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[flagged] Think young people are hostile to capitalism now? Wait for the next recession (theweek.com)
127 points by howard941 21 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 285 comments



In the US, it's less active protest and more things like slacking off heavily at work because it's a treadmill we can't win. We have absolutely no incentive to work hard when doing so doesn't materially affect income.

We as a nation have basically told people "no, you can't have a comfortable life or save for retirement because your parents' generation still needs to get 10% annual growth to make their retirement math work". Nevermind that retirement isn't going to be an option for us. That's lead a lot of us to abandon our work ethic, which will have some severe repercussions down the road.


Occupy Wallstreet did happen but it was torpedoed by identity politics, the establishment only permits fervent discussion about gender and skin color.


Occuy Wallstreet was violently uprooted by police action. Your statement is ignorant and in poor taste.


occupy turned into a protest about the right to protest (classic strategy to stop any protest and derail message) and thus was able to be destroyed from outside but it also changed within due to Identity politics which lost many original supporters...however idpol didn't destroy it nor was the movement somehow more acceptable to the authorities when it changed.


And who benefits from and promotes that? The wealthy and powerful. They WANT us to be divided along those lines so we'll all get out and vote for corporate Democrats who say the right things about identity politics and pretend to be leftists.


> the establishment only permits fervent discussion about gender and skin color.

Do they? Try making a case that we don't need more than two sets of gendered pronouns in your tech job.


So the pronouns thing is literally about being nice to people and respecting their ability to define their own identity. It's less "we need more than two sets of gendered pronouns" and more "people use pronouns other than he or she and we want to make space for that".


And any sort of diversion from that approved narrative, like suggesting that some of this is going a little too far, will make you a pariah in the industry. This is what I'm getting in, in questioning how much "the establishment" allows vigorous debate.


> Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

Like it or not, it matters why you believe things are "going a little to far", and why you're willing to be vocal about it


How is it going too far to call someone "they" or even a neopronoun like "xie"? What cost is it to you that you need to vigorously debate it?


I'm not interested in debating it here, because it could damage my career, which is my point.

In fact, even debating whether I should be able to debate it could damage my career. I believe this widespread use of silencing tactics, by implicit threat, has gone too far.


There are a great many things you can't debate about people. For example, you would be severely censured if you debated whether your colleague's chronic illness really was as bad as they claim it is.

If the position is "I should be able to question and debate anything about my colleagues" then the position is obviously absurd and I would ask a person holding such a view to reevaluate what they think society is. I don't think you would hold such a position.

So, why are you troubled that you can't debate this particular thing, when I'm sure there are things you shouldn't debate about your colleagues?


> So, why are you troubled that you can't debate this particular thing, when I'm sure there are things you shouldn't debate about your colleagues?

I'm troubled by the top-down nature of what is decided to be beyond debate vs not: it feels like it is leading to a scary kind of authoritarianism I don't want.

For fun, I'll throw you a specific plausible hypothetical. If an app has a gender identity field, and a user enters "Apache Helicopter", should this be treated as valid data or not?


Of course it's valid. Look for patterns. If 100 Apache Helicopters sign up for your app, congratulations, you just uncovered a new and very specific marketing segment to target.


> For fun, I'll throw you a specific plausible hypothetical. If an app has a gender identity field, and a user enters "Apache Helicopter", should this be treated as valid data or not?

Depends on what the data is being used for? This is irrelevant, unless you're an app that collects statistics on its colleagues.


"why do you need to debate it" isn't the point - the point is that you can't debate one side of it without people lining up to burn the witch.


Okay. We only need one set of gendered pronouns. Using words from one set for some people, while using words from a different set for other people, is subject to arbitrary interpretation and therefore vulnerable to othering.


> We only need one set of gendered pronouns

Which set do you think would suffice?


In my native language, that is, Kazakh, third-person pronouns are gender-less.

"It said it would come tomorrow" means "He/She/It said he/she/it would come tomorrow" and it somehow works :) You're to infer the gender from context.


English example is the singular they. "It" has some additional implication on age.


Except the "singular they" doesn't exist and in basically a forced change of spoken language by a minority who thinks forcing people is a great way to accomplish things


There's no other way to enact change than force or consensus, or mix of these. Consensus is not going to happen. Languages change very slowly.

Royal We was forced, but in widespread use. This pronoun is an offshoot thereof. And other languages have even better pronouns than English. Check Chinese and Japanese.


Spivak


Are you saying tech isn’t establishment? IDK about percentages, but it’s definitely not the 90s anymore.


I'm saying the establishment, including tech, doesn't permit open critical discussion on the topic of gender.


Future generations are going to look back critically at this time. So much risk taken, so much sacrificed and burned up, so much opportunity, labor, economic freedom spent, all so that a tiny sliver of people born roughly between 1920 and 1950 can have retirement security, second homes, vacations, and on average a massively higher standard of living than anyone else that’s ever lived or will live in the future. When my grandchildren are serving their feudal lord to survive and their grandchildren are going to war with the next tribe over for access to fresh water, maybe someone will look back and shake their heads at what we all squandered.


Look, I personally am thinking my time as a nigh ancient wizard serving the grand duke of Taos in the protectorate of far southern Utah is going to feking rad, especially when my son's family finally buys themselves out of serfdom in the Terlinguan grasslands and travels up so I can establish a trans-generational cult that passes on my knowledge of psychoanalytics, electronics, and cultivating fungal ethnogens.


Utah will be uninhabitable. You'll have to struggle for survival in the Manitoban jungle.


Oh, that's why we are up in Taos.


>> We have absolutely no incentive to work hard when doing so doesn't materially affect income.

Pride? Character? Respect from colleagues?


At some point, those words start to take on a different meaning. "Pride" is something selfish that gets you in trouble, "character" is just what someone tells you when they need something for free, and respect of others is gained by being a good human being rather than a hard worker.

Sometime in your mid-30s you stop caring what "everyone else" thinks and work to build a life that makes you happy. For many of us, it's going through the motions at work and spending our real energy on friends and family. I actually feel bad for my colleagues who put in maximum effort and stay late every day.


These ideas are mostly pressure exerted by companies to "do as I say, not as I do". Most companies don't care about this stuff beyond what will make them some extra bucks. It's not personal, it's business.

I'm not sure how the world got so fucked up where we expect people making poor wages to behave "better" than multi billion dollar businesses.


>Respect from colleagues?

The person making everyone else look bad and who is receiving no incentives for doing so likely isn't getting the sort of respect you are envisioning.


pride, character, and respect from colleagues are things that don't pay the bills, even though they're nice to have.

i know this is sounds like a snarky and low-effort response, but it is not intentional. it's just the way things are, and there isn't really a diplomatic way of saying it.


> "pride, character, and respect from colleagues are things that don't pay the bill"

I can name several dozen colleagues I've worked for over the years who will vouch for me and help me get a job if I should ever need it and that does pay the bills.

People who say things like the above quote, can't.


To be honest you don't need to work very hard to achieve this.


what if you met those colleagues at a relatively low-wage job, and neither you nor anyone else who will vouch for you has advanced very far beyond that low wage level?

sure, they can get you a job, but it will be a horizontal move for you if you are currently employed, and certainly no step up from your prior employment if you're suddenly unemployed.

consider that for many young people outside of the software and finance worlds, this is precisely the situation. all the good reputation in the world doesn't much matter if it doesn't get you any further than where you are.


Presuming you want or need to get ahead - and you should carefully examine the reasons why you do. There is usually a cost to getting up.

Horizontal moves are acceptable and sometimes even optimal.


> Pride? Character? Respect from colleagues?

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.

We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.

We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

-CS Lewis


That's a trick, doormat. Work to live, not live to work. Just think of the C level shit eating grins when you struggle financially, holding on tight to your pride...jeez


If we talk about usual corporate jobs, this is a joke, right?

If you want those, excel as moral human being overall and you will receive plenty. Being the best paper-pusher, bullshitter or excel in office politics won't give you any of those.


These things only matter once basic monetary needs are met.


40 years ago, my father was a union carpenter on the construction of a big coal-fired electric generation plant in western Colorado. He worked for a big contractor and was the foreman for the carpenter crew. When they waited for the next task to be ready for them to work on, my dad did things like paint company vehicles and equipment, and clean the warehouses. He stayed busy instead of playing cards in the break room.

When that construction site started to wind down, he was the last carpenter to be laid off, and had many job offers at other places because of his conscientious work ethic.

I'd take any employee with that ethic in a heartbeat at my manufacturing business.


> We have absolutely no incentive to work hard when doing so doesn't materially affect income.

And you think that would improve under socialism or communism?


That is literally the opposite of what the sentence said?


But that's the option that they are giving.


No.


Lambasting abstract economic theories is meaningless. The U.S. economy already implements some socialized policies and moving further in that direction for some aspects of our economy isn't necessarily bad. For example, a single-payer healthcare system is obviously superior to our current one, even if it is "socialized", but having socialized healthcare doesn't mean the U.S. is "socialist" any more than the existence of public schools makes it "socialist". Nobody is suggesting we nationalize the means of production or bestow collective ownership of private capital to the proletariat, so stop invoking the socialism boogyman.


Funny, just yesterday I was commenting on an HN story about Bernie Sanders proposing to give half ownership of companies to their workers.

Yes, people are proposing "bestowing collective ownership of private capital to the proletariat", or something very close to it.


> or something very close to it.

Mandating that some large corporations award some stock to their employees may be socialism in your eyes, but that's not actually socialism, it's just a FUD talking point.


I didn't say it was socialism. I said it was bestowing collective ownership of private capital to the proletariat - which it very clearly is.

Or at least which it very clearly is quite close to. It's bestowing collective ownership of half of private capital to the part of the proletariat that works at that business.


Forcing companies to offer stock to employees is not "bestowing collective ownership of private capital". Stock is private ownership by definition. Using that logic the minimum wage is socialism because it enforces a wealth transfer to low-skilled employees.


I don't see much difference between "collective ownership" and "private ownership by everyone".


It's not "private ownership by everyone", it's "stock ownership by some individuals employed by the company". Not even remotely close to the same thing.


How is it not, if everyone receives ownership of the company that they work for? Does that not, on the level of the society as a whole, add up to "bestowing collective ownership of private capital"?


You are misinformed about Bernie's proposal. The proposal is not "everyone receives ownership of the company they work for" or anything even remotely similar to that. The proposal is that publicly traded companies that bring in more than $100m in annual revenue must remit 2% of their stock to employees per year until employees retain a 20% share of stock ownership. "Everyone receives ownership of the company that they work for" is an absurd and false characterization.


Since they didn’t say that you are presenting a false dilemma.

Suggesting two binary extremes and ignoring the possibility of a spectrum of outcomes in a multifaceted problem

We aren’t toddlers so try not use juvenile logic


Socialism is just a word that's used as "not capitalism". The point is, though, if the ownership of capitals (means of production) is so concentrated (1% own 90% of capital), then pretty much the only "solution" is effectively disowning them, consequences be damned. That's clearly in contrast to the spirit (and law) of capitalism, hence many (even capitalists) would simply call it "socialism" (or "communism"), even if it's completely different in the details (e.g. not everyone is paid the same).


I see, so is there a better word instead of this misappropriated colloquialism?

Its impossible to talk nuances of resource appropriation with an evocative term used inaccurately


I'm personally hoping "post-capitalism" takes off


There are multiple ways to disown companies.

One time tested way is nationalization, explicit by making the owner officials or by making the company leadership national government. (Slightly different effects.) Authoritarian governments prefer former, market based ones the later. (Second example is Korean Chaebols and their big influence.)

The other is directly bestowing workers with ownership or equity, in the extreme converting companies into cooperatives. This is not socialism, but communism. (Not to be mistaken with stalinism or maoism.)


It would likely improve under democratic socialism (which is not the same model as communism or socialism). Especially if we disconnect healthcare from employment allowing workers more freedom to pick employers or entrepreneurship. People want purpose, but they also need their basic needs met. They have to have hope they won't spend their lives on an economic treadmill where one slip will cause their demise. This is not an unreasonable ask in the wealthiest country in the world.

It is clear the current economic system is dysfunctional and requires refactoring (50% of bankruptices are from medical debt, and this occurs in no other developed country, for example), I'm unsure how that would even be up for debate. So if we can come to the conclusion (from objective data based on income levels, household wealth, debt, well being) that the current system isn't working, why would anyone advocate for it to continue as is?


If I remember correctly, it was labor unions that demanded that employers provide these benefits for their employees. Doubt the unions had any ill intent but the law of unintended consequences really has come into play. The whole system is so entrenched that any solution is going to be painful to implement though maybe or maybe not as painful as continuing the current state of things.


It was because of wage freezes during WW2.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance_in_the_United...


As a free-market proponent who isn't 100% sold on all of the democratic socialism stuff, I don't understand how anyone can deny that having your literal physical well-being tied to your employment is not an enormous problem for anyone who values the efficient allocation of labor/capital (which should hopefully be everyone?)

It's literally just a cash-equivalent (in that nearly every employer is going to provide a plan, and you'll need to pay for health coverage somehow, whether it be in taxes or in premiums) part of your compensation that is also coincidentally an enormous arbitrary sticking point that makes moving jobs that much more of a pain and danger. But only for the employee, of course.


What is your definition of a free market? I see this so often but few people seem to understand the inherent contradiction. If a market is truly free it will naturally tend toward monopoly thereby extinguishing itself. If it is regulated to prevent it's own destruction, it ceases to be truly free. In either case it is a transient condition. A brief glorious moment in time that cannot, by its own definition, be anything more than ephemeral.


It’s possible to have laws that increase freedom overall. For example: a law against murder restricts some people (the murderer) but frees many more people from (their victims).

Markets can be regulated to make them more free as well - if we pass a law to enforce mutually agreed upon contracts, some people (those that would go against the contract) have their freedom restricted but the market as a whole now has a trust mechanism allowing them to actually hold others accountable and thus overall it improves society.

“Free market” still implies certain restrictions, like “no stealing the other person’s stuff”.


Could you rephrase that first paragraph without the triple negative?

It sounds like you are saying that having your physical well-being tied to employment is good for efficient allocation of labor/capital, but I have some problems with this claim and I’d like to check that this is what you’re actually saying.

The economic problem is that having well-being tied to employment pushes people towards employment short-term rather than value long-term.

Then there’s the moral problems, which can’t be ignored.


I think he is saying the opposite.

Also, having your health care, retirement and general well-being tied to a particular job reduces employee "freedom", which in his point of view is not efficient.


Because it benefits employers to have desperate employees. If your short-term survival is tied to your job, you'll be willing to take a lot more abuse (and less pay) in order to maintain your core needs.

You literally cannot have comfortable life for the majority of society under a free-market system because it relies on the threat of being outcast from safety. The most socialist era of this country (1930-1980) is widely regarded as the American "Golden Era". I don't think that's a coincidence.


> People want purpose, but they also need their basic needs met.

That means our garbage would never get collected or our toilets cleaned, because I don't think anybody's intended purpose is doing sanitation.

If you're just assigning jobs to give a purpose, you're forcing labor. If not you have dirty living quarters and a glut of artists.


Make the pay high enough to match the value generated, and you'll find enough janitors and garbage collectors.


How do you make the pay high enough? Compel labor, print money, or some sort of complicated metric?

"Based on family background, education, and IQ tests, we estimate that your best job is electrical technician."


You keep raising pay until people are willing, uncoerced, to take jobs that they don't find "fulfilling". You do that just by offering money for the job. You don't try to guess who "should" take the job, you just offer it. You don't compel labor, you don't print money. You just raise the pay, and raise the rates you charge for garbage collection to pay the salaries. (And, yeah, at that point you have a bit of coercion, because people have to have garbage service. If a home doesn't, they're probably going to be in violation of some kind of law.)


> You don't compel labor, you don't print money.

vs two sentences later.

> And, yeah, at that point you have a bit of coercion

Which is it? Can you compel a poor peasant farmer to stay on the farmer and grow food because that's what society needs as a right?

> If a home doesn't, they're probably going to be in violation of some kind of law.

Law itself is coercion. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. The only reason we pay taxes for stuff we might not use, like the public education system and libraries, is forced by the threat of violence and imprisonment. Would you be going to jail if you didn't pay the portion of them that went to the military? What do you think happens when you refuse to go to prison?


> > And, yeah, at that point you have a bit of coercion

> Which is it? Can you compel a poor peasant farmer to stay on the farmer and grow food because that's what society needs as a right?

Of course not. You can, however, compel people to pay taxes. And you can compel people to not just throw their garbage out into the street.

If you think taxes are equal to slavery, you've never been a real slave.


> Of course not. You can, however, compel people to pay taxes. And you can compel people to not just throw their garbage out into the street.

You cannot compel people to pay taxes, as New York discovered to its chagrin. [0] These are no longer Oregon Trail days, where to move you have to sell property and buy a stagecoach and oxen and spare axles. You just sort of buy another house in Arizona or Florida to ride out winters and don't spend more than 179 days a year in New York.

> If you think taxes are equal to slavery, you've never been a real slave.

Slavery is just an extreme form of taxation. Not only do you give up all fruits of your labor, but also give up your children from you.

If you don't believe me, you face fines for taking your kids out of public school in the US and the UK for taking your kids on vacation while school is in session. Probably because because they know better than you do what your child needs. How's that non-slavery working out for you? [1] [2]

[0] https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/State-facing-unexpec...

[1] https://abcnews.go.com/Travel/taking-kids-school-travel/stor...

[2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/family-holidays/term-time...


What if you are a garbage man and an artist? What if you collect garbage for, say, three days a week?

How much of your labor is absolutely necessary, and how much of it consists in generating surplus wealth for the benefit of your capitalist overlords?


Depends. How much do you need to make?

Do you need broadband, the new mobile, or a car and insurance? Will 3 days working as a garbageman make you reasonably happy?

If so, please go ahead and do that and spend the rest of your time doing art.

If you really feel as though you need amazon prime and new shoes every 3 months, you better to out and make that money.

You have no right demanding that other people work to make things you're entitled to. Instead, you have to get it yourself. Learn to be a RN and figure out how to get the money, or stop complaining.


I am a white, male software developer. I have absolutely nothing to complain about or envy others. Find something more solid to lean on than a straw man.

If those who feel entitled to the work of others enrage you, then perhaps you should point your anger at the parasitic bourgeoisie who siphon wealth away from society for doing absolutely nothing useful.


> I am a white, male software developer. I have absolutely nothing to complain about or envy others.

Congratulations for your situation in life and happiness. Many people will never know that.

> I am a white, male software developer. I have absolutely nothing to complain about or envy others.

Then you must feel very privileged because of your ethnicity, your country of citizenship, and education.

> Find something more solid to lean on than a straw man.

You're the one that raised the example of the garbageman/artist and just because I point out some flaws in that example, your personal situation makes this a strawman?

> If those who feel entitled to the work of others enrage you, then perhaps you should point your anger at the parasitic bourgeoisie who siphon wealth away from society for doing absolutely nothing useful.

Like, maybe sit at a screen all day and tap at a keyboard once in a while? Does that count as "the parasitic bourgeoisie"?

You realize that there are people in your age group which because of differing backgrounds, live in unimaginable squalor, get paid piddling amounts of money, and fight for those jobs. Also, mess their country up with pollution because we can't do that here.


Either you're trying to gaslight me, or we're on completely separate levels. This will be my last attempt at interfacing with you.

> Congratulations for your situation in life and happiness. Many people will never know that.

Correct.

> Then you must feel very privileged because of your ethnicity, your country of citizenship, and education.

That's the point. My political ideology is not self-serving. I am part of those who benefit from the status quo. I recognize all of that.

> You're the one that raised the example of the garbageman/artist and just because I point out some flaws in that example, your personal situation makes this a strawman?

You did not even allude to the "garbageman/artist" example. You insinuated that I was "complaining" and "feeling entitled to other people's money", which is trite conservative bullshit.

If we keep "sanitation work" and other difficult, menial tasks to their minimum rather than putting people to work for profit first and foremost, then the people who DO clean toilets and collect garbage will have more time in their week to find purpose and actualization elsewhere. Currently they are overworked and alienated and you would have us believe that's a necessary thing.


> Either you're trying to gaslight me, or we're on completely separate levels.

See how trippingly accusations flow out of you. Seems like you're misinterpreting everything I'm saying, almost deliberately.

> This will be my last attempt at interfacing with you.

Can I have a written signed contract to that effect?

> You did not even allude to the "garbageman/artist" example. You insinuated that I was "complaining" and "feeling entitled to other people's money", which is trite conservative bullshit.

You misread that change "You have no right demanding that other people work to make things you're entitled to. Instead, you have to get it yourself. Learn to be a RN and figure out how to get the money, or stop complaining." I didn't think I had to clarify thatto "Nobody has a right...to make things one is entitled to." That doesn't flow as well.

Even though you're (I'm referring to you personally now) a white male (why does that matter) software engineer (which is a well paid professional job), you personally cannot demand a lear jet, just as a starving artist cannot demand that society supply him with supplies.

> If we keep "sanitation work" and other difficult, menial tasks to their minimum rather than putting people to work for profit first and foremost, then the people who DO clean toilets and collect garbage will have more time in their week to find purpose and actualization elsewhere.

If one (see how that works) keeps those tasks to a minimum, lots of people can't get the only job they're qualified to do. Either qualify for another job and demand more money, or make do.

They increased minimum wage at Target to 15 an hour. People are actually making less now because they cut hours, and they're absolutely dumbfounded. Or they'll automate more things.


I didn't mention either? But capitalism definitely isn't working for a lot of us, so yeah, people are interested in other systems.


But Communism didn't work for a lot of people either.

I'm not saying "therefore capitalism is the right answer" (though I still think it is). I'm not saying that people shouldn't be interested in other systems. But I am saying that it matters a great deal that the "other system" be better, not just different. As my co-worker Steve Hanka used to say, "There's lots of ways to do it that don't work". There's lots of ways to structure the economy that work out worse; let's not make things worse by trying to make them better.


One thing that you could read into the parent post is that, to the people it's giving the shaft to, modern crony capitalism doesn't seem particularly distinguishable from socialism in a lot of ways.

You have the thing where the government is trying to control, or at least closely guide, the economy. You have the thing where those who are close to power subvert that to line their own pockets. You have the thing where people are being discincentivized to work hard because they see that hard work benefits others more than themselves. Interestingly, in the USA, you even have the mass incarceration, which otherwise only shows up in the versions of socialism that hail from the other side of the historical iron curtain and from (yes, I realize what I'm about to do here, but please remain calm, but I'm only wanting to draw a parallel to some very specific things here, and to call attention to the fact that not all forms of socialism are leftist) Germany starting in the 1930s.

To poke at the USA a bit more, yes, there are still plenty of salient differences between the USA and nominally socialist societies. But it strikes me that the most salient one is that, in the USA, you have units in the grade school curriculum devoted to indoctrinating kids on the idea that they are most definitely NOT a socialist country. Moreso as an article of faith than as a matter of fact.


The solution to crony capitalism isn't socialism, though. It's less "crony" - less ability to profit from government connections, which means less government control (or "guidance") of the economy. The government should prevent unfair competition, regulate externalities, and not much else.


What if the implemented solution is skipping the capitalism part and just going straight to corporatism? (Rule by corporate oligarchy.)

You have to make a really strong argument why it would be suboptimal - and without spherical cow level microeconomic lies.

Crony capitalism only causes problems because it is not transparent who rules, while generating waste from those that don't and fail.


First, why do I have to make the really strong argument? The default position is the status quo; if you think it should be changed, you have to make the really strong argument as to why it would be better. You have the burden of proof; the status quo does not.

But corporatism isn't the answer, on even a superficial look. Crony capitalism generates waste from those who fail because they are locked out. But corporatism is wasteful, too, of those who in an open system could have tried and succeeded, but in corporatism are locked out and know it, and therefore don't even bother to try.


How about market capitalism?


I think that answers both my issue and AstralStorm's. It's also the alleged status quo. I think I agree with AstralStorm that the current situation, if not full crony capitalism, at least has more crony capitalism in it than we generally think.


Which was more-or-less the point I was originally trying to make. Apparently really poorly, judging by the downvotes.

Well, that, and that there's really only so much practical difference between de facto intermingling of the public and private sectors and de jure intermingling of the public and private sectors. Both invite rampant corruption and abuse.


Imagine if the current protests against inequality (and thereabouts) going on all around the world would be reported, scrutinized, and debated as much as when any of the established "enemies" have civil unrest. How quickly would things change?


Protests will not work, only young people deciding massively to vote a third party would make a dent on the current fossilised power inbalance. No matter how many times you ask for gun control or a fair healthcare system. It will not happen.

The alternative is what we are seeing in Europe, with students 15 yo playing real world Resident Evil in Barcelona with chainsaws and torches (and finding it more funny and rewarding than they expected)


Just on the chainsaw point, take care: unless it somehow happened in the only corner of the city with police and protestors but without 100 smartphone cameras pointed at them at all times, it's utter bullshit.

These police have been totally disproportionate in their use of force and hence have a huge incentive to sensationalise the actions of those 15 year olds.


I find chainsaws perfectly plausible in this context

You forgot that there is a policeman in critic state at the hospital after being hit with a rock in the head by this merry people (while bearing a security helmet that was perforated by the force of the impact).

And also that a police helicopter was videotaped being attacked with fireworks and the responsible faces now charges of attempt of homicide by trying to take down the helicopter

And that thousands of policemen were injured with broken hands and arms, and had being attacked with acid and steel balls launched with professional slingshoots

But yeah, sure, disproportionate use of force, foam bullets hurt a lot, police is evil, whatever...


I didn't forget that, and thousands of police weren't injured, actually. That's wrong by an order of magnitude.

The point is that there is so much video evidence of the entire conflict that we don't really need to deal in hyperbole. There's so much footage and - as you so graciously demonstrated - so much incentive to exaggerate the misdeeds of the other, that we don't need to believe anything which either side says to support their aggressions.

The footage might eventually emerge of the hatchas, lavadoras and motosierras, but let's wait until it does before we take it as gospel. The videos we do have show that the police have already demonstrated that they are willing to lie.

There's a video of someone using a pickup to plow into a group of mossos. Talk about that, don't casually lap up their unsubstantiated talking points.


Imagine if instead of people protesting against income inequality, they protested against value contribution inequality...


What do you say to people who are protesting against income inequality because they benefit from it and know how unfair the whole thing is?

Say I received a million $ from my father (that's income inequality, isn't it?) and now I'm saving all my work income because I can live on my capital gains from "gifts" and watch all my friends work harder and harder to try and earn few extra cents while I'm getting richer doing very little.

My dad did "things", I'm doing "things", and I'm getting paid for it! How would you evaluate my "value contributions" anyway? . My income is growing, I can wait.

PS: for some reasons, my taxes in % of my income keeps decreasing because where I live, capital is less taxed than work. And the politicians who chose that explains they're lowing taxes because other countries are doing the same. So all countries are help the rich because rich are being helped elsewhere. How cool is that?


How are you earning capital gains with that million, specifically?


Mostly by buying stocks and it works: the SP500 doubled in the past 10 years, and I did far better than that. You can consider my investment as contributions, because I most certainly bought stocks from other rich persons and the stock markets is growing fast mostly thanks to the bank central policies (note that my free money never directly helped the company of which I bought stocks). I purchased an apartment too, and that did not cost me a dime because my family offers free mortgages and the government does not tax any of that! Plus, real estate prices keeps growing where I live thanks to the continued gentrification of big cities. When will that stop?


Any investment can fail. You spent money to bet on the price going up and won. Someone else lost.

The markets aren't exclusively available to the rich. Anyone can buy and sell stocks.

Successful people get to live better than the poor. That is why we should do more to encourage more poor people to live better by contributing more.

The economy is not zero-sum.


Second part is a lie. Tried managing stocks on your own? And having no leverage?

It's not even close to competitive with hired specialists dedicated to the task. You cannot compete.

It is not contributions not success that makes people live better or longer. It is ownership, diet, mental health (including low stress) access to medical care. Check out how many of successful people actually live shorter or painful lives. Your argument only works for have-nots.

Economy is negative sum, unless you discount externalities. It does not break physics. Mined out and used up materials do not suddenly reappear. We just move the goalposts to have the same "positive money" outlook, keep everything from deflation. Until recently inventions (esp. energy and mining, then production efficiencies), made the economies grow. But it is not an infinite resource.


Managing stocks is easy. Buy winners and hold them. That's how Berkshire Hathaway earned their billions. They're not day-traders.

Contribution is the surest path to financial success. The more value you can contribute and capture, the more wealth our society will reward you with.

The Earth's resources are miniscule compared to the wider universe.

For example, there's a near earth asteroid that we discovered that has enough platinum to turn every person on earth into a billionaire at the current prices.

That's just one of tens of thousands of near earth objects.

Plus, there's millions of asteroids in the asteroid belt when we exhaust those.

Finally, we're already starting to mine them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining

So we are not restricted by resources.

Regardless, we live in an information economy that is mainly driven by credit and debt, not mining of resources.


SP500 tripled in the last 10 years.


To even have such a conversation you'd have to define value, and I think you'll have a tough time doing this.

You're also essentially defining an economic aristocracy. Folks with more resources can contribute more value, which in common worldviews associated with what you said suggests they deserve more profit. That's the crassest form of economic attachment, and it's silly to pretend that it's efficient or fair.


Software engineers contribute more value to society than do McDonald's fry cooks.

A McDonald's fry cook could be a software engineer, but they choose not to.

McDonald's fry cooks protest for $15 minimum wage; instead of spending that time studying programming.

If we protested about not fully utilizing our lower contributing members of society, instead of condemning the highest contributing mebers; we'd have a healthier society.


Yeah, protesting against inequality is pretty dumb. He could just solve it by frying the software engineer if he just tried and put in a little effort.


You're using Burke's theory of value: rich people make things have value by deciding they want them and being rich.

That position is not considered very strong by modern economic standards.


Protest against imagined slackers? What kind of a dystopia is that?


Reaganomics


> The World's Top 26 Welfare Recipients Now Own as Much as the Poorest 3.8 Billion, Says Oxfam


> Imagine if instead of people protesting against income inequality, they protested against value contribution inequality...

All protests are against perceived value contribution inequality, and against those perceived as contributing the least (or most negative) value; perhaps more precisely, against those perceived as producing the greatest negative externalized value contribution.

Of course, value being subjective, there are often sharp disputes about who is worthy of that treatment.


How does this apply to the value contribution of children, the elderly, the chronically ill?


I am not sure i understand you here. Does the list include hermits, the Amish and Buddhist monks?


I’m really surprised this piece was almost entirely about public opinion, only using economics to discuss the likelihood of a recession soon and the effects of inequality.

The levers our governments have been pulling to steer the economy are reaching their maximum. The system where we reduce interest rates to spur spending to stimulate the economy (probably) don’t work when interest rates negative.


