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February 18, 2021

Comments

@Nigel -- yes, and this is the guy who lectured the rest of us on not reasoning from our happy place.

Some things simply don't penetrate.

For most countries that have obtained some level of first-world living standards, there has been a transition period of sweatshops with children working in them. For the countries in which the industrial revolution started, that period was close to two hundred years. In recent times, some countries have made that transition in as little as a generation or so.

When first-world standards are pressed on developing countries, people's lives can be made worse, not better.

When first-world standards are pressed on developing countries, people's lives can be made worse, not better.

true as a blanket statement.

in the case of children working in factories which are dangerous even for adults...?

Maybe I’m missing something, but the equivalence of a kid doing chores and working side jobs in American farms or mom-and-pop businesses vs. Bangladeshi kids working in sweatshops so they don’t starve escapes me.

According to Kristian(TM) conservatives kids are property (as were slaves). Child labor laws are thus an infringement on private property rights. From that POV all makes sense.

in the case of children working in factories which are dangerous even for adults...?

Presumably, the children and their guardians consider it their least worse option.

"Child labor was once ubiquitous. Take, for example, ancient Rome. As Mary Beard noted in her 2015 book SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, “Child labour was the norm. It is not a problem, or even a category, that most Romans would have understood. The invention of ‘childhood’ and the regulation of what work ‘children’ could do only came fifteen hundred years later and is still a peculiarly Western preoccupation.” Today, fewer than 10 percent of children worldwide have to work for a living. By and large, those that do, live in poor countries. Economic growth, which was key to eliminating child labor in the developed world, can achieve the same outcome in the developing one."
Growth Is the Ultimate Weapon in Ending Child Labor: The total number of child laborers fell from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016.

In recent times, some countries have made that transition in as little as a generation or so.

Why? Can we shorten that, perhaps to no time at all?

Presumably, the children and their guardians consider it their least worse option.

Tending the fields may have been the least-bad option for slaves who would be whipped if they didn't tend the fields. That doesn't mean slavery was acceptable. It's how exploitation works.

The children and their "guardians" (is this The Handmaid's Tale?) may not be within a situation of their choosing, even if they have to make choices within that situation. The children may even be in a situation their "guardians" have imposed on them. Also, too, we (me and the people who agree with me on this point) also don't generally consider children to be capable of consenting to such things, but maybe that's a peculiarly Western preoccupation that you can just waive aside ... you know, because of its Western peculiarity.

I just invented "also, too, also." Take that, Sarah Palin!

...another horse-racing vocabulary question...

Sorry JanieM, I don't know much about horse racing, I just happen to have some local knowledge.

the equivalence of a kid doing chores and working side jobs in American farms or mom-and-pop businesses vs. Bangladeshi kids working in sweatshops so they don’t starve escapes me.

My, quite possibly incorrect, perception is that the loudest voices on the subject object to children working at all. No nuance regarding part vs full time. No nuance regarding how hazardous the job is. Just blanket outrage.

I see the sort of comments made here about our own experience working at a young age as a counter to that.

So, since the conversation has turned towards whether or not children should be allowed to choose to labor, my question to focus this a bit more would be - if the children of farmers are expected to lend a hand in the field and this is seen as unproblematic, then where and on what grounds is the line drawn between that child and the child of a sex worker?

To be clear, I am not arguing in favor of allowing children to choose sex work or against children in agricultural work. I'm looking for clearly articulated arguments for a differential standard from a libertarian standpoint.

I see the sort of comments made here about our own experience working at a young age as a counter to that.

I understand where you are coming from here, wj, but I would take pains to point out that exactly those kinds of idyllic recollections are commonly trotted out in opposition to agricultural child labor restrictions in this country, much less Bangladesh.

As for the 3rd world, see Loomis' book Out of Sight for alternative policies when it comes to the exploitation of workers. Raising their pay to enable some modicum of a decent standard of living would still leave them as the low cost producers....but apparently, that is not good enough for the freebooters of our oh so great capitalist system of "global free trade". But you know, paying a few bucks more for your shirt would be a terrible imposition on our 1st world freedumbs.

My, quite possibly incorrect, perception is that the loudest voices on the subject object to children working at all.

absolutists are always the loudest!!!!!!!!!!

exactly those kinds of idyllic recollections

Don't know about the others, but "idyllic" is definitely not the word I would apply to my recollections. I remember things like being out in freezing rain, because my chores had to get done. Or cutting, raking, and baling hay with raging hay fever (I'm seriously allergic to grass, hay, etc.). I got some positive benefits from all this, like a strong sense of responsibility -- if you don't feed and water the animals, they die; gets the message across. But idyllic it wasn't.

if you don't feed and water the animals, they die

I remember walking about a quarter-mile on a muddy road with a 100lb bag of corn across my shoulders. :)

Don't know about the others, but "idyllic" is definitely not the word I would apply to my recollections.

