terry_freeman on January 19, 2011, 08:36:29 am
Quadibloc, how you could live more than a score of years, and not know the degree to which big corporations use the State to their advantage, escapes me.

Google "regulatory capture."

There are more than a few economists who say that today's union laws were devised not for the benefit of unions, but for the benefits of corporations. This could explain why so few private-sector employees are unionized nowadays.

Consider that, in any situation where two entities have unequal market power, the stronger of the two has an even greater advantage with respect to political power.

J Thomas on January 19, 2011, 10:39:04 am
Quadibloc, how you could live more than a score of years, and not know the degree to which big corporations use the State to their advantage, escapes me.

Google "regulatory capture."

There are more than a few economists who say that today's union laws were devised not for the benefit of unions, but for the benefits of corporations.

Even apart from the degree that the laws are designed to benefit corporations, what's left is they get designed to support unions rather than employees.

It's only natural for unions to develop a life of their own, so you wind up with union bosses that interact with corporate bosses, and while both of them have some altruistic concerns for the employees to some extent it's just more bosses.

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This could explain why so few private-sector employees are unionized nowadays.

Not just government. Also, corporations can point out to their unions that their products are barely competitive and they can do better to open plants in other countries where labor is cheap. What can unions do about that? Go on strike?

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Consider that, in any situation where two entities have unequal market power, the stronger of the two has an even greater advantage with respect to political power.

Agreed. Government is at best an unreliable tool to help even that out. On the other hand, there is no strong evidence that the problem requires government before it can happen. It would be good to have nongovernment methods to alleviate that if it does happen.

But when there are a lot of people who have nothing to sell but their labor, and there aren't enough jobs to support them all, what can anybody do? We can't create productive jobs out of thin air -- government can create nonproductive jobs easily, but that's no good.

On a personal level, you can avoid some of the problems by making sure you never need to sell your labor in a buyers' market.

ContraryGuy on January 21, 2011, 10:50:41 am

On a personal level, you can avoid some of the problems by making sure you never need to sell your labor in a buyers' market.

Anytime you are selling your labor and/or knowledge, it is a buyers market.
Even during the dot-com boom, when employers were hiring anyone who could spell HTML(regardless of demonstrated ability), it was still a buyers market.
Having lived through that period, I know what is was like to be selling labor.  My labor and knowledge wasnt worth enough to be bought.  So for me, it was a buyers market.

Older workers, say anyone older than 40, exist in a permanent buyers market.  No HR person wants to recommend hiring a person with exact salary needs, defined work hour needs, and anticipated ancillary costs(such as health care).

Most companies can hire two teenagers for the cost of one 40 year old; including the cost of training and everything else.  If the company outsources, it can get 6 Indian college students for the same price.
If the company is a manufacturer, it can get 20 chinese workers for the price of one American worker.

Now, before anyone complains, there are always outliers and niche markets.  Sometimes your knowledge is so valuable that you are always in a sellers market. 
But if you are that valuable, you are never unemployed. 
Which means that the other 99.9999999999% percent of us workers are usually in a buyers market.

Regardless of how well you keep up your skills and knowledge, there will come a time where you are no longer "economically viable" for an employer.  Your skills and knowledge will make you cost too much for any non-niche employer who wants some teen-ager who will work endless hours for little pay and think he (the teenager) is getting the better deal.

In the mainstream marketplace, it is always a buyers market.

J Thomas on January 21, 2011, 02:19:33 pm

On a personal level, you can avoid some of the problems by making sure you never need to sell your labor in a buyers' market.

Anytime you are selling your labor and/or knowledge, it is a buyers market.
Even during the dot-com boom, when employers were hiring anyone who could spell HTML(regardless of demonstrated ability), it was still a buyers market.
Having lived through that period, I know what is was like to be selling labor.  My labor and knowledge wasnt worth enough to be bought.  So for me, it was a buyers market.

Yes, but surely in an AnCap society it would be different. There would be more work to do than people to do it, and anybody with even minimal competence could get a good job that paid well. Surely the only reason there is ever a buyer's market for labor is government. How can there ever be a buyer's market for labor without a government to make it happen?

