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General Discussion => Welcome and General Discussion => Topic started by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 26, 2018, 11:40:35 PM

Title: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 26, 2018, 11:40:35 PM
This aspect of Capitalism has always bothered me:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/business/highest-paid-ceos-2017.html

Quote
A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive, was awarded in 2017.

Sadly, that's not the most egregious example of how American CEO's earn vs. the rank and file employees.  If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 

So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?  We are not only not playing a game that an average person can no longer 'win', we are playing a game that no longer benefits from everyone's participation.  Now we are being told that our superiors are winning for us and we are no longer encouraged to participate.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: shuffler on May 27, 2018, 12:14:37 AM
If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 
... no.  Not by a mile.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 27, 2018, 05:22:45 AM
This path you suggest has been tried before.... unsuccessfully. Hopefully the world can avoid relearning this fact over and over again.

As flawed as capitalism is, it has proven better than other systems. The market rewards those workers with more skills. If you want improve your pay ratio to a CEO? Get more skills.


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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Accidental Fire on May 27, 2018, 05:58:28 AM
If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 
... no.  Not by a mile.

Exactly.... not by a country mile
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: terran on May 27, 2018, 06:01:12 AM
Sadly, that's not the most egregious example of how American CEO's earn vs. the rank and file employees.  If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 

Really, seriously? I don't know about you, but I've never seen a Walmart employee raped, beaten, or killed by their "master" for, well, anything. Definitely not the same thing.

My takeaway: that's not actually that bad money. I could live on that.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Mustache ride on May 27, 2018, 06:03:24 AM

As flawed as capitalism is, it has proven better than other systems. The market rewards those workers with more skills. If you want improve your pay ratio to a CEO? Get more skills.


Exactly.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: solon on May 27, 2018, 06:38:28 AM
Did you know that slavery still exists in the world today? Literal, actual slavery.

This website gives a definition of slavery, https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/
Quote
Someone is in slavery if they are:
  • forced to work – through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
  • owned or controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

I agree with everyone else here that this doesn't sound anything like what Walmart is doing.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Knapptyme on May 27, 2018, 06:49:46 AM
Upon learning this stuff about Walmart years ago, my wife and I simply started voting by the almighty dollar and stopped shopping there entirely. No, I don't think it's slavery per se, but I think it's wrong.

(They have a lot of other unethical practices that make them lots of money at the top. I'll save that for a another time or feel free to watch the documentary, Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices.)

And yes, actual slavery does still exist which is also abhorrent. International Justice Mission is a good cause to support to combat that.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Indexer on May 27, 2018, 08:22:20 AM
As noted, not slavery.

In addition, if Wal-Mart treats their employees so terrible, why do they work there? With slavery, they would be forced to work there. They aren't, they can go seek different employment anytime they want. They are likely there because they don't have any marketable skills to get a job anywhere that pays more.

In highschool, I worked for a restaurant. A couple people quit that job so they could go work at Walmart instead. It was a $0.50 per hour pay difference($8.00 VS $7.50/hr), which they thought was awesome at the time. The restaurant gig was a fun job. However, working with people twice my age was a huge reminder that I had to finish HS and get a college degree, because I didn't want to still be there 20 years later.

Minimum wage and barely above minimum wage jobs pay very little. I see two solutions. 1. The employees acquire marketable skills to get better jobs. For many, this means finishing high school. 2. The rest of us pay significantly more for purchases at Wal-Mart, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Or, we have UBI and we all pay higher taxes. People at different ends of the political spectrum might like one answer over the other, and I'm not trying to start a debate between the two... I just don't see any other solutions.

Some math and perspective: WalMart CEO = 22.2 million. Average employee= $19,177. WalMart has 2.3 million employees. If the CEO was paid $0 each employee would get a $9.65 per YEAR raise. Yes, he is paid a lot, but also responsible for millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars. If Doug(CEO) makes smart decisions and WalMart grows, then those 2.3 million employees likely have more job security. If he makes bad decisions and Walmart goes under, then those 2.3 million employees likely would be happy to pay $10/yr to still have their jobs. I personally, would be happy to pay $10/year to have an awesome CEO over a mediocre CEO.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on May 27, 2018, 08:34:27 AM
It's not even in the same ballpark as slavery, and it's not wrong.  I support the free market determining wages and oppose increases in minimum wage at all levels of government, universal basic income, and ideas like Bernie Sanders' manufactured government jobs that pay too much.  Walmart actually pays pretty well as it is.

As others have said, if you want better pay, get better skills.


Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 27, 2018, 09:10:54 AM
If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 
... no.  Not by a mile.

I think a better example would be people in Texas getting 10 years in prison for simple possession of cannabis (no intent to distribute). Then, they get their sentence cut in half if they literally pick cotton for four or five years.

But yes, America has always had a slave class. Right now we are struggling to figure out who will occupy it next. On the left we have the school to prison pipeline which is predominantly occupied by people of color. On the right we have the disappearance of good blue collar jobs and debts that can never be discharged in bankruptcy.

EDITed to add, we wrote it right into the 13th Amendment:

Quote
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ChpBstrd on May 27, 2018, 09:15:08 AM
As a reader of Frederick Douglas, I don't think what we're seeing is slavery. The term serfdom might apply though.

Here's a very interesting read for an alternative perspective. I know we Americans tend to equate smarts with goodness, but what about the people who can't get good grades? i.e. the half of the population who are below average at the skills that pay a lot of money today?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/the-war-on-stupid-people/485618/ (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/the-war-on-stupid-people/485618/)

The point of the article is that automation has eliminated many of the economic opportunities for people who lack academic ability or educational credentials. They might be good at 1,000 other things (i.e. possess multiple intelligences), but if they can't compete for a handful of high-paying 21st century professions, there are fewer and fewer other jobs that pay a middle-class wage. Factories are run by engineers and robots now, farm automation has eliminated almost all agricultural jobs, autonomous cars and semi trucks might eliminate millions of driving jobs, and Amazon.com might soon make the Walmart greeter as obsolete as the full-service gas station attendant.

The concern is, how do we expect such people to vote when they see a caste system emerging in which they will be at the bottom? Well, of course they want to tear down democracy and capitalism.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Maenad on May 27, 2018, 09:18:45 AM
In addition, if Wal-Mart treats their employees so terrible, why do they work there? With slavery, they would be forced to work there. They aren't, they can go seek different employment anytime they want. They are likely there because they don't have any marketable skills to get a job anywhere that pays more.

This is a somewhat facile argument. There are plenty of areas in the US where 1 or 2 employers like Wal-Mart have the population under their thumb, since there is nowhere else to work within a long commute distance. It's awfully easy for those of us with cushy middle-class or upper-middle-class jobs to say, "Just get another job". It's frequently not that easy. Similarly, "Develop better skills" is flippant and mean to people who just can't. Some people simply aren't able to, due to innate intelligence, mental health issues, etc.

Huge wage disparities are politically destabilizing. Just as humanity has tried to forcibly level the playing field and it's worked terribly, letting huge disparities form between the haves and have-nots also works terribly. Enlightened self-interest should lead us to find a balance where there are incentives to excel yet those who are unable aren't living in fear of starvation and homelessness.

But calling the kind of imbalance we currently see "slavery" is hyperbolic in the extreme. Have you actually read any accounts of chattel slavery in the US in the past, or modern versions scattered throughout the world? Horrific doesn't begin to describe it. Calling Wal-Mart's wage imbalance "slavery" is minimizing the horror that millions of humans have gone through.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: markbike528CBX on May 27, 2018, 09:34:47 AM
As noted, not slavery.

.....big snip........

Some math and perspective: WalMart CEO = 22.2 million. Average employee= $19,177. WalMart has 2.3 million employees. If the CEO was paid $0 each employee would get a $9.65 per YEAR raise. Yes, he is paid a lot, but also responsible for millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars. If Doug(CEO) makes smart decisions and WalMart grows, then those 2.3 million employees likely have more job security. If he makes bad decisions and Walmart goes under, then those 2.3 million employees likely would be happy to pay $10/yr to still have their jobs. I personally, would be happy to pay $10/year to have an awesome CEO over a mediocre CEO.

Despite the $10/ year difference, for the few individual stocks I own, I always vote against the executive compensation package.   Not a Walmart stockholder.  But now I'll feel a little bit better if I'm lazy and don't vote.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ExitViaTheCashRamp on May 27, 2018, 10:32:04 AM
I speak from a position of mustachian privilege. I have been absurdly fortunate over my life:

1) Born in a rich, 'free' country
2) Benefited from good state education
3) Lucky enough to go to university without meaningful debts
4) Had parents who whilst... a little odd.. did parent me well enough.
5) Enjoyed secure almost uninterrupted employment for 19 years.
6) Found a spouse that is mustachian too and rejects the vast majority of the expectations forced on women (hair, make-up, clothes, shoes, social climbing.. e.t.c.)

 Compared to the rest of the world, I'm fair bit over the line for the top 1% for income (> £25,000) and also fair bit over the line for 2% for wealth (>£300,000 iirc).

 However compared to the rich folks of my country - my income and wealth are small beer. The key of course is to realise that you are rich compared to most of humanity - especially if you compare yourself to all humanity that has ever been. So what if a tiny percent of the world is hugely richer than you - just by living in the west you are absurdly richer than almost everyone else in the world -- even if you are on minimum wage. You can double this value if you count opportunities for entertainment, freedom of religion, actually having free time to do as you wish in your total 'wealth'.

 Whining you are 1000x poorer than rich man across the street is just sickening when you are still richer than most of the rest of humanity.

 Last thought: 1 in 3 humans alive today does not have access to a safe toilet.  https://www.toilettwinning.org (https://www.toilettwinning.org)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 27, 2018, 10:47:47 AM
Whining you are 1000x poorer than rich man across the street is just sickening when you are still richer than most of the rest of humanity.

Which EU nation are you in and what is your poverty rate for high school dropouts? Because here in the US it is 34.7%.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: big_slacker on May 27, 2018, 11:12:53 AM
People have brought it up already, but I'll pile on. Comparing the CEO of an industry leading multinational to that of a part time checker has WHAT to do with slavery again? The ratio isn't the issue. If the issue is standard of living, address that. If the issue is limited upward mobility, address that. But stop with the bitterness and jealousy.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 27, 2018, 11:25:54 AM
So are within-company pay disparities any different ethically from between-company (or between-country) pay disparities?

Consider a company with two employees: Employee #1, who develops and sells some super fancy HFT software-as-a-service and makes $25M/year, and Employee #2 who is an IT specialist and maintains the giant racks of servers the HFT software runs on and makes $45,000/year.

The company is named and shamed in the media for its extreme pay disparities, and ultimately decides that they way to avoid any more trouble is to outsource all of their computing needs "to the cloud" so hire a local hosting company to provide a bunch virtual servers. Employee #2 is laid off, but fortunately is able to find a new job at that same local hosting company, paying the same $45,000/year, but at this company, the highest paid employee is the CEO who pulled in $270,000/year.

In the second situation, within-company pay disparities drop dramatically. But if the first situation was bad, is the second situation an improvement?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: CogentCap on May 27, 2018, 11:27:27 AM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.) 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ender on May 27, 2018, 11:44:57 AM
Are incomes a zero sum game?

OP sure seems to think so.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: scottish on May 27, 2018, 12:25:57 PM
If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 
... no.  Not by a mile.

I think a better example would be people in Texas getting 10 years in prison for simple possession of cannabis (no intent to distribute). Then, they get their sentence cut in half if they literally pick cotton for four or five years.

But yes, America has always had a slave class. Right now we are struggling to figure out who will occupy it next. On the left we have the school to prison pipeline which is predominantly occupied by people of color. On the right we have the disappearance of good blue collar jobs and debts that can never be discharged in bankruptcy.

EDITed to add, we wrote it right into the 13th Amendment:

Quote
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

About this:   and debts that can never be discharged in bankruptcy.

What debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy?   Are these student loans?

I had always thought the US was good at dissolving debt obligations in bankruptcy.   
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: RWD on May 27, 2018, 12:34:57 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

Apparently if I'm like the average American then there are 11 billion slaves supporting the United States alone... Somehow I am skeptical of the results of that survey.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 27, 2018, 01:02:05 PM
About this:   and debts that can never be discharged in bankruptcy.

What debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy?   Are these student loans?

I had always thought the US was good at dissolving debt obligations in bankruptcy.

Yes, it is actually one of the founding tenants of the country and is mentioned in article 1 of the constitution. This is attributed to the debtors prisons that they remembered from the old world. However, since 2005 student loan debt has not been dischargeable in bankruptcy.

EDITed to add, and it is about to be a really big deal: Analysis: Student loan debt and an astonishing number no one’s talking about (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/making-sense/analysis-student-loan-debt-and-an-astonishing-number-no-ones-talking-about).

re EDITed to add: and you don't even need to reach the age of majority. In many states you can easily be admitted to college starting at the age of 16, complete with non-dischargable student loans.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Paul der Krake on May 27, 2018, 02:18:23 PM
Not enough hyperbole in this thread.

Where is the OUTRAGE about the ECONOMIC TRAITORS of the SELFISH BOOMER GENERATION? They saddled their KIDS with INDENTURED DEBT SERVITUDE and the SHACKLES OF INEQUALITY will only be taken off with a VIOLENT UPRISING.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on May 27, 2018, 02:42:44 PM
Not enough hyperbole in this thread.

Where is the OUTRAGE about the ECONOMIC TRAITORS of the SELFISH BOOMER GENERATION? They saddled their KIDS with INDENTURED DEBT SERVITUDE and the SHACKLES OF INEQUALITY will only be taken off with a VIOLENT UPRISING.

I hope you're being cynical - not serious, although some have made similar comments in the past and actually mean it, and they make a generalization about the entire generation, but it's pretty low painting everyone who happens to be born within a loosely defined range of years as selfish.  I know many boomers that are the exact opposite of selfish.  Being an early generation x American, I have much higher regard for the generations that came before me than the whiny and entitled people who make up most of the generations that came after mine, but I'm not going to paint all of them with the same brush.  Enough of this generational warfare.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 27, 2018, 04:16:10 PM
The excesses of capitalism are bad, but they're not literal slavery. And FYI, there still is actual, literal slavery in the world today. In fact there are more slaves in the world today then there were at the start of the Civil War (total, not per capita).

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

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: SwordGuy on May 27, 2018, 04:58:31 PM
I know we Americans tend to equate smarts with goodness, but what about the people who can't get good grades? i.e. the half of the population who are below average at the skills that pay a lot of money today?


If most Americans ACTUALLY TRIED LEARNING in school instead of INTENTIONALLY AVOIDING LEARNING IN ORDER TO BE COOL, we would discover that almost all of them would have adequate life skills that would positively impact their life.

But they don't. 

And we let them get away with it.

And worse, make excuses for it.

Almost every child has the raw ability to do basic arithmetic.   I'm not talking calculus or trig, just basic functions including fractions.   If they choose to learn it and choose to do their best on the work required, almost all will succeed.   A very small percentage won't.

Instead, we have a huge percentage of our high school graduates who cannot do simple addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.   They don't know how to do percentages or fractions.   And the root cause of that is that they were unwilling to do the work, their parents did not make them do the work, and schools passed them from grade to grade despite them not doing the work.

Our students have the same problem with reading (at all), much less reading comprehension or analytical thinking skills.   They actively avoid doing the work necessary to master the skills.   

We need a huge cultural change in our country to fix this problem.   

And part of it is to quit making excuses for people and, instead, expect them to learn what they are supposed to learn.   And then hold them accountable for doing so.


If someone legitimately did not get the resources they needed when growing up, then by all means, let's help them with those resources now.  (And fix it so other folks further back in the pipeline get the resources when they need them, not afterwards.)    But either way, once those resources are made available, people need to be expected to learn it and be held accountable for it.   The last thing people without the skills they need is someone making up an excuse for them not having them.  The first thing they need is a workable plan for them to get the skills they need.



Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 27, 2018, 06:08:22 PM

As flawed as capitalism is, it has proven better than other systems. The market rewards those workers with more skills. If you want improve your pay ratio to a CEO? Get more skills.


Exactly.


While I agree that low wages certainly don't equate to slavery . . . arguing that pure capitalism works well as a system is a bit funny considering how this thread started.

In a purely capitalist system, you would be allowed to buy slaves.  Government interference on this matter is rooted in socialism - specifically a need to control (prevent for moral reasons) the slave market.  The US system (like every functioning economic system in the world) is a mix of both capitalist and socialist ideas, holding each other in check.  Capitalism tends to provide drive to create/innovate, socialism tends to provide protection for the people.  Go to far into either direction, and your economic system will eventually run into trouble.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 27, 2018, 06:47:32 PM
When government becomes overly involved in the market place, unintended consequences result.

Government is necessary to insure fairness. However, more government generally results in a redistribution of wealth from those who work hard to those who take advantage of the system.

The key is to draw the line at a point that insures those that work hard enjoy the fruits of their labor. Those who do not work suffer the consequences. Nature is harsh on this point. Be productive and survive or be ineffective and perish.

This is the way of our world. We would all understand this if the electricity was shut off for one year. No internet, no refrigerator, no medication. Farm life circa 1888. Be productive to survive.

Sadly that is the way of the world.






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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 27, 2018, 07:33:57 PM
The key is to draw the line at a point that insures those that work hard enjoy the fruits of their labor. Those who do not work suffer the consequences. Nature is harsh on this point. Be productive and survive or be ineffective and perish.

Nature is barbaric. It's a terrible model to use as a moral standard. We should aim to structure society to still reward productivity without being winner-take-all, and we shouldn't be celebrating the thought of anyone perishing. Nobody consents to being born and nobody is born self-sufficient. Everybody needs help sometimes.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: katsiki on May 27, 2018, 07:56:55 PM
OP, feel free to read up on this wonderful organization helping to stop real slavery.

http://www.a21.org/content/who-we-are/
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: nick663 on May 27, 2018, 08:48:05 PM
The point of the article is that automation has eliminated many of the economic opportunities for people who lack academic ability or educational credentials. They might be good at 1,000 other things (i.e. possess multiple intelligences), but if they can't compete for a handful of high-paying 21st century professions, there are fewer and fewer other jobs that pay a middle-class wage. Factories are run by engineers and robots now, farm automation has eliminated almost all agricultural jobs, autonomous cars and semi trucks might eliminate millions of driving jobs, and Amazon.com might soon make the Walmart greeter as obsolete as the full-service gas station attendant.

The concern is, how do we expect such people to vote when they see a caste system emerging in which they will be at the bottom? Well, of course they want to tear down democracy and capitalism.
It's interesting to think that there were people that theorized that automation/mechanization of tasks would allow people to earn the same wage while working less hours.  What a wild world that would be.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 27, 2018, 08:48:42 PM
The key is to draw the line at a point that insures those that work hard enjoy the fruits of their labor. Those who do not work suffer the consequences. Nature is harsh on this point. Be productive and survive or be ineffective and perish.

Nature is barbaric. It's a terrible model to use as a moral standard. We should aim to structure society to still reward productivity without being winner-take-all, and we shouldn't be celebrating the thought of anyone perishing. Nobody consents to being born and nobody is born self-sufficient. Everybody needs help sometimes.

Nature is not winner take all. Nature is work to survive. This is a harsh reality.

Sadly it seems that any attempt to lessen this harsh fact results in abuses to generosity of others. Whether government or other charity it often seems to result in some abuse.

If there were 100 persons marooned on Gilliagans Island, how many would be able to game the system?  Those who would attempt would be quickly uncovered.

In an ideal world everyone would contribute what they are able. This would be good enough. Nature is not winner take all. It is do enough to survive. If the larger group could protect those who are working to the best of their ability, that would be enough for most of us.




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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 27, 2018, 09:04:56 PM
OK, obviously 'slavery' is not the right term for what I'm railing against (and I apologize to anyone experiencing slavery, but I doubt many of them are reading the MMM Forums).  I'll admit that, but 'inequality' seems inadequate for a situation where the head of the organization makes several working lifetimes more per year than the rank and file.  That the situation continues to get worse year in and year out is cause to wonder how far it will ultimately go.  In a way, Mustachianism / FIRE is a response to people (who can afford to) bucking this system, which I'm very supportive of.

And yes, Capitalism is a better system than Socialism and Communism, but that doesn't mean we blindly follow it to the bitter end and give a free pass to aspects which ultimately do more harm than good.

And yes, incomes are not a zero sum game, but the focus is meant to be on continually rising income disparity.

Thanks for the discussion, sorry I have not participated much yet. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 27, 2018, 09:06:03 PM
Nature is not winner take all. Nature is work to survive. This is a harsh reality.

Call it what you will. Nature is still barbaric, and we shouldn't be celebrating a harsh system. And we don't have to model our society around that system. We don't live on Gilligan's Island and our civilization is very far removed from nature. The whole point of this website is to help people achieve early retirement - life without work. And that's a good thing! If people don't like work and are capable of living comfortably without it, then that should be celebrated!

More and more jobs are being automated every day. That's also a good thing. But it's only a good thing to the subset of people who receive the fruits of that automation. In the coming decades AI is going to massively expand the set of jobs capable of being automated until eventually there's not going to be anything left that humans are better at than machines. Are you going to tell people "you must work to survive" when there's literally no work left to do?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 27, 2018, 09:28:55 PM
Nature is not winner take all. Nature is work to survive. This is a harsh reality.

Call it what you will. Nature is still barbaric, and we shouldn't be celebrating a harsh system. And we don't have to model our society around that system. We don't live on Gilligan's Island and our civilization is very far removed from nature. The whole point of this website is to help people achieve early retirement - life without work. And that's a good thing! If people don't like work and are capable of living comfortably without it, then that should be celebrated!

More and more jobs are being automated every day. That's also a good thing. But it's only a good thing to the subset of people who receive the fruits of that automation. In the coming decades AI is going to massively expand the set of jobs capable of being automated until eventually there's not going to be anything left that humans are better at than machines. Are you going to tell people "you must work to survive" when there's literally no work left to do?

Agreed - nature is barbaric.  This is not to be celebrated. We are not far from nature. Turn the power off for three weeks and see how far we are from nature. In our comfort we delude ourselves thinking that we are so far removed from the harshness of nature. We shop at the grocery store and lose touch with the source of where are food originates.

No work to do?  I disagree. There is much work to do. The tasks have changed but still exist. We no longer need a ferrier to shoe our horses or a wheel right to provide the wheels for our wagon. However we need controls engineers to program production lines to make the goods we purchase and store clerks to complete the transactions. Adapt- those that can move forward in this economy.

We have never been so rich. The consumerism is so much. We expect so much comfort. I wonder how much I and most others could do without.

Our civilization is about 21 days of no electricity from finding out all about nature.
Title: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 27, 2018, 09:36:08 PM
The OP highlighted the extreme differences in compensation from CEO to the bottom rung of the organization. I have no answer. NBA players are paid more than brain surgeons. It is what our society values.

Is it fair?  Probably not. The market is not perfect. It is just the best method we have at this time.

Highlighting the extreme difference in compensation does nothing to solve the problem. In fact our civilization is much better off than 100 years ago. We are all richer. Some more than others.




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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 27, 2018, 09:45:29 PM
No work to do?  I disagree. There is much work to do. The tasks have changed but still exist. We no longer need a ferrier to shoe our horses or a wheel right to provide the wheels for our wagon. However we need controls engineers to program production lines to make the goods we purchase and store clerks to complete the transactions. Adapt- those that can move forward in this economy.

Control engineers fall into the category ChpBstrd was discussing where there is plenty of demand, but not all the people who are losing jobs in factories or mid-level white collar office work are going to have the right combination of abilities and intelligences to become control engineers.

In contrast, a larger proportion of the population can learn to run a cash register, yet the need for store clerks is facing downward pressure from two directions:

On the one hand lots of big box retailers are moving to self-checkout lanes where one person might supervise and troubleshoot enough self checkout registers to do the work of 4-6 clerks in the old days.

Yet at the same time online retail is dramatically reducing the amount of spending that happens at brick and mortar stores. In 2017, 105M square feet of retail space closed in the USA. In 2018, we've already lost another 75M square feet of retail space from January to April, which puts us on pace to lose 225M square feet of retail space over the entire calendar year. To translate that into job losses a good rule of thumb is about 2.5 employees per 1,000 square ft of retail space.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: TUCKER0104 on May 28, 2018, 04:08:54 AM
What does capitalism have to do with CEOs getting paid a lot? I think people like to blame a lot of things on capitalism/free market but is it really capitalism that causes it?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 28, 2018, 06:25:42 AM
The market should adjust salaries for worker wages based on supply and demand. This should include CEO’s and all other job positions as well.

I have no direct knowledge of how the highest levels of executive pay are determined. It is an ultra competitive environment. I imagine a very small number of qualified candidates as determined by a Board of Directors.

As was pointed out, it is not valid to compare CEO pay to the pay of a part time entry level position. How about we compare Tom Brady’s pay to a part time vendor guy in section 221?

The trend in online retail vs brick and mortar is real.
The trend in high tech jobs are real.

The changes are happening quickly and it will be a challenge to fill the new positions. However, there are jobs out there in the economy.  We need carpenters, production workers who can interact with factory automation and even work side by side with robotic automation. We need service techs and healthcare workers......  on and on.

Enterprises that adapt and stay efficient will thrive. Those that do not adapt will close their doors. That is the market.

What won’t work is getting government involved and trying to solve the problem. Here is an example - let’s put a new tax on robots and use it to pay Universal Income Benefit to people who can not find a job. Right. That is going to turn out well.

Every organization has those people in them that are the All-Stars. They are at all levels bottom to top. They are the best waiters and cooks and managers and forklift drivers and even CEO. They should be rewarded. This is NOT modern day slavery.




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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 28, 2018, 07:34:50 AM
When government becomes overly involved in the market place, unintended consequences result.

Government is necessary to insure fairness. However, more government generally results in a redistribution of wealth from those who work hard to those who take advantage of the system.

The key is to draw the line at a point that insures those that work hard enjoy the fruits of their labor. Those who do not work suffer the consequences. Nature is harsh on this point. Be productive and survive or be ineffective and perish.

This is the way of our world. We would all understand this if the electricity was shut off for one year. No internet, no refrigerator, no medication. Farm life circa 1888. Be productive to survive.

Sadly that is the way of the world.

Let's say we've got a natural environment.  For the sake of simplicity it's an island.  There are some birds on the island which eat the mice, and some mice which eat some grain.  When a natural environment is in balance, the birds eat enough mice to keep the population from exploding and wiping out the grains.  The mice repopulate at a fast enough pace to keep the birds from starving.  The grain grows at a fast enough rate to avoid being wiped out by the mice.  All is good.

If you introduce a more productive predator to this ecosystem, say an aggressive mouse hunting snake, it would catch more mice than the birds.  The snake would have higher fertility rates, create more snakes, and within a short period of time would probably wipe out the mice.  The birds would starve to death.  The snakes would starve to death.  The mice would be hunted to extinction.

Nature can be harsh, but it punishes imbalance - not lack of productivity.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: The Happy Philosopher on May 28, 2018, 08:05:17 AM
Capitalism is a good system at creating wealth, innovation and raising the standard of living for populations, but it is not a good system at creating equal outcomes. Every society that has tried (various forms of socialism) has failed. Equal outcomes are not possible. Equal opportunities are more achievable, although various systemic issues prevent this as well.

The real shift that is happening right now it that wealth creation is infinitely scalable, but most people are still stuck in the old paradigm of trading time for money (including myself) which is not. Soon all those minimum wage walmart jobs will be gone due to robotics/AI/etc, and we will need to figure out as a society what to do. The transition will be interesting and I don't know the answers, maybe some sort of universal income. Who knows.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 28, 2018, 08:16:53 AM
Capitalism is a good system at creating wealth, innovation and raising the standard of living for populations, but it is not a good system at creating equal outcomes. Every society that has tried (various forms of socialism) has failed. Equal outcomes are not possible. Equal opportunities are more achievable, although various systemic issues prevent this as well.

Countries that have implemented (and continue to implement) various forms of socialism mixed with capitalism to varying degrees:

- The United States
- Canada
- The UK
- Sweden
- Norway
- South Korea
- Denmark
- Japan
- France
- Australia
- New Zealand
- Germany
etc.

Every successful country in the world implements some level of socialism to keep the worst aspects of capitalism at bay.  (They also implement some degree of capitalism to keep the worst aspects of socialism at bay.)  It's sometimes difficult discussing this with Americans there is a lot of pervasive cultural brainwashing that appears to have hung around since the McCarthy witch hunts regarding the word 'socialism'.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Indexer on May 28, 2018, 09:06:21 AM
In addition, if Wal-Mart treats their employees so terrible, why do they work there? With slavery, they would be forced to work there. They aren't, they can go seek different employment anytime they want. They are likely there because they don't have any marketable skills to get a job anywhere that pays more.

This is a somewhat facile argument. There are plenty of areas in the US where 1 or 2 employers like Wal-Mart have the population under their thumb, since there is nowhere else to work within a long commute distance. It's awfully easy for those of us with cushy middle-class or upper-middle-class jobs to say, "Just get another job". It's frequently not that easy. Similarly, "Develop better skills" is flippant and mean to people who just can't. Some people simply aren't able to, due to innate intelligence, mental health issues, etc.

This feels focused on one paragraph out of context with the rest of my post. The last sentence of that paragraph was meant to define the problem. Did you read the rest of my post?

I didn't say people should just "develop better skills." I did say...
"Minimum wage and barely above minimum wage jobs pay very little. I see two solutions. 1. The employees acquire marketable skills to get better jobs. For many, this means finishing high school. 2. The rest of us pay significantly more for purchases at Wal-Mart, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Or, we have UBI and we all pay higher taxes. People at different ends of the political spectrum might like one answer over the other, and I'm not trying to start a debate between the two... I just don't see any other solutions. "

I defined the problem. I outlined what I see as the potential solutions. You prefer option 2. I didn't state a preference. I think we will likely need a combination of both.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 28, 2018, 09:44:10 AM
In addition, if Wal-Mart treats their employees so terrible, why do they work there? With slavery, they would be forced to work there. They aren't, they can go seek different employment anytime they want. They are likely there because they don't have any marketable skills to get a job anywhere that pays more.

This is a somewhat facile argument. There are plenty of areas in the US where 1 or 2 employers like Wal-Mart have the population under their thumb, since there is nowhere else to work within a long commute distance. It's awfully easy for those of us with cushy middle-class or upper-middle-class jobs to say, "Just get another job". It's frequently not that easy. Similarly, "Develop better skills" is flippant and mean to people who just can't. Some people simply aren't able to, due to innate intelligence, mental health issues, etc.

I don't disagree at all with your last sentence, but I that the second one (bolded) was particularly interesting.

For most of its history the United States was faster at recovering from economic recessions and depressions than other countries (which mostly means european ones, since those are the ones where we have data from comparable time scales). One of the causes this is attributed to by some economists is that the United States is a big country, and, at least until recently, our population has been willing to (and able to) move to where the jobs are. So if unemployment is high in Virginia but economic growth is high in Oregon, a bunch of Virginian's move to Oregon, they find work (good for the people who move), unemployment rates in Virginia drop (good for the people who don't move), and the influx of workers helps the Oregon economy grow even faster (good for the people in Oregon).

No one has a definitive answer for why americans are so much less willing or able to move across state lines than they used to be.* But this historical pattern no longer holds true in the USA today, which may be part of why it took us so long to pull out of the great recession, and why a lot of parts of the country are still trapped in it.

Anyway, this is a long winded discussion, but I bring it up because my reaction if I, or anyone else I knew and cared about lived somewhere with only two employment options and one of them was walmart, my first response would be: move the heck out of there as fast as you can!

*Assorted possible explanations: Are people are still underwater on their mortgages? Are people substantially more likely to be supporting a disabled or nonworking parent or family member than in the past (meaning relocation would involved moving multiple households)? Is it as simple as the rise in two income households meaning moving requires finding two better jobs in the same place elsewhere in the country instead of one? Or the rise in divorces where the former spouse who moves out of states has to get judicial approval or risk losing a large proportion of their custody rights? Are the places with the most jobs places like san francisco and new york where housing policies might as well have been intentionally designed to keep out outsiders by driving up prices? (Not an exhaustive list.)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: AlienRobotAnthropologist on May 28, 2018, 11:38:19 AM
While a lot has been said in this thread, we must recognize that in Capitalism vs Socialism, capitalism is the clear winner and it would be extraordinarily evil to advocate for a socialist economic system in any non-trivial sense. I think a useful change of perspective would be to instead think of Capitalism vs competitive markets. In this sense, Socialism is the opposite of competition and going past Capitalism in the direction of waste, inefficiency, and unmeritocratic structures.

It's well established that CEO compensation isn't correlated with results. There's a lot of reasons for this, ranging from an excessive focus on the short-term by shareholders, to a lack of ability for shareholders to effectively push for the right management direction, to corruption between CEOs and boards of directors in hiring and other matters. If the CEO founded the company, then I think this should be considered a necessary evil of Capitalism and not the worst thing in the world. For more typical corporate CEOs, we need to figure out how to encourage a more long-term focus while holding them more accountable for waste, inefficiency, and poor decisions. They tend to do a good job squeezing the bottom but just look at GE's previous CEO to see how they exploit the company for their personal interests and don't impose the same drive for delivering value to the shareholders upon themselves.

Unskilled workers face the inverse problem of too perfect of competition. At the individual level, the answer is obviously to get some marketable skills. I do think that a higher minimum wage would be beneficial though, especially if it encourages more automation. Allowing gentrification to occur would also help, since relative inequality is what's really driving the social problems here. The amount of absolute material wealth a minimum wage job can provide in a low cost of living part of the US in 2018 would have been unfathomable by kings a few centuries ago. A negative income tax could potentially be a way to distribute this cost while encouraging people at the bottom to work and pull themselves into a better position over time. I think more direct government wealth transfers like UBI and many social programs are very crude, inefficient, and ineffective solutions to important problems. I would however be in favor of taking all the various government programs like food stamps and section 8 housing and replacing them with a single monthly check. This would also be a lot easier to prevent creating the wealth-fare trap - the perverse economic incentive for people who could work to not work because of the loss of benefits. I've been studying real estate a lot for the past year and when I look at section 8 housing it really is a lose-lose for both the tenant and landlord. The system is really screwed up and just giving the tenant a check that they could use for rent or anything else would work way better.

One thing that could really help society would be to push back against professions erecting barriers to entry with unnecessarily arduous credentialing. The general push for everybody on earth to go to college, even though only a minority of people actually learn anything there is also quite harmful. Imagine if medicine and law became undergraduate degrees. Members of those professions would have a lot less debt and start making money sooner. In turn, they can accept a lower wage and it becomes easier for people to join those professions. It also improves society's ability to utilize the services of these professions. Imagine if employers stopped demanding a BA or BS for a generic office job that has nothing to do with the degree. People don't need the crippling student debt, can enter the workforce sooner, won't waste time in college if they don't belong there, and people who can do the job but aren't academically inclined can more easily enter the middle class.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 28, 2018, 12:19:30 PM
While a lot has been said in this thread, we must recognize that in Capitalism vs Socialism, capitalism is the clear winner and it would be extraordinarily evil to advocate for a socialist economic system in any non-trivial sense.

It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing one way or the other. I'd argue that the healthiest markets are mixed markets.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 28, 2018, 12:25:05 PM
Lots of interesting thoughts ARA!

A few comments/questions below:

While a lot has been said in this thread, we must recognize that in Capitalism vs Socialism, capitalism is the clear winner and it would be extraordinarily evil to advocate for a socialist economic system in any non-trivial sense.

I suspect you're going to get a fair bit of pushback on this point, but it might be helpful to define where you draw the line between trivial vs non-trivial socialism to avoid arguments where people don't disagree about the facts, just about what words to use to describe which concepts.

Quote
I do think that a higher minimum wage would be beneficial though, especially if it encourages more automation. Allowing gentrification to occur would also help, since relative inequality is what's really driving the social problems here. The amount of absolute material wealth a minimum wage job can provide in a low cost of living part of the US in 2018 would have been unfathomable by kings a few centuries ago. A negative income tax could potentially be a way to distribute this cost while encouraging people at the bottom to work and pull themselves into a better position over time. I think more direct government wealth transfers like UBI and many social programs are very crude, inefficient, and ineffective solutions to important problems. I would however be in favor of taking all the various government programs like food stamps and section 8 housing and replacing them with a single monthly check.

What are you seeing as the functional distinction between a negative income tax bracket (possibly combined one big check to cover foodstamps and housing aid) on one hand, and a UBI on the other? To me these seem like extremely similar concepts, so I'm afraid I'm not yet following why you're in favor of one but opposed to the other.

I agree with you that a higher minimum wage would indeed stimulate automation. This would be good for the economy as a whole but both the higher minimum wage itself and the increase in automation would mean a growing proportion of the population wouldn't be able to find paying work they had the skillsets and abilities to perform, so at a societal level I think you'd need a plan for what becomes of those people.

Quote
One thing that could really help society would be to push back against professions erecting barriers to entry with unnecessarily arduous credentialing. The general push for everybody on earth to go to college, even though only a minority of people actually learn anything there is also quite harmful. Imagine if medicine and law became undergraduate degrees. Members of those professions would have a lot less debt and start making money sooner. In turn, they can accept a lower wage and it becomes easier for people to join those professions. It also improves society's ability to utilize the services of these professions. Imagine if employers stopped demanding a BA or BS for a generic office job that has nothing to do with the degree. People don't need the crippling student debt, can enter the workforce sooner, won't waste time in college if they don't belong there, and people who can do the job but aren't academically inclined can more easily enter the middle class.

Yes! I'm not sure what the handle you push to get employers to stop requiring unnecessary college degrees would be, but I do agree it would be an unmitigated good for our economy and society if we could.

One similar place where it IS obvious how you change things would be the increased trend towards state licensing boards for everything from hair braiding to personal trainers. Just get rid of them.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 28, 2018, 12:48:46 PM
While a lot has been said in this thread, we must recognize that in Capitalism vs Socialism, capitalism is the clear winner and it would be extraordinarily evil to advocate for a socialist economic system in any non-trivial sense. I think a useful change of perspective would be to instead think of Capitalism vs competitive markets. In this sense, Socialism is the opposite of competition and going past Capitalism in the direction of waste, inefficiency, and unmeritocratic structures.

Yes, this is why I want to do away with social security, medicare, medicaid, workers compensation insurance, overtime laws, minimum wage, OHSA, child labor laws, food stamps, WIC, CHIP, insurance regulation, and everything to do with tenants rights. Hell, every road, library, school, and park should be privatized. Let the market sort it out you %*^&)@# communists!
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 28, 2018, 01:30:48 PM
While a lot has been said in this thread, we must recognize that in Capitalism vs Socialism, capitalism is the clear winner and it would be extraordinarily evil to advocate for a socialist economic system in any non-trivial sense. I think a useful change of perspective would be to instead think of Capitalism vs competitive markets. In this sense, Socialism is the opposite of competition and going past Capitalism in the direction of waste, inefficiency, and unmeritocratic structures.

Yes, this is why I want to do away with social security, medicare, medicaid, workers compensation insurance, overtime laws, minimum wage, OHSA, child labor laws, food stamps, WIC, CHIP, insurance regulation, and everything to do with tenants rights. Hell, every road, library, school, and park should be privatized. Let the market sort it out you %*^&)@# communists!

There is a difference between a minimum safety net and no safety net. Basic regulation, over regulation and no regulation. Big government, smaller government and no government ( see anarchy, warlords, failed states).

waste, inefficiency, and unmeritocratic structures should be avoided.


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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 28, 2018, 01:44:01 PM
waste, inefficiency, and unmeritocratic structures should be avoided.

Absolutely.

It's important to note though that capitalism is no more the solution to all of the above than is socialism.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on May 28, 2018, 02:39:05 PM
Well, you acknowledge that income isn't a zero sumngaem, so perhaps you could explain why you still think wide varieties of income is "wrong". If one person making 100000 times more than someone else has no bearing on the ability of that second person to have a safe, healthy, productive, and profitable life... Then I can't see a problem personally.
OK, obviously 'slavery' is not the right term for what I'm railing against (and I apologize to anyone experiencing slavery, but I doubt many of them are reading the MMM Forums).  I'll admit that, but 'inequality' seems inadequate for a situation where the head of the organization makes several working lifetimes more per year than the rank and file.  That the situation continues to get worse year in and year out is cause to wonder how far it will ultimately go.  In a way, Mustachianism / FIRE is a response to people (who can afford to) bucking this system, which I'm very supportive of.

And yes, Capitalism is a better system than Socialism and Communism, but that doesn't mean we blindly follow it to the bitter end and give a free pass to aspects which ultimately do more harm than good.

And yes, incomes are not a zero sum game, but the focus is meant to be on continually rising income disparity.

Thanks for the discussion, sorry I have not participated much yet.

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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: MrUpwardlyMobile on May 28, 2018, 02:58:32 PM
This aspect of Capitalism has always bothered me:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/business/highest-paid-ceos-2017.html

Quote
A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive, was awarded in 2017.

Sadly, that's not the most egregious example of how American CEO's earn vs. the rank and file employees.  If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 

So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?  We are not only not playing a game that an average person can no longer 'win', we are playing a game that no longer benefits from everyone's participation.  Now we are being told that our superiors are winning for us and we are no longer encouraged to participate.

This is the kind of unproductive hyperbole that really accomplishes nothing. Working a crappy job that requires virtually no knowledge, skills, ability, or training should pay badly compared to running a massive corporation.  It’s like comparing apples with cows... you’re not even close.

The crazy thing is that this attitude becomes outrage when these menial unskilled jobs are replaced by automation.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: scottish on May 28, 2018, 03:48:21 PM
yeah, I find that to be a combination of sad and puzzling.   I feel badly for the people who get whacked by automation.   It's like they can't quite grasp what's happening to them, when it's pretty obvious companies will be trying to replace their unskilled labour force with machines.

I'm pretty sure these people would like to have something meaningful they can do to support themselves.   Otherwise the automation just causes social problems.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 28, 2018, 03:48:36 PM
The crazy thing is that this attitude becomes outrage when these menial unskilled jobs are replaced by automation.

Well that's the thing so many people don't seem to get about the whole minimum wage debate.

If the current minimum wage is $10, and we raise it to $20:

A) Some current minimum jobs just don't generate $20/hour worth of value to the employer, so those jobs go away.
B) Some current minimum jobs do generate $20 worth of value to the employer, but the cost of automating the job is some number between $10 and $20/hour, and those jobs also go away.
C) Some current minimum jobs do generate $20/hour worth of value to the employer and cannot be cost effectively automated even at $20/hour, so those jobs stay, but now all the people who used to have jobs in groups A and B are competing for jobs in class C, so if you're lucky* enough to get one of these job you're better off than before, and if not you're worse off before, decreasing income disparities on the low end of the scale.

*In addition, since many more people are competing for a smaller pool of new minimum wage jobs, employers don't have to worry as much about treating their employees well (since there are even more unemployed people waiting to take their place), so working conditions for minimum wage work, which generally suck to begin with, are likely to get even worse as the pay for minimum wage work goes up.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 28, 2018, 03:53:42 PM
yeah, I find that to be a combination of sad and puzzling.   I feel badly for the people who get whacked by automation.   It's like they can't quite grasp what's happening to them, when it's pretty obvious companies will be trying to replace their unskilled labour force with machines.

I'm pretty sure these people would like to have something meaningful they can do to support themselves.   Otherwise the automation just causes social problems.

I share your feelings. But I do want to add one note of caution, which is that surveys have repeatedly shown* that people tend to underestimate how susceptible our own jobs are to automation, even as we're better able to perceive how others people's jobs might be replaced by computers and/or robots.

So we may each find out we are the people we're feeling sorry for at some point in the future.

* Source: http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/10/04/automation-in-everyday-life/
Quote
Overall, roughly three-quarters of Americans (77%) think it’s realistic that robots and computers might one day be able to do many of the jobs currently done by humans, ... At the same time, few of today’s workers expect that their own jobs or professions are at risk of being automated. In total, just 30% of workers think it’s at least somewhat likely that their jobs will be mostly done by robots or computers ...
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: nick663 on May 28, 2018, 04:41:15 PM
In addition, if Wal-Mart treats their employees so terrible, why do they work there? With slavery, they would be forced to work there. They aren't, they can go seek different employment anytime they want. They are likely there because they don't have any marketable skills to get a job anywhere that pays more.

This is a somewhat facile argument. There are plenty of areas in the US where 1 or 2 employers like Wal-Mart have the population under their thumb, since there is nowhere else to work within a long commute distance. It's awfully easy for those of us with cushy middle-class or upper-middle-class jobs to say, "Just get another job". It's frequently not that easy. Similarly, "Develop better skills" is flippant and mean to people who just can't. Some people simply aren't able to, due to innate intelligence, mental health issues, etc.

I don't disagree at all with your last sentence, but I that the second one (bolded) was particularly interesting.

For most of its history the United States was faster at recovering from economic recessions and depressions than other countries (which mostly means european ones, since those are the ones where we have data from comparable time scales). One of the causes this is attributed to by some economists is that the United States is a big country, and, at least until recently, our population has been willing to (and able to) move to where the jobs are. So if unemployment is high in Virginia but economic growth is high in Oregon, a bunch of Virginian's move to Oregon, they find work (good for the people who move), unemployment rates in Virginia drop (good for the people who don't move), and the influx of workers helps the Oregon economy grow even faster (good for the people in Oregon).

No one has a definitive answer for why americans are so much less willing or able to move across state lines than they used to be.* But this historical pattern no longer holds true in the USA today, which may be part of why it took us so long to pull out of the great recession, and why a lot of parts of the country are still trapped in it.

Anyway, this is a long winded discussion, but I bring it up because my reaction if I, or anyone else I knew and cared about lived somewhere with only two employment options and one of them was walmart, my first response would be: move the heck out of there as fast as you can!

*Assorted possible explanations: Are people are still underwater on their mortgages? Are people substantially more likely to be supporting a disabled or nonworking parent or family member than in the past (meaning relocation would involved moving multiple households)? Is it as simple as the rise in two income households meaning moving requires finding two better jobs in the same place elsewhere in the country instead of one? Or the rise in divorces where the former spouse who moves out of states has to get judicial approval or risk losing a large proportion of their custody rights? Are the places with the most jobs places like san francisco and new york where housing policies might as well have been intentionally designed to keep out outsiders by driving up prices? (Not an exhaustive list.)
Interesting article on this subject:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/24/upshot/24up-family.html

I think there is a component of this country going away from being a country of immigrants as well.  First generation immigrants have few roots put down and have obviously already made a huge move to better their life so the mindset is different than someone who has been here for generations.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 28, 2018, 08:43:18 PM
Well, you acknowledge that income isn't a zero sumngaem, so perhaps you could explain why you still think wide varieties of income is "wrong". If one person making 100000 times more than someone else has no bearing on the ability of that second person to have a safe, healthy, productive, and profitable life... Then I can't see a problem personally.

We are all entitled to our own opinions on the matter of course, but across a single business it makes the average employees look pretty much worthless compared to the CEO.  I guess I take it personally that, if someone in my extended family or close friends worked as a cashier at WalMart, I would feel that they are treated very poorly.

Upthread, there was a comment that, even if the CEO made $0, it would only increase employee pay by $10 each.  However this is the sort of reasoning that I don't understand.  It's like saying, if all the employees just gave up another $10 in raise next year, the CEO could double his income, which is actually closer to what has been going on for the last 40 years.

I lived in Norway for a few years and it was pretty cool that bus drivers, teachers, and service workers made 'similar' salaries to doctors, pharmacists, and engineers.  People mostly do what they want to do with their lives.  Everyone's salaries are publicly available and you are somewhat shamed if you make multiples of others and enjoy conspicuous consumption.  Everyone has a pretty good life and good work / life balance (plenty of vacations, social programs to support young families, healthcare, and secondary education)...

I also lived in UAE for a few years and saw tremendous income disparity.  It was nauseating to see such extremes, although technically 'it worked'.  It made me appreciate that much more the balance America has enjoyed, but feels like this middle is disappearing and the UAE classes of rich and poor are crystallizing, maybe within a generation... 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 28, 2018, 08:57:57 PM
This aspect of Capitalism has always bothered me:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/business/highest-paid-ceos-2017.html

Quote
A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive, was awarded in 2017.

Sadly, that's not the most egregious example of how American CEO's earn vs. the rank and file employees.  If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 

So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?  We are not only not playing a game that an average person can no longer 'win', we are playing a game that no longer benefits from everyone's participation.  Now we are being told that our superiors are winning for us and we are no longer encouraged to participate.

If you are in charge of a taco shop do you believe it is reasonable for you to make a couple of cents for each and every taco you sell?  Doesn't that motivate you to sell more tacos and therefor make more money for yourself and the business?  Do you think that the CEO of Starbucks deserves to make a fraction of a cent for each cup of coffee they sell?  It definitely would motivate him to open more stores, hire more people, and sell more coffee. Is it then fair for the CEO of Walmart to make a tiny tiny tiny fraction of a cent for each item Walmart sells? 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 28, 2018, 09:42:22 PM
If you are in charge of a taco shop do you believe it is reasonable for you to make a couple of cents for each and every taco you sell?  Doesn't that motivate you to sell more tacos and therefor make more money for yourself and the business?  Do you think that the CEO of Starbucks deserves to make a fraction of a cent for each cup of coffee they sell?  It definitely would motivate him to open more stores, hire more people, and sell more coffee. Is it then fair for the CEO of Walmart to make a tiny tiny tiny fraction of a cent for each item Walmart sells?

I'm trying to get a feel for how other Mustachians feel about this.  So, in the Taco Shop example, I'd think that the workers making the tacos and people interacting with the customers are just as important as the CEO in their own way, and probably value money to incentivize them.  If you show that they are valued similar to managers and maybe up to 1/5 (so 20k vs. 100k per year) than the CEO, that seems reasonable.  If anything, the CEO has a better job (don't have to worried about being yelled at, injuring themself, or being fired) as well as many fringe benefits and perks.  Sure they shoulder a lot of responsibility, but that is what they are after chasing the top job.   
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 28, 2018, 09:56:03 PM
There is a difference between a minimum safety net and no safety net. Basic regulation, over regulation and no regulation. Big government, smaller government and no government ( see anarchy, warlords, failed states).

waste, inefficiency, and unmeritocratic structures should be avoided.

