ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Economics, Business and Finance
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 21st June 2018, 03:31 AM   #161
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
... as the party in an economic relationship which controlls direct access to essential means of production.
That doesn't sound like a non-producer to me.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 03:38 AM   #162
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,881
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Quote:
[ . . . ] Once capitalists are able to pay the worker less than the value produced by their labour [ . . . ]
I think it is pretty widespread that this happens; revenue will be less than or equal to cost otherwise. Most non-Marxists don't regard that as sustainable or socially beneficial.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 03:47 AM   #163
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
That doesn't sound like a non-producer to me.
Why?
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 04:01 AM   #164
3point14
Pi
 
3point14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 15,227
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
It made me think of Mitchell &Webb's "Old Lady Job Justification Hearing" sketches from their old radio show. (Which actually struck me as a pretty good idea, the sooner we vote in Prime Minister Joanna Lumley and get them started the better).

Ah, I loved the Traffic Wardens one
__________________
Up the River!
3point14 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 04:09 AM   #165
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Why?
Because they increase the total amount of wealth, which seems like the definition a producer to me.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 04:25 AM   #166
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Because they increase the total amount of wealth, which seems like the definition a producer to me.
That tends to happen after something is produced. The things produced are usually made by utilizing labor. The surplus labor part is defined as exploitation and is often appropriated by the owners of the essential means of production (here defined as"non-producers").
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 05:19 AM   #167
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
That tends to happen after something is produced.
Production increases wealth. Without the means of production, how does production occur?

Often the "means of production" is really just a coordination problem. Say a bunch of workers are each doing some simple job that they can do on their own, like the guys here who ride around on a scooter advertising their repair skills "A/C, computer, washing machine!". But they might be more productive in some industry. Someone with capital notices this untapped market, and the availability of workers, and can pay a bunch of them to do a job, but as with most new businesses it won't be profitable for, say, a year. Under those assumptions if those workers just chose to do the job on their own, they'd go hungry before the profits arrived. They need some outside investment to make the whole thing viable. By inputing that capital, those workers can then become productive.

Even without any costs beyond the salaries of the workers themselves, the investor has created value by creating the circumstances in which those workers can come together and the business can be built.

That certainly seems like the creation of wealth to me and is anything but nonproductive.

But that's what any business does. It allows people an opportunity to do work that's more productive than what they could do on their own. If they were more productive on their own, then they could make more money on their own by working for themselves*.

*Of course there are practices that prevent this, and those sorts of actions require a government to step in to prevent them.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 06:32 AM   #168
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by Roboramma
Production increases wealth. Without the means of production, how does production occur?
How did the means of production come about? By a labor process of course.

Originally Posted by Roboramma
Often the "means of production" is really just a coordination problem. Say a bunch of workers are each doing some simple job that they can do on their own, like the guys here who ride around on a scooter advertising their repair skills "A/C, computer, washing machine!". But they might be more productive in some industry. Someone with capital notices this untapped market, and the availability of workers, and can pay a bunch of them to do a job, but as with most new businesses it won't be profitable for, say, a year. Under those assumptions if those workers just chose to do the job on their own, they'd go hungry before the profits arrived. They need some outside investment to make the whole thing viable. By inputing that capital, those workers can then become productive.

Even without any costs beyond the salaries of the workers themselves, the investor has created value by creating the circumstances in which those workers can come together and the business can be built.

That certainly seems like the creation of wealth to me and is anything but nonproductive.

But that's what any business does. It allows people an opportunity to do work that's more productive than what they could do on their own. If they were more productive on their own, then they could make more money on their own by working for themselves*.

*Of course there are practices that prevent this, and those sorts of actions require a government to step in to prevent them.
Look, this is all fine. However, it's also somewhat irrelevant in regards to the logic by which we define exploitation (which originally used to have a positive connotation but turned into a negative one in light of working conditions during early industrial capitalism).

We know, for sure, that no product—end product or means of production—has been produced without labor. What we don't know for sure is the exact role of the non-producer (as defined previously). But even if we were to accept your claim that the non-producer's role is to fix the coordination problem, or is necessary for any production to begin at all, we're still describing a power relationship as well as claiming that exploitation is necessary for upholding that particular mode of production.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...

