Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The Economist: Two decades ago the extremely poor accounted for more than a third of all workers in developing countries, around 750 million people. Today their numbers have halved. The fastest-growing group are those considered "middle class:" they now represent 40 percent of the labor force in poor countries. ... "For the first time in history, over the next several years, most new jobs in the developing world are likely to be of sufficient quality to allow workers and their families to live above the equivalent of the poverty line in the United States," states the [International Labor Organization].

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Obama job training for Obamanomics "Quieres papas fritas con eso"

#1 | Posted by paneocon at 2014-06-02 04:04 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

The bad news? Those were our jobs.

#2 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-06-02 04:47 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 5

Calling those people in developing countries "middle class" is ridiculous, they are simply less poor. Here the middle class is shrinking to provide poor paying jobs to people in developing nations.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2014-06-02 08:46 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

Here the middle class is shrinking to provide poor paying jobs to people in developing nations.

The middle class wages weren't worth what they were being paid, simple as that. The price had to come down sometime. The wage couldn't keep going up and up into infinity. The American worker just priced themselves out of the market.

And liberals like yourself Danni, wanting companies to give higher wages out of the goodness of their hearts doesn't work either. Telling someone to take less of a profit isn't a good way to go.

#4 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-03 03:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

Hey Boaz. The middle class is shrinking because morons that vote republican have been suckered into believing they're not worth ----.

Also. Without middle class taxes. Who's gonna pay for your government check?

#5 | Posted by ClownShack at 2014-06-03 03:49 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#4

Amazing how many people are being paid more than they are worth according to conservatives.

McDonalds workers, middle class people, who is next IT people Boaz? What about lawyers and doctors? How about CEO's? Where is the line where people are getting paid what they are worth?

#6 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-06-03 04:49 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

Tao,

I think a more accurate way of saying it would be:

"They are being paid more than the market will bare."

#7 | Posted by JeffJ at 2014-06-03 04:51 PM | Reply | Flag:

"They are being paid more than the market will bare."

Can't wait till the first board of directors determines that they can get a CEO from India for 10% the cost of an American CEO.

#8 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-06-03 04:55 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

The middle class is shrinking because morons that vote republican have been suckered into believing they're not worth ----.

Who did NAFTA again? Didn't it start with HW Bush and signed under _____. I'll let you fill in the Democrat..

#9 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-03 06:14 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Just in case you need help...

en.wikipedia.org

Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1986 among the three nations, the leaders met in San Antonio, Texas, on December 17, 1992, to sign NAFTA. U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, each responsible for spearheading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed it. The signed agreement then needed to be authorized by each nation's legislative or parliamentary branch.

Before the negotiations were finalized, Bill Clinton came into office in the U.S. and Kim Campbell in Canada, and before the agreement became law, Jean Chrétien had taken office in Canada.

#10 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-03 06:15 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"Who did NAFTA again? Didn't it start with HW Bush and signed under _____. I'll let you fill in the Democrat.."

Seem to remember a Congress approving it too but NAFTA isn't the problem. NAFTA only covers North America, China, India and the far east are the problem, World Trade Organization is the problem, China is a "developing" nation and thus operates under different rules than the US which is "developed."

#11 | Posted by danni at 2014-06-03 07:02 PM | Reply | Flag:

The bad news? Those were our jobs.

#2 | POSTED BY ZEROPOINTNRG

No, your jobs are being taken by the illegal immigration (See Meatpacking industry for example)...

But nice try....

#12 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-06-03 07:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

The middle class is shrinking because morons that vote republican have been suckered into believing they're not worth ----.
Also. Without middle class taxes. Who's gonna pay for your government check?
#5 | POSTED BY CLOWNSHACK

Couple of issues.

1. The middle class is shrinking due to illegal immigration taking jobs, and stagnating wages. Its not a coincidence......

2. Middle class taxes aren't doing the bulk of the federal government checks, that would be the top 10%.

#13 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-06-03 07:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Who did NAFTA again? Didn't it start with HW Bush and signed under _____. I'll let you fill in the Democrat..
#9 | Posted by boaz

Come on. It's not like Bob Dole was opposed to NAFTA. Perot and Buchanan were the only voices of sanity on this issue. And they were both laughed at by the "mainstream media." For decent reasons, I might add; not because of their stance on NAFTA.

#14 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-03 07:19 PM | Reply | Flag:

Come on MACKRIS, it's futile anyways. All the jobs will be given to the robots eventually. It is inevitable.

#15 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2014-06-03 07:19 PM | Reply | Flag:

1. The middle class is shrinking due to illegal immigration taking jobs, and stagnating wages. Its not a coincidence......

Huh? The immigrants are the ones stagnating wages? If immigrants set wages, they'd be going up...

No, your jobs are being taken by the illegal immigration (See Meatpacking industry for example)...
#12 | Posted by AndreaMackris

Nobody, documented or not, can take a job that isn't being offered. Workers can only take what's being offered. Blaming undocumented workers for taking what's not being offered to a citizen... it's like you don't know the cart and the horse are supposed to be connected, forget about putting them in the right order.

#16 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-03 07:30 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

And they were both laughed at by the "mainstream media." For decent reasons, I might add; not because of their stance on NAFTA.

NAFTA was one of the reasons too. But that's the way the news media and the politicians they help elect like it. They want a horse race. Anything that doesn't play into that gets derided, downplayed or ignored outright.

#17 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2014-06-03 07:33 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

The bad news? Those were our jobs.

#2 | Posted by zeropointnrg

Some days I see humor in the bad truth.

#18 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-06-03 08:37 PM | Reply | Flag:

Didn't Mackris post this same story a few weeks ago? News flash: it's still bunk.

#19 | Posted by nullifidian at 2014-06-03 09:16 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#4 | Posted by boaz

#7 | Posted by JeffJ

And someday when your professions have been reduced to something less than you can live on, how will you feel about it then?

#20 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-06-03 09:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

#4 | Posted by boaz

#7 | Posted by JeffJ

And someday when your professions have been reduced to something less than you can live on, how will you feel about it then?

Boaz gets a military pension worth ~$60,000/yr, courtesy of taxpayers.
JeffJ has a trust fund to rely on.

#21 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-03 09:48 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#21

If that's true, I guess it's more of a problem for those of us who work for a living.

#22 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-06-03 09:53 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Huh? The immigrants are the ones stagnating wages?

Snoofy, If you are too stupid to understand this simple concept, you are too stupid to debate.

#23 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-03 09:53 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

Boaz gets a military pension worth ~$60,000/yr, courtesy of taxpayers.

Yea, I didn't earn it, did I Snoofy? Jealous much?

#24 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-03 09:59 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"1. The middle class is shrinking due to illegal immigration taking jobs, and stagnating wages. Its not a coincidence......"

Utter nonsense. Illegal immigration is creating a problem for those who want to work as maids or gardeners but it is not creating a problem for educated workers. Deals with China and India are. NAFTA was a minor problem for American workers, Most favored nation status for China and the World Trade Organization are much bigger problems. The enemy of American workers is the WTO! Now you know why those protesters were so angry in Seattle a few years ago, soon you'll get it too.

#25 | Posted by danni at 2014-06-03 10:19 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

but it is not creating a problem for educated workers.

Never seen a Pakistani or Indian engineer have you?

#26 | Posted by boaz at 2014-06-03 10:39 PM | Reply | Flag:

Boaz gets a military pension worth ~$60,000/yr, courtesy of taxpayers.
Yea, I didn't earn it, did I Snoofy? Jealous much?
#24 | Posted by boaz

Why is it that right-wingers see jealousy as the motivation behind every ideology that isn't theirs?

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

#27 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-03 10:50 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Huh? The immigrants are the ones stagnating wages?

Snoofy, If you are too stupid to understand this simple concept, you are too stupid to debate.
#23 | Posted by boaz

Well, I understand that employers are the ones choosing to hire and pay undocumented workers.

Perhaps you can take it from there and help me out?

#28 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-03 10:52 PM | Reply | Flag:

And someday when your professions have been reduced to something less than you can live on, how will you feel about it then?

#20 | POSTED BY WHATSLEFT

I'm in a shrinking industry. It's a very real possibility for me.

JeffJ has a trust fund to rely on.

#21 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

Um, no.

#29 | Posted by JeffJ at 2014-06-03 11:32 PM | Reply | Flag:

Boaz gets a military pension worth ~$60,000/yr, courtesy of taxpayers.
JeffJ has a trust fund to rely on.

