all over the South, mainly Texas and Florida.

        In the Tampa-St Petersburg area, the great majority of homes selling for $1 million or more are being sold for cash, according to Martin Armstrong, he himself having fled the People’s Republic of New Jersey for a bit of freedom in Florida.

        Real estate is booming in some places and declining (eventually collapsing) in others.

        Demand is driving real estate booms.

        And a lot of that demand is frightened money from around the world buying up US real estate and equities.

        That’s not going to stop any time soon.

        There are a LOT of rich people in the US and in the world.

        • Infant: Spot on. The bubble is largest in blue states and that’s where the air is beginning to leak from. Eventually the overall economic devastation will affect every market but for now, there is still high demand for southern/rural/redder states. The blue-staters want red-state urban/suburban homes and the red-staters want more rural abodes. Everyone is looking for his own ‘ark.’

        • I live in one of the bluest states in country, and according to Zillow the value of my own house has increased around 33% in the last year. Likewise all over the state.

          This, even in the face of people bailing out of the state in droves, on top of the Great Resignation.

          It would seem to me the opposite ought to be happening. Price follows demand, and if people aren’t working and are moving out, who’s doing the demanding?

          As I said, this is an example of one of the many things that isn’t adding up these days.

          • A 56 acre farm near my house sold for $850k 4 years ago iirc. This year a 15 acre farm next to that one sold for over $900k. Also this year a 45 acre and 70 acre sold in the millions. The weird part is that all were bought by locals, all being farmed. So it’s not just residential properties or banks/foreigners hoovering up land.

            I don’t get where people are getting the money. Maybe I missed the boat? But I agree, something doesn’t add up.

  18. “First it will be the satellite countries and then the empire proper.”
    As I remember the disintegration of the USSR the actual collapse was triggered by the army finally refusing orders to go enforce the will of the party rulers, in this case refusing to roll into Estonia and reassert Soviet authority. That is, the leadership of the army refused of course. Perhaps someone more educated in the details could elaborate on how that worked, for instance it must have been true that there was a general in charge of an army division that was the one to initially refuse. What happened when he refused? The political authorities were unable to arrest him and replace him with a more compliant stooge? Did the army generals close ranks and defy the political leadership en-masse? The internal security forces were complicit or warned off by the comparable ability of the army to use force? I think it would make a great subject for a Friday show sometime. It’s easy to imagine something that rhymes happening in the US eventually. Perhaps we have to go through our own Hungary and Czechoslovakia episodes first.
    On the other hand just looking at the leadership of the GHAE, it’s a gallery of freaks and fools who are certainly less competent than their analogous counterparts from the late Soviet Union. That kind of weakness and deformation ought to inspire the natural instincts of predatory minds. The internal restraints instilled in military officers subordinating them to political authorities are certainly eroded by the example being set by top military leadership today as well. Any oaths or instruction on the subject must ring hollow to anyone giving the subject a moment’s consideration.

    • Trumps generals famously refused to tell him that his orders to withdraw troops from Syria were being ignored. They were widely lauded in the media.

      So there is some precedent. But it’s not an encouraging one.

      • Yep. We are dealing with people who have a long term plan. It isn’t hopeless, but to assume that the people who’ve hijacked our nation for their own purposes haven’t thought these things through is unwise.

        I think what happens is when the money the regime pays you with doesn’t buy you much and/or you see that there is something about them and you that shows that their interests are opposed to yours – then mutiny pays. The question becomes if said officers and enlisted men’s interests align with ours.

        Perhaps one of the rhymes is our recruitment difficulties. That is a great cause for hope. People just not enlisting, and when they do, being stealthy in their aims.

    • It was multi-step, perhaps. Gorby came in promising to rescue the system from itself (in hindsight, that should have been our first Real Big Clue that all was not well in Soviet-Land). The issue was that while Gorby was a legit leader, he invalidated what little credibility the regime had outside of brute force. When he was overthrown not was that foundation illegitimate, but those ruling the regime were as well.

      I guess.. imagine that in their desperation the GAE regime appoints Elon Musk to be potentate to replace the Biden, etc. and he starts cautiously unwinding some of the decades worth of b.s. that’s bringing down the system (b.s. generated by the system itself) but then he is forcefully overthrown by the Hillary squad who doesn’t like where that is going. Sure the GAE military is full of regime toadies, but even they would scratch their heads as to who is in charge and what they want.

      • I guess I need to put some effort into revisiting the timeline of events. The coup attempt was precipitated by Gorbachev allowing break aways, the army refused orders from the usurpers to fire on defiant members of parliament and their supporters in Moscow.

  19. Z – what’s your view on the ground about people returning to the office? My dad is a year and a half away from retirement and is in management at a business. He’s trying to get everyone back in gradually with starting off at one day then three days then five.

    For me personally I want all the work from home stuff to end because it allows the COVID paradigm to fully end

    • Freeing up the workforce and allowing people to work from home was the high point of the “pandemic.” No more soul crushing commute and drab cubicle and fluorescent lighting. It saves a ton of gas too.

      • I don’t have an opinion one way or the other, but is there a downside to removing yet another opportunity for human contact? I get it, many of us can do without interacting with the man on the street. But we probably shouldn’t get out of practice, either.

      • Tars: My husband is alone at work most days – he never stopped going in to the office but most of his coworkers work from home 3-5 days a week. His bosses are trying to get rid of all the unneeded office space but thus far no takers. And now my husband has finally agreed to move and work remotely. I think this genie will not be put back in the bottle any time soon.

  20. “Once it is no longer feasible to print up enough cash to pay the growing managerial class, downsizing is inevitable. Unlike a company, the managers of this system are not going to exit the premises quietly. Downsizing in countries tends to be chaotic and violent.”

    This is a reason for hope for us. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    If enough managers are expelled from the system and lose their financial sinecures, they will be more open to thoughts of revolution.

    Most people, me included, only question the system when they feel that the system is against them. In my case, I remember moving to coastal California and watching hispanics climb over the wall of my gated community and no one cared.

    • The thing I don’t like about government “downsizing” is they always choose to downsize the part we want. If the board of education gets cut, it’s teachers who get fired, not administrators. If the PD gets a cut, they make fewer arrests and have fewer patrolmen. It is part of their self-defense mechanism;.

      • That’s a version of what’s known as the “Washington Monument Game.” If you cut the budget of the National Park Service, it doesn’t close some obscure national park in the hinterland; it closes the Washington Monument on the 4th of July to make the cuts as visible and painful as possible to the public.

        • The average NPS employee is a nasty lefty. During the last government shutdown they put roadblocks up to block access to scenic overlook spots in the Tetons and other spots. They should have been fired and stripped of their pensions.

      • Good point, but from our perspective, it’s all the better if they cut loose the most comptent. Smart people need to see the current government as their enemy and start thinking accordingly.

        • Your point is well taken… A lot of teachers belong in camps. I’m just illustrating the point. When they cut government, they cut the most public facing portion so as to cause you the most headache and demand the budget be restored or even increased. It reminds me of Z’s great line when it comes to the government, “you have 2 choices, you can have more of what you don’t want, or less of what you need.”

      • Aye. But at least we have ‘AmeriCorps.’

        Remember that 800K man army…that got cut in the mid-90s to…400K?

        ‘Peace Dividend’ they said.

        Betcha Miley and the ‘Pride Boys’ wish they had that force ‘to fight wars in two theaters’ now.

  21. In the spring of 2020, in the name of safety, our plant ceased all meetings. One thing I noticed was that our daily numbers, “asset intensity” in corporate-speak, showed a marked improvement that was sustained for months. Much of the time that had been spent on box ticking, chart creation, and reporting had been replaced by attention to actual production. Maybe a coincidence, but the fact that no one whose job relies on filling the meeting rooms’ walls with charts ever mentioned this turn of events tells me that I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

  22. Abject and profuse apologies for a second post but some thoughts are swirling in my head. These make-work jobs are what David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs” (and you can probably find some elucidation of this term via a Google search). These jobs exist to provide some level of social stability. For example, there were corporate layoffs in Britain in the early ’70s. The Conservative government of Ted Heath responded by massively increasing the number of government jobs. My failing and unreliable memory says around a million or a million and a half jobs. Just to provide stability. Don’t want the proles on the streets marching to overthrow the established order. Yet these government jobs did nothing for British productivity or Britain’s eroding industrial position and just added to the feeling of stagnation and decay felt in Britain throughout the 1970s.

    • The Englishman C. Northcote Parkinson also wrote about bloat in the late 1950s, in books such as “Parkinson’s Law” and “The Law and the Profits.” Been close to fifty years since I read them. One example he gave that I recall was an office that spent 5,000 pounds a year (a hefty chunk of change in those days) to decide on the disbursement of 250 pounds.

      • One of my favourite quotes of his (if memory serves) is approximately:

        A committee solves a problem the same way as a person going to the toilet. There is a seating, a report is issued, and the matter is dropped. 😀

    • This. It’s all part of the broader “social safety net”. There’s stigma associated with welfare. Folks (especially women) like to feel like they are doing something of “meaning” or “value”. UBI is already here, it’s just called “the public sector workforce”.

    • Another thing to remember is that during the 1950s and 1960s corporate honchos used to be proud of the extent of their workforce. GM execs were proud that their company employed a million people. There was slack built into the US private sector at a time when it could afford slack (since the US economy ruled the roost). This was before the 1970s (oil price hikes and resurgent competition from Europe and Japan) and before corporate raiders like Gordon Gekko. But now government (national, state, and local) has become the employer of last resort. Keynesianism moved from the private sector to the public sector.

  23. Hmmmmm mmm.

    Outstanding piece as usual and all spot on.

    Alternative hypotheses: maybe I’m crazy, but I have seen Corporate North America or Globohomo Inc “downsize” by laying off the guys that actually do the work and retaining the fatties in HR and the paper pushers.

    In fact, that is the problem I see more often with gubbimint. The people that do the job are boiled off and replaced by clowns and hucksters who can’t manage anyone.

    Just thinking out loud, but…maybe the managerial class has always been with us, but we didn’t notice it because back in the day, white American men dominated it and things worked? Could it be that the managerial class actually worked at one time, and was a good thing?

