Category Archives: Labor

“Europe Will Not Be Europe”, by Guy Millière

The outcome in the European Parliamentary elections will do nothing to alter what now appears to be Europe’s inevitable transformation. From Guy Millière at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In the United Kingdom, the Brexit Party victory at 31.6% of the vote was a remarkable achievement that showed the persistent willingness of millions of Britons to leave the European Union. The “populist” positions — the defense of national sovereignty and European civilization, refusal of uncontrolled immigration and diktats of Brussels technocrats — have gained ground.
  • The parties that have ruled Europe for decades obtained weak results, but, with rare exceptions, did not collapse — and will continue to dominate the European Union.
  • The Greens may gain more influence – along with its consequences. To anyone who read the Greens’ programs, it is evident that they are essentially leftists with an environmental green mask. They support unrestricted immigration and multiculturalism. They are…resolutely hostile to any defense of Western civilization, to free enterprise and free markets. They are often in favor of zero growth. Most of them support an apocalyptic vision of climate change and say that the survival of humanity will be at stake around the corner if Europe does not take drastic measures to “save the planet”. All of them are in favor of authoritarian decisions imposed from Brussels to all of Europe.
  • A European parliament placed under the influence of the Greens will almost certainly accelerate the slide towards more power given to the unelected members of the European Commission, and a phasing out of nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Policies favorable to still more immigration already are in preparation.
(Image source: iStock)

Continue reading

Advertisements

Tariffs on China Do Not Solve Lack of U.S. Competitiveness, by Tom Luongo

Maybe China does some things better than the US. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

I’ve been making arguments for months that Donald Trump’s trade war with China is the height of stupidity. While Trump has the power to do what he’s been doing — sanctioning actors and applying tariffs — some power is best left not used.

The simple fact is that America is uncompetitive. This is at a deep and structural level. It’s at an education level. And this is something Trump’s trade team and his adherents refuse to admit.

When it comes to manufacturing and assembly, U.S. workers are not worth the money they are paid. Period.

Don’t take my word for it. Take Tim Cook’s. In an eye-opening interview from the end of 2017 Cook explains the basic problem with the U.S.

And China has an abundance of skilled labor unseen elsewhere, says Cook:
“The products we do require really advanced tooling, and the precision that you have to have, the tooling and working with the materials that we do are state of the art. And the tooling skill is very deep here. In the US you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China you could fill multiple football fields.”

Cook credits China’s vast supply of highly skilled vocational talent:

“The vocational expertise is very very deep here, and I give the education system a lot of credit for continuing to push on that even when others were de-emphasizing vocational. Now I think many countries in the world have woke up and said this is a key thing and we’ve got to correct that. China called that right from the beginning.”

Is this Tim Cook talking or Mike Rowe?

Continue reading

America’s Forced Financial Flight: Fleeing Unaffordable and Dysfunctional Cities, by Charles Hugh Smith

Americans are getting the hell out of Dodge, and New York City, and San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and Seattle, and Baltimore, and Chicago, and so on and so forth. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The forced flight from unaffordable and dysfunctional urban regions is as yet a trickle, but watch what happens when a recession causes widespread layoffs in high-wage sectors.

For hundreds of years, rural poverty has driven people to urban areas: cities offer paying work and abundant opportunities to get ahead, and these financial incentives have transformed the human populace from largely rural to largely urban in the developed world.

Now a new set of financial pressures are forcing a migration of urban residents out of cities which are increasingly unaffordable and dysfunctional. As highly paid skilled workers and global capital have flooded into high-job-growth regions, living costs and the costs of doing business have skyrocketed: where not too long ago $1,000 a month would secure a modest one-bedroom apartment in major urban job centers, now it takes $2,000 or $3,000 a month to rent a modest flat.

Continue reading

$15 Minimum Wage Imploding; Tight Labor Market Better Path to Higher Income, by Joe Guzzardi

The consequences of higher-than-market minimum wages are everywhere and always tragically predictable. From Joe Guzzardi at theburningplatform.com:

Raising and sustaining higher wages for American workers is impossible as long as the labor pool keeps expanding. Serious discussion about lasting improvements to the lives of the 40 million Americans stuck in low-paying jobs has to include an equally thoughtful discussion about limiting immigration.

While many in Congress and private sector economists embrace raising the $7.25 federal minimum wage where it’s been frozen in place for a decade, few speak out about reducing immigration as a permanent income-boosting cure. The academic exercise is basic – the more available workers, the better for employers. Conversely, tighten the labor pool, then advantage shifts to workers and job seekers.

