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Anti-work: Not Safe For Work, or is Work Not Safe For Us?

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    DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    Johannen wrote: »
    I think the configuration of work days is horrendous and based on absolutely fuck all.

    9-5 usually in base hours (so 40 hours a week), with a 30 minute to 1 hour break, sometimes unpaid. I work 9.30 - 6.30 at the moment with a 1 hour unpaid break.

    How the goosepooh is this beneficial to anyone? If you're giving out a shit wage, how about rearrange the day so that you are not:
    1. Locking someone inside when it is lovely and sunny outside during the summer, meaning they go to work in the dark and leave when it's going dark sometimes.... this is a disgusting way to live.
    2. 9 - 5? Why? Why not 10 - 6? or something which means some of us are not getting up as the sun rises and feeling like crap. In Amsterdam in some jobs they have a later starting day on Monday where you finish at normal time or earlier, just to get you back into the week at a relaxed level.
    3. I also think the way managers and companies see job hierarchies and how people should be treated is evil and inhumane at a base level.

    There's more but I don't want to think about this too much.
    4.

    Jo I know what you're talking about with the sunlight. In my store in particular you have large posters over the windows blocking out natural light and with a 30 minute break, unless I leave to get food I won't see daylight for about 9 hours, I have to get there 15 minutes early when its dark, it feels dismal inside because its so bright out and then we leave when its dark, normally 45 minutes of unpaid work later.

    As for not having to get up early, I imagine that if all work started at 12, people would just start getting up nearer 12 instead. The main problem IS that after you finish work, most other places are closed apart from supermarkets which is probably a big reason they've taken over.

    I wish Sundays at least were still everything is closed days.

    DarkWarrior on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    Well I'm sure there are plenty of people that would be happy to do them but having higher wages and a more prestigious title doesn't really attribute to having a more satisfying lifestyle. I'd like to find a cite for this but I've heard plenty of times that if you're poor a little bit more wealth will bring a lot more happiness but if you're rich a lot more wealth will only bring a little more happiness. There may be people willing to do the job but I honestly think they're being misled. I understand that there are highly-motivated people out there who find satisfaction in their work and want to keep climbing the corporate ladder but I'm sure that motivation could be used to accomplish other things that can provide for a more stable or satisfying lifestyle. I don't want to simplify so much as "they should all be working on that novel instead of bringing in larger clients or whatever" but IMHO for the majority of people, life is really lived outside the work place.

    As for the last part, if you haven't realized it yet, I haven't had an extensive education of sociology and economics and so I'm just trying to cobble together an understanding of the issue with what things I have heard.

    ... It's like this. You've clearly been reading quite widely, but what you've been reading is meant to be interpreted in a certain academic context (that is, the neoclassical model), and you may have been interpreting the things you've read actually mean in entirely the wrong way.

    Take the bit which I colored orange - you're referring to diminishing marginal utility from income, which is broadly documented. But this is marginal utility, not total utility, and the neoclassical theory still holds that higher incomes indicate higher happiness. Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    Likewise for conspicuous consumption, which you mentioned earlier. Yes, it is a documented effect. But it is also a very small effect for the vast majority of people. If you buy a car, an element of it will be branding and status, but most of it would be its usefulness: as a car. And this remains true unless you happen to be the tiny minority shopping for designer cars.

    I emphasize that it is entirely possible to sidestep the neoclassical model entirely - it is, after all, fundamentally false and is primarily used as a framework to organize thinking - but what you're doing is picking certain elements of the model to make an argument and discarding the rest. It doesn't work like that. This is like arguing that people can fly due to the centrifugal force relative to the Earth's rotation. Well, yes, someone in orbit or beyond would indeed be flying, but this doesn't mean that people can fly.

    I guess my question is how do we expand the benefits of that theoretical Laffer curve so people who aren't making as much find it worth their while to work less. I think the idea of conspicuous consumption applies to a lot more things than you're giving credit to. Not only is it worth our while to save money and therefor time by not buying designer sports cars. We also could save money by not buying the latest Apple gadgets, the latest HDTV or 3DTV or whatever, purebred pets, the newest gaming systems, diamond engagement rings, houses with lawns or brand new clothing, furniture and appliances. Just so you know where I'm coming from I'm perfectly fine with living in a trailer park, preparing most of my food and buying all my clothes second hand if it means I have to work less. Does it mean I'm lazy? Not if I spend all that extra time educating myself, working on art, helping my family (even extended family) and volunteering in my community. What I'm preaching here is a cultural shift as well as an economic one.

