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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mailvox: a rabbit attempts econ

It's fascinating to see a creature that can't count to six attempt to tackle supply and demand.  Phoenician returns and a modicum of economic hilarity ensues:
"And the more women that work, the more women have to work and the less time women who don't work will have with their husbands who support them, because an INCREASE in the SUPPLY of labor necessitates a DECREASE in the PRICE of labor, demand remaining constant."

Alas, dipshit, demand doesn't stay constant - the women working and earning wages also spend those wages.  Fucked up again with basic economics, dipshit.
Wait, working women are going to spend their wages?  Why didn't someone point that out to me earlier?  This changes everything!

Actually, it doesn't.  It is obvious that consumption patterns change when a woman works instead of staying home.  More office clothes and restaurant meals, to say nothing of day care and transportation costs.  So how much does total female demand have to increase in order for this altered female consumption to break even with the increase in the labor supply, everything else remaining equal?

35 percent net.  Since not all women work, every single woman who does and is part of the aforementioned post-1950 delta would have to increase her new work-inspired consumption 81.7 percent just to balance her wage depressing effect.  Since Does that sound even remotely plausible given that real household income has remained essentially flat between 1965 and 2012?

And anyhow, we can forget that required 81.7 percent increase because it is extremely unlikely that female consumption-based demand has increased AT ALL due to more women in the labor force for the obvious reason that working women bear fewer children.  The US fertility rate has fallen from 3.7 to 1.9 children per woman since 1955, which means that the increased number of women in the labor force has reduced overall consumption and demand due to there being 1.8 less children in the average family.  At the USDA middle-range estimate of $234,900 to raise a child to 18, that reduced fertility rate translates to $422,820 in reduced demand per woman, or $983,302 per working woman in the delta.

Which effect, I note, is something I had already pointed out in the post to which Phoenician was so ineptly responding: "The reduced birth rate has a negative effect on consumption, and therefore the demand for labor, 20 years before the consequent negative effects on the supply of labor can help balance it out, putting further negative pressure on wage rates."

It was brave of the little guy, though, wasn't it?  Perhaps if he'd only thrown in a few more vulgarities, he would have won the debate, because rhetoric is always so effective in an intrinsically dialectical discourse.  Well, there is always next time.  Hop along now, furry little fellow.

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98 Comments:

Blogger Joshua_D February 19, 2013 2:54 PM  

But ... they'll be buying more gas! And eating out! And the clothes! The clothes!

Anonymous DrW February 19, 2013 3:15 PM  

As this poor fellow limps away all butthurt, I almost feel embarrassed for him...

Anonymous Alexander February 19, 2013 3:16 PM  

Vox,

How does taxation play into this? I understand that the more you tax something, the less of that something you have. Here women turned untaxable services into taxable ones through removing themselves from their children and paying someone else to do the job. So it seems in this case that taxation came after the fact - women were already determined to 'have less of' children in order to engage in exciting and empowering careers.

Could one then make the case that this tax actually encourages women to stay at home? That the government is actually acting as a counterweight to feminism in this specific case?

I'm hesitant to accept that the government is actually acting in a way that is beneficial to the traditional family unit - even accidentally. I would appreciate any light the you or the ilk could throw on this.

Blogger foxmarks February 19, 2013 3:17 PM  

A common failing, the inability to distinguish overall demand from any given point on a demand curve.

Wiki sez about Say's Law:
Thus, there may be a glut of labor ("cyclical" unemployment), but that is balanced by an excess demand for produced goods. Modern advocates of Say's law see market forces as working quickly – via price adjustment – to abolish both gluts and shortages.

Supply does not create demand, it merely shifts the equilibrium point.

Although, as always with econ, ceteris is never paribus. Women working outside the home is a more intense use of both labor and capital, so demand does shift outward. But we land at a less desirable equilibrium if we consider all the agents in the economy. Everyone works harder for less leisure.

The opportunity cost of lost organic population growth is really the silent killer of an economy. And a nation/culture.

Anonymous Peter Garstig February 19, 2013 3:19 PM  

We won't rest until we have 100% employment. 24/7, I might add.

Anonymous Amanjaw Marcuntte February 19, 2013 3:19 PM  

Isn't that person a Pharyngulite? Those hive-minders are case studies for the Dunning–Kruger effect.

Anonymous Asher February 19, 2013 3:20 PM  

Obviously the feminists missed half the problem of patriarchy. To overthrow the patriarchy not only do men need to help out more with the housework but they also need to wear Jimmy Choo's whilesipping cosmos on the guy's night out.

That's where you can find your l(e)gging aggregate demand ... wait, I think I may have just given Paul Krugman an idea for his second Nobel Prize.

Anonymous Godfrey February 19, 2013 3:21 PM  

Alas, the irrational conviction of the political fanatic on display for all to see.

Fifty or so years ago a blue collar male could support a family of five or more. Now, a white collar married couple can’t. Feminism was a scam perpetrated by the power elites to reduce population levels. It worked.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 19, 2013 3:25 PM  

Alas, dipshit, demand doesn't stay constant

Alas dipshit, if you had actually read the post, you'd have seen VD mention that in the NEXT PARAGRAPH.

Anonymous Noah B. February 19, 2013 3:26 PM  

The Holy Hand Grenade strikes again.

Anonymous DonReynolds February 19, 2013 3:27 PM  

Wonderful confusion. Quite a mulligan stew here but easy to sort out some of it.

Housing and cars. All the women go to (school and) work, stop having children, then stop being married altogether. You will need more crummy apartments (no yard to mow) with plenty of free parking for the SUV (that never gets off the pavement). Maybe a local mall to buy business attire, get the rock concert tickets online, and not too far from the Alpha meat markets. Yes, that will do nicely.

What about the demand for female labor? Just like the demand for male labor. It will increase... with the bureaucracy, regulation, makework rules, union checkoff, taxes and public debt, lower pupil-teacher ratios and classroom helpers, mandatory preschool, and unlimited money for every form of health care. Yes, the plastic society that does not produce anything (much) will expand to include jobs for illegal aliens and illiterate natives. Don't have a job? Here is some money anyway....now go out there and spend, spend, spend. Hafta keep the demand up for all that junk made in China....else they will not keep taking our IOUs.

