dungone t1_j8putv6 wrote

The Chicago School of conservative richonomics really perverted everyone’s concept of what a monopoly is. Monopolies used to be understood as any anti-competitive trusts or practices against any of the stakeholders who were in a position of not having another choice. Whether the workers, customers, shareholders, etc. Right-wing propaganda changed this around to require a company to have 100% market share.


dungone t1_j5h2n0w wrote

> 10% more thrust and uses 50% less fuel

This kind of claim is always a red flag. Why wouldn't they compare it to an engine that uses the same amount of fuel, or one that creates the same amount of power?


dungone t1_j569tj4 wrote

It's always capital investment in brand new manufacturing equipment. You're basically saying, "hey, why not build a brand new factory? Why not build a brand new bottling plant? Totally cheaps!" The ROI is never instant and plastics have to compete against everything else the company could invest in such as new IT systems and other things that could be worth more. You're also talking having to build new facilities to produce the plastic itself. And you're talking about a material that can affect the taste of food, lower the quality of the product, and lower the value by hurting the longevity and repairability. Seriously - plastics are often replacing reusable products that are actually cheaper than all the plastic that is needed to replace them. Shopping bags are a perfect example of this. The actual economics of it aren't as compelling as you've been led to believe. And you've also got the fact that plastics are a waste byproduct of oil refining and oil companies have a strong incentive to push plastics dependency as a hedge against energy market fluctuations.

So it's far seedier than you believe. There are tax breaks, lobbying, kickbacks, predatory pricing, and all kinds of other perverse incentives to push adoption over the finish line. And they 100% rely on the recycling scam to avoid regulations that would have them pay the costs of the environmental damage they cause.

So you have the classic plastics argument that plastic bottles are cheaper to transport because of the high price of oil. But that doesn't factor in that glass is much cheaper to reuse and recycle, bottling plants don't have to be massive centralized affairs, electric vehicles have a lower lifetime operating cost, etc. Instead, oil companies want to sell you plastics as a sort of rebate system for the jacked up gas prices they're charging. Win-win for them.


dungone t1_j55aqfj wrote

Consumers don't give a shit about plastics. What the oil companies do is go around to other companies and twist their arm about switching whatever else they used to use over to plastic. Consumers don't have a say in the matter.


dungone t1_j25wyli wrote

That's just not true for a ton of different reasons. First of all, labor costs themselves are only responsible for a small fraction of prices, meaning that production costs will never go up as fast as wages. Second of all, increasing wages results in lower debt and higher savings rates, not just higher spending levels. So once again, higher wages will never cause inflation that is higher than the wages themselves. I can’t emphasize this enough. Whatever “inflation” that is created by higher wages is absolutely 100% worth it.


dungone t1_j24uycv wrote

90% of the world's advanced microchips are made with European technology. And ARM architectures are European. It's an existential crisis for AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia, etc., who are fighting to try to buy it. At this point American computer hardware is very much dependent on foreign technology and is using government protectionist policies and subsidies to stay afloat. Meanwhile, the EU is very much investing in chip design and foundries and they will not be beholden to any foreign countries.

American tech industry is famous for consumer-focused get-rich-quick schemes. This is a very big problem for Silicon Valley - it is always looking for the next consumer trend, like the fashion industry. The EU has long been making longer term bets on technology for their existing industrial and commercial base. For example, Italy has almost as much industrial robots as the USA, while Germany and Sweden have far more. And there are plenty of EU startups focusing on that space. As another example, there are plenty of agri-tech startups in the EU that receive lots of funding. As another example, while American banks are still running on code written in the 1960's, countries like Spain and Germany are leading the way in developing high quality modern banking software. Even the governments of the EU are investing in gov-tech which includes everything from electronic voting to collaborative law editors for legislative bodies. EU is solving a lot of "boring" stuff that the USA can't touch, such as having a single app that lets you plan your trips and pay for any train, bus, taxi, bike, scooter, rickshaw, and any other form of transportation across all of Europe.


dungone t1_j24siya wrote

I believe a large chunk of the foreign investment comes from the Saudi royals who are famous for squandering their nation's wealth on hairbrained projects.

The number of startups in the USA is actually at an all time low. And in case you haven't noticed, the valuations of American tech companies are experiencing a massive correction.

"Risk tolerance" is just another way of saying that you're vulnerable to grifters. And indeed, that's what American tech has become synonymous for this year. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/dec/29/tech-grifter-sbf-elizabeth-holmes-therano-ftx


dungone t1_j24ka8d wrote

It's a laughing stock because it enables fraudsters to separate idiot investors from their money, not because you have a friend who came to the US for a job. The VC industry is full of bloviating billionaires who lose their money on things like Theranos, WeWorks, Uber, Twitter, Tesla, Juicero, and every conceivable cropto ponzi scheme, and then try to take their bad decisions out on the rest of us by calling for mass layoffs of tech workers. They are a laughing stock.


dungone t1_j23b0f6 wrote

You've got to look at the facts. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/02/business/economy/jobs-report-november.html

Wages are 5% higher than this time a year ago. GDP growth last quarter was 2.9%, which is healthy.

The tech layoffs are FUD. There were 260,000 unfilled tech jobs this year even after 90 thousand layoffs. The national average unemployment rate is 3.7% but for software engineers it's been 2.3%. And that doesn't even begin to describe the growing skills gap, with the most highly skilled engineers being in more demand than ever.

Your concerns about high prices come down to two basic things: energy and housing. Both of them are best addressed by dealing with the supply side. No amount of wage growth will ever make housing affordable - only more houses can do that. For energy it's the same - we have chronically under-invested in renewable energy and are now paying the price.


dungone t1_j235eb4 wrote

EU policies are there to protect smaller EU startups against US tech giants. The EU is much better than the US when it comes to grants and tax breaks to small tech startups. But it lacks the private VC funds that had fueled the Silicon Valley tech giants but also turned American Tech into a laughing stock in the past few years.


dungone t1_j1e2qnh wrote

We have a very different understanding of what a profitable team is. I don't understand how this type of cynicism really works. As far as I can tell, the cynicism relied on the logical fallacy that whoever gets the largest budget is by definition the most profitable. You seem to be saying the opposite of what you actually mean. It appears to me that what you're really saying, once the cynicism is removed, is that the actually profitable teams are not receiving an adequate budget.

But maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong. I can already see your reaction is to immediately downvote.


dungone t1_j0s7srt wrote

Like I said, the evidence is in front of your face. You're either going to see it or you don't. To press this home - I'm kind of telling you that these behaviors are coordinated by definition. But I'll pose this question to you: what would you consider "concrete" evidence? If it's not the guy who owns all these companies saying, "hey everyone start doing layoffs" and then they all start doing layoffs, then what? And when the executives are saying, "well, we really don't think layoffs are the right thing to do, but the board is telling us to," then what? And if business school professors are saying, "the only reason they're doing layoffs is because other companies are doing layoffs," then what? How exactly would you personally define the word "coordination"?

Now, I'm going to give you that I haven't explicitly said how coordinated layoffs are related to wage suppression. Although that should be obvious. And it's one of many coordinated wage suppression attempts. We're talking about tech here. Outsourcing, H1B visas, even the corporate diversity programs, their secret no-poach agreements, and even their "teach kids to code" initiatives all share the same exact goal: increase the engineering labor pool and depress wages.