The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ANOTHER THING I DON'T UNDERSTAND AND WHAT I FIND DISTURBING ABOUT IT

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - OCTOBER 25:   People visit ...GUANGZHOU, CHINA - a plastic toy exhibition booth during the 110th China Import And Export Fair . (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

            The other day I heard a report on the radio that said that the biggest U.S. export to China is--are you ready for this?--the biggest export to China is garbage.  That's as in literal trash.  Waste products.

             We ship tons of our waste to China.  They recycle it back into new products and ship those products back to us for us to turn those into more trash to ship back to them.   The upside is that at least less of our trash is going into landfills.  But what does this say about us as far as our productivity?

            In my research on this topic I found a correlation between the United States and the Roman Empire. According to Economy In Crisis, as the Roman Empire reached its fall Rome was importing everything and its only export was garbage.  The U.S. still produces a lot of goods to keep it self-sustaining, but we seem to be heading toward the day when we are totally dependent on other countries.  Would this be a wise thing to allow to happen?

            In all fairness, my research also showed that the United States still exports plenty of goods such as aircraft, automobiles, agricultural products, and many other goods.   We are not a non-productive country by any means, but we are becoming less productive.  The high unemployment figures are probably a good indicator of this.

           Then there is the market anomaly of our largest export on the worldwide scale--fuel and petroleum products.  And our largest import?  Fuel and petroleum products.  Here we Americans sit burdened with high fuel prices in hard economic times and the corporations in control of it all are playing a shell game with the commodities.  

            I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation to all of this back and forth chicanery and I'm certain that it all has to do with money.   But it's money that will mostly not end up in most of our pockets and most of us will never see the benefit of those profits.

             Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for capitalism, but I'm not sure this system should be synonymous with greed.   I can understand the need for businesses to cut operating costs, but at what cost to society?   I think of all of the textile and furniture companies that used to be in North Carolina and other places.  Many of those products are now being produced overseas and the American factories are shuttered.   I look at the "made in" labels and stamps that appear on so many products in the stores.  Not many of those say "Made in the U.S.A."

             My rant could continue for many more thousand words, but since I try to keep my posts relatively short I need to stop.  And like I've said before, there's a lot I don't understand and I'm no economic expert.  I don't know that any one person out there can adequately address all of my concerns to appease me totally, and I might not believe them anyway.  Besides this is not the biggest thing that is disturbing me at the moment.

             Let me get back to the Facebook issue that I was talking about on Monday.  One of the sources of income for Facebook and other such companies is the sale of virtual goods.   These virtual goods include clothing and accessories for avatars and assets such as tractors and equipment for Farmville or other such games or virtual worlds.

             Okay, fun is fun, but escaping into a virtual world might be inclining toward something more scary than we might normally think.  If we start letting China make our real tractors while some U.S. internet company is making imaginary tractors that we buy and sell to work imaginary fields on an imaginary farm with---well you get the picture.   In fact, you can go to Facebook and get on Farmville and you can see the picture.  And if you want, you can become your avatar and do imaginary work.

            Whew!  That opens a whole can of worms that I won't even get into here.  It all just makes me wonder where we are heading.   We have been reduced to data, trends, and demographics.

             What industries have disappeared in the area where you live?   How is your local job market?  What is your favorite virtual world?   Or do you avoid virtual play?   What is your favorite form of escapism?   What do you think the economic future is of the United States or where you are located?



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45 comments:

  1. Man with statistics like this it's incredibly hard to argue that China seriously is taking over in everything out there. The job market locally for me is really bad as you can tell from my blogging about it, it's almost impossible to find work these days.

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  2. This was so interesting to read and something I have never thought about.
    As for Facebook I don't play the games but virtual places like Facebook stops one from going out and meeting real friends.

    Blogs are different as people are writing about their books and poetry or whatever skill they have,

    Thanks Lee for a most interesting issue.

    Yvonne.

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  3. ...troubling stats, Arlee. Looking forward to the day when I hear that we're leading the world in green energy, as opposed to our dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

    The job market here remains steady but tentative. Jobs are available for those in search of work, although perhaps not the perfect situation. If a paycheck is priority, however, one can be had.

    El

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  4. Great research you did there. I must say it's similar for many countries, in my country a lot of coal mines have been shut down, and a lot of things that could easily be locally made are imported from China. People there seem to live off "a bowl of rice", and the middle men rake up the actual profits.

    Anyway, I also want to know, where are we headed... I see something like the movie Surrogates (I think, with Bruce Willis).. :>

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  5. Hi, Lee,

    Well, you certainly bring up some VERY VALLID points... As for your questions, that would take all day. But we, as Americans, need to know what's going on around us. With another presidential election nipping at our heals, the informed citizen will hopefully make the right choice.

    What that is? Whose to say... we are certainly in a mess. I don't see any easy fixes here. It will take decades to clean up the mess of our former and present president.

    All we can do is PRAY and get the word out. You certainly are doing your part with today's post. You are making us think... that's a good thing!

    Thanks for the morning blast of reality.

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  6. This is why I think we should all go back to a system of bartering, where all worth and value is relative. Simpler times :)

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  7. The gas companies with the cheapest gas tend to be those who get oil from America. What would happen if they all did that?

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  8. So basically when I tell the grand kids that the dollar store toys they are salivating over are trash...they probably are.

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  9. When the floating slowly arriving Japanese tsunami-earthquack junk finaLLy makes it to North America, then we could send that back to China disguised as our garbage. At least it would already be oriental, which might possibly make it easier to rerererecycle, and then the Chinese could seLL the renewed junk to the Japanese, so that they have plenty of things to be affected by the neXt big tsu-quake, so there wiLL be "new" things re-floating towards us again ...

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  10. Hi Arlee
    ha! Garbage out, garbage in... pretty weird. At least the Chinese are recycling it into more (useless) products that we then buy. One of my sons lives over there, and I've been to China. It's actually a very cool place. There's Starbucks and the like, but there are also incredible ancient gardens and all the great tea you can drink. I am ever the optimist. Sure, Americans are greedy and chubby and stuff. They are also still innovative and adaptable.
    As for my fave simulated reality? My brain! I can go in there and wander and daydream entire worlds, while it looks as if I'm totally lazing on the outside.

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  11. This is way too big a topic to respend to in a comment so I'll just zero in on the games. When my kids were young, parents worried about kids sitting inside playing video games instead of playing real games outside with their friends. Now we have adults sitting at their computers spending money to play virtual games with virtual friends. My son and grandson meet online to play a game together, while they're sitting in the same room. What happened to our real lives?




































    +

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  12. Matthew -- I think the job situation in the U.S. is worse that most want to admit. Right now I think that a lot of the figures are imaginary and we are floating on credit.

    Yvonne--If I weren't on the computer there's a good chance I still would be reading and writing the old fashioned way. But you are right about the virtual nature of computers being a hindrance to having face to face encounters.

    Elliot -- To be the leader in innovation and production that makes us self-sufficient would be a good aspiration.

    Barbara -- My research was actually pretty shallow and done on a few news sites, but I think I tend to have somewhat accurate conclusions. China is becoming more affluent, but the socio-economic structure is falling into the same realms as the rest of the world. Communism still hasn't been working anywhere.

    Michael -- I think a lot of Americans are too busy living in virtual worlds or escaping in other ways to be paying much attention to what the government is doing.

    Jamie-- Bartering is probably more idealistic than practical. It might work okay in an intimate community setting, but on a broad national or international level I think it could present some big problems and become fueled by greed. We can dream of a day though.

    Diane - It might be good for our oil companies to try buying and selling within the country for a while. Right now I think we are funding our enemies.

    Delores -- Telling kids that the cheap toys are made out of garbage might give them something to think about.

    esbb-- Genius! Harvesting the floating detritus of the oceans might be an industry of the future. Someone should go get all of those plastic grocery bags that are supposedly floating out there. Besides all garbage looks alike so no one really knows where it comes from.

    Catherine - China is definitely going through a change of modernization and greater wealth as a result of their supplying the world with manufactured goods. The United States is not finished yet, but we need to start reevaluating our dependency.

    Lee

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  13. LD-- Your point is well made. We need to start interacting better.

    Lee

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  14. Sadly, Lee, America surrendered its manufacturing industry decades ago.

    When you have a service economy, how can you export anything?

    Eventually, manufacturing will come back to our shores-when we are the low-cost alternative.

    Guess what our economy will look like at that point?

    Larry

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  15. I think, actually, our biggest export is entertainment. On one level this really bothers me. It's so insubstantial, and I feel like we should be making things that are more concrete.
    However, it -is- entertainment. And it does bring money into the US from other countries. A lot of it, too.

