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EssKay

Austerity and Millenial Socialists

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Interesting article on austerity and “the making of a millenial socialist” from the New York Times (ignoring the fact that the guy at the centre of the article is actually Gen Z...)

 

The key quote for me is this characterisation of the young “Either they are left-wing or they aren’t political at all”

 

Two generations now (3 if you count the tail end of Gen X) who on the whole feel so marginalised by modern capitalism that they are increasingly embracing socialism.

 

Their prescription seems to be “Fully Automated Luxury Communism - the notion of a post work society in which labor is largely automated and workers live off a massively increased minimum wage”

 

Given the history of communism - I can’t help but think that’s a naive pipe dream. 

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"either left wing or not political at all" - err, basically I always understood traditional conservatism to be a lack of ideology, and a pragmatic approach to use whatever works best at the time. So not political at all.

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These young people have no experience of a capitalist system. The Western world hasn't had anything approaching capitalism for decades. It would be good to introduce a capitalist system - but this seem unlikely given the current political systems.

Edited by Errol

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We haven't really had any kind of austerity in the UK at all.  The most we have had is a gradual reining in of public expenditure from its greatest excesses under the Labour government.  The government currently has a fairly small deficit, which suggests that it is managing its level of spending fairly well.

That is not to make a judgement on the correctness of its spending priorities, or its efficiency / value for money, but just to say that it is not living beyond its means in a general sense.  The high national debt post 2008 declines in 'real terms' as the economy grows, inflation chips away.

The US is heading in the wrong direction with increasing federal budget deficits, but a faster growing economy in the short term.  Interesting contrast to the UK.

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16 minutes ago, hurlerontheditch said:

as many people once said "If you're not a socialist at the age of 20 you have no heart. If you're not a conservative at the age of 40, you have no head house"

;)

On the main topic, there is still a real philosophical question behind it. 

Can we automate enough that our production provides for people's needs with the labour of a marginal portion of the population?

What would be the contribution of those that don't belong to the provider? What are their rights?

When we all become rentiers of science, robots and our planet, what do we do? Do we keep on multiplying and adding extra strain on our finit planet? 

Communism failed in the past, doesn't mean it will fail in the future (correlation vs causation). 

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12 minutes ago, Freki said:

;)

On the main topic, there is still a real philosophical question behind it. 

Can we automate enough that our production provides for people's needs with the labour of a marginal portion of the population?

What would be the contribution of those that don't belong to the provider? What are their rights?

When we all become rentiers of science, robots and our planet, what do we do? Do we keep on multiplying and adding extra strain on our finit planet? 

Communism failed in the past, doesn't mean it will fail in the future (correlation vs causation). 

I cant see it possible to give people a wage to stay at home. if I am off work I spend more cash doing things, going on holidays, meals out, day trips.

 

solution is to reduce the worlds population which will not happen until we as a species are extinct

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8 minutes ago, hurlerontheditch said:

I cant see it possible to give people a wage to stay at home. if I am off work I spend more cash doing things, going on holidays, meals out, day trips.

 

solution is to reduce the worlds population which will not happen until we as a species are extinct

Finland's recent universal basic income experiment will be coming to an end.... mixed results

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/universal-basic-income-policy-universal-credit

".....What the researchers found was that the income people received made an negligible difference in employment rates, but it did make a difference to people’s wellbeing...."

 

 

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1 hour ago, EssKay said:

The key quote for me is this characterisation of the young “Either they are left-wing or they aren’t political at all”

Nah, they've learned nothing from Brexit / Trump. Most people know if you don't go along with the prevailing left wing, publicly acceptable views you will be shouted down / called a Nazi. Therefore, you say nothing and claim not to be political.

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13 minutes ago, Ghostly said:

Nah, they've learned nothing from Brexit / Trump. Most people know if you don't go along with the prevailing left wing, publicly acceptable views you will be shouted down / called a Nazi. Therefore, you say nothing and claim not to be political.

agreed

 

Owen Jones blocked me on twitter when I commented that "you can't call everyone who disagrees with you on something a Nazi just to shut them up" :D

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40 minutes ago, Ballyk said:

We haven't really had any kind of austerity in the UK at all.  The most we have had is a gradual reining in of public expenditure from its greatest excesses under the Labour government.  The government currently has a fairly small deficit, which suggests that it is managing its level of spending fairly well.

That is not to make a judgement on the correctness of its spending priorities, or its efficiency / value for money, but just to say that it is not living beyond its means in a general sense.  The high national debt post 2008 declines in 'real terms' as the economy grows, inflation chips away.

The US is heading in the wrong direction with increasing federal budget deficits, but a faster growing economy in the short term.  Interesting contrast to the UK.

Nonsense on stilts.

UK public borrowing (including the £127bn TFS) is now ~£1.9 trillion, up from ~£800bn at the end of 2008. UK private sector indebtedness is still ~170% of GDP, same as in 2007.

The UK's current borrowing requirements are temporarily flat only because of the £15bn in VAT returns declared by UK banks in January, whose profits have been inflated domestically by record household debt, and internationally by Drumpf's $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to Wall Street.

The UK economy has been running at stall speed for the last eighteen months even with near zero 'emergency' interest rates. Economic activity in the rest of the world is similarly (debt) constrained.

Another debt de-leveraging recession looms, aggravated by Brexit.

 

_103307484_9a89de37-6fcd-44dd-86ec-6d980

 

New-2-Stacked-Bar-Total-Debt-Levels-Gove

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57 minutes ago, skomer said:

Finland's recent universal basic income experiment will be coming to an end.... mixed results

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/universal-basic-income-policy-universal-credit

".....What the researchers found was that the income people received made an negligible difference in employment rates, but it did make a difference to people’s wellbeing...."

 

 

Maybe I've missed it but the standard of reporting is so atrocious these days it puts you off reading most of the article.

Quote

and were paid a tax-exempt income of 560 euros

and

Quote

and it was 560 euros, which is less than most of the proposals for UBI

Is that per week, per month, per minute, in total? It wouldn't hurt to clarify it. Also, did these people have housing benefits or other benefits?

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Yet, In reality the UK is not really a capitalist system. There is plenty of socialism...

The NHS, public schools, student loans, social housing, social care...

Even the banks and big businesses get socialism when things go south.

I am a Corbyn supporter but if we have anymore socialism in this country, people would literally do nothing...

To much is already given on a plate, that's the truth. The problem is Millennials want, want and want it now. If you cant afford a house in London accept it and move to somewhere you can.

People are on Instagram and Facebook purchasing things they just cant afford and loading up on debt as much as possible. I have several friends whom hold 10-20k personal debt in their 20s/30s what's all that about?

There driving New BMWs, look at me I've made it, for 30k... all now you can pick up a second hand focus for 2k which will do the job and be much cheaper to manage.

We ultimately need less socialism, I also disagree that later generations after millennials are mainly socialist I've met plenty who are very heavily conservative and believe in natural selection.

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It's an interesting time for you younger generations. 

Work, labour, and energy do indeed - to my eyes - seem to be becoming increasingly robotic and automated. 

We were all told as kids we'd have all the leisure time we needed and work itself would cease to exist within our lifetimes because robots and computers would do it all for us. 

Seemed a long way off at the time. 

It doesn't seem so far off now to me. 

I think whatever comes next will need a new term. Socialism is tainted and confusing, but it's also antiquated. 

But the wealth WILL need to be shared somehow. Otherwise society won't function. How do you go about sharing wealth when work ceases to exist or becomes out dated? 

Modern problem for you young uns. But it's not a bad problem to have really... 

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8 minutes ago, Speed1987 said:

To much is already given on a plate, that's the truth. The problem is Millennials want, want and want it now. If you cant afford a house in London accept it and move to somewhere you can.

Making it harder for people elsewhere to afford a house where they are, so they have to move and push up the prices elsewhere, rinse and repeat.

Moving elsewhere is what individuals have to do when faced with no alternative but that's not a good position to be in.

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1 hour ago, zugzwang said:

Nonsense on stilts.

UK public borrowing (including the £127bn TFS) is now ~£1.9 trillion, up from ~£800bn at the end of 2008. UK private sector indebtedness is still ~170% of GDP, same as in 2007.

The UK's current borrowing requirements are temporarily flat only because of the £15bn in VAT returns declared by UK banks in January, whose profits have been inflated domestically by record household debt, and internationally by Drumpf's $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to Wall Street.

The UK economy has been running at stall speed for the last eighteen months even with near zero 'emergency' interest rates. Economic activity in the rest of the world is similarly (debt) constrained.

Another debt de-leveraging recession looms, aggravated by Brexit.

 

_103307484_9a89de37-6fcd-44dd-86ec-6d980

 

New-2-Stacked-Bar-Total-Debt-Levels-Gove

 

I was referring to deficit rather than debt, in the government sector.

The deficit is the difference between government spending and tax receipts in a given year; the debt is the cumulative total of all previous years of government deficits / surpluses.  It is important to understand the difference between these two things.

The deficit is now more or less under control, which is important if the national debt is to be brought down to reasonable levels, which will take some time.  This is despite exceptionally low Stamp Duty receipts, with low housing transaction levels.

Private sector debt (individual and corporate) is another issue entirely.  Too high of course, but manageable given very low interest rates.  Personally I would far rather see rates go up and zombie businesses and household go to the wall.  It would give a great burst to the economy, in much the same way as people feeling a lot better after having a cold.  But given current BoE policy of very low interest rates, I cannot see it happening.  Also tightening bank regulation post 2008 means there has been less reckless bank lending, and much lower risk of a 2008-style systemic banking collapse.  HTB also protects the banks.  A 20% fall in house prices would not imperil the banks this time around.

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6 minutes ago, byron78 said:

It's an interesting time for you younger generations. 

Work, labour, and energy do indeed - to my eyes - seem to be becoming increasingly robotic and automated. 

We were all told as kids we'd have all the leisure time we needed and work itself would cease to exist within our lifetimes because robots and computers would do it all for us. 

Seemed a long way off at the time. 

It doesn't seem so far off now to me. 

I think whatever comes next will need a new term. Socialism is tainted and confusing, but it's also antiquated. 

But the wealth WILL need to be shared somehow. Otherwise society won't function. How do you go about sharing wealth when work ceases to exist or becomes out dated? 

Modern problem for you young uns. But it's not a bad problem to have really... 

The automation may catch up and bite us - there's a real danger of that, but the reality is that we sufficiently automated many, many years ago (although we haven't cracked the sustainability of it), but we've managed to invent more ultimately pointless non-jobs to keep the plates spinning. We may run out of ideas for that eventually. But if we wanted more leisure time we (as in society, individuals are pretty powerless in this) could've had it by now, but given the chance people will always go for more money and the system will adjust so that they need more money.

Edited by Riedquat

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5 minutes ago, byron78 said:

It's an interesting time for you younger generations. 

Work, labour, and energy do indeed - to my eyes - seem to be becoming increasingly robotic and automated. 

We were all told as kids we'd have all the leisure time we needed and work itself would cease to exist within our lifetimes because robots and computers would do it all for us. 

Seemed a long way off at the time. 

It doesn't seem so far off now to me. 

I think whatever comes next will need a new term. Socialism is tainted and confusing, but it's also antiquated. 

But the wealth WILL need to be shared somehow. Otherwise society won't function. How do you go about sharing wealth when work ceases to exist or becomes out dated? 

Modern problem for you young uns. But it's not a bad problem to have really... 

I wouldn't worry about robots taking over jobs.  The same argument and sense of fear has been around since the industrial revolution, usually stoked by those with a vested interest.  In general these advancements lead to lower prices and better quality.  Few would argue that a car factory of the 1960's would be better than a modern, robotised car factory of the 2010's.  Cars are better quality, lower price.  Renewable energy is a lower cost than coal fired power, and the job of a wind turbine technician (even offshore) is far preferable to that of a coal miner.  Advancements change the nature of work, but usually the worse, most repetitive and laborious jobs are destroyed and more creative, higher productivity ones are added.

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3 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

Making it harder for people elsewhere to afford a house where they are, so they have to move and push up the prices elsewhere, rinse and repeat.

Moving elsewhere is what individuals have to do when faced with no alternative but that's not a good position to be in.

Where ever there is opportunities people will flock, so that won't work.

Yes the crash and QE inflated the bubble now we are seeing distribution of people based on their ability to make sensible decisions with money.

House prices are never gonna crash back down to sensible levels in London, as there is so much money flowing in.

