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Thread: "Work is a False Idol"

  1. #1

    Default "Work is a False Idol"

    aka Lying Flat or Tangping in China.

    “Lying flat is my sophistic movement,” Mr. Luo wrote, tipping his hat to Diogenes the Cynic, a Greek philosopher who is said to have lived inside a barrel to criticize the excesses of Athenian aristocrats. On Chinese social media, Mr. Luo’s manifesto, and his assertion that he has a “right to choose a slow lifestyle” of reading, exercising and doing odd jobs to get by, quickly went viral. Sympathizers shared versions of a belief that is gaining global resonance: Work has become intolerable. Rest is resistance.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/22/o...=pocket-newtab

    The US has millions of job openings, but can't find enough people to fill the spots. Are people just fed up with the whole capitalistic exploitation system of "work", or are they simply spoiled and lazy whiners? Discuss...

  2. #2
    Not much to discuss...

    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    ...simply spoiled and lazy whiners? Discuss...
    It seems even the poorest today suffer from affluenza. Menial jobs are beneath them. Washing dishes, changing sheets at a hotel, farm work...that's for immigrants not americans.
    .

  3. #3
    If you can't attract workers you aren't paying enough. That's how it's supposed to work, right?
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  4. #4
    I think the labor market will start to improve now that the eviction moratorium has finally been done away with.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    If you can't attract workers you aren't paying enough. That's how it's supposed to work, right?
    No, you hire immigrants who won't complain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    I think the labor market will start to improve now that the eviction moratorium has finally been done away with.
    No, more kids will just move in with their baby boomer parents or join the homeless behind the industrial complex.
    .

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    Not much to discuss...



    It seems even the poorest today suffer from affluenza. Menial jobs are beneath them. Washing dishes, changing sheets at a hotel, farm work...that's for immigrants not americans.

    If they won't pay enough for you to afford food, clothing, and a room to live by working full-time then it's not an affluenza issue, it's an employer issue.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    If they won't pay enough for you to afford food, clothing, and a room to live by working full-time then it's not an affluenza issue, it's an employer issue.
    Then by extension it's a consumer issue. Consumers aren't willing to pay enough to both support workers and the companies they work for. And the immigrants they pay to do those jobs seem to get by just fine, so yeah, affluenza.
    .

  8. #8
    Look you guys, walmart can't afford to pay cashiers more than *googles* $10 an hour, the only made a profit of *googles* 130 billion last year, and executive compensation of *more googling* $22 million for the ceo. They're just barely scraping by here. If customers really cared about the lowest paid staff they'd be prepared to pay *further googling* $6.99 for a *squints* "Totino's Pepperoni Party" instead of $4.88, the increased revenue from which would absolutely be passed on to staff and definitely not pocketed by the executives in the form of stock buybacks and bonuses.
    Last edited by Steely Glint; 09-01-2021 at 06:57 PM.
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Look you guys, walmart can't afford to pay cashiers more than *googles* $10 an hour, the only made a profit of *googles* 130 billion last year, and executive compensation of *more googling* $22 million for the ceo. They're just barely scraping by here. If customers really cared about the lowest paid staff they'd be prepared to pay *further googling* $6.99 for a *squints* "Totino's Pepperoni Party" instead of $4.88, the increased revenue from which would absolutely be passed on to staff and definitely not pocketed by the executives in the form of stock buybacks and bonuses.

    No, no, he's right. The problem in the US is that labor has expectations and isn't willing to be competitive with workers in Honduras. If they were, then all those "good labor jobs" wouldn't have left the US and workers here would clearly be better off.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    No, no, he's right. The problem in the US is that labor has expectations and isn't willing to be competitive with workers in Honduras. If they were, then all those "good labor jobs" wouldn't have left the US and workers here would clearly be better off.
    There are plenty of jobs here in the US that can't be exported to Honduras, or anywhere else for that matter, that Americans refuse to do. If companies want to stay in business they are forced to import labor to fill the jobs that are beneath Americans. Did I mention any of those? *looks thru posts* Yes I did: washing dishes, changing sheets at a hotel, farm work, etc. Do you want restaurants, hotels, farms in the US?
    .

  11. #11
    Being, I think you're being deliberately obtuse here. It's not that Americans 'refuse' to do certain tasks, its that they refuse to do them at the wages and conditions on offer. And because the supply of American labor available at that price is inadequate, the equilibrium price for said labor would indeed increase, bringing more American labor into the market. This is of course short-circuited by the use of non-American labor, often obtained illegally and thus able to pay below market rates and in conditions that are in contravention of the law.

    I'm personally in favor of very lenient immigration rules, but I want all labor in the US to be done inside the legal system, meaning that wage and other worker protections would be in place for everyone. I suspect that equilibrium wages for the lowest paid and hardest jobs would indeed increase to a new equilibrium.

    I'll freely admit that I live in a social stratum with effectively zero unemployment, so I have little real insight into the reasons behind the apparent paradox of current labor shortages coupled with still-high unemployment and low workforce participation. But I'd bet good money that people currently not working are eschewing certain jobs not because they are lazy or afraid of jobs that are beneath them, but because the compensation and conditions on offer are not adequate to meet their needs.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    I'll freely admit that I live in a social stratum with effectively zero unemployment, so I have little real insight into the reasons behind the apparent paradox of current labor shortages coupled with still-high unemployment and low workforce participation. But I'd bet good money that people currently not working are eschewing certain jobs not because they are lazy or afraid of jobs that are beneath them, but because the compensation and conditions on offer are not adequate to meet their needs.
    Wiggin - why do you think that is the case? Do you think inflation really has been that heavy? A more likely scenario is that more people have opted out of the traditional job market, either because they are doing gig work, collected expanded unemployment benefits (child tax credit, the prior direct stimulus payments etc), not having to worry (short-term) of being evicted etc. When the supply of something goes down the price goes up - so the price of labor has gone up. Paired with now people seeing higher wages they are more tempted to leave their current role and take advantage of higher base pay leading to a mini-bidding war for that labor in the form of sign on bonuses. My view is with stimulus payments no longer being in the cards, UI eventually expiring and eviction mortarium finally being killed, it will force more people back into the labor market. If those government benefits are fully allowed to expire we should be seeing the Labor Force Participation Rate get back up in the next year or so to 63%ish.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Wiggin - why do you think that is the case? Do you think inflation really has been that heavy?
    Short answer: no, I don't think that wage pressures have to do with inflation. I think that his has more to do with working conditions, especially in light of the pandemic. I certainly wouldn't want to work in food service (or really any other public facing job) for a pittance. The calculation has changed.

    But also it's worth noting that this isn't a new problem - workers have always been scarce for certain jobs (e.g. ag workers) and we've imported labor (legally or otherwise) to cover the shortfall.

    A more likely scenario is that more people have opted out of the traditional job market, either because they are doing gig work, collected expanded unemployment benefits (child tax credit, the prior direct stimulus payments etc), not having to worry (short-term) of being evicted etc. When the supply of something goes down the price goes up - so the price of labor has gone up. Paired with now people seeing higher wages they are more tempted to leave their current role and take advantage of higher base pay leading to a mini-bidding war for that labor in the form of sign on bonuses. My view is with stimulus payments no longer being in the cards, UI eventually expiring and eviction mortarium finally being killed, it will force more people back into the labor market. If those government benefits are fully allowed to expire we should be seeing the Labor Force Participation Rate get back up in the next year or so to 63%ish.
    I think the short term evidence in favor of removing pandemic era supports is very thin, probably because we're still very much in the pandemic and the reasons said supports existed haven't gone away (I certainly haven't dined in a restaurant, or seen a live performance, or gone to much of any public entertainment since early 2020; I went to a single movie before delta hit but that's it). There's some decent state level data to suggest it hasn't helped, or might have actually hurt (likely due to drops in AD for goods when people lose gov't support).

    But your broader point is absolutely spot on - for whatever reason, we have a labor shortage in certain sectors. This should make wages go up, and it appears that it is doing so. This will in turn hopefully tempt more people back into the labor market.



    I also should note that this is far from a homogeneous story. My company is having a devil of a time finding talent, but the people we're looking for aren't sitting at home living on the dole, they already have jobs and there isn't enough skilled labor to go around. Demand is particularly acute for e.g. lab techs and the like - Moderna and Pfizer (and other bits in the supply chain) are hoovering up a huge amount of these skilled (but not overeducated) workers, and combined with the very high demand for related and sometimes overlapping roles like clinical lab workers, there's a real dearth of talent. These aren't people being paid $200k/year - these are hourly jobs that often don't require a bachelor's degree (though typically at least an associate's is required), but they're reasonably skilled and reasonably well paid for those skills.

    You know how we have been recruiting this kind of talent? We don't have big pharma kind of money, but we can offer compensations, mostly in terms of work/life balance. We have a lab tech who left her job at a compounding pharmacy to come to us because we were demanding only 40 hr/week and were paying decently - she could have gone to Pfizer and made much more money (where a bunch of her friends have gone) but didn't want to deal with the hellish environment. We're currently interviewing someone for a somewhat more experienced position - and she's been at Moderna only since the spring, and is already fed up and looking to leave.

    My point is that workers can and do move their jobs (or drop out entirely) based on pay, workplace conditions, and their personal situations (e.g. do they have to stay at home to watch kids who are remote half the time?). It's a marketplace, and suggesting (as Being did) that people are just lazy or entitled is not only wrong, it also misses the whole point of having dynamic labor market like that found in the US. Sometimes, the market means that wages are driven down (or stagnate) because of supply outstripping demand. Sometimes, the reverse happens. This isn't a bug, it's a feature. Once companies get desperate enough, we'll reach a new equilibrium.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  14. #14
    So, do we have to have a global pandemic every time we want wages to increase?
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  15. #15
    There are many reasons for wage pressures. The biggest one is inflation, followed by demographics. At the lowest end of income it's typically driven by legislation. But in the current climate I think the most likely explanation is covid idiosyncrasies.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Short answer: no, I don't think that wage pressures have to do with inflation. I think that his has more to do with working conditions, especially in light of the pandemic. I certainly wouldn't want to work in food service (or really any other public facing job) for a pittance. The calculation has changed.

    But also it's worth noting that this isn't a new problem - workers have always been scarce for certain jobs (e.g. ag workers) and we've imported labor (legally or otherwise) to cover the shortfall.


    I think the short term evidence in favor of removing pandemic era supports is very thin,
    It's not only VERY thin, but the evidence so far is showing the opposite of what Lewk claims. When benefits were ended early people showed that they would do the unamerican thing of spending less instead of being exploited by low wages and shit conditions.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/23/endi...ed-effect.html
    https://www.reuters.com/world/the-gr...ch-2021-07-02/
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/b...my-states.html
    Last edited by Ominous Gamer; 08-30-2021 at 03:39 PM.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  17. #17
    Yes, OG, I was thinking of this and other analyses that seem to argue against Lewk's logic, at least in the short term. There's a lot of caveats, though, especially regarding other variables that distinguish the states in question and a less clear long term picture. So I would stay the jury is out and may never fully return a verdict. It is clear, however, that ending pandemic era support has not led to a substantial increase in labor force participation as of yet.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  18. #18
    You guys are completely leaving out a large part of the potential labor force that is not accounted for in any of these studies. There exists a very large population of self employed workers who do not report to the establishment and it is this group that could benefit from the jobs I mentioned. These people prefer to sell drugs, sell sex or steal from other people to make ends meet. Another portion of potential labor force you ignore prefer to leach off of family or friends until tough love kicks them to the curb. Seems you only concentrate on people who might want to be part of the establishment (in other words, earn points toward SS etc.) if doing so inconveniences them less than not doing so.
    .

  19. #19
    As a side note (probably should be a separate thread), ditch tips; charge customers the amount they need to pay to cover your expenses. It shouldn't be the customer who decides how much your employees earn. And even when the customers do the right thing and pay 15 to 20% more than you charge you can still rip off your employees because they don't have access to or the wherewithal to audit your books...

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/new...b5F?li=BBnb7Kz
    .

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    You guys are completely leaving out a large part of the potential labor force that is not accounted for in any of these studies. There exists a very large population of self employed workers who do not report to the establishment and it is this group that could benefit from the jobs I mentioned. These people prefer to sell drugs, sell sex or steal from other people to make ends meet. Another portion of potential labor force you ignore prefer to leach off of family or friends until tough love kicks them to the curb. Seems you only concentrate on people who might want to be part of the establishment (in other words, earn points toward SS etc.) if doing so inconveniences them less than not doing so.
    You're assuming these are siloed. They are not. The workforce is just people. Some people engage in illegal work (either illegal because of their status - e.g. age, permission to work in the US, etc. - or illegal because of the good being sold being highly taxes/regulated/outlawed). Some people engage in informal work outside of the traditional employment and taxation system of the US. Some people work but are not paid wages (e.g. most domestic work). But those people are not 'never' going to be part of the formal (and legal) employment system in this country - that is, outside of some random loonies in Idaho or whatever. They just aren't right now, often because of incentives.

