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Author Topic: But where are the jobs?
kmbboots
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Had I children, I would rather raise them to believe that society was cooperative and that the strong had an obligation to share that strength with the weak than raise them hungry, insecure and uneducated.
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MattP
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quote:
Parents on welfare are more likely to have their children grown up to do the same.
But is that causal relationship rather than coincidental? If someone is on welfare, it may be because they live in area with little work or opportunity for mobility. Children that grow up in this area will likely need welfare as well, but because of the work and mobility issues, not because their parents had welfare.
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katharina
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I'd rather teach my children of their obligations to help others and how to do that and how to take care of themselves than teach them to beg and try to get others to take care of them. I wouldn't want to tell my kids they are weak.

quote:
If someone is on welfare, it may be because they live in area with little work or opportunity for mobility. Children that grow up in this area will likely need welfare as well, but because of the work and mobility issues, not because their parents had welfare.
What causes poverty is a huge area of thought and controversy, so there isn't an easy answer to it, but there's no question poverty is correlated strongly with all sorts of bad results. Whatever may cause poverty, there's no question that by every measure of happiness, people are better off out of it.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Mucus...there is an assumption in your post, that to manufacture things here in America must drive the end price of the products up.

Obviously.
If it was cheaper to manufacture things in the US, they would already be doing it. Companies don't outsource for no reason.

As for cutting CEO pay or returns on capital, I don't see why they would want to do that just to manufacture in the US.

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Destineer
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quote:
Destineer...nothing is implicitly wrong with it (I am on unemployment) but it is hardly a long term solution to a lack of quality jobs in this country.
I don't know, I kind of agree with the laissez-faire perspective on this question. If there is work that needs doing, there will eventually be jobs available. If not, why waste time and effort creating needless jobs?

This doesn't apply perfectly to present-day America, where our infrastructure is so badly degraded that there's plenty of work that needs doing. But my point is that in principle, "job creation" is sort of an artificial goal. Instead our goal should be wealth creation, plus a fairly even distribution of that wealth.

quote:
Because it's bad for their children. Unless raising kids to be dependent and poor is a goal. Parents on welfare are more likely to have their children grown up to do the same. The cycle of poverty is not something to voluntarily perpetuate.

Maybe it has to be said: it sucks to be poor. It's bad for health, it's bad for relationships, it's bad for longevity, it's bad for education, and it's bad for reported happiness. Welfare, in all its forms, can keep body and soul together, but it isn't a good place to stay. It is a totally understandable resting place sometimes - life happens. But the goal should always be to get out of it when you can.

I agree that being poor is itself bad for people. But being out of work is not intrinsically bad. (Except for those people who really like to work.)

I think we should reform our social welfare system so that people who are out of work don't thereby become poor.

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fugu13
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quote:
The suggestions I've heard as to where employment is going to be growing now are laughable. The service industry? How many people do the top 20% need to "serve" them?

I don't think you understand how broad the term service industry is. People designing new technologies are in a service industry. Educators are in a service industry. Doctors are in a service industry. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The service sector is over 50% of the economy in developing countries, and is one of the primary growth drivers.

In the US, over 78% of the economy is in the service sector (useful fact: that's a higher amount per person employed in the service sector than it is per person employed in the manufacturing sector; each service job contributes, on average, more to the economy, even though the only manufacturing jobs we have left are superskilled high productivity ones). Also, we haven't ceded our spot in manufacturing: We're still the best at manufacturing things in the world, and only by employing more people in manufacturing than are employed in any job at all in the entire US does China barely produce more total goods than us. We just don't need very many people to perform that manufacturing, because we're so extremely efficient at it. Putting people to work at manufacturing the sorts of things the rest of the world is more efficient at manufacturing would be consigning even more of the US to poverty (as the value added on such goods just isn't high enough to support even the amount of income handed out by the US government for free to someone working a part time minimum wage job).