OK..granted. So perhaps we should address the question posed by nous above (from any perspective, much less the libertarian one).

What about this?

Today's added bonus: https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/03/global-apparel-and-their-supply-chains

No question, the agriculture exceptions in the child labor laws need to be revisited. And, mostly, eliminated.

I've been impressed with Save the Children's organizational work on behalf of at-risk children worldwide. I think that their commitment to child welfare and to diversity of representation within the organization are apparent. I think that both these links are productive for this discussion and for thinking through my questions - especially the reports linked on the right hand side of the pages:

https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/our-thematic-areas/child-protection/protection-children-harmful-work

https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/library/childrens-rights-and-business-principles-crbp

This reminds me of discussions about the working conditions of staff in restaurants, when everybody trots out the few months they waited tables while attending college.

Needless to say, there is a huge difference if you're doing a bit of work to help out or supplement your income when young, while having the perspective of a college degree and a middle class life in front of you, and doing that type of work full time and possibly for life.

I guess the next thing, the next double down, for they never stop, in the conservative movement's goal of halting all governance by anyone but evil, wrecking crew, subhuman insurrectionist them, is to start calling in bomb threats, while of course dismissing all murder via bombs as nothing to see here.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/cancel-culture-jordan-cheers-capitol-threat-canceling-house-vote-and-stalling-dem-agenda

It will never stop until savage hell is visited upon the the entire anti-American, fascist conservative movement, with no doubt about its disappearance from the face of this Earth.

America does not go forward until their demise is achieved.

Elections do not matter.

I remember walking about a quarter-mile on a muddy road with a 100lb bag of corn across my shoulders.

Uphill both ways?

:)

At least part of the question about child labor in offshore sweatshops is: how much more would you be willing to pay for what you wear? Or for your electronic gizmos?

We - first world people - get the upside of all of that. Would we give it up?

OT - I'm curious to see how the day plays out. In the bizzaro QAnon universe, today is supposed to be the day on which the glorious reign of DJT is restored.

Mostly I'm hoping nobody gets killed.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/mike-pence-vote-suppression-trump-riot-authoritarianism.html

Like Danton giving a thumbs-up to Robespierre as the former kneeled beneath the blade honed by the latter, fake Christian authoritarian fascist republican Pence revels in his near murder and martyrdom at the hands of killer Trump:

https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/execution-of-danton-1794/

America is in grave, mortal danger.

These genocidal scum will kill.

I wonder if Pence will demand his wife be in the room as he and the Trump subhumans murders their enemies ... to maintain his smug fake virtue.

McKTex has a point about MLDs, in that countries which describe themselves as Liberal Democracies avoid some of the worst crimes committed by countries which call themselves Marxist or Socialist.

But that renders extraordinary his election of the USA as the shining example of an MLD. In the USA the very word "liberal" can be pejorative. And the USA explicitly disavows democracy, allowing politicians to draw electoral boundaries, or close polling stations to their advantage. Consistent with not being an MLD, less than twenty years ago it adopted torture as government policy.

His fêting of the USA makes more sense when one reads his list of four properties of 'MWLD's*. Being liberal and a democracy are not required. Instead, the most important requirement is:

1. Free market capitalism cabined by a focused and balanced statutory and regulatory regime

Like Western Civilization in Gandhi's eyes, free-market capitalism might be a good idea. But it doesn't exist in the USA, or in any MLD. The USA is rightly seen as a land of opportunity, but on a large scale it and the MLDs operate a system of crony capitalism, in which the government feeds the rich with monopolies, bestowed in the name of IP rights, subsidies, and government contracts.

*One wonders which countries the 'W' is intended to exclude.

cancel the GOP.

https://twitter.com/mattmfm/status/1367470576256897031

and drop Greg Abbott down a well

https://twitter.com/UltimatePyroJ/status/1367534699774685185

Found this post on LinkedIn. Reproducing it in full here as well.

Minimum wage
Costco: $16
Walmart: $11

Average pay
Costco: $24
Walmart: $15

Employees on food stamps (subsidized by you)
Costco: Virtually none
Walmart: More than any other company

Founder net worth
Costco: not a billionaire
Walmart: over $220 billion; up $30 billion in pandemic

Costco and Walmart have the same low prices. So you when you hear "raising the minimum wage will just result in higher prices or layoffs," remember that's not basic business. It's corporations making a choice: pay more or give shareholders billions more.

