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Full employment

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Parnell View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Aug 2010 at 11:46
I'm no Marxist so you must excuse me if I failed to grasp the meaning of this basic principle. Basically that with greater technological efficiency, less workers are required and thus unemployment increases. And therein, apparantly, is the seed of capitalisms own destruction - as ever higher numbers of the unemployed get organised and the owners of capital begin to lose their profit margins, leading to cutbacks etc. etc. eventually culminating in a progression to a socialist system.

Of course, Marx hadn't anticipated the dramatic rise of the tertiary sector following WWII, thus making his emphasis on the industrial proletariat a little silly, as it turned out.

Is there still some truth to it? I really don't know how an economy ever manages full employment (ie, having at most 4% of the population out of work at any time) and how it is accomplished. Basically I'm looking for someone to summarise 5,000 pages of macroeconomic theory for me in one concise paragraph.
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2010 at 15:10
Technically, Economic Theory is so mired in jargon and enamoured of descriptives that, although they made sense in the 19th century, in today's world they are but formulaic claptrap. When one realizes that even the unemployed are "employed" at something so as to survive then one must "allow" for the phenomenon even by accepting the concept of the "underground" economy. That musing brings me to comment on Parnell's strange association of the "tertiary sector" as a modern phenomenon. The service industry is far older than any proletariat birthed by "industrialization" and if one even looks at Marx's own Victorian milieu it would be quite surprising to discover that "opportunity in London" for the countrside meant being "engaged in service". Be it domestic or as a faceless secretary in some government hallway!
 
The problem of our contemporary society is actually not employment but the quality of work and the steadfast refusal to accept the dignity of even the most necessary albeit menial through appropriate remuneration. No I am not talking the blather of the labor unions but instead focusing on the popular notions that would be known to any student of Spanish society: hidalguia. In a nutshell, the garbageman will always have work but very few people want to be known as garbagemen! Oops, let us employ a more contemporary term, recycling facilitators!Evil Smile
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 30 Aug 2010 at 17:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2010 at 16:16
Blaming the unemployed for not wanting to work, or not wanting to take available jobs at offered wages is standard right-wing rhetoric, but unjustified as successive collapses have conclusively enough demonstrated. Generally speaking though it does take unemployment rates sufficiently high so that everyone knows unemployed people or every family has them. It's not so easy to dismiss people when they're not part of a faceless other.
 
Like charity, recognition of the validity of unemployment begins at home.
 
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

I'm no Marxist so you must excuse me if I failed to grasp the meaning of this basic principle. Basically that with greater technological efficiency, less workers are required and thus unemployment increases. And therein, apparantly, is the seed of capitalisms own destruction - as ever higher numbers of the unemployed get organised and the owners of capital begin to lose their profit margins, leading to cutbacks etc. etc. eventually culminating in a progression to a socialist system.
It doesn't eventually lead to a socialist system (at least it doesn't necessarily do so). That was Marx beig idealist.
What it usually leads to is slump, which ends with something like a national emergency, usually war, which absolutely requires massive employment even if it is paid for by taxes, and therefore redistribution of wealth.
A a result of such wars, something like a more equitable society may linger on, until power again begins to accrete to a new elite (probably including some of the old one).
The only way to get out of the cycle is by continuously redistributing sufficient wealth/power downwards, not only to relieve poverty and head off revolution, but also to ensure that purchasing power remains high enough to absorb the economy's productive output.
 
DrG is right about the tertiary sector in Victorian times. It's a longh time since I read it, but Michael Young's The Rise of the Meritocracy over hald a century ago actually foresaw a return to personal and domestic service as a way of mopping up surplus labour.  There are some indications it is beginning to happen.
 
Since I think that unemployment is a real problem and getting worse, especiaylly in the US, I have a slightly different take than Dr G on the question of pride in one's work. I agree it doesn't exist the way it once did, and I agree that life is less bearable than it was, but from an conomic point of view doesn't it actually increase employment?
 
Long term the answer to technological unemployment has to be - as it always has been - the central Marxist goal of reducing time spent working: isn't having two people do what it used to take one person to do a step in the right direction?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2010 at 17:26
I would love to only have to spend 20 hours per week working, and still earn a comfortable living. Doubtless more of my free time would be spent in the pub, but thats the law of unintended consequences for you.

Is that possible though? I've read stuff by technocrats who claim there is little reason why the average person in a modern services based economy need work more than 20 hours a week. How would that be accomplished?
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2010 at 17:41
Gcle observed:
Since I think that unemployment is a real problem and getting worse, especiaylly in the US, I have a slightly different take than Dr G on the question of pride in one's work. I agree it doesn't exist the way it once did, and I agree that life is less bearable than it was, but from an economic point of view doesn't it actually increase employment?
 
It would, if you accept the premise that skill appreciates the Labor Market and creates opportunity for the unprepared as the lower level of cogs in the production machine. But that is just not how it works in terms of the status ethos that has solidified far beyond the old blue/white collar distinctions. In many ways the social agitation of the late 20th century has accentuated the tension and the best means through which to discern the dislocation is in the education system within the US and the inflation of "degrees" caught by the false associaion of college and future wealth! If one gets right down to it, public education during the last 30 years has instilled an animosity to "labor" far more cancerous than the old elitism inveighed against the "tradesmen" of yore. The constant iteration of "go to college and be someone" or you are destined for failure is hardly benign and this superficiality of "learning" has wrought havoc as disconcerting as the old "closed shops" of prior labor troubles. When it is done on a global basis (export the technology to the sites of cheap labor costs) under the premise of development and the assumption that your educated will still control the channels of distribution it becomes rampant folly. OK I am sounding like your good old European anti-global anarchist; nevertheless,  this reality can not be ignored since for just how long do you think it will take for the savvy in economies such as China to understand the power of reverse dependency!
 
As for "reducing" the time spent working, have we not already done so by extending infancy and formulating the date of official senility? It didn't work based on the calendrical years, what makes one think it will succeed in terms of the weekly clock?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Windemere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2010 at 00:13
Actually, the public education system puts a great deal of emphasis on both professional and vocational (tradesmen) careers. Guidance counsellors  do try to encourage kids who have the potential to do well in college to attend college, but they're well aware that college isn't appropriate for all kids, and they place equal emphasis on vocational careers, either through post high-school vocational schools, or on-the-job training. Both professional and vocational careers pay good salaries and have the potential for advancement.
 
The problem is that there aren't enough of these jobs to go around nowadays, and some kids inevitably end up in unskilled jobs (factory & warehouse laborer, landscaper, agricultural laborer, cashier, chambermaid, nurses' aide, food-service worker, etc.). These occupations require just as much hard, intensive labor as do the professional & vocational careers, but they pay minimum wage, barely pay enough to live on, and offer little or no chance of advancement.  (In the past, they did offer some advancement, with the chance of working one's way up. This  is no longer the case. Advancement goes to newer, more proficient, employees.) For some individuals, they are a temporary stepping-stone to a better-paying, more desirable job. But for many others, these unskilled jobs are going to be lifetime careers, offering no hope of owning a home, taking a vacation, or any of the other things that previously were considered the reward for years of hard work. The jobs that these workers are performing are just as necessary and useful as the professional & vocational jobs, but  they offer no financial reward, just a bare living. 
 
This is reality, but the public education system (like the rest of society) doesn't like to deal with it.
They react with platitudes about the rewards and satisfaction of hard work, and maintain a sort of illusion that unskilled work eventually leads to something better, as long as the employee works hard and doesn't give up. They're uncomfortable with the idea of workers spending their entire careers in low-paid, manual labor jobs that don't lead to anything better so they maintain the illusion that everyone has an equal chance for a professional or vocational job, and that if an individual ends up in an unskilled job, it's their own fault. (The truth is that many students don't have the aptitude for a professional career, and there aren't enough vocational jobs to go around) .  They realize that the unskilled jobs are just as vital and necessary as the skilled (professional & vocational) ones, they just don't pay as well. Partly, educators do this out of good will, they try to impart a sense of encouragement to all students to strive to reach their full potential. But they recognise that inevitably the more adept, proficient kids are going to be more successful than kids who are less talented, even though they work just as hard. And they don't like to deal with the reality that the less-talented, but just as hard-working, kids are going to have to spend their working life in unskilled , low-paying occupations.
 
The solution, of course, is to raise the pay level for unskilled workers to make it possible for them to earn a decent living if they work hard, even at an unskilled job. But the money has to come from somewhere, and would require lowering the pay level for the professional & vocational jobs. Society, at this point, just isn't willing to contemplate this option.


Edited by Windemere - 31 Aug 2010 at 00:37
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How does an economy able to keep less than 4% of the population out of work? The whole society is based upon creating a slave class...*ahem*...working class. Many Public educational institutions around the world morph their students into productive members of society. In doing so, the school system removes every ounce of individuality the child once had. The child is taught to work hard, turn assignments in on time, do their best, get the best marks, etc. This creates a zombie which carries these ideals throughout their life as a productive member of society. Capitalist systems are designed to let some working men leak into becoming part of the bourgeoise, a buisness executive, owner, employer etc. However, the system is designed to keep the vast majority in the working class, and remain in the working class and feed off their capital. In addition these workers, when they become fathers and mothers teach their children the same ideals they were taught. The capitalist system is a system of indoctrination. The capitalist is a destroyer of individuality, from the moment of industrialization, to the educational system, to the indirect infliction upon the family unit.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2010 at 12:02
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

As for "reducing" the time spent working, have we not already done so by extending infancy and formulating the date of official senility? It didn't work based on the calendrical years, what makes one think it will succeed in terms of the weekly clock?
But it has worked, both in terms of years of working life and hours of working week. That's probably the must fundamental economic reality of the past 200 years. That move to have tertiary education (and post-graduate) for more a more people is part of the same trend. It keeps the unemployed busy and off the unemployment statistics.
 
Granted current moves to raise the retirement age are counter-trend, but all progress has its regressive moments.
 
Originally posted by Windemere Windemere wrote:

The solution, of course, is to raise the pay level for unskilled workers to make it possible for them to earn a decent living if they work hard, even at an unskilled job. But the money has to come from somewhere, and would require lowering the pay level for the professional & vocational jobs. Society, at this point, just isn't willing to contemplate this option.
The requirement for that to happen is of course labour organisation. Unorganised the unskilled and semiskilled workforce has no power to affect the market. At the moment in much of the west organised labour is in decline, largely for social status-linked reasons, with only the traditional professional classes maintaining their union strengths.
 
 
 
[/QUOTE]

 
 
 
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Living in a country with an unemployment rate of 5% - an increase from 4% due to the Atlantic Financial Crisis. And that throughout the 60s and early 70s have an unemployment rate of 2%, I feel it is my duty to question some statements that appear to have been thrown into the discussion as universal fact but apply probably only to the country(s) that person is familiar with.

Originally posted by <strong><EM>Windemere</EM></strong> Windemere wrote:

The problem is that there aren't enough of these jobs to go around nowadays, and some kids inevitably end up in unskilled jobs

Some people will always end up in unskilled jobs. We need people to do unskilled jobs. If there aren't enough tradesmen jobs that shows that people are going into them.
In Aus there is a critical shortage of tradesmen, as a result they can earn a hell of a lot of money. In my city, if you want to find someone with cash you don't go to the grammar schools you go to the tradies clubs.

Then again, some of them are lazy and bloody useless. If there were more people around to replace them they'd be thrown out of a job.

Quote These occupations require just as much hard, intensive labor as do the professional & vocational careers, but they pay minimum wage, barely pay enough to live on

50 years of socialist government will fix that.
Quote The solution, of course, is to raise the pay level for unskilled workers to make it possible for them to earn a decent living if they work hard, even at an unskilled job. But the money has to come from somewhere, and would require lowering the pay level for the professional & vocational jobs. Society, at this point, just isn't willing to contemplate this option.

You mean lowering the gap between rich and poor?
Originally posted by Darius Darius wrote:

How does an economy able to keep less than 4% of the population out of work? The whole society is based upon creating a slave class...*ahem*...working class.

What do you propose people do other than work?
Quote Many Public educational institutions around the world morph their students into productive members of society

You propose we make them unproductive members?
Quote In doing so, the school system removes every ounce of individuality the child once had.

Haven't noticed uneducated people being more individualistic.
Quote The child is taught to work hard, turn assignments in on time, do their best, get the best marks, etc. This creates a zombie which carries these ideals throughout their life as a productive member of society

The alternative is doing what? Not harvesting the wheat in time? Forgetting to cover the fruit trees before the bird get them?
Hanging out on the beach all day catching fresh lobster until you get abducted by a bunch of white people? (ref: Bennelong)



Edited by Omar al Hashim - 01 Sep 2010 at 00:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2010 at 11:05
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Some people will always end up in unskilled jobs. We need people to do unskilled jobs.
Depends of course on what you consider 'unskilled'. The basic thesis though is invalid, since 'unskilled' jobs are vanishing pretty quickly, being replaced by (smaller numbers of) machine managers. People don't dig ditches with shovels any more, but I'd also include most old clerical/secretarial tasks as 'unskilled' too.
 
The distinction is better formulated not as unskilled vs skilled, but as machine-replaceable ve necessarily human.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2010 at 20:55
To put it in the vernacualr: There ain't no such thing as an unskilled job. But even touching upon this adjective adds further force to my earlier observation on the disappearance of the premise once know as the "dignity of all labor". And within the present circumstances of "man against the machine", the opportunity of personal contact demands a skill many never master--the art of direct communication. Call it "the people" person--or the snake-oil salesman--if you will, but if were are going to go endlessly on about a service economy then one must, perforce, take cognizance of it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2010 at 21:02
that still doesn't take into account that a binman will earn 100 times less than a lawyer; and that the binman will inevitably have to live a life of low remuneration, poor accomodation, no holidays, no future career prospects. 
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Originally posted by Darius Darius wrote:

How does an economy able to keep less than 4% of the population out of work? The whole society is based upon creating a slave class...*ahem*...working class.

What do you propose people do other than work?
Quote Many Public educational institutions around the world morph their students into productive members of society

You propose we make them unproductive members?
Quote In doing so, the school system removes every ounce of individuality the child once had.

Haven't noticed uneducated people being more individualistic.
Quote The child is taught to work hard, turn assignments in on time, do their best, get the best marks, etc. This creates a zombie which carries these ideals throughout their life as a productive member of society

The alternative is doing what? Not harvesting the wheat in time? Forgetting to cover the fruit trees before the bird get them?
Hanging out on the beach all day catching fresh lobster until you get abducted by a bunch of white people? (ref: Bennelong)

 
[/QUOTE]
 
1) I propose people enjoy their life, rather than working towards an unreachable goal, and living a life of misery. A society may need work but one's work should be decided upon what they like, not what makes them the most money.
 
2) I propose we let the student learn what he/she wants to learn, not what the education system tells them to. In fact education should be optional, to keep the individuality of the pupil.
 
3) I certainly have. The whole system is made to spawn a fluid bland working class. It may possibly make for a less productive society for the bourgeoisie, but a happier and more effective proletariat.
 
4) The alternative is allowing the pupil to choose what they wish to do with their lives, not having them influenced and morphed by others.
 
 


Edited by Darius of Parsa - 01 Sep 2010 at 23:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2010 at 15:17
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

that still doesn't take into account that a binman will earn 100 times less than a lawyer; and that the binman will inevitably have to live a life of low remuneration, poor accomodation, no holidays, no future career prospects. 
A couple of reasons.
 
One is simply a question of supply - there are more people around capable of being a binman (anglice dustman?) than of being a lawyer.
 
More importantly perhaps (and partly accounting for the first point) membership in the lawyers' organisation is tightly controlled whereas dustmen aren't organised.
 
If you had to have a seven year apprenticeship to be a dustman, and you were also only allowed to become one if your father or grandfather was one, then dustmen's wages would go up startlingly.
 
Somethng similar to that happened in the printing industry in the UK, where commonly 'unskilled' print workers earned wages comparable to staff lawyers. Until the organisation was broken (largely because its members became machine-replaceable).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2010 at 15:20
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:


Originally posted by Darius Darius wrote:

How does an economy able to keep less than 4% of the population out of work? The whole society is based upon creating a slave class...*ahem*...working class.

What do you propose people do other than work?

You seem to be defining 'work' as 'doing something'. In this context it means rather doing something you would rather not be doing just to make a living.
 
Of course people have to be doing something all the time, even if it is only sleeping. As much as possible they should be doing what they want to be doing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 02:18
@gcle2003
 
Exactly, which is what I have been trying to explain. In a capitalist society, citizens choose jobs based on sallary, rather than what they wish to do. Therefore, a society where everyone is paid equally regardless of the career, leading people to choose what they want to do rather than what makes them money. People are mistaken, believing that money, and other external items will bring them happiness, but it only brings suffering upon them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 02:25
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

@gcle2003
 
Exactly, which is what I have been trying to explain. In a capitalist society, citizens choose jobs based on sallary, rather than what they wish to do. Therefore, a society where everyone is paid equally regardless of the career, leading people to choose what they want to do rather than what makes them money. People are mistaken, believing that money, and other external items will bring them happiness, but it only brings suffering upon them.

I think under the current system, money buys a lot more happiness than poverty does. But happiness in its ethereal absolute form, yes of course money does not buy it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 03:45
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:


Originally posted by Darius Darius wrote:

How does an economy able to keep less than 4% of the population out of work? The whole society is based upon creating a slave class...*ahem*...working class.

What do you propose people do other than work?

You seem to be defining 'work' as 'doing something'. In this context it means rather doing something you would rather not be doing just to make a living.
 
Of course people have to be doing something all the time, even if it is only sleeping. As much as possible they should be doing what they want to be doing.
 
Aristotles injunction to the would-be philosopher comes to mind.
 
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Human beings can be made to do whatever you want them to do that is humanely possible. They key is simply to set up an incentive structure that effectively rewards or punishes the target behaviours you wish to manipulate. If you set up a system that gives people incentive to bludge off welfare, they will do it.

I find myself substantially agreeing with Omar. No one here has the right to drink beer created by others, or eat food grown by others, or live in a house built by others, or enjoy security in a country defended by others, or travel on roads maintained by others. No one has a right to any of that. But you are extended the privilege to enjoy these things if you in some way contribute to the material inputs that are required to make those in the first place.

It would be nice if all jobs were interesting and paid highly, but such a scenario is not possible. Boring jobs exist and must be done. The tradeoff for doing a boring job in a society with a meritocratic education system is that you are probably going to be able to enjoy doing less work during your youth to qualify for a more prestigious and interesting job. And that is totally fine.

The point about pay is totally valid though, real purchasing power of typical wages in the West have been in decline for several decades now. Though that has more to do with the fact the West produces so little for what it consumes. Address that problem and you can justifiably expect an increase in real purchasing power for the hoi polloi.

Back to welfare, the cheating does certainly exist and it is easy to get away with. I don't know about Britain or the US, but in Australia there is plenty of work. There is no justifiable excuse for an able bodied person of working age to spend years out of work, something will always crop up and if not there is abundant government support for a person to gain extra skills and make themself more economically valuable in the labour market.

You want to reduce the number of people ripping the system off? Refer back to my original paragraph, create a situation for these cheats that makes it so unbearable to try and cheat the system that they give up trying. If they don't turn up to their meetings with welfare officers (38% of the meetings these lazy buggers are meant to attend don't get attended) then cut them off unless they have a medical certificate. Employ good quality auditors to forensically investigate bank balances and payment details of welfare recipients. If they cheat the system knowingly, cut them off and let them starve (or do whatever menial job they need to to get by). Build an incentive structure that makes claiming welfare feasible only for the truly eligible and deserving, and you will soon enough see more people contributing to society's economic surplus and less people unproductively straining it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 03:56
There is no incentive. The owner lives off the worker's capital. The owner does no work and gets paid more than the worker, who works. The balance is weighted but I am not sure how...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 04:36
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

There is no incentive. The owner lives off the worker's capital. The owner does no work and gets paid more than the worker, who works. The balance is weighted but I am not sure how...


There is no incentive to do what, precisely?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 06:45

Originally posted by Darius Darius wrote:

1) I propose people enjoy their life, rather than working towards an unreachable goal, and living a life of misery. A society may need work but one's work should be decided upon what they like, not what makes them the most money.

I agree that a persons goal in life should be quality of life, and not wealth. But that is a personal decision that neither you or I, if given all the power in the world, would be able to affect.

Everybody should be able to support thier lifestyle. If a person can subsistance farm or live on minimal amounts of income that's fine. But that would involve signficant work setting up that system or farming. Similarly if someone earns millions of dollars and spends it, that's fine, they've earnt the money. Whatever keeps them happy.

Quote 2) I propose we let the student learn what he/she wants to learn, not what the education system tells them to. In fact education should be optional, to keep the individuality of the pupil.

By the time people are old enough and experienced enough to understand what they need to learn to do whatever it is that they want to do education is optional.
If a 6 year old doesn't want to learn to read I don't think we should permit that.
Quote 3) I certainly have. The whole system is made to spawn a fluid bland working class. It may possibly make for a less productive society for the bourgeoisie, but a happier and more effective proletariat.

I think you've got it backwards actually.
Less education makes more obediant and servile workers. For example, Zamidars (Lords) in Pakistan actively prevent and oppose schools in their village because it threatens their position and their income. A good education system allows people to choose their careers instead of just learning which ever career their parents teach them.
Quote 4) The alternative is allowing the pupil to choose what they wish to do with their lives, not having them influenced and morphed by others.

Everyone is influenced by others. Again, I'd advocate a strong education system (that is compulsory until 13-14 years old) in order to acheive that goal. Not less education.

Strong public education, excellent universities and other higher education, and financial support for students if they need it. That is what breaks the poverty cycle.
I have friends that have come from the poorest and wealthest backgrounds who all went through public education and all ended up in the same place at the end.
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

You seem to be defining 'work' as 'doing something'. In this context it means rather doing something you would rather not be doing just to make a living.

I mean doing something to earn a living that helps society.
Even if you can live off your investments you should be doing some sort of work (volunteer work that helps society included)
Originally posted by Darius Darius wrote:

In a capitalist society, citizens choose jobs based on sallary, rather than what they wish to do.

You don't have a subcontinent father do you?
Quote Therefore, a society where everyone is paid equally regardless of the career

Won't work re: supply and demand. Quality of work.
Quote There is no incentive. The owner lives off the worker's capital. The owner does no work and gets paid more than the worker, who works. The balance is weighted but I am not sure how...

Some CEOs and board members do get paid far more than they are worth.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 03 Sep 2010 at 06:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 10:54
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

There is no incentive. The owner lives off the worker's capital. The owner does no work and gets paid more than the worker, who works. The balance is weighted but I am not sure how...


John Terry gets 130,000 pounds per week from Chelsea. Is he a member of the proletariat? Are Chelski exploiting this proletariat? How much would he earn in Tesco's working the till?
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 11:03
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Human beings can be made to do whatever you want them to do that is humanely possible. They key is simply to set up an incentive structure that effectively rewards or punishes the target behaviours you wish to manipulate. If you set up a system that gives people incentive to bludge off welfare, they will do it.

I find myself substantially agreeing with Omar. No one here has the right to drink beer created by others, or eat food grown by others, or live in a house built by others, or enjoy security in a country defended by others, or travel on roads maintained by others. No one has a right to any of that. But you are extended the privilege to enjoy these things if you in some way contribute to the material inputs that are required to make those in the first place.
Possibly, but you miss the point, especially for contemporary society. What about beer that is created by machines with no human intervention? Or stuff that simply grows like apples? Or stuff that is just lying there, like iron ore?
Quote

It would be nice if all jobs were interesting and paid highly, but such a scenario is not possible.
Boring jobs exist and must be done.
Then boring jobs should be paid more highly, no? If they are essential - as you put it, they must be done - then the people who do them should be paid appropriately. If theyx're not essential - which is actually the case - then people shouldn't be doing them. As Herzberg used to say, if a job is not enrichable then automate it out.
 
At the moment pay is allocated by the degree of pressure members of a trade or profession (no real difference) can exert upon the market, politically, socially or economically. Nothing to do with the value of the job or its interest.
Quote
The tradeoff for doing a boring job in a society with a meritocratic education system is that you are probably going to be able to enjoy doing less work during your youth to qualify for a more prestigious and interesting job. And that is totally fine.
Why do you equate interesting with prestigious? The daily routine of an average doctor or dentist is pretty boring: in fact pretty well any routine is boring eventually.
Quote
The point about pay is totally valid though, real purchasing power of typical wages in the West have been in decline for several decades now. Though that has more to do with the fact the West produces so little for what it consumes. Address that problem and you can justifiably expect an increase in real purchasing power for the hoi polloi.
What it mostly results from is the weakening power of the organised working classes. It's also in tune with the general historical development rule that power accretes to the powerful in peaceful periods.
Quote
Back to welfare, the cheating does certainly exist and it is easy to get away with. I don't know about Britain or the US, but in Australia there is plenty of work. There is no justifiable excuse for an able bodied person of working age to spend years out of work, something will always crop up and if not there is abundant government support for a person to gain extra skills and make themself more economically valuable in the labour market.

You want to reduce the number of people ripping the system off? Refer back to my original paragraph, create a situation for these cheats that makes it so unbearable to try and cheat the system that they give up trying. If they don't turn up to their meetings with welfare officers (38% of the meetings these lazy buggers are meant to attend don't get attended) then cut them off unless they have a medical certificate. Employ good quality auditors to forensically investigate bank balances and payment details of welfare recipients. If they cheat the system knowingly, cut them off and let them starve (or do whatever menial job they need to to get by). Build an incentive structure that makes claiming welfare feasible only for the truly eligible and deserving, and you will soon enough see more people contributing to society's economic surplus and less people unproductively straining it.
Propaganda. You totally ignore the real problem of unemployment. Thinking like that is one of the factors that has led to the increasing wealth of the few at the expense of the many.


Edited by gcle2003 - 03 Sep 2010 at 11:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 11:18
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

You seem to be defining 'work' as 'doing something'. In this context it means rather doing something you would rather not be doing just to make a living.

I mean doing something to earn a living that helps society.
Even if you can live off your investments you should be doing some sort of work (volunteer work that helps society included)
My objection was to the use of 'work' in the context of what else can one do but work. IIRC I wasn't picking up on what you had said, but anyway what you are saying here is a different matter.
 
I query why you claim everybody should have to earn a living. Isn't the goal of society that nobody should have to earn a living? Shouldn't everyone (within the limits of not harming others) be as free as possible to do what they want without having to earn a living (whether the living is earned or simply inherited or somehow stolen)?
 
The original question here was how can full employment be maintained. It can't be maintained by diatribes against welfare cheats or moralistic exhortations about everyone having to work. Essentially in fact, given technological progress, it cannot be maintained except by changing the criteria for evaluating it.
 
If everyone in the west were employed for 40 hours a week for say 48 weeks a year (roughly a European standard) we would reckon that full employment. A hundred years ago it would have represented unemployment and two hundred years ago serious unemployment.
 
Progress is marked by increasng unemployment without a reduction in the number of people employed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 14:44
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

Possibly, but you miss the point, especially for contemporary society. What about beer that is created by machines with no human intervention? Or stuff that simply grows like apples? Or stuff that is just lying there, like iron ore?


Depends with whose machinery the beer is made, and on whose land the apples and ore is found.

Quote
Then boring jobs should be paid more highly, no? If they are essential - as you put it, they must be done - then the people who do them should be paid appropriately. If theyx're not essential - which is actually the case - then people shouldn't be doing them. As Herzberg used to say, if a job is not enrichable then automate it out.
 
At the moment pay is allocated by the degree of pressure members of a trade or profession (no real difference) can exert upon the market, politically, socially or economically. Nothing to do with the value of the job or its interest.


Depends on what one defines as a boring job. My point is not that a job should be poorly paid even though it is boring, merely that individuals in society should not expect to grow up and do a job that gives them self actualisation in the form Maslow proposed.

In principle I would say that boring jobs should be paid more highly than more interesting and personally fulfilling jobs that exist requiring an equivalent level of skill and effort from the employee. It is only fair and it is only wise to ensure these boring jobs are properly staffed with motivated empoyees.

On the issue of automation, I don't think all jobs can be automated right at this moment. Perhaps with advancing technology more of them can be.

Staff shortages drive up wages, high unemployment drives them down - which is evidence of the market impacting wages. Government protection for workers is another factor. I would say the value of the job does have an impact on wages - a truck driver here working in the mines will get paid a far higher rate than one working the nation's highways or suburban streets.

A job's boring aspects do affect the rate of pay. Particularly boring jobs lead to high staff turnover, which costs the employer money in recruitment and training. The employer must either offer more favourable working conditions to the employees (such as greater work/life balance and perks) or a higher rate of remuneration in order to avoid the staff turnover costs that result from offering too little reward for people to do a boring and unfulfilling job.

Quote Why do you equate interesting with prestigious? The daily routine of an average doctor or dentist is pretty boring: in fact pretty well any routine is boring eventually.


I lumped the two qualities together as aspects of a job that may result individually or together from knuckling down early and rising above one's peers, it was not my intention to equate the two together.

Quote What it mostly results from is the weakening power of the organised working classes. It's also in tune with the general historical development rule that power accretes to the powerful in peaceful periods.


This is also a valid factor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 16:06
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Progress is marked by increasng unemployment without a reduction in the number of people employed.
 
Hello Graham
 
Actually if anything, progress leads (after an initial transitional period) to less unemployment.
 
Historically speaking employment in the 1850s was much higher than the 1750s in Britain (Ireland in excluded for obvious reasons) because the Industrial economy was stable in the 1850s and was desperately short of working hand that unlike the 1750s was in full employment rather than seasonal one.
 
Because of the less unemployment, the higher proportion of full employment (as opposed to seasonal employment of the 1750s) demand increased and unemployment continued to decrease.
 
The same thing applies if we compare the employment situation between 1900 and 2000 and the economic transition that happened from an industrial economy to a services economy.
 
So progress actually reduces unemployment on the long run not increase it.
 
Note that historically working hours decreased dramatically plus icreasing minimum working age yet productivity increased, income increased and still unemployment went down as a trend.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2010 at 21:48
Where's the mulberrry bush? Essentially all of the caveats presented by Gcle withstand scrutiny and all of the challenges offered are either misconceptions or sheer tommyrot with root in ideological fallacies. Welfare cheats? Please! The farthings doled out for the maintenance of a minimal of decency pales before the pounds accreted by systemic bookkeeping presented to the Revenue office. Nor are the poor themselves the principal recipients of the supposed largesse given the fact that even these sums end up in the pockets of the "producers". So let us abstain from raising the chimerical.
 
We will not go into machine-wrought beer or even the joys of a micro-brewery, since despite the elimination of brewer by machine the larger output generated by mechanization creates new labor opportunity through the need for distribution. of course we could go through moments of Chaplinesque angst and wail the lament of Modern Times so as to drown out the paen of Progress (silly word that, progress I mean because the concept really calls for a caricature of the past).
 
Here is the slap needed to bring everyone back to reality: Full employment is possible solely within the context of a division of labor (in the classical historical and anthropological terms) and the exclusion of a good percentage of the population from the labor market. Evil Smile 
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