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February 15, 2010

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zero

my first reaction was how much people like doug and roger would object to this article.

then it occurred to me that the entire world is drowning in debt. why not just hit the reset button and all debt is forgiven and we'll start over? the only people who would object are those who would lose the return. but these are the dudes who have benefitted from the bailouts. so they have gotten theirs already. along with the reset button on debt let's hit the reset button on those processes that hartman discusses; wages, jobs, and those measures that keep a country solid.

david beasley

A small example presented below but it cost USA more than we know or can gage because it was multiplied by thousands in various work areas.
Creating waealth I created stain glass and beveled glass windows. As a stain glass/beveled leaded glass artist working in that field in the 1980s I saw the decline of mom and pop businesses from dozens to one or two or none in that business in two major USA cities and one metroplex... Birmingham Alabama, Atlanta Ga., and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. USA architects and builders of home and office construction switched buying USA made products USA supporting USA artists in that business to factory mass produced built windows in Taiwan. One man in 1987 invested in a glass beveling machine to make beveled art glass from Sweden which cost $80,000 and went bankrupt in 1988. He had used his GI loan monies for the ill fated project. My last decent paying glacing job was repairing leaded beveled glass windows damaged in-transit from Taiwan to Houston TX and bought by the truck loads by an Alabama millionaire in 1986.

zero

not good. price is not always the bottom line. i was listening to an author on booktv talk about his food book and how we should buy local and such. someone in the audience got up and said, "but it costs more!" and the author said, "so what?" we need to be willing to pay more to support one another locally. people in the dinky town closest to the farm complain there's no where to shop here but they all go out of town to go shopping! nothing has a chance because shops, which are local and therefore specialty shops, are supported. when something does open i play the "how long will this one last?" game with myself.

david beasley

Year of Jubilee is what the xtian bible calls it.
"why not just hit the reset button and all debt is forgiven and we'll start over?"
But I keep waiting and waiting for my seminary debts.... I'll shut up.

zero

no student should be saddled with such debt. other countries don't do this to people. this nation is mercenary. and too many proclaim it to be a "christian" nation. it would seem the actions of this nation's businesses give christian a very bad name. and education, especially higher education, has become a business and the student is there as long as they are money machines and there's no concern about what happens after they graduate or leave school without a degree. this is wrong. if i had a reset button that worked i would have pressed it long ago.


david beasley

Yep. A medical resident at an USA hospital I worked was a German national and got his education in Germany for nothing. Moved to the USA and got a job. His economic situation compared to USA medical residents with him was drastically different due to enormous school debts.

Considering my debts? I believe the academic community I "paid" for my degree believes I got, am getting, what I deserve.

zero

yes, other civilized nations of this world believe in education for their citizens so it's provided. it's a worthwhile investment, not so considered in this country.

don't know how to interpret you getting what you deserve. if it's you paid for a service you received and earned a degree, yes, you got what you deserved. otherwise i won't touch that one. and since we pay higher education for the service of granting degrees, i always wonder why they are asking alumni for money to support the school. we already did by purchasing the service!

Doug

I skimmed thru the article, and Hartman has some really good points about wealth creation versus an increase in income. He is backward in his thinking (though I agree with him in principle) regarding locally supported economies:

Hartman: "Nations -- and in large countries like the USA, even states -- must again rebuild their manufacturing base and become locally self-sufficient, so their own consumers are buying products manufactured by their own workers."

He is absolutely correct that we have to start creating things that are actual wealth, rather than some illusory increase in income (which, by the way, can't happen in a truly free market, because you can't print money and give the impression that an entire economy is growing in wealth because you can't print the money to provide the illusion). But when we only buy local, or from our own communities, we are inherently discouraging trade with others who can provide what we need in exchange for what they need. "locally self-sufficient" is what tribes in the jungle do, and if the goal is small tight-knit communities, then fine, but don't expect economic growth (translate: better off people).

In his next paragraph he is right that anybody would gladly pay 10% more if our paychecks were 20% more, but he's ignoring the economic track record of pre-central banking history in the US. When money could not be printed, and Americans produced things of actual value (which is what Hartman calls for, and I completely agree), not only did wages actually rise, but prices went down. To compare his example, not only did wages go up 20%, but prices went down 10% (rather than only increase half the amount of a pay increase).

Yet again we see the dangerous government and Federal Reserve activities distorting the market, resulting in price increases and effective wage decreases while the wealthy get wealthier and the middle class and poor get the crumbs from the inflated money supply. That's not capitalism, that's corporatism, and I'm just as much against it as anybody.

Trade creates wealth. If we want to continue Hartman's logic, we need to not outsource anything outside our states. Nobody in Texas complains, "They're shipping the jobs to Florida!" and then proceeds to lobby the Texas government to "protect" their jobs. Nobody cries out about an industry moving from one county to another within the same state. But move it out of the US, and suddenly it's a sin. What makes a Floridian, Texan, or Maricopa Countian any better than an Brazilian or Guatemalan that they can't have "our" jobs? Talk about xenophobic policies!

zero

i beg to differ. states compete for businesses to create jobs all the time and give lots of incentives to get businesses to land within their borders. and the desire to have businesses within their borders is go great that too much is given to businesses to get them to land within their borders. if a business threatens to move or does in fact more to another locale within the state or to another state there is a great deal of howling and consternation. indeed this was even manipulated by congressmen who have foreign car makers in their states and voted to get the worst deal possible or no deal for detroit (homegrown car makers) last year. they gave lots of reasons but the main reason was they were (are) in the pockets of the foreign car makers that have plants in their states. this still happens but since so many jobs are now not even in the united states, all the states can be united against a common enemy....jobs going outside the country.

Doug

Zero, don't you care about the jobs that poor people in developing nations need? Or do you only care about the jobs of workers in the United States? When jobs go overseas, other jobs are created here. Yes, there is a transition, but in Alabama in the late 80s the textile industry moved overseas and the automobile and finance industry moved in in about five years. Most people in Alabama would prefer the jobs in those new industries to the older ones. Their wages went up, and generally everyone is better off.

zero

i don't believe the wages of the average worker went up when manufacturing jobs left alabama. generally everyone is not better off because finance and automobile jobs went overseas as well. do i care that people in other places have jobs? on the face of that question i would answer yes. however, and this is a huge qualifier, there is a real and present danger to the security of a nation when citizens do not have good, well paying, stable jobs with benefits. it's not for the american worker to sacrifice so someone somewhere else can have a job (not that they didn't have jobs, they didn't have this type of job). and it would seem very altruistic of the corporate world to "lift up" these foreign folks, but they are just looking to squeeze more out from every source for more profit. not very good for anyone but the owners and upper management. china has most of the jobs now and the government there manipulates their economics so that they always have an advantage. not so good for this country, not the rest of the world. it endangers this nation. that's what i care about.

Doug

zero, it doesn't matter what you "believe," that was the reality for those in Alabama. Was every single worker better off? Maybe not. Some may have had to leave the state, some may have had to go back for more education and change careers. But overall, for those workers, things were better in the long run.

I don't believe for a second that any corporation goes overseas altruistically, because you are right—they are seeking a profit. But those poor chinese workers who are now making a few dollars a day and gaining skills they never had and/or were never able to act upon. It's not American-level quality of living, but it is better than the poverty they were in.

I'm more interested in making sure that those in poverty around the world have upward mobility thru free trade, rather than "protecting" the luxurious wages of American workers (and anybody not below the poverty line in the US is in the top 5% of the world in terms of wealth). The union workers in the auto industry can downsize and get rid of luxuries in life such as cable tv, extra computers, eating out, financed automobiles, and other things that aren't basic to life in order to make ends meet. The impoverished around the world have no recourse but to take jobs that help them develop experiences. Take that away and they're still in poverty.

So unless you're prepared to defend the "protection" of the wealthy instead of the upward mobility of the poor, I suggest you start learning about real world scenarios rather than some xenophobic bigoted ideology.

chuck

My mother died recently and I have been distracted from much by the way of comment. Though rest assured, I will soon return to my efforts at getting Doug to lose more of his naivete on free markets:)

Doug

Sorry to hear about your loss, Chuck.

Another cheap ad hominem attack on me. Am I not allowed to respond to that because of the previous sentence?

evagrius

The problem with "free trade" is when what is traded are what I would term common goods, not special goods.

An example; Mexico is the "home" of corn, ( maize). It has been cultivated in Mexico for thousands of years by farmers owning small plots of land, growing the maize, and , after storing what they need,selling the surplus. That was the basic system in Mexico.

But U.S. farm interests, ( corporations), imposed "free trade" on Mexico and began to export corn to Mexico, corn grown on huge tracts of land, with heavy use of fertilizers, with heavy subsidies in the form of tax breaks etc;.

The result is that thousands upon thousands of small farmers in Mexico have become impoverished and forced to move to cities or, worse, to become illegal aliens in the U.S.

Had "free trade" involved goods that could not be produced in Mexico, then it would have been beneficial.

The same phenomena has occured in other Third World countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Their agriculture is vanishing due to "free trade".

david beasley

Incredible about the corn. I read on my gas station punp this AM that 10% of my auto fuel gas which I was pumping might be from corn.
And as evagrius says the farmer in China and Mexico must go to the city where manufacting moguls (some American) hire them for cheaper than in "developed" countries where the largest profit of monies goes to the few, the privilaged, the rich. "Developed countries" like the USA America is about as developed as far as Wall Street and the Pentagon... mideval tactics, lords of commerce, pirates, hodlums without ehtic or moral fiber one.

Doug

evagrius, i'm glad you put the words "free trade" in quotations, because the idea of "heavy subsidies and tax breaks" negates the notion of "free trade." If you're against the types of "free trade" you described, I'm with you. Mexicans should be free from a government (ours or theirs) that incentivizes one trader at the expense of another. That's not "free trade."

evagrius

I put "free trade" and "free markets" in quotation marks because both are somewhat mythical.
There is "free trade" and there are "free markets" but they are limited, as they should be. That is, they really don't involve huge multi-national corporations and huge sums of money.

One of these is the floral market. It is quite big in terms of revenue but it still has an atmosphere of a true free market.

But then, it's only flowers.

zero

mr chuch! sympathy and patpatpats.......

zero

whew.....
glad all you guys showed up to help me with this one.

moral fiber one, david??!?!!?!
hahahahahahaaaaa.......

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