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Thread: Homelessness in Urban Centers

  1. #1

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    Homelessness in Urban Centers

    I thought the series which began yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle on homelessness was, if rather sensationalistic, also interesting and tragic. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...NG263BHKR1.DTL

    There are many people honestly "down on their luck." What do you do with the truly hard core minority described in this admittedly sensationalistic article. San Francisco does have a major problem-I've observed addicts hiking their skirts in the middle of the sidewalk and letting it flow.

    I always tend to the libertarian when it comes to drug policy-but do people have the right to live like this? What do you do with people who refuse help-or is the newspaper merely soft-peddling the lack of services. I would honestly believe that both are true (hard core incorrigibility plus poorly funded services), but still-should a city "allow" people to live in this setting?

    More personally-do you guys give money to beggars-or is that merely exacerbating the problem?

  2. #2

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    The follow-up article is also disturbing. This family scraping by in Vermont-a disabled man who can't work and a mother who purportedly can't work because she has asthma and a back problem (being 100 pounds overweight helps neither problem) suddenly decide, with no money saved up, no jobs skills, no contacts, and no clue (plus overweight, unhealthy kids), to load up the rattletrap truck and "move to California, where the jobs grow on trees and the weather is nice."

    They are now stuck-refusing to check into any public housing projects that are available (too dangerous-as if living in a van near a bunch of drug addicts is safer) or enter any programs, begging on the street, picking up heroin needles, and living under an overpass. They are shocked, just shocked, that a Section 8 voucher was not IMMEDIATELY available for them when they showed up after their cross-country voyage.

    I just don't know. On the one hand, I know we are being manipulated by the "liberal" media (there is a close election in SF between a more "moderate" supervisor and a radical "green" that the Chronicle doesn't like at all). Still-it reminds me of the clueless kid who showed up at the planning counter with a nonsense address and phone number, out of money, with half a tank of gas.

  3. #3
    Member simulcra's avatar
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    San Francisco does have a major problem-I've observed addicts hiking their skirts in the middle of the sidewalk and letting it flow.
    People who live in the city and pay property taxes to do so have their rights, too, like the right to not have to walk down the street and watch people urinate in public...

    I don't give money to beggars, I give them food. I've seen many who've refused the food and just want the money, and I don't really want to think about it too much.

    There are a few that just need some extra change for bus fare and I will give them that or pay for it with my CTA card in some way, since I've had a few friends who've miscalculated how much cash they've had and actually had to beg for some cash since they had no other way to get back home.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I do sometimes give money to beggars. I haven't recently simply because I haven't been hit up. But I was a soft touch when I was in the LA basin summer of last year (I had just completed a class on homelessness).

    Most of the money they get does, in fact, go for substance abuse. But, to quote my professor "I couldn't spend 48 hours sleeping on the sidewalk without drinking or doing drugs. The streets are really cold and hard." Also, sometimes folks on the street have a pet and they can't go to a shelter because the shelters don't allow pets and you can't buy dog food with food stamps. You also can't buy toilet paper, wash powder and a whole lot of things I consider essentials (probably to include "feminine hygiene" articles, to put it politely). I know that from when I used to send packages regularly to my in-laws, when they were on welfare.

    I, personally, think that folks used to be more tolerant, in some ways, of people who couldn't make it completely on their own. And I know for a fact that there used to be "halfway measures" -- boarding houses were a lot more common and so were SRO's. Now the attitude seems to be that every last person over 18 should be able to afford an apartment or house of their own. Relatives are less inclined to "double up" or take in an elderly aunt or uncle or whomever. The well paid industrial jobs that used to allow an 18 or 20 year old male to make enough money to have a place of his own and even support a family have largely been shipped overseas. The service jobs that replaced them do not support that kind of independent lifestyle. It takes years of education to and/or experience to get a professional job that will support you in that style -- and, increasingly, such jobs are also not as stable as they used to be.

    Additionally, it used to be a lot more common for a full time job to come with medical benefits for the entire family. These days, it is increasingly common for a job to only cover the employee. Medical bills are responsible for more than 50% of bankruptcies in this country -- and that statistics holds true whether the person or family in question has medical insurance or not. My sister and her husband are both professionals and are still suffering enormously from the $25,000+ in debts they were left from treating her cancer. And her husband had unusually good insurance, that covered 90% of expenses (after the deductible and co-pay, I think) and covered everything after they ran up more than $25,000 in medical bills in one year. A lot of insurance only covers 80% and some only cover 70%.

    One of the best things we could do to alleviate homelessness would be to figure out a more humane way to cover the cost of the "miracles of modern medicine". I have read tragic stories of families that have to choose between paying the rent or taking the kid to the doctor and paying for medicine. Just like with the bankruptcies, the medical expense comes first -- and then they can end up homeless. I also imagine that if you chose to pay the rent instead, and did not seek medical attention for the child, you could be legally liable for child abuse or even manslaughter if it led to the death of the kid. I think they call that "between a rock and a hard place".

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I have not encountered any "true" beggars where I live. It's usually the morons who approach me in the parking lot at work, explaining that they were on the way to take their kid to the doctor and ran out of gas, and could I give them a few bucks? So I always ask "Where's your sick kid? Leave him/her in the car?" and they scurry off.

    In any event, I would not be predisposed to give any beggar any money.

    I don't know how we disallow anyone from living on the streets, if they wish. I do think that we can curtail the problem of families thinking they can continue to reproduce because the government will pay for all the new kids. And I do think that the government has every right to take children from people who insist on living with them on the streets.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to stop society from producing morons who can't think 3 steps into the future.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There have been many good points made so far, and just a couple with which I would disagree. There is this persistent myth that sometime in the past there were all kinds of good, high-wage manufacturing jobs that have been lost. It simply isn't true. Manufacturing jobs have declined in most areas, some to overseas competition and some to technology. The remaining jobs tend to pay better because they require skills. In the past, manufacturing jobs were hard, dirty, and generally low-paying. Housing was cheaper, but consider also that it would not meet the standards we find acceptable today.

    We've discussed homelessness before so it will be no surprise when I say that 1) I do not give money to individuals, and 2) I believe it is first and foremost, the responsibility of each individual person to take the steps necessary to ensure that they do not end up on the street. That means finishing school, getting a college degree or some specialized training, perhaps enlisting in the military, staying off drugs, being willing to start out at the entry level and working hard, handling money responsibly, etc. A vast majority of people do these things.

    Some people will not make it, through no fault of their own. Perhaps they have medical problems, perhaps they are unfortunate enough to work for an Enron, or whatever. These are the people deserving of assistance. As for the others... Solipsa is right, the residents of a place have a reasonable expectation of safety and sanitation. If the homeless or any other group infringes on these rights, then they should be pursued by the legal system. Take them off the streets and sober them up, get them counseling or job training, or simply throw them in jail. A prison-like environment where they received appropriate health (including mental health) care, and a good place to sleepwould be much better for many of them.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Re: Homelessness in Urban Centers

    Originally posted by BKM
    There are many people honestly "down on their luck." (snip) San Francisco does have a major problem-I've observed addicts hiking their skirts in the middle of the sidewalk and letting it flow.

    I always tend to the libertarian when it comes to drug policy-but do people have the right to live like this?

    More personally-do you guys give money to beggars-or is that merely exacerbating the problem?
    About a month ago I was Ďacrossí at Miami Beach and a man was in the bus shelter going to the bathroom in a sock. In the winter monthís homelessness gets rampant here.

    Do they have the right to be homeless? Sure. But they donít have the right to be obscene. I think depositing in a sock in a public bus shelter is a criminal offense. The man should have been put in jail. Not only would it benefit society, it would benefit him.

    I am a not very tolerant about this subject, because I donít believe people have to be homeless on a permanent basis. Down on your luck, sure that is unfortunate. However you can be homeless and still have self-respect, get help and bounce back. I bet Jewel never left a deposit in her sockÖ

    And yes, giving beggars money perpetuates the problem. I have given money and time to charities and organizations that lend helping hands, but never give money to a person on the street, that just sets a bad trend like when you feed a stray cat.