I see the occasional comment to the effect that, if you don't like the wages at Walmart (for example), don't work there. But that assumes that an alternative employer, e.g. Costco, is actually available locally. Sometimes, that might be true. But in general...?

Comparing Costco and Walmart is comparing apples and not so apples.

Yes, but in America, Wal Mart workers are free to sell their bodies to Costco workers while, of course, observing the religious accounting insensibilities of Hobby Lobby management and trying not to limp where Amazon management's stopwatches can see them.

Costco 275000 employee
Walmart 2.2 million employees

If you raised the avg pay per employee for wmt by $5 an hour that would 11 million dollars an hour, or, if you assume 20 hours per week per employee over 50 weeks, about 11 billion dollars per year. Walmart profit in 2020 was 14 billion.

That just gets the average to $15.If you make the minimum $15 they lose money.

Costco is a membership based bulk distributor, Walmart is a brick and mortar retailer competing with essentially everyone. It is an inaccurate comparison.

Every day low prices leads to every day low wages and full Medicaid and food stamp rolls, which is what we are prepared to do to keep Wal Mart workers from selling their bodies in Bangladesh, when there is a ready market right here.

Employees on food stamps (subsidized by you)

Or government subsidized by Walmart. Without their Walmart jobs, they would be making even greater demands on the government.

Manufacturing and retail robots kitted out with all of the advanced sex robot features are going to close off lots of employment opportunities and their down market alternatives as well.


Thanks, wj.

There's also the comparison of McDonald's workers in in the US vs Denmark, the latter being unionized, making 20$+ per hour and having 5 weeks paid holidays.

But clearly, if the same wages were paid in the US, McDonald's would be unprofitable and have to close down. Clearly.

Higher prices and fewer stores.

handwaving and superstition

Higher prices and fewer stores.

Thus making food with actual nutritional value more price competitive. Tragic.

Fewer jobs and higher food prices in low-income areas. Tragic.


wj:

Minimum wage
Costco: $16
Walmart: $11
Average pay
Costco: $24
Walmart: $15

Marty:

If you raised the avg pay per employee for wmt by $5 an hour

That just gets the average to $15.If you make the minimum $15 they lose money.

Something isn't adding up here.

Walmart and Costco have different business models. Walmart hires 10s of thousands of employees to stock thousands of miles of shelves. Something Costco's business requires on a very much smaller scale.

Walmart hires twice as many employees as they need to stock the store so that they can keep them at less than half time so that they don't need to pay for benefits.

Is that the business model that you mean?

If you have been to both Walmart and Costco stores, it's easy to see that Costco uses fewer, higher-skilled employees. Should Walmart convert to Costco's model and fire a million or so employees?

Fewer jobs and higher food prices in low-income areas. Tragic.

average McD's cashier in the US makes $16.27/hr.

"Higher skilled" = better trained and given opportunities to professionalize.

Most of the people I worked with at Walmart had worked at other stores where they had greater responsibilities. They weren't being paid less because they were less skilled, they were being underutilized and underscheduled to lower payroll.

Sounds like it would be good if walmart was replaced by 8 or so costco equivalents

It’s kind of shocking to me that business models based on paying people so little that they have to go on public relief are seen as something that is, remotely, acceptable.

business models based on paying people so little that they have to go on public relief

It's not seen as "remotely acceptable." It's seen as positively virtuous. Tempered only by the detail that any and all public relief is seem, by the same people, as intrinsically evil.

Fewer jobs and higher food prices in low-income areas. Tragic.

1. offered absent any academic research to substantiate the claim.
2. assumes prices cannot be raised (we raised the min wage significantly in Seattle, and I still have to wait in line at Burger King).
3. assumes jobs at mcD's are socially useful (noted by somebody above).
4. Assumes jobs elsewhere cannot be created and thus might be tipping over into 'lump of labor fallacy' (which see) territory.

If resources (teen labor) are idle, there are ways to put them to use. This is only a secret to those unashamedly pushing an ideological agenda.

Should Walmart convert to Costco's model and fire a million or so employees?

Walmart's margins have been declining for a decade. Maybe they should consider it, no? :)

As for those thousands of employees, looks like a good number of them have been moved over to Amazon warehouses to be fully utilized under sweatshop conditions.

ONE BIG UNION! ONE BIG STRIKE!

We were just talking about the Amazon anti-union activities in our union grievance committee meeting. Amazon is one huge Unfair Labor Practice at the moment.

Nothing like using Alexa to spy on labor, eh?

https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dp3yn/amazon-leaked-reports-expose-spying-warehouse-workers-labor-union-environmental-groups-social-movements

1. offered absent any academic research to substantiate the claim.

OK.

