The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby BigBallinStalin on Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:30 pm

So, to rehash:

Woodruff[1]: Corporations prevent (American) people from getting American jobs.
Woodruff[2]: Outsourcing of jobs to other countries would not provide jobs here in America (implied, since it's the opposite of a position which I, the alleged defender of crony capitalism, maintains)---which is a logical fallacy (ad hominem), and it's masked in moral rhetoric, which is a bad form of arguing.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=192883&start=90#p4228154

BBS: What do you think autarky would do to an economy?
Woodruff[3]: "I'm not suggesting that we revert to autarky, and your suggestion that I am simply shows to me that, as I already mentioned, you are routinely blindly defending corporate America."

Woodruff[4]: "The idea that outsourcing jobs to other nations isn't taking away American jobs seems like a foolish contention."

Woodruff[5]: "Actually, I would amend my previous statement a bit (above that last sentence), now that I consider it...you routinely blindly defend the free market as the fix to everything. I do recognize that you don't care for crony capitalism, for instance."


Here are the problems with your position:

[1] is unsubstantiated. It's followed by a similar repeat of [1] with [4]. That's a logical fallacy (argumentum ad nauseam).

[2] is based on a misunderstanding of trade. If one can outsource one's labor to another (e.g. a lawyer can outsource his typing skills to a secretary), then that lawyer can dedicate more of his labor of being a lawyer. Not only is a job created (secretary)--which would be impossible from your position, but more importantly, the lawyer can spend additional labor hours as a lawyer (so, more quantity of labor is created)--which again would be impossible with your position.

That's why I ask and talk about autarky v. trade (which, yes, involves outsourcing). Outsourcing involves the creation of additional value through the benefits of trade from the arbitrage opportunities found from comparative advantages.

[3] is not an argument, and it's a failure to critically think about your position. It's also followed by a logical fallacy (ad hominem), which again is a poor argument.

[4] I've already explained why that's incorrect (see response to [2]), and repeating one's basic position is not even an argument. It's just a logical fallacy (argumentum ad nauseam).

[5] is a logical fallacy since I don't blindly defend free markets--because I am keen to its weaknesses and the myriad of problems associated with markets. I spend much of time addressing similar issues, so to suggest otherwise indicates that you have no idea what you're talking about (i.e. me), which is herpderp stupid. Nor is it true that I don't care about crony capitalism. If anything, my conversations about rent-seeking, crony capitalism, capture theory, political captalism, etc., demonstrate otherwise. Woodruff is making a groundless allegation, which is childish.


But there's more problems. To frame your position by railing on corporations (+ some government help) is too simplistic. Corporations with or without government aid provide and "prevent" jobs in America and abroad. Corporations and non-profits and "unincorporated" businesses with or without government aid also provide and "prevent" jobs in America and abroad. Your position (i.e. [1] and [4] )allow for only one possibility, which is narrow-minded and simplistic. Your holistic thinking is as ignorant as saying that race X prevents American jobs. Holistic thinking is stupid, and I really don't need to explain why because that should be obvious to you.

Woodruff, you've completely failed in holding yourself to the standards of logic.
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Re: e: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Woodruff on Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:23 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Woodruff wrote:The idea that outsourcing jobs to other nations isn't taking away American jobs seems like a foolish contention.[/u]


Yet you use nothing new to defend your claim. You're simply repeating what you said earlier.


That's because it's patently clear that if jobs are being moved to another nation, then they are leaving this nation. What kind of additional defense is necessary outside of simple mathematics?

BigBallinStalin wrote:I'm not suggesting that you're saying we revert to autarky, so stop being thick. It's a question, which should force you to think, which you're unwilling to do.


Stop being thick? I know you're incapable of being wrong, but you certainly brought it up as if I was contending we should go that direction, which I wasn't.

BigBallinStalin wrote:Do you realize that outsourcing is related to trade? Do you understand the benefits of the division of labor (which includes outsourcing)? Why not think about these concepts instead of digging in your heels and repeating your argument?


So what you're telling me is that the widgets that are being built in Chinese sweatshops couldn't be built in America?

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Woodruff wrote:Actually, I would amend my previous statement a bit (above that last sentence), now that I consider it...you routinely blindly defend the free market as the fix to everything. I do recognize that you don't care for crony capitalism, for instance


I made a thread about crony capitalism regarding ethanol and the EPA. I point out the crony capitalism when I see it, and feel like typing enough down. Since you're incapable of moving beyond logical fallacies to defend your claim about corporations being the problem that prevents Americans from getting jobs, then at this moment you're not worth taking seriously. For someone so supposedly fixated on exercising logic, you're failing terribly at it.


Perhaps you didn't read my statement, as I said I RECOGNIZE THAT YOU DON'T CARE FOR CRONY CAPITALISM...

BigBallinStalin wrote:I would ask you to provide quotes which support your ad hominems, but knowing you, you won't look for them. Why hold yourself to a standard to which you hold others (e.g. j9b)?


When have you argued against the free market in these fora?
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Woodruff on Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:26 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:Woodruff, you've completely failed in holding yourself to the standards of logic.


I keep forgetting that you're never wrong, and then un-foeing you. At the risk of being Phatscotty, back in the hole...this time permanently. Feel free to continue your argument with me though.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:18 am

Woodruff wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:Woodruff, you've completely failed in holding yourself to the standards of logic.


I keep forgetting that you're never wrong, and then un-foeing you. At the risk of being Phatscotty, back in the hole...this time permanently. Feel free to continue your argument with me though.


I completely demonstrated what was wrong with your position and why. You haven't done anything useful. Whenever someones catches you saying something stupid, you generally cover it with ad hominems. I've noticed this, and even asking you questions leads you to throw a hissy-fit. You're being very immature.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Lootifer on Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:04 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:So you deny that Americans obtain the cost-savings from such exchanges?

At a high level I dont see the US receiving any advantage that they could not generate themselves (other than the cost of labour). Labour is the key aspect, but in terms of comparable advantages its not relevant as any labour $$ that are sent to China can be directly injected into the "value" available domestically (talking about money directly isnt great due to aforementioned government stuffs).

Is it "pretty one-way"?

US exports to China for 2003-2012, so no, you're wrong.

Here's the imports:
https://www.uschina.org/statistics/tradetable.html

$400 imports v. $100 exports (excluding exported 'money' via US bonds). But government trading is a completely different conversation on trade itself.

Er when your balance of trade deficit is 300% that of your exports I would be slightly concerned. I would call that mostly one way... better? My point stands though...

As the marginal costs of labor rise for China--with everything being held constant (as you are doing), then sure, but that's not how it works. Marginal costs for the factors of production are more than just labor, and people sell different products at different qualities.

You know you are implying some "asian manufacturing skillz" thing here right? Considering the technological capability of the US (see: CATO article about medical stuffs) I would estimate that if the US wanted to start marking iphones, nike tshirts and angle grinders then it wouldnt take long for you guys to skill up. The fact is you simply cannot compete with the crazy low cost of labour in Asia.

I am not saying do away with trade, nor subsidize some terrible domestic manufacturing initiative (e.g. Think big); I just simply suggest it would benefit your wal-mart, and similarly employeed low income, workers greatly if you encouraged a bit more domestic consumption.

Even if we accept your contention, which is incorrect/misleading, then people would trade less with China--assuming that price is the only factor that matters (e.g. rising price + rising quality may offset each other as far as quantity traded is concerned). <shrugs>

Yes and in the long term it will probably fix itself, but I would argue that -a- you are doing irreparable damage to your culture (oh but thats ok because you see mindless consumption as a good thing) and -b- you could do some smart things with education, marketing and other forms of soft regulation that would greatly benefit your lower class. I dont live in the states so you may already have these types of things, but I dunno, you guys sure do argue about minimum wage a lot.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:46 pm

I'm not sure if you know what it's like to be poor, but I can imagine that buying higher quality goods (e.g. from whole foods, or from wherever) really eats into one's budget. Those are luxury goods from their perspective. You can feel smug by calling them "mindless consumers," which I don't think they are, but you're really not resolving their constraints. "Mindless consumption." People gotta eat. What are you annoyed about?

Also culture is not homogenous, so this irreparable damage claim is a joke. Remove wal-mart, and you get... a culture of people affording less goods at higher prices? What a great culture! What would the culture even look like? How do you know the current culture is even caused by wal-mart or by buying low-priced goods? How do you know what that culture looks like? I think we're grasping at straws here, so perhaps we can look forward to a different conversation on culture.

To me, whe i read your criticisms on cultures, I must ask: Who are we to even claim which culture is superior to others? That sounds imperialistic to me. (using the general you): How do you even know these things? I'm not proud/arrogant enough to claim which culture would be best for which people. I only want them to be able to choose whichever they identify with, and allow them to do so on a voluntary basis.

Regarding informing people, that's fine--so long as the information isn't propaganda. "Soft regulation" when done through the political process won't overcome interest group politics nor rent-seeking, so I'm not inf favor with this concern of mine, which in my opinion is inevitable through any political process of large-scale democracies. People already market all the time on the margins we've been discussing. How do you think Whole Foods came about? I view it as a reaction to "rampant consumerism" (yet Whole Foods can definitely be part of 'rampant consumerism'), yet such places serve as a fill-in-the-gap measure for environmental issues. The market handled that one section pretty well without soft regulation and bold claims about hampering international trade and about what would be best for other people's cultures.

Of course, there is the long-term v. Short-term concern. I look at the various processes for attaining our mutual goal (in general, prosperity for more). In my opinion, the most efficient means of correcting addressing problems must overcome knowledge and incentive problems, which are best yet not perfectly achieved through the market process).

Anyway, IIRC the main question: Would average wages for poorer people within the US increase if "more domestic consumption" was increased? It depends on the prices and really the means for affecting this change. Hampering international trade would make domestic goods more expensive--assuming that the domestic production of such goods was less efficient compared to trade (so, assuming we'd have a comparative advantage better than our trading partners. Currently, the US doesn't; otherwise, that intl. trade wouldn't be occurring to such a degree). Regardless of those factors, an increased demand for labor in such sectors would on some margin pull labor from other sectors. You can't have your cake and eat it too, nor is unemployment homogenous, so I don't find the "well, there's unemployment in the US, therefore, no problem." So with a policy focused on domestic consumption, you might get an increase in domestic wages, you'd get an increase in prices. So effective wages wouldn't increase (they might even fall, depending on how much trade is hampering with).

There's more, but regarding the deficit: that is allowed to continue due to the government's fiscal policy and the Fed's monetary policy. If 'money' is being shipped out to make up for the lack of exported goods, then--ceteris paribus--the supply of money would decrease, and so in relation to money, we'd get deflation (as the money depletes, you'd need less to buy the same amount of goods). But, the government avoids this--thus the necessary impetus to change our balance of payments, which to me is a problem. Markets in currencies which aren't fiat could correct for this, but <shrugs> try convincing the government to relinquish its indirect method of taxing people through inflating the money supply.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby BigBallinStalin on Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:51 pm

Mets, I'm understanding your perspective better, so thanks for responding. I didn't fully realize the importance of my glossing over our (mis)understanding on the mind/self. Since it's a fundamental issue relative to free will v. Determinism, then why don't start a new topic on that, and then pickup the pieces here?

(Everyone, I'll make that thread, lay out my definitions and understanding of it, and then let it rip. Everything from farts to serious musings will be well-appreciated in that thread).
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Lootifer on Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:36 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:I'm not sure if you know what it's like to be poor, but I can imagine that buying higher quality goods (e.g. from whole foods, or from wherever) really eats into one's budget. Those are luxury goods from their perspective. You can feel smug by calling them "mindless consumers," which I don't think they are, but you're really not resolving their constraints. "Mindless consumption." People gotta eat. What are you annoyed about?

I was talking about non-food consumption; I would hope that most of your food is sourced locally (if not then I give up; you guys are fucked lol).

I'll get to what I meant by mindless consumption below; but I dont mean your average low income joe buying his groceries.

Note im going to mix and match your quotes so I can better reply to them.

Also culture is not homogenous, so this irreparable damage claim is a joke.

Who are you to even claim which culture is superior to others? That sounds imperialistic to me. How do you even know these things? I'm not proud/arrogant enough to claim which culture would be best for which people. I only want them to be able to choose whichever they identify with, and allow them to do so on a voluntary basis.