    • Yep…I saw that too, or sometimes the highly productive team leader was replaced by diversity hires of limited ability, and then hired back as a consultant to teach the diversity how to do the job…

      But University bloat is a new thing…When I was a student in the Ivy League back in the ’60s, there were few administrators and they each had multiple jobs..My writing course was even taught by a high level administrator, who actually did a good job..We probably had 1 administrator for every 10 faculty, counting the non-tenured people…..

      • When I was at the university—back in the early 90’s—there was yet another State budget crisis/shortfall and the Board of Regents (Rodents) began to look at the university’s bloat.

        What caught one Regent’s eye was the number of VP’s. So they were under the axe. Solution? VP’s were cut substantially simply by changing their titles to “Director”.

        Another time, the legislature demanded a list of folks with 6 figure salaries. The solution? Dozens and dozens of new hires and position changes where the salary was $99,999. (Not sure how these salaries were adjusted to meet the 5 figure mark.) Those folk were of course not listed and forwarded.

    • I suspect long ago it did. My parents were “Greatest Generation” born in 1920s and both WW II service and much of their working lives government and/or contractor. By the time I was facing the dreaded working world (early 1980s) Mom was still suggesting that I take the Civil Service test. This was probably good advice in 1946, but by 1986 I think it was already well past its sell date.

  24. “It turns out that Russia ‘right-sized’ their military industrial complex a long time ago so now they can produce much more for much less than the West.”

    Which is why, as some commentators have pointed out, it’s daft looking at dollar expenditure on the military. The USA supposedly outspends Russia by fifteen to one (or more) in the military sector. Yet Russia’s military is arguably superior to that of the USA.

    There’s bloat in every aspect of the US military — not just military procurement, with its no-bid contracts and the revolving door between the military and the large military-industrial companies, but simply in the number of desk-jockey general officers. I understand there are as many generals in the US army now as there were in WW2, when the forces in the US army were perhaps seven times more than today.

    With regard to the scientific-rational basis that permeated the Soviet Union, one book I found instructive was Francis Spufford’s “Red Plenty” It turns out that trying to run a society along paths of mathematical optimization doesn’t quite work. But then McNamara found out the same during the Vietnam War.

    • As if book learning ever worked in the practical world of real people…Of course, now that Academia is a fantasyland whose research papers are never reproducible, the whole “higher learning” process has shown itself to be a fraud…

    • I remember that at one time it was McCain (may he boil in cauldron) who targeted wasteful spending on bomb-sniffing elephants among other things.

  25. There are alot of valueless people about, Z.

    The bloat, I suspect, is a function of comfort and wealth. The evidence is everywhere, and I see it daily, of needless work undertaken by drones (my current job is most likely make-work, but I’m a network engineer, so count this as hard skill to fall back on).

    Permit me to relate to you a day-in-the-life of Mr. Frog…

    It all starts swimmingly with my wife and family; but then I get into my automobile and proceed to work. Before long a large sign saying “DON’T SPEED” appears; it’s pointlessness irritates me. It gives no meaningful information, as would, say, a sign saying “Limit 30 mph”. This sign is government funded make-work, and had to be approved, designed and built by some entity.

    On the same road, shortly after, a publicly funded piece of ‘modern art’ sticks out like a sore thumb – Lord have mercy, I think, as I pass on by this additional piece of make-work and System bloat.

    Arriving at the office, where a large car park is being built, I am assailed by bill boards that decorate the worksite: “Aiming to be carbon neutral by 2024!”, “Building for the next generation!” – all utterly pointless decorations indicative of yet more make work. Incidentally, at the same worksite I watch a crane and it’s crew hoist girders to the highest level of the car park: there are six men, three standing about “doing nothing”; what can their use be? System bloat.

    I stroll into the office proper, repeating the Jesus Prayer in my head, and passing the latest team member, a Musselman who seems nice but ain’t my people. Where are my people (not System bloat, but wanted to moan). The ‘Leadership Consultant’ harangues me about not taking her ‘Leadership’ course seriously – and I tell her I don’t wish to partake anymore. This course is System bloat, the only way such a course can exist is in – as you say – a company doing very well. But at least she trusts “The Science”. In one segment of the course she informed the cohort that people were “getting smarter”. Lord have mercy! Getting smarter?! The Christ wept.

    Prior to taking luncheon, I’m informed that a person is being sought for a new role: Lo! A management role, and this manager will be responsible for creating processes, which is System talk for ‘make-work’. I utter to myself as much and relish my cheese and cucumber sandwich which I polish off in short order at the start of my break.

    At lunch I take a walk through town. A very large former power station has been converted into a ‘modern art’ gallery, and is adorned with posters telling me about “Ukrainian refugees”, “Tolerance”, “Racism bad”. This place has an even bigger sign offering free entry at most times, to all. Tax funded garbage, I say to myself, more make-work.

    Anyway, you get the picture, and I’ve not even discussed the afternoon yet!

    System bloat indeed.

  26. Once again, today’s post is a wonderful dose of common sense that should be heeded, but will not be. As such, the collapse is inevitable, but the good news is that it is also the cure. Talking and voting will not fix what ails us, only the 2×4 of the return of real hardship. However, it does behoove us to anticipate what comes next. Knowledge is power.

