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Comment Re:Why "new employment"? (Score 1) 387

We are heading in that direction. Early 20th century economists predicted that due technological advancement, we'd all be working 15-hour weeks now. But that didn't happen.... partly because stuff was invented along the way that workers want, and they need money to get. Consumerism really took off post WWII.

But if you just consider basics (food, clothing, shelter), things have gotten a lot cheaper. Clothes are basically free now (not necessarily the ones you want). Considering the huge amount of food waste in the system, that's cheap or free too; lack of $0 distribution is a problem. And there are a lot of cheap places to live too, especially if you live at a higher-density like they did 100 years ago. And if everyone doesn't need to end up in NYC/SF for work. So we might in fact be able to have a very leisurely existence, if it wasn't for the consumerism and lifestyle inflation that's occurred for the last century.

Not that everyone will want a life like that. People will always want more than just the basics.

Comment Re:The Cxx that took my job should pay taxes (Score 3, Informative) 387

Generous with compensation != generous with hiring

It's true, the average American worker doesn't get as much vacation time as a European worker. Still, half of American workers don't use all of their vacation days as it is. But pay is higher. Perhaps American workers just value cash compensation over other benefits.

On the hiring front (which is the topic IIRC), hiring climate is substantially better in the US. Hiring/firing is easier, and labor mobility is higher. The unemployment rate is more volatile, but also historically lower.

Comment Tech dividends (Score 2) 284

All those tech companies with their famously large cash hoards should have massive investor lawsuits over dividends -- but they don't. Why?

Because it's more tax-efficient and potentially higher return for companies to reinvest their profits into new development or acquisition. Google's purchase of (and further investment in) Android provided much better use of cash than if they had paid out a $50M dividend, which the recipient would then owe tax on. Instead the shares became more valuable due to the cash generating machine getting bigger.

When tech companies start paying out a dividend, it's a sign or surrender: "hey, we don't know how to invest this.... you can have it." See Cisco, Oracle, Apple, etc.

Comment Re:iPhone cash cow is more important (Score 1) 230

Well, let's think about this one...which one would you rather manufacture?
- A high-margin computer, with high end components, requiring a lot of engineering effort to get right and keep supporting over an extended life cycle, or
- An even higher-margin, throwaway, replaced every 2 years, locked down device, on which you get a 30% cut of every single thing a user installs on it -- requiring lots less engineering since user interactions are artificially limited

If there was such a choice to be made, surely the latter. But Apple is generating $60B in cash flow annually, with $60B already in the bank. They shouldn't need to make a choice. GM is a much smaller company, but somehow they're able to make cars AND trucks.

Comment Twenty Billion (Score 1) 230

I dunno... it certainly seems that way, especially when you consider that Macs (or rather, OSX-running stuff) represent what, 10-20% of their revenue nowadays, when compared to iPads and etc?
...
I think it's part and parcel of Apple's response to usage patterns among the general public (not the geeks, but the general public), which makes more sense to them, at least financially.

10% of Apple's revenue is still 20 billion dollars. Not exactly a niche market (or maybe it's a really, really big niche).

Comment Re:Contra-Indicated. (Score 1) 263

If you divest, you are not a stockholder. You have no say in how the companies invest or spend their money. Much wiser to invest and help to steer the company by participating.

Divesting (and refusing to invest) affects demand. Dumping and refusing to buy oil stocks makes future share offerings less lucrative, and therefore increases the cost of doing business. Dumping and refusing to buy bonds of oil companies makes their cost of doing business increase (via paying a higher interest rate).

Will it work? Eh. It's kind of like a boycott, it depends on the participants and the duration.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 406

Sure you can retire at 55 years old without a mega-buck, but the risks that you will either end up broke in a medicaid nursing home or die early due to lack of ability to afford medical treatment goes up dramatically.

And from the other side of it, the longer you wait to retire, the increasing chance that you'll get dead before you hit traditional retirement age.

Best to consult family medical history and actuarial tables first. It'd be a shame to waste good (younger) years of your life toiling away for money that you won't be able or won't care to spend in your later (less-fun) years.

Comment Primary sellers aren't incompentent (Score 2) 221

Promoters and venue owners are professionals at selling tickets. Incompetence is not the cause for under-priced tickets. They intentionally set the ticket price below the market-clearing price to: 1) gain free promotion with shows that sell-out in minutes and 2) add an additional performances in the same city.

While it's possible that the initial demand was underestimated, promoters and venue owners largely know what they're doing.

Comment Re: Union power! (Score 1) 306

If you're a grown adult, and the job in question takes up your working day, then you're damn right that it should remunerated well enough to be enough to live on.

No, because not every activity a grown adult can do is worth $livable_wage. Say some guy likes to repair VCRs... they're a dying breed, but he likes working on them. The market has decided that VCRs aren't valuable any more. Likewise, a person with a broken VCR is unlikely to value repairing one very highly. But if some guy wants to do it for a price the market will pay, so be it.

Or take volunteers. Why is it ok for someone to work for $0 as a volunteer for a full day, but paying them $5/hr isn't ok?

Comment Re:We heared the same over and over again (Score 1) 426

Keynes is always being called out as getting this prediction wrong, because the average work week isn't 15 hours now. But it's largely due to people changing how they live: lifestyle inflation. Keynes had no idea the role consumerism would play in modern America. Houses have gotten larger (with fewer people in them), one car for every driver in a household, more than one phone per person, all manner of processed convenience foods, and a deluge of leisurely entertainment options.

If you live like someone from the 30s today, you can surely do it on a 15 hour work week. But you'll be in a multi-generation household, not driving, cooking at home, and entertaining yourself by reading books (the horror!).

Comment Re:I know some countries consider... (Score 1) 271

I think for your plan to work, it would require vacant apartments.

San Fran has chronically underbuilt housing for decades. For every 12 new jobs added last year, 1 housing unit was built. The market is signaling that SF should become a big city, but the NIMBYs prefer things as they are (or prefer seeing their own property values increase).

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