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Posts posted by Cogs

  1. You mean China? China is a bit of an anomoly in that it's economically capitalist but politically communist and guess what? The economy is surging ahead enriching it's own citizens as well as those in the West, it's the communist government that are restricting their wages with their currency manipulation. So much for capitalism driving down the workers' wage, if they had a free market in the currency their workers would be a lot better off.

    II suppose using evidence doesn't hold much weight with socialists, they're above that sort of thing with their lofty principles and oh so clever dialectic materialism.

    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. I'm not so sure that an ideology that has killed over 100 million people, which is a documented historical fact should encourage supporters to feel smug over their pacifism. Capitalism is flawed as I said in the first post, but at least it refrains from systematically grinding down it's population into abject poverty and starvation. Something that communists are peculiarly successful at.

    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.

  3. 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).

  4. Socialism is great in theory, but in practice it's far more likely to lead to the sort of things that you describe because it's an ideology that's based on theft. Redistribution and it's more sinister older brother communism have both failed to provide a humane social environment because they replace the risk/reward paradigm and private property with an unstable and arbitrary from of wealth 'sharing'. Capitalism works with human nature (although it's current incarnation has massive faults), socialism by contrast is an alien ideology that undermines basic human liberties, which is why it always results in poverty or outright dictatorship.

    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.

  5. Oh but it is.

    Most people when asked will say that we have to have a state. They don't have any reasosn why, but they know it, somehow.

    But if you asked them if they need to be violently coerced more often, they'd rather obviously tell you "no thanks."

    If you asked them do they want to stick guns in other peoples faces, steal, lie and so on, they'd also tell you "no thanks."

    Regardless, I wasn't actually having a debate in my last post. I was correcting your mistake.

    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.

  6. This is a great topic, it highlights one of the main injustices that's present in the UK today. The reckless get to walk away from the debts scot free while the financially responsible have to clean up their mess via the Treasury, and it's grossly unfair.

    I'd like to see this turned into a form of protest, if we're just going to turn the economy into a huge game of monopoly then lets all join in and take out massive loans to pay for sh!t that we don't need. The debt is inescapable anyway due to my share of the gov'ts mammoth bill, so I may at least try and scrap something back from the system that views me as just another debt slave.

    Ideally the parasites would be cut off at the source which would prevent all this moral hazard, but that's impossible under the present regime so this may be the next best option.  :)

    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.

  7. I think people just get irritated at free trade being blamed for the actions of the state.

    It really is silly.

    Almost as if theres a mugger running around taking everyones wallet and the local shopkeeper is being blamed for having wages that don't pay out a good living + losing your wallet to the mugger. Not many seem to be up for blaming the mugger.

    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.

  8. :lol:

    Why is this so difficult for some to understand?!

    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.

  9. <br />Eventually management will also be deskilled.<br /><br />After all, it's only another skill, that of organisation.<br /><br />In a world of mobile phones, computers and cheapish transport practically anywhere..... shouldn't be so difficult.<br /><br />I believe this process has already started with workers such as builders/plumbers/etc using the internet to accumulate small temporary teams easily. Goodbye management, hello skilled people plus software.<br />
    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.
  10. Because there will be local competition for labour.

    Until it reaches a point at which it is more cost effective to take the pain of relocating to use Mr. Ombako instead.

    This is going to be a very long painful process but it will result in a general leveling of income globaly. There is no leverage you can apply to stop this process that will not have the net result of making the world poorer. If you measure wealth comparatively and its ok for us to be worse off so long as other people are much worse off then maybe that will satisfy some.

    Our supernatural ability to draw wealth from the world based on our premacy of industrialisation and colonialism is over.

    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.

  11. <br />Sure there is, Mr. Wong is currently cheaper than Mr. Smith.<br />Mr Wong will get the work which will drive up his living standards and costs of all the other Wongs until eventualy Mr. Wong and Mr. Smith cost the same.<br /><br />Mr Smith will understandably frame this as a Bad Thing<sup>TM</sup> and assume that what is happening is that global wages are being driven inexorably downwards via the monopoly power of large corporates, whereas it only appears that way as large corporates are the conduits of the rebalancing since they have the organisational capacity and transnational presence to take adavntage of wage price variance.<br /><br />Re. the influence on governments I think we agree, the monopolistic power (over; land, rights, licences, taxes) is effectively grated by government but that is the function of government. It exists to exert power over people for other's gain. <br /><br />Rather than curse the corporations which grow up to take advantage of the environment created by the existance of the one true monopoly power, the state through it's monopoly on violence, perhaps we should ask whether its a good idea in the first place.<br />
    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.
  12. <br />I don't think that's entirely fair - Blokes like their expensive toys too - think you'll find the overwhelming majority of buyers of flashy motors are men (look at the way they are marketed if you don't believe me). Same goes for gadgets, pcs, plasmas, cameras, phones etc etc.<br /><br />[Takes cover and waits for torrent of abuse for being a namby-pamby liberal <img src='http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' /> ]<br />
    <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.

  13. 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.

  14. I've noticed that they've changed tack in the last few months, arguing that women's debt is not their fault because of their lower average income, alleged higher proportion of non-discretionary spending (which I don't believe), liability to be landed with bigger financial obligations if their relationship/marriage breaks down etc. etc.

    While I don't doubt that this is an issue for some women in debt, I'm equally sure that there are just as many who got themselves there by buying Louis Vuitton handbags. The feminazis are manipulative and obsessed with propaganda, but the prominent ones are not stupid (with the possible exception of Harman): they realise that the 'women are not risk-takers' line just doesn't sound credible any more.

    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.

  15. As someone who was doing the dating thing until recently - I have given up and am contemplating becoming gay - one of the things you have to be very careful of when sizing up a new date is just how much she enjoys spending.

    I think this has always been there for men in the post-WW2 years but some of the stories you hear about spending from women is truly scary.

    Gap in the market here. Three words: Experian Dating Services.

  16. The job may be "gone" but the work is still being done. Assuming it is the work that creates the wealth not the token money for doing the job then there is as much wealth in the world as before.

    Without wishing to sound like a stuck record neither the steam engine nor the spinning jenny reduced the wealth of the world.

    There is going to be a painful period of readjustment. We have billions of poor people rather than a few crowded Lancashire towns to absorb our cottage industries of spinnig and wood sawing. Wealth will balance out (unless you think those guys overseas are just worth less for doing the same job) but the overall "wealth" of the world in goods, services and free time is going to increase.

    The problem is that our debt based economy relies on the idea that we will forever be able to claw a disproportionate share of the wealth of the world. We are about to discover that this is not the case. It will be as I say painful.

    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.

  17. A good friend of mine is a young London lawyer. One job her company performs is sending letters off regarding property inspections to uncooperative tenants. For customising a template letter (and shouldering the legal risk) they charge £60. It takes notably less than 5 minutes per letter, which nets the firm more than £720p/h with no real costs but wages and the office.

    Given that our councils are paying for most of these letters, wouldn't you prefer that we got them done by someone with equal knowledge of the area for ~10% of the cost?

    Welcome to globalisation.

    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.

  18. <br />Exactly! That's why people in this position really shouldn't be complaining - the alternatives are so much tougher.<br /><br />(You seem to be reading my posts through your own filter which has nothing to do with what I actually wrote.)<br />
    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.
  19. It's also why you get wacky by-laws like no shearing of sheep on the river bank before 7am on easter sunday or whatever, because at some point in the past some wazzack must have done it often enough to piss people off to the point where thry went and complained about it

    I also hate emails with more header and footer boilerplate than actual message


    This message was sent in accordance with the rules and regulations of the noodle doodle corporation message producing system version 1.0

    1. All copyright remains with noodle doodle.

    2. noodle doodle cannot be held responsible for the contents of this message

    3. noodle doodle cannot be held responsible for any actions resulting from taking advice contained in this message

    4. noodle doodle corp releases this message under the gnu public licence v 2.3

    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.

  20. I don't remember font colour being in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. :huh:

    Jeez, is that really an example of how office workers assert their individuality these days?

    To all those who seek meaning and self-actualisation through their work, unless you are adding a great deal of value to the expensive seat you occupy, there will be someone out there willing to do the same job for much more mundane reasons e.g. they are hungry. People forget what went into setting up the companies in the first place to get to the point where they can provide jobs which, while sometimes unfulfilling, are very low risk and pay for a decent, if not spectacular, quality of life.

    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?

  21. This is a revealing bit of wishful thinking from the supposed management gurus:

    "It's that management thinkers such as Tom Peters and Charles Handy have spent decades telling us that the workplace of the future is a shiny, hi-tech grotto where people are free to exercise initiative and innovate. Yet the reality is that innovation is imposed on staff and where initiative is encouraged it's within heavily circumscribed borders. "

    There is a life-cycle of a firm - from entrepreneurial start-up through to highly systemised and automated bureaucracy.  The different stages require different people and talents.  Make sure you work in a place that fits your talents and expectations of work.  Whingeing about a corporate system or complaining of being over-qualified to follow a process doesn't really cut it: if you're so great start your own business.

    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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