The fundamental problem is that you can't use interest rates to set fiscal policy, only monetary policy. Central banks do what they can, but it's like chemo: low or negative interest rates create asset bubbles while attempting to start the economy back up (and if wages disconnect preventing the ability to acquire inflated assets, you aren't going to try to acquire assets; Central Banks can keep those asset values inflated artificially forever though). Who have assets? Older and wealthy people [1]. If your government won't act with policy to fix fiscal (not monetary policy), you encounter the Populism response (which should surprise no one but apparently still does [2]). The Federal Reserve chair Powell has come out and said as much ("we have exhausted our toolkit").

TLDR It's time for the government to tax and spend.

[1] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/06/25/six-facts...

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/30/historian-b...


The problem is that you either incentivize higher economic volume or you get deflation. They tried printing money and giving it to the banks to loan because they're afraid to do the one rational thing there is and, in doing so, piss off the wealthy. But now that it seems that we're going to see instability and unrest no matter what, it's time to play that card, and hopefully shorten our inevitable economic Dark Age:

Wealth tax.


> Wealth tax.

HAHAHAHAHA

If anything, a wealth tax is what turns things from "depression" to "catastrophic failure" - capital flight would be a massive problem. And even ignoring any effects from changing incentives, why would taking from the most productive and giving to the government improve the economy?


Adam Neumann (WeWork) coaxed billions of dollars out of Softbank for nothing of value in return. I would not consider that productive. Having wealth does not immediately confirm the activity that allowed for that wealth was productive, nor that one is productive for having amassed wealth.


Ehhh, fleecing the Saudis is arguably productive. But yes, there are certainly wealthy people who are not more productive than an S&P 500 index fund. (this might still be more productive than the US government, of course) But how do you propose to tax them and not the Bezos' and Musks of the world?


Bezos and Musk reinvested all of their wealth into their own endeavors. Craft policy to support such efforts. You still tax productive activities, just not as much as unproductive activities (such as mega-yachts or sailing teams, which are luxury goods).


Sounds like you want a consumption tax, and not a wealth tax then?


A little of both.


Ok, so another wealth tax question - do pensions and other such instruments count? If not, what's preventing someone from buying a large annuity and avoiding the tax?

And if you do... A lot of public pensions are worth 2+ million. Are public pensions supposed to be excluded? How does that get explained to the voters?


Great questions. I think we look with a critical eye but still make generous allowances for retirement savings vehicles.

Keep in mind, the problem isn't people with single digit millions of wealth, the problem is those with tens, hundreds of millions, and billions of dollars.


But why are they a problem?

Look, there's two kinds of taxes. One is to raise revenue, one is to punish behavior we don't like. Once you start describing the rich as a problem, it makes me think that this is the second kind of tax, and I really don't think that accumulating wealth, and helping out everyone else along the way by growing the economy, is something we should be punishing.

If you say "the uber-rich ($10m is 99th percentile) do bad things, therefore we should tax the uber-rich", I'll really have to disagree - tax the bad things they do, not the demographic group!


>accumulating wealth, and helping out everyone else along the way by growing the economy

The latter doesn't follow the former. In fact, consolidation of wealth is a hindrance to volume of activity outside the bounds of the owner of that wealth's interests. Case-in-point: Wal-Mart has done gangbuster business over the last half century. They've grown our economy. Almost every community its touched has been devastated by this, from the destruction of other businesses within its purview; to the flooding of the market with cheap goods that - in many cases - do nothing for society in their cheapness, and which actually create issues of overconsumption and waste; to the negative effects their influence has had on the shape of welfare. It's not about what Wal-Mart does; its very existence at its size is destructive. The only positive thing it did was grow the overall economy, which is like celebrating a tumor growing your overall lean mass.

The over-aggregation of wealth is the problem. A wealth tax is the direct solution (it does not have to be permanent or perennial). Wealth flight is a fantasy, and for anyone who tries, the federal government has access to the resources necessary to make sure everyone pays their fair share.


> The latter doesn't follow the former. In fact, consolidation of wealth is a hindrance to volume of activity outside the bounds of the owner of that wealth's interests. Case-in-point: Wal-Mart has done gangbuster business over the last half century. They've grown our economy. Almost every community its touched has been devastated by this, from the destruction of other businesses within its purview; to the flooding of the market with cheap goods that - in many cases - do nothing for society in their cheapness, and which actually create issues of overconsumption and waste; to the negative effects their influence has had on the shape of welfare. It's not about what Wal-Mart does; its very existence at its size is destructive. The only positive thing it did was grow the overall economy, which is like celebrating a tumor growing your overall lean mass.

I would highly disagree there. The ills you describe aren't caused by Wal-Mart being big, they're from the business model itself. 100 independent companies spread across the country would be similar.

> The over-aggregation of wealth is the problem. A wealth tax is the direct solution (it does not have to be permanent or perennial). Wealth flight is a fantasy, and for anyone who tries, the federal government has access to the resources necessary to make sure everyone pays their fair share.

Because I certainly trust the US government not to come back to the money spigot after using a wealth tax the first time. Not.

As for wealth flight - dafqu you mean it's a fantasy? Does "facebook exec renounces citizenship to avoid capital gains tax" not ring any bells?


RE wealth flight, renouncing your citizenship comes with an exit tax. You can leave, but you'll have to pay up.


It typically takes a reduction in interest rates of 4% to pull the economy out of a recession. Interest rates are at 2% right now so if we enter a recession, it'll be a doozy. Europe has been testing out negative interest rates and are finding out that negative interest rates are not stimulating the economy. The fed is expected to try out quantitative easing mostly by buying various dated treasuries from the open market and a lesser amount of the toxic debt banks are holding like CDOs or mortgage backed securities just like they did in 2008/2009. This all assumes a recession will happen which is debatable. If a recession was guaranteed, the stock market, which functions as a leading indicator, would already be down and it's not -- it's relatively flat.


> The system where we reduce interest rates to spur spending to stimulate the economy (probably) don’t work when interest rates negative.

Sure it will. We're just in the early stages of the government abusing the Fed & USD for spending expansion, they've yet to begin getting truly outlandish on what could be done. They'll pump up the government spending projects, directly funded (subsidized) by the Fed's policies. It will continue to work at least for a while yet. 30 more years at a minimum, based on what Japan was able to manage (with a weaker currency (ie not the global reserve currency), in a weaker economy, lower incomes, with far less wealth to debase).

Negative rates means you get a 'free' national high-speed rail project. You get 'free' $2 trillion in infrastructure spending. You get 'free' expansion of Medicare down the ladder and Medicaid up the ladder (likely lessens the tax hammer short-term anyway). I mention those things because the next President after Trump is guaranteed to be a Democrat and is guaranteed to pursue some variation of those general things (high-speed rail is questionable, unfortunately). We're likely to enter a window in the next decade, where the US can float a trillion dollars for 30 years at 0.5% or lower. We desperately need to violently take advantage of that small window of opportunity to build a national high-speed rail network and pull off a once-in-a-generation repair of our infrastructure. The voters will support it in that time frame.


Wait until this soft gentle wave of climate activism fails...


We will see at least one war over climate change this century.


There've been arguments made that the Syrian Civil War was sparked over farmers revolting due to ahistorical droughts. I can't speak to their validity, but the first of many may have already happened.


You could also argue the same about Kashmir; it's not so much about ancestral homelands as water rights.


Yet the last thing anyone worries about during war is pollution. Resource usage goes way up, tycoons get richer. The poor and young are sacrificed.


Not sure what you mean. Are you worried about next-generation climate activists or next-generation weather catastrophes?


>After the 2008 recession, President Obama and the Democrats effectively saved capitalism from itself; a more radical leadership would fight to replace it with a better system. This time around there may be far more pressure from below to do just that, especially with a more organized left and more class conscious young people.

As a former soviet occupied country citizen, I am amazed that westerners would want to overthrow capitalism. Its what makes the west so prosperous.


I come from a similar place and feel the same, and would never ever want those times back. We have seen too much repression, horror and misery that we have developed our own allergy against anything which hints in that direction. But on the other hand I can understand the appeal of the ideas which promise that there will be no inequality, everyone gets access to free education, healthcare etc. That all sounds nice, but what is suspicious that we have not seen a working implementation yet. Which makes me think underlying model has some issues.


> That all sounds nice, but what is suspicious that we have not seen a working implementation yet.

You mean to say that Western and Central Europe don't exist? They have single-payer healthcare and it works way better than American healthcare. They have cheap tuition and it works way better than American tuition.

We see that America could be better if we stopped being dogmatic about capitalism, and stopped putting it where it doesn't belong. Capitalism is about money. It is not about well-being. It is very poorly suited for well-being.


> You mean to say that Western and Central Europe don't exist?

I would say they are all capitalist countries. I cannot think of any European country after 1990 which prohibits private enterprise.

What you are referring to is still a capitalism, each with their own different taxation, social security and welfare system. You can argue which works better, which not. It is not that it does not exist in US at all, it is probably less developed or is just different. And European countries also differ between themselves, by large degree. But that is not socialism, it is still capitalism.


Looks like another example of Schrödinger's Capitalism. Western Europe is capitalist whenever anyone praises it, socialist whenever anyone criticizes. In point of fact very few people want to abolish private enterprise. The "socialism" they want is of a very moderate form, setting limits on a free market which is still the dominant form of economic activity. The "100% laissez faire or Stalinism" false dichotomy never does these debates any good.


I guess we grew up with stories which gave us +5 resistance to socialism. Stories about how in almost every group were people who would report you if you talked about some "threat" to union. Stories about how everyone was living in socialism and they were building communism. Once communism is built - nobody needs to even walk in streets - you will have conveyor belts everyone taking everywhere. Stories about how in the west capitalists were using everyone as slaves and how you as a citizen had power to control. Stories how streets were empty and you had to wait for car for 8 years to buy it (price was insane too). Everyone was stealing from factories, selling "behind table" and etc.


>Its what makes the west so prosperous

And destroy our habitat.


It is orthogonal to a system. In USSR they polluted air, water, soil as hell. Eastern Germany was just a bit better:

http://www.naturschutzgeschichte-ost.de/index.php?id=206

https://grist.org/article/2011-04-21-underground-environment...


Interesting, capitalism seems orthogonal since China appears to do a good job of it too. I’d say it’s just industrialism or commercialism, which are not concerned with who owns capital.


Concerns about rampant pollution were a significant contributor to the fall of communism in East Germany.


They don't, this author does not represent the views of the vast silent majority.

Something like medicare for all is what Americans may want, but strong businesses are a backbone of American culture, not even the leftest of leaning elected politicians in Congress are a threat to that.


In the US, things like fair tax codes, universal access to affordable healthcare, and affordable universities are considered "socialism".

The "not capitalism" of the soviet bloc is not even close to what the article is disucssing


In the US, what is a left policy and what is a right policy seems to depend entirely on which party thought of it first, not on any sound ideology. Party politics all the way down.


>As a former soviet occupied country citizen, I am amazed that westerners would want to overthrow capitalism. Its what makes the west so prosperous.

It's paradoxical, but the West is falling victim to its own economical success. Inequality is a sign of effective competition and selection mechanism (no matter how moral or amoral it is) where the best (and sometimes the luckiest) gain an edge on others. Natural selection and meritocracy in any free society eventually lead to hierarchy and to inequality. However inequality leads to social unrest. That's why many governments suppress inequality to some extent with taxes, some rich people do charity for the same reason. Suppressing inequality slows down technical progress and development (because it reduces incentive), therefore extremely socialist countries eventually fail (USSR, Venezuela).

The problem with the West is not inequality per se. The American dream (work hard, get rich) was long time a painkiller to inequality because it gave a hope that you can change things. The problem with the West now is that people lost that hope. They don't believe they can change things no matter how hard they try. The American dream doesn't drive anymore (although it's still driving many immigrants). And when the anesthetic effect of the American dream has gone, people saw the inequality as it is, despite it has always been here.


When increasing numbers are getting a worse deal than their parents it's perhaps not surprising people look to alternatives. Doubt they will overthrow it - far more likely they will try and constrain it. Limits on inequality, environmental damage etc.

We could do worse than look to the periods of history when capitalism seemed to work far better, or to the more social democratic countries - e.g. the Nordic model.

I sincerely doubt there'll be a Western rerun of 1917.


It is a complex topic and my own views are still being defined, but I think it is safe to say that for most the issue isnt capitalism, it is unchecked capitalism. The idea that we work for the system instead of the system working for us.

My grandparents saw our country mobilize for war and create liberty ships. The country was in the space race - I've seen an article (Popular Mechanics) from 1950 that thought we would not yet have landed people on the moon by 2000, but despite that reasonable expectation, they did it. They developed national healthcare for the elderly and the poor, the built the foundation of modern retirement. They crisscrossed America with interstate highways.

But me? I've seen every notable problem rejected without an attempt at solutions because "how will we pay for it?" I've seen seen infrastructure systems left to rot and crumble because of the national debt, yet somehow each time a tax cut comes up for the rich they sell the idea that THIS time it will improve things for the non-rich. I've seen education budgets gutted, healthcare systems dropped and ignored, and I've seen science regarding the global climate scoffed at because their "gut" doesnt agree. (The location of their gut seems to coincide with the location of their wallet)

I've seen our representational democracy have clear signs of distress, from gerrymandering to foreign influence, for DECADES, not just recent headlines.

I've seen wages be near-flat for almost the entire lives of people now old enough to vote or fight in wars, but that wage issue doesnt seem to apply to those with enough money to start with.

But addressing any of these issues might threaten those with money, and our worship of capitalism has lead us to conclude they should be obeyed.

Capitalism is very effective, but we've stopped using it because it is effective, and are instead being used by it. We've gone from a system that allows the worthy to find financial success to assuming that financial success means you are worthy (as lack of financial success means you are not worthy).

Capitalism isnt the problem, but our relationship with it IS.


I have similar feeling, that our government has lost the ability to manage any major project. We have been trying to build one new line of rail in UK for the past 10 years, it has been a subject of constant controversy and I will probably grow old before it materialises.


There were many differences between the Soviet Union and the US. Nominal socialism vs. nominal capitalism was only one, and many would argue not the biggest. Personally, I'm amazed that so many people who suffered under deeply authoritarian regimes seem to support the authoritarian party in current US politics. Members of exclusive clubs colluding with each other outside of the market or public view tends to work out similarly regardless of whether it's the back rooms of Wall Street or Washington DC (and usually it's both).


Er, which is the authoritarian party in US current US politics? To me, I'd say there isn't a clear answer. It depends on which issue we're talking about.


Yes, it definitely depends on whether you're cherry-picking a few issues or taking a more balanced view. When it comes to property rights, most would say the Democrats' acceptance of higher taxation and regulation makes them more authoritarian. And then there's the second amendment. On the other hand, the "anti terrorism" (pro war) "tough on crime" Republicans seem rather inimical to individual freedom at a much more fundamental level:

* More search, seizure, and surveillance * Less due process * Less independent judiciary * More suppression of information (violation of public records laws, gag orders, general enmity toward science/journalism/education) * More tolerance of authoritarian regimes elsewhere * Corruption and concentration of influence among leaders' cronies

Really, unless you're a corporation, you have much more to fear under a Republican government than under a Democrat one. If you want to see which party is more authoritarian, look at which one real civil-liberties organizations like ACLU, CCR, etc. find more objectionable. More partisan-political organizations that focus only on "economic rights" and generally act as extensions for the Chamber of Commerce don't paint an accurate picture.


> Nominal socialism vs. nominal capitalism was only one, and many would argue not the biggest.

Can you elaborate on this? What, in your opinion, is more significant difference than political/ideological system? I am actually curious because I cannot think of any?


Many people, including myself, believe that the most significant difference was the authoritarian nature of the Soviet State. Soviet citizens had no privacy, no safety, no protected rights, no recourse to an impartial judicial system, and that's all pretty orthogonal to socialism vs. capitalism. The Nolan Chart[1] is a pretty handy way to conceptualize this, as is Political Compass[2]. Be careful, though, because the people making this kind of two-axis argument practically always do so from a libertarian perspective, so the "other corner" of socialist but non-authoritarian alternatives (worker cooperatives, kibbutzim, etc.) tends to get short shrift.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart [2] https://www.politicalcompass.org/


Yes that is true about Soviet Union. (Disclaimer: I lived 20+ years in USSR and more than that in the West). And in theory you are right: democracy vs authoritarianism should not be the same as socialism vs capitalism. Now, what I see as the problem, is to implement a socialism without creating authoritarianism. Apart from the fact that there are no working examples in history, I think it is extremely hard if not impossible at all. If you think of the steps you would do to achieve it? First, you would need to either expropriate/nationalize whatever belongs to the rich. That is how you reduce inequality, right? But creative and resourceful people would still recreate their wealth and you are back in square one with that. Ok, we can tax them heavily. That will probably work at some degree. You will take away their incentive and they will stop being productive or leave the country to prosper elsewhere. The economy will sink, and you will need to either admit your failure or turn to oppressive methods to keep your plan moving forward because there will be too many people who will disagree with you at this point. Surely, there probably are other scenarios, but if they are, where are they?


> As a former soviet occupied country citizen, I am amazed that westerners would want to overthrow capitalism.

They would probably say that they perceive a difference between "democratic socialism" and "fascist communism".


Well there is no difference. If majority oppresses minority (democracy) - how is this different from Bolsheviks. You kill/take assets from the rich, make private entities illegal and then it is the same. If you allow freedom for people to open a shop to sell meat in your local area - well its capitalism then.


"how is that different" Because in the same way that society is not currently a poor-people-selling-their-organs free market dystopia, we don't have to charge headlong down the slippery slope of any given policy direction. We can make careful choices, establish rules that seek to prevent foreseeable problems, and have the flexibility to adjust course when unforeseeable issues arise.


Virtually no one wants to abandon capitalism. Many want to alter the public/private sector mix that makes up all modern economies, away from things like unfettered free enterprise, "corporate welfare", preferential treatment for the wealthy and other perceived excesses of capitalism. You may just be misunderstanding the debate, which makes sense since the terms we tend to use in these discussions border on meaningless.

No one wants to completely "overthrow capitalism" aside from a tiny fringe.


It's a fearmongering technique to defend the status quo to say one must defend capitalism because the only other option is a totalitarian Stalinist cult of personality dystopia.

It does, however, reflect on the structural complexity of distributing power. Be it capitalists or a dictator at the top social organization gravitates towards being top heavy. It takes unified, active, and uncompromising effort on the part of the powerless to prevent the vaccum at the top from being filled if removed.


“that westerners would want to overthrow capitalism.”

Almost nobody wants to overthrow capitalism. People want to make adjustments to the current form of it to address concerns. That’s very legitimate and necessary in a functioning democracy. The people who scream “socialism “ all the time just want to move the discussion to extremes


The number of people embracing extremes has increased rapidly though (generally, and on both sides).

In regards to this, "Replace Capitalism" seems to be gaining ground faster than "Improve Capitalism".

43% of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country[1]

1. https://news.gallup.com/poll/257639/four-americans-embrace-f...


I don’t think they mean socialism in the sense of the Soviet Union but more what Europe does. And whole Western Europe is deeply capitalist.


Well, "some form of socialism" is hardly an extreme position.


> Almost nobody wants to overthrow capitalism. People want to make adjustments to the current form of it to address concerns.

You are right, and that is exactly the problem, since it is something history proved impossible to be reformed.

EDIT: reforming capitalism is a long term desire from part of the humankind. It is not a new idea and has yield very long discussions [1]. So, the big idea today is indeed how to overthrow it in favour of another form of social organization.

[1] https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1900/reform-revol...


We abandoned Bretton Woods and triggered the hugely inflationary seventies - the 73 oil crisis helped a lot here too.

We've had, and still have, the Nordic model.

Capitalism is dramatically different today than it was in the 1960s in most countries. We've had the monetarism/neoliberal experiment for 40 years.

We've had globalisation to completely disconnect capitalism (and capital) from government, country and employee - just join the global race to the bottom.

We have had a huge number of reforms to capitalism. Trouble is for the last 40 years all reforms have been in one direction: In favour of the capitalist.


The only difference is there was no labor capital at that period. The risk of capital has been transferred to labor from capitalists. The real change in government happened through Reagan who legalized big corps and started the age of M&A. Globalisation also did help in economy but countries like China which have closed markets but access to open markets lead to more marginalization of labor.


Reagan legalized big corps? Say what? There were big corps before Reagan. General Motors, say.


Reforming capitalism has been done in many countries for a long time by adjusting policies. Has worked great . There is no way you can organize a society without making constant adjustments no matter what the ideology is.


