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Author Topic: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')  (Read 6133 times)

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Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #75 on: October 07, 2011, 08:57:41 PM »
Prion disease is rather alarming in itself.  I don't read, watch, or ... ah hell I avoid Oprah like the plague, and what I've read about it (dating well back before Oprah, when I learned about a little malady called kuru) is enough to make me check where that hamburger meat came from.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #76 on: October 07, 2011, 09:15:55 PM »
She may been acquitted in the courts, but not because she was spreading good information, it was because she didn't commit libel (which requires knowingly spreading bad information).  Her comments -- and the entire segment -- were alarming and stupid; she said something about mad cow disease making AIDS look like the common cold.  Note that no legitimate scientific authorities were brought in to weigh in on their rampant speculation.  Lyman is a vegan and activist, not a doctor.  His only degree is in agriculture.  This is typical for the Oprah Winfrey show.

FYI.. Lyman was also a CATTLEMAN for most of his adult life. Beef production is what he did for a living. For twenty years he raised cattle, chicken and pork. I think he knows what was done in the industry better than most activists.

Did they run their mouth? Yes, absolutely.

Was what they did criminal? No. A bit sensationalist, but no more than what Fox News says about those they dislike today.

The reason that Oprah and Lyman won? She could afford to fight the charges in court. Too often it doesn't come down to 'justice' when facing corporate America but money. That saddens me, Big Business isnt' winning justice..they're BUYING it.

Corporate Entities are entitled to all the rights and privileges of individuals thanks to court precedent, but sadly none of the responsibility. There are some scary actions since agri-business has gotten the right to patent life forms.

Once upon at time.. a mere 30 years ago..there was THOUSANDS of seed recovery businesses throughout the US. Today, there might a dozen or so left. Seed banks are vanishing and crop stock is more and more corporate owned.   

Let's face it.. today Corporate Responsibility is rapidly shrinking to one point.

Their bottom line.

Offline Jude

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #77 on: October 07, 2011, 09:35:16 PM »
Corporations are often held responsible for when they break the law though.  That's why BP has settled in more than 9000 law suits already over the oil spill in the gulf.  That's why McDonalds was sued for keeping their coffee at ridiculous temperatures that scalded off a woman's thighs and refusing to pay for her hospital bills after the fact.  That's why Bank of America's website has been in a state of despondency over people switching financial institutions because of their $5 debit card fee.  That's why Democrats passed financial regulatory measures last year limiting the extent that overdraft fees can harm people, etc.  That's also why TARP wasn't free money -- it was a loan of which 80+% has been paid back.

Is the balance of power between corporate interests in the interests of the people always maintained properly?  Nope, but we don't live in a corporatocracy or I wouldn't be able to point to example after example of big businesses being punished by the government on behalf of the people or directly by the people.

We still have the power to put corporations out of business with our purchasing decisions.  We can boycott.  We can elect people who pass laws to fix issues that concern us.  Democracy is not dead, it just needs a little tweaking.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2011, 09:39:21 PM by Jude »

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #78 on: October 07, 2011, 09:47:31 PM »
And as I said, one of the things that is very encouraging about the Occupy movement is that a lot of the disenfranchised are getting involved with the process.  Sure, they're fumbling a bit, coming up with issues a little like those on the 'NationStates' thread, but they've broken out of the utter apathy that has surrounded the political process for so long.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #79 on: October 07, 2011, 09:56:06 PM »
Didn't say it was. Truth be told, I'd like to see a mix of regulation and dereguation.

Corporate Tax law in the US is hideous. At face value it's the highest in the 'first world' nations at somewhere around 35%. That is way too much. At the same time you got folks like GE who game the system so well they come out with a tax BENEFIT. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?pagewanted=all). We need to fix the system. Lower the tax rate to something comparable to the other countries, and kill off some of the 'shelter laws'.

We have let the big corps create tax hideouts that encourage them to leave the US for 'greener shores'. That needs to end. We need to encourage the companies to reinvest in the US again. Reforming the Corporate Tax code will do a lot to help. Of course I would like to see some tax breaks to return.. like the R&D tax break that got shit canned in the late 70s.

We used to reward R&D innovation and such. When the tax break went away, that stopped. An example would be the R&D division of Burlington Industries.. they created a lot of innovation in textiles, dyeinsg cloth, and even did some of the development towards the Kevlar armor still used today. Within a couple years of the tax break going away, the division lost it's ability to pay for itself and all the research they were working on went with the division when it was sold off to a German company.

We need to give a reason for the companies to reinvest and return to the innovative ways that made us strong before the corporate raiders of the 80s created this toxic culture of greed we have now.

Other examples of reform and corporate encouragement that could be done?

How bout the fact that there hasn't been a new refinery built in this country in the last 40 years?

What sort of 'ground up' technical innovations could there be that would make for cleaner/more efficient that could make for more gas production Stateside? Not to mention it would help eliminate an infrastructure vulnerability and create jobs.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 12:08:42 AM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline Noelle

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #80 on: October 08, 2011, 11:41:36 AM »
Bringing manufacturing back to the US alone isn't enough. You talk about encouraging innovation, but in order to get those innovations, you have to actually have a country that is excelling in STEM programs, which we most assuredly are not. STEM is pretty much where the future is whether or not we like it - other countries have already figured that out, which is why at the rate we're going, America is going to sputter and fail miserably in terms of competitiveness on that level. Bringing factory jobs back alone isn't enough - we can't even compete with China in terms of wages and cost of production because American workers are more expensive. What we're making in that factory counts, too - are we making some other country's new iPhone or are we making our own country's next greatest thing?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #81 on: October 08, 2011, 12:58:33 PM »
Bringing manufacturing back to the US alone isn't enough. You talk about encouraging innovation, but in order to get those innovations, you have to actually have a country that is excelling in STEM programs, which we most assuredly are not. STEM is pretty much where the future is whether or not we like it - other countries have already figured that out, which is why at the rate we're going, America is going to sputter and fail miserably in terms of competitiveness on that level. Bringing factory jobs back alone isn't enough - we can't even compete with China in terms of wages and cost of production because American workers are more expensive. What we're making in that factory counts, too - are we making some other country's new iPhone or are we making our own country's next greatest thing?

So building a tax system that encourages the return to the US won't work? I mean some of the reasons that business flees overseas is its' cheaper. Take away the tax burden and offer a reason to build in the US and you'll find that worker cost might not be as big an element. Depending on the industry involved there are a variety of practices that can counter the higher worker cost.

Tight delivery radius, stringent quality assurance control standards and automation all help.

It's not a cure all to all forms of industry returning to the US, granted, but it shows that we can ENCOURAGE business to return rather than reward them for outsourcing.

Of course all those expensive lobbyists, and massive tax divisions would be unneeded.

Instead of rewarding companies like GE to downsize in the US and outsource their funds to overseas tax havens, wouldn't it be better to encourage them to bring the money back to the US and invest in the country again? We can get corporate taxes paid instead of slithering away, we have a methodology of encouraging corporate activities.

It doesn't have to be manufacturing, but other outsourced jobs could be cost effective if there is a tax reform put forth.

We need to look into methods of encouraging business. Sitting around with a 35% corporate tax rate that is a joke to the multinationals because they hide their money overseas and have incentives to move overseas. It would do us all much better good to find reasons to reform the tax code than to let the current practice of hiding the cash in overseas banks.

It doesnt' have to be as blatant as some of the payback issues that are done overseas but we need to find ways to encourage development over here. Reforming the Tax code and eliminating some of the loopholes that encourage this behavior.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #82 on: October 08, 2011, 01:05:10 PM »
Bringing manufacturing back to the US alone isn't enough. You talk about encouraging innovation, but in order to get those innovations, you have to actually have a country that is excelling in STEM programs, which we most assuredly are not. STEM is pretty much where the future is whether or not we like it - other countries have already figured that out, which is why at the rate we're going, America is going to sputter and fail miserably in terms of competitiveness on that level. Bringing factory jobs back alone isn't enough - we can't even compete with China in terms of wages and cost of production because American workers are more expensive. What we're making in that factory counts, too - are we making some other country's new iPhone or are we making our own country's next greatest thing?

It may not be 'enough', but it's a start.  If you're on a raft in the middle of the ocean and all you have is a plank, do you use that to paddle towards the nearest island, or sit on your hands because you don't have an outboard?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #83 on: October 08, 2011, 01:22:53 PM »
It may not be 'enough', but it's a start.  If you're on a raft in the middle of the ocean and all you have is a plank, do you use that to paddle towards the nearest island, or sit on your hands because you don't have an outboard?

Exactly what I'm saying. It's small things that build. If you, as a company, could invest.. say 5% of your tax burden back into your company in the form of a R&D division instead of paying it to the government wouldn't it be prudent to do so? I mean you could investigate green manufacturing, developing new methods of producing things or developing new technologies that would have never been cost effective to look into..


Offline Noelle

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #84 on: October 08, 2011, 01:43:07 PM »
You need the resources to investigate those things first. Investing in STEM programs is nothing like sitting on your hands. Manufacturing in the US is probably never going to come back as it was years ago simply because workers overseas do it much cheaper than we can and most people aren't willing to pay higher costs for basic goods that would then be produced domestically. Even our own great innovator Steve Jobs had his good ideas made in China.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #85 on: October 08, 2011, 02:45:29 PM »
You need the resources to investigate those things first. Investing in STEM programs is nothing like sitting on your hands. Manufacturing in the US is probably never going to come back as it was years ago simply because workers overseas do it much cheaper than we can and most people aren't willing to pay higher costs for basic goods that would then be produced domestically. Even our own great innovator Steve Jobs had his good ideas made in China.

So you're saying that micro-production models and other 'lean manufacturing' methods are a waste of time and irrelevant and that we should just give up on all methods of manufacturing here in teh US altogether?

You pretty much ignored my comments earlier about how it works in specific cases and niches. One of the companies we studied in my business class worked on a very tight production model, where they maintained a high level of quality assurance in making their stock (98+%), strong recycling criteria and a tight delivery range. And they STILL out performed and undercut overseas manufactures of the same stock items.

The CEO pretty much admitted that it wouldn't have been possible to do this 10 years ago. Technology and manufacturing techniques and new distribution techniques can do a LOT to offset costs.

Just because Steve Jobs didn't do it that way doesn't mean it works for everyone.

Offline Jude

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #86 on: October 08, 2011, 02:54:20 PM »
But nothing that you're talking about there is something that can't happen overseas for cheaper because of the difference in the cost of labor will forever persist unless we're willing to start scrapping our way of life.  If we focus on bringing manufacturing back as the centerpiece of our economic revival even if we succeed in the short term at gaining an advantage (which I doubt would happen since you're basing your view off of niche cases not average realities) you're basically just setting us up to fail in another 10-20 years when the rest of the world catches up again (which is what really happened in the 80s).

The only way to get ahead and stay ahead is to promote a society which values innovation, critical thought, science, mathematics, and intellectualism over sports figures, monetary success, faith, and entertainers.  I think you can guess which way we're going.

Look at the difference between blue collar work and white collar work:  it generates a marked difference in the way of life of the worker even within the same society.  The assembly line worker and the computer programmer live completely different existences.  We need to be a white collar country if we're going to succeed.  White collar countries have to cultivate what white collar workers use:  the brain.  We're not doing a very good job of that.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 02:56:53 PM by Jude »

Offline Noelle

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #87 on: October 08, 2011, 02:59:48 PM »
So you're saying that micro-production models and other 'lean manufacturing' methods are a waste of time and irrelevant and that we should just give up on all methods of manufacturing here in teh US altogether?

Yep, that must be what I'm saying even though I didn't actually say that at all. :P

Quote
You pretty much ignored my comments earlier about how it works in specific cases and niches. One of the companies we studied in my business class worked on a very tight production model, where they maintained a high level of quality assurance in making their stock (98+%), strong recycling criteria and a tight delivery range. And they STILL out performed and undercut overseas manufactures of the same stock items.

Ignore? No. Didn't see or perhaps overlooked? Yes. No need to jump to so many conclusions here. "Specific cases and niches" - hurray! Then let's use them in those specific cases and niches. But you just made an exception and are presenting it as a solution overall, which doesnt work as you, yourself have stated here:

Quote
Just because Steve Jobs didn't do it that way doesn't mean it works for everyone.

Just because it works in "specific cases and niches" doesn't mean it is an overall solution to the issue that underpaid, overworked labor to turn a better profit works elsewhere and not here.

My point here isn't saying that we can do 0 manufacturing in the US. I've hardly made that case at all. I'm saying that it's time to edge away from the burning desire to "bring back manufacturing" and start encouraging Americans to put things INTO factories. Until overseas factories start raising their workers' pay to something closer to that of American workers, we have a lot going against us there unless we burn down any semblance of workers' rights to cut costs.

Frankly, in economies like these, I can't really say I care a whole lot about where my products come from or who made them if they're cheap and do the job. It's about on the same lines for me as paying for organic fruits and vegetables: double the cost, virtually the same substance.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2011, 09:57:34 PM »
The following article came through one of my Facebook feeds.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/10/the-99/246297/

While the article is convincingly written, you don't even have to read it to see the extent of the problem.  The single most alarming thing about it is found in the chart below the second paragraph. 

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2011, 10:27:07 PM »
That graph alone is depressing.. but remember what our elected officals and the tea party says.. it's only the 'lazy folks' who can't get job.

Ouch..think I just broke my sarcasm circuit with that.

I think I'll go be utterly depressed now

I know that I haven't had a good chance at a job.. all the intern job offers I've been given are like.. 2 1/2 hours away on the orlando campus.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: American Autumn (or, 'If we don't report it, it will go away')
« Reply #90 on: October 13, 2011, 12:07:32 AM »
People will go to funny lenghts sometimes to deny that there is a serious structural deficit of regular paid jobs in the modern world. I recall hearing a "job coach" on the radio news some years ago who, in a jolly voice, was advicing jobseekers to hang around local health services and medicare clinics to spy out who came in. "If you spot a teacher from the local school or a nurse (wtf?) or care assistant coming in with a cold or a broken ankle, then get right back to the place she's working for! You might have a shot at getting the stand-in job."

Yeah, and you might also get infected yourself from hanging around such places (not to mention the degree of making yourself a nuisance this tactic implies). Actually, many schools, daycare centers and hospitals here have dropped the policy of hiring a stand-in during the first few days of a vacancy - it costs too much, it's cheaper to just load those hours as extra time on one or more of the running employees or to pretend those bits of work that get crossed out don't really matter - and they are not likely to hire people who don't have any kind of regular training for the job. And they are, umm, more likely to call Manpower for applicants than to hire the first guy who walks into the office.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 12:57:19 AM by gaggedLouise »