#21 | POSTED BY SNOOFY AT 2014-06-03 09:48 PM | FLAG: He/or She posts green with envy.

#30 | Posted by MSgt at 2014-06-03 11:46 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#30
See #27.

#31 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 12:15 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

The problem is not so much jobs going overseas. It is what constitutes middle class and how much it costs to maintain that lifestyle.There was a time not too long ago middle class was less expensive here as well.

#32 | Posted by RightisTrite at 2014-06-04 01:06 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Boaz gets a military pension worth ~$60,000/yr, courtesy of taxpayers."

OTOH, "Snoofy" did ______?_____ to protect his country and his bubble.

Thanks for your service, Boaz!

#33 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2014-06-04 02:35 AM | Reply | Flag:

The price had to come down sometime. The wage couldn't keep going up and up into infinity. The American worker just priced themselves out of the market.

Christ I hope you're still posting on this site when your job gets contracted out to the lowest bidder.

You'll howl up a storm of indignation and I'll be laughing my arse off mocking the mother lovin' [...] out of your dumb ass.

#34 | Posted by jpw at 2014-06-04 03:57 AM | Reply | Flag:

Who did NAFTA again? Didn't it start with HW Bush and signed under _____. I'll let you fill in the Democrat..

Keep your head up the Repub's ass, boaz.

They won't sell you out. They swear. Just donate whatever you can in the meantime.

#35 | Posted by jpw at 2014-06-04 04:01 AM | Reply | Flag:

1. The middle class is shrinking due to illegal immigration taking jobs, and stagnating wages. Its not a coincidence......

What's the percentages on those two? 10% and 90%? 5% and 95%?

It seems the biggest problem is ass kissers such as yourself excuse any and all corporate action and, therefore, are complicit in the static or decreasing wage for increased output leading to increased profits.

In other words, "stagnating wages" as you put it is actually corporate greed with a thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick coat of white wash.

#36 | Posted by jpw at 2014-06-04 04:06 AM | Reply | Flag:

...by lowering the stand of living in the United States. Larry Summers is so proud. Clinton admits a few mistakes, but nothing changes, because this is the way the powers that be want it.

#37 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-06-04 11:30 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Also. Without middle class taxes. Who's gonna pay for your government check?"

The rich. Same as they always have.

"Where is the line where people are getting paid what they are worth?"

That's determined by the markets. The government has no business getting involved. You are free to pay a doctor however much he will accept.

"Can't wait till the first board of directors determines that they can get a CEO from India for 10% the cost of an American CEO."

It's coming.

And when it does, are you going to rally in support of maintaining artifically high wages for top execs? I think at this point you're obligated to.

What's happening here is antithetical to the progressive cause. More people making more money does not benefit them one bit. When a population is financially independent, they're more difficult to control.

#38 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-04 12:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

That's determined by the markets.

Repeating a mantra doesn't make it true.
Markets are among the determinants of pay.
"CEOs of public corporations get paid based on the recommendations of the board of directors."
www.nbcnews.com
That's not a market. That's a junta. Good talk, son.

#39 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 12:27 PM | Reply | Flag:

"CEOs of public corporations get paid based on the recommendations of the board of directors."

Do you have a point with this comment?

Any job will have some body that recommends employee pay. But it is up to the employee to accept that pay. The BoD could recommend that the CEO get paid $1. It's up to the CEO whether or not he is willing to accept it.

Good talk

#40 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-04 02:09 PM | Reply | Flag:

Do you have a point with this comment?

Yes, if you keep reading you'll see what it is.

#41 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 02:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

The BoD could recommend that the CEO get paid $1. It's up to the CEO whether or not he is willing to accept it.

What you just described is not a market.

Unless you meant it's a market open to collusion, black-balling, redlining, price fixing, monopoly power...

#42 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 02:44 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Unless you meant it's a market open to collusion, black-balling, redlining, price fixing, monopoly power..."

Maybe. but still no different than if society followed your advice and adopted a centrally planned economic system, where a GOSPLAN-like bureaucracy determines what something costs, or how much someone can get paid for a good or service.

The experts, those who have lived under such a system, don't seem to be in any hurry to return to it.

But, if you're really into it, I think the Cubans are always looking for replacements for those who do flee such a system.

