NYT: Norway - We're Rich, You're Not. End of Story.

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kuac...@yahoo.com

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:09:07 AM4/17/05
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The New York Times
April 17, 2005
PERSPECTIVE
We're Rich, You're Not. End of Story.
By BRUCE BAWER

Photo:
http://tinyurl.com/9fbr2
Caption:
Heidi Wideroe/Getty Images for The New York Times
In nominally rich Norway, most people bring their lunch to work.


OSLO - THE received wisdom about economic life in the Nordic
countries is easily summed up: people here are incomparably affluent,
with all their needs met by an efficient welfare state. They believe it
themselves. Yet the reality - as this Oslo-dwelling American can
attest, and as some recent studies confirm - is not quite what it
appears.

Even as the Scandinavian establishment peddles this dubious line, it
serves up a picture of the United States as a nation divided,
inequitably, among robber barons and wage slaves, not to mention armies
of the homeless and unemployed. It does this to keep people believing
that their social welfare system, financed by lofty income taxes,
provides far more in the way of economic protections and amenities than
the American system. Protections, yes -but some Norwegians might
question the part about amenities.

In Oslo, library collections are woefully outdated, and public swimming
pools are in desperate need of maintenance. News reports describe
serious shortages of police officers and school supplies. When my
mother-in-law went to an emergency room recently, the hospital was out
of cough medicine. Drug addicts crowd downtown Oslo streets, as The Los
Angeles Times recently reported, but applicants for methadone programs
are put on a months-long waiting list.

In Norway, the standard line is that there must be some mistake, that
such things simply should not happen in "the world's richest country."
Why do Norwegians have such a wealthy self-image? Partly because,
compared with their grandparents (who lived before the discovery of
North Sea oil), they are rich. Few, however, question whether it really
is the world's richest country.

After I moved here six years ago, I quickly noticed that Norwegians
live more frugally than Americans do. They hang on to old appliances
and furniture that we would throw out. And they drive around in wrecks.
In 2003, when my partner and I took his teenage brother to New York -
his first trip outside of Europe - he stared boggle-eyed at the cars in
the Newark Airport parking lot, as mesmerized as Robin Williams in a
New York grocery store in "Moscow on the Hudson."

One image in particular sticks in my mind. In a Norwegian language
class, my teacher illustrated the meaning of the word matpakke -
"packed lunch" - by reaching into her backpack and pulling out a hero
sandwich wrapped in wax paper. It was her lunch. She held it up for all
to see.

Yes, teachers are underpaid everywhere. But in Norway the matpakke is
ubiquitous, from classroom to boardroom. In New York, an office worker
might pop out at lunchtime to a deli; in Paris, she might enjoy quiche
and a glass of wine at a brasserie. In Norway, she will sit at her desk
with a sandwich from home.

It is not simply a matter of tradition, or a preference for a basic,
nonmaterialistic life. Dining out is just too pricey in a country where
teachers, for example, make about $50,000 a year before taxes. Even the
humblest of meals - a large pizza delivered from Oslo's most popular
pizza joint - will run from $34 to $48, including delivery fee and a 25
percent value added tax.

Not that groceries are cheap, either. Every weekend, armies of
Norwegians drive to Sweden to stock up at supermarkets that are a
bargain only by Norwegian standards. And this isn't a great solution,
either, since gasoline (in this oil-exporting nation) costs more than
$6 a gallon.

All this was illuminated last year in a study by a Swedish research
organization, Timbro, which compared the gross domestic products of the
15 European Union members (before the 2004 expansion) with those of the
50 American states and the District of Columbia. (Norway, not being a
member of the union, was not included.)

After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the
dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per
person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax
haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and
slightly ahead of Connecticut.

The next European country on the list was Ireland, down at 41st place
out of 66; Sweden was 14th from the bottom (after Alabama), followed by
Oklahoma, and then Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy. The
bottom three spots on the list went to Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single
American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only
Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while
Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than
Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise. So did a paper by a
Swedish economics writer, Johan Norberg.

Contrasting "the American dream" with "the European daydream," Mr.
Norberg described the difference: "Economic growth in the last 25 years
has been 3 percent per annum in the U.S., compared to 2.2 percent in
the E.U. That means that the American economy has almost doubled,
whereas the E.U. economy has grown by slightly more than half. The
purchasing power in the U.S. is $36,100 per capita, and in the E.U.
$26,000 - and the gap is constantly widening."

The one detail in Timbro's study that didn't feel right to me was the
placement of Scandinavian countries near the top of the list and Spain
near the bottom. My own sense of things is that Spaniards live far
better than Scandinavians. In Norwegian pubs, for example, anyone rich
or insane enough to order, say, a gin and tonic is charged about $15
for a few teaspoons of gin at the bottom of a glass of tonic; in Spain,
the drinks are dirt-cheap and the bartender will pour the gin up to the
rim unless you say "stop."

