Inflation -> recession

jtr1962

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Regardless of what Reagan meant or intended at the time, this sentiment has become a learned helplessness regarding government - that it cannot be engaged with.
Just to add to that the ones with that kind of mentality tend to starve government of funding so it can't do its job well, or at all. Then they point to this and say "See, I'm right. Government is always incompetent and ineffective.". In short, the way they govern turns their concept of "government is always bad" into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I personally think higher level positions in government where real experts are needed should always pay significantly more than private industry. I'd rather our best and brightest work to better our common lot than to make more profits for a corporation. Sadly, the only part of government where this is true now is in the defense industry. We're happy to get the best to devise ever more creative ways to kill each other but not to make things better.
 

jtr1962

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I always felt a need to be "governed". Not necessarily by government but by those with experience enough to provide me some guardrails to stay between and the wisdom to allow me the freedom to make my own mistakes.... and courage to allow me to live and learn from said mistakes. Even during my rebellious period I felt like some governance did me good.
This reminds me of a quote from Master_and_Commander:_The_Far_Side_of_the_World:

"Men must be governed! Often not wisely, but governed nonetheless."

I'd personally rather live even under a not so great government (i.e. the US for the last ~50 years) than under no government at all. Think places like Somalia. The strong cannibalize the weak in the absence of laws and government.
I'm all for change yet not up for letting the residents running the insane asylum. It's not about right or left anymore because both sides have gone off the rails. One side wants to drive us off a cliff in a speeding race car in the name of fairness. The other side is heading for the same cliff in a horse and buggy in the name of tradition.
The thing is who voted these people into office? The only reason we have the AOCs, MTGs, Lauren Boeberts, and other assorted wackos on both sides of the aisle is we the people put them there. You know the old saying people get the government they deserve? I feel that's exactly what happened.
 

jtr1962

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Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boeberts are NOT wackos.
This just kind of proves my point. When people are so far up the rabbit hole, either far left or far right, they just don't see it. I could link to long lists of ridiculous things both said which were fact-checked, but I'm not bothering because I'm sure that wouldn't change your mind. Even ten or twenty years ago, people like these would have been laughed off the floor if they tried to run for any office. Ditto for those on the left like AOC. Now they're "standard bearers" for their party.

We govern best when we govern in the middle. That basically means nobody gets everything they want. In fact, a sign of a good compromise is nobody walks away happy but everyone gets at least a few things they wanted. For example, in the case of the recent student loan case, instead of the GOP fighting in court to have it thrown out entirely, they could have proposed their own more modest policy, perhaps only cancel loans which are more than 20 years old, on the reasonable premises that people shouldn't be still paying for college in middle age, plus those who took out more recent loans do in fact have them discharged after 20 years of payments in an income-driven repayment plan. The latter obviously didn't exist for older loans, and the government never retroactively applied prior payments once policy changed as they should have, in order to treat all loans uniformly.

The end result of this is nobody is really happy (the Dems don't get the broad loan cancellation they wanted, the GOP doesn't stop loan cancellation entirely) but both get something. Some loans get cancelled, but the total cost to the government is far less than the original plan proposed by the Dems.
 
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jtr1962

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If you really want to understand why the economy is the way it is, and what we can do to improve it without violating anyone's natural rights, then I would suggest reading the following books. Links are given to free, legal versions. Regardless of your personal political inclinations, I think you will find something of value in all of these books, if not of the normative sort, then at the very least of the descriptive sort.

We don't really live in a capitalist socio-cultural-economic system. Our system is really more accurately described as "neoliberalism-neofeudalism". What most people incorrectly perceive as defects of "capitalism" really have nothing to do with capitalism, proper, but with the neofeudal rent-seeking behavior that is a result of economic monopoly privileges which enable private owners to privatize what is essentially the common wealth of humanity.

These books make the argument, none of them for the first time in the history of human scholarship, that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature, and that our failure to recognize and uphold this principle is at the root of literally everything wrong with human civilization.

"Neoliberalism", by contrast, is the dominant ideology of our times, and is in broad terms the ideology which seeks to apply market economy principles to all spheres of human life, regardless of consequences. To understand what is meant by neoliberalism better, I would suggest Simon Glendinning's paper, Varieties of Neoliberalism (2015).

1. Henry George, Progress and Poverty (1879). This actually should be at the top of everyone's required reading list. It's one of the most important books in history, particularly on the topic of political economy (which is more or less the philosophy of economics, rather than the mechanics of economics). In the years following its publication, it became the most popular book in the English language, after the Christian Bible, and resulted in the passage and ratification of Amendment XVI to the Constitution of the United States. Sadly, George's economic philosophies largely fell by the wayside, in the wake of WWI and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, and have since been forgotten by most, to our detriment.

2. Ralph Borsodi, This Ugly Civilization (1929). Borsodi gives a very insightful breakdown of how the factory system of production and the drive for efficiency results in a race to the bottom.

3. John Sherwin Crosby, The Orthocratic State (1915). Crosby, like Borsodi, was a follower of Henry George, and I might say this book should be read even before Progress and Poverty, because it's much shorter, and lays out a plan that ties Georgist principles directly to the legitimacy of governance and how governments ought therefore to be structured.
Great post! I bold-faced the best part. If we upheld just this one principle, the lives of everyone on the planet (except the uber wealthy) would be immensely improved.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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These books make the argument, none of them for the first time in the history of human scholarship, that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature, and that our failure to recognize and uphold this principle is at the root of literally everything wrong with human civilization.

So, if I buy land, work it, improve it, plant it and harvest it, then it is your belief "that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature"? That the harvest now is community property?
 

jtr1962

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These books make the argument, none of them for the first time in the history of human scholarship, that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature, and that our failure to recognize and uphold this principle is at the root of literally everything wrong with human civilization.

So, if I buy land, work it, improve it, plant it and harvest it, then it is your belief "that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature"? That the harvest now is community property?
You're misinterpreting the quote. In this case, you're the one who is exercising your right to the gifts and produce of nature. An example counter to that might be that you can only rent land, not buy it, and you have to give a certain percentage of whatever the land produces to your landlord who is putting zero effort into getting the land to produce.

Another example is people have an inherent right to the true value of their labor. You work for someone, you should get paid the fair amount that your labor adds to the value of the good or service, not a subsistence wage when your employer might be making six figures off the work you're doing. Note that this philosophy implies you get paid according to what you produce, not according to how many hours you spend producing it. Invent ways to produce the same thing faster, the benefit should accrue solely to you in the form of the same pay for working fewer hours, not to your employer who will pay you the same, but get more work out of you.

There are many other variations on this theme. The general idea though is holding a piece of paper which says you own something shouldn't entitle you to earn money without doing the work involved. In your example, you're doing the work, you absolutely should reap the proceeds of your labor.
 

IMA SOL MAN

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You're misinterpreting the quote. In this case, you're the one who is exercising your right to the gifts and produce of nature. An example counter to that might be that you can only rent land, not buy it, and you have to give a certain percentage of whatever the land produces to your landlord who is putting zero effort into getting the land to produce.

Another example is people have an inherent right to the true value of their labor. You work for someone, you should get paid the fair amount that your labor adds to the value of the good or service, not a subsistence wage when your employer might be making six figures off the work you're doing. Note that this philosophy implies you get paid according to what you produce, not according to how many hours you spend producing it. Invent ways to produce the same thing faster, the benefit should accrue solely to you in the form of the same pay for working fewer hours, not to your employer who will pay you the same, but get more work out of you.

There are many other variations on this theme. The general idea though is holding a piece of paper which says you own something shouldn't entitle you to earn money without doing the work involved. In your example, you're doing the work, you absolutely should reap the proceeds of your labor.
But I should not have to share the rewards of my effort with someone who did nothing to earn it, like pay property tax on the land (rent) or income taxes on the profit (extortion/tribute). I agree with that.
 

bykfixer

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The earliest settlers in America tried that share and share alike approach where some worked but all ate. They all nearly starved.

Soon after that those who didn't work didn't share in the bounty. It wasn't long before those able to work pitched in and helped. We learned that in first grade when I was young.

It's easy to say everybody should share alike when your belly is full.
 

jtr1962

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But I should not have to share the rewards of my effort with someone who did nothing to earn it, like pay property tax on the land (rent) or income taxes on the profit (extortion/tribute). I agree with that.
I partially agree with that. The purpose of taxes is to pay for the necessary functions of government. We can argue forever about what those functions might be, but in general we can all agree that means at least providing a safe environment for commerce, free of war/conflicts, and providing some infrastructure, mostly roads and railroads. Most people nowadays also accept that it means providing some education, and some medical care. The income redistribution programs many despise might be rendered mostly unnecessary under I scheme like I described. People who work would earn much more than now. They could even afford to support family members who can't work, instead of the government doing that. Under a true free market the costs of both housing and medical care would drop, perhaps enough to get government out of the game entirely.

Just worth mentioning something else since it crossed my mind. Under such a scheme, becoming uber rich would be pretty much impossible. Nobody's labor would be worth that much, and unless you actively produce you get nothing but charity from family members. You would also grow the net worth of society. Unproductive people might be encouraged to produce something if they got paid the value added of their labor, as opposed to a low hourly wage. For example, after my mother goes if I can do things I earn $100+/hour for I might consider it, although still on a part-time basis. No desire to work more than 10-15 hours a week regardless. But if the only "opportunities" around earn me only $15/hour, I'm not bothering.

One thing often bought up in these discussions is the (wrong) assumption that it's a zero sum game. If the rich get poorer, the assumption is only the wealth they had goes to the masses. That's why any talk like "if we spread out the wealth of the richest 1% evenly it would only amount to four figures per person" is nonsense. We're growing the pie by encouraging people to produce. Maybe the net wealth of the country jumps from $100 trillion to $500 trillion after a time. Most people end up way better off, except the uber wealthy who will likely eventually see their net worth decline to 6 or 7 figures.
 
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Monocrom

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With regards to student loans only:

No, no compromise. I used to say that people should pay on their adult responsibilities. And for nearly everything else, I still believe that. But it is now blatantly obvious that a college education has gone from being a great way to better one's Life.... To a full-blown scam!

I'm sorry I wasted my time in college. Luckily I didn't get into horrendous debt. Generations ago, a college degree meant something. Nowadays it's a pretty piece of paper that's only good for wiping one's backside. Having it doesn't create opportunities anymore for a better paying job/career that leads to a better Life. When colleges and universities have to openly remind potential students on their official websites that graduating does not guarantee employment, then why pay such ridiculous tens of thousands of dollars to attend? They're literally telling you they can't help you. But will still happily take your money.

Why should anyone be forced to pay back a scam?
You buy a car that's defective, doesn't do what it's supposed to do for you; there are Lemon Laws in place to protect car-buyers. You don't have to keep sending the dealer money every single month. Plus, you get what you already spent, back! But if you go to a college/university that scammed you out of your money, you're expected to pay back the full amount? For decades down the road? Ridiculous!

Trade schools cost less, take less time to complete their programs, and when you get a certificate from one of those places; you can easily find work because they teach and train you for in-demand jobs/careers. You know.... Unlike colleges/universities.
 

jtr1962

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With regards to student loans only:

No, no compromise. I used to say that people should pay on their adult responsibilities. And for nearly everything else, I still believe that. But it is now blatantly obvious that a college education has gone from being a great way to better one's Life.... To a full-blown scam!

I'm sorry I wasted my time in college. Luckily I didn't get into horrendous debt. Generations ago, a college degree meant something. Nowadays it's a pretty piece of paper that's only good for wiping one's backside. Having it doesn't create opportunities anymore for a better paying job/career that leads to a better Life. When colleges and universities have to openly remind potential students on their official websites that graduating does not guarantee employment, then why pay such ridiculous tens of thousands of dollars to attend? They're literally telling you they can't help you. But will still happily take your money.

Why should anyone be forced to pay back a scam?
You buy a car that's defective, doesn't do what it's supposed to do for you; there are Lemon Laws in place to protect car-buyers. You don't have to keep sending the dealer money every single month. Plus, you get what you already spent, back! But if you go to a college/university that scammed you out of your money, you're expected to pay back the full amount? For decades down the road? Ridiculous!

Trade schools cost less, take less time to complete their programs, and when you get a certificate from one of those places; you can easily find work because they teach and train you for in-demand jobs/careers. You know.... Unlike colleges/universities.
I agree 100%. My mention of a compromise was more for what might be politically expedient than what is right. If we want to do what's right, cancel all student loans, don't give out any in the future, and make all these shady collection agencies who charged $$$$ in illegal fees refund every penny. Yes, it's a scam from top to bottom. First the colleges themselves, then the predatory loan system designed to keep people paying off their debt forever, along with the fact colleges rarely have much in the way of job placement. For what they charge, they should look for a suitable job for you after you graduate, not leave you hanging.

I'm not sure even my Ivy League degree was worth it. It certainly didn't open any doors. After graduating I sent out over 300 resumes but didn't get a single interview. After about a year I gave up trying to find a job in my field, and got whatever I could get. First job was for a few months taking inventory for $5 an hour. After that I repaired taximeters for a few years, starting at $7 an hour, and ending at $11 (yes, I was actually given a huge raise after threatening to walk, with the boss doing the same if me and another guy didn't get decent raises). Then I got laid off in 1990, and decided to go into business for myself. At least the hours were more suited to a night owl like myself. My first customer was my former boss who bought out the taximeter place to run as his own business. He's still in business now, and I still do work for him once in a while. I had a bunch of other customers, some through CPF, others through other channels. Some years I made six figures, others not even five. At least I was doing engineering for the most part. I probably couldn't have done it without my degree but this isn't the path I thought my life would take. I had hoped to get some kind of research job. I almost certainly would have needed at least grad school for that, most likely a PhD. Didn't have the money to pursue it. Neither did my parents.
 

Monocrom

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I know people with degrees who ended up waiting tables after graduating. And, not one single graduate who ended up going into the field they went to college for.
 

SCEMan

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I know people with degrees who ended up waiting tables after graduating. And, not one single graduate who ended up going into the field they went to college for.
Pretty much the norm for me and my friends. But, the degree (and other work experience) did get me "in the door" for job openings and hiring. From there, the preparedness, discipline and commitment to accomplish objectives I learned in college allowed me to be successful in completely unrelated professions.
 

idleprocess

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But, the degree (and other work experience) did get me "in the door" for job openings and hiring.
That's the job-hunting license aspect I've mentioned. Many positions require degree level X (subject generally of no concern) from school minimum tier Y; some justification for such below...

From there, the preparedness, discipline and commitment to accomplish objectives I learned in college allowed me to be successful in completely unrelated professions.
The reality of primary education when I was enrolled was still very much that of slow instructor-lead learning. A college education is a very different thing of far faster self-directed learning; additionally one is expected to absorb facts matter of course from course materials with class meetings focusing on applications of concepts.

Of course one does not have to go to college to possess these skills but it's the easiest way to demonstrate them in our society.
 

jtr1962

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Of course one does not have to go to college to possess these skills but it's the easiest way to demonstrate them in our society.
Mostly because the majority of people aren't self-starters. In the absence of pressure like being graded they're not going to do much in the way of self-directed learning. My brother and me, and my sister to some extent, are all self-starters. We want to do something but don't know how, we learn or we figure it out. Unfortunately, that means little to most employers. They look for formal credentials, I guess because it's easier for Human Resources. If I ever employed people, I think part of the interview would be "Tell me about interesting projects or hobbies you do in your spare time." I'd be more inclined to hire someone who learns even when there's no pressure on them. I figure that person is a problem solver.
 

desert.snake

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Some areas still require a diploma. For example, a surgeon must undergo repeated training courses every 5 years for a lot of money. If he does not pass the training, the diploma will be canceled. If within 5 years after receiving a diploma or retraining in a personal work book there is no record of official work in a specialty, the diploma is canceled. You have to go and study full-time again for 6 years to restore your diploma. Perhaps soon this experience will be adopted for all other specialties. Imagine that a garbage man or an accountant cannot work until he pays for a refresher course or has not worked in his specialty for a long time. On the one hand, I understand that all these diplomas are something like official skills control. Since a lot of people without education divorced, who pretend to be specialists, especially in the field of economics and cosmetology. In most cases, they turn out to be scammers and ordinary people suffer physically or financially because of them. When incompetence is revealed, then the problems begin with the company that hired this employee without education or with fake documents. But the multitude of knowledge testing structures opens many doors for corruption. I think if you introduce such a system, it should be done by AI to do it right.
 

idleprocess

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They look for formal credentials, I guess because it's easier for Human Resources.
This is the primary reason. If you've achieved ...
degree level X (subject generally of no concern) from school minimum tier Y
... then the screeners, HR decision makers, and hiring managers have reasonably-verifiable proof that you've had the life experience and competencies that are common to said academic degrees of sufficient rigor.

Some areas still require a diploma. For example, a surgeon must undergo repeated training courses every 5 years for a lot of money.
Numerous professions have decreed that in addition to practical experience and competency exams one must have a qualifying academic degree. This is commonplace in many fields - doctors, lawyers, some engineers, accountants, architects to name a few. I imagine that - in addition to the "HR" argument about required life experience prior - there's the assumption that the required core knowledge is sufficiently inaccessible to the general public that requiring formal education is in the interest of the profession and the public.
 

fuyume

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These books make the argument, none of them for the first time in the history of human scholarship, that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature, and that our failure to recognize and uphold this principle is at the root of literally everything wrong with human civilization.

So, if I buy land, work it, improve it, plant it and harvest it, then it is your belief "that all the living have an equal and common right to the gifts and produce of Nature"? That the harvest now is community property?

No, not at all. The product of your individual labor is neither a gift of Nature, nor the produce of Nature, it is the produce of your individual labor, and therefore your rightful private property, to which no other entity can possibly have any rightful moral claim.

Georgism opposes all forms of income taxation, because the state has no right to your labor.
 
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