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Half a million South Korean workers walk off jobs in general strike (truthout.org)
236 points by xojoc 41 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 252 comments



This already happened, yesterday.[1] About 16,000 people showed up for a rally in Seoul.

[1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/south-korea-squid-game-labor-un...


Seems like 16000 was nationwide, which should count as pretty disappointing turnout even though protests are supposed to be banned.

In any case, I get the impression this article is mostly about influencing US domestic politics rather than accurately describe what happens in Korea...


Never trust media on counts.

Went to some boat rallies that had many thousands of people and hundreds of boat. Highly impressive turnout.

Media reports made it out that barely anyone showed up.


It's really hard to estimate the size of crowds without the help of technology.


Reported crowd size has more to do with if the reporter wants to promote or disparate a group. How they want to “spin” the story.


Depends on how they're reporting on it.

There absolutely are reporters that do this by always saying things like "it feels like... " Etc.

It's however notoriously hard to estimate these numbers and participants generally overestimate the amount by several orders of magnitude.


Wanted to comment with a snide "QED", then got really sad, because jumping from poor reporting on boat rallies to "never trust the media" feels way too real right now.


More like jumping from "any time I am familiar with something and see an article on it, the article is super inaccurate" to "never trust the media"


The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect!

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.” – Michael Crichton (1942-2008)


Why on earth would anyone “trust” the media or any other group.

That’s like believing Facebook has your best interest in mind.

Figure out what a group wants to understand how they are spinning story.


It is more about having a slightly more sophisticated and realistic view of the world than a binary "they are good/bad". Everyone has biases, everyone is frequently imprecise in "something", and everything is political, but that does not mean you should distrust everyone and assume they are malicious/incompetent.


> It is more about having a slightly more sophisticated and realistic view of the world than a binary "they are good/bad"

That was not my take on treeman's comment. They didn't say distrust everyone, but that motives are usually far from altruistic and more selfish in nature. That people have selfish reasons for doing what they do is worth recognizing. A corporation offering you something most likely does not have your best interests in mind, but their bottom line.


I just want to point out that adults in my life did a terrible job of explaining "spin" and perception management to me until I was well into my 20's. People mentioned that sort of thing, or it was mentioned in novels and I always assumed they meant those tabloids in the supermarket, and that the "real media" were a cut above, because on the surface, they A) seemed to report on a truth, B)seemed to at least be willing to go on the record to correct errors. After all, at that point I paid more attention to what people said, and did not quite grasp the whole "communication through not saying" thing.

I'm spending a great deal of time figuring out how to make a game of "spot the hidden subtext" with kiddos. Just to make them hellions down the road.


A similar take:

Don’t get your updates on X from someone trying to sell you some version of X. Get it from someone who has to explain X before selling you on Y.


Maybe also, someone who sells you Y, but none of unrelated M,N,O,P,Q,R -- if she is nevertheless familiar with those, you could ask her about those


I wonder if Squid Game has had an impact. Gi-Hun had a flashback to an auto factory strike that was pretty traumatic that led him down the path to sign his life away to the game.

https://labornotes.org/blogs/2021/10/real-life-auto-strike-b...


So many of their recent films with worldwide acclaim are about rampant classism and economic inequality. Even as someone not super in touch with Korean social sentiment, I still get the feeling that Koreans are getting super fed up with their status quo. Might not be "having an effect" so much as "reflecting the way they feel".


Given most people are not super-wealthy, popular shows are much more likely to have been sympathetic to that view.

No one wants to watch a show that says "Actually things are pretty good compared to how they were, and still improving, and while there are a few really rich people in the world, it wouldn't change your life for the better if they didn't exist."


Do you have any idea then number of people and the volume of resources that go to servicing the wealthy? Yes, I think we'd be doing better if there were fewer extraordinarily wealthy people. They aren't necessary to work together to achieve economies of scale, but they sure are fucking expensive.


Do you? Do you really think you can magically turn raw materials + work needed to build a super yacht into something of global consequence ? Or a Pollock painting will magically turn into a 1000 homes? Or that 1% consumes significantly more food? Most ultra-rich sh*t is immaterial to struggles of regular people. Even if 1%ers consumes extra 300 square meters of real eastate if you divide it across the 99% you will get an extra 3 square meters. It's immaterial.


I have seen this sentiment and on the surface its looks right. But I feel that we are missing here some real studies that should be done into impact of life style of the rich on the whole economy. I know few rich people (some of them ungodly rich). And seeing glimpses of their life style I cannot simply ignore cohorts of supporting jobs that make it all possibile (just to mentions few : private guards, house keeps, gardeners, cooks, private pilots on call, yaht crew members, drivers).


And yet account for all of that and divide it across remaining population and it will come out to nothing. The majority of their wealth is super inflated assets that would not change anyones life if divided across the population.


According to Wikipedia, in 2016 the Top 500 richest Germans, owned a combined wealth of 692 Mrd. €. That's around 8500 EUR per German citizen (infants and kids included) in 2016 - more today. For some people that is an amount that substantially affects their life.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_500_reichsten_Deutsc...


Yes, but you are liquidating the companies they own. If you consume them, they become much smaller, which means they have less employees, less work, less income, etc.

This is consuming capital for expenditures, which will in a macro view reduce wages in the long term.


that includes real estate in Monaco priced at 100K per square meter, works of arts jewels, stocks trading at 100+ PE etc. e.g. sh#t not convertible into shelter, food and other things people need. It's not that elastic on a gloabl scale.


The majority of this is ownership, for example the Quandt family owns nearly 50% of BMW. Stefan Quandt alone owns 25% of BMW. It's pretty elastic - and that wealth share of 700 billion is owned by 500 out of 80 Million people or 0.000625% of the population.


You are assuming that thats convertible to something tangible which it isn't at global scale. We just had a large scale experiment in this area with Covid. Food prices went up real estate is through the roof.


> The majority of this is ownership, for example the Quandt family owns nearly 50% of BMW.

This is still based on two massive misunderstandings:

1. This share is cash, when it is not. It is just evaluated as a cash value for simplicity. Removing these people's shareholding does not make actual money appear.

2. People have to buy shares in order for them to be worth anything. Why would anyone buy shares in your world?


> And seeing glimpses of their life style I cannot simply ignore cohorts of supporting jobs that make it all possibile

You shouldn't ignore them. They all get paid, which circulates money through the economy.


Sure, but I believe that money and money circulation is only means to an end and this feels like loosing the sight of end goal. Its a bit like saying that war is a viable economy booster (it can eventually create economic boom like WW2 has done in mamy countries that were rebuilding but this only make sens if You ingnore the obvious upfront costs)


There is no end goal. The end is not in sight for progress; we need to keep going, and keep in place the one system that has really allowed it.

And yes, they are a means to an end (uplift your family's lot; achieve personal goals through the choices money allows; stay healthy as long as possible; etc etc).


It creates real jobs and wealth. A friend of mine has 200 people employed in his family office.


What wealth does a yacht crew member create? A private guard? Or a private chef? These are all luxuries wholly consumed by the individual rich person, and whatever "wealth" may have been created vanishes the next day under the spin of the hedonic treadmill.

The labor of these employees could have instead been directed towards build infrastructure, nursing, childcare, or any other number of jobs which generate real and persistent wealth which compounds across generations.


>The labor of these employees could have instead been directed towards build infrastructure, nursing, childcare, or any other number of jobs which generate real and persistent wealth which compounds across generations.

Yeah, that's called investment, and rich people also get flak for that.


> The labor of these employees could have instead been directed towards build infrastructure, nursing, childcare, or any other number of jobs which generate real and persistent wealth which compounds across generations.

This is a silly yardstick. There are countless jobs like that. Probably half the people on HN don't have those jobs, and aren't employed by the super rich. If you're choosing who to criticise and then making up criticisms, and don't care if those criticisms also apply to countless other situations, then that's unlikely to be convincing. Except to those looking for a reason to justify their preconceptions.


"Real jobs and wealth" ... imagine putting them to work into something truly useful and creative, rather than a group of beck and call people.


"putting them to work" - what are you talking about? They are choosing jobs.


Im guessing that He is talking about "having job" being a poor abstraction for value creation from point of view of whole society. Its like triple A rating for CDOs backed by subprime morgages. On the surface it seems good but if You look close enough You will see only bullshit and wishful thinking.


I don't think your comparison holds. There is not whole society acting in concert, nor even in agreement about what is valuable. There are just individuals, some of whom band together into companies and other organisations, all with different priorities.


I believe that throughout history few golden rules emerged (most of them boil down to "do as You would be done") which keeps our societies more or less stable (we, or rather some of us, are still here, dont we?). Even those who abhore this rules most of the time keeps it to themselves. But if we as a society give individuals too much power then some of them will try to impose their own random ideas and values on us. This was happening with kings and feudal lords and this is happening now with some (if not all) of capitalistic roulette winners.


We're not giving power as a a society. We are rewarding people through a system who create value in that system.

If I can sell a billion people a widget for $2 that cost me $1 to make and ship, then I become a rich person without "society" being involved or "giving" anything.

The people who have generally perpetrated tragedies have been tied to government rather than commerce. Your examples are all governments or equivalent, and this is where your final analogy is inadequate, I think. The power balance is ultimately that any government at any time can ban any company.


Exactly. Thank you. Who is really doing the "choosing" here.


I'll take the 3 metres, thanks.

I hate this kind of framing. People use it all the time. "It only costs 50p per person of the population to maintain the UK Royal Family" ...

Pfft, in total there is the potential to do something more significant, more useful, and .... material.


Sure you will but you will never get it though. Because there will be a class of people who decide who should get that extra 3 meters and as my experience growing up in USSR tells me it's ain't gonna be you.


Yup. All these arguments about wealth distribution are typically “solved” by just shifting that wealth to another select group. Of course entirely due to meritocracy - being an expert in Leninism require a certain lifestyle you understand.

I have no argument against policies which support those at the bottom end. But to pretend that an equitable outcome is possible in the long term ignore thousands of years of human experience.


A class of people? You mean our democratically elected officials? For all their flaws, I would rather they do something productive with "some" of the resources we're talking about here rather than putting it to use on just another bottle of Dom Perignon. Sure, even that generates economic activity, but there are much better economically multiplying activities that can be invested in.


Officials are not democratically elected.


Mine is. Sorry if you're living in North Korea. I'm rooting for your revolution.


You vote for all the officials that write your legislation and bylaws, and administrate them? In my country we just vote for the people who take the credit/blame for the work a relatively static administrative system does.


Well at the point of time when policies are that to the left hard to imagine you will still have elected officials but who knows


> that to the left hard

He's talking about stopping funding for the British Monarchy, not nationalising the means of production. It's not a majority position, but it's hardly hard left.


Fucking lefties with their big government, wanting to.. stop paying the monarchy for breathing.


I've heard it called the "Small Change Defense". It's applied, not just to the rich, but to government programs that people complain are wasteful.

Sure, it's only 50 cents. That other program is only a dollar. But if you look at the federal budget, there are a lot of programs. They might each one be small. But add them all together and I get the huge amount I'm going to owe in April.

And even if I just pick, say, 30 of them, I could still take that money and have at least a cheap date with my wife. I'd rather have that than those 30 programs.

Straws are light, the horse said, but that doesn't mean I can carry a billion of them...


I do! But I'm more thinking about the catering companies. And the parties. You know, stuff like that. The way that hundreds or thousands of hours of human lives swirl about their whims.

Also, do you really think so little of boat-builders that you don't think they'd turn their hand to something else than building yatchs, that would be good and profitable for all involved?


> do you really think so little of boat-builders that you don't think they'd turn their hand to something else than building yatchs, that would be good and profitable for all involved

do you think so little of boat-builders that you want to tell them what they should do with their lives? I imagine if they're building boats it's because they like building boats, and are more than happy that there are obscenely rich people there to pay them a livelihood designing and building beautiful yachts.


I think you're missing the point. They'd still keep building boats right? Except they wouldn't exclusively serve the ultra wealthy. Because the market wouldn't exist. Because people shouldn't be insanely wealthy. Because that comes at a cost to other people and is entirely a function of social systems, systems that we should make benefit everyone and not just a select few.


So if they're still building boats (presumably for no one?) Then they won't be the nurses etc earlier in the thread that this line of reasoning was countering.


It seems like you're struggling to imagine what people would even do with their lives if the industries that cropped up to service the ultra wealthy dissapeared. I am here to reveal to you, they would just work for other people performing needed services or producing goods. Simply put, there would be more for everyone else if the ultra wealthy did not exist to suck up so many resources.


Not at all - you've badly misread what I said.

You and one other person in this thread are saying:

- the super rich shouldn't be around because they employ people to do the wrong jobs; those people should do other jobs, and removing the super rich is how we achieve this important aim

- the super rich aren't required to keep those people employed; the same demand will magically appear if we remove the super rich

You are particularly distinguished because you say both at different points, which is funny. But I am commenting at one time or another on either of those points above.


"The way that hundreds or thousands of hours of human lives swirl about their whims" and many other little quotes in the thread betray the real motivation here. There are many more industries/groups of people that "waste" (under some moralistic definition I would disagree with, but it's a separate discussion) less per capita, but more in aggregate. E.g. most air travel. Or really any large entertainment-related industry (I love video games, but is there really nothing more productive the game developers and players could be doing?)

What is really going on is good ol' envy. Historically- primitive egalitarianism, as rational and helpful for building a good society as other aspects the social structure of clans and tribes.

This usually happens in practice, too; but for a large fraction (and maybe a large majority) of leftists it's also the poorly hidden goal - "virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries"


You're right when you say that the discretionary spending of the ultra-rich doesn't matter, but there are consequences to increasing or decreasing the percentage of capital they control.

If you e.g. diluted the S&P 500 by 20% and spread the new shares equally across the global population, it would definitely cause "something of global consequence" to happen, although I have no idea whether it would be world war 3 or a utopia.


And what would the S&P500 companies do with 20% less capital? How many people laid off? How many factories shut down?


Probably go bankrupt and/or lay off a lot of employees in a globally consequential way. I'm not arguing it would be a good idea, I'm arguing that it does in fact matter who controls that capital, as evidenced by what would happen if you redistributed a fifth of it in the dumbest way possible.


my guess would be inflation


>although I have no idea whether it would be world war 3 or a utopia

I suspect it would look more like the current economic craziness. The vast majority of the newly-wealthy would spend all of their new-found money on stupid shit and within 2 years a new upper-class will have formed.

Maybe the members of the hierarchy gets shuffled around a bit, but the system itself will find a way back.


You sure about that? It's giving roughly $1000USD worth of shares to people in countries like Somalia, with a GNI per capita of $310USD, e.g. probably about 3x the average yearly wage over there. It's also only a 20% dilution, so it's not like the existing upper class would go anywhere.


