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In the first months of 1811, a secret army drilled on the chilly moors outside Nottingham, England. Under the shadow of darkness, these men gathered to learn guerrilla tactics -- how to move as a team, how to avoid detection, how to break through locks and barriers, and how to escape when their task was complete. Only this army was not made up of soldiers.  They were stocking makers.

By the spring of the next year, nearly 200 of the mechanical "stocking frames" at local factories had been destroyed. In this following months, the destruction would spread to cloth works in Yorkshire and Leicestershire, to Lancashire cotton mills, and eventually into the factories of London. By then the army was not so secret. Handbills had arrived for months warning factory owners of their fate. Many of these were signed by the supposed leader of this rebellion -- General Ned Ludd. It from from this name that the movement gained it's popular moniker: the Luddites.

The Luddite movement would fade only after rising to widespread violence that took the lives of workers, hired guards, and a few mill owners. This was followed by a swift reaction from government to imprison or hang many of those suspected of being Luddites. The breaking of machinery was itself made a capital crime, and by 1812 several men had been executed for the offense of damaging automatic looms. 

When we hear the term "Luddite" today, our reaction is to think of a brutish lout frightened by any sign of progress. A Luddite is someone who can't understand their computer, hates the Internet, and thinks that there hasn't been a worthwhile invention since the well-chipped stone. But that doesn't really describe the men (and women) who were involved in that original movement. They were not anti-technology. They were reacting to a change that was seeing many of them either lose jobs or face a sharp decrease in pay.

The Luddites were not rural loonies frightened of smokestacks. These men were the skilled craftsmen, master tailors and experienced crofters (those skilled at turning the rough product of looms into smooth cloth), who saw the automation of English factories not as a distant threat, but as the immediate reason that their lives and careers were bring disrupted.

Economics has long held that the Luddite's concerns were actually based on a fallacy. Studies over the decades have shown that the automation of factories does not tend to decrease the overall number of jobs. However, the nature of the jobs certainly does change. The original Luddites acted in response to a sharp drop in wages and working conditions as positions that had taken years of training were replaced by roles that could be (and in many cases were) done by children.  The change in relationship between craftsmen and those they worked for was tremendous.

There is a trade off for this, one that can best be seen in looking at the oldest of commodities.  In a hunter-gather society, collection of food occupies enough time and resources that there's little left for other occupations and severe limits on the total population. At each stage, as food production has become more efficient, it has supported a larger population, and less and less of that population has been involved in food production. When the Luddites were burning looms in Nottinghamshire, over 80% of people in the United States worked in agriculture. Two centuries later, that number is around 1%. The same forces that allowed mechanization of cloth production took people out of the fields and into the factories.

This is a cycle that's repeated frequently over time. New technology reduces the employment demand in existing areas, but provides opportunities for both basic workers in new areas and for entirely new positions, some of which have the potential to grow into the new generation of "master craft" positions. Crofters were replaced not only by low skilled factory workers, but by machinists. Which isn't to say this was good for the crofters. It wasn't. The movement toward increasing mechanization that we now see as the start of the Industrial Age was incredibly messy, difficult, and disruptive on every level from individuals to nations.

Each advance in efficiency, each new "age" has increased the total population than can be supported and employed. It's also increased the total range of opportunities available. In general it's brought on a better life. But it's also brought on an ever increasing disparity. We continue to track "worker efficiency" as one of our economic measurements, and treat it as if it's a gauge of the nation's health, but every tick of that increasing efficiency is a mark of the devaluing of the workers, a widening of the gap between rich and poor.

Once upon a time we dreamed of gleaming futures in which robots did all the work. But it seemed that no one ever stopped to ask a simple question -- if robots are making everything, how are you going to pay for what they make?  We like to think that we have left the industrial age behind and entered the information age, but we've not completed our journey across that boundary any more than those Nottingham craftsmen. We have by no means faced the disorientation and dislocation that will occur as we trek further into the new age. We haven't answered that eternal question: what are we all going to do when we grow up?

One thing is sure, mechanization and automation reduced the percentage of the population involved in agriculture to a tiny fraction of what it had been. No matter how many trendy organic local farms are built, that change will not be reversed. Likewise, increasing automation has drained away the jobs of our fathers that worked in the modern analogs of those English mills. Like agriculture, manufacturing's day as the primary employer of the population is done. Not only are those jobs not coming back, more jobs will continue to be lost. At this point, about 20% of Americans work in manufacturing, about half the percentage of a generation ago. We shouldn't be surprised to see that number cut down dramatically over the next two decades.

An astounding 79% of Americans now work in "service" jobs (that's pretty much everyone who works in an office, not just those saying "do you want fries with that"). Now for the scary part. if you want the real reason why the current level of high unemployment has been so persistant, here it is: the largest gains in efficiency over the last two decades haven't been in the fields or the factories, it's been in the office.  That's where productivity has skyrocketed more in the last few years than over the previous century. No one who's been in the office environment over that period should be shocked. When I started working as a geologist, I had a secretary who worked on a humming IBM Selectric, I had access to a mainframe computer that could store and retrieve data, and for making maps I had a fine selection of Rapidographs, Zip-o-Tone sheets, and colored pencils.  Making a single map meant days or weeks of careful drafting, and lots of fine work with rulers and calculator to determine the fall of contour lines. By the time I left that job a decade later, I could produce a dozen colored maps in an hour from computer driven plotters and software that calculated those contour lines for me. The secretary was gone. After all, by then we had word processors on our desktops.

That kind of gain has gone on everywhere. In almost every industry. This boom in productivity has made modern corporations the wealthiest institutions that have ever existed. It has also meant that both goods and services are available at prices that are historically low. The world may not be flat, but it certainly is cheap.

But make no mistake, right now we are all crofters. What we do for a living in that 79% service sector, is for the most part exactly the kind of work that will be replaced by the next generation of automation.  In another two decades, those areas will employ no more people than manufacturing does today.

This doesn't mean we should gather in the fields by night and practice smashing server farms. Standing in the way of technological advance is a good way to get run over, especially since -- as the Luddites discovered -- there are tremendous forces that will work in favor of disruptive technology precisely because it fuels those on the good end of massive disparity. But there are some things that we can do that will position us for the transition into the real information age, an age that's still ahead of us.

  1. Education. Why did America become so dominant in the midst of the Industrial Age? There are few factors that contribute as much as the emphasis on public education that was put in place in the mid-19th century. We still have the world's best system of universities (also a legacy of the education-emphasis of previous eras). Investment now in education at all levels is needed to compete in a world where increasingly the lowest rung is still quite high.
  1. Taxation. While goverments have been miserable at halting technological advance (and we really shouldn't hope they get better), one thing they can do is implement tax policies that try to smash the massive surge in disparity that's generated by increasing productivity. The United States did this successfully at the height of the industrial period, putting in tax rates up to 90%. Those that argue that when you tax people at that rate they have little incentive to make more are exactly right -- and experience shows that nothing else has worked as well for getting those at the top to contribute more to their workers.
  1. Flexibility. There's nothing more deadly to a nation facing such a transition than hide-bound commitment to "the way our fore fathers did it." Society and its institutions are directly shaped by changes in the level of mechanization and automation. It's not a coincidence that both democracies and modern corporations date to the same period as the start of the Industrial Age. Our existing institutions will turn out to have conflicts at every level with real Information Age conditions. It may be that we must surrender or reform some of our most cherish ideals to fit a new age.

In a period that may be surprisingly short, all of what we consider traditional "service" work may tumble down into the single digit land of agriculture. 80% of us will be doing... something else.

Whatever that something is, just remember: don't kill the mill owners. That won't help anybody.  Just tax the hell out of them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oddly, Change Never Disrupts Those Who Manage (30+ / 0-)

    money and people.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:07:14 AM PDT

    •  Because we haven't figured out (7+ / 0-)

      how to automate that process. Wherever you need creativity, at least theoretically, the process will be labour intensive.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  machine breaking is not system breaking n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

      by annieli on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:41:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Other "tax"- like coordination methods required (6+ / 0-)

        Taxation. While goverments have been miserable at halting technological advance (and we really shouldn't hope they get better), one thing they can do is implement tax policies that try to smash the massive surge in disparity that's generated by increasing productivity. The United States did this successfully at the height of the industrial period, putting in tax rates up to 90%. Those that argue that when you tax people at that rate they have little incentive to make more are exactly right -- and experience shows that nothing else has worked as well for getting those at the top to contribute more to their workers.

        "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

        by annieli on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:54:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Control of the means of production stays (5+ / 0-)

      in the same hands.

      And that has to change.

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:19:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The way to do that is to allow government (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AbsurdEyes, rhonan

        to get into the production game.

        Let governments hire people directly to build things, to make things, with low differentials between what the actual workers make and what managers make.  Use profits to lower what the gov't has to take in taxes to supply roads, military, social safety nets.  Without high-priced execs, gov't can make things of better quality more cheaply than private enterprise, and force costs down while still maintaining the same level of employment.  And I'd far rather gov't paid for social security out of profits from selling cars or whatever, than by taxing my income at ever higher levels.

        Note to self: Quit insulting people. Note to others: If I insult you, please remind me that I'm trying to stop doing that.

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:10:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's how Capitalism "works" (13+ / 0-)

      All the benefits of technological improvements go to these who own the means of production unless there is a powerful countervailing force, like unions or a wealth redistributing government, to prevent that.

      And the problem with either of those is that the Capitalist will use a good portion of the capital they accumulate to destroy the former and undo the latter.

      Hence, 21st century America.

      This is one of the internal contradictions of the system:

      The more that technology advances, the more that workers suffer.

      Eventually, we get to the point where there are very few workers at all, but then, who is there to buy the products and services?

      Inherent contradiction.

      All the talk about training and education is bullshit, because while you're training, the Capitalists are paying someone to figure out how to do without people--at least in this country--with that kind of training.

      If you're interested in learning more about alternative ideas about political economy, ones that distribute the benefits of technological advances across the society, check out the Anti-Capitalist Meetup today at 6 PM EDT in the recent diaries.

      Freedom without equality is a fraud. Equality without freedom is despotism. Michael Bakunin

      by goinsouth on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:29:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tipped for most of the comment, but disagree (6+ / 0-)

        with one line.

        Training and education is a good thing, but it has to be the 'right' training and education.  Reading over this diary and the comments, it occurred to me that one of the frameworks used in nursing has far wider implications for life in general.

        Maslow's Hierarchy gives nurses a top down approach to what's important in treating a patient, and is frequently illustrated with a pyramid stepping through the needs a patient must have met from most important to least important.

        First are pure physiological survival needs - can the patient breath, is his blood flowing so that all cells are being perfused, etc.  Then safety needs - is there anything that will harm the patient if left undone, threatening those physiological needs.  Then you start moving away from physical and into mental and emotional - is he/she interacting with others, socially adjusted, is he/she meeting self-esteem needs, does he/she have ways to fulfill a need to create, etc.

        You can take that same approach to living your life, and evaluate what you're doing and what you need to know in terms of how well it satisfies those needs.

        When I spend my (time/money) does it

        A) make me money or allow me to spend less money in future
        (since money is the exchange medium for most of what we do)

        B) make me healthier in general

        C) make me happier.

        So, first, is it meeting immediate survival needs, and then if those are taken care of, does it decrease my danger from illness, injury, and then does it increase my mental and emotional well-being.

        New skills and knowledge are some of the best ways to ensure survival, if they're useful skills that help you achieve those above goals.

        Got some time and land?  Learn to grow crops.  It'll decrease your food bills, give you exercise, give you healthier things to eat, and is emotionally satisfying.

        Learn to make as many of the things you need as you can, or learn to make some of them really well, and encourage your friends and relatives to do likewise, then trade among yourselves.  Carpentry, masonry, pottery, glazing, plumbing, electrical work are all useful skills that allow you to help yourself and help others.  Learn about nutrition, physiology to help yourself stay healthy.

        What's not a useful skill to learn?  One of those ones where you train for one of those very specific jobs that are in line to be automated, unless it can be picked up easily and will get you work now, while you train for something else.

        Note to self: Quit insulting people. Note to others: If I insult you, please remind me that I'm trying to stop doing that.

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:02:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely agree. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, Ezekial 23 20

          I should have been more specific about what I meant by training and education.

          What I was talking about was the futile chasing after training and education for the next "secure job".

          What you're advocating is essential.  Recover lost skills.  Learn to do things of direct use to yourself, your family and your neighbors.

          But be as skeptical about the next "plastics" as Benjamin was.  It's being touted primarily as a way for the "educators" to make a buck.

          Freedom without equality is a fraud. Equality without freedom is despotism. Michael Bakunin

          by goinsouth on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:15:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  of course it does (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask

      as companies fail and disappear their shareholders suffer in a complete loss of value and the managers who manage the companies lose their jobs

      Blockbuster is currently being destroyed by netflix

      in the past lotus was killed by microsoft

      google killed entrenched search engine company alta vista and is in the process of eviscerating once king yahoo.

      In the process managers and shareholders alike lose.

      •  Ceos get planinum parachutes even when they fail. (0+ / 0-)

        The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:08:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And yet. (0+ / 0-)

        I've worked at a few companies that failed to one degree or another.  One thing I have noticed is that people look at you as part of the failure, when you were layers removed from the decision making, yet the very managers and executives that ran the company into the ground get a fat bonus when they leave, and get snapped up by some other company right away.

        I remember being at the bankruptcy auction for a dotcom I worked for, listening to people talk as if the reason the company failed was because there were a couple of pinball machines and a pool table in the employee lounge.  They seamed to think that providing that for a couple of hundred employee was extravagant, while spending 10 times that on fitness room for the executive team that would be used by 8 people was a reasonable reward for their hard work.  Their hard work being to con venture capitalists into investing in a company whose business plan was: give away the product below cost, ???, Profit!

    •  There is a common thread (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayskew, happymisanthropy

      that runs through all these periods of "technology changes" . . . it's what governments and the "ruling class" do with all the displaced workers.  It's called . . .

      .

      .

      .

      WAR

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:53:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not quite - the aristocracy didn't do well (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayskew, Justanothernyer, MPociask

      The new factories using the new machine were largely owned by a new industrial entrepreneurial class, and not necessarily English. Friedrich Engels, who converted Karl Marx to communism, was a partner in a factory in Manchester, and used that partnership to support Marx in London. Engels himself wrote a devastating critique of the new working conditions where children were replaced skilled adults, and the new Capitalist class were inclined to see their workers as just another set of unit costs to minimise.

      This new class eventually took over the House of Commons, and left the House of Lords as the last refuge of diminishing power and influence for the aristocracy. The callousness of the capitalist class led to the emergence of political parties of the Left, and the old Tory/Whig agricultural divide of the beginning of the century had been replaced by Conservative/Liberal/Labour division largely based on an urban and industrial reality.

      Roll forward to today, and in most European countries, Canada and Australia the political center has moved well to the left in the last half-century. This will happen in the US as well, but (to borrow from Churchill) - "only after exhausting every other alternative".

    •  Vonnegut's Player Piano (5+ / 0-)

      In Vonnegut's book, set in the not too distant future, the country is run by a small group of elite highly educated people. The masses, with nothing to do because 'boxes' have taken over all the jobs, parade around in glorified slums. One quote from the book that I think fits in this discussion is:

      Without regard for the wishes of men, any machines or techniques or forms of organization that can economically replace men do replace men. Replacement is not necessarily bad, but to do it without regard for the wishes of men is lawlessness.

      Without regard for the changes in human life patterns that may result, new machines, new forms of organization, new ways of increasing efficiency, are constantly being introduced. To do this without regard for the effects on life patterns is lawlessness.

      Four out five sock puppets agree

      by se portland on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:23:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Climate change and Peak oil will disrupt us all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, revsue

      There won't really be time for a class war to get off the ground taking about redistribution of wealth before we all find ourselves grateful that we are unemployed.

      I mean if we were employed we would be pissed off because we would be unable to afford to commute to work because of the price of gas.

      Even if we could afford the gas we would still be pissed off because maneuvering our boat into one of the tight parking spots at the office would be really difficult.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 09:29:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To my mind, the only answer is sustained (26+ / 0-)

    domestic spending on productive assets. Productive assets examples = high speed rail, massive cleantech installations, upgraded schools, basic and applied scientific research infrastructure.

