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Old 07-10-2017, 09:11 AM
 
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The future will be more like the present than many analysts are willing to admit.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:21 AM
 
6,818 posts, read 4,410,206 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rruff View Post
We didn't have to make this lame argument in the past, because we got tech advances *and* higher living standards. Now we just get new tech. Cell phones exist even in the most squalid countries. Should they be satisfied as well? And I think the great majority of young people would rather live in a world where an expensive college education wasn't a requirement for having a chance at a decent job.

It isn't that we couldn't have higher living standards. Per capita GDP has doubled while median incomes have gone nowhere. It's just that all the gains have gone to a few.
Lameness is in the eye of the beholder (or perhaps the handle of the crutch). While doubtless changes over the past 40 years were not all entirely positive, it is false to claim that only the pinnacle of the pyramid has benefited. I personally might have preferred to live in an earlier age, because my vocation has rather declined in prestige and excitement over my lifetime. In the mid 20th century, it was one of the principal glamour profession. Now that glory has been ceded to info-nano-bio. But in terms of resources, we’re collectively doing substantially better.

And when last I checked, US per capita median (not mean) income has risen by about 20% in inflation-adjusted terms, since the mid 1980s. It has however been flat thus far throughout the 20th century. This is not surprising, since productivity-growth has also been poor thus far in the 21st century. And the stock market hasn’t exactly been burgeoning either.

Thus it seems to me, that the real problem is declining productivity growth, and not how that productivity growth is parsed amongst the income-quintiles.

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Originally Posted by Pub-911 View Post
The future will be more like the present than many analysts are willing to admit.
Absolutely. And the present, while not outstanding, and certainly leaving much room for improvement, is actually pretty OK.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
2,747 posts, read 1,209,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Lameness is in the eye of the beholder (or perhaps the handle of the crutch). While doubtless changes over the past 40 years were not all entirely positive, it is false to claim that only the pinnacle of the pyramid has benefited. I personally might have preferred to live in an earlier age, because my vocation has rather declined in prestige and excitement over my lifetime. In the mid 20th century, it was one of the principal glamour profession. Now that glory has been ceded to info-nano-bio. But in terms of resources, we’re collectively doing substantially better.
Television...always told it was going to rot my brain. So much easier for so many to sit and be entertained rather than have other ideals. Now we can take it with us. Filling our unoccupied time with unreal projections of what life could be.

Still, if the Jungle is anything close to accurate, I'd say the early America labor formation in the cities was not exactly a hotbed of economic opportunity. However, the median economic input was a once independent farm, whereas now the industry takes a fraction of the workforce it once did.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:11 AM
 
6,818 posts, read 4,410,206 times
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Originally Posted by artillery77 View Post
Television...always told it was going to rot my brain. So much easier for so many to sit and be entertained rather than have other ideals. Now we can take it with us. Filling our unoccupied time with unreal projections of what life could be.

Still, if the Jungle is anything close to accurate, I'd say the early America labor formation in the cities was not exactly a hotbed of economic opportunity. However, the median economic input was a once independent farm, whereas now the industry takes a fraction of the workforce it once did.
The farming ethos remains strong in the American consciousness, but how topical is it? Even in 1977, or for that matter in 1937, was the “median” American (since now in this thread we’re so beholden to the term) a farmer? Industrialization jolted and dislocated the generation that was already mature in 1900. We’ve lived predominantly in cities and towns for far longer than living memory.

Television can indeed be a scourge, but there are good alternatives. Lately I’ve noticed a proliferation of discount bookstores. “Discount” means $2 or even $1 per book. Such stores are often repurposed warehouses, with books brought in in giant reinforced cardboard vats, like those used for watermelons at the supermarket. Can we imagine good-quality books for sale in 1977 for the inflation-adjusted price of $1? It has become cheaper to buy a collection of books, than to pay bus-fare to go back and forth to the public library. I call that progress.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:33 AM
 
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"When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse."
-- Newt Minnow, FCC Chair, May 1961

Not mush has changed. The medium is not the problem. It's the trash that's put on the air.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:56 AM
 
1,144 posts, read 391,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rruff View Post
That's nothing but fluff. The Industrial Revolution did not begin in the US, and the living standard in the US was mediocre compared to other developed countries until after WW2. Our "great period" didn't last long though. In the last few decades the US has been losing ground against most developed countries. We are around 27th in median wealth as of 2012:




On the other hand if Buffet is talking to the .01%, then their wealth has skyrocketed in the last 40 years and I suspect that will continue. He still needs to address the challenges that AI will cause to consumer-capitalism, and how those issues will be addressed. If he wants make any sense, that is.
It is interesting that Great Britain and United Kingdom have the same median income...
Is this graph otherwise accurate, though, and how was it computed? Australia is generally not known as a country of tremendous personal wealth, and Italy should certainly not have a higher median income than Switzerland.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:54 PM
 
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Sometimes I wonder what % of Americans understand that excess consumerism is a trap...and really doesn't add to society. In fact, it seems to do the opposite - shopping, accumulating and working seem to keep people from being more community centric. Like obesity, they seem to fill a hole which is where our family, friends, community and country should be.

Philosophical? Sure, but praying at the altar of GDP is dangerous in numerous ways. I have actually heard many Americans express that they'd rather have cheap gas and millions (elsewhere) dead and displaced than having to peacefully trade for energy at it's real value.

As the founders stated, our government and constitution was made for a moral and ethical people. I'd say we threw that out the window a LONG time ago, so now it's every person for themselves.

RFK made a semi-famous (should be more well known) speech about GDP. I will link to it but the basics are that:
1. War
2. Overcharging for Health Care
3. Auto Accidents
and many other things ADD to GDP or GNP. That doesn't mean they are good.

When self-driving electric cars are at our beck and call...and we don't need to buy one, GDP will go down. If I buy a properly sized home instead of a McMansion, GDP goes down. If you or I stay healthy instead of incurring 100's of thousands of dollars in "lifestyle" caused health care, GDP goes down.

Point is - as has been suggested, we need a lot more definitions of success than just GDP. Let's talk about the number of suicides, the troubles we create (or fix) here and overseas, efficiency, environment, etc.

In one sense it amazes me that I even have to write this...it's evident to many people.

Here is the speech. You can find it on youtube also
https://www.theguardian.com/news/dat...rt-kennedy-gdp

Part of it:
"we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.

It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. "
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:57 PM
 
295 posts, read 158,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
According to Warren Buffett, the U.S. economy is on an inevitable upward trajectory for decades into future, at minimum. The reason for this is that our nation has the greatest entrepreneurs and innovators that the world has ever known and it will continue to have them.

We are pretty much guaranteed a 2% annual GDP growth rate, and this will continue indefinitely - short of a nuclear attack on this nation, which is unlikely. It doesn't matter whether there is a Republican or Democrat administration in the White House. Buffett predicted that the stock market would rally regardless of whether Trump or Clinton won the election.

The richest Americans today are many times richer than the richest Americans were 30 years ago. And 30 years from now, they will be much richer still. This means that the gap between the rich and poor will widen even more dramatically than it has. So, the government must step in to help the poor.

Do you agree with Buffett's assessment about the U.S. economy? Why or why not?
Buffett is the biggest crook ever. I give him credit though, he seduces the masses with his Omaha, folksy, Coke drinking Yogi Berra-isms. He is the worst type of human in my opinion.
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Old 07-10-2017, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
5,242 posts, read 3,395,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
The farming ethos remains strong in the American consciousness, but how topical is it? Even in 1977, or for that matter in 1937, was the “median” American (since now in this thread we’re so beholden to the term) a farmer? Industrialization jolted and dislocated the generation that was already mature in 1900. We’ve lived predominantly in cities and towns for far longer than living memory.

Television can indeed be a scourge, but there are good alternatives. Lately I’ve noticed a proliferation of discount bookstores. “Discount” means $2 or even $1 per book. Such stores are often repurposed warehouses, with books brought in in giant reinforced cardboard vats, like those used for watermelons at the supermarket. Can we imagine good-quality books for sale in 1977 for the inflation-adjusted price of $1? It has become cheaper to buy a collection of books, than to pay bus-fare to go back and forth to the public library. I call that progress.
Small farmers in the U.S. started to struggle after the Civil War. There was a reason they created 3rd party movements like the Grange, Greenback and People's Party - they tried to resist. Their resistance to economic changes peaked in 1896 and their fortunes declined rapidly from there. After that, to be a farmer started to mean you had to be a business-person with significant assets. One generation later - by the 1920s the shift was obvious & the small family farm was pretty much dead. There was a brief renaissance when crop prices rose thanks to WWI, but small farmers basically had a mini-Great Depression amid the seeming prosperity of the 1920s, and the bottom fell out after 1929.
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Old 07-10-2017, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Ruidoso, NM
5,170 posts, read 4,731,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Lameness is in the eye of the beholder (or perhaps the handle of the crutch). While doubtless changes over the past 40 years were not all entirely positive, it is false to claim that only the pinnacle of the pyramid has benefited.
Only the top 0.1% or so has matched our per capita GDP growth.

Quote:
And when last I checked, US per capita median (not mean) income has risen by about 20% in inflation-adjusted terms, since the mid 1980s. It has however been flat thus far throughout the 20th century. This is not surprising, since productivity-growth has also been poor thus far in the 21st century. And the stock market hasn’t exactly been burgeoning either.
*Household* median income has experienced a small increase (10-15%), but workers/household is also higher. Wages are flat (CPI adjusted)... even though the workforce is more educated.



Quote:
Thus it seems to me, that the real problem is declining productivity growth, and not how that productivity growth is parsed amongst the income-quintiles.
I presume that you mean it is a "problem" for investors? Because I'm pretty sure the average person who works for money cares quite a lot how it is parsed!

Productivity is basically synonymous with prosperity. But long term productivity increases rely on investments in infrastructure, research, education, facilities, etc. We've been lagging in these areas for a long time. Instead we've outsourced a lot to foreign countries and filled the hole with escalating debt, all so that a few could become insanely wealthy.

Consumer capitalism is not sustainable if consumer incomes do not keep pace with growth. A slight imbalance in this eventually resulted in the Great Depression. During the next 45 years the imbalance was corrected. And now for the last 40 years, we've created an imbalance that is greater than ever. Globalization, fiat money, and finance have made it possible. But how long will they last?

The AI revolution will kill consumer capitalism anyway, and I suspect that is what the oligarchs have in mind. Invest in automation and you will be fine. The poor slobs who are working and those who are unemployable will not have it so good, though.
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