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View Diary: An Economy cannot be based on CONSUMPTION (285 comments)

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  •  Which other issues is it off base on? (8+ / 0-)

    The part about being paid to do nothing is right out of the EIB microphone, but even so if you compare being paid to do nothing with being paid to make something, being paid to make something has to be a bit better, given that so much of what we buy benefits economies other than ours.

    What else is wrong with the diary, in your view?

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 05:58:56 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  This, in my view, is wrong: (43+ / 0-)
      People will CONSUME as much as they can when given unlimited resources - something responsible for the housing crisis.  You had people buying houses larger than they needed or could rationally afford - because banks LET THEM.

      People buying large houses they couldn't afford is NOT what caused the housing crisis. I am not saying that there aren't some people who may have done that, but the financial market players who were gambling on nothingness, knowingly or unknowingly, are much more at fault.

      •  Great minds... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mrs M, divineorder

        ;)

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:26:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes - it actually did cause the housing crisis (17+ / 0-)

        through fraud and dishonesty banksters were putting people in houses they KNEW those people couldn't afford.  There is also a large percentage who probably could afford them but the ensuing lesser depression chipped away at those who probably could have kept him.

        Hence the valid criticism that Obama's non existent support of efforts to keep people in their houses and make the banks eat it exacerbated the situation greatly.

        They did this to generate mortgage securities which were then misrepresented to investors.

        But the base of that pyramid of fraud was to sell as large a mortgage as possible to ANYONE.

        big badda boom : GRB 080913

        by squarewheel on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:49:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand what you are saying. (0+ / 0-)

          I felt the diarist was laying the housing crisis blame in the laps of willy nilly consumer people. (my own phrase)

          So the pyramid builders of financial instruments were actually PRODUCING something, which fits in with the theme of the diary, it's just that they were doing it illegally, or at least unethically.

          •  No - but there were willing participants (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder, mystery2me

            When you local S&L held you mortgage until payoff there were strict standards and a willingness to work through any difficulties might affect a homeowner.

            Buying our house in the early 90's - waiting for a market pullback from the boom of the late 80's we had to put 20% down, have payments be no more than 36% of our income AND still had to pay points to get down to 8 3/8% interest rates.

            Yet within a few years you had ARM madness, no money down, no income verification and more.

            Banks found out they could package and resell mortgages - offloading the risk of non payment.  Wall Street found ready buyers for insanely complex mortgage backed securities that had varied interest rates, risk assignments and more - instruments so complex that NOBODY understood them.  And I say this having worked on Wall Street in the 80's when CMO's first came out and were barely understood THEN in their simplest form.

            With Wall Street selling tons of Mortgage backed securities there became a huge market for BUYING MORE MORTGAGES.  But the banks had already written mortgages for most 'good risks' - those following old standards.  The UAS was already at its high for home ownership but politicians - Bush surprisingly - started pushing the 'Home Ownership Society'.  Of course with the decline and fall and export of American manufacturing, home building and renovation were the only 'growth' industries left that were occurring in the US - another reason for pushing the housing boom.  The Fed was complicit in the building bubble by keeping interest rates low - looking to juice the economy with housing builds.

            But once you've sold houses to those who could rationally afford them, what do you do?  You sell houses to those who could NOT afford them - who were depending on continual appreciation in prices, you sold BIGGER houses to existing homeowners and you fed the speculators who bought and flipped houses before they were even finished.

            A LOT of people had reasons to push the housing boom - and too many consumers were willing to get in  over their heads, believing that bubble would never burst.  

            Yes, many CONSUMERS willfully and recklessly OVERCONSUMED when it came to housing - they were willing participants in a bubble destined to burst.

        •  And people themselves were of course completely (0+ / 0-)

          innocent and had nothing to do with it.

          •  Most of them yes. (7+ / 0-)

            Most people do not have the sophistication or education to understand large financial instruments. That is why we PAY lawyers to do it for us. Lawyers who are SUPPOSED to have a fiduciary DUTY to protect consumers from fraud and manipulation by unscrupulous lenders.

