Labor reform...not going well


#101

Oh boy, I could have so much fun imagining the trials and tribulations, but especially the trials, faced by Mr. Finley of Finley’s Widget Factory when he comes up with creative ways of evading his legal obligations and accusing the government of funny math… but I would have to put a few words in his mouth, so I’ll leave the screenplays to Hollywood professionals and try to keep this short.

It’s a little more complicated than that. I think WTF is with Britons? is beyond the scope of this thread. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I don’t hate navel-gazing twits, but they are a danger to society.

Oh, you don’t hate and fear yourself. You love and fear yourself! You must have interesting views on self-actualization…

I have enough knowledge to accurately assess my limitations.

Then I trust you’re not in charge of labor relations at your company and never will be. :slight_smile:


#102

A natural disaster occurs, so there are shortages of x. Thus the reduction of supply is a freak accident. It’s part of nature. People need to eat/drive/etc., so the increased demand is a matter of human agency, ergo buyers are ultimately responsible for the prices.

Another way of looking at it:
People cannot stop eating. It’s part of nature. They have the same demand as before the freak accident but are now forced to choose between higher prices and death, ergo they are not ultimately responsible for the prices.

Either way, a chicken is a chicken and an egg an egg. That won’t stop society from regulating what should and shouldn’t be done with chickens and eggs, for better or for worse.

Depending on the circumstances, the seller may be just as desperate as the buyer, i.e. the seller may need to raise the price in order to continue eating. However, when you have ever larger and richer companies doing the selling and ever poorer consumers doing the buying, it makes you stop and wonder. :ponder:

I defer to Finley on this one. I agree that there is “flexible” regulations, not due to profit or capitalism, but rather “guanxi-guanxi,” which is the Chinese euphemistic cozy way of how we say Cronyism in the West, and is present very much in Taiwan as well, working against pure profit capitalism.

If you know someone who can do something about harsh regulations, you benefit. Thus government chooses who can be entrepreneurs, who can enter the market. As such, it’s not really a free market, but more like state monopoly. Fascism has much to do with this cronyism kind of capitalism, which isn’t really capitalism, it’s still state control of the market.

Of course there is also demand for certain DNA and for connections to people with certain DNA, because those people can supply certain benefits. Iow, it’s still a market, just not one that you’re likely to enjoy unless you have the right DNA or the means to deal with it.

In general, developed countries have less of this. (I won’t get started on the UK.)

Another thing, when capital is poor (compared to Western nations), they don’t have the same tools or machinery that makes workers efficient. So for example, in a Western factory, shoemakers may make 100 shoes an hour with help of complicated machinery, which more capital makes possible. A Taiwanese factory, with same quality product, a shoemaker may make only 70 or 50 shoes an hour. It isn’t that Western workers work harder than Taiwanese, but the capital outlays make their work much more efficient so that they “earn” more wage than their counterparts. It’s just as you say, they don’t invest in RnD, you think because they think it unnecessary, but I think because capital isn’t so readily available, and if profit isn’t the motive behind everything but only maintaining the feudal manor, then RnD would be waste, it’s too practical to be of use by people who’s thinking isn’t practical.

This brings us back to the minimum wage. Why should they invest in R&D to increase production when they can just hire more peasants (and foreign peasants if need be) to work for the same number of peanuts as before, or even for fewer peanuts if unemployment has risen? Then the government notices the economy is stalling and says we can’t stay 2nd/3rd world forever, and the laobans scream bloody murder. (It’s not just a Taiwan thing, of course.)

I basically agree with Andrew: Taiwan has money but has difficulty using it wisely. We can extrapolate from this that the more concentrated it is in the pockets of a small group of people, the fewer people there are with the means to use money wisely. Iow, the wealth gap is part of the problem.

I understand your perception of cultic behavior in companies, or the status gap if we want to call it that, and I believe this goes back to education reform. (The means to use money wisely = both money and wisdom.) It’s a deep cultural issue, and adapting to the modern world without destroying the culture is a challenge. You can’t just knock down a few statues – whether of CKS or of Confucius – and say everything is different now. :2cents:


#103

[quote=“yyy, post:102, topic:158317, full:true”]
Another way of looking at it:
People cannot stop eating. It’s part of nature. They have the same demand as before the freak accident but are now forced to choose between higher prices and death, ergo they are not ultimately responsible for the prices.

