An Unconvincing Neoliberal Critique of Mario Cuomo

Related Post Roulette

206 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    The potential contenders are Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.

    And Martin O’Malley.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Kodak employed 140,000 people for good livings at the height of its power and Instagram only employed 13 people when they were purchased by Facebook for a billion dollars.

    http://www.afforums.com/ppost/data/662/awjeez.jpgReport

  3. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    What Mario Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren Have in Common.

    I give up. Did Mario Cuomo also not know the difference between short- and long-term interest rates?Report

  4. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    The link to the Slate article doesn’t seem to go to the actual article (or is there a paywall thing going on?….I don’t read Slate regularly, so I don’t know.)

    So, not having read the article, I do have a few questions and observations/speculations.

    Questions: Are the Slate people really arguing that “massive wealth to a mere 13 people is a better sign of progress than 140,000 decent salaries with benefits like insurance, pension, and vacation”? Perhaps that’s one logical consequence of what they’re arguing, but surely their point is not all sympathy for Jim Moneybags with the monopoly on Boardwalk and Park Place? What policies did Cuomo support that would have made things better and that they (the Slate authors) found so distressing? Would it have been protectionism? Immigration restriction?

    Observations/speculations:

    I’m not sure the “gig economy” is all that new. Maybe it’s new for lawyers and for the demons who live in adjunct hell, but not for other people. I realize that the increase of a (arguably, and I don’t concede the point entirely) bad thing is not evidence that the thing is in fact good. I suspect that when the 140,000 people at Kodak or wherever held their jobs, there were plenty of gig jobs. Maybe the people who held those jobs wanted one of the higher paying manufacturing jobs, and I don’t blame them.

    I suspect that minimum wage laws and other policies–of the sort that I imagine Cuomo supported–that tended to increase the price of labor encouraged the manufacturers to invest more heavily in labor-saving devices and lead to the decline of manufacturing jobs (not, as a pedant might argue, the “decline of manufacturing”) in the US. That’s not in itself an argument against such policies, but it is part of the cost that such policies exact.

    I suspect it’s not only Instagram and cheaper DVD players that come from the changes championed by neoliberals, but in some cases it’s probably food and clothing that are cheaper for all, or at least most, including those who can’t get those well-paying manufacturing jobs. (It’s about this time that we start talking about how $300 shirts may be more expensive than a $10 shirt, but they are better quality and last longer. True, but if I have to buy a poor-quality shirt, I’d rather pay $10 than $20.)Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Gabriel Conroy
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s audio, not text. The main takeaway for me is that Bill Clinton was a better president than I thought.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Gabriel Conroy
      Ignored
      says:

      Gabriel, my reading of history informs me that for a decent chunk of history you are right. The gig economy is not a new thing. In late 19th century Southern Italy, people had to scrap together a living from a combination of substenance farming and day labor work. At the same time, Russian peaseants would shift between working in the fields and working in the cities based on the time of the year. A person that 150 days of employment a year was considered lucky. There was a lot of variation based on time and place. The rural populations of Northern and Central Italy tended to have more steady and frequent work than their Southern counterparts. Industrialization and urbanization probably was the first time many people had relatively stable labor.

      The period after World War II was anamoly from an economic perspective and even than, only for a relatively small part of the global population.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        The period after World War II was anamoly from an economic perspective and even than, only for a relatively small part of the global population.
        @saul-degraw,

        @leeesq is right about this. And there is a reason for why its an anomaly. middle class wages for manufacturing jobs is only possible in a world in which the demand for manufactured product far outstrips the abilities of most countries to produce manufactured goods in general and most of the means of manufacture are all in one place. Given that WW2 wiped out most of Europe’s industrial base, these conditions only obtained in the immediate aftermath of the war. The industrialisation of various countries in Asia and Europe pretty much destroyed those two conditions.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        @murali, I was also referring of the tendency of many Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries to take themselves out of the global market by embracing some very attractive but really erroneous economic philosophies. Not only the formal Marxism of China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia but the anti-market Fabian socialism of India, Indonesia, and many African countries and the autarchy pursued in Latin America and the Middle East. Manufacturers couldn’t outsource labor and had a limited market for their goods. This led to higher prices and higher wages.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Not only the formal Marxism of China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia but the anti-market Fabian socialism of India, Indonesia, and many African countries and the autarchy pursued in Latin America and the Middle East. Manufacturers couldn’t outsource labor and had a limited market for their goods. This led to higher prices and higher wages.

        Given this, the Jacobin mag set start looking a lot more sinisterReport

  5. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Oi vey, this has to be intentional right, like performance art? It’s a whole series of red meat (yet simultaneously substance less) canards hung out to lure non-further-lefty ire or something. I’ll bite.

    American manufacturing is far from dead; America manufactures as much if not more stuff than she ever has. Manufacturing just employs fewer people than before to get greater outputs. Goddamn tech, I suppose the liberal position should be a return to rotary phones?

    The vibe you seem to be giving off is that protectionism would somehow have been good? That other nations would certainly not respond in kind? I’m no history major but I recall that around a century ago trade wars eventually contributed to the rise of big honking war wars. Now granted blowing up the rest of the world’s manufacturing capability might put us in a position to recapture that 50’s 60’s mojo but how do we know America would be the 1 in 6 great powers that didn’t get flattened? To say nothing of the irony of the far left advocating for war like that.

    Also it’s not cheaper DVD players, it’s also cheaper clothes, cheaper food, cheaper almost everything. Since poor people spend a larger portion of their income on cheaper basics this almost amounts to a significant larger benefit to poor people but I suppose the welfare of the poor isn’t important. Then again poor people tend to fight our wars disproportionately too so there’s that. More poverty and war for the poor- no wonder my left wing cousins can’t figure out how to get traction outside of their internet niches. At least the slogan rhymes.

    But yes, I can see the argument so clearly. The GOP has been sobered and matured by their time out of power so now is an excellent time for the Democratic party to indulge its left wing ID by campaigning against technology, trade and peace. Surely a new GOP president would be a reliable caretaker while the Dems flailed around like idiots in the political wilderness. What’s the worst that could happen?Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      North,
      Ahh, the neo-liberal fantasy. Everything’s cheaper, you see… including human blood.
      The reality of children (let me twist the knife — orphans) that must work to survive in quite dangerous occupations…
      Do the screams of burnt children not trouble you — at least a bit?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        Children have been working, getting hurt and screaming for the entire history of humanity Kimmi. I am dubious that anyone considers it a good thing, I certainly don’t. The phenomena of idle youth is a modern invention due almost entirely to economic affluence. I hope it comes soon to everyone but until someone finds an alternative economic path (which- note- no one yet has) poor societies will have to follow the same steps we did (hopefully more quickly).Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        North,
        There are those who consider it a profitable thing, and those who would put profit over anything at all.

        In 20 years time, we’ll be looking at 50% of the current jobs being eliminated. They can’t follow our path, because it won’t exist for long enough for them to take it.

        Progress may leave us less room for humanity than most people are comfortable with. But that’s the price for letting immoral sons o’ bitches get power, isn’t it?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        Now you’re just making stuff up. Of course they’re following our path, and they’d done so successfully. Japan and S. Korea for instance. Saul’s vanished manufacturing didn’t dissappear into the ether.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        Now you’re just making stuff up.

        You’ve met Kim, right?Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        Thankfully no.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      To say nothing of the irony of the far left advocating for war like that.

      Unless this statement is itself meant to be ironic, you can’t talk about “substance less canards” when the way you get here is by taking these steps, none of which is made by the text you’re critiquing: questioning whether the utility of a new (American) technology is worth the creative destruction it causes –> this must have to do with foreign competition in manufacturing –> protectionism –> protectionism having been a contributing factor in some wars in history –> the left is advocating for war.

      Saul doesn’t even traverse the first “–>” there, but even if he followed your presumptions right up through “protectionism,” it would still be a canard to say he was advocating for war.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Probably was an unfair assertion, I agree. I think it does follow logically but Saul doesn’t go right out and advocate for anything.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
        Ignored
        says:

        Baloney. There is a connection, but hardly tight enough to say that favoring protectionism (which Saul didn’t even do) is advocating for war (which I take it is what you continue to say follows logically). Wars are so massively multi-causal that favoring one particular thing that arguably contributes to conditions that can lead to war if lots of other things go wrong, especially of that thing is on its terms basically peaceful (protectionism isn’t the same as an arms race, etc.) simply can;t be said to be the logical equivalent of promoting war, to say nothing of advocating for war. It’s baloney.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      So, now the neoliberal argument is that unless you begin to subscribe to the free trade for everybody immediately solution, you’re secretly for a new set of world wars. Good to know.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        I think it’s pretty uncontroversial to say free trade is a strong disincentive for wars. I wish I spoke for neoliberalism in general though if I did I’d probably have to post more or even write an article or something (the horrors).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        I disagree with the idea that free trade is a strong disadsentive for wars. America and other countries have used military action to force free trade on other countries.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        @north

        Lee is right here. The U.S. has been willing to use the CIA and military force to overthrow democratically elected governments that were perceived as going against U.S. interests and we did this for much of the 20th century. It started with helping United Fruit in various Central and South American countries and continued with the overthrowing of a Socialist government in Iran in the 1950s and allowing Pinochet to take control of Chile in the 1970s.

