Greece

Life, the universe, and everything.
Forum rules
- No personal attacks against players or staff members - please be civil!
- No posting of mature images/links, keep content SFW. If it's NSFW, don't post it on these forums.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:40 am

What happens when you're too dependent on national level social services?

http://www.sltrib.com/business/ci_14507260

"All eyes are on debt-ridden Greece as it struggles to placate the markets with spending cuts and strains to raise money to avoid default."
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:09 am

Jaime Dimon, CEO of Chase made an excellent point a few days ago. California is a much larger systemic threat to the global economy than Greece. I agree entirely. And now that I think of it, California and Greece are in trouble for pretty much the same reasons.
kiryan
Sojourner
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2001 5:01 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA and Flagstaff, AZ
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby kiryan » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:15 pm

Yep. Here's an article that talks about federal pay. It suggests that in the same occupation, federal workers make on average 7.5k more in direct and around 31k more in benefits.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/federal- ... d=10018577

Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.

These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:57 pm

It's not just Federal workers too. State and municipal workers seem to get paid well above what their counterparts in the private sector earn, again taking into account benefits such as healthcare and pensions. Plus I think there is a value to the job security of a government job over a private sector one. And come to think of it, a lot of value in having a strict 9 to 5 schedule as opposed to the 50 to 70 hour weeks often demanded in the private sector. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pretty strong backlash against this at some point.
Disoputlip
Sojourner
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2002 6:01 am
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Greece

Postby Disoputlip » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:31 pm

Be careful about comparing workhours between US and europe.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:58 pm

Nobody was comparing work hours between the US and Europe. The only comparison of work hours was between US public and private sector employees.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:48 pm

Weird. And here I thought it was the opposite, what with people in the private industry being paid much more than I am for comparable work, and the president and congress routinely ignoring the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 which was supposed to "close the pay gap between federal workers and the private sector" (by providing more money to the federal workers).

Federal Government salary tables are all available online, as part of the public domain, so I'd like to see the data they used for the private sector, and what sort of math they used to put together a comparison.

Looks like the Government's version of this would be the Report on Locality-Based Comparability Payments for the General Schedule, which states, "the overall remaining pay disparity as of March 2009 was 22.13 percent" in favor of the private sector.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:57 pm

Actually, I can vaguely support half of Todrael's claim. If I were in the Federal government still, doing what I'm doing now in the private sector, I would probably have about 3k less in salary. (annually)

Of course, my total compensation would include nearly 9k more in health insurance, 4k annually in terms of retirement benefits, an additional week of paid vacation, three additional days of Federal holidays, and probably a door and a little more floor space.

But then again, I might have to work in Baltimore.
kiryan
Sojourner
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2001 5:01 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA and Flagstaff, AZ
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby kiryan » Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:11 am

The USA today study was apparently looking at only jobs that exist in both public and private sectors. So accountant, computer scientist, manager ect... It could be that the public sector specific jobs are the lower paying ones and skew the study or just flying loose with the stats. When I worked in government, they used to complain that the union would negotiate things like $150 a month benefit increases in lieu of pay that were 6% of a 30k a year salary but only 3% of a 60k.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:18 am

teflor the ranger wrote:Actually, I can vaguely support half of Todrael's claim. If I were in the Federal government still, doing what I'm doing now in the private sector, I would probably have about 3k less in salary. (annually)

Of course, my total compensation would include nearly 9k more in health insurance, 4k annually in terms of retirement benefits, an additional week of paid vacation, three additional days of Federal holidays, and probably a door and a little more floor space.

But then again, I might have to work in Baltimore.


You forgot about a 40 hour work week - something that you see much less of in the private sector.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:19 am

Out of curiosity Todrael, if you can get a much higher salary in the private sector, why did you take a government job?
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:04 am

Corth wrote:Out of curiosity Todrael, if you can get a much higher salary in the private sector, why did you take a government job?

Lots of days off, flexible hours, telework, rarely requires overtime (though I am on-call), job stability, actual retirement programs, close to home, and it was easy to get in.

The people I've met who do my job for other companies have had to rent apartments for months in cities away from their families if they weren't flying in on Monday and flying back on Thursday every week for months, had 9am to midnight crunch times for weeks on end, were shuffled from program to program year to year, often had inadequate training or support, no real retirement programs, and were at higher risk of being let go.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:50 am

Sounds like you made a calculated decision that the compensation you receive from your public sector job, in terms of money, job security, quality of life (hours worked, etc.), and pension, exceeds that which you might have gotten in the private sector.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:07 am

Corth wrote:
teflor the ranger wrote:Actually, I can vaguely support half of Todrael's claim. If I were in the Federal government still, doing what I'm doing now in the private sector, I would probably have about 3k less in salary. (annually)

Of course, my total compensation would include nearly 9k more in health insurance, 4k annually in terms of retirement benefits, an additional week of paid vacation, three additional days of Federal holidays, and probably a door and a little more floor space.