Last edited by lupus_in_fabula; 21st June 2018 at 06:35 AM.
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 08:41 AM   #169
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Well, in my view there are two important questions: how can we efficiently produce wealth? And, how can that wealth be efficiently distributed?

If the "non-producer" improves the efficiency of the process of the production of wealth, then that seems like a good thing.

The second question is actually inextricably linked to the first as different means of distribution will affect the efficiency of the production process, though to varying degrees.

We can certainly find ways to attempt to improve our efficiency in both of those questions. But I do think they are empirical questions, though there is also a question what factors we consider important in how want wealth distributed, for instance to what degree do we value fairness and how is fairness defined. And of course there are other issues that we may consider to supercede either question. For instance if we could more efficiently produce wealth by killing 1 in every 10 people, we could still decide that that sacrifice wasn't worth it.

But those caveats aside I do think they are both empirical questions, at least when precisely defined, which I haven't done here.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 09:44 AM   #170
Skeptic Ginger
Nasty Woman
 
Skeptic Ginger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 68,189
Not sure if this point has been made yet, but it needs to be.

Safety Concerns Grow as Inmates Are Guarded by Teachers and Secretaries
Quote:
The staffing scramble at Big Spring is playing out at federal prisons across the country. As the Trump administration has curtailed hiring in its quest to reduce the size of the government, some prisons are so pressed for guards that they regularly compel teachers, nurses, secretaries and other support staff to step in. ...

But as the shortage of correctional officers has grown chronic under President Trump — and the practice of drawing upon other workers has become routine — many prisons have been operating in a perpetual state of staffing turmoil, leaving some workers feeling ill-equipped and unsafe on the job, according to interviews and internal documents from the Bureau of Prisons....

...Dozens of workers from prisons across the country said inmates had become more brazen with staff members and more violent with one another. At a prison in West Virginia, violent incidents increased almost 15 percent in 2017 from the year before, according to data obtained by The New York Times. Workers blame the problems on their depleted numbers and the need to push often inexperienced staff members into front-line correctional roles, changes not lost on the prison population. ...
This is yet another pending crisis resulting from the myth that taxes are nothing but redistribution of money from the hard working rich to the lazy poor. When framing issues about taxes, consider that taxes are what we pay toward community services. Welfare is one of the smallest fractions of where tax dollars go.
__________________
Restore checks and balances no matter your party affiliation.
Skeptic Ginger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 10:30 AM   #171
P.J. Denyer
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,025
Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Ah, I loved the Traffic Wardens one
Yes, for me that was the essential one that made the entire series of them work. There's wisdom in the best comedy.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 10:39 AM   #172
P.J. Denyer
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,025
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
If the "non-producer" improves the efficiency of the process of the production of wealth, then that seems like a good thing.
I think you're arguing against something that no one is claiming. I think you're getting hung up on the colloquial use of "exploitation", in this case it can be more like "we exploited the potential energy of the mountain stream to produce environmentally friendly power" rather than "we exploited the senior citizens who didn't realise that no amount of administration fees would allow them to win a foreign lottery they hadn't entered". Depending of course on the conditions of employment. Workers are obviously better off in successful companies than failing ones if they share in the rewards of that success.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 11:33 AM   #173
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Thank you for that link, it's an interesting read and there's a lot in there that is hard to argue with (I've made a similar point regarding the relative values of cleaners and advertising executives), I think there are issues discussed that miggt be worth their own threads. It made me think of Mitchell &Webb's "Old Lady Job Justification Hearing" sketches from their old radio show. (Which actually struck me as a pretty good idea, the sooner we vote in Prime Minister Joanna Lumley and get them started the better).

In the meantime I'm just going to have a slice of lemon drizzle cake and open a nice little shop.
Hadn't heard of the "Old Lady Job Justification Hearing" so I had a quick peek. Yes, very appropriate.

Graeber also has some absurd examples/reports, like a guy whos' sole practical purpose was to apologize for the carpenter (or building maintenance guy) being overworked.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 06:30 PM   #174
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
I think you're arguing against something that no one is claiming. I think you're getting hung up on the colloquial use of "exploitation",
It was the term "non-producer" that I didn't like, which is why I asked for clarification of it and which led down this little alley. I still think its a poor choice.

