Author Topic: Modern Day Slavery  (Read 16064 times)

Cwadda

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2104
  • Age: 24
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #200 on: June 02, 2018, 08:40:33 PM »
Quote
Seeing as this is a forum dedicated to getting out of it as early as possible?
This forum is NOT dedicated to getting out of retirement as soon as possible. It is dedicated to living a minimalistic life, stoicism, finding pleasure in simple things, and being more intentional with your time. Earlier retirement is an effect of these, not a cause.

It's also not dedicated to never working again. It's geared toward having the ability to leave a job that you don't like, in pursuit of another career you find interesting/rewarding (i.e. side hustle), or seeking a better overall culture in your workplace.

Quote
an economy that values mental over physical labor.
Quote
Some people could work 150 hours a week, and never get ahead in an economy that values mental over physical labor.
What do you mean by this? Are you saying that someone who scrubs toilets and cleans carpets should be paid the same amount as someone who designs jet engines. I don't mean to make a straw man, but could you clarify with examples?

Also, what do you mean by "never get ahead"? How are you measuring units of "getting ahead"? Is "getting ahead" determined by money/wealth? If yes, could you be more specific? I.e. Does this mean the person should make enough to own a home, a car, and have 2 children?

Quote
What surprises me about your response is that it would seem to imply we're not rapidly approaching a point at which no one is going to have to clean the toilets or mop the floors.
Also, this.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 08:44:40 PM by Cwadda »

mizzourah2006

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
  • Location: NWA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #201 on: June 03, 2018, 07:11:41 AM »
Iím assuming this discussion around Walmart is more of an analogy for this type of work. I would guess about 10% of the Jobs in our society are in basic retail and fast food/quick serve restaurants where low wages and inconsistent hours are the norm. I started working in retail in 1998 and my first gig was a union job as a cart pusher where the union managed to secure the amazing starting wage of minimum wage for me. So after my weekly union dues on my 10-15 hours a week I mad a decent chunk less than minimum wage.

mizzourah2006

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
  • Location: NWA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #202 on: June 03, 2018, 07:12:20 AM »
Iím assuming this discussion around Walmart is more of an analogy for this type of work. I would guess about 10% of the Jobs in our society are in basic retail and fast food/quick serve restaurants where low wages and inconsistent hours are the norm. I started working in retail in 1998 and my first gig was a union job as a cart pusher where the union managed to secure the amazing starting wage of minimum wage for me. So after my weekly union dues on my 10-15 hours a week I made a decent chunk less than minimum wage.

Seadog

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Halifax, NS
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #203 on: June 03, 2018, 08:08:25 AM »
Word.  Second pregnancy especially the first 3 months...BOOM

A really interesting corollary to the general or pregnancy fattening response that he also pointed out, was the growing response.

Anyone who's ever had a teenager at least says they eat a ton. They are growing, and accordingly putting on a lot of weight (more in height than specifically fat though). Or do they only grow because they all just decided to eat too much? If they simply "put down the fork" and ate the same amount, would they remain at 10 yo height forever? No. They would still grow, albeit probably not as much (as you see when you look at poor countries), they'd probably be very hungry, and their body metabolism and energy outlays would decrease to compensate for calories being redirected to manufacturing height. But for whatever reason, the body decided to make getting taller a priority and is using all its tricks (increase hunger, decrease metabolism if not enough) to make it so. 

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #204 on: June 03, 2018, 09:29:48 AM »
They are growing, and accordingly putting on a lot of weight (more in height than specifically fat though). Or do they only grow because they all just decided to eat too much? If they simply "put down the fork" and ate the same amount, would they remain at 10 yo height forever? No. They would still grow, albeit probably not as much (as you see when you look at poor countries), they'd probably be very hungry, and their body metabolism and energy outlays would decrease to compensate for calories being redirected to manufacturing height. But for whatever reason, the body decided to make getting taller a priority and is using all its tricks (increase hunger, decrease metabolism if not enough) to make it so. 

Height is different than mass.

Yes, if you don't give a child the food they need but only enough for a maintenance diet, they may still get taller, but they won't put on weight. For babies, this is one of the earlier warning signs of many things that can wrong: at first they'll continue to grow taller, but their weight gain will stall.

Not entirely relevant aside:
Having enough to eat really does make a dramatic difference in your final height. "At the beginning of the nineteenth century, 14-year-old boys attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst [who came almost exclusively from the english nobility] were nearly six inches taller than their counterparts in the Marine Society [which recruited from the poorest segments of the english population]."*

*Source: Section 3.3 in this text: https://www.nber.org/chapters/c7429.pdf

mizzourah2006

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
  • Location: NWA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #205 on: June 03, 2018, 09:43:04 AM »
Meant to edit, my fault.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5577
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #206 on: June 03, 2018, 01:59:36 PM »
Anyone else find it ironic that so many people in this thread are defending the current labor structure?  Seeing as this is a forum dedicated to getting out of it as early as possible?

It seems foolish to think that capitalism in itís current form is the best economic system that humanity will ever come up with.  But I suppose people were having the same arguments defending monarchy back then, never imagining what could come after it.

It also astonishes me how many people in this thread who make good money talk about people who do unskilled labor as being lazy.  Has anyone ever thought that ďsomeoneĒ has to clean the toilets, run the machines, do the cleaning etc... and that there are many, many people who donít have the capability to do the higher skilled labor that they happened to win the genetic lottery to be able to do?  I work in a manufacturing plant with many wonderful people, who just could never be engineers,  or managers.  A good work ethic helps, but it can only take you so far.  Some people could work 150 hours a week, and never get ahead in an economy that values mental over physical labor. 

Capitalism has been an absolutely fantastic economic system that has brought the standard of living for billions to the highest point in human history.  However, it has flaws, obviously, and I have hope that we can find an economic system that works even better.

I was having a conversation on my walk this morning with a friend, on a similar vein.  We talked about homelessness, and poverty.  About food security - I recently read an article about childhood hunger in my town, and they interviewed the head of the Boys and Girls club about how he helped started a dinner program with the school district.  And how he noticed that near the end of the month, parents (who have to pay $4 for a meal, kids are free) were splitting the meal.

I think what we kind of agreed on (and so did the older lady jogging by) is that for some reason, it is really really hard for people to put themselves in someone else's shoes.  Especially if they've never been there.

So, I grew up kind of poor.  I remember getting some government cheese from an uncle (we weren't eligible).  I remember having 16 cents in the checking account that had to last 10 days till the next payday.  I live in a town with vast amounts of poverty and homelessness - and extreme amounts of wealth.

My first job was bagging groceries.  I also dug ditches, cleaned toilets, painted dorms, washed trucks, loaded and unloaded pipe, mowed lawns, etc.  So, I've worked those jobs.  My family is still about half blue collar.  They are not stupid.  They are not lazy.  I worked with people at the grocery stores who could run circles around you, and some that were never going to be able to hold a job above stock boy.

I've worked with people who rented a room and had no kitchen privileges.  My kids go to school with kids who are homeless (about 20% by the stats).  Homeless may mean in a car or a shelter, and it may mean multiple families to a house. 

I read comments about lazy poor people.  Or fat people who eat too much pizza, and I wonder  - how insulated are you?  Because it truly feels like some people have never been around poor people.  And they don't know them.  So they project their own level of "normalcy" to everyone else.  "If you don't cook, you must be too lazy to fry up a burger and cook some broccoli."  What of the family living in a car?  Or in a garage with no method of cooking?  Or in a rundown apartment with no car and no grocery store?

I hear a lot of it from various groups, and especially from family/ hometown friends who have "made it".  Grew up poor, worked hard, went to college.  But some of them are STILL completely incapable of understanding the effects of poverty and racism.  Because they are projecting their own (white, unaddicted, Christian, hardworking) experience to everyone else.  It *doesn't* mean people shouldn't work hard.  It doesn't mean you should feel embarrassed by your success, or ashamed of your hard work.  It *does* mean the playing field is not level.

I grew up with people who were janitors, cooks, cashiers, and you could make a living like that.  It was good, honest work.  It was nothing to be ashamed of.  Nowadays, I read so many people lecture "just get a better job, work harder, go to school" like working hard at a manual labor job is something to be embarrassed by.  It's absolutely not.  Has the world changed, or has my circle changed?  Or both?

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #207 on: June 03, 2018, 02:15:25 PM »
I grew up with people who were janitors, cooks, cashiers, and you could make a living like that.  It was good, honest work.  It was nothing to be ashamed of.  Nowadays, I read so many people lecture "just get a better job, work harder, go to school" like working hard at a manual labor job is something to be embarrassed by.  It's absolutely not.  Has the world changed, or has my circle changed?  Or both?

If being a cashier used to be a job you could make a good living doing, and now it's not, it makes sense to me that in the past you wouldn't hear people say that if you were a cashier you "just" needed to get a better job, and in the present you would hear people saying that.

I don't think it is (usually) a value judgement about whether working on a job site is better or worse than working at a desk (at least in my social circle, I cannot speak for other people's), but an observation of which jobs people can still make a comfortable living in and which ones they cannot.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11334
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #208 on: June 03, 2018, 03:32:25 PM »
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in itís current form is the best economic system that humanity will ever come up with.  But I suppose people were having the same arguments defending monarchy back then, never imagining what could come after it.

That's an interesting way of framing it. However, my guess is a lot of folks would argument that as economic systems go, in most but not all contexts capitalism comes out ahead of every other economic system humanity has come up with to date.

I strongly disagree with this.

Capitalism is an important component of a healthy economic system.  Pure capitalism doesn't work though, it's always tempered with socialism.  I don't think a real example of raw, unchecked capitalism has ever succeeded in history.

PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #209 on: June 03, 2018, 04:15:48 PM »
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in itís current form is the best economic system that humanity will ever come up with.  But I suppose people were having the same arguments defending monarchy back then, never imagining what could come after it.

That's an interesting way of framing it. However, my guess is a lot of folks would argument that as economic systems go, in most but not all contexts capitalism comes out ahead of every other economic system humanity has come up with to date.

I strongly disagree with this.

Capitalism is an important component of a healthy economic system.  Pure capitalism doesn't work though, it's always tempered with socialism.  I don't think a real example of raw, unchecked capitalism has ever succeeded in history.

I'm with golden1 on this. Just because we haven't thought of a better economic system, doesn't mean that it isn't possible. Could the hunter gatherers describe feudal society to you? Could someone living in feudal society describe capitalism to you? Could Paul Ehrlich have told you how we would be treating Syphilis today just because he discovered Arsphenamine? Just because we don't know how to do something, doesn't mean that 5, 50, or 500 generations from now it won't happen.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #210 on: June 03, 2018, 04:28:55 PM »
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in itís current form is the best economic system that humanity will ever come up with.  But I suppose people were having the same arguments defending monarchy back then, never imagining what could come after it.

That's an interesting way of framing it. However, my guess is a lot of folks would argument that as economic systems go, in most but not all contexts capitalism comes out ahead of every other economic system humanity has come up with to date.

I strongly disagree with this.

Capitalism is an important component of a healthy economic system.  Pure capitalism doesn't work though, it's always tempered with socialism.  I don't think a real example of raw, unchecked capitalism has ever succeeded in history.

I think we are arguing about the meaning of words rather than concepts here.

The current combination of social, political, and economic systems, adopted by the vast majority of western liberal democracies, despite all of its warts, is not one I would exchange for any the other combinations of social/economic/political systems that societies have adopted or experimented with to date. It doesn't really matter to me what name you want to call it: capitalism, liberal democracy, moderate socialism with competitive private markers for the vast majority of goods and services, or Howard.

That doesn't mean that I'm ruling out the possibility that some even better combination of social, political, and economic system may not be discovered in the future, which seemed to be the interpretation golden1 was making.

pecunia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #211 on: June 03, 2018, 06:57:13 PM »
Don't know if all you folks gave this any thought.  I guess I'm old enough to say young folks now.

When I started working, I made $1.60 per hour.  This was the minimum wage.

https://www.dollartimes.com/inflation/inflation.php?amount=1&year=1974

It is worth 8.54 in today's money.

The  current federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Times are not getting better for most of us,........but for the former slaveowner,.....this is truly a guilded age.

I didn't read all entries so this idea may have been covered.  Slaves were a valued commodity back in the day.  they were fed and were cared for medically as the investment had to be protected.

This is a much better deal for the slaveowner.  When they get sick there is little cost.  Simply replace them from the endless masses of surplus human beings who will be more than happy to work for that wage.

Heck, people in really poor countries wused up a long time ago.  People will labor there for practically crumbs.

I wonder who has the patent on Soylent Green.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11334
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #212 on: June 04, 2018, 07:17:30 AM »
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in itís current form is the best economic system that humanity will ever come up with.  But I suppose people were having the same arguments defending monarchy back then, never imagining what could come after it.

That's an interesting way of framing it. However, my guess is a lot of folks would argument that as economic systems go, in most but not all contexts capitalism comes out ahead of every other economic system humanity has come up with to date.

I strongly disagree with this.

Capitalism is an important component of a healthy economic system.  Pure capitalism doesn't work though, it's always tempered with socialism.  I don't think a real example of raw, unchecked capitalism has ever succeeded in history.

I think we are arguing about the meaning of words rather than concepts here.

The current combination of social, political, and economic systems, adopted by the vast majority of western liberal democracies, despite all of its warts, is not one I would exchange for any the other combinations of social/economic/political systems that societies have adopted or experimented with to date. It doesn't really matter to me what name you want to call it: capitalism, liberal democracy, moderate socialism with competitive private markers for the vast majority of goods and services, or Howard.

That doesn't mean that I'm ruling out the possibility that some even better combination of social, political, and economic system may not be discovered in the future, which seemed to be the interpretation golden1 was making.

OK, fair enough.  However, the economic system you're describing is a combination of socialism and capitalism.  It's important to use the right language in this discussion.  Calling it captialism (and referring to capitalism as "coming out ahead of every other economic system humanity has come up with to date" is flat out wrong.  When we fail to acknowledge this, it lends credence and support to fundamentally flawed schools of thought such as Libertarianism.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #213 on: June 04, 2018, 08:25:58 AM »
I guess I don't see it as such a big concern I can see how, if you're trying to distinguish between a hypothetical libertarian utopia and the real world making that distinction would be more important than if you're debating the relative merits of either historical (monarchy, the original example I was replying to in golden1's comment) or extant economic/social/governmental systems, where there is no example of a successful libertarian utopia, so it doesn't really enter the conversation.

Also, I want to point out you're ignoring the important qualifier "in most, but not all contexts" in my original statement. Just from my own comments in this same thread I've pointed out some of the specific contexts where capitalism is NOT the best approach (for example in cases where natural monopolies and highly inelastic demand mean you'd end up with a single company price gouging consumers).
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 08:29:37 AM by maizeman »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11334
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #214 on: June 04, 2018, 08:46:58 AM »
Also, I want to point out you're ignoring the important qualifier "in most, but not all contexts" in my original statement. Just from my own comments in this same thread I've pointed out some of the specific contexts where capitalism is NOT the best approach (for example in cases where natural monopolies and highly inelastic demand mean you'd end up with a single company price gouging consumers).

This is typically where the socialist part of the modern economic system will step in to moderate the capitalist part.  Since there exists no purely capitalist economic system, pointing out where the capitalist part of a mixed system fails doesn't really seem to make much sense.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #215 on: June 04, 2018, 10:08:21 AM »
Since there exists no purely capitalist economic system, pointing out where the capitalist part of a mixed system fails doesn't really seem to make much sense.

I'm sorry but I cannot follow your reasoning at all here.

You are saying that because there is no such thing as perfect capitalism, we shouldn't discuss the contexts in which capitalism fails or delivers sub-optimal results?

How does the second statement follow from the first?

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11334
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #216 on: June 04, 2018, 10:20:22 AM »
No, you can certainly discuss where any economic system fails.  But you were alternately using the term 'capitalist' to describe a system that is a mix of capitalist and socialist, and also to describe the failings of a theoretical capitalist system . . . which I found confusing.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #217 on: June 04, 2018, 10:50:40 AM »
No I'm describing the specific areas in our current system where capitalism either fails, or would fail if it were applied.

ChpBstrd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #218 on: June 04, 2018, 12:25:16 PM »
I grew up with people who were janitors, cooks, cashiers, and you could make a living like that.  It was good, honest work.  It was nothing to be ashamed of.  Nowadays, I read so many people lecture "just get a better job, work harder, go to school" like working hard at a manual labor job is something to be embarrassed by.  It's absolutely not.  Has the world changed, or has my circle changed?  Or both?

If being a cashier used to be a job you could make a good living doing, and now it's not, it makes sense to me that in the past you wouldn't hear people say that if you were a cashier you "just" needed to get a better job, and in the present you would hear people saying that.

I don't think it is (usually) a value judgement about whether working on a job site is better or worse than working at a desk (at least in my social circle, I cannot speak for other people's), but an observation of which jobs people can still make a comfortable living in and which ones they cannot.

Perhaps in the era when high-school-educated laborers could support their families with a lower middle class lifestyle, it made sense to assign the "lazy" narrative to those who did not do so. Maybe it also made sense to tell the 10 cashiers in a store with 1 manager that if they worked hard enough, each if them could be a manager too. The mathematical impossibility of that outcome was made up for by the just-world assumption that 90% of the cashiers would be too lazy to work as hard as the manager.

I suspect politics is the motivator for those who still subscribe to this narrative, despite all evidence about declining economic mobility. If the decline of blue-collar professions occurred because of a less-progressive tax code, anti-union policies, withdraw of state support for higher education, mass incarceration, subsidies for transportation that made imports cheaper, subsidies for homeownership that made housing more expensive, or subsidies for automation (looking at you double-depreciation rules), then a big chunk of the electorate would support an undo of these changes. But if pundits can teach us to attribute others' poverty to an outbreak of laziness, then perhaps the policies won't be blamed.

pecunia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #219 on: June 04, 2018, 08:31:15 PM »
CheapBstrd:

Quote
I suspect politics is the motivator for those who still subscribe to this narrative, despite all evidence about declining economic mobility.

Your entire statement was very well written and I don't believe I am saying it just because I agree with it.  It is a concise summary of the situation.

I am finding that there are fewer and fewer people who don't find some truth in your statements.  However, there are fools in this world.

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Abraham Lincoln

DreamFIRE

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1092
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #220 on: June 04, 2018, 08:39:08 PM »
I've known people who actually quit jobs because working the jobs resulted in cuts to their taxpayer provided benefits.  They say, "why should I work when I can do just as well on government benefits?"

pecunia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #221 on: June 04, 2018, 08:46:58 PM »
Dreamfire:
Quote
I've known people who actually quit jobs because working the jobs resulted in cuts to their taxpayer provided benefits.  They say, "why should I work when I can do just as well on government benefits?"

I've known people like that too.  My dad could have given my family food stamps when I was a kid.  I asked him about it.  He became quite angry with me.  I guess I've come to respect people who have this sort of self respect to refuse welfare even when the freebies seem to be more pragmatic.

There are probably a lot less people with that sort of stubborn self respect than there used to be.

mak1277

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 729
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #222 on: June 05, 2018, 06:30:58 AM »
Dreamfire:
Quote
I've known people who actually quit jobs because working the jobs resulted in cuts to their taxpayer provided benefits.  They say, "why should I work when I can do just as well on government benefits?"

I've known people like that too.  My dad could have given my family food stamps when I was a kid.  I asked him about it.  He became quite angry with me.  I guess I've come to respect people who have this sort of self respect to refuse welfare even when the freebies seem to be more pragmatic.

There are probably a lot less people with that sort of stubborn self respect than there used to be.

So you're condemning the "these people are lazy" narrative and at the same time providing examples of people who are lazy?

carolina822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #223 on: June 05, 2018, 08:53:19 AM »
I've heard that some people structure their retirement distributions such that they qualify for the maximum ACA subsidy. But hey, that's just pragmatism, right?

Dabnasty

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 985
  • Age: 29
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #224 on: June 05, 2018, 09:10:34 AM »
Dreamfire:
Quote
I've known people who actually quit jobs because working the jobs resulted in cuts to their taxpayer provided benefits.  They say, "why should I work when I can do just as well on government benefits?"

I've known people like that too.  My dad could have given my family food stamps when I was a kid.  I asked him about it.  He became quite angry with me.  I guess I've come to respect people who have this sort of self respect to refuse welfare even when the freebies seem to be more pragmatic.

There are probably a lot less people with that sort of stubborn self respect than there used to be.

So you're condemning the "these people are lazy" narrative and at the same time providing examples of people who are lazy?

That's not contradictory. The narrative suggest that most or all people will react by being lazy. Of course some will try to take advantage of the system.

Also, those on the bubble where they can do about as well with benefits as they could with a part time job are a small portion of people who receive welfare.

And now that I think about it, what does the fact that "some people are lazy" have to do with the narrative described here anyway? The narrative is blaming anyone who doesn't make enough money of being lazy. ChpBstrd is suggesting that that is not the case. No one is saying laziness doesn't exist.

pecunia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #225 on: June 05, 2018, 06:37:51 PM »
Quote
I've heard that some people structure their retirement distributions such that they qualify for the maximum ACA subsidy. But hey, that's just pragmatism, right?

I haven't done that yet, but with the cost of US healthcare and per the thought that I am getting ripped off by the system, it will be very tempting.  Dad is no longer with us so I guess I won't get any flack from him.

Sometimes I think whether I pay for it, an employer or the taxpayer what health insurance provides are empty promises.  With my high deductible, the money may as well be handed directly to the CEOs pocket.

On the other hand could I be robbing the taxpayer of spending the money elsewhere?  Another building could be bombed in the Middle East, for example.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #226 on: June 06, 2018, 11:18:33 AM »
I grew up with people who were janitors, cooks, cashiers, and you could make a living like that.  It was good, honest work.  It was nothing to be ashamed of.  Nowadays, I read so many people lecture "just get a better job, work harder, go to school" like working hard at a manual labor job is something to be embarrassed by.  It's absolutely not.  Has the world changed, or has my circle changed?  Or both?

If being a cashier used to be a job you could make a good living doing, and now it's not, it makes sense to me that in the past you wouldn't hear people say that if you were a cashier you "just" needed to get a better job, and in the present you would hear people saying that.

I don't think it is (usually) a value judgement about whether working on a job site is better or worse than working at a desk (at least in my social circle, I cannot speak for other people's), but an observation of which jobs people can still make a comfortable living in and which ones they cannot.

Perhaps in the era when high-school-educated laborers could support their families with a lower middle class lifestyle, it made sense to assign the "lazy" narrative to those who did not do so. Maybe it also made sense to tell the 10 cashiers in a store with 1 manager that if they worked hard enough, each if them could be a manager too. The mathematical impossibility of that outcome was made up for by the just-world assumption that 90% of the cashiers would be too lazy to work as hard as the manager.

I suspect politics is the motivator for those who still subscribe to this narrative, despite all evidence about declining economic mobility. If the decline of blue-collar professions occurred because of a less-progressive tax code, anti-union policies, withdraw of state support for higher education, mass incarceration, subsidies for transportation that made imports cheaper, subsidies for homeownership that made housing more expensive, or subsidies for automation (looking at you double-depreciation rules), then a big chunk of the electorate would support an undo of these changes. But if pundits can teach us to attribute others' poverty to an outbreak of laziness, then perhaps the policies won't be blamed.

Let's look at some of these jobs that you "used to" be able to "make a good living" at.

In 1983, the average cashier made $8,376/year. Adjusting that for inflation, that's a bit under $22k/year as of 2017. It's never been a "you can live well on this and support a family" type of job. Median pay in 2017 for a cashier was still $21,xxx/year.

Cooks? 1983 - $22k/year, 2017 ~$24k/year... moving up in the world.. still not "making a good living" by most standards.

How about something with more technical ability..

Auto Mechanic? 1983 - ~$43k/year, 2017 ~$39.5k/year... not quite as great as it was, but not far off either.

Electricians? ~$54k/year  in both 2017 and 1983 (inflation adjusted of course).

