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Everything posted by Cogs

  1. No, I was thinking of Africa. I'd also dispute that capitalism is 'enriching' the Chinese people in general. Not everyone lives where you can see them on TV. I see you're descending back into rhetoric and arguing the toss otherwise. How about capitalism's oh so clever bankers? But lets leave that here, I'm not interested in that really. My point still stands.
  2. A bit daft really. We have nothing like enough careers advisors in this country actually. Look at all the trouble over the 'wrong A-levels' for example. Perhaps its not a job anyone thinks to go into? QED
  3. I don't think I was smug... its certainly a bit glib to claim that capitalism refrains from various things it is quite happily doing to people on another continent as we sit here right now. Anyhow, you are arguing the case and I said its up to you which you think comes out on top. What I am saying is that asserting X=good things, Y=bad things is not in itself much of an argument. Nor is it an argument from 'first principles' either. It kind of reminds me of old style comic books "What heroic acts of goodness shall I perform today?" wonders Superman. "Wuahahah superman, my league of evil supervillains will commit so much wickedness and evil you'll have your hands full!" cackles Evilman The Evil from his secret lair in Evilmountain, "Fire up the Evilmobile!". Thats not how it works is it.
  4. Sized and shaped for a specific space. Its a sort of weak way of saying 'made to measure', more like 'modified to measure'. A fitted suit is a normal off the peg suit with some adjustments done for example. We also nearly all have 'fitted carpets'. You see a non-fitted carpet so rarely now the phrase has gone out of use, but people used to get approximately sized bits of carpets and around the edges you'd have exposed floorboards (you still see this in stately homes I think).
  5. That is your judgement. Socialists tend to see capitalism as an ideology based on theft, extreme violence, widespread slavery and several genocides. This is, after all, a historical fact. I think you'll find a lot of people were quite happy with the communal ownership of land and being entitled to keep what they earned. Men with guns forced them off and into factories, long work hours and slums. Capitalism is an alien ideology that undermined basic humanities in its first breaths and hasn't stopped ever since. You may not agree, you may think your form of slavery is better than another's form of slavery, the point is your view is based on simple assertion and not self evident.
  6. I didn't make a mistake. I think most people would actually tell you something that more or less paraphrases the famous bits of Leviathan.
  7. Mary Sue utopianism again. We're all in favour of things that are good and against things that are bad. In itself that isn't a very interesting debate to have.
  8. Its the Daily Mail trying to make you angry. It is plausible that what is really going on is you've got a fairly messed up depressed woman that has dug herself into a hole being goaded into trying to come up with a face saving (in some eyes) justification for her actions. Could be the Life of Riley, could be a lot of pain there in reality. See also; I'm not a drug addict, I'm a rebel with an alternative lifestyle, aren't I clever? etc etc.
  9. Yes well, you believe the two are in some way separable. I don't. On the one hand, free trade requires the existence of nation states, systems of regulation and enforcement etc. The economic history is clear in that regard. If you want to invoke a science-fiction utopian concept of free trade, thats fine, but its a visionary kind of thing, you can't constantly use it as a rhetorical Mary Sue embodying all virutes because at that point it reaches unity with all other utopian visions including mature socialism. On the other hand, corporations have significant leverage over governments. The banks were too big to fail, the big four auditors wrote the Chancellor's economic policies, defence spending = BAE Systems pockets, education policy leaps around at the beck and call of businesses that can't make their minds up what they want, etc etc. Whichever way you look at it, you can't separate them. You pretend you can, I think you are wrong. The very forces you think give 'free trade' its super powers are the very forces that would wind up with you in chains and the words Lockheed Martin stamped on your buttocks.
  10. Nobody does the reading. I bet everyone here could trot out an approximation of that 'Weath of Nations' was about. Which begs the question why such a simple two paragraph idea requires a book of that length. The reason is the context in which the simple idea is placed, along with all the preconditions etc. Another common one is to start trotting out Ricardo whenever globalisation is mentioned. But Ricardo showed everyone gets richer etc. Yes, he did, in very specific circumstances where trade is mutually beneficial and capital was immobile. I could go on. In general quite a dogmatic view that the argument being made has been seen before without understanding that it is actually violating a number of assumptions that no longer hold. Its funny really, I keep getting told I should go and read Adam Smith, I'm becoming convinced I'm the only person that actually has.
  11. My money is on the managers. Even the trades are ******ed. Look at the services your local chain garage provides. They get by without employing an actual qualified mechanic in a lot of places. No need. If its simple they do it, if it isn't, take it somewhere else. The net effect is that we need fewer trained mechanics and its harder for mechanics to start up on their own because whatever work they can do at 'competitive' rates, they simply don't have access to supply line that KwikFit do. It'll be modularisation soon which will be perfect for the industry. Just unplug and swap, lots of money going into this in other domains (Eurofighter, naval stuff). Anyone can do it, they won't sell you the modules at home; you're completely dependent on spending a vast amount of money for routine repairs carried out by a minimum wage monkey. Result.
  12. Nope. This is about removing competition for labour by deskilling work. How much does a chef get paid? Now, how much do you pay someone for lifting a plate into a microwave (don't worry about the buttons, we have that automated so the unlettered and 'special needs' can do the job). Why should there ever be a shortage of people to lift plates into microwaves? You'd need full employment before it even appears on the radar. Which countries have full employment again? I have no problems with competition. This isn't a competition, there is no competitive aspect to it. These jobs are such that you can't, by design, do them better or worse than anyone else.
  13. Why will it drive up Mr Wong's living standards? There is no reason why it should. Either you pay him the minimum wage or you pay him the lowest possible subsistence wage. The profit is going to a PO Box in Bermuda as always. You've missed the point of the article, in the point is to reduce the bargaining power of labour to absolutely nothing; worst possible pay, worst possible conditions, worst possible contract arrangements. There will be no growth in standard of living because there is no leverage at all, your wages will for example fall with inflation 'and thats all she wrote'. There is no rebalancing going on, that is a notion related to comparative advantage, it doesn't apply here because there isn't one. There is no point of balance to reach. You're right to talk about 'pain' but thats all it is, without relief or end, there is no process going on here, this isn't the fabled invisible hand in action.
  14. <br /><br /><br />OK, so the car situation changed a number of years ago, that went out when Gene Hunt traded in his Audi. Thats just a fact and indeed, look at the way they are marketed these days as opposed to back then. The Ford Fiesta is no longer the housewive's shopping trolley but the means of conveyance for a young couple without kids. Gadgets, I'm not convinced there is much difference outside computer games, high end cameras and high end PCs. My impression was that women tend to spend more on phones actually now they've fallen into the fashion accessory bracket.<br /><br />You see more men in flashy motors because they are more likely to be salesmen. Simple as that. They didn't buy them, the company did.But that isn't even the point, look at how much gadgets costs. Lets go on a binge, grab an iPod, maybe a GPS, couple of Xbox games, top it up with a few CDs (the trad domain of "50 quid man"). Wouldn't buy the buckle on a Louis Vitton handbag, wouldn't buy an 'investment piece' t-shirt and probably wouldn't settle your bill for your SATC power lunch. The joke here is that handjobs and cars aside, if you want to emulate the WAGS husband then sitting around in your underpants playing Call Of Duty is exactly what they are doing. Yours for 130 quid including the console.
  15. I could have this wrong, but I thought we were moving contra-trend film wise compared to this US. Their attendances have been collapsing for a while, ours have been steadily rising. Makes it hard to conclude what this is really about with regard to the economy. My suspicion is that in the US you have to think about cars and petrol given the sprawl but that in itself doesn't seem sufficient.
  16. Its cobblers. Said this before, looking at unmarried colleagues its pretty clear what is going on. Blokes; rent flats, two-up two-down terraces or do houseshares in the next town on from where we work, drive oldish cars, scruffy clothes, got to the pub occasionally, have a bad Xbox habit etc. Women; bought City centre flats in trendy quarter, drive a new Audi/Merc, designer clothes, go to 'hard to book' restaurants all the time in emulation of Sex And The City. Same income but on one hand its Pale Ale, on the other its champagne. Time of the quarter upset (when the credit card bill arrives) has replaced time of the month as the modern powderkeg moment... The interesting thing there is that it wasn't a million years ago when it was the Xboxing chaps that were being feckless and irresponsible, and the women being responsible and getting on the property ladder and generally being more grown up... Perhaps it depends what value judgements you make around risk-taking vs. being responsible. I reckon you could make the argument they were doing the people-pleasing thing of acting in the way they thought other people expected them to behave, pity the expectation was misguided.
  17. Again, that isn't the most serious problem, the issue is monopoly capital. ie. the growing strength of corporations and their influence over governments. Wealth won't "balance out", there is absolutely no reason why it should, thats the economics of the tooth fairy.
  18. This was described as prep work for high profile trials. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that means but it would imply something greater in terms of expertise than mail merge.
  19. Eh? There won't be any alternatives. An example given is that the work of a 125k a year London lawyer is starting to be moved to to an 8k person in the Philippines. First, it is only standardisation of process that allows this. Second, the market for being a lawyer in that area is being destroyed. Its not the process that is the problem, I'm sure the guy on 8k is glad of the work, its that the job is permanently deskilled and its gone forever. Going into business for yourself is fine, but you are going to have to live on a lot less than 8k a year to compete with a corporation's economies of scale. Not a problem for the corporation, if it wants more profit to make up for our now unemployed lawyer's consumption they just lobby the government to borrow money on his behalf and spend it/implement new regulation.
  20. To be fair, most footers are added automatically (Exchange Server has this facility I think). What I find sad is when people add the boiler plate themselves in an attempt to make their communications seem more impressive.
  21. The problem with deskilling is it leads to a strengthening of monopoly capital, thus reducing the opportunity for people to start businesses and increasing the rate at which corporations will become reliant on manipulating state spending in the absence of consumption. It isn't something to be relaxed about and the problem is not that you find your work unfulfilling. You're missing the point. A secure, reasonably well paid but very boring job won't be on offer. Why on earth should it be, what possible motivation would any business have for being so generous?
  22. Its a bit more serious than that. The more work gets systematised, the less cover you have from 'globalisation'. When it was the semi-skilled getting shafted, nobody gave a damn, but now they're coming from the middle-class and so the squeaking begins. The examples given are the law, IT, financial services and clinical services, all of which have a going rate globally of about 6k a year now. Process is just the thin end of the wedge. People do whinge about it quite a lot, particularly as they know it makes the company less innovative and efficient. But then such people tend to be very naive and don't understand that things like innovation, efficiency and hard work aren't very relevant these days, the main thing is to find ways to offshore as much as possible and take the generous bonus. The other thing about standardisation is that it pulls the ladder up. Work is increasingly designed so that anyone can do anything for the minimum wage. Two implications; 1. there is no need to promote anyone, 2. the job is so denatured you have no transferable skills from doing it. The obvious example is that working in a burger restaurant teaches you nothing about cooking, just operating their special machinery with their supplied products. You can leave, but you can't set up for yourself, you know next to nothing about the industry you work in. This will get more serious as it goes on.
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