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View Diary: The Myth of the "Consensual" Marketplace (124 comments)

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  •  Agreed. (18+ / 0-)

    And while it is not necessary that the public owns the means of production, it is necessary that production be geared to meet the needs of people, rather than society simply acting as consumers of output.

    It would also bring significant benefits if the workers in most corporations had a stake in the business, and a voice in the decision-making.

    They create the wealth, it's ridiculous that they do not get to share the fruits.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:12:50 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. You see wider stock option distribution (18+ / 0-)

      in the technology industry, but never in, say, retail, manufacturing or agriculture... as if employees aren't shouldering any business risk, in these days of high un- and under-employment, austerity, outsourcing, and the far-ranging mayhem of supply-side economics and globalization in general?

      Of course they do. And with bailouts and market-rigging schemes, the plutocrats are taking far less risk than they once did...

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:26:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Business doesn't distinguish between making money (27+ / 0-)

        and taking money.  Actually being productive is just one of many "legitimate" business strategies.  Money is money, and they don't care if they got it by giving something back or just used their power and influence to wrench it out of people's hands through unfair advantage.

        I demand that you prove you're alive.

        by Troubadour on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:01:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's hard to find good technology workers (5+ / 0-)

        It's easy to find good retail workers, and you can always replace them if you need to. Manufacturing has become a low-skill endeavor, engineering has reduced most manufacturing activities to something anyone can do with simple equipment and procedures.

        The highly compensated high tech workers are compensated as such because every hour that they work might destroy dozens of hours of what would have been low or medium skill labor.

        The 'problem' here is that production and distribution of most goods and services requires not a lot of skills and most of that is being automated.

        (-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 Mar 24, 2013 at 11:57:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Manufacturing efficiency is not the problem. (14+ / 0-)

          The problem is that workers aren't allowed a share in the increased productivity that results.  We had a vision in the 1950s of jobs that were easy but still paid a living - but the easier they got, the more people just got fired or their pay reduced because workers have no negotiating power with their employers.

          And, actually, automation isn't even the biggest threat to prosperity - it's cheaper to hand-make solar panels in China than run an automated assembly line.  Low-wage labor not only sabotages the prosperity of the average person, but undermines technological development.  It's bad on every level.

          I demand that you prove you're alive.

          by Troubadour on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:19:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (6+ / 0-)

            The increased productivity is due to de-skilling.

            A cobbler is a skilled trade. Some guy who pushes the button on a machine to make 2000 pairs of shoes is not.

            The guy who pushes the button is more productive, but less skilled. It's easy to find a guy to push a button. Hard to find someone who knows how to make shoes by hand.

            (-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 Mar 24, 2013 at 01:06:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly. People are treated as commodities (14+ / 0-)

              rather than as the purpose of the economy.  If it's easy to find someone to do a job, pay them peanuts even if what they do is hugely productive.  If it's difficult to find someone, pay them well or, in the case of executives, grotesquely well, even if they do a shit job and leave the company in ruins.  There's no reward for productivity in this formulation - all that's rewarded is bargaining advantage, and all that's punished is disadvantage.  This is dystopic and heinous.

              I demand that you prove you're alive.

              by Troubadour on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:09:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Corporate charter schools are de-skilling (6+ / 0-)

              teaching. And some commercial pilots only make minimum wage. Flying is pretty skilled work along with a great deal of responsibility. And Walmart pays retail workers so little that each store requires decent citizens to provide welfare to the tune of nearly half a million per store a year to keep the workers sheltered and fed.

              The price of doing business in a modern society is helping to support that society. One hand for yourself one hand for the ship. We are going to reach a point where the pirates of international finance are going to be just too expensive for the rest of us.

          •  Labor-saving devices (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour

            and technologies... should be saving us all labor.

            Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

            by Simplify on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 05:13:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Frank Herbert predicted it in science fiction (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Simplify, greengemini, dfarrah

              decades before we knew it was a real problem:

              Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.
              Of course, the practical solution is not as drastic as the one Herbert envisioned - just share the fruits of the increased productivity.

              Business doesn't distinguish between making money and taking money.

              by Troubadour on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 05:24:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  as you well know technology workers are also (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Simplify, greengemini, J M F, dfarrah

          becoming a commodity, which is the goal of all companies, to make their employees unnecessary so they can get rid of them, or pay them as little as possible.

          h1b's and the outsourcing of IT work are destroying the technology industry here.

          capitalism is a perpetual race to the bottom and people keep telling me how great it is.

          the response of you and your libertarian ilk :  "meh, parity, blah, blah, it'll get better."

          that's completely arguable.  it's entirely possible that it stays bad for a long, long time.

          the libertarian idealogy is the idealogy of those who are already doing well.  I've noticed that.  we can't all be above average, and the libertarian philosophy is that the below average should just go on with their short brutish lives - it's for the best - and sorry, but nobody can help you because " capitalism! ".

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 04:47:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  libertarianism = Feudalism. Next. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour, Simplify, dfarrah
            •  Minor quibble for the sake of geekery: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              twigg, greengemini

              The economic system of Europe in the Middle Ages was Manorialism - the serf/lord relationship - whereas Feudalism was its political system, based on pledged personal loyalties and obligations of military service among the nobility.  

              So, if we were academics, we would say that libertarianism strongly advocates a Manorial economy, but is relatively indifferent to the Feudal political system.  However, since we're not academics, just saying libertarianism = Feudalism works well enough and conveys the central idea that they're a bunch of backward medievalist quacks who want America to exist in the 10th century.

              Business doesn't distinguish between making money and taking money.

              by Troubadour on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 05:30:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)
            the response of you and your libertarian ilk :  "meh, parity, blah, blah, it'll get better."

            that's completely arguable.  it's entirely possible that it stays bad for a long, long time.

            You miss the point that some libertarians make.

            The point is that there is no possible way to prevent parity from occurring. It's just a question of when and how it happens. Protectionist government policies seem to help in the short term, but just create larger market distortions that will sort themselves out eventually, and probably in more messy and chaotic ways than it would have been otherwise.

            All of this agitation against the 1% misses the point, which is that most people reading this blog are the 1% globally (if you make more than $50k/year, you are in the top 1% globally). The rest of the world increasingly wants what we have, and we have neither the power nor the moral authority to tell them that they can't have it. Global median real salaries are increasing every year, just not here where most Americans are in the top 10% of global income.

            Of course, no one likes to hear this. What people like to hear is that if we could only pass some law or other (raise upper income taxes, keep out H1Bs, pass better union protections, outlaw robots, etc) everything will be hunky dory and we can continue living the consumptive "American dream".

            But the math doesn't lie. Most people in most places have it worse than us. They want what we have. There aren't enough resources in the world for all of us to have it. Eventually, parity is assured. Reasonable economic policy should be about managing this process, not destroying our economy futilely trying to hold it off.

            (-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 Mar 24, 2013 at 11:04:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Everyone but a handful of global billionaires (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dfarrah

              being poor does not = "parity."

              Business doesn't distinguish between making money and taking money.

              by Troubadour on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:25:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's not what's happening (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nextstep

                The world median standard of living is increasing.

                (-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 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:19:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Disparity and poverty are both increasing (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dfarrah, squarewheel

                  worldwide.  Trade globalists deceive by saying that someone who goes from being a subsistence farmer with plenty of food but no monetary income to being a factory slave who can buy t-shirts with the pittance they get from working day and night has gone up living standards.

                  Business doesn't distinguish between making money and taking money.

                  by Troubadour on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:37:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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