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  1. 29 Oct '09 12:37
    US economy is growing once again


    The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.5% between July and September, its first expansion in more than a year, official data has shown.
    Commentators say the growth was helped by President Obama's $787bn (£480bn) stimulus plan, and the fear is growth will now fall as this comes to an end.

    Full article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8331497.stm
  2. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Oct '09 12:44
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    US economy is growing once again


    The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.5% between July and September, its first expansion in more than a year, official data has shown.
    Commentators say the growth was helped by President Obama's $787bn (£480bn) stimulus plan, and the fear is growth will now fall as this comes to an end.

    Full article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8331497.stm
    "Growth" is the golden idol at the capitalist altar. Without jobs it is meaningless. As the article notes, unemployment stands at a staggering 9.8%. This so-called growth sounds like a chimera to me.
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    29 Oct '09 13:33 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    "Growth" is the golden idol at the capitalist altar. Without jobs it is meaningless. As the article notes, unemployment stands at a staggering 9.8%. This so-called growth sounds like a chimera to me.
    I don't know whether the recession is really ending or whether it's in fact a "chimera," but I do know that the fact that unemployment rose is not determinative of anything. Employment is generally the last thing to recover at the end of a recession. It takes a few months of growth for people to start hiring again. You can expect at least a 6 month lag between the start of economic growth and recovery of employment. Economists have reported for weeks that even if the economy recovered in the third quarter of 2009, unemployment will go up. In fact, it will likely go up again in the fourth quarter and exceed the "magical" (read: arbitrary) 10% mark. If the economy is in fact recovering, unemployment still will likely not recede until the second (or maybe, the first) quarter of 2010.

    You can see an interesting analysis of employment indicators here:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/why-unemployment-probably-wont-hit-10.html

    People do not jump right back into the labor force the moment a recession is over. Oftentimes, indeed, they can’t, because they’ve made somewhat long-term commitments – good luck ditching the army because the local bank is having a hiring fair back at home in Topeka. These effects are fairly strongly lagged, probably by at least 3-9 months, and usually occur only once the jobs picture has gotten to the point where it’s actually pretty darn good – not just when it’s merely improving. Where we’ll see these effects is in, say, January of 2011, when the employment rate might not budge much even if a couple hundred thousand new jobs are created.

    (Nate now concedes that unemployment will probably hit 10%

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/on-being-wrong-about-public-option.html)


    Although you despise the professional views of Telerion and Palynka, maybe you could even stand to learn a thing or two by asking them what an economic indicator means before jumping to a conclusion. Just a suggestion.
  4. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Oct '09 13:57
    Originally posted by sh76
    I don't know whether the recession is really ending or whether it's in fact a "chimera," but I do know that the fact that unemployment rose is not determinative of anything. Employment is generally the last thing to recover at the end of a recession. It takes a few months of growth for people to start hiring again. You can expect at least a 6 month lag between ...[text shortened]... g them what an economic indicator means before jumping to a conclusion. Just a suggestion.
    I don't care about the numbers. What I care about is how the numbers are handled. The fact that the livelihoods of millions and millions people are treated as mere data in some economist's alchemical computations displays a staggering lack of empathy. Unemployment at 10%? No worries! As long as we relate to those numbers as abstract data in a spreadsheet, instead as the many individual stories of real people, we can continue to anesthetize ourselves against the horror of the situation.
  5. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    29 Oct '09 13:59
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I don't care about the numbers. What I care about is how the numbers are handled. The fact that the livelihoods of millions and millions people are treated as mere data in some economist's alchemical computations displays a staggering lack of empathy. Unemployment at 10%? No worries! As long as we relate to those numbers as abstract data in a spreadsheet, i ...[text shortened]... of real people, we can continue to anesthetize ourselves against the horror of the situation.
    Which economists think that US unemployment at 10% is nothing to worry about?
  6. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Oct '09 14:11
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Which economists think that US unemployment at 10% is nothing to worry about?
    A 10% unemployment rate should instill a sense of horror and shame in an individual. It should be a moral imperative to eliminate it. To treat it merely as one of many factors in some great economics game displays a complete moral bankruptcy. The study of economics is the anesthetizing of oneself against that horror and shame to the point where one can tolerate its continual presence.
  7. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    29 Oct '09 14:16
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The study of economics is the anesthetizing of oneself against that horror and shame to the point where one can tolerate its continual presence.
    LOL. I'm pretty sure that's the funniest thing I'll read today. Thanks rw.
  8. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    29 Oct '09 14:23
    Originally posted by rwingett
    To treat it merely as one of many factors in some great economics game displays a complete moral bankruptcy.
    It displays the sobering realism that is required by not looking at a multi-dimensional issue from the simpleton's uni-dimensional perspective.
  9. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    29 Oct '09 14:35
    Originally posted by Palynka
    It displays the sobering realism that is required by not looking at a multi-dimensional issue from the simpleton's uni-dimensional perspective.
    You heartless bastard!
  10. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    29 Oct '09 14:41
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    You heartless bastard!
  11. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    29 Oct '09 14:48
    Originally posted by Palynka
    It displays the sobering realism that is required by not looking at a multi-dimensional issue from the simpleton's uni-dimensional perspective.
    you calling him out as the unidummer!?
  12. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Oct '09 14:53
    Originally posted by Palynka
    It displays the sobering realism that is required by not looking at a multi-dimensional issue from the simpleton's uni-dimensional perspective.
    It is the obfuscation and unnecessary complication of what are really very basic moral choices into elaborate systems that obscure that fact.
  13. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    29 Oct '09 15:08 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    It is the obfuscation and unnecessary complication of what are really very basic moral choices into elaborate systems that obscure that fact.
    You're trying to impose morality and emotion on a system that runs on facts and numbers. All the empathy in the World doesn't reduce unemployment and improve people's livelihoods. What does improve people's livelihoods is a sound economic system based on sound economic principles. You can argue about what those principles are until the cows come home; but the crying about what should or shouldn't shame us and what we should or shouldn't be angry about is irrelevant.
  14. 29 Oct '09 15:08 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I don't care about the numbers. What I care about is how the numbers are handled. The fact that the livelihoods of millions and millions people are treated as mere data in some economist's alchemical computations displays a staggering lack of empathy. Unemployment at 10%? No worries! As long as we relate to those numbers as abstract data in a spreadsheet, i ...[text shortened]... of real people, we can continue to anesthetize ourselves against the horror of the situation.
    Unemployment at 10%? No worries! As long as we relate to those numbers as abstract data in a spreadsheet, instead as the many individual stories of real people, we can continue to anesthetize ourselves against the horror of the situation.

    I believe recessions are caused (or at least sustained) mainly by people's beliefs that the "economy is bad". When people believe this, businesses stop creating new jobs and start laying people off; consumers stop spending; and everywhere people start cutting way back so that they'll be able to survive the lean times. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Production and consumption decline, and all the economic indicators plunge -- which causes everyone to cut back even more...

    So if the general view is that 10% unemployment is not a major problem, then businesses and consumers can go about increasing output and consumption without undue fear -- and the effective result will be a large reduction in that unemmployment rate.

    But if 10% unemployment rate is widely viewed as a catastrophe that sends everyone running to barricade themselves in the cellar until the "crisis ends", the effective result will be a colossal depression that sends unemployment to 20-30% or higher -- which leads to even greater panic -- eventually, the entire nation is locked in a cellar and production all but ceases.
  15. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Oct '09 15:18
    Originally posted by sh76
    You're trying to impose morality and emotion on a system that runs on facts and numbers. All the empathy in the World doesn't reduce unemployment and improve people's livelihoods. What does improve people's livelihoods is a sound economic system based on sound economic principles. You can argue about what those principles are until the cows come home; but the c ...[text shortened]... should or shouldn't shame us and what we should or shouldn't be angry about is irrelevant.
    An amoral economic system is naturally going to tolerate and even foster any number of glaring moral injustices. If we become comfortable with that system, we become comfortable in tolerating those injustices, and indeed may even cease to view them as such. For the well being of your own sense of humanity, it sounds to me like you need a new system.