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Author Topic: Mortality rate rises for middle aged, high school educated white men
Greg Davidson
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This is a very disturbing story, and on the presumption that the data is real, it appears to be a real and serious problem. Possible root causes are the collapse in income potential and poor health care (pain from things like sciatica was cited in the growth in drug use).

quote:
They concluded that taken together, suicides, drugs and alcohol explained the overall increase in deaths. The effect was largely confined to people with a high school education or less. In that group, death rates rose by 22 percent while they actually fell for those with a college education.
NYT article
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cherrypoptart
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Just a shot in the dark based completely on political bias but it couldn't possibly have anything to do with many if not most of the trade jobs that white men without much education used to be able to raise a family on are gone overseas or to illegals with the few that are left just not enough to go around and with an oversupply of labor resulting most of the time in much lower wages which are no longer enough to comfortably support a family anymore?

Our government has basically declared war on blue collar white men and these are just the latest casualties of battle. Perhaps a moment of silence is in order to honor their sacrifice. They gave up their opportunities to be modestly successful working middle class with the pride that comes along with it so that others might have those opportunities and prosper. Gentlemen, we salute you.

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AI Wessex
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Has there ever been a case where when something bad happened to somebody who is a Republican or conservative that it wasn't the fault of a liberal? In quantum physics that is called "spooky action at a distance".

Consider that the death rates in that age range for every other ethnic and racial group are falling. Those people apparently are less suicidal, healthier and happier. Shouldn't that suggest to you that white men should work shoulder to shoulder with them if they want to have better lives?

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Rafi
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Let's assume this study is real (I am not fully convinced of its accuracy). It looks at a subsection:
quote:
The mortality rate for whites 45 to 54 years old with no more than a high school education...
So middle age white people that are products of a failed public education system are cashing it all in at an unprecedented rate. They've spent entire lives being fed a image of what a successful and happy life should look like and then never given the tools necessary to achieve it. They report high degrees of pain, become additcted to opoids and alcohol which become major factors in their deaths and they're committing suicide. If this is accurate, should we be surprised?
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TomDavidson
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Man, if only they still had unions. [Frown]
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Man, if only they still had unions. [Frown]

If only their jobs hadn't been exported [Frown]
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TomDavidson
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Yeah, the death of manufacturing in pursuit of shareholder profit is the real villain in half of these stories. But I don't know how you even begin to address that, in a world where the ethical superiority of "free markets" goes unchallenged.
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ScottF
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How do you stop/discourage US companies from exploiting Chinese manufacturing? Tariffs?
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Pyrtolin
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Increase incomes to the point hwere people can actualyl freely chose between domestically produced goods and imports on more features and characteristics than price. You also ignore the misleading lie that manufacturing is being exported and focus on the fact that US manufacturing has steadily increased in the US. It's technology, allowing fewer people to produced vastly more things, that's eliminated factory jobs, not trade.

Instead of fighting to keep the horsewhip industry alive here, we should instead be ensuring that everyone has enough income to afford their basic needs plus enough in excess that they can afford to direct the creation of job based on the goods and services tehy want the market to provide them.

The number one threat to US jobs is the way that we're underfunding our economy, underpaying people and forcing them further and further into debt just to afford their basic needs, such that they don't have the level of disposable income necessary to ensure taht everyone can be fully employed.

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Pete at Home
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I was surprised that G4 beat Tom and Pyr to the ludicrous grave dancing, and even more surprised that his conclusion was so screamingly Obamist. More or better education doesnt create jobs that just arent there.

The 1950s were unsustainable. If you want those days and jobs back, then we need something like Hitler or Isis to destroy the manufacturing base of Japan, China oand Europe, and then somehow disappear so that you have a whole world that can only buy from America.

Trade unions are good but they dont stop job expropriation. Changing the band's song aint gonna stop the titanic from sinking.

In the last 1000 years, no country has predominated more than a century at a time. Rome did it by doing stuff that, well, America could do, but if it did, it would not be America.

By all means, educate, unionize, protect your industries, move the furniture and listen to the band, but eventually the ship is going to sink, the sun is going to blow. All things end

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NobleHunter
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The Ottoman's run was longer than 100 years. The Hapsburgs had more than a century, unless you only count their heyday. England/GB/UK was pretty solid for close to two centuries. China ran its sphere of influence pretty well for much of the last thousand years until the wheels came off in the 19th century. [/historical nitpick]

The problem is that the nature of the economy is changing. Hopefully, we're on the cusp of a post-scarcity economy and certain manufacturing sectors are already there. The problem seems to be that more be made than we can buy, even if not everybody can afford to meet their basic needs.

