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$30.00-per-hour minimum wage combined with 3-day/24-hour work week for higher prosperity and happiness for 100% of the population.

The 1% may have the money, but they do not have the happiness and feeling of security that the money was supposed to cause. By converting to a 3-day/24-hour work week and a $30.00-per-hour minimum wage, we can immediately reflect current productivity of the workforce, cause increasing productivity and catapult human well-being and happiness for 100% of the population. Let's not be patient. Let's just do it. Everyone has everything to gain.

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    Apr 3 2012: This is similar to several ideas by the late Robert Anton Wilson - philosopher, shaman, maverick and all round funny guy. He posited a world where anyone who invented themselves out of a job (i.e. replaced themselves with some automated process) got a $100,000 reward and anybody else who got replaced by the process got $10K (around a year's average wage at the time I think). These various initiatives were part of what he called The Revolution of Rising Expectations. In this optimistic portrait of human development people, whilst initially using the free time to drink beer, get stoned etc etc, eventually got bored and started doing creative or philanthropic work. This would fuel further inventiveness and we would end up wth a world where no one performs manual "drudge" labour unless for some reason they enjoyed it and everybody enjoyed a life of creative leisure.
    Trouble is, I've seen people come into that kind of money and the "doing sweet fa" phase always seemed to take much longer than poor old RAW envisaged. He clearly had a much better opinion and hope for humanity than I have been forced to admit to as I got older. I loved his Revolution as a hopeful early twenty something man. The ensuing thirty years saw that hope dwindle. I really wish something like the idea in this thread could work but unless you outlaw greed as well those who own the processes that create the jobs, and pay the workers, create a job market such that the competition for the available jobs is won by those prepared to work for less and work longer hours and illegally.
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      Apr 3 2012: it is nice from a shaman and maverick. as a philosopher he should know better. if he was an economist, and say, not a keynesian or monetarist, he would surely know that we can not give away 100K + N * 10K unless we take money from someone else, supposedly everyone else. now i understand that inventors are such cool guys and we outta love them. but i would like to love them in some other ways, and not just give them part of my own stuff. the problem especially becomes more serious if the program achieves its goal and spawns a lot of inventions. some people will have a nice living out of a few inventions in their lives, which might or might not benefit me. but i will have to cough up all the money to pay these guys. and remember, this money must be taken from me by force, since, say, i disagree with the whole idea.