But then again, I might have to work in Baltimore.


You forgot about a 40 hour work week - something that you see much less of in the private sector.


:( sad.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:08 am

Todrael wrote:Lots of days off, flexible hours, telework, rarely requires overtime (though I am on-call), job stability, actual retirement programs, close to home, and it was easy to get in.

The people I've met who do my job for other companies have had to rent apartments for months in cities away from their families if they weren't flying in on Monday and flying back on Thursday every week for months, had 9am to midnight crunch times for weeks on end, were shuffled from program to program year to year, often had inadequate training or support, no real retirement programs, and were at higher risk of being let go.

That sounds vaguely like compensation.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:19 am

Ok, point of order:

I'm confused because I expected SOMEONE here to raise several good argumentative points against my original post: 1) that the financial collapse of the Greek government was due more to poor financial management, rather than social services, 2) that the nation is much smaller than many of its European peers and relies more heavily upon the tourism industry than others (which suffers disproportionately in the global recession), 3) that Greece had external influences, such as the pressure to meet the standards to join the European Union, that it tried to hide its difficulties in order to seem more acceptable to the other EU members, or 4) lots of expletives for Teflor (g.f.y.).

First, it's interesting to see how QUICK the rest of the EU is willing to abandon their partner because they can barely support their own social service heavy budgets, much less give to someone who needs help ("HOW IRONIC, TEFLOR" :: YA, RLY). Lying is immoral, especially with the sole purpose of appearing acceptable to a potential partner. Incompetence is never an excuse, particularly when you're running at a break-neck pace trying to provide every service that every citizen depends upon to live, it becomes all the more reason to encourage the independence and freedom of your citizens if your government can't handle its own money.

Oh, and if you want more rich people with money to come to your beaches (write this down, Greece): STOP teaching your people to hate Americans. START encouraging them to like us. It's in YOUR best interest.

(also, feel free to contact me for more save your own damn country ideas. I'll waive my fees since I'm not saddled with taxes like the kind you put on your citizens.)
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:46 pm

Marginal Revolution, my favorite economics and politics blog, has had an ongoing series of posts about Greece.

Here are some of the articles and links posted there:

* Facts about Greece
* The forthcoming bailout of Greece.
* Rogoff: "Greece has been in default roughly one out of every two years since it first gained independence in the nineteenth century."
* Why it's hard for Greece to back out of the Euro
* Derivatives are often disguised debt transactions
* One reason why Germany can't play tough guy with Greece
* The EU announces it has little trust in Greece, while failing to make credible threats.
* Why do European banks hold so much Greek debt?
* The Greek economic contraction accelerates.
* Are wage and price controls a solution for Greece?
* Sentences to ponder: "You cannot imagine really solving the Greek imbalance without – at least somewhat – correcting the German imbalance."
* Germany and Greece

I don't see anything about socialism in there, just currency valuations, government debt regulations, derivative shenanigans, and other boring economics stuff.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:17 pm

If you aren't finding anything about socialism then you aren't reading those articles you linked to.

Just a paragraph from the Rogoff article:

A debt crisis is not inevitable. But the government urgently needs to implement credible fiscal adjustment, concentrating not only higher taxation, but also on rolling back some of the incredible growth in government spending – from 45% of GDP to 52% of GDP – that occurred between 2007 and 2009. The government must avoid relying too much on proposals for tax increases, which ultimately feed back on growth and sustainability. It would be far preferable to balance tax increases with some reversal of runaway government spending.


Government spending exceeds half of GDP. If that isn't socialism, I don't know what is. And yes, I know it's in the mid 40's in the US. We aren't much better.

And on a different subject, are you conceding yet that you are better compensated than your private sector colleagues?
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:06 pm

Corth wrote:Government spending exceeds half of GDP. If that isn't socialism, I don't know what is.

That depends on what they're spending it on. For example, if they spend it on social programs, then it might be socialism, but if they spend it on the military, then it might not be socialism. I did a bunch of searching to try and figure out what Greece spends all that money on, and couldn't find anything, as it was drowned out by all the economic collapse news. Maybe you can find some data that would be convincing?

Corth wrote:And on a different subject, are you conceding yet that you are better compensated than your private sector colleagues?