It suggests we need to find a way to distribute resources other than personal labor or ownership of capital. That should help correct the imbalance between supply and demand (if my diagnosis is accurate). Direct allocation is the traditional alternative but that has significant political problem and tends towards undesirable side-effects. But I'm not sure how else to do it.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Man, if only they still had unions. [Frown]

Those would be the same trade unions that colluded to keep skilled minority workers from being able to do work, ie the white only trade guilds? The same unions that have put multiple companies out of business and self exported the jobs they used to have overseas?

Pyrtolin is right that its technology that's killing the manufacturing jobs in this country, though that is being compounded by the ability to build labor intensive plants in other countries on the cheap (even if the plants stayed in the US they'd switch to better tech solutions). The fact is US labor is more expensive than its value in a global economy and that doesn't leave a lot of places for people to go.

About the only thing that could turn it around is we started valuing hand made products a lot more, but even then we'd need to fundamentally shift more income to the middle class to be able to afford it. When your middle class family is working two jobs, shopping at Walmart and still running a debt there isn't enough income to make that model work. Pyrtolin's solution of handing money out (as appealing as it sounds) still won't work it'll degrade the value of money and drag the middle class down. The only way to "fix" this is a solution that causes human labor to become more valuable than the end product, which is increasingly more difficult in a non-artisan world.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The Ottoman's run was longer than 100 years. The Hapsburgs had more than a century, unless you only count their heyday. England/GB/UK was pretty solid for close to two centuries. China ran its sphere of influence pretty well for much of the last thousand years until the wheels came off in the 19th century. [/historical nitpick]

.

Could be i placed too much confidence in the analysis of nixon's old henchman. The Ottomans decimate my analysis but medieval China's not relevant to our globalized world because of its isolation at that point in history.

Modern China will last a thousand by adapting Rome's tools. There's a reason the Hunger Games books and movies are banned in the PRC.

The Hapsburgs werent a nation. They were a family who held a share of control in vatious nations, some of which fought each other. Volkswagen corporation is the best analogy to the Hapsburgs. Its reign will last roughly as long, and that fact isnt dispositive to the reign of nations question.


Rome's toolset cannot be. Used to create an empire from scratch (the Nazis proved that definitively) but they can be used to take a nation that has a temporary edge due to a fluke of history, and turn it into a thousand year reign of terror.

Ah yes, Kissinger, that was his name. Kissinger's analysis. I need to catch up on the Ottomans. That's a gap in my knowledge of history. Time to hit the library.

[ November 03, 2015, 12:59 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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'
It suggests we need to find a way to distribute resources other than personal labor or ownership of capital'

Distribution by power centers. Warlords. Feudalism. Somalia and Afgnaistan show us the way to a brighter tomorrow. Hope and change K0

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AI Wessex
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There is also the major issue that manufacturing has shifted to lower cost and shorter-lived components and products, and yet prices continue go up every time you buy something. The refrigerator in my new house was built in 2002. It crapped out on me 6 months ago. I went to GE to find out about warranty (hah!) and replacement parts. They told me that they stopped making the parts in 2010. Their recommendation was that I should buy a new refrigerator.

That's the new world. Your grandmother's Kelvinator and other appliances are still running fine, but if you bought any appliance since around 2000 you'll have to spend more money to replace it every 7-10 years, like you upgrade your phone every 3 years, your laptop every 2-4 years, your printer every 2-4 years, the electronic board in your stove or furnace every 10-15 years. Back in my day having to replace any household appliance would have been a family event.

If you stop buying replacements the economy will die. Do your part for the economy or study how to preserve food without refrigeration. If Rafi G gets his way you're kids will have to do it without an education or money.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
'
It suggests we need to find a way to distribute resources other than personal labor or ownership of capital'

Distribution by power centers. Warlords. Feudalism. Somalia and Afgnaistan show us the way to a brighter tomorrow. Hope and change K0

What? Why? How does that even follow?
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NobleHunter
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It's another method of resource distribution, though it's really just ownership of a certain kind of capital.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
'
It suggests we need to find a way to distribute resources other than personal labor or ownership of capital'

Distribution by power centers. Warlords. Feudalism. Somalia and Afgnaistan show us the way to a brighter tomorrow. Hope and change K0

What? Why? How does that even follow?
Noblehunter understamds how what I said follows from what he said. He just doesnt think it *necessarily* follows. In my more hopeful moments, I try to think that he's right, and would love to be persuaded. But even the big C commies agreed that ultimately the power to redistribute emanated from the gunpoint.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
But even the big C commies agreed that ultimately the power to redistribute emanated from the gunpoint.

