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The vice presidential debate...
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1391

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been exposed to descriptions of a lot of political and economic systems in decades of reading F&SF. There is an overabundance of monarchy & feudalism, but there are also works exploring direct and representative democracy, anarchy, libertarianism, theocracy, and more. Mack Reynolds had a number of books years ago that used variations on a negative income tax (welfare state) theme. A couple particular books came to mind with all the recent discussion of excessive executive compensation.
In Subspace Explorers by Edward E. (Doc) Smith, the cultural background includes a lot of planets with businesses that follow the guidelines of something called the Principal of Enlightened Self-Interest based on the Law of Diminishing Returns. As described in the book, analysis determines a point "at which Capital's net profit, Labor's net annual income, and the public's benefit, will all three combine to produce the maximum summated good." EVERYONE (including top executives) in companies using PESI gets a base salary plus a bonus based on profit and employee ability.
In The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner there is a vote at the end involving a set of rules to eliminate all but voluntary poverty. Pay scales and tax rates are to be based on scoring work on three scales: necessary special training or uncommon talent, drawbacks like unpredictable hours or dirty working conditions, and social indispensability.
I don't expect to see either of the above IRL any time soon, but I think either or both could serve as a nice starting point for serious thinking about economic policies.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I've been exposed to descriptions of a lot of political and economic systems in decades of reading F&SF. There is an overabundance of monarchy & feudalism, but there are also works exploring direct and representative democracy, anarchy, libertarianism, theocracy, and more. Mack Reynolds had a number of books years ago that used variations on a negative income tax (welfare state) theme. A couple particular books came to mind with all the recent discussion of excessive executive compensation.
In Subspace Explorers by Edward E. (Doc) Smith, the cultural background includes a lot of planets with businesses that follow the guidelines of something called the Principal of Enlightened Self-Interest based on the Law of Diminishing Returns. As described in the book, analysis determines a point "at which Capital's net profit, Labor's net annual income, and the public's benefit, will all three combine to produce the maximum summated good." EVERYONE (including top executives) in companies using PESI gets a base salary plus a bonus based on profit and employee ability.
In The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner there is a vote at the end involving a set of rules to eliminate all but voluntary poverty. Pay scales and tax rates are to be based on scoring work on three scales: necessary special training or uncommon talent, drawbacks like unpredictable hours or dirty working conditions, and social indispensability.
I don't expect to see either of the above IRL any time soon, but I think either or both could serve as a nice starting point for serious thinking about economic policies.



Mark:

I think most people just want to be treated fairly. Fair compensation for their work. When your company declares bankruptcy with the employees taking a 40% pay cut and their benefits slashed while management doesn't, how can the employees not become embittered? Most people just want to be comfortable in being able to pay their bills and being able to save for the future and given a fair shake. The enormous gap between the rich and the middle class that we have now is not sustainable. Eventually the middle class will be wiped out.

There is nothing wrong with capitalism. Unbridled capitalism without regulation and oversight, however, is a problem. That's what we've had for the past eight years and look where it got us. Free market theory games the system so that people can get rich quick at the expense of longevity and viability of the economy.

Karen
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1391

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What has existed in America for years is NOT a FREE market. It is a RIGGED market full of special rules gaming the system in favor of certain parties.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dh thinks the Dow is going to hit 6000 and a friend of mine is going into survivalist mode telling everyone to be prepared for the worst. We tried selling our home last year as we wanted to purchase a less expensive home without a mortgage. The two offers we got were unacceptable to us because emotionally we weren't ready to sell. If things get worse we may wish we had set aside sentiment for reality. I just think we're at a turning point while the new economy gets up and running. It may be real bumpy for awhile but we can do it. Yes we can.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
I just think we're at a turning point while the new economy gets up and running. It may be real bumpy for awhile but we can do it. Yes we can.

Yes, we can. That quote sounds familiar, Karen. Laughing Not being very savvy with the financial market and all it entails, this can be a very scary time right now for many of us. We've had downturns before and bounced back and we'll do that here too. The problem apparently appears to be just how long the wait will be before we move forward.

If there's one thing that totally obvious, it's to avoid panic. And right now, panic seems to be taking a stronger role with the fluctuations we're seeing. So talk is cheap--easy to say, hard to do, though. When my kids were young and experiencing particular difficulties at times with things, I would often say to them that I wish I had a magic wand that I could use and make it all good. But unfortunately I didn't, so they had to make the best of things and take the time to work it through. But that doesn't mean it's easy to do, just that it has to be done. But I agree with you (and another popular person right now)--Yes, we can!
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
In the '70s, gas prices also went high. On top of that, gas was being rationed and several gas stations would run out of gas before the day was over. Sometimes there was a lid as to how many gallons could be purchased at one place. We were asked to dial down to at least 68 during the day and more at night. I remember bundling up my babies (born in '73 and '75) as well as I could and did my duty by my country. Laughing At the time, fuel-efficient cars, as well as building smaller cars, were the talk of the day.

Well, as you know, the gas crunch eased and what happened? It wasn't too long before we Americans had short memories and people once again began calling for larger cars and men became entranced with trucks (the bigger the better). The families chucked station wagons for vans and SUVs. "Gas crunch? Whoever heard of that? Can't you see the prices are down and the gas supply is unlimited once again?" So, yes, I blame the auto companies; but I also think Mr/Ms Average Consumer had a hand in that too. As long as the vehicles were being bought, they were being made.

Now here's the sad part, Karen. We're all talking fuel efficiency in cars now, along with other items. If we're still on these message boards in a couple of years, I'd like to revisit this conversation and see where the American public is in regard to this concept. If things ease up, how steadfast will we be to it? I'd like to think we will remain consistent in this thinking; past experience has taught me that this will not necessarily be true.

I'm not sure I've ever done this before, but I'm responding to my own post of a bit ago when we were knee-deep in talking about the economy downturns, but specifically cars. That's what I said above to KarenS in my post. Just today (Jan 13) on the MSNBC web page, I saw a clip regarding the cars that were proposed by GM at the Detroit auto show yesterday. Here's a short quote from Dan Carney, the person who wrote the column. I found it quite interesting.

Others are making concrete advances, showing actual production hardware that will be in dealer showrooms in coming months, selling for prices regular consumers can afford and in volumes that can start to make a difference to drivers aiming to save on gasoline. Of course, the reception these new models receive when they reach showrooms will be colored by the current price of gas.

“If all of these [cars] were introduced in last July’s fuel climate (consumers) would be delighted,” said Lindsay Brooke, senior editor for Automotive Engineering International magazine, an industry trade journal.

But as gas has fallen from a July peak of over $4 a gallon to well under $2 a gallon, consumers quickly have returned to their old habits. The U.S. market share for small and fuel-efficient vehicles, which rose to 25 percent in the summer as gas prices spiked, already has returned to the pre-summer level of about 15 percent, said Jim Farley, Ford vice president of marketing and communications, who joined the company from Toyota.
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