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  1. #121
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    [QUOTE=EmanuelGoldstein;3361977]
    .... True capitalism eventually ends up with every single thing in the hands of the banks. Everything.

    And when the banks get in trouble the taxpayers bail them out.
    Which is pretty much the definition of socialism. For the finance industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    Yep. That's when China was brought into the WTO (2001).

    Look back another ten years- you will see it again on a slightly lesser scale with NAFTA.

    So NAFTA in 1994, then China gets MFN in 2001. Manufacturing employment went from about 25% of the workforce to about 8%.

    We've been told that the loss was due to technology and automation, but imo, that is a false narrative. Compare to Germany- If you go back to around 1978-1980, both countries had 25% of the workforce in manufacturing. Today we are at 8%, Germany is at 20%. I can accept that some losses due to technology, but not all. . ..
    A large part of the loss is due to more to the short term culture of US business and the "financialization" of most everything. Most every CEO figured he could get a bonus by outsourcing operations. I saw this scenario dozens of times. First, outsource an operation and take it off the books. Initially this was to other US companies with lower wage structures. "Return" soars, while quality often suffers. Next CEO would move stuff to Mexico to get a bonus. After that, it was China or elsewhere in Asia.

    Blaming Mexico or China for taking our jobs is a bit like blaming them for our drug addictions. Sometimes we just need to look in the mirror.

    This finance-guys-run-everything-to-temporarily-boost-the-stock-and-bonuses culture is somewhat unique to the US. There's some greater sense of the longer term in Germany and Japan. Recall that it was our financial industry that pretty much trashed global industry in 2008.

    Might add that politically, we're now doing the same thing. Running huge deficits in a boom economy, burning up goodwill among our allies, leveraging our strengths short-term while weakening them long term, wanting even lower interest rates in a boom, tearing up social norms (truth telling for a start) -- all to look "great" in the short term.

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    [QUOTE=jim rozen;3362001]
    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    .... True capitalism eventually ends up with every single thing in the hands of the banks. Everything.

    And when the banks get in trouble the taxpayers bail them out.
    Which is pretty much the definition of socialism. For the finance industry.
    "True Capitalism always requires some less advantaged population to exploit."

    And socialism benefits similarly. There is a reason that China is investing heavily in the African nations. Cheap labor!

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    [QUOTE=CalG;3362039]
    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post

    "True Capitalism always requires some less advantaged population to exploit."

    And socialism benefits similarly. There is a reason that China is investing heavily in the African nations. Cheap labor!
    And a multitude of valuable natural resources that are controlled by governments that have a tendency to be corrupt or to be readily bought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalG View Post
    There is a reason that China is investing heavily in the African nations. Cheap labor!
    Resources, I think. And a market, maybe. China has more cheap labor than they know what to do with


    Mexico for Investments :

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...xican-accounts

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    A large part of the loss is due to more to the short term culture of US business and the "financialization" of most everything. Most every CEO figured he could get a bonus by outsourcing operations. I saw this scenario dozens of times. First, outsource an operation and take it off the books. Initially this was to other US companies with lower wage structures. "Return" soars, while quality often suffers. Next CEO would move stuff to Mexico to get a bonus. After that, it was China or elsewhere in Asia.
    The rules are set in Washington. You make a product. Your competitor makes a similar product. You are both in the US- the playing field is level. Let the best man win.

    Now your competitor moves his production to China and undercuts you on price. You lose market share, he gains what you lost. Do you fold up shop or do you follow suit and try to compete on the new terms? Say you hold firm- how long until the Board of Directors replaces you?

    Companies were given very strong incentives to move production offshore. Survive or go out of business was the choice they were presented with.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Blaming Mexico or China for taking our jobs is a bit like blaming them for our drug addictions. Sometimes we just need to look in the mirror.
    Supply creates demand. There was no huge (unmet) demand for Fentanyl until it started coming into the US in bulk. We had never even heard of Fentanyl.

    Low prices increase demand. The more than comes in, the cheaper it is to buy, the more is sold, the more is smuggled in.

    We have heroin in virtually every elementary and middle school in the country. You are blaming the kids?

    This affected my family directly- I have very strong views on this, and it does not include blaming the kids who get pulled in.

