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Old 08-22-2013, 09:52 PM   #16
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In Praise of Idleness - Bertrand Russell (1932)

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Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: 'Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.' Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. this traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:25 PM   #17
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I like it
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:31 PM   #18
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It shows, if nothing else, how long this conversation has been going on. Of course he was operating (in that piece at least) at much the same time as Keynes was touching on similar ideas.

Some work is indeed necessary (though the total amount is probably radically less again than it was in Russell's lifetime), but work, just work of any sort, as a phenomenon, as a virtue is a nonsense. I've always thought that is somewhat like saying that bashing your own head against a wall is a virtue. Even if there was no need to be doing so.

Useful make-work of the kind that was employed in some countries during the Great Depression at least had the virtue of spreading the money around, thus helping a little to ameliorate that situation where some have boundless leisure and some are overworked, and all misery is increased in total.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:58 PM   #19
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1,2% in only one month? Who buys that?
Not even in Greece and Spain, the countries where the unemployment rate is still running up the hills, it happens with such speed...

Yet, I don't know if that phenomenon exists in the US, but in many European countries, the summer months is the time where every single governments screams to the world that the unemployment rate fell... What they forget to say is that it's because of seasonal jobs because of tourism activity (which leads to the big jump of that rate again in September/October).
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:16 PM   #20
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If we could somehow get these people to understand - even if it means quoting Jesus - that the wealthy and powerful only care about being more wealthy and more powerful - then way may start to see some changes.
You could say the antidote just might be a social conservative party that just believes in something different. Keeping all the same social 'wedge issues' the Republicans always employ but advancing a different economic argument.

And then they would be squashed like a bug by Big Money.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Our problems do not end, but they certainly BEGIN with two things. 1) Term limits and 2) Campaign finance and lobby/special interest reform (hand in hand), really.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:26 PM   #21
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1,2% in only one month? Who buys that?
Not even in Greece and Spain, the countries where the unemployment rate is still running up the hills, it happens with such speed...

Yet, I don't know if that phenomenon exists in the US, but in many European countries, the summer months is the time where every single governments screams to the world that the unemployment rate fell... What they forget to say is that it's because of seasonal jobs because of tourism activity (which leads to the big jump of that rate again in September/October).


Agreed. This 8.9% is crap. Lets wait for the official BLS data that comes out every month and has showed a slow but steady drop.

The US economy continues to slowly but surely improve.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:34 PM   #22
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I've said it before, I'll say it again. Our problems do not end, but they certainly BEGIN with two things. 1) Term limits and 2) Campaign finance and lobby/special interest reform (hand in hand), really.
I agree to this - but how do you get congressmen to vote themselves out of office and limit contributions to their own campaigns?
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:36 PM   #23
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1,2% in only one month? Who buys that?
It could be bogus. Then again, so are the official numbers anyway.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:44 PM   #24
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I agree to this - but how do you get congressmen to vote themselves out of office and limit contributions to their own campaigns?
You basically don't. Hence, dysfunctional American government.

But seriously, my idea is for a Term Limits pledge, ala American for Tax Reform.
If they don't support it or if they are responsible for shelving it in a subcommittee, etc. or if they actually vote against it, they get primaried. And nobody votes for anyone, liberal, conservative (etc.) that doesn't support it.

But all the R/D power brokers would be against it. And so it would be very tough to do anything short of a grass roots campaign.

The shortest answer is - a more enlightened base of voters.
I won't hold my breath. We had a long conversation about this during your hiatus, maybe a year or two ago. As silly as it sounds, it wouldn't hurt for some celebrities to get on the train and try to make it into a 'trend'. Some kind of way to get the issue back on the front burner.

Term limits helps the finance issue exponentially. Pols voting for their constituents best interests instead of being ever-fearful of losing their own elections? Hell, they'll care less about raising funds just by default. It all begins with that desire to stay in office at all costs. Plausibly denied, continually as "well, we can't surrender this seat to the other party". Or that term limits would expunge all the best members of congress. I don't buy that.
It's personal ambition. Greed for power.

