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Thread: David Harvey and Libertarians

  1. #1

    Default David Harvey and Libertarians

    So I was looking for David Harvey lectures on Youtube and came across this video by a user named "HowTheWorldWorks."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJGAs...feature=relmfu

    It's supposed to be a critique of David Harvey's critique of capitalism, but most of it is just the standard Libertarian tactic of moralizing and glorifying the flaws of capitalism.

    However, there was one part in the video that concerned me. He claims that he debunks Harvey's entire lecture because of Harvey's statement that wages are stagnant. HowTheWorldWorks then brings up some census data which apparently proves that wages have actually been increasing.

    I'm not an expert in economics quite yet, so what's the deal here? Is this Libertarian guy onto something, or did he (As I'm leaning towards) totally misinterpret the census data on wages? I mean, do those wages take into account things like inflation?

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    Judge for yourself:

    (chart is for US wages)



    From the short wikipedia article on the "real wage" (ie wage adjusted for inflation)
    "Win, lose or draw...long as you squabble and you get down, that's gangsta."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Os Cangaceiros View Post
    Judge for yourself:

    (chart is for US wages)



    From the short wikipedia article on the "real wage" (ie wage adjusted for inflation)
    Good quote. The peak there is also the peak for US social program spending (both under Nixon).

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    I hate this guy. During the Wisconsin strike in 2011 he called for all of the striking workers to be fired from their jobs. After saying that, he's shown to be a complete moron who shouldn't be taken seriously. Kind of like a conservative version of Maoist Rebel News.

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    Hey guys! I like Ron Paul and read the federalist papers! Ima start a youtube channel and be a cocky little shit.

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    Wages aren't stagnant? Countless numbers of independent studies have shown that wages have indeed been stagnant for the vast majority of people in the U.S. since the 70s.
    Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”
    -James Baldwin

    "We change ideas like neckties."
    - E.M. Cioran

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  11. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Os Cangaceiros View Post
    Judge for yourself:

    (chart is for US wages)



    From the short wikipedia article on the "real wage" (ie wage adjusted for inflation)
    So how do we reconcile that with the census statistics? Is it that people work more hours now? I tried to find that out, found this:



    Doesn't show any large increase in work-hours. Or should the statistics themselves (or their adjustment for inflation) be called into question?
    "In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interest of the immense majority in subjection to them. This is the sense in which we are really Anarchists." - Bakunin

    "If your object is to secure liberty, you must learn to do without authority and compulsion." - Alexander Berkman

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    What do you think the disconnect is? I don't understand why you need to correlate with the census data. Are you trying to work out individual income based on inflation-adjusted hourly wage rates mapped onto average hours worked, or something?
    Critique of the Gotha Programme, Pt IV: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch04.htm

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    That cringe-worthy "critique" is a basic math fail. It rests on the fallacy that the average of a set of numbers can tell you anything about the distribution of those numbers.

    Here's the logic of that laughable "critique" - Bill Gates walks into a neighborhood bar. Now *on average* everyone in the bar is a millionaire. But can anyone in that bar cash that check except Bill Gates? Obviously not.

    So the fact that per capita income is rising is totally consistent with Professor Harvey's basic point- which is an empirical fact that is not in question by any serious person- that income inequality has been increasing in the US over the last 30 years. The bottom 80% of wage earners have seen their income flat or falling, while the top 20% in general, and the top 1% in particular, have made off with nearly all the gains in wealth.

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    Well if the real income went up significantly, how did the real wages per hour go down without more hours being worked?
    "In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interest of the immense majority in subjection to them. This is the sense in which we are really Anarchists." - Bakunin

    "If your object is to secure liberty, you must learn to do without authority and compulsion." - Alexander Berkman

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    Are more people working multiple jobs, maybe?
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  17. #12

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    A theoretical possibility if the above graph was hours worked by job rather than by individual worker, but it doesn't seem to be the actual case:

    "Overall, about 6.5 million people were working two jobs — or more — to make ends meet in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That represents 4.7 percent of the work force, the lowest percentage in at least 15 years."
    "In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interest of the immense majority in subjection to them. This is the sense in which we are really Anarchists." - Bakunin

    "If your object is to secure liberty, you must learn to do without authority and compulsion." - Alexander Berkman

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    I've posted this image on this site a couple times before, but you can also look at the very bottom of it and research the sources if you want.

    Basically productivity rose out-of-step with wages. There are a couple factors involved with that I think, including perhaps increased production because of new technology, but I think the narrative the left has of job out-sourcing after the 1970's eroding some of the employee's advantage over the employers is convincing.

    (plus note the general trajectory of wages...it is the same general trend that I previously posted.)
    "Win, lose or draw...long as you squabble and you get down, that's gangsta."

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  20. #14

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    But can you explain to me how the real income went up a lot while real hourly earnings didn't? Is it that the gains in income are not included in the 'hourly earnings' graph for some reason (e.g. if the latter only counts wages rather than other forms of income)?
    Last edited by Bakunin Knight; 9th November 2012 at 03:47.
    "In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interest of the immense majority in subjection to them. This is the sense in which we are really Anarchists." - Bakunin

    "If your object is to secure liberty, you must learn to do without authority and compulsion." - Alexander Berkman

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    I don't know how people would be getting money outside of their wages/work. Maybe something to do with tax policy or something?
    "Win, lose or draw...long as you squabble and you get down, that's gangsta."

  22. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Os Cangaceiros View Post
    I don't know how people would be getting money outside of their wages/work. Maybe something to do with tax policy or something?
    Well actually thinking about it I'm pretty sure the census statistics would only refer to the same income counted for income tax, which therefore would be the same amount as earnings for hours worked, correct?
    Last edited by Bakunin Knight; 9th November 2012 at 03:47.
    "In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interest of the immense majority in subjection to them. This is the sense in which we are really Anarchists." - Bakunin

    "If your object is to secure liberty, you must learn to do without authority and compulsion." - Alexander Berkman

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    Real wages have actually declined by 3% over the past 30 years. In reaction to the stagnating real wages, workers' households sent out more of their members to do hours of labor. Men took second or even third jobs, and/or worked additional hours at first jobs. Teenagers took jobs after school. Retirees returned to full or part time work. And most important, millions of women entered the labor market. These responses helped raise real income, but the increased supply of labor decreased any chance for real wages to resume rising.
    Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”
    -James Baldwin

    "We change ideas like neckties."
    - E.M. Cioran

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    @ Questionable -- where in the video is this? I don't have time to watch an idiot rightist steal a David Harvey video. I can take the time to figure out a particular issue raised in something like this.

    In North America, wages are completely stagnant, while debt continues to increase.

    In dollars per hour (ie a wage) I receive exactly the same dollar amount as I received in the year 2000. This is after earning a university degree, a college diploma, and maintaining standing in a non-voluntary professional association. But in 2000 I got medical benefits!

    Within the workers movement in North America a large number of people have taken direct 50% pay cuts, never mind inflation.

    I think the North American economy is seriously wrecked indefinitely and the outcome won't be decided by simple policy decisions. There are some relatively simple reforms that would ease the pain, but I think we really need to start imagining and implementing some very practical ecologically sound alternatives as soon as possible.

  25. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladiator View Post
    These responses helped raise real income, but the increased supply of labor decreased any chance for real wages to resume rising.
    Are you talking about household income? The census data was for per capita income, which shows a significant increase. Hence my questions about how the stagnant wages and rising per capita income fit together. Anyone have any ideas?
    "In a word, we reject all legislation, all authority, and all privileged, licensed, official, and legal influence, even though arising from universal suffrage, convinced that it can turn only to the advantage of a dominant minority of exploiters against the interest of the immense majority in subjection to them. This is the sense in which we are really Anarchists." - Bakunin

    "If your object is to secure liberty, you must learn to do without authority and compulsion." - Alexander Berkman

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    Well, the incomes of the top, say 5% have gone up drastically, which could be pushing up the average.
    Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”
    -James Baldwin

    "We change ideas like neckties."
    - E.M. Cioran

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