So yeah, "low skill" jobs never paid worth a darn, and skilled trades still pay pretty good. It's not "fantasy" or "it used to be like that", so much as it's "that's how things are". You can make median household income or close to it with a decent trade and a high school education, just like "back in the day".  I work with people making even better money in these types of skilled trades regularly (making more because they're willing to travel for work, but could just make "median" pay if they wanted to stay in their town only).

As for the perception of these types of jobs? Yes, society as a whole looks down on these types of jobs these days. Everyone's mommy and daddy (having come home sore and tired for years) decided they wanted better lives for their children and felt that a job sitting in an office getting paid the same or more would be better, and thus they pushed their kids towards white collar jobs. The unintended consequence of that desire to give their kids a "better" life was to instill in many of those children that "blue collar" was "worse" and "white collar" was "better" overall.

Plenty of people don't feel that way, but as a whole I've seen that shift in society's apparent views over the last 30+ years.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #227 on: June 06, 2018, 11:42:50 AM »
Let's look at some of these jobs that you "used to" be able to "make a good living" at.

In 1983, the average cashier made $8,376/year. Adjusting that for inflation, that's a bit under $22k/year as of 2017. It's never been a "you can live well on this and support a family" type of job. Median pay in 2017 for a cashier was still $21,xxx/year.

Cooks? 1983 - $22k/year, 2017 ~$24k/year... moving up in the world.. still not "making a good living" by most standards.

How about something with more technical ability..

Auto Mechanic? 1983 - ~$43k/year, 2017 ~$39.5k/year... not quite as great as it was, but not far off either.

Electricians? ~$54k/year  in both 2017 and 1983 (inflation adjusted of course).

So yeah, "low skill" jobs never paid worth a darn, and skilled trades still pay pretty good. It's not "fantasy" or "it used to be like that", so much as it's "that's how things are". You can make median household income or close to it with a decent trade and a high school education, just like "back in the day".  I work with people making even better money in these types of skilled trades regularly (making more because they're willing to travel for work, but could just make "median" pay if they wanted to stay in their town only).

As for the perception of these types of jobs? Yes, society as a whole looks down on these types of jobs these days. Everyone's mommy and daddy (having come home sore and tired for years) decided they wanted better lives for their children and felt that a job sitting in an office getting paid the same or more would be better, and thus they pushed their kids towards white collar jobs. The unintended consequence of that desire to give their kids a "better" life was to instill in many of those children that "blue collar" was "worse" and "white collar" was "better" overall.

Hey you did the math. Good for you! :-)

It occurs to me that part of any perception problem could be that in 1984 in real dollars the median american household was living on about $49,500/year in today's dollars. Today the median household is at $59,000. So a person who can support the same lifestyle working the same job in 1984 and 2018 probably still feels somewhat poorer* in 2018 than in 1984.

*Whether we care about perceptions of poverty is a separate debate, and one I don't have strong feelings either way on.

PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #228 on: June 06, 2018, 11:45:33 AM »
Let's look at some of these jobs that you "used to" be able to "make a good living" at.

In 1983, the average cashier made $8,376/year. Adjusting that for inflation, that's a bit under $22k/year as of 2017. It's never been a "you can live well on this and support a family" type of job. Median pay in 2017 for a cashier was still $21,xxx/year.

Unfortunately, the BLS data only goes back to 1979, and the 1979~83 data was after a decade of stagflation (and the 1981-2 recession). I would love to look at data from 1940~1970. Specifically, my grandfather worked in a steel mill with less than a high-school education and received a defined benefit pension plan, a draft deferral during WWII (we needed ships, ships needed steel), enough money to buy two houses and put a child through college, and retire with a MMM style stache in addition to his defined benefit pension plan and social security. I don't see a ton of those jobs left.

But yes, he saw how hard the work was and told me to get a white collar job. He literally watched people get killed at work.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 11:47:23 AM by PDXTabs »

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #229 on: June 06, 2018, 11:52:12 AM »
I think that it wouldn't matter what the year was, we'd still find that "no-skill" jobs have never paid enough to "live a good life", while jobs that require skills and/or education have always paid better; with jobs requiring "more", (more skills, more education, more experience, more risk, more sacrifices, etc) tending to pay even better.

On a side note, since you mentioned a pension and I've seen them mentioned a couple other times, I think it's good to point out that most people, at any point in our history, were unlikely to have pensions (with only a couple years in the history of the country where half the country's workers were covered under a pension plan of any kind, generally closer to 40% was high coverage).
Let's look at some of these jobs that you "used to" be able to "make a good living" at.

In 1983, the average cashier made $8,376/year. Adjusting that for inflation, that's a bit under $22k/year as of 2017. It's never been a "you can live well on this and support a family" type of job. Median pay in 2017 for a cashier was still $21,xxx/year.

Unfortunately, the BLS data only goes back to 1979, and the 1979~83 data was after a decade of stagflation (and the 1981-2 recession). I would love to look at data from 1940~1970. Specifically, my grandfather worked in a steel mill with less than a high-school education and received a defined benefit pension plan, a draft deferral during WWII (we needed ships, ships needed steel), and enough money to buy two houses and put a child through college. I don't see a ton of those jobs left.

But yes, he saw how hard the work was and told me to get a white collar job. He literally watched people get killed at work.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk


PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #230 on: June 06, 2018, 12:22:24 PM »
I think that it wouldn't matter what the year was, we'd still find that "no-skill" jobs have never paid enough to "live a good life", while jobs that require skills and/or education have always paid better; with jobs requiring "more", (more skills, more education, more experience, more risk, more sacrifices, etc) tending to pay even better.

I guess I'm not going to disagree with that too much. There is a bunch of data coming out about how we are increasingly living in an hour-glass shaped economy. So I guess the real question is, where did the middle income jobs go?

Quote
Over the same period, however, the nationís aggregate
household income has substantially shifted from middle-income
to upper-income households, driven by the growing size of the
upper-income tier and more rapid gains in income at the top.
Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income
households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to
middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially
from 62% in 1970.

...
These findings emerge from a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census
Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. In this study, which examines the changing
size, demographic composition and economic fortunes of the American middle class, ďmiddle-
incomeĒ Americans are defined as adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double
the national median, about $42,000 to $126,000 annually in 2014 dollars for a household of
three. Under this definition, the middle class made up 50% of the U.S. adult population in 2015,
down from 61% in 1971.


The American Middle Class is Losing Ground

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #231 on: June 06, 2018, 12:34:43 PM »
The thing about such selected data sets is that it doesn't tell us much of anything. Are there a lot more people earning a great deal in HCOL areas, this meaning a bunch of $200k+ jobs replacing a bunch of _90k jobs in lower cost of living areas? Did sixteen people making the most having massive increases account for most of the shift? The data set doesn't provide anything useful to examine on its own is the problem with that data imo.
I think that it wouldn't matter what the year was, we'd still find that "no-skill" jobs have never paid enough to "live a good life", while jobs that require skills and/or education have always paid better; with jobs requiring "more", (more skills, more education, more experience, more risk, more sacrifices, etc) tending to pay even better.

I guess I'm not going to disagree with that too much. There is a bunch of data coming out about how we are increasingly living in an hour-glass shaped economy. So I guess the real question is, where did the middle income jobs go?

Quote
Over the same period, however, the nation’s aggregate
household income has substantially shifted from middle-income
to upper-income households, driven by the growing size of the
upper-income tier and more rapid gains in income at the top.
Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income
households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to
middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially
from 62% in 1970.

...
These findings emerge from a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census
Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. In this study, which examines the changing
size, demographic composition and economic fortunes of the American middle class, “middle-
income” Americans are defined as adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double
the national median, about $42,000 to $126,000 annually in 2014 dollars for a household of
three. Under this definition, the middle class made up 50% of the U.S. adult population in 2015,
down from 61% in 1971.


The American Middle Class is Losing Ground

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk


PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #232 on: June 06, 2018, 12:56:13 PM »
The thing about such selected data sets is that it doesn't tell us much of anything. Are there a lot more people earning a great deal in HCOL areas, this meaning a bunch of $200k+ jobs replacing a bunch of _90k jobs in lower cost of living areas? Did sixteen people making the most having massive increases account for most of the shift?

Out of those 16 households (not people) 4 of them moved to the lower income camp and 12 of them moved to the upper income camp, as is clearly called out in the report. That's great if you are one of the 12 that made it, but if you are one of the 4 that didn't there has been a ~18% reduction in those middle income households that you would love to move into. That is, how many households are going to leapfrog the middle income camp and go straight from low income to high income? Almost zero.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #233 on: June 06, 2018, 12:59:27 PM »
Except things don't work like that... The statistics your looking at show "what is", not "what can exist or be". The "middle ground" may have less in it now, but that doesn't extrapolate into "there is no middle to move into anymore". That's what I mean by the data is useless in it's limited context.
The thing about such selected data sets is that it doesn't tell us much of anything. Are there a lot more people earning a great deal in HCOL areas, this meaning a bunch of $200k+ jobs replacing a bunch of _90k jobs in lower cost of living areas? Did sixteen people making the most having massive increases account for most of the shift?

Out of those 16 households (not people) 4 of them moved to the lower income camp and 12 of them moved to the upper income camp, as is clearly called out in the report. That's great if you are one of the 12 that made it, but if you are one of the 4 that didn't there has been a ~18% reduction in those middle income households that you would love to move into. That is, how many households are going to leapfrog the middle income camp and go straight from low income to high income? Almost zero.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk


PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #234 on: June 06, 2018, 01:03:40 PM »
Except things don't work like that... The statistics your looking at show "what is", not "what can exist or be". The "middle ground" may have less in it now, but that doesn't extrapolate into "there is no middle to move into anymore". That's what I mean by the data is useless in it's limited context.

I never said "there is no middle to move into anymore." I said that there is measurably less middle than their was 47 years ago and that the trend line is in the wrong direction.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #235 on: June 06, 2018, 01:10:10 PM »
Except things don't work like that... The statistics your looking at show "what is", not "what can exist or be". The "middle ground" may have less in it now, but that doesn't extrapolate into "there is no middle to move into anymore". That's what I mean by the data is useless in it's limited context.

I never said "there is no middle to move into anymore." I said that there is measurably less middle than their was 47 years ago and that the trend line is in the wrong direction.

Sorry, this:
Quote
That is, how many households are going to leapfrog the middle income camp and go straight from low income to high income? Almost zero.

sure sounded like you were saying they couldn't go into the middle because there were fewer in the middle... but whatever.

Additionally, if we look closely, the percentage in the arbitrarily defined "middle" have changed, but so has what constitutes "middle". The 'low' for the middle today is more than 30% higher than it was before. If we kept the same "low" numbers (inflation adjusted as they use in the rest of their analysis), would the "low income" have grown at all??  Then adjust for the massive shift in the percentage of people with college educations and we see a quick and easy explanation for a lot of the growth in the upper income bands as well...

When you change the goalposts continually, comparison of who's scoring what kind of goals is kinda meaningless. As such, the analysis of the "shrinking" middle class looks pretty manufactured to me, and definitely not something to lose any sleep over.

PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #236 on: June 06, 2018, 01:13:06 PM »
Additionally, if we look closely, the percentage in the arbitrarily defined "middle" have changed, but so has what constitutes "middle". The 'low' for the middle today is more than 30% higher than it was before. If we kept the same "low" numbers (inflation adjusted as they use in the rest of their analysis), would the "low income" have grown at all??  Then adjust for the massive shift in the percentage of people with college educations and we see a quick and easy explanation for a lot of the growth in the upper income bands as well...

When you change the goalposts continually, comparison of who's scoring what kind of goals is kinda meaningless. As such, the analysis of the "shrinking" middle class looks pretty manufactured to me, and definitely not something to lose any sleep over.

Setting in the middle around the median is not changing the goal posts. It is extra not changing the goal posts when you live in a country where money is speech during elections.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #237 on: June 06, 2018, 01:15:24 PM »
Additionally, if we look closely, the percentage in the arbitrarily defined "middle" have changed, but so has what constitutes "middle". The 'low' for the middle today is more than 30% higher than it was before. If we kept the same "low" numbers (inflation adjusted as they use in the rest of their analysis), would the "low income" have grown at all??  Then adjust for the massive shift in the percentage of people with college educations and we see a quick and easy explanation for a lot of the growth in the upper income bands as well...

When you change the goalposts continually, comparison of who's scoring what kind of goals is kinda meaningless. As such, the analysis of the "shrinking" middle class looks pretty manufactured to me, and definitely not something to lose any sleep over.

Setting in the middle around the median is not changing the goal posts. It is extra not changing the goal posts when you live in a country where money is speech during elections.

Of course it's changing the goalposts. It used to be "$30k+" gets you out of low income, now it's "$40k+". $40k, not being $30k, is a change in the "goal". If you think $30 is the same as $40 though, I'd be happy to take $10 of every $40 you get, you can keep the same "$30" afterwards though.

There are relatively fewer people making between $40-180k today than there were people making $30-145k fifty years ago is NOT comparing apples to apples.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 01:17:10 PM by jlcnuke »

pecunia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #238 on: June 06, 2018, 04:41:35 PM »
Seems to me a lot of you people are looking at statistics and using it to justify that things aren't really on the downslide.  Things are said similar to, "It's always been bad for some people."  This is true.

Does it have to be that way?  Look around you.  Look at the innovations that have occurred.  Look at the gains in production in almost any area of human endeavor.

There should not need to be a justification that we are not on a downward slide.  The discussion should really be the slope of the upward climb.  Unfortunately, it seems that no statistical evidence has been put forth by you guys showing such a truth.

Right wing propaganda used to use the phrase, "A rising tide lifts all boats."  (Perhaps submarines were exempted.)

These are supposed to be good times.  There is relatively low unemployment.  Where is that rising tide?

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #239 on: June 06, 2018, 04:49:10 PM »
There should not need to be a justification that we are not on a downward slide.  The discussion should really be the slope of the upward climb.  Unfortunately, it seems that no statistical evidence has been put forth by you guys showing such a truth.

Do you mean in the USA specifically? Because as a civilization and a species, things are honestly getting better, thanks in large part to those advances you mentioned.



Now I'd argue the top left isn't necessarily correlated with the world becoming a better place, but the other three certainly arge.

pecunia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #240 on: June 06, 2018, 05:32:34 PM »
Amazing man:

Quote
Now I'd argue the top left isn't necessarily correlated with the world becoming a better place, but the other three certainly arge.

I certainly would too and it is good to see things like that.   I believe the increase in literacy is synergistic with technological advancement.  Each advances the other and makes us all better off.

Yah - How about the United States.  I listen to Senator Bernie give speeches and he gives the same info every time about how the US is becoming disproportionate in many ways between those at the top and the rest of us.  Do you have these great graphs showing how it is getting better for all of us in the US?

Are there still guys out there like Norman Borlaug?  He is a man most of us have never heard of yet is credited with saving a billion lives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

Good news like you presented helps me not feel like a wage slave.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #241 on: June 06, 2018, 05:58:19 PM »
Not as dramatic as the world as a whole, but yes, there are still plenty of metrics by which life in the USA is continuing to get better. Lots of graphs so I'm putting this behind a spoiler tag so it doesn't mess up the thread.
Spoiler: show

Violent crime has been dropping since the late 80s/early 90s.



Back in 2016, inflation adjusted median household income in the USA finally passed its peak set all the way back in the 1990s.



Ugly graph but heartwarming data (children who get cancer are living longer and longer)



Say what you will about our healthcare system, but more americans have health insurance than in the past.



We're arresting and imprisoning fewer people for nonviolent drug crimes.





And yeah, I'm in complete agreement with you Borlaug is a great example of how science and technology advances really can translate pretty directly into vast reductions in the amount of human suffering in the world.

GetItRight

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 606
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #242 on: June 06, 2018, 06:57:11 PM »
Income tax is modern day slavery. They just figured out that traditional outright slavery is not profitable or sustainable, free range slaves that can choose their own path but pay in currency rather than labor are more profitable. Just enough freedom that the slave doesn't realize what he is, tax livestock.

Student loans collusion between government, banks, and schools are the latest way to keep the younger generations in check, nice and submissive.

dustinst22

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #243 on: June 06, 2018, 08:04:07 PM »
Not as dramatic as the world as a whole, but yes, there are still plenty of metrics by which life in the USA is continuing to get better. Lots of graphs so I'm putting this behind a spoiler tag so it doesn't mess up the thread.


Yep, I'd add a couple things as well to this list.  1) we're living in one of the greatest eras of global peace.  2) The cost of living has been going down (after inflation).  The average person today lives a higher quality of life than the wealthiest just a few decades ago.  Most things we consume have gone down in price over time.  This will continue to plummet.  https://singularityhub.com/2016/07/18/why-the-cost-of-living-is-poised-to-plummet-in-the-next-20-years/#sm.0001sqz5lq2jtfaxyqf22ojdw90v6
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 08:10:01 PM by dustinst22 »

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #244 on: June 06, 2018, 09:02:53 PM »
Those are some good ones, dustinst22.

Here's the graphic on the decline of warfare over time you mentioned.



The quality of life one is trickier to quantify. But yes, it'd take an awful lot of money to convince me to trade places with a person living with 1980s levels of conveniences and technologies.

There was a good article in the new york times about a year about about the challenge of accounting for that fact that modern conveniences, services, and technologies are getting both much better and more useful, and much cheaper at the same time.

Quote
Mr. Feldstein likes to illustrate his argument about G.D.P. by referring to the widespread use of statins, the cholesterol drugs that have reduced deaths from heart attacks. Between 2000 and 2007, he noted, the death rate from heart disease among those over 65 fell by one-third.

ďThis was a remarkable contribution to the publicís well-being over a relatively short number of years, and yet this part of the contribution of the new product is not reflected in real output or real growth of G.D.P.,Ē

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/business/economy/what-is-gdp-economy-alternative-measure.html

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #245 on: June 07, 2018, 06:00:27 AM »
Those are some good ones, dustinst22.

Here's the graphic on the decline of warfare over time you mentioned.



The quality of life one is trickier to quantify. But yes, it'd take an awful lot of money to convince me to trade places with a person living with 1980s levels of conveniences and technologies.

There was a good article in the new york times about a year about about the challenge of accounting for that fact that modern conveniences, services, and technologies are getting both much better and more useful, and much cheaper at the same time.

Quote
Mr. Feldstein likes to illustrate his argument about G.D.P. by referring to the widespread use of statins, the cholesterol drugs that have reduced deaths from heart attacks. Between 2000 and 2007, he noted, the death rate from heart disease among those over 65 fell by one-third.

ďThis was a remarkable contribution to the publicís well-being over a relatively short number of years, and yet this part of the contribution of the new product is not reflected in real output or real growth of G.D.P.,Ē

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/business/economy/what-is-gdp-economy-alternative-measure.html

The changes in safety of products over the years isn't counted either (for instance, vehicular accident death rates are down 45% in the last 40 years for instance, and injury rates are also much lower). What "amenities" are included in the standard "cost of living" continue to increase, but that increase in convenience isn't adjusted for when comparing cost of living (cell phones and flat screen color televisions weren't part of the cost of living in 1975, but are today). Additionally, when we talk about inflation adjusted income, there are other reasons we're not comparing apples to apples, such as the fact that CPI doesn't include taxes, yet the effective tax rate for the average household is 4-8% lower than it was just 20 years ago iirc.

EscapeVelocity2020

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1740
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Houston
    • EscapeVelocity2020
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #246 on: June 07, 2018, 08:19:10 AM »
A lot of this discussion is very similar to a really great Econ podcast that I link to here - http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2017/09/gabriel_zucman.html#more

Hopefully that moves us forward to new thoughts a little more quickly.

Some provocative parts of the discussion (all of it is really good though) -
Quote
In 1980, the bottom 50% income earners used to be about 10% richer in the United States than France. But, what has happened is that in France, since 1980, bottom 50% incomes have continued to grow at roughly the same rate as macroeconomic growth in France, when the United States has completely stagnated. As a result, now, the bottom 50% in France is significantly richer--has more income--than in the United States. And that is before taxes and transfers. And that, what makes this research particularly spectacular--I'm not talking about the generous welfare--French welfare state. That's not what's driving our results. Before tax and transfers. So looking just at market income, the bottom half of the distribution, half of the population now does better in France than in the United States.

Quote
In terms of who are the top earners, a lot of them are indeed corporate executives in various industries. So, finance is an important component; it is far from all of it. In lots of industries--in finance, in the health care industry, manufacturing. So, across the board--in the pharmaceutical industry--you've seen the pay of the top executives grow automatically faster than average worker pay. That's part of what's happening. But, the data we have now, getting back to our distributional national accounts, shows that most of the--now, the majority of the income of top 1% earners is not labor income. Is not wages and salaries and stock options and bond indices. It's actually capital income. And that's a relatively new development. In the 1980s, 1990s, the rise of U.S. income inequality was essentially driven by an increase in labor income inequality--the upsurge of top corporate executive pay. Since 2000, it's been very different: labor income inequality actually has not increased, might even have declined internally. All of the rise of the top 1% income share since 2000 owes to an increase in capital income, in the dividend income, corporate profits, interest that high-income earners get. And as important, because, of course, the forces that shape the distribution of labor income and the distribution of wealth and capital income are quite different. And so if you want to understand rising inequality in recent years in the United States, you need to ask yourself, 'Okay. Is coming from capital. So, what's the reason for that?' So, one potential explanation is that these high-labor incomes of the 1980s, 1990s, have been saved at a pretty high rate, and so these high earners have been accumulating quite a lot of wealth. That wealth itself, it generates some return; and so capital income, which in turn is flow of capital income, is being saved at high rates. So, wealth further accumulates and capital income concentrations further increases. And, I think that this is what is happening in the United States at the moment. Not everything corresponds to that. But that was not very important in the 1980s and 1990s. Now it's becoming very important. Capital income at the top is more important than labor income.




EscapeVelocity2020

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1740
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Houston
    • EscapeVelocity2020
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #247 on: June 07, 2018, 07:26:04 PM »
Wow, a whole day without a reply?  Is it complacency until shit hits fan (I mean, the stock market is doing OK and there are plenty of petty Republican vs. 'whatever they are upset about this morning' things going on).

This is seriously 'consider moving to another country or exercise your proxy vote ASAP' stuff to me, but I'm getting a very complacent vibe from fellow Mustachians.

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2546
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #248 on: June 07, 2018, 07:52:47 PM »
Wow, a whole day without a reply?  Is it complacency until shit hits fan (I mean, the stock market is doing OK and there are plenty of petty Republican vs. 'whatever they are upset about this morning' things going on).

This is seriously 'consider moving to another country or exercise your proxy vote ASAP' stuff to me, but I'm getting a very complacent vibe from fellow Mustachians.

What do you want us to say?

The world is generally getting better for the people who live in it, but it's getting better slower for the average american than for people in some other countries.

Among americans, life is clearly getting better for above average americans substantially faster than below average americans. To me that's not inherently evil, but I do agree it increases the chances of substantial political unrest ranging from you basic riots and burning things to your tianamen square massacres, and on up to your french revolutions and such.

If we genuinely appear headed for a French Revolution or Weimar Republic type situation, I'd like to plan to get out, although I've been reading more and more about both events (also the economic collapse in Argentina) and it is striking how clearly hard it was for people who were living through it to ever come across a line in the sand that said "that's it, thing's aren't getting any better, they are only getting worse, get out while you still can."

So since it seems like my first plan is unlikely to go into effect in time if we end up in a situation where it might be needed, my backup plan is to make sure that, based my lifestyle, appearance, behavior, language, and political and religious views stated when they're attached to my real name, I clearly come across as not being part of the 0.1%, the 1%, or the 9.9%. And that's a plan I put into action every day of my life (fits well with pursuing FIRE as it happens).

dustinst22

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #249 on: June 07, 2018, 07:56:30 PM »
Agree with maizeman.  I don't think it is complacency, I think the world is currently better than it's ever been.  I also think there is more opportunity in this country than there has ever been.  But I am pretty bothered by the thread title.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 08:00:49 PM by dustinst22 »