Emerging Markets: Working Hard While Others Hardly Work

Cut the deficits? Not in Zombie Nation.

As we mentioned last week, zombies took over the nation in 2008, with the election of Barack Obama. He was the zombie candidate.

Now comes word, from The Washington Post, that there’s been a sharp rise in disability filings at the Social Security Administration. People who were perfectly capable of doing their work before the financial crisis hit in ’07 have been thrown onto the unemployment roles. Desperate for income, they find they have not just lost their jobs. They’ve been disabled.

That gives them a way to get money from the taxpayer even after their unemployment benefits have run out. They become not just temporary zombies, in other words, but permanent ones.

The trouble with zombies is that they’re expensive to maintain…and inherently dangerous. Which is to say, the welfare state works fine as long as there’s enough money to keep the zombies happy. But when you get too many zombies…and not enough money to feed them properly…you’re in danger. Well, the welfare state itself is in danger.

Imagine. More than 200 million zombies. If each one ate two eggs a day it would take 400 million chickens to keep the zombies supplied.

“But wait…hold on there, Bill…you’re not seriously saying that every unemployed person is a zombie. Many people lose jobs through no fault of their own. They live on savings…then go back to work. That is hardly the mark of a zombie.”

Yes, of course…Mr. Compassion and Sensibility…

Don’t get us wrong. We love zombies. Some of our best friends are zombies…and a lot of our relatives! Heck, we might be one too if they paid us better.

We’re not saying that everyone who loses his job becomes a zombie. But that’s what makes this Great Correction actually worse than the Great Depression of the ’30s. There were fewer zombie supports back then. So people HAD to work. And they did. They worked on farms. And then, when the war started, they worked in factories.

The point is, they couldn’t become zombies because – even with all Roosevelt’s efforts to create a zombie economy – there just wasn’t enough money to support them.

This is, of course, why there are so few zombies in the emerging markets too. Not that there aren’t a lot of people who would like to zombies…and they’ll get their turn!…but right now, the emerging markets are still too poor to be able to afford a large class of leeches.

In the ’30s in America, as in most of the emerging economies today, people had to work. They might have worked cheap. They might have done work they didn’t want to do. They might have had bad backs and weak knees…but they went to work anyway. They couldn’t afford to be disabled.

If you go to China or Vietnam or one of the industrious emerging markets…you won’t even see people sit down. They don’t have time.

Work…work…work…work for wages…work for relatives…work for food…work for fun…

…it’s what you do, when you have no choice.


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning