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Eat The Rich!

Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 09:20:41

Although I continually bemoan this focus on the top x% as misguided I do see that I’m in a minority of 1. The question is not that I’m right (I am!) but that no one else feels like I do. I recognize that the majority feel not only disenfranchised and squeezed but also disrespected. Which is another thing Trump tunes in on; it may be a fantasy like my above noted feelings but Trump did give folks a sense of greater respect than his opponent.

When I’m in a more paranoid mode I sometimes liken where we are to the early days of the French Revolution. Lots of palace intrigue going on here.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby onlooker » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 09:50:30

Funny, because if things play out as bad as some of us here predict, it will not matter if you are this or that. As you said Newfie, their wealth is just digits or pixels on the computer screen. In fact, even if you actively prepare for a Great Discontinuity, it may not matter either. If the Ozone layer deteriorates sufficiently, if AGW goes into overdrive if the Economy totally collapses from PO or whatever etc etc., nothing may make a difference in what people do or do not do. It may be just blind luck which is the deciding factor in who survives or who does not. The Rich may be in worse position that most, given their reliance on their money and their lack of preparatioin and even the strong resentment that others feel towards them provoking attacks upon them. So I do not envy the Rich.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 11:29:25

I'll not deny that a malaise exists in modern society, including the USA. While it is real and will worsen for another 20-odd years, the R's or the D's are not responsible, and cannot fix the root cause. (Both will of course bluster and blame and claim they can "save" us.)

The root cause of the malaise is easy to understand, and virtually impossible to fix. Firstly, this happened to our parents:
Image
Move forward 70 years, and this is happening now:
Image
Those Boomers are retiring, and just after the largest recession since the 1930s, which depleted the savings of most. Among other effects:
Image
...all of the unemplyment decline of late has been the people who reach retirement age, and also drop off the charts because they can no longer claim unemployment benefits. There literally are 16 million people who would work if they could, even though they are presently collecting Social Security.

Better believe they are not satisfied. Trump or anybody else will find them a ripe field for harvesting votes. But the underlying problem will not be so easily fixed.

That's my analysis, and it has nothing to do with admiring or bemoaning the blowhard in the White House. (I avoid both.)

One final point: The Baby Boom is an international issue, because WW2 was an international conflict. But the people with the most to lose - or the furthest to fall, if you partake of the doomer mindset, are those in th USA. Simultaneously, this largest of Capitalist Democracies is also the most resilient to the forces of doom and destruction. Good thing for us, except for the fact that when economic chaos happens, we will have a view of others dying while we feel first discomfort, and then hardships.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby onlooker » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 12:37:22

Good thing for us, except for the fact that when economic chaos happens, we will have a view of others dying while we feel first discomfort, and then hardships.


In fact we are already seeing this, with the situatiions in Venezuela, Middle East and Africa. As for the fact that we are the most resilient, I agree with one caveat. That PO does not play out that soon and as disruptive as some envision it. Because if it does, modern affluent countries may be more vulnerable than poor ones because we rely so much on energy.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 13:13:24

I understand that and agree. But the fact is that here in the USA, with fracking and shales and tar sands and all the new extraction and exploration tech, we could satisfy our own energy demands with conservation. In fact we might even export energy for 5-7 decades:
Image
That is enough runway to reinvent the country's entire infrastructure to use less energy. The only key is starting the renewal soon. We need to NOT "kick the can down the road" yet again.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Cog » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 13:42:09

I have no desire to join the work force nor do I need to. I'm not alone in enjoying a retirement created by forty years of hard work. Where are all these people who feel pressured by events? I just don't run into them I guess.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 14:18:55

Folks like my kids with mortgages and car loans and school loans.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Cog » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 17:36:26

Newfie wrote:Folks like my kids with mortgages and car loans and school loans.


I was one of those people just a few years ago. I put on my big boy pants every day and went to work. Humans are designed to work under pressure and without struggle they become lazy and get up to no good. Take a tour through the inner city and you will know what people without challenges are like.

Most normal people accept that work is a fact of life. Whether it sucks at times, which it does, is irrelevant.

