IBM Emancipates 8,000 Wage Slaves
Some days The Onion is amazingly funny. I find the article a perfect compass to how people feel about economics. By turning the Marxist language of wage slavery on its head they point out very effectively the ideal that works should not be a requirement for survival. But since everyone assumes that work is required for survival the corporations are painted as evil because they are removing jobs. But should there be jobs when there is no work? Because obviously a corporation can't remove workers that provide the services required for the corporation to produce profit.
Living wages and Work Not Worth doing. Part 1
One of the most interesting debates in progressive politics is the living wage movement. It has simple premise if you work your job should pay you enough for you to support your family. Its logic is undeniable, if you are working you shouldn't need government help to get by (of course ignoring that government mandated salary is also government help). Most of the debate on the living wage issue is about what is reasonable wage should it be enough for a single mother to support her two children if so then the calculation has to include price of day car etc. This is not what I want to discuss because any decision would be as arbitrary as any other.
The more interesting part of this debate is that by raising wages you are cutting into a businessman profit.
At some point profit will reach a point low enough where the businessman have to eliminate the jobs to remain profitable. How can a business man stay in business if he eliminates jobs needed to provide the service he is selling ?
Busy few days programming. Forgot how much I love it.
Sometimes the Glass isn't half full
"Only 70% of all students in public high schools graduate, and only 32% of all students leave high school qualified to attend four-year colleges."
So much news so little time today. Schwarzenegger elected, Turkey agrees to send troops to Iraq, Kofi effectively end hopes of greater UN involvement in Iraq, Israel smacks Syria upside the head, with Bush's support. But to me the most interesting thing I have read so far today is about the mistake financial advisers make using arithmetic math which overstates returns more volatile markets instead of geometric math. I also read a report that said that cost of old age health care is not a function of age (if you take out nursing homes), this supports some earlier studies that show that the lion share of health care cost in the US are spent in the last 100 days of life.
Here is an interesting piece of history :
"From 1943 through 1945, 1,516 American airmen were imprisoned in Switzerland in internment camps after being shot down or forced down by Swiss fighters or antiaircraft batteries. Some were captured after intentionally landing. The Swiss claimed they honored international law in their arrest of POWs, but they applied the law in a grossly unfair manner to the benefit of the Nazis. No German airmen were interned, and Nazi aircraft were allowed to land safely at Swiss airfields, refuel, and depart."
Every once in a while science brings you non obvious results
"In the United States, the parents of a girl are nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of a boy. The more daughters, the bigger the effect: The parents of three girls are almost 10 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of three boys. In Mexico and Colombia the gap is wider; in Kenya it's wider still. In Vietnam, it's huge: Parents of a girl are 25 percent more likely to divorce than parents of a boy."
I used to be part of a list serve that discussed the days political issues. We live in a world that is pretty good. Humans have existed for over 100,000 years. Until 10,000 years ago humans were all hunter gatherers. About 10,000 years ago we started domesticating plants and animals. In the last 1000 we learned to sail the oceans.
In the last 100 we learned to fly. 10 years ago we had our first websites. 1 year ago the robot vacuum started cleaning up around peoples homes.
Life has never been better in history. But you would never know it. 40 million Americans don't have health insurance but average life span is in the 70's. And 230 million Americans do have life insurance. 6.1% of Americans are unemployed but 93.1% of Americans are employed.
Trained as an engineer I always want thing to be better. But first we must be able to accurately observer the world around us. Then we should think, then we should act, then we should evaluate whether our actions achieved
the goals we desired.
This idea of bring the engineering method into everyday life is what I hope this blog will be about.
Scott Wickham 10/7/2003