Recently, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the Raise the Wage Act which would, if it became law, gradually raise the federal minimum wage over five years to $15 an hour. So far, six states – California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – and the District of Columbia have adopted $15 as their minimum wage. Although not enough data is available to make a final conclusion about the $15 wage’s broad effects, Georgetown University public policy professor and former Clinton administration Labor Department economist Harry Holzer predicts significant job losses that would hurt low-skilled, less-educated minority employees who would resort to accepting cash off the books, and thereby forfeit any benefits they may have had.

Continue reading→

As Expected $15 Minimum Wage Hurting Workers, by Sarah Cowgill

Requiring employers to pay employees more than they’re worth has consequences. Who knew, besides anyone who knows anything about economics? From Sarah Cowgill at libertynation.com:

The move to make flipping burgers and shoehorning fries into a lucrative career has been a national debate pitting hourly workers against the businesses that employ them. Granted, doubling the entry-level wage seems ideal for those struggling to survive. However, as more states and municipalities force the issue through legislation or ballot initiatives, the downside risk becomes increasingly, and painfully, obvious.

It’s a bite that the Big Apple is experiencing firsthand as the minimum wage increased 15% on Jan. 1, and employees who rely on tip wages to eke out a living are salving their dashed hopes of gaining ground because restaurant owners are slashing hours and, in many cases, abolishing hospitality positions altogether.

Well, that didn’t take long at all.

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence Or Real Stupidity? by David Robertson

Artificial intelligence has been way overhyped. From David Robertson at realinvestmentadvice.com:

It’s hard to go anywhere these days without coming across some mention of artificial intelligence (AI). You hear about it, you read about it and it’s hard to find a presentation deck (on any subject) that doesn’t mention it. There is no doubt there is a lot of hype around the subject.

While the hype does increase awareness of AI, it also facilitates some pretty silly activities and can distract people from much of the real progress being made. Disentangling the reality from the more dramatic headlines promises to provide significant advantages for investors, business people and consumers alike.

Artificial intelligence has gained its recent notoriety in large part due to high profile successes such as IBM’s Watson winning at Jeopardy and Google’s AlphaGo beating the world champion at the game “Go”. Waymo, Tesla and others have also made great strides with self-driving vehicles. The expansiveness of AI applications was captured by Richard Waters in the Financial Times [here}: “If there was a unifying message underpinning the consumer technology on display [at the Consumer Electronics Show] … it was: ‘AI in everything’.”

High profile AI successes have also captured people’s imaginations to such a degree that they have prompted other far reaching efforts. One instructive example was documented by Thomas H. Davenport and Rajeev Ronanki in the Harvard Business Review [here]. They describe, “In 2013, the MD Anderson Cancer Center launched a ‘moon shot’ project: diagnose and recommend treatment plans for certain forms of cancer using IBM’s Watson cognitive system.” Unfortunately, the system didn’t work and by 2017, “the project was put on hold after costs topped $62 million—and the system had yet to be used on patients.”

Continue reading

‘The gilets jaunes are unstoppable’, by Christopher Guilluy

An entire class of French people are tired of being treated as second-class citizens. From Christopher Guilluy at spiked-online.com:

The gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement has rattled the French establishment. For several months, crowds ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands have been taking to the streets every weekend across the whole of France. They have had enormous success, extracting major concessions from the government. They continue to march.

Back in 2014, geographer Christopher Guilluy’s study of la France périphérique (peripheral France) caused a media sensation. It drew attention to the economic, cultural and political exclusion of the working classes, most of whom now live outside the major cities. It highlighted the conditions that would later give rise to the yellow-vest phenomenon. Guilluy has developed on these themes in his recent books, No Society and The Twilight of the Elite: Prosperity, the Periphery and the Future of France. spiked caught up with Guilluy to get his view on the causes and consequences of the yellow-vest movement.

spiked: What exactly do you mean by ‘peripheral France’?

Christophe Guilluy: ‘Peripheral France’ is about the geographic distribution of the working classes across France. Fifteen years ago, I noticed that the majority of working-class people actually live very far away from the major globalised cities – far from Paris, Lyon and Toulouse, and also very far from London and New York.

Technically, our globalised economic model performs well. It produces a lot of wealth. But it doesn’t need the majority of the population to function. It has no real need for the manual workers, labourers and even small-business owners outside of the big cities. Paris creates enough wealth for the whole of France, and London does the same in Britain. But you cannot build a society around this. The gilets jaunes is a revolt of the working classes who live in these places.

They tend to be people in work, but who don’t earn very much, between 1000€ and 2000€ per month. Some of them are very poor if they are unemployed. Others were once middle-class. What they all have in common is that they live in areas where there is hardly any work left. They know that even if they have a job today, they could lose it tomorrow and they won’t find anything else.

Continue reading