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US: Yes we can... eat, but can't make a shit
  • 16 Replies sorted by
  • Pretty sad that this is happening in the US. But I guess since manufacturing job wages make it hard to afford to raise a family, and the fact that everyone is being encouraged to take on huge debt for college because blue collar jobs are looked down upon. But hey, at least plenty of restaurants and bars to work in with your useless masters in hegelian philosophy.

  • I'm American and I make a shit every day.

    Not everyone can be German and get decent money for making things. But it's true, the US isn't good at making things anymore, and if we don't start investing in education again then we won't even be designing things to be made in China.

    @robmneilson are you the Rob Neilson that interned at First Run?

  • If we wanted to draw a simplistic conclusion from a graph like this, it could just as well be that Americans employ fewer people working in manufacturing because they are getting better at manufacturing - not the other way around. The general tendency is that the more primitive and underdeveloped the manufacturing process is, the more people are employed making the same quantity. Anyone who walks into a factory in a third world country will experience this.

    I'm not saying that is the case necessarily here. My guess is that most manufacturing in the US is concerned with cost reduction, and not expansion of output capability, without having studied it seriously.

  • It's called the "financialization" of the economy -- a handful of unproductive money movers who make huge sums of money, for doing nothing of value, except creating money for themselves, and the servant class who cleans up after them and bails them out, as needed.

    @arnarfjodur Among 37 developed nations, the U.S. ranks dead last in median wealth. The median Australian is worth about 5 times more than the median American. So it's probably not our manufacturing prowess which accounts for the graph.

  • At least, America still makes those Fast & Furious movies! ( Although some claim it is a shit ).

    US Exports:'s possible some percentage of the exports were made elsewhere!

  • @jrd Well, I'm not trying to argue that American manufacturing is great, something I haven't studied very much. But I have a hard time understanding how median wealth is a good indication. Average would make more sense, although still quite simplistic. But I suspect it would not help your point as much.

  • @arnarfjodur

    Median wealth is a far more useful measure than "average", because our huge wealth inequalities skew the average upward, to a figure which is unrepresentative of the actual wealth of ordinary people.

    However, there are other measures. For example, compared to other industrial nations, consider our very high poverty rates, our lower life expectancy, shockingly high infant mortality rates, comparatively low social mobility, substandard minimum wage, high levels of personal debt thanks to social policies, etc. In many respects, we're a third world country.

  • There's far too much information missing from this to form an actual conclusion about the state of things...

    If we went along with the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US and traced out the manufacturing output in the US, what would that look like? as arnarfjodur points out, manufacturing processes get better. With advances in computing, processes can be made more efficient and create an overall less demand for lower skilled manufacturing labor. At the same time, other career fields could be benefiting from employment booms that are not taken account for. With the restaurant industry hiring at such a pace, the money for those workers has to come from somewhere... restaurants don't just hire without the customer base to pay for the employees.

  • @jrd "Median" is not more useful measure then "average" overall. Which is more useful depends on the question your are trying to answer. I still don't think "median wealth" compared to other developed countries tells us much about what the reduction of manufacturing jobs in America means. It tells us a lot about the social inequalities there, for sure, and how the ordinary person lives like. But that was not what was being discussed. A country can have "manufacturing prowess" as you say, yet distribute it's profits very unevenly and thus lower median wealth.

  • @arnarfjodur

    We can use the old Bill Gates joke to show why "median" wealth is so much more meaningful and relevant than "average wealth":

    Ten city bus drivers and a dental assistant are drinking in a bar. The average net worth is about $15,000. Bill Gates stops in for a drink. Suddenly, the average net worth is in the billions. But strangely enough, no one got any richer.

    Try the same experiment with "median wealth", and you'll get a far more accurate picture of the net wealth of the twelve people in the bar.

  • @jrd I see no indication that you are reading what I am saying. I hope, if you ever find yourself running a bar, that you will not consider the median costumer spending to be more important than average costumer spending. Please, you don't need to spend more time explaining to me the difference between median and average.

  • @arnarfjodur

    Oh, please. First you insisted I cited median wealth only because that figure confirms the point I'm trying to make -- in other words, I'm trying to deceive people here with selective figures. Then you insist without providing any evidence, that average wealth is the more relevant figure.

    So I won't spend any more time explaining the difference. I'll just point out that you've offered no evidence for your claim, and that it runs counter to accepted methods of measuring indices like national wealth per capita.

    Finally, if we were measuring the spending level in the bar, we could use either average or median figures and get a reasonably accurate measure thanks to the limitations on alcohol tolerance per person -- we won't find one patron having 2 drinks, and another having 50 billion drinks. Measuring wealth is as little more complicated.

  • jrd, I applaud your comment about the financialization of the world economy. That is spot-on. Money movers and manipulators truly control the world economy now through the use of lightning fast trading and market manipulation. Even the futures exchanges have forced out many "traders" courtesy of super fast computing power and various programs that can make money for the few beneficiaries while everyone else gets screwed. Everything is "traded" and less and less is created other than wealth for a select few. This can continue for awhile until the world is in such upheaval that the entire system starts to break down. That's already happening in various parts of the world. Another key factor is the endless rise in population and the dwindling natural resources to support that population growth. No matter how you slice it, the world is becoming less and less stable. The next big wars will start over fresh water among other things... Meanwhile, the masses are entertained with sports heroes, reality TV, and other nonsense instead of paying attention to what's happening around them. Perhaps when they all run out of money to buy into these diversions the level of chaos in the world will start to spike even more.

  • Ha ha...the NSA takes a big shit on most of the World every day...

  • Americans can eat a lot and shit a lot.