Save the world with a 3-day work week

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Save the world with a 3-day work week

In 1930, famed economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century people would be working a 15-hour week. He figured we would no longer need to work long hours to earn enough to satisfy our material needs. Instead, we would be preoccupied with “how to use freedom from pressing economic cares” that accompanied societal prosperity.

It hasn’t worked out that way, of course. The 40-hour work week remains a staple of Western society, and many people put in far more hours. But now a British think tank is asking us to rethink our approach, and adopt a 21-hour work week. The New Economics Foundation, based in London, England, argues that is what we should be working if we wanted better balance – not just between the time at work and the time immersed in other life pursuits, but also balancing hours worked more evenly amongst the population, and moving us towards a more balanced, sustainable, less carbon-dependent economy. Anna Coote, head of social policy for the foundation, said in an interview that other, less drastic targets were considered, but “we went with 21 hours as it’s the 21st century and it’s good to get people to think radically. That would be a three-day week.”

The foundation does not expect it to happen overnight. Indeed, practically, it’s simply hoping that the report will lead us to reconsider our current work style and cut back, perhaps aiming initially for something like a 30-hour week, which in itself would be radical.

France instituted a maximum 35-hour week in 2000, and one trade union study found 58 per cent of respondents felt it had a positive impact on their life, mainly because it reset the work-life balance equation. On the negative side, the foundation says the option to spread annual hours in longer weekly chunks over the year made work more variable and less predictable, especially for low-skilled workers. When Nicholas Sarkozy was elected president, his government changed the law, giving employers a free hand to impose longer hours.

Ms. Coote says her foundation is not promoting a mandatory approach by government, but prefers cultural change. You may gasp at a 21-hour work week today – or even a 30-hour week – but you may have been equally unbelieving in the past that smoking could be curtailed, seat belt restraints and cycling helmets become common, and voluntary recycling become widespread. “We want to influence the climate of opinion and then change thinking. If in time we need a regulatory underpinning, that can be done, but first we need a change in attitudes,” she says.

The report notes that the Factory Acts at the end of the 19th century first limited the paid working week and by the beginning of the Second World War the eight-hour day and the five-day week were beginning to be seen as normal. “Fewer workers clock in and out of their jobs these days, but the logic of industrial time still ticks away in our heads, shaping how we understand our lives,” the researchers state.

The immediate fear many people will have is that their income will shrink. But Ms. Coote has two responses to that. The first is that when work is redistributed, it might mean the same hours or even more hours within a family, so income may not take as big a hit when, say, the husband spends more time at home with the children and the wife goes out to work 21 hours. But her foundation is also taking dead aim at overconsumption, and less income, she feels, will have a positive benefit. She notes that one of the fastest growing industries these days is self storage, with units dotting the edges of major metropolitan centres. “We are working to buy,” she says. “It’s an example of overconsumption – people buying things they can’t use.”

The researchers expect that negotiations with employers might see workers sacrifice part of their pay increases for reduced hours, as the value of a shorter work week is recognized. In the transition period, companies might also clamp down on overtime, so hours are released for people currently working part time or unemployed. Governments would also have to look at eliminating some of the penalties companies face in payments like unemployment insurance for taking on new employees rather than working existing employees for longer periods.

The researchers admit their report is meant as a provocation. But the resistance might come from the very people they are trying to help. People like to complain about the long hours they work, but in doing so it’s like complaining about the weather, something to talk about in a woe-is-me vein. But Ms. Coote says: “You can’t do much about the weather but you can change the way you work.”

And if you do, the report says businesses will see greater productivity, as studies show long hours hurt productivity. Individuals, in particular men, will have more time for their families, as they work a three-day week. And the transition to retirement will be less painful; indeed, if 21 hours are the norm, that work week may even continue for many people through what are now retirement years, since it’s more comfortable.

“A much shorter working week would change the tempo of our lives; it would re-shape habits and conventions and profoundly alter the dominant cultures of Western society. It would help to promote sustainable social justice, well-being, and the good life, to safeguard the natural resources of the planet, and to build a robust and prosperous economy,” they argue.

Source:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/management/morning-manager/save-the-world-with-a-3-day-work-week/article2332609/ 

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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EXC wrote:What is needed is

EXC wrote:

What is needed is a way to go from competion to cooperation.

One way to go at it is to make everything centrally owned - which is problematic. Another way is to somehow achieve local responsibility, at least in the sense of embargos on selling the companies abroad or ban of tax paradises. And most of the taxes paid by the business should go to the municipal budget, not national.

Legal and ethical ideas evolve. It is time to define new notions of economic war, economic violence and economic slavery. And abolish them.