Everything emanates from gunpoint, including free markets. Merely enforcing laws requires the gun, as does even simple things such as keeping people off your lawn. The question is whether the one holding the gun has a clue about the public good or not.
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NobleHunter
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Most resources are redistributed through more or elss voluntary arrangements. My employer provides me with money in exchange for services and I freely exchange that money for goods and services. The money is a placeholder for resources.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
'
It suggests we need to find a way to distribute resources other than personal labor or ownership of capital'

Distribution by power centers. Warlords. Feudalism. Somalia and Afgnaistan show us the way to a brighter tomorrow. Hope and change K0

What? Why? How does that even follow?
Noblehunter understamds how what I said follows from what he said. He just doesnt think it *necessarily* follows. In my more hopeful moments, I try to think that he's right, and would love to be persuaded. But even the big C commies agreed that ultimately the power to redistribute emanated from the gunpoint.
You may just as easily have used Denmark or Norway or Ireland as examples. Or Alaska.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Those would be the same trade unions that colluded to keep skilled minority workers from being able to do work, ie the white only trade guilds?
On what basis are you implying that that was a product of the unions and not racial prejudices of the time? They significantly improved conditions for all workers despite such prejudices, modern versions that don't incidentally also carry that cultural deadweight with them do even better.

quote:
The same unions that have put multiple companies out of business and self exported the jobs they used to have overseas?
No, because no union has done that. That's a complete fantasy accusation used to displace the blame for such decisions away form the executives that chose to use such underhanded techniques to squeeze more profit out at the expense to their duties to their employees and consumers (and even the long tern health of their companies, since union busting translates almost directly to a shrinking consumer base and future revenue)

quote:
The fact is US labor is more expensive than its value in a global economy and that doesn't leave a lot of places for people to go.
No it's not. It's actually cheap for its value, however the global economy is so starved for money that it it's forced to pass up that value in favor of somewhat lower prices for much lower value.

quote:
About the only thing that could turn it around is we started valuing hand made products a lot more, but even then we'd need to fundamentally shift more income to the middle class to be able to afford it.
Such things are already valued, but the middle class has been intenitolly starved of income so that they can't afford to express taht preference. (And it doesn't need to be hand crated, but simply better quality, more durable, coming with better or more personal service, etc...) There are many, many forms of value that people are being forced to eschew because suppressed income being forced to take on debt to compensate force sticker price to be the prime driver.

quote:
When your middle class family is working two jobs, shopping at Walmart and still running a debt there isn't enough income to make that model work. Pyrtolin's solution of handing money out (as appealing as it sounds) still won't work it'll degrade the value of money and drag the middle class down.
It's amusing that you can point right at the problem, and then say that the obvious solution won't work because... Well, because nothing, just because the bankers and executives whose power depends on that solution being off the table spend lots of money to keep spreading the lie, despite it having no actual basis in reality. It's not even as if you're asserting that the problem is anything but a lack of income, you're just appealing to magic and mythology to dodge the simple and otherwise absurdly evident problem.

We're already creating the money, hand of fist, in the form of bank loans. The only thing tha would lose value if we started directly producing the money and giving it to people as income instead, would be the relative power of corporations and financial institutions as regular people would be able to start accumulating wealth again, instead of having to spend most of their income paying down the loans they need to take to afford to get by.

quote:
. The only way to "fix" this is a solution that causes human labor to become more valuable than the end product, which is increasingly more difficult in a non-artisan world.
you're putting the cart before the horse. LAck of income is what's driving the shift to cheap, lower quality goods. Restore income to a point where it's reasonably proportional to productivity and higher value goods will push back against the low quality ones because people won't be forced to settle for such bad deals.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Most resources are redistributed through more or elss voluntary arrangements. My employer provides me with money in exchange for services and I freely exchange that money for goods and services. The money is a placeholder for resources.