" • The overwhelming majority of papers analyzing the U.S. estimate a negative effect on employment [i.e., fewer jobs or hours] of minimum wage hikes (79.3 percent of them). In fact, more than half of all papers have a negative impact that is statistically significant at the 10 percent level or more.

• The negative impact is stronger for teens, young adults, and less-educated workers, and especially strong for directly affected workers (those who see their wage rate increase automatically through the policy).

• There is no evidence of these impacts becoming less negative in studies from more recent years.
...
Where this results in higher prices of basic necessities (food, clothing, etc.), low‐​wage workers—i.e., the very people minimum wages are intended to help—are disproportionately harmed. For example, one recent study found that McDonald’s restaurants passed on (through higher food prices) almost 100 percent of higher minimum wages, thus reducing workers’ “real” wage gains once the higher cost of living is considered."

Let’s Talk About a $15 Minimum Wage: As Thomas Sowell has said, ‘There are no solutions, there are only tradeoffs.’

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/4/2019369/-After-recklessly-lifting-restrictions-Texas-governor-falsely-calls-asylum-seekers-COVID-risk

As with other wheelchair-bound villains doing EVIL ... Dr. Strangelove, Mr. Potter, Hector Salamanca*, any number of Mafia killers suddenly gone lame and incontinent the week before their court appearances come to mind, the racist genocidal republican Abbott of Texas takes the cake down to the cake deconstruction yard after licking the icing off with his forked tongue.

No doubt, the Biden invasion of dark immigrants also have solar panels strapped to their backs and wind-power propellers attached to the top of their sombreros and turbans and Mao caps to subvert the gridless Texas energy grid.

No doubt, Abbott's erstwhile second in command will issue an "addendumb" that bar flies in Texas each take a nursing home resident to crowded, unventilated bars for two-for-one Covid Tuesdays, and then rush them off to church to spread the contagion among the "we're saved and you are not" crowd.

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvilCripple

*Kudos to Salamanca, however, for finding redemption with violence against a greater evil.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB82rvwACJk

Hsh, your right. I misread. So wmt could get to $15 minimum for only a few billion.

"Thus making food with actual nutritional value more price competitive. Tragic."

This is pretty elitist.

"As Thomas Sowell has said, ‘There are no solutions, there are only tradeoffs.’"

Sowell's books cost too much. If he sold them by weight, maybe they could be considered a bargain.

As it is, Atlas Shrugged already serves as my doorstop.

Since 2006, McDonald's has increased its annual stock dividends by over 500% and reduced its share count via buybacks and such by over 33%. It's share price is up some many hundreds of percent as well.

Any shortfall in their employees' real wages vis a vis the rising cost of a Big Mac with fries can be well made up by McDonald's investors eating where they sh*t for a change.

What are the tradeoffs Sowell would like to put on the fucking table, or is his tradeoff that he is going to stop eating at the restaurant out of some ideological grudge that the person handing him his meal might be living too fucking large?

I make much of my commie shocialist living as an investor in the stock market.

Too much.

"This is pretty elitist."

Hey, pork belly and associated pork fat accoutrements are on every upscale restaurant's menu on both elitist coasts.

Like beets ... and grits.

Since Cambodia and Pol Pot's Kymer Rouge were dragged into the conversation a few days ago, let me remind haters of the elites and the credentialed in America that all individuals who wore eyeglasses in Cambodia, intellectuals, university professors and students, former government employees and their students, journalists, and the merely myopic minions were slaughtered and buried in mass graves, their eyeware gathered in huge middens to rid the country of "elites".

That enemies list sounds nearly identical to the enemies list frequently cited by a group of killers whose organizational title rhymes with CPAC.

I notice hardly any of those evil ones last week wore eyeglasses as they squinted at their high toned dinner chits.

"Thus making food with actual nutritional value more price competitive. Tragic."

This is pretty elitist.

It's elitist to think it would be good if people generally had food that provided something beyond raw calories? Somehow it seems more elitist to say that the workers don't need anything beyond calories which will allow them to be semi-healthy enough to work. (With sufficient opioids, of course.)

Colon cancer is a heartland value.

all individuals who wore eyeglasses in Cambodia

First good argument I've seen for contact lenses. ;-)

The overwhelming majority of papers....

LOL. That claim is so much bullpoopy.

Thomas Sowell is a pathological liar.

You can do better.

From the conclusion of the paper cited by charles above:

"Strong price pass-through is consistent with our finding of no effect of higher labor costs due to minimum wages on restaurant closures and with the evidence that higher minimum wages do not speed up the introduction of labor-saving technology. We cannot reject non-zero employment elasticities, but our McDonald’s evidence, based on highly consistent comparisons across time and space, is in line with the growing literature suggesting that recent minimum wage increases did not affect employment in the non-tradable sector, including restaurants and retail, a sector that employs the majority of minimum wage workers in the US."

