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Old 06-04-2012, 05:05 PM
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Default Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

The economy yeah wow holy shit what now? :eek: The way things look at this particular instant, seems like the Prez's fortunes rise or fall on the economy. :dollah: Let's talk about that. :blablabla: Just throw stuff out there, whatever crazy thought, boldly imaginative inspiration, whimsical musing or whatever relates. Go off the deep end or proffer words of profound insight and ineffable reason. :soapbox: Don't be afraid to go outside the box, because, as our philosopher poet bort so eloquently observed, it's all boxes. :lol:

What I'm hoping for is to avoid a confrontational attitude in favor of one where it's OK to explore any idea, no matter how in or out of line with CW or current doctrine it may or may not be. It's a big subject, one that's hard to grasp in it's entirety. Feel free to talk about any part of it.

Here's a starter. Automation, the costs and benefits as it relates to the middle class. Who benefits the most? Who loses? Feel free to change the subject or whatever.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

I just want to find a god damn job
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

Automation. You lose. :yup:
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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I just want to find a god damn job
This is part of what kicked off this thread. Some graph some damn where, about causes of income inequality. It showed automation as one of the leading factors. The Job Creators would way rather buy a machine and run it than pay someone to fill the same role. The more this happens, the scarcer meaningful work becomes. Seems simple to me. The argument is made that by freeing up human resources automation actually increases opportunities for economic diversification and thereby the need for people. Offhand, maybe that is true, or was true, up to a certain point. Beyond that point there may be a saturation of automated processes that begins to cut too deeply into the workforce. This would drive a drop in demand for goods and services because no job no money. Then the economy starts to auto digest.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

The most recent jobs report was extremely anemic. There are still quite a few long-term unemployed. The debt ceiling will be reached again towards the end of 2012, and the Republicans are already doubling down.
Jan 2013 has the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts, expiration of the long-term unemployment benefits, expiration of the temporary payroll tax reduction, and the massive cuts kick in as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to come to an agreement.

All the states that have been struggling with the economic recession and with the heavy cuts to federal support will have to continue to tighten their belts, especially as infrastructure projects continue to be put on hold indefinitely.

I am not confident that the government will work through all this in a way that is of benefit to the economy , nor the quality of life in the US. I think the more likely scenario is that unemployment will increase, and that the recession will be long-term; further I think it more likely than not that the Obama administration will deeply cut Medicare and Social Security, as supposed "concessions", which of course Obama has already been signalling he is willing to do, master bargainer that he is. :hahano:

The unregulated derivatives market and the too-big-too-fail banks are still out there swinging their risk in the breeze; a market collapse would certainly tank any hesitant growth the US economy has had. The US also continues to export jobs and capital, and shrink the middle class, increasing income inequality and destabilizing social structure.

On the plus side, austerity in Europe is already showing that is a big suck, Occupy is building and not going away; these *may* have some sort of positive impact on sorting out the direction of the economy.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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Originally Posted by SR71 View Post
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Originally Posted by Megatron View Post
I just want to find a god damn job
This is part of what kicked off this thread. Some graph some damn where, about causes of income inequality. It showed automation as one of the leading factors. The Job Creators would way rather buy a machine and run it than pay someone to fill the same role. The more this happens, the scarcer meaningful work becomes. Seems simple to me. The argument is made that by freeing up human resources automation actually increases opportunities for economic diversification and thereby the need for people. Offhand, maybe that is true, or was true, up to a certain point. Beyond that point there may be a saturation of automated processes that begins to cut too deeply into the workforce. This would drive a drop in demand for goods and services because no job no money. Then the economy starts to auto digest.
Overproduction is cyclical in capitalism; automation contributes to this. After the industrial revolution and by adding much of the female population to the workforce, you have a huge excess of labor, which drives down wages. Automation in and of itself is neutral in my mind; the bigger question is about meaningful work- a term that may deserve a thread all its own- and how to organize a society with billions not needed to produce goods and services.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

