Discussion:
Soviet economic implosion inevitable?
(too old to reply)
Bruce Munro
2004-06-24 22:15:05 UTC
Permalink
Just looking at the "AH of Communism" and I noted people were
comparing the possible trajectory of a non-Communist Russia with
Russia post soviet collapse. I'm wondering what people's thoughts are
on the probablility of an economic collapse as severe as that we have
seen OTL.

Some will say that the collapse has to do with the incompetence of the
transition to capitalism and the breakup of the united Union, but OTOH
the Soviet economy was beginning to shrink _before_ the breakup.
(There's also the example of North Korea, but that may not be
equivalent: after all, it was subsidized by the USSR before 1991. Or
Belorus, but Belorus doesn't have much in the way of local resources).

So just how fragile was the Soviet sytem at the time of Gorbachev
coming to power? Would any leader which managed to hold the Soviet
Union together, by whatever level of force needed, have presided over
an economic slide as bad or worse as happened OTL?

A Chinese-style economic reform probably isn't possible: the Soviet
system was just too extensive, too deeply rooted and
institutionalized, for the sort of realtively free-wheeling reforms
that could take in a mostly peasant China only 30 years after the move
to collectivism. Could a more limited "capitalization" of the economy
produce enough results to at least slow the decline a bit?

Then there's a return to full Stalinism, which might manage to make
some infrastructural reforms by working a few million people to death:
too many people in positions of power would be opposed to such
concentration of power, though, so that's out. Is the Soviet
government strong enough to maintain control of the country in the
face of serious economic slide? Castro managed to, but he has some
local legitimacy: the Kims managed it, but they rule an ethnically and
culturally homogeonous state run like a cult.

Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force to
keep control in the face of collapsing living standards, food
shortages, etc? (It may be noted that in the case of OTL, severe drops
in living standard have not led to rebellion within Russia. But
post-1991, what would they revolt _against_ and _for_? Communism if
restored doesn't work: and disasters brought about by screwups of
capitalism in the post-Socialist era have sort of a "it's just natural
forces, nobody's at fault" aura about thing which leads to a certain
degree of helplessness. At least people living under a decaying
communism have a clear notion of what they're rebelling in favor of.)

To put it another way: for any likely post-1984 Soviet leadership, is
the present outcome about as good as we were likely to get? (I mean
_economically_ here. Having an autocratic, nuclear-armed USSR still in
being probably is an inferior income in many ways even if they _have_
managed to keep ahead of the Mexicans economically.)

Bruce Munro
Randy McDonald
2004-06-25 04:04:23 UTC
Permalink
[deletia]
To put it another way: for any likely post-1984 Soviet leadership, is
the present outcome about as good as we were likely to get? (I mean
_economically_ here. Having an autocratic, nuclear-armed USSR still in
being probably is an inferior income in many ways even if they _have_
managed to keep ahead of the Mexicans economically.)
This isn't meaningful, but I've been playing the computer game Crisis
in the Kremlin a fair bit recently. I've tried a variety of different
strategies, most focusing on relatively rapid economic liberalization
with varying degrees of political reform (grant the Baltics their
independence versus declaring martial law). When I tried rapid
economic _and_ political reform, pressures quickly accumulated for a
dissolution of the Union, even when the economy was booming; when I
tried a Chinese-style solution, with relatively centralized political
structures, the pressures accumulated to the point that the Union
dissolved anyways.

The dissolution of the Union could be halted when hardliners staged a
coup following the secession of the Baltics, Moldavia, and Ukraine,
but that's obviously not a good thing.

I suspect that in order to avoid the political aftershocks of reform
(or lack thereof) from pushing the Soviet economies downhill, you'd
need to engage in reform at a much earlier date. Khrushchev does
_glasnost_ and _perestroika_ a generation before the fact?
Bruce Munro
Later,
Randy
Bruce Munro
2004-06-25 16:06:40 UTC
Permalink
***@hotmail.com (Randy McDonald) wrote in message news:<***@posting.google.com>...
(snip)
Post by Randy McDonald
I suspect that in order to avoid the political aftershocks of reform
(or lack thereof) from pushing the Soviet economies downhill, you'd
need to engage in reform at a much earlier date. Khrushchev does
_glasnost_ and _perestroika_ a generation before the fact?
Post by Bruce Munro
Bruce Munro
Later,
Randy
But the trouble with really early reforms is that Communism still
seems to work at that time: Soviet growth rates were quite good after
WWII, and the Soviet Union actually seemed to be becoming a consumer
society in the early 70's (an illusion, true, but living standards
generally went up pretty steadily for a generation). A lot of people
in the _US_ (including many conservatives) generally considered the
Soviet system a real compeditor to the capitalist system.

To get an early serious reform of the system, I think we need to
somehow convince the Soviets their way of doing things is Just Not
Working. I have sometimes thought if there had been no WWII, and
Stalin had died in the mids of a particularly nasty purge, there might
have been a greater willngness to carry out some root-and-branch
reforms of a system which lacked the legitimacy of winning WWII.
(Bonus points if we can get the Soviet Union into a war Stalin
_loses_: not sure how to do it without destroying the USSR outright.)
Or is there some way we can manufacture a really nasty economic
crisis, say sometime in the 60's?

Bruce
Sam R.
2004-06-26 00:13:49 UTC
Permalink
Bruce wrote,
Randy wrote,
Post by Randy McDonald
I suspect that in order to avoid the political aftershocks of reform
(or lack thereof) from pushing the Soviet economies downhill, you'd
need to engage in reform at a much earlier date. Khrushchev does
_glasnost_ and _perestroika_ a generation before the fact?
But the trouble with really early reforms is that Communism still
seems to work at that time: Soviet growth rates were quite good after
WWII, and the Soviet Union actually seemed to be becoming a consumer
society in the early 70's (an illusion, true, but living standards
generally went up pretty steadily for a generation). A lot of people
in the _US_ (including many conservatives) generally considered the
Soviet system a real compeditor to the capitalist system.
To get an early serious reform of the system, I think we need to
somehow convince the Soviets their way of doing things is Just Not
Working. I have sometimes thought if there had been no WWII, and
Stalin had died in the mids of a particularly nasty purge, there might
have been a greater willngness to carry out some root-and-branch
reforms of a system which lacked the legitimacy of winning WWII.
(Bonus points if we can get the Soviet Union into a war Stalin
_loses_: not sure how to do it without destroying the USSR outright.)
Or is there some way we can manufacture a really nasty economic
crisis, say sometime in the 60's?
Problem is that it leads back to 1956. Khrushchev's brand of
reformism barely survived 1956 anyway. And when it came down to
Hungary leaving the Warsaw Pact, Molotov could roll Khrushchev and
Zhukov in the Political Committee.

Any crisis which is too hot, will cause the top to blow off the whole
problem, and lead to the (much fabled) Third Russian Revolution, a
mere 35 years later than required. And the resultant socio-economic
system is note going to sufficiently resemble the structures of the
Bolsheviks.

Any crisis which is too cold will result in Khrushchev & company
struggling on as they did, trying to eliminate bits and pieces of
Stalinism here and there. For a "maximal" outcome of this situation,
look at how Janos Kadar outmanouvred the Hungarian Stalinists in the
period 1956-1963. Goulash perestroika. But that's still within the
constraints of a crisis of the failure to transition from extensive to
intensive growth. Goulash Soviet Union still goes down the gurgler,
possibly later though (less military spending).

What's needed for a 1940s/50s reform is a pressure cooker situation.
Enough build up that the reformist faction can outmanouvre the
hardliners, and take them out of circulation; but, without sufficient
problems that a "public sphere" develops. Or if one does, that it
develops slowly enough that the Party can hegemonise it. Can we turn
to Nationalism here for hegemony? Or would it be a return to Pure
Leninism[tm]. The problem with the second option is that people loved
Koba.

Lets assume then that the 22nd and 24th Congresses of the CPSU involve
more and deeper secret speeches. That local party committees become
much more active sites of discussion, and that Trade Union branches
are to some extent revitalised. This may mean putting more power into
their hands, and a more dynamic plan structure. Two main motivators
are used, rampant nationalism and an idea of purified Leninism.
"Socialist Legality" is the talk of the day. Party Members who can't
stomache this slander of Stalin get put into Political Isolators of
the quality described in "First Circle" rather than "A Day in the Life
Of". A few more books get published openly (7000 copy editions, just
enough for the Literature Graduates). This leaves the reformist
faction in control of the Party structure.

Would it be possible to transform the economy with a Party under solid
reformist control; A pace of change slow enough that the working
class doesn't get any ideas about self-rule; and, Local Party/Union
branches that actively take initiatives for growth? Sure, by this
time there's a massive overhead in terms of Division IIa, production
for ruling class consumption, but certainly less than in the West.

Sam.
JoatSimeon
2004-06-25 20:21:45 UTC
Permalink
Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force t keep
control in the face of collapsing living standards, food shortages, etc

-- in theory, probably; in practice, no. By that time outright corruption had
become too widespread. Mass terror on Stalin's scale requires a certain amount
of altruism and True Belief.

The problem with the Gosplan economies is that they have very poor feedback
mechanisms.

Every human organization has an inherent tendency to put more and more
resources into process and less and less into product -- empire-building,
meetings, committees, meetings about meetings, new forms to track the previous
forms, and so forth.

The only exception is organizations which are regularly pruned by savage
competition.

This is why capitalist economies work better. It's also why democratic (or
representative-oligarchical) political systems, in the long run, work better.
alfred montestruc
2004-06-26 03:11:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force t keep
control in the face of collapsing living standards, food shortages, etc
-- in theory, probably; in practice, no. By that time outright corruption had
become too widespread. Mass terror on Stalin's scale requires a certain amount
of altruism and True Belief.
The problem with the Gosplan economies is that they have very poor feedback
mechanisms.
Every human organization has an inherent tendency to put more and more
resources into process and less and less into product -- empire-building,
meetings, committees, meetings about meetings, new forms to track the previous
forms, and so forth.
The only exception is organizations which are regularly pruned by savage
competition.
This is why capitalist economies work better. It's also why democratic (or
representative-oligarchical) political systems, in the long run, work better.
And a good predictor of the collapse of the USA and western Europe
given the growth in difficulty of unseating an incumbant legislator
and the fact that legislators are now deligating the power to
legislate to non-elected officials that cannot be fired in an
election.
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-06-26 10:10:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by JoatSimeon
Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force t keep
control in the face of collapsing living standards, food shortages, etc
-- in theory, probably; in practice, no. By that time outright corruption had
become too widespread. Mass terror on Stalin's scale requires a certain amount
of altruism and True Belief.
The problem with the Gosplan economies is that they have very poor feedback
mechanisms.
Every human organization has an inherent tendency to put more and more
resources into process and less and less into product -- empire-building,
meetings, committees, meetings about meetings, new forms to track the previous
forms, and so forth.
The only exception is organizations which are regularly pruned by savage
competition.
This is why capitalist economies work better. It's also why democratic (or
representative-oligarchical) political systems, in the long run, work better.
And a good predictor of the collapse of the USA and western Europe
given the growth in difficulty of unseating an incumbant legislator
and the fact that legislators are now deligating the power to
legislate to non-elected officials that cannot be fired in an
election.
Al, Al, Al ... cujo will attack you for "discussing politics" if you
say things like that.

Despite the fact that *you* didn't bring up the thread.

Which will show just how intellectually dishonest he is, of course.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
Noel
2004-06-26 18:22:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by JoatSimeon
Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force t keep
control in the face of collapsing living standards, food shortages, etc
-- in theory, probably; in practice, no. By that time outright corruption had
become too widespread. Mass terror on Stalin's scale requires a certain amount
of altruism and True Belief.
The problem with the Gosplan economies is that they have very poor feedback
mechanisms.
Every human organization has an inherent tendency to put more and more
resources into process and less and less into product -- empire-building,
meetings, committees, meetings about meetings, new forms to track the previous
forms, and so forth.
The only exception is organizations which are regularly pruned by savage
competition.
This is why capitalist economies work better. It's also why democratic (or
representative-oligarchical) political systems, in the long run, work better.
And a good predictor of the collapse of the USA and western Europe
given the growth in difficulty of unseating an incumbant legislator
and the fact that legislators are now deligating the power to
legislate to non-elected officials that cannot be fired in an
election.
---Al, you realize that the incumbency issue is an
American problem and not a European one?

While this might be one of the few cases where I do,
in fact, fully agree with you about the scope of the
problem, I would strongly urge you to reformulate your
statement as: "And a good sign of increasing political
sclerosis in the USA, potentially leading to catastrophe
if not corrected, is the growth in the difficulty ..."

As for the second issue, well, I must say it sounds silly,
given that regulatory policies change when the executive
changes, or when Congress changes the law. You must not
give into paranoia, Al, unless of course you believe that
the Federal Reserve is evil ... or you are referring to
the Supreme Court, in which case I would have to admit
you do have a point, what with them deciding elections
and all.

But I should probably invoke the BoP now.

