Reclaiming the Family – Part 2 – The Family Business

Reclaiming the Family – Part 1 – Bring Back the Dowry

 

Back in the 1960s when I was a kid.  My father told me that the key to success was getting as much education as I could in a technical field and working for private industry.  In my own lazy and wayward manner, I took his advice and on the whole the advice was actually very sound.  I ended up in engineering, supported my family through their college years and lived a reasonably comfortable existence at a step beyond what my parents had.

Fast forward to 2019.  I have grandsons who will be coming of age in the next five to ten years.  Would my father’s advice be as good for them as it was for me?  Maybe, maybe not.  Let’s look at some of the factors that have changed.

Back when I was young, the American economy was the engine of world economic growth.  Technical innovation in almost every field occurred primarily here.  Computer science was the greatest innovation but advances in materials science, chemistry, medicine and electronics were remarkable.  Jobs in all fields went through booms and busts in synchrony with the business cycles but people raised families, bought houses and sent their kids to college on the strength of American industry employing them consistently.  And this was at all levels.  They needed production personnel, tradesmen, maintenance workers, support staff, along with scientists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and business managers.  America worked.

But starting in the early 1990s American business got the bright idea that American business didn’t need American workers.  First slowly then rapidly, jobs were shifted from where labor was expensive to where it was dirt cheap.  NAFTA was the beginning of this.  A factory across the border in Juarez could build automotive parts for a fraction of what it would cost in El Paso right across the border in Texas.  But things really got out of hand when the globalists shifted whole industries to China.  I personally saw the beginning of the export of polystyrene manufacturing to China in the 1990s and assume that the wholesale loss of intellectual property happened in just the same way with all the other industries that were sent there to avoid the environmental regulations and the normal labor costs in the United States.  And with those industries went all the manufacturing jobs that had existed with them here.  In my later career I was in an industry that was relatively immune to this devastation but lately between off-shoring and the importation of Indian and Chinese scientists and engineers the same kind of fate awaits these higher-level jobs and the kids coming out of school hoping for them.

For now, the crème de la crème of the best professional schools can hope to find good jobs in the legacy industries remaining in the United States.  But for everyone else it is an uncertain and changeable environment.

Recently what I’ve been thinking about is small business ownership.  If you can select an industry that is relatively hard to replace by cheap overseas labor, owning your own business can both help someone raising a family and also provide jobs for family that will be needing them as they reach maturity.

What kinds of businesses could these be?  Obvious ones are the building and business trades.  Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, HVAC installers, roofers, mechanics, IT technicians and repairmen.  Of course, there are all kinds of businesses that haven’t been completely devastated by cheap Chinese crap from Amazon.com.  Custom manufacturers and specialty equipment manufacturers, specialty metal workers and welders all provide products and services for businesses that still exist in the US.  Someone who is good at orbital sanitary welding and is conscientious about the paperwork that goes along with it can make a good living servicing the needs of microelectronics and pharmaceutical customers.

The way I think about it, if you’ve spent your life building up an expertise maybe you can use some of these skills to start or buy a business that you can work your children into.  Giving your children a leg up in the kind of world we live in today sounds like something that make sense.  Schooling will still have its value but instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to got to Stanford you could go to State Tech and then go to work for the family business.

I’m still working on my own version of this plan but I throw it out there as an idea.

Of course, it’s not a panacea.  There’s no guarantee that your kids will be interested in the field you start a business in.  After all, if your kid wants to be an astrophysicist chances are, he won’t want to be a plumber.  And it’s not uncommon that family members cannot work together because of differences in temperament.

But there are advantages to working for family that are unique.  Transitioning a business from a father to his sons provides a flexible environment for on the job training, reasonable terms for both sides of the ownership transition and the possibility for someone even beyond normal retirement age to provide real value to the business on a part time basis.  It might even make long term health care more affordable for the older generation.

Obviously, many people aren’t in a position to start a small business, especially while raising a family.  It might even be more applicable to grandfathers but I think it’s another way to try to protect your family from the negative changes that the American business world has seen in the last generation.  Something to consider.

 

Farage and Trump

President Trump is scheduled to spend four days (June Third through Sixth) in Britain to commemorate the seventy fifth anniversary of D-Day.  Queen Elizabeth will throw a state banquet at which all the parliamentary leaders will attend.  But the real meeting that everyone is interested in is not supposed to happen.  Prime Minister May has uninvited conservative gadfly Nigel Farage to Buckingham Palace and so the only way that the meeting will happen is through Trump’s and Farage’s own organizations setting it up.  How ironic is that?  The two leaders who demonstrably represent the will of the common people of their respective nations have to constantly battle against the elitists in their own parties to achieve any part of the agenda the people have mandated they accomplish.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the refusal of the Tory leadership to honor the Brexit vote.  The people of the United Kingdom voted unequivocally to leave the European Union.  But here we are three years later and nothing has been accomplished.  The Tories under Theresa May’s inept leadership have botched the Brexit effort and at this point the Remainers in their ranks are poised to prevent Brexit, even though it will doom the Tories’ majority in Parliament, leaving the Left to run the country.

But jumping into the fray is Nigel Farage.  He was the moving spirit behind the original Brexit movement but after its passage he dropped out of the public eye.  But three years of dithering by the Tories was too much for him.  Only six weeks before the British EU parliamentary elections he formed a new party called (of course) the Brexit Party and won more seats than the Tories and Labor combined.  Using this victory as a second Brexit vote he is now warning the Tories that if they don’t accomplish Brexit by Halloween, he’ll be waiting for them in the next general election and sweep them and the Labor party out of power.

Theresa May has declared her resignation and there should be a new Tory prime minister by the middle of July.  If it’s Boris Johnson or another Brexiteer it’s possible that Brexit can be accomplished.  Perhaps Farage’s threat will be enough to convince the Remainers that their intransigence will energize the country’s majority to sweep them out of Parliament and give the government over to the Brexit Party.  It’s hard to say.

Either way we see Nigel Farage as an outsider from the business world jumping into the political arena to wrest control of the levers of power away from a supposedly conservative elite that has decided to thwart the will of its constituents in order to cozy up to the very globalist establishment bureaucracy from which Britons voted to escape.  Well, if that’s not essentially Donald Trump with a British accent I don’t know what is.

I think it would be useful to have a meeting between Trump, Farage and Boris Johnson.  Farage and Johnson, if they coordinate their activities can make the Brexit a reality.  Trump can be the facilitator to help convince the British people that the Hard Brexit horror story that the elites have told them is only a fiction.  By highlighting the booming American economy, he can prove to them that managed decline doesn’t have to be the fate of the middle class.

Of course, it’s risky for politicians to be seen getting too cozy with foreign leaders (unless they’re Leftists of course) even if it’s the President of the United States.  But in this particular case I think meeting with Farage will be very good for both Trump and Farage.  Seeing Farage’s stock increase will tend to focus Johnson’s mind on how important it is to get Brexit done.  And indeed, accomplishing Brexit is virtually the only way the Tories have of staying in power.

But personally, what I’d love to hear is what these two men will say to each other when the video cameras and microphones aren’t on.  Both of them have demonstrated that they understand how to reach the middle-class people directly.  And because of that both have been attacked mercilessly by their opponents in the Media and the governing elites of both parties.  I have to imagine they would enjoy just comparing notes and telling war stories.  It would be like two magicians comparing experiences and trading secrets.  Maybe Trump and Farage can reach out to other populist leaders within the anglosphere and beyond (e.g., Italy) and coordinate strategy against the globalists.  They could form a sort of anti-globalist UN.  They could call it the DN, the Disunited Nations.

So let’s hope that Trump’s trip to Britain provides some positive energy for both the American and British Right.  And let’s hope that the new Tory prime minister works with Farage to convince the Remainers to support Brexit (or else).

Trump and Farage point to the peril that threatens our world.  The elites have gamed democracy.  And the only thing that stands in the way of some kind of repressive, decadent, roman empire-like world is a small group of independent businessmen who are defying their own class and providing the middle class with a voice and a champion.  It can’t be reassuring to know that everything we believe in is hanging on the thread of a handful of men.  But let’s pray that our luck holds out long enough to battle back from the edge of the cliff.  And let’s make sure Trump appoints a worthy successor.  After all, unlike Britain where a prime minister can stay in power for decades, an American president only gets eight years at most.