I never had a problem with the term "exploitation". I agree with what you say in that regard.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2018, 10:58 PM   #175
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
It was the term "non-producer" that I didn't like, which is why I asked for clarification of it and which led down this little alley. I still think its a poor choice.

I never had a problem with the term "exploitation". I agree with what you say in that regard.
That could simply be because of the encyclopedic striving for generality. I suppose one might substitute "non-producer" for "non-laborer", or something else without losing the basic point which is that it's someone else than the agent laboring. We could also use the term "capitalist" or "owner of the means of production" but the shortcoming is that it necessarily restricts the context into a particular mode of production, like capitalism. The more general point being that exploitation and the same kind of logic occurs in many other modes as well. So, in feudalism the dichotomy would be the serf (producer) vs. the landlord (non-producer).
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2018, 08:06 AM   #176
P.J. Denyer
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,025
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
It was the term "non-producer" that I didn't like, which is why I asked for clarification of it and which led down this little alley. I still think its a poor choice.

I never had a problem with the term "exploitation". I agree with what you say in that regard.
"Non Direct-Labour"?

Of course it isn't just the boss who's a non producer, there are people in that category from the floor sweeper on up. Again though I think it's the colloquial conotations of a word which is in this particular context accurate.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2018, 09:14 AM   #177
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,881
In corporate speak, far from calling all labour "production" it's fairly common for most employees to be a cost centre. In financial services it's usually the sales people who are producers or revenue generators, management isn't. Portfolio managers (me) quite often are not classed as revenue generating.

This has always had a ring of "winning a client / deal / account is everything, after that it's all unfortunate expense" to me.

Last edited by Francesca R; 22nd June 2018 at 09:16 AM.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2018, 09:16 AM   #178
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
"Non Direct-Labour"?

Of course it isn't just the boss who's a non producer, there are people in that category from the floor sweeper on up. Again though I think it's the colloquial conotations of a word which is in this particular context accurate.
Okay, that's fair. I just don't really see it as a particularly meaningful distinction, particularly as economies become more complex.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2018, 09:23 AM   #179
Hlafordlaes
Disorder of Kilopi
 
Hlafordlaes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Flux
Posts: 7,848
I support taxation because it is good for capitalism, innovation, and modernity. Some of that takes the form of redistribution, placing funds into the hands of new decision makers. Good. Distributed knowledge generation and decision-making is key to healthy capitalism, which if not to be permanently class-based, and therefore compatible with democracy, must have mechanisms for creating new opportunity at as many levels as possible. The reason that is not easily acknowledged has to do with personal and parochial interest, not understanding of economics.

Democracy is acknowledgment of equality in political decision-making, not economic. The importance of distributed decision-making in economics has to do with optimization of resources and production in light of local conditions, and the non-linear nature of creativity.

Wide distribution of as much knowledge at all levels is preferable because it acts to enhance both political and economic decision-making. This requires taxation to fund public education, essential for both systems.

Because we speak of humans, the need for basic food, clothing and shelter for all is a constant logical concern, barring, again, purely parochial interests. This is what makes public investment in human assets justifiable economically, no need for any bleeding heart; political argument in democracy already is in line with the dignity, as well, of the individual: we recognize the heart in each.

It is neither starry-eyed nor threatening to freedom -- itself a goal and product of democracy, not its rival -- to support operative redistribution of wealth. Those paying more by definition receive more, and may contribute more, but rely on the fabric of know-how, ability, and uncanny savoir-faire of all their fellows across all domains for this to be a fruitful society, fully capable of rewarding, but without needlessly punishing to do so.
__________________
Driftwood on an empty shore of the sea of meaninglessness. Irrelevant, weightless, inconsequential moment of existential hubris on the fast track to oblivion. Spends that time videogaming.

Last edited by Hlafordlaes; 22nd June 2018 at 09:25 AM.
Hlafordlaes is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2018, 02:00 AM   #180
Roger Ramjets
Illuminator
 
Roger Ramjets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3,571
Originally Posted by Francesca R View Post
This has always had a ring of "winning a client / deal / account is everything, after that it's all unfortunate expense"
That's right. First you sell the product or service, then you try to produce it as cheaply as possible.

My current employer regularly practices this principle, only this time it's not working out so well. Problems in production, cannot achieve quoted performance specs, delivery date's long past and the client is getting upset - it's a nightmare!

But that's how you beat out the competition. Lie about a product you don't actually have, and hope the production staff can make it a reality. Then moan about how much you have to pay them, stupid government regulations, taxes going to welfare queens etc. - anything but admit the real reason for your problems.

Yet according to some Free Market proponents this behavior should be rewarded. You see, the capitalist is taking a big risk (with investors' money and workers' jobs) to produce a better product faster and cheaper! This is why private enterprise will always be more efficient and innovative than any 'centrally planned' (or planned at all) government program could ever be!
__________________
We don't want good, sound arguments. We want arguments that sound good.
Roger Ramjets is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2018, 03:48 AM   #181
Roger Ramjets
Illuminator
 
Roger Ramjets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3,571
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
"Non Direct-Labour"?

Of course it isn't just the boss who's a non producer, there are people in that category from the floor sweeper on up. Again though I think it's the colloquial conotations of a word which is in this particular context accurate.
It depends on who you are calling 'the boss' and what role he plays in producing the product or service. Factory floors need to be kept clean and you don't want production line workers stopping to do it, and someone has to manage the top-level operation of any business. Janitors, office staff, managers etc. are all being paid to do these jobs because what they do is necessary to produce the product.

The capitalist however, having supplied the 'means of production' can just put his feet up and relax while the money rolls in. Some may argue that what the capitalist did was also necessary, and therefore he should be rewarded for his input. I agree, But the question is, how much? Should he receive 10 times, 100 times, 1000 times the income of a worker, or simply take whatever he can? If the income he gets is similar to that of his workers then it could hardly be called exploitation. But successful capitalists tend to get far more while doing less, which indicates that they are exploiting their workers.

But even if exploitation is occurring, why is it a problem? The problem is that when workers are receiving less income than the money earned from their output, they cannot afford to purchase the products they produce. When this occurs in the economy globally the effect is catastrophic. Over a period of time the capitalists amass more wealth than they can put into production - while workers get poorer so demand reduces. Factories close, unemployment rises, markets crash, and everyone suffers. But the capitalists don't see it as a problem until too late because they have plenty of money.
__________________
We don't want good, sound arguments. We want arguments that sound good.
Roger Ramjets is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2018, 04:17 AM   #182
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
But that's how you beat out the competition. Lie about a product you don't actually have, and hope the production staff can make it a reality.
Yes, sadly sometimes that works.

Sometimes producing a better product reliably is the better way to beat competition. I work in a very competitive market but my business is at least moderately successful, and what success I've had has been exactly through consistency and quality, as well as some degree of innovation.

Quote:
Then moan about how much you have to pay them, stupid government regulations, taxes going to welfare queens etc. - anything but admit the real reason for your problems.
This seems to be in conflict with this:

Quote:
Yet according to some Free Market proponents this behavior should be rewarded. You see, the capitalist is taking a big risk (with investors' money and workers' jobs) to produce a better product faster and cheaper! This is why private enterprise will always be more efficient and innovative than any 'centrally planned' (or planned at all) government program could ever be!
The former suggests that the company is not competitive: it's having problems due to poor policies that lead to complaining about outside forces. The latter statement about producing a better product faster and cheaper suggests that this lying behaviour which is leading to unsuccessful business (the problems you mention) should not be rewarded. And if it's unsuccessful then that's exactly what's happening.

Will liars be outcompeted by honest businesses? Hopefully, though it's certainly not a given. That's why I'd support regulations that punish fraudulent business practices.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2018, 04:23 AM   #183
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
But even if exploitation is occurring, why is it a problem? The problem is that when workers are receiving less income than the money earned from their output, they cannot afford to purchase the products they produce. When this occurs in the economy globally the effect is catastrophic. Over a period of time the capitalists amass more wealth than they can put into production - while workers get poorer so demand reduces. Factories close, unemployment rises, markets crash, and everyone suffers. But the capitalists don't see it as a problem until too late because they have plenty of money.
Even if you don't get to the extreme where the total of the GDP goes down, you can still have a situation where GDP increases but worker's income stagnates. That seems to me to be a negative outcome and one we should actively try to find ways to improve.