In late March, another study, this one from KPMG, the international
accounting and consulting firm, cast light on this paradox. It
indicated that when disposable income was adjusted for cost of living,
Scandinavians were the poorest people in Western Europe. Danes had the
lowest adjusted income, Norwegians the second lowest, Swedes the third.
Spain and Portugal, with two of Europe's least regulated economies, led
the list.

Most recently, the Danish Ministry of Finance released a study
comparing the income available for private consumption in 30 countries.
Norway did somewhat better here than in the KPMG study, lagging behind
most of Western Europe but at least beating out Ireland and Portugal.

The thrust, however, was to confirm Timbro's and Mr. Norberg's picture
of American and European wealth. While the private-consumption figure
for the United States was $32,900 per person, the countries of Western
Europe (again excepting Luxembourg, at $29,450) ranged between $13,850
and $23,500, with Norway at $18,350.

Meanwhile, the references to Norway as "the world's richest country"
keep on coming. An April 2 article in Dagsavisen, a major Oslo daily,
asked: How is it that "in the world's richest country we're tearing
down social services that were built up when Norway was much poorer?"

Obviously, this is one misconception that won't be put to rest by a
measly think-tank study or two.

Bruce Bawer,a freelance writer based in Oslo, reports frequently on
social and cultural issues.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/17/weekinreview/17bawer.html

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 5:51:08 AM4/17/05
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None of this is news to Americans who have been living in Europe for a
while. The standard of living is palpably lower. Nobody from the U.S.
ever moves to Europe for the standard of living; it's always a step
closer to poverty.

--
Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.

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Runge

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Apr 17, 2005, 6:52:37 AM4/17/05
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Lol
Yeah I'm sure the americans living in theit shabby huts along the highways
would laugh at living in Europe
This group is at the exclusive use of wealthy US citizens Mxsmanic and
evleth comparing their $$$ on the queen Mary...first class of course!


"Mxsmanic" <mxsm...@hotmail.com> a écrit dans le message de news:
iac4611lthl8he20k...@4ax.com...

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 7:58:48 AM4/17/05
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Runge writes:

> Yeah I'm sure the americans living in theit shabby huts along the highways

> would laugh at living in Europe.

Which Americans are those?

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 7:58:02 AM4/17/05
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Paul Dwerryhouse writes:

> On the other hand, Europeans aren't killing themselves from overwork.

So Europeans have time but no money, and Americans have money but no
time.

> Who wants to spend 60 hours a week slaving away in a cubicle? I don't.

Neither do I, but having hours of free time a week but no money to make
use of them isn't that big a thrill, either.

In the U.S., I had money, but no time. In France, I had time, but no
money. Today, I have neither time nor money. I'm beginning to wonder
if there is any way to have money _and_ time, other than by being born
into it.

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Deep Foiled Malls

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Apr 17, 2005, 8:37:46 AM4/17/05
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On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 13:58:02 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Paul Dwerryhouse writes:
>
>> On the other hand, Europeans aren't killing themselves from overwork.
>
>So Europeans have time but no money, and Americans have money but no
>time.
>
>> Who wants to spend 60 hours a week slaving away in a cubicle? I don't.
>
>Neither do I, but having hours of free time a week but no money to make
>use of them isn't that big a thrill, either.
>
>In the U.S., I had money, but no time. In France, I had time, but no
>money. Today, I have neither time nor money. I'm beginning to wonder
>if there is any way to have money _and_ time, other than by being born
>into it.

Had it occured to you that the problem is not the country, but
something within youself?
--
---
DFM - http://www.deepfriedmars.com
---
--

Deep Foiled Malls

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Apr 17, 2005, 8:40:27 AM4/17/05
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On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 13:58:48 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Runge writes:
>
>> Yeah I'm sure the americans living in theit shabby huts along the highways
>> would laugh at living in Europe.
>
>Which Americans are those?

http://www.missouritrailertrash.com/

You've been away too long.

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Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 8:52:45 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> We have money, we have time to spend it.

You probably have much lower standards than I do.

> Your life style is wrong.

I don't have any options right now.

> With your near infinite specialist knowledge on every topic, you
> shouldn't have any trouble in finding a job that pays well. Why not
> take up brain or eye surgery?

You need licenses for that, and I don't like the sight of blood.

Message has been deleted

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 8:54:33 AM4/17/05
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Deep Foiled Malls writes:

> Had it occured to you that the problem is not the country, but
> something within youself?

Yes, and that is no doubt at least partially the case, but I see others
with different personalities who are in the same predicament, at least
these past few years. In fact, I've never seen the level of morosity
I'm currently seeing now in the corporate world; almost nobody feels
secure, comfortable, or adequately paid. The French economy has
considerably deteriorated.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 8:54:57 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> The millions who live in trailer parks.

Trailers are not shabby huts.

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Jon Bell

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Apr 17, 2005, 8:58:22 AM4/17/05
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In article <1113725347.0...@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,

<kuac...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>The New York Times
>April 17, 2005
>PERSPECTIVE
>We're Rich, You're Not. End of Story.
>By BRUCE BAWER
>
[snip]

>Most recently, the Danish Ministry of Finance released a study
>comparing the income available for private consumption in 30 countries.
>Norway did somewhat better here than in the KPMG study, lagging behind
>most of Western Europe but at least beating out Ireland and Portugal.
>
>The thrust, however, was to confirm Timbro's and Mr. Norberg's picture
>of American and European wealth. While the private-consumption figure
>for the United States was $32,900 per person, the countries of Western
>Europe (again excepting Luxembourg, at $29,450) ranged between $13,850
>and $23,500, with Norway at $18,350.

It would be interesting to see the distributions in those figures within
each country. I'd make a large wager that the distribution is sharply
peaked near the mean for most European countries, and much broader in the
USA, possibly even bimodal, with peaks in the higher and lower regions.
A *lot* of Americans don't even make $32,900 in total, let alone have that
available for consumption after taxes.

--
Jon Bell <jtb...@presby.edu> Presbyterian College
Dept. of Physics and Computer Science Clinton, South Carolina USA

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 9:09:49 AM4/17/05
to
Deep Foiled Malls writes:

> http://www.missouritrailertrash.com/
>
> You've been away too long.

Just because these trailers don't meet your standards of beauty doesn't
make them shabby. Some people care only about function, not appearance,
and a lot of the photos on that site show considerable resourcefulness
and ingenuity.

Trailers are a bit fragile, especially in areas prone to natural
disasters like tornadoes, but they still furnish living accommodations
that many people find adequate. Almost all of the trailers on that site
are considerably larger than my apartment, for example. And notice that
they all own some sizable plots of land, as well.

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Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 9:48:46 AM4/17/05
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Jon Bell writes:

> A *lot* of Americans don't even make $32,900 in total, let alone have that
> available for consumption after taxes.

A lot of Europeans aren't making anywhere near $18,000 or even $13,000,
too.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 9:50:01 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> Trailer parks contain them.

So?

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 9:49:40 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> Europeans have higher standards than you.

Europeans tend to worry more about appearance than substance.

> Have you thought of returning to the USA?

On rare occasions.

> In your opinion it is far superior to anywhere in Europe.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 9:50:36 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> As usual you are totally wrong, anybody who can put up with living the
> way you claim to do has no standards.

I live that way because I have no choice.

> because?

Because I have no money.

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Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 10:25:55 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> You could get repatriated to the USA.

That would not really improve my situation.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 10:26:55 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> and Americans don't?

Comparatively speaking, they don't.

> You don'tt often mention the advantages of you way of life.

People remember what they wish to remember.

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Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:03:38 AM4/17/05
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nitram writes:

> So you are unable to become rich in your own country too?

It's not easy.

Lennart Petersen

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:11:32 AM4/17/05
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"Mxsmanic" <mxsm...@hotmail.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:t8q461dpf92rlm88q...@4ax.com...

> Jon Bell writes:
>
>> A *lot* of Americans don't even make $32,900 in total, let alone have
>> that
>> available for consumption after taxes.
>
> A lot of Europeans aren't making anywhere near $18,000 or even $13,000,
> too.
In Albania or ???
Having a very non-skilled work I'm paid equal to $41000.
Tax paid,after all normal expenses for living ,food,insurances,rent for a 3
room condo,union,clothes,phone,TV license and other normal things there's
equal to
$10500 left for fun or at my own will. And more than so as my savings in
stock shares and funds pays a good dividend.
Could be more but nowadays I'm refusing overtime and some paid commissions
offered to me as the free time is worth more than so.
What's left is mostly used for travelling, having 7 week vacation but
extended to 11 or 14 weeks with additional off-days in my roster.


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chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:29:28 AM4/17/05
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<kuac...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> The New York Times
> April 17, 2005
> PERSPECTIVE
> We're Rich, You're Not. End of Story.
> By BRUCE BAWER

[]

What a load of reactionary old rubbish. Is this the kind of thing the
NYT publishes now?

For a start, I don't think most Norwegians have ever thought of
themselves as particularly rich, and they don't tend to spend as much
time obsessing about it as the writer of this piece of nonsense
evidently does.

As for driving around in old cars- well, that's a load of rubbish as
much as the rest of the article.

