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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2008
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    1,692

    Default American culture???

    Since this site does have folks covering a very wide specturm, thought I would ask.

    I am trying to understand the culture here a bit better as it relates to the economy. This whole offshoring , loss of jobs has me quite preplexed. Now I grew up partly in India. Over there, if a factory shuts down and moves overseas or even to the next state, you would have massive unrest and politicians of all stripes will unite to either give incentives or extremely punitive measures to punish . Top corporate types actually run a bit scared during such encounters. People don't care as much about "concepts" -free trade, socialism, whateverism-just that they have a job and get paid.

    Now I wasn't here when the whole manufacturing sector was shipped off to China and other sectors, so really don't know how that was received. But watching this whole thing is just intriguing. Millions and millions of jobs are being shipped overseas and I don't hear anybody-news network , politicians, anybody-discuss about it or even what to do about it. The few columns I have seen were about advising people to get into fields that cannot be offshored. Nobody seems to discuss about the human aspect, especially for people in their late 40s and 50s, the heartbreak of seeing their whole field turn obsolete at that age and being thrown under the bus.


    That does make it wonder if this is just the culture? This whole boom and bust cycle. Even the great depression was preceded by the FL land boom and bust and stock market crash and there have been several boom and bust cycles since then. Plus there are so many boom and bust ghost towns out west . Me personally, I saw my field shrinking and shrinking fast and so was forced to switch into my business-which it turns out was good for me-I am much happier. So this does make me wonder, if this whole boom bust thing is the norm? Maybe this whole boom bust cycle is what makes America tick? Because it forces people to change and adapt and move on to new things and hence we keep innovating more?? I don't know as I haven't been here long enough. But would like to get different perspectives.Thanks..



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
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    between the barn and the pond
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    14,495

    Default

    boom and bust=capitalism.

    This utter NONSENSE about removing such peaks and valleys?

    Guess what that does?

    Crushes the small business person who is thinking of expanding, pushing the limits of his business.

    BZZZZ. Too risky, no loan for you.

    Big biz that does well, is huge, is growing?

    BZZZZZZ.

    Too risky. You are too big. We'd better dismantle you. Tax you.

    I work for a 2 billion dollar publicly traded worldwide company with interests everywhere. My job COULD go to Hyderabad. Better work smarter, make myself needed. Me, personally, needed.

    I am married to a small business owner. We need leases to be signed, businesses expanded, remodeling, expansion.

    Never, never, EVER have I ever thought anyone OWED me a job. A check. BS. We- at least me at 39 with a 53 YO husband - thrive in capitalism and the notion of a government taking care of me, watching over me? Makes me sick.

    The saw of capitalism hurts everyone at different times. But it leaves freedom to grow, to push- and sometimes a business flounders and fails. So what? Something smaller, nimbler, or big and healthier, gobbles it up. My DH's grandfather fled Sweden to escape the punishing taxes of his time. Picked veggies here, learned the language. His business BOOMED in the Depression, making barrels of oak and steel staves. He built a fantastic home and a place on the lake. When shipping methods changed, and only Jack Daniels needed barrels ...the business died. The building was sold by my DH's Dad and now houses an architectural firm. Things change!!! Why in the WORLD would some governing body OWE my family that the business would survive? Why?

    When Obama said he wanted to remove the boom and bust from our economy, he took a bulldozer to my heart as an American.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2000
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,851

    Default

    boom and bust are part of the cycle of life ... capitalist, insect, mammal, et al

    The reason there is little unrest here when a business moves offshore is that most of the time the effects are local ... A Town, A County are affected and the Not Happening To Me So I'm Not Worried mentality operates for everyone else. Some of that is changing with all the internet-enabled social networking, but it is not country-wide or robust at this time.

    Capitalism works best when there is a free and open flow of market information -- where every seller and buyer has access to the same information and is able to make decisions based on his assessment of what his needs, wants, strengthens, and weaknesses might be. When the information is concentrated or controlled by a few large players that is when things get wonky and meltdowns (bust cycles) occur. One of government's few useful and legitimate roles in commerce to maintain that level playing field. Those with a vested interest in controlling information / markets always squeal about 'government interference', to which I say "Yes. And it wouldn't be necessary if you all kept your cards on the table."

