Lion of the Blogosphere

The return of the Iron Law of Wages

A few days ago, a commenter named Mark wrote:

I know you’re talking about the future prescient lion but my reality is so different. I work a blue collar job for a half a billion dollar company. Many of my coworkers have part time jobs and some have 2 full time jobs. We don’t need all these people working is so far from my reality. I know 2 guys (one in his sixties, the other guy, at least, in his fifties) who work 2 full time jobs. I asked another guy in his sixties if he had another job and he told me he couldn’t get by on just the one salary (25k?) and has 2 part time jobs. The company can’t keep workers for several reasons and my department is understaffed and probably will always be understaffed on Friday nights. Yes, I can see robots in theory doing some work but ironically, the most physically demanding jobs are also going to be the toughest to automate. I know you’re typing about the future but the present is quite different.

I haven’t necessarily predicted that the future wouldn’t be dystopian. In fact, as your anecdote shows, we are slipping in the direction of the dystopian future in which, ironically, a much greater supply of material goods produced with automation and robotic labor coincides with greater poverty. This is because our economy is set up so that workers don’t get any of the benefits of the robotic bounty unless they can do something that the owners of capital are willing to pay for. And furthermore, there is the Iron Law of Wages which states that competition among workers will drive down salaries to the minimum level needed to sustain the life of the workers and their families.

Mainstream economists, today, don’t believe in the Iron Law of Wages, but that’s because their framework for what’s “normal” is the post-World War II era, but they probably have that backwards. The post-World War II era is an anomaly and we are returning now to the normal human condition in which the average worker is only able to earn a subsistence income.

So unless government does something to interfere with the economy and/or redistribute wealth, the future will be one of poor masses and a super-rich elite.


And as usual, my advice for younger readers, as well as older readers who want advice for their children, is that one should not be content to settle for an average salary or an average career, because in the future average will be poor. One must strive to be in the top 10% and preferably the top 1% in order to be able to benefit from the future robotic economy and to have as good a life as your parents had.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 18, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Posted in Economics

183 Responses

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    • Except that Cowen says that “America will become a “hyper-meritocracy,” which I think is bogus libertarian thinking that those who make money deserve it. Most of the new rich will be people who were born rich and they retain wealth because of their upper-class social connections and inherited capital rather than because they are “hyper” capable employees.

      A guy with a 115 IQ born to rich parents will stay rich. A guy with a 145 IQ will make a decent salary as a robot-designer and be better off than the masses of the poor, but he won’t become rich.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 18, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      • Disclaimer: I haven’t actually read the book, just devoured reviews and read his blog for the last couple of years.

        Isn’t his thesis, though, that the “decent salary” is a thing of the past, and that to ensure only the best robots get built, the owners/purchasers will have to pay at least top 10% wages, if not top 1% wages, to the best-of-the-best designers and programmers?

        Certainly the owner of the robots will be far and away wealthier than the designer/programmer, and as you correctly note, the heritability of wealth will see to it that most of the robot owners are the children of robot owners. But I think what Cowen is getting at is that rich will be redefined as ‘not poor’. You’re not going to have the doctors and lawyers living next to the firemen and sanitation workers in eastern Queens much longer.


        July 18, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      • A few small start-ups pay the top programmers very good salaries, but once companies become big enough to hire significant numbers of people, they turn to cheap H-1B immigrant programmers. Like Microsoft for example.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      • The robot designer makes $100K, takes home $65K, and ends up with $50K after setting money aside for the future.

        The homeboy makes $30K, takes home $30K, ends up with $40K after transfer payments, and lives like $50K after gorging on easy debt.


        July 18, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      • @fiddlesticks true, but robot designer a) derives satisfaction from his work, and b) gets to avoid the stigma (in his social circle) of transfer payments. Not to mention I think your takehome calculations are a bit off. Anyone designing robots is not so careless as to do their retirement savings in after-tax accounts.


        July 18, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      • @jacob Job satisfaction – hopefully, though I’ve never understood the blue-pill Internet lists of “best jobs” that tout “it’s a great job ’cause you get to HELP OTHERS” as a recruiting hook. Sometimes that is code for you are expected to act subservient.

        Honestly though, if you’ve read GLPiggy or the Adventures of Tyler D, those guys got a lot more SMV from waiting tables than most betas do from performing value-creating technology work.

        As far as savings go, Roth IRAs are not a bad deal, but the upfront funding is after-tax. Think of someone putting back $5K in a Roth and $10K for medium-term needs or rainy-day funds.


        July 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      • This sounds right. No need for an Ivy League education and an Investment Banking job. They’re just icing on the cake for the young and wealthy.

        Eliot Spitzer would have done just as well, perhaps even better, had he not attended Dark Mouth.

        His Ivy arrogance was his downfall!


        July 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      • @ JS

        Spitzer went to Princeton. Lis Smith went to Dartmouth.


        July 18, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      • Let’s just say being born to the right parents is a merit on its own.


        July 19, 2014 at 6:18 AM

      • Regarding Microsoft, they seem to be laying off mainly comparatively low-paid finns rather than americans. How to interpret that? They’re wrong sort of foreigners?

        Also, does anyone know if Microsoft’s new CEO is himself H-1B?


        July 19, 2014 at 6:22 AM

      • Texas would is the ideal state for state Republican legislators to introduce cheap online four year degrees. They have some of the best public college brands – thus eliminating applicant concerns over quality which University of Phoenix type degrees have – and are recognized by employers, another feature related to brand name that current online degrees lack.

        And the state is controlled by a Republican super majority that could drive through legislation mandating four year degrees be sold online and cheap by state schools to any type of student. If Texas did this other states would follow. Soon, nothing but the top 25 private schools would exist. Although the survivors would be liberal, their political influence would be greatly diminished in the absence of lesser ranked private schools to carry liberal activist grunt work.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        July 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      • Also, does anyone know if Microsoft’s new CEO is himself H-1B?

        Their new CEO is Indian. But where did you hear they were laying off Finns or other workers in Europe?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        July 19, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      • As I understand it, 12000 of the 18000 to go are from former Nokia, so I assume Finland.


        July 19, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      • @tuj:

        half of the msft layoffs are from nokia mobile division which they recently bought.

        Whether most of those 9k layed off are in Espoo or elsewhere I don’t know.

        A bunch of the msft employees layed off are from xbox entertainment studios. According to people i know that work at msft, the xbox business unit in general has a higher % of whites than other business units.


        July 19, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    • Cowen tells the truth but doesn’t tell us what can be done about it. I suppose that is necessary for him, he wouldn’t get MSM coverage if he told people the solution was to cut immigration and redistribute wealth.


      July 18, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      • So unless government does something to interfere with the economy and/or redistribute wealth,

        We’re in our current state because government redistributes wealth from productive whites to nonproductive areas – nonwhites, Gaianism, feminism, public sector unions, social engineering, 4 year colleges, unaccountable FedGov workers, leftist nonprofits.

        The way to end the left’s policies is to defund the organizations they work for, with academia being their most vulnerable point. Just expose the undergrad degree monopoly to price competition and watch as hundreds of thousands of college jobs staffed overwhelmingly by liberals are destroyed. Their financial model would collapse faster than the newspapers did with the rise of the internet because print subscriptions never cost tens of thousands dollars every few months.

        Were brand name public universities forced by state legislators to offer online degrees to off-campus and on-campus students for a fraction of current tuition, other colleges – including all private colleges except the top 25 – would have to compete on price. And there’s no way to compete in under this scenario without en masse firings of faculty.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        July 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      • Cowen is an economist, so of course he’s written about immigration. He doesn’t think that. He says the world’s borders are opening up. Whether one likes it or not, it seems inevitable.


        July 19, 2014 at 1:13 PM

  1. Private-sector unions are at all time low in terms of members…possibly another reason why median real wages had stagnated.


    July 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    • There isn’t just one reason, there are several; as to why real wages have stagnated. The least we could do is stop importing more competition for our own workers.

      Mike Street Station

      July 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      • “The least we could do is stop importing more competition for our own workers.”

        From Science magazine, no less:

        “Are Foreign Guest Workers Preferable to Retraining?”

        “It is up to those lawmakers and policymakers—and to anyone who cares about America’s scientific, technical, and economic future—to consider whether such policies are consistent with the broader interests of society. It is no longer a question of whether we should allow skilled foreign workers to displace skilled Americans. The basic question now is whether we can abide a system in which our top companies view knowledge workers as disposable, no matter where they’re from.”


        July 18, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      • for the elite there is no “our own”.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 1:09 AM

      • sovereignty is over.

        as james carville said, “I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”

        hitler’s paranoia about “the international jew” is NOTHING compared to global trade and finance.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 1:14 AM

      • From Science magazine, no less:

        “Are Foreign Guest Workers Preferable to Retraining?”

