Would like someone to please explain how a non-manufacturing economy

can maintain a large middle class where a blue collar/white collar hourly employee can have a 3000 sq ft house, a new car, a boat, a truck and camper . . . Small tax shelter countries like Switzerland are an obvious exception to the rule.

Share this

Answer this question, and

Answer this question, and you will understand how:

Are manufactured physical goods the only way one person can provide value for another? Must one make a physical thing in order for another person to be willing to enter into an exchange of value-for-value with them?

There's nothing magical about manufactured goods vs. rendered services, and it's a fallacy to measure the wealth of a geographical area merely by the stuff produced in that area. The fact is that there are plenty of services that are of value to others, whether it's house-cleaning, computer programming, financial services, home-building, or prostitution. An "economy" need not produce exports in order to create wealth. Rather than thinking in terms of imports/exports/manufacturing/services/etc., you should think in terms of value to others, in whatever form it may exist. Once your mind is freed from the various "trade imbalance" fallacies, economics will start to make a whole lot more sense, and you will start to understand just how destructive protectionist government policy is to the creation of wealth.

no, but . . .

>Are manufactured physical goods the only way one person can provide value for another?

No, but during the rise of the American and European middle classes after WW2 it was the manufacturing jobs that provided the big hourly wages for the working people. In China and India it is the manufacturing jobs that are creating their new middle classes.

For every decent paying service job there are 100 slave wage service jobs. These days the only good working class jobs are government jobs.

No, but during the rise of

No, but during the rise of the American and European middle classes after WW2 it was the manufacturing jobs that provided the big hourly wages for the working people.

For a large part of human history, post hunter-gather stage, most jobs were in the agricultural sector. In the last century or two, most of these jobs disappeared, to be replaced by machines, and yet modern societies produce more food at lower prices than ever before. So too with manufacturing.

Again, you're focusing on

Again, you're focusing on "jobs" instead of the creation of value and, therefore, of wealth. Jobs are a means to an end. Each of us possesses skills that enable us to provide value for others. Whether we use those skills to make things or to provide services is largely irrelevant. As long as we are allowed to put those skills to use in their best capacity to server the needs of consumers, wealth is created.

There were a lot of factors that contributed the the period of apparent prosperity following WW2, not the least of which was the influx of labor as American soldiers returned from abroad, combined with the increased demand for basic goods that Americans at home had gone without during the war. Again, there was nothing magical about the fact that the newly returned soldiers were employed making "stuff". Rather, it was the fact that the larger labor force and newly re-purposed factories were well-suited to meet that demand more efficiently than were foreign producers, so there were plenty of opportunities to profit by doing so.

Nowadays, however, cheaper labor (among other factors) in countries such as China and India means that those regions are able to meet the same demand more efficiently than we can ourselves. We're better off sticking to things we are better at producing, such as computer chips, for instance, and purchasing things we're less efficient at producing from other suppliers. Study up on the law of comparative advantage to understand why we're better off buying cheaper goods from elsewhere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage).

Also, the fact that there are fewer manufacturing jobs available has very little to do with how many "slave wage" (a term whose use, btw, is indicative of anti-capitalist bias on your part) jobs exist. Lower-paying jobs pay wages according to the value those jobs produce, again regardless of whether they produce "stuff" or render services. I'm a database administrator, so I produce nothing physical whatsoever, but I make a six-figure salary because I provide a great deal of value to my customer (my employer), whereas someone who cleans houses or hotel rooms produces much less value. While my employer is willing to pay a high salary for my services rather than administer their own database servers, people are willing to pay much less for someone to clean their home rather than do it themselves.

Incidentally, the number of manufacturing jobs may have decreased over the last few decades, but manufacturing output has actually increased as we've become more efficient at producing things. Once again, jobs are a means to an end, and so long as human wants remain unfulfilled (which will always be the case) there will always be opportunities to create wealth.

Good for you. More power to you

I do not envy you. You probably earn every cent you net. I do not have your abilities and psychological profile. I can't do and don't want to do your work.

What percentage of the working population have your abilities and personality? Ten percent? What should the rest of us do? 100 years ago we organized for our mutual benefit. These days the vast majority, convinced they have imaginary abilities and an imaginary ambition, take the pay the international corporation wants to pay them and complains about the government. "If only the government would get out of my way I would be rich and successful." Bull pippy!

The vast majority of the available jobs for the vast majority of humanity will always be blue collar or white collar grunt work. Somebody gots to flip the hamburgers, drive the trucks, sweep the floors. Should we, the vast majority, be satisfied to share the hind tit between us and leave the rest to the 10 percent of the population?

Bottom line, Libertarian/Republican politics is the opiate of the people and our owners love it that way.

Grunt work?

Either you have a pretty wide definition of "grunt work", or it simply isn't true that the vast majority of jobs in the US are grunt work now, let alone that they always will be "grunt work".

And manufacturing jobs, esp. decades ago when more people working in manufacturing, might reasonably be called grunt work, esp. by your expansive definition (which includes white color jobs).

If the jobs that we are doing, and will be doing are "grunt work" then grunt work is just fine. Consider that real total compensation has increased over time while work conditions have improved.