Please state exactly what claim you're attempting to make:

* Government employees receive higher monetary compensation than private sector employees.
* Government employees receive more compensation than private sector employees when benefits are added to salary.
* Government employees receive more compensation than private sector employees when benefits and quantified quality of life adjustments are added to salary.
* Some other claim not listed here.

I apologize for being confused, but I've seen the definition of "compensation" change at least once so far in this thread, or at least remain ambiguous throughout, so I'd like everything to be clear.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:17 am

Thanks, Corth, for stepping in.

I'd also like to point out that there are plenty of articles about the heavy reliance of Greece and many in the European Union on national level social services and champion corporations. It is very easy to find a list of articles that don't specifically mention socialism when talking about a failing nation. You just have to go to articles written by socialists.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:29 pm

So, no data, then? This paper (PDF) says Greece spends less on social services than most other European countries, and that they spend proportionally more on pensions than actual services, having poor outcomes with regards to poverty. If anything, it's a rebuke of Greece not being socialist enough...
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:24 pm

Someone comes through for Greece:

France Pays Lip Service to Greece's Calls for Help
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8554754.stm

Sounds like: "we won't cut you adrift yet, but keep paying."
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:25 pm

Todrael wrote:So, no data, then? This paper (PDF) says Greece spends less on social services than most other European countries, and that they spend proportionally more on pensions than actual services, having poor outcomes with regards to poverty. If anything, it's a rebuke of Greece not being socialist enough...

Not when you compare them to the US. Then it's simply the first of the dominoes to fall. By the way, you are comparing Greece to a bunch of nations that are subsidized by the United States of America. All of the EU is too socialist and Greece is merely the first to go.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:13 am

teflor the ranger wrote:Not when you compare them to the US.

I really wish you'd go and do what you say, rather than expecting me to take your word for it. You really don't provide any evidence at all. "Liberty good! Socialism bad!" is not something I can appropriately update on, and it does get fairly repetitious.

Something like this chart would really go a long way toward helping me understand the situation. It doesn't have Greece on it, but combining it with the other paper I listed, putting Greece in the 28% range and the US at 23.4%, we can see that indeed, Greece spends more on social services than the US as a percentage of GDP. Interestingly, Canada spends even less than the US at 21.8%, and the Netherlands barely more at 24%, making me wonder if it's just corruption, economic inefficiencies, or other problems unrelated to socialism itself.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:13 am

Trust me when I say that I understand your frustration.

The problem with that chart is that 'net social expenditure' is not well defined within any field of study. Some would consider veterans benefits a military expenditure, others a social expenditure. In either case, I won't say that the statistic is meaningless, but certainly its meaning is limited.

In either case, if you tried to add up all of the % of GDP expenditure, you'd likely end up with well over 100%, because so many expenditures are tagged with more than one purpose for study.

Finally, percentage of GDP is a very broad statistic that means many different things. Ignoring that the chart is based off of figures from one obscure paper published in 2001, its figure for Japan is utterly useless. The way Japan spends its money may not be for "social" services, but what do you call an 8 billion yen loan to a local construction company hiring local workers that they don't have to pay back?

Let us not forget that Greece was considered qualified to join the EU until now. The broad and vague figures are nearly meaningless. I make comparisons based on how dependent individuals are on the government and by what kinds of social services the government provides.

By the way, it's very hard to be serious when making a chart to show the dollar benefit to European nations of having the United States of America enforce all of the peace in the world for them. There are many things for which I won't be able to give you a chart, but perhaps you could read up about the marshall plan.

Here's a graphic display that may help you understand:
Image

By the way, ERP may have ended in 1951, but the United States' commitment, dedication, and sacrifices to European security and prosperity has not ever ended. It is harder still to provide a chart of the dollar benefit to European countries the United States' commitment to defend NATO members from the Soviet Union.

The CCCP then (all numbers):
Image
Russia now, btw, is more or less just #11.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:32 am

Todrael wrote:Weird. And here I thought it was the opposite, what with people in the private industry being paid much more than I am for comparable work, and the president and congress routinely ignoring the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 which was supposed to "close the pay gap between federal workers and the private sector" (by providing more money to the federal workers).

Federal Government salary tables are all available online, as part of the public domain, so I'd like to see the data they used for the private sector, and what sort of math they used to put together a comparison.

Looks like the Government's version of this would be the Report on Locality-Based Comparability Payments for the General Schedule, which states, "the overall remaining pay disparity as of March 2009 was 22.13 percent" in favor of the private sector.


