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General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Cog » Sun 11 Feb 2018, 18:18:53

People trap themselves into debt. What entitlements have been cut? I only wish the Republicans had done so.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 11 Feb 2018, 18:43:26

It’s not nearly so simple Cog. But I don’t expect you to understand. I grew up poor, generations of poor. Damn hard working poor. No one worked harder than my parents to break from the poverty.

As one from the wrong side of the tracks your voice sounds imperious and ignorant. I don’t know your history, and maybe you have a good reason for your opinions, it is not yet evident.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 11 Feb 2018, 19:22:45

Here is a news big that is somewhat relevant to this topic, and many other discussions we have had.

https://nypost.com/2018/02/10/heres-ano ... lling-off/

Who is to blame when the cashier becomes obsolete?

Is society to simply “off” them, deposit in the recycle bin like a Blackberry?

Or is there some obligation to the newly poor?
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sun 11 Feb 2018, 20:17:41

Newfie wrote:Here is a news big that is somewhat relevant to this topic, and many other discussions we have had.

https://nypost.com/2018/02/10/heres-ano ... lling-off/

Who is to blame when the cashier becomes obsolete?

Is society to simply “off” them, deposit in the recycle bin like a Blackberry?

Or is there some obligation to the newly poor?

Who is to blame when any job becomes obsolete as technology changes things? I'm sure the buggy whip manufacturers and those who worked for them weren't big fans of Ford's assembly lines.

A better question might be, "What are we going to do about low skilled job losses, with automation making such rapid and widespread strides"?

And I'll opine that in the US, the response from BOTH sides of the aisle, as usual, is pretty much crickets when it comes to substance or long term thinking.

I still think we should be at least testing the idea of a basic minimum income with some seriousness. But that's only haphazardly happening to some extent in parts of Europe / Scandanavia, from what I've read.


Of course, OTOH, you can't even get people to agree that a basic minimum income wouldn't provide solid middle class income, but only get people out of dire poverty (i.e. provide a backstop and some transitional help), but we still seem to have too many people who think that other peoples' money grows on trees. (See Switzerland).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36454060
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 06:31:35

As I mention time and again we have been struggling with this dilemina for going on 80 years at least. The earliest discussion I know of is by Bertran Russel in about 1935.

Our failure to adapt to this new high level of automation is a large part of our social difficulties and high poverty.

I think Russel’s proposed solution seriously misses the mark. He drastically under rates how much people need to feel a productive part of society, even if it is a thinly veiled illusion. But he did start the conversation.

http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby asg70 » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 10:00:37

Doom was supposed to result in a world made by hand, not by robot. Technology will fail as we descend into Mad Max and the Olduvai gorge, remember?

Image

We live in interesting times that the topic has shifted towards a techno-apocalypse instead.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Plantagenet » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 12:18:43

Newfie wrote:As I mention time and again we have been struggling with this dilemina for going on 80 years at least. The earliest discussion I know of is by Bertran Russel in about 1935.

Our failure to adapt to this new high level of automation is a large part of our social difficulties and high poverty.

I think Russel’s proposed solution seriously misses the mark. He drastically under rates how much people need to feel a productive part of society, even if it is a thinly veiled illusion. But he did start the conversation.

http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html


What an interesting link. Bertrand Russel predicts that increasing technological innovation will create a virtual paradise:

In a world where no one is compelled to work .... there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one per cent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all

Russell believes that about 1% of people will use their increased leisure time doing significant things in art and science and that typical, average people will become more kindly and happy, so its win-win for all.

Russell lived in a gentler time. Today we know that if people aren't kept busy with work, bad things happen. For instance if you put people on welfare so they don't have to work, a goodly number of them will idle away their time drinking and doing drugs, the schools will go to hell, and their kids will form criminal gangs.

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Bertrand Russell never met a gang banger

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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby evilgenius » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 12:35:01

asg70 wrote:"lost its connection to the science"

Which says what?


Which says that it has become dogma. It has also created a cheat system, where all sorts of outlandish instruments can be created into which money can flow as a result of the expansion of the money supply without triggering any kind of rate increase. You don't have to look any further than what happens with tax dodging off-shore investments to see that. Various instruments can serve the wealthy allowing a virtual expansion of the money supply something like how the secondary fusion stage of a thermonuclear device expands the power of a weapon and the Fed will do nothing. But let the workers gain just a little bit and the sky will fall.

Like I said, though, there are business cycles and if wages get too far out of hand they will drive inflation. The flaw seems to lie not in the principle that connects wages to inflation but in the hubris that asserts that monitoring them is a precise enough way to regulate the economy. Of course, the Fed won't admit what they use to monitor. They certainly have not been so afraid of the indebtedness that suppressed wages have wrought in people's attempts to keep up, even when paying off those levels rose to alarming portions of people's pay. To be fair, most of us remember Greenspan speaking against 'irrational exuberance,' but, if I recall correctly, there weren't any rate hikes linked to that. It was only when unemployment got so low that for the first time in decades people had real power in relation to their employers that rates started to go up.

It would seem my criticism were at cross purposes. How can I seemingly argue for higher wages and also for a call upon these instruments? The one grows before the other, or always has done so. The problem lies, really, in the disconnection the US economy has developed between the investment world and your average locale within America. And that is down, once again, to monetarism. The victory over OPEC didn't only end high oil prices. It established the dollar as the international standard in a way that sped flows of foreign investment into it on a scale not seen before. The financial world no longer had to rely upon what was going on locally in order to thrive. What mom and pop store owner or Joe Sixpack borrowed from their local bank in order to finance their dreams wasn't what they, financiers, had to use to understand success anymore.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Yoshua » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 12:38:08

Another prophet, Peter Schiff: "But they [the Fed] can’t tell the truth that it’s really a bubble, and if we raise rates, we’re gonna prick it."

"Trump is going to get blamed when the economy tanks because the media has already decided that they are on the side of socialism. When all of this happens, prepare for the free market (which we don’t have) to be blamed and prepare for the tax cuts to be blamed.  This will pave the way for Communism."

For a capitalism the worst nightmare is communism...but we all on this site of course know that this will end in an apocalypse.

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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby asg70 » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:09:09

Yoshua wrote:Another prophet, Peter Schiff


No kidding. He's been doomsaying since at least 2008.

Yoshua wrote:Trump is going to get blamed when the economy tanks because the media has already decided that they are on the side of socialism.


So the guy's a Trump fan? Like Trump is on the side of fiscal responsibility???

WTF?

Last time I checked Schiff is part of "the media", BTW.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:19:58

Plantagenet wrote:
Newfie wrote:As I mention time and again we have been struggling with this dilemina for going on 80 years at least. The earliest discussion I know of is by Bertran Russel in about 1935.

Our failure to adapt to this new high level of automation is a large part of our social difficulties and high poverty.

I think Russel’s proposed solution seriously misses the mark. He drastically under rates how much people need to feel a productive part of society, even if it is a thinly veiled illusion. But he did start the conversation.

http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html


What an interesting link. Bertrand Russel predicts that increasing technological innovation will create a virtual paradise:

[i]In a world where no one is compelled to work .... there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid.

Good for Bertrand Russell for contemplating this issue early on. However, unless the world shifts to something like a Basic Minimum Income with little blowback fairly soon, his vision seems highly unrealistic.

One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, absolutely nailed it in 1952 with the dystopian novel "Player Piano". With the nature of the concerns and the pace of the layoffs for low skilled workers, I sometimes idly (not seriously, but wow did he get it right) ponder him having a time machine and cheating a bit, given his accuracy.

The Wiki summary is right out of today's economic reality, via concerns about automation and who it will impact the most in the near term:

Player Piano is the first novel of American writer Kurt Vonnegut, published in 1952. It depicts a dystopia of automation, describing the negative impact it can have on quality of life.[1] The story takes place in a near-future society that is almost totally mechanized, eliminating the need for human laborers. This widespread mechanization creates conflict between the wealthy upper class—the engineers and managers who keep society running—and the lower class, whose skills and purpose in society have been replaced by machines. The book uses irony and sentimentality, which were to become hallmarks developed further in Vonnegut's later works.[1]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano_(novel)

(Red font mine, for emphasis).
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:24:14

Yoshua wrote:Another prophet, Peter Schiff: "But they [the Fed] can’t tell the truth that it’s really a bubble, and if we raise rates, we’re gonna prick it."

So to be a "prophet" do you have to be constantly wrong, long term?

I've never seen Schiff make a decent correct call, but plenty of horrendous wrong calls. In the middle of the worst of the market turmoil in the fall of 2008, he was calling for $5000 gold and a 1000 Dow Jones, for example.

And he's made calls pretty much as silly over and over and over again. Prophet indeed.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:28:05

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Newfie wrote:Here is a news big that is somewhat relevant to this topic, and many other discussions we have had.

https://nypost.com/2018/02/10/heres-ano ... lling-off/

Who is to blame when the cashier becomes obsolete?

Is society to simply “off” them, deposit in the recycle bin like a Blackberry?

Or is there some obligation to the newly poor?

Who is to blame when any job becomes obsolete as technology changes things? I'm sure the buggy whip manufacturers and those who worked for them weren't big fans of Ford's assembly lines.

A better question might be, "What are we going to do about low skilled job losses, with automation making such rapid and widespread strides"?

And I'll opine that in the US, the response from BOTH sides of the aisle, as usual, is pretty much crickets when it comes to substance or long term thinking.

I still think we should be at least testing the idea of a basic minimum income with some seriousness. But that's only haphazardly happening to some extent in parts of Europe / Scandanavia, from what I've read.


Of course, OTOH, you can't even get people to agree that a basic minimum income wouldn't provide solid middle class income, but only get people out of dire poverty (i.e. provide a backstop and some transitional help), but we still seem to have too many people who think that other peoples' money grows on trees. (See Switzerland).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36454060


We beat the topic of "basic minimum income" to death a year or so ago:

http://peakoil.com/forums/obsolete-t73001.html

It seems that you and I are not that far apart when it comes to the ultimate objective, the preservation of the human species. However, the proposal for a BMI would preserve all facets of humanity, not just those with the ability to eke out survival via their own efforts.

The ultimate expression of BMI is the "people kibble" dispensing machine, which cares for those humans who have substance abuse problems, and cannot be trusted to spend the BMI to feed themselves. The benevolent government of course would include hormones in the kibble so that the substance abusers do not reproduce.

IMHO, the BMI is the stuff of nightmares. OTOH, I myself partake of "other people's money" every month when I take advantage of the solar panels on my roof to reduce my electric bill. That much use of "other people's money" is generally acceptable, it would seem.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:34:36

BMI = Basic Minimum Income

Or

BMI = Body Mass Index

??
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:36:06

evilgenius wrote: The problem lies, really, in the disconnection the US economy has developed between the investment world and your average locale within America.

But WHAT is the "average locale" in America?

America has MANY examples of completely rural and very isolated to huge cities, and many steps in between.

I remember driving through RIchmond, KY, a small fast-growing city 30 minutes from my home, about twice a month, through the 80's, 90's, and 00's. Just often enough to really notice and get a feel for the overall changes. I remember being struck by how many new factories and business would spring up, and how many of those were foreign owned, including several with Asian names.

So, assuming small city is sort of average in terms of relative population density, and this is smack in the middle of red-state hickdom compared to someplace like NYC or SF, this struck me as being a rather good reflection of the overall growth/shift in technology, the marketplace, globalization, and even the various funding (i.e. banks) that capitalism and economic growth depends on.

So aside from a "gee, I wish things were 'better' or 'perfect'" kind of mindset, or "gee, it's a shame the world has to change", I really don't see what the big "problem" is. Not with household median incomes of roughly $60,000 annually in the US.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:46:12

KaiserJeep wrote:IMHO, the BMI is the stuff of nightmares.

Look, I'm a capitalist and a market-centric kind of guy.

When I throw up my hands and say maybe we need a BMI, it's NOT because I love the idea of socialism. It's because as far as action and practicality (as opposed to empty rhetoric) from US government institutions, industry, etc. I don't see anything even CLOSE to working well as far as addressing the ongoing and accelerating tsunami of automation of all kinds.

And just waiting until we have 100 million or so unemployed folks living on the government MESS of inefficient safety nets, which already costs about a $trillion a year in the US JUST for the federal programs (not to mention state, local, charitable, corporate sponsored, etc) -- how much of the current system can we stand with $20 trillion and counting on the books in federal debt already?

If society can come up with WORKABLE, AFFORDABLE alternatives that are superior in a reasonable time frame, great. Let's just say my confidence level in that happening is about zero.

And the answer of the liberals to force an artificially high "living" minimum wage, which will make businesses less competitive will only accelerate the process, since other peoples' money doesn't grow on trees, and alternatives do exist for businesses.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 13:48:25

Newfie wrote:BMI = Basic Minimum Income

Or

BMI = Body Mass Index

??

Does any part of the context on this thread reference weight problems?
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 14:11:42

No homeless folks would get fat or have a child eating kibble, the people rationing is designed to prevent that. Calories are carefully controlled, and hormones are added that prevent reproduction.

Then we need to round the homeless up periodically and put them in camps so that they have a warm place to sleep.
Image
The lucky ones would have sleeping quarters next to the warm ovens. The ovens that are fed with fracked natural gas, paid for by the tax dollars of the 20% still working, for the benefit of the 80% who have no income other than the government dole.

It's all so logical. As conditions worsen, the government must maintain order. The trains must also run on time, and the broadcast of major sporting events must continue. We can vote for the R or the D, depending upon which major party will do the better job maintaining our lifestyle.

It's the way Americans and other citizens of the First World will count themselves among the 10% who survive the Great Die Off. If conditions continue to deteriorate, we can retire those expensive-to-run gas ovens and make kibble from Soylent Green, solving two problems at once.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 14:28:16

KaiserJeep wrote:No homeless folks would get fat or have a child eating kibble, the people rationing is designed to prevent that. Calories are carefully controlled, and hormones are added that prevent reproduction.

Then we need to round the homeless up periodically and put them in camps so that they have a warm place to sleep.
Image
The lucky ones would have sleeping quarters next to the warm ovens. The ovens that are fed with fracked natural gas, paid for by the tax dollars of the 20% still working, for the benefit of the 80% who have no income other than the government dole.

Well, that's one approach. The other would be to have a moderate robot tax. That way company owners could make stuff in the US and make lots of profits using robots where workers can't compete (or wouldn't want to for the wages low skill work would earn).

The robot tax could fund a modest BMI (to get people to or a little above the poverty line -- not to upper or even moderate middle class). Oh, also if you dismantle most of the current $1 trillion anti-poverty program MESS, that's another $700 billion or so to help fund the BMI. For example, SS recipients won't care if you call their SS check a BMI check. Or folks on unemployment. Or Welfare. Or foodstamps. They just need their government check to get by.

That way people could have some sense of privacy and security similar to what they have today, and it wouldn't have to uproot the entire system.

I think forcing 80%, or even 50% of people to live in camps in tents isn't going to lead to a stable, much less productive society, so I don't think even our completely clueless government will opt for that over at least trying a BMI of some sort.

If things get bad enough for long enough, we could get to your scenario. All I'm saying is we don't have to start there, and with some intelligent management, hopefully we don't have to go there. After all, the wealth produced by robots making stuff and robotic intelligence is real -- it's just a question whether the 1% get to keep all of that, or whether it is taxed at some "reasonable" rate.
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Re: Dow Jones Stock Market 2018

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 15:25:18

I wasn't suggesting that we start with the above nightmare. I do, however think that in the dieback of 90% of the current humans, things will get bad all over, including here in America. I am aware of and somewhat troubled by the fact that the First World nations will get the lion's share of the diminishing FF's, while the Third World and Second World get the lion's share of the suffering and death.

As for your "robot tax", it is nonsense. First of all, there are very few machines that justify the name "robot". Dishwashers, washing machines, weed whackers, and powered lawn mowers for example are appliances or tools - but they rendered domestic human servants obsolete. Once you have a good definition of "robot" my engineering brethren will design non-robotic machines that perform the same tasks without the robot tax. It would also be a non-productive and silly thing to do - if a human form robot can do a task better and cheaper, it should. Nor should it be necessary to re-design the machine into a less efficient form to avoid a robot tax.

As for taxes in general, here is how they are distributed and who pays how much today:
Image
Call the two lower brackets "Low Income" and the two higher brackets "High Income", and the three in the center "Middle Income". 55% of the total taxes are paid by "High Income", 50% by "Middle Income", and the "Low Income" brackets get subsidies that amount to 6% (there is a total 1% rounding error across all seven income brackets).

That is today. The system is already steeply "progressive", if that is the right word. The fabled 1% are all found in the $1M and higher income brackets, of course. Speaking personally, I never made it out of "middle middle" when I was still working, and now I'm to the left of the middle.

Nor do the 1% own all the means of production. They own some, but the four highest income brackets are where virtually all ownership lies, with a large part in the retirement funds of people who basicly worked for a prolonged period for what they have. That includes not only the corporations which you are probably thinking of, but also the Small and Medium businesses that are mainly owned by the Middle Classes.

That lowest Middle Income bracket is "the working poor". They don't own much, they depend upon Social Security alone, they are vulnerable to inflation and the whims of politicians.
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