Razors, Jobs and Utopia

1208 words  |  
Categories:  Philosophy, Politics
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Before I begin my point about job creation, I’d like to start with a fun little interlude linking a recent viral video with American politics. This little video has captured the attention of tens of thousands of people in just one day. The reason it resonates with so many people so quickly can do a lot for anyone running for office… if they only understood why.

Razors and Politics

Why is this video going ridiculously viral? There are several reasons. The first is probably the fact that the commercial is funny and entertaining. The second is the idea that this is “a great deal!” in most people’s minds. But the third — and for me the most relevant — reason is: People are sick and tired of bloated prices on a necessary product.

And what exactly are we getting out of spending $20 for a razor? As the video states: “a vibrating handle, a flashlight, a backscratcher, and ten blades” plus “Roger Federer gets $19 of it”. Why spend your money so that Gillette can hire Adrien Brody to shave on camera and strut around? What do we get out of some random handsome white guy getting sent to luxurious vacation spots, so he can prove that Schick razors last 30 days each? Very little.

What exactly does this have to do with politics?

The comparison I’m trying to make here is incumbent politicians (much like incumbent razor brands) have become too focused on things that their customers and constituents don’t care about. They have lost touch. When a new guy comes along and speaks to those people in a way that resonates, that new guy deserves attention. Even if we don’t end up with that new guy, his ideas are definitely worth a look.

The commercials for the companies above are all about luxury and wannabe-stardom. The commercial for Dollar Shave Club is entirely focused on value and the everyday 99%. Their warehouse worker is in the commercial! Not some supermodel/actress pretending to work at Taco Bell or the bullshit pandering of Mitt Romney to the Michigan voters. A real person!

It also embraces immediate value. Instead of talking about “quadruple blade technology” (stacking extra blades on top of the first one isn’t “technology”), they just say what everyday shavers care about. “Our blades are f***ing great” is good enough for me. Simplicity and value are what most people want. If you don’t give them that right out of the gate, and you substitute it with marketing fluff and/or political pandering, they assume you don’t have value.

It is cheap, easy, and gets the job done without me having to do anything extra. Tell me you wouldn’t like government reform that follows these virtues:

  • Normal, lower and middle-class people are honored.
  • A direct pitch where the person tells you what he’ll give you and what it costs.
  • Low-cost services and production that have simple value.
  • Requires little personal effort to understand and benefit from.

On top of all these things, the reason people embrace this is because it is “real”. It’s not the bullshit advertising that we’re used to seeing. There are no supermodels women falling all over some guy because he decided to use their brand of razor. If you found a politician that felt real to you, I bet it would go a long way.

Creating Work

Why do we look to the government to create jobs? No one should ever do anything specifically for the purpose of creating work for anyone. I can knock over a garbage can in the street and create work for someone. I can hire someone to go through my drawers so they could unfold and the re-fold my wardrobe 7 or 8 times. I can decide to build random things like a “bridge to nowhere” to create work.

I can even build a road — let’s call it the Garden State Parkway — that is meant to only have tolls until its construction is finished to help pay for production. Then, I can decide that removing those tolls after completion would be unacceptable because lots of people would lose their jobs. From that point forward, the tolls would only exist to pay the people who work in the tolls.

If this strikes you as incredibly inefficient and wasteful, you are sane. There are so many things in our country that need to get done already without us dumping money into these idiotic job-creating circlejerks. We don’t need to create jobs out of thin air when we could just look at all the problems we’re having internally and make an effort to fix them.

You hear politicians talk about […] “We’re gonna create jobs for people”. Well, why? Shouldn’t the long-term goal of any society be complete unemployment?
Doug Stanhope

So why do so many government officials aim to do things just to create jobs? Because they only think about the next election. When they vote for things that create jobs, they are only thinking about what can be done within their current term, so that they’ll get re-elected when it’s over. They don’t care if those job they created are gone after that, or if taxes have to go up afterward to make up for the extra costs of what they do. All they care about is the immediate perceived benefit.

Instead of creating jobs, we should be focused on establishing and reaching goals.

Long-Term Goals = Jobs

What are our goals as a nation? I have a hard time answering this question. When you look back at some of our greatest accomplishments, they are all based on us coming together as a nation and establishing a goal, then following through. In each and every one of these major events, a massive number of jobs were created in pursuit of them.

  • National Electricity
  • National Telephone Service
  • Interstate Highways
  • The Hoover Dam
  • The Moon Landing

These are all things that changed the everyday life of every American for the better. They all took more than four years of effort. They created thousands of jobs.

What are we doing today that suits these goals? I’m not so sure. We’re doing quite a few things to maintain our current way of life, like drilling, building pipelines, and fighting wars for oil. Our lobbyists (and by proxy representatives) are doing their best to make sure the richest people and corporations stay that way.

I think we need to do our very best to make sure things DON’T stay the same. There are tons of great goals we can set that will create jobs without being wasteful or creating endless money pits.

  • National Fiber-Optic & Wireless Internet
  • Coast-to-Coast High Speed Rail
  • Manned Landing on Mars and further space exploration
  • Large-Scale Sustainable Urban Farms
  • Ending Poverty/Homelessness/Hunger in the U.S.
  • National Clean Air & Water (even for poor neighborhoods)
  • Only have a job if you want to

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful future to look forward to if we met that last goal? Some people think unemployment is a problem. I happen to think that the need for a job is the problem. Finding a way to pursue big goals and remove the people trying to hold us back will get us there.

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