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Gates Warns of Software Replacing People; Greenspan Says H-1Bs Fix Inequity 516

Posted by samzenpus
from the man-with-the-plan dept.
dcblogs writes "Bill Gates and Alan Greenspan, in separate forums, offered outlooks and prescriptions for fixing jobs and income. Gates is concerned that graduates of U.S. secondary schools may not be able stay ahead of software automation. 'These things are coming fast,' said Gates, in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute 'Twenty years from now labor demand for a lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don't think people have that in their mental model.' Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan believes one way to attack income inequity is to raise the H-1B cap. If the program were expanded, income wouldn't necessarily go down much, but it would go down enough to make an impact. Income inequality is a relative concept, he argued. People who are absolutely at the top of the scale in 1925, for instance, would be getting food stamps today, said Greenspan. 'You don't have to necessarily bring up the bottom if you bring the top down.'"
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Gates Warns of Software Replacing People; Greenspan Says H-1Bs Fix Inequity

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  • Greenspan's right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coop (9778) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:09PM (#46502533)

    People in all societies get their ideas of what's necessary, and what's enough, and what to buy, by looking at the people around them and comparing it to their own situation. The don't use any kind of empirical or absolute measure, unless they're chronically hungry or in similar dire straits.

    • by gnoshi (314933) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:13PM (#46502539)

      Extending on Greenspan's idea, you can reduce inequity by having the top 0.01% take all the money from the remaining 99.99%. All that demonstrates is that having low inequity as your sole target is stupid.

      • by Cryacin (657549) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:43PM (#46502665)
        Here's a better idea Mr. Greenspam. How about we make your pay equal to everybody elses? (My insulting consulting invoice is issued by the way)
        • Re:Greenspan's right (Score:4, Informative)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 17, 2014 @01:00AM (#46502991) Journal

          Here's a better idea Mr. Greenspam. How about we make your pay equal to everybody elses? (My insulting consulting invoice is issued by the way)

          You'd pay him that much?

          Even after his tragicomic “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief"; but, not to worry, “Whatever regulatory changes are made, they will pale in comparison to the change already evident in today’s markets...Those markets for an indefinite future will be far more restrained than would any currently contemplated new regulatory regime.” performance?

          (I guess, horribly enough, the fact that the events of the day did move him to concede that the 'free markets just full of rational actors!' model...might have a few weak spots... actually makes him a better empiricist than more than a few other economists in that camp.)

      • by matthewv789 (1803086) on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:10AM (#46502799)
        I disagree. I think we would fix a ton of other problems that are strongly resistant to other solutions if just about the only thing we did focus on was income inequality. The problem is, right now, we don't do anything at all about income inequality except allow it to get worse every year for the last 40 years.
        • by gnoshi (314933) on Monday March 17, 2014 @01:07AM (#46503021)

          Actually, I mostly agree with you. The point I was trying to make was that simply aiming to decrease inequity is a silly goal if you don't have broader constraints such as 'so everyone can afford to eat'. The reason behind wanting to make that point was that if it is considered an improvement for inequity to decrease as a result of pushing middle wages down by allowing more H1Bs, then maybe it could be extended to minimising inequity by making almost everyone dirt poor.

          I think that reducing inequality by pulling in the top and bottom ends does have a whole range of benefits.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @01:34AM (#46503093)

            it could be extended to minimising inequity by making almost everyone dirt poor.

            You do understand that IS the point of all this?

            In case it hasn't been clear to you, there's been a class war happening all along, with the precise goal of disempowering 99% of the population and (re)turning society to a kind of neofeudalism.

            This statement from Greenspan is basically his way of hanging a "Mission Accomplished" banner across the bridge of his office.