        Liberals say this because their own jobs aren’t (yet) vulnerable to automation and immigration.

        As I said, expose colleges to price competition to cripple the left and put an end to policies like this.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        July 19, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    • Union membership is low for a large number of reasons. The change of work in the U.S. from rule based to knowledge based. The mobility of workers. The lack of large factories since industrial companies have spun off much of what they used to do. Women coming into the workforce. The increase in the number of college graduates. And last, the changing demographics of the U.S.

      One only has to go back to look at Eastern Airlines or International Harvester to see what unions can do to companies.


      July 19, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      • It’s true that unions seem to work best when there are a large number of people doing the same job. In the modern labor force, when a large number of people do the same job, that job tends to get automated. In a typical modern office environment, where each worker does something unique and different, and there are also huge disparities in salaries with some cubicle workers getting paid $30k/year working next to another cubicle worker getting $150k/year.

      • Seniority based employment means that getting additional education or developing additional skills does not benefit one from work. Seniority-based employment means that one cannot move to another city and does not really fit with two-earner incomes. Senior0based employment means the people with the least imagination and the most hard-headedness make it to the top. What company can survive going that (other than the government).


        July 19, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      • Lion,

        Unions work best in very tight labor markets. At or near full employment is what gives unions their power and their ability to raise real wages.


        July 19, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      • Why can’t programmers unionize? It seems possible in theory.


        July 19, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      • They aren’t street-smart enough to realize that unionizing is in their interests.

      • Programmers move around among companies. The union guy needs to stay with the same company. A new programmer may have a skill set that an older, more senior programmer does not have. IT companies go in and out of business all of the time, a union needs a stable,long run establishment like the government. Unions give up pay to get shorter working hours, what programmer wants that?

        Nurses are an example of why unions generally do not work for knowledge workers. Do you really think the nurse is planning to work at the same hospital for decades and not add to their skill set during that time.


        July 20, 2014 at 6:36 AM

      • I don’t see why unions can’t establish local chapters with national coordination. This would allow worker mobility. Unions (if strong enough) can train as well. In fact unions are better for job training as firms don’t seem interested in training at all.

        Contracts or permanent employment would be decided by the local union in negotiations with local firms. Seems simple to me. Of course, H1-B Visas need to be eliminated as well for this to work but again a union lobby could help to achieve this end as well. (Look at medicine, even though the AMA is not a union, they limit the supply of doctors by their sheer power which only helps doctors increase their salary and job security).


        July 21, 2014 at 7:44 AM

      • Kant,

        The laws that govern unions do not allow organizing across industries. Each company has to deal with separate unions. That is why they are called locals. Also, why should a 22 y/o who knows the latest want to get involved with a union that will reward the highest paying jobs to the most senior members even if they do not know what they are going?


        July 21, 2014 at 5:49 PM

  2. In a dystopian future there will not be any transfer payments and the person with the menial job will probably earn 10k or less p.a. in today’s $$. (Of course there are worse scenarios conceivable: roving gangs of desperados who cannot get any job or prefer banditry to menial work). In any case the robot designer has a chance to do much better than the menial worker.

    nomen nescio

    July 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

  3. So unless government does something to interfere with the economy and/or redistribute wealth, the future will be one of poor masses and a super-rich elite.

    Super Rich Elite will pursue self actualization work; work for them is a luxury.

    The poor masses will need to work out of necessity.

    A Basic Income Subsidy is the only remedy for this imbalance!


    July 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    • This basic income concept is total nonsense from aspergery libertarians who have no understanding of how the world works. Low-future-orientation people would blow the guaranteed income check on the first day of the month and still require housing, food and phone subsidies. That is exactly why most welfare is geared toward specific needs.


      July 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      • only an aspie would think libertarians support a guaranteed anything.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 1:08 AM

      • Well, maybe the allowance should be paid out daily to the EBT card instead. Let’s not make life hard for the useless eaters.


        July 19, 2014 at 6:26 AM

      • If you read my posts – I said basic Income should be like food stamps. You CAN’T convert it to cash, it can only be used for housing and food.


        July 19, 2014 at 7:49 AM

  4. Lion…career advice:

    I’m entering med school and uncertain of what specialty to pick.

    Should i do one with an easy 3 year training program (like family medicine) and try to open up my own practice and hire employees like PAs and NPs to create value for me, or bust my ass to get into a lucrative specialty (requiring 5-8 years after med school instead of 3)? I will have around 200k in debt in 4 years.


    July 18, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    • Everyone knows that specialists make the real money.

    • aneasthesiology always sounded both easy and 350k+. it’s just chemistry. you don’t even have to talk to anyone. some fat guy just sat in the room when i had my one surgery and the anaesthetic was just topical cocaine. but they may have the highest liability insurance rates.

      jorge videla

      July 18, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    • Go into Oncology. As Americans get older, the patient base grows. Medicare reinburses enough. The field is the fasting changing so someone who has been around forever is learning the new stuff just like you.


      July 19, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    • Aim for a lucrative subspecialty, preferably one like dermatology or plastic surgery that has cosmetic applications and thus is not entirely dependent on insurance for reimbursement. Medicare is already severely cutting reimbursements for some specialties, so there is no guarantee that a reimbursement that is acceptable today will still be so in ten years when you are finally in a position to earn. Derm and plastics pretty much require junior AOA (reflecting near top-of-class standing) in addition to high USMLE scores, publications, and excellent recommendation letters. Other desirable specialties like orthopedic surgery, ENT or ophthalmology are a little bit easier to get, but you should still aim for senior AOA if you want one of them. Avoid anesthesiology. They live in constant fear that CRNA’s will be allowed to practice independently, which would destroy their job market which even now is not very robust. I knew a few young anesthesiologists who spent years after training working locum tenens jobs because they couldn’t find anything permanent. Although anesthesiology is an easy job most of the time, patients do crash unexpectedly during surgery requiring quick intervention. That’s why some people say that the field is “90% boredom and 10% terror.”


      July 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM

  5. Very perceptive post, Lion. I think you are correct. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the future is other than dystopian. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American innovation led the world. Men such as Ford, Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Edison made advances that generated great wealth for themselves but also created millions of good jobs for American workers. I don’t know if American innovation leads the world today, but it’s still very good; however, the benefits mostly go to billionaire owners and investors. A few decent jobs may result, but most of the work in sent overseas or is automated. Not much is left over for the average Joe (or Jane). Too bad. By the end of the century, the US will look a lot more like Latin America.

    Black Death

    July 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    • right out of my mouth.

      europe has changed. the us hasn’t. it was doomed from the beginning. that’s what two world wars and the soviets breathing down your neck can do.

      however, the benefits mostly go to billionaire owners and investors

      the us “must” import engineers and scientists, “must” import farm workers…it’s 100% bullsh**. if the true randian creators were paid what they’re worth the true moochers would have to set up shop bolivia.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 1:07 AM

  6. I think you can foresee this US ‘dystopian future’ by looking at any third world country. The Iron Law of Wages you mention ‘competition among workers will drive down salaries to the minimum level needed to sustain the life of the workers and their families’ is exacerbated in third world countries, where wages are even less than sustainable. This is probably one of the greatest factors for immigration.

    In countries like Mexico or Brasil, there are multiple billion-dollar companies in control of a few elite families(100+), so it isn’t like there isn’t any ‘money’ to pay decent salaries. However, if you look at the salaries in these countries they are ‘driven’ very low, so even for a run-of-the-mill college graduate in any of these countries it sucks to work for one of these national (oligarch owned) companies. Immigration or working for a US/European company is often the solution for a better lifestyle. And of course, for the non-educated, wages are driven even lower, so immigration is often the only solution for anything close to ‘liveable’ wage.

    As to why the US had managed to avoid falling in to the ‘Iron Law Of Wages’ previously, I do agree with the post-World War II era theory. That along with the US dollar’s reserve currency status allowed the US to have a massive economic expansion (i.e. ‘cheap credit’) for the last 30-40 years, which gave way to a thriving middle class. However, now that the US middle-class is being anhilitated, the US is becoming more polarized like a third world country, with the top % owning the bulk of the capital/resources and the rest fighting for a livable wage.


    July 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    • the us is a multi-ethnic, new world country.

      as amy chua has said in World on Fire inequality and inequality of opportunity is obscured in america by the race issue.

      against what american conservatives like to believe: if the us were the same in every way except that it was 100% european with a few jews and lebanese or whatever its politics/govt would be MUCH MORE like denmark’s.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 1:01 AM

      • NYC would be a much more desirable place and more affordable, if NAMs and 3rd World immigrants weren’t a major demographic.


        July 19, 2014 at 5:31 PM

  7. The 20th century was prosperous largely due to political forces namely communism and the Soviet Union. The world owes a great deal to the freedom fighter Lenin. From 1917 onward elites everywhere were terrified of violent upheaval, civil war, and heads rolling. The Cold War didn’t begin after WW2 it started in 1917. Nazi Germany was also built up by the international system to invade and eradicate the USSR but failed.

