US Political Discussion: Biden/Harris Edition (Rules in OP)

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by mongey, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I want to agree with you on principle, but I don't think it's true. Consider that a lot of people get by via getting things as cheap as possible, which is often Walmart. Need a shirt and only have $5? Walmart. Shoes? Walmart. Cheapest place for certain types of groceries? Walmart. Small-ish town/city and down have many alternatives? You're goin' to Walmart. And what are the alternatives? What box store doesn't have some kind of shady detail we'd rather not think about? Fancier clothing stores are just as likely to source their wares in exploitative ways, and in my experience aren't that much better to their own employees. Most tech stuff comes from all the same places. Food, I can't speak for because I don't know the details, but I assume all those pipelines are basically the same - most places I know that sell groceries sell a lot of the same brands.

    And when you can't find it at Walmart, where do you go? Amazon. Because the alternative is to either pay more for something produced locally, if it exists, which it might not, and if you can afford it, which not everyone can, or travel for it, which might not be worth it for the product you want or need.
     
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  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    So what are people buying at Walmart, generally speaking? Anyone have the statistics? Is it Kraft Dinner or is it toys and cheap plastic stuff that just ends up in the garbage? The Walmart closest to me doesn't even sell actual groceries - just twinkies and chips and stuff like that. Maybe I'm wrong, but, if Walmart's biggest item to attract shoppers is real food, why doesn't every Walmart sell real food?

    You have a point, though, about alternatives. Going to Piggly Wiggly or whatever massive grocery chain is likely just as bad.
     
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  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't have stats, and I don't know what it's like in other places, but a walmart here is basically the generic general box store, so all of the above. Cheap toys? Walmart. Cheap clothes? Walmart. Consumer electronics? Walmart. Groceries? Walmart. It's basically offline Amazon.
     
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  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Quick and dirty Googling is showing that WalMart is the largest grocer (2.5x their nearest competitor, Kroger), by market share, in the United States, and of their 2020 revenue, grocery sales made up ~56%.
     
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  5. Crungy

    Crungy SS.org Regular

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    I would assume many mass produced consumer goods have "dirt" on them via worker exploitation or harm/strain to the environment. Is there a such thing as an ethically sourced and produced cell phone? Is it even possible at a price consumers would want to pay?

    Speaking of Walmart and food: the Walmart near me (20 mins away) has better produce than the local grocery store (5 mins away) does 90% of the time. The local store is more expensive on almost all items, no surprise. We save some gas going to the local store but in general our money goes farther driving farther to Walmart.
     
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  6. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    Voting with your dollar seems to me on par with that old saying about how the greatest trick the devil pulled was convincing humans he didn't exist.

    The thing about "voting with your dollar" is that spending your money anywhere else is still supporting the same economic system that so many of these issues are rooted in. Even mom & pop are still part of capitalism, though there's a separate argument to be made for at least keeping money in local economies.

    Voting with your dollar ultimately fails as a means for change because it fails to address the systemic issues causing the desire to "vote" for something different in the first place, and in my very-cynical-opinion, that is exactly by design.

    Not only that, but subscribing to "vote with your dollar" actually economically disadvantages you. Standing on principle in financial/consumer matters is an ironically privileged position only available to those with substantial means in the first place.

    In this way, the narrative of voting with your dollar reminds me of the narrative of individual responsibility for climate change. The idea that recycling cans or banning plastic bags is even a drop in the ocean compared to the carbon footprint of the US military-industrial complex would be hilarious if it weren't fuel for an unending chain of existential crises.

    This also reminds me of when Occupy was going on and all these bozos would say things like "oh gee all these anticapitalist protestors are using smart phones made by corporations." The reality is that every choice buys into capitalism. Boycott one thing to buy another. Point me to the nearest anarcho-syndicalist grocery cooperative with connections to decentralized autonomous networks of communally owned tech manufacturers and I'll be the first in line.
     
  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I met someone once who thought they were making a big statement and "sticking it to the man" by not having a bank account. Instead they cashed their cheques every week through a Money Mart, as if that was better somehow.
     
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  8. possumkiller

    possumkiller Square Dance Caller

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    I don't get the big deal with the billionaire "space race". Like what is the point? So far space x is the only one that did anything useful like transporting shit to actual space. These other two dickheads are just doing shit that was already done in the 50s and early 60s. I thought that if they were going to be exploiting everyone they would at least do something pioneering and groundbreaking. I'd rather give all those billions to NASA. At least they would do something more worthwhile with it.
     
  9. Adieu

    Adieu SS.org Regular

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    Just that they're doing it with private money, instead of the public purse. Which tends to dry up in any given country once they get a few propaganda wins, decent ballistic missiles, local-sourced spy and comsats, and their own domestic take on GPS (collectively arguably being the entire point of the massive expenditures).

    Governments are actually quite practical and conservative when it comes to space tech. Compare and contrast to a bunch of jumped-up geeks with money to burn and no remaining goals except chasing childhood dreams.
     
  10. StevenC

    StevenC Javier Strat 8 2022

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    I've been very diligently not giving Disney any of my money for several years now because they're a garbage company seemingly intent on ruining the entertainment industry, but it hasn't changed anything.
     
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  11. Randy

    Randy Tony Lazuto?! Super Moderator

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    Space tourism.
     
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  12. nightflameauto

    nightflameauto SS.org Regular

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    In Branson and Bezo's cases, close to space tourism.

    I like that money is being invested in space vehicles, but those two seem particularly daft in their approach. Like, at this point, neither is really working towards the space tourism industry, as neither is even close to approaching an orbital trajectory where there could be a "space motel" (for lack of a better term). It's a joyride really high in the atmosphere, but still too far down to even wave at the ISS.

    The only one with tangible goals, as fantastical as they sound, is Musk. Making humans a multi-planetary species has been his stated goal since before the first of his rockets was even designed. And while we're a long ways away from that goal, he's leaps and bounds further than anybody else and I see zero signs he's slowing down anytime soon.
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    What gives me some more comfort with this too, is evidently there's a lot of fear of getting fired over all the optimization/tracking stuff they do with warehouse/distribution employees, including stuff like minimum prescribed walking paces... but there's very little signs that it happens with any more frequency than with any other, less data-dependent, warehouse job. It seems like the fact they can measure real-time performance metrics is being used as a stick, more so than any actual application of that data. Sure, it's possible this goes all the way up to the top, but it sounds like distribution center level management is perfectly content to use data to build a culture of fear. Which, frankly, is kind of creepy.

    But, your point that an average Amazon employee is quite a bit better off than an average Walmart employee is definitely true. I know a few Amazon employees who are quite proud to work there, so it's not like the whole thing is a soul-consuming profit machine.

    I mean, kind of a lot to unpack here. :lol: But high level I agree - Social security taxes are capped, because benefits are capped. The theory is you shouldn't be made to pay into a system at such a rate that you know there's no possible way you could ever benefit in kind to your own contributions, and while yes I get that this is an insurance system so it kind of depends on at least some people paying in more than they get back, that's a play on longevity and the amount of time you'll continue to withdraw from the system being unknown, than it is on earning power vs benefits being tied to your earnings up to a point, but only up to a point. The way it's designed, in theory, it should always be possible for your forgeone wages during your career to be exceeded by your benefits in retirement.

    In theory I get all that and the cap makes sense. In practice? I don't think it would be the worst thing if someone making a couple million a year was contributing into social security to a degree where even if they lived to 200 they'd never come close to receiving benefits that could exceed what they put in during their career. You could make an argument against in terms of fairness, sure... except, by the time you're making that kind of money, pretty quickly your investment income in retirement is going to trump your social security benefits, and having retirees better able to go out and spend and consume should have a stimulative effect to the economy, especially with an aging workforce, so it's not like it's a complete wash.

    But, like, lots of moving parts. :lol:
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I mean, also, not for nothing this is a pretty clear contradiction to Reagan's "the scariest nine words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." We're making a huge deal about Bezos and Branson doing something that a number of governments did sixty years before. That's the kind of handicap working under the constraint of "not being a government" is.
     
  15. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not sure if sarcasm.

    I think it's a complex issue, and I think "the grass is always greener" trope applies here. I think human beings like complaining. I think most jobs for monstrously large corporations are probably soul-sucking daily torture and exploitation in general. I also think that if people hate their job, they ought to find other ones. I love my job, personally. I'd love it more if they paid me better or if my insurance was better, or even if my coworkers were a little more motivated, etc., but I get to do pretty much exactly what I like to do. I think that anyone who can do a thing that they enjoy doing that can be productive or creative could potentially make money doing it.

    Most of us here are guitarists. I used to make good money playing guitar. I loved doing what I did. There were a lot of things I didn't like so much about it, like drunks puking on my pedal board or being three feet away from a fight with $5k worth of equipment I had to protect, or driving home from a bad Detroit neighbourhood at 4 AM. But I loved it overall, nonetheless. With bars not being a thing and touring bands making a fraction of what they used to make, and also becoming an old man, I really couldn't do that anymore...

    I don't think anybody in kindergarten tells their teacher they want to grow up to be a warehouse logistics control specialist making $29k/year and having to pee in an empty bottle because the bathroom is too far away, all whilst their supervisor holds their schwantz for them and tells them that they have to process 15% more packages or else get fired. But then again this is the internet age and there seems to be a weird fetish for everything, so who knows...
     
  16. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Crazy high turnover and significant injury rates for hourly fulfillment workers says otherwise.

    Sure, they might make a bit more than a Walmart floor worker...but just for the year they work there and before they get hurt. :lol:
     
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  17. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    A bit of both. :lol:
     
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  18. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    So much easier said than done though, of course. Both because, I would assume, better paying jobs are fewer and more competitive to get into, but also because people might not think it's an option for them, whether it really is or not.
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Sure, but what else can you do as a worker? We have things worse than the boomers did, but better than pretty much every generation before them. Working for a sucky employer sucks, but that's the reality we face and at least we still have the choice to terminate whenever.

    I once worked for a place in Indiana that did testing at construction sites. $8/hr, my benefits were cancelled w/o notice, on call 24/7, dangerous work (2 workers killed and 3 seriously injured in the 12 months I worked there, out of <100 employees) no guaranteed minimum hours and also no maximum. It sucked. But everytime someone quit (or was killed/injured) they had no problem replacing them almost instantly, somehow.
     
  20. Crungy

    Crungy SS.org Regular

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    Damn, I'm hoping that wasn't in recent years for that pay/danger ratio. That is insane and good for you getting the fuck out of there!
     

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