Noel
alfred montestruc
2004-06-27 03:36:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Noel
Post by alfred montestruc
And a good predictor of the collapse of the USA and western Europe
given the growth in difficulty of unseating an incumbant legislator
and the fact that legislators are now deligating the power to
legislate to non-elected officials that cannot be fired in an
election.
---Al, you realize that the incumbency issue is an
American problem and not a European one?
My bad if so, the problems with western europiean democracies may have
different sources.
Post by Noel
While this might be one of the few cases where I do,
in fact, fully agree with you about the scope of the
problem, I would strongly urge you to reformulate your
statement as: "And a good sign of increasing political
sclerosis in the USA, potentially leading to catastrophe
if not corrected, is the growth in the difficulty ..."
As for the second issue, well, I must say it sounds silly,
given that regulatory policies change when the executive
changes, or when Congress changes the law.
You don't seem to understand. People like the IRS, DEA, FAA, EPA,
Department of the Interior, and many other federal government bodies
that are run by civil servants, can write regulations that have the
legal force of law. Example the DEA can declare a previously legal
drug illegal on friday, and arrest people for posession of it on
saterday with them having no reasonable chance to find out about the
change in legal status.

This has happened.
Post by Noel
You must not
give into paranoia, Al, unless of course you believe that
the Federal Reserve is evil
Well in principle it is, but set next to many others it is small
potatos, and anyway that was not my point.
Post by Noel
... or you are referring to
the Supreme Court, in which case I would have to admit
you do have a point, what with them deciding elections
and all.
I have little issue with the 2000 election decision by SCOTUS, as if
Bush lost there, then likely the decision would go to the US House
(per the US constitution) and again he wins as his party held the
majority. Gore did not know when to quit.

I have a major issue with the decision on the campain finance reform
bill (AKA the incumbant protection act).

---snip
Alex Filonov
2004-06-25 21:39:11 UTC
Permalink
***@eve.albany.edu (Bruce Munro) wrote in message news:<***@posting.google.com>...

<huge snip. I wish I had answers to all those questions.>
Post by Bruce Munro
Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force to
keep control in the face of collapsing living standards, food
shortages, etc? (It may be noted that in the case of OTL, severe drops
Oh yes, it was capable. In 1983 Andropov tried campaign of "bringing
elementary order". There were cases when people in movie theathers were
checked, why they aren't at work (mostly in Moscow, but maybe in other
cities too). The effect on morale was significant, although order didn't
arrive anyway (such a surprise...) Army was quite capable of savage
cruelty, demostrated in Afghanistan. And there were people in Politburo
who wouldn't mind hundreds of thousands dead people in the name of "order".
Post by Bruce Munro
in living standard have not led to rebellion within Russia. But
post-1991, what would they revolt _against_ and _for_? Communism if
restored doesn't work: and disasters brought about by screwups of
capitalism in the post-Socialist era have sort of a "it's just natural
forces, nobody's at fault" aura about thing which leads to a certain
degree of helplessness. At least people living under a decaying
communism have a clear notion of what they're rebelling in favor of.)
To put it another way: for any likely post-1984 Soviet leadership, is
the present outcome about as good as we were likely to get? (I mean
I'm afraid so. The main problem with transition was that most people
just were used to the principle "you pretend to pay, we pretend to
work". Not many people wanted to be economically active, especially in
Russia. So the only probable alternative would be Cuba-like.
Post by Bruce Munro
_economically_ here. Having an autocratic, nuclear-armed USSR still in
being probably is an inferior income in many ways even if they _have_
managed to keep ahead of the Mexicans economically.)
Bruce Munro
Juan Valdez
2004-06-26 19:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bruce Munro
Is the Soviet government by 1984 _capable_ of exerting enough force to
keep control in the face of collapsing living standards, food
shortages, etc? (It may be noted that in the case of OTL, severe drops
in living standard have not led to rebellion within Russia. But
post-1991, what would they revolt _against_ and _for_? Communism if
restored doesn't work: and disasters brought about by screwups of
capitalism in the post-Socialist era have sort of a "it's just natural
forces, nobody's at fault" aura about thing which leads to a certain
degree of helplessness. At least people living under a decaying
communism have a clear notion of what they're rebelling in favor of.)
To put it another way: for any likely post-1984 Soviet leadership, is
the present outcome about as good as we were likely to get? (I mean
_economically_ here. Having an autocratic, nuclear-armed USSR still in
being probably is an inferior income in many ways even if they _have_
managed to keep ahead of the Mexicans economically.)
I think there's no way to avert dropping living standards from the
1980s until at least 1994. What Gorby could have done is pull a
Jiang Zemin play and try to translate some free market concepts into
commie-speak (along with appropriate euphemisms). After all, he wanted
to reform the Communist system, rather than permit its collapse.

Countermeasures to OTL's collapse that would have to be implemented
no later than 1987:
1) Rouble auctions (to control the supply of Soviet exports which will
likely
be mostly branded consumer goods like vodka, and tv sets.
2) Increase domestic reserves of foreign currency to supplement gold
and gems reserves.
3) Permit private enterprise. "The worker has the right to his own
labor,"
or some such crap. Just something to permit private enterprise. The
problem
will then become an issue of getting licenses. I'd assume at least 21
different signatures are necessary, so one would have to stand in lots
of lines for at least a year to even have the _chance_ of one's business
being registered. Thus the black market is going to grow no matter what.
This will also coincide with a rise in crime, sharper than OTL.
4) Reduce military spending.
5) Reduction in the apparatus of the government. Even today Russia has
the highest staff to assets managed ratio in the world. What waste! If
Russia started copying American, Japanese, or European underwriting
methods the way they copied the designs of any foreign machine they
could
get their hands on, there would be undoubted improvements. How could
there
be more waste by lending to private borrowers than investing in
power plants that ran at a loss?

There will still be problems and resistance, but if Gorby had done
these reforms first, rather than glasnost and peristroika, I think
he could have had a shot at keeping the creaking beast alive.

POD: No peristroika and glasnost reforms. Instead, Gorby spends his
first years in office finding allies who will support what he has
planned.
(Some copies of Deng's Chinese reforms, with the key ones being the
above
I listed)
1987: Gorby has his allies each introduce new reforms. He gives a speech
about the power of the Soviet state, with hints that if reforms aren't
made
quickly, it'll collapse.
The spy game will probably last a few months with departments on both
sides of the reforms fence arresting each other. Finally, the KGB
decides that it's with the reformers. The alliance of military and KGB
forces decide the conflict with Gorby winning the day by Christmas
and starting in 1988 starts forcing through reforms. The KGB and Gorby's
reformers write the bulk of the streamlined legal code. It preserves
the KGB's role (in fact, who do you think is going to implement them?).
It preserves the core reforms Gorby seeks. And while Gorby fights for
and gets increased civil rights, political speech and organization
is seen by the KGB as a direct threat. I know Gorby hated the KGB IOTL,
but from what I understand about the old USSR, there were three forces
at play: Security forces, the Military, and the Politburo. An alliance
of any two could defeat the third. IOTL, the Politburo and the Military
left the KGB out to dry. I think that's where today's siloviki get
their drive to reform Russia- they felt left out of the process as the
USSR collapsed and felt they were the only ones with the knowhow to
reform
the system (regardless of whether it's true or not).
1988-1989: Same as OTL. PCGDP drops 2% when calculating for inflation.
1989: When the Berlin wall falls, Gorby announces a new set of reforms,
mostly civil rights similar to OTL's peristroika and glasnost.
1989-1991: This is a rocky period for the USSR. It sits out the gulf
war.
In seeking to end the cold war, they withdraw from E. Europe, much as
OTL (much to the KGB and Military's objections). PCGDP drops 5% total
in these two years. The birth rate plummets and the death rate climbs.
1991: Frustrated at Gorby's unilateral concessions to the west, and
blaming the economic weakness of the USSR on his reforms, the
security forces brutally crush the Baltic states sucession from the
USSR. Only two years after Tiannenmen (sp?) Square, it's a reminder
to many in the west that while "we can do business with these commies,
never forget they're commies."
1991-1993: The power struggle that went on behind the scenes IOTL
is played out in the Politburo. Gorby is trying to force through the
Politburo, to strip it of many powers and hand them to the general
assembly, including the power to appoint the Secretary General, head
of KGB, and other prized Politburo powers. PCGDP declines another 5%.
Crime is on the rise. Needing the military, Gorby dares not cut its
budget.
1994: Gorby is victorious, and announces a new package of reforms.
Small businesses (legally 'communes') are legalized, along with
capital (From state run banks of course. Underwriting will become
the hot job for the rest of the 90s.). With reforms in the Judicial
System, the USSR becomes more conservative than Putin's Russia, but
more liberal than the old USSR.
1994-2004: GDP grows from $1.4tril in 1994 to $2.5trl in 2004. Its
population stays flat during this period, at 285m.
The USSR is still considered a 'superpower' though its military spending
hasn't increased in 20 years. As Chechen, and other internal ethnic
troubles
increase, the Soviet military is forced to shift from a conscript
army to a professional one. The army drops from 2.5m in 1994, to 1.0m
in 2004. As military spending stayed flat, it has fully converted to
a professional army.
The USSR trades with China, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the USA. It
exports
cheap electronics, generic drugs, and has started to become a hot
research
outsourcing spot since 1998. Since 9-11 it has been a key partner with
the USA combatting international terrorism. The photograph of Afganistan
war veterens returning to Kabul, this time victorious, is one of the
most
famous images of the war.
Soviet cities in 2004 seem fairly modern. But there's a reason
authorities
won't let foreigners tour the countryside- rural poverty is rampant.
Especially in Siberia, and the central Asian SSRs. Terrorism in the
south is a huge problem and while crime in Moscow is bad, it's not OTL's
scary 10k murders a year.
Gorby was voted out of office in 1995. Today, there are soviet citizens
who feel that Gorby screwed things up. Pensions are smaller, people
can get fired now- the old days were better. Still, the birth rate
started climbing in 2002, and the death rate seems to have stablized.
The Red Army redeemed itself in Afganistan, and has soldiers in Iraq.

At least, that's what I wished happened,

tlp
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG
Bruce Munro
2004-06-29 06:03:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan Valdez
Since 9-11 it has been a key partner with
the USA combatting international terrorism.
Big butterflies here: Osama may be killed, may be busy stirring up
trouble in Soviet territory, may come up with a different plan, may
screw up, quite likely won't launch an attack on exactly the same date
as OTL.
Post by Juan Valdez
The photograph of Afganistan
war veterens returning to Kabul, this time victorious, is one of the
most
famous images of the war.
Isn't this like sending German troops to help keep the peace in
civil-war torn Yugoslavia...in 1955? [1]
Post by Juan Valdez
At least, that's what I wished happened,
tlp
Oh? You some kinda commie? Probably a _Nation_ reader, too... {:)}

Bruce

[1] Actually, worse, since the "Third Reich" is still officially in
business.
Bruce Munro
2004-06-29 06:09:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan Valdez
outsourcing spot since 1998. Since 9-11 it has been a key partner with
the USA combatting international terrorism.
Big butterflies, Osama may be dead, may screw up, may be busy stirring
up trouble in Soviet territory, may come up with another plan, and is
unlikely to carry out a successful strike on the US on exactly the
same date as OTL.
Post by Juan Valdez
The photograph of Afganistan
war veterens returning to Kabul, this time victorious, is one of the
most
famous images of the war.
Isn't this sort of like sending German troops to keep the peace in
civil-war torn Yugoslavia...in 1955? [1]
Post by Juan Valdez
Soviet cities in 2004 seem fairly modern. But there's a reason
authorities
won't let foreigners tour the countryside- rural poverty is rampant.
Especially in Siberia, and the central Asian SSRs. Terrorism in the
south is a huge problem and while crime in Moscow is bad, it's not OTL's
scary 10k murders a year.
Gorby was voted out of office in 1995. Today, there are soviet citizens
who feel that Gorby screwed things up. Pensions are smaller, people
can get fired now- the old days were better. Still, the birth rate
started climbing in 2002, and the death rate seems to have stablized.
The Red Army redeemed itself in Afganistan, and has soldiers in Iraq.
At least, that's what I wished happened,
tlp
You some kinda Commie, boy? {:)}

Bruce

Sorry if this is a duplicate: I'm having some trouble with my posting.

[1] Worse, actually: the "Third Reich" is still officially in
business.
Bruce Munro
2004-06-29 06:13:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan Valdez
outsourcing spot since 1998. Since 9-11 it has been a key partner with
the USA combatting international terrorism.
Big butterflies, Osama may be dead, may screw up, may be busy stirring
up trouble in Soviet territory, may come up with another plan, and is
unlikely to carry out a successful strike on the US on exactly the
same date as OTL.
Post by Juan Valdez
The photograph of Afganistan
war veterens returning to Kabul, this time victorious, is one of the
most
famous images of the war.
Isn't this sort of like sending German troops to keep the peace in
civil-war torn Yugoslavia...in 1955? [1]
Post by Juan Valdez
Soviet cities in 2004 seem fairly modern. But there's a reason
authorities
won't let foreigners tour the countryside- rural poverty is rampant.
Especially in Siberia, and the central Asian SSRs. Terrorism in the
south is a huge problem and while crime in Moscow is bad, it's not OTL's
scary 10k murders a year.
Gorby was voted out of office in 1995. Today, there are soviet citizens
who feel that Gorby screwed things up. Pensions are smaller, people
can get fired now- the old days were better. Still, the birth rate
started climbing in 2002, and the death rate seems to have stablized.
The Red Army redeemed itself in Afganistan, and has soldiers in Iraq.
At least, that's what I wished happened,
tlp
You some kinda Commie, boy? {:)}

Bruce

Sorry if this is a duplicate: I'm having some trouble with my posting.

