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Gender: Female
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
Number of posts: 73,935

Journal Archives

The Minimum Wage Isn’t Just a Wage: It’s a Standard


I’ve been doing a bit of historical research for a minimum wage paper and keep stumbling on these interesting and compelling ideas from the framers of that and similar policies. Arguments about minimum wages tend to be about two things: will it hurt its intended recipients and the businesses that employ them by raising labor costs, and is it well targeted? These are, of course, important questions. But while they were certainly entertained by the framers of the national policy back in the 1930s, their motivation went beyond these narrow questions. They viewed the minimum wage as a new, national standard.

Labor markets, like the broader economies in which they exist, are social and political constructs. They operate as much by laws, rules, and standards as by supply and demand. Laws against child labor, discrimination, overtime without extra pay, wage theft, and more are examples of hard fought standards that most Americans today recognize as integral to the functioning of labor markets. The minimum wage was conceived in this same spirit. Testifying before Congress in 1937, Isador Lubin, the Commissioner of Labor Statistics, stressed that the minimum wage “…aims to establish by law a plane of competition far above that which could be maintained in the absence of government edict.” Other proponents argued that the policy would “underpin the whole wage structure…at a point from which collective bargaining could take over.”

Both Frances Perkins, FDR’s labor secretary, and later Roosevelt himself spoke of putting “a floor on wages and a ceiling on hours.” In this regard, we see that the framers had a very specific type of labor standard in mind, one that would block market outcomes widely perceived as market failures. It was not at all hard to imagine back then that left to its own devices, given the excess of supply over demand and the non-existent bargaining power of low-wage workers, the “market” could drive wage offers down to pennies and desperate workers would have no choice but to accept such offers. Through the Fair Labor Standards Act, which created the federal minimum wage, Congress acted to correct that failure (the act’s objective was summarized as the “elimination of labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standards of living necessary for health, efficiency and well-being of workers”).

To this day, advocates and analysts supportive of higher minimum wages remain motivated by these goals. Yet the debate rarely invokes labor standards, and instead exists almost exclusively on technical grounds involving employment and price “elasticities” (responses to increases in the wage) and targeting (whether the wage reaches low-wage workers in low-income households). This emphasis sucks important oxygen out of the room. Instead of placing the debate in the context of market failure, it becomes a debate about market efficiencies. No question, the failure of the low-wage labor market was far deeper in the 1930s than it is today—that’s one reason there’s less urgency around these issues. And no question that market efficiencies must be considered. But while this isn’t the Depression, there are still too many low-wage workers who can’t make ends meet based what they’re paid, and the research shows that moderate increases in the minimum wage have their intended effect without creating large or even moderate market distortions. Given those realities, it is essential to reintroduce the concept of labor standards to the minimum wage and similar debates. To abandon that fight is to accept the persistence of a sub-standard labor market.

Equal Rights to Profit from Impoverishing People and Causing a Great Extinction Event by Ian Welsh



...Too many people in the West want only one thing: they want in on the evil gravy train. They see that there is a scam going on, a scam that impoverishes millions and helps create and maintain rape factories like in the Congo, and their response is “I want in on that gravy train! Why are women, and African-Americans and the working class and (insert discriminated class here) not on the gravy train too!” They look at what CEOs make, or the banker bailouts, and they want the money; they want their own bailouts.

But what they don’t want to do is drain the swamp. They don’t want to change the way the world works so that having an iPhone doesn’t mean men and women in the Congo are being raped and murdered in a systematic fashion. In the Congo they will take their rape victims, bend them over and have every man in a military unit rape them. The blood flows like water.

A choice was made in the late 70s to 1980, not to drain the swamp. In fact, the choice was made then to increase evil and poverty in the world an the only reason one can say that it has decreased is China, who didn’t go along with the IMF/World Bank prescription. This was a choice: as problematic as Carter was (and he was very) he suggested a different way: Americans resoundingly rejected it. The Brits elected Thatcher.

These acts of greed and selfishness; these acts of “I’ve got mine, fuck you Jack” had consequences...If what people want is equal rights to profit from a system which is profoundly evil, and whose function is to enrich a few people by impoverishing many many more while maintaining rape colonies, I’m out. I’m not fighting for fairness in the neo-Imperialism business. “The best people at maintaining our project of impoverishing people and screwing up the world, causing a great extinction event, should be chosen objectively, without regards to ethnicity, gender, age or sexual preference” is not a hill I’m dying on.

The Internet Behind The Internet


The average computer user with an Internet connection has access to an amazing wealth of information. But there's also an entire world that's invisible to your standard Web browser.

These parts of the Internet are known as the Deep Web. The tools to get to there are just a few clicks away, and more and more people who want to browse the Web anonymously are signing on. Fans of the series House of Cards might recall the Deep Web being worked into the plot of latest season. The character Lucas, a newspaper editor who was trying find a hacker, gets a little crash course from one of his reporters:

"Ninety-six percent of the Internet isn't accessible through standard search engines. Most of it's useless but it's where you go to find anything and everything: child porn, Bitcoin laundry, narcotics, hackers for hire ..."

Wired reporter Kim Zetter tells NPR's Arun Rath that the show kind of got it right, but that there should be a distinction between what's called the Deep Web and what are known as Darknet sites.

"The Deep Web is anything not accessible through the commercial search engines," Zetter says.

Then, there's the Darknet, a specific part of that hidden Web where you can operate in total anonymity. Without being tracked, people can access websites that sell drugs, weapons and they can even hire assassins. One such black-market site, Silk Road, got attention last fall after a crackdown by the FBI. Zeeter says the Darknet has another purpose that doesn't usually make the news: It helps political dissidents who want to evade government censors...


WEE Honor Our Fallen: Memorial Day, 2014


Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountains. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with kinfolk and others. There often is a religious service and a "dinner on the ground," the traditional term for a potluck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the "memorial day" idea.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

If it weren't for them, we would not be here today. Let their sacrifices not be in vain. Fight injustice, corruption, and the 1%, who would throw away our young people for greed.

Weekend Economists Down Under May 23-26, 2014

I don't know much about Australia.

Given my abhorrence of heat, my reluctance to get on an airplane for any length of time, let alone two days, and my refusal to buy a passport at the outrageous prices current (not discounting the fact that my country might not even let me leave, for some insanely paranoid reason to be disclosed in 60 years or so when all the idiots are dead, or LET ME BACK IN, OR JUST RANDOMLY JAIL), I probably never will see it in person.

No offense, mates, but there are places I would suffer to visit. Australia hasn't made that list, yet. Give me a good reason and that could change.

But in the meanwhile, let us gather what intelligence we may on the Land Down Under....

The Crocodile Dundee movie series is as close as most of us will get to an actual tour of Oz, as it is also known. We will include some of that, too.

Ayers Rock (Uluru) Sunrise, Northern Territory, Australia


FOR TV TOURS OF AUSTRALIA, VISIT THIS WEBSITE: http://tours-tv.com/en/australia_landscape

Giving that article the NSS Award--My First Such Recognition!

Those are jokes ABOUT engineers

Engineering jokes consist of stuff like the pornographic interpretations in Maxwell's equations:

which leads to this:

And lastly, the Engineer's Motto:

Cool T-shirts from http://www.zazzle.com/physics+tshirts

Correct--DU is now a fact-free and history-free zone, for the most part

It's tiring and ultimately pointless to try to bring the DU awareness level up to something approaching the basic knowledge one should have learned in history and economics classes.....

Of course, after Reagan, there were no such things....only indoctrination classes.

Facts are stubborn things. Reagan called them "stupid things". The rest is "history."

Weekend Economists Cruising the Bounding Wave May 16-18, 2014

I know I promised to be here on time (whatever that is) but something happened:

This Weekend is all Fuddnik's fault. He suggested it when I mentioned (complained extensively) about the amount of rain falling on my fair state of Michigan. At least the Great Lakes will start filling up, again.