Well Mogadishu neofeudalism is "more or less" voluntary. Even the classic baron who rapes his serf's bride on the wedding night can argue that if they dont like it, they can move off his land.
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Pete at Home
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I dont mean to pick on the freaking commies. I see little difference in the unconcionability of the power dynamic of the soviet state and the individual, and say, the relationship between Microsoft and the average American, or Monsanto and the average farmer. Harder to run away from than your hormy warlord baron.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
My employer provides me with money in exchange for services and I freely exchange that money for goods and services. The money is a placeholder for resources.

This hasn't really been true for many years. The relationship between currency and resources is at best a tenuous one; it might be more accurate to suggest that it's correlated to work done, rather than resources, and even then it's only a correlation because currency is an artificial construct no longer based in anything real.

However this technicality actually only serves to reinforce your main point, which is that the economic system is largely a paper fantasy and as such can be reorganized at will should we so desire. Ownership/employment based economics is simply obsolete, due mostly to technology as others have mentioned, but also due to what is happening to national borders. If 'the market' is now construed as being the whole planet, then one is competing with the lowest common denominator at all times, simultaneously with the highest common denominator. In other words you have to compete against those who can do better than you and also against those who can undercut you for cheap results. This is not a functional model if we are to still believe in the idea of nations (which the CFR suggests we should not) and a nation's own interests have to be protected to ensure its population has access to jobs and therefore to income. When jobs are slowly becoming an insufficient source of income the model must be redone to distribute resources in some other way.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
It's amusing that you can point right at the problem, and then say that the obvious solution won't work because... Well, because nothing,...

This is my favorite line of yours, because it sums up your entire argument style, which is to point at what ever you disagree with and claim it won't work because... well, because nothing...
quote:
quote:
Those would be the same trade unions that colluded to keep skilled minority workers from being able to do work, ie the white only trade guilds?
On what basis are you implying that that was a product of the unions and not racial prejudices of the time?
Well, actually I didn't. But of course, you ignore that racial prejudice was more omnipresent at the blue collar level and longer lasting than at others, both because the more educated groups adopted race neutral policies faster and because there were less educated minorities to compete for higher end jobs. Union jobs were the premium job opportunities for low educated men and they were aggressively, even violently defended.
quote:
They significantly improved conditions for all workers despite such prejudices, modern versions that don't incidentally also carry that cultural deadweight with them do even better.
They significantly improved conditions for workers because they came about at a time when the government had been negligent of workers rights but was ready and willing to listen and improve. They caught a cultural moment and made a big change. However, the important change was to the law and how we perceive workers' rights. That's why they've been in decline ever since.
quote:
quote:
The same unions that have put multiple companies out of business and self exported the jobs they used to have overseas?
No, because no union has done that. That's a complete fantasy accusation ....
....well because nothing...

It's not a fantasy, just because it didn't happen everytime. You understand very little about how companies work if you don't think employee costs have forced closures and outsourcing.
quote:
That's a complete fantasy accusation used to displace the blame for such decisions away form the executives that chose to use such underhanded techniques to squeeze more profit out at the expense to their duties to their employees and consumers (and even the long tern health of their companies, since union busting translates almost directly to a shrinking consumer base and future revenue)
Sure sometimes that true, definitely see companies of certain sizes forget the employees that got them there in pursuit of "cost saving" measures. But you're kidding yourself when you attribute this as the sole reason this occurs, or even the principal reason.

I know for a fact that companies view US offices as desirable and US workers as highly competent and highly efficient, but that they still can't make the numbers work in a lot of case.

And like I said on manufacturing jobs the US workers literally priced themselves out of the market, both machines and non-US labor get the same results at lower cost.
quote:
No it's not. It's actually cheap for its value, however the global economy is so starved for money that it it's forced to pass up that value in favor of somewhat lower prices for much lower value.
It's only cheap for value in your imagination. I can say with complete confidence that you've never seen any actual company's analysis of the cost of labor or you wouldn't make such a claim.
quote:
Such things are already valued, but the middle class has been intenitolly starved of income so that they can't afford to express taht preference.
By whom? Seriously, who do you think it benefits to intentionally starve the consumer class of the ability to consume? In my view what's going on here is not intentional, its a classic prisoners dilemma run amok. Every company is better off if it's competitors stay in the US while it goes overseas, they are all worse off if none of them stay. Yet that's where we are, we've exported and consolidated jobs regionally and internationally, leaving no need for labor in the local communities.
quote:
(And it doesn't need to be hand crated, but simply better quality, more durable, coming with better or more personal service, etc...)
No, it actually has to be handcrafted. Machines are already able to produce more durable and better quality products. Personal service can be a dead-end, the "service economy" has focused on no skill low paying jobs for the most part.
quote:
There are many, many forms of value that people are being forced to eschew because suppressed income being forced to take on debt to compensate force sticker price to be the prime driver.
Which is quite a mouth full and boils down to the same thing I said with a whole bunch of ideological blame thrown in. The middle class needs its income to increase, period. Handing out money will decrease its value faster than it increases the income, and unless you change how our consumerist economy works will do nothing but put more money back in the hands of those who already have it.
quote:
quote:
When your middle class family is working two jobs, shopping at Walmart and still running a debt there isn't enough income to make that model work. Pyrtolin's solution of handing money out (as appealing as it sounds) still won't work it'll degrade the value of money and drag the middle class down.
It's amusing that you can point right at the problem, and then say that the obvious solution won't work because... Well, because nothing, just because the bankers and executives whose power depends on that solution being off the table spend lots of money to keep spreading the lie, despite it having no actual basis in reality.
Here I thought you might remember the hundreds of pages of argument that we've already had on the topic.

I can point to the problem, I can point to solutions. I just can't make you agree that we can't solve it by having a magic money fairy handing out free cash.
quote:
It's not even as if you're asserting that the problem is anything but a lack of income, you're just appealing to magic and mythology to dodge the simple and otherwise absurdly evident problem.
Close, the consequence is a lack of income. The problem is a lack of value. Very little one human can do, is as valuable to another human, as what it costs the first human to produce. I mean honestly, if you have 3 guys working on your house for a week, you need to pay them - at least - their entire cost of living for 3 man-weeks (including their family, their healthcare, their savings/retirement/education) not to mention extra for the times they're out of work. That's easily a month of income, if you make as much as they do, more if you make less. When you consider taxes (which some of us already spend 4-5 months a year on) and COL who can afford to do that? No one but the wealthy on a regular basis.
quote:
We're already creating the money, hand of fist, in the form of bank loans. The only thing tha would lose value if we started directly producing the money and giving it to people as income instead, would be the relative power of corporations and financial institutions as regular people would be able to start accumulating wealth again, instead of having to spend most of their income paying down the loans they need to take to afford to get by.
I agree with you that we're dumping it in through bank loans. But what I think we're seeing is exactly the impact I say will occur, pumping cash into the system for nothing is devaluing money, leading to real wage losses in the middle and lower classes. Every dollar they save is costing them pennies in losses over time, making real wealth aggregation through accumulation of cash impossible.

You're seeing inflation without real wage growth because of excess currency. The solution is not to dump more currency in a different way, it's to get rid of the free money banking system.
quote:
you're putting the cart before the horse. LAck of income is what's driving the shift to cheap, lower quality goods. Restore income to a point where it's reasonably proportional to productivity and higher value goods will push back against the low quality ones because people won't be forced to settle for such bad deals.
Actually agreed, except for the part where I'm putting the cart before the horse, or of course for where your interpretation leads you. People with more income will look for higher quality goods, unfortunately, they'll still be getting them from the same system that's providing them now, and the money will end up in the same places its going now.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I know for a fact that companies view US offices as desirable and US workers as highly competent and highly efficient, but that they still can't make the numbers work in a lot of case....
Bear in mind that when we talk about "making the numbers work," we are generally talking about maximizing profit for shareholders, not simply making a profit. We have abandoned the idea of a company simply making more money than it spends and existing forever in favor of a model where a company that does not constantly try to minimize its costs -- in a perpetual race to the bottom -- is at risk for being cannibalized by investors who believe it should be run more "optimally."
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I know for a fact that companies view US offices as desirable and US workers as highly competent and highly efficient, but that they still can't make the numbers work in a lot of case....
Bear in mind that when we talk about "making the numbers work," we are generally talking about maximizing profit for shareholders, not simply making a profit. We have abandoned the idea of a company simply making more money than it spends and existing forever in favor of a model where a company that does not constantly try to minimize its costs -- in a perpetual race to the bottom -- is at risk for being cannibalized by investors who believe it should be run more "optimally."
Tom, you may be right in certain fringe cases but in the large proportion of small and medium businesses Seriati is exactly right and Pyr is out to lunch. It's true of large businesses too but it's hard to track the details of such operations without attending board meetings, so I can only guess.

