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Old 02-28-2018, 02:20 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,829 posts, read 57,830,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
So you think we need to consume more?
I think we need fewer people. A lot fewer.

In the shorter term (the 20-50 year range you mention a lot)...
we need to find something humane, but still something else to do with that excess supply
that will get them off the books and out of these equations and physically out of the profit centers.
Trim the sails. Clear the deadwood.

As you comment on that remember "no dystopian nightmares required"

---

If that actually works then our grandchildren will inherit a country that works.
Even if most of that work is actually being done by machines.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Ohio
17,986 posts, read 13,233,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigiri View Post
I'm fairly good at understanding economics - owned and ran businesses for 40 years. In addition, I am well versed in history and current events...and yet I cannot understand the USA's current focus on increasing GDP. I can see why it might be important for a developing country as a way to measure growth. But in a country as developed as ours, it's really hard for me to see increased GDP as a good thing.
GDP shows you if your economy is expanding or contracting.

An expanding economy generally creates new jobs for workers, while a contracting economy typically results in unemployment.

An increasing GDP also attracts investors who are willing to buy government issued treasury notes, bonds and bills. That's important to you as the government has continually spent more money than it has gained in revenues. The sale of treasury securities takes that money out of circulation and reduces Inflation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandlines View Post
High GDP isn't why we have expensive healthcare.
"As personal income increases, people demand more and better goods and services, including health care. This means that holding other factors constant, as higher personal income increases the quantity and quality of care demanded, overall health care spending increases as well. GDP is a good indicator of the effect of increasing income on health care spending."

Source: United States Government General Accounting Office GAO-13-281 PPACA and the Long-Term Fiscal Outlook, page 33.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:44 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,829 posts, read 57,830,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
"As personal income increases, people demand more and better goods and services, including health care. This means that holding other factors constant, as higher personal income increases the quantity and quality of care demanded, overall health care spending increases as well. GDP is a good indicator of the effect of increasing income on health care spending."
As personal income increaseD, people demandED more and better goods and services, including health care.
From the first post war boom years, through the medicare introduced relationship changes as well
as all the Buck Rogers advancements that continue ...that demand was met. The demand continues unabated.

The costs however, an inconstant other factor, are no longer in line with incomes, another inconstant other factor,
in the way they once were ... and the tab is being left on the table for the least able in the triangle to pick up
(employer - individual - government).

Last edited by MrRational; 02-28-2018 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
2,961 posts, read 1,007,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
It's the most effective carrot for most people.
"...at the present time." Fixed that for you.

Part of a significant economic change is to stop measuring individual self-worth by individual income or wealth. There will be people with more and less; it should not be a meaningful index to any but those who cling to the shallow notions of the nearly-dead past.

Quote:
So, is yours more of a sustainability-argument, or an ethical argument?
Both, really, but whereas most prior advocate/prophet/talk-show-authors have started from some ethical or religious stance and then built out practical supporting arguments from that (see: castles on the sand), mine is about sustainability of quality life on the planet - with some special notions of what constitutes "quality," and "I've got more sh*t than you do, nyah nyah" is not it. I see the necessary economic, social and political changes for survivability being the forces that make us a better people. Ethical issues could and should follow the practical ones, which is why I get so irritated at those who see the only outcome as a reduction of individual life to some kind of peasant/peon existence.

Quote:
If the former, then I contend that technology might provide an answer.
Why, because for a couple of hundred years, it has? (Not dismissing the longer, slower climb in science, technology and knowledge that came before, just marking the cusp of when it exploded as a factor in all lives.) That's fine, and I wouldn't disagree that continued invention and development hold much promise... but that was before we basically set fire to the planet. We simply cannot continue on this path; if advances in science and engineering and tech help us shape that better world, fine, but simply, smugly assuming it will fix everything while we continue to toss matches is... insane.

Quote:
...but in the invention and promulgation of cleaner-technologies.
No. Energy that does not degrade the planet further is a given necessity. The real solution there is to stop using so damned much of it - in insane ways like powering endless chains of cargo ships to bring useless crap to our shores. And all that goes into that chain.

Energy is boundless, if we can find the right bucket (or Sphere) to catch it in. But for the foreseeable future, many resources are approaching exhaustion. Arable land, for example. Isn't it going to be a lot of fun when China and India can't grow anything but cacti while Siberia becomes the new grain belt? Hopefully Canada will sell us grain at a good price; maybe we'll be able to sell them the Midwestern Desert for vacations or something. But mineral/chemical resources will be much more critical, as we can't just grow those in greenhouses.

Quote:
However – and it’s a crucial “however” – we need the materialism to generate the funds to sustain the high-culture stuff. Materially-poor societies can’t support top-notch universities, libraries or concert-halls. We need the money-grubbing businessmen, the bankers and the smokestack industries – and we need progressively more of them.
Absolutely true in our Econ-101 world. Reduces to completely bullsh*t with a reordering of economic practices. That's my whole point.

If you can only see the Econ 101 cycle and imagine any change to it will disrupt the entire solar system, you can go lie down with the dinosaurs now and get it over with. There is absolutely no reason not to restructure economics to a system that works with the world as it has become, is becoming in the near term and will become within the lifetimes of our youngest folks. It can be an oligarchic/peasant dystopia, or an era that makes everything up to this point look like a shadow play.

I'm betting on, and working towards, the latter. And can only smirk a little at how many nice, stable apple carts are going to get tossed off the cliff getting there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
I think we need fewer people. A lot fewer.
As a long-term goal, I agree. But simply reducing Earth's population to, say, 1B is not any guarantee that that billion will exceed the qualities of any billion currently present. So while I agree that long-term (100+ years and on) sustainability of quality life on Earth would benefit from a reduction of population, I don't see it as The Cure or even a completely desirable goal. Maybe we need 5B people for... intellectual sustainability, with the price being a billion deadweights.

As there is no reasonably humane way to reduce the population in less than about 60-75 years - and then only through draconian measures - it's a solution for another day, anyway. We need a solution between now and then that will provide the proper foundation for a greatly lowered planetary population. (And no, lowering population so that they can maintain individual consumption rates of today or higher is not a solution or a worthwhile goal. We need to completely dispense with that kind of "Save the System! Save the System!" nonsense.)
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
2,961 posts, read 1,007,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
GDP shows you if your economy is expanding or contracting.

An expanding economy generally creates new jobs for workers, while a contracting economy typically results in unemployment.
Which means the third card must be black.

Oh, sorry, thought we were playing at syllogisms again.

You are absolutely right. In a conventional economic sense. Which you even cite in detail.

So, to hell with conventional economics. It's like a religion whose deities are all dead. Time to move on.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:13 PM
 
8,272 posts, read 3,452,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
GDP shows you if your economy is expanding or contracting.

An expanding economy generally creates new jobs for workers, while a contracting economy typically results in unemployment.

An increasing GDP also attracts investors who are willing to buy government issued treasury notes, bonds and bills. That's important to you as the government has continually spent more money than it has gained in revenues. The sale of treasury securities takes that money out of circulation and reduces Inflation.
Important points.

Not so sure about Treasuries cooling inflation. WW2 bonds were helpful, but those were a one shot deal. Most Treasury deals are trades or roll overs. Ongoing deficit spending and new Treasuries creates more money, so they should tend to be inflationary.

Taxes take money out of circulation and tend to reduce inflation.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:53 PM
 
6,815 posts, read 4,408,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
...That's fine, and I wouldn't disagree that continued invention and development hold much promise... but that was before we basically set fire to the planet. We simply cannot continue on this path; if advances in science and engineering and tech help us shape that better world, fine, but simply, smugly assuming it will fix everything while we continue to toss matches is... insane.

...for the foreseeable future, many resources are approaching exhaustion. Arable land, for example. Isn't it going to be a lot of fun when China and India can't grow anything but cacti while Siberia becomes the new grain belt?

Absolutely true in our Econ-101 world. Reduces to completely bullsh*t with a reordering of economic practices. That's my whole point.

