ARE INDIVIDUALS FUNGIBLE?
Are individuals fungible?
Absolutely, absolutely not.
We are all aware of the distinctive physical differences of
individuals– unique fingerprints, unique footprints. We are
beginning to accept DNA uniqueness.
We are all aware of the differences in physical, mental,
artistic abilities and gifts. A Mozart is born once every 500
years. Operatic tenors and sopranos are scarce.
In the learning arts, some are whizzes at math, others at
languages, others at memorization. Others will never master
math, or languages, or memorization no matter how hard or long
The differences between individuals are also obvious in the
field of athletics. In American professional sports, players are
paid millions of dollars a year for their services, while their
couch potato fans swill beer and eat junk food.
And the Olympics every four years display the extreme dif-
ferences in ability of athletes in numerous sports, providing a
spectacle of the best of the best.
Benjamin Franklin made the observation that inasmuch as a
person’s physical characteristics are so uniquely different from
everybody else’s, is it possible that a person’s brain also could
be uniquely different?
Even Karl Marx did not believe individuals were interchan-
geable. He coined the communist mantra, “from each according to
their ability, to each according to their need.”
Why should we be concerned about all this? Because today we
are being pulled in many ways to conform to pre-conceived
standards of uniformity and equalness.
America’s effort to define goals is enshrined in its
Declaration of Independence, i.e. “man has been endowed with
certain unalienable rights. That among these are Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
The French came along a few years later with “Liberte’,
But today, many American leaders, from many fields, are
trying to substitute French egalitarianism for American pursuit
For example, unions, although vitally important in a capita-
list society, often consider people fungible. A teacher is a
teacher is a teacher. A principal is a principal is a principal.
The United States education system also considers people
fungible. Education has evolved from local school board control
to state and even federal control. Throwing gobs of money at the
schools, and mandating national norms, has not been successful in
teaching everyone the mental skills of reading, writing and
Nobody is addressing the question that not everybody is
academic, college, office worker material. The educational esta-
blishment and the politicians assume that everyone will go to
college, earn a degree, and find a job somewhere, somehow. This
is not going to happen.
So where does this leave the non-academic type students?
Unemployed and underpaid! With the deliberate policy of pro-
moting “free” trade rather than “fair” trade, manufacturing jobs
gravitated overseas to cheaper labor countries, leaving “hand do”
workers unemployed, many of them stranded in our cities, a goodly
number on the dole.
In response, the nation’s leaders call for a re-training of
the unemployed, and for jobs for those on welfare. Nobody has a
clue as to where the jobs are to be found.
In America, we are not even close to the ideal of all indi-
viduals developing and maximizing their individual talents, gifts
and abilities in their pursuit of happiness.
We are a nation of basically disheartened people eking out a
meagre livelihood; and trying to survive.
The job market, has undergone enormous change. The hey-day
of the blue collar working classes was short lived, from 1941 to
1965, when one income earner was able to provide well for all
Prior to World War II–1939–the factory job was six days
long. After World War II, until the late 50’s, the office job
was for five and a half days.
The 40 hour week is a relatively recent development, and
many workers are involuntarily putting in longer, unpaid hours.
Now it takes the combined income of two full-time workers–
80 hours plus– to provide the same standard of living that one
worker supported in the late 40’s to the mid 60’s.
Making the problem even worse, a “look-the-other-way” policy
on immigration, legal and illegal. Why the United States should
continue to welcome immigrants, when we don’t have jobs for
people already here, is not confronted. We don’t expect India, or
China, or Japan, or Africa to have open borders. What is this
fetish about the obligation of western Europe and the western
hemisphere to welcome any and all comers?
The publisher of the Wall Street Journal is for open borders
and the free movement of people everywhere.
If some Chinese are willing to pay $30000 to be smuggled
into America, if Indians are willing to buy fake passports to
come to America, imagine what would happen if our borders were
open: one billion Chinese, one billion Indians, plus whomever. I
don’t think we would survive.
The last legislation on legal immigration called for admit-
tance of professional people in short supply in these United
States. It also called for family reunification.
Family reunification sounds noble, but in practice the
admission of illiterate, uneducated, unskilled relatives of
professionals is adding to our problems, not helping to solve
Worse, the porous border we have with Mexico allows millions
of poverty stricken persons from Latin America and elsewhere to
enter our country with impunity. Once inside, the immigration
authorities are overwhelmed with caseloads, and many local lead-
ers are supportive of these illegal individuals. That these
illegal immigrants provide cheap, exploitable labor for homes,
restaurants, etc. adds to the inertia on the part of the
establishment to do anything substantive to correct the situa-
It is quite flattering that millions of persons from all the
countries of the world want to immigrate to the United States.
It is quite flattering that all these countries target the United
States as the premier exporting destination.
But this is killing the golden goose that lays the golden
The solution to our underemployed and underpaid workers, and
our legal and illegal immigration problem, is for the nations of
the world, beginning with us, to manufacture for their own needs.
The first lesson of Economics 101 is that “human wants can
never be satisfied.” The wants of Asia, Africa and Latin America
–4.6 billion people– for simple things like radios, television
sets, indoor toilets, pure water, electricity is staggering, and
should keep them gainfully employed for the next 50 years.
There is no reason why the Asian “tigers”, and other
exporting countries, should be targeting the United States market
with their cheap labor goods when they are neglecting the needs
and wants of their own people.
It is natural to trade across borders in items for which
special skills, technology, or rare materials are required.
Trade based upon starvation labor costs is not legitimate.
To paraphrase the Bible, first take care of your own people
before being concerned about making money off of other people.
Where should we put:
The idea of diversity is a good one, to meet the needs of a
diverse public. My son, facing a serious operation, chose a doc-
tor of his own race over a doctor of a different race. I am sure
this is repeated millions of times a day.
The doors of education, business, the professions must be
open to all groups of people, so that citizens may feel comfort-
able dealing with people like themselves.