        The current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine puts an end to the canard that no countries with McDonalds have ever had a violent conflict with each other.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        North and Lee,
        Capitalism, often enough, allows corporations to coopt militaries, allowing them to prosecute by proxy civil wars (see Mexico).Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s an interesting point. Trade has definitly been used as an excuse to meddle like crazy, the US used gunboat diplomacy to force open Japan’s ports and the 20th century has good examples too. Still countries with extensive trading networks with each other have strong incentives not to go into knock down wars with each other.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        Or you use wars to enforce previous trading agreements like the Opium Wars so your country can get rich by being drug pushers to the other.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        The U.S. has been willing to use the CIA and military force to overthrow democratically elected governments that were perceived as going against U.S. interests and we did this for much of the 20th century.

        Also briefly in the 1860s.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        North, can you provide any examples of where free trade prevented war? The period before World War I was just as globalized as the world these days in many ways. Tariffs were very low and there was a good deal of free trade among different nations. In some ways it was even more globalized. Getting up and moving to a different country was less of a bureaucratic ordeal for them most part. You didn’t need a visa or a passport. This didn’t stop the world from declaring war on each other. History suggests that trade relations probably only have a minute link to war and peace. At least its much less than its proponents think.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        LeeEsq: I disagree with the idea that free trade is a strong disadsentive for wars. America and other countries have used military action to force free trade on other countries.

        Saul: Lee is right here.

        Well, first off, one nation can’t force free trade on another, at least consistently with the normal meanings of the words.

        But more generally, the idea behind trade being a disincentive for war is pretty simple: insofar as military aggression is based on attaining access to an otherwise inaccessible resource, making it accessible via market transactions creates a disincentive to use force. The inclination of folks to use power to achieve self-serving goals still exists, of course, independently of trade opportunities, so it’s not like there aren’t counterexamples. Unless we’re talking about the counterexample-free Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Resolution.*

        *“Thomas Friedman … says he came to this realization while eating a sushi box lunch on a Japanese bullet train after visiting a Lexus factory and reading an article about conflict in the Middle East.”Report

      • Avatar Matty in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        The current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine puts an end to the canard that no countries with McDonalds have ever had a violent conflict with each other.

        Surely that one was ended when NATO bombed Belgrade with a year of The Lexus and The Olive Tree being published?Report

      • Avatar Zac in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        “Also briefly in the 1860s.”

        Don’t be an ass. There is no possible way to consider the Confederacy a democratically legitimate government, and your attempts to defend it (and by extension chattel slavery) are pretty disgusting.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        Lee is right here. The U.S. has been willing to use the CIA and military force to overthrow democratically elected governments that were perceived as going against U.S. interests and we did this for much of the 20th century. It started with helping United Fruit in various Central and South American countries and continued with the overthrowing of a Socialist government in Iran in the 1950s and allowing Pinochet to take control of Chile in the 1970s.

        How the heck does any of that count as free trade or policies in support of free trade? As @stillwater says, “one nation can’t force free trade on another, at least consistently with the normal meanings of the words.” I suppose you can say some of those things were done in the name of promoting free trade. Just like I just ate four reeses peanut butter cups in the name of good health.

        To answer @leeesq ‘s question, I can’t point to an example of free(r) trade preventing wars. If I’d try, I’d probably be resorting to circular argumentation, such that I’d end up saying those two countries at war are competing for resources and therefore they aren’t doing free(r) trade while those two countries at peace must be doing free(r) trade because they’re not at war.

        My inability to provide an example, however, does not mean that free(r) trade isn’t a disincentive against war. Free(r) trade is one more reason not to fight: those who benefit from the trade will have a reason to oppose disruptions of that trade.

        Now, something can be a disincentive and yet not enough of a disincentive. Perhaps the disruption against trade is more than compensated for by the promise of loot, in which case it’s no longer free(r) trade but forcible taking (but then I’m going circular again). Perhaps some trader is full of so much love of hisher country that any slight to the national honor will override mere trade-based concerns. Still, he/she would have to discount those concerns before taking up arms to defend the nation’s honor.Report

      • Avatar Matty in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        “Also briefly in the 1860s.”

        Don’t be an ass. There is no possible way to consider the Confederacy a democratically legitimate government, and your attempts to defend it (and by extension chattel slavery) are pretty disgusting.

        I thought it was a reference to the Mexican American war but it seems I got the decade wrong. In any event the expansion of US power certainly seems to have been common in the 19th Century, albeit in different ways to the 20th, without reference to The Slave War.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        Well China right now certainly is a persuasive case in my opinion. Russia is also actually providing an interesting case study of the theory; Putin has been agressive and we’re now watching Russia economically strangling as an almost direct consequence- how that ultimately turns out should be instructuve.
        Historically though only Smoot-Hawley jumps to my mind as an example.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes, “everything is cheaper” is precisely the argument being made, over and over, as if that were the trump card evidence that this is The Good. The strawman of Luddism is trotted out to counter any dissent.

      The main attraction of economic liberalism is greater fluidity and dynamism yields greater wealth.

      Yet no one wants to acknowledge what traders have always known, that with greater dynamism comes greater risk.
      This is where we are now, with the shattering of the security of the old order, where jobs were more permanent and the path to a good life was more clear, living in a world of rapid turnover and destruction, creative or otherwise.

      Is anyone denying that for the average person, today’s world encompasses more risk, more fear and more uncertainty? Does anyone want to really make the argument that cheaper cell phones are adequate compensation?

      I read articles bemoaning the fact that young people are slow to buy durable goods- they buy fewer cars, houses, etc.
      But why should they? Who would be foolish enough to take on a 30 year mortgage, knowing that within that 30 years you will likely face 4 layoffs, several banking panics, 6 job changes, and 2 major career shifts? And that’s if you are lucky enough to stay employed at all.

      But meanwhile we keep being told that somehow this will all shake out for the best, in some Darwinian fashion. That even if we suffer through several decades of anxiety and poverty, our children- or maybe our grandchildren- will inherit a world of wealth. Maybe. Or maybe not.

      But of course the genie of globalism can’t be stuffed back in the bottle. But are we handling the transition as best we can? Or are we handling it to the narrow benefit of those who reap the rewards, socializing the risk and privatizing the rewards?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        LWA,
        somehow, a mortgage –death note, if you will, check your French, seems a lot better than dying in childbirth at age 16.

        So, yeah, there’s substantially less uncertainty, now that we have better medical care. In fact, you can even rip your own teeth out safely, as preventative medicine. (Name the State!)Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        I have no sympathy at all for anyone moaning about lower housing buying and car purchasing (the American fetish for cars has always baffled me). Not buying cars and houses is a very rational thing for the current generation to do.

        My primary quibble is with this idea that the a lifetime secure career path was the “old order”. In fact it was a historical and economic change from the norm. My skepticism that the new “old order” could be recreated is high and if it cannot be recaptured then what is the point in moaning over it? It’s like conservatives moaning about the disappearance of white male dominated nuclear families: they weren’t as common as conservatives claim, they weren’t as great either and they sure as hell ain’t coming back.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        North,
        Recreating the zaibatsu doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore, does it?Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Historically, what has happened when there was a massive loss of faith in the order of things?
        A. Good Things
        B. Bad Things

        There is some talk now of Marc Thiessen’s victory dance in the WaPo about winning the torture debate- that Americans highly approve of torture.
        A debatable point maybe, but what isn’t debatable, is how the torture debate is driven by fear and anxiety.

        What does this have to do with economics?
        Everything. That inchoate anxiety and fear that is felt doesn’t express itself in a rational logical way- fear never does.
        It manifests itself in xenophobia, in a snarling churlish attitude towards each other; You see it on the Right, in their endless panic about FEMA camps and the Social Security Administration stockpiling bullets. It shows up in the constant drumbeat about the imaginary need to wear a gun on a trip to the supermarket. Fear, anxiety, unpredictability everywhere and always.

        The argument made by market liberals is that markets need dynamism and creative destruction to work more efficiently. But what isn’t mentioned often is how they also need peace and trust and stability and predictability.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @north

        I actually agree with you and Lee that the post War period might have been an exception to the rule of long-term and wide-spread general prosperity but you also have to admit that hundreds of millions of people grew up knowing this as the norm and not many of us were exactly taught that said period was a freakish exception to the rule. I don’t remember anyone saying that until Piketty.

        The farthest truth-telling ever got was “those jobs aren’t coming back.” I think any politician or pundit who came out with “we are returning to the historical norm and there is nothing we can do about it” would quickly find themselves unemployed.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Is anyone denying that for the average person, today’s world encompasses more risk, more fear and more uncertainty? Does anyone want to really make the argument that cheaper cell phones are adequate compensation?

        I deny it.

        For one, who is this “average person?” It wasn’t minorities. It wasn’t women. It wasn’t people still living in grinding rural poverty (as in no electricity poverty) well into the ’60s.

        This thing that you have nostalgia for, it likely never existed but for a minority of folks anyway.

        And you can belittle cell phones all you want, but there are parts of the world where people rely on cell phones to get information and access to banking services that they never had access to before.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        I should have referenced Krugman’s column from last week-
        “All of this suggests some uncomfortable historical analogies. Remember, this is the second time we’ve had a global financial crisis followed by a prolonged worldwide slump. Then, as now, any effective response to the crisis was blocked by elite demands for balanced budgets and stable currencies. And the eventual result was to deliver power into the hands of people who were, shall we say, not very nice.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Republicans and DLC types seem to be very capable of saying things like “we are returning to historical norms and there is nothing we can do about it” and win elections. They usually sugar coat things a little bit but not really that much. Some don’t even try to hide it like when the directly attack welfare state provisions designed to make the market more bearable. They run on economic Calvinism and get elected. Many people do get that they are saying “this is the way things are and nothing can be done about it” from their speeches and statements.