#43 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-04 04:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

Maybe. but still no different than if society followed your advice and adopted a centrally planned economic system

I don't recall advising that. Perhaps you can cite where I did?

#44 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 05:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

"I don't recall advising that."

Maybe you lack the presence of mind to understand that this is what you are advocating.

In any case, we can all agree that millions of people across the developing world no longer living in abject poverty is a bad thing. We should strive to return to the good old days, when unskilled US workers enjoyed a standard of living comparable to those who were skilled; while unskilled workers in the developing world survived on cockroaches and dirty water.

Those were the days, weren't they?

#45 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-04 09:09 PM | Reply | Flag:

1. The middle class is shrinking due to illegal immigration taking jobs, and stagnating wages. Its not a coincidence......

The middle class is shrinking because the upper class is pocketing more money.

But make sure you blame the poor. It's totally their fault.

#46 | Posted by ClownShack at 2014-06-04 09:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Boaz gets a military pension worth ~$60,000/yr, courtesy of taxpayers."
OTOH, "Snoofy" did ______?_____ to protect his country and his bubble.

He didn't go wage war on two countries for absolutely no reason making the rest of the world hate us in the process and bankrupt our economy for trillions of borrowed dollars from China thanks to unnecessary tax cuts for the rich.

Thanks.

#47 | Posted by ClownShack at 2014-06-04 09:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

When you are confronted with these stupid arguments that justify falling wages in the United States one word is all you need to refute them: Germany.

#48 | Posted by danni at 2014-06-04 09:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

We should strive to return to the good old days, when unskilled US workers enjoyed a standard of living comparable to those who were skilled; while unskilled workers in the developing world survived on cockroaches and dirty water.
#45 | Posted by madbomber

You seem to be suggesting that standard of living, and the economy at large, is a zero-sum game.

It's not.

#49 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 11:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

Maybe you lack the presence of mind to understand that this is what you are advocating.

Let me be clear: I advocate you learning a thing or two about economics.
It would be a welcome change from hearing you recite the same half-truths every chance you get.

#50 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-04 11:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

good for them; bad for us - This is how the globalist elite redistribute America's wealth while growing their own.

#51 | Posted by danv at 2014-06-05 07:34 AM | Reply | Flag:

"You seem to be suggesting that standard of living, and the economy at large, is a zero-sum game."

Standard of living depends on the economy. Unless you are alluding to absolute individualism, which is totally an option, as I've pointed out before. Hunting, fishing, gathering, etc, also provides a standard of living. It's just much lower than what one can recieve through wage labor. And it is a zero sum game when you are referring to identical commodities. If I need one widget that's offered by two vendors, One vendor will benefit. The other will not. And within the global marketplace, unskilled labor behaves like a commodity. There is no reason why I would buy a widget for $10 from one vendor when I can buy the exact same thing from another vendor for $8. In case you're not yet grapsing it, the US is the $10 vendor and the developing world is the $8 vendor. And even at $8, workers in the devloping world are doing better than they ever have. This would not be possible if Americans were still limited to buying the $10 widget made in the US.

"Let me be clear: I advocate you learning a thing or two about economics."

Are you suggesting we compare economic pedigrees? I have a BSBA and an MBA, the latter with a focus on economic strategy. It is certainly possible you have taken more econ and econ related courses than me, but it's unlikely unless you actually earned at least a bachelor's in Economics. I can tell from your posts that you have not.

And believe it or not, I actually developed my beliefs on economics because of the classes I took. I grew up in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. A renowned hotbed of progressivism. Trust me when I tell you that, had I not gone to college, my views would be quite different. Probably much closer to your own.

#52 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-05 09:20 AM | Reply | Flag:

Are you suggesting we compare economic pedigrees? I have a BSBA and an MBA, the latter with a focus on economic strategy.

Those are business disciplines, not economic ones.

#53 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-05 01:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

#53,

I have a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Management.

#54 | Posted by JeffJ at 2014-06-05 01:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

There is no reason why I would buy a widget for $10 from one vendor when I can buy the exact same thing from another vendor for $8.

That's because all you care about is money. This is also why you don't seem to grasp what economics is about.

Can you accept the reality that other people care about things beyond money? For example, I had a boss who only buys American cars.