    I apologize if this post isnít very kosher, but I donít know how else to put it.
    Last edited by H; 02 Dec 2003 at 10:29 AM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    There have been many good points made so far, and just a couple with which I would disagree. There is this persistent myth that sometime in the past there were all kinds of good, high-wage manufacturing jobs that have been lost. It simply isn't true. Manufacturing jobs have declined in most areas, some to overseas competition and some to technology. The remaining jobs tend to pay better because they require skills. In the past, manufacturing jobs were hard, dirty, and generally low-paying. Housing was cheaper, but consider also that it would not meet the standards we find acceptable today.
    Well, you agree that manufacturing jobs have declined in most areas. But then you say the remaining jobs pay better -- when every study I can recall seeing states that average real wages for men have been dropping for decades and that is a big part of why so many moms with small kids have gone to work. The general consensus is that most folks can no longer raise a family on one income, as was common for a time. Granted, historically, the brief window of time when the nuclear family was viewed as "the norm" was actually an aberration. But I just don't understand how you can argue with the fact that jobs, generally, are not paying what they used to pay, in real terms. And job security and benefits are declining.

    Yes, housing standards have improved and that does account for a large percentage of the real increase in cost. I can probably still quote some statistics on that. But my issue with housing is essentially that we have little in the way of options for folks who cannot afford the housing standards of today. Folks who, at one time, would have been in a shack with a dirt floor and an outhouse are now sleeping under bridges. We have raised the bar so high that many people are no longer able to meet it -- and we offer little in the way of effective assistance.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    very sad,,,
    I give to charities that provide services to these people, but I do not give money to them directly.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Well, you agree that manufacturing jobs have declined in most areas. But then you say the remaining jobs pay better -- when every study I can recall seeing states that average real wages for men have been dropping for decades and that is a big part of why so many moms with small kids have gone to work. The general consensus is that most folks can no longer raise a family on one income, as was common for a time. Granted, historically, the brief window of time when the nuclear family was viewed as "the norm" was actually an aberration. But I just don't understand how you can argue with the fact that jobs, generally, are not paying what they used to pay, in real terms. And job security and benefits are declining.
    What is the historical context in which you are looking at manufacturing wages? If you compare to the twenty-year window from the 1950's to the 1970's, when American manufacturing dominated the world, I would agree that the opportunities for a high-wage manufacturing job with security have diminished. If you look more broadly, manufacturing jobs have typically been low income. Steelworkers did not get good wages until becoming organized in the 1940's. Miners in the 1800's took their dangerous and back-breaking jobs for the 25-cent wage.

    While it is true that most households now have two workers, I think you are making a big mistake to suggest that it is because of low wages. That may be true for some, but let's not forget that women have fought a difficult struggle over the last half century to be able to enter a male-dominated workplace. They actually want to work. Other two-worker households have chosen to both work not out of a question of the affordability of a basic living standard, but to be able to enjoy home ownership, an SUV, and plasma TV's.

    My point was not to argue that anybody could still go to work for GM at twenty, make a good living and retire at fifty with a full pension. It was to suggest that the view of the past workplace is tainted with nostalgia, there are good jobs available not just in manufacturing but in services as well (I left this comment out of my earlier statements), and that it is the responsibility of individuals to get the skills and put in the honest work necessary to get these jobs.

  11. #11
    I will offer to buy a meal. A few times I've been told to f**k off A**hole, for not giving money.

  12. #12
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I've never given individuals money. Guess I'm a heartless beast.
    I don't do anything right.

  13. #13

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    OT: (Response to Cardinale): I agree more with Michelle. My skepticism regarding your point: there ain't a single "skilled" white collar "professional" job in the United States today that can't be done cheaper by often better educated professionals in India, China Romania (#3 in software development, I read somewhere) or elsewhere. In the recent SF Chronicle jobs section, there was a brief column that basically said EVERYTHING can be quickly off-shored, and the only hope is government work. We all know what budgetary situations mean for that "answer

    Watch for the devastating impact on the high income jobs of the Richard Florida knowledge worker class. Maybe Karl Marx was right, and the brief period where workers did share somewhat in the fruits of the system is over-and its nothing but a rapid rush to the bottom (in wages, environmental standards, social health) from now on. Glory to neoliberalist turbo-capitalism!

