It's about guilding, not helping
Posted by aogTuesday, 03 November 2009 at 10:57
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Don Surber lays out the economic effects of raising the minimum wage back in 2007. By August of this year, teen age unemployment had hit 25.9%, the highest in 62 years. Certainly, a big part of that is the bad economy directly, but also the worse the economy, the worse the impact of a minimum wage. But we wouldn’t want reacting to reality to get in the way of squeezing out union competitors.
Friday, 13 November 2009 at 01:07|
The very concept, that a business can afford it, therefore it’s reasonable to extract that wealth, is Marxism and not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well.
Actually, that’s capitalism in its most basic form, red in tooth and claw. The inputs of capitalism are raw materials, capital, and labor. The owner of each component will naturally try to maximize their share of any surplus value created by combining the trio. Thus, if a business CAN afford to pay more for labor, it well behooves the firm’s labor force to demand a higher share of the profits.
Marxists, by contrast, would assert that all surplus value results from the action of labor on raw materials, and with or in capital-provided facilities. Therefore, the role of capital is to loan money to labor, to create the means of production, and to receive only capital-rent (interest), not equity. Labor ought to own the means of production.
Which, in fact, American labor could easily have done, if they weren’t so captured by the zeitgeist of owning pseudo-luxuries, instead. Whether or not that mindset and social dynamic was an intentional plot by the elites, a class-warfare strategy, I cannot say, but I do note that it couldn’t have turned out better for the elites if it had been a conspiracy.
On the other hand Aristotle wrote some time ago that:
For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule. […]
It is clear, then, that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right.
Which, if we interpret that to mean that some people, by nature or nurture, are born leaders, (or at least iconoclasts or freethinkers), whereas most are content or even happiest when they are traveling with the herd, or otherwise have somebody to rely upon to tell them what to do, it becomes clear that no plot is necessary: Today’s proles aren’t the sturdy yeomen of yesteryear, they’re simply very rich slaves.
It’s my impression that there basically are no [workers out there (single moms, usually) that are toiling away at minimum wage] (since NPR couldn’t find them…)
Which is simply evidence that NPR is incompetent. I know a half-dozen people like that. I imagine that Harry Eagar could have pointed NPR to hundreds.
Now, it’s true that the people that I know that are supporting their families on some combination of minimum-wage work and social subsidy are generally people who have taken some wrong turns in life, and unfortunately some of them seem very likely to continue to make poor choices until their dying day, but nonetheless they exist.
But going forward, foolishness isn’t the only route to minimum-wage familial support. Over the past two years there are approximately five million formerly middle-class people who have lost jobs THAT ARE NEVER COMING BACK, so regardless of competency, credentials, experience or wisdom, most of these former hard-chargers are going to be eking out an existence via part-time and/or minimum-wage jobs, plus social subsidy. It can and is happening to people who never, ever, in their worst nightmares, considered that after spending up to a decade in higher education, plus a decade or more in their various industries, they would find themselves competing against a hundred other people for ONE available position.
It makes my ne’er-do-well past seem like a reasonable choice, more’s the pity.
Monday, 16 November 2009 at 14:25|
Wow. What a target-rich environment. I hardly know where to begin.
In the first place, you didn’t check out the links, or you would have known that there are TWO links, not one, (as one keen of eye could have discerned from the non-hyperlinked “;” alone), and so therefore “How Being The Slightest Bit Overqualified Can Cost You A Job” and “PhD’s In Distress” are two separate concepts (although related).
You failed to verify your presumptions before speaking. Is that what your “Piled higher and Deeper” is in, “The Social and Professional Effect of Never Doing Any Research Before Expounding, Even if it Would be Really, Really Easy, as Measured Solipsistically Through the Lifetime of One Individual”?
If so, then “although I have never personally had to endure a prolonged unsuccessful job search” makes complete sense; otherwise, it’s an error of logic known as a Sweeping (or Hasty) Generalization Fallacy.
If I have the “competency, credentials, experience or wisdom” that an employer wants, I will be able to get a job.
In general, my point is: What if 100 people have the “competency, credentials, experience or wisdom” that an employer wants, but there’s only one job available? Will you be able to get a job then?
No? Well, about five million other people won’t either, people who are well-used to gainful employment, people who previously “never personally had to endure a prolonged unsuccessful job search”.
One could read the linked articles if one wanted to learn something.
Monday, 16 November 2009 at 15:52|
I read them both. They were both “woe is me, I’m so great but I can’t get a job” nonsense…
LOL. I defy you to pick out even ONE SENTENCE from the “How Being The Slightest Bit Overqualified Can Cost You A Job” piece that would support such an interpretation.
Given that Mr. AVRRA had already resorted to name-calling in multiple posts above…
But you must admit, my name-calling was of a much more sophisticated and erudite variety than a pedestrian “prick” or “pathetic jackass”. (Speaking of which, why would you use alternative symbolization for “j@ck@ss”, but not for “prick”? Perhaps it’s just me, but I find the latter far more offensive.) I do credit you with integrity for correcting an honest error in your post.
