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Old 01-16-2011, 10:10 AM   #41
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So, if I have saved and invested enough to sustain my lifestyle while no longer reporting to the office, then by that argument I have done my share of "contributing", and continue to do so via remaining invested and spending the proceeds on the goods and services provided by others- so, no, not being a parasite at all.
I understand, and support your right to that view - I'm on track to follow your advice. But I'm willing to concede that if we all saved and invested AND continued to work as long as we're productive (regardless of FI), the cost to society at large would be significantly less. That's where the parasite dilemma is not clear IMO.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:18 AM   #42
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But I'm willing to concede that if we all saved and invested AND continued to work as long as we're productive (regardless of FI), the cost to society at large would be significantly less.
Significantly! Is there any Math behind this theory? (It is beyond my number skills.)
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:52 AM   #43
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But I'm willing to concede that if we all saved and invested AND continued to work as long as we're productive (regardless of FI), the cost to society at large would be significantly less. That's where the parasite dilemma is not clear IMO.
Perhaps the "horns" of the dilemma may be in confounding continued paid employment with one's best contribution to society. For some that may be the case - having employment in which they find personal reward (not just monetarily) and from which they derive challenge, growth and satisfaction while contributing to something that is indeed of benefit to society. It is good for them to stay on call as long they are willing and able, for their own benefit as well for that of society. But I'm sure there are many (just read through the "Hi I am.." threads on this or similar forums) who do not fit that mold. For them staying too long in an increasingly unproductive situation - whether caused by drift in organizational direction, frustrations with management, outgrowing a job, personal burnout, or whatever - probably isn't their highest and best use to society - even if leaving would mean their departure from the wage tax system. If nothing else, moving on may free up an opportunity for someone likely to welcome the opportunity and be more productive in that position. One could also argue that not all paid work is indeed very beneficial to society anyway (except perhaps, for continued contributions to the wage tax base, which I realize is at the crux of this thread).

On the positive side, and irrespective of prior employment situations or reasons for departure form the workplace, there are so many ways that do not involve paid employment through which individuals can and do contribute to society; there is no need to enumerate them here. Everyone's situation is unique. I think you're right in observing that the "dilemma is not clear".
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #44
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Beautifully stated Rockyj.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:57 PM   #45
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...and as easily harvestable natural resources dwindle...
Is there some factual basis for this statement? Or just eco-hysteria? We have millions or acres of of renewable forest resources left, millions of acres to to strip mine and vast untapped oil reserves, i.e. the Bakken and the ANWR...and we're dumping milk and paying farmers not to grow crops.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:32 PM   #46
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Interesting post, thanks for taking the time. I guess the "dilemma" is - am I a parasite if I exit the workforce before I "lose [my] capacity at producing" just because I am financially (independent) able? While it may draw emphatic emotional answers - the answer is not crystal clear IMO.
Nah. If we're going to continue being all Randian about this, you're a hero, chock full of enlightened self-interest. Financial independence is a Good Thing, especially if you did it all yourself. It represents the reward you've reaped from being an especially good producer. Bonus points if you mysteriously disappear after getting a court order to fund an incompetent loan applicant...

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I suppose in an ideal world, I guess we'd all work as long as we're productive even if we reach FI before the end of our work days. I'd start a thread, but I've had some bad experiences here with topics along these lines...
Heh, heh...

I don't know if I'd call those bad experiences, as much as they are revelations about the nature of fellow human beings.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:49 PM   #47
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Significantly! Is there any Math behind this theory? (It is beyond my number skills.)
Seriously? The more people who are working and providing goods & services and the fewer there are receiving social security and other benefits, the less the burden on those working. This is NOT a judgement or comment, just the math. I am only trying to frame the parasite question in terms of the economics - I am NOT pretending to judge anyone's choices (along the lines of rockyj's POV).

I am going to become a parasite this year if it makes you feel better...
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:18 PM   #48
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Seriously? The more people who are working and providing goods & services and the fewer there are receiving social security and other benefits, the less the burden on those working. This is NOT a judgement or comment, just the math. I am only trying to frame the parasite question in terms of the economics - I am NOT pretending to judge anyone's choices (along the lines of rockyj's POV).

I am going to become a parasite this year if it makes you feel better...
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:23 PM   #49
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:23 PM   #50
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I am going to become a parasite this year
That's kinda like a vampire, right?

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Old 01-16-2011, 03:45 PM   #51
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Seriously? The more people who are working and providing goods & services and the fewer there are receiving social security and other benefits, the less the burden on those working. This is NOT a judgement or comment, just the math.
I don't see any math going on here, at all. And since we're commenting here on a theory according to which the more people retire, the greater the opportunity for the not-yet-retired to find jobs, thus lessening the burden on them, your thesis certainly doesn't seem to be the tautology you think it is.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:27 PM   #52
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As long as there are enough people working to pay my Social Security and produce what I need I will be satisfied in retirement.

I don't think the point of life is to produce the most possible over your lifetime. Or to consume the most for that matter.

There was a time when most of the women were not in the workforce and we got by fine.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:11 AM   #53
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Is there some factual basis for this statement?.
Yes.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:47 AM   #54
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As long as there are enough people working to pay my Social Security and produce what I need I will be satisfied in retirement.

.
Then we should reduce FRA for SS to a low enough age that there are not enough people working to pay your SS and produce what you need. That would keep a little spice in your life!
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:06 AM   #55
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I don't see any math going on here, at all.

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Economic prosperity happens when more people engage in productive work. More people working @ higher productivity = a bigger economy and everyone is better off.
It is undeniable that at a given level of productivity, a smaller work force results in a smaller economy.

We have a current GDP of $14.7T produced by 139.2MM workers. The labor force is 153.7MM, meaning 14.5MM of our fellow citizens are out of work. Assume we could pay 7MM people to take early retirement and that those jobs would be filled with by the currently unemployed. The unemployment rate would drop to the "full employment" level of 5.1%. Assuming there was no change in productivity and that the pool of unemployed workers seeking work exactly matched the pool of early retirees our GDP would be unchanged. However, our "potential" GDP would decline from $15.5T to $14.7T due to the smaller potential work force.

So in the best case scenario we'd have lower unemployment at the expense of future economic growth. A more reasonable scenario would be one where worker productivity declines, as well matched and desirable employees are replaced with second choice candidates. It is also likely that some skilled workers will retire where no suitable replacement exists, resulting in a less than one for one retirement to new employment ratio. That means lower current GDP, lower potential GDP, and higher than promised unemployment.

The expected price tag (excluding financing costs) of moving 7MM workers to retirement three years early based on the average SS payment is $293B. Add another $206B for medicare. And we have a program cost of $500B over three years.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:08 AM   #56
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It is undeniable that at a given level of productivity, a smaller work force results in a smaller economy.

<and so on>
The biggest problem I'm having with this thread is that solutions suggested in this (and the bulk of previous) Post start from a sufficient number of Jobs (to support the solution) and expect the number of jobs to grow in the future. Yet, here we are, starting with a (greater than?) 11 million deficit and a reasonable expectation that the gap will increase in the future not diminish.


What is 'Watson'? IBM computer wins 'Jeopardy!' practice round - USATODAY.com

(I, also, seen an article a couple days ago that very tiny creatures (Microbes?) are being used to create miniature circuits for the Game Software industry... but I can't quickly find the cite.)

Anyway, we are heading closer to the "Man and a Dog" Era than away from it.

Will this forum become extinct

What's with society and ER?
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:18 AM   #57
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The biggest problem I'm having with this thread is that solutions suggested in this (and the bulk of previous) Post start from a sufficient number of Jobs (to support the solution) and expect the number of jobs to grow in the future. Yet, here we are, starting with a (greater than?) 11 million deficit and a reasonable expectation that the gap will increase in the future not diminish.
14.5 million at last count. Employment Situation Summary

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(I, also, seen an article a couple days ago that very tiny creatures (Microbes?) are being used to create miniature circuits for the Game Software industry... but I can't quickly find the cite.)
Are you talking about nanites (microscopic robots)? If it's actually microbes, I'd be interested in reading that if you ever find the article.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:23 AM   #58
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It's quite a conundrum. On one hand, as the ratio of those working to those receiving public benefits continues to decline, the less we can afford to reduce the retirement age (and skew that ratio even more). On the other hand, with unemployment quite high and looking like it will stay high (north of 8%, say) for quite a long time, reducing the number of people that need to w*rk would reduce the number of people who need a j*b and can't find one.

I for one am not smart enough to figure out how these two seemingly contradictory factors can be reconciled.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:39 AM   #59
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Are you talking about nanites (microscopic robots)? If it's actually microbes, I'd be interested in reading that if you ever find the article.
I am going to have to stop my habit of reading headlines only. Nevertheless, the article still is appropriate to my belief that "our" desire to avoid w*rk will result in fewer and fewer Jobs until there is only a "Man and a Dog" as the workforce... and the rest of us? Enjoying all that leisure time hopefully.

Living microorganisms used to make video games

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The biotic games incorporate living cells like paramecia, which are single-celled organisms, with video games in order to allow everyday people to participate in experiments and learn more about biological processes.
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“We would argue that modern biotechnology will influence our life at an accelerating pace, most prominently in the personal biomedical choices that we will be faced with more and more often,” said Riedel-Kruse. “Therefore everyone should have sufficient knowledge about the basics of biomedicine and biotechnology. Biotic games could promote that.”
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:40 AM   #60
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IMO, lowering the SS retirement age is a valid topic for discussion as a short range strategy for dealing with the economic downturn, but it's a bad idea for the long term.

"Conventional" economics says there's a difference between long term and short term forces. In the long term we believe wages are flexible and will adjust so that anyone who is capable of doing productive work and willing to work will find a job at some wage, and will add to the economic pie. But, in the short term wages are sticky, we can get into a vicious spiral of low expectations leading to low results, and we incur a lot of pain while we wait for the long term to get here.

We've borrowed money to extend unemployment benefits, pick up COBRA for unemployed workers, keep state/local workers employed, give tax breaks to businesses and individuals, all to directly reduce the pain and/or try to break the spiral. Maybe early retirement would be a more efficient way of using those borrowed dollars. Gone4Good has a good start at analyzing this idea, the next question is how many of those dollars will go to people who would have retired at 62 without the extra incentive.

Unfortunately, Gailbraith's piece appears to say this is a good long term idea, I can't see the wisdom of that.
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