        • An overview, IMHO: (Score:4, Insightful)

          by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday March 17, 2014 @01:13AM (#46503043) Homepage Journal

          Most of the poor get richer slowly as technology raises their standard of living. Those controlling the system get richer much faster as they reap the same benefits, along with the majority of the usable output of the poor. Some kind of a despised, often disenfranchised class is maintained to focus the anger of the population away from those controlling the system. Almost everyone advances; the gap grows ever larger. It has always been this way; likely it will always be so.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            "Almost everyone advances; the gap grows ever larger. It has always been this way; likely it will always be so."
            Until the gap becomes very wide, then the poor kill all the rich, loot their estates and the cycle repeats.

            Give it another 10 years and the gap will be getting near the,"let's form an angry mob and kill the rich guy, we can feed the whole city off of what is in his house."

          • by bigpat (158134)

            I largely agree, but take issue with the phrase "standard of living" in this context and in this discussion thread. A broad middle class in America has been about more than the advent of indoor plumbing, smartphones and the ability to buy bread at the supermarket, but about political empowerment.

            Even looking back at the 19th century, America turned on its head the European idea of "landed gentry" when we created a society in which land was cheap and plentiful (yes this was at the expense of native America

          • Most of the poor get richer slowly as technology raises their standard of living.

            This trend stopped in the USA and many other western countries sometime in the late 1980s. According to official statistics, real wages of poor and middle classes have stagnated since then. In other words, the poor and middle classes lost as much actual income as they gained indirectly through technology.

      • by buybuydandavis (644487) on Monday March 17, 2014 @05:46AM (#46503863)

        Can anyone make any sense of what he was saying?

        The solution to income inequality is to import more labor supply and further depress wages, but make those who *own* the businesses that hire them even richer? What? What is that guy smoking?

    • by plopez (54068)

      How does marketing and advertising impact this?

    • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:38PM (#46502637)
      There have been a _ton_ of advancements that become available when you have money. Medical Science has advanced to the point where we can do maintenance on the human body and improve it in general. This can be as simple as your kid's braces, or as complex as resurfacing your hip so you can walk without a cane in your 50s.

      Also, what's "necessary" is defined by employers. If I'm going to function as an office worker I'm expected to have a car, cellphone, college education, etc. If I don't have these I become unemployable... I lose access to all of the benefits I described above.

      Also, why in God's Green Earth are we talking about regressing to the 1920s? When did we give up on progress? When did poverty become an acceptable condition? When I was a kid we'd already sent a man to the moon. Keeping kids out of poverty seemed simple by comparison...
      • by ATMAvatar (648864) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:44PM (#46502673) Journal

        Also, why in God's Green Earth are we talking about regressing to the 1920s? When did we give up on progress? When did poverty become an acceptable condition?

        It became acceptable (to those making the statement) around the time it became obvious that you cannot concentrate the wealth of the world much more than it already is without placing most of the population into poverty.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:55AM (#46502975)

          It became acceptable (to those making the statement) around the time it became obvious that you cannot concentrate the wealth of the world much more than it already is without placing most of the population into poverty.

          To be more clear: you cannot accumulate wealth into a small group of people faster than the economy grows on the whole without invoking a zero sum game. The current leeching of the economy by the wealthy is faster than the economy is growing which is only sustainable through wealth transferral instead of wealth creation.

    • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:38PM (#46502641)

      One perfect example of this I see on a daily basis is the expectation that one should either live independently or live in a single family household. This is a common thing in the US, but it is extremely uncommon throughout most of the world, even in other first world countries. In most of the world it is rather common to have 2 or more families to a single household, and generally that household will be physically smaller than the typical US household.

      People sometimes wonder why rent is high in some areas (see the whole Google bus thing.) That's why (well that and SF refuses to permit building more real estate or even building upwards to meet the growth needs of the population, which is really a bonehead move.)

      • Re:Greenspan's right (Score:5, Informative)

        by _Ludwig (86077) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:53PM (#46502717) Journal

        SF refuses to permit building more real estate or even building upwards

        I guess you haven’t looked anywhere in the direction of Rincon Hill in the past few years. Or been to South Beach, or Mission Bay, or looked at Lennar’s plans for the Candlestick area. I look forward to all this luxury development increasing the housing supply and driving down rents. I’ll just be over here not holding my breath.