Either way, a chicken is a chicken and an egg an egg. That won’t stop society from regulating what should and shouldn’t be done with chickens and eggs, for better or for worse.[/quote]
This is a reality when you have for example, hyperinflation, such as Germany in 1920s, because German government thought they could create more wealth and grow money on trees simply by printing more money. Government messing in economics when they don’t understand it hurts average citizens who depended on the currency and eventually led to Hitler’s rise. Not to mention Zimbabwe and Hungary. Pearl Buck says about Germany.

Well, that’s our contention. I’m saying if they invest so that they can outpredict the market and outsmart their competitors, they can generate more capital by making their workers more productive. But as Andrew is saying, they don’t even want to go this capitalist route, and if that is true, then it goes back to what I’m saying, they see their Potemkin-village company as their fiefdom/manor and employees as serfs. Managers keep them in the office after dark to feel as though they are living there, like family belonging to the manor, though they don’t do anything profitable. It’s thinking that goes back to Medieval Ages, they haven’t evolved even though they use the same inventions we do, which is an outgrowth of Western capital and market/democratic evolution. They have all the outward appearances of democracy, including elections, but inwardly, they retain their old traditional Chinese feudal thinking. So their capitalism isn’t as efficient as ours, however dominant be this thinking. But as I said before democratic thinking takes time to culture, it isn’t done overnight just because the government is such on the outside, such as Iraq demonstrates. And as I said before, the Industrial Revolution also took time to accumulate capital, change the lives of the masses and revolutionize society. Taiwan is only 20 years as a democracy.

I basically agree with Andrew: Taiwan has money but has difficulty using it wisely. We can extrapolate from this that the more concentrated it is in the pockets of a small group of people, the fewer people there are with the means to use money wisely. Iow, the wealth gap is part of the problem.

This is precisely what happens in fiefdom. Adam Smith said they prospered because there really were no markets for rich people to spend, so they used all their capital on sustaining people, which didn’t make profit. The system only broke up when private markets appeared as trading posts were established on the coastline. When articles became available for the rich aristocrats to buy, they diverted their capital from human goods to material wealth, which precipitated the breakup of fiefdom according to Adams Smith.

But I can’t imagine this feudal thing is totally the case in Taiwan, I don’t think they are totally not trying to make money, but that they just don’t know how, or socialism, or bubbles, but I know some of this aspect Andrew mentions exists, as I’ve seen it myself, and it does pull down society wherever it exists as it is anti-capitalist just as much as socialism does and is. Socialism too is built on the perception that government elites are lords of society and can plan people (the economy) better than people can plan themselves.

And CKS himself was a fascist socialist, having problems with the communists, just as fascist socialist Hitler was having problems with the Russians. CKS established this socialist thinking in Taiwan.


#104

I agree. And I would add: you can’t vigorously defend and eventually keep the statues (I saw this happen in Taipei City in the 2000s) and pretend everything is fine.

Guy


#105

[quote=“jotham, post:103, topic:158317, full:true”]
This is a reality when you have for example, hyperinflation, such as Germany in 1920s, because German government thought they could create more wealth and grow money on trees simply by printing more money. Government messing in economics when they don’t understand it hurts average citizens who depended on the currency and eventually led to Hitler’s rise. Not to mention Zimbabwe and Hungary. [/quote]
Well thank God your Pearl Buck scenario could never happen in America, since they don’t pr-- oh, wait. :doh:

And I’m saying the government can give them an incentive by raising labor standards (wages in particular but also the other standards), as the increased cost per employee signals to the employer that the status quo is unsustainable, so they need to adapt or make room for others. This also increases the standard of living for the masses, indirectly benefitting the entire society.


#106

Here’s a new one. Forget sham contracting. Sham outsourcing is where it’s at!