If you can only see the Econ 101 cycle and imagine any change to it will disrupt the entire solar system, you can go lie down with the dinosaurs now and get it over with. There is absolutely no reason not to restructure economics ...
Oh, there’s considerable reason! Almost invariably, calls for wholesale and peremptory change result in catastrophe. Most efforts to remake society by fiat, with the slogan of uplifting the dignity of man, result in even greater oppression than in the system that was supplanted. On the other hand, fear of being on the cusp of disaster has burdened Western Civilization at least as far back as when Alaric sacked Rome. But every time, somehow we muddle through. Malthus, anyone? Running out of farmland? The real curse is that agriculture has become so efficient, in producing so many bushels of such-and-such from one acre of land, that land prices are stuck (or declining). Tropical Siberia is no joke, but we’ll adapt to that one as well. Why should this time be any different? We’ve been insane before, far worse than the present. And yet an antidote was found each time. Why should this time be different?

Econ-101 is actually a pretty good system. It’s worked since the Sumerians first got enough of a grain-surplus, that they could afford to have a class of priests and nobles, besides just peasants. Are we really going to supersede Econ-101? With what? Pan-galactic altruism? United Federation of Planets? How exactly to you propose to “reorder economic practices”? Greed, avarice and the yearning for prestige are far older than the bipedal ape. We’re not going to tame them, let alone abolish them, unless human nature is itself abolished. The wisest system is that in which the greed of robber-barons is coopeted to endow libraries. Without that greed, we’d all be illiterate.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Ruidoso, NM
5,170 posts, read 4,730,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
We’re not going to tame them, let alone abolish them, unless human nature is itself abolished. The wisest system is that in which the greed of robber-barons is coopeted to endow libraries. Without that greed, we’d all be illiterate.
Any schemes that run contrary to human nature will have no chance of success. The best we can hope for is that the robber-baron's wishes are restrained by an organization of regular people... ie a democratic government that protects our freedom and rights, and taxes and regulates for the "common good". We are very lucky that we grew up in a time when the robber-barons' interests (collectively not individually) and ours were so symbiotic.

Unfortunately this system seems to be functioning less and less in our common interests... while at the same time, the robber-barons' wishes are diverging from ours completely.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:13 PM
 
8,504 posts, read 2,387,119 times
Reputation: 8123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
As personal income increaseD, people demandED more and better goods and services, including health care.
From the first post war boom years, through the medicare introduced relationship changes as well
as all the Buck Rogers advancements that continue ...that demand was met. The demand continues unabated.

The costs however, an inconstant other factor, are no longer in line with incomes, another inconstant other factor,
in the way they once were ... and the tab is being left on the table for the least able in the triangle to pick up
(employer - individual - government).
We don't get better health care from spending double (and unaffordable) sums - we don't get a better everyday computer by spending 4K instead of 1200, and we don't get a better car by buying a 15 MPG behemoth. Yet ALL add to GDP.

Look at it in the current context - Trump is promising a 3% rise in GDP is going to create miracles. Heck, if my private economy (investments, income, etc.) rose only 3% a year, I'd be in vastly worse shape than I am now.

AND, much of the 3% is false - fueled by 1.5 Trillion in additional debt and deficits (and, according to the Trump admin, this will go on for a decade or two)....

So, effectively, what people are saying is that is they borrow more money from the bank in order to show a 3% improvement in their net worth (making it personal here), that's a great thing!! Or, again, if costs for the major stuff like Military and Health care go through the roof, that's great!

If We The People cared about a real GDP, we'd break out all these various actions and add or subtract them from the "People's GDP". Paying 10% more for health insurance offers me no advantages but increases GDP.

My contention is that most of the GDP rise (however little it is anyway) is borrowed money, overpriced stuff...and also, like everything else, skewed toward the top 1 or 2%.

I don't see how that is accurate for most Americans.

Note - if GDP was headed up and we were paying down the debt and deficit and also it was clearly benefiting the middle and lower classes as well as the top, it would be a different story. Even does it does not account for lives lost in war (just equipment used and destroyed), etc.

When a homeless vet is put into jail for some drug offenses or similar, GDP increases (whether the jail is public or private).
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:03 PM
 
Location: Ruidoso, NM
5,170 posts, read 4,730,147 times
Reputation: 4206
Quote:
Originally Posted by craigiri View Post
We don't get better health care from spending double (and unaffordable) sums - we don't get a better everyday computer by spending 4K instead of 1200, and we don't get a better car by buying a 15 MPG behemoth. Yet ALL add to GDP.
Actually they don't add to GDP at all. Money wasted on these things is money that isn't available for something else. GDP/worker can only rise if productivity improves.

Your criticisms are valid but they have nothing to do with GDP.
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