 

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17 minutes ago, Ballyk said:

I wouldn't worry about robots taking over jobs.  The same argument and sense of fear has been around since the industrial revolution, usually stoked by those with a vested interest.  In general these advancements lead to lower prices and better quality.  Few would argue that a car factory of the 1960's would be better than a modern, robotised car factory of the 2010's.  Cars are better quality, lower price.  Renewable energy is a lower cost than coal fired power, and the job of a wind turbine technician (even offshore) is far preferable to that of a coal miner.  Advancements change the nature of work, but usually the worse, most repetitive and laborious jobs are destroyed and more creative, higher productivity ones are added.

Hmmm. 

I've heard this from so many professions in my nearly 80 years! 

Everything will eventually go that way. It certainly won't happen in my lifetime, and it might not in yours, but I can see my grandkids children having to face the issue. 

You will of course need a handful of technicians and things to keep it all ticking over, but the days of full employment for all will - at some point - end. 

It's the logical end game (if war/disease/climate disaster can be avoided of course). 

I should imagine it'll be driverless cars that nuke taxis and the like soon. But a lot of jobs people assume are safe will surely go eventually. 

It's 0.4% probability we'll have robot dentists inside 20 years. That's low (and it won't happen), but eventually it will. And on and on. 

Legal system, I'm told, will lose a lot of jobs eventually as well. 

I think the other chap has nailed it. We might end up with a lot of "non-jobs" to help keep the plates spinning, but even that's surely only a temporary solution? 

In a hundred years time I can't think of many jobs that would be left outside of technicians to keep it all running. Are we really saying we'll have a planet of 10 billion technicians? 

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2 minutes ago, byron78 said:

Hmmm. 

I've heard this from so many professions in my nearly 80 years! 

Everything will eventually go that way. It certainly won't happen in my lifetime, and it might not in yours, but I can see my grandkids children having to face the issue. 

You will of course need a handful of technicians and things to keep it all ticking over, but the days of full employment for all will - at some point - end. 

It's the logical end game (if war/disease/climate disaster can be avoided of course). 

I should imagine it'll be driverless cars that nuke taxis and the like soon. But a lot of jobs people assume are safe will surely go eventually. 

It's 0.4% probability we'll have robot dentists inside 20 years. That's low (and it won't happen), but eventually it will. And on and on. 

Legal system, I'm told, will lose a lot of jobs eventually as well. 

I think the other chap has nailed it. We might end up with a lot of "non-jobs" to help keep the plates spinning, but even that's surely only a temporary solution? 

In a hundred years time I can't think of many jobs that would be left outside of technicians to keep it all running. Are we really saying we'll have a planet of 10 billion technicians? 

I suggest you take a look at this list, it is the list of all the jobs that Australia has a skills shortage in, and give immigration points for - 

http://www.visabureau.com/australia/skilled-occupation-list.aspx

Out of interest, approximately what % of these do you think a robot would replace?

If I were you, I would not loose too much sleep over this!  Most productivity improvements are good for society, they lower cost and release people for more 'added value' jobs, often in entirely new areas of the economy / society.

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3 hours ago, hurlerontheditch said:

as many people once said "If you're not a socialist at the age of 20 you have no heart. If you're not a conservative at the age of 40, you have no head"

 

That relies on the 20 year old actually having something worth conserving at age 40... 

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47 minutes ago, Ballyk said:

I wouldn't worry about robots taking over jobs.  The same argument and sense of fear has been around since the industrial revolution, usually stoked by those with a vested interest.  In general these advancements lead to lower prices and better quality.  Few would argue that a car factory of the 1960's would be better than a modern, robotised car factory of the 2010's.  Cars are better quality, lower price.  Renewable energy is a lower cost than coal fired power, and the job of a wind turbine technician (even offshore) is far preferable to that of a coal miner.  Advancements change the nature of work, but usually the worse, most repetitive and laborious jobs are destroyed and more creative, higher productivity ones are added.

Yet I'd be quite happy with the 1960s and find a lot of the changes since than rather disagreable, so I don't accept the "it's always improvement" line. Yes, that change gets rid of the genuinely unpleasant (but there'll always be some left) but the assumption that is always going to happen - particularly when we have got rid of most of the really nasty crap that was part of everyday life - is based on the mistaken assumption that there's always more to be meaningfully had and that the benefits outweigh the downsides. In particular you need to consider that you're comparing the situation now with when changes were starting to enable the reliable supply of essentials, a problem that's been pretty thoroughly cracked. It's not a like for like comparison.

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  • 295 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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