By Mike Edwards, PJALS member
“Risk takers” is a Republican phrase that has become synonymous with describing the men who singlehandedly grow the economy and in the process, lead America to a better, more ethical, wealthier future. What politicians say is that growth, like broccoli and puppies, is universally good, and that growth is orchestrated by the few capitalists who are able to generously provide financing for the system.
According to Chris Hedges book Empire of Illusion, the porn industry, largely centered in the United States, generated over 96 billion dollars in 2006. On a pure growth model view of the world, this revenue is a phenomenal good to society. The porn industry creates jobs; jobs that cannot be outsourced. Actors and actresses, camera people, lighting and make-up technicians, UPS truck drivers who deliver the finished videos and the hotel industry through pay per view revenues, all benefit from the “risk takers” at Wicked Pictures. The “risk takers” in this industry cash in their winnings on luxury cars, speed boats, exotic trips and castles in cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Everybody who touches this industry (figuratively of course) benefits; even the liquor distillers and drug and alcohol treatment councilors benefit greatly from the porn industry’s largesse (addiction rates among porn actors and actresses are astounding). Hell, even divorce attorneys benefit from the porn industry. Wives strangely dislike it when their husbands sit in front of the laptops for hours on end looking at strangers participating in intercourse.
Growth is also seen in the gun shops of the southwestern United States. Drug cartels in Mexico vying for control of lucrative markets en el norte send straw buyers to gun shops in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to purchase military weapons and ammunition to carry out war in cities and towns all over Mexico. Those purchases of weapons and ammunition are sources of wealth in the United States. Gun and ammunition manufacturers benefit, truck drivers benefit, more DEA and ATF personnel are hired, construction workers are hired to build a bigger sturdier border fence, drone pilots and mechanics are hired to oversee the happenings along the border. Because of the breakdown in Mexican society, powerless workers stream into the United States to pick fruits and vegetables under the hand of wealthy landowners. These workers supply cheap food for already overfed Americans who gorge on dollar cheeseburgers in front of their TVs and deride the presence of “illegals” in their great land.
Pick an industry and follow it out. Military hardware manufacturers, pay day lenders, the members of the Jersey Shore and the inventors of the Snuggi are all great engines of growth in the United States but for what? Other than jobs, how do these industries provide anything positive for society? More importantly, to what extent do these industries damage society?
Growth is not always good and it should not be worshipped as a demigod. There are people who go to work every day and clean and care for the infirm for 9 bucks an hour and teachers’ aids who see most of their wages disappear into the pockets of Aetna or Kaiser Permanente. Small farmers lose their land every day because they cannot afford to compete. Economic stability, and the sustainability of the community and of the environment are goals that must trump the Republicans’ endless calls for rewards for the “risk takers.”