Ultimately the people in charge have to decide what are we here for, what the people should do, what kind of human life style is beautiful or aesthetic and harmonic if you want. It is a very pragmatic and objective decision around which the institutions must be designed. In the current system, we serve what is low in us, the consumerism and commercialism. (though it's a step better than wars and dictatorship) When some local capitalists say how free market and business is important, I see it as glorifying our guts and shitholes. Yes, business creativity is good, but it must be directed towards a progressive goal, that is a clear definition of aesthetic and harmonic society, not a locust swarm of a humanity. For many centuries people did not have to think of such things but today they do.

EXC wrote:
 Greed is just the winners trying to press their advantages in the competition of life(which is sometimes economic competition). The mistake you make is attack the effects and not the causes of the misery which is global competition.
Geez, I think you're doing that. Competition is something that we do. Greedy is something that we are. What we are precedes and motivates what we do. 

But you're actually right. The fact is, that people aren't all competitive, there are just relatively few competitive individuals who were motivated enough to get into powerful positions. As such they command large structures - nations, business, churches, armies, ethnic groups. And they command them to compete. But to compete as such a large groups, people must be actually very cooperative. If the competition will be suppressed (by the change of the institutions) that might really work and the natural cooperation will prevail. Of course, in most cases it's not an informed, consenting cooperation, but simply going along with the crowd. 

EXC wrote:
 Isn't everything that is done for some kind of 'profit'. or to please oneself? To gain an advantage in the game of survival? What is the difference between Bernie Madoff and Octomom? Between corporations and labor unions? They're all out to please themselves at the expense of others.

There is the greed of those that want to use tons of natural resourses, the greed of those that demand more of government than they ever give back, the greed of politicians that gain power by taking from those that work to give to those that don't, the greed of those that have more kids than the planet can support.

Why are you only obsessed with the greed of capitalists? Doesn't the causes of all greed need to be reduced? 

I'll explain. There are two worlds. Our world is the world of people, society, socialism and social institutions, the world of being, if you don't mind me going philosophical too. The other world is a world of doing, of business, enterprise, achievement, production, corporations and so on. 

Which world is more important? The one that we are always in, of course. The social world. The second world of capitalism is an artificial one and it primarily exists to support the social world. It may have secondary functions, but the primary function must stay a priority. If there would be only corporations, cinemas and factories on Earth, it would be a dead world. Meaningless. What we see today is an extreme over-exaggeration of the capitalistic world at the expense of the social world. That is the greed. Yes, I know the social world needs an intelligent management too and there is such a thing as a social greed. We are not all equal and some people are primitives who exploit the society and need a firm hand. 

Greed is to want something at the expense of others. Enlightened self-interest is to support oneself to be able to support others, or at least not be a burden for them. The goal is to eliminate greed and promote enlightened self-interest. Greedy people (groups, corporations, states) rob others of their sovereignity, enlightened people (groups, corporations, states) help others gain their sovereignity while maintaining their own. 

Clear enough? I find much inspiration in the function of human body, the cells and organs cooperate selflessly and in hiding to keep us healthy and capable of such a transcendental feats as thought and science. Similarly, a well-organized society will be freed for much greater achievements than glorified consumption and waste of resources.

 

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Teralek wrote:Hi Tony!Beyond

Teralek wrote:

Hi Tony!

Beyond Saving doesn't seem bored with his extra time off.

This is all very interesting... but I don't give a shit about productivity rates. My primary concern is social justice.

Teralek wrote:

Yes man, I'm an idealist. That's my big big flaw. I tend to think that if people see the truth as clear as I do, they would act as I would.

With these two premises, it would almost suffice for me to post a snarky and satirical image macro ("Son, I am disappoint&quotEye-wink, quip something along the lines of "hahaha noob!" and move on to somewhat more thought-provoking discussions on the site.

It doesn't do this thread 'justice', however.

tera wrote:
My primary concern is social justice.

But the thing is... working 16 more hours during a week or NOT being able to find a 24-hour work schedule is neither harming anyone or is it inherently "unjust". There's no shortage of part-time jobs, the last time I checked.

Add to that the sheer lack of reason altering the preset, (somewhat) cultural ideals of employment in the west in most of your posts!

Out of curiosity, what great, undue strain or "social injustice" does it put on people if they work 16 more hours during a given week?

Quote:
I tend to think that if people see the truth as clear as I do

You should probably read Tony Jeffer's sig on what one Greek woman's opinion on "truth" is.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Teralek wrote: Call it

Teralek wrote:

Call it ideology, or whatever. My point still stands as a mathematical truth.

You seem pretty hung up on this delusion of "truth". Your ideology is not a "truth". It is a viewpoint, and a very poorly and immaturely defended one, at that.

You haven't written any arguments supporting your hollow assumption found in the thread title, and the only text that supports said hollow, painful assumption is cut and pasted from an idiot ideologue of the early 20th century. (As proof of how fucked up Keynes's economic theories are, I'll use the present state of United Kingdom -including it's publicly-available healthcare- as a rather profound and abundantly obvious example: his conclusions about economics were fucked up royally, and Britain's Clement Atlee proved that.)

When challenged on your ideology by dissenting voices, you become petty and childish. I can become petty and childish. I'm about to do it with the <h1> tags...

TERALEK, HAVING THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE WORK 16 LESS HOURS WILL NOT SAVE IT.

Kthx.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:Out of

Kapkao wrote:

Out of curiosity, what great, undue strain or "social injustice" does it put on people if they work 16 more hours during a given week?
 

I keep repeating my self on such obvious things... 

There is going to be 200.000 million unemployed this year world wide. IF we reduce the work time we can employ more people thus allowing people to SURVIVE. Simple math.

Shared work = social justice.

The situation here is different. There are no jobs, part time or not. Depending on your situation you may not be able to survive with a part time job as well. Because you may not be able to pay the (modest) house you live in, much less having leftovers for food...

http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/users/rauch/worktime/ "however productivity is measured, the increase and its relationship to the potential for workweek reduction is too big to ignore."

http://neweconomics.org/sites/neweconomics.org/files/21_Hours.pdf

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/reducing-working-hours-economy-environment

http://climateandcapitalism.com/2009/05/31/whats-wrong-with-a-30-hour-work-week/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=four-day-workweek-energy-environment-economics-utah 

What other evidence do you need? How do you propose to reduce unemployment? It will keep on rising if we continue this economy.

I just use the title of the article for this post. That's just a catchy slogan. 3 days a week might not "save" the western world (whatever save means). But it will end rising unemployment and if it's done correctly it will rise the economy.

I'm not defending a totalitarian social state here. I think the scandinavian model is the best in the world, it's not the point here.

Also there is nothing wrong with UK healthcare compared to your own...

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


Teralek
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Kapkao wrote: I'll use the

Kapkao wrote:

 I'll use the present state of United Kingdom -including it's publicly-available healthcare- as a rather profound and abundantly obvious example 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reform

Wow I think this was specially cooked for you!

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:There is going

Teralek wrote:

There is going to be 200.000 million unemployed this year world wide. IF we reduce the work time we can employ more people thus allowing people to SURVIVE. Simple math.

Are all 200 million going to die if they don't get jobs? Approximately 2.7 billion people in the world do not work, unemployment numbers only include people actively looking for work. They might be experiencing a lower standard of living than their peers, but not having a job is hardly a death sentence in most developed countries. 

 

Teralek wrote:

Shared work = social justice.

Social justice = bullshit

 

Teralek wrote:

What other evidence do you need? How do you propose to reduce unemployment? It will keep on rising if we continue this economy.

Simple, create more jobs. Increase productivity instead of trying to keep it the same. Increased productivity creates lower prices, which makes it easier for people to meet their basic needs with a part time job. If you maintain current levels of productivity while reducing the pay of individuals currently working full time by cutting their hours you are expecting people currently working to dramatically lower their current quality of life. Especially since not all employees are equal. Some produce far more in four hours than others, splitting everyone's workday in half would result in lower production and therefore less goods which means higher prices. 

 

By increasing productivity you lower the costs of essentials which allows you to have an economy like the US where it is perfectly possible for a person to survive on a part time job. Most people around here prefer to work long hours and live more comfortable lives, and throughout the 90's we had an extremely low unemployment rate. Basically everyone who wanted work had it with the only unemployment coming from the natural turnover of people in between jobs for a short time. 

 

It isn't complicated, if you want to be wealthier find a way to produce more. If someone is producing more than you and therefore getting paid more, it isn't their fault. There are plenty of ways you can produce something that will improve the standard of living for your fellow citizens, how much you get paid and therefore how much access you have to the production of others ought to be directly related to how much you provide them with. Whether you want to work 20 hours a week producing less which forces you to consume less, or if you want to work 80 hours a week producing a lot so you can consume more should be up to you. 

 

Americans are notorious for being consumers which is why we have a relatively high average of working hours. I think it is a waste of ones life to work that much, but it is their life to waste, I don't see a point in worrying about it. If you want more work, free up your economy so more people will start more businesses.

 

Now I am hardly an expert on the Portuguese economy, I have spent virtually no time examining it outside of the occasional news reports on the bailouts but a quick search informs me that Portugal has very strict labor laws that make it difficult and expensive to fire people. Perhaps that is where you should focus your attention, because one of the main factors that business owners consider when hiring is how expensive it will be.

 

If the employer has the flexibility to fire they are taking a lower risk when hiring and therefore, more likely to hire. If you are stuck with an employee because they have a "right" to work, you are taking a much greater risk because if the employee doesn't produce you will lose a lot more money. Usually if I fire an employee it is almost always within the first few weeks of employment. You can usually tell within the first two or three days if an employee is good and believe me, many employees are not.