I think everyone here can agree on that. But the current state of the US, and the Republican party platform, is way closer to Laissez Faire capitalism than it was from 1935~1980. Eisenhower and Nixon were way more liberal than Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan. The Republican platform from 1950~1975 looks like something that a Clinton would push through Congress. Vote for whoever you want, but I'm only voting for Republicans if their policies look like a Eisenhower or a Nixon, not a Ryan or McConnell. I certainly don't want to go back to 1918 in the US (except that in 1918 you could discharge student loans in bankruptcy, and immigration was super liberal).

EDITed to add - and CEO pay is off the charts just since 1978: https://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-has-grown-90-times-faster-than-typical-worker-pay-since-1978/
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on May 29, 2018, 05:33:17 AM
I don't compare myself, or basey worth, on how much I make relative to someone else. As such, I am perfectly happy to make any multiple (whether much greater than or much worse than) of what some other person doing a different job is making.

Personally, I don't hear an explanation of why you think it's bad, just that it's different than other experiences you've had. I want a good explanation why government should get involved to prevent people from bring free to make their own decisions (whether it's a parent deciding how tiny a sliver of their income they'll give their children for chores or a board of directors deciding a CEOs salary). I have yet to hear one, or really any explanation of why high relative executive compensation is bad that doesn't sound like "well, a bunch of people will be jealous or feel bad if they compare themselves to some ok be in a completely different situation"

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 29, 2018, 07:13:42 AM
I don't compare myself, or basey worth, on how much I make relative to someone else. As such, I am perfectly happy to make any multiple (whether much greater than or much worse than) of what some other person doing a different job is making.

Personally, I don't hear an explanation of why you think it's bad, just that it's different than other experiences you've had. I want a good explanation why government should get involved to prevent people from bring free to make their own decisions (whether it's a parent deciding how tiny a sliver of their income they'll give their children for chores or a board of directors deciding a CEOs salary). I have yet to hear one, or really any explanation of why high relative executive compensation is bad that doesn't sound like "well, a bunch of people will be jealous or feel bad if they compare themselves to some ok be in a completely different situation"

But in both of the countries I discussed, Norway and UAE, the government is not involved in setting the salaries.  I never said the government should be involved, it is a social problem, but nowhere I know of does the government set CEO salaries.  The government may enact social programs as a reflection of what the people want, but ultimately the income disparity reflects what society wants or is willing to bear.  If enough people up and decide the measly pay at the bottom isn't worth it, labor either needs to be imported from 3rd world countries or companies have to raise salaries.  I prefer the latter.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: use2betrix on May 29, 2018, 07:19:04 AM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 29, 2018, 07:44:57 AM
...
In highschool, I worked for a restaurant. A couple people quit that job so they could go work at Walmart instead. It was a $0.50 per hour pay difference($8.00 VS $7.50/hr), which they thought was awesome at the time. The restaurant gig was a fun job. However, working with people twice my age was a huge reminder that I had to finish HS and get a college degree, because I didn't want to still be there 20 years later.

I also worked at a restaurant in HS and got a 25 cent raise.  At the time, that seemed pretty great.  The 10 cent raise they dangled in front of me also seemed pretty awesome.  But that is the chilling part of starting at minimum wage (4.25/hr at the time), although those were reasonable % gains, you are already slipping down the ladder.  The idea of saving some of this money to 'go to college' to break the cycle is already off the radar for most folks in this situation.

A generation or two ago, you could get a good job with a HS degree and hopping around a bit.  Eventually you gain enough practical skills, reputation, and network that you could bootstrap to middle class and send your kids to college.  As income disparity grows, social mobility declines and you now have those people at the bottom working 40 or more hours per week just to keep food on the table. 

We've seen parts of this discussed in the 9.9% is the new American aristocracy thread (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/discussion-of-the-9-9-percent-is-the-new-american-aristocracy-(atlantic-montly)/) (The 0.1% get the majority of the income gains, the bottom 90% are losing wealth, but the 9.9% between these groups are complicit in sustaining this status quo since their holding steady at 60% of the nation's wealth).

And, to a lesser extent, the "Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food'" (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/'almost-half-of-us-families-can't-afford-basics-like-rent-and-food'-cnn/) thread.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 29, 2018, 07:59:19 AM
I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

Did you really just insinuate that obesity should be an indicator of wealth?

In most of the developed world it's extremely cheap to get calorie dense foods (This is true in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).  It's much cheaper in fact than to get nutritious low calorie foods.  This food doesn't make you healthy or stronger.  It just makes you fat.

Your insinuation really does a disservice to a lot of people.  Yes, I'd argue that the poorest in the developed world are better off than the poorest in developing nations, sure.  That doesn't mean that the poor in developed countries have got it easy, or that they don't have extremely difficult problems to overcome to succeed though.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 29, 2018, 08:00:03 AM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.

Yes, I am discussing 'economic slavery' and not actual slavery.  Having to work more than 40 hours per week just to get by while, at the same company the individual at the top makes 1,000x your income is a terrible first world injustice, in my opinion.  Saying that the folks at the bottom are entitled, unless compared to actual slaves (which is like comparing apples and oranges), is a surprise to me.

So are you saying that people making $20,000/yr working full time in America are entitled?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 29, 2018, 08:07:41 AM
I don't compare myself, or basey worth, on how much I make relative to someone else. As such, I am perfectly happy to make any multiple (whether much greater than or much worse than) of what some other person doing a different job is making.

Personally, I don't hear an explanation of why you think it's bad, just that it's different than other experiences you've had. I want a good explanation why government should get involved to prevent people from bring free to make their own decisions (whether it's a parent deciding how tiny a sliver of their income they'll give their children for chores or a board of directors deciding a CEOs salary). I have yet to hear one...

If you want to read a really good one please pick up a copy of The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy by Peter Temin (https://economics.mit.edu/faculty/ptemin/cv). My local library had a copy. But it basically comes down to political and economic power. That is, when it comes to allocating capital for future projects (and in the US elections are projects), it is a zero sum game.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mm1970 on May 29, 2018, 02:08:16 PM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.

Is it a race to the bottom?  A competition to see who is poorer? 

I recently read "$2 a day.  Living on almost nothing in America" and yes, there are people in the US who are really poor.

When I was in high school, I had a job too...making $3.35 an hour, whee!  It was $4.35 on Sundays.  Heck, during the summer one year I had two jobs, working 60 hours...one at $4 an hour at the gas company (digging ditches, washing trucks, loading pipe) and then 20 hours at night/ weekends bagging groceries.  But I was 19.  And not paying rent.  Gosh, there are people living like this today who are adults with families and for many of them, there's no way out.  They aren't lazy.  I don't understand why people have this binary thought about poverty. 

Does it make you feel better?  (Obviously they did something wrong.  They are stupid.  Or lazy.)  It's a sliding scale of intelligence, grit, hard work, mental health, age, physical health, and availability of jobs.  I am astonished at the number of people completely incapable of stepping into someone else's shoes.

And also: obesity is highly correlated with wealth.  Because the more money you have:
- less stressed = thinner
- more time for exercise
- more time to prepare food
- more money to buy food that is better for you, but costs more per calorie

I see the food that people get for free at school - luckily, our school system is very healthy and provides a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Imagine you are on a budget, and the food you can afford is carbs, carbs, and more carbs.  Gee...
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 29, 2018, 02:31:47 PM
And also: obesity is highly correlated with wealth.  Because the more money you have:
- less stressed = thinner
- more time for exercise
- more time to prepare food
- more money to buy food that is better for you, but costs more per calorie

That correlation is true in the USA, because we made a public policy decision years ago that being able to afford enough food to feed you and your family was no longer going to be an election issue. And we spend a fair bit of money every year to make this the case (both directly through foodstamps, and indirectly though all sorts of different farm subsidy programs).

Go most places outside the USA and the very poor aren't eating less-healthy food, they don't have enough to eat period.

There is a reason knowing the price of milk used to be a deadly serious question for political candidates. There's also a reason people don't ask it so much anymore.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 29, 2018, 02:48:05 PM
Go most places outside the USA and the very poor aren't eating less-healthy food, they don't have enough to eat period.

Not true at all.  Most developed countries (Canada, Australia, the UK, Italy, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, etc.) have the same problem that the US does regarding povert.  It's been well researched:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266683973_Obesity_and_poverty_paradox_in_developed_countries (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266683973_Obesity_and_poverty_paradox_in_developed_countries).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 29, 2018, 03:17:45 PM
Go most places outside the USA and the very poor aren't eating less-healthy food, they don't have enough to eat period.

Most places outside the US that aren't Western Europe, perhaps. The US is alone in Western democracies in that we will let an able bodied citizen starve to death if they can't find a job. That is, if you have no children and are an able bodied person without a job you can not collect food stamps for more than three months even if you are looking for a job. This was part of the 1990s welfare reform. The requirement is waived from time to time during recessions.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on May 29, 2018, 03:18:47 PM
Okay, fair enough and thanks for calling me on this.

When I was thinking of the "the rest of the world" I was picturing places like Egypt and Vietnam, but it's completely incorrect for me to have said everywhere outside the USA.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: use2betrix on May 29, 2018, 03:19:11 PM
I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

Did you really just insinuate that obesity should be an indicator of wealth?

In most of the developed world it's extremely cheap to get calorie dense foods (This is true in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).  It's much cheaper in fact than to get nutritious low calorie foods.  This food doesn't make you healthy or stronger.  It just makes you fat.

Your insinuation really does a disservice to a lot of people.  Yes, I'd argue that the poorest in the developed world are better off than the poorest in developing nations, sure.  That doesn't mean that the poor in developed countries have got it easy, or that they don't have extremely difficult problems to overcome to succeed though.

I’m not sure this even warrants a response.

Obesity is based on calories. If someone is obese, they are eating MORE calories than they NEED. The excess calories are purely converted to fat.

If they were poor, they couldn’t afford basic food and thus would be thin.

If someone is eating MORE than they NEED they become fat. Period.

It really is that basic. Poor people are not getting fat because they aren’t eating the right nutrients, it’s from eating too many calories.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: use2betrix on May 29, 2018, 03:25:09 PM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.

Is it a race to the bottom?  A competition to see who is poorer? 

I recently read "$2 a day.  Living on almost nothing in America" and yes, there are people in the US who are really poor.

When I was in high school, I had a job too...making $3.35 an hour, whee!  It was $4.35 on Sundays.  Heck, during the summer one year I had two jobs, working 60 hours...one at $4 an hour at the gas company (digging ditches, washing trucks, loading pipe) and then 20 hours at night/ weekends bagging groceries.  But I was 19.  And not paying rent.  Gosh, there are people living like this today who are adults with families and for many of them, there's no way out.  They aren't lazy.  I don't understand why people have this binary thought about poverty. 

Does it make you feel better?  (Obviously they did something wrong.  They are stupid.  Or lazy.)  It's a sliding scale of intelligence, grit, hard work, mental health, age, physical health, and availability of jobs.  I am astonished at the number of people completely incapable of stepping into someone else's shoes.

And also: obesity is highly correlated with wealth.  Because the more money you have:
- less stressed = thinner
- more time for exercise
- more time to prepare food
- more money to buy food that is better for you, but costs more per calorie

I see the food that people get for free at school - luckily, our school system is very healthy and provides a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Imagine you are on a budget, and the food you can afford is carbs, carbs, and more carbs.  Gee...

Hmm - I’m 100x more stressed making 200k than I ever was making 20k. More money = more responsibility which often = more stress.

When I get stressed I eat less due to... being stressed.

By the last week of April my SHORTEST work week of the year was 68 hrs. Yes - shortest week in 4 months was 68 hrs. I certainly don’t “need” the money, yet it’s too much to expect someone who “needs” the money to work over 40? Got it.

Not to mention, in those 4 months, I worked out several days a week EVERY week. I didn’t miss a single planned workout day despite 12 hr days. Between that and my CHEAP healthy diet, I’d argue I’m probably one of the most muscular/low body fat persons on this forum.

I’m basically a complete contradiction of all your statements. The difference? I’m not a lazy fuck who makes excuses for eating right and exercising regardless of my income or working hours. Your entire post is excuses, which is again, the problem with our country.

That cost of food analogy is a constant argument that has been proven wrong time and time again but used by people with no knowledge of nutrition.

Chicken is $2-$3/lb. Rice is dirt cheap. Oatmeal, dirt cheap. Frozen pizzas are like $8/ea nowadays. Cereal coats more than oatmeal.

I’m always baffled when people try and talk about nutrition with obviously having no knowledge of it. I’m sure that lack of knowledge is what also leads to our obesity problem.

“Let’s get this $8 frozen pizza for dinner because we can’t afford to eat healthy,” because, you know, 2 lbs of chicken and a ton of rice is the same price and will feed far more people.

Between that, and somehow calories not leading to obesity... but it’s food/nutrient density... this place kills me sometimes lol.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on May 29, 2018, 03:34:19 PM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.

Yes, I am discussing 'economic slavery' and not actual slavery.  Having to work more than 40 hours per week just to get by while, at the same company the individual at the top makes 1,000x your income is a terrible first world injustice, in my opinion.  Saying that the folks at the bottom are entitled, unless compared to actual slaves (which is like comparing apples and oranges), is a surprise to me.

So are you saying that people making $20,000/yr working full time in America are entitled?


Making $20,000 USD/year puts a person in the top 4% worldwide based on income. With all the moaning and complaining about rich people, it seems we sometimes forget that "poor" in America is still "the elite" class in the world.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 29, 2018, 06:37:08 PM
I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

Did you really just insinuate that obesity should be an indicator of wealth?

In most of the developed world it's extremely cheap to get calorie dense foods (This is true in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).  It's much cheaper in fact than to get nutritious low calorie foods.  This food doesn't make you healthy or stronger.  It just makes you fat.

Your insinuation really does a disservice to a lot of people.  Yes, I'd argue that the poorest in the developed world are better off than the poorest in developing nations, sure.  That doesn't mean that the poor in developed countries have got it easy, or that they don't have extremely difficult problems to overcome to succeed though.

I’m not sure this even warrants a response.

Obesity is based on calories. If someone is obese, they are eating MORE calories than they NEED. The excess calories are purely converted to fat.

If they were poor, they couldn’t afford basic food and thus would be thin.

If someone is eating MORE than they NEED they become fat. Period.

It really is that basic. Poor people are not getting fat because they aren’t eating the right nutrients, it’s from eating too many calories.

I didn't argue that people are getting fat because they aren't eating the right nutrients.  I argued that it's cheaper to eat high calorie food (particularly low nutrient, high calorie food that doesn't leave you feeling full for long - compounding the problem).

poor:  lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

While not being able to meet your dietary needs certainly qualifies as poor, so does not being able to afford decent quality, nutritious food.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mm1970 on May 29, 2018, 06:41:49 PM
Quote
Hmm - I’m 100x more stressed making 200k than I ever was making 20k. More money = more responsibility which often = more stress.

When I get stressed I eat less due to... being stressed.

By the last week of April my SHORTEST work week of the year was 68 hrs. Yes - shortest week in 4 months was 68 hrs. I certainly don’t “need” the money, yet it’s too much to expect someone who “needs” the money to work over 40? Got it.

Not to mention, in those 4 months, I worked out several days a week EVERY week. I didn’t miss a single planned workout day despite 12 hr days. Between that and my CHEAP healthy diet, I’d argue I’m probably one of the most muscular/low body fat persons on this forum.

I’m basically a complete contradiction of all your statements. The difference? I’m not a lazy fuck who makes excuses for eating right and exercising regardless of my income or working hours. Your entire post is excuses, which is again, the problem with our country.

That cost of food analogy is a constant argument that has been proven wrong time and time again but used by people with no knowledge of nutrition.

Chicken is $2-$3/lb. Rice is dirt cheap. Oatmeal, dirt cheap. Frozen pizzas are like $8/ea nowadays. Cereal coats more than oatmeal.

I’m always baffled when people try and talk about nutrition with obviously having no knowledge of it. I’m sure that lack of knowledge is what also leads to our obesity problem.

“Let’s get this $8 frozen pizza for dinner because we can’t afford to eat healthy,” because, you know, 2 lbs of chicken and a ton of rice is the same price and will feed far more people.

Between that, and somehow calories not leading to obesity... but it’s food/nutrient density... this place kills me sometimes lol.

You seriously aren't telling me that making $200k is so much more stressful than not knowing where your next meal is coming from?  Or whether you will have a roof over your head?

Yay, you an anecdote.  The plural of anecdote =/= data, and "I'm different so therefore you are wrong", or "I did it so everyone can" is utter bullshit.

The people that I see who are overweight aren't buying $8 pizzas, they are buying 25-50 lb bags of beans and rice.

Some reading material, if you'd like to read data.  By people who study such things.  Not just sit at their desk collecting a paycheck wondering why all those poor, lazy fuckers are so damned fat.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/79/1/6/4690070

https://scholars.org/brief/why-poverty-leads-obesity-and-life-long-problems
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on May 29, 2018, 06:46:07 PM
I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

Did you really just insinuate that obesity should be an indicator of wealth?

In most of the developed world it's extremely cheap to get calorie dense foods (This is true in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).  It's much cheaper in fact than to get nutritious low calorie foods.  This food doesn't make you healthy or stronger.  It just makes you fat.

Your insinuation really does a disservice to a lot of people.  Yes, I'd argue that the poorest in the developed world are better off than the poorest in developing nations, sure.  That doesn't mean that the poor in developed countries have got it easy, or that they don't have extremely difficult problems to overcome to succeed though.

I’m not sure this even warrants a response.

Obesity is based on calories. If someone is obese, they are eating MORE calories than they NEED. The excess calories are purely converted to fat.

If they were poor, they couldn’t afford basic food and thus would be thin.

If someone is eating MORE than they NEED they become fat. Period.

It really is that basic. Poor people are not getting fat because they aren’t eating the right nutrients, it’s from eating too many calories.

No matter how poor they claim to be, they still manage to feed their faces plenty.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mm1970 on May 29, 2018, 06:46:50 PM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.

Yes, I am discussing 'economic slavery' and not actual slavery.  Having to work more than 40 hours per week just to get by while, at the same company the individual at the top makes 1,000x your income is a terrible first world injustice, in my opinion.  Saying that the folks at the bottom are entitled, unless compared to actual slaves (which is like comparing apples and oranges), is a surprise to me.

So are you saying that people making $20,000/yr working full time in America are entitled?


Quote
Making $20,000 USD/year puts a person in the top 4% worldwide based on income. With all the moaning and complaining about rich people, it seems we sometimes forget that "poor" in America is still "the elite" class in the world.

That info is pretty useless without cost of living included.

https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/country/ranking
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on May 29, 2018, 06:48:33 PM
Ah yes, the obligatory entitlement thread.

You could find millions and millions of people around the world who would feel they hit the jackpot if they were allowed to come to America and work at Wal Mart.

To call it slavery is pathetic and degrading to so many people around the world who 1. Are actual slaves and 2. Would kill to have a job at Wal-Mart.

I’d be skeptical if the OP, or anyone who agrees with him/her, has ever actually traveled to poor countries outside the US and see what it’s like to “actually” be poor.

I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

When I was 16 I made $11/hr working in the kitchen at a nursing home. When I was 19 I was making $13.80 as a CNA (a decade ago). In addition, if someone is struggling to get by, why are they limiting themselves to 40 hr weeks like that’s some maximum threshold? I haven’t had a 40 hr/wk job in my career. Sure, it’s great for some people, but if you’re struggling, a person can work 60 hrs regularly no problem, just takes work ethic, and work ethic requires no intelligence or special schooling.

Yes, I am discussing 'economic slavery' and not actual slavery.  Having to work more than 40 hours per week just to get by while, at the same company the individual at the top makes 1,000x your income is a terrible first world injustice, in my opinion.  Saying that the folks at the bottom are entitled, unless compared to actual slaves (which is like comparing apples and oranges), is a surprise to me.

So are you saying that people making $20,000/yr working full time in America are entitled?


Making $20,000 USD/year puts a person in the top 4% worldwide based on income. With all the moaning and complaining about rich people, it seems we sometimes forget that "poor" in America is still "the elite" class in the world.

I feel like a king now making $100K/yr.   LOL
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: nnls on May 29, 2018, 08:18:59 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

I got 30, I was expecting it to be more to be honest (though would prefer if it was zero)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on May 29, 2018, 08:34:29 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

I got 30, I was expecting it to be more to be honest (though would prefer if it was zero)

I can't even find low pay low skilled workers around here to help me with things like lawn work or digging trenches.  I certainly don't have any slaves.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 29, 2018, 09:50:06 PM
Quote
Hmm - I’m 100x more stressed making 200k than I ever was making 20k. More money = more responsibility which often = more stress.

When I get stressed I eat less due to... being stressed.

By the last week of April my SHORTEST work week of the year was 68 hrs. Yes - shortest week in 4 months was 68 hrs. I certainly don’t “need” the money, yet it’s too much to expect someone who “needs” the money to work over 40? Got it.

Not to mention, in those 4 months, I worked out several days a week EVERY week. I didn’t miss a single planned workout day despite 12 hr days. Between that and my CHEAP healthy diet, I’d argue I’m probably one of the most muscular/low body fat persons on this forum.

I’m basically a complete contradiction of all your statements. The difference? I’m not a lazy fuck who makes excuses for eating right and exercising regardless of my income or working hours. Your entire post is excuses, which is again, the problem with our country.

That cost of food analogy is a constant argument that has been proven wrong time and time again but used by people with no knowledge of nutrition.

Chicken is $2-$3/lb. Rice is dirt cheap. Oatmeal, dirt cheap. Frozen pizzas are like $8/ea nowadays. Cereal coats more than oatmeal.

I’m always baffled when people try and talk about nutrition with obviously having no knowledge of it. I’m sure that lack of knowledge is what also leads to our obesity problem.

“Let’s get this $8 frozen pizza for dinner because we can’t afford to eat healthy,” because, you know, 2 lbs of chicken and a ton of rice is the same price and will feed far more people.

Between that, and somehow calories not leading to obesity... but it’s food/nutrient density... this place kills me sometimes lol.

You seriously aren't telling me that making $200k is so much more stressful than not knowing where your next meal is coming from?  Or whether you will have a roof over your head?

Yay, you an anecdote.  The plural of anecdote =/= data, and "I'm different so therefore you are wrong", or "I did it so everyone can" is utter bullshit.

The people that I see who are overweight aren't buying $8 pizzas, they are buying 25-50 lb bags of beans and rice.

Some reading material, if you'd like to read data.  By people who study such things.  Not just sit at their desk collecting a paycheck wondering why all those poor, lazy fuckers are so damned fat.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/79/1/6/4690070

https://scholars.org/brief/why-poverty-leads-obesity-and-life-long-problems

Sorry to sound cheesy, but I have to give this response a standing ovation.  If I'd witnessed this in real time, I would reflexively have leapt to my feet and applauded this response vigorously.

I just hope people to open their eyes to what is going on over their heads.  Even people feeling like they are finally 'winning' recently are probably losing ground to the forces unleashed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_Cuts_and_Jobs_Act_of_2017).  Yes, it was a massive tax cut to the 0.1% and business owners, and no, it was not even close to paid for by future tax revenue. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Radagast on May 29, 2018, 11:16:13 PM
Quote
Government interference on this matter is rooted in socialism - specifically a need to control (prevent for moral reasons) the slave market.  The US system (like every functioning economic system in the world) is a mix of both capitalist and socialist ideas, holding each other in check.  Capitalism tends to provide drive to create/innovate, socialism tends to provide protection for the people.  Go to far into either direction, and your economic system will eventually run into trouble.
While I agree with this...
In a purely capitalist system, you would be allowed to buy slaves. 
Capitalism seems to have been the force that allowed eradication of slavery, or at least countries abandoned it in approximately the same order they became capitalist. I suppose it could be an indirect effect, and actually capitalism allowed industrialization, which made machine labor economically preferable to human labor, which ended slavery.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: nnls on May 29, 2018, 11:20:03 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

I got 30, I was expecting it to be more to be honest (though would prefer if it was zero)

I can't even find low pay low skilled workers around here to help me with things like lawn work or digging trenches.  I certainly don't have any slaves.

I am sure a couple have made the stuff you own though
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: use2betrix on May 30, 2018, 04:36:08 AM
Quote
Hmm - I’m 100x more stressed making 200k than I ever was making 20k. More money = more responsibility which often = more stress.

When I get stressed I eat less due to... being stressed.

By the last week of April my SHORTEST work week of the year was 68 hrs. Yes - shortest week in 4 months was 68 hrs. I certainly don’t “need” the money, yet it’s too much to expect someone who “needs” the money to work over 40? Got it.

Not to mention, in those 4 months, I worked out several days a week EVERY week. I didn’t miss a single planned workout day despite 12 hr days. Between that and my CHEAP healthy diet, I’d argue I’m probably one of the most muscular/low body fat persons on this forum.

I’m basically a complete contradiction of all your statements. The difference? I’m not a lazy fuck who makes excuses for eating right and exercising regardless of my income or working hours. Your entire post is excuses, which is again, the problem with our country.

That cost of food analogy is a constant argument that has been proven wrong time and time again but used by people with no knowledge of nutrition.

Chicken is $2-$3/lb. Rice is dirt cheap. Oatmeal, dirt cheap. Frozen pizzas are like $8/ea nowadays. Cereal coats more than oatmeal.

I’m always baffled when people try and talk about nutrition with obviously having no knowledge of it. I’m sure that lack of knowledge is what also leads to our obesity problem.

“Let’s get this $8 frozen pizza for dinner because we can’t afford to eat healthy,” because, you know, 2 lbs of chicken and a ton of rice is the same price and will feed far more people.

Between that, and somehow calories not leading to obesity... but it’s food/nutrient density... this place kills me sometimes lol.

You seriously aren't telling me that making $200k is so much more stressful than not knowing where your next meal is coming from?  Or whether you will have a roof over your head?

Yay, you an anecdote.  The plural of anecdote =/= data, and "I'm different so therefore you are wrong", or "I did it so everyone can" is utter bullshit.

The people that I see who are overweight aren't buying $8 pizzas, they are buying 25-50 lb bags of beans and rice.

Some reading material, if you'd like to read data.  By people who study such things.  Not just sit at their desk collecting a paycheck wondering why all those poor, lazy fuckers are so damned fat.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/79/1/6/4690070

https://scholars.org/brief/why-poverty-leads-obesity-and-life-long-problems

Even in this post you make the exact same claim I did. Regardless of what they are eating.. beans and rice or pizza, the fact is, if they are obese they are eating TOO MUCH. They aren’t wondering “where their meal is coming from” if they obviously have the ability to eat more than they need, making them overweight or obese.

Heck - down in Texas on multiple occasions walking into grocery stores, I’ve been confronted by people offering to sell their EBT (food stamp) cards at a discounted rate. Yeah poor and struggling to get by, yet they are provided free government benefits. Or the gentleman in Alabama who came in my office and quit saying “with how many kids I have, I get too many government benefits to make it worthwhile for me to lose by working.” He was making $14/hr working 56 hrs/wk with full benefits. Do the math.

Are there starving people out there? You bet, and it’s very sad that anyone would have to go hungry, but the overweight poor people are not starving and should be passing their excess around, or saving their money not buying it.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Lmoot on May 30, 2018, 05:47:20 AM
I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

Did you really just insinuate that obesity should be an indicator of wealth?

In most of the developed world it's extremely cheap to get calorie dense foods (This is true in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).  It's much cheaper in fact than to get nutritious low calorie foods.  This food doesn't make you healthy or stronger.  It just makes you fat.

Your insinuation really does a disservice to a lot of people.  Yes, I'd argue that the poorest in the developed world are better off than the poorest in developing nations, sure.  That doesn't mean that the poor in developed countries have got it easy, or that they don't have extremely difficult problems to overcome to succeed though.

I’m not sure this even warrants a response.

Obesity is based on calories. If someone is obese, they are eating MORE calories than they NEED. The excess calories are purely converted to fat.

If they were poor, they couldn’t afford basic food and thus would be thin.

If someone is eating MORE than they NEED they become fat. Period.

It really is that basic. Poor people are not getting fat because they aren’t eating the right nutrients, it’s from eating too many calories.

I didn't argue that people are getting fat because they aren't eating the right nutrients.  I argued that it's cheaper to eat high calorie food (particularly low nutrient, high calorie food that doesn't leave you feeling full for long - compounding the problem).

poor:  lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

While not being able to meet your dietary needs certainly qualifies as poor, so does not being able to afford decent quality, nutritious food.

@use2betrix

Food isn't valued per calorie

Eating too much and consuming too many calories IS NOT THE SAME THING. When I started eating healthier I consumed way more food, while taking in less calories.

It is no secret that in the US, unhealthy/prepackaged/prepared foods which are higher in calorie-density, tend to be cheaper. Processed fats are cheap because they can last longer since most processed fats come from far away 3rd world countries which are not paid well (farmers).

Someone can get fat eating 3 Big Macs and fries everyday. Meanwhile someone else can go through half a chicken, cup of whole grains/quinoa seed, half an avocado ($$$) mixed-greens salad ($$$), a large omelette filled with vegetables, 1/2 cup of yogurt/cottage cheese, handful of nuts ($$$) and several pieces of fruit. Which is "more" food? And which diet do you think is going to cost more on average? Compare one diet of cheap processed fats (fast food), to the other which also contains fat, but from more expensive sources, and supplemented with plenty of other sources of calories (fruits, veggies, seeds/grains, dairy, fresh meat).

Yes eating healthy can be cheaper, but it involves time (learning how to cook from scratch, with items pre-planned and bought on sale, then stored properly until future use). Since most of us are pressed for time (whether you are wealthy or not), those who don't make time to eat healthy but are earning a good income, can at least afford to buy healthy prepared foods (more $$$).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: boarder42 on May 30, 2018, 06:24:21 AM
No work to do?  I disagree. There is much work to do. The tasks have changed but still exist. We no longer need a ferrier to shoe our horses or a wheel right to provide the wheels for our wagon. However we need controls engineers to program production lines to make the goods we purchase and store clerks to complete the transactions. Adapt- those that can move forward in this economy.

Control engineers fall into the category ChpBstrd was discussing where there is plenty of demand, but not all the people who are losing jobs in factories or mid-level white collar office work are going to have the right combination of abilities and intelligences to become control engineers.

In contrast, a larger proportion of the population can learn to run a cash register, yet the need for store clerks is facing downward pressure from two directions:

On the one hand lots of big box retailers are moving to self-checkout lanes where one person might supervise and troubleshoot enough self checkout registers to do the work of 4-6 clerks in the old days.

Yet at the same time online retail is dramatically reducing the amount of spending that happens at brick and mortar stores. In 2017, 105M square feet of retail space closed in the USA. In 2018, we've already lost another 75M square feet of retail space from January to April, which puts us on pace to lose 225M square feet of retail space over the entire calendar year. To translate that into job losses a good rule of thumb is about 2.5 employees per 1,000 square ft of retail space.

this is a completely different topic - more suited for robots and their impact on the future - but very interestind data that you should go post over there.  this is why i believe basic income will have to be paid to people to just be alive in the not too distant future.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 30, 2018, 07:00:55 AM
Capitalism seems to have been the force that allowed eradication of slavery, or at least countries abandoned it in approximately the same order they became capitalist. I suppose it could be an indirect effect, and actually capitalism allowed industrialization, which made machine labor economically preferable to human labor, which ended slavery.

Unbridled Captitalism lead to slavery and monopolies.  Have you not read Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle)?  Does history really have to repeat itself because we are too lazy to educate ourselves on what happened in the past?  'Machine labor', even in modern times, is not yet cheaper than underpaid humans.  How would capitalism eradicate slavery, if humans are essentially free labor (other than room and board)?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 07:31:24 AM
Quote
Government interference on this matter is rooted in socialism - specifically a need to control (prevent for moral reasons) the slave market.  The US system (like every functioning economic system in the world) is a mix of both capitalist and socialist ideas, holding each other in check.  Capitalism tends to provide drive to create/innovate, socialism tends to provide protection for the people.  Go to far into either direction, and your economic system will eventually run into trouble.
While I agree with this...
In a purely capitalist system, you would be allowed to buy slaves. 
Capitalism seems to have been the force that allowed eradication of slavery, or at least countries abandoned it in approximately the same order they became capitalist. I suppose it could be an indirect effect, and actually capitalism allowed industrialization, which made machine labor economically preferable to human labor, which ended slavery.

When government artificially creates rules and limits freedom of a market for the betterment of the people, it is acting in a socialist manner.  Ending slavery by law artificially limits the ability to buy slaves by government decree - not free market choice.  It is a regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of slaves.  Therefore by definition it is a socialist rather than capitalist action.  You could try to make the argument that it would not be economically feasible to own slaves after industrialization and thus capitalism would have solved the problem . . . but the 40.3 million people currently in slavery around the world (including 150 billion dollars worth of slavery related commerce that goes on today in the US alone) demonstrate how incorrect that theory is. https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/ (https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: TornWonder on May 30, 2018, 08:10:36 AM
The main problem that arises from income and wealth inequality is those with more using their financial power to subvert the will of the people through government lobbying/bribing.  Some people think that the best way to prevent this is to limit how much wealth one person can have in relation to others.  Other people (myself included) think that the best way to prevent this is to limit how much control the government has over the people.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 08:12:52 AM
The main problem that arises from income and wealth inequality is those with more using their financial power to subvert the will of the people through government lobbying/bribing.  Some people think that the best way to prevent this is to limit how much wealth one person can have in relation to others.  Other people (myself included) think that the best way to prevent this is to limit how much control the government has over the people.

The benefit of limiting the control that government has over people, is that it allows those with wealth to avoid bribes and simply use wealth/power to directly do anything they want.  Much more efficient subversion of the common good.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: canuckystan on May 30, 2018, 08:22:23 AM
People who complain about CEO salaries have generally never done the job.  It's a 24/7 job that requires immense amounts of IQ and EQ and decisions that will have ripple effects through countless families and communities.  A CEO typically has 10-20 bosses (i.e., the board of directors), board committees, numerous angry stakeholders, lawsuits to deal with, big suppliers, government regulators, and enough stress to kill a horse.  It's absolutely nothing like the life of a front line 9-5 worker, and a good CEO adds value far, far beyond his or her compensation.  But the great thing is, a front line worker can become a CEO through hard work and intelligence.  Once of Canada's largest banks had a CEO for years who started as a teller in a local branch.  I believe Walmart is known for promoting from within for those willing to put in the work.   

Pay 'disparity' is easy to talk about, but 'work disparity' is the underlying reason for the pay differential. If you ask the front line worker if he or she is willing to put 60 hour weeks for 20 years to get ahead and have a shot at the c-suite, my bet is that most would want nothing to do with it.  But they still think the CEO should be paid less so they get more.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: use2betrix on May 30, 2018, 08:49:16 AM
I’d place a safe bet that we have the most obese “poor” people in the world. I’d say Americans definition of poor is a gross overstatement. It’s amazing what some people here classify as poor.

Did you really just insinuate that obesity should be an indicator of wealth?

In most of the developed world it's extremely cheap to get calorie dense foods (This is true in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).  It's much cheaper in fact than to get nutritious low calorie foods.  This food doesn't make you healthy or stronger.  It just makes you fat.

Your insinuation really does a disservice to a lot of people.  Yes, I'd argue that the poorest in the developed world are better off than the poorest in developing nations, sure.  That doesn't mean that the poor in developed countries have got it easy, or that they don't have extremely difficult problems to overcome to succeed though.

I’m not sure this even warrants a response.

Obesity is based on calories. If someone is obese, they are eating MORE calories than they NEED. The excess calories are purely converted to fat.

If they were poor, they couldn’t afford basic food and thus would be thin.

If someone is eating MORE than they NEED they become fat. Period.

It really is that basic. Poor people are not getting fat because they aren’t eating the right nutrients, it’s from eating too many calories.

I didn't argue that people are getting fat because they aren't eating the right nutrients.  I argued that it's cheaper to eat high calorie food (particularly low nutrient, high calorie food that doesn't leave you feeling full for long - compounding the problem).

poor:  lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

While not being able to meet your dietary needs certainly qualifies as poor, so does not being able to afford decent quality, nutritious food.

@use2betrix

Food isn't valued per calorie

Eating too much and consuming too many calories IS NOT THE SAME THING. When I started eating healthier I consumed way more food, while taking in less calories.

It is no secret that in the US, unhealthy/prepackaged/prepared foods which are higher in calorie-density, tend to be cheaper. Processed fats are cheap because they can last longer since most processed fats come from far away 3rd world countries which are not paid well (farmers).

Someone can get fat eating 3 Big Macs and fries everyday. Meanwhile someone else can go through half a chicken, cup of whole grains/quinoa seed, half an avocado ($$$) mixed-greens salad ($$$), a large omelette filled with vegetables, 1/2 cup of yogurt/cottage cheese, handful of nuts ($$$) and several pieces of fruit. Which is "more" food? And which diet do you think is going to cost more on average? Compare one diet of cheap processed fats (fast food), to the other which also contains fat, but from more expensive sources, and supplemented with plenty of other sources of calories (fruits, veggies, seeds/grains, dairy, fresh meat).

Yes eating healthy can be cheaper, but it involves time (learning how to cook from scratch, with items pre-planned and bought on sale, then stored properly until future use). Since most of us are pressed for time (whether you are wealthy or not), those who don't make time to eat healthy but are earning a good income, can at least afford to buy healthy prepared foods (more $$$).

Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

Honestly, your post is just filled with petty excuses. I can’t really argue that yes, it takes time to bake a chicken breast or put some rice in the microwave.

I’m baffled at some of the arguments here. Like cooking basic food takes so much skill and knowledge and time. How somehow I can do all of it working 60-70 hrs a week yet no “poor” person who “shouldn’t have to” work more than 40 hrs, can possibly find the time to do? Some people are apparently just so fucking lazy that it’s too much to ask them to cook something. Get real.

Amazing that on a forum that places so much value on biking everywhere and doing “work” yourself, that people can justify that it’s too much to expect poor people to cook their own food. That logic is facepunch worthy.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: AnswerIs42 on May 30, 2018, 09:22:10 AM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

I suggest doing a little scientific experiment and giving this a try.

For the first two weeks, eat nothing but chicken and vegetables, but you're allowed to eat as much of them as you like.
For the next two weeks, go to McDonalds every day and have one Big Mac, large fries, large sugary drink, and you're not allowed to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

I'd guess that in the first two weeks, you won't actually want to eat too much, you'll end up losing some weight, and you'd really have to force-feed yourself if you wanted to put on weight. And in the second two weeks you'll be stupidly hungry and still end up not losing weight.

I do take your point about basic cooking not being too hard or expensive, though. Chicken and vegetables is a very cheap, easy, tasty, and healthy meal (which I tend to cook for myself pretty much every other day).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mak1277 on May 30, 2018, 09:26:21 AM
People who complain about CEO salaries have generally never done the job.  It's a 24/7 job that requires immense amounts of IQ and EQ and decisions that will have ripple effects through countless families and communities.  A CEO typically has 10-20 bosses (i.e., the board of directors), board committees, numerous angry stakeholders, lawsuits to deal with, big suppliers, government regulators, and enough stress to kill a horse.  It's absolutely nothing like the life of a front line 9-5 worker, and a good CEO adds value far, far beyond his or her compensation.     

This is very true.  I'm a mid-level executive at my company, and there isn't enough money in the world to get me to aspire to being a CEO of a public company.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 09:43:49 AM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

Honestly, your post is just filled with petty excuses. I can’t really argue that yes, it takes time to bake a chicken breast or put some rice in the microwave.

I’m baffled at some of the arguments here. Like cooking basic food takes so much skill and knowledge and time. How somehow I can do all of it working 60-70 hrs a week yet no “poor” person who “shouldn’t have to” work more than 40 hrs, can possibly find the time to do? Some people are apparently just so fucking lazy that it’s too much to ask them to cook something. Get real.

Amazing that on a forum that places so much value on biking everywhere and doing “work” yourself, that people can justify that it’s too much to expect poor people to cook their own food. That logic is facepunch worthy.

You keep making assumptions about people and basing your arguments on them.

One assumption is that people know how to cook food.  It sounds stupid.  My parents always cooked food at home, so I saw them making meals every night.  Eventually my mom and dad showed me the basics of chopping things up, reading a recipe, and creating a meal.

I also know people who eat out nearly every night.  They can't cook, so their kids have never learned to cook properly.  They have trouble with slicing an onion, don't know the difference between browning and burning something in a pan, don't know how to add seasonings to a dish to taste.  They've never followed a simple recipe before.  They can't even name all the common vegetables you find at a store.  Can they learn?  Absolutely.  But they will waste a lot of food, take forever to cook most things, and make a lot of terrible meals in the meantime.  If you're pretty well off, this is something that you can deal with.  If you're very poor, the risk of wasting your weekly food money on something that takes forever and may well be inedible once complete is a pretty strong deterrent.

Not everyone is lucky enough to know how to eat healthy foods, or know much about diet at all.  Again, because my parents cooked at home every night, and we generally ate healthy food I ended up having an intuitive sense of what is good for me.  Potato chips are basically the same as a baked potato, right?  This is a question I was asked by a guy in university . . . and he wasn't joking.  Some schools and parents don't teach much about food and nutrition . . . and this is another hurdle that many poor people must overcome.

Another assumption is that people have easy access to healthy food.  If you don't own a car, getting around on public transit can be a difficult and time consuming experience.  You're likely to find yourself limited to the stores within walking distance of where you live . . . and there are many places where there aren't any decent grocery stores nearby.  This means that you end up not having access to the same selection of fresh vegetables and unprocessed meats that are healthier to eat.


Now, obviously none of these issues are insurmountable, but they do exist. They make it more difficult for people who are very poor to eat healthy food than it is for you or me.  I'm not saying that poor people should give up, or should stop striving to better their situation at all.  I'm arguing that we need a little compassion when considering their situation . . . as it is materially different from ours.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on May 30, 2018, 10:04:11 AM
People who complain about CEO salaries have generally never done the job.  It's a 24/7 job that requires immense amounts of IQ and EQ and decisions that will have ripple effects through countless families and communities.  A CEO typically has 10-20 bosses (i.e., the board of directors), board committees, numerous angry stakeholders, lawsuits to deal with, big suppliers, government regulators, and enough stress to kill a horse.  It's absolutely nothing like the life of a front line 9-5 worker, and a good CEO adds value far, far beyond his or her compensation.     

This is very true.  I'm a mid-level executive at my company, and there isn't enough money in the world to get me to aspire to being a CEO of a public company.

I don't think I'd mind being CEO of an established company.  You basically get to fly around the country for free and make sure things are going well.  From time to time, you have to be the public face telling investors what they want to hear.  You get to solicit input and decide what to do next.  People below you then do all the dirty work like firing and reorganizing to carry out your wishes.  I really don't see how CEO's have it so poorly.  Certainly very few of them are voluntarily hitting the ER button, although they are well beyond FI.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: canuckystan on May 30, 2018, 10:07:17 AM
This is all way off base.  If you read the latest research, poor people buy junk food primarily because they can't afford any other types of indulgences for themselves or their kids.  In other words, they believe that they have limited ability to put smiles on their kids' faces (and their own) so they say yes to junk food a lot more than wealthy people (who presumably give their kids activities, bikes, skis, whatever and have an easier time saying no to oreos and coke).

It's not really about the ability to cook or even the cost of junk food versus rice and beans.  It's a human connection thing.

Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

Honestly, your post is just filled with petty excuses. I can’t really argue that yes, it takes time to bake a chicken breast or put some rice in the microwave.

I’m baffled at some of the arguments here. Like cooking basic food takes so much skill and knowledge and time. How somehow I can do all of it working 60-70 hrs a week yet no “poor” person who “shouldn’t have to” work more than 40 hrs, can possibly find the time to do? Some people are apparently just so fucking lazy that it’s too much to ask them to cook something. Get real.

Amazing that on a forum that places so much value on biking everywhere and doing “work” yourself, that people can justify that it’s too much to expect poor people to cook their own food. That logic is facepunch worthy.

You keep making assumptions about people and basing your arguments on them.

One assumption is that people know how to cook food.  It sounds stupid.  My parents always cooked food at home, so I saw them making meals every night.  Eventually my mom and dad showed me the basics of chopping things up, reading a recipe, and creating a meal.

I also know people who eat out nearly every night.  They can't cook, so their kids have never learned to cook properly.  They have trouble with slicing an onion, don't know the difference between browning and burning something in a pan, don't know how to add seasonings to a dish to taste.  They've never followed a simple recipe before.  They can't even name all the common vegetables you find at a store.  Can they learn?  Absolutely.  But they will waste a lot of food, take forever to cook most things, and make a lot of terrible meals in the meantime.  If you're pretty well off, this is something that you can deal with.  If you're very poor, the risk of wasting your weekly food money on something that takes forever and may well be inedible once complete is a pretty strong deterrent.

Not everyone is lucky enough to know how to eat healthy foods, or know much about diet at all.  Again, because my parents cooked at home every night, and we generally ate healthy food I ended up having an intuitive sense of what is good for me.  Potato chips are basically the same as a baked potato, right?  This is a question I was asked by a guy in university . . . and he wasn't joking.  Some schools and parents don't teach much about food and nutrition . . . and this is another hurdle that many poor people must overcome.

Another assumption is that people have easy access to healthy food.  If you don't own a car, getting around on public transit can be a difficult and time consuming experience.  You're likely to find yourself limited to the stores within walking distance of where you live . . . and there are many places where there aren't any decent grocery stores nearby.  This means that you end up not having access to the same selection of fresh vegetables and unprocessed meats that are healthier to eat.


Now, obviously none of these issues are insurmountable, but they do exist. They make it more difficult for people who are very poor to eat healthy food than it is for you or me.  I'm not saying that poor people should give up, or should stop striving to better their situation at all.  I'm arguing that we need a little compassion when considering their situation . . . as it is materially different from ours.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: boarder42 on May 30, 2018, 10:12:32 AM
These modern day walmart "slaves" are now getting the opportunity to attend college for the cost of 1 dollar per day

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/30/walmart-unveils-a-new-employee-perk-college-tuition.html

sounds like they do have it rough.  also Walmart pays 11 bucks an hour - if they were working the full 40 hours a week that would be 23k a year plus essentially a free education. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: use2betrix on May 30, 2018, 10:45:02 AM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

Honestly, your post is just filled with petty excuses. I can’t really argue that yes, it takes time to bake a chicken breast or put some rice in the microwave.

I’m baffled at some of the arguments here. Like cooking basic food takes so much skill and knowledge and time. How somehow I can do all of it working 60-70 hrs a week yet no “poor” person who “shouldn’t have to” work more than 40 hrs, can possibly find the time to do? Some people are apparently just so fucking lazy that it’s too much to ask them to cook something. Get real.

Amazing that on a forum that places so much value on biking everywhere and doing “work” yourself, that people can justify that it’s too much to expect poor people to cook their own food. That logic is facepunch worthy.

You keep making assumptions about people and basing your arguments on them.

One assumption is that people know how to cook food.  It sounds stupid.  My parents always cooked food at home, so I saw them making meals every night.  Eventually my mom and dad showed me the basics of chopping things up, reading a recipe, and creating a meal.

I also know people who eat out nearly every night.  They can't cook, so their kids have never learned to cook properly.  They have trouble with slicing an onion, don't know the difference between browning and burning something in a pan, don't know how to add seasonings to a dish to taste.  They've never followed a simple recipe before.  They can't even name all the common vegetables you find at a store.  Can they learn?  Absolutely.  But they will waste a lot of food, take forever to cook most things, and make a lot of terrible meals in the meantime.  If you're pretty well off, this is something that you can deal with.  If you're very poor, the risk of wasting your weekly food money on something that takes forever and may well be inedible once complete is a pretty strong deterrent.

Not everyone is lucky enough to know how to eat healthy foods, or know much about diet at all.  Again, because my parents cooked at home every night, and we generally ate healthy food I ended up having an intuitive sense of what is good for me.  Potato chips are basically the same as a baked potato, right?  This is a question I was asked by a guy in university . . . and he wasn't joking.  Some schools and parents don't teach much about food and nutrition . . . and this is another hurdle that many poor people must overcome.

Another assumption is that people have easy access to healthy food.  If you don't own a car, getting around on public transit can be a difficult and time consuming experience.  You're likely to find yourself limited to the stores within walking distance of where you live . . . and there are many places where there aren't any decent grocery stores nearby.  This means that you end up not having access to the same selection of fresh vegetables and unprocessed meats that are healthier to eat.


Now, obviously none of these issues are insurmountable, but they do exist. They make it more difficult for people who are very poor to eat healthy food than it is for you or me.  I'm not saying that poor people should give up, or should stop striving to better their situation at all.  I'm arguing that we need a little compassion when considering their situation . . . as it is materially different from ours.


Again - how hard is it to put some ground beef into a patty and toss it on the stove for 5-10 minutes? How hard is it to marinate a chicken breast, and put it in the oven?

Ooohhhh adding a cup of water to some dry oats and microwaving them might be just too challenging of a task for poor people to handle.

I’d hate to expect someone to be able to stick an uncle bens rice packet in the microwave and mess that up! Heaven forbid they can’t read instructions and tear the top to vent it!

Even if the meat is as complicated to understand as your portray, there’s no reason they can’t make good complex carbs (rice, oatmeal) instead of all the other garbage carbs people eat. Making oatmeal is literally idiot proof if you know how to read.

I’m starting to think people here are confusing poor with Down’s syndrome.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Richie Poor on May 30, 2018, 11:07:22 AM
Quote
Government interference on this matter is rooted in socialism - specifically a need to control (prevent for moral reasons) the slave market.  The US system (like every functioning economic system in the world) is a mix of both capitalist and socialist ideas, holding each other in check.  Capitalism tends to provide drive to create/innovate, socialism tends to provide protection for the people.  Go to far into either direction, and your economic system will eventually run into trouble.
While I agree with this...
In a purely capitalist system, you would be allowed to buy slaves. 
Capitalism seems to have been the force that allowed eradication of slavery, or at least countries abandoned it in approximately the same order they became capitalist. I suppose it could be an indirect effect, and actually capitalism allowed industrialization, which made machine labor economically preferable to human labor, which ended slavery.