    I think most people would not prefer living in a trailer park. And that's really all I can say at this point.

    ronya on
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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    MKR wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    While I am fully in the camp of the work week being longer than it needs to be for the most part, I don't think framing the issue as "abolition of work" or "anti-work" is a productive way to present those ideas. Sure, it is a snappy, attention getting line. But I think it also leads to instant dismissal of whatever valid points may be being made with accusations of sloth or laziness.

    Did you just read the first post and skip six pages to post that?

    I responded to the OP, yeah. Anything else obvious you'd like me to point out?

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Some of it has to do with where you are.

    My uncle moved from new york to san francisco, and for years he complained about having to shift his sleep schedule two hours forward. In new york it's apparently not that big a deal to come in around 10 and work your eight hours or whatever. But business starts when the east coast markets open, whether you're on the east coast or not.

    Really? I need to move to New York.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

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    MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Corvus wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    While I am fully in the camp of the work week being longer than it needs to be for the most part, I don't think framing the issue as "abolition of work" or "anti-work" is a productive way to present those ideas. Sure, it is a snappy, attention getting line. But I think it also leads to instant dismissal of whatever valid points may be being made with accusations of sloth or laziness.

    Did you just read the first post and skip six pages to post that?

    I responded to the OP, yeah. Anything else obvious you'd like me to point out?

    Threads usually evolve as the discussion unfolds. If you reply to the OP directly after six pages, you're inevitably retreading long-done discussions.

    MKR on
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    mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    It's hard to imagine that someone with a clean record, without any health problems, medical bills, or debt should be incapable of providing for themselves. So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities.

    Your failure of imagination != cohesive argument.

    mythago on
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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    MKR wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    While I am fully in the camp of the work week being longer than it needs to be for the most part, I don't think framing the issue as "abolition of work" or "anti-work" is a productive way to present those ideas. Sure, it is a snappy, attention getting line. But I think it also leads to instant dismissal of whatever valid points may be being made with accusations of sloth or laziness.

    Did you just read the first post and skip six pages to post that?

    I responded to the OP, yeah. Anything else obvious you'd like me to point out?

    Threads usually evolve as the discussion unfolds. If you reply to the OP directly after six pages, you're inevitably retreading long-done discussions.

    I read the first couple of pages, and made my post. If you have a problem with what I post, there's a report to moderator button at the bottom of every post. I suggest you take advantage of it in the future instead of going off topic. And that's about enough meta moding bullshit all around I think.

    Spoiler'd for off topic silly gooseness

    On topic: I think that how you phrase this issue is important if you actually care about change to the widespread working conditions that most people experience. If you want to build support for people for the new methods of working and hours of work that are made possible by say, telecommuting technology, then it's a good idea to avoid making yourself a target for the "you're a bunch of lazy, lazy, bums" crowd.

    Personally, I have a great employer that let's me set somewhat flexible hours, and work from home two days a week. It's awesome, and there are endless office jobs, of the type decried in the OP that really have little to no requirement to actually go to an office five days a week. Even call centre jobs don't need people to actually go to a central corral.

    Working at home takes a little getting used to, but I think its a got a huge role to play in solving some of these issues. It takes traffic off the road, eliminates the time you waste commuting, and saves money. You need an organization willing to spend the money on the technology to make it work though.

    Corvus on
    :so_raven:
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    GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    I am not going to cite this because it would be a pain in the ass, but i believe there are a number of different things empirically.

    1. Positive Wage changes tend to cause individuals to work less. This holds for pretty much everyone and holds true at most wage levels. so long as the increase in wages is not temporary, and so long as they are able to reduce their hours. Edit: But it does not typically cause people to reduce their total expenditures. I.E. total income usually has to still be rising as wages increase.

    2. Positive Wage changes tend to cause people to want to enter the workforce. Typically causing an increase in employment numbers

    3. Wage increases have very little effect for salaried employees regarding working time. So surgeons who work by the procedure might golf less often if their wages went down, but CEO's are entirely unlikely to. (I recall reading a couple studies done on the tax changes in the late 80s that found that income elasticity of taxes were higher for upper income folks than for lower income folks, but those same upper income people did not do any less work as a result as they were all salaried)

    4. The combination of 1 and 2 mean that overall, as wages rise, total hours worked rises, even if each individual may or may not work less. This may or may not hold true for minimum wage increases. Sometimes minimum wage increases increase employment and sometimes they decrease employment. (there are a lot of interesting demand and supply issues that go on with that, probably too complicated for this thread)

    5. All of these relate to wage/salary income. I.E. labor income. Other income(I.E. non-labor income) universally causes people to work less.

    Goumindong on
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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I envy those of you who work at a job that allows you computer and Internet access.

    DarkPrimus on
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    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I can openly do anything except wank to porn at work, as long as no one needs help (tutor at the school im going to)

    One of the tutors graduated years ago but just managed to get made full time. If the pay wasn't so lousy I'd consider that because you get the dual bonus of genuinely helping people (I helped a computer illiterate nurse get a job by showing her how to click mouse and make resume go through the tubes) and sorta goofing off when not busy.

    override367 on
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    MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Corvus wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    While I am fully in the camp of the work week being longer than it needs to be for the most part, I don't think framing the issue as "abolition of work" or "anti-work" is a productive way to present those ideas. Sure, it is a snappy, attention getting line. But I think it also leads to instant dismissal of whatever valid points may be being made with accusations of sloth or laziness.

    Did you just read the first post and skip six pages to post that?

    I responded to the OP, yeah. Anything else obvious you'd like me to point out?

    Threads usually evolve as the discussion unfolds. If you reply to the OP directly after six pages, you're inevitably retreading long-done discussions.

    I read the first couple of pages, and made my post. If you have a problem with what I post, there's a report to moderator button at the bottom of every post. I suggest you take advantage of it in the future instead of going off topic. And that's about enough meta moding bullshit all around I think.

    It was a polite reminder from one poster to another, not meta-modding.

    MKR on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2010
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Houn wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    It's not far off, actually. If necessities are limited to food, clothing and shelter, then an individual working full time at minimum wage can generally provide for themselves. Many people that can't provide for their own basic necessities are dealing with health or mental issues, including, often, substance abuse.

    Or they need to provide for both themselves and their kids.

    Yeah, there are competing philosophies here. Should a minimum wage job at full time provide you with enough money to feed and shelter yourself? Absolutely. And hey, it does in almost every part of the US. Should a minimum wage job provide you with enough to care for a family of four? Well, some people think it should. And it absolutely doesn't in most places.

    Me, I would prefer we provide means for parents to care for their families via subsidies and education programs rather than make sure that every position in the nation pays at least $20/hour.

    ElJeffe on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It's fascinating to see how work operates across countries.

    I visited relatives in Spain this summer for about a month and I learned a lot about how every single job operates in that country.

    Winter Months - 8AM - 5PM.
    Summer Months - 9AM - 1PM or 3PM.

    They set it up this way because they figure that during the summer, people want to be out and about during the day when it's sunny, warm, and generally more pleasant. During the winter, with shorter days, they just shift the hours you would have worked during the summer to the winter.

    You also get a month of vacation and a slew of other benefits.

    Pretty freakin' awesome if you ask me. And they have sunlight until 11 pm during the summer!

    SkyGheNe on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Houn wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    It's not far off, actually. If necessities are limited to food, clothing and shelter, then an individual working full time at minimum wage can generally provide for themselves. Many people that can't provide for their own basic necessities are dealing with health or mental issues, including, often, substance abuse.

    Or they need to provide for both themselves and their kids.

    Yeah, there are competing philosophies here. Should a minimum wage job at full time provide you with enough money to feed and shelter yourself? Absolutely. And hey, it does in almost every part of the US. Should a minimum wage job provide you with enough to care for a family of four? Well, some people think it should. And it absolutely doesn't in most places.

    Me, I would prefer we provide means for parents to care for their families via subsidies and education programs rather than make sure that every position in the nation pays at least $20/hour.

    Minimum wage doesn't allow you to survive in connecticut, period, unless you're working overtime and splitting rent with about 4 other people. You also won't have internet, car, phone, or any of that stuff.

    You have to be really resourceful to survive.

    SkyGheNe on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2010
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Pretty freakin' awesome if you ask me. And they have sunlight until 11 pm during the summer!

    That would drive me fucking crazy. I'm annoyed enough by it staying light until 9pm here.

    ElJeffe on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2010
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Minimum wage doesn't allow you to survive in connecticut, period, unless you're working overtime and splitting rent with about 4 other people. You also won't have internet, car, phone, or any of that stuff.

    You have to be really resourceful to survive.

    What's minimum wage in Connecticut, and what's housing cost?

    ElJeffe on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Minimum wage doesn't allow you to survive in connecticut, period, unless you're working overtime and splitting rent with about 4 other people. You also won't have internet, car, phone, or any of that stuff.

    You have to be really resourceful to survive.

    What's minimum wage in Connecticut, and what's housing cost?


    Minimum is $8.10 now and I did up a spreadsheet of my costs back in college...for a reeeaaallly crappy apartment with poor insulation, it's around $700. I shared this with someone legally, even though it was labeled as a single room apartment, so split we were spending $350 on rent each.

    Utilities were around $150 a month on average (sometimes it would climb to $200-300 because of electrical heating...we had the heat down to 50 during the winter and my apt. was known as the freezer).

    So we're at about $500 for rent + utilities.

    Toss in $50 a week for food, so $200 a month.

    There isn't really good public transportation...so say you need a car...assuming you have a car payment that's around $300 a month, you also have insurance which at my age is around $120 a month with taxes included.

    A cellphone (cheapy!) for $25 a month.

    Total expenses come to about $1200 a month. If you're getting paid 8.10 an hour, before taxes you make about $1300 a month for 40 hours of work each week.

    It suuuucks. I was fortunate enough to have a nest egg along with a well paying job. You can survive, but it's not sustainable long term...

    SkyGheNe on
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    TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    Well I'm sure there are plenty of people that would be happy to do them but having higher wages and a more prestigious title doesn't really attribute to having a more satisfying lifestyle. I'd like to find a cite for this but I've heard plenty of times that if you're poor a little bit more wealth will bring a lot more happiness but if you're rich a lot more wealth will only bring a little more happiness. There may be people willing to do the job but I honestly think they're being misled. I understand that there are highly-motivated people out there who find satisfaction in their work and want to keep climbing the corporate ladder but I'm sure that motivation could be used to accomplish other things that can provide for a more stable or satisfying lifestyle. I don't want to simplify so much as "they should all be working on that novel instead of bringing in larger clients or whatever" but IMHO for the majority of people, life is really lived outside the work place.

    As for the last part, if you haven't realized it yet, I haven't had an extensive education of sociology and economics and so I'm just trying to cobble together an understanding of the issue with what things I have heard.

    ... It's like this. You've clearly been reading quite widely, but what you've been reading is meant to be interpreted in a certain academic context (that is, the neoclassical model), and you may have been interpreting the things you've read actually mean in entirely the wrong way.

    Take the bit which I colored orange - you're referring to diminishing marginal utility from income, which is broadly documented. But this is marginal utility, not total utility, and the neoclassical theory still holds that higher incomes indicate higher happiness. Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    Likewise for conspicuous consumption, which you mentioned earlier. Yes, it is a documented effect. But it is also a very small effect for the vast majority of people. If you buy a car, an element of it will be branding and status, but most of it would be its usefulness: as a car. And this remains true unless you happen to be the tiny minority shopping for designer cars.

    I emphasize that it is entirely possible to sidestep the neoclassical model entirely - it is, after all, fundamentally false and is primarily used as a framework to organize thinking - but what you're doing is picking certain elements of the model to make an argument and discarding the rest. It doesn't work like that. This is like arguing that people can fly due to the centrifugal force relative to the Earth's rotation. Well, yes, someone in orbit or beyond would indeed be flying, but this doesn't mean that people can fly.

    I guess my question is how do we expand the benefits of that theoretical Laffer curve so people who aren't making as much find it worth their while to work less. I think the idea of conspicuous consumption applies to a lot more things than you're giving credit to. Not only is it worth our while to save money and therefor time by not buying designer sports cars. We also could save money by not buying the latest Apple gadgets, the latest HDTV or 3DTV or whatever, purebred pets, the newest gaming systems, diamond engagement rings, houses with lawns or brand new clothing, furniture and appliances. Just so you know where I'm coming from I'm perfectly fine with living in a trailer park, preparing most of my food and buying all my clothes second hand if it means I have to work less. Does it mean I'm lazy? Not if I spend all that extra time educating myself, working on art, helping my family (even extended family) and volunteering in my community. What I'm preaching here is a cultural shift as well as an economic one.

    I think most people would not prefer living in a trailer park. And that's really all I can say at this point.

    Why? Because it's ghetto? If someone is raising a family somewhere besides a house in the suburbs we seem to automatically regard them as poor and pity or look down on them. The idea that every person, even lower class people (as long as they're white), can own a house didn't really exist in modern society until the Great Depression, the National Housing Act of 1934, and the GI Bill. Suburbs break up communities, increase our dependence on oil exponentially, are usually environmentally degrading and go hand in hand with the homogenization of the population. I wouldn't mind living in a more simplified version of this but I doubt I could manage that with a minimum-working lifestyle. Plus they're usually dependent on rent control to be affordable anyways which I just don't agree with.

    mythago wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    It's hard to imagine that someone with a clean record, without any health problems, medical bills, or debt should be incapable of providing for themselves. So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities.

    Your failure of imagination != cohesive argument.

    Once again, in an ideal world a person should be able to provide for all their basic necessities with a minimum wage job. Just so you people get this, I do not believe that bootstraps is the correct solution to poverty today.
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Houn wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    So someone earning the lowest possible wages in the workforce should be able to provide for all their necessities. Most people, if given the chance like the should, wouldn't be working for minimum wage and so would have money to spend on some luxuries.

    :lol:

    Wow, the disconnect from current reality...

    It's not far off, actually. If necessities are limited to food, clothing and shelter, then an individual working full time at minimum wage can generally provide for themselves. Many people that can't provide for their own basic necessities are dealing with health or mental issues, including, often, substance abuse.

    Or they need to provide for both themselves and their kids.

    Yeah, there are competing philosophies here. Should a minimum wage job at full time provide you with enough money to feed and shelter yourself? Absolutely. And hey, it does in almost every part of the US. Should a minimum wage job provide you with enough to care for a family of four? Well, some people think it should. And it absolutely doesn't in most places.

    Me, I would prefer we provide means for parents to care for their families via subsidies and education programs rather than make sure that every position in the nation pays at least $20/hour.

    Now that we're getting into a little more detail here...a regimented system of wages wouldn't be unreasonable as long as it isn't anything too dramatic. I get the difference between minimum wage and a living wage. It makes sense that the wages we pay to a person so they can raise a family of four should not have to be the same amount we pay to a teenager living with his parents and working a summer job. The one problem I'm seeing with the current system of minimum wages is that the former example happens to be competing with the latter for work.

    Talleyrand on
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    Dyrwen66Dyrwen66 the other's insane Denver CORegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Yeah, there are competing philosophies here. Should a minimum wage job at full time provide you with enough money to feed and shelter yourself? Absolutely. And hey, it does in almost every part of the US. Should a minimum wage job provide you with enough to care for a family of four? Well, some people think it should. And it absolutely doesn't in most places.

    Me, I would prefer we provide means for parents to care for their families via subsidies and education programs rather than make sure that every position in the nation pays at least $20/hour.
    Seems as if subsidies are usually the best option in the big-picture anyway. That's why food stamps (a la Debit Card EBT) work well, since they don't pay for substance abuse related products or random shit. Just food to keep your family alive. Giving people the experience of education for cheap, the work training for free, or say the public transportation in the area for discount is a really practical way to give people something without giving them money.

    Works essentially like gift cards do for holidays. You get a gift card to one location because that's where things you want are, and where you should be spending it. If you send cash, well there's no telling where it will get spent and whether responsible action will come into play. Given our system of attempted safety nets, having a living wage would be more appropriate, but a high wage economy doesn't really solve much of anything given the way most would end up spending their money. Hopefully some more beneficial programs pop up.