[1] Worse, actually: the "Third Reich" is still officially in
business.
Coreleus Corneleus
2004-06-27 02:14:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bruce Munro
Just looking at the "AH of Communism" and I noted people were
comparing the possible trajectory of a non-Communist Russia with
Russia post soviet collapse. I'm wondering what people's thoughts are
on the probablility of an economic collapse as severe as that we have
seen OTL.
...
To put it another way: for any likely post-1984 Soviet leadership, is
the present outcome about as good as we were likely to get? (I mean
_economically_ here. Having an autocratic, nuclear-armed USSR still in
being probably is an inferior income in many ways even if they _have_
managed to keep ahead of the Mexicans economically.)
Bruce Munro
Ultimately, I think that it is realistic to say, that capitalism can
destroy the wealth of nations as well as create it. When all is said
and done, there is nothing that says that Adam Smith's 'invisible
hand' can not operate in reverse.

Capitalism is a Carnegie or a Bill Gates steadfastly working to build
up industries throughout time from scratch. Nonetheless, capitalism
also consists of corporate raders of the general 1980s types, who
would buy up companies, make money and make companies 'more
efficient', by closing down factories and importing more, moving labor
and capital elsewhere, and thus make money for themselves, by
ultimately, destroying the total wealth of both the economy and the
nation as a whole.

It is generally a flawed mentality that concludes that ALL public
sector activities are AUTOMATICALLY more inefficient than private
sector ones. If all public roads would become private toll roads
throughout the United States and in many countries, ultimately
demanding high fees for daily use, it might be that transportation
itself might suffer. It also seems to neglect the reality that in
virtually all sectors to begin with, there is also a blend of public,
with private and local control, and not an automatic sharp
distinction, totally isolating one type from the other. In Japan and
in Europe there is generally not a problem with the idea that industry
can be at least partially directed and coordinated at times by
governmental activities, and there is not necessesarily an automatic
philosophical, adversarial relationship between the two.

That is not to say that government can not destroy industries, either.
Often it does. The plebs can vote themselves doles, tax industries
to death, and live in indolence. The rich can do the same. The net
result is that government can destroy industry, and nations can be
poor, directly because of governmental policy, put in place by all
levels, classes, and cultures within a nation at large, working
directy to produce policies that are intrinsically designed to destroy
wealth. The idea that government is always the source of these types
of activities, however, and that they can not ever be produced in more
distributed sectors, however, is another matter.

Overall I tend to get the idea that by the present day this is
somewhat moot and may no longer be relevant. For during the later
1990s and the early 2000s the economic sectors stabilized in Russia.
The type of economic phenomenon that happened in the early 1990s
stopped, and the net result is that they are now on an upward trend.
(The currency stabilized, no more chaos in the privatization process,
and industries started producing rather than grinding to a halt in the
uncertainty of the transition.)

Reading more of the phenomenon in SHWI, however, I also get the idea
that it might have been tougher to do it better under the older
system, than one might think under initial and ultimately,
theoretical, contemplations. To somehow produce a seamless transition
to at least a moderately more distributed economy like in China, would
have implied that somehow Gorbachev could have simply snapped his
fingers or said a few magic words, and all may have easily fallen into
place. This however, ulitimately fails to recognize the reality of
entrenched buerocracies.

Theoretically, I think it could have been done better. It seemed
pretty much like a chaos derived from an 'all capitalism is good'
mentality, somewhat done in reaction to the earlier regimes, but at
least partially in a fashion divorced from reality. In practice,
however, I am not quite sure.
JoatSimeon
2004-06-27 16:13:02 UTC
Permalink
Nonetheless, capitalism also consists of corporate raders of the general 1980s
types, who would buy up companies, make money and make companies 'more
efficient', by closing down factories...

-- oh, Christ, where to start on this...

Note: the country that allowed restructuring and 'creative destruction' to
procede relatively unchecked is now the one with a growth rate more than twice
the developed world's average.

Capitalism requires the lash of bankruptcy and failure just as much as the lure
of profit. It's how resources are redistributed from inefficient to efficient
firms and sectors.
In Japan and in Europe there is generally not a problem with the idea that
industry
can be at least partially directed and coordinated at times by governmental
activities

... resulting in stagnation, corruption, and decline.
George Carty
2004-06-27 17:14:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Nonetheless, capitalism also consists of corporate raders of the general 1980s
types, who would buy up companies, make money and make companies 'more
efficient', by closing down factories...
-- oh, Christ, where to start on this...
Note: the country that allowed restructuring and 'creative destruction' to
procede relatively unchecked is now the one with a growth rate more than twice
the developed world's average.
Why are Americans (I presume the US is the country you're referring to)
display such an amazing amount of risk-tolerance? Is it because the
United States is a nation of immigrants?
Post by JoatSimeon
Capitalism requires the lash of bankruptcy and failure just as much as the lure
of profit. It's how resources are redistributed from inefficient to efficient
firms and sectors.
Wouldn't unrestricted capitalism just reduce ordinary people in the West
to Third World poverty, while making a few corporate CEOs rich beyond
their wildest dreams?

Remember you have admitted yourself that slave labor is more efficient
than free labor, and only ceased to be important because slavery was
destroyed by brute force for moral reasons.
Chris Mark
2004-06-27 19:25:27 UTC
Permalink
From: George Carty
Why are Americans (I presume the US is the country you're referring to)
display such an amazing amount of risk-tolerance? Is it because the
United States is a nation of immigrants?
Probably part of the reason. After all, if you are the type of person who,
unhappy with his lot in life, says, "Screw this, I'm out of here!" and makes
tracks for the far beyond, he's obviously more of a risk taker than his brother
who, equally unhappy with his lot, calls after him, "Don't be a fool! Better
the devil you know...."

But also, the US has evolved a culture where failure truly is not a social
drawback--as long as you get back up, dust yourself off and start all over
again (gee, sounds like a song lyric). If you wallow in failure, you won't get
much sympathy. So in some ways, it is less riskier to try and fail in the US
than in other countries, where one failure can stigmatize you.
I noticed in Europe around the time of the dot.bomb episode that Europeans
tended to Tsk Tsk about all the human carnage caused by the foolish American
money scheming. But, by and large, the American entrepreneurial victims of the
dot.bomb basically said, "What the hell, easy come, easy go. It was a wild
ride while it lasted." And went out and took a job with a salary. And while
the Europeans thought it was all about money, the Americans thought of it more
as a game, as a way to "do your own thing." More than one repeated the very
American expression: "Business is the best sport there is; you keep score with
money." And nobody hits a home run everytime they come up to bat. In fact,
you're likely not to even get a base hit.


Chris Mark
alfred montestruc
2004-06-29 06:41:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Post by JoatSimeon
Nonetheless, capitalism also consists of corporate raders of the general 1980s
types, who would buy up companies, make money and make companies 'more
efficient', by closing down factories...
-- oh, Christ, where to start on this...
Note: the country that allowed restructuring and 'creative destruction' to
procede relatively unchecked is now the one with a growth rate more than twice
the developed world's average.
Why are Americans (I presume the US is the country you're referring to)
display such an amazing amount of risk-tolerance? Is it because the
United States is a nation of immigrants?
More of a good moral center. As in no one has a "right" to a specific
job. You get the job by being able to do it well at a reasonable
price. Reasoable defined by the market, not newspaper editors.
Post by George Carty
Post by JoatSimeon
Capitalism requires the lash of bankruptcy and failure just as much as the lure
of profit. It's how resources are redistributed from inefficient to efficient
firms and sectors.
Wouldn't unrestricted capitalism just reduce ordinary people in the West
to Third World poverty, while making a few corporate CEOs rich beyond
their wildest dreams?
No, to get rich you must have someone to sell to. The whole point of
trade, (capitalism) is to get more goodies for the same number of man
hours labor. Everyone votes with money as to who does well at their
job. If you do not do well enough at it, quit and try something else.
Post by George Carty
Remember you have admitted yourself that slave labor is more efficient
than free labor,
If he did he was wrong. Slave labor is only efficent when you have a
source of slaves to steal from who pay the capital costs of rearing
the proto slave to near adulthood that you steal along with the slave.
If you breed and pay for the capital costs of rearing and education
of the slave you find that free labor in competition will cost less.
Post by George Carty
and only ceased to be important because slavery was
destroyed by brute force for moral reasons.
Hogwash.

Slavery in the USA ended after it was about an economic wash with free
labor. Had slavery continued till the cotton bubble burst, the price
of slaves would have collapsed too.
George Carty
2004-06-29 16:47:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by George Carty
Why are Americans (I presume the US is the country you're referring to)
display such an amazing amount of risk-tolerance? Is it because the
United States is a nation of immigrants?
More of a good moral center. As in no one has a "right" to a specific
job. You get the job by being able to do it well at a reasonable
price. Reasonable defined by the market, not newspaper editors.
Is it easier to get a job in the United States? People will be far more
afraid of being fired if the level of job vacancies is low...
Post by alfred montestruc
Slavery in the USA ended after it was about an economic wash with free
labor. Had slavery continued till the cotton bubble burst, the price
of slaves would have collapsed too.
Could slaves not be used in industries other than growing cotton?
alfred montestruc
2004-06-29 23:47:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by George Carty
Why are Americans (I presume the US is the country you're referring to)
display such an amazing amount of risk-tolerance? Is it because the
United States is a nation of immigrants?
More of a good moral center. As in no one has a "right" to a specific
job. You get the job by being able to do it well at a reasonable
price. Reasonable defined by the market, not newspaper editors.
Is it easier to get a job in the United States?
Probably. The cost of new employee is I think lower to the employer
in the USA than in many other places in terms of taxes and liability,
especially in "right to work" (as opposed to union shop) states like
Texas. Much lower risk to the employer (or employee) to hire someone
or fire them, so people change jobs more.

That is a matter of how one rigs the laws.
Post by George Carty
People will be far more
afraid of being fired if the level of job vacancies is low...
So? One can take a cut in pay too. I worked at a place where the
owner told the employees to take a significant cut in pay or he would
have to fire many of them, most including me took the pay cut. This
enabled him to keep most of the crew on and struggle through a
slowdown in work. I left significantly later and for different
reasons.
Post by George Carty
Post by alfred montestruc
Slavery in the USA ended after it was about an economic wash with free
labor. Had slavery continued till the cotton bubble burst, the price
of slaves would have collapsed too.
Could slaves not be used in industries other than growing cotton?
Sure, but none as lucritive, and so the price of slaves would still
fall. Cotton farmers were making money hand over fist in the early
19th century.

That does not address the basic economic problem of slavery that I
pointed out and you snipped. Which is that the capital cost of
rearing slaves is prohibitive.
JoatSimeon
2004-07-01 21:23:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
That does not address the basic economic problem of slavery that I
pointed out and you snipped. Which is that the capital cost of rearing slaves
is prohibitive.

-- ummmm... no. Wages also bear the cost of raising the next generation of
employees, and labor-force participation rates among slaves in the US south
were extremely high.

Or to put it another way, slave women spent a _lot_ less time on household
tasks and a lot more on cash-producing 'work' than free women did.
JoatSimeon
2004-06-29 20:26:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Why are Americans (I presume the US is the country you're referring to)
display such an amazing amount of risk-tolerance?

-- experience has shown that it works. Also, the US has a low degree of social
envy. People who succeed are admired more than resented.

And most Americans expect to succeed themselves; over 20% think they're in the
top 1% of income earners, for example, and over half _expect_ to be in that
bracket at some point in their lives.

This deranged optimism has very positive social consequences.
Post by George Carty
Wouldn't unrestricted capitalism just reduce ordinary people in the West
to Third World poverty

-- in a word, no.

By US standards, 40% of the population of Sweden lives below the poverty line.


The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_) and owns a car, air conditioning, etc.

Evidence indicates that the more thoroughly capitalistic you are, the more the
general populace benefits.

What capitalism hurts are established interests -- people in old industries or
communities, etc. It requires an acceptance of continual change and that you
be light on your feet.

Americans in general accept this, and that they as individuals are responsible
for their fate.

