We Don't Want Yer Stinkin' Jobs

Go away and take your factory with you!

As world stockmarkets collapse in panic and the American consumer holds his wallet closed with both hands, all eyes are on the struggling economy.  For all that unemployment is still relatively low by historic standards, a great many of the still-employed are beginning to act as if they weren't - because they fear that they might soon be on the street.  Who could have predicted the economic craziness of 2008?  God only knows what will happen in 2009, and whatever it is, better to be sitting on a fat wad of cash than otherwise.

Most of us, though, don't have the luxury of a well-stuffed mattress or a stash of gold bars in the basement.  We just collect our weekly salaries, try to read the tea-leaves at work each day, and hope for the best.  If you've got a job, the thinking goes, it's worth almost anything to be able to hang onto it.

So it comes as a great relief to hear that there are still places where people are so well-off, so confident in the strength of their local economy, so comfortable in every way, that they can afford to call, not for opening new businesses, but for closing successful businesses and turfing out their employees.  The mainstream media has not seen fit to bring this to our attention, but fear not, Indymedia UK is on the job:

Three hardy protesters have spent the last nine days camping on the roof of Raytheon's Bristol [UK] office; they intend to stay on the roof until the New Year! They are braving sub-zero temperatures, and are relying on the support of ordinary Bristolians, to drive Raytheon out of Bristol[emphasis added]

Yes, these three can afford to be picky, not merely about who they themselves work for, but for whom they will allow their fellow Englishmen to work.  Raytheon is a giant multinational defense contractor engaged in manufacturing the whole panoply of bombs, missiles, and whatnot.  It's easily forgotten, but the United Kingdom is technically involved in a war in Iraq; one might think that providing one's fellow-citizens with the wherewithal to defend themselves would be honest labor which would be worthy of commendation, but no.

The report shows the three protesters camped out on the roof in blowing winds.  Why haven't the police hauled them away in irons for trespassing?  Apparently they did last time; but the resulting court battle didn't go well:

Raytheon were targeted in 2006 by a group of activists in Derry, who were angry at the part Raytheon played in the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. On 9 August 2003, a jury accepted that the nine had acted to prevent a war crime, and unanimously declared the nine innocent.  [emphasis added]

These folks' claim of the support of their fellow-countrymen is no mere hyperbole.  A unanimous acquittal to an open-and-shut case of trespass and property destruction is a vote of confidence in their purpose as well as their tactics.

Alas, the budget of Scragged does not permit us to personally investigate the economy of Bristol, England, but what a rip-roaring boomtown it must be!  Consider: Citizens have enough free time and money to demand the expulsion of their fellow-citizens' employer, and not only do the workers whose jobs are threatened not come at them with pitchforks, but a jury of their peers is in favor of the sentiment!  Truly, the streets of Bristol must be paved with gold!

We wish these good folks every success in their endeavor.  If Raytheon finds itself in need of a new factory, we know where there are quite a few used ones available cheap and come with ample supplies of surplus labor: the state of Michigan.  You don't want the jobs, Bristolians?  No problem; send them here, post haste.

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Economics.
Reader Comments
"acted to prevent a war crime"

What the hell is wrong with those limey bastards?!

So, if I may extend this theory, it would be fine if a liberal would have assassinated Bush before the Iraq invasion. Serving "higher purposes" and all that.
December 30, 2008 8:50 AM
"Who could have predicted the economic craziness of 2008?"

Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and a host of notable and not so notable students of Austrian Economics. Need I remind you that Friedrich von Hayek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for describing the process whereby central banks create economic bubbles and then prolong and deepen the inevitable crashes that result from ill-advised meddling in financial markets with artificially low interests rates?

It was only unpredictable to those who are ignorant of basic economic principles and deluded into thinking the Keynesian Free Lunch would last for ever.

As to the behavior of the protesters in Bristol, I have no sympathy for criminals who do not respect property rights and attention whores who are more concerned with being famous than they are with actually addressing the root causes of the militarism that has infected both the the U.K. and the U.S.

That being said if Raytheon were to go out of business tomorrow, closing every factory by evening, I would not shed a single tear. It would free up the wasted resources for productive uses creating goods and services that benefit society rather than throwing them down a hole to be followed by mountains of dead bodies and shattered dreams.
December 30, 2008 9:06 PM
We have people who prepare for war and profit from it because war is a fact of life. While it would be nice if the world were peaceful, there will always be someone that want to take something from another or people who want to force their ideas, religion, and so forth on others.

If the UK wants to take a rose colored view of life, then so be it. The will one day be against the wall like they were in WWII. Then their many Chamberlains can negotiate peace.

The only people who survive war are those who are prepared for it. This does not mean they seek it but they don't hide their head in the sand when it knocks on their door, either.
January 10, 2009 9:21 PM
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