Total wealth increasing is a good thing because it's generally good for everyone. If the pie gets bigger but that extra size goes exclusively (not just proportionally more) to a small group, I think that's not much better than the pie not getting bigger at all. Usually when the pie gets bigger everyone's slice gets a little bigger, even if some people's slice increases by more than others. But if most people's slice stays at a constant size I think there's a society wide problem and while I don't know what the solution is (it probably varies by situation) I think we do need to look at ways of sharing that wealth more equally, though not necessarily completely equally.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2018, 04:37 AM   #184
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 82,120
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Even if you don't get to the extreme where the total of the GDP goes down, you can still have a situation where GDP increases but worker's income stagnates. That seems to me to be a negative outcome and one we should actively try to find ways to improve.

Total wealth increasing is a good thing because it's generally good for everyone. If the pie gets bigger but that extra size goes exclusively (not just proportionally more) to a small group, I think that's not much better than the pie not getting bigger at all. Usually when the pie gets bigger everyone's slice gets a little bigger, even if some people's slice increases by more than others. But if most people's slice stays at a constant size I think there's a society wide problem and while I don't know what the solution is (it probably varies by situation) I think we do need to look at ways of sharing that wealth more equally, though not necessarily completely equally.
Which is the topic of thread!
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2018, 05:07 AM   #185
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 10,785
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Which is the topic of thread!
Yep. Which is a good thing too, or you might have to move my post
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2018, 04:32 AM   #186
P.J. Denyer
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,025
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
It depends on who you are calling 'the boss' and what role he plays in producing the product or service. Factory floors need to be kept clean and you don't want production line workers stopping to do it, and someone has to manage the top-level operation of any business. Janitors, office staff, managers etc. are all being paid to do these jobs because what they do is necessary to produce the product.

The capitalist however, having supplied the 'means of production' can just put his feet up and relax while the money rolls in. Some may argue that what the capitalist did was also necessary, and therefore he should be rewarded for his input. I agree, But the question is, how much? Should he receive 10 times, 100 times, 1000 times the income of a worker, or simply take whatever he can? If the income he gets is similar to that of his workers then it could hardly be called exploitation. But successful capitalists tend to get far more while doing less, which indicates that they are exploiting their workers.

But even if exploitation is occurring, why is it a problem? The problem is that when workers are receiving less income than the money earned from their output, they cannot afford to purchase the products they produce. When this occurs in the economy globally the effect is catastrophic. Over a period of time the capitalists amass more wealth than they can put into production - while workers get poorer so demand reduces. Factories close, unemployment rises, markets crash, and everyone suffers. But the capitalists don't see it as a problem until too late because they have plenty of money.
You're missing the point, this is just about definition of terms, your post is a screed against something that no-one is arguing. In this context producer/non-producer is a distinction like direct and indirect costs, exploitation is utilising the profit on the product (whether to pay a dividend or for a floor sweeper's wages). You're insisting on arguing against a moral judgement that isn't inherent in the terms.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th June 2018, 12:42 AM   #187
Roger Ramjets
Illuminator
 
Roger Ramjets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3,571
Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
You're insisting on arguing against a moral judgement that isn't inherent in the terms.
Not inherent perhaps, but it is implied. Perhaps it's time some of these implied 'moral judgements' were dragged out into the light so everyone can see what we are actually arguing against.

The OP considers a minimum wage and student debt relief to be "the Robin Hood approach" and suggests that poor people are poor because they have "an inability to manage money" so "dumping a heap of cash on them" won't work.

That's a heap of moralizing right there, and it doesn't stop. The OP then says that "there's no reason you can't do good for yourself with some hard work" and "While I was working a 2nd jobs, others were out drinking and partying". Now we have the Protestant work ethic added to the heap, with the judgement that people who enjoy their time off don't deserve to get as much as those who work themselves to death.

Brainster says that "redistributing wealth" is "all about Marx" and "if you ran a poll around here, equalizing wealth as a proper goal of society would get a lot of votes". What is being implied here? We all know the answer. 'Wealth redistribution' is a trigger phrase favored by conservatives and libertarians, who think any suggestion that unbridled Capitalism might have problems is proof you are a communist who wants to steal our money and take away our freedoms.

ServiceSoon has noticed 'an increase in communications, advertisements, articles pertaining to inequality and wealth' and wonders 'who is financing these communications?'. Just Asking Questions? Or implying that those thieving communists are trying to sway public opinion over to their side (George Soros is behind it for sure!). We all know the answer to this one too...

And on it goes. Someone objects to the term 'non-producer'. Why? You can bet the answer isn't that they looked up its meaning in the dictionary.

Finally, you say:-
Quote:
You're missing the point, this is just about definition of terms.
Perhaps on the surface it may appear so, but let's stop kidding ourselves. Underneath everyone is seething with emotions that come out in the words and phrases they use. Using inexact 'colloquial connotations' of words doesn't help, but even if we only spoke in mathematical formulae it wouldn't hide our agendas. The OP didn't start this thread to solve a mathematical puzzle, and though the answer may be mathematical it must still fit within an acceptable moral framework.

Roboramma said:-
"if we could more efficiently produce wealth by killing 1 in every 10 people, we could still decide that that sacrifice wasn't worth it".
Well it turns out that killing off a large percentage of the population has historically proven to be an excellent (if temporary) way to 're-distribute' wealth. But of course most of us would object to such a suggestion on moral grounds. Whether or not you think 'hard work' should be rewarded proportionally, or everyone should share in the wealth, or the amount of money someone makes should be the only criteria, these are moral judgements which will color your arguments even when you try to hide it.

So don't hide it. Get it out in the open for everyone to see. Then you won't have to try tricks like questioning the meanings of words or nitpicking arguments for bogus reasons. Let's face it - you wouldn't be posting here if you didn't have an emotional need. So let it all out, and tell us what you really think!
__________________
We don't want good, sound arguments. We want arguments that sound good.
Roger Ramjets is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th June 2018, 01:10 AM   #188
P.J. Denyer
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,025
I can't be bothered to keep repeating that you are using the colloquial usage of the words and ignoring the definitions that apply in this context which is the only point I have been making. At least you're wasting far more of your own time than mine. Project whatever you want on to me, I'm no longer interested.
__________________
"I know my brain cannot tell me what to think." - Scorpion
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 12:55 AM   #189
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes
Democracy is acknowledgment of equality in political decision-making, not economic. The importance of distributed decision-making in economics has to do with optimization of resources and production in light of local conditions, and the non-linear nature of creativity.

Wide distribution of as much knowledge at all levels is preferable because it acts to enhance both political and economic decision-making. This requires taxation to fund public education, essential for both systems.

Because we speak of humans, the need for basic food, clothing and shelter for all is a constant logical concern, barring, again, purely parochial interests. This is what makes public investment in human assets justifiable economically, no need for any bleeding heart; political argument in democracy already is in line with the dignity, as well, of the individual: we recognize the heart in each.
The problem with optimization in this context is that we also need to justify the measure by which we claim optimality—i.e., optimal according to what? For example, the common theoretical notion of Pareto optimality is basically useless in any real-world setting.

We probably need to rid ourselves from the view that taxes are necessary for funding public investments or guaranteeing some basic living standard. This doesn't mean taxes are irrelevant for the functioning of the system; they still perform to limit and regulate monetary stock-flow developments.

Depending on the institutional framework, redistribution can also be perceived as retrieving an inherently public resource (legal tender money) that was previously spent and guaranteed into existence.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 10:01 AM   #190
Hlafordlaes
Disorder of Kilopi
 
Hlafordlaes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Flux
Posts: 7,848
The optimization I refer to, as it involves normal business people, is of business resources for profit, so capitalism is the assumption. This is purely localized or organization-specific decision-making subject to physical, financial, and regulatory constraints.

I do not subscribe to the notion of full system optimization as a goal, only a regulated system with boundaries. So yes, compared to any formal model, inefficient. I also do not subscribe to the notion of perfect markets, only markets. That is, the base challenge is not "what is optimal" or "how to achieve theoretical bests," but simply "what is the case, and given goals, how to go from here to there under local constraints." Regulating markets should be done at government level, again, more in the form of an iterative fashion with changing goals, given changing outcomes and new information.

Aka: Stumbling and bumbling forward, one step at a time, fast enough to advance, slow enough to decide another direction is better. This is the best fit for a world in which information is partial and changing, as is understanding of it. When the horizon of events does happen to be both certain and long, then and only then, major central policy-driven fixes setting new boundaries or changing the field of play are warranted; e.g., managing global warming.

I see no need to rid ourselves of public goods and services or the taxes for them. Personally, not a big fan of private armies and their history (see feudalism).

All money is fiat, one should not be alarmed by that. It is an accounting ledger, not an intrinsic good. All value assigned it is via its proper or improper management as a store of value.

(For the record, when I refer to capitalism, I do not refer to the unregulated shell corporation network called "big business" today.)
__________________
Driftwood on an empty shore of the sea of meaninglessness. Irrelevant, weightless, inconsequential moment of existential hubris on the fast track to oblivion. Spends that time videogaming.

Last edited by Hlafordlaes; 28th June 2018 at 10:02 AM.
Hlafordlaes is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 10:06 AM   #191
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15,428
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Brainster says that "redistributing wealth" is "all about Marx" and "if you ran a poll around here, equalizing wealth as a proper goal of society would get a lot of votes". What is being implied here? We all know the answer. 'Wealth redistribution' is a trigger phrase favored by conservatives and libertarians, who think any suggestion that unbridled Capitalism might have problems is proof you are a communist who wants to steal our money and take away our freedoms.
Uh, no. I think that any suggestion of wealth redistribution is proof you are a communist who wants to steal our money and take away our freedoms.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 10:35 AM   #192
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
I see no need to rid ourselves of public goods and services or the taxes for them. Personally, not a big fan of private armies and their history (see feudalism).)
Neither do I. The pont being that we do not need tax recepts in order to afford public goods and services. The goverment can always create enought spending capacity and tax in order to reclaim some of it.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 11:16 AM   #193
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 12,827
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
The pont being that we do not need tax recepts in order to afford public goods and services. The goverment can always create enought spending capacity and tax in order to reclaim some of it.
Those two sentences contradict each other.

The bigger the government spending bill, the more taxes it has to collect to keep the money supply under control. The alternative is to print money until you have hyperinflation or to borrow so much that government bonds acquire "junk" status. Historically, both scenarios have occurred.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 11:46 AM   #194
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by psionl0
Those two sentences contradict each other.
Not really. It just means that affordability is not directly dependent on ex ante tax receipts.

Originally Posted by psionl0
The bigger the government spending bill, the more taxes it has to collect to keep the money supply under control. The alternative is to print money until you have hyperinflation or to borrow so much that government bonds acquire "junk" status. Historically, both scenarios have occurred.
The government's spending bill (A) needs to, at the very least, be related to something else like the overall productive capacity of the economy (B) and institutional capacity to tax (C). To get to hyperinflation in a developed nation you need failure in B and C as well. In fact, by not spending enough (or meaningfully), B and C can become eroded so that A eventually turns into a detrimental spiral.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 11:59 AM   #195
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 12,827
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
The government's spending bill (A) needs to, at the very least, be related to something else like the overall productive capacity of the economy (B) and institutional capacity to tax (C). To get to hyperinflation in a developed nation you need failure in B and C as well. In fact, by not spending enough (or meaningfully), B and C can become eroded so that A eventually turns into a detrimental spiral.
How much government spending or debt should be compared to other economic measures such as the GDP is a separate issue.

The fact remains that the government can't live on the printing press or borrowing alone.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th June 2018, 12:19 PM   #196
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,574
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
How much government spending or debt should be compared to other economic measures such as the GDP is a separate issue.

The fact remains that the government can't live on the printing press or borrowing alone.
… which is the reason why it's dependent on a comparison to other factors (and not a separate issue).

No reproductive system is without limits or sequential ordering of factors. At some relative magnitude almost any factor can become counterproductive.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...

Last edited by lupus_in_fabula; 28th June 2018 at 12:26 PM.
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Economics, Business and Finance

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:38 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.