      and of course the root of the problem is the word "got". there is no such thing someone just gets money. resources are always transferred from specific individuals to other. we need to consider the flipside of the coin.
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        Apr 3 2012: Hi Krizstian. I think there may be a misunderstanding (or maybe lost in translation). I was actually presenting his idea as something else that is nice in thought but unworkable in practice. Both rely on the untested assumption that freeing people from drudgery and wage slavery will somehow kickstart new forms of wealth creation which fund the whole process. It is the same assumption that says if you stop taxing the rich then everyone will benefit because they will start creating all this extra wealth and spread it around. In reality most do not create wealth at all, they just look for ways to move more of the existing wealth in their direction.
    • Apr 3 2012: Kevan, Thank you very much for your input to this conversation. I know how life can wear you down. We have to re-program ourselves in the direction of positive everything--thinking, speaking, doing. Most children were raised by being manipulated by provoking fear in them, e.g., "do this or you'll go to a place that is not heaven." Develop new positive habit patterns. We were incorrectly brainwashed with negativity, that causes negative impacts on ourselves and others. We need to invert that. I know that everyone in the world can simultaneously be healthy, prosperous, happy and live according to their own highest consciousness of what is right. This IS workable in practice. All that greed, fear, paranoia that screw up the market place and society and individual human life will dissolve when people realize that, other people being happy will INCREASE, not decrease their own happiness. Kevan, drop everything you are now doing and convert this concept into practice. It's important. Seems a good use of your time. Let's elevate the joy level of our species. And let's do it quickly. Thank you. We'll all be having a whole lot of fun. Soon, I hope. It took way too long (decades, centuries)to convert from 10-18 hour work days/6 and 7 days per week to 8 hour work days/5 days per week. Now, we all agree that the current system makes more sense for all of humanity than the old system. Let's not be patient this time. ALL of humanity has everything to gain.
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        Apr 4 2012: Hi, Rhona. You are welcome; this is so much fun. I certainly don't mean to appear negative. I'm not fully sure whether you attribute that to my upbringing as a child or to the fact that I may be worn down by life. If either were to be true it would have to be the latter as I recall being optimistic and idealistic as a younger man. Anyway, to the discussion. The goal in your thread topic is one I would ardently seek out myself and certainly do attempt within my own life. Let's face it, life is essentially about seeking out sources of energy in order to build and maintain oneself and, with any luck, get to perpetuate a bit of it. That is as true of a complex organism like us as it is of an amoeba. What your proposal hopes to achieve is to cut down the amount of time we take to do it so we can spend more of our time doing non-essential stuff, which is a lot less stressful on the organism and therefore more fun. This other activity also requires that there is a surplus of energy, not needed by the building and maintenance program. I have chosen to do this by investing in my basic skill set so that I have reached a position where my energy acccumulation per hour has increased manifold since I first became an independent energy accumulator (I know I'm just saying "since I grew up and got educated" but sometimes changing the language separates the basic message from cultural/emotional triggers). Now I get to spend this time talking to all you guys instead of spending every waking hour seeking and consuming energy sources! The point I am trying to make is that that process was not aided by giving me more energy for less time expended, without having to contribute, and thereby getting someone else provide that energy source for me. I am for a minimum wage to ensure that every person has the energy resources necessary to build and maintain life and provide "quality of life". I am happy to add to the overall surplus required to achieve this but $720 p/w min? Too much. Peace.
        • Apr 6 2012: Kevan, I appreciate the way you articulate. I wonder why you assume this a win/lose proposition. It is a WIN/WIN proposition. People in a state of freedom are likely to create far more wonderful things (that are of value to others) than they create under the current bondage (work for money to pay for gas to get to work to get money to pay for gas to get to work) system. Everyone will profit by elevating the freedom and joy level of others. Guess you don't get the point I am making. $720-per-week minimum wage is just the right amount for today, Friday, April 6, 2012. Is that more than you want or need? Are you afraid you cannot handle the free time positively and productively? I guess I don't get your point either. Oh, well. Equality acknowledged. Power to the positive. Happy Today. All my other jazz.
  • Apr 2 2012: I agree about the 3 day work week!!!! It has never made sense to me to work so hard for 2 days of pleasure. Poor service industry folks might not even have 2 days off together!

    As for the min. wage, bringing that up brings many other rate hikes as well. I for 1 do not want any other inflations, although I agree it would be nice, I do not want to spend $15 for a gallon of milk either.

    This country does need to reevaluate the 5 day work week though. It is not feasible for the current population and it is stressing the majority of us all out. I am all for the 3 day workweek!
  • Apr 1 2012: This sort of gets me because I earn minimum wage and I am sick of hearing about the "1%" who I am supposed to be angry at.

    Who are the lowest earning people in workforces of developed nations?

    Me for one.

    Some people are struggling, of course, but then when you are 15 and you start out working at McDonalds, which income bracket do you think you are in? When a university graduate starts out on an internship at a prestigeous law firm and getting paid mostly in experience, which income bracket do you think they are in? What about part time workers, or anyone starting out in the workforce, people just beginning to build a business, or owners of large businesses who have negative income due to an off year? Income brackets are not people and most people move far up the income scale during the course of their lives.

    If you sell your house you just might make it into the 1% for a given year, perhaps you become paralysed and have an insurance payout of 5 milliion, 1% no worries. Inheritence, maybe the 1% if you're lucky, cash in your built up holiday pay , cash in your stock awarded for working with a company or receive a nice redundency package maybe the 5%...

    But then when the minimum wage is increased, where does each business pull the extra money to pay people from? How many people will be let so that we can have a higher minimum wage?

    Im sorry, I hate to be a nay sayer, and please dont think the tone of this message to be rude. I used to love ideas like this and the whole rich vs poor rhetoric but ive had too much experience at seeing these kinds of solutions fall under serious questioning.

    Each time i see people get caught up in an the virtue of an idea and not its practicality, i die a little inside (slight exaggeration there).

    I love the optimism though, the dare of suggesting such things and the creativity, so if youve got a reply shoot me a response. I do think the idea is good though, just not the reality of implementing it. Keep on churning it out.
    • Apr 3 2012: Thanks for the encouragement, Patrick. I believe the next step is to come up with practical ways of implementing this idea. This is for EVERYONE to be well-off. I always wonder why people tend to convert things into "winners and losers." Guess that's why sports are of no interest to me. I am convinced that we, humanity, if we play our cards right, can live in a world wherein we are all winners. We can all be healthy and happy simultaneously. Greed and paranoia and poverty will disappear. Ignore those ancestors who brainwashed us negatively. We must all re-program ourselves in order to co-create a healthy, happy world reflecting our good hearts' desires. I know we can do this. May as well. Let's do it, Patrick. We can. Happy Today.
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    Mar 31 2012: Yea but I wanted $40.00 per hour and a 16 hr work week your idea is not fair. How about no work and endless freedom?

    Have you ever seen the twilight zone where the guy gets everything he wants and thinks he is heaven but quickly realizes that he is not as getting everything you want is not a happy place?


    Purpose and goals and overcoming barriers, which is called life, this creates happiness and it works.
    • Mar 31 2012: I hear you pat, but I think you may be thinking that suffering is enobling. When we convert to the 3-day/24-hour work week and the $30.00-per-hour minimum wage, that does not mean that smart dudes like you and others will not be able to find appropriate employment at higher wages and shorter hours. Negotiation would not disappear. Minimum means minimum. I wonder if you are under the impression that working people are currently paid in accordance with their true worth in creating the value of the goods and services they produce and if your think the CEOs and Wall Street managers are being paid in accordance with their true worth related to the goods and services they produce. I wonder what percentage of the population feels there is equity in money income /work in the current market place.
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        Mar 31 2012: The reality is that what they are worth is only what someone is willing to pay them. A surgeon is well paid because someone is willing to pay a lot if you can save their life. They are not as willing to pay much for picking up the trash. Generally people are willing to pay more for production in other words they are willing to pay a guy with a shovel x and they are willing to pay a guy with a backhoe 4x.

        Generally more production = more happiness. It is a win win as the person can generally pay the guy with the backhoe less money than a dozen guys with shovels to do the same amount of work.

        The problem with minimum wage is that it makes the employers go to places that are less expensive. When I was a kid Mattel toys were local, then they went to Mexico, then to Malaysia, then to Vietnam always following the cheaper wages. Also immigrants from Mexico have taken away all of the more menial jobs around here the problem with this is that it takes away entry level jobs for the indigenous kids where they learn basic work skills.
        • Apr 1 2012: So, pat, would you recommend the $30.00-per-hour minimum wage and 3-day/24-hour work week go international?
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      Apr 3 2012: Hi Pat. Have agreed with much of what you have said in this thread. I would dispute a couple of things here and there though. I would dispute that rising living standards should and can be attributed to "capitalism" or the "free market". Firstly, the Free Market is largely mythical, it was invented to ensure that British goods got a free run. Anybody else who tried to utilise "free market" principles got squashed. Since the Industrial Revolution it has always been that other people will operate a free market while "we" operate under protectionist principles to "protect our own workforces". Actually this just meant protect our own companies. Once the tiger economies opened their doors to foreign investments "protecting our workforce" was quickly forgotten as first manufacturing, then call centres then software jobs went East.
      Second point is that capitalism only raised living standards where it went hand in hand with social measures to reduce exploitation such as the mimimum wage, public healthcare, unionisation etc etc. We have however lost the balance between economic and social capital. The unspoken contract has been broken, the basic unsustainability of consumer capitalism and the myth of constant rising growth are beginning to unravel. A new paradigm is needed but the start of this thread isn't it. Should I come up with it I'll invite you to my Nobel Prize presentation ;-)
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        Apr 3 2012: The more things change the more they stay the same. There are no pure forms of anything, the free market is always going to be there to greater or lesser extent.

        Walmart for instance raised the standard of living for all of their customers as they could buy more crap for less money (although I wish they had a modicum of a dress code) at the same time they raised the standard of living for the Chinese who worked in their factories, to the tune of $500.00 annual per capita gdp to today at about $7500.00 per capita annual gdp.

        Minimum wage/ davis bacon lowered the standard of living of those it was supposed to protect. In the above video Thomas Sowell states that black unemployment was always lower than white unemployment until they passed davis bacon.

        No new paradigm is needed WE just need to go back to what has always worked.
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          Apr 3 2012: I'll have to take your word on the Davis Bacon thing, which I assume was your version of the implementation of minimum wage. Over here the minimum wage lifted living standards for those intended rather than the opposite. Must have been a feature of the implementation. Will think more on what you have said. Anyway, you shouldn't get me started on Walmart and their ilk. It is always the case that what they appear to give with one hand (making things cheaper for the lower paid) they achieve by driving the producers to the lowest possible margins and converting large areas to monoculture so the producers can actually meet the price demands of the big supermarkets. It is the same the world over wherever big supermarkets dominate. I will re-assert that we do need a new model as what has always worked (with all its winners and losers) cannot continue to work. Unfortunately I don't have the time and space here to present the argument properly. Cheers now.
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        Apr 3 2012: Lets just agree to disagree.

        What do you suppose Daniel Hannan is so angry about?

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          Apr 4 2012: Thanks for the link. I'd heard about this speech but never sought it out. The subject matter and direction of this polemic is typical of the time frame and the political agents involved; the whole spending v spending cuts debate on how we got into the mess we are in and how to get out of it. What is remarkable, as you seem to have spotted is not what he is angry about but the way that apparent anger is manifest. He is a well measured orator, the sound of his voice is clear and his delivery well constructed. Yet there is clearly a passion there that is genuine and that passionate belief in the truth of his words charges his performance. I think, also, that the intensity of the moment is increased by the fact that he personally blames Gordon Brown for the state he assesses the nation to be in (we can debate the accuracy of that, as others have done, but that is not what is of interest in this speech). To use an old metaphor "This ain't business. This time it's personal". This is what his own party leader said about him in 2009: "He does have some quite eccentric views about some things, and political parties always include some people who don’t toe the party line on one issue or another issue.” The fact that he is a bit of a maverick makes him interesting and attractive as a media figure, like George Galloway on the Left over here.
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        Apr 4 2012: You talk about his style or character rather than what he is saying? Saying he is eccentric and a maverick indicates he is an anomaly.

        It appears that the status quo is oblivious to what he is saying? You guys are ahead of us but look at where the once largest empire in the world is now? We are both circling the drain.

        The paradigm is as obvious, but since the wankers in both of our countries want a nanny in trade for freedom this is what we get just like every country since the beginning of time.
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          Apr 4 2012: Hi Pat. The only reason I focussed on him rather than the content was that was what was remarkable. Also the maverick bit was an aside as what he said is actually mainstream for his political group. You either agree or disagree with what he said depending on your ideological stance and it is a debate that has run on since whenever. As it transpires the view he represents now has the reins in the UK and throughout much of Europe so they get their turn at seeing if they are right. I suspect that they are (at least on the debt reduction bit) but that it still won't work because the remedy is beyond one nation's governance. There seems to be something inevitable about the current decline in the "western" nations. The U.S. appears to be following the same pattern as the various 17-20thC European hegemonies and before that, that of the monolithic Christian Church and the Roman Empire. They are all built on the spoils of war: whether that be military or economic and once they lose control of them power passes to those who now control the greatest resources. For now that appears to be China yet they too seem to be approaching a potential zenith as they count the environmental cost of rapid industrialisation, and attempt to reach a balance between rising middle class aspirations as education brings questions, an increasing gap between rich and poor as the still numerous rural poor start to suffer vocally (viz. radicalisation of people in Islamic western provinces - yes they have it too) etc. I wish them well with their efforts because the price of their failure will be paid by us all. I just hope that they temper their insistence on the primacy of social cohesion over individual freedom and strike a better balance than we have managed in the last 200 years. We are too far one way, they too far the other. I sadly suspect that humanity has a way to go yet before it comes to the balancing point naturally. Til then we continue to try to force folks into one or t'other. Peace.
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        Apr 4 2012: It can work as has been demonstrated in Canada.

        Before the spoils of war there was superior technology. Do you think the U.S. benefits from the spoils of war?

        China does not have property rights which is the foundation of freedom. IMO china has a tiger by the tail.

        From what I read the middle class is going to be a wold wide phenomena.

        The disparity thing is propaganda created by politicians like your Gordon Brown or our current POTUS for instance
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          Apr 4 2012: Ah, I suspect Canada's solution is slightly different from that proposed by our governing coalition over here; that is if Premier Harper's address in 2009 is to be believed http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/09/21/how_canada_survived_the_recession.html

          I recall that there was a much larger stimulus aspect to the budgets than we are likely to get here and that it was based on a better set of natural resources than we have here.

          Re spoils of war: Yep, of course it does. Even the threat of military action tends to bring favourable trading terms within the reach of your arm. I suspect that this was one of the ideas behind the Monroe Doctrine long before The Cold War, Vietnam, The Gulf and other US led geopolitical conflicts.

          I will consider your statement about property rights being the foundation of freedom for now though I suspect it is less of a truism than western political philosophy assumes. Either way, I believe the Chinese political elite are relaxing that aspect of their control within the special economic areas.

          Not sure where you are going with the "disparity thing is propaganda" bit. For my part I try to avoid rebuttals based on ad hominem or ideological conflict statements. If you are referring to the gap between rich and poor I mentioned then I would suggest that you take a look at the several million families in the USA that now live on less than $7,500 a year. This number is a vast increase on ten years ago and hardly an invention of the political left to justify social stimulus packages. They exist, you just have to decide if you are going to help them or not and how - centrally or through charity. Peace
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        Apr 4 2012: Actually it is very much an invention by politicians. They base a lot of what they say on the household income data which is specious, government transfers don't count as income which it surely is, because of tax law changes the rich guys pay income tax as individuals rather than corporations. So nope it is nothing but politicians in need of a straw man to help them get votes. I don't take any of this personally, I'm just advocating for the truth and the freedom that it brings.
  • Apr 3 2012: SarahLydia, Glad you are on board. Now let's convert this into reality as soon as possible. It took way to many centuries and decades to get to the 5-day/40-hour work week. What with rocket ships and high broadband speeds, we should be able to accomplish this 3-day/24-hour work week in less than one year. Let's do it. I wonder what specific action you and I and others who agree can take to convert this from concept to reality very, very soon. The sooner we accomplish this specific goal, the sooner humanity will become healthy, prosperous and happy. Happy Today.
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    Apr 2 2012: Farmers,
    Construction workers.
    Prison gaurds.
    Self owned businesses
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    Apr 1 2012: good luck trying to start a small business. I understand where you are coming from but there are limits to what can be paid without businesses going under. The billionaire problem can't be solved by tinkering with wages. It will just drive the economy to further outsource labour.
    • Apr 3 2012: scott lee, I disagree with you. This will work. Let's try it and find out.
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        Apr 4 2012: Well, I'm just saying it isn't feasable for every business. Starting a business is not a license to print money. I grew up in a small family business and I know for a fact that if my dad paid me 30 dollars an hour when I was a teenager working for him, the business would have been better off without me. There is no way that my time would have been worth that.

        You complain about the 1 % but every employer isn't the 1%. Every employer isn't goldman sacs or AIG. Many of the 99% are business owners. Many businesses are struggling just as hard as the working class you are trying to help. Often when people start a business it takes a very long time and a lot of hard work before they start making any money at all. Often, when a small business struggles, the owners last resort is to do everything himself, often making very little through the hard times.

        What you should do, is try starting a business and paying your employees as you say. I'm sure they will like it and you will have very happy and loyal employees. We will see if you can make it work and if the money left over for you is worth the hard work and dedication it took to get that business off the ground.
        • Apr 6 2012: scott, perhaps, if you had been paid $30.00-per-hour combined with a 24-hour/3day work week, your productivity and value to your father's company would have soared well beyond that wage. You could have invented a new product or process that would have added substantially more value to his revenue and profits. Anything positive is possible. When in doubt, assume positive. Suppose you get what you expect?
  • Mar 31 2012: Krisztian, Productivity has been dramatically increasing over recent decades. Wages have not. Please explain.
    I presume you are aware of the changes in income distribution over recent decades. I hope you believe that equity should be a factor in the market place. Consider the income curves of the 1% and the 99%. Consider the quantity of children living in poverty now compared with 10 years ago.
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      Mar 31 2012: productivity increases in china and india. so does income.

      productivity does not increase in the US. neither does income.
      • Mar 31 2012: I wonder what publications you read. It's not nice to make up facts unless you acknowledge that that is what you are doing. Perhaps you are joking.

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          Mar 31 2012: i doubt you have problems understanding the difference between a value and its growth. the US grew wonderfully for a good 100-150 years, during the 1800!s mostly. then this progress gradually slowed down in the 1900!s to come to a grinding halt in the last decades.

          on the contrary, india, china, brazil and other countries were at very bad position 50 years ago, and now growing fast.
      • Apr 1 2012: Kris, Are you talking about production or productivity? Does the wage or well-being of the workers enter into your considerations? Do you believe that money is equitably distributed?
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          Apr 1 2012: it is pretty much the same. hard to imagine a place with high productivity but low production.

          wage and wellbeing of the workers are related to their productivity. free market capitalism is known to be the most effective way to increase these. it was proven many times and many places in history. contrary to the popular belief, during the industrial revolution, the conditions of the average man improved enormously. capitalism transformed the barefoot peasant to a mass consumer that got proper clothing, medical care, abundance of food in a hundred years.

