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Marxist Hacker 42's Journal: A philosophical question 23

Journal by Marxist Hacker 42

Is the economy made for man, or man made for the economy? Should the primary emphasis of economic engineering be maximum efficiency, or should it be maximum jobs for citizens?

I know what my answer is. What I can't seem to figure out is why so many economists are on the other side, both in capitalism and communism.

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A philosophical question

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  • What I can't seem to figure out is why so many economists are on the other side, both in capitalism and communism.

    It pays better.
    • by snowgirl (978879) *

      What I can't seem to figure out is why so many economists are on the other side, both in capitalism and communism.

      It pays better.

      I was laughing so hard at this joke... until I realized that it was true. :(

  • Should the primary emphasis of economic engineering be maximum efficiency, or should it be maximum jobs for citizens?

    I'm not sure why you think those two goals are mutually incompatible. Idle labor is pretty inefficient.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      Idle labor is pretty inefficient

      Only matters if it shows up as a line item on your balance sheet.

    • Idle labor is pretty inefficient.

      Specify 'idle'. I can guess what you mean, but the generally accepted definition I hear from most hardcore capitalist types and business owners is "doesn't put in 110% for at least 8 hours without breaks."
      • Specify 'idle'. I can guess what you mean, but the generally accepted definition I hear from most hardcore capitalist types and business owners is "doesn't put in 110% for at least 8 hours without breaks."

        "Idle", as in un- or under-employed. Whether or not your example fits into this definition depends upon who is doing the valuing, I suppose; the laborer or the employer.

        A laborer working at his peak 100% of the time may be perfectly efficient from the employer's perspective. But a more balanced, lower stress approach may provide more value to the laborer (and, in the long run, the employer) than such robotic efficiency.

    • In an economy where labor is in surplus, then idleing a large portion of the labor can bring prices back into line by reducing supply to be more in line with reduced demand.

      But I say that's the mistake that the communists keep making- failing to produce when times are good to store for when times are bad.

      • In an economy where labor is in surplus, then idleing a large portion of the labor can bring prices back into line by reducing supply to be more in line with reduced demand.

        In what way is idling a large portion of the labor force--wasting all those hours of potentially productive labor--efficient? That's like burning crops as they stand in their fields, or throwing coal into the sea. That's not efficiency; that's a waste.

        But I say that's the mistake that the communists keep making- failing to produce when times are good to store for when times are bad.

        They keep failing because their incentive structure is all messed up.

        • They keep failing because their incentive structure is all messed up.

          And yet, capitalism with it's incentive structure *ALSO* fails quite often to produce enough to both meet demand and save ahead for a rainy day.

          In what way is idling a large portion of the labor force--wasting all those hours of potentially productive labor--efficient? That's like burning crops as they stand in their fields, or throwing coal into the sea. That's not efficiency; that's a waste.

          It brings pro

          • And yet, capitalism with it's incentive structure *ALSO* fails quite often to produce enough to both meet demand and save ahead for a rainy day.

            When you're complaining about not producing enough, you're advocating for increased efficiencies and productivity. Sure, producing enough to cover every possible "rainy day" is not in the cards, regardless of economic system; producing as much as we can is the best we can do. If you're advocating trading production for some other goal, you're going to produce less, not more.

            t brings production closer in line to demand so that they can charge higher prices per unit. But yes, I'd agree it's a waste- but it's an efficient waste, one that maximizes profit.

            By employing that idled portion of the labor force, you would increase supply; but, you'd also increase demand. Profit would grow as ef

            • When you're complaining about not producing enough, you're advocating for increased efficiencies and productivity. Sure, producing enough to cover every possible "rainy day" is not in the cards, regardless of economic system; producing as much as we can is the best we can do.

              No, efficiency is about the most you can *profitably* produce. Producing simply for the sake of production, so that we overwhelm the economic system with surplus, is beyond efficiency- it's on the other side of the curve.

  • Capitalism cannot work with maximum jobs for citizens, because the "maximum jobs for citizens" means 100% employment, which means that a company cannot just simple fire you and hire someone else...

    The problem is that people model the economy under various assumptions, and those assumptions may be entirely false. So, both capitalism and communism look great on paper, because of the assumptions made by the modeler.

    However, real life sucks. In truth, people work in an economy because they pretty much have to

    • Capitalism cannot work with maximum jobs for citizens, because the "maximum jobs for citizens" means 100% employment, which means that a company cannot just simple fire you and hire someone else...

      Exactly my point- which is the economy as the slave to mankind, not mankind as slave to the economy.

      The problem is that people model the economy under various assumptions, and those assumptions may be entirely false. So, both capitalism and communism look great on paper, because of the ass

  • "It's a cook book!"

  • "Should the primary emphasis of economic engineering be maximum efficiency, or should it be maximum jobs for citizens?"

    Both.

    When efficiency serves ALL HUMANITY (rather than a few), and we all have jobs we love (maximize the humanity of work), we will have heaven on earth.

  • I think the problem is that all of these economic philosophies are all idealistic and assume that people want to work. What people actually want is the benefits of work without actually having to perform it. Some people do want to work, but I think when you talk about the bulk of the populace, if you handed them lottery winnings, 9 out of 10 wouldn't work again-- until they spent their way through the money and had to. Maybe that's cynical, but I don't know that human kind, in its present iteration, is a
    • I think that most people actually do want to work and be useful in some way. I don't think, however, that urge goes beyond the family level- so in a way you're right, it does not scale very well.

      Most lottery winners are broke again within a couple of years. As you say, they get through life without thinking about what they are doing; but doing is not an option. You can only spend so many days lying in bed and getting up late.

  • Is the economy made for man, or man made for the economy?

    I don't know about "made", but I've been arguing for a while now, with some people on the Right, that the economy/capitalism should serve man and not vice-versa. The problem is the atheists of the Right (and the religious of the Right who haven't thought it thru), who, like pretty much all of the Left, don't recognize the sanctity of the human individual.

    Should the primary emphasis of economic engineering be maximum efficiency, or should it be maximum

    • Interesting that from my point of view, your answers conflict.

      I don't know about "made", but I've been arguing for a while now, with some people on the Right, that the economy/capitalism should serve man and not vice-versa. The problem is the atheists of the Right (and the religious of the Right who haven't thought it thru), who, like pretty much all of the Left, don't recognize the sanctity of the human individual.

      On this we agree- the economy/capitalism should serve man. But that's as far as you

      • by Bill Dog (726542)

        What should happen when the economy/capitalism serves the individual at the expense of the rest of the species?

        Nothing, because that's okay. Only the individual is sacred. You have a literal soul. I have a soul. The species or the collective or the environment or the economy or anything else does not.

        What should happen when the free market serves the government [instead of us]

        I think I sense what each of us is getting at. In capitalism, the free market is us. In democracy, the govt. is us. But what do we do

        • Nothing, because that's okay. Only the individual is sacred. You have a literal soul. I have a soul. The species or the collective or the environment or the economy or anything else does not.

          Here's the problem with that argument- others are individuals too. IF the individual is sacred- then the rest of the species, which is also made up of individuals, shouldn't be harmed either. Do no harm=do nothing.

          Fine, I'm against that too

          So you're against businesses advertising, whi

          • by Bill Dog (726542)

            IF the individual is sacred- then the rest of the species, which is also made up of individuals, shouldn't be harmed either

            We will not judged by God as a species, we'll be judged individually. It's a matter of emphasis -- I chose to emphasize what seems to be the heavenly order of things, and reject the emphasis that the heathens prefer.

            So you're against businesses advertising, which of course is a form of economic engineering?

            I thought you meant the Fed economically engineering our lives. I'm against overl

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