Federal pay ahead of private industry
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/201 ... .htm#chart
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:51 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:Trust me when I say that I understand your frustration.

Perhaps. But you don't seem to understand the solution: real data with identified causal relationships.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:52 pm

And I don't think you understand that real data is not always collected, and casual relationships are for the intellectually lazy.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:49 pm

Good luck with your acausal, factless quest.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:26 pm

Good luck with yours. Socialism for the 63% win! (I too can 'collect' aggregate statistical evidence. So can manmade global warming advocates. HIDE THAT DECLINE!)

P.S. You should find out the statistical trick those global warming boffins used. Maybe you could apply it to your agenda.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:41 pm

teflor the ranger wrote:Maybe you could apply it to your agenda.

Quick, tell me what my agenda is, so I can start using tricks to promote it!
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:53 pm

It would seem that you're simply trying to demean me with accusations of having a factless quest.

Here are some facts for you, in case you were too busy wiping your nose to notice:

Europe is not stepping up to bail Greece out. (If European countries aren't willing to support Greece's overspending, why should I?)

Greece is nearly bankrupt.

Even by the so-called facts you brought up with the nationmaster statistics on "Net Social Expenditure" as defined by an obscure, decade old paper, Europe spends a greater proportion of their GDP on "Social Expenditures" than the United States (despite having lower costs).

Honestly, this is enough of an argument that searching for statistics until you have something that weighs in your favor (not hard) is enough to tell you that this argument of social services vs market services has been done to death in the 'factual' realm with no clear winner (and with no clear facts). While we're at it, we might as well add a fourth significant digit to economist's forecasts.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Thank you, Teflor. That's the sort of thing I'd like to see: your evidence. Here's what I see, and what I think it means.

* Greece is going bankrupt.
* The rest of the "socialist" nations (most of Europe, Canada, etc.) are _NOT_ going bankrupt.
* The difference between those countries? Greece is determined to have shady financial deals, far too much debt which they hid while piling it up, corruption throughout government and private sector, and lied more than most other countries to get into the EU.
* Europe doesn't want to help Greece, but they may be forced to because Greece uses the Euro, and the EU can't afford to have the Euro destroyed by a single member country.

Results of the above: socialism is not the proximate cause of Greece's collapse. Economic shenanigans and too much debt are what did it, and the other socialist countries managed to handle their debt much better, despite many spending more than Greece on social services. Socialism is just something to take into account when balancing the budget, which can apparently be done without too much trouble.

The cause was not social spending; the cause was debt and lies.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:36 pm

What do you mean by the rest of the socialist countries and where is your evidence that they aren't going bankrupt?

http://moneywatch.bnet.com/economic-news/blog/maximum-utility/europes-sovereign-debt-problem-causes-and-solutions/475/
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:36 pm

"[...] due to excessive sovereign debt"

"lack of effective monitoring of government deficits within euro area countries and lack of enforcement of the rules on how much debt a country can have allowed excessive debt levels to accumulate"

"In other cases [...] it was the recession"

It wasn't socialist spending.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:14 pm

Your first quote: "due to excessive sovereign debt"

Debt comes from spending more money then you take in. Of course a low tax country (non socialist) could run into debt with even a little spending. It would take a whole lot of spending for a high tax socialist European country to have a sovereign debt crisis. How do you conclude this wasn't Socialist spending?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_of_Europe

Actually, I am inclined to agree with you that the direct proximate cause of their various fiscal problems is simply poor governance. Certainly the socialist spending programs contributed a great deal to the problem (if you are frugal you are less likely to fall into debt, regardless of your money management), but it's not like all the socialist countries are uniformly defaulting. The countries that are going first are the ones that simply can't keep their books in order. The socialist countries, as a whole and over time, may remain solvent, but will see a gradual decline in standard of living relative to other countries that are less socialist. At the same time just about the entire industrialized world, imho, will see a decline in standard of living relative to the developing world.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:25 pm

The universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate, so resources are limited and existence is finite. Eventually, quality of living will decline. I'm curious as to when, and which portions of humanity will be more or less effected. In this way, I'm very glad for the diversity of human endeavors. I think it provides a robust method of testing different possibilities and determining what mix works and what doesn't, leading to improvement over time.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:25 pm

If the history of the human race is any guide, over the long haul, and in conjunction with technological advancement, quality of life increases enormously. I don't necessarily see any reason why that trend would no longer continue, over the very long haul. In the short term (by the standards of the history of humanity, several hundred years), quality of life can of course decrease. Wars, famine, etc. Misguided ideas like socialism. :) But unless we end up blowing ourselves up or something along those lines I would disagree that eventually quality of living will decline.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:31 pm

Corth wrote:But unless we end up blowing ourselves up or something along those lines I would disagree that eventually quality of living will decline.

Particularly of interest would be the existential risks: crunches. Apparently you think socialism falls under "5.2 Misguided world government or another static social equilibrium stops technological progress."

Nick Bostrom wrote:One could imagine a fundamentalist religious or ecological movement one day coming to dominate the world. If by that time there are means of making such a world government stable against insurrections (by advanced surveillance or mind-control technologies), this might permanently put a lid on humanity’s potential to develop to a posthuman level. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a well-known scenario of this type [50].

A world government may not be the only form of stable social equilibrium that could permanently thwart progress. Many regions of the world today have great difficulty building institutions that can support high growth. And historically, there are many places where progress stood still or retreated for significant periods of time. Economic and technological progress may not be as inevitable as is appears to us.

My point was along the lines of, "we're all dead in the end," which really doesn't do much for quality of life.
Corth
Sojourner
Posts: 6002
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:01 am
Location: NY, USA

Re: Greece

Postby Corth » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:33 pm

Quality of life is kind of important until you die. And also, speaking as someone with a kid and another on the way, I would like to believe that their lives will be better than mine, and their children better than their's etc.

Also, I don't consider socialism an existantial risk. Mostly it's an economic one. Though I might also argue that ceding too much power to the state might impede mankind's progress in the social, psychological, and knowledge spheres as well.
Pril
Sojourner
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat May 11, 2002 5:01 am

Re: Greece

Postby Pril » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:20 pm

Congrats Corth.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:43 pm

And now for something completely different.

Dennis Moore, Monty Python's take on socialism: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
kiryan
Sojourner
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2001 5:01 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA and Flagstaff, AZ
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby kiryan » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:14 pm

more on the whole government pay thing.

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/ma ... l-no-pain/

Private-industry employers spent an average of $27.42 per hour worked for total employee compensation in December, while total compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $39.60 per hour.

The cost of today's benefits for government employees ($13.49 per hour) assumes that these retirement benefits are fully funded. However, Mr. Edwards estimated that the benefits are underfunded by $3 trillion.

Government workers also have the rare privilege of being able to retire at age 55.

After shedding 3.8 million net jobs during 2008, private employers slashed an additional 4.7 million last year. During the same two-year period, the public sector, including the federal government, gained more than 100,000 jobs. The combined work forces of state and local governments added 35,000 jobs during the 2008-09 period.

For every hour worked in December, state and local government workers earned $2.99 in paid leave. Private-sector workers earned $1.86 per hour worked for paid leave, or nearly 40 percent less. Holiday pay for state and local workers was 50 percent higher per hour than it was for workers employed by private businesses.

State and local workers received an average of $2.86 for each hour worked for their defined-benefit pensions. That compares with 38 cents per hour paid for defined-benefit plans for private workers, the vast majority of whom now participate in defined-contribution pension plans.
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:05 pm

"State and local governments" are a different beast, and completely screwed up, from what I can see. As stated, their benefits are likely underfunded by $3,000,000,000,000, so the 'per hour' figure is never going to be paid in full.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:50 pm

Todrael wrote:"[...] due to excessive sovereign debt"

Todrael wrote:It wasn't socialist spending.

Where the heck do you think the debt came from?
Todrael
Sojourner
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:01 am
Location: MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Greece

Postby Todrael » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:01 pm

From borrowing, I presume.
Adriorn Darkcloak
Sojourner
Posts: 1292
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 7:11 pm

Re: Greece

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:01 pm

Saw this mentioned on another website I follow and thought of this thread.

Interesting 3rd paragraph.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:07 am

It would seem that Europe finally figured out its own best interests. Glad it took them a month.
Tanras
Sojourner
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 6:01 am

Re: Greece

Postby Tanras » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:00 pm

Corth wrote:Jaime Dimon, CEO of Chase made an excellent point a few days ago. California is a much larger systemic threat to the global economy than Greece. I agree entirely. And now that I think of it, California and Greece are in trouble for pretty much the same reasons.


This is actually keeping me from buying a house in California right now. I think there is a legitimate chance (10%-15%) that the California economy collapses and they have to make drastic changes to property taxes here. That would cause housing prices to plummet.
teflor the ranger
Sojourner
Posts: 3923
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 5:01 am
Location: Waterdeep

Re: Greece

Postby teflor the ranger » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:24 pm

Fortunately, this much has been known about California for decades.

Return to “T2 General Discussion Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests