Discussion in 'Human Science' started by sculptor, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Society is not "the market".
    The market addresses only what is brought to the market. Hopefully, that does not include people. Hopefully, it does include all the relevant costs.
    I don't.
    Supply and demand is not a mechanism.
    "The market" does not prevent the Tragedy of the Commons, or other market distortions that destroy societies. We don't owe any company "viability".
    You brought "need" into it - #38.
    "The market" does not self-regulate, and will not be efficient if capital is allowed to exclude costs from the market exchange.
    We as a society need more farmers, not fewer. None of the minority of remaining farmers are not "needed" by American society.
    Again with the "need". Needed by whom?
    Different people and different societies have different "needs". Nobody's needs automatically rank above other's.
    Again with this "we" - you have a frog in your pocket?
    The US needs so many more farm workers than it has that it allows wholesale illegal immigration of anyone - kids, adolescents, pregnant housewives - willing to do the work.
    What the US has been willing to discard is not farm workers, but farm owners. And that meets the needs of nobody except investing capitalists - everybody else loses.
    You said exactly that, explicitly. If you regard that as too dramatic, quit saying it.
    Not enough of them. They are in demand, and good ones are hard to find.
    And capital is not owed a return, or the provision of suitable workers at wages it finds comfortable, or protection from organized labor, or the services of a government and benefits of whatever society it finds most profitable to exploit. "We" don't owe Walmart a red cent.
    Corporations have to adapt. Capital has to adapt. They will not adapt unless forced to, by people acting in the interests of their society and their families and themselves.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Well, no. Most people can't be employers.
    There is a large and growing divide between skilled workers and unskilled workers. The vast middle - the area that once was where most people once worked - is fast disappearing. No longer do we need low level machinists to drill holes in a workpiece 8 hours a day, or computer operators to understand how to turn on and run a PC, or typists to type dictation, or farmers to harvest crops.

    So I agree at the high level you don't need unions; those people are mobile and generally sought after, so they are largely immune to abuses (or more accurately have the means to leave an abusive workplace.) But the people at the bottom are as vulnerable as ever. Unions are _one_way_ to deal with that. They are not an ideal way, but for many of those people, unions are their best option. But we best heed the needs of those people - because they are going to make up a larger percentage of the country as time goes by.
    exchemist likes this.
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Very much agree with this. In the UK, we have the neologism "precariat" for these people stuck in a precarious existence, on zero-hour contract jobs, or in jobs where the company maintains the fiction that they are self-employed and therefore not eligible for sick pay, pension contributions, statutory holiday etc. It's an evil that has spread due to the lack of market power of the people working in these conditions. Either they need to be unionised, or, better in my view, there needs to be new labour legislation to ensure they are not exploited.

    I was delighted to see a recent UK court judgement against Uber, telling them their drivers are in effect employees and that legislation protecting employees' minimum rights applies to them.
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  7. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    This is clearly false. Trump's approval rating among Republicans is 90%. 90% of republicans are not stupid or insane, I personally disagree with their politics, but that does not make them stupid.
    I know lots of republicans and many of them think Trump is nutty, but they like that he is furthering the conservative cause, like packing the SC, plus they think anything is better than a liberal.
    exchemist likes this.
  8. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Could you please describe the "conservative cause?" As far as I can tell, their cause is about their religious views and values; anti-abortion, anti-science, anti-morals and ethics, racism, promoting God, etc. Perhaps, the folks you refer could explain how voting for Trump was sane and intelligent?
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    American conservatism according to one of its think-tanks (the core principles which most of the various genres of it would supposedly agree upon):

    (1) The federal government is instituted to protect the rights bestowed on individuals under natural law. It exists to preserve life, liberty and property - a mission that includes not only protecting the sanctity of life but defending freedom of speech, religion, the press and assembly, and the right of individuals to be treated equally and justly under the law, and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    (2) The federal government’s powers should be limited to only those named in the U.S. Constitution and exercised solely to protect the rights of its citizens.

    (3) Government functions best when it is closest and most accountable to the people and where power is shared between the federal government and the states.

    (4) Individuals and families make the best decisions for themselves and their children about health, education, jobs and welfare.

    (5) America’s economy and the prosperity of individual citizens are best served by a system built on free enterprise, economic freedom, private property rights and the rule of law. This system is best sustained by policies that promote general economic freedom and eliminate governmental preferences for special interests, including free trade, deregulation, and opposing government interventions in the economy that distort free markets and impair innovation.

    (6) Tax policies should raise the minimum revenue necessary to fund only constitutionally appropriate functions of government.

    (7) Regulations should be limited to those that produce a net benefit to the American people as a whole, weighing both financial and liberty costs.

    (8) Judges should interpret and apply our laws and the Constitution based on their original meaning, not upon judges’ own personal and political predispositions.

    (9) America must be a welcoming nation - one that promotes patriotic assimilation and is governed by laws that are fair, humane and enforced to protect its citizens.

    (10) America is strongest when our policies protect our national interests, preserve our alliances of free peoples, vigorously counter threats to our security and interests, and advance prosperity through economic freedom at home and abroad.
    --Kay C. James

    - - -

    "Republican" and "conservative" are not synonymous, though the latter political orientation does dominate the party in the 21st century. ..... In 2018, Gallup polling found that 69% of Republicans described themselves as "conservative", while 25% opted for the term "moderate", and another 5% self-identified as "liberal".

    Although Trump has declared himself conservative or more so than a progressive liberal (certainly leftist), some Republicans disagree on that, and historically he has also dallied with the Democratic Party.

    Most of Donald Trump's Political Money Went To Democrats - Until 2010

    "Well, if I ever ran for office, I'd do better as a Democrat than as a Republican," Donald Trump told Playboy in 1990. "And that's not because I'd be more liberal, because I'm conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me."

    Donald Trump isn’t a conservative, he’s a big-spending nationalist

    Trump’s donation history shows Democratic favoritism

    Trump's strange voting history

    Rush Limbaugh's big concession: 'Are you admitting Trump is not a conservative? Damn right I am!' (2016)

    He continued: "Folks, when did I ever say that he was? Look, I don't know how to tell you this. Conservatism lost, in the primary, if that's how you want to look at it. We had [Ted] Cruz; we had [Marco] Rubio." Limbaugh said that he still wanted to see an authentic conservative win the Republican nomination for president and ultimately the White House. "I wish it would happen," he said. "I've wished it would happen for 25 years."
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Yes, most people could be employers if they want to. Most people could start a food truck, for example. They would find out how much is involved in running a business and would not continue to think that a "worker" is all that matters in running a business.

    They would see how thin the profit margin can be and they would quit demanding that a business just give an employer some arbitrary "benefit" with no regard to the economic realities.

    I disagree that the skill-less group is only going to get larger. People have it within them to change that. No one (very few people) are incapable of becoming skilled in some area and therefore they will obtain some skills and everyone will be better off because of it.
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Society is not the market and therefore business limits itself to the market and is not responsible for society. That's the government's domain.

    Yes, through the price mechanism, it is.

    "We" don't owe any company viability but companies owe that to themselves and society owes it to itself to have an infrastructure that permits viable companies to exist or there would be no economy.

    Economically, they are not needed since it's not profitable to have more farmers. Fewer farmers are now needed as farming is more automated.

    Sure, when you have almost no blacksmiths good ones are hard to find and the market can support a few. It can't support the same level that it could 200 years ago and that's why you don't see many today.

    No company and no person is owed anything. We have a capitalist economy which you disagree with. What's new?
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree with this.
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No, most people could not. That's like saying that anyone can be in the Olympics. It's a great aspiration, to be sure. But not realistic.
    Some do, some don't.

    I've worked jobs from laborer to busboy to lifeguard to skydiving instructor to what I do now, which is engineering. And I met a great many people in those earlier jobs who were operating at the highest level they were capable of - and that qualified them to be a janitor, a groundskeeper or a parachute packer (barely.)

    People like that can't figure a lot of things out. They have regular problems with things like renewing driver's licenses and paying taxes. If you go all out educating them (which I think is definitely worthwhile) they might be able to manage some janitors some day. And for them, that would be a huge accomplishment - a similar level of accomplishment that my hundredth patent was, as an example. Is that a skill? Sure - management is definitely a skill. So is serving coffee or driving a car. The sort of workers who are going to be at the bottom of the pile.

    And as that illustrious movie from years ago suggested, these are the sort of people who usually have a lot of kids. Women without a high school education average 2.9 children; women with a college degree average 2.2. This correlates with income too. A 4 person family average an income of 140,000 a year. Five is 134K; six is 117K and so on.

    So over time, if there is a genetic component to success (intelligence, lack of certain heritable disabilities etc) that cohort will grow.

    Sure. And a great many of those people will use those skills to fill jobs at the bottom level of society's needs. And the class divide will grow.

    There is no easy solution to this. "Well if they just try harder . . . . " is a cop-out because that's not going to happen. We can provide incentives and funding for education, small business loans, raise the minimum wage etc. But there are too many factors driving those two classes apart for any of that - or even all of them - to be a complete solution.
    exchemist likes this.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I don't disagree with some of what you've said. I do disagree that owning a food truck is like making it to the Olympics.

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    I also disagree that most people or many people who don't have a skill couldn't acquire a skill. It's really just a matter of having a better system for matching people with jobs and training where necessary. It doesn't necessarily require them to "just try harder".

    If serving coffee doesn't pay very well (and it doesn't except in Iceaura's world) then train that person to deliver mail if there are shortages there or teach them how to replace brake pads.

    There won't be income equality but there shouldn't be income equality. You can, in theory, take anyone and find a job within their ability that is a better fit, that pays better and that is currently more needed.

    Yes, of course this isn't something when the solution is easy. There are going to be poor. I know, according to some, that a moron could have a great lifestyle before Reagan but that wasn't accurate or sustainable to the degree that it was true for some.
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Many people can indeed acquire a new skill, and it is quite worthwhile to provide them the support and training to do so. But as in my example, the new skill they acquire, in many cases, will not raise them out of that bottom bracket. There is now a large and growing middle segment of the economy - where all those "good middle class jobs" live - where there is simply nothing to be had. And the ability to jump over that middle divide into the top levels is going to be harder and harder to come by as the gap grows.

    And maybe that's the future of the US - a future where you can be in one of two tiers, and most people will aspire, at best, to get to the top of that bottom tier. But that's not really the upward mobility the country used to have.
    Definitely. But again, being a good mail carrier won't get you out of that bottom bracket however you want to define it (bottom quintile or whatever.) And maybe we just have to accept that.

    Replacing brake pads? Great! He makes a bit more. But then more cars become hybrids or pluggable hybrids or EV's - and they don't need their brake pads replaced much (if ever.) And so you're back to the problem of technology making him obsolete. So back to Starbucks.
    I agree! I just wish it were more of a Gaussian curve rather than a bimodal distribution.
    Not if there's nothing that is currently more needed. And with the middle disappearing, there are going to be more and more people for those slightly better paying jobs. Also keep in mind that semiskilled jobs like typists or data entry specialists are going away - even if those jobs are ideal for some people. Can they make the jump to programmers or IT people? Some can - but most of the people who were ideal for those data entry positions won't be able to.
    Not a moron. But keep in mind that 50% of the populace has an IQ of below 100, even though they are not morons by any stretch. Someone with an IQ of 80 isn't a moron, and can certainly learn to be a basic machinist. But take away that job and he's not going to become a programmer or a machinist who can deal with CAD/CAM.
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    No but he can become a plumber or an electrician. Or...what do you suggest?
  17. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

    Olympics for them perhaps?

    Sorry will get back to my own hassle

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  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    This seems rather naive. Conservatism is an extremely well-known political stance across the world, typically placing value on traditional institutions (family, church, armed forces etc) and on what is thought, by them at least, to be traditional culture, and tending to be sceptical about novelty and change. In the Anglophone world, it has also become in recent decades bound up with economic liberalism (laissez faire, free markets and a small state). These are not ipso facto stupid or immoral positions to hold.

    It seems to be the case that many people who voted for Trump thought that, however unpleasant his personality and style, a Trump presidency would do more to support these values than a Clinton one would have.

    There was also a promise (unfulfilled, naturally) to wind the clock back and return jobs to blue collar areas that have suffered from the globalisation of labour. Interestingly, this was a move away from economic liberalism and a land-grab for territory traditionally possessed by the Left. Linked to this, there was a fairly naked appeal to the undercurrent of anti-intellectualism that there has always been in US society. Trump managed to suggest that the loss of status of the white blue-collar class was the fault of a bunch of intellectuals, intent on promoting racial minorities and transgender bathrooms while ignoring and despising these people. (All this anti-science crap about climate change denial and undermining Covid 19 health advice plays into that.)

    People like me were appalled by the election of Trump, and I think we have been vindicated by events, but that is another story. Americans who oppose Trump need not to moralise but to work out what his appeal to swing voters was, and could be now, because it is obvious that he did have some appeal to them. If one does not understand that, one cannot develop strategies to counteract it.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    As noted in another thread, the classification criteria and labeling standards are significantly bogus. Many "unskilled" jobs require more skill - as measured by the time and effort required to master them, or some other relevant and reasonable criterion - than supposedly "skilled" jobs.

    The "divide" is not based on level of skill, in other words. (Not even the replacement by robots or the like - notice, for example, how much more difficult it has proven to be replacing truck drivers with AI than it was replacing airplane pilots, or elementary school teachers than financial analysts).

    The actual criteria involved, in practice, seem to be social conventions such as the tolerated standards of performance. The entire analytical scheme looks like a hangover from the age of aristocracy, when working with one's hands identified the person as lower class and sharply limited ones earning potential regardless of "skill".
    Brief example: people who work standing up get paid less than people who work sitting down, on average and as a rule of thumb. Sitting down is not much of a skill.
    That's far from obvious.
    The myth of the "swing voter" dies hard, but it has to die. There aren't very many of them, and even fewer who voted for Trump - Clinton was cheated out of hundreds of thousands of votes and still beat Trump by more than 3 million of them.

    The Republican voter is not going to "swing" - they never have, and it's unlikely they ever will. The best we can hope for from the 63 million Republican voters of 2016 is that they not vote. To that end we need to work out how best to discourage them, and "moralizing" (shaming, say, or making sure they suffer their fair share of the consequences they impose on others) seems to be as effective as anything else.
    Not even Trump voters are that stupid, in general.
    They like his personality and style. They aren't compromising - that's the personality and style they want in a President.

    Very few people voted for Trump based on his supposed support of "conservative" values. The Republican Party had kicked those values to the curb decades past, publicly and flagrantly, and Trump showed no sign whatsoever of rehabilitating them. He knows - as the Republican media tacticians know and make obvious - that abandoning those values in practice did not hurt Republican politicians at the ballot box. It helped, rather - made them look strong and capable, defiers of petty nanny State rules.

    It's important to realize that what the Republican voter or politician says is all but irrelevant to an understanding of what they do. They get what they say from their media sources, and they will say the exact opposite tomorrow if fed the lines. The only thing you can learn from what a Republican voter says is what you will hear on rightwing talk radio or find in mass Facebook postings or watch unfold on Fox News if you log in. They are - as Matt Taibbi succinctly put it - completely full of shit.
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Interesting. What is the evidence that the swing voter is a myth?

    If what you say is true and there is such as a thing as "the Republican Voter", who will never change his allegiance, then there ought to be no difference in the votes for Republican candidates from one election to the next. Is there evidence for this? It strikes me as most unlikely. And presumably, then, those blue collar whites that voted for Trump have always voted Republican. Is that what the statistcs show?
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps to both options. But as I mentioned earlier, most people will not be able to make that jump - they will find the retraining too hard, or will not have the mental horsepower to understand basic electrical theory. (There is also something of a public interest in seeing that people with an IQ of 80 doesn't wire up a school, for example.) But yes, those are avenues we should try.

    In terms of what else will work - that's the problem. UBI might work for these people, which is a way to take some of the productivity gains of mechanization and funnel them back to people who have been displaced by it. But the list of things wrong with UBI would be a long list indeed.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I proposed no specific classification criteria or labeling standard. I will leave that to you. I am discussing people in the lower tier of society, however you want to define that.
    Then they are not unskilled jobs.
    Your example is exactly why we are seeing a bigger divide. The guy who picks up the garbage cans has been replaced by a robotic arm. Typists have already been replaced. Train drivers are already being replaced. Truck drivers are next. As mechanization becomes more advanced, more people with those jobs that require a low level of skill (or, if you prefer, a level of skill replaceable by automation) will find themselves out of work.
    That's absurd. Some of the higher paying jobs out there are for engineers and scientists who spend their time working with their hands in a lab, or at a computer (the modern version of the drafting table.)
    That, of course, is a consequence and not a cause.
    Seattle likes this.
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I agree with a lot of this but it's not accurate to talk about "most" people and those with an IQ of 80 in the same sentence.

    It's true that half of the population is right at 100 but that doesn't mean that those with an IQ of 80 are a major issue. They are an issue however. Under most "schemes" they will be be at the bottom of the earnings ladder.

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