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Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 3, Insightful) 201

Median income growth was -2.3% in the US (that is just a hard fact) over the 8 years since Obama took office.

You mean through a recession caused by the Clintons, which came to force right at the end of Bush's economy-destroying war?

I know personally that 10 years ago I could buy more with my dollar than today

That's called inflation. The question is: could you buy more with the median income of dollars then than you can now? Answer is no.

Fact: The labor participation rates under Obama were the lowest they have been in 40 years (since Jimmy Carter).

Labor participation rates reflect the percent of working-aged Americans who feel they need a job. That is to say: if a two-adult, poor household is struggling to get by and both adults believe they need jobs, you have two people in the labor force; if a two-adult, middle-income household is comfortable and the woman decides to stay home and not seek employment because the household finances are fine and life is comfortable, you have one person in the labor force.

Labor force participation rates don't reflect the ability or lack thereof to get a job. Higher participation rates can reflect cultural behaviors (e.g. social status based in employment) or economic crisis (e.g. people can't survive, so every man, woman, and 16-year-old high schooler works themselves to the bone to try to get by). Lower participation rates reflect economic comfort.

elected Trump to do what every other leader of every other country around the world does and is expected to do: put his own country's interests first..

Cutting off the import of just men's and boys's pants from China means minimum-wage Americans work 3.03 hours instead of 1.87 hours to afford a pair of pants; median-income Americans work 0.92 instead of 0.55 hours to afford a pair of pants; and factory workers producing those Made-in-America pants work for minimum wage. If the factory workers make, say, $21/hr, then the minimum-wage Americans work over 6.13 hours to afford them; middle-incomes work 1.87 hours; and we have ~90,000 fewer American jobs in total versus current economy (a 0.06% increase in unemployment rate).

Is working long hours for lower pay in the interest of our own country?

Is expanding poverty to more households in America in the interest of our own country?

Is destroying good American jobs, either for hazardous low-pay jobs or simply to create a hole in our job market and an increase in unemployment, in the interest of our own country?

If you want to see the direction Trump is steering America, look to North Korea.

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 1) 201

On the other hand these prices have fallen slightly

Two things when discussing economics like this.

First, prices are meaningless if we don't discuss them as prices in labor. If you pay $100 now for a microwave you paid $75 for in 1990, that's pretty meaningless. If the median wage earns that microwave in 3.7 hours today but 4.9 hours in 1990, the price of that microwave has decreased. If the median wage earns that microwave in 3.7 hours today but 3.3 hours in 1990, the price of that microwave has increased.

Second, equivalent-technology comparisons are almost never available. Today I purchase Internet for $86/month; but that's 200Mbit/s internet. In 1998, a 128k ISDN line leased for $35/month; this $83 line is equivalent to 1562.5 ISDN lines, which would lease for $54,687.50 in 1998. I believe Comcast had 1.28Mbit into the house for $40/month in 1998, meaning $350/month of ISDN downstream was suddenly replaced with $40/month of cable downstream; and by those numbers, I'm buying $6,250/month worth of cable for $83/month. You will not find 1.28Mbit internet for 53 cents today.

That second point applies to cars (more-complex antilock brakes, suspension, safety systems, radios, etc. at price levels equivalent to the same proportion of a target income), phones ($350 Motorola V3 Razor? I got my OnePlus One 64GB for $350; the OnePlus 3t is $440), computers, heat pumps, and information services (Netflix, Spotify, etc.). $10/month gets you access to enormous feeds of movies and music; $20 used to get you a CD with 11 songs.

In particular reference to your list, it's well-known that Americans spend more money on more and better healthcare now than in decades past. Housing is odd: the per-square-foot share of housing has fallen (i.e. 1,000 square feet of housing represents a smaller proportion of the median income), while houses and apartments have gotten bigger; and housing is also a speculatively-traded commodity, so its price fluctuates a lot along the way. Housing is also often misrepresented by sale price rather than by total price paid or mortgage payment; I believe the CES accounts housing based on actual expense (mortgage/rent, maintenance, insurance) rather than sale prices, which tends to incorporate additional expenses over the base cost of housing rather than exclude large chunks of the base cost of housing.

Food has also gotten vastly cheaper over time, and is somewhere around 12.5% of household income for the median-income household, although this has been relatively flat compared to the movement in the 40s-80s (16% in 1990). I find vehicle maintenance on a downward trend myself, but I suspect an actual economic analysis as done with food, housing, and medical care would reveal a flat trend; I've bought better vehicles with lower maintenance costs, and the economic reality is probably different than my personal experience.

College prices have been out-of-control for policy reasons which require long and complicated discussions. That's a sore spot in public policy which has distorted the economics considerably, leading to rising tuition prices and out-of-control student debt.

At least the total number of jobs has been increasing since March, 2010 [].

My point was more that the data doesn't say we're seeing jobs "come back to America" since January, 2017; we don't have enough data to see the movement of unemployment in general--just the seasonal dip after December. As for March to now, yes, we've long-term seen the total jobs increase faster than the total population and the total work force, hence why unemployment fell from 10% to 4.6%.

But yes, the labor force participation rate is higher than when women worked in the kitchen barefoot & pregnant...

The kitchen now has dishwashers and floor-mopping robots. Roombas handle the rest of the house. Automatic washing machines and dryers mean laundry day is a disrupted 10 minutes of your time here and there and consumes half an hour of labor spread across several hours.

I don't subscribe to the ideal that a 2-adult household needs to be a 2-working-adult household. The labor force participation rates are different in various countries. We had to legally establish a 40-hour working week in the past century, coming out of a 90-hour working week with 6 working days; I think we can allow some people to decide the husband/wife works and the wife/husband manages house.

Even with all of the advances in home economics, being a single bachelor is a brutal job. Do you know how much housework doesn't get done unless you have no leisure time? It's practically a full-time job. I briefly considered getting a girlfriend largely so I could make her keep the house in shape, but the irritation that comes with dating vastly outweighs the convenience; and wtf would I do if I ended up with a wife who got a job? Use her money to hire a maid? Either way, kids can fuck right off.

You discount the sheer amount of labor women put in around the house.

See US Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate [] which is currently 62.9%, down from a peak of just over 67% 1998-2000, now back to a level reached in mid-1977. It has been flatlined for about 2 years.

Yeah, "Above the maximum" doesn't make sense; I meant minimum, hence the "not at peak" thing.

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 4, Insightful) 201

Uh, 5% unemployment at historically-high labor force participation rates? We're not at peak, but we're above the 59% historical labor force maximum participation rate. Even adjusting for a peak participation rate and counting the number of employed against that, unemployment rates wouldn't break 6%.

Consumer goods have had all of 2 months to deal with all of nothing. Consumer goods are still made where they've been made for the past decade and a half.

Wages can't stagnate. It's mathematically-impossible. You know all those tech job layoffs, reorganizations, and other shit that ended with fewer total IT workers in one department or another? Those reduced the number of labor-hours of wages paid to make things. For prices to stay the same, you have to raise wages to compensate for that reduction; yet we have inflation, which means wages are being raised even faster than that. That means wages are actually rising faster than inflation--they have to, or else you don't have inflation.

People like to adjust wages directly to inflation, and somehow get "real wages" that stay flat or decrease while the median-income buying power of those wages increases. Middle- and lower-class people are spending more of their income on luxuries, and are obtaining more and better healthcare than before. Food and clothing are more affordable. Utilities aren't growing in price as fast as wages. Median-income Americans today can buy more than people of 5, 10, and 20 years ago, and yet we say "their wages are going down". Falling wages are the kind of lie people repeat to themselves at night to give them a reason to be angry at not being rich.

We can't see anything about jobs coming back yet. Unemployment was 0.1% higher in January 2017 than December 2016--no surprise, there's always that slump. Where will it be in June? In 2018?

