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Old 08-22-2011, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Southwest Nebraska
1,297 posts, read 4,336,225 times
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Some are standing on top of high buildings and bridges thinking about the easy way out.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
You are speaking as if the standard of living is the same today as it was 50 years ago, but its not. People made due with much less 50 years ago than they do today.

Today a single income family can have a better standard of living than they would 50 years ago, so it doesn't "take" two incomes instead people decide they want more. They want a bigger home, they want two cars, they want more toys for their kids, they want more expensive vacations, etc.
Exactly. They want toys. Is that your definition of "standard of living"? It is the toys that have gone up in price, not the essentials of living. Toys are our drugs, that we're addicted to, and Big Brother is the pusher. There are no methadone clinics for Toys, you have to go cold turkey.

People made do 50 years ago with everything they needed to think they had a good and comfortable life. Now, they just have more toys. What do you have that is better than what your grandparents had, besides better toys? And at least half the present work force is engaged in providing you with goods and services that are mere entertainments and amusements.

In 1950, my family had a radio, a box camera, a 78-rpm phonograph, a Monopoly board and some jigsaw puzzles. My dad, an unskilled, uneducated factory worker, made enough money in one hour to pay for four movie tickets, a paperback novel, a gallon of gas, a chocolate malt, and a pack of cigarettes. Today that would be $50 an hour.

What makes your "standard of living" so much better than that, that it is worth every adult member of the family slaving away at a job their whole life?

Last edited by jtur88; 08-22-2011 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Here.
15,454 posts, read 14,020,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
But what do they do in offices? People in offices used to sit at high desks with rubber bands around their sleeves, writing things with pens dipped into inkwells. What takes all their "highly skilled" time now? Machine shops? Every part of every machine used to be made by hand, in America. How many people now work in machine shops? What do licensed residential services do? Cut grass? It takes ten minutes now to cut a lawn with a 6-foot wide mower with an airplane engine running it. Did you ever mow a lawn with a push mower with a cylindrical blade? "Highly skilled"?
I said "higher" skilled, not "highly" skilled. A better distinction would have been for me to say that many low income jobs have been exported while middle income jobs remain. I think the exporting of low wage manufacturing jobs is the main cause of our high employment rate. If all the "Toys" that we import we made here instead, we would not only have full employment, but would also have a more favorable acceptance of immigration (similar to late 1800s, early 1900s).

I agree with your other point about the changing definition of standard of living. I live quite simply myself and chuckle when I hear people with a lot of toys and making good wages, yet complaining that they are broke.

Some people measure Standard of Living by what they own (or semi-own in the case of a mortgaged home, leased car, etc.) and will work themselves to death to achieve it. I measure Standard of Living by how much I am able to enjoy the simpler pleasures of life.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: MN
378 posts, read 638,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
You are speaking as if the standard of living is the same today as it was 50 years ago, but its not. People made due with much less 50 years ago than they do today.

Today a single income family can have a better standard of living than they would 50 years ago, so it doesn't "take" two incomes instead people decide they want more. They want a bigger home, they want two cars, they want more toys for their kids, they want more expensive vacations, etc.
I agree, and this is maybe the biggest problem. This increase in the standard of living hasn't made people happier.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:46 AM
 
8,265 posts, read 11,196,577 times
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Main exceptions are probably cost of healthcare and a college education. But healthcare could probably be framed in same light, there are certainly machines, medicines, and techniques used to diagnose and treat illnesses that weren't around 50 years ago.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:55 AM
 
8,265 posts, read 11,196,577 times
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Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
I think the exporting of low wage manufacturing jobs is the main cause of our high employment rate.
Manufacturing employment peaked in the 1970s, but we've had almost full employment as recently as 2007. Surely the exodus of low wage manufacturing jobs was happening way before 2007. Conversely in the early 80s unemployment was over 10%, when there still were far more low wage manufacturing jobs in America.

I think if you look at cycles of unemployment they align more closely with economic recession than correlation with the constantly changing face of career opportunities.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Here.
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Another answer to your question "where do people work?": The government. For example, in Detroit, 44.5% of the workers are government employees.

Detroit: 49 Years Of The Liberal Agenda | motorcitytimes.com
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Here.
15,454 posts, read 14,020,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
Manufacturing employment peaked in the 1970s, but we've had almost full employment as recently as 2007. Surely the exodus of low wage manufacturing jobs was happening way before 2007. Conversely in the early 80s unemployment was over 10%, when there still were far more low wage manufacturing jobs in America.

I think if you look at cycles of unemployment they align more closely with economic recession than correlation with the constantly changing face of career opportunities.
That is true. I'll stand corrected on that. I should have said that the "the exporting of low wage manufacturing jobs is the main cause of our high employment rate among low wage American workers."
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:12 AM
 
9,856 posts, read 14,046,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
Bingo.

You take a middle-class American family today, get rid of expenses for internet, cell/smart phone, cable/sat TV, netflix, give them one simple car, a smaller house, eating out becomes the rare exception, no buying computers, no video game console and the $60/pop games for it, etc. they'd make it on a single income just like people did in the 50s and 60s.
Exactly. The size of the average home for a family of four was 960sqft in 1950, it is 2400sqft today. The average family had one car in 1960, where the average family has over 2 cars today. A 2-3 week vacation every year is NORMAL today for the middle class.

Why do we need two people working today? Because the middle class is living such a wealthy lifestyle.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 78,418,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
I think the exporting of low wage manufacturing jobs is the main cause of our high employment rate..
We don't have a "high unemployment rate". It is a couple of points above what would be considered a normal unemployment rate in any economically fluid society. Out of every 100 people who think they need or want a job, the number who don't have a job is 3 or 4 more than the number who would, in normal times, not have a job.

The unemployment "problem" in America is all the people who have gone into debt to buy toys, and now, forced to pay for them, place too much demand on capital to pay them to perform some mindless and useless task.

And there it is in a nutshell. We have borrowed the future jobs, and squandered them. Capital will not create jobs, because the wages paid for those jobs will not be spent buying goods and services, but only paying creditors for goods and services already bought. Everyone has already bought a widget on credit, and now must pay for it, but the widget company sees no purpose in making any more, so will not hire widget makers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Another answer to your question "where do people work?": The government. For example, in Detroit, 44.5% of the workers are government employees.
Yes, mostly working in schools and health care and law enforcement and justice and civic infrastructure, doing jobs that would not be done at all if it were left to capital to find a way to do it for a profit. Imagine where you would be without your public sector performing nearly all the work that needs to be done. Detroit is a perfect example of a failed capitalism. Failed with a thud.

Last edited by jtur88; 08-22-2011 at 11:49 AM..
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