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06 November 2010

Another quotebag

“When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: ‘Whose?’”—Don Marquis, quoted by Jack Saturday

“Remember kids, you can’t have crucifixion without fiction!”—CultOfDusty

“If we can’t make a dime on the street, will Big Brother leave us alone if we just putz putz around in our own backyard? Not so fast. In Michigan, House Bill 6458, introduced by two Democrats, Gabe Leland and Mike Huckleberry, will prohibit farming in any city with a population of 900,000 or more. Why didn’t they name Detroit outright, since it’s the only one that qualifies? And what’s going on here, exactly?”—Linh Dinh

“The state can never be replaced or transcended by private for-profit logics only, but only if civil society develops its own collective regulation mechanisms.”—Michel Bauwens

“A hobbyist and student of the economy, I’m no economist. I got a B.A. in Math in 1970, and promptly went to work in construction. A few years later New York City nearly went bankrupt. I couldn’t understand that. A year or two later the news reported that local farmers were plowing their crop into the soil, as it would cost them less than bringing the crop to market. That’s when I signed up for a semester of economics. About the first thing I noticed was that hardly any of the graphs in the textbook were based on actual numbers. So I started going through Statistical Abstracts at the library, gathering data, doing calculations (at first with a slide rule, later with a Radio Shack PC-1 Pocket Computer with 1K of memory!) and drawing graphs by hand. I’ve been into it ever since.”—Arthur Shipman

“When information management successfully over whelms the prospect for ‘educated electorate,’ we’re playing solitaire with a deck where every card is a joker.”—Chad Hall

“Dark chocolate is one of my favorite snacks, but if you told me ‘you have no other choice, you must eat this dark chocolate’, I’d be unable to swallow it.”—Ettina

“The elephant in the room: The validity of currency has been separated from its... primary function; labor compensation utilized as a universal bartering tool for trade, goods and services. The religion of economics has subverted it into a measurement independent of its original blueprint.”—mary dohm

Bundles and other package deals

Big Phone and Big Cable know that about 1% of the people out there, like you and me, are in the bottom percentile among movie/TV viewers. For this segment, so much for their so-called Triple Play. The introduction of VoIP makes it so internet access is equivalent to home phone plus internet access. Now all Big Phone and Big Cable have to agree on is that there is to be no such thing as 'standalone broadband,' at least at a rate that is palatable. So VoIP is making it worse. Apple and Amazon purvey their iPad and Kindle wares which need wireless internet access and not much else, so there is another truckload of customers who wish there were such a thing as standalone mobile broadband. Maybe Apple and Amazon are making it worse.

03 November 2010

Is mass emigration from America part of our future?

I've long been an advocate of replacing the word 'immigration' with 'migration' in popular discourse, and the blog entry US Emigration Rates... at Blended Purple illustrates one example of why; namely the ‘brain drain’ factor. Nobody thought Ireland would go from emigration central to immigration central. It’s hardly inconceivable that the United States can’t flip in the other direction.

The discussion of this subject also reminds me of Reagan’s trite slogan about ‘voting with one’s feet.’ This type of voting is of course not an equal opportunity franchise. Within the USA it’s pretty obvious that there's a middle class whose housing arrangements are a matter of at least some choice, and an underclass whose choice is made for them by economic constraints, and turns out to be the so-called ‘low rent district.’ It’s inevitable this pattern will globalize. Blended Purple is talking about “educated potential immigrants” who are “dropping the U.S[.] from their list…”

I wonder whether we may be looking at a future in which working class people are also looking at emigration, most plausibly to less developed countries, specifically those in which their particular occupational skills are still cheap enough to be competitive with capital. Most such countries, it seems, already have high unemployment rates, but the low-income ‘first world’ population may also be forced to emigrate to the ‘third world’ for an affordable cost of living. There might be more likelihood of a place for them there is it’s understood they’re to spend money. Seemingly for some time now the tacit understanding has been that the role of average Americans in the world economy is that of consumers. Maybe ‘offshoring’ these consumers has the potential to extend the potential of this particular form of running on the fumes of the postwar American economy, even beyond the credit bubble.

Another possible emigrant population is elderly people with long-term care needs. Long-term care is one of the few truly labor-intensive industries left, and is also one of the most staggeringly expensive ongoing financial burdens a typical American is likely to have to deal with. Already there is a ‘medical tourism’ industry, and already that industry is expanding from clearly elective services to such staples as major dental work. I wouldn't at all be surprised if nursing home patients at some point become medical tourists with one-way tickets.

It's no accident that the ‘free world’ consists of the top tier of countries in terms of GDP. Globalizing the already-apparent economic reality that mobility and habitational choice are determined by income and career potential, begs even harder the question of whether political freedom itself is an economic good, to be enjoyed by those who can afford it.

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