At my company, for instance, we do a combination of importing from Asia and producing in our own factory locally. We own and run the factory and control its operation precisely so I can tell you exactly which costs are prohibitive and which are affordable. When comparing products - especially cheap products - that we would like to sell, we take a look at our local factory and see if we can make it competitive with Asian factories in India, China and Thailand. If it's marginal or even slightly more expensive we go with our local factory but if the costs are extremely different we go with Asia.

Purely on the basis of making enough profit to stay in business (we're talking strictly of staying above board, and not at all to do with lining the pockets of the owner) for the most part it is completely impossible to compete with the Asian factories for anything other than custom or expensive goods. It is such a disparity that not only is the vast majority of our goods now imported by necessity, but our factory sometimes has trouble finding things it can afford to do. And note that this is with absolutely optimal staffing levels and operation efficiency (actually hyper-optimal, since the people there cover more jobs than they ideally should).

I also speak to other employers and the story is the same. I can tell with some limited amount of authority that the entire problem is the cost of employing people. In the case of my factory the employees are professionals so in terms of pay-grade it's comparable to a union situation. Despite the official statements about the economy, all the businesses I deal with say the same thing - that everyone is having trouble staffing their place, and this is true even of huge companies. Downsizing staff seems to be practically universal right now, and while this can certainly be attributed to a lack of consumption, the fact that most people spend all of their income on consumption anyhow says something. There is just no more money to spend, and this is due to a lack of jobs. Why do you think the trade unions are opposing the TPP? Because they know what every business person knows, which is that trade deals with Asia kill jobs in America. This is so trivially understood it's amazing that some people think it isn't true.

The only counter-argument I sometimes hear that is somewhat valid is that we are sacrificing prosperity locally in order to increase quality of life in other countries, and that those people deserve an income just as much as Americans do. The arguments goes something like 'down with American hegemony.' This is a coherent point but in terms of national policy I can't see it as anything other than irresponsible to deliberately enact policy that will hurt local economy in favor of the Chinese economy. The party line (of either party) is always that trade deals create jobs and create cheaper goods. The first part is a bald-faced lie, and the latter point is true but irrelevant since when starved of income the cheaper goods are all that are affordable. Coupling this with ever-increasing efforts to produce goods that must be replaced every 2-5 years and the real cost of buying goods is much higher than it seems anyhow.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
in the large proportion of small and medium businesses Seriati is exactly right...
But fewer and fewer people are working for small and medium businesses. America likes to pretend that small businesses are the core of our economy, but that hasn't been true for decades. There are a lot of them, so they matter in aggregate, but that in and of itself makes it harder to generalize 'em. [Smile]

That said, yeah, free trade deals are poison pills for everyone except large corporations.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
That said, yeah, free trade deals are poison pills for everyone except large corporations.

The real joke is that it's poison for them too in the long run. Very frequently they vie for these deals and export their labor because since everyone else is doing it they must do likewise to compete, and from this standpoint one can hardly blame them. It's a mob effect which is purely psychological in nature and could be avoided if none of them in the first place had done this! But the prospect of one Walmart using offshore labor to bankrupt everyone else ends the game and all must jump on board. Since jobs are gone consumptions falls shortly thereafter, and since the goods now imported are cheap and sold on low margin (the ones sold to Walmart are on super low margin) what consumption there is doesn't offer the income that sales of the same volume used to. This is precisely what happens when the middle class is poisoned - one quickly realizes that regardless of class we all drink from a common well in the long run.

Additionally we have essentially corrupt CEO's who further tank some companies in order to line their pockets, and when they're sacked they receive generous severance packages that set them up for a good while.

On the whole though I blame the government and not the 'greedy companies' that make use of whatever tools are available to stay in business. These trade deals are to blame, as well as monetary policy. And let's not forget Wall Street, while we're at it. But I don't think it's so hard to see how national morale will be low when prospects are low. I think the authoritarian bent in the last 14 odd years is also hurting morale.

Although this is still a tangent, the question of what to do to rectify the job situation is a tough one. It's not popular to say but I think more protectionism is needed to ensure employment in America. Absent these trade deals things would already be better, as production could resume in America. When fully automated factories become a standard thing it may well return to America anyhow, but this won't create jobs so it's moot on that score.

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Greg Davidson
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Some of the possible drivers appear as follows:

(1) Competition from foreign labor; arguably, this is due to government (de)regulation - the argument for lowering trade barriers was that net wealth would go up, not that the most wealthy would get most of the benefit and the lowest grades of labor suffer the most

(2) Technology changes; historically, major labor-savings changes in technology have not led to the levels of unemployment once feared, but instead new job types have emerged.

I'd be interested in international comparisons, because Europe faces some of the same evolution of technology and trade policy. And don't forget, non-white Americans with a high school education face the same external factors. But at least in the US the effect is limited to white Americans.

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Man, if only they still had unions. [Frown]

Yeah, they'd probably get "free" drugs to mask their pain and all would be well.

But, these people are in great pain, they have a miserable life with little or no hope of it ever getting better. Why does it upset you and the others that they are exercising their right to die?

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TomDavidson
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Is that really the spin you're going to put on that in a desperate attempt to make this a partisan thing, G#? *laugh*

Man, you don't need to be a cartoon. Rise above it.

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Rafi
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It seems your posts come down to two thing, simple minded trolling (your default setting) and claiming your friends with whoever the thread is about. Talk about a need to rise above it. Stop trolling, troll.
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TomDavidson
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I really am curious what you think you're accomplishing with that sort of response, G#. I mean, let's be honest for a moment, here: there is no one on this board who believes for a moment that you are interested in defending the right of middle-aged men in great pain to commit suicide and/or die of things like diabetes. (Or thinks that this is in fact a point of contention in this thread.) It's a completely invented position and completely feigned outrage, and this is absolutely par for the course from you.

I am pointing out that you continually post with complete intellectual dishonesty. This is not simple-minded "trolling;" I am merely pointing out when you are acting in bad faith in those times you act in bad faith.

And, again, everyone on this board knows it. No one is unaware of this scenario.

So, again, are you trying to make yourself feel better? Are you just trying to get a rise out of me? Or are you hoping to confuse the whole issue of what is or is not a legitimate discussion by calling everything that shuts you down "simple-minded trolling?" Either way, I can't imagine that this approach will work. You're welcome to keep doing it, if only because it's less exhausting for the forum as a whole to deal with personal attacks largely limited to me, but I have to wonder whether you wouldn't be better served by just not being a d**k.

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D.W.
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If none of us believe it for a moment, what are YOU accomplishing by attempting to protect us from things we already know? [Smile]
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AI Wessex
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It deserves to be pointed out. I wonder why everyone else is so passive about it.
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Fenring
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If every partisan quasi-troll post here was called out as such the place would be full of accusation. Far better to stick to substantive responses and if someone else doesn't do that just ignore it and stick to the comments that can be discussed.

I think a lot of Rafi's posts aren't trolling, as you would put it, but are to an extent tongue in cheek and designed to show an irony as he sees it. These posts are not directly substantive with regard to the exterior topic, but seem more geared towards referencing the internal discussions about those topics. Maybe a decent term for them might be meta-posts. If this is his intention then I think it's legit, even if it does occasionally present non-discussible points. It's easy to see how attempts at meta-commentary can be annoying since they more or less directly address people who are on the opposite political side of him in certain areas. But even though this produces the same kind of responses trolling can I wouldn't really call it trolling outright. Hit-and-run comments, mind you, are another thing entirely.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But even though this produces the same kind of responses trolling can I wouldn't really call it trolling outright.
Why wouldn't you? What do you believe differentiates "Why does it upset you and the others that they are exercising their right to die?" from a straight-up troll attempt, and instead constitutes a "legit" meta-post that just happens to be a "non-discussable" point?
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AI Wessex
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Fenring, you've only been here for about a year. You haven't had the pleasure of enduring years of Rafi G's previous avatar incarnations as G2, G3 and G4. All of them eventually resulted in his getting banned, the last time permanently. For some damn reason, the Mod let him back onto the forum with yet another new identity, but he's the same old troll he always was. I can't tell you how many times he launched personal attacks against us.

I have the dubious privilege of (he claims) having my posts filtered out of his Ornery pages. Since he never addresses any points I make to him or answers any legitimate questions I pose based on his comments, I'm willing to believe that it is possible. That's yet another aspect of his trollery, that he once threatened to filter out *everyone's* posts so that he could treat the forum as his personal blog. Since he keeps quoting Tom in order to accuse him of being a troll, we know he's reading at least one person around here.

But satisfy yourself. Go ahead and ask him if he filters out anyone's posts and why.

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