--
David Horne- www.davidhorne.net
usenet (at) davidhorne (dot) co (dot) uk

chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:29:28 AM4/17/05
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Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Paul Dwerryhouse writes:
>
> > On the other hand, Europeans aren't killing themselves from overwork.
>
> So Europeans have time but no money, and Americans have money but no
> time.
>
> > Who wants to spend 60 hours a week slaving away in a cubicle? I don't.
>
> Neither do I, but having hours of free time a week but no money to make
> use of them isn't that big a thrill, either.
>
> In the U.S., I had money, but no time. In France, I had time, but no
> money. Today, I have neither time nor money. I'm beginning to wonder
> if there is any way to have money _and_ time, other than by being born
> into it.

Odd though it may sound, I managed to live in the US and have both money
_and_ time. Given that I managed to find plenty of americans to enjoy my
time _with_, I'm safely assuming I wasn't the only one. Same here in the
UK. You ought to give serious thought to rethinking your lifestyle and
workstyle if you're that miserable.

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chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:37:35 AM4/17/05
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Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> nitram writes:
>
> > So you are unable to become rich in your own country too?
>
> It's not easy.

Easy enough, apparently. When you were in the US you had money but no
time, according to yourself.

chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:37:35 AM4/17/05
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Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> nitram writes:
>
> > We have money, we have time to spend it.
>
> You probably have much lower standards than I do.

How typically arogant of you.

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chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:37:35 AM4/17/05
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The Rev Gaston <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

> On 2005-04-17 14:25:55 +0200, nitram <m...@privacy.net> said:
>
> >
> > With your near infinite specialist knowledge on every topic, you
> > shouldn't have any trouble in finding a job that pays well. Why not
> > take up brain or eye surgery?
>
> Or, indeed, dentistry.

What a good idea. Arguing with Mixi _is_ a little like having teeth
extracted.

Jim Ley

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Apr 17, 2005, 11:50:32 AM4/17/05
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On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:34:25 +0200, Wolfgang Schwanke <s...@sig.nature>
wrote:

>"Lennart Petersen" <lennart....@swipnet.se> wrote in


>> Having a very non-skilled work I'm paid equal to $41000.
>

>But not everybody has.

But the majority do. that's only just over half the average (mean)
wage in the UK for example, and only 20% of the UK meet that.

( news.bbc.co.uk for the average income, and
www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2004/first_release_0304.pdf for the %ages
under various percentages of average income)

> The population is increasingly split into two
>groups, those with high incomes, and those who struggle to make a
>living, oscillating between unemployment and various low pay short term
>jobs.

I don't really see this in the UK, most people muck along in the
middle, a lot of them taking on a lot of debt to fund buying more
stuff. Of course it might be different in the european countries with
ridiculous strict employment laws and high unemployment rates.

>Or you were unemployed and looking for a job which for
>most people didn't take too long. Measly paid jobs were rare.

I think that might be generalisation from West Germany, it certainly
didn't apply in the UK then.

Jim.

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Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 12:17:05 PM4/17/05
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chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn writes:

> Easy enough, apparently. When you were in the US you had money but no
> time, according to yourself.

I had money, but I was hardly rich.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 12:19:26 PM4/17/05
to
Lennart Petersen writes:

> In Albania or ???

Right here in Paris. A lot of entry-level positions only yield about
€14,000 before taxes.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 12:20:40 PM4/17/05
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Wolfgang Schwanke writes:

> But not everybody has. The population is increasingly split into two

> groups, those with high incomes, and those who struggle to make a
> living, oscillating between unemployment and various low pay short term

> jobs. The latter group is a recent phenomenon, it didn't really exist
> before the 1990s. Those in the high income group often aren't aware of
> this split and wonder what the others are complaining about, until it
> hits them too one day. So far they're still the majority too. I'm aware
> this is a generalisation, and the situation isn't exactly the same in
> all countries, but overall it's a general trend.
>
> What Mxsmanic fails to mention is that it's not unique to Europe. The
> term "working poor" was invented in the USA for a reason. They had the
> same phenomenon much earlier than we did.

Yes. The elimination of the middle class.

> Before the 1980s, it didn't exist here at all. You either had a job,
> with usually fair pay that allowed you to feed a family, rent a home,
> own a car, television, VCR and fridge, and afford a holiday travel or
> two per year. Or you were unemployed and looking for a job which for

> most people didn't take too long. Measly paid jobs were rare.

Exactly. During the 1950s and 1960s, this was the norm.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 12:21:44 PM4/17/05
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Jim Ley writes:

> I don't really see this in the UK, most people muck along in the
> middle, a lot of them taking on a lot of debt to fund buying more
> stuff.

That's not the middle. In the former middle class, people didn't have
to assume a lot of debt to buy stuff. A single income could pay for a
home, a good standard of living, occasional vacations, etc.

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Jim Ley

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Apr 17, 2005, 12:40:36 PM4/17/05
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On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 18:21:44 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Jim Ley writes:
>
>> I don't really see this in the UK, most people muck along in the
>> middle, a lot of them taking on a lot of debt to fund buying more
>> stuff.
>
>That's not the middle. In the former middle class, people didn't have
>to assume a lot of debt to buy stuff. A single income could pay for a
>home, a good standard of living, occasional vacations, etc.

and still can, just the cost of debt is now so much lower, so it makes
less sense to save for something that isn't payable about of
disposable income as was the case previously.

Jim.

Jim Ley

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Apr 17, 2005, 12:54:18 PM4/17/05
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On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 18:11:52 +0200, Wolfgang Schwanke <s...@sig.nature>
wrote:

>j...@jibbering.com (Jim Ley) wrote in news:4262823c.69244047
>@news.individual.net:


>
>> that's only just over half the average (mean)
>

>Averages are not really the point. The point is that we now have a
>group which could be described as "working poor". They aren't the
>majority, but they exist.

So exactly what is the point - standards of living have changed
radically in the last 40 years, the spending patterns of individuals
have changed - computer, internet access, mobile phone costs for
example make up a large part of what people spend their money on
today, yet were unheard of in the era you were discussing. To me this
makes it extremely difficult to compare then and now by methods which
are not based on differences from the averages at the two points.

I'm not challenging that there are groups that struggle to make ends
meet, I'm challenging that this has changed significantly for the
worse in recent times.

>Google helps me find the UK unemployment rate, I find figures about 5%
>which one site claims is a 27 year low. I read that as a confirmation
>of what I said.

Eh? you said that there
"oscillating between unemployment [...] is a recent phenomenon" if
unemployment (even unemployment half the time if the oscillations you
suggest would be seen in the figures) are a recent phenomenon, why is
unemployment at a 27 year low in the UK? The UK's figures are not
atypical of much of Europe here, The UK's 4.7% is quite low, but
Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland are all under 6%, (last weeks
Economist) as are I'm sure others in Europe.

> Even the countries with a comparatively good situation
>in W Europe does have measurable unemployment and associated problems.

Well, even with Full Employment, there'd still be measurable
unemployment, I don't believe any large place in the world has full
employment, but this isn't a recent phenomenon, indeed I think many
countries have much higher employment now than ever before (with low
unemployment rates and a much larger labour force with more women in
employment)

Jim.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 2:17:08 PM4/17/05
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nit...@privacy.net writes:

> In a post some months ago you claimed you were, but got your fingers
> burnt in a stock exchange crash.

I was never rich, except relatively as compared to now.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 17, 2005, 2:17:57 PM4/17/05
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nit...@privacy.net writes:

> and the 1970s.

After the oil crisis in 1973, things started to change, but your
essentially correct.

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Jesper Lauridsen

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:02:29 PM4/17/05
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On 2005-04-17, kuac...@yahoo.com <kuac...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> After I moved here six years ago, I quickly noticed that Norwegians
> live more frugally than Americans do.

I'm amazed that a person can live in a country for six years, and yet
understand so little of its culture. I'm even more amazed that he
doesn't move back.

dgs

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:22:42 PM4/17/05
to
Emilia wrote:

> Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote in
> news:aaq461h5k39eg8sur...@4ax.com:
>
>>nitram writes:
>>
>>>Europeans have higher standards than you.
>>
>>Europeans tend to worry more about appearance than substance.
>
> Insteresting. So you know nothing about Americans either.

Had you left "about Americans either" off the end of that sentence, your
statement still would have conveyed a very large degree of accuracy.
--
dgs

dgs

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:25:15 PM4/17/05
to
chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn wrote:

> [...] Arguing with Mixi _is_ a little like having teeth
> extracted.

There you go. Mixi should take up construction and carpentry. After
all, engaging him in most forms of discussion is not unlike being hit
in the head with a hammer.
--
dgs

Padraig Breathnach

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:14:33 PM4/17/05
to
Jesper Lauridsen <rors...@sorrystofanet.dk> wrote:

Are you really amazed, or is that simply rhetoric? I'm not amazed at
all. You come across inflexible people everywhere. Add to that the
fact that the piece was probably written for the purpose of making
Americans feel good about themselves (This has been pointed out
elsewhere in this thread, so I'm not claiming credit for the
observation.).

--
PB
The return address has been MUNGED

kuac...@yahoo.com

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:55:58 PM4/17/05
to

Mxsmanic wrote:

> In the U.S., I had money, but no time. In France, I had time, but no
> money. Today, I have neither time nor money. I'm beginning to
wonder
> if there is any way to have money _and_ time, other than by being
born
> into it.

Interesting point. As someone who has had four children over 20 years
(same wife) I have seen theory become fact: the luck of WHEN you begin
your economic life matters almost as much as WHAT patrimony you stand
to inherit.

The entry of women in to the workforce and the computerisation of
administration and management changed the dynamics of economic life in
the 70s, 80s, 90s. And of course smart, employable, high-earning women
married men of the same calibre. So inevitably wealth became as
concentrated as in the olden days when planned marriages (or in Saudi
Arabia today, cousin marriages) concentrated capital.

Many people, myself included, accumulated assets by accident of owning
a home in London, New York, San Francisco . . . If you owned two or
more, you became rich.

Whether living in Europe is economically (never mind politically,
emotionally, culturally, etc.) advantageous depends on several things:
it's easier, after all, to get rich through business or professions in
America. But in Europe (in England, if you don't speak languages) you
save on medical care, and on higher education. (Never mind the cost of
secondary school in England; that can be finessed.) Also things
cultural. And you do get more free time.

Just some musings.

kuac...@yahoo.com

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Apr 17, 2005, 4:57:52 PM4/17/05
to
>> After I moved here six years ago, I quickly noticed that Norwegians
>> live more frugally than Americans do.

> I'm amazed that a person can live in a country for six years, and yet
> understand so little of its culture. I'm even more amazed that he
> doesn't move back.

I think he noticed it six minutes after he landed, six years ago.

Message has been deleted

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 17, 2005, 6:43:10 PM4/17/05
to

Instead of babbling about, why don't you just tell us what in the
article that was inaccurate, expert that you are?

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 17, 2005, 6:42:20 PM4/17/05
to
On 17 Apr 2005 20:02:29 GMT, Jesper Lauridsen
<rors...@sorrystofanet.dk> wrote:

So what did he say that was incorrect then?

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 17, 2005, 6:43:48 PM4/17/05
to

By another nutbar that has nothing to say

Deep Foiled Malls

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Apr 18, 2005, 5:00:57 AM4/18/05
to
On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 14:54:33 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Deep Foiled Malls writes:
>
>> Had it occured to you that the problem is not the country, but
>> something within youself?
>
>Yes, and that is no doubt at least partially the case, but I see others
>with different personalities who are in the same predicament, at least
>these past few years. In fact, I've never seen the level of morosity
>I'm currently seeing now in the corporate world; almost nobody feels
>secure, comfortable, or adequately paid. The French economy has
>considerably deteriorated.

The problem is made worse by having pessimistic people around you.

The state of the Italian economy is no better, but I (and others) have
had no great difficulty in making money here whilst having enough
spare time to talk shit in this place.

In fact the level of pessimism can be something that works in your
favour, as is the job insecurity. These are things that you need to
adapt to, not fight against.

Stop complaining and do something about it, unless complaining is
preferable to you.
--
---
DFM - http://www.deepfriedmars.com
---
--

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Icono Clast

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Apr 18, 2005, 5:24:56 AM4/18/05
to
Mxsmanic wrote:
> In the U.S., I had money, but no time. In France, I had time, but
> no money. Today, I have neither time nor money. I'm beginning to
> wonder if there is any way to have money _and_ time, other than by
> being born into it.

I've always had enough time and money, even during periods of
extended unemployment. I've rarely worked more than seven hours in a
day nor more than 35 hours in a week.

And, no, I wasn't born into it. You can read how I did it here:
< http://geocities.com/iconoc/Articles/History.html >


kuac...@yahoo.com wrote:
> the luck of WHEN you begin your economic life matters almost as
> much as WHAT patrimony you stand to inherit.

The URL referenced above supports that statement.
___________________________________________________________________
A San Franciscan in 47.452 mile² San Francisco.
< http://geocities.com/dancefest/ >-< http://geocities.com/iconoc/ >
ICQ: < http://wwp.mirabilis.com/19098103 > ---> IClast at SFbay Net

Message has been deleted

Mxsmanic

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Apr 18, 2005, 11:21:47 AM4/18/05
to
Deep Foiled Malls writes:

> The problem is made worse by having pessimistic people around you.

No, the problem is made worse by people who refuse to see it.

> The state of the Italian economy is no better, but I (and others) have
> had no great difficulty in making money here whilst having enough
> spare time to talk shit in this place.

Do you work for a U.S. company?

Message has been deleted

Deep Foiled Malls

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Apr 18, 2005, 5:35:01 PM4/18/05
to
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:21:47 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Deep Foiled Malls writes:
>
>> The problem is made worse by having pessimistic people around you.
>
>No, the problem is made worse by people who refuse to see it.

No, the problem is that you can't figure out how to make enough money
even though others can.

>> The state of the Italian economy is no better, but I (and others) have
>> had no great difficulty in making money here whilst having enough
>> spare time to talk shit in this place.
>
>Do you work for a U.S. company?

No.

Dan Epstein

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Apr 18, 2005, 8:20:04 PM4/18/05
to
Another person in reply to this article wrote the following:

A few stats scavenged from the web:

Norway labor productivity as a percentage of US rate: 131

Poverty rates 2004: Norway 6.4% (16th among 17 OECD countries surveyed)
US: 17% (1st)

Child poverty rates 2004: Norway 3.4% (16th) US: 21.9% (1st)

The infant mortality rate in Norway is 54% lower than in the US.
Overall life expectancy is 2.3% higher. It accomplishes this with only
58% of the US's per capita expenditure on health care, and unlike in the
US, where over 40 million are without health insurance, health care
coverage is universal in Norway.

The rate of serious assaults in the US is is over 7 times that in
Norway. The US murder rate is almost 4 times higher.

However, beware: if you move to Norway, you may find that you have to
pack your lunch and drive an older car.


chancellor of the duchy of besses o' th' barn

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Apr 18, 2005, 8:22:48 PM4/18/05
to
Dan Epstein <ds...@yahoo.com> wrote:

[]


> However, beware: if you move to Norway, you may find that you have to
> pack your lunch and drive an older car.

Must remember to remind my brother to ditch his new car when we visit
him near Bergen at the end of this month...

--
David Horne- www.davidhorne.net
usenet (at) davidhorne (dot) co (dot) uk

Message has been deleted

poldy

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Apr 19, 2005, 1:30:44 AM4/19/05
to
In article <4262c0d5$4$327$ba62...@nntp05.dk.telia.net>,
Jesper Lauridsen <rors...@sorrystofanet.dk> wrote:

The interesting comparative statistic would be the savings rate and the
levels of personal debt.

No other nationality seems as geared toward conspicuous consumption as
Americans. In fact, how much of our greater than Europe GDP growth rate
is attributable to buying stuff, much of it luxury or discretionary
items?

poldy

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Apr 19, 2005, 1:48:39 AM4/19/05
to
In article <k0du3d...@wschwanke.de>,
Wolfgang Schwanke <s...@sig.nature> wrote:

> Full Employment is if you have a zero in front of the decimal point.
> Figures of 5 and above are severe unemployment. The fact that the
> problem might have been even worse earlier doesn't make slightly lower
> figures a non-problem. Just because you've become used to your illness
> doesn't mean you're not ill.

Interesting.

Before the boom in the mid to late '90s, "Full Employment" as American
economists determined it were in the low to mid 6%. The idea was that
you didn't want wage inflation so you couldn't have the entire workforce
employed. During last year's presidential campaign with the outsourcing
debate, some economists claimed the US economy naturally destroys
thousands or millions of jobs a year and replaces them with millions
more, the net usually being positive.

But with the boom in the late '90s along with low inflation, "Full
Employment" was revised closer to 5%.

Some suspect that the Fed will endure a certain level of unemployment,
if they care about employment levels at all, in order to restrain
inflation. So "Full Employment" may reflect monetary policy of the
moment.

poldy

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Apr 19, 2005, 2:31:13 AM4/19/05
to
In article <36r461hdduejd1434...@4ax.com>,
nitram <m...@privacy.net> wrote:

> >> Europeans have higher standards than you.
> >
> >Europeans tend to worry more about appearance than substance.
>

> and Americans don't?

"Keeping up with the Jones?"

Conspicuous consumption is a big part of the American Dream.

But I'm sure no particular nationality is immune to ostentation.

poldy

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Apr 19, 2005, 2:45:40 AM4/19/05
to
In article <d1n461d6mdr35ql5k...@4ax.com>,
Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> In fact, I've never seen the level of morosity
> I'm currently seeing now in the corporate world; almost nobody feels
> secure, comfortable, or adequately paid. The French economy has
> considerably deteriorated.

Hmm, look at this:

Germany's new 'great depression'

Vast swathes of German office space now stand empty
Record numbers of Germans are suffering from depression and other mental
illnesses, a new report says.

According to the research, by a German health insurance firm, cases of
depression among Berliners have risen by 70% since 1997.

Up to 70% of Germans also say they are prepared to seek professional
help for psychological problems.

Mental health experts blamed the rise on Germany's faltering economy,
which has seen unemployment rise to over 5m.

German insurance firm DAK surveyed 2.6m employed Germans in an effort to
discover the impact depression is having on modern working patterns.

Among the respondents were 90,000 people working in Berlin, where
treatment is widely available.

In contrast, fewer people reported feeling low in Germany's eastern
states, where jobs and security are increasingly scarce, but mental
health treatment is rarer and some taboos still exist.

Vicious circle

Workers in Germany's capital, regarded as one of Europe's most vibrant
modern cities, emerged as an unhappy bunch more likely to miss work
through depression than for any other reason.

Nationally, mental health problems were the fourth most common cause of
absence from work, behind back pain, colds and flu and personal injury.

"In times of economic insecurity, young people in particular tend to
develop psychological problems in response to professional and private
obstacles," said DAK's Chief Executive Herbert Rebscher.

The report also blames modern working culture for the rise, especially
among young people, although increasing numbers of elderly Germans also
say they suffer from some form of psychological illness.

Psychological problems in men between 25 and 29 and women between 20 and
24 have doubled, the DAK reports says.

Nevertheless, most respondents said they would rather be depressed with
a job than unemployed and happy.

"How will someone ever get better," Burghard Klopp, a depression expert
at Berlin's Charit hospital, told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle,
"when they know their boss is just waiting to fire them?"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4456087.stm

Message has been deleted

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 19, 2005, 9:12:05 AM4/19/05
to

A lot of it, but so what? Their economies are heavily dependant upon
our doing so in order to sell their exports. The internal EU growth
is hardly sterling.

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 19, 2005, 9:10:17 AM4/19/05
to
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:20:04 -0700, Dan Epstein <ds...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

None of this is surprising in a small homogeneous country like Norway.
Especially the part about healthcare costs. Why would anyone care
about having a higher salary when it is all just taxed away anyway.
It also takes a lot of opportunity away doesn't it? Europe long ago
decided to trade away economic growth for security and they got what
they wanted, which is why the US economy has grown much faster than
the EU. Presumably, those who want one over the other go there to
live and accept the consequences of whatever system they are happy
with, both of which have their pluses and minuses. Nothing wrong with
that BUT how the Europeans plan to maintain their system over time is
a mystery to me since their economies stagnant, their populations are
aging just as elsewhere in the developed world creating more demand on
these services all while the base producing it shrinks. Just how does
that work over the long term?

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 19, 2005, 9:16:14 AM4/19/05
to

What you say is only partly true. It is true that full employment
anywhere near zero would be highly inflationary, but that is only part
of the equation. There is always some level of unemployment due to
people quitting some jobs and looking for others and getting
miscounted when they leave a job and then later deciding not to work
anymore, making the unemployment figures look higher than they are.
The reverse is also true, where a person just gives up looking for a
job and then is no longer counted as unemployed.

Mxsmanic

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Apr 19, 2005, 10:53:29 AM4/19/05
to
poldy writes:

> Before the boom in the mid to late '90s, "Full Employment" as American
> economists determined it were in the low to mid 6%.

But in the early 1970s, an unemployment rate of barely 4% was enough to
motivate an American President to impose price controls, as I recall.

On the other hand, Spain had unemployment of 25% for years.

Go Fig

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Apr 19, 2005, 11:49:06 AM4/19/05
to
In article <1p6a61tau2g0kckoq...@4ax.com>, Mxsmanic
<mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> poldy writes:
>
> > Before the boom in the mid to late '90s, "Full Employment" as American
> > economists determined it were in the low to mid 6%.
>
> But in the early 1970s, an unemployment rate of barely 4% was enough to
> motivate an American President to impose price controls, as I recall.

One of the major reason the U.S. put full employment at about 5% is
that an economy, to expand, must have a labor force available to it.

jay
Tue Apr 19, 2005
mailto:go...@mac.com

BB

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Apr 19, 2005, 1:13:37 PM4/19/05
to
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 22:30:44 -0700, poldy wrote:

> The interesting comparative statistic would be the savings rate and the
> levels of personal debt.

If I hold $100,000 of stock returning an average of over 5%, and a
$100,000 mortgage at 5%, that would show me as having $100,000 of debt and
zero savings, right?

--
-BB-
To e-mail me, unmunge my address

Deep Foiled Malls

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Apr 19, 2005, 4:21:01 PM4/19/05
to
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:21:47 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Deep Foiled Malls writes:


>
>> The problem is made worse by having pessimistic people around you.
>
>No, the problem is made worse by people who refuse to see it.

That is you, Mixi. All of your shortcomings are of your own making.

Have you thought about what I have said, or did you simply ignore it?

Deep Foiled Malls

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Apr 19, 2005, 4:25:17 PM4/19/05
to
On Tue, 19 Apr 2005 08:49:06 -0700, Go Fig <go...@mac.com> wrote:

>In article <1p6a61tau2g0kckoq...@4ax.com>, Mxsmanic
><mxsm...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> poldy writes:
>>
>> > Before the boom in the mid to late '90s, "Full Employment" as American
>> > economists determined it were in the low to mid 6%.
>>
>> But in the early 1970s, an unemployment rate of barely 4% was enough to
>> motivate an American President to impose price controls, as I recall.
>
>One of the major reason the U.S. put full employment at about 5% is
>that an economy, to expand, must have a labor force available to it.

You are so amazingly full of shit Jay. The US has no direct control of
the available labor force. That's the realm Stalinist communist states
to control that stuff.

Message has been deleted

j...@piasystems.com

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Apr 19, 2005, 6:10:37 PM4/19/05