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Boomers: The Evil Generation!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Birdjaguar, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. Truthy

    Truthy Non-boolean

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    I didn't imply it would. It was claimed that firms often fail and therefore distributed planning is no better than centralized planning. My point is that that argument doesn't work, not that "unchecked capitalism" couldn't have planning problems at the limit.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  2. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    The Tennessee Valley Authority seems instructive in how both nationalizing industry and central planning can work well.
     
  3. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    There's a notable difference between what happened in Russia and what happens with our capitalism. Russia is just evilness. I don't need to describe it too much. People with money work with people who have guns in order to change the existing structure in ways that violate fundamental economic principles.

    A society is a system of laws (and traditions). When a society tries to be 'capitalist', they create a series of rules under which the economic game is played. And then the game is played. Because of epiphenoma, you can never really predict how the game will turn out until it's been going for a little while. Play any game, and eventually there's a 'hack'. "I can bribe politicians" is about as fun as "zerg rush".

    People follow the rules, and if you've a society of good traditions, they follow those rules in good faith. And then we see how the game ends up. And any economic system will have a place in the game where things start going awry. It's not the 'fault' of anyone other than people play the game to win according to the incentives.

    One end-game (of a system where legal commodification results in property transfer) is that wealth can transfer upwards faster than the economy can grow. Arbitrage and rents can accumulate to overwhelm gains from trade and gains from productivity. It just stops being 'fun' for people. It's not an evil thing, it's just a consequence of the underlying system.

    Look at a game of chess. We play. If I say "checkmate in four", we just agree that the game isn't fun any more. I don't force you to keep playing. I don't wheedle you to trade household chores for me making 'dumb' moves next. We reset the board, and play again. Now, maybe my kids howl and wail when I reset the board, because they think that they should inherit the pieces I have left and then be allowed to add them to their board when they play. But that's just stupid. We learned a long time ago that chess, Monopoly, Axis & Allies, (etc.) are all best-played without inheritance. I bring my pile of accumulated checkers to gamesnight, but no one acknowledges me.

    I'm not knocking the inheritance system in our modern capitalism. I think it has a lot of great potential for getting us where we want to go. But our modern system of laws is merely a game played according to rules, you don't know if the rules need tweaking until you've played. And sometimes you need to move a couple moves back in order to test the tweak. The goal of the game is to be fun for they players. Not individuals, obviously. You exposed my queen, and now I take it. But for people overall. Chess wouldn't be fun if I just kept my pieces from the last game. Other games are great when that's part of the system.
     
  4. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    This is really an odd question. Firstly, what do you mean by "Marxist central planning"? That seems to be an idiosyncratic term that doesn't match any well-established ones. Marxism itself isn't tied to the notion of central planning. Do you mean a Soviet-style command economy?

    Secondly, does capitalism have goals that was set for it to reach? I wasn't aware that political-economies have teleological goals per se, except perhaps something as broad as unlimited capital accumulation under capitalism. So this seems to be an impossible or fanciful parameter.

    If you mean to ask me to cite an example where a Soviet-style command economy has worked outside of wartime (even though I have no stake in such a system), that's not too difficult: The period just before World War 2 in the Soviet Union. The victory over Nazi Germany was built on something, and that something had to be built quite rapidly after the Russian Civil War. The large scale industrialisation that occurred in a relatively short span of time, though inefficient in some ways, was successful enough to yield obvious results when an unprecedented national crisis came, despite the serious strategic blunders committed during the early stages of the war. That's clearly an indication of success for its time.

    Are you also counting capitalistic systems that are built on centrally-planned ones?

    That's not really the argument.

    If we use the human body as an analogy, you can say that the failure of individual cells is not a problem. But that's as long as not too many fail together. Some of the crises we will be dealing with, such as climate change and ecological disasters, are failures of individual 'cells' that amount to mass systemic failures.
     
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  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    And, actually, it's worth pointing out that this is the neoclassical view of things. That everything goes more-or-less okay absent systemic shocks to the body, like climate change or ecological disasters.

    The reality is that any financial system is endogenously prone to disequilibrium and instability. Financial crises will happen and businesses will be dissolved simply because of changes in the availability of credit. This happens cyclically regardless of climate change or anything else, because financial stability itself creates the conditions for instability. It's worth pointing out that "Marxist central planning" has largely avoided this problem; the USSR was the one major country largely unaffected by the Depression. That isn't an unqualified endorsement of the USSR's system, obviously, because it had plenty of other problems, but it seems like people might need the reminder.

    Another point seemingly often forgotten is the total failure of capitalism in the former Soviet Union, where there was a demographic collapse involving millions of excess deaths and where people mostly wish the Soviet Union still existed. Those millions of deaths aren't exactly an anomaly either given that capitalism's entire history consists of one imperialist genocide after another.
     
  6. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy We'll dig up the road!

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    'Family' income. Two earners should earn a bit more than one. For many boomers it was one, or the wife worked for a few years until the kids came along. In my class I don't think any of the moms worked except for one single mom. Gen X despite 'earning' more had less wealth accumulation. Six times the student debt level is one reason.

    https://money.cnn.com/2014/09/22/news/economy/gen-x-poorer-than-parents-pew-study/index.html

    'Free college' may be an unrealistic proposition, but one reason it is being proposed is because of how out of control it is getting. Boomers never gave much thought to free college because it wasn't a problem at that time (or not to the extent it is now), so 'the millenials want something we never got' is kind of moot. Healthcare costs weren't much of a problem in the 70s, but it sure is today. My parents don't think we should have universal healthcare, because "the system worked for us".

    As much as that has got attention in the media (twice as likely), it doesn't seem that big of a change (still a small fraction). Student debt I would guess is a bigger factor than 'lazy'.


    I've been looking up cost of living and decided an 18-year gap in a generation can produce vastly different situations (even without individual and regional differences-rural or metro living).
    My parents were the first boomers, so they were buying a house in the early 70s. Tim was a late boomer so he was still in grade school.
    1975- Houses, health care, college, new cars all costed LESS (adjusted for inflation) than today. Milk was more expensive back then.

    Edit:Oops, 1975 was LESS not more, change it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  7. rah

    rah Warlord Supporter

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    NONE of my "boomer" buds have wife's that don't work so I don't know who you'r talking about. It was my parents that did the single income thing and they weren't boomers. It's not boomers necessarily with single income, it's upper-middle class people. They come in all generations.
     
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  8. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    You and others here keep talking about Marxism and nationalization of industry and how that is the path forward if the terrors of capitalism are to be contained. I'm mostly just trying to figure out what you are talking about and what you would like to see happen. You seem big on criticism, but bereft of any statement on what you actually stand for or how to get there.

    Our prime examples of Marxism at work come from the USSR and China with some smaller examples elsewhere. Of course we have the Venezuelan "success" happening in real time.
    About the prewar soviet effort to move industry east; you don't know your history. The effort began in June 1941. It was successful and turned the tide of the war in Europe, but it was a war effort, just like the the US put into place to crank out ships, guns, and tanks as fast as possible. Prior to the German invasion in 1941 efforts to industrialize merely help bring the USSR back to the pre WW1 Tzarist levels of productivity. That effort also produced famine in the early 1930s.

    Capitalism doesn't have national goals. Generally, a mix of various competitive corporate goals drive things in conjunction with national policies and tax laws. Those corporate goals are often determined by various market conditions.

    So, please tell me what you are arguing for.
     
  9. metalhead

    metalhead Angry Bartender

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    Boomers had access to low cost college and even grad school, because their state governments spent money to ensure to keep the cost low.

    Far from an unrealistic proposition, this is how public higher ed used to work in the U.S. It wasn't free, but it was inexpensive.
     
  10. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    Inexpensive at the point of use, anyway. My dad is a prototypical Boomer and went to college for like $7000 total in today's money.
     
  11. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Not all Boomers. In the UK in the 70s something like 14% of school leavers went to university (free tuition and a maintenance grant). Nowadays about 50% of school leavers go to university in exchange for a hefty debt that its becoming increasingly apparent will be written off in many cases.
     
  12. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    :thumbsup: Where this is actually going is that the top 25% of every generation measured by income/wealth have always had it easy and the rest struggled. Lots of millennials are doing quite well today, More are struggling. The struggles today are not the same as those of 40 years ago and they demand different solutions.

    In 1965 there were about 6M college graduates.
    In 2010 there were about 21M.
    In 2018 the number is about 20M.

    2010 is a peak year. What happens when you more than triple demand and you have a pretty fixed base of providers with a high capital cost for them to expand capacity?
     
  13. rah

    rah Warlord Supporter

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    When I went to the University of Illinois in the early 70's A semester of tuition was around 450-700. My daughter went in the later 2000's and the semester tuition cost was 7-9 k. So not unreasonably that much more than the 10x inflation in costs during that period. The biggest increases were in board, books and class fees. But tuition wise, not all that much more relative. (estimates only)
     
  14. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Theres been a massive increase in the numbers of people going on to higher education and the much higher cost to the student in the UK has been justified by higher life term earnings for graduates.
    It would be interesting to see how much increase in earnings there is if the prestige institutions like Oxbridge and the rest of the Russell group of universities were taken out of the equation.
     
  15. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    As an out of state student at UNC-CH in 1966 my tuition was about $4,000; today that price is about $35,000. The purchasing power in general of that $4,000 is about $31,000 (4% annual rate of inflation and a cumulative rate of just under 700%)
    The minimum wage in 1966 was $1.25, the equivalent wage today is $9.88
     
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  16. rah

    rah Warlord Supporter

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    One difference is that in 1969 I could make over 4 grand in the summer caddying and other odd jobs during the summer. I doubt today's youths could turn 35 k over the summer.
     
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  17. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I was about to be like, hm $4000 over a summer ain't the worst.

    And then I saw you did not mean today's money.
     
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  18. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    If the ratio of people struggling doesn't change, how can you say there is growth? At least with world hunger, people brag about the ratio going down. I interject that the total number hasn't gone down, but that is usually dismissed by people who like the ratio

    I set it up thread, but BJ's list is missing the failure of the Boomers to handle the wealth transfer upwards as it was occurring. And now, we're trying to take something from people, which is twice as hard as preventing them from getting it in the first place
     
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  19. rah

    rah Warlord Supporter

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    I'd get up at 5 and head out to carry two bags 18 or 36 holes 6 days a week then try to grab a few hours working in the bag room or the locker room. and then try to get a shift in the kitchen/dining room unless I could the shift car parking. I think I made 20K during the summer of 71. In three months, that was twice my yearly salary upon graduating in 79.
     
  20. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

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    The rate is still increasing as of today
    So... everybody here is as much responsible for the incremental rate.
     
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