Tehe, american culture not homogenous? I couldn't possibly comment as I am by no means a cultural expert, but from my viewpoint your society seems to be doing everything they can to homogenise your culture. (you control culture, you control how people behave - far more effective than any government regieme).

Regarding informing people, that's fine--so long as the information isn't propaganda. "Soft regulation" when done through the political process won't overcome interest group politics nor rent-seeking, so I'm not in favor of that.

Well yeah, but I'd argue that has everything to do with your current political process/landscape rather than any failing on soft regulation (I.e. I mean "Free range eggs are great because they look out for the wellbeing of chickens" and not "Free range eggs at BEST; you can get all the free range eggs you need from WholeFoods - message brought to you by the wonderful partnership between XYZ government agency and WholeFoods").


Remove wal-mart, and you get... a culture of people affording less goods at higher prices? What a great culture! What would the culture even look like? How do you know the current culture is even caused by wal-mart or by buying low-priced goods? How do you know what that culture looks like? I think grasping at straws here.

Would average wages for poorer people within the US increase if "more domestic consumption" was increased? It depends on the prices and really the means for affecting this change. Hampering international trade would make domestic goods more expensive--assuming that the domestic production of such goods was less efficient compared to trade (so, assuming we'd have a comparative advantage better than our trading partners. Currently, the US doesn't; otherwise, that intl. trade wouldn't be occurring to such a degree). Regardless of those factors, an increased demand for labor in such sectors would on some margin pull labor from other sectors. You can't have your cake and eat it too, nor is unemployment homogenous, so I don't find the "well, there's unemployment in the US, therefore, no problem." So with a policy focused on domestic consumption, you might get an increase in domestic wages, you'd get an increase in prices. So effective wages wouldn't increase (they might even fall, depending on how much trade is hampering with).

There's more, but regarding the deficit: that is allowed to continue due to the government's fiscal policy and the Fed's monetary policy. If 'money' is being shipped out to make up for the lack of exported goods, then--ceteris paribus--the supply of money would decrease, and so in relation to money, we'd get deflation (as the money depletes, you'd need less to buy the same amount of goods). But, the government avoids this--thus the necessary impetus to change our balance of payments, which to me is a problem. Markets in currencies which aren't fiat could correct for this, but <shrugs> try convincing the government to relinquish its indirect method of taxing people through inflating the money supply.

I do find it interesting that the trickle down effect only applies when it is convienent; and looking out for number one (or more specifically looking out for number ones populace) should be discouraged. To me it looks like you are contradicting your key principles here, but that might just be me...

Are you not misrepresenting efficiency here thou (underlined)? What naturally present comparable advantage is leading to this "efficiency"? I dont believe there is anything other that labour costs that could not be overcome - but labout costs cannot be overcome obviously. So there's a kind of induced imbalance that sends sub optimal signals to the market (sub-optimal in terms of looking out for number one): made in china goods appear cheaper as because of the reduced labour cost; but in terms of real purchasing power I dont see any reason why they cannot be the same price (or less considering you are making them halfway around the world and paying extra cost to get them from producer to consumer). The more expensive domestic goods should be offset by increased domestic wage pool and less waste in transport I would have thought...
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Timminz on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:06 pm

jay_a2j wrote:lets not be so quick to judge Hitler
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Woodruff on Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:03 am



I have been told too many times that the market corrects for this sort of thing, as competitors become more attractive due to not following those practices. Or some bullshit like that.

The truth is that these practices bring everyone else down to their level, more often than not.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby PLAYER57832 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:38 am

Duplicate post, first copy deleted
Last edited by PLAYER57832 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby PLAYER57832 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:38 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:I'm not sure if you know what it's like to be poor, but I can imagine that buying higher quality goods (e.g. from whole foods, or from wherever) really eats into one's budget. Those are luxury goods from their perspective. You can feel smug by calling them "mindless consumers," which I don't think they are, but you're really not resolving their constraints. "Mindless consumption." People gotta eat. What are you annoyed about?

Calling food that are raised responsibly with attention to both labor AND environmental repercussions are not "luxury" goods. They are survival. Sadly, too many people gain profit from more traditional methods, making them seem cheaper, but in the long run they are far, far more expensive. Further, in many cases, higher quality actually means healthier -- more whole grains, fresher foods. That is a direct health impact that is felt by society.

ALL of the "savings" you keep pointing to are really just pushing costs onto others, pretending they don't exist. Agricultural land is not static nor gaining, we are losing arable land. Water, too, is more and more limited. Most of your market economics pretend that there are no real limits, but that is not reality. The reality is that its the rest of us who wind up paying.

Now, I am not suggesting that Whole foods itself is "the answer". Some of what they market is not really and truly as sustainable or responsible as they like to claim. Buying from local farmers and paying attention to how they grow things, perhaps not absolutely sticking to organics, but being more aware of the entire food stream and its creation.. those are paramount, and not things that will just naturally occur in your imagined system.

BigBallinStalin wrote:Also culture is not homogenous, so this irreparable damage claim is a joke. Remove wal-mart, and you get... a culture of people affording less goods at higher prices? What a great culture! What would the culture even look like? How do you know the current culture is even caused by wal-mart or by buying low-priced goods? How do you know what that culture looks like? I think we're grasping at straws here, so perhaps we can look forward to a different conversation on culture.

Walmart is a symptom. The problem is lack of responsibility. There is nothing in any business model that truly rewards the more responsible business, except sometimes (and ONLY sometimes) in the very long term. In the case of many current problems, we plain cannot wait for that long term. You forget that many times the real change only came after war and revolution. Personally, that is not something I want. Ignoring history means we will repeat it, not that history will somehow go away.

To me, whe i read your criticisms on cultures, I must ask: Who are we to even claim which culture is superior to others? That sounds imperialistic to me. (using the general you): How do you even know these things? I'm not proud/arrogant enough to claim which culture would be best for which people. I only want them to be able to choose whichever they identify with, and allow them to do so on a voluntary basis.

BigBallinStalin wrote:Regarding informing people, that's fine--so long as the information isn't propaganda. "Soft regulation" when done through the political process won't overcome interest group politics nor rent-seeking, so I'm not inf favor with this concern of mine, which in my opinion is inevitable through any political process of large-scale democracies. People already market all the time on the margins we've been discussing. How do you think Whole Foods came about? I view it as a reaction to "rampant consumerism" (yet Whole Foods can definitely be part of 'rampant consumerism'), yet such places serve as a fill-in-the-gap measure for environmental issues. The market handled that one section pretty well without soft regulation and bold claims about hampering international trade and about what would be best for other people's cultures.

LOL.. how about you are so immersed in your market view of the world you have no real idea of what the real truth is, and you cannot be bothered to find out. That failure to investigate doesn't equate to your being correct, it just means you are ignorant.. and, if you actually believe what you are saying, happy to remain so.
BigBallinStalin wrote:Of course, there is the long-term v. Short-term concern. I look at the various processes for attaining our mutual goal (in general, prosperity for more). In my opinion, the most efficient means of correcting addressing problems must overcome knowledge and incentive problems, which are best yet not perfectly achieved through the market process).
Finally, a real criticism of the idea that markets are entirely self-correcting? Only if you were to really pay attention, instead of just use it as a minor blip in your debate.
BigBallinStalin wrote:Anyway, IIRC the main question: Would average wages for poorer people within the US increase if "more domestic consumption" was increased? It depends on the prices and really the means for affecting this change.
No, it REALLY depends on how those costs are created and passed on. Far too often things are made "cheaper" simply because folks are allowed to pass on many of the real costs onto others.

Building a highly polluting and dangerous operation overseas doesn't eliminate the cost to lives and health, it just removes "problems" of following US regulations and pushes it onto other countries less able or willing to protect their people.

Buying locally actually costs less in very real terms. You save on transport, marketing, etc. Further, when you talk about food, a lot of what really needs to happen is to better empower people to grow their own food. Even in big cities, it is possible to grow a significant part of a food budget. Many food pantries are even beginning to offer things like seeds and training to some low income people. I remember hearing about this in New Orleans, prior to Katrina -- it was just part of the culture that people would have all kinds of vegetables "just growing" in their backyards, whether owned or rented. For some, that made a big difference in how much food they got. For others, it just added some "freshness" to the diet. Of course, Katrina made a lot of that no longer practical or even harmful, with all the heavy pollutants now in the soils.

The REAL problem is that many of those countries are hardly democracies and allowing business to flourish and gain the most wealth there not only perpetuates harm in those countries, it gives us less power to preserve ourselves. For all the debate, for example, over some big issues in China, they are now gaining so much economic power that it won't be long before they start lecturing us on THEIR "morality". I mean, if they felt it was correct and right to limit family size in their own people, why on earth would anyone think they would not take a similar stance with us? When we are so beholden to them economically, our ability to fight or even challenge them will disappear. Or, take Russia and its notoriously oppressive view of opposition and criticism of any sort.

BigBallinStalin wrote:Hampering international trade would make domestic goods more expensive--assuming that the domestic production of such goods was less efficient compared to trade (so, assuming we'd have a comparative advantage better than our trading partners. Currently, the US doesn't; otherwise, that intl. trade wouldn't be occurring to such a degree). Regardless of those factors, an increased demand for labor in such sectors would on some margin pull labor from other sectors. You can't have your cake and eat it too, nor is unemployment homogenous, so I don't find the "well, there's unemployment in the US, therefore, no problem." So with a policy focused on domestic consumption, you might get an increase in domestic wages, you'd get an increase in prices. So effective wages wouldn't increase (they might even fall, depending on how much trade is hampering with).
Nope, you have it backwards. Its not people wanting better wages that are wanting to have their cake and eat it, too, its those wanting to hire folks cheaply, cut subsidies for the poor and also get away with whatever damage to land/soil and water they wish without any serious regard. Such things are almost NEVER economical until forced, because there will always be more than a few willing to skirt and cut. You might see a few higher end retailers like Whole Foods, catering to a select and fairly well off target group, but to make these things permeate down to the average person requires regulation and control. Walmart will not pay much more than the minimum, own't hire more full-time workers unless forced. Big agri companies won't check pollution, cut use of antibiotics or the use of other additives/pesticides unless forced, because they do get short term economic gain. It is only when the longer term picture comes into view that the true cost-benefit of such measures come into play. Typically, a farmer who lives on his or her own land and who plans to pass it on to his/her kids does care, but those farms that are just another business venture for various investors --aka "absentee owners" do not. It has to do with a base ethic of what you value. Those who get money through investment value anything that will get them gain, for the most part. (it takes a pretty heavy and absolute moral issue to make most change, something like dangerous child labor.. and not all will, even then.)

Those who plan to stay care about the very long term. Of course, even "on the ground" farmers can make errors, but that is an entirely different issue, one met with better education, than the issue of values that just don't account for or care about true long term impacts. The thing about absentee owners is that they rely upon folks who are hired, on the ground to relay problems. There is an inherent problem in that, because generally the pressure is to reduce costs for the owner. Bringing up problems increases costs. Even when the problems are real, many workers know well that the owner's decision, faced with too many problems, will be simply to close.. so they don't say anything. THAT is just part of why our country is slowly, but surely being destroyed.

BigBallinStalin wrote:There's more, but regarding the deficit: that is allowed to continue due to the government's fiscal policy and the Fed's monetary policy. If 'money' is being shipped out to make up for the lack of exported goods, then--ceteris paribus--the supply of money would decrease, and so in relation to money, we'd get deflation (as the money depletes, you'd need less to buy the same amount of goods). But, the government avoids this--thus the necessary impetus to change our balance of payments, which to me is a problem. Markets in currencies which aren't fiat could correct for this, but <shrugs> try convincing the government to relinquish its indirect method of taxing people through inflating the money supply.

You are looking at things solely from the perspective of an investor. You need to consider what it means to actually LIVE in a country and the impact of various operations on that type of life.

Controlling the deficit is absolutely paramount, but first we have to reduce the need for additional payouts. Requiring more responsibility of all business, not just smaller local businesses will stem the bleeding.