So yes, we will need more female (and male) labor for jobs, and their wages will increase (somewhat), and those who do not have jobs will add their demand to the pile too with government checks. All we need really, is more cheap cute apartments for the divorced women, more bars to socialize in, and more low-powered (impractical) SUVs. Oh yeah, and pass laws requiring everyone to be nice to each other, fun weather, and plenty of time off to go on a cruise. There, that was easy.

Anonymous Anonymous February 19, 2013 3:28 PM  

Since when does any left-oriented ideal involve the use of actual logic?

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 February 19, 2013 3:36 PM  

Since when does any left-oriented ideal involve the use of actual logic?

Forget logic, when do they engage in basic reading comprehension? Like Mormons reading the Bible, they focus only on certain parts and ignore the rest.

Blogger tz February 19, 2013 3:38 PM  

He does keep attempting to rise from the ashes of his last torching, just to get torched again.

Speaking of USDA, wages, and depressing, on drudge:

http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/jw-releases-confidential-usda-videos-revealing-cultural-sensitivity-training-program/

Your stat was 35% net. How much do more does it have to be so the government can finance such gross things?

Blogger tz February 19, 2013 3:42 PM  

All we need really, is more cheap cute apartments for the divorced women, more bars to socialize in, and more low-powered (impractical) SUVs.

They are voting for members of congress to repeal the laws of physics. Why can't my land-cruise-ship (bigger than land-yachts) not get 100 MPG? Just pass higher CAFE standards.

Women ruin everything. At least everything men permit them to ruin.

(Though men get their revenge. They don't want to be barefoot and pregnant? Men designed both shoes and the pill, the latter makes Game possible and the former shows that they will blindly follow a sadist with a foot fetish).

Anonymous 204 February 19, 2013 3:43 PM  

Why not add a McRapey label to this post to give them another $5?

Blogger tz February 19, 2013 3:44 PM  

@DonRenyolds: You've just summarized modern monetary theory, or MMT, have you been reading Yves Smith's Naked Capitalism?

Anonymous DT February 19, 2013 3:51 PM  

But ... they'll be buying more gas! And eating out! And the clothes! The clothes!

You forgot Sex in the City DVDs. Surely those offset any possible depression effect. Damn it.

(Did the "damn it" prove the point? Or do I need more cursing?)

Blogger tz February 19, 2013 3:54 PM  

Asher has stated the problem correctly: Obviously the feminists missed half the problem of patriarchy. To overthrow the patriarchy not only do men need to help out more with the housework but they also need to wear Jimmy Choo's while sipping cosmos on the guy's night out.

They do, on Castro Street in San Francisco and in Greenwich village, but they are poor little lambdas who have lost their way. They also wear LGB T-shirts.

I don't think that is quite what the feminists had in mind.

Barring turning more men gay (which feminism is uniquely effective at - there was actually a study involving a troupe of monkeys...) the best they can do is to alternately browbeat and by the (in)appropriate gifts for gammas.

Blogger stareatgoatsies February 19, 2013 3:56 PM  

I'm entirely uneducated wrt economic theory so I'd appreciate a explanation that doesn't jump in the middle from a single woman to an entire cohort - i.e. simplify it by removing

- overall fraction of working women
- historical patterns of labour force participation
- work-inspired consumption vs work-enabled consumption (or having more money vs having to spend more money)
- history of real house-hold income
- historical fertility rate & cost to raise a child from birth to age 18

and keeping in
- wage depressing effect vs demand

I'm not being disingenuous here, the added statistics etc make it difficult to get a handle on the more abstract aspects.

My layman's understanding of the causal chain is one extra woman earning substantially more than she pays in child-care = more productive work being done & remunerated for => more disposable income => more things being bought => more and/or better paid jobs to cater for the things that disposable income is being paid for. That is the extra production of wealth (salary as proxy for wealth generation) does more economic 'good' than 'bad' (depressing wages).

How is this one extra woman working a bad thing overall (forget a moment the fact that she's not at home being a full-time mother), in an economic sense?

Anonymous dh February 19, 2013 3:56 PM  

VD-

I think your analysis is too simplistic to sufficiently explain the effects. I am thinking, specifically:

1. Productivity gains continue to replace the need to hire as many or as skilled workers. This has a negative effect on hiring, which depresses wages.

2. The low-end of the labor market is constrained by the minimum wage, suppressing demand by raising prices.

3. The low-end of the labor market is further constrained by illegal or marginally legal low-wage workers.

4. The middle tier of the labor market is constrained by foreign competition for manufacturing.

5. The high-end of the labor market is constrained by imported high-skill employees, depressing wages.

6. Average per person consumption in terms of income ratio or absolute inflation adjusted dollars has risen from 1955/1970. As the number of rural, farm, and subsistence level Americans has decreased this has risen the average amount of consumption. Put another way, a new child born in 1955 America certainly consumed less over time than the corresponding new child in 2013. I suspect that this is especially true for additional children in households already with children. A 5th child in a 1955 household certainly consumes less than a 1st child in a 2013 household.

I am working on sourcing for what I've suggested. For #6, I am not sure I can back that up, but I still suspect it's true. It may be true but insignificant because of scale.

Isn't it true, that for a proper comparison, you need to control for other factors that act on the factors involved?

Anonymous dh February 19, 2013 3:59 PM  

more things being bought => more and/or better paid jobs to cater for the things that disposable income is being paid for.

Women very often try to justify their outside the home work using these metrics.

VERY rarely do the calculations properly factor in the additional costs of a second working parent. They are vast and substantial and my personal experience is that a woman has to be earning at least 80% of what the man does to be able to contribute $1 to the wealth of the family (especially given the tendency of woman to spend more when there is a high-cash flow situation).

Anonymous Josh February 19, 2013 4:02 PM  

Dh....

Why in the hell are you still a liberal?

Anonymous 11B February 19, 2013 4:03 PM  

because an INCREASE in the SUPPLY of labor necessitates a DECREASE in the PRICE of labor, demand remaining constant.