        If the electorate accepts the propositions of the free market or is fatalistic about things than you can run a campaign based on economic Calvinism.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        LWA,
        Yeah, well… That’s Krugman. He’s right, but that and a buck fifty will get you a burger.
        Walmart ain’t getting rich on stability and trust. Markets can continue to be functional as they drive people into the grave — sometimes screaming.

        When you see a wave of orphans pouring out of Mexico? You see a market malfunction.
        Other people see opportunity.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        jr,
        cellphones are even more useful than you think.

        lee,
        “returning to the historical norms” is a sign that someone lacks imagination or intelligence. Twenty years from now, we will have a “new history”… and we’ll see where that leads.
        Pentagon thinks war, but, um, that’s their job. I think they consider any change as “likely to lead to war”.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r
        Again with the false dichotomy!
        Who is saying we have only 2 alternatives-
        1. Jim Crow/ Mad Men World;
        2. 21st Century Neo Gilded Age

        There isn’t any other way to deal with globalism than what we have now? Are you sure about that?
        For example, look at the Cromnibus bill that recently passed Congress- where the bankers wrote in provisions to allow them to gamble with public assurance of bailouts; and put union pensions behind bondholders in risk ;
        Did that have to happen, or else the entire global economy would crater?
        What if – off the top of my head-
        1. We reinstated the New Deal era banking regulations?
        2. Reclassified “independent contractors” as employees?
        3. Raised the top marginal tax rates?
        4. Allowed Card Check for union organizing?

        The main argument I keep hearing is that there is only the current status, or else Luddism.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        All of this suggests some uncomfortable historical analogies. Remember, this is the second time we’ve had a global financial crisis followed by a prolonged worldwide slump. Then, as now, any effective response to the crisis was blocked by elite demands for balanced budgets and stable currencies. And the eventual result was to deliver power into the hands of people who were, shall we say, not very nice.

        I’m surprised that Krugman, of all people, has come around to Amity Shlaes’ view of the Great Depression.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r

        I am going to agree with @lwa

        No one on the left is arguing that we need to bring back Jim Crow or even more homophobia or sexism to get back economic stability. I think at LWA’s suggestions are rather good and don’t involve racism. Reclassifying independent contractors as employees will probably help more minorities and ending subcontracting.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Who is saying we have only 2 alternatives

        As far as I can tell, absolutely no one.

        The point is that your view of the past if largely imaginary, which in turn, colors your imaginary view of the present.

        The argument made by market liberals is that markets need dynamism and creative destruction to work more efficiently. But what isn’t mentioned often is how they also need peace and trust and stability and predictability.

        If you really believe this, it is only because you spend more time reading critiques of economic liberalism than you do the actual writing of economic liberals.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        No one on the left is arguing that we need to bring back Jim Crow or even more homophobia or sexism to get back economic stability.

        I think at LWA’s suggestions are rather good and don’t involve racism. Reclassifying independent contractors as employees will probably help more minorities and ending subcontracting.
        The problem is that your solutions are not actually solutions, simply preferred outcomes. How exactly do you think that you can force firms to replace contractors with permanent employees? Are you going to have the government mandate that every firm hire a certain number of employees? Are you going to make contract work illegal? What about all the people that would like to work as contractors?Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Will someone fix that second blockquote?

        Thanks.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        jr,
        I agree. there is nothing in these “ideas” to stop a company from, say, rehiring workers as “contractors” from another company, with lower benefits.

        And contractors are a way to have small businesses that function without child labor.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r

        The problem is that your solutions are not actually solutions, simply preferred outcomes.

        Given that everyone’s policy preferences are preferred outcomes and not “solutions” I’m not sure how this is a very interesting remark.

        How exactly do you think that you can force firms to replace contractors with permanent employees?

        Why would we force them?

        Are you going to make contract work illegal? What about all the people that would like to work as contractors?

        Granted, certain folks like working as contractors and certain jobs are particularly amenable to contract fulfillment.

        However, to the extent that the legal requirements for someone to be classified as an employee vs. a contractor, and the responsibilities due those classification also affects how companies hire, a mis-alignment between requirements and responsibilities creates incentives for employers to hire “contractors” when they would otherwise be hiring “employees” and vice versa.

        Predictable iterative games between employers and the labor pool, and between employers competing with each other, then can produce more “contractors” than is suitable.

        Changing the rules and/or the requirements for responsibilities due to contractors can provide different incentives.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r

        I think this depends on how we define contractor.

        There are people who are true independent contractors who get to control their labor and time and projects as long as they do their work in a satisfactory manner.

        And then there are people who are called freelancers or independent contractors or contingent employees but don’t really control any of the above and are suspiciously like employees without any benefits like health insurance or paid time off.

        I’ve been both. And @patrick is right about the incentives for employers to put as many people into the second paragraph as necessary.

        Why should policy prefer the people who are in the first category or want to be in the first category over the second?

        http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/12/what-we-give-up-when-we-become-entrepreneurs.html

        This article seems relevant.

        ‘The economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald set out to find the answer in their 1998 paper, “What Makes an Entrepreneur?,” which has since become a minor classic in the field. Their main discovery was not at all what I would have expected. I thought they’d find that the unifying theme among entrepreneurs was an outsize willingness to take risks. No. It was very different, almost the contrary, and much more concrete: “The probability of self-employment depends positively upon whether the individual ever received an inheritance or gift.”

        In other words, those who already have some form of security are the people most apt to work for themselves—and by a wide margin, the authors added, even when factoring in “personal, family, and geographic characteristics.” This would likely explain why one of the largest dives in self-employment in the U.S. happened in 2007, just after the cratering of the housing market. “Home ownership made it possible to be self-employed,” explains Blanchflower, a professor of economics at Dartmouth. “They had something to borrow off of. You can’t do this now.”’

        This fits with what I know. There are people who started their own law firms and other businesses by necessity because of the law school crash and these people are not happy campers and not necessarily making it. There is a big difference between founding your own business because you have to and founding your own business because you have security and you want to. You can at least recognize this on a psychological level.

        There is also the fact that a lot of people who predict more freelancing as the norm are usually in cushy positions with security themselves and that is grating.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Some people only care about outcomes. Other have principles, which, oddly enough, lead to their preferred outcomes.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      North, I more or less agree with you as always but many people are at least perceiving themselves to be in economic distress these days. They may or may not be right but there is at least an idea that its much more difficult to achieve a good material life than it was in the past. The spector of growing educational and other debt is nothing to laugh about. Its important to at least address these concerns because revolution can happen in good economic times. Before the debacle of World War I, the entire reigns of Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II were economic boom times for Russia. People were still discontented. Cuba before Castro was one of the richest countries in Latin America. Only the Southern cone countries of Argentina and Chile were better off economically. The Revolution still occured.

      The chances of America suffering a Marxist revolution are exceedingly small and would require divine intervention. I’m basically a neo-liberal like you but believe that government regulation and intervention is necessary to blunt out the less desirable features of the market economy. I’m also agianst key government services being run by private entities. Being a liberal, these include things like food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education, and time off from work for me.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Once this recession and its aftermath shakes out and we can eyeball where people actually stand there may be a discussion to be had Lee. I grant it’s possible that people are actually worse off. I’m skeptical, but it’s possible. Student debt is certainly a knotty problem, I agree, but I strongly suspect that a conversation about student debt would not go in the direction that university adoring liberals like your brother may like- there is a lot of hard questions that can be asked about university funding, student loan provision etc.

        We’re both neolibs which means, of course, we both have different levels of government involvement we think is wholesome. I won’t go into that but I definitly grant we both see the state playing an integral role.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        North, I actually see myself as a liberal than a neo-liberal. I’m a firm believer in FDR’s statement that a “necesitous man is not a free man.” Collective ownership of the means of production is a deeply dumb idea but so is letting the market run free. The state has a valid role in blunting the sharp edges of capitalism and getting business people not to follow their worst instincts. My tolerance for state action is a lot higher than yours. My ideal solution to the cost of housing is Viennese type social housing, which combines affordable rents with desirable public housing. I realize that this isn’t remotely possible in the United States but it seems to be the best solution overall.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        What I also wrote is that perception matters just as much as the reality of the situation or just not more. The periods before the Russian and Cuban Revolutions were times of rising prosperity from a statistical point of view. Pre-Castro Cuba was probably the third wealthiest country in Latin America after Argentina and Chile. The stastistics bear this out. This didn’t prevent Castro from seizing control because enough people didn’t feel that prosperous even though thery were from an objective point of view.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        My ideal solution to the cost of housing is Viennese type social housing, which combines affordable rents with desirable public housing. I realize that this isn’t remotely possible in the United States but it seems to be the best solution overall.

        The thing about affordable housing is that in places like New York and San Francisco, there’s only so much room. If you subsidize some people’s rent, that pushes other people out. Unless the government spends huge amounts of money to subsidize building up higher—a slightly more efficient use of a welfare budget than implementing public transit via chauffeured Ferraris—it can’t actually enable more people to live in those places. It just reallocates the available housing.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        @brandon-berg

        Have you ever been to Singapore? All public housing is high rise over here.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        @murali No, but I’m thinking of going there this year. Anyway, the fact that the government does it doesn’t mean it’s efficient.

        Also, all public housing? Singapore is several hundred square kilometers. Is much of that uninhabitable?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      @north

      1. I will be more impressed with the prices for everything is going down argument when my landlord announces that he is not going to raise the rent or I can actually negotiate with an insurance company over price and keeping the same coverage instead of going to high deductible bronze or catastrophic plan. Or my insurance company announces a premium decrease instead in of an increase.

      I also question whether prices for consumer goods are really down or not. Maybe this is too upscale as an example but it seems to me that the thing about national brands is that they more or less charge the same price across the United States. A pair of pants from JCrew or 7 For All Mankind costs the same whether you live in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Portland, or Minneapolis. Similar tier restaurants also seem to charge the same prices for items based on a perusal of items. I will admit that prices for drinks at bars does vary significantly. So in some ways it makes sense to live in an area with higher income like SF if the price of clothing is going to be the same across the nation or the price of meals at restaurants.

      And yes free trade does let me get berries (which I love) out of season but then I can read articles about how those fruits and veggies are likely picked by child labor.

      http://graphics.latimes.com/product-of-mexico-children/

      So Kimmi is not completely making up stuff here.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        all due respect, but if rent was actually going down in the San Francisco area, I’m not sure you’d notice it. Truth be told, I’m not terribly well aware of Pittsburgh Metro housing prices — and I try to keep informed.

        In the age of the internet, living in a high cost of living area is a good thing, particularly when so much of your money can get invested in housing.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe if your taste in housing didn’t run to the most desirable couple thousand acres on the continent exclusively you’d have better luck. Insurance wise I don’t see why you couldn’t negotiate with the insurance industry over prices/coverage’s. Switch companies, change plans, seems pretty plausible to me. The ACA has made some good progress in that department on health insurance plans if you shop around on the exchanges.

        I think you kind of covered your second paragraph in the first sentence. Have you ever heard of Old Navy or Ragstock? Or Target?

        My answer to Kimmie above is the same as my answer to you would be; it sucks, that’s how we did it, until we can actually create an alternative path (tip: no one has) then do we have the right to bar other nations from following the one we did?

        Neolibs don’t claim their positions are a panacea, they just say it’s the most practical and productive one given the alternatives. I have no doubt left liberals can imagine something better and then compare the messy reality to the imagined one with great criticism- left liberals are an imaginative bunch. I respect it but if left-liberals (or supply sider conservative mouth breathers) wanna run the world economy I think it’s fair to ask them to show their math.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @north

        1. I moved to SF during the recession, not during tech 2.0. There was no way I could predict that Tech 2.0. I also moved here for school. I suppose I could move to somewhere else but that would mean taking a risk and moving to place without a job, friends, or other contacts and those sorts of social safety nets are important even for well-educated people.

        2. H&M, Old Navy, Zara, etc are very cheap. This is true. They are also made in a very shoddy manner and will fall apart in a year or less. The entire point of those lines is to get people to buy more and this leads to a huge surplus of clothing, environmental waste, and also the destruction of native textile industries in places like Africa because the market is flooded with old American clothing as donations. A guy from law school bought a suit from H&M for interviews and within a year you could see the seams splitting and it wasn’t because he put on weight.

        IKEA is cheap but pressboard is not environmentally sound and IKEA products are not structurally sound.

        http://www.amazon.com/Overdressed-Shockingly-High-Cheap-Fashion/dp/1591846544

        So you can make fun of me for buying more expensive stuff or you can also realize that cheap and plentiful is not always good.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        Yes, of course there was no way you could predict Tech 2.0. Despite the fact that you’re obviously a bright individual, and that most of the facts were on the table already. What did they teach you in grad school, anyway? I thought that was supposed to be about how to research — as you point out later, that’s a big decision.

        Who’s selling Dow Chemical furniture?
        http://www.stolaf.edu/people/jackson/08-124/gbreport/bioboard_j05.pdf

        I’ve never had an IKEA piece be not-structurally-sound. Maybe that’s because I don’t buy their cheapest items, or look for the ones with a 5 year warranty…Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw I get very nice made-to-measure shirts and suits for not much more than off the rack clothes and quality a million times higher.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mo

        I’ve done that for business/dress shirts (well it was a birthday present). It is not as good for casual shirts. Part of the thing is aesthetics/design:

        http://www.endclothing.com/brands/our-legacy/our-legacy-six-shirt-227491.html

        I don’t own this shirt but it is interesting and I like the design and playing with texture and color.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        That shirt’s got grease stains on it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        A HUNDRED AND NINTY DOLLARS??? DOES IT COME WITH A TELEBISION?Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird Where can I get a telebision? Is it the next big thing? Do you know something we don’t?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird – hey, it’s already on sale, down from $329. You’re lucky it doesn’t come with a sock to the jaw.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Glyph,
        this may fall under “nobody buys full price” sales model.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        $329??? DOES IT COME WITH A FIVE DAY PARKHOPPER PASS TO DIZZYLAND???Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird

        No. I don’t really care about TV. I once had family friends come and visit and the first thing they noticed was my smallish and oldish TV. I am not looking to get a new one until this one breaks because I don’t need to watch TV.

        This is sort of fascinating to me. No one ever says something like “Why would you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a video game system, TV, audio system, etc?” But the idea of spending a bit more money on a shirt (and I can find examples that are a lot more expensive) is surprising. I am not much of an audiophile, I don’t need to spend 1000s of dollars on a music system and I honestly can’t tell a difference in sound quality unless a system is really, really bad. I don’t need to turn my apartment into a concert venue or a club. So why is it shocking in the world that I would take money saved from that and spend it on something that I find more interesting or worthwhile? I also don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on tattoos because I don’t feel a need or desire to get inked as they say.

        @glyph

        It has texture and depth of color and is interesting. Here is an example you can see up close:

        http://www.gentrynyc.com/collections/our-legacy/products/50s-shirt-vegetable-blue

        You can see the differences in texture and color if you look at the picture focused on the guy’s shoulder.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I could understand buying a suite of shirts for $329. Perhaps a shirt template that would, for a small fee, allow me to wear whatever shirts I wanted in a variety of sizes and colors.

        This is a single shirt. It’s not even hypercolor.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        “Here are these things that are incredibly practical, have multiple uses, and a great deal of cultural relevancy, and here’s a piece of clothing that I might wear twice a month 4 months out of the year for 3 or 4 years. Why do other people not equate these things the way I do?!?!”Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @glyph @jaybird

        I probably wouldn’t buy it at half off but if I got lucky and they reduced it to 65 percent or further down, I’d consider it. If you have enough patience and can wait until end of season sales you can do well.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul et alia:
        He lives in San Francisco, which has about double the cost of living as Pittsburgh. Therefore, he’s looking at an $80 shirt. Which I don’t find too insanely out of line (however, I wouldn’t pay that for cotton…).

        http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+States&city1=Pittsburgh%2C+PA&city2=San+Francisco%2C+CA

        I do find it surprising that Saul isn’t much of a fan of TV (or an audiophile, though I buy Klipsch so I’m not crazy-expensive), given that he was in the theater arts program. I like to be able to read what the authors figured the audience would never be able to see.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        you live in SF, and presumably hang around people who like to dress like they know fashion (discl: i don’t). Anyone you know buy stuff like this on full price?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @kimmi

        I had a friend in law school who I saw buy an expensive pair of shoes at full price. They were a brand that rarely goes on sale.

        I’ve heard stories of people from Tech who buy at full price every season. One tactic that more expensive stores do is buying a lot of product but only one or two of each size. I’ve heard of a guy from Goggle who would buy the entirety of a particular line in Large as soon as it came out.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        1. Don’t tell me how much I will use or wear a particular item. I’ve owned stuff for a long time and worn it frequently.

        2. Cultural relevancy is in the eye of the beholder. I do not come from a culture or background that held tattoos to be important or relevant. Am I required to find them culturally relevant because other people do? If someone likes tattoos, all the power to them, get as much ink as they want. I am not them though.

        3. I never said that I didn’t spend money on music and concerts. I just said that my old stereo system suits my needs and I don’t need to spend tons of money on a huge and expensive sound system. Nor do I need a 50 inch TV and the latest video game console.

        4. There are a lot of sneaker stores I see where the same young guys line up every week or nearly every week to buy expensive pairs of sneakers at full retail price. These sneakers cost 200 dollars a pop or more. They usually buy one for themselves and a pair to sell on ebay or something. Sometimes they have people wait online for them because the stores limit sales to one pair per a person. I’ve read and heard stories in the media that this sneakermania is an important part of hip-hop culture. Is it better or more correct for these young guys to spending 250 dollars or more weekly on a pair of sneakers because they can connect it to hip-hop culture and am I just interesting in something because of how it looks?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s not the same shirt….Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I think you’ve missed my point entirely. But you’ve missed it every time you’ve raised that silly comparison, so I’m not going to belabor the point.

        Cultural relevancy is in the eye of the beholder.

        Cultural relevancy is determined by the individual’s perception is sorta a strange thing to say, don’t you think?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Fifty-*TWO* inch tv.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Additionally, I think that those hippity-hoppy guys would be better served buying a good, solid pair of Doc Martens. Sure, it’s around 200 bucks for a pair, but they’re comfortable, provide good orthopedic support, and can be worn casually and, if cared for, to more formal affairs.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @glyph

        Sorry. I was using a different example because the pictures gave more detail.

        @chris

        My comments to @jaybird were merely ones of interest. He is one of our libertarians and theoretically shouldn’t have any problem with how a person chooses to spend their money. Yet he is seemed rather shocked that a high-end fashion item exists. This is not the first time I’ve encountered this. People have an idea that for certain items costs shouldn’t go above X. So that the idea that there are items that go above X and people are willing to spend money on that is incomprehinsible. I am rather laizee-faire with how people spend their recreational money. Wanna spend on tattoos or an expensive stereo system? That is cool with me. I just find it curious when people can justify spending X on their preferred items but get all balky at someone else making a different choice and saying “You can buy X amount of shirts for half that price” without thinking about things like design/aesthetics/etc.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        You’ve used the “People spend $300 on an entertainment system and no one cares. Why do I get heat for spending $300 on a shirt?!” comparison at least half a dozen times ’round these parts, and each time it just looks sillier and sillier.

