Who you gonna call for advice? Dan Crawford | October 14, 2010 8:39 am Comments (11) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Since the post is pure white, there is only one answer.
I can see your comment but nothing in the post.
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!
I would love to see a points system of recognizing the people and organizations who have most correctly predicted social and economic shifts.
The Cassandra Ratings would be helpful in knowing who to trust and what stars to steer by. I am reminded of Mark Twain writing about learning the river as a young steamboat pilot. In the black or moonlit night small changes on the surface, apparently random, came to stand up in his sight like freeway signposts at noon. We seem to be in a situation at present where we are urged to perceive economic freeway signposts as moonlit random ripples on the river.
Cassandra’s curse was twofold — she always predicted correctly, and no-one ever believed her. We seem to be plagued by anti-Cassandras, that is, people who always predict incorrectly, but who are always believed. They can get negative Cassandra points.
Call a cab (driver). Economists (sorry hosts) do not seem to live in the real world. here are two comments of mine — cross-posted from Economist’s View — in the last couple of days followed by further on real world thinking.
HOLD BOTTOM 50 PERCENTILE WAGES WHERE THEY ARE — MULTIPLY TOP 50 PERCENTILE WAGES 10X: ECONOMISTS WOULD STILL BE HOLDING EXACTLY THE SAME OVER INFORMED, OVER INTELLIGENT MINIMUM WAGE DISCUSSIONS; EXACTLY THE SAME — WORD FOR WORD.
These discussions could be relevant for price movements at the margin. When the federal minimum wage drops in half from 1968 to early 2007 — and the American median wage grows only 25% — while average income doubles, then, the folks at the bottom are getting something like an order of magnitude (not precisely the right measure, but you get the idea) less than they could be getting out of the (amazing, incredibly squeezing) American labor market. (Which super-shrinking America’s over informed, over intelligent progressive from Obama on down never seem to catch on to.)
Today’s minimum wage SHOUT!:
If average output (income, same thing) grows why does the economics profession not understand that the minimum wage should grow along with it (as well as inflation) — instead of being joined at the hip with the concern — seemingly their only concern — that a minimum wage raise may cause a rise in unemployment? Why should it cause a rise as long as the wage goes up in step with inflation AND OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY GAINS?!
Other nations — sane nations — the minimum wage is raised in step with inflation AND PRODUCTIVITY!!!
In the insane nation — what 1968 Americans would call early 2007 US — our federal minimum wage dropped almost in half (in constant dollars) while average income (output, whatever) doubled.
Did anybody ever hear of the Teamsters or the AFL-CIO worrying about whether a raise would cost them their jobs? Does any professional economist do an actual market research before they keep minimum wage workers at a steadily dropping pay level as productivity grows and grows over the decades??????????
This may work out just fine!
Yeah, ddrew, what you said. NO
i agree with you. the following is a purely formal argument.
it could be argued that the increase in productivity is due entirely to management inputs in terms of automation and streamlining ets. it could be further argued that the wages of workers are about as high as they “need” (or deserve…in a market sense). therefore the rising income of the rich together with a static but adequate income of the workers is both just and economically “efficient.”
now, i don’t believe a word of this even if i said it myself. but it is the argument you need to answer.
for myself i am more worried about the political implications of a criminalized upper class, and the likely destruction of the livability of earth due to overconsumption. and i am not at all happy with teaching ordinary people that what they need out of life is “more.”
but for present purposes i would like to see an answer to the justification i just offered for income inequality that doesn’t depend on “it’s no fair!” [because the rich believe, you see, that they “earned” their money and it isn’t fair to tax it away from them. or even to unionize away a nickle of their profits.]
on some level i might even agree with them. if i have a small business that involves some knowledge and hard work and i hire someone to assist me and his contribution, in spite of my best efforts, never rises above ‘marginal,’ i’d be a little unhappy about being forced to pay him more… assuming i was paying him a “respectable” wage to begin with.
“respectable” means that acknowledging that the average worker is not ever going to be super productive, he still needs to make enough to eat well, and live in a decent house, and educate his kids and pay for his health insurance, and provide for his retirement. and have enough “leisure” to have a life worth living.
The actual stimulus “spending” was about a third of the Administration’s proposal (given the Snowe/Collins $100 billion off the top plus all of the non-stimulative tax cuts) and the actual results are better than 1/3rd of the Administration’s projections. Instead, the stimulus is viewed as “ineffective” because it didn’t generate 100% of the projections with only 1/3rd of the spending.
This isn’t really an argument about different relative philosophies anymore — not in the US. Things have gotten distorted and out of hand to the point Americans a couple of generations back could not have imagined. Let me quote from labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan on what pro-labor economist Richard B. Freeman said in his book “America Works” (right at the top of p. 266 in Geoghegan’s new book “WERE YOU BORN ON THE WRONG CONTINENT”:
“… if real wages had risen with productivity in roughly the same way it did in Germany and other countries, then the American worker would have been making $25 an hour ($28.12 in 2010 dollars) on the average in 2005 instead of just $16.”
Me again: the Gini coefficient may no longer be a valid measure of so-called “inequality” (I prefer “Great Wage Depression” or at least “shanghaied”) in the US — ONLY! — because 90 percentile income share did not balloon any behind the 15% shift in income share to the top — that begins above 97 percentile — AND the 10 percentile figure leaves the gutting of the 50 percentile unreported and probably unnoticed by most who read the Gini ratio (who mostly presume 50 percentile share to be more or less where it should be — true enough in Europe and 40 years ago here).
That’s all I have time for. A new baby just arrived at my front door in the person of a Dell Inspiron 570 MT. Only $340 when you “personalize” the $300 model for dual-core.
The 570MT has a very superior graphics accelerator for such a low price, the ATI HD4200 Radeon. A test I read put the HD4200 against the Intel X4500HD doing 1080 TV. The X4500HD used 60% of the GPU processing power — the HD4200 only 15%. And the X4500HD is well above average itself. Many of the $400-500 desktops at Best Buy have only the X4500 w/o the HD. Most of the cheaper ones have only the GeForce 6500e which ain’t much. Curiously, the cheapest EMachine only uses the X4500HD; may be the only way to coax performance out of their one slow core.
Checking guarantee policies Dell seems the least hellish. EMachines may be the most: call them 10 times and then wait 2 or 3 months to get your machine back? Curiously, the two cheapest EMachines are the only ones that Best Buy doesn’t offer its two-year insurance plan on.