From where? I haven't heard this.
Just look up corporate cash reserves and excess bank deposits. I've linked both from previous discussions here and they last totaled ~3.4 trillion when I looked. Companies and banks want to do something with this money, not have it lose real value to inflation.
Unemployment rate in the US 1910–1960, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–1939) highlighted.
Did he start the program at the very peak and bring things down to the valley, before it started rising again after 1937? I guess I can see that it made a bit of a dent, but not really.
There was a prior program that the WPA was based on, but only focused on youth.
And I'm not sure how you'd call a 30% drop 'a bit of a dent' - it sustained three million jobs on its own. If Obama managed to drop U6 to ~12%, I don't think you'd deny that he'd be in a vastly superior political position.
I just remember what Henry Morganthau, the Secretary of the Treasury for FDR said on the matter: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong…somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…And an enormous debt to boot!”
The US mobilization during World War II sure as hell proved him wrong. Which is telling, considering wars are particularly bad things to invest in. A similar level of mobilization in infrastructure development, environmental restoration, and/or space exploration would be vastly superior.
Certainly not claiming that they all need to go point blank, but I think we do need to go through a lot of this stuff and prune. However, that's another argument. I should probably start up a thread on that.
Why is it that sometimes we need to have people buy debt and other times we can just print more money? I still don't really understand that.
It's not an either-or proposition. You can't print Zimbabwe style. I don't think I need to explain why. In a Keynesian system (a la what guided the postwar boom up until the 70's), you print enough so that you reflect the overall depreciation of durable goods, which is generally thought to be 4%-5%.
But that brings in relatively little money - though you can use it to pay debts with less inflation risk than handing it to people who will spend the money. If you want lots of money, you either need to borrow excess reserves, impose taxes, or both.
That would mean that the communist society wouldn't actually work until such technology existed, though, right? We're certainly not at the utopia where people only need to work one hour a month. Or am I missing something?
That specific vision would not work until then, but it is more specific than communism. Central planning's main problem is logistics, and modern computing allows that to be handled reasonably well, which is why China and companies like Wal-mart can continue to thrive. It's certainly not ideal - it retards the pace of innovation and the spread of new ideas. Communism's other traditional problem is a lack of accountability and transparency, but a strong constitution can help with that (and I am of the opinion that America's is due for some polishing in that regard).
Personally, I always thought that it should be "to each according to his effort." I don't think the freeloading guy with higher needs than a hard worker should get more of the resources.
And at that point, he wouldn't. The freeloader would be vegitating in some virtual reality Universe of Ultracraft, using up a negligible fraction of his energy allotment while the laborer was busy terraforming Mars.
But there are cases where we benefit from supplying someone elses need. Health care is a good example. You benefit from your neighbor and the beggar down the street being vaccinated, not being sick, and not being afraid to go to the doctor if they get sick. You benefit from them being able to work, rather than being forced to resort to crime to survive.
I think I'm confused on what you mean here. I'll still try to explain what I'm saying and you can help me understand how it fits in.
When we make a machine to do something, someone else has to repair the machine. When we build something new, there's always another level where humans are needed. That's going to be true until machines are self-aware, and even then, you'll still need the "grand masters" for various things, but I don't know if you're familiar with that sci-fi story.
But this requires fewer and fewer people, until, eventually, someone comes up with a code of ethics for an AGI to follow and promote that (we hope) benefits the human race as a whole. This is actually occurring right now in the programming field.
For example, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (spoilers ahead), Charlie's dad had the job of screwing caps on the end of toothpaste tubes. He ended up getting replaced by a machine, but then he got a job repairing the machine.
Maybe the issue I'm having is that, yes, technology lowers the need for human labor in certain areas, but its existence necessitates new areas for human labor in other areas. Wouldn't that have some effect on the disruption thing?
Disruption just means one piece of equipment gets obviated by another.
The overall reduction in labor required for society to function has been going on for centuries, and is continuing - just look at how productivity rose while jobs continued to be lost. It has enabled the rise of an educated class that can be dedicated to research, which has sped the process along further. It has enabled the rise of a massive entertainment class alongside of it.
We don't 'need' those classes - but they are certainly nice to have! But those are the only two places jobs can expand into in the very long term - and computers can take their jobs, too, though we might not allow that, if only to stave off ennui.
Of course, this all depends on the people in charge of the machines either being highly diverse, or noble. Right now, that is not the case.