Author Topic: Silver linings  (Read 1118 times)

DonaldD

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Silver linings
« on: March 29, 2020, 09:21:53 AM »
So... I'm guessing there are probably some beneficial side effects of the pandemic...

For instance, our use of fossil fuels is way down - that's not a bad thing.

The crime rate (maybe with the exception of fraud) must be way down... Strangely Chicago shootings were up, although the crime rate dropped...

Overall consumption of crap is also way down...

What else springs to mind?

msquared

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2020, 10:10:10 AM »
Showing that work from home can work.  In my office it has always been frowned on, but our founder just retired and our old CFO just retired. The new kid (32 years old) is a strong believer in work from home if you are not feeling well. I mean if I have a cold now I can work from home and not take any PTO for the illness.  I am not so sick that I can not work, but I do not spread the illness through the office.  I can do 95% of my job (now) with the set up he has arranged.

The access and acceptance of tele-health.

Fenring

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 01:54:07 PM »
Well, I was hoping this would kickstart increasing awareness of the utility of a UBI, and agreed with msquared about how it can help push the culture towards working from home. On a more paranoid note, maybe this experience will better prepare the government for a more serious plague outbreak in the future. There are resources and measures the government can take that they didn't this time, that would have helped. It's debatable whether they "had to" take them this time, but everyone acts as if they weren't options. Examples of this include: new government testing facilities created from whole cloth; forced quarantines upon entry into the country or for sick people; community lists of infected people, with police enforcement; and so forth. There is no real lack of actual resources to do these things, it's just a matter of money. And spending more make-believe-money upfront certainly more than offsets running after the problem after the fact.

Personally I haven't spent so much time with my wife and kid since we got married, so that's a plus. She's working from home but at least we're in the same room all day. It also gives me the chance to play dad all day instead of the kid being in day care. This also forced me to take a break, as I have a tendency of working too hard...


TheDrake

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 03:24:13 PM »
I'm connecting more with friends who don't live near me, because now everyone is on an equal footing. I also created a virtual pub zoom room, and it is working out well to keep my friends connected, less bored, and more apt to stay home.

DonaldD

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 04:01:27 PM »
Let's see... my office has done virtual happy hour a couple of time, but I have also set up virtual work-outs for two groups of people, and there was an online poker night with (natch) video conferencing...

wmLambert

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 08:33:10 PM »
One spinoff may be the increased emphasis on making things in America. Short term value vs. long-time value. All costs can be reduced by avoiding excessive regulations. Some regulations are truly beneficial, but too much drives work away. Indonesia has many pharmaceutical labor-intensive labs, but the knowledge to run them came from the USA. Same with Apple, and other big companies. As the need for home-made stuff becomes apparent, maybe the fixation of chasing companies away will get rethought.

TheDeamon

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 02:59:30 AM »
One spinoff may be the increased emphasis on making things in America. Short term value vs. long-time value. All costs can be reduced by avoiding excessive regulations. Some regulations are truly beneficial, but too much drives work away. Indonesia has many pharmaceutical labor-intensive labs, but the knowledge to run them came from the USA. Same with Apple, and other big companies. As the need for home-made stuff becomes apparent, maybe the fixation of chasing companies away will get rethought.

I think the bigger takeaway for medical services is the "Just in time" warehousing paradigm is very deadly. They've streamlined the distribution warehouses out of the system, although a few Hospitals were cognizant enough of that issue to start doing so themselves. Most didn't. If this had happened 40 years ago, the distribution system likely would have been holding enough supplies in various stages of the supply chain that shortages in masks would have taken a couple more weeks to set in--time enough for production to ramp up to better meet demand. Instead, the production ramp-up now in progress is starting out way behind the demand curve and is going to continue to struggle to catch up, because there was no "buffer" within the supply chain.

Hospitals are likely going to have to rethink their purchasing and warehousing strategies. I really think that fix should NOT be handled by the Federal Government, and possibly not even the respective states. The Feds and the States can "encourage" it through subsidies and tax credits, but should let the the hospitals run the process. The government shouldn't be in the business of buying, warehousing, and reselling medical supplies as a matter of routine business.

The immediate analog that comes to mind is the Life Flight Helicopter Alliance in my region. It's an alliance of multiple Hospitals across multiple states, where they pool resources collectively to obtain and maintain the Helicopters being used. Basically do the same thing for warehousing medical supplies. Form an alliance/partnership of Hospital authorities which does the initial purchasing(at the direction of their "customers"), manages the warehousing, and then the hospitals draw against the warehousing entity rather than the manufacturer/distributor directly. This also gives the hospitals some enhanced collective bargaining power with suppliers to possibly purchase things at lower cost.(Although the warehousing costs will likely offset a fair bit of that)

Basically subsidize the entity doing to warehousing--so long as it is run as some flavor of non-profit.