But now that we’ve covered reading incomprehension, vulgarity, your upstanding nature and my shocking brain-free condition, perhaps we could get back on track:
If 100 people want a job and YOU are unable to separate yourself from the other 99, you ain’t gonna get the job. Tough. […] I sure as hell [wouldn’t] sit around whining about how unfair it all is.
Nor is anybody else. They’re out trying to find jobs, or taking part-time ones that lead slowly to bankruptcy. But they ain’t no jobs to be had.
If two people want a job and there’s only one available, then yes, it’s tough for the person who doesn’t get the job. If 100 people want a job and there’s only one available, then it’s tough for all of society, since our current societal debt levels CANNOT BE SUPPORTED with 17.5% un- and underemployment (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics alternative measures of labor underutilization U-6). This means that housing foreclosures will continue to climb, which will mean that banks will continue to be impaired in lending, which will continue to drag down economic activity - which will mean more jobs lost… A vicious cycle.
But the biggest problem is that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY WHATSOEVER that the Boomers can be supported in retirement without a robust, full-employment jobs situation. (Maybe not with such, either, but that’s moot.)
It was my understanding that you objected to the “complete and utter absurdity” of asserting that people with formerly-superior “competency, credentials, experience or wisdom” won’t be finding jobs that are in any way comparable to their previous positions - if, in fact, they’re ever employed again.
$13 an Hour? 500 Sign Up, 1 Wins a Job By MICHAEL LUO October 22, 2009 The New York Times - no doubt 500 lazy, woe-is-me slackers with bad families and friends.
FED Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the Economic Club of New York, New York, New York November 16, 2009
On the Outlook for the Economy
Since December 2007, the U.S. economy has lost, on net, about 8 million private-sector jobs, and the unemployment rate has risen from less than 5 percent to more than 10 percent. Both the decline in jobs and the increase in the unemployment rate have been more severe than in any other recession since World War II.
Besides cutting jobs, many employers have reduced hours for the workers they have retained. For example, the number of part-time workers who report that they want a full-time job but cannot find one has more than doubled since the recession began, a much larger increase than in previous deep recessions. In addition, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers has fallen to 33 hours, the lowest level in the postwar period. These data suggest that the excess supply of labor is even greater than indicated by the unemployment rate alone. […]
The best thing we can say about the labor market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly. […]
For example, the unemployment rate for men between the ages of 25 and 54 has risen from less than 4 percent in late 2007 to 10.3 percent in October…
Given this weakness in the labor market, a natural question is whether we might be in for a so-called jobless recovery, in which output is growing but employment fails to increase.
Unemployment Projections Through 2020 - It Looks Grim.
And this is the best case scenario. The analysis uses historical facts and figures as released by various Federal bureaucracies, so it’s an apples-to-apples model.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 15:34|
Why, yes, I could. Sen. Billy Spong’s tour of eastern North Carolina to look for starvation found it. That was in 1966. The news was quickly ignored and Spong was quickly eased out of a safe seat.
A hed on page A5 in today’s Maui News reads: 1 in 7 Americans going hungry
If not actually starving with bloated bellies, it suggests a possible social problem.
Reason for anybody. That’s my point. The goal of an entrepreneur is to make money. If he can do that by canceling jobs, that’s what he does. And gets rewarded for it. In a full-employment economy, no problemo.
My father’s best friend inherited a construction business. Like most contractors, he adjusted his payroll to fit the flow of business. When he was younger, it didn’t bother him to let people go, because they could go back to the farm. Time passed, and there were not so many farms to go back to.
In his later years, he became more and more reluctant to let people go, because he understood what that meant and he was a humane man. He ended up broke.
erp, I suggest you go back and re-read those newspapers. I read hundreds of stories praising takeover artists for closing down operations and firing workers. (Not to mention thousands about offshoring.)
The man I work for right now was directing one of those operations at the time. He was closed down after a takeover even though his business unit was making a 25% ROIC. Not enough for the new hotshots.
He took a certain grim satisfaction earlier this year when the hotshots’ stock price went to 1 cent and found no takers.
|Annoying Old Guy
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 16:58|
Sen. Billy Spong’s tour of eastern North Carolina to look for starvation found it. That was in 1966.
So that area was, in 1966, part of the “modern interrelated economy” or the “subsistence economy”? As for the 1 in 7 “hungry” statistics, I think I will go with the NPR defense. Just like the epidemics of homelessness during any GOP Administration, that kind of thing is almost always bogus (e.g., “hungry” means “didn’t get three meals on a single day in the last year”). Especially since just a year or two ago, obesity was stalking the poor.
The goal of an entrepreneur is to make money
Hmmm. I was at a lunch talk this very day with the guy who founded this company and he disagreed with that assertion. Who should I believe, you or him? Especially since your own just following example discredits your claim. Do you think the Obama Administration’s War on Prosperity is a better solution?
The fact is that, left alone, people create businesses and jobs. Nothing else does, certainly not government. The idea that every person who starts a company has as his sole and only goal maximizing his short term profitability is not borne out if you look at actual businesses and the people who run them.
