Is there a shortage of viable jobs that will cause a lot more hardship in the future?

Posted by Jstork 2 months, 2 weeks ago to Philosophy
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I saw some statistics that showed the increase of service based jobs and the decrease of resource based or productivity based jobs over the past decades. I think this is a dangerous trend that will eventually lead to mass hardship. This is a multifaceted issue that has many different causes and potential solutions. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and lessons.
SOURCE URL: http://www.businessinsider.com/charting-the-incredible-shift-from-manufacturing-to-services-in-america-2011-9


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  • Posted by ProfChuck 2 months, 1 week ago
    There are also millions of jobs going unfilled because of a lack of qualified applicants. Many of these jobs are trade and craft related and include machinists, welders, electronic technicians, plumbers and so on. Our education system has failed to produce these skills in sufficient numbers to satisfy the need.
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    • Posted by  $  DrZarkov99 2 months, 1 week ago
      Good point, Prof, but don't forget the role unions played in creating this mess. At one time, the progression from apprentice to journeyman to master of one's craft made a distinction in skill level that was reflected in increasing pay. Thanks to militant union action, this system of reward for achievement was replaced by one of reward for seniority. The longer you squat, the more you're paid, so there's no incentive to gain the skills employers are looking for.
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      • Posted by ProfChuck 2 months, 1 week ago
        Sad but true.. My grandfather was a building contractor. Long ago he would go the union hiring hall because that was where the most skilled workers could be found. Things have changed and not for the better.
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        • Posted by  $  DrZarkov99 2 months, 1 week ago
          My father was a master machinist, a master welder, a master mechanic, a master tool and die maker, a master model maker, and probably several other skills he gained over the years. As a result he was always employed, and at the top hourly rate. He was also a very skillful negotiator as a union steward, until he became disgusted with the thuggish tactics of the union bosses and quit the union (he could do that because his employer refused to cave and make the shop union only). He was so talented his employer gave him a salaried engineer's position, even though he'd never completed his degree. Hard to find men like that today.
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          • Posted by ProfChuck 2 months, 1 week ago
            Sounds like my dad. He was an expert machinist at Southern Pacific Railway designing and building steam locomotives in the 30's. He flew troop carrier aircraft in WWII and then after the war he started his own business repairing and maintaining electric tools for contractors. He was a man of many skills and finally got his bachelors degree at the age of 55. He wound up at JPL designing spacecraft navigation systems and finally managing a major Cal Tech astronomical observatory. He was truly one of a rare breed.
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
      You can blame "the educational system" or you can blame parents. Here in Texas, the Mexican-American Engineering Society works hard to bring the news to bright kids (boys and girls) that they do not have to do what their parents did. Too often, we see that carpenters, electricians, and mechanics do not encourage and actively discourage their kids when it comes to pursuing college in general and engineering in particular.

      Some of that is "Spanish culture" because until America was invented in the 19th century, what else would anyone do, except what their parents did? Read the biographies of European savants whose fathers saw no use whatever it was the young genius was pursuing.

      Expecting "the education system to produce these skills" is to reduce human beings to factory outputs. I am sure that you did not intend that kind of a Soviet view of the problem.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
        Don't know why I missed this when I was logged on earlier today, but your statement: "Expecting "the education system to produce these skills" is to reduce human beings to factory outputs. I am sure that you did not intend that kind of a Soviet view of the problem." is condescending and ridiculous. When I was in the 9th grade high school back in the '60s we went through what was referred to as "exploratory shops" as a regular part of our HS education. Each shop only took 1 or 2 periods in the morning or afternoon and we took one shop for roughly 3 or 4 weeks each throughout the school year totaling 8 or 9 shops by the time the year ended. There were shops for a wide range of skills and we got to pick which ones we wanted to attend. There were exploratory shops for textiles, welding, machine, electrical, sheet metal, automotive, wood, and a bunch more. By the time I got out of 9th grade I had a good idea of how to run a sewing machine, lathe, milling machine, band saw, wire a house, tear apart and reassemble a gasoline engine, build a mold and pour parts made of molten aluminum, and a whole lot more. Along with all that was a rudimentary understanding of the theory behind each skill. Grades 10-12 you could pick what you wanted (I chose electronic theory), but those little exploratory shops gave me skills and understanding I'd use for the rest of my life. All of that is gone now and the high schools offer none of it as far as I can tell. What a loss!!!! It seems today the HS kids can recite the latest PC bromides and paraphrase Karl Marx but don't know the difference between a wrench and a screwdriver (or how to use either) and can barely balance a checkbook. And that is called "education"... BS.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
          You and I are about the same age. I had my shop classes over four semesters 7th and 8th grades, one semester each of wood, mechanical drawing, metal, and printing. I still use printing. A lot. Mechanical drawing did not do much for me then, but I had two college classes later. Similarly, I had two community college classes in electronics.

          By comparison, in an article on the value of college humanities classes, it seems (no surprise) that some lawyers reported a value in drama classes. However, the article quoted a lawyer who found it a waste of time.

          You had a great shop class program. Mine was not-so-great. The final outcomes however were up to us.

          I stand by my initial statements. It is not the business of public education to produce skilled workers for the jobs of the moment. It has to be more general than that because the future makes new demands.

          I agree with you that some education in mechanical arts is helpful. The same is true of music, drama, and sports, as well as literature. I am a professional writer, but I got through high school literature with Classics Illustrated comics. Still, literature is as important as shop and music. (I had four semesters of chorale and three semesters of French horn. Twice a year from 3rd grade to 12th we attended children's concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra. I can read music. And earlier this year, I was awarded a medal for composing a march for my state guard. I just wrote the lyrics. The real musician did the heavy lifting.)

          Some time back, in a similar discussion of our high school shop classes. I said that I was never encouraged at it. Shop classes were for kids going to work in factories. I was in the college bound tracks. However... the public schools of my time did not see me 25 years later having to disassemble and reassemble a 6-axis robot in order to write the maintenance manual. It took me two years. In the mean time, I taught operations and programming.

          Then, there were the kids in the 1960s who took typing. I did not. Back then, it was, at best, a convenience, unless you were going to be a secretary in an office. That speaks to the problem with expecting schools of the present to produce what we will need in the future. After 10 years of two-fingered keyboarding, I got a typing tutor program for my IBM-PC. I still do not follow the rules, but I have good speed. And it is all over the keyboard because typing classes in 1965 did not include Function keys, Page Up, CTL-ALT-DEL (only Shift), and an integral numeric keypad...

          Again, you cannot plan Soviet-style to crank out millions of workers to do the work of tomorrow, but I do applaud your skills in mechanical arts.
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          • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
            I guess I just plain disagree with the notion that teaching our young a smattering of real world skills is somehow "Soviet-style" education. Too often the default alternative result is dumbed down burger flippers, sales clerks, Walmart greeters, and welfare recipients. To get out of those positions those people have to learn those "Soviet-style" skills later in life anyway, but by then it's more difficult.

            As I said elsewhere I became a programmer mainly for chemical making and manufacturing systems. I was very good at what I did and was in demand where I worked initially and then later as an independent contractor. A large part of the reason for that success was having a good understanding of real world systems and behavior, which began in exploratory shops. I call it 4D thinking (3D + time), which you don't get from the liberal arts. 4D thinking for me was virtually intuitive by the time I got out of high school because of combining the various shop experiences along with all the other subjects (side note: by the time you understand what's going on when you melt metal to cast a part, the workings of an engine, and the workings of a motor/generator set, then taking a physics course the following year was a breeze - not to mention college courses much later). Those shops weren't to indoctrinate us into a "Soviet-style" factory-bot, they were there to give us an idea of how the real world worked by actually experiencing pieces of it. I've met a lot of good programmers and some not so good, but in my branch of the programming universe it seems the best ones were the ones that understood how the real world worked before they learned to code.
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            • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
              It is not the smattering of real world skills that is "Soviet style" it is the expectation that public education can know now how to mass produce the workers of the future. And at the opening, I said that I knew that that was not your intention, but that's how it came across to me. In fact, I had a letter to the Editor of Notes from FEE on that very point, based on an article from an engineering magazine c.1900 that called for "hundreds of young Edisons" to be trained, as they were in Germany of time (it was claimed).

              I believe that I underscored the value in a complete education. And I tried to make it clear that my school system let me down by undervaluing the very shop classes that they required me to take. I am sorry that you and I are having a hard time getting on the same page (an allusion to music).

              Your "4D Thinking" is unique to you. It might be teachable, but I suspect not. It can be learned but not taught. Entrepreneurship is like that, too: somewhat ineffable because you have to experience it from the inside.

              Liberal arts is not just the humanities. Liberal education is the humanities plus the sciences. Mathematics is a liberal art. In the eponymous book by Mark Van Doren, he begins with the Trivium and the Quadrivium: Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic; Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy.

              I agree that the best programmers know the substantive literature of their subjects. I cite that from Joseph Weizenbaum when I speak to software user groups on "Documentation for Developers." (I got into technical writing from computer programming.) It is a problem evidence by "compulsive programming" when coders start designing from the keyboard. You have to think it through better than that. You call it "4D Thinking."

              I have given that talk several times since 2013. Here is the original set of slides. (I went back and annotated them for Slideshare.)
              https://www.slideshare.net/michaelmar...

              "We know from measurable results that police officers with college degrees both make more traffic stops, and yet have fewer negative interactions with the public: they work harder and better. But college classes in criminology do not teach traffic stops or public relations. Something else is engaged." -- The Economic Value in a Liberal Education on my blog, here:
              http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/20...
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              • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
                Maybe we're not on different pages on this after all. Maybe different stanzas.

                I enjoyed the slide show and wish I was able to see it presented in person. Anyway, much of the advice in the presentation I already knew and was following decades ago, which is likely why I've been a successful programmer. Essentially, plan before you program! Interesting about the Declaration Of Independence being a level 18 document. I wouldn't have guessed, but maybe I shouldn't have been surprised because I have some 19th century text books in my library and I'm sure the eighth grade English grammar text would stymie high school seniors today. Gosh, some of it might even stymie a high school English teacher today, LOL! I wonder if the grading process of the grading program would be different if its data base only had 18th and 19th (at least pre-radio-TV) works as a comparison for grade expectation.

                The blog link was a nice read, but I'm running out of time here and had to move over it rather quickly. One part that jumped out at me was the part where the colleges may be behind the invention curve (steam engine paragraph). Since I was a programmer (software) in the late '70s I figured I would attend night school at our community college to get some digital electronics (hardware) theory to augment my career and actually got asked to give a few lectures on how to program the "new" microchips - by that time I'd already written thousands of lines of assembler for the new chip sets. It was a fun time and I was only in my 20s.