    The Soviet Union itself literally began with 1-2 cities conquering Russia and the surrounding regions inch by inch in the Russian Civil War and after Ww2 the Soviet empire stretched from Berlin to Alaska. The Cold War would see communism spring up all across the globe. It’s hard to believe now but once upon a time communism seemed invincible. More importantly it was a real alternative because communism was outperforming capitalist countries politically, economically, and militarily up until the late 1970s.

    Even during it’s decline phase the Soviet Union was still powerful with 50,000 tanks and millions of troops ready to invade the capitalist powers at a moment’s notice. These factors led to reforms all across the world including in America. The demise of the Soviet Union was heralded as a victory for all but in it’s absence we’ve seen how quickly the gains made in the 20th century are beginning to vanish.

    The Chinese are the last great communist hope. Contrary to the propaganda Red China follows a modified version of comrade Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP). The NEP allows private enterprise in light industry, retail markets, and agricultural products. The commanding heights of the economy like banking, heavy industry, and foreign trade are state controlled. International trade and foreign direct investment are also heavily regulated requiring joint ventures with the state.

    Red China is set to be the most economically powerful nation on Earth shortly and nowhere close to reaching it’s potential. They’re the communist superpower successor to the USSR and hopefully they’ll renew the fight against capitalism directly. Red China’s success shouldn’t be happening according to rightists and bourgeois pseudo experts. Meanwhile the capitalist powers are all in ruin and getting worse. Perhaps someday people will realize that Karl Marx was correct and that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the final stage of human development. It sure as hell wasn’t xyz that gave people the good life back in the 20th century but fear of revoultion.


    July 18, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    • it started in 1917

      the whites were supported by the brits and americans among others, right? but then again wasn’t fdr an admirer of stalin?

      how quickly the gains made in the 20th century are beginning to vanish.

      when the cat’s away, the mice will play.

      The commanding heights of the economy like banking, heavy industry, and foreign trade are state controlled…

      the chinese miracle is NOT a miracle of free market capitalism.

      They’re the communist superpower successor to the USSR

      and despite what one hears, china’s rulers are hard core commies. “socialism with chinese characteristics” is NOT just jive talk. the problem for the russian empire and for china was that, contra marx, neither had a proletariat, just agricultural peasants.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      • The Red Army defeated the White Army and dozens of other enemy factions winning the Russian Civil War (1917-1923). Nearly 22 foreign armies including the United States also invaded Russia as part of the allied intervention supporting the White Army. The Red Army founded and led by Leon Trotsky achieved the impossible beating them all and establishing the USSR. The Europeans recognized the Soviet Union sooner but the US government refused recognition until 1933.

        Trotsky believed in the permanent revoultion which asserts the best defense is a good offense. In other words the Soviet Union must be aggressive in the fight against capitalism helping communist movements across the globe. Stalin supported socialism in one country which would allow the USSR to build up but also makes concessions to capitalism. Stalin was obviously more popular internationally but Trotsky proved correct in the long term with his ideas being put into effect after WW2.

        Lenin’s NEP replaced war communism in 1921 and had broad support. It wasn’t without it’s detractors including Trotsky and was ultimately abolished in 1928 when Stalin preferred central planning. The age of mechanized warfare was on the horizon and that approach enabled them to rapidly industrialize in order to fight capitalism. The NEP is a good compromise between central planning and market mechanisms. The biggest banks in the world by assets and market capitalization are all state owned entities in Red China. Even non-communist countries like Singapore and Putin’s Russia emulate Lenin’s NEP with sovereign wealth funds and state enterprises.

        Russia did have a substantial proletariat unlike China. The hammer and sickle represent the worker and peasant together. China prefers the red star as it’s banner representing it’s own unique path. Red China owes it’s nuclear weapons program to the Soviet Union. Without their help they’d be vulnerable to imperialist attack. Lenin’s revoultion may have died in Russia but it indeed lives on through Red China.


        July 19, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      • except that lenin, stalin, bukharin, or someone said that the ussr had no proletariat (like 2% of the people) and therefore it had to be created.

        from the marxist pov most russians were petit bourgeois in 1917. that is they were poor farmers. they paid rent, but they were no one’s employee.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      • Russia had urban centers and proles but they weren’t a majority. The October Revolution was a victory for the intelligentsia, proletarian, and peasant defeating the aristocracy, capitalist, and bourgeoisie.


        July 20, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    • if you believe that communism is or ever was a good idea, you are, for lack of a better word, dumb.


      July 19, 2014 at 2:34 AM

      • Reactionaries know very little about communism despite condemning it. Communism is perhaps the most successful ideology in history directly producing two superpowers. Please check out my blog post on the topic. It’s rather lengthy but addresses nearly everything about Marxism-Leninism impartially.


        July 19, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      • Eradican,

        This is loopy thinking. Communism achieved what it did by wiping out millions of its own people, eliminating lots of dead weight that otherwise would have to be dealt with politically. It’s like America killing all 100 million non-whites inside the US. Sure, conditions would improve temporarily for the remainder until the government decided to attack you.

        Communism boils down to a conflict over planning. Either you plan your own life, or someone else plans it for you.


        July 19, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      • @ map

        Capitalism also killed and enslaved millions while conquering entire continents. There is always a political dimension to economics hence why it was called political economy. The main difference with communism is that it occurred in a period where record keeping was important.


        July 20, 2014 at 12:15 AM

      • plan your own life


        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 12:42 AM

      • and “capitalism” is nothing new.

        read xenophon’s oeconomicus!

        what is new, is automation/machine tools/etc.

        if it is fair, history will eventually realize that Henry Maudslay is the most influential single person of the last 1000 years.

        jorge videla

        July 21, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      • You’re a smart cookie map glad you can read between the lines (wink wink)


        July 22, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    • It’s hard to believe now but once upon a time communism seemed invincible. More importantly it was a real alternative because communism was outperforming capitalist countries politically, economically, and militarily up until the late 1970s.

      Yes, the mass murders of their own citizens by Lenin, Mao, Stalin, etc. were truly magnificent.


      July 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      • Lenin, Stalin, and Mao are respected and adored as national heroes. Try again.


        July 20, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    • The presence of walls at borders between commie and capitalist countries was a real testament to the wonder of Communism, too. Capitalist countries couldn’t even afford their own walls!!


      July 19, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      • Being a conquered nation isn’t the same as being a resort town.

        Those areas waged war on the USSR and deserved punishment.


        July 20, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      • Because of some war that you claim that various peoples waged against the USSR, you consider it reasonable that almost no citizens of the USSR were allowed to live anywhere outside the USSR? Kind of a non-sequiter.

        I found no ctrl+f of “wall” or “iron curtain” in your post and don’t know where it is that you justify the permanent walling off of the USSR or where you describe why it is that a wall would be needed if life behind the curtain were so wonderful. One would expect that allowing citizens to leave freely would be beneficial because they would quickly find the West awful and return to their comrades with the good news about Soviet life.


        July 21, 2014 at 1:22 AM

      • Perhaps you just believe that all citizens of the USSR deserved punishment, which is why they weren’t allowed to leave.


        July 21, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      • By wall I thought you meant Berlin wall which I mentioned only in passing as part of the Cold War. Such walls were necessary to control occupied population groups on the frontiers of the USSR such as Germany. I’ve discussed other aspects of the Cold War elsewhere and felt doing so in that post would be redundant.

        People did travel and conduct business overseas but the masses couldn’t. The Soviet Union was a highly militarized society and police state. I don’t claim it was “free” or anything. Holding together a massive land empire particularly one with it’s history of coming under siege requires methods that we’d find unbearable but make sense from their perspective. Russia itself is best described as an army with a country rather than the other way around that’s true even today. Ordinary people themselves were happy despite that and voted to preserve the Soviet Union in the early 1990s albeit as a confederation but their wishes were ignored.,_1991


        July 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      • eradican,

        You’re missing it. Why would Soviet policies mandating close supervision of Soviet ballerinas traveling outside commie countries be necessary if life was so great there? Why would US commies like Lee Harvey Oswald be allowed to travel to the USSR? Why are the families of Cuban doctors held hostage today when they are sent to other commie shitholes like Venezuela? There was a one-way membrane at the limits of commie influence; outsiders could come in and commie citizens couldn’t leave.

        The food sucked. The clothes sucked. The working conditions sucked. The central authorities could kill at random. People were shot and their families imprisoned for their crimes if they tried to flee. This was the way of life for about half of the planet at one point, and you want to force this onto me and the rest of the West?


        July 21, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      • You’re being too broad and mixing all communist countries together. Some were wealthier than others just as some were more oppressive than others. Overseas travel is not the only quality of life metric however. The majority of people across the world including Murkans don’t even have a passport. Who does this freedom actually appeal to? Communists had an answer to that as well the “rootless cosmopolitan” the very same liberal crowd wrecking the US/EU today.

        Venezuela is not a communist country either it just has some stupid leftist demagogues in power. The only communist country in Latin America is Cuba ironically a popular tourist destination and producer of the world’s greatest cigars. It also boasts a low crime rate which is remarkable for Latin America.

        People traveling abroad extensively were monitored because they were in position to make foreign contacts and become spies including ballerinas. I wrote about female espionage in another post if you’d like to check it out. I appreciate you taking the time to read my stuff despite our disagreements. You’re doggie gravatar is also adorable.

        I’m not sure what you mean by “everything sucked” but I’ll assume this refers to the USSR. Their economy thrived up until the late 1970s but afterward stagnated and declined. It was still growing but not fast enough anymore. Ordinary people themselves were still happy and nobody was really oppressed.

        The restaurant stuff is pretty bogus Russia never had a culture of eating out then or now and the best restaurants were in hotels. The Soviet Union’s luxurious Hotel Ukraina in Moscow for example was popular with the powerful.


        July 22, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      • eradican,

        Ballerinas weren’t allowed to leave their troupes: spies. Citizens not allowed to leave whole countries: too happy to want to. Cuba makes cigars and has a low (non-government) murder rate: Communist ideal!

        You’re out of your mind. And how can you believe Soviet economic claims when there was no free press and citizens were held hostage within the borders? Repeat: leaving meant being shot. Writing negative things meant being sent to a gulag or shot.


        July 23, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      • People overwhelmingly voted to perverse the Soviet Union. I suggest you stop reading so much into western propaganda and affluent USSR liberals claiming to represent the majority. Poll after poll shows people feeling nostalgic for the Soviet Union wishing it had never been dissolved.

        The Cold War is long gone all the data on the Soviet Union is now freely available. I’m not sure why you keep erroneously claiming people were horribly oppressed when all that began and ended with the Stalin dictatorship. His methods and legacy was denounced by current and subsequent leaders and nothing like that ever returned.


        July 24, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    • Here’s some elementary learning for you on your and LotB’s preferred gov style:


      July 19, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      • Yawn. I addressed all that in my blog post above.


        July 20, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      • Did you even bother to read my blog post?


        July 20, 2014 at 7:29 AM

  8. I’ll be going to college in a month, right now I work near full time job as a caregiver in a nursing home. Pay is about 9.35 an hour. Easier work than you might think, I’d say only half the time I spend there is spent on actual work. My co-workers in that job have given my a glimpse of America’s present and future for the working class. I know two guys, both Indian immigrants, who work 56 and 59 hours a week, at two different jobs. The 40 hour workweek for those kind of wages doesn’t cut it in my area with it’s high cost of living. It’s one thing that will eventually be abolished. Another thing is working 9 to 5 during the weekdays. Of course a nursing home is going to need round the clock workers, but now in the wider economy more workers than ever are working evenings, nights, and weekends. This is usually undesirable, and very undesirable for those workers who have children. But it is one of those things that has made life worse for the working class, and it’s not accounted for by average income figures. Also, we get very little warning before they call us in to work. And, a lot of people work 4 or 12 hour shifts. Most would prefer 8 hour shifts.

    I don’t see much hope for most of the workers, the majority of the workers are over 30 year old women. One of the workers I know is a low-IQ Indian immigrant who flunked out of community college because she was low-IQ and lazy. She very prollish in her behavior and attitude, people like her remind us why her native land is so poor. Another worker probably has an IQ around 70 or so, she is very hard to talk to and always on the verge of being fired for messing things up because she is so stupid and unable to follow basic directions. Unsurprisingly, petty conflicts between the workers are quite common. One worker I know does have some prospects, an Indian immigrant(the one who works 59 hours a week) he got a liberal arts degree at a crappy college and couldn’t find any better work. Now he’s going to go to dental school.

    The management is lazy and corrupt. They aren’t even aware of when their employees are supposed to be working, the other day the manager called me and asked me to work on a day when i was already scheduled to work. She had “forgotten” I worked that day. And they blatantly violate the regulations that state that a set number of workers must be there at certain times.(I’m the only worker who knows this, I’ve considered it my “get out of jail free card” to threaten to make the state aware of it if they threaten to fire me) Those regulations are the only thing preventing them from firing a lot of the workforce and making the rest of us work constantly instead of only about half the time. This industry is a great example of value transference.


    July 18, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    • perhaps you’re an indian too?

      the hardest working people my parents ever knew were poor mulatto brazilians. and my 8th grade algebra teacher used to say frequently, “smart people are lazy.”

      “lazy” is too ideological a term. better is “unmotivated” or “indolent”. i think indolence an admirable quality, and motivation depends on the circumstances.

      iq and work ethic are never enough to be a world-beater. from warren buffett, the former dean of hbs (the current is indian), and american pro sports coaches the message is the same: you must have a passion for the game.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    • Your low-paid, low-IQ coworkers’ income is likely boosted by medicaid, food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit, housing assistance, day care assistance, and no-cost school lunches & breakfasts.

      E. Rekshun

      July 19, 2014 at 5:10 PM

  9. Sort of OT but not really: NYT, 07/17/14, Some Universities Crack Code in Drawing Women to Computer Science
    One of the reasons so few women work in tech is that few choose to study computer science or engineering. Only 18 percent of computer science graduates in the United States are women, down from 37 percent in 1985. At a few top college programs, though, that appears to be changing. At Carnegie Mellon University, 40 percent of incoming freshmen to the School of Computer Science are women, the largest group ever. At the University of Washington, another technology powerhouse, women earned 30 percent of computer science degrees this year. At Harvey Mudd College, 40 percent of computer science majors are women, and this year, women represented more than half of the engineering graduates for the first time… more students of both sexes are choosing to major in computer science. That’s simply because they see plentiful jobs, the applicability to many professions and the attention tech is receiving in the business pages and in pop culture…

    If these prospective female programmers read LotB, they’d know better. My 1986 Computer Science undergrad graduating class was about 40% female. Within a few years, most of them no longer worked as programmers or software developers.

    E. Rekshun

    July 18, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    • but women do study mathematics and chemistry at about 50%.

      ‘splain that!

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      • Explanation is simple. You can count children/watch them grow (math) and cook meals for them (chemistry), but computer science algorithms are too abstract and require different brain structures being developed. Unless you almost like force them to take computer science, they will not do it. Then if you do, they will be still unhappy ten years after getting CS degree/working as programmer. However, eventually they become quite content. I have seen it on wives of my friends. You could claim that it is anecdotal. However, I am a scientist, so it is scientific conclusion.


        July 20, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    • and cs is NOT a high iq major. despite what cs majors think. there’s no need for high math, spatial, or verbal iq. it’s sui generis.

      it seems it’s physics and the physics in engineering that keeps out your hard core woman.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      • Do you really think the average IQ in real computer science programs isn’t significantly higher than that of the average college student?


        July 19, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      • The IQ pissing match b/w CS majors and Physics/Engineering/whoever is silly, but good programming unequivocally requires “high” iq.

        Hopefully it’s obvious that I’m not talking about a John von Neumann IQ. But rather, an IQ that is high relative to not only the entire population, but high relative to the subset of college graduates.


        July 19, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      • in terms of sat scores/iq tests yes. it’s very surprising. i know. and i don’t mean that there aren’t very smart software engineers and computer scientists. there are. but there are also very smart economists.;)

        but theoretical cs is a branch of mathematics. if that’s the program’s focus then no.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    • “this year, women represented more than half of the engineering graduates for the first time…”



      July 19, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    • Any time a large number of women enter a profession indicates that the profession is in decline.


      July 19, 2014 at 2:54 PM

  10. Striving against regression to the mean is stupidest thing that you could do with your life and is exactly what TPTB wants you to do.


    July 18, 2014 at 5:31 PM

  11. Lion, your advice seems more sincere than usual, which is nice to see, because your advice usually is good and I’d imagine that a lot of your readers don’t take it seriously. Most of the time you come off like you did when you told GLP that he should go to Harvard Business School instead of waiting tables at an Olive Garden in the Midwest.


    July 18, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    • HBS will certainly lead to a better career than experience at waiting tables.

      • and for every hbs mediated rich guy there are at least 10 who had higher gmats but had no chance of admission. i’m one, and i’m not alone.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 12:32 AM

      • hbs mediated rich guy

        Correct! Lion thinks Proles who attend Harvard will come out to become the new bourgeoisie. Never in a million years!

        Poor people don’t have well connected social networks. Never did and never will!

