Economics · Mind The Gap!

“We Didn’t Come Here To Sleep.”

“Even though I am not young anymore, I still want to improve my life… We are here to contribute to this country.”

The USA has taken 10,000 Syrian refugees. That is a very great number for this country, who are naturally parsimonious when it comes to offering an open hand. Top down thinking doesn’t help those who find themselves at the bottom of the pile.
Farhan Alqadri, 55
A Syrian refugee living in Philadelphia. His children are scattered across Europe and the Middle East.
Philadelphia Enquirer”>Philadelphia Enquirer

Philadelphia Enquirer.

There are plenty similar stories across the world: Syrians came to other countries after their homes and businesses were destroyed by insurgents. It is not a nice time to try and find a job, the after effects of the banking crash still linger here in Europe. Which means the pressure on jobs is the harder.

The USA has taken 10,000 Syrian refugees. That is a very great number for this country, a nation who are naturally parsimonious when it comes to offering an open hand. Top down thinking doesn’t help those who find themselves at the bottom of the pile. Farhan Alqadri was a shopkeeper who fled to Jordan when his village was destroyed. That it was destroyed by mortar bombs means that it was the American backed insurgents who bombed him out of his home, because the Government didn’t use mortars.

Bombs are not cheap; even a small mortar bomb costs $500, and that is an extremely conservative valuation. A shell for a modern tank costs well in excess of $50,000. Enough to keep Farhan Alqadri and his entire family for five years. The zany super-shells for the USS Zumwalt cost an eye-popping $800,000.

That’s for each shell, not a box of ’em.

This is the dystopian world of the military industrial complex where taxpayer’s money is no object.

The Economics Of Warfare.

After all, what is the economic value of a bomb? You buy a steam locomotive, you can demand a tougher price because you know your margins are going to be hammered. You can’t do that with a bomb, can you? There are no profits to be made with an explosive that is intended to destroy other people’s property.

The arms manufacturers know this all too well and undermine politician’s fears instead. Much more lucrative. More lucrative still is to engage their fear of a modest ophthalmologist turned leader (1) and brand him as a tyrant and murderer. Having thus branded him, they can get the government to supply bombs to people who will act as tyrants and will murder in order to achieve their ends. Fear, as with all things that dwell in the subconscious, is that which leads a person to promote the very things they fear.

Syria was torn apart, but you have to understand it was for the very best of reasons.

Millions are spent on destroying livelihoods, and in destroying them IS tore out the guts of the businesses and flogged on the cheap to Turkey. Thieves are the ultimate businessmen in that they have cut their costs to the bone. Actually, they barely have any costs at all. They don’t have any costs, because they stole it. The cost, like the fraud peddled by the US banks, comes down to the likes of you and me. Rich Turks bought ex-Syrian machines and got cheap Syrian refugees to man them.

Please remember that the USA has been genuinely beneficent and have taken 10,000 refugees in 2015. In that year, Germany took around 100,000 a month.

And they came to work. No certificates, the Turks wouldn’t allow that. Without certificates – with certificates – a refugee has the right to expect to work sweeping the streets in the way they do at home.

Syria Is Not Germany.

It’s hard to imagine a different way of life, isn’t it? There are street sweepers across the planet: it stands to reason! Streets get dirty, leaves fall and they need sweeping. What’s the problem? In the way the West Indians were brought to Britain to drive busses because the British wouldn’t drive them for that kind of money. The Americans brought this idea to Germany with the so-called ‘Gastarbeiter’ – a Turk who lives and works in Germany but has no rights. Even their children had no rights. Well they do now. But that’s how Germany works. And work it does. The lack of such thinking has left America destitute.

Get Your Tanks Off My Lawn!

Twenty tons of equipment and four hundred horsepower – and all to sweep up the leaves!
It makes me think of ‘One Man Went To Mow’
The thing is truly colossal.

Because at eight this morning there was the most god-awful din outside my flat. A tearing, roaring noise from some colossal machine. The kind of thing that really should be on rails, not tyres. Twenty tons of equipment and four hundred horsepower – and all to sweep up the leaves! The thing is beyond comprehension, and I am used to dealing with gigantism, what with my interest in the railways. Standing next to this behemoth made it the bigger still.

It sweeps out its hydraulically powered arm and gathers in the leaves at a break-neck speed. What had taken me an hour of hard work was sucked up in the space of thirty seconds. Oh, and it blew half a litre of fuel.

We have to remember the fuel. It is important when you come to consider how machines have taken away the work of the ordinary man. The boss pays more for the fuel than he does the driver: two hundred and fifty litres a day. Around 45 gallons.

And an ordinary man like Alqadri only wants to work. He was lucky, he did find a job. But with only 10,000 Syrians in a country of 300 million, that isn’t so hard. Finding jobs for a million refugees in a country with 80 million is a quintessentially different matter. Even if it is an economy that has only 3% unemployment. The jobs simply aren’t there.

A machine that is registered in Wolfenbüttel in Germany’s Niedersachsen. I asked the driver why this was, and he said that if the machine was registered in Holland, it wouldn’t be allowed on the motorways. The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot its white registration plate.
A machine that is registered in Wolfenbüttel in Germany’s Niedersachsen. I asked the driver why this was, and he said that if the machine was registered in Holland, it wouldn’t be allowed on the motorways.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot its white registration plate.

They’re all being done by a qualified driver and a machine that does the work of a hundred men. A machine that is registered in Wolfenbüttel in Germany’s Niedersachsen. I asked the driver why this was, and he said that if the machine was registered in Holland, it wouldn’t be allowed on the motorways. The Dutch can’t enforce the rules with a German machine.

They haven’t woken up to the problem of Dutch motorists not paying for their parking spaces in neighbouring Antwerp. The Dutch are good at not waking up, but they’ll exploit a loophole as fast as the next man. But not with the agility of an American. They have loopholes sewn up.

No, that’s not phrased correctly, is it?

Enough Room To Put Your Head.

All of which doesn’t leave much room for the Syrian refugee in Holland, and the proportion of refugees here is roughly the same as in Germany. There is barely enough space to put the bunk-beds where these guys can sleep without freezing to death in the bitter Dutch winter. There’s enough money to feed them, teach them Dutch and a little about how to behave in a swimming pool where the women aren’t clad from head to foot and therefore are seen as hussies. Or worse.

With machines doing all the work and the owner making a decent living, there really isn’t much for a Syrian refugee to do but twiddle his fingers.

My hope is that there will be streets that need sweeping in Aleppo, Homs and Raqqa. Mind you, with Russian investment there will be plenty work on the building sites. Work for men and not too many machines!

(1) The Wrong Man In The Wrong Place. Click here if you wish to read it.

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