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May 21, 2018

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s/profit market/markup/

JanieM,

I've visited the US also elsewhere than SoCal, and I think I have some appreciation for your country's almost infinite variation. However, it was in Southern California where I happened to have, at that time, an offer which would have allowed to me to build a scientific career. I am not, definitely, stupid enough to immigrate into a foreign country without a signed job contract. That is a great way to join the ranks of local proletariat, not a way to make a professional career. It is much easier and much more comfortable to do that in one's native country, so there must be a really good reason for immigration, and for me, the cons outweighed the pros.

Lurker, thanks for the gracious reply. I was mostly just bemused by the way you phrased it.

But I have in fact run across people, mostly in Ireland (where I've spent by far the bulk of my international travels), who don't seem to have a sense of the scale of the US. Like, they're taking their family to Disney World in Florida, and they wonder if they should just hop over and see San Francisco while they're at it. ;-)

David Graeber contends that there is an inverse relationship between pay and actual usefulness to society:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/more-valuable-your-work-society-less-youll-paid-david-graeber/

Don't know if I buy the whole thing, but it's food for thought.

Before clicking the link, if it isn't blocked at work, does it mention janitors and the disease they keep from spreading?

Those cities would likely be a lot smaller if they had had to pay market value for water during most of their existents.

hahahaha...who is to say they didn't? I suspect this raises an issue regarding "markets".

does it mention janitors and the disease they keep from spreading?

In passing, yes.

From jack lecou's link:

•hospital cleaner – yearly income c. £13,000 (£6.26 per hour), estimated £10 of social value generated per £1 paid;

and

but if nothing else, the oft-cited fact that the overwhelming majority of improvement in longevity since 1900 is really due to hygiene, nutrition, and other public health improvements and not to improvements in medical treatment, suggests a case could be made that the (very poorly paid) nurses and cleaners employed in a hospital are actually more responsible for positive health outcomes than the hospital’s (very highly paid) physicians.

bobbyp,

Indeed. The question about water's market value is simply a political one, if the water source and the xonsumer are a thousand miles apart.

First of all, the water probably doesn't belong solely to the investor who decides to build a canal or pipeline to somewhere else. She probably needs political help to get the right to do the diversion, and at the least, if there is political will, the water diversion can most likely be prohibited by the community. So, allowing a "market" to form is a political decision.

Second, the routing of a thousand mile canal or a pipeline is, anywhere on the planet, impossible without government using eminent domain or granting land rights for land that it already owns. So, the government holds sway over the formation of the market.

Third, because the decision to allow water diversion is political, selection of the investor is also. For example, the basic decision whether to use private or public money for the project is a political one. It is also possible to allow a monopoly or oligopoly.

Considering these decisions, which determine the nature of the market, we see that at the time before the construction of the water project, the term "market value" is absurd, and afterwards, it is determined by the political decisions done to create and regulate the market.

A dialogue I have going on in my head:

Phoenix person: Why should you have the right to natural resources you didn't create just because they happen to be where you live or on the land you own?

Colorado River Person: One important reason I came here was because of the natural resources that were available. Why should you get to take them?

Phoenix Person: One of the important reasons I came here was because I expected to be able to take water from somewhere else and have it brought here. Same thing, right?

Considering these decisions, which determine the nature of the market, we see that at the time before the construction of the water project, the term "market value" is absurd, and afterwards, it is determined by the political decisions done to create and regulate the market.

It is also worth noting that, at the time a lot of the water projects in the West were created, there were a lot fewer people. The idea that the population might expand explosively simply wasn't in anybody's mind. People don't, typically, look a century plus down the line -- certainly not with anything approaching accuracy. So giving a city the (vaguely if at all defined, but at least nominally unlimited) "rights" to a particular flow of water wasn't going to be a problem for anyone, nearby or far away.

And the market price, given a huge volume of supply vs demand, was damn small. Today, on the other hand....

Those cities would likely be a lot smaller if they had had to pay market value for water during most of their existents.

The reason for California's extensive system for moving water, for the Central Arizona Project, and for most long distance transport (at least in the American West) is because distant cities can afford to pay much higher prices for the water rights than local farmers/ranchers can. Under Eaton and Mulholland, LA could afford to buy Owens Valley land with senior water rights, build an aquaduct to transport the water 200 miles, and deliver it to LA customers at a (for people living in LA at the time) modest price.

In Colorado, in any debate about water, you eventually hear the sentence, "Agriculture uses >90% of water diversions in the state to produce <5% of state GDP."

In Arizona, Intel's big fab line uses about as much water per acre as an Arizona cotton farmer (integrated circuit production is fairly water-intense business). Guess which can afford to pay more for it?

hairshirthedonist,

Considering that all of them live on land stolen from Indians, I have some trouble feeling strongly for either of them. :-)

Fortunately for me, I live in New Jersey! Oh, wait... Well, it was stolen longer ago. Everybody's pretty much forgotten about it.

Everybody's pretty much forgotten about it.

I doubt it.

Or were you being snarky?

The next time you see some crazy bob (cf mcmanus or yours truly) write "property is theft" give this well known remark the serious consideration it deserves.

pretty please.

I think Icelanders, and most probably, a lot of Pacific Islanders are the only people who can safely feel smug about not having taken their land from somebody else at some point.

AFAICT, there's been far to much a-coming and a-going and a-warring pretty much anywhere else. Including at least a couple waves of settlement in the Americas.

Maybe Aboriginal Australians are ok, but it's hard to be sure there weren't a few different waves there too, in the mists of prehistory.

23andMe says I have more Neanderthal variants than 93% of the people they've tested. I demand my share of Neanderthal repreations!

"23andMe says I have more Neanderthal variants than 93% of the people they've tested."

So, you and Ugh need to swap screen names? Sounds plausible.

Neanderthal repreations!

Dumb Neanderthals never could spell right. That's why you guys lots!

Dumb Neanderthals never could spell right. That's why you guys lots[sic]!

Hmmmm...

This eat the rich thread seems to have quieted down, but I thought this article was apropos.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/26/superyachts-something-goes-wrong-raise-the-anchor

Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world.

Due to weak and nonexistent property rights, there's a tremendous amount of dead capital globally.

"De Soto estimates there is US$ 9.3 trillion in dead capital globally. The US$ 9.3 trillion are assets owned by poor or middle-class people in emerging economies which cannot be realized due to poor policies, procedures or bureaucracy."
Dead Capital

Or were you being snarky?

Absolutely

New article in Nature says there's evidence of mysterious, stone-tool-using early homonins butchering Rhinos in the Philippines three quarters of a million years ago.

Yeesh. You really did have to wake up pretty damn early in the dawn of time to get anywhere first.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0072-8.epdf

Roseanne booted.

Not so sure about Iceland. There is a high probability that the ancestors of the modern Icelanders found some Irish monks living there when they arrived. What happened to those is unknown (fled, killed, enslaved?).

Roseanne booted.

well, that was a blunder.

How long before we get a Trump tweet expressing outrage at the MSM for "silencing a voice of 'real Americans'"?

I'm guessing Barr is off of Goodman, Metcalf, and Gilbert's Christmas card lists.

Roseanne booted.

That was quick enough to not only show where the hegemony is but the extent of its power. The show was gold to the network.

The hegemony doesn't get everything it wants, or even want what it wants, the contestation and marginal enemies are what gives it legitimacy, distracts the mass with a spectacle, and provides a defense from classist (for instance) criticism.

That was quick enough to not only show where the hegemony is but the extent of its power.

Yes. Swift and sure. "The hegemony" knows on which side its bread is buttered, but the circus shall continue, cf Colin Kapernick and "involuntary unemployment".

The show was gold to the network.

It was looking like it was going to be a sure fire hit. But Barr's in-your-face racism was too obvious, even for "the hegemony", and she was consigned to loss leader status.

No big deal.

(classist criticism) Even well meaning oppressors are strung up from lampposts when the tumbrils roll. (/classist criticism)

a teachable moment : "Don't be a dick".

Especially not on Twitter.

a teachable moment : "Don't be a dick".

Especially not on Twitter.

Awkwardly, while the moment may be "teachable", some individuals demonstrably are not. I submit that Ms Barr is not even the most prominent example extant.

some learn more slowly than others

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