Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Radical Baseball: Matinale: When did it become OK to call someone a racist?

See things have quieted down since the last meeting I took in where the only member of the Slats Marion Belongs in the HOF! group got in my face.

Yesterday I attended a baseball meeting in New York City.  There were about 100 people in the audience.  Two of the speakers explicitly called two Hall of Famers racists.  None of us said a word.

Speaker one talked about the subjects of two biographies she had written, repeatedly using vulgar language.  We remained silent for that also.  She described former Dodger manager Walter Alston as a racist.  Alston was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee as Manager in 1983.  Alston died on October 1, 1984 in Oxford, OH (Aged 72).

The other speaker was the president of the Hall of Fame.  In defending the voting results that have barred users of performance enhancing drugs (PED), presumably including steroids, he mentioned that Ty Cobb was a racist.  That is a familiar refrain and it was not surprising that no one objected.  Cobb was inducted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA as Player in 1936 (222/226 ballots). Induction ceremony in Cooperstown held in 1939.  Cobb died on July 17, 1961 in Atlanta, GA (Aged 74).

Both Alston and Cobb are long gone and cannot defend themselves.  This post is not a defense but a question.

Repoz Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:05 AM | 347 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 3 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 
   201. tfbg9 Posted: January 29, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4648228)
Very.

Staring salary is $21/hr. for a 40 hour week. Escalates to $30 in 4th year.


And you can retire after like 20-25 years.
   202. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4648249)
And you can retire after like 20-25 years.

Most likely 20 years to vest your pension, but you can't collect before age 55. Still, very, very generous.
   203. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 29, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4648252)
A middle class lifestyle used to mean something quite different - a household with one car, one phone, one television (black & white, 3 channels & no remote!), and one bathroom (or at least shared bathrooms). Take a look at the old Jackie Gleason "Honeymooners" re-runs to see how a NYC bus driver lived in the 1950s. A comparable worker is much better off today. Even many poor people have color TV, cell phones, Internet access and other comforts. Recent academic studies have also confirmed that upward mobility hasn't declined, contrary to the BACK-IN-THE-GOOD-OLD-DAYS nostalgia that seems to permeate these threads. There are still economic issues of concern, but the suggestion that today's workers have it worse than their predecessors is mostly misplaced.


Technological advancements mean that the definition of middle class also has to advance. Electricity, central heating and indoor plumbing were the ultimate luxuries 100 years ago. A tv of any kind in 1955 was a bigger luxury than a 42" flatscreen is today.
   204. tfbg9 Posted: January 29, 2014 at 07:38 PM (#4648297)
Is this a great country, or what?
   205. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 29, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4648301)
Is that an MTA bus driver? Seems really really low.


Very.

Staring salary is $21/hr. for a 40 hour week. Escalates to $30 in 4th year.


The link I gave was to salary.com. That may well have been the average for all bus drivers (it didn't specify), as opposed to only those working for the MTA. Which means that the average for non-MTA drivers would be even lower. But since Ralph was an MTA driver, that's a fair point you're making.

But still. Taking that $30 an hour figure, and using the rule of thumb of allocating 25% of your income for housing, that works out to an income of $62,400 a year, which leaves $1300 a month for rent. Here's Apartmentguide.com's listings for Brooklyn. See what sort of middle class apartments you can come up with for that amount. And to make it even more interesting, imagine that you have a child or two.

Oh, and good luck. You'll need it.

------------------------------------------------------

Technological advancements mean that the definition of middle class also has to advance. Electricity, central heating and indoor plumbing were the ultimate luxuries 100 years ago. A tv of any kind in 1955 was a bigger luxury than a 42" flatscreen is today.

It's hard to directly compare TV costs from 1955 to those of today, since the sets back then were (in constant dollars) much more expensive and the selections were a minute fraction of today's, but you also didn't have today's cable bills that make all those extra choices possible. Obviously in terms of value, we're infinitely better off with our total TV package of 2014, but it's not as if it doesn't come at a cost that plenty of people can't afford.
   206. Lassus Posted: January 29, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4648303)
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I want the people driving city buses - especially in NYC - paid pretty damned well, thanks.
   207. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4648312)
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I want the people driving city buses - especially in NYC - paid pretty damned well, thanks.

I'd like to see DC Metro drivers be able to live in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan. It wasn't that long ago that they could.
   208. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4648320)
The fact that middle class people actually believe their wages are comparatively as good as they were in the 1950's - 80's astounds the hell out of me.
   209. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4648328)
I'd like to see DC Metro drivers be able to live in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan. It wasn't that long ago that they could.


Well, how do you get there? Do you artificially hold down rents and property values? That seems like a non-starter. Do you raise salaries? OK, how much does one need to make to afford Adams-morgan? I assume quite a lot. If we pay metro drivers $200K (or whatever it would take) to afford it, that comes with another host of problems, like who gets hired to that suddenly extremely lucrative job? How much of a bribe would you pay to get a job driving a bus and getting paid lower upper class wages? And if bus drivers can suddenly afford it, presumably other service workers like fire, police, garbage, teachers, city maintenance... all get a similar bump, and all of them want to live in Adams-Morgan as well, which drives up rents and property values, and we're back to square one.
   210. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:33 PM (#4648329)
Taking that $30 an hour figure, and using the rule of thumb of allocating 25% of your income for housing, that works out to an income of $62,400 a year, which leaves $1300 a month for rent. Here's Apartmentguide.com's listings for Brooklyn. See what sort of middle class apartments you can come up with for that amount.

Take another look at Ralph Kramden's 1950s apartment - pretty stark by any measure.
   211. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:37 PM (#4648331)
pretty stark by any measure.


TV sets from the 50's weren't exactly known for their true-to-life realism.
   212. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4648333)
I'd like to see DC Metro drivers be able to live in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan. It wasn't that long ago that they could.


Isn't this at least as much on the rise in the real cost of living in those places as it is on the decline in the real wages of those jobs? And like Misirlou said, if you could magically raise their pay enough to afford Adams-Morgan tomorrow, it would cost even more to live in Adams-Morgan by the weekend.
   213. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:41 PM (#4648334)
Take another look at Ralph Kramden's 1950s apartment - pretty stark by any measure.


What, the "Honeymooners" is now a true to life documentary? how about "The Brady Bunch?" A family of 8 headed by a successful architect living a 3 bed, 2 bath house?
   214. Canker Soriano Posted: January 29, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4648340)
What, the "Honeymooners" is now a true to life documentary? how about "The Brady Bunch?" A family of 8 headed by a successful architect living a 3 bed, 2 bath house?

5 bedrooms, if you count Alice's living quarters and Greg's pad in the attic. They saved money on lawn care by having an Astroturf yard.