When an industry, trade or community begins to wilt, they just leave.
Post by George Carty
Remember you have admitted yourself that slave labor is more efficient
than free labor

-- in some situations and for some occupations. I wouldn't use it as the
preferred labor source for code writers, myself.
George Carty
2004-06-30 07:39:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
-- experience has shown that it works. Also, the US has a low degree of social
envy. People who succeed are admired more than resented.
Probably because America never had feudalism...
Post by JoatSimeon
And most Americans expect to succeed themselves; over 20% think they're in the
top 1% of income earners, for example, and over half _expect_ to be in that
bracket at some point in their lives.
This deranged optimism has very positive social consequences.
Is the fact that America is a nation of immigrants the source of this
'deranged optimism'?
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by George Carty
Wouldn't unrestricted capitalism just reduce ordinary people in the West
to Third World poverty
-- in a word, no.
By US standards, 40% of the population of Sweden lives below the poverty line.
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_)
Isn't that just because land is much cheaper in America due to its lower
population density? If the US had two billion people (this would give
it the same pop. density as the UK) I expect its system would fail
catastrophically...
Post by JoatSimeon
air conditioning, etc.
Most of Europe - being maritime in climate - doesn't need A/C as much as
continental-climate America.
Post by JoatSimeon
Evidence indicates that the more thoroughly capitalistic you are, the more the
general populace benefits.
The UK was as purely capitalistic as America 200 years ago, but the
ratio between US and UK GDP per capita has changed little since then.
Post by JoatSimeon
What capitalism hurts are established interests -- people in old industries or
communities, etc. It requires an acceptance of continual change and that you
be light on your feet.
Americans in general accept this, and that they as individuals are responsible
for their fate.
When an industry, trade or community begins to wilt, they just leave.
Why doesn't America have a lot of unemployed people caught in the 'no
job without experience, no experience without a job' catch-22?
Doug Lampert
2004-06-30 19:15:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Post by JoatSimeon
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_)
Isn't that just because land is much cheaper in America due to its lower
population density? If the US had two billion people (this would give
it the same pop. density as the UK) I expect its system would fail
catastrophically...
Why? What percentage of a typical home purchase in England goes
for land rather than structure?

GB has 241,590 square km of land area, and 60,270,708 people
(CIA factbook) for less than 250 people per square km.

The USA has 9,161,923 square km of land area, and 293,027,571
people for less than 32 people per square km.

But much of the US land is desert or in Alaska (Alaska is over
seven times the size of all of GB). AFAIK the East coast
population densities are comparable to GB (checking a few states,
MA is higher density than Great Britain, as is Rhode Island, as
is New Jersey, New York is a bit lower but quite comparable),
and while housing is more expensive up there than elsewhere in
the country the size of the average unit is not that much
smaller till you hit places like Manhattan.
Post by George Carty
Why doesn't America have a lot of unemployed people caught in the 'no
job without experience, no experience without a job' catch-22?
We have a labor shortage, Huntsville (my town) is notably low
wage/low cost of living compared to the country as a whole, but
introductory burger flipers earn well over $6/hour (which really
makes me wonder about the relevance of the minimum wage to
anyone's actual life, but I digress). I know that $12,000+ per
year is (barely) enough to live on locally (assuming you have
no dependants, no medical problems, and no drug or alchohol
problems).

Broadly speaking, it is still just barely possible locally to
work your way through college flipping burgers. (Recent
tuition increases probably make it real hard unless you have
a tuition scholarship. And you will definetly be a part time
student, I know some genius level students who tried to work
full time while also going to school full time, it did not
work well.)

Drivers can do even better than Burger flippers for pay but
need insurance and the jobs are a bit harder to get. Grocery
store check out clerks do quite well (the big chains are
unionized up north, and some of the benifits spill over), but
all the kids know that so the chains can be picky.

So anyone who is long term unemployed is probably being picky
about what jobs they will take. (Exceptions, if you manage to
end up actually homeless even the burger joints may not hire
you, if you are physically disabled lots of entry level jobs
are closed off.)

I know of one former neighbor who spent three years unemployed,
killing most of his retirement savings, but he has a Physics
Ph.D. and was definitely not looking for entry level work.
If you really want a job you can get one.

DougL
The Horny Goat
2004-07-01 04:16:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Doug Lampert
Why? What percentage of a typical home purchase in England goes
for land rather than structure?
Having had my local tax assessment in the past week I am currently
paying more attention to this sort of thing than in the other 51 weeks
of the year. Might I offer a datapoint: my house is 2350 sq. ft on two
floors on a lot 55' x 120' (6600 sq ft) meaning that my house occupies
roughly 20% of our lot.

Theoretically (e.g. according to the tax assessor) the land is worth
four times what the house is worth.
Post by Doug Lampert
Drivers can do even better than Burger flippers for pay but
need insurance and the jobs are a bit harder to get. Grocery
store check out clerks do quite well (the big chains are
unionized up north, and some of the benifits spill over), but
all the kids know that so the chains can be picky.
50 years ago my father drove tour bus two nights a week primarily for
the tips. Mom and Dad were starving students who once bought what they
THOUGHT was 120 cans of _assorted_ soups at a great price. There's a
reason Dad won't eat mushroom soup even today! Similarly there's a
reason why I won't eat herring roll mops even today. :)

When I did grad school in the early 80s I had saved $7000 which was
gone pretty quick and I survived on a scholarship and later a teaching
assistantship. Wasn't high living but I did graduate debt free.
Post by Doug Lampert
I know of one former neighbor who spent three years unemployed,
killing most of his retirement savings, but he has a Physics
Ph.D. and was definitely not looking for entry level work.
If you really want a job you can get one.
Yup - I did payroll today for our store and was fortunate enough to
have our 1/2 yearly bonuses in what was quite a profitable year. Let's
just say my tax bill on today's cheque was more than my gross 20 years
ago...like you say definitely not entry level.

I fear for my 17 year old daughter who has no idea what she wants to
do with her life and no real driving passion or dream she wants to
follow yet. She is extremely bright and able to do a lot of things -
too bad the world is not kind to generalists....oh well, at least I
helped her get an A in history! <evil grin>
Robert J. Gill
2004-07-01 02:44:06 UTC
Permalink
-- experience has shown that it works. Also, the US
has a low degree of social envy. People who succeed
are admired more than resented.
Probably because America never had feudalism...
Speaking of which...
I recall hearing that the introduction of democratic
institutions to a formerly feudal Europe resulted in
those folks formerly under the thumbs of powerful
people taking an increased interest in checking their
abuses of power. By contrast, many people in the United
States hear about a powerful person coming under attack
for similar behavior, and their first reaction is to feel
sorry for them, something like: "Why do they pick on poor
Bill Gates/Martha Stewart, etc.? He/she pulled himself/
herself up by the bootstraps since childhood, and now a
bunch of jealous people are trying to punish them, yadda,
yadda.." Or they try to win the lottery, to become just
like the PTB.

To keep this on-topic: What would it take for Americans
to have less tolerance for the abuses of the well-to-do?

To suggest a POD: Would America *literally* have to have
feudalism on its doorstep, that is to say, *on* American
soil, a la the Kingdoms and Duchys of Carolina, Jacobia,
Virginia, and Camelot, in Orson Scott Card's _Alvin Maker_
books (feudal lands owing their presence in America to
displacement by a longer-lived Cromwell)?
Perhaps Americans endure abuse of power under such regimes,
before rebelling against them, creating a nation not unlike
OTL's U.S.; afterwards, the memories of having bluebloods
breathing down their necks in centuries past makes them far
less tolerant of similar abuses by the rich, in the future.

Any other suggestions?
Lee Ratner
2004-07-01 10:08:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert J. Gill
-- experience has shown that it works. Also, the US
has a low degree of social envy. People who succeed
are admired more than resented.
Probably because America never had feudalism...
Speaking of which...
I recall hearing that the introduction of democratic
institutions to a formerly feudal Europe resulted in
those folks formerly under the thumbs of powerful
people taking an increased interest in checking their
abuses of power. By contrast, many people in the United
States hear about a powerful person coming under attack
for similar behavior, and their first reaction is to feel
sorry for them, something like: "Why do they pick on poor
Bill Gates/Martha Stewart, etc.? He/she pulled himself/
herself up by the bootstraps since childhood, and now a
bunch of jealous people are trying to punish them, yadda,
yadda.." Or they try to win the lottery, to become just
like the PTB.
To keep this on-topic: What would it take for Americans
to have less tolerance for the abuses of the well-to-do?
To suggest a POD: Would America *literally* have to have
feudalism on its doorstep, that is to say, *on* American
soil, a la the Kingdoms and Duchys of Carolina, Jacobia,
Virginia, and Camelot, in Orson Scott Card's _Alvin Maker_
books (feudal lands owing their presence in America to
displacement by a longer-lived Cromwell)?
Perhaps Americans endure abuse of power under such regimes,
before rebelling against them, creating a nation not unlike
OTL's U.S.; afterwards, the memories of having bluebloods
breathing down their necks in centuries past makes them far
less tolerant of similar abuses by the rich, in the future.
Any other suggestions?
You really don't need feudalism in the Americas but what you do
need is a much longer Guilded Age that is just as a bad for lower
class Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans as its bad for the immigrant
workers. You also need to create a labor movement that can unite
lower-class Anglo-Saxon Protestants and the immigrant workers. IMO,
one of the chief reasons why socialism failed to take hold among lower
class Anglo-Saxon protestants in America is because it was associated
with Catholic and Jewish immigrant workers and atheism. If you can
make most of the socialist leaders non-immigrant Protestants, and they
need to be openly religious, socialism might have greater appeal in
America.
JoatSimeon
2004-07-01 21:04:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Why doesn't America have a lot of unemployed people caught in the 'no
job without experience, no experience without a job' catch-22?

-- employment taxes and regulations are much less of a problem here. It's
easier and cheaper to fire people if you don't need them anymore, so employers
are more ready to hire in the first place.

Also, welfare provision is much less generous here, particularly since the
reforms of the 1990's, but to a large degree even before then.

We're closer to a "work or starve" situation. Hence people are more likely to
take anything available, and more willing to switch occupations or to pick up
and move.

Back when Artie Scargill said he was going on strike so that the children of
coal miners could become coal miners, the general reaction here among those
that paid attention was that he was simply barking mad.
Dan Goodman
2004-07-02 05:15:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Post by George Carty
Why doesn't America have a lot of unemployed people caught in the 'no
job without experience, no experience without a job' catch-22?
-- employment taxes and regulations are much less of a problem here.
It's easier and cheaper to fire people if you don't need them anymore,
so employers are more ready to hire in the first place.
Also, welfare provision is much less generous here, particularly since
the reforms of the 1990's, but to a large degree even before then.
We're closer to a "work or starve" situation. Hence people are more
likely to take anything available, and more willing to switch
occupations or to pick up and move.
Back when Artie Scargill said he was going on strike so that the
children of coal miners could become coal miners, the general reaction
here among those that paid attention was that he was simply barking
mad.
However: An American who wants to give the children of loggers or of
farmers the opportunity to work in those occupations isn't thought of as
barking mad.

And there seem to be a number of Americans who believe that small
businesses should be protected against Unfair Competition from large
businesses.
--
Dan Goodman
Journal http://dsgood.blogspot.com or
http://www.livejournal.com/users/dsgood/
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.
George Carty
2004-07-02 07:36:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
We're closer to a "work or starve" situation.
I applaud your honesty!
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 08:10:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
We're closer to a "work or starve" situation.
I applaud your honesty!
-- you seem to assume there's something bad about "work or starve"?

I find this curious. The general attitude here is that public support for
adults(*) should be limited to those who either cannot work due to disability,
or who cannot find any work at all. An adult human being has a moral
responsibility to be self-supporting.

"He who does not work, does not eat."
Otherwise you get absurd situations like that in much of Europe, where
"unemployment" is over 10%, and yet thousands upon thousands of outsiders sneak
in and find work immediately, while 35-year-old "students" live on disguised
charity.

Why aren't those unemployed Spaniards down picking lettuce in Andalusia,
instead of Moroccans? If they were cut off without a penny they'd be there,
soon enough, and thankful for whatever they could get.

When I was struggling to break into fiction writing, I did anything that came
to hand -- everything from office work to picking tobacco.

(*) and the American "aid to families with dependent children", originally a
plan to support the rare widow-with-children, turned into an incentive program
for trash to produce litters of bastards at public expense.

President Clinton got rid of that, and since then draconian work provisions,
deliberately designed to be unpleasant, have reduced the rolls by more than
50%, even during the recession of 2001. Not to mention sending teenage
pregancy rates plummeting!
George Carty
2004-07-02 08:52:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Why aren't those unemployed Spaniards down picking lettuce in Andalusia,
instead of Moroccans?
Why should Spaniards be put out of work by cheap illegal-immigrant labor?
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 21:02:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Carty
Why should Spaniards be put out of work by cheap illegal-immigrant labor?
-- they aren't being put out of work; they're _refusing_ to work.

Hence you get the paradox of a demand for immigrant labor in a country with...
what's the figure for Spanish unemployment now? Something around 15%
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-03 13:57:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by George Carty
Why should Spaniards be put out of work by cheap illegal-immigrant labor?
-- they aren't being put out of work; they're _refusing_ to work.
Hence you get the paradox of a demand for immigrant labor in a country with...
what's the figure for Spanish unemployment now? Something around 15%
11.3% according to the CIA Factbook.

