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Comment Re:robots will just push the manufacturing back to (Score 1) 415

Japan had a quality issue. Remember that? They fixed it. China can too. And if they don't, do you really expect the hordes at Walmart to complain? And it's not just Walmart; it's also all those people who look at the major price difference, see the smaller quality difference, and say, "Meh... good enough." Harbor Freight sells "junk" tools that no contractor would proudly carry, but they're more than sufficient for your average homeowner.

Comment Re:I've been predicted that (Score 1) 415

The average human has gotten more and more skilled and capable throughout history. ... Humans aren't static; we also improve with time.

We certainly change with time. Convince me that literacy is important, and memory isn't. Remember, 2500 years ago the Odyssey was a story told around a campfire, and today people can't recite a single line of it if their Kindle runs out of battery. I'd propose that we are better adapted to our time than a feudal lord is, and that our odds of survival are lower than the average peasant if dropped into his time.

Comment Re:I've been predicted that (Score 1) 415

It does not require "blind faith" to believe that the tomorrow will be more-or-less like today.

Have you visited Colorado? The weather changes every 15 minutes, nevermind this "tomorrow" business.

The world is different, the economy is different

Basic economic principles apply just as much today as they did in the past.

But the economy is different. In America, there are both men and women in nearly every profession. 100 years ago, far more women were homemakers. People rarely moved out of state for college and then across the country for work. And as for (our understanding of) economic principles, they've certainly changed in the past 100 years. Keynes, Friedman, stagflation, supply-side economics. Shall we continue?

corporations are larger and more powerful

No they aren't. A century ago, the largest corporation, Standard Oil, was 2% of the economy. Today, the largest corporation, Apple, is a tiny fraction of that. Concentration of power in corporations has greatly diminished.

The makeup of the economy has shifted significantly. Work that used to be done within the family is now outsourced. For example, most people buy most of their food, rather than growing it. 100 years ago, childcare was not the giant industry that it is today. 100 years ago, the majority of Americans lived in rural areas; now they live mostly in cities. Because of these and many other changes, I don't think Standard Oil vs Apple is a relevant rebuttal.

we have globalization.

As a percentage of the economy, international trade was higher in the spring of 1914 than it is today. Two world wars and a great depression changed all that, but today's globalization is not new.

Citation please? pegs 1914 international trade around 30% of world GDP and over 50% today.

How could you not think this time will be different?

I don't see any reason to believe that "this time is different", and I also don't see any evidence. What is happening today is just an extrapolation of trends that started centuries ago.

If today is simply an extrapolation of trends, then the future should be easy for you to predict, and you should be an incredibly wealthy individual.

Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 1) 514

GMOs have not been shown to cause harm and have higher yields which increase supply.

And with what do they increase the supply? If the soil in which the crop grows has the same level of trace minerals, an increased supply means a decreased mineral content for your GMO product. In some cases, industry documentation has perceived this as an advantage: you'll have to eat more to get your nutrients! You can increase the supply of soup forever if you just add water ... but it's not the same. I want to know how my food was grown to make my own determinations about nutrient content, and if I have to pay a little extra for that, I'm willing to choose that.

Comment Re: GM producers are shooting themselves in the fo (Score 1) 514

They already retool labels regularly, touting "new and improved! Now with XK-29 for added freshness!" So if they do it for their own marketing purposes, they can do it to inform consumers.

No, I don't know if a specific GMO modification is beneficial to the human species and the global environment or not. Yes, some people are absolute party-line types about GMOs (for or against) just as they are about political parties. That's not a reason to avoid giving the rest of us some information.

Comment Watching vs Learning (Score 3, Interesting) 102

While we do a lot of our lifelong learning outside of formal structures, I think it would be dangerous to rely on this until it can demonstrate that people did not merely watch, but actually now know and understand the material. That may be difficult to measure in an unstructured environment, but without it, the system will be ripe for abuse and ultimately fall into disrepute. Especially because you can't even confirm that someone watched a video, but only that it played for its full duration on a specific machine.

Comment Re:Not me, not in California (Score 1) 940

No, the reason that property can be such a good investment for individuals is the opportunity for leverage. I put down only a few thousand dollars (5%) on my house when I bought it, yet its increase in value is very large (several hundred thousand dollars). Of course, with leverage comes risk. Many people lost out dramatically in the recession when house prices dropped. My house value never droppped below its original purchase price.

And that risk has burned some folks significantly. I know folks who bought property with a 5/1 ARM, planning on moving before 5 years, or refinancing if they stayed. Four years into it, they hit the recession, couldn't sell their place, were underwater and unable to refinance, and saw their interest rate rise at the same time. They took a risk -- they're better now, but it was tough for a while.

Comment Re:Not that easy to buy (Score 1) 940

Peter - could you supply examples? Why won't the lenders lend to people "who can really afford to buy a house"? What percentage of renters fall into this category? I'd bet it's small. There are great rates for folks with stable W-2 income; there are decent rates for folks with more-fluctuating income (salesmen, business owners). Interest rates in the past five years are lower than they've ever been.

Comment Re:Not me, not in California (Score 1) 940

You sound bitter. Renters rent property because they prefer it to buying property. If they want to buy, there are many banks happy to lend money to people to buy property. Meanwhile, the person renting the thing out did trade something for the payment he got: he was deprived of use of the house or car for a month. Try going without your house or car for a month. Some people can; most people can't, not without some money to compensate. And let's not forget that the landlord who reclaims his property at the end also had to pay property taxes and perform maintenance on the building. If you think that the landlord's money is unearned, and he should let someone live there for free, I would like to rent from you.

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