Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store for:

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:28 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:1) No one is saying the entire economy will collapse, just the big box stores, hurting the people who use or work at them.


You realise that there's no shortage of budget big box stores in other countries right?Even countries with a living wage?

Wages are not their whole expense. Raise the minimum wage 10% and you're not going to raise prices 10% or even 9%. they'd go up 2 or 3% becuase there's still production, material and capital costs.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:11 pm UTC

The production also depends on cheap labor, so those costs will rise as well. As for other countries with the living wage, I never said that raising the minimum wage eliminates big box stores, only that it makes them more expensive and/or slightly less omnipresent.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:08 pm UTC

It's possible that increasing minimum wage would increase Wal-Mart's competitive advantage. Big stores can carry a lot of product with relatively few employees. Wal-Mart may need 1/2 an employee to run the toy section, while a small toy shop needs 1. If minimum wage rises from 16k to 20k annually, Wal-Mart only has to cover $2k with additional revenue, while the toy shop has to cover $4k.

So really minimum wage increases are going to hurt businesses who have a low sales-to-employee ratio the worst. Wal-Mart should be lobbying for this.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Darryl » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:18 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:It's possible that increasing minimum wage would increase Wal-Mart's competitive advantage. Big stores can carry a lot of product with relatively few employees. Wal-Mart may need 1/2 an employee to run the toy section, while a small toy shop needs 1. If minimum wage rises from 16k to 20k annually, Wal-Mart only has to cover $2k with additional revenue, while the toy shop has to cover $4k.

So really minimum wage increases are going to hurt businesses who have a low sales-to-employee ratio the worst. Wal-Mart should be lobbying for this.

Except a lot of small businesses already offer higher than minimum, and even benefits, so the increases still aren't the same.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby alexh123456789 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:59 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:1) No one is saying the entire economy will collapse, just the big box stores, hurting the people who use or work at them.


You realise that there's no shortage of budget big box stores in other countries right?Even countries with a living wage?

Wages are not their whole expense. Raise the minimum wage 10% and you're not going to raise prices 10% or even 9%. they'd go up 2 or 3% becuase there's still production, material and capital costs.


Ok let's assume prices only raise 2%, so the cost increase wouldn't be too severe. What do we do with all the people who are now unemployed because they produced some amount of wealth between the old minimum wage and 10% above the old minimum wage? The economy isn't great and people jump at a chance to work at Walmart, so it's unlikely they'll find other jobs they're qualified for, so the government is just going to end up supporting them.

Let's look at the cost to the government: Let's say current the Walmart wage pays 90% of a living wage (however much that is), that means the government is paying for 10% of the expenses for the employees. For the government to save money, less than 10% of the employees can be fired (they're now paying all the costs for 10% of the employees, so it's the same cost as they had before). I have no idea what percentage of Walmart employees are barely contributing enough to cover their wages, but I wouldn't be too surprised if more than 10% were fired, and this is not even mentioning the massive costs that even a minor increase in Walmart prices would put on the poor (3% sounds small, but when that 3% is for a good portion of food bought it becomes pretty substantial).

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:49 am UTC

alexh123456789 wrote: I have no idea what percentage of Walmart employees are barely contributing enough to cover their wages, but I wouldn't be too surprised if more than 10% were fired, and this is not even mentioning the massive costs that even a minor increase in Walmart prices would put on the poor (3% sounds small, but when that 3% is for a good portion of food bought it becomes pretty substantial).

I'd be very surprised if so many don't indirectly or directly generate even their own wages in revenue. again. america isn't the only country out there and there's lots of countries with a higher minimum wage where things have turned out pretty well.

understand: the fight for a living wage has been fought before in many places. there's always predictions of dire outcomes, that buisness owners will have to lay huge numbers off... but then it just doesn't happen and everyone ends up better off.

there's more than one side to the issue. when people get paid so crap that people working 3 jobs to make ends meet is something that actually happens then you add ineffeciencies to the economy as people get sick more, suffer more breakdowns or similar. You break people and while by some measures people are cheap and replaceable the cost of getting a human being from age 1 to the point where they work a useful job at all is huge.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

All this talk of producing value and producing wealth assumes that the only thing a human being can contribute to society is pure economic production. That assumption is horseshit.

There are people whose job it is (meaning they are paid money to do this specific thing) to assist those who are for whatever reason incapable of performing routine daily tasks on their own: Link.
This is a JOB. People are paid money for this. And yet NOTHING is actively produced. If anything, an argument could be made that such jobs are a drain on economic productivity because not only is the caregiver not producing, they're assisting someone incapable of producing so that they can live and consume.
That argument could be made if you're a complete and utter asshole who views human beings as nothing more labor units from whom labor extraction must be maximized to the utmost efficiency toward the ends of economic production. But we live, at least ostensibly, in a society that values human life as more than merely such a means. To see calls for living wages, adequate health care, and the provision of an actually humane lower bar to the quality of a human life, and to respond by arguing that if we paid people more that some of them then wouldn't be WORTH what they produced - to respond this way is to act as if humans are a means to the end of an efficient economic system, when in fact an economic system is a means to the end of greater human wealth, achievement, and happiness. If we're going to treat the quality of a human life as something that we can disregard entirely if it means we can extract labor from someone more efficiently, why don't we just bring back institutionalized slavery?
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Dark567 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:29 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
alexh123456789 wrote: I have no idea what percentage of Walmart employees are barely contributing enough to cover their wages, but I wouldn't be too surprised if more than 10% were fired, and this is not even mentioning the massive costs that even a minor increase in Walmart prices would put on the poor (3% sounds small, but when that 3% is for a good portion of food bought it becomes pretty substantial).

I'd be very surprised if so many don't indirectly or directly generate even their own wages in revenue. again. america isn't the only country out there and there's lots of countries with a higher minimum wage where things have turned out pretty well.
Yeah, but not as well as the US( at least by most economic measures). People seem to forget that the US has one of the highest median standards of living in the world, especially for a large country.

PM: Most economic measures count caregiving as economic production.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:40 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:This is a JOB. People are paid money for this. And yet NOTHING is actively produced.


Except services.

By that measure every teacher, every doctor, every lawyer wouldn't be producing anything.

If you use an overly simplistic or strawman definition of producing value then of course you can declare it meaningless.

So that's not what anyone but you is talking about.

And their argument wasn't that people shouldn't get anything at all, merely that you personally have no duty to employ someone to do things you don't need done or which are worth less than you have to pay them. You in the singular sense, not "you" as in society. if you don't want your house cleaned or it isn't worth the cost of having someone do it you don't have to hire someone to clean it .

If you devote your life to caring for the sick and making other peoples lives better then you've added tangible value and made other peoples lives better. "Value" is just a measure of producing things which other people want. Including services.

people are not implying that if you don't spend your time building a car or making a pair of socks that you've produced no value.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:52 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:


As a pseudo-utilitarian, I understand what you are saying. However, the real benefit for taking care of the disabled/infirm/elderly is the one for the healthy; not much is as stressful as living in a world where a single accident, missed paycheck, or disease means your entire family is thrown to the streets.

But my utilitarian view is a bit weirder than most; people don't deserve X just for existing. Basically it boils down to 'is everyone else as a total better off that this person exists?'. So a person that harms everyone else less than his/her own benefit is NOT a net positive for society. It gets complicated, because while some people may be drains on society, the act of removing them may be more costly in terms of (justifiable) paranoia.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:39 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But my utilitarian view is a bit weirder than most; people don't deserve X just for existing. Basically it boils down to 'is everyone else as a total better off that this person exists?'. So a person that harms everyone else less than his/her own benefit is NOT a net positive for society. It gets complicated, because while some people may be drains on society, the act of removing them may be more costly in terms of (justifiable) paranoia.

Even if we agreed that you were a qualified judge of individual societal impact, people are variables, not constants. No one goes through this life positively impacting society from day 1. Plenty of folks slog through life until age 40, then turn over a new leaf and have a major lasting impact. So killing off people you deem to be net negatives at 35, or 55, or 75, could be premature. So your metric is useless.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:55 pm UTC

And at age 40, the person could create some kind of cult that murders millions.

Anyway, we already HAVE things like this; a judge looks at a murderer and decides that society is probably better off with that person in prison for life. Here's some nightmare fodder for you; juries often decide innocence and guilt by that metric rather than actual evidence. That murderer could've changed his ways, could've developed a treatment to eliminate cancers, but he's in prison. Or he could've continued murdering, we don't know for certain. Would you say we shouldn't jail criminals because they might've done something better outside of prison? Younger patients get priority for transplants because it will probably do more benefit to save their lives than that of the old codger, but we don't know for certain if the old guy wouldn't do more in 5 years than the teenager would do in 50.

Since you can never know for certain, you estimate. Estimates are almost always wrong on the individual, but in aggregate they tend to be fairly accurate.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:There are people whose job it is (meaning they are paid money to do this specific thing) to assist those who are for whatever reason incapable of performing routine daily tasks on their own: Link.
This is a JOB. People are paid money for this. And yet NOTHING is actively produced.

If you don't count the provision of a service as production, sure. But generally economists do, which is why we don't think that opera singers or chimney-sweepers are drains on the economy.

CorruptUser: I don't think anyone here (or very many people anywhere) shares your idiosyncratic ethical theory, and I doubt anyone is likely to start caring about your conclusions if you don't explain why they're correct.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:44 pm UTC

It goes back to the abhorrent conclusion, where the overpopulated dystopian hellhole is morally superior to the modestly populated utopia, so long as the sum total of the dystopian utility is greater. When adding people to the utopia, the utopia should have the right to say 'does adding this single person benefit everyone else, or at least is neutral?'. If not, then ze doesn't get to enter. Otherwise the result is slowly turning the utopia into the dystopia. This can be applied to immigration; if the potential migrant adds a net value to the society ze's trying to enter, then it'd be immoral not to let hem in. But if the rest of the country suffers, even if the person immigrating gains more than everyone else loses, then it's no longer in that society's interest to let hem in.

Immigrants do usually benefit society. Sure, some will suffer as they face competition for work (which is why unions tended to be violently anti-immigration), but others gain from cheaper and more qualified labor (the best and brightest are typically the first to emigrate), so the total is a societal gain.

But what is a detriment, and what is a gain? Most people want to convince themselves that 'it couldn't happen here', or if it does, 'some place will take me'. So if some country is in the middle of a series of genocides, it's a benefit to society to know that there is some 'safety' in the world, even if the person is otherwise a detriment. So too with caring for the poor or elderly or crippled; the knowledge that if you suffer some kind of calamity that you won't be fed to the wolves is worth quite a bit, so taking care of the weak IS a benefit to society, even if as a sum total the society would be better off without that infirm person.


Does that explain enough?

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Dark567 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:14 pm UTC

I think you're looking for the "repugnant conclusion".
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:28 pm UTC

Yeah, possibly; on a phone so I can't really copy links that well, so wasn't able to bring in the wiki magic.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby alexh123456789 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:02 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:All this talk of producing value and producing wealth assumes that the only thing a human being can contribute to society is pure economic production. That assumption is horseshit.?

There are people whose job it is (meaning they are paid money to do this specific thing) to assist those who are for whatever reason incapable of performing routine daily tasks on their own: Link.
This is a JOB. People are paid money for this. And yet NOTHING is actively produced. If anything, an argument could be made that such jobs are a drain on economic productivity because not only is the caregiver not producing, they're assisting someone incapable of producing so that they can live and consume.
That argument could be made if you're a complete and utter asshole who views human beings as nothing more labor units from whom labor extraction must be maximized to the utmost efficiency toward the ends of economic production. But we live, at least ostensibly, in a society that values human life as more than merely such a means. To see calls for living wages, adequate health care, and the provision of an actually humane lower bar to the quality of a human life, and to respond by arguing that if we paid people more that some of them then wouldn't be WORTH what they produced - to respond this way is to act as if humans are a means to the end of an efficient economic system, when in fact an economic system is a means to the end of greater human wealth, achievement, and happiness. If we're going to treat the quality of a human life as something that we can disregard entirely if it means we can extract labor from someone more efficiently, why don't we just bring back institutionalized slavery?


Sure, but if we define productivity by how much somebody values your work, measured in how much they'd be willing to pay you to do it, it becomes clear that if you aren't producing more than you're paid then a for-profit company isn't going to hire you. This is entirely separate from questions about what standard of living the government should supply for everyone. I'm just saying that Walmart shouldn't be responsible for their employees well being: they should just do the best they can under the rules the government establishes and let the government worry about what the acceptable minimum standard of living is.

I'm not trying to lower the quality of human life or to pretend the goal of humans is economic efficiency, I'm just saying that Walmart has a duty to be as efficient as possible, and this includes not hiring people who can't pull their own weight. It isn't a value judgement on the worth of these people, just an economic reality, and it's perfectly compatible with the belief that humans should all have a high standard of living, a belief I share with you.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Anyway, we already HAVE things like this; a judge looks at a murderer and decides that society is probably better off with that person in prison for life. Here's some nightmare fodder for you; juries often decide innocence and guilt by that metric rather than actual evidence. That murderer could've changed his ways, could've developed a treatment to eliminate cancers, but he's in prison. Or he could've continued murdering, we don't know for certain. Would you say we shouldn't jail criminals because they might've done something better outside of prison? Younger patients get priority for transplants because it will probably do more benefit to save their lives than that of the old codger, but we don't know for certain if the old guy wouldn't do more in 5 years than the teenager would do in 50.
No, this doesn't follow at all. First of all, not everyone is subject to criminal justice, only alleged criminals arrested upon reasonable suspicion. We don't just round up homeless people and jail them for not meeting minimum salary requirements. Secondly, people in the criminal justice system are judged based on guilt or innocence, not by societal benefit. We don't exempt millionaires from jailtime because they are productive. Finally the basis of your question strikes at the root of criminal justice theory. While it may be possible to view jailing others as a benefit to society, despite the extremely high cost, the purpose of criminal justice can also be retributive or reformative. So really judging people by societal benefit (A) is impossible to judge based on the variable nature of humans and (B) has nothing to do with criminal justice.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:00 pm UTC

Ideally, criminal and civil trials are decided entirely on evidence. But show me one lawyer or judge with significant experience that insists that that's the way trials actually work. Why do you think minorities couldn't get a fair trial for most of the US's history; what, the juries were stocked exclusively with idiots, or did they take a look at the defendant and say 'I'd feel safer without the person on the street'? Why do you think many minorities still have trouble getting fair trials? My family has several attorneys, and most of the cases they have (granted, civil) are often decided based on what the jury thinks of the plaintiff and defendant rather than the evidence.

I'm not saying it's right -indeed it's incredibly flawed for the legal system to do that- but it's how it is. I never said that any individual ever would have the capability to determine the expected value of another person; utilitarianism is tricky for Exactly that reason. But if you can determine the expected value of a person, you can use that as a metric for morality. That's what utilitarianism does; assumes actions and people have measurable values. I just measure a person's worth by hes impact on the world around hem.

And anyway, the homeless aren't a drain on the homed (homeful?) simply for existing; it's only when they actively harm others that they are arrested.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:20 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:That's what utilitarianism does; assumes actions and people have measurable values. I just measure a person's worth by hes impact on the world around hem.
Which would work if you were omniscient and omnipresent (I contend that you are in fact, neither of those things). Not only that, you're also PROJECTING each person's future actions. Which is impossible.
CorruptUser wrote:And anyway, the homeless aren't a drain on the homed (homeful?) simply for existing; it's only when they actively harm others that they are arrested.
That's the system now. Under your system they would be killed for consuming without producing, and thus being a net drain on society. Not cool.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:54 pm UTC

Not really; they are using trash, which would otherwise have gone to waste. Or trading in cans for cash for food. Or working a shit job that doesn't pay enough for rent (you'd be surprised how many homeless people actually DO work). Or so on.

My little pipe dream wouldn't have the homeless round up and turned into dogfood, just that they wouldn't necessarily be given social services. If the social services turned the homeless into productive members of society, great, it's a worthwhile investment. If the social services let people sponge off the system as welfare nobility (that term existed before Reagan was born), then that's not so great. If we want to have some sort of social safety net so that there is a bottom for how far you can fall, fine, it's a benefit. The main point is that as a society, we have the right to reject immigrants that don't benefit the rest of us as a society, that the playboy millionaire who spends his parents' fortune is not a good person, that the guy who makes a fortune by doing things that make the rest of society miserable (e.g., telemarketing) is not truly providing a service, and so on. It's not 'KILL THE POOR!'.

As for projecting people's actions, I most certainly can do that. In fact, being an actuary, that's my job.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:23 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:It's possible that increasing minimum wage would increase Wal-Mart's competitive advantage. Big stores can carry a lot of product with relatively few employees. Wal-Mart may need 1/2 an employee to run the toy section, while a small toy shop needs 1. If minimum wage rises from 16k to 20k annually, Wal-Mart only has to cover $2k with additional revenue, while the toy shop has to cover $4k.

So really minimum wage increases are going to hurt businesses who have a low sales-to-employee ratio the worst. Wal-Mart should be lobbying for this.


This is true. Increasing labor costs hits everyone, and often small companies are the most vulnerable to cost increases.

Yes, some areas are above minimum wage(and that tends to be pretty universal. For instance, here in central MD, minimum wage isn't really a thing), and there, boosting minimum wage will have very little effect. It's the areas that are already bad off that will take the hit if it gets raised. Small business retailers do not typically offer great wages or benefit packages in low income areas.

Princess Marzipan wrote:All this talk of producing value and producing wealth assumes that the only thing a human being can contribute to society is pure economic production. That assumption is horseshit.

There are people whose job it is (meaning they are paid money to do this specific thing) to assist those who are for whatever reason incapable of performing routine daily tasks on their own: Link.
This is a JOB. People are paid money for this. And yet NOTHING is actively produced


I'm afraid you're wrong. Services are considered a productive economic activity. Economic production is vast, and does not apply merely to physical goods. In fact, services are a huge portion of the economy in post-industrial nations. And why not? Is the record that plays music for you valuable, but the live musician playing the exact same music not? No, services have to be counted as productive(as indeed all mainstream economic philosophies do).

As for CorruptUser's philosophies...I'd say that money is exactly how we try to value people's contributions to society right now(or at least, it's the main way we try to do so). It's imperfect, but it's a useful thing. We probably can't get a better way to judge people without money because, frankly, judging other people is really, really hard to do accurately.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:54 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:As for CorruptUser's philosophies...I'd say that money is exactly how we try to value people's contributions to society right now(or at least, it's the main way we try to do so). It's imperfect, but it's a useful thing. We probably can't get a better way to judge people without money because, frankly, judging other people is really, really hard to do accurately.
Oh it's certainly how we TRY, but we really need to stop acting as if this measurement is even remotely accurate. Does a baseball player really contribute more to society during a year than a high school teacher? It depends on the baseball player and depends on the teacher, but many baseball players earn more than a million a year and few high school teachers earn more than 50,000, and I don't think in general that a baseball player contributes as much to society in a year than twenty high school teachers.

I seem to have accidentally made a point that caregiving is not a profession I believe provides value; the opposite is in fact the case. In all this discussion of what employees are worth, it occurred to me that if we have a caregiver being paid to care for a mentally challenged person so that person can hold a menial job, there are redundancies (wastes) in place IF one looks purely at production output. My point was exactly that using such a metric requires a certain amount of tunnel vision, focused on such output. People who work at Wal-Marts are more than the distance per hour they push carts, the customers per hour they ring up, or the units per hour they shelve and stock.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

The baseball player provides entertainment, which has some value. While providing education requires over a million teachers, you only need a couple hundred baseball players to provide entertainment. Each baseball player/team can entertain millions at a time, while a teacher may be able to teach 25.

Back in the days before movies, play actors were in demand, but there was a whole lot more of them. Most were terrible, the pay wasn't the best, but people went to see them because they didn't have movies or TV or phonographs, etc. Now, a movie can be shown to millions of people, without the need for tens of thousands of actors. Now a handful of actors can do the job of tens of thousands, there is absolutely no demand for terrible actors, so the elite few can command a premium. If teaching could be done the same way, the elite teachers would be able to teach millions (think Bill Nye) and make small fortunes while the rest are out of luck.

Oh I'll agree that our priorities are screwed up, we don't invest in teachers enough, education in some areas is terrible, etc. But keep it in perspective when comparing salaries.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

That is no justification for the existence of baseball players who make more in one year than most teachers will make across their entire careers.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby folkhero » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:59 pm UTC

The median high school teacher income is over $50,000.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:19 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:That is no justification for the existence of baseball players who make more in one year than most teachers will make across their entire careers.


It's a matter of scale.

Imagine a chemist discovers a cure for baldness, and charges 50 million people 1k each, he makes $50B. A surgeon reattaches a spine, makes a million. The reattached spine is worth more than 1 head of flowing locks, but 50 million people's hair is worth more than 1 spine.

Education may be worth more than entertainment, but if 1 entertainer can entertain millions, the total may be worth more to society than the teacher who can only teach 25. IIRC, teachers DO make more than entertainers; just not individually. If we have a million teachers and they make 60k/each, that's 60B. If we have 2000 athletes making a million each, that's 2B.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Darryl » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:The median high school teacher income is over $50,000.

And at 50k, that's 100 years to make the 1 million some baseball players are making each year.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Dark567 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Darryl wrote:
folkhero wrote:The median high school teacher income is over $50,000.

And at 50k, that's 100 years to make the 1 million some baseball players are making each year.
>.>
...

You might want to look at that again.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:04 am UTC

Darryl wrote:
folkhero wrote:The median high school teacher income is over $50,000.

And at 50k, that's 100 years to make the 1 million some baseball players are making each year.

You're being ignorant? facetious?. You're comparing the top 1% to the median wage. The median wage of the entertainment industry is pretty shitty. Either you're the best and you hog most of the pay, or you get shit working in the minor leagues. Take 100 baseball players, and one guy will make 99 out of 100 dollars while the other 99 have to share the remaining one dollar.
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/mi ... 69689.html

While the entertainment industry(including sports) may have a tiered pay system, we should be glad that our school system isn't like that. Could you imagine the top 50 schools, one from each state, paying teachers $3 million while the rest of the schools paid their staff $2000 a month?

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Darryl » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:15 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Darryl wrote:
folkhero wrote:The median high school teacher income is over $50,000.

And at 50k, that's 100 years to make the 1 million some baseball players are making each year.
>.>
...

You might want to look at that again.

Wow, I did screw that up. Still, 20 years, for 1M is about halfway through the career. And to make it to A-Rod's yearly, you need to get to 30M. That's 600 years.

sardia wrote:
Darryl wrote:
folkhero wrote:The median high school teacher income is over $50,000.

And at 50k, that's 100 years to make the 1 million some baseball players are making each year.

You're being ignorant? facetious?. You're comparing the top 1% to the median wage. The median wage of the entertainment industry is pretty shitty. Either you're the best and you hog most of the pay, or you get shit working in the minor leagues. Take 100 baseball players, and one guy will make 99 out of 100 dollars while the other 99 have to share the remaining one dollar.
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/mi ... 69689.html

While the entertainment industry(including sports) may have a tiered pay system, we should be glad that our school system isn't like that. Could you imagine the top 50 schools, one from each state, paying teachers $3 million while the rest of the schools paid their staff $2000 a month?
Actually, I'm not being facetious, because the 50k post was in response to this:

Princess Marzipan wrote:That is no justification for the existence of baseball players who make more in one year than most teachers will make across their entire careers.

Which was arguing that no baseball player should make more in one year than a teacher would make in their whole career. Any ballplayer making more than 2M/year is making more in a year than most teachers make in a roughly 40 year career (25 for cert and masters, 65 for retirement)
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:25 am UTC

Fair enough, I'll restate my post. Princess Marzipan, you're being facetious. See my previous post.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby folkhero » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:33 am UTC

Darryl wrote:Actually, I'm not being facetious, because the 50k post was in response to this:
Princess Marzipan wrote:That is no justification for the existence of baseball players who make more in one year than most teachers will make across their entire careers.
No that post was in response to this:
Princess Marzipan wrote:many baseball players earn more than a million a year and few high school teachers earn more than 50,000
I just figured that if people were going to bemoan how little teacher got paid, they should at least have an idea of what they actually are paid.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Darryl » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:14 am UTC

folkhero wrote:
Darryl wrote:Actually, I'm not being facetious, because the 50k post was in response to this:
Princess Marzipan wrote:That is no justification for the existence of baseball players who make more in one year than most teachers will make across their entire careers.
No that post was in response to this:
Princess Marzipan wrote:many baseball players earn more than a million a year and few high school teachers earn more than 50,000
I just figured that if people were going to bemoan how little teacher got paid, they should at least have an idea of what they actually are paid.

The fact that the median pay for a teacher, which requires at minimum a Bachelor's, is 50k is still quite sad. That said, it's the national median. There are many states where teaching does not pay enough to compare to a retail job. Like Texas, where the median teacher pay is 30k, which is less than starting pay on most factory floors.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby folkhero » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:57 am UTC

Darryl wrote:The fact that the median pay for a teacher, which requires at minimum a Bachelor's, is 50k is still quite sad. That said, it's the national median. There are many states where teaching does not pay enough to compare to a retail job. Like Texas, where the median teacher pay is 30k, which is less than starting pay on most factory floors.

Yes, it's the national median, meaning that half of teachers are making more than that. That makes the statement that, "few high-school teachers make more than $50,000," untrue. I was just making a correction to a factual error.

There is a popular meme that public school teachers are drastically underpaid. Now whether this is true or not depends on a lot of complicated variables and value judgements, but the meme seems to have the effect of making people underestimate what teachers actually do get paid. This frustrates me for a number of reasons. First of all, I think it's important to work with the correct figures when discussing any issue, rather than using what you imagine those figures to be. Secondly, one of the main problems people note when discussing low teacher pay is the fact that if we don't pay teachers enough, we won't get enough talented young people interested in entering the profession. If we are constantly misrepresenting teacher compensation downward, then it will be even harder to get those talented young people interested in teaching. Finally, I find it a bit insulting and patronizing to teachers to speak as though teaching were nearly a pauper's profession, and that only a scarce few teachers could hope to achieve the middle class salary of 50K per year. In reality, teachers are generally solidly middle class and their compensation reflects that, especially if you look at compensation per hour rather than compensation per year. (Remember that teachers get lots of days off for Summer and Christmas break)

And where are you getting that information for Texas teachers? What I'm looking at says that minimum teacher salary is $31.5K for teachers with at least 5 years experience. I'm guessing that the median teacher in Texas has been teaching at least 5 years.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:11 am UTC

sardia wrote:Fair enough, I'll restate my post. Princess Marzipan, you're being facetious. See my previous post.
I don't think that word means what you think it means.

For teacher salaries, I snatched a ballpark estimate out of thin-air and was incorrect. I also appear to overestimated most baseball players' salaries. My larger point remains, though:
CorruptUser wrote:The baseball player provides entertainment, which has some value. While providing education requires over a million teachers, you only need a couple hundred baseball players to provide entertainment. Each baseball player/team can entertain millions at a time, while a teacher may be able to teach 25.

Princess Marzipan wrote:That is no justification for the existence of baseball players who make more in one year than most teachers will make across their entire careers.


But the baseball/teacher thing was brought up simply as an example through which to reject the idea that money, income, is an accurate measure of one's contributions to the whole of society. I can find other examples if income disparities between baseball players and teachers is something people are seriously going to justify.
For one, the President of the USA earns $400,000 in annual income. Conservative estimates of $20 million a year for Wal-Mart's CEO means, if we do not reject money as a measure of contribution, that Wal-Mart's CEO does 50 times as much for society as the President of the United States.
(Oh. Also, email spammers and Nigerian princes. Not even in relation to anything. Just that exist and somehow make money at all.)
Therefore, money is absolutely fucking terrible means of measuring a person's social contributions.

People are more than what they produce; more than merely a means to an economic end. If an organization cannot sustainably produce social benefits to some (customers) without treating others (employees) people as economic means, to defend that organization is to defend the commodification of its employees.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Vieneoume » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:15 am UTC

This situation is familiar to me. Let's discuss.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Dark567 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:26 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:But the baseball/teacher thing was brought up simply as an example through which to reject the idea that money, income, is an accurate measure of one's contributions to the whole of society. I can find other examples if income disparities between baseball players and teachers is something people are seriously going to justify.
For one, the President of the USA earns $400,000 in annual income. Conservative estimates of $20 million a year for Wal-Mart's CEO means, if we do not reject money as a measure of contribution, that Wal-Mart's CEO does 50 times as much for society as the President of the United States.
So, for the president(and politicians in general), I think its clear that these positions are so selected for so differently and payment set so differently(i.e. by law instead of negotiations and markets) that we can consider them somewhat of an edge case. In most situations, pay is roughly correlated to how much society values(demands) those occupations and the supply of people qualified and willing to undertake those occupations. I don't want to give you the impression that money is a perfect measure of social contributions, it isn't. But it is a rough one that has worked out pretty well throughout history, better in fact than nearly any other quantifiable measurement of societal value.

As for spammers and what not, I'd probably consider that fraud, which isn't producing value at all.
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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

Oh I'll agree that money alone is a bad indicator. However, there are other compensations besides the money; no one becomes President for the cushy $400k/yr. Jobs like EMT/EMS and Firefighter carry with them a lot of respect, and many people have the 'calling' and are willing to do those jobs regardless of pay, so most EMT's make minimum wage while most Firefighters are paid nothing at all. Many volunteer firefighters are narcissistic assholes who live with their parents but brag about being a firefighter and think they have a right to every girl's panties despite being in an area where they almost never get called out. Part of my family has a history of being EMS and volunteer firefighters in areas that get more call in a month than some cities get in a year, and they absolutely hate some volunteer firefighters. But back on topic, society is much better off with an extra volunteer firefighter than an extra guy working at McDonalds, yet McDonalds pays better.

I'm not trying to argue money is perfect. In fact according to my philosophy, people being paid more than they contribute is a serious problem. But generally speaking, people don't pay more than a person is worth unless there is some sort of coercion or fraud involved. People are willing to accept less than they are worth if there are non-monetary benefits to the job. Sometimes they are paid far less than they are worth because the laws are influenced by a few corporations/elite-few in order to make it difficult to start up their own business.

I guess the closest idea to my philosophy would be the Grand Exchequer from the Ferengi (Star Trek TNG, DS9, despite me not really watching the show that much); when the Ferengi die, they go before their weird capitalist deity, who decides whether that Ferengi has been a net creater/producer or consumer/destroyer of wealth, and sends them to the capitalist heaven or hell. Replace that with utility in the utilitarian sense, subtract the omniscient eldritch abomination, and you kind of have my view.

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Re: Wal-Mart has police remove congressman-elect from store

Postby Lucrece » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:38 pm UTC

Salary is also not a good indicator for job payment in many cases. A large number of those occupying office are rich anyways, and they get far larger financial returns from said office by the connections they establish, where they decide money goes (I recall some story about a California state senator who made shitloads of money by directing healthcare funding to a neighborhood he happens to be running a healthcare business on), and going back to the provate sector after office (where they've earned lots of favors).

And grievances over compensation are the least of the issues I would consider for teachers -- start by being bogged down by a bureaucracy that avoids controversy/pursues normalcy for the sake of avoiding litigation, dealing with children of parents who didn't care to raise them to not be spiteful animals (while the teacher has little meaningful recourse; a suspension is more a reward than punishment, while teachers can't individually threaten misbehaving students with more effective punishment like witholding prom/school trips/participation in extracurricular activities like sport, or bullying being held as a disqualifier for scholarships/privileges).
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