Comment What's the net? (Score 4, Insightful) 118

This is like saying I spent $30,000 last year, so my finances took a big hit. I actually had income, so you know... my debts were paid down, savings were built, and I spent $30,000.

The U.S. Technology Industry surpassed 6.5 million employees in 2014, and 6.7 million in 2015. TFA and TFS say there were 79,000 tech jobs cut in 2015, but there were 200,000 more jobs at the end of 2015 than there were at the end of 2014. Now TFA and TFS say there were 96,000 tech jobs cut in 2016, so I guess we're looking at a job growth of 243,000 in the sector?

Comment Isn't that legislative? (Score 1) 36

If the law says these people are included, the President does not have the legal authority to exclude them. As the Executive, his job is to execute the law. Executive orders to exclude execution of the law in specific cases is legislating from the Executive, which is a breach of Presidential power.

On the other hand, if the law currently specifies US Citizens and Permanent Residents and does not specifically exclude others, the Executive is within his discretion to incorporate all lawful visitors to the US in the protections put forth. That is up for debate; however, in the absence of circumstances activating any law requiring the specific action, the Executive can order those protections extended by reasoning that nothing has provided the Executive branch the power or responsibility to carry out those specific actions against which the law protects. The Judiciary has the final say, and typically gives standing to those who are targets of action or loss by lack of action.

Comment Re:They are not creating 2,000 jobs, duh. (Score 1) 128

There is an argument to be made here, but you need to make it. Instead you try to say something clever that on inspection is either wrong or very wrong.

The argument is that we're not sitting right on the edge of deployable technology that requires less human labor to accomplish all the things humans do today and will want to do with the new technology. We're refining existing technology (which is itself producing new technology--better $OLD_THING is $NEW_THING) and making it cheaper to use it, reducing jobs required to produce the outputs of that technology; and that means people can more-easily afford luxuries like fast food (instead of cooking your own food, you pay servants) or Tesla cars.

The pattern thus far has been that the greater availability of goods leads to more purchasing. How many things would you be able to buy with infinite money? You could get yourself a really, really high-end car, right? Well, the car you drive today could be produced in 1970, roughly, aside from some of the silicon (although transistor radios existed); and it would cost you the equivalent of millions of today's dollars instead of just $20k. The same is true of continuously-shrinking labor costs in providing high-speed Internet, gas, oil, solar panels, and the like.

For us to enter a post-scarcity economy, the cities have to plan themselves; the power grid has to plan itself; the factories have to build themselves; the robots have to be built by other robots; the vegetables have to pick themselves; the cars have to maintain themselves--and design themselves, for that matter. If it's just human operators and human engineers making and using this stuff to produce with 1/30 as much labor, then you just have the difference between 1790 and 1990.

Don't think so?

In 1790, 90% of the American workforce were farmers. In 1990, 2.6% of the American workforce were farmers--and we export over half our agricultural outputs now.

More-fundamentally, the technology you need in the end is essentially human-level intelligence--which will probably demand civil rights.

Notice this doesn't address consumption, which might go up significantly, or the tax impact of not having to subsidize these low skill workers with government benefits. It's a complex issue with many possible metrics for success or failure.


In the fast food industry, management calls in additional workers and sends workers on break or home for the day to keep point-of-sale labor costs at 14% of revenue--that means for every $1,000 brought in per hour, the franchise pay a total of $140 of wages, on average. They actually fail at that: the real fast food cost of wages in the U.S. is 25.4%.

The fast food industry brought in $198.9 billion in 2014, with a total wage load of $47.02 billion.

So let's say you bumped the minimum wage fro $7.25/hr to $8.25/hr. Imagine the average customer pays $8, and the wage cost is 25.4%. At $7.25/hr, that's $2.03 in wages; at $8.25/hr, it's $2.31. You're looking at that $8 meal becoming $8.28. No big deal, right? 28 cents.

What we're looking at is $47.02 billion being bumped to $48.67 billion--an extra $1.65 billion to buy the same amount of food. In terms of $7.25/hr wages, that's 113,793 jobs.

