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  1. #71
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thisica View Post
    Economics is a normative discipline, contrary to what economists say.
    Well, that depends on the branch. Game theory is hardly normative, while macroeconomics has to be, since most variables are anthropized and you're trying to adjust a monetary system. Similarly, mechanism design can be thought about as a form of high-level process engineering, so it tries to solve problems that are already extant. OTOH many branches of quantitative finance are aimed at developing applied models (often based on sketchy assumptions), so they're implicitly normative, yes.
    Probably the most debated branch of economics is macro, because it's superfically "easier" to understand and often confused with politics, so perhaps this skew does contribute to a certain normative perception of economics.

    Read more carefully. I said source of wealth. And I stand by my assertion - the general well-being of a society only improves under a capitalist system as long as there are sources of wealth to be easily extracted. Absent this, it becomes nothing but a mechanism for concentrating wealth in the hands of a few hereditary and temperamental elites.
    Mmm yes and no. There's still technological change which enters as an exogenous factor of production, and its presence allows for an extention of your "easily" qualifier. Yet over an infinite time-span you're obviously right, since entropy will prevail.
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  2. #72
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Firstly, not all work done is wage labour.
    A salary is a fixed wage over a year. You're still renting your labor in order to survive.

    Secondly, why would wages necessarily be stagnant? When you ask questions like this, you should fully characterise them. Preferably in greater depth than merely saying the labour market lacks elasticity for some mysterious reason. I know economists do like to scribble down a few graphs and differential equations, but those are merely hypothetical solutions.
    It was a hypothetical based on the past 30 years of American labor history, where productivity has surged while real wages have remained stagnant. So, why then has this rise in productivity been a good thing, especially when the deleterious effects of a deflationary economy are well known?

    I know productivity is not fully correlated with wages - CEOs or wall street bankers are not magically more productive than the rest of us. But one could fairly argue that the wages of low skilled jobs have remained that way because productivity has not improved significantly. The question as to whether a particular individual 'deserves' only to work in a low skilled job with low rewards is a different question.
    It is by definition impossible to improve productivity in service workers (which most of the lowest-paid workers are), because they produce absolutely nothing; at best, they only facilitate the production of something else. Any increase in amount of tasks complete per man-hour would automatically benefit the employer and hurt the worker, because it would be in the employer's best interest to lay workers off, decreasing the cost of labor and increasing profit.

  3. #73
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    A salary is a fixed wage over a year. You're still renting your labor in order to survive.
    I'm not talking about that, I should have said not all work done is employed labour. Least of which the work in raising a family. Technological improvements in such areas can have a strong effect on quality of life.

    It was a hypothetical based on the past 30 years of American labor history, where productivity has surged while real wages have remained stagnant. So, why then has this rise in productivity been a good thing, especially when the deleterious effects of a deflationary economy are well known?
    Quality of life for many had improved, but arguably not for those who were close to, or below the poverty line.

    It is by definition impossible to improve productivity in service workers (which most of the lowest-paid workers are), because they produce absolutely nothing; at best, they only facilitate the production of something else. Any increase in amount of tasks complete per man-hour would automatically benefit the employer and hurt the worker, because it would be in the employer's best interest to lay workers off, decreasing the cost of labor and increasing profit.
    So someone in the waste collection or hospitality industries are not producing anything of value? The service industries are more diverse than you think.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor...ice_industries

    Many individuals employed in these industries at the very least have a comparative advantage.
    It depends on the specific industry, but increases in productivity means that prices can be lowered and more customers can be obtained. But more possibilities are available, improvements in productivity in the waste management industry for example might lead to more economical recycling.

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