    *star*
    Last edited by ShotenStar; Dec. 26, 2009 at 01:47 PM.
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2005
    Location
    Chicago. Again.
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    2,445

    Default

    katarine, be sure to hit the Atlas Shrugged thread (assuming you have read it. if you haven't, judging from your post, I believe you would like it)

    Also, we Americans love the word "affordable" - so much we want everything to now be affordable, and even downright cheap is better. In order for that to happen these things need to be made elsewhere where labor is cheaper and less discriminate. It's a battle waged in our subconscious, I believe, and it distracts us from reality.
    ExchangeHunterJumper.com
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  5. #5
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    Jan. 2, 2008
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default

    Yay, capitalism! Americans are complacent.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2008
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    Default

    I guess it is just the natural cycle of things. Just what had me a bit worried is that now R&D and really technologically advanced stuff is being shipped offshore. Which to me is like you are shipping of the core of your knowledge and talent. I was reading an interview of a top CEO who was saying the whole paradigm of the west being the innovator and the rest adopting their ideas is shifting fast and it may very soon be the other way around or at least midway. At first I thought it was just exaggeration, but when you are shipping off your research and development offshore-there might be some grain of truth to it.

    But on the other hand, this shipping off is what made me jump to my business and even now I am open to many different options. So it was good for me. But again so many of my friends and even some of my mentors, who helped me tremendously when I first came here are in deep trouble, with really not that much hope in the forseeable future-just caught up at the wrong side of the tides. Just so many different angles to it..



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2006
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO
    Posts
    793

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine View Post
    boom and bust=capitalism.

    This utter NONSENSE about removing such peaks and valleys?

    Guess what that does?

    Crushes the small business person who is thinking of expanding, pushing the limits of his business.

    BZZZZ. Too risky, no loan for you.

    Big biz that does well, is huge, is growing?

    BZZZZZZ.

    Too risky. You are too big. We'd better dismantle you. Tax you.

    I work for a 2 billion dollar publicly traded worldwide company with interests everywhere. My job COULD go to Hyderabad. Better work smarter, make myself needed. Me, personally, needed.

    I am married to a small business owner. We need leases to be signed, businesses expanded, remodeling, expansion.

    Never, never, EVER have I ever thought anyone OWED me a job. A check. BS. We- at least me at 39 with a 53 YO husband - thrive in capitalism and the notion of a government taking care of me, watching over me? Makes me sick.

    The saw of capitalism hurts everyone at different times. But it leaves freedom to grow, to push- and sometimes a business flounders and fails. So what? Something smaller, nimbler, or big and healthier, gobbles it up. My DH's grandfather fled Sweden to escape the punishing taxes of his time. Picked veggies here, learned the language. His business BOOMED in the Depression, making barrels of oak and steel staves. He built a fantastic home and a place on the lake. When shipping methods changed, and only Jack Daniels needed barrels ...the business died. The building was sold by my DH's Dad and now houses an architectural firm. Things change!!! Why in the WORLD would some governing body OWE my family that the business would survive? Why?

    When Obama said he wanted to remove the boom and bust from our economy, he took a bulldozer to my heart as an American.
    Amen Sista ! Capitalism is not perfect , but the best we've got. Re what Obama said : What else should we expect from an Alinsky loving radical ?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    10,634

    Default

    To paraphrase what IIRC was a quote about democracy, capitalism is the worst system ever tried, except for all the others.

    And I'm sorry, but 'no one complains about offshoring'--the only people who think that are people who either live in a hole or think The Daily Show is a legitimate news source. It's not actually the 'trendy' problem any more, but no one complains? The problem is if you make it highly unprofitable to operate here, the company's fiduciary duty to its owners/shareholders is to move operations to someplace where it will be. Companies aren't in business to provide jobs, they're in business to make money for their investors. So long as they're still in a position to be taxed somehow, the government's not picky (though they'd prefer to keep them where they can tax more, that's obviously not in the company's best interest.)



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2008
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    1,692

    Default

    Companies can make investments anywehere they wan't to. It isn't taxes- a good IT person gets probably 1/4 to 1/5th elsewhere than here. So you can hire four analysts for every one here. Even if the U.S reduced taxes to zero, that is not going to help.

    I was just looking at it from a social angle or people seemingly placid about the whole thing. Where I grew up, if the economy was this bad, every other country was making money by shipping their products to you and taking your jobs, people would be P.Oed. But here it does not seem to be on the radar as much. So just trying to understand the culture I guess.

    I don't complain about companies. I myself am looking to invest and am actually looking abroad. I was looking here, but just economically without jobs, I don't see how we are going to come booming back-might reach bottom and stagnate there for a while until some new field comes up and a new boom erupts. Plus with India and China growing so much and providing much better return on capital and better prospects for future growth, there are tremendous opportunities there. In that aspect I am not faulting capitalism at all-I am one- but just trying to understand the social aspect of it all. Because I guess based on where I grew up , if this had happened there would be massive fireworks-for example GM got bailed out and they fired massive amounts of workers and closed American plants yet they are spending 500 million dollars opening/expanding plants elsewhere and exporting the cars from there to here-so to me it is just perplexing and I guess I am trying to understand as I didn't grow up here.