          since 1800, average income increased 25-fold. today, average people in the US have car, cellphone, air conditioning, computer. they have an expected lifetime almost twice as high as back then.

          equal distribution is a holy grail that gives us nothing. i don't even understand why would equal distribution any better. if i have more than my neighbor, he can take mine? why? i'm working overtime to get the extra. i'm not willing to give it away to anyone. except for example the acumen fund and kiva, but that is my decision.
      • Apr 1 2012: Kris, Thank you for your input to this conversation. "equitable" is different than "equal"

        Kris, I agree with much of what you have stated here. Every system needs to be fine-tuned as things change. Things do change. Productivity of workers has greatly changed since the 1940s and neither the hours nor the salaries and wages reflect those improvements in productivity of the labor force, since the 40-hour work week was instituted.

        In the olden days people worked 10 to 16 hours a day (and more) for 6 or 7 days-per-week. In the 1940s in the USA we finally got the 40 hour work week. It is now 2012. It's time to move forward into a more humane society, just as we have been doing over the history of our wonderful, dynamic nation. Why cling to things as they are? We can continuously improve. Positive change should be welcomed, not feared.
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          Apr 1 2012: ah, equitable. if it is about distribution, and i see eq, i don't read the rest of the word :)

          equitable is hard. what does that mean? i think that if both the employer and the employee mutually agreed on the wage, it is fair. if force is used, it is not fair.

          i like change. for example today the government tells you how long the working week is, and has many laws regarding to wages. for the change, i recommend a system in which government does not enforce any special rules on that. abolish every labor law altogether. and then people can decide how much they are willing to work, and for what wage. government officials should get out of this.
      • Apr 1 2012: Kris, I like maximum freedom too. Do you think that minimum wage employees today are in an economic position to negotiate as equals with employers? The working poor are a huge segment of the employed population. They accept any wage at all merely to feed themselves and their families. Employers pay as little as they can get away with because they assume that they are supposed to have far more money than the people who work for them, even though they may have inherited their money and may be doing very little actual work. Supposedly, they are being reward with all that excess cash income for taking risks. Ho hum. At the present time there does not seem to be much fairness in the market place in terms of work, hours or money income.
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          Apr 1 2012: first, yes. they are in the position to negotiate, because there are more than one potential employer. plus they can be self employed. employers want to pay the minimum. but this minimum is not set by their arbitrary choice. it is set by other firms competing for the same labor force. that competition rises wages toward their so called "marginal revenue product" or "marginal productivity". similarly, we could say that producers want to sell at the highest price. but prices don't rise to the sky. because despite they want to, producers can not raise prices higher than the competition. that's how the market sets prices of goods, and also the price of labor.

          second, do you think that with minimum wage, their situation is better? minimum wage prevents some negotiations. if the guy is willing to work for 10 an hour, your minimum wage stands in the way. granted, in some cases it might raise the offer from $29 to $30. but if the worker is unable to contribute that much, and his productivity is only $25 an hour, no employer will employ him. in effect, minimum wage leads to unemployment.

          but there is an insidious little fact here. if you enact a minimum wage, wages indeed tend to rise in the short run. entrepreneurs need time to figure out how to rearrange production. but then they figure out sooner or later. they will manage to automatize some tasks, stop doing others, layoff here, outsource there. at the end we have rising unemployment, and nobody understands why.
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      Apr 1 2012: Rhona

      What is commonly misunderstood is that the U.S. is the largest manufacturer in the world by. Because China misreports their numbers egregiously I would venture a guess that U.S. manufacturing is probably triple China's.
      Keep in mind that China is making the low value stuff the U.S. is making aircraft, heavy construction equipment, high tech stuff.

      Will it stay that way nope, China graduates many times as many engineers as the U.S.

      The income stagnation is actually grossly misreported and in actual has not changed in 30yr. I know it seems like it has but statistically speaking it has not. The reasons would take longer to explain than I have time for but in a nutshell it has to do with politician's wanting your vote which requires a straw man.

      part of it is that they use household income as proof but what they fail to mention is that the reason house hold income has gone down is that the divorce rate has skyrocketed in the past 30yr.

      economists Piketty (France) and Saez (Berkeley) about 6 years ago. They reported that the top 1% of taxpayers accounted for 16.1% of REPORTED tax return income in 2004.

      But the reason for this was a change in the tax law that encouraged rich guys to pay their income tax as personal rather than as a corporation, this made it look like their income has gone up but actually it didn't change.

      I could say more but your eyes would glaze over
      • Apr 1 2012: pat, Thanks for this input to the conversation. Interesting. Valuable. I am well aware of the problems with international statistical data. I wonder how we get at the truth of economic data. In any event, politics and big business interests have controlled the economies of all nations to the detriment of the majority of people. I think it is in the long-run self-interest of them to act with greater integrity. Some people like, Hussein and Assad appear to prevail for a time, but eventually the blinders come off the eyes of the people they exploit and that ends their ability to enjoy their insensitive exploitation of the majority of the people (if in fact they were ever able to truly enjoy life, since they needed to live with the fear of being revealed and dethroned.) I think integrity in the market place will cause all parties, the employed and the employers, to benefit.
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          Apr 1 2012: Rhona

          The true data on economics is easy to obtain with the internet and libraries. It is not easy to understand and takes some effort. If you are really interested I recommend Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell. It will change your perspective on life.

          Big business has raised the standard of living of everyone on this planet.

          I think the biggest thing is to look for yourself.
      • Apr 1 2012: pat, you acknowledge the role of politics in the statistics of China. Do you think that is the only country with questionable statistics? I am well aware of many sources of economic data. Take for example the unemployment rates that have been quoted for the USA over the past few years. Do you believe that they represent the actual unemployment rate in the USA? While they were quoting 9%, the true unemployment rate was probably between 20%-25%, but that figure would have frightened people into thinking we were having a depression and those in power were reluctant to even acknowledge that we were having a recession. You seem to have a religious belief in the lines about "business" we have been told. Perhaps the brainwashing we have received on all subject matter, e.g., business, religion, politics, requires further thinking, research, analysis, creativity, honesty, objectivity and stuff like that. We can't just accept the brainwashing we have received without question. We all need to re-program our minds in the direction of truth. One of the benefits to the 3-day/24-hour work week and $30.00 minimum wage will be to take a lot of pressure (and dollars) out of the medical market, because people are likely to be a whole lot healthier by switching to these hours and wages and salaries that allow them to stop worrying about filling their bellies and gas tanks on a daily basis. We can free up the doctors to work at some positive, creative activity. Like maybe they can become stand-up comedians. Generating laughter may be more likely to cause good health than prescribing drugs with acknowledged, horrendous side-effects. Good health is the goal of the medical and pharmaceutical industries, isn't it?
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      Apr 1 2012: Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
      The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
      The fifth would pay $1.
      The sixth would pay $3.
      The seventh would pay $7.
      The eighth would pay $12.
      The ninth would pay $18.
      The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

      So, that's what they decided to do.

      The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

      'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.' Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

      The group still wanted to pay their bi ll the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

      They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

      And so:

      The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
      The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
      The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
      The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
      The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
      The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

      Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four
      continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began tocompare their savings.

      'I only got a dollar out of the $20 declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, 'but he got $10!'
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      Apr 1 2012: 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

      'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $ 10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

      'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

      The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

      For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
      For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
      • Apr 1 2012: pat, do you believe that the work that creates the valuable goods and services in our society and the money distributed in our society is done in an equitable manner? Are "capitalism" and "communism" religions? Thanks for the cute story.
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          Apr 1 2012: Equitable infers fairness, life isn't fair, that is the way it is. Is it fair that some Chinese are living the good life and other ones are working 18 hr a day growing rice for subsistence, NOPE but for those that are willing to learn life becomes better.

          I highly recommend looking at things as they are, other wise your constantly torturing yourself with it isn't fair, it shouldn't be that way, that doesn't make sense.

          There has always been inequality and there always will be.

          Capitalism is an economic system and a political system as is Communism, where would you rather live in Eastern Germany or Western Germany, would you rather live in North Korea or South Korea

          Here is the bottom line politicians get reelected by creating problems to fix they are always pointing to a straw-man. The problem with the thinking that you espouse is that someone is to blame. The problem with blame is that it puts them in the drivers seat and you in the back seat. If nothing else figure out how not to blame anyone but yourself. If you do nothing else do this.
      • Apr 1 2012: pat, if you want to accept all of those negative facts about life that you mention, go ahead. I do not think we are limited to accepting "life isn't fair." What are we here for? America was founded with hopes and dreams and ambitions to improve life for everyone. We have succeeded and we shall continue to succeed because we believe life can be better for everyone and we each and all have the power to make life better for ourselves and others. May as well use those powers we have and do all the positive things we can do. If you accept the suffering, go ahead. I decline to accept your pessimistic view of life. I have read about things getting substantially better historically and I have observed things getting better within my own lifetime. I suggest we continue on the upward course, improving life for everyone on earth. So, the next step in the market place is to move on from the 5-day/40-hour work week and $7.00 minimum wage to the 3-day/24-hour work week and a $30.00 minimum wage. It seems to me to be a logical progression. "If you do nothing else...." ENJOY TODAY.
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          Apr 1 2012: I'm not suggesting you look at things as either positive or negative, but as they are.

          The one thing that has improved the standard of living of the world is the free market.

          The minimum wage law has been more damaging to blacks than anyone else, the last thing it does is raise the standard of living for the people it is supposed to protect. Here is a couple of very intelligent black economists saying how this is the way it is.

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    Mar 31 2012: Are you suggesting, then, that we should produce a little more than half of what we do now- food, teaching, police and fire services, home repairs, and so forth but at a vastly higher cost of providing them? Is the idea, then, to charge a lot more for the smaller amount of service that becomes available (so as to cover this high cost)? And then for people to buy most of what they need from other places that produce things of the same or better quality at lower cost? Where are the resources to come from to pay for this leisure and income subsidy in a sustainable way?
    • Mar 31 2012: Fritzie, The simple answer is PRODUCTIVITY. Today's wages do not reflect the increases in productivity we have been experiencing over the past decades. It is time that money income of those who create those high profits/salaries/bonuses some of the 1% are reaping are spread around among those who are working to create those valuable products and services. The change to a 24-hour/3-day work week and a $30.00-per-hour minimum wage will tend to increase productivity geometricallly as workers will be far more productive during work hours, since they are healthier, happier and do not need to waste time appearing to work to fill in the current 40-hour work week pretending to work while they are watching the clock waiting to leave. Their attitudes will improve along with their productivity. Happy workers are productive workers.
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    Mar 31 2012: minimum wage law does not increase wage. rather, it prevents employment. similarly if you fix the price of orange at two dollars per piece, a very few amount of oranges will be sold. this is how the market works. artificially propped up prices will not be paid, but avoided.

    to increase wages, one must increase productivity. productivity is increased by division of labor and capital.
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    Mar 31 2012: Are you hiring?
    • Mar 31 2012: What are your qualifications?
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        Apr 1 2012: I am a college educated, retired, white male, aerospace design engineer currently working a 40-hour week at near minimum wage earning about half of what your proposed 24-hour week @ $30/hr. would pay. I trust you will agree I am qualified for a minimum wage job. I am willing to travel and am available immediately. I am covered by medicare so you can save the health insurance costs. I am a citizen of the USA and I will not become pregnant.
        • Apr 1 2012: edward, sounds good to me. Wish I needed an aerospace design engineer. You'd be my choice. I guess you are well aware that something is wrong with the current system of work/money that some are stubbornly trying to retain and rationalize. I wonder why people are so afraid of change. Right now people use the 2-day weekend to recuperate from the prior week of work and to prepare for the coming 5-day work week. Something seems wrong about that. People like you should have sufficient time and money to enjoy your life on your terms. I hope that things change and that you get a job that you enjoy, can be productive at, and are paid a fair salary for. Anything positive is possible. You are a prime example of why I am supporting a 3-day/24-hour work week and a $30.00 minimum wage. You know very well that your situation reflects something deeply wrong with the current system. Let's change it.......quickly.
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        Apr 1 2012: I am not opposed to the betterment of life for all, but it is not clear to me how your suggestion can replace the current system. Employers pay their hirelings based on the necessary amount required to attract, and retain, the level of human resources they need. To pay more than necessary will be a burden to competitiveness. If my competition pays the going rate for help and I decide to pay more, I will fail to thrive as a business. Today's profit margins are very small. We are competing with massive global workforces who will work for much less than we will. $30/hr and a three day workweek will place you right out of the game.
        • Apr 1 2012: Remember how Henry Ford ran his first auto building factory? Would you suggest he did not need to pay more than the going rate as he did? Maybe some employers have a different vision and maybe that approach will catapult them to the top, since they will attract the best people and maintain a high morale level which very, very few employers today are doing.
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        Apr 2 2012: There was no going rate when Henry began his first car factory. No one had staffed an assembly line before so he paid what he had to to entice the workers to come and work in his crazy new manufacturing paradigm. He never paid one penny more than he had to, no enduring business philosophy does. Your idea is flawed Rhona. Work on a fix.