    And, yeah, it is a shell game, and, no, none of is will see any of the money. It's only for the 1%.

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  16. I watch the teens now when they hang out or they are over. They seldom say much. They will literally tweet while in the same room. They are not learning how to communicate with each other in a healthy way. IMHO
    I often compare US to Rome. Sometimes I think we are headed it that direction ourselves. I hope we pay attention to history and start thinking about some changes.

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  17. I didn't know this about recycling to China, how interesting. Farmville? The biggest waste of time ever!

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  18. well i was talking to my husband last night--sort of along the same lines of your post, as far as the greed thing goes--and this is concerning free enterprise--i just do not get the reason companies want to pay their ceo and other top exec- these enormous salaries--it is almost like that you can do anything you want to and have the american dream is only there these days, if your dream is to live paycheck to paycheck----i don't know what my fav mode of escape is, maybe blogging and the real housewives shows--sorry i when off your subject so miserably

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  19. Larry -- Yes much of the manufacturing is gone from the U.S. and we have become much more of a service economy, but all is not lost yet. We need a joint effort by government, corporations, and unions to save the manufacturing and production segment of society. I don't know that any of these entities are willing to do anything as long as they are making big books doing what they're doing now.

    Andrew -- Aggregated into a sum of its parts, entertainment is a substantial export. That's why those companies are fighting so hard to prevent copyright violations. The U.S. has always been an entertainment leader in the modern age. Entertainment is an important industry, but we need more substantial industries that produce more practical things.

    Ciara -- The societal disconnection is rather weird. It can be seen in public places as well. Ciara realistic practical change is needed, but where will it come from and will unwanted change overcome us first?

    KarenG -- Farmville and the like can be a big and very peculiar waste of time, but can you believe that people are spending real money for virtual credits to buy imaginary things? That goes too far in my opinion.

    Lynn -- You've hit a real sore spot with me here. I can see a reasoning behind mega-wages for entertainment and sports stars and the like, though I don't think that's totally right either. However the CEOs, high-ranking executives, and even certain government officials are vastly overpaid and that's out of our pockets. It's a travesty.

    Lee

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  20. China and India are the largest recyclers of the worlds rubbish because the people who do it are exploited. Most of the stuff needs to be broken up by hand including toxic materials. The dilemma is that no one would be allowed to do this is the west or want to knowing it is putting your health at risk.

    The world is full of complex anomalies, as for facebook I think buying all those shares is mad.

    And did you know that in the UK we pay about £8.00 a gallon or say $11.00 a gallon to fill the car

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  21. Quite fascinating. I've recently come across some other U.S./Ancient Rome comparisons. And none of them speak well for where we are headed as a nation.
    Where I live many jobs are connected to the federal gov't which means our unemployment is lower than the rest of the nation, but it also means we don't produce durable goods.
    I don't play virtual games, but I love to knit. It's real.

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  22. Technology has certainly changed the way of the world in our neck of the woods. When I was a kid, most jobs in our area were labour-type jobs. They paid well and had good benefits. Now, robotics have taken over most of those jobs and people need more training and skills to get even an entry level job. the economy is definitely in flux!

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  23. Marvelous write-up here, Lee! You make some great points and the largest thought that I had while reading it is this...

    So, we're (the U.S.) basically buying back our own trash and boosting the job market/economy of a foreign country while also valuing virtual/artificial goods-trade in our own country?!!! --- which is very unwise, in my opinion.

    However, it doesn't surprise me because we live in an American society that values external things and superficial things that keep our attention for only a moment, instead of looking at the bigger picture.

    I am not sure what industries have disappeared in the area where I am but if I had to guess, I'd say maybe the manufacturing in the food business. Kraft and Tastykake was big here and those companies had to lay off a lot of people over the years, so that's a huge loss on jobs. I don't pay enough attention to my local job market (I don't like my city, so I'm often out of the loop on things here) to know how it is at this time.

    I don't have a favorite virtual world, unless Twitter counts, but I'm sure you're referring to the Farmvilles, etc. and I never got into that stuff. I had friends who liked Second Life or whatever that other one was called but I don't do virtual worlds. I used to play regular online games just for fun like scrabble or wordsearch or whatever but none of the popular stuff.