    I guess this cycle is more acceptable here and people are more adaptable here.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
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    1,830

    Default

    I think it has to do with a different idea of the responsibilities of worker, employer, and government.

    A lot of European and Asian cultures started out as feudal or clan based societies. It was well understood that a simple accident of birth would doom an intelligent and hardworking person to landless poverty with no real option for self improvement. Consequently, social welfare was a two way street. The peasants were expected to stay in their place, while the lords and clan heads were expected to provide a safety net for their extended network of dependents. This expectation continues to some extent even up to the modern era. Government has replaced the feudal lords, factory owners have replaced the land owners, but an implied social contract often remains.

    America started out believing (whether or not it was actually true) that all citizens start out on equal footing. Therefore, one's success or lack thereof was directly attibutable to one's own work and efforts.

    So, when a big factory in France moves to the third world and throws 700 people out of work, people riot. The perception is that the government and factory owners are not upholding their responsibility to take care of the workers. When a big factory in America closes, the jobless workers are blamed for not having gotten themselves a better education and preparing for the change.



  11. #11
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    3,928

    Default

    I think Carp hit the nail on the head. Americans like to believe that if you just work hard enough and plan ahead, you'll succeed, and that everyone has equal opportunities. The natural extension of this is that if your job goes away, either you should be able to just go out and find another, or if you can't, it's your own fault. Thus, it's not a big deal when a factory goes overseas, or tech support is outsourced (unless, of course, you're the one losing the job).



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2005
    Location
    The Great Wet Pacific Northwest
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    261

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    Tkhawk, I share your wonder about American's culture of acceptance of the treatment of people who are employed by others.

    I was a bit stunned when I saw the following story in The Christian Science Monitor, and completely taken back to see no other national news outlets had picked up the story:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/2009/...ay-off-workers

    I guess, according to most of the posters on this thread, the truckers had the responsibility to always carry a fare home.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,455

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    Hoofprince -

    No joke - the same thing happened at Mr. JSwan's former employer.

    Employees were left stranded all over the country, and a few at a conference in Australia. Everything - cut off. Nothing but a terse email informing them that they had to send in their computer and cell phone. (at employee expense). The email was sent after 5pm the day before Thanksgiving, after that went out the company's systems shut down. Phones disconnected - it was all orchestrated in advance.

    It got worse from there.

    It was morally reprehensible.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2009
    Posts
    3,725

    Default

    And I'm sorry, but 'no one complains about offshoring'--the only people who think that are people who either live in a hole or think The Daily Show is a legitimate news source.
    Hey, I totally <3 The Daily Show...but also think that offshoring is a problem.

    Guess I'm a conundrum like that.

    I do think it's awful - the things that GM and other companies have done and are doing. It is definitely a culture of "if you make it, you deserve it - if you have any misfortune, well it's your own damn fault".

    That story about Arrow trucking absolutely makes me ill.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    You must remember that American culture is relatively young.

    It was organized at the tail end of Colonialism-- by people who didn't want to be exploited but who also, by virtue of landing in a continent pregnant with natural resources to be exploited, carried on the tradition.

    It lacks the tradition and collective lived experience of recognizing that 1) the world is finite and 2) what goes around comes around. Many other cultures have this sense and seem less careless with their people and resources.

    Instead, we take "You can have what you want and (but?) you get what you deserve" as an insight that may have been true until the 1850s or so as a founding myth. It becomes harder and harder to maintain, though we spent another century and a half trying to resurrect that on a global scale... without becoming a colonial power, of course.

    It's as if we Americans are incapable of two things: Admitting who we are and modifying our course in way that doesn't concede defeat. We can go quietly or we can be dragged. But I think the second option will be the more damaging for people and the environment all over the world.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2007
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    4,227

    Default

    Can't have highs without some lows.

    This economy levels the playing field which was loaded with pork and led by the avarice of our very government. We all must pay the piper now for two unwinable wars and failed economic strategies.

    Sadly it means we must borrow from the Chinese who we gladly gave our manufacturing to when we decided to "save a buck".

    Of course it was pushed out by the unions who felt assembling cars and electronics should put them on par with high 5 & 6 figure salaries.

    Now there are no jobs and more blame to go around than you can shake a stick at!

    History will definitely frown on the W Bush years as some of the worst decision making our government ever made!

    Still as i said you must have lows to have highs. i believe the next high will be far more sustainable.
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2004
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    South Jersey
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    364

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    Good points, MVP!

    Hope you're right about the future, Woodland!



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