 

Without the freedom to easily remove employees that don't work out I would be a lot more picky about my hiring and definitely less likely to hire part time since I would want to minimize my risk by hiring only employees that I was confident would work out. Hiring only one person instead of two decreases the odds that I would have a problem employee and lose money.   

 

If you want more employment the answer is to give businesses and employees more freedom to negotiate the terms of their employment without government intervention. It would also help to get the government budget under control to reduce to tax burden and provide stability to the financial markets. One good thing I have heard about Portugal is that it is really friendly to foreign investment, so if labor freedom was increased it would probably be an attractive place for foreigners to invest. 

http://www.heritage.org/index/country/portugal

http://theportugueseeconomy.blogspot.com/2010/12/reforma-das-leis-laborais-e-precaridade.html

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Higher minimum wages coupled

Higher minimum wages coupled with bonus' for hiring multiple workers (as opposed to the current system of punishing companies for hiring more employees) could solve your proposed problem indirectly.

You'll have the odd person who's addicted to work, and never takes time off, but the majority won't work more than they need to. People are always on the lookout for an excuse to not go into work that day. If there were always available standins, and little or no risk of losing their job because of it, they'd be more likely to take that day off. Giving another employee the opportunity to make some money.

All without actual laws that directly affect hours per week per person.

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Teralek

Teralek wrote:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reform

Wow I think this was specially cooked for you!

That was written in 2009, genius. The UK is a rather obvious target of mockery when it comes to private care vs. UHC debates. The UK's institutions are failing and falling left and right, the gov't hands appear tied to do anything about it. Britain's healthcare was fucked up (as in "3rd world&quotEye-wink to begin with, and even people technically considered in a "medical emergency" would have to wait months to get treated. (I know of one woman that has been waiting since october/november to have her gall bladder removed)

Admit it: you couldn't defend OR promote your ideology if it meant, well... actually saving the planet.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:Admit it: you

Kapkao wrote:

Admit it: you couldn't defend OR promote your ideology if it meant, well... actually saving the planet.

My ideology which goes well beyond the reduction of working hours, would actually save the planet. I already told you what my ideology is: Scandinavia. It's obvious these countries are tabu for many people who feel unconfortable by their success. The lack of people here criticizing them is an obvious sign.

Beyond Saving wrote:

Are all 200 million going to die if they don't get jobs? Approximately 2.7 billion people in the world do not work, unemployment numbers only include people actively looking for work. They might be experiencing a lower standard of living than their peers, but not having a job is hardly a death sentence in most developed countries. 

Fact is there is now people in my country who barely have enough to eat. They have to go to charity. This number is increasing specially after the crisis. This problem is wide spread. The USA also has it's problems with this:  http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/us_hunger_facts.htm

The billions that do not work it's not because they don't want too, even if many don't...

Beyond Saving wrote:
Simple, create more jobs. Increase productivity instead of trying to keep it the same. Increased productivity creates lower prices, which makes it easier for people to meet their basic needs with a part time job. If you maintain current levels of productivity while reducing the pay of individuals currently working full time by cutting their hours you are expecting people currently working to dramatically lower their current quality of life. Especially since not all employees are equal. Some produce far more in four hours than others, splitting everyone's workday in half would result in lower production and therefore less goods which means higher prices. 

Yes, also some produce far more in 8 hours than others...so?!... What you're saying also works, I'm not saying it doesn't but it's a very narrow view of the social economic evolution, thus increasingly outdated. If increasing productivity is so great why not 10h a day instead of 8?! I'm sure there would be an increase in productivity. Why not forget about any law that limits worktime? Like in the 1800's?!

As I've shown in one of my posts productivity has increased exponentially over the years, much more than demand or wages. Where is this gain in productivity then? Simple, it's in the hands of a few very wealthy people. Productivity will keep on rising whatever we do with work time.

I don't understand why many have allergic reaction to any state intervention when we know that the great depression was cause by little to none state intervention. The current crisis was prevented of becoming the next big depression because of state intervention. I'm not defending the bail outs entirely, I'm defending the Icelandic model as the best approach to the financial crisis that began in 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008–2012_Icelandic_financial_crisis

The scandinavian model, with a huge state intervention, is an unconfortable system to right wing pundits, that they avoid talking about. But I think this: http://sciencenordic.com/trust-creates-welfare-state-–-not-vice-versa is one of the main reasons the Scandinavian model is not more widespread.
 

Beyond Saving wrote:
By increasing productivity you lower the costs of essentials which allows you to have an economy like the US where it is perfectly possible for a person to survive on a part time job. Most people around here prefer to work long hours and live more comfortable lives, and throughout the 90's we had an extremely low unemployment rate. Basically everyone who wanted work had it with the only unemployment coming from the natural turnover of people in between jobs for a short time. 

I've done a quick search on the web about average salaries and apartment rents on the US. At first sight it seems possible to live with a part time job. Although if we take these values and say that a part time job is 20/h a week instead of 32 then we may have a problem... But anyway the situation there seems a lot better than in Portugal. No surprise there.