What about the increase in demand from greater worldwide trade? Many US firms now do a significant amount of their business overseas where before they might have been almost totally dependent upon the domestic market. Granted most of these firms have moved production offshore so they don't utilize American labor. But offshoring didn't appear to happening in earnest until about twenty years ago.

Anonymous Russell February 19, 2013 4:11 PM  

Typo "Since Does" in the paragraph starting with "35 percent net."

Anonymous LES February 19, 2013 4:12 PM  

Interesting how men try to avoid God's curse on Adam and women choose to avoid God's curse on Eve in order to take on Adam's curse. (Genesis 3: 16-19)

Anonymous Alexander February 19, 2013 4:12 PM  

DH...

Are we to assume you oppose illegal immigration fullstop, would require serious restrictions on legal immigration, want to abolish minimum wage, and limit free trade?

I agree. I also that any study should take all those into account.

11B, if a company is located overseas, is not dependent on American labor or consumption... how is it in any meaningful way a US firm?

Anonymous Tom February 19, 2013 4:17 PM  

VD - How does this remain entertaining to you?

Anonymous VD February 19, 2013 4:24 PM  

My layman's understanding of the causal chain is one extra woman earning substantially more than she pays in child-care = more productive work being done & remunerated for => more disposable income => more things being bought => more and/or better paid jobs to cater for the things that disposable income is being paid for.

You're making several questionable assumptions here:

1. She will earn substantially more than child care + taxes cost.
2. Her work is productive rather than neutral anti-productive.
3. She will purchase American goods and services.

What percentage of the 54 million female delta do you think fit just that description? Because every single one of them are lowering wage rates simply by entering the work force.

I think your analysis is too simplistic to sufficiently explain the effects.

Of course it is. Given the size of the increase in S, all that is really necessary to make the point is knowledge of the SD curve.

Anonymous VD February 19, 2013 4:27 PM  

How does this remain entertaining to you?

What, econ? Anklebiters? I'm always interested in econ. I was reading APHET V2 today at the gym. The anklebiters come with the territory, I'm used to it.

Anonymous JartStar February 19, 2013 4:30 PM  

2. Her work is productive rather than neutral anti-productive.

Is there a finite number of productive jobs at any time in an economy? If so then a woman who does enter a productive job might displace a man who then might take on a neutral/anti-productive job in order to survive.

Anonymous Peter Garstig February 19, 2013 4:39 PM  

Bastiat. What Is not seen?

Anonymous Daniel February 19, 2013 4:42 PM  

Gross, Tad. You sound spent.

Blogger ajw308 February 19, 2013 4:43 PM  

Formerly I had worked for an automotive parts manufacturer. The dept hindered productivity.

For example there was an unwritten rule against fraternizing between departments known only to the HR Empress and her staff. Violators were hunted during lunch and after hours at nearby bars and restaurants and if found, reports went in their permanent files.

It got to the point where evidence for ficticious interdepartmental parties was seeded throughout corporate HQ and HR would appear in force in restaurants/bars only to wander around looking for people who weren't there (we'll, there'd be a few, disbursed, to tell laugh and tell the tale later).

Also great fuss was made over the hostile work environment created by the sketches of platform shoes that appeared on whiteboards in unoccupied offices and conference rooms. These degrading attacks on the members of platform teams never ceased and yet, the grafitti artists were never caught.

But there was a whole department that did very little other than chase ghosts they'd created and over react to sketches, occasionally reported by the artist him/herself. The department was a total waste of resources, but I think the teamwork and comraderie fostered by fighting them more than offset the time wasted by those who did the actual work.

Dilbert is a documentary and Scott Adams filters out the stories that are unbelievable.

Anonymous Imatiger February 19, 2013 4:45 PM  

Yeah, VD, I don't think your wage-depressing effect estimate is accurate. dh makes some valid points.

Anonymous VD February 19, 2013 4:53 PM  

Yeah, VD, I don't think your wage-depressing effect estimate is accurate. dh makes some valid points.

You're wrong. DH's points are irrelevant. I'm not estimating a total, I am accounting for one factor. As for increased consumption, where do you think that came from? That's the $53 trillion in debt!

Anonymous Axe Head February 19, 2013 5:10 PM  

I love seeing little animals fed into the intake of a jet engine.

Anonymous JartStar February 19, 2013 5:10 PM  

Since this is an economics post, Vox have you seen the info on the Fed's DV01? Could it signal the beginning of the crash by the end of the year? If nothing else can the Fed stop QE now or ever?

Anonymous Anonymous February 19, 2013 5:23 PM  

Ah, wait. I see the rabbit wisdom. More women in the workforce means more promiscuity, which means higher incidence of STDs, which means more expensive medical visits, which means wages spent. QED

Blogger ajw308 February 19, 2013 5:24 PM  

Imatiger,
Real life is not a computer sim where every laborer yields a set amount of cash and goods per cycle. Some workers are very productive, others not so much and some actually reduce productivity while other workers are severely misallocated.

Think of a country as a company. Now imagine the workers best suited to creating and training entry level workers all working in different departments where their strengths are wasted. Would that companies corporate culture change if minorities were hired (and did the job that American women won't do) to create and train the next generation of entry level employees?

I'm an econ neophyte and I thank/blame Vox for making the dismal science palatable, but I think the failure here goes beyond a simple glut in labor. Just as the subsidies given to green energy companies are lost and cannot be used where they'd be more productive, the effort that women invest in a culture is wasted in workforce.

Anonymous Anonymous February 19, 2013 5:57 PM  

@JartStar

No, the fed can never stop or even scale back QE. The fed has painted our economy into a corner my friend. We are all very much _screwed_.

So while the fed won't (and can't for it's life) stop printing money, it's hand (IMO) will ultimately be forced by inflation. This is simple middle school economics, too many $ are chasing too few goods. In fact we have historically high inflation _right_ _now_. The official CPI is roughly 2%. But if we calculate the figure as we did in 1990 it would be closer to 5.5%. And if we apply 1980's econ math, it's more like _10%_. The dreaded two-digit inflation.

When this economy pops, it's going to be quite a thing. Prepare yourself and your loved ones.

Anonymous Roundtine February 19, 2013 7:10 PM  

It's not just depressed wages. The cost of a home increases due to real estate being fixed, especially in the short-run, but even in the long-run for things such as "good neighborhoods." Wages are depressed and primary consumption goods increase in cost. Therefore, others must work harder only to obtain what they could previously afford on one salary, and more women enter the workforce.

The polls and the data are pretty clear: if a woman can afford to stay at home, she will take that option. Therefore, it's clear that there's no increased demand to offset the depressing wage effects (certainly not combined with the cost increases), for if there were demand for more goods and services, the woman would voluntarily enter the workforce no matter what her husband earned. Since she doesn't, she does not have greater demand and the family uses the increased income to buy existing goods and services.

Blogger tz February 19, 2013 7:14 PM  

@Ajw308: Dilbert is a documentary and Scott Adams filters out the stories that are unbelievable.

Unbelieable but not than they are not true. Truth is stranger than fiction, unfortunately.

Blogger Phoenician February 19, 2013 7:29 PM  

Wait, working women are going to spend their wages? Why didn't someone point that out to me earlier? This changes everything!


Then why, dipshit, did you yourself write:

"demand remaining constant."

Mendacity or simply your usual stupidity?

What it comes down to is whether traditional unpaid women's work has value or not.

If it doesn't, then moving women into the workforce is a good thing, because they now produce something of value.

And if it does, then the libertarian perspective should be to pay women for the work they do (and men, should they take on that work). That is, to give them money for cleaning house, for cooking, for raising kids. To make them financially independent of men based on their real contribution to society.

But, of course, you can't handle that argument. Because you're far less of a libertarian than you are the Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit people are laughing at all over the internet.

I think I'll plump for it being your usual stupidity.

Dipshit.

Anonymous jack February 19, 2013 7:35 PM  

I've never been to Scalzi's blog. If this is the tone of commentary over there then glad I am to have not ventured there. Its easy enough to see who the real dipshits are. And, if VD is being laughed at over the whole of the internet, and, I've seen no evidence of this, then the net is indeed a sad commentary on the human race.

Phoenician, why don't you run back to your personal cesspool and leave the civilized debate to the adults?

Anonymous Roundtine February 19, 2013 7:51 PM  

And if it does, then the libertarian perspective should be to pay women for the work they do (and men, should they take on that work). That is, to give them money for cleaning house, for cooking, for raising kids. To make them financially independent of men based on their real contribution to society.
Should a man get paid for mowing his own lawn? Paid for fixing his own car? Paid for fixing the toilet? Paid for killing spiders? Why would a woman want to be financially independent of "men" if they are married to a man and raising their children together? And isn't the woman simply transferring financial dependence from her husband to someone else? She isn't actually financially independent, she's just changed her dependency.

Anonymous Roundtine February 19, 2013 7:52 PM  

tone of commentary

The tone is inversely proportional to the logic content.

Anonymous Will Best February 19, 2013 7:52 PM  

Where is this family living that it is spending $240k a child?

My 3 children live an upper middle class existence on around $10k a year collectively. That is even if I include the extra premium cost of the family plan and the increased cost of property taxes living in our particular district.

I guess childcare is expensive but even then it still seems excessive.

Anonymous Asher February 19, 2013 7:59 PM  

@ subjective value theorists

Phoenician wrote:

the libertarian perspective should be to pay women for the work they do (and men, should they take on that work). That is, to give them money for cleaning house, for cooking, for raising kids

This is where the subjective theory of value leads. If everything of value has to be reflected in a market price then to not pay anyone for something of value is 'unjust'. Fortunately, supply and demand equilibria isn't a theory of value, at all, but a theory about market prices.

Phoenicecian deduces exactly where libertarianism, as a totalizing system of thought, leads, and it leads to conclusions like this. This is precisely why I am no longer a libertarian, although I do acknowledge that libertarians make lots of penetrating insights. I mean if there is a demand for family-raisers and a supply for family-raisers then there must be a value for family-raisers, right? So, why isn't there a price for family-raisers? There is none, therefore, family-raisers are being ripped off.

The erroneous premise of this reasoning is associating price with value.

Anonymous Godfrey February 19, 2013 7:59 PM  

@ Roundtine "To make them financially independent of men based on their real contribution to society."


My wife and I want to financially independent from the filthy oppressive STATE.

But alas we can't be because we're FORCED to use THE STATE'S devaluing paper funny money.

Anonymous zen0 February 19, 2013 8:03 PM  

Phoenician pukes a loogey:

That is, to give them money for cleaning house, for cooking, for raising kids. To make them financially independent of men based on their real contribution to society.

Are they working for themselves and their family, or are they working for the State?

Given the quality of some women's work in raising the State's kids, they should pay a fine for gross dereliction of duty.

Or do you not have quality control in your Utopian Corporate State?

Given the level of your commentary, I can see why you would avoid quality control like the plague.

At least you have loads of self-esteem, like the rest of the psychopaths.

Anonymous zen0 February 19, 2013 8:07 PM  

Asher said:

The erroneous premise of this reasoning is associating price with value.

Who are you saying is assuming this?

Blogger rcocean February 19, 2013 8:13 PM  

Women working outside the home not only has depressed wages but its had an inflationary impact on housing. Before one wage earner competed with another to see who could live in excellent house A, now its two vs. Two.

BTW, it amazing how idiots will refuse to accept the obvious - namely that vast increases in the work force due to immigration and feminism has depressed wages.

Anonymous Maximo Macaroni February 19, 2013 8:21 PM  

Another problem : those femmes stranded at home with kids, unable to find a job, now are much worse at the work of keeping house and raising kids. So Dad comes home to dirty dishes, drunk wife and hungry kids. Ressentiment raises its ugly head. What's an ubermensch to do? Tread water in the cubicle. No good way out. Dream of reaching 62.

There is such a thing as counter-productive work, fragile beyond expression, done, for our sins, by sodomites and nihilists. How long, oh Lord, how long?

Anonymous greendarner February 19, 2013 8:27 PM  

Something else to consider that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet. When wifey stays home, it allows her husband to be more productive at work. Which means he advances quicker and earns more at a faster rate than if she had gone to work. This in turn increases the family's wealth instead of the government's (through taxes it would have gained on her income). It seems gov't hates when that happens.

Anonymous VD February 19, 2013 8:29 PM  

Then why, dipshit, did you yourself write: "demand remaining constant." Mendacity or simply your usual stupidity?

You're in very far over your head here, little rabbit. It simply indicates the basic nature of the relationship, in terminology that has been in common use since before 1776. If demand isn't constant, it may or may not be the case; as it stands, non-credit demand has declined for various reasons, thereby exacerbating the problem.

What it comes down to is whether traditional unpaid women's work has value or not. If it doesn't, then moving women into the workforce is a good thing, because they now produce something of value.

Of course it has value or it wouldn't be done. But value is subjective; your reasoning is flawed from the start because it depends upon the erroneous idea of the elusive objective value.

And if it does, then the libertarian perspective should be to pay women for the work they do (and men, should they take on that work). That is, to give them money for cleaning house, for cooking, for raising kids. To make them financially independent of men based on their real contribution to society.

It doesn't. The conclusion doesn't follow from the premise and the premise is false.

But, of course, you can't handle that argument. Because you're far less of a libertarian than you are the Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit people are laughing at all over the internet.

Given your grasp of value, I'd be very amused to learn what you think "a libertarian" is and how libertarianism is intrinsically connected to objective value-based compensation for housework.

This is where the subjective theory of value leads. If everything of value has to be reflected in a market price then to not pay anyone for something of value is 'unjust'.

No, it does absolutely nothing of the sort. You don't even understand what subjective value is, Asher. You clearly know nothing of this topic.

Phoenicecian deduces exactly where libertarianism, as a totalizing system of thought, leads, and it leads to conclusions like this.

(laughs) Asher, you're really a complete moron here. Your ignorance here very nearly approaches complete. Subjective value, BY DEFINITION, implies absolutely nothing about price, much less just prices. It is quite literally antithetical to the scholastics concept of a just price, this is one of the things at the core of what separates the Austrians from the neoclassicals.

Anonymous TangoMan February 19, 2013 8:32 PM  

And if it does, then the libertarian perspective should be to pay women for the work they do (and men, should they take on that work). That is, to give them money for cleaning house, for cooking, for raising kids. To make them financially independent of men based on their real contribution to society.

But, of course, you can't handle that argument.


That's a pretty deficient argument because you completely divorce the connection between receiving value and paying for value received. If I get a haircut, then I benefit from the service the barber provides. Why should YOU pay for my haircut?

So considering it is the woman's family and herself who benefit from her service why should strangers have the force of government directed at them to extract taxes from them so that those taxes can be directed to paying this woman for the services that she provides to herself and her family?

You seem to be operating on the notion that government has free money available to it and that no one is harmed by your scheme of government paying women to look after their families. Government doesn't have its own money, that's our money that you're so casually "arguing" should be spent.

Let's though take your issue and address it. You want women to be paid for their housework. Fine. Let the women negotiate with the people who benefit from her service and individual women can arrive at a range of payment options. If you want to expand the argument to having me pay a woman to care for her family then my response is that I get no benefit from this transaction and so that individual woman provides no value to me which warrants paying her anything. I don't pay strangers to walk their own dogs and I'm not seeing how paying a woman to wash the dishes in her sink is any different.

Anonymous Harsh February 19, 2013 8:37 PM  

Once again Phoenician shows that what he lacks in brains he more than makes up for in lack of brains.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza February 19, 2013 8:37 PM  

Is it within the libertarian viewpoint that requires wives to be paid for their work? Given, I'm outed brained in the details of supply and demand but wives' work does not seem to bear diminishing returns.

Paying? Nah, for some women its an honor and privilege to be given or blessed a family to care for so being paid is somewhat deceptive. I am assuming that families can budget effectively so the woman doesn't exactly feel a need to be paid.

Blogger James Dixon February 19, 2013 8:51 PM  

> Is there a finite number of productive jobs at any time in an economy?

Finite, yes. But far more than are filled. It's just that most people aren't competent to see the possibilities or to exploit them.

> And if it does, then the libertarian perspective should be to pay women for the work they do (and men, should they take on that work).

What part of "household income" is so complicated you can't understand it?

Anonymous Edjamacator February 19, 2013 9:20 PM  

What part of "household income" is so complicated you can't understand it?

I think there are a few things here he doesn't quite understand. I wonder if he's friends with Tad.

Anonymous Shutup, Tad February 19, 2013 9:42 PM  

I think there are a few things here he doesn't quite understand. I wonder if he's friends with Tad.

Also, he seems very, very, angry that he is SO STUPID!

Now everyone all over the internet is laughing at him.

They say: BBBWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHAAAA!!

Just like that.

Anonymous Asher February 19, 2013 9:43 PM  

@ zen0

Are they working for themselves and their family, or are they working for the State?

That's not the point. If price is associated with value and someone doing something of value but receiving no price then someone's stealing from them. If you don't posit some sort of theory of value, at all, then it's not a problem.

Who are you saying is assuming this?

I'm not sure about this question. Subjective theories of value start with subjectivity and end in subjectivity, therefore, it's circular reasoning as I pointed out on a previous post.

Anonymous Asher February 19, 2013 9:57 PM  

@ VD

The conclusion doesn't follow from the premise and the premise is false.

It does if you associate all value with price. If all theories of value are theories about prices, i.e. economics, then housework is valuable without a price, therefore, someone is providing something of value without receiving anything of value in return. Yes, I disagree with that but, then, I don't have a theory of value that is completely subsumed by classical economics.

Given your grasp of value,

Judging by behavior everyone has a grasp of value. It's just not subject to classical economics.

No, it does absolutely nothing of the sort. You don't even understand what subjective value is, Asher.

Correct. It does nothing of the sort because value is not solely, even primarily, an economic concern

You know, Vox, you have this irritating tendency to claim that anyone who disagrees with you in the slightest simply doesn't "understand" the subject.

Subjective value, BY DEFINITION, implies absolutely nothing about price, much less just prices

We agree. That's why the entire notion of a theory of subjective value is such utter nonsense. People have valuations of all sorts of all different kinds of things and economics is only somewhat related to them. The subjective theory of value isn't an economic theory, at all, classical or otherwise.

this is one of the things at the core of what separates the Austrians from the neoclassicals.

Sure, and at this point Austrian theory overlaps with political and moral philosophy, in general.

Anonymous Mr Green Man February 19, 2013 10:03 PM  

I'm still confused; does that mean women working in their home are de facto employees of the state and should be made de jure and perhaps an SEIU chapter, or does that mean that we really need to rethink our laws about prostitution and the idea that women are usually the prostitutes, since it's obviously an untaxed barter economy trading the wife's household labor for sexual access to her husband?

Anonymous workingman February 19, 2013 10:04 PM  

What the subjective "theory" of value actually leads to is an excuse for exploitation. It doesn't matter if the person providing value is being expoited or is simply ignorant of the "price" of the value they provide. As long as this "subjective" valuation of the product of their labour persists, it's all just and permitted under the "subjective theory of value". What a bunch of horseshit.

Maybe that's why all these Austrian school jokers went around calling themselves von this and von that, thinking that the subjective impression of calling yourself a noble on others would make all the difference.

Blogger foxmarks February 19, 2013 10:08 PM  

Subjective value, BY DEFINITION, implies absolutely nothing about price, much less just prices.

Yes. Justice and fairness are not economic concepts. They are normative, not positive. Asher pointed to a market price. Most economic decisions are made outside of markets.

Choosing not to enter the labor market is an economic decision. How can anyone price the personal value to woman who elects to stay home and raise a family? At best, we can paint a shadow by comparing to the in-market production of a woman who chooses to work. We assume that raising a family is worth the opportunity cost of a foregone career.

But what if the value to a given woman is far greater than that market proxy? Parents often describe their children as priceless. Then, what is the objective market value of a foregone child?

Anonymous Faust February 19, 2013 10:11 PM  

I don't know why Phoenician is taking such a roundabout route with this. I can prove that there's been no negative change in demand with just a few lines.

@Vox

1.) You claim that women's entry into the workforce has produced a negative effect on aggregate demand.
2.) You admit in your post the following:
For a woman's entry into the workforce to avoid having a negative net effect on aggregate demand, her change in consumption patterns must add a minimum of 983,302$ + 81.7% of her original consumption.
2.) You are a racist, sexist, homophobic dipshit.
3.) No claims made by a racist, sexist, homophobic dipshit are correct, because of his racism, sexism, homophobia, and dipshittery.
4.) Per 3, your claim in 1 is incorrect.
5.) In order for 1 to be incorrect, 2 must be correct.
7.) Per 5, 2.
8.) Ergo, the mass entry of women into the workforce has had no negative effect on aggregate demand.

Quote your Mises at THAT, rich boy. (But please don't change your opinion, because if you switch to the opposite belief aggregate demand will plummet, and we'll all be really, really fucked.)


Anonymous workingman February 19, 2013 10:11 PM  

There's something very post-modern about the whole marginalist doctrine and it's very interesting how fervently it's caught on among those here who in other matters violently recoil at the mere whiff of moral relativity or social equality. When it comes to economics apparently, right is permitted to be determined after the fact.

Anonymous Asher February 19, 2013 10:18 PM  

@ foxmarks

Correct. Values, justice and fairness are not economic concepts, although they sometimes interact with economics. And, no, market prices do not necessarily denote that justice has been done. Consider the following scenario:

The government puts a public works contract up for an open bidding process. One company wins the bid and the CEO places his less than competent brother in charge of the part of the project at a salary far above what he could command anywhere else. I don't see where there's any non-market price in that scenario, but is that convergence of factors really fair? Doesn't look really fair to pay that brother his salary but I also don't see much market distortion, either.

Anonymous Asher February 19, 2013 10:20 PM  

@ workingman

There's something very post-modern about the whole marginalist doctrine

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Anonymous dh February 19, 2013 10:38 PM  

I hesitate to ask here because the nature of the original poster you are sparing with. Also, I am not familiar as you are with basic economics, or principles of economics. However, I do see that once again we have a utilitarian vs. ideological divide going on.

Of course it is. Given the size of the increase in S, all that is really necessary to make the point is knowledge of the SD curve.

Is this from the specific case analysis, or are you saying, that the change in supply is so great that it must, as a general principle of the ironclad law of supply and demand, depress prices (i.e. wages)?

If the later, it would seem that the change in supply could easily be swamped by other, larger factors. A +53% delta in the supply of women, for example, is dwarfed by the change in per worker productivity from 1973 to 2011, reported to be as high as 80%. This is a far larger factor than increasing the raw supply of workers by liberalization of women into the workplace.

If the source of the disagreement is simply over wages and the demand levels that have resulted in having more women in the workforce, isn't a reasonable option to simply limit the productivity of workers so that a worker produces 80% less than he or she otherwise does? Instead of a 40-hour base-workweek, workers would put in an 8-hour base-workweek, but retain the same pay and benefits. This would create demand for more workers, increase wages, and spur a new baby boom, to fill the newly 'created' demand for labor. Again, if purely utilitarian in argument, eliminating the larger factors (productivity) should come before eliminating the smaller factors (more women).

Likewise, a competent economist surely could do the work to find out if any other factors loom larger than simply the quantity of women workers.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 19, 2013 10:41 PM  

I would have to claim that the entry of women into the work force has had more of an impact on wages for unskilled labor and administration than it has had for skilled positions and technical positions.

I do not see any credible competition by women in my field, none at all. They, are, however, depressing wages in QA positions, I believe.

Anonymous Toby Temple February 19, 2013 10:45 PM  

Asher, you did stated this:

This is where the subjective theory of value leads. If everything of value has to be reflected in a market price then to not pay anyone for something of value is 'unjust'.

And Vox corrected you, to which you agree.

So you are completely do not understand the theory of subjective value.

So, yes, you clearly know nothing of this topic.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 19, 2013 10:47 PM  

A +53% delta in the supply of women, for example, is dwarfed by the change in per worker productivity from 1973 to 2011, reported to be as high as 80%.

Which workers have become more productive? Manual laborers? Administrative types?

I suspect that the real productivity improvements have been concentrated in a very small range of positions, and all the paper shufflers who claim that they are more productive because of computer technology are forgetting the time they waste dealing with email and surfing the web.

Anonymous dh February 19, 2013 10:51 PM  

Are we to assume you oppose illegal immigration fullstop, would require serious restrictions on legal immigration, want to abolish minimum wage, and limit free trade?
I am rapidly coming to that point of view. My only hesitation on illegal immigration is that I am not willing to trade even more domestic liberty to secure the border. You already lose almost all your basic rights cross into and out of the country. The conservatives who wish t to basically militarize the entire border region of the country to keep out illegals are trading a lot of liberty for very little effect. At some point you are well past diminishing returns.

For legal immigration, I support full rationalization of legal immigration policies. I think green cards should be available for sale, in auctions held every quarter or so. This would greatly reduce the number of legal immigrants and push those who can come here to be more of the "type" of people want want to settle here. Other than some number of purely humanitarian awards the sharply increased cost would cause the equilibrium between price and availability to find it's own market-based level. Plus it would probably be decent revenue. And it would cause corporations who are whining to allow in more "highly skilled workers" to put their money on the table. If you really can't find any engineers, then fine, you can bring them, but be prepared to pay for their right to be here.

Anonymous dh February 19, 2013 10:53 PM  

They, are, however, depressing wages in QA positions, I believe.

I don't know about wages, but they sure as s**t are depressing me. If I have to explain how to file a proper bug report to one more were-weasel worshiping womyn of the world, I may lose my mind. I don't know what part of "What were you doing, what did you expect to happen, what actually happened?" isn't clear.

Anonymous dh February 19, 2013 10:57 PM  

I suspect that the real productivity improvements have been concentrated in a very small range of positions, and all the paper shufflers who claim that they are more productive because of computer technology are forgetting the time they waste dealing with email and surfing the web.

I strongly suspect that as well. One of the interesting little tidbits I find lovely is seeing period television (like Mad Men, for example). Every single man above entry level had a secretary. Just the productivity boost of having every man under the age of 55 being proficient at typing eliminates the need for millions and millions of employees. The list goes on and on.

Anonymous GracieLou February 19, 2013 11:01 PM  

"And isn't the woman simply transferring financial dependence from her husband to someone else?"

This is true. I spent 19 fabulous years in the housewife business; raised a great kid, ran marathons, kept the McMansion ship-shape and shiny, cooked really well (and I'd have taken the Pepsi challenge any day on that), painted, and luxurated in free thought. It's bella vita if you do it right. Sadly I lost that job when the militant atheist husband got to be too much. I went back to school then sold myself into wage slavery. Now, instead of putting up with the narcissitic, abusive husband, I get to put up with a narcissitic, abusive boss, with a fraction of the benefits! And since I'm not sleeping with the boss, I have even less power! Am I healthy? Oh hell no, I barely limp through the day with my degenrating discs and hearty diet of convenience foods and beer. Am I happy? Uh, no. I can't even flippin' think, which is probably the marxist-feminist goal, you just can't have a population awash in leisure time as they might percolate some thoughts. Feminism is a scam. I always suspected it. Now I know.

Blogger foxmarks February 20, 2013 12:07 AM  

@dh

Teaching Don Draper to type does not make him more productive. Assuming he has exceptional creative talent, anything that frees his time to develop new campaigns increases his economic output. In 1963, his time was freed by hiring him a secretary. By 2003, computers had replaced the personal secretary. If support staff are wasting time on Facebook, that does not change the benefit to higher-value workers who can focus on their specialized skills.

Actually, I contend the productivity enhancements are concentrated at the lower rungs, where machines replace menials. Today's Don Draper isn't much more productive than the 1963 version. How many ad campaigns can one mind conceive in a day?

Anonymous Asher February 20, 2013 12:20 AM  

@ Toby Temple

And Vox corrected you, to which you agree.

You seem completely oblivious to nuance and fine distinctions. I 100 percent agree with the original post. The problem with referring to different preferences as a subjective theory of value is that it isn't a theory at all but, rather, an assumption about preference and behavior. When two people are discussing a subject it doesn't necessarily imply that one is incorrect and the other correct just because they say slightly different things.

So, yes, you clearly know nothing of this topic

My undergrad was economics and my grad work was in philosophy focusing on theory of mind and the social sciences, prompted by investigating whether or not economics is a positive body of knowledge. Yeah, I know just a little bit about the topic.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera February 20, 2013 12:22 AM  

At least you have loads of self-esteem, like the rest of the psychopaths.

He's not a psychopath. It's shame and guilt for which he seems to lack the capacity, not fear or disgust. I'd peg him as a dim aspie, IQ ~105-115.

If so, he can be persuaded by logic. But it would have to be simple and detailed because he probably lacks the initiative required to work out the algebra between the equations.

Anonymous Asher February 20, 2013 12:23 AM  

@ Toby Temple

The problem with calling marginal analysis a theory of value is that it begins with an assumption of subjectivity and ends with a conclusion of subjectivity. That's not a theory. It's a good model for examining price and human behavior but it's not a theory of value.

Anonymous Toby Temple February 20, 2013 12:32 AM  

the definition of the word theory

See definition #1, Asher.

Then get back to me.

Anonymous Mavwreck February 20, 2013 12:49 AM  

Vox made the point that the reduced amount of children reduces overall demand. I'm not sure it reduces it as much as he thinks.

First, larger families often generate some economies of scale. Think hand-me-down clothes and the like, shared travel (if kids are in the same school, doing the same outside-of-school things, etc). Parents may also start to engage in other types of economizing - kids share bedrooms, parents buy food/housewares in bulk, etc.

Second, raising a kid today is, I think, more expensive than it used to be - especially if you include the increased prevalence of college. I suspect the USDA number above doesn't include actual tuition (since it's to raise kids to 18) but it probably includes college prep and the like.

Now, I'm not going to say these two things make up for the decrease in kids; I do think, though, that the decrease in aggregate demand doesn't bear a linear relationship to the number of kids.

Anonymous Asher February 20, 2013 12:55 AM  

@ Toby Temple

Let's see ... a coherent group of tested general propositions,

Marginal theory tests, explains and predicts PRICES. I don't disagree. It's a theory of how humans behave in market circumstances. However, "value" is neither tested nor predicted but assumed.

Let's look to the second ... a proposed explanation ... I have never heard marginal theory proposed as an explanation of value but merely as an explanation of prices. Vox, himself, notes that price and valuation are not the same thing and he is correct.

Further, if marginal theory is an explanation of value then it cannot be an explanation of prices, since we all agree that price and value are not the same thing.

Marginal theory is an explanation of prices, not value.

Jesus, you're a blithering idiot.

Blogger redlegben February 20, 2013 2:09 AM  

If you eliminate college, raising children is cheaper than in the 70's. The Walmartization of clothing in particular has severely lowered costs on children raising. Food is easily adjusted for with a garden and raising of animals. Shelter is dependent on the consumer. A double wide can be had for a very reasonable price compared to housing before pre-fabrication. Vehicles last much longer than they used to, leading to great bargains on used vehicles especially if you have some mechanical abilities in fixing them. It's the family that spends beyond its means that has trouble functioning financially in today's marketplace.

Anonymous dh February 20, 2013 2:44 AM  

The Walmartization of clothing in particular has severely lowered costs on children raising.

I am unconvinced. My kids wear hand-me downs that I once wore - 25+ year old hand-me downs that my parents saved after having been worn by half-a-dozen of my brothers, plus misc. cousins and misc guests. I am sure some of these garments were second hand to begin with.

Any old garment picked up today at Walmart has a usable life of MAYBE six months, but often, more like 3. The fabric is cheap, can't really be mended by hand, and is generally inferior to name brand domestically made clothes of 30 years ago.

One major problem that we have economically is the "disposable" economy. Walmarization means more disposable goods, where costs are shifted to future generations (endless landfills, environment decline, pollution from excess transport, foreign trade inbalance) and usable life diminished. It was not uncommon a few decades ago for a well-made lawn mower to last 10 years. Proper maintenance included annual tune ups at a local motor shop or repair shack. New blades every other year, some oil with every tank, new plugs as needed. Owners would repair and buff out rust spots, and re-seal to preserve the frame. I remember wiping down our family mower before and after use, clearing the undercarriage of clippings, wiping down the blade with a wet cloth, and draining the gas tank when not in use for more than a month. A few times I remember changing rubber gaskets that started to look a little dried out.

None of that happens anymore. A lawnmower you buy at Walmart might have a decent brand name, but it's not the same. The owners manual has no service information, because you aren't expected to service it. If it breaks, and it's not a wheel or other generic part, it's over. It's certainly not worth repairing at a shop, and the average buyer doesn't know how a 2-stage gas motor works, let alone how to repair it.

Which mower is cheaper? Hard to say. Certainly the 2013 model has a lower aquisiton price, being made out of plastic, and lightweight sheet metal and shipped in from China or Indonesia. But over the course of 10 years, or 15 years, is there *any* expectation you'll still have the 2013 mower? I don't think so.

Anonymous Toby Temple February 20, 2013 2:57 AM  

Asher said...

Let's see ... a coherent group of tested general propositions,


I guess this is how you read the bible as well.

Let us see the complete 1st definition:

a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena:

So explain how the subjective theory of value is not a theory based on the 1st definition alone.

Jesus, you're a blithering idiot.
You have been proven to be unfit to make such a claim so many times here already.

Do you really think that the subjective theory of value is a marginal utility theory?

For noobs such as yourself, refer to wikipedia's definition of the subjective theory of value then go up to theory of value.

Anonymous Peter Garstig February 20, 2013 3:05 AM  

Jesus, you're a blithering idiot.

No, he is merely other. Other can't be mistaken.

Anonymous Roundtine February 20, 2013 4:54 AM  

Which mower is cheaper? Hard to say. Certainly the 2013 model has a lower aquisiton price, being made out of plastic, and lightweight sheet metal and shipped in from China or Indonesia. But over the course of 10 years, or 15 years, is there *any* expectation you'll still have the 2013 mower? I don't think so.

This is the stealth inflation: eroding quality to hold prices down. If things were made with the same materials as before, prices would be far higher. I live in China and can see what is happening first hand, the American standard of living is converging with China's. Everything here is junk, but improving.

Anonymous Kickass February 20, 2013 11:39 AM  

He lost me at "My undergrad was economics and my grad work was in philosophy focusing on theory of mind and the social sciences.."

Unless, this is like the first ass kicking at the dojo and he comes back for more until he gets asked out for a beer by Nate in a year or two.

Blogger foxmarks February 20, 2013 1:48 PM  

I smell nostalgia influencing the idea of Walmartization. I can still get my mower repaired, I can find repair parts at local stores and on the net, and I can find the maintenance info online, too.

I say not so many people were so diligent about keeping their mowers in shape. So eliminating the cost of a big manual and selling "low-maintenance" items simply appeal to the meat of the market.

Price inflation shows up when you do try to buy the same quality as was available. What would be a "commercial" mower today was likely the only mower available in 1960.

I'm not even prepared to believe much of the hype about Walmartized clothing. Cotton is cotton. Yes, if you pay more you can get extra stitching that holds seams together, and you might be buying lighter-weight fabric. But my clothes never really wear out. When thinking along that line, consider that detergents are better now, and that since I don't need to use much bleach, the fabric isn't chemically assaulted with every washing.

Yes, there is cheaper and crappier stuff available. The same-quality goods cost more because inflation has outstripped any productivity gain (or labor/environmental exploitation). So the cheaper stuff arises to fill in the gaps at the low end. Woud you rather be poor today or in 1960?

The flip side to the Walmartization argument is Costco. Everybody says their merchandise is really good, at a great price. Isn't it made in the same sweatshops as Walmart? But because they're not the mainstreet-killing ubiquitous monster and have SWPL labor practices, I never hear about the evils of Costcoization.

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