We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, March 19. 2016
The Role of Highways in American Poverty - They seemed like such a good idea in the 1950s.
How many jobs will the robots take?
This Is the Year Shale Gas Knocks Out US Coal
"Thanks to progressive identity and victimization politics, some
" the all-powerful central state worshipped by Reich and all the
When the citizens reject your socialist, big government world view - get new citizens.
How can anyone ever again be prosecuted for mishandling classified information?
National Review…the Trump Recruiting Office
The Gloves Are Off: Trump Accuses Hillary Of Being "Involved In Corruption For Most Of Her Professional Life"
Political correctness implosion in Sweden
Repairing the Special Relationship
We can´t stop the migrants: EU says Britain has ´moral duty´ to Turkey to accept refugees
Tracked: Mar 20, 09:23
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Re highways. Redlining and prejudicial hiring was indeed a driver of African American poverty - up until about 30 years ago. 20-40 years depending on what you are measuring. But those are no longer the drivers.
Re open letter. It's the same argument we've been hearing, that hasn't convinced many conservatives. "Yeah, well, those other guys weren't good conservatives, so therefore Trump must be, because he feels nativist, which is really American, which is what conservatism is all about." To be fair, the comments arguing against him there don't break any new ground either. "Trump says bad and stupid things, and we know it's because he's evil, not just a blowhard." That's not going to convince many people either.
Re: "The Role of Highways in American Poverty"
I think as the article refers to the effects of the highway the author is at least 50% wrong. If you were to survey the areas around any major interstate as it passes through any major Midwestern or Eastern city you would indeed find the poorer neighborhoods. But in at least half of those cases the facts are the exact opposite of what the author expressed. Most of those neighborhoods were not black when the highways were built and they have become predominantly black afterwards due to a migration of blacks from the poor south to the Midwest and East where social services were more readily available. A lot of those neighborhoods experienced white flight as the middle class choose to move away from areas that had changed either because of or regardless of the highways being built. What the author sees as some form of discrimination or segregation was actually in fact the black community taking advantage of cheap and quality housing. After all the houses were perfectly fine for the middle class whites don'tcha know. I have seen this numerous times. The one that most sticks in my mind is in Dayton Ohio. A small town with the most beautiful old brick and wood homes that could have been on the cover of a magazine. It was sad to see them become rundown shells of their former self when the neighborhoods changed. So where does the fault lie; with the highways or with the people?
Another point the author made was "When I was in Syracuse, I met a man named Manny Breland, who received a scholarship to play basketball at Syracuse, graduated with a teaching degree, and was denied job after job because he was black."
We can all agree this kind of thing happened years ago and was wrong. Much more recently I knew a number of teachers who were denied jobs, denied promotions or allowed/pushed to leave their jobs because they were white. This still happens today but is acceptable because it is the right kind of racism. Is it wrong? Is it just as bad and certainly no better than what happened to blacks in the 50's and before? Where is the outrage from this author?
RE The Role of Highways in American Poverty - They seemed like such a good idea in the 1950s.
Restrictive covenants prevented homeowners from selling to certain types of people, often including African Americans.
restrictive racial covenants in real property sales were ruled unconstitutional by the USSC in the 1948 case Shelley v. Kraemer.
just another badly researched Atlantic article.
RE How many jobs will the robots take?
another sleight of handjob by the zman.
he uses a strawman version of marxist economics (e.g., the fired workers at the old widget plant will be rehired by the new widget factory, zman needs you to think that they'll stay unemployed, the marxist claim is that the employment itself is exploitive) to hide the fact that he's not quantifying the loss of jobs. the MF title of this thread implicitly understands this is the important issue: "how many jobs will the robots take?". this is the real issue, and because the answer is something like "probably not a significant number", the zman evades it.
Re: How many jobs will the robots take?
Up till now, technology hasn't cost jobs, but as AI and robotics becomes more mature and widespread, all that will likely change. While it's usually dangerous to say "this time is different", this time may be different.
When robots and AI progress to the point where robots design and build new robots it would soon be game-over for most human employment. Maybe the only jobs left would be in the arts.
How many generations before we get to a T2 world? A couple? A couple more? Then what?
argument is not evidence. zman should provide something more than dire predictions, and even those are predicated on a probable intentional misrepresentation of marx. the economy in 1850 is vastly different from the economy of 2016 (1959 for those living in the past).
Speaking for myself and not the Zman, I did not pretend to present evidence, but only to make a reasoned projection (or argument) and in fact, T2, did not portray a world where there was no human employment so my analogy was not very efficient. At the very least, robotics and AI represent a real challenge to manual labor employment.
Consider this possibility: car companies are already close to producing cars that can effectively drive themselves. They are also preparing for less private ownership. If Uber allows you to summon a car to take you where you need to go, unless you enjoy driving, what would be the incentive for owning one? Renting one for only the short periods that you need one would be MUCH cheaper than owning one. Then, what happens to the people who assemble and repair the much smaller number of cars needed, or make the components for those cars?
I was criticising zman for making extravagant predictions based on no evidence.
you're doing the same thing with the self-driving car analogy. unless you can offer empirical evidence on issues like, whether the number of new and used auto sales are down, and whether the variety of auto models and makes are down and both are attributable to Uber, then all I'd have to do to negate your claim is to say that yes, people like to drive cars. this should be more than obvious by the way cars are marketed directly (madison avenue) and indirectly (H'wood) -- fast and furious high performance driving machines even if its some half assed VW. they're selling image and branding, not utility and convenience.
uber is the equivalent of a self driving car, and so are taxis, and jitneys, chauffeurs, and to lesser extent any form of public transportation, any friend with a car, Mom, etc. by your reasoning the new and used market for privately owned cars should have vanished decades ago.
think this through: a kid isn't going to save his allowance to buy uber rides, he's saving it to buy a Ford. he knows, instinctively, that chicks dig guys who own tricked out muscle cars, not boys who can summon ubers on their iphone.
your claims incorrectly assume a kind of utilitarian ranking of preferences.
the imaginary love affair with self driving cars will disappear the first time the owner is late for an event across town and discovers that the self driving car won't bend traffic laws (speed, blow through yellow lights, do California rolling stops, drive over curbs and lawns, etc) to get him there on time.
In the Uber scenario, you may be right - many people will prefer to drive themselves for any number of reasons (though it seems very likely that the demand for cars will at least decline if ride sharing continues to increase in popularity). Robotics and AI technology may not advance as far as some expect. There maybe some effective government (or even private industry) regulation that would make my scenario impossible. We'll never know till we get there.
But it's an interesting thought experiment at least and at best, it's worth considering possible scenarios to prepare for what could be the future. It's easy for perceived trends to become hyperbolic and it's hard to gauge how quickly things might change (where are the flying cars predicted in the '50s?), but it seems very likely to me that the use of robots and their effectiveness will increase. The rate of change in technology is increasing but how long will it take to get to a tipping point? That can't be known. We'll just have to see what happens.