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Old 09-06-2013, 03:40 PM   #46
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Here's the biggest question in my mind: is automation going to end up hurting much of the world?

Standard economic theory says no, and the theory is pretty sound. As productivity increases, the marginal product of labor increases (the amount companies can make from each additional input of labor), and, mathematically, it's relatively simple to show how this will both increase demand for labor and real wage (real wage being a function of nominal wage and price level). My hope is that this is true and that we really are just in a cyclical (or policy-driven) funk. I believe that most economists do not believe that we are structurally screwed in this sense. But it some sense it feels like we are.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:23 PM   #47
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Why indeed. And this is just the beginning (and I think this is a good thing).

I am fortunate enough right now to be employed and to have some skills that are "employable" - but there is no guarantee that my skills will always be needed - although since I am in IT, I feel fairly decent about my chances for the next few years. But what of those that spent many years learning a very specific skill, only to have that demand for the skill fade away because of outsourcing or automation? Eventually - no job is safe. And not everyone has the desire to learn programming or robot repair.

A post-scarcity world is approaching - where cheap, abundant materials and energy will give people the freedom (true freedom) to pursue whatever it is they want. The only real question is - can civilization hold on until then?
Its very true that no job is safe. Many employment seminars I go to speak heavily on this, and Thomas L. Friedman often writes about how skills and education are not alone in finding and keeping a job.

I haven't thought much about the last paragraph you wrote. But do you mean people can pursue any job they want, or any material item?
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:52 PM   #48
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I haven't thought much about the last paragraph you wrote. But do you mean people can pursue any job they want, or any material item?
I meant any "job" - or hobby, craft, project...etc. I don't think most people are lazy - people get energized when they are doing what they really want to do vs. what they have to do...
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:58 PM   #49
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Here's the biggest question in my mind: is automation going to end up hurting much of the world?

Standard economic theory says no, and the theory is pretty sound. As productivity increases, the marginal product of labor increases (the amount companies can make from each additional input of labor), and, mathematically, it's relatively simple to show how this will both increase demand for labor and real wage (real wage being a function of nominal wage and price level). My hope is that this is true and that we really are just in a cyclical (or policy-driven) funk. I believe that most economists do not believe that we are structurally screwed in this sense. But it some sense it feels like we are.
It seems most of the mainstream economists (the ones we see on tv and the main news sites) are out of sync with rapidly (as in exponentially) accelerating technology. They are not talking about virtually free energy within 15 years (if you follow solar power, you will see that Moore's law certainly applies - and if so - within 15 years it will be dirt cheap), world wide desalination, additive manufacturing, protein in a dish, drone builders (quadcopters are already here)...etc.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:05 PM   #50
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From a Freakonomics interview...

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Peter Diamandis, founder and CEO of the X Prize Foundation,

Our problem is not that we don’t have enough stuff—it’s that we don’t have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.

Part of the problem is that most contemporary thinking about money and markets and such has its roots in the scarcity model. In fact, one of the most commonly used definitions of economics is “the study of how people make choices under conditions of scarcity, and the results of those choices for society.” As Traditional Economics (which believes that markets are equilibrium systems) gets replaced by Complexity Economics (which both fits the data significantly better and believes markets are complex adaptive systems), we may begin to uncover a post-scarcity framework for assessment, but there’s no guarantee that such thinking will result in either more jobs or a different resource allocation system.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:02 PM   #51
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Complexity Economics sounds interesting and promising, but it is far from being on the road towards replacing "Traditional Economics". Indeed, traditional neoclassical economics seems to have been only increasing in popularity as of late... to the point where probably 75% of academic macroeconomists subscribe to it. Even Keynesianism is rather rare. And maybe they are out of sync, but the economic argument of increasing productivity increasing labor demand does not depend of the economy being in equilibrium.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:07 PM   #52
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It seems most of the mainstream economists (the ones we see on tv and the main news sites) are out of sync with rapidly (as in exponentially) accelerating technology. They are not talking about virtually free energy within 15 years (if you follow solar power, you will see that Moore's law certainly applies - and if so - within 15 years it will be dirt cheap), world wide desalination, additive manufacturing, protein in a dish, drone builders (quadcopters are already here)...etc.


Am watching a piece on 60 Minutes about automation and what it's done to the recovery. By every measure but job creation, we are in a strong recovery, and job creation has been hindered by the acceleration of smart technology in a manner that's never been seen before. New jobs and industries are being created, but they don't need as many people to work in these jobs.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:58 PM   #53
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Am watching a piece on 60 Minutes about automation and what it's done to the recovery. By every measure but job creation, we are in a strong recovery, and job creation has been hindered by the acceleration of smart technology in a manner that's never been seen before. New jobs and industries are being created, but they don't need as many people to work in these jobs.
I'll have to check that out. That sounds interesting.

Technology doesn't seem like it's going to slow down anytime soon, so we need to consider some adaptive economic policies pretty soon or we'll face certain unrest.

EDIT: Recording tonight's episode - thanks for the tip!
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:12 PM   #54
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can we stop with the socialism talk?

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The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago, according to an updated study by the prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty.

The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax.

The figures underscore that even after the recession the country remains in a new Gilded Age, with income as concentrated as it was in the years that preceded the Depression of the 1930s, if not more so.

High stock prices, rising home values and surging corporate profits have buoyed the recovery-era incomes of the most affluent Americans, with the incomes of the rest still weighed down by high unemployment and stagnant wages for many blue- and white-collar workers.

“These results suggest the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s,” Mr. Saez, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in his analysis of the data.

The income share of the top 1 percent of earners in 2012 returned to the same level as before both the Great Recession and the Great Depression: just above 20 percent, jumping to about 22.5 percent in 2012 from 19.7 percent in 2011.

That increase is probably in part due to one-time factors. Congress made a last-minute deal to avoid the expiration of all of the Bush-era tax cuts in January. That deal included a number of tax increases on wealthy Americans, including bumping up levies on investment income. Seeing the tax changes coming, many companies gave large dividends and investors cashed out.

But the economists noted that the trends looked the same for income figures including and excluding realized capital gains — implying that the temporary tax moves were not the only reason the top 1 percent did so well relative to everyone else in 2012.

More generally, richer households have disproportionately benefited from the boom in the stock market during the recovery, with the Dow Jones industrial average more than doubling in value since it bottomed out early in 2009. About half of households hold stock, directly or through vehicles like pension accounts. But the richest 10 percent of households own about 90 percent of the stock, expanding both their net worth and their incomes when they cash out or receive dividends.

The economy remains depressed for most wage-earning families. With sustained, relatively high rates of unemployment, businesses are under no pressure to raise their employees’ incomes because both workers and employers know that many people without jobs would be willing to work for less. The share of Americans working or looking for work is at its lowest in 35 years.

There is a glimmer of good news for the 99 percent in the report, though. Mr. Piketty and Mr. Saez show that the incomes of that group stagnated between 2009 and 2011. In 2012, they started growing again — if only by about 1 percent. But the total income of the top 1 percent surged nearly 20 percent that year. The incomes of the very richest, the 0.01 percent, shot up more than 32 percent.

The new data shows that the top 1 percent of earners experienced a sharp drop in income during the recession, of about 36 percent, and a nearly equal rebound during the recovery of roughly 31 percent. The incomes of the other 99 percent plunged nearly 12 percent in the recession and have barely grown — a 0.4 percent uptick — since then. Thus, the 1 percent has captured about 95 percent of the income gains since the recession ended.

Mr. Saez and Mr. Piketty have argued that the concentration of income among top earners is unlikely to reverse without stark changes in the economy or in tax policy. Increases that Congress negotiated in January are not likely to have a major effect, Mr. Saez wrote, saying they “are not negligible, but they are modest.”

Mr. Saez and Mr. Piketty, of the Paris School of Economics, plan to update their data again in January, after more complete statistics become available.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/20...recovery/?_r=0


what no one in the supposed "liberal" media ever talks about is income inequality.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:23 PM   #55
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can we stop with the socialism talk?
How about Communism talk?
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:44 AM   #56
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what no one in the supposed "liberal" media ever talks about is income inequality.
There's a lot the liberal media doesn't talk about. That's because the corporations own them
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:31 PM   #57
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Another editorial on "income inequality". Hardly ignored by the liberal media (a Google search generate plenty of results). This has been a talking point ever since the Occupy movement began. Oddly, income inequality has existed for as long as humans have traded.

I'm not sure what socialism has to do with this. Socialism doesn't cure income inequality. I find it favors the government and union classes at the expense of everyone else.
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:51 PM   #58
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Another editorial on "income inequality". Hardly ignored by the liberal media (a Google search generate plenty of results). This has been a talking point ever since the Occupy movement began. Oddly, income inequality has existed for as long as humans have traded.

I'm not sure what socialism has to do with this. Socialism doesn't cure income inequality. I find it favors the government and union classes at the expense of everyone else.
I remember income inequality being discussed in the mid 90s where some wondered if the gap between the rich and poor will continue to expand.

And if this isn't an example of income inequality, then I don't know what is:

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Saez points out that the wealthiest Americans' share of U.S. income is higher than at any point since before the Great Depression. Unlike the Depression, though, this recovery has not brought in new policies aimed at equality. If anything, we are getting right back to the pre-crisis business of letting the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/uneven-financial-crisis-recovery-charts_n_3913882.html

Notice the job sector that has increased the most is the service jobs - retail, hospitality, etc. Doesn't sound very promising.

ETA: In regards to how "oddly" it is that income inequality has always existed, I don't think the issue should be treated flippantly, even if poor people will always be around for various reasons
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:15 PM   #59
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Oddly, income inequality has existed for as long as humans have traded.
And so have the the revolutions that occur when the gap gets too big.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:45 PM   #60
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I find it favors the government and union classes at the expense of everyone else.
I don't think that's what socialism is???

It is the common ownership of the means of production. Would have to be the most incorrectly defined term going around.
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