Several employees of the chain and members of the Labor Vanguard Association held a news conference in Taipei, claiming that the firm has since January sought to transfer all overtime hours to a separate company, Weigu Corp, and required employees to sign an official notice.“

“Since employees do not have formal contracts with Weigu and still work in their original location, Comebuy is engaging in fake outsourcing,” National Chiao Tung University School of Law professor Chiu Yu-fan (邱羽凡) said. “If Weigu did not send people to supervise [the work] and take responsibility for safety and [working] hours, it is basically a non-existent employer.”

Well, they signed it, so that means they agreed to it. No problem here! :rainbow:

He also accused the firm of avoiding paying double overtime over the Lunar New Year holiday by temporarily linking employees’ pay directly to store sales.

“If you worked on those days, you would get a portion of the 35 percent of revenues they split among workers, but the firm only did this because it knew there would not be many customers,” Labor Vanguard Association spokesman Wu Zhou-ju (吳昭儒) said, demanding that Wang be reinstated to his position and workers be given back-pay for any overtime owed.

Comebuy denied the accusations, saying it did not fully understand the new labor rules, which took effect in January, but that it has since boosted efforts to educate store managers.


#107

…ah the old go to when caught out.

It must have been a misunderstanding!
We will ‘jia qiang’!


#108

Just so we’re clear… R&D to increase production generally means replacing workers with automation. But the few workers who still have jobs will get more pay!

Minimum wage is a stimulus plan for robot manufacturers.


#109

No it doesn’t really in most cases. Maybe for small firms that still uses more man power production. But for big tech firms they already are at the peak of the current technology with automation. RnD would just increase the RnD department and force them to hire more talents and pressure to produce results. And prevent the brain drain of talents that is happen to taiwan when China will pay more.


#110

Two dimensional thinking – something robots are good at. :wink:


#111

Ha, if profits for their own sake don’t motivate them when expenses are lower, raising their expenses won’t either. They’ll just hire fewer serfs or abandon it altogether. They won’t embrace capitalism if all these years heretofore…

But I think this is maybe barking up the wrong tree. I think it’s a bit like Europe, a mix of the good and bad, dragging down the prosperity and well-being of capitalism with inefficient, authoritarian socialism. I see a lot of capitalism going on in Taiwan, it’s just tempered with a lot of traditional feudalism.

But the real moral of the story is, governments ain’t gonna create wealth and grow money on trees by raising labor wages unilaterally just like you won’t by printing a bunch of money. Economics will come back and bite you just as hard as you try to implement it.

If it did work, then let’s raise labor wages 400% everywhere in the world and force those factories to churn out profits and welfare for all. Let’s see how that works.


#112

The peak of current technology is a moving target. Those of us who have worked in R&D know this well.


#113

The office of a Jothamian Member of Congress is contacted by a concerned peasant…

Yes, I know the minimum wage is decreasing when adjusted for inflation, but there’s nothing we can do about it. The private sector hasn’t created enough wealth yet. What does that mean? It means they’re not rich enough.

No, no, of course we’re not promoting serfdom or anything like that. We’re protecting you from it! You see, we need to wait for permission from the private sector – they know best, so when they say the time is right, we will act. No, of course they don’t have any conflict of interest.

It doesn’t matter. The private sector needs to vote unanimously to approve the measure before we can act. We can’t do it unilaterally. This is a democracy, after all.

Best wishes to the people of Jothamia! :four_leaf_clover:


#114

Ha, you think the private sector is at fault, that left to themselves, people choosing freely their livelihoods, buying and selling habits in accordance with their self-interests, in short, their freedoms, would bring ruin and destruction on themselves, and that only government elites are smarter than the hoi polloi, only they are smart enough to intervene, stop them from enjoying their liberties and “selfishness,” so they can prosper.

It really is a low opinion of common people when you think about it, it is exactly this “lord” kind of thinking in government to think people aren’t capable of managing themselves, that they need lords in government to manage them and bridle their “wreckless” financial plans and preferences.

The private sector, (or the economy, or the common people), isn’t at fault, but the public sector. The people left to themselves flourish when they’re allowed to act on their self-interests. Collectively they make millions of choices each and every day judging quality versus price each individually, which makes the market remarkably efficient and flexible to local and societal needs. Government, on the other hand, either one totalitarian leader, or a group of 12 or such make cookie-cutter decisions which takes the place of millions of individual choices with their individual observations not to mention judgments and preferences. Government intervention in the market is too blunt a tool to be more effective than the many.