Reason for the system to have a propensity to create jobs. If we accept “absolute growth as the only meaningful metric of success”, then such can be achieved with increased productivity - it’s not necessary to expand employment.
The system doesn’t create jobs, it never has. People create jobs and they do as much of it as the “system” allows.
Sure, it’s not necessary to increase employment to grow, it’s also not necessary to produce glowy memory either, yet there it is. In fact, if things are going well and the system makes it easy to do so then expanding employment can be faster and easier than increasing productivity.
The focus on productivity is that, in the long run, that’s the only way to increase the standard of living for the population as a whole. So if you want a system that makes people better off over time, then you want one that favors increasing productivity.
Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 09:44|
Demand at any price?
But again, “any price” isn’t sustainable. If marginal demand falls below the cost of production, then why would anyone continue to produce?
Get those coal miners busy…
There’s the rub, and it’s happening now, in the real world. If you have ANY practical1 idea of what to produce that would put 18,100,000 people to productive work earning at least $4/hr2, then NOW is the time to bring it on. Solve the problem of excess labor in the U.S., and you’d immediately be on the short list for future POTUS.
And if you don’t have any ACTIONABLE ideas about the situation, isn’t that a bit of a problem for your expressed philosophy?
Who the heck is this “We” who’s taking all these actions like lowering people’s wages?
Society, in the case of lowering wages specifically the employer sector of society.
Without this “We” there would just be people trading goods, services, labor, etc. with each other and things would take care of themselves.
But why did society change, in ALL of the advanced nations on Earth, so that there isn’t the laissez-faire labor market that you describe?
People who lived under systems where “things took care of themselves” apparently didn’t like it, not at all.
Ah, but productivity gains lower that floor by making the effective costs of raw materials and overhead lower. That’s the definition of productivity.
But the floor nonetheless exists, until we get self-perpetuating robots. And once we do, we might find that we’ve traded resource choke-points for a Sorcerer’s Apprentice problem.
I think a Silver Era, basically the same as the Bush years, is quite achievable…
Not anytime in the next coupla decades. The debt overhang, along with Boomers worldwide wanting to change from being producers to being supported3, will preclude that. We might achieve a Tinfoil Era, which while in comparison to the recent past would seem quite shoddy, in a historical context would be a time of relative prosperity.
1 I.e., one that could actually find support to implement, whether from the private sector or the gov’t. By all means, put ‘em to work on churning out private spacecraft; good luck getting the Feds to put up the money, although ultimately that’d be a far better use of gov’t-borrowed funds than what we’re doin’ now…
2 Taxes on people making more than $4/hr could make up the shortfall between that wage and spartan living expenses; after all, we’re already supporting those eighteen million and more through various social support programs, ultimately backstopped by the taxpayer. And let’s not forget that if there’s something productive that 18MM people could be doing, there are two billion people around the world who’d be very happy to do it for 25¢/hr, so how will we prevent them from over-saturating that market?
3 Some might argue that many Boomers will be self-supporting, because they’ll live off of their accumulated wealth, but such savings are merely a claim against future production. After all, gold, real estate or stock shares can’t be eaten, and won’t help you with household chores.
Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 10:35|
Rough wrote: “If marginal demand falls below the cost of production, then why would anyone continue to produce?”
You (and Harry) seemed to be arguing that increased productivity exacerbates “the problem of excess labor”. Increased productivity lowers the cost of production thereby enabling the satisfaction of more marginal demand thereby increasing demand for labor. Productivity has both a negative and positive feedback link to employment, but since the Luddites (and before), the positive feedback increasing employment has dominated. Except for government interference, I strongly believe that would continue to be true.
Rough wrote: “If you have ANY practical idea of what to produce that would put 18,100,000 people to productive work”
If you and the government get the hell out of their way, they (with the help of their communities) will do just fine. That’s my easily implementable and practical suggestion. What won’t put them to work is to make it onerous to hire people and idiotic stimulus packages lining politicians pockets. That will only reduce employment.
Rough wrote: “And if you don’t have any ACTIONABLE ideas about the situation, isn’t that a bit of a problem for your expressed philosophy?”
I do have an ACTIONABLE idea (see above), but whether or not I do is not even vaguely a problem for my expressed philosophy. That’s because my expressed philosophy is that 18,000,000 people can figure out what’s best for themselves far better than I or the government can, so we should get out of their way and not foist our ACTIONABLE ideas on them. This government’s ACTIONABLE ideas are killing them, if not literally, then in terms of spirit and self-sufficiency.
Rough wrote: “People who lived under systems where “things took care of themselves” apparently didn’t like it, not at all.”
There are always looters who aim to restructure the system to their benefit at the huge cost to everybody else. Unfortunately, the looters (i.e. the political/intellectual class) has succeeded, much to everybody’s detriment. According to Mancur Olson, it’s inherent that the looters prevail eventually, and I begrudgingly tend to agree. However, that doesn’t make rationalizing the looters actions with things like the need for ACTIONABLE ideas to put people to work (what is this, slavery?) meaningful.