"The Skills Myth"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by thermodynamic, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Even in the days of Obama and arguably before, we were told how we have plenty of hard working people that just need updated skills.

    Sounds simple enough, yes?

    $1.3 Trillion later and even today's crop of candidates say the same thing.


    She makes very valid points, but how come Obama didn't do any of these things? We're only finally seeing justice for some colleges, but most of us know how broken the current system is and people who had gone back in good faith were taught then-outdated technology so despite the huge costs Americans are STILL falling behind and less able to compete thanks to these colleges screwing over students, loan holders, companies, and politicians, and everyone else in between. And, no, if the government stopped making loans and big banks stepped in, nothing would change. So let's stop blindly blaming big gubmint (or even big bank) and look at the actual underlying problems.

    If she follows through with the college reforms, before or after Bernie's own discussion on the issue, Americans would still be better off but ever since the great recession began (2007 or 8) the graphs say it all about the sheer cost (1180% higher than in 1978, wow... just, wow...)

    Clinton and other candidates should read this:

    The excerpt:
    Along with college costs regardless of how legitimate they are with the courses involved, this trend is equally disturbing in terms of valuing work. Clinton clearly recognizes the issue. If Trump can manage to make enough tax cuts to lure companies back then we have enough employment for the tax revenue to pay back national debt, corporate welfare given to companies (even those that offshore jobs and the ramifications of that for which even any 5 year old addicted to "Barney the Dinosaur" should be able to figure out on her or his own cognitive ability.)
  2. LizKat macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    I keep thinking that's a big if, partly because we may not want those particular jobs back here, depending on what's produced, using which resources, creating which undesirable byproducts. Corporations offshore jobs for more than just cheapening the cost of labor. They also like to operate in less well regulated venues, particularly when it comes to checks on air, water and ground pollution. Taking them back is something that would come only with pressure on the regulations that give us clean air and water now. Sounds pricey to me.
  3. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    It's a quite complicated issue.

    One thing I'm all but certain of: Cutting taxes on multimillionaires and billion-dollar multinational corporations will do less than nothing to solve the problem.

    In terms of skills: Yes, I think US companies and US lawmakers could stand to learn a lot from the German system of apprenticeships. Despite having high labor costs and a high tax burden, Germany still manages to be the exporting powerhouse of the world. For a variety of reasons the global economy values the artisanship of the metalworkers who craft BMW and Mercedes engines, as well as the army of skilled workers at the vast sea of Mittelstande companies that supply them. Why does this not happen with the people who build Ford or GM V8s? Complicated.

    One fundamental problem still underlying US employment: The vast cost differential between hiring someone as a full-time; benefit-entitled employee; and either a temporary contract employee, or a part-timer.

    For the vast majority of industries, from retail to manufacturing, it's much, much, much cheaper to hire three part-timers, working 22 hours a week with zero health benefits (or obligation to provide them) and a single full-timer. So that's what US companies do.

    Until we tackle that problem; US workers in the bottom half of the income spectrum are going to see their wages undercut by the vast army of the partially-employed.
  4. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    Which just continues to highlight that you don't understand economics.

    Where do you think jobs come from?


    Income is generated by companies who produce things. These companies create jobs. Income from these jobs funds infrastructure in communities. Company profit allows for creation of more jobs, creating more products, driving the economy even stronger.

    Taking away profits to put into government which generates nothing dies nothing to drive an economy.

    This corporate envy and pure hatred that the left has been promoting for the last few decades is the number one reason jobs have moved overseas.

    If you punish a company for having a factory in the US, they will move it somewhere else.

    What's so hard to understand about that?

    About 10 years ago I looked at reopening a foundry in Maine that used to manufacture golf club iron heads. There was a market for "boutique" heads with limited quantity runs. The investment was about 150,000 to get the factory running again. I would have employed 20-30 people over the next 10-15 years as I grew the business. The state of Maine decided that in order for me to open that foundry, I would have to pay an additional "environmental impact fee" that amounted to an additional 20% income tax - just in case there was any unpredictable future impact of running this metal foundry.

    I walked away. Nice job State of Maine.
  5. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    Starting a small business is easier in communist Vietnam than in the United States.
  6. LizKat macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    Leaving aside the fact that Vietnam does not have a communist economy...

    Back when you could see the brown air you were about to breathe after landing in Los Angeles, it was the Republicans who chided Democrats for ever speaking of the United States of America with faint public praise. Now the masters of industry are willing to backhand the country's life-sustaining principles (you know, regulations governing clean air, clean water) across the face in their desire to bring back "the good old days" of unfettered capitalism. No thanks.