                The police officers... "Something else is engaged" would be interesting to know what it is. Perhaps the background that enabled them to get to college in the first place had a bearing.
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  • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
    I think a lot of the service jobs are ethereal and are subject to automation and robotization. Jobs involving handling of cash will disappear when we go cashless. Automated checkout in stores is becoming more and more prevalent, eliminating a lot of clerks. Your lawn could be mowed by an autonomous lawn mower. Its already watered by autonomous sprinkler systems. As robots get smarter and cheaper, more and more jobs will be eliminated. Personally, I would rather NOT have to deal with so many people doing jobs that automation and robots could do BETTER. Fast food ordering is ridiculously still done by humans- and not that efficiently either.

    Automation is everywhere in manufacturing also

    I think that government regulations are the cause of a lot of current jobs springing up. Paper pushing, dealing with complex laws and the litigious society. Health care is replete with useless work being done by humans to keep all sorts of records to prevent malpractice claims.
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
      I think that you are missing the point of capitalism. First, all manufacturing is a service. See my comments below. https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

      When you buy a service you buy the most precious thing on Earth: your own time. See my comment in this thread https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

      I agree with you that most government regulations - what you call "paper pushing" - represent a deadweight loss to the economy. That said, keeping track of medical records via automated information processing is not just a sop thrown to the insurance lobby. Medical records are the foundation for primary care. Everyone of us is unique. Your medical record is your life record, literally and truly.
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      • Posted by Storo 2 months, 1 week ago
        Manufacturing is NOT a service. Basic economics. Manufacturers produce a physical product, push it out the door, and make another. Say cars. The mechanic who works on your car produces nothing physical, and thus provides a service. This is the distinction. Manufacturing requires one set of skills, while service requires quite another.
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      • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
        Manufacturing is kind of a service that used to be performed by humans but is increasingly being performed by robots now

        Maybe other things we commonly call services will be performed by robots in the future too, like cashiers, order takers, waitresses, etc. truly creative things may eventually be taken over more and more by robots that learn on their own. In the meantime we humans have to compete with each other and robot science to remain visble
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
          See my comments here about vending machines and printers. This is nothing new and we could hardly live without it - certainly not at our current level. Do you have a printer at home? What is his name? Does he live on your manor with his shop of California job cases?
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          • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
            Good point about printers. They last for years and years. The toner cartridges are probably made non China by automation or maybe here with automation I do think that printed items are headed for eventual extinction due to computers and smart phones. We have been into a long period of developing and benefiting from automation and robotics, but I wonder what the future Autonomous trucks and cars will eliminate taxi drivers and truck drivers. Robotics will eliminate servers and order takers. Maybe we all become slave repairmen to robots? The world is about to radically change as robot technology expands exponentially in the future
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            • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
              Interesting conversation here. I'll add this: I helped develop the process programming for an ink dye making apparatus at a plant here in the States. Gosh, those colors were gorgeous and we got the system to make them very consistently - important for printing over time. Marvelous product! However, the whole apparatus was strangely built on a giant metal frame and the dimensions of the space the system was to occupy were carefully specified. When we got done and it was running perfectly, it was shut down, slid into a big "seatainer" and shipped to China. Oh well...
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              • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
                I read that Chinese companies are trying to robotize as fast as that can. I guess robots. Are cheaper than even Chinese labor
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                • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
                  I've said this elsewhere here. That may be true now, but the last time I was working over there building a new factory (2006) some of us were asked to not over automate some processes in order to create jobs.
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                  • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
                    I just read an article on FOXCONN where they are going gung ho on robots to cut down on workers making iphones. Why would anyone want a worker if you can do the job cheaper with a robot that doesnt get hurt, doesnt sue, doesnt take vacations or get sick, and iin the USA makes you subject to labor regulations.

                    I look forward to kiosks at fast food restaurants, the elimination of servers in restaurants who expect tips. All automation has to do is be slightly better and more concenient than the human it replaces, and cost less overall. Bring em on.
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                    • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
                      Hi, term2. I'm not disagreeing with you as far as what you've read. I'm simply conveying that in some areas they are not automating in order to provide jobs for people. The theory is it is better to have people in the workplace doing something than doing nothing on the street.

                      Also, in China, they do not have a problem firing bad workers and they do not have (as far as I could tell) a predatory and litigious legal system that treats such firings as a possible "win the lottery" scenario.
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                      • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
                        I think that automation happens as each business finds it more profitable to replace a particular person with a more efficient process or person. It happens a little bit at a time Repetitive and standardized tasks lend themselves first to automation, as has happened for hundreds of years now. As memory costs have dropped, artificial intelligence is increasing exponentially and making higher level automation competitive with more and more people. We as humans need to recognize our own special competitive advantages and promote them. Things are happening faster now and it’s leaving a lot of people behind
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 months, 1 week ago
    If the free market were left the !@#$%$#@! alone the good old "invisible hand" would take care of itself.But, with the manipulating, meddlesome egomaniacs of economics will likely continue to screw things up and your fears may well be realized.
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  • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 months, 1 week ago
    I understand what the post is saying. Suppose the whole United States has to stand as Mulligan's Valley--as in Mississippi Valley--against the world? Would we not then re-insource all manufacturing that today happens overseas? I remind you all: in Atlas Shrugged, Mulligan's Valley/Galt's Gulch/Atlantis stood alone and in complete isolation. The only exception to this was Midas Mulligan occasionally obtaining certain goods not yet available within the valley. And he got them from Ragnar Danneskjold. He was that "like-minded customer in the United States who [paid Danneskjold] in gold." So if ever an exception "proved the rule," this did.

    I don't deny that world trade has taken us very far. But nefarious actors can cut trade off. Pirates are an obvious offender. So would be an enemy power.

    To the extent we do not have resourced-based jobs in this country, we remain vulnerable in case the Global Elite should decide to declare war against America.
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    • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
      Trade has kept prices down because trade has been with underdeveloped and less entitled workers overseas. Thats why our government claims only 2% price inflation while they inflate the money supply by 10%. We should be seeing 8% price deflation !!!
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
      As for pirates, while the combined navies of the United Kingdom (mostly) and other nations did put down piracy, what killed it was free trade. Most of piracy was paid for with smuggling. Smuggling depends on laws against imports. If piracy had paid, they would have been the first with ironclads, rifled long range guns, and petroleum powered steam engines. Instead, piracy as a lucrative way of life died out in the early 19th century with laissez faire -- except for the usual fringe of criminals who plague all society.
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
      The truth you are missing is that the exchange of values is asymmetrical, never equal. You know that, I am sure, but your post here seems to be an attempt to deny that. The Valley was a literary construct. No society can survive without outside contact. In point of fact, the societies that thrive are those that are most open to traffic. Illegal immigrant should be a contradiction because immigration should not be regulated by law. In fact, City Air Makes You Free. Google the phrase for hundreds of positive posts about it. My own is here: http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/20...

      "In the Middle Ages, if you could evade your manor lord for a year within the city walls, you were free. On the other hand, everyone was expected to contribute to the defense of the city. Men who work for a living have no time for training, so the city depended on firearms for protection: easy to use and devastating against an attacker." (In other words, America is one big medieval city, a place full of strangers with guns.)
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      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 months, 1 week ago
        Your argument assumes that all human beings are rational. I think you know otherwise. And I put it to you that military security demands that any country preserve a core of resource-based industrial capacity that will help it withstand siege.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
          World War II was won by our "resource-based industrial capacity" but that was 70 years ago. We are in a new era.

          Also, humans are rational by definition, if you understand what "rational" means in the technical sense. That other people do make the same choices you would is a different issue entirely.
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          • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 months, 1 week ago
            Yes, and in this new era we appear to depend, for many of our resources, on trading with those who make most irrational choices. If we had to fight a war like World War II again, we would have to win it quickly, or not at all. The Confederate States of America fell because it did not have the resource capacity and would not move fast enough.
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  • Posted by Storo 2 months, 1 week ago
    In reading through the comments here a couple of things occur to me.
    First, everyone commenting seems to be relatively well educated - most probably have college degrees. Nothing wrong with that. But it seems to me that in talking about "viable jobs" we should not be dwelling on jobs for computer programmers, or infrastructure designers, or physicists. We should be thinking about jobs that will pay a wage that allows the worker to support his family and buy the things that family needs without government give-away social programs.
    Second, our primary education system - grades 1 through 12 - should give our kids the very basic skills they will need in the future - math, science, English skills, history, geography, civics, and a dabbling of humanities, art, music, etc. Instead it teaches diversity, inclusion, relativism, white guilt, and on and on. In short, it has become an institution of social engineering and political correctness.
    Our secondary education system - colleges - should provide a basis in specific disciplines for students to understand the theoretical principles and practices for each of those disciplines. But instead it has become an intense study in social engineering, political correctness, and in some cases anarchism.
    Neither of these systems actually provide what students will need to do a job. That comes with time and experience.
    Finally, manufacturing jobs and/or trade skills are taken away as a result of the jobs moving overseas, or hiring illegals, or subbing the work out to companies outside the US. US workers are left with burger flipping, house cleaning, lawn mowing, or other "service industry" minimum wage jobs. OK. So now we are looking at replacing the service sector minimum wage workers with robots. McDonalds is already experimenting with robotic burger flippers.
    Let's say this all happens. So what, pray tell, will the average person do to make a living for themselves and their families? Really??!!!
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  • Posted by chad 2 months, 1 week ago
    Economics is a function of reality. If you cannot create enough food to sustain yourself you better learn to be more efficient or you won't survive. The further from direct contact with survival humanity becomes the more likely it is to forget the lessons of efficiency, tool making, production (work) then humans try to manipulate reality to meets its desires instead of its needs. To have time to do more than hunt and gather gave man time to think, to build, to create and his genius was unleashed. Those who would control others always push man back toward inefficiency by plundering him. Mao Tse Tung's efforts to eliminate the sparrows because he determined them a threat to production and his ability to tax caused the starvation of millions. He was concerned with his ability to plunder others. He succeeded in convincing millions of people to hunt the sparrows almost to extinction in the rural parts of the country by threatening the people with punishment if they failed and there always enforcers who are willing to harm others. The sparrows eat mostly insects which then multiplied beyond previous years and destroyed the crops on which humans depend. Unions produce the same results by demanding more wages than a job can produce (their reward is higher wages to tax) the jobs move further away and the products are shipped back to where the demand is. Production would remain closer to the demand if the use of forced economy was not employed. It will take a realization that the best way for humans to excel is to leave them alone, the demand for jobs will return at sustainable wages and there will be those who seek that employment. A free market no longer exists in America or anywhere. At best it is a mixed economy where someone might succeed against the pressure from those who would use force to ensure production. Slavery never works well.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 2 months, 1 week ago
    Often, customers prefer to be talked to by a customer rather than by a machine, and prefer to be
    served by a person rather than by a machine. But
    perhaps the businesses have been finding that they
    cannot afford the human employees, even if it got them a little more business. Instituting lais-
    sez-faire
    and getting rid of the minimum wage
    might do some good in such areas. But if it takes too long, perhaps many employers would never return to having the human employees, even if they could afford it; they might think they could still better afford the robots.
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  • Posted by Storo 2 months, 1 week ago
    It may surprise you to learn that there has been a shortage of "viable jobs" in this country for at least 3 decades!!
    The American capitalist system has worked because historically workers worked at jobs in industries that payed enough for the workers to be able to buy the goods they produced. That started coming to an end in the 70s and 80s when corporations decided that profit margins could be improved by moving manufacturing overseas, paying workers $5 a day, and paying to ship the goods back to the US. So good paying jobs for those with less than college degrees over the last 30 years have disappeared, and now many with college degrees are having a harder and harder time finding a job that will actually pay the bills. Never mind that the current generation is the first generation carrying huge student loan debts to get those degrees.
    40% of Americans are on some kind of government assistance. 45% are on food stamps!! That alone should tell you how bad the availability of "viable jobs" really is. They simply do not exist, and unless we can get manufacturing back into the US we can look forward to a future of McJobs for everyone.
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    • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 2 months, 1 week ago
      This is why I make my own "job" and have since 1998. Not an easy road, not always profitable, but always fulfilling. I am my own boss, I work ridiculously long hours at times, I seldom take vacations, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