</irony>

mellyrn on January 22, 2011, 09:43:20 pm
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How can there ever be a buyer's market for labor without a government to make it happen?

I don't know.  Without a government wanting "a piece of the action", any given business would have more money available to hire with, for starters.

Here's how I legally pay no "income tax":  I imagine that my nominal pay (let's call it $50K/year, for simple numbers) is not my real pay -- my real pay is $37.5K, i.e., it's what I take home, what I actually live on.  The extra $12.5K is my employer's "hiring tax" -- it's the extra amount they have to shell out to the government in order for me to be there doing $37.5K of work.  My employer does not want to hire an army of accountants to figure their "hiring tax" to the finest degree, so they give me this bonus incentive:  I do the calculation for them (aka filling out a 1040) -- and if I can find any ways to decrease the hiring tax monies, I get to keep the difference (aka "deductions").

If it weren't for government, my employer could afford to hire four people like me (4*$37.5K=$150K), where they can currently only afford 3 (3*$50K=$150K).  The higher the "income" tax, the worse that hiring discrepancy becomes.

terry_freeman on January 23, 2011, 10:17:59 am
Is it a "buyer's market"? Even now, when the economy is in horrible shape - for reasons which have to do with the exact opposite of AnCap - there are still opportunities.

Don't lay today's problems at the foot of an "unregulated economy" - that's the purest claptrap ever devised by unrepentant statists. There are 125 government agencies which regulate the financial markets. The money supply is jiggered by the Federal Reserve System; the mortgage market is jiggered by Freddie Mae and Fanny Mac ( and of course there is a great deal of overlap with the Fed's activities. )

Every corporation above a certain size is subject to Sorbannes-Oakley, which adds little and subtracts much. With Obamacare looming, corporations face loads of costs and uncertainties. Price inflation is starting to rear its ugly head - thanks to the Fed, which is behaving like a man who farts in an elevator, loudly asking "where did that terrible inflation come from?"

I am approaching my 55th birthday. When I'm working (in the IT industry), I make good money - and I save. When I'm not working, I draw down my savings. Younger guys and guys from India haven't been able to keep me from negotiating for a generous income. The government, on the other hand, extracts exorbitant amounts from my paycheck, and returns little in exchange. I could do far better if those tens of thousands in taxes were left in my hands.

I have a son-in-law who has also been unemployed for over a year. He'd tell you the same thing. He, his wife, and five children are doing fine, thanks to frugal living and savings. They paid for the birth of their fifth child from savings. They did this on an income which was not far above poverty level.

People who whine about "buyer's markets" should ask what they can do to reduce their expenses. What "luxuries" are sapping your resources?


mellyrn on January 23, 2011, 01:00:00 pm
I have bought this book:
http://www.liveontenthousand.com/
ten bucks, e-book, and highly recommend it.  I have no stake in it, I just like it.

J Thomas on January 23, 2011, 09:07:52 pm
Quote
How can there ever be a buyer's market for labor without a government to make it happen?

I don't know.  Without a government wanting "a piece of the action", any given business would have more money available to hire with, for starters.

No, probably not. You're confusing inputs with outputs.

Government takes money in taxes, and then it spends the money -- it buys stuff.

Everything it buys is stuff that somebody else doesn't get to buy. It takes milk out of the mouths of babies and vodka out of the mouths of alcoholics etc. It takes paper and automobiles and places on commercial airline flights. Everything that government buys is more expensive for consumers because government is using their tax money to buy stuff that they otherwise could have bought.

But businesses produce everything that government buys -- only they produce it for government instead of for private consumers. How does this limit business? It distorts business because to some extent businesses produce what government wants instead of what private consumers would want.

Here's how it limits business. Without government, government employees would instead be on the private labor market. They would be driving down labor prices, and a larger labor force might produce more -- supposing that labor is a limiting factor.

Government which buys important resources and sits on them would limit business. Like, the Strategic Reserves. Government used those to play commodity market maker. Whenever the price of a strategic resource went too high, FEMA would sell some to drive the price down. When it got too low FEMA would buy. When FEMA correctly judged the market, they stabilised prices and prevented speculators from causing big price swings. When they incorrectly judged the market, they lost money. But the economy could have used the stockpile of copper and nickel and chromium etc the government kept out of circulation.

Government can limit business with stupid regulation. My grandfather ran a distillery, and the inspectors saw a box of yeast on the shelf. They shut him down because they had a regulation that fermentation must be "natural", it must happen from whatever yeast float in on the air and not from yeast the vintner chooses. To the extent that businesses actually followed that regulation their production was compromised.

There are lots of ways that government can hinder business. But collecting taxes and spending them, does not hinder business. It only hinders private consumers.

Quote
Here's how I legally pay no "income tax":  I imagine that my nominal pay (let's call it $50K/year, for simple numbers) is not my real pay -- my real pay is $37.5K, i.e., it's what I take home, what I actually live on.  The extra $12.5K is my employer's "hiring tax" -- it's the extra amount they have to shell out to the government in order for me to be there doing $37.5K of work.  My employer does not want to hire an army of accountants to figure their "hiring tax" to the finest degree, so they give me this bonus incentive:  I do the calculation for them (aka filling out a 1040) -- and if I can find any ways to decrease the hiring tax monies, I get to keep the difference (aka "deductions").

I have suggested making that official. Turn the earned income tax into an employment tax that the employer pays, and just drop all the complications about the employees. The result is a simpler tax that does not require as much accounting. Employees who have that as their main or only income wouldn't need to file income tax at all, saving them hours of effort each year. And that part of the population could be less incenses about taxes and where their tax money goes. They would notice that it wasn't ever their tax money in the first place.

I suggested this to my congressmen and senators and to Obama. I got no responses. I think one of the problems with the idea is that a lot of politicians need for voters to be upset about their taxes, so they want those voters to think that money which they never saw was *their* money and that *they* paid it to the government which wasted it.

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If it weren't for government, my employer could afford to hire four people like me (4*$37.5K=$150K), where they can currently only afford 3 (3*$50K=$150K).  The higher the "income" tax, the worse that hiring discrepancy becomes.

Just to keep it simple, let's pretend the government buys one quarter of everything that gets produced. So they buy 25% of your employer's product, and pay for it. Then they tax 25% of the wages that went to produce it. The employees buy the other three quarters of everything that gets produced with their wages.

So now the government vanishes. The employees now buy 100% of the consumer goods instead of only 75%. The employers pay them more to produce the same things. Consumers are 1/3 more prosperous if businesses do nothing different. Would the businesses hire 33% more workers, so ... so ... so they could produce 33% more stuff? Maybe so. But what kept them from doing it before was not that they didn't have the money to hire more people. With full employment your employer couldn't hire that fourth worker because he was already working for the government.

terry_freeman on January 23, 2011, 09:12:47 pm
I have bought this book:
http://www.liveontenthousand.com/
ten bucks, e-book, and highly recommend it.  I have no stake in it, I just like it.

Just reading the table of contents can give a lot of ideas. People have no idea how much of their income is wasted in so many ways. To give just one example, I decided to do without a car these past five years or so - and before that, I bought used cars for about $2500, and saved quite a bundle. A careful shopper can find a low-maintenance car in the $2500-4000 range; it's ridiculous to pay $30,000 or so for that "new car fragrance."

J Thomas on January 24, 2011, 09:36:23 am
I have bought this book:
http://www.liveontenthousand.com/
ten bucks, e-book, and highly recommend it.  I have no stake in it, I just like it.

A careful shopper can find a low-maintenance car in the $2500-4000 range; it's ridiculous to pay $30,000 or so for that "new car fragrance."

Unfortunately that option is not open for everybody. If there weren't a whole lot of people trading in the cars they paid $30,000 for, there wouldn't be many $3000 cars for sale.

Unless somebody started making $3000 cars.

I think it would be good for fuel efficiency in the long run if we had $3000 cars. Say you keep a car for 100,000 miles and gasoline costs you 10 cents/mile. That's $10,000 over the life of the car, when you already paid $30,000 up front. Not such a big deal. If the car cost you $3000 and the gas costs $20,000, then you're really going to look for fuel efficiency. You'll still want better fuel efficiency when you're down to 5 cents/mile.

terry_freeman on January 24, 2011, 09:55:08 am
I have bought this book:
http://www.liveontenthousand.com/
ten bucks, e-book, and highly recommend it.  I have no stake in it, I just like it.

A careful shopper can find a low-maintenance car in the $2500-4000 range; it's ridiculous to pay $30,000 or so for that "new car fragrance."

Unfortunately that option is not open for everybody. If there weren't a whole lot of people trading in the cars they paid $30,000 for, there wouldn't be many $3000 cars for sale.

It's open for everybody who wants it. Let others spend $30k and up for their cars.

Quote
Unless somebody started making $3000 cars.

A firm in India decided to do just that.

J Thomas on January 24, 2011, 10:10:02 am
I have bought this book:
http://www.liveontenthousand.com/
ten bucks, e-book, and highly recommend it.  I have no stake in it, I just like it.

A careful shopper can find a low-maintenance car in the $2500-4000 range; it's ridiculous to pay $30,000 or so for that "new car fragrance."

Unfortunately that option is not open for everybody. If there weren't a whole lot of people trading in the cars they paid $30,000 for, there wouldn't be many $3000 cars for sale.

It's open for everybody who wants it. Let others spend $30k and up for their cars.

Sure, but -- demand and supply. The fewer people buying new cars, the fewer used cars for sale when more people are looking.

I used to find cheap cuts of beef -- flank steaks etc, tough meat that wasn't very fatty -- and I found recipes that made them good. Now the best cuts are going for $18/lb or more, and other people wake up to the low-price ones. Ox tail is $7/pound, etc. People I thought of as rich are trading tasty recipes for cheap cuts of meat.

They're still spending big for granite countertops and custom ovens and refrigerators and innovative cabinetry. If you have a big enough kitchen you can get a wide shallow refrigerator so nothing can get shoved to the back -- there isn't any back. You can get an inductive range in your choice of colors. You can get a $2000 blender to go on the island. Listening to it all I wondered what it was about. They weren't going to improve the house and turn it over quick.  Why do it? I could tell why they wanted to talk about it, to prove they were successful....


Quote
Quote
Unless somebody started making $3000 cars.

A firm in India decided to do just that.

I'm hopeful. The last time I heard about something like that it was the Yugo, and with the help of a lot of viral advertising people mostly decided it was worthless.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 10:24:03 am by J Thomas »

SandySandfort on January 24, 2011, 10:30:50 am
Quote
Unless somebody started making $3000 cars.

A firm in India decided to do just that.

http://www.tatamotors.com/

ContraryGuy on January 24, 2011, 12:01:40 pm

On a personal level, you can avoid some of the problems by making sure you never need to sell your labor in a buyers' market.

Anytime you are selling your labor and/or knowledge, it is a buyers market.
Even during the dot-com boom, when employers were hiring anyone who could spell HTML(regardless of demonstrated ability), it was still a buyers market.
Having lived through that period, I know what is was like to be selling labor.  My labor and knowledge wasnt worth enough to be bought.  So for me, it was a buyers market.

Yes, but surely in an AnCap society it would be different. There would be more work to do than people to do it, and anybody with even minimal competence could get a good job that paid well. Surely the only reason there is ever a buyer's market for labor is government. How can there ever be a buyer's market for labor without a government to make it happen?

</irony>


Of course it would be different in an AnCap  society.  Governments only exist to make people violent and dis-satisfied.
This is why AnCap is a utopia!  No violence, no aggression, no dis-satisfaction. 
Because there is no government, there is nothing to keep people from being all they can be!

Charity and altruism will be the rule of the day!  No violence, no exploitation, no advantage-seeking!
Oh happy day!

</sarcasm>

mellyrn on January 24, 2011, 06:12:21 pm
Quote
Charity and altruism will be the rule of the day!  No violence, no exploitation, no advantage-seeking!
Oh happy day!

Ah, very good:  the open admission of having run out of arguments of substance.  When you have to resort to skewering a caricature of the other guy's position, you're revealing that a man made of straw is as much of an opponent as you have the power to take down.  Viz.:


My adversary's
argument
is not alone
malevolent
but ignorant
to boot.

He hasn't even
got the sense
to state his so-called
"evidence"
in terms I can
refute.


---Piet Hein, Danish mathematician & poet

 

anything