What about that Noah fellow, and his Ark, and the Flood? Any basis for thinking there's even a grain of truth to it?

From the sociological/anthropological point of view, the Flood is a recurring theme in oral tradition and literature.

A flood myth or deluge myth is a narrative in which a great flood, usually sent by a deity or deities, destroys civilization, often in an act of divine retribution. Parallels are often drawn between the flood waters of these myths and the primeval waters found in certain creation myths, as the flood waters are described as a measure for the cleansing of humanity, in preparation for rebirth. Most flood myths also contain a culture hero, who strives to ensure this rebirth. The flood myth motif is widespread among many cultures as seen in the Mesopotamian flood stories, the Puranas, Deucalion in Greek mythology, the Genesis flood narrative, and in the lore of the K'iche' and Maya peoples in Mesoamerica, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa tribe of Native Americans in North America, the Muisca people, and Cańari Confederation, in South America.

The Mesopotamian flood stories concern the epics of Ziusudra, Gilgamesh, and Atrahasis. In the Sumerian King List, it relies on the flood motif to divide its history into preflood and postflood periods. The preflood kings had enormous lifespans, whereas postflood lifespans were much reduced. The Sumerian flood myth found in the Deluge tablet was the epic of Ziusudra, who heard the Divine Counsel to destroy humanity, in which he constructed a vessel that delivered him from great waters. In the Atrahasis version, the flood is a river flood.

Assyriologist George Smith translated the Babylonian account of the Great Flood in the 19th century. Further discoveries produced several versions of the Mesopotamian flood myth, with the account closest to that in Genesis 6–9 found in a 700 BCE Babylonian copy of the Epic of Gilgamesh. In this work, the hero, Gilgamesh, meets the immortal man Utnapishtim, and the latter describes how the god Ea instructed him to build a huge vessel in anticipation of a deity-created flood that would destroy the world. The vessel would save Utnapishtim, his family, his friends, and the animals.

In Hindu mythology, texts such as the Satapatha Brahmana mention the puranic story of a great flood, wherein the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu warns the first man, Manu, of the impending flood, and also advises him to build a giant boat.

In the Genesis flood narrative, Yahweh decides to flood the earth because of the depth of the sinful state of mankind. Righteous Noah is given instructions to build an ark. When the ark is completed, Noah, his family, and representatives of all the animals of the earth are called upon to enter the ark. When the destructive flood begins, all life outside of the ark perishes. After the waters recede, all those aboard the ark disembark and have God's promise that He will never judge the earth with a flood again. He gives the rainbow as the sign of this promise.

In Plato's Timaeus, Timaeus says that because the Bronze race of Humans had been making wars constantly Zeus got angered and decided to punish humanity by a flood. Prometheus the Titan knew of this and told the secret to Deucalion, advising him to build an ark in order to be saved. After 9 nights and days the water started receding and the ark was landed at Mount Parnassus.


Put on your hip boots and let's explore the Flood(s) and the floods of fact, fiction and gossip that constitute news on our political economic front.

This ark, located an hour south of Amsterdam, is a replica of Noah's Biblical boat.

Any domestic job growth would come from cheap energy

Because cheap energy would lower the cost of everything, thus freeing up resources for domestic manufacturing. Service work would also become more profitable if gas didn't cost nearly $4/gallon and we could drive and ship electric instead of gas and diesel.

And all of this would mean funds to rebuild the infrastructure and to go green in other aspects of our economy. Those jobs could go on for two generations, probably, if not more....that's how far behind we are.

And then, there would be the ultimate infrastructure/green/domestic work: recycling landfills, cleaning up toxic dumps, radiation, etc. Restoring the ecosystem will take more than a couple of generations, and it will require either outlawing or redefining corporations to be domestic servants, not global exploiters and destroyers of nations and people.
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