Again, your argument is exactly what people argued about the transition from agriculture to manufacture. That how many people did you really need to manufacture things, since what people needed could in most cases be made for themselves? Given the huge evidence that most of the economy can be employed in the service sector, because it is, your argument that the service sector can't be large enough is very strange.

quote:
Cheap goods are not wealth.
Yeah, they are, kind of definitionally. The value of money is only defined to the extent you can purchase things you want with it, since it is not something inherently wantable (unlike other goods, and ignoring the tiny amount it is wantable to collectors). If goods become cheaper, and the notional amount of income for people who want those goods remains the same, those people have become better off. Saying it doesn't work that way is a gross misunderstanding of what money is.

Wealth does not stem purely from manufacturing; manufacturing is certainly necessary for people to have things, but I think you'll find the people who manufacture things are more than willing to trade the things they manufacture for lots of other things that aren't manufactured (including the plans to manufacture better things, since most of that plan making is done in the service sector nowadays). The reason I think you'll find it? Because that's what already happens. You're arguing a view that is entirely dissonant with what's already here!

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katharina
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quote:
But being out of work is not intrinsically bad.
I actually disagree with this. People who work longer in retirement are healthier. I honestly don't believe that people are wired to be happy being dependent. Not that a horrid job makes life great, but there is a satisfaction from being able to take care of yourself that can't be handed to someone.

All other things being equal (and they SO aren't), someone who feels they are contributing to the world and is able to take care of themself is going to be happier than someone who knows they can't. It isn't just better for everyone else when those people who can work do, it's better for the people themselves.

There have been all sorts of studies on the long-term unemployed in the past few years, and the out of work - even those on unemployment still - have worse health, worse relationships, and worse reported happiness. Being out of work is not the end of the world, but isn't neutral either. It definitely isn't good.

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Destineer
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I suspect that the effects you describe are mostly the result of a culture that values "self-sufficiency" as an end in itself, rather than something built in to the human condition.

It's too bad we have this culture, and I think we should try to change it if we can.

Obviously people should have fulfilling things to do with their time. But why can't these things be hobbies or family pursuits?

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DarkKnight
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quote:
Instead our goal should be wealth creation, plus a fairly even distribution of that wealth.
How would that work? For example, my wife starts a business using our house, live savings, etc as collateral. She works very hard establishing the business, doing constant market research, paying taxes, getting inspected, advertising, and on and on. After some years, the business grows enough to hire an employee. Again, the work load has not let up and she continues to work very very hard making the best business in the area. Eventually she is able to hire more and more employees, and after years and years of hard work, and risk mostly on her part, she is employing 25 people and making 7 digit income.
What would be a fair redistribution of her income?

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Destineer
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Depends on how much other people need in order to live in good health and relative happiness.
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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
I suspect that the effects you describe are mostly the result of a culture that values "self-sufficiency" as an end in itself, rather than something built in to the human condition.

It's too bad we have this culture, and I think we should try to change it if we can.

Obviously people should have fulfilling things to do with their time. But why can't these things be hobbies or family pursuits?

Whatever the reasons for the results, I suspect it is easier to help peole get back to work (retraining, etc.) than to fundamentally change the causes for it, especially when we don't even know the causes for it and they are very possibly/probably unchangeable.

It isn't like people being employed is a bad thing.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Mucus...[sarcasm]your brilliant argument of "nu-uh" is stunning.

I now see the errors of my ways! [/sarcasm]

Sure the companies will not want to give up being a money making machine on the backs of their workers, but they should do it, as it is better for everyone. There is enough to go around, but greedy little bas*ards who horde the life blood of this country and drive it to its knees will not allow it.

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katharina
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quote:
Sure the companies will not want to give up being a money making machine on the backs of their workers, but they should do it, as it is better for everyone.
But they won't. If you take away the incentive to build a business, people aren't going to risk themselves to build it anyway. Why should they? Why them? Why not the people who don't want to work and want other people to take care of them? You're killing the goose when you take too many of the eggs.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
Depends on how much other people need in order to live in good health and relative happiness.
Can you expand on that? You can use today's economy for reference if that helps
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Destineer
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quote:
Whatever the reasons for the results, I suspect it is easier to help peole get back to work (retraining, etc.) than to fundamentally change the causes for it, especially when we don't even know the causes for it.

It isn't like people being employed is a bad thing.

It is if the jobs are bad ones, or if in order to create them you have to inefficiently "make work" that doesn't need to get done, thereby spending money that could be better spent in other ways.

I definitely have no problem with publicly-funded re-training and such, if there is demand for work. What I have a problem with is the artificial attempt to create work when there's no demand for it.

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katharina
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Who said it was artificial? What makes a job "bad"? (Fast food? Farm jobs? Swing shift?) Should "bad" jobs even exist? If yes, who is it that is too good to take them?
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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
quote:
Depends on how much other people need in order to live in good health and relative happiness.
Can you expand on that? You can use today's economy for reference if that helps
Well, in today's economy I would say that the minimum amount of top-bracket taxation needed to cover reasonable welfare programs is probably about what it was during the Clinton years. So (assuming your wife's income puts her in the top bracket) she should be taxed a little less than 40%.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
... but they should do it, as it is better for everyone.

Not only is it *not* better for *everyone*, but moralising is an especially poor mechanism for encouraging businesses to create more jobs in the US. The latter should be somewhat self-evident.

As to the former, American companies would be less competitive putting American jobs at risk. Giving poorer returns on capital would hurt people invested in those companies, which includes a large swath of American retirees and pension plans. It would also make it harder for them to raise capital to do well in the future. Obviously their foreign workers wouldn't be particularly happy either, which would have political ramifications as well.

Considering the lethargic state of the American economy, many American companies like GM are currently actually doing very well selling cars in China. Putting that at risk would seem to be counter-productive.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
But they won't. If you take away the incentive to build a business, people aren't going to risk themselves to build it anyway. Why should they? Why them? Why not the people who don't want to work and want other people to take care of them? You're killing the goose when you take too many of the eggs.
It becomes a question of how much is too many eggs. One percent of the people control a third of the money. Some imbalance is going on here.

Companies were not always money making machines ya know. Companies used to be run by families not stockholders, and could have "quality products", "taking good care of its employees" and "reasonable expansion" as its goals instead of being a giant ATM machine to guarantee the luxury to the nth generation of greedy people.

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katharina
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Many still are, you know. In fact, most still are. The families running business will get caught in your take-the-wealth plan just as much as the stockholders.

And every person with a 401k is likely a stockholder.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Not all stock holders...I'm talking about stockholders with enough stock to sway the policy here.

And yes, there are some evil greedy family run operations I'm sure.

My point is that taking good care of your workers, who are skilled and an asset to the company, is an end into itself.

It seems to me that more and more, companies are seeing its workers as a liability and not an asset.

Mucus...interesting points, I'm not ignoring you...just have some babies who need nap time at the moment.

More to come...

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fugu13
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Not just many, most. Most companies, by far, are very small companies.

And, of course, it has never been the case that there weren't large companies that concentrated wealth a lot, since the creation of the company, so you seem to be harkening back to a time that never existed, Stone_Wolf_. Since such large companies create much more wealth per person involved in the endeavor than small companies, this is overall a very good thing.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Mucus...again, your "nu-huh" argument, isn't working very well for me.

Of course "moralizing" isn't an incentive to greedy/selfish people, it is to good ones though. Should we never discuss what is right and wrong?

quote:
...American companies would be less competitive putting American jobs at risk...
I don't agree with the assumption here, as I made clear before.

quote:
Giving poorer returns on capital would hurt people invested in those companies, which includes a large swath of American retirees and pension plans. It would also make it harder for them to raise capital to do well in the future.
There is a line when crossed where this becomes true. But I am suggesting that you need not undercut worker salaries to stay "in the black" in this regard.

quote:
Obviously their foreign workers wouldn't be particularly happy either, which would have political ramifications as well.
This is a discussion of American jobs, I wonder if your nebulous "political ramifications" would be so overwhelming as to be influential compared to say...having a decent paying job.

quote:
Considering the lethargic state of the American economy, many American companies like GM are currently actually doing very well selling cars in China. Putting that at risk would seem to be counter-productive.
Again, we are talking about American jobs, not income.

fugu13...Sure, there are more small companies then large ones, but the large ones have much more impact on jobs and make much more money, I'm pretty sure.