    Dyrwen66 on
    Just an ancient PA person who doesn't leave the house much.
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    EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I dated a girl who owned a unit at a trailer park here (buying one used was cheaper than renting for her entire stay at university, she's a very smart young lady.) There are a couple trailer parks in the city, apparently. I didn't get to know many people there, but everyone I got to know seemed pretty normal. If I had to sell my place and live cheap, I'd totally move to one, as to me that appears to absolutely be the best option outside home ownership. Seriously, you drive onto a road and you're in the city. And you don't have to put up with people immediately above, below, or to the sides of you. I'd take a trailer over some shitty condo-is-really-an-apartment any day of the week, if I had to sell my place.

    Ego on
    Erik
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    ShadowenShadowen Snores in the morning LoserdomRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The problem with trailer parks is, yeah, you own the trailer. But you don't own the park (though in some places, that is changing, with residents co-op owning their park). And the landlord can be just as vicious a bastard as he can with apartment buildings. To say nothing of the fact that a mobile home on land you don't own depreciates like a car, while a mobile home on land you own appreciates like a house (is supposed to, I suppose I must caveat in wake of the past couple of years).

    Shadowen on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Talleyrand wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Are you seriously asserting that there are more high-paying high-responsibility jobs than there are people who would prefer to take them on?

    e: also, I caution that cherrypicking the results of neoclassical economics - while always an entertaining exercise in finding contradictions - shouldn't be used to draw conclusions. It is too easy to find all the countervailing second-order effects whilst discounting all the first-order effects, which then renders any conclusions drawn void of any scientific meaning.

    Well I'm sure there are plenty of people that would be happy to do them but having higher wages and a more prestigious title doesn't really attribute to having a more satisfying lifestyle. I'd like to find a cite for this but I've heard plenty of times that if you're poor a little bit more wealth will bring a lot more happiness but if you're rich a lot more wealth will only bring a little more happiness. There may be people willing to do the job but I honestly think they're being misled. I understand that there are highly-motivated people out there who find satisfaction in their work and want to keep climbing the corporate ladder but I'm sure that motivation could be used to accomplish other things that can provide for a more stable or satisfying lifestyle. I don't want to simplify so much as "they should all be working on that novel instead of bringing in larger clients or whatever" but IMHO for the majority of people, life is really lived outside the work place.

    As for the last part, if you haven't realized it yet, I haven't had an extensive education of sociology and economics and so I'm just trying to cobble together an understanding of the issue with what things I have heard.

    ... It's like this. You've clearly been reading quite widely, but what you've been reading is meant to be interpreted in a certain academic context (that is, the neoclassical model), and you may have been interpreting the things you've read actually mean in entirely the wrong way.

    Take the bit which I colored orange - you're referring to diminishing marginal utility from income, which is broadly documented. But this is marginal utility, not total utility, and the neoclassical theory still holds that higher incomes indicate higher happiness. Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    Likewise for conspicuous consumption, which you mentioned earlier. Yes, it is a documented effect. But it is also a very small effect for the vast majority of people. If you buy a car, an element of it will be branding and status, but most of it would be its usefulness: as a car. And this remains true unless you happen to be the tiny minority shopping for designer cars.

    I emphasize that it is entirely possible to sidestep the neoclassical model entirely - it is, after all, fundamentally false and is primarily used as a framework to organize thinking - but what you're doing is picking certain elements of the model to make an argument and discarding the rest. It doesn't work like that. This is like arguing that people can fly due to the centrifugal force relative to the Earth's rotation. Well, yes, someone in orbit or beyond would indeed be flying, but this doesn't mean that people can fly.

    I guess my question is how do we expand the benefits of that theoretical Laffer curve so people who aren't making as much find it worth their while to work less. I think the idea of conspicuous consumption applies to a lot more things than you're giving credit to. Not only is it worth our while to save money and therefor time by not buying designer sports cars. We also could save money by not buying the latest Apple gadgets, the latest HDTV or 3DTV or whatever, purebred pets, the newest gaming systems, diamond engagement rings, houses with lawns or brand new clothing, furniture and appliances. Just so you know where I'm coming from I'm perfectly fine with living in a trailer park, preparing most of my food and buying all my clothes second hand if it means I have to work less. Does it mean I'm lazy? Not if I spend all that extra time educating myself, working on art, helping my family (even extended family) and volunteering in my community. What I'm preaching here is a cultural shift as well as an economic one.

    I think most people would not prefer living in a trailer park. And that's really all I can say at this point.

    Why? Because it's ghetto? If someone is raising a family somewhere besides a house in the suburbs we seem to automatically regard them as poor and pity or look down on them. The idea that every person, even lower class people (as long as they're white), can own a house didn't really exist in modern society until the Great Depression, the National Housing Act of 1934, and the GI Bill. Suburbs break up communities, increase our dependence on oil exponentially, are usually environmentally degrading and go hand in hand with the homogenization of the population. I wouldn't mind living in a more simplified version of this but I doubt I could manage that with a minimum-working lifestyle. Plus they're usually dependent on rent control to be affordable anyways which I just don't agree with.

    I did not say that I regarded it as "ghetto" or "poor". I said that most people would not prefer living in a trailer park. You see it as a matter of status; I venture that it may have more to do with desiring more rooms (and more room) in a house, which renders the mobility element an expensive investment.

    You railed against buying "the latest", but a middle-class family wanting a three-bedroom house with a kitchen and a living room seems like a reasonable non-conspicuous desire. Demanding meaningful mobility on top of this would be difficult. Conclusion: most people would not prefer living in a trailer park.

    ronya on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Goumindong wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Yes, eventually we have a theoretical Laffer curve point at which increasing income still further encourages people to work less - they earn so much during their work time that they would rather take more time off in which to spend said time, hence explaining why surgeons and CEOs go golfing when their income could be so much higher - but this is hardly true for the vast majority of people. For the vast majority of people, you can't take the smaller second-order effect (diminishing utility from income) and ignore the very big first-order effect (the happiness that you can have by doing things that require money to be spent).

    I am not going to cite this because it would be a pain in the ass, but i believe there are a number of different things empirically.

    1. Positive Wage changes tend to cause individuals to work less. This holds for pretty much everyone and holds true at most wage levels. so long as the increase in wages is not temporary, and so long as they are able to reduce their hours. Edit: But it does not typically cause people to reduce their total expenditures. I.E. total income usually has to still be rising as wages increase.

    2. Positive Wage changes tend to cause people to want to enter the workforce. Typically causing an increase in employment numbers

    3. Wage increases have very little effect for salaried employees regarding working time. So surgeons who work by the procedure might golf less often if their wages went down, but CEO's are entirely unlikely to. (I recall reading a couple studies done on the tax changes in the late 80s that found that income elasticity of taxes were higher for upper income folks than for lower income folks, but those same upper income people did not do any less work as a result as they were all salaried)

    4. The combination of 1 and 2 mean that overall, as wages rise, total hours worked rises, even if each individual may or may not work less. This may or may not hold true for minimum wage increases. Sometimes minimum wage increases increase employment and sometimes they decrease employment. (there are a lot of interesting demand and supply issues that go on with that, probably too complicated for this thread)

    5. All of these relate to wage/salary income. I.E. labor income. Other income(I.E. non-labor income) universally causes people to work less.

    I think we may be holding different things constant here; I was replying to Talleyrand's comparison of different jobs - high-wage higher-responsibility versus low-wage lower-responsibility positions. And, at least empirically for the United States, jobs with higher wages do indeed entail longer working hours, at least until you reach the ridiculously high percentiles.

    It's true that if we selected a given individual and increased his or her hourly wage for the same job, it's likely that said individual would choose to work less. After all, at any given moment, an individual willing to work yet more to earn more would likely already be able to find opportunities to do so. So I agree with your #1, but I was talking about something else! In retrospect I should have chose a different phrasing; I was trying to explain diminishing marginal utility from income directly in terms of its empirical effect without going into too much detail.

    This distinction is how 2 and 1 fit together, I think - after all, 2 entails previously non-working people entering the labor force in response to a wage increase. These people increase their work hours (from 0) by switching 'jobs', more or less.

    ronya on
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    GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    I think we may be holding different things constant here; I was replying to Talleyrand's comparison of different jobs - high-wage higher-responsibility versus low-wage lower-responsibility positions. And, at least empirically for the United States, jobs with higher wages do indeed entail longer working hours, at least until you reach the ridiculously high percentiles.

    I think this has to do more with the fact that jobs with higher wages tend to be salaried, and the work is demanded at that level in order to have the job. Higher wage higher responsibility people would like to work less, but they are not allowed to and still maintain the higher wage.

    Goumindong on
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