So here's the thing: if Americans spend $198.9 billion on fast food, they'll be able to purchase 3.38% less food at the $8.25/hr wage. That means you go from 3,242,758 million jobs to 3,133,154 jobs--109,604 fewer jobs. If Americans instead spend $200.55 billion on fast food, they spend $1.65 million less elsewhere because they simply don't have it.

So you keep saying, "Hey, consumption might go up, because the fast food workers have more money." The other side of this is there will be fewer workers, either fewer in fast food or fewer doing something else. The total wages paid in the United States in that given span of time--the year 2014, the month of April 2015, the second payday in June of 2016--will be the same. If a subset of wage earners (not 100% of all wage earners) earns more, then it must come from somewhere--something isn't getting bought, and somebody else is earning less or is out of a job.

Consumption goes down due to minimum wage increases. Population continuously expands and new technology and trade allow reduction in prices, which causes consumption to go up. when you put these together, the upwards factors--which are independent of minimum wage--outweigh the downwards factors, and you get a net gain.

As I said: minimum wage lags inflation, and as a result creates extra jobs--jobs which have lower purchasing power as inflation continues. Truing up those wages reduces jobs, and is a necessary step in keeping the minimum wage on-target. It doesn't do to have millions more jobs if those workers make $2/hr.

Your own claims contradict you. You claim stable 5% unemployment and clearly the minimum wage has fluctuated based on decreases from inflation and increases by law, therefore you've made the empirical claim that the minimum wage does not effect employment.

In the long term (actually pretty fast--1-3 years is enough), the workforce adjusts. Remember the recession that started in 2008, with recovery some time after 2010? Look at the labor force population age 16 and over spanning across that time, and compare it to the labor force participation rate. The LFPR continues to decrease after 2012, yet the labor force continues to increase. Even so, the unemployment rate continues to decrease--more jobs added than labor force. The employment-to-population ratio also increased after 2012, with a more-significant recovery rate after 2014.

As employment opportunities change, so too does workforce population. We had college students going to grad school because they thought they would have no jobs, and people retiring at 65 because they got excessed; now we have people leaving college early to enter the workforce, and people retiring at 70+. That makes the labor force bigger. Likewise, the rate of immigration changes--more when unemployment is low, less when it's high--to buffer our unemployment back to stable targets.

That doesn't mean you can't cause unemployment; it just works its way out. If you unemploy 15% of the fast-food workers by raising costs and decreasing consumption, then the labor force will slow its growth a bit as technology, trade, immigration, and everything else marches forward, and the balance will adjust to fit those workers back into the work force. Again, inflation and a fixed minimum wage is an additional force which also creates replacement jobs, just in a fashion which is suboptimal and needs correction.

You're thinking in very simple, one-dimensional terms about systems with many moving parts. You seem to believe confounding variables don't exist.

As for his knowledge, I'm sure he knows more than you or me.

I'm sure Bernie knows more than you; he doesn't know more than me. I would destroy Trump in a UBI discussion; Bernie would stumble over himself trying to explain how to make it work and how to pay for it, and start yammering about taxing the rich. Bernie also doesn't have a fucking clue about how trade works. He has the equivalent of high school economics as his entire knowledge on the topic, where he thinks production is magic and money is wealth.

Maybe you actually believe what looks to be a fairly naive picture.

From where I stand, you're a child who believes all the fairy tales I was taught as a kid. I've since ripped holes in those and built something actually sane, and you're over there clinging to Santa Clause trying to explain that reindeer can really fly.

You think it's naive that wage income has to come from somewhere, and doesn't poof into existence when a business writes a paycheck. You have the naive belief that paying one person more has absolutely no effect on the spending anywhere else in the economy, except that that person can now spend more, and thus conclude that there must be more total spending--never mind the inability of the person spending the money to pay the worker to spend that money to pay the other worker he was paying.

Maybe think further than one myopic extreme?

For example, rich people can do nothing and just live off investments that are managed by people they hire.

Those "investments" amount to getting money moved around. The idea is you put money in to buy something and hope that it sells to some other guy for more money--you take that guy's money. Somebody's got to lose in this, eventually. The stock market is a zero-sum game where the only money that comes out is money people put in. Part of that is inflation devaluing money, so people bring more money; part of that is you sell strategically to people who bring more than inflation in the belief that the stock you hold is going to keep growing faster than inflation, and then the stock falls for them and you run away with their money.

The purchasing power of the rich people's money is roughly defined by the productivity of the economy at large. That money represents a portion of all the labor, and can purchase what that labor can make. It's obtained in a manner that produces nothing of great use, but it's not a hole in the economy any more than gambling, gifts, or theft.

Comment Re:How is this supposed to work? (Score 1) 382

I've seen plenty of city buses drive back to the depot flashing "NOT IN SERVICE". Bus routes tend to be loops, as well; the final stop tends to be the closest stop to the depot on that particular route.

City buses also spend a lot of time on the side of the road with the engine compartment open to allow them to cool off. Sometimes they go out of service for 40 minutes due to overheating.

Comment Re:Never Fails (Score 1) 130

Are users of Amazon's Mechanical Turk also Amazon employees? They can't set prices, but they can take work. In this case, the Uber Mechanical Turk allows clients to offer work (seek ride) and to provide that work (provide ride); the difference is that the client offering work (ride seeker) sets the price on Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Neither of these lets the contractor set the price.

Comment Re:Never Fails (Score 2) 130

The way I see it, Uber isn't a taxi company. Uber provides a platform as a service allowing service providers (ride share drivers) to find customers (passengers). The service providers might count as independent taxi drivers and thus be taxi companies themselves.

If Uber drivers are Uber employees, then Uber is providing the taxiing service, and is a taxi company. That's a lot different.

In other words: Uber is basically a phone book and telephone rolled into one, with a listing of cabbies and their rates circulated periodically--although in this case the cabbies have agreed to take current market rates and pay a share of revenues to Uber for publishing their contact information in the circular, and the circular goes out pretty much continuously, every second. If Uber employs the cabbies, then Uber is the cab service provider.

If you were looking for independence, you want Uber. If you were looking for employment, you want Yellow Cab Company.

Comment Re:Disconnect = Lack of effective communication (Score 2) 118

Pretty much. People have an over-inflated sense of self-importance (IT says not being able to effectively do their job costs company millions more than C-level executives think it will) and want everything to be someone else's fault. QED.

I can tell people what risk I can and can't handle given a budget. I'm not in that position; I'm just tech labor. I'm fully-capable of performing proper organizational risk assessment, planning risk controls, and assembling the necessary tools and procedures to control risks. It's not about "sub-optimal mitigation of attacks"; it's about negotiating what you want to bid for and how much you want to pay.

Comment Re:How is this supposed to work? (Score 4, Interesting) 382

Buses and other large vehicles use most of their fuel accelerating. Electric buses and freight trucks actually can coast for a hell of a long time on barely any fuel, but have to stop and then accelerate frequently. Regenerative braking diminishes this cost, extending service life on a battery charge.

Buses are complex and require motor and drive train maintenance. Drive trains in electric vehicles are vastly-simpler--no gearbox--and hub motors provide an option amounting to wiring and an electrical control box. Far less maintenance, far less wear, longer service lives.

It would make sense to swap out entire buses rather than batteries. Bus drivers need a food break every 4-5 hours; rotating them back to the depot and putting them back on power would allow substantial recharging. Some of these buses can recharge 100% in under an hour; and for buses going into service to meet peak demand, you'll end up with them coming in and out at different times during the day, allowing you to keep a turn-over reserve: a bus comes in, plugs into charging, and an hour later the driver takes a bus that hasn't gone out yet; two hours later, the guy who came in for lunch break when that new bus departed takes the bus he left behind, which has had two hours to charge. This reserve fleet also allows deployment of a new bus if one suffers mechanical breakdown, which is generally standard; meanwhile the amount of miles driven in total is spread among more buses, giving them a larger service life.

The logistics aren't that ridiculous.

Comment Re:Of course they will (Score 5, Informative) 62

while other manufacturers will come in and sell something similar with slightly less features for vastly lower costs

There are two forces there. One is the general luxury effect--a luxury item has a smaller audience, and lower demand means bigger margins and higher prices (fewer potential consumers at cost means higher risk and higher barriers to entry, constricting competition). Apple manages to hold this one all on its own by being the only iOS supplier, whereas anyone can make an Android phone; other makers are facing a high barrier to entry using a non-Android OS because they have to compete in a Smart Phone market which is dominated by iOS and Android, and they don't have anything to show for it due to all the apps being for iOS or Android (see: Windows Phone 7--hence why Microsoft wants the apps to be cross-platform with Windows 10 and Windows Phone 10, as they have the desktop market and can build a phone OS app store base to try to pry their way in).

The other is just leading-edge technology and its cost. When you get into newer technology, you hit something like scarcity. I typically describe scarcity as a matter of scaling: if you can ramp up production by 10% for a 10% increase in cost (i.e. labor), you're not seeing scarcity; whereas if ramping up by 10% means expending 12% more cost, you've crossed into scarcity territory. Leading-edge technology can either be completely-different and high-labor or it can be an incremental advance that exceeds proportional cost. Squeezing more storage onto NAND, for example, requires a 14nm process instead of 22nm, whereas the 22nm process is stable (98% yield) and the 14nm process isn't (25% yields)--thus you need 400% more labor per viable chip, yet those chips store about 57% more, so cost more per unit storage. As the 14nm process exceeds 70% yield or so, it'll become cheaper per unit storage than 22nm. QED.

Your top-tier tech generally has those leading-edge technologies, or something appreciably close. They boast brand-new 8+8 homogeneous-architecture SOCs with huge amounts of on-die RAM, 3D NAND, the latest screens, and the latest high-end camera sensors. They push the cost way up and talk about all the features they have--all stuff that's going to be standard in the next generation 6 months from now, when those components are cheaper; but we can let people call Samsung and LG "Apple Immitators" for "cloning the iPhone" months after iPhone did it first.

Your low-cost, $300 phones generally have current-gen tech, which is pretty impressive. Cheap phones can have lagging tech because they're trying to squeeze costs out, but then you get a way-out-of-date $200 phone because a 90%-efficient process isn't that much more expensive than a 98%-efficient process.

The nice thing about making a $300 phone is not everyone can afford an $800 phone; you have a big market to work with. That also means you face competition, whereas Apple and Samsung are competing for fewer voting dollars at the top-tier range and don't have to worry about every cheap Chinese manufactory releasing a top-quality phone comparable to their flagships. Instead we see the OnePlus Three--competitive, but it's not a brand-new iPhone or Galaxy and is more a problem for the mid-tier market. That mid-tier market has lower margins, and also has stability in that it has many players and isn't going to sharply-divert to a new one unless they found a way to make the same tech 20% cheaper; whereas the upper-tier market has stability in that any new competitor is trying to divert fewer people from a high-end luxury device which is essentially purchasing identity, and so has a slim chance of making a stable profit largely contingent on convincing people to identify with someone other than Apple or Samsung.

Honestly, imagine GM releasing a Tesla competitor. It's $85,000. It's about on-par with an $85,000 Tesla Model S. What sets you apart from your friends? How do you feel about driving a Chevrolet--an electric, sporty Chevrolet--versus driving a Tesla? If you're in the tier who buys a $30,000 Tesla, maybe you're looking at Nissan and GM offerings; if you're in the tier who buys an $85,000 car, you most likely want that differentiation, the identity that comes with driving a Tesla Model S. That's how top-tier works--cars, cell phones, even kitchen appliances. Luxury is about freedom to choose; economy is about working within limited freedom.

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