Kasandra

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2020, 06:07:20 AM »
One spinoff may be the increased emphasis on making things in America. Short term value vs. long-time value. All costs can be reduced by avoiding excessive regulations. Some regulations are truly beneficial, but too much drives work away. Indonesia has many pharmaceutical labor-intensive labs, but the knowledge to run them came from the USA. Same with Apple, and other big companies. As the need for home-made stuff becomes apparent, maybe the fixation of chasing companies away will get rethought.

According to Salaryexplorer.com, the average salary for Indonesian pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry workers in 2020 is about $11,296/yr.  The average in the US is about $93,000.  How much would drug prices in the US rise if we brought that production here?

DonaldD

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2020, 08:04:22 AM »
According to Salaryexplorer.com, the average salary for Indonesian pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry workers in 2020 is about $11,296/yr.  The average in the US is about $93,000.  How much would drug prices in the US rise if we brought that production here?
I'm pretty sure we could roll a lot of that wage disparity back if we could just get rid of unnecessary regulations like worker protection, those against child labour, regulations protecting unions, overtime rules, 'regulations' allowing people to associate, stuff like that.

Kasandra

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2020, 08:43:01 AM »
That still wouldn't get it down to $11K/yr.  We would need to get rid of the minimum wage, housing code requirements, tolls, sales tax, car emissions rules and a few other things.  It's obviously doable, since Indonesia doesn't have those things and they as prosperous a country as the US.

Seriati

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2020, 04:49:37 PM »
According to Salaryexplorer.com, the average salary for Indonesian pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry workers in 2020 is about $11,296/yr.  The average in the US is about $93,000.  How much would drug prices in the US rise if we brought that production here?

Depends on which jobs would actually move.  I mean the US is already flooded with pharmacists, and many of the researcher level jobs are already here as well.  What exactly would have to move back to the US to move production of pharmaceuticals back?  I'm guessing, more of the bottom end of the pay scale than the top, and US plants almost always use heavier automation than non-US plants where human costs are lower.  In any event, the material costs of medicine production are generally an insignificant factor in the total bill for the medicine.

And no need for the absurd answer DonaldD, we do have lots of unnecessary and wasteful regulation, no one is talking about cutting out all regulation.  So it's just fear mongering to pretend that we're talking about child labor laws or overtime rules.


wmLambert

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2020, 09:01:43 PM »
...the US is already flooded with pharmacists, and many of the researcher level jobs are already here as well.  What exactly would have to move back to the US to move production of pharmaceuticals back?  I'm guessing, more of the bottom end of the pay scale than the top, and US plants almost always use heavier automation than non-US plants where human costs are lower.  In any event, the material costs of medicine production are generally an insignificant factor in the total bill for the medicine.

And no need for the absurd answer DonaldD, we do have lots of unnecessary and wasteful regulation, no one is talking about cutting out all regulation.  So it's just fear mongering to pretend that we're talking about child labor laws or overtime rules.

We often hear about low wages being the reason why jobs go abroad. That has never been the case. If it was just wages, we would add more automation to balance out the costs. The main problem has been intrusive and illogical regulations meant to curb some secondary pet projects that rarely makes logical sense. Look at minimum wage efforts that just encourage Mickey D to put in more self-serve Kiosks, so entry level workers have no place to work.

John Ratzenberger (The voice in every Pixar movie) has been advocating for manufacturing education since he was Cliff in "Cheers." His efforts were to get the education system to realize how important teaching manual skills is for kids. Because of the current emphasis on teaching liberal arts, we have kids who are experts on women's studies, but have no ability to get hired by any machine shop. Much of the international job movement has been to go where engineering and mechanical skills are still taught.

Another aspect is the downfall of the "Protestant Ethic," the mis-named ability to do hard work rather than only the easy stuff, and then demand top dollar and look down your nose at people who sweat. When my three boys were out of High School and starting College, they started a roofing company. After awhile, they confided to me how hard it was to find any of their friends who had enough moxie to do the job.

LetterRip

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2020, 10:56:53 PM »
His efforts were to get the education system to realize how important teaching manual skills is for kids. Because of the current emphasis on teaching liberal arts, we have kids who are experts on women's studies, but have no ability to get hired by any machine shop. Much of the international job movement has been to go where engineering and mechanical skills are still taught.

No grade school kid learns anything about 'women's studies'.  Every community college can teach you what you need to learn to get hired at a machine shop; I've known almost zero high school kids of any era who could work at a machine shop with the knowledge they'd learned in high school (other than 'floor sweeper').  Typical high school machine shop teaches you very simple safety, very basic welding skills (acetylene and arc); grinding; a very small amount of usage of vertical mill and lathing, and some basic measuring (using calipers, and using tape measure, bolt sizing), and some will also have a 3d printer these days; and a bit on reading orthographic drawings.