    Some work becomes legal because of changes to our rules - e.g. marijuana in increasingly large parts of the country, or sex services in much smaller parts of the country. Some people leave informal or illegal work when their life circumstances or status change - or, even, if formal employment becomes more attractive due to increasing wages. Yes, there is a substantial black and grey market for labor in the country, but I think you vastly overestimate how much of its workforce is irrevocably outside the formal employment system.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    You guys are completely leaving out a large part of the potential labor force that is not accounted for in any of these studies. There exists a very large population of self employed workers who do not report to the establishment and it is this group that could benefit from the jobs I mentioned. These people prefer to sell drugs, sell sex or steal from other people to make ends meet.
    If your job is so unbelievably shitty people would rather deal drugs or sell sex than work for you, then that is, again, a 'you' problem.
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    If your job is so unbelievably shitty people would rather deal drugs or sell sex than work for you, then that is, again, a 'you' problem.
    Not always and I will argue not even most of the time. Working in a nursery (ag not humans) is hot and dirty and there is nothing you (as proprietor) can do to change that. Washing dishes is going to get your employees' hands wet and soggy. Changing sheets is going to put your employees in contact with many undesirable stuffs.
    .

  23. #23
    You can give people better or more flexible hours or you can, crucially, pay people more.
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    You can give people better or more flexible hours or you can, crucially, pay people more.
    I already said customers need to be willing to pay more so proprietors can pay their employees more.
    .

  25. #25
    It was bullshit the first time you said it and it hasn't stopped being bullshit in the intervening two days.

    There is already more than enough money in the economy to pay people more without a further increase in the cost living; while wages have been largely flat in real terms since the 1970s, GDP has continued to grow the normal rate. For some reason I can't quite work out, on the excess wealth generated by the economy doesn't seem to be ending up in people's pockets. Therefore, there is no reason to think that increasing prices will do anything to address the problem of low pay.
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Being View Post
    Not always and I will argue not even most of the time. Working in a nursery (ag not humans) is hot and dirty and there is nothing you (as proprietor) can do to change that. Washing dishes is going to get your employees' hands wet and soggy. Changing sheets is going to put your employees in contact with many undesirable stuffs.
    Think even a "hot and dirty" or hand-wrinkling job can be much more enjoyable if you have a decent salary, job security, and managers and clients that don't treat you like subhuman shit but, rather, as a human being worthy of a basic level of respect. Ofc this is also true of jobs that aren't so hot and dirty and base.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  27. #27
    Where the hell is Joe McCarthy when you need him. You guys sound like full fledged communists (socialist actually but you know). Companies need to profit or your 401K will suffer. Consumers need to pay for better working conditions. Companies and proprietors are also consumers. Get it?
    .

  28. #28
    what if I told you companies could pay people more, not raise prices and still be profitable, just not so profitable their annual accounts blot out the sun?
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    what if I told you companies could pay people more, not raise prices and still be profitable, just not so profitable their annual accounts blot out the sun?
    I would agree with you 100% if you included a disclaimer stating that applies to a small percentage of "companies" (where companies means employers).
    .

  30. #30
    That small percentage of companies is accounting for an increasing large percentage of the workforce, as the trend of monopolization continues. I think they're up to 40% now, depending on what you mean by a 'large company'.

    In any case, If everyone working the lowest paid jobs at walmart and McDonalds suddenly had 1.5x or 2x the amount of money in their pockets at the end of the month what do you think they're going do with it? Spend it, which is going to benefit smaller businesses just as much as everyone else. Also consider that McDonalds isn't just affecting McDonalds it's all the companies they use in their supply chain, and the downward pressure they exert on prices affecting wages of, for example, the agriculture works previously mentioned.

    Also, then consider that everything I wrote is total bullshit, a stupid fantasy for a clown - absent any other incentive or pressure, none of extra revenue or lowered costs generated in this scenario will ever be passed on to customers as lower prices or to employees as higher wages, it will be taken as additional profit.
    Spent my days watching and waiting, killed my faith participating
    In this crusade still masquerading as the lie that we're creating
    Blinding lights leave me in silence, hopes and dreams taken with violence
    Right and wrong have made alliance, now I will turn in defiance

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