You want to feel less pressure if you are middle class? Live below your means, save money, learn new skills constantly, and worry about your self and not others. Live like that and life won't give you so many surprises that you can't handle.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 18:35:12

I disagree, most folks expect something more than they have. The picture you paint may fit you, and me, and many others here, but it sure doesn’t fit most of the folks I have worked with or socialized with.

In my experience most folks feel someone has moved their cheese. There is much longing for days gone by when things were better, more fair.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 18:49:13

Newfie, "something better than what you have" has no bounds. Nobody would ever be satisfied. The "good old days" were always a myth.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Cog » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 19:55:01

What I'm saying Newfie is that if you go through life with no financial plan, it is not the system's fault when life reaches up and bites you in the ass. I'm also not obligated to feel sorry for you. You and I both have worked for and with people who made more money than us but were perpetually broke. They had no plan and it showed.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 21:41:17

Ibon wrote:One of the points that KJ often brings up is how privileged US citizens are compared to the rest of the world. Having lived in many countries that are economically much poorer than the US I have also thought a lot about why do countries so much poorer than the US have citizens who are so much happier and not feeling squeezed as that author points out.

Here in Panama for example the wages are so low compared to the US but the cost of living for basic goods and services is a fraction. An indigenous farm laborar earning $ 12 a day has a smart phone and chats using Whatsapp staying connected to his family for a fraction of the cost that one would pay in the US. This is just one example. I buy food for my staff. A single farm worker weekly food bill is around $ 15. No processed food, its rice, corn, beans, plaintain bananas, a couple pounds of chicken or cheap cuts of beef, potatoes, onions, a bottle of oil, salt, sugar and flour.

Here is what I realized. In each market in each country the economy develops around the purchasing power of the majority. So here in Panama the cell phone providers tap into a market of the vast majority earning under $ 20 a day. So they come up with a product, cheap smart phones for around $ 35 and little phone cards you can load that come out to about a monthy phone service of around $10 - $ 15 a day. The phone companies here set up the same microwave towers and communications system like 4g etc like in the US and provide solutions accordingly.

In the US every sector of the economy is trying to maximize and squeeze the vast majority for whatever they can. Phone service, cable service, health care, drugs. Or food. All processed and expensive in pretty packaging and boxes! This has caused an inflation that is never actually reported accurately. This creates this insane situation as the author pointed out that a family of 4 living in San Francisco is considered low income earning $ 117,000 a year. Imagine If I would tell this to my Panamanian contacts here who earn under $ 20 a day?

Because of how rigged the system is rewarding the top 1% the US middle class is being raked over the coals like no other middle class anywhere else in the world.

There is a pressure mounting regarding this inequity. It's not happening here in Panama or even in other richer countries like in Europe or Canada. But it is happening in the USA. For a good reason. No other market in the world fucks over their citizens as egregiously as you see in the USA with the current disparity. Maybe Venezuela.... ha ha ha

Anyway, the pressure is mounting folks. That big feeling of being squeezed is not going away. And that squeeze is happening because the system is rigged.


I do not know about Panama, but worldwide most people earn less than $10 a day, with around 60 pct earning only around $2-3 daily. Farmers are hardest hit, with very little access to basic needs (never mind smart phones). Ironically, more of their children leave to urban areas to work in retail, factories, and business process outsourcing (e.g., call centers), which in turn provide products and services for smart phone users, among others. That's because those jobs ensure wages of $10 daily or more. Their dream is to "level up" and work in richer countries.

Some countries have had an abundance of food because of ideal conditions in terms of climate and soil health, but these are being undermined by combinations of factors: increasing population, climate change, and ironically infrastructure and facilities needed to manufacture more smart phones, including mining sites, factories, and suburbs, resorts, and hobby farms for rich executives and a growing middle class that depend on increased sales of smart phones and related services. Meanwhile, the rich and middle class in industrialized countries depend on the same economic growth so that their own income levels and investments can grow.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 04 Sep 2018, 21:56:54

Some more details to consider, but these are estimates:

The average wage level is less than $10 a day for many countries. It's more like $6 for the richer developing countries and $3 elsewhere. The poverty threshold is $2, which is why governments argue that poverty rates are not that high.

Infrastructure is significantly underdeveloped, with most people lacking access in one more more basic needs. These include electricity, basic health care, basic education, potable water and water needed for irrigation, transport, shelter that follows local safety requirements and that can withstand natural disasters, and in several places, food. Most rely on government support.

The cost of living is roughly the same as in several industrialized countries, especially for fuel and medicine. In some cases, costs are even higher, especially for fuel. The cost for the poor is higher still because their disposable income is much lower, which is why even a slight increase in oil prices (which has a cascading effect on the prices of many other goods) affects them significantly.

Increasing numbers, especially among the young, have been seeking work in industrial parks, urban areas, and even overseas because income levels are much higher. Jobs range from factory work to call center agents to midwives, caregivers, and others abroad, especially given population aging in richer countries.

Globally, the bulk of wealth goes to the rich, especially given financial speculation. But one source of their wealth involves increasing productivity for their companies but wages that are barely rising for their workers. Ironically, those are the same workers that they depend on to buy the goods and services sold by their companies.

Increasing wages will take up a portion of the net profit of companies but will not affect their bottom line. That means the problem of global poverty is easy to solve. In fact, increasing wages may even lead to more sales for the same companies.

But all of these deal with the issue of money, which many know consists primarily of numbers in hard drives. That does not change the underlying energy and material resource base of economies, which are ruled by diminishing returns.

And then there's climate change coupled with pollution, which have negative effects on that drive for economic growth.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 05 Sep 2018, 06:43:39

KaiserJeep wrote:Newfie, "something better than what you have" has no bounds. Nobody would ever be satisfied. The "good old days" were always a myth.


Agreed.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 05 Sep 2018, 06:46:30

Cog wrote:What I'm saying Newfie is that if you go through life with no financial plan, it is not the system's fault when life reaches up and bites you in the ass. I'm also not obligated to feel sorry for you. You and I both have worked for and with people who made more money than us but were perpetually broke. They had no plan and it showed.


Agreed also. But that does not keep them from having the idea that they are entitled to more and have been shafted. And both parties feed this notion, “THEY screwed you!”

Remember, I’m the one who keeps saying the divide is not as big as it seems because they are playing with Monopoly money.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Ibon » Wed 05 Sep 2018, 06:53:25

I was trying to reconcile in my mind the news that google and amazon are now valued at over a trillion dollars but a pound of potatoes here at the local market is 45 cents a pound and a 5 pound bag of rice is 2 bucks.
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 05 Sep 2018, 09:04:00

How many calories in a 10 pound bag of Amazon? But more importantly, will it make me fat?
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Re: Eat The Rich!

Unread postby Ibon » Wed 05 Sep 2018, 14:24:33

It would not be hard to come up with a set of regulations and laws that would integrate some of the agendas and proposals from both political parties as a way to reduce the inequities and build resiliency

1) Reduce immigration
2) Employ tariffs on imports of strategic industries
3) Reinstate unions to negotiate living wages with corporation
4) Reduce off shoring production to cheap labor markets
5) Eliminate exports of fossil fuels and classify them as a strategic reserve.
6) Increase minimum wage to a livable wage for a family of 4
7) Eliminate the profit of health care providers by going to a single payer health care plan
8 ) Go to a flat consumption tax to curb consumption and provide money to fund public social security, health care, medicare, etc.
9) Increase taxes on the very wealthy in a new approach whereby the tax payer gets to direct his or her extra taxes to specific public works and is thus honored with a big fat gold star on his or her forehead.
10) Drastically reduce the military to a defensive army to protect our borders and abandon the role of being a global power. Let the rest of the world fend for themselves.

I just came up with this in sitting down here and thinking this up for 10 minutes. Notice there are proposals that are a mix from both political parties.

Globalism be damned in this scenario which it will anyway soon enough once peak oil and climate change and other stresses will anyway force nations to contract and prioritize resources within their borders

Why we can't we find this pragmatic middle? Any other ideas?
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