        Consider a similar comparison: “Some people spend $25,000 on a vehicle that they use to get to and from work, take their children to school and ballet, go to the grocery store, travel out of town to visit relatives, and much, much more. Why do they get on my case for spending $25,000 on a birthday party for my dog if that’s what I like instead of cars?!” Now, your clothing is not a birthday party for dogs, but I use the extremes to highlight the difference that I’m trying to express to you, and that you elide every time in order to rationalize behavior you feel people judge you for.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        You’ve lived in Japan, probably even eaten Japanese rice. I’m certain you can tell me exactly how much of an upcharge there is on Japanese sourced cotton, and how much of it is paid by the Taxpayer.

        I’m willing to understand that some things cost more — but despite not knowing high fashion, I can at least know a bit about agriculture.

        Chris,
        Entertainment is Entertainment. If you spent $5,000 on a car that you don’t need (you take the bus to work, and can take the bus to other necessities, say), and Saul spends $5,000 on a wardrobe that he doesn’t need (we’re removing the worksuits, here), who’s really to care?

        I certainly don’t.

        If I’m going to criticize Saul, it’s going to be about him not saving money (to get a house, or other investments) when he’s clearly doing well enough to afford dates and fancy clothing.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris – that’s not really being entirely fair. Yeah, you admit you are going to extremes but at extremes the issue is clear, and $200 isn’t at those extremes yet IMO. Saul reasonably compared a $200 non-necessity shirt to other non-necessity things like a $200 stereo, or a $200 tattoo.

        We don’t usually hassle the guy with the $200 tattoo, and that tat won’t even keep him warm outside. Shit man, I’ve spent $200 on records in a single trip to Amoeba back in the day, and I can’t eat records. That’s ridiculous.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        He is one of our libertarians and theoretically shouldn’t have any problem with how a person chooses to spend their money.

        Just because I think a given thing shouldn’t be illegal does not mean that I still can’t look down my nose at it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I got really disillusioned with Amoeba, because I bought 10 records there once, and even a week later there were still only 10 of them.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        His go-to comparison is always the entertainment system or television.

        The others I have little problem with. $300 for shoes is silly, but I doubt anyone who raises a brow at his $700 pants is defending $300 for shoes. $200 for a tattoo is an interesting comparison, perhaps, because it might highlight some differences (unlike most shirts, $300 or otherwise, a tattoo stays with you everywhere you go, for the rest of your life, for better or worse). Still, I doubt anyone who’s raising their eyebrows… you get the point.

        The reason the entertainment system is so different is precisely because of how practical it is. It does multiple things that you can use everyday, for hours if you like. It’s a very functional thing, even if most of its functions are entertainment ones. What’s more, and I haven’t mentioned this because I assume it’s obvious, if you get an entertainment system because you want to do the myriad things it does, you pretty much have to pay $300, and you won’t have to buy another one for years, though you may want some upgrades at some point (more memory, say). Shirts? You gotta have more than one of those, and you have to have pants to go with them. Preferably socks and underwear too. And you can get all of those things for a lot less than $300. You can even get really nice ones for a lot less than that. Ones that will last you a really long time, keep you warm, look nice on a date, etc.

        Am I being unfair in criticizing his repeated use of this as his comparison? I don’t think so. It’s an absolutely terrible comparison.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh, and it is completely ridiculous that you can’t eat records!Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        And now you are missing my point. I clearly said I am not an audiophile and can function just as well with a less expensive stereo system. I don’t even know how old my stereo is, probably over ten years old. I got my parents old set when my burnt out because of a power surge a few years ago. And it is pretty small and they just used it in their old bedroom. The sound is about the same quality tome as my iHome doc for my ipod.

        If someone is an audiophile, it completely makes sense for them to spend more.

        I think a tattoo comparison is relevant.

        What would you consider to be a relevant example of consumer choice without stepping on your toes of those you hold to higher cultural authenticity because you consider the shirt completely bougie?

        @glyph

        You could eat those records but I bet your stomach would regret it 😉

        @kimmi

        I can save more and have resolved to this year. I just do a short term term justification thing too well, just like every other human.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Dude, you’re the only one here with an obsession with authenticity. The fact that you project your obsession of authenticity onto other people’s criticisms of your rhetoric, and perhaps your choices, suggests to me that you’re deeply insecure about it. But I’m not saying anything about how authentic you are. I’m not even sure what we’d be talking about, if we were talking about authenticity in this context.

        Now, your fetishism, that we can talk about: the fact that you’ve pretty much divorced these objects entirely from their use, so much so that you can compare extremely different objects as though they were the same and use them to criticize other people’s choices as a defense of your entirely unrelated ones (except in the grossest economic sense), is pretty straightforward.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        “People have an idea that for certain items costs shouldn’t go above X. So that the idea that there are items that go above X and people are willing to spend money on that is incomprehinsible.”

        cost of college says whatReport

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Housing!Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        hey are also made in a very shoddy manner and will fall apart in a year or less. The entire point of those lines is to get people to buy more and this leads to a huge surplus of clothing, environmental waste, and also the destruction of native textile industries in places like Africa because the market is flooded with old American clothing as donations.

        I won’t comment on the environmental waste and the “destruction of native textile industries” arguments. But I will point out that I usually shop at a thrift store for clothes and many of those happen to be Old Navy and probably some of the other brands you mention. That means there’s so much surplus that someone has seen fit to give it away, either for a tax write off or for charities’ sake or just because they don’t like waste. Those clothes don’t last a huge amount of time, but they cost me a fraction of even the cheap (cf.’d to $100+ articles) prices offered by the original sellers.

        My point is, that abundance is not always waste. Sometimes it’s a positive good.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        So in some ways it makes sense to live in an area with higher income like SF if the price of clothing is going to be the same across the nation or the price of meals at restaurants.

        Actually, if you’re complaining about rising rent, the reverse is true, assuming all other things are equal. Average rent in NYC is over $3000/month nowadays; SF is higher. Average rent in, say, Cleveland is a little over $750/ month. That’s a difference of $27,000/year just on rent.

        (Restaurant prices, by the way, are not in fact usually all that comparable: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&city1=Cleveland%2C+OH&country2=United+States&city2=New+York%2C+NY)

        Assuming a two income household, that means that, on rent alone, and before factoring other local cost of living issues, you’ll have more disposable income outside of NYC, SF, etc. if your household income is within $27,000 of what it would be inside NYC, SF, etc.

        Median household income in Cleveland proper, one of the poorest cities in the country, is $24,257 (if you change the scope to include all of Cuyahoga County, this bumps way up to $43,000+, but the median rent bumps up only to about $900/month). Median household income in NYC proper is $50,711. http://project.wnyc.org/median-income-nabes/

        That’s a difference of just about exactly $27,000 before factoring other cost of living issues in. And, if you are ok with living just a few minutes’ drive from Cleveland, the difference in median income is just about $7000, meaning that at the median, you’re going to have about $20,000 extra in household disposable income by living in Cuyahoga County than in Brooklyn (ie, Kings County). At the median, that $300 shirt is about 1 percent of your disposable pre-tax income in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In Brooklyn, that $300 shirt is 2 percent of your disposable pre-tax income.

        And, oh yeah, your state taxes are going to be noticeably higher in New York and California than Ohio: http://taxfoundation.org/blog/top-state-income-tax-rates-2014Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      I also think that @lwa has a very valid point about the stability that those old Kodak jobs provided. What are those people doing now? Did they move onto equally stable employment or did they move to lower paid service jobs without any benefits and employers who scream holly hell at the idea of having to give healthcare and cut hours?

      This fall I read a book on the History of Liberalism. There was a section about an economist (I can’t remember his name unfortunately but I think he was French) and the author described said economist as understanding that most people like stability in their economic lives and it is only a small percentage of free market absolutists and adventure-seekers who can thrive on market anarchy.

      I am not sure whether home ownership is a necessary good or not. There are other countries where many people do not buy homes and they do okay (though their housing laws are different). But it does provide stability and home purchases are a big part of the American economy and people are fretting about how millennials are not purchasing homes or condos. LWA is right. How can you expect people to make such a big purchase when they can’t assume employment stability? I’ve gone through three long term contract positions in two and a half years and with three periods of unemployment of varying length because of the Great Recession. That is not a position that gets people thinking about home ownership and I am not alone in going through this.

      How do you think politics is going to shape out if you have a large generation that knows nothing but temping and freelancing? Do you expect it to stay relatively moderate?Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The Democratic Party is not where it was in 1992 when it was hit by significant defeats in the 1980s and felt a need to moderate to stay relevant.

    Keep in mind that, in 1992, the Democratic Party got 43% of the vote (and, in 1996, still didn’t break 50%).

    I don’t know that the Democratic Party in 1992 was where it thought it was in 1992.Report

  7. Avatar j r
    Ignored
    says:

    I am not sure why massive wealth to a mere 13 people is a better sign of progress than 140,000 decent salaries with benefits like insurance, pension, and vacation.

    @saul-degraw, how about some acknowledgement that you completely cherry-picked an example to make a claim that no one is actually making. I get the desire to make the progressive points that you feel are not being made, or not being made enough, but how about dealing with these issues in a way that doesn’t have you constructing and dispatching with straw men with the efficiency of an assembly line.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Also, “$1 billion to 13 people” isn’t actually how this works. Investors get a big chunk, and they presumably sunk a lot of money into losing investments before Instagram, because that’s how tech investment works. Take a bunch of long shots knowing that most will go broke in the hopes that at least one pays off big. Which is to say, a lot of the proceeds from the Instagram sale went to paying back investors for paying the salaries of engineers at other companies that never made it.Report

  8. Avatar dhex
    Ignored
    says:

    “a generation was learning that Government was nothing but a problem.”

    except for the terrible “highbrow” culture stuff that would surely dominate (57 channels of off-off broadway stomping on a human face until opera season starts), i sometimes want to live in the america that lives in your head.

    what generation was this and where did they go? where are these anarchists? i was not aware a generation went to abc no rio daycare.

    (and now i’m daydreaming of an abc no rio daycare center project)Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to dhex
      Ignored
      says:

      Clearly we’re talking about Government Prime, the concept used by conservatives to mean “The Aspects of Government That I Do Not Approve Of.” It’s similar to the Budget Deficit Prime, which means “Spending Money on Things I Don’t Want to Spend Money On.”Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to dhex
      Ignored
      says:

      This is what happens when you allow political narratives to trump historical and social scientific understanding of events. Political narratives are the least reliable for conveying what actually happened/is happening.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Bingo, j r.

        Even if you or I agreed with the claim that things are worse now (13 mega-richies is worse than 140,000 middle classers) Saul proposes no mechanism to return us to those sun-dappled, halcyon days. And given the realities on the ground in 2014, what would such a mechanism even look like? Early in her ’08 campaign, Hillary, to her credit in my view, proposed a repatriation tax as a way to incent manufacturing and other firms to stay domestic. Even *that* minimal proposal was a political non-starter (even if it could have been defended on economic grounds) and was abandoned in only a handful of days.Report

      • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/11/overtime-pay-obama-congress-112954.html#.VKxacEZOKJJ

        Allow me to propose a mechanism to have more wealth in the hands of middle class workers instead of being spent on useless stock buybacks.

        Bring back PAID overtime. Get rid of the horrific UNPAID overtime we have decided that we all just have to live with.

        The best part is that the president has the authority to do it right now without congress. The not good part is he probably won’t.Report

      • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Looks like I was wrong the president is going to act. Hopefully he chooses a higher number than 42,000 a year but it is fantastic that he is acting.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    It is unclear to me what the beginning of this piece (Hilary) has to do with the rest (Cuomo).Report

  10. Avatar LWA
    Ignored
    says:

    A lot of the discussuions about globalism and neoliberalism seem to echo our discussions of the tuition-free California University system; that is, there seems to be an attitude that there simply is no way to affect this juggernaut of “progress”; Notice J-r’s response to my casual suggestions above.

    His questions are valid, but my point wouldn’t be to open up the field of inquiry about how to deal with globalism, rather than simply accept the logic that liberal markets are themselves a solution.

    For example, global trade isn’t something that just happened, like a natural phenomenon. The ground rules for how it works, who gets what, what the boundaries are, how they are enforced and by whom were all painstakingly worked out by many groups of stakeholders.
    Governments, business groups, trade organizations, banks all met many times to discuss and negotiate these rules and structures.

    Yet when those who are being left out- or those who BELIEVE they are being left out complain, we are admonished (By North on this thread, Roger on others, and many many public pundits elsewhere) to essentially shut up.

    The solution to the transition from the old order to the new one isn’t going to be settled here, or even proposed. But what can be discussed and agreed is that there is a tremendous sense, by people from all political persuasions across the world, that the current status quo is not working well for enough people.

    Its that sense of fear and anxiety that needs to be addressed and channeled into a constructive dialogue. Right now its being funneled into anti-immigrant sentiment, anti-intellectual sentiment, among others.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      edit- 2nd paragraph- “my point WOULD be…..Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      If I ever tell you to shut up, it’s because complaining doesn’t stop bullets.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re supposed to take your cheap goods, watch the breads and circuses on the Internet, and then go work at your crappy job, all while the “right” people make all the profits. Don’t ever think about asking for a raise, because there’s somebody out there, somewhere, who will do the work for less.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      @lwa

      I agree or I would say that it is the difference between real and nominal wages and there seems to be a good chunk of political-economic analysis that says only real wages matter and not nominal wages.

      I agree that purchasing power is important and can be very complicated. Something get cheaper while others remain the same and this can lead to being okay or better purchasing power. The issue is that it seems to be entertainment products (or certain kind of entertainment products) that get cheaper and sometimes this also comes with said products being made in a shoddy fashion, so you have to replace them often. The issue with the fast fashion that North mentions above is that it is designed to be bought and replaced very quickly and Americans buy an astonishing amount of fast fashion every year. This is not necessarily bad but it comes with negatives like waste.

      Nominal wages are important too because they at least help the perception that people are doing better or improving. I believe this was a argument between Keynes v. Austrians.

      I asked an economist friend about why economics tends to focus on consumption or people as workers/employees and he did admit that microeconomics can sometimes forget that models are not reality and they make an assumption of people having money.

      Completely concurred on your last paragraph.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      I often (s)troll through rightwing blogs like RedState, Instapundit, Hot Air and the like, and what I am finding is a surprising rise of populism.
      Its directed at “elites” which surprisingly enough turn out to be most often black university professors or ACORN community organizers. But increasingly the term “crony capitalism” is used- it never used to be mouthed by anybody not in Noam Chomsky’s coterie.

      I’m not optimistic about a right-left populist alliance, because white identity seems to be the main driving factor- but I think its noteworthy nonetheless, that its not just whiny left wingers who are disenchanted with economic liberalism.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        “Crony capitalism” to most of the right seems to translate to “subsidies for things I don’t like, especially if it involves liberal policies like renewable energy.” The same people who want the destruction of the Export-Import Bank (again, it could be good or bad) and the elimination of any subsidies for renewable energy also would call me a damn commie if I said, “well, how about these tax loopholes or that oil depletion allowance. ‘Cause that’d be raising taxes.

        I’ve got no problems, even if I disagree on policy, with somebody who wants a five page tax code and that’s it. But that’s not what the denziens of HotAir or the NRO actually want.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @lwa @jesse-ewiak

        One of the most brilliant coups pulled off by the modern Republican Party was:

        1. Making elite really be about a certain kind of consumption choice over income. Upper-middle class liberals are elite and they might be culturally elite but it is amazing how the Rush Limbaugh is just a regular guy despite his millions and his rather palatial real estate holdings and actually expensive tastes as well.

        2. Making everyone ignore that upper-middle class Republican elites have largely the same tastes and consumption preferences as the dreaded upper-middle class Brooklynites.

        My theory on this is that it is a kind realization that upper-middle class liberals are not really job creators. At best, they might own a small to medium sized business like a law firm or a medical office or a small design studio. Right-wing rich people are usually the ones that employ thousands of people. So it is all about not biting the hand that feeds you.

        I am also doubtful about a left and right populist alliance.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        One of the most brilliant coups pulled off by the modern Republican Party was…

        Attributing complex social dynamics to the Republican Party gives them far too much credit. For one, the specific relation you’re talking about, that is the contrast between economic elites and social or cultural elites, is hardly new. And the relationship between the working class and economic elites is much more complex and the causal relationships much more varied than a straightforward, unidirectional relationship with the actions of a major American political party.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        As @chris said, vast swathes of the American people have been apt to believe rich people calling other rich people “elitist” since probably, the Jefferson-Adams election.

        But, I do think the past 40 years, ever since the Powell Memo has been a new and impressive work of art by business elites to craft public opinion.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Come on, @chris!

        This was just getting good.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        Coincidentally, I was just reading this this morning, which has inspired me to use the word “embourgeoisée” in conversation once today already. I was going to try to sneak it into that comment, but I simply couldn’t figure out a way to make it fit.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        He makes a fine embourgeoisée, sautéed with a soupçon of false consciousness and a frisson flambé of material dialectic.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        That piece on Foucault is so in line with my own thinking, and my grounding in both Continental philosophy and Classical Liberalism, that I have no choice but to assume that it is a hoax.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        I thought you might appreciate it. I meant to send it to Jason K. as well, who has a similar appreciation for Foucault, but forgot (I think I tweeted it earlier, but it’s cedar fever time, so I’m kind of in a haze).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        There is an An und für sich discussion on the subject as well:

        https://itself.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/foucault-and-neoliberalism-aufs-event-thomas-nail-michel-foucault-accelerationist/

        (see the top left for a link to the other posts).Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        Thanks for the link. Interesting conversation. Although, I must say that the hardest part of accessing this debate is that it would require me to take the term “neoliberal” seriously.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to LWA
        Ignored
        says:

        It means something fairly specific in that context, and isn’t used to refer to the amorphous American political “ideology,” such as it is. That is, it means something very close to market libertarianism (the references to Hayek and Friedman), perhaps with social progressivism (feminism, gay rights, prison reform, that sort of thing).Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      So now we are at the part of the conversation where you guys start speaking in metaphor and unsubstantiated caricatures of what conservatives and libertarians might possible believe based on what Rush Limbaugh said or on what you read in the comments at RedState.

      That seems productive.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        jr,
        far nicer than talking about personal experience with the rich who run our world.
        That’s not caricatures, at that point — and any charges get remarkably specific.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r

        Between Erick Erickson and Jeb Bush, who do you think more accurately represents the conservative base?

        Serious question- If you were to toss out a few names who can represent the base, who would you name?Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I honestly don’t care who represents anyone’s base. That’s not the conversation that I have been having.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Then why object to anyone suggesting that Limbaugh and Erickson accurately represent the conservative base?