      • by _Ludwig (86077)

        Sorry for the double-reply, but I meant to also say that you’re right about shared households. I live in one, and think they should be encouraged and thought about beyond “need new roommate, post to craigslist.” I suppose “intentional communities” is the jargon for what I mean.

      • Everywhere you look around the western world, where you can see evidence of a property bubble increasing the cost of living. Everyone seems to blame the increase on a lack of supply. But the biggest correlating factor with housing prices is the creation of mortgage debt.

        Do you want housing to be more affordable? Cut off the supply of credit.

    • Re:Greenspan's right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sjames (1099) on Monday March 17, 2014 @02:07AM (#46503179) Homepage

      Excellent! Let's replace the over-priced CEOs with more reasonably priced foreign ones. That should REALLY help the inequality situation.

  • Fuck that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:16PM (#46502545)
    All Greenspan wants to do is further shaft the US worker and help Big Business cut its costs even further. He's nothing more than a shill at this point.
    • Re:Fuck that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by s.petry (762400) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:35PM (#46502619)

      Exactly! Anyone that can't see how his logic is broken should ask a friend to read it to them while they polish their red tipped cane. Increasing H1B imports, when companies pay these people less than they do college graduates, helps the US economy how? An executive getting a big fat bonus check by keeping 100 US citizens from working does not help out our economy, and _can not_ help our economy.

      This line of crap is almost as pathetic as the "jobs American's won't do" crap. Both of those are simply excuses to pay foreigners less money than a company would have to pay a US employee due to minimum wage laws. Just Google "h1b visa abuses in the US" and read the first few results.

      I won't bother Billy Bashing in this, his comments were not so bad for a change and I just bashed him yesterday for claiming Snowden was no hero.

      • Re:Fuck that (Score:5, Informative)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday March 17, 2014 @03:42AM (#46503497) Journal

        You can read a transcript of Greenspan's comments (with obvious errors) here:

        The relevant portion starts at 00:39:11 and it's just a hot mess.

        So my view is to recognize that what is causing this low rate of growth in average hourly earnings is basically so proud of -- slow productivity.

        This is, quite frankly, shocking for him to say.
        Wage growth has only slightly outpaced inflation despite decades of massive productivity increases.

        He comes back to immigration at 00:47:53
        I thought maybe TFS and TFA mischaracterized Greenspan's comments.
        Nope. He's advocating depressing wages for white collar workers instead of raising wages for low income earners.

        The only redeeming quality of Greenspan's testimony is it shows that the housing crisis shined a spotlight into his ideological blind spot.
        Now he's advocating for stronger fraud controls and higher capital reserves/better collateral requirements in the banking system.
        So in his ideal world, the banks won't screw you, but you'll have no money to put in the bank because your wages are depressed by H1B workers.

    • That's a common argument I see against immigration, but the fact is that immigration allows the economy to expand. (Immigrants don't steal your job, rather their mere presence permits the addition of new ones.)

      The only problem I have with immigration is non-working ones who effectively leech off of the dole system and take advantage of our birthright citizenship loophole (which few countries have.) So called anchor babies by being a citizen automatically entitle their parents to welfare benefits (For exampl

      • Re:Fuck that (Score:4, Insightful)

        by careysub (976506) on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:29AM (#46502883)

        ...

        The only problem I have with immigration is non-working ones who effectively leech off of the dole system and take advantage of our birthright citizenship loophole (which few countries have.) So called anchor babies by being a citizen automatically entitle their parents to welfare benefits...

        So basically you hate the people who exist in your fantasies. I am sure a good fantasy-hating makes you feel all warm inside.

      • by Sarius64 (880298)

        Yes, entire construction industries wiped out in California because they were forced to compete with illegal workers being used for roofing and other dangerous jobs without permits, insurance, or even paying taxes. When the police and the attorney general refused to do anything legitimate businesses dissolved.

