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View Diary: Structural Stupidity on PBS, Debunked by Krugman and Baker (123 comments)

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  •  The problem is with the word "structural"-- (25+ / 0-)

    apologists for the current situation are hiding behind an arbitrarily narrow definition of "structural."

    I submit that a few decades ago investment shifted away from manufacturing to production of esoteric "financial products" producing very high profits but very socially limited in demand, affordable only to banks and wealthy investors; those Americans previously unemployed in manufacturing were expected to find new roles in a "service economy" (overlooking the fact that personal trainers, poodle groomers, and cupcake caterers will never make the kind of wages their parents in manufacturing did--also overlooking the fact that most services can be more cheaply outsourced abroad).

    Manufacturing was written off. High wages were written off. The middle class was written off. And this has not bothered investors one whit, because they make higher profits than ever before. They don't need a big work force anymore, and they don't need mass consumption anymore.

    If the US economy is successful in producing higher profits for a very few but is no longer able to provide a reasonably dignified living for the vast majority, isn't this a structural crisis?

    And if it is indeed a structural problem, the only kind of "demand" henceforth stimulating production will be socially oligarchic.

    •  You're right (12+ / 0-)

      but since the VSP's like Brooks are wrongly using "structural" as traditionally defined by economists, it's best to use another word for the long-term trends you describe. -- not sure what though -- "oligarchic compression?"

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:15:47 PM PDT

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    •  Oh, jeez. (0+ / 0-)

      The entire comment section is essentially FUBAR because of a mistake made, in good faith, about the meaning of the term "structural" as used by economists when discussing unemployment.

      Apologists for the unemployment situation--such as Brooks--are the ones who are saying it is "structural unemployment."

      Critics of the current unemployment situation--such as Dean Baker--are the ones who are saying the situation is not due to "structural unemployment."

      Until we get the confusion over the term "structural unemployment" cleared up, this whole discussion is going to be based on a misunderstanding.

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:58:43 AM PDT

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      •  We're taking back the word "structural" (0+ / 0-)

        The apologists for the current situation are claiming the distorted "structure" of our economy is due to workers failing to update their job skills. This is a dangerous and dishonest euphemism. ("Oh, we'd love to create more jobs-- but you rabble refuse to acquire the skills we need.")

        We're saying the structural change divesting from manufacturing and saddling Americans with underpaying service sector jobs was made by banks and private investors. And this distorted new structure must be dismantled if the mass of Americans are to experience prosperity again. ("We have no need to create more jobs. We're making obscenely high profits already through speculation and rent-charging.")

        Treating the problem as "cyclical" rather than "structural" is naive and self-defeating. Waiting around for mass consumer demand to "inevitably" rebound and stimulate resumed growth is folly; the Liquidators (Bain, the big banks) have already restructured production to prevent that from happening.

        The comments section is not FUBAR: it's challenging the dishonest and opportunistic use of the term "structural."

    •  It doesn't bother politicians either. With the (0+ / 0-)

      3,400 dollar donations from the rich, they can buy enough advertising time to get millions of 100 dollar donations from dirt poor chumps.

      And they hardly ever have to shake hands with the scummy peons.

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:07:49 AM PDT

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