An Open Market on Economics

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Mothra
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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Mothra » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:37 pm

I feel like this is the same human failing that makes pubbies want the punishment to most crimes to be wildly disproportionate to the suffering caused.

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Thad
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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Thad » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:52 pm

I think it probably depends on the job market. Strongly.

There are some people who are always going to complain about handouts, yes. But people who are unemployed, or have recently been unemployed, or have close friends or family who have been, are going to be a lot more receptive to the idea that if you can't get a job, it's not your fault.

Once again, I think it comes back to tribalism. People are a lot more likely to want to help if it's something that affects their own circle.

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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Thad » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:02 pm

Put another way: fairness is a matter of framing. There are a whole lot of people who think it's unfair that Donald Trump and Paris Hilton get to be rich and avoid paying taxes when there are people out there who lost their Walmart greeter jobs and can't afford rent.

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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Friday » Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:33 pm

It's not even all people cutting it the other way, either. A lot of people (I guess the percentage depends on how cynical you are) DO value compassion over making people stay homeless because "they're obviously too lazy to get a job" or whatever.
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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Thad » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:38 pm

Very, very relevant: Federal report: AI could threaten up to 47 percent of jobs in two decades

Estimates vary for how quickly automation will disrupt the US job market. The report cites two different attempts to predict the rate of automation. Optimistically, researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that many occupations are likely to change as some of their associated tasks become automated but not go away entirely. They estimate that only 9 percent of jobs are at risk in the next decade or two. However a separate analysis by Carl Frey and Michael Osbourne, which asked a panel of experts on AI to classify occupations by how likely automation would be to replace them, found that 47 percent of US jobs are at risk.


That's a pretty broad range, but even the 9% estimate is a fuck of a lot.

If those numbers are even close to accurate, and if we don't see new kinds of jobs cropping up in significant enough numbers to offset them, then we're looking at unemployment numbers that are going to make '08 look like a fucking tropical vacation. At which point I think UBI is going to become a much more popular and mainstream proposition.

It's not a coincidence that the biggest expansion of social programs in our history was during the Great Depression.

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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Mongrel » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:19 am

Thad wrote:Very, very relevant: Federal report: AI could threaten up to 47 percent of jobs in two decades

Estimates vary for how quickly automation will disrupt the US job market. The report cites two different attempts to predict the rate of automation. Optimistically, researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that many occupations are likely to change as some of their associated tasks become automated but not go away entirely. They estimate that only 9 percent of jobs are at risk in the next decade or two. However a separate analysis by Carl Frey and Michael Osbourne, which asked a panel of experts on AI to classify occupations by how likely automation would be to replace them, found that 47 percent of US jobs are at risk.


That's a pretty broad range, but even the 9% estimate is a fuck of a lot.

If those numbers are even close to accurate, and if we don't see new kinds of jobs cropping up in significant enough numbers to offset them, then we're looking at unemployment numbers that are going to make '08 look like a fucking tropical vacation. At which point I think UBI is going to become a much more popular and mainstream proposition.

It's not a coincidence that the biggest expansion of social programs in our history was during the Great Depression.

Wewwwwww yeah even 9% is pretty huge.

I know a couple guys. Real smart guys, quite successful. They're always on people because the jobs and employment numbers and such contradict the idea that people are being obsoleted. For instance, the US unemployment fell below 5% and that's corrected for a number of factors - they go pretty deep on the data, looking at things like people in the workforce and how the numbers are generated and weighted to verify them (like factoring in the meaning of the numbers of people who are considered to not be looking for work at all, etc.), full-time work vs. part-time work, and so on.

However, I think there's a couple things that they're still overlooking. First, a huge proportion of new jobs are "temp" work, even if they're nominally full-time. Or contracts, freelance, etc. True proper full-time employment is on fucking life support.

In some ways, you can argue that companies have moved to this as a cost-reduction measure because they can get away with it. And maybe you can argue this is just a cultural and regulatory issue, that better regulation would address this so that a spade is treated as a spade, that working 40 (or more) hours would be treated as proper full-time work.

But at the same time, there's a deeper reason corporations are doing this: Because they can. Unions are being smashed, labour's power is being broken. Why? Again, because corporations can. I feel these factors indicate that ultimately there really is an underlying labour surplus, tilting the scales in favour of employers, whether this is because of globalization (probably, at least so far) or automation.

These are concrete things with real material impacts. Their effects are not as clear and immediate as job reports so it's more difficult to source data and to articulate exactly what is happening, but that does not mean it's not real. I think there's a very real risk of ignoring the problem because the primary indicators can mask it to some degree, but there are major, concrete observable effects - greatly reduced labour bargaining power IS a data point.

I mean, yes, we're seeing very good employment numbers in the US at the moment. But it doesn't feel like a booming economy, now does it? What would those numbers look like if labour costs were more analogous to say, 1975 and employers were forced to call full time work full time work? Would companies swallow and pay more for full time employees? Would we see even more absurdly aggressive attempts to keep employees restricted to the less-than-33-hours-per-week threshold to keep them classified as part-time workers? Would we be seeing much more aggressive automation or outsourcing?
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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Thad » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:00 am

Yeah, there's an awful lot to unpack. Low unemployment is good, but there's a pretty big difference between quantity and quality. Temp jobs, part-time jobs, freelance jobs, low-wage jobs, etc. -- all that shit's a recipe for pretty serious stress, and seldom a good way to keep the bills paid. And corporations -- especially publicly-traded ones -- will do whatever they're legally allowed to do cut costs and maximize profits, plus whatever they're not legally allowed to do but think they can get away with. And all that's witout getting into income inequality, the wage gap, disproportionate unemployment for minorities, etc.

And it's inarguable that automation has wiped out entire industries, and fast. Know any travel agents?

And the ball's rolling on autonomous vehicles; they've got some growing pains to work out, but I think 20 years is a pretty safe estimate, and I don't think "revolutionary" is too strong a word for how much change they're going to bring. It's exciting, but I sure don't envy anybody who drives a cab or a bus or a truck for a living. I mean, for this and all the other reasons I already didn't envy those guys.

I've been pondering, for years, what the long-term consequences will be of a generation growing up with no concept of company loyalty or job security. I may have been thinking too small.

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Re: An Open Market on Economics

Postby Brentai » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:12 am

If my skin color doesn't get my head on a pike in the next 8 years, my job title will.

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