    Part of being an adult is protecting kids, and we need to GET THIS SHIT OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    This finance-guys-run-everything-to-temporarily-boost-the-stock-and-bonuses culture is somewhat unique to the US. There's some greater sense of the longer term in Germany and Japan.
    Blame US businesses.

    There was no big cultural shift in the 1990's. US companies didn't suddenly go from a long-term view to a short-term one, while Germany and Japan stayed the same. What happened, is that was the beginning of the "Free Trade" era in the US.

    It's been a 30 year long, grand social experiment that has dramatically harmed a large segment of the population. China never liberalized, as promised. These new markets have not opened up for US companies, and our imports have skyrocketed.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Recall that it was our financial industry that pretty much trashed global industry in 2008.
    None of that could have happened if the Congress and the regulators did their jobs. The Gov't sets the rules, companies operate within them.

    No one went to jail, because they were playing by the rules the Congress setup. The regulators were too busy surfing porn sites. The GSE's were snapping up crap paper as fast as it could be generated. Congress critters were getting fat and happy on the payoffs. Mother Jones has a website that follows the money. Chuck Schumer was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He had $250 Million in his re-election fund. All from Wall Street banks. He was taking in so much money that he just started sending it straight into the DNC coffers- he couldn't spend it all.

    The collapse was possible because there is an incestual relationship between Washington D.C. and Wall Street- on both sides of the political line.

    I'm not defending the bankers- they are a bunch of leeches. That's why we pay regulators to watch them. When Barney Frank and Chris Dodd retired, their staffers had to find new jobs. Where did they go? Surprise! They are now working as technical lobbyists at the Wall Street banks. Who better to exploit the loopholes in the law than the people who wrote it?

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    [QUOTE=PeteM;3362030]A large part of the loss is due to more to the short term culture of US business and the "financialization" of most everything.

    See also the sort of leveraged buyout that brought down toys R us. Bain Capital shows up, buys the place in a leveraged
    buyout. This is the same thing as you buying a house with a mortgage, BUT you get to list the value of the house you
    are buying, as one of your assets, when you go to apply for the mortgage.

    Company gets saddled with the debt from the buyout, then the financial assholes run the place into the ground, extracting
    whatever money they can get along the way. At the end they hire a bunch of their buddies with large "retention bonusses"
    and pull the last bit of money out of the place. Workers are left with zero when they go bankrupt.

    When the mob does this it's called crime. When wall street does it, it's smart business. It's all allowed to happen because
    the laws about the finance industry are written by the one percent billionaires.

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  12. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    The rules are set in Washington. You make a product. Your competitor makes a similar product. You are both in the US- the playing field is level. Let the best man win.

    Now your competitor moves his production to China and undercuts you on price. You lose market share, he gains what you lost. Do you fold up shop or do you follow suit and try to compete on the new terms? . . .
    Not quite so simple. First, the rules reflect what industries want, not what citizens want. Whether it's auto, steel, aero, pharma, energy, or defense -- there's a long history of legislation being cooked up in the private sector, heavily lobbied and paid for, increasingly with hidden money and attack ads. The US business culture behind this turned from a more egalitarian one post WWII to a "greed is good" one from around the 70's on.

    Second, US shareholders have been operating in a "gamed" environment. It used to be that retirement accounts, shareholders, and businesses expected around a 5-10% profit after all was said and done. Back when US manufacturing dominated the world, the average post-tax (higher then) profit margin in manufacturing was 5%.

    Then came various hedge funds, finance oriented companies, Bernie Madoff etc. promising returns at 20% and above. This dried up the funding for real manufacturing companies (and some worthy small businesses as well). But instead of 20% what we really got was companies torn apart and ending in bankruptcy (with the hedge funds profiting), an Enron in energy, the opioid crises from Perdue Pharma and others. Japan and Germany, even a neighbor Canada, don't have quite the same corporate culture. I'd agree it's hard for a US CEO to ignore this boom and bust culture -- which is why we as citizens need to work to change it.

    Third, in many sectors we haven't really been working to compete. While the greed-is-all culture is hard to ignore -- it's not impossible. Touch labor is a tiny fraction of the cost of most sophisticated manufactured items. Decades ago in the auto industry, even while it had millions of workers at union wages, it was only around 5% of the finished goods cost. Ditto for my clients in the appliance industry. A bit more in construction and ag equipment (where, paradoxically, companies like Cat and Deere are still at the top). The reasons a company moved manufacturing of laptops from Japan to Mexico to China and then sold the whole operation were, in a way, because it was easier to look like they were doing something to compete than actually competing. Most times, when an entire production line is moved from one factory (or one country) to another -- you lose a year or more of quality. In IBM's case, over the years it has lost dominance in operating systems, processors, relational databases, disk drives, PCs, workstations, laptops, etc. It's not even much of a factor in mobile communications. And IBM is one of our better companies.

    The point here is that US companies weren't really competing, they were gaming such metrics as ROE (just offload the equity), sales per employee (just outsource the work), profit margin (save five cents on the dollar while trashing a reputation for quality) etc. I would agree it makes sense to move manufacturing and design to be closer to served markets.

    If US industry had spent a fraction of its "investment" in lobbying for tax breaks (such as investment tax credit for putting R&D and factories abroad) in lobbying consumers on the merits of an appliance that costs 2x to begin but lasts 4x and operates more efficiently over its lifetime -- we wouldn't be in this situation. This, incidentally, is more the German and current Japanese model. Customers are happy to spend a bit more for a quality product.

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  14. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    . . . Supply creates demand. There was no huge (unmet) demand for Fentanyl until it started coming into the US in bulk. We had never even heard of Fentanyl . . . Part of being an adult is protecting kids, and we need to GET THIS SHIT OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS. . . .
    Well, you got the last sentence right. But it was the US pharma industry that provided most of the supply and marketing -- not the Mexicans or Chinese -- that greatly expanded addiction in the US.

    US pharma has long had a sort of hierarchy of pain killers, with cheap aspirin (etc.) at the bottom and increasingly powerful (and addictive) natural and synthetic opiates at the top.

    Now if you're a drug maker you don't want to be selling aspirin at 2 cents a pill, you want something that doesn't cost much more than aspirin to make, but sells for more like $10 a pill ($200 if served up in a hospital setting). So makers like Perdue Pharma went on a long (and false) marketing campaign to convince us they had the miracle super pain killer than hardly anyone would ever get addicted to. Got a pain of most any sort - here's the pill for that. So much of the initial supply of opiates you say creates demand came from our own pharma industry (there had been morphine, heroin, etc. long before that - but only "promoted" to a subset of our society).

    What happened of course is that about 10 million US citizens ended up misusing opioids, many became addicted, and tens of thousands now die each year from overdoses. Many were cut off from their prescriptions (others faked them or found compliant doctors) but remained addicted.

    It was into this void that Fentanyl and then Chinese supply filled. The stuff is very powerful and cheap to make. We'd agree, of course, that we should be doing whatever is possible and effective to get it out of our neighborhoods and our schools. We might also agree that the parents -- even if they're paying attention -- aren't necessarily a match for peer pressure. At some point about the best parents can do -- those with the means -- is move to neighborhoods and schools were their kids are more likely to settle in with kids doing something like First Robotics than drugs and alcohol.

    So, the part about "looking in the mirror" and drugs includes this:

    - How do we change the culture that gives us a Bernie Madoff, an Apprentice, an Enron, and a pharma industry dedicated more to profit than its patients? This, in my mind, is the root cause.

    - How do we improve the school and peer environments all our kids grow up in? My own small investment is running some science programs for kids.

    - Sure - how do we cripple drug cartels of all kinds? As we know, it's not a wall. Could be rounding up drug dealers and investing more to secure our ports, mail, etc.

    - What steps can we take to end the various curses of alcohol, tobacco, drug, maybe even game addictions? Personally, I think gene-based research is most likely to at least help parents and kids understand their personal risks -- and perhaps significantly reduce them.

    There are at least three ways in which we can say "no" to addiction. Some of us will be able to just say "no." Others will face powerful peer pressure - and that's something we can change for kids. Still others will be "wired" for addiction -- and that's the hardest case of all. Knowing if we're so-wired would be a start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    - How do we improve the school and peer environments all our kids grow up in? My own small investment is running some science programs for kids.

    - Sure - how do we cripple drug cartels of all kinds? As we know, it's not a wall. Could be rounding up drug dealers and investing more to secure our ports, mail, etc.

    - What steps can we take to end the various curses of alcohol, tobacco, drug, maybe even game addictions?
    Not to have an argument or anything but ...

    A lot of us were around in the seventies and eighties. Some in the sixties Drugs were rampant. They did have some effect but coke and reds didn't destroy society. Some people but not nearly as many as the current "Don't Do Drugs ! They will kill you !" group peddles. Warren Zevon never wrote a decent song after he went straight.

    But nowadays it seems like drug use is pervasive and totally destructive. It's not just a party-on-saturday thing anymore.

    Why ?

    I believe it's because a huge part of society no longer has a future. Face it, a guy who would have had a decent life and a house and family by installing windows or pounding nails or running a drill press can kiss it off in the world of $4,000 rent for a one-bedroom apartment. California just spent another 600 million to "combat homelessness" but its useless, every week more homeless are created than they can get off the streets. Someone did some analysis (LA Times, I think) and found that for what used to be a middle class life in Los Angeles, you'd have to make $47/hr now. Good luck with that !

    We've trashed the middle class, and with that the hope of many many people to have an okay life. "Getting an education" is not going to help a guy who can't do algebra. But they are people too. Shit on those people and they are going to give up. They aren't that stupid.

    When the answer to life for 30% of your people is to drug or drink themselves senseless, there will be a drug problem.

    If you don't address the real underling problem you are never going to fnd a solution. Conversely, if you fix the basic problem, then you don't need a solution. It will solve itself. We did tons of drugs, but went to work on Monday because we could see a life ahead of us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Not to have an argument or anything but ... . ..
    Reasonable hypothesis (that 30% or so don't see a future), but two comments.

    First, seems to me the drugs of our youth (60's or so marijuana, mescaline, LSD) were more mind messing than excruciatingly addictive. Can't claim to be an expert.

    Second, taking unemployment as a proxy for the moral culture or optimism of a society, hard to tell much from the long term trend. Our "greatest generation" grew up in the Depression. Employment was lousy during the first oil crisis, the savings & loan scam, etc. etc. See below.

    My own take is that over the past 50 or so years we've turned from a society whose citizens want to create something of enduring value to one that honors wealth by any means. If we think "The Apprentice" is smart business, put Enron as an exemplar of smart business on a Time cover, and have every MBA aspire for a job at Goldman Sachs -- then we're happy to screw anyone for a buck. That's how we got fraud in Iraq, the Great Recession, outsourcing beyond (say) the German or Japanese level, and the Opioid crisis.

    There are lots of bad actors who contribute to our problems of addiction. But I put those who would worship or condone the tactics of a Perdue Pharma (it's just smart business), or a Trump lying and cheating his way to the top, or the guys faking metals certs as more culpable than some Mexican or Chinese chemist cooking up Fentanyl for the US market. The former are a direct consequence of our own value system. The latter would struggle to find a market were we less concerned about fame and fortune by any means -- and more concerned about providing real value to customers, patients, clients, students, citizens . . .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails unemployment_figure-13-20-b.jpg  

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    I just figured I would post some pictures to go with my post (#25) about how China is using the old US Navy base here in Subic to circumvent the 25% and get down to the flat 6.5% at the US tax payers expense. I just snapped a couple in 3 different buildings just inside the north entrance until the security guard in picture 3 decided to flaunt his M-16 donated by the US government. I guess the Chinese figure Americans shouldn't be taking pictures on an American military base of Chinese businesses set up in American rent subsidized buildings.

    There are hundreds of building like these throughout the base and they most all have at least one freight forwarder in them. Once you get close to the runway and the port area they become clustered. Many of these shops don't have any contact numbers on them and wont even let you go inside. Many companies in China (Sky Prototype and Bohai) sent employees over here just to setup the forwarder for them only. I've worked at both of those places and they are not small operations, each having over 600 cnc machines and well over 1000 employees. All that money slipping through a loop hole quite obviously overlooked by the US government.

    So now not only are they avoiding the tax they are getting US intensives by using rent subsidized buildings with American stimulus money through the SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority).

    20190525_180508.jpg20190525_180633.jpg20190525_181222.jpg20190525_181013.jpg20190525_181139.jpg

    Sorry about the orientation, The PC i'm using is running a very stripped version of windows enterprise with no photo viewer.

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    a few more
    20190525_181242.jpg20190525_181204.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    a few more ...
    You just discovered this ? China was transshipping honey decades ago. My friend in Dongguan was sending knitwear to Vietnam to have the "Made in Vietnam" labels sewn on ten years ago. I know that hundreds of thousands of LED's that come from Korea are actually made in China cuz the girlfriend's girlfriend is rolling in money just from skimming a few percent off the top. A ton of Taiwanian stuff is actually made in China, I've seen it. St Eustatius was making money hand over fist in the late 1700's by trans-shipping weapons and food to the colonies. Half the people doing it were British, which enraged Rodney Rum-running was a very lucrative business in the twenties ... and a huge number of colonists were smugglers.

    It's an old old custom.

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    You just discovered this ?
    Oh no, I've watched this go on everywhere I worked at in China. What I was pointing out is that they are moving into the US Navy base here in Subic and the US Air force base in Clark. Once they get there they register the corporation for next to nothing then get a building paid for by America. Before, they always went through Vietnam or one of the areas to the South, But not here on the base. Until last year I had never seen so much as a Chinese restaurant on the base. Now the're over run.

    Don't get me wrong, I like China and if a foreigner wants to make a shit pot full of money in a short period of time that's the place. What gets me wound up is they don't leave that self indulgent, privileged, better than anyone else attitude in China. They walk around here 5 wide like they own the place and the only thing going for me is 250 pounds of beer gut bouncing them little fellers around like a pinball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    What gets me wound up is they don't leave that self indulgent, privileged, better than anyone else attitude in China. They walk around here 5 wide like they own the place ...
    Picked it up from the Taiwanians Xiang xia ren, peasant manners

    In the old dayes, they were cunning and you never knew where the knife was coming from ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Warren Zevon never wrote a decent song after he went straight.

    Not to have an argument or anything- but you couldnt be more wrong.

    Zevon quit drugs and drinking in 86.


    after which he wrote dozens of really great songs.

    fer instance-

    Even a Dog Can Shake Hands- ( particularly relevant to this discussion)
    The Long Arm of the Law
    Splendid Isolation
    Mr Bad Example
    Angel Dressed in Black
    The Indifference of Heaven
    I was in the house when the house burned down
    For my next trick I'll need a volunteer
    Genius

    and, probably one of his best,
    My Shit's Fucked Up.

    You just need to listen to those last 7 albums more.
    There is a lot of great stuff on em.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Not to have an argument or anything- but you couldnt be more wrong.

    Zevon quit drugs and drinking in 86.


    after which he wrote dozens of really great songs.

    fer instance-

    Even a Dog Can Shake Hands- ( particularly relevant to this discussion)
    The Long Arm of the Law
    Splendid Isolation
    Mr Bad Example
    Angel Dressed in Black
    The Indifference of Heaven
    I was in the house when the house burned down
    For my next trick I'll need a volunteer
    Genius

    and, probably one of his best,
    My Shit's Fucked Up.

    You just need to listen to those last 7 albums more.
    There is a lot of great stuff on em.
    “Enjoy every sandwich” - WZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    “Its a well known fact that the Chinese government has been intentionally shifting its economy to higher tech, more value added industries. After the 2008 global recession, 100,000 factories that closed in southeast China did not re-open- and that was an intentional move. The work they used to do has shifted to lower wage, less developed countries.”
    That seems a fairly remarkable bit of information.
    So Trump was elected to reverse a trend another country is intentionally undertaking.

    Who’s right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Not to have an argument or anything- but you couldnt be more wrong.
    This is strictly a matter of taste, but I'd trade every one you mentioned for one Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, or Veracruz. Or Excitable Boy ... I had XTBL BOY plates at one time

    And Waddy Wachtel, jeeze. Something is wrong with that guy. In fact, a lot is wrong with him !

    But, you know, some people still like Bob Dylan, too. I don't think he's done shit since Bringing It All Back Home ... now he's just a worn-out old fart living off his past. At least Keith Richards has a sense of humor about himself.


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