      (I have never taken welfare or unemployment)
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
      None of that is factual. You are wrong on every point. It was never the case that "workers worked at jobs in industries that payed enough for the workers to be able to buy the goods they produced." Yes, that was true for many common inexpensive items such as cigars and newspapers, but no one could afford a jet aircraft. And no one in the paper mill that supplied the newspapers could afford to buy one of those monster rolls of paper -- or have a need for it. They could buy a notebook, however, as could the worker in a notebook making factory, who used machine tools worth far more than the wages of a toolmaker, who had no need for the things he made. I worked for a robotics firm for two years: great wages for me; but I could not afford a $100,000 workcell, or have reason to...

      And the claim that wages should be enough to let workers buy the goods they make was one of original Cliches of Socialism from FEE in the 1950s, addressing an idea from the generation previous to that. So, it goes back long before the 70s and 80s.

      As for the other points about food stamps, etc., that is a different problem. I understand and appreciate your intention on the point, but you might as well start out by claiming that we are all so poor that we have to use public streets and roads because we cannot afford personal air vehicles -- and you would be right. Socialism causes poverty and absent socialism, we'd be living the Jetsons Future right now.

      But a call for a return to American manufacturing is really like calling for a return to the individual tradesman, the tailor, the tinker, the cook, the baker. Those trades all exist - as does manufacturing - but not as it was done in 1500.
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      • Posted by Storo 2 months, 1 week ago
        With all due respect, the points made in my original post on this are right on target, and portray a situation that is all too prevalent today.
        After World War II, American manufacturing was the envy of the world. My father worked at GE's Appliance Park in Louisville, KY, which at one time employed over 22,000 workers in three shifts around the clock, and was the largest appliance manufacturing plant in the world. Wages there were good for the time, and enabled everyone working there to buy a refrigerator, or stove or air conditioner produced there. Today that plant is all but closed, with only about 500 jobs remaining, as most of the jobs there have been shipped to Mexico. Thanks NAFTA.
        And why did this happen? Corporate greed, pure and simple. And the same has happened in virtually every industry in the US. Look at Detroit, the world leader in auto production 50 years ago. Japanese and Korean auto makers didn't kill off the jobs there. Their entry into the market reduced the Big 3's market share to be sure, but the greatest impact on Detroit has been due to auto makers shipping their jobs to foreign countries for low wages, fewer government regulations, and bigger profit margins.
        Not all of the workers in Detroit in its heyday were "educated" as we think of it today. Ford imported workers from Eastern Europe by the thousands, trained them in their jobs, and even set up mandatory English classes for them to learn the language. But all Detroit auto makers hired and trained local labor, most of whom did not have much beyond an 8th grade education, if that.
        Today corporations do not hire such people, unless their business involves fast food, yard maintenance, cleaning services, or similar. Even then, these workers are competing with the cheaper, often under the table, labor of illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico and Latin America. Don't believe it? Just look at the construction industry that I worked in for 40 years. 75-80% of workers on most large job sites today are illegals working for contractors or sub-contractors. The American tradesmen who used to have these jobs are nowhere to be found. On one job I worked on that employed 400 construction workers, word got out that ICE would be visiting the site the following day. 300 of the 400 workers called in sick the next day. FACT!
        My call for a return to manufacturing in the US is no call for a return to the 1500s. Yes, there is a need for tradesmen in this country. In fact, there is a shortage of tradesmen. But everybody has been told for so long that the only way to get ahead is with a college degree that the $25/hr carpentry or plumbing jobs go wanting for lack of applicants. And if American companies can pull out of Cleveland (I know there was no iPhone plant there), move their plant to China, and train Chinese workers to produce iPhones (which is what Apple has actually done), then why can't Apple go to Marietta GA, or Compton, CA, or Zanesville OH, and train the locals there how to make them? Again, lower wages and less government regulation.
        Jobs by manufacturers like Apple, where a worker can be trained into a well paying job is the key to getting the American people back to work, especially those with limited education or job skills. Bringing these jobs back can be done, but we must decide if we want jobs, or do we want to reduce emissions from 0.03 parts per billion to 0.02 parts per billion.
        Finally, the issue of 45% of Americans being on food stamps is not only NOT a different problem, it is the very result of McJobs NOT being able to pay a wage that people - especially those with limited education and skills - can pay their bills and feed their families on. Our corporate culture has decided that if they cannot hire workers at minimum wage (and they can't as long as government benefits amount to more than any minimum wage job), then they will hire illegals who will work for less than minimum wage, or if they are manufacturers will ship their jobs overseas where they only pay $5 a day or less for labor.
        I am no socialist. But I am sick to death of corporations who say that their dividends and the price of their stock is their only concern, and those who work for them (or the country) be damned. I know that's the case because I worked for big corporations whose view was precisely that.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
        I believe the notion of workers being able to buy what they produced was pioneered by Henry Ford as he paid his workers high wages at the time so they could buy a car produced at the plant where they worked. Storo above is far more right than he is wrong. Just because a worker at Boeing is highly unlikely to buy a 747 on his wages doesn't negate the gist of what Storo is trying to convey.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
          Henry Ford paid $5 a day, when unskilled workers made $1 a day so that he could pick whom he wanted and treat them as he wanted. And they put up with it for the pay. There is no way that the total number of all people employed in automobile manufacturing could buy enough cars to keep the lines moving. That would violate the second law of thermodynamics. It is why communism fails and it why "Gulching" is a failure mode: you need imports and you need to exports. Trade is life.
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          • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
            Ford wanted his employees to be able to afford a car they were building. He didn't expect them to buy ALL the cars they were building. Your "thermodynamics" reference here is irrelevant. Let's not be idiotic about this, OK?
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            • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
              The first Fords cost $850. By 1920, the price was below $300. However, it remains that in order to afford the early automobiles of 1920, you needed to make $5 per day, about $1500 - $2000 per year, about five times the wages of an unskilled worker.
              See wages across skills here:
              http://panam1901.org/visiting/salarie...

              See these union wages from 1911:
              https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/scribd/...

              30 cents per hour is about $3 per day.

              One early model of the Ford included in the back seat a rack for a Burroughs adding machine. Both firms were local to Detroit. The idea was that the business man could do office work while being driven by his chauffeur.

              Storo's cliche about workers being paid enough to buy the product is fine for bread and shoes - and maybe was a benchmark for an automobile that was cheap enough to sell in mass markets, versus being a mere oddity or novelty, which is what is was at the time, but that thesis was exploded 50 years ago in Cliches of Socialism from FEE.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
    The original post is nonsense. I would vote it down, but it deserves discussion because the errors are so widespread. I also grant that the original poster here (Jstork) meant well. The basic error is accepting the dichotomy between "manufacturing" and "service." While it can be a conceptual convenience, it is based on a philosophical error that Ayn Rand called "muscle mysticism" i.e., the idea that material objects deliver special powers. The truth is that all manufacturing is service. You could build your own automobile - and I know a guy who does: he owns a custom shop and comes to work in machines that he has built. But for most of us, it is easier, faster, and cheaper, just to buy one, i.e., to pay for the service of manufacturing.

    There was a time when Bell Telephone and hundreds of other smaller firms hired thousands of operators. Now, it is all automated. We are our own telephone switching offices, setting up video conferences on our own phones.

    The announcement that service sector jobs will eclipse manufacturing jobs is as old as the curves on the graphs. We have known this for decades.

    And yet, if you look at the average American home workshop, you will find inexpensive yet sophisticated power tools: saws, routers, lathes, ... and tools that did not exist a lifetime ago: my wife is building a home security system with little computers and little cameras and little switches and gates and most of it without wires...

    3-D printing is still just opening up. Each home can make what it wants -- unless, of course, you browse Amazon and find another home making one like it but better and cheaper. All commerce is service.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 1 week ago
      Thanks for the reply. I have to agree.
      When I wrote this, I was thinking of some what we call developing nations and some of the problems I saw there. I spent a bit of time in congested, highly populated urban areas where poverty was rampant. Significant portions of the population were struggling to attain the basic essentials and keep a roof over their head. The only way many could feed themselves was through a functionally unregulated economy where you could do whatever you wanted to make a couple of dollars. The resale of cheap products along with many "service jobs" such as bicycle taxis, hairdressers, store service employees was prevalent. In spite of this, there was a lot of poverty.

      In smaller municipalities, away from the
      larger cities, there was less poverty/destitution as well as less congestion. Mote jobs were tied to farming, resources and manufacturing of products. Less jobs such as hairdressers, store clerks, and miscellaneous item resale.

      I think I see trends like this in the "developed world" and wonder if we are headed the way of many of the larger, congested urban centers of "developing nations."

      I am beginning to think overpopulation is one of the main factors along with others.

      Thoughts.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
        As much as I agree with your sensibilities, I have to recognize the tremendous value of cities, especially megacities. (I reviewed a BBC program on Megacities on my blog here: http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/20... )

        The primary driver for the creation of the modern city was migration from the country. (The first cities were successful hunting camps. In their abundance, they began growing grains but needed more room for it, so farming was taken out of the city. See Jane Jacobs on The Economy of Cities. Cities did not evolve from farming villages. Also, it still continues, actually. I wrote a paper on farming within megacities today for a graduate geography class.)

        The point of that here is that your view of their poverty is relative to your own wealth. They have a better life than they would on farms, otherwise, they would leave the city. Few people do that. I

        I also believe that people are the most precious resource on the planet. It is hard to imaging how there could be "too many." At then end of the last ice age, a tribe of 300 might have a genius born once every three generations. Progress is much faster now because we have numerically more geniuses.
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        • Posted by Lucky 2 months, 1 week ago
          Settlements became towns became cities. Is it just a matter of size?
          The old definition of city was a town with a cathedral.
          Growth of settlements can be from many causes- entrepot, location for transport and military, a market center in a rich agricultural hinterland, a major employer of labor, this last would depend on potential for resources and transport, and so
          on.
          Now the point about the factory town attracting workers from agriculture as better pay was available, a valid argument.
          But at that time the new factory worker has little choice. In Europe and especially the UK, manufacturing took off in the same era as the enclosure of land, and widespread eviction by the feudal land owners of people whose ancestors lived on the land for generations but without legal title.
          Manufacturing via the industrial revolution enabled survival of many who would otherwise have starved due to the 'Enclosure Act'. You could say that capitalism stepped in to fix the problems of feudalism, once again.
          There is food for thought here- what is a property right? Who had the title paper, who worked the land, yes conditions in those factories were horrible, but so was agricultural work in those days, surely better than starvation. Neither the land owners nor the factory owners cared, but the factory owners provided a life line.
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    • Posted by  $  Ben_C 2 months, 1 week ago
      The difference between the service industry and manufacturing industry is that the product has an intrinsic value that is retained and can be reused by the purchaser whereas the service industry has no intrinsic value. The only part of the service industry that has value is the business itself which is retained by the owner. Manufacturing generates overall wealth with tangible items whereas the service industry does not net overall wealth.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
        Manufacturing actually generates more than "tangible items". It is a repository of the wealth of skills and knowledge and provides an environment for invention and creativity. America losing its manufacturing facilities may prove as bad as if America lost its universities. Are there many Americans left who know how empirically to mass produce textiles?
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
        I understand the sentiment, and I shared it with a colleague today, or he shared it with me. He is a multi-millionaire (which I surely am not) and he is almost 60. But he still hides from his parents the fact that he has a gardner. "The way I was raised, if you spent money with this hand, you had something to show for it in the other hand." His parents expect him to mow his own lawn -- and he does that sometimes because he likes it, but it is not an effective use of his time, and he knows that. That's why he has a gardner.

        When you buy a service, you are buying back the most precious thing on Earth: your own time. It is like pushing the grave a little bit farther back.

        Also, I know what you intended in the vernacular sense of "intrinsic value." But there is no such thing. All values are relative and set by the buyer. The most exquisite vase has no value if no one wants it.
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    • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
      Automation and robots have been available for making "things" more efficiently for a long time now. Straight personal service jobs are only relatively recently being heavily affected by automation and robots. Its all about the cost of automation/robots vs what available humans cost. The more regulations and taxes there are on human employment, the faster we will automate and eliminate those jobs. Fast food order takers are prime to be completely eliminated, since even current automation is capable of being much more efficient than humans. Its an exciting time of change, actually. Humans should accept that laziness will extract a big price in the future.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
        Well, how about vending machines? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vending...) We think nothing of printers connected to computers, but what happened to the actual guys with ink and little lead letters? Could you imagine a society with millions of such printers? Or street corner arithmeticians in the absence of the calculators that are now built into our phones -- phones which replaced messengers... When I set up my telescope in the back yard, I use my phone for its compass and level features, displacing a licensed surveyor from a job...

        The public library is a service. It replaces a market in buying and reselling books, re-wholesaling and re-retailing repeatedly. And my wife prefers to borrow ebooks, which are wholly immaterial, but a valuable service nonetheless. And the unemployed book reader person who comes to your home never had a chance...

        When you read a book, or watch an informative video on YouTube, you are gaining the service of the knowledge discovered by others so that you do not need to literally reinvent the wheel and everything else in your life.
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        • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
          Library and books are being replaced by kindle, Wikipedia, and YouTube, and google. The government should no longer waste money on libraries I think
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          • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
            As a professional researcher, I get paid to look stuff up and make it into an entertaining story. I am often pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to put my browser to work finding facts from the 19th century. That said, however, I also know that much is not online. Very much is still archived in books, bound in old volumes of periodicals and newspapers, personal journals, and ephemera.

            Libraries are not paid for by "government." The federal government has the Library of Congress (to serve Congress first and us afterward). Your state may also have a similar institution. However, most of the 16,000 local libraries are paid for with local property tax money, and there, your vote counts. You can stop a library bond proposal pretty easily. However, realize that you pay about $30-$40 per year for your local library, about 10 cents per day. If you do not use it, that is your choice. 68% of Americans do have a library card.

            stats above from 2008 from
            http://www.librariesforreallife.org/f...

            More library facts
            http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheet...

            Database by state
            https://www.imls.gov/research-evaluat...
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            • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
              Interesting. I wasn’t careful to define “government” when I said how old school physical libraries are paid for. Around here it’s the county that wastes money on them. My point is that they are dinosaurs headed for mass extinction. Are they dead yet, no. Not everything of value is in electronic form (yet). Speaking for me only, I haven’t used a library for about 50 years

              There are so many $50 expenditures that county property taxes pay for that add up to the $6000 per year they steal from me. I don’t want to pay for schooling for other people’s kids and the countless other. Programs the politicians dream up.
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              • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
                That's a funny thing. As a libertarian, I agree with your sentiment: we should not have to pay for what we do not use; and elections don't make theft moral. I get that. But you what? My grandparents were so happy not to be living in a theocracy that they always voted for public school millages, even after they had no kids of their own. And as a delegate to a White House Conference on Libraries and Information Systems, I learned why libraries are more important than schools.

                It is a bit unusual, but libertarians who claim to want to privatize all government services, do not perceive the bookstores as free market libraries. They spin off stories of colonial lending libraries that were fee-based, but they do not see the working world here and now. Just to say, you must buy a lot of books...
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                • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
                  The free market HAS REPLACED government libraries. YouTube., Wikipedia , google. Much faster, and no driving around is necessary
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                  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
                    But not everything is online.

                    2. Remember 1984: Winston Smith's job was to change the electronic records.

                    3. "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." Libraries are how you stay in touch with the past. The strongest virtue of traditional conservatism is their understanding and appreciation of the past. On the other hand, progressives roll out "new" ideas that already failed once (or twice...).
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                    • Posted by term2 2 months, 1 week ago
                      True enough. Not everything is online, and there is no guarantee that when it IS online that it will hve been transcribed accurately and not revised. Scary thought.
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                      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
                        And as I agreed, I, too, do most of my research online because so much is so easily available. No driving around... And here's another advantage to online:

                        You can find a quote from Thucydides online about how a nation that separates its warriors and scholars finds its fighting done by fools and its decisions made by cowards. Thucydides did not say that. I found the source and found and old copy of an old edition at my local university library. But to quote the paragraph, I went to Google Books and got an image of the page. Easy. No typos.

                        http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/20...



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                        • Posted by Storo 2 months, 1 week ago
                          The problem with your approach of doing most of your research online is that you have no exposure to the reality of the real world. The old saw that "If it's on the internet it must be true!" Is no more apparent than in this type of research.
                          I suggest you go get a menial job and work at it for a few years, then write your blog.
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        • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
          So, as the vending machines, printers, and phones (not to mention things like clothing and shoes) are manufactured in foreign countries they get the benefits of skills and knowledge and our people get unemployment, welfare, and food stamps. When I worked as a contractor in China we were told to not "over automate" the factories because it was more important to provide meaningful employment for the people than to let them languish on the street corners. Therefore, as their people get exposure to chemical making and manufacturing facilities, our people get exposure to filling out government forms to begin a career of professional recipient. Just sayin'.
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          • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 months, 1 week ago
            I have worked for Japanese and German multinational corporations. Their software sucks. No one writes code like Americans.

            The DaVinci robot is made in Silicon Valley in the USA -- and it has competitiors. In fact, when I worked for Kawasaki Robotics back in the 1990s, they touted their PUMA for surgery, but it was an AMERiCAN machine from Unimation. In fact, for "firsts" Kawasaki had the first human worker killed by a robot... Just sayin'

            You are complaining about the half empty glass. And I agree: we need to fill it up -- with high tech high concept value production, not 19th century hobbies and crafts.

            And I support those Chinese. It is the largest human migration in history, the movement of girls from the farms to the factories. That was 20 years ago... They're just about ready to become venture entrepreneurs... A

            Finally, as wonderful as We Americans are, as nice as my neighbors are, what is special about us or lacking in others that we say that the Chinese are stealing our jobs, but people in Texas are not stealing them from Massachusetts... or are they? Do we need to protect Massachusetts workers from Texas competitiion?
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            • Posted by mccannon01 2 months, 1 week ago
              Being an American process controls programmer (retired now) your first line is quite complimentary, thanks. However, the manufacturing base in America went a long ways in offering the environment to grow that programming prowess. Problems were being solved on the manufacturing floor before the universities even knew what they were. The rest of the world is catching up as the manufacturing floor moves to their venue. I see the Chinese becoming much better at programming because they now have the base to make it possible. It isn't an academic exercise for them anymore, they have real world experience to back them up, just like we did.

              The common mantra is "jobs were stolen", but that is false. Jobs migrated to more fertile economic ground. Using your example, if the Massachusetts manufacturing "ground" is poisoned by over taxation, regulation, and union pressure, but the Texas ground is still "sweet" the jobs will move to Texas - or wherever else in the world. Nothing was stolen.

              Edit add: Here in NY, the State is starting to offer HUGE tax and other incentives (in certain areas) to entice manufacturing and other businesses to move here. This isn't stealing, it's sweetening the ground that was poisoned for so long.
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