(One of the consistent themes of the Honeymooners was that they were poorer than their neighbors the Nortons, even though Ed the sewer worker probably made no more money than did Ralph the bus driver. But Ralph frittered their money away on get-rich-quick schemes and other flights of fancy, leaving them with nothing more than a broken-down ice box and no TV. So I think the starkness was intentional and not necessarily representative of living in NYC in the 1950s.

For an different look, check out the movie "The Apartment" (Jack Lemmon, around 1960). He had a one bedroom place just off Central Park, working as a faceless cog for an insurance company. I can't imagine what that apartment would rent for now, but it would not be something that someone with that job could likely afford. (If you haven't seen it, watch it anyway - it's a great movie.))
   215. PreservedFish Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4648401)
It seems like the issues we're talking about here have more to do with simple physical size of cities than they do the plight/good fortune of the middle class.

Regular folks used to buy apartments and even townhouses in Manhattan. They can't now - is that because of economic shifts or is it because they just ran out of townhouses? As cities spread they do a terrible job of creating new lively neighborhoods where people would be happy to live despite increased population density. Downtowns are becoming more and more coveted due to scarcity. I think it would be more instructive to look at what an average joe was able to afford in the suburbs of the 50s, or in a rural area.
   216. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4648411)
It seems like the issues we're talking about here have more to do with simple physical size of cities than they do the plight/good fortune of the middle class.

Regular folks used to buy apartments and even townhouses in Manhattan. They can't now - is that because of economic shifts or is it because they just ran out of townhouses? As cities spread they do a terrible job of creating new lively neighborhoods where people would be happy to live despite increased population density. Downtowns are becoming more and more coveted due to scarcity. I think it would be more instructive to look at what an average joe was able to afford in the suburbs of the 50s, or in a rural area.


Concur. If you want middle class people to be able to live is desirable Manhattan or DC neighborhoods, you're going to have to cover every lot in those neighborhoods with 40 story apartment towers.
   217. PreservedFish Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:41 PM (#4648418)
Woohoo! I got a "concur."

PreservedFish 1
Internet 0
   218. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4648422)
Regular folks used to buy apartments and even townhouses in Manhattan. They can't now - is that because of economic shifts or is it because they just ran out of townhouses?


Downtown real estate may be scarcer in a lot of places, but the New York/Manhattan population isn't higher now than it was in the 1950s, I don't think.

EDIT: Just checked with Wikipedia, and Manhattan and Brooklyn populations are considerably lower than they were in 1950. Queens and Staten Island are up so that overall city population was a bit higher in 2010.
   219. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4648423)
(218) That has to do with getting rid of all the really crowded tenements.

In 1860 Manhattan probably had a similar population, all south of 59th St.
   220. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 12:23 AM (#4648432)
Taking that $30 an hour figure, and using the rule of thumb of allocating 25% of your income for housing, that works out to an income of $62,400 a year, which leaves $1300 a month for rent. Here's Apartmentguide.com's listings for Brooklyn. See what sort of middle class apartments you can come up with for that amount.

Take another look at Ralph Kramden's 1950s apartment - pretty stark by any measure.


Then why did you refer to the Kramdens as "middle class", as you did in #197?

------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to see DC Metro drivers be able to live in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan. It wasn't that long ago that they could.

Isn't this at least as much on the rise in the real cost of living in those places as it is on the decline in the real wages of those jobs?


But if "real wages" aren't reflecting "real cost of living", then what the hell does it mean? If the middle class can't even afford to live in our great cities, then what's the meaning of "middle class"?

And like Misirlou said, if you could magically raise their pay enough to afford Adams-Morgan tomorrow, it would cost even more to live in Adams-Morgan by the weekend.

I expressed a wish, not anything more, and there's no turning the clock back in either Washington or New York. I fully recognize that that an economy that values lobbyists, "consultants" and the creators of $25 cocktails** more than it does teachers and bus drivers isn't going to wind up with many teachers and bus drivers being able to live in neighborhoods like Adams-Morgan.

**I know one of those people, the son of the head of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. Great guy, but he'd be the first to tell you that his societal value is sub-marginal compared to a bus driver or a teacher. Part of the reason that housing costs have soared in cities like New York and Washington is that our world today is full of such people, who existed back in 1955 to be sure, but at nowhere near their current numbers or current income levels.

------------------------------------------------------------

It seems like the issues we're talking about here have more to do with simple physical size of cities than they do the plight/good fortune of the middle class.

Regular folks used to buy apartments and even townhouses in Manhattan. They can't now - is that because of economic shifts or is it because they just ran out of townhouses? As cities spread they do a terrible job of creating new lively neighborhoods where people would be happy to live despite increased population density. Downtowns are becoming more and more coveted due to scarcity. I think it would be more instructive to look at what an average joe was able to afford in the suburbs of the 50s, or in a rural area.


That's a good point to raise, but at least in Washington, and I suspect elsewhere, the phenomenon you're talking about has also affected much of the suburbs, which are no more affordable on a middle class income today** than most of the District. In the DC area, this is particularly so where we live (Montgomery County), where affordable housing is every bit as much an issue as it is in DC.

**For people just starting out, that is. For people like me and my wife, it's very affordable for the simple reason that we bought our house in 1991 and not in 2013, and also because we've re-financed four times to bring the interest down from 9% to 3.75%. We live in a good neighborhood on a relatively modest income for an analogous reason that a relatively small number of people can still afford to live in Manhattan (rent control / rent stabilization) on a relatively modest income. That's great for people our age who didn't move around once they found a great deal, but it's not so great for people just entering the housing market today.
   221. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 30, 2014 at 12:38 AM (#4648437)
Take another look at Ralph Kramden's 1950s apartment - pretty stark by any measure.


Then why did you refer to the Kramdens as "middle class", as you did in #197?

By 2014 standards much of the 1950s middle class lived in relatively stark conditions. The Kramden's aren't perfectly representative of that era, but they didn't look out of place in lower middle class urban America, even if their housing choices would be unappealing to many today.
   222. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4648443)
Downtown real estate may be scarcer in a lot of places, but the New York/Manhattan population isn't higher now than it was in the 1950s, I don't think.

EDIT: Just checked with Wikipedia, and Manhattan and Brooklyn populations are considerably lower than they were in 1950. Queens and Staten Island are up so that overall city population was a bit higher in 2010.


Maybe "scarcer" is the wrong word. But these properties are unquestionably more coveted than they used to be. There's the same amount of real estate, but a higher number of people that want it.

That's a good point to raise, but at least in Washington, and I suspect elsewhere, the phenomenon you're talking about has also affected much of the suburbs, which are no more affordable on a middle class income today** than most of the District.


Well, that stands to reason. Not surprising.

San Francisco is an interesting market because there the middle class is really, really getting moved out here. New residents are pretty much split between highly paid tech people and the service class of Central Americans and hipsters that don't mind packing a billion people into each crappy apartment.
   223. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:04 AM (#4648448)
I'd like to see DC Metro drivers be able to live in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan.

Some do. If they owned in Columbia Heights ~15 years ago, their house or condo has appreciated considerably. When I lived it Columbia Heights in the mid-1980s, it was very affordable, but there was little appreciation in value and residential properties were in much worse condition, as was the entire neighborhood. The same can be said for Adams-Morgan if you go another decade or so back. Which is better?

METRO bus drivers make good money. According to 2009 data, bus drivers averaged ~$57,000 (including overtime) while train operators averaged ~$63,000, with benefits that are more generous than those of federal employees. They should be even better off now, since they received a 9% increase over 2009-2011 and will get another 11.3% over 4 years starting in 2012. Not many folks got that good a deal over that time period - certainly not federal employees or the vast majority of state & local government employees.
   224. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:06 AM (#4648449)
Then why did you refer to the Kramdens as "middle class", as you did in #197?

By 2014 standards much of the 1950s middle class lived in relatively stark conditions. The Kramden's aren't perfectly representative of that era, but they didn't look out of place in lower middle class urban America,


I see now that the Kramdens have been demoted from "middle class" to "lower middle class", but what's wrong with "working class", which is in fact exactly how they were being depicted. Even in the 50's, you didn't see too many middle class people working in sewers and walking around their apartments dressed like this.

even if their housing choices would be unappealing to many today.

On the contrary, I'd bet that you'd find plenty of people who'd be thrilled to find apartments like that in Brooklyn for an inflation-adjusted rent of what tenants like the Kramdens and the Nortons would have been paying back during the run of The Honeymooners. They may not have had big screen TVs or central air, but that wasn't a Lower East Side or Harlem slum tenement that they were living in.
   225. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:11 AM (#4648453)
I'd like to see DC Metro drivers be able to live in Columbia Heights and Adams-Morgan.

Some do. If they owned in Columbia Heights ~15 years ago, their house or condo has appreciated considerably.


That's exactly the point I made in my footnote in #220. In more ways than one, being older has some advantages.

When I lived it Columbia Heights in the mid-1980s, it was very affordable, but there was little appreciation in value and residential properties were in much worse condition, as was the entire neighborhood. The same can be said for Adams-Morgan if you go another decade or so back. Which is better?

Obviously that depends on when you got there, and whether or not you've been kicked out by condo conversion or skyrocketing rents. There's no one size fits all answer to your question.
   226. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:15 AM (#4648455)
METRO bus drivers make good money. According to 2009 data, bus drivers averaged ~$57,000 (including overtime) while train operators averaged ~$63,000, with benefits that are more generous than those of federal employees. They should be even better off now, since they received a 9% increase over 2009-2011 and will get another 11.3% over 4 years starting in 2012. Not many folks got that good a deal over that time period - certainly not federal employees or the vast majority of state & local government employees.

That's nice, but on a salary like that they're not likely to be buying or renting in too many parts of DC outside of Anacostia and other parts of far Northeast, whereas 20 years ago most neighborhoods east of Rock Creek Park outside the Gold Coast would have been affordable to them on a comparable salary.
   227. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4648493)
I can't be bothered to find it now, but I read an article earlier this week that claimed (these are ballpark figures) that someone making $380/mo on Social Security in 1980 would be, with the COLAs, $1150 or so today. If the gov't had increased the latter figure by the real rate of inflation (fuel and food included) instead of the official number, the recipient should be getting over $3600 today.
   228. zonk Posted: January 30, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4648501)

I see now that the Kramdens have been demoted from "middle class" to "lower middle class", but what's wrong with "working class", which is in fact exactly how they were being depicted. Even in the 50's, you didn't see too many middle class people working in sewers and walking around their apartments dressed like this.


It should be noted that Ralph also had a habit of wasting money on get rich quick schemes... I mean, he was a lower middle class dude who somehow had the scratch to get his own TV commercial for an apple peeler.

Maybe he was just more like the typical poor person - wasting his money on the non-essentials rather than living the lavish life of luxury such salaries afforded one if they weren't so stupid as to waste them?
   229. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4648505)
I mean, he was a lower middle class dude who somehow had the scratch to get his own TV commercial for an apple peeler.


2 lines I'll always remember:

"It can core a apple"

and

"Poloponies? What the hell is a poloponie*?"

* pronounced pahl-AH-punie
   230. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4648534)
$380/mo on Social Security in 1980 would be, with the COLAs, $1150 or so today. If the gov't had increased the latter figure by the real rate of inflation (fuel and food included) instead of the official number, the recipient should be getting over $3600 today.


So the "real" rate of inflation is like a million percent?
   231. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4648563)
That's what the article claimed it should have worked out to if the government methodology used to calculate inflation in 1980 had been used all along. And it wouldn't even have to be 8% annually to give that result, believe it or not.

Don't forget, 1980 is 34 years ago.
   232. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4648572)
8% is a lot. That suggests that somebody who has made reasonably successful investments is only keeping pace with "real" inflation. I'm skeptical.
   233. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4648575)
I just calculated it, and you'd need a constant rate of just under 7.1% to go from $380 to $3600 in 34 years. As you can see by the chart here, which uses the 1980 methodology, it is entirely true. I'm not saying the way inflation was calculated in 1980 is optimal, but I'm damn sure its a closer reflection of reality than how they do it now.

   234. rr Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4648584)
It should be noted that Ralph also had a habit of wasting money on get rich quick schemes... I mean, he was a lower middle class dude who somehow had the scratch to get his own TV commercial for an apple peeler.


That was a running joke on the show, as was the fact that when it came to stuff other than his schemes, Ralph was cheap and wouldn't put stuff on "lay away" so even though Norton was a sewer worker, his and Trixie's apartment was a lot more nicely decorated than Alice and Ralph's--which of course wasn't decorated at all.

When the conversation gets back to sexual mores and families, I will be ready to cite some evidence from Three's Company.
   235. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4648662)
I can't be bothered to find it now, but I read an article earlier this week that claimed (these are ballpark figures) that someone making $380/mo on Social Security in 1980 would be, with the COLAs, $1150 or so today. If the gov't had increased the latter figure by the real rate of inflation (fuel and food included) instead of the official number, the recipient should be getting over $3600 today.

Sounds like an exaggeration to me. I was around in 1980, and while prices have certainly gone up since then, they haven't gone up by a factor of nearly ten.
   236. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4648666)
Milk would cost $20 a gallon. Gas $10-20 a gallon. Or something.
   237. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4648678)
Milk would cost $20 a gallon. Gas $10-20 a gallon.

But what about the price of housing, education and health insurance? Obviously there's variation in the first two categories, and in the third to some extent, but in many parts of the country they've gone up at a rate that far exceeds the overall CPI.

I'm not saying that the $380 / $3600 jump would reflect the overall reality, because many people aren't affected by the price jumps all three of those categories. Geezers like me, for instance. But cheaper TVs and gas prices don't make up for the far more costly basics, and not everyone who's around today has already paid for his or her education and housing, or has a relatively affordable combination of Medicare + supplement premiums.
   238. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4648681)
Gasoline was .80 to .90 a gallon in 1980, so the unadjusted price of that has roughly quadrupled. I haven't done the research for food, but my wild-ass guess is that it is probably roughly the same for that as well.

No doubt the cost of high-demand, severally restricted supply items such as real estate lots in lower Manhattan and seats behind home plate in Yankee Stadium has gone up tenfold (or even much more) since 1980, but the core necessities of daily life, no way.
   239. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4648694)
But what about the price of housing, education and health insurance? Obviously there's variation in the first two categories, and in the third to some extent, but in many parts of the country they've gone up at a rate that far exceeds the overall CPI.

A lot of the price increase in housing is based on the size/quality increase in housing.

Both my parents grew up middle class as families of 4 in 2 BDR/1 bath apartments.

Growing up myself, most people in my upper middle class neighborhood had 2000-2500 sq. ft. houses, less than half had central air. Today the new houses in that neighborhood will be 4000+ sq. ft., with central everything, 3-car garages, jacuzzi tubs, heated bathroom floors, etc. 2000 sq ft houses are most likely to be torn down when they change hands.
   240. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4648702)
Can't edit for some reason.

Same adjustment needs to be made with the quality of cars. Today's cheapest vehicles have amenities and safety features unheard of in the avg. middle of the road car in 1980-85.

Health care, again, truly massive quality improvements.
   241. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4648709)
But what about the price of housing, education and health insurance? Obviously there's variation in the first two categories, and in the third to some extent, but in many parts of the country they've gone up at a rate that far exceeds the overall CPI.


I went to U of Illinois starting in 1981. In state tuition was ~$1500 back then. Today it's about $16,000
   242. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4648711)
Same adjustment needs to be made with the quality of cars. Today's cheapest vehicles have amenities and safety features unheard of in the avg. middle of the road car in 1980-85.

Health care, again, truly massive quality improvements.


Right, but you still have to pay the higher prices.
   243. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4648726)
Right, but you still have to pay the higher prices.

You can drive used cars. You never have to buy a new car.

A decent mid-range car that's 5 years old with 50,000 miles has a longer useful life than a brand new car in 1980.
   244. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4648729)
A lot of the price increase in housing is based on the size/quality increase in housing.

FWIW, aggregate US land value has gone up by about 6% a year since 1975 (in 2007 that number would have been a hair under 9%). A bit of that is a current bubble in agricultural land values, but the increase has been long-term and general.
   245. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4648731)
Same adjustment needs to be made with the quality of cars.


And again, the march of technology means that the baseline should advance as well. Like I said, electricity and indoor plumbing were extravagant luxuries 100 years ago in most places in the world. An insulated, centrally-heated house was unheard of 100 years ago. Yet we don't treat them like luxuries today, and if you don't have any of these features in your home, you are living in poverty.

I'll grant you house size doesn't fall under the same category, but the most minimally-equipped car available in North America today is far safer than any car money could buy in 1980. We have to compare apples to apples.
   246. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4648734)
I'm still not buying 7% for a real rate of inflation. It just doesn't jibe with what appears to be happening. I'm 32 - has the average price of everything increased fourfold in the 20 years that I've been aware of prices? I don't think it has. Candy bars don't cost $2 now. Nintendo games don't cost $160 now. Family cars don't cost $80,000 now. A baseball hat doesn't cost $80.

Is this Shadow Government Statistics guy just a crank?
   247. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4648737)
As for tuition, my school's was $1985 in 1992-93, with no extra fees. This year with mandatory fees it is $7021 (an increase of almost 7% annually), and since the faculty has been on strike for two weeks now I assume it will take a hefty jump next year.
   248. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4648738)
And again, the march of technology means that the baseline should advance as well. Like I said, electricity and indoor plumbing were extravagant luxuries 100 years ago in most places in the world. An insulated, centrally-heated house was unheard of 100 years ago. Yet we don't treat them like luxuries today, and if you don't have any of these features in your home, you are living in poverty.

I'll grant you house size doesn't fall under the same category, but the most minimally-equipped car available in North America today is far safer than any car money could buy in 1980. We have to compare apples to apples.


If you like in a stock 1985, or 1975 middle class home, you are not living in poverty. Not having central air, cable and a jacuzzi tub is no real hardship.
   249. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4648740)
Is this Shadow Government Statistics guy just a crank?


Depends on your definition of crank. You may have noticed he also posts a chart of inflation based on 1990 CPI methodology, so again, he's not saying that the 1980 version is optimal. All he's doing is math. Everybody knows that the current posted CPI figures are utter garbage.
   250. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4648744)
Everybody knows that the current posted CPI figures are utter garbage.


Is that true? I have no idea, I'm out of my depth here. Do money people and academics just ignore the CPI figures?
   251. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4648753)
#248 I'm not saying that snapper. I'm saying that because of technology, every human on earth should expect a more or less continual rise in their standard of living over time. A fork is technology, and means we no longer have to eat with our hands. I'm sure a tin fork was a luxury 500 years ago.

And I didn't say central air, I said central heating, which means not having to build a coal or wood fire in half the rooms of your house to keep your chamber pot from freezing.

   252. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4648755)
#248 I'm not saying that snapper. I'm saying that because of technology, every human on earth should expect a more or less continual rise in their standard of living over time. A fork is technology, and means we no longer have to eat with our hands. I'm sure a tin fork was a luxury 500 years ago.

And I didn't say central air, I said central heating, which means not having to build a coal or wood fire in half the rooms of your house to keep your chamber pot from freezing.


OK, misread you.

But, I think your baseline assumption is wrong. Continually rising standards of living have only existed for about 200 years. Before that the vast majority of people lived at the same subsistence level generation after generation.

There is a real possibility that rising standards of living won't continue forever.
   253. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4648759)
Do money people and academics just ignore the CPI figures?


John Williamson (the ShadowStats guy) says he got started. From his site:

One of my early clients was a large manufacturer of commercial airplanes, who had developed an econometric model for predicting revenue passenger miles. The level of revenue passenger miles was their primary sales forecasting tool, and the model was heavily dependent on the GNP (now GDP) as reported by the Department of Commerce. Suddenly, their model stopped working, and they asked me if I could fix it. I realized the GNP numbers were faulty, corrected them for my client (official reporting was similarly revised a couple of years later) and the model worked again, at least for a while, until GNP methodological changes eventually made the underlying data worthless.


Any of the alternative financial sites will tell you the main reason the US gov't uses a suppressed version of CPI is so they can overstate GDP. Its intentional of course.
   254. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4648763)
Any of the alternative financial sites will tell you the main reason the US gov't uses a suppressed version of CPI is so they can overstate GDP. Its intentional of course.

Are you talking about using substitution vs. non-substitution in the basket of goods?
   255. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4648764)
You can drive used cars. You never have to buy a new car.


Of course not. But you can't compare the price of a used car today with that of a new car yesterday and draw any sort of conclusion about the inflation rate. the bottom line is still that today's cars give you a much greater value than those of yesteryear, but you still have to pay the price increase. You can't walk into a dealership and demand a late model K car built with 1980 sparse features, because it doesn't exist. Perhaps we are getting the same or even bigger bang for our buck today, but you still have to pay.
   256. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4648765)
#252. Since we're coming at this in terms of the validity of CPI, I don't think we have to go back more than 200 years.

As for rising standards, if greed, war, and corruption didn't screw things up, every one of us could live very comfortably working 3 days a week, getting 2 months vacation.
   257. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4648766)
Of course not. But you can't compare the price of a used car today with that of a new car yesterday and draw any sort of conclusion about the inflation rate. the bottom line is still that today's cars give you a much greater value than those of yesteryear, but you still have to pay the price increase. You can't walk into a dealership and demand a late model K car built with 1980 sparse features, because it doesn't exist. Perhaps we are getting the same or even bigger bang for our buck today, but you still have to pay.

What I'm saying is you can spend $8000 on a used car instead of $18,000 on a new car, and get the same or better value you got from the K-Car.
   258. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4648768)
But what about the price of housing, education and health insurance? Obviously there's variation in the first two categories, and in the third to some extent, but in many parts of the country they've gone up at a rate that far exceeds the overall CPI.

A lot of the price increase in housing is based on the size/quality increase in housing.

Both my parents grew up middle class as families of 4 in 2 BDR/1 bath apartments.

Growing up myself, most people in my upper middle class neighborhood had 2000-2500 sq. ft. houses, less than half had central air. Today the new houses in that neighborhood will be 4000+ sq. ft., with central everything, 3-car garages, jacuzzi tubs, heated bathroom floors, etc. 2000 sq ft houses are most likely to be torn down when they change hands.


That's a point that can also be made about cars and many other things. We pay a lot more, but we get a lot more.

Except when we don't. It depends on a lot of other factors. What you're talking about in housing is largely a phenomenon of the upper middle and upper classes, whose lifestyles are almost exclusively what the Real Estate sections and other media outlets concentrate on. At least in Washington and New York, houses that go for prices that could be bought by people with a median income exist almost completely under the radar.

What you're leaving out is that for people whose incomes haven't been blessed with the sizable increases seen among the upper middle and upper classes, there are fewer and fewer lower cost housing options available at all in many of our cities and suburbs. It's no consolation for those people to know that their upper middle class counterparts are getting more square footage than their parents and grandparents had, when the inflation-adjusted prices those parents and grandparents originally paid for their then-smaller houses are now seldom there for any sort of non-slum housing.
   259. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4648772)
As for rising standards, if greed, war, and corruption didn't screw things up, every one of us could live very comfortably working 3 days a week, getting 2 months vacation.

Well if humans were angels, sure. But, you can't repeal the human condition.

Lots of people want to live better than that standard would be, and lots of people don't even want to work the 3 days.

A world where everyone was happy making $40,000 a year, working 1200 hours a year, would have virtually no innovation, or growth.
   260. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4648773)
#254 - yes, that's part of it. They use "hedonic adjustments" to make it sound like the cheapest new car available today is inherently worth more than the cheapest car available at various points in the past. Same goes for electronics, appliances, etc.. That is not an honest way of doing it, any more than its honest to say household electricity is a luxury because it wasn't available 100 years ago.
   261. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4648774)
Of course not. But you can't compare the price of a used car today with that of a new car yesterday and draw any sort of conclusion about the inflation rate. the bottom line is still that today's cars give you a much greater value than those of yesteryear, but you still have to pay the price increase. You can't walk into a dealership and demand a late model K car built with 1980 sparse features, because it doesn't exist. Perhaps we are getting the same or even bigger bang for our buck today, but you still have to pay.


What I'm saying is you can spend $8000 on a used car instead of $18,000 on a new car, and get the same or better value you got from the K-Car.

And you're right about cars. But that same point doesn't apply to housing.
   262. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4648776)
Continually rising standards of living have only existed for about 200 years. Before that the vast majority of people lived at the same subsistence level generation after generation.


They don't always rise in a smooth straight line, but move in fits and starts, and not uniformly all over the world, but yes, they generally do.
   263. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4648777)
And you're right about cars. But that same point doesn't apply to housing.

There are plenty of old, small houses around. But, yes, land costs have gone up, because the population has doubled and land hasn't increased.

You want everyone to be able to live in a quaint, upper-class urban neighborhood. That's not feasible unless you want the entire city to be 40 story high-rises, and then you wouldn't want to live there anymore.
   264. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4648780)
double posts
   265. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4648787)
They don't always rise in a smooth straight line, but move in fits and starts, and not uniformly all over the world, but yes, they generally do.

No, they don't. Historically rising standards just led to growing populations, until you were back at subsistence. The average peasant in 1700 AD had no more amenities than the average peasant in 100 AD. His farming technology was better, but he had less land available.

Before the industrial revolution, the only way for a society to raise its standards of living consistently, was to subjugate other societies, and expropriate their resources.
   266. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4648795)
The average peasant in 1700 AD had no more amenities than the average peasant in 100 AD. His farming technology was better, but he had less land available.


First of all, the average peasant in 100 was a slave. Second, there were fewer peasants (relative to the overall population) in 1700 than in 100.
   267. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4648800)
As for housing, the cost of utilities and property taxes have also risen faster than income. There was a reason it wasn't worth it financially to insulate a new house in my neck of the woods, as recently as 50 years ago.
   268. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4648801)
I'm not sure Ralph worked for the City, for the MTA. He worked for The Gotham Bus Company, which may have been a "private bus company".

snapper's right about the used cars. If you're a young college grad guy with a 45-55K job and you're just starting out, buy a 7 year old Civic* for ~6500 instead of a BMW, drive it for 3 years, and put the money you save on the payments and insurance into a conservative, diversified investment portfolio. Reapeat the process over and over. Do this type of thing for the first 65% of your entire adult life, and you have a good shot at ending up at least semi-rich.

*or some other car that holds value well and has a low cost per mile


   269. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4648802)
And you're right about cars. But that same point doesn't apply to housing.

There are plenty of old, small houses around. But, yes, land costs have gone up, because the population has doubled and land hasn't increased.


Correct on both counts. But don't pretend it's not a diminution of living standards when a person is forced to move 50 miles out, or even to another part of the country, in order to find anything at the same (inflation-adjusted) price that his parents or grandparents could afford to buy when they were his or her age. "It's the genius of the marketplace at work" isn't much of a consolation for those in that set of circumstances.

You want everyone to be able to live in a quaint, upper-class urban neighborhood. That's not feasible unless you want the entire city to be 40 story high-rises, and then you wouldn't want to live there anymore.

Again, you're merely confirming my point that the true middle class is being squeezed in all directions, aided and abetted by marketplace forces with little or no means of countering them. Those "quaint, upper-class urban neighborhood[s]" you refer to used to provide affordable housing for median income people not that very long ago, before those "neighborhood improvements" priced them out of the city, largely invisible to our wealth-obsessed media.
   270. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4648809)
snapper's right about the used cars. If you're a young college grad guy with a 45-55K job and you're just starting out, buy a 7 year old Civic* for ~6500 instead of a BMW, drive it for 3 years, and put the money you save on the payments and insurance into a conservative, diversified investment portfolio. Reapeat the process over and over. Do this type of thing for the first 65% of your entire adult life, and you have a good shot at ending up at least semi-rich.

Assuming you can in fact get one of those 45-55K jobs and you don't wind up with non-working dependents, that's not a bad bit of advice. Cars these days need a lot less maintenance than they did BITD, and with even a bit of attention to things like oil changes and brake linings can easily last 100,000 miles or more.
   271. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4648814)
Correct on both counts. But don't pretend it's not a diminution of living standards when a person is forced to move 50 miles out, or even to another part of the country, in order to find anything at the same (inflation-adjusted) price that his parents or grandparents could afford to buy when they were his or her age. "It's the genius of the marketplace at work" isn't much of a consolation for those in that set of circumstances.

It's not a diminution of living standards, because they're getting much more for their money. His parents and grandparents didn't live in town-houses and yuppy lofts. They lived in small, crowded apartments. We lived in that kind of housing when I was a kid. We had a 2 BDR/1 bath apartment in Ozone Park Queens. It wasn't that great. When my 2 sisters were born, it became unbearable. I basically lived at my aunt and uncle's apt, until we got a house.

The house in the burbs is 2000-3000 sq ft, with land, vs. the 1200 sq ft apartments they used to cram into. And now they commute 45 minutes by car or train, which is a hell of a lot better than 45 minutes on the un-airconditioned subways of 1950.


   272. zonk Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4648827)
As for rising standards, if greed, war, and corruption didn't screw things up, every one of us could live very comfortably working 3 days a week, getting 2 months vacation.

Well if humans were angels, sure. But, you can't repeal the human condition.

Lots of people want to live better than that standard would be, and lots of people don't even want to work the 3 days.

A world where everyone was happy making $40,000 a year, working 1200 hours a year, would have virtually no innovation, or growth.


Well, I would say this where that magical 'productivity' thing comes into play... I.e., I think you COULD find a pretty large chunk of the population that WOULD be perfectly happy with $40K annual income (let's set aside inflation for a moment) and just working 3 days a week. The problem is that there is no way you can find such a thing in reasonable numbers, for several reasons.

Quite simply, no company is going to pay 2 people $40K each for a combination of even 6 days worth of work when they can pay 1 person $50k for 5 days of work.

...and that's even before we get into the idea of what benefits come with that $40K (i.e., healthcare, retirement, et al).

Working for a company that is your basic, classical Dutch holding company -- I do see some of this with European divisions... they do have employees - sometimes even quite good, "full-time" (in terms of classification, benefits, et al) employees that do work 3 days a week. But even there - those folks are being either slowly exiled or given a choice to go 5 day full-time (but certainly NOT with an directly equivalent raise in pay). It wasn't more than 6 months ago, I had an analyst working with a European counterpart and precisely this topic came up... A perfectly competent, even good, technical resource on their side was a mom who had a M-W-F schedule. When the word comes down to reduce costs (generally via headcount), increase efficiency (meaning, no more overnight - to say nothing of multi-day - turnarounds for tasks), etc -- there's no other way to go about than to say position X has to become a "full-time" (plus, technically, when you consider weekend and evening support) position in the American model.

To be clear - I'm not talking about the folks who very much WANT to "get ahead"... to get promoted, to see big raises... any system, I think, always has room for them.

The problem is that the 3 day/living wage position simply does not exist -- and the ever-hungry drive to squeeze more from less means it just isn't coming back soon, so long as the single best way to reduce the costs of doing business is to have fewer people do more.

...I'd wager anyone in the US who sees themselves offered a 3 day/40K deal probably starts worrying about finding a new job, because they know their days are numbered.
   273. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4648829)
A world where everyone was happy making $40,000 a year, working 1200 hours a year, would have virtually no innovation, or growth.


First of all, growth is only necessary in a debt-based economy. And I think there would be practically unlimited innovation if people were able to get off the hamster wheel and truly relax more. That's when creativity comes.
   274. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4648837)
Correct on both counts. But don't pretend it's not a diminution of living standards when a person is forced to move 50 miles out, or even to another part of the country, in order to find anything at the same (inflation-adjusted) price that his parents or grandparents could afford to buy when they were his or her age. "It's the genius of the marketplace at work" isn't much of a consolation for those in that set of circumstances.

It's not a diminution of living standards, because they're getting much more for their money.


I'm sorry, but if you can't afford to live in the neighborhood that you grew up in, it certainly is a diminution.

His parents and grandparents didn't live in town-houses and yuppy lofts. They lived in small, crowded apartments.

That's certainly not true in the middle class Washington neighborhood I grew up in, which then was populated by a wide variety of income levels and occupations both white collar and blue collar. (The father of my best neighborhood friend in 6th grade was a carpenter, and a few doors away the breadwinner was a house painter.) The 4 bedroom houses of North Cleveland Park have been modernized and somewhat expanded, but they're hardly unrecognizable after 60 years, and the neighborhood isn't any safer.

And yet in real dollar terms the typical house has gone from (inflation-adjusted) $150,000 - $200,000 to $800,000 - $1.2 million in that same period. What's caused that is the phenomenon you've referred to earlier: Much higher demand with an only slightly increased supply, accentuated by an explosion of high income lawyers, lobbyists, "consultants" and other such feeding at the money trough types.

We lived in that kind of housing when I was a kid. We had a 2 BDR/1 bath apartment in Ozone Park Queens. It wasn't that great.

The house in the burbs is 2000-3000 sq ft, with land, vs. the 1200 sq ft apartments they used to cram into. And now they commute 45 minutes by car or train, which is a hell of a lot better than 45 minutes on the un-airconditioned subways of 1950.


I won't ask you to reveal your personal information, but I'd bet that your income of today is a lot higher than the inflation-adjusted income of your father's when you were growing up. What sort of house would a person of your father's inflation-adjusted income be able to afford today, and how far out of the city would he have to go to find it? Not everyone moves to the suburbs because they want to, or would rather spend 45 minutes in traffic than on a subway.
   275. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4648838)
First of all, growth is only necessary in a debt-based economy. And I think there would be practically unlimited innovation if people were able to get off the hamster wheel and truly relax more. That's when creativity comes.

No.

Without growth society descends into a battle of redistribution. The only way to get more is to take it to someone else.

People always want more. It's what humans are programmed to do.

The problem is that the 3 day/living wage position simply does not exist -- and the ever-hungry drive to squeeze more from less means it just isn't coming back soon, so long as the single best way to reduce the costs of doing business is to have fewer people do more.

It never existed. Most people worked 6 days a week for most of history.
   276. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4648839)
If you want a closer number for real inflation, check out the price increases in luxury goods (precious gems, art, high-end furnishings, etc).
   277. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4648845)
Without growth society descends into a battle of redistribution.


That's because of inflation, which is a product of a debt-based economy.

The only way to get more is to take it to someone else.


Again, wrong. Labour creates value. I don't have to take anything from anyone to turn a tree into a chair, or to grow a handful of seeds into 30 lbs of food.
   278. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4648848)
First of all, growth is only necessary in a debt-based economy. And I think there would be practically unlimited innovation if people were able to get off the hamster wheel and truly relax more. That's when creativity comes.


The squirrel eventually finds a good nut.
   279. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4648852)
I won't ask you to reveal your personal information, but I'd bet that your income of today is a lot higher than the inflation-adjusted income of your father's when you were growing up. What sort of house would a person of your father's inflation-adjusted income be able to afford today, and how far out of the city would he have to go to find it? Not everyone moves to the suburbs because they want to, or would rather spend 45 minutes in traffic than on a subway.

No, I'm about the same income wise as my parents were at the same age. I have more assets, but that's because they had 3 kids by age 32.

Right now, you can buy a house in my town (closer to NYC) for $700K, equivalent to what my parents bought for $125K in 1977. That's about a 6.5% nominal increase.

I could've lived in Manhattan, but who wants to live in a crappy 2 BDR for the same amount my 3000 sq. ft. house cost? It's the same decision people have been making forever.
   280. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4648853)
People always want more. It's what humans are programmed to do.


What sort of Creator God would be so evil?
   281. zonk Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4648855)
The problem is that the 3 day/living wage position simply does not exist -- and the ever-hungry drive to squeeze more from less means it just isn't coming back soon, so long as the single best way to reduce the costs of doing business is to have fewer people do more.

It never existed. Most people worked 6 days a week for most of history.


Well, it never existed in the United States... Like I said, you can find pockets of it -- slowly dying out -- in Europe.

There were plenty of turn-of-the-last-century philosophers and technologists who saw the possibility of 3 day/living wage positions... and again, they could exist - if businesses were to just as a basic cost the idea that they need to populate some parts of their operations with 2 people making $40K rather than 1 person making $50K.

So long as labor is treated not much different than a commodity like steel or electricity or a T3 line -- thus will it always be... I should probably step back now because I feel a rant for the proletariat, or at least, for much more extended worker organizing, coming on...
   282. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4648856)
Without growth society descends into a battle of redistribution. The only way to get more is to take it to someone else.


I agree with this, but it appears in the current economy (for whatever reason) growth seems to accumulate much more to the very high end of the wealth scale. The rich get richer. Which means even with growth redistribution is the only path to make sure most people get more. Because growth that basically only helps the rich is not really growth at all for the rest of us.
   283. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4648857)
Again, wrong. Labour creates value. I don't have to take anything from anyone to turn a tree into a chair, or to grow a handful of seeds into 30 lbs of food.

In the pre-industrial, agrarian society, you were constrained by how much land, and natural resources you had. You can't make a chair unless you have the tools and the lumber.
   284. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4648860)
Rants' fantasy sounds like the utopian novel New from Nowhere, written by famous wallpaper designer William Morris.

Modern society is undoubtedly a kind of Ponzi scheme in which growth is absolutely necessary to keep things from falling apart.

Jared Diamond's book Collapse has some interesting material on this subject. There have been natural experiments in human history with societies that were not capable of growing due to environmental constraints (think Pacific islands). Such societies often respond to those environmental stresses by doing things like allowing infanticide and sending young men on suicide canoe trips. In Japan apparently there is a whole world of mythological and literary themes dealing with elderly that have been left out to die in the wilderness, for the good of the society.
   285. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4648864)
So long as labor is treated not much different than a commodity like steel or electricity or a T3 line -- thus will it always be... I should probably step back now because I feel a rant for the proletariat, or at least, for much more extended worker organizing, coming on...


Gesundheit.
   286. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4648866)
In Japan apparently there is a whole world of mythological and literary themes dealing with elderly that have been left out to die in the wilderness, for the good of the society.


After the invention of writing and the ability to store knowledge outside of simple oration, this makes perfect sense.
   287. Morty Causa Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4648867)
And that was how it was done in tribal societies, from the ancient Egyptians and the Hebrews & Co. to the Greeks to the American Natives. And invalid can just be carried under those conditions for a limited time, then it's chew on this piece of rawhide while waiting for the wolves.
   288. zonk Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4648869)
Rants' fantasy sounds like the utopian novel New from Nowhere, written by famous wallpaper designer William Morris.

Modern society is undoubtedly a kind of Ponzi scheme in which growth is absolutely necessary to keep things from falling apart.

Jared Diamond's book Collapse has some interesting material on this subject. There have been natural experiments in human history with societies that were not capable of growing due to environmental constraints (think Pacific islands). Such societies often respond to those environmental stresses by doing things like allowing infanticide and sending young men on suicide canoe trips. In Japan apparently there is a whole world of mythological and literary themes dealing with elderly that have been left out to die in the wilderness, for the good of the society.


Heh...

Just for the record, I think Rants is several steps beyond what I'm talking about --

An enforced 3 day workweek leading to zero growth productivity-wise, etc is one thing -- I'm more talking about it being acceptable to accept a lower growth rate if say, half the workforce were allowed 3 day/living wage jobs. Just like at the individual company level, it's going to lead to smaller margins.... The world doesn't need to accept 0% growth (measured by GDP or whatever), it would just need to accept, say, 1% as something not sickly or anemic.
   289. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4648877)
An enforced 3 day workweek leading to zero growth productivity-wise, etc is one thing -- I'm more talking about it being acceptable to accept a lower growth rate if say, half the workforce were allowed 3 day/living wage jobs. Just like at the individual company level, it's going to lead to smaller margins.... The world doesn't need to accept 0% growth (measured by GDP or whatever), it would just need to accept, say, 1% as something not sickly or anemic.

But why? Why would we accept 1% growth instead of 3 or 4%?

Leisure is a byproduct of growth. Growth should drive wages up, and higher wages lead to more leisure.

Our current problem in the Western world is that increased globalization is allowing corporations a huge labor arbitrage, which is preventing growth from translating into higher wages for labor.
   290. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4648880)
Leisure is a byproduct of growth.


Only in a debt based economy.
   291. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4648890)
I mostly just wanted to bring up the suicide canoe trips, which are profoundly weird. I wonder if that is how the Polynesians were capable of colonizing the ocean without advanced navigation - maybe they sent families out in boats and said "good luck!"
   292. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4648891)
Only in a debt based economy.

That's like saying "only on a spherical planet".

No modern economy can function without debt. You need debt to make capital available to those who can invest it, and deliver income to those with capital.

Without debt, you couldn't save for retirement. You couldn't earn any return on your savings. You can't have very much trade.
   293. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4648897)
That's like saying "only on a spherical planet".


Some planets are more ovoid.

I don't know why you get to press forward with utopian wishcasting but Zero Growthers can't.
   294. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4648900)
I mostly just wanted to bring up the suicide canoe trips, which are profoundly weird.


I suspect there are worse ways to die. And really, cultures are ####### weird, man. You cross-section 90% of humanity prior to western civilization and tell them the #### we do, they'll kill you just to make sure you don't give any of the kids crazy ideas.
   295. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4648902)

I don't know why you get to press forward with utopian wishcasting but Zero Growthers can't.


What was my utopian wishcasting? My philosophical/theological beliefs strictly preclude believing in any sort of earthly utopia.
   296. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4648906)
The world doesn't need to accept 0% growth (measured by GDP or whatever), it would just need to accept, say, 1% as something not sickly or anemic.


1% would be sickly and anemic.

Recent growth

Global growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, will only rebound moderately from 2.8 percent in 2013 to 3.1 percent in 2014, as the world’s major economies still face many structural flaws and policy constraints that hinder more investment and faster productivity growth.


Future projected growth

Over the next half century, the unweighted average of GDP per capita (in 2005 PPP terms), is predicted to grow by roughly 3% annually in the non-OECD area, as against 1.7% in the OECD area. As a result, GDP per capita in the poorest economies will (in 2011) more than quadruple (in 2005 PPP terms), whereas it will only double in the richest economies.


Sources chosen semi-randomly by google.
   297. PreservedFish Posted: January 30, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4648934)
You cross-section 90% of humanity prior to western civilization and tell them the #### we do, they'll kill you just to make sure you don't give any of the kids crazy ideas.


Probably, yes.
   298. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4648983)
I won't ask you to reveal your personal information, but I'd bet that your income of today is a lot higher than the inflation-adjusted income of your father's when you were growing up. What sort of house would a person of your father's inflation-adjusted income be able to afford today, and how far out of the city would he have to go to find it? Not everyone moves to the suburbs because they want to, or would rather spend 45 minutes in traffic than on a subway.

No, I'm about the same income wise as my parents were at the same age. I have more assets, but that's because they had 3 kids by age 32.

Right now, you can buy a house in my town (closer to NYC) for $700K, equivalent to what my parents bought for $125K in 1977. That's about a 6.5% nominal increase.


$125,000 in 1977 is actually the equivalent of only $481,000 today. $700,000 today would have been equivalent to $182,000 in 1977, which is 46% more than your parents paid for that equivalent house. Maybe I'm missing something, but where is that "6.5% nominal increase" coming from?
   299. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4648991)
$125,000 in 1977 is actually the equivalent of only $481,000 today. $700,000 today would have been equivalent to $182,000 in 1977, which is 46% more than your parents paid for that equivalent house. Maybe I'm missing something, but where is that "6.5% nominal increase" coming from?

Math.

The total increase from $125,000 to $700,000 comes out to 6.5% p.a.
   300. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4648996)
Math.

The total increase from $125,000 to $700,000 comes out to 6.5% p.a.


No it doesn't. $125,000 increasing at 6.5% every year for 37 years is $1.3 mil.
Page 3 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMike Scioscia, Matt Williams voted top managers
(26 - 5:07am, Oct 22)
Last: Dr. Vaux

Newsblog2014 WORLD SERIES GAME 1 OMNICHATTER
(603 - 5:01am, Oct 22)
Last: Harveys Wallbangers

NewsblogSielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen's Hall of Fame induction
(116 - 4:59am, Oct 22)
Last: Harveys Wallbangers

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(317 - 4:33am, Oct 22)
Last: HMS Moses Taylor

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2014 Discussion
(20 - 3:04am, Oct 22)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogFan Returns Home Run Ball to Ishikawa; Receives World Series tickets
(57 - 2:07am, Oct 22)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogAs Focus Faded and Losses Piled Up, Royals Change Their Game
(7 - 1:16am, Oct 22)
Last: boteman

NewsblogRoyals’ James Shields passed kidney stone during ALCS but is ready for World Series | The Kansas City Star
(40 - 1:00am, Oct 22)
Last: Roger Freed Is Ready

NewsblogDealing or dueling – what’s a manager to do? | MGL on Baseball
(19 - 12:52am, Oct 22)
Last: Mike Emeigh

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(2898 - 11:11pm, Oct 21)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogDombrowski told that Iglesias 'will be fine' for 2015
(21 - 10:22pm, Oct 21)
Last: fra paolo

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(852 - 8:40pm, Oct 21)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

NewsblogBaseball's hardest throwing bullpen - Beyond the Box Score
(10 - 8:02pm, Oct 21)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogMorosi: Could Cain’s story make baseball king of sports world again?
(107 - 7:04pm, Oct 21)
Last: Spahn Insane

NewsblogBaseball Prospectus | Pebble Hunting: An Illustrated Guide to the People of Kauffman Stadium
(10 - 6:00pm, Oct 21)
Last: Perry

Page rendered in 1.0240 seconds
52 querie(s) executed