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Comment Re:Didn't we used to shove 7 year olds up chimneys (Score 1) 187

Here is what is going on in DRC:

...the DRC's level of economic freedom remains among the lowest in the world, still well within the "repressed" category. Inadequate institutions make the formation of a vibrant private sector difficult...

...An uncertain legal framework, conflicts with armed militias for control of eastern Congo's rich mineral deposits, endemic corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the mining sector and the economy as a whole. Protection of property rights remains weak and dependent on a dysfunctional public administration and judicial system. Human rights abuses and banditry deter economic activity....

...Despite some progress, the regulatory environment still remains significantly burdensome. Minimum capital requirements to launch a company are about five times the level of average annual income. With development of a modern labor market lagging, the informal sector is the source of most employment. Prices are controlled and regulated by the government, which also subsidizes electricity...

...The Democratic Republic of Congo's average tariff rate is 11.0 percent. Bureaucratic and regulatory barriers impede the free flow of trade and discourage foreign direct investment....

More info here.

Comment DRC (Score 1) 187

Here is what one is dealing with in the DRC:

The Democratic Republic of Congo remains plagued by wide-ranging conflict between government forces that historically have been backed by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe and rebels supported by Uganda and Rwanda. Much of the eastern part of the country remains embroiled in conflict. In 2006, Joseph Kabila won the first multi-party election in 40 years. He was re-elected in December 2011 in a flawed and violent election. Rebel groups including the Lord's Resistance Army, M23, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda remain active in the eastern regions. Renewed violence has led to massive population displacement and atrocities against civilians. The DRC continues to host the U.N.'s largest peacekeeping mission. Political instability, lack of transparency, and systematic corruption undermine economic growth.

17% of children 5-14 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo work. This is despite 67% attending school, and 16.2% of the children go to school and work.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor, including a minimum age to work of 16. But obviously it isn't enforced (if it is enforceable).

Children are required to attend school only up to age 15. This standard makes children who are 15 years of age who do not have an apprenticeship particularly vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor, as they are not required to be in school but are not legally permitted to work either

More info here.

Comment Re:We COULD get by working 10-20 hours a week (Score 1) 729

The market price for homes is determined almost entirely by how much people are willing to pay,

Housing prices are determined like all other market prices, by supply and demand.

Supply is artificially reduced with land-use regulation.

This study suggests that reducing land-use restrictions in New York, San Francisco and San Jose to the level of the US median city would expand their labor forces, boosting US GDP by 9.5%.

San Francisco is the city that seems the most crazy. Unlike Dubai and Hong Kong with plenty of 50+ story apartment buildings built recently, San Francisco has a 40-foot height limit on most of its housing stock, much of which was built before 1960 and not up to modern seismic standards.

Comment Re:We COULD get by working 10-20 hours a week (Score 1) 729

We have to stop the money accumulation, the only thing this accomplishes is more money on the supply side. There's plenty already, we have more people who would love to invest in something sensible than there are sensible investments.

Investments are generally spent by the entities being invested in. Companies raise capital to spend it, not to sit on it.

But for that we need people to actually get money for working.

People do get paid money for working, but their salaries are largely based on their productivity. And productivity is largely based on skill (as well as capital equipment investment).

A ditch digger won't be paid much, because you go can purchase a mechanized ditch digger, but it has to be operated by someone who has the skills to use it (and it thus as productive as 20 people who only know how to use a shovel).

Comment Re:We COULD get by working 10-20 hours a week (Score 1) 729

So any mature company that's already profitable should be able to ignore Wall Street entirely and just continue doing what it did before.

Except the company has a fiduciary responsibility to provide value to its shareholders (i.e. owners). When the stock tanks, the stockholders get mad, and the executives get fired.

Comment Re:Transfer of wealth from the middle class (Score 1) 729

The productivity increase certainly allows for most people to barely need to work at all; the socio-political system, not the productivity, is what impedes it.

However it is possible that the productivity increases are due to the socio-political system - productiviy growth has been far less in countries without high levels of market-based economics. See China before Mao's death versus after, for example.

Comment Re:Transfer of wealth from the middle class (Score 1) 729

In theory if we could have a micro-voting system that accurately represented the values across all demographics then we would know what people consider important and could use that to guide the flow of money from one economy to the other.

Yes, that micro-voting is called "price"...and when people actually have to pay money rather than pushing a voting button, they tend to think more about what their vote means (i.e. "putting your money where your mouth is").

Comment US/EU differences: work regulations (Score 1) 729

"Americans average 25.1 working hours per person in working age per week, but the Germans average 18.6 hours. The average American works 46.2 weeks per year, while the French average 40 weeks per year. Why do western Europeans work so much less than Americans? Recent work argues that these differences result from higher European tax rates, but the vast empirical labor supply literature suggests that tax rates can explain only a small amount of the differences in hours between the U.S. and Europe. Another popular view is that these differences are explained by long-standing European "culture," but Europeans worked more than Americans as late as the 1960s. In this paper, we argue that European labor market regulations, advocated by unions in declining European industries who argued "work less, work all" explain the bulk of the difference between the U.S. and Europe. These policies do not seem to have increased employment, but they may have had a more society-wide influence on leisure patterns because of a social multiplier where the returns to leisure increase as more people are taking longer vacations."

Full paper here.

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