Author Topic: Modern Day Slavery  (Read 15940 times)

Paul der Krake

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #250 on: June 07, 2018, 08:17:55 PM »
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.
Which countries have you identified where CEOs don't make many, many times their workers' wages?

PDXTabs

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #251 on: June 07, 2018, 08:19:13 PM »
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.

I am doing very well right now, so I'm counting the days until my youngest is 21 and I feel free to downshift and move to southern Europe. But I absolutely have a stack of up to date passports, a bunch of loaded magazines, and an autoloading rifle (real socialists own Kalashnikovs).

maizeman

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #252 on: June 07, 2018, 08:23:55 PM »
But I absolutely have a stack of up to date passports, a bunch of loaded magazines, and an autoloading rifle (real socialists own Kalashnikovs).

It absolutely amazes me how many people don't bother to keep their passports up to date (or to get one at all).

Although I have to admit I'm curious how many passports constitute a stack.

PDXTabs

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #253 on: June 07, 2018, 08:25:43 PM »
It absolutely amazes me how many people don't bother to keep their passports up to date (or to get one at all).

Although I have to admit I'm curious how many passports constitute a stack.

Five people with six passports (I have US and UK), plus passport cards, plus Nexus card, plus enhanced drivers license.

EDITed to add - with my UK citizenship all I really need to do is get to the UK embassy in Vancouver, BC and I'm home free (but maybe they would close the border with enough unrest).
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 08:46:57 PM by PDXTabs »

dang1

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #254 on: June 08, 2018, 05:13:03 AM »
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.
..

If we genuinely appear headed for a French Revolution or Weimar Republic type situation, I'd like to plan to get out..

if that situation ever happens, likely the United States will cease to be a country be then. Just move to the area that best suits your taste.

pecunia

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #255 on: June 08, 2018, 05:22:20 PM »
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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."

Last week I spent the week working with guys from Venezuela and Columbia.  It kind of amazed me that over 15 percent of the people in Venezuela have left that country.  One of the guys said he got to the US and was digging ditches, cutting brush, whatever to get by.  He left because he didn't want his 6 year old daughter growing up with the BS system.

It kind of made me think that to keep things good here, we've got to keep our politicians in check.  People don't ever think the manure could hit the fan in the US, but I wouldn't bet that it couldn't.  Lots of evidence was provided that as an aggregate, things are getting better.  Past performance is no guarantee of the future also getting better returns.  For a single country, things can get worse.

In a lot of countries, the guys on top are not necessarily on the side of the people.  I think we may suffer from some of that condition at the present time.

maizeman

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #256 on: June 08, 2018, 05:41:52 PM »
Last week I spent the week working with guys from Venezuela and Columbia.  It kind of amazed me that over 15 percent of the people in Venezuela have left that country.  One of the guys said he got to the US and was digging ditches, cutting brush, whatever to get by.  He left because he didn't want his 6 year old daughter growing up with the BS system.

It kind of amazes me that it's only 15%.

People are genuinely starving in Venezuela right now.

The average Venezualan has apparently lost about 24 pounds of body weight in 2017. And that was after losing about 16 pounds in 2016.*

In 2012, 1 in 5,000 children in venezuela died before reaching the age of 4 weeks. In 2015 1 in 50 children died in their first four weeks after birth. And then they stopped published the statistics.**

*Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-food/venezuelans-report-big-weight-losses-in-2017-as-hunger-hits-idUSKCN1G52HA

**Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/17/world/americas/venezuela-children-starving.html

ChpBstrd

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #257 on: June 08, 2018, 10:15:59 PM »
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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."

Last week I spent the week working with guys from Venezuela and Columbia.  It kind of amazed me that over 15 percent of the people in Venezuela have left that country.  One of the guys said he got to the US and was digging ditches, cutting brush, whatever to get by.  He left because he didn't want his 6 year old daughter growing up with the BS system.

It kind of made me think that to keep things good here, we've got to keep our politicians in check.  People don't ever think the manure could hit the fan in the US, but I wouldn't bet that it couldn't.  Lots of evidence was provided that as an aggregate, things are getting better.  Past performance is no guarantee of the future also getting better returns.  For a single country, things can get worse.

In a lot of countries, the guys on top are not necessarily on the side of the people.  I think we may suffer from some of that condition at the present time.

One old theory was that democracies are more unstable in small countries with homogenous populations with common vulnerabilities that can be all persuaded in the same direction at the same time (i.e. to tolerate the rise of a dictator). Aside from tribes, this describes the plight of several Latin American and African countries. It also describes somewhat ethnically homogenous big countries that have fallen into dictatorship like Russia, China, or 1930s Germany. The smaller the country, the easier it is for a dictator to capture.

If this is true, democracies need to be big and diverse to survive in the long term. When people talk about fleeing the U.S. and going to Canada, Britain, or New Zealand, they are talking about giving up the stabilizing ballast of size and diversity, moving to inherently less stable places.

Of course, recent events challenge this theory. The only democracy to tentatively emerge from the Arab Spring was tiny Tunisia. Meanwhile, the formerly big and stable U.S. has descended to the point of locking thousands of suspected immigrant children in dog kennels away from their parents.

My working theory is that democracy dies when enough people have become convinced that all problems are the fault of some insidious "other", be it the 1% for left wingers, minorities for right wingers, or government for libertarians. At that point, nobody is even asking how we could solve a problem or make life better. They're asking how to crush the "other" who is to blame for all dissatisfactions in life. Because the laws of a republic protect the "other", a strongman is needed who is willing to break or overturn the old rules.

Only 15% escaped because they had houses to sell or savings or businesses or families. Then the value of everything collapsed within a matter of weeks or months and there was no money even for plane tickets. If you wait too long to leave, it's too late.

In Nov. 2016, I wrote down several red lines and created a history-based scoring system that crosses a threshold to trigger fleeing. I hope I have the guts and the time to get my family out in time, if my scoring sheet says go. I don't know where to go, but a pragmatic population would count for a lot.

maizeman

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #258 on: June 08, 2018, 11:39:33 PM »
Only 15% escaped because they had houses to sell or savings or businesses or families. Then the value of everything collapsed within a matter of weeks or months and there was no money even for plane tickets. If you wait too long to leave, it's too late.

In Nov. 2016, I wrote down several red lines and created a history-based scoring system that crosses a threshold to trigger fleeing. I hope I have the guts and the time to get my family out in time, if my scoring sheet says go. I don't know where to go, but a pragmatic population would count for a lot.

If you are comfortable sharing, I'd be curious what your own red lines are. I still haven't come up with any good ones of my own.

For Venezuela, my understanding is many people are walking to and crossing the border into Colombia with essentially nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Even if you have the money for a plane, fewer and fewer planes are flying out of Caracas because of both attacks and robberies of flight crews as well as contaminated fuel and crumbling runways.

pecunia

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #259 on: June 09, 2018, 07:52:00 AM »
Beat me up.

In my very brief look at the history of South America, it seems like it has been plagued with dictatorships and bad monetary policies of some sort.  I asked the guys from Venezuela as to what they manufactured there and there wasn't much.  They told me they bought their gasoline from abroad.

Now it just seems to me that if I were a half brained dictator with a country full of oil and people that I wanted to keep employed that one of the first things I'd do would be to build me one of those oil refineries.  You know, where they crack barrels of oil and good jobs are provided to Texans and the folks in Louisiana.  Then I'd see about making plastics and stuff.  The people would be working and "value added products" would be produced.  The oil would then produce more revenue than just selling it as oil.

If the price of oil plummeted, you would still have the goods to sell.

Right now - with all of those people leaving the country, it looks like a prime opportunity for some of these 1 per centers to move in give people jobs using the oil and thus increasing their vast stashes.  Where are those Koch brothers when you need them?

Come to think of it, where are these international trade organizations when these countries get themselves in a financial hole?  All you ever hear about is these organizations handing the countries a shovel to dig the hole deeper.

The charts and graphs in the posts above showed that things are getting better for the aggregate of the human population.  However, I think today's leaders may not be as bright as the men you read about in the history books.

maizeman

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #260 on: June 09, 2018, 08:57:44 AM »
Right now - with all of those people leaving the country, it looks like a prime opportunity for some of these 1 per centers to move in give people jobs using the oil and thus increasing their vast stashes.  Where are those Koch brothers when you need them?

Generally rich wealthy individuals and big companies avoid investing in countries where the government frequently nationalizes everything from whole industries to individual hotels that don't offer the government a good enough price,* impose unfavorable exchange rates if you try to buy things inside the country with international currencies,** and currency controls if you ever try to move money out of the country.***

* From oil wells to cement factors and steel mills, and from grocery stores to private hotels.

** Until February of this year, Venezuela maintained that the official exchange rate of 10 bolivars to 1 dollar, while, if you exchanged bolivars and dollars on the black (free) market the exchange rate was anywhere from 20,000:1 to 100,000:1. Since February the official exchange rate has dropped to 80,000:1, but the black (free) market rate has dropped to something like 2,000,000:1.

*** One of the (many) reasons fewer and fewer airlines are willing to fly people out of Venezuela is that the major airlines had ~$4 billion in profits that the government simply decided they weren't allowed to either take out of the country, or even use to pay for refueling their planes.

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Come to think of it, where are these international trade organizations when these countries get themselves in a financial hole?  All you ever hear about is these organizations handing the countries a shovel to dig the hole deeper.

Venezuela has been offered aid from all sorts of groups: the US, the Catholic Church, neighboring latin american countries even the venezuelan refuges who have made it to other countries and pooled their money. They generally don't accept it, presumably because the government sees accepting foreign aid as an acknowledgement of the fact their approach to government isn't working.

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The charts and graphs in the posts above showed that things are getting better for the aggregate of the human population.  However, I think today's leaders may not be as bright as the men you read about in the history books.

Well that sort of makes sense when you consider the impact of a major source of ascertainment bias: Most leaders never accomplish anything of sufficient significance to make it into the history books.

As a result the leaders you read about in history books tend to be only the extremely effective ones (or the truly terrible ones). while the leaders you see in the world today represent the total distribution from intelligent and effective to dumb, or ineffective, or both.

pecunia

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #261 on: June 09, 2018, 10:09:23 AM »
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Venezuela has been offered aid from all sorts of groups: the US, the Catholic Church, neighboring latin american countries even the venezuelan refuges who have made it to other countries and pooled their money. They generally don't accept it, presumably because the government sees accepting foreign aid as an acknowledgement of the fact their approach to government isn't working.

Yah, well, you'd think with the mass exodus they would have kinda sorta figured it out by now.  Makes me wonder if they are in the running for the Darwin awards.

maizeman

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #262 on: June 09, 2018, 10:41:57 AM »
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Venezuela has been offered aid from all sorts of groups: the US, the Catholic Church, neighboring latin american countries even the venezuelan refuges who have made it to other countries and pooled their money. They generally don't accept it, presumably because the government sees accepting foreign aid as an acknowledgement of the fact their approach to government isn't working.

Yah, well, you'd think with the mass exodus they would have kinda sorta figured it out by now.  Makes me wonder if they are in the running for the Darwin awards.

The political leadership in Venezuela isn't missing any meals. Darwin awards are for when people's stupidity leads to their own death.

When they're killing other people, there's a different word for it. 

dang1

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #263 on: June 09, 2018, 11:49:56 AM »
maybe the current Venezuelan regime is emulating the Vietnamese model: after the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese left Vietnam- especially those who might threaten the new unified Vietnam the most. The rulers of the new unified Vietnam consolidated power. Then slowly allowed back capitalism, foreign money amid a state-controlled currently booming economy.

OtherJen

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #264 on: June 09, 2018, 12:06:30 PM »
maybe the current Venezuelan regime is emulating the Vietnamese model: after the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese left Vietnam- especially those who might threaten the new unified Vietnam the most. The rulers of the new unified Vietnam consolidated power. Then slowly allowed back capitalism, foreign money amid a state-controlled currently booming economy.

Yep. My best friend and her family escaped Vietnam by boat in the late 70s; it was that or become political prisoners. They’ve only been able to return safely in the last few years.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #265 on: June 10, 2018, 09:20:23 AM »
I just talked to a Libyan friend of mine.  She told me that in Libya, right now, they literally still have slavery.  Of course it's not technically legal but still very common in Libya. 

Hargrove

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #266 on: June 10, 2018, 10:44:24 AM »
The silly thing about these threads is that they invite everyone to misconstrue an issue hyperbolically (and we enthusiastically do!).

Saying "want more money? Get better skills!" is reasonable for an individual, but on the social policy level, it's trickier than that, because people and societies are complicated and have different abilities. The number of jobs available and cost of skill acquisition both matter, as does aptitude for skill acquisition and geographic availability of skills and their respective jobs. If 50% of all low-wage workers nailed that challenge even given low resources, society would obviously still have low-wage workers. At some point, people consciously or unconsciously determine what this inevitable low-wage worker "deserves." Unfortunately, humanity is uniquely awful at determining what the rest of humanity "deserves."

It shouldn't be that hard to agree that inequality is eventually a peril to any society, generally because it tends to have a steady trajectory (there is no "rich enough"). It shouldn't be too hard to agree, either, that traditional means of skill acquisition like college became a fleecing ground (and that's probably bad for society). It's ALSO valuable to point out that the individual ethos to work hard to get ahead is the most direct and practical way to improve your situation, even when its rewards aren't shared evenly, and you're doing yourself a gross disservice to give up that ethos no matter what rung you're on.

But no, it's not slavery, and it's insulting to slaves to equate the two, even if it satisfies an indignant impulse.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 10:55:20 AM by Hargrove »

pecunia

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #267 on: June 10, 2018, 06:57:27 PM »
Hargrove:

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It shouldn't be that hard to agree that inequality is eventually a peril to any society, generally because it tends to have a steady trajectory (there is no "rich enough").

This article says that the US no longer has the social mobility of other nations.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/economic-mobility-united-states-compared-europe-scandinavia/

From Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility
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Thomas Piketty (2014) finds that wealth-income ratios, today, seem to be returning to very high levels in low economic growth countries, similar to what he calls the "classic patrimonial" wealth-based societies of the 19th century wherein a minority lives off its wealth while the rest of the population works for subsistence living.[34]

Having a few rich folk and the rest poor is similar to the old feudal societies.

I think there is a chance that technology will upset this trend.  Technology produces opportunities for people to become very successful and raise their social status.

Is there actually less opportunity for one to improve his lot in today's culture?  Seems like the very existence of this web site is proof that through thrift and wise investing that you can change your lot.


Hargrove

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #268 on: June 10, 2018, 08:48:00 PM »
I think we agree.

The individual has the capacity to change his or her lot. No personal philosophy is very good that discounts this.

There are also good reasons for policy makers to be interested in significant changes to socioeconomic conditions. These are irrelevant to the idea that an individual can change his or her lot. When it comes to policy, dealing with a sum of individuals of varying capacities and inclinations, you're treating the question of what people do more generally (and how to affect it, effectively, for good). In that context, an individual's absolute capability doesn't matter. That is, unless it's used as a tool to withhold from one group or another (the tool being to say a group doesn't deserve whatever the speaker would like to withhold from them).

ChpBstrd

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #269 on: June 10, 2018, 09:00:16 PM »
The charts and graphs in the posts above showed that things are getting better for the aggregate of the human population.  However, I think today's leaders may not be as bright as the men you read about in the history books.

Democracy is a lot more widespread than it was decades ago. Thus, the people have more opportunities to make mistakes. There is this misconception that democracy is a way of finding the best leader.
Actually, democracy is a way of making people accountable for their own voting decisions while also preventing civil wars. Elect an idiot, pay the consequences.

I suspect the recent trend to democracies electing horrible leaders or dictators-to-be is related to new media technologies and an increase in ideology as opposed to pragmatism. If you're making voting decisions based on what you see on Facebook (which is to say you are a FB user) or you watch lots of TV ads, you're probably part of the problem. These ads and "viral posts" are bought by people whose interests are different than most people's, which is why they have to buy ads. Also, increased media consumption leads people to huddle in ideological bubbles, resulting in polarization. When you're arguing about whose fault it is (minorities or the 1%) you aren't even trying to solve a problem.

pecunia

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Re: Modern Day Slavery
« Reply #270 on: June 12, 2018, 07:14:40 PM »
CheapBstrd:
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Democracy is a lot more widespread than it was decades ago. Thus, the people have more opportunities to make mistakes.

Recent history seems to be proving you correct.  It brings the story back to Venezuela.  I watched a bit of a documentary about Hugo Chavez.  He was certainly a charismatic leader.  He promised the people to improve their lot.  Due to oil money, he was able to throw them some good bones.  Conditions certainly deteriorated so his policies rested on a foundation of straw.  The guy had his own weekly TV show.  he was a master of manipulating the media. 

Most people do not have time to truly study their candidates.  A lot of people only take a passing interest.  Better looking candidates have a decided advantage although they may not be the better candidate. 

The use of money by huge corporations can certainly put the right spin out to cause a person to vote against their economic self interests.