the economy

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    undo
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    the economy

    Post by undo on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:24 pm

    At some point in the 1980s, companies began to focus more on making money for shareholders than on actually increasing profits via the manufacturing and sale of goods.

    The most logical way to do this was to outsource manufacturing jobs to other countries where labor was cheap.

    Manufacturing jobs left the US (maybe even Canada, Europe, Australia, NZ?) and were replaced by low-wage, low-benefit service jobs. Everyone took it for granted that young people would be able to work at factory jobs and join the middle class just like their parents. This was not to be.

    All this resulted in a big influx of college students and more graduates than ever before competing for a pool of jobs that is not growing at the same rate as the population. This wasn't a problem in the 90s but the financial crisis and global instability of the 00s yielded fewer career opportunities for college graduates than ever before. Even the so-called "recession proof" jobs are now oversaturated with potential employees hoping to find a long-term career that they won't be laid off from by the time they're 50.
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    Re: the economy

    Post by undo on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:25 pm

    What I want to know is, how accurate is the above post?
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    Ted Falconi
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    Re: the economy

    Post by Ted Falconi on Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:08 pm

    Probably kind of, partially .

    I work with a woman who previously worked for a competitor for 32 years.  Around 1995, they were forced by 'market reality' to move manufacturing from in-house to China.  And that's when people started getting laid off, raises got smaller and less frequent.  
    I'm sure other factors contributed - the company folded a few years ago, and she was one of the last people laid off - but "a rising tide lifts all boats" seems like a more plausible cliche than the trickle down theory/Reaganomics.


    Last edited by Ted Falconi on Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Ted Falconi
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    Re: the economy

    Post by Ted Falconi on Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:12 pm

    The place we work for now, everything is made in China, though they are looking into Mexico and a few other places since rising standard of living in China is causing wages to rise and may be cutting into the bottom line.
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    raj gibson
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    Re: the economy

    Post by raj gibson on Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:29 pm

    undo wrote:At some point in the 1980s, companies began to focus more on making money for shareholders than on actually increasing profits via the manufacturing and sale of goods.  
    Not sure I understand the dichotomy implied here. For most public companies, increasing profits is just what the shareholders want, as that correlates pretty closely with the stock price. Obviously companies sometimes behave in ways that are good for the company but not for the stock price, and then you see poison pills or derivative lawsuits or activist shareholders trying to wrest control of the board. But is that related to what you're talking about below?

    The most logical way to do this was to outsource manufacturing jobs to other countries where labor was cheap.  
    Well, they are still profiting by manufacture and the sale of goods, though, right?

    Manufacturing jobs left the US (maybe even Canada, Europe, Australia, NZ?) and were replaced by low-wage, low-benefit service jobs.  Everyone took it for granted that young people would be able to work at factory jobs and join the middle class just like their parents. This was not to be.
    I think this is generally true. Basically you can't be middle class with a high school diploma anymore, which was pretty doable a generation ago.

    All this resulted in a big influx of college students and more graduates than ever before competing for a pool of jobs that is not growing at the same rate as the population. This wasn't a problem in the 90s but the financial crisis and global instability of the 00s yielded fewer career opportunities for college graduates than ever before. Even the so-called "recession proof" jobs are now oversaturated with potential employees hoping to find a long-term career that they won't be laid off from by the time they're 50.  
    True in a very general sense, I suppose. I am wondering if your issue is more with the growth of "non-productive" sectors (i.e. financial services) and growing inequality and concentration of wealth, rather than anything to do with jobs going overseas.

    A number of economists think that automation and ever-increasing efficiency is the real issue here. Why hire Chinese workers if robots can do it better, faster, and cheaper? We may well be going toward a future where double-digit unemployment is just normal because it's impractical to use human beings to do so many jobs that computers can do better.

    [/I am not an economist and this post does not constitute economic advice]
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    C-poots
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    Re: the economy

    Post by C-poots on Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:35 am

    Raj basically wrote the post I would write too if I were not too lazy to do so.
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    Re: the economy

    Post by chrondog on Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:21 am

    i was writing up my thoughts in response to Undo's post and got about halfway through before just closing the browser window

    it can be very frustrating to try and write definitively on nuanced and serious topics
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    Re: the economy

    Post by Michael K. on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:08 am

    Writing definitively strikes me as such a difficult posture to maintain. More and more, I'm interested in writing w/ perplexity rather than definition. Definitive writing seeks an end to conversation or at least a lateral movement toward a new subtopic. Why not fuck around w/ amateurs and try and stack up a bunch of excellent ideas instead?
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    Re: the economy

    Post by Michael K. on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:12 am

    Socrates spoke w/ two tongues, feel me? He spoke on the same topic from multiple points of view, doubling back and opposing himself almost predictably. This was performative. I.e. this is the way to talk about things. I feel frustrated writing about issues like the economy because my argument wraps back on itself and starts to contradict and qualify the things I've written prior, but maybe that's a good thing. Maybe, even though the subject seemingly demands univocality and logical clarity, dichotomy and multiplicity ought to be the tools of the economist, the businessman.
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    Re: the economy

    Post by chrondog on Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:58 pm

    i agree with that entirely. i think i've said a couple times that i love dialectics and hate argumentative thinking. but yes, at least in the current popular conception of what economics is it requires such clear headed explanation to say anything containing a shred of truth that it's hard to rattle off a couple of paragraphs late at night on a message board and feel content with it.

    the reason why Americans will never accept dialectics is because our institutional culture is based so heavily on the notion of "winner take all" and "rule of the majority" that the average person can't accept a non-definitive answer to most questions.

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