My point is that the vast majority of the profit created by corporations today is put into very very few hands, where as the ability to make those profits require very very many hands.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Who said it was artificial? What makes a job "bad"? (Fast food? Farm jobs? Swing shift?) Should no "bad" jobs even exist? If yes, who is it that is too good to take them?

A bad job is a job that's less beneficial to the worker than the time he/she spends on it. I don't have a very clear idea of exactly which jobs are bad, but my sense of it is that many of them are.

In an ideal world there would be robots to do them. [Big Grin] In the actual world, someone has to do the ones that need doing (who gets these jobs will be decided by the market, I suppose), but we shouldn't be asking the government to create more of that kind of work.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Mucus...again, your "nu-huh" argument, isn't working very well for me.

This is the second time you've said that. I'm not sure what it even means. If your "solution" doesn't work, then I'm going to point out why.

quote:
Of course "moralizing" isn't an incentive to greedy/selfish people, it is to good ones though. Should we never discuss what is right and wrong?
Only if it makes a difference. In this case, it really doesn't. American businesses don't operate in a vacuum. Even if you somehow succeed in your crusade to make American corporations more "moral" as you understand it, businesses from other countries will eat them alive. I'm really not seeing an upside here.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
How would that work? For example, my wife starts a business using our house, live savings, etc as collateral. She works very hard establishing the business, doing constant market research, paying taxes, getting inspected, advertising, and on and on. After some years, the business grows enough to hire an employee. Again, the work load has not let up and she continues to work very very hard making the best business in the area. Eventually she is able to hire more and more employees, and after years and years of hard work, and risk mostly on her part, she is employing 25 people and making 7 digit income.
What would be a fair redistribution of her income?

Great "real life" example BTW...

She has earned through risk and hard work each of those seven digits of her income. But could she continue to make them without the help and hard work of those 25 people? So, set profit goals based on performance minus expenses, that is, if the company makes this much money, everyone gets this much bonus, and share a bit of her seven figures with the people who help make them.

Offer to pay for training for them, if they volunteer their time.

Offer stock bonuses for longevity for their loyal help.

All these things in the long run help her company, but also help her workers.

Mutual benefit is the only way to do business!

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fugu13
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quote:
fugu13...Sure, there are more small companies then large ones, but the large ones have much more impact on jobs and make much more money, I'm pretty sure.

My point is that the vast majority of the profit created by corporations today is put into very very few hands, where as the ability to make those profits require very very many hands.

As of 2004, there are 19 million firms that do not have employees -- almost all of those have just the owner, doing what they can, and making money from it. There are a bit under 6 million firms with employees, employing 115 million people total. Of those 115 million, only 42 million are employed at firms with 2,500 or more employees, and only 56 million at firms with 500 or more employees (inclusive of the previous statistic). In other words, smaller firms employ more people than larger firms, especially if you consider all the sole owner firms.

Keep in mind that firms don't pay employees out of profits. Employee pay is an expense before profits. Firms only make, on average, two to three percent profit (this is a very broad average). By far most of what firms take in, they pay out, and a large part of what they pay out is in payroll. Most employer firms, including many large firms, pay out more in payroll than they make in profit (unlike your assertion). Large firms (over 500) paid workers over 2.3 trillion dollars in payroll. Employer firms as a whole paid out over 4.2 trillion dollars in payroll.

But again, this sort of structure has always been the case since companies were created. There have always been obscenely large firms that capture large shares of wealth -- and then distribute those shares across a large number of people involved in the endeavor.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Fascinating...where did you get your figures?
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fugu13
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I think almost all of what I cited in that post comes from here: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/smallbus.html . A bit of it is outside knowledge (like that most nonemployer firms are ones owned by individuals).
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
I'm not sure what it even means. If your "solution" doesn't work, then I'm going to point out why.
Perhaps I missed it, and if so I'm sorry, but it seems as if your arguments against what I have to say basically come down to the statement "you are wrong", or "nu-huh".

quote:
Only if it makes a difference. In this case, it really doesn't.
Not your call to make, either if we should discuss it, or if it makes a difference. If you find any particular aspect of the discussion uninteresting you can simply not address it, but to declare it outside the scope of relevance for anyone to discuss seems a bit much.
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fugu13
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quote:
She has earned through risk and hard work each of those seven digits of her income. But could she continue to make them without the help and hard work of those 25 people? So, set profit goals based on performance minus expenses, that is, if the company makes this much money, everyone gets this much bonus, and share a bit of her seven figures with the people who help make them.

I suggest you try dividing a seven figure income by 25. Total compensation of 25 people is more than 7 figures unless pay is extremely low or it is a very high 7 figure income. In other words, she already is sharing her business's income extensively with her employees, as well as enjoying income that she sacrificed earlier in order to grow her business. Sure, she's earning substantially more than her employees, but she also took risks and sacrificed where they weren't required to, and even with that she's paying them a good bit in comparison to her compensation (if she's making a low million figure, and they're paid moderately okay, she's probably paying at least double her salary in total benefits to her employees).
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Most employer firms, including many large firms, pay out more in payroll than they make in profit (unlike your assertion)
I'm not finding that stat...not saying it's not there...can you please find it? Also, that is not what I was saying...I was trying to say that the profit is not usually shared among the workers...yes, they are paid as an expense...yes investors need to get return on their investment, but the company growing in and of itself is a return, as their stock is more valuable and that kind of theoretical profit is real enough to be borrowed against.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
... what I have to say basically come down to the statement "you are wrong", or "nu-huh".

Then you probably have to read slower or more carefully. I've explained why your ideas won't work and what likely consequences they actually would have. If you have questions about any specific part, I'm happy to elaborate further.
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fugu13
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Oh, that one isn't on the page, but that's common business knowledge. If you do a quick calculation based on GDP using the GDP(I) equality, you can see they're about in balance. However, except for a few very large capital intensive businesses that require fewer employees, most businesses are driven by their employment figures, and thus pay out less in profits than they do in payroll.

I think part of your problem is that you assign some special attribute to profit. Profit is the return on capital. Any profit "handed back" to employees becomes not profit, by definition, but an expense. The part that remains profit is the part that goes to the many people who invested capital in the business, capital that's necessary to keep paying those employees, and is much riskier than being one of those employees.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Mucus...thank you for the offer, I will review the posts and make sure I understand everything to the best of my ability...very slowly [Razz]

fugu...I don't get this part..."...and is much riskier than being one of those employees."

And at the risk of seeming foolish (me? no!) I have no idea what GDP/GDP(i) are...should I look them up to better understand this discussion?

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fugu13
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GDP is Gross Domestic Product. It is the total value of all (final) goods and services produced domestically in one year. There are many ways of computing GDP that are equivalent, though in practice give slightly different numbers (due to the numbers being imperfect). One of those ways is based on Income, so GDP(I), which is the sum of incomes, profits, and taxes, minus subsidies.

Regarding risk and investment, someone putting capital into a company is putting up much more risk than someone not. With few exceptions, employees receive the pay they are supposed to. To use an example that most starkly illustrates things, if a company goes under, employees may lose their jobs, but what they have "invested", their time, is compensated. Indeed, they continue getting paid for quite a while after if they are unable to find a job, from a fund that their company was required to pay into while operating (unemployment). If, however, someone had invested money in that company, that money is generally mostly or completely wiped out when a company goes under. There's also just the general risk of bad performance -- if a company doesn't do well, a person won't make any money (or will lose money). An employee will still get paid (unless they lose their job, in which case see unemployment and that they might well be re-employed quickly, and in most periods of history will be).