    Free trade is here to stay. Technological progress is here to stay. Global competition is here to stay.

    So let's create sources of domestic demand that will employ large numbers of people, reward important educational attainments (engineering, math, science, etc), and in the end, leave us with assets that generate more economic growth.

    How do we pay for it? It's actually quite easy in reality, though likely impossible politically:

    1. Go single payer health and thus cut national health care costs dramatically. (One payer = economic rationalization impossible under dozens of payers).
    1. Tax the very wealthy more, and more effectively. Hampering the useless plutocratic class will benefit the economy in many ways/
    1. Cut defense by 30%. Defense is a terribly unproductive asset and it is strangling us.
    •  How about population control? (0+ / 0-)

      How come no one ever mentions population control?

      Tax the wealthy only goes so far when you have more and more mouths to feed with those same resources.  If think it ok to socially engineer society on where the funds come from, what is so terrible about demanding some population control to guarantee quality of life.. rather than quantity.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:31:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We can (0+ / 0-)

        eat the rich.

        The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:11:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You first (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, MPociask

        Which is my inevitable response.

        (Incidentally, my wife and I have no kids, so I'm not being hypocritical.)

        It has been demonstrated that there are exactly two ways of reducing population growth.

        The first is running a dictatorial regime that can enbforce said rules by force.  And if you think a government with that power will restrict itself to birth control, you are smoking some fine shit and I'd like to know where it grows.

        The second is to increase the standard of living of the population, and ensure that women have equal rights to education and economic opportunity.  And th birth rate takes care of itself, as it is all over the developed world.

        Care to decide which system you'd rather live under?

        •  So, dictatorial redistribution of wealth is ok? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          debedb

          But dictatorial enforcement of birth control isn't, eh?

          Yeah.. I'm being an asshole about this, but you can see where I'm going with it.

          Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of carrots and sticks, though.  Voluntary.. but with various rewards  (perhaps college tuition grants, etc..) and taking away current rewards (child tax deductions).

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

          by Skeptical Bastard on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 11:09:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Destructive Assets (6+ / 0-)

      I totally agree.

      The other wing of that plane is scaling way back on our destructive assets investments. The military/intelligence industries consume probably 25%+ of our Federal budget (and therefore over 13% of the GDP), but produce practically nothing, net - while destroying $BILLIONS a year - and destroying $TRILLIONS overseas in any given decade.

      We should cut military/intelligence spending not just from $1T to $700B by ending the Iraq War, but down to $200B. We could spend $300B a year on investments in other job/healthcare systems currently serving the million Americans whose lives are spent in the business of destroying rather than producing.

      Just as 1 - -1 = 2, dumping our destructive assets equals gaining productive assets.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:46:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cut defense by 90% (6+ / 0-)

      Go back to top tax rates of 90%.

      "How come you've got so many women?" Russian generals to Rose Gottemoeller negotiating the new nuclear treaty.

      by mrobinson on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:10:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I dont get it (5+ / 0-)

    If only 1% of the population are farmers then why do "rural" voters have so much sway to fuck life for everyone else?

    I'm already drunk what more do you want from me?

    by NorthAndEast on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:08:54 AM PDT

  •  Krugman calculated, back in (15+ / 0-)

    1991, that, were the US to completely close its borders to foreign manufacturing, total employment in manufacturing would increase by only about 3% (Peddling Prosperity, the most neglected of Krugman's books, is, in my view, also the best).

    So, even if the US were to "bring manufacturing back," even if it pursued autarky, the jobs just wouldn't come back, because so few people are needed to provide goods and services (about 6% of the population for basic food, water, shelter, and healthcare).

    Still, that's not necessarily a bad thing; there's always more work to be done, we just don't always figure out what it is quickly; my guess is that (i) many more people will be working in professions such as healthcare and social services, and that (ii) to ensure a just distribution, the government's role will increase.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:09:53 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this one Mark (9+ / 0-)

    I'll forward it to my husband who's off on a business trip in Germany now.  Though the "bloggy 'tude" of the last sentence stands in contrast to the rest of the post.  

  •  this is why we will get killed in november. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    90% taxation?

  •  If the world economy doesn't crash completely, (10+ / 0-)

    I suspect investing in local/regional economies will be worth your while. Oil prices will climb again, transport will be expensive. We may even see the return of manufacturing, perhaps on smaller scales, just as we are seeing a resurgence in small scale agriculture.

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. MLK Jr.

    by the fan man on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:21:13 AM PDT

    •  Wait till desktop manufacturing takes off (5+ / 0-)

      There are already machines out now, albeit probably in their most crude form, that allow people to manufacture their own prototype of consumer goods.  While it may be possible someday for someone to manufacture cars, engines, and other assorted goods out of their own garage, what's more likely to happen in the near future is that some enterprising individual will create a prototype of some useful widget and commission some local manufacturing facility to ramp up production of said widget according to supply and demand.

      •  Saw that on Global Guerrillas. I hope it can (0+ / 0-)

        be ramped up quickly. Even if the world economy chugs and creaks along, it will revolutionize manufacturing, though raw materials will still have to be imported.

        "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. MLK Jr.

        by the fan man on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:33:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If you can afford it... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man

        ...and you have the experience with manually-operated machine tools, and are willing and able to learn to use the new tools. Small scale computerized machining would be the ace-in-the-hole for a lot of small shops out here, if they can pay to get it up and running. Problem is, a lot of people equate it with computer-aided drafting (CAD, which is part and parcel of DM, BTW), but fail to grasp that it's more than just the tools (Rapidographs vs AutoCAD). I'd love to see a small revolution in manufacturing here in the US using these tools, though.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:36:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We Already Do (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man, happymisanthropy

        The company I work for used to just buy industrial switches/sensors and install them in building boiler rooms to conserve fuel. Now we've got a handful of staff in NYC in our lab that prototypes complex electronics and actuators, sends out promising designs to commodity fabricators, which send back test models for us to quality assure, which we send out to large scale factories for full runs. We do it over the Internet and overnight mail for cheap, and can turn around in a few weeks among a globally competing support industry what just 10 years ago would have cost 10x as much, taken 10x as long, and required 10x as many people. So we never would have tried. These days, any idea that sounds good in a conference call gets tried out in the next couple weeks, in reality where we can really see what it does.

        One of the younger guys who works in the lab is a maker, a "hardware hacker", who just put together his own cheap "3D printer" (plastic fabricator from 3D computer models). Once there's an "eBay of manufacturers", where global orders orders are placed online, we'll be able to buy things we create in bulk, and drop ship them to wherever in the world we can use or sell them.

        Product versions used to come every few years. Now they come like clockwork every 6 months. Soon enough revisions will be a continuous output, all with the customer's feedback locked into the loop.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:56:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  EDUCATION. (17+ / 0-)

    Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education.

    /breath

    Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education. Education.

    Education increases the value of our citizens, and it is the solution to so many problems.  We need to be DUMPING money into it.  Why aren't we?  Oh, yeah.  The last thing that Repubs want is a smart electorate.

    •  they're being edumacated by Jersey Shore (14+ / 0-)

      and stab-in-the-back "reality" shows and Faux news and AM noise and tearful mentally ill 'icons' like Beck, and  . . .

      if you keep 'em stupid, you can get 'em to do almost anything damn thing you want against their own interests.

      Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

      by p gorden lippy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:27:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are so dead on! (7+ / 0-)

        I think presidents influence the country in such subtle ways.  W was the worst of the country who fell upward and made it by doing absolutely nothing.  Then the value that he inflicted, specifically, the only people of value to him were people who could take money and make it into more money, led to Paris Hilton being the epitome of our society.  These are not educated people.  What does it take to understand that education builds a better citizen.  That having critical thinking skills should be rewarded in our society rather than rejected?  I just don't get it.

        •  Because politicians fear critical thinking (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, rudewarrior, Neon Vincent

          So do advertisers.

          •  'Advertisers fear critical thinking' (9+ / 0-)

            When I worked at a tutoring service, one of the reading comprehension programs I used was a now 25-year-old Apple II program that trained pupils to spot propaganda techniques.  Every single example was from advertising, not from government information campaigns.  I found just that framing alone to be useful.

            "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

            by Neon Vincent on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:11:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I eat anecdotes like this up!!! (3+ / 0-)

              I have a propaganda fetish.  I love WWII propaganda posters, and if I had money I would collect them.

              Thanx for the story.

              •  Glad to provide you with that one. (4+ / 0-)

                Here's another that deals with WWII propaganda posters.

                Last Friday, my wife and I went shopping at a HomeGoods store.  In among the hand towels was one with this logo on it.

                Reassuring slogan, right? Not if you know its origin.

                Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, to raise the morale of the British public in the case of invasion. It was little known and never used. The poster was rediscovered in 2000 and has been re-issued by a number of private sector companies, and used as the decorative theme for a range of other products.

                Knowing that history unsettled me. That I'd never seen the slogan on a physical object before just reinforced my unease. That a Google Image search for "keep calm and carry on" found so many items for sale makes me wonder what kind of times would make such a statement fashionable. Interesting ones, no doubt.

                "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

                by Neon Vincent on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:21:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Anecdote trade. (3+ / 0-)

                  The "Loose Lips Sink Ships" motif, was invented in England.  However, after U-boats started terrorizing the US coast in Jan-Feb of '42, it started being used in the US.  Not so much b/c it was true, but the US Gov't figured out that people talking about it less got them thinking about it less.  Thus morale stayed up, b/c they kind of avoided printing stuff about the U-boat war.

                  /paraphrase

          •  Parents Fear Critical Thinking (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rudewarrior, MPociask

            The missing link in American education is parents. Nobody even votes in school board elections, or has any idea who or what is at stake. Yet those boards are the basic unit of our democracy, both in process and in effect on training new citizens.

            If parents cared more about education, about their children actually learning, they'd ensure their kids spent at least as much time doing homework as they do twittering and facebooking.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:58:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  removing citizen education from education (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, rudewarrior

          across the country, public college and university charters and mission statements have been rewritten and reinterpreted away from their duty to produce an educated citizen, in favor of the well-trained worker.

          As the Rand Corporation recommended in its seminal document on education - Breaking the Social Contract - higher education needed to be 'restratified'.

          If you want a comprehensive liberal arts education, go to a private school. Under these recommendations, which were aggressively pushed by the Clinton administration, Public universities were for technical education, 4-year public colleges and community colleges were for technical training and - when all the seats in those schools were taken - the economic bottom and the totally marginalized would have computers in community centers.

          The poorer the student, the greater the amount of distance learning courses they would be subjected to and the higher the percentage of adjuncts teaching them, when they took in-class courses.

          Distance learning is consciously based on mail order education and military training. Its costs were phenomenal, its claims fly in the face of 50 years of educational reaseach - smaller class sizes, more teachers - and it provided a way to privatize public education from the inside out, by putting private corporations as the interface between students and teachers, defying the last and most important element to a better education: greater student/teacher and student/student interaction.

          A fraudulent con, pushed by the big auditing/consulting firms who made a fortune implementing the software that they pushed on campuses across the country. A con facilitated by a Democratic congress and a Democratic President, Clinton.

          Costs skyrocketed, faculty were downsized and outsourced, administrative staff exploded in size and students were plunged into substandard education and buried in additional debt.

          No, this isn't just about for-profit colleges, all colleges - save a few posh, private schools - and your tax dollars and student debt paid for the fraud.

          Duncan and Obama are just more of the same.

          •  Degree = Job (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            There are too many people who think that is all that it is.  It is far more than that, and I don't think we as a nation realize it. True degree=better job, but that's not all.

            You are so right about the liberal arts college thing.  I am very lucky, have had some "white privilege," and am in massive debt.  However, I went to an awesome Catholic private school, completed my undergrad in a small liberal arts institution.  All of my grad work was in public institutions, but by that time, class size is much smaller and only taught by professors.

            To some extent I blame "Engineering" schools for the problem.  I tried engineering, and they laden the program with so much engineering that they can blow off the liberal arts requirements, and everyone buys into the "engineers are so important to society as problem solvers" meme.  Unfortunately, it produces people that can't think beyond the next problem to solve.  As a physics major it used to drive me nuts to have to solve a problem to "get the numbers" (and increase profit, of course) using a solution that I could easily see would cause a bigger problem later.  What good is that?

            I'm thinking of writing my first diary as told from my perspective on my education.  It is so valuable to me.  I hate that I have a massive student debt, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

            •  When college at a public university (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wsexson, MPociask

              can cost over 80 to a 100,000 and a private school education costs up to 200,000+, the cost of education drives students toward job-related degrees and escew any course that doesn't add to their resume.

              This is, of course, one of the larger purposes of restructuring higher education, make it more expensive and subservient to the interests of global capital. Privatization only further drove up costs, while reducing quality and added new terrains for plunder and profit.

              And let's not forget all those student protests of the 1960's and their links to the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. These movements led Samuel Huntington (1974) to decry the 'threat' that teachers, social workers and artists meant to 'democracy' (please read 'capitalism'), and the 'mistake' of educating the working class.

              His 'insights' provided the cornerstone argument for the restructuring of education into the sad state it is in today.

    •  We are continuously making education the preserve (11+ / 0-)

      of the well off.

      From primary school upward it's being privatized and public schools can't keep up. University despite loans or scholarship is beyond the financial reach of many.

      "slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:29:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My wife works at UT. (8+ / 0-)

        Just a few years ago it was ~80% (don't quote me on that) publicly funded.  Now it is ~30%.  But the football budget is self sustaining and has a massive budget.  The President of one of the largest universities makes a fraction of the football head coach.  We rooted for UT in the Rose Bowl, b/c they would get more money, and the school gets part of it, so my wife could get a merit raise this year.  They lost (thanx for getting hurt, Colt), so merit raises out the window.  It's ridiculous.  Why do college athletes merit so much more than our young people, who yearn to be better citizens?

        •  I think you answered your own question. (6+ / 0-)

          But the football budget is self sustaining and has a massive budget.

          It's a big part of the budget picture, plus it's probably huge for alumni relations, which is where donations come from.

          Wish it wasn't so, but I don't see that changing, unless the NFL starts a minor league and why should they when they have the colleges training their players for them?

          The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:41:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess my question is... (8+ / 0-)

            Why can't the college get more of that money?  It is so unrealistically balanced.

            Here is a specific example.  A professor my wife knows personally had a baseball athlete in their class.  He didn't follow the academic rules, and as a result, he had to take the final on a certain day.  Apparently he was needed for some tournament.  The professor didn't budge.  So they had him take his test and then had a limo waiting for him to take him to the airport to go to the tourney.

            Athletes get everything at the school, except an education.  They are pampered so badly, that they disrupt the classes for the other students, thus ruining the class for them.  Is this the society that we should be building?

            It has to start changing sometime.  And at the schools and learning institutions, it needs to be about education and not only about sports.

        •  maybe spectators have their priorities messed up (4+ / 0-)

          I don't follow any sport but I like it when people play them. I'd certainly never pay more than a couple dollars to go watch one live, that's couple as in two.

          We are a nation of spectators, wether in sports or life.

          "slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

          by ban nock on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:55:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you are right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Vincent

            But just a minor inherent contradiction.  I am assuming you watch sports on TV, thus enabling advertising, thus enabling more money being dumped into these fields.  So, you aren't paying more than a couple dollars, but you are enabling the ones who pay a whole lot more.

            Not trying to pick a fight, just something to think about in the larger picture.  But I'll still stand by your spectatorial priorities statement.  One of the changes that must occur is a serious adjustment of our priorities, and I'm getting the impression that you would agree.

    •  I'm goona sketch a graph.. (0+ / 0-)

      .. two lines.. going back to 1960.. One for the amount of federal money "dumped" into education.. one for the overall quality of public education.

      Before even starting.. I'll bet my fortune that the more the feds go involved in it.. the worse it got..

      •  Subjectivity Rules!!! (4+ / 0-)

        Whatever.

      •  Be sure to include the negative (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, rudewarrior

        effects that white resistance to school integration brought to the quality of education in your graph.