Any thoughts on why that might be?

#55 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-05 01:34 PM | Reply | Flag:

MadBomber,

Adam Smith wrote a book called "Wealth of Nations." It's considered an important work.
Why wasn't it just called "Wealth?"

#56 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-05 01:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

And within the global marketplace, unskilled labor behaves like a commodity.

Why the emphasis on unskilled? Does skilled labor not behave like a commodity?

Beyond that, commodities are typically brought to some sort of marketplace where they are exchanged. Can "unskilled labor" (presumably, this means the people performing the labor) participate freely in the global market? No it cannot. Regardless of my degree of skill, I can't simply materialize in China and look for a job, or vice-versa. Not to mention, the cost of shipping "labor" far exceeds the freight cost of shpping a commodity. Meanwhile, a Chinese commodity can be bought in a market here, and an American commodity in China. Furthermore, there's a (legal) market here for skilled labor in the form of H-1B visas; this market does not exist (legally) for unskilled labor.

To sum up: What you said is incorrect.

You're good at making assumptions, which is one of the thing economists do. You run into problems by making iffy assumptions, and then you extrapolate entirely too much from what's been assumed. Most of your economic arguments are based on faulty premises, such as the assumption that just because you'd always buy the cheaper widget that's what will always happen. There are plenty of reasons why people might buy the identical item at a higher price. I think I told you about the hippy chick making hemp bracelets on South Beach; they weren't selling well at five bucks but when she started charging ten or twenty her sales went up. The purchaser's perception of value is tied to the price.

#57 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-05 01:52 PM | Reply | Flag:

Madbum,

There is no college curriculum more packed with hypocrisy, inconsistency, and falsehoods than neo-classical economics. Your education has destroyed your ability to think clearly and reach conclusions consistent with reality. It is a critical piece of class warfare in our oligarchy.

#58 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-06-05 03:00 PM | Reply | Flag:

"such as the assumption that just because you'd always buy the cheaper widget that's what will always happen".

Maybe not always, but generally speaking, yes. People will choose the cheaper widget if given the option. This is not an assumption. It's common sense.

And the widget, being a commodity, is often a product of un-skilled labor. And if the widget can be traded freely on the international market, then by definition - the un-skilled labor used to make said widget is also being traded freely on the international market.

#59 | Posted by Yodar013 at 2014-06-05 03:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Those are business disciplines, not economic ones."

You have to take "Economics" Courses as a baseline.

That's because all you care about is money. This is also why you don't seem to grasp what economics is about.

This comment is almost laughable. I'm not even sure if you're being serious or not.

Economics is about money, being that money is fungible, and can be traded for something else. This is EXACTLY what economics is about-how a population satisfies infinite wants with finite resources. Learned that on day one of econ 101.

"Can you accept the reality that other people care about things beyond money?"

Yes. but the vast majority of those concerns aren't reflected in the economy. And are accounted for when present. Your boss, for instance, bought US cars. That drives up demand for US cars. But it was his choice. Had he been limited by legislation in his ability to buy a US car, the outcome would have been different.

I like nice weather when I go to the beach. It doesn't mean that I should have the ability to shape the weather to fit my needs. Not does it suggest that bad weather is the result of some attempt to deprive me of the good weather that I'm rightfully entitled to.

"Does skilled labor not behave like a commodity?"

Most times, yes. But having a degree from a prestigious school provides a level of differentation that adds value beyond the actual skills learned at the school. For instance, if I own an accounting firm, my prestige is increased by having an accountant who graduated from Harvard. The increased prestige amounts to the company being more valuable, even though there may be no difference in the level of skills between the guy with the accounting degree from state and the guy with the accounting degree from Harvard.

Just kidding. Everyone knows that you can't get an accounting degree at Harvard. They don't teach technical trades!

"Can "unskilled labor" (presumably, this means the people performing the labor) participate freely in the global market? No it cannot."

yes. That's why it's the global labor market. They're participating in it regardless of where they are located. And if labor in China cost as mucyh as it does in the US, Chinese labor would have the same problem as well. And if US workers were willing to accept less, there would be more incentive to employ them locally.

It's not about location. It's about cost.

"There are plenty of reasons why people might buy the identical item at a higher price."

There are more reasons why people might want to pay less. Most of them representing the most rational response. Not that I disagree, and if you choose to pay more you should be allowed to do so.


