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September 12, 2006

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LAK

Well, indofar as any comany is an employer it ebars onpublic welfare, but significantly was teh operative word. LVMH does not significatly affect public welfare, either does the Mattel corporation.


Well, I'm not such a capitalist that I hate monopolies, just for-profit monopolies. Economies of scale are very valuable to consumers and size and efficiency and lowering costs is a good thing. What is bad is the exercise of monopoly power or dominance over a labor market for greed. So walmart doesn't have to be broken up so much as it has to be regulated. Low prices and efficiency should be encouraged, just not abuse of labor. And then of course workers should be given some access to ownership of the means of production as well, either in guranteed stock participation programs or otherewise.


As professor Picker taught me, benevolent monopolies are the way to go...


Bob

1. How can a company abuse labor? If the worker doesn't liek the job or the working conditions, he can quit. Whatever happened to people taking personal responsibility for their decisions? What ever happened to being self-reliant? I've quit jobs that I didn't like. I've refused cases I didn't want. We all have the power to make this choice. Yes, it may be a tough choice, but what's more important, your integrity or the stinking job. Please don't tell me that some people haven't any choice. That is one of the few things nobody can ever take away from you.

2. Some workers are given ownership of production. Usually they have to be necessary to the production though. Why would I give ownership when I don't have to? It being my company, I have risked and invested my capital. The worker hasn't risked anything. If a worker wants to risk his capital, he can buy stock like everyone else, but why should I give it to him? Unless you are saying that the company gives the workers some stock in leiu of cash? I think that this should be the decision of the worker though. What if the worker wanted the cash instead? Maybe he knows he can invest his money better somewhere else.

3. Your idea of "benevolent monopolies" remind me of the fiction we call "benevolent dictators." It's an oxymoron. Enuff said.

4. Methinks you need to stop letting Prof. Picker do your thinking for you. I took his class. He has a lot of funny ideas. I was young and impressionable back then, but I didn't let Randy crap all over my brain. When being educated, you gotta know what to let in and what to keep out.

LAK

1. How can a company abuse labor? Easily. They grow so large they force all competitors out of business such that they control a huge portion of a local labor market. They have extraordinary bargaining power and a strangehold on the job market so they pay the salaries they choose with the benefits they choose. They understand that unlike your fictionalized world, there aren't always alternative options for work, especially if you are unskilled and uneducated, so its keep the crappy job or go unemployed. Or do you forget that there is a base amount of unemployment in any market econonmy? (measure not by people who are out of work, which is what the statistic should be to include the idle poor, but people actively looking for work but who cannot find it).

So I do dispute your rosey idealize U of C picture of individual action. We're all in this together with a limited amount of labor and resources to go around. When your choice is Walmart or unemployment, and you are unskilled and uneducated, that is called a disparity in bargaining power.

2. Well you wouldn't and you won't. That is kind of the problem. I guess you feel as if those with capital, usually acquired more through luck and succession as by hard work, have no ethcial obligations towards other human beings who work hard and are necessary for the creation of value of which that owner reaps all the benefits. I guess in my commie world I don't see why someone who owns a company their daddy left them deserves all the profit from a business when workers are the ones creating the value in reality. This is just part of my communitarian ethics, which probably sound like Greek on this blog. But yes, there is certainly an ethical argument to be made that workers should at least enjoys some of the profit from the value they create, which could takle the form of profit sharing requirements in business with labor.

Again, we're all in this together. One doesn't have capital to invest in a vacuum. I don't see how it is ethical to allow some to be born into huge wealth while others toil and suffer. That your great grandfather settled a huge chunkc of land in silicon does not mean you desereve an award for risking your capital.

3. Well, I'll bet there have been plenty of benevolnet dictators over the course of human history. You just hear a lot less about them. And the idea of a government owned benevolent monopoly, one in which public welfare over profit is to be maximized, including considerations of public externalities, is not so far fetched an idea. Utilities are a good start. But hen again, deregulation has worked SO well here in California. I mean prices have gone way down and service is fantastic! No rolling blackouts here.

4. I was kidding about Picker. I mean, it is a consequence of his teachings that monopolies are the natural outcome of markets forces, whereby economies of scale can be utilized to lower costs and drive competition out. It is just the monoploy pricing and the dead weight loss that is the problem. If you had regulated government owned monopolies that were prevented form expoiting their monopoly power and extracting monopoly profits, it might not be so bad to have effciient large businesses.

Bob

1. "They grow so large they force all competitors out of business such that they control a huge portion of a local labor market." What about employers in different markets? One company can't control a whole labor market. Besides, you can always move.

"there aren't always alternative options for work, especially if you are unskilled and uneducated, so its keep the crappy job or go unemployed."

We have education programs in this country. There is no excuse. And we are not talking about other countries. Unemployment in most other countries is caused by their governments, not by businesses.

So I do dispute your bleak fiction of business oppressing the workers.

And, if, as yousay, we have a "limited amount of labor and resources to go around," then labor wages would increase, not decrease. So, you're not making any sense here.

If you're unskilled and uneducated in America, you obviously attended the US public school system. But if you want to argue that public schools are doing a great job, then we should have no uneducated and unskilled workers.

2. they "usually acquired more through luck and succession as by hard work."

Now, you are making conclusions based on a small percentage of how people attain wealth in this country.

"I guess in my commie world I don't see why someone who owns a company their daddy left them deserves all the profit from a business when workers are the ones creating the value in reality."

Well, who did daddy build this business for? The workers? Or his family? You surely can't believe he did it for the common good? Or posterity? Why would anyone work hard and build anything, only to have it takien away? If it wasn't for this daddy, there would be no company in the first place. At least daddy created something and even created jobs. Without daddy, all of those workers would have never had a job. So, go ahead, cruxify the creators, the business owners, the movers and shakers; the workers will be poorer without them.

"there is certainly an ethical argument to be made that workers should at least enjoys some of the profit from the value they create"

They do, it's called wages.

"One doesn't have capital to invest in a vacuum."

True, capital is created by building companies, savings, etc.

"I don't see how it is ethical to allow some to be born into huge wealth while others toil and suffer."

I don't see it as an ethical dilemma. You act as though all who work for a living are "toiling and suffering." I like my job. You also act like all people with wealth merely inherited it. That's not true either. That's some fantasy world you live in. Very depressing too.

"That your great grandfather settled a huge chunkc of land in silicon does not mean you desereve an award for risking your capital."

Why not? He invested/risked his capital and it paid off. Do you mean to say that because my grandfather risked his capital, that you should benefit instead of me? How absurd.


3. "Utilities are a good start." Yes, look at AT&T. They were deregulated phone service, options, quality, etc. have improved by leaps and bounds. Your "rolling blackout" problem was due more to poor legislation (price fixing) and of course corporate crime at Enron. Enron has been fixed, although at a great cost. But you will still have brownouts as long as the California insists on price fixing and not allowing new power plants to be built.

4. Before we get into monopolies, we would need to tackle the many problems of corporate law. Ever since corporations have been given individual rights, there have been problems, as corporations never die. An immortal entity with individual rights becomes a God. Good luck on your anti-monopoly ideology while this problem exists. I don't like it either.

LAK

Bob, One comapny can't control a whole labor market, but they can dominate the bottom of it. Walmart does it all the time in rural areas, where they drive out competition and become one of the only options for locals for employment. Methinks you live in a fairytale if you think someone who is of the socio-economic class that would work at Walmart can just get up in move. Poverty precludes moving, as there are signioficant costs associtated with moving, but actaul and personal.

When I said we have a limited amount of labor around I meant jobs. And you know this. There is an "ideal" level of unemployment in any capitalist economy to keep labor costs down. That is what you should be responding to. No anmopunt of education is going to fix that. It is what allows employers like Walmart to keep theri labor costs so low. Where one is unskilled and uneducated, they are part of the labor force that competes with those necessarily unemployed people. So your rosey idealism about education and climbing the social ladder is pretty much a myth for the working poor.

And I'm not sure what your point is about public schools. They are not doing a great job. They have failed us. Property tax based school funding makes sure the poor stay poor. Factionalized school systmes result in some kids being taught that evolution is a "theory." Public education is a great thing, but not in its current form.

Really though, you need to admit that there is a necessary, "ideal" amount of unemployemnt, and that moving involves significant costs (that some people do overcome, no doubt). If you admit those things, your U of C mythology of individual choice and finding a new job will revale itself to be just that, a myth.

2.
"If it wasn't for this daddy, there would be no company in the first place. At least daddy created something and even created jobs. Without daddy, all of those workers would have never had a job. "

Well, no, I dispute that. Many people have gotten rich by being the first into what amounts to little more than a technological inevitability or a claim to some piece of land. Whether automobiles, natural resources, communications, if daddy hadn't been the one to do it first, it is not as if that discovery would not be made or that demand not filled, or that land and resources in it not claimed. First actors should be rewared for sure, but it is something else to say they and their progeny should exclusively reap the rewards of certain techonological advances or claims to land in perpetuity.

"'there is certainly an ethical argument to be made that workers should at least enjoys some of the profit from the value they create'

They do, it's called wages."

Uh no. Profit. Wages are costs, not profit.

"I don't see it as an ethical dilemma. You act as though all who work for a living are "toiling and suffering." I like my job. You also act like all people with wealth merely inherited it. That's not true either. That's some fantasy world you live in. Very depressing too."

You don't see it as an ethcial dillema? Imagine that. We aren't talking about bourgeois lawyers scurrying about in their offices, we are talking about the working poor. Let's not get off the topic here (although as the theory goes, you probably would have no clue how miserable an existence you lead, what with football, booze and pornography to distract you from your alienation. Keep em drunk with religion and sex and tv, as John Lennon said)

"Why not? He invested/risked his capital and it paid off. Do you mean to say that because my grandfather risked his capital, that you should benefit instead of me? How absurd."

No not me. All of us. The public good over the private. Your grandfather should be rewared for settling silicon valley, but each sucessive generation has far less of a claim to enjoy the fruits of your grandfather's luck and risk, as opposed to everyone else. At some point we as a democracy must balance incentives for personal wealth with socialand economic justice for all. We fail miserably in that regard as a country.

3. AT&T was a private monopoly, not a government run benevolent one designed to maximize public welfare. Apples and oranges. I'm always for breaking up greedy private monopolies.

4. That corproations are "individuals" with constitutional rights is one of the gratest travesties of our legal system. I'm with you here. And that commercial speech is considered protected under the 1st amendment is awful as well. The whole advertising industry is disgusting. What could be a service to inform comsumers to allow them to make rational choices is nothing but psychological manipulation and distraction.

Bob

1. "One comapny can't control a whole labor market, but they can dominate the bottom of it. Walmart does it all the time in rural areas, where they drive out competition and become one of the only options for locals for employment."

Are you suggesting that a retailer is the only employer in a small town? that a retailer puts all other companies out of business? leaving themselves as the only job market? Now, there's a fairy tale.

"There is an "ideal" level of unemployment in any capitalist economy to keep labor costs down...It is what allows employers like Walmart to keep theri labor costs so low. "

What do you mean by this? Are you saying that corporations conspire to keep unemployment at an ideal level so that they can prey on the workers? Another fairy tale.

"So your rosey idealism about education and climbing the social ladder is pretty much a myth for the working poor."

My rosey outlook on life worked for me. Yes, it took hard work, paying my dues, planning, working my plan, etc. I think you may have the wrong outlook on life. Perhaps you are impatient; you want it all now. Perhaps you are lazy; you want it given to you. Perhaps you think yourself better than others; you think you deserve more.

"Really though, you need to admit that there is a necessary, "ideal" amount of unemployemnt..."

I just don't believe in conspiracy theories. I can't see how all of corporate America and all of the small businesses in America (small businesses employ 100 times more than the large corporations) conspire to keep unemployment at your "ideal" level in order to put the squeeze on the wages of the workers. I can tell you that I, a small business owner, don't care about the level of unemployment. I care about finding the right person with the right skills in order to get the job done well. And I pay this person well once he proves his worth. So, your whole fantasy about us business owners keeping unemployment at an ideal level is rubbish.

2. "Many people have gotten rich by being the first into what amounts to little more than a technological inevitability or a claim to some piece of land. Whether automobiles, natural resources, communications, if daddy hadn't been the one to do it first, it is not as if that discovery would not be made or that demand not filled, or that land and resources in it not claimed."

First of all, your use of the word "many" is suspect. Do you mean many of the current rich? I think the word "some" applies here. "Many" implies a majority. Or do you mean "many" people throughouot history? Then, so what? There have been "many" people, period, throughout history; and this doesn't quantify anything.

Look, these people are visionaries. They are also risk-takers. They are doers. They are builders. It's very hard to find all of the right qualities in one person. You say that if daddy didn't do it, someone else would, but perhaps not for another 100 years. You never know.

"First actors should be rewared for sure, but it is something else to say they and their progeny should exclusively reap the rewards of certain techonological advances or claims to land in perpetuity."

Well, it's not in perpetuity. Patents and copyrights expire. Eventually, an heir will screw up and lose the business or will just blow the wealth. It happens all the time. Methink you are just full of petty jealousy. You want your piece of the pie now, or should I say, theirs.

"there is certainly an ethical argument to be made that workers should at least enjoys some of the profit from the value they create"

You know, you must think that everyone is the same. They're not. Some people don't have a tolerance for risk. For example, what if we give the workers a piece of the company? What if the company loses money for 1-3 years? Is the worker going to cough up money to pay the expenses? I doubt it. See, you assume a company always makes a profit. And you want workers to share in that profit. But how about when the company has a loss? Do you want the workers to share in that loss? I doubt it. So, what you propose is that the workers get a share, not in the company, not in the risk, but only in the profits. And you say I live in a fantasy world?

"Let's not get off the topic here (although as the theory goes, you probably would have no clue how miserable an existence you lead, what with football, booze and pornography to distract you from your alienation. Keep em drunk with religion and sex and tv, as John Lennon said)"

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't drink at all. I don't watch TV; I don't even have cable. But I do look at pretty girls. So, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

"No not me. All of us."

You mean, you.

"At some point we as a democracy must balance incentives for personal wealth with social and economic justice for all."

I understand social justice, but what is economic justice?


3. "AT&T was a private monopoly, not a government run benevolent one designed to maximize public welfare. Apples and oranges. I'm always for breaking up greedy private monopolies."

Huh? AT&T was a government-sanctioned monopoly. The government created and protected the AT&T monopoly. Read your history books. It was illegal for any other company to offer local and long-distance phone service.

4. "That corproations are "individuals" with constitutional rights is one of the gratest travesties of our legal system. I'm with you here. And that commercial speech is considered protected under the 1st amendment is awful as well. The whole advertising industry is disgusting. What could be a service to inform comsumers to allow them to make rational choices is nothing but psychological manipulation and distraction."

That we agree on something, shocks me. But I bet we agree on this issue for different reasons. Regardless, we can put this #4 to rest.

LAK

Bob, you're just sounding crazy now. There is a natural rate of unempolyment in any capitalist economy. It is economic theory 101. The "ideal" rate of unemployment is never zero. Capitalism only works with teh perpetuation of class society and the availability of cheap labor. This isn't a fairy tale, this is what capitalist economists teach. It has nothing to do with intenta nd conspiracy. It has everything to do with the actaul prosepcts of a member of the working poor being able to find a better job.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_employment

This is a U of C blog. Educate yourself about economics. It isn't a conspiracy, it is a necessary outcome of capitalism. And because this is not dispuatble, it is indeed a fairy tale about Wal Mart workers being able to just go out and find another job.

You think Walmart doesn't drive local business out of rural areas and corner the unskilled labor market? Are you nuts? There are whole books written about the subject.

2. Bob, I grew up rich, amongst the rich. I was handed everything. I saw others handed everything as well. I think you just are ignorant about the distribution of wealth in our nation. While you may be a great story about pulling yourself up from your bootsraps, the reality of the distribution of wealth is that those with money are the ones who make money, and those with serious money more often than not got that money the old fashioned way, through succession. You are living proof that the myth of the American dream is alive and well in the few lucky souls who are able to climb the social ladder through hard work. There is some interchage in class society but the reality is that major wealth is handed down generation to generation, and even with 50% estate taxes, the rich remain rich, by little effort of their own.

People squander inheritences for sure, but it is hard to do if you are super wealthy. I just think you are naive about the ruling class in our society. It helps to have grown up rubbing elbows with the upper 1% to get a realistic picture of who controls the wealth in our nation, either personally or in the trusts and corporations they control.

3. You are being disingenuous. AT&T of course was government sanctioned, however, it was for-profit and privatized and held the interests of its shareholders above the public welfare. Apples and Oranges. Government run or regulated monopolies designed to benefit the public, not shareholders, is what I am talking about. Stop being disingenuous and prentending like you don't understand the difference.

Bob

"There is a natural rate of unempolyment in any capitalist economy."

I never said there wasn't.

"The "ideal" rate of unemployment is never zero."

The ideal rate of unemployment is unknown, as per your wikipedia resource.

"Capitalism only works with the perpetuation of class society and the availability of cheap labor. This isn't a fairy tale, this is what capitalist economists teach."

Not any capitalist economist that I ever studied under. Who did you study under? He may have called himself a capitalist, but I don't think he was. Just because you call a man a chicken, doesn't make him one. Communists have been calling themselves socialists and the people's party for years to avoid the stigma of communist failures.

"It has nothing to do with intenta nd conspiracy."

Good, I am glad you agree. Now, who and how do you believe maintains your "ideal" unemployment rate?

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_employment"

I read it. It basically says that nobody really knows what full employment is, but there are many theories. What was the point of this wikipedia reference?

"Unemployment ...is a necessary outcome of capitalism. And because this is not dispuatble, it is indeed a fairy tale about Wal Mart workers being able to just go out and find another job."

And your solution for unemployment would be?

"You think Walmart doesn't drive local business out of rural areas and corner the unskilled labor market?"

Ah, now you have changed your definition of the labor market to just the "unskilled workers." So, you're saying that when a WalMart moves in, they offer better wages than the other local business that employ unskilled workers, and that all those workers flock to WalMart for better paying jobs? And this is bad?

2. "the reality is that major wealth is handed down generation to generation, and even with 50% estate taxes, the rich remain rich, by little effort of their own."

I don't see a problem with that. I hope to pass wealth down to my children. They may squander it, they may build with it. I can't control that, nor do I want to. But I'd like to know that I can give them a head start. I like living in a world where I can do that for my progeny.

3. "Government run or regulated monopolies designed to benefit the public, not shareholders, is what I am talking about."

Oh, like the Federal Reserve and their member banks. Yeah, there's a winning combo.

4. By the way, you totally avoided my point about whether the workers assume risk and loss when the employee-owned business looses money. In the real world, owners assume this risk, workers do not. Most workers wouldn't want to. Again, you want the workers to own the company, participate in profits, but have no liability when there are losses. Or do you have another plan?

LAK

Bob,

1. That the ideal rate of unemployment is not known, and that it is not zero are NOT mutually exclusive ideas. We know it is not zero, and that is the only point I needed to make. Stop with the sophistry.

This discussion is not about what I would do about unemployment, it is whether Wal Mart workers actually have the practical ability to leave their jobs.


2. "So, you're saying that when a WalMart moves in, they offer better wages than the other local business that employ unskilled workers, and that all those workers flock to WalMart for better paying jobs? And this is bad?"

Come on Bob, stop being such a smarmy debater. Of course not. The way it goes is this: Wal Mart moves into a rural area, hires the many unempolyed people in that rural poor or working class community (you know the ones from the non-zero unemployment rate pool), offers low prices that small business can't beat, and then forces those other businesses out of business. They are certainly not attracting workers already with jobs to work for them. Nobody gives up a stable job to go work for Walmart. they have some of the worst employment practices in the nation, and have been and are beings sued constantly for those practices.

3. So much for equality of opportunity huh?

4. So I'm guessing you admit that the old AT&T and the goverment run benevolent monopolies I have discsses are indeed distinct ideas, what with bringing up another off topic subject, like teh Federal Reserve.

5."In the real world, owners assume this risk, workers do not."

Ha! Ha Ha! Ask the pilots unions at Delta and UAL about that obviously false statement. Funny how corporate america is allowed to get away with skirting their contractual obliagtions under collective bargaining agreements. "I know we promised you all these retirement benefits and salary, but uh, we're not going to stick by our word, and if you make us, well, bankruptcy time and you can bring it up with the judge."

Bob

LAK,

1. "That the ideal rate of unemployment is not known, and that it is not zero are NOT mutually exclusive ideas. We know it is not zero, and that is the only point I needed to make."

You bring up this point for what purpose? To prove what?

"This discussion is not about what I would do about unemployment, it is whether Wal Mart workers actually have the practical ability to leave their jobs."

Okay, so the question of unemployment and what to do about it is now irrelevant. You bring up this arguement; now you dismiss it. Fine. As to the practicality of a WalMArt worker being able to leave his job - here is what you said about them...
"Wal Mart moves into a rural area, hires the many unempolyed people in that rural poor or working class community..." So, basically, they were unemployed before WalMart moved in and gave them jobs. So, they can quit and become unemployed again and they would not have lost anything. So, they do have the "practical ability to leave their jobs."


2. "Wal Mart moves into a rural area, hires the many unempolyed people in that rural poor or working class community (you know the ones from the non-zero unemployment rate pool), offers low prices that small business can't beat, and then forces those other businesses out of business. They are certainly not attracting workers already with jobs to work for them. Nobody gives up a stable job to go work for Walmart. they have some of the worst employment practices in the nation, and have been and are beings sued constantly for those practices."

So you have a problem with WalMart giving jobs to the unemployed? Why?

4. "So I'm guessing you admit that the old AT&T and the goverment run benevolent monopolies I have discsses are indeed distinct ideas, what with bringing up another off topic subject, like teh Federal Reserve."

No, the old AT&T was a government run monopoly just like the Federal Reserve. Yes, ownership (I use this word lightly) is in private hands, but control is in government hands. Now, do you really think that you own property that you do not control?

5."In the real world, owners assume this risk, workers do not."

Ha! Ha Ha! Ask the pilots unions at Delta and UAL about that obviously false statement. Funny how corporate america is allowed to get away with skirting their contractual obliagtions under collective bargaining agreements. "I know we promised you all these retirement benefits and salary, but uh, we're not going to stick by our word, and if you make us, well, bankruptcy time and you can bring it up with the judge."

You know I meant risk of their wealth, not their income. The only risk a worker has is to his income (wages). The workers wealth is not at risk. Only the owners wealth (and income) is at risk.

As for unions, I am for them as long as there is no government support for or against them. They should be able to strike as long as they want and companies should be able to bring in other workers if they want. Government should not get involved with this process except to make sure there is no violence or destruction of property. Our labor union laws are a joke. They favor the businesses over the workers, but they make it look like they are on the workers side.

LAK

Bob,

your ability to avoid the topic is amazing. GTo refresh you about what we were talking about:

I said:
"there aren't always alternative options for work, especially if you are unskilled and uneducated, so its keep the crappy job or go unemployed."

You replied:
We have education programs in this country. There is no excuse. And we are not talking about other countries. Unemployment in most other countries is caused by their governments, not by businesses.


If you want to get back to the topic sobeit. workers on the bottom rung compete with the unemployed. There is little choice for them. You seem to live in a fantasy world where a member of the working poor can just get up and quit their job and only source of income. . I pointed out to you that it isn't the case, and all you can do is deflect the argument and recognition of the fact that the working poor do not have the flexibility you attribute to them, becasue as a part of our economy, there is anywhere from 4-8% ideal unemployment, so there are always a pool of available unemplyed labor to replace those Wal mart workers who quit because they don't like theri wages or benefits.We have eduction!! Big f-ing whoop. you sound like a naive conservative who fails to understand how our econmy functions: on cheap labor. Yes, your success in inextricably wound up with the exploitation of labor, so is everyone's wealth. i know it is tough to accept but you might have a more realistic outlook on your own success if you recognize that we are social beings whose lives are interconnected economically, and that nobdy gets where they are without everyone else somehow factoring into the equation.

I think the probelem is you can't deal with the fact that your hard work and your pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is a part of a greater economic system in which the working poor are exploited and compete with the necessarily unemployed, without whom our economy would not function.

Bob

LAK,
Okay, back to the beginning. You said, "there aren't always alternative options for work, especially if you are unskilled and uneducated, so its keep the crappy job or go unemployed."

I am assuming by "crappy job," you mean low paying. I can't imagine you mean physically demanding (which really doesn't mean it's a crappy job...I worked for a landscaping company when I was 16-17, and I liked the physical work) or boring, as an unskilled or uneducated worker can't do much else. It's not like he can be an engineer. I doubt you are are suggesting we create high-paying, interesting "desk jobs" for the uneducated or unskilled.

So, again, I assume by "crappy job" you must be referring to low-paying jobs, right?

Then you say, "workers on the bottom rung compete with the unemployed. There is little choice for them." Well, who else would compete with them? So, what's your point?

"You seem to live in a fantasy world where a member of the working poor can just get up and quit their job and only source of income."

You said earlier that the working poor were unemployed before Walmart gave them jobs. So, how are they any worse off if they were to just up and quit? It's not like they are losing anything. They were unemployed...Walmart hires them...they realize it's a crappy job...they quit...they're back where they sarted...unemployed. So, they obviously CAN up and quit theit crappy job and they would lose nothing.


"I pointed out to you that it isn't the case, and all you can do is deflect the argument and recognition of the fact that the working poor do not have the flexibility you attribute to them, becasue as a part of our economy, there is anywhere from 4-8% ideal unemployment, so there are always a pool of available unemplyed labor to replace those Wal mart workers who quit because they don't like theri wages or benefits."

So, your arguement is that since we have 4-8% unemployment, that an unskilled worker can't quit his job because another unskilled, unemployed worker will take it? So what? Having unemployment doesn't preclude anyone from quitting their job. One does not cause the other.

"you sound like a naive conservative who fails to understand how our econmy functions: on cheap labor."

Ad hominem attacks bore me. To your other point, cheap labor is not the only thing that drives our economy. Actually, I would say that capital investment and entreprenuerial spirit contribute much more.

"we are social beings whose lives are interconnected economically, and that nobdy gets where they are without everyone else somehow factoring into the equation."

Duh. Is this supposed to be some sort of arguement for your position?

"I think the probelem is you can't deal with the fact that your hard work and your pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is a part of a greater economic system in which the working poor are exploited and compete with the necessarily unemployed, without whom our economy would not function."

I am perfectly at ease with it. I started off poor, worked hard, saved money, served in the military to help pay for my UoC M.S., and worked hard some more to build my practice. I am not ashamed of my accomplishment, nor from where I came. I also believe that an optimistic outlook can get you much further in life than a pessimistic outlook. I can do whatever I think I can; I can't, however, do whatever I think I can't.

"working poor are exploited and compete with the necessarily unemployed, without whom our economy would not function."

This seems to be your main complaint, but it doesn't mean anything. You say our economy would not function without the unskilled working poor. So what? Our economy would not function without the skilled middle class, nor the very specialize working upper class, nor the capital of the wealthy, nor the...etc. You are making a statement that appears true, but it is not the whole truth, therefore, it is a lie. And you are using this statement as an arguement to support what? government-run corporate monopolies? Too much of a stretch for me. But you go ahead and call me a few more names, or attack my rosey fantasy.

LAK

Right. Perfect. So then back to the real beginning of all this. You took excpetion to this comment:

"So walmart doesn't have to be broken up so much as it has to be regulated. Low prices and efficiency should be encouraged, just not abuse of labor. And then of course workers should be given some access to ownership of the means of production as well, either in guranteed stock participation programs or otherewise."

and then you said:

"How can a company abuse labor? If the worker doesn't liek the job or the working conditions, he can quit. Whatever happened to people taking personal responsibility for their decisions? What ever happened to being self-reliant? I've quit jobs that I didn't like. I've refused cases I didn't want. We all have the power to make this choice. Yes, it may be a tough choice, but what's more important, your integrity or the stinking job. Please don't tell me that some people haven't any choice. That is one of the few things nobody can ever take away from you."

And now you might understand why you are wrong, after recognizing the unfortuate labor equilibrium exists in the lowest rung of the job market.

That is, in our general discussion about monopolies and economies of scale, we simply need regulation to force Walmart to pay living wages (and I would hope one day share equity with those who make the business run). If they have to raise prices and shrink in size because of it, sobeit. Trading an equilibrium where Walmart is the able to expolit labor because its hires are selected from and compete with the unemployed, for one in which it is required to allow people who are willing to work for a living some dignity and economic independence. Sure raised prices mean dead weight loss, but that is a small price to pay for treating the least fortunate people willing to work in our economy with a little decency, especially if it is a firm like Walmart who could likely do it without shrinking in size or creating more unemployeds.


Bob

"So walmart doesn't have to be broken up so much as it has to be regulated. Low prices and efficiency should be encouraged, just not abuse of labor. And then of course workers should be given some access to ownership of the means of production as well, either in guranteed stock participation programs or otherewise."

I still disagree with these statements.

I don't believe in regulation. As long as there is no coersion practiced by a company, they should be free to do as they like.

I don't believe in minimum wage laws. They don't work. They create unemployment in areas where margins are tight. In other areas, minimum wages are lower than the going wage rates anyway. So they're useless. It's been proven time and time again that wage and price fixing are disruptive to commerce and employment. They interfere with the free market system.

I don't believe that companies should be forced to issue stock to employees. This is another form of wage fixing. Also, if the stock price went down and workers lose equity, what would you have the company do then?

"...Walmart is the able to expolit labor because its hires are selected from and compete with the unemployed"

So, you're saying that giving unemployed, unskilled workers is bad? And that unskilled people having to compete for jobs with other unskilled people is bad?

"for one in which it is required to allow people who are willing to work for a living some dignity and economic independence."

And that if anyone hires one of these unskilled people, that they should be forced to pay them some sort of minimum salary?

"treating the least fortunate people willing to work in our economy with a little decency"

Just because they are willing to get off their butts and work?

"especially if it is a firm like Walmart who could likely do it without shrinking in size or creating more unemployeds."

Especially if that someone is a money-making company like Walmart. And they can accomplish this by hiring the unemployed without creating more unemployed? That last sentence didn't make much sense.

LAK

Bob, the theory goes that if walmart had to pay its workers a living wage, it would raise prices, do less business and ultimately have to shrink in size, creating more unemployemnt. It is the classic republican argument agaist minimum wage. Bill Frist says: "we don't want to raise the minimum wage becasue it HURTS the poor and costs jobs." It's a total bullshit argument that has little basis in fact, but that is the party line.

Bob, if you can't see how it is exploitation and the abuse of bargaining power for Walmart to pay its employees less than a living wage, especially after our discussion of the necessary amount of unemployment in any capitalist economy, and you can't understand how someone with a sense of ethics and care for other human beings and concern for social and economic justice would argue that a company like Walmart, which could pay its employees a living wage, but chooses not to, is doing something wrong and should not be allowed to exploit its size and power, well then, what can I say other than I'll pray for your soul.

"It's been proven time and time again that wage and price fixing are disruptive to commerce and employment. They interfere with the free market system."

Well that is false, actually the opposite has been proven that where the working class have more income to dispose of, there are ultimately long term economic gains, if short term requilibration costs.

And part of my point is that the free market system is not fair to the poor and there is a huge disparity in bargaining power that the law and governemnet should address through regulation.

"And that if anyone hires one of these unskilled people, that they should be forced to pay them some sort of minimum salary?"

No Bob, stop being so dense. Just Walmart or huge busineses that can afford to absorb more labor costs while still being profitable.

"I don't believe in minimum wage laws. They don't work."


Bob, you should read a history of labor in our country. Not only do minimum wage laws, and other pro labor laws work, they are responsible for the creation of the middle class and the economic success of our country.

Your faith in the outcomes of a complex system like the "free market" is misplaced. They are hardly ideal, despite what is taught in the idealized models of the U of C, and have been proven so. In fact, without regulation and the creation of the welfare state and things like minimum wage and hour laws, someone like you would still be a poor ignorant fool leading a life of toil and poverty, no doubt. Hell there probably would have been revolution long ago.

I suppose you are al for child labor too? Maybe 90 hour work weeks? And safety regulations? Those must be eliminated too!

After having made you recognize that your statement that "if a worker doen't like his job, he can quit" is actually false, what more is there to talk about? You can tell me what you believe, and I can show you you are wrong, and if you can't learn from it, well then, perhaps your "beliefs" will be better to you on judgment day. Good luck with that.

Bob

LAK,
Personally, I don't care what MalMart pays their employees. The reason I am against legislating wages is not because I am worried that prices woudl rise, or that unemployment may result. I am aginst government regulation of wages and prices for the single reason that how I run my business is not their concern. It's called freedom, or independence. Look, monopolies never last. Smaller companies that use newer technologies arrive often enough to beat the current king of the hill. As long as the government isn't giving some company a monopoly (like they did AT&T), then competition will take care of it. It alway has. Name a monopoly that was around 50 years ago.

This may hurt your image of me, but I am not a conservative, nor a republican (yuck!).

You mention "living wage" quite often. How do you define this phrase?

You also state that a certain amount of unemployment is necessary. I don't think it is necessary, but I do not deny that it exists. I also don't think it is intentionally created, unlike you.

I care about others, but I just can't see where that should allow the government to make laws to force me to be charitable by giving jobs to the unemployed. I don't believe that is a role of government. I am not a nanny-stater; you obviously are. I don't want government to take care of my problems and make my persoanl decisions for me.

You say I am not caring because I don't think WalMart should pay higher wages if it doesn't have to. I think you are using an emotional ploy to justify government involvement in every aspect of our lives. Maybe one day, some concerned citizen will not like the way you treated your baby, they will report you to the govmt, and they will come take your baby from you. Of course, that will never happen, but it could. Oh, nevermind, it already has happened. See, I just used an emotional ploy to justify govmt interference in our lives. Easy to do. Let's all just hand over our problems to big govmnt. Those of you that are religious, just hand over your problems to the Lord. Same diff, different deity. You are a government worshipper. Now, go ahead and pray for my sould to your diety of choice.

"has been proven that where the working class have more income to dispose of, there are ultimately long term economic gains, if short term requilibration costs."

Well, that's false. It has been proven that higher wages lead to inflation where the 1st-handers again exploit the growth in the money supply to build businesses larger and faster with the cheap money. Employees are last-handers. By the time they get and spend their money, prices have already gone up and they are making the same wage as they were before. Economics 101.

"the free market system is not fair to the poor"

There will always be poor. There will always be rich. We are not all equal. Your communism is a utopia.

"And that if anyone hires one of these unskilled people, that they should be forced to pay them some sort of minimum salary?"

No Bob, stop being so dense. Just Walmart or huge busineses that can afford to absorb more labor costs while still being profitable.

Oh, so basically, you want to punish success?

"Not only do minimum wage laws, and other pro labor laws work, they are responsible for the creation of the middle class and the economic success of our country."

No, they are not. They were popular during the depressions when unemployment was at 40%. But, today, with unemployment at less than 5%, they are ineffective and are a burden. As long as unemployment stays low, the power of the unions dwindle.

"I suppose you are al for child labor too? Maybe 90 hour work weeks? And safety regulations? Those must be eliminated too!"

I am for safety, undoubtedly. However, my son has been working in the summers since he was 14 (this is our personal choice) in a friend of mines landscaping company. It is hard work for him as he doesn't have the muscles of a mature man, yet. But, this teaches him good work ethics, the value of hard work, and the pride of a job well done. Your child labor laws seek to take this lesson from our children under the pretense of protecting them. Limiting their hours and making sure they are in a safe environment is enough. Not allowing them to work is sad. (Of course, as I'm sure you already know, child labor laws were lobbied by the unions because comapnies were hiring children for less than adults. They were competing with labor union workers. This is not the right reason to enact a law.) As for the 40 hour work week, I think I can decide for myself what is too much or too little. Here again, we have the government making our persoanl decisions for us.

"After having made you recognize that your statement that "if a worker doen't like his job, he can quit" is actually false, what more is there to talk about? "

You have not proven that this statement is false. Maybe to yourself, but not to me.

And finally, your personal attacks against me only casue me to suspect that your arguements are too weak to stand on their own, so you resort to name calling.

LAK

"I am against government regulation of wages and prices for the single reason that how I run my business is not their concern. It's called freedom, or independence."

Oh really? Patently false. How you run your business and the effects it has on the public at large *is* the government's concern, or have you forgotten what the original subject of this post was? Naive.

Your naive sense of economic autonomy is almost shocking, as if the money supply, value of the dollar, employments dynamics, savings rates of others, employment practices of others and any number of other factors in this complex dynamic system we call the economy do not directly influence your business's success. shocking that an adult can actually believe that "freedom and independence" somehow divorce you from the reality of being a small part in a greater whole, whose success is contingent on so many external factors they cannot all be named.


"You also state that a certain amount of unemployment is necessary. I don't think it is necessary, but I do not deny that it exists. I also don't think it is intentionally created, unlike you."

Huh? Bob, you've recognized this, and its not intentional, just necessary. A reality of any capitalist economy, as I've said before, and given you links to. Our economy would not function without a steady supply of unemployed labor looking for work, and this fact alone warrants regulation of the lowest rung of the labor market, if one does indeed give a damn about human dignity and advancing policies that do not make the last well off any more worse off (which quite obviously you don't. Republican or not,you are stil regunant to me and I find your naive worldview to be morally reprehensible and completely irresponsible). I've made you recognize this, yet you seem not to know how to handle this truth as it bears on your bizzare, naive worldview that labor dynamics outside your business do not affect your business.

I have nothing left to say to you if you can't argue like a rational human being and can only disingenuously recylce arguments I have disproven before. Good luck, and may you reamin proud of your success and completely ignorant of all the external factors that have gone into bringing it about. Jesus.


Bob

LAK,

"How you run your business *is* the government's concern"

This is your opinion, which does not make it a fact.

" is not intentional, just necessary. A reality of any capitalist economy"

Unemployment occurs in any type of economy, socialist and communist as well. This statement does not support your assertions. It is not proof of anything, either. It is a half-truth, therefore, a lie.

"Our economy would not function without a steady supply of unemployed labor looking for work"

So? All types of ecomonies would have unemployed labor looking for work. Again, You make these statements as if they are proof of the failure of capitalism, yet these statements are meaningless. But, somehow, you think that this statement supports your assertion that..."this fact alone warrants regulation of the lowest rung of the labor market..." It doesn't. These statements are independent of each other.

"Republican or not,you are stil regunant to me and I find your naive worldview to be morally reprehensible and completely irresponsible."

Ad hominem, again. How boring. Again, this is not an arguement for your assertions. It only serves to prove that even you consider your own arguements to weak to stand on their own, as if personal attacks strengthen your assertions.

"I've made you recognize this"

No, you haven't.

"labor dynamics outside your business do not affect your business."

The concept of labor dynamics is simple. It is a matter of supply and demand (you know, a capitalist idea). When workers are plentiful and/or demand for labor is low, wages decrease. When workers are scarce and/or the demand for labor is high, wages increase. Quite simple really. I realize that you like to complicate the issues in order to hide your socialist agenda, but I will not be baffled with bull.

"I have nothing left to say to you if you can't argue like a rational human being"

Say what you really mean... "If you don't agree with me, then I don't want to talk to you."

LAK

"This is your opinion, which does not make it a fact."

False again, or are you too illiterate to recognize the topic of this post, or acknowledge the myriad consumer protection laws and labor law that inject government into the conduct of business both ex ante and ex post of questionable corporate conduct?

"Unemployment occurs in any type of economy, socialist and communist as well. This statement does not support your assertions. It is not proof of anything, either. It is a half-truth, therefore, a lie."

Right, but it is only necessary in capitalism for the health of the economy. And insofar as this is true, your statement that a Wlamart worker can just quit and find a new job is patently false and reveals your ignorance and naivite on the issue. You recognize that there is an ideal rate of unemployment in any capitalist economy, yet you refuse to put 1 and 1 together to admit that you are ridiculous in asserting a wal mart emplyee can just quit his or her job and find another one if he or she wants to. Again a disingenuous denial of fact that is indicative of your lack of care or concern for those less fortunate than you.

"So? All types of ecomonies would have unemployed labor looking for work. Again, You make these statements as if they are proof of the failure of capitalism, yet these statements are meaningless. But, somehow, you think that this statement supports your assertion that..."this fact alone warrants regulation of the lowest rung of the labor market..." It doesn't. These statements are independent of each other."

Well no, a socialist economy would have full employment ideally, a capitalist economy *never* would. Huge difference.

Failure of capitalism? Huh? WTF are you talking about? It is an incredible success in creating wealth, however, the outcome of the distribution of income and labor is unjust when the free market is left unregulated and allows those with money and power over jobs to contract with those at the bottom rung of the labor force who have no bargaining power and must compete with a certain number of necesarily unemployed people in any area. That is why we have and need regulation. You recognize this as well, that minimum wage and labor protection laws are on the books and have proven to be a good thing for average people, yet you still refuse, illogically, to admit Walmart needs to have their emplyment practices scrutinized and regulated.

Without such regulation, you leave it to a bunch of plantiffs lawyers to mop up the mess when they lock in workers and discriminate against women and never pay overtime, and you leave it on the shoulders of states to provide those workers with health care. or have you not seen the statisitic of how many Wal Mart workers are on medicaid.

So it does necessitate regulation at those lowest rungs, as has been proven by history with in the advent of labor laws and workplace safety regulations and all the gains such laws have allowed our country to make. Ther would be no middle class without the rise of labor law at the beginning of last century. This is a fact. It is also a fact that the outcome of the labor market is unjust to the least well off when one considers that our economy necessitates a supply of unemployed labor, that is unless you are a morally repugnant dickhead who thinks poor people desereve to be exploited and suffer.

"Ad hominem, again. How boring. Again, this is not an arguement for your assertions. It only serves to prove that even you consider your own arguements to weak to stand on their own, as if personal attacks strengthen your assertions."

not really, just honest truth. I think you are naive about the complexity of the economy, and about the ethcial and moral implications of unregualted outcomes of that complex system for the least well off. You can be proud of your accomplishments and bringing yourself out of poverty, but the truth is, there is alwasy someone there to take your spot amongst the working poor. Becasue this is true, holding onto your smug sense of self satisfaction while others suffer and can be exploited, even claiming that they can "get off their asses and find anoteher job" is morally repugnant and indicative of someohe who is not well versed in ethics or basic human decency.

Say what you really mean... "If you don't agree with me, then I don't want to talk to you."

No, if you fail to take logical steps that are obvious and necessary whenever it is inconvenient for you to do so to avoid ethical and intellectual accountability, you simply cannot be argued with in a rational manner.

You do not understand complex dynamics, you have faith that the outcomes of dynamic unregulated complex systems are somehow magically just, are smug that you have been lucky enough to pull yourself out of poverty, if not ignorance, and fail to make the very basic step of, after recognizing our economy *requries* a pool of unemployed labor, concluding it is unfair for a huge monied corporation that controlls vast wealth and labor resources to explit systematically those least well off in our country.

I find this morally and ethically repugnant. And that is the truth, whether you view this as an attack or not. Bring it up with your source of moral authority.

Bob

"are you too illiterate to recognize the topic of this post, or acknowledge the myriad consumer protection laws and labor law that inject government into the conduct of business both ex ante and ex post of questionable corporate conduct?"

Of course I recognize that these laws exist. I never said I didn't. I merely said that I disagree with most of them.

" is only necessary in capitalism for the health of the economy."

I wouldn't say necessary, as if capitalism could not exist without unemployment. Perhaps you believe that the economy in the USA is capitalist. It is not. The reason unemployment exists in the USA has more to do with USG policies. For example, during the 1990s, growth in the IT sector grew so rapidly that labor demand was almost 3 times available labor. This pressure (IT labor shortage) enabled IT workers wages to increase by about 300% during the 1990s. So what happened was the corporations in the USA lobbied congress for a huge increase in H1b visas. The US labor market was flooded with cheap labor...approximately 2 million H1b visas were granted per year to skilled IT labor (mostly from India). So you see, big money from big corporation bought cheap labor from the USG. Capitalism was kept under the thumb of the big corporations through their henchman, the USG. That is how business works in the USA. It is not capitalism. One more thing, those labor unions that you admire so much sided with the big corporations because they lose power and control when unemployment is nil. When everyone has a job, people can bargain for themselves. Labor unions need unemployment to grow. They are dispicable as they sell security for the workers while they screw them. Capitalism didn't fail (or as you now want to put it...capitalism isn't unjust), our government doing the bidding of the large corporations is what failed. We don't have capitialism in this country, we have a corporatocracy. But we are being taught that it is capitalism. So, now people like you think that capitalism has cause all of this "unfairness' and "unjustness." It's just not true, the corporatocracy causes it.

I know that I just spoke of skilled labor unemployment manipulation by the corporatocracy. I hope you can understand that the corporatocracy manipulated unemployment through the USG for unskilled labor too. They do this by allowing all of the unskilled illegal aliens to cross the borders and stay and work. This is what creates unemployment of the unskilled, not WalMart per se. Although I am sure that they too are lobbying congress to go easy on illegals, not because WalMart wants to hire illegals, but because when an illegal takes some other job, that frees up an unskilled worker to take a WalMart job at low pay. The low pay is possible because the USG has created unemployment by "welcoming" unskilled workers with a do-nothing immigration policy. Again, it is not capitalism that has been unjust, because capitalism never had a chance to even be allowed to work. Corporations made sure of that. Do you get it now?


"your statement that a Wlamart worker can just quit and find a new job is patently false"

No, it's not. It's only false if there are no other jobs. Even at 5% unemployment, there are still plenty of jobs.

"You recognize that there is an ideal rate of unemployment in any capitalist economy"

No, I do not recognize that there is an "ideal rate" of unemployment, only that there is unemployment. Stop trying to put words into my mouth.

"Well no, a socialist economy would have full employment ideally, a capitalist economy *never* would."

Oh, so now that I bring up the fact that there is unemployment even in socialist economies, you want to talk about ideal economies. Well, an ideal capitalist economy, just like a socialist economy, would have exactly zero unemployment. So what? Getting back to reality, both socialist and capitalist economies would have moving rates of unemployment. Sometimes, they may even be negative (more jobs than workers). Besides, where have you ever seen a truly capitalistic economy operate? So, how would you know if it "never would?"

"Failure of capitalism? Huh? WTF are you talking about? It is an incredible success in creating wealth, however, the outcome of the distribution of income and labor is unjust"

Now you play with my words. Nice tactic, but no go. When I used the word "failure", I was referring to your phrase "unjust distribution". Please substitute the phrase "unjust distribution."

"when the free market is left unregulated"

This has only occured once that we know of since history began to be recorded. It happened in this country. It began about 1776 and lasted to about 1860. Probably the fastest period of economic growth ever seen for such a long period of time.

"that minimum wage and labor protection laws are on the books and have proven to be a good thing for average people"

They haven't proven to have done anything. Besides, they are usually lower than the current lowest wages actually being paid to workers.

"you leave it on the shoulders of states to provide those workers with health care. or have you not seen the statisitic of how many Wal Mart workers are on medicaid."

Actually, I don't leave it to the state to provide Medicare, as I find Medicare to be the cause of more ills than it's worth. But that is another subject.

"So it does necessitate regulation at those lowest rungs, as has been proven by history with in the advent of labor laws and all the gains such laws have allowed our country to make."

Our country was doing just fine before labor laws. These laws were made to curry favor with voters, you know, you vote for me and I'll get you some benefits. I am, however, appreciative of job saftey laws.

"Ther would be no middle class without the rise of labor law at the beginning of last century. This is a fact."

We already had a middle class before the last century.

"you are a morally repugnant dickhead who thinks poor people desereve to be exploited and suffer."

No, I don't think poor people should suffer, but thanks for the compliments, yet again. Methinks you are an angry young man.

"you are morally repugnant and indicative of someohe who is not well versed in ethics or basic human decency."

You are uneducated in justice and temperance.

"you simply cannot be argued with in a rational manner."

No, you cannot deal with people who have differing ideals than you. You are throwing a tantrum like a child.

john

The quality of education is, is not lower than 15 years ago

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