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AvatarComments by Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater*

On “The GM Strike is Going to Take a While

Government action, or inaction, can make things cheap, or it can make things expensive.

A government dedicated to making houses cheaper would both reduce its scope in areas such as restrictive zoning, and expand its reach, in terms of mortgage subsidies and infrastructure.

And both of those are probably good ideas!

But your point- that technology makes things cheaper is the one that should concern us.

Because one of the ways it does that is by making human labor cheaper.

And worse, not all labor everywhere by an equal amount; So we get a wildly unpredictable world where one area gets a drought while other areas are flooded.


If the theory is, "Entrenched interests and regulatory requirements have stifled building construction" then we should ask how the consumer electronics industry somehow escaped this fate.

But maybe the comparison itself is wrong.

Is there a consumer demand for cheap mass produced buildings?

The Modernist architects of the 20th century certainly thought so; Walter Gropius asked why people wanted custom dwellings when they never would want a custom automobile.

And a lot of post-war governments did approach construction like it could be mass produced cheaply.

There was in fact a very favorable political climate for mass produced buildings then, and the suburbs are a good example where instead of regulation holding them back, the government actually subsidized mass building projects and warped and distorted the market in their favor.

And the cost of buildings did come down to where a huge middle class could afford homes.

But the takeaway lesson is just that- the market for buildings is itself a creation of government; It takes government to create the legal, financial, and physical infrastructure that buildings need.

Over the past 40 years, government has taken a lot of aggressive steps to create such an infrastructure for consumer goods. The global network of trade is the result of government subsidy and support as much as market forces.

Yet there hasn't been a similar effort put towards making housing cheaper.


To assert that cell phones are cheap because of market forces would be ridiculous.

Likewise, to propose the existence of a market in which houses are as cheap as cell phones would be an extraordinary claim, and need some extraordinary evidence.

Isn't it more likely that cell phone technology has advanced much more rapidly than construction technology?


Do you think it is just autoworkers whose job skills have been lowered?

Whenever a new piece of technology comes out that makes it easier for you and me to do our job, doesn't that just mean that it is easier for someone else to do our job?

I suppose one could say that the declining value of human labor is more than offset by the declining cost of the goods we produce, but the evidence I'm seeing is that this isn't a neat and uniform phenomenon , but something that happens in a random hit and miss fashion, where somethings get absurdly cheap while other things actually get more expensive.

So we have this bizarre world where a homeless transient can afford a supercomputer and six pairs of shoes but not a roof over his head or medicine to save his life.


That's just what everyone here has been saying, that fast food job skills are plummeting because technology does the hard parts, leaving a worker to just push "chezeburgee, chezeurgee chezeburgee".

So if the reports are true that autoworkers are being paid about the same, wouldn't it stand to reason that the marketplace is signalling their job skills are worth the same?

In fact, isn't it the founding criticism of the Labor Theory of Value, that just because you have a college degree doesn't mean your skills will be rewarded commensurately, but only what is demanded?

So forget about the supercomputer in your pocket; what does the marketplace say about autoworker's job skills?

On “Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh My


From Chait's article:

"We have known since last spring that Trump, working through Giuliani, is pressuring Ukraine to supply dirt on Joe Biden. The alleged misconduct by Biden concerns his work as vice-president under the Obama administration. The allegation is that Biden supposedly tried to sack a Ukrainian prosecutor who was probing his son’s business in the country. The allegation against Biden is totally baseless.
In fact, as Bloomberg News discovered, the prosecution was finished before Biden took a stance, the prosecutor was widely considered corrupt, his sacking was consistent with the administration’s pro-democracy agenda, and the Obama administration supported the investigation into Hunter Biden anyway."

On “The GM Strike is Going to Take a While

Fast food workers need to be more educated now than in past years?


Its almost like the whole point of technology is to reduce the level of human skill needed for a job.


See my point about how the Republic can withstand corruption on one or two branches, but not three.


Why do you focus on Pelosi, to the exclusion of McConnell?

I mean, I'm happy to pressure both of them, but one seems a bit more receptive than the other, don't you think?


"But it owns the libs so people will defend it here."

Not just here;
The entire Murdoch/ Fox News wurlitzer will defend it to the death.

And more importantly, every Republican Senator will shrug it off and the Justice Department will be brought to heel.

The Republic can withstand a lawless Executive or corrupt Justice or two;
But the system can't withstand both a corrupt executive and a corrupted judiciary, and corrupted Senate all at the same time.


And if only the Constitution had some remedy for removing a corrupt and lawless Executive...


Trump is accused of trying to force Ukraine to dig up dirt on political opponents:
Trump fans: Hmm, I'm not seeing any evidence;

Trump's personal lawyer: "I leaned on Ukraine to force them to dig up dirt on my political opponents";
Trump fans: Hmm, just not seeing it;

Trump: One autographed book, "Russian Penis Enlarger 3000, Or, How I Leaned On Ukraine To Force Them To Dig Up Dirt On My Political Opponents- It Is My Bag, Baby"


Opening scene, remake of A Few Good Men:

"Col. Jessup, did you order a Code Red?"

"I did not, and you're damn right I did!"

End Scene

On “Second Photo Surfaces of Justin Trudeau in Blackface

State college, and non-elite private colleges.

Maybe its a different world where these guys are going.

Or maybe "Blackface" is like some secret handshake to the fraternity.


Justin Trudeau is younger than I am.

I can't believe that there were all these blackface and minstrel shows going on when I was in college, like it was just something the kids were all doing.

Was I in a bubble?

On “Clown Show: Corey Lewandowski Amuses Himself at Jerry Nadler’s Circus

It is the very definition of "The People", plural, "are sovereign."


Lets put it to a vote and let the people decide.


Here sir, the People are sovereign.


At no point was there ever a prediction that the cone of the hurricane would hit Alabama, and by the time he tweeted his fervent prayers for the safety of the people of Alabama, the threat had long passed.

Again, Point #1 is trivial. Point #2 is significant, but point #3 is actually serious.
Democracy and the rule of law can't coexist with a Stalinesque mindset.


And now with the emerging story of the DNI whistleblower, the frantic defense is now in the "Well technically it was ephebophilia" type, where they need to parse the most elaborate and contrived legalistic theories to wave it away.


His laziness and stupidity in not reading or preparing was point #1;

The continued lying and fragile bluster of a man incapable of admitting error was point #2;

Point #3, and the center of my comment was that Trump can take a Sharpie and make his supporters leap around like a cat chasing a laser dot.

On “Making A Conversation Out of Talking Points

Good observation, maybe because human behavior is not at all consistent.

Like the way we've discussed before of the conflicting impulses between the comforting embrace of community versus individuality, or how difficult it is to support freedom of choice when people make choices that seem awful.

On “Clown Show: Corey Lewandowski Amuses Himself at Jerry Nadler’s Circus

Trump's base delights in being lied to, if it owns the libs.

Notice there is always the short pause between one of his bizarre lies, where they are frantically trying to decide if the party line should be "Fake news, he didn't say that!" Or "Of course, the hurricane was really going to hit Alabama!" In which case they will defend it to the death.

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