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Foxconn's 'Foxbot' robots will assist human workers at major iPhone factory, report says

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Following up on news that Foxconn would soon deploy robots on assembly lines dedicated to Apple products, a report out of Asia claims the so-called "Foxbots" will have a limited role in device assembly as humans are still needed for most operations.




According to industry insiders, Foxconn's Foxbots will only assist human workers by locking down screws, polishing parts and performing other menial duties when they are finally installed on the production line, reports Taiwan's United Daily News.

The publication's sources said workers are still required for final assembly and quality control of various procedures, though the final robot-to-human ratio is unclear. These people also expect the Foxbots to roll out at Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou, which is responsible for manufacturing Apple's top-tier iPhone products.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou on Sunday said his company's Foxbots have reached the final stage of testing and would see deployment in at least one major factory. For its first rollout, the firm is reportedly planning to field as many as 10,000 robots at a cost of $20,000 to $25,000 each. Following the initial 10,000-unit batch, Gou said he expects Foxconn's factories to get Foxbots at a rate of 30,000 per year.

In November of last year, the Zhengzhou plant supposedly hit capacity in making up for low iPhone 5s supplies, churning out some 500,000 units per day on a 24-hour operating schedule. At the time, production of the iPhone 5s was said to require 600 workers per assembly line, compared to 500 people for the previous generation iPhone 5.

If Tuesday's report is accurate, Foxconn's robot initiative may be a move to accelerate iPhone build times, not replace existing employees as previously thought. The theory jibes with rumors from June that claimed the firm will hire some 100,000 new workers in a ramp up to iPhone 6 production this month.

Apple is expected to release two new iPhone models with 4.7-inch and 5.5.-inch screen sizes when the usual refresh cycle comes around in September. Bearing the same overall aesthetic, both versions are expected to be completely redesigned with a thinner chassis more akin to the current iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. Some analysts believe Apple will attempt to differentiate the larger "phablet" variant from its smaller siblings by adding high-end features like optical image stabilization and more onboard storage.

Although Apple has yet to announce the next-gen iPhone, recent rumors have already guessed at a launch date on either Sept. 25 or on Sept. 19.
post #2 of 37
Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?
post #3 of 37

Well it's a good thing too!  I guess Apple won't be buying robots of its own and using them in factories in the US.  Phew!

post #4 of 37

Same thing we did with all the people manually rewriting books before the manual printing press was invented, typesetters before digital printing was invented, elevator operators before push button elevators were invented, pinsetters before bowling alleys were automated, icemen who delivered ice before the fridge was invented, lamplighters for street gas lamps, before electricity was invented,  telegraph operators before the Internet was invented and phone operators before phone switches were automated.

 

We kill them.

 

Just kidding, they find something else to do.

post #5 of 37

Robots have been in use in factories for decades and there are close to 2 million already deployed just in manufacturing. These are simply automated machinery, not C-3PO science fiction comic book fantasy androids capable of doing anything at all on their own. The manufacture and use of robots creates lots of jobs for manufacturing, technology, and knowledge workers.

 

Societies may be in deep, deep trouble but it's not going to be a result of robots being used in manufacturing or any other form of highly repetitive, mundane, high precision, or dangerous processes or tasks that are more efficiently done by programmable machinery. A quick perusal of the daily headlines seems to indicate that the meat based automatons who are currently running our societies seem to be more than capable and determined to destroy our societies unaided by any programmable machinery whatsoever. 

post #6 of 37

I recall commenting on the necessary synergy between human and machine just the other day, and how stupid it would be for FOXCONN to can it's human staffing.

post #7 of 37
I think that the more robots are used for jobs, the more free money there will be to go around. Right now, we have welfare, food stamps, and all kinds of programs for those in need.. many of which didn't exist a hundred years ago. Only now that there's more to go around, because of the increased prosperity - in part because of the increased productivity, has this been possible. It used to take someone hours to do laundry (and that wasn't long ago). Milking cows, tilling land, building houses has been optimized through machinery to make more free time. It seems to make sense that we have more to go around because of increased productivity. I heard the president ask why the richest nation in the world didn't have free health care. In other words, he expects everyone in this country to receive free benefits because of the collective prosperity. That's a big change in mentality over the last hundred years. As less jobs are needed, I see more money allocated for those who don't do anything.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?

Simple. Manufacture fewer humans. We really don't need to take over every ecological niche on the planet. We could decide to leave some room for nature. It's our choice as a supposedly intelligent species.
I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?

Our societies are deeply involved with robot-assisted production. Sooner than YOU think, there will be more jobs created for those who are willing to learn new skills which are not replaceable by machines. Maybe sooner than YOU think there will be fewer excuses for those UNwilling to learn new skills and to work to be supported by those who ARE willing to learn and to work.

Daniel Swanson

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Daniel Swanson

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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?

 

How are you with foot massages.

When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinpublic View Post

I think that the more robots are used for jobs, the more free money there will be to go around. Right now, we have welfare, food stamps, and all kinds of programs for those in need.. many of which didn't exist a hundred years ago. Only now that there's more to go around, because of the increased prosperity - in part because of the increased productivity, has this been possible. It used to take someone hours to do laundry (and that wasn't long ago). Milking cows, tilling land, building houses has been optimized through machinery to make more free time. It seems to make sense that we have more to go around because of increased productivity. I heard Obama ask why the richest nation in the world didn't have free health care. In other words, he expects everyone in this country to receive free benefits because of the collective prosperity. That's a big change in mentality over the last hundred years. As less jobs are needed, I see more money allocated for those who don't do anything.

This works until you run out of cheaply attained resources. Technology can help to extract raw materials from among those remaining available, and can help to mitigate and even reverse the adverse effects of resource consumption, such as pollution and other adverse environmental alterations. But using less, even to the point where natural cycles, which act as a massive and efficient machine to cleanse and recycle, can keep ahead of us, should be considered part of the answer. So conservation and, dare I say, fewer new humans being manufactured, should be options to consider.
I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
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post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post
 

Our societies are deeply involved with robot-assisted production. Sooner than YOU think, there will be more jobs created for those who are willing to learn new skills which are not replaceable by machines. Maybe sooner than YOU think there will be fewer excuses for those UNwilling to learn new skills and to work to be supported by those who ARE willing to learn and to work.


Pretty much. A decent amount of the unemployed simply have skills that are no longer marketable. Meanwhile, there' s a serious shortage of skilled tradesmen in this country. Plumbers, welders, electricians, all jobs that pay pretty well on average. But most aren't going for those jobs; after all, they're not fancy and you don't get a nice office. :rolleyes:

post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?

How are you with foot massages.

Indeed, relevant question. Also, how much for a Happy End¿
post #14 of 37

Okay this does not surprise me, as I said in the other thread on this topic I would be surprised if the China government would allow this, they do not like robots doing things a human can do. China is all about jobs for peasants, not robots.

 

Every factory in China I saw with any sort of automation usually had a person still operating the machine. All that person did was to press a button to start the operation even though that could have been automated as well. So what you see and all their robots and automation systems with a human standing or sitting in from of them pressing a button and then you had others walking around loading machine with material if need be and then others who were checking on everyone work (button pushing).  If you saw the same factory in another country, you would see 1/3 of the work force as seen in China. 

post #15 of 37
We certainly don't have a fair taxation system today. Rather than give the government more ways to collect money unfairly maybe we could simply make the current system less complex and less easy to game. Better government is certainly better than no government. Just look at Irag or Syria if you need a refresher course on why we need a government. The only new tax I would add would be a tax on having more than one child. The need for a permanent reversable form of birth control is certainly accute, but a high tax with increasing penalties for more than 2 children would help. Non citizens could be taxed at a higher rate.

Robots are not the problem. Good governance that is not corrupted by money is the problem. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme court stands with Plessy v Ferguson as one of the worst decisions every made by the US Supreme court.
post #16 of 37
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Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

Okay this does not surprise me, as I said in the other thread on this topic I would be surprised if the China government would allow this, they do not like robots doing things a human can do. China is all about jobs for peasants, not robots.

 

Every factory in China I saw with any sort of automation usually had a person still operating the machine. All that person did was to press a button to start the operation even though that could have been automated as well. So what you see and all their robots and automation systems with a human standing or sitting in from of them pressing a button and then you had others walking around loading machine with material if need be and then others who were checking on everyone work (button pushing).  If you saw the same factory in another country, you would see 1/3 of the work force as seen in China. 

"Button pushing"… You mean like operating a computer? That seems like a weird job.

post #17 of 37
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Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

"Button pushing"… You mean like operating a computer? That seems like a weird job.

No I mean a little green or red button that they push to start the operation or stop the operation. The machine does everything else.

post #18 of 37
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Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

No I mean a little green or red button that they push to start the operation or stop the operation. The machine does everything else.

 

sort of like pushing a button and 'Siri, find me a good chinese restaurant'?  

 

no  really, those machines that take a repetitive and low tolerance for variance task and complete it faster and more accurately.

 

 

We pay professional athletes MILLIONS of dollars, and using basketball as a measure, the most highly trained can only achieve 90% accuracy when putting a 9" diameter ball into an 18" diameter hole from a fixed height and distance. (we're not talking Dwight Howard here).

 

If you eliminated 99.9% of those failures (now a 99.99 accuracy), and increased their ability to shoot from 5 seconds per shot to 5 shots per second (25X),  and they need no breaks (another 90 minutes per shift), you've increased productivity 30 fold.   You've also lowered the cost of training for the human from learning the complex task, to 'take the blanks out of barrel X, put them in feed chute Y, and take finished work product in Bin Z, and roll it over to assembly point A.'   

 

You've cut 29 workers who needed months of training to get skilled, to a person who can push a broom and lift 30 lbs and notice when the red light is on the robot because it's tolerances were exceeded.   

 

This is what you need to do if you want to feed a customer who wants 2GB RAM 128GB Flash 5" iPhones that cost $299 unsubsidized (;-) )

(Read: I don't understand what the issue is here?... you want to go back to rickshaws and hand planted rice to ensure 100% employment?)


Edited by TheOtherGeoff - 7/9/14 at 7:30am
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
 

 

sort of like pushing a button and 'Siri, find me a good chinese restaurant'?  

yes it enable the mindless

post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

"Button pushing"… You mean like operating a computer? That seems like a weird job.

No I mean a little green or red button that they push to start the operation or stop the operation. The machine does everything else.

I'm sorry… You understand these are 21st century robots; not 1950s die stamps, right?

post #21 of 37
That image always makes me dream about a larger iPad that would look just like that. It would be great.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinpublic View Post

I think that the more robots are used for jobs, the more free money there will be to go around. Right now, we have welfare, food stamps, and all kinds of programs for those in need.. many of which didn't exist a hundred years ago. Only now that there's more to go around, because of the increased prosperity - in part because of the increased productivity, has this been possible. It used to take someone hours to do laundry (and that wasn't long ago). Milking cows, tilling land, building houses has been optimized through machinery to make more free time. It seems to make sense that we have more to go around because of increased productivity. I heard the president ask why the richest nation in the world didn't have free health care. In other words, he expects everyone in this country to receive free benefits because of the collective prosperity. That's a big change in mentality over the last hundred years. As less jobs are needed, I see more money allocated for those who don't do anything.

It's in part due to the way banks leverage their assets but productivity helps to keep it stable. Most people try to own their own home and that's where a huge chunk of long-term debt comes from that people pay off with many years of work and banks take the interest. If they aren't productive enough or the interest rates increase, it collapses as happened in 2008. While some see a system that provides for the lower incomes groups as reprehensible, the alternative as history has shown is far worse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland)

Imagine if nearly 1/4 of the US population died from hunger. It's not as if people supported by the state live in luxury, they get by on the basics.

If houses could be built cheaper like this little hobbit house:

http://www.gizmag.com/low-impact-hobbit-home/20058/

there wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem. Every single person in the US could be mortgage-free with 1-2 years of the national budget. Zero homeless.

The issue isn't about people working or not, it's about a sustainable high quality of life. Driving people into debt, making them work long hours for little pay to promote the wealth of the tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority is not sustaining a high quality of life.