>You sure about that?

I was just making a pithy and cynical statement about how wealth distribution in general will just "shuffle the cards" and not change the fact that there are an entire class of people who refuse to acquire genuine wealth.

>It's giving roughly $1000USD worth of shares to people in countries like Somalia, with a GNI per capita of $310USD, e.g. probably about 3x the average yearly wage over there.

Yeah, that could start a war. According to Google the average cost of an AK over there is about US$100.


If you give someone $1000 worth of shares then they have nothing, because who would buy those shares when you might confiscate them again? Shares aren't worth anything in a world of confiscation.


There are not many truly wealthy people in South Korea.


Oh, I'm not so sure about that. Personally I don't want to watch squid game at all, and am only slightly more curious about Parasite.

That's not because I don't sympathize with the politics, on the contrary. It's because I feel like I have enough reminders of what kind of world we live in already. I keep coming back to something Thoreau wrote: I didn't come into this world to fix it, but to live in it.


Most people wouldn’t watch that show, but well-off people would definitely read that Steven Pinker book to feel better about their insulated comfort in a suffering world. I guess people have different media preferences.

To Pinker’s credit, even he wouldn’t make such a wildly hyperbolic understatement of global inequality. At least not in public, maybe on Epstein’s plane.


The problem is inequality is the wrong metric. Standard of living is the right one.


I think the "actually things are pretty good" view are most of the K-Dramas you run into on MBC and KBS based on what I've seen over the air.


distorsion. poor people being exploited has been a common trope for centuries. Les Miserables anyone?

Ultimately the movie industry in Korea is made of very wealthy people parading like friends of the poor. very amusing.


It's a chicken and egg problem, or maybe a feedback loop.


No: It was scheduled before the release of Squid Game[1].

[1]: (korean) https://m.hani.co.kr/arti/society/labor/1008768.html#cb


Other way around. The status quo inspired those plot lines.


The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions are known for their thuggish ways.

They frequently resort to violence, harassment and coerce all those that stand in their agenda.

within last year, they harassed a manager of delivery logistics company to commit suicide (specified and detailed harassment he faced on his will), cut off fuel valve of a delivery truck for not participating in their strike, and beat up a strike breaker.

The young worker demographic aren't keen to their ways, as exemplified by recent strike & protest of starbucks workers refusing help from KCTU when they volunteered to 'unite' in protest efforts.

https://news.v.daum.net/v/20210923195947254

https://www.edunctn.com/mobile/article.html?no=16927

https://www.chosun.com/national/labor/2021/09/17/ORHL7BDIABD...

https://m.khan.co.kr/national/national-general/article/20211...


Imagine anger when you live in poverty, you work 9 hours/day (minimum, from workweek in Korea) manual labor, some people at work die or get disabilities in work accidents. As a worker you know that everyone lives from surplus you produce, the food, etc, programmers do not make food. You can only do programming since they made food for you. So as a worker, you know you do something useful, right? So you deiced to talk with your boss, you told him all this and ask for better working conditions, little less working time, etc. He fires you. On the next job, you try to not make the same mistake, you organize collectively and strike. But this time, government use force to stop the strike and kills someone of your friends. Not surprising that some workers will be very angry.


I took a morning (4am-8am) paper delivery gig, and had to "serve" rich people in big mansion, complaining they couldn't have their journal on time for a sweet breakfast coffee because you didn't dare cross a boulevard due to high speed truck driving your ways.. you get angry super fast. I'm a french dude, left leaning.. beheading is big in our history books yet it's the first time I felt that rage against higher classes. Serious shocker.


Are you arguing driving someone to suicide is then justified in the struggle for labor rights?

I’m trying to understand the point you are making?


I'm trying to explain where the anger comes from. Why do you blame the workers and not the conditions where this anger developed?


I’m not sure any conditions justify driving someone to suicide?


He's saying the strikes are justified.


Can we blame a manager for the suicides of burned out workers?


The capitalist class on the other hand is famously innocent of thuggery. It's not like the established socioeconomic relations in Korea were incubated under a military dictatorship or anything.


So did the teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa back when Nixon debased the gold standard and unions needed a workaround for the Federal monopoly on violence. (see "I Heard You Paint Houses")


I vividly remember as a kid in the 1980s seeing coverage of strikes in Korea. They seemed absurdly violent. The image that stands out to me was a striker had fashioned some giant burner/flame thrower thing out of (I suppose) an Lpg tank and was driving the cops back with it. Hilarious and exciting to a 10yo boy.


Maybe all these snowpiercer, squid games, parasite narratives are having an effect? Its like all these dystopic, zombie, monster, battle royale movies and shows are just expressing the never ending exploitaion and helplessness around people.


I’d wager it’s the other way around. Income inequality and worker discontent has been growing worldwide for many years. New movies and shows being produced reflect that social sentiment and get popular because people can relate.


There is that. But for SK movies/tv it has for many years 'dude check this crazy thing out', and movie makers tend to follow trends...


I can tell you from personal experience that pretty much every Kdrama show I can think of, has the same narrative of the "Elite" being corrupt and abusing it's power and influence to do what they want vs the middle and poorer classes. Maybe not always as the focus of the story, but it's a common element. And it's not just the popular shows that make it big internationally. I guess it's ingrained into their culture.

I'll name a few shows that come to mind (also recommend them):

Itaewon Class: About a young man fighting the CEO of a mega company after he ruined his life.

Vincenzo: An Italian mafia consigliere/lawyer finds himself fighting against a mega corporation who uses mafia like tactics.

Save Me: A girl who is trapped in a cult is saved by her former classmates. The cult is heavily involved with politicians and other powerful figures (including the police) who keep people who try to go against the cult in check.

The Uncanny Counter: A supernatural show with the main plot involving political corruption that spreads as far as the police, media...

The themes are always very similar, political corruption, corrupted law enforcement and judicial bodies, mega corps getting away with severe crimes by using money, the little people being unable to go after the rich unless they have irrefutable proof and even then... classism and economic inequality.


> The Uncanny Counter: A supernatural show with the main plot involving political corruption that spreads as far as the police, media...

As far as I can recall, that one also has a rich guy, almost a member of the team, who has been of much help to the cause.


Its not unique to Korean shows either. There's plenty of shows with similar themes in the US. Billions, Succession, Mr. Robot, etc.


sky castle - how even the most privileged people need to cheat to get admittance to elite universities (which are assumed to determine the life of a person).


Misaeng - how mega corporations won’t give you a chance even if you only want to do a good job for said corporation in the first place.


Well the article pretty clearly spells out the reasons, chief among them, you just need to read it

>Abolish “irregular work” (part-time, temporary or contract labor with little or no benefits) and extend labor protections to all workers

Or maybe a fucking tv show told them to do it...


That could make so much work and so many industries just impossible... If that wasn't possible, i could never be a programmer and i could never build my business later. None of my world would exist. I have no idea what i'd even do.


Why couldn't you be a programmer? Does your code stop working if workers have better protection?


Presumably it takes away many more flexible opportunities if you can't freely freelance.


Surely we can be a bit imaginative and allow freelancers the ability to do this without forcing everyone to be labeled as such..


Of course! We need to make appropriate carve outs! Just like AB5 in California that banned outside consultants except for a laundry list of hundreds of occupations except ride sharing.


No, this implies you will have to register as freelancer/self-employed and pay socsec tax.

Makes me wonder, what overall tax burden is in Korea. Can they afford raising it to 65-80%?


It's a bit like asking if Easy Rider or Apocalypse Now "had an effect" on 60s and 70s counterculture - they were children of their times and they reinforced their narratives.


> narratives are having an effect?

art imitates life which imitates art. It's a cycle.


I did not found parasite to be exploitative, dystopic, zombie, monster, battle royalle movie? It was cross between comedy and something serious, but the rich family did not stricken me as all that horribly exploiting them.


I think you should rewatch it while actively looking for this perspective. I think it's a rather clever satire about class exploitation.


It is clever satire. And it is not nearly as simple movie as you this makes it to be.

When you actively watch for perspective in the movie, you will find it. You will find those 10 minutes that confirm what you want to see.


That is because the author didn't intend for a personal critique of class exploitation, but for a societal critique. So if you think that a critique exploitation means that the movie has to portray rich people as personally evil you won't find it. If you admit that such a critique can be predominantly systemic you will find it.

The lower classes fighting amongst themselves needlessly because they don't see that they can work together is like, class struggle 101.


That's because it wasn't about rich and poor and their roles in society. It was about rich and poor and how each one differs significantly.

So many people read the wrong way into that movie and it's disappointing.

It has absolutely nothing to do with "class clashing or class struggling against each other" no matter how much the media wants to make you think that.


They said that it is good analogy to class conflict tho. And it is. But not in the "class clashing or class struggling against each other" nor "good lower class against bad upper class" interpretations. The actual class conflict does involve lower class fighting among themselves for little. All while powerful class is mostly confused, occupied by own issues until it hits them and then try to contain the violence.

I think that movie just dont conform to Hollywood tropes. Hollywood movie would make victims obvious bad guys, perpetrators obvious good guys. It would also made poor people obviously lazy. People used to American production have problem interpret movie like Parasite. They read commentary and make above assumptions.

Parasite went out of way to show the rich family as caring about each other, oblivious and easy to manipulate, but not bad people all in all. And the poor family is caring among themselves, but they are not obvious good guys. And they are in fact hard working, very hard working.


It's not a good analogy to class conflict. It's a good analogy to struggling within a class, and the struggle to leave your class. It has absolutely nothing to do with class VS class.

Class conflict is mostly the action of classes conflicting with each other. Otherwise it's just people conflict.

>I think that movie just dont conform to Hollywood tropes.

It's not a Hollywood movie, why would it care about Hollywood tropes? I take it you haven't seen much Korean cinema?

>but they are not obvious good guys.

Yes. That's the most important thing about the movie. Neither side are bad guys, but they're both doing what their class is made to do. Poor guys are made to get their money in any way they can, rich are made to spend it and not work. When poor finds poor trying to get the same rewards, things get ugly.


"Something I was struck by in the movie is that there's a huge lack of class solidarity between the various working class people. What inspired you to write the relationships that way?

You point out something very important. You know, in Mother, you see the have nots and the needy clawing at each other and hurting one another. On the other hand, in The Host, you see the solidarity between them, they save each other and they gather their strengths together. And you could say Parasite is closer to Mother, where the weak and have nots are fighting one another. And that's sad, but it's also realistic. And from those moments, you get this element of sadness, but also the comedy, as well"

A direct quote from Bong Joon Ho himself.

https://www.gq.com/story/parasite-director-bong-joon-ho-inte...


"You could say".

Bong Joon Ho would be a fool to write that everyone read the wrong thing into his movie.

The weak and have-nots are definitely not fighting each other in Parasite.

If you want to read his real thoughts, read the interviews surrounding the releases of The Host and Mother. Or possibly something entirely for a Korean audience beyond the release of Parasite.

Edit: Actually, I read it wrong. And I guess so did you. He is saying the same exact thing I am. Your quote from Bong Joon Ho doesn't actually reference any class fighting. It represents the lower class fighting itself.


sure, general strike where it's participating 1.8% economically active population /facepalm

and in the end it was 16K instead 500K, I can't even count that low - 0.06% of active population ??


How is „Parasite“ supposed to be left-wing? I honestly fail to see how it can be interpreted that way.


It is because major media described it as sorta analogy to class conflict. And I think it is such analogy. But then, people who did not seen movie and assume class war means "good poor people against cartoon bad rich" started to talk about movie and use movie as example.

The movie is not "dystopic, zombie, monster, battle royale". It is not about how poor are angelic. It is not about how rich are evil. It is not about how poor are lazy and deserve to be poor either. And that confuses people.


> It is not about how poor are angelic. It is not about how rich are evil.

I agree. I find that people can't help themselves but think in clichés, labels and phrases. What is actually happening is 2nd to the preconceived notion of what is supposed to happen. Everyone is projecting his inner psyche into an interpretation of the world that makes them feel at ease and morally righteous.


Think about who are the actual parasites in the movie...


They literally behave like parasites, thus the title. Reminder that this is the plot:

The Kims - mother and father Chung-sook and Ki-taek, and their young adult offspring, son Ki-woo and daughter Ki-jung - are a poor family living in a shabby and cramped half basement apartment in a busy lower working class commercial district of Seoul. Without even knowing it, they, especially Mr. and Mrs. Kim, literally smell of poverty. Often as a collective, they perpetrate minor scams to get by, and even when they have jobs, they do the minimum work required. Ki-woo is the one who has dreams of getting out of poverty by one day going to university. Despite not having that university education, Ki-woo is chosen by his university student friend Min, who is leaving to go to school, to take over his tutoring job to Park Da-hye, who Min plans to date once he returns to Seoul and she herself is in university. The Parks are a wealthy family who for four years have lived in their modernistic house designed by and the former residence of famed architect Namgoong. While Mr. and Mrs. Park are all about status, Mrs. Park has a flighty, simpleminded mentality and temperament, which Min tells Ki-woo to feel comfortable in lying to her about his education to get the job. In getting the job, Ki-woo further learns that Mrs. Park is looking for an art therapist for the Parks' adolescent son, Da-song, Ki-woo quickly recommending his professional art therapist friend "Jessica", really Ki-jung who he knows can pull off the scam in being the easiest liar of the four Kims. In Ki-woo also falling for Da-hye, he begins to envision himself in that house, and thus the Kims as a collective start a plan for all the Kims, like Ki-jung using assumed names, to replace existing servants in the Parks' employ in orchestrating reasons for them to be fired. The most difficult to get rid of may be Moon-gwang, the Parks' housekeeper who literally came with the house - she Namgoong's housekeeper when he lived there - and thus knows all the little nooks and crannies of it better than the Parks themselves. The question then becomes how far the Kims can take this scam in their quest to become their version of the Parks.


> They literally behave like parasites

This is the whole point of the movie. You'd think that the Kims are the obvious parasites, but if you look further, you realize that the Parks are the ones benefiting the most from other people's hard work.

https://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/youngreporter/18401889.p...


Which movies?


He should have namedropped 'Parasite'. It is a drama though.


They did…

> Maybe all these snowpiercer, squid games, parasite narratives are having an effect?


Maybe the comment was edited?


Good for them

> Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.

https://oll.libertyfund.org/title/kurz-the-discourse-of-volu...


Condition of migrant workers in South Korea is even worse: https://indianexpress.com/article/world/squid-game-netflix-s...


Related: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/david-graeber-after-.... It's cool to see people waking up and getting organized.


So less than 1% South Korean population, that doesn't strike me as very general strike.

Also 0.5M (1.8%) out of 28M economically active population doesn't sound much bigger. 98% SoKo workers DGAF


2% is huge for a first strike. Absolutely huge. You only need around 3% to shut down an economy.


except only 0.06% participated in the end


A lot of Korean shows depict the different aspects of their economic consciousness. These movies probably impacted the community to become aware and understand the economic system.


This gave me good laugh, the Bolshevist paper unironically named "Pravda". Recommended reading: Robert A. Heinlein - "Pravda" Means "Truth"

An urgent message from Truthout

Trump or no Trump, the US is still reeling from coordinated right-wing attacks on democracy, human rights, and independent media. We must raise $20K by the end of today to keep publishing the truth


Coming soon - the battle of the truths:

>“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in a statement.


Except Donald Trump usually tells the truth and happens to be right, esp. when Clinton News Network is screening their usual "Racist! Conspiracy!".


Meanwhile in the US John Deere is cutting off health insurance to strong arm them into ending the strike.

Allowing employers to control health care is not a good idea.


> Allowing employers to control health care is not a good idea.

Not that I disagree, but I'd like to point out that you're effectively advocating for all other employers to "cut" healthcare as well.

As someone who pays my own (and my family's) healthcare to the tune of $16K/yr for a really shitty plan, I'd also say that _who_ pays is probably not the primary concern here. If it cost one third what it does now (which is what it cost just 20 years ago, before government got more "involved"), a lot of people would be able to afford it out of pocket without entering de-facto indentured servitude.

The primary concern, instead, should be how much this shit costs, as well as the fact that the costs are _still_ rising.

And this concern can't be addressed until we force hospitals to publish prices, allow people to buy healthcare across state lines, and force US Big Pharma to treat the United States more favorably than they treat, say, Europe.

Note that given the high levels of corruption in our government, and the high cost of doctors and nurses ($300 for a 10 minute consultation? GTFO, not even lawyers charge this much), I do not think that piping another few trillion per year through the government is going to improve matters in any way whatsoever.


“Government involvement” is not a boogeyman that makes everything bad. The UK government is very involved in the NHS. The NHS provides completely free care and gets better public health outcomes than the US with less spending. The source of the problems in US healthcare is parasitic insurance companies that add inefficiencies and siphon resources at every step, and provide no value to people compared to an NHS-type system


Not better cancer outcomes!


Do you think healthcare providers could get away with such crazy prices if they had to negotiate with the government, instead of some insurance giant which in turn is bilking some corporation?


Perhaps a better question for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon? It's not like the US Government has some strong history of excellent price negotiation.


Well United Healthcare has more insured members (40M) than Canada does total people (36M). Yet Canada has lower prices. Why do you think that is?


If anything, I'd say prices would get even crazier. Pfizer alone has almost a hundred lobbyists on payroll in DC.


And they sure are fighting hard against having to negotiate with the government.


Lol no. Before government got involved a lot of people wouldn’t even have health care due to their pre-existing condition. The very nature of insurance makes it unprofitable in every means and no movement of a free market would change such.

Linking Health Care to jobs is barbaric.


And now they don't have health insurance because they can't afford it, and even if they do have it, their deductable is often larger than the entire premium used to be. Whoop-te-do, wonderful government "progress".

Just like the costs skyrocketed when the government got involved in student loans, to the point where some folks now have to pay their loans their entire lives. It used to be that you could fund college through summer jobs. Nowadays even selling a kidney would only cover half a year in some schools.


The alternative to employer funded health insurance is not “no health insurance”.

It is why every other developed country on the planet does.

It is what Hayek advocates for in “the road to serfdom”.

It is publicly funded universal healthcare.


It's like you're so close, but you somehow can't connect all the dots.

"Allowing employers to control health care is not a good idea."

> Not that I disagree

If you agree that employers controlling health care is bad, what are the alternatives? Either universal coverage, or everyone has to foot the bill for their own health insurance plan. The former has a track record in every developed country in the world, the latter doesn't work at all.

>but I'd like to point out that you're effectively advocating for all other employers to "cut" healthcare as well.

No, universal coverage means that no one's healthcare gets cut. The fact that I even have to state this is strong indication that you're not arguing in good faith.

>The primary concern, instead, should be how much this shit costs, as well as the fact that the costs are _still_ rising.

I don't think that can be the concern without A) understanding why costs are rising AND B) why costs are rising faster here in the US than they are in other developed countries around the world who all have universal coverage for less than what we pay (big hint, it's the profit motive)

>And this concern can't be addressed until we force hospitals to publish prices, allow people to buy healthcare across state lines, and force US Big Pharma to treat the United States more favorably than they treat, say, Europe.

I wonder why Europe is treated more "favorably"? Maybe we just haven't showered "Big Pharma" with enough profits for them to like us? You know what might help with the whole "buying across state lines" thing, some sort of nationwide standard for insurance coverage so you wouldn't worry about the next state over having a completely different set of laws by which insurers have to abide by. And if there's one national standard for insurance coverage, what's the benefit of having one insurer over the other? And why don't you think hospitals publish their prices? Because it's not about what procedures or anything costs, it's about what insurers will pay. So between all the insurers, some won't pay this and others won't pay that, so we'll just charge astronomical prices and let the negotiators sort it all out.

> and the high cost of doctors and nurses ($300 for a 10 minute consultation? GTFO, not even lawyers charge this much),

Doctors charge that much because they have no idea what your insurance will pay. Doctors typically like to focus on practicing medicine and making their patients healthier, rather than navigate crazy insurance mazes. So doctors (like many in the chain) realized they could sit down and figure out exactly what they should charge, bill the insurance company, then fight to get paid OR make up some crazy price, know that the insurance companies are only going to pay anywhere from 40-75%, then just accept it and move on. Don't blame the doctors here when insurance is the issue.

> Note that given the high levels of corruption in our government

A lack of faith in our government is a completely separate issue from health care. Connected, but separate. We COULD have a government that actually was held accountable and did right by the population it's meant to serve. Instead we have corruption, lies, regulatory capture, and mismanagement. We COULD try actually making government better and correcting it's flaws (as our founders intended), but instead many use examples of it not working as evidence that we shouldn't try to improve it.


United States spends $3.8T+ (yes, _trillion_) on "healthcare", up from about $1.2T in year 2000. If you think people who own Congress will allow this overloaded apple cart to be even slightly upset, let alone destroyed, you're out of your mind. ACA was effectively a trillion dollar giveaway to them, by design. This is also why costs are "rising" - the direct beneficiaries are writing laws that benefit them.

Don't get me wrong, I too wish the Moon was made of cheese and everyone held hands and sang kumbayah. But I also recognize it won't happen in my lifetime, not with the government as corrupt as ours.


The people who own Congress are the citizenry of the US as a whole.

The people that rent members of Congress, OTOH...


> Meanwhile in the US John Deere is cutting off health insurance to strong arm them into ending the strike.

Is not providing benefits when you're not working considered "strong arming" now? Is John Deere also "strong arming" workers into ending the strike by not paying their salaries when they're on strike?


[flagged]


Please don't take HN into ideological or (especially not) nationalistic flamewar.

Usually when people post like this, they have some personal connection to the country they're flaming. That's a different context than outright prejudice but it still doesn't make it ok to post like this to HN.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I dont see anything ideological or flamy. This is my experience with living with and among koreans for a very long time.


You may not see anything flamy about "Koreans are the reason for such bullshit culture" but many people on the internet certainly would, and that's what determines flamebait. Please don't post like that to HN. I'm sure you can find other ways to share your experience.

Glib, grand generalizations about large groups of people (such as nations) tend to be provocative in general, so if you want to make such comments you should explicitly scope them to your personal experience. We don't want nationalistic flamewars here, and that's what comments like yours in this thread tend to produce. It's great that it didn't burst into flames in this case, but that just was a lucky break.


Ok noted.


There's two things that support your comment:

1 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs

2 the goverment is made up of people voted/supported by people, not some sepparate entity


[Insert any nationality] are the reason for such bullshit culture. It's on them to change it not the government.


isn't this strike people saying they don't want a hyper-capitalist society?

> They are all justifying continuation of that culture by "not having time and being overworked" and therefore require services to be available at all times.

This is /almost/ a systemic analysis. Consider the implications of having no time due to overwork and thus demanding 24/7 services, requiring overwork from others.


> isn't this strike people saying they don't want a hyper-capitalist society?

That's for a longer discussion.

>This is /almost/ a systemic analysis. Consider the implications of having no time due to overwork and thus demanding 24/7 services, requiring overwork from others.

They all require overwork from each other.That's the thing.


> They all require overwork from each other.That's the thing.

Exactly - so they can't just all collectively agree to stop; that's an impossible level of coordination, akin to a General Strike (hey wait a minute!)

We coordinate on what's allowed and what's not via the government. Large groups pressure said government to legislate in their interest because bosses aren't just going to agree to let people stop overworking.


Koreans are the most collectivist people I know.They can collectively stop being harsh on each other.

Government can help but it is not a silver bullet.This has been proven many times in the history when the gov tried to do something about it.


Being collectivist does not overcome the coordination hurdle; it just means you are more group-oriented than self-oriented. It's not like they have a telepathic link where they can all just agree to simultaneously stop working overtime.


> Nationalize key industries and socialize basic services like education and housing.

Yeah, hopefully they don't achieve this.


Please don't take HN threads into flamewar, please stop posting flamebait and/or unsubstantive comments, and please don't use HN for ideological battle. All of that is against the site guidelines.

Edit: you've unfortunately been doing this repeatedly. We ban that sort of account, so if you'd please fix this, we'd be grateful.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


In some countries with absurdly high house prices, I think some level of nationalisation of housing is an eventual inevitability. Much like Seoul, places like Sydney are so expensive that unless you already own a house, or are eventually going to inherit one, no amount of hard work or education can reliably get you into the market.

Entry level prices within 25 miles of the city are around A$1.5m for a detached house, and apartments are predominantly 1 or 2 bedrooms and poorly built, so not really suitable for families. Many people suggest ‘moving west’ to the new suburbs being built, but even 30-40 miles out the prices are still around a million dollars. Given an average full time wage in the range of $50k, saving a deposit after rent is almost impossible. Not totally impossible, but very close to…


And places like Sydney are expensive in no small part because of issues like negative gearing and zoning controls, all in direct control of the government. Also the government is under no incentive to change the status quo because like any good mafia they take their cut of every transaction with stamp duty "oh you two want to trade, where's mine?".


You’re not wrong, but I would hope that by the time we work ourselves into a situation where there is no unskilled labour within commuting distance of where the work is, the government might finally realise that lack of workers is bad for business, which seems to be the main concern. I’m still wondering if we will reach a point where normal people don’t have any disposable money to spend in shops because it’s all going to landlords and utilities/basics, and if at that point they might go ‘oh wait that’s bad’


I can't really see politicians allowing the inflated housing market to deflate. So many people will lose years/decades worth of saving this way - that would mean a lot of angry voters, not to mention another potential banking crash, as mortgages would no longer be backed by houses of enough value. I think high housing prices in developed world are going to stay with us for a long time.


I find it very funny that right wing libertarians think the government is some all powerful force hell bent on taking their daddy’s tax money, when no politician dare cross a $10,000 dollar donor.

The weather must truly be perfect in their fantasy world, they don’t even peek out of it.


Please stop posting flamebait/or unsubstantive comments to HN, and please stop using the site for ideological battle. You've been doing this repeatedly lately, and we ban that sort of account—regardless of what they're battling for or against—because it destroys what HN is supposed to be for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


And yet Tokyo does not have this problem despite growing 50% in population over the last two decades. If you make building housing illegal prices rise. Demand and supply are going to meet somewhere and if you restrict supply prices will rise. If you restrict it more they'll rise more or faster. Compare San Francisco, Seattle and Houston in a US context. The more you restrict supply the more prices rise.


I completely agree, but Tokyo also has sensible tax policies to encourage providing housing, and a government that aims for zero unemployment. I really like their model of ensuring jobs are available so people have money to consume private sector housing, and that there is always such housing available because there is always someone to consume it. There’s about 50 seperate policies places like Sydney and Seoul would need to change to head down that path, but the interests of those in power are largely in keeping prices high it seems…


If there is demand for housing and you do not make supplying that demand illegal someone will supply it. People live in dormitories in Hong Kong right now. Perfectly safe but middle class busybodies don't like flophouses, SROs or dormitories so they make it illegal.

If it was legal to provide housing in San Francisco in dorms it would be done. If it was legal to build residential skyscrapers in New York Queens would look like Brooklyn if not Manhattan.

Make building housing legal and the market will provide.


When you build roads, you get more traffic.

I wonder if the following is true?

When you build more apartments you get more density and more inward migration and more concentration of opportunity, until the marginal migrant can't afford or doesn't want to live there. The same sort of people are miserable when there's more density as when there was less, except there's more of them.

[NOTE: I mostly agree with you and this comment is a bit of a non-sequitur but I hadn't thought about the idea that the problem might actually be "moloch" (in slate star codex terms)].


Not building roads/apartments is not a solution, unless you really want to cosplay middle ages in your country.

So you will have to build something, somewhere.

Actually, roads and apartments are in counter-balance. More resedential high-rises in semi-walkable distance from business districts and public transit = less roads are needed (but there is still congestion due to bottlenecks). More spread-out houses - more traffic as people will drive tens of miles to work.

Korea is not sufficiently large that you could stick people so far they're not able to come to megapolis and congest it.


Korea frequently tries to decentralize and build new districts and cities from scratch.It just does not work because of korean culture.


I am wondering if a super super block model would work. You take a 3x3 block of houses and label it a super block. Then you build a 5x5 block of super blocks and then put commercial zoning in the middle.


It's not about building it.It's about having a plan what to do with it.Koreans are incredible and efficient builders.

Korean culture favors one time hit wonders instead of gradual development and continuous improvements.It's the nature of korean culture to just try new things because that is deemed to be better than trying to go with existing ones.

So you build a city and just because you built it you expect everyone to just go there.And it has to succeed or it is deemed to be an irrepairable failure.

Koreans dream of grandiose big projects that will put them on the world stage like Chaebols once did and they dont see the local opportunities or challenges.


I'm not sure that South Korea has a single flat area to put 5x5 block of super blocks. The landscape is very rugged.

Also, putting any number of buildings in the middle of nowhere is not solving any issues. And near Seoul there's no land.


It does not work anywhere in the world. Business and people are quite content with "old" districts and cities.


It's not that.It's the korean approach of doing things.The "bbali bbali" culture where korean ingenuity gets pushed back by their impatience and the need to re-invent themselves very quick.

They like to designate certain areas to specific industries and then wonder why it's not such a good approach.

Look at Songdo or Pangyo Techno Valley.Both rushed and without much thought. As soon as the gov subsidies ran out the companies wanted to move back because it was both as expensive as in Seoul downtown with little of other benefit.

Also 99% of the companies there were korean anyway.


> When you build roads, you get more traffic.

Because roads are practically free to drivers. If you gave me a bigger house for free I would live in it alone even though it was designed for a family of 6.

If you charged a sufficient toll on congested roads the congestion would be gone.


https://hongkongfp.com/2017/02/16/1-killed-2-injured-blaze-s... The subdivided flats are not perfectly safe.


One wonderful thing about Japan is that houses are as much of an investment as toothbrushes. The minute someone uses it, its value drops immensely.

10 years is old but still somewhat livable and generally cheap. Once you get past 20 years, locals basically see the house as scrap. It's really easy to buy cheap houses or apartments over 20 years old. Some clueless foreigners new to Japan see these prices and think they can flip them and resell to get rich, and they're always disappointed to find out it doesn't work that way.

40-50 year old houses can be bought for around car prices if you're willing to live 30 minutes from a smallish city. You're basically just paying for the land at that point.


Sounds like a monumentally wasteful practice from environmental standpoint. Are these disposable houses made from wood, or brick/concrete?


It's necessary given that regular earthquakes cause unseen damage to houses.


That doesn't quite make sense. You're basically paying for the land in many European cities, too, so how is the price of the building an important factor? It's the land that's very expensive.


Random land outside of the middle of urban centers isn't that valuable, especially when population isn't growing. What is someone going to do, hold onto it for decades and hope someone buys it from them at a 10x markup and be enough to offset the taxes they paid?

In some places (or at least the US), old houses generally gain value. Of course, land is valuable in and of itself, but there's no shame in buying a 100 year old house in the US. There's no worry of earthquake damage, generally no risk of extensive mold due to a drier climate than East Asia, nobody really worries about ghosts infesting the home, etc. Plus, 100 year old American houses are quite honestly probably better than the cardboard and paper mache houses that have been common recently. In my experience, 1920s apartments were much nicer than the post 1970s places I lived in.


Depends where i guess. In the capitals? sure. outside? not so much. my brother bought land, 70k in our hometown. the house will be 350k.


The demand for black-market money concrete sugar cubes to store investment money far outstrips the actual need and thus there is no market anyway.


Aren’t prices a good signal to not move there? Or is the goal to have all our housing and jobs concentrated into one city?

I’ve spent time in SE Asia and those countries would love to go back in time to avoid have cities with >10M people in them.


> apartments are predominantly 1 or 2 bedrooms and poorly built

It is just amazing that Australia does not good regulations for building apartments. You work hard, you save money, buy an apartment and then you find out there are some major structural issues in the building.


Housing is expensive because there is a lot of demand. By nationalizing or similar policy forcing people to sell cheaper all you achieve is creation of a class of preferential buyers (who are allowed to buy cheaply or get housing for free from the government) while excluding others from the market altogether. Those policies just hide the demand it won't magically disappear.

Things you can do are:

-increasing supply by changing laws around zoning, allow building more/higher etc.

-introduce policies that makes it more attractive to live in less populated areas where land is cheaper (hard to say what works but maybe better/faster public transportation, more wfh, preferential tax treatment for companies that move to other areas, if enough of that happens new business/population hubs might start)


Why can't people move to some other city if the current one is to expensive? How would nationalization actually deal with situation when there's much more people who want to live in Seoul than houses? A 15 years long waiting list?


This usually boils down the the chicken and egg problem of infrastructure and jobs. In Korea, the majority of the population is within the Seoul area, so most of the jobs are there and all the infrastructure to support them is concentrated there. Sydney and Melbourne are much the same in Australia, and the results are the same, where as soon as you leave these centres, there are no jobs or infrastructure available. As mentioned by another commenter above, Tokyo did this right with central planning and a more decentralised business district, where ‘Tokyo’ is basically 4 or 5 cities around each other, and there is infrastructure and transport there to support the intended population.


> Tokyo did this right with central planning and a more decentralised business district

What central planning? A more decentralised business district is what happens if you don't make it illegal. People will buy up residential property and turn it into commercial or office if it's not illegal to do so. It's not about planning. It would be more accurate to call it not planning.

> there is infrastructure and transport there to support the intended population.

Again, no one intended this. They didn't decide to make Tokyo this size. They just didn't actively get in the way. They built the infrastructure and transport that they had good reason to believe there was demand for. In contrast the NYC subway system is basically teh same as when it was taken over by the government and public transport is significantly worse than 1940 insofar as there are no street cars.


Then you will just have different classes: "people who have the public apartment" and "people who don't, and have to stay out of opportunities". The inequality: still there.


From "not being able to afford" to "stuck on a waiting list for an indeterminate time" heh


And of course there will be ways to move to the top of the waiting list... if you have money, and know the right people.


It's worth noting most housing in Singapore is state-owned


It is.

99 year lease, you don’t own it. Can’t get one unless you’re married or over 35. Most people live with their parents until they move out. Lottery system and severely oversubscribed (can take multiple tries to get allocated a place) and once you “win” up to 5 year wait while it’s built (govt isn’t interested in overbuilding again). Lucky folks get one of the super desirable locations and after owning for 5 years sell it for big profit.


And yet Singapore has low taxes (by some considered even a tax haven) and is not a welfare state. That is by design, LKY having been a big supporter of personal responsibility.


Singapore has low income taxes but high CPF (forced savings for retirement, health, housing, etc) requirements - 20% of gross income on top income taxes. The total take isn’t that low.

And Singapore is most definitely a welfare state - just not a super generous one. Housing, healthcare, education are all heavily subsidized but also very strongly means tested. If you’re truly destitute in Singapore you will have a place to live, free healthcare and lots of government support.


> Singapore has low income taxes but high CPF (forced savings for retirement, health, housing, etc) requirements - 20% of gross income on top income taxes. The total take isn’t that low.

Which, compared to western states, isn't taken away from you. It's your own private pool of money, just with a restricted use. The government is just aware, people are not great at saving for their future, so they have to be forced to do it properly.

Housing is not really subsidised, it's just build and sold without markup. Singapore's healthcare is also one of the "cheapest" and most efficient in the world.


In my opinion income tax should be massively reduced in favor of land value taxes.


Why? Some forms of this work pretty well in lots of countries, it doesn't in others. As with all its in the details but straight out saying no is just ignorant.


I'm not aware of anywhere that attempts to socialise housing has worked well. As a teacher and someone who has been a student I'm also extremely hesitant to say that the way education is usually provided [1] counts as working well, whether you're looking at purely economic returns on investment or human flourishing.

[1] Not a knock on government provision in this case as demand for education with any real freedom seems to be extremely limited


> I'm not aware of anywhere that attempts to socialise housing has worked well.

In Vienna about 25% of the total housing stock is public housing[1]. It's the main reason why rental prices are significantly below other European capitals[2].

[1] https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr_edge_featd_articl...

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/503274/average-rental-co...


Bold claim about causality there. Have you got a research design to back it up?


It's pretty bold to ask for a scientific study to prove that 25% of housing being rented at a low price lowers the price of rent.


Not really. The main reason Vienna have rental prices below other European capitals is because it was one of the few cities that actually lost a significant part of its population multiple times. It was the capital of a big empire that was destroyed and they incorporated to a different Empire that also was destroyed.

Lots of people left to other cities that were not as bureaucratic looking for opportunities an oversized capital without Empire could not sustain.

BTW, It was not pretty. Lots of families that used to live in Vienna now live in Israel for a reason.

You could say the same thing about Detroit in the US.


Vienna's population was at it's lowest in 1951, it has grown by almost a quarter since then, whereas Detroit's current population is a fraction of what it was in the 50's. While admittedly Vienna has been growing slower than most other major cities in Europe your explanation is ~80-100 years outdated..


Population size isn't as important as you make it out to be, to be honest. What you need to figure out is sqm usage, which has gone up significantly. In the big empire back then you had 12 people on 30 sqm, now you have 75 year old widows living alone in an 80sqm flat, not moving out as they did 30 or 40 years ago.


Don't forget the upper bound on monthly rent per sqm on buildings older than 100 (?) years. That plus public housing puts pressure on the market.


Your [1] does not imply your [2]. If 200,000 refugees show up in Vienna tomorrow and are allowed to work and be economically productive they'll look for and find housing, bidding up prices. Housing supply does not automatically increase with demand. If the private sector provides 100,000 new dwelling places it'll have a very similar effect to the public sector doing so. Who owns the provider has limited economic effect.


Seems very ambitious for such a modest union, 1/36 of the working age population is a bit small if you're going to demand nationalisation. I guess this is one of these framing devices to make their real objective seem more palatable?


3.5% Rule. You only need 1/30th of the population to overthrow a government through economic non participation.


Interesting I hadn't heard of that before, but I found a bit more information here:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190513-it-only-takes-35...

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


One day, hopefully we'll be rich enough to do this and not have it be a mess. Fullly automated luxury space communism is the goal.


Don't keep your hopes up, in the US military spending will keep eating most of all surplus, but on the upside you'll have the most genocidal nuclear weapons of all countries on Earth!


Defense is 10% of gov spending lol, and 0% of the multiple trillions in stimulus that was funded with debt.


>and 0% of the multiple trillions in stimulus that was funded with debt.

Yes? What does that have to do with anything? Did you think that the pandemic-related stimulus package should have gone to defense spending? If yes, please do motivate that - if no, why mention it at all?


Most of the tech we have is in some way due to military spending


Do you have some history of technology sources to back up this claim?

Because even radar was first developed for the civilian setting before the military boosted its development tremendously to solve their WW2 related needs.

I think a much better theory of technological development is that the military mainly funds engineering development of existing technology and doesn't stumble into truly new inventions faster than anyone else.

A corollary to this is that most tech is not related to military spending because most spending is not military spending.


Silicon valley and western semi conductor supremacy was build by US military spending in ww2, 1950s and 1960s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTC_RxWN_xo

Its was only in the late 1970s that wallstreet got their money into silicon valley. Given the channel I did not do any fact checking and just assume the presentation is historically correct.


If we are to take that loose an interpretation of military funding (they invested in companies that did things for others later), I will also accept that because the military defines the state, everything that happens in a state can be counted as happening by military funding.


Internet was from DARPA

Turing machine was from WWII to crack Enigma

NASA advances (including CPU chips) were from the Cold War

I love private development such as SpaceX, but we'd be nowhere w/o developments we gained from warfare. Turns out you can really put your mind to something if it's life or death.


Turing published his paper in 1936, so well before the war. The idea of a computer itself is usually set at the analytical engine by Babbage, whose main motivation was to aid with nautical navigation (a mainly civilian use).

Even more fundamentally: the military picked up Turing after the war started, so they had a good idea of what he could so because of work he'd done for others than them.

Granted, without the military we wouldn't have had the specific computers the military built, but in this context that is about as interesting as saying that without the military we wouldn't have had the innovation of the 150 mm high explosive shell.

Likewise, Tsiolkovsky did his theoretical work in a log cabin because he wanted to reason about space travel. Robert H. Goddard invented the liquid fuelled rocket in the interwar years working largely alone and in any case without any military support. Again the military shows up after stuff is very clearly moving.

Like, how is it surprising that an organisation that needs to pay for guns and the training of the people to use them would mostly invest in already existing prototypes?


US defense R&D is tiny compared to total expenditure. It's also falling dramatically.

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2020/02/us-defense-rd-...


Maybe spend more on civilian research then. Wouldn't it be cool if the government would spend trillions on researching cool new tech for improving society rather than destroying it?


What 'surplus' is that? It appears to me there is a deficit running into the trillions, every single year.

For comparison: the US military budget is apparently around 0.7 trillion.


Luxury and communism are opposites.

Compatible words with communism are miserable, corrupt, genocidal or tyrannical. You can pick whatever you want.


fully automated luxury communism is the ideal of a post- or late-scarcity society where goods are distributed equally (or universally accessible, a la Star Trek).

You're thinking of Marxism-Leninism, which is just a dictatorship with extra steps.


Yes, ignore Marx, there is absolutely nothing to be learned from him. Just solve the work piling prisoners dilemma and you get the "utopia" part of communism (fair involvement of workers) for free.


Marx only provided the critique of capitalism and said that historical materialism (the analysis of history as being contingent on material conditions, ie resource allocation) led him to believe capitalism would inevitably collapse into socialism and then communism through the proletariat winning class conflict. All the USSR shit is mostly Lenin, AFAIK.


Not even Lenin. Lenin ran the USSR as a mixed economy with heavy market involvement. It's Stalin that really defined the dysfunction of the later USSR.


Frankly this is none of your business. Their country, their choice.


I agree this would be a bad turn. In the US, it is frustrating to see the poor results produced by the public education system and teacher unions, particularly for K-12 education. The lack of competition and union power has led to an empty incentive structure, where teacher unions regularly oppose having their outcomes measured and don't fear needing to compete with better teachers or schools. Beyond that, organizations like the NEA (the largest teacher union and also largest union in the US) are increasingly political and inject their (far left) activism into the schooling system as a means to indoctrinate the next generation. Choice is critical in things like education, and being forced to pay taxes to prop up a one-size-fits-all government-mandated choice is unethical because it is plainly bad for students and society.


Public education work in a lot of country (see for example most European country). Teacher also tend to be heavily unionised in other country, as well as having a tendency to be more left-leaning (but that is a veeeryyy big generalization).

The issue is not the public education, teacher or union, it's the U.S government(s?) lack of incentive to actually care about those services.


It's the property taxes funding education. Like, if you wanted to reinforce pre-existing class/income divides someplace, you'd fund education with local property taxes.


Of course it is way better to have decent education available to people with boatloads of money while the rest works 3 low paid jobs to make the ends meet without any hope to ever have anything resembling normal life.


It's a US problem, not a socialised education problem, same for your social security system, it works in many many other countries


> Nationalize key industries and socialize basic services like education and housing.

Oh. Nobody ever told them how bad things go when you do that ?


I mean, not so bad. Education is nationalised here in Quebec, and so are key industries such as energy production, while housing is socialized in the form of aggressive rent controls and serviceable (though not expanded enough by recent governments) public housing.

We even ran a budget surplus for a fair while with these programs.


The only reason some countries have public health care in the first place care is so society isn't completely squeezed for every bit of cash by the collective of medical practitioners. If I were a nurse or doctor I'd strike against expansion not for it.


That is not "the only" nor "the" reason.


Having said that, Bevan said this of the way he convinced doctors to join the NHS: "I stuffed their mouths with gold."



Indeed the real underlying reason is were all humans, all equal and everyone deserves quality healthcare.




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