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The New Misery Index - 4 Charts Showing Economic Trends Using Gov't/Fed Numbers: We Are In Trouble

Charts 1 & 2 - The participation rate: the percentage of the working-age population with a job

Chart 3 - Real (adjusted for inflation) median household income: an imperfect, but still useful measure of purchasing power.
Labor share of the non-farm economy: how much of the national income is going to wage-earners

Chart 4 - Money velocity: a basic measure of economic vitality

The foundation of Misery Index 2.0 is jobs, earned income and the purchasing power of earnings.Inflation is easily gamed by underweighting big-ticket expenses and offsetting increasing costs with hedonic adjustments, and unemployment is easily gamed by shifting people from the work-force to not in the workforce. This category of zombies--not counted in measures of unemployment--has skyrocketed.

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Capitalism has no solution.

We need a paradigm shift in thinking.

See "Humans Need Not Apply. The Future Of Work."

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

We don't have Capitalism

We, as a nation, practice centrally planned cronyism.

"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas" Victor Hugo

I'm aware. I maintain: capitalism has no solution.

The free-market system has no solution. My point wasn't (in this post) how far we are from how capitalism is supposed to work due to corporate corruption and cronyism.

The point is: we've come to a place in history that is unlike all others. Some of American jobs are gone because of technology. Some of American jobs are gone because of outsourcing. Check out the post "Humans Need Not Apply." These jobs are not coming back. How are people supposed to support themselves and their families?

We need a paradigm shift in thinking.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

SteveMT's picture

"Capitalism has no solution," when trumped by a central bank.

You are right, mdefarge. The central bank undermines capitalism. All Ponzi schemes eventually come to an end, which is what we are witnessing now with the Fed Ponzi scheme. There is a reason that Amschel Rothchild said "Give me control of a nations money supply, and I care not who makes it’s laws." Capitalism has no answer for the corruption inherent in the Federal Reserve System.

Actually, while that's true, that's not what I'm saying.

I'm saying capitalism (even in its purest form) has no solution to what's happening regarding two particular circumstances - one affecting America, one affecting everyone:

1) political boundaries - w/their respective forms of government, constitutions, rights, etc. (or lack thereof) actually exist - whether natural or man made. The United States is a country, a recognizable domain, that comes with certain understandings and rights that you might not have elsewhere. [Americans might be in the process of losing our rights. That's not the issue here, as also banking is not the issue.] Whereas, today there are no boundaries where business is concerned, no boundaries controlling some specified domain in which we do business. Sure, I personally believe (the model of) capitalism works! That is, I believe it works in the sense that (in general, such as how it's operated for at least a few hundred years) it works better at supplying what most people need & want vs. central planning. And it *is continuing* to develop a nice middle class... just not here in America. It's developing a middle class in China (for one).

2) Technology is creating the situation that, sooner or later, will result in human beings not needing to work (for the most part) to supply what w need. Indeed, they won't be able to, to go by just "markets." People can't compete against machines. No less "thinking" machines. The system operates on the basis of some sort of "exchange." There is nothing that a human being will *have* to offer. Sure, we'll always need hairdressers and the like - a certain limited amount of services. But not labor, in general. Millions of jobs have already been replaced by machines, and millions more will be. That's what that other post focused on: No Human Need Apply. And so, it will take a paradigm shift in thinking to figure out a new economic system.

It's not for lack of ambition that so many Americans are unemployed or underemployed. And it's no longer the case that "blue collar workers" need to "go back to school" for further education. For what kind of job? Everything is changing... and rather rapidly.

Some "basic income" schemes have already been proposed. *Something* will emerge, whether thought-through and planned or by default, i.e., when enough people are on food stamps and welfare.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

The Flaw

We have locked ourselves into an economic paradigm that requires infinite growth. It is unsustainable.

Contraction or stability is seen as a negative. The US is scrambling to expand at all costs.

Well, in the physical universe expansion is not infinite, eventually there is an implosion.

"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas" Victor Hugo

Capitalism is just

the private ownership of the means of production. The only mandate is that people have the right to own things and exchange things freely. You have made the same mistake as progressives in mis-characterizing what capitalism is (for progressives, capitalism means John D. Rockefeller presiding over an army of poor workers). There is no mandate for the structure of society, or economic "model", or corporate structure in the definition.

You are the one who has placed capitalism in a stereotypical niche of an 8 to 5 job, department store workers, fast food chains, office buildings, manager and employee, etc. None of this is "Capitalism". Capitalism doesn't mandate expansion or infinite growth or any of that. Just ownership.

I'm not saying you are wrong about the need for a paradigm shift or any of that, as things are certain to change immensely with new technology. Money will indeed probably play a lesser role at some point in the distant future, and some day, ideally, people would not have to work at all to survive if they didn't desire to do so. This would be a natural transition were the government not to attempt control of the economy and money.

Anyway, my only point of contention is that you use the term Capitalism as if it is a system or model based on expansion and money exchange, when in reality the only "system" described by it is one in which people own things and exchange things freely.

Eh? Capitalism is a foundational principle

Eh? Capitalism is a foundational principle of this country. If you don't like that fact, you're in the wrong country.

This has nothing to do with my personal preferences.

It's the obsolescence of capitalism I was referring to, the model of capitalism not being applicable to the circumstances of the future (some of which are already here), the fact that human beings won't be necessary to do the work to provide for themselves.

But even looking in the near term, where human labor still has value, and assuming that, net net, capitalism was still able to provide the most *to* the most... given the usurpation of power by corporations from we, the people (that changed the dynamic from what our founders' intended), and given that the term corporation is becoming synonymous with global corporation, no longer is (global) capitalism necessarily in the best interest of *this country*.

We're already dealing with ramifications of the changing economic landscape - in both regards: 1) electronics doing work once done by humans, and 2) foreigners doing work once done by Americans. Are you so tied to an economic model that you would put it above your country and countrymen?

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Out of curiousity...

...when machines start doing everything and money (in all its forms) is obsoleted; i.e., no longer in use, then what will we do ... share the wonderful bounty equally? One person needs 2,000 calories per day, so that's what they get for free? Who will regulate that? Who will enforce that? What will happen to those who sneak 2,500 calories?

I've just wondered about that since I first heard this idea proposed by the Zeitgeist dude (can't think of his name).

Work for pay, pay for freedom
Fuck 'em all, we don't need 'em

TwelveOhOne's picture

His name is Peter Joseph;his site: http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ (random note: if you put a URL in the subject, it helps to put it in the comment as well, because if someone clicks a subject it "hides" it, making it difficult for others to get to the resource you're trying to share.)

I really enjoyed those movies, the first with three segments, on religion, war, and finance; the second focused on finance. There are others which I haven't seen yet.

I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
http://fija.org - Fully Informed Jury Association
http://jsjinc.net - Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy healing)

Even if all human labor is

Even if all human labor is eventually replaced in factories, in hotels, replacing cab drivers and truckers, and so on, there will be other things people will want to trade and exchange between each other. Certain opinions will become more valuable. Streaming video of people's lives will become a commodity. All kinds of possibilities... I think we have maybe 20-30 years before all labor-intensive human activities will be replaceable with general purpose robots. I believe Google's robotics division will provide the first breakthrough AI and robotics services.