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Old 12-10-2018, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,894 posts, read 1,300,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artillery77 View Post
I was looking for one of those oxygen bars the other week when the sky was so smoky. It would have been my first time, but I thought....that sounds good right about now.
Look for such bars, "clear rooms," very fashionable brands of oxy-breathers that fit in a... what's that super-expensive peasanty handbag? and filtration masks all to become part of the landscape in the burn zones. Now that's capitalism... feeding on itself.

Quote:
...at least we have laws for some basic protections.
Against what? Certain kinds of product-based injury and fraud? Do you see that as adequate, or is it a bit like Ford guaranteeing to replace the paint on your Taurus after faulty engineering causes a serious accident?

Quote:
Moreover, like watching Godzilla and Mothra go at it, we have a free market prize for the top prize fighter...and for the most part we get the benefits as these giants collide.
Ah. Praise be. So Godzilla craps rubies and Mothra craps diamonds as they level the city. Win!

Quote:
None of us are getting through this life without getting wronged by someone else at some point.
True, but does that justify a system that wrongs us in the deepest possible ways, on a mass basis, at every major juncture in our lives? I don't think you can be quite that casual about the bigger problem and simply equate it to getting bumped in the subway.

Quote:
All in all, most of the products I buy work as advertised, have fitness of being a product and are charged within my expectations. That's a lot neater than say....a socialist paradise with nothing available to be purchased and potentially wrong me....with no competition and no impetus for improvement. Right?
In complete seriousness, you seem to have a better grasp of the discussion, but keep retreating to a very conventional, very limited notion of economic practice and benefit. So in your view, the choices are... what we have, or some vaguely imagined socialist-communist antimaterialist commune? Did you happen to notice that I am not anti-capitalist and in fact said it's the only economic system that works?
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,894 posts, read 1,300,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
What is your suggested alternative?
Nothing I can say here will answer that question.

There is absolutely nothing I'd rather do; there are frothing Jesus freaks here who don't have the proselytizing zeal I do for this subject. The emphasis, though, is on "here" - this venue is no more suited to committed exchange than a telegraph line is suited to high-def video. Zero-commitment chat by anonymous talking socks has its place, but not for subjects that require self-reordering of indoctrinated thought. Give me an hour across a table, or in a lecture hall with a small enough audience to engage, and I'll turn your world upside down. (I do it fairly often.) Here? Not going to happen. No one here ever changes their opinion on trivialities, let alone anything important like, what brand of peanut butter to buy.

But I occasionally run bits like this discovery of a great term up the digital flagpole to see if anyone's paying attention. If at the end of a bunch of determined idiocy and name-calling, I can get any one or more to understand the first principles, it's a small pleasure to see the light dawn and about as good as I can hope to get from the land of F-150 superiority, cheap gas forever and what to do about abusive bosses and boyfriends.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,894 posts, read 1,300,515 times
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Here's a starting point, one that almost fits in this narrow channel.

No one in this thread has yet let go of a very narrow view of economics - even the posts that are mostly in agreement kind of spin in the same small circle of consensus econ theory. It's going to take a small but abrupt shift in thinking for anything else down this road to make sense.

Economics likes to pretend it's a science ("dismal" or not). It's not. It's a soft, theory-driven subject that can hide behind a rigid wall of impeccable numbers. Economics is half accounting and half theory - theory that is nothing more than compounded guesses about why the accounting works the way it does, and subject to radical disagreement at every level of guess. It has more in common with behavioral psych than anything mathematical.

If you think Economics is a "finished" discipline, science or not, and that it's like other subjects where small discoveries keep being made on the edges of a body of rock-ribbed certainty, you are completely wrong. The precision and accuracy of the accounting half does not give the theorizing any inherent validity; economic theories are eternal and unchallengeable until, well, the first curve throws them into the ditch. Then everyone dusts themselves off and rearranges the theories to new eternal verities. Until next time, and so forth.

That the current consensus theories mostly-kinda-sorta work most of the time for most of the system isn't meaningful - history is full of systems that m-s-k worked, sometimes for millennia. (Monarchy, anyone? Alchemy? Zoroastrianism?) But it has created a system where Econ is vastly overrated in having final, absolute answers of any kind. And a vast, deeply-indoctrinated population who can only bounce off those narrow definitions as if they're laws of physics. Which work perfectly like any tautology: "C-D users are all baboons. He is a C-D user. Therefore he is a baboon." - impeccable logic based on nonsense and circular reasoning.

Economics is, fundamentally, the study of the flow of wealth. And it can be understood, studied and guided from an uncountable number of positions... certainly more than just one. Some aspects are fixed, or nearly so, in any interpretation, but the theory of how the cycles and interactions work are almost endlessly flexible. If you're prepared to change multiple elements, a vast number of possibilities open up. If, on the other hand, you do like most modern practitioners and try to change one thing at a time, you simply prove a predetermined failure and can go smugly present at another conference. But if you want to change Verity A, and you're willing to change Verities B and C to accommodate... presto, you have a new theoretical structure that has the potential to work just as well as the consensus version. There have been many variant economic systems, many of which have worked for very long periods, that are completely in conflict with the current system. None of them have been some final truth.

Think of Economics as a deck of cards - the 52 or 53 or 54 cards never change no matter what you do with them. But how many vastly different games can you play with those cards, using absolutely limiting and consistent rules that would be nonsense or chaos in any other game? No, you can't suddenly drop a rule or add a Go Fish rule to a poker game - but you can change the whole set of rules and keep playing with the same cards.

Until you truly grasp that Economics is a flexible subject and that the narrow prediction, postulation, pontificating and pompous puffery that fills current financial and macroec discussion is only one schism of one sect of the church of wealth, there's no way to grasp anything further on this road. My "suggested alternative" will be incomprehensible to someone who thinks the gulf between Greenspan and Bernanke represents uncontrolled warfare in the field.

But I'm not here to convince. How I'm regarded in anonymous sock-puppet land is no concern of mine. I occasionally post this stuff because it might intrigue someone. If you think it's nonsense - see you in the funny pages.
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Old 12-10-2018, 03:14 PM
 
6,946 posts, read 4,523,014 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
Nothing I can say here will answer that question.
But then we have a self-propitiating conundrum… a provocation, inaccessible to solution.

This is, if memory serves, 2018. We have blogs, you-tube, etc. If you have an argument that’s too abstruse or detailed for a mere discussion-forum, you can write an essay and post it online. Or give a lecture online. Then post the link here.

Economics CAN be a science, when its questions are posed scientifically. “Why does capitalism suck” is not a scientific question. “How does the tax-deductibility of mortgage interest affect the housing-decisions of first-time buyers”, can be a scientific question (if a hard one to address).

All of science is conditional and subject to potentially being falsified… even physics. All of science is rife with error-bars, as a documentation (itself imprecise!) of uncertainty. In some cases, those error-bars are small; in others, spectacularly otherwise. Those branches of science dealing with humans and human behavior, will have more uncertainty than the “hard” sciences. Explanations will be more situational, less quantitative and less likely to offer predictive veracity. Equations can be derived and solved, but the applicability of those equations to real life, or for that matter knowledge of the boundary-conditions, are both tenuous and fraught.

Nevertheless, even an untutored and biased observation can eventually reveal patterns – if the underlying material is repeatable. And human nature is quite repeatable. Economics gives neither scientific derivation of the proper way of organizing ourselves, nor a good prediction of where the stock market will go in 20 years, nor how governments should (or should not) subsidize healthcare. But it’s not entirely useless, or bunk, or just a masturbatory exercise of publishing papers and getting tenure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
... Which work perfectly like any tautology: "C-D users are all baboons. He is a C-D user. Therefore he is a baboon." - impeccable logic based on nonsense and circular reasoning.
The premises may be faulty, but the logic itself is indeed impeccable. Now if you'll please excuse me, while I go grimace, pound my chest and challenge a higher-ranking male for his females.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
My "suggested alternative" will be incomprehensible to someone who thinks the gulf between Greenspan and Bernanke represents uncontrolled warfare in the field.
However clever or elegant your initial observations, your thesis has degenerated to spouting insults. Not all of us are particularly intelligent, eloquent, open-minded or unbiased. I’m as guilty as any. But if you wish to air your ideas, rather than merely to tease and provoke, you ought at least to give notional outline of what you mean. Yes, economics is squishy, malleable and subjective. Let’s stipulate that. What’s next?

Science – hard or soft – requires courage…. The courage to face crowing, shrill adversaries… the courage to expose one’s ideas to potential ridicule… the courage to perhaps oneself be proven wrong. If you have a particularly prescient illumination of the truth, which to all “conventional” economists etc. is obscure, then it would be craven and sinister to keep it hidden.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:58 PM
 
793 posts, read 519,941 times
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Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
I'm not sure I agree this was ever the case - again, this is kind of an idealized basic-econ idea that sort of works until it doesn't - but you're on the right track with much of what you say.

To jump from Econ 101(Q) to a little bit of upper-division thought, the problem is that we've flipped, as a nation, a society and very nearly a globe from consuming to live to living to consume - and we didn't do that of our own choice.
Is that what is taught in Econ 101? Well then, I don’t feel so bad about choosing Social Psychology of Clothing as my elective. Seems I didn’t miss much.

I agree societal movement towards living to consume was partly a steered phenomena. I speculate it is tied to a grander notion of “a rising tide lifts all” in that massive consumerism in a capitalistic economy, in theory, generates trickle-down wealth, on a local and global scale.

In theory. Actually, you can see some of it in previously poverty-stricken, third world countries which have seen marked improvements in basic standards of living for many. Of course, this all comes at a price. Greater wealth disparity, for one, with winners and losers. But also an intangible cost, of the mind and spirit, and perhaps for some, the soul.

Well, that’s my theory. But what so I know. I normally would rather rearrange my sock drawer than discuss economics or business, but your original premise was interesting enough to pull me in.

I do believe big money awaits those who can sell selective memories. Then no one will be triggered, sad, or unhappy. We would all be living in a world of “eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.”
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:47 PM
 
24,934 posts, read 27,143,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
Yeah... like when our federal government decided it would be a good use of taxpayer money to:

* Invest in Solyndra.
* Invest in Fisker Automotive
* Incentives to purchase hybrid and electric automobiles
Those would just be the starting point for me. Bailing out the big banks would be a much bigger issue. Not to mention layer upon layer of regulation that makes it difficult for smaller businesses to compete with large businesses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
It is OK for a country to have an industrial policy. President George H.W. Bush famously said, "Computer Chips or Potato Chips, they're all the same to me." (Or was it Cow Chips?) He failed to see that Japan and China were both engaging in an economic war on the the USA, and their method was through stealing US based high technology and illegally subsidizing indigenous companies (in contrast to basic research) with the goal of putting US technology leaders out of business.
Oh, I'm certain GHW Bush knew what was going on. I do believe he even took a trip to Japan to try to negotiate something. The media made fun of him for it because he threw up at a meeting. In any case GHW Bush was a globalist sellout, probably from the beginning. His New World Order speech is easy enough to pull up on YouTube.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
Thankfully, President Trump is the first president to wake up to China's aggression against the USA in the form of forced technology transfer, stealing our technology secrets via state industrial espionage, etc.

Andy Grove famously once said "China will start to respect other country's intellectual property about the time China has its own intellectual property to protect."
Yeah, we'll see what Trump does. I'm not holding my breath. Andy Grove was definitely right in what he was saying.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,894 posts, read 1,300,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
But then we have a self-propitiating conundrum… a provocation, inaccessible to solution.
I know, and it's my fault. It's why I almost always regret letting these discussions go past a few comments in a more general sense.

I've been online since there was an online - FIDOnet, anyone? - in every format except some of the new, frothier ones where the number of silly face filters is the driving purpose. In those 30+ years I've learned to keep my personae carefully firewalled; when the first round of Growed Up Adults were having career trouble because of their drunken party posts on MySpace, I could only smirk a bit.

C-D is my hangout place where I don't much worry about what I say or to whom; I don't necessarily care to duel to the death over every barb or off-color joke. I don't want to cross the wires between these ~4000 posts of wit, wisdom and nonsense, and my three or four serious endeavors. One of which is analytical consumer economics, which is based on about a decade of some very contrarian views of how economics actually works as a socioeconomic system, for individual consumers and families.

So we can discuss this with my socky-puppet Q standing in for reality, and I'll do my best to live up to the demands of the discussion... or we can drop it and go back to arguing how F-150s rule the earth and bottled water is a gift from the gods.

* * *

Quote:
Economics CAN be a science, when its questions are posed scientifically.
Only in the same way meteorology can: When a massively chaotic system can be understood well enough write genuine laws of behavior. Meteorology as a predictive and analytical science is still wobbling around on pipecleaner legs; even unimaginable processing power can only handle feeble models of real weather, and under very limited conditions. The only reason meteorology has evolved at all since about the 1960s is satellite imagery - which is cheating; you don't have to develop accurate laws and models if you can literally just look out the window. There certainly is a determined core of meteorology working towards that solid grasp of these systems, but overall the field has been deflected because it can deliver what 99% of the audience wants, highly accurate weather forecasts. "Highly accurate"... but not perfect, even with those eyes in the sky.

Economics is even further back on the curve, because it has those fraggin' people in the mix, you know. It can simulate science and accuracy as long as nothing strays too far from the modeling. One chaotic pebble, and the theories turn to something between jello and garbage. It's those damned people - which is why econ bears a stronger resemblance to behavioral psych than any other field, aside from the dry mechanics of accounting.

Quote:
“Why does capitalism suck” is not a scientific question. “How does the tax-deductibility of mortgage interest affect the housing-decisions of first-time buyers”, can be a scientific question (if a hard one to address).
I wouldn't disagree. However, I'm completely uninterested in either question - one is just online/barroom provo, and the other is at a mundane level of economic exchange. Neither defines the system nor has much to do with serious economic theory - how would your second question, for example, play out in 1958 Poland, 1975 China or even most of the modern era in Norway? It's a pocket, subsidiary question that defines nothing in the greater system. (Fascinating to mortgage banks and home buyers, though.)

Quote:
All of science is conditional and subject to potentially being falsified… even physics.
Yes, and just to bypass a long and fairly irrelevant side argument, note that I'm a fan of Asimov's "The relativity of wrong." It's an essay in which he pointed out that describing Earth as a sphere is a far smaller error than saying it's a plane, and that in the genuine sciences, error and misunderstanding tends to be at the outer edges of understanding, not in the validated core laws and facts.

Econ simply doesn't qualify except in that each body of theories tends to hold and be workable tools until, well, the next crisis they fail to address, followed by a new body of theories - repeat. That's not a science; that's steering a car careening down an endless rocky hillside. Every smooth stretch convinces the driver he's got it this time, and then it's OH SH*T! time again. (And a few more Nobels are handed out.)

All of this is an aside to the basic idea, which is simply this: If you cannot let go of current economic theory and can only interpret a new idea in terms of that framework, there's really no point in going any further in this discussion. The vast amount of economic discussion, at all levels, is of how we can make minor changes to our current system and achieve nirvana. (We can't. It's like diet books that promise you can lay on the couch, eat chocolate, lose weight and make a fortune doing so, only it's a promise that This Secret Trick will create a jobs boom, stock market rise, corporate profit increase, tax cut and consumer spending jump all in one go.)

This would all be wonderfully theoretical, suitable for endless debate in a nice club or faculty lounge somewhere, were we not facing a couple of crises of multi-national and global scale like absolutely nothing civilization has seen before. We are far past any point where a theory of the past, or some successful experiment from the 1950s, or an idea that's worked on smaller-scale crises can be somehow blown up to address these problems. We need... well, we need a lot of things, but it's not too pompous to say that at the bottom of all of it, we need a national, international and global economic system that actually addresses these problems, instead of trying to cube it up and fit it in existing pinholes.

I'm perhaps a bit too fond of analogies, but I started lo these many years ago as a writer; sue me. Consider that in 1939, Poland had what may have been the finest cavalry to ever exist on Earth, at least in modern times. Germany, using tactics, techniques and theory radically different from almost everything that had come before, turned it into dog food in about two weeks.

We may have a damned fine cavalry in our economic assumptions and practitioners, but the coming triad of problems won't even bother using them for pup chow. And my great fear is that we're going to cling to this pompous, outdated, self-important, misrepresented non-science until the only "economics" needed is "How many rocks for that crock of water?" (Answer: "Lots.")

* * *

Okay, so the last exit's coming up here, and we can go talk about how Jeeps are the pinnacle of automotive evolution and gas will be cheap forever, or you can chaw on this:

1) We will spend at least the next century coping with climate change, and we haven't even begun to feel the political, economic and everyday impact of this disaster. Our feeble school of economics, for all the changes it's adapted to, makes certain almost-unstated assumptions about world conditions - that it's more or less a steady-state situation, with X amount of wealth around and X amount of resources, and the game is just to figure out where those X's are going to go. Devise a socioeconomic system that accommodates reality and guides us to 'best choices' etc. when that assumed baseline is kicked to Mars. (No amount of tinkering with corporate tax levels and tariffs and fiat money is going to do it.)

(Oh, interjection I didn't get in above: I don't believe socio/political systems and economics systems can be differentiated outside of a classroom. So solutions have to consider the societal issues in lockstep with the pure economic ones, and keep a sharp eye on those damned politicians while you do it.)

2) Global and national populations are reaching completely unprecedented levels, and any system has to accommodate this reality. That econ theories and practice have tended to scale to a certain point is irrelevant; the signs are clear that we are reaching a cusp in the matter - that point where a certain overpopulation of grassyhoppers suddenly turn into bigger, stronger, more voracious forms and lay waste to an ecosystem; where a certain overcrowding of rats starts battling and eating each other; where a crowd of dimwittus consumerus starts crushing itself because there might not be a Black Friday TV for all of them. We are reaching a crowding and resource-demand level where tinkering with production levels and tariffs won't keep things in balance any longer. Devise a socioeconomic solution that acknowledges and manages this fact instead of treating it as a localized, temporary problem.

3) An entire field of mechanization, automation, robotics and AI has progressively reduced the need for human labor, across the spectrum of jobs. The first inroads into automation of intelligence jobs are already being made; huge tiers of basic desk jobs are about to disappear. It is already clear that there are not "jobs for everyone who wants one," even with the extreme assumptions of "any job for any worker" and any degree of relocation or adaptation. This is the tip of the iceberg. No amount of "job creation" or industry subsidies will fix the problem this time. Devise a socioeconomic system that takes as a baseline assumption that a great majority of people cannot - not "will not" - cannot work to support themselves.

Ready for the punchline?

I believe there is a bright future for individuals, families and the species as a whole if we understand these problems (and their many kittens) and adapt our social, economic and political systems to address this reality instead of burying our heads in the sandbox of Smith, Veblen and Bernanke. But it all hinges on an economic system that fully embraces these changes and takes the lot of the individual as the primary goal.

Otherwise... It'll be 65 of the shiny red rocks for this can of water, bud.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:00 PM
 
1,790 posts, read 414,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingna View Post
Is that what is taught in Econ 101? Well then, I donít feel so bad about choosing Social Psychology of Clothing as my elective. Seems I didnít miss much.

I agree societal movement towards living to consume was partly a steered phenomena. I speculate it is tied to a grander notion of ďa rising tide lifts allĒ in that massive consumerism in a capitalistic economy, in theory, generates trickle-down wealth, on a local and global scale.

In theory. Actually, you can see some of it in previously poverty-stricken, third world countries which have seen marked improvements in basic standards of living for many. Of course, this all comes at a price. Greater wealth disparity, for one, with winners and losers. But also an intangible cost, of the mind and spirit, and perhaps for some, the soul.

Well, thatís my theory. But what so I know. I normally would rather rearrange my sock drawer than discuss economics or business, but your original premise was interesting enough to pull me in.

I do believe big money awaits those who can sell selective memories. Then no one will be triggered, sad, or unhappy. We would all be living in a world of ďeternal sunshine of the spotless mind.Ē
Props to your selective memory business. I'm sure you can capitalize on that - so many people have lasting memories that bother them and inhibit their enjoyment in life.

The problem people have with "Econ 101" is when supply is artificially low, whether through controlled distribution or dishonesty/bluffing. People bid up the price on things like homes trying to live within city limits or certain developments. It devalues your own dollar worse than any inflation has in the past 50 years. The "Free Market" can put your dream home out of reach in as little as 1 year.

If the majority of people begin maxing out Debt-To-Income and Loan-To-Value ratios of their mortgages to get in the highest bid on a home, people trying to be smart with their money and maintain a budget will be left with options that are not very appealing:

1. Keep renting, keep saving (while the prices go up faster than you can save, or you're waiting until the next bust which may not be for another 10 years)
2. Overextend yourself or take the max mortgage available (better hope you have 0 credit card debt and no auto loans)
3. Buy a home smaller than what you need or 1 hour + out from your job to fit the price you planned on

Tech workers, attorneys, consultants, and other professionals whose jobs are concentrated in city centers face this battle in nearly every major city. Since dual-income is now the norm, it's no longer an advantage. Single-income is the disadvantage.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Separated from the main text, this is definitely going on a tangent, but I see the sharing economy (specifically Airbnb) ruining residential areas with limited parking when homeowners rent out one or two rooms to keep up with bills. Uber drivers clog access roads in front of event centers even with a momentary stop to let their passenger out.

To keep my sanity, I see myself hopping down to smaller cities if my current one gets "too big for it's breeches"
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,894 posts, read 1,300,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingna View Post
Is that what is taught in Econ 101?
It's just simplistic and canned, like most 101 classes. The problem is that most people evolve past English 101, and some even learn beyond History 101, but far too many people take the simplistic, tinker-toy, joy-joy nonsense of Econ 101 as gospel and spend the rest of their lives - even as money people of one sort or another - fitting the socioeconomic reality in front of them into those Duplo-block pigeonholes. That it's an arbitrary structure and that there are complete alternatives is... worse than blasphemy to them, it's gibbering nonsense.

Quote:
I agree societal movement towards living to consume was partly a steered phenomena. I speculate it is tied to a grander notion of “a rising tide lifts all” in that massive consumerism in a capitalistic economy, in theory, generates trickle-down wealth, on a local and global scale.
Props for thinking about it (at all, and with some insight) - but I disagree with your continuation. Most notions of trickle-down in an economic system are feel-good nonsense from a Have viewpoint, wishful thinking from an indoctrinated viewpoint (see: those Econ 101 tinkertoys)... and boil down to the cynical, hardcore reality that you have to let the slaves have at least some food to keep them working. At most, whatever trickles down from the top tier of an economy (and isn't biological waste) is mere pump-priming to keep consumers earning and spending.

The current state of gross wealth inequality has never really gone away, and in this cycle (last 100 years or so) was the inevitable result of what we can now nail down as hypercapitalism.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
3,894 posts, read 1,300,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
To keep my sanity, I see myself hopping down to smaller cities if my current one gets "too big for it's breeches"
There's a Thomas Perry novel where the thieves are trying to get away from the crime scene and the protagonist turns from one street to a lesser one several times. "I see the plan now," his partner says, "You're going to keep turning onto smaller and smaller roads until we disappear."

It will not be possible to avoid the coming crises by hiding out in more and more exclusive enclaves - not for any measurable percentage of the population, and not indefinitely.
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