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rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 4, 2018 - 09:09pm PT
MB1....Your reply to Dingus ...that's like the reporter that asked Theolonious Monk if he liked all types of music...Monk replied yes and the reporter then tried to bait Monk by asking if he liked country western...Monk said i already answered that question...
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Oct 6, 2018 - 08:18pm PT
Boy, MB1's been on a rippin' roll. He addressed some of my thinking re. DMT's "living wage" comment. That is one slippery concept. Some would argue that living wage = supporting a family of four. If that's the standard, you'd see the death of many, many, many businesses. If the busboy at the local Arby's has to be paid enough to support himself, a wife, and two kids, yer burger and fries would be, what? $150? I'd love to see those calculations. In San Franpsycho, that would be $650.

But the problem of wages is being compounded significantly by technology. I think this has been mentioned before, but the striving for profits and efficiency (kind of the same thing) drives companies to reduce labor/personnel, which is often the greatest expense for any given product or service. I'm currently deep into Andrew Yang's book: The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future, and I can't recommend it highly enough. As AI (artificial intelligence) comes on line, more and more of us, our skills, almost ANY skill, will be rendered too expensive. Elon Musk, Google, Amazon, Uber et al. are investing vast sums and super human energy into the goal of putting millions of people out of work. And if we think these legions of the unemployed can all be retrained into software engineers, we're dreaming. The Luddites weren't wrong: There was a lot less work for weavers once the power loom was developed, but for centuries since, each new wave of tech development did create more jobs. But there is a lot of evidence that the "lump of labor fallacy," as it's called, which was the operating ethos of those destroying the looms, is no longer fallacious. I highly suggest ya'llz read Yang's book. It's sobering and disturbing. I've lost a little sleep over it's revelations. I'm hoping his proscription of "minimum universal income" can work, but I haven't read that part of the book yet.

One thing for sure: One way or another, the huge accumulation of wealth in a very small number of hands is not good for society. Companies MUST do a better job at rewarding their workers. How to do that is a very difficult question.

BAd
Trump

climber
Oct 6, 2018 - 08:32pm PT
As far as thinking goes I like the thinking that a person should be paid a livable wage. But I think when push comes to shove, the only should that exists is that the fittest should survive, and we donít always get to be the ones that define fittest, much as we might think that we should be.

If we can convince other people that the fittest thing for each person to do is to pay everyone a livable wage, then thatís what weíll do. Sure, Iím with you, letís do that - you probably more effectively than me. But we might find that other fitness constraints get in the way of our convincing other people that thatís true for them.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 6, 2018 - 08:36pm PT
Capitalism succeeds only if there is a working class who is desperate enough ( there's an abundance of these people ) to work for a low wage allowing the business people to make a profit and live the american dream that the low wage workers will never realize...Excuses by the business people to justify this disparity are endless and self serving...
Trump

climber
Oct 6, 2018 - 08:43pm PT
Yup, those selfish genes, and their self-centered manifestations in the thinking of other people like businessmen and white people and good old always right me. Iíll show those greedy genes theyíre not the boss, and Iíll start believing that the beliefs that me myself and I believe are wrong! Wish me luck.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 11, 2018 - 06:59pm PT
When the Mammoth Vons brow beat the local union , most of the long time union employees bailed...Vons instituted a lower paid tier which at the time was barely higher than the minimum wage...Many of those positions were filled with undocumented workers who were using social services to supplement their meager wages...Now Vons has a employee retention problem creating a high turn over of employees and lousy customer service.... a result of weakening the union and paying lower wages ....What's the old saying...? You get what you pay for...?
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Oct 11, 2018 - 08:00pm PT
rj, do you shop at that Vons?

That's some union them UPS folks have, huh?

DMT
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 11, 2018 - 08:09pm PT
Dingus.. Yeah i shop there....It's the only game in town....A grocery outlet is being built...
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Oct 11, 2018 - 08:50pm PT
I was just curious rj. I reckon I've bought some groceries at the Vons over the years, myself.

There isn't some hipster organic grocery in Mammoth now?

