Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lessons on Trade, Protectionism, and Mercantilism

The Nation That Lost Its Jobs, But Got Them Back.

HT: OBloodyHell

27 Comments:

At 9/21/2008 3:13 PM, Anonymous QT said...

Keeping #@&!* Jobs at Home

 
At 9/21/2008 7:20 PM, Blogger the buggy professor said...

QT: Many thanks, an hilarious put-on about "shitty" jobs lost to foreign competition, and how to save them.

1) On a more serious note, most of us who post regularly at Mark's web site agree that open trade is desirable for our national economy. That seems clear and commendable.

2) The problem is, the benefits and costs of the intense pressures injected into the US economy by its rapid globalizing in the last three decades --- including our huge value of oil imports --- aren't shared in any equitable sense.

In principle, the benefits of open trade should be more than the costs to the displaced workers and investors in industries that have either disappeared or had their work force considerably reduced.

....

3) The benefits wouldn't have to compensate fully the costs suffered by the losing workers --- for present purposes, we'll leave aside investors, either in the equities or bonds held in declining firms if only because such investments can be moved swiftly to other, more profitable firms.
.

So what would sufficient redirected benefits look like . . . at any rate, enough to offset growing protectionist sentiment, captured now for five or six years in American survey polls?

First, portable health insurance. That of course would be given to all employed American adults (or households), making our labor markets more flexible.

Second, an extension of trade-adjustment compensation. It has been on the books now for 35 years or more, and it could be extended or increased (or both), with market-oriented incentives.

Such as:

(i.) Paying some percentage of the difference between lost income and the current income for displaced workers who have taken a new job and hold it for, say, 2 or 3 years while they are being retrained for it.
.

(ii.) Or paying a similar amount for displaced workers who are enrolled in certified retraining programs, up to 2 or 3 years. Local businesses in the vicinity could be encouraged to work closely with those programs, offering, say, partially paid internships for a certain period in the retraining program.

Naturally, if those in the training programs are hired full-time before the official re-training is completed, they would be moved into category i.

.....

4) Those who dislike such programs might keep in mind that they already exist, except for the portable health insurance. They would need to be made more encompassing, and I add immediately that the percentage of compensation and length --- though actually experimented with by the US Labor Department in some localities (or so I remember reading three years or so ago) --- are tossed out for debating purposes, nothing else.

.....

5) And if you still oppose such a system, then you are left with a big problem: the backlash against globalizing forces, especially trade and outsourcing, will undoubtedly continue to grow . . . and probably by bounding leaps.

Economic policymaking of a pragmatic sort always requires considering opportunity costs for doing something and for not doing something. A complex changing world can't be analyzed easily by gut-level inferences drawn from a few theoretical premises.

And realistic policymaking is always a compromise of sorts.

.....

6) If you want further evidence that such increased aid to displaced workers would help offset anti-globalizing backlashes, then consider that the small Scandinavian countries and Holland --- far more open to international trade than our country is, and far more dependent on it for their prosperity --- have such programs as well as others, and they have not experienced a backlash in public opinion against open trade as has been happening here for a few years now . . . with those supporting globalization as a good thing on balance now a clear minority.

Just as, on a similar plane, 80% of Americans even before this recent financial crisis of the last month say that we are in a very bad or fairly bad economy.

.....

7) More generally --- to end on a sweeping generalized point --- the kinds of deregulated financial markets, extensive open trade with little support for "the losers", tax-cuts that benefit mainly the very affluent and rich, and growing indebtedness of this country to unseemly gangster oil-rich states on the one hand and neo-mercantilist dictatorial countries like China on the other hand --- seem in for a big pounding by the ever larger populist ground-swell in public opinion.

If, additionally, the Paulson program does not find ways to help financially pressed homeowners while it proposes to buy the financial assets of banks and other financial institutions --- without first taking them over and finding out what their real assets are worth (which requires both current analysis and some projections into the future) --- you can bet your own mortgage fairly safely, I think, that the backlashes against the dominant policies in place since the Reagan era began in 1981 will grow with hurricane force.

One more point in this regard: As John McCain's current make-over into the Populist-of-Main-Street suggests, it doesn't really matter whether he or Obama win the election as far as the latest repetition of American backlash populism against financial, big business, and political elites goes. Does it not seem strange to you that the heads of the top 24 hedge funds in this country last year had a combined total income greater than the combined income of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 Companies? It does to me, but I worry like Mark and others that the underlying strengths of our economy will be hurt if something isn’t done to combat this growing sentiment.