    One upside of globalization is that as wages tend to equalize, so does distaste of citizens for the pollutants of their daily lives by the owners of capital. As a result, China, for instance, has had to come around to being an advocate of environmental constraints on manufacturing processes. You see, the residents of Beijing are not fans of breathing in brown haze either. Much less drinking water in which diseased pigs have been discarded.

    We're all starting to have to innovate ways to produce goods we need without destroying our entire earthly habitat. One can hope that together we'll find the resolve to get more serious about this while there's still time.

    It would help if we'd set aside ideological differences long enough to thrash out sets of issues and brainstorm ways to deal with them, leaving the critical thinking on feasibility to its proper place later in the process. Starting with feasibility first and tying that to the freedom to trash the environment with abandon doesn't cut it any more, not even in a China whose economy leans capitalist but whose government struggles to remain totalitarian. Similarly, in the United States' consideration of universal healthcare coverage, starting with the premise that it's necessary to preserve the profit margins of insurance companies has made affordable care an unwieldy conundrum.

    Brainstorm as honest brokers first, winnow out later. What shall we build? Later: how the hell to do that? That's what successful companies teach their project teams to do. All ideas on the table. Discuss. Then scrutinize for feasibility. You'd think we'd be able to model that behavior in Congress when trying to take a fresh approach to lingering problems. But maybe not, considering that we don't model open minded approaches in the electorate either. Our supposedly democratizing primary elections process has inadvertently created a stunning example of how individuals' failure to consider the public good tends to drive the bus today. My way, or the highway. Our penchant for filtering input to our personal decisions is accommodated by technology and often exacerbates our conflicts. We do have better models than that to follow, and in fact the diplomatic dances of competitve partners like China and the US offer a suggestion: don't start with an ultimatum.
  7. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    Did you have a plan in place for how to deal with the heavy metal contamination that would be the result of operating such a foundry? Or did you plan to just walk away and let the state deal with it whenever the business moved/shutdown?
  8. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    A business is there to make money. I'm sure he just walked away.

    Back on topic. I know many people who went back to school (more loans) for additional skills / career changes after they lost their jobs. It didn't help any of them.

    Unfortunately, age discrimination is real and getting new skills / changing careers usually doesn't work once you reach age 50.
  9. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2008
    You also have a different education system in Germany that separates kids based on ability very early and steers them into the right area's for them. Not everyone is on the track to go to college in Germany. Inversely, we're told in the US that every person should have the right to go to college, no matter how stupid they are, if they choose to do so. When they fail in college, they have to fall back on the very jobs everyone complains about that are being shipped overseas every 5yrs.
  10. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    We could learn a lot from Germany if we'd just open our eyes and ears..
  11. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    Thanks for this, I had a good laugh you should read up on skilled labour, it's a concept that has existed for a very long time... like thousands of years long. The fundamental truth of the matter is that a better educated and highly skilled workforce is more adaptable to change and can still do unskilled labour (a situation which is typically referred to as 'underemployment').

    Well as an economist let me add to this.

    Jobs come from a need/desire for goods/services that one cannot fulfil on their own, or can find it in the market at a value in which it makes the purchase worth while. (eg. We all need food, but most of us can't afford the time to grow our own crops and tend to livestock). Both private sectors and the governments offer goods and services (ok mostly services from Govt) and create jobs. The private sector does so with the mindset of generating profit, and is much more responsive to market conditions and trends. The government (assuming a democratic one) does so based on the mandate of the popular vote and does not need to consider profits in it's pricing decisions.

    Most Income is generated when people work (investment income aside). Worker income supports the government through taxes and fees, it's invested in private/public sector with savings, and it also supports the private sector by purchasing goods/services from them. Private sector profits also go into taxes, it also may save cash for future needs/market shocks, they might increase the wealth of stockholders with dividends, or a smaller set of shareholders via 'buybacks' of stock, or they may consider expansion (which may or may not require more labour).

    Saying "Taking away profits to put into government which generates nothing does nothing to drive an economy" is in fact a lack of understanding basic Keynesian economics. Labelling a loss of jobs of corporate envy and 'pure hatred' is laughable. Many corporations get very big deals and incentives to build factories, but still have to pay their fair share to support the governments mandate.

    So what you were saying there is that since you were going to harm the environment and couldn't afford the fee in which (in an ideal world) would balance out the third party harm you had a choice to either raise your prices (affecting demand), lower your profit margin (affecting profit stability), or exit the market.
  12. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    Yes, I think the state did what they should have done - discouraged an individual unconcerned with the environmental impact of his business from opening up shop.
  13. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2008
    Yes and no. As far as the education system, it would never happen in this county. We are the land of opportunity and as such most people/parents aren't going to allow the system to classify their booger eating retard with an IQ a few points higher then Harambe as someone who should attend vocational school and then go work at some pencil making company in the Mittelstand.

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12 September 27, 2016