#60 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-05 04:36 PM | Reply | Flag:

But having a degree from a prestigious school provides a level of differentation that adds value beyond the actual skills learned at the school.

So what? Commodities are differentiated too. 93 octane adds value beyond regular unleaded. Surely it take smore than prestige to differentiate skilled labor from unskilled...

#61 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-05 05:55 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Can "unskilled labor" (presumably, this means the people performing the labor) participate freely in the global market? No it cannot."

yes. That's why it's the global labor market.

It's a much more global market from the point of view of the person looking to buy labor. It's not a global labor market from the perspective of the laborer. The laborer can't sell their wares beyond arbitrary political boundaries -- assuming they could even get there. Capital is not nearly so restricted. Beyond that, a person's capacity for labor is contained within the physical manifestation known as their body, and our society is organized around various principles relating to people, such as nationality. Capital is not nearly as encumbered. Labor cannot flow with nearly the ease of capital. I can move capital from this computer I'm sitting at right now and it will cost me pennies. If I want to take my labor elsewhere the cost is many orders of magnitude greater.

You didn't answer why Adam Smith called his book "Wealth of Nations" and not merely "Wealth." If economics were just about money, as you claim, why'd he mention nations?

#62 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-05 06:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

"So what? Commodities are differentiated too. 93 octane adds value beyond regular unleaded. Surely it take smore than prestige to differentiate skilled labor from unskilled."

you didn't take economics, so I don't think you understand what I am saying. Allow me to educate you.

A commodity is an undifferentiated product. That means it's entire value is utilitarian. When you buy a ton of dry edible beans, or gravel, or light crude, it doesn't matter who produces it, the market price is the same. Differentiated products are those whose value extends beyond utilitarian purpose.

Consider denim jeans. You can walk into a Wal-Mart or Tractor Supply or low cost discounter and get a pair of jeans for $20 or so. But, if I want a pair of Diesel Jeans, I'm going to pay $200-$300. The Jeans you buy at WM or Tractor Supply are commodities. You buy them for utilitarian reasons. Because you need something to cover your ass. Diesel Jeans are a differentiated product. You buy them because of the brand image that Diesel, Inc, has created around their product. The quality is comparable. The cost of materials is comparable. The cost of labor is comparable, but you'd pay 10-15 times more for a pair of Diesel Jeans than you will a pair of Tractor Supply specials.

My degree from UNC Charlotte is a commodity. It shows I went to college. That's the value for an employer. Had I gone to Harvard, and employer would most likely consider the fact that I had gone there to be even more important than the skills I learned there.

"It's a much more global market from the point of view of the person looking to buy labor. It's not a global labor market from the perspective of the laborer."

No and No.

Mobility of Labor and Mobility of Capital are two pillars of the free market. And we see this in play every day. Businesses are free to locate their facilities in whatever country is most beneficial to their operations, while workers are free to immigrate to those countries that offer the most opportunity. In fact, up until recently, there wasn't much mobility of capital, but mobility of labor has existed for centuries. In fact you could make a strong argument that the US exists because of labor mobility, as we are a nation of immigrants.

"why'd he mention nations"

That's a tough question. If I had to guess, I would say it was based on the concept of Mercantilism, which WoN was sort of disproving in a roundabout way.

But I'm not Adam Smith. I can only guess as to why he used the title.

#63 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-06-05 07:52 PM | Reply | Flag:

workers are free to immigrate

They simply aren't. What you are saying is not true.

#64 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-06 04:48 PM | Reply | Flag:

A commodity is an undifferentiated product. That means it's entire value is utilitarian.

If you're going to go that route, then a commodity is, like so many other things in economics, a model. It's a simplification of what a thing actually is for the purposes of building a mathematical model of the system(s) surrounding that thing.

Calling labor "unskilled" is a simplification; a model. In reality there's no labor which doesn't require skill. There are a lot of tasks which don't require much skill. However, if you and a veteran "unskilled" laborer were called on to perform the veteran's task, the veteran would outperform you.

When you get outside the model, what "unskilled" really means is "a task that our business model (there's that word again!) can't afford to pay a lot for."

You don't seem to grasp that there's a difference between the simulation and reality.

#65 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-06-06 05:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

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