In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby pkcommando » Wed May 02, 2018 4:37 pm UTC

In other news,Play-Doh sucks as a shoplifting aid in more ways than one.

Before anyone brings it up - to be fair, he wouldn't have needed to use gloves if his plan had worked.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Quercus » Wed May 02, 2018 4:44 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You dont solve it. You do what's proven to work, neo-Keynesian economics such as Sweden or Norway.


You may be right, but I'd really like to see other ideas more openly, publicly and seriously explored. The Overton window around economic policy is far too narrow IMO.

Also, I do acknowledge that I really need to learn some economic theory so that I can back up my gut feelings with at least some sort of evidence.

ucim wrote:
Quercus wrote:My initial reaction to this would be to go straight back to the fundamental principle behind this idea: that those that do the work should get the reward.
That's all well and good, but how much work (and when) merits how much reward? Do proxies for work count? (If not, why not? After all, the work was done.) Is some work more valuable than other work? Does cleverness count for anything? Are some goods more valuable than other goods? What if the value of the {work|goods} changes over time?

It is these fundamental questions that make the answers complicated.

Jose


Okay, so initial thoughts: share of ownership is tied to time worked - every full time worker gets the same share of ownership in the organisation they work for, part time workers and contractors get it pro-rata according to their hours, then all the other questions get decided by the board elected by the co-op members. Will lead to a diversity of solutions, which is probably a good thing overall, but any idea unacceptable to a broad enough base of workers is going to get voted down. Basically democratisation of the workplace. This idea probably has fundamental issues too... but hell, I like talking about this stuff I guess, so if you want to shoot me down, go for it - It'll help me learn.

One BIG problem I can see with such a model is that I can't see how a country employing such a socialist system can compete with capitalist economies who wring everything they can get out of their workers for as little as they can get away with. It's the tragedy of the commons on an international scale. If anyone has solutions to that, I'm all ears.

Edit: I figured I should give folks some idea of why I'm arguing for a consideration of radical solutions like these. Basically I believe that the degree of wealth disparity, concentration of power and poverty (i.e. the inability to afford all of good healthcare, secure housing and a decent diet) in most countries (even rich ones) is morally unacceptable. Like way, way beyond what I could ever consider reasonable. This conviction prompts me to look for any better model that we can use. I've yet to be convinced that one doesn't exist, and by and large the only people who have tried to convince me of that (through the media) are the rich and powerful, who have one socking great ulterior motive.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby ucim » Wed May 02, 2018 5:14 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:Okay, so initial thoughts: share of ownership is tied to time worked
It took me five minutes to type in the commands that fixed your problem. It took me seventeen years to learn which commands they were.

How much share of ownership am I entitled to?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 02, 2018 5:32 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:Okay, so initial thoughts: share of ownership is tied to time worked - every full time worker gets the same share of ownership in the organisation they work for, part time workers and contractors get it pro-rata according to their hours, then all the other questions get decided by the board elected by the co-op members. Will lead to a diversity of solutions, which is probably a good thing overall, but any idea unacceptable to a broad enough base of workers is going to get voted down. Basically democratisation of the workplace. This idea probably has fundamental issues too... but hell, I like talking about this stuff I guess, so if you want to shoot me down, go for it - It'll help me learn.


Runs into the issue of loot councils in MMOs. Namely, collaboration. If folks can vote on how valuable things are, then those with influence will attempt to have their tasks seen as more valuable. This doesn't require evil intent, a LOT of people in power have very inflated senses of their own worth. And, even in smaller, informal groups, folks will develop unequal amounts of social capital, with some far more able to affect voting than others. In addition, some folks will outright collaborate to vote up the value of stuff produced by their smaller clique, and vote down the value produced by others.

Also, going too much by time, rather than end productivity, can be a problem in itself, although this remains a common issue in many organizations.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Quercus » Wed May 02, 2018 5:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Quercus wrote:Okay, so initial thoughts: share of ownership is tied to time worked
It took me five minutes to type in the commands that fixed your problem. It took me seventeen years to learn which commands they were.

How much share of ownership am I entitled to?

Jose


Assuming you're a full time worker, the same share as anybody else, from cleaners to the CTO. Shared ownership isn't primarily a reward for work done (I realise that my wording made this very unclear in a previous post), it's a check on the concentration of power*. However, I would hope that you would have a considerably greater monetary reward than someone with less advanced skill-set, and if you didn't would advise you to move to a different organisation that rewards people in a more sensible way.

TL;DR - I'm not saying that all workers should be paid the same, I'm saying that all workers should have an equal share of power within the organisation.

Now I guess the question is... does democracy among workers actually tend to lead to the creation of a functional organisation? I don't know, but I've put it on my list of things to research, and am open to others thoughts.

*I'd be open to the idea of splitting shares into "voting shares" and "profit shares" - it's the voting rights I'm interested in sharing equally among workers, not necessarily the organisation's profits.

Edit: Ninja'd by Tyndmyr:

Tyndmyr wrote:Runs into the issue of loot councils in MMOs. Namely, collaboration. If folks can vote on how valuable things are, then those with influence will attempt to have their tasks seen as more valuable. This doesn't require evil intent, a LOT of people in power have very inflated senses of their own worth. And, even in smaller, informal groups, folks will develop unequal amounts of social capital, with some far more able to affect voting than others. In addition, some folks will outright collaborate to vote up the value of stuff produced by their smaller clique, and vote down the value produced by others.


I think you're right, unfortunately. Thanks for the critique.

That's that idea shot out of the water... On to the next idea for how to stop the rich fucking over everyone else.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Soupspoon » Wed May 02, 2018 6:01 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:In other news,Play-Doh sucks as a shoplifting aid in more ways than one.

Before anyone brings it up - to be fair, he wouldn't have needed to use gloves if his plan had worked.


/waits for someone to now back-engineer his fingerprint from this photo freely shared by the authorities and start dabbing it in historically-incriminating locations…

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Wed May 02, 2018 6:13 pm UTC

Worker cooperatives still use market-based pricing, it's just that they are directly incentivized to maximize gross profits over net profits. I don't know why there is a question of whether they work or could function; they exist today, they function, and they have been shown to be more productive than similar for-profit corporations.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby eran_rathan » Wed May 02, 2018 6:17 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:I think you're right, unfortunately. Thanks for the critique.

That's that idea shot out of the water... On to the next idea for how to stop the rich fucking over everyone else.


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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Wed May 02, 2018 6:53 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:I think you're right, unfortunately. Thanks for the critique.

That's that idea shot out of the water... On to the next idea for how to stop the rich fucking over everyone else.


Please don't abandon your thinking just because you listened to them. They do not put thought into the arguments for socialism, they have simply accepted that the people with wealth and power under the capitalist system deserve that wealth and power and that there is nothing we can do about the injustices of the world, and so they pick out the first argument they can to shoot them down. Ultimately, they have never studied any system outside of capitalism; they have never really researched cooperative ownership, and they have never put thought into the effects that capitalism has on our power structures or the consequences those have on society.

They ultimately distrust democracy - they look at a world where people with massive amounts of wealth and power are influencing education, academia, the media, and government, and then say democracy is the problem; that most people are just too stupid to take care of themselves, and so authoritarian leaders must control the property for the good of the public. Ultimately, this system benefits them, and so they assume that all of the good in the US is because of capitalism and not the fact that the US has basically taken wealth and power through force, while forcing a large portion of the US population into wage slavery. To listen to them is to accept that people are inherently terrible, and that the leaders who manipulate us into being terrible are ultimately making the world a better place.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Quercus » Wed May 02, 2018 7:15 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Quercus wrote:I think you're right, unfortunately. Thanks for the critique.

That's that idea shot out of the water... On to the next idea for how to stop the rich fucking over everyone else.


Please don't abandon your thinking just because you listened to them. They do not put thought into the arguments for socialism, they have simply accepted that the people with wealth and power under the capitalist system deserve that wealth and power and that there is nothing we can do about the injustices of the world, and so they pick out the first argument they can to shoot them down. Ultimately, they have never studied any system outside of capitalism; they have never really researched cooperative ownership, and they have never put thought into the effects that capitalism has on our power structures or the consequences those have on society.

They ultimately distrust democracy - they look at a world where people with massive amounts of wealth and power are influencing education, academia, the media, and government, and then say democracy is the problem; that most people are just too stupid to take care of themselves, and so authoritarian leaders must control the property for the good of the public. Ultimately, this system benefits them, and so they assume that all of the good in the US is because of capitalism and not the fact that the US has basically taken wealth and power through force, while forcing a large portion of the US population into wage slavery. To listen to them is to accept that people are inherently terrible, and that the leaders who manipulate us into being terrible are ultimately making the world a better place.



Thanks for the encouragement! To be clear, I haven't abandoned my general thinking, merely my one specific (very naive) idea for the implementation of cooperative ownership. The concept in general brings so many advantages that it will take me far more than an internet discussion to dissuade me. I should probably study how actual cooperatives work as a first step!

Thesh wrote:they function, and they have been shown to be more productive than similar for-profit corporations.


Cool!

Do you happen to have a source for that statement? (despite how asking for sources is often used on the internet I'm not implying I don't believe you - I'm just genuinely interested in reading more about this).

One question that concerns me - is it possible that the functioning of worker cooperatives depends on their operation in the context of a market dominated by capitalist corporations? That is, what evidence (presumably theoretical or simulation based) do we have that worker cooperatives would still function well if every large business was a worker cooperative?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby ucim » Wed May 02, 2018 7:21 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:They do not put thought into the arguments for socialism
Socialism: the simple answer to complex problems.

Yes, there is inequality. But simply saying socialism (or any other -ism) is "the" answer begs the question, replacing one kind of unfairness with another kind of unfairness. That's what I was pointing out with my "five minutes/seventeen years" question.

Should designing, building, owning, and using a machine that makes {whatever} much more efficient, but as a consequence puts people out of work (or lowers their demand) be encouraged, discouraged, tolerated, banned, or what? This is (one) question that underlies the particular -isms that are being discussed, and absent agreement on that score, agreement on -isms is just (uh...) tribalism.

Jose
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Wed May 02, 2018 7:33 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:Do you happen to have a source for that statement? (despite how asking for sources is often used on the internet I'm not implying I don't believe you - I'm just genuinely interested in reading more about this).


https://www.thenation.com/article/worke ... companies/

Quercus wrote:One question that concerns me - is it possible that the functioning of worker cooperatives depends on their operation in the context of a market dominated by capitalist corporations? That is, what evidence (presumably theoretical or simulation based) do we have that worker cooperatives would still function well if every large business was a worker cooperative?


It's a matter of structure. Most of our businesses are designed to concentrate decision making power in the hands of people at the top. This has some advantages to the owners, and is necessary to coordinate the organization into focusing on a single goal (such as the growth and profits of the business). However, this isn't actually more productive in terms of structure; in general, the management is overhead, and it's only more profitable because by limiting the decision making power they can pay employees less (this limiting of opportunity is where wage slavery comes from). Large businesses generally lead to worse decision making on average (more customers means their customers have more conflicts of interest, and it means that the decision makers are further distanced from them) and less consumer choice, but by taking advantage of the size they can get a better bargaining position on purchasing goods.

However, there is no reason that we need a large business like this. Take a wal-mart for example - you could have each store be completely independently ran, but structured as a franchise. Each store in and of itself is democratically operated by their workers or customers, and those stores collectively own a purchasing cooperative that takes care of all the purchasing and distribution. By allowing employees to self-manage the store without supervisory labor, you have less overhead to begin with, and can have decision-making power in the hands of those who are working most directly with the customers and who are naturally incentivized to do what's best for the community they live in. On top of that, productivity is about those things that increase wages or improve customer satisfaction - the decisions that a for-profit wal-mart would make differently over a decentralized franchise are generally going to be decisions that either result in less pay for workers or less satisfaction for consumers.

ucim wrote:Socialism: the simple answer to complex problems.


I recommend Reagan and Thatcher if you are looking for quotes about socialism by people who don't know what they fuck they are talking about.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Quercus » Wed May 02, 2018 7:47 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Snip

Thanks!

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Zamfir » Wed May 02, 2018 7:55 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Yes, there is inequality. But simply saying socialism (or any other -ism) is "the" answer begs the question, replacing one kind of unfairness with another kind of unfairness. That's what I was pointing out with my "five minutes/seventeen years" question.

I am failing to see how the 17 years question is difficult. You should be paid for 17 years of work, during those 17 years. Then for 5 minutes during the 5 minutes that you type the command, and another 5 minutes the next time.
ucim wrote:Should designing, building, owning, and using a machine that makes {whatever} much more efficient, but as a consequence puts people out of work (or lowers their demand) be encouraged, discouraged, tolerated, banned, or what? This is (one) question that underlies the particular -isms that are being discussed, and absent agreement on that score, agreement on -isms is just (uh...) tribalism.

Again, the high level principle here seems straightforward to me. If, extreme case, the only thing that your machine acomplishes is that some people lose their job and are miserably unemployed, then the machine is fairly useless. It looks useful to someone who no longer has to pay wages, but that's rather limited as POV.

Of course, the picture changes if there are other attractive work offers, or if the unemployment is not miserable. Both should be possible. After all, we have the gains from the productivity-enhancing machines to aid us. If the social order cannot organize such offsets, and can only create gains for some at the detriment of others, then that's a problem. And that would make such potentially worthwhile machinery a lot less useful.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Wed May 02, 2018 8:17 pm UTC

And what if it only took someone else 12 years to learn what ucim learned in 17? Why should they both be paid the same per year when the other guy is more productive?

Even Karl Marx thought more productive workers should be compensated more...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby ucim » Wed May 02, 2018 8:26 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I am failing to see how the 17 years question is difficult. You should be paid for 17 years of work, during those 17 years.
By whom? In those seventeen years I'm studying and experimenting at my own expense. Because of this hard work, I know the commands. My friends spent seventeen years goofing off, also at their own expense. They are the ones that need me to fix their system.

Forgive me if I'd like some payback on the 17 years of work I put in to learn these commands.

As to the machine... it picks apples much faster and better than people can. Apples are cheaper now, and apple pickers are out of work. This has happened. Now they are working on a machine that {does something else} faster and better. Should this be encouraged? Whose responsibility is it to take care of displaced workers? What happens when we're all displaced? Is it perhaps time to throw shoes at the machines?

One way or another, power and influence are going to accumulate. At the present time, it is the data aggregators that are the most dangerous ones in this regard. Facebook, Google, and the like. And the actual power to influence people is going to be ensconced in software, not in people. I don't see socialism (or any -ism) as a solution to this.

And under socialism, who will build rockets to Mars? The concentration of wealth and power is not ipso facto a bad thing. It's what people do with this power that can be problematic.

CorruptUser wrote:And what if it only took someone else 12 years to learn what ucim learned in 17?
That's not possible. I have the best words. Yuge words!

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Wed May 02, 2018 8:31 pm UTC

Your apple picking machine should be encouraged. Putting people out of work is actually a good thing. We just need to get our heads out of our anuses (ani?) and then retrain those people for other jobs. We have a shortage of teachers, of detectives, of nurses, etc. We just need to actually hire people to do those jobs, and if that means taxing the apple picking machine owners then so be it.

In my utopia, virtually all the current jobs will be automated, but rather than have unemployed masses we'd have the economy geared towards megaprojects like space elevators...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Sableagle » Wed May 02, 2018 8:45 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:We have a shortage of teachers, of detectives, of nurses, etc.
Theresa May 'blocking requests' to allow in more overseas doctors for NHS

Downing Street has insisted it stands by the government’s strict immigration regime, after Theresa May was accused of blocking requests to allow more overseas doctors to come to Britain to fill staff shortages in the NHS.

The Evening Standard reported on Tuesday that at least three government departments – including the Home Office – had urged Downing Street to lift visa quotas temporarily. May turned down the requests.

Up to 100 Indian doctors have reportedly had their applications for tier 2 visas turned down. These are offered to skilled workers from outside the EU with a job offer in Britain; but the number available is limited.
The important thing isn't the children waiting for a diagnosis and treatment. The important thing is that Rupert Murdoch's fanclub doesn't want any more Indians moving to Britain. That's what *really* matters ... to a politician wholly owned by Rupert Murdoch.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Wed May 02, 2018 9:02 pm UTC

ucim wrote:And under socialism, who will build rockets to Mars? The concentration of wealth and power is not ipso facto a bad thing. It's what people do with this power that can be problematic.


Whoever benefits from it will work to get it done. At the moment, it wouldn't be a high priority if you ensured greater equality due to all the people starving and stuff today.

Also, I'm not sure what your point is with the 17/5 thing. Most people get paid in wages, and for the most part it is the people who are already in control of the property that get rewarded for the innovations wage earners make. Paying everyone in wages is more equitable anyway, and more fair most of the time. Property ownership simply doesn't pay anyone based on how much they contributed.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Wed May 02, 2018 9:37 pm UTC

Capitalism is very good at allocating capital and labour into projects that make the most money. The government's role should be to ensure that 'making heaps of money' and 'benefiting society as a whole' roughly correlate.

So, 'making a better apple picking machine' is to be encouraged, because everyone benefits from cheaper apples, but 'forming a monopoly on a vital medicine' is to be discouraged, because noone but the owner benefits from price-gouging.

Likewise, it's definitely better to let the market set wages, because the market is much more nimble and efficient than a central government could be, and a flat rate definitely does not encourage or reward self-improvement. But the market's ruthlessness is both its strength and its weakness in humanitarian terms. So there needs to be a backstop of a decent universal income or equivalent.

As others have said, Scandinavian countries (through historical accident as much as anything) have the balance pretty good in this regard.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Wed May 02, 2018 11:36 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Capitalism is very good at allocating capital and labour into projects that make the most money.


Based on what? Most of our public debate around economics centers around how we can change the law or distribution of income in order to incentivize capitalists to create jobs because they are failing to do so. This has been a problem since the beginning, and no amount of additional incentives like patents or copyrights have ever fixed the problem. The problem is ultimately that capitalists seek to create artificial scarcity for the sake of increasing profits and that leaves some people without jobs, or without good jobs as large national chains buy up all the small businesses and we watch as entire towns decay due to a lack of investment and income.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Wed May 02, 2018 11:59 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
elasto wrote:Capitalism is very good at allocating capital and labour into projects that make the most money.


Based on what?


The fact that that's entire fawkin point of capitalism? Money may only be a proxy for value to society, and there's definitely room for improvement, but it's a fairly decent proxy for it.

And while rent seeking is indeed a serious problem in capitalistic societies, if not its most serious problem, it's hardly unique to capitalism and is virtually every other system on earth is even worse in this regard.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 12:15 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Based on what?

Based on the fact that countries with free markets have experienced faster economic growth than countries without them throughout history.

Can you name a counter-example? You might think China but, having lived there, it's basically a libertarian's wet dream: It's so corrupt that if you have money you can buy your way through any amount of supposed red tape.

Most of our public debate around economics centers around how we can change the law or distribution of income in order to incentivize capitalists to create jobs because they are failing to do so.

Capitalism has no problem at all creating jobs. It has problems creating jobs that pay a living wage but that's because the standard of living is so much higher in the West than elsewhere. It's capitalism that is shifting billions out of poverty in the third-world though, not governments or charity.

Government's job here (imo) is to provide free lifelong education and training so that when the so-called 'disruptive technologies' arrive, workers can shift industry.

The problem is ultimately that capitalists seek to create artificial scarcity for the sake of increasing profits

Well, I gave that as a specific example of where governments should intervene. Free markets break down once monopolies arise. That's not a failure of free markets though, that's a failure of good governance.

and we watch as entire towns decay due to a lack of investment and income

The ideal is for labour to be as mobile as capital, and one day when everyone can work from home or telecommute that may occur. I think a universal income is a safer bet though personally.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 12:24 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The fact that that's entire fawkin point of capitalism? Money may only be a proxy for value to society, and there's definitely room for improvement, but it's a fairly decent proxy for it.


But, I mean, it's wrong. The areas with the greatest potential for economic growth are the poorest areas, not just in the US, but worldwide. These are also the areas we are least likely to invest in. The problem is that capitalists make their money off of bargaining power differences, not productive efforts on their part, and at this point we can't create more productive jobs without giving workers more bargaining power, and that comes at the expense of profits. From the perspective of the capitalist, it's better to have an inefficient economy that is controlled centrally by them than an efficient economy that they don't control.

elasto wrote:Based on the fact that countries with free markets have experienced faster economic growth than countries without them throughout history.


We're not comparing free markets to command economies. We are comparing free market socialism to free market capitalism.

elasto wrote:
Most of our public debate around economics centers around how we can change the law or distribution of income in order to incentivize capitalists to create jobs because they are failing to do so.

Capitalism has no problem at all creating jobs. It has problems creating jobs that pay a living wage but that's because the standard of living is so much higher in the West than elsewhere. It's capitalism that is shifting billions out of poverty in the third-world though, not governments or charity.


The world is a capitalist economy. The wealth of the west comes at the expense of the poorest countries, and there is no reason to believe that the poorest countries are coming out of poverty due to capitalism. People have been coming out of poverty throughout the history of civilization, and I'd argue that it's the fact that the countries are industrializing, and not capitalism itself that is responsible.

The question is who is building the infrastructure that allows them to industrialize? Largely, it's the governments that are getting involved, and the capitalists that are taking the credit. But the economies aren't being structured efficiently, they are being structured as low-wage economies that are entirely dependent on exports from Western countries for survival, and they are being limited to jobs with low decision making power that primarily serve to undercut Western labor. They are profitable purely because of a power imbalance, and so for the time being there will be some investment so long as it leads to lower wages overall, but they aren't going to lead to an economy where they can actually compete with Westerners.

And seriously, manufacturing everything half-way across the world because of low wages is not actually more efficient - we are consuming more material and labor resources in the manufacturing and shipping, we just pay less for it.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 12:28 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The fact that that's entire fawkin point of capitalism? Money may only be a proxy for value to society, and there's definitely room for improvement, but it's a fairly decent proxy for it.


But, I mean, it's wrong. The areas with the greatest potential for economic growth are the poorest areas, not just in the US, but worldwide. These are also the areas we are least likely to invest in. The problem is that capitalists make their money off of bargaining power differences, not productive efforts on their part, and at this point we can't create more productive jobs without giving workers more bargaining power, and that comes at the expense of profits. From the perspective of the capitalist, it's better to have an inefficient economy that is controlled centrally by them than an efficient economy that they don't control.


Going to need a big ol' cite on that. I mean, if you are going to claim that we don't invest enough in poor communities in the form of education, etc, I'm going to respond that that's a governance failure, not a failure of capitalism itself. Capitalists have virtually never invested in infrastructure and the like, which is why everyone but the most thickskulled libertarian understands the importance of things like the DoT, DoE, HHS, etc.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 12:38 am UTC

Thesh wrote:We're not comparing free markets to command economies. We are comparing free market socialism to free market capitalism.

You'll have to explain what you mean by 'free market socialism' then.

I have already said I think that, out of all the economies around in the world today, the Scandinavian countries have the economic model I myself most favour. I'd consider them both pretty free market and pretty socialist. But they are definitely still capitalist - as in the vast majority of capital is owned and invested by individuals/companies and not the state.

Can you name an example of a successful 'free market non-capitalist' country then?

The world is a capitalist economy. The wealth of the west comes at the expense of the poorest countries, and there is no reason to believe that the poorest countries are coming out of poverty due to capitalism. People have been coming out of poverty throughout the history of civilization, and I'd argue that it's the fact that the countries are industrializing, and not capitalism itself that is responsible.

Not sure I agree with that. Countries are industrializing for sure, but the money to pay for that is coming from individuals/companies paying taxes, not from government projects turning a profit. Yeah, governments by and large direct large infrastructure projects but that's a good thing, isn't it? It's one of the few things they are the best at both in theory and in practice.

But the economies aren't being structured efficiently, they are being structured as low-wage economies that are entirely dependent on exports from Western countries for survival

I don't think that's particularly fair. The new industries tend to be higher paid and with better working conditions. Yeah, working in a factory in China assembling iPads might suck by Western standards but it's good compared to the alternatives and what was there before. Would you prefer to be harvesting rice in a paddy field 14 hours a day..?

And seriously, manufacturing everything half-way across the world because of low wages is not actually more efficient - we are consuming more material and labor resources in the manufacturing and shipping, we just pay less for it.

You can't on the one hand complain that capitalism is bad because it isn't creating enough jobs and also complain it's creating too many...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Going to need a big ol' cite on that. I mean, if you are going to claim that we don't invest enough in poor communities in the form of education, etc, I'm going to respond that that's a governance failure, not a failure of capitalism itself. Capitalists have virtually never invested in infrastructure and the like, which is why everyone but the most thickskulled libertarian understands the importance of things like the DoT, DoE, HHS, etc.


We don't give poor people a good education, and it's not just a matter of school spending. Rich people could go in right now, today, if they wanted to, start providing people in poor communities with tutoring, child care, and economic opportunities so that their environment would be conducive to learning. They don't, because the rich people do not see it as being in their interest. That is, the things that would actually end poverty and lead to a more productive economy are simply not in the interest of the wealthy. The reason we haven't been able to solve this problem is simply because we cannot get the resources allocated to solve the problem - this is a capitalism problem, and a large part of that is because the economic resources of the community are controlled by people outside the community.

This has been the case throughout history - the rich have never seen it in their interest to educate the poor, and in fact have sabotaged education when they saw it a threat to their power. Capitalists in the US are sabotaging education today, for the same reasons.

elasto wrote:You'll have to explain what you mean by 'free market socialism' then.


This started with a discussion of worker cooperatives vs for-profit corporations. An economy that is just like this one, except every business is ran as a worker cooperative would be a free market socialist economy. It's simply a matter of how the resources are owned, and the incentives that ownership model leads to. Worker economies incentivize workers to maximize hourly wages - which is basically the same as saying it's incentivized to maximize productivity, whereas net profits tend to represent negative aspects of our economy.

For more information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_socialism

For the record, I don't support authoritarian socialism, and don't consider China or the Soviet Union to be socialist. The Zapatistas are a good example of a real group of socialists.

elasto wrote:You can't on the one hand complain that capitalism is bad because it isn't creating enough jobs and also complain it's creating too many...


It's not creating too many - it's that we are replacing more productive jobs with less productive jobs that pay much lower wages, and we are doing so in a way that is less beneficial to that country than if they were working for themselves. The problem is that the people living there are impoverished, so there is no investment that will benefit them until they have money to spend. Ultimately, capitalism results on the economy focusing on investing in things for people with disposable income. So the people in those countries are basically being put in the same position that impoverished people in the US are in - their economic growth is limited purely by their ability to serve others. Basically, it's wage slavery, and it has the economic effects of slavery: the slave owners make money due to the limited opportunity of the slaves, but the slaves are less productive than if they were free and educated and had equal opportunity.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby pogrmman » Thu May 03, 2018 1:08 am UTC

Thesh wrote:But the economies aren't being structured efficiently, they are being structured as low-wage economies that are entirely dependent on exports from Western countries for survival, and they are being limited to jobs with low decision making power that primarily serve to undercut Western labor.

Not to mention turning them into raw-material production economies — lots of the places we think of as developing economies have/have had economies based around the cheap production of raw materials. Various banana republics, the Middle East and oil, central Africa and minerals, Carribean islands and sugarcane, to name a few. Frankly, the level of manipulation and sabotage done to some places to keep them producing cheap raw materials/labor disgusts me.

elasto wrote:You can't on the one hand complain that capitalism is bad because it isn't creating enough jobs and also complain it's creating too many...

It’s not just the jobs that are bad about outsourcing, but the fact that it creates low-wage, exploitative jobs and helps further our destruction of the environment. The fact that big, developed economies work to keep these terrible working conditions in place (eg. the US in Haiti) makes it clear that profit trumps morality.

While I don’t really know where to fall in terms of economics (I just don’t know enough about any system to make an informed choice), to me, morally speaking, capitalism has some major issues.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 1:10 am UTC

Thesh wrote:This has been the case throughout history - the rich have never seen it in their interest to educate the poor, and in fact have sabotaged education when they saw it a threat to their power.


CITATION NEEDED.

Do rich people avoid taxes and defund the public schools? Of course. Do rich religious assholes sabotage science education? No friggin doy. But beyond "I DUN WANNA PAY TAXES, WAAAA!" and "JAYSUS COMMANDERED ME TO BAN EVILUTION", going to need an actual cite for that claim that the rich, due to capitalism, actively sabotage education.

Especially considering that in terms of dollars paid educated people are far more exploited than the uneducated. Consider Walmart. Walmart has 2 million employees, and $10b profit. That's a mere $5k per employee. To those minimum wage grunts, yeah that's a big chunk of change, but do you honestly believe any high tech company makes just $5k per employee? Microsoft is raking in $160k profit per employee, Apple is raking in $400,000 per employee, Intel pulls in a paltry $100k per employee, Nvidia makes $300k per employee, and you can bet your ass they do so while paying their employees a fuckton more than Walmart does.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 1:16 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Do rich people avoid taxes and defund the public schools? Of course. But beyond "I DUN WANNA PAY TAXES, WAAAA!", going to need an actual cite for that claim.


I mean, that's citation enough - THEY DEFUND BECAUSE IT'S NOT IN THEIR INTEREST. That is, their money isn't dependent on the productivity of the United States, but the bargaining power difference between the rich and the poor. The greater the bargaining power difference, the less productive the investments that are made.

CorruptUser wrote:Especially considering that educated people are far more exploited than the uneducated...


What in the fuck?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 1:25 am UTC

Edited my post, but answer above.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 1:39 am UTC

Especially considering that in terms of dollars paid educated people are far more exploited than the uneducated. Consider Walmart. Walmart has 2 million employees, and $10b profit. That's a mere $5k per employee. To those minimum wage grunts, yeah that's a big chunk of change, but do you honestly believe any high tech company makes just $5k per employee? Microsoft is raking in $160k profit per employee, Apple is raking in $400,000 per employee, Intel pulls in a paltry $100k per employee, Nvidia makes $300k per employee, and you can bet your ass they do so while paying their employees a fuckton more than Walmart does.


Those walmarts are taking $5,000 per employee per community, and they are in impoverished communities, both limiting the opportunities of the people there and in a position to raise prices in order to extract any extra disposable income from the community. When it comes to Apple, Intel, and Nvidia, a lot of their money is made off of poor people in third world countries, and Microsoft is unique in that it made its money by using monopoly tactics and make most of their money by overcharging people for software that was mostly developed and paid for long ago (which is exploiting everyone, not just the educated). The problem with Microsoft is largely a problem with copyrights.

And none of this is evidence that uneducated people are exploited less, especially if educated employees are making more.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 1:56 am UTC

I think you are willfully ignoring the obvious. Microsoft and the like make a fuckton more off of their well-paid, educated workforce than Walmart does off of its low paid uneducated workforce. In terms of total amount of exploitation, the tech companies exploit their workers more. In terms of the ratio of profit to wages+profit, again, it's still more.

If I hire a high school flunkout that only makes a total of $20k for the company and pay them $15k, versus hiring an MIT PhD that makes $1m for the company and I pay them $250k, who is being exploited more? In terms of raw amounts, I'm making a fuckton more from the PhD, and even in terms of percentages I'm still making a fuckton more.

This idea that keeping the public at large uneducated is somehow of benefit to the capitalists is so counter to reality that it'd be laughable if people weren't so brainwashed they believed it.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:11 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I think you are willfully ignoring the obvious. Microsoft and the like make a fuckton more off of their well-paid, educated workforce than Walmart does off of its low paid uneducated workforce. In terms of total amount of exploitation, the tech companies exploit their workers more. In terms of the ratio of profit to wages+profit, again, it's still more.


You're arguing that they exploited the workers, I can argue that the workers made a fair wage for their labor but it was the customers who were exploited. Your argument relies on defining and measuring exploitation in a very specific way.

CorruptUser wrote:If I hire a high school flunkout that only makes a total of $20k for the company and pay them $15k, versus hiring an MIT PhD that makes $1m for the company and I pay them $250k, who is being exploited more? In terms of raw amounts, I'm making a fuckton more from the PhD, and even in terms of percentages I'm still making a fuckton more.


The one who has the least opportunity and who is unable to save for retirement is being exploited more.

CorruptUser wrote:This idea that keeping the public at large uneducated is somehow of benefit to the capitalists is so counter to reality that it'd be laughable if people weren't so brainwashed they believed it.


It actually is. Their money comes from having a bargaining power advantage over labor and consumers. If you create a system in which you make the best use of everyone's unique abilities, then by definition you have maximized productivity and will also have an economy where no employee can be replaced without reducing revenue. This means that the labor has all of the bargaining power, and profit margins go to zero. By limiting opportunity to jobs that many people can do (i.e. those that don't require experience or education) you can make more money by paying people less, even if they are less productive, and thus there is no economic benefit to the capitalist for educating the entire population, and if there is no economic benefit to them, then the cost is purely a negative, and so it's in their best interest to leave a portion of the population uneducated.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 2:15 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:If I hire a high school flunkout that only makes a total of $20k for the company and pay them $15k, versus hiring an MIT PhD that makes $1m for the company and I pay them $250k, who is being exploited more? In terms of raw amounts, I'm making a fuckton more from the PhD, and even in terms of percentages I'm still making a fuckton more.


The one who has the least opportunity and who is unable to save for retirement is being exploited more.


No, that schlub simply isn't worth that much to the company. People aren't equally valuable. If the company makes literally no profit off a person, no matter how little the person is paid, there is no exploitation.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:20 am UTC

You are ignoring the conditions that give rise to that, notably that the worker getting paid $15k has less opportunity than the worker who makes $250k.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 2:33 am UTC

You have it upside down. Part of my point is that the capitalist would be making a fuckton more money if that poor schlub had access to better education.

The issue isn't that capitalism "sabotages" education, but rather, that government doesn't fund education enough. Virtually every capitalist economist on Earth thinks government programs such as public education are a good thing. The issue regarding negative and positive externalities is so basic that it's taught in introductory macro economics. It's such a basic that even the asinine "10 principles of economics" talks about it.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:39 am UTC

Based on what? A few cherry picked examples of monopolistic tech companies?

CorruptUser wrote:The issue isn't that capitalism "sabotages" education, but rather, that government doesn't fund education enough. Virtually every capitalist economist on Earth thinks government programs such as public education are a good thing. The issue regarding negative and positive externalities is so basic that it's taught in introductory macro economics. It's such a basic that even the asinine "10 principles of economics" talks about it.


Capitalist economist, sure, but a capitalist makes their money through net profits, and net profits represent the difference in bargaining power between the capitalist and workers as well as the capitalist and consumers, and that bargaining power difference is something that goes up when opportunity is limited for the workers and choice is limited for consumers. No education is not good for the capitalist, but neither is full opportunity. If it was in their interest, then they would be working on improving education.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 2:49 am UTC

Err, how is listing the biggest names in tech without skipping over any inconvenient contradictions "cherry picking"?

My point is that the companies staffed predominantly with highly educated workers are making more money per worker than the ones staffed predominantly by flunkouts.

You know, here, I just googled the list of companies by profit per employee, this was the first thing I found Notice anything in common about those companies? They tend to be companies that have extremely high educated workers.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:57 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Err, how is listing the biggest names in tech without skipping over any inconvenient contradictions "cherry picking"?


Well, picking the biggest names in tech (aka most profitable tech companies) to prove that tech extracts more money per worker is cherry picking.

CorruptUser wrote:My point is that the companies staffed predominantly with highly educated workers are making more money per worker than the ones staffed predominantly by flunkouts.


But you looked for companies that make most of their money off of copyrights, patents, and monopolistic/oligopolistic market positions to say that they are more exploitative of workers, when the source of their profits is a bargaining power difference over consumers.
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