            People went to banks looking for loans and were told they qualified. For most people that is the end of the story. Who are they to argue? They simply do not have the ability to figure out whether or not the banker is lying to them.  And the bankers were telling them what they wanted to hear: That they could afford their dream home.

            Unfortunately, the lawyers and bankers were mostly in on the con and willfully violated their clients' trust to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients and America as a whole. And the regulators who were charged with preventing this were ordered to not do their duty by a corrupt and criminal *bush administration.

            It was a vast criminal enterprise that our "leaders" simply willfully fail to acknowledge or address to this day.

            We will never solve America's financial crisis until we address and punish the criminality of our banking and regulatory systems.

            •  Wall Street needed people to borrow so they (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Nose, divineorder

              could sell loan packages, and then start selling all those bets on what the packages would do.  And they gained when the CDOs (loan bundles) and CDSs (pseudo-insurance on the securitized loans) failed.  They didn't care if people paid the loans back, all they needed were more borrowers to sell more debt bundles.  Then they came up with SYNTHETIC CDOs and could sell the same loan a thousand times.

              At the same time, the banks were doing all they could to convince people it was  GOOD IDEA to piss away their equity.  Check this out, on the marketing of HELOCs.  Remember, there was a time getting a second mortgage on your house was considered proof you were a complete loser:

              A really great tagline appearing here soon! Watch this space!

              by madhaus on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 12:08:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree about culpability of bankers and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              divineorder

              regulators. But I've seen how people bought houses with no down payment, opened HELOCs for hundreds of thousands of dollars and simply spent that money. Yeah, ads told them to do it but if there are ads telling them to jump from a bridge will they do it too? A lot of people thought they will get away with it b/c 'houses always appreciate in price' or smth like that. There were, of course, many people who either didn't understand what was going on or felt they had no choice. But I wouldn't put all responsibility on banks.

        •  I was encouraged to borrow 110% (9+ / 0-)

          of what my prospective house cost, circa 2003. And to take out a variable rate loan. "Take a cruise", the broker said.

          However, I wanted to put about 25% down and also to buy down the interest rate (to 6 and something, which looked pretty cheap at the time). I did put the closing costs on the loan, though. Bottom line, I had been renting the place for $600 a month, and then put about $14k down and was buying it for about $300 a month, including property taxes.

          I thought something was up, mainly because the last time I had bought a house prior to that, in about 1992, I had to go hunting for a mortgage. In 03 they seemed to jump out and grab me by the leg, lol. Brokers were everywhere and seemed to be young enough to have been in high school a few years before.

          Then in late 05 I found I didn't need a house anymore due to a marriage and I sold the sucker for about a 65% gain after all costs. Too bad I had only paid $50k for it. It was tiny, but a year or two after I got rid of it it sold for almost $100k. Not sure what it would go for now.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 08:51:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're largely correct Mrs M (7+ / 0-)

        The diarist is mostly wrong.

        Consumption IS the driving force of any economy or, as Adam Smith phrased it, "want." You can "produce" and "add value" until the cows come home, but until someone wants to buy what you are producing -- and has the money to do so -- you got nothin' and there is no functioning economy.

        The damage done to our economy by republican policy and democratic failures was by shifting value upwards through job outsourcing, fraudulent and criminal business practices and taking of value from workers to give it to the elites by lowering wages and benefits from the many and giving the money to the elite few as salary and bonuses.

        By removing jobs, the elites shot themselves in the back and killed America. Without jobs, consumers have no money, without money, they cannot consume, without consumer spending, the producer and manipulator elites have nothing.

        As Henry Ford observed a century ago, he had to pay his workers enough to buy the products the were building or he had no one to buy his products.

        The past thirty years in America has been a vast program of eating and/or selling off our seed corn: The accumulated value of generations of workers. Our "leaders" have been stripping our nation of value to pay for a gluttonous orgy for the benefit of the wealthy. Like locusts, they have stripped America bare and left her barren and mortally wounded.

        The solution? Strong unions, workers' rights, serious, effective regulation of markets to prevent corruption and theft. Pay people fair wages. This will create a strong and broad-based American middle class again. When America has a strong middle class it has economic prosperity.

        Prosperity is not created by the "job creators" it is created by millions of empowered consumers with good-paying jobs and hope for the future.

        By following republican policies, we get nothing but economic and social destruction. The GOAL of republicanism is the destruction of America. Always has been, always will be.

        •  That's what niggled at me while reading (7+ / 0-)

          this diary:  it sounded like an argument against the fact that Demand is what is needed to get the economy going again.

          Isn't Consumption just another word for Demand?

          Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

          by Gustogirl on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:22:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justus, little lion, Mrs M

            Increase demand for cars made in Korea or electronics made in China will not substantially increase jobs in the US, and it will not produce good paying jobs in the US. We'll export more wealth to pay for those things, and export more jobs to make them.

            In a global economy, if you don't produce wealth that you can exchange for the goods you import, than you become poorer. It's the same as if you have $1000 in the bank and no job or other income. You can exchange money from the bank account for food, but only until the money's gone.

            Service jobs don't produce much that can be traded, and (contrary to the diary) neither do infrastructure jobs, as necessary as they are. You can't export highways or sewers to China in exchange for all the stuff we buy from them.

            If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine

            by badger on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:44:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the counterargumen to the infrastructure slight (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mrs M

              is that infrastructure has the possibility to reduce the costs of inputs to production, making extant industry more competitive and new industry more likely to succeed.  Not saying I disagree with you: new (or newly maintained) infrastructure by itself does nothing, but in the long run, it may help.

              I think this line of thinking becomes most illuminating when you consider WHAT infrastructure is most likely to be beneficial to other industries.  People usually think roads and bridges, and we need to take care of the ones we have, but  but building new ones was last century.  What about energy development or efficiency development?  What about running tons of fiber and network infrastructure in the ground--make new public highway system the dream of the old "information superhighway" and get it out to everyone?  

              These things would do wonders for the american economy.  Among other things, energy might free us up to make more, more diverse, and better FOOD, which could be a great US product, domestic and exported.  

          •  'DEMAND" for goods produced elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

            will do NOTHING to help unemployment or the US economy.

            You have missed my main point.

            As long as the focus in on increasing CONSUMPTION - irregardless of where the goods consumed are produced or how they are produced (factor in durability and sustainability for the good of the planet instead of 'throw-away' goods), you do NOTHING to solve the basic problem.

            AMERICAN jobs - and AMERICAN wealth come from PRODUCING GOODS.

            The American balance of trade only worsens as we buy more and more made elsewhere.

            Without PRODUCING goods the ONLY jobs you can create here are low level positions selling the stuff made elsewhere.

    •  I have a quibble (28+ / 0-)

      with, among other things, this:

      People will CONSUME as much as they can when given unlimited resources - something responsible for the housing crisis.  You had people buying houses larger than they needed or could rationally afford - because banks LET THEM.
      That, too, is right out of "the EIB microphone" as you so aptly put it.  This is a non sequitur; that people with unlimited resources will consume is without question but "as much as they can" is empirically false.  Otherwise, the economy would be doing great right now.  If all those wealthy people that got those huge tax tax breaks actually took that money and consumed with it, that money would flow back into the economy, which would be less bleak as a result.

      The statement would be closer to being accurate if it said that "people will consume as much as they need given the resources to do so" adding that many people conflate "want" and "need."

      And while many bought houses bigger than they could rationally afford, few did so with the understanding that they could not rationally afford it.  The banks didn't "let them" do anything, the banks actively sought out anyone they could sucker into signing on the dotted line to keep their Ponzi scheme going of then betting against their ability to pay the mortgage.  It didn't matter to the banks whether or not they could pay for it because they won either way.  The banks misled those people into believing that they could afford it because they don't win at all if there is no mortgage.

      The framing that the problem that caused the housing bubble is all those poor people going out and buying houses they couldn't afford is as right wing as it comes.  It isn't true - empirically - and it cleverly shifts the blame for the mess onto the victims ignoring the perpetrators (except passively, noting that the banks "let" this happen rather than "actively encouraged by means of deception").

      Furthermore, "production" = supply-side in RW parlance.  "Consumption" = demand-side.  But neither can exist without the other.  We can "produce" all we want but if no one is "consuming" what is produced, there is no point in producing it in the first place.  Without "demand" there is no need for "supply."

      They are yin and yang and we've been too focused on the supply-side for entirely too long.  The concept of a federal WPA-style federal jobs program is a good one but not as a replacement for unemployment, as a supplement, giving the unemployed preference in hiring.

      I have other quibbles, more than I have the patience at the moment to spell them out as I've done with this one.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:25:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. especially for this: (14+ / 0-)
        The framing that the problem that caused the housing bubble is all those poor people going out and buying houses they couldn't afford is as right wing as it comes.  It isn't true - empirically - and it cleverly shifts the blame for the mess onto the victims ignoring the perpetrators (except passively, noting that the banks "let" this happen rather than "actively encouraged by means of deception").
      •  Well said! (9+ / 0-)
        And while many bought houses bigger than they could rationally afford, few did so with the understanding that they could not rationally afford it.  The banks didn't "let them" do anything, the banks actively sought out anyone they could sucker into signing on the dotted line to keep their Ponzi scheme going of then betting against their ability to pay the mortgage.

        We had a bank mortgage officer diary on this site about his son, with an MBA, bringing one of those massive loan agreements to him and they couldn't understand it!

        It was outright fraud on the part of the banks and the Wall Streeters... and their enablers in the White House and congress.

        Phil Gramm's Culpability, Acknowledged

        —By Jonathan Stein
        | Fri Feb. 20, 2009 2:25 PM PST

        Phil Gramm won't be able to wash this stink off of him.

        Time magazine has published a list called "25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis" and second on the list is our buddy Phil, the man who headed the Senate Banking Committee during the federal government's deregulatory bonanza in the late '90s. Gramm passed or affected two key pieces of legislation that eventually helped create the financial meltdown we are experiencing today. The first of the two was the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act, which repealed the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act and allowed financial institutions to merge like crazy and ignore longtime regulations and limitations. The second was something that Mother Jones uncovered in summer 2008. Here's Time:

         

         [Gramm] also inserted a key provision into the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act that exempted over-the-counter derivatives like credit-default swaps from regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Credit-default swaps took down AIG, which has cost the U.S. $150 billion thus far.

        Right. As David Corn reported for Mother Jones, Gramm's sly move gave rise to an entire industry of financial products, like credit default swaps, that acted like insurance for the toxic mortgage-backed securities that got passed around Wall Street. Investors who thought they were protected made more and more and worse and worse financial bets, all away from regulatory oversight. Eventually, it caught up with them.

        More...

        http://motherjones.com/...

        Lest we forget... Bush used an 1863 law to nullify the states predatory lending laws!

        Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime
        By Eliot Spitzer
        Thursday, February 14, 2008

        Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.

        Snip!

        In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government's actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

        But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.

        More...

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

        Where I fault Obama in all of this was he ignored economists like Roubini, Krugman, and Stieglitz who recommended that the US:

        1. Form a new version of the HOLC or RTC.

        2. Break up the too big to fail banks and triage the smaller ones and enforce capital requirements.

        Having said that though... the systemic problems at the root cause of this are way beyond the scope of the President...

        Is Capitalism Doomed?
        Nouriel Roubini

        So Karl Marx, it seems, was partly right in arguing that globalization, financial intermediation run amok, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct (though his view that socialism would be better has proven wrong). Firms are cutting jobs because there is not enough final demand. But cutting jobs reduces labor income, increases inequality and reduces final demand.

        Recent popular demonstrations, from the Middle East to Israel to the UK, and rising popular anger in China – and soon enough in other advanced economies and emerging markets – are all driven by the same issues and tensions: growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness. Even the world’s middle classes are feeling the squeeze of falling incomes and opportunities.

        To enable market-oriented economies to operate as they should and can, we need to return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of laissez-faire and voodoo economics and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Both are broken.

        The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.

        More...

        http://www.project-syndicate.org/...

        That Last graph is a real kicker!

        After criticizing Obama I feel I should also give him his due...

        Obama Jobs Plan Prevents 2012 Recession in Survey of Economists

        President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan would help avoid a return to recession by maintaining growth and pushing down the unemployment rate next year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

        The legislation, submitted to Congress this month, would increase gross domestic product by 0.6 percent next year and add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls, the median estimates in the survey of 34 economists showed. The program would also lower the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage point in 2012, economists said.

        Economists in the survey are less optimistic than Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who has cited estimates for a 1.5 percent boost to gross domestic product. Even so, the program may bolster Obama’s re-election prospects by lowering a jobless rate that has stayed near 9 percent or more since April 2009.

        Lots more...

        http://www.bloomberg.com/...

        Obama gets it now... just hope it isn't too late.

        •  Short version (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Flint, The Nose
          And the way people have the means to buy goods is to PRODUCE goods.

          Seems the diarist has a chicken and egg problem.

          Companies will only increase production when there is increased demand for their product.  How is this going to happen?

          I'm a fucking retard.

          by Helpless on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 10:11:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes and NO... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe, Hirodog, Justus, MKinTN, The Nose

            Henry Ford realized the problem when he started making cars and he found out none of his employees could not afford them... so he increased their wages!

            So there is your YES... and now your NO...

            Germany had a different approach to unemployment than we have... rather than let companies lay-off workers their government asked the companies to reduce their hours as demand fell off... but paid the companies to keep them working and made up the difference in their salaries.

            This accomplished several things...

            1. Companies kept their manufacturing workforce intact, protecting their industrial capabilities.

            2. Workers kept their skills sharp and they didn't suffer degradation of their skills as American workers have in the case of the long term unemployed... as we now often hear... (witness the unemployed need not apply debate)

            3. Their companies could rebound more quickly when demand increased than American companies could  and at one point their GDP jumped to +6.5PP after the recession.

            4. Workers self esteem wasn't trashed.

            I would argue that very few workers on unemployment like getting paid to do nothing.

            I know I didn't... I wanted to work, I wanted a job, I wanted to continue to take pride in my work and ability to provide for my family.

            I didn't want to worry about having unemployment run out or coping with COBRA's price gouging my savings away.

            •  Didn't companies end up with products they (0+ / 0-)

              couldn't sell?

              How could they make a profit that way?  They're losing money on each widget, but making it up with the volume?

              I heard an NPR piece on Germany that said the program was very unpopular -- that it promoted companies hiring temp part time workers at reduced wages.

              I'm a fucking retard.

              by Helpless on Fri Sep 30, 2011 at 09:08:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No... in a word. (0+ / 0-)
                Germany reports 14.7 percent rise in exports
                September 15, 2011

                German exports rose by 14.7 percent in the first half of 2011 compared to the same time period the previous year, driven in part by a healthy increase in the value of goods shipped outside the European Union, official figures showed Thursday.

                January-June 2011 exports came in at euro525.6 billion ($721.60 billion), up from euro458.3 billion in the first six months of 2010. When adjusted for prices, the rise was 10.1 percent.

                Second-quarter exports rose an unadjusted 10.8 percent to euro264.7 billion compared to euro238.8 billion in the same quarter last year.

                Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is the world’s second largest exporter behind China.

                The Federal Statistical Office said there was particularly strong growth in exports to non-European Union countries, which were up 16.7 percent in the first half of 2011 to euro208.3 billion.

                More...

                http://articles.boston.com/...

      •  not to mention (0+ / 0-)

        the emphasis that has been promoted and encouraged to consume and acquire the trappings of wealth by the media.

        I sometimes watch a programs called "Till Debt do us Part".  I believe it originates from Canada.  It involves a counselor/advisor named Gail Vaz -Oxlade who works with couples facing overwhelming debt.  One of the things that strikes me about the program is how many people seem to think that it is necessary, appropriate and doable to live far beyond their means.  It's like they seems to have some delusion that they have to live like the Kardashians on an often reasonable but modest budget.  I know we've probably always had the "keeping up with the Jones'" attitude --  there were probably cave men flaunting the best fur-- but this seems so out of control and out of touch with reality...