        Here's an article emphasizing similar points:

        Illegal immigrants might get stimulus jobs, experts say [usatoday.com]

        Our family hosted some summer teenagers performing missions to Tijuana about seven years back and

  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:19PM (#46502551) Homepage Journal

    So Greenspan rightly pointed out that inflation means the top 1% from the '20s would be in poverty now if their wealth hadn't been subjected to inflation.

    Yeah. So what has that got to do with ANYTHING?

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:53PM (#46502719) Homepage

      Well, that is not quite true and quite frankly points out what kind of a bullshit artist Greenspan is. Basically the 1% of the 1920 owned a lot of capital assets like properties, farms, business, shares, jewellry, even what are today vintage auto mobiles and these would all have adjusted to inflation accordingly and they would be exceedingly wealthy based upon today's standards and today's property and business values. So Greenspans statement is 100% total crap.

      When you own the means of production, the means of generating wealth you are never poor, until it is stripped away from just after a bloody and ruthless revolution.

      What these asshats are alluding to is the truly disposable workforce. When you are no longer of use to psychopathic capitalism you are disposed of, parked in concentration camps for the unemployable, only let out for chain gang style mass labour projects. These are very evil people as they make no mention of reduced working hours with increased pay against productivity gains, more time for leisure and free education, with the contributions to society spread out to take into account automation.

      All these fuck heads see, is automation, ahh no expensive work force more profits for me. With no concept of who they are going to sell the shit to, other than that workers must accept significantly reduced status unless their existence is sponsored by an employer. These people are a real and present danger, a threat to humanity.

      • My thoughts exactly and nicely articulated.

        Well done good sir.

        I still remember as a small child in the late 70's/early 80's reading about how robots and automation were going to mean in the future we all only had to work 10 hours a week and could spend the rest of the time being creative and enjoying ourselves and leading meaningful lives.

        Under the current system can anyone see anything even approaching that happening at all?

        There is still hope however that we can realise this utopian future.

        Of course it wi
  • by UPZ (947916) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:20PM (#46502555)
    I hope that Mr. Gates sees that 'software replacing humans' even if accelerates is a problem only in the current model of capitalistic society. In this capitalistic society, humans have to compete with automation and software. We do have the resources to feed, clothe and shelter everyone on this planet. I think it's time to start talking about moving past a capitalistic economy. Otherwise, in search of never ending profits, we will destroy the people and environment around us.
    • by plopez (54068)

      +1

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      Hail the rise of robo-communism, as capitalism is a dead end. If only we wern't told so much how evil communism is. Interestingly, true communism (never actully tried) requires a period of prosperus capitalism first.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CommanderK (1078087)
        How does this "true communism" you speak of differ from the one that's been tried, and has failed over and over and over?
  • Because that's the top. Not STEM.

  • More H-1Bs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Old VMS Junkie (739626) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:23PM (#46502571)
    I can't see the logic with this one. Off-shore even more well-paying jobs to low-cost replacements in third world countries? How does that fix income inequity? The H-1B visa is being perverted by big business. It was intended to bring skill workers to the US, presuming that at least some percentage of them would stay and add to the economic engine. In practice, these visas are used by shell companies to bring migrant workers here to train, then return to their off-shore operations centers, taking permanent positions with them. Greenspan is correct only in the theoretical use of the H-1B, not in it's actual practice.
  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:23PM (#46502575) Journal
    When he talks about eliminating inequality by bringing the top down, he doesn't mean bringing down the 1%ers like himself and Gates. He's talking about bringing down all the skilled workers in the top 5-10% down to the level of unskilled workers. This doesn't actually reduce income inequality (it actually makes it worse), so he's full of crap. This has long been Greenspan's desire; it annoys him to no end that people who do things can aspire to salaries as high as lower-level banksters.
  • Greenspan? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:24PM (#46502579)

    I thought he'd been laughed out of Washington DC following the mortgage securities fiasco.

    former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan believes one way to attack income inequity is to raise the H-1B cap

    Econ 101 - Supply and Demand. You just increase the supply and prices go down. So, what does Al think the 'bottom' is? H-1B visas for tech workers hit the middle class. The bottom is the fast food, dishwasher, gardener, etc. That's the people who wade across the Rio Grande. Fast food restaurants and farms don't go through the H-1B process for labor.

    How about we import some lower priced talent for the executive offices? That'll fix inequality. Seriously, I've seena number of situations where corporations on the edge of failure were sold to foreign firms and are now being run quite profitably. Same factory, same tools, same unions. Better managers.

    • Re:Greenspan? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by plopez (54068) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:36PM (#46502633) Journal

      There are a number of mines and chemical plants where I grew up. In the 80's as Americans shifted to selling fraudulent securities and "brand management" some of these were bought out by overseas companies. The workers of the the plants that did not get bought out were envious. The management improved that much. The people I knew working there would say things like, "I don't care who buys us out; Germans, French, Japanese, or whoever. As long as we get rid of American management".

      Note that pay and benefits did not change, but the reports I got was things got more streamline and logical with less focus on punishment.

      • by Mabhatter (126906)

        My company was bought out by Brazilians about 6 years ago to the same thing. Unfortunately, when the company came to the USA they bought the "best lawyers" and totally screwed up their first buyouts. But my company drastically improved conditions and still is. It's heavy manufacturing and it's gone from being "better than average" safety which was passable for American Management to Very Good safety. Again, less focus on firing people and more on managing them so they don't screw up in the first place.

        I've

    • Re:Greenspan? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by careysub (976506) on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:17AM (#46502829)

      I thought he'd been laughed out of Washington DC following the mortgage securities fiasco.

      ...

      As long as you are saying what serves the interests of Big Business and people of fabulous wealth, inherited and otherwise, you will always be a respected commentator whose words command solemn attention, and be widely reported.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:28PM (#46502591)

    The real solution is to move.

    The jobs aren't where they were before... Look at the entire planet when you do a job search and see things in a new light.

    • How? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:47PM (#46502693)
      I'm pretty local. I'm stuck here because a) I only know one language and it's a bit late to learn (what with being an adult of only sightly above average intelligence) and b) not having tons of money.

      I keep getting told that if I don't like being poor I should just stop being poor. Gee, that'd be nice, but I don't see anyone lining up to give me capital.... I've got ideas and I'm willing to work (I am in fact :P, taking a break from a large code project to troll /. :) ). I made a lot of mistakes in life, but I also had a lot of things just fall apart around me through no fault of my own. I watched as 90 % of the IT industry was shipped overseas and nobody noticed or cared. Just like with the car industry. Now I'm watching what's left get automated away

      I haven't once heard anything constructive come out of the "Don't be Poor" crowd. If you have real solutions I'd like to hear them. What are we going to do in 20 years when robots drive cars, make food, deliver packages and pick our fruit? What are we going to do with all these people we just don't _need_? If you're OK with letting them starve to death on Resevations (like America did with the Natives) and brutally oppressing them when they get out of line then fine, say it and be done. But stop pretending you have an answer that doesn't end with the entire planet looking like North Korea.
      • Re:How? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday March 17, 2014 @02:09AM (#46503185) Homepage Journal

        If you have real solutions I'd like to hear them.

        The keys are twofold: First, don't borrow money. Ever. Not from the bank, not with a credit card, not for a house and not for a vehicle. Buy the very least expensive thing that will do the job you *require*, and no more. If you find opportunity to do so, loan money out at interest and see to it you get paid. If you can, continue to live with your parents, otherwise, share expenses as much as possible, and be a *great* person to room with, temperment-wise. Second, disengage from racing with the Joneses. Learn to cook and be efficient in your use of materials and ingredients. Learn about reuse. Garage sales, etc. You don't need to drink, to party, to have cable or satellite or streaming or CDs or DVDs or Blurays, to smoke, new clothes, jewelry, to go out to eat, to have books (libraries are still around, and there's the net), to have a spouse or to have children. Exercise. Take those two ideas and exist in their embrace for a decade or two, and you *wlll* have money unless your health significantly fails. In that case, at least in this society, you're screwed.

        Then invest your money in the performance of the upper tier, and it will grow. Don't spend your capital. That's it, in a nutshell. Either you do it that way, or you find a job- or trustfund-based way to accrue money faster than you can spend it -- but most people have no access to that kind of income, and the lottery, well, participation in the lottery is simply an indicator you can't do math.

        • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

          by clam666 (1178429) on Monday March 17, 2014 @05:47AM (#46503865)

          No one will read this, but that's ok.

          Ironically, either people will ignore you, or offer some stupid counterpoint about how you can't do that.

          I got out of college (where I didn't have loans, but went part time with a night job fo many years) and quickly made an exciting job at a call center for $8 an hour.

          I live(d) within my means, and after taking pay cuts even more to try and get ahead in a career. I had roomates, split rent, car pooled, etc. I had and have nothing but shit cars my life. I shop and Walmart and mostly Goodwill or army surplus stores for clothes.

          I didn't get a mortgage for a home. I got two full time jobs, one W2 and one 1099, and balanced between them. Within two years I bought a small home for cash. I then bought another small home, because I could rent out the existing one, and I live cheap. Now I have a free home, and one providing rental income, so I'm profiting on it as an additional income stream.

          Now work doesn't matter. It was a lot of stress having two jobs, and I had to kiss a lot of ass to balance it, but now I can live on one. I take extra jobs now and then (above my full time one) to gravy a bit more on my assets. I have few bills, so I'm maxing out my savings. Since the beginning I maxed anything I could save and lived on the smallest amount I could. i never went the management track so I wasn't locked into one company.

          Now I have hundreds of thousands in the bank and tax free investments and I lost plenty in the real-estate bust before that. However I have no debt, I have assets. My held liabiilities (real estate) is offest by rental income.

          I've helped some coworkers in the philosophy of getting out of debt, and now, like a crazy cult, we meet at lunch and they're excited about how soon they'll pay off a second mortgage, or a car, and things like that. They actually LIKE the idea of doing math and setting budgets, and seeing how a $20 here and there in expenses can cause large changes to their debt levels.

          As a counter point, people used to tell me that I'm living life not to its potential, not having fun, I might die any moment, or I'll retire early and not be healthy enough. I am constantly abused by friends telling me to spend money (above the triple minimum wage I've set myself at) because I'm...what...not keeping up with the Jones' or something?

          I remember being mocked, because in 2007 I was talking to my boss about buying a home and I was looking at some double wides on an acre, or a cheap 2/1 outside of town, and being told I was "stupid" because I should get a mortgage for as much house as I could max out on my credit. I guess I disappointed him.

        • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

          by sonamchauhan (587356) <sonamc@gm a i l .com> on Monday March 17, 2014 @06:46AM (#46504131) Journal

          All good, except....

          > don't borrow money... not for a house
          That depends - a home is a *secured* loan. You can always 'give it back' and rent. A *humble* home is better than renting for decades.

          > You don't need to drink, to ..., to have a spouse or to have children.
          No. (Almost all) people *need* a spouse. For love, for the work of life. On the purely economic side, its efficient to have 2 (or 1.5) incomes to pay one mortgage, two people to share household goods, groceries, cooking, cleaning...

          > ... you *wlll* have money unless your health significantly fails.
          Your health will (almost certainly) fail if you strike it out without a spouse.

        • > don't borrow money. Ever.

          I know that seems like common sense, but the very rich have engineered it so that it's stupid NOT to borrow money. This is what makes us all slaves. You HAVE to borrow money because if you have decent credit, a mortgage is as cheap or cheaper than renting. Saving won't work due to inflation.

          But that's why the financial system is rigged. The middle class has to borrow from the rich and pay them, making them richer. We also have to put our money at risk in the stock market becaus

    • Re:Move. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:20AM (#46502843)

      Holy shit, how can people be so clueless. You think an unemployed programmer should just pack up his family, ditch his mortgage, and move to fucking Vietnam to work for a dollar a day? When is he going to find the time to learn a language, while he's struggling to feed his family? How's he going to afford the trip? What makes you think his chosen country will even allow him to immigrate in the first place? What makes you think there will even be jobs there, if the problem is technology making human labor unnecessary?

      No, you know what he can, should, and will do? He'll fucking murder you, and take your stuff. If your world view relies on the underclass laying down and dying for your convenience, you're going to be in for a rude, and fully deserved, awakening.

    • You seem to assume that open borders are a two-way street. Guess what, it's a hell of a lot easier for a Chinese or Indian person to get a US working visa than it is the other way around(note I didn't say impossible, but both countries are extremely protectionist of their native workforces)
  • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:28PM (#46502595)

    What is this? "Read the headline and comment" day? Greenspan is saying that the US education system is broken, and needs to be fixed.

    "We cannot manage our very complex, highly sophisticated capital structure with what's coming out of our high schools," said Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve."

    He talks about having to expand the H-1B system if we don't actually address the problems in our education system here in America. Read the fucking article, people.

    • by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:36PM (#46502627) Journal

      "We cannot manage our very complex, highly sophisticated capital structure with what's coming out of our high schools," said Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve."

      That's a red herring, because we don't need to; we need to manage it with what's coming out of our universities.

    • by PPH (736903) on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:04AM (#46502775)

      "We cannot manage our very complex, highly sophisticated capital structure with what's coming out of our high schools," said Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

      That complexity and sophistication turns out to have been a game designed to keep worthless securities moving in the derivatives market. Standardized, regulated OTC derivatives was something Greenspan fought against. And then later admitted that he'd messed up. Standardized derivative contracts are the sorts of things that don't take Wall Street geniuses to generate. That becomes a clerical function that the average banker/broker can handle.

      if we don't actually address the problems in our education system here in America.

      One of the biggest problems of our American higher education system is the practice of injecting funds into the system as student loans. Loans that push the demand side of the higher education market up, causing an endless cycle of bigger loans and higher tuition. As a side effect, securitized student loans provide the investment market with a near zero risk of income due to the difficulty of loan discharge through bankruptcy. Another gift to the 1%.

      Provide more direct assistance for tuition, effectively making the government a 'single payer' in the market with more clout to hold tuition and other expenses down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:32PM (#46502605)

    a few decades ago to shift some gravel or move some snow it took a crew of people with shovels. now, one guy in a skid-steer. dozens of people doing paperwork fixed by software. auto manufacturing relies on robots. technology kills jobs all the time. and technology is exponential, we can expect to remove huge swaths of jobs in the coming years. our economy is going to have to shift. we need robots doing everything for us but we need them to be in some way financed so that they can do the work without the bulk of the population dying of starvation. if that means rebellion against robocorp, or richman inc, then so be it :)

  • "Bill Gates and Alan Greenspan, in separate forums here, offered outlooks and prescriptions for fixing jobs and income."

    One fucked up the software industry and the other fucked up the world economy, what an example ...
  • by overshoot (39700) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:44PM (#46502669)

    Greenspan is right that taking the lid off of immigration will drive the top of the wage scale down, greatly reducing wage inequality.

    Gates is right that there's one "job" that won't be automated: ownership.

    I confess that I am assuming that Greenspan (who was never a dummy) is talking about wage, rather than income inequality. Otherwise I'm not sure how he expects a rise in immigration to do anything but accelerate the shift of income from wages to rents.

  • In related news, Mr. Greenspan has no clue about inequity in stratified markets. If you push on the top, you just compress the layers into smaller layers, with the bottom filling until it can absorb no more. Then you get slums, riots, and chaos. The only way the market works is with a strong middle class with buying potential. Without that there is no market, and hence no profits or growth. Once that contract is broken, it's not a long way to the bottom for most.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:47PM (#46502691)

    "If we're not going to educate our kids, bring in other people who want to become Americans," said Greenspan, in arguing for an increase of H-1B workers.

    H-1B is not a path to citizenship, apparently by design. Green card holders can say "Screw you, I quit" without deportation, which is not what companies want when they reach for H-1B's.

