This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Episode Kobe twenty five
Is "shooken" a word? Clearly not. Yet if I am shaking up a powdered drink for Hawaii, and I'm not sure if it's thoroughly dissolved or not yet, I might want to say, "This should've been shooken up by now" as I hand it to her. (And she might look at me like I'm an idiot and tell me that shooken is not a word.) But using "shaken" really alters the meaning, as though no one ever started shaking it. What I'm trying to say is "This should be thoroughly dissolved by now," ie the end of shaking and not the beginning of it. I guess I should say, "This should be shaken up by now," but then that sounds like a command. "This should be shook up by now"?
I'm honestly already losing interest in this question.
I'm not googling it, because if I did, the post would go away and I'd be forced to post my other option: the incredibly depressing climate change evident in the current Indian heatwave. So instead, an impulsive post based on a fleeting thought.
Would you like to learn about the derivative as a function? I got you.
How worried are we about Trump getting back on Twitter? On the one hand, I think the effect of kicking him off Twitter on Jan 6, 2021 semi-saved democracy. So it kind of terrifies me that he could whisper directly in his followers' ears again.
On the other hand, I'm starting to think that the GOP has emerged intact post-Trump, with more power than it had in 2015, and successfully weaned themselves mostly off his tit, and that he's deranged enough now that he won't ever quite get that kind of power and momentum back. On the third hand, there's is literally no "too deranged for the GOP". That's their stock in trade.
(Roe v Wade doesn't directly tie into this topic except that I'm still shaking with anger and it ties in to everything connected with how the future will unfold.)
Nick S writes: In my previous guest post I talked about Brad DeLong's Stumbling Towards Utopia.
I continue to mull over the challenges to having a political system that functions well in an environment of economic growth. I've generally had a background assumption that economic growth makes good social policies easier -- that the politics are better if you're tying to re-distribute a growing pie than fighting over a zero-sum redistribution (and the corollary that many of the currently political problems are exacerbated by a poor labor market which reduces employee power).
I think that's true, but only part of the story. The other part might be that as the economy grows the need, and amount of redistribution required grows. I was reminded of the essay "Inside The Barista Class" (link is broken, but Delong posted a long excerpt )
For all of North Brooklyn's book groups and websites and meet-ups dedicated to alternative monetary systems, the solidarity economy is, for the time being, at its best in the service sector. I can barely remember paying full price for anything. Checks for Negronis, artisanal spicy pickles, hand-roasted coffee beans, and sometimes entire locally sourced meals disappeared with a wink and a nudge reminiscent of Fight Club's ominous waiter scene. At the very least, it allowed us to participate in a culture we couldn't really afford. At its vilest it felt like a neighborhood of people working for slightly more than minimum wage in exchange for a chance to play-act at brunching in a nice neighborhood.
Rarely spoken aloud, the tendency of Greenpoint's service class to take care of its own was one of the only outright gestures of solidarity I witnessed, the only place where a distinction was made between the server and the served. I suspect the rarity of that admission has something to do with the fact that, for most intents and purposes, our jobs relied on completely erasing that distinction from public view.
The practice of exploiting a vulnerable service class to build a playground for the wealthy by no means started with college graduates in Brooklyn. This is but one hyper-specific strain of the thing, mutated to appease a population whose primary demands include Kurosawa references and intelligent conversation at brunch. But there is an overarching logic, and it shouldn't be rendered invisible.
That makes me think of Baumol's Cost Disease.
The rise of wages in jobs without productivity gains derives from the requirement to compete for workers with jobs that have experienced productivity gains and so can naturally pay higher salaries, just as classical economics predicts. For instance, if the retail sector pays its managers 19th-century-style wages, retail managers may decide to quit to get jobs in the automobile sector, where wages are higher because of higher labor productivity. Thus, retail managers' salaries increase not due to labor productivity increases in the retail sector but due to productivity and corresponding wage increases in other industries. These higher labor costs in the retail sector, despite little increase in productivity, are an example of Baumol's cost disease.
Or, put differently, if you want to have baristas available to make coffee for rich NYers, you need to pay them enough to live in NY. But that's an imperfect process. There's a high likelihood that they will end up being paid not-quite-enough to live in NYC (or the Bay Area, or Seattle . . . ) and thus the "Barista Class"
A good social safety net helps; making health care affordable helps a lot; good housing policy helps, but there is an underlying challenge. If some industries (like tech or finance) see greatly increasing profits (and salaries), how much political and economic effort does it take to keep service industry wages close enough to avoid having massive inequality in the tech or finance hubs.
That's how economic growth increases the amount of equalization that is necessary; some industries will grow much faster than the average, and it is likely that, the greater the growth in the overall economy the larger the gap between the best performing industries and the average.
Heebie's take: I have two thoughts:
1. I find "productivity" kind of confusing. What does increased productivity mean - that the business makes more money? That they produce the same amount of goods in a shorter length of time, due solely to employees scrambling harder? Or can it be due to anything - better software, better suppliers, etc? The wikipedia quote is confusing to me because I don't know when wages have ever been tied to productivity except maybe occasionally at an employee-owned grocery store or something.
2. None of this would matter if we had an adequate standard of living floor, and we absolutely didn't let anyone fall beneath it. Seeing how landlords scarf up any stimulus money or increase in wages, and how colleges scarf up federal loans has kind of made me feel uncomfortable with UBI solutions. I now wonder if government should just provide the actual housing, the actual health care, and the actual groceries for a minimum standard of living. I don't know how to analyze the roll of minimum wage if you had those things in place, though.
But either way: yes to soaking the ultra-rich and redistributing their wealth.
He must have been part of this community for how many years? A very long time. He and DominEditrix.
(Thanks to Chris Y for prompting me.)
We are having an unusual heat wave for May - upper 90s - and next week is predicted to hit 100° nearly every day, and it's making me unbelievably cranky. Usually we don't see this kind of heat until July and August. We're in a bit of a drought and they're predicting a hotter-than-average summer.
The only thing I can think to do is maybe try to start going to a hot yoga class a couple times a week in hopes of increasing my heat tolerance a bit. I don't know.
The one silver lining is that I switched vehicles with Jammies a month or so ago, and so now my car has seat-coolers, which is a game-changer.
I hate the concept of municipal tax breaks and tax incentives to bring businesses in so much. I did some light reading over the weekend on the topic and the main points seem to be:
- Poor communities pay more per job than rich communities (which is completely unsurprising)
- Sometimes the businesses don't deliver, but often the specified jobs do materialize, but there isn't much in the way of additional spillover growth
- Businesses narrow down their top three locations, and then the cities get into a bidding war with each other. So at this stage, there's very little way to opt out.
It feels like everything in the whole world is a collective action problem. If all the cities agreed to stop this nonsense, then we'd all be free to stop this nonsense.
(Now I'm not finding the thing I was reading that gave me those impressions. So maybe I made them up.)