    Michelle also brought up some other good points: In our rush to redevleop cities, we often destroy exactly the type of, admittedly substandard, housing that the down on their luck used to rely on. San Francisco basically destroyed a significant part of its skid row to build a glitzy cultural center (two museums, a very tightly privately policed park, and an urban entertainment center (Metreon) that is largely failing. Its rather hypocritical to then complain that there is no affordable housing. Especially because new housing units built to today's building codes cost over $100K per unit to build.

    As for beggars, I just feel torn both ways. I hate contributing to addictions, I hate giving money to people (I recognize) who have been begging for 12 years. Still, what employer would take a chance on most of the hard core? They do appear "stuck" in a bad situation. As many of them may have weak impulse control and no skills, can we legitimately expect them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    Still-defecating against a storefront window is a health hazard and a crime. If you are reduced to that level, putting you in jail would not be evil but a good thing-for you and the City.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I never give money to homeless people or poor people that come and ask to my house... I give them food, specially fruits, since they never eat any fruit (though I never give them oranges, because they leave the peel in your lawn and/or street)
    Giving them money is like subsiding their drug abuse problems.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    My first exposure to the homeless was when I was 16 yrs old and on a week-long trip with classmates in D.C. A group of us were eating at Burger King when we were approached and subsequently harrassed by a homeless individual. He demanded that we give him either money or food. The manager had him removed, but we were visibly affected by the incident. Prior to that, I knew homelessness existed but I had no idea of its extent, especially in the nation's capital. I was saddened and disappointed by what I had experienced and what I had seen while I was there. However, that experience didn't propell me to give money to beggars on the street. While I have some sympathy for those who are truly down on their luck, I can't feel the same for those who made the choices that eventually led them to their current fate.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    And what about those that CHOOSE to be homeless?

    I side with Cardinal and dont have much else to add. However:

    I realize this is not the majority of the homeless population, but there are some homeless that prefer the lifestyle. Especially if you can make it to an environment like So. Cal., Florida, or my favorite -- Hawaii.

    I was in Mauii a few years back and, to the chagrine of my family, I struck up a conversation over breakfast with a homeless woman that was wandering down the beach. She had a college degree in biology and a masters in chemistry. She burned out at an early age (about 40 I would guess) picked up and moved to Mauii. Lives out of a Toyota. Bathes at the free de-sanding showers at the beach. Never worries about being cold. Plenty of public restrooms around. She was amazed at how many tourists walk down the streets or beaches coming from dinner, and they offer her their doggie bag left overs - usually fine seafood or steaks, etc - so shes never hungry.

    Is this really that bad?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    I support groups not individuals like so many others have said here. With our warm climate, we have a lot of homeless folks here. It was worse when I lived in Tucson. I have had several incidents with homeless people. They just don't act rationally (drugs?) and they don't listen. Anyone seen them fornicating? It is just as disgusting as the public urination. Yuck!

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    OT: (Response to Cardinale): I agree more with Michelle. My skepticism regarding your point: there ain't a single "skilled" white collar "professional" job in the United States today that can't be done cheaper by often better educated professionals in India, China Romania (#3 in software development, I read somewhere) or elsewhere. In the recent SF Chronicle jobs section, there was a brief column that basically said EVERYTHING can be quickly off-shored, and the only hope is government work. We all know what budgetary situations mean for that "answer
    Economics is not so simplistic. Location is determined by many other variables besides labor. Some jobs will be more susceptible to relocating overseas, while others will remain firmly entrenched domestically. Let's not forget that the economy is continually evolving. What are the jobs of tomorrow and where will they locate?

    Off-topic:
    Richard Florida should not be read so literally as to assume that the "creative class" is software engineers. It is people who use knowledge to make a product (which may be knowledge itself). They are inventors and entrepreneurs more so than workers in any given occupation.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Okay, Cardinal -- I think you and I basically agree on some of the "facts," even though it doesn't initially sound like it.

    I did note that the brief era of the "nuclear family" was a historical aberration. However, I think this recent history is relevant to current perceptions because most folks' "memories" do not really go back farther than when they were kids and daddy worked and mom had the luxury of staying home (where she put in around 60 hours per week of labor). So, when most people complain about such things, they have some fantasy that their childhood was "the norm" and there is something terribly wrong with what is going on today.

    Also, I would like to point out that I specifically said "that is why moms of young kids are working" (according to many things I have read). I fully agree that *women* want to work -- hell, I want to work in spite of the attitudes of a lot of people I meet that I should take to my bed and make my health problems the entire focus of my existence. Sorry, I don't consider that to be a very high quality of life. I imagine it would dramatically shorten my lifespan -- if only because I would commit suicide. Going to college while so dreadfully ill has helped to make the last 2 1/2 years "the best of times" as well as "the worst of times".

    Uh, back to my real point: although women want to work, moms of small kids usually feel tortured by having to choose and many of them would choose to be home while the kids are small -- or to only work part-time if there were more options for doing that without gutting their career. Women are between a rock and a hard place on such topics and government policies tend to be biased towards supporting a woman working and tend to actively discourage her staying home.

    Last, but not least, there is a lot of evidence that it is much harder these days to find the kind of income, benefits, and job security that our parents generally had. I have read quite a few articles about the trend towards hiring more Temp workers and fewer full time workers with benefits, working fewer employees longer hours rather than pay the benefits and hiring costs of finding additional workers, etc. There is an ugly trend that people who have jobs tend to work more hours -- I believe the last statistic I saw was up above 50 hours per week -- while, simultaneously, unempleyment figures rise. Those two trends are linked.

    Okay, I will grant you that WWII had a lot to do with the strong economy and the general prosperity of individuals in the 50's, 60's and 70's. World War II forced many couples to have a two income household, no possibility of concieving a child (what with hubby off at war), and no way to spend all their money given that things were rationed, people were encouraged to grow Victory Gardens, they even stopped making cars at one point. During the war, personal savings were phenomenally high due to people having 2 incomes, no kids, and no way to spend it all.

    But most folks do not realize that and I don't have any easy answers as to how to convince folks to be celibate in their 20's, while married with two incomes, and socking away up to 50% of their income for 4 years straight so they can buy a house and let mommy go home and cook after the first baby is born.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Originally posted by ludes98
    They just don't act rationally (drugs?) and they don't listen.
    A lot of them are crazy (to use a technical term). It has to do with an enlightened policy that decided that we were imprisoning people for being mentally ill by keeping them in mental hospitals for years and years. So a law was passed to set all these folks Free -- Free, free, free at last!

    Only, all the good intentions (with which they paved this road to hell) and big plans to train these people (some of whom had been institutionalized their whole lives) to live "on the outside" and to give them help finding apartments, etc, never materialized. Many folks who had been institutionalized for many years were given a suitcase, helped to pack, and shown the front door. Gee, I wonder where some of these folks ended up?

    Well, to answer my own question, thousands ended up on the street -- and never got off of it. And "new" crazies end up on the street every year because the government never went back to its policy of paying for long term institutionalization for so many folks. So, if you are crazy, have no insurance, have no family, etc -- ultimately, your time at some institution runs out or you don't qualify to begin with.

  21. #21

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    Economics is not so simplistic. Location is determined by many other variables besides labor. Some jobs will be more susceptible to relocating overseas, while others will remain firmly entrenched domestically. Let's not forget that the economy is continually evolving. What are the jobs of tomorrow and where will they locate?
    Of course, I realize that. Heck, we still have manufacturing plants in the United States (although I read in the Wall Street Journal that 1/3, yes 1/3 of American tool and die shops-these are skilled people-have closed down over the past five years). And, I never claimed that Florida's knowledge workers were just software people. In previous rants, I've pointed out how easily off-sourced other knowledge industries are. Architects, engineers, product designers, etc. For $250, you can have a trained Romanian architect who grew up in a classical city prepare plans for your custom dream house.