There should be more robots taking over menial jobs that are degrading for a human being. This includes serving fast food, cleaning, garbage collection and factory work. If there are no jobs to keep the remainder, they'd have no choice but to be supported by the state but like I say, with affordable housing it's a non-issue and if employers bring in maximum working hours like in France, there's more job opportunities.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

I'm sorry… You understand these are 21st century robots; not 1950s die stamps, right?

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post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


It's in part due to the way banks leverage their assets but productivity helps to keep it stable. Most people try to own their own home and that's where a huge chunk of long-term debt comes from that people pay off with many years of work and banks take the interest. If they aren't productive enough or the interest rates increase, it collapses as happened in 2008. While some see a system that provides for the lower incomes groups as reprehensible, the alternative as history has shown is far worse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland)

Imagine if nearly 1/4 of the US population died from hunger. It's not as if people supported by the state live in luxury, they get by on the basics.

If houses could be built cheaper like this little hobbit house:

http://www.gizmag.com/low-impact-hobbit-home/20058/

there wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem. Every single person in the US could be mortgage-free with 1-2 years of the national budget. Zero homeless.

The issue isn't about people working or not, it's about a sustainable high quality of life. Driving people into debt, making them work long hours for little pay to promote the wealth of the tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority is not sustaining a high quality of life.

There should be more robots taking over menial jobs that are degrading for a human being. This includes serving fast food, cleaning, garbage collection and factory work. If there are no jobs to keep the remainder, they'd have no choice but to be supported by the state but like I say, with affordable housing it's a non-issue and if employers bring in maximum working hours like in France, there's more job opportunities.

 

I've never bought into the "must own a house" mentality. When people blindly follow crowds on their big life-changing decisions, they tend to make mistakes. One size does not fit all.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I've never bought into the "must own a house" mentality. When people blindly follow crowds on their big life-changing decisions, they tend to make mistakes. One size does not fit all.

Someone needs to own the property you live in and everyone needs to live in a property. The choices are you own something yourself or you rent permanently. Renting is fine up until you retire. After that, if you don't have sufficient savings or private pension you're a burden on the state and you wouldn't want to take handouts for that I assume.

If housing was affordable (under $50k), most people could pay it off within 5-10 years. This would allow salaries to be lower and help businesses. It also makes it much easier to move around because the high purchase prices wouldn't be a barrier.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Someone needs to own the property you live in and everyone needs to live in a property. The choices are you own something yourself or you rent permanently. Renting is fine up until you retire. After that, if you don't have sufficient savings or private pension you're a burden on the state and you wouldn't want to take handouts for that I assume.

If housing was affordable (under $50k), most people could pay it off within 5-10 years. This would allow salaries to be lower and help businesses. It also makes it much easier to move around because the high purchase prices wouldn't be a barrier.

In my case, I am not a "burden on the state", trust me.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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GOA

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post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


In my case, I am not a "burden on the state", trust me.

No just to us, hahahhahaha, I kid, I kid. :p

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post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post
 

I'm sorry… You understand these are 21st century robots; not 1950s die stamps, right?

Have you been in these factories, I have and these machines could run without single human involved, but due to China labor laws, not automated machine can run without and operator involved. There are very few exception and to get the exception you have to petition the government to allow not human to be involved.

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


It's in part due to the way banks leverage their assets but productivity helps to keep it stable. Most people try to own their own home and that's where a huge chunk of long-term debt comes from that people pay off with many years of work and banks take the interest. If they aren't productive enough or the interest rates increase, it collapses as happened in 2008. While some see a system that provides for the lower incomes groups as reprehensible, the alternative as history has shown is far worse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland)

Imagine if nearly 1/4 of the US population died from hunger. It's not as if people supported by the state live in luxury, they get by on the basics.

If houses could be built cheaper like this little hobbit house:

http://www.gizmag.com/low-impact-hobbit-home/20058/

there wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem. Every single person in the US could be mortgage-free with 1-2 years of the national budget. Zero homeless.

The issue isn't about people working or not, it's about a sustainable high quality of life. Driving people into debt, making them work long hours for little pay to promote the wealth of the tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority is not sustaining a high quality of life.

There should be more robots taking over menial jobs that are degrading for a human being. This includes serving fast food, cleaning, garbage collection and factory work. If there are no jobs to keep the remainder, they'd have no choice but to be supported by the state but like I say, with affordable housing it's a non-issue and if employers bring in maximum working hours like in France, there's more job opportunities.

 

I tend to agree with your analysis, however, the issue in the US and I see it all the time. the average person does not want affordable housing, people want that biggest and best house around. In my area I see so many people who are house poor, they buy a house which they can barely afford and have no money left to furnish the house, so they fill it with junk. Around me they keep building bigger and bigger houses, why because their are people willing to buy them and put the risk on the banks and the rest of public. The reason the builders build big homes is the town is unwilling to put in infrastructure in the name of land preservation. They feel if the infrastructure exist, then more homes will be build on the same amount of land, so they trying to buy up land and do not upgrade systems. In the end the land that is left is used to build fewer bigger homes which few people can really afford. But that is okay there is enough people who are willing over extend themselves to have these big homes.

 

Automation is not a bad things, it just means the populations has to pull themselves up to the next leave and do a higher level job. Today there are no factories in every town or city for the average person to work in. But there are other jobs which required different skills, but again people are not interested in learning new skills they want to keep doing what they always have done. This goes along with this whole minimum wage discussion, these kinds of job were not meant to sustain a household, they are for kids and part time help. For some reason people have an expectation that they should live their entire life off a minimum wage job. Hell even my kids know enough that they do not want a minimum wage job, so they went out and found jobs which paid more and a lot more, but guess what it requires that you actually work hard. The one job my son had they place said they paid more for the job due to the fact they could not get people to do the work, most would quite in a short period of time. My son stay in the job the longest of anyone they hired and the only reason he left was to back to school.


Edited by Maestro64 - 7/11/14 at 9:01am
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?

The devil will make work for them.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
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post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Our societies are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe sooner than we think, most people will not be needed for work. What do we do then, with all the idle hands?

How are you with foot massages.

Indeed, relevant question. Also, how much for a Happy End¿

I probably shouldn’t ask what that is.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
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post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I've never bought into the "must own a house" mentality. When people blindly follow crowds on their big life-changing decisions, they tend to make mistakes. One size does not fit all.

Someone needs to own the property you live in and everyone needs to live in a property. The choices are you own something yourself or you rent permanently. Renting is fine up until you retire. After that, if you don't have sufficient savings or private pension you're a burden on the state and you wouldn't want to take handouts for that I assume.

If housing was affordable (under $50k), most people could pay it off within 5-10 years. This would allow salaries to be lower and help businesses. It also makes it much easier to move around because the high purchase prices wouldn't be a barrier.

But if salaries were lower, there would be less disposable income, leading to a depression, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
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post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I probably shouldn’t ask what that is.

Looks like you're already shooting straight to the correct answer.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

But if salaries were lower, there would be less disposable income, leading to a depression, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

Salaries would just be lower by the amount that normally goes on housing so the disposable income would be unchanged, it could even be higher. Some people pay out the majority of their salaries on rent or mortgages:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-20943576

"Up to 59% of a typical London family's income is spent on rents, a study by housing charity Shelter has revealed."

If they owned cheaper houses, the companies employing them could cut their salaries (and possibly working hours) by 50% and they'd still have more disposable income. The companies could even hire two people on the same 50% salary and make more profit from their work if the working hours weren't cut by half. There are stats here showing outstanding mortgage debt in the US being $13 trillion (that's around $65k of debt per person aged 18-65):

http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/releases/mortoutstand/current.htm

This debt doesn't need to be anywhere near that high if housing was more affordable. The entire GDP of the US is around $16 trillion. People are effectively working to pay off debt to own property that doesn't need to exist. The money lenders won't want to give this up but it's how criminal gangs work. They give you something or do a favor for you and expect the debt repaid over a long time. Money lenders want to tie people into a lifetime of debt and keep people borderline destitute so that there's a level of dependence.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

But if salaries were lower, there would be less disposable income, leading to a depression, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

If anyone tells you we're not in a recession/depression right now, I have news for you... the reason the stock market is up, while the rest of the economy is stuck in mud is because of Fed lending rates and the free cash that is sloshing around, looking for fast returns. That particular party (quantitative easing) supposedly ends in October, so we'll see what happens then.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

But if salaries were lower, there would be less disposable income, leading to a depression, not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

Salaries would just be lower by the amount that normally goes on housing so the disposable income would be unchanged, it could even be higher. Some people pay out the majority of their salaries on rent or mortgages:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-20943576

"Up to 59% of a typical London family's income is spent on rents, a study by housing charity Shelter has revealed."

If they owned cheaper houses, the companies employing them could cut their salaries (and possibly working hours) by 50% and they'd still have more disposable income. The companies could even hire two people on the same 50% salary and make more profit from their work if the working hours weren't cut by half. There are stats here showing outstanding mortgage debt in the US being $13 trillion (that's around $65k of debt per person aged 18-65):

http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/releases/mortoutstand/current.htm

This debt doesn't need to be anywhere near that high if housing was more affordable. The entire GDP of the US is around $16 trillion. People are effectively working to pay off debt to own property that doesn't need to exist. The money lenders won't want to give this up but it's how criminal gangs work. They give you something or do a favor for you and expect the debt repaid over a long time. Money lenders want to tie people into a lifetime of debt and keep people borderline destitute so that there's a level of dependence.

You're living in cloud cuckoo land.

The reason property is so expensive is because that is the value the market has placed on it. You can't just propose arbitrarily lowering prices, as though that is some malleable construct.

If suddenly millions of people could afford much bigger houses, you would create a huge imbalance in the economy which would end in disaster. You can't beat poverty by making things cheaper unless you're a communist state; if you reduce prices against the market, you simply make everyone poorer.

Capitalism works.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

The reason property is so expensive is because that is the value the market has placed on it. You can't just propose arbitrarily lowering prices, as though that is some malleable construct.

It's supply and demand, same reason diamonds are so expensive. Same reason wages are so low in poorer countries as there's an oversupply of workers. The way to lower demand and prices is to increase supply. If a not-for-profit produced inexpensive houses for low income earners, it takes away the demand for higher priced property forcing them to lower prices. We saw this happen in 2008, nobody had any money to buy houses so demand fell and house prices collapsed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

If suddenly millions of people could afford much bigger houses, you would create a huge imbalance in the economy which would end in disaster. You can't beat poverty by making things cheaper unless you're a communist state; if you reduce prices against the market, you simply make everyone poorer.

Lowering prices raises quality of life, not the other way round. How would raising prices tackle poverty? Let's say that there came a day when everyone could pay off their mortgage in 10 years, explain how that makes everyone poorer. By definition, more people are better off. The people worse off are the minority who can't sustain the insane prices on high-end properties because the demand is lower. It doesn't take away the demand entirely because people will still want nicer homes.

The disaster you're describing is where you completely remove an incentive for doing a better job, which promotes laziness. In other words if everyone gets an equal reward for unequal contribution then it ends in disaster. That's never what I'd suggest. I simply promote a differently weighted reward distribution that lowers the reward for the small minority to raise the quality of life for the majority.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Capitalism works.

That term is not well-defined. Every successful system is a balance between free enterprise and welfare, there is no successful implementation that is wholly one or the other.

What is unnecessary is human suffering. Take these examples:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/07/11/stars-who-were-once-homeless/slide/jim-carrey/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1346063/I-wanted-bash-someones-head-Jim-Carrey-gets-emotional-reveals-familys-poverty-heartache.html

"He and his three older siblings had a normal middle class upbringing until his father lost his job when Carrey was 12 years old.
He said: 'My father lost his job when he was 51 and that was the real "wow", the kick in the guts.
'We lived in a van for a while, and we worked all together as security guards and janitors. I quit school at age 15 to begin working to help support my family as a janitor. I'd have a baseball bat on my janitor cart because I was so angry I just wanted to beat the heck out of something.'
He added that working 'an eight hour day in a factory' after school left him wanting to 'bash somebody's head in'.
And he said it knocked his confidence so much that he went from being a 'straight-A student to not wanting to know anybody's name, and not wanting to make a friend.'"

The link above shows a few famous people who reached a point where they were living out of their cars. Some people get a sick sense of pride when they hear about rags to riches stories like that as though it's the only way to breed success but it's not. People from privileged upbringings have gone on to be just as successful as those without.
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