My country problem is not just about economic freedom. I agree with you though we need more freedom, more work flexibility and more freedom to hire and fire people... but along with this must come social protection and worktime reduction, because demand will not increase that much for reasons I already stated.

 The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank. I dont trust any data coming from people with agendas. The more I know about the state of american politics the less I trust anything that comes from it... I rather go with the Fraser Institute which puts Portugal on 59. Not much better I know... Although economic freedom doesn't mean unregulated markets, no work protection or no state intervention... Because if you take a look at the rating you will see Canada, Norway, Denmark way up there... 

We keep trying to solve the problem of excessive workforce numbers with the same old solutions from ages ago... stimulate economic growth...

With the new market de regulation tendency across the board after the fall of the USSR, with the increasing cost of primary resources such as energy and minerals with no prespective of falling back, with the exponential growth of production efficiency and replacement of human work by machines and computers. Continue to think that we can solve the problem with the same solutions is simply naive. GDP exponential growth will hit the wall question is when.

The more de regulated the market is the more unstable and the more broken it stays (meaning huge income gaps). Market instability can potentially create a catastrophic scenario on a global world where everything is linked.

Also thinking that if politicians stay completely away from economy we'd have a more free, democratic, meritocratic, stable and just society is a though worthy of those now hospitalized with insanity...

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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I would say Portugal needs

I would say Portugal needs actual oil before it can emulate Norway's success


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Teralek wrote:Yes, also some

Teralek wrote:

Yes, also some produce far more in 8 hours than others...so?!... What you're saying also works, I'm not saying it doesn't but it's a very narrow view of the social economic evolution, thus increasingly outdated. If increasing productivity is so great why not 10h a day instead of 8?! I'm sure there would be an increase in productivity. Why not forget about any law that limits worktime? Like in the 1800's?!

Indeed, why not? If people want to work 10 hour days and are willing to do so without overtime, and companies are willing to pay for 10 hour days but are not willing to pay overtime for those extra hours, why not let them? Why does the government force some people to get a second job, when their first would gladly give them extra hours at regular pay? I think whether a person works a two hour day or twenty hour day is between them and their employer, I don't see a need for government to get involved. 

 

Teralek wrote:

As I've shown in one of my posts productivity has increased exponentially over the years, much more than demand or wages. Where is this gain in productivity then? Simple, it's in the hands of a few very wealthy people. Productivity will keep on rising whatever we do with work time.

The gain in productivity is in everyone's pocket. You are reading this on a machine that was a direct result of the gain in productivity. One worker is capable of producing far more because of the available tech, so why limit it?

 

Teralek wrote:

I don't understand why many have allergic reaction to any state intervention when we know that the great depression was cause by little to none state intervention. The current crisis was prevented of becoming the next big depression because of state intervention. I'm not defending the bail outs entirely, I'm defending the Icelandic model as the best approach to the financial crisis that began in 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008–2012_Icelandic_financial_crisis

The scandinavian model, with a huge state intervention, is an unconfortable system to right wing pundits, that they avoid talking about. But I think this: http://sciencenordic.com/trust-creates-welfare-state-–-not-vice-versa is one of the main reasons the Scandinavian model is not more widespread.

 

The myth that the great depression occurred during a time of little state intervention is a subject I am currently exploring thoroughly in my blog right now. It is going to take me a long time to chronicle because there were a lot of major interventionist laws passed in the decades leading to the great depression. My plan is to chronicle every major economic law up to and through the great depression.  http://www.rationalresponders.com/blog/beyond_saving 


I will be happy to at some point address the details of the nordic models- they do some things well and some things are lacking imo. In many ways, Sweden was behind the curb, they maintained a more free economy with little government spending until 1950 then began their serious turn towards the welfare state from '50 to '76 so in essence they are about 20 years behind all the other welfare states and everyone thought they were doing awesome too. The US, UK, Spain, Portugal, Greece etc. didn't get themselves into their fucked up messes overnight. It took decades of irresponsibility to get where we are today. But a fair analysis/comparrison would take quite some time, when I am finished with my current project.

 

I will try to remember to get to it because I think there is a lot to learn from a direct comparison of Scandinavia to the US, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. All of which have varying levels of economic freedom in different areas. Perhaps doing a research project comparing the raw data and various laws would be very educational for myself and anyone who cares to read that much. Remind me if I forget.

 

Teralek wrote:

 The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank. I dont trust any data coming from people with agendas. The more I know about the state of american politics the less I trust anything that comes from it... I rather go with the Fraser Institute which puts Portugal on 59. Not much better I know... Although economic freedom doesn't mean unregulated markets, no work protection or no state intervention... Because if you take a look at the rating you will see Canada, Norway, Denmark way up there...

I don't trust any data coming from people who claim they don't have an agenda. Everyone has biases, it is best to know what those biases are. There are a lot of factors that go into comparing which economies are more free than others, and one country could do very well in one while poor in another. A true analysis requires looking at the raw data and reading the actual laws which is incredibly time consuming. I use Heritage as a cheat sheet to determine where best to start looking. Ranking the countries can become tricky, but whichever scale you use countries towards the free end of the scale are more prosperous than those towards the low end.

 

 

Teralek wrote:

We keep trying to solve the problem of excessive workforce numbers with the same old solutions from ages ago... stimulate economic growth...

With the new market de regulation tendency across the board after the fall of the USSR, with the increasing cost of primary resources such as energy and minerals with no prespective of falling back, with the exponential growth of production efficiency and replacement of human work by machines and computers. Continue to think that we can solve the problem with the same solutions is simply naive. GDP exponential growth will hit the wall question is when.

The more de regulated the market is the more unstable and the more broken it stays (meaning huge income gaps). Market instability can potentially create a catastrophic scenario on a global world where everything is linked.

Also thinking that if politicians stay completely away from economy we'd have a more free, democratic, meritocratic, stable and just society is a though worthy of those now hospitalized with insanity...

Well you better throw me in the loony bin. The one constant in economy is that it changes. Demand changes, available resources changes, technology changes. By its nature, economies are unstable and that is a good thing. Rather than attempting to stabilize the economy, we need to follow policies that encourage the economy to make adjustments quickly rather than slowly. If the economy is producing 100 million extra widgets and suddenly widgets are not needed we need an economy that halts widget production asap and moves that labor force to some other product asap. When the government steps in and decides to prevent the collapse of the widget market by subsidizing or purchasing 50 million widgets, all it does is prolong the collapse. The widgets still are not needed, but instead of stopping production, the widget producers continue making an unnecessary product.

 

I argue that a dynamic and rapidly shifting dynamic economy is better than a stable one, although I can understand the desire for something stable. Humans often choose stability over freedom, that is why humans have often chosen tyranny in the past. That is why people work for mega-corporations even while bitching about it in a country that provides the opportunity to make a significantly better living separate from them. Corporations provide stability, providing your own labor without corporate support is extremely unstable. 

 

This type of action leads to the long prolonged depressions like our current one or the great depression. Leaving it alone might be "worse" in the short run, but the workers are more quickly moved somewhere useful and the recession lasts for few years. Like the tech bubble, which was terrible in the short run, but the US economy recovered rather fast. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Kapkao wrote:I would say

Kapkao wrote:

I would say Portugal needs actual oil before it can emulate Norway's success

I agree with you, I've been in every country there exept Iceland. Norway is an upgrade from the rest and oil has an huge responsability for it. Nevertheless that doesn't explain everything. Such as Sweden, denmark or Finland success. Also oil production in Norway used to be double than what it is now... with no decrease on quality of life.

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"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Luminon wrote:Legal and

Luminon wrote:

Legal and ethical ideas evolve. It is time to define new notions of economic war, economic violence and economic slavery. And abolish them.

In a competive world, there are survival advantages to waging war, enslaving workers and monopolizing natural resources. To the victors go the spoils.

Luminon wrote:

Ultimately the people in charge have to decide what are we here for, what the people should do, what kind of human life style is beautiful or aesthetic and harmonic if you want.

The people in charge are in charge of deadly force. 

Luminon wrote:

 Geez, I think you're doing that. Competition is something that we do. Greedy is something that we are. What we are precedes and motivates what we do. 

I see it as we are competitive as a result of the battle of survival of the fittest. Greed acts are something people do as part of 'the game'.

Luminon wrote:

But you're actually right. The fact is, that people aren't all competitive, there are just relatively few competitive individuals who were motivated enough to get into powerful positions.

If these people don't have competitiveness in their genes, how did their ancestors ever survive?

 

Luminon wrote:

 I'll explain. There are two worlds. Our world is the world of people, society, socialism and social institutions, the world of being, if you don't mind me going philosophical too.

Doesn't this world have lots of competition and resulting greed as well?

 

Luminon wrote:

Which world is more important? The one that we are always in, of course. The social world.

I don't think you can say that. Without the world of business and work, we're all poor and starving.

Luminon wrote:

If there would be only corporations, cinemas and factories on Earth, it would be a dead world. Meaningless. What we see today is an extreme over-exaggeration of the capitalistic world at the expense of the social world.

Because to get ahead in the social world, you need money. So the problem is the competitiveness of the social world spilling over into the world of business.

Luminon wrote:

Greed is to want something at the expense of others. Enlightened self-interest is to support oneself to be able to support others, or at least not be a burden for them.

Oh like children one can't take care of without imposing a burden on the rest of society. So doesn't this argue for mandatory family planning?

How can a planned economy work if you don't plan family sizes? You want to put so much into feeding and educating the population, but the breeders will swamp the system so you have resource shortages.

Luminon wrote:

Clear enough? I find much inspiration in the function of human body, the cells and organs cooperate selflessly and in hiding to keep us healthy and capable of such a transcendental feats as thought and science. Similarly, a well-organized society will be freed for much greater achievements than glorified consumption and waste of resources.

But you only attack on type of cancer. And you don't attack the causes.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC: Could you please

EXC: Could you please somehow summarize your philosophy and worldview? I think that would be more useful than responding. You've oversimplified or skipped my points. And I'm not sure I can do justice to your worldview. I'd rather give you some questions to define the EXCism.

What are people?
What is the society?
Where are we coming from?
What is our purpose here, if we can know any?
What would be that purpose if we'd know?
What should be our purpose ideally?
What is the government good for?
What percentage of our behavior is the direct influence of genes?
Are there any benefits to cooperation?
If yes, why didn't we evolve into cooperation?
What percentage of our behavior is greedy?
What examples of our behavior AREN'T greedy? 
Do you say that all our behavior is motivated by greed and competition?
Do you agree that all facts must be falsifiable under clear conditions?
If yes, how is that statement falsifiable?
Why is demographic revolution not a sufficient mechanism to control population?
 

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Lum, it'll take awhile, but

Lum, it'll take awhile, but just look through the many debates EXC and I had on economics & politics over the years. You'll get a better idea of his position that way.

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Vastet wrote:Lum, it'll take

Vastet wrote:
Lum, it'll take awhile, but just look through the many debates EXC and I had on economics & politics over the years. You'll get a better idea of his position that way.
Yeah, I have an idea what EXC's position might be, but I have a bad feeling about it. And I can't write it down myself, because it would look like I'm making him look bad. I don't want to cause a reaction of denial. If I am to show him a psychologic mirror succesfully, EXC must write down his opinion himself, in concentrated form, so it reaches his waking consciousness and can be dealt with in full awareness. (yeah, I'm attempting an EXCorcism Smiling )

Maybe it will work even after he reads this post. If not, we can still make an experiment. My hypothesis is, that EXC's ideology can be claimed a piece by piece, as a response to single arguments, but not all at once. I suppose that something will happen when EXC sums up his ideology or tries to do that, but what are my exact premises I can't tell to not spoil the experiment. I can only say I presume that EXC will probably try to make it look... reasonable.

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My hypothesis is that EXC

My hypothesis is that EXC worships capitalism, libertarianism, and the idea that game theory explains everything.

He's just wrong is all. Smiling

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Vastet wrote:My hypothesis

Vastet wrote:
My hypothesis is that EXC worships capitalism, libertarianism, and the idea that game theory explains everything. He's just wrong is all. Smiling
I suspect he's a social darwinist if there ever was one. My hypothesis is, that we can't prove him wrong if he presents his arguments one at a time. If he specifies his philosophy, it will be possible to bring it to light and judge it. We still challenge irrational claims around here, right? Smiling

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Among economists there is

Among economists there is still debate going on weather the Great Depression was caused by state interventionism or lack of it. I don't have enough data to have an independent opinion on that.

But I keep hearing everyone saying that the rampant speculation we are living today, and all the bussinesses made between AIG and Goldman Sachs and other speculative endevours, where caused by lack of regulations that paved the way to this crisis.

In principle I agree with you, we shouldn't have bailed out anything. In practice I would have to be a cold hearted sonofabitch to do that. You may not think so, but if we let things roll, I'm sure we would be looking at a scenario worse than the Great depression. Again, I think Iceland was the perfect example on how to act.

There as to be regulations. You know that you cant kill your neighbour because there is a regulation that say you go to jail if you do that.

My father often comments that back in the days it was easy to find a job. Basically companies hired way more people.

Now even with the all the marketing and information means, fierce competition and more demand. One may think jobs would be even more available in this situation... but not, that's how exponentially productivity as been growing. That's because we simply don't need so many people working no matter what economic model you come up with. that'sWe can only consume to a certain extent. Bear in mind that my father didn't have the internet to look for work.

Me for example. Marketing keeps bombarding me with things to buy. I buy very little, because I don't buy what I don't need and no one can convince me to buy things I don't need. People are gettin informed and is getting harder and harder to fool people.

---

There is one striking difference between Hong Kong and Sweden, this is the Gini index.

I don't defend Trickle-down economics, I think that's the greedy rich talking. They do everything they can to keep being filthy rich.

I defend "social justice through redistributive social and economic policies" and that's our core difference.

I rather have security than instability and that is perfectly possible without tyranny. Sweden is doing well without getting into crazy debts, they will not be the future Portugal as you implied in your last post.

Hong kong has a broken society with undeserving filthy rich class and other undeserving filthy poor.

I think there should be some sort of cap in personal wages, low and higher.

I also happen to know that many people are rich, not because their are great guys but because they are scumbags. That's what happens in darwininan economics... scumbags get to the top more easely.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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http://www.economist.com/node

http://www.economist.com/node/18805503 

"As Mr Reinfeldt’s capable (and pony-tailed) finance minister, Anders Borg, explains, Sweden learned a lot from its banking bust in the early 1990s. Budgetary rules and bank supervision were strengthened, helping to avert the risk of another bubble. Tight fiscal policy has pushed the public sector’s share of GDP down to only just over 50% (see chart): Mr Borg has ambitions to get it below Britain’s. Without dumping the generous Swedish social model, the government has tweaked it in the direction of lower taxes and smaller welfare benefits. Mr Borg calls this “reinforcing the work ethic”. Mr Reinfeldt talks simply of making work pay."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-02/swedish-bonds-safer-than-german-debt-as-europe-crisis-upends-market-logic.html

"Sweden’s success lies in part in its focus on income equality, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in an interview last month. Sweden has the world’s highest tax burden as a percentage of gross domestic product after Denmark. The two countries also boast some of the most equal income distributions in the world"

 

 

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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I think the economic game is

I think the economic game is much closer to war than to a harmless fun like soccer championship. If people want to play so much, they should turn stock market computers into web game servers running a global version of Monopoly. Enjoy the game, form teams and leagues and gamble against each other all you want. Talk about New York Mammons' chances against London Scrooges after they defeat the Tokyo Okanekaze team during this year's Recession Championship.

IMO, money should be classified among dangerous substances and its production and ownership in large amounts strictly controlled. It's a highly volatile, yet sticky substance that tends to concentrate and clog economic channels. It's extremely addictive and may cause violent behavior, 88% of all criminals admit to having used money a day before the crime. 73% of them admit that they did the crime to obtain money.
Furthermore, money is an extremely potent corrosive and dissolving agent. Besides eroding human morality it practically disappears large metallic objects like cars, or in some countries also rails and iron bridges. Money is the only substance besides aqua regia that can get away with otherwise chemically inert gold.

It is believed that the unique properties of the fictional element of Tiberium from the Command & Conquer RTS series were designed after the money. Tiberium is a great source of power, but it also causes countless wars, infests lands and replicates itself uncontrollably. Like Tiberium, it is believed that only 5% of money today in existence is used for practical purposes like goods and services, the rest is a cancerous, unstoppable growth.

 

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LOL! Luminon! I had a laugh

LOL! Luminon! I had a laugh with your post! Good sarcasm.

Are we ever going to  come to our senses? No, I as skeptic about that as an atheist is skeptic about God. Unfortunately my bet is that like after the Great depression a world war is coming in a decade or two.

I've seen money currupt people way too often.

I'm very good in judging other people's character. That's one thing I've learned about me. I only know 2 rich company owners in my country who are actually good people, who's money wasn't able to corrupt them.

I've been here lately discussing 2 models of social justice: "trickle down economics" and  "state enforced redistribution". But actually both of these usually worship a God that I don't - GDP growth.

GDP growth is like the devil; it tempts you with a wonderful cornucopian world were all your fantasies come true. But it tries to hide the fact that you are going to have to pay a very high price for that... sooner rather than later. It tries to make you believe that capitalism does magic and solves any problem even those posed by the laws of physics!

I've been looking into Costa Rica recently, a country that stands number one in HPI (Happy planet index). It's a value that comes from, subjective individual happiness, carbon footprint and life expectancy.

I don't care much about productivity or GDP growth. Those Gods tend to cut your freedom of living a calm happy life. I'm happy with little money.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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LOL! Luminon! I had a laugh

LOL! Luminon! I had a laugh with your post! Good sarcasm.

Are we ever going to  come to our senses? No, I'm as skeptic about that as an atheist is skeptic about God. Unfortunately my bet is that like after the Great depression a world war is coming in a decade or two.

I've seen money currupt people way too often.

I'm very good in judging other people's character. That's one thing I've learned about me. I only know 2 rich company owners in my country who are actually good people, who's money wasn't able to corrupt them.

I've been here lately discussing 2 models of social justice: "trickle down economics" and  "state enforced redistribution". But actually both of these usually worship a God that I don't - GDP growth.

GDP growth is like the devil; it tempts you with a wonderful cornucopian world were all your fantasies come true. But it tries to hide the fact that you are going to have to pay a very high price for that... sooner rather than later. It tries to make you believe that capitalism does magic and solves any problem even those posed by the laws of physics!

I've been looking into Costa Rica recently, a country that stands number one in HPI (Happy planet index). It's a value that comes from, subjective individual happiness, carbon footprint and life expectancy.

I don't care much about productivity or GDP growth. Those Gods tend to cut your freedom of living a calm happy life. I'm happy with little money.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies