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View Diary: Crumbs much too small for the other Whos' mouses (199 comments)

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  •  Of course, being a contrarian... (4+ / 0-)

    ...it's hard for me to put the entire economic situation up to banks and rich people alone.

    Automation is a driver of job loss, and it tends to skew income distribution and employment. Instead of having a few medium skilled workers doing a job, you replace them with a fraction of a highly skilled robot designer/programmer, and a fractional worker that's just there to keep the machine running.

    Even "upper level" jobs like law and medicine are falling victim to this phenomenon as a lot of their work involves looking stuff up and poring through documents, something good computer programs can do easily. So you either make it to be a high powered lawyer with computers doing your bidding, or you can't find a law job.

    And the housing market: I find it hard to believe that there is massive, industry-wide collusion here. All of these hedge funds that are supposedly buying up massive numbers of (depreciating, must be upkept) housing must sell them at some point, perhaps taking a loss. Meanwhile for all the time they are keeping housing off the market, they are responsible for taxes and upkeep. What a deal.

    I suspect that a more salient issue is that there are not a lot of credit-worthy borrowers these days with saved money and secure(ish) jobs, and with a questionable economy that could go south at any time, banks are unwilling to lend. The problems will generally solve themselves given time.

    But the automation issue is something we may have to deal with (not sure how). I suspect in the future there is going to be a general market pressure for less kids who are educated more highly. The days of needing large numbers of laborers (or people at all) are over or at least drifting to a close.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:36:12 AM PST

    •  But none of this requires the rich to get richer (5+ / 0-)

      Cooperatives work as the capitalists. We don't need to have rich people stealing from workers.

      Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?

      by freelunch on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:52:51 AM PST

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      •  Cooperatives can work maybe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        But the problem is that you always need dynamic managerial types to actually run the business, and cooperatives are subject to automation and outsourcing same as anyone.

        Who decides when it's necessary to lay off the janitor, or automate some process, etc?

        Inevitably, you get into situations where some part of the organization isn't pulling its weight, whether it's a person or a division or whatever. How does a worker cooperative deal with that?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:23:07 AM PST

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    •  If one can't look (9+ / 0-)

      beyond the status quo, and visualize a different way of organizing our society, we are trapped here.

      Big money has corrupted our government.

      Big banks use massive computers to trade fraudulent derivatives at lightning speed. This is a method of trading not available to most people.

      The housing market was gamed on purpose, for quick profit. You can't ignore the recent fines paid by the banks for housing fraud, and massive illegal stealing by the banks goes unpunished, due to the corruption noted above.

      There is no evidence that automation has anything to do with American job loss. What does? "Fair trade agreements" that pay LARGE corporations rewards for moving jobs overseas.

      I find the above comment by sparhak misleading and wrong headed.  

      Things are more the way they are today than they ever were before. -Jimmy Flynn

      by onionjim on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:59:26 AM PST

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      •  Unfortunately, those fines have been factored (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, No Exit

        in as part of the cost of doing business. It's the time-value of money. If I know not paying for something lets me keep the money a little longer, and I can make more doing with it what I want, and pay the fine later, and the fine is less than I can make using the money, then I have still made a profit.

        Forty years ago, when I finally went back to school and finished my college education, I switched majors from liberal arts to business. I had to take entry level accounting and economics courses. It was right when the Chicago School style economics and Enron accounting was in its nacent phase. I distinctly remember the economics professor praising the head of a large company for the tactic of slippery accounting to avoid taxes, because the interest on the unpaid taxes was going to be 3%. And he knew that he could use that same money and earn 6% on it, thus making a profit of 3%. Is that legal? Yes. But legality is often the lowest hurdle.

        Left completely out of consideration is whether this was ethical, professional and/or moral. This mindset often dismisses the spirit of the law, and deals only with the letter of the law. When there is no effective penalty, there is only more profit, the behavior has only 'positive' consequences. There is no incentive to change.