        Life in America doesn’t work that way. When I was working in BIGLAW, one of the partners in the firm attended a guido law school, but guess what, his parents were upper middle class folks who own businesses in Westchester. So why did he attend a guido law school? He just didn’t know any better, and the fact that the firm promoted him to partner, proves the decision makers weren’t reading LoftB to distinguish the different classes/tastes of people.


        July 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      • Stuffy bourgeois who grew up wealthy can sniff out who is a prole who upgraded and an established bobo via family ties. They way you speak, you eat and walk, they can tell who’s a real upper class man.

        A professor whom I know who grew up working class, tells me that wealthy people know who the “real” bobos are by mere observation.


        July 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      • “Lion thinks Proles who attend Harvard will come out to become the new bourgeoisie. Never in a million years!”

        No, Lion suggests that his readers aim for the highest social class that’s possible for them, especially if they have children and want them to succeed. That’s sound advice.

        Like I said in my original comment; this is lost on many Lion readers, mainly because of his sense of humor and tendency to exaggerate.


        July 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      • Rob — Do you not think that Lion’s advice is impasse for most people? Investment banking and BIGLAW.

        Just wait till the economy tanks even more and consumer spending is down to the bowels, and we’ll decide if these fields are great value transference schemes.

        Medicine will always look promising for the 1%. That is, those with high IQs!


        July 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    • Chuck never had a chance at HBS. You don’t think he’d have gone if afforded the opportunity?


      July 19, 2014 at 4:49 PM

  12. The “Iron Law of Wages” is predicated on the idea of perpetual population growth. PPG is core to all Malthusian ideas. All of the evidence shows that population growth will end soon. Therefore, this is just the jusual weeping and wailing.

    LotB, if you’re going to talk like a Malthusian all of the time, you should take a few minutes to actually read some of that outdated nonsense.


    July 18, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    • you’re wrong. there is another argument based on the labor theory of value.

      labor as commodity input to production is paid only the value of the labor required to “produce” it.

      the best theory of recessions is the underconsumption/technical change theory. that is, when capital doesn’t follow henry ford’s example or when labor is replaced by capital en masse the inevitable result is recession.

      see below.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      • the labor required to “produce” the worker’s work is just his food and rent.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    • All evidence except the continuing population growth, of course. But let’s go with it for argument’s sake. The most interesting parts of this sea change will be twofold.

      First, what will the world population mix look like when we reach this steady state (or afterwards, when shrinking). What are the consequences to the world economy?

      Second, someone in the west will eventually start thinking about the policy of importing brown people to manage the tapering demographic pyramid. Is that really the right thing to do when even the brown people are disappearing?

      It seems to me more prudent to instead get ready for a shrinking population, like Japan.


      July 19, 2014 at 6:38 AM

      • social darwinism has always been falsified by facts. it may have held before darwin, but not afterwards.

        the more “fit” one is, the fewer children he has.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      • the gop is one GIANT example of FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      • the more “fit” one is, the fewer children he has.

        Nope. A while back, I compiled and analyzed some data from the forbe’s list of billionaires — North American with a net worth over $3B. There were several interesting trends. For 171 men. the average was 3.42 children and for 22 women the average was 2.5 children. Both are higher than the national average. A surprising number of billionaires had from 6 to 10 children.

        In case anyone is wondering why billionaire men and women have different fertility it’s because I separated them based on who actually had the money. When men make the bucks they usually have lots of kids. But nearly all the women inherited it. Still, I noticed there were a few women with higher fertility. When I looked closer I noticed that they either came from large families and/or their siblings tended to have larger families.

        So what can we deduce from all this? First, that confident, successful men tend have more children. And that for women pregnancy is contagious!


        July 20, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    • How is Malthus outdated, or nonsense?


      July 19, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      • Read your Malthus. Wrong on the growth rate of the human population (by a lot). Wrong on the growth rate of food production (by a lot). Wrong on the returns to labor (by a lot). Wrong on the best ways to limit population growth (way, way off). Basically, just totally wrong about his future (our past/present) because he had little respect for markets and real (non-social) science.


        July 20, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      • Nope. Whatever you said is an insignificant blip in history.

        Nature bats last.


        July 21, 2014 at 2:08 AM

  13. the iron law of wages has another description.

    according to marx labor is just another commodity input to production and therefore its cost is something close to the cost of “producing” it, that is, the cost of keeping the worker alive and in circumstances which don’t reduce his productivity.

    jorge videla

    July 18, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    • and although marx may have overlooked or underestimated the “labor” of the capitalist or executive, Piketty has confirmed his theory of “expropriation of surplus value” by capitalists, that is that labor does create more value than it is paid.

      jorge videla

      July 18, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    • and if conservatives doubt there is such a thing as “surplus value”, they should take a look at this:

      Under the cachorreo system they work for 30 days without payment. On the 31st day they are allowed to take with them as much ore as they can carry on their shoulders.[4] Whether the ore contains any gold or not is a matter of luck.

      jorge videla

      July 18, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      • Sounds like you discreetly try to increase your stash for 30 days, then carry it away on day 31. The modern working place in other words.


        July 19, 2014 at 6:39 AM

      • J.V.
        I’ve noticed that commies never address the tens of millions of murders of the fellow citizens of Mao, Stalin, etc. Is this because you are all liberal versions of holocaust deniers? The tens of millions of murders never seem to enter your calculations (just as the tens of millions of deaths due to “mismanagement” don’t either).

        I’ve also noticed that you guys never address the existence of the iron curtain that is ubiquitous to commie regimes. How do you square the need for a giant open-air prison system for entire countries that you claim are so well run?


        July 20, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      • Mao, Stalin, etc., do not run a true communist system, they run/ran a state capitalist system. In Marx’s system the proleteriat would take over government control and then, apparently, dismantle the government from within for a stateless workers’ paradise. However, this was naive of Marx and was the source of criticism from Anarchists like Bakunin. Bakunin knew that proleteriat control who simply morph into another form of bourgeois tyranny (a much more insidious one at that). Hence, why Marx was extremely wrong but only to a certain degree.

        Anarcho-syndicalism or libertarian Marxism are much better alternatives that seek revolution from the bottom-up and not the top down. Workers have every right to the fruits of their labor and should benefit from their uses democratically. Unfortunately, only the CNT-AIT of Spain seems aware of their exploitation (from where anarchist Catalonia originated from). The solution is simple, workers must organize!


        July 21, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    • This must be why all workers get paid minimum wage. The cost of keeping a given worker alive and productive is pretty similar to that of the costs of other workers.


      July 19, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      • all workers are paid minimum wage under really existing capitalism in the third world.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 12:52 AM

      • In what third world countries are all laborers paid the same (gov-mandated) minimum wage? All of the third worlders I know were paid based on the scarcity and value of their skills, just as tends to happen in Western countries.

        I get the impression that (unlike me) you’ve never known business owners who you could ask questions of. Example:
        J.V.: “Why are you hiring that man at $70/hr?”
        B.O.: “Because I expect him to generate $80/hr. for my business.”
        J.V.: “But wouldn’t he survive at $10/hr?”
        B.O.: “Yes, but if I offer him $10/hr he’ll work for someone else or start his own business. What’s this about ‘survive’? Are you on crack or something?”


        July 21, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    • J.V.

      Do you have any response to mine that people don’t all get paid the minimum wage, but that they actually tend to get paid based on the value that they can produce for employers? Why is it that people tend to get paid relative to their worth to a company? I.e., a real life employer will pay a man $100,000 if he believes that the man will make him $110,000 (I mean an actually extant employer, not the cartoon version you commies run with). Why doesn’t the employer just pay a Marxian wage necessary to keep the man alive?


      July 19, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      • 1. lion’s post was on the return of not the existing state of affairs.

        2. value creation and profit aren’t the same thing.

        3. wages are determined largely by the social relationship of manager and managed, worker and owner. it is socially impossible to pay your friends much less than yourself. decisions on wages are NOT rational.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 12:57 AM

      • and btw i’m not a marxist in any facile way at all.

        but i do think that marx and engels were geniuses and reading them is a necessary part of being well educated.

        sadly for many prole white americans “socialism” is like “pedophilia”. but in reality, the latter is satanic, and the former is not.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 1:51 AM

      • 1. There was never any reality to the Iron Law of Wages. It was based on bogus premises that never panned out. The premises are still untrue.
        2. This statement is senseless.
        3. Wage earners can find other employers or start their own businesses. It happens all of the time. As the U.S. degrades toward leftist dystopia the ability to start or maintain a business becomes harder, but I know that doesn’t bother you because leftists hate kulaks and loved murdering them.

        I assume that all leftists are Allen Ginsberg types.


        July 21, 2014 at 1:44 AM

  14. What kind of blue collar work are they doing? Workers at Amazon warehouses make way more than 25k/yr with good benefits.

    Why even waste your time doing such labor when you’re getting paid fast food wages?


    July 18, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    • as one idaho manufacturer of caterpillar like machinery shells said, “if your business model requires paying less than a living wage, you shouldn’t be in business.” if fast food were rendered non-viable by a higher minimum wage or whatever, good riddance! fast-food is an example of value-destruction.

      but even 25k is enough for one person to live fairly well in some parts of the country. i did it as a gta.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      • Hiring full time NAMs w/o a liveable salary is what corporate retail loves to do in America. It’s a neo-slavery and the elites have it all figured out beforehand. America was always about exploiting for less to get more.

        Why are there so many black mcdonalds staff in big liberal centers?

        Proles work at mcdonalds for short term only, mostly college or high school kids. Latino workers are favored over blacks more and more, and I expect many blacks to return to their savage roots.

        Further, most Americans don’t deserve to be treated with respect. Just look around.


        July 19, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      • The fact that the Spaniards had a lot respect for Amerindians and much less of their negro slaves, proves why America wants Latinos for simple work over blacks. But Anglosphere Whites are always a step behind.


        July 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      • But Anglosphere Whites are always a step behind.

        but i think the record is clear. the british empire was much better than any other colonial empire in its treatment of the indigenes.

        even in sub-saharan africa one sees that the former british colonies have fewer problems and higher mean iq scores than the rest.

        i’d say robert mugabe is in the top 1% in cognitive ability even though he’s black and a nutter.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 1:56 AM

    • Fair question Kaz. I think you are being generous with your Amazon estimates. Checking on the internet 25k seems pretty close to Amazon although stock option type compensation makes it difficult to completely compare. Blue collar work(without going into too much detail the company is very similar to Amazon but not Amazon). Couple of points, making 12 dollars an hour(25K) is better then fast food wages around here. Many of the workers don’t have options either.


      July 19, 2014 at 5:39 AM

  15. the Iron Law of Wages which states that competition among workers will drive down salaries to the minimum level needed to sustain the life of the workers and their families.

    the minimum level needed to sustain the life of the workers if they forgo having a family


    July 18, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    • which would be eugenic in some cases and on balance, but then many would not forgo it even without welfare. remember. it wasn’t too long ago that poor southern whites suffered from pellagra, beriberi, and hook worm.

      jorge videla

      July 18, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      • you’re middle aged and single so eugenics appears to be working fine in your case.


        July 19, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      • oh. and men can sire at any age. dave letterman, don imus, anthony quinn, etc. all men MUCH smarter than d the proud southerner.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      • and what is middle aged? i’m still well below 35.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      • don’t forget tony randall, steve martin and warren buffet. but you’re not warren buffet.


        July 20, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      • I wouldn’t exactly call 34 “well below 35.” But you’re right — you have about 5 years left to get married. The issue isn’t biological so much as social. My grandfather was 60 when my father was born. But he was a wealthy hotelier who married a woman half his age. Like I said, you’re no Warren Buffett.


        July 21, 2014 at 11:42 AM

  16. I think in your scenario there’s the assumption that free markets will last like they do today. I don’t think so. If life sucks for enough people, there will be guys offering alternatives just like in Germany in 1930’s.


    July 19, 2014 at 3:43 AM

  17. My 49-year old brother is a D.O., worked in a general practice for ten years, and now works as a Medical Director for a large health insurance company earning $500K per year, more than triple what he earned in private practice. He and I recently had an argument over career paths for his 12-year old son. My brother says, “Mechanical Engineering” because the boy enjoys taking things apart and is “good with Legos.” I said, well, if he wants to become wealthy, then go into to medicine.

    As a doctor, my brother sees the negatives of medicine (and dismisses the financial rewards); he knows nothing about the detriments of a career in engineering. But as a former software engineer, I probably am doing the reverse. But I do know one thing, a total of zero mechanical engineers make $500K per year.

    Any thoughts?

    E. Rekshun

    July 19, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    • I think that medicine has proven to be especially resistant to automation.

      • And also outsourcing. Some fly out for elective surgeries, but that’s about it.


        July 19, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      • Yes, and the supply of docs is purposefully kept to a minimum by the AMA. Like some other posters have said, a doc can work part-time (or on-call) if so desired as an employee in a clinic or in some other doc’s practice for, what, $70+ per hour.

        E. Rekshun

        July 19, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      • and it’s got great promotion.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      • No, medicine has proven to be massively over-regulated and buggered by gov (like schools, universities, and banks) so that the intelligent use of resources associated with free markets has never lead to more automation, etc. Leftists like you (who have way too much say in the country) have lead us all down the path of poverty. But who’s to blame you? You’re all children of commies and don’t know any better.


        July 20, 2014 at 7:35 AM

      • @ E. Rekshun,

        Your brother did not become wealthy by practicing medicine. He became wealthy after he abandoned the practice of medicine for a high-level management position. He was very, very lucky as high-level management opportunities don’t come along for physicians every day. The past is brighter than the future for the practice of medicine. Medicare is slashing reimbursements in some specialties, and health care reform promises more and steeper cuts. Also, just because medicine has been resistant to automation in the past does not mean that it will remain so in the future as computational power increases and AI develops.


        July 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      • Medicine is great at featherbedding. For example, why do we need pharmacists? A robot could put little pills into a bottle, you don’t need a $100k/year human to do that.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 20, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      • Yes, featherbedding. With the U.S.’s gov controlled medical market, pharmacists have had a real iron rice bowl. Of course, all leftists believe this means that more Soviet-style control is needed. We can start by murdering the kulaks.


        July 21, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    • If the kid loves mechanical engineering but is lukewarm about medicine, then go with mechanical engineering. What’s worse than a mechanical engineer is a med school dropout. We don’t know what wages for mechanical engineers will be in 10 to 20 years. The age of machines is coming, and it may boost their demand.


      July 19, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      • Yes, absolutely. I wasted one year in the night program in a 3rd tier law school before I realized the very limited career opportunities that would have awaited me.

        Oh, and by the way, always avoid the liberal guidance counselor’s advice of, “do what you love and the money will follow!”

        E. Rekshun

        July 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      • american mds are crap. dos are even crappier.


        because uni admissions in the us are based on short-term, subjective, idiosyncratic “grades” rather than cumulative, objective exams as they are in every other country on earth except canuckistan.

        jorge videla

        July 19, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      • Canuckistan is doing a lot better than Prolestan.

        Medicine will always look promising for the 1%. That is, those with high IQs!


        July 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      • “do what you love and the money will follow!”

        Most people don’gt really know what they want to do during their undergrad years.

        America’s higher ed is a failure because we want to push as much kids as possible into college right after college. Further, it’s expensive and many are stuck with a big bill.


        July 20, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      • * right after high school


        July 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM

  18. LotB,

    You were insisting for a while that all future benefits would accrue to people with the right skills and schooling, not the “capitalists.” Are you tossing that idea aside now that all the leftists you admire are stroking it over Picketty’s ridiculous pile of Marx?


    July 19, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    • Schooling and social connections are a special form of human capital which enables massive value transference.

      • This is because our economy is set up so that workers don’t get any of the benefits of the robotic bounty unless they can do something that the owners of capital are willing to pay for.

        How does your response square with the above quote? The “robotic bounty” is physical capital, right? Do leftists like you have trouble keeping your tortured re-definitions of words straight in your heads? “Capitalist” means whatever you want it to mean in a given context?


        July 19, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      • I’m not a leftist. I voted for Mitt Romney.

      • only prole jews vote gop.

        jorge videla

        July 20, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      • There are a lot more prole Jews than people realize.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 20, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      • LotB,

        Can you not remember your own posts?

        The traditional notion of capital is that it’s a transferable asset that makes money for you. So if you have enough capital, you don’t have to work because your money works for you.

        This old-school view of capital is no longer applicable to the modern world. Currently, the risk-free return is close to 0% (for example, the 1-month LIBOR rate is 0.19%). Factoring in inflation, capital invested in risk-free investments is actually a wasting asset.

        Even stocks, which are not risk-free investments, don’t return as much as they are used to. Look at this chart which shows the dividend rate of the S&P 500 since 1871. You can see that before the drop-off in the 1950s, the dividend yield tended to be around 5%. Even at the very peak of the 1920s bubble, the dividend rate was above 3%. But the dividend rate dropped below 2% in the 1990s, and has generally been under 2% for the last 15 years. The dividend rate today is 1.94%.

        People will argue that investors don’t expect to make money from dividends because companies will retain their earnings instead of distributing it, or they will distribute the earnings through stock buybacks or when there’s a corporate takeover. But didn’t these expectations also exist a hundred years ago?

        The reason for declining returns to non-human capital is because the returns are going to human capital instead. Or rather, you may call it value transference. Returns that should go to shareholders are instead gong to CEOs and other highly compensated employees, and to Wall Street types such as investment bankers and hedge fund managers.

        When you add estate tax on top of assets losing their value over time, in order for future generations to remain wealthy, one must past value-transference capital to one’s descendants. This is why the elite are so concerned with raising their children to that they are positioned to attend elite schools and enter elite career tracks. And why wealthy men are far more likely than you would believe, if you only read “game” blogs, to seek intelligent wives who will pass on good value transference genes to their children rather than bimbo trophy wives.

        So now your stance is that a capitalist is anyone who owns actual capital (like stock in a robotic manufactory) and anyone who has “value transference (snicker)” human capital?


        July 20, 2014 at 7:16 AM

      • I have not written anything inconsistent with the previous post that you copied, which was one of my better posts.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 20, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    • ridiculous pile of Marx

      turn off rush and read marx.

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      • Answer some of my questions about iron curtains and mass murders by commies.


        July 20, 2014 at 7:44 AM

      • i did! but lion didn’t post them.

        jorge videla

        July 21, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      • Stop insulting people, being obnoxious, repetitive, and then your posts won’t be censored.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 21, 2014 at 6:21 AM

  19. With the introduction of birth control and feminism (the State as alpha male) wages can fall below the cost of reproduction, so it is even worse. Subsistence used to include reproduction — so labor costs simply could not decrease below what it cost to obtain a fertile woman and keep her happy with her circumstances. With feminism and birth control, the demand for these women has gone up — not as reproducers, but as employees. FWIW, I’m gay, and I never want children, but falling wages and the Latin American-ization of the country certainly affects me.

    I am 28 years old. I have a decent job, as a contracts manager, for a defense firm. I look at my friends from high school and college…and they are spread all over the map, in terms of career success. I went to a public magnet school, with an entrance exam, and then on to a large state university in the deep South…most of my friends were upper middle class (and my father and my mother earned an upper middle class salary, but we lived closer to a middle class lifestyle, as I am one of five children).

    Of my six closet friends….

    Just finished his first year at Johns Hopkins medical school, and is married to a accountant

    Works as manager at an upscale bar in his hometown of 150k

    Electrician (I have no idea what his salary is), married to a nurse

    Software developer for a large bank in NYC

    Software developer for a small, rural electrical utility, married to a psychologist

    Graduated from George Washington Law and works for a small firm

    Logan Circle Dreaming

    July 19, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    • Nice post. Did you mean “closest,” not “closet”? Or both?

      I am also 28… Grew up in a small town in the Midwest where my parents were both professionals (lawyer and accountant) but we also had a large family ( I am one of six siblings).

      Went to a public high school in said town (extremely “prole” environment as people say on this blog), then scholarship took me to flagship state school of a large southern State, then to a T25 law school. Had difficulty getting my career off the ground after graduation in 2011 due to the implosion of legal hiring, but I am now working at a small firm in San Antonio, TX doing oil and gas law after I spent 2 years doing title research for oil companies.

      (BTW I enjoyed this blog’s posts about how media reporting on the industry focuses on things like crime in drilling areas and earthquakes rather than the fact it is one of the few bright spots of the US economy….)

      What are some of my closest friends up to?

      Law School:

      Several friends successfully landed jobs at big firms (although a much smaller fraction of my law school class than the classes just before us)… One pal is intent on bailing from Biglaw to a job at a government agency as soon as he pays off his student loans.

      One close pal is doing a law-related gig consulting startups in the NYC area about employment law because so many of them do not have HR departments.

      Another got a job on the management side of a construction company through his law school connections and deals with government contracts there.

      Another of my best friends was hired by family connections to a boutique litigation practice and is doing very well.

      (Side note: Although for a handful of classmates that law school was a waste of time and money that did not lead to a good job either in law or something law-related, and I nearly fell into that group myself, I can state that from my own experience as a recent law grad as well as from what I’ve seen happen to most of my peers that law school can still be a good ticket to the upper middle class.)


      One is a public school English teacher.

      Another worked on Wall street and is not trying to launch a startup.

      Two work in corporate marketing jobs.

      High School: Of a select group of five people I was close to: One works in construction management; another is an electrician, one has a blue collar job at a landfill, one is a high school counselor, another one is now a DO physician.

      Ava Lon

      July 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      • One pal is intent on bailing from Biglaw to a job at a government agency as soon as he pays off his student loans.

        Which means Law School is a waste of money for most people, unless your parents or someone close to you is in law to get you a cushy job. I spent 20K for a Paralegal Certificate and working in BIGLAW was just a nightmare dealing with partners who had the biggest egos, more so than financiers. 1st year associates were just glorified paralegals who grind and grind for 60+ hrs/ wk, and took a lot of abuse from their seniors.

        Everything you just described is setting the process for economic implosion and social collapse, coming to a town near you in America. People are just inundated with their prison careers with no social or cultural capital when the dominoes fall.


        July 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    • Logan, Ava, good posts. I’m a bit older than you, but I’ll share some experiences as well. Graduated in 1985 w/ a degree in Computer Science from a well-regarded private MA college. Worked several years as a software engineer for a large government defense contractor. In 1990, relocated to FL for a new employer. Earned my MBA in 2000 from the University of FL and transitioned out of software into financial & operational internal auditing. Due to two layoffs, a couple of missed/blown opportunities, the Great Recession, and my own failure to get on a lucrative career track, my annual salary today is exactly what it was in 1999. I’ve never earned six figures. Nonetheless, my liquid net worth is $1 million at age 50, and I will retire comfortably sometime between Monday and seven years from now.

      One MBA classmate is a VP at FL 3-chain hospital system; another is now a health care “consultant” after getting laid off in ’08; others are mid-level retail and commercial bankers. None make six-figures. Undergrad: most are still doing government defense software engineering. High school: most still live in our home town; one retired at age 45 after 25 years with the local fire department; others work for local corporations doing lower-level IT work. My best friend from childhood & high school retired from the Navy at age 42 as a Master Chief Petty Officer after 22 years, and after a year looking for a job got hired by the Coast Guard working in IT/electronics and is now making $85K per year (on top of his $22K annual Navy pension, but his ex-wife takes half of that!).

      E. Rekshun

      July 19, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    • the whole of the gop from koch brothers to coal miners are an example of false consciousness.

      the us has a center right party (the democrats) and a silly/crazy party (the gop).

      jorge videla

      July 19, 2014 at 9:11 PM

  20. Marry money.


    July 19, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    • Hard to do without a diploma from one of the fancy schools which necessiates one to start from upper middle class.


      July 21, 2014 at 2:20 AM

  21. what “the owners of capital are willing to pay for”???

    Anyone can own capital. There are scads of no-load mutual funds out there, not to mention dozens of companies that offer direct stock purchasing plans–most of which require minimal initial investments.

    All we need are policies to encourage savings, and a population that recognizes the necessity of so doing. Unfortunately, the former will be easier to achieve (even under left-wing rule) than I latter.


    July 19, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    • indeed! the us and uk are bottom of the barrel in savings. i think it’s cultural.

      i would favor no income tax, no cap gains tax, and definitely no property tax if there were a national sales tax and heavy luxury taxes.

      how much moolah someone has…i don’t care…that they waste it on frivolous things like contemporary art…i care. but i wouldn’t stop them from throwing away their money. i would just discourage it.

      oh. and heavy income taxes on illegitimate businesses.

      jorge videla

      July 20, 2014 at 2:06 AM

      • Which is why the USA is all about careerism. Making a lot of money instead of spending it wisely.

        And the fact that the NAM population is a prickly thorn to United States makes everything more expensive.

        Why is NYC so expensive? Simple, the subsidization of NAMs makes it so!


        July 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM

  22. O/T – Somewhat old news – But I’m sure many NYC readers here know that Citibike station placement signals who has money and who doesn’t. You don’t find Citibike parking stations in NAM areas of NYC. Gee, I wonder why!

    De Blasio’s administration believes this is discrimination and needs to be rectified.


    Wait till Tyrone damages or keeps the bike. Good lucking getting money from him!


    July 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    • Tyrone Power?



      July 21, 2014 at 6:19 PM

  23. My wife and I recently traveled to Seville, Spain. Here are some of my observations from an HBD perspective, as well as Spain’s immigration policies relative to the United States:

    Part 1:

    Upon landing in Madrid on our way to Seville, we took an airport bus from Madrid Airport to Madrid Train Station. I was interested in Spain from an immigration perspective relative to the United States as: 1.) it is a major country in Western Europe 2.) it had high levels of immigration prior to the 2008 financial crisis and 3.) it continues to have high levels of unemployment. In taking the airport shuttle, I noticed that all of the bus drivers and the vast majority of the taxi drivers (well over 90%) were still native born Spaniards. Pulling into the Madrid train station, I noticed that a large group of Africans were selling purses, bags and other goods on the sidewalks, which is very similar to what you see in NYC. We had a few hours to kill before our high speed rail departed from Madrid to Seville so we wandered around the Madrid Train Station, went to a few cafes, etc. Being an international city which had large amounts of immigration prior to the financial crisis, I would say that the ratio of workers in these lower-wage occupations in the Madrid Train Station (i.e. bartenders, servers in cafes, McDonald’s workers, etc.) was about 70% Spaniard and 30% immigrant (which mostly consisted of immigrants from Latin America). I found this interesting because Madrid is the largest and most international city in Spain and yet, native Spaniards are still performing these jobs. Also, I saw alot of what were essentially janitors in the Madrid Train Station. The majority of the janitors seemed to be Latin American immigrants but there were definitely some native Spaniards performing these jobs as well.

    In boarding and riding the AVE train (high speed rail) to Seville, 100% of the employees of the high speed rail company (from the ticket sales and collections agents to the customer service reps, train stewards aboard the train, bar tenders on the train, security officers, etc.) were native born Spaniards. This was similar to the Madrid cab drivers and bus drivers in which it seems that all government funded or protected occupations are still almost entirely native born Spaniards.

    Upon arriving in Seville, we walked from the train station to our to our hotel in the business district. Here, almost all of the workers in the train station, such as cafe employees, McDonald’s workers, etc. were native born Spaniards. Also, the cab drivers were entirely native born as well. In walking out of the train station, there was one African immigrant who was begging for money. Seriously, the first African that we saw on the streets of Seville was a beggar. People were trying to just avoid him on the streets.

    Part 2 to follow…


    July 20, 2014 at 5:16 PM

  24. Part 2:

    I’m obviously not going to recap of our vacation, but here are a few thoughts and observations of Spain and its relation to America (mostly from a tourist’s HBD and immigration perspective):

    1.) America is really a prole country – I would say that the highest number of tourists in Seville were from in order 1.) other parts of Spain 2.) France 3.) Italy 4.) Britain 5.) Germany 6.) Rest of Europe and 7.) United States. As we all know, obesity is occurring in every country around the world and there has been a prole-ification of the culture in every country in the West. However, Europeans simply look better, dress better, eat better and comport themselves better than Americans. Even the locals in Seville (which is in Andalusia, one of the less well off regions of Spain) are much less prole than even upper middle class Americans. Many Americans are truly obese and are remarkably poorly dressed.

    2.) American has vast amounts of surplus labor – One thing that you will notice in an American restaurant is the huge amount of staff: 1.) hosts 2.) low wage immigrants who wander around and fill up glasses of water 3.) low wage immigrants who bus tables 4.) “runners” who bring out meals to tables, etc. In Spain, the restaurant staff is much smaller. The waiter will cover more tables and will just put a large glass of water on the table. I much prefer the system in Spain as they aren’t employing anywhere near the amounts of low-skilled laborers that America is currently using, in which we have to subsidize all of the social costs in order to have someone unnecessarily pour water for us.

    3.) The vast majority of immigration policies in the year 2014 are really, really, really stupid – As I’ve noted above, even with a high immigration policy prior to the 2008 financial crisis, native born Spaniards were the vast majority of cab drivers, bus drivers, and train employees in Madrid and Seville. In Seville, most of the restaurant employees and cooks (with a few exceptions) were native born Spaniards. When I stopped in pharmacies in both Madrid and Seville, the pharmacists and check out clerks were native born Spaniards. This would not be the case in a major American city. The only Latin American immigrants that I saw who worked in restaurants in Seville did very menial work, such as serve ice cream to tourists. African immigrants seemed to be a huge problem for the cities and mostly sold cheap crap on the sidewalks. They didn’t appear to do anything useful. In Madrid, the immigrant owned shops (in which there were much less of in both Madrid and Seville in comparison to America) were all down-scale t-shirt shops and small convenience stores. They were primarily owned by Indians, Arabs and East Asians. I didn’t see any African owned stores. Again, with the exploding welfare states, “iron law of wages”, automation of low wage jobs, etc., most modern immigration policies are actively harmful to the citizens of the host countries. America is worse off in this regard.

    4.) America is not really a country – This was a tough realization for me as our elites want to make the rest of the world like America but for all of homogenization, globalization and Americanization that is occurring in Europe (and it certainly is), I still felt like I was in Spain. There is a strange dichotomy in Europe in that its elites want to make it a globalized continent (through mass immigration and other means) but still cherish of its historic buildings, food, etc. I don’t get that feeling in America at all. Modern America is really just a place a to make money. An “economy with a nation”.

    Anyways, thought you would be interested to hear one your reader’s thoughts from a “Saileresque” perspective. Keep up the great work!


    July 20, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    • Jersey Guy — So am I a genius or keen observer on LoftB, now that you are gloating about Spain with your long winded posts, and how America is more prolish than the Iberian Peninsula?

      Southern Spaniards in Andalusia are poorer, but they live better and know more about the world than some Hipster in Williamsburg.

      I like your comments!


      July 20, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    • And by the way, the Anglosphere nations are the ones suffering from the disease called multiculturalism. They will all implode sometime in the future as blacks, Muslims and other undesirables flood their shores more and more. England is no longer England with all of its 3rd world migrants. There might be a glimmer hope for Canuckistan and Australia, but I think Ozzie Land will fall to the East Asians, and their restive Aboriginal population. Australia is similar to America in way that anti-intellectualism does it for the USA.

      When I left Spain for England in the early Y2Ks, I could clearly smell the difference between the 2 nations with regards to their social habits and non-White demographic. The Englishmen and their immigrants were a lot more degenerate.


      July 21, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      • Sorry for the long-winded post but it was just a fascinating trip in terms of culture and economic policies. Yes, Europe’s elites are just as globalist as ours. It just hasn’t permeated society as much in Europe as it has here.

        It’s sad how prole most historically Anglo-Saxon countries have become. As debased as England’s working class is, I’ve noticed that at least most conservative people in England still have pretty decent cultural tendencies. That sure isn’t the case in America. I’m actually not a very snobbish person but I can no longer deny that America is a cultural wasteland (including NYC).


        July 21, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      • If you were reading this blog a few months back, I was saying Spain is a much better country than the United States in terms of culture, the attitude of the people, the arts and just everything else that isn’t about careerism or money.

        Every Spanish guy I know has plenty of female friends and or girlfriends, even guys who are living in their parents’ basements. The culture isn’t like ours where individualism and feminism degenerates into a form of toxic narcissism. The average American guy has very little social capital because he has no stellar credentials or status.


        July 24, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      • Found this interesting video about Spanish Expats living in Quebec City up in Francophone, Canada. The French speakers probably don’t mind them speaking another romance language. As long as it’s not American English, they are welcomed.


        July 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    • Interesting post. I’ve always assumed that Spain had a significant number of Latin American emigres that was very obvious in everyday circumstances. You seem to indicate no.


      July 22, 2014 at 10:53 PM

  25. It’s sad how prole most historically Anglo-Saxon countries have become. As debased as England’s working class is, I’ve noticed that at least most conservative people in England still have pretty decent cultural tendencies. That sure isn’t the case in America. I’m actually not a very snobbish person but I can no longer deny that America is a cultural wasteland (including NYC).

    Anglosphere countries worship the bottom line over anything else and more so now, because historically Anglo culture seems to be inferior to that of Continental Europe. Looking at a corporate entity such as Amazon, its has tentacles with the strongest grip in the USA and UK. Americans love to patronize large corporate conglomerates that ruin lives and prioritize quantity over quality. Continental Europe and Quebec Canada still values the independent bookstore and small businesses in general, and their authors write more about poignant and meaningful topics than Americans do and their prole genres, with their Suze Ormans, Robert Kiyosakis, or some liberal lunatic writer in the likes of Bill de Blasio, or your average Sex and the City feminist.


    July 24, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    • Do you think England was always like that? It always had a strong merchant class (as did the Netherlands and parts of Italy). I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a vibrant merchant class. It’s just that they shouldn’t hold the reins of the commanding heights of society. Japan has seemed to avoid this. As a thirty year old who has seen how the merchant class operates at my firm, I’ve seen enough to know how short-sighted these people are.


      July 24, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      • Perhaps you are correct. As you’ve said, it’s quite depressing how English Speaking nations have declined into socially dysfunctional states. Outside of the Anglosphere realm, women from the USA and the UK are viewed as the bottom of the barrel of femininity.

        The Europeans do have something known as the cooperatives, which are a gathering of merchants and businessmen who ensure their operations produce quality products, supported by the locals, and most importantly, free from corporate meddling that you see here in the states. Further, the average American loves patronizing large corporate entities who have become their undoing.

        I look at the millennial generation in America and they are big fans of big companies. The entire startup culture sucks because millenials want their firms to be bought by Google, Facebook, Yahoo or whatever billion dollar corporate entity. The dot com boom that preceded it was all about being cool, counter-culture and anti-establishment.


        July 25, 2014 at 1:41 PM

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