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The shapes of economic recovery
October 19, 2020
5:53 pm
Alexandre
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Bill said
Alexandre, my point is that there is not enough wealth being created for the "useless" jobs, free stuff, that it's largely being paid for by gov't borrowing. That is unsustainable. That's my answer. I welcome your answer, if you can provide one.  

I'll tell you honestly I don't have answers on all questions. I see the progress over century or two, and that progress going in the direction defined by Karl Marx. As economic system evolves, so does society, including its attitude to "useless" professions and "useless" old people.

People nowadays claim free internet access is a human right. Mind you, not just internet, free internet. That's their concern. Try explaining it to people from century ago, see what their priorities were.

This is how much society changed in a century. Don't tell me another century will pass and nothing will change for better. That universal basic income won't be implemented before end of this century, for example.

October 19, 2020
6:10 pm
Norman1
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Alexandre said
If you've noticed, I already pointed that society today does afford many "useless" jobs and also many free goodies that someone in 1890 couldn't even dream of.

Who is creating the wealth to support just those I listed above?

Society cannot afford to and does not sustain "useless" jobs.

Those who don't come to their senses do starve or commit suicide as the song It Never Rains in Southern California describes.

Fortunately, many do eventually come to their senses and realize the low job market value of their diploma or degree. Such people eventually become taxpayers and not social benefits collectors.

The friend with the human resource bachelor degree eventually became an English-as-a-second-language teacher.

That bachelor of archaeology graduate? She immediately accepted an offer from the Royal Bank for six months of internal training to be a branch teller!

That one with the diploma in marketing eventually became gainfully employed after going back for an IT diploma. The only job offer he received after the marketing diploma was for a shoe salesperson position that anyone could get!

Then there is the former aspiring glamour photographer Kevin O'Leary. It wasn't starvation or suicide that gave him his epiphany. His stepfather broke the news that photography was not his calling.

October 19, 2020
7:01 pm
Kidd
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Norman, i was with you all the way up until you mentioned the hack kevin oh you make me so leery.

He made one, yes only ONE true, real deal. He sold reader rabbit to Mattel. On Rob Tv he did nothing but bad mouth cbc, until they offered him a job, lang/leary exchange and the Dragon's den. I have a pet rock from the 70's with more intelligence than the "boat driver" kevin o'leary.

His arrogance would not allow a female to pilot a boat which he owned, wife or not.

October 19, 2020
8:29 pm
Norman1
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Alexandre said

I'll tell you honestly I don't have answers on all questions. I see the progress over century or two, and that progress going in the direction defined by Karl Marx. As economic system evolves, so does society, including its attitude to "useless" professions and "useless" old people.

Once you start working on the funding as Bill questioned, then you'll see how challenging it is to sustain something like universal income.

Also, don't mistake some of the changes you've mentioned for "economic system evolution". There is no evolution. It's still capitalism.

What has changed is the higher taxation acceptable in Canada to fund some of those things like health care. Even the higher taxes are not enough now.

In BC, there is a Medical Services Plan monthly premium that one has to pay. In Ontario, there is a payroll tax for OHIP plus a personal Ontario Health Premium that's assessed at income tax time.

Don't believe the propaganda about communism being the only way to achieve some of those nice things that Marx wrote about. One can have all those and even more with capitalism if one is willing to accept higher taxes.

The challenge with communism is that it doesn't work in practice. Countries have tried it and the results are not great. People have tried it in groups and it doesn't work either.

In his biography, Steve Jobs recounted his early experiences on a commune. The person who ran the commune was manipulative and exploitative. Jobs slept under a table in the kitchen one night and saw his fellow comrades stealing community food in the middle of the night! sf-frown

This is how much society changed in a century. Don't tell me another century will pass and nothing will change for better. That universal basic income won't be implemented before end of this century, for example.

Extrapolating like that is a common mistake in the social sciences. Isn't that what demographers did years ago?

They extrapolated the Baby Boom and missed the subsequent "Bust". Extrapolated the "Bust" and missed the subsequent "Echo"!

October 19, 2020
11:59 pm
Vatox
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Norman1 said

In BC, there is a Medical Services Plan monthly premium that one has to pay.

The NDP axed the MSP Premium at the start of 2020. Personally I think it was a bad move! The funding has to come from somewhere!

October 20, 2020
6:59 am
Alexandre
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Norman1 said

Don't believe the propaganda about communism being the only way to achieve some of those nice things that Marx wrote about. One can have all those and even more with capitalism if one is willing to accept higher taxes.

Saying "destroy capitalism now and build communism right away" is wrong and will not work, because you first need to build a foundation, a proper economy, to support it.

It is, actually, other way around. As capitalism evolves to more wealthy society, it'll become more humane society (again, compare 1820 with 2020).

It is evolution, not overnight revolution. Just like capitalism in 1820 is quite different from 1920 and that one, in turn, is almost unrecognizable comparing to capitalism from 2020. Didn't happen at one specific day or night, but changed gradually.

With more "freebies" given to people and their distribution controlled by the government, with improved safety net that'll give people opportunity to choose the job they want to do instead of one they have to do, it'll more and more resemble communism, until actually becomes it.

Besides, who said capitalism will be against people taking jobs they like? A happy employee is a productive employee.

The challenge with communism is that it doesn't work in practice. Countries have tried it and the results are not great.

Yes, this is standard argument, saw it many times.

Well, how about we turn tables, and I'll say: The challenge with Christianity is that it doesn't work in practice. Countries have tried that religion and the results are not great.
For example, Christianity is still the predominant religion in Germany - should I remind history of 20th century?

Also, one might say that Christianity is in essence Holy Inquisition and Crusades. That would be similar to "look at how many people communism killed."

So, I'll conclude my argument, based on the historical undisputable facts I just presented everyone who hasn't done it yet must give up on Bible and abandon ideas of Christianity. They don't work.

How about that?

No, I don't intend to badmouth Christianity, this is just to point flaws in an argument "tried but failed."

In his biography, Steve Jobs recounted his early experiences on a commune. Jobs slept under a table in the kitchen one night and saw his fellow comrades stealing community food in the middle of the night!

Sorry, but that simply proves one can't build proper communist society before economy can support it.
Think Star Trek food replicators. If Steve's commune had one, would people steal food from it? No, concept of stealing food will be lost: you get food you want when you want, as much as you need.

Yes, I might get ridiculed for using science fiction, but go back to 1820 and explain people the Internet.

Finally, one other common argument against communism is still missing: people will mindlessly waste resources, such as food, because everything is free.
That is also an argument which is based on current state of society, and even it fails already.

Imagine some Canadian who makes 6 figures salary. That person could buy a gallon of milk every day and pour it down the drain. It won't have any noticeable financial impact on that person.
Would you do that, even if you make not 6 but 7 figures salary? I don't think so.
What would you think about someone if that person brags they do it? Exactly.

Now, suppose you are at the grocery and they have promo: milk is free today. Would you take gallon of free milk, come home and dispose of it? Then, proudly tell others what you've done.
Not a chance, I suspect.

But, why not? That activity is totally legal. Yes, it is, but not acceptable as a social norm among the group of people like you and me, and that is really the only thing that stops someone like us from doing it and bragging about it.

Now, expand that idea of constantly evolving social norms and you'll see the flaw in original argument of "everyone will waste everything."

October 20, 2020
4:50 pm
Bill
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We skipped over something important, hold on a minute.............. It Never Rains In Southern California is about suicide?? I'll never be able to hum happily along again. Next thing you'll probably tell me my old favorite Puff The Magic Dragon is really about taking drugs, right?

October 22, 2020
6:16 pm
Norman1
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I don't see any sign of drugs in the Puff the Magic Dragon lyrics. Perhaps people are taking liberty with the "Puff" and "Magic" in the song title.

In contrast, the It Never Rains In Southern California lyrics are not as happy as the music they are set to (YouTube video). Out of work. Out of bread. Underfed. Don't tell the folks how he was found:sf-frown

Got on board a westbound 747

Oh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true

Out of work, I'm out of my head
Out of self respect, I'm out of bread
I'm underloved, I'm underfed
I wanna go home

Will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it?
Had offers but didn't know which one to take
Please don't tell 'em how you found me
Don't tell 'em how you found me
Gimme a break, give me a break

October 23, 2020
5:37 am
Londonguy
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Norman1 said
I don't see any sign of drugs in the Puff the Magic Dragon lyrics.

  

Neither did Snopes -- https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/puff-the-magic-dragon/

October 23, 2020
4:37 pm
Bill
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Nah, no suicide angle in my view, guy says he wants to go home but he's embarrassed as he told folks he was headed for stardom and it didn't pan out, he hit tough times. Plus he wrote a song about it, he can't be dead! So I'm going to keep happily humming along, though maybe it's a bit greasy to do so re song about someone else's misfortune.

October 23, 2020
5:37 pm
Kidd
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I'm going to agree with Bill. It doesn't rain, it pours BUT...

California girls are the greatest in the world
Each one a song in the making
Singing right to me, I can hear the melody
Story is there for the taking

Driving over Kanan, singing to my soul
There's people out there turning music into gold

October 24, 2020
12:15 pm
Norman1
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The problem, Kidd, is that those happy tales are for the very few who do "make it".

As far as Hollywood, one drama teacher shared that, at auditions, there's usually 100+ actors/actresses applying to each role! That's not just for the leading role or roles either.

It is a challenge to make a good living in a line of work that is oversupplied with workers by a factor of 100+. sf-frown

October 24, 2020
12:35 pm
Norman1
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Bill said
… Plus he wrote a song about it, he can't be dead! So I'm going to keep happily humming along, though maybe it's a bit greasy to do so re song about someone else's misfortune.

Yes, he's still alive when he writes the song.

However, the part of about what to tell his folks and not telling his folks how he was found suggests that he knew he wasn't going to be around much longer. Can't be that certain if he was just underfed.

That is like a last request and suggests that the song is kind of a suicide note. sf-frown

Not sure it is bad to be happily humming the song. It is like the bright beacon from a lighthouse that warns of serious consequences. People enjoy the melody. Some will look closer at the lyrics and be warned about the hype about Hollywood.

October 24, 2020
2:58 pm
Bill
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We'll have to disagree, Norman1, plus I did some research:

Per the writer, Hammond, no reference to suicide: "It never rains... was written in London, before we (Albert and Michael) came to Los Angeles, and we knew we were coming, and I've been telling Mike the story of me in Spain when I started and how I was asking for money outside of the train stations because I had no money to eat and I didn't want to tell my parents. My cousin was on honeymoon then, and he came out of the train station and saw me, and I didn't even know it was him... I just asked him for some money, too. And he said 'you should be ashamed, I'm gonna tell your father,' and I said 'please, don't tell him, he'll go crazy and and stop me doing this!'

And then he took me back into the hotel, I had a bath, he gave me some clean clothes and some money. I moved on, but he did tell my father, you know. All these things like 'will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it' and all that stuff came from that era of my life when I was struggling, trying to make it, trying to get from Morocco to Spain, from Spain to England, from England to America... That struggle you go through, that's It never rains in Southern California, the story of my life."

Also not much support for suicide interpretation in comments here:
https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858555874/

But that's art, subject to interpretation.

October 25, 2020
12:01 pm
RetirEd
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*Let's see... I have an Alcatel flip phone. Takes no apps, can't get hacked or Trojaned. I got the first one free, but it broke after a couple of years and I bought a used one for $40. Still have it. (NO, not the useless GoFlip!) My mobile plan is $15 monthly plus tax. I have a home phone and computer so I don't need a lot of mobile minutes or mobile internet.

*British Columbia no longer has an MSP premium, but it does have the Employer Health Tax. I disagree with this; I would fund medicare through general (mostly income tax) revenues. A fixed premium (save for the poorest) is dreadfully regressive - the person who makes $30 million pays the same as one who makes $30 thousand, so in effect the lower-income person in this case pays 100 times as much of their income for medical services. I think that blows.

The employer heath tax also takes almost none of its yield from the wealthiest, unless they are in a position to have lots of employees.

*Mark said a communist country should be "from each according to his ability, to each according to his work" until there was enough for "work" to be replaced by "need." But there was never an intention that everyone should be paid the same: rather, basic needs like housing and medical care were provided by the state, however corruptly, so they did not have to come out of paycheques.

Oh, and Russia is not now a communist country, nor has it been for three decades!

*Inequality is increasing, and at the bottom end the poorest are much poorer and there are more homeless. In fact, housing is probably the largest single factor in inequality. That's the problem with widespread housing subsidies and guaranteed income strategies - they just drive up housing prices. I'm glad the NDP didn't follow through with the puny $400 annual tenant rent grant. It would have been instantly eaten up by the landlords.

On the other hand, the BC Homeowners' grant is an insane policy, but too popular to kill. It rewards those already wealthy enough to own capital-gains-exempt residences! Phasing out the exemption (only on future appreciation) would be much better, but also politically suicidal. Anti-speculation taxes are working to some extent, and we certainly need to kill off parasitic race-to-the-bottom scams like AirBnB.
RetirEd

October 25, 2020
4:39 pm
Bill
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Don't know about Mark, but Marx made the essence of communism be that everything is owned in common, by "the masses" (via the state), and is then used according to need. No private ownership. Communism, for Marx, is like a big commune.

In that sense I agree that today's Russia is less communist than in the heyday of the Soviet Union. But the state, often via the oligarch aristocracy, essentially still owns most stuff.

October 25, 2020
6:00 pm
Kidd
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Screenshot_20201025-202709.png

Globally, each region has a different outlook BUT with covid still running rampant, even a gypsy with a crystal ball can not see what the future holds. China a "V". USA a "U". Japan a "L". Europe a "U"

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/shapes-of-recovery-when-will-the-global-economy-bounce-back/

Canada (like a teenaged boy on his first date) used all of their powder before the start of wave 1 really hit home. BOC lowered the rates to .25% and the feds spent every penny we didn't have. The cupboards in canada are now bare, we are spent, our barrel is empty AND there is still one hell of a mess to clean up. It's no wonder we keep running out of toilet paper.

Wave 2... knowing our financial woes, bill monroe ran for hills as fast as his little legs would carry him, and trudeau is begging for the PC party to take over the mess he funded, so that he can blame them from across the aisle.

October 26, 2020
8:32 am
RetirEd
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Two corrections to my last posting:
1. As has been noted, I meant to quote Marx, not Mark.

2. A typo had me saying $30 million was 100 times $30 thousand. Of course, that's 1000 times!

Now... in a Marxist communist state, the state does NOT own all property. It owns all "capitalist" property - that is, property that earns money. Anything that is a "means of production." You can own a car but not a taxi service; a home but not one that gets rented (though in Soviet Union practice this was not the case); no factories or stores or anything earning interest.

Post-Soviet Russia is not AT all communist. The oligarchs are not the state, and they bear zero responsibility for the needs of the people or the country. And they do not necessarily co-operate with each other.

Modern Russia is a kleptocracy, controlled by politico-criminal gangs. There's no point trying to compare it to a communist country.

China is still a centrally-planned economy with a communist party, but they have also been dumping responsibility for their citizens in favor of control and manipulation of the people. China was a leader in providing universal health care, and now it joins the U.S.A. as the only two developed nations without it.

In case you're wondering, I am not a communist, Marxist or socialist. I understand that the "tragedy of the commons" discussed above makes it near-impossible to prevent corruption in a communist society without massive oppressive repression - which in itself fosters corruption as the only way to get ahead.

Capitalism naturally harnesses self-interest to reward production and distribution of goods and services. But that is only justifiable if there is a taxation regime that ensures that "winners" in the market economy don't get all the spoils. There's no reason a population would want to tolerate an economy that lets a few people get everything to themselves. We want to incentivize investment but also harvest a portion of it for everyone.

And, of course, a free-market economy does not exist where monopoly manipulation prevails.
RetirEd

October 26, 2020
10:21 am
Bill
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I agree with much of what you say, RetirEd. To me, it all starts and ends with human nature. For example, get more than a very few people together and pretty soon you've got alliances, petty jealousies, favouritism, etc, doesn't much matter the "system". But I do know that under free markets, aside from the historic liberation of women, I look around me and the 99% are doing way better than anywhere any time in history where there is an absence of free markets. Not even close to "a few people get everything to themselves" today (that was more Soviet Union, as an example).

Plus communism's one-century death toll and the fact folks have never en masse risked death to get INTO communist countries (they're the ones building the walls, etc) pretty much cements my conviction I want no truck with leftists. So I agree with you too on not being communist, etc.

Kidd, Bill Monroe invented bluegrass music, he may have run for the hills at some point sf-laugh

October 26, 2020
11:07 am
Kidd
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Bill, so true you are.

I hate aging myself.

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