      •  Many people never question (3+ / 0-)

        why things are the way they are.

        They just assume certain conditions are inviolable and fixed, and there 's no way no how no possibiity of trying something different or thinking about something differently.

        Those peope are the ones who say--there's absolutely nothing we can do about offshoring jobs, it's here to stay, get used to it, etc.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:40:59 AM PST

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      •  I would rec just for: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        No Exit, onionjim
        If one can't look beyond the status quo, and visualize a different way of organizing our society, we are trapped here.

        I do believe that automation has hurt industries like automotive. But mainly, jobs have been moved where labor is cheaper.

        •  And this causes anger in the working class (0+ / 0-)

          It used to be that we imported cheap labor, and that was the cause of much anger in the lower and middle classes (very few here are old enough to remember the economic-driven bigotry of NINA and the like).

          These days, rather than bringing low-wage employees to America, we send the factories to the low-wage workers.  Same system, different tactic.  And the result is anger and in some cases bigotry in the working class.

          I'm not certain that there is a solution.

      •  Wrong wording (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        onionjim

        "Fair trade" means paying growers a fair rate for coffee beans, cocoa, and other products. You mean "Free Trade agreements" like NAFTA, which are commonly neither free nor fair.

        America—We built that!

        by Mokurai on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:14:17 AM PST

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    •  Guaranteed income. (3+ / 0-)

      Sorry that I just made your head explode with a non-capitalistic notion  [or am I ?]

      Guaranteed Income - Jeremy Rifkin

      The investors can and do rent the properties.

      And who is 'creditworthy' nowadays?  Even the banks aren't creditworthy, but they had no problem getting bailouts.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:35:49 AM PST

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      •  I oppose bailouts (0+ / 0-)

        All bailouts, all the time, for anyone from the smallest household to Citibank itself. All institutions need to be run in a solvent manner or be destroyed.

        And I realize I have a reputation on here, but I would not necessarily be opposed to a guaranteed income. The devil is in the details, though. How do you know your guaranteed income won't just drive inflation and leave the recipients in the same place? And are you going to have a global minimum income? Are US people more deserving of a high living standard than people elsewhere? The resources to allow everyone (7 billion) to live at US living standards don't exist. How do we arbitrate competing needs for resources?

        I think things are going to have to be different, but I don't know exactly how just yet.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:41:01 AM PST

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        •  Obviously I mean (0+ / 0-)

          "Go bankrupt" more than "be destroyed".

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:12:11 AM PST

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        •  Your question about resources (0+ / 0-)

          has already been answered by the decisions made by policy makers and people with power.  They are the wrong decisions, but nevertheless, the decisions have been made.  So, we need different people with power who can make different decisons for a change.

          At some point, somebody has got to make a decision to try something else and see if it works, just like we used to when we implemented policies or invented things.  

          We already have a guaranteed income of sorts, don't we, with the earned income tax credit?  Couldn't we do more of that for starters?  

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:44:30 PM PST

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    •  burger machines that make 360 of them an hour (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag

        This will limit the workers at Mickey D's in time. Read about these machines in an industrial magazine.

    •  I don't have a problem with automation (0+ / 0-)

      as long as the increasingly productive workers get their share of the increased profits, and can then support workers in other industries with their purchases. As when Henry Ford invented the automobile production line and paid his workers more than anybody else, in order to get the best workers who could make the line even more productive, and could also afford to buy Ford cars.

      What the US economy did overall from the New Deal until Reagan, when owners and management were able to grab all of the increases for themselves.

      This goes back to the later Henry Ford who threatened to shut down Ford Motors completely rather than sign a contract with the UAW.

      Production is not a zero-sum game. As workers become more productive and better paid, they look to buy a wider range of products and more industries spring up. We need policies that support the workers in organizing, in getting their share, in retraining where necessary, in educating their children, and so on. Not policies that support ripping them off.

      America—We built that!

      by Mokurai on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:10:17 AM PST

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