        They aren’t strawmen or caricatures- they really are the heart and soul of the conservative movement, 2015.

        Now Louis Gohmert, on the other hand…Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I think that that’d be similar to saying NPR and Kos represent the Liberal base.

        There is a slice of the Liberal base for which that is undoubtedly true. That slice shouldn’t be confused with the pie.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird
        I think its completely fair and accurate to say that Elizabeth Warren represents the liberal base, while NPR, Hilary Clinton and Obama represent the Democratic centrists.

        So who would YOU say represents the conservative base? Or are you trying to suggest that they are to diverse and disaggregated?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh, we’re moving from bloggers and radio personalities to politicians now?

        Fair enough.

        The problem is that the conservative base is made up of three distinct groups (and I’m sure you’ve heard this before): Social Conservatives, Fiscal Conservatives, and Defense Hawks. (Of course, someone can be two or three of these things, but if you strongly see yourself as primarily one of these things, that’s usually a good indicator of being a Republican voter.) (Additionally, each of these groups tends to have an associated group that doesn’t exactly match with them and tends to be opposed to one of the other groups. Socons are associated with the Paleocons, the Fiscons with the Libertarians, and the Hawks with the Neocons. Socons and Libertarians hate each other. Neocons and Paleocons hate each other. That sort of thing.)

        These groups tend to have a lot of issues that two of them can agree on but the last time that all three of them agreed on a presidential candidate, the Berlin Wall was still standing.

        Redstate tends to attract Social Conservatives first and foremost with a good strong showing for Defense Hawks. (Full Disclosure: I was banned from Redstate.) Rush Limbaugh tends to do well with Social Conservatives and Defense Hawks as well but only tends to point out that he’s a Fiscal Conservative when forced to do so (e.g., his statement about being relieved to not have to “carry water” after Republicans getting pasted in 2006.)

        As for which politician can best represent the Republican Party and all of its three main groups (let alone the sub-groups)?

        I dunno. Reagan was the last guy that I can think of that appealed to all of them. After Communism fell, there was no reason for all three groups to agree with each other. Well, 9/11 did a good job for a handful of years. That wore thin, though.Report

  11. Avatar Francis
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, we can continue to go over extremely well-trod ground, or we could actually try to expand the discussion a little.

    For example, it has never been clear to me why the WTO does not contain minimum environmental standards. We in the US decide that clean air, clean water and clean soils are such an important value that we adopt federal laws to enforce those standards. Then we allow manufacturers large and small to relocate their factories (excuse me, I meant to say “manage their supply chains” not “relocate their factories”) to countries that do not impose such restrictions.

    Wait, what? It’s not OK to pollute here, but it’s OK to pollute there, import the goods and compete on price with goods made locally that have to comply with local law?

    Yup. That’s a choice that various governments made. There are no mysterious impersonal economic forces mandating such an outcome, just a political one.

    Or we could look at the way that clothing retailers purchase goods from Thai factories that functionally use slave labor. Is that a Thai problem, or is it ours? The neoliberal solution, it appears to me, is to tell Thai workers that they need to solve their own problems through unionization and the exercise of political power. Isn’t there, however, a truly liberal solution that says that American corporations can be held liable for the actions of their contract manufacturers wherever in the world they are located?Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Francis
      Ignored
      says:

      Yup. That’s a choice that various governments made. There are no mysterious impersonal economic forces mandating such an outcome, just a political one.

      That is simply not true. The reason that most countries are not up to developed world standards in terms of environmental and labor policies have very little to do with choice or political will. Rather, implementing reforms is hard; it takes time and it takes capacity.

      Isn’t there, however, a truly liberal solution that says that American corporations can be held liable for the actions of their contract manufacturers wherever in the world they are located?

      No.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Of course there is a way. Consumer Choice.
        You might need to track down the supply chain yourself, of course.

        I know of a few third world supply chains… *shrugs*

        See, here it takes work, conscious effort on people’s part.

        Not just waving a flag and passing a law.

        The upside? You get to choose how much death, blackmail, or other nastiness you’re willing to put up with.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        That is my point, @kimmi. There is no central government solution that can fix these issues across the board. It requires work to implement and consumer choice to support.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        jr,
        you’d be willing to support legislation letting us get into people’s books a bit better? Supply chains are like trees in code, they can get pretty leafy…Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        So like, there is a tremendous desire within the world’s banking and manufacturing community to create American level environmental protections in say, China or India, but gosh darn it, its just too hard! Its not a political decision- really they would if they could- But maybe someday!

        Is that your argument?Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        “The reason that most countries are not up to developed world standards in terms of environmental and labor policies have very little to do with choice or political will. Rather, implementing reforms is hard; it takes time and it takes capacity.”

        ftr, when you negate yourself in sequential sentences, your argument loses most of its punch.Report

  12. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Kodak employed 140,000 people for good livings at the height of its power and Instagram only employed 13 people when they were purchased by Facebook for a billion dollars.

    It’s a software world. And the cost to reproduce and distribute software approaches zero. People are going to own fewer physical things in the future, and a whole lot more zeros-and-ones. Consider that many (most? I’m an old fart and a holdout) of us have, in our pocket, a device smaller than a paperback book that is a phone, a notebook of personal information, a camera, hundreds of rolls of film, hundreds of books, to some extent the newspaper and magazines, a primary music player, step counter for fitness freaks, deck of cards for solitaire, every road map ever printed but that updates to show closures and traffic jams as of this moment…

    Why did Kodak need 140,000 employees? Because they had to make things. Cameras, film, print paper, machines to develop the film and print the pictures, chemicals to load into those machines… We don’t make nearly so many things these days. We build nifty little general-purpose devices that can run different software in order to be many things, on demand.Report

  13. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    “There has been a lot of speculation about whether Hamlet-on-the-Hudson could have won the 1992 Democratic nomination for President and whether he could have beaten Bush I in the general election. ”

    As I recall, the scuttlebutt at the time was that he could not and would not because the ties to organized crime would be too easy to expose on a national stage.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      @tod-kelly

      This is the first I’ve heard about Cuomo having ties to organized crime. This sounds a lot like prejudice, hearsay, and slander. It sounds like something Lee Atwater would say to go against an urban, Italian-American politician.

      Cuomo partially attributed his liberalism to being discriminated against because he was Italian. When he graduated law school in the early 1950s, a Jewish or Italian last name was enough to get you found unhirable on Wall Street or at the big law firms. David Frum called Cuomo among the last white-ethnic Democrats in his obit last week.

      I personally think Cuomo in 1992 would have been a repeat of Smith in 1928 (maybe not that catastrophic a loss) and with just as much prejudice.Report

  14. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    “Instagram might be a cool consumer good but it does not pay the rent or the mortgage and does not pay the rest of the bills. ”

    OK, I’ll bite: Do you use a Kodak camera, printer, or video recorder? How much do you spend a year on other Kodak products?Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      This was my thought also. My son has a really nice Canon SLR, which he was able to afford when he was a high school student. He bought it on clearance, as no one really uses film anymore.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to aaron david
        Ignored
        says:

        As a serious question, where does he buy film? Where does he get it developed and printed? How often does he scan the good prints in order to share them?Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to aaron david
        Ignored
        says:

        @michael-cain
        I never asked, I just know that it was something he like to do while in high school a few years ago. This shop is in the town he goes to school in:
        http://photoshopslo.com/
        Not sure if he goes there, but it is available to him.

        I have never seen any of his pictures, so not sure if he saves any good ones (he is an intensely private person, so even as his father I don’t get these things handed to me. He recorded an entire album in the back of my old house, and I had no idea until it came up in casual conversation.)Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to aaron david
        Ignored
        says:

        Cool. I’m glad the medium isn’t dead. I recently bought a Raspberry Pi and camera module for a project, and in the course of investigating, was surprised by how many projects people had done using those components to put a digital back-end on a SLR camera in order to get access to good lenses.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      I actually believe that my photography skills have deteriorated because of digital cameras. I used a film camera throughout high school and college and was a pretty fair photographer. The limited amount of shots that I could take with film and the fact that I’d have to develop and store the photos I wanted to keep, forced me to think before taking a photo.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Implicit in my comment further up is that fact that digital cameras built into smartphones aren’t a replacement for high-end SLRs and serious photography. Smartphones are a omnipresent replacement for Brownies and 110 cassette film cameras and low-end digital cameras for taking billions of snapshots. My guess is that the typical smartphone today has a better lens and better exposure controls than most of the amateur film snapshot cameras ever sold.

        Saw an interesting comment within the last few years that asserts that as smartphone penetration has increased, Bigfoot and UFO sighting reports have decreased in proportion. If everyone knows you carry a smartphone, no one is willing to accept “I saw Bigfoot but didn’t have time to pull out my phone and take a snapshot.”Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      Kodak is still an $841 million company. It has revenues of $2.18 billion per year.

      Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away, indeed.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to ScarletNumbers
        Ignored
        says:

        With the business that remains having been allowed to exist by the bankruptcy court. I seem to recall reading at the time that it was a bit of a surprise that the judge signed off on the Chapter 11 reorganization — most people expected the case to be converted to Chapter 7 (liquidation). There was a lot of liquidation anyway. Kodak sold its entire digital imaging patent portfolio for cash. Kodak effectively gave its personal and document imaging divisions to the Kodak UK pension fund; the pension fund still lost something over a billion dollars Kodak owed it. Old shareholders got nothing. Unsecured creditors other than the pension fund got an estimated five cents on the dollar, much of it in the form of the new stock issue. The price of new shares is off 20% in the fifteen months since Kodak came out of court.

