The FU Factor

I’ve been pondering why both Trump and Sanders are showing so well.

I think it all comes down to one little thing. Attitude.

In particular, an FU attitude toward The Powers That Be.

On both “sides” of things, I think the same “attitude” has formed. The FU attitude.

Makers and Takers both.

On the one hand, you have the Takers. They are the ones on the dole, daily having government assholes in their faces and just trying to not be flushed down the economic drain. Single mothers on food stamps working a minimum wage job wondering just how their life got so F’ed up and seeing kids, often just like theirs, with no hope or worse. Frisked or shot by an out of control Police State. Deciding that FU, I’ll take Socialism over this crap.

OTOH, you have the Makers. They are the ones busting their hump to keep the whole system working. Suffering under ever more Government Regulation, Taxes, & Stupidity making it ever harder to “make a buck” and at the end of the day being both dead tired and with little to show for it. Carrying not only their own family, but a half dozen others (as employees or as taxes for The Dole). Wondering just how the system got so F’ed up compared to their parent’s generation; and wondering what hope their kids will have of “making it” with all this crap on their heads. Buried in debt from birth with $19 Trillion of national debt, layers of State, County, and City debt, and somewhere north of $200 Trillion of “unfunded” crap to pay; THEN they get to pay for the College Debt Credit Card. Deciding that FU, I’ll take a Bulldog Trump over this crap.

They BOTH are being eaten alive by too expensive a Government doing things it ought not to do, for the benefit of The Well Connected and Evil Bastards. The Suckers on the Government Tit.

They BOTH want it to end, just not agreeing on the means.

So from bailouts of “too big to fail” banks that just make them bigger (and enrichened the well connected Evil Bastards running them) to a bloated and ineffective ObamaCare to NGOs sucking down $Billions from The Government that mostly goes to junkets and fat pay packages for crap, to wars in places we really don’t give a damn about that kills our sons (and increasingly our daughters) and friends while costing way too much that ends up in the pockets of War Profiteer Evil Bastards, to an EPA that long ago ran out of real work and now is busy making rules just to keep the money flowing (that incidentally kill the profits of the Makers while at the same time killing the jobs that the Takers would really like to have) to Police that now make way over $100,000 / year (at least here in Kalifornia) paid to kill the children of the Takers and fleece the cash off of any Maker who has the audacity to drive on the road with more than lunch money on them: It’s ALL a load of CRAP and both the Makers and Takers are fed up with it and saying FU!

Just each in their own way.

The Question

So the question is:

How do we get these two sides to recognize they BOTH want the same thing? To get rid of the leaches, parasitic NGOs, Government Money Suckers, and “death for a profit” adventures in foreign lands & Police As Murdering Enforcers, along with the Evil Bastard Crony Capitalists sucking at the Public Tit; and replace it with a lean, limited government that makes the Evil Bastards go work for a living while making sure that those who are hurting get enough help.

We are ALL PO’d beyond belief with where our “system” has ended up.

We ALL want the same thing ( a system that works, doesn’t suck our blood, and where everyone gets a fair shake and nobody is left out in the cold).

So how do we kill the monster that is, and plant a new seed of hope for all of US, while getting the leaches to realize that it is a bad parasite that kills the host and maybe they ought to go away?

I’m tired of having the Power Elite Evil Bastards playing a game of “let’s you and him fight while I watch and make book” and I’d really like to know how we can end it.

If it doesn’t end soon, it will end very very badly. That is the lesson of history. From The Fall Of Rome, to “Let Them Eat Cake” and “The French Haircut”, to The American Revolution and old King George getting an earful, to W.W.I, II, and all the Arab Springs of generations… I’d really rather avoid W.W.III and a series of Government Collapses as we’ve seen on parade in Greece and in South America for at least 1/2 a Century that I personally remember.

So how do we plot a path out of this quagmire that does not take the roads of economic collapse and / or war? Is there no way to get The Powers That Be to understand that The Little Guy can get really really pissed off and hunt them down and “deal with it”?

Have they never read the history of The Russian Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the …. Do they not ‘get it’ that being rich and important is NOT enough if you have done it by raping the people who live all around you? And maybe The Little Guy can get cranky enough to burn BOTH your houses down (since their house is now a cardboard box, it’s not like they care so much…) in the cause of a restart?

How do we get Them to understand that they are no smarter than us, and no more worthy, and certainly not more moral; and all it takes is a tiny bit more PO’ed and We The People can turn into We The Mob? As an example, my Father was smarter than I am. I’d not quite appreciated it as he came from a disadvantaged background and had some of that baggage. In particular, he never finished High School. Yet he did more in his life than I have done in mine. Not by much, but enough. I’d guess his I.Q. at about 135 to 145+ based on other folks who’s numbers I know. There are many such folks in ‘We The People” who are far far smarter than TPTB thinks… or is. In my home town one of the local police was I.Q. 136 measured. Just a street cop. Nice guy, too.

The Point? Never confuse an advantaged birth, or a Special Relationship with Government for skill, ability, or intelligence. It isn’t.

In Conclusion

Which brings me to this end point.

Before us are two paths. One fairly clear. It goes via wars, conflicts, collapse of governments, shrinking economies and stupid suffering. That is the path the world is presently following. The other goes via a Square Deal for all of us, shutting down the “Privilege by Palm Greasing Government”, ending wars for no gain, and generally pulling all the Fat Big Dogs off the Public Tit and telling them they need to go find something of real value to do.

How do we get off of the present path and onto that other path? The one that BOTH the Makers and the Takers want? It’s only the Suckers that don’t want it… And I’m getting really really tired of those Suckers… And we all know how that ends when We The Mob finally gives up and goes after those Suckers… I’d really rather find a different path than the historical one. I remember history, and I’d rather not repeat it.

So how do both the Makers and Takers “make a deal” to cut out the Suckers so we all can get back to a normal life, and a much better one at that?


Since it was referenced in comments, I thought I’d add this image of an American Themed version:

Come And Take Them

Come And Take Them

From Original here.

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Political Current Events and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to The FU Factor

  1. Larry Ledwick says:

    I don’t know the answer but I agree completely with you that you can only beat a dog so long before you get your face ripped off.

    This guy seems to get it, question is are the folks he is talking to paying attention or fiddling while Rome gets ready to burn?

    Note this was written in August 2014 about one year ago.

    Frankly I think too many things are too screwed up and it is only a matter of time until one of our over seas problems becomes a world wide problem. As in WWII will we have to bleed heavily before we get serious about military risks, or have Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and others stolen enough of a march on us that there will be no catching up.

    I fear we are very close to the point of no return if the wrong button is pushed, as modern weapons can totally destroy the ability to mobilize. We won WWI by out mobilizing and out producing our foes and it was only barely that we got the final advantage. Losing the initiative is often a fatal mistake that there is no recovery from.

    What applies to military issues also applies to social issues. I am concerned that the hate and discontent already planted will not be able to be lanced but will fester until it pops in a spasm or release. The only question in my mind is which pissed off faction will get pushed over the edge and start down that catastrophic path.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    What I find interesting is as in that article posted above, both the left and the right are really on the same side, it is just that they refuse to recognize that both solutions need to happen at the same time to unclog the economy.

    Raise wages and simultaneously cut duration of welfare without work for able bodied people, shut down the EPA and all regulations they have passed in the last 10 years, get rid of ridiculous regulations on every sort or manufacturing that drives up costs for little or no benefit, tighten immigration quotas and get serious about deporting illegal immigrants, cut H1B visas in half, (there are plenty of qualified IT folks in the US. they just can’t get a job when they are being undercut by folks willing to work for 40% of a fair salary), put an escalating tax on CEO’s including their stock options tied to the national median wage so executive have an incentive to raise average wages so their compensation packages go up etc. You can’t only shorten one end of a rope; reduce size of government and get their fingers out of every pie at the same time you let employees keep more of their wages.

    Only problem is getting all that to happen at the same time is a functional impossibility while you have everyone in the game trying to scam some one else to get theirs.

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting article, but I think his focus on a high minimum wage is misplaced. (It really is the case that a job, and the wages paid to it, is only worth what it produces; and a higher minimum wage just makes many jobs go away. There is a very long history of wage rises and the following automation, not the least of which is the United Farm Workers that single handedly put more farm workers out of work than anyone else… see the mechanical grape harvester as a direct result and more…)

    The problem isn’t a minimum wage, or ‘income inequality’, it is our government (size and what it does) and laws (bought and paid for by his 0.1% ers to give them advantages) such as the lower than anyone else income taxes on Hedge Fund Managers. Seattle can support a higher than National minimum wage BECAUSE it has so many already fairly rich from the economic boom there. Ditto San Francisco. Put that same wage in Laredo and you add a boat load of folks to the welfare / unemployment roles. It is sheer stupidity to think that a ‘one size fits all’ based on rich urban centers can fit in poor rural ones too…

    Speculation on my part? Nope. See Puerto Rico as one existence proof. Once the Federal Minimum Wage was shoved onto them, companies and jobs moved “one island over” to lower cost centers. Now The Federal Government is THE major supplier of money in Puerto Rico and what was once a thriving economy is hard core on the rocks. Let local wages reflect local economic reality and the poorer places get more jobs. Force a ‘one size fits all higher cost basis via wages’ everywhere, the already rich areas do fine, but the poorer areas get put out of work.

    That’s his major error.

    But generally, yes, he “gets it” that things are not going well, and pitchforks are being sharpened.

    But on both sides, not just the poor side, and a higher minimum wage will help a few, but make a whole lot more just a whole lot more pissed. (Either from going out of business or from being out of a job… like all those former United Farm Workers members…)

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes I concur, I don’t agree with his specific case (higher minimum wage), he obviously is trotting out the Democratic line, but he understands that the big movers and shakers are on very thin ice and if the wrong thing breaks the wrong way the whole house could come down on his head (and the heads of other movers and shakers) The point he is making however is that you have to give some on both ends of the board to make progress, you can’t just fix it with any single agenda.

    The evil bastards as you like to call them have slowly systematically cut every corner and shaved every dice in their favor and made it impossible for folks to adjust to changes. Like the king making it illegal to hunt game to feed your family, folks are getting caught in double binds, no matter what they do it is wrong or expensive in some way.

    The example I use is that during the depression folks could walk from town to town and get by thanks to being able to do small jobs for food, (chopping wood for a farmer or some similar work for food exchange). Now all those doors are closed, you can’t have your kids work in the family business to help get by, because of child labor laws even if the kids desperately want to help the family business succeed. You can’t offer a job to a guy off the street for $3.00 an hour for some cash off the books work to hang a new door on the barn without risking 9 different problems with work rules, social security deductions, failure to provide 1099 etc.

    That has taken the resiliency out of the economy. Kids can’t get a paper route like I did to help the family cover incidental costs when times were tight. There were more than a few occasions that my Mom would borrow money from me so the family could go to a movie or do something special and pay me back on payday. We bought bread from a “day old bread store” at 12 cents a loaf (late 1960’s prices 0.86 a loaf in today’s dollars) and stuck 4 or 5 loafs in the freezer. Dad did handy man jobs, with me as his helper, simple things like refinishing a front door etc. You can’t start a business in your garage (apple computer and HP both started that way) without getting in trouble with zoning or some nosy neighbor and the HOA. You can’t cancel the car insurance for 2 months to cover an unexpected expense, no matter what you do to try to break the cycle someone whats a piece of your hide. Used to be you could fail to renew the license plate on a car for a couple months and then renew it when you started driving it again with no penalty, now they hit you with a $100 late registration fee if you let it lapse but you can’t renew it without an emissions sticker and you can’t get the emissions sticker without doing some repairs you can’t afford at the moment, and the car control systems are so complex without test equipment the average guy is at a loss to fix something that might be as simple as an obscure vacuum line popped off or a broken .59 cent plastic hose fitting.

    That is why people are dropping out of the system an just living on disability or what ever program they can get qualified for, they are just getting tired of constantly fighting the system.

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    Now the rest of you are getting a taste of what farmers have had to live with for 80 years. When I started farming, 1 farmer supported 23 people and things were tough but survivable. By the time I quit 1 farmer supported over 100 people and now a farmer spends as much time doing government paperwork as he does farming! Most People are within 30days of starvation. the only thing that has kept this ball up is CHEAP, PLENTIFUL FOOD from America’s farmers. Stand by for LARGE increases in your food cost this spring. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Last years good crop is being followed by this years fair crop in the mid-west and poor crops in the far-west. Expensive food among poor people equals revolution. Doubling the minimum wage will not make much of a difference and those on fixed income will really suffer. Remember the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Well paid Government workers and retirees saw their good incomes become worthless…pg

  6. BobN says:

    I marvel at how hard it is to get the people riled. Yes, many will vote Trump, but that isn’t a well oiled action plan. People seem incapable of taking action, but maybe that is the result of big government constant haircuts.
    Bergdahl looks to walk after obvious treason, I’m shocked the old vets have not done a drive by on him. even the old vets seem timid.
    They put out a report that government works make 2x in compensation compared to the average worker, at the same time they announce no SS raise this year, but those government workers will all get bonuses and raises. The guy on the street just says damn!

    If 1/10 of what now goes on our forefathers would have been in the fields with Muskets. I hear the rhetoric on pitchforks, but I no longer believe the will to act is there, the system will fall and everyone will face hell before the fight returns.

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    It starts with “passive aggressive” and only later advances to real pitchforks.

    The “passive aggressive” is already here… I know I’m doing some of it. I ought to have gone out looking for a new job as soon as I got back to Kalifornia, but I haven’t. It just sticks in my craw how much taxes take here. So I’ve “hunkered down” instead. Doing a constant “mañana” for months… That’s a load of taxes not created…

    I’m also thinking of just taking early Social Security. Doing that and cashing out an IRA to pay off the mortgage lets me transition to “Taker” easily… Only a misplaced sense of morality has prevented it…

    But yes, folks are remarkably tolerant to crap. Until they are not. Then you get brittle failure.

    The riots in Greece came on suddenly. Similarly the Arab Spring. Similarly “The French Haircuts”… But once ignited it goes fast, and often further than expected.

    BTW, per Bergdahl, “the night is young”. Folks will wait for the legal system to run its course. But I would not want to be him outside a bar in Texas on a dark night…


    It’s been getting steadily worse for all of us over that time, not just Farmers. My parents used to hire a new waitress with a handshake and a start time. A decade or so back I’d hire folks with a small pamphlet of government forms. Then I decided to just fold up the business and quit. At my last contract hire, the booklet of forms and including a background check, drug test, credit check, criminal check, etc. etc. was hundreds of dollars of cost to the employer. Glad it wasn’t me on the other side of it…


    BINGO! Give that man a rubber ducky!

