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Comment Re:Relevant xkcd (Score 1) 176

How about being stuck on a road in a snowstorm without communication?

You're right - if you're stuck in a snowstorm a fire can save your life! Good thinking, Samsung

CAPTCHA: accuracy

If you can't start a fire with the typical objects in a modern automobile, you need to go watch a couple of reruns of McGyver or something. Talk about portable bombs.....

Comment home cinema (Score 1) 335

The main reason left to go to a cinema is that the screen is bigger and the sound system is fantastic. Everything else you can have at home.

With a good home cinema setup, you can come close, and you have none of the expensive popcorn, queues, guy next to you getting on your nerves, obnoxious advertisement and other bullshit. Plus you can pause the movie to get a drink from the kitchen and cuddle your cats while watching.

Cinema is on the way out. Once Hollywood understood the lesson that the music industry had to understand, things will get better.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

The equivalent of "stop outsourcing" would be like Wyoming blocking imports of almonds from CA just because it wants its own local almond farmers to have business.

I agree that the question isn't borders. If you are in Texas, northern Mexico is more "local" than NYC. But in either case, China is not local.

People *are* permanently unemployed. Not a large percentage of the population but unemployment has never been 0. Ever. I'd say what well-intentioned tariffs we've passed to try to keep unemployment down aren't working very well. And with the upcoming onslaught of automation...I don't see how you *can* keep people from being unemployed for long periods of time.

The part that's never zero is called "structural unemployment", and was mentioned in the part that you cut. People between jobs, people who are moving, etc.
But unemployment-because-you-cant-find-a-job is not god-given, and in fact in various countries around the world there have been periods when this unemploymend was zero.

"the upcoming onslaught of automation" - the 60s called. They want their argument back.

Rather than cling onto the idea that everyone needs to be employed (when reality obviously isn't letting that happen), perhaps it's time to revisit how we make sure every citizen is taken care of in a post-industrial society and this idea that "everyone needs to work".

Oh, I agree on that. I've had periods in my life without a formal job (self-employed, my own small company, not working very much) that were wonderful except for the not-much-money part. If that were somehow covered, I'd immediately go back to working 20 hours a week, or 80 hours a week on stuff that I love.

Trade and technology are the 2 pillars that create wealth

How we are all caught in the Silicon Valley mantra and the Venture Capitalist religion. Most of the really large and powerful companies in the world are not called Google and Facebook. They are energy companies, food companies, and a dozen others. Trade and technology matter, but you buy an iPhone every year while you buy food every day.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

. It also makes him a huge liability if they run into financial difficulty

History proves you wrong. Fords model worked, your bullshit is just that.

Considering that i device sales have flatlined or in some cases decreased,

And Apple is still insanely profitable, so your point is what, exactly?

Not many people gives a shit where it's made - they just want it cheap.

That is my point. Because it's been drilled into our heads that profit aka "buy cheap" is the only margin of success, the only thing important. My mother still bought her meat and vegetables at farms whenever she could, because knowing where it comes from and being able to trust its quality was another important value. Having an actual business relation used to be important, now we just use some price comparison website to save ten cents. But when you buy the same stuff from the same guy all the time, things become possible that Amazon won't do for you. That has value.

There are a few areas left where more than profit thinking is alive. Many people go to the same restaurants again and again, even if they're not the cheapest, but they're the best (in food quality, taste, atmosphere, whatever is important to you). I've had restaurants where I can sit down, say hi to the owner and order "the usual", and I don't care if there's another restaurant nearby where the food is ten cents cheaper.

Yes, not many people care. But maybe they should. Maybe we should pay the real price of global trade. Just putting a price on the ecological damage of these container ships (have you seen them? What comes out of your cars exhaust pipe is refreshing clean air compared to theirs) would instantly make local manufacturing economically interesting again.

People don't yet make the connection between the social systems downfall and the increase in global trade. Or that them buying cheap shit on Amazon is the reason their uncle is out of a job. Or that there is an inherent contradiction in the shouts of politicians who a) want you to earn less money and b) want you to spend more on consumption.

If you put people out of a job because you outsourced the factory to a low-income country, there are less people left to buy whatever your factory makes. It really is that simple.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

Really? Your house is chinese, your gasoline japanese and your food korean? I mean, not by taste but manufactured there? That's amazing.

You might spend 90% of your disposable income on some electronics from Asia, but for the average household, that is about 20% or so of the total income. The rest goes for rent (or mortgage), food, taxes, insurances and other stuff that is part of the local economy.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

You don't want to get rid of that. You don't want to slow down the economy by making goods more expensive. What you *want* is to allow companies to make tons of profit, *tax* that profit and use that money to pay people who were unemployed due to jobs moving away.

Have you thought that through?

So in the end, you will make everything abroad, only companies earn money, and everyone lives from the taxes? I don't think that is a sustainable economic model.

What you want is a balance between a strong local economy and beneficial trade. You want to import cars from Germany because they just make the best cars, and movies from Hollywood because they make the best movies (bear with me, it's only an example) and iPhones from China because they make the best electronics. But you want to grow your food locally because shipping it halway around the world doesn't improve its quality, and everything where it doesn't matter where it is made you want to make locally because global shipping is a major contributor to climate change and it's just crazy.

You do not want people permanently on unemployment benefits. There is no imaginable scenario where that is beneficial to anyone. You want unemployment to be a transition phase, for people between jobs.

There is more to the system then just who makes profits. There is also the psychological damage of unemployment, there is the fact that you become dependent on your suppliers, there is the fact that you don't want to lose the capability of manufacturing, even if outsourcing somewhere else would be cheaper, there is the whole insanity of global trade which would be prohibitively expensive in its current form if most of the cost (especially the environmental one) wouldn't be externalized.

There are reasons beyond profit that should guide an economy. The pure quarterly-profit perspective is the main damage the financial industry has done to the world. We now all think the way that stock brokers do, without realizing how narrow and limited their perspective is.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 1) 217

The labels also invest in talent they hope will make it, spending huge sums on teaching them to play in sync, variations on playing styles, introducing them to different instruments and sounds, fitting songs to bands, practice studios, recording studios, sound engineers, etc etc etc etc. That too all costs money, and most recorded artists probably never make it really worth while, but without that support the real gems are even less likely to make it.

The problem is that from the anecdotal stories that I've heard about the music business, the RIAA and the major labels don't actually do any of that stuff. What I've heard is that most of that is done by the actual artists on their own time and their own dime. That doesn't mean that no label associated with the RIAA ever does that, it's just that none of the stories I've heard mention anything like that. In fact, most go into excruciating detail about how the labels are loathe to give anything at all away. The general story seems to be that they are billed by the music label for anything the label does for them and sometimes for anything the label could have done, even if it didn't. In particular, I remember one band complaining that they were charged a hefty fee because they didn't use the label's recording studio, and that was in addition to the fees they paid to the recording studio of their choice.

Maybe that's standard practice and I have just never heard anyone ever mention it, but I'd like some evidence that it's common for anything other than label organized boy bands.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 3, Insightful) 217

Labels affiliated with RIAA are already finding your "favorite" bands for you. If I go through your music collection, 99% of it will be music from RIAA affiliated labels (or whatever IFPI affiliated marketing/promotion entity is in your part of the planet).

I think the point was that, while most of our current favourite bands might have be found by the RIAA, we'd still have favourite bands if the RIAA and it's affiliated labels didn't exist. In fact, there are arguments that can be made that we might actually have better music if the RIAA affiliated labels weren't picking our favourite bands for us. They have been accused many times of producing cookie-cutter music and drowning out diversity with conservative musical picks.

Comment Re:Michael Flynn Jr believes it (Score 1) 785

The fact that Congress is so reviled yet stable indicates we're no longer a functioning democracy. We're a plutocracy, where elections are determined by overwhelming advantages in fundraising.

That's the wrong lesson. Most congressional elections are determined by gerrymandering. The point of gerrymandering is to generate certain victories and subvert the will of voters. If you want to control congress, you have to control the state legislatures.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 3, Insightful) 322

So much crying and so little understanding of systems theory.

Sure, americans want more money than chinese children. However, what does it cost to support all the unemployed people and to fight the higher crime and other problems that come with unemployment?

Also, money goes in circles. The american worker paid well will spend a large part of his salary on some other american business (say, the fast food store near work, the gas station on his way to work, etc.) while the chinese child spends his money somewhere in China.

Ford was the first to understand that paying his workers well would actually give him an advantage - if they can afford to buy one of his cars, they will. The same is true of this. Maybe the price of iPhones will rise - or maybe more people will buy them and the price stay the same. Or something inbetween.

It's too easy to just cry that prices will rise. In fact, that's usually a strawman.

Comment Re:single payer health care (Score 1, Informative) 535

No it won't. Single payer healthcare in the US will be run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Security (CMS). A wretched hive of scum and villainy.

An intensely bureaucratic, irrational and bloated system that will most likely keep most of bad points about American medicine. And add a couple new ones. You think the giant insurance companies are going to go away? Of course not. They will simply shed their skins and turn into 'third party' administrators of the 'single payer'. Exactly as they do now. It will be a giant shell game. Guess who is going to win and guess who's going to lose?

We're doomed.

Comment Re:Seattle has a huge homeless population (Score 2) 121

This is tied to your Amazon (probably Prime) account (you can't get in otherwise). If you are a bad customer,we lock you out of your account.

And then you die a slow, unpleasant death. You have no access to bulk toothpaste and clever little bits of Chinese electronics. Not to mention movies and books that no one has ever heard of (for good reason). Or whatever else we tacked onto the Prime subscription last week (I keep forgetting just what it was).

-- All the best, Jeff.

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