But I still don't think it is a paradox. Work gangs paying wages below the
minimum to live on are no necessarily a factor here, no more than Chinese
labour gangs are affecting Morecombe Bay area unemployment. BTW, UK
unemployment is highly regional.

Dave
Thomas Womack
2004-07-03 20:38:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by George Carty
Why should Spaniards be put out of work by cheap illegal-immigrant labor?
-- they aren't being put out of work; they're _refusing_ to work.
And why shouldn't they? At the worst, strawberries and cockles will
end up imported from countries with laxer attitudes; at the best, the
Valarmathi-Niratpattanasai strawberry harvester and the great on-shore
cockle-farms of Middlesbrough will be fixtures of the 2020s.

You seem to be concocting a right to cheap labour with no more backing
than the right to a respectable wage that you decry.

Tom

Dave O'Neill
2004-07-02 19:18:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by JoatSimeon
We're closer to a "work or starve" situation.
I applaud your honesty!
-- you seem to assume there's something bad about "work or starve"?
I find this curious. The general attitude here is that public support for
adults(*) should be limited to those who either cannot work due to disability,
or who cannot find any work at all. An adult human being has a moral
responsibility to be self-supporting.
"He who does not work, does not eat."
Otherwise you get absurd situations like that in much of Europe, where
"unemployment" is over 10%, and yet thousands upon thousands of outsiders sneak
in and find work immediately, while 35-year-old "students" live on disguised
charity.
Why aren't those unemployed Spaniards down picking lettuce in Andalusia,
instead of Moroccans? If they were cut off without a penny they'd be there,
soon enough, and thankful for whatever they could get.
That seems highly unlikely to me.

Taking a recent UK example, I doubt you'll find many unemployed Brits who'll
work for £1 an hour on Morecombe Sands to collect Cockles.

Just because people find work easily, it doesn't mean it is work you can
actually live off unless you are living 10 to a room in conditions that my
great grandparents worked damn hard to eradicate.
Post by JoatSimeon
When I was struggling to break into fiction writing, I did anything that came
to hand -- everything from office work to picking tobacco.
Good for you.
Post by JoatSimeon
(*) and the American "aid to families with dependent children", originally a
plan to support the rare widow-with-children, turned into an incentive program
for trash to produce litters of bastards at public expense.
President Clinton got rid of that, and since then draconian work provisions,
deliberately designed to be unpleasant, have reduced the rolls by more than
50%, even during the recession of 2001. Not to mention sending teenage
pregancy rates plummeting!
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 21:06:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave O'Neill
That seems highly unlikely to me.
Taking a recent UK example, I doubt you'll find many unemployed Brits who'll
work for £1 an hour on Morecombe Sands to collect Cockles.

-- they would if the alternative was starving and dying, or picking oakum in
the workhouse... 8-).

In any case, the UK is more like the US in that it has a briskly expanding
economy and relatively low unemployment. Between 5-6% is around the normal
degree of frictional unemployment anyway.
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-02 22:05:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave O'Neill
Post by Dave O'Neill
That seems highly unlikely to me.
Taking a recent UK example, I doubt you'll find many unemployed Brits who'll
work for £1 an hour on Morecombe Sands to collect Cockles.
-- they would if the alternative was starving and dying, or picking oakum in
the workhouse... 8-).
And that's probably why we don't like that sort of thing anymore isn't it.

There is a reason why Laisez Faire Libertarian small government societies
vanished.
Post by Dave O'Neill
In any case, the UK is more like the US in that it has a briskly expanding
economy and relatively low unemployment. Between 5-6% is around the normal
degree of frictional unemployment anyway.
Doug Lampert
2004-07-03 14:35:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave O'Neill
Post by Dave O'Neill
That seems highly unlikely to me.
Taking a recent UK example, I doubt you'll find many unemployed Brits who'll
work for £1 an hour on Morecombe Sands to collect Cockles.
-- they would if the alternative was starving and dying, or picking oakum in
the workhouse... 8-).
In any case, the UK is more like the US in that it has a briskly expanding
economy and relatively low unemployment. Between 5-6% is around the normal
degree of frictional unemployment anyway.
People keep saying that, but IIRC back in the mid seventies frictional
unemployment was supposed to be arround 4%.

Is it worse now for some reason (more rapid turnover at a guess) or
are we lumping real longterm unemployment in with the frictional
unemployment?

Not that I really care, anyone who is healthy and even mildly
responsible can get a job.

DougL
Jack Linthicum
2004-07-03 19:01:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Doug Lampert
Post by Dave O'Neill
Post by Dave O'Neill
That seems highly unlikely to me.
Taking a recent UK example, I doubt you'll find many unemployed Brits who'll
work for £1 an hour on Morecombe Sands to collect Cockles.
-- they would if the alternative was starving and dying, or picking oakum in
the workhouse... 8-).
In any case, the UK is more like the US in that it has a briskly expanding
economy and relatively low unemployment. Between 5-6% is around the normal
degree of frictional unemployment anyway.
People keep saying that, but IIRC back in the mid seventies frictional
unemployment was supposed to be arround 4%.
Is it worse now for some reason (more rapid turnover at a guess) or
are we lumping real longterm unemployment in with the frictional
unemployment?
Not that I really care, anyone who is healthy and even mildly
responsible can get a job.
But have you seen the cartoon where the guy is saying that 'more and
more people are finding jobs in this economy', pans back to him on a
bicycle throwing newspapers "In fact I have three of them"?
The Horny Goat
2004-06-30 08:22:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
And most Americans expect to succeed themselves; over 20% think they're in the
top 1% of income earners, for example, and over half _expect_ to be in that
bracket at some point in their lives.
I'm pretty sure that I am either there or very close to it and am
grateful for the opportunity. I won't discuss the amount but I now pay
more in taxes than I received in total gross income the first year
after completing my MBA nearly 20 years ago.
Post by JoatSimeon
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_) and owns a car, air conditioning, etc.
Gawd - Hong Kong (which I visit twice a year on business for about 10
days each time) is positively Fourth World by these standards. Mind
you the typical Hong Konger cares a great deal more about air
conditioning than your typical Texan or Floridian who car or no car
certainly cares about air conditioning more than your typical Swede!
Your typical Hong Kong resident does NOT own a car but DOES have an
extremely efficient air conditioning unit. He/she certainly does not
have 1200 sq ft!

(Personally I have it in my car but not either home or workplace)
Post by JoatSimeon
Americans in general accept this, and that they as individuals are responsible
for their fate.
Of course we are. Why is this surprising? (I do the payroll in our
company and got handed the list today for mid-year bonuses. I am all
smiles as I expected to be given our sales are approx. 40% up from two
years ago)

So what's your point? That someone is somehow impoverished if their
version of "...the pursuit of happiness" doesn't line up with that of
the typican USAnian?
Coyu
2004-06-30 11:21:14 UTC
Permalink
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
Steve Holland
2004-06-30 15:47:37 UTC
Permalink
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on the
poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again, he's talking
soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
By Swedish standard a significant chunk of the U.S. population
lives in poverty. The problem is that poverty can be a somewhat
subjective concept. I do not know of a good index that can be
reliably used to compare the amount and depth of poverty in different
countries.


==========================================================================
To find out who and where I am look at:
http://lheawww.gsfc.nasa.gov/~sholland/index.html
"Normal people scare me."
==========================================================================
alfred montestruc
2004-07-01 01:56:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
If it is false, an honest critic would cite it. As usual Cujo takes
the cheap shot.

My guess is his soul is cheap.
Coyu
2004-07-01 04:09:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by Coyu
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
If it is false, an honest critic would cite it. As usual Cujo takes
the cheap shot.
My guess is his soul is cheap.
We debunked that Sweden thing last year, when it was burbling
around the goobertarians on the Internet like the clap. It's a
measure of how out of the loop Steverino is that he picked it
up now; and it's a measure of your basic incompetence that you
don't remember it. Sorry!
Noel
2004-07-01 16:42:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by Coyu
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
If it is false, an honest critic would cite it. As usual Cujo takes
the cheap shot.
My guess is his soul is cheap.
---No. And you're an idiot. You really have
pissed me off, Al. Let's put it this way. Steve's
comment is ... what's the word? Yes, it's a lie!
And one easily verified in about thirty second for
anyone with an Internet connection and command of
the English language.

But since you are semi-autistic, I'll give you
a head start: Smeeding and Rainwater.

Christ almighty.

Noel
Coyu
2004-07-01 18:26:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Noel
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by Coyu
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
If it is false, an honest critic would cite it. As usual Cujo takes
the cheap shot.
My guess is his soul is cheap.
---No. And you're an idiot. You really have
pissed me off, Al. Let's put it this way. Steve's
comment is ... what's the word? Yes, it's a lie!
And one easily verified in about thirty second for
anyone with an Internet connection and command of
the English language.
But since you are semi-autistic, I'll give you
a head start: Smeeding and Rainwater.
Christ almighty.
Actually, we could turn this into a contest. Here's Steverino's
(false) statement:

"By US standards, 40% of the population of Sweden lives below the poverty
line."

Now, in the last period in which First World nations were
directly compared according to absolute American poverty line
standards (1994-5), the US had a poverty rate of 13.6%. Two
nations in the sample beat it.

a) can you name those two nations?

b) can you guess what Sweden's poverty rate _by American
standards_ was? I'll give the prize to the first person who
comes within a percentage point of the unit significant
figure. (Hint: it's not one of the two that beat us.)

c) a no-brainer: was Finland's poverty rate less than
Sweden's by American standards?

d) can you name the nation with the lowest poverty rate?

In response, I fully expect Weird Al will accuse me of
molesting Macaulay Culkin again. Such an expensive soul that
man has. I wonder how much he got for it?
Noel
2004-07-02 01:25:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by Noel
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by Coyu
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
If it is false, an honest critic would cite it. As usual Cujo takes
the cheap shot.
My guess is his soul is cheap.
---No. And you're an idiot. You really have
pissed me off, Al. Let's put it this way. Steve's
comment is ... what's the word? Yes, it's a lie!
And one easily verified in about thirty second for
anyone with an Internet connection and command of
the English language.
But since you are semi-autistic, I'll give you
a head start: Smeeding and Rainwater.
Christ almighty.
Actually, we could turn this into a contest. Here's Steverino's
"By US standards, 40% of the population of Sweden lives below the poverty
line."
Now, in the last period in which First World nations were
directly compared according to absolute American poverty line
standards (1994-5), the US had a poverty rate of 13.6%. Two
nations in the sample beat it.
a) can you name those two nations?
b) can you guess what Sweden's poverty rate _by American
standards_ was? I'll give the prize to the first person who
comes within a percentage point of the unit significant
figure. (Hint: it's not one of the two that beat us.)
c) a no-brainer: was Finland's poverty rate less than
Sweden's by American standards?
d) can you name the nation with the lowest poverty rate?
In response, I fully expect Weird Al will accuse me of
molesting Macaulay Culkin again. Such an expensive soul that
man has. I wonder how much he got for it?
---I am curious to see who wins. Obviously, I can't
participate. However, IIRC, that data measures post-
tax income. If you measure using pre-tax income, the
picture is slightly different.

So let's run a second contest!

How many Swedes in 1995 lived in households with a pre-tax,
pre-transfer income less than 14 dollars a day?

How many Americans?

And, since we have regular posters from all of the following
countries, how many Australians, Britons, Finns, Canadians,
and Spaniards?

France doesn't count, because as everyone knows, France is
exactly like the United States.

Best,

Noel
alfred montestruc
2004-07-01 23:56:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Noel
Post by alfred montestruc
Post by Coyu
Lyle, George: why are you taking Steverino's statements on
the poverty of Sweden et cetera at face value? Once again,
he's talking soundbites ex ano, and not even his own anus.
If it is false, an honest critic would cite it. As usual Cujo takes
the cheap shot.
My guess is his soul is cheap.
---No. And you're an idiot. You really have
pissed me off, Al. Let's put it this way. Steve's
comment is ... what's the word? Yes, it's a lie!
I have no opinion one way or the other as to the truth of Mr.
Sterling's assertion. I object to Cujo's asserting it to be false as
if he had proven it, when he presents no evidence at all let alone
proof. I further object because of Cujo's very long ugly history of
picking fights, and his lack of concern for truth, or other people's
rights, reputation or feelings.

He could, were he a gentleman, which he is not, state that he thought
Mr. Sterling to be mistaken, and cite EVIDENCE. Even now, he asserts
he proved it false last year, but does not provide any evidence, nor a
link to where he claims to have "proved" something.

He shows no interest in truth, only in offending others.
Post by Noel
And one easily verified in about thirty second for
anyone with an Internet connection and command of
the English language.
Truly? Then I ask you, politely, and in all candor to provide a cite
beyond that you gave below as it proves nothing. Please also give us
an honest estimate of the time it took to find a cite that actually
claims to have the information of interest.
Post by Noel
But since you are semi-autistic, I'll give you
a head start: Smeeding and Rainwater.
This?

http://www.lisproject.org/links/cpconf/rainwater.pdf


Interesting paper, but it does not address what Mr. Sterling, said.
Which was that 40% of Swedes were below the US poverty line. If you
bother to read the fine print on Smeeding's Table 2 you will see that
the poverty rate line in terms of income is half the median national
income. I looked at the CIA factbook which indicates that the GDP per
capita in the USA is much larger than that of Sweden. True that is
not an exact measure of the median income, but it gives me the idea
that the median US income may well be much higher than that of Sweden.
So it is still not proven one way or the other as far as I am
concerned.

Furthermore, that is not the issue. The issue is Cujo's and your
rudeness. He is not a person to imitate.
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 03:22:18 UTC
Permalink
I have no opinion one way or the other as to the truth of Mr. Sterling's
assertion

-- stats available from the Timbro Institute; www.timbro.com
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 03:35:34 UTC
Permalink
As I mentioned, my figures were taken from the Timbro studies, which are
available to the public:

"Poverty is a highly relative concept. As we saw in the preceding stection,
for example, 40% of all Swedish househlds wuld rank among low-income households
in the USA, and an even greater number in the porer European countries would be
classed as low income earning by the American definition."
Coyu
2004-07-02 04:47:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
As I mentioned, my figures were taken from the Timbro studies, which are
Yes, that's where that fool Glenn Reynolds got the original idea from
last year, IMS.

Looking at their methodology shows immediate flaws. For instance, that
paragraph you quote (and misspell within so very often)?
Post by JoatSimeon
"Poverty is a highly relative concept. As we saw in the preceding
stection, for example, 40% of all Swedish househlds wuld rank among
low-income households in the USA, and an even greater number in the
porer European countries would be classed as low income earning by
the American definition."
Well, looking at the preceding section (note the correct spelling!),
I see that 30% of all households in the US would rank below the
$25000 line in 1999, which, please note, is NOT the poverty line as
defined in the US.

So. The US has 30% of its households living below what Steverino called
the poverty line (but the study did not). Woo hoo for us!

(Just to refresh y'all's memory, here's Steverino again:

"By US standards, 40% of the population of Sweden lives below the
poverty line.")

Still a lie.

Looking around this nonsensical report, I have to say how much I love
the cherry-picking they come up with for appliance use. In comparison
with Italy, notice, the US is behind in washing machine ownership
(even though we invented it!) and far far behind on cell phone use.
Obviously, the US is composed of a bunch of dirty uncommunicative
slobs compared to Old Europe.

And that pernicious lack of growth due to tax burden myth has been
pretty much demolished by Peter Lindert, not that I ever expect a
retraction from the people who still parrot it. I guess they're too
busy to keep up with the literature.

But hey. It's an ideological position paper put out by rich right-
wing Swedes, their version of the CATO Institute. One expects bad
methodology when one is selling sheet music to the choir.

Meanwhile, Weird Al can't even find the right paper, even with
Noel's hints.
Sydney Webb
2004-07-02 05:30:56 UTC
Permalink
Coyu wrote:

<snip>
Post by Coyu
In comparison
with Italy, notice, the US is behind in washing machine ownership
(even though we invented it!) and far far behind on cell phone use.
Obviously, the US is composed of a bunch of dirty uncommunicative
slobs compared to Old Europe.
<righteous anger and irony noted>

In fairness to Americans there are probably no-wealth related reasons
for these two facts. Americans may have greater use of laundry services
and laundromats compared with their Italian cousins. This is not an
indicator of relative poverty, possibly the reverse.

I suspect - although this is more for a.f.h - that the low level of
mobile phone using may just be a temporary blip. AIUI until recently
technical and network issues have prevented widespread use of
text-messaging in the US compared with the rest of the First World. And
text-messaging has been in the rest of the aforementioned FW a
killer-app for cell phone uptake.

ObWI: WI greater levels of standardisation and regulation in the US,
which sees SMS[1] messaging pick up five years earlier? Think of how
texting has changed our lives, particularly of the young people. Now
apply this to the vigorous USA. Do we see some s.h.w-i regulars in OTL
spending more time in the ATL SMSing their friends?

[1] I feel compelled to point out that in this context SMS stands for
Short Message/Messaging Service.

- Syd
James Nicoll
2004-07-02 10:50:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sydney Webb
<snip>
Post by Coyu
In comparison
with Italy, notice, the US is behind in washing machine ownership
(even though we invented it!) and far far behind on cell phone use.
Obviously, the US is composed of a bunch of dirty uncommunicative
slobs compared to Old Europe.
<righteous anger and irony noted>
In fairness to Americans there are probably no-wealth related reasons
for these two facts. Americans may have greater use of laundry services
and laundromats compared with their Italian cousins. This is not an
indicator of relative poverty, possibly the reverse.
I used to use a laundry service. The value of my time spent
in the laundromat was higher than the cost of just paying them to hand
me a bunch of clean clothes, although it did mean I missed the parade
of strippers and Ladies of Negotiable Virtue through the particular
laudromat I used (I used to live in an interesting neighborhood).

I can't decide if this sort of thing is a hangover from the
days when everyone had servants or a symptom of the service economy,
where we all work our asses off serving other people to afford the
services we could do ourselves, if we weren't working so hard etc.
--
"The keywords for tonight are Caution and Flammable."
Elvis, _Bubba Ho Tep_
kenny boylan
2004-07-02 07:39:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by Coyu
Looking around this nonsensical report, I have to say how much I love
the cherry-picking they come up with for appliance use. In comparison
with Italy, notice, the US is behind in washing machine ownership
(even though we invented it!) and far far behind on cell phone use.
Obviously, the US is composed of a bunch of dirty uncommunicative
slobs compared to Old Europe.
I'd be pretty wary of the Tromi reports 'facts' on appliance ownership.
The figures for the UK appear to be somewhat dodgy.

For instance it claims that 48% of the UK has microwaves.
A look at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/lib/viewerChart346.html
suggests the figure for 99 should be around 82%.

The figure for PC's seems to be around 5 years out of date,
whilst the figure for dishwashers appears to be around 10 years out of
date.

Which doesn't inspire confidence in the rest of its figures.
Noel
2004-07-02 20:21:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by kenny boylan
Post by Coyu
Post by Coyu
Looking around this nonsensical report, I have to say how much I love
the cherry-picking they come up with for appliance use. In comparison
with Italy, notice, the US is behind in washing machine ownership
(even though we invented it!) and far far behind on cell phone use.
Obviously, the US is composed of a bunch of dirty uncommunicative
slobs compared to Old Europe.
I'd be pretty wary of the Tromi reports 'facts' on appliance ownership.
The figures for the UK appear to be somewhat dodgy.
For instance it claims that 48% of the UK has microwaves.
A look at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/lib/viewerChart346.html
suggests the figure for 99 should be around 82%.
The figure for PC's seems to be around 5 years out of date,
whilst the figure for dishwashers appears to be around 10 years out of
date.
Which doesn't inspire confidence in the rest of its figures.
---Your talking to Steve Stirling. He has found a source
which confirms his prejudices. Why confuse the poor man?

I want him off the NG. I really do.

Best,

Noel
k***@cix.compulink.co.uk
2004-07-03 18:11:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Noel
I want him off the NG. I really do.
He does seem to be accurate when discussing small arms, or at least
early breech loading rifles, shame about the rest of his claims. There
are several others I could equally well do without.

Ken Young
***@cix.co.uk

Those who cover themselves with martial glory
frequently go in need of any other garment. (Bramah)
Noel
2004-07-02 14:05:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by JoatSimeon
As I mentioned, my figures were taken from the Timbro studies, which are
Yes, that's where that fool Glenn Reynolds got the original idea from
last year, IMS.
Looking at their methodology shows immediate flaws. For instance, that
paragraph you quote (and misspell within so very often)?
Post by JoatSimeon
"Poverty is a highly relative concept. As we saw in the preceding
stection, for example, 40% of all Swedish househlds wuld rank among
low-income households in the USA, and an even greater number in the
porer European countries would be classed as low income earning by
the American definition."
Well, looking at the preceding section (note the correct spelling!),
I see that 30% of all households in the US would rank below the
$25000 line in 1999, which, please note, is NOT the poverty line as
defined in the US.
So. The US has 30% of its households living below what Steverino called
the poverty line (but the study did not). Woo hoo for us!
"By US standards, 40% of the population of Sweden lives below the
poverty line.")
Still a lie.
---Yup. Isn't that cute? First, Stevarino defines
his own poverty line. (Which is what he did, unless
"low income" became synonymous with "poverty" the last
time I checked.) Then he uses it to claim that 40% of
Swedes live in poverty, without mentioning that by the
same definition, so do 30% of Americans. Only, that's
wrong too ... because American household size increases
with income, while in Sweden its constant. So a higher
percentage of American _citizens_ are in poverty.

OK, I want Steve to get the fuck off this newsgroup.

Best,

Noel
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-02 19:20:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
As I mentioned, my figures were taken from the Timbro studies, which are
"Poverty is a highly relative concept. As we saw in the preceding stection,
for example, 40% of all Swedish househlds wuld rank among low-income households
in the USA, and an even greater number in the porer European countries would be
classed as low income earning by the American definition."
But probably have reasonable comporable standards of living and certainly
more leisure time.

Sweden is an odd one though.

Dave
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 20:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave O'Neill
But probably have reasonable comporable standards of living
-- not really. Americans make more money and consume more; they have more
stuff, and more space.
Post by Dave O'Neill
and certainly more leisure time.
-- Americans do work longer hours. Of course, that's one reason the US is
showing consistently higher rates of economic growth, which in turn increases
the gap in earnings.
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-02 22:04:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by Dave O'Neill
But probably have reasonable comporable standards of living
-- not really. Americans make more money and consume more; they have more
stuff, and more space.
Stuff is not the only factor in standard of living.
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by Dave O'Neill
and certainly more leisure time.
-- Americans do work longer hours. Of course, that's one reason the US is
showing consistently higher rates of economic growth, which in turn increases
the gap in earnings.
Its a choice, more money or more leisure time.

I think the Swedes actually have quite a good balance myself.

Dave
JoatSimeon
2004-07-03 12:02:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave O'Neill
Its a choice, more money or more leisure time.
I think the Swedes actually have quite a good balance myself.
-- it's not a one-off choice.

A lower rate of growth means an _increasing_ gap in incomes. Constantly
increasing.

This also means that capital and people with potentially high incomes will
eventually move to where returns are higher; which in turn increases the
problems for those who remain. That's happening within the EU, too, of course,
which is why the Germans are always complaining about tax competition.

There were those who thought the greater security of life in Breshnev's USSR
was better, too... 8-).
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-03 13:44:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by Dave O'Neill
Its a choice, more money or more leisure time.
I think the Swedes actually have quite a good balance myself.
-- it's not a one-off choice.
A lower rate of growth means an _increasing_ gap in incomes. Constantly
increasing.
But income is not necessarily directly linked to standard of living. It is
a mistake to think it is.
Post by JoatSimeon
This also means that capital and people with potentially high incomes will
eventually move to where returns are higher; which in turn increases the
problems for those who remain.
Again, not necessarily. I certainly haven't seen too much evidence of that
in the case of Sweden, where I've seen several people moving back to Sweden
from the UK in recent years (BTW: I work for a Swedish company)

That's happening within the EU, too, of course,
Post by JoatSimeon
which is why the Germans are always complaining about tax competition.
Of course they are, that doesn't mean too much though.
Post by JoatSimeon
There were those who thought the greater security of life in Breshnev's USSR
was better, too... 8-).
And so? You comparing 2004 Sweden to 1970's USSR?
phil hunt
2004-07-02 22:01:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
-- Americans do work longer hours. Of course, that's one reason the US is
showing consistently higher rates of economic growth, which in turn increases
the gap in earnings.
As I've pointed out to you in the past, no it doesn't, not over long
periods of time. Americans are about 50% better off than Brits or
Germans; 100 years ago, Americans were about 50% better off than
Brits or Germans. It therefore follows that average per capita
grpowth rates in all three societies over this preriod must have
been about the same.

Note that Germany invented the welfare state, and Britain followed
Germany's practice shortly after. Over the period in question, state
spending as a proportion of GDP has been higher in Germany and
Britain than it has in trhe USA; this did not produce lower growth
in these countries, which tends to disprove the theory that high
state spending produces lower growth.
--
"It's easier to find people online who openly support the KKK than
people who openly support the RIAA" -- comment on Wikipedia
(Email: zen19725 at zen dot co dot uk)
JoatSimeon
2004-07-03 12:09:59 UTC
Permalink
Americans are about 50% better off than Brits or Germans; 100 years ago,
Americans were about 50% better off than Brits or Germans.

-- this is true, but meaningless.

Eg., compare the relative incomes at 25-year intervals across that span.

You're talking about quite distinct periods; comparing apples and oranges, in
other words.

From 1945 through the 70's, for instance, Britain consistently grew more slowly
than France, Germany and Italy; they all had higher per-capita GDP's by 1980.

Since then, the UK has gone from #4 to #2, and it's closing fast on Germany.

Roughly the same thing happened with the US and the same three European
economies.

They grew faster than the US from the end of WWII through the 1970's; by the
end of that period everyone assumed that they (and Japan) would soon catch up
and then forge ahead.