    In the context of income inequality, Greenspan put the H-1B program in his light: If the program were expanded, income wouldn't necessarily go down much, "but I bet you they would go down enough to really make an impact, because income inequality is a relative concept.

    H-1B's are competing for the bottom. Executives don't bring in indentured servants to be their own replacement, nor are meaningful numbers being placed into "rock star" slots (rock stars can command perks like actual green card status anyway). H-1B's only drive down the wages of the bottom, not the top, exacerbating wealth disparity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:51PM (#46502707)

    And that Greenspan and Gates are telling you about H1-B's is only half the story.

    The other half of the story is that there aren't enough Green cards to give out for the H1-B's that are in line for them. So you end up with H1-B workers in essentially indentured servitude to their employer with no bargaining power driving down wages for everyone else.

    Increasing Green cards for existing H1-B workers currently in the US will help the US economy a lot more than creating more indentured servitude.

    A little background: The number of Green cards is set by Congress. In 1999 congress increased the number of H1-B's to 190,000 but left the number of employment based Green cards at 135,000. The rule of thumb is that you need 2.2 Green cards for every H1-B issued to satisfy demand (because H1-B workers normally come with spouses and kids). To satisfy demand, they should have increased Green cards to 400,000 when they increased the H1-B numbers to 190,000 - but they didn't.

    This created a huge backlog of people waiting for their Green cards - including me. I am 31 years old, I did some math, I will be 62 by the time I get mine at the current rate.

    The corporations LOVE the idea of creating more H1-B's but you don't hear a peep about increasing the number of Green Cards. They claim that increasing H1-B's will increase innovation and so on - but without a commensurate increase in Green cards, that is complete nonsense. Someone who has been stuck at the same job for decades can hardly innovate.

    FYI: Congress is trying to increase the number of H1-B's without increasing the number again (to the magic 195,000 again) http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2131 . Call your Congressman/Senator and tell him/her to vote against the bill unless it includes a commensurate increase in H1-B's. The Bill is HR-2131. http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2131

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:54PM (#46502721)

    People who are absolutely at the top of the scale in 1925, for instance, would be getting food stamps today, said Greenspan.

    Has Greenspan blown the dust off his Rolodex lately? I can't think of anybody with the last name "Rockefeller" or "Vanderbilt" in 2014 that's hurting for cash.

  • by careysub (976506) on Monday March 17, 2014 @12:11AM (#46502813)

    In the New York Times Conservative columnist was opining last June that what the what the lower economic brackets really need is to develop a "rich inner life" and derive joy and satisfaction from whatever they have, rather than "focus on external wealth". if they are unhappy with their lot they have only themselves to blame.

    That's right folks, the solution to extreme inequality is for the poor to learn to make themselves happy! Just as the solution for inequality for Greenspan is to compress the Middle Class downward, make those who aren't struggling a lot, struggle a lot more.

    No, no don't look at the rich and super-rich! You're just making yourself unhappy - shame on you! Trust us you don't want, and shouldn't have a bigger share of the rewards of your labor, really those that have the most really need more of what you have

    In other news, the New York Times had a front-page article comparing the health and longevity of two groups of Americans living close to each other - one wealthy and one poor. Guess what? The poor are in poor health and die sooner.

    That's right. Inequality is killing people. Telling them to be happy ain't going to make them live longer, and making the upper middle class poorer won't do it either.

    It is quite apparent the plutocrats have an army of sycophants ready bury us in platitudes to divert any attention from how the entire nation is rigged to their advantage.

  • CEOs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Monday March 17, 2014 @01:55AM (#46503149)

    ... said Greenspan. 'You don't have to necessarily bring up the bottom if you bring the top down.'

    Sounds like Greenspan is arguing for a CEO salary cap. I'd say 25 times the lowest paid contractor or worker in the CEO's organization cap on CEO pay would go a lot more toward lessening this income inequality.

  • by Ultracrepidarian (576183) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:39AM (#46503617)

    By the same logic, we could close the gender gap by paying men 20% less.

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries

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