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Author Topic:   Wealth Distribution in the USA
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 85 of 531 (699540)
05-21-2013 1:21 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 1:03 PM


NoNukes writes:
That's a cop out answer. The factory worker is given his pay which is a small fraction of the value he adds to the materials he starts with.
Why shouldn't wages be set by the market?
Surely the value he adds is more than 2-3 dollars per day.
What calculations determine the value he adds? How can you say the value he adds is actually 2-3 dollars per day if someone else can do the same job just as well but for only 1-2 dollars per day?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 83 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 1:03 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 86 by dronestar, posted 05-21-2013 1:26 PM Percy has replied
 Message 89 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 2:13 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 92 of 531 (699551)
05-21-2013 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by dronestar
05-21-2013 1:26 PM


Could you flesh that argument out a bit?

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 Message 86 by dronestar, posted 05-21-2013 1:26 PM dronestar has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 93 of 531 (699552)
05-21-2013 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 89 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 2:13 PM


NoNukes writes:
Because even the 2-3 dollar rate is abusive and inhumane?
Is this person a slave?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 89 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 2:13 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by AZPaul3, posted 05-21-2013 4:32 PM Percy has replied
 Message 97 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 5:16 PM Percy has replied
 Message 98 by Modulous, posted 05-21-2013 5:32 PM Percy has replied
 Message 100 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 6:09 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 101 of 531 (699563)
05-21-2013 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by AZPaul3
05-21-2013 4:32 PM


AZPaul3 writes:
They are free to leave their employer. To go where? Do what?
The same thing they did before the employer moved into town.
When a company builds a new factory in a low wage country, workers beat a path to their door because it beats the alternative.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by AZPaul3, posted 05-21-2013 4:32 PM AZPaul3 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 6:40 PM Percy has replied
 Message 125 by AZPaul3, posted 05-22-2013 12:38 AM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 102 of 531 (699564)
05-21-2013 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Rahvin
05-21-2013 5:16 PM


Rahvin writes:
$10/hr can still be abusive and inhumane...if it costs twice that to be able to afford food and shelter and transportation to work, and if the employee is entirely beholden to the employer for fear of starving or becoming homeless on unemployment.
So you believe people should be paid according to their needs rather than the value of their work.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 5:16 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 6:58 PM Percy has replied
 Message 139 by ringo, posted 05-22-2013 12:07 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 104 of 531 (699566)
05-21-2013 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by Modulous
05-21-2013 5:32 PM


Modulous writes:
Is this person a slave?
Yes, more or less.
Really? What was he doing before the employer built a factory in his country? Did the employer build the factory only by destroying the job he used to have?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Modulous, posted 05-21-2013 5:32 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 7:12 PM Percy has replied
 Message 116 by Modulous, posted 05-21-2013 8:39 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 105 of 531 (699567)
05-21-2013 6:58 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 6:09 PM


NoNukes writes:
Is this person a slave?
Is slavery the only kind of abusive treatment you can imagine...etc...
You must have missed my point, maybe you took the reference to slavery too literally, let me try again. Did he accept the job of his own free will, probably because it was an improvement on his previous job? And can he leave it of his own free will?
To answer your question about value, there are many ways to evaluate the value added by an employee, but one thing we do know is that the value added by manufacturing an item is always greater than the mere wages the laborer doing the making is paid. Were it not, nobody would be asking the laborer to do the work. Yet we have posters here who would claim that the laborer does not create any wealth because he has been paid some trifling percentage of the value he has created.
The value of anyone's work is what someone is willing to pay.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 6:09 PM NoNukes has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 7:03 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 108 of 531 (699571)
05-21-2013 7:03 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by Rahvin
05-21-2013 6:40 PM


Rahvin writes:
Is that about right?
Not even close.
But you were pretty clear about believing that people should be paid according to their needs rather than the value of their work.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 6:40 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 7:05 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 111 of 531 (699574)
05-21-2013 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by Rahvin
05-21-2013 6:58 PM


Rahvin writes:
Do you really think that I'm advocating communism?
Well, since you bring it up, yes, you're advocating the half of communist idealism that advocates paying people according to their needs.
Are you seriously going to oversimplify my statements and economics in general to the point that we either accept pure market-guided salaries with no controls at all or else full-blown communism?
Again, not even close.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 6:58 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 112 of 531 (699575)
05-21-2013 7:16 PM
Reply to: Message 109 by Rahvin
05-21-2013 7:05 PM


I agree that you should do that.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 109 by Rahvin, posted 05-21-2013 7:05 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 113 of 531 (699576)
05-21-2013 7:26 PM
Reply to: Message 110 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 7:12 PM


Percy, all you are doing in your arguments here is rejecting labor theories of value in favor of pure capitalist systems of valuing labor. Why is your theory of value more accurate?
I don't agree with the label you're assigning me, but my theory is more accurate because my math works and yours doesn't. Value is determined by markets, not by politicians or bureaucrats. Of course the regulatory environment is part of the competitive landscape, but if, for example, the minimum wage rises to $20/hour, people working at jobs worth substantially less than that will no longer have jobs because employers will no longer offer those jobs. That's because value is determined by markets.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 110 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 7:12 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 114 by jar, posted 05-21-2013 7:33 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied
 Message 115 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 8:17 PM Percy has replied
 Message 161 by Taq, posted 05-22-2013 4:34 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 117 of 531 (699582)
05-21-2013 8:40 PM
Reply to: Message 115 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 8:17 PM


NoNukes writes:
But the laborer's wage is a poor proxy for the value the laborer has added to the materials.
If that had even an iota of a smattering of truth than diamond cutting would be one of the most lucrative occupations in the world. But the value of a diamond cutter's work (leaving aside the inevitable differences in skill) is set by the supply/demand curve for diamond cutters, not by the amount the diamond increases in value when they're done.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 115 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 8:17 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 118 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 8:42 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 119 of 531 (699587)
05-21-2013 9:07 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by Modulous
05-21-2013 8:39 PM


Modulous writes:
Is this person a slave?
Yes, more or less.
Really?
My final paragraphs explain my comment in more detail.
Your final paragraphs rebut an argument I wasn't making.
What was he doing before the employer built a factory in his country?
He was likely working elsewhere for a while, and maybe spent some time unemployed. Who knows, he's hypothetical.
If he has sufficient reality for someone to base an argument on him receiving $2-3 an hour, then he has sufficient reality for me to point out that if one removes the employer then he's worse off.
It doesn't take any great sense of compassion to judge that it isn't fair when wages are too little, and I'm with everybody on this. It isn't fair that we were born in wealthy countries instead of Bangladesh or Burma. Even in our own countries, it isn't fair that some of us were born to families who could afford to send us to college and some weren't. It isn't even fair that some of us are born with inherent qualities that enable us to earn far more than others. But it is a leap of not only illogic and irrationality but even worse of really, really bad math to believe that fairness demands that a job's worth be at least equal to a person's needs.
Government can play a significant and important role in remedying the inherent unfairness of the world through laws and regulations and treaties and tariffs and so forth, and I think some European countries do a very good job of this. But that doesn't change the fact that markets (which are always strongly influenced by regulatory environments) set values. Compassion doesn't demand that we forget our math skills.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by Modulous, posted 05-21-2013 8:39 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 122 by Modulous, posted 05-21-2013 9:46 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 120 of 531 (699590)
05-21-2013 9:20 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 8:42 PM


NoNukes writes:
If that had even an iota of a smattering of truth than diamond cutting would be one of the most lucrative occupations in the world.
Are you suggesting that a diamond cutter does not add value that exceeds his wages?
No, no, of course not. I thought your statement that, "...the laborer's wage is a poor proxy for the value the laborer has added to the materials," included an implicit, "But they should be equal."
What I am suggesting here is the idea that only capitalists create wealth and that no laborer does is complete crap.
I don't think anyone is suggesting this. Workers contribute value equal to their wages.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 118 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 8:42 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 121 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 9:44 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22697
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 123 of 531 (699595)
05-21-2013 10:35 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by NoNukes
05-21-2013 9:44 PM


NoNukes writes:
A worker who only adds value equal to his wages will soon be out of a job because nothing he does would add to the bottom line.
The value of a worker's labor is one thing, his contribution to his company is another. Consider the diamond cutter again. His company pays him $500 for a days work during which he transforms a $1000 rough diamond into a $10,000 cut diamond. The value of his labor is $500. His contribution to the company's value is $9000.
Your side in this discussion has a completely unworkable notion of the value of labor. I used the diamond cutter as an example because it is so easy to understand how much he is paid and how much the value of the diamond increases, but most contributions to a company's value are not clear. What is the contribution to a company's value of the night watchman, the delivery truck mechanic or the computer repair guy? You just have no idea. Even the companies themselves can't break it down with any reliability.
But we do know the value of the employee's labor - it's equal to their wages, and wages are largely set by market forces.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 121 by NoNukes, posted 05-21-2013 9:44 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 129 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-22-2013 9:48 AM Percy has seen this message but not replied
 Message 132 by NoNukes, posted 05-22-2013 10:43 AM Percy has replied

  
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