The historic failure of the Obama administration on every front has been laid bare. Instead of babbling about how much he liked Ronnie Reagan and wanted to be a "transformational" leader like Bonzo allegedly was, maybe he should have harked back to a real transformational leader confronted with similar (though admittedly not identical) problems, FDR. Too late now. Enjoy what's left of your time in office, Barack. :wave:
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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Originally Posted by chunksmediocrites View Post
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Originally Posted by SR71 View Post
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Originally Posted by Megatron View Post
I just want to find a god damn job
This is part of what kicked off this thread. Some graph some damn where, about causes of income inequality. It showed automation as one of the leading factors. The Job Creators would way rather buy a machine and run it than pay someone to fill the same role. The more this happens, the scarcer meaningful work becomes. Seems simple to me. The argument is made that by freeing up human resources automation actually increases opportunities for economic diversification and thereby the need for people. Offhand, maybe that is true, or was true, up to a certain point. Beyond that point there may be a saturation of automated processes that begins to cut too deeply into the workforce. This would drive a drop in demand for goods and services because no job no money. Then the economy starts to auto digest.
Overproduction is cyclical in capitalism; automation contributes to this. After the industrial revolution and by adding much of the female population to the workforce, you have a huge excess of labor, which drives down wages. Automation in and of itself is neutral in my mind; the bigger question is about meaningful work- a term that may deserve a thread all its own- and how to organize a society with billions not needed to produce goods and services.
:chunksmediocrites::squeezle: I agree that the expansion of the workforce lowered wages per worker. It's a little hard to digest all the implications at once*. The neutrality of automation itself is a good point. Maybe the issue is if there is a point at which things have become automated enough, and taken in sum, deployment beyond that point begins to damage the economy in general, though it may greatly benefit individual components within the larger economy. Is it possible that we are currently at that inflection point? I am not the first to speculate that even if the economy in aggregate rebounds, the jobs may not come back. This leads to the well posed question of how to organize a society that does not require full employment to satisfy it's demands. Is society in any way ready to consider that question?

Thanks chunks, this is the kind of place I'm hoping this thread will go.

*Something of a tradeoff here? While it is true that integrating women more widely into the workforce did not necessarily raise household income by much, it did accomplish the liberation of women from the homemaker role. Maybe it has made two partner work participation almost mandatory in a keeping up with the Joneses sense.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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I just want to find a god damn job
Megs, I apologize for my shitty response to your post. Do you want to talk about your situation? Why do you think you're having a hard time finding a place at the table?
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

Shouldn't this thread be in the Smileydome? :examine:
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  #11  
Old 06-04-2012, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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I agree that the expansion of the workforce lowered wages per worker.
I should caveat here that entrance of women into the general workforce outside the home is not to suggest that women weren't already a portion of the workforce or working. Lots were, pre-industrial revolution. As well at least in nations with labor laws, the increase in labor through women working outside of the home may have also been offset by the eight-hour shift, overtime pay, and child labor laws.
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I am not the first to speculate that even if the economy in aggregate rebounds, the jobs may not come back.
Technological changes along with automation certainly made and will make many labor-intensive models obsolete. The introduction of cargo containers has made longshoring labor a third of its numbers from what it was in the 1950's. AT&T used to employ armies to handle telephone switchboards; I think Skype employs a handful of people. Online shopping removes the need for a retail space, retail workers, etc.
The question of how to have gainful employment in a shrinking job pool and rapidly obsolete set of skills looms large.
The other side of that is FoxConn, which uses massive cheap labor as an asset- Apple claims that they can change their product and have a factory comprised of human labor retool in a week; they say an automated factory would require months. Also the counter-trend to mass production has been artisan products; though in my field of baking, artisan baking on a larger scale in Europe and the US has already returned to medium levels of automation. Though artisan production still requires more labor; this may be one partial answer to the problem.
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This leads to the well posed question of how to organize a society that does not require full employment to satisfy it's demands.
The US requires at least (roughly) 4% unemployment (based on the way we currently count unemployment, and not including underemployment, uncounted, etc.), and when the number drops below that, the Fed and other government agencies work to increase the unemployment levels. Lower than 4% and labor actually starts to get traction to push for wage increases and benefits, and the business community raises holy hell. Capitalism requires underemployment.
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Is society in any way ready to consider that question?
No. Virulent disease, natural disaster, crop failure, or warfare generally have dealt with this in the past. It is also hard to project what our future will look like as technology and science progresses, or what it will look like with overpopulation, potable water shortages, desertification, ecosystem collapse, climate change...
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

I'm toying with the idea that companies will continue to strive for productivity gains through automation no matter what the state of the economy may be over time. If they can meet demand with a lower head count, so much the better. I'm not sure that they necessarily care at all if people are employed in the aggregate or not, so long as they can sustain profits. They seem to have taken the attitude that workers are a necessary evil bordering on a liability. The important thing is to wring as much utility out of each warm body as possible.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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The historic failure of the Obama administration on every front has been laid bare. Instead of babbling about how much he liked Ronnie Reagan and wanted to be a "transformational" leader like Bonzo allegedly was, maybe he should have harked back to a real transformational leader confronted with similar (though admittedly not identical) problems, FDR. Too late now. Enjoy what's left of your time in office, Barack. :wave:
Do you really think that FDR could've forced the current legislature to do what he wanted?
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

Buckminster Fuller had this all figured out.

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We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
We just have to make people stop being greedy assholes, and then do that.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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The historic failure of the Obama administration on every front has been laid bare. Instead of babbling about how much he liked Ronnie Reagan and wanted to be a "transformational" leader like Bonzo allegedly was, maybe he should have harked back to a real transformational leader confronted with similar (though admittedly not identical) problems, FDR. Too late now. Enjoy what's left of your time in office, Barack. :wave:
Do you really think that FDR could've forced the current legislature to do what he wanted?
Here is what FDR did.

