Kitsch Crazy Cakes. If they had online ordering, Pack-Man would forward everyone the web-link. Maybe they would have one later. For now it would be an open secret in a private war on waste.
One of the Mothers at school had started a small home enterprise making cakes. Well banana bread, muffins and delicious seed cookies. So long as you placed your order before the weekend, everything would be baked on Monday afternoon and delivered that evening ready for the rest of the school week. This would free Pack-Man’s family from some of the packaged foods they normally had delivered. It was cheaper and it would also fill the void left when Pack-man’s wife sold their own cake mixer along with a load of other cake making accessories only having been used to make two birthday cakes for their first son nearly a decade ago.
More importantly, it would help support the front line of the a new economy driven by cottage industry. One of the first and most favorite terms Pack-Man studied in economics and where he saw the future heading as global retail was a cliff for lemming-like entrepreneurs. Just as in previous World Wars, local sharing economies were emerging and families would come together to help other families by providing mutually exclusive goods and services.
As people were tightening their belts and spending less in restaurants and shopping malls, more people were starting to grow their own organic food. People were working from home and recycling was a big thing for two reasons. It was a status symbol for those above the poverty line to show they were environmentally conscience, while at the same time most of the trash was shipped to third world country above ground land fills.
A month ago Pack-Man had moved house for the second time in three months and thankfully his family had held two yard sales off-loading old toys, clothes and furnishings to interested parties. The remainder being donated to local charities. Things were looking lighter, if not brighter too. Mess creates stress.
Somewhere in the second industrial revolution, Pack-Man had gone from being a teenage survivalist hermit to consumerist salary-man most of his adult life. From his first pocket knife and a book he borrowed from the school library, Pack-Man was always ready for change. He had frustrated his parents with overly-preparing for all manner of natural disaster, animal encounter and criminal threats.
In less than a decade, the young Pack-Man had raided his Dad’s tool shed and sequestered every old tobacco tin, emptied the screws, nails, nuts and bolts and fashioned each into a vintage survival kit. Complete with built holographs and requisite snubs of pencil each attached with string to the side of the tins. Never going outside without at least one of these, initial school ridicule quickly turned to fascination. Especially the survival rations.
Pack-Man would spend hours carefully cutting plastic straws into thirds and seal one end with a lit match and only sealing the other end after filling the segment with grains of sugar or salt. That is when he wasn’t dripping hot wax on match heads in a an attempt to make them water-proof, long before he saw more erotic uses for hot wax.
Darwin had not merely said survival of the fittest. It was being fittest to adapt to a changing environment that led to survival. Change was here. That was clear. The environment was changing. Unemployment was rising two and as an arm-chair economist, this worried Pack-Man. For as long he could remember he wanted to solve one of the most persistent of problems in the World.
A year ago he had explained to his Mother, one option open to people in a fully robotized world. Other than renting out the family robot the same way people were already now renting out their cars and apartments. People who no longer worked, would be able to rent out all spare capacities and crypto currencies had pioneered this concept by allowing computing capacity to be mined. Similarly, there had been a decade of residential solar power generated and sold back to grids around the globe. Next would be water and then communication bandwidth. All were ripe for monetization when un-used capacity would be otherwise wasted.
That is if a household had the spare capacity. So much of the World lacked even basic electricity, much less had the capacity to sell back to the grid. Were would they get a robot to rent out to a local factory. How could they leverage spare bandwidth on their mobiles when sim card storage was on a subsistence charity basis. If more people were going to be displaced by automation and at the same time digitizing created a have/have not divide. Basic Universal Income would become another Holy Grail. Would people need to wait another 2,000 years only to be frustrated.
No. There was another way. As always the innovation came from the Third World if not out of necessity, out of exploitation. Was that a dirty word now? The underdeveloped nations had succeeded in exporting armies of Professional Refugees to skim enough for their own development back home. Pack-Man had first seen it in the back streets of Guangzhou. Places even the Public Security Bureau were too scared to patrol. Later in Bangkok, it was more apparent.