In plain english, the wage increase (if any) is passed on to customers.

Cry me a river, Tommy Sowell.

Let's raise the price of all food so those poor people can starve not being able to afford Whole Foods OR McDonald's.

Just so we are clear on the elitist comment, raising food prices doesn't make poor people healthier, just hungrier. There is no magic crossover where healthy food suddenly becomes economical.

Another summary of the research around the $15 minimum:

https://journalistsresource.org/economics/15-minimum-wage-research/

Which, unlike the Cato "study" doesn't link primarily to other Cato op-eds, Bloomberg pieces, NY Mag, and substacks, but actually links to published and peer reviewed journal articles.

It also actually takes seriously and presents some of the dissenting voices.

Marty - is the assumption that you are making that if the low-wage workers' wages double, that their food costs will also double, leaving them in the exact same circumstances? That seems to be the argument you are making.

If not, please qualify. If so, then please cite an example of where this has happened.

It would seem that, even if food costs do double, other core living costs do not necessarily do the same. Am I wrong?

In that case, workers would still be better off. Just with food as a larger share of their total costs.

I'm a little ticked off that CEOs, attorneys, doctors, and Wall Street types have caused so much food inflation every year in high-end restaurants with their annual wage increases.

And they don't have to wear hair nets and dumb paper hats to boot.

Besides:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528903/Mcdonalds-website-advises-staff-NOT-eat-fast-food.html

It would seem that, even if food costs do double, other core living costs do not necessarily do the same. Am I wrong?

A blanket increase in the minimum wage can increase costs all the way up the supply chain causing a cumulative effect.

A McDonalds meal is $5 or $6 bucks, depending on what sandwich you pick. For that money you can get the makings of a good meal, probably a couple of meals, at a grocery store.

Poor people don’t need McDonalds. They need access to decent food.

Trade-offs between "stockholder value" and worker compensation are verboten. Ask any Cato scholar.

Just for clarity, C-level executives are not "workers". Their compensation can come out of stockholder value, no problem.

--TP

They need access to decent food.

You can lead a horse to water...

If we deregulate the price of water as desired, the horse will lead us away from water.

A blanket increase in the minimum wage can increase costs all the way up the supply chain causing a cumulative effect.

Sure. IF all, or at least most, of the supply chain is paying minimum wzge, and so will also see increased costs. But some living costs (housing comes to mind) do not.

So if you could clear $15/hour after taxes, and had zero living expenses, after over 42 years of labor you could spend your accumulated savings for one Tom Brady rookie football card.

I will take no offense if anyone corrects my math.

I will take no offense if anyone corrects my math.

Well, OK...but which year?

one Tom Brady rookie football card

Well, OK...but which year?

Am I missing the joke here?

You can lead a horse to water...

Unless, of course, the water has been redlined, in which case the horse is SOL.

https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-choices-health/food-access/

Food access is a big problem for many low income families, and a lack of transportation compounds this difficulty.

You can surround people with healthier food. But if they're not willing and able to put in the additional time and effort preparing it. And like the taste, it's not going to do them much good.

"But of course things didn't work out that way. As many business owners in these neighborhoods and other food-desert skeptics have pointed out, the problem wasn't that they simply hadn't thought to offer more wholesome items. The problem was that these items just didn't sell. You can lead human beings to Whole Foods, but you can't make them buy organic kale there.

The USDA just admitted as much, with a new report on food deserts published in its magazine, Amber Waves. Highlights from the article note that proximity to supermarkets 'has a limited impact on food choices' and 'household and neighborhood resources, education, and taste preferences may be more important determinants of food choice than store proximity.'"
Five Years and $500 Million Later, USDA Admits That 'Food Deserts' Don't Matter: You can lead people to Whole Foods, but you can't make them buy organic kale.

You can surround people with healthier food. But if they're not willing and able to put in the additional time and effort preparing it.

You all make the claim that McD’s has to pay it’s people the lowest possible wages, otherwise their product will cost more. That’s arguable, see also John Schnatter’s adventures in costing out health insurance coverage for all of his employees. But let’s assume your claim is correct for now.

wj observes that an increase in the cost of McD’s would make healthier alternatives seem less expensive in comparison.

Marty says that sounds elitist.

I point out that McD’s is actually not that cheap for what you get, and that the same $$$ will get you better food at the grocery store. Assuming there is a grocery store available, where by ‘grocery store’ we mean a place that primarily sells unprepared food to take home and cook.

You observe that some folks can’t be arsed to cook.

