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Posted by philnotfil (Member # 1881) on :
 
We don't have more people than we can feed and water, but do we have more people than we need to provide the goods and services that we need?

Developed countries all over the world are seeing increased unemployment, but is there a shortage of goods and services available?

Most of the economic indicators (well, all of the ones I have looked at, but I haven't looked at all of them, so there could be some that indicate otherwise) appear to be telling us that our current economic problems are largely on the demand side, and that supply is sufficient.

Do we really just need fewer people?

When people need a job to purchase, but those jobs aren't required to produce, what is the solution? Does there need to be a solution?
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
I believe I read recently that over 10% of the US housing stock was vacant, which is much more than enough housing for all of the homeless people in America to sleep under a roof. A visitor from another planet would look at this and conclude that there are some flaws in how our current economic system distributes goods.

I think you are accurate in relating the position of most economic reporting:
quote:
...our current economic problems are largely on the demand side, and that supply is sufficient
but this just indicates an ideological bias that is hidden in most of our economic reporting. There is enough supply to meet the demand of people who currently have money to spare, but that does not mean that supply is sufficient.
 
Posted by philnotfil (Member # 1881) on :
 
Another hidden bias, at least in my mind. I have tied "a job" so tightly to "access to resources" that I am having trouble separating them.

Access to resources is different from having a job, but in western society they are practically the same thing.
 
Posted by ken_in_sc (Member # 6462) on :
 
It is pure luck that you were born who you are and I was born who I am. Therefore, I have as much right to your stuff as you do. This is the basis of socialism. It assumes that anyone who has anything, does not deserve it and has no right to it. This is why Sartre' said that property is theft.

The injustice of some people having stuff and others not is totally swamped by the injustice of taking stuff away from people who actually worked for it. Socialism is wrong.
 
Posted by philnotfil (Member # 1881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken_in_sc:
It is pure luck that you were born who you are and I was born who I am. Therefore, I have as much right to your stuff as you do. This is the basis of socialism. It assumes that anyone who has anything, does not deserve it and has no right to it. This is why Sartre' said that property is theft.

The injustice of some people having stuff and others not is totally swamped by the injustice of taking stuff away from people who actually worked for it. Socialism is wrong.

I'm not sure how that fits into this conversation, could you expand?
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
quote:
When people need a job to purchase, but those jobs aren't required to produce, what is the solution? Does there need to be a solution?
There is a simple solution really- the same one that we already started using when we create retirement and the 40 hour work week. Reduce the number of hours/years that people need to work to be able to live at their desired standard of living until we're back in better balance.

Ideally, we'd let market forces work that out more naturally by providing people with enough of a baseline income that they could choose to work or not depending on what they want to be able to afford rather than based on what they need to survive.
 
Posted by Greg Davidson (Member # 3377) on :
 
quote:
The injustice of some people having stuff and others not is totally swamped by the injustice of taking stuff away from people who actually worked for it.
Your premise is that those who have stuff deserve it ("actually worked for it"), and those who do not have stuff do not deserve it. That is true for some and not for others. There are undeserving people from among the wealthy, and there are those who actually work very hard and have nothing. What is unusual about this time in American
history is the level of imbalance (the 6 top heirs to the Walmart fortune have the same amount of wealth as the 91 million poorest Americans).
 
Posted by ken_in_sc (Member # 6462) on :
 
The idea that there are too many people in the world leads to the idea that we must get rid of the excess population or take stuff from those who have too much and give it to the others. Both are wrong. Almost every mouth is born with two hands. If they can't provide products for the market, they can provide services for themselves and others who need them. If you have ever lived in a third world country, you have seen this in action.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Ken, are you consciously engaging in self-parody, or do you not see the flaw in recommending the "industriousness" of self-sufficient (by necessity) Third-Worlders as, of all things, a moral example?
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
I see no parody in his post. You might disagree with his comments but they aren't patently absurd.

Furthermore, the third world is by and large bootstrapping itself out of poverty.

Link

Poverty Picture 1990 - 2008
Percentage of people living on less than $1.25 per day
1990 43%
2008 22.4%
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
quote:
the third world is by and large bootstrapping itself out of poverty
Leaving aside the question of whether that value is inflation-adjusted, which I seriously doubt, the claim that the Third World is "bootstrapping itself" is unsupported.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
the third world is by and large bootstrapping itself out of poverty
Leaving aside the question of whether that value is inflation-adjusted, which I seriously doubt

And you would be wrong.

quote:
here are multiple international poverty lines. Which one should I use?

