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Retire early: It's your Duty to Society!
Old 11-26-2011, 06:58 AM   #1
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Retire early: It's your Duty to Society!

Here's an inflammatory editorial in the NYTimes about the Superfluous Worker and how to get rid of them:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/op...us-worker.html

My conclusion is that it is better to have them retire early than to sell them into slavery, put them in jail, or kill them off in wars.

What do you think?
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:00 AM   #2
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This is satire, right? He stops just short of suggesting Soylent Green.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:04 AM   #3
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The proposal he offers is essentially more central planning and socialism. May I offer a different solution: new industries based on new technologies that the average person is willing to spend money on. In other words, society could foster creativity and entrepreneurialism, which create new jobs.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
This is satire, right? He stops just short of suggesting Soylent Green.
+1
That was my impression also.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
The proposal he offers is essentially more central planning and socialism. May I offer a different solution: new industries based on new technologies that the average person is willing to spend money on. In other words, society could foster creativity and entrepreneurialism, which create new jobs.
He wrote:
Quote:
New technology and the products and services that accompany it will create new jobs.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
+1
That was my impression also.
Somehow, I did not get that impression. The author simply says that job creation is a must.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
May I offer a different solution: new industries based on new technologies that the average person is willing to spend money on. In other words, society could foster creativity and entrepreneurialism, which create new jobs.
Good idea. Low worker dismissal costs and low taxation may help job creation also.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:40 AM   #8
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Mr. Gans gives us a random list of factors that contribute to the high number of unemployed people in the US. He projects these into the future, leading (of course) to a grim outlook. He proposes that an industrial policy with specific focus on employment would change that and lead to a much rosier future, and this improved outcome would be well worth the cost. It is an op-ed with no data, just his highly qualified opinion.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:08 AM   #9
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Surprising that he'd be given space for a NYT column. The author, a Prof Emeritus of Sociology, might benefit from auditing an economics class at Columbia. A few examples, italics added...
Quote:
AMERICA, like other modern countries, has always had some surplus workers — people ready to work but jobless for extended periods because the “job creators,” private and public, have been unable or unwilling to create sufficient jobs.
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America will have to finally get serious about preserving and creating jobs — and on a larger, and more lasting, scale than Roosevelt’s New Deal. Private enterprise and government will have to think in terms of industrial policy, and one that emphasizes labor-intensive economic growth and innovation. Reducing class sizes in all public schools to 15 or fewer would require a great many new teachers even as it would raise the quality of education.

In the long run, reducing working time — perhaps to as low as 30 hours a week, with the lost income made up by unemployment compensation — would lead to a modest increase in jobs, through work sharing. New taxes on income and wealth are unavoidable, as are special taxes on the capital-intensive part of the economy. Policies that are now seemingly utopian will have to be tried as well, and today’s polarized and increasingly corporate-run democracy will have to be turned into a truly representative one.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #10
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There's an element of satire, but he's pointing out the malthusian possibilities inherent in the capitalist push for greater productivity. If capitalism is allowed to produce profit for shareholders without consideration for society as a whole we'll be looking at "Soylent Green" at some point. The laissez faire of the advocates of Hayek says that Government has no part in directing the economy or spurring job and economic growth. That is wrong; a mixed economy is the best way to balance the needs of all. It's certainly better than just letting the likes of BP run the country.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:03 AM   #11
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Did he mean this sort of ER?

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Old 11-26-2011, 11:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Mr. Gans gives us a random list of factors that contribute to the high number of unemployed people in the US. He projects these into the future, leading (of course) to a grim outlook. He proposes that an industrial policy with specific focus on employment would change that and lead to a much rosier future, and this improved outcome would be well worth the cost. It is an op-ed with no data, just his highly qualified opinion.
About all I can conclude from this article is that Mr. Gans made his deadline, and even that may be speculative...
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:29 AM   #13
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Did he mean this sort of ER?

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Maybe, unfortunately a third of these folks are uninsured
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:34 AM   #14
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I agree with the quote "New taxes on income and wealth are unavoidable, as are special taxes on the capital-intensive part of the economy." As mentioned on this website in the past, I would be ok to pay more taxes provided they are directed to more social causes, including universal healthcare, better access to contraception, extended benefits for women and men with young children, etc.

I realize many here will not agree with me.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by obgyn65
I agree with the quote "New taxes on income and wealth are unavoidable, as are special taxes on the capital-intensive part of the economy." As mentioned on this website in the past, I would be ok to pay more taxes provided they are directed to more social causes, including universal healthcare, better access to contraception, extended benefits for women and men with young children, etc.

I realize many here will not agree with me.
+1 but I wouldn't make then contingent on where they would be directed. The spending priorities should be decided by our representatives.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:33 PM   #16
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Absent the "Soylent Green" or "Logan's Run" scenarios here, the way I see it is this: there's going to be a certain amount of social safety net spending on senior entitlements (including those that facilitate retirement) and the same for unemployment benefits and the other things (food stamps, Medicaid et al) that come with them.

If I'm going to spend the same amount on either retirement/old age benefits or unemployment benefits, I'd rather help someone older retire and free up a job for someone collecting unemployment than to force an elderly person to work until they drop dead while younger folks can't find work. Seems to me we improve the lot for two households for not much difference in overall social spending.

Again, this assumes there's going to be some social spending one way or the other.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:12 PM   #17
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I am reminded of places that are less productive and require more people to do the same thing that we do in the USA. For example, in China you might have 100 men on a road crew digging and moving dirt since there would be no buildozers nor backhoes. In South Africa, you pay a tip to someone to make sure you can back out of your parking space (and that your car is not scratched while you are parked). Maybe he is waxing nostalgic about gas station attendants, restroom attendants, yard men, maids, those homeless folks who cleaned your windshields in Manhattan, and all kinds of other menial service folk.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:55 PM   #18
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Ah, for the good old days, when we could count on grinding poverty and wars to reduce the surplus population.
:face palm:

I really hope that article was satire, although I know there is a small portion of our society that actually believes in the above.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:51 PM   #19
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Ah, for the good old days, when we could count on grinding poverty and wars to reduce the surplus population.
:face palm:

I really hope that article was satire, although I know there is a small portion of our society that actually believes in the above.
I think the author is pointing out the amorality of capitalism and it's focus on profit sometimes at the expense of people. He's not suggesting we return to the "good old days", just that the some of the factors that contributed to the success of 20th century capitalism are no longer in effect. Capitalism provides excellent outcomes for many, but we must temper it so that is does not destroy a significant number of people. I'm always confused when people who proclaim themselves Christian take the opposite point of view, it's one of those "What would Jesus do" moments.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:00 PM   #20
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From the article,
Quote:
When the jobless recovery ends and the economy is restored to good health, today’s surplus will be reduced.
I am proud to announce that I retired two years ago, leaving my job open and available for the first qualified person to come along. (It took over a year of constant advertising by my agency before anybody qualified did apply.)

Now, instead of hogging a job that others need, I am patriotically contributing to the economic health of our country by spending more in retirement than I did while working.

Do I get a medal or something? I'm waiting excitedly for it.
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