        An awful lot of people had to lose an awful lot of money so that there could still be a company named “Kodak” operating.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to ScarletNumbers
        Ignored
        says:

        IIRC they are relying more and more on IP licensing and patent enforcement than product.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to ScarletNumbers
        Ignored
        says:

        …relying more and more on IP licensing and patent enforcement than product.

        There have been several “Kodak” products announced in the run-up to CES this week. Every one that I have read through has turned out to be a device designed, built, and marketed by some other company. Kodak’s involvement has been the licensing of their name. There are rumors going around that 2014 has been a disastrously bad year for the movie film division, and that the division will be either shut down or sold to a private-equity group at a fire-sale price before the end of 2015.Report

  15. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    @leeesq (down here!)

    Republicans and DLC types seem to be very capable of saying things like “we are returning to historical norms and there is nothing we can do about it” and win elections. They usually sugar coat things a little bit but not really that much. Some don’t even try to hide it like when the directly attack welfare state provisions designed to make the market more bearable. They run on economic Calvinism and get elected. Many people do get that they are saying “this is the way things are and nothing can be done about it” from their speeches and statements.

    I actually think this statement has a lot of merit that neoliberals like me should keep in mind (except for the gratuitous swipe at Calvinism). I do sometimes worry that the politics I promote becomes kind of a “just so” story. I often catch myself asking whether I’m just Dr. Pangloss. It’s not that I think I’m wrong about most of what I believe although I do doubt more than I probably let on in my comments and guests posts. But I do worry that in my lesser moments, I become merely an apologist for the way things are.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Gabriel Conroy
      Ignored
      says:

      Economic Calvinism was such a great turn of phrase that I couldn’t resist it.

      Most politics come across as just so stories to the other side. I’m sure that Saul’s social democracy seems like a just so story to those that don’t believe in social democracy. Most of the pro-market politics do seem uncaring or Panglossian to people that are doing so well.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Gabriel Conroy
      Ignored
      says:

      @north

      I think Lee is right on when he says that most politics just seems like “Just So” stories to the opposition. A lot of my resistance to conservatism and neo-liberalism is because it seems to have a status quo bias and, in my mind, confuses what is for what should be. I agree in general you can’t derive an ought from an is but I think politics needs to involve fighting for an ought.

      Of course ought is relative and subjective and I am a liberal wet who disagrees with many further to the left on what ought to be. I want to make life more equal but I generally think capitalism for many (but not all) things works well.

      I do think technological change does have downsides though that are treated as “just so” and I’ve seen neo-liberals like Matt Y and sometimes our @north have a strange tendency of describing themselves as cold-hearted rationalists. To me this seems to be a kind of “just so” where you don’t have to acknowledge that free trade and technological advancement have their downsides. This being child labor in Mexico for produce that ends up in American markets and struggling blue-collar workers.

      The talk of returning to a historic norm does not mean acceptance. We must fight for the better world.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I want to make life more equal

        With all due respect, Saul, I’m just not seeing this. What I see is you complaining ALOT that things (“the system” is a term you use frequently) aren’t the way you would like, but there is never a mechanism or a policy proposal series of changes which would bring about your vision. So it ends up sounding like a lot of bitching to me.

        Someone like j r (or North for that matter) tend to focus on two things in their comments. The first is to get clear on the empirical lay of the land in order to determine what’s going on and given that what may or may not be done to change it. That’s just descriptive stuff. Cause and effect and all that.

        The second is that they may make normative comments about how they think things should go. And often enough (usually, it seems to me) the normative claims they make are against the proposals which may realize your goals because they think it’ll fuck things up even worse. That’s why, in my view, these types of discussions are absolutely pointless unless you’re gonna actually propose a fix for what you view as fixable problems.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Sorry, been working most of the day.

        I have never claimed there are no downsides, emphatically the opposite. I readily acknowledge things like environmental damage, child labor and bad working conditions. I readily regret the incidences of such things. I also readily note that we haven’t found a development path that doesn’t travel through such things. We did it and the developing nations that joined us as developed nations did it. When I hear people like Francis above talking about developed nations using external or extra-national forces to block developing nations from doing or tolerating those (terrible) things I see a person who’s heart is in the right place. I also see a system where we’re talking about forcing undeveloped nations to remain undeveloped.

        If you want to insure that child labor disappears without shoving your nose into developing nations and trying to rule them from the outside? Convince first world consumers to prioritize child labor use over price en masses (good luck). If you start imposing environmental and labor standards on nations from outside that’s just economic colonialism. The people in developing nations are capable of demanding better environmental standards and working conditions for themselves. They can write their own standards. They can pass their own laws. I’m all for supporting them in doing so. I’m all for shaming corporations that try to evade such domestic laws. Doing it for them though? That’s just “white man’s burden” taking up again and developing nations would be well in their rights to tell us to fish off with it.

        As I said before, I’m all about improving the world but despite how much arch-liberals (and arch-conservatives) like snorting disdainfully about the numbers the math is what we use to measure stuff. Stuff that doesn’t fit easily into numbers probably doesn’t fit well into policy either.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @north re: Economic Colonialism-

        And yet- global trade and banking is constructed upon massive volumes of self-imposed, and government-imposed regulation that does everything from assure the reliability of international capital transfers, to industrial design standards, to legal protections for patents and trade treat agreements.
        GATT, WTO, NAFTA, and all the other trade agreements are very intrusive into the workings of sovereign nations, all in the interest of making capital and property flow effortlessly.

        Yes, third World nations CAN institute their own environmentl and worker protections. Thats our point! The only reason they don’t, is because the elites who run these countries have chosen not to. The people who suffer are not given a voice.

        Consider this example. It came to light that there was an active business in child brothels in Thailand. After enough embarrassing stories and shaming, the Thai government cracked down and found ways to reduce and suppress them.

        Yet child labor- young girls working in sweatshops- is given long articles describing why this is a structural problem that cannot be changed, and any attempts would be disastrous and unjust colonialism.

        So to sum up- 12 year old girls in brothels causing an embarrassment- changed swiftly, with a minimum of effort. 12 year old girls in factories? Impossible to change!

        Again- when the powers that be want economic and legal structures be put in place- they are put in place. When they don’t- they aren’t.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, actually, we’ve done it before.

        http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/12/can-create-international-trade-system-protects-labor-standards

        [quote]When the House initially rejected Clinton’s request to negotiate new trade deals in 1997, it forced him to bargain. One sop he threw labor was its proposal to include in a new trade deal with Cambodia a clause to incentivize the Cambodian government giving more rights to workers. The 1974 Multi-Fibre Agreement placed textile import quotas on the developing world in order to discourage a race to the bottom in the apparel industry. This Cambodian deal increased their quotas in exchange for more workers’ rights, including unionization. And it worked. Workers received $50 a month for a 48-hour week, received a dozen federal holidays, vacation days, sick leave, and maternity leave. This became the only free trade agreement with an enforceable labor provision. Overseen by the International Labour Organization, the deal included inspections and real incentives for apparel factory owners to comply. It wasn’t perfect of course, but it was the best agreement for workers yet made in a trade deal.

        But at the end of 2004, both the Cambodian agreement and the Multi-Fibre Agreement expired. With the latter, the modern race to the bottom in apparel production began. And the Cambodian workers’ protections immediately collapsed.[/quote]

        This isn’t exactly ya’ know, asking for people in the 3rd world to be paid $15/hr with a new laptop. These are basic standards. No, of course, once the agreements ended in the early 00’s ended under a less friendly administration, things went bad. Because all the protections were removed. Just like things would go bad if magically, the NLRB, minimum wage, and overtime laws disappeared overnight.

        The US government can do a whole lot. Hell, sometimes just the threats of sanctions work sometimes, such as when Tom Harkin introduced the Child Labor Deterrence Act back in the 90’s.

        But, to quote LGM again, [quote]For the last question on the potential of supporting a trade regime that actually protected people and the environment, the answer is that it depends. Were we to see real, enforceable standards on these trade agreements that held corporations and their CEOs specifically accountable for the actions of the companies, we could then debate whether trade agreements were worth it. But it’s pretty clear that, first, fewer American jobs would go abroad if this was the case and, second, that those jobs that are moved abroad would have less reason to again move if workers organized or a government decided to protect its citizens. So the immoral aspect of the global economy would decline and the rate of jobs leaving our borders would too. That’s a win-win. Ultimately, what we need is not all the jobs in the United States and none in poor nations. We need workers to have safe jobs with living wages and the right to organize without worry that the factory will move somewhere else. We need rivers running clean and kids not unable to study because the chemicals from apparel factories in the air and water give them headaches. If this happened, my objections to so-called free trade agreements would probably disappear, but then they wouldn’t be anything like current free trade agreements.[/quote]

        I think that’s the thing. None of us are saying Vietnam or India or Bangladesh will have Scandinavian worker’s rights tomorrow. But, this idea that, the US has no power to pressure other actors to maybe notch the horribleness for those working in sweatshops from a 10 to 7 and that it’s just impossible, and ya’ know, sorry, countries have to go a few decades with no safety conditions at all to move to the next step of economic evolution, even if we know improved safety conditions is a net win for everybody, I simply disagree fundamentally with that idea.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        LWA, I’m all for being supportive of improved democracy and government accountability in third world nations so that the non-elites are given a voice.

        Jesse, I didn’t say the US is powerless- quite the contrary, but that the US’s power in this area has a lot of potential for harming both us and our trading partners. There are costs, serious costs, to the kinds of protectionism you’re talking about (and it is protectionism with a cuddly “we’re helping international poor people” wrapper).Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *