American wages are so low, the robots don't want your job


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/26/robots-vs-your-shitty-job.html


#2

I, for one, welcome our new robot union reps.


#3

IMHO the fed is stuck in a “If you have a hammer, everybody is wearing a nail-shaped hat,” problem. But with wage growth stagnant, increasing the money supply by keeping interest rates artificially low does little to boost the economy overall. Instead, what effectively happens is that Wall Street just lends the money to itself and instead of being invested in new, more efficient plants and equipment, it just gets pumped into another round of financial schemes leading to even higher degrees of concentration of wealth.


#4

Henry Ford figured this one out over a century ago: pay your workers well, and they can afford to become your customers, with the result that your profits go up and you make more even with the higher cost of labour.

But for some reason, none of today’s capitalist robber barons seems to be smart enough to re-learn the lesson Ford did, so they keep on immiserating their peons and then wonder why profits have failed to rise.


#5

And yet the solution has been available to us for a long time. We need upper marginal tax rates of 90% or higher to discourage wealth hoarding and encourage putting money back in to businesses


#6

Most of this is anecdotal and manufacturing related, but I’ve been thinking about this recently. Steve Jobs notably said to Obama he couldn’t manufacture in the U.S. because people

It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their U.S. counterparts that “Made in the USA” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

link

More recently, on message boards I heard people talking about trying to fill more skilled manufacturing jobs, but can’t. For insurance reasons they drug-test…but nobody can pass. They also said people don’t live in the right areas and aren’t willing to move (honestly, that part could just be “we’re not willing to pay more in salaries or pay more to build where labor is…yet”).

I think this came up because the U.S. can now ship U.S. chickens to China and sell them back in the U.S. without additional labeling. This brought up that we already do this for things like scallops caught in the U.S. that are processed in Germany.


#7

To the Gateses and Buffets, marginal tax rates of 90% are like a mosquito bite, because there are so many strategies to avoid “income”. What those 90% tax rates do accomplish is to hammer the living shit out of the upper middle class.


#8

The upper middle class would not be paying the highest tax rates because they don’t make that much.


#10

No, but if someone who makes $2 million a year will be paying 90%, someone who makes $200,000 a year will be paying 50+%. Watch and see. The number of $2 million a year (taxable income) people is so small that a 99% tax rate would not really make any difference.


#11

Sounds like speculation outside my suggestion of a high upper tax rate to me


#12

If robots are going to be so good they can take a wide variety of our jobs then a less skilled robot (or group of them) can cook, clean, fix my house, grow me food, make itself available to do labor for barter and combined with a house that generates power, why am I killing myself 40+ hours a week at a job? Won’t the application of robots in our homes make it so less people will need to work and thereby make a smaller workforce?


#13

But that possible reality flies in the face of current capitalist myth that presupposes one must do more than the minimum to earn an “honest” day’s pay.


#14

I’d add to your suggestion that the capital gains tax also needs to go up significantly, and have marginal rate brackets as ordinary income does.


#15

Well, that, too, and the last few times I’ve gone on job boards, there are local jobs where companies say they can’t get qualified people, but you won’t find them. They’re not going out of their way to recruit. And when they are, the requirements are often so specific that nobody will qualify for that. You can argue that it’s an HR manager trying to weed people out, except I have been in that interview before where, yes, they really mean it…because someone has a nephew that claims to have those skills and he’s apparently willing to work for $10/hour. And you need to have the skillset required for the job beforehand, and probably a requirement of at least a 2-year vocational degree.

And the funny thing is, if they ship the job off to Mexico, China, or India, there will be on-the-job training, and no drug testing.

There’s a lot of bullcrap flying around the modern US work environment.


#16

oh, to be sure. But I’m happy to start with the taxes and then move on to other ways the wealthy are harming our fiat economy with their wealth hording.


#17

What if my job is doing a pretty ok job of vacuuming people’s floor with a cat on my back, while secretly making maps of their houses to send back to the mothership?


#18

duh.

as profit approaches cost capitalism must fail.


#19

Take my wage … please!


#20

How to spot someone who doesn’t understand marginal tax rates.


#21

I think the key difference from Ford’s time is that Globalization has made it so that capital can be easily relocated to the most favorable areas in the world with relative ease. There’s always another place with a more favorable tax code, lax work standards, loose pollution controls; you can just uproot your operation as needed rather than grow your business in an isolated market.