November 17 Sources: Economic Freedom For All

There are lots of articles speculating about what will happen now that the Dems control Congress, but my favorite is completely different. To the question, “Is Economic Freedom for Everyone?”, the noted Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto answers “yes”, but it is not as easy as just having a market. You also need rule of law, property rights and well developed firms. Read his speech for the details. Other sources are below.

A Fiscal Challenge for the New Congress
New Start in 2007
Card Check Off Undermines Workplace Democracy
Does European Islam mean an Islamic Europe
Economic Reports (Charts)
Examinng the Consequences of Redeployment
Is Economic Freedom for Everyone
The Politics of National Security
Managing Globalization: the Trouble with Water
McCain Will Save the GOP
Money Myths: Work Really Does Pay
U.S. Iran Policy
Why Consensus on Malaria is a Killer
Will the Baker/Hamilton Commission Get the War Right
Study: Reforestation Shows Signs of Life

This is the discussion of renewable energy I mentioned in my post a couple days ago.


Posted by Jack at November 17, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #195545

Jack et al
The problem with work place elections now is that employers tie up the results with litigation,sometimes for years. This gives them time to get rid of employees that support unionization. They way it works now is unfair. Card check would bring about immediate results. The employer would have to bargain in good faith.The site you posted is grabbing at straws to find a negative to card checks. No one is forced to sign one. The real reason they oppose them is it would level the playing field for unions.

Posted by: BillS at November 18, 2006 1:12 AM
Comment #195546

re the linked article by Fred Kaplan on Iraq:

To his credit, Fred Kaplan recognizes the occupation of Iraq has been horribly botched, and he has been very critical of Rumsfeld. But he also deserves a great deal of blame. Kaplan signed onto PNAC, and supported the invasion of Iraq. Thanks, Fred. Now he advocates maintaining a large, or larger, US military presence in that country.

Kaplan makes a great point about the uselessness of “redeployment” for keeping the peace… heh… in Iraq, because military forces will be too far away, & unable to respond in a timely fashion to day-to-day events.

So Fred Kaplan believes we must keep a large US military presence in Iraq.


The fact is, Iraq has been botched beyond recovery. Over 60% of Americans favor withdrawal in a year or less. Yet politicians refuse to bite the bullet. No one wants to take the blame for the debacle. Despite an election in which Iraq dominated the political landscape, we seem to be doomed to stay another two years.

Incredibly, Bush is in Vietnam, and he suggests we would have succeeded in Vietnam if we had not quit, just as we will be victorious in Iraq, as long as we do not quit.

You know, that is just a jaw dropper. I dunno. Would killing, say 6 million Vietnamese, or 9 million, result in “victory”? Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are already dead, yet Fred Kaplan believes we need to keep doing what we are doing, only more of it. Bush seems to believe the same.

It is hard to even describe how saddened and disgusted and outraged I feel. The insane, deluded stupidity surpasses the words to express…

When the Romanians overthrew Coucesceau, they conducted a rapid trial, put him before a firing squad, and shot him on Christmas Day.

We do not do things that way here. But if there is any justice, if there is any justice at all, Bush & Cheney will be forced from office in abject disgrace.

Posted by: Phx8 at November 18, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #195548

Thanks for the links. Some interesting reads.The Heritage Foundation is part of the rights spin machine but they certainly more cerebral.

Posted by: BillS at November 18, 2006 1:33 AM
Comment #195552

Jack, are you still buying into this tripe?

Lady Thatcher and Hernando de Soto understand, as we do at The Heritage Foundation, that economic freedom is the antidote to poverty. It is the antidote to war and ter­rorism. Freedom to own property gives people the ability to improve their lives and live in dignity.

Thatcher was ridiculed out of office by the people of Great Britain. But, that is just a side note. I grew up in Detroit, where the City Council made decent homes available to working poor and impoverished inner city project dwellers. It was a disaster. You know why? The answer, and the fallacy underlying Dr. Holmes thesis is really simple.

