America's "jobless recovery"

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68 Responses to “America's "jobless recovery"”

  1. Hmpf says:

    >Italy, Greece, and Spain

    I think your definition of socialism is a bit off. In Italy, for example, most of the means of production don’t belong to the workers, but to the Prime Minister.

    Greece and Spain don’t have a worker-owned economy, either.

  2. Notary Sojac says:

    A basic outline for addressing this problem (with a tip of the hat to the underwear gnomes)

    1. Find a country or countries where good-paying private sector jobs are being created.

    2. Figure out what they are doing that the USA is not.

    3. Start doing it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a terrible article. It focuses a lot on this one kid, and his turning down a 40k/yr job while he’s living with his ‘rents, and they’re paying his cell phone bill.

    Cory’s always criticizing the Times as this vestige of a dying mediatype, but then highlights the worst of their articles. Despite appearing to be supported by data, the article is just obliquely referencing studies that are decades old.

    And what about the rest of the time? If you broke the work force up into risk-averse and risk-seeking cohorts, first, how do you do that? And second, if you did examine that, using some kind of empirical measure, what does that show us in terms of trends? Maybe the hypothesis laid out in this article would bear fruit, but maybe it would be proven that this particular measure doesn’t really change that much.

    That kind of analysis would be interesting. Hearing about kid A from Worcester, Mass whine about not getting the perfect job a year or two out of school while he’s mooching off mom and dad doesn’t exactly tug on my heartstings.

    I mean, based solely on this article, would you hire this kid?

  4. gwailo_joe says:

    #4 of all the myriad reports I have read and seen about about our unemployment mess lately, yours hit hard. I always walk into any big supermarket and get a mental flash how wealthy and lucky we are as a people to have access to such an amazing amount of food and products (even though because of a certain movie, I know 75% of it to be corn. . .)

    But no money: no food choice for you. My sympathies. Get back on your feet soon and buy all the booze, steaks and unhealthy junk you want. Seriously.

    In fact it is my hope that EVERY un- and under-employed person reading this can find their median happy place in this ugly economy.

    But I have to agree with the world view of #41.

    Oy, what a mess. . .

  5. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like the “bad” things people are apparently doing now are the things we all should have been doing all along to avoid getting in this mess. People are accepting more modest raises and avoiding risk? If our many assorted billionaires and investment houses had been doing that for the last twenty years, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I can’t help but think that that part is good news.

  6. noahz says:

    Readers of this thread should check out the “Econopocalypse” whiteboard explanation from a few days ago. Pay close attention to the part about “disciplining” labor:

    http://boingboing.net/2010/07/04/econopocalypse-the-m.html

    The 40-hour work-week and pensions have been a thorn in the side of industrialists for years – cutting into their margins.

    This “jobless recovery” is an artifact of the major corporations attempting to “teach labor a lesson” – laying off tens-of-thousands of workers and expecting the survivors to “do more with less” (or they could be “next”).

    Since progressive labor reforms didn’t result in the earth shattering collapse of the US economy (quite the opposite, actually), it seems they want to contrive it by simply forcing thousands (millions) into abject poverty under the guise of “belt-tightening” (but not belt-loosening).

    Also, I agree that this NYT article does little to advance the above points – if anything, it seems contrived to foster contempt for those who are truly affected by the current economic climate (i.e. single mother working two jobs, laid off factory worker with 2 children and a mortgage).

    I realize the above sounds a little like conspiracy theory – but, we know that Labor unions plan generation-spanning change, so why is it unreasonable to believe that Captains of Industry do the same in their closed board-room discussions?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dismal news about the American “jobless recovery” in yesterday’s NYT. I’ve always thought the phrase “jobless recovery” illustrates the perfectly idiotic cognitive dissonance at play in financial thinking. If the thing you use to measure the health of your economy has gone up, but no one has a job, then surely you are measuring the wrong thing to gauge the health of your nation.

    This is like complaining that taking a patient’s temperature is idiotic because sick people don’t always have high temperatures.

  8. agnostoman says:

    Perhaps it might be time to find a way to have a functioning and thriving economy without a reliance on growth. Let’s figure it out for our planet and ourselves.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      “An economy…without a reliance on growth”?

      What , do you propose that we abandon agriculture?

  9. Anonymous says:

    “They are definitely more risk-averse,”
    Hmmm…turning down a 40K job seems like pretty risky behavior to me.

  10. abstract_reg says:

    The fact that capitalism has a boom bust cycle at all is proof enough for most of us that it is not the best system. Personally I’m thinking of starting a country with a 21st Century version of barter and trade.

    • James says:

      So then you’d essentially be returning to the roots of capitalism? I think perhaps the root of the problem is that with the vast majority of money being virtual its lost real world value. As Ron Paul says it would be better if we returned to a time when a country issued money based on its reserves of gold or some other finite physical commodity.

      • tad604 says:

        No thank you. I’ll take a slow steady predictable inflation for currency over the wild unpredictable swings that come with a traded commodity.

        • nutbastard says:

          “No thank you. I’ll take a slow steady predictable inflation for currency over the wild unpredictable swings that come with a traded commodity.”

          Uh, what? Gold’s value is extremely stable. The wild swings in gold prices are due to the volatility of the US dollar. As the value of the dollar goes down, the price of gold goes up – note that ‘price’ and ‘value’ are not interchangeable. When $10 buys you half as much gas or food as it used to, likely $10 buys you half as much gold as well.

          “slow steady predictable inflation”

          The only thing correct there is that it is predictable – but slow and steady? shit no. it’s virtually exponential, and wages are not keeping up with it. See my previous post about how after 5 years and steady raises, I make less money in terms of buying power than I did when I was just starting – and that’s according to the ‘official’ numbers which are highly biased.

          • tad604 says:

            You’re insane. No one’s ever tried to corner the market on silver or gold or other commodities, amirite? At least with a “fiat currency” we don’t have to worry about rogue investors, or foreign nations messing with our currency.

            The idea of a gold standard is ridiculous.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here is an interesting representation of just how many Americans are out of work-

    http://www.DearSenator.info

  12. nygenxer says:

    “Jobless recovery” is an oxymoron: jobs ARE the recovery.

  13. tad604 says:

    I graduated in 2002 with a CS degree (right when the tech bubble burst). Got my first job in the in 2003 making less than I was as a manager at a pizza place. Worked two jobs for awhile (whee fun) and job hopped to over the next few years to get to what now I feel is a paycheck I deserve. So yeah I’m getting a kick out of the article.

    • mdh says:

      Seems you took enough time off to read the Ayn Rand primer though. Slacker.

      • tad604 says:

        Never read any Ayn Rand. I want too, but I don’t want to be seen in public reading it. I’ve interacted with enough of her “true believers” to think there’s something seriously wrong with her espoused philosophy, but I’m genuinely curious how so many people who seem to somewhat intelligent can fall prey to such ideas.

        The point of my post was mostly a “been there done that got the t-shirt” commiseration. Granted 2002 wasn’t a recession (for most) but basically was for anyone looking for a job in the tech industry.

        • mdh says:

          oh, so you had a version of this, but it didn’t get so bad as to actually cost you your house or marriage, you just had to work a second job, which was available to you. Sounds like you had it real bad, you’ll love Atlas Shrugged.

  14. tad604 says:

    Capitalism is great in a meritocracy but unfortunately the US really isn’t one. For instance I have a friend who works for a company that has had record earnings for the past 8 quarters. He hasn’t received a raise in the last two years(nor any of his coworkers). They were told the economy is poor and we need to tighten our belts. The two “co-ceo’s” who are brothers who were born into their position who both have mid SEVEN digit salaries received 35 percent raises.
    How does that make any sense?

  15. TheAntipodean says:

    There was, and is, no recovery. Just the largest increase in fiat paper money the world has ever seen. I heard yesterday that of all the dollars ever printed in the 234 year history of the USA, over half of them have been created while Bernake has been at the Fed. Every fiat money fueled asset bubble has been bailed out by another money fueled asset bubble. Until now. Debt must be repaid or defaulted, and that time is rapidly approaching.

  16. Jason Weisberger says:

    Jobs and Economic Health are independent factors. Jobs is a leading indicator of Consumer Spending, but so is Consumer Confidence, Access to Credit, Interest Rate, etc. Joblessness is a tiny factor.

    As much of the improvements in technology are leading to gains in efficiency, company health improves and jobs reduce. This allows some people to make MORE money and others to make far, far less.

    I think what Cory wanted to say is that Social Health and Economic Health correlate but aren’t dependent and maybe we should be measuring Social Health, not Economic.

    What is the country with the Gross National Happiness goals?

    • Raj77 says:

      Bhutan, originally. The concept is in use in policy guidance in some European countries, and Canada I think.

  17. Notary Sojac says:

    Good point raised by Mickey Kaus…

    “How many unemployed Americans could have had jobs for the last year and a half if Obama had realized the House Dems’ “shovel-ready” pitch was a crock and pursued other, quicker forms of stimulus–like an instant payroll tax cut?….

    ….a smart man would have to have had virtually no contact, direct or vicarious, with government not to realize state and federal construction projects are bound up with time-consuming rules (like the Davis-Bacon Act’s “prevailing wage” requirements) that undermine their Keynesian utility.”

    • shawnaroo says:

      I don’t know enough about economics to form any valid opinions on stimulus policy, but I can say for sure that an absolutely amazing amount of long needed road work has started in my city over the past year or so, so I’m pretty happy about that.

  18. -jl- says:

    Seriously, I have idea what many americans appear to be thinking these days what socialism is. I mean no offence, but at the moment it starts to feel like to argue with the brainwashed. There is no single country in the whole of europe that is anything like socialist. Universal healthcare has nothing to do with socialism (except at fox maybe). Having a social insurance system, that is a bit more extensive than that of the states has nothing to do with socialism. Quite the opposite. In Germany this system was created not in an socialistic but in an quite capitalistic notion: To back the market driven economy in times of higher unemployment.

    Socialism is something entirely else. Read the big, big Wiki:

    “In a socialist economic system, production is carried out by a public association of producers to directly produce use-values (instead of exchange-values), through coordinated planning of investment decisions, distribution of surplus, and the use of the means of production. Socialism is a set of social and economic arrangements based on a post-monetary system of calculation, such as labour time, energy units or calculation-in-kind.”

    This is not greece. This is not spain, neither it is germany, france or whatever country of the european union. That’s fucking star-trek. The current problems in europe are originating in the same business as the stuff thats going on in the states. Understand that the differences in this are rather minor ones. we arent comparing basic political or economical systems here, we are talking about democratic market driven societys with a financial market running wild.

    I have no idea (and don’t believe) whether a system of socialism can do any better than a market driven economy, i don’t know of any case where it did. But please:

    Stop talking about socialism when talking about social security. Do not feel brainwashed at the moment you figure out what cory stated today. Accept that its the bollocks of fox and their like that try to show you hitler, stalin and castro wherever someone talks about that workers get their asses whipped by a system ruled by numbers instead of common sense, common good and freedom (not only monetary) for all.

  19. Uncle Geo says:

    And just a minor quibble with the use of the term “cognitive dissonance”.

    Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort one feels when holding two or more contradictory ideas at the same time. Dissonance can be especially great when when your thoughts or beliefs are not in line with your actions.

    The main finding of the theory of Cognitive Dissonance is that people will always seek to reduce dissonance by either discarding errant beliefs, rationalizing, or changing their behavior to match their ideas (or vice versa).

    This article is a good intro:
    http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/cognitive_dissonance/

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just so that we’re clear, that chart shows that hourly wages (as a total of all earners) are not going down, but that increases are slowing down dramatically. So if you’re working – which I’m not – then you’re getting modest increases in your hourly wages, even while my unemployment runs out.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Eh… I don’t understand your problem with the the term “jobless recovery”. Recessions are cyclical and at a certain point in time GDP growth goes from being negative to positive. Sometimes this is accompanied by and immediate increase in hiring, sometimes not. However, it does mean that the companies on average won’t be firing people anymore. So we certainly see an improvement, even if it isn’t as nice as we would like.

    “Jobless recovery” seems like a decent way to refer to occasions when GDP goes back into positive territory but hiring does not go up.

    That being said, if you’re questioning the validity of GDP to measure “development”, that’s a whole other story and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree that our measure isn’t lacking in that sense.

  22. Anonymous says:

    That article annoyed me, but it was the guy turning down the $40,000 job. I’m a couple of years older than him but in a similar place in the job market because my master’s and my stint in AmeriCorps pushed back my entry into the workplace. It took me the better part of a year and a half to find a ‘real’ job, and even that paid far less than I might have expected in a better economy.

    Here’s the thing that annoys me: Everyone I know (and I myself) have worked a myriad of soul-sucking, near-minimum wage jobs over the last two years or so while looking for work. We did not sit on our asses and wait for the perfect job to come along. We took what we could, kept looking, and managed to refrain from mooching off our parents or the state while we still had the ability to get jobs, no matter how sucky or poor-paying, that’d let us pay the rent. Turning down an actual *full time* salaried job (with benefits, one assumes) would have been unconscionable.

    Plus, I’m pretty sure everyone is aware that the economy sucks. Surely it looks better to show yo’ve spent the time working your ass off (even in jobs you’re way overqualified for) than to have a big blank spot on your resume.

  23. johnnyaction says:

    My new American dream is to be able to walk into the grocery store and be financially comfortable enough to buy whatever groceries that I want.

    I’ve been unemployed about ten months and have lost my house, car and much of my stuff. If I didn’t have family I’d be homeless.

    • mdh says:

      I am so sorry to hear that. I think a few people in this thread need to know that you are real.

      And also that not everyone has stable family to turn to, and the GOP wants to further punish those who do not, because it solidifies their feelings of superiority when you beg.

      I don’t ever want you to beg. Hang in there.

  24. robgotabingbang says:

    The Dow is up about 400 points this week on absolutely no good news. That should be good enough for a recovery.

  25. Anonymous says:

    GDP is inaccurate. A parent taking time off work to care for a child will effectively reduce GDP, but using your credit card to buy junk will raise it. We are measuring the wrong things and calling it prosperity.

  26. Ernunnos says:

    How is this a “capitalism” vs. “socialism” issue?

    We’ve just lived through the greatest expansions of credit in human history. And credit is just another word for debt. We’ve pulled demand forward, transferred wealth from the future, committed inter-generational theft. This short-sighted play-now-pay-later mistake can happen in the context of any economic system.

    In our case, it’s just a matter of trying to maintain a cheap-oil lifestyle after the cheap oil runs out. You can replace it with credit, for a while. But eventually the credit runs out.

    It’s human nature to want to live beyond your means. And it’s economic law that you can only do this for a limited time, and that you have to make up for it by living with reduced means after the party is over.

    Party’s over.

  27. Daedalus says:

    Oh, America and your White People Problems!

    Some upper-middle-class white suburban kid whose parents afford his rent and whose grandparents paid for his entire college career is the face of a depression?

    Screw that kid. Show me the story about the rural single mother laid off from her bar-tending job and with the two kids, or the problems facing the family whose parents are immigrant janitors, and who are having trouble even realizing those dreams.

    My sympathy for kids like Scott is very limited, and, in the article, it expired the moment he turned down a job that he viewed as beneath him. If he can’t swallow his pride, I hope he chokes on it.

    • noahz says:

      Ah, but the laid-off single mom story will be around even in the good times. What’s “notable” about this story is that the economy is finally impacting (in some small way) the NY Time’s upper-middle class readership.

  28. Anonymous says:

    They hire census workers every 10 years regardless of the economy.

  29. rebdav says:

    Now graph this against inflation as def9inied by M-3 to find out the real loss, oh wait they abolished M-3 tracking at the Federal Reserve since it was considered an archaic and too much work to track indicator.

    The stimulus is working, the Dow still bobs above 10,000, the S&P above 1000. There is a recovery for those who get to grab loans with interest well below the rate of inflation so they can turn around and stimulate the economy and fill their pockets by loaning at the market rate.

    There is a recovery for the top of the pyramid where so many indicators are based, for the rest of us, let them eat ramen.

    • cservant says:

      Just take M2 and add in an estimate on large money markets and deposits==M3.

      Why would you want to plot that against inflation?

      Regardless, if anyone wants to be depressed, just look the population pyramid. The boomer population are hitting retirement age. Now look at debt/savings, alot of people don’t have much saved up if they’re 60. Average age till death, 80ish, more if you’re a lady.

      What does this mean? With a tanking economy now and high spending because of the aging boomer population, I see a future of high taxes and very little benefits.

      You may start drinking now.

  30. noahz says:

    Reference the BoingBoing article from the other day entitled “Econopocalypse: the Marxist animated whiteboard explanation” – pay close attention to the part about industrialists “disciplining” labor.

    http://boingboing.net/2010/07/04/econopocalypse-the-m.html

    Laying off tens of thousands of workers and then refusing to hire them back – after offshoring their positions – seems like a clear-cut case of this phenomenon.

    The industrialist/corporatist position is likely that Labor acts as if it is “entitled” to jobs – but I fail to see how that’s the case when (as the NYT article points out) the same corporatist are laying off their staff and pushing those that remain to work 55-60 hour weeks:

    http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/press-room/2010/Employee-morale-loyalty-vulnerable-as-emp-do-more.jhtml

    It seems this “jobless recovery” is really about corporations punshing labor for imposing a 40-hour work week, injury compensation and pensions – not about any real (measurable) economic factors. The captains of industry want to “teach labor a lesson.”

    I don’t have time, but I’m sure if some of my peers here on BB dig around, you’ll even find some of these business leaders and politicians openly saying as much. Start with the US lawmakers who have for months been labeling unemployment benefits as an “entitlement program” that encourages “laziness”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/08/AR2010030804927.html?hpid=topnews

    Now not only unemployment benefits are an entitlement, but employing people for a reasonable wage and work-schedule is an entitlement too?

  31. nutbastard says:

    I’ve done the math. When i started working here 5 years ago I had virtually no experience in this field. Fast forward to now and I’m in charge of quite a bit around here. Raises have been few and far between, so even though the paychecks look bigger, I actually make less money (in terms of buying power) than I did when I started.

    5 years of loyal dedicated service and I’m compensated less… while others tell me to be happy that I even have a job.

    I guess it turns out the Obama change is just nickels and dimes.

  32. Rider says:

    I lost my job a few months ago and finally decided to try starting my own business. I was pretty much forced to do this because every job I applied for was paying the same starting amount as they were 6-7 years ago. If we adjust for inflation over the past 20 years I have feeling the first job I ever had bagging groceries would be offering a competitive salary to what I can make now.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is not only are they not giving out raises; you are also doing twice to three times the amount of work as before. I worked alone; working four stations for the last 4 years at a small restaurant. 10 years ago they had 2-3 people per shit doing the same amount of work. I have friends who work in offices who are being forced to work massive amounts of overtime because it’s cheaper to work one person to death than to hire a second.

    I’ve kind of had an awakening, luckily I have no wife and children so I can do this, but I refuse to ever again in my life work my ass so someone else can make more and more money every year while not sharing it with his employees.

  33. tp1024 says:

    True, when the “economy is better” and people don’t get jobs things are bad. But even when everybody has a job and nobody is better off, things aren’t any good.

    Well, most people don’t know what they are talking about when they talk about the economy. That includes professional economists.

    • robgotabingbang says:

      Well, most people don’t know what they are talking about when they talk about the economy. That includes professional economists.

      Especially professional economists.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Perhaps it would work out better if people came to their senses rather than cleaving, with passionate faith, to their idea of what the superstitions which their distant ancestors are said to have believed command them to do.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Best solution would to be offer better contract flexibility by eliminating minimum wage. Statistics in the states show that the higher the minimum wage is, the higher the unemployment rate for teenagers. A bad dichotomy when you consider that Western Societies have embarked on a paradigm of extended childhoods~
    Anyways, it is certainly better to have everybody producing, even if it is at a lower rate. And besides, if an business man can hire for a lower rate, he can afford to lower his prices to become more competitive! Everyone wins except that person who is no longer flipping burgers at 15 dollars an hour :/

  35. Dr.Gee says:

    Our fearless leaders sure helped unemployment by hiring a bunch of part time census workers. Were doing awesome.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Why don’t they hire a bunch of people to care for your sick and elderly poor, or just your sick poor people?

  36. Anonymous says:

    I wish people would undertstand that this isn’t a “jobless” “recovery”.

    This is a job-LOSS recovery. And one that may turn out to be not a real recovery at all.

  37. James says:

    Another anti-capitalist post but where are the solutions Cory? Obviously capitalism is an easy target at the moment because we’re in the bust stage of the boom and bust cycle but isn’t that preferable to the miserable subsistence level of living that socialist states consistently deliver?
    Fair enough capitalism may be imperfect but I’m so tired of reading criticism without any proposal of what might work better, I just feel like I’m being brainwashed.

    • Uncle Geo says:

      “Anti-Capitalist” is a straw man, like the notion that it comes down to a choice between free markets and Socialism. The left does not want Socialism any more than the right (though the right wants everyone to believe that).

      Those of us on the left make a distinction the right studiously avoids between incentive, which allows citizens to build a business, hire employees and make the world a better place, and greed which inevitably destroys economies and brings misery to millions.

      And what’s more anti-capitalist or anti-business than to allow greedy bastards to crash the world economy?!

      Us Lefties believe citizens have the right to protect themselves from the tragedies of greed and concentrated wealth. If that means regulations, estate taxes or criminal prosecution that’s not socialism -just common sense.

      • James says:

        I’d say the distinction those on the left fail to make is the difference between freemarket capitalism and crony capitalism. The most destructive form of big business is the kind which is state backed and utilises lobbying to rig things in their favour. The federal reserve is probably the best example in existance of this.

        “Us Lefties believe citizens have the right to protect themselves from the tragedies of greed and concentrated wealth. If that means regulations, estate taxes or criminal prosecution that’s not socialism -just common sense.”

        Thats your opinion, its still the imposition of your beliefs on others withouth their consent. In a liberatarian society which I’m in favour of you could have socialists, in a socialist society you couldn’t have liberatarians.

        • Uncle Geo says:

          Yet the Constitution’s genius was that it gave citizens in the aggregate the ability to make laws and was born of the idea that citizens ought to decided their fate, not kings, not the Church and not the House of Lords (dynastic wealth). We are the government.

          The consent comes from our votes and the leaders we subsequently elect to represent our interests.

          The state did not own the big banks that crashed the economy, but the state during the Bush years reduced regulatory protections and freed banks to do whatever they wanted without regard to consequences. You are right that the lobbyists (who control the GOP and many Dems through campaign contributions and now unlimited spending) have too much power.

          • Notary Sojac says:

            Much of what you say is correct, except that the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed under Clinton not Bush.

            If Obama had simply pushed for the reinstatement of Glass Steagall and made it crystal clear that in his administration the word “bailout” would be used only when discussing the deployment of paratroops, I am one conservative that would have supported him in that 100%.

            Instead, he is letting the thoroughly bought and paid for likes of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank lead him down the septic path of crony capitalism.

          • Uncle Geo says:

            You are absolutely right. And Clinton was a gift to Conservatives and they crucified him at every turn. Obama absolutely should have been more bold and every Democrat should be calling for reinstatement of Glass Steagall.

            One thing most of us probably can agree on is that our current thinking about economics needs a serious reworking. A friend just sent me this video from RSA Animations of a David Harvey speech that probably encapsulates every perspective of economic thinking in one place and offers another take entirely.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0&feature=player_embedded

          • Notary Sojac says:

            You’ll note that eighty percent of the left, and eighty percent of the right, were against TARP. Yet we got it anyway, because an insufficient number of Goldman Sachs partners were against it.

            In many ways the TARP bill was the template for everything the current administration has done wrong.

          • noahz says:

            Correct, this is an example of those in power (politicians, business leaders) expecting workers to tighten their belts, but not doing so themselves. In fact, they give themselves a nearly 1 trillion “extension” to their failed CDS business. Recall all those I-Bankers outraged at their (not really) lost bonuses?

            It would be interesting to find if annual unemployment benefits paid in the United States approach the total value of TARP…

    • Raj77 says:

      Name a socialist state.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Ok. Cuba.

      • Rindan says:

        Um, Italy, Greece, and Spain? Things suck pretty hardcore all around. Socialism is no magic protection. If anything, it gives you some extra avenues to blow your economy. I don’t think anyone has found a way to survive worldwide economic turmoil that doesn’t involve unplugging and having a crap economy all the time.

        At best, we can say that next time we boom, we REALLY should actually run a responsible budget and sock away money for rainny day so that stimulation at maintaining living standards through social welfare programs to cover those suffering in the down economy is not so fucking painful and so likely to lead to inflation. Of course I’ll believe a politician can not spend money through tax breaks and/or increased spending during a time of plenty when hell freezes over.

        • Ugly Canuck says:

          Do you live in any of those countries?
          How do you know it “sucks”?
          Is that what you’ve read in your local newspaper?

        • Ugly Canuck says:

          Perhaps your observations of how the situation “sucks” where you personally live may be of more worth, than how you think people, who perhaps live far away and speak other languages than you do, are doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      For some solutions, see this knol I put together:
      http://knol.google.com/k/paul-d-fernhout/beyond-a-jobless-recovery#Four_long%282D%29term_heterodox_alternatives
      Essentially, we will hopefully see a mix of a “basic income” (social security for all regardless of age), an expanded gift economy (like GNU/Linux, Wikipedia, and blogging), more democratic resource-based planning (using taxes, subsidies, and regulation), and improved local subsistence (like through 3D printing, local renewable energy, and organic gardening).

  38. Anonymous says:

    Even worse than using GDP as a measure of the economy is the pervasive use of stock market. It has a few advantages: it is constantly updated, publicly available, and it is a consensus opinion generated by the actions of MANY people. The problem is that at current P/E ratios, the prices are basicly speculative. They’re primarily based on people estimates of future stock prices, ratheer than their estimates of the future profitability of the companies whose shares are being bought and sold. That’s why we often get the “bad news is good news,” where stock prices go up when people think that the Fed will lower rates in response to bad economic news. If the money to invest becomes cheaper, more money will make its way to Wall Street, and the laws of supply and demand will send prices higher.

    But unlike most other measures, it comes out EVERY DAY and that gives analysts something to talk about EVERY DAY.

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