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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Conservapedia: For laughs or facepalms.

Our favorite collection of wingnuts, Conservapedia, recently posted a news item that I think some of y'all might find interesting. As part of their ongoing coverage* of the economic crisis, they have chosen to relay information on a new strategy for dealing with joblessness:

Or, in plain human speech:

Rather than searching for decent jobs that are very hard to find, some Americans are deciding to become self-employed. Robert P. Murphy, an economist at the Mises Institute, recommends that one of the best measures to protect against a future economic depression is to develop multiple streams of income rather than risk depending on one or two income sources which may disappear in a depression. In the present economic crises, Americans are using creative ways to launch a wide variety of low cost businesses.

For those who aren't familiar with the Mises Institute, it's a Libertarian think-tank in Alabama that, among other things, is supportive of the Confederacy. So, yeah, great source. Leaving that aside, however, you have to love the way they're talking about this: private individuals should "develop multiple streams of income." This means... what, exactly? Not only should my spouse and I both be working, but we should both be working multiple jobs? No, of course not! Just look at the links Conservapedia included! We're supposed to start new businesses, like we see in this article about an out-of-work biologist starting a business building custom jellyfish tanks.** Of course, they're only starting these businesses as "forced entrepreneurs" because they suck at job hunting. No, really, that's what the article says:

Many forced entrepreneurs would be happier if they could only get another job in their field after a layoff. But most of them use poor methods for finding a job so they conclude they have no choice but to start a business.

But what if you know nothing about jellyfish? Well, the Wall Street Journal has some suggestions, like start an internet business or, even better, a health retreat. Just listen to this heroic business person starting on the cheap:

Yafa Sakkejha made a deal with her father that’s enabling her to get House of Verona, a summer health-retreat business, off the ground. He agreed to “incubate” her fledgling company by giving her rent-free use of Blue View Chalets, his winter ski-resort property in Canada’s Blue Mountains, for the first year and by fronting some of her larger initial expenses.

Ms. Sakkejha is using her savings to repay Blue View half of the expenses it incurs for her and hire health experts, a fitness trainer and caterers. If her business takes off, both parties win. She begins to build her own business, and her father gains a summertime revenue stream from the property.

But what if your father doesn't already own a mountain ski resort? What then? Well, uh, can you sell your skills as a freelancer? No? You're unskilled? Uh, well, you could buy this book and follow its advice. Don't have one thousand dollars and/or a spouse who supports you while you stay at home? Well, then you're pretty much fucked!

And this is, I think, what bothers me most about Conservapedia's "silver lining" that people are starting businesses. These aren't heroic entrepreneurs, they're desperate people who are just trying to survive any way that they can and, unfortunately, for every one of these folks who succeed, there will likely be dozens who don't. It reminds me of nothing so much as that scene in Roger & Me where a woman is selling rabbits for pets or meat in order to stay afloat.

I just never watched that movie before and thought that she was living the American dream.

* Keep in mind that their "coverage" consists of vitriolic efforts to blame Obama for the economic downturn.

** Hell, and I thought my expertise was niche.

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Blogger Unknown said...

What rot. The Mises Institute has supported the right to secede from states (all peoples) but has also published blasting attacks not the Confederacy for its draft, inflation, and consolidation after the war - academic works by senior scholars. See Tarifss, blockades, and Inflation (ISBN 0842029613), and do some research before your launch your smears.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009 2:23:00 PM  

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