What you mean by "west"? Latin America (where I live), all the Africa and some poor european countries are "west" and those are not very good examples of prosperity.

Even in "western" rich countries there is a lot of growing unequality. The capitalism is falling by itself.


It's a relationship like this: All wealthy countries are capitalist. Some capitalist countries are wealthy.


I am not sure that's accurate. UAE and Saudi are monarchies. Singapore is very socialist, if you look at their housing policy, it's entirely run by the state. They even allocate apartment to ensure that different ethnic groups mix. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cjPgNBNeLU

Also, I would not consider China poor today, and certainly even less so in the future.


> UAE and Saudi are monarchies

This is not as hot of a take as you think. Many reactionaries believe that a monarchy under a good monarch is the ideal government system - much better than a democracy where uninformed voters make so many decisions


Singapore has 0% GDP growth and even need a loan from IMF to invest in infrastructure that's laughable for a developed country.


Both true, both completely irrelevant.

Singapore is ranked 3rd in the world by PPP, at $100k The United States is ranked 10th with at $62k

I can come with with hundreds of criteria by which US is laughable, take foreign debt for example, or number of people dying from preventable diseases.


China has a capitalist market economy. They do have some degree of government ownership of companies and the government has asserted that they are not capitalist as the communist party is in charge and they have to maintain face. However, in practice, they are on the capitalist spectrum. Also, monarchies can be capitalist. Capitalism just means the state doesn't own everything and collect all the profits.


> Latin America (where I live) is "west" and those are not very good examples of prosperity.

Chile is a good example of a "western" latin american country. Brazil/Argentina are bad examples. Brazil for instance, has state-ownership of its entire oil industry - pretty textbook socialism.


As if the lack of prosperity in these countries were because supposed lack of capitalism...

Chile? Just look how people are satisfied with their system nowadays... Behind seeming positive macroeconomic numbers, there is a very unequal society. Chile is the most unequal society among all OECD members. The riots that happen there right now are not against any socialism, but against the liberal fail. They followed strict liberal rules since Pinochet dictatorship, and that is what it became.


> pretty textbook socialism

Yes, like that socialist disaster that is Finland.

(Besides, Brazil does not have state ownership of its entire oil industry.)


US has state ownership of it's entire primary education - pretty textbook socialism.

Or maybe the divide isn't clear cut, perhaps?


My kingdom for a single thread criticizing Capitalism without a response like this. People looking for social justice do not want Stalinism. Why would they?


You don’t want Stalinism, but you do want to limit the speech of people who disagree with what you want? Or you just wish and fantasize for it?


> You don’t want Stalinism, but you do want to limit the speech of people who disagree with what you want?

Asking for substantive debate free of tragic reactionary propaganda is not "limiting the speech" of people who disagree, it's asking for an intellectually honest forum for a discussion.

You're complaining because folks are tired of having important conversations hijacked with slippery slope falacies and the repetition of both USSR and USA propaganda. But that's a reasonable objection, and it's reasonable to ask that folks be minimally educated before engaging in a conversation.

If you're discussing machine learning and then someone comes in talking about how they pyramids taught them neural networking via a series of sines and cosines and also aliens (yes, this has happened to me in a public setting), you might be inclined to ask them to let the adults talk. That's not limiting speech, that's exercising your speech in opposition. They're fundamentally different things.


I wouldn't call the actual experience of a regular person who lived under the rule of the USSR to be any sort of propaganda. But I suppose that's just another way of saying you would like to invalidate anything said by people you don't agree with.

Not that the comment in question was particularly substantive. There is certainly a debate to be had there, but it's already been done a million times over on the internet, so I don't care.

But it is very interesting to read a comment like yours. Not for any reason other than to see the pure rage, saying literally nothing "intellectually honest" about the subject, but rather comparing people you disagree with to conspiracy theorists who believe in aliens.


No one here is disputing the USSR was a bad place to live. I think that's an argument you want to have come up rather than an argument I'm making. I'm saying that the fusion of authoritarian government and leftism was both a tactic of the USA and the USSR for different reasons. That's not a novel idea, is been covered by a lot of historians.

> But it is very interesting to read a comment like yours. Not for any reason other than to see the pure rage, saying literally nothing "intellectually honest" about the subject, but rather comparing people you disagree with to conspiracy theorists who believe in aliens.

Rage? Okay.

Your "freedom to" does not invalidate my "freedom from". I am not suppressing you in any way by exercising my right to say that I'm unintrested in your straw man.


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I asked. I'm open to the possibility that you were just making a snide comment about how you don't want to hear from these people at all. What kinds of comments would you expect in return?


That was the first sentence of my reply. The latter part clearly questions the relevance of the parent comment.


> ... The last economic crisis contributed directly to the rise of populism over the following decade, but the next crisis will come squarely within the age of populism. ...

Although the article doesn't mention it, the next recession will also likely come during a powerful wave of job losses tied to automation.

Mixing popular resentment over the last debacle in which had few consequences for those responsible with the bewildering lack of jobs is a recipe for scapegoating other countries.


I don’t know about anyone else but I’m tired of the “automation” doomsday predictions that don’t understand we don’t lose jobs, they just transfer with new technology.

Did the cottongin end slavery? No. It make it more efficient.

Did the rail system go away with national highways? No. We have much better last mile access.

Have robots replaced union workers? Union membership has decreased since the 80s, but unemployment has also decreased with a lot more population.

Despite computers we still have secretaries, and librarians, we have massive drilling equipment but also have miners, there are less mounted police and soldiers but despite cars horses are still around. Sailing, boats, and marine related people have jobs despite most travel being by plane. Inventing planes created more jobs than were lost, etc etc.

With every disruptive tech comes opportunity and transition. People aren’t out of jobs despite automation. They’re just in different jobs.

This prediction that there will be a billion people standing around with nothing to do because of robots is wildly naive of history.


I agree with your thrust but one caveat:

"despite cars horses are still around"

This is an absolutely terrible argument, because the population and societal use of horses have been greatly reduced once the automobile came into play. If we were to transfer this with people, this means that once automation comes into the play, the vast majority of working humans will be culled and those remaining are only luxury/recreational items...


Ok, fair enough, but read the larger context though. The people who had equestrian professions didn’t die. And there weren’t a mass of people displaced as refugees as the car became popular.

It just created different jobs. Things that weren’t possible or didn’t exist before cars.

It’s the same thing with “automation”. People like to pretend that one day soon everything will just be straight up replaced with robots overnight and we just won’t know what to do with ourselves. Not only isn’t that the case, it ignores the history of disruptive technology for the last 10,000 years.

The root of the argument is made much better with overpopulation. But developed countries can’t be made to subsidize that - make the argument automation and maybe you can convince some people to believe in socialism.


Actually from what I understand automation did displace certain specialty professions, such as weavers, and those people displaced generally had to take Shittier jobs or start from square one again in a new profession. That is to say, assuming there will not be upheaval as certain careers are completely ravaged is ahistorical.


>"The higher savings rate, we believe, has had disinflationary impact, driving the relatively slow growth and low inflation in this recovery," wrote an analyst for Raymond James, observing that younger people are "saving instead of purchasing like last generation, limiting demand growth."

this is what the constant specter of economic instability causes people to do. stash money under the bed, defer big purchases, and refuse to buy things that are not necessary for life. then, when the economy worsens, people feel like they are at least a little bit more prepared. the trick, of course, is that the actions taken to respond to their feelings of instability are more likely to cause a recession.

overall, the liberal-capitalist response to the outcry of the young public has been "shut up, get a job, consume more, be more competitive" -- and it will be just as tone deaf and infuriating in the coming recession as it has been since before the last recession.


Maybe I’m naïve, but to me the word “capitalism” is not an “economic policy” that can be changed through deliberate action, but rather a framework of analysis that makes predictions on supply, demand, and pricing in markets that are varying levels of free.

I’m confused when people in my generational cohort say things like “capitalism is unfair” or “capitalism sucks”, in reference to the system of government and benefits we have currently. Every economy has had forces that were usefully explainable with capitalism, even the soviet economy in the 80s. Markets abound, and capitalism is a powerful explanatory tool, so to me “let’s end capitalism” sounds a bit like “let’s end gravity”.

For somebody more in the know, this can’t be what people are meaning, right? Are they just trying to bargain for a “better“ social contract with fewer free markets? Any idea why they associate this with “ending capitalism”?


"Capitalism" is used as the label for the policy one might more precisely describe as "regulatory minimalism"; the philosophy that opposes minimum wage laws, that opposes collective bargaining by employees, that opposes safety and environmental regulation, that opposes universal health care, etcetera.

This philosophy is associated with the term "capitalism" because its proponents tar any improvement of the social contract, acknowledgement of climate change, or balancing of negotiating power as "socialism/communism"- terms used interchangeably as a boogeyman rather than for any engagable definition, but always pitted as the opposite of "capitalism".


It's funny because most of the things people are struggling with are a direct result of government regulation. High costs for education, housing and healthcare are caused by regulation, not helped by it. Let student loans be discharged in bankruptcy and watch the cost of education drop like a rock. Get rid of zoning restrictions and watch house prices fall. Health care costs would dramatically improve if health insurance wasn't mandatory and people could buy it from anywhere (I'd happily get mine from India or South America if it was an option).

The market isn't the problem, it's government interference with the market that's the problem.


Healthcare and Education are both very affordable because of regulation in Australia where I live. It isn't regulation at all that is the problem with affordability you describe, it is the form the specific regulation you guys in the US have


"ism" words get defined for political purposes. And the overwhelming success of regulated capitalism over the past century has moved the definitions of socialism and capitalism in toward the middle, because the extremes are no longer politically tenable.

For example, socialism, to many of its proponents in 2019, means using the collective power of the government to tax the rich in order to purchase better outcomes for all citizens--even if those purchases are from private parties. Lots of people are in favor of "single payer" government health insurance... not nearly as many folks are saying let's force all doctors to work only for the government. That's what socialism meant 100 years ago. But that's not what socialism means today to most folks in the U.S.

Likewise, the popular understanding of "ending capitalism" in 2019 mean ending the political, regulatory, and tax regimes that enable complex financial engineering that results in huge paydays for Wall Street and tax avoidance for rich people and big companies. "Capitalism" in this sense is not intended to be a technical term referencing property ownership rights... the word is being more like the name of belief system or set of values--one that doesn't care about income inequality and poor people.

"Socialism vs capitalism" for most people in 2019 is really a fight over values and political priorities. The words are placeholders for systems of belief. It's not a fight about private property rights in general like it was 100 years ago. I mean, maybe it is to a few people, but not many, relatively speaking.

That is, lots of people are fighting about extracting wealth from rich people and huge companies... not many are fighting to end their own right to own any property, to surrender it all to the government.


I think in the broadest sense, they mean ending private control of capital.

This means that instead of capital being mostly in the hands of a few (the rich, or the state, in the case of something like China) they want it to be in the control of the people. This would mean that basically the people would control capital democratically, in most cases, but there are other systems like Mutualism which isn't necessarily democratic.

For many, they may want to end markets as well, for various reasons, but markets aren't the same thing as capitalism, as you seem to think.


Capitalism can be defined accurately in different ways depending on context, but industrial-era economists Adam Smith and Karl Marx, who spent their lives analyzing capitalism, understood it as a matter of political economy. In other words, it is nothing like natural law. It is a political matter.

Of the aforementioned experts, Marx was the most critical of capitalism, but most who are unfamiliar would be taken back by the amount of common ground shared between him and Smith.

Some basic working class complaints about capitalism in a very economic sense are concisely introduced in this essay: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/wage-labour...

Like most HN readers, Marx believed work is an integral part of a healthy human life. His concern was about the relation of humans with the value they produce. He gave a prescient analysis of what we appear to be experiencing today, in his Theory Of Alienation. See: https://www.marxists.org/subject/alienation/


>I’m confused when people in my generational cohort say [...]

Talk to them, and you'll realize they don't know what the fuck they mean either.

To generalize from my conversations, by "capitailism" they mean some amalgamation of: the fact they're poor, market forces in general, Government policy not providing certain goods/services, financial markets, non-post-scarcity, and snidely whiplash mustache twirling villains lurking in the wings.

But they also mean any aspect of society they don't like and can find a specious connection to market forces. Even if it's something that's just as possible under a communist/socialist government. It just wouldn't exist in their vision of Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism.


Rerunning a comment of mine from five days ago, because it also fits here:

Rodney Stark says that the distinguishing mark of capitalism is that (at least part of) the profits are re-invested in better tools for productivity gains. In this view, "the existence of property rights, money, and the right to freely enter into contracts except when prohibited by law" are prerequisites, but they aren't capitalism. Capitalism is what you do once you have that foundation in place.


The existence of capital is an economic law. Private ownership of capital (i.e. capitalism) is not, it is an economic policy.


The proponents of current form of capitalism miss a big big aspect of free-market capitalism. That is: taking losses.

Every capitalism proponent is so tied up to the stock market that they don't want to see losses. Thus they resort to policies that would somehow socialize losses.

If you are really free market, you need to accept losses.

- Let the FED not print money which causes inflation which is driving a regular life out of the young's reach

- Let students declare bankruptcy on student loans

- Let your social security go bankrupt, it is market driven

- Let your house prices go underwater. Whoever said it should always go up and that the young should burn their lives to buy it from old geezers at elevated prices.

But no, the boomers don't want those losses. This is where cries for socialism is coming from.


> The proponents of current form of capitalism miss a big big aspect of free-market capitalism. That is: taking losses.

It might be clearer if you just called "the current form of capitalism" crony capitalism. It's not free market and that's why I laugh whenever people say that capitalism is failing. Progressives won a long time ago (during the Progressive era) and crafted a massive government, instituted heavy centralized planning, and we're seeing the failure of the centralization of government play out today.


Are you really kidding me? I'm not sure if you are looking at things objectively when you blame progressives (for something they didn't even do) while the current administration is enriching the oligarchs


Enriching the oligarchs? Compared to under Bush and Obama when their administrations espoused the notion that "everyone dies if we don't inject massive amounts of money into irresponsible corporations." Everyone enriches oligarchs. Blaming it on one administration or the other misses the larger point that strong central planning is the defining feature of anything done by federal govt nowadays (something that, like I said, we got from the early 20th c).


Every administration has a problem. You are the one who brought some "progressive" nonsense in the first place, when you yourself know that it's not a political party issue. It's a problem with our politics which is sold out to the highest bidder.

Oligarchs in our system are people funding lobbyists. How else do you think Oligarchs work?

Let's be rational and remove the blame game. Focus on the problem and we know none of the political leaders are doing anything to fix it.


>On the other hand, 41 percent of those over 65 supported Biden, compared to 26 percent for Warren and an incredible 2 percent for Sanders.

it seems that the ones that grew up in a time when tax policy was closer to bernie sanders' are less likely to support him


That does not surprise me. That generation benefited from those tax rates by living some of the best recorded lives in history and don't want to do anything that could change their own status quo now that they are rich and powerfull.


I agree. Retirees and the elderly vote much more than the youth. Unless that changes, policy will continue to be more favorable towards retirees and the elderly.


"The more they feel that the system is rigged against them, the more they will demand the system itself be overthrown"

The author talks about it like the only alternative is overthrowing the system. This is another extreme, maybe the word you should use here is the social market economy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_market_economy). We use this term here in Germany, even our most deregulation friendly party is committed to it and by definition it's still capitalist.


The illusion that there is one thing called capitalism needs to go. Because of it, the discussion always goes to "oh, you think communism will be better? We will have gulags before the month is over!"

Most people are unaware there are like 9 different schools of thought in economics, which complement each other. They might have heard of Keynesian and neo-liberal. Of all places, HN readers should know about Schumpeter's model, as it explains the rise of new industries often comes with disruption to the old ones.

Many problems of the last decades come from shoe-horning neoliberal economic model where it does not belong, without understanding it's limitations. (which are numerous). Privatising natural monopolies is the classic example.

It also seems the fall of USSR has freed our leaders from any need for self-reflection. The consequences for fuck ups could be dire, now all you get is "occupy wall-street".


I'm always amazed how no one has heard of Mutualism. It's also a testament to how effective the USSR (and the US, I guess) were at portraying all legitimacy around non-capitalism concentrated around authoritarian state capitalism.


This whole "capitalism bad" debate feels incredibly black and white.

I think what most people are really against is the one way street that capitalism established. It's a broken system, and it wouldn't matter if we had any other system as long as it would still be broken and abused.

On a global level, there are tax loopholes that allow multi billion corporations and individuals to pay essentially no taxes. This money is then used to further enrich the same parties through a financial market that is equally broken.

It has nothing to do with capitalism that wealth is created without a flow of goods or other value that is created from it. All it does is devalue all other wealth at a growing pace.

Capitalism is not ideal, it won't be. But if we moved towards actual, functional capitalism where governments did their part in keeping the whole thing from turning into a one way street, we would have a long way to go before we needed something else.


I was reading recently about how many criminals are going international in order to avoid laws in their own country. They pick places where extradition treaties are not established and then will steal or scam money over the internet. The current system has not caught up to this just as it hasn't caught up to international tax loopholes. This is definitely not a failure of capitalism though, it is simply a lack of imagination by governments. Corporations are organizations designed to maximize profits for their shareholders. If they are not trying to minimize their tax burden, they are not doing their job. Governments either need to agree on a global tax framework,find an alternate way of charging tax that is less prone to loopholes, or lessen their need of tax revenue.


Is it not just as black and white as the whole "socialism/communism is bad" stuff we're fed? People act like Medicare For All would be catastrophically expensive, when even our arguably closest allies in the UK — not exactly a socialist haven! — have the NHS, which seems to work out great. They pretend the Green New Deal would mark the end times for the US, as if the last New Deal's massive investment in infrastructure didn't help revitalize the economy.

But yes, I agree — the idea that best thing to do is dogmatically implement one particular economic system is absurd.


My wording clearly wasn't the best, so thanks for picking this up. Your comment reflects what I had in mind. We don't have to go from one to the other in one big swing. Evolving and moving towards a less broken system would go a long way already.


> the one way street that capitalism established.

> It has nothing to do with capitalism

> But if we moved towards actual, functional capitalism

What you are making is the classic "it's the fault of faux-capitalism and not my idealized version of capitalism" argument.


How exactly is closing tax loopholes and rampant corruption idealized? That should be the bare minimum.


If you were born in an advanced economy in 2000 you've lived through at least two recessions, weak growth, rising inequality and asset prices, and high cost of schooling. Yes, capitalism isn't really looking great right now.


Contrarian opinion--you've lived in two boom times with high growth and have more knowledge that is easier and cheaper to access than any other time in human history.


Capitalism never looked great for most people, it didn't start in 2000, it's a system for the rich to exploit the rest after all. The difference today is that internet is not a top down propaganda machine and people are not as easily persuaded to accept the system. On the internet people have access to plenty of opinions pointing out the problems of capitalism.


Capitalism or just bankers and other usurers?


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Most young people are paradoxically for unfettered immigration

I'm not sure that is true.


They're in favor of 1) path to citizenship for undocumented people living in America and 2) greatly increasing legal immigration caps.

They're in favor of greatly increasing immigration


Yup not my experience either. If there was a reaction, it was mostly to the caging/seperating children stories.


I'm for open borders, more or less, ama I guess?


[flagged]


I'm kind of confused at this rhetoric, as it seems hypocritical on its face. It's denigrating calling an argument a racist straw man, while creating a straw man ('the rabid blue hairs'). I think this is a really poor way to enter a conversation, as even the people against border control only attack the argument while this post only attacks the people.


>>> Most young people

> The woke young programmers of the bay (and elsewhere)

These are not the same.


> . I've seen this queried for exceptions, eg for convicted rapists and the rabid blue hairs torn that suggestion apart as a 'racist straw man'.

Well if that worked at all in modern society people might be more sympathetic to it. However, we've got almost no evidence that this is how border control works at all. We've got a lot of buffoonery about how other countries full of feral savages come to invade our pure and innocent land, conveniently not talking about our arms shipments and political manipulations in those countries.


Could you possibly rephrase your observation to avoid the derogatory description?


I would, but being in the middle of these two groups has left me mentally exhausted. I would delete the comment (I don't think it's helpful in hindsight), but I can't.


I can't comment on US, but Germany and some other EU countries have fertility rate below 1.5. Without immigration the system will collapse as pensioners will outnumber working population.

EDIT: this is an observation, I am not advocating 'substitution'


Because young people can't afford to have more kids. Mass influx of unskilled labour is not going to save us.


I don't agree with the parent comment at all and I know this is the current go-to policy solution, but considering all factors I believe this to be nothing less than complete lunacy.

Especially if the older generations take up that much space that younger people strugge to find a place on their own. It just makes sense in the context of our dilapidated pension system.

That won't work long term at all and life standards will probably decrease significantly in Germany in the future.

Instead of immigration, we actually should let the pension system collapse and see how we can supply the older generation in a more efficient way. Because the current one is evidently not sustainable.


Honestly from a purely eco sustainability viewpoint I would prefer we keep low fertility rate everywhere until we halve the current human population.

It's is the economic system the one which should adapt.


Yes, lets bring in loads of uneducated, poor immigrants instead of addressing the issues causing fertility rates below the replacement level. Why let our children have families when we can import them for cheaper?


> addressing the issues causing fertility rates below the replacement level

Myself and many of my friends who have decided to have zero children or only one child rather late in life, cite the burden of having to take care of children, when one is already tired after work, one would like to pursue leisure activities that do not involve children present, etc. Even in countries where the state provides abundant infrastructure to minimize the financial expense of childrearing, birthrates are still low because of the time and effort expense that remains. So, how do you address that issue? Telling people to just suck it up and accept childbearing as their duty isn’t going to work.

Immigrants are often coming from countries where religious and cultural pressures in favor of childbearing are maintaining the birthrate higher than in the West, but even in those regions birthrates are gradually falling as their countries become more developed.


> Myself and many of my friends who have decided to have zero children or only one child rather late in life ... So, how do you address that issue? Telling people to just suck it up and accept childbearing as their duty isn’t going to work.

What I predict will happen: Government will reduce pension and social security payments to those that did not support the system by having 2 or more well-raised children.


Just kill of the transfer system, since the solution is completely insane and obviously unstable.


Do you know the difference between an immigrant and a refugee? Have you ever had to deal with the visa system of any western country?

I am in immigrant in the UK. You have to prove you have education, funds to support yourself, and a job offer with high salary. Add visa expenses, moving expenses, and you might realise only fairly 'privileged foreigners' can do this.

By all means, address issues causing low birthrates. But don't go around complaining about the unwashed masses, because kids from Somalia are never getting in.

bsanr2 21 days ago [flagged]

Because educating immigrants is cheaper? If you support immigrants, surprisingly, they tend to embrace the existentially important parts of your culture and integrate smoothly.

But my guess is that you take issue more with their skin color.


>But my guess is that you take issue more with their skin color

Lol, I feel like having a family is way too expensive and disagree that importing replacements is the only way to go. Giving birth shouldn't bankrupt you, and that has to be a huge reason young people (including me and my friends) are pushing off having children. Combine that with the overwhelming student debt crisis, I don't feel I can take on a child. So it seems weird that the solution is "screw them, just import the people we need".

But sure, make it about me being "racist" so you can imagine yourself as a big warrior fighting off bigots online.


Logically-speaking, why would you create people who will be a burden to a society in need for a longer period than people you could bring in from outside? It's a very similar issue to the adoption vs birth debate, which is exceedingly simple before emotional matters come into play: it's much better for society for childless couples to adopt parentless children.

Likewise, the answer to this immigration debate is exceedingly clear, until you throw overly emotional notions about culture and ethnicity and nationality into the mix.


Me having two children are not destined to be "burdens to society in need (sic?) for a longer period than people you can bring from outside". That is certainly not guaranteed. I'm not sure it's even statistically more likely than not. So I'm very hesitant to take that as gospel.

And my personal beliefs about life and what it means to be human in my very finite time here goes far beyond "well the economics work out better if I'm barren forever and the government imports immigrants with higher birth rates due to being from a third world country". I strive to have a complete, well rounded life with a loving family. At the end of the day, my life goal is not to live an " economically logical" life void of emotions. I have 90 years here, if I'm lucky. I AM going to live a full life.

There is nothing wrong with immigration, but the fact of the matter is you can't strip all emotion out of the equation. You can say its overly emotional to want your own family instead of importing people with completely different cultures and values, but the drive to reproduce has been in the works for 3.5 billion years. Having others reproduce for you so the government can get an extra dollar out of isn't enough of an incentive to kick the repro drive.


>Me having two children are not destined to be "burdens to society in need (sic?) for a longer period than people you can bring from outside". That is certainly not guaranteed.

On balance, it pretty much is. Adult immigrants will generally be productive in a fraction of the time that children will take to even become legally eligible to be productive.

>And my personal beliefs about life and what it means to be human in my very finite time here goes far beyond "well the economics work out better if I'm barren forever and the government imports immigrants with higher birth rates due to being from a third world country". I strive to have a complete, well rounded life with a loving family. At the end of the day, my life goal is not to live an " economically logical" life void of emotions. I have 90 years here, if I'm lucky. I AM going to live a full life.

That's fine. Please explain why we should build policy around your sentimentality, especially since people like you are unmoved (at least, to the point of actual action) by appeals to the human rights of would-be immigrants.


Western countries are importing immigrants that someone else has already paid to educate. If an engineer moves to US from India, Indian government and the Immigrant / their family have already invested in that person's education. Arguably US is 'Stealing' the best people from elsewhere, and gaining unfair advantage.


Yes, let's give the natives a breeding bonus! That'll solve it.


Why is immigration tied to lower wages?

Searching for it yields rather the opposite.


> Why is immigration tied to lower wages?

Obviously this can greatly vary. In America, immigration is tied to lower wages for lower tier jobs like chefs, construction workers, factory workers. I don't know enough to state immigration's effects on high tier white collar jobs like software engineering.


> Obviously this can greatly vary. In America, immigration is tied to lower wages for lower tier jobs like chefs, construction workers, factory workers. I don't know enough to state immigration's effects on high tier white collar jobs like software engineering.

Can you show evidence this really happens even within lower wage jobs? Folks point out that not only are immigrants much less expensive labor for communities (in that there are qualified individuals arriving pre-trained and as active adults rather than locally trained and nurtured children), and that they tend to take different jobs than the native population does in most cases.

This is a surprisingly common take on the literature, with an unlikely consensus among both the conservative and radical left, libertarians and conservative libertarians, and even many on the conservative side.

The service industry is a particularly good example of how immigrants arriving into an economy tend to expand the economy to make room for themselves (they themselves need to contribute to the additional demand on the local services industry) rather than displacing the existing infrastructure.


> This is a surprisingly common take on the literature, with an unlikely consensus among both the conservative and radical left, libertarians and conservative libertarians, and even many on the conservative side.

I hate asking but mind citing some sources?

Economic consensus is that labor pool operates on supply/demand, so greatly increase the supply through immigration will reduce demand and therefore reduce salaries. This part of the reason for why doctors have such high salaries: their supply is limited because only X number of people can become doctors each year and demand is very high.

Saying that an increased supply of workers does not affect highly commoditized jobs like cooks and construction works is an unusual claim and I would appreciate a source so i can review their arguments.


If people move to the city they work in, they would not only be workers but also citizens. Thus increasing the supply of workers. But also the amount of consumers. It's a two way street. Importing work force that only work during the day and then leave is however bad I would say. People that are sick are also a toll (that's expected to yield return someday, future investment).

That is just my uneducated take on it.

When I search for the terms immigration wages I get the following sources:

https://www.sns.se/en/archive/effects-of-immigration-on-nati... https://fullfact.org/immigration/immigration-wages/


Racism is not bound by facts - see our current administration.

We're debating "replacement rates" and immigration because it turns out only people who are currently in power benefit from a party that maintains the status quo. This leads to that party gripping the status quo reigns ever tighter, and in turn to most non-majority people voting against them. Well, turns out a lot of the minority are immigrants, so the status quo faction now yammers about "replacement rates" and wants to keep immigrants out - because they're aware they can't hold onto power under a democratic system that allows immigration.

And so, racism and fascism takes hold, and facts are jettisoned for the benefit of holding on to power.


You're a) expanding the labor pool with b) people willing to work for less money than the locals. How you think that doesn't drive down wages is beyond me.


You're making a positive proposition in the domain of economics. You're obligated to show evidence of it if you can, or at least propose a mechanism people can debate. It's entirely feasible to do so.

But good luck with that; I think the data shows that it's not a very pronounced effect.


> But good luck with that; I think the data shows that it's not a very pronounced effect.

Yes, you're right, H1-B visas and offshoring have done wonders for the average US software engineer's wages.


It doesn't (necessarily) drive down wages because immigration expands the size of the market, there are more people to buy from and sell to.


> but one is an economic policy and a result of the other

I don't see that unfettered immigration need be linked to capitalism, just the belief people can move around freely being OK.

> increase competition and lower their wages (immigration), whilst railing against capitalism

I'd guess they are railing not against immigrants that undercut their £8/hour bar work but the executives at the top of companies that can earn millions, even many millions a year, while the yoof serve them drinks from the bar at £8/hour. Even more so when those executives prove incompetent or corrupt.

> Ideology has gone so far as to confuse young Americans

Well I'm a brit an not young but I guess their ideology is "I'd like to be treated with economic decency", which I support.


If you don't mind, what is economic decency?


I just meant not paying millions to some people (especially if they do a bad job) while others get paid very marginally indeed with no chance of improving that.


You are wrong that most young people are for "unfettered immigration", but you are correct that most young liberals are in favor of having the borders be more open than they are now. What I find paradoxical is that many of the near-and-dear issues to young liberals -- housing prices, rents, public transit, homelessness, health care -- are exacerbated by an increased population.


I don’t believe people are really against capitalism but they have some legitimate concerns about the current form of capitalism. I don’t think many want to address these by moving to communism. But ideologues will always want to move things away from a nuanced and open discussion to an extreme so it’s easier to draw battle lines. Happened to health care and it’s now happening to things like immigration and social justice.


> Most young people are paradoxically for unfettered immigration and against capitalism, but one is an economic policy and a result of the other.

Because many young people are increasingly sympathetic to the anarchist argument for the dissolution of borders. That's not paradoxical, the argument is that the national state should stop having the power to limit the movement of people.

> Simultaneously they are pushing for policies that increase competition and lower their wages (immigration),

This isn't actually a true statement. Immigrants are less expensive labor for a community, freeing up more capital for civil services, education and facilities. The idea that immigration lowers wages is a populist argument made by capitalists and reactionaries alike. Modern corporate capitalists actually LIKE the state limiting the supply of immigrant labor behind elaborate processes and form-filling. So long as they get their quota promptly, that is.


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