People see this as cynical but it's the truth. It's how 90% of people favor background checks on firearm purchases and NOTHING gets done. Fearful politicians worried about staying in office. And it really IS that simple to some extent. It's complicated overall but that one issue is a such a pristine example of our problems. You don't need a tin foil hat to see it.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:28 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Aygo View Post
1,2% in only one month? Who buys that?
Not even in Greece and Spain, the countries where the unemployment rate is still running up the hills, it happens with such speed...

Yet, I don't know if that phenomenon exists in the US, but in many European countries, the summer months is the time where every single governments screams to the world that the unemployment rate fell... What they forget to say is that it's because of seasonal jobs because of tourism activity (which leads to the big jump of that rate again in September/October).

It's probably a seasonally adjusted figure. I deliberately didn't reply to that aspect of the thread as it immediately struck me as dodgy, just in itself.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:12 AM   #26
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It's probably a seasonally adjusted figure. I deliberately didn't reply to that aspect of the thread as it immediately struck me as dodgy, just in itself.
Do you think the official numbers are a useful gauge? I'm not fishing, simply curious to hear it from you.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by U2DMfan View Post
You basically don't. Hence, dysfunctional American government.

But seriously, my idea is for a Term Limits pledge, ala American for Tax Reform.
If they don't support it or if they are responsible for shelving it in a subcommittee, etc. or if they actually vote against it, they get primaried. And nobody votes for anyone, liberal, conservative (etc.) that doesn't support it.

But all the R/D power brokers would be against it. And so it would be very tough to do anything short of a grass roots campaign.

The shortest answer is - a more enlightened base of voters.
I won't hold my breath. We had a long conversation about this during your hiatus, maybe a year or two ago. As silly as it sounds, it wouldn't hurt for some celebrities to get on the train and try to make it into a 'trend'. Some kind of way to get the issue back on the front burner.

Term limits helps the finance issue exponentially. Pols voting for their constituents best interests instead of being ever-fearful of losing their own elections? Hell, they'll care less about raising funds just by default. It all begins with that desire to stay in office at all costs. Plausibly denied, continually as "well, we can't surrender this seat to the other party". Or that term limits would expunge all the best members of congress. I don't buy that.
It's personal ambition. Greed for power.

People see this as cynical but it's the truth. It's how 90% of people favor background checks on firearm purchases and NOTHING gets done. Fearful politicians worried about staying in office. And it really IS that simple to some extent. It's complicated overall but that one issue is a such a pristine example of our problems. You don't need a tin foil hat to see it.
Great post. I'm sorry I missed the discussion. Over the years I've been pulled in many different directions with the military, business travel overseas, getting a new job...etc. Not to mention, I needed a break from FYM at the time to hopefully grow a bit. Even though I'm in my early 40's now - I still like to think I can be taught new tricks.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:37 AM   #28
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I've said it before, I'll say it again. Our problems do not end, but they certainly BEGIN with two things. 1) Term limits and 2) Campaign finance and lobby/special interest reform (hand in hand), really.
Amen on both. Absolutely agree with you. Just not sure how to get congress to change both.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:35 AM   #29
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Even though I'm in my early 40's now - I still like to think I can be taught new tricks.
I've actualy been around since 2000, but I had an old username that I'm not proud of. Rumor has it he was banned.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:46 AM   #30
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Do you think the official numbers are a useful gauge? I'm not fishing, simply curious to hear it from you.

I don't think they're made up from whole cloth, if that's what you're asking. I think - in fact if they're anything like similar stats in my own country, I know - that the assumptions upon which they are compiled are... broad, let's say.

So yes, real unemployment is undoubtedly higher than the headline figures at any time suggest. But it's also relatively constant across time, barring total economic collapse or a metaphorical goldrush.
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