Thailand was surrounded by equally low-cost nations offering one to three month visas to most underdeveloped country citizens. In they would come with next to nothing and first work in a boiler room scam during the day. In the evenings, the females would walk the streets prostituting themselves, while the males would fawn over the over-aged and over weight single expat women with promises of being married to an African prince. Then when their visas were up they would move on to the next country and repeat the process. Often smuggling counterfeit goods or contraband to the next destination. Calling back to their targets in the previous country to keep the relationships warm before they repeated the same MO in a third or four country.
Wandering in and out of South-east Asia, they effortlessly moved home and work base. Consummate small-time crooks, low-ranking mafia,all the time skimming the excess financial capacity of their targets until the right time to take their life savings.
The point being they effectively had a mercantile survival kits, albeit illegal and certainly unethical. It worked.
Two weeks earlier Pack-Man had remembered all this when sitting in the offices of the countries largest employment assistance contractor. Their operation was tasked with bringing people off government benefits and into gainful employment. They were were looking for a talent developer to inspire and motivate their clientele, re-working resumes, finding them positions and creating jobs.
Pack-Man’s eyes glazed over. If some of these people had been unemployed for a year or more, what chance would they have to realize they should be looking for work and not a job. Especially if they were middle aged. What they needed was a mercantile survival kit. A suite of income sources they could rely on when conditions declined for one source, they would flourish for the other revenue stream. Just like the Professional Refugees.
Pack-Man had been an economic refugee for most of his working life. A running capitalist dog like his great grandfather. Dodging deficits and taking the path less traveled. It was better to be prepared than popular. Always going to opposite direction to others, sometimes not even knowing why. Was it a habit or was it a predisposition. Was it human nature and if so, why had 95% of the World forgotten they were human.
What these people needed was not just a side hustle, they needed three. If you can’t have your cake and eat it. Get two cakes! Let them eat cake indeed. The biggest mistake anyone ever made was giving up their day job and trying to make their side hustle their prime source of income. Ask anyone in a pyramid scheme. Well that would be everyone would’t it. The only time a pyramid ceased was when it was a matrix. A matrix was a network. Networks were going to be the future and were here.
Networks would allow cottage industries to sell outside their neighborhood. People would three or four sources of income to survive. Just as 3D printers were a China-killer. Cottage industries would maim the monopolies until they morphed into networks.
Pack-Man hadn’t used post-it notes for 15 years. They were a waste. How had he got these. Oh yes, they were free when purchasing stationary. He peeled one yellow sheet off and drew a square in the center. Further drawing four small nodular circles on each of the four corners. Starting at the bottom left corner as always. Side-hustle. Operations. That would have be done in the morning before anyone else woke up. That would be his time. That would be paying himself first and use his energies as selfishly as he wanted before any else could get to him.
Top-left corner. Full-time job. Human resources intensive. Verbal intensive. Yuck! But necessary. Office small talk. This was the 80 in Pareto for sure. That is when the time vampires sucked the most.
Moving on the top right corner. Part-time. Sales & Marketing. Charity work would fit here certainly. Donating time to non-profits was important. They were one of the world’s largest employers. No need to keep two feet in that door.
Lastly the unholy grail of passive income. In the bottom right corner. Administration and Accounting. Money working for money. All you had to do was count it and administer the facilitation.
Pack-Man then folded the top margin of the post-it and stuck it on the glass louver above his desk. This was the challenge he was looking for. A purpose in life. Teach the world to fish…….responsibly. Packaging such a survival kit would have to be responsible too. This was the kind of work he like. Solving big-ass problems that would make a difference. It was so simple too. Everyone was half way there.
Leaning back in his chair he unpeeled the paper cup from a chocolate cream cheese muffin and took a mindful bite. No more Oreos for his kids. No more wrappers in the recycling bin. The Third Industrial Revolution had no place for waste. Even less room for time wasters. He checked the clock on the laptop screen and was pleased a full 90 minutes had passed since he last procrastinated. Pack-Man smiled for the first time that day.