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Old 01-08-2014, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EugeneOnegin View Post
As efficiency continues to increase and fewer and fewer jobs are needed to produce everything we need we'll probably eventually have to go to a system where everyone is provided a minimum income through transfer payments. People can complain about socialism all they want but that will probably be the reality. Either we do that, or we end up with a sharply divided two-class system of workers and peasants with continually weak demand for goods and services because half the population can't afford to buy anything. In the future there shouldn't be a need for everyone to work 40 hours a week anyway. There's really no need for it now but we keep doing it because that's what we did before.

.
Bolded for truth.

Because if we don't do something, it may well be the end of civilization as we know it.

Other possible scenarios:

*Rebellion and rioting against political establishment that would make the Arab Spring look like child's play.

*Genocide on the order of the Cultural Revolution or the Killing fields.

*World War III.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:21 PM
 
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^. Yes. A "free market" is not a benign marketplace.

When only a small percentage of people can afford to live, what else might the result be?
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:45 PM
 
Location: moved
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This has been the perennial debate since the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. What happened to all of those peasants, former serfs and subsistence-farmers? They became factory workers or clerks. What happened to cobblers, coachmen and the various artisans and servants associated with horses as transportation, once steam and internal-combustion supplanted animal-muscle power? Later, what happened to typists and shorthand-note takers?

At every stage, the old vocations become obsolete, with massive dislocation of erstwhile laborers, and generally a concentration of wealth. There is a transfer of wealth, as it were, to the early-adopters. To be sure, it is not merely wealth transfer; the game isn't zero-sum. There is a net increase in wealth owing to the new technology and new ideas. But there is also upward wealth transfer.

But at every stage, there eventually comes a return to equilibrium and a broadening of the gains. Mill workers in England in 1830 quite possibly lived worse than their grandparents - the subsistence farmers of 1780. But fast forward another 30-40 years, and I think that standard of living would be found to not only rise from its nadir of ~1830, but to rise well above the earlier point of 1780. The net trend is positive, even if it's superimposed on large waves, with very strong troughs.

Extrapolating these historical trends to the near future, one is tempted to surmise that our new gilded age is not permanent, but will see a return to equilibrium in the decades to come. Experience points in that direction. But the countervailing argument is that extrapolation is dangerous, even with strong historical precedent. Perhaps, on the contrary, the mid 20th century really was an isolated and inimitable "golden age" of shared prosperity, where technology was advanced just enough, and automation pervasive just enough, that the plurality of people could find rewarding and remunerative work... but that technology wasn't so advanced, that workers could be obviated altogether. Machines replaced muscle-power, greatly opening up access to work. But they did not replace brain-power. Perhaps when we go through the modern equivalent of replacing horses and carriages with cars, the coachmen and cobblers won't be replaced by drivers and mechanics. Perhaps this time really IS different.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:06 PM
 
Location: NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post

Perhaps, on the contrary, the mid 20th century really was an isolated and inimitable "golden age" of shared prosperity, where technology was advanced just enough, and automation pervasive just enough, that the plurality of people could find rewarding and remunerative work... but that technology wasn't so advanced, that workers could be obviated altogether. .

With our competitors in ruins, and needing a few decades back than to truly rebuild as they needed infrastructure first, the mid 20th century is one we should avoid analyzing, unless we wish to admit we cannot separate the affect the total lack of competition had on us.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:21 PM
 
7,280 posts, read 10,426,335 times
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As we all know, our economy is consumer driven and consumer supported. There are fewer and fewer consumers available to buy things. The answer put forth by the current government is "promise zones". Promise what in exchange for what?

Every time this country faces an economic problem, the answer seems to be give someone something for nothing. At some point there is nothing to take from those still working to give to those with their hands out. The in line solution is to tax the wealthy.

Just for the tax the rich people, if we taxed the "rich" at a 100% rate, we'd burn though that money is short order and then what? Pray those rich people earn more? Keep dreaming.

Already, smartphones are being sold by carriers through payment plans because they need to keep selling more and more of them. 3D printers aren't the panacea some think they are. Not everything can be made of plastic and even if other materials are available, objects able to be 3D printed can't account for most products bought.

The growth of new jobs is dismal to the point there really isn't any forward movement. We aren't a decade away from a significant event that affects the entire country from an economic perspective, it is perhaps a year or two at most. Some will say that is doom and gloom foresight but they are the same ones that think government solves all problems and creates none, taxes help government help the needy and distributing wealth is better than spreading the incentive that enables others to build futures.

As some point, many will look at their "smart" technology and wonder how stupid they were to think any transition from one industrial base to another in the past is the same as what is happening now.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:07 PM
 
Location: moved
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
As we all know, our economy is consumer driven and consumer supported.
This is true. But it immediately begs the question: why is our economy so consumer-driven? Why don't other sectors of our economy, or other means of economic activity, not pick up the slack?

To partially answer my own question... with another question: Germany, China, and the "tiger" nations of Asia are renowned for their export-driven economies. The US, however, never really built an export-driven economy, with the notable exception of the wartime economy in WWII. Why is this so? Why, back in those glorious days when the US was a mighty industrial powerhouse, was American industry so heavily reliant on American domestic consumer activity?
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:06 PM
 
17,443 posts, read 7,151,036 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
This is true. But it immediately begs the question: why is our economy so consumer-driven? Why don't other sectors of our economy, or other means of economic activity, not pick up the slack?

To partially answer my own question... with another question: Germany, China, and the "tiger" nations of Asia are renowned for their export-driven economies. The US, however, never really built an export-driven economy, with the notable exception of the wartime economy in WWII. Why is this so? Why, back in those glorious days when the US was a mighty industrial powerhouse, was American industry so heavily reliant on American domestic consumer activity?
Because this is the natural evolution of successful countries and societies. China is at the start of adjusting their country, economy and society to be more consumer oriented, with less big infrastructure, manufacturing and exports.

Avoiding the Fall: China's Economic Restructuring: Michael Pettis: 9780870034077: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:05 PM
 
Location: NJ
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J.J. Rosen: Internet's next phase is limitless | The Tennessean | tennessean.com

Super article! This would greatly enhance work-life balance, as the time-savings of getting started thinking about the next item on your to do list would be extraordinary.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Waiting for a streetcar
1,137 posts, read 1,328,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
This is true. But it immediately begs the question: why is our economy so consumer-driven? Why don't other sectors of our economy, or other means of economic activity, not pick up the slack?
Let's be clear that the only other "sectors" in this GDP universe are gross private domestic investment, government consumption and investment, and net exports. This is because GDP is an accounting of things by disposition. All of the by origin things like mining and manufacturing and transportation are on the other side of the accounts -- they are part of national income, not national product. Much confusion results from failure to understand this simple basic fact.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Waiting for a streetcar
1,137 posts, read 1,328,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
To partially answer my own question... with another question: Germany, China, and the "tiger" nations of Asia are renowned for their export-driven economies.
This is why Germany and China get called on the carpet at G-20 meetings. Export-driven growth is the province of developing, not developed, economies. It is a means for helping to build and support a vaiable middle class, a key component in the foundation of any successful economy. The big fish should all be running the trade deficits that make developmental trade surpluses possible. But the Chinese and Germans are cheating. They will need to cut that out.
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