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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Who said it was artificial? What makes a job "bad"? (Fast food? Farm jobs? Swing shift?) Should no "bad" jobs even exist? If yes, who is it that is too good to take them?

A bad job is a job that's less beneficial to the worker than the time he/she spends on it. I don't have a very clear idea of exactly which jobs are bad, but my sense of it is that many of them are.

In an ideal world there would be robots to do them. [Big Grin] In the actual world, someone has to do the ones that need doing (who gets these jobs will be decided by the market, I suppose), but we shouldn't be asking the government to create more of that kind of work.

That just says that bad jobs are jobs that are not good enough. That doesn't actually mean anything.

If you want to blithely dismiss jobs as bad and argue that people should be able to do nothing instead and live the life they want without working, at a deep cost to those who do actually work, you need to define what bad means, beyond "not good enough".

Pay? Schedule? Difficulty? Physical difficulty? Boring? Messy? Self control required?

You just said that you think lots of jobs are bad. So, what makes a job bad? If a job is "bad", are you advocating it not be done at all? If it should be done, who should do it?

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Stone_Wolf_
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Thanks for the explanation fugu13...

Oh and a bad job from my point of view is one which pays less then the cost it would take to pay a stranger to watch my one a half year old son and three month old daughter.

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kmbboots
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One thing about risk. I think that the risk relative to what the person has to available to risk needs to be taken into account. An investor may be risking lots of money but not more than he can easily afford to lose. A worker may only be risking his time, but that may be all he has.
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Destineer
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A lot of people like different kinds of jobs than I do. I'd rather not presume to judge once and for all which ones are good or bad for who. Nor is it important to the point I'm trying to defend. My point was, when you "create a job" you don't automatically thereby make the world a better place.

I was just responding to your claim that it's generally better for people to be employed.

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fugu13
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quote:
A worker may only be risking his time, but that may be all he has.
This is true, which is why I favor good social safety nets for post-job periods (and unemployment isn't too bad already, overall). Between the near-guarantee of being paid for time actually worked, combined with unemployment, it takes a very, very large event, such as the one that just happened, for people to start falling through those nets in considerable numbers.
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Stone_Wolf_
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How about a tax cut for companies equal to half the amount of income tax generated by their employees? The more American employees they pay, the less corporate tax they pay.
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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
A lot of people like different kinds of jobs than I do. I'd rather not presume to judge once and for all which ones are good or bad for who. Nor is it important to the point I'm trying to defend. My point was, when you "create a job" you don't automatically thereby make the world a better place.

I was just responding to your claim that it's generally better for people to be employed.

But you said that some jobs are bad. What makes a job bad? Are you saying that every job that someone doesn't dream of growing up to be is a bad job? Should no one have to do jobs that aren't dream-worthy? Is everyone too good to work at anything but a dream job? If not everyone, who?

In our non-StarTrek world, what is a bad job?

In answer to what I think you might be saying, I disagree that a job is bad unless the person do it as a hobby if they weren't getting paid. The self-esteem boost of being able to take yourself, the mental peace that comes from being independent, and the satisfaction of doing a job well occur even in boring jobs, when those boring jobs are necessary. In private industry and especially in small businesses, they are are necessary and not make-work, because it is coming out of the owner's pocket to employ people just to give them busywork.

That a job is boring doesn't negate all the benefits that come from being employed.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
But my point is that in principle, "job creation" is sort of an artificial goal. Instead our goal should be wealth creation, plus a fairly even distribution of that wealth.
I agree completely. People don't need jobs. People thrived for thousands of years without jobs. People need food, shelter, clothing, medical care, companionship, something meaningful to do and probably a few more things. Jobs are the primary way people in our society get access to those things they need, but they are a means to an end, not the end in itself. In that context, I call any job that does not reward the employee well enough to cover the essentials of living a bad job. If your job doesn't pay enough to put food on the table, a roof over your head, clothes on your back and cover your doctor bills when your sick, its a bad job. By this definition, at least 10 million Americans have bad jobs.
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katharina
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quote:
People thrived for thousands of years without jobs.
What? What utopia are you thinking of where people didn't work? Thrived for thousands of years without jobs? Just because you are working your own land or running your own store doesn't mean you don't have a job.

This is so strange and nonsensical a statement I can't imagine where you got it. When, exactly, in time and space, did the majority of any society have nothing but leisure? And "thrived", no less, with food, shelter, clothing, and good health care?

I'm not talking about a Star Trek world. I do mean this one.

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Destineer
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quote:
In answer to what I think you might be saying, I disagree that a job is bad unless the person do it as a hobby if they weren't getting paid. The self-esteem boost of being able to take yourself, the mental peace that comes from being independent, and the satisfaction of doing a job well occur even in boring jobs, when those boring jobs are necessary.
Definitely true. But I think there are plenty of jobs where the boredom, plus perhaps the unpleasantness of the coworkers, plus maybe the length of the commute, plus the time away from family and friends, etc., outweighs the beneficial feelings of independence and success.

The feelings of satisfaction you describe are beneficial, I agree, but there are many ways for jobs to be so unpleasant that the (non-financial) benefit is dwarfed by the personal cost.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I agree completely. People don't need jobs. People thrived for thousands of years without jobs.

Sure, this statement is arguably true. But I think the current system of careers/employment is, for multiple reasons, both superior (as in, preferable) and a natural structuring (as in, unavoidable) of productivity organization in the modern world.
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Destineer
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Nobody's arguing that there shouldn't be jobs. What I was suggesting is that the government shouldn't consider it so important to create jobs when the same goal (providing unemployed people with a livelihood) could be achieved through wealth redistribution instead.
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Mucus
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Well, no jobs != leisure

The Rabbit is probably referring to retirement, childhood, and home-makers. According to the Canadian census, in 2001, only about half the population was in the workforce.

Theoretically (if there was the demand) you could for example, re-structure tax policy to further encourage home-makers to go out and join the workforce, but that wouldn't necessarily be a positive result although the number of jobs would be greater.

The other issue is that there are many jobs that pay less than essentials that aren't necessarily bad. I'm thinking of simple jobs intended for students like tutoring or sometimes retirees can get some minor supplemental income by doing things like travel writing or stock photography for magazines.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
quote:
People thrived for thousands of years without jobs.
What? What utopia are you thinking of where people didn't work? Thrived for thousands of years without jobs? Just because you are working your own land or running your own store doesn't mean you don't have a job.

I didn't say people didn't work. I said they didn't have jobs. Below are the two top dictionary definitions of job.

From the online dictionary

quote:
1.
a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one's occupation or for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.
2.
a post of employment; full-time or part-time position: She was seeking a job as an editor.

I'm certain that there are other ways that the word is commonly used but when politicians and economists talk about "creating jobs", which is the context of this discussion, they aren't talking about any kind of work people do. They are talking about employment for pay. Even in today's world people do lots of different kinds of work that doesn't count as a job -- for example caring for your own children, cleaning your own house, mowing your own lawn, volunteering at church, and so forth.

This is a really important concept to understand if you are interested in actual human well being and not just economic indicators. To understand what I'm talking about, considering the following two hypothetical example.

1. Two neighbors, A and B, help each other out by exchanging work. The Mrs. A tends all the children and prepares meals, while Mr. B does yard work and assorted odd jobs.

2. The two neighbors decide to formalize the arrangement by paying each other for the work done. Mr. B pays Mrs. A $1000 for tending his children and Mrs A. pays Mr. B $1000 for yard work and assorted odd jobs.

In case 2, two jobs are created and $2000 is added to GDP but I think we can all agree that there has been no increase in the well being of either Mrs. A or Mr. B. In fact, the exchange of cash most likely reduces their well being in numerous ways (such as more red tape, reduced feelings of appreciation and friendship, and a higher tax burden.)

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