There is a good chance that we have reached something close to our limit of sustainable growth, at least until some major technological fixes come about. The thing is, we have to wait for those fixes BEFORE allowing the growth. Pretending that we can just go on as always because those fixes might someday come doesn't work. It leads to disaster.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby PLAYER57832 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:51 am

Lootifer wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:I'm not sure if you know what it's like to be poor, but I can imagine that buying higher quality goods (e.g. from whole foods, or from wherever) really eats into one's budget. Those are luxury goods from their perspective. You can feel smug by calling them "mindless consumers," which I don't think they are, but you're really not resolving their constraints. "Mindless consumption." People gotta eat. What are you annoyed about?

I was talking about non-food consumption; I would hope that most of your food is sourced locally (if not then I give up; you guys are fucked lol).
Its mostly not, and yes, we are.

Worse than that, agriculture is, in many ways, being actually attacked. Small farmers are paved over for developments, even developments that fail in just a decade or less. There is a new movement to try and allow city dwellers to grow their own food, but it requires a complete change in mindset. Too often, any food item is seem as a source of pestilence and other problem more than it is a source of gain.

Lootifer wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:Regarding informing people, that's fine--so long as the information isn't propaganda. "Soft regulation" when done through the political process won't overcome interest group politics nor rent-seeking, so I'm not in favor of that.

Well yeah, but I'd argue that has everything to do with your current political process/landscape rather than any failing on soft regulation (I.e. I mean "Free range eggs are great because they look out for the wellbeing of chickens" and not "Free range eggs at BEST; you can get all the free range eggs you need from WholeFoods - message brought to you by the wonderful partnership between XYZ government agency and WholeFoods").
And actually what REALLY matters is not whether the chickens were "free range", but whether they were raised with antibiotics or with a bunch of pesticides/herbicides. This is actually the biggest impediment to growing things very locally, in cities and the like.. most all of that land has already been heavily contaminated. Then you have situations like in much of Florida, where chickens run all over rampant, causing problems. Truly "free" livestock causes major havoc for wildlife, upon with all natural system depend. Many municipalities just see elimination as the easiest method of controlling such problems. Any attempt to bring local agriculture into municipalities meets with that type of attitude, along with fears of things like bee stings from aviaries, increase rat population from fruits left improperly attended, etc.

Lootifer wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
Remove wal-mart, and you get... a culture of people affording less goods at higher prices? What a great culture! What would the culture even look like? How do you know the current culture is even caused by wal-mart or by buying low-priced goods? How do you know what that culture looks like? I think grasping at straws here.

Would average wages for poorer people within the US increase if "more domestic consumption" was increased? It depends on the prices and really the means for affecting this change. Hampering international trade would make domestic goods more expensive--assuming that the domestic production of such goods was less efficient compared to trade (so, assuming we'd have a comparative advantage better than our trading partners. Currently, the US doesn't; otherwise, that intl. trade wouldn't be occurring to such a degree). Regardless of those factors, an increased demand for labor in such sectors would on some margin pull labor from other sectors. You can't have your cake and eat it too, nor is unemployment homogenous, so I don't find the "well, there's unemployment in the US, therefore, no problem." So with a policy focused on domestic consumption, you might get an increase in domestic wages, you'd get an increase in prices. So effective wages wouldn't increase (they might even fall, depending on how much trade is hampering with).

There's more, but regarding the deficit: that is allowed to continue due to the government's fiscal policy and the Fed's monetary policy. If 'money' is being shipped out to make up for the lack of exported goods, then--ceteris paribus--the supply of money would decrease, and so in relation to money, we'd get deflation (as the money depletes, you'd need less to buy the same amount of goods). But, the government avoids this--thus the necessary impetus to change our balance of payments, which to me is a problem. Markets in currencies which aren't fiat could correct for this, but <shrugs> try convincing the government to relinquish its indirect method of taxing people through inflating the money supply.

I do find it interesting that the trickle down effect only applies when it is convienent; and looking out for number one (or more specifically looking out for number ones populace) should be discouraged. To me it looks like you are contradicting your key principles here, but that might just be me...

Are you not misrepresenting efficiency here thou (underlined)? What naturally present comparable advantage is leading to this "efficiency"? I dont believe there is anything other that labour costs that could not be overcome - but labout costs cannot be overcome obviously. So there's a kind of induced imbalance that sends sub optimal signals to the market (sub-optimal in terms of looking out for number one): made in china goods appear cheaper as because of the reduced labour cost; but in terms of real purchasing power I dont see any reason why they cannot be the same price (or less considering you are making them halfway around the world and paying extra cost to get them from producer to consumer). The more expensive domestic goods should be offset by increased domestic wage pool and less waste in transport I would have thought...


You hit the nail on the head. Too much of what BBS puts forward as "economic" really means passing problems off and pretending they then go away. That is the real problem with allowing business profit to DOMINATE policy, rather than letting science and other concerns come first. Business will work around whatever real parameters exist, but if allowed, will take profit rather than dealing with problems.

Claiming that it is "philospohy" or "politics" or "government" that, along limit business is just wrong, just as it is wrong to ask government to sustain or support business. Business is limited by reality. Politics and government simply ensure that it happens.. but that only occurs when people, not corporations have the power. Today, in our country, we are quickly losing that ability.
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:42 am

Player, you're never worth addressing because you can't hear beyond your echo chamber. inb4 "ur in a echo chamber." No, I'm not, so don't be stupid.

Lootifer,

yes, "America" has a heterogeneous culture. If you disagree, then you're likely relying way too heavily on stereotypes, which doesn't lead to good reasoning.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "trickle down" effect, so I don't understand your bit about the alleged contradiction. *(Honestly, that phrase needs to be phased out because it creates more confusion than clarity, which isn't surprising since it originated/became popular in the form of political rhetoric).

Are you not misrepresenting efficiency here thou (underlined)? What naturally present comparable advantage is leading to this "efficiency"? I dont believe there is anything other that labour costs that could not be overcome - but labout costs cannot be overcome obviously. So there's a kind of induced imbalance that sends sub optimal signals to the market (sub-optimal in terms of looking out for number one): made in china goods appear cheaper as because of the reduced labour cost; but in terms of real purchasing power I dont see any reason why they cannot be the same price (or less considering you are making them halfway around the world and paying extra cost to get them from producer to consumer). The more expensive domestic goods should be offset by increased domestic wage pool and less waste in transport I would have thought...


The underlined to which you referred was an exception. The last part of my post is more about questions on what drives what, so I'm not capable of fully answering every important facet of this part of the debate because I'm not familiar enough with the details (I don't think anyone in here is).

RE: underlined, I'd think so too (with decreased transportation costs), but there's probably other variables which we're overlooking here. One thing that drives up prices are the costs associated with adhering to regulations (most of which are superfluous and/or counterproductive, thus wasteful). There's many other factors too.

RE: underlined, if you increase domestic wages through regulation, then we would expect... what exactly? Higher purchasing power, thus 'lower' prices (maybe) at the grocery stores? What happened when the US during the 1930s dumped tons of money into public works projects? Supposedly, there would've been higher wages, thus greater purchasing power, but that didn't happen...

Another question: what would be the means for attaining the underlined? And how would those means achieve your expected outcomes?
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Re: The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article

Postby Lootifer on Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:17 am

Something as simple as a publically funded marketing campaign for consuming locally produced goods and services may head in the right direction (bring to the attention that many of the "great" american labels like Nike etc. are in reality at the root, a chinese label); but I am not sure that would fit very well with the US as you guys arent very good at that sort of thing (government cronyism seems to quickly distort this kind of thing - it'd be most effective if it was plain and to the point, but im sure the government would get some private partner and only support their locally produced goods...). Sure a marketing campaign may not be that effective, but it may work in the right direction.

The other harder forms of intervention I am not so sure about. You guys dont have a good track record with financial incentives so i'd stay away from those.

Maybe you can do something in the education space, give little "Buy American Made" logos widespread coverage and stick them on any product (consistently) that is produced in the states (if the producer wants of course); give local producers something they can use to give themselves a competitive advantage.

Basicially try and manipulate your culture in the same way the big corporates do (not saying this like its a bad thing, but come on, that ad from apple with the "physics are merely guidlines" or whatever, do that kinda shit. Build a universial brand or culture where your consumers prefer locally produced goods because they understand how and why it will benefit them.

Of course this isnt really at all possible in your fucked up political landscape where republicans will oppose democrats because they're democrats, not because they disagree with each other.
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