It is built into our country's history, and in the way the public reacts to a growing sense of frustrated unfairness about the ways our elites have been behaving.

....

Michael Gordon, AKA, the buggy professor

 
At 9/21/2008 9:06 PM, Blogger bobble said...

ok, i think i get it. and it sounds great.

the "dad" is like the big multinational corp that is raking in the money. more money than the country ever had before. so the country as a whole has more wealth. so far, so good.

i'm like one of the kids. i used to have a shitty computer programming job that paid $150K. now, that's gone.

as in your example, there's nothing to replace my old shitty job. BUT, i shouldn't worry because my "dad", the big multinational corporation, now has more than enough money to support me while i do nothing.

so where is my support check?

 
At 9/22/2008 2:09 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Great link OBH...

Your video link qt to the Onion is just hilarious!

Thanks both of you...

I see the Buggy Professor is again only giving out part of the story: "including our huge value of oil imports"...

Hey BP, that's what might be called a, "self inflicted" condition...

Love that socialist spin though: "Second, an extension of trade-adjustment compensation. It has been on the books now for 35 years or more, and it could be extended or increased (or both), with market-oriented incentives"...

Why is it on the books in the first place?

More of that good, old time socialist spin: "If you want further evidence that such increased aid to displaced workers would help offset anti-globalizing backlashes, then consider that the small Scandinavian countries and Holland --- far more open to international trade than our country is, and far more dependent on it for their prosperity --- have such programs as well as others, and they have not experienced a backlash in public opinion against open trade as has been happening here for a few years now"...

Well as badly as we are taxed in this country I surely wouldn't want to be hobbled with the tax load the Scandanavians pay...

 
At 9/22/2008 3:41 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> In principle, the benefits of open trade should be more than the costs to the displaced workers and investors in industries that have either disappeared or had their work force considerably reduced.

It is. It comes in the form of much cheaper goods, for the most part, or of much enhanced goods, where logistics and other forces make dropping prices notably further more difficult, so quality and capability is enhanced, instead... (computers are an obvious example of this. It's really hard to drop the prices below ca. $400 in current dollars... but they do keep getting a lot more powerful)

There's another recent thread which touches on this.

> First, portable health insurance.

I won't argue against that -- health insurance should be done on an individual basis, grouped via co-ops rather than employers. If you want to make it a part of the perks of employment, then, by all means, institute a voucher system whereby a fixed amount of any employee-utilized healthplan gets paid on behalf of the company for the employee.

> Paying some percentage of the difference between lost income and the current income for displaced workers who have taken a new job and hold it for, say, 2 or 3 years while they are being retrained for it.

Already partly done. It's called "unemployment benefits".

> Local businesses in the vicinity could be encouraged to work closely with those programs, offering, say, partially paid internships for a certain period in the retraining program.

Also already done on an implicit level.

If people have problems it's most often an unwillingness to move to where the jobs are, instead of staying in an (obviously) inherently crowded market.

 
At 9/22/2008 3:45 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> i'm like one of the kids. i used to have a shitty computer programming job that paid $150K. now, that's gone.

bobbie: You're a halfwit studying to be a moron. ...And failing. Stop shouting exclamation points to everyone about that fact.

"150k jobs" aren't the ones leaving the country en masse, unless they were already ridiculously and insanely overpaid factory union gruntwork.

The jobs leaving are the tedious, boring, and exacting sort of jobs that the Nintendo generation has too much wealth to be interested in and too little attention span to have patience performing.

Stop channelling sophist, you nit.

.

 
At 9/22/2008 3:52 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Great link OBH...

Thx. It's an old one from several years back. I recommend the essays from the Mises site... their daily newsletter is worth getting.

I don't agree with them all the time by a long shot, but the perspective is always those "things that make you go 'hmmm...'"

It's really amusing to me that Lew Rockwell can do so well with that site and newsletter while being such a loon with his own personal site and newsletter. Hee wasn't always that way. This whole Iraq thing has unhinged him a lot like it has the Libtards.

 
At 9/22/2008 8:59 AM, Anonymous QT said...

Buggy Prof.,

I concur that there is a rising populist tide against globalization, and free trade.

Must disagree with the concept of "paying the losers" to somehow pacify their angst. Does this not simply reinforce these misconceptions and encourage people to resist change rather than adapting to it?

Granted change is stressful. It was no less so for people living in Britain during the industrial revolution, or for thousands of farmers during the 20th century who moved to blue collar manufacturing jobs, or the millions of migrants in China who are moving to urban centres.

We have to learn to think of change as exciting, challenging, and dynamic improving our lives and taking us in directions that would have been inconceivable 20 years ago.

The entire compensation approach by contrast reinforces the idea that change is a traumatic, insurmountable obstacle which reinforces the sense of angst, depression, impotence, and anger.

I have a sister who runs a gilding and framing business. For the last 20 years, I have heard how her business is being destroyed by a succession of villains. First, it was poster art, then Ikea selling framed pictures, then it was do-it-yourself framing shops, now it is the chinese turning out gilded frames. Naturally, when family members hear about these tales of woe, they suggest that she move into a different line of business and she angrily responds that they are not supportive of her choice of career.

I do agree that education and training have to become more acessible to mature students. The internet allows us to reach many of these students. I believe in empowering workers to develop new skills and transition to new career paths rather than creating a culture of victimhood.

As one of the brightest speakers that I have come across, once wrote:

"Make it a good day."

Surely, this choice is ours.

 
At 9/22/2008 9:14 AM, Blogger bobble said...

OBH bellows with authority: "150k jobs" aren't the ones leaving the country en masse, unless they were already ridiculously and insanely overpaid factory union gruntwork."

what do you base that statement on? did rush tell you that? or was it mark perry?

OBH, that's a true story. MY story.

i can guarantee, its really happening, to a LOT of people, many are my friends and neighbors. these are the kind of high pay, high skill, knowledge jobs globalization is supposed to be CREATING for us here in the U.S.

what folks like you don't realize is that we're not just offshoring grunt work. everything is going overseas. financial analysis, IT , biotech, research, engineering, legal work . . .

And more education is no help. we are just as educated as they are, and vice versa. its just that they will do the job for 1/4 the pay. not criticizing them, its just the way it is.

oh well, i can always shop at wal-mart.

 
At 9/22/2008 11:02 AM, Blogger P. Madden said...

Bobble,

Your comments are right on. The notion that only overpaid union jobs are flying out of the country is delusional. It isn't based in any sort of reality. I work for a software company that once had over 1000 employees based in the U.S. Nearly 100% of those jobs have transferred overseas to Banglore, Beijing and other countries for 1/3 the cost. We now have a small office and 50 employees with a U.S. footprint. I'm one of the lucky few who maintained a customer facing job and I'm able to hang onto my job.

Our company moved headquarters for overseas operations to Dubai to avoid paying taxes. The money is held by banks outside the U.S. The board of directors for our company is raking in huge profits. “Dad” is the only one benefiting and he’s not sharing.

Hundreds recently lost similar I.T. jobs (many friends of mine) when Chrysler corporation transferred the majority of their support and operations to Tata in India.

What blows me away is that anyone would take your comments as B.S. and call you names. It's like someone covering their ears and saying "LA LA LA LA LA LA" as loud as they can so they don't hear you. The discourse is pathetic.

 
At 9/22/2008 11:12 AM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

"...OBH bellows with authority: "150k jobs" aren't the ones leaving the country en masse"

I wonder what OBH has to say about H-1B replacements. Same as outsourcing but more insulting.

See how it really works here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU

 
At 9/22/2008 11:35 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> what do you base that statement on?

bobbie, you ignorant slut.

YOU made the claim in a throwaway remark, without proof of any kind.

*I* challenged it.

YOU show your cards, me boyo. THEN I'll have to refute it, if you have some actual basis for it, which I'm betting almost certainly not the case.


> OBH, that's a true story. MY story.

Note the "en masse". A single job or two doesn't count. That's called "anecdotal evidence", and extension from the individual tot he general case is ALWAYS frowned upon. I want you to show how more than a few jobs making over 100k are "leaving the country".

You? You got unlucky, perhaps. I note how you also don't identify the job, the position, the company, or any other set of the surrounding circumstances. Very conveniently not indicating anything about the nature of the circumstances of the job "leaving", while extending your own experience to many other people without any justification.

And if you were making 150k and earning it, it's highly improbable that you have had a hard time finding a replacement job.

MOST people don't make 150k without actually having some major skills. And I've seen plenty of places looking for major skills.

 
At 9/22/2008 11:52 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I wonder what OBH has to say about H-1B replacements. Same as outsourcing but more insulting.

