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Whats going on in United States?

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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 02 Apr 2019, 13:35:04

Here are a couple of interesting stories about what is going on. Apparently we are really, really depressed. So much so that we are committing suicide at an increasing rate. IMHO a lot, most, of the drug related deaths are also due to depression.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-ne ... 180970942/

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/colu ... 319933002/

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/ ... th-storm#1

Muennig and colleagues describe some of the other more popular and plausible explanations.

Failure of democratic institutions and regulations. The United States is falling behind other nations with respect to educational performance, income equality, environmental protection, transportation, waste management, the rule of law, and private gun ownership regulations.
Economic stagnation since the 1980s for moderate income households of all races and ethnicities.
A slowdown in immigration. Immigrants are much healthier than native born people on average.
Earlier smoking among White women could be producing lagged mortality effects that are surfacing in middle and older ages.


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 164235.htm
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby onlooker » Tue 02 Apr 2019, 13:57:07

AMERICA RISING SUICIDE RATE
https://www.economist.com/democracy-in- ... icide-rate
Yes, they are calling these deaths of despair.
Apparently afflicting "Research suggests that poor, white men may be particularly at risk"

"The relationship between average income and reported suicide rates across countries is weak, but inequality, recessions and unemployment are all associated with higher rates. Rising unemployment during the financial crisis was associated with increased suicide rates across Europe, for example, even while it was associated with reduced overall mortality. In America, work by Mary C. Daly and her colleagues at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggested suicide risk rises for individuals when they see their income decline relative to the average in their county. Ms Daly has also found that richer countries in which citizens report higher average subjective wellbeing or happiness see higher suicide rates and the same is true across America's states. Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life, they suggest. 

The link between erosion of relative status and suicide may also involve gender and race. A 35-country study by Allison Milner of Griffith University and colleagues suggested rising female labour force participation is associated with increased male suicide rates. Carol Graham and colleagues at the Brookings Institute find that controlling for factors including income, gender, marital status, education and employment, whites are considerably less optimistic, report lower life satisfaction and more worry and stress than Latinos and blacks. They also find an association between deaths of despair and these subjective wellbeing measures.  The researchers argue that one factor behind their results may be that poor whites have fallen in status in relative terms, so that they are doing worse or no better than their parents while poor minorities have still seen some progress even if they remain disadvantaged.  “The combination of fear of downward mobility, weak safety nets, and eroding social cohesion likely contributes to the high levels of desperation,” they suggest."
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 02 Apr 2019, 20:42:38

onlooker wrote:AMERICA RISING SUICIDE RATE
https://www.economist.com/democracy-in- ... icide-rate

whites are considerably less optimistic, report lower life satisfaction and more worry and stress than Latinos and blacks. They also find an association between deaths of despair and these subjective wellbeing measures.  The researchers argue that one factor behind their results may be that poor whites have fallen in status in relative terms, so that they are doing worse or no better than their parents while poor minorities have still seen some progress even if they remain disadvantaged.  “The combination of fear of downward mobility, weak safety nets, and eroding social cohesion likely contributes to the high levels of desperation,” they suggest."


This depression is deeply wrapped up in the identity of being on the top of the racial hierarchy. The suicide rate is alarming but the dependency on this identity as part of your mental health is even more alarming.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 02 Apr 2019, 20:59:38

Ibon wrote:
onlooker wrote:AMERICA RISING SUICIDE RATE
https://www.economist.com/democracy-in- ... icide-rate

whites are considerably less optimistic, report lower life satisfaction and more worry and stress than Latinos and blacks. They also find an association between deaths of despair and these subjective wellbeing measures.  The researchers argue that one factor behind their results may be that poor whites have fallen in status in relative terms, so that they are doing worse or no better than their parents while poor minorities have still seen some progress even if they remain disadvantaged.  “The combination of fear of downward mobility, weak safety nets, and eroding social cohesion likely contributes to the high levels of desperation,” they suggest."


This depression is deeply wrapped up in the identity of being on the top of the racial hierarchy. The suicide rate is alarming but the dependency on this identity as part of your mental health is even more alarming.


More likely its worry about financial problems.

Most people don't spend all their time obsessing about skin color--- IMHO financial problems are more common and more important to most people.

CHEERS!
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Pops » Tue 02 Apr 2019, 21:19:51

evilgenius wrote:I think the most deep seated thing going on in the United States is that wages haven't kept up with the rest of the economy over a prolonged time. There are lots of calls to tax the rich in order to pay for things. People look at inequality and figure that they can tax those who are on top. The truth is that if working people made the sort of wages they ought to in relation to the other changes that have taken place within the US economy, there would be no shortage of tax money to pay for things.

Quick take, in the '70 the "chicago school" decided the only stakeholders corporate management should be concerned with were shareholders. In the 80s T. Boone Pickens began the takeover binge by attempting to "raid" Gulf oil. He thought the company had too many idle assets setting on the books and management should be taking better care of the shareholders. Upshot is management now only concerns itself only with short term profits... "shareholder value."

Case in point, look at the huge windfall corps received last year. How much "trickled down" to workers? How much was invested in making America great? How much went to buybacks?

At least a trillion.

It isn't so much how much management earns, who cares? The problem is their salaries are in large part stock options. Their incentive is to improve the share price at whatever cost to the future, the workers, even the customers.

Can't really blame people for being pissed.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Cog » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 03:14:56

A corporation is not a charity. If you must, go beg down at the local food bank. The purpose of a corporation is to create profits to benefit shareholders. Become a shareholder and reap profits. its that easy.

I might point out your pay at a corporation is based on what you bring to the table. If you want to just punch the clock and be average, then you are going to get paid accordingly.

Its only because I'm a nice guy that I presented this basic lesson in capitalism absolutely free. I like giving back.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 06:40:38

My observation of corporate life (consulting engineers/design) was the guys at the top did not get there by nerit but through corporate politics. There is an elaborate court ritual, Machiavellian. It does NOT have a strong merit base. Some of dumbest effs I’ve ever seen were these corporate leaders. Not all, there are some decent folks that manage to get through, but it was still not by merit.

I found it different when dealing with private construction contractors. The Owner or Principal was generally a fairly competent but nice person. His second in command was generall a junk yard dog. Competent but fairly ruthless.

It was funny, yet painful, to watch some successful design type get thrown into a hard construction situation. They have all the spine of a chocolate bunny in a Vegas sun.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Cog » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 07:20:33

Well in that respect corporate life is no different that governmental bureaucratic life. You have the competent working right along side the incompetent. The upside of corporate life is its somewhat easier to get rid of the incompetent than it is in governmental employment.

Should a guy who golfs with the company CEO on weekends get a promotion before I do? They way I look at it is its not my concern how the CEO runs his company, as long as my check clears and my dividends are paid on time.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby evilgenius » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 11:53:25

Cog wrote:A corporation is not a charity. If you must, go beg down at the local food bank. The purpose of a corporation is to create profits to benefit shareholders. Become a shareholder and reap profits. its that easy.

I might point out your pay at a corporation is based on what you bring to the table. If you want to just punch the clock and be average, then you are going to get paid accordingly.

Its only because I'm a nice guy that I presented this basic lesson in capitalism absolutely free. I like giving back.

The point isn't whether a corporation is a charity. The point is that reward comes over varying timeframes. And corporations that seek reward operate in an ecosystem of competition. The longer term can be just as rewarding, when you consider the additional money better paid employees all across the ecosystem would have to spend. When the focus is so short term, however, and everyone resides there, the sort of imbalance we have now is what you get. It takes some sort of management to bring a longer term outlook about. It isn't any less conducive to business. But the case for it has to become obvious to those who make the relevant decisions. That's hard to do when there is such incentive to think short term, from stock option rewards to operations within the business cycle. Milton Friedman was pretty good at making the opposite case from what I was talking about. The Fed has operated at that philosophy's behest ever since, attempting to manage the inflation it, therefore, saw as the primary evil. This only served to reinforce the short term thinking.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Ibon » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 12:24:53

evilgenius wrote:
Cog wrote:A corporation is not a charity. If you must, go beg down at the local food bank. The purpose of a corporation is to create profits to benefit shareholders. Become a shareholder and reap profits. its that easy.

I might point out your pay at a corporation is based on what you bring to the table. If you want to just punch the clock and be average, then you are going to get paid accordingly.

Its only because I'm a nice guy that I presented this basic lesson in capitalism absolutely free. I like giving back.

The point isn't whether a corporation is a charity. The point is that reward comes over varying timeframes.. The longer term can be just as rewarding,


I may have shared in past posts that I was born a US citizen but my professional career took place in Europe where I worked for international corporations that offered 6 week holidays, pregnancy leave and all of us employees benefited from a public health care system. After 15 years of being weaned on European style employee benefits I was transferred to South Florida as a base for working in Latin America. I eventually become a consultant with my own business that represented exclusively European medical device manufacturers.

At the time I sold this business to move down here to Panama we had 7 employees, two of whom where micro biologists that I brought up from Mexico and Peru having secured H1 visas. All of our 7 employees residing in the US received the following benefits:

6 weeks paid holiday
6 weeks pregnancy leave
Blue cross blue shield health insurance.

We had no turnover of employees. We had excellent work environment. Our employees were loyal and worked very hard.

It would have been easy for me to apply US standard work conditions on all the staff, would have been easy to approach our employees with a philosophy to maximize profit for the share holders (my wife and I) and I am sure I could have squeezed maybe another couple of hundred thousand dollars out of the staff by doing this.

