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Thread: Did Adam Smith really accomplish anything of substance?

  1. #55

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    I guess its not illegal if you don't get caught (claim it an official business). But you get the point -- people prefer capitalism (you just said they did is Russia) and will naturally engage in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipster View Post
    I guess its not illegal if you don't get caught (claim it an official business). But you get the point -- people prefer capitalism (you just said they did is Russia) and will naturally engage in it.


    Many people also prefer communism when it comes to education, health care and many other social services. Don't be so one-sided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big View Post
    Marx was trying to explain flaws of Capitalism assuming people expect Capitalism to be fair. There is nothing fair about Chinese sweatshops, Mexican illegal immigration and American support of Saudi Kingdom.

    Neither is Smith's proclamation of success of the market system is relevant to reality where Smith claimed all participants would be failry compensated.

    I don't know how living 8 people per room for Mexicans or 200 people in China using 1 bathroom in sweatshops is a fair compensation for the services they provide to American economy.
    Absent America "using" the Mexicans and Chinese how much would either group be making? Would it be more or less than what Americans are paying?

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    Absent slave trade 400 years ago, Africans would be starving and would lack many goods that they traded in return for their comrades.

    Absent famous family, Bush would be working at McDonalds.

    Absent Hitler, Israel maybe would not exist.

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    Absent America "using" the Mexicans and Chinese how much would either group be making? Would it be more or less than what Americans are paying?

    As I suggested on another post, wages are not necessarily the barometer of health, success, or wealth. They can be, but to apply our standard in the U.S. to another country and measure simply by their wage, doesn't take into account their culture.

    Who knows what they'd be making. But if they weren't used, presumably they'd be better off. I'm sure all the farmers in Mexico who have been displaced by U.S. subsidized corn in the aftermath of NAFTA, wouldn't mind going back to farming. But for many it's too late. If U.S. hadn't exported it's fast food culture to other places like Europe, they probably wouldn't be talking about the growing obesity problem there (still way behind ours). In sum, it's too simple to measure the health and well being based on someone's wages (which also usually ignores the support wage earners get via free labor from their families).

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    Big (or anyone), if you're interested in reading further on economics, this group of economists (linked below) puts out some short, excellent, easy to read texts--designed to be used in undergrad courses. "Intro to Political Economy" or "Unlevel Playing Fields" contrasts Smith with Marx, just the stuff we were talking about earlier. They lean toward the latter, but I think they give a fair presentation of the different views. Diehard lassiez-fairnots, on the other hand can always turn to Harry Hazlitt, L. Von Mises, or Hayek (the Austrian school) for inspiration and arguments.

    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/bookstore.html

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    Skipster, Illegal immigrants do affect a free market system, they depress wages below what they would normally be. This discourages innovation (say new technology to harvest crops).

  8. #62

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    I didn't say that illegal immigrants were good or bad. I don't think I said anything about illegal immigrants. I can see how wages would be kept down in some sectors, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If we are paying farm laborers more, then all other wages must increase and prices of goods also increase -- a condition known as inflation (a dollar buys less than it used to).

    A lack of innovation could be a valid concern, however I'm not sure that it is in the US today. Eqiupment manufacturers are always innovating (look at the GPS golf course mowers by Toro and Deer & Co.) and they must do so in order to keep their businesses profitable. Once the producers see that they can buy these innovative pieces of equipment that are more reliable than people (they don't get sick or inadvertantly sleep in late) for less money over the long haul than employing people, the equipment will be bought.

    I'm not saying that I have all the answers here. I think that a lot of times, dont's know a whole lot about economics or the way business decisions are shaped. A lot of people think that the greedy corporations are out to get them or that rich people play by different rules than poor people. But, there is no class struggle in America and there aren't two Americas, like John Edwards was fond of saying. I'm trying to get people to see that we all are playing by the same rules here.

    Illegal immigration is something we need to control (let's make everyone follow the same rules and enforce those rules equally), but it is not the downfall of the US yet. As for discouraging agricultural innovation, there is too much R&D money out there and too much innovation by equipment manufacturers to let that happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oc View Post
    Skipster, Illegal immigrants do affect a free market system, they depress wages below what they would normally be. This discourages innovation (say new technology to harvest crops).
    That's a pretty big assumption--that there's new (and implied beneficial) technology just waiting in the wings, save for people willing to do manual labor. It could be they have the technology, as in crop-picking machines, but it's cheaper to use people. Hell, I encountered that over 30 years ago when I contracted to detassel corn (manual farm labor). We got our job done on time, but other contractors didn't, so they brought in machines to do the work.

    Also, immigrants arguably fill an unmet labor demand that, if unmet by them, results in higher costs all around because of the lack of supply. In fact, some Colorado farmers were complaining this year that they didn't have anyone to pick their crops, so they wasted in the fields.

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