LOL.

1) I've worked with *two*. The kind of hoops the company had to jump through just to hire one was absolutely insane. Their position: The did not recommend it. The only reason they considered doing it for the second employee is because they had the experience still there from getting the first one. But for any company "thinking" about it from scratch, their advice would be "no". And this was a 500+ person company.

2) The company was hiring the people solely because THEY WEREN'T FINDING enough talented *and* experienced workers to do the job.


> everything is going overseas. financial analysis, IT , biotech, research, engineering, legal work . . .

... and coming right back.

Outsourcing doesn't work half as well as some people claim it does. Many of the outsourcing companies that have outsourced anything other than menial gruntwork (animation, drawing cels would be a really obvious example of this. Not something Americans really want to do) have pulled back radically on doing so.

The language barriers alone are problemmatic, the fact that you generally can't get the expert on the system on the line when you need them is another, the fact that you can't get the expert to come and figure out what is wrong in person is yet another.

Telepresence may work someday, but we're still a long way away from that day in anything but very special circumstances... like Mars rovers.

> And more education is no help. we are just as educated as they are, and vice versa. its just that they will do the job for 1/4 the pay. not criticizing them, its just the way it is.


And what you fail to grasp is that even lame-level Americans are more independently minded than citizens of most other nations.

OUR GREAT-GRANDPARENTS were people who thought out of the box.

We are a NATION of out-of-the-box thinkers.

This gives us a MASSIVE advantage in approaches to solving problems and thinking independently.

The stuff which gets offshored IS gruntwork and drudgery. It may be paperwork, but, like drawing animation cels, or pumping out boilerplate documents, it's not something Americans either do well or enjoy. Even inside an office, there are "#@&!* Jobs", as qt put it.

You know when we need to be scared? When another nation starts having libertarian ideals really take off (I'd keep an eye on New Zealand, at the moment). THAT nation will start demonstrating the ability to really and truly compete with us on the foreign stage.

 
At 9/22/2008 12:08 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I work for a software company that once had over 1000 employees based in the U.S.

Thanks for telling us what your company did/does, so we can see for ourselves if it fits that class I noted above -- office "#@&!* Jobs", of which there are plenty in the IT arena... or whatever other possible reasons there might be for doing it.

As I've commented, there are plenty of companies out there which have grasped the problems inherent in offshoring highly technical work, and are bringing all the "less grunty" work BACK to the USA.

And if you actually went LOOKING for information on this, you will likely be able to find it. More highly-paid technical jobs have been CREATED in the USA than have been "shipped overseas".

> Our company moved headquarters for overseas operations to Dubai to avoid paying taxes.

OK. Why?

BECAUSE THE USA DOUBLE-TAXES. I'm not going to even bother explaining that. If you don't grasp it, you don't know enough to be expressing an opinion on the overall subject, and need to read a hell of a lot more.

The only reason more corporations don't leave the USA is its stability and reliability in the business arena, which balances out that second taxation -- barely.

> What blows me away is that anyone would take your comments as B.S. and call you names.

Madden, you're the one with your hands over your ears, with the blinders on assuring you're reading only the stuff you believe in, much as bobbie.

bobbie has no excuse, he's been around here long enough that he ought to be aware of much of the subtext.

And part of the insulting is coming because he's really quite rude to Dr. Perry.

You can certainly disagree with him, but unless you ALSO have a Ph.D from a highly reputable economics school, you should be doing so with a very strong measure of recognition that you MIGHT not understand as much as he does about what is inarguably one of the most counter-intuitive sciences mankind has yet tackled in a serious manner.

So insulting him without first establishing your equivalent bonafides is neither wise nor polite.

And bobbie doesn't have ANY bonafides to compare. THAT much I'm fairly sure of.

 
At 9/22/2008 12:48 PM, Blogger bobble said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/22/2008 1:03 PM, Blogger bobble said...

OBH bloviates: "YOU show your cards, me boyo. THEN I'll have to refute it, if you have some actual basis for it, which I'm betting almost certainly not the case."

sigh, why do i bother?

ok, here ya go. i know its too much to ask that you'll at least read this with an open mind. but please try . . .

"According to Deloitte Consulting, 2 million jobs will move from the United States and Europe to cheaper locations in the financial services business alone. The exodus of service jobs across all industries could be as high as 4 million. The consulting firm forecasts that three-quarters of leading financial institutions and investment banks will allocate tasks to developing countries in the next five years and that India will be at the top of the list. Global financial institutions will invest $356 billion in India for outsourcing projects."

"Gartner also wrote in a report entitled "U.S. Offshore Outsourcing: Structural Changes, Big Impact" that 500,000 of the 10.3 million U.S. technology jobs could move offshore in 2003-04. Diane Morello, the author of the report, estimated that one in ten software services jobs are at stake at computer vendors and 5% of technology jobs are at stake in the wider corporate world. These assumptions led her to her estimate of 500,000 jobs being moved offshore"

EBSTRATEGY

""Outsourcing [offshore] is a lot more prevalent than a lot of people imagine," said Lee Duran, partner in BDO Seidman's technology practice, in an interview with InformationWeek. "Nearly half of companies are doing this, that's a lot of focus on offshore outsourcing." "

information week

 
At 9/22/2008 1:07 PM, Anonymous QT said...

OBH,

Personally, I'd watch Oz or Hong Kong. New Zealand has higher taxes and more socialism.

What people don't realize is that when you outsource to China, your chinese partner is usually the chinese government. The conference board found that about half of these offshoring ventures do not meet cost saving expections. There's a lot to be said for property rights, rule of law and a high quality electrical grid.

Competition and change are givens in an increasingly interconnected global economy. The U.S. still leads the world in innovation and in the size of its economy.

Not sure if you can activate this lecture on the rise of China & India. It does help to clarify some of the issues. The rise of China does not necessarily mean the end of the U.S. economy. In fact, it may open up all kinds of new opportunities for U.S. products and services.

Not a message that most people want to hear perhaps.

It is curious that some of us try to analyse problems and look for solutions. So often, people are not looking for solutions but want to vent their frustrations about the problem. It is an interesting that this discussion seems to cleave along this difference in approach.

Just an observation because it seems that this is a recurrent theme that divides us.

 
At 9/22/2008 2:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"what folks like you don't realize is that we're not just offshoring grunt work. everything is going overseas. financial analysis, IT , biotech, research, engineering, legal work . . ."...

Hmmm, could high corporate taxes and excessive taxation on capital gains have anything, anything at all to do with job flight to off-shore facilities?

How about excessive and overbearing EPA rules and regulations, does that give company owners (those who can afford to do so) reasons to move off-shore?

"Your comments are right on. The notion that only overpaid union jobs are flying out of the country is delusional. It isn't based in any sort of reality. I work for a software company that once had over 1000 employees based in the U.S. Nearly 100% of those jobs have transferred overseas to Banglore, Beijing and other countries for 1/3 the cost"...

Imagine that!?!?! A company wants to cut costs and make money!!!

Well they are a collection of cruel bastards aren't they p madden?

OBH says: "I don't agree with them all the time by a long shot, but the perspective is always those "things that make you go 'hmmm...'""...

Oh yeah, I occassionally cruise on over to Mies for a reality readjustment... Good stuff as a rule but I like you don't take everything they have to say at face value...

 
At 9/22/2008 3:52 PM, Anonymous qt said...

Got a link for the Mies site?

 
At 9/22/2008 4:34 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Here you go qt:

Ludwig von Mises Institute

Personally I like the old but tried & true info best: "Free To Choose" TV Series by Milton Friedman

 
At 9/22/2008 5:33 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> "Gartner also wrote in a report entitled "U.S. Offshore Outsourcing: Structural Changes, Big Impact" that 500,000 of the 10.3 million U.S. technology jobs could move offshore in 2003-04.

OK, you're quoting a source that is now 4-5 years old.

Are you under the impression that such data cannot now be *CHECKED* for accuracy, rather than being left as mere speculation?

And if it's not readily available, then perhaps someone doesn't want to admit that they were WRONG (I don't mean you, I mean those making such claims).


Considering that I seem to recall reading much more recent articles HERE ON CD that counteract what you're claiming based on a speculative report over 4 years old, you might grasp why I'm not finding much merit in your claims.

Indian IT Firms Increase Outsourcing TO the U.S.

What About Outsourcing TO The US: INSOURCING -- with a MONEY QUOTE, here:

Bottom Line: We hear a lot about U.S. companies outsourcing jobs overseas, but we haven't heard much about the outsourcing of 5.1 million jobs TO the U.S. from foreign companies headquartered outside the U.S.

So, yeah, as qt points out -- Some jobs of that sort WERE leaving, yes. Many came back, for a number of reasons, if they ever actually left. Most of the ones which left were office gruntwork types that Americans are ill-suited for and don't want to do --

============================
Back in the early 1990s, McDonalds, in the very affluent city of Boca Raton, FL, could not get high-school students or local FAU college students to work in the McDonalds there for as much as $10 an hour (in the EARLY 90s, mind you, with average pay about half what it is now). They literally were busing people in from the Miami area in order to get people willing to work there.

============================

Apparently, it's your position that they should have offered the students $15 or $20 an hour, instead? How much would the prices at that McD's had to be to support such salaries?

Despite what you think, businesses are... gawrsh... businesses. If the labor can't be had for a reasonable wage, they're going to farm it out, if they can.

And a lot of the work getting farmed out -- call center work is one of the more obvious ones -- is something virtually no one likes, has a very, very high turnover in the USA, is very streessful, particularly unrewarding, and pays crap because it requires no real skills other than patience in dealing with an irate customer.

...And many societies, like India, have a much greater "practice" at patience than Americans do, due to social frictions.

I'd agree with an argument that call centers should probably pay more and train better -- esp. with computer and tech call centers -- but are we, the consumers, willing to pay more money for that? The answer to that is often "no". YGWYPF.

===============

qt: about 1/10th of the articles there are pretty good. You can glance through the daily article archives here.

Keep in mind that they are Austrians, not Monetarist/Friedmanites, like Dr. Perry appears to be. One reason they're probably good to read, that way you're getting a different point of view.

I think the Austrians have a problem in that they've been predicting a meltdown for about 15 or more years now. Even if it happens, that's a bit of a timescale problem as far as economic predictions go.

So take what they say with a grain of salt.

Try this
And this
And this
And this
And this

 
At 9/22/2008 5:34 PM, OpenID sethstorm said...


It comes in the form of much cheaper goods, for the most part, or of much enhanced goods

...for which computers are definitely not "enhanced" in anything resembling product quality. Faster and with newer features, yes. Quality being eviscerated, definitely. I'd have to use the following to explain it:

The developed world is turning into a special case of the developing one, with an impact on quality. The legions of purchasers that could get quality now are a dismissible minority.



...does not necessarily mean the end of the U.S. economy. In fact, it may open up all kinds of new opportunities for U.S. products and services.

Problem is that it reduces the wants of the developed world to noise. It cannot be solved by asking the U.S. to be a niche case for the developing world.


I concur that there is a rising populist tide against globalization, and free trade.

Must disagree with the concept of "paying the losers" to somehow pacify their angst.

However, that is the way they are adapting. Unless there is some sort of substantial victory on their part, this tide will keep on mounting. The only choice is to include them on their terms.




If people have problems it's most often an unwillingness to move to where the jobs are, instead of staying in an (obviously) inherently crowded market.

You completely ignore the costs of moving. They do not have the speed or influence (by virtue of scale) that certain "virtual persons" have.


Hmmm, could high corporate taxes and excessive taxation on capital gains have anything, anything at all to do with job flight to off-shore facilities?

No. I pin that one squarely on the ability to move faster than a living, breathing, citizen. When a citizen is made slower than a "virtual person"(aka a business), this happens.

 
At 9/23/2008 12:10 AM, Anonymous QT said...

Juandos, OBH,

Thank you very much for the links. It does help as you say to consider other perspectives.

 
At 9/23/2008 8:25 AM, Blogger P. Madden said...

Juandos,

My point was that the notion that only grunt work is being exported is simply not true. Those jobs I mentioned require a Bachelors in Computer Science or equivalent. Many times the senior architects have a Masters in Computer Science. These are highly technical and very desirable jobs. Those 400 jobs that Chrylser lost this year are also very high-tech and desirable jobs. People who have invested years to build their careers now have very few options to maintain a similar lifestyle to the one they have known.

The company I work for had to do what it had to do. The president of our company was nearly in tears the day we cut our staff in half in 2000. I don't hate the players (my company), but I'm starting to wonder if the game is rigged. (I do mention that the board of directors are making out like bandits. They are the bank and principal shareholders). So, I'm simply asking who is actually benefiting from our current federal policies. It certainly isn't anyone I know personally.

I was also trying to point out that calling me or Bobble or anyone else on the blog stupid doesn't prove your point. If I disagree with one of M. Perry points that doesn't make me a (D). I never attacked M. Perry. I would love a chance to talk to him and point out why I think some of his arguments are a bit skewed. Next time I'm in Flint maybe I will.