At what cost? In terms of work environment, in terms of turnover of employees. In terms of loyalty of the staff?

There are some things you cant put a price tag on, especially when your sole criteria for valuation is to the share holders.

In the US we have a corporate culture where the primary focus is upward on share holder value. Employees are expected to be loyal but everyone knows this is only skin deep and the loyalty only runs in one direction. If you are terminated you are escorted to the door the same day.

In Europe when you are terminated or resign you give or receive 3 months notice. In these 90 days your replacement is found and ideally there is an overlap.

Now compared to Chinese corporations maybe US citizens are still well compensated.. Have we come so far that this becomes the metric by which we compare?

It seems to be the case.

By the way, some of our neighboring land owners here in Panama are really pissed off at me. I pay our staff well over the standard wage and built our indigenous staff very nice staff housing with running water, flush toilets and electricity and Wifi access. Most of our neighbors house their farmhands in shacks with no plumbing and no electricity.

And I am always hearing from these neighbors how they cannot keep staff and how you can't trust an indian worker.
And here we are 10 years into this project and have hardly had any change of employees.

Fancy that!

And you may ask why these elevated stress levels in the US. Suicide rates up? Addictions up. Life expectancy declining. Standard of living falling... Could it prey tell have something to do with all that focus on share holder value?

Fuck that Shit!
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Pops » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 14:42:34

Back when America was great companies provided on the job training, health care, defined benefit pensions, more or less lifelong employment, shared increases in productivity with labor, and the owners paid very progressive taxes...

People really do wish for that golden age, trump ran on bringing back exactly these features, all that stuff he promised is why many people voted for him. Of course it turned out he lied. I'm pretty sure that hoping for some Gilded Age Dystopia based on economic darwinism isn't what they were thinking.

"As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen ..

Each federal worker would lose about $75,000 in retirement savings under trumps proposal.
"Contained in Trump's 2020 budget are a number of proposals to cut spending for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security -- the last of which amounts to a $26 billion reduction over the next 10 years."

like raising taxes on the rich:
"And if there’s upward revision it’s going to be on high-income people."

LOL, not even going to look that lie up.

beautiful healthcare for everyone:
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/ ... ses-236021
Ditto that one, just a lie. trump wants to repeal the whole thing.

trump has tried to sabotage ACA from day one— he just appointed a joker convicted of scamming Medicare to head up Repeal and Replace, LOL. His company paid $1.7 BILLION in fines!just another day in the swamp
Here is what people think of the ACA

Image
Tell me again who wants all the goodies but doesn't want to pay?
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Cog » Wed 03 Apr 2019, 17:55:05

Well Pops your chart does show one thing. Dems like stuff that other people pay for as long as it isn't them. LOL
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 02:30:51

Newfie wrote:My observation of corporate life (consulting engineers/design) was the guys at the top did not get there by nerit but through corporate politics. There is an elaborate court ritual, Machiavellian. It does NOT have a strong merit base. Some of dumbest effs I’ve ever seen were these corporate leaders. Not all, there are some decent folks that manage to get through, but it was still not by merit.

I found it different when dealing with private construction contractors. The Owner or Principal was generally a fairly competent but nice person. His second in command was generall a junk yard dog. Competent but fairly ruthless.

It was funny, yet painful, to watch some successful design type get thrown into a hard construction situation. They have all the spine of a chocolate bunny in a Vegas sun.

Well, personalities play a big role, too. In the world of computer geeks, I watched a LOT of folks (including me) repeatedly refuse to be dragged into management, and away from being technicians. We wanted to excel at something we enjoyed, not be mediocre or even bad at "management", even if it meant we earned less for working more hours.

So to some extent, the types who excel at corporate profits and ENJOY corporate politics instead of actually producing things that work and solve real problems for customers.

I have no data on this, but I can't imagine it being anything new. Maybe with the internet, we hear a lot more complaints about it, including personal examples?
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 02:51:29

Ibon wrote:
onlooker wrote:AMERICA RISING SUICIDE RATE
https://www.economist.com/democracy-in- ... icide-rate

whites are considerably less optimistic, report lower life satisfaction and more worry and stress than Latinos and blacks. They also find an association between deaths of despair and these subjective wellbeing measures.  The researchers argue that one factor behind their results may be that poor whites have fallen in status in relative terms, so that they are doing worse or no better than their parents while poor minorities have still seen some progress even if they remain disadvantaged.  “The combination of fear of downward mobility, weak safety nets, and eroding social cohesion likely contributes to the high levels of desperation,” they suggest."


This depression is deeply wrapped up in the identity of being on the top of the racial hierarchy. The suicide rate is alarming but the dependency on this identity as part of your mental health is even more alarming.

And of course, surely all the technology like social media and endless hours on the internet helps with the depression. As well as ogling all the things people want and can't afford, re the ads Amazon, etc. and social media push at us. :roll:

Clearly there is lots of depression, but there are a LOT of moving parts to the way things are changing.

I keep more and more frequently thinking of "future shock', due how hard it is to keep up with everything, since things change so quickly.

When I graduated from college I was near the top of my field for an undergrad, re tools for getting going in a good application programming career (to start).

About 10 years later, I suddenly got scared in the HUGE computer section of a large local chain bookstore, with it suddenly hitting me just how MUCH there was to know in my field, and the frighteningly narrow area I was able to really keep up with, while working full time at an intense job.

And sometime, say, 15 or 20 years later, I suddenly got scared when I realized I couldn't even ANSWER A DAMN SMART PHONE, because I hadn't fooled with Apple Products or smart phones in general. (I could have figured it out, but not in a few rings). So I got an Ipod Touch and learned about it, just not to get left COMPLETELY behind on such things.

And that's just in my field. And I am intellectually curious about things in my spare time. What about the average person who mainly wants to relax, play or watch TV or sports, travel, etc. and not keep up with how things change?

To me, the depression rate isn't surprising. But in a busy, frenetically changing society where change seems to accelerate overall as an ongoing trend, where much of the quest for the vast majority of people re being happy is "always wanting more" -- I don't see an easy answer. Especially when the LAST thing people want to hear is that maybe having more isn't actually a good thing, once they have enough.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 05:11:58

Ha, I went through something similar. Technologies and acronyms were coming fast and furious. Then there was some “new” technology and I meant to read up on it. But before I got to it, it became obsolete. It came and went without me. Then I relaxed. I had a grasp of the fundamentals, I would keep up with truly new innovations in general concept, like software derived radio, but my career has morphed to where I wasn’t in the technical trenches. I was working on a different plane where I needed a rough understanding. That carried me through without embarrassmet (that I was aware of anyway.)

————
Got this from a book review yesterday.

https://www.realclearbooks.com/articles ... 10197.html

The difference between the average poor person’s happiness and the average upper-middle-class person’s happiness could be mostly explained by two factors: marriage and “high social trust.” Add on two more factors—religious observance and satisfaction with one’s work—and you’ve explained almost the entire remainder of the happiness gap.


He goes on to say that higher class folks have higher function folks in their network, so when you get in trouble there are those around you with somenresiliance to help or role model. With poorer folks their circle is lower functioning with no excess resources, so your whole world looks hopeless.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 11:41:30

I think the depression rate in America is quite understandable and not something we can do much about. The population is getting older and sooner or later your or your spouse's health breaks down and that is understandably depressing. Also the ten percent or so of the population that have over indulged in drugs and alcohol sense the sixties are now getting long in the tooth and are breaking down faster then the other people around them that used less.
To be a beer drinking ,pot and tobacco smoking, old hippy and find yourself in a nursing home cut off from all your supplies is pretty dam depressing.
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 16:13:30

The principal negative trend here is that Globalization has allowed new consumers to be created in other places thereby reducing the need for the ownership class to rely solely on American consumers. This then allows our exploitation to become more egregious. And soon the peak oil dynamic will hollow out the middle classes all over the planet. You can say it is already happening as Net energy is declining, the need for lending and consequent debt is adversely affecting the working classes
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 16:48:14

Go in the woods, look up at the stars, sit by a stream, listen to bird song.
If that doesn't cure your depression then just go ahead and be depressed.

You and everyone you know will soon be dead.

Your gonna waste this precious ephemeral short time remaining being depressed?

Really?
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 17:15:19

Ibon, a few posts above we talked about the suicide rate connected to this sense of economic identity. I wish everbody could see the world the way you do, but that is not the case. People are struggling just to get by. I am not introducing any judgement on all that is happening simply recording it. I do strive for a spiritual transcendent outlook as my Icon image attests to. I assure I am not depressed, if I was I would probably be seeking outlets for pleasure and mindless numbing entertainment. No rather I like the role of scribe who dispassionately records the happenings, trends and vicissitudes of life for people on this planet
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Re: Whats going on in United States?

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 07 Apr 2019, 18:27:55

onlooker wrote:Ibon, a few posts above we talked about the suicide rate connected to this sense of economic identity. I wish everbody could see the world the way you do, but that is not the case. People are struggling just to get by. I am not introducing any judgement on all that is happening simply recording it. I do strive for a spiritual transcendent outlook as my Icon image attests to. I assure I am not depressed, if I was I would probably be seeking outlets for pleasure and mindless numbing entertainment. No rather I like the role of scribe who dispassionately records the happenings, trends and vicissitudes of life for people on this planet


Although some depression is physiological most is of the mind, of the environmental circumstance of living a disconnected life. Thus the vast majority of depression may well disasppear as ths century unfolds.

The mental monsters will be replaced with the tamgible physical monsters.
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