Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×

Comment Re:If they're going to do this... (Score 1) 185

In the real world, it's been noted that employment above a certain threshold is unstable. In the United States, Full Employment is usually defined as 95%, meaning our current 4.9% unemployment is higher than full employment; some people speculate we'd be okay as low as 4%, and the 4.9% thing is incorrect anyway (UE4 is 5.6%, which includes people who would work but have given up because they think there aren't jobs for them; UE5 and UE6 include people who would like to work, but can't because their situation precludes employment on its own).

In the real world, we can look at this instability. One thing that is quickly noticed is that it just isn't that unstable. Moving on:

To be fair, economists speculate low unemployment causes inflation. That is to say: at low unemployment rates, a business's strategic advantage for hiring an employee exceeds the cost of market wages, and so businesses pay more. If you cause high employment by providing a ton of extra spendable income, then businesses can raise prices, capture that income, and pay it as higher wages. The benefit vanishes, debts shrink, and savings go away. Such inflation also has all of the other destabilizing effects of inflation; and with a lot of people's savings held in 401(k) markets (which inflate right along with inflation) and increased income allowing further increased spending, you can easily get a hyperinflation effect, followed by a money shortage, followed by extreme unemployment.

We have never seen this hyperinflation effect from low unemployment. We have seen plenty of cases of hyperinflation from the currency issuer printing vast amounts of money often to support extravagant entitlement programs.

Remember when Zimbabwe issued a 100-trillion-dollar bill?

Case in point. Zimbabwe prints a ton of money and gets hyperinflation. This is despite having an insane unemployment rate somewhere in the high double digits (depends on how it's counted and who's doing the counting).

Here's the problem with this alleged hyperinflation threat. Wage money is slow money. Inflation from it is naturally lagged by a great deal because it takes so long to get from higher product prices to higher wages. You simply can't create hyperinflation from the dynamics of the system.

Even your wealth redistribution scheme is slow money. It takes time to take from the wealthy and give to the poor.

Second, this completely ignores two things, that value is created and that there are alternatives to employing people in the region, such as employing people in other regions and automation.Value creation is another reason inflation is mitigated or doesn't happen. And it is the whole point of the economy not the number that currently happens to be assigned to a good in a market.

While it's not universal, there are many jobs that scale and produce more value for more work per person. Arbitrarily forcing people to work less means less gets done.

Finally, on this particular matter, when more value is created, then there is more stuff for money to chase and hence, less inflation.

If the effect is particularly large, your economy collapses outright. If it's not so large, you get a minor recession, like in 2008.

This is probably the worst misattribution I've ever heard for the real estate crisis of 2007-2008. There wasn't a recession because employment was a little high. There was a recession because of a vast malinvestment in real estate which can be traced back to two things, easy central bank money and extreme leverage in the real estate markets.

As for real-world examples of negative unemployment, they don't exist because nobody has ever managed to increase the income efficiency of an economy by 15% before (we take 30% in taxes in the United States; cutting out 50% of that would be a 15% increase in take-home wages, and the way I structured it mostly puts that back down to the lower and middle-classes, so consumer spending power gets a 20%-25% boost). That is to say: Nobody's taken an economy where consumer demand requires 95% of the labor force to be employed and boosted it such that you now need 95% * 1.15 = 109% (or 1.18% for a 25% boost).

My take is that won't happen except in the case of extreme disasters. Consumer demand isn't that inelastic unless you need massive amounts of labor just to feed people. There have been hypothetical scenarios (such as some "peak oil" cases) and historical examples of collapse due to huge declines in agriculture or social cohesion (such the Mayan decline or the Bronze Age Collapse). But those aren't triggered by too much employment, but rather by conditions getting bad enough that human labor wasn't enough to survive under the existing system.

So who is going to make, transport, and retail all this shit we can buy, now that over 70% of all consumers have somewhere between 1.15 and 3 times as much money to spend? When we hire them, how much money will they have to spend, and who will make the shit they start buying with it?

Why the people who work, of course. In a sane world, there would be more employment followed by immigration, global trade, and automation to leverage the people who are already working. We already have a variety of mechanisms for solving this problem.

What I find utterly mystifying is that in the face of this alleged crisis of labor supply your proposed solution is to artificially restrict supply and make it worse. Should we solve a famine by withholding food from starving people? Should we solve a drought by withholding available water from elsewhere? If we're experiencing traffic jams, should we destroy roads?

The fastest way to go from 95% employment to your 109% is to restrict the amount of work that people can do. This just doesn't make sense and runs completely counter to your concerns.

What do you think? Inflation equivalent to the inflation between 1980 and 2005 happening ALL AT ONCE? The rich just reclaim it all, right? In my system, 17% of that income is reclaimed and handed right back down to ... well, everyone, so suddenly everyone has even more to spend. You tick it over again, and somehow, in 5 years, you have 1000% inflation.

No. While there has been some cases of rapid economic growth triggering inflation (eg, 19th Century mining towns in the US West), it's something that has rapidly corrected itself, sometimes by recession. I don't consider this even within an order of magnitude of your concern.

Comment Re:So what would you use? (Score 1) 155

Unless you like staying up all night tracking down errors in pointer arithmetic.

Lumping C and C++ together generally means you haven't looked at how dramatically the C++ language has changed recently, especially if you talk about pointer arithmetic. If you're using modern C++ and are still worrying about pointer arithmetic (i.e. you're not abstracting it away), you're probably doing it wrong.

The nice thing about C++ is that, quite often, those abstractions either cost nothing at all, or at worst, far less than interpreted languages. Also, having used modern C++ for a few years now, I think garbage collection is vastly overrated compared to reference counted pointers and simple RAII. C++ is still harder to use than Java or C# in many subtle ways, but basic memory management is no longer one of those persistent thorns.

Efficient compilation? Yeah, sadly, that's not C++, and likely never will be. There are some newer alternatives that have these features and compile quite efficiency, since they don't come with the baggage of backwards compatibility, but I'm not sure how much traction they're going to gain in practical measurements outside of some niche locations. Their biggest downside? Yeah, they're not backwards compatible with billions of lines of C or C++ code out in the wild.

Submission + - OPPD announces official closing date for Fort Calhoun nuclear plant: Oct. 24 (

mdsolar writes: The Omaha Public Power District will permanently shut down its nuclear plant at Fort Calhoun on Oct. 24, according to a recent letter from the utility’s top executive to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Correspondence obtained by The World-Herald and dated Aug. 25 was sent to officials at the NRC and the State of Nebraska.

“OPPD has completed analysis of the factors influencing the date for shutdown of (Fort Calhoun),” OPPD President and Chief Executive Tim Burke said in the letter.

Thus will kick into gear the plant’s decommissioning, which includes the removal and transfer of nuclear fuel from the reactor into the spent fuel pool. That’s where the fuel rods will be placed for about 18 months while they burn off energy to the point they can cool to a level that permits transfer into a more permanent storage facility.

In all, the decommissioning process could take up to 60 years and will cost OPPD as much as $1.5 billion.

Comment Re:a very large planet, 15 times the Earth (Score 1) 135

And something basically to that effect was for a period at the IAU conference the definition being haggled over. A lot of people went home at that point thinking that either that would get voted in as the definition, or there would be no definition, and were fine with either outcome. The committee however changed the proposal before the vote came up.

Comment Re:This has nothing to do with "skills gap". (Score 1) 131

Sure the first computers were 'simple' but they were only used on "simple" problems such as calculating artillery tables. The complexity we can handle at any point in computer history is bound by the physical limits of our hardware and our knowledge of maths. There is only one way for software to reduce complexity and that is the discovery of new maths. For instance an analytical solution to the Navier-Stokes equations would revolutionise computer modelling, in fact it would make it simple enough for a human to calculate it by hand.

Slashdot Top Deals

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak