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The dwindling american middle class (wages)

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by downbytheriver, May 25, 2014.

  1. downbytheriver

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    http://www.thenation.com/blog/174843/guitar-center-prices-so-low-employees-cant-survive-wages

    it's an older article but looking at summer jobs for the kids and who they're competing against... makes you wonder about the future of this country.
     
  2. downbytheriver

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    Article comments section, said man worked at corporate owned commission based on profits store "guitar center", where employee's could not pay rent with the minimum wage models they were given. It came to $800 a month after taxes in NYC. Employee's would sell instruments or eat once a day to pay rent.

    Joined a private store where the goal was to educate the customer, sell instruments that didn't just have high profit margins, and was paid twice that amount having a boss who wanted to make sure his employee's could survive and give a better experience to the customer. The backbone of America, once upon a time. Guitar Center is owned by Bain Capital who have caused this ruthless restructuring that is on par with other corporations. Do you fellas foresee a change coming in the next decade.. It's looking bleak for the middle class
     
  3. lpbman

    lpbman Member

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    As bad as it is now, entire swaths of employment are going to disappear in the next ~15 years. 5 million truck drivers gone, fast food/restaurant/grocery employees replaced by robots and kiosks... Higher skilled jobs will be next. 30 years? We aren't ready and people assume that new industries will emerge to replace those that are lost. New industries will emerge, but nothing approaching the rate at which technology will replace people. That is half the story, the other half is there will be 9-10 billion people on the planet by 2050 with ~500 million in the U.S..
     
  4. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    I don't know why people keep fantasizing that retail service jobs will be automated wholesale. We regulate against gambling and excessive oil drilling, local governments would shut this down in a heartbeat.
     
  5. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    You can't possibly know this
     
  6. lpbman

    lpbman Member

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    Probably because we are in the infancy of robotics and it is already happening. Unless you're in Oregon or someplace predominantly liberal, laws to protect people v profits are almost non-existent. When Wal-Mart can replace 80% of it's retail workforce with stocking machines and kiosks, do you really think that every, or even the majority of small town governments are going to be able to stop them when they can crack open a bottomless war chest to stop such laws at the state level ala muncipal wifi?
     
  7. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    You want a law banning kiosks?
     
  8. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    the future is very grim for those who are dependent on the wage structure of the 20th century---from lawyers, to "businessmen" without capital.

    I know somebody who is working on natural language processing technology for lawyers. Eventually it may become "to replace the majority of entry-level positions for those who scan through documents."

    Industries are going to have to adapt lean philosophies for survival. We're seeing it already. That big law firm office will be a relic of the past.
     
  9. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    But it's always been true to a certain extent. It happened to farmers, for example. The printing press was destructive.

    It is a tough time because of the hollowing out nature making it hard on the middle, but the future is uncertain.

    That guy deserves to be in the 1% if his product works because it will be something that adds tons of value.
     
  10. lpbman

    lpbman Member

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    With certainty, of course not. It is the trend, it's accelerating, and I can not fathom a new industry that doesn't have a mechanized human work force within a 5-10 years of it's inception.
     
  11. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    I agree with that part. But that doesn't mean there won't be more roles for humans as well. Lots of things have become mechanized over the centuries.
     
  12. FV Santiago

    FV Santiago Member

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    The quantitative easing program that the Federal Reserve has put in place over the last 5 years has dramatically eroded the purchasing power of the US dollar, by causing an exponential increase in the money supply. This policy has led to the stock market (which is priced in nominal terms) to rise rapidly. That's great for those who own stocks -- the wealthy. For the lower class and the middle class, it's not so great, as the costs of their daily necessities has increased. Business leaders and corporations do not trust this "economic recovery" because it has been fueled so heavily by unprecedented monetary policy looseness. As a result, job creation and capital spending has not kept pace. Look at cash balances on corporations' balance sheet as proof of this. The Obama administration's economic and social policies have been very damaging for business and investment, but the loose monetary policy has masked and outweighed this in large part. For a recovery in real wages and a rebound in the middle class, we'll need a combination of tax reform, welfare reform, healthcare form, social security reform, and regulatory reform. Unfortunately, this administration has taken us in the wrong direction on all these fronts.
     
  13. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Death by parapgraph
     
  14. lpbman

    lpbman Member

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    I'm not saying I have the answers, I'm saying society hasn't even begun to grasp the scale of the problem in the next 30 years. As Northside mentioned, even occupations like doctors doctors lawyers and authors will be on the chopping block.
     
  15. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Founded a law firm and manage it, it is in several states and the UK. I agree with you that a lot of the "fat" is gone and that entry level attorneys are not granted the pay they were.... but that is mostly a result of too many law degrees being handed out... especially by mediocre schools.

    There are other differences as well, lawyers are expected to multi task more than before. A firm similar to our 20 years ago would have had a secretary and paralegal for each attorney... No longer... Now most lawyers now share a secretary and the whole firm only has a few paralegals.
     
  16. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    "People v profits" is a false and narrow dichotomy that disregards most regulation. Find a more substantive example than "municipal wi-fi," which has nowhere near the economic impact as shutting down the retail workforce would.
     
  17. lpbman

    lpbman Member

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    Der... auto manufacturing. Where are the laws prohibiting robots there?
     
  18. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    there's few people who are currently in the top 1% who deserve to be in the top 1% imo.

    Given that capital rules, I'm worried that this new many-to-many revolution will be hijacked for the interests of a moneyed few.
     
  19. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    I agree with you, but keep in mind Canada has a very regulated market when it comes to law degree supply, and we are going through many of the same issues.
     
  20. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    The retail service sector is more all encompassing than auto manufacturing. And it's not going to be fully automated, there are some places where that's literally the only type of job around for whole segments of the population.
     

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