    First, jackboots are a real thing. Most are normal white guys following a paycheck, and many are ex-military so they follow orders reflexively. They too have had their springs wound tight by current events and are itching to crack some skulls in order to blow off steam. The Cloud People are intentionally holding back this Rottweiler on a chain, waiting for the right moment to unleash them on a rowdy gang of insurrectionist other white guys. Their goal is mutual slaughter of as many alphas as possible. And it can work because LEOs must assume that will win no matter what because they are bigger, badder, and have a huge government apparatus standing behind them. Unfortunately, those days are long gone and there are now a lot of fat asses, woman, and minorities in their ranks. And they will not be prepared for the visceral pent up rage they will facing. Water cannons and tear gas won’t tip the balance against bulldozers and backhoes. Yes, it will get that bad. And none of this has to happen. There is a better way.

    • My question is, as a white person, will you be willing to kill other white people regardless? Or will there be some kind of tit for tat where blacks and latinos can kill white people and vice versa, a sort of don’t sh-t where you eat kinda thing? I know personally I might hesitate looking down the barrel at another white person but wouldn’t hesitate for a Juan or Shaniqua.

      • The last conventional civil war rebellion (1860-64) produced nearly 620,000 dead white guys from both sides. And these were not cowards and malingerers, most were ultra-alphas (you can’t be otherwise and still march in ordered ranks straight into massed muzzle fire). That is no way to fight an existential war against a small number of disease cells. They win if they get us to slaughter each other. Let brutal hardship and fitness selection purge the weak and stupid among us. Don’t be distracted. Focus on the root problem.

        • “The last conventional civil war rebellion (1860-64) … .”

          There was no civil war, and there was no rebellion. “Civil war” and “rebellion” like “Vaccine” and “woman” have specific definitions.

          There WAS a declaration of independence, followed by an invasion of the newly independent country.

          Not AT ALL the same thing.

          • Regardless of your semantic argument, those 620,000 brave men are just as dead, and just as much of a waste of good men as any righteous war in history. My essential point was that repeating that debacle is not wise.

    • “And none of this has to happen. There is a better way.”

      Yes, it does. And no, there isn’t.

      • Lee lost at Gettysburg in large part because it was on ground not of his choosing. Don’t repeat that mistake.

  27. If you want to see real government-mandated bloat in the private sector, look at PLAs : Project Labor Agreements. For a project, such as building low-income (slum) housing, all prevailing wage laws must be observed, federal, state and local. That is to appease the unions. It usually doubles or triples the cost of construction. In Los Angeles, just to build one apartment unit under a PLA now costs $1 million. Construction companies have entire large staffs to fill out the paperwork.

  28. “Most people do work that has no utility other than it ticks some box somewhere in the system. It may be a big reason for why people are dropping out of the workforce. Sitting in a cubicle all day doing busy work is not worth the paycheck for many people.”

    Playing off Hemingway’s memorable line about bankruptcy, they first drop out voluntarily, and then involuntarily. The WEF is filled with sociopaths, psychopaths, and poseurs, but one thing it has right is that universal or even widespread employment is about to become a novelty for any number of reasons, and there will be a massive army of the unemployed. If the economic tsunami materializes later this year, and the odds are it will, corporations and even government and academia will find make-work jobs impossible to support, and, as you point out, that’s maybe a majority of the jobs.

    UBI is insane and will not work in the end, but at least it acknowledges there is a problem drawing nigh. And to play off the line about a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by a black, a revolutionary is a middle manager who has been mugged by economic reality. The WEF and others sitting atop assets still worth something don’t like the idea of revolution. The truth is the Managerial Class’ victims will own nothing and want their something. The collapse of the USSR was relatively peaceful. Does anyone in their right mind think the collapse of the Western Managerial State will be? Does anyone think it even could be?

    • There has been an increase in the number of women staying home with their kids in the last two years. Some of them have figured out it is better to forego a few luxuries and be at home than to do pointless office work and have a low paid daycare worker watch your kids all day. The system is desperate to these women back in the workforce and is trying to implement government paid for daycare as an enticement.

      • The push for federal funding for Head Start and early education has nothing to do with giving kids more skills (Since studies show no difference), but simply giving a daycare benefit without calling it such.

        • Most public elementary school are essentially daycare centers now. They provide before and after school care for free if you don’t hit the income limits. There is certainly a subset of women who do not want to raise their own kids and take advantage of this. Some are waking up though.

          • The Chicago Teachers Union have lost the “Mandate of Heaven” because every time they want to go on strike, the local media is peppered with stories about the mothers of students who complain “I’m gonna have to change my schedule if my kids can’t be in school! Who’s gonna look after my kids now?”

            Dollars to donuts the Z Man readership can guess the skin pallor of the complaining mothers.

            It hasn’t helped that CTU has basically admitted over the pandemic that all they really want is to sit on their asses and get paid, but they’ll go through the motions “teaching” the kids over Zoom.

          • Hah. When they shut down the schools here for Covid, they almost immediately reopened many for breakfast and lunch service. No instruction mind you, just free meals!

    • The elites have to live in this world. If they create a “you will own nothing” society, it’s not going to be met with cheers.

      • Most of us “own nothing” right now. Think about it. I “own” my home, except I have to pay taxes or it will be sold out from under me. 🙁 I have a car, but can not drive it without State plates which require yearly fees and required insurance.

        Walter Williams (Economist) had a cute story he told of when he took a Park Service tour in DC and they stopped at the Washington Memorial. The Park Ranger talked about the monument and how each American could take pride of ownership in it. Williams said “Excuse me, but could you tell me where I might sell my ‘share’?” The Ranger was a bit perplexed, but finally answered, “Sir, you can’t sell your ‘share’! To which Williams then replied, “Well then, I really don’t own it, do I? 🙂

        • Good post. But I want to reply to this:

          “I “own” my home, except I have to pay taxes or it will be sold out from under me.”

          This is altogether fitting and proper for a free people.

          In the now-defunct American constitutional-federalist system, the people have never surrendered their police powers. They merely delegated them to a subset of the population who have special training.

          I could not, for example, work a traffic accident or investigate and solve a murder case or a burglary case. Could you? No, so we have delegated that power.

          ALL law enforcement is LOCAL in America.
          Yes, there is the FBI and them, but the elected High Sheriff of any given county or parish is the chief law enforcement officer in that jurisdiction, and not even the FBI can operate in his jurisdiction without his consent. (And I have already established that our system is defunct, in fact if not in theory, so readers need not panic at that statement.)

          So your property taxes pay for the men to whom you and I have delegated *our* police powers. That is ALL local; there are not now and there have never been federal OR state property taxes. That is why your property can–rightfully–be taken from you if you do not chip in to pay the police in your LOCAL community.

          You have the option not to own property if you don’t want to pay LOCAL taxes to support your LOCAL Sheriff. When a Negro was elected high Sheriff of the county where I live. I sold my house and urged everybody else to do the same. He has actually been rather good–zero tolerance for BLM and such. But I’d do the same again for multiple reasons that are not germane here.

          The problem is that we have been propagandized (as even my grandparents’ generations was propagandized) to believe Thomas Jefferson’s wartime propaganda that “all men are created equal,” which is rubbish, but it has been on that basis that the 14th Amendment was passed and that we now have universal suffrage so that even those who do not own property and therefore do not contribute to LOCAL law and order are permitted a voice that has equal weight with yours in deciding everything, mostly, though, on disbursing funds from the public treasury. A recipe for disaster, which is exactly what we have. And it’s going to get even worse.

          THAT is the problem; not LOCAL property taxes.

          Stupid people–propagandized stupid people–have the right to vote.

          This, of course, is largely the doing of New Englanders, so earlier today, when another website solicited my sympathy for the people of Maine b/c Somalis are being paid to colonize Maine, I withheld it because what goes around comes around. They forced desegregation upon the South–the ONLY Americans who actually understood what that would mean, and we TOLD the rest of the country what it would have to mean–and we have been the country’s shipping boys for 160 years now–but the New Englander ALWAYS KNOWS BEST, so they forced it upon us.

          So, earlier today, I told the people of Maine to cry me a river. They are reaping what they sowed. They should have been more careful. They should have listened to those who–ALONE–understood what a multiracial society was and how it HAD to work if it is going to work AT ALL.

          But they knew best. They love dusky complexions; and now they’ve GOT dusky complexions everywhere they go.

          Cry me a river.

          Anyway, there is a good and just reason for LOCAL property taxes, and you at all times have the freedom to opt out of that whole thing. (And you probably should before it’s too late.)

          • But isn’t the point that why does my private property have to be held as collateral to pay for the local police? Why can’t I just pay them through some other means, such as sales taxes ?

            I think we all know the real reason.

          • I only answer that property taxes pay for more than police. There are myriad of things paid for. Not all agreeable or signed on for. Another example are public schools, yet my children did not attend such. But I paid for others children, but received no benefit for mine—nor do I have much say in their budgeting process as the limitations are not under individual control.

            Property taxes here are set in a very odd manner. The Board of Supervisors decide what they want to spend money on, then allocate the cost among residents as property taxes. They are *not* required to live within a budget as you or I. If they are short for a year, they simple raise the property tax rate, or reevaluate you property’s value.

            A significant part of the current budget comes under the heading of “open spaces”, i.e., buy up private property for the “animals”. Double whammy; take tax producing property and make it none tax (revenue) producing.

            No one argues with police, roads and even schools, but your counter example cherry picks those “services” which I am taxed for—and in any event does not counter my argument that you do not own that which can be taken from you by another legally and without recourse—except to pay up.

          • Infant: Yes, local taxes pay for things delegated to what used to be known as ‘public servants.’ However, that does not counter Compsci’s excellent point that in lieu of such taxes – annually – his own home may be taken from him. For a sum which represents a minute fraction of its actual value. That does not constitute genuine ‘ownership.’

            Disputing the paying of local taxes is a separate and distinct argument. Many of us dispute most of them – like Compsci we’ve paid Texas’ insane property taxes (a large part of which goes to fund the public schools in the poorer Mestizo border districts) for 28 years. For all but 3 of those years, we were paying for our boys to go to Christian schools.

            Back when I used to vote, I’d routinely downvote any and all propositions which included raising taxes for ‘x’ (usually a pet social project of some special interest group or caring female). And every single time, every single proposition passed.

            So we’ve paid under threat of force and forcible seizure of our lawfully purchased and paid for property. That is morally wrong, regardless of its purported history or legality.

  29. In my business the spreadsheet experts have been at it over thirty years now at least, making nice spreadsheets while eliminating “inefficiency” in the organization. The problem is that the managerial class have failed to train and bring up technically skilled people whom actually make the industry function.
    We have plenty of spreadsheet manipulators but not enough technical staff.
    Perhaps this is the way managerialism ends, like Hitler in his bunker ordering armies around that don’t exist?

    • “The problem is that the managerial class have failed to train and bring up technically skilled people whom actually make the industry function.”


      What company now, of any reasonable size, puts real effort into developing the next generation. I know of a company that makes caterpillar tracks for armoured vehicles, and their apprenticeship program is considered top-notch: welding, CNC machining, general metalwork. But other companies, not so much.

      At every company I have been at, I have always wanted to hire a person with the correct attitude, and then I would willingly teach them. No problem. But more and more often, with the Godless mindset of “Get it done yesterday!”, I find that we’ve just hired a bunch of Bangladeshis to do it now.

      That said, finding a youngster with a good attitude is hard enough; so you’re relegated to interviewing Indians and the usual mystery meat types: poor communication skills, not your people, entitled and often not punctual.

      Thank goodness that I operate a racial screening policy in my mind – even if I have to come up with ‘System’ reasons for why I didn’t hire Jasbinda.

      • Companies used to have an incentive is upping the skills of their employees. There was an unwritten agreement that the company would take care of you during hard times and wouldn’t do mass layoffs on a whim. That was destroyed, and so the employee also now has the same mercenary mentality of getting better skills then hopping to another company that pays more.

        Doesn’t help that pencil pushers refuse to give employees reasonable wage increases. No, a 3 percent increase is not a “raise”, it’s at best an offset to inflation.

      • “At every company I have been at, I have always wanted to hire a person with the correct attitude, and then I would willingly teach them. No problem. But more and more often, with the Godless mindset of “Get it done yesterday!”, I find that we’ve just hired a bunch of Bangladeshis to do it now.”

        Right behind the paradox of “You need experience to get a job, but how can you get experience without getting a job?” comes “We can’t afford to train people! They’ll just leave for somewhere else after we train them!”

        Perhaps if you treated and paid them well they’d stay loyal.

        Nah, that’s CRAZY talk! Lookit’ me bein’ all stupid and stuff. 🤦‍♂️

        So you search around looking for the unicorn with the perfect amount of training and experience: Just enough so you don’t HAVE to train them, but not so much they can demand a higher salary.

        And when you can’t find them, you build the corporate equivalent of the Volksstrum: “Just get me a body that can stand upright and hold a rifle / Just get me someone cheap who can code SOMETHING.”

        • Hah!

          Interestingly, when I interviewed – many years ago – for a Junior Scientist (Science!!) role at the Met Office; they were known for there intense training of new recruits…

          I believe that the contracts issued even forbade such juniors from leaving, unless they wanted to pay for the tuition the Met Office had just wasted. They had to stay for something like three years, I think.

  30. A major aspect of the managerial regime that leads to “bloat” is the quest for a leadership role. One can’t be a leader (singular) without followers (many). But parents don’t want little Zachary to be a follower, which is a failing in the US social contest. Academia takes advantage of this by stressing their role in producing leaders. Any real manager becomes committed to increasing his importance by also increasing the staff that he supervises. A reduction in staff means a similar reduction in his status and a psychic demotion.

    • Reinforced at every high school and college graduation, where the little darlings are implored to follow their dreams and never, ever succumb to matters practical.

      • They aren’t getting taught how to be good losers, you jump the net, shake hands and congratulate the winner, then try harder next time, or else get used to the fact that you have reached your level of competency and be happy about that.

    • “Any real manager becomes committed to increasing his importance by also increasing the staff that he supervises. A reduction in staff means a similar reduction in his status and a psychic demotion.”

      My goodness, my first corporate job out of college I learned:

      Management builds fiefdoms. And jealously guards them and raids other fiefdoms.

  31. Administrators need something to administrate. More administrators means more rules, regulations, and laws, which the new administrators then administrate – and the old rules, regulations, and laws are never terminated. That’s why there are thousands and thousands of rules, regulations, and laws in the US, making it extremely difficult to start a business.
    If I were in charge, I’d pass another law – for every new rule, regulation, and law, three old ones must be terminated.

    • Management very frequently doesn’t have meet-able goals, just puffery reviews. I especially hate the pity promotions, where Joe Goodfellow is a heck of a nice guy, brings donuts in every Friday and always commiserates about your team’s loss on Monday, so he gets promoted ahead of Avery Snodman who knows how everything works but is sarcastic and unlikeable. Or worse, the revenge promotions where the departing manager promotes the office doofus or the least competent employee because he hates his coworkers and resents their abilities. I am always surprised at this and the blatant nepotism, yet companies continue to turn a profit no matter how badly run they are.

      • To be fair, in the standard corporate world now, if I held a technical role, I’d consider being looked over for promotion a blessing…

        Get to stay technical, don’t have to deal with C U Nest Tuesdays of management.

        • OrangeFrog: My husband is fortunate enough to work for what used to be a small company. While it’s grown quite a bit overall, the nucleus of the main office staff is still small. My husband fiercely resists any sort of managerial role – he doesn’t want meetings and charts and all the standard paraphernalia the comes along with it. Just leave him alone to do what he does well and let him earn himself and the company money. They do and he does, and we pray that arrangement continues.

    • “That’s why there are thousands and thousands of rules, regulations, and laws in the US … .”

      I disagree. I think that the reason there are so many laws and regulations is that we have become a polyglot, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious bowl of mystery-meat stew.

      There is no dominant culture anymore, so there is no unspoken but universally understood and *obeyed* code of thought and behavior that says, “This is acceptable; that is not.”

      “This is done; that is not done.”

      Without an intact culture, laws are necessary to stave off chaos.

      Eventually, though, no number of laws can stave off the chaos that is, of necessity, a polyglot, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious society.

    • Another interesting phenomenon takes place in military management and probably other situations as well. When a new supervisor arrives he shuffles all the desks around so all his subordinates can hopefully be just as uncomfortable and ill at ease as he is. Maybe there’s a chapter in their operations manual that advises this.

  32. I’ve been using the term “Soviet America” for a while. It seems to be catching on.

    It makes sense to me that our managerial class would be negotiating the sale of America to China, actually to the BRI and the pan-Asian hegemon now taking shape. Not simply for Bidenesque reasons (ruling class grift) but for more sensible reasons. If we’re going to be a pan-Asian satrap, let’s make the transition as beneficial as possible.

    I read that the Chinese are in love with Classical music from Bach to what ended with Schoenberg. That’s how the remnant of what’s valuable in our culture may survive to re-invigorate us after the fall. A kind of Mussolini style fascism (nothing outside the state… etc) combined with a Confucian appreciation of order, stability and value that endures.

    • That or “USSA”. And start calling Congress the Duma.

      The Chinese do love all the classic Western things…the architecture, the music, the clothing. Even our religion of Christianity. They name their kids Diane and Jack and dress modestly. Very few tattoos. I don’t mind it, but what a shame that our fellow Eastern Ice People are keeping Western culture alive.

      • A shame for them, too. Isn’t it bizarre, the admiration and emulation on both sides? Here we are, becoming fully bureaucratic and conformist. Granted, the Chinese are a couple of decades behind on the path, and who knows if they ever embrace the destructive Western ideas. But if the Japanese can catch the bug, I suppose anybody can.

      • Marko: They don’t love it in the sense a Westerner would or should – they love what it represents: The power and the high glory of a successful people. A lost world. They build replicas of western cities and architectural marvels, but it’s not something that they can create, only copy. It represents the height of the Western soul.

  33. In the line of work I’m in ( union skilled high voltage) the members ask the company for over scale when things are good and the money printing machine is in full rut. Along with over scale comes answering your phone after 3:30 and some below the desk work. 40 years in the trade , I’ve never asked for it. Now the companies are taking it back, which is their right. They are only committed to the scale wage. The members are finding themselves over leveraged . Not good. Anyway lm off to work which will include checking in with a braided security guard looking at a phone sporting 3 in day glow finger nails.

  34. One experiment in managerialism that’s worth revisiting is the one they tried in Germany during the last Great Unpleasantness. Being thorough Social Darwinists, they assumed that organizations should be Socially Darwinist too — not just within the ranks, but among organizations themselves.

    The downside to this was the bizarre plate of spaghetti org charts they had, which led to massive inefficiencies in certain areas (because of duplication, triplication, sometimes even quadruplication of effort). On the other hand, it led to some real efficiencies. Those are harder to quantify, but consider that this was a major industrial nation running a two-front war with effectively zero leadership at the top for long periods — if you were a bureaucrat and you waited for orders from the top on a certain subject, chances are you’d still be waiting when the Russians rolled in.

    It was a weird system, but it probably has some real lessons for organizational behavior… you know, when such things can be studied dispassionately again.

    • The downside to this was the bizarre plate of spaghetti org charts they had, which led to massive inefficiencies in certain areas (because of duplication, triplication, sometimes even quadruplication of effort).

      This brings to mind one of the old socialist criticism of market economies.

      Wasteful competition

      Which they defined as firms engaging in non core activities and over investing in capital – as demonstrated by low utilization rates.

      With the proper “management” firms would focus on their specific areas of expertise and have appropriate levels of investment, and higher utilization rates. Leading to more production overal and more prosperity.

      Which logically makes sense. And was completely wrong in implementation.

      • That was one of the big appeals of capital-F Fascism, the real thing — streamlining. Almost all the efficiency of a “free market” while eliminating “wasteful competition.” Plus — and best of all from their perspective — an elimination of class conflict, because “worker” and “management” were all under the same umbrella.

        It had a lot going for it, actually, and one wonders if it might’ve worked if not yoked to a permanent war footing. The Chinese seem to be doing ok with it, inasmuch as they still call it “communism” for marketing reasons.

        The other issue is that for political reasons the Germans had, effectively, parallel economies running in tandem, with only a few points of overlap, with no clear authority. That was supposed to be worked out via organizational Social Darwinism (for lack of a better term) too — the more ruthless and efficient branch of the Party would eat the less efficient. That was weird and unworkable, but it’s a historical contingency forced on them by the logic of their politics.

        As I say, it’d be a fascinating study in organizational behavior (and a lot of those guys did end up in “efficiency expert” jobs after the war, never mind that their service records are harder to find than a Dominican ballplayer’s birth certificate). Lots of lessons there, one imagines, when such things are permitted to be the subject of serious academic study again.

    • “It was a weird system, but it probably has some real lessons for organizational … .”

      They had an intact, functioning culture, that’s all.

      See my remarks upthread.

  35. To get an idea of the scale of bloat in the University system, I know someone who is currently going to a non-conventional Art School. It’s basically an apprenticeship where you study under the direction of a few resident masters who would teach you all the necessary techniques of the trade. It’s just about a dozen instructors with made two or three staff people. They meet five days a week in a large, nondescript warehouse. Total yearly cost? 8,500.

    Take in comparison a mid tier art school close to where I live, where there’s the expected level of administration, fancy buildings, and lecturers. They actually spend far less time with faculty than the example above and still come up with a price tag of 20 grand for just tuition. If you add the amenities like room and board, it’s up to 40 grand.

    The main difference in the two school is the standard mid-tier art school above is wrapped up in the student loan business, which makes keeping expenses down pointless. The bare-bones school has no such luxury. Eliminate the student loan racket, and half the colleges would collapse, and the size of the remaining admins in the surviving colleges would be cut to a third. These loans are just an extension of the free money phenomenon that is allowing all this nonsense to continue unabated.

    • It’s even worse than that. Back when I was in grad school — this is over 20 years ago — part of my “assistantship” financial aid package seconded me to another department. Some mandate came down from the Administration that workers of X class were supposed to take some big, long, intensive training. So we needed to figure out whether or not I fell into X class, which for some reason entailed figuring out just where in the vast bureaucracy my paycheck came from.

      Long story short, we never figured it out. Ever. I didn’t care, so long as the money was in my account at the end of the month, but the bureaucracy was so byzantine that an entire employee’s salary could get lost in the shuffle. And I’m sure I’m far from the only one.

      Did I mention this was more than 20 years ago? I can’t imagine how bad it is now.

      • Sev,

        You haven’t lived until you experience inter-team / inter-departmental squabbles over “Who’s going to fund X’s cost?” in project meetings.

        That is, if Sev works for Team Alpha in IT, and Team Beta needs Sev to work on their Project Omega, Team Beta and Team Alpha get into a petty squabble over “Whose budget does Sev’s salary come out of?”

        Me, listening to the silliness: “Sev gets paid out of the IT department period, end of sentence. Can we move on?”

        People will fight over the last electronic penny.

    • I once did an assignment for a university as a favor to a friend. During which, I met a guy whose job consisted of reading the utility bills every month and forecasting future utility expenses in a month, quarter, year, 3 yrs, etc. It was his sole task on a full-time basis. Next to him in an adjoining office was a woman whose job consisted of going around checking the expiration dates on all the fire extinguishers. I kid you not.

  36. I would say that the defining feature of TPTB is their inability to think in terms of ‘systems’. They focus on one small element they want to change, blind to what it is connected to. Hence their constant “unexpected” results…

    • That’s been my experience too, Karl.

      It seems that many of the Leftists I’ve known have done rather well at their jobs – perhaps they are programmers or engineers – and indeed do consider the systems approach.

      But in everything else, they’re limited. They demand that politician X implement the latest trendy things, without understanding that thing X will affect other parts of the system, often negatively.

      I’d say it was incredible, but it is so ubiquitous now amongst the middle class engineering types, that it is no longer to be remarked upon.

      • “Two weeks to flatten the curve.”
        “Install dementia patient in White House.”
        “Take the jab or you’re fired.”
        “Turn off Russian oil/natural gas/ grain supplies.”

        Any other rakes these geniuses can step on?

        • “Turn off Russian oil/natural gas/ grain supplies.”

          And I am still–after two or three years–waiting for an answer to my question a bout how “they” are going to run a total-surveillance state without an *unfailing* supply of electricity.

          A few months from now, Lake Meade will reach dead-pool status, at which point 40 million people in the American West will find themselves with no electricity and no water.

          It’ll really be something.

          • Not gonna happen. Lake mead may well reach “dead pool”, but water will not cease, nor electricity. There is water available as was before, e.g., wells—except perhaps rationed, e.g., farm use restricted. Electricity from elsewhere, for example AZ supplies last I heard 20% of Southern CA from our nuke plants.

            Nothing here denies shortages and price increases, but it would take a government to mismanage such that the spigot turns off or the lights go out regardless of Lake Mead.

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