        Is it supposed to be a secret or something, that once Brown v BOE was passed, school districts opposed to integration adopted budgets which slashed funding dramatically, even closing some of them completely down, like Prince William County, VA -- the idea being that you don't have to kill something outright if you oppose it, you can just starve it to death . . . ????  Of course the feds had to increase funding for education, especially when states were cutting their's.

        As for the quality of education being eroded, there are many factors which lead to this, finance is only one of them, and all you need to do is put someone who's incompetent in charge to destroy a school system -- or any other institution for that matter.  The obsessive culture of standardized testing is another, and oh, btw, the Bush family is heavily involved in that (Insight, Inc. -- headed up by Neill Bush -- the same bro who made out big w/taxpayer-subsidized bailouts from his failed S&L ventures in the 1980s) . . . coincidence?

        Where did you go to school? -- public or private?  I attended both.  The Catholic schools were the worst.

        •  Agree.. (0+ / 0-)

          .. I'm just pointing out that "dumping" money into a problem like public education is not the answer.

          •  Then, maybe requiring better accountability (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rudewarrior, MPociask, RweTHEREyet

            in spending that "dumped" money is what's called for, not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

          •  I'm sorry I oversimplified, but you are guilty of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RweTHEREyet

            the same.

            Here are a few more counter arguments.

            ... two lines.. going back to 1960.. One for the amount of

            income disparity

            .. one for the overall quality of public education.

            Before even starting.. I'll bet my fortune that the more

            that income disparity

            go involved in it.. the worse it got..

            ... two lines.. going back to 1960.. One for the amount of

            institutionalized racism

            in education.. one for the overall quality of public education.

            Before even starting.. I'll bet my fortune that the more that

            institutionalized racism

            go involved in it.. the worse it got..

            I think maybe you should assume I at least have some understanding of the problem.

            My wife is working on her PhD in Higher Ed Admin, and is dealing with these issues, and is more informed than either one of us.  But you can't fix any of these problems without $$$.  To just assume that I haven't thought any of this out, is kind of a big assumption.

        •  Gotta disagree with you here. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask

          I went to public and private, and the best education I ever got was at a Catholic private high school.  Obviously, our evidence is anecdotal at best, but my school was an exception.  We didn't have any abusers, it was a small abbey of Cistercian monks, who valued education above all things.  There is nothing like learning a language from these guys.  It was going here that taught me the value of education, and that is why I now have 4 degrees, including graduate degrees in two fields.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

          •  My experience was very different. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rudewarrior, MPociask

            The nuns injected religion into everyfuhking discipline -- including Chemistry!! -- which is a big reason why I failed it -- I didn't learn enuf to pass the tests, only god's this and god's that, blah, blah, blah.

            The best teacher I ever had was my senior English teacher in public school.  I learned more from her in one year than I had from my six years in Catholic schools combined.

            •  This sounds like my Mom's experience. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MPociask, bluezen

              She always said the nuns were the worst.  We had secular teachers as well, usually with PhD's

              For us, religion only entered in the theology classes, with some obvious exceptions (can you read Moby Dick without talking about it?).  It was required for Catholic kids, and any kids who's parents wouldn't sign a statement that they were receiving education in their own religion ("pagans" went to study hall instead).  I would like to point out that they never disagreed with evolution.  The discussion was always about how evolution meshed with religious philosophy, i.e. did Adam & Eve represent the original couple, or the original "self-aware" society?

              It should be pointed out that the worst punishments were for those who disrupted class, or more elegantly disrespected the education goings on.

              However, I have a deep respect for these men.  The majority of them escaped during the Hungarian uprising against Communist rule, and some died for practicing their religion and trying to educate their countrymen.

              I have since turned my back on the Catholic faith.  The sex abuse crap is too much to bear.

              •  The worst thing to happen to public (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy, rudewarrior

                education, imo, was requiring teachers and administrators to keep disruptive pupils in school.

                I know the reasons behind the changes, and while they looked good on paper, the results have been disastrous in retrospect.  The whole idea of turning public schools into warehouses for children has created the legacy of dysfunctional discipline that exists today, and one which private schools aren't "burdened" with.

                •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bluezen

                  There were several few rich brats in my grade in my school, but there were a few that I absolutely hated b/c they were just flat out punks.  They were always causing problems, and were pretty much bullies.  They had been weeded out by the time I was a freshman.  It is interesting, b/c to some extent, they weeded themselves out.  My happiness at the school increased exponentially.

                  One inspirational story for me was about a guy who had a friend who was class valedictorian.  In his valedictorian speech, he thanked his friend in the audience for saving his life.  The reason was that he was having a bad time being picked on for being too smart.  He was contemplating suicide.  On the way home one day, two football players started harassing him and pushed him into the bushes and threw his books all over.  He decided at that moment he was going to do the deed.  His future friend showed up and helped him clean up and gather his things, and that act of kindness staved off the attempt.  I wonder why people like that are allowed in school.  He had never told his friend about his desires to end it all, and he thanked him in front of everybody in the speech.

                  People say, "Education is a right, not a privilege."  I disagree, I say our rights are privileges, too.  We have them, where others in the world do not, and we as a nation need to recognize it and capitalize it.

                  This is why I extend my middle finger to all those high school jocks who are now flipping burgers saying, "education never did anything for me, and I don't see why my kids need it."

        •  And be sure to include the impact of collateral (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rudewarrior, MPociask

          responsibilities assumed by school systems, like remediating the socialization problems caused by absentee parent(s) working multiple low-wage jobs.

      •  read the rand corporation documents on Education (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, MPociask

        in the 1990's. Clinton - like Obama - are more interested in cannibalizing education for corporate profit than serving the interests of the people or the purposes of education. See my post above (titled; 'Wrong!') for a more detailed description of the purposes of automating education and its effects.

        •  Agree with this post too.. (0+ / 0-)

          ..It's a complex problem.. throwing money at it is not the answer..

          Ideally, we'd try to de-evolve education; back to small, localized entities.. and do away with "one size fits all" mandates from huge government agencies.

          Think about how actual classrooms and teachers could benifit if all the resources eaten up by federal (and even state) departments of education were reduced to non-political, administrative focal-points... instead of monstrous bureaucracies.

          •  more administrators than full-time teachers (3+ / 0-)

            We now have more administrators in our colleges than full-time teachers (excluding clerical staff).

            We now have more adjunct faculty - making less than 20,000 a year - than full-time faculty (including all those who just do research).

            The poorer the student population, the more adjuncts you will find teaching their classes and the lower their per-course wage, no bennies and sometimes no social security payments made while they work. In many places, 75 to 90% of the faculty are adjuncts.

            American higher education has devolved into a sick combination of a debtor's prison, a pyramid scheme and a mail order fraud.

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        Quality of public education has been consistently, if very slowly, improving for decades.

        The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:29:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Reflexively looking for the Rec button (20+ / 0-)

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:22:00 AM PDT

  •  Yes, tax the hell out of them (21+ / 0-)

    and provide a safety net.  If we want workers to move seamlessly from outdated jobs to new ones, we need to make it easy and SAFE to move from point A to point B.  

    Right now losing a job is devastating, and I think that a collateral of that is that workers are inherently insecure, and therefore exploitable.  Imagine if leaving an undesirable job for something new and creative, and with a future, were easy and secure - if the health care and shelter and food were not dependent on THAT particular job.  Same hold for industries disrupted and jobs simply gone to China or Honduras.

    We would both empower workers, and facilitate development of jobs that were less exploitative, and cushion disruptions that come from technological advancement.

    •  They think it would make everyone lazy. They (5+ / 0-)

      think no one will work for them unless they are under the lash of health care and starvation.

      Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

      by 88kathy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:36:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no they just make more money that way (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, TracieLynn
        •  But do they? (0+ / 0-)

          Having a depressed crew will make products but that isn't what American made means, or is it?

          Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

          by 88kathy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:22:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can make more money (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy, happymisanthropy, MPociask

            ripping a company apart and selling off the bits than you can making an actual product.

            I used to work for a video store back in the early days of the industry. On 8th Street in manhattan. Rent for the store was over 8000 dollars a month. We never took in more than 200-400 a day, with two staff on duty all the time. I could never figure out why we stayed open.

            But our clientele was very wealthy and included many names you'd recognize.

            One day, one of the executives showed up in the store, drunk and full of himself. Though he was only about 10 minutes older than me, he felt he had wisdom to impart:

            "Its all about other people's money," he declared.

            Suddenly I realized what this business was about. It wasn't about selling or renting videos, it was about selling stock in an idea. The stores never made a profit and eventually folded a few years later.

            But those who created the company made a fortune selling this idea to a lot of lefty-artsy customers with tons of cash and who were sympathetic to entertainment businesses and 'new ideas' (many of our customers were in the movie industry).

            In short, it was a shell company, whose stores were simply honeypots to attract capital, despite the inherent unprofitability of the company itself.

            When you can make money out of other people's money, who needs manufacturing?

            •  This is THE definition of a Ponzi scheme (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              88kathy, happymisanthropy

              and the thing about Ponzi schemes is that they are never self-sustaining. They only last until they run out of suckers with money to invest - and then they crash, usually catastrophically.

              The Powers That Be cannot or will not look past the range of the moment. They see the money coming in right now, and they don't stop to ask where it's coming from or what is needed to sustain it. Then they're shocked, shocked when the money stops flowing (and, usually, they scream for government bailouts).

              If it's
              Not your body
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              AND it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Dot.com bubble was a ponzi scheme (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                88kathy, MPociask

                You are correct. Much of what constitutes Wall Street activity is little more than an elaborate ponzi scheme, made possible by the collusion of the banks, regulators, investment housese, auditing firms and those that rate and evaluate investments.

                That's why Obama's Wall Street/bank driven stimulus yielded a jobless recovery. At best it led to overseas production, but it didn't do anything here, except for military production, funded out of the DoD.

            •  They gut everything. They want to gut Social (0+ / 0-)

              Security.

              Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

              by 88kathy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 01:32:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Only an army of organized grandmothers (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                88kathy

                keeps those greedy bastards from going ofter social security. And then, just barely.

                With Rahm, Geithner, et. al. in the white house, socail security is hardly safe.

                •  They have the kids convinced they have lost (0+ / 0-)

                  already.  Why would they fight for something that is lost?  

                  Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

                  by 88kathy on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 12:05:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And that's part of the game as well. (0+ / 0-)

                    Ah, the politics of reduced expectations.

                    Alas, I hope the Democrats have similarly reduced expectations, because all those in economic trouble or otherwise abandoned/betrayed by this party and its elites, will not be voting for them this fall, if they show up to the polls at all.

                    •  that answer is wrong (0+ / 0-)

                      Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

                      by 88kathy on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 12:49:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  we shall see (0+ / 0-)

                        It was certainly true in the senate race in Massachusetts. 850,000 former Obama supporters stayed home - mostly from poor, working class and progressive communities - because Coakley was just a neoliberal hack, peddling the DNC message about corporate welfare, and nothing more.

                        So Brown won with only 64,000 more votes than McCain got the year before.

                        Do you think that would have happened if the party ran a Kennedy/New Deal/Great Society Democrat?

                        I don't. That seat would still be Democratic.

                        A lesson DC elites seem unabile or unwilling to learn.

                        •  So the race between cuckoo bananas and the (0+ / 0-)

                          Democratic message has begun.  

                          As a Class I Senator, his term will last until January 3, 2013.

                          Guess we will find out if he will be able to hold that seat.

                          Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

                          by 88kathy on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 04:17:56 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Not if they run a Kennedy Democrat. (0+ / 0-)

                            If they run a liberal populist, brown is toast.

                            If they run some boston hack or someone peddling that weak-tea neoliberalism, then blacks, latinos, poor, working class and progressives will stay home and brown will win.

                            Brown will faint to the left to secure his 'moderate' rep, so neoliberals won't look any different.

                            The problem is the Boston Democratic machine is rotten to the core and incapable of sending up anyone who isn't already covered in political shit. And they hate anyone who isn't beholden to their dirty ways.

                          •  We'll see. (0+ / 0-)

                            Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

                            by 88kathy on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 07:18:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  b.s. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll

    Now for the scary part. if you want the real reason why the current level of high unemployment has been so persistant, here it is: the largest gains in efficiency over the last two decades haven't been in the fields or the factories, it's been in the office.

    Um, no.

    The gains in efficiency over the past five years have been small compared to the increase in the unemployment level over the past three years.  The unemployment level is high not for structural reasons, but as part of a business cycle triggered by the collapse of the financial industry.  It's been allowed to persist because our political leaders are more concerned with maintaining the status quo than with solving the problem.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.

    by RickD on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:24:56 AM PDT

    •  I worked for a large company. Less than a few (8+ / 0-)

      years ago many people were employed tracking time and distributing checks.  Computer time keeping and direct deposit ended that.

      Zero Zoning from the NO NO party.

      by 88kathy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  wrong! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, Yamara, esquimaux

      Read Rand Corporation documents on distance learning in the mid-1990's. They advocated the shift to online learning, distance learning and other technological changes because it would free the schools from hiring more teachers.

      As the Rand Corporation put it; "why hire a merely competent professor, when you can have a superstar (tele-screened in to all classrooms)?"

      Put it another way, why hire me to teach kids Edward Said, when you can have Eddie on the big screen?

      Add the consulting power of the big 5 (now 4) auditing firms, the changes to college accreditation served up by a Democratic Congress and the Clinton white house and every school in america shifted to a 'new' educational system - consciously based on the old mail order colleges and military training - that defied 50 years of  research on effective education.

      What did 50 years of research recommend? Smaller class sizes, greater student/teacher and student/student interaction.

      What did the shift to online learning give us? Our of control costs, higher tuition, greater studend debt, fewer teachers and a lot more administrators. And as these documents actively suggest, the poorer and more marginal the student the greater the ammount of distance learning education they will get.

      That's why their sales-pitch document was called "breaking the social contract."

      Automation in action, destroying living wage jobs and downgrading education for all but the most privileged.

      •  non-responsive (0+ / 0-)

        You've completely ignored any discussion of business cycles or the financial meltdown.

        I am not denying that technology has changed the workplace.  But a positive affirmation that it has led to a massive increase in structural unemployment needs a good deal more evidence than what is presented here.  

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.

        by RickD on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 09:58:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  in a highly subsidized industry (0+ / 0-)

          like higher education, what drives the engines of the industry is public policy and public investment, whether that be state funding to the schools or financial aid. Since Reagan, that financial aid is increasingly debt, a problem not yet really addressed by any Democrat. Fig leaf support for Pell is not substative reform, that's just symbolism, nor is shifting the debt-holder from the banks to the government, that's just saving the banks from insolvency.

          Yes, fiscal downturns affect all economic sectors, including education. But the disappearance of living wage teaching jobs at the college level has nothing to do with the boom-and-bust cycles of capitalism. It has to do with structuring teachers out of the industry, for the interests of corporations, bureaucracies, software companies and the plundering of public assets for private profit.

          I was talking about structural changes made during a boom-cycle in the economy that had an inverse impact on teaching jobs and ballooned costs beyond all commonsense.

          Were the problem just the contemporary crisis, then full-time teaching jobs would have been a phenomenal growth undustry until the economy crashed, especially since a generation of faculty just retired. This should have been the best time to pursue college teaching since the 1960's, not the worst hiring market for full-time teaching since the 19th century.

          But those jobs never materialized. The gapping hole left in its place - while more and more people were enrolling in college - was filled by crappy distance learning classes, fly-by-night colleges and an army of adjunct faculty making an average of 2000 dollars a course (for 4 months of work, no bennies). Adjunct faculty are now the majority of college professors today.

    •  Part of this is clearly wrong (0+ / 0-)

      there has been no net job creation since Clinton left office.  You can't blame the financial crash for that.

      The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:36:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  always excellence - thx you n/t (4+ / 0-)

    My policies are for today and tomorrow. Carly's policies are sooo yesterday going back to George W. Bush. - Sen. Barbara Boxer

    by anyname on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:25:07 AM PDT

  •  Why can't I rec this?? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Dirtandiron, Grey Paladin

    Brilliant, amazing, a whole thesaurus' worth!

    Stand! - Sly and the Family Stone

    by Only Needs a Beat on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:26:51 AM PDT

  •  Heh. (10+ / 0-)

    smashing server farms

    Actually, I know some people are out smashing agricultural technology right now.

    My family worked in the mills in Lowell, MA. It was hard work. But it also launched subsequent generations into careers and education that weren't available to their ancestors. But I don't know what the next level is. I'm not seeing my nieces and nephews moving up.

    "It's not like she's marrying out of her species or anything," Ms. Lynch said.

    by mem from somerville on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:27:52 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the info nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron
  •  Yes, they were skilled craftsmen who were angry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Peace Missile

    that instead of selling shirts to rich people while poor people lived in potato sacks, automation and mass production made it so that millions of folks could afford decent, cheap clothing. Sorry, but the next time a plumber charges you 60 bucks an hour to run a snake down your toilet to push through the ten yards of toilet paper your niece required in order to properly wipe, remember that plumbers are one of the remnants of a society in which only those who had gone through the  apprentice system (i.e. those who had excellent family connections or by blind chance managed to be apprenticed out to a master who didn't beat or otherwise abuse them) achieved any level of financial security.

  •  I'd rather smash server farms. (6+ / 0-)

    Seriously, my profession is so different from when I started in the 80s.....I'm probably doing the work of 4 or 5 people, largely because of automation.

    It's usually manageable, but not much fun.

    The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:31:48 AM PDT

  •  Bravo Mark, excellent synopsis (4+ / 0-)

    Now, it was exactly this situation of post-industrial dis-employment in the US that prompted a diarist last week to propose that the answer was NOT "jobs jobs jobs" but the institution of a minimum income standard: paying people some fixed amt (right around the poverty level in that proposal) regardless of employment.  Scrap most/all of the existing 20th c social safety net, replace with this, finance thru the same high taxation proposed here.  People who want to earn more than the minimum are free to find paying work (if they can), otherwise you find something to do that doesn't necessarily have $$-value attached to it.  

    Of course you also keep the emphasis from above on Education and Flexibility.  But the basic premise is that "full employment" in a post-industrial society is a myth, and will be increasingly mythical. By what economic law can we be confident that the 80% of us who  "will be doing...something else" will be doing something that society values enough to pay for?  Sure, there will be new kinds of paying work created somewhere in the world, but not necessarily in the US.  Those new kinds of jobs NEVER appeared in the old Industrial north of England...

  •  Automation as a strategy fails (6+ / 0-)

    when your energy supply starts falling.  And we're pretty close to that point.

    •  Acutually an Automated Manufacturing Facility (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask

      Generally consumes less energy per unit of output than a comparable manual process.

      Take for instance the humble industrial robot in an automotive welding line.

      The robot was installed for roughly $100k.  Of that about 20% went to energy consumption in all its various forms.  Running it uses about 10kwh hr or $.50hr.  Over the course of its 10yr lifespan.  It'll consume about $25k total in electricity + 20k to build so about $45k total in energy costs.

      The robot replaces, on average about 2 Full time equivalent production and support personnel. Each of whom spend roughly $1500/yr on gas alone, plus the energy content of food and shelter at about $5000/yr. Per hour the workers also require more heat or cooling, waste handling facilities, lighting etc.. All equaling about $2/hr or $4k/yr per employee in additional energy costs.
      So the total is about $9500 per employee per year x2 Or $19000/yr x 10 yrs, about $190k.  

      A very cynical way to look at it, but when the whole picture is examined automation generally is more energy efficient.

      When the energy supply fails both will be impacted, and the cost of the energy will have a larger impact on the cost of labor vs. the cost of automation.

  •  You misunderstand Hunter Gatherers (12+ / 0-)

    You write:

    In a hunter-gather society, collection of food occupies enough time and resources that there's little left for other occupations and severe limits on the total population.

    In the anthology "Man the Hunter," edited by Lee and DeVore of the Harvard Kalihari Group, the work habits of the !Kung was empirically analyzed.  They found that the !Kung worked approximately 15-20 hours a week, with plenty of leisure time.  The agrarians surrounding them worked ridiculously hard eking out subsistence in the drought.  The !Kung were not only able to gather enough to eat in only 2-3 days of work a week, but they were also often able to gather extra food to help out their hungry neighbors,

    This is not to refute your main points, but instead to correct misinformation about hunters and gatherers.

    •  Of course that's just one group at one time (5+ / 0-)

      but I have to say I know a group that both farms and gets a large portion of their callories and protien from forest products, be it meat or non cultivated plants, and they spend a heck of a lot of time hanging out talking.

      "slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:47:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely true (5+ / 0-)

      hunting and gathering was humanity's most successful economic mode of existence.

      To add to your point, the !Kung San lived in the Kalahari desert, one of the least hospitable places on the plant. But their vegetable diet had 96 different items in it, plus a range of non-vegetable protein sources. How many different foods are in your diet? Mine is pretty good, but it pales next to the diversity of the Kung San diet.

      When western aid workers tried to teach the !Kung agricultural techniques, the !Kung looked at them as if they were idiots. They made it plain to the workers that they understood agricultural techniques, but why bust their asses when they could gather all they needed with a fraction of the effort that the farmers needed to exert?

      They also went 40 years without crimes in their communities (until the South African wars against Namibia targetted them), because if everything you own can be made in an afternoon by anyone in the community, what reason would there be to steal or kill?

      In such communities, wealth is measured by the size and depth of your social network and the greatest social sins were selfishness and the failure to be generous.

      For those who think their lives were nasty, brutish and short, let me dispel another myth. Death rates among men in H & G societies peaked during puberty and then dropped considerably after that. Female death rates peaked during the childbirth years and then dropped dramatically after that. Those that survived the stupidities of male adolescence and female birthing lived as long as middle class people do today.

      Not a bad life if you are working only 15-20 hours a week.

      •  This can't be true. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn, wsexson, MPociask

        They also went 40 years without crimes in their communities (until the South African wars against Namibia targetted them), because if everything you own can be made in an afternoon by anyone in the community, what reason would there be to steal or kill?

        Didn't you know that human beings are so inherently evil and depraved that they must have a strong government to keep them from killing each other.  It's all been scientifically proven.

        In such communities, wealth is measured by the size and depth of your social network and the greatest social sins were selfishness and the failure to be generous.

        This must be a fairy tale.  Didn't you know that human beings are genetically predisposed to being selfish and ruthless.  Our social system has nothing to do with the antisocial behavior we observe in our society.

        If you can't tell, this is snark aimed at those on this site who ridicule any suggestion that a dog-eat-dog Capitalist system just might be the source of many of our social problems.

        George Orwell, no fan of Capitalism OR State Socialism, observed similar behavior in an industrialized culture in the 20th century.

        From Homage to Catalonia:

        I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life--snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.--had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.

        Freedom without equality is a fraud. Equality without freedom is despotism. Michael Bakunin

        by goinsouth on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:40:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd like to think this is snark (0+ / 0-)

          We are social creatures living in a social constructed world, created over time and shaped by environmental/structural relations (geographic, social, economic, political, etc.).

          Almost anyone can be put in a situation where their survival requires violation of their own morality. Over time, that morality will adapt to exept those conditions or even valorize behavior that contradicts the rest of the moral code.

          Similarly, even the most craven and amoral human being is capable of acts of decency, if conditions favor such behavior.

          The conditions of our lives and the values we hold or society holds, shapes the range of choices before us.

          Your reference to Orwell - a very conservative guy, by the way - describes the shift birth-class stratification to economic-stratification, though I would argue the two are intertwined, especially since the the consolidation of power and wealth is a multi-generational process and those with privileged access to institutional power are preeminently positioned in the capitalist game.

          •  Shaping values. (0+ / 0-)

            As I noted in the comment itself, the first part was indeed snark aimed at those who defend the status quo by claiming it's the best that can be hoped for because human beings are supposedly so inherently evil.

            Observers from Smith to Marx have noted how our work and economic system shape us.  Learning more about humans as they lived as hunter-gatherers helps dispel some of those very convenient myths used by apologists for Capitalism.

            Orwell is an enigma.  The Right has claimed him because he is such a harsh and effective critic of State Socialism, but Homage to Catalonia reveals he has no use for Capitalism either.

            He called himself a Tory anarchist, LOL.

            He obviously admired the anarcho-syndicalist system he observed in 1930s Spain.

            Freedom without equality is a fraud. Equality without freedom is despotism. Michael Bakunin

            by goinsouth on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:39:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suspected as much (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              goinsouth

              Yeah, Orwell was a complex political creature. He had an affection for the 'old ways' that made him conservative at one angle, affection for anarchism, which would cast him to the left. He affiliated with the Tories, which would cast him to the right and a general hostility to the arrogances of privilege, which cast him to the left. Muddling the pool some more was the fact that his positions moved over time, so pinning him down to one 'side' or another is difficult.

              In the end he was a contrarian in the best sense of the word, he didn't just join the chorus of whatever group he belonged to - or claimed him - he critically analyzed and deconstructed their beliefs and values, invariably made himself a pest to all who seek power for selfish purposes.

              Thank god he could write. Otherwise, he'd be totally fucked.

    •  Hunter Gatherer works fine (0+ / 0-)

      as long as there are occasional bouts of starvation and disease to cull the population.  Or "wars" to fill the "spare time" in between.

      How many hunter-gatherers can Earth support?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:08:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well the same is true of agriculture (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, MPociask

        It works fine as long as there are occasional bouts of starvation and disease - or war - to cull the population. And how many farmers can Earth support? (It's a larger number than hunter-gatherers, but it is NOT infinite.)

        You're assuming that the human species will never be sane enough to adopt universal birth control, and that it will therefore be left to Nature to "cull the herd" by her usual drastic and unpleasant methods.

        (I wonder if she's preparing something like that right now, by driving us crazy enough to kill each other.)

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:21:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah well, lucky them (0+ / 0-)

      I live with Inuit, who only within the last few generations hve moved from a completely hunter-gatherer lifestyle (I work beside two people born on the land, one in a skin tent in summer, the other in an igloo on the sea ice), and one of my co-workers still hunts seal traditionally.

      Let me tell you about traditional seal hunting.  You find a seal hole and then stand over it with a harpoon ready in your hand.  And you stand.  And stand.  And stand.  And if a seal pops up you hope it isn't too nervous to dive right away so you can throw the harpoon and hope it gets enough of a purchase you can haul the seal up with the rope.  After that, it's gravy.  Kill the seal, lots of meat and fat and skin for the family needs (including the dogs), for a while anyway.  Thing is, many people only count the time from the harpoon cast to the completion of the butchering as "work".

      Whenever I see people wax romantic over an H-G lifestyle, I wonder how many of them consider that the "work time" includes things like those endless hours just sitting and waiting, not moving, not talking, getting cold just hoping the seal shows up, preceded and followed by the perhaps hours it took to get to the hunting location.

  •  I see someone above beat me to the GMI idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    read their post for some historical details.  Can't find the original diary right now

  •  what about regulations on worker rights? (12+ / 0-)

    One of the perspectives I like to present on these kinds of changes is that it takes government to make any jobs worthwhile. Whether it's agricultural, industrial, service, or 'knowledge'; whether it's 'high-skilled' or 'low-skilled', whether the job can be easily automated or offshored or not, whether the job 'requires' advanced degrees or not. We often look back now at those 'good-paying' manufacturing jobs Back in the Day, but in reality, factories were horrible places to work until our political system got involved.

    I agree education, taxation, and flexibility are important. I would just want to highlight worker rights as most important.

    1. strong support for unions
    1. tweak the FLSA to increase the minimum wage dramatically, raise the salary test required to declare a worker exempt, and apply to virtually all workers
    1. strong support for whistleblowers (including financial compensation where fines are recovered or criminal prosecutions result)
    1. Much more serious consequences for firms that purposefully violate safety and labor laws
    1. Universal health insurance and universal unemployment insurance to address the unequal bargaining power between employer and employee and provide a basic safety net from destitution that's required for the entrepreneurship and risk-taking of a market-based economy
    •  Ah, we can only dream... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Dirtandiron, washunate

      Support the troops, damn it!...Bring them all home now!

      by brainyblond on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:46:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  by the numbers: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debedb, JeffW
      1. Aside from willfull enlistment and dues payment.. what support are you suggesting?
      1. That will do wonders toward lessening unemployment.. and who will make sure that the company owners (who of course aren't 'workers')have a guaranteed income when the company struggles ? .. and should we have "minmum dividends" for the people who put up the cash for companies to even exist in the first place ?
      1. This idea has merit, but can easily become too much of a good thing when workers/owners become adversaries.
      1. Agree completely..
      1. There is no market based economy, nor the benifits of risk/reward, with government-based, gaurantees against the COST of failure. If half-the work-force is perpetually trying to start a company, pretty much living on government gaurantees... WHO is gonna fund those promises ?
      •  interesting range of questions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn, RweTHEREyet
        1. Aside from willfull enlistment and dues payment.. what support are you suggesting?

        Are you familiar with the issues that workers face trying to unionize? Basically, employers violate worker rights to organize at will because the penalties are so small - they're just a cost of doing business. Specific actions like card check and increasing penalties for willful infractions would do a lot to allow workers the choice of whether they want to organize or not. I deeply dissent from your insinuation that workers have to be pushed into organizing. The exact opposite is the case: employers spend massive resources preventing workers from organizing.

        1. That will do wonders toward lessening unemployment.. and who will make sure that the company owners (who of course aren't 'workers')have a guaranteed income when the company struggles ? .. and should we have "minmum dividends" for the people who put up the cash for companies to even exist in the first place?

        Are you familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Act? It doesn't address guaranteed income or minimum dividends or anything like that. I don't know whether you're purposefully shifting the conversation or just don't know what's going on here. The FLSA governs employers' responsibility to pay employees. It doesn't restrict employers' ability to downsize. And in fact, things like time and a half for overtime pay are critically important for reducing unemployment. We should work more people less, rather than fewer people more; that's what's best for the economy as a whole.

        1. This idea has merit, but can easily become too much of a good thing when workers/owners become adversaries.

        I'd like to see your position on when it becomes too much of a good thing. Are you suggesting that employers should have some leeway to ignore the law?

        1. There is no market based economy, nor the benifits of risk/reward, with government-based, gaurantees against the COST of failure. If half-the work-force is perpetually trying to start a company, pretty much living on government gaurantees... WHO is gonna fund those promises?

        Are you familiar with the concept of labor mobility? One of the great advantages of the American system is our capacity to deploy the right workers to the right places at the right times. You have to have a basic social insurance system to handle the transitionary periods that naturally accompany the creation and destruction of a capitalist system. Otherwise, workers get trapped into existing states. This reduces mobility, it makes transition periods far worse, and it undercuts entrepreneurship and risk-taking.

        And of course, there are other arguments, too, like the morality of providing healthcare based upon medical need rather than ability to pay. But the observation I'm making here is that you can make solely an economic argument for social insurance.

        If you are worried about funding, I'm not sure what to say. We've spent trillions of dollars on the military and financial bailouts over the past decade. The non-universal nature of our healthcare system makes it far more expensive than the rest of the industrialized world. Social insurance pays for itself, health insurance by being more efficient and unemployment insurance by expanding economic growth (and thus the tax base which supports the unemployment system).

        •  Your points are well taken.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          washunate

          .. and presented well. Thank you for taking the time to thoroughly respond.

          For me to respond to them equally, would cascade this into a rdiculously wordy thread... but be assured that I agree on the morality and fairness you present.

          Without going deeply into all points, I'll just say that there's bit of idealism in there. Social safety nets, like the majority of private pensions; rely heavily on ideal circumstances.. (i.e.. an ever-growing economy). This current, economic downturn exposes the vulnerability. They're ALL facing insolvency now.

          As for health-care.. wow..  that's best left to a thread deicated to that debate. The morality argument though, does open the Pandoric question. Like it or not; health-care is a high-tech, expensive set of goods and services; delivered by highly trained and highly paid professionals. If you're gonna compare the cost of these services (realtive other systems), you gotta factor in the quality and availability too. Simply legislating that every person gets the same access to these products, is as mucha fantasy, as it would be for the government seeing to it that we all get a new car every couple of years. It doesn't take but a generation or two, before the greater, moral vioaltion of rationing occurs... or worse.. the same thing that happened to residential real-estate, happening to health-care, when the government sees to it that everyone gets a mortgage.

  •  Automation DOES cost jobs (5+ / 0-)

    Studies over the decades have shown that the automation of factories does not tend to decrease the overall number of jobs. However, the nature of the jobs certainly does change.

    That's not what this guysays. Granted, he was referring to the 10-year period from 1993 to 2003, but manufacturing jobs haven't made a great comeback since then.

    In two industries with which I'm familiar, oil refining and electrical power generation, advances in technology have led to fewer jobs. Fewer people are needed to run refineries and power plants than used to be required.

    I doubt other industries are bucking that trend.

    •  It's pretty universal (0+ / 0-)

      I spent several years working in a textile mill  in my 20s.  Recently I had an occasion to be in the modern equivalent of where I worked.  Where the department I worked in had 8 or 10 machines requiring 15-20 people, the analogous department today has one machine, being run by one person.  Unlike the old days where we stood immediately at our machines, the one person in the department was up in a control booth.  No more people employed in moving the product from one machine to another, one department to another, because everything gets done on the one machine.  That was the most striking thing about being in there, the sense that there are no people there at all.

      American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:33:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I caught that lie too (0+ / 0-)

      Heard it from the time I was a kid in elementary school.  The books said that while there would be robots making cars, people would need to fix the robots.   We are supposed to not question that logic and just believe that there will always be plenty of good paying jobs for all workers, not just those with the capacity for rocket science.

      Sunshine on my shoulder...

      by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:49:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But the factories are still running. (6+ / 0-)

    They're just being sent offshore.

    Manufacturing isn't going away, it's just moving elsewhere.

    Everything we use--including the computers--are manufactured.

    So, I think, trade policy has as much to do with this as technology.

    And it's essentially a Repub position to deny that fact by saying "That's the way it is. Ain't gonna change. Deal with it."

    The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:45:34 AM PDT

    •  Hell, even hand craftsmen still exist. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      All their products are still being produced and purchased--and sold at a premium over factory produced shit--but produced elsewhere and purchased here.

      The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:50:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a far left progressive, and (0+ / 0-)

      I think free trade is positive, isn't going away and that the alternative to it is disastrous.

      BUT... that said, I favor huge Keynesian spending at home, to create sources of demand and productive assets that cannot be outsourced and that will make us competitive globally.

      Free trade + Keynsian spending at home = economic boom.

      •  Free trade is usually a codeword for exploitation (7+ / 0-)

        We all know that and it's immoral.

        But, whatever. Half the Democrats and all the Repubs think it's fine and dandy to pay kids peanuts to work 60-hour weeks in dangerous conditions in environmentally destructive factories, so I'm not going to change that.

        But let's call it what it is.

        The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:55:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Got another one for you. (5+ / 0-)

        "Deregulation" is a code word for cashing in.

        Remember it.

        The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:57:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where do I mention "deregulation?" (0+ / 0-)
          •  Nowhere. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron

            You buy the "free trade" meme, so I figured you were susceptible to the "deregulation" malarky too.

            The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

            by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:58:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, I'm blind and deluded (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              debedb, Peace Missile

              Krugman is a free-trade advocate and he's about as progressive economically as I've ever seen someone on the national stage.

              What's your alternative to free trade? Tariffs, protective barriers? You think the economy is bad now? Try that.

              Not saying free trade doesn't have some terrible manifestations. Focus on those instead of throwing a blanket opposition to it.

              •  Fair trade would be nice. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy

                Real negotiations that raise the standards of both countries.

                But, according to you, that's impossible, I guess.

                The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

                by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:15:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Anyway, my first point was: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Virginia mom

                This diary totally ignores trade policy as a contributing factor to the elimination of jobs.

                And I think you'd even agree with that.

                The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

                by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:19:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  name (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TracieLynn, wsexson, bmaples

                a mainstream economist who isn't a free trade advocate.  Trade is supposed to be for procuring what a country what they do not have the resources or ability to produce for themselves by trading what they can produce.  What is currently going on is not that, it is simple exploitation of labor, no worry about environmental regulations, low cost of setting up shop, and an easily expendable workforce with governments that will not protect their workers ... apparently that is a 'progressive' concept in your mind and others that believe the free trade line. Thanks to 2 decades of trade propaganda.

                I guess you didn't read about the 41 countries in the 2007/2008 that had food riots as they made the $90 Nike tennis shoes for American markets and were paid less than $50/month and couldn't feed their families as wall street manipulated prices of food stuffs in commodities markets under the meme of the 'rising middle class' in 3rd world countries.  Thanks MSM for keeping Americans ignorant and believing 'free trade' is a 'progressive' concept.  Name a time in history when such outsourcing of manufacturing was ever done.  Manufacturing is wealth production and since it is being hollowed out in the US, the financial sector has grown as toxic debt masquerading as investment exports.

                Henry Ford paid his workers in 1914 more than many of the workers in this slave wage countries do today, he did it so they could buy what they produce.  Today they pay the workers in these countries so owners can turn around and sell it on big box stores 8,000 miles away at a greater profit.  

                "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

                by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:54:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No--according to Halberstam's The Reckoning (0+ / 0-)

                  Henry Ford paid his workers in 1914 more than many of the workers in this slave wage countries do today, he did it so they could buy what they produce.

                  Ford had to pay a $5/day wage to keep warm bodies on his assembly lines.  ~1200% worker turnover (i.e. to have a worker on the line in December, Ford had had to hire 12 workers through the year.  IOW, they'd last about a month each before saying "Eff it!")

                  The "Ford-created-its-own-customers" meme is another pro-capitalist, make-a-virtue-of-necessity myth--he did it because the market wouldn't supply labor at less than that wage.

                  Again, at least according to David Halberstam's book.

        •  Except for the airlines (0+ / 0-)

          Airline deregulation was a boon to consumers.

          •  Which consumers? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TracieLynn, JeffW, happymisanthropy

            The ones whose cities were eliminated from service maps?

            And how is it a boon to consumers when we've bailed out the major airlines with taxpayer dollars more than once?

            The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

            by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:17:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ticket prices (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RickD

              When I was a kid like 30 years ago, the family would fly to Europe to visit relatives. The cheapest tickets then were something like $600 per. This was before dereg. Up until a few years ago, I felt I was paying too much if my ticket was more than $500. The price of flying fell dramatically. More people could go long distances, more people could travel.

              As for people losing service, I wasn't aware that pre-deregulation airlines were required to service specific places. Regardless, over all, airline deregulation turned out to be a good thing.

              •  I honestly don't know how deregulation... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy

                ..affected international routes.

                But, obviously, we travel internationally more now than ever before, so prices should go down, regardless of the regulatory environment.

                The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

                by Bush Bites on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:31:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, deregulation has led to outsourcing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TracieLynn, happymisanthropy

                of maintenance -- and in many cases, elimination of it entirely! -- to cut costs and be more competitive . . . gee, doesn't that give you confidence in flying?

                It's also led to outsourcing parts for planes, too -- cheaper nuts and bolts means more profit for airlines when they need to be replaced, and who cares if an engine or a wing fails or falls off?  The tickets were damn cheap, weren't they?

                Regualtion required airlines to service smaller communities for good reasons, namely that the people who lived in the same small towns that Sarah Palin now idolizes had vital links to larger cities that provided services the smaller ones didn't, and that benefited everyone . . . except the greedyasses on the airlines' boards.

  •  Having fewer children will also help. (8+ / 0-)

    It's the other way to promote labor scarcity, and has all those other sustainability benefits too.

    Of course, accomplishing this requires an honest and independent-of-corporate-establishment education, so amen to that as well.

    Whistleblowing is the highest form of dissent.

    by Leftcandid on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:45:44 AM PDT

    •  Finally! Someone mentioned population! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherwoodB, Yamara, JeffW

      Fewer people, more for all.

      "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

      by Ivan on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:09:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You think that through? (0+ / 0-)

        Fewer people -> fewer customers -> less product sold -> less profit -> increase prices to make up difference -> remaining customers pay more.

        Now this won't be true for all things, but a large part of the modern lifestyle depends on economies of scale.

        One of the things long term planners are considering is what happens when the world population begins to decrease in the next century and economies that have operated on the basis of an expanding population are faced with a decreasing one.

        •  We need to be rethinking that paradigm now anyway (0+ / 0-)

          Nonrenewable resource consumption MUST decrease globally and locally regardless of population trends, but will obviously do better with a smaller population.

          Otherwise we are just shortening the time we have to get off this rock before we use it up.  Call me crazy, but the ultimate survival of humanity via transition to a spacefaring race untold years from now sounds like a more noble goal than enjoying a lavish but ultimately pointless lifestyle now.

          Whistleblowing is the highest form of dissent.

          by Leftcandid on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 11:38:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Today we are ourselves (0+ / 0-)

    Tomorrow we will all be "Biff from Bangalore".

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:49:55 AM PDT

  •  Great piece (0+ / 0-)

    One thought though:

    We still have the world's best system of universities (also a legacy of the education-emphasis of previous eras). Investment now in education at all levels is needed to compete in a world where increasingly the lowest rung is still quite high.

    I'd argue that while the best US universities are the best, the average US university is not much to write home about. Many developed nations have a better overall university system.

    Funding of education in the US exacerbates differences based on income. Because education is locally funded, higher income areas can pay more and lower income areas have less. A model that funds every student equally (with adjustments for special ed needs) would help level the playing filed and help the bottom rung mover higher.

    "If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." Mike Lazaridis of RIM

    by taonow on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:50:23 AM PDT

  •  "Rapidographs, Zip-o-Tone sheets, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, bmaples, esquimaux, jnhobbs, JeffW

    ...and colored pencils"

    Do those ever bring back memories of my days in geology!  I haven't used any of those in 21 years, since I put together the graphics for my M.S. thesis.  By the time I composed my graphics for my Ph.D. dissertation, only six years later, I was using a Mac to draw the figures.  It was a lot easier.

    Thanks for reminding me of this.  I really hadn't thought of the transition and how much easier it made things for me and others.

    "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

    by Neon Vincent on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:54:40 AM PDT

  •  Perceptive,indeed. What troubles me.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, mainely49, TracieLynn

    A very perceptive, thought provoking and accurate bit of information.  Thank you.

    What troubles me...and I have no solution or answer for this...is I worry about what happens to those who are incapable of learning new technologies?

    In our nation's current pull oneself up by one's bootstraps mindset, what will we do with those who are not the brightest lights in the harbor?

    After all, for progressives, taking one for the team is desirable, but all too often at present, we are taking one from the team.

    by El Tomaso on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:55:33 AM PDT

    •  important question (8+ / 0-)

       what happens to highly trained workers who get laid off at age 55 b/c their industry has shifted?

    •  these are the people that we have to take care of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      El Tomaso

      Even many conservatives understand that the bottom 10% (literally 30 million people) are quite possibly just hopeless. We need to do what we have to to ensure that they dont starve and that their children have as good a shot at improving their lives even though the parents are pretty much hopeless.

      The difficulty is crafting programs and policies that help more than they hurt.

      •  My bias is.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        That everyone is entitled to a roof over their head, clothes upon their back, food in their stomach and adequate healthcare.

        I know that in our current societal environment that this won't fly.  I perceive the problem as being one of desire rather than one of designing effective programs.  

        After all, for progressives, taking one for the team is desirable, but all too often at present, we are taking one from the team.

        by El Tomaso on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:37:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I dont believe that everyone is entitled to (0+ / 0-)

          those things. It is a laudable goal to create a society where everyone can attain those things with some application of effort. However those that truly are not capable of helping themselves are entitled to those things. Those who are capable need to help themselves. Obviously on the margins there are people that could fit into either category and that is the grey area where all the negative welfare stories come from.

  •  Two things: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, JeffW

    Those that argue that when you tax people at that rate they have little incentive to make more are exactly right -- and experience shows that nothing else has worked as well for getting those at the top to contribute more to their workers.

    and...

    ...don't kill the mill owners...just tax the hell out of them.

    The era of DE-REGULATION is over.

    We will drag the wealthy along with us into a brighter future, or they can simply avoid per prosecution and emigrate to Dubai, like Erik Prince. We would be well-rid of them. There will be more left for the rest of us.

    Thanks for your reminder of this:

    Remember, remember, the 5th of November
    The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
    I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.

    ...'06, '08, and ...'10? 'It was a trifecta of the peoples' outrage against Republicanism!'

    by ezdidit on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 06:58:36 AM PDT

  •  Hunter/Gatherers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Perry the Imp, joe from Lowell

    Actually, the hunter gatherers are estimated to have actually spent ~15 hours/week gathering food (based on contemporary hunter gatherer societies); it's the abiltiy of the land to naturally produce edible things that delimits the population (a ratio of 2:100 or so for nomads & hunter gatherers to farmers) and that nutrition for hunter gatherers, who had a diverse diet, was better than farmers. For example, average height (a fairly direct indication of quality of nutrition) in turkey and greece is still LESS than what it was measured from archeological digs of the era of non-farmers (Though it stands to reason as the generations of those who lived through WWII and other moments of deprivation die out, contemporary prosperity will likely put the average above its prehistorical number).

    It's the surplus population, however malnurished, along with the rigidity that is characteristic of the sessile, structured life that farming requires that encourages specialization. Contemporary hunter-gatherers tend to spend their bountiful free time in social and cultural pursuits. Though better fed and more developed, the hunter gathers have nevertheless been eliminated by those who made to choice to go to farming in most areas of arable land by the weight of sheer numbers. No matter how much stronger, better developed, and more praticed in war one might be, 1:50 is not a ratio you win with.

    So, you see, the human, the carefully crafted, the considered, the highly skilled and valuable is often overcome by the weaker but more numerous - a clear analogy to the Luddite's situation.

    •  Clarification (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      That is to say that there are continually recurring instances where a humane existence-where the human is cultivated and prized-is overcome by the sheer  economy and expediency of numbers and efficiency, despite the miserableness of the existence for its participants and its destruction of the humanity and dignity.

    •  Good comment. i was going to make that point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      People misunderstand why the change from hunter-gatherer to settled agriculture occurred.  Hunting and gathering is much more time- and labor-efficient.  It's just much less land-efficient.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:12:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Histories of Greece, Rome, Egypt, China disagree (0+ / 0-)

      So, you see, the human, the carefully crafted, the considered, the highly skilled and valuable is often overcome by the weaker but more numerous

      The greatest and longest lived civilizations to date thrived on exactly the opposite where the elite few dominated the many by force.

      The flaw in all the reasoning so far is that all the comments seem to equate class with intelligence and potential. As though inherited wealth and education were innate rather than a matter of training.

      The revelation of the industrial age has been in equality and realizing there's no such thing as "noble blood" or even "male superiority".

      •  I don't think you put my conlusion in context (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think we disagree; my point was not that in farming groups the many rule, just that, as in the case of the Luddites, the few-over-the-less-developed-many had a model which required less human development and supplanted a model in which the average person had a far higher degree of personal and cultural fullfillment, initiative, and economic independence (i.e. Humanism). Farming societies, in cities, are nearly universally striated - the specialization inherent in it seems to always produce haves and have nots (in conjunction with horse ownership - there is a significant amount of wealth that that ownership requires, further seperating classes with the magnification of wealth generating ability owning a horse provides). In farm societies, it seems the elites are the only ones who enjoyed the development and leisure that hunters once did, and the farm socities succeeded because they could overpower and outbreed those who did not make the switch. My point was from egalitarianism; no doubt the elites of the farmers were higher, more developed and skilled than the average hunter gather, but the general trend was for the average member of a tribe or civilization to be much less actualized than previous to the switch.

        No, my comment was drawn from the harsh realities of constraints of control of time; hunter gatherers had free time and thus could develop and learn; carftsmen were able to develop and learn because devoting time to it allowed them to prosper, the added wealth allowing for the generation beneath it to devote the time to its study. You're not really disagreeing with me, though you say you are; the dissolution of strict class has indeed proven-given time and education-most people can attain what was previously thought exclusive to the elite classes. I'm suggesting that the particulars of a farming ecnomy obscures and distorts the more natural (i.e. what we evolved in) continio of significant human development across all individuals in a group. And I was merely providing an example (there are countless others) of the recurring historical condition in which economic conditions confounded what would be the most human scheme.

        In fact, the histories of Greece, Rome, Egypt and China support my comment; they are all striated farming socities which, though raided, were not displaced and generally dominated their nomadic & hunter gatherer competitors. The condition of an increased value of human life and human development was overcome by sheer weight of numbers, and supplanted by a generally sense, absed on conditions, hat people were disposable.
        So, no, you're wrong to think we disagree.

  •  Conflating 'progress' with 'change' (6+ / 0-)

    one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of anyone pushing technological or political changes consistent with the greedy ambitions of those with too much power, is the notion 'progress is inevidable.'

    One only has to utter this phrase and opposition is deflated and defeated. This is because 'progress' is cyncially conflated with 'change' and all of it is wrapped up in modernist fantasies. Change is a fact of life, seasons change, we grow older and life changes us. But while progress is change, whether it is an improvement in our lives is utterly up for interpretation and dependent on whether it makes YOUR life better or not.

    Sometimes we get swept along by overwhelming technological changes, whether we want to join the herd or not. Eschew the computer and good luck finding a job.

    Example: when English traders first arrived on the shores of Hudson Bay, they brought metal hatchets, knives, red cloth and muskets. The indians loved the red cloth, because they couldn't get that color with their dying techniques. The metal tools were a big improvement over flint and obsidian tools and were eagerly purchased. Muskets, however, were not a hit. One loud blast and the carribou fled. A good bowman is very quiet and can get several arrows off in a minute. A lot of carribou will fall before the herd realizes its under and flee. Add to that the damage caused by a musket, which - if the animal is shot in the wrong place - destroys the meat.

    So a the bow and arrow was a better hunting tool than the musket. The Indians ignored the muskets.

    It wasn't until the French and Indian wars that Indians discovered the real value of a musket: it's capacity to kill a human with a single shot. It took war for the indians to begin to adapt to the new technology and only for their survival.

    So much for the mythologies for progress. Hopefully, my little story dispels any conflation between 'progress' and 'change'. Change is a fact of human existence, 'progress' is a sales pitch and a discursive weapon intended to defeat resistance to changes engineered by powerful people to better dominate you and exploit you.

    Luddites weren't defeated by the 'power of ideas', they were defeated by powerful capitalists, backed by the state, who then used the memory of Luddites to demonize workers and defeat further resistance before it organizes itself.

  •  Just got the diarist's book -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Perry the Imp

    haven't had a chance to read it yet, tho.  Looking forward to it, tho :)

    Here's my prescription, weak as it is: improve education, which in turn will lead to encouraging innovative technologies, that will result in self-sufficiency in energy resources and comsumption, with robots doing manufacturing and deadly jobs like mining, etc.

    Humans could focus on improving longivity and conquering illness and diseases and eliminating poverty -- what purpose does poverty serve, anyway?  Who wouldn't pay money to live longer and be healthier? -- something Big Pharma and Big Healthcare has known for a loonnnngggg time.  And since humans are narcissistic by nature, this would provide a lot of jobs for a lot of people all by itself.  Why should just a few corporations enjoy the exclusive privilege of making money off of people's desire to live better and longer?

  •  "Flexibility" without income security for all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux

    means that most of us, all except the true bourgeoisie, will know destitution for some period of our lives.  In the 21st century, words rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic, words like "precarity" and "flexcurity" will be among the most important ones for us both as individuals and as a society.  Only lifetime income security can allow us to be as "flexible" as "global labor markets" want us as workers to be.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:10:54 AM PDT

  •  Not so sure about the "cereal box" eco-history. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmaples, ActivistGuy, JeffW
    A few reasons.

    But it's also brought on an ever increasing disparity.

    Industrialization has brought on the exact opposite, every increasing equality. Inequality was least in the feudal, pre-industrial societies and is greatest in the most industrially advanced nations.

    Why did America become so dominant in the midst of the Industrial Age? Education

    More lucky accidents of history. Vast untapped natural resources was main reason. Not being devastated during the industrial dominance wars, WWI and WWII, leaving US the only industrial power standing.

    US is much like Bush, born on third, thinks he hit a triple.  US decline under corruption and mismanagement (trillions wasted in oil wars and oil imports with a technologically backward economy is 50% less efficient than Europe, Japan, China) after just 300 years is a crash and burn story as far as history is concerned.

    Education is good but it was not key.

    Diary also leaves out population. We have to consider we have more people than we have jobs for them, overpopulation is a real problem and a huge economic factor.  Also environment, we have destroyed so much of the environment we depend up, fishing industry being best example where resources that could feed billions have been destroyed while additional billions add to population, add to pollution, add to destruction of the environment.

    So diary's key assumption on economics and history don't bear out.  As for the conclusion of
    "tax the hell out of the mill owners".  Fair taxation is what democracies need.  The corruption of US system where the rich got hold of government and cut their taxes, borrowed heavily and spent on non-productive military and gambled on financial schemes is not a reason for abandoning fair taxation. Those who profit the most from US pay the most but equitable and certainly not a punitive rate as diary suggests.

  •  Malthus (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmaples, Yamara, happymisanthropy

    Malthus was wrong--short term--okay--a couple of centuries--but, world hunger will become the dreaded future at some date, in some places.  Same is true of the Luddites position--eventually, machines will do more, and people less.  Please read Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano--it might befog your somewhat rosy view of a possible future.

    Also--location, location, location.  The Americans stand to lose the most in this upheaval--and we are fast becoming the 21st centuries Hessians.  History repeats but the actors get the script posthumously.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:18:33 AM PDT

  •  very interesting, disagree about inequity though (0+ / 0-)

    what about Europe, for example? Compare inequity of the middle ages with 2010 western europe - of course it is the tax rates that you mention, but the technological change did not necessarily bring greater inequity. in some instances it brought a democratization of individual autonomy - printing press, for example, or invention of the alphabet vs the ancient hieroglyphic systems.

  •  I am psychotherapist and I'm ok (4+ / 0-)

    I won't be replaced by a robot any day.

    Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:18:55 AM PDT

  •  and why not a preponderance of organic (0+ / 0-)

    and family farms with all the labor that is being saved from labor-saving devices? and population in some highly technologized societies declines - increase in population need not accompany the technological changes.

    •  Why not? (0+ / 0-)

      Economics.  There's an extremely limited market, and a choking distribution system, for such products.  Only large farms can survive in an economically efficient manner.  Most "small family farmers" already have non-farming incomes.  If we want more people doing the extremely labor-intensive, work-hours-consuming type of labor necessary for organic farming, well, there's another field that providing everyone with basic income security would open up for those with an interest in doing it.

      American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:27:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  one of their major costs is health care (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        hence they need a non farm income. there need not be a limited market - furthermore, ppl want rewarding work, not work where they get thrown away when times change. many ppl find farming and ranching rewarding, and many ppl are not afraid of hard work, in fact welcome the opportunity  - problem is health care and subsidies for big ag make it financially difficult. but we can change that. w todays technologies much of the labor intensive work is also personally rewarding - the arts, environmental work, teaching, medicine and social service (and don't tell me doctors are well-paid, the costs, medical school, insurance and continuing ed pretty much wipe out the income) farming and ranching, - how about we rearrange some priorities so these lines of work get paid instead of thinking technology is taking us in the direction of a few well paid jobs and everyone else unemployed

        •  Demonstrable untrue (0+ / 0-)

          In countries that have universal health care (or at least something more like it than the US) the decrease in agricultural workers has not stopped or reversed because health care costs are not a primary concern.

          Having grown up on a farm, I'll tell you why: kids make up much of the cheap labour that non-industrial farming absolutely depends on, and most of us who grew up on farms have no desire to continue living that lifestyle.  If I had children, no way in hell would I want then to have to get up at five in the morning to do two hours of work before they get ready for school, or have them miss out on things like vacations and summer activities because they were needed for the harvest.

          •  in the usa - that's my point; yet needn't be so (0+ / 0-)

            all kids have chores, let's hope; kids shouldering a significant burden of farming work, that's part of the economics of the usa farm, it's not generic to the farming endeavor. And I'm not saying we'll ever go back to a large % of the population doing farming either, just that organic farming could produce a higher % of usa food - and I'm saying as a society we need to enable labor intensive work for quality of life, both for what that work produces (healthy food, good students) and for the opportunity to do rewarding work (farming, teaching).

  •  Really interesting essay. Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    You're right, we need to bring back fair taxation.

    It'll be a big meming battle ahead of us. The Republicans have have 40 years to convince that rank-and-file that "taxes are bad."

  •  That's a scary diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Perry the Imp

    However, as to your last paragraph, I might note that the death of wealthy individuals results in A) immediate large scale taxation of the wealth(inheritance tax, except in 2010) and B) generally a diversification of the wealth, unless it all goes to exactly one other person.  So while it might not be nice, those dead mill owners do actually help...

    Note to self: Quit insulting people. Note to others: If I insult you, please remind me that I'm trying to stop doing that.

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:28:08 AM PDT

  •  It's also time that the tax laws were (0+ / 0-)

    changed so that the workers owned their own pension money directly, in their own name. Lots of people contributed to company pension plans which were restricted to company stock only, and the company still tanked. Enron being perhaps the most egregious example. Lots of corporations lobbied for 401 K legislation, and the resulting excesses on Wall Street and the banks led to them being called jokingly "201Ks" for losing half of their value. But this situation is not so funny when you realize that, statistically, about half of the money available to Wall Street comes from institutional investors (read pension funds) so when 401ks become 201ks, that means about 1/4 of the money (nominal dollars) in the system just became worthless. The Great Depression had unemployment in the range of 29 percent or so, when reporting wasn't exactly as accurate as the bar-code technology of today is. In absolute dollar terms, the US has been at about 2/3 of the depths of the Great Depression. the news media, accustomed to horse race style reporting, has avoided the "D" word (Depression), apparantly reluctant to use the term depression until the misery had finally surpassed that of the Great Depression, and then only obviously, and for three successive quarters. It is refreshing to finally see economists like Paul Krugman force the mainstream media to print what is obvious to anyone with a calculator, and Econ 101 training: It's a depression, since 1/4 of the value has vanished. And the incremental impact of that loss of value is made worse, because the fear of loss prevents would be investors from taking even prudent investment risks.
      The current so-called financial reform legislation largely leaves the system status quo, even post Bush. The Fortune 1000 still control most of the shareholder votes in your 401k/201k plans, and they will vote in managers who think like Republicans (IOKIYAR). Financial advisors harp on the idea of diversifying your portfolio, yet funnel vast amounts of money into a system that is as politically narrow as the eye of a needle. Putting the money you make by your own labor, into your own retirement account, and giving you the deduction for doing it, would instantly diversify half of the money on Wall Street. That's a change I could believe in.

  •  When the natural attributes of an organic (3+ / 0-)

    species are frustrated or disused, the organism does not continue to thrive.  Over long millenia, appendages may attrophy, but the immediately impacted individuals are likely to be short-lived and die off prematurely.  Organisms whose hands are made for using tools and whose feet are made for walking, are not going to be long content twiddling their thumbs and sitting on the chaise lounge.
    The decreasing life-span in the U.S. should be a great worry.  While services have traditionally undervalued by economists, which accounts for the lack of investment in eduction and the arts, the growth of service sectors like medicine, law and finance, should also be worrisome.  'Cause these service providers are mostly engaged in trying to correct for production's wastes after the fact.  Moreover, a shorter life may be less significant than a lengthy existence in a state of deprivation (deprived of individual mobility, stamina, creativity and the vigorous pursuit of happiness), in which humans are maintained like so many cattle or fowl being fattened for the slaughter.  Machines are not the problem; the problem is man's willingness to exploit his fellow man for fun and profit.  The line between involuntary servitude and voluntary servitude is mighty thin and a man's voluntary submission to abuse to avert the certainty of starvation is not an honorable moral stance.

    What good is 100 men being sustained by the productivity of one farmer, if the existence of those 100 is merely a foreshadowing of death?  Health care is much like that other pairing of concepts, cost/benefit, in which the factors affect different entities.  So that the providers of "care" to the sick actually serve to increase the financial "health" of the industrial providers getting paid to correct for the problems created by other industries.

    The Constitution is not a menu for an exclusive diner.

    by hannah on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:34:20 AM PDT

  •  this is almost true... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll, Grey Paladin

    the largest gains in efficiency over the last two decades haven't been in the fields or the factories, it's been in the office

    Because the information gained on those screens needs to be put to productive use, and by my estimation that occurs only about half the time.

    The other huge gain in productivity has been to move manufacturing to dirt poor regions, where many have found that it's the cheap way to get to market fast. In some cases, it's cheaper than the machines themselves: learning curve, capital expenditures, power consumption, facilities, maintenance and down time are all non-factors. No benefits, either. Once you get a manufacturing engineer to break down the entire process into its component parts, they've found that teaching someone to sew on a button doesn't take all that much effort.

    People are just beginning to revisit the notion that everything in the global economy can be built by 20% of the people.

    The rest of us will be serving up fries.

    What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

    by papicek on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:34:22 AM PDT

    •  True, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      saluda

      information gained through hard study and diligent research can also be thrown away unread.  So if efficiency cuts in half the amount of labor needed to produce a report that no one will read...

      The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 11:09:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  things can go the other way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, happymisanthropy

    I was just reading on Wikipedia (yes that wikipedia) that during the beginnings of the Roman empire goods moved freely from england to egypt thus large cities made manufactured goods that went to rural areas while the wool, hides and food went to cities. A few hundred years later with the roads not being maintained and more importantly bandits stealing goods the system changed into the manor system. Each estate became by necessity self suficient and the city dwellers were forced to leave the cities to work on the estates, thus the beginning of feudalism. Walls were built around formerly open cities. I suspect the end of oil is going to lead to similar changes if the collapse of the financial system doesn't happen first.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:35:26 AM PDT

  •  Now capital has all the 'flexibility' it wants. (8+ / 0-)
    Labor? Not so much.
    Thanks to our trans-national corporatocracy, capital can freely zip around the world at the speed of the light streaking through fiberoptic cables, seeking out the lowest cost, flimsiest regulations, cheapest labor and fewest environmental rules. Labor however is chained to the physical realities of food, clothing, shelter, children and family.

    It's a race between a millionaire Olympic sprinter and an overweight, overworked, underpaid middle aged wage slave carrying his family and mortgage on his shoulders. Oh, and the sprinter is personal friends with the umpire.

  •  Machine Operators (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, TXConservative

    What organized labor seems not to have learned is that machines don't operate or manufacture themselves. Even when they do, in this age of automation and robotic intelligence, there's always machine operators, technicians, programmers, servicers, builders, inventors, scrappers, salespeople, and the rest of the army of human labor who make the machines go. All those skilled jobs are mostly "service" jobs.

    It's naive to think that the humans work for the machines that "really" do the work. Luddite stocking makers used needles, thread weaving wheels, looms and other machines, but the stocking makers used the machines. Coaldiggers used shovels, first flattened sticks and then steam powered hammers and rail carts. The automated stocking looms putting Luddites out of work were built and operated by other labor, new jobs.

    More valuable jobs, because their hours of work produced much more valuable products, at lower prices that other labor can better afford to buy. Not necessarily fewer jobs: though we have 9% unemployment today, the US has 42x the population we had in 1811; global population is "only" 6.5 its 1811 size, but it includes women workers, globalized labor across Asia, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere. We have hundreds of times more workers, thousands of times more automation. A tiny fraction still does the same jobs, without machines, people did in 1811; practically all the extra people do work with machines.

    Starting in the late 1970s, America's flagship union, the United Auto Workers, started seeing robots that could "do the jobs" of its members, as Japanese companies competed with US carmakers with increased productivity. If the UAW had embraced robots at that time, coopting all the jobs needed by the robots into its membership, training and retraining its members, it would have a more highly paid membership in better working conditions and getting better pay. Instead automation had to be forced onto the UAW, like Luddites before it.

    It might not seem "fair" that workers, especially ones on the job for decades, highly skilled in the old tools, and with only a few years left before retiring, should have to learn new technology that younger people learn better. But neither is it fair for their employers to watch competitors undercut their pricing through new and improved automation.

    The automation is only going to increase, and rapidly. Though American science fiction for generations populated its stories with many more intelligent robots than intelligent disembodied computers, actual robotics only started to really accelerate faster than computers only in the past decade or two, as engineers got cheap workstations for "desktop prototyping" and an Internet to collaborate with anyone - and to plug into cheap manufacturing labor for parts across the world. The next 5-10 years will see robots finally actually eliminating manual tasks for people outside the most advanced factories, just as computers finally automated "balancing your checkbook" in deluxe ways that made everyone more productive. Inside the factories, the workers who operate machines will be so productive that materials will again become the bottleneck on pricing, not labor, though their skills and productivity will enable them to earn better livings - and buy cheaper products at higher quality.

    China's main advantage is its ability to abuse workers in cheap, bad conditions, and to abuse its environment in which its workers must live instead of paying to keep it liveable. But most of China's labor that can compete with machines is now already working (often to death); that kind of growth will quickly stall. America's productivity per dollar is still higher, especially for higher quality products. But if China, or India, or even smaller countries like Malaysia, Brazil, Russia, S Korea, Canada, or even Turkey etc, adopt the new automation, while the US stays Luddite, the US will become as easy a target for competition as, say, the Ottoman Empire was for 1800s England.

    Yes, taxes must be paid by those who consume services, and manufacturers consume lots of services. Especially because their energy demands and pollution output requires some of the costliest services, like oil wars and flood disaster response/recovery, not to mention education, R&D and lawsuits mostly paid for by the public. That education must be ensured by the US government's overall policies (Federal, state and local) that encompass industrial policy, labor policy, economic policy, and indeed "humanity policy" that recognizes that art, literature, music and thinking education is at least as important as sports to people who are alive enough to work.

    But labor unions must also get with the program, so to speak. Perhaps the most important change would be if American unions had enough membership that instead of monopolizing a given trade (or beyond), unions competed for members. Likewise, competition among employers for labor in a labor "free trade" market needs a lot more reality, not just the corporate anarchist slogans keeping our captured government from ensuring competition among our monopolists and cartels - which has to start at the beginning, ensuring equal access to the products and finance markets.

    Automation has fully arrived. It's humans who must change to fit the environment we've created, that's now the norm. We've got a long way to go to becoming truly human, possibly longer than the machines do to noticing we're not.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:37:09 AM PDT

  •  "the eternal yesterday" and despecialization (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, happymisanthropy

    Max Weber called the "way our fore fathers did it"  "the eternal yesterday", a phrase I enjoy.

    The idea that one person has and does one job should become part of the past. A more rational distribution of the riches of the technological revolutions would lead to a lot more free time. A plumber with enough time to play the piano. Computer coders who tend "trendy organic farms" a couple hours a day. Teachers with days off to be students. Education as a lifelong process - more part time nurses, less double shifts.

    Utopian, I know, but I've always felt decentralization of production and despecialization of the work force was the way forward.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:43:14 AM PDT

  •  Protectionist policies also made us strong. (4+ / 0-)

    "Why did America become so dominant in the midst of the Industrial Age?"

    The factors listed in the story are true enough.

    But don't forget that, from George Washington's time until just a few decades ago, we actively protected our domestic industries.

  •  But what about China? (2+ / 0-)

    The Diarist does not speak at all about "free trade" in their three ending bullets.

    Maybe I'm a Luddite but the export of jobs seems so obvious to me.

  •  Fear of Change in Japan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill

    Parallel to the question of why nations rise is the question of why they decline.

    The NY Times has a great article today on xenophobia in Japan (thanks mom for pointing it out to me):

    In interviews, members of the Zaitokukai and other groups blamed foreigners, particularly Koreans and Chinese, for Japan’s growing crime and unemployment, and also for what they called their nation’s lack of respect on the world stage. Many seemed to embrace conspiracy theories taken from the Internet that China or the United States were plotting to undermine Japan.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:46:51 AM PDT

    •  Japanese Tea Party (0+ / 0-)

      Mr. Sakurai says the group is not racist, and rejected the comparison with neo-Nazis. Instead, he said he had modeled his group after another overseas political movement, the Tea Party in the United States. He said he had studied videos of Tea Party protests, and shared with the Tea Party an angry sense that his nation had gone in the wrong direction because it had fallen into the hands of leftist politicians, liberal media as well as foreigners.

      "They have made Japan powerless to stand up to China and Korea," said Mr. Sakurai, who refused to give his real name.

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

      by agoldnyc on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:48:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I get emails from web site Japan Today (0+ / 0-)

      you can sign up for it,  it's just a page log, really a quick version, headlines and a couple of sentences, of what is going on in Japan.  takes about 3 minutes to ready every day.

      How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home..80 % of success is just showing up

      by Churchill on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:53:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do we change terms of the debate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice

    This is the latest in a number of recent pieces pointing out the real fundamental problem in the economy.  Thanks to productivity increases, we are making plenty of stuff to support everybody comfortably.  What we lack is enough jobs for the low-skilled.  It's a distribution/education/income disparity issue.

    How do we make this the topic of discussion in media and politics?  More stimulus isn't going to help long term, cutting taxes on the rich isn't going to help in any term (and is indeed counterproductive).  The major parties are missing the real issues and the media is enabling the misperceptions.

    What's kind of sad is that I think Obama has a better understanding of the real economic problems than most, but even giving voice to some of it will result in a firestorm of distortion and outright lies.  "Guaranteed Minimum Income" will become reparations for dark-skinned people.

    Anyway, this needs to bubble up into the popular culture.  Somehow the tea partiers need to understand that their rosy view of the past won't magically come back and they're being screwed by the same folks who are bankrolling their "movement."

    Not an easy task since it can't be reproduced to a soundbite, but somehow we have to change the terms of the debate.

  •  While many good things have come from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    industrialization, what isn't good is how industry has reduced product to the lowest form in the quest for more profits.
    In farming, we see tainted eggs, tainted meat, workers being forced into working in nearly slave conditions. and people get sick.
    If our ford was more local, and inspected, and factory farming practices outlawed, we'd see a vast improvement in the quality of our food and its availability. right now, only those with money in their pockets can enjoy organic produce, free range chickens, grass fed meat and hormone-free milk.
    While many who ascribe to vegetarian or vegan diets claim eating meat hurts the environment, that is not necessarily true - it is our farming methods that destroy grasslands to grow more corn, to fatten up cattle, which gives them infections, which means antibiotics.
    The number of acres of grazing land has dropped, while the number of acres devoted to corn has risen. We simply do not need that much corn.
    Getting back to better farming methods will take some time, and it will be a fight, for corporations like Monsanto see the future as a bigger form of its present self.
    But what if corporations really used their creativity to go back to older, safer, healthier methods, while still providing the amount of food needed to feed the population. It would take brain power. It would take creative problem solving. Heck, it might even mean more jobs.
    But, as we all know, corporations don't want more jobs. They don't care if Americans can buy their crap. They just want higher dividends for their stock and to pay more to the CEOs who do nothing more than play golf and schmooze with each other.
    You're right, tax the hell out of them. But also regulate the hell out of them. The only way they will change is if they are forced to change.

  •  we need jobs now, Mr. Spock, we need them now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    maybe he doesn't get it, but government should help the private sector get organized to create millions of jobs in the next six years.

    How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home..80 % of success is just showing up

    by Churchill on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:51:31 AM PDT

  •  Quibble... we have even less manufacturing (7+ / 0-)

    as a percentage than some other countries who did more to keep more industry in their countries, with good wages and employment. The US stampeded the outsourcing faster and more completely than needed with incentives to shrink it more than would naturally have occurred. And the profits of increased "productivity" were not shared equitably with remaining workers... wages flat or declining even...

    Germany for instance has healthy Unions, a strong manufacturing base a good balance of payments and well paid workers... why not the US? Because the business interests in the US have way too much power and have gamed the system to the point where most sectors whole country are suffering... just not the richest...

    so it appears that the corporate interests in US have pushed the envelope further than is sustainable or healthy for the economy. They crowed for years about the coming service economy and then made it happen faster and more comprehensively than made sense... staying ahead or getting ahead of the curve can destabilize a natural progression.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:52:17 AM PDT

    •  1/2 of German Boards are workers or thier reps (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Dave925, IreGyre

      that's why it's tough to outsource jobs in Germany.  Workers elect their representative on the board of directors.  It can be workers or worker reps.

      How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home..80 % of success is just showing up

      by Churchill on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 07:57:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Germany (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Dave925

      remembers what destruction of their currency and subsequently their manufacturing base does to their country ... totaltarianism and war is the end result.  Same as Chile in 1973.

      "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:07:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Germany (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      Is FDR's vision of post-war America killed her by a repuke congress elected in '46 by a stupid population but the re-construction in Europe was being handled by executive branch directed New-Dealers.

      Seriously, Germany is what we were supposed to be as the other posters describe.

      It's such a damn shame this was not allowed to be.

      - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

      by Dave925 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:53:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make this a series, please! (0+ / 0-)

    Mark, this is one of the most important and least understood issues that is essentially the background of all political and economic events today.

    I first became aware of this as a student in philosophy class but it was the 1982 Scientific American special edition on the Mechanization of Workthat really brought it home. I keep a copy above my desk.

    Thanks for this great piece. Could we have more please?

  •  I've read the opposite - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    that our hunter-gatherer ancestors had more free time for leisure than today's worker.

    In a hunter-gather society, collection of food occupies enough time and resources that there's little left for other occupations and severe limits on the total population.

    "How come you've got so many women?" Russian generals to Rose Gottemoeller negotiating the new nuclear treaty.

    by mrobinson on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:20:37 AM PDT

    •  Depends on one's Time & Geography (0+ / 0-)

      If we compare the Chumash of idyllic So. California during the temperate pre-colonial period, roughly 9,000 bce to 1780 ce yeah, the abundance was amazing along the coast I grw up on and live on these 50+ years later.

      But people trying to eke it out in Scandinavia just 1,500 years ago, I imagine survival was a full time job and then some.

      I always wanted to be a Chumash.

      - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

      by Dave925 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:38:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  1500 years ago was AD 510 (0+ / 0-)

        The Scandinavians not only managed to hang on, the population gradually increased until they had to go looking for more land elsewhere. They also concentrated on improving their boat-building until they had the best ships in the world for their time. And then - they went forth and took what they needed, settling the Faeroes, Iceland, Greenland, and raiding all their neighbors.

        The Scandinavians, Faeroese and Icelanders are still here - the Greenlanders are not (survival became a more than full-time job in the marginal and deteriorating conditions of the Little Ice Age).

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:45:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It didn't hurt that (0+ / 0-)

          around 1K CE there was a warming that enabled further expansion, Greenland? Yup, it was Green and then there was Vineland, thought to be in Newfoundland. Vines? Grapes in Newfoundland? Yes, there was.

          I often get mixed up on micro climactic changes that last a few centuries so this may have been the end of or the beginning of the "little Ice Age" that caused these areas to be as they are today but the point is in the cold northern climes, there were many more times when indeed survival was long, hard work than along coastal California. It's estimated the Chumash for thousands of years needed only 3 or 4 hours a day to meet their needs.

          I often imagine what flights of intellectual fancy filled their minds, what they thought of the night time skies, what they must have thought of their only natural enemies extant then- big Brown Bears and I compare then to the rat race everyone but the very wealthy is engaged in here, now and how paradise has indeed been lost.

          All I know is even I could live off the ocean a scarce thousand yards from my door, even today it's possible. It would take me a lot more than 4 hours though. ;) Scandinavia in any time, not so much.

          - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

          by Dave925 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:44:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Vinland" may actually have meant "Pasture-Land" (0+ / 0-)

            Apparently, Old Norse had a difficult homonym pair: "Vin" meaning "wine or grapes" and "vin" meaning "grass, pasture".

            Grapes in Newfoundland? No, not even at the height of the Millennial Optimum. Grass in Newfoundland? Oh yes. L'Anse aux Meadows wasn't named for its barrenness.

            Complicating the picture is a somewhat later saga that describes a voyage further south (no one knows or agrees on how much further) where one of the voyagers gorged on grapes until he got drunk. But that was, as they say, another story.

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 07:27:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Not always. Unions and minimum wage laws help (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Ezekial 23 20

    We continue to track "worker efficiency" as one of our economic measurements, and treat it as if it's a gauge of the nation's health, but every tick of that increasing efficiency is a mark of the devaluing of the workers, a widening of the gap between rich and poor.

    There are several ways to reduce the huge spread between the incomes of 'workers' and 'bosses'.  A progressive income tax is one way, pushing down on the take-home for the rich.  Minimum wage laws are another, pushing up what the folks on the bottom rung of the ladder get, and creating pressure to raise wages at the 'low but not bottom' rungs of the ladder.  Unions are a third way; they help for workers in the middle, by pushing wages up toward what increasing productivity of the worker is worth in production, rather than letting wages sink toward whatever the wage-earner will settle for.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:21:30 AM PDT

  •  You're stealing my thunder, Devilstower! (0+ / 0-)

    A couple of years ago, I diaried the Luddites in what turned out to be a pretty ill-attended historiorant.  Since I'll be talking about them this week in class, I resurrected the old diary for some factual info, and got to thinking that I might just go ahead and repost it tonight...and now this!

    The historian's one task is to tell the thing as it happened. -- Lucian of Samosata

    by Unitary Moonbat on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:52:36 AM PDT

  •  We never had a 90% tax rate (0+ / 0-)

    What we had was a 90% marginal top rate.  Big difference.  Now 90% sounds pretty confiscatory to me, but income growth isn't exactly linear either.

    Simplifying it into a 90% tax rate just pays service to right wing talking points authored and disseminated by our 1% crop of aristocrats.  Actually getting to be more like 0.1% these days.

    Kill the filibuster! Abolish the Senate!

    by sproingie on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 08:57:35 AM PDT

  •  Luddite not a valid comparison (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz, chuckvw, nomorerepukes

    Recent studies and articles of Germany’s manufacturing prowess being dependent upon strong investments in the workers, infrastructure, and a fabulous social safety net belie the notion that the U.S. can or should allow the Masters of the Universe to dictate we concentrate the benefits of manufacturing automation to Wall Street.

    People now and in the technologically advanced future still need housing, furniture and any number of "things", and as one of the few countries with room to grow geographically to sustain the growing population, the U.S. ignores the national security and societal benefits of investing in our communities instead of multinational corporations at our own long term peril.

    I’ve worked in the forefront of industrial automation as an engineer/technician for going on forty years, traveled to almost every state visiting hundreds of manufacturing facilities to install and service German, Italian, and Japanese CNC machinery, train the highly skilled, sometimes highly paid work force, and move on to the next local community benefiting from computer automation - or I used to.

    Now, when ghost towns litter the rural and suburban regions of the U.S. where vibrant communities once stood, and German workers send their children to university for free, take a minimum of 30 paid days off annually plus holidays, have free health care and double the retirement while their country is the number one manufacturing exporter in the world - please don’t tell me "those jobs are never coming back", because they must if we are to survive as a nation.

    And I reject any comparison to Luddites and anti-technology forces to those of us who've always seen first hand the value and necessity of investment in U.S. manufacturing.

     

    "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

    by Jim R on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 09:04:42 AM PDT

    •  I concur but I feel that it almost takes a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim R

      PhD in economics to understand why. I was read a quote by a reknowned sociologist out of the University of Pennsylvania, to the effect that the United States can not remain a great nation by Americans being reduced to taking in each others wash. (Anyone who knows who this is please tell me.) Other sources indicate that the United States is nearing the same precipice encountered by Spain, Holland, and Britain. The Dutch overcame the Spanish because they harnessed wind and used it in manufacturing. They were in turn replaced by the Englich who relied on   cheap coal for use in manufacturing. And America replaced Britain because of the abundance of then cheap oil. The common thread here is manufacturing. The more things change the more they remain the same as Asia is now ascendent due to cheap labor. The only two sources of cheap energy, or at least cheaper in the long run, is nuclear and solar. And, if Americans can't get behind nuclear they better damn well get behind solar and stop this pussyfooting around.  

      Healthcare is a human right, not a commodity.

      by nomorerepukes on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 09:52:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The above characterization of hunter-gatherer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Taaffe

    societies...

    In a hunter-gather society, collection of food occupies enough time and resources that there's little left for other occupations and severe limits on the total population. At each stage, as food production has become more efficient, it has supported a larger population, and less and less of that population has been involved in food production.

    ...is missing key insights.

    Time is not the reason why many hunter-gatherer societies did not convert to an extra-natural mode of resource management (i.e. agriculture). There are several reasons to be very confident about this. Here are two:

    (1) Since there was a time when all human social groups were of the hunter-gatherer variety, how could any of them have become civilizational given the premise that they did not have the time to do so?

    (2) Those hunter-gatherer societies that have managed to survive civilization's onslaught to this day are known (by those who care to know) for spending far less time maintaining a self-satisfying living than the rest of us do.

    Also, the idea that "food production has become more efficient" -- phrased as such, without direction or specificity -- suggests (a) a gaping oversimplification of the issues at hand and (b) a gross anthropocentrism. To the former, human food consumption -- presumably a key end of "food production" -- has become far less efficient, as today there are far more starving and impoverished humans than there were 10,000 years ago (at the dawn of extra-natural food production), and there is far more gluttony (which we may define as the consumption of food resources past the point of health and/or satiation). To the latter charge (anthropocentrism), any genuine understanding of what it means for an ecosystem to evolve and be healthy -- wherein various species populations are kept in check, and none attempts to horde or protect a large resource supply from any other members of that ecosystem -- must include the fact that such an ecosystem is efficient beyond our capacity to replicate in practice. Human domination of resources and the resulting, single-species (human) population explosion, necessarily occurring at the expense of all other creatures in need of resources, is the direct cause of all the major strife and calamities we now face, to say nothing of the extreme suffering and death that has directly resulted from the anthropocentric mindset along the path to the present.

    HERE.am
    Music//Philosophy//Analysis//Revolution

    by FedUpDan on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 09:05:12 AM PDT

  •  You can trace the rise of inequality and empire (0+ / 0-)

    to the birth of agriculture. Hunters and gatherers have little they can't make in a day, so possessions have little meaning and their nothing to steal from them, except access to resources. Wealth is measured in size and depth of their social networks, so violence between humans is completely unproductive to the values between humans. Population sizes were kept in check by extended nursing, which reduced repeated pregnancies, so populations didn't grow beyond the carrying capacity of the group and the environment. When a group got too large, it fissured, because there weren't any unequal relations in the group or the power of anyone to compel anyone to do anything.

    People migrated around their resource network, living relatively lightly on the land. With little in the way of possessions or resources to protect, flight is easy when faced with danger.

    But when you grow crops, you are fixed to a specific spot of land. And the land produces a surplus that you must also protect. Now you are fixed to land, have something to lose and you are vulnerable.

    All you need now is a group of people willing to use violence to take your stuff or dominate your production and surplus and we have the birth of 'civilization'.

    Production of surplus, combines with its labor intensive means of production, to explode human populations, all of them vulnerable and tied to the land. Over time, those willing to use violence to dominate this production become the ruling classes and the impoverished producers, peasants.

    Of course, egalitarian and elitist values survive unevenly throguh time, kept as idealized memories among the downtrodden in the former case, and pumped out overtly and covertly by elites in the later case.

    Modernism is just the advance of elite ambitions, made more potent by its technologies, legitimated by the imperial arguments of past empires, to further alienate us from our labors, our communities and ourselves. Don't believe the hype.

  •  When the village stops being of service (0+ / 0-)

    to the villagers, the villagers leave.

    I predict a mass emigration from the USA in the next few years.

  •  You left out the fact (0+ / 0-)

    that worker protections actually accelerate productivity-enhancing technology.  If workers are expensive, management will invest in tools that increase productivity per worker.  Which is a good thing.

    The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

    by happymisanthropy on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:01:11 AM PDT

  •  A quibble with the use of "crofters" (0+ / 0-)

    as the definition of a person who finishes fabric after it comes off a loom.

    A 'crofter' refers to a tenant of a small piece of land.

    That tenant may have had a skill at finishing cloth which is only one step in textile production and it may have been done at home...other crofters in the area may have had skill in other areas of textile production which they did at home.

    Some of the steps necessary in textile production: shearing of sheep, cleaning the fiber, spinning the wool into yarn, dressing the loom, weaving the cloth, finishing the cloth...all done in crofters homes...usually each person or family being adept at one or more of those steps for textile production.

    It was a special skill to finish cloth...some of the ways to 'finish" cloth just off the loom:

    http://www.oldandsold.com/...

    While an individual 'crofter' may have been a cloth finisher, another 'crofter' in the area may have been a shearer, a wool scourer, a wool carder, a spinner, a loom dresser (person who warped the loom), a weaver, or a finisher.

    Waiting for Obama is like "Waiting for Godot".

    by trinityfly on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:10:34 AM PDT

    •  We are all shearers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trinityfly

      The step in the process where the cloth is cut smooth is called shearing.   The full process supports expands your analogy and is even more appropriate in some ways.

      Once the woven cloth was taken off the loom, given an initial cleaning and whitening, it was soaked in water.  The wet cloth was then stretched out and hung on large hooks to dry by someone called a tenter.  This is where the term "on tenterhooks" comes from.  The cloth would stretch tight during the drying process and a raiser would use the heads of teazles (a type of thistle) to the brush the cloth and raise the nap.  

      At this point the shearer - one of the most technically skilled jobs in the cloth-making process -- would carefully trim off all the stray threads and bits of fiber to create a smooth finish.  After a final pressing (by a presser, of course) the cloth would be sold to a factor or middle-man for marketing.

      So depending on how you want to look at it, workers today are the cloth stretched out to dry on tenterhooks waiting to be sheared, pressed, and sold off, or we are the tenters, raisers, shearers and pressers in a community of crofters -- skilled craftsmen and women being supplanted by technological processes leaving us with lower-paying, lesser skilled jobs.  Waiting a generation or more for new jobs to be created that will allow our grandchildren to again approach a standard of living and for performing the kind of respected, skilled work enjoyed by our grandparents.

      •  Sometimes the stray threads on a cloth (0+ / 0-)

        were singed off...and then there are the fullers, who beat the cloth when wet to make the cloth 'full' or felt...

        My warp and woof are fraying and I'm out here on tenterhooks, feeling full of beatings and singed.

        :-)

        Waiting for Obama is like "Waiting for Godot".

        by trinityfly on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 12:41:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, a lot of people have thought about (0+ / 0-)

    the relationship between productivity and pay, and about what would happen if we could produce enough for everybody with no labor. The funniest is the science fiction short story, The Midas Plague, by Frederick Pohl.

    Much of our present difficulty comes from Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan's much-praised efforts at holding "inflation" down, where the worst form of inflation is rising wages, regardless of any increases in efficiency to pay them. Milton Friedman's doctrine of the "natural" rate of unemployment is another such weapon.

    Busting the Dog Whistle code.

    by Mokurai on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:24:58 AM PDT

    •  Put simply, the focus of any economy should be (0+ / 0-)

      people. Most of the crowing about the productivity of American business is done by American business. U6 unemployment is a much more accurate indicator of productivity. We actually suck at it, and need to get better soon.

  •  Manufacturing jobs did not go away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz

    They were sent to low-wage labor pools in Asia.  Our capacity for producing things has not diminished.  

    The problem isn't service work, it's that we placed all eggs in service industry - now we are reaping the rewards.

    Sunshine on my shoulder...

    by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:42:06 AM PDT

  •  Points for giving the one and only good argument (0+ / 0-)

    for extremely high tax rates:

    It kills the incentive to work harder and do more.

    Under some circumstances, that can be the equivalent of school districts asking teachers to forego wage increases so that nobody will have to be laid off (often in vain, I might add).

    Yes.  If John says, "Screw it. Why bother -- I'm not going to make any more money if I make another widget.", it will leave widgets for Jane to make.

    That might or might not be an efficient thing, but it would tend to spread work around a little more.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 10:51:26 AM PDT

  •  Good Diary (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps the true structural problem with the economy?

    but this statement :

    We still have the world's best system of universities

    strikes me in the same sense as "We still have the world's best system of health care"

    I'm sure Gucci or Prada make the best handbags.

    "If you are both cross-eyed and dyslexic, does that mean you can see straight?"

  •  Monsanto and their partners are the evil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill from SC
    The multi-national agri business giants, and their Genetically Modified seeds and crops are ruining the farms , what few are left for the little guy.
    They even get subsidies, through Bills written in Congress as if they benefit Ma and Pa Kettle.
    So the bottom line, AAgri-business profits off undocumented workers from Mexico Central and South America, and get corporate welfare for nothing they contribute for the good of the country.
    They go after small farmers, who have the misfortune of companies from agri-business, whose trucks blow seed into the small farmers field, or blown by the wind miles away to another farm.
    These farmers are forbidden from harvesting crops they had nothing to do with, and must surrender seeds for inspection, or they will be sued for theft of intelllectual property.
    We need to return to the days when American farmers
  •  The 1 percent employed in agriculture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WhiningRepug

    should be going up, not down. Locally grown and distributed food saves energy, improves nutrient diversity, reduces pollution and puts people and communities to work. Loosening the death grip of industrialized agriculture is creative destruction this 21st century capitalist can live with.

    •  Nail on the head (0+ / 0-)

      Farmers markets, Farm co-ops, and people sticking together, and growing their own good nutrient rich food, is the only way to fight the big corporate farms. And good for your immune system, to fight the poisons they put in the atmosphere, (see BP oil dispersents), and what slips through in your diet.
      You can't eat toxin free, due to the agri-business giants that permeate all of grocery store bought foods. Even Whole Food stores need watching.

  •  We bought a new car on Tuesday. On Wed I went (0+ / 0-)

    online and endorsed our auto insurance policy to reflect the change, saving the insurer at least $60 and probably more.  I benefited because I had an updated state required proof of insurance form in minutes.

    But I wondered, whose job was I taking, how much was I enhancing the CEOs productivity and hence his bonus, and why were not some of the savings passed on to me as the policy holder?  

    It tells me that we are looking at a future wherein we do more work and provide greater profits to the corporate shareholders, even if we are not paid employees.

  •  Rape of the Rose (0+ / 0-)

    by Glyn Hughes is a good book about the Luddites.

    Once past the lurid title, devotees of historical fiction will discover a novel worthy of comparison with Hughes's previous work, The Antique Collector . Set in northern England early in the Industrial Revolution, this is an account of the Luddite movement--the revolt of textile workers who lost their jobs due to factory mechanization. Loosely organized and with no clear agenda save the destruction of the machinery that had replaced them, they terrorized factory owners via swift and deadly raids. Mor Greave--weaver, teacher, musician and nature lover--lives in the village of Lady Well; as an educated man, he is prevailed upon to write inflammatory pamphlets for the Luddites. His wife and two sons work at the local factory, enduring the brutal conditions there, which have already killed one Graeve child and crippled another. Forced to leave Lady Mill as the Redcoats become suspicious of his activities, Greaves sets out ostensibly in search of his younger son, who has run away from the horrors of the mill. His search leads him into a world of debauchery and intrigue and almost costs him his life, and his love for a feisty prostitute creates complications that reverberate by book's end. This gripping tale of politics, love and loss is made vivid by Hughes's almost Dickensian descriptions of the suffering of poor people, especially children. Since the narrative ends with unanswered questions about the protagonists' fates, readers will hope for a sequel.

  •  Excellent info on Luddites BUT (0+ / 0-)

    way too sanguine about the future.  We are at or within a few years of the global peak in oil production, and global peaks in coal and gas are only a decade or two behind that.  Even the information age (and yes, we still do need "things" produced, preferably in the US) requires energy - e.g., production of computer chips requires a large and uninterrupted supply of electricity, and renewables cannot scale up that rapidly, not to mention that the electrical grid needs expensive shoring up.  As do other parts of the infrastructure that were built using cheap fossil fuels back when the country had the economic strength to afford them.

    If we could manage to plan for a future without cheap and abundant fossil fuels, we could transition to a high quality of life existence without so much cheap junk and more of us growing food.  However, I don't see that kind of planning happening at the national government level.  See the Transition Network site for information on a positive, locally-based approach and for Transition initiatives near you.  

  •  Good points, but I profoundly disagree (0+ / 0-)

    I am altogether out of countenance with the trend towards a service-based economy such as we are developing now. It strikes me as fundamentally unsound and dangerous when we arrive at a point as a society where most of us are not in the business of actively producing anything. As you pointed out, 150 or 200 years ago, 80% of the American population worked in agriculture as compared to 1% today. This is the alienation of labor on a massive scale. It is dangerous that the nation's food supply, to say nothing of a massive part of the economy, is held in the management of so few hands. What would happen if even a tenth of that one percent suddenly were unable to work?

    Similarly, I am out of countenance with the bad habit of shipping American industry to Asia and Latin America. Yes, a lot of the factories in this country that were shuttered by that trend were incredibly polluting, but that was not a reason to send them off to the countries of the brown people and the yellow people, it was simply a reason to make them better (I should point out that I don't think you were actually advocating this; rather, that this is merely one of the supposed benefits of offshoring).

    I think that while we must support education, now more than ever, to believe that education is anything remotely close to a cure for our present dilemma is an incorrect assessment. Education has been touted as a solution to this problem for years past, and its effects are extraordinarily slow to take effect, assuming they take effect at all.

    To be perfectly fair, I am being more than a little reactionary in this. I have something of the Luddite spirit, and am of the general opinion that the progress we have enjoyed in the last fifty years is not necessarily worth what we have lost in the getting of it. Materially, our circumstances have improved relatively little in the last fifty years. Cars are more efficient than they used to be, which is a definite good. There are more channels on television, and televisions now have sharper images than ever, which are both nice, but marginal in my view. We have the internet, of course, which has allowed millions of people greater access to information than ever before, but I wonder how useful it is for people to know what is going on in Bangladesh or China or France when they hardly know what is going on four miles or four blocks away in their own city or town. And while I am grateful for the many wonders of "the series of tubes," it has also provided a ready made place for the mass polarization of opinion and the dumbing down of public discourse; or more simply put, it has given people a better and improved venue to scream at one another without restraint and complain about one another without the slightest touch of empathy or thoughtfulness.

    Perhaps I have been too harsh in all of this. I do appreciate your assessment, and find it to be thoughtful and thorough. However, in my view, it takes too much at face value the proposition that all progress is inevitable, and you either get with it or you get run over. Personally, I am of the view that nothing in this world is inevitable; there are merely things that are more likely to happen, or the paths of least historical resistance. Who would have predicted, after all, that the heritage of the New Deal and Democratic Party liberalism would be steamrolled for nearly thirty years from 1980 onward? If you told anyone that in 1978, they would have laughed at you. Even the Republicans at the time feared they were on the route to ultimate extinction. The difference is that they didn't get on the train, or get out of the train's way; they planned on running the train over, which they proceeded to do with great success.

    A perfectly valid approach, I feel, would be to consider ways we could run the current arrangement over. It's been running us over with great success for nearly thirty years, dating roughly from the time that Reagan broke the air traffic controllers' strike.

    For what it is worth, if the industrial age is truly over in this country and we cannot rebalance the arrangement to where it was prior to the upsetting of the metaphorical apple cart, I hope that your vision of the future comes to pass. I would rather that, than the persistence of the increasingly nightmarish situation in this country. I might prefer my own Luddite notions as the best of all possible worlds, but even I am not naive enough to expect the best of all possible worlds.

  •  OH MY GOD!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for putting to "paper" what I've been feeling but couldn't quite get to gel into coherent thought.

    You hit it. Now, what is the next thing and how do we get the powers that be to get back in line on getting people educated again?

    I've managed to squeak by with only a high school diploma. But, I've managed to stay up with the knowledge necessary to stay in competition with the upper levels of knowledge workers, mostly by being willing to take a chance when the rewards looked good enough to warrant the risk. But, now it's getting to where the lack of a higher education degree is hindering my moving up the chain. So, now I'm working to find an in. And, now I'm not only fighting the lack of a degree, but I'm also fighting myself, as I'm getting near the age where I really don't want to work anymore. The conflict is hard on the nerves and everything else.

    I'm at that level of the "crofters", and I'm trying to make the next leap across the canyon to the other side. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where it's all going.

    She who hesitates, waits.

    by KatGirl on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 07:53:16 AM PDT

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