What value is real property or asset investment to a person lacking in the education to appreciate the value of it? This whole conservative bullcrap about ownership society is STUPID, and a ruse, to line the pockets of the educated and enslave the uneducated to servitude for the wealthy.

You want to create an ownership society? Do it by investing in babies Headstart, school lunch programs and health care, and ethics, math, history, literature education 12 months a year 10 hours a day. That will create an ownership society by breaking the cycle of poverty stricken mindsets and values, and insure that young persons entering the workforce can appreciate the future value of not only their dollars earned but of their hours worked.

Friedman, Holmes, and all these other conservative right wing hacks wax late into evenings over brandy and cigars in the library about the symptom and devise elaborate out of touch treatises on money and economics as the solution. But, they are out of touch, because they don’t address the root of the problem, children and education.

And why do they refuse to deal with the source of the problem (under and poorly educated youth) rather than the symptom (poverty and the costs to society attending)? Because to address the problem would indeed create a true democracy of empowered citizens who would think on their own, and vote as envisioned by Adam Smith, with enlightened self-interest. Ah, but would threaten the elitist power structures and economically tiered society which conservatives are so enamored by, and aspiring toward.

The source of poverty in America is impoverished minds. The source of poverty in America is the absence of knowledge about the value and potential of money, time and investment, and return on investment in education, experience, capital, home improvement, health, diet, exercise, voting, and speaking truth to power, instead of self-inflicted servitude through defiance and hostility toward rule of unjust and inequitable law.

Holmes is an elitist seeking to preserve elitism through the deception that those in poverty who are given an opportunity and squander it, are not deserving, which is the predictable outcome of a majority of impoverished adults given opportunity or assets soon squandered instead of invested. The solution is breaking the mindset of poverty from early childhood for successive generations.

Now that is an investment that would pay incredible dividends and returns on investment for all, save those who wish to preserve elitism and power and rule by the Platonic few.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 18, 2006 3:55 AM
Comment #195558

For those who may be just a little skeptical about the Bright New World being promised by corporate capitalism, I recommend you read—- The Merchants’ War by Frederik Pohl. I think it is a must read for all who doubt.

Go Bucks!

Posted by: jlw at November 18, 2006 10:04 AM
Comment #195561
Jack wrote: You also need rule of law, property rights and well developed firms.

Yes, we need BETTER law enforcement.
Unfortunately, we have selective law enforcement.
Our government picks and chooses the laws it wants to enforce. Illegal immigration is a good example of that (because of those that want cheap labor). Another good example is pardons for those in government, even for some that pled guilty).

Yes, property rights is important.
But, what do we have?
We have a government that plunders peoples’ property every day (six cases per day via abuse of eminent domain laws), and the Supreme Court supports it. The government has perverted the laws to do the very thing the laws were supposed to prevent.

Jack wrote: You also need … and well developed firms.


That depends on what you mean by well developed.

Currently, we are living in another era of corpocrisy, corporatism run amuck, and government that is FOR-SALE, and government that is influenced by a few that abuse vast amounts of money (for many of the same reasons that gave rise to many of the anti-trust laws).

Also, look at the size of government. It has never been larger. It is truly ridiculous, and continues to grow and grow to nightmare proportions, along with debt ($22 trillion of total federal debt, which has never been larger), borrowing, spending, and rampant money-printing.

A few people with vast amounts of money and property have the power to unravel everything (and they are), and they are doing just that, and they do NOT care about that, because that does NOT create cheap labor, which is why most FOR-SALE incumbent politicians, and government that is essentially FOR-SALE, wants to perpetuate the influx of tens of millions of impoverished and less educated … because they want cheap labor, even if they have to break the law to get it (such as illegal immigration), without regard to the consequences to others.

