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Daily Digest 5/29 - American Capitalism Incompatible With Democracy, Are Avocados Toast?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 11:12 AM

Economy

The more valuable your work is to society, the less you’ll be paid for it (Ed J.)

I spoke to people who gave testimonies echoing similar dilemmas: Annie, who noted how many women taking care of preschoolers were ultimately forced to quit and find office jobs to pay the rent, and Hannibal, the medical researcher, who summed up his experience in the medical field with the formula “the amount of money I can charge for doing the work I do is almost perfectly inversely correlated with how useful it is.” That there’s a real problem here can be demonstrated by a simple thought experiment I proposed in a 2013 article that led to this book (On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant): imagine if a certain class of people were to simply vanish. Let me expand on this for a moment. If we all woke up one morning and discovered that not only nurses, garbage collectors, and mechanics, but for that matter, bus drivers, grocery store workers, firefighters, or short-order chefs had been whisked away into another dimension, the results would be equally catastrophic. If elementary school teachers were to vanish, most schoolchildren would likely celebrate for a day or two, but the long-term effects would be if anything even more devastating.

America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy (tmn)

In these complaints, the democracy movement (as my colleague Jonathan Chait has dubbed it) sees all the telltale signs of a bad case of norm-erosion. Democracies can’t live on laws alone; they also require adherence to certain informal rules that correct for the inevitable flaws in any Constitution’s design, and protect against the threat of charismatic leaders consolidating power. Thus, to heal our republic, and immunize it against future strains of the same virus, several liberal thinkers have called for the formation of bipartisan coalitions, united in defense of democratic norms and the rule of law. In their view, the threat that Trump poses is so grave and unique, ideologues on both sides of the aisle should now prioritize maintaining a rule-based order over winning policy battles, so as to safeguard their freedom to settle such disputes democratically in the future.

Your Home is Your...Snitch? (jdargis)

It seems new smart gadgets are introduced every week. There are smart TVs, which suggest the programs they think you’ll like. Smart refrigerators are equipped with interior cameras and UPC scanners that keep track of the items you stock in your refrigerator, and then reorder them as they run out. One brand of smart mattress “tracks over 15 factors about your sleep and health, including deep sleep, heart rate and respiratory rate,” according to its website.

Canadian Government to Buy Contested Oil Sands Pipeline (jdargis)

The decision to buy the pipeline may become the biggest test of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that his government is balancing the needs of the energy industry with environmental concerns like climate change. It is likely to sour Mr. Trudeau’s relations with environmental groups.

Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War (Michael S.)

Per terms of the deal that was reached on Thursday, Gazprom will be banned from imposing restrictions on how its customers in central and Eastern Europe use gas. Meanwhile, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia will no longer be banned from exporting gas to another country.

Where in the United States is nature most likely to kill you? (tmn)

Volcanic eruptions are more common in the western states. Most are located in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Earthquakes are likewise common on the west coast, but also happen in portions of the central and eastern United States. In fact, a series of large earthquakes ripped through the area surrounding New Madrid, Missouri in 1811 and 1812.

Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not (tmn)

While some waste managers already send their recyclable materials to be processed domestically, or are shipping more to other countries, others have been unable to find a substitute for the Chinese market. “All of a sudden, material being collected on the street doesn’t have a place to go,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services, one of the largest waste managers in the country.

Are avocados toast? (jdargis)

A lot of the country’s tree crops grow in California, which produces two-thirds of the fruits and nuts for the United States. The same is true of grape vines, which bear abundant fruit for about 25 years (they slow down after that, but can keep going for hundreds of years). It’s in large part because so many farmers are making these long-term gambles on orchard crops that a recent scientific paper noted: “Agricultural production in California is highly sensitive to climate change.”

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 5/25/18

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

9 Comments

TechGuy's picture
TechGuy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 436
Re:The more valuable your work is to society, the less you’ll be

Wages are based upon demand & the profitablity of the labor performed, except perhaps when it comes to business owners. Most common jobs pay less becuase there are more workers than there are jobs available. Jobs that offer higher wages usually have more openings than viable candidites or the profit that can be obtained from the labor is higher.

If every bus driver quit tomorrow, there would be 10 people per driver to replace them the next day. If every surgeon quit tomorrow, then you would have a problem because there is already a limited supply of surgeons.  But Surgeons are already earn high wages.

The only exception is probably business owners, Since they get paid all profits after all business expenses are paid off. However, Typically small business owners make next to nothing for years until their business is profitable. Business owners are the last to get paid in their business

TechGuy's picture
TechGuy
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Posts: 436
Re:America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democrac

Democracy gov't are always incompatible with Democracy and liberty.Sooner or later, Politicians manipulate the public in order to win elections. They do this by making unrealistic promises to the people, and defer the cost of these promises to future generations to pay. Eventually the debt reaches a breaking point and the system collapses. 

The reason why the American economy (aka "American Capitalism") is so screwed up is because of the gov't. The Gov't controls business and taxes them so it can spend money on non-productive projects that rewards politicians, but crushes the long term economic viability. It wasn't private business that ran up $21T in debt, Spent trillions on Forign wars, Destroyed savers (zero interest rate policy), and made people dependent on gov't entitlements (with a 15.3% payroll tax). Imagine if you saved 15.3% of your income for your retirment and got a modest 5% annual return in a low risk investment? 

 

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 1962
Rediscovering How food is grown

I am really enjoying reading Barbara Kingsolver's story of moving from Tuscon to a rural family farm in Virginia.  Animal Vegetable Miracle.  She is funny and perceptive.  

She talks about the loss of basic food growing literacy in the American people.

... Most people of my grandparents’ generation had an intuitive sense of agricultural basics: when various fruits and vegetables come into season, which ones keep through the winter, how to preserve the others. On what day autumn’s first frost will likely fall on their county, and when to expect the last one in spring. Which crops can be planted before the last frost, and which must wait. Which grains are autumn-planted. What an asparagus patch looks like in August. Most importantly: what animals and vegetables thrive in one’s immediate region and how to live well on those, with little else thrown into the mix beyond a bag of flour, a pinch of salt, and a handful of coffee. Few people of my generation, and approximately none of our children, could answer any of those questions.....
She give many humerous anecdotes of city-folk who don't know where food comes from.  An educated city friend calls her regularly--
“What’s new on the farm?” asks my friend, a lifelong city dweller who likes for me to keep her posted by phone. She’s a gourmet cook, she cares about the world, and has been around a lot longer than I have. This particular conversation was in early spring, so I told her what was up in the garden: peas, potatoes, spinach. “Wait a minute,” she said. “When you say, ‘The potatoes are up,’ what do you mean?” She paused, formulating her question: “What part of a potato comes up?” “Um, the plant part,” I said. “The stems and leaves.” “Wow,” she said. “I never knew a potato had a plant part.” Many bright people are really in the dark about vegetable life.
And
Steven, also a biology professor, .... lived in an urban neighborhood where his little backyard vegetable garden was a howling curiosity for the boys who ran wild in the alley. He befriended these kids, especially Malcolm, known throughout the neighborhood as “Malcolm-get-your-backside-in-here-now-or-you-won’t-be-having-no-dinner!” Malcolm liked hanging around when Steven was working in the garden, but predictably enough, had a love-hate thing with the idea of the vegetables touching the dirt. The first time he watched Steven pull long, orange carrots out of the ground, he demanded: “How’d you get them in there?” Steven held forth with condensed Intro Botany. Starts with a seed, grows into a plant. Water, sunlight, leaves, roots. “A carrot,” Steven concluded, “is actually a root.” “Uh-huh . . . ,” said Malcolm doubtfully. A crowd had gathered now. Steven engaged his audience by asking, “Can you guys think of other foods that might be root vegetables?” Malcolm checked with his pals, using a lifeline before confidently submitting his final answer: “Spaghetti?”
What do you plant in the spring?  How do you know when the broccoli should be harvested?  Does the frost kill it?  What grows well locally?
 
I am very much a city kid and this is all new to me.  A fun book.

 

ezlxq1949's picture
ezlxq1949
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 29 2009
Posts: 249
Governments are necessary

TechGuy said,

Democracy gov't are always incompatible with Democracy and liberty.

It ain't necessarily so. I see too much of this and similar notions in PP comment streams. In Australia it has emerged that the main banks have been swindling and plundering their customers in many ways for many  years, and the regulator has in the main stood by and done nothing. The current Federal government is apparently a firm believer that the banks are not only too big to fail but also too big to reprimand or even investigate: it has firmly resisted much public pressure to hold a commission of inquiry into the banks' malfeasance.

One tag I would attach to this situation is "Market Failure".

No, I don't trust governments, but I don't trust corporations either. A plague on both their houses.

newsbuoy's picture
newsbuoy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 274
You have to get off your duff

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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Posts: 4192
A few Italy headlines

Italy's League says EU's Oettinger should quit over Italy comments

Reuters-5 hours ago

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's League leader, Matteo Salvini, said on Tuesday that European Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger should resign, accusing him ..

Moody's warns of possible Italy downgrade if debt ratio not put on ...

CNBC-9 hours ago
Moody's said on Tuesday it would downgrade Italy if the fiscal policies of the next government were unable to place the country's public debt ratio on a ...

'You've bitten off more than you can chew!' Nigel Farage roasts EU for ...

Express.co.uk-9 hours ago
Nigel Farage attacked the European Union saying that they had bullied the Italian President into going against Italian voters that “question what the euro has ...

EU WILL PAY: Italy's political meltdown will trigger end of EURO

Express.co.uk-7 hours ago

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has warned specifically that financial instability in Italy could cause further economic problems for Greece. After eight years ..

Italy and other euro zone sovereign and bank CDS surge

Reuters-8 hours ago
LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of insuring exposure to debt issued by euro zone ... amid fears that political turmoil in Italy could spark wider euro zone troubles.

Italian bonds suffer worst day in more than 25 years

Reuters-7 hours ago
LONDON (Reuters) - A deepening political crisis in Italy, the euro zone's third biggest economy, fuelled a selloff in Italian assets and the euro on Tuesday that ...

 

TechGuy's picture
TechGuy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 436
Re: Bank Fraud

" ain't necessarily so. I see too much of this and similar notions in PP comment streams. In Australia it has emerged that the main banks have been swindling and plundering their customers in many ways for many years,"

 

Well you see its gov't that permit gov'ts to act like that. If a bad bank committed fraud without gov't protection, it would quickly collapse as depositors pull deposits. Customers would also shun business with a fraudlent bank. but instead the gov't backs the bank, perhaps handing it a tiny fine (in comparison the profit obtained from fraud). If the gov't was actually doing its job those banks would have been liquidated and the the company officers would be in jail. That would send a strong signal to deter other banks from commiting fraud. 

I stand by my statement since there never has been a democracy/republic that protected liberty & freedom over the long term. Most Democracies collapse with in 250 years.

 

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1652
Spaghetti harvest video

ezlxq1949's picture
ezlxq1949
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 29 2009
Posts: 249
Takes two to tango

Actually I agree. Plato observed that dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy. While he was observing and speaking of the political situation of his day, I think it still holds true now. It's happening slowly in Oz right now.

When it comes to banks, the ideal of course is that the corporation behaves honourably and decently at all times, and hence there is no need for any regulator at all.

But that situation is about as likely to arise as the comparable situation with governments: that they also behave honourably and decently etc..

I reckon that what we are seeing almost everywhere in the world now is dictatorship naturally arising out of corporations. If the Westphalian nation-state system was bad, what we're heading into will be dreadful.

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