The problem with these blog comments is that they rarely resemble a decent discussion. If I make a point that disagrees with someone the next thing you know the other point of view starts throwing tomatoes and calling names. It's really frustrating because I think that if we tried we could find some common ground.

I'm strong and I'll survive one way or the other. But, I look around me and see really good hard working people, college educated people, friends of mine, having their aspirations stepped on. The current federal policies don't work for me and most of the people I know.

 
At 9/23/2008 10:20 AM, Blogger the buggy professor said...

"The problem with these blog comments is that they rarely resemble a decent discussion. If I make a point that disagrees with someone the next thing you know the other point of view starts throwing tomatoes and calling names. It's really frustrating because I think that if we tried we could find some common ground." -- P. Madden




1) That's accurately said, and well put, P. Terms like socialism as tossed around by some posters are purely derogatory, with no empirical reference whatsoever . . . a means of rejecting an argument, rather than engage it on its terms.


2) Unfortunately, the Internet has accentuated these problems.

People go to web sites that reinforce their political or ideological bents, stay away from other sites with different views, and jump rapidly with derogatory dismissal on posters in a thread who dare differ with the prevailing thread-zeitgeist.

And some posters are simply lazy, unable to exploit the advantages of google. A minute spent googling would, for instance, not let some posters here claim that the US economy's boom period in this decade led to higher GDP growth than in the Clinton period (19% vs. 31% in real terms), or to higher job growth (6 million new jobs vs. 21 million jobs in an 8 year period). Or to higher income growth for average people (in the last 3 years of the 1990s boom, wages for the bottom 20% of wage-earners actually grew faster than for the top 20% --- unique since the 1960s).

Instead of a minute's research, it's much easier to throw mud, no? And experience, I suppose, some emotional relief in the process of smacking down an opposite view.



3) As for your position, you stated your viewpoints effectively in your earlier posts.

More generally, the refusal of some other posters here to take seriously the complaints about our economy voiced by 80% of the American people --- who said we were in a very bad or fairly bad economy long before the current financial crisis --- is, I fear, an indication of close-minded group-think.

And the same is true of the refusal to recognize the need for different policies by our government . . . both in the form of new regulatory oversight of financial markets (deregulation of industries has worked generally well) and far more support for those hurt by globalizing influences.



4) Alas, that refusal will simply fuel more and more populist backlashes.

In the process, we may find that certain beneficial changes in the US economy that have clearly fueled an impressive renewal and growth of American productivity in the last 15 years or so will themselves get harmed.

The problem isn't in the changes themselves --- new knowledge-based revolutionary technologies, globalization, and deregulation of industrial markets (as opposed to financial deregulation that destabilized the US economy in the late 1980s, again by 2000, and repeatedly since), but in the economic benefits of such changes.

The failure here has been aggravated by soaring health costs --- far in excess of inflation --- and worries about personal security in the face of constant change, while 90% of income growth in this decade has gone to the top 10% of income-earners.

......

5) One final observation.

When, in a giant complex economy like ours, the top 24 hedge-fund owners earned more last year than the combined income of the Fortune 500 owners, we are confronted with something very strange . . . unique in US economic history, and for all I know, the economic history of all other democratic capitalist countries.

......

But you can expect, despite all this, that one poster will talk about how people are stupid and greedy --- presumably, not the financial giants who created our financial mess, but rather families whose members are possibly fighting for us in Iraq and Afghanistan --- and others will invoke the name of a dead Austrian economist without confronting these problems directly.

.....

Michael Gordon, AKA, the buggy professor

 
At 9/23/2008 2:35 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

"...I've worked with *two*"

Wow! What a statistical sampling!

Does that make the ***6*** I was working with in my small group in a company that had hundreds company wide any more relevant?

All I know is that while some of our group got a severance exit, the H1-B's remained.

 
At 9/23/2008 10:53 PM, Anonymous qt said...

Buggy Prof.,

I concur that labels and name calling are counterproductive and in most cases, just plain annoying.

We may disagree on our conclusions and world view but surely, we do not need to descend to invective.

I had been waiting for your reply to my post and must admit to being somewhat disappointed that you have not responded. That is, of course, your perogative.

A discussion is a bit like an exchange of goods, the transaction is voluntary only occurring if both parties agree.

Slange

 

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