It didn't happen. There are reasons for this.
this did not produce lower growth in these countries, which tends to disprove
the theory that high state spending produces lower growth.

-- well, no, it doesn't, actually. Try comparing government spending as a
percentage of GDP in France and Germany at various periods. You'll find that
it didn't ascend to the current ridiculous 50% levels until comparatively
recently -- about 25 years ago, IIRC.

Prior to 1914, Germany's government spent a smaller % than the UK did, for
example. (Working from memory; Strachan's "First World War".)
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-03 13:58:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Americans are about 50% better off than Brits or Germans; 100 years ago,
Americans were about 50% better off than Brits or Germans.
-- this is true, but meaningless.
Eg., compare the relative incomes at 25-year intervals across that span.
You're talking about quite distinct periods; comparing apples and oranges, in
other words.
From 1945 through the 70's, for instance, Britain consistently grew more slowly
than France, Germany and Italy; they all had higher per-capita GDP's by 1980.
Since then, the UK has gone from #4 to #2, and it's closing fast on Germany.
I'd check your figures on that, and take another look now that the pound has
slipped back against the Euro. UKIP keep making a similar mistake.
Post by JoatSimeon
Roughly the same thing happened with the US and the same three European
economies.
They grew faster than the US from the end of WWII through the 1970's; by the
end of that period everyone assumed that they (and Japan) would soon catch up
and then forge ahead.
It didn't happen. There are reasons for this.
this did not produce lower growth in these countries, which tends to disprove
the theory that high state spending produces lower growth.
-- well, no, it doesn't, actually. Try comparing government spending as a
percentage of GDP in France and Germany at various periods. You'll find that
it didn't ascend to the current ridiculous 50% levels until comparatively
recently -- about 25 years ago, IIRC.
Prior to 1914, Germany's government spent a smaller % than the UK did, for
example. (Working from memory; Strachan's "First World War".)
Jussi Jalonen
2004-07-02 08:51:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
This?
http://www.lisproject.org/links/cpconf/rainwater.pdf
No, this:

http://www.lisproject.org/publications/liswps/244.pdf



Cheers,
Jalonen
alfred montestruc
2004-07-02 21:47:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jussi Jalonen
Post by alfred montestruc
This?
http://www.lisproject.org/links/cpconf/rainwater.pdf
http://www.lisproject.org/publications/liswps/244.pdf
Thank you.

So now we have dueling references as Sterling has produced references
(Swedish ones at that) that back his statements.

My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
Coyu
2004-07-02 21:56:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
... you silly man. Jussi's talking about the same paper we are.

I really have to wonder, how do you get through life? AFAICT,
you can't even comprehend simple English sentences, let alone
complex phrases that might contain opinions you disagree with.
This seems an unlikely deficit for a supposed engineer to have,
and paired with your documented poor math skills, it makes me
wonder about corruption in Louisiana and Texas professional
certification boards.
alfred montestruc
2004-07-03 05:24:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
... you silly man. Jussi's talking about the same paper we are.
You cited NOTHING. You ASSERTED w/o proof or evidence.

Sterling provided EVIDENCE in this thread to back his statements. You are TROLL.

-------snip Cujo drool
alfred montestruc
2004-07-03 06:04:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
... you silly man. Jussi's talking about the same paper we are.
You cited NOTHING. You ASSERTED w/o proof or evidence.

Sterling provided EVIDENCE in this thread to back his statements. You are a TROLL.

-------snip Cujo drool
alfred montestruc
2004-07-03 06:05:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
... you silly man. Jussi's talking about the same paper we are.
You cited NOTHING. You ASSERTED w/o proof or evidence.

Sterling provided EVIDENCE in this thread to back his statements. You are a TROLL.

-------snip Cujo drool
alfred montestruc
2004-07-03 06:06:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
... you silly man. Jussi's talking about the same paper we are.
You cited NOTHING. You ASSERTED w/o proof or evidence.

Sterling provided EVIDENCE in this thread to back his statements. You are a TROLL.

-------snip Cujo drool
alfred montestruc
2004-07-03 06:06:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
... you silly man. Jussi's talking about the same paper we are.
You cited NOTHING. You ASSERTED w/o proof or evidence.

Sterling provided EVIDENCE in this thread to back his statements. You are a TROLL.

-------snip Cujo drool
Jussi Jalonen
2004-07-03 08:11:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by alfred montestruc
So now we have dueling references as Sterling has produced references
(Swedish ones at that) that back his statements.
Stirling's references in this particular matter are about as reliable
and unbiased as... well, as much as one can expect from a man with his
credentials.

As for their supposed value as "original" Swedish sources, mh, well,
by that definition, I could probably counter them up with equally
reliable cites from the reports of Vänsterpartiet.
Post by alfred montestruc
My point about Coyu and Noel's rudeness and trollish behavior stands
as they produce no refernces at all, and accuse Sterling of "lying".
Durak. The reference which I provided _was_ the one mentioned by Coyu
and Noel, and the rudeness and trollish behavior was introduced to
this discussion by you.



Cheers,
Jalonen
Jussi Jalonen
2004-06-30 15:47:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
So what's your point? That someone is somehow impoverished if their
version of "...the pursuit of happiness" doesn't line up with that of
the typical USAnian?
Have to agree with Carlos. Why pay any attention to Stirling?

As for those wonderful 1'200 square foot homes, cars and air
conditioning owned by average "poor" Americans - well, personally: I
use the metric system myself, I could buy myself a car but since I
don't really need one I see no reason to waste my money in one, and if
I need air conditioning, I'll open the window.

I can also buy Partagas if I want to [1]. Legally.



Cheers,
Jalonen


[1] I don't smoke anymore, though. Back when I did, it was mostly
Condal, and sometimes, when I wanted to play a real macho, Toscanos.

ObWI: Danish colonial authorities establish tobacco plantations on the
Virgin Islands. Is the soil as suitable as it is on the Canary
Islands? Assuming that this is the case, could the consequent Danish
cigar industry become comparable to the Dutch one?
JoatSimeon
2004-07-01 21:19:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jussi Jalonen
Have to agree with Carlos. Why pay any attention to Stirling?
-- hundreds of thousands do... 8-).
Jussi Jalonen
2004-07-02 07:31:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by Jussi Jalonen
Have to agree with Carlos. Why pay any attention to Stirling?
-- hundreds of thousands do... 8-).
I'm tempted to use the same line which the authors of the Finnish
humour magazine "Pahkasika" ("Warthog") used on their postcard to Dan
Steinbock, docent at the Helsinki University.

"Over here, there are many people who have never heard of you..."


Cheers,
Jalonen
JoatSimeon
2004-07-01 21:09:23 UTC
Permalink
That someone is somehow impoverished if their version of "...the pursuit of
happiness" doesn't line up with that of the typican USAnian?

-- that American attitudes are more conducive to long-term GDP growth.

This is a factor of geostrategic importance.

Eg., the American share of the world's GDP has increased rather dramatically
over the last 20 years, despite the rapid rise of East Asia.

Likewise, optimism and individualism are at least partially responsible for the
continuing greater demographic vitality of the American populations vs. a vs.
their European cousins.

As a result, while Europe (with some regional exceptions) is increasingly
stagnant, the US remains on the up-and-up, and hence is likely to dominate the
next century even more thoroughly than it did the last.
Jussi Jalonen
2004-07-02 10:02:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Likewise, optimism and individualism are at least partially responsible for
the continuing greater demographic vitality of the American populations vs. a
vs. their European cousins.
Nah. The fact that Americans are breeding like rabbits has little to
do with optimism or individualism. In fact, the perceived "demographic
vitality" is nothing more than the very last ripple of the American
"aid to families with dependent children"-policy, which was basically
an incentive program for trash to produce litters of bastards at
public expense, and thus one of the most likely contributors to the
ridiculously high fertility rates.

In essence, America has only managed to breed itself more low-lifes
and ne'er-do-wells, and the soaring birth-rates will place a massive
strain on the social resources still in the distant future - all this
at the moment when the foreign confidence in the country is low, and
likely to decrease even further. At the moment, the United States is
experiencing developments similar to those which plagued the inter-war
Poland - drastic population increase, oversized military,
political isolation, terrorism, ethnic tensions - and is quite likely
heading to the same direction.

Best guess, it will take some kind of a Holocaust to resolve it.

(Hey, if Stirling can do it, so can I.)



Cheers,
Jalonen
JoatSimeon
2004-07-02 21:00:10 UTC
Permalink
In fact, the perceived "demographic vitality" is nothing more than the very
last ripple of the American "aid to families with dependent children"-policy,

-- if there's a serious comment in there somewhere, I can refer you to sites
that break down the demographic trends in some detail.
and the soaring birth-rates
-- 'gently rising' would be more accurate. Of course, that's a generalization.
Some groups, mainly minorities and secular whites, have falling rates; others
have rising.
kenny boylan
2004-07-02 23:33:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
-- 'gently rising' would be more accurate. Of course, that's a generalization.
Some groups, mainly minorities and secular whites, have falling rates; others
have rising.
So when the CDC in june 2003 issues a press release{1} called
"U.S. Birth Rate Reaches Record Low"
how do you figure the birth rate is "gently rising" ?

1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/03news/lowbirth.htm
The Horny Goat
2004-07-03 03:54:37 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 23:33:11 +0000 (UTC), "kenny boylan"
Post by kenny boylan
So when the CDC in june 2003 issues a press release{1} called
"U.S. Birth Rate Reaches Record Low"
how do you figure the birth rate is "gently rising" ?
1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/03news/lowbirth.htm
Is it just me or is there something just plain WRONG with the Center
for Disease Control issuing a press release on birth rates?
Robert A. Woodward
2004-07-03 06:34:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by JoatSimeon
Post by JoatSimeon
-- 'gently rising' would be more accurate. Of course, that's a
generalization.
Post by JoatSimeon
Some groups, mainly minorities and secular whites, have falling rates;
others
Post by JoatSimeon
have rising.
So when the CDC in june 2003 issues a press release{1} called
"U.S. Birth Rate Reaches Record Low"
how do you figure the birth rate is "gently rising" ?
1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/03news/lowbirth.htm
I suspect that Steve is thinking of fertility rates. The CDC rates
are based on the entire population which has included, in recent
years, ever increasing numbers of people over 50 years old.
--
Robert Woodward <***@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw
JoatSimeon
2004-07-03 12:18:24 UTC
Permalink
I suspect that Steve is thinking of fertility rates. The CDC rates are based
on the entire population which has included, in recent years, ever increasing
numbers of people over 50 years old.

-- correct. The crude birthrates are a less accurate tool for long-term
projection, usually.

It's still an interesting article, though.

The drop in teenage fertility and the increase in that of women in the last
decade of their reproductive span are both intriguing developments,
demographically speaking.

They also account, incidentally, for the convergence of black and white TFR's,
since black _married_ fertility is actually quite a bit lower than that of
whites. (Hispanics are intermediate, IIRC).
mike
2004-07-03 06:37:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 23:33:11 +0000 (UTC), "kenny boylan"
Post by kenny boylan
1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/03news/lowbirth.htm
Is it just me or is there something just plain WRONG with the Center
for Disease Control issuing a press release on birth rates?
Their reports ranged far afield for awhile.

They were taking positions on Gnu Control to the point that
Congresscritters got involved to block funding of said positions
a few years back


**
mike
**
JoatSimeon
2004-07-03 12:11:34 UTC
Permalink
So when the CDC in june 2003 issues a press release{1} called "U.S. Birth
Rate Reaches Record Low" how do you figure the birth rate is "gently rising" ?

-- long-term trend. IIRC, TFR's hit about 1.6 or 1.7 in the 1970's, and are
currently fluctuating around 2.0

Of course, there's the difference between the crude birth rate and the TFR...
I'll take a look at that site.
JoatSimeon
2004-07-03 12:15:37 UTC
Permalink
So when the CDC in june 2003 issues a press release{1} called "U.S. Birth
Rate Reaches Record Low"

-- tright, I looked. 'tis as I figured; they're using the crude birthrate
(births per 1000) and I was referring to the TFR (Total Fertility Rate) which
is a more complex figure based on calculating the fertility of age-cohorts, and
estimates the number of children a woman will bear in her reproductive span.
Jack Linthicum
2004-07-02 15:33:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by JoatSimeon
And most Americans expect to succeed themselves; over 20% think they're in the
top 1% of income earners, for example, and over half _expect_ to be in that
bracket at some point in their lives.
I'm pretty sure that I am either there or very close to it and am
grateful for the opportunity. I won't discuss the amount but I now pay
more in taxes than I received in total gross income the first year
after completing my MBA nearly 20 years ago.
Post by JoatSimeon
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_) and owns a car, air conditioning, etc.
Gawd - Hong Kong (which I visit twice a year on business for about 10
days each time) is positively Fourth World by these standards. Mind
you the typical Hong Konger cares a great deal more about air
conditioning than your typical Texan or Floridian who car or no car
certainly cares about air conditioning more than your typical Swede!
Your typical Hong Kong resident does NOT own a car but DOES have an
extremely efficient air conditioning unit. He/she certainly does not
have 1200 sq ft!
(Personally I have it in my car but not either home or workplace)
Post by JoatSimeon
Americans in general accept this, and that they as individuals are responsible
for their fate.
Of course we are. Why is this surprising? (I do the payroll in our
company and got handed the list today for mid-year bonuses. I am all
smiles as I expected to be given our sales are approx. 40% up from two
years ago)
So what's your point? That someone is somehow impoverished if their
version of "...the pursuit of happiness" doesn't line up with that of
the typican USAnian?
Have to ask since you have been there recently: do people still stake
out places on the sidewalk on (Johnson Road, IIRC) and other
thoroughfares after the businesses close? I did a dance down that or
Gloucester Road one night about 7. Revelation, but then going off the
main drag in any Asia city is a revelation if you don't know what's
there.

Another question, closer to the original thread, would a parallel set
of economies like China have given the Soviet Union longer life? The
military would have had to realize that making consumer goods for
internal or external sale would keep them going longer than eating all
the metal. I saw a sign of this in one time a guy took a coat hanger
off the coat place on a East Bloc airliner. Reason: the same
company/plant that made certain Soviet aircraft also made coat hangers
out of the scrap.
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-02 19:24:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Linthicum
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by JoatSimeon
And most Americans expect to succeed themselves; over 20% think they're in the
top 1% of income earners, for example, and over half _expect_ to be in that
bracket at some point in their lives.
I'm pretty sure that I am either there or very close to it and am
grateful for the opportunity. I won't discuss the amount but I now pay
more in taxes than I received in total gross income the first year
after completing my MBA nearly 20 years ago.
Post by JoatSimeon
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_) and owns a car, air
conditioning, etc.

Hmmm... and just maybe to size thing might just conceivably have something
to do with geography?

I've thought about aircon but frankly for the two days a year it would be
useful I have better things to do with my money, not to mention living in a
17th century house with 18" thick walls it would be a total sod to fit.
Post by Jack Linthicum
Post by The Horny Goat
Gawd - Hong Kong (which I visit twice a year on business for about 10
days each time) is positively Fourth World by these standards. Mind
you the typical Hong Konger cares a great deal more about air
conditioning than your typical Texan or Floridian who car or no car
certainly cares about air conditioning more than your typical Swede!
Your typical Hong Kong resident does NOT own a car but DOES have an
extremely efficient air conditioning unit. He/she certainly does not
have 1200 sq ft!
(Personally I have it in my car but not either home or workplace)
Post by JoatSimeon
Americans in general accept this, and that they as individuals are responsible
for their fate.
Of course we are. Why is this surprising? (I do the payroll in our
company and got handed the list today for mid-year bonuses. I am all
smiles as I expected to be given our sales are approx. 40% up from two
years ago)
So what's your point? That someone is somehow impoverished if their
version of "...the pursuit of happiness" doesn't line up with that of
the typican USAnian?
Have to ask since you have been there recently: do people still stake
out places on the sidewalk on (Johnson Road, IIRC) and other
thoroughfares after the businesses close? I did a dance down that or
Gloucester Road one night about 7. Revelation, but then going off the
main drag in any Asia city is a revelation if you don't know what's
there.
Another question, closer to the original thread, would a parallel set
of economies like China have given the Soviet Union longer life? The
military would have had to realize that making consumer goods for
internal or external sale would keep them going longer than eating all
the metal. I saw a sign of this in one time a guy took a coat hanger
off the coat place on a East Bloc airliner. Reason: the same
company/plant that made certain Soviet aircraft also made coat hangers
out of the scrap.
The Horny Goat
2004-07-03 03:54:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave O'Neill
Post by Jack Linthicum
Post by JoatSimeon
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_) and owns a car, air conditioning, etc.
Hmmm... and just maybe to size thing might just conceivably have something
to do with geography?
This is of course my whole point - one would EXPECT more Floridians to
be interested in air-conditioning than those in say Portland, OR!

Now granted Steve's stats may well be a bit dodgy as Carlos pointed
out but clearly to a certain extent the geography dictates which goods
are going to be more highly sought after - you would expect fur parkas
or hats to be more popular in Moscow, RU and Winnipeg, MB than in
Miami, FL!

If the criteria for "poverty" is the possession (or not) of particular
goods then one can construct all kinds of interesting definitions. I
am sauna-deprived - I suspect Mr. Jalonen isn't (or at least knows
where he can go to get one whenever he likes!) I am thereby
impoverished as a result?!?

Culturally maybe but not materially...
Post by Dave O'Neill
Post by Jack Linthicum
Another question, closer to the original thread, would a parallel set
of economies like China have given the Soviet Union longer life? The
Probably - I don't know how you'd prove or disprove this proposition.
JoatSimeon
2004-07-03 12:20:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
This is of course my whole point - one would EXPECT more Floridians to
be interested in air-conditioning than those in say Portland, OR!

-- one would expect Parisians to be more interested in it, considering how many
elderly people died in the last heat-wave there... 8-).

Of course, the doctors were mostly on vacation, which didn't help.
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-03 13:46:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by The Horny Goat
This is of course my whole point - one would EXPECT more Floridians to
be interested in air-conditioning than those in say Portland, OR!
-- one would expect Parisians to be more interested in it, considering how many
elderly people died in the last heat-wave there... 8-).
And I am sure that they are *now*. Given that last summer was actually
unprecidented why on Earth would they have been interested in AirCon for the
few days a year it creeps above 30C.

I've lived in Paris in the summer and it's generally warmer than Southern
England, it's not a huge amount. My wife and I were in Paris last summer
and it was signficantly hotter than usual.

Dave
Dave O'Neill
2004-07-03 13:50:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by Dave O'Neill
Post by JoatSimeon
The average American "poor" person, for example, lives in a 1200 square foot
home (200 larger than the EU _average_) and owns a car, air conditioning, etc.
Hmmm... and just maybe to size thing might just conceivably have something
to do with geography?
This is of course my whole point - one would EXPECT more Floridians to
be interested in air-conditioning than those in say Portland, OR!
Now granted Steve's stats may well be a bit dodgy as Carlos pointed
out but clearly to a certain extent the geography dictates which goods
are going to be more highly sought after - you would expect fur parkas
or hats to be more popular in Moscow, RU and Winnipeg, MB than in
Miami, FL!
If the criteria for "poverty" is the possession (or not) of particular
goods then one can construct all kinds of interesting definitions. I
am sauna-deprived - I suspect Mr. Jalonen isn't (or at least knows
where he can go to get one whenever he likes!) I am thereby
impoverished as a result?!?
But here's a thing, Steve seems to purely equate having "stuff" with poverty
and wealth. Sure, it is a part of the calcualtion but not the whole sum.

Taking Sweden, as an example, most of the Swede's I know have lots of stuff
which is of little interest to me, i.e. family holiday home on the sea or a
lake and a small boat, plus of course the obligatory Saab or Volvo. They
certainly don't seem to lack things in comparison to my USian friends.
Comparing my trips to Sweden and the US (I visit both roughly 6-8 times a
year) and on a surface level there isn't much to chose between them except
my Swedish collegues are much less worried about their health, pension and
so forth than my US associates.

I'll not deny if pure accumulation of wealth and "stuff" is your thing the
US is a better place to be than Europe. If, on the other hand, you place
value on health care, access to education and so forth and can live with
being less "well off", then Europe wins.

Dave
The Horny Goat
2004-07-03 03:54:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Linthicum
Have to ask since you have been there recently: do people still stake
out places on the sidewalk on (Johnson Road, IIRC) and other
thoroughfares after the businesses close? I did a dance down that or
Gloucester Road one night about 7. Revelation, but then going off the
main drag in any Asia city is a revelation if you don't know what's
there.
I don't know Johnson Road but certainly what you describe is common
pretty much anywhere in Kowloon in the first hour or two after dark
most days and anytime Sunday.
Post by Jack Linthicum
Another question, closer to the original thread, would a parallel set
of economies like China have given the Soviet Union longer life? The
military would have had to realize that making consumer goods for
internal or external sale would keep them going longer than eating all
the metal. I saw a sign of this in one time a guy took a coat hanger
off the coat place on a East Bloc airliner. Reason: the same
company/plant that made certain Soviet aircraft also made coat hangers
out of the scrap.
I've no idea - but could the Red Army have owned and operated
businesses in Russia the way the PLA has in China? Certainly I could
see Stalin allowing the Red Army in 1945 to take over the tractor
works given the obvious military uses of same.
Coyu
2004-06-28 17:09:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bruce Munro
A Chinese-style economic reform probably isn't possible: the Soviet
system was just too extensive, too deeply rooted and
institutionalized, for the sort of realtively free-wheeling reforms
that could take in a mostly peasant China only 30 years after the move
to collectivism.
A Chinese-style economic reform in the Soviet Union... um. I don't
want to say it was impossible, but it's something of a category
error.

In China, there were only a few hundred goods on the plan, mainly
production goods and agricultural staples, and plentiful below-
the-radar market transactions.

In the Soviet Union, nearly every production and consumer good
imaginable was on the plan. Hundreds of types of candy alone. It's
the sort of thing that makes me wonder if the Soviet system
collapsed from decent managerial burnout.
Bruce Munro
2004-06-29 06:21:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by Bruce Munro
A Chinese-style economic reform probably isn't possible: the Soviet
system was just too extensive, too deeply rooted and
institutionalized, for the sort of realtively free-wheeling reforms
that could take in a mostly peasant China only 30 years after the move
to collectivism.
A Chinese-style economic reform in the Soviet Union... um. I don't
want to say it was impossible, but it's something of a category
error.
In China, there were only a few hundred goods on the plan, mainly
production goods and agricultural staples, and plentiful below-
the-radar market transactions.
Evn during the Great Leap Forward era? So I suppose one could say the
Chinese had a free market "in being" throughout the pre-reform era,
while the Soviets had to create one essentially from scratch and the
black market?
Post by Coyu
In the Soviet Union, nearly every production and consumer good
imaginable was on the plan.
Well, that's part of what I meant by "deeply rooted and
institutionalized"...
Post by Coyu
Hundreds of types of candy alone.
...but I hadn't really grasped just how anal this could get. Heh. Turf
wars about resource allocation between the Minister of Smarties and
the Deputy Secretary of Pez. [1]

Bruce

[1] The candy, that is - the dispensers have their own planning
bureau...
Bruce Munro
2004-07-01 05:17:58 UTC
Permalink
Ok, so an improvement in economic performance with a post-1983 POD is
unlikely. [1]

Couple of thoughts:

What if we assume someone who's a wee bit more of a believer (in the
sense that he thinks of the government as an improver of people's
lives rather than a source of graft for his class) than Breznev? If we
also avoid the oil crisis, (no 1973 war? How? Israel does worse in the
six days war?) thereby cutting the oil money with which it was
possible to help buy off discontent during the 70's, can we get a
serious effort to reform things a decade earlier than Gorbachev?

Giving up on the notion of economic reform: can we get a _more_
totalitarian government, post-Stalin? May lead to an economic collapse
even sooner, but may be better suited to keeping the lid on for the 20
years or so it takes to struggle back up to Mexico's standard of
living.

Bruce

[1] Note nobody has critiqued Valdez's scenario
Alex Filonov
2004-07-01 17:22:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bruce Munro
Ok, so an improvement in economic performance with a post-1983 POD is
unlikely. [1]
What if we assume someone who's a wee bit more of a believer (in the
sense that he thinks of the government as an improver of people's
lives rather than a source of graft for his class) than Breznev? If we
Yeah, right. Kosygin, probably, was more a believer (kinda), but he was
gradually pushed off real power. When you have Party/country leadership
organized as mob, they behave like mob.
Post by Bruce Munro
also avoid the oil crisis, (no 1973 war? How? Israel does worse in the
six days war?) thereby cutting the oil money with which it was
possible to help buy off discontent during the 70's, can we get a
serious effort to reform things a decade earlier than Gorbachev?
In part, Gorbachev's reforms started as an attempt to reduce technological
gap from West. Note, nobody wanted market reforms in 1985, the talk was
about "Perestroyka and Uskoreniye", i.e. rebuilding/acceleration. The
result was quite in Soviet style: huge amount of currency was spent on
different equipment which wasn't (and couldn't be) used properly. Thoughts
of market reforms started when first attempts failed.
Technological gap (measured in military equipment, of course, who cared
about anything else?) wasn't that noticeable in 1970s, so why bother?
Post by Bruce Munro
Giving up on the notion of economic reform: can we get a _more_
totalitarian government, post-Stalin? May lead to an economic collapse
even sooner, but may be better suited to keeping the lid on for the 20
years or so it takes to struggle back up to Mexico's standard of
living.
Bruce
[1] Note nobody has critiqued Valdez's scenario
There is nothing to critisize. In 1985, USSR leaders didn't have any
understanding of market economy and population was too used to command/
distributional economy. In China they had lots of people in 1978 who still
remembered how to be economically active. As Yegor Gaidar said in 1991, to
implement Chinese style reform Russia needed Chinese population.
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