The values of the international poverty line (e.g. $1.25, $2, $4, or $5 a day) represent different standards of what poverty means. The $1.25 a day poverty line (in 2005 PPP $) is the extreme poverty line and represents the poverty line typical of the world’s poorest countries. The $2 a day poverty line (in 2005 PPP $) is the median (average) poverty line for all developing countries and represents a slightly higher standard of living. The $1.25 and $2 a day poverty lines are typically used to measure poverty globally and to compare poverty across countries in less developed region


Poverty & Equality Data FAQs



quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
, the claim that the Third World is "bootstrapping itself" is unsupported.

At the point in time you habitually provide support for your arguments vs having a stated policy of not providing a Source link, I'll consider this comment seriously.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 6161) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken_in_sc:
The idea that there are too many people in the world leads to the idea that we must get rid of the excess population or take stuff from those who have too much and give it to the others. Both are wrong. Almost every mouth is born with two hands. If they can't provide products for the market, they can provide services for themselves and others who need them. If you have ever lived in a third world country, you have seen this in action.

This works so well that only the really lazy and bad people go hungry in Third World countries.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Whether you take it seriously or not, the fact remains that it is unsupported -- despite the fact that you provided the link to presumably be the support you intended. The link provides no evidence that the Third World is bootstrapping itself.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Whether you take it seriously or not, the fact remains that it is unsupported -- despite the fact that you provided the link to presumably be the support you intended. The link provides no evidence that the Third World is bootstrapping itself.

No, the link proves that the income in question was inflation adjusted. I didn't think the statement "the Third World is bootstrapping" really required serious support. But here is a argument in favor of the supposition.

IMO the argument breaks down into 3 cases:
a) the third world isn't growing; (The World Bank data indicates that it is growing.)
b) the growth is primary driven by external aid (Insignificant to the 4 large third world countries detailed below).
c) the growth is primary driven by "bootstrapping", ie. the countries are primarily responsible for building their own economies.

I include international trade as part of bootstrapping. You could disclude international trade, but you'd be hard pressed to find many developed economies that got there without international trade.

A look at the economies of Brazil, India, China and Malaysia indicates economies that are substantially wealthier than they were 20 years ago. Those 4 countries alone account for over half the third worlds populace. Foreign aid to those economies has been relatively small compared to the size of the economies. Thus case number 2 seems an improbable reason for their growth, though admittedly it has probably had some limited effect. Ergo, those countries are bootstrapping their economies into first world status using comparative trade advantages and industrial growth.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
No, see, that's what I thought you meant. But given that "comparative trade advantages" means "cheap-ass labor" and "industrial growth" means "lax or nonexistent environmental protections, leading to widespread blight," I'm having trouble seeing those as laudable examples of "bootstrapping." The idea that the Chinese growth model, for example, demonstrates how little America needs a social safety net -- because presumably the Chinese "success" story is all about just being willing to work harder than the other guy -- is absolutely baffling to me. It betrays staggering ignorance.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
No, see, that's what I thought you meant. But given that "comparative trade advantages" means "cheap-ass labor" and "industrial growth" means "lax or nonexistent environmental protections, leading to widespread blight," I'm having trouble seeing those as laudable examples of "bootstrapping." The idea that the Chinese growth model, for example, demonstrates how little America needs a social safety net -- because presumably the Chinese "success" story is all about just being willing to work harder than the other guy -- is absolutely baffling to me. It betrays staggering ignorance.

China has not gotten to where it is today by pulling on its own bootstraps. It would be a terrible mistake to try to use it as an example.

[ April 30, 2012, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
" I'm having trouble seeing those as laudable examples of "bootstrapping."

I didn't make any value judgements one way or the other. China's bad environmental and labor policies don't change the underlying data that indicates that their economy is rapidly growing. Nor is foreign aid or preferential treatment responsible. They are doing it primarily on their own initiative.

And in any case India, Brazil, Malaysia and other countries don't have policies as bad as China's and are still bringing their population out of severe poverty. Granted, India has gotten quite a bit of foreign aid, but when compared to the size of their economy it's never been a large amount in relative terms.

"China has not gotten to where it is today by pulling on its own bootstraps. It would be a terrible mistake to try to use it as an example."

I'm looking forward to you making your case to back up your assertion.

[ May 01, 2012, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
quote:
China's bad environmental and labor policies don't change the underlying data that indicates that their economy is rapidly growing. Nor is foreign aid or preferential treatment responsible. They are doing it primarily on their own initiative.
Are you defining "bootstrapping" as "growing your economy on your own initiative?"

Because, bear in mind, "bootstrapping" was specifically mentioned here in response to the assertion that a safety net was needed to protect Americans who could not or would not improve their own lot in life. Do you believe the Chinese model of "bootstrapping" as you're using the term here can be applied to the "bootstrapping" as it was originally mentioned?
 
Posted by fizz (Member # 1706) on :
 
There's also the not so small elephant in the room that is the growth problem: we can't rely forever on continual economic growth to improve the situation of the poorer part of humanity without touching the accumulated wealth of the uber-rich (intending both rich nations and rich people).

Sooner or later (probably sooner) something is going to reach break point, and a traumatic re-adjustment will follow.

As I know that this argument usually attract a lot of flack from those that do think of the market as a semi-divine force that will always resolve anything for the better, I'll give here a bunch of links:
On the topic of growth, an interesting and pragmatically oriented blog I found is this, written by an ucsd astrophysicist.

I know that probably it will be ignored by most of those that do not already know it, but I will also point to the classic book on the topic, and prehempt the most common dismission of it by pointing to this report.

A more simplistic but interesting and well done animation on the topic for those in a hurry: no tomorrow
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Because, bear in mind, "bootstrapping" was specifically mentioned here in response to the assertion that a safety net was needed to protect Americans who could not or would not improve their own lot in life. Do you believe the Chinese model of "bootstrapping" as you're using the term here can be applied to the "bootstrapping" as it was originally mentioned?

I don't see where you get the idea that "bootstrapping" was specifically mentioned here in response to the assertion that a safety net was needed to protect Americans from?

Since I was the first person to mention bootstrapping and I was specifically responding to the posts about Overpopulation and the third world, I can definitively say that bootstrapping was not used in response to any assertion about the American safety net.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
quote:
I don't see where you get the idea that "bootstrapping" was specifically mentioned here in response to the assertion that a safety net was needed to protect Americans from?
You were replying directly to a challenge to ken's rebuttal. If it was just a non sequitur, that's fine, but it would have helped to know that. [Smile]
 
Posted by philnotfil (Member # 1881) on :
 
Someone sent me this article after we had a discussion similar to this thread.

Are jobs obsolete?

quote:
I am afraid to even ask this, but since when is unemployment really a problem? I understand we all want paychecks -- or at least money. We want food, shelter, clothing, and all the things that money buys us. But do we all really want jobs?

We're living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That's because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working.

quote:
The Industrial Age was largely about making those jobs as menial and unskilled as possible. Technologies such as the assembly line were less important for making production faster than for making it cheaper, and laborers more replaceable. Now that we're in the digital age, we're using technology the same way: to increase efficiency, lay off more people, and increase corporate profits.

While this is certainly bad for workers and unions, I have to wonder just how truly bad is it for people. Isn't this what all this technology was for in the first place? The question we have to begin to ask ourselves is not how do we employ all the people who are rendered obsolete by technology, but how can we organize a society around something other than employment? Might the spirit of enterprise we currently associate with "career" be shifted to something entirely more collaborative, purposeful, and even meaningful?

Instead, we are attempting to use the logic of a scarce marketplace to negotiate things that are actually in abundance. What we lack is not employment, but a way of fairly distributing the bounty we have generated through our technologies, and a way of creating meaning in a world that has already produced far too much stuff.

The communist answer to this question was just to distribute everything evenly. But that sapped motivation and never quite worked as advertised. The opposite, libertarian answer (and the way we seem to be going right now) would be to let those who can't capitalize on the bounty simply suffer. Cut social services along with their jobs, and hope they fade into the distance.


 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I don't see where you get the idea that "bootstrapping" was specifically mentioned here in response to the assertion that a safety net was needed to protect Americans from?
You were replying directly to a challenge to ken's rebuttal. If it was just a non sequitur, that's fine, but it would have helped to know that. [Smile]
I'm thinking that your post was a non sequitor. You'll notice that none of the other posts mention the American safety net and that Ken's post refers to poverty in the third world.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Ken's entire post on that topic was made to explain why he responded to a question about overpopulation with the assertion that it's wrong to take things away from some people to give to others. His explanation -- that socialism inevitably leads to what amounts to eugenics, and that people should just learn to suck it up and work with as many good hands as they might happen to have, as he believes they are doing in Third World countries at the moment, to avoid having the state feel like it has to get rid of surplus population -- was what prompted my initial reply.
 


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