        I like that you point out the necessary relationship between production and consumption-- "you can't have one without..." and that you clarified the bank's role in the housing collapse.  I do think that people getting loans share some of the responsibility for taking on a financial burden they just couldn't afford....but only some of it..  After all, if you had a, well, possibly substandard, education and the BANK said you could afford this...who would they be to question.  And, you are right that the Banks didn't "let them" ...they were the very active architects of the meltdown.  Thanks Democracy

    •  The first half is a paean to supply side economics (16+ / 0-)

      for one.  The author excoriates consumption, ie demand, and claims production (supply) is the one true measure of worth and creator of wealth.  Things only have 'worth' in terms of the demand for them.   If no one wants something, it's worth nothing, no matter how much time you spent 'adding value' to it.

      •  CONSUMPTION without PRODUCTION (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rcbowman

        means that jobs and wealth go to the places that DO produce.

        China's GDP gains at the expense of US GDOP - OUR balance of trade deficit worsens as US consumers buy goods PRODUCED in CHINA.

        INCREASING CONSUMPTION - paying people to continue current buying habits DOES NOT CREATE JOBS IN THE US.

        AND BOTH parties continue to push 'free trade' and encourage offshoring of jobs.

    •  Keynesian philosophy would say... (0+ / 0-)

      that an unemployed worker should be paid to perform some service for the community. Even if it is digging holes and filling them up again.

      Ultimately, this is what work will evolve to is that we will be paid to do "good works" while the robots do what we used to do.

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 09:03:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what if you are paid to create toxins? (0+ / 0-)

      obviously..  what you are paid to produce has relevance to the claim that being paid to make somethong has to be a bit better..

      production is a response to a need..  at least until your choice of product.. is the creation of those needs.. ie advertising...

      consumption is what puts the wheels of the economy churning..  and lets the multiplier effect of money in motion work..  does someone wake up in the morning spontaneously needing an ipad?  of course not..  but creating that need and the subsequent consumption of that product.. creates jobs and  wealth...  

      nothing happens..  until consumption occurs...and needs are met...  at least a little...

      Once science, logic and facts are rejected, reasoned discourse is no longer an option; politics is based on power and with-us-or-against-us tribalism.. - PlutocracyFiles

      by Derffie on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 05:40:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh, I create toxins (0+ / 0-)

        every night in my sleep.

        I understand what you are talking about despite my feeble attempt at humor.

        I'd be happier to be making something for somebody to consume while collecting money than just collecting the money. In fact, I just started collecting Social Security but don't plan to stop working on a website I'm creating just because I have more or less enough income now. I would like the site to be useful to enough people to bring in a bit of income for myself. I used to be an engineer but too-early retirement induced by outside factors pretty much closed the door on that career. My age has closed it on others; so I'm doing the "Colonel Sanders" thing and trying to make my own job at the somewhat advanced age of 62.

        My situation probably influenced what I said about production. I perhaps incorrectly assumed that a lot of people would feel the same way about it.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 06:21:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's a chicken/egg sort of thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          billmosby

          ... when you reduce it to basics...  first you have to be alive...  after that.. it's all negotiable...

          I just find that starting from the basis of  unmet needs..  then meaningful production can be realized...

          as an aside...  I'm in pretty much the same situation as you.. retired from a technical career.   I find that an hour or so of daytrading the market each morning..  works out just fine..  

          and fwiw..   I saw an interesting bit on the news this evening on  a website called  taskrabbit that looked like a way to pick up some easy pocket change...

          Once science, logic and facts are rejected, reasoned discourse is no longer an option; politics is based on power and with-us-or-against-us tribalism.. - PlutocracyFiles

          by Derffie on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 06:41:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the tip! (0+ / 0-)

            I looked at one other site like that, I'll take a look at this one. I was doing online math and physics tutoring, but after a couple of years of $11 an hour as an independent contractor I decided to try to get something a little better going.

            Sounds like you are good at day trading, I never wanted to trust myself at that. I did have a bunch of good rides in the market in the period 1986-2000, and some since then, though.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:20:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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