Your imaginary problem with inflation is almost always a government blunder, not induced by the private sector. The government could plan for a deflation, which causes wages also to decrease, like Harding did when interest rates were raised to more normal, market levels, (in response to previous irresponsible government practices) but prices went down faster than wages.

Your analogy is simply impossible, unless you permit that government had been acting enormously without permission (which is real life) previous to this conversation.


#115

Our conversation about government intervention reminds me of an economic rap between Hayek, a Mises economist, and Keynes, who represents your views. Especially in round 3 at 5:20.

A Mises production, it represents an unpopular Hayek winning the actual fighting match, but the more distinguished Keynes getting the prize, because in real life, Hayek effectively criticized his theories, but government elites preferred Keynes method better because it gave them free rein to spend.

  • Try captions; it’s hard to follow economic jargon in rap.

The real Hayek, who was my introduction to economics and my first hero, says that Keynes interest in economics was only limited and didn’t know or care about many important aspects of economics, such as the theory of capital, which yyy also doesn’t appreciate. You may need captions to understand his very heavy german accent.


#116

I think you need to brush up either your Greek or your math. :wall:

Or do employers actually outnumber employees? :ponder:


#117

It’s not employers that determine wages ultimately, but entrepreneurs, investors, the ones providing capital. Employers are also employed; they follow the will of the entrepreneur.


#118

Sorry, I don’t have much patience for preachy strawman cartoons that are only funny because they’re so lame. :sleeping:

Oh yeah, I forgot. Workers are all entrepreneurs, happily selling their services in a free market. :rainbow: They don’t want higher wages. :roll:

The rap was amusing but seemed to say more about the schizophrenia of contemporary America than about Keynes or Hayek per se. You guys need a national psychoanalyst imho.

I don’t identify as a Keynesian btw, even if he was smarter than your Austrians.

Edit:
If I understand you correctly, what you mean by employers are also employed is that managers are also independent worker-entrepreneurs selling their services in a free market, and the services they sell are called “management”.

In Taiwan, lower ranking managers are generally employees (in terms of the Civil Code), whereas higher ranking ones are generally mandataries. Among those employees who are subject to the LSA (i.e. “workers”), some types of manager are subject to Art. 84-1, meaning their contracts are more flexible, but still not as flexible as mandate contracts.

The employee-mandatary distinction also comes up in civil suits involving managers, and the courts examine the degree of control, supervision, subordination etc., just like they do for other types of alleged employees/mandataries.


#119

Here’s another example of why labor reform is not working. Young people are too afraid to ask for more than 30k starting out. http://m.focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201703060006.aspx


#120

[quote=“yyy, post:118, topic:158317, full:true”]
The rap was amusing but seemed to say more about the schizophrenia of contemporary America than about Keynes or Hayek per se. You guys need a national psychoanalyst imho.[/quote]
Though Bush showed himself conservative at cutting taxes and caused an uplift in the economy early on, unfortunately he showed himself more Keynesian after the recession, kinda like Republican Hoover after the crash in 1929, our first Keynesian president. People said he was do-nothing president in mockery of laissez-faire, but it was opposite, he did everything. Democrat Roosevelt largely won criticizing Hoover for too much government intervention.

[quote]
Edit:
If I understand you correctly, what you mean by employers are also employed is that managers are also independent worker-entrepreneurs selling their services in a free market, and the services they sell are called “management”.[/quote]

Well, what I was getting at was that managers, bosses don’t directly profit from offering too low salaries or too high. They have their own salaries, it redounds to the entrepreneur who counts the profit or loss.

But yes, the small business owner is about 75% of American businesses, so you don’t always have to think of entrepreneurs as these distant, aristocratic Edgars. They are often common people rising the ladder, who don’t want to work for a boss. It’s more common than you might think. That’s the beauty of democratic capitalism, anyone who saves capital can enter.

It doesn’t matter to me what government decrees about workers, I’m talking in the framework of economics and economics law, in the face of which government decrees are effete, hardly worth the paper they’re on. You seem to put an inordinate amount of faith in them like oracles of God.