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View Diary: How Will Our Economic Transformation Change Our Political Geography? (179 comments)

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  •  Not the Same (5+ / 0-)

    Just a note:

    While the overall thrust is probably correct, today's economy doesn't resemble ANY in the past. For example, in the late nineteenth century the country was not overpopulated and debt wasn't accruing to other countries. Nor were they faced with a climate crisis that makes building our way out perhaps completely impractical.

    We will need to think in completely different terms to solve this. We ought to be looking out 10, 20 and 50 years about what kind of country and world we think will work and make the necessary transformation to get there. Any other option will necessarily fail, so there's no real downside to putting together the right answer and working as hard as we can to get there.

    •  So, looking at it from a very personal slant, (4+ / 0-)

      what would you do if you lived in a great retirement community in AZ?  Would you sell now and take a BIG loss or stay and see what happens?  These are decisions we ponder...want to be smart.
      Never want to be stuck anywhere.

      Moderation in all things-NOT

      by Julie Gulden on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 04:41:02 PM PST

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      •  There is no reason to leave a great retirement (4+ / 0-)

        community anywhere, especially if one can afford it. Gotta die somewhere!

        Ablington is a scab at the bending factory. Relentless!

        by ablington on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 04:44:03 PM PST

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      •  OH boy! (4+ / 0-)

        I reread your post and didnt realize that you were talking about YOU!! Please don't die!!

        (open mouth, insert foot)

        Ablington is a scab at the bending factory. Relentless!

        by ablington on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 04:45:44 PM PST

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      •  It depends whether or not you're trying to sell (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Liberal Thinking, theran, RisingTide

        your house in Michigan at the same time, like my folks.  I say sell the cushy retirement home and move back to the real world with the rest of us before the house in Michigan eats up all the resources.

        •  Other Factors (0+ / 0-)

          Just one other factor is the cost of living in the two areas. I think that Michigan is probably cheaper than Arizona, but I don't live in either.

          The other thing I'd consider is the winters. Winter in Michigan is harsh, especially when you're older. Why do people pack up and move south when they retire? Mostly to get away from those winter months. So, I think that's another factor. I wouldn't let an ice storm kill me just to save a few dollars.

      •  Good Luck With That (0+ / 0-)

        If you're talking about your own place, then I don't think Arizona is that bad a place to be. It's not like it's going to turn into a desert with "global scorching"! And, you aren't going to be flooded when the ice caps melt.

        The real decision depends on a lot of details (Do you have the house paid off? Are you under any pressure to sell? Etc.)

        I'm not a real estate agent and I don't pretend to have a crystal ball. But, my understanding is that housing is still above what it would be based on salaries. (That is, monthly payments calculated to be under about 30% of monthly income.) Also, a bottom would be where sellers are realistic about what their homes are worth in the current market, something that probably half the current sellers are not.

        By those standards, prices will have to drop substantially more. So, holding on to a property doesn't seem that bad unless you are under pressure to sell, because you get to live in it. Sure, it will be worth less if you sell it later (and prices do drop), but so will anything you buy at that point. And what are you going to do with the money if you sell now that's going to do better? I'm not sure where to invest it, other than gold. T-bills are paying so little that they don't make sense, and if you're retired then you need investments with basically zero risk.

        If you are retired and living in a retirement community, then why sell? You may need whatever equity you have in the house later for other things. That's my uninformed opinion.

      •  Know how many $5k friends you got. (0+ / 0-)

        and make your decision based on that.

        how many reliable -- " i could give this person 5k and get it back six months later" friends do you have???

        Jesus ain't comin', go ahead and put the Nukes back now.

        by RisingTide on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:19:10 AM PST

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    •  History doesn't repeat (9+ / 0-)

      But it does rhyme.

      No, this isn't JUST like any other situation.  But it is going to be MORE like some than others.

      Which ones rhyme?

      [When] the land... has become private property, the landlords... love to reap where they never sowed, and demand rent even for its natural produce. ~Adam Smith

      by ogre on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 04:43:34 PM PST

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    •  Saying The Economy Doesn't Resemble... (8+ / 0-)

      ...the early economy in ANY way is silly.

      Do we not use carbon energy anymore?  No factories?  Wage labor doesn't exist?  Credit isn't used?  Banks no longer exist?  Capital is not a factor?  

      Also, it's a dubious claim that the country is overpopulated.  In fact, it's patently false.  

      "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

      by Dana Houle on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 04:47:49 PM PST

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      •  No Malthusians, please (5+ / 0-)

        Even Mexico will begin losing population by the year 2045.

        As Bill Gross of Pimco has said, in a decade, we will be asking/begging for immigrants to come into our country, lest our economy implode.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 04:51:26 PM PST

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        •  Japan is Declining Rapidly (5+ / 0-)

          Nobody immigrates there, and they've stopped having children.  They're going to shrink by something like 20 million over the next few decades, even with those incredible longevity rates.  

          "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

          by Dana Houle on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 05:11:34 PM PST

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          •  And those incredible longevity rates (5+ / 0-)

            may cause problems of their own.  Japan's population pyramid projections are completely inverted.

            Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are...is a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

            by Sinister Rae on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 05:21:01 PM PST

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            •  Right, Which is Why Their Low Birthrate... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman, theran

              ...and non-existent immigration is such a huge demographic and economic time bomb.  

              "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

              by Dana Houle on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 05:29:44 PM PST

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              •  Dud (0+ / 0-)

                I'd like to know exactly what kind of disaster people think will happen when this supposed time bomb goes off. Talk about overpopulation! Japan needs to lose about three-quarters of its population just to get down into the same density region as California (Japan: 337 per sq-km, California: 90 per sq-km).

                And neither California nor Japan really has a sustainable population.

                Let's talk about a real disaster. Within our lifetimes, the polar ice caps could melt. The arctic cap could be completely melted in summer within a decade. If even a fraction of the ice and snow in Greenland and the antarctic turns into liquid water, the land where I'm now sitting in Sunnyvale will be underwater, along with much of the Bay Area, LA, and many coastal cities of Japan.

                Why are we in this pickle? The main reason is unrestrained human population. Sure, climate change is created by dumping carbon from fossil fuel into the air, but suppose population wasn't going to continue to climb? Each additional person added to the population is one more person raising carbon levels in the atmosphere. Where population peaks will determine to a large extent how difficult it is to fix the climate problem.

                Whatever imagined disaster awaits Japan from its low birthrate, it's nothing compared to having the ice caps go away.

                •  Good Luck Funding Social Welfare... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  alizard, BYw

                  ...programs when you have more retirees than workers.

                  And talk about think liberally, you can't imagine having lots of people and also protecting the environment?  What a narrow, unimaginative, Malthusian reactionary response.  

                  "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

                  by Dana Houle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:11:52 AM PST

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                  •  I'm Game (0+ / 0-)

                    Show me how that works. So far, I all I see is that we are overpopulated and it has translated directly into raping the environment and polluting the earth.

                    Really, what you are asking us to do is to take less each so that we can have more people on the planet. I don't want to do that. I don't want to compromise my lifestyle in order for someone else to have a plethora of kids. I don't see any reason why any of us should suffer because we have been irresponsible about family planning.

                    Are you trying to call me Malthusian? Remember that Malthus was just stating a law of nature. That law says that if a population is unrestrained within itself then natural forces will step in to restrain it. What that means in practical terms is that if we chose not to act responsibly, then human population will be restrained by natural forces: specifically war, pestilence and starvation. A liberal attitude about it is that humans should take personal responsibility so that others don't suffer. That means that people need to be informed and make the responsible choices on their own because otherwise forces beyond our ability to stop will step in.

                    I'm very much wishing that people will be responsible because the alternative, I believe, is avoidable suffering.

                    You can call me Malthusian if you want, but I'll just wear that as a badge of honor, which it certainly is.

          •  It's not just Japan (5+ / 0-)

            Japan is just an extreme example, since it's very bad at importing adults.  The NYT had an article on similar problems elsewhere.

            The reason for dropping birth rates is always economic as well.  Having kids is too expensive for educated, middle class women (couples).  These dynamics aren't likely to change, making immigration more and more important to the developed economies going forward.

            "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

            by theran on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 06:42:55 PM PST

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            •  Expensive Kids (0+ / 0-)

              When kids are too expensive to have, that's feedback from the universe. Can't you hear the universe calling to you, "Enough! Enough!"?

              Japan would not have trouble "importing adults" if it were a cheap place to live and had plenty of environmentally friendly areas to move into. But it's not. It's got some of the highest costs in the world.

              Why? Because it has some of the highest population densities in the world. Competition drives up prices, and overpopulation is driving that competition.

              •  yes, yes it would. (0+ / 0-)

                I would not go to a country to live where accidentally stumbling into the wrong bathroom would get me raped.
                I would not go to a country which has the highest rate of preteen pregnancies in the civilized world.
                Maybe you'd prefer a country where you could sit on the subway and compose music for a full month straight (with donations of food from travellers...)
                Me? I wouldn't feel safe on that subway.

                [err... the guy on the Tokyo subway subsequently asked, "Can I do the same thing in NYC?"]

                Jesus ain't comin', go ahead and put the Nukes back now.

                by RisingTide on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:24:43 AM PST

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        •  Ho, Ho, Ho! (0+ / 0-)

          What makes you think we'll be around in 2045? Do you really believe this Bill Gross? Why?

          People seem scared of declining population, as if it will create some kind of economic catastrophe. Why is that? Our standard of living would improve with less people for the simple reason that there would be less people dividing up the available resources.

          Everything you currently buy would probably be cheaper! Want a house? Cheaper! Want water? Cheaper! Food? Cheaper! Clothing? Cheaper!

          How is this a catastrophe?

          The one group that would have a tougher time of it would be people with equity in companies--company owners. They would have to work harder to make a profit because they would have less scale and would have to pay higher compensation. But, for the vast majority of people, life would be good. Less workers means higher wages. Less workers means an easier time getting a job.

          So, when someone tells me that we will be begging for immigrants to come to our country to keep the economy working, I have to figure that they are doing this because they are getting paid by rich people. What do you think Pimco's bias is in this?

      •  YMMV (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RisingTide

        However, objectively, we've got too many people. We would not have any serious environmental problems and no one would be complaining about the cost of living if we had a sustainable population in this country--or worldwide.

        Also, I didn't say it didn't resemble earlier economies in any way; I said that this downturn didn't resemble any previous one. It resembles a lot of them in various ways. For example, it's chillingly similar to the one in the 1930s. But, it's just not your granddaddy's depression; it's a new one with far different causes, consequences and, most probably, cures.

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