Some will try to label this as class warfare.
That’s nonsense, because government was NEVER supposed to be FOR-SALE !
And government is FOR-SALE, and it is selling us out.
Incumbent politicians in our Do-Nothing Congress resist campaign finance reform, and a large number of other reforms (election reform, Gerrymandering, tax reform, stop plunder Social Security surpluses, influence peddling, corpicrisy & corporate welfare, One-Purpose-Per-BILL, massive borrowing, debt, and money-printing, illegal immigration reform, energy vulnerability, education, etc., etc., etc.), or anything that might even remotely reduce the incumbent politicians’ power, opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of power.

Hence, look at what has happened since 1980.
The 1% of the U.S. population that once had 20% of all wealth now has 40% (and growing) of all the wealth (compare the current level that of 1929). Corporations are loving it. And they love the wide-open borders that are giving them even more imporverished, less educated cheap labor to exploit.

As always, the root problem always boils down to the same thing. Knowing what that one thing is helps to readily recognize it, and recognize that no organization, government, corporation, or society can thrive successfully without understanding the need for education, transparency, and accountability.

Take care of that FIRST, and ownership, education, understanding, responsibility, etc. will naturally follow.

  • Conscience = the source of moral and ethical judgment; a sense of right and wrong; a sense of caring. A good Conscience is not merely knowing what is right or wrong, but caring enough to do what is right, and provides the motivation to seek the balance of Education, Transparency, Accountability, and Power required for any successful society, government, or organization;
  • Education = an understanding of the importance of: Education, Transparency, Accountability, Power, Responsibility, Corruption, and the fundamental human desire to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain, and that some will resort to dishonest, unethical, or illegal methods to obtain it;
  • Transparency = visibility and simplification of cleverly over-complicated processes to reveal and identify abusers, create outrage, reduce opportunities for abuse, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;
  • Accountability = consequences needed to encourage law enforcement, encourage ethical behavior, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;
  • Power = force required to enforce the laws, discontinue abuse, ensure consequences, punish abusers, and discourage abuse and dishonesty; but unchecked Power without sufficient Education, Transparency, and Accountability breeds Corruption.
  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability
  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability

And, in a voting nation, education is even more important than ever. Otherwise, voters will be easily seduced into the circular, distracting partisan warfare that divides the voters so that no majority can ever exist to vote out irresponsible incumbent politicians, giving them a 90% re-election rate. Bad Voters = Bad Politicians = Bad Government

Posted by: d.a.n at November 18, 2006 10:25 AM
Comment #195565

Daniel, I would posit:

Ignorant voters = Bad Politicians = Bad Government.

If citizens vote, IMO they can’t be bad voters. Only ignorant, if they choose not to use their vote to hold politicians accountable.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 18, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #195566

Interesting that people read and comment on many of the articles. I am glad to have been of service, it does make me spread my comments thin.


The reason I included the article about labor elections is that it seemed so appropriate in light of all the sound, fury and gnashing of teeth we hear from Dems about elections in general. On the pages of this blog, you can find people who actually believe that voters were disfranchised because some poll workers gave them threatening looks or making mean comments. How much more can a union coerce people when they do not have a secret ballot AND the voting can be done over a long period with each yes vote permanent and each no vote subject to negotiation?

When I was a young man, I was in the longshoreman’s union. Actually, I never was in the union. I paid dues and I paid initiation fees, but since I worked only in the summers, I never seemed to get in. When I asked where the money I paid had gone, a couple of big guys came to see me and told me not to ask questions about “da union”. They never really threatened me, but having two guys with big forearms standing real close and giving you dirty looks is certainly worse than the pseudo abuse Dems talk about.

Now imagine filling out the union check off form in their presence or even the less threating pesting you will get from persistent colleauges.


We have a very different point of view on both Iraq and Vietnam. You seem to think we are fighting AGAINST the Iraqis and we were fighting against the Vietnamese. In actual fact we were fighting in Vietnam and are in Iraq fighting against some local (and some foreign) bad guys. Most of the deaths in Iraq and Vietnam are inflicted by the enemy. We are not fighting the Iraqis or the Vietnamese, they are. We are trying to help some of them against more agressive others. We do not know for sure what would happen in Iraq and we do not know what would have happened in Vietnam. In Vietnam, however, we know what DID happen. The war continued after we left and many more were killed, tortured, sent to concentration camps and driven to sea in small boats. Vietnam is making progrss but even today remains among the most oppressive countries in world. I do not know if we could have “won” in Vietnam. I am not sure we can win in Iraq. Maybe in both cases it would have been better for us not to get involved, but in both cases we were on the right side.

While I am at it, I think your viewpoint is a general one of equating countries with people. When you say the Romanians held a trial, for example. The Romanians did no such thing. One group of Romanian thugs murdered a bigger thug, maybe to hide their own complicity in his thuggery. Most Romanian heroically resisted the regime but were not in consulted about the final act and may have wished to have a longer process to reveal some of the past.


Yes, I still buy it. Thatcher was one of the great figures in my lifetime. She stayed in power a bit too long. It is hard to know when your work is finished and move along. She saved UK from the socialist nightmare and gentile decay begun with such high hopes by Clement Atlee. Remember when she ran against Tony Benn. He actually promised to nationalize industries, control capital and enact “democracy” in all the workplaces. Thanks to Thatcher, only the true loonies talk like that today. The Labor Party of Tony Blair (and in the future Gordon Brown) is a much more reasonable group of people.

Addressing the original article, De Soto talks a lot about the need for property right in Latin America. I know that leftist in America consider many parts of Latin America “right wing” but if you look at the thing we consider conservative in the U.S., such as property rights, freedom from government regulation, corporate governance issues etc, you see that Latin American governments have followed a very state run, socialist inspired policies. If you look at the history of the last century, you see that the poor in Latin America have no property rights. The state can and did expropriate them periodically. The rich in Latin America really do not have secure property rights. The state also controls their property and the market for property was weak. That is the fundamental problem for development. Property rights are the center of De Soto’s theory. Latin America should be very rich.

I agree that the source of poverty in America is impoverished minds, since we have good protection of property rights, corporate governance and rule of law. The poor in America are not behaving in ways that will take them out of poverty. I do not believe that everyone can be rich, but I am sure that very few people would be poor in the U.S. if they did not behave in ways that maintain them in poverty.

I have no problem with things like head start, but they tend to be captured by the socialist oriented establishment. When government is required to manage and implement programs, it leads to inefficiency. That is why we lost the war on poverty. I read an article the other day speculating what would happen if we created the right to coffee and nationalized Starbucks. Pretty soon all the coffee would be uniformly bland, service would slow and eventually coffee would cost the government more per unit than you pay now.

Posted by: Jack at November 18, 2006 11:15 AM
Comment #195569

Jack, your argument only leads to the conclusion of doing away with government because it is inefficient, if carried to its logical end. That conclusion is false on its face. Most vehicles on the road today are far less efficient than they could be, and the free market place chose that inefficiency by virtue of planned obsolescence and marketing and advertising. Doesn’t mean we get rid of all cars and move to mass transit, which would be far more efficient.

Nationalized education is precisely what has pushed Japan, China, Malaysia, and India to the position of forcing us to eat their dust economically. I wouldn’t call that inefficient. Your tautology that if its nationalized its socialist and therefore evil or bad, defies reality.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 18, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #195570

Had that 1% been content with 20% of the wealth, the national debt may not exist or maybe we would not have to talk about poverty and hunger.

It is often said that the Democrats/Liberals need the welfare system and the working poor so that they can have a political issue that gives them the opportunity to tax and spend. The truth is that it is the 1 to 10% at the top that needs the 20% at the bottom so that the eye of the middle class is diverted.

Education? The corporate capitalists have all the educational tools they need. They have control of the government, the air ways and they have advertising, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Faux News and Kudlow & Cramer. These are the only tools needed to divide and conquer the worker/consumer/religious vs. secular American.

Posted by: jlw at November 18, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #195578
Nationalized education is precisely what has pushed Japan, China, Malaysia, and India to the position of forcing us to eat their dust economically. I wouldn’t call that inefficient.
Yes, they are kickin’ our butts. It’s absolutely shameful how ill prepared children are these days after graduating from high-school. That’s why many (the few that go on to college) won’t even consider degrees in engineering and science. Those falling numbers will not help make us more competitive in a global economy.
Education? The corporate capitalists have all the educational tools they need. They have control of the government, the air ways and they have advertising, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Faux News and Kudlow & Cramer. These are the only tools needed to divide and conquer the worker/consumer/religious vs. secular American.

True. I was so happy to see CNN enlightening people about a number of things, but it appears to have slowed significanlty now that the election is over. And, it would be nice if the media concentrated on other issues too (some of more importance).

  • Posted by: d.a.n at November 18, 2006 12:59 PM
    Comment #195581


    I do not want to do away with government. I want government to do the things it does best (or must do) and leave the rest to us.

    Government planning sounds good in theory. It even works in small, homogeneous or not rapidly changing situations. It is appropriate in times of emergencies when you need to marshal resources. It is not good at innovation and it has no business making too many choices for us in the economy.

    Would you prefer to live in Japan, Malaysia or China? I do not ask that as a love it or leave it rhetoric, but merely to show that these places are not necessarily producing the kinds of result we really want. Japan is so hypercompetitive that kid in grade school kill themselves when they do not make it into the better class. I am not sure, but I doubt the teachers union dictates education policy there either. Personally, I do not want my society to become as structured as theirs.

    China is an interesting case. Why do you like that place so much? The economy is growing, but at environmental and social costs we would not want to pay. It is still not a place with anything we would call decent human rights. I am impressed with how far they have come. We can learn some things from them, but we do not want to become like them in any particular way. BTW - IF China catches up to the U.S. sometime in the next 20 years, that will just mean that a billion and half Chinese produce as much as 350 (by then) million Americans. I am not sure I would brag that much about that.

    Good educational systems are in Finland and the Netherlands. Look at those systems and you will find a lot of homogeneity in those societies (which we do not have) and choice. Schools may be public, but you can still allow parents and students the option to go where they want. All this is far off topic, however.

    My daughter studied math in Poland when she was a little girl. She is still very good at it. What was the method? I suspect the same one they use in China. They memorize. They drill. They do not go back over things to help those who do not get it. These guys are expected to take the extra time to work harder.

    Later a U.S. teacher told me that my daughter has a problem in math. I was told that my daughter got upset when she got a math problem wrong. GOOD, I said. The teacher pointed out that it was hard for her self esteem. When I told her that self esteem is less important than self respect and that improves when you actually do something right, she mumbled something about backward thinking. She was right about that, but only for herself.


    The same goes for you. Kicking our butts? Do you really want to pay Americans the same as Chinese workers? You can do a lot of butt kicking when you have such low cost labor. Japan labor is expensive, but the workers still live in apartments the size of an American bathroom. Malaysia? David & Dan, why? Nice place, but with ethnic tensions that make South Central LA look like Disneyland.

    Posted by: Jack at November 18, 2006 1:37 PM
    Comment #195588

    Jack said: “Government planning sounds good in theory. It even works in small, homogeneous or not rapidly changing situations.”

    You mean like being attacked or natural catastrophe.

    Your argument that Japan and other nation’s school systems are not what we want here, does address the issue of our education failing our society to meet tomorrows needs, Jack.

    I never said we want or should become like the Chinese, Jack. WE are Americans, we need America solutions to real world problems and your ideological perspective of laissez faire and Friedman purist models are insufficient to address those problems.

    Those nations you say have good school systems in N. Europe, I think you will find they have a commonality, the majority of families have a stay at home parent to rear the children, which of course, is very accomodative to study and homework, which American students are getting less and less of, since too many haven’t the parental disciplinarian at home when the student gets home to fix ‘em a snack and get them started on their study.

    My daughter rails at me for the study time she is required to put in, saying “But no one else has to study stuff the teacher didn’t assign”. Therein is one of the failings of the American educational system, and it has less to do with schools and more to do with business and corporations low-balling workers to the point their children don’t have sufficient parenting for the two jobs required to remain in the middle class.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 18, 2006 2:37 PM
    Comment #195595


    I do not say we do not need to improve, but choose the model carefully and figure out why it worked and copy the right parts.

    I have no trouble with the stay at home mom model. Others probalby do. I know you didn’t phrase it that way, but that IS the way it tends to work in the examples you give.

    re purist models - I am the most unpurist person around. I try what works and then try something else. Markets more often produce the sorts of results we want. They require rules of law, some regulations etc, but not that much. School systems could benefit from choice. MOST people would still choose public schools. My kids go to public schools. I am a grad of public universities. BUT the CHOICE makes everybody better.

    Re catastrophe, yes sometimes government cannot even do that right (on the state, local and Fed level). Do you want these guys in charge of everything, or do you want choice?

    Posted by: Jack at November 18, 2006 3:18 PM
    Comment #195596
    Jack wrote: d.a.n. The same goes for you. Kicking our butts?

    I wasn’t talking about their standard of living. The issue was their education being better and their ability to compete in a global economy is better because of it. But, there are also many other reasons, which is about wealth and standard of living. Americans could not survive on what Chinese can survive on. Not only is labor cheaper in those countries, but so is everything else. Not so here in the U.S., where a gallon of milk costs more than some workers make in a week.

    Jack wrote: Do you really want to pay Americans the same as Chinese workers?
    No, I don’t. But corporations do. That’s why they hire them to make everything. Go to Wal-mart and try to find something made in the U.S.A. Wal-mart doesn’t care if they use child labor or slave labor in those foreign countries. In fact, Wal-mart knows about it, and says it can’t control it. Wal-mart could do something. Wal-mart could stop using that supplier. But they prefer to feign ignorance. Profits are more important. As China and India start accumulating a little wealth of their own, they will find out what many Americans already know. There is always cheaper labor elsewhere. Already, some are considering the labor in India too expensive, and seeking new places that have even cheaper labor. This is all good in some ways, bad in others. The bad thing is that there is always cheaper labor elsewhere, so corporations keep moving around to find that cheap labor, and create cheap labor. The places they leave start to fall behind again. Someday, if the labor becomes cheap enough, the corporations will return.

    Don’t get me wrong. Corporations can and should seek ways to be competitive, as long as they are not abusing the work forces and turning a blind eye to abuses (i.e. slave labor, child labor, etc.), and not cultivating cheaper labor by merely leaving to return later (i.e. taking turns between regions to keep labor costs low somewhere).

    Posted by: d.a.n at November 18, 2006 3:33 PM
    Comment #195599

    Jack, the public school model raised the greatest middle class work force in the world by the 1960’s and 1970’s. In just 35 years, from 1935 to 1960, America’s public school system created the greatest middle class work force in the world which sustained GE’s, DuPont’s, AT&T, US Steel, Alcoa, Wall Street, and finest engineers in the world.

    Sure, folks had a choice regarding private religious schools, but, more than 99% of Americas students and parents chose public schools. And they were mandatory, by law, and truant officers dealt with skips and their parents, and Principals had disciplinary authority, backed by the courts. It was a model that worked. It was an American model. It was largely standardized except for very poor rural districts, especially black schools until the the 1970’s when the last hold out, Oklahoma, finally integrated.

    There was no choice for the vast majority of American families regarding public school education, and it worked.

    Choice in education today is just a code word for a nontraditional, religious oriented, and non-standard brand of education. And I think that choice should be preserved, but, not at the expense of nation’s future and society as a whole. Choice should mean what it always meant, which worked, paying double for the right to choose a non-standard education, as in paying public school taxes and private tuition for private school.

    Our traditional system flunked students who didn’t make the grade. We need to reinstate that aspect of our traditional school system as well, while at the same time, providing separate support facilities for reintegrating failing students back into mainstream school programs. That is a new investment America must make. The one thing I would change from the old system, is choice within public schools upon completion of the 10th grade, to elect vocational curriculum for years 11 and 12, or college prep grades 11 and 12.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 18, 2006 6:31 PM
    Comment #195612

    The Chinese peasants and workers are already becoming very dissatisfied with their new capitalist bosses and their American partners. The turnover rate per year is approaching 90% as workers get a bellyful of the working conditions and the pay. The peasant villagers are revolting as their former party leaders (now capitalists) are robbing them of their land.

    It is not us that want Americans to work for what the Chinese workers or the illegal Mexican workers work for, it is those that you constantly defend. It is not us who are unpatriotic but rather the corporations that are unpatriotic. If there is one thing I have learned in the last decade it is that one can never allow patriotism stand in the way of profit.

    I think this is the last hurrah for the corporate cheap labor. Where else can they go after Asia? The African continent is to unstable for them. They are sure not going to set up in the Middle East. They will have to convince the American People that the South Americans are a grave threat to America and get us to beat them into submission before the corporations can exploit their workers again. I don’t think they can get us to do it. For there next move, they will have to hope that they can perfect artificially intelligent robots and hope they are not smart enough to form a union.

    Posted by: jlw at November 18, 2006 9:05 PM
    Comment #195615


    American schools were relatively good until the 1960s. A little weak with math and science, but the post Sputnik push helped with that. They spent much less per pupil, even when you adjust for inflation and salaries. Classes were sometimes very big and not many teachers had advanced degrees in education.

    What do you think happened in the 1960s that sent us down the road to perdition? They clearly are not doing so well today, even though we are spending a lot more.

    I would prefer a good public school system, but we are not getting one. I blame the professional educational bureaucracies. You know a former ambassador with a PhD would not be allowed to teach a HS history class in most districts. On the other hand, a 21-year-old C student with a degree in education, who maybe took a class in history, could. Maybe that is an indication of the problem.


    I expect Chinese workers will start to make more money and I hope they will start getting more respect for their human rights. Communism probably cannot hang on forever, even when it is modified by some free market characteristics and bad as it might be, I do not suppose any of the worker will want to back to those golden times during Mao, when nearly 50 million of them died in nasty ways.

    Re robbing them of their land. Remember that communist thing and then the cultural revolution. The private real estate market has not been doing all that well. It would be good if land was in private hands, but since it is not, it is hard to understand how it can be taken away.

    Re China in general, it is comming out of a long nightmare that started a long time ago. Conditions might be bad, but they are better for the average worker than any time probably since Chin united the country. All these bad things we all worry about have been done many times worse to the Chinese people.

    Imagine some peasant telling the Red Guards to get off “his” land or complaining that officials were invading his privacy.

    Posted by: Jack at November 18, 2006 9:33 PM
    Comment #195626

    Jack: Average pay in China, about $90 per month. The kind of jobs that allowed American workers to buy a two story house, does’t pay a Chinese worker enough to rent an apartment.

    Over the past year, I have read several articles on peasant revolts in China and as a mater of fact I just found a new one on the BBC web site. Hostages Freed In China Dispute. The peasants are getting their land stolen from them and they are mad as hell. One incident involved 100,000 peasants and had to be put down by paramilitary forces. In another incident 20,000 peasants routed 1000 riot police. The number of incidents is on the rise.

    Chinese factories, already the cheapest in the World, are constantly being offered less for their goods by corporate buyers. ( sounds like walmart) Prices being paid by outside corporate interests are down 30% in the last three years. In addition to pressure by corporate interests, the Chinese factories are plagued by high worker turnover which is effecting quality. Cheaper and shoddier, that is what we are getting in return for our jobs.

    Posted by: jlw at November 18, 2006 11:08 PM
    Comment #195627


    I do not doubt the peasants are revolting. But I fail to understand how they can be losing their land in a country that does not recognize individual land ownership.

    China has significant human rights problems. The U.S. calls them on it all the time. But we cannot just cut them off. When Bush ran for president, he criticized Clinton for being too close to China. He was right. But soon after he won, he improved relations with China.

    I do not know what to tell you. If you follow the thread up to the top, you will see that I was complaining that others were too enamored with China.

    Let me stipulate, China is an oppressive country. I would not want to live there. The communist party that runs China is run by bad guys. They are heirs to the biggest mass murderer in world history. The environment is in terrible condition. I could go on. But all does not mean we do not need to deal with China.

    BTW - it does not make much differnce what foreign firms pay for Chinese labor. They DO NOT have a direct relationship with their workers. In the communist system, firms pay GOVERNMENT agencies. Whether they pay $100 or $1, the state pays the workers what it wants.

    You have to remember that China has a communist system that is using some of the tools of the free market, but there is nothing we could call a free market in China.

    Posted by: Jack at November 18, 2006 11:21 PM
    Comment #195643

    Jack: You are well informed on a lot of subjects, but on China, you are spouting pure 100% unadulterated capitalist propaganda. The Chinese government does not pay workers. Workers who can afford it can buy their own home. Peasants own their village and the surrounding farmland collectively. Corrupt officials are selling some of the villagers land to private business interests and skimming of the profits. The villagers are fighting back.

    One thing the Chinese government is doing, raising the minimum wage 5.8%a year.

    Home ownership in China is somewhat different than in America as you might imagine. I just a picture show of a young Beijing couple who were buying their first home. It was an apartment in a complex. With the help of their parents, they came up with the downpayment. They paid $99,000 U.S. for a 100 sq.meter apartment but only got 82 Sq. meters because they partly own the elevator and stairs. Apparently they have jobs that pay better than the vast majority of workers. They love their view but worry about a larger building being built that would block it. The developers(sound familiar) assured them that the area was protected and no buildings would be built to block their view. Their monthly payment is 40% of their combined income. Perhaps you should do a little goggling. Or perhaps not.

    That’s it, I am exhausted, The people of Ohio fought one hell of a armchair battle with the residence of Michigan yesterday now, while our young warriors fought it on the gridiron. Our Buckeyes prevailed but it was a mighty battle down to the wire.

    Posted by: jlw at November 19, 2006 3:23 AM
    Comment #195654


    I might be misinformed about some of the details of Chinese real estate rules. I suspect it is bureaucratically complicated and fully corrupted.

    I have some experience with communist rules in other places. It was possible for people to own apartments, but their ownership was a lot more like we might expect in a very restrictive coop. It is not a free and clear simple ownership we are used to.

    But I may have fallen into the classical trap of knowing about one thing and thinking I know about everything else.

    I will ask around about how workers are paid. I do not think that firms employee and pay their employees directly.

    Posted by: Jack at November 19, 2006 10:03 AM
    Comment #195669

    If you have the income and if you have a down payment, you still have to do something wierd to buy a home in China. You have to go to a bank and get a mortgage.

    Jack: I am no expert on China. My information is superficial and much of it may be subject to challenge.

    The point I am making is exploitation of workers. Exploitation is the norm and has nothing to with the form of economics. It wasn’t to long ago that economists were touting the American Workers as the best, most productive in the World. That all changed with the stroke of a pen, a signature on a piece of paper.

    Posted by: jlw at November 19, 2006 11:30 AM
    Comment #195677


    I just do not think it can be so simple in China. Very few countries, even those with well developed financial markets, have the kinds of mortgage options we enjoy in the U.S.

    If China were already granting all these sorts of freedoms, they would not need to oppress the way they do.

    BTW - American productivity still is the highest in the world. The Chinese are competitive because they throw a lot of resources (human and environmental) at the problem. It is high production, but not high productivity.

    I am not as fond of or as optimistic about China as some other posters. It is a force that cannot be ignored, but I can see lots of problems for them in the near future. Workers will not be willing to put with those conditions much longer. The Chinese environment is in horrible condition. They will even face a labor shortage in the next decade.

    Someday the U.S. will no longer be the largest economy in the world. China may displace the U.S. But I would not count on current trends continuing unabated.

    Posted by: Jack at November 19, 2006 12:08 PM
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