    Music, reading,blogging and watching movies are among my favorite forms of escapism. I am concerned about the economic future of the United States because our governments and citizens spend way too much and accrue too much debt and everyone wants to play the blame game instead of trying to do something constructive to improve our economy.

    ~Nicole
    Blog: The Madlab Post
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

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  24. Rob -- Yes, I've read stories and seen TV reports about the recyclers especially in India. It's a thankless job. I'm sure there would be a way to do this in a safer way and it could be done in our country. I'm also aware that gas prices are much higher in Europe. I think the U.S. is much more dependent on auto transport than Europe due to long distances. But we also have more gas guzzlers and public transport that is not as well developed as in Europe. Changes need to be made, but transportation should not be so expensive--unless the government is trying to limit travel???

    Elizabeth -- The government job sector is growing faster than the private sector. Those jobs don't produce much of anything.

    Jemi -- The jobs need more training and there are probably less of them to be filled. Maybe having more labor intensive industry could be a good thing.

    Nicole -- You said it well. There are many problems that many of us don't acknowledge because we are probably afraid to.

    Some recreation and escapism is needed to keep ones mind healthy, but when our lives are primarily founded on escaping then that might be a disturbing trend, primarily when we are absorbed in imaginary worlds where we vicariously live life.

    Reading and watching movies are closer to mental exercise and writing definitely is. But Farmville and the like? And to invest money in it? Why not buy a real farm with real tractors? Oh yeah, that would require work. And of course a more substantial investment. But will Farmville ever actually produce anything? Will it feed us?


    Lee

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  25. my hope is that as the cost of fuel rises, Americans will start manufacturing things for lower prices than the Chinese can.
    But I am afraid that the younger generation, the people who have to build and create are not able to do anything not connected to a keyboard.
    it is a scary world out there indeed.



    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

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  26. Isn't part of the job losses due to increased productivity ? Well that and automation . We can ask John Henry how that worked

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  27. Made me smile when you mentioned high cost of fuel, in the UK we are currently paying $9.68 a gallon. Not sure you guys know what high is yet :)

    As for imports I think it is real simple. Given the choice of a home made tractor for $1000 or an imported one for $500 what would most individuals an companies choose?

    Here is the big factor... the developed world lives off PLC's and shares. Many of the population now own shares. Those that don't have an interest in shares via pension funds or interest on savings. This makes society driven entirely by profit. The CEOs mentioned have one mantra "share holder value" Make 500 people redundant, those left work harder the company saves money, profits go up, shareholder value increases. We watch the news and disagree then check our shares or pensions and smile?! We are so intertwined with that which we feel is ethically wrong there is no easy way out.

    Back to imports, if I can sell an ipad for $500 and have it made in china for $50 my share holder value is looking good. My investors will be happy. Disagree? where is your pension fund invested, any interest you get from savings where have the banks invested?
    We cant live with extreme capitalism but on the other hand we are dependant on it for our future.

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  28. Lee-

    In your response to Lynn you seemed to differentiate between entertainment and sports salaries and CEO pay.

    You indicate that CEO's "are vastly overpaid and that's out of our pockets."

    I believe that if we truly had capitalism in place in the US, it would work.

    I am mystified why Americans seem to think it's a crime for a corporate exec who runs a company who employs thousands to make $10M per year (there's a headline in last week's Hartford paper blasting my company), but it's okay for Drew Brees to want that much to throw a football. Or an actor to make that in a film. Or, to hit closer to home for your audience, an author to get that for a book advance.

    Why do you think that the entertainment fees are not out of your pocket. Every time you buy a product advertised during a football event, you're paying Drew Brees to throw that ball.

    Every time you drink a soft drink, you are subsidizing the film industry (those commercials they show before the movie starts are not free).

    Good news for your readers-the book transaction is the most direct between the producer and the consumer. Although the books that do not sell so well are still priced to subsidize advances that are not recouped.

    I just need our system to not implode for a few more years and I'm off this ball of mud!

    LC

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  29. Mimi -- I think you have hit upon one of the major problems here: work as understood by new generations.

    Joe -- Yes it's a cycle. Mechanization means higher productivity means more domestic job losses. Higher productivity in countries where wages are lower means job losses here. Final outcome no jobs in U.S. except government and a dwindling public sector. Then what?