When government artificially creates rules and limits freedom of a market for the betterment of the people, it is acting in a socialist manner.  Ending slavery by law artificially limits the ability to buy slaves by government decree - not free market choice.  It is a regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of slaves.  Therefore by definition it is a socialist rather than capitalist action.  You could try to make the argument that it would not be economically feasible to own slaves after industrialization and thus capitalism would have solved the problem . . . but the 40.3 million people currently in slavery around the world (including 150 billion dollars worth of slavery related commerce that goes on today in the US alone) demonstrate how incorrect that theory is. https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/ (https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/)

I'm not sure I agree with the premise that in a purely capitalistic system you would be allowed to buy slaves. If capitalism is an economic system built on free market choice then that free market choice has to apply to everybody, even the would be slaves. So removing their free market choice would be anti-capitalistic. Paying them the lowest possible wage you could get them to freely choose to work for would be capitalistic.

I'm not arguing pure capitalism is the ideal system, as a purely capitalistic system could easily have negative outcomes for a lot of people. I just don't think pure capitalism creates chattel slavery. Even socialism could have slavery if a socialistic society determined one group of people don't qualify for basic human rights. You would argue that wouldn't be pure socialism and I would agree.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Paul der Krake on May 30, 2018, 11:17:24 AM
People who complain about CEO salaries have generally never done the job.  It's a 24/7 job that requires immense amounts of IQ and EQ and decisions that will have ripple effects through countless families and communities.  A CEO typically has 10-20 bosses (i.e., the board of directors), board committees, numerous angry stakeholders, lawsuits to deal with, big suppliers, government regulators, and enough stress to kill a horse.  It's absolutely nothing like the life of a front line 9-5 worker, and a good CEO adds value far, far beyond his or her compensation.     

This is very true.  I'm a mid-level executive at my company, and there isn't enough money in the world to get me to aspire to being a CEO of a public company.

I don't think I'd mind being CEO of an established company.  You basically get to fly around the country for free and make sure things are going well.  From time to time, you have to be the public face telling investors what they want to hear.  You get to solicit input and decide what to do next.  People below you then do all the dirty work like firing and reorganizing to carry out your wishes.  I really don't see how CEO's have it so poorly.  Certainly very few of them are voluntarily hitting the ER button, although they are well beyond FI.
And I wouldn't mind being a NFL starting quarterback, all you gotta do is throw a ball at targets while other people protect you.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 12:10:58 PM
Quote
Government interference on this matter is rooted in socialism - specifically a need to control (prevent for moral reasons) the slave market.  The US system (like every functioning economic system in the world) is a mix of both capitalist and socialist ideas, holding each other in check.  Capitalism tends to provide drive to create/innovate, socialism tends to provide protection for the people.  Go to far into either direction, and your economic system will eventually run into trouble.
While I agree with this...
In a purely capitalist system, you would be allowed to buy slaves. 
Capitalism seems to have been the force that allowed eradication of slavery, or at least countries abandoned it in approximately the same order they became capitalist. I suppose it could be an indirect effect, and actually capitalism allowed industrialization, which made machine labor economically preferable to human labor, which ended slavery.

When government artificially creates rules and limits freedom of a market for the betterment of the people, it is acting in a socialist manner.  Ending slavery by law artificially limits the ability to buy slaves by government decree - not free market choice.  It is a regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of slaves.  Therefore by definition it is a socialist rather than capitalist action.  You could try to make the argument that it would not be economically feasible to own slaves after industrialization and thus capitalism would have solved the problem . . . but the 40.3 million people currently in slavery around the world (including 150 billion dollars worth of slavery related commerce that goes on today in the US alone) demonstrate how incorrect that theory is. https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/ (https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/)

I'm not sure I agree with the premise that in a purely capitalistic system you would be allowed to buy slaves. If capitalism is an economic system built on free market choice then that free market choice has to apply to everybody, even the would be slaves. So removing their free market choice would be anti-capitalistic. Paying them the lowest possible wage you could get them to freely choose to work for would be capitalistic.

I'm not arguing pure capitalism is the ideal system, as a purely capitalistic system could easily have negative outcomes for a lot of people. I just don't think pure capitalism creates chattel slavery. Even socialism could have slavery if a socialistic society determined one group of people don't qualify for basic human rights. You would argue that wouldn't be pure socialism and I would agree.
[/quote]

Pure capitalism requires a market free of government interference for private owners to create profit from trade and industry.  It doesn't require that this market is open to all.  In fact, one of the constants of capitalism in practice is that it concentrates wealth into fewer and fewer hands until the barrier to competitively enter the market becomes insurmountable to most.  It was American application of capitalism (profit motives, entrepreneurialism and market relations) after all that drove the slave trade in the early United States.  Slavery is entirely compatible with capitalism.

I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Both systems sound great in theory (Reward people for their work!  Make things fair for everyone!) but real world implementation sucks unless the one is tempered by the other.

:P
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 30, 2018, 12:52:33 PM
I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Except that if you are in a democratic socialist state, the people are the state, and all authority flows from the people. So maybe the state owns everyone, but the people are sovereign, and the will of the people is preserved.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 01:06:36 PM
I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Except that if you are in a democratic socialist state, the people are the state, and all authority flows from the people. So maybe the state owns everyone, but the people are sovereign, and the will of the people is preserved.

I don't draw a big distinction between being a slave to the will of the state and a slave to the will of the people.  :P
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Richie Poor on May 30, 2018, 02:25:28 PM
Quote
Government interference on this matter is rooted in socialism - specifically a need to control (prevent for moral reasons) the slave market.  The US system (like every functioning economic system in the world) is a mix of both capitalist and socialist ideas, holding each other in check.  Capitalism tends to provide drive to create/innovate, socialism tends to provide protection for the people.  Go to far into either direction, and your economic system will eventually run into trouble.
While I agree with this...
In a purely capitalist system, you would be allowed to buy slaves. 
Capitalism seems to have been the force that allowed eradication of slavery, or at least countries abandoned it in approximately the same order they became capitalist. I suppose it could be an indirect effect, and actually capitalism allowed industrialization, which made machine labor economically preferable to human labor, which ended slavery.

When government artificially creates rules and limits freedom of a market for the betterment of the people, it is acting in a socialist manner.  Ending slavery by law artificially limits the ability to buy slaves by government decree - not free market choice.  It is a regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of slaves.  Therefore by definition it is a socialist rather than capitalist action.  You could try to make the argument that it would not be economically feasible to own slaves after industrialization and thus capitalism would have solved the problem . . . but the 40.3 million people currently in slavery around the world (including 150 billion dollars worth of slavery related commerce that goes on today in the US alone) demonstrate how incorrect that theory is. https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/ (https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/)

I'm not sure I agree with the premise that in a purely capitalistic system you would be allowed to buy slaves. If capitalism is an economic system built on free market choice then that free market choice has to apply to everybody, even the would be slaves. So removing their free market choice would be anti-capitalistic. Paying them the lowest possible wage you could get them to freely choose to work for would be capitalistic.

I'm not arguing pure capitalism is the ideal system, as a purely capitalistic system could easily have negative outcomes for a lot of people. I just don't think pure capitalism creates chattel slavery. Even socialism could have slavery if a socialistic society determined one group of people don't qualify for basic human rights. You would argue that wouldn't be pure socialism and I would agree.

Pure capitalism requires a market free of government interference for private owners to create profit from trade and industry...
[/quote]

I have always have understood capitalism requires a voluntary exchange. Armed robbery isn't an example of a capitalist transaction but can be free of government interference. I don't see how you could enslave someone and call it voluntary. If you arbitrarily exclude a group of people from the need for voluntary transactions in a capitalist society you could have slavery but if a government excludes a group of people then isn't that government interference and no longer pure capitalism?

It doesn't really matter much to the discussion. I agree that a poor application of capitalism can have slavery with tragic results which may be your main point.
 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 30, 2018, 02:47:29 PM
I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Except that if you are in a democratic socialist state, the people are the state, and all authority flows from the people. So maybe the state owns everyone, but the people are sovereign, and the will of the people is preserved.

I don't draw a big distinction between being a slave to the will of the state and a slave to the will of the people.  :P

Spoken like someone that didn't spend the 1950s in China.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 02:53:40 PM
I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Except that if you are in a democratic socialist state, the people are the state, and all authority flows from the people. So maybe the state owns everyone, but the people are sovereign, and the will of the people is preserved.

I don't draw a big distinction between being a slave to the will of the state and a slave to the will of the people.  :P

Spoken like someone that didn't spend the 1950s in China.

Can you give me an example of a successful democratic socialist state?  One that eschews capitalism.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 30, 2018, 02:54:17 PM
I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Except that if you are in a democratic socialist state, the people are the state, and all authority flows from the people. So maybe the state owns everyone, but the people are sovereign, and the will of the people is preserved.

I don't draw a big distinction between being a slave to the will of the state and a slave to the will of the people.  :P

It's the difference between all people being subject to the will of the majority of people, vs all people being subject to the will of the 1% of people who own the majority of the world's wealth.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 30, 2018, 05:24:58 PM
Can you give me an example of a successful democratic socialist state?  One that eschews capitalism.

I never said that there were any. But at least if the state reflects the will of the people, the people can change the nature of the economic model when they decide that it doesn't work. If a very small number of people control the whole country (which sounds pretty un-socialist to me) then they can continue down the wrong path for decades.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 30, 2018, 06:09:52 PM
Can you give me an example of a successful democratic socialist state?  One that eschews capitalism.

I never said that there were any. But at least if the state reflects the will of the people, the people can change the nature of the economic model when they decide that it doesn't work. If a very small number of people control the whole country (which sounds pretty un-socialist to me) then they can continue down the wrong path for decades.

My problem with the concepts of pure capitalism and pure socialism is primarily with their implementation.  In theory, they're awesome.  Reality never seems to measure up though.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 30, 2018, 07:13:05 PM
Can you give me an example of a successful democratic socialist state?  One that eschews capitalism.

I never said that there were any. But at least if the state reflects the will of the people, the people can change the nature of the economic model when they decide that it doesn't work. If a very small number of people control the whole country (which sounds pretty un-socialist to me) then they can continue down the wrong path for decades.

My problem with the concepts of pure capitalism and pure socialism is primarily with their implementation.  In theory, they're awesome.  Reality never seems to measure up though.

I don't want pure socialism and I don't think even self-proclaimed democratic socialists in the US such as Bernie Sanders want pure socialism. No serious politician in the US is talking about nationalizing 100% of the wealth in every industry, and I wouldn't support such a candidate if one did exist. But there is a middle ground between nationalizing every industry and anarcho-capitalism.
Title: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on May 30, 2018, 07:58:35 PM
People who complain about CEO salaries have generally never done the job.  It's a 24/7 job that requires immense amounts of IQ and EQ and decisions that will have ripple effects through countless families and communities.  A CEO typically has 10-20 bosses (i.e., the board of directors), board committees, numerous angry stakeholders, lawsuits to deal with, big suppliers, government regulators, and enough stress to kill a horse.  It's absolutely nothing like the life of a front line 9-5 worker, and a good CEO adds value far, far beyond his or her compensation.     

This is very true.  I'm a mid-level executive at my company, and there isn't enough money in the world to get me to aspire to being a CEO of a public company.

I don't think I'd mind being CEO of an established company.  You basically get to fly around the country for free and make sure things are going well.  From time to time, you have to be the public face telling investors what they want to hear.  You get to solicit input and decide what to do next.  People below you then do all the dirty work like firing and reorganizing to carry out your wishes.  I really don't see how CEO's have it so poorly.  Certainly very few of them are voluntarily hitting the ER button, although they are well beyond FI.
And I wouldn't mind being a NFL starting quarterback, all you gotta do is throw a ball at targets while other people protect you.
I work for a Fortune 500 company. Years ago, someone explained to me that to be in contention for the CEO position, you needed to understand it is like the 1960’s version of Batman on TV. Batman and Robin scale the outside of the biggest building on campus. From time to time a window opens and someone sticks their head out to talk. One difference is that person popping out of the window also tries to step on your fingers and knock you off the side of the building to take you out of The Game.

OP - you clearly do not understand the amount of ability, intelligence, effort, and luck it takes to be the CEO of a large corporation.

I am just an engineer. I am used to working hard long hours across the world for my company. I leave for Europe on Friday to prepare for a project on schedule for the year 2020.

I understand that being CEO is more than sitting in a big chair with a great view.

OP - please consider the amount of competition it must take to become the CEO of a corporation like WalMart.


Like they said in the movie Highlander.........

There can be only ONE........

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Seadog on May 30, 2018, 08:44:29 PM
Pay 'disparity' is easy to talk about, but 'work disparity' is the underlying reason for the pay differential. If you ask the front line worker if he or she is willing to put 60 hour weeks for 20 years to get ahead and have a shot at the c-suite, my bet is that most would want nothing to do with it.  But they still think the CEO should be paid less so they get more.

This.

Whatever lines you want to draw amongst race, sex or class (and recently a good many have been), they almost disappear when you take into account things like hours worked, experience, stress, and other factors that are intimately related to end of the line productivity and how much useful stuff is being generated for someone else.

I had made 6 figures ever since my second year out of school. Another friend of mine, she still hasn't after 12 years, despite both doing technical jobs. My first year it was mostly training and I made an ok, but not great wage for an engineer. Certainly not great given only a handful of days off over 6 months (including weekends), no schedule, and essentially 24 hour on call availability. Then I started doing jobs on my own and money came. Then international work and a lot more. Enough to FIRE after 7.5 years. More freedom of schedule and days off, but still essentially always on call.

I'd get confused because I'd be talking to others about how I only got 6 weeks vacation a year, or had to work 3 days straight. They'd laugh, and say "Wha? Only 6 weeks? The rest of the world is lucky with 3, and most of us do 5 days straight - every week!" Then I'd say "Well yeah, but you get 2 days off a week and holidays, so really that's like another 16 weeks vacation on top..."  Or having to clarify that 3 days of work = 72 hours, literally sleeping maybe in an office chair for 10 minutes here and there while some computer program is reprocessing data. I literally got to the point where I forgot many people work on a schedule and my sort of life wasn't the norm. Just the implied idea that there was time off naturally "baked into" a work day or week was foreign.

My friend was telling me about how her job wanted her to work some of her vacation weeks for extra pay, pull ot, etc etc. She said none of that, and is out the door every day at 4. Again this left me perplexed, but she has kids to pick up so work is a priority somewhere between kids/husband/pets and Netflix. Fine. Different world than what I'm used to. But a rig which costs $1m+/day isn't waiting on you while you pick up junior from day care. Hell, even the chopper which only costs a few thousand per hour wont. Lets not even think about the stress for when things go wrong, let alone if it's your fuckup. We're talking a guy over your shoulder with a stop watch, counting seconds when you restart the computer after windows crashes, then sending someone a bill for that thousand dollar reset.

Some people love the power and privilege that go with that, pulling over 200k before 30 opens up a ton of doors, and for friends who had the misfortune to be born in not so nice countries, it's literally a "get out of that shit hole free" card, I used it to FIRE. I also sacrificed a good portion of my 20s. Friends which kids didn't know them since they were offshore or in jungles for 250 days a year. It's easy to think big earners are just "sitting in their nice office, flying around and putting on a PR face for shareholders" and having others do dirty work. 

Unless you've done these sorts of jobs where you need to put details like the birth of your first child #2 to work, you shouldn't get a vote on what a fair distribution is.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 30, 2018, 09:09:28 PM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

I suggest doing a little scientific experiment and giving this a try.

For the first two weeks, eat nothing but chicken and vegetables, but you're allowed to eat as much of them as you like.
For the next two weeks, go to McDonalds every day and have one Big Mac, large fries, large sugary drink, and you're not allowed to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

I'd guess that in the first two weeks, you won't actually want to eat too much, you'll end up losing some weight, and you'd really have to force-feed yourself if you wanted to put on weight. And in the second two weeks you'll be stupidly hungry and still end up not losing weight.

I do take your point about basic cooking not being too hard or expensive, though. Chicken and vegetables is a very cheap, easy, tasty, and healthy meal (which I tend to cook for myself pretty much every other day).

I did this test for a few weeks. I ate for breakfast lunch and snacks nothing but candy bars.  The rule was to only eat 1 serving and  wait 30 minutes.  If still hungry I can have another serving.  Basically I ate candy all day and then had some form of dinner at night.  I lost weight because calories in was less than calories expended. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 30, 2018, 09:13:02 PM
People who complain about CEO salaries have generally never done the job.  It's a 24/7 job that requires immense amounts of IQ and EQ and decisions that will have ripple effects through countless families and communities.  A CEO typically has 10-20 bosses (i.e., the board of directors), board committees, numerous angry stakeholders, lawsuits to deal with, big suppliers, government regulators, and enough stress to kill a horse.  It's absolutely nothing like the life of a front line 9-5 worker, and a good CEO adds value far, far beyond his or her compensation.     

This is very true.  I'm a mid-level executive at my company, and there isn't enough money in the world to get me to aspire to being a CEO of a public company.

I don't think I'd mind being CEO of an established company.  You basically get to fly around the country for free and make sure things are going well.  From time to time, you have to be the public face telling investors what they want to hear.  You get to solicit input and decide what to do next.  People below you then do all the dirty work like firing and reorganizing to carry out your wishes.  I really don't see how CEO's have it so poorly.  Certainly very few of them are voluntarily hitting the ER button, although they are well beyond FI.

Based on the above comment I suspect you don't really know what a CEO of a public company does and what pressure they are under to perform. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: sol on May 30, 2018, 09:51:55 PM
The market rewards those workers with more skills.

Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort.  By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 

There are guys in my office who work twice as hard as I do, and make half as much.  Yay capitalism?
There are guys in my office who make twice as much as I do, who do basically nothing except hold down a title.  Yay capitalism?
How are either of these comparisons supposed to be reflective of anyone's skill set?

You're all going on about "skills" as if capitalism gives a flying fuck about your skill set.  Nobody gets paid for their skills in a free market economy.  The world's most skilled watercolor artist is paid less than the least skilled CEO at a major multinational.  A highly skilled landscaper makes less than a poorly skilled engineer.  Skill has nothing to do with it.  Wages are set by supply and demand for your labor, not by your skill set.  If you want to make more money as an employee, you don't need to improve your skills, you need to find a new job.  One that pays better.

But even that solution is a farce.  It's just another of the many layers of defense put in place by the people who genuinely run the world, who exercise power.  They want you to get a good education in coloring between the lines, and then stay there for your entire life, because anything else upsets the established power structure that benefits them the most.  Calling it capitalism as if that appeals to your patriotic heartstrings is just gross misdirection, like politicians touting "family values" and "fiscal conservativism" while doing the exact opposite.  Nobody joins the elite class by coloring between the lines and being an obedient employee lapdog.  Whether the lapdog makes $19k/year or $300k/year is basically irrelevant to the world's truly rich people.  They view both of those employees as expendable labor, like a gardener or house painter that you pay with pocket change because you can't be bothered with menial tasks while you sunbathe at Ibiza.

This is not "slavery" in the sense that most Americans learned about in high school history class, but it's conceptually very related.  There is an economically elite minority that wields all of the power, and then there is the vast majority of the population that toils away their lives in support of that elite minority without much chance of improving their lot.  The relative wages have changed a bit, but in both cases the workers get just enough to keep them from revolting, and the rich owners get everything else left over after deciding just how much the workers will get.  The only thing that has changed (and I admit this a big one) is that American slaves were kept in line by force, and modern American workers are kept in line by ignorance.  We have chosen our servitude, because we see no alternative, but that doesn't really make it any less constrictive.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 30, 2018, 10:14:24 PM
The market rewards those workers with more skills.

Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort.  By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 

There are guys in my office who work twice as hard as I do, and make half as much.  Yay capitalism?
There are guys in my office who make twice as much as I do, who do basically nothing except hold down a title.  Yay capitalism?
How are either of these comparisons supposed to be reflective of anyone's skill set?

You're all going on about "skills" as if capitalism gives a flying fuck about your skill set.  Nobody gets paid for their skills in a free market economy.  The world's most skilled watercolor artist is paid less than the least skilled CEO at a major multinational.  A highly skilled landscaper makes less than a poorly skilled engineer.  Skill has nothing to do with it.  Wages are set by supply and demand for your labor, not by your skill set.  If you want to make more money as an employee, you don't need to improve your skills, you need to find a new job.  One that pays better.

But even that solution is a farce.  It's just another of the many layers of defense put in place by the people who genuinely run the world, who exercise power.  They want you to get a good education in coloring between the lines, and then stay there for your entire life, because anything else upsets the established power structure that benefits them the most.  Calling it capitalism as if that appeals to your patriotic heartstrings is just gross misdirection, like politicians touting "family values" and "fiscal conservativism" while doing the exact opposite.  Nobody joins the elite class by coloring between the lines and being an obedient employee lapdog.  Whether the lapdog makes $19k/year or $300k/year is basically irrelevant to the world's truly rich people.  They view both of those employees as expendable labor, like a gardener or house painter that you pay with pocket change because you can't be bothered with menial tasks while you sunbathe at Ibiza.

This is not "slavery" in the sense that most Americans learned about in high school history class, but it's conceptually very related.  There is an economically elite minority that wields all of the power, and then there is the vast majority of the population that toils away their lives in support of that elite minority without much chance of improving their lot.  The relative wages have changed a bit, but in both cases the workers get just enough to keep them from revolting, and the rich owners get everything else left over after deciding just how much the workers will get.  The only thing that has changed (and I admit this a big one) is that American slaves were kept in line by force, and modern American workers are kept in line by ignorance.  We have chosen our servitude, because we see no alternative, but that doesn't really make it any less constrictive.

I think that our modern society has chosen our slavery via ignorance and consumerism.  Isn't that what this whole MMM cultish  following is all about?

I also agree.  In the US you are not paid because you are skilled.  You are paid based on how much your work is worth to the employer. Part of the game of life is understanding how to play the game and win.  Those who are good at playing the game do better than those who either just don't get it, can't get it, or born in a situation where it may be impossible to even compete.  The reality is that no one is at a level playing field.  Some people have in innate understanding how to succeed with minimal effort while others must work very hard it.  I love how Mustachians have learned how to hack the game and not have to play it at all. . . Eventually.

I have a buddy who has an amazing personality.  He is so easy to get along with and he has a way for remembering people.  He can see you from across the room 10 months after meeting you for the first time later and then say "Sol, how is it going? How is that solar roof coming along?"  Plus, this guy has a very strong work ethic.  Everybody I know likes this guy and he just happens to fall into amazing and profitable situations.  He simply has an innate ability to succeed in life.  On the other hand years ago I worked with a miserable person who was always unhappy, always complained about everything, and absolutely nothing went right in their lives. They had a very poor work ethic and eventually got laid off. 

Most people in the US earn a sizable income from skill, hard work, the right personality, and they provide a rare service that others are willing to pay for.  Even the high earning CEO has those attributes.  You make more money than the person cleaning the office because you have a rare skill set that others are willing to pay for, you are likely hard working, and I assume easy to get along with.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on May 30, 2018, 10:24:55 PM


Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort.  By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 



It's the worker's job to know their market value.  If they will accept less than their value, that's called poor strategizing.  A company has to pay market value or they will lose workers to the competition.  Capitalism rewards value, not skills.  If a company decides to overpay a worker, the company will lose an edge to the competition.  Successful businesses know how to optimize what they pay and how to get valuable workers.   Except when it's government doing the hiring, in that case inefficiences abound.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: sol on May 30, 2018, 10:55:37 PM
While a lot has been said in this thread, we must recognize that in Capitalism vs Socialism, capitalism is the clear winner and it would be extraordinarily evil to advocate for a socialist economic system in any non-trivial sense.

Does anyone really think socialism is evil, or are we just regurgitating someone else's propaganda?

Because America has lots of socialist institutions that are beloved, and not evil.  Like social security (it's right in the name).  And the power grid that allows you to type away at that computer.  And the post office that delivers your capitalist goods.  And the military that defends your country's interest.  All socialist! 

Quote
The amount of absolute material wealth a minimum wage job can provide in a low cost of living part of the US in 2018 would have been unfathomable by kings a few centuries ago.

I've heard this argument used a lot, and I still find it offensive.  Just because minimum wage Joe has the internet on a pocket computer does not make him "wealthier" than a medieval king.  Kings, like the modern rich, had power.  They go where they want, whenever they want, and they make everyone around them do their bidding.  Poor people have no power.  Poor people get bossed around a lot, and they have limited choices of where to live, who to marry, and how to spend their time.  Being poor in 2018 but eating infinite twinkies does not mean your life is better than a king's.

The real division here is power, not wealth.  And in today's world, wealth buys you power.  Only if you have a LOT of it, like way more than you could ever earn in a lifetime of hourly wages.  Jeff Bezos makes approximately $200k per minute.  Most people on this forum have retired after spending their entire lifetimes to earn less money than Jeff makes while I microwave a frozen burrito.  That kind of power let's Jeff do the sorts of things that only kings can do.

There are a few thousand people like Jeff in the world.  Collectively, they mold and shape human society, and drive all human progress.  Naturally, they drive it in directions that maintain their own grip on the wheel.  All of the rest of us might as well be slaves, in the sense that our lives will not really matter by comparison, no matter what we do.  Nobody who works for an hourly wage is going to make that kind of difference.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 30, 2018, 10:55:53 PM


Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort.  By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 



It's the worker's job to know their market value.  If they will accept less than their value, that's called poor strategizing.  A company has to pay market value or they will lose workers to the competition.  Capitalism rewards value, not skills.  If a company decides to overpay a worker, the company will lose an edge to the competition.  Successful businesses know how to optimize what they pay and how to get valuable workers.   Except when it's government doing the hiring, in that case inefficiences abound.

That's idealism. It doesn't work that way in practice. Markets are not magically efficient.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 30, 2018, 11:10:38 PM

There are a few thousand people like Jeff in the world.  Collectively, they mold and shape human society, and drive all human progress.  Naturally, they drive it in directions that maintain their own grip on the wheel.  All of the rest of us might as well be slaves, in the sense that our lives will not really matter by comparison, no matter what we do.  Nobody who works for an hourly wage is going to make that kind of difference.

You are right, the most wealthy people in the world have the ear of the politicians and have some sway in policy.  Not massive sway, but just enough to pull certain strings in their favor.  Sometimes those really rich people have competing views and the string stay still after being pulled equally in each direction. Frankly, I could give a rats ass what some rich person does with their life as long as it doesn't directly put my life or the life of my loved ones in jeopardy. Luckily we have some laws in the US that tend to but not always prevent that from happening.

BTW, why do you attribute "mattering by comparison" with the ability to alter politics or make lots of money.  That is what is so amazing about Mustachianism; fuck the bullshit corporate world and decide for yourself what is important and what matters. If you really want to make a difference then run for politics. If enough people agree with you, your political actions may actually matter by your definition.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 30, 2018, 11:12:57 PM


Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort.  By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 



It's the worker's job to know their market value.  If they will accept less than their value, that's called poor strategizing.  A company has to pay market value or they will lose workers to the competition.  Capitalism rewards value, not skills.  If a company decides to overpay a worker, the company will lose an edge to the competition.  Successful businesses know how to optimize what they pay and how to get valuable workers.   Except when it's government doing the hiring, in that case inefficiences abound.

That's idealism. It doesn't work that way in practice. Markets are not magically efficient.

When looking at one person or one deal at a time mistakes can occur.  When looking at the market as a whole all the mistakes average out and the market is very efficient. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on May 30, 2018, 11:34:51 PM


That's idealism. It doesn't work that way in practice. Markets are not magically efficient.

The market is actually surprisingly efficient through self correction.  Sure, there are sometimes inefficiencies, and this opens the door for competition/disruption, but these inefficiencies will eventually stabilize.  The age of information has increased efficiencies exponentially.  This will continue.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: sol on May 30, 2018, 11:35:32 PM
BTW, why do you attribute "mattering by comparison" with the ability to alter politics or make lots of money.

I thin Elon Musk has "mattered" because he has chosen to use his wealth and power to change the way society works, in several different ways (all of which benefit him, of course).  No politics required.  He's not using his money to lobby Congress the way the Koch brother's do, he's just changing things.

Zuckerberg and Gates are also good examples.  They changed the world, and got rich, and used their riches and their power to change the world some more.

Who else is on the list of fabulously wealthy people who steer the ship?  Arguably the wealthiest and most powerful man in the entire world today, eclipsing even Jeff Bezos by a large margin, is Vladimir Putin (https://www.voanews.com/a/terrible-crimes-made-putin-world-richest-person-financier-tells-senators/3961955.html).  Like all fabulously wealthy people, he uses his wealth and his power to preserve his wealth and his power. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Paul der Krake on May 30, 2018, 11:44:52 PM
Who else is on the list of fabulously wealthy people who steer the ship?  Arguably the wealthiest and most powerful man in the entire world today, eclipsing even Jeff Bezos by a large margin, is Vladimir Putin (https://www.voanews.com/a/terrible-crimes-made-putin-world-richest-person-financier-tells-senators/3961955.html).  Like all fabulously wealthy people, he uses his wealth and his power to preserve his wealth and his power.
Arguably, Putin has little choice in his current behavior. If he lets his guard down for a second, he is a dead man, and not the quick and painless type. Maybe he still enjoys it, though.

(https://media.giphy.com/media/YHwCkWiUQlkDC/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Radagast on May 30, 2018, 11:45:50 PM
One mental model I learned from investing theory is the coin flip competition. Start a huge coin flip competition with 268,435,456 participants (2^28). Report on each round like it's NCAA basketball. At the end, the winner of the competition will have overcome staggering odds to come out ahead, and will be considered a naturally talented individual with many prospects in life, not least of which is writing books about how to win at coin prediction. To what extent might this model explain our social and economic system? Now obviously there is some skill involved in business and personal success, unlike coin calling. But that doesn't mean we haven't also set up a system that is similar to a coin flipping competition.

Personally I find it acceptable and desirable if we try to find and minimize the coin toss elements (never truly possible, but something to work towards), but we will probably not be happy with the results if we take away differences resulting from ability. It seems to me it is especially important to hobble coin toss winners when the winners of the system get compound interest on their winnings indefinitely. But I don't want to single out a single CEO just like I don't want to reduce social injustice by giving 100% of my salary to the government. Ultimately this is a collective action problem that can only be solved at the largest scales.

Also, a while ago I arbitrarily thought that to allow adequate room for talent to rise to the top we should allow income disparities of up to a multiple of 1000. As 22,000,000 is 1,000x a 22,000 average worker, at first glance that may be reasonable.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on May 30, 2018, 11:53:10 PM
Part of the Walmart story is exploitation of workers, but part of it is also expectation of workers. I remember a low income friend of the family asking me if I thought I was too good for a very low income job when I was unemployed. Well, yes, yes I do, actually. I didn't spend YEARS in higher education and underpaid entry level jobs so I could throw it all away - and why would you think you deserve the same income as me now when you never put in the time, money and effort that I did????
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: markbike528CBX on May 31, 2018, 06:33:52 AM
Off topic rant on Putin moved to
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/the-%27i-don%27t-get-it%27-thread-rants-accepted/250/?action=post;last_msg=2023072
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on May 31, 2018, 08:33:18 AM
Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort.  By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 

Capitalism rewards value, not skills.

As sol said, capitalism rewards capital. That's why its called capitalism and not laborism.

EDITed to add - isn't that why we are all maxing our Vanguard funds? Because we figured out that life is better when you have a bunch of capital working for you?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Gondolin on May 31, 2018, 08:42:31 AM
Quote
All of the rest of us might as well be slaves, in the sense that our lives will not really matter by comparison, no matter what we do

We might as well just kill ourselves then! If "mattering" to the course of human history is the only metric we plebs would be best served by ending our lives rather than suffering to live under the weight of our impotence.

Or if, as you say, there is no alternative, what is gained by beating our breasts over it?

After all. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mathlete on May 31, 2018, 08:46:47 AM
Oh bullshit.  Capitalism does NOTHING of the sort. By definition, it rewards people with capital.  You don't get paid what you're worth, you get paid the minimum you will accept, just like everyone else in the capitalist underclass. 

Capitalism rewards value, not skills.

As sol said, capitalism rewards capital. That's why its called capitalism and not laborism.

EDITed to add - isn't that why we are all maxing our Vanguard funds? Because we figured out that life is better when you have a bunch of capital working for you?

This is a good line, and I plan to shamelessly steal it!

Thanks guys.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on May 31, 2018, 09:19:14 AM


As sol said, capitalism rewards capital.

Well yes, as capital is value.  But value in general is rewarded, which is very broad -  it doesn't have to be money/assets.  This is where having valuable skills comes in.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mathlete on May 31, 2018, 09:57:21 AM
Well yes, as capital is value.  But value in general is rewarded, which is very broad -  it doesn't have to be money/assets.  This is where having valuable skills comes in.

Sure. It's absolutely better to be a skilled laborer than an unskilled laborer. All else being equal.

But who owns the capital explains a much greater amount of disparity than who has the skills.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 31, 2018, 10:03:35 AM


As sol said, capitalism rewards capital.

Well yes, as capital is value.  But value in general is rewarded, which is very broad -  it doesn't have to be money/assets.  This is where having valuable skills comes in.

The value of a skillset is somewhat of a random factor though, isn't it?  Maybe you are the world's best Java programmer and then Python becomes the dominant language.  Maybe you happen to have learned Fortran really really well, and end up in huge demand because a company never bothered to update their ancient software that they now rely on.

Much of the 'value' related to valuable skills is a roll of the dice.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mathlete on May 31, 2018, 10:08:21 AM
I certainly come down on the side of the laborer in this thread (and in most threads probably), but I did want to say that I don't think it's right to call things that aren't slavery, slavery. Especially when slavery still exists on the planet.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on May 31, 2018, 10:25:43 AM


The value of a skillset is somewhat of a random factor though, isn't it? 

I wouldn't characterize it as random.  It does evolve depending on how the needs of the market change.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 31, 2018, 10:32:27 AM


The value of a skillset is somewhat of a random factor though, isn't it? 

I wouldn't characterize it as random.  It does evolve depending on how the needs of the market change.

In my previous post, I mentioned how happening to know a nearly dead programming language can demand an extremely high salary . . . but only if there happens to be a company out there looking for a developer with that experience.  When that company finds and hires someone, that skill is no longer useful or in demand.  Seems like random luck much more than an evolution of market needs to me.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: undercover on May 31, 2018, 10:57:35 AM
If you're a conscious living breathing organism then you are a slave, period. You're a slave to your instincts, your fears, your wants...your needs. You have a place when you're born. You didn't choose that place. You are a slave regardless of whether or not you have a billion in the bank or a few cents.

I do think that some people live more enjoyable lives than others, but at the end of the day, we're all still neurotic clueless creatures running around like ants trying to build some machine that will eventually mark the end of our working years anyway. Along with that will come the end of our need to perform work altogether and the nagging urge we wake up with to do something "productive" will be for naught. That's when we will all collectively be in the exact same boat and realize what slaves we really are to this world.

All in all, $11 hour in our modern society living in a LCOL area is pretty fucking amazing compared to what the vast majority of humans has endured.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: NorthernBlitz on May 31, 2018, 11:25:47 AM
I'd further argue that in pure socialism everyone is a slave . . . your owner is the state.  All work that you do will be for the state, food and lodgings will come from the state, and the state will have ultimate decision making power over everything you do.

Except that if you are in a democratic socialist state, the people are the state, and all authority flows from the people. So maybe the state owns everyone, but the people are sovereign, and the will of the people is preserved.

I think it's pretty clear that pure socialism and pure capitalism both fail due to centralization of power and corruption.

Successful countries seem to use capitalism to generate wealth and improve quality of life. They also use socialism to tax capitalistic success to try to prevent too many people from falling through the cracks. I think that the US has been successful because it has led the charge in trying to provide equal opportunity to people in society.

It's clearly not either or. There has to be a mix. Successful countries try different mixes. I'm from Canada, which is a capitalist country that uses more tools from socialism than the US does. But, I'd say that both are capitalist countries.

I also think that countries that lean more towards capitalism than socialism have done much better empirically. I personally believe that this is because it's hard to maintain democracy in countries that become too socialistic. When the government owns everything and you run the government, I think it's really hard to leave (or be removed from) power.

Sadly, I think that the campaign funding / lobbying rules in the US make it too easy to for donors to corrupt elected officials.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on May 31, 2018, 12:28:34 PM
Seems like random luck much more than an evolution of market needs to me.

I guess we have different definitions of random.  There are usually reasons and logic for the changes in the market place. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: diapasoun on May 31, 2018, 12:52:55 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

Apparently if I'm like the average American then there are 11 billion slaves supporting the United States alone... Somehow I am skeptical of the results of that survey.

The quote I saw for that site on estimated worldwide slave populations was 11 million. Very different from 11 billion.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: markbike528CBX on May 31, 2018, 01:07:08 PM
Seems like random luck much more than an evolution of market needs to me.

I guess we have different definitions of random.  There are usually reasons and logic for the changes in the market place.

While there may be reasons and logic for the changes in the market place, to a labor market participant, it may seem just as random as the stock market, for the same reasons.

A labor market participant is making a market-sector bet at best, and a single company bet at worst.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on May 31, 2018, 01:22:59 PM

While there may be reasons and logic for the changes in the market place, to a labor market participant, it may seem just as random as the stock market, for the same reasons.

A labor market participant is making a market-sector bet at best, and a single company bet at worst.

But the market place is not random.  We can see where there is demand, and can adjust our skillsets to meet that demand.  If it were random, people wouldn't invest countless amounts of money getting engineering, law, and medical degrees wondering if they should have majored in art history instead.  It is not a roll of the dice.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: carolina822 on May 31, 2018, 01:38:10 PM
Sol 2020!
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: RWD on May 31, 2018, 01:47:04 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

Apparently if I'm like the average American then there are 11 billion slaves supporting the United States alone... Somehow I am skeptical of the results of that survey.

The quote I saw for that site on estimated worldwide slave populations was 11 million. Very different from 11 billion.

My point exactly. The number their site spits out for "my" slaves doesn't pass a mathematical sniff test and is grossly exaggerated. Maybe there really are ~30 slaves involved in creating products I use, but then they are also working for a thousand other people too. If I was never born there wouldn't be 30 less slaves. More likely what it means is that I am [allegedly] directly responsible for 0.03 slaves. But that wouldn't be a very sensationalist number.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mak1277 on May 31, 2018, 01:50:58 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

Apparently if I'm like the average American then there are 11 billion slaves supporting the United States alone... Somehow I am skeptical of the results of that survey.

The quote I saw for that site on estimated worldwide slave populations was 11 million. Very different from 11 billion.

I think he's referring to the arithmetic of "the average American is supported by x-number of slaves" times "total Americans" equals some number that is completely meaningless.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: diapasoun on May 31, 2018, 01:59:57 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

Apparently if I'm like the average American then there are 11 billion slaves supporting the United States alone... Somehow I am skeptical of the results of that survey.

The quote I saw for that site on estimated worldwide slave populations was 11 million. Very different from 11 billion.

My point exactly. The number their site spits out for "my" slaves doesn't pass a mathematical sniff test and is grossly exaggerated. Maybe there really are ~30 slaves involved in creating products I use, but then they are also working for a thousand other people too. If I was never born there wouldn't be 30 less slaves. More likely what it means is that I am [allegedly] directly responsible for 0.03 slaves. But that wouldn't be a very sensationalist number.

Ahhhhh that makes more sense.

I don't find it particularly misleading, but my take on it was "it took 23 slaves to produce the things I own" -- not that I am directly responsible for 23 slaves being held in slavery in perpetuity. I completely believe that 23 slaves were involved in the labor that it takes to mine materials for and then physically produce objects that I own -- like a smartphone, a laptop, and a car. I certainly do not believe that 23 slaves are slaves solely because I own a smartphone, a laptop, and a car.

I think my interpretation is reasonable, but looking at the info actually on the page at the end of that test, I think your interpretation is reasonable too (especially if someone had never seen the total estimated number of slaves worldwide on the front page, like if they'd just been linked straight to the test). It should be made way, way clearer on that page what they mean by "working for you," whether or not the clarified meaning has the same effect on someone's mind/heart.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: RWD on May 31, 2018, 02:15:49 PM
This seems like a good place to put this link: 

http://slaveryfootprint.org/

How many slaves work for you?  (Hint: A LOT more than you think.)

Apparently if I'm like the average American then there are 11 billion slaves supporting the United States alone... Somehow I am skeptical of the results of that survey.

The quote I saw for that site on estimated worldwide slave populations was 11 million. Very different from 11 billion.

My point exactly. The number their site spits out for "my" slaves doesn't pass a mathematical sniff test and is grossly exaggerated. Maybe there really are ~30 slaves involved in creating products I use, but then they are also working for a thousand other people too. If I was never born there wouldn't be 30 less slaves. More likely what it means is that I am [allegedly] directly responsible for 0.03 slaves. But that wouldn't be a very sensationalist number.

Ahhhhh that makes more sense.

I don't find it particularly misleading, but my take on it was "it took 23 slaves to produce the things I own" -- not that I am directly responsible for 23 slaves being held in slavery in perpetuity. I completely believe that 23 slaves were involved in the labor that it takes to mine materials for and then physically produce objects that I own -- like a smartphone, a laptop, and a car. I certainly do not believe that 23 slaves are slaves solely because I own a smartphone, a laptop, and a car.

I think my interpretation is reasonable, but looking at the info actually on the page at the end of that test, I think your interpretation is reasonable too (especially if someone had never seen the total estimated number of slaves worldwide on the front page, like if they'd just been linked straight to the test). It should be made way, way clearer on that page what they mean by "working for you," whether or not the clarified meaning has the same effect on someone's mind/heart.

No problem. I came to the same conclusion you did after running the math and seeing that a direct link was mathematically impossible.

As long as I'm complaining about that survey... I'm annoyed they didn't break down how much each of my choices affected my slave count (unless I missed the explanation somewhere). The result is extra meaningless when it doesn't tell me which changes I could make in my life to reduce the number most effectively.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: sol on May 31, 2018, 02:37:03 PM
It should be made way, way clearer on that page what they mean by "working for you," whether or not the clarified meaning has the same effect on someone's mind/heart.

The world has always been pyramid shaped.  We enjoy an upper middle class American lifestyle that is absolutely dependent on the poverty of billions.  There just aren't enough resources on earth for everyone to live an American lifestyle.  We need poor people to sew our walmart clothes and mine our REE and pick our fruit.

But we are equally part of the pyramid, and above us is a much smaller population of people living lives of fabulous wealth, who are just as dependent on us (scientists, lawyers,  dentists, etc) as we are dependent on the people below us.  They can't be bothered to file their own taxes just like we can't be bothered to pick our own fruit.  Our society generates abundance by specializing labor forces into tranches of shittiness.  Our global economy thrives on inequality.  The rising tide may float "all" boats, but it floats some of them much higher than others on purpose.

I don't really have a good proposed solution to this problem.  Some people in this thread are lamenting that the base of the pyramid suffers in poverty, and other people are lamenting that they themselves suffer compared to the folks at the top, but in truth we all suffer to varying degrees, even the people at the top.  We all have a role to play, and your freedom to change rolls is more limited than we like to believe.

I think of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, commanding vast armies of laborers and slaves to build massive monuments.  They may have wanted fancy tombs, but what they really wanted was a stable and productive economic system that supported their lavish lifestyle, and pyramid building was just the easiest way to keep everyone busy making beer and pickles and bread to feed the laborers who worked for the quarry engineers who worked for the masons who worked for the architects who worked for the priests who worked for the pharaoh's monarchy.  Everyone had a role to play, and limited freedom to change it.  But everyone worked, and their civilization prospered because it was self-stabilizing as long as everyone colored between the lines.  Monuments got built and everyone had enough to eat, because of the inequality they imposed.  Without a pharaoh, they would have been just another desert tribe lost to history.

Is our modern economy really so different?  I'm all for eradicating slavery, but just like with American abolition it won't do away with poverty or violence or abuse, and it certainly won't change the shape of the world.  You have to look at it as a human rights issue for the individuals involved, not a game changing reconstruction of global markets.  Just like we did in America, we'll certainly find some other way to keep everyone busy making beer and pickles and bread, while the guys at the top build their fancy monuments.

And that's why I think the OP in this thread has a point.  You can quibble over whether or not it's PC to call it "slavery", but it's not really that different.  The means of control have changed, but the shape of the world has not.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on May 31, 2018, 04:53:45 PM
I don't really have a good proposed solution to this problem.

The solution is automation. AI robot slaves. The tricky part is avoiding a dystopian future where only 0.01% of the population gets to enjoy the fruits of the labor of those robot slaves, and avoiding the even more terrifying prospect of what that 0.01% might choose to do to the rest of us when they realize they no longer need us for anything.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on May 31, 2018, 05:53:04 PM
I don't really have a good proposed solution to this problem.

The solution is automation. AI robot slaves. The tricky part is avoiding a dystopian future where only 0.01% of the population gets to enjoy the fruits of the labor of those robot slaves, and avoiding the even more terrifying prospect of what that 0.01% might choose to do to the rest of us when they realize they no longer need us for anything.

Nah.

The tricky part is ensuring that you're part of that 0.01%.  :P
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EnjoyIt on May 31, 2018, 08:18:28 PM
BTW, why do you attribute "mattering by comparison" with the ability to alter politics or make lots of money.

I thin Elon Musk has "mattered" because he has chosen to use his wealth and power to change the way society works, in several different ways (all of which benefit him, of course).  No politics required.  He's not using his money to lobby Congress the way the Koch brother's do, he's just changing things.

Zuckerberg and Gates are also good examples.  They changed the world, and got rich, and used their riches and their power to change the world some more.

Who else is on the list of fabulously wealthy people who steer the ship?  Arguably the wealthiest and most powerful man in the entire world today, eclipsing even Jeff Bezos by a large margin, is Vladimir Putin (https://www.voanews.com/a/terrible-crimes-made-putin-world-richest-person-financier-tells-senators/3961955.html).  Like all fabulously wealthy people, he uses his wealth and his power to preserve his wealth and his power.

Definitely easier to change the world when you have money.  Personally i am not a huge fan of Zuckerberg though I am a big fan of Musk and Gates. Buffet plans to donate much of his wealth to the Gates Foundation upon Death.  Soros spends lots of money on social changes though I do not fully agree with all of them.  Now lets look at the Koch brothers who also choose to change the US but I am sure you disagree with the changes they want.  Trump is another example of a rich guy trying to make changes that he feels is right.  What about Alexander Fleming who invented Penicillin who changed the planet for the better.  Ghandi and Martin Luther King are other examples.  You do not necessarily have to be rich to do something that matters though money makes it easier.  Sol, you want to make changes then create something amazing for the world.  You want to matter socially then run for politics and if what you want is popular you can make a difference as well. Or you can be a good person to the people around you such as your friends, family and neighbors and you will matter to them. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ChpBstrd on May 31, 2018, 08:32:18 PM
It should be made way, way clearer on that page what they mean by "working for you," whether or not the clarified meaning has the same effect on someone's mind/heart.

The world has always been pyramid shaped.  We enjoy an upper middle class American lifestyle that is absolutely dependent on the poverty of billions.  There just aren't enough resources on earth for everyone to live an American lifestyle.  We need poor people to sew our walmart clothes and mine our REE and pick our fruit.

But we are equally part of the pyramid, and above us is a much smaller population of people living lives of fabulous wealth, who are just as dependent on us (scientists, lawyers,  dentists, etc) as we are dependent on the people below us.  They can't be bothered to file their own taxes just like we can't be bothered to pick our own fruit.  Our society generates abundance by specializing labor forces into tranches of shittiness.  Our global economy thrives on inequality.  The rising tide may float "all" boats, but it floats some of them much higher than others on purpose.

I don't really have a good proposed solution to this problem.  Some people in this thread are lamenting that the base of the pyramid suffers in poverty, and other people are lamenting that they themselves suffer compared to the folks at the top, but in truth we all suffer to varying degrees, even the people at the top.  We all have a role to play, and your freedom to change rolls is more limited than we like to believe.

I think of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, commanding vast armies of laborers and slaves to build massive monuments.  They may have wanted fancy tombs, but what they really wanted was a stable and productive economic system that supported their lavish lifestyle, and pyramid building was just the easiest way to keep everyone busy making beer and pickles and bread to feed the laborers who worked for the quarry engineers who worked for the masons who worked for the architects who worked for the priests who worked for the pharaoh's monarchy.  Everyone had a role to play, and limited freedom to change it.  But everyone worked, and their civilization prospered because it was self-stabilizing as long as everyone colored between the lines.  Monuments got built and everyone had enough to eat, because of the inequality they imposed.  Without a pharaoh, they would have been just another desert tribe lost to history.

Is our modern economy really so different?  I'm all for eradicating slavery, but just like with American abolition it won't do away with poverty or violence or abuse, and it certainly won't change the shape of the world.  You have to look at it as a human rights issue for the individuals involved, not a game changing reconstruction of global markets.  Just like we did in America, we'll certainly find some other way to keep everyone busy making beer and pickles and bread, while the guys at the top build their fancy monuments.

And that's why I think the OP in this thread has a point.  You can quibble over whether or not it's PC to call it "slavery", but it's not really that different.  The means of control have changed, but the shape of the world has not.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Seadog on June 01, 2018, 11:32:32 AM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

I suggest doing a little scientific experiment and giving this a try.

For the first two weeks, eat nothing but chicken and vegetables, but you're allowed to eat as much of them as you like.
For the next two weeks, go to McDonalds every day and have one Big Mac, large fries, large sugary drink, and you're not allowed to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

I'd guess that in the first two weeks, you won't actually want to eat too much, you'll end up losing some weight, and you'd really have to force-feed yourself if you wanted to put on weight. And in the second two weeks you'll be stupidly hungry and still end up not losing weight.

I do take your point about basic cooking not being too hard or expensive, though. Chicken and vegetables is a very cheap, easy, tasty, and healthy meal (which I tend to cook for myself pretty much every other day).

You're mixing up two different ideas here. He's not saying calories are the only thing that matter in whether you gain weight or not, as I think there is lots of evidence how variable diet compositions can effect things like insulin, hormone production and fat creation/retention.

There is a number of big macs/fries and cokes you can eat where you lose weight. Maybe that's one every 7 days with ravishing hunger for 165 hours of 168. That could financially and weightloss wise correspond to 3 square of chicken and rice with less hunger.   

You're saying the person eating shit food will be stupid hungry, and as such will keep eating crap, and become obese. I don't disagree. His point was that, even if they are stupid hungry, a western "poor" person has to means to satiate that hunger and continue eating thus enfattening. A real poor person does not have such an option. He isn't disagreeing that two people could have steady weight maintenance cals of 1000 cals of junk food (accompanies by massive hunger) or 2500 cals of good food (no hunger/fat retention), more that if you've bought that quantity of food, and have the option to continue eating, you aren't poor. 

An example that jumps to mind is in the book "The Lion" about the Indian kid who gets lost then adopted by a family in Australia but eventually finds his way home. Great heart warming story and all that. Anyways, he talks about being on the streets, eating samosa's and other fatty fried carby foods that fell to the ground (undoubtedly the "wrong" calories for someone trying to lose weight). Yet those were a luxury and you needed to be in the right place at the right time to snag one before other kids did. He was constantly hungry, which coincides with these pseudo-paleo ideas. But further to that, he was not obese. 

That was his point. Truly poor people are not worried about what kind of foods they eat or macros or hunger. Hunger is a constant reality, and the extent they satisfy it is wholly derived from their wily means, which will almost invariably not be enough to get above a BMI of 20.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Scandium on June 01, 2018, 11:57:58 AM
So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?

Disregarding the other nonsense, I'm curious; do what exactly? Take the CEO's money? (and do what with it?). Cap CEO pay? As someone else said; pay him $0 and give the rest a $10 raise? Dissolve Walmart? What is your plan here?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 12:06:04 PM
So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?

Disregarding the other nonsense, I'm curious; do what exactly? Take the CEO's money? (and do what with it?). Cap CEO pay? As someone else said; pay him $0 and give the rest a $10 raise? Dissolve Walmart? What is your plan here?

I don't have an answer for you, but the alternative of allowing Walmart to distribute dividends to shareholders (like me) with a preferred tax rate while their employees collect state benefits is both fiscally irresponsible and immoral.*

I mean, historically someone would eventually just murder the King/Tzar/Baron/(CEO?) and their family. If the new aristocracy doesn't want that to happen, maybe they should find a solution?

* - It is also not capitalism, because Walmart is getting away with externalizing some of their costs.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Scandium on June 01, 2018, 12:13:36 PM
So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?

Disregarding the other nonsense, I'm curious; do what exactly? Take the CEO's money? (and do what with it?). Cap CEO pay? As someone else said; pay him $0 and give the rest a $10 raise? Dissolve Walmart? What is your plan here?

I don't have an answer for you, but the alternative of allowing Walmart to distribute dividends to shareholders (like me) with a preferred tax rate while their employees collect state benefits is both fiscally irresponsible and immoral.*

I mean, historically someone would eventually just murder the King/Tzar/Baron/(CEO?) and their family. If the new aristocracy doesn't want that to happen, maybe they should find a solution?

* - It is also not capitalism, because Walmart is getting away with externalizing some of their costs.

No I agree. Walmarts practices are scummy, and tax-payers financing their low wage costs should offend anyone who's not a significant shareholder (so 99.9% of people?).

But OP had an air of "bring out the guillotine" which I don't think would be very constructive.. The relative pay level of the CEO is a pretty minor issue regarding walmart.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on June 01, 2018, 12:16:36 PM
So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?

Disregarding the other nonsense, I'm curious; do what exactly? Take the CEO's money? (and do what with it?). Cap CEO pay? As someone else said; pay him $0 and give the rest a $10 raise? Dissolve Walmart? What is your plan here?

I don't have an answer for you, but the alternative of allowing Walmart to distribute dividends to shareholders (like me) with a preferred tax rate while their employees collect state benefits is both fiscally irresponsible and immoral.*

I mean, historically someone would eventually just murder the King/Tzar/Baron/(CEO?) and their family. If the new aristocracy doesn't want that to happen, maybe they should find a solution?

* - It is also not capitalism, because Walmart is getting away with externalizing some of their costs.

I find it neither fiscally irresponsible nor immoral. As such, I'm perfectly content leaving the system as it is. It hurts no one for the CEO to be paid X multiple of the janitor's salary, so I can't find a moral argument against it. The investors allow the company to be financially successful and thus are rewarded with dividends and capital gains for their investments, which doesn't seem financially irresponsible at all to me. Losing shareholders because you decided to "give away" the profits to workers by paying above market wages for their labor would seem financially irresponsible to me however.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 12:19:35 PM
I find it neither fiscally irresponsible nor immoral. As such, I'm perfectly content leaving the system as it is. It hurts no one for the CEO to be paid X multiple of the janitor's salary, so I can't find a moral argument against it. The investors allow the company to be financially successful and thus are rewarded with dividends and capital gains for their investments, which doesn't seem financially irresponsible at all to me. Losing shareholders because you decided to "give away" the profits to workers by paying above market wages for their labor would seem financially irresponsible to me however.

It is a direct transfer of taxpayer wealth to the shareholders. If you are okay with that, I don't really understand.

EDITed to add, and here I am talking about US taxpayers, and shareholders who are not all US citizens or permanent residents.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on June 01, 2018, 12:24:17 PM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

I suggest doing a little scientific experiment and giving this a try.

For the first two weeks, eat nothing but chicken and vegetables, but you're allowed to eat as much of them as you like.
For the next two weeks, go to McDonalds every day and have one Big Mac, large fries, large sugary drink, and you're not allowed to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

I'd guess that in the first two weeks, you won't actually want to eat too much, you'll end up losing some weight, and you'd really have to force-feed yourself if you wanted to put on weight. And in the second two weeks you'll be stupidly hungry and still end up not losing weight.

I do take your point about basic cooking not being too hard or expensive, though. Chicken and vegetables is a very cheap, easy, tasty, and healthy meal (which I tend to cook for myself pretty much every other day).

A big mac is 540 calories. Large fries at McDonald's is another 510 calories. A large Coke at McDonald's will toss in another 210 calories. If you eat only those 1,260 calories per day and are an average height, average weight, even sedentary, male in the US and are otherwise healthy, you'll lose weight on that "diet" because of the negative net calories each day.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: FIRE@50 on June 01, 2018, 12:25:18 PM
I find it neither fiscally irresponsible nor immoral. As such, I'm perfectly content leaving the system as it is. It hurts no one for the CEO to be paid X multiple of the janitor's salary, so I can't find a moral argument against it. The investors allow the company to be financially successful and thus are rewarded with dividends and capital gains for their investments, which doesn't seem financially irresponsible at all to me. Losing shareholders because you decided to "give away" the profits to workers by paying above market wages for their labor would seem financially irresponsible to me however.

It is a direct transfer of taxpayer wealth to the shareholders. If you are okay with that, I don't really understand.

Is it fair to say that you are upset with current federal tax policy as opposed to Walmart's pay policy?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: emduck on June 01, 2018, 12:46:36 PM
Quote
There is a number of big macs/fries and cokes you can eat where you lose weight. Maybe that's one every 7 days with ravishing hunger for 165 hours of 168. That could financially and weightloss wise correspond to 3 square of chicken and rice with less hunger.   

I realize this is hyperbole, but to be clear--

The average man in the US is 5'10''.  5'10'' and 175 is just barely overweight.  210 is obese.  A 30 year old 5'10'', 210 lb man who is in a literal coma needs over 2000 calories per day to maintain weight.  If sedentary, nearly 2500, and if lightly active, over 2800.  If they eat less than that, they'll lose weight.  A 500 calorie deficit per day is a pound a week of weight loss.   

A big mac and medium fry is 870.  Absolutely no one needs to drink soda. Nobody.  So a sedentary obese man who wants to lose weight can still eat two big macs and two medium fries per day and lose about a pound and a half a week.  The calorie needs of a lightly active, normal weight man of that age and height are similar.  If the obese man moved a bit more and bumped himself into the lightly active category, he would actually be losing weight too fast for some doctors to recommend. 

Order off the dollar menu instead--a cheeseburger is 300 cals and a McChicken is 400.  A small fry is a bit over a $1, but 230 calories.  For 2000 calories a day, you can have two cheeseburgers, two McChickens, and three small orders of fries.  Still losing weight. 

The problem is over consumption.  Whether it comes down to not understanding nutrition or not caring is up for debate.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 12:50:42 PM
I find it neither fiscally irresponsible nor immoral. As such, I'm perfectly content leaving the system as it is. It hurts no one for the CEO to be paid X multiple of the janitor's salary, so I can't find a moral argument against it. The investors allow the company to be financially successful and thus are rewarded with dividends and capital gains for their investments, which doesn't seem financially irresponsible at all to me. Losing shareholders because you decided to "give away" the profits to workers by paying above market wages for their labor would seem financially irresponsible to me however.

It is a direct transfer of taxpayer wealth to the shareholders. If you are okay with that, I don't really understand.

Is it fair to say that you are upset with current federal tax policy as opposed to Walmart's pay policy?

I think the crux of my argument is that Walmart is allowed to turn a profit while their employees collect state assistance. We could quibble about CEO pay vs greeter pay, but I'm far more concerned about the transfer of wealth from taxpayers to shareholders (which would include the CEO too).

EDITed to add - but the CEO pay is tied up in there too, because no one at the executive level is collecting food stamps.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on June 01, 2018, 01:02:43 PM
That the government chooses to give some people money (assistance) is not "because" of Wal-Mart and nothing I've seen convinces me that the two are related. Those people would get the same assistance working for minimum wage at the local mom and pop gas station or any other employer. As such, I see no way of calling that a transfer of anything from the government to the shareholders.

Heck, if they were laid off from Walmart, they'd likely be eligible to get even more taxpayer money from the government...
I find it neither fiscally irresponsible nor immoral. As such, I'm perfectly content leaving the system as it is. It hurts no one for the CEO to be paid X multiple of the janitor's salary, so I can't find a moral argument against it. The investors allow the company to be financially successful and thus are rewarded with dividends and capital gains for their investments, which doesn't seem financially irresponsible at all to me. Losing shareholders because you decided to "give away" the profits to workers by paying above market wages for their labor would seem financially irresponsible to me however.

It is a direct transfer of taxpayer wealth to the shareholders. If you are okay with that, I don't really understand.

Is it fair to say that you are upset with current federal tax policy as opposed to Walmart's pay policy?

I think the crux of my argument is that Walmart is allowed to turn a profit while their employees collect state assistance. We could quibble about CEO pay vs greeter pay, but I'm far more concerned about the transfer of wealth from taxpayers to shareholders (which would include the CEO too).

EDITed to add - but the CEO pay is tied up in there too, because no one at the executive level is collecting food stamps.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: FIRE@50 on June 01, 2018, 01:03:25 PM
I find it neither fiscally irresponsible nor immoral. As such, I'm perfectly content leaving the system as it is. It hurts no one for the CEO to be paid X multiple of the janitor's salary, so I can't find a moral argument against it. The investors allow the company to be financially successful and thus are rewarded with dividends and capital gains for their investments, which doesn't seem financially irresponsible at all to me. Losing shareholders because you decided to "give away" the profits to workers by paying above market wages for their labor would seem financially irresponsible to me however.

It is a direct transfer of taxpayer wealth to the shareholders. If you are okay with that, I don't really understand.

Is it fair to say that you are upset with current federal tax policy as opposed to Walmart's pay policy?

I think the crux of my argument is that Walmart is allowed to turn a profit while their employees collect state assistance. We could quibble about CEO pay vs greeter pay, but I'm far more concerned about the transfer of wealth from taxpayers to shareholders (which would include the CEO too).

EDITed to add - but the CEO pay is tied up in there too, because no one at the executive level is collecting food stamps.

You want a law stating that if a company is profitable, none of it's employees will be eligible for social programs?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: AnswerIs42 on June 01, 2018, 01:12:01 PM
A big mac is 540 calories. Large fries at McDonald's is another 510 calories. A large Coke at McDonald's will toss in another 210 calories. If you eat only those 1,260 calories per day and are an average height, average weight, even sedentary, male in the US and are otherwise healthy, you'll lose weight on that "diet" because of the negative net calories each day.
Yeah, that was intended to be an amount of calories less than the average person needs (maybe I went a little too far, and they could eat slightly more, but still less than "needed"). Rather than actually losing weight, I'd guess that the person would just get hungrier and hungrier over the days and be forced to give up the experiment after about day four.

It would be interesting to see how this would work in practice, rather than just as a thought experiment. Not going to try it myself though, it sounds awful.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on June 01, 2018, 01:14:39 PM
A science teacher did a multi-month or so McDonald's only diet and lost around 40 lbs iirc. I wouldn't recommend it as you can lose weight eating anything (as long as calories in are less than calories out), but your nutrition etc matter for your overall health. It's not the dirt you suggested, but it was "just McDonald's".
A big mac is 540 calories. Large fries at McDonald's is another 510 calories. A large Coke at McDonald's will toss in another 210 calories. If you eat only those 1,260 calories per day and are an average height, average weight, even sedentary, male in the US and are otherwise healthy, you'll lose weight on that "diet" because of the negative net calories each day.
Yeah, that was intended to be an amount of calories less than the average person needs (maybe I went a little too far, and they could eat slightly more, but still less than "needed"). Rather than actually losing weight, I'd guess that the person would just get hungrier and hungrier over the days and be forced to give up the experiment after about day four.

It would be interesting to see how this would work in practice, rather than just as a thought experiment. Not going to try it myself though, it sounds awful.

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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Seadog on June 01, 2018, 01:17:09 PM

A big mac is 540 calories. Large fries at McDonald's is another 510 calories. A large Coke at McDonald's will toss in another 210 calories. If you eat only those 1,260 calories per day and are an average height, average weight, even sedentary, male in the US and are otherwise healthy, you'll lose weight on that "diet" because of the negative net calories each day.

Jesus, again with this dribble from the other thread? All calories are not equal and your body is not a bomb calorimeter. Studies have been done where people eat the exact same number of calories of different composition carbs/fat/protein, and have wildly different weight changes and hunger responses. More to the point though, this has nothing to do with the point of the thread.

I realize this is hyperbole, but to be clear--

The average man in the US is 5'10''.  5'10'' and 175 is just barely overweight.  210 is obese.  A 30 year old 5'10'', 210 lb man who is in a literal coma needs over 2000 calories per day to maintain weight.  If sedentary, nearly 2500, and if lightly active, over 2800.  If they eat less than that, they'll lose weight.  A 500 calorie deficit per day is a pound a week of weight loss.   

A big mac and medium fry is 870.  Absolutely no one needs to drink soda. Nobody.  So a sedentary obese man who wants to lose weight can still eat two big macs and two medium fries per day and lose about a pound and a half a week.  The calorie needs of a lightly active, normal weight man of that age and height are similar.  If the obese man moved a bit more and bumped himself into the lightly active category, he would actually be losing weight too fast for some doctors to recommend. 

Order off the dollar menu instead--a cheeseburger is 300 cals and a McChicken is 400.  A small fry is a bit over a $1, but 230 calories.  For 2000 calories a day, you can have two cheeseburgers, two McChickens, and three small orders of fries.  Still losing weight. 

The problem is over consumption.  Whether it comes down to not understanding nutrition or not caring is up for debate.

I think to avoid getting side tracked we need to revisit the original point, which was that given that so many poor are obese, they clearly aren't *that* poor.

Indeed, we're not talking about the cause of over consumption be it laziness, apathy whatever, merely the *ability* to over consume. If you have the will power to ignore hunger, there is a certain amount of any food which result in weight maintenance. Truly poor people do not need will power, because it's beyond their financial means to exceed or often even meet their daily caloric needs. 

Use2Beatrix's point was the simple fact that since many of the "Western Poor" are obese, they clearly have the option to eat more. If this is because they're gluttons, hungry, lazy, it doesn't matter, but that they obviously have the option since so many engage it, it indicates they're not really poor. Regardless of what their maintenance calories are or how they get them, if for any reason they want to keep going, they can.

Children on the streets of India and 19th century Irish people did not have that luxury. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 01:18:03 PM
You want a law stating that if a company is profitable, none of it's employees will be eligible for social programs?

Why would I possibly choose that as the solution?

Like I said, I'm not offering solutions, but I promise you that there will eventually be recompense for the elites. The sooner we get around to it, the less severe it will be. I would rather not have a Bolshevik Revolution, but when people get fed up that's the sort of thing that happens.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke on June 01, 2018, 01:24:49 PM
Interesting promise. Does your Crystal ball show us anything useful?
You want a law stating that if a company is profitable, none of it's employees will be eligible for social programs?

Why would I possibly choose that as the solution?

Like I said, I'm not offering solutions, but I promise you that there will eventually be recompense for the elites. The sooner we get around to it, the less severe it will be. I would rather not have a Bolshevik Revolution, but when people get fed up that's the sort of thing that happens.

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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: FIRE@50 on June 01, 2018, 01:25:31 PM
You want a law stating that if a company is profitable, none of it's employees will be eligible for social programs?

Why would I possibly choose that as the solution?

Like I said, I'm not offering solutions, but I promise you that there will eventually be recompense for the elites. The sooner we get around to it, the less severe it will be. I would rather not have Bolshevik Revolution, but when people get fed up that's the sort of thing that happens.

I get that you aren't trying to offer solutions, but I guess I was. I don't see a problem with Walmart making a profit while complying with all applicable laws. I'm just trying to gain a better understanding of your position.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Seadog on June 01, 2018, 01:28:26 PM
Yeah, that was intended to be an amount of calories less than the average person needs (maybe I went a little too far, and they could eat slightly more, but still less than "needed"). Rather than actually losing weight, I'd guess that the person would just get hungrier and hungrier over the days and be forced to give up the experiment after about day four.

It would be interesting to see how this would work in practice, rather than just as a thought experiment. Not going to try it myself though, it sounds awful.

I highly recommend the book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, somewhat technical but gets very deep into a lot of dietary science, conflicting political motivations and some of the shaky science current ideas are based around along with heaps of interesting studies, including various starvation studies which would be considered immoral today.

Some of the studies are the above composition experiment, hunger experiments where people are on a sub BMR fat/protein diet and aren't that hungry, but then given additional calories in the form of carbs and comparing the hunger response. 1000 cals/day of protein = not hungry. 1500 cals of protein = not hungry. 1000 cals of protein + 1000 cals of carbs = famished.

The big take away was that fat retention and food input was governed more by hormones than strictly quantity of calories. Sort of like when a bear goes to hibernate or a woman gets pregnant. The body *wants* to put on fat. Even if it just maintains it's eating level from before the fall season/pregnancy, then it will *still* put on some fat because that's the priority the hormones have dictate. The body will be hungry, and since some energy that was being used as energy is now being pushed to fat reserves, the metabolism will slow, they'll be more tired, body temp decreases etc.

 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 01:31:11 PM
Interesting promise. Does your Crystal ball show us anything useful?

Yes. When it comes, I'll lend them my pitchfork, and my vote (both in my state and country, but also WMT).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on June 01, 2018, 01:54:41 PM

Studies have been done where people eat the exact same number of calories of different composition carbs/fat/protein, and have wildly different weight changes and hunger responses.



Sounds interesting.  Curious to read about this, can you cite the studies that were done?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 02:37:16 PM
I don't see a problem with Walmart making a profit while complying with all applicable laws. I'm just trying to gain a better understanding of your position.

I mean, I don't have a problem with Walmart per se, I have a problem with legislators that let it happen. We have a bunch of really smart economists and historians. I'm sure that with all of the resources of the US government we can figure out how to let corporations turn a profit without relying on employees who make so little money that they are on state assistance.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Paul der Krake on June 01, 2018, 02:41:53 PM
Minimum federal wage: $7.25
Wal-Mart: $11 starting wage

That's 50% more.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 on June 01, 2018, 02:51:20 PM
Minimum federal wage: $7.25
Wal-Mart: $11 starting wage

That's 50% more.

+ paying workers to go to college.  Actually sounds like a good deal to me.
Title: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: swaneesr on June 01, 2018, 03:06:48 PM
This aspect of Capitalism has always bothered me:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/business/highest-paid-ceos-2017.html

Quote
A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive, was awarded in 2017.

Sadly, that's not the most egregious example of how American CEO's earn vs. the rank and file employees.  If it's not outright slavery, then it is the moral equivalent. 

So then the only question left is, how much longer do we wait?  How many more multiples of lifetimes do you and your progeny sign up to endure, before we say 'enough'?  We are not only not playing a game that an average person can no longer 'win', we are playing a game that no longer benefits from everyone's participation.  Now we are being told that our superiors are winning for us and we are no longer encouraged to participate.

To the OP - We wait forever. CEO pay disparity is irrelavent. It is not slavery. It is just another jealous class warfare notion.

Every worker can quit, move to another employer.

You are deluded if you think another attempt at Socialism will result in a better outcome for workers than we currently enjoy. “Capitalism with constraints” is what we have and what results is an imperfect but better solution than any other system. You can argue about where to draw the constraints.

I live in a decent world and eventually and over time, I have been rewarded with more financial compensation.

Mustachians do not meet their goals in any other system.

PS - I am not on a first name basis with the GOOD capitalists like the Jeffs or Elon or Bill. I am also not friends with the evil ORANGE president or those Koch brothers. They have all managed to succeed in this system and not just luck, took some effort.


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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on June 01, 2018, 03:32:28 PM
It's perfectly reasonable to be content with the system as it is as long as it doesn't hurt you.  In fact, in most cases, as long as it isn't immediately painful, the status quo can continue for a lot longer than anyone would think is possible.  That the 90% are one illness, natural disaster, or un-affordable college tuition away from realizing they will never get ahead is a looming societal problem.  I don't blame the 0.1% for the problem, capitalism by its very nature concentrates gains to the top even when Warren Buffett says he's willing to pay more taxes.  The problem is that the 90% don't take Buffett up on his offer and push government for more social equality.  Discussion around repealing the Estate Tax (11 million USD exclusion in 2018 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_tax_in_the_United_States)) is a great example of how confounding the problem is.

It's interesting, even among Mustachians, to hear that folks don't think there's a problem.  There isn't an easy solution unless the majority begins to see that there is a consistently growing problem.  But it sounds like, in the meantime, the problem will get a lot more painful.  The last time I heard relatively widespread discontent was in 2008-9 when the bankers and investors got bailed out with taxpayer dollars.  Somehow, all of that simmered down and here we are again, chugging away. 

None of us have a crystal ball, I certainly don't know how it ends.  Capital is easy and maybe not optimally allocated, but the US is still doing pretty well despite itself...  To me, it's interesting to discuss these things that could go wrong, especially in these wonky, confusing times (trade wars with allies, Brexit, massive tax defects...).

But I doubt we will wait forever.     
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Norioch on June 01, 2018, 03:58:51 PM
Again - our topic is overweight/obesity. That IS determined by calories. You can get just as fat eating all the “healthy” foods you mentioned, if you eat enough of it. Someone can also lose weight by “just” eating McDonald’s, if they eat the right amount of it.

I suggest doing a little scientific experiment and giving this a try.

For the first two weeks, eat nothing but chicken and vegetables, but you're allowed to eat as much of them as you like.
For the next two weeks, go to McDonalds every day and have one Big Mac, large fries, large sugary drink, and you're not allowed to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

I'd guess that in the first two weeks, you won't actually want to eat too much, you'll end up losing some weight, and you'd really have to force-feed yourself if you wanted to put on weight. And in the second two weeks you'll be stupidly hungry and still end up not losing weight.

I do take your point about basic cooking not being too hard or expensive, though. Chicken and vegetables is a very cheap, easy, tasty, and healthy meal (which I tend to cook for myself pretty much every other day).

A big mac is 540 calories. Large fries at McDonald's is another 510 calories. A large Coke at McDonald's will toss in another 210 calories. If you eat only those 1,260 calories per day and are an average height, average weight, even sedentary, male in the US and are otherwise healthy, you'll lose weight on that "diet" because of the negative net calories each day.

The proposed experiment is poorly set up. If you actually do the experiment directly as proposed (eating vegetables first, then McDonald's second, immediately after each other with no break in between) and the hypothesis that you'll lose weight eating nothing but vegetables is correct, then at the start of the McDonald's phase of the experiment, you'll have already lost weight below your assumed neutral set point. Your body will slow down your metabolism in response to you being below your set point. This will make it harder to lose weight and easier to gain weight during phase two of the experiment, biasing the results.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 05:43:08 PM
Minimum federal wage: $7.25
Wal-Mart: $11 starting wage

That's 50% more.

Quote
It’s worth emphasizing that the $10 wage only affects workers who have completed a 6 month onboarding and training period: with the high turnover rate that prevails in the retail industry, many workers will leave the company before they ever get to $10 an hour. As a result, a number of Walmart workers will remain below the $10 an hour threshold. Walmart’s forthcoming $10 an hour wage is equivalent to $17,680 annually for an employee working Walmart’s full-time standard of 34 hours a week.

Yet even in low-cost states such as Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota and Walmart’s home state of Arkansas, this wage provides only about 90 percent of what a single employee needs for a basic standard of living. In the median state nationwide, Walmart’s wage of $10 an hour for 34 hours a week provides just 81 percent of the income needed to support a single adult.

Even for workers able to pick up extra hours and average 40 hours a week for the year, a $10 an hour wage would only meet the needs of a single adult in 17 states. Yet many Walmart workers are not single adults and are not employed full-time. In a recent earnings call, Walmart disclosed that approximately half of its U.S. workforce is employed part time. On a sample part-time schedule of 20 hours a week, Walmart’s forthcoming $10 an hour wage is equivalent to only $10,400 a year – less than half of the income needed to afford a basic standard of living for a single adult in 33 states.
Despite raise Walmart wages schedules still aren’t livable (http://www.demos.org/publication/despite-raise-walmart-wages-schedules-still-aren%E2%80%99t-livable)

EDITed to add: the funny thing is that everyone that has worked retail in the last 20 years knows this stuff. That is, they know that only half the employees are getting the hours and benefits that they want, and that most retail stores define full time at 32-34 hours per week to carefully avoid ever paying a penny of overtime.

Quote
No matter how hard you work, they rather hire more part time employees then give you full time.
...
Stop hiring people part time!!!! Most of your departments are very understaffed because of this causing a very stressful environment. Making it extremely hard to complete tasks. Stop forcing people to clock out earlier for fear of overtime
Glassdoor (https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Walmart-part-time-Reviews-EI_IE715.0,7_KH8,17.htm)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 01, 2018, 09:06:11 PM
Just in time for this thread, but maybe not slavery:

Quote
The United States is a land of stark contrasts. It is one of the world’s wealthiest societies, a global leader in many areas, and a land of unsurpassed technological and other forms of innovation. Its corporations are global trendsetters, its civil society is vibrant and sophisticated and its higher education system leads the world. But its immense wealth and expertise stand in shocking contrast with the conditions in which vast numbers of its citizens live. About 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty. It has the highest youth poverty rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the highest infant mortality rates among comparable OECD States. Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies, eradicable tropical diseases are increasingly prevalent, and it has the world’s highest incarceration rate, one of the lowest levels of voter registrations in among OECD countries and the highest obesity levels in the developed world.

The United States has the highest rate of income inequality among Western countries. The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality. The consequences of neglecting poverty and promoting inequality are clear. The United States has one of the highest poverty and inequality levels among the OECD countries, and the Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty ranks it 18th out of 21 wealthy countries in terms of labour markets, poverty rates, safety nets, wealth inequality and economic mobility. But in 2018 the United States had over 25 per cent of the world’s 2,208 billionaires. There is thus a dramatic contrast between the immense wealth of the few and the squalor and deprivation in which vast numbers of Americans exist. For almost five decades the overall policy response has been neglectful at best, but the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship.

UN Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America (http://undocs.org/A/HRC/38/33/ADD.1)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Seadog on June 01, 2018, 09:07:04 PM

Studies have been done where people eat the exact same number of calories of different composition carbs/fat/protein, and have wildly different weight changes and hunger responses.



Sounds interesting.  Curious to read about this, can you cite the studies that were done?

Don't have the book handy, but found a coles notes version online:

https://lowerthought.wordpress.com/complete-notes-to-good-calories-bad-calories/#chapter-20

A few key takeaways:

Quote
Margaret Ohlson and Charlotte Young tested a low-calorie version

    subjects lost weight and never reported hunger as they did on balanced low-calorie diets
    compared low-fat vs low-carb
        1200 cal low-fat didn’t bring about the expected weight loss (from calorie deficit): only 0.5 lb/week
            subjects were always hungry and lacked ‘pep’
        1400 cal Pennington-style diet: almost 3 lb/week — 6 times more effective and higher in calories
            no hunger, felt well
    Ohlson then tested different dietary compositions for this diet
        subjects found low-fat versions bland, uninteresting and hard to eat
        hunger levels were proportional to carbohydrate intake
        high-protein diet increased muscle mass while burning fat
            balanced calorie-restriction causes muscle and fat loss
    Young had the same results: remarkable weight loss without hunger
        subjects were remarkably healthy on the diet
        in every case, the weight lost exceeded what would be expected from caloric deficit

Quote
his evidence overturns some fundamental assumptions

    “a calorie is a calorie”; weight gain is the result of overeating
        Bistrian and Blackburn: 650-800 cal meat-only diet; 50% of subjects lost 40 lbs each (no hunger)
            had they added 400 cal of carbs to balance the diet, only 1% would be likely to lose 40 lbs
                would cause hunger and semi-starvation
            but if they added 400 cal of protein and fat, they would still get considerable weight loss
                still no hunger
            somehow, adding extra carbs to the meat-only diet made it less filling
                how can people eat 10,000 cal (Sims) and still be hungry, but not feel hungry on very-low-calorie, zero-carb diets?

Quote
Conservation of Energy

    conventional wisdom is founded on two misinterpretations of thermodynamic law (caloric balance equation)
        first misconception: association implies cause and effect
            law of energy conservation: Change in energy stores = Energy intake – Energy expenditure
                the equation doesn’t indicate which is cause and which is effect
                it’s possible that a change in energy stores could cause changes in intake and/or expenditure
                    evidence supports this interpretation (metabolic/hormonal changes that drive us to change adiposity by adjusting intake/expenditure)
            in children, a positive caloric balance is associated with physical growth
                evidently, they eat a lot because they’re growing (not growing because they eat a lot)
                hormonal drive to grow causes increased appetite
                positive caloric balance is a result, not a cause, of growth
            pregnant women fatten due to hormonal changes
                hormones induce hunger and lethargy to create the positive caloric balance necessary for fat accumulation
            fattening is the cause, gluttony and sloth are the effects
                to understand what causes obesity, we need to understand what causes the hormonal changes that induce fattening
            studies on obese people’s behavior only find associations, not causes
                don’t explain why they eat more, are less active, have slower metabolism
                actually, the obese don’t eat more than the lean (both are in caloric balance)
            prospective studies show that pre-obese people expend less energy
                doesn’t imply causation; only an association
            obesity is associated with metabolic syndrome (diseases of civilization)
                conventional interpretation: obesity causes/contributes to the diseases
                alternative logic: the underlying disorder causes both obesity and the other diseases

I find this sort of science fascinating, because it's so complex, multiple inputs and outputs, and multiple independent and dependent feedback loops. Sort of like the climate sciences. I'm not saying all the answers are here, but for the people who say "A calorie is a calorie is a calorie, case closed!" despite numerous examples to the contrary with no refutation beyond "Nuh-un!" where is the error?

Still hold on to all calories are equal? Fine. Do your own similar study. That's the thing with science is that it needs to be repeatable. Don't get the same results? Great! Now we can start asking more questions, try to find why results differed and get closer to the truth. But in dietary science, (as well as numerous other fields) often times entire reams of data are disregarded, or a brief pre-selection of data sets occur to ensure the answer someone wants is the answer someone gets.

Again like climate science, once a position is officially adopted by major world wide gov'ts, there is money to be made by towing the party line, which in turn strengthens that position and itself is a feed back loop which if initiated on a flimsy premise can grow into a monster.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: AnnaGrowsAMustache on June 02, 2018, 05:45:11 AM
If all calories are equal, there's no difference between the body of someone eating 2000 calories a day of lean protein, vegetables and whole grains, and someone eating 2000 calories a day of deep fried carbs and a few vitamin pills..... right? Right?

The whole equal calories argument is silly. It's never held true and it's never been real science. The idea that one loses weight by expending more than you consume is silly also. The human body was designed to hold onto fat stores at all costs, pretty much, and some human bodies are much better at it than others.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mm1970 on June 02, 2018, 07:41:13 AM
Yeah, that was intended to be an amount of calories less than the average person needs (maybe I went a little too far, and they could eat slightly more, but still less than "needed"). Rather than actually losing weight, I'd guess that the person would just get hungrier and hungrier over the days and be forced to give up the experiment after about day four.

It would be interesting to see how this would work in practice, rather than just as a thought experiment. Not going to try it myself though, it sounds awful.

I highly recommend the book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, somewhat technical but gets very deep into a lot of dietary science, conflicting political motivations and some of the shaky science current ideas are based around along with heaps of interesting studies, including various starvation studies which would be considered immoral today.

Some of the studies are the above composition experiment, hunger experiments where people are on a sub BMR fat/protein diet and aren't that hungry, but then given additional calories in the form of carbs and comparing the hunger response. 1000 cals/day of protein = not hungry. 1500 cals of protein = not hungry. 1000 cals of protein + 1000 cals of carbs = famished.

The big take away was that fat retention and food input was governed more by hormones than strictly quantity of calories. Sort of like when a bear goes to hibernate or a woman gets pregnant. The body *wants* to put on fat. Even if it just maintains it's eating level from before the fall season/pregnancy, then it will *still* put on some fat because that's the priority the hormones have dictate. The body will be hungry, and since some energy that was being used as energy is now being pushed to fat reserves, the metabolism will slow, they'll be more tired, body temp decreases etc.

Word.  Second pregnancy especially the first 3 months...BOOM
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on June 02, 2018, 07:54:05 AM
If all calories are equal, there's no difference between the body of someone eating 2000 calories a day of lean protein, vegetables and whole grains, and someone eating 2000 calories a day of deep fried carbs and a few vitamin pills..... right? Right?

o.0

Quote
The whole equal calories argument is silly. It's never held true and it's never been real science.

o.000

Quote
The idea that one loses weight by expending more than you consume is silly also.

o.00000000

So you seem to be tying together two arguments:

1. Calories are not the only characteristic of food which plays a role in how what we eat effects our body (true).

2. Calories deficits/surpluses don't play any role in whether people gain or lose weight (false).

It helps to prioritize the order of magnitude of effects. The two biggest factors determining whether and how much weight person X will succeed at losing on a given diet are (1) the deficit in calories between what they consume and what their bodies burn every day and (2) the degree of satiation the diet produces.

As others in the thread have talked about, a 1,500 calorie diet is going to produce a lot more weight loss if it leaves you feeling full than if you're painfully hungry all day, because in the second case you're much more likely to cheat, and also more likely to give up on the diet faster.

Foods are pretty interchangable for factor #1, but not for factor #2. If you have food that is satiating enough, you don't have to personally worry about tracking calories because you'll just tend to eat fewer calories than your maintenance requirements anyway (this is how high fiber, high produce diets tend to produce weight loss). There are other ways of tricking your body's hunger response like the high fat "ketogenic" diets which where all the fad a couple of years ago, but again, if you look at how many calories people are actually eating on those diets, after the first week of dramatic weight loss (produced by using up all the glycogen stored in your liver so that you body needs less water to keep the glycogen dissolved in), again the weight loss becomes a matter of calories in, calories out.

Now there are plenty of second and third order factors that are also statistically significant (the energy it takes to digest different kinds of foods, that some people tend to feel like they have more energy when they eat more, so they move around more and burn more calories, while others don't feel this response so their calories out doesn't increase much in response to an increase in calories in, all sorts of hormone signaling cascades), but none of that negates the critical importances of the two factors described above.

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that yes, if you eat substantially fewer calories than your body requires, you will lose weight.

The correct observation that there are other factors which determine how likely you are to successfully stick to a diet where you're eating fewer calories than you're using, and that the precise number of calories your body needs is a dynamic number rather than a static one doesn't make the statement above any less true, or any less scientific.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on June 02, 2018, 08:25:54 AM
Minimum federal wage: $7.25
Wal-Mart: $11 starting wage

That's 50% more.

+ paying workers to go to college.  Actually sounds like a good deal to me.

Indeed, Walmart pays pretty well.  I know people working there that are making quite a bit more than that minimum as well, and they seem pretty happy with it.  If someone wants an even larger income, they should get the necessary skills.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 02, 2018, 10:22:46 AM
Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that yes, if you eat substantially fewer calories than your body requires, you will lose weight.

I've been trying to stay out of this because I have another iron in the fire. Yes, but what a couple people on this thread seem to be overlooking is that your body gets to control your resting metabolic rate. I know from personal experience that if my body thinks that I am starving to death I am going to feel lethargic and cold in a 72 degree room.

Will I lose weight if I cut enough calories? Yes. But if they are the wrong calories I will feel like shit and lose muscle mass, which will further reduce my resting metabolic rate and my ability to exercise.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Cwadda on June 02, 2018, 10:34:06 AM
Quote
A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive

We need to ensure equal opportunity, not equal outcome.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on June 02, 2018, 11:01:54 AM
Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that yes, if you eat substantially fewer calories than your body requires, you will lose weight.

I've been trying to stay out of this because I have another iron in the fire. Yes, but what a couple people on this thread seem to be overlooking is that your body gets to control your resting metabolic rate. I know from personal experience that if my body thinks that I am starving to death I am going to feel lethargic and cold in a 72 degree room.

Will I lose weight if I cut enough calories? Yes. But if they are the wrong calories I will feel like shit and lose muscle mass, which will further reduce my resting metabolic rate and my ability to exercise.

To be clear the post I was replying to was saying that reducing the calories you take in, and/or increasing the calories you expend didn't matter to whether or not you would lose weight. That's factually incorrect.

Absolutely depending on what you chose to eat on a calorie restricted diet you can feel a lot better or a lot worse while losing weight at the same rate.

The couple of times I've needed to lose significant weight in my life, I've found a 1,000 calorie cut combined with building more exercise into my day is a good balance between what I'm told is the healthiest target (500 calorie deficit), and seeing change rapidly enough that I'm motivated to maintain the diet.

Similarly, for me (who knows if it is generalizable) lots of beans, oatmeal, and leafy greens feels a lot more satiating on a reduced calorie diet than eating the same number of calories in frozen pizza, but that doesn't mean calories don't matter, it just means by engineering the composition of diet I can reduce the amount of willpower I need to devote to controlling the volume of my diet.

Changes in resting metabolic rate in response to calorie restriction are good for explaining maybe a couple of hundred calories/day in expenditure. If you're aiming for only a 500 calorie/day deficit, that can certainly mean you see might see slower weight change than you were expecting. But it doesn't mean you can lose weight without running a calorie deficit.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia on June 02, 2018, 11:09:24 AM
PDXTabs:

Quote
Yes, this is why I want to do away with social security, medicare, medicaid, workers compensation insurance, overtime laws, minimum wage, OHSA, child labor laws, food stamps, WIC, CHIP, insurance regulation, and everything to do with tenants rights. Hell, every road, library, school, and park should be privatized. Let the market sort it out you %*^&)@# communists!

Sorry - I didn't read all of the entries.

Odd - It's been my experience that many of the good things in life have been the result of socialized activities.  The schools, libraries, roads, parks and other items set up for the common good have been some of the best things in my life.

When things are privatized, the price is often higher than when it is socialized.  Towns, for example, that supply their own electricity seem to often have better rates.  the same applies to cable TV.  Farmers sometimes form cooperatives which are socialized ventures to share equipment and marketing.  This allows lower costs than hiring a private company.  Low electricity rates have been provided by the TVA and BPA.  The huge dams that provide inexpensive power for the many would be higher priced if profit were applied.

I could go on.  However, the reader can no doubt think of more examples.

The market has allowed good jobs to go overseas and has not provided for the workers that lost their jobs.  This has happened in my lifetime.  Not only are the industrial resources of former production facilities idled creating a waste of resources but the infrastructures of entire towns are sometimes wasted as people need to relocate.  This infrastructure may have had years of useful life.

I will finish up this blurb by informing you that you have been the victim of propaganda.  This propaganda has taught you that the free market is the be all and end all.  Think about it.  Who owns the sources of information you have been exposed to?

Like everything else, it must be a balance.  I wouldn't want the government to build cell phones, computers or most other things that benefit from rapid innovation.  However, libraries, roads, bridges, sewers, etc. provide for society better if done by a common entity that is not motivated by the profit motive.  I think history has shown this to be the case.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on June 02, 2018, 11:33:25 AM
When things are privatized, the price is often higher than when it is socialized.  Towns, for example, that supply their own electricity seem to often have better rates.  the same applies to cable TV.  Farmers sometimes form cooperatives which are socialized ventures to share equipment and marketing.  This allows lower costs than hiring a private company.  Low electricity rates have been provided by the TVA and BPA.  The huge dams that provide inexpensive power for the many would be higher priced if profit were applied.

That's an interesting list. A number of your examples (electricity, cable tv, internet) are ones where it is very VERY hard to have an open and competitive market. The government can generally provide services at lower prices than a for-profit monopoly is going to charge.

The exception in your list is farmer co-ops. A lot of grain elevators, sugar beet processing factories, and ethanol plants are operated by farmer co-ops. However these are voluntary associations of farmers and, to the best of my knowledge, are generally organized along for-profit lines, it's just that the farmers are the owners. So I'm not sure they are a good analogy to government provided goods or services. 

TL;DR: I agree that in cases where there are strong structural barriers to competition, government can often provide higher quality services at lower prices. But I don't think these particular examples are generalizable.*

*And to be clear there are other reasons it might make government to step in in certain circumstances even if it means prices go up, that that's a separate discussion.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Radagast on June 02, 2018, 12:19:24 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/06/01/how-can-they-walk-away-with-millions-and-leave-workers-with-zero-toys-r-us-workers-say-they-deserve-severance/?utm_term=.842011129364
I'd say ToysRUs is the example OP was actually looking for. The CEO of Walmart has probably been justifying his salary, but its a lot harder to see how the "we win and our employees and creditors lose" lose mentality of these clowns is worth millions.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Cwadda on June 02, 2018, 04:08:21 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/06/01/how-can-they-walk-away-with-millions-and-leave-workers-with-zero-toys-r-us-workers-say-they-deserve-severance/?utm_term=.842011129364
I'd say ToysRUs is the example OP was actually looking for. The CEO of Walmart has probably been justifying his salary, but its a lot harder to see how the "we win and our employees and creditors lose" lose mentality of these clowns is worth millions.

How is it that the success of the CEO has everything to do with taking from the others though? I don't see how that works.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE on June 02, 2018, 04:31:05 PM
PDXTabs:

Quote
Yes, this is why I want to do away with social security, medicare, medicaid, workers compensation insurance, overtime laws, minimum wage, OHSA, child labor laws, food stamps, WIC, CHIP, insurance regulation, and everything to do with tenants rights. Hell, every road, library, school, and park should be privatized. Let the market sort it out you %*^&)@# communists!

Sorry - I didn't read all of the entries.

Odd - It's been my experience that many of the good things in life have been the result of socialized activities.  The schools, libraries, roads, parks and other items set up for the common good have been some of the best things in my life.

When things are privatized, the price is often higher than when it is socialized.  Towns, for example, that supply their own electricity seem to often have better rates.  the same applies to cable TV.  Farmers sometimes form cooperatives which are socialized ventures to share equipment and marketing.  This allows lower costs than hiring a private company.  Low electricity rates have been provided by the TVA and BPA.  The huge dams that provide inexpensive power for the many would be higher priced if profit were applied.

I could go on.  However, the reader can no doubt think of more examples.

The market has allowed good jobs to go overseas and has not provided for the workers that lost their jobs.  This has happened in my lifetime.  Not only are the industrial resources of former production facilities idled creating a waste of resources but the infrastructures of entire towns are sometimes wasted as people need to relocate.  This infrastructure may have had years of useful life.

I will finish up this blurb by informing you that you have been the victim of propaganda.  This propaganda has taught you that the free market is the be all and end all.  Think about it.  Who owns the sources of information you have been exposed to?

Like everything else, it must be a balance.  I wouldn't want the government to build cell phones, computers or most other things that benefit from rapid innovation.  However, libraries, roads, bridges, sewers, etc. provide for society better if done by a common entity that is not motivated by the profit motive.  I think history has shown this to be the case.

I think pdx was being sarcastic.  Pdx's other comments appear more liberal and seem to support a more socialist model.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: golden1 on June 02, 2018, 07:56:15 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 it’s 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 “someone” has to clean the toilets, run the machines, do the cleaning etc... and that there are many, many people who don’t 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on June 02, 2018, 08:22:29 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?

*shrug* I can put myself in both mindsets. The philosophy o the MMM forums should enrich for people who find their work unfulfilling. But at the same time it's gonna enrich for people that are able to get ahead under the current system. So it makes sense you're likely going to get people with both extremely positive and extremely negative views.

Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in it’s 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.

Quote
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 “someone” has to clean the toilets, run the machines, do the cleaning etc... and that there are many, many people who don’t have the capability to do the higher skilled labor that they happened to win the genetic lottery to be able to do?

I agree with you that there are lots of people who work really hard, and through either circumstances or nature ("genetic lottery"), really don't have any shot at finding their way into high paying work.

Getting ahead requires BOTH hard work and good luck (during your education and career and/or which parents you are born to and what skills and abilities you inherit). So the people who get ahead generally can thank both luck and hard work, while the people who don't get ahead may have bad luck, may chose not to work hard, or both.

It's obviously human nature to emphasize the hard work and determination in the stories we tell ourselves about how we got where we are if we're happy with where we ended up. And conversely, it's also human nature to emphasize the role of bad luck in the stories we tell ourselves about where we are when we're unhappy with where we ended up.

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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Cwadda 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mizzourah2006 on June 03, 2018, 07:11:41 AM
I’m 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mizzourah2006 on June 03, 2018, 07:12:20 AM
I’m 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Seadog 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. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mizzourah2006 on June 03, 2018, 09:43:04 AM
Meant to edit, my fault.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mm1970 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 it’s 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 “someone” has to clean the toilets, run the machines, do the cleaning etc... and that there are many, many people who don’t 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?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on June 03, 2018, 03:32:25 PM
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in it’s 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs on June 03, 2018, 04:15:48 PM
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in it’s 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on June 03, 2018, 04:28:55 PM
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in it’s 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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 (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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv on June 04, 2018, 07:17:30 AM
Quote
It seems foolish to think that capitalism in it’s 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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  (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/modern-day-slavery/msg2025744/#msg2025744l)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).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv 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  (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/modern-day-slavery/msg2025744/#msg2025744l)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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GuitarStv 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ChpBstrd 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: DreamFIRE 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?"
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: mak1277 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?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: carolina822 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?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Dabnasty 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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 (https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1985/01/rpt1full.pdf). Adjusting that for inflation (http://www.calculator.net/inflation-calculator.html?cstartingamount1=8736&cinyear1=1983&coutyear1=2017&calctype=1&x=87&y=15), 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 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes412011.htm).

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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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 (https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1985/01/rpt1full.pdf). Adjusting that for inflation (http://www.calculator.net/inflation-calculator.html?cstartingamount1=8736&cinyear1=1983&coutyear1=2017&calctype=1&x=87&y=15), 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 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes412011.htm).

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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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 (https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1985/01/rpt1full.pdf). Adjusting that for inflation (http://www.calculator.net/inflation-calculator.html?cstartingamount1=8736&cinyear1=1983&coutyear1=2017&calctype=1&x=87&y=15), 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 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes412011.htm).

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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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 (https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1985/01/rpt1full.pdf). Adjusting that for inflation (http://www.calculator.net/inflation-calculator.html?cstartingamount1=8736&cinyear1=1983&coutyear1=2017&calctype=1&x=87&y=15), 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 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes412011.htm).

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.

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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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 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 (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2015/12/2015-12-09_middle-class_FINAL-report.pdf)
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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 (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2015/12/2015-12-09_middle-class_FINAL-report.pdf)

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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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.

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Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.

(https://imgpile.com/images/nvjwau.jpg) (https://imgpile.com/i/nvjwau)

Now I'd argue the top left isn't necessarily correlated with the world becoming a better place, but the other three certainly arge.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug)

Good news like you presented helps me not feel like a wage slave.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.

(https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-2b101973c4c579cc1199f2b768462776)

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

(https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?width=880&height=440&id=MEHOINUSA672N)

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

(https://i.imgur.com/DbPZvw2.png)

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

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/hcmpfiles/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/11_9-million.png)

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

(http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/marijuana-arrests.png)



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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: GetItRight 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 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
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.

(http://prorev.com/warwane.jpg)

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.

“This was a remarkable contribution to the public’s 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.,”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/business/economy/what-is-gdp-economy-alternative-measure.html
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: jlcnuke 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.

(http://prorev.com/warwane.jpg)

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.

“This was a remarkable contribution to the public’s 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.,”

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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 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.



Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dustinst22 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Paul der Krake 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?
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: PDXTabs 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).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dang1 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia on June 08, 2018, 05:22:20 PM
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ChpBstrd on June 08, 2018, 10:15:59 PM
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia on June 09, 2018, 10:09:23 AM
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: maizeman on June 09, 2018, 10:41:57 AM
Quote
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. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: dang1 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: OtherJen 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Hula Hoop 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. 
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Hargrove 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia on June 10, 2018, 06:57:27 PM
Hargrove:

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

From Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility)
Quote

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.

Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: Hargrove 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).
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: ChpBstrd 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.
Title: Re: Modern Day Slavery
Post by: pecunia 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.