TheDrake

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2020, 09:14:16 AM »
Quote
,we do have lots of unnecessary and wasteful regulation,

Most regulations originate because a company did something nasty. Polluting, abusing workers, unsafe practices, fraudulent operation, etc

wmLambert

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2020, 10:19:49 AM »
Quote
,we do have lots of unnecessary and wasteful regulation,

Most regulations originate because a company did something nasty. Polluting, abusing workers, unsafe practices, fraudulent operation, etc

No. Most regulations are PC-driven.

The biggest divergence from reality sprung from a simple mistruth offered up in 1832. If there ever was a simple causation for all belief in the benevolence and value of a strong centralized government, then this is it.

In a review of fourth and eighth grade history books, all of them get it wrong. None of them were honest about big government vs. big business. Each book spent much effort painting a picture of successful government monopolies in the Fur trade, building canals and railroads. The historical truth is that these government monopolies were uncontested failures - Failures so severe that the populace rose up in anger, ended the political forces that fed them, and turned them over to successful entrepreneurs. The books all preached to the young that big government was the savior and Robber Barons the nemesis, when in all actuality, it was the opposite that held true.

What caused this was a reliance on the historical works of John L. and Barbara Hammond, who influenced all the school books that followed. They relied on the Sadler Report of 1832 that reported the Industrial Revolution was "crowded with overworked children", "hotbeds of putrid fever," and "monotonous toil in a hell of human cruelty." Charles Dickens' novels helped to codify this image.

Would modern day Leftists feel less secure promoting big government to solve social and economic problems, if they knew in their hearts that what they learned as children was a lie? An historical review by Dr. Burton W. Folsom points out that
Quote
Mr. Sadler, we know today, lied in his report. He was a member of Parliament and made up much of his report to gain support for a bill he wanted to see Parliament pass. Economist W. H. Hutt has described Sadler's falsification of evidence. Even Friedrich Engels, comrade of Karl Marx, concluded that "Sadler permitted himself to be betrayed by his noble enthusiasm into the most distorted and erroneous statements."

The history of our country is clear: It was the government that charged outrageous prices and tried to pawn off shoddy merchandise, while the private businesses that supplanted them did the job right, charged lower prices, and did it without government subsidies that kept the monopolies afloat.
Quote from: Folsom
The school books give the impression that robber barons stepped in to exploit whatever they could, and were a negative point in history. The lesson the books should be teaching is that in the world of commerce, the profit motive, the structure of incentives. and the stifling tendencies of bureaucrats are such that those businesses run by entrepreneurs will consistently outperform those run by the government. Instead, the authors had a bias for a strong central government. When the authors were called on these reports, they agreed that they were not reporting fact, but incorrect, unsubstantiated ideology.

As a prime example, what happened in Michigan, my home state, is the rule and not the exception.

Quote from: Based on Grace Kachaturoff, author of [i]Michigan[/i], Folsom
When the state builds a project, the incentives are different from those of private enterprise. Satisfying political interests is often more important to legislators than building a railroad that is financially sound and well constructed. State builders use taxpayers’ money, not their own. If the road fails, it’s the state, not the builders, with empty pockets. The Michigan story is full of accounts of padded vouchers, illegal bidding, cost overruns, and the stealing of materials by contractors and even by the citizens themselves. Since no one actually owned the railroads, no one felt the responsibility to take care of them.

Judge Thomas Cooley, Michigan’s most famous 19th-century lawyer and a president of the American Bar Association, observed this waste firsthand. He wrote about it later and said, "By common consent it came to be considered that the State in entering upon these works had made a serious mistake." The people of Michigan, Cooley reported, became convinced "that the management of railroads was in its nature essentially a private business, and ought to be in the hands of individuals." In 1846, therefore, the state of Michigan abandoned all the canals and sold the Central and Southern Railroads, which were only partly completed, to private investors. The new owners promised to do some rebuilding and to expand the lines to the Chicago area. From this distress sale, the state recovered one-half of its $5 million investment and ended its headaches from being in the railroad business.

Once the railroads had been privatized, they were rebuilt with care and extended across the state. At last, Michigan citizens had the roads they needed to trade and thrive. This turnaround was so startling that its implications were not lost on Michigan voters. They learned from history.

In 1850, Michigan threw out its old constitution and wrote a new one. It read, "the State shall not subscribe to or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation." Furthermore, "the State shall not be a party to or interested in any work of internal improvement, nor engaged in carrying on any such work" except to provide land. The heavily taxed voters were determined to learn from their mistakes and chart a better future for the state. In the years of laissez-faire that followed, Michigan’s entrepreneurs developed the state’s natural resources—lumber and iron ore—so effectively that Michigan soon became a major industrial state.