    John -- Yes, the fuel cost issue was addressed in earlier comments. The financial structure as you describe is a flawed paradigm that is going to lead to bigger problems down the road. In concept it all sounds good, but when greed sends things out of control somethings going to eventually explode and the walls come tumbling down. When China ends up with all the assets and controls the economy watch out. We will no longer be in control economically speaking. Wartime will be on the horizon.

    Lee

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  30. Larry--
    I understand what you're saying. The problem I see is that entertainment is the choice of the stupid. We have less choice with banking, energy, foods, and the other things that are more like necessities. The CEO isn't the only one responsible for the success and to whatever extent they are responsible I don't see it to be proper for them to be making mega-salaries.

    It's all economic politics that I'm too dumb to understand how it works and it has little to do with actual production or profits as far as I do understand. I'm not a fan of high paid CEO's.

    But I'm not a fan of ridiculously paid sports stars, Lady Gagas, movie stars, or whoever else you have to buy tickets to see or buy their products. For the most part I'm not funding their salaries other than by indirect means that I have little control over.

    Like I said on Monday, I'm not smart when it comes to wealth-building or making a comfortable living for that matter. If I were living in high comfort or extraordinarily wealthy I might be singing a different song.

    And like I say in my title its all stuff I don't understand, but something just doesn't seem right when you look at things in the bigger picture and not the ideal of what we think America should stand for. But how much American dream is there for everyone?

    Lee

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  31. Hi Lee - plenty to think about here! I'd be more worried about the waste island that's floating in the waters off California polluting the Pacific Ocean.

    The the pollution that is caused to China's rivers and land as they reprocess this stuff - to then export back to you ... do you need it?

    Interestingly this month there was a soft-furnishings company in the north of England that had brought a great deal of his production back from China to England ... and was on the point of closing the factory out there. Quality was one thing, costs were nearly the same as pay has risen significantly in China ..

    We just need to 'do ' more and not buy ... cheers Hilary

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  32. The industries that have disappeared in our area is logging. The mills have all but shut down and vanished. The local job market is the worst in the entire state of WA. Our county is about 12% unemployed.

    I have no virtual world, let alone a favorite one. I don't know if I avoid virtual play, but I just don't do it.

    My favorite form of escapism is:

    1. Reading
    2. Perry Mason DVd's
    3. Law and Order DVD's
    4. Burn Notice DVD's

    The US is on the road to a total crash. The economy is irrepairable and will crash. I don't know when.

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  33. This is indeed shocking. I never realized this was actually a business.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  34. Hilary -- I am very suspect about this so-called island of waste that is supposedly the size of Texas. Consumerism is a two edged sword, but it's going to stab us in the back if we keep letting other countries wield that weapon.

    Gregg-- I hear you brother. The job market is much worse than government figures would have us believe. And as America languishes in its cozy virtual world the walls will come crashing down. I'm not excited about that particular prospect, but there are better things ahead thank God.

    Gina -- Garbage is big business, but it doesn't seem right the way we're dealing with it.

    Lee

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  35. "What industries have disappeared in the area where you live?" Here is a poem I wrote:

    Lost

    Ford Pico Rivera
    GM South Gate
    GM Van Nuys
    Firestone Tire plant 1928
    the mocking skeleton still visible
    as an Egyptian fort
    off the 5 Freeway

    Bethlehem Steel
    Slauson Avenue Maywood
    Alcoa Aluminum
    rest in peace1994
    North American Rockwell
    Kaiser Steel Fontana
    corrosive dust in the air
    and union jobs for everyone

    Frank Kearns

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  36. I didn't know that about the waste export... I guess it's good they use it up. My escape is writing... I try to forget things and just dive deep into my own world:)

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  37. Frequently at night, my family sits around the living room watching TV and playing games on our devices with each other .. crazy. I wonder if the younger ones in the house could survive without their phones for a week??

    I find it interesting that when I was young everything was made in Japan, then it was Taiwan, and now it is China ..

    I play many of the facebook games, but I do not pay money to play. and eventually, I get bored, and move on to the next game.

    One thing that I think fuels the need for cheaper items is that everyone has so much, and wants so much. I can remember having seven sets of clothes to wear, and maybe two pair of shoes. Can you imagine that today? or how about using things until they wear out -- even with the cell phones, they encourage you to change them every year or at least every two years. But do we really need the newest and best? The only way we can afford those things is if they are made somewhere less expensively than here.

    One reason things are so expensive here is the legacy costs .. I heard of a city in California where they are paying for three police forces, the current one and the two previous ones (through their pension plans). I don't really know enough to talk about that, but I do know it is an issue. Didn't the government force businesses to move away from pension plans a few decades ago (or more), but the government still has them..

    I've rambled enough .. thanks for the thought provoking post.

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  38. Lots to think about today, Lee!

    I've never played Facebook games.

    I am very conscious of "consumption" in general. Who ever said we have to buy stuff (other than life sustaining food/medicine/shelter, etc.)?

    In his book, "The Millionaire Next Door", Dr. Thomas Stanley speaks about average millionaires who do not buy much stuff. They are not into "status." Instead, they live with minimal comforts and spend their time focused on their given fields.

    Something to think about! (I love the book and would highly recommend it!)

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  39. Frank -- Good to hear from you. That's an amazing run down of lost industry. When I first moved to Pico Rivera the old Ford plant that had become Northrup was across the street from our new house. It sat dormant for a few years and then they razed it to build a shopping center and industrial park. Interesting that so many manufacturing facilities have become retail outlets for goods manufactured in other countries.

    TF -- It's good that they recycle the trash, but weird that they make it back into more stuff to send back to us for us to turn back into garbage. Disturbing that we are the consumers of the goods produced elsewhere and that is becoming the primary role of the U.S.

    thea -- We have become a disposable society fueled by amassing more and more goods. In California the issue of pensions is a monster lurking in the closet and when that beast gets set loose the state is going to be in serious trouble. Greece will have nothing on us when that happens.

    Christy -- I've heard about that book and have often considered reading it. I think I have it somewhere in my house amidst all of the other amassed goods we have here. I need to do some asset liquidation.

    Lee

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  40. I like to escape with a good video game, which gets a bad rap. There are actual benefits to playing video games, and they do not, as many believe, make a person violent. There is no causal relationship between violent video games and violent behavior. Many times, they offer expansion packs that cost extra money, and people, myself included, are more than willing to pay. There are some games that are designed to drain your wallet and provide little else but a way to kill time, but others, like BioShock that was designed based on Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism, are truly mind-blowing.

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  41. What industries have disappeared in the area where you live? RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION AND SMALL RETAIL.

    How is your local job market? DREADFUL.

    What is your favorite virtual world? Or do you avoid virtual play? I AVOID IT.

    What is your favorite form of escapism? IT'S A TOSS UP BETWEEN MUSIC AND ART. :)

    What do you think the economic future is of the United States or where you are located? IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE EUROPEAN MARKET, BUT FRANKLY, I THINK WE ARE ABOUT TO ENTER ANOTHER DEEP RECESSION AS THE JP MORGAN SWAP DEBACLE IS JUST THE TIP OF THE FINANCIAL ICEBERG, AND I BELIEVE IT IS ABOUT TO MELT.

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  42. Nellie -- A video game based on Ayn Rand's principles sounds like a true curiosity that I'd like to see.

    Paula -- I believe you have out-bleaked my outlook, but I agree that things are not looking good.

    Lee

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  43. wow..this is a very interesting post...my 18 yr old son wants to talk about this day and night..while he is getting brainwashed at a liberal college..

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  44. I dropped all my Facebook games, finally and fully, a few months ago. They are too addicting and far too meaningless. I always thought it was crazy to put so much time into collecting virtual stuff for digital businesses (farm/ restaurant). It helped that two of the people I played games with on Facebook died - it really lost any kind of real importance to me then.

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  45. Hi Lee, Hope you recovered from the A to Z!

    My favorite "virtual" world is one of my own making. It is virtual only because it is a work of fiction. But for that matter, so is every novel, movie, and theatrical production. Here's the link to my "Shatterworld":

    http://shatterworldrpg.blogspot.com/

    I created Shatterworld to facilitate the face to face playing of old school tabletop role playing games.

    To be sure, tilling virtual fields will only result in virtual food... unless you can generate an income from such creations which allow you to buy real food. There will always be a place for entertainment in our society, be it live music or digital tractors.

    I think any trend taken too far can be disastrous. But entertainment and diversion are not by default a bad thing. Think of your days on the road... if you think of being an entertainer in merely practical terms, it could be cast in the same light as Farmville.

    One could argue that a theater costumer creates "virtual" clothes, a propmaster creates "virtual equipment". Does it matter if the labor that created those things was spent on a sewing machine or a computer?

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For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee