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The Forever Recession

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/the-forever-recession.html

This guy sees pretty clearly where we are headed....or at least, I share in his delusion.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
rick_day
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
I sent this to my business partners and told them to adapt the principles to our current business models and thought process.

Thanks!
liveonearth
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
You betcha. Smart way to go.
ford_prefect42
Sep. 30th, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
Actually, I am viewing that as a rather optimistic view. He's right in most of the particulars, in the modern world, repeatable labor goes where repeatable labor is cheap, and that isn't the US.

Where I disagree is that it isn't really being replaced with anything in particular. In order for the "artist" to have a standard of living, someone has to purchase their works. In order for the blogger to get by, they have to have an audience base. I am just not seeing those things springing up to the degrees necessary.

Part of the problem is that all the art in the world does not heal the sick. All the blogs in history will never produce 1 meal. The western world is caught up in non-productive activities.

This shows up a lot wherever people talk about "race to the bottom". Which would you prefer? A) Having a risky job that takes 5 years off your lifespan on average, while providing you with enough money to eat reasonably well, live under a roof in a heated building, and have basic medical care. Or B) Starving to death on the streets?

That decision is being made at the national scale, those nations that are choosing A) are having a great deal of gains in their human condition. Those that are choosing *not* to "race to the bottom" are losing ground daily. This is going on, not because people are "greedy" or "evil" or anything like that, it's the most basic of economic realities. It can no more be avoided than the tide can be stopped from coming in.

Now, the western world *does* have certain usable advantages, stable politics, the rule of law, business friendly climate... Or at least we *did*. When Obama chose to invalidate the GM secured bond-holders in favor of unsecured union contracts, the rule of law went out the window (there are actually several instances of this administration flagrantly violating the law for political reasons, but the GM bondholdrers is the poster-boy). The debt limit wrangle made it clear that or politics can no longer really be called "stable". And as for a business friendly climate, BWAHAHHAHAH!!1!!1 Not under this administration.
liveonearth
Sep. 30th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
You are certainly correct. I think that part of the point is that the artist and blogger, in order to survive, will need to have other pursuits as well. Perhaps gardening, or taking care of grandparents... We all must be multifunctional, and all those pursuits which do not add up to food, shelter and healthcare will certainly be lessened in emphasis.

Will you please tell me a few specifics about why you see the Obama administration as being hostile to business? Thanks!

I see the need to maintain land, air and water quality as essential for quality of life. That it makes industry less profitable is a worthwhile tradeoff.
ford_prefect42
Oct. 1st, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Ultimately, it all means that we're going to have to live *lower*, we're going to have to work longer hours under less pleasant conditions, we're going to have to eat lower on the food chain, drive less or not at all, live in smaller homes that are less well heated/cooled, recieve less medical care... And die younger. No one I know is likely to be happy about any of that, but it's the reality.

One of the central issues of our times is the realization that those "land, air and water quality" regulations don't make industry less profitable, they make it happen elsewhere. The choice isn't between having 2000 factories dirty, and 1900 factories operating cleanly, it's between having 2000 factories operating dirty here, and 2000 factories operating dirty in China. In the process, the rich will get richer, because they are who has the money to build factories in China. The poor will get poorer, because the jobs they used to work at will be in China. Our deficits will swell, because we have taken on the care of the poor at the governmental level. And in short, all the bad things will happen.

As for Obama being "anti-business", this article sums up my thought process pretty well.
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/15/opinion/main5089982.shtml
It's not all-inclusive, but it gets the point across.

Then there is his rather profligate taxation.
http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-obama-tax-hikes-a6433
(not entirely fond of the format on that one, but the facts are factual)

Then there's his outright violation of court orders in pursuit of anti-business. For instance, the offshore drilling ban is still in force, costing the US economy billions of dollars that will never be made up. At the same time, he is giving loans to brazil for... offshore drilling. Loans that have no history of being paid back, incidentally. In what world does that make sense?

In fact, the US government is now officially in contempt of court.
www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-03/u-s-administration-in-contempt-over-gulf-drill-ban-judge-rules.html

Although the moratorium is lifted now.

I could go on. It is quite brutal being a small-business-person under this administration. The uncertainty and regulatory compliance burdens that he is imposing are quite unpleasant. Just for one example, in the PPACA, the "1099 requirement" would have been catastrophic for small business, having to send a 1099 to *every* company with which they did business would be ruinous. That got repealed, thankfully, but that was a year of uncertainty for every small business looking at that looming deadline that would push many small businesses out of the game.
liveonearth
Oct. 1st, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
I want you to just tell me what you think, not redirect me to someone else's article. Oh well.

I find your assessment of the outcomes of environmental regulation to be simplistic. Yes, that is part of the truth, but certainly not the whole truth.

The outcome of leaner living could conceivably be increased life expectancy. Considering that America is dying of obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
ford_prefect42
Oct. 2nd, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
Next time I will, it's just that when saying these things to someone that I know is rather a fan, I find it sometimes helpful to have "credible" documentation, rather than me just saying "everything he says and everything he does" or somesuch. I will remember for next time though.

Yes, I was oversimplifying somewhat on the regs. There's more to it, but, I didn't feel like typing up a giant wall-o-text on the intricacies of international trade.

It's true that we could use a little "toughening up" in terms of the diet and exercise. I do doubt that we'll get a longer life epectancy out of it, because in general, life expectancy and wealth are correlated nationally. Could conceivably be, but probably won't.
liveonearth
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
My basis for the assertion about increasing life expectancy comes out of some unexpected public health findings about the Great Depression. People actually got healthier, contrary to the global correlation of wealth with longevity. Correlation equals not causality, of course.
ford_prefect42
Oct. 2nd, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
One could posit a possible "optimum wealth level". Where most people don't have money for prepared high-fat foods, but *do* have money for decent nutrition. Below that, life expectancy decreases because they're not getting adequate nutrition, above it, life expectancy decreases due to unhealthy levels of fat and the attendant heart disease etcetera. But then there's the complicating factor of healthcare, which partially offsets the reductions due to wealth.
liveonearth
Oct. 2nd, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
And we are not designed, as mammals, to live in the world that we have created with our neocortices and fossil fuel. Humans "forced" to live in mammalian tribes by poverty may find themselves fulfilled in ways we cannot imagine from our separate bedrooms and cars. Give them adequate nutrition and keep the tigers and cops at bay, and they might outlive all "successful" people in our culture. Just a theory.
liveonearth
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
In general I am interested in your synthesis take on things more really than I am in the nuts and bolts of how you came to that understanding. We can get to nuts and bolts if we need to. I respect your thinking process enough to be interested in what you actually think is going on.
ford_prefect42
Oct. 2nd, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
Fair enough. As I said, I will remember next time :)

FWIW, I have enjoyed our disagreements. Your thought process is not without interest either. Although I do occasionally wonder if I'm a case study :P
liveonearth
Oct. 2nd, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
You are interpreting the data you take in independently. This is the same thing that I do. We take in different info, and have different ways of interpreting it. We both fail to fall into step with anyone else's viewpoint, and have reasons. That is enough to make a case study for sure. =-]
theheretic
Oct. 13th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
I agree with the first part, that there are two kinds of recessions, though I'd rather think of the longer one the Greater Depression, but I disagree completely with his conclusion that connection is the answer. Is he smoking weed? That didn't work in the 1970's and it won't work now. Trade tariffs (blocking imports) is the only feasible answer. It forces nations to manufacture their own needed products and to prioritize what they actually need. When the USA has to go without imported electronic toys, the market for them will create jobs domestically. Same for housewares and scooters and passenger trains. Jobs to keep people occupied and Not Rioting. Globalism is what enabled this race to the bottom with manufacturing in the darkest hellholes. We stop allowing those products to be imported and we'll either learn to get by without them or make them here. Everything went wrong when we embraced globalism and imported Chinese junk. This will probably lead to a Dollar Default, but that's coming anyway thanks to the EU breakup, since the USA is so heavily invested in most of those nations. We're only 20% into the current economic collapse. Long way down still.
liveonearth
Oct. 13th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I am with you in favoring local sustainability over global connectivity. Though communities become sustainable by way of local connectivity and cooperation, so in that sense it applies.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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