Regulations that were aimed at fixing the disinformation that the Industrial Revolution was "crowded with overworked children", "hotbeds of putrid fever," and "monotonous toil in a hell of human cruelty," were wrong and caused far more harm than they purportedly fixed. It's like the PC idea that a "minimum wage" is a positive thing, when in fact it is decidedly harmful to the very workers it claims to help.

Seriati

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2020, 11:39:23 AM »
No grade school kid learns anything about 'women's studies'.

I'm curious how you can be so confident of that?  I've seen lessons from both my kids, including during grade school, that were political propaganda dealing with issues the left wants to win.  Gender studies is part of it, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a grade school child in many states that hasn't been taught that there is only one correct position on issues that are being debated today.  For example, is it a matter of respect to use the pronouns another person chooses, or is a matter that warrants legal punishment?  The first is a social more and the latter is thought police with consequences.  Being trained to not even believe its okay to debate is scary.

i do think everyone should be exposed to mechanical skills.  How can you know whether you'd enjoy it, if you're never exposed to it and instead taught to think of it as demeaning?  Used to work for a property management company, literally doing anything and everything related to repair and upkeep of houses inside and out.  I have ADHD and generally can't go five minutes without a device in hand to relieve boredom, yet I find it extremely pleasant to spend hours and hours painting a house by hand or doing a carpentry project, with nothing but my own thoughts entertaining me.  Without exposure I'd have no way to have ever found that out.

TheDrake

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2020, 12:33:09 PM »
Regulations that were aimed at fixing the disinformation that the Industrial Revolution was "crowded with overworked children", "hotbeds of putrid fever," and "monotonous toil in a hell of human cruelty," were wrong and caused far more harm than they purportedly fixed. It's like the PC idea that a "minimum wage" is a positive thing, when in fact it is decidedly harmful to the very workers it claims to help.

So am I understanding that you deny that there were children working in factories, and cast child labor laws as PC regulation?

Fenring

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2020, 12:37:34 PM »
Regulations that were aimed at fixing the disinformation that the Industrial Revolution was "crowded with overworked children", "hotbeds of putrid fever," and "monotonous toil in a hell of human cruelty," were wrong and caused far more harm than they purportedly fixed. It's like the PC idea that a "minimum wage" is a positive thing, when in fact it is decidedly harmful to the very workers it claims to help.

So am I understanding that you deny that there were children working in factories, and cast child labor laws as PC regulation?

Hey, Ayn Rand argued that child labor laws were unfair because they deprived poor families the opportunity to put their kids to work :)

DonaldD

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2020, 02:14:29 PM »
Ah well, so much for a 'positive' thread :)

From History: Child Labor
Quote
Although the official figure of 1.75 million significantly understates the true number, it indicates that at least 18 percent of these children were employed in 1900. In southern cotton mills, 25 percent of the employees were below the age of fifteen, with half of these children below age twelve. In addition, the horrendous conditions of work for many child laborers brought the issue to public attention.

Fenring

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2020, 11:19:00 PM »
Ah well, so much for a 'positive' thread :)

I guess that was a cheap shot  :-X

wmLambert

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2020, 12:53:21 PM »
...So am I understanding that you deny that there were children working in factories, and cast child labor laws as PC regulation?

No. What you are missing is the improvement over what happened before the industrial revolution raised the poorest population out of abject poverty and into lives worth living. The Historians say the stories about how bad the times were never were true. Go into the research yourself to see how the Sadler Report of 1832 lied about the times for purely political ends. Then look into our education system to see how the lies became part of our curriculum. I recommend Dr. Burton W. Folsom, an historian who wrote specifically about this.

NobleHunter

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2020, 12:57:49 PM »
No. What you are missing is the improvement over what happened before the industrial revolution raised the poorest population out of abject poverty and into lives worth living. The Historians say the stories about how bad the times were never were true. Go into the research yourself to see how the Sadler Report of 1832 lied about the times for purely political ends. Then look into our education system to see how the lies became part of our curriculum. I recommend Dr. Burton W. Folsom, an historian who wrote specifically about this.

Lives worth living? Careful that you aren't making the same mistake that you're calling out.

wmLambert

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Re: Silver linings
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2020, 05:13:34 PM »
No. What you are missing is the improvement over what happened before the industrial revolution raised the poorest population out of abject poverty and into lives worth living. The Historians say the stories about how bad the times were never were true. Go into the research yourself to see how the Sadler Report of 1832 lied about the times for purely political ends. Then look into our education system to see how the lies became part of our curriculum. I recommend Dr. Burton W. Folsom, an historian who wrote specifically about this.

Lives worth living? Careful that you aren't making the same mistake that you're calling out.

You do realize you just confirmed my point? BTW; Laughter by Intimidation is still a laughably poor debate fallacy and tactic - I'd advise you not to try it in the future. You are not good at it.