First, he gave a stunning Inaugural Address that rallied a frightened nation. Then he went on radio every week, for his fireside chats, to explain exactly what he was doing, and why he was doing it.

When he ran into significant Rethuglican opposition that thwarted his aims, he didn't babble about compromise with people who wanted to metaphorically (if not even literally) cut his throat. He said: "They hate me, and I welcome their hatred." He called them "plutocrats" and he relentlessly mocked and reviled them. He called them the money changers that had been evicted from the temple. He told the nation that there was more to life than greed.

And the people gave him four terms, even though unemployment, in 1936, when he was running for a second term, was about 16 percent.

If FDR had been confronted with this current Congress, he would have gone right over their heads and straight to the people.

What is so puzzling to me is that Obama clearly has exceptional communication skills. He could have, and should have, constructed some kind of progressive narrative to combat the lies of the right wing, the way that FDR did. Yet he completely abdicated what the first Roosevelt (Teddy) called "the bully pulpit." He doesn't give press conferences. He doesn't appear on the Internet, exploiting the new technology the way that FDR exploited radio, the new technology back then. His speeches, for a man who was supposed to be a great writer, are all lackluster, poll-tested boilerplate. Can anyone think of a single memorable line out of his mouth?

He deserves to lose this election. He squandered a great historic opportunity for reasons that are rather inexplicable.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:31 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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Buckminster Fuller had this all figured out.

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We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
We just have to make people stop being greedy assholes, and then do that.
I read something, somewhere, who, what, whatever. It was very much along those lines. The idea was that through automation, there would not be much need for many people to be productive. It might become something of a privilege to work. If we accept this premise for argument's sake, what would become of the non working sector? We could imagine a range of conditions from dull and brutish to quasi utopian. It occurs that we may be in the nascent stages of (what I will call) The Great Idling. If that is the case, it's apt to be a bumpy ride as employment reaches 15%, 20% etc until the new lay of the land is completely obvious.

Frankly, I'm not the least bit certain that USA Inc will care at all if people work or not, or if there is any sort of "social safety net" at all, so long as profits can be maintained.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

Someone still needs to clean my toilet.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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Someone still needs to clean my toilet.
..and maintain the autotargeting system on the turret mounted quad M-240G's.

:giggle:

Gotta keep the riffraff on the right side of the fence. :giggle:
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:53 PM
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Here is what FDR did.
He went to war. The trouble is when he did it the ponzi scam was new and not world wide. Here we have the pyramid crushing all production everywhere.

No worries, they will revalue the currency. Too bad for those counting on all those government investments schemes...
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

He went to war? War came to him as anyone who knows the slightest bit about US history knows. That was in 1941, in his third term. So yeah, brand new...

Seriously, you're not even trying, where the hell is Jeroll?
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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He deserves to lose this election. He squandered a great historic opportunity for reasons that are rather inexplicable.
Inexplicable?

Hey...The plutocrats pay well. Plus, they probably have some 'stick' as well.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

Re: 'automation'.

The single input fueling the ghastly increases in health care costs? Technology.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:21 PM
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I can't wait to see how things play out with the Bush tax cuts set to expire. I predict the Democrats cave. They just haven't gotten anywhere with their arguments. When OWS offered them the cudgel to get the job done, they passed. If they are going to be defeated on this issue anyway, I wish they would at least go down swinging, because they are seriously losing me. Since the Republicans are an even worse option, it's no mere rhetorical flourish to say that I feel unrepresented.

Why 'Fiscal Cliff' May Be Bigger Threat Than Europe - US Business News - CNBC

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Those who do care about the predicament in Washington seem unwilling to confront a future where Congress, which remains divided on party lines, seems unwilling to agree on even the smallest measures, much less on charting the fiscal future of a slow-growth economy.

Politically, the stakes couldn't be higher.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

Some of the more popular CT's out there center on fractional and central banking. OMG, The Fed! All new money is debt! Money out of thin air! I am not well versed in the area, so can not very well separate fact from fiction. Can anyone do a Central/Fractional Banking for Dummies on the topic? How does it work? Pros and cons? Any relevant or important historical back ground?
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Wild Speculation - ff on Teh Economy

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Originally Posted by SR71 View Post
Some of the more popular CT's out there center on fractional and central banking. OMG, The Fed! All new money is debt! Money out of thin air! I am not well versed in the area, so can not very well separate fact from fiction. Can anyone do a Central/Fractional Banking for Dummies on the topic? How does it work? Pros and cons? Any relevant or important historical back ground?
And here I thought that it was that all new debt was new money.

I'm not sure what you are referencing with "CT's", but wiki has a basic overview of the orthodox money creation theory, with links to some heterodox theories.

Understanding the concept of money supply might be helpful, too.
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Last edited by godfry n. glad; 06-11-2012 at 06:17 PM.
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