    I have frequently said that all my favorite memories of my youth are now illegal. ( It used to be that “many were” and before that “some are becoming”…)

    I worked in the family restaurant at age 7 1/2 to 12; now illegal. (Then a ‘no-no’ but never enforced and basically needed a permission slip from the parents to the school to get the ‘work permit’ but since it was your folks everyone just didn’t waste the time and bother).

    We, as kids, would ride our bikes out to the improvisational shooting range at the river (guns in plane sight) or go walking on open fields shooting ‘varmints’ – no licenses, permits, whatever; and certainly no worry that the cops would come and do a ‘take down’ or shoot us.

    Going Fishing consisted of a pole, line, hook, and bait and a slow day. Now it’s a legal proceeding, costs a fortune, and you must staple the license to your body above the waist… (Not visible to the guy with binoculars or a drone means a big fine, even if you have the license).

    “Shade Tree Mechanic” was how most folks kept the car running and ‘engine swap’ was done from anything to anything. Reg, on a parked car, could lapse and you just left it lapsed until you needed the car. In Florida I had my drivers license confiscated for “suspended license” due to changing insurance companies. Turns out if you get NEW insurance, and THEN let the old insurance lapse, a “cancellation notice” arrives at their DMV after the insurance coverage notice, so they suspend your license for “no insurance”… Got to go to the DMV, show the proof of insurance (that they had IN THEIR COMPUTER and matched) and then they said “OK, we’ll reissue your license without the $180 or whatever no insurance penalty” but I still had to pay $25 for the “re issuance”, and spend a day in court to show the paperwork (but no fee / penalty / whatever) to get the citation tossed out. PITA doesn’t even come close. (In California they now issue Drivers Licenses to illegal aliens, and just signed a law that anyone who gets a drivers license is AUTOMATICALLY registered to vote… so one wonders how they sort that out… but lord help you if you don’t slice a chunk of money to the Insurance Company and dot every i and cross every t and avoid THEIR errors…)

    We’ve made the system too brittle to work in times of trouble, and we’ve made the few who get over the hurdles richer at the expense of the many who can’t fight their way in.

    Hell, I’m in the “Gifted” group and have a couple of degrees, and I’m thinking of just giving up and going on the SS Paycheck. God only knows what the average Joe and Jane with a High School Diploma and no money are thinking. Or the 20%+ unemployed “black youth”… or is that 40% really now?

    It reaches a point where no matter what you do, you are breaking some law, so you might as well embrace it and get the benefits. No wonder so many folks are doing drug dealing and welfare fraud.

    But it doesn’t break until it does, and it doesn’t erupt in riot and chaos until there are more who have given up and are not “making a living off the dole” than are. (As of now, it’s about 60% in the USA working, so we have 10% more to go… maybe…)

    Then the Rule Of Law gets tossed out and out come The Long Knives and you get a Riot or a krystallnacht or a Revolution… Like I said, I’d rather our society didn’t ‘go there’ and we fixed this first. But it is not up to me.

    Oh, and you left out that in California you must have a dynamometer smog check that costs just under $100 AFTER the repairs and then you get to find out if you need more repairs… and a retest… (Which is part of why I’m not selling my old cars that don’t have as high a hurdle to clear).

    Oh well. I just wish it didn’t take so long to resolve, one way or the other. This kind of crap can go on for decades of slow decay. (Look at most any South American country for examples, though Argentina is a great one. At one point about the ’60s or ’70s it was 10% of global commerce… now hardly a footnote… while Brazil is taking a nosedive on their repeated cycle of boom / bust that they’ve done at least 3 times now, or is it 4? As they swap from free market oriented to socialism and back again. Wash, repeat, fade, die, and wash again.. Cycle seems to be about one generation. clue?…)

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    AS long as the school systems are allowed to teach Socialist drivel every generation must relearn the hard learned lessons of failure that, that dogma causes…pg

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think it is important to remember that only about 30% of the population supported the American revolution and only about 3% actually picked up a gun to toss the bums out.

    My sense is a lot of people who are inclined to act are keeping a low profile improving their readiness and biding their time. Trying to figure out who is friend who is enemy and who can be trusted, It is a bad thing if you are a little too early with the pitch forks.

    They know sooner or later someone will create the Casus belli the “black lives matters” folks are nipping around the edges of kicking off an urban war between police and radicals / gang bangers, it smells like they are hoping some gang banger finally flips the switch and the cites will drop over the cliff into riots and anarchy. Some think that would be a victory, some realize it is just a means to an end for those who are totalitarian in nature and looking for an excuse to flip into police state mode.

    BLM came very close with their actions in Nevada at the Cliven Bundy ranch but it was just barely avoided by second thoughts and refusal to take that last step on both sides.

    One of the hidden issues is this administrations lawlessness with things like immigration where they refuse to enforce laws or openly and blatantly in your face out flank the law or the intent of the law. If that goes on too long, everyone begins to say screw if if the law does not matter to them it don’t matter to me. You already see hints of it with the very very low compliance with assault weapon ban in New York. Only fraction of the likely number of weapons were registered. People are in effect saying Molon Labe “come and take it” The government in New York is flummoxed it has no idea how to handle that level of non-compliance. The same thing happened with recreational drugs like Marijuana, eventually they figured out they could not arrest everyone. That battle also created a culture of “screw the laws” in a lot of people’s minds, just the same as prohibition did in the roaring 20’s.

    That is the first stage of open resistance. By ignoring the letter of the law and refusing to enforce laws on the books and passing idiotic laws about nonsense the governments are setting a stage for an open challenge to their authority.

    You see it also with open abuse of laws by agents of the government like the civil asset forfeiture laws. Some police departments have convinced themselves it is okay to run an extortion racket under the shield of civil asset forfeiture. They don’t realize it yet, but they are slowly drifting toward the type of official corruption rampant in Mexico and central American banana republics.

    A law abiding republic and rule of law is a fragile commodity which does not play well with abusive governments. You have a situation where open revolt or totalitarian government are the only two possible end cases if the government loses the trust of the governed.

    Both governments and the evil bastards who try to manipulate them for their own ends should stop and think about what happens when you piss off the tiger you are riding. There is no safe way to get off an angry tiger.

  10. Another Ian says:


    From China in the 1980’s I got a copy of

    Jian Bozan, Shao Xunzheng and Hu Hua (1964). “A Concise History of China”

    Which basically says – as you have above of other places- that every change in dynasty in China happened when the peasants decided that the screwing had gone too far and took up the pitchforks

  11. Another Ian says:


    And this and link don’t add any easier reading either

  12. pyromancer76 says:

    I have problems with joining up with the Takers. The leadership are the grandbabies of the Red Diaper Babies who came with the large European immigration at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Cs — Sanders background. They were tools of Lenin, Stalin, and every Soviet gov and worked to defeat the U.S. from within. Quite a number went to Soviet Union after WW II for paradise. You can read what happened to them; a few escaped under harrowing circumstances.

    Many of their followers, the supposedly lowinfo, on-the-dole people, probably would wake up if there were job possibilities. However, the financial, Chamber-of-Commerce open-border one-world elites don’t want “jobs”. They have bankrolled the AGW scam, own the media, use their massive contributions to elect Uniparty people, enabled a communist-islamist-America-hater to do his worst (from both conscious and unconscious motives) in this country to attempt to destroy every American strength — because he does not get in the way of the Uniparty. Why are there fewer people working than ever before? Because it was planned this way. No jobs, no self-worth, get used to taking (and illegals can be hired under the table).

    E.M., you have well more than earned your right to “retire” in your own entrepreneurial way — this blog alone sings your praises. More power to you. But I wish everyone here would take a look that the only one who has any hope of turning things around is a Maker — Donald Trump. This is the first election since I can remember when any “American” values have been part of the primary process and people from across the parties (what’s left of them), across religious persuasions, across racial-ethnic lines are joining in old-fashioned values — hard work, truth in investigative journalism, limited government, secure borders. No borders, no country. The elitist, one-worlder, UN-funders, global financiers will have won.

    I knew after the last Republican primary stupidity-debacle in 2012 we were being played by the elites. (Actually, I sort of knew when a bozo like McCain was nominated, too, but did not wake up then. I thought TeaParty might have meant a wake-up call.) (I sort of knew in 2008 when there was no investigation of Obama and his do-nothing, no-resume background, promotion in every area by Ayers-type communists/Saudi-islamist-money/later-financial types. So easy to find out his background. His mother, grandparents red-diaper types). Anyway finally in 2012, I fully knew. Thank goodness for Sundance at ConservativeTreehouse (and I am no “conservative”) for doing the due diligence of a true American investigative journalist and informing those who want to work hard and who want a country to work hard in. He has the details. He shows the proofs — as they are occurring. I hope we make it.

    E.M. I wish you could be enlisted in the cause of enabling Americans of all backgrounds to “work hard” again. At the fundamental base there must be possibilities for inspiration, creativity, and productivity. I think Trump is engaging Americans on this basis; I don’t think Sanders ids. You have one of the finest minds I know to help engage this horrible tangle of a knot in our country.

  13. The number of rules in the law-books you have to observe far exceeds the time available to most people to read them, let alone understand the complex legalese where words don’t always mean what you think they do. It’s pretty certain that we all break some of the laws each day, and the number of laws broken will necessarily increase if we run a business or indeed do anything useful. The System thus has sure-fire ways of hauling any of us in front of the courts and taking time or money from us if we are unfortunate enough to get noticed. Ignorance of the law is after all no excuse.

    I’m fortunate to live in rural SW France where the officials apologise for the rules being so complex (but they are the rules) and try to help (and apply common-sense) rather than insist on absolute compliance. Still, it’s really not worth trying to start a business and learn a whole raft of regulations on employment and taxes. I don’t understand the words in the tax-form in English, let alone French. The more complex the regulations are, the more loopholes you create for smart people to find and the less time the normal person has to spend on actually doing the job itself. I’m saying FU to the rules by living on a small pension, having found that having a part-time job here ends up with so little profit that it’s really not worth doing. So many “côtisations” that remove money before the tax-man gets to think about taking a cut, including one that took money to pay for a paid holiday of 2 weeks in the year and would only pay back with proof that you weren’t anywhere near the workplace for that time. Having to prove you are taking a break? And does a work-related email or phone-call in that time result in a refusal to return your money since you’re supposed to be off-work? The French people have a cavalier attitude to the laws, observing those that are sensible, while the French State seems to keep adding to the regulations each year so it looks like they are solving problems when they are in fact making new ones.

    Going Galt is a good option. Whether it gets to pitchforks or AK47s is difficult to predict, in the same way as if (it’s said) you put a frog in hot water he’ll jump out, but if you put him in cool water and slowly heat it up he’ll stay until he boils.

  14. Ian W says:

    We are witnessing the reason for The Second Amendment. Right at the time when the 0.1% and Federal Government also have wind of it and want to bring in ‘assault weapon’ bans: this is not coincidental.

  15. p.g.sharrow says:

    For those that divide the world into Makers and Takers, you forget the worst, Destroyers.
    Destroyers believe in the creativity of destruction. Destroy things and the Makers will make Better things, More things, New things.
    During the allied destruction of Germany in WWII Hitler said, “If the German people can not create my better world then they should be destroyed”!
    If they loot and burn their neighborhood they say GOOD, someone will just rebuild things newer, better, the stores will be nicer and sell at a cheaper price. If we riot, police will be nicer to us if we curse and threaten them enough. Mob Rule! the thing that the Founding Fathers feared the most, Democracy in action, That is why they created a Republic with lots of roadblocks to actions. Protection of the minorities from the will of the majority. Protection of the Makers from the greed of the Takers, Protection from the insanity of the Destroyers.
    Today we hear Loud cries for the destruction of things to “Make it better!” Generally that destruction just creates chaos where the worst of the takers, Take Control. This society needs a renewal but not destruction! that is the path to disaster. That is the path that the GEBs want us to take. They want that opportunity to prevail in Their design. We know the path toward peace and prosperity we just need to return to it, get out of the confusion of mob rules, taker demands and destroyer noise…pg

  16. gallopingcamel says:

    Our government is well along the path to becoming an oligarchy with plutocratic tendencies.

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    This just popped up on drudge report take with a large grain of salt until confirmed by another media source.

    Here we have a little item from Germany, what makes you think unrestricted / controlled emigration could be a problem for the countries of Europe and the west in general?

  18. John Robertson says:

    Makers are smart, they like to build and create new technologies.
    But if you are robbed of the reward for your labour, repeatedly, by arrogant sanctimonious rulers, who destroy the means of production.
    Makers stop making and can very rapidly become destroyers.
    If I am to keep no benefit from my work, to be insulted by thieves who take by force and hoard the loot. Boasting and gloating over their cleverness.That loot becomes a target.
    Here in Canada we are almost done a federal election.
    The choice is Klepto light or Klepto ever greater or klepto deserters.
    All national parties are just fine with stealing private property from individuals and rewarding their sycophants /supporters with that stolen property minus a “cost of handling” fee.
    We are living proof that government is not the answer, but until we run out of other peoples money and the means of mortgaging our great-grandchildren’s future for current ease, nothing will change.
    As for bringing together all parties from the host, uniting against the parasites?
    An informed and involved voter is the key.
    Hence the push to indoctrinate the children, the rise of emotional reaction over reason,open disinformation from our legacy media.
    Glenn Beck pointed out the obvious, where the democrats/progressives have held power for decades, their clients (who they say they are there to help) are worse off by every objective measure.
    Detroit is an example to us all. However the mob is being whipped from both sides and as long as we fight amongst ourselves the parasites will feed well.
    Sorry lost my way.
    We smarten up as a herd when times are tough, police our fools& bandits better and we get richer.
    When rich we get lazy and soft as a herd, fools and bandits rise to the top and we get poor, tough times come.Cycle or fractal I do not know.
    Whether this technology of the internet will help or harm I do not know, but the parasites have always benefited from our collective amnesia.

  19. beththeserf says:

    Agree Chiefio, re bleeding economies with over regulation. Jest a serf from
    the Humanities but my father was an engineer and innovator. My take on
    the enemy within.

  20. pyromancer76 says:

    See today’s post — Exactly on your topic: “Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both are fully and comprehensively understanding of the root of the problem and what has undermined the essential cornerstone of our Republic”, including their different solutions to the problem. Also why neither must survive this primary season and the (splitter) strategy against them. The only permissible outcome is Hillary/Jeb, or their seconds, if the going gets too rough. These rich aren’t “lazy”; they are purposefully after trillions of dollars in the trade deal for starters — and the U.S. can go to heck. They purposefully own and control all media — no investigative journalism, except in blogs like this one. Watch out for freedom of the internet.

  21. p.g.sharrow says:

    I have been watching this political Show of Shows and the ones in front are all noise. The one to watch is Cruz, slow and steady, has plenty of funding, a real grass roots organization every where, a real conservative Constitutionalist.
    Bernie is proud to be a Social Progressive (communist) and offers heavier doses of the thing that ails us. Trump is a rich boy that is no politician and is used to bullying his way. neither has an organization to speak of. Hillary and Jeb are entitled heads of their wings of their party. Neither is able to rouse any enthusiasm as they represent same old, same old, of stuff we have already seen. The Clintons will be the death of the Democratic Party and the Bushs are just Democrat lite East Coast Rinos that are the cause of the problem of the Constitution Rewrite being done by the Supreme Court. I will say again Watch Cruz. He will be a very important man in the future of the Republic…pg

  22. meltemian says:

    Being English and living in Greece I have to say I knew nothing about Ted Cruz but this made me better informed, I like the cut of his jib.

  23. Adrian Ashfield says:

    As Sanders pointed out last night, it doesn’t make much difference who becomes president as he/she would be powerless against Congress. UNLESS the people rise up and throw the present lot out of there. That is unlikely to happen – yet.

    They all say the problem would be solved by more paying jobs, but that is also unlikely. We haven’t really got out of the recession and automation will take care of eliminating the new jobs.

    It could be the American Empire is drawing to a close. Reduce the expenditure on the military/industrial complex by ¾ , get rid of the government departments that really do little and cost a lot, tax the wealthy and this would pay for UBI (universal basic income.) America is the only first world country without universal health care and our “free market competitive” system costs 2 – 10 times as much as other countries.

    So it is possible to correct the system but I won’t live to see it.

    The main differences between the parties are that the Republicans are warhawks and the Democrats think government can run things, rather than going to UBI and keeping the government’s nose out of it.

    I think LENR (Rossi’s 1 MW plant has now operated for seven months) will be seen to work after the end of the 350 day test late February, and may stir things up enough to provide opportunities to do some of the above. No question we are all fed up with the status quo.

  24. John Robertson says:

    I see on second reading i may be confusing the takers with the parasites.
    A natural mistake, i live in a government town, where one justification is ;”Everybody’s doing it”.
    Far too many of our citizens believe wealth comes from the government, especially those employed within the Bureaus of FUD who should know better.
    One method would be to starve the beast, with tax being set by taxpayer only referendum, at a fixed rate.
    I like 10% locally with the local paying 10% to the State/Province and the State paying 10% to the Federal.
    But parasites do not voluntarily pull their fangs out of a vein and power crazed fearful and greedy people have a long history of leading the Herd into wars.
    As you generously point out those on the dole are quickly trapped by a morass of regulation and rules, they are very valuable as clients so will never be released willingly.
    Just as accepting welfare can become a life long sentence here in Canada, the “helpers” will sabotage every effort by their clients to take a job.
    The public interest.Does it exist?
    Kind of depends on who is talking, our professional freeloaders talk about this thing a lot, yet it seems to mean their interest in feeding at others expense.

  25. p.g.sharrow says:

    UBI ! That Idea is the destruction of everything. Give the TAKERS a guaranteed free ride and what happens? They riot for MORE, MORE, MORE. People Must contribute to wealth creation or we are ALL lost.
    For thousands of years the idea of, From those according to their ability and To those according to their needs, Has been tried and the result is always the same. Greedy Lazy Bastards demand their share or more, instead of working. The few real workers are too busy to complain effectively until they are burned out and quit! THE END! So far Europe has had all kinds of Socialist goodies but they are all dying under the weight of accumulating debt. They have all been hiding behind the American Shield and Utilizing the benefits of American science and medicine.
    The American Miracle is dying because of massive over regulation from local bureaucrats all the way up to those of the Federal Government and taxation that leaves very little in the pockets of those that do the wealth creation This is Done in order to fund the regulators and the Grand Giver-ment that the socialists love and want MORE of. The song is always the same “Tax the RICH” take their money to fund more giveaways. But it comes out of the pockets of those that work. Giving wealth to those that do not create it IS NOT AN INVESTMENT, it is a WASTE. Pay people to create more wealth. Unburden those that want to create jobs. Back in the 1960s LBJ said that America is so wealthy that it OWED everyone a good living. And our present wreck was set under way. Now What does the Democrat leaders offer as a solution? MORE of the same! We just need a lot more of their insanity and surely this will get better this time. We already know what works, their prescription NEVER WORKS FOR LONG. You run out of other peoples money…pg

  26. Adrian Ashfield says:

    You have not thought it through.

    1. “Socalism” does actually work in countries like Denmark and Sweden. They are currently rated as the best places to live.

    2. It is all very well saying everyone MUST work but with 93 million adults in the US not working and the rise of automation/AI, how do you propose to do that?

    3. 2.6 million Fed employees (+ 1.5 million military)
    Total Fed & State employees 28.6 million (2013)
    740.513 for prison systems. (Make drugs legal?)
    A lot of the welfare bureaucracy could be eliminated by UBI.

    4. Choose one. (A) let people starve to death. (B) Deal with the riots and civil unrest. (C) pay the unemployed.

    UBI is not attractive at first glance because it pays idle people, but you are going to have to pay increasing numbers as automation spreads and UBI is probably the cheapest way to do it.

    I would rather have my family able to walk down the street without being molested.

  27. Adrian Ashfield says:

    Unlike welfare, UBI doesn’t trap you in the system. In the limited places it has been tried, many people still actually work. They still want more money and it supports people trying to do something they enjoy (Art music) or starting a small business, that they could not afford to try without it. It is the existing welfare system that smells.

  28. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Adrian; I have spent many years studying this problem.
    I have heard the mantra about the wonderful success of Denmark and Sweden in their application of Socialism. One small thing, They have been riding a wave of Energy Income for the last 25 years, a wave that is subsiding. Even they are looking at an end of their wonderful good fortune.

    There are huge numbers of jobs available BUT, government created barriers to hiring are huge and getting larger. It used to be If I needed workers at, twice the minimum wage,, I could hire them for 1 day, or a week , or a month. Job done, pay them, thank them for their efforts, move on. Now if you hire you are married to them and the government. The Cost of doing the hiring has vastly increased SPECIALLY the PAPERWORK. Only solution, automation or stop the projects. Add to that the push for collage education, any Collage education. Today half of Degree holders in America are working a job that has no need for their Degree. What a waste of time and money to get that worthless degree and now they want it for FREE! And they want to be paid a living income while they are there.

    28.6 million GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES! at a cost of 100 billion dollars a month at least! What a waste of resources. A friends mother remarked that Government employees appeared to be an occupying army. They are everywhere, all the time, en mass, in government provided vehicles. The bureaucrats are no longer “Public Servants” They are the MASTERS of everything.

    People that have to work for a living do not waste their efforts and time in demonstration and rioting. People that have nothing else to do do those things. Pay them with nothing to do, They get Drunk, Stoned and or demonstrate and riot for MORE. In this country if you earn an income you also get an earned income refundable credit to help with substandard income. The argument of Starvation in this country is bogus. As bogus as the great need for large numbers of immigrant workers to do jobs that Americans can not or will not do. These are special interest lies to fit their narrative for government assistance.

    All drug control is created to gain control over the population and is NOT Constitutional. Bureaucrats and politicians love drug control as it is their excuse to forge the Chains of Slavery for the populace. The say they are controlling crime but they are Creating Crime by making it pay, pay very well. Further excuse for massive bureaucratic bloat.

    If you want to walk down the street unmolested, Open carry a weapon, Oops Government Officials will attack you. Guess at this time you are SOL. Socialism created this…pg

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    Any time you pay people to NOT work you are wasting a valuable asset. Period, full stop.

    Automation does NOT eliminate the need for labor, it makes more stuff with the labor you have.

    (IF that second one were not true, we’d all be unemployed now and would have been for the last 100 to 200 years. The ‘sabotage’ of the machinery at the start of the Industrial Revolution was over exactly this same issue. Automation via machines. Adding a bit of robotic intelligence to the machine does not change the economics.)

    People have an infinite capacity to consume. Until such time as we all have as many homes as Algore, our own private (automated?) jet, as many cars in the garage as Jay Leno, and our choice of a half dozen dinners each night; well, there’s more work to do.

    It is a farce and waste of time to ever be concerned about automation putting us all out of work.

    It WILL change the nature of the work we do. ( I now type at a computer instead of working at a hand forge as Grampa did, or chase cows like Dad did, or flip burgers and wait tables like Mom did, or..) And there can (will?) be a ‘distribution’ of wealth issue as the ownership of the captital stock tends to be concentrated in few hands. But neither of those puts anyone out of work (though during the transition some folks will need to learn new skills. As the typical person has a few career changes in their life, this isn’t that big a deal. Dad was a Farmer, then a Soldier, then a Construction Worker, then a Restaurant Owner / Worker then a Real Estate Salesman. I’ve done everything from farm labor to cannery worker to clerk to medical records tech to computer tech to computer systems admin to computer sales to manager of IT and even was on the board of directors of a public company. I’ve also been a college teacher and may do that again.

    So at one time about 90%+ of the nation worked in farming. Then it was mechanized.
    So at one time about 80%+ of the nation worked in manufacture. Then it was mechanized.
    So now ever more of us work in “service industries” or things like “clerical” and “high tech”.
    So we all may end up repairing and selling robots.
    So what.

    The only real question is “To whom will the fruits of the robotic labor accrue?”

    If it is all owned by Gates and the Rockefellers and they don’t pay enough for robot repair and sales / service; then there’s a problem. If the ownership gets spread around, competition will tend to assure we all benefit. (As with farming as with manufacturing as with shipping transitions of the past. Mom’s Dad and Grandad and HIS Dad and Grandad were all sailors. Starting way back in the era of ‘Tall Ships’. They needed huge crews. Now a very few people can run a ship that carries 1000 times more freight. So we’ve also ‘made the transition’ in shipping. Add in trains that have smaller crews now – no stokers… and trucking where the containers go by ship and rail until the last few miles and dock workers where the load / unload is done via giant machines and ALL of them have had labor changes. Yet now the dock worker makes well over $100,000 year on that crane… and you still find folks driving trucks)

    So I’m 100% NOT buying into the fantasy that what has worked, and happened, over the last 200+ years of industrialization is suddenly going to stop working just because we have made the machines a little smarter. It just means more of us will be employed in “robot repair and service” along with “robot sales and delivery”. Heck, in a very real sense I’ve already been employed that way as computers are really just ‘data robots’. At Apple we had a $250,000 giant tape robot (actually 2 of them) handling about 6000 tapes. It paid very well to the folks who sold it, assembled it, later moved it, and to those of us who kept it fed and tended… I’ll happily take “servant to robot” over “tape jockey”, and have done so. (It also paid about 4 x the tape jockey rate…)

    This is a very well thrashed horse in the world of Economic Theory and it really doesn’t benefit from repeated beating as the horse died a long time ago. About 1850…

  30. Adrian Ashfield says:

    I could poke holes in all the examples you gave. As I sent you a long paper not so very far back you know what I think and supported with numbers. Are you really not wasting an asset by forcing them to do a boring, meaningless job than can be done well enough by a machine?

    You think it is a well thrashed horse so you are not really open to debate although I would like to. It is an interesting and important topic. I suppose it boils down to your definition of the greater good.

  31. Adrian Ashfield says:

    “I have heard the mantra about the wonderful success of Denmark and Sweden in their application of Socialism. One small thing, They have been riding a wave of Energy Income for the last 25 years, a wave that is subsiding. Even they are looking at an end of their wonderful good fortune.

    Sweden is a developed export-oriented economy aided by timber, hydropower, and iron ore.These constitute the resource base of an economy oriented toward foreign trade.

    Denmark has a diverse, mixed economy. It relies heavily on human resources, but not exclusively, as there are a few significant and valuable natural resources available,

    The whole energy business will be turned upside down by the imminent arrival of LENR.

    I could go on but there seems little point in doing so as you know it all.

  32. John Robertson says:

    I keep returning to the central question, how does one bring the makers and involuntary takers together, uniting them against the parasites, who have used our wealth to divide, conquer and enslave us for centuries.
    Local control.
    If all charity is local, the parasitic bureaucracies can be eliminated.
    The truly needy get helped, the lazy get told to work, wealth is not taken by force and absorbed by the redistribution.
    Taking advantage of other persons gullibility and living at another expense are human traits older than language.But once the parasites a State or Federal agency, bringing them to account is impossible.
    Canada’s experience with State run welfare is a classic example.
    The national Unemployment Insurance Scheme another.
    Workers Compensation has become a job killing extortion agency.
    We are from the govt, we are here to help…You into captivity.

  33. E.M.Smith says:


    Look around the world. It isn’t machinery taking the jobs, it’s China and India. There’s a very long long economic history on all of this, and attempting to put it into comments on a blog is horridly inefficient. One small example would be textiles. It has regularly moved all over the world to the lowest wage rate locations. England was the place for a long time, then it moved to the USA Southeast (and there was a bit of a dust up in India over the British Empire insisting that weaving had to be done in England… a guy named Gandhi was involved…). Now textiles have largely moved off to China, though even now as their wages rise the manufacture is on the move again. What happens? Pretty simple. The increased production leads to more wages leads to more wealth and more buying until the people doing the work won’t do it as cheaply and then the next lowest wage rate place gets the work. In the prior location, economic development continues as folks move up the work food chain to ever high paying jobs. Same thing happens when machines start making the cloth (as is now nearly universally the case globally). We ALL get more and better cloth for less money and we ALL end up taking better jobs for more money.

    That is how a free market economy works. You can tell the same story with cameras at a significantly higher tech and wage rate and with computers too. When German camera manufacture went off to Japan it was for the cheap labor. Now it’s moved from Japan to China. Then some guys in California made the whole industry nearly obsolete via digital cameras in iThings… so a whole load of folks now make, sell, and service iThings and such. The local drug store no longer “develops film” yet is still in business and still employs the same number of people; just doing and selling different things.

    It only doesn’t do that when Evil Bastards of one sort or another muck around with it. This can be government E.B.s via stupid laws, Union E.B.s via “union rules” (like requiring a ‘brakeman’ on a train when he has nothing to do), Monopolist / Oligopolist E.B.s via things like union busting and predatory pricing, and even Average Joe and Jane E.B. voters “voting for themselves the largess of the public purse”.

    You want to hold up Denmark and Sweden as examples of the Socialist Workers Paradise. Small problem. It takes about 50 years for a Socialist State to collapse. They have a while to go as they were more market oriented 50 years back.

    Note that many of the very top countries are there only due to huge influx of dollars from oil… Then there is the Tax Haven of Switzerland, and what was a freest of the free trade zones of Hong Kong. Then the USA. It will be interesting to see how this changes as Norway runs out of North Sea oil…

    So USA at 10, Sweden at 17, and Denmark at 21. Think that extra $8000 to $10,000 PER YEAR in the USA can pay for some private health care insurance? (BTW, saying the USA is expensive H.C. compared to others ignores so many things as to be a worthless example. It mostly comes down to “Occupational birth control” on availability of M.D.s via the Doctors Union owning the supply coupled with “back door socialism” via packing “free” services onto the bills of the ones who do pay. Before that was done, our health care was both better and cheaper than the rest of the world. In a truly free market for medical care it would not cost $100 for a “emergency room bandage” tray with $5 of bandaids on it. But they pack that price for the folks who come in and do not pay. I worked in health care billing and office during the transition so I watched this first hand. The American Health Care system transitioned from free market in the ’50s to Crappiest Back Door Socialist between then and now. Oh, and we DID take care of the poor back in the 50s. They went to “The County Hospital” and got free / subsidized care. But it was a visible budget item and Socialists hate that… so ‘third partied the cost’ onto private insurance.)

    	World Bank (2011–2014)
    (based on actual data)[4] 	Central Intelligence Agency (1993–2014)
    (based on estimates and, sometimes, IMF data)[5]
    Rank 	Country 	Int$
    1 	 Qatar 	137,162
    2 	 Luxembourg 	97,639
    3 	 Singapore 	83,066
    4 	 Brunei 	79,890
    5 	 Kuwait 	70,686
    6 	 Norway 	67,166
    7 	 United Arab Emirates 	66,347
    8 	 San Marino 	60,887
    9 	  Switzerland 	58,149
    — 	 Hong Kong 	55,097
    10 	 United States 	54,370
    11 	 Saudi Arabia 	52,311
    12 	 Ireland 	51,284
    13 	 Bahrain 	49,020
    14 	 Netherlands 	47,960
    15 	 Austria 	46,640
    16 	 Australia 	46,550
    17 	 Sweden 	46,219
    18 	 Germany 	46,216
    19 	 Taiwan 	46,036
    20 	 Canada 	44,967
    21 	 Denmark 	44,625

    As more socialism takes over, you move down the list. In Argentina (that was 10% of international trade as a free market) it has moved all the way to 55. Venezuela is at 69 in that Socialist Workers Paradise (despite more oil wealth than they could spend if everyone had American life style)

    And yes, I’m well aware that “GDP” is only a stand in for “life style” but it is a better metric than “some people say it’s better in”…

    Oh, and there are 3 different listings in the link, I just took the first column for brevity. The second one is “measured” between 2011 and 2014 and has the USA as 9 with Sweden 16 and Denmark 17 but annual income numbers within a few $Hundred between the two lists.

    Then there’s the long long list of failed / collapsed socialist states. You could start with The Roman Empire once they went to “Bread and Circuses” but as that was prior to Socialist Theory it’s a bit hard to call it that. So using only modern examples:

    USSR (INTER-national Socialism – so saw ‘National Socialism’ as ‘right wing’)
    Nazi Germany (National State Socialism)
    Fascist Italy ( 3rd Way Socialism – ancestor of the “modern” Progressive 3rd Way movement)
    Brazil (A few times, but they cycle back to markets and recover every other generation)
    Peru (Returned to markets and flourished)
    Red China (Now playing with a ‘managed market’ and we’ll see if they can finish the move)
    A laundry list of Africa… most recently being Rhodesia / Zimbabwe
    etc. etc.

    And that’s just off the top of my head.

    So is it possible to have a socialism that doesn’t implode? Theoretically I’d say yes. But in practice they never make it to multi-generational.

    (Why is a very interesting question… but it seems to be mostly that the folks running it take too much and the folks doing the work quit working or all them go to fleecing the place).

    Also, do realize that in a free market for labor, nobody is “forced” to do a job. They choose to do a job. I’ve often taken jobs I didn’t like simply because they paid a whole lot more. One high school friend made a bundle in shit. Yes, shit. Ran the sewage plant off in some other State. Nobody likes it, and so it pays well. And if the machine CAN do a ‘boring meaningless job’ well enough, then the machine WILL be doing the job just as soon as it can do it “well enough and cheaper”. Frankly, many of the jobs I’ve done were boring as hell. But it pays for the food and housing and fun. That’s kind of what most people who work for a living call ‘reality’. Most of us are NOT on “self actualization” on Maslow’s heap.

    But hey, just as soon as all jobs are pleasant and pay $1/2 Million / year and everyone is doing just the job they love and nothing else, I’m all for it…

    I’m now going to try catching up with some of the other comments.

  34. Adrian Ashfield says:


    There is still a reservoir of low cost labor in the world and of course that will slow the rate of automation. I’m not saying it is here already but you can see the signs that it is coming. Everything from self driving cars and trucks to most manufactured goods. Even journalists, lawyers and doctors are threatened in the future. What happens next is that it will be cheaper to make things by machine than even low cost labor. China is investing heavily in robots.

    “Decades after many people thought the U.S. textile industry was dead, the industry generated $54 billion in shipments in 2012 and employed about 233,000 people.
    Business is on the upswing as Southern states, in particular, woo textile companies with tax breaks, reliable utilities, modern ports and airports and a dependable, trained and nonunion workforce.”

    So it is as cheap to make here as abroad with low cost labor and this will only improve with better automation. And a lot of low wage people “over there” lose their jobs.

    So cameras are being killed by iPhones. They are not made here but in highly automated plants abroad. I may be wrong but I doubt many iPhones are repaired, they are simply swapped for the latest model.

    Sweden is thought to have a stable socialist system now. See
    I don’t know enough about the Swedish system although it sounds pretty good from Wiki. Socialism doesn’t have to be like the earlier failed systems. I prefer UBI, giving people incentive to work beyond that. The difference is I recognize that there aren’t enough jobs to employ everyone here and I think UBI would provide the incentive for a myriad of small startups. Government ownership of industry is nearly always bad, the only exception being medical care.

    A government run health system IN EVERY OTHER COUNTRY is cheaper than ours and apparently does just as good a job.

    I don’t know if UBI is the answer. I suggested it should be tried on a small scale first. A large city , then a State. Its main attraction is that it takes little to administer and takes care of the unemployed and very poor. Do you know of a better idea?

  35. Adrian Ashfield says:

    ps. Take iPhones as an example. Suppose they could be made here with complete automation just as cheaply as in China. Assume the total cost of materials and factory maintenance to Apple is the same. Who gets ALL the profits? The handful of maintenance workers can be ignored.

  36. Adrian Ashfield says:

    Rossi is working with ABB Robotics to set up a highly automated factory to make E-Cats. Industrial Heat have just had another investor put in $49 million. There will be a lot of new jobs installing them for a while but I suspect less than those laid off in the fossil fuel industries.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    Larry Ledwick says:
    13 October 2015 at 6:22 am

    I think it is important to remember that only about 30% of the population supported the American revolution and only about 3% actually picked up a gun to toss the bums out.

    And, IIRC, somewhere around 10% of Germans were Nazis and about 10% of Russians were Communists prior to their respective take over / revolutions.

    A small determined group is sufficient as soon as the bulk of the people don’t give a damn any more. In the USA we’ve been blessed by a population that mostly DOES give a damn; but that’s the problem… “been”… more folks are moving into the “whatever” and “whoever” don’t care column. The passive aggressive bulk is growing. Then the very unhappy are willing to vote in someone like Trump (who has all the hallmarks of someone with power trip in mind) that can then say “just keep giving me more power and I can fix it then” and you end up in the move from Republic to Emperor… ( or Fuehrer or Il Duce or …) and I’d really rather we found a way to get back to a real honest Republic and not “go there” as so many nations have gone before when their Republic got turned into a feeding frenzy at the public trough.

    @Another Ian & Ian W:

    Similar things in other countries too. Just as the revolutions in China. The Asian martial arts owe much to peasants getting P.O.s enough. (Often it would start with weapons bans, like the movement now for ever more “gun control” meant to get them out of availability… we’ve already lost the right to bear arms as it is now only a government controlled privilege via a permit in just about all places other than your own property.

    So the “side handle baton” was the handle from the well crank, and nunchucks are the rice flail (and in a true ‘failure to grasp the subject’ nunchucks are now often illegal unless you can show you are actively taking or teaching a martial arts class that uses them… ) So it goes. Ban one weapon, folks find / make others just as good. Ban guns and you will just get more bombs and poisons. (It is far easier to make explosives than to make a gun…)


    Thanks for the compliments, and I’m available to anyone who wants to pay me. But…

    The core of the problem is what you have called the Uniparty. Essentially the “way above the 1%” group have grasped that as long as they control the King Makers they control all. It isn’t who is elected President, or even who is running for President, it is who is running the Parties that matter as those are the King Makers. And that is why we have a very few very elite who decide who gets to run, then decides who finishes the race, then decides who wins, and after that decides what they can do.

    It wasn’t always like this, though there were leanings earlier. I’ve said it before, but I’m of the opinion that Ike was the last truly popularly elected President (and ditto for many of the folks in congress of about that same era, though there’s a little more room for rogues in congress). Then we have a time of transition and learning to control it all from behind the curtain. It ends in a crescendo when Kennedy got shot. IMHO “The Powers That Be” got scared that he was going to get us into a Nuclear War and had him taken out via the Oh So Willing to help Mafia who he’d screwed with The Bay Of Pigs. After that “they” decided to control the process from end to end.

    Eventually that control turns to greed and ever loftier goals of more control. Now, via the UN, they hope to extend it to the entire globe via the use of “Treaties” to end national government control and voter input. See NAFTA, TPP, etc. as steps on the way.

    So how can that knot be undone? Despite your vote of confidence, I don’t think it can. Too much power already is in “their” hands. It will have to go through the process of collapse and wars to end that cabal, and even then it may not work out.

    But, were I to say what might have a shot, it would be taking back one country at a time. Then you have existence proofs that work. For the USA, the party structures need to be broken from what they are now and the party “leadership” put in place by ‘We The People’. The Tea Party was a partial step in that direction, and you have seen how it got immediately attacked on almost all sides and is now roundly vilified (and anyone in it attacked and smeared). That’s what faces any attempt to get that lever of control out of the hands of power that run it. That is also why Trump has them so flustered. That is also why Hillary gets all the special treatment. From not being arrested for her felonies to a wet kiss “debate” with Sanders making her look more reasonable AND covering up her major weakness / exposure for her. All because she is The Chosen One of The Party. And who is 2nd on deck?

    The same Biden that was foisted on Obama as his 2nd just in case he didn’t take orders well and they needed to do another Kennedy Solution…

    I’ve said this before, but watch who gets the V.P. Slot. IFF the main power play candidate gets top billing, it’s an irrelevant slot but sometimes gets a 2nd insider. IFF a “populist” (code words for not-yet-an-insider) gets the top slot, The Party Machine tells them they need one of the Insiders to “balance the ticket” or similar pap. The real push is to get a good inside man inside the ticket so they have a ‘spare’ and spy in place “for that day”.

    Reagan got Bush (who was CIA and insider material). Bush then took a nobody non-risk VP. Clinton got AlGore as a well connected insider but then was more than happy to play ball and become part of the insiders (now he and Hillary are filthy rich… no accident). AlGore didn’t get the win, so was given some consolation prizes ( $Millions + Nobel prize + ‘an important cause’ +) while Baby Bush was given V.P. Cheney to show him the ropes… Obama got Biden forced on him (despite Biden saying some pretty rough things about Obama prior to the vote…) and now with Hillary on the rocks, they are warming him up again for a “safe” alternative. (Having nobody else on the stage that’s in their pocket enough…). On the Republican side we’ve got a load of “insiders” starting with Jeb; but We The People are picking outsiders. This, as they say, is a problem…

    So if it is Trump, Carson, or Carly that get the nod, just look at who gets the V.P. slot (though Carly may in fact be ‘insider’ enough… I don’t know enough about her connections to say).

    And if it looks like a Rubio / Carson ticket vs a Bernie / Nobody shaping up, watch out for ‘accidents’… if the smear campaigns are not enough to take them down. (I suspect Trump has enough money to be an ‘insider’ but then again, he doesn’t act like one… and doesn’t seem to be part of the machine… but has oiled it enough over the years to know how it works…)

    The only way to break that is to break the hold on the parties, and through them, the control of the king makers and all the little princes in congress and governorships…

    I’ll be back for more of the comment thread after a brief break…

  38. Adrian Ashfield says:

    @ EMS,
    Further to what you wrote, I read that the DNC (6 women 5 men) decided early on that Clinton was to win.

    There were several large online polls, which are a fairly degraded form of data that can end up measuring enthusiasm of a candidate’s base more than actual total voter preference. But to the extent those online polls have any value, Bernie Sanders won 68% in the poll; Bernie Sanders won 55% in the Daily Kos poll; Bernie Sanders won 54% in the poll; and Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won CNN’s own Facebook poll, not that you would know it from what the pundits were saying on CNN itself. CNN’s own focus group also said that Bernie Sanders won, and Fusion’s focus group said that Bernie Sanders won, and Fox News’ focus group said that Bernie Sanders won.

    A poll recently released by CNN/ORC found Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) walloping Donald Trump by about 20 points, beating Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and running in a statistical tie against former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.).
    Since a general election would see Senator Bernie Sanders “walloping” Donald Trump and beating other GOP challengers, more debates would allow for more voters to see the differences between Sanders and Clinton.

    Apparently, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz doesn’t want this scenario to take place, nor does she want to further the notion that Clinton isn’t the true frontrunner.

  39. Adrian Ashfield says:

    ps. Found the source.

    EEXCLUSIVE: Democratic National Committeewoman says her party is ‘clearing a path’ for Hillary because ‘the women in charge’ want it that way

    • Female member of the Democratic Party’s controlling body spoke to Daily Mail Online in Las Vegas following Tuesday’s primary debate
    • She rattled off a list of women at the top of the party hierarchy and said two vice chairs helped craft a decision this summer to favor Clinton
    • The committeewoman warned her party could promote Hillary ‘because she’s a woman, and risk having her implode after she’s nominated’
    • The Democratic National Committee insisted that it ‘runs an impartial primary process, period’
    • But it has sanctioned just six debates this time around; Democratic presidential candidates had to survive 27 of them in 2007-08
    • DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz campaigned for Hillary in 2008 when she last ran for the presidency

    The Democratic National Committee is ‘clearing a path’ for Hillary Clinton to be its presidential nominee because its upper power echelons are populated with women, according to a female committee member who was in Las Vegas for Tuesday’s primary debate.
    Speaking on the condition that she isn’t identified, she told Daily Mail Online that the party is in the tank for Clinton, and the women who run the organization decided it ‘early on.’

  40. E.M.Smith says:


    I’d assert we are already there…


    Well, I’m an Econ Major (‘arts’… at the time I took it; now they are trying to get the “BS” Sciency bit for the cache …) and my daughter is English Lit. Interest is where you find it, and what interests you does not limit your ability or understanding…

    Your posting is an interesting read. Just remember that the EU is just the Holy Roman Empire recreated in modern dress and with the same tendency to “rule” the subject “nations” without a lot of input from below. Then it makes more sense. The (grand)children of Aristocracy pining for the Good Old Days and finding a way to get it back, bypassing all those annoying Democracy and Republic structures…


    Good point about the Destroyers. “Creative Destruction” was originally a pejorative applied by Marx and communism to the tendency for Capitalism to keep remaking things. Newer things. It has since been turned into a badge of honor among some (IMHO stupid) arch-typical capitalists.

    There is no virtue in destruction.

    FWIW, I think Cruz is a decent choice, I just don’t see him getting much of a second look from the average folks. I like Rubio more, but mostly for his excessive enthusiasm ;-) not his policies.

    I’d love to see a Carson / Cruz or Carson / Rubio ticket. Ask the American Hispanics and Blacks to NOT vote for an all minority ticket… I think it would be a fireworks show worth watching. Maybe even better than a Carson / Carly ticket… (Trump just alienates too many folks and I’d see that wearing very thin very fast and be all used up by election time. ) Carson “wears well”. My main reticence about him had been a perceived meekness. “How would he handle Putin?”… Then the story came out about the gun in the ribs and cool at the end of the gun; coupled with “folks ought to just mob a lone gunman” that is just sooo true and sooo much better than lambs in line waiting their turn… At that point I knew he had what it takes.

    @Larry Ledwick:

    Government power inevitably grows into Tyranny. It may be a lone tyrant King, Dictator, Emperor, Calif, etc. etc. or the Tyranny of Numbers in a pure Democracy. It can be a tyrant clique like old European Aristocracy or a tyrant Politburo as in the USSR and China. But once power and the wealth it can bring are tasted, there is no limit to avarice. The only solution is to put that power beyond the hands of people. Republics do that, for the time they last. So far that looks to be measured in the “few hundred years” range. We’re entering the ‘late stages’ and ever more leaving Republic behind. It was the undoing of the States as supreme over the Federation and the undoing of President as appointed by the States Senators (not elected Senators… representatives of their States…) that sent us down the path to bigger government.

    Until those Amendments to the Constitution are reversed, it’s just a matter of time until The Federal Government owns and runs everything and we are once again a Tyranny. The UN is a tool of such tyrants to attempt to make it a global tyranny this time; via “treaties”…

    @John Robertson:

    I find Canada (and to some extent also Australia) fascinating. On the one hand they are all so rational and polite and thoughtful. ( I can say that as I have family in both places thanks to Mum’s Dad and Grandad being sailors and each of them having a bunch of siblings that ran off to both places… oh, and Mum’s sister went to Canada too…) Good at making things. Good at trade. Good at oh so much.

    Then they run off and do daft things like Socialized this and that. Then they seem surprised when it doesn’t work out well.

    Then, sometimes, they toss the buggers out in a fit of reason and start over.

    They give me both hope and despair. Often at the same time! ;-)


    Appreciate the sentiment… but the video will have to wait until I’m on a platform that plays them well. (The browser on Centos 6.3 is “too old” and so the providers of video can’t be bothered with backwards compatibility… another legacy of Micro$oft… foisting the notion that you must constantly upgrade or it’s OK for things to just stop working…)


    Our health care system is NOT a free market system. It WAS in about 1950. Now it is poorly implemented closet Socialized Medicine. Back when it was market based, it was not nearly as expensive as now. It is still better care than in many (most) countries, but it does have issues. (And yes, I’ve tried getting health care in other countries, including a very unsatisfactory interaction with English medicine where the “Doctor” didn’t even know how to lance a sty… nor could he provide antibiotics.. and after 2 visits Including one several days later I to the ‘eye clinic’ I ended up at a private doctor who knew what she was doing…)

    IFF we had a real market for health care it would cost a whole lot less. But as it stands now, every $10 of “Health Care” comes with about $20 of “other people’s health care” and about $20 of “legal costs” from stupid malpractice laws as more backdoor “socialism via suit” to spread the wealth around and about another $20 of Government Oversight. I’ve worked in Patient Accounting, Front Desk Admissions, Back Office, Billing and Medical Records. I’ve seen the same procedure being billed at $50 to Medicare / -Cal / -Caid and $200 to “private insurance” to make up for the shortfall. THAT is why prices are high, and why they rose to those levels as those programs were rolled out. It’s gotten so bad now that many doctors no longer take the Medi-whatzit patients anymore. (Leading to Obammacare and eventually to enforced requirements to treat those on the dole directly or indirectly). Simply require that ALL procedures be billed to ALL payers at the same price and a lot of the crap would end. But government want’s a lower price for socialism and that ends up inserted as a stealth tax into all the folks who do pay medical bills. Now we have “must buy” for healthy young folks to force them to subsidize old folks costs. Not a good idea.

    Want to fix it? Re-institute the County Hospital System. Mediocre care at a low or no price for indigents. Everyone else gets private hospitals and private doctors and private insurance if they want to pay for it. Keep the two billing systems and costs 100% isolated from each other.

    FWIW, I’ve at times advocated for a “UBI Lite” like system. But I would do it “in kind”. NOT in cash. Model is like the County Hospital system that worked fine until government broke it with clandestine socialism. (Taking from the rich to pay for the poor).

    I’d issue each person, at about 18 or emancipation, a nice little ‘camping kit’ of stainless steel bowl, stove, utensils, etc. I’d also issue to them a bag of beans and a bag of rice. In each town, I’d have a center that they could walk to for a replacement bag of beans and rice. One dry pound per person per day. (Or oats or …) Along with a can of Sterno for the stove. That’s your “basic minimal income”. Every city to have a “flop house” with cots and sleeping bags, showers, etc. Locker like in high school to put your ‘stuff’ for the night. “Payment” consists of doing the laundry cleaning up the place. A Matron and a Cop run each place to assure no criminal activity takes over. Now you have an address, shower, shave, clean cloths and can take a bus to the County Hospital for medical care. You get a multi-vitamin in your food kit too so the “basic grains” is not shorting your vitamins and minerals.

    Finally, at each center, I’d have classes. If you are there longer than one night, you sign up for training. From basic reading on up to cutting hair and sewing. Said classes providing the grooming and clothing folks need. No $100 Nike shoes via EBT. Basic cobbled shoes made by someone learning shoe repair. For better food, you can sign up for cooking classes or busboy training and get cafeteria food with a better mix in it.

    Think of it as Boot Camp For Production.

    Yes, absolutely folks won’t like it. That’s the whole point. It’s “just good enough” and provides what is needed to get yo’ bum ass a job and outta here.

    Oh, and you get a special color bus pass that lets you take the bus for free to county hospital, police stations, and any place where you have an employee badge. But not to bars, shows, midnight street corners…

    That level of UBI I’m actually in favor of providing. Precisely because it IS basic survival level.

    Think that harsh?

    I’ve lived that way.

    On more than one occasion I’ve “lived out of my car” for various reasons. The only difference is that my car was bed, locker, and workroom; and stood in for the bus. (Bath was at the truck stop or in a dorm where I knew someone…) If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough.

    Anything beyond that, like a private room, TV, “spending money”, you don’t get for free.

    Per Jobs and Automation

    We’ve already beaten that one to a pulp, you want to keep flogging it. OK. One More Time:

    Automation does NOT end jobs, it changes them. We have a few hundred year history on this.

    Governments end jobs with stupid policies. When wages can freely move and government isn’t screwing things up, folks get all sorts of jobs. Often jobs they don’t like, or that don’t pay what they want, but are “enough to get by”. Then they start looking for something better. It does work. It has worked. It would work now but for all the crap put between willing worker and willing employer.

    I could right now be employed with a lemonade stand in front of my home, or selling home made BBQ; but laws prevent it. ( It was actually done when I was a wee child… now kids get busted for not having health inspections and business licenses for a lemonade stand…). There used to be a common thing of hiring an indigent to do yard work or general fixing things; now they get arrested and you get fined if you try that. It’s a very long list.

    Similarly, I’ve been slowly put out of work by government rule changes. ONE example: I spent a good year in college getting added education upper division in teaching and getting a Community College Teaching Credential. (Data processing and related tech). I got one of the last lifetime credentials. Then California decided to change the rules. My “lifetime” credential is still valid, just all the J.C.s were told to only take Masters Computer Science and with paid for Microsoft Certifications. (Since M.S. Computers didn’t exist when I was in school, this is classic age discrimination, BTW.) Now I can’t get employment as a teacher in my credentialed area where I have work experience teaching at a Community College. Anyone who got the credential after me gets saddled with a Ongoing Education requirement too, so don’t keep that up, you are forced out of work.

    Another example? I’ve been doing computer security since before folks called it that. Now, there’s a zoo of a dozen or so “Certifications” you are supposed to have to do that work. And, after you shell out a $K each (and update costs each year) you get to do that Ongoing Ed requirement with more money spent… AND if you have not been continuously employed in the field for the last 4 or 5 years, you don’t qualify… and… So essentially if you take a long sabbatical, or want to be ‘semi-retired’, or just do a whole lot of things and ALL of them cost too much to maintain certs and / or don’t come around often enough to be “continuously employed in foo”, you fall out of certification and become unemployable. This is real and in MY face now.

    AND it isn’t just computers. You need a license (often with CEUs required) to braid hair. No, not kidding.

    Layer on enough of that and you freeze up a job market real tight. Nobody can change what they do and any time off become permanent unemployable. I used to drive a truck as a high school kid (out on a farm sometimes). Now it takes a ‘special license’ ( Class B IIRC). I’ve kept up my C and M class, but never had a B so couldn’t grandfather it. And on it goes.

    I’ll be back with some more on the iPad point, but I need a break… and to get this que cleared.

  41. Larry Ledwick says:

    I agree — your comment below was a light bulb moment I recognized that structure.

    Layer on enough of that and you freeze up a job market real tight. Nobody can change what they do and any time off become permanent unemployable.

    In the middle ages they called it guilds and they jealously guarded “secret tricks of the trade” and enforced slave labor — excuse me apprentice ship requirements where you were required to spend 5 10 years learning 2 years worth of skills, to keep outsiders from doing what was really basically simple work until Gutenberg screwed the system with printing and trained journeymen went to other countries and wrote books about what they new, like how to build a textile mill. Unions filled that role for a while but that is breaking down so they are shifting to a different model.

    Probably why they want to throttle the internet, as free information makes guild like control impossible but they can still strangle employment opportunity with certifications, work experience requirements and legal limitations, like having obscene levels of insurance to work for a living in some specialties.

    Controlling access to well paying jobs is as good as controlling pay, where you live or any other critical service. It is darn near impossible to function at a high level outside the officially approved system.

  42. gallopingcamel says:

    E.M.Smith says: 16 October 2015 at 2:32 am
    @GallopingCamel “I’d assert we are already there…”

    Robert Michels said:
    “”Historical evolution mocks all the prophylactic measures that have been adopted for the prevention of oligarchy.”

    Acemoglu and Robinson in their book “Why Nations Fail” argue that great nations have “Inclusive Institutions” which generate incentives and “Virtuous Circles” that increase prosperity. They cite numerous examples from the Roman empire through Venice to the present day. They compare modern nations with “Inclusive Institutions” to nearby states. By crossing a line on a map you can change your income dramatically.

    Leave South Korea for North Korea and your income declines by a factor of 16. Emigrate to Mexico from the USA and your income declines by a factor of 3.

    A&R explain that restrictive institutions discourage innovation and cause “Vicious Circles” of declining prosperity. While A&R say that the quality of a nation’s institutions determines success or failure they have no prescription for turning failed states around.

    While I don’t have a prescription for success I can recommend a “Prophylactic Measure” that will prevent the slide into oligarchy.

    Remember this snippet from the Declaration of Independence?
    “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    Then Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg:
    “……government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    To meet these lofty sentiments one needs to eliminate kings, plutocrats, oligarchs and dynasties (whether hereditary or political).

    Nations should choose the members of their governing bodies in the same way as juries are chosen. Selecting government members by lot with only one term of office allowed will greatly reduce the influence of money and will prevent the emergence of a ruling elite that gets privileges not available to every citizen. It will also end those dreadful political ads on TV that we will be deluged with in 2016.

    Some nation needs to try this as it should work much better in an “Information Society” than it did in ancient times.

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Robertson:

    Yeah, easy to mix ‘taker’ with ‘parasite’ with “destroyer” with any other non-maker… can’t tell the players without a score card…

    Makers are those of us who keep the system running and actually produce product (even intellectual product like training).

    Takers are those who are on a ‘free ride’ (justified or not) and just suck down more resources, stuff, and value than they make.

    Parasites are not on a ‘free ride’ aka The Dole, but might as well be. They are the ones doing nonsense “jobs” or worse making “negative value” in places like government agencies; or collecting a “piece of the action” for nothing (like a giant toll bridge… collecting a ‘tax’ for their own benefit and calling it ‘work’ when it really makes nothing. Think of all the folks going to an all expenses paid party in Paris in December… )

    Destroyers are as described by P.G. above. Those nutbars who get wars started and / or destroy value in industry for their own gain. See the leaders of Iran, at one end, and Soros at the other (he who drives economies into the ditch so he can short their currency and / or recently started buying coal having destroyed the industry). Or all the folks demanding that nuclear facilities be destroyed rather than run to end of life. I’d also include the Takeover Artists committing merger on companies. Think it will make better beer, cheaper beer, or employ more folks to let Bud / Ambev consume Molsen Coors? (The deal is in the works – watch for destroyed factories and layoffs post merger and with ‘good and cheap’ labels replaced with “expensive and good” or “crappy and cheap” but lower cost to make. Then they will call this progress…)

    The purpose of government ought to be to constrain and as much as possible control and eliminate the last three. Unfortunately, it inevitably becomes controlled by the last two who end up using the second group to help fleece the first… then crashes and we reset / start over.

    Your tax idea is interesting… Have a fixed (small) percent roll up from each level, and with the starting level set by LOCAL vote… I like that…

    The USA was originally designed as such a “local up” limited delegation government. The Progressives of the 20s and 30s “fixed that” (with some help from the post Civil War amendments that force more central authority over States Rights). Then the process continued under the Progressives relabeled as “liberals” trying to run away from their bad reputation… but now trying to run back to “Progressive” having tarnished “liberal” that used to mean roughly Libertarian in today’s terms. I was aware enough in the early 60s? when California changed how their State Senate was staffed to pay attention. The “pro” argument was basically “to be more democratic” and “to be like the US government”. Never mind that California HAD BEEN like the original US Constitution… So Senators instead of being County Representatives became elected by popular vote. The end result was bankruptcy of the counties (like States now) and centralized power in Sacramento (and the bloat we have today and higher taxes and…) It was, and is, just another way to centralize power upward from the original design. It borked things and needs to be undone. Senate in States needs to be selected by the county governments. Senate in the USA needs to be selected by the State governments. That’s what kept power local. Now it’s broken.


    Yup. After decades of Johnson’s “War On Poverty” we have more % in poverty than when he started out. Granted, our “poverty” is “upper middle class” in much of the world, but still…

    Oh, and his program also drove black families out of existence and has given us a society of single mothers and black men who have no idea what a father looks like. Gak!


    4. Choose one. (A) let people starve to death. (B) Deal with the riots and civil unrest. (C) pay the unemployed.

    You left off (D) Let a free and open labor market provide jobs for everyone who wants one where their pay reflects their ability and production.

    As we have gone to ever more non-market “job markets” with ever more Socialism Patches over it and ever more Barriers To Entry (which is what all the licenses and certs and all amount to) we have gotten an ever more broken “market”. Markets don’t work well when strangled. Just un-strangle it and it will work again. Oh, and no, paying someone a mandated $15 / hour for work worth $10 an hour doesn’t fix anything. It just breaks more things worse. There IS a basic value that a job must produce or else it is just a drag on production, not a benefit. Accumulate too many of those (along with the parasites and destroyers and other takers) and the system halts.

    After many many decades of Socialism breaking governments and countries, they are now trying it again via stealth socialism as “3rd Way Market Socialism”. The pretense is that this is somehow different from what Mussolini did in his “3rd Way Socialism”. It isn’t. In the end it just breaks things too. Takes longer though. Remember that Mussolini was widely feted in the USA by the Progressive Movement. Even had a cameo in a Hollywood movie (wish I could remember the title…) Only after the eventual (fast) run into tyranny did he get a bad name. Folks still praise that the trains ran on time and the economy boomed… for a little while…

    Please, take a look at the economic history of Brazil. It’s had a few cycles now. Last one was the Economic Miracle (i.e. markets) that made it a stellar growth story and with a booming economy in the 90s and some each side IIRC. Then lately the Socialists couldn’t stand keeping their hands off the economy (again) and it is now collapsing (again) and running to ruin (again). Give it a couple of decades and it will have another Economic Miracle as they swing away from Socialism and back to markets (again)… It’s pretty darned obvious what works and what breaks things.

    iPhones and other iThings

    I’ve worked in Silicon Valley from the days of hoards of low skill folks hand assembling semiconductors ( I was at Nat. Semi then and there were thousands of Asian Women in particular doing that kind of work as they are fast and smaller hands helps) through the robotic / automation conversion and on to the outsourcing to overseas. Guess what, Silicon Valley is still employed (modulo cycles and old farts like me ;-)

    I worked at Apple for 7 1/2 years. We started making Macs here, then moved it to Texas, eventually outsourced overseas. Guess what: Apple STILL employs a load of people. Built a new headquarters (employing builders and painter and gardeners and…) there is a large circle of “supporting businesses” all around it (from cafes to bars and gas stations and rental houses and grocery stores and…). My Apple Profit Sharing and Stock Options paid for the down payment on the home I presently sit in typing this, and for my two kids. Along with sundry cars.

    What you ignore is that there is much much more to production wealth creation than profit.

    Typical retail markup / margin is between 30% and 50%, so right out the gate Apple is NOT “getting all the profit”. Those retail outlets employ sellers and stockers and shippers and… Then, of the part of the payment they do get, a big chunk goes to all those wage earners and all the folks who sell them equipment and furniture and buildings and… Now, of the profit, a chunk of that gets spent on NEW buildings and equipment and labor and growth. Some gets put into a dividend check to pay retirement (Apple is one of THE largest holdings in NASDAQ index ETFs, as one example) and that gets spent all over. Profit doesn’t just all get stuck in Bill Gates Bank and left to be admired.

    In China, there will be a load of people employed making iThings. But another load is employed at chip fabs in places like Japan and other parts makers. Heck, the ARM chip is a British design and the royalty for them ends up in British pockets to be spent.

    Profit is not bad. It is a very very good thing and it causes economic benefit to be widely shared and enjoyed. And it does not matter AT ALL if that profit comes from a robot or a Chinese worker at cents / hour. It still does the same wide spread good.

    But wait, there’s more…

    The Phone Company makes money off the “plan”. With that they buy Cisco routers and various switching equipment. Those equipment do not install themselves. (For many years I installed them and made decent money off it too). It needs fixing and replacing. It needs eventual disposing (so even garbage haulers get a piece of the action eventually). Wires get bought and plugged in, power purchased, AC installed and serviced. I’ve run data centers. A LOT of money flows through them to all sorts of trades and services. I had a $2 Million budget, roughly. For Apple and the iEcology that number is now way higher. And all THAT income and production is growth and still exists due to cheap robotic labor making the iThings…

    But wait, still more…

    My old boss from Apple just finished his training in Ap Writing. He’s now writings Aps for the iThings. Just started, so not a ‘hit’ yet. But his income will be coming from that same seed. Any clue on the size of the Ap market? Hmmm? Think it will get bigger with cheaper robot make iThings in ever more kinds?

    Did “Ap Writer” exist in the 1980s when he was starting out as a programmer? Nope. The whole idea of a computer in your hand was a bit daft then. But times move on.

    I can’t begin to say how many jobs exist because of the iPhone and iPad, but it is measured in $Billions / year of wages and royalties. And growing fast with each new round of iThings. All that loverly money flowing into all those millions of pockets all over the planet. Now the more iStuff you make with robots, and the faster and cheaper you make them, the more generations of Aps you burn through and the more telecoms need to expand and buy more routers and more wires and have more sales folks selling more stuff at all those cell phone stores and Apple stores and Networking Vars.

    The point is simple: Robots make MORE work, not less, by moving the work to other kinds of work that is needed. There’s a whole generation of folks now making movies for YouTube precisely because it is an automated platform for global delivery. I saw a bit about a guy in Africa who makes cheezy movies ( combat / war things with locals as actors and ersatz special effects). About $200 to make a movie. He’s now got one with a few million hits. Now HE is getting real money and living his dream of being a movie maker. All because of a robotic movie delivery system. He now has a better computer and his own local power supply (as the electricity goes down often / end of day and he has work to finish). That is the very essence of how economic growth happens. A cheap, better, more automated process, product, or system empowers more people to do more and new things. So they do.

    I’ve watched this happen again and again and again. You get whole generations of tech turn over in a decade or two here in Silicon Valley. It’s an intense economic education in some ways.

    So has Amazon put a spike in some retailers? Sure it has. I bought my R.PiM2 from them instead of from Fry’s (where traditionally all us geeks bought our stuff). Yet that R.PiM2 has now got 4 hard disks on it from Best Buy along with a USB hub and cables all bought locally. I’m hoping that “soon” I’ll have a complete kit of R.Pi with GIStemp, GHCN, USHCN and a few other bits on it that I can start selling as a prebuilt kit for folks wanting to play weather / climate researcher without all the set up pain and suffering. Initially I’ll likely sell it on e-Bay but eventually if some future variation makes enough volume, there are folks who sell via Amazon. So has the automation of selling by eBay and Amazon created, or destroyed? Or just changed?

    One Guy With An Idea can now have global reach; be it for cheezy movies or small volume products. At very very low “cost of entry”. All due to that horrible automation you so fear.

    One of the first and most basic levels of learning in Silicon Valley is “Embrace Change”. Those who embrace it and run with it make a bundle. Those who don’t get cannibalized. Over all, it’s more prosperity with each turn of the crank. Even for the folks selling bagels and installing routers.

    One of the next levels is “Automate all you can and drive prices down relentlessly” because if you don’t, someone else will. And at the end of the game is a big company with a lot of employees and an even larger “ecology” of people working and making money around it.

    Can you see that? Can you see the history of it that I’ve lived for 40 years here?

    Cheaper production means more growth and a larger ecology of wealth spread widely. Always.

  44. JP Miller says:

    EM, your analysis and writing on this thread has been brilliant, and I couldn’t agree with your fundamental economic and socio-political thinking more. I wish I had an answer to your fundamental question: how do we get out of this mess without social dissolution? I’m not a good enough historian to be able to identify examples in history that might serve as a guide.

    Folks like Adrian seem not to appreciate that Sweden and Denmark (and maybe a few other countries) are very narrow and historically isolated special cases. What makes them narrow and historically isolated is that they are small countries with very stable and homogeneous cultures (built up over centuries) in which their strong Christian heritage has allowed them to transfer the historical faith-based function of charity and community sharing from religious organizations to the State because the vast majority of citizens have a common belief in the value of sharing wealth (at least to a certain extent). Thus, using the State (and force of law, rather than voluntary noblesse oblige) as the mechanism to manage their “giving” is not such a difficult problem to manage to most citizen’s satisfaction in countries such as those.

    However, the conditions that make their systems possible simply do not exist elsewhere and cannot be “created” by government diktat, even if the intentions of those wanting such diktat is truly altruistic. Finally, it is not at all certain the systems of those countries are, in fact, stable over time. They have only existed for about 50-70 years (depending on how you judge it). Although I can imagine those systems lasting for a reasonably long period, there’s no lesson to be learned other than, “that’s not something we (the US/ rest of the world) can emulate.”

    Our more polyglot culture and our unique history make traditional personal voluntary charity the only workable mechanism to sustain those among us who cannot do for themselves. Sadly, the very government policies I suspect Adrian would applaud undermine that valuable human value of charity. Too many Americans — especially those of more modest means — feel, “I pay my taxes, so why should I give to charities that help the poor?” Sad.

    Back to the dilemma we face in the US in our broad-spectrum dissatisfaction (whether from “left” or “right”) with what government does for us/ to us, with those believing in individual responsibility (used to be called “liberty,” or “freedom”) wanting less government and those believing that smart people with the right values and the law on their side can “force us” to do (what they believe are) the right things, there’s no doubt this coming election (and probably the next 2-3 Congressional/ Senatorial/ Presidential elections) will be significant in whether we can find a workable way forward. Those who want the government to “create” more jobs will only get what they want if they vote against everything they believe in, which won’t happen. Those who understand economics and recognize that government laws and regulations (from local through Federal) are the main culprit restricting job growth will vote Republican (not ideal by a long way, but what choice do we have?). As we all know, it’s the 5%-10% “in the middle,” who find both arguments (for less and for more government) persuasive in their own ways, who need to be convinced that less government will be good. And, who need a candidate who is appealing: reasonable-sounding, inter-personally attractive, etc. That the crooks in our economy and in our government (and some in Wall Street are wonderful poster-children for the former moniker, and BLM might be an easy target for the latter) seem to be allowed to have their way is what rankles many, but which neither Republican nor Democrat seem willing to take on. If one candidate were to say, “I will take action to make sure these crooks are out of our system; I will take action to get government off our backs so people can create jobs and find jobs that can give them a future; I will take action to bring jobs to the inner cities of America [God know those cities cannot do that for themselves…that’s where Federal Government power could make a difference]…”

    Most of the action is to reduce government and regulation, to tighten enforcement of laws that focus on fraud (whether in Wall Street or in Medicare or on our Mexican border), and to narrowly target one part of America (and by implication one group of Americans: inner-city African Americans) that has become so dysfunctional it is not clear improvement is possible without significant — and thoughtful — reconstruction from outside their communities/ local politicians. Economic regulations do NOT reduce fraud or inequality in society. If that were true, then Indonesia, for example (and one I know well) would be the least corrupt country on the planet.

    Problem is, I don’t see any candidate with the mindset we need. Trump is surely not it, despite his populist rhetoric. Rand Paul is confused by narrow libertarianism. Carson? Definitely not, read his book “America the Beautiful” to see how confused his economic thinking is. Cruz? Maybe. Christie? Too much a pol for my tastes, but he is pragmatic in the right direction… so maybe. Fiorina? I like her thinking more than the others (although have not dug deeply enough across the board). Rubio? Almost…., but he feels to much like the others: Bush, Kasich, Graham, etc. who are just too mainstream for my tastes. All we’d get is more of the same, which is not good enough.

    Bottom line, I believe there are “ways” forward, but they are not single-minded, narrow roads that can be articulated with a clear theory/ ideology or that can be accomplished by a single President even across two terms. Reagan, flawed as some of his policies were at least was trying to move in the right direction, could not get the job done. How to forge an inter-generational belief that government is more the problem than the solution will be a real challenge, but I believe there is a message that can be crafted that will work. Maybe 8 years of movement in the right direction with results that a clear majority of citizens can see and support will galvanize enough belief to sustain the effort beyond 8 years to 16 and then to more…

    Of course, our government was structured to minimize the chance that one “line” of thinking (other than government needing to be extremely limited) could prevail for very long. That was part of the point of checks and balances. Sadly, the Leviathan has come and now those very limitations are part of the reason it cannot be undone.

    I await with hope, but with some real fear, that this coming election will somehow allow a person with the ability to set America on the right path will emerge. I do not yet see it.

  45. Adrian Ashfield says:

    “You left off (D) Let a free and open labor market provide jobs for everyone who wants one where their pay reflects their ability and production.”
    (D) translated… Let us assume we have a can opener. There aren’t enough reasonable jobs for 93 million non working adults and I doubt there ever will be now.

    I couldn’t agree more about the need to remove the silly government regulations. They are basically a misguided attempt for the government to play Nanny to protect the not very bright population from scammers and incompetents. It doesn’t work and never will because the people who draft the laws are not bright enough to see the unintended consequences.

    The underlying problem is that the population elects politicians on the basis that they will protect us and make everything “safer.” Think of the money spent on airport security and Homeland Security (not to mention wars) and then consider how many die from terrorist acts here compared with, say, road deaths or medical mistakes. Probably more die from falling off a ladder. There are some regulations fraudulently put in place to protect a favored group in return for bribes.

    Underlying that is the Bell Curve. There are a lot of people who are not bright enough to do well without help. Our educational system makes it worse. What happened to the trade schools?

    Your version of UBI is not an answer in a democratic country. Productive workers of all kinds should benefit from increased productivity and they haven’t for the last two decades at least. In passing, Sweden doesn’t have a minimum wage. It is ludicrous that the financial section makes 30% of GDP. For doing what besides causing the last crash through greed?

    This country is now rich enough and will become richer through automation, that there should be a way of everyone being better off, not just the top 10%. Sweden does it pretty well and perhaps UBI would be even better. At least if offers hope of reducing the size of the government and letting people decide for themselves. I haven’t seen a better proposal yet.

    I know about the failed tries at socialism. I lived though one in England which is largely why I am here. But history is just as clear, over a longer period, of what happens when wealth inequality rises above a certain point.

    You write. “Guess what: Apple STILL employs a load of people.” In the example I sent you earlier I pointed out that “Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon combined have about a $trillion in capitalization yet employ only 280,000 people. That is similar to the number of new entrants to the job market each month.”

    I agree things like the iPhone make a lot of jobs in “entertainment.” That is precisely where I think people on UBI would be starting new companies. They would be free of most government regulations at least until the government got around to making more, to make them safer.

  46. Larry Ledwick says:

    One other mechanism of change has to be included in the calculus of the rise and fall of nations. That is just old fashioned dumb luck and the happenstance of unique events that echo through the entire population.

    Unfortunately these cannot be “engineered” or planned so you end up grabbing one when it comes by and trying to make the most of it. Those of you who are old enough might remember the general malaise and low expectations that permeated the country near the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. We had the Iranian hostage crisis, a government that was doing everything possible to talk down expectations, and sell doom and gloom.
    Carter left office in January of 1981, but I submit that one of the things which helped turn the country around and set the stage of optimism and renewed vigor of the Reagan years was an event that none of the politicians or power brokers had anything to do with and no control over. That unlikely event was the “Miracle on Ice” victory of the U.S. Olympic Hockey team over the Russians at the 1980 Lake Placid games. The smiles on peoples faces on the street, the thundering chants of USA USA in the arena, all set the stage for Reagan and his positive message (which took some time to stop the inertia of malaise) and begin a feeling optimism and growth and expectation of success, and hope and a general push to do more than the minimum to get by.

    That intangible mood effect is very powerful once triggered. Right now the current administration is repeating what Carter accomplished. He has deflated the balloon of energy and optimism and replaced it with a national mood of “everything I care about is going to hell and everything sucks” That leads to diminished effort and lack of energy and the producers throw in the towel and take on an attitude of why should I bust my butt so all my money can be spent on feeding some jerk who is too lazy to work?

    What we need more than anything right now, is a new Miracle on Ice, a small but important victory for national pride. Something totally unexpected and electric. Like in the great depression the spirits of the little guy were lifted by an unlikely small race horse named Seabiscuit. A horse with enough heart to win against bigger horses which should have been his superior. A little horse that would not quit.

    On November 1, 1938, Seabiscuit met War Admiral in a race that was billed as the Match race of the century at Pimlico with 40,000 in the stands watching and over 40 million listening on the radio because of that race, Seabiscuit was named American Horse of the Year for 1938, but he also was cheered by millions of little guys who know that if they would not give up they too could win. This shift in expectations and attitude was when our country started to rise out of the Great Depression and the first clouds of WWII started to build. It is the stage on which the greatest generation opened the American Century.

  47. Larry Ledwick says:

  48. Adrian Ashfield says:

    Being cheerful helps. But if you have got cancer it is unlikely to cure you.

    I am not pessimist about the opportunities. Far from it. The prospect of unlimited cheap energy from LENR. There are more than enough new technologies already here that life should be better for everyone.

    The problem is this.
    What we have seen in the recent past is winner takes all. The average production worker earned 13% less in 2013 than in 1979, while productivity increased by 103%. Productivity increases that used to go to workers pockets now goes entirely to the business and investors.
    University of California Berkeley found between 2009 and 2012 that 95% of income gains went to the wealthiest 1% This lack of purchasing power in the general population results in the stagnant economy.
    The US Bureau of Labor statistics reported the number of hours worked in the private section was 194 billion in1998 and the same in 2013 although the values of goods produced had risen by 43%, adjusted for inflation. The number of men in the labor force has declined since 1950. Meanwhile the population had grown by 40 million. 93 million adult Americans don’t work. A million new jobs a year are needed just to keep up with population growth. Official unemployment numbers are fictional and don’t count the numbers that have been sufficiently discouraged to leave the workforce permanently.

    I don’t see any sign that our present politicians will do anything to correct it.

  49. Larry Ledwick says:

    Agreed, just making the point that attitude and expectations matter.

    Regarding the wage issue, one solution that might work is a taxing structure that incentives companies to expend a reasonable fraction of revenue as salaries for the lower 80% of their wage earners. If that bottom 80% took less than some bench mark of revenue compared to management, than management would be subject to some sort of impact on their earnings.

    The problem with at is again you are trying to solve a problem with regulations, but if their is no social cost for upper management to take in a huge cut of revenues in salaries and stock options and squeeze the lower ranks of the employees on theirs then to avoid that drift to oligarchy you need to find some other incentive to see that a reasonable fraction of revenues go to salaries for the average workers.

    Real wages for workers have been essentially flat for decades with only small swings

    Note that even in the pre Y2K period when IT workers were getting very good salaries the average wage earner hardly budged from the low real wages of the early 1990’s.

    Obviously this item is coming from the Union perspective of just raw comparisons, but I am not sure anyone is really worth $11.7 million a year even if they increase a companies earnings by billions. Those increased earnings belong to everyone involved down the labor chain who made the company profitable and the CEO should not take credit for the thousands of hours of effort put in by all the folks that worked for him and made his success possible.

    Unfortunately the corporate boards and senior management ranks are so incestuous that they jack up each others salaries so they can in turn justify their own obscene salary.

    The one fatal flaw of pure capitalism is that there is no negative feed back that limits predatory earnings at the expense of others within the same organization. When you have stock brokers getting million dollar bonuses for selling products that systematically skim funds from old folks retirement accounts or a COE who is not embarrassed to take 90% of revenue for his salary and short shift all the workers that make the company work, how do you limit that sort of abuse?

  50. E.M.Smith says:

    @Galloping Camel:

    Another book I need to read… Sigh. So little time…

    One change I’d make, here, is simply to have a directly 100% proportional service of elected representatives and senators.

    You have a race for, say, Senator from California. Republicans get 35%, Democrats 60%, Libertarians 3% and 1% each for Greens and UberConservatives. So now you take your Senate Calendar and you give each group that percentage of the calendar to serve (order of service by random selection so as not to pack with all Dems up front or all 2 days guys at the end).

    EVERYBODY gets represented. NOBODY can cut ‘deals’ for gerrymander or “safe seats” or whatever.

    Would probably need a cut off like 1% or some such to prevent the inevitable splintering into a million special interest parties… or maybe even just the “top 5” if it’s a big problem.

    Oh, and you get exactly ZERO retirement of any kind. This is NOT a career…

    @J.P. Miller:

    Thanks! I try to have my moments ;-)

    Also, do not forget the largely homogenous culture and even extended family interconnectedness in such small countries. (Though I note that Norway and Sweden could not stick together despite a very long shared past… and even in Norway there are two languages, North and South and strain between them… though bokmal is helping )

    (And yes, at one time I learned some Swedish – enough to read office memos with a dictionary and time – and took a look into learning Norwegian as very similar…)

    It’s easy for a single large family to “take care of their own”… not so easy for a “melting pot” especially when some types take far far more than they make… ( See Jamestown history and another Smith…)

    Yes, this election will be both a mess and an opportunity. We could end up with anything from a Real Socialist ™ to a Lier In Chief to a Baby Bush 2 to an Emperor Trump… and all points in between. People are just POed enough to say “if we can’t fix it, break it really hard”…

    Back in a few… time to fill the cup again ;-)

  51. E.M.Smith says:


    “You left off (D) Let a free and open labor market provide jobs for everyone who wants one where their pay reflects their ability and production.”
    (D) translated… Let us assume we have a can opener. There aren’t enough reasonable jobs for 93 million non working adults and I doubt there ever will be now.

    “Translated” translated … “I’m a pessimist and can’t see how it would work so it doesn’t, besides, I decide what’s a ‘reasonable job’ and what isn’t and I don’t like much.”

    I had the wonderful experience of growing up in a small farm town “on the cusp” between real freedom and Central Authority. There were laws and rules that folks generally followed, but if they got in the way, well, liberty took over.

    So at about 8 years old I started a business. First, I sold “greeting cards” door to door. I did OK at it, maybe 10 ¢ / hour all told, but I didn’t like the product and the upfront investment cost was a pain… Then I learned to make jewelry from a local crafts lady (she had the store selling the parts). I then started making, and selling, hand made jewelry. Just “costume” stuff, but it sold some.

    Here’s an 8 year old kid, finding a way to make money.

    Now fast forward to about 8 years back. A guy comes around with bucket and rag and squeegee looking to wash windows. He’s clearly somewhat “special needs” and I’d guess he’s about 25. We agree on $10 and he cleans my outside windows. Now I just KNOW someone is going to rat him out. He almost certainly had no “business license” and someone will have been bothered by him not being in an institution. But he was a nice guy and did a good job. But never returned again…

    In the really free market of my youth, he would have been back in a month, I’d have paid another $10, and my windows would be clean. In the over licensed over regulated over MANAGED market of today, he gets run out or locked up.

    How do I know this?

    Back in that time of my youth was a wonderful guy named Rufus. I’d guess he was about 80? Road a bike everywhere. Had a “club foot” that had kept him out of “the wars”. He collected old broken appliances, and took them apart. I got to visit is ‘room’ once. A semi-converted garage behind another home. Had a single cot, a hot plate, and all the walls were lined with a million and one bits of old dead appliances. Folks would find Rufus whenever something broke (often just complaining to the neighbor that the toaster broke was enough for the Jungle Drums to inform Rufus of the need…) and he’d show up on his bike. A few hours (or sometimes a day) later and he’d be back, toaster in the basket, repaired and ready to use. He’s sharpen knives and mowers and such when repair was slow. He’d collect broken discarded motors and appliances. Saved so many odd bits it was amazing.

    In many ways he was like that guy who washed my windows. Just smarter about mechanical stuff.

    One day he died. The whole town was in a fit. Not only was an iconic figure gone ( I think he’d lived there his whole life, or “forever” as far as everyone else in town…) but the whole town collectively asked “How will we get anything fixed?”…

    So you see, I’ve “lived the dream” where anyone could find work, or make it. The wages would wander a bit, but there was always work, at the equilibrium wage rate.

    Later, in college, I learned about market clearing prices and supply / demand equilibrium. It was all relatively obvious to me as I’d lived in a real, free, market place. I’ve been paid from 25 ¢ / hour to $150 /hour. But I’ve always had a job, some job, when I decided I wanted one.

    Now you want to decide some jobs are not “good enough for Americans” or “aren’t reasonable enough”. So who made you God? You have divine insight into what an 8 year old kid, a club footed old man, or a Special Needs young adult find “reasonable”? It’s up to YOU do decide that they all three of them ought to be unemployed instead of earning what their labor is worth? It is up to YOU to decide who gets a job and who goes on the dole? It is up to YOU to decide they are better off dependent than independent?

    Well I can say with great certainty that Rufus was most happy fixing things. I spent many hours talking with him in the ‘railroad park’ across the street from my folks restaurant (where I washed days and days worth of dishes by hand for that $quarter/hour) and learning what he knew. Getting to “grok’ the man. I was torn to tears when he was hit by a train in that same park, and I helped pick up the bits of him from the tracks so we could bury him in style. (He had gone a bit deaf and did not hear the train whistle as his bike crossed the tracks). I was about 12, but “old enough” to help in the clean up / pick up the bits. Today that would be roped off with police tape and a “damn kid” sent away or arrested for ‘tampering with a crime scene’. The folks picking up the bits not giving a damn and mostly thinking about their $150k / year salaries and early retirement on a government pension.

    (We did get “crossing gates” after that… the whole town was pissed enough that Southern Pacific got the message loud and clear and popped the bucks…)

    I also know with great certainty that I’m a much better and more independent person for having run 2 businesses before the age of 10 and knowing about inventory management, cost of goods sold, sales and marketing, manufacturing and yes, returns and repairs as the glue was not waterproof enough at first, long before running into those words in MBA classes.

    Oh, and I paid for 1/2 of my first “real bike”. A Schwinn 3 Speed that cost $56.26 at the local hardware store. My Dad said I could have it if I paid 1/2. Well, 112 hours of hand washing dishes later, I had my 1/2 of the bike. WELL worth it to me.

    Now you would make all that illegal or not “reasonable” enough. I call that, flat out, sanctimonious bull shit. Letting a free (really free, not the encumbered BS not-a-market over regulated crap we have today) labor market work lets that kind of thing happen. It lets EVERYONE have the dignity of work. It lets a kid, a cripple, and a Special Needs guy all feel good about themselves and all do something that pleases them and gives them a sense of self worth. Screw the pity, I’m gonna make me a business.

    That is THE central problem of Central Planning and One Size Fits All rules and “I know better” sanctimonious crap. It simply can NOT collect, process, and find all the right answers for all the varieties of people in the world. It does not matter AT ALL if you are a socialist, a Crony Capitalist, a Monopolist, a Union Organizer or anyone else. You just can’t know everything about everyone and what they value. You can’t reach all the right answers.

    But a truly free and open market can. ALL the sellers and ALL the buyers each bring their understanding to the market, and each finds what makes THEM happy and whole.

    Sometimes it’s going home empty handed. Plenty of doors knocked on didn’t want greeting cards from some 8 year old kid. But even then I learned a lot from the process. (Today my folks would be put in jail for “reckless child endangerment” for letting me go door to door, I’m sure… and I might be in Foster Care… but it’s one of my fondest memories…) That’s the whole point, really. Markets have an equilibrium clearing price. At that point, everyone has a job. Screw with it, someone does not have a job. Many of us would be happy to have that job, but it is made illegal by those folks who “know better” what we want. Sometimes that price is below what we will accept, so we are unemployed (me, now) but ‘soon enough’ it will be enough and I’ll decide eating matters more to me… ;-) and I’ll take that job at “1/2 my usual rate”…

    BTW, one of those “options” for me IS a “trade school”. BUT, I must take the “CBEST” exam before my “Lifetime Teaching Credential” is acceptable… So I have to put up $100 more or less, and then take an exam (offered several times a year) and then wait for the results, and then… if I don’t pass, try again at least 120 days later… All for about $38 /hour. I’m 100% qualified (way over qualified, really, but I like teaching) but the reality is that I’m unlikely to bother and will find something else to do instead. So “adult ed” and “trade schools” still exist, just more rare.

    There is a great deal of “class envy” and “redistributionist” mindset in the rest of your comment. I’m going to let it pass. Yes, you want to “fix it”, but it isn’t possible.

    Don’t get me wrong. The likes of BIll Gates, Sorors and Algore get zero sympathy from me. They have worked the system and rigged the game enough to always win. And don’t even get me started on The Fed and “too big to fail” that gets ‘fixed’ by making them bigger… Yes, 100% I agree that folks with power rigging the system are Evil Bastards and need a good shearing. BUT: The solution to E.B.s is NOT to make One Really Big E.B. Government Redistributor. Limit, fracture, and distribute the power broadly. That is what free and fair markets do. That is why I prefer them over One Central Authority Power. Because it eventually becomes the One Central Authority Evil Bastard of Tyranny. Always.

  52. BobN says:

    Things work until they don’t!
    With the industrial revolution we had an in incredible jump in productivity and wages and everyone was a big consumer, we go through the depression and the war get things going. We exit the war unharmed and are the economic engine f the world and everything expands as do salaries. union push for ever increasing wages and pensions hat are easily handed out, then comes the Japanese car invasion and Detroit does not compete well in cost and quality, things slow down and corporate profits shrink to survive the car companies move to non union states and move things of shore, why not, there s free trade and cheap labor. Rinse and repeat for almost everything manufactured until today we have 1.8 government workers for every manufacturing worker, not exactly a recipe for a robust manufacturing environment.
    so we have outsourced our manufacturing to low wages, at about the same time the personal computer revolution hits and fewer workers can now do the job of many, so jobs slowly bleed of as the productivity of the worker has increased, only the worker does not see gains in their paycheck, the gains are through capitalization investments in the computer hardware, besides there are 3 other people willing to take your job, so wage stagnation sets in, but inflation doesn’t stop.
    we have now put a hole in manufacturing and crippled the upside to office workers. The trend line on jobs has been slowly down or flat, but on the horizon is a robotics revolution with AI capabilities, the cost of labor becomes a lesser issue as machines can work 24/7 and in most cases faster without benefits. Just look to car automated driving and its soon to be impact. Truckers are our biggest single employee, we will be working to replace them over the next ten years along with many other occupations such as cab drivers and delivery trucks.
    Many make the argument that the new technologies will create more jobs than they take away. I submit that this is totally false except for those in the technology field. What do Truck drivers do to survive when their job is gone. what does the warehouse worker do when robots replace them. These are not the people that can easily train to write Apps or do accounting, their is a huge knowledge gap and that is why the H1B visa problem exists.
    Many jobs could still be created, but regulations make this almost impossible.
    We need to change who we elect and we need to start ignoring laws and regulations, demanding jury trials for every violation and then the people need to take things in their hands and nullify the regulations. It needs to be taken away from judges and government until they agree to the problem.

  53. gallopingcamel says:

    @JP Miller,

    You mention Denmark. I was told that federal income tax in Denmark is 3.7%.

    While taxes are high in Denmark most of the money is collected and spent at local level. If our federal government’s take was limited to less than 5% there would be a limit to their ability to meddle in our lives.

    States on the other hand would have much more money on a per capita basis so they would be able to create a nanny state or whatever their voters would support.

  54. Larry Ledwick says:

    Of course Denmark only spends 3.2% of its budget on defense thanks to the US umbrella on NATO, where we spend 17.6% of our budget (in effect subsidizing the defense budgets of every NATO country).

    Turkey 6.7%, Canada 6.4%, UK 5.3%, France 4.8%. Germany 4.7% ,,Norway 4.2%, Greece 4.4%, Italy 4.0% , Sweden 3.7%, Denmark 3.2%, Netherlands 3.0%, Belgium 2.3%

  55. gallopingcamel says:

    Larry Ledwick,
    That 17.6% sounds excessive until you realize it amounts to ~4% of GDP while expenditure on health care amounts to four times more.

    As a Brit I greatly appreciate the fact that we shelter under a defence umbrella provided by the the generous citizens of the USA.

    Now I want to show my appreciation by helping to you folks to turn away from the slippery slope of European style socialism that has ruined the UK and many nearby countries.

  56. Adrian Ashfield says:

    It is always entertaining to read of your experiences. I mean that is a good way as it shows the ingenuity of (some) humans. Those experiences shape your later opinions. In the same way, I didn’t start going to school until I was nearly nine, because of WWII, and didn’t find that a disadvantage. Hence I’m puzzled by the certainty that kids should now start school even earlier.

    I HATE the government regulations too. That’s not my point. UBI offers help with the least government intervention and people will still do the things to earn more money on top of that, if they have the incentive of needing something or simply enjoy doing it..

    As for a “reasonable” job, I should have used a paragraph to explain that. I don’t see anything virtuous or useful in doing a job that an existing robot can do as well or better, for less money.
    See this an excellent, interesting video, if demonstrates how needs change as people get more money. “DON’T PANIC — Hans Rosling showing the facts about population”
    In essence, it shouldn’t be necessary for Americans to work like Andre in the video, in order to buy a bicycle to save many hours of walking every day. We have advanced far enough that everyone should be able to enjoy a better life than that, Even if you hate the thought of people being paid for nothing. It is simply not worth the bureaucracy to sort out the idle from the industrious. Remember the Bell Curve too. Also, I maintain there will not be sufficient jobs that pay enough to live on for everyone.

    You write. “There is a great deal of “class envy” and “redistributionist” mindset in the rest of your comment. I’m going to let it pass. Yes, you want to “fix it”, but it isn’t possible.”

    You misinterpret what I wrote. I have no objection to someone getting rich if they are actually producing something of value. My objection is for people like bankers, gambling with other’s money, making millions a year, then when they lose the government bails them out. Harder to rationalize as it depends on the source, but making millions simply from interest is somehow wrong too. Getting paid $4 million a year as president of a “non profit” hospital is too much. Etc.
    Yes I know it is not possible to “fix” it.

    I am not sure UBI is the answer. But do you have a better solution?

  57. Adrian Ashfield says:

    I agree with what you wrote although we seem to be in the minority. One small point, it is not the loss of manufacturing alone that is devastating, it is also the loss of the suppliers/supporting firms/consultants where a lot of the brain power resides. Something the government “experts” overlooked in making the conscious decision to move away from manufacturing to the service industries.

  58. BobN says:

    @ Adrian Ashfield,
    Yes, the support infrastructure loss is just as [b]ig and important as the associated technology. Bringing back a technology for manufacturing may not be possible once its support infrastructure is gone. I believe there are major inflection points that are not realized until much later. the smart Phone is such an example, it was not technically that big a breakthrough, just good integration and packaging with a decent set of software, but it is having a profound affect on society in general. people are addicted to their use and new usages keep popping up. Much like the smart phone, robotics have been around forever so no one sees it as the threat it really is, but it has reached the stage where it can do way more than some simple assembly line task, the technology is such that most jobs will be threatened one way or another. Throw the AI breakthroughs n top and we are at the first stags of the robotic revolution.
    its great that people will not be forced to do repetitive boring work, but any work is better than non as it comes back to pride and the need to feed the family. I moved from Silicon Valley where I took change as exciting and viewed it as opportunity, but moving to a rural area, I see how little changes can greatly affect the local fabric of the area and I now am very concerned about how society moves forward when half the people don’t work and the other half are being replaced by small incremental intrusions every day. Historically something has always come along that changes everything and the cycle starts over, but right now I don’t see it, so I’m a doom and gloom guy at the moment.
    I believe we are very close to an energy revolution and that may be what gives society another chance at a proper operating structure. Free energy might eliminate many jobs, such as gas stations or electric grid workers and such, but I think it might mean that everyone grows their own food and the need for jobs may go away. If you have energy for lights and heat and grow your own food your needs are few. I could see society returning to an agricultural model with people grouped to produce things they trade with other groups. With cheap energy you grow year around and can grow anything you want, such as coffee out of Minnesota. I keep hoping for the energy breakthrough that changes the world.

  59. J Martin says:

    LENR will stll be “imminent” for the next 20 or 30 years. Rossi will spin it out forever.

  60. BobN says:

    @ J Martin
    I don’t expect Rossi to get us to the promised land, others will soon surpass his efforts.

  61. Adrian Ashfield says:

    @J Martin,
    LENR is here already. Companies like Cherokee and Woodford don’t invest $60 million without looking. Woodford Equity is one of the larger companies in the UK and said they spent two year doing extraordinary due diligence, before their recent investment of $49 million. This as an answer to an investor has legal consequences. That means they have had technical people investigate the main asset of Industrial Heat, the commercial 1 MW LENR plant supplying steam to a customer, that Rossi claims has been now been running seven months. (A 350 day trial.)

    Are you confusing LENR with hot fusion that has been twenty years off for at least fifty years?

  62. gallopingcamel says:

    Rossi has an office in Glades Road, Boca Raton connected with his real estate interests. I plan to drop in again early in 2016. It would be a big surprise to find him in his office.

    Here is a detailed study of Rossi and some of his business associates. It is amazing that this highly entertaining scam is still going on.

  63. Adrian Ashfield says:

    People won’t need to grow their own food unless they want to. There are already vertical automated farms in action whose products will get even cheaper with cheap energy.

    Unskilled labor is just the tip of the problem although it effects many people. AI is already working its way up the food chain.

  64. BobN says:

    @ Adrian
    Yes, a lot is being grown, my point is that people may not need to work or growing their own would provide a base for living and exchange.
    Yes, AI is at about a High School graduate level, whatever a typical graduate can do the AI can do. It is getting difficult to know if your talking to one on the phone.

  65. JP Miller says:

    Adrian, I encourage you to let go of your notion that you somehow know what’s “right” for someone to be paid… whether that person is doing work you think “good” (e.g., CEO of a charity) or for work you deem questionable (a banker earning money by lending money). By having such an opinion you are being moralistic and judgmental, and I say in the kindest way I can (because you have obviously given much thought to this subject), nonsensical. What about sports figures earning millions, or entertainers? Why stop there? Let’s set the “proper” wage for everyone….

    What you need to come to understand is that when people can make free choices about what they are willing to do, and for what pay, and when people can make free choices about what they want to consume at what price, that WHATEVER they can make or consume is fair and just. PERIOD. And some will do better than others. That dumb kid who was a narcissistic jerk in high school (and still is) can hit a 98 MPH fastball and a curve and so now makes $20M/ year… and I put myself through 6 years of graduate school to earn a PhD and I can only find a job that pays $80K/ year, and that really nice kid who was kind and funny, well, he goes from odd job to odd job for $25K/ year. You know, life just isn’t fair. Well, how about that!

    As I will say more than once: so long as there is no rent-seeking or fraud, whatever people can make, they can make. I suppose some believe there are “power structures” that allow some people to maintain economic dominance. Really? Unless protected by some government rule or law, I’ve never seen such a thing in my life — and I’ve worked with CEO’s of some of the largest businesses and banks there are. Some believe Wall Street bankers are somehow a protected class. Hmmm, tell that to Richard Fuld or Hank Greenberg or many others. Is there shystering on Wall Street? For sure. But that speaks more to failure of law enforcement than anything else. People will ALWAYS try to take advantage of complex financial systems. Our problem is we have too many regulations and not enough enforcement. But, I digress…..

    Freedom, if properly protected from rent-seeking and fraud, makes everything right. So, stop focusing on the wrong problem (income inequality). Focus on the real problem: folks who think they can make the world right for us all “if only we had the right laws/ regulations.” It’s folks like that who are threats to real justice and real self-respect.

    The notion that income equality is a bad thing is a terribly destructive notion. So long as there is no rent seeking or fraud, income inequality is the most just way for people to make their economic way in life. Right now, China may have one of the greatest levels of income inequality in the world, but that only reflects a system in which millions… no, tens/ hundreds of millions of people now have the ability to make the most of themselves economically that they,and their parents, never had before. The factory workers making $2/ day (and I’ve employed tens of thousands) now have the chance to work their way out of poverty and to actually move up the economic ladder. They are happier and healthier and more energized by life than their parents ever were. Oh, but $2/ day can’t be a “living wage!” some will cry. Well, most such people have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. My workers left me at the drop of a hat when they could get a job for $2.15/ day or could work in a factory with better conditions for the same pay. I had to keep up with the market, and wages have risen steadily over time although supply and demand have waxed and waned (with little/ no government interference).

    Your hand-wringing about technology eliminating jobs is economic and historical nonsense. Yes, technology kills jobs. Always has, always will. But, as EM points out, new demands, new jobs have always (will always) fill the void. Or, is somehow now, this present moment, different? Maybe the “end of history”? Right. So, we should ban technology improvements? Manage them better through force of law? Hah! Or, should we get rid of government nonsense that makes it harder for companies to hire/ fire workers at will, thus maximizing the efficiency of the labor market, which will help people find jobs when technology takes theirs away? I vote the latter solution because people will migrate or change their expectations or find ways to acquire new skills when they know it is up to them to figure things out.

    Technological evolution is certainly not good for everyone at all times. Those caught in old technology will have to struggle to adjust. So be it. Trying to avoid negative consequences in economic life is fraught with difficulties and consequences worse than the problems.

    If you have never done so, I strongly recommend you read “Free To Choose,” by Milton Friedman (or You Tube the TV series). He will far better than I make a case for thinking you should consider.

  66. J Martin says:

    I think western governments use immigration and visas as a way of suppressing wage inflation, though in doing so they ignore the long term damage that does to society by increasing unemployment among its own nationals.

  67. J Martin says:

    @ Adrian Ashfield. I was comparing cold fusion with hot fusion, not confusing them.
    @ JP Miller. I fear your analysis is largely right but doesnt take into account the sort of runaway distortions currently seen in the system, namely the concentration of wealth in the top 1% also the national debt, the two of which combined may one day bring the whole system down or perhaps leave the US with a two speed society, the rich and the poor with no middle class, flavelas and palaces. In many countries that would be a stable system, though hardly desirable. As the US has a widely armed population a reprise of the French let them eat cake style of revolution could take place. But armed revolutions in Europe are no longer possible, in earlier times the gap between muskets and pitch forks was not so large, today the population no longer even has pitch forks, the state has all the weaponry.

  68. David A says:

    J,P. Miller, good comment. I do think it takes into account the concentration of wealth J. Martin mentions. In a true free enterprise market, where Govt (the “necessary evil”) protects that market, (no robber barrons) their is a natural middle class.

    Regarding automation, yes if eventually all physical labor is done by robots, then a free market will move steadily into a pure service economy, (which as long as people have desires will provide endless job opportunities) and supplying minimum necessities to those temporairly displaced by the transition will be very inexpensive.

    A healthy use of free time will be very important for such a culture.

  69. Adrian Ashfield says:

    I don’t like being misrepresented in the way you have done.
    In future, please quote my actual words before you answer things I did not say and do not believe.

  70. gallopingcamel says:

    JP Miller,
    “Your hand-wringing about technology eliminating jobs is economic and historical nonsense. Yes, technology kills jobs. Always has, always will. But, as EM points out, new demands, new jobs have always (will always) fill the void. ”

    Thank you for pointing that out. Queen Elizabeth I arguably delayed the “Industrial Revolution” by 140 years because she wanted to avoid killing the jobs of the knitters who made hosiery in the 16th century.

  71. Pingback: Amdahl’s Law, Gustafson’s, Robots and Jobs | Musings from the Chiefio

Comments are closed.