So the argument now appears to be: McD’s can’t be expected to pay their people better because then their food would cost more and that would put it out of reach of people who are poor but who can’t be bothered to cook.

Do I have it right?

What’s weird in all of this, to me, is that wj’s comment is ‘elitist’, but the idea that poor people are just too lazy to make their own dinner is not.

'household and neighborhood resources, education, and taste preferences may be more important determinants of food choice than store proximity.'"

so, if you are raised in a culture of non-cooking, you won't cook yourself. sounds like a cycle that isn't worth maintaining. maybe, if the *handwaving and superstitions* are right, having less fast food around wouldn't be the worst thing?

We sort of got focused on McD, and yes fast food for a Mom or Dad working two jobs may not always be cheaper, but it is often what you have time for between $7 an hour jobs.

Because it .I got have gotten missed, my original comment was meant to point out that comparing Costco and. WMT doesn't make much sense. I wwwill also add that I think $15 an hour doesn't make Walmart go out of business, but it does have a big cost that has to be paid by what,IMO, are the people least able to pay. Although, making more would help wmt workers, there are lots of working poor making $15 that would just get the cost increase. On lots of stuff, not just food.

So there is a trade off that isn't clear in terms of the net gain.

oh look, a Trump-appointed State Dept aide and Trump campaign employee was one of the seditious scumbags. man, that antifa has some deep cover.

What’s weird in all of this, to me, is that wj’s comment is ‘elitist’, but the idea that poor people are just too lazy to make their own dinner is not.

"elite" simply means "disagrees with Republicanism". as does "socialist", "terrorist" and "scientist".

Walmart workers' food costs would decline by 50% if they took a 50% wage cut for the good of the company and the shareholders.

Squeeze the workers of their hundreds of suppliers too.

My invested money works for me. My money breaks its back for me. It skips lunch for me. It doesn't demand health insurance and gummint handouts.

If it did, I'd get rid of it and it can go out and start walking the streets.

I'm fucking sick and tired of working people of getting in the way of my financial returns.

What we need in this country is some real leadership with spine, like Brazil's, so we can get to the violent part the sooner the better:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/bolsonaro-tells-people-to-stop-whining-after-brazils-worst-day-of-coronavirus-deaths

"a Trump-appointed State Dept aide and Trump campaign employee"

But, your Honor, Nancy Pelosi's head struck and assaulted my bullets from across a crowded room. AOC was a hockey puck coming right at my hockey stick.

Execute the Trumper. Then start in on the Proud vermin and the Oaf Keepers.

I point out that McD’s is actually not that cheap for what you get, and that the same $$$ will get you better food at the grocery store.

True. I can eat pretty healthy 3-4 days on the cost of one McD's order.

You observe that some folks can’t be arsed to cook.

With jobs and kids, a lot of people may feel too time-constrained to do much food preparation. Or, if they have the time, they may feel too tired. It would be easy to fall into a pattern of fast food and over-processed food that can be nuked.

so, if you are raised in a culture of non-cooking, you won't cook yourself.

I suspect that in the past year, more than a few millennials have learned to do a bit of cooking.

it is often what you have time for between $7 an hour jobs.

no doubt.

here is a comparison of prices at Walmart and Costco.

The business models are different, the shopping experience is different. Costco is oriented toward selling products in bulk, so it might be hard to do your shopping there if you don't have space to store stuff. A lot of Costco's stuff is their store brand, which is generally OK but might not be your favorite.

So the two are not directly comparable, in some ways.

But Costco has found a way to sell basic household goods at prices that are competitive with Walmart, while paying their people better and providing an attractive set of benefits.

So, it looks like it's possible to pay your people well without incurring a big cost that would have to be paid by the people least able to pay. Walmart just doesn't choose to do it that way.

We need a reset. We need to stop accepting the idea that paying millions of people wages that are so low that those people have to seek public assistance to survive is an acceptable business model.

It's not.

We're not talking about a mom-and-pop place hiring a teenager to help out at peak times. Walmart is probably the biggest retail operation in the country.

If Walmart was required to pay $15/hour and that made it impossible for them to continue under their existing business model, they'd either have to change their business model or close the doors.

If they closed the doors, somebody else would take their place. Sam Walton's truly valuable insight was that lots of places were underserved in terms of retail. That cat is now out of the bag, and if Walmart can't fill that need without paying people peanuts, then I'm quite sure somebody else will figure out a way to do it.

That's the beauty of the market. Right?

We need to stop accepting the idea that it's fine to pay people less than what is necessary to live on.

Want to get rid of the welfare state? Pay people more. It is not rocket science.

With jobs and kids, a lot of people may feel too time-constrained to do much food preparation. Or, if they have the time, they may feel too tired.

I am absolutely sure that this is so.

Pay people more. Then maybe they only need one job. Maybe only one job for the whole household.

In all of the public discussion about anything touching on economics, the thing that never seems to be questioned is the idea that employers are entitled to pay the folks that work for them the smallest amount that they can possibly get away with.

Every other aspect of the common public and economic life of the nation is required to shift and adapt as needed to accommodate that apparently axiomatic proposition.

Let's question that.

Here we are again, arguing about how to apportion the leavings. I'm pretty sure the earth, even now, provides enough for everyone. And no, I don't have any proof.

But millions, if not at this point billions, of people don't have enough to live on because other people grab more than their share and wall the goodies off. Part of the entire point is to make sure there are other people they can lookdown on and sneer at. Dick-measuring contest? I suspect that's an inadequate metaphor, ha ha. Who needs a dick that big, I ask you? But then who "needs" a fortune that big?

"We need a reset. We need to stop accepting the idea that paying millions of people wages that are so low that those people have to seek public assistance to survive is an acceptable business model."

We need more than that. We need the same people who don't want to raise the minimum wage, and other folks' wages as well, except their own, of course, in order to maintain the Walmart-type business model, to stop, as in shut their mouths, also trying to eradicate the welfare state and the safety net ... and unions via their public policy ideologies.

And it would help if filthy republican conservatives stopped using the words "parasites" and "takers", especially in a heavily armed society.

How dumb can you get?

Presumably, if the minimum wage was no longer a thing and Medicaid and Food Stamps were sharply curtailed, WalMart workers would have no choice but to quit their jobs and look for higher paying jobs, right?

Yeah, right. Cut that sentence after "no choice".

Assume the position. I understand the key is to relax.

"Want to get rid of the welfare state?"

Well, Charles did say that Bangladesh has to be prepared to do something to keep their minors from resorting to trafficking their bodies if legal child labor is curtailed.

But I don't think his heart was in it.

Best just to lock the fire doors from the outside on their places of employment and hope for the best.

Republicans ... scum ... want American school teachers to sell their bodies during the summer breaks too, instead of laying about dropping Costco grapes down their gullets while reclining on subsidized chaise lounges as they await vaccination.

Sam Walton's truly valuable insight was that lots of places were underserved in terms of retail.

Sam Walton was a public benefactor? Seriously? I mean, I guess I believe you, but I've never heard that angle on it. And there's this, which is the opposite effect:

Once a Walmart location opens, the lower prices, concentration, and selection of merchandise in its stores tend to draw consumers away from local retailers. With less foot traffic and declining sales, local retailers see their profits fall, forcing them to make cost-cutting decisions. Such strategies, however, may not be enough to keep such businesses open as Walmart continues to operate profitably while local retailers' losses mount. In time, Walmart might choose to relocate its store to another location, but the impact of its initial arrival may continue to last well afterward.

Deep in the cold, black heart of Texas:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/03/does-the-governor-know-who-killed-the-wal-mart-cashier

All those guns. For what?

That's the beauty of the market. Right?

Except when it comes to wages apparently.

Want to get rid of the welfare state? Pay people more. It is not rocket science.

Or the government schools could get their act together and educate people to something close to their abilities.

Well, Charles did say that Bangladesh has to be prepared to do something to keep their minors from resorting to trafficking their bodies if legal child labor is curtailed.

We should let Bangladesh and other developing nations in on the secret. To obtain first-world living standards, mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Solely on the question of poor people who either don't want to, or don't know how to cook, and are therefore prey to unhealthy fast food, we have had a few years of discussion of that here. A couple of campaigners made some headway: Jamie Oliver with a series and campaign called Ministry of Food (he also campaigned and made a TV series about healthier school food) and a rather wonderful person called Jack Monroe, who for a desperately poverty-stricken time in the 2010s fed herself and her son on £10 per week, and wrote about it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Monroe

She was resourceful, and knew a lot about food and how to cook, which was how she was able to do it (unlike the people Oliver met in his various campaigns - many of whom were completely ignorant about raw ingredients, and unable for example to say what a leek was when shown one). She's also resolutely non-elitist about ingredients (which you have to be when cooking on such an incredibly tight budget), and even now that she is more financially secure she still writes cookbooks like Tin Can Cook showing how to make good food from (very) cheap ingredients. And when I say "good food", I have read high-end food critics' reviews of eating with her, which were extremely favourable. Her experience of poverty shows: she never underestimates e.g. the possibility that high energy prices might mean that lengthy cooking is out of the question.

What seems very clear is that, as with so many other urgent needs like Civics, education is the missing ingredient. People need to be taught how to cook (Jack Monroe comes from a Greek-Cypriot background, so her food awareness was probably quite different from English working class people), as well as how the democratic process works.

On Oliver's Ministry of Food site

https://www.jamiesministryoffood.com/

In the "Evidence" section, it says:

COOKING SKILLS ARE A MAJOR PREDICTOR OF PEOPLE'S ABILITY TO MAKE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES
Our Ministry of Food Programme has been the subject of extensive evaluations by Deakin University, the University of Leeds, and the University of Melbourne. These evaluations shows that the programme has significant positive effects on dietary behaviour, food choice and cooking confidence.

We can clearly demonstrate that the programme significantly increases participants’ cooking confidence in key skill areas.

The programme increases frequency of cooking at home from scratch and increases vegetable consumption by up to 1.4 portions a day. Research also shows a decrease in spend on takeaways by an average of £5 per week.

Other qualitative recorded outcomes include improvement in mental health, improved independence and confidence, improved social capacity and improved motivation to access employment.

"Cooking" is the human ur-skill, preceding stuff like 'wheels', agriculture, domesticating animals, probably knapping flint, and coinciding with "fire".

I've known friends, one a lawyer, another a rather famous internet person, who had to be shown how to cook pasta; in their 40's. I'm sure they've learned some since then, but still.

The way things are going now, I'm seriously considering learning how to knap flint.

Except when it comes to wages apparently.

What are the conditions for an efficient market?

Do they apply to the relationship between employers and employees? When do they, and when do they not?

Sam Walton was a public benefactor? Seriously?

I'm not sure I'd take it that far.

Sam Walton recognized an underserved market, and figured out a way to serve it. So, kudos for the entrepreneurial insight, but not so much for the business model.

It's not the only possible model that could fill that niche. If paying people enough to live on without public assistance means Walmart can't return enough to their owners to make it worth doing, then perhaps another business model is called for.

"enough" -- there's our problem right there.

"Cooking" is the human ur-skill, preceding stuff like 'wheels', agriculture, domesticating animals, probably knapping flint, and coinciding with "fire".

Meaning it CAN be learned by pretty much anybody. Not that everybody can figure it out for themselves.

Once upon a time, high schools included something called Home Ec (Home Economics). Which taught stuff like that. It got dropped, I think, when educators decided they should focus exclusively on academics -- that is, stuff you needed in order to get into college. Which was a mistake.**

Me, the most long-term valuable class I had in high school was something called General Business. ("General" being the least academic of the 3 tracks of classes we had.) Taught a bunch of stuff about business and finance (including personal finance) that never appeared elsewhere.

** Which is not to say that academics shouldn't be available to everyone. Just that they aren't appropriate for everyone.

People need to be taught how to cook (Jack Monroe comes from a Greek-Cypriot background, so her food awareness was probably quite different from English working class people), as well as how the democratic process works.

in New York state, kids all had to take 'Home Economics' in middle school. i learned to:

1. make blueberry pancakes from scratch
2. make an animal-shaped pillow from a pattern (mine was a shark)

two things i've never done since.

learning to cook was something i did on my own because i wanted to duplicate the flavors of the dishes my mother and her mother made.

LOL.

Learning to cook was something I did on my own because, at the time, I didn’t have much money, but I wanted to eat.

I can relate to the thing about having kids and jobs and responsibilities of all kinds and just not having the time or energy, and I also understand that people can get into patterns where basic self-care and life skill stuff like cooking are just not part of the package.

But the actual skill set of buying ingredients and making a palatable meal out of them is not that hard to acquire.

@cleek -- interesting that everyone had to take Home Ec. From the gender POV, I think that's an advancement of sorts. When I as in high school, boys took shop and girls took home ec, but it wasn't required either way. Was there a shop class at any level in your district? I took an adult ed shop class at the local high school here twenty years ago, so I know they have a pretty good shop up there.

I don't think anyone ever tested what my small Catholic high school would do if someone had tried to take the "wrong" class (girl in shop, boy in home ec) -- it was just unthinkable.

I skipped home ec because 1) the home ec teacher was my homeroom teacher and a shirttail relative, and I knew her all too well already; 2) anything she could have taught me I was already learning at home except sewing, which I was allergic to, even though, or maybe because, my mom was a very good seamstress. I look upon that attitude with some regret these days.

Back to the original topic of Texas, here's a fascinating look at the city of Round Rock. Which came thru the storm with no power outages and no boil water notices. How? Because a decade ago they took the decision to make sure they had the infrastructure in place: back up generators, training, etc. And were willing to spend the money to make it happen.

The article also talks about how all those people and companies moving to Texas are changing it. It keeps not going purple yet at the state level. But the local scene is changing already.

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