DMT
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 11, 2018 - 09:14pm PT
There is an organic store but it's a bit pricey with a limited selection...I go there when the weekend vons riots are goin down...
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Oct 13, 2018 - 12:08pm PT
I seem to recall that the very first instance of gov't regulation of industry was in forcing the railroads to make the job of braking the cars safer. Rich folks in their shining Pulmans were getting annoyed/horrified at brakemen falling off the cars as they worked to crank down the brakes on each individual car. Can you imagine going over the Rockies in an icy storm and having to claw your way up a ladder on the outside of a car and turn a big wheel to engage the brake? And this had to be done individually for each car--ugh. The net result of the reg was not only worker safety but more efficient trains. Not all gov't regs are so salutary, but sometimes private industry does need a kick in the pants.

BAd
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Oct 13, 2018 - 12:59pm PT
Pullman passenger cars didnít have brake wheels on the roof. They were on/in the vestibules at either end of the cars.

First Pullman sleeping car.
First Pullman sleeping car.
Credit: Lorenzo

Rich passengers would only have been annoyed by dead carcasses on the tracks from brakemen falling off the roofs of freight trains.
DanaB

climber
CO
Oct 13, 2018 - 01:22pm PT
Richard, I don't know anything about economics, trying to learn. You wrote that the value of labor is determined only by the market? Isn't possible the market could be unfair? I understand that the term unfair is imprecise and can't be definitively nailed down.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Oct 13, 2018 - 04:41pm PT
Isn't possible the market could be unfair? I understand that the term unfair is imprecise and can't be definitively nailed down.

You raise a really good point, imo. The standard attack on capitalist markets is that they can drift in and out of "efficiency," sometimes for somewhat extended periods of time. But even "efficiency" is a really slippery concept that means different things to different critiques.

Perhaps it's easiest to think of "the market" as the sort of "transactions" that have always existed between individuals, regardless of the "economic system" governments foster or enforce.

The USSR tried to enforce an economic system in which there was NO "market" in anything like the sense we take for granted. What happened? And I mean, what happened INSTANTLY? Well, a "black" market emerged to handle the individual transactions that the government disallowed. And when (literally) that "black" market had to include "luxuries" like pantyhose, it became crystal clear that the "black" market just was "the market."

A really good book discussing this, written by a former "State Security" agent who defected is: "I Chose Freedom," by Victor Kravchenko, 1947. Upon getting settled in the US, he writes about his awe to discover countless stores with shelves stocked with everyday items that were either not available AT ALL in the USSR or were only available on the black market (or, of course, available to high-ranking officials). He was also in awe of the RANGE of options for "a" product; different brands and styles were unknown in the USSR. Capitalistic competition simply produces "a market" for the simplest things that was UNKNOWN in the USSR.

We see the same emergence of the "capitalistic market" in China, which is ALL that has kept that economy solvent.

So, "the market" really transcends governments and economic systems. And when governments manipulate "the market," all they really accomplish is to ensure "black" markets and/or create "unfair" distortions in "the market."

We see this EXACT point emerge in the labor "black market" in the United States today, where millions of "black market" laborers sell their labor for FAR less than "minimum wage," and they do this because the government has manipulated the labor market, both in establishing a "minimum wage" and in establishing WHO is ALLOWED to work for wages in the USA. Imagine a completely open labor market. Imagine "illegals" instead allowed to work for WHATEVER wage they wanted to negotiate.

Ironically, people on this very thread would be wildly divided about that! One one hand, some would be saying, "Yayyyy.... Yes! Let EVERYBODY compete on the labor market, without regard to borders or minimums." Others would be saying, "Uhhh.... Wait! They would need to get paid minimum wage for this to be fair." Others would say, "No WAY! The last thing the American economy needs is a GLUT of minimum wage workers all competing for the fewer and fewer such jobs that are going to be available." Still others would say, "But more such workers will tend to push the minimum wage DOWN rather than UP, and that's not good for ANY minimum-wage workers!" Others will say, "But more such workers will push the minimum wage UP rather than down, because a larger pool of such workers will have more negotiating power." And it goes on and on.

Now, in that context, let's revisit your "fair" question. ANY of the above scenarios could be argued for! And intelligent people could reasonable believe in any of those scenarios and even more. So, what "fair" means is going to vary wildly, depending upon which scenario you believe results from allowing even MORE open competition on the labor market.

I don't have any brilliant answers, and, frankly, I don't think that anybody else does. What I do believe, though, is that the only successes we've seen in human history emerge when government's role is extremely limited and typically consists of rigorous "anti-trust" sorts of "manipulation." (On both "sides" of the "equation".) Whether price-fixing and monopolies are manipulating profits, or national unions are manipulating wages, "unfair" markets emerge, and the results speak for themselves. And WHEN they emerge, you end up with "black" markets that are themselves CORRECTIONS of the manipulations.

The Market is what it is. Human beings ARE GOING TO get what they want, which establishes a market for whatever they want. Period! If somebody WANTS to work for $3 per hour under minimum wage, they WILL find a "black" market for their labor. And if that labor is ALLOWED rather than made "black," there will be an increasing market for it. If you artificially say, "Well, but that's abusive, and we WON'T allow it," well, as we see for ourselves, you DO NOT eliminate that labor market. You simply push it underground and marginalize those laborers.

If "fair" means "equal outcome," then there is no such thing as "fair," and there cannot in principle be. If "fair" means "equal opportunity," we can get nearer and nearer to that and perhaps even achieve it on and off.

I'm deeply suspicious of fine-grained governmental manipulation of "the market," because I believe that the jury is FULLY in on this point: It doesn't WORK, and "fixing" one "unfairness" just produces another and typically worse one. Other than "anti-trust" enforcement, governments simply create "black" markets, to the detriment of everybody involved. They exist when government makes the "unfairness" of the "black" market a better alternative than the "unfairness" of the government-mandated market. And this is true across products and services, as well as labor.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 13, 2018 - 04:58pm PT
The govt interferes when there are legal rulings against unions and for a system of "contractors" who are basically employees.
They also interfere when they buy businesses like the Trans Mountain Pipeline assets up here in Canada or invest in Bombardier to ensure votes in Quebec.
Governments should restrict their role to environmental protection, labour standards, safety standards, health safety, protecting the public against fraud, etc.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Oct 13, 2018 - 05:00pm PT
Who is in control of manipulating the economy in the USA?
answer: the entitled very rich.

None of the following provides any rational benefit to the economy: Depreciation of real estate that is actually appreciating, property swaps, carried interest, corporate writeoffs for personal extravangances, fake charities, etc.

Trump and Kushner pay NO taxes. Same as many healthy companies.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/kushner-paid-no-federal-income-tax-for-years-documents-suggest/ar-BBOkaOq?ocid=spartanntp

AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 13, 2018 - 06:04pm PT
There is a class of people who love a huge military but don't want to pay for it.
DanaB

climber
CO
Oct 13, 2018 - 06:47pm PT
If "fair" means "equal outcome," then there is no such thing as "fair," and there cannot in principle be. If "fair" means "equal opportunity," we can get nearer and nearer to that and perhaps even achieve it on and off.

Certainly, I agree, fair does not mean equal outcome, not at all.

Discussing profit, wages, capital, labor, resources, and so on is beyond me. But, all of those aforementioned concepts, issues, and actions occur when people are dealing with people. They are human interactions - even though other forces are at work - and it seems reasonable to ask, as these interactions happen or as we plan them: how are we treating each other?
climbski2

Mountain climber
The Ocean
Oct 14, 2018 - 04:25am PT
Fair should also mean that attempting to circumvent such requirements by hiring part time employees for full time positions causes the same penalty
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Oct 14, 2018 - 06:18am PT
Great post, MB1. Are you here all week? :)

I've been reading about what Andrew Yang calls "the Great Displacement," which designates a coming wave of unemployment driven by big tech advancements, which in many ways is already happening. He cites something like 4 million manufacturing jobs lost over the last 10 yrs. due to automation as only one example. Self-driving trucks are going to be a nightmare for employment. It turns out that truck driving is the most common job in 29 states! Anyway, Yang argues for universal basic income (UBI) as a way to combat this. He makes a pretty compelling case. To fund it, he suggests a 10% VAT. Yang does not address, however, how to deal with the current and building giga-debt that the US is running, which scares me more than anything re. the economy. What are your thoughts on UBI?

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