    And, if we have no manufacturing and our population has no intimate knowledge of actually making things, how can you believe that OUR engineers and designers will be able to compete effectively with, say, Chinese engineers who have first-hand knowledge and access to the industrial economy (as well as working for 1/5 the price)? I am skeptical. We are just hoping that American Exceptionalism will continue to apply.

    The trends are seriously negative. Everybody in a country of 300 million can't be an "entrepeneur," especially when our economy continues its rapid consolidation in almost every sphere of economic activity. There will of course always be niches-smart people will do fine. But, not everyone is a genius entrepeneur. Does the average joe just have to accept being relegated to a cardboard box in a suburban Bushville?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Big Easy King's avatar
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    Sometimes I give, sometimes I don't...just depends on how I feel at that particular moment. However, despite my generosity and willingness to open my heart, it's difficult to convince me that the homeless aren't capable of improving their living arrangements by obtaining some type of paying job. It's my opinion that there's someone out there who'll hire, because labor is needed.
    A person who strives is one who thrives. It's GREAT to be THE KING!!!

  23. #23
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    If I had a dime for every time someone's asked me for a quarter, I'd have a good stash right now. So no, I don't give beggars money.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    Of course, I realize that. Heck, we still have manufacturing plants in the United States (although I read in the Wall Street Journal that 1/3, yes 1/3 of American tool and die shops-these are skilled people-have closed down over the past five years). And, I never claimed that Florida's knowledge workers were just software people. In previous rants, I've pointed out how easily off-sourced other knowledge industries are. Architects, engineers, product designers, etc. For $250, you can have a trained Romanian architect who grew up in a classical city prepare plans for your custom dream house.

    And, if we have no manufacturing and our population has no intimate knowledge of actually making things, how can you believe that OUR engineers and designers will be able to compete effectively with, say, Chinese engineers who have first-hand knowledge and access to the industrial economy (as well as working for 1/5 the price)? I am skeptical. We are just hoping that American Exceptionalism will continue to apply.

    The trends are seriously negative. Everybody in a country of 300 million can't be an "entrepeneur," especially when our economy continues its rapid consolidation in almost every sphere of economic activity. There will of course always be niches-smart people will do fine. But, not everyone is a genius entrepeneur. Does the average joe just have to accept being relegated to a cardboard box in a suburban Bushville?
    We could pick at individual comments all day. Many tool and die shops are closing simply because the workers are aging - over 40% of the tool and die workers in Wisconsin will be retiring in the next ten years. Manufacturing employment decrease while manufacturing output increases. Not everyone has to be an entrepreneur to benefit from an entrepreneurs business ventures.

    The point I really dispute is your claim that America is losing all of its manufacturing jobs and soon everything will be produced elsewhere. It is simply not true. We do compete very effectively in many sectors, especially when our competitors are not artificially manipulating the markets, as countires like Japan and China will do.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    The point I really dispute is your claim that America is losing all of its manufacturing jobs and soon everything will be produced elsewhere. It is simply not true. We do compete very effectively in many sectors, especially when our competitors are not artificially manipulating the markets, as countires like Japan and China will do.
    On that point, I have to agree with Cardinal. (Somebody please pray for my soul -- I am not terribly religious, so I can't do it for myself. ) I really cannot remember the details of some of what I read, but I am thinking that the fact that the steel industry in America aged, became "out of date," and declined became an opportunity for the latest technology to move here. Too many countries overseas were too heavily invested in the old technology and could not afford the transition. The dearth of "current" steel factories here was fertile ground when new processes became the next wave. It is similar to the idea that in places like China, cell phones are rampant because it is easier to leap-frog to that than to build the massive infrastructure required to put in phone cables for 'traditional' phones.

    It is my understanding that when you ship a lot of these jobs overseas to be done by someone getting starvating wages and sleeping in a hut with a mud floor (and I know that is a stereotype, so let's not nitpick that comment) you generally lower the quality of the product. If you want a high quality product, you have to have high quality workers. Companies that are loyal to their workers tend to be more successful in the long run. They have lower employee turnover and that represents both a cost savings as well as growth of human capital -- ie. expertise and experience that gives them an edge over other companies. A lot of companies that ship jobs overseas find they have shot themselves in the foot.

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