Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Super people and intergenerational justice

James Atlas has a terrific essay in this past Sunday's New York Times on how the higher education game is generating what he calls Super People -- applicants with absurdly hyper-competent resumes, who clearly have been groomed since the age of three to Succeed in Life by their obsessive parents:

Graduate and professional school statistics are just as daunting. Dr. Bardes told me that he routinely interviewed students with perfect or near perfect grade point averages and SATs — enough to fill the class several times over. Last year 5,722 applicants competed for 101 places at Weill Cornell; the odds of getting in there are even worse than those of getting your 3-year-old into a New York City private school.

“Applicant pools are stronger and deeper,” concurs Stephen Singer, the former director of college counseling at Horace Mann, the New York City private school renowned for its driven students. “It used to be that if you were editor of the paper or president of your class you could get in almost anywhere,” Mr. Singer says. “Now it’s ‘What did you do as president? How did you make the paper special?’ Kids file stories from Bosnia or El Salvador on their summer vacations.” Such students are known in college admissions circles as “pointy” — being well-rounded doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to have a spike in your achievement chart.
 Of course having a "spike in your achievement chart" doesn't exactly come cheap:

Affluent families can literally buy a better résumé. “In a bad economy, the demographic shift has the potential to reinforce a socio-economic gap,” says Todd Breyfogle, who oversaw the honors program at the University of Denver and is now director of seminars at the Aspen Institute. “Only those families who can help their students be more competitive will have students who can get into elite institutions.”
Schools are now giving out less scholarship money in the tight economy, favoring students who can pay full freight. Meanwhile, Super People jet off on Mom and Dad’s dime to archaeological digs in the Negev desert, when they might once have opted to be counselors in training at Camp Shewahmegon for the summer. And the privilege of laboring as a volunteer in a day care center in Guatemala — “service learning,” as it’s sometimes called — doesn’t come cheap once you tote up the air fare, room and board.

Colleges collude in the push to upgrade talent. “It’s a huge industry,” Mr. Breyfogle says. “Harvard has a whole office devoted to preparing applicants for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.” At its worst, this kind of coaching results in candidates who are treated as what he calls “management projects.

”“They’ve been put in the hands of makeover experts who have a stake in making them look better than they are, leveraging their achievement,” Mr. Breyfogle says.

“We are concerned about that,” confirmed Jeff Rickey, head of admissions at St. Lawrence University, whom I tracked down at the National Association for College Admission Counseling conference in New Orleans. “If they joined a club, when did they join it? Maybe they play 15 instruments, but when they list them out, the amount of time they spent on each isn’t that much.” Mr. Breyfogle is also on the alert for résumé stuffing. “They’ve worked at an orphanage in Katmandu, but it turns out it was over Christmas break,” he gave as an example. “It’s easier to be amazing now.” All you need is money.
Ah yes, the wonders of our "meritocracy," in which the cream rises inevitably to the top, hard work is rewarded, and the best and the brightest jet from Katmandu orphanages to Princeton eating clubs and 172 LSAT scores!

All this, as Atlas points out, is part and parcel of a society increasingly stratified along class lines, in which the rich get richer, and in the process gain ever-greater advantages in making sure that their progeny have every advantage in the race for those precious slots at the top colleges and professional schools (and from there the top firms and agencies and businesses etc etc).

At the moment American life features a big demographic problem, which is that the baby boomers have all the good jobs, and we're not going away any time soon. This, more than the current dire state of the economy, is the long-term problem that the education establishment in general, and law schools in particular, must grapple with.  It's one thing to mock the person who "only" got into a Tier Three law school for being unable to get a job (although in fact that person has finished ahead of 97% of the population in the credentialing rat race), but what about the guy who had an A average at a good undergraduate school and a 167 on the LSAT, and finished in the top 20% of his class at George Washington, and can't get a job? There are plenty of those people now too -- because the baby boomers have all the good jobs.

What did that guy do wrong again? Oh right he should have "worked harder" and spent a couple of more holidays in college working on Guatemalan farm cooperatives, and gotten into NYU Law.  Except a third of NYU's third year class is now in trouble, and a lot of the rest of it is looking at big problems three to five years down the road, when they and their 200K loans get Lathamed.  Oh well I guess they should have "worked harder" and gotten into HYS.  Because no matter what happens, the thing to remember is that if something goes wrong it's your fault, or possibly your parents,' but never ever the system's, which is fundamentally fair and just if always amenable to some marginal tweaking to make it even better.

Every year at this time law school faculties start looking at our own versions of Super People to figure out who to hire next. Every year the older faculty say the same thing: I could never have gotten hired today. And we're right -- we couldn't have.  Somehow, this insight almost never seems to extend to the situations our students are in, however.  The baby boomers have all the jobs, and we've forgotten how we got them. All the "transparency" in the world isn't going to solve that problem.


  1. I was interviewed by your school for a faculty position a few years back. I had great credentials despite not being HYS graduate. But guess who you hired?

  2. Oh please. Boomers suck, but the real problem is the unfair trade agreements, most of which were inked in the 60s and 70s, while the Boomers weren't in power (Boomers get some credit for NAFTA, but that's small potatoes). Those trade agreements robbed the true middle class (the unionized middle class) of its' jobs, and concomitantly its claim on the goods and services produced by society. Those trade agreements have been great for the rich, good for the upper middle class, and terrible for everyone else.

    That's the real problem; if Johnny Law School were choosing between a factory job that provided a good middle class wage or paying $150,000 for a shot at the middle class, Johnny Law School would probably choose the former, driving down the price of law school and reducing the oversupply of law grade.

    But Johnny Law School doesn't get that choice in 2011; he has to choose between a degrading, humiliating clown collar job that will never lead to the middle class, or paying $150,000 for a shot at the middle class.

  3. The guilt, self-loathing, and hyperbole are strong today!


  4. LawProf - this is the second day in a row I wrote a rather long post that was lost due to some system error. I had to log into a separate unique browser to make this comment. Extremely annoying.

  5. @6.47 Speaking as someone who has worked in several different countries, I do not think (obviously) that closing borders to trade and migration is the answer. In fact, countries that do this only close themselves off to the opportunities to be found in foreign markets and in foreign workforces.

    Think: Japan's economy is more closed to foreign trade and migration that that of Germany or the UK - but which has performed better over the last twenty years? And why?

    Sure, I know what the consequences of liberalisation can be on an economy previously shielded from outside competition. My father used to work for Leyland when it was part of the Rover Group, a company where the unions had essentially ruled the roost on government subsidy - a company that collapsed within a few years of full privatisation due to the inefficiencies ceated by years of union influence. I grew up in a mining village in Lancashire and remember the 1984 Miner's Strike - another example of an industry which essentially collapsed overnight from its own inefficiency as soon as it was opened to outside competition. However, the UK was better for being rid of the dead-weight of these sunset industries.

    @Campos - Agreed. This only hit me when I saw that UK firms had started asking people their grades for exams they took when they were 16 at interviews for jobs where the applicants would most likely be in their late 20's.

    Some additional things you might have included in your essay:

    1) Grade inflation - it's harder to distinguish the good from the great nowadays simply by grades. As one of the merely 'good' I don't mind this too much though.

    2) The re-emergence of nepotism - it's not hard to be cynical when so many of the people you see getting jobs in law nowadays do so through family connections. By repute this wasn't such an issue in the 70's and 80's, but now I'd say it goes either wholly or substantially for about 1/4 of those that find work.

    3) Plagiarism - something that has simply ballooned since I was an undergraduate student in the late 90's. I didn't know a single person who would have copied someone else's work then, but out of the people I did my master's with in 2007-08 I'd put the number at around 1/3rd at least. Essays have become a joke to many students and increasing emphasis is now laid on exams.

    4) The return of the casting couch - or perhaps it never went away, but it simply stings more in a recession. I am aware of two (highly intelligent and capable) ladies who gave themselves an edge over their equally intelligent and capable opposition by these means. Senior figures in certain firms see young staff and interns particularly as a free-fire zone for exercising a modern version of the Droit du seigneur in which the pay-off is a (not necessarily fulfilled) promise of a chance at a job.

    I think the most pernicious problem is that so few people are aware that this is what is happening, that Anglo-American society has been becoming markedly less equal. How often have you heard people complaining of only having a house-hold income in the six figures? How many of the people who, by any economic standard, are upper class, think they are? How many people point to the resolution of racial inequality (which certainly was a problem that needed solving) only to miss the glaring fact that all their hirings come from a well-off background?

    The UK is particularly bad for this, but you see much of the same kind of thing in the US.

  6. this is the second day in a row I wrote a rather long post that was lost due to some system error. I had to log into a separate unique browser to make this comment. Extremely annoying.

    That's been happening to me as well. I have to log in to Blogger in order to post. I assume it's a Blogger issue.

  7. I always Ctrl+C my long comments before posting them, that way I can simply paste them back in if it doesn't take.

  8. @6:47 Boomers consistently strengthened free trade with every round of talks (see Doha and Uruguay). Under most conditions free trade does tend to "raise all boats" (admittedly with some of the ugliness of displacement). The combination of Chinese currency manipulation and our current internal economic dynamic (a liquidity trap) is what makes free trade so toxic for us and so beneficial to China.

    It does not help that the top 1% clearly benefited the most economically from these conditions (the data does not lie) and used $$ to gain tax breaks and political favors to increase and maintain the their advantages. We now have the same economic disparity between the haves and have-nots as in 1929...you know what happened next. Oh yea, TARP prevented the same type of financial collapse but also prevented us from instituting FDR type banking regulation. Thank god bankers and the rentier class got to keep all their money. We have been served well.

  9. I teach in a business school and have many students ask me to advice/help on ls applications. I can never figure out if it is more cruel to share sites like this with them OR nurture their uninformed beliefs about ls and what a law degree will 'do for them' in the world. Any advice?

  10. @8:01 - yea, its so cruel to save your students from indentured servitude and years of frustration. Isn't it your duty to be honest with them?

  11. 8:01

    You need to be honest with your students. In the long run, most of them won't listen to you, but a few will, and they will always be grateful for it.

    Also, you will be able to sleep at night.

  12. @8:01 - I always am honest with them but obviously there are still lots of people who *do* lead fulfilling and happy lives after law school so it isn't as clear cut in my mind as it may be in yours.

  13. 8:01: You should remind them that law school is a business, and a business that benefits from a vigorous government-maintained cartel structure, as well as ongoing immunity from consumer protection laws.

  14. @8:11: Ha! That could work but I fear it won't pierce the magical thinking that hangs like a vapour around 99% of seniors planning to go to law school, med school, mba school, etc. etc. I struggle to find a way to be generally encouraging to them in a life sense but not so generally encouraging that I become an accomplice to their - understandable - delusions/ignorance about the wide world.

  15. I always am honest with them but obviously there are still lots of people who *do* lead fulfilling and happy lives after law school so it isn't as clear cut in my mind as it may be in yours.

    Yes, you should send them to this site, because most of the information out there about the prospects of law students is highly misleading if not actually dishonest. This site is a much-needed corrective.

  16. I guess something that really should be talked about more also is the use of automated software systems to screen job applications (and perhaps, nowadays, academic applications also - I wouldn't be at all surprised). Put simply, this is death for any applicant with an unorthodox background, because no software can be programmed to recognise the qualities of such a person.

    Even before this, HR/admissions departments were doing things that really made no sense, like requiring hand-written applications (applications which might take a day to fill out) and throwing out applications from people whose hand-writing they had difficulty in reading.

    Spent a lot of time overseas? Well, get used to having your applications thrown out because of it - either because people just aren't bothered to confirm your references when the time-difference is 8 hours, or because they don't think you'll stay. Not spent enough time overseas? well then you aren't 'rounded' enough.

    Anyone who's heard HR staff loudly proclaiming how they automatically throw out any applications containing the smallest spelling or grammatical error - when the material they ask to be sent might extend for several pages - can only feel bitter irony when they read the many mistakes to be found not only in correspondence with HR staff, but even in the job adverts they draft. This feeling of irony only increases when discussions in job interviews shows that, actually, no-one had bothered to read the documents they asked you write.

    Well, thankfully I've managed to put all that behind me, but my heart goes out to those who are going through it now.

  17. "It's one thing to mock the person who "only" got into a Tier Three law school for being unable to get a job (although in fact that person has finished ahead of 97% of the population in the credentialing rat race),"

    Excellent quote. Over at Prawfsblawg some commenter insinuated that those who got Tier Three schools are essentially dumb, unemployable losers who had employment prospects any way, and so nothing was lost as a result of their being scammed into attending a TTT. He/she wrote:

    "But the issue is that the students who are not finding employment, in most cases, are not eligible for access to "more deserving" programs. The argument in favor of fuller disclosure, as I understand it, is to deter students who will be unemployable from entering law school in the first place, not to shunt them towards "more deserving" programs (that ordinarily will not offer them admission)."


    In fact, someone who was misled into attending a TTT usually did have numerous other programs they could have gotten into, programs that would have led to good jobs. But hey, that's how putrid the law school scam is, getting a TTT degree is not only a waste of time but it will cause the world to think your some dumb oaf who would have been a ward of the state otherwise.

  18. 6:47, the Senate is LITERALLY on the verge of passing tariffs against China. Google news it to see.

    P.S. I wouldn't say the other countries robbed America of jobs because they didn't take those jobs through fraud (unlike a law school that steals your precious tuition money via fraud) but rather they got those jobs because they work harder for less money.

  19. "Every year at this time law school faculties start looking at our own versions of Super People to figure out who to hire next. Every year the older faculty say the same thing: I could never have gotten hired today. And we're right -- we couldn't have. Somehow, this insight almost never seems to extend to the situations our students are in, however. The baby boomers have all the jobs, and we've forgotten how we got them."

    Masterpiece NY Times quality stuff. You are a man whose writing talents are seriously unappreciated.

  20. Speaking of globalization, how about using it to solve the law school scam!?

    Allow other countries to open ABA accredited law schools! Hear me out. You could probably go to law school in India or China for $4,000 per year including room and board. Further, that would be a much more interesting experience than attending school in the US. The American law schools would see a huge "sucking sound" of applications going off shore and they would be driven out of business en masse. I get so excited just thinking about it, even though it would never happen.

    But that should remind you anti-globalization types of what will happen if you block off global competition - what will happen is that you will have lazy high paid American workers doing a bad job for exhorbitant salaries.

  21. 7:55, it's preposterous to state that "free" trade deals "raise all boats." That would only be true in a society where the benefits of trade are forcibly distributed equally. In the US, they aren't. The small % who control capital benefit immensely from "free*" trade, while the majority who lose their jobs/have crappier jobs than their parents lose overall, but because they get slightly cheaper shirts to wear to their clown collar jobs they're told to "suck it up and compete!"

    *Most "free" trade deals the US has been a party to since the 50s have not been reciprocally enforced. The political decision was made to finance the reconstruction of Europe (and industrialization of East Asia) on the backs of US industrial workers.

  22. "*Most "free" trade deals the US has been a party to since the 50s have not been reciprocally enforced."

    No not at all. The US has been fighting (mostly via lobbying) in the WTO for decades. They can't win, though, because they have lazier and less accurate workers who want more money (at least in some industries, although by no means in all industries).

    It's a perfectly true statement to say that globalization and free trade led to offshoring of jobs. But those Americans who want to say they were robbed are deluded. This whole "currency manipulation" thing is theoretically incoherent and it would be laughed out of the WTO if litigated there.

  23. You know, if you guys had, like me, lived in a place where the auto industry had been annihilated by competition with, amongst others, Ford and GM, you might have a different view on whether the US benefits from free trade.

  24. Heh FOARP great point. The UK auto industry got destroyed by global competition. You guys used to make so many cars, but their quality was just sh*t relative to American and Japanese models.

    You have to give poor America, we're still out there competing in every category even if we're #2 at times. USA! USA!

  25. @8:51 and 8:56 - you both need to take basic economic courses. Under most economic conditions free trade is very healthy for everyone. In fact protectionist policies and trade wars have decimated economies and free trade is what helped make the US the economic power that it became in the past century. Common knowledge.

    But again, as I stated above, currency manipulation by the Chinese and the liquidity trap that we find ourselves in is what has hurt us so much. By this I mean we really do not have free trade. This is why @8:33 is so simplistic when he states:

    "I wouldn't say the other countries robbed America of jobs because they didn't take those jobs through fraud....but rather they got those jobs because they work harder for less money."

    Those jobs are also cheaper because of low cost of living, lack of environmental or labor regs and no health care. Also, China did not gain these jobs because they "work harder"....see previous sentence. Add to that the Chinese subsidization of business (they do not have private banks, etc.) and it is no wonder they got all the low-end manufacturing jobs.

  26. "Under most economic conditions free trade is very healthy for everyone."

    You need to move on to some more advanced courses.

    That free trade is beneficial to the growth of an economy doesn't mean there aren't permanent long-term losers within that economy as a consequence.

  27. @8:56 - do you really believe the Chinese don't manipulate their currency?!?! You do know that most economists agree on this point? That's like saying that global warming does not exist.

  28. 9:18,

    That's funny that you tell us to take an Econ101 course because had you yourself had any knowledge of advanced economics and WTO law you would see that currency manipulation makes absolutely no economic or legal sense as a theory. It's a complete rubbish. I don't want to go into the details, but google to see what actual knowledgeable WTO law professors and economists have written on the topic.

    "Those jobs are also cheaper because of low cost of living, lack of environmental or labor regs and no health care."

    First of all you have no healthcare in the US as any temporary doc review employee knows. And you have dubious environmental regulations here. And yes, COL is cheaper in China and that translates into lower salaries, but so what? Why should someone pay an American more because that American has to pay higher rent and food prices? When you hire an employee, do you adjust the salary for that employee's living expenses? No. That would be ridiculous as are the rest of your comments.

    The bottom line is that American workers want 8 to 10x the salary of a Chinese worker, for 1/2 of the work and that's why they are not getting hired. No one is stealing anything. You should see how hard Chinese employees work at the Apple factory.

    If anything Apple and American companies are stealing from the Chinese employees. Apple has LITERALLY $70 billion of CASH on hand because they so grossly underpaid the Chinese workers, an inhuman evil.

  29. LawProf - sorry, I only have an econ degree and an MBA. See my comment about the ugliness of displacement.

    You do also know that protectionist policies leads to permanent long-term losers? Time itself leads to these losers. Should I explain that to you with my lack of advanced courses?

  30. 8:56, you are dead wrong and lack facts. US industrial workers are roughly 3 times more productive than Chinese workers, and US white collar workers have an even larger productivity gap with Indians and other Chinese workers. US workers expect a middle class, quasi-autonomous existence, while workers in overpopulated countries don't. That's not "competition" that's manipulative undercutting by the capital class.

    As for what the US did from the 50s-today for other countries, read up on the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (the government actually pays companies to build facilities overseas), the US subsiding and propping up Toyota in the 50s (despite Ford and GM making better and cheaper vehicles for use in the Korean War), the US allowing the Japanese companies that it subsidized (both vehicles and capital goods) to have unfettered access to the US market while allowing the Japanese market to be shut off to American made goods (as requested by the UN security council to prevent "economic deterioration and falling living standards in Japan that creates fertile ground for Communist subversion"), etc., right up through allowing the Chinese to manipulate their currency to maintain an artificially high trade imbalance with the US.

    The whole deal was great for the owners of capital (I suspect that most of the commentators on this blog come from families who were (or currently are) in the capital class), good for some folks in Japan, China, and Western Europe, and terrible for the American middle class.

  31. 9:25: What you call the "ugliness of displacement" other people would call "something that makes the claim that 'free trade benefits everybody in the long run'" nonsense.

    Obviously that's not an argument for protectionist policies.

  32. That's amazing that American workers are 3x (LOL) as productive as Chinese and Indian ones since no one wants to hire Americans. Whose a** did you pull that absurd number out of? A union study? lol. A company would have to be insane to hire American employees when they could hire Chinese ones. If Apple moved their factories back tomorrow their stock would plummet the next day. It's frankly a breach of fiduciary duty to your shareholders to hire Americans.

    The US subsidized European and Japanese countries because the US had bombed and/or nuked those countries into desolation. That has nothing to do with competition on a level playing field.

    And again, your talk of "currency manipulation" shows that you are a complete ignoramous regarding economics and WTO law. Again, go read what actual WTO Law professors and economists have written on the topic before spouting off. Do not post another comment until after you have read at least three papers, written by actual expert WTO law professors. Countries have zero obligation to raise the value of their currency and it wouldn't matter any way because prices are flexible.

  33. To be clear, protectionism would lead to higher employment, but it would also lead to higher prices and lower quality products.

    Again, imagine what would happen to law schools if the ABA allowed China, India, Brazil, Mexico and so on to open ABA accredited law schools. I dare say 170 law schools would go bankrupt in a few years.

  34. @9:25 No US healthcare?? Because temp workers don't have it? Are you trolling or just extremely ignorant?

    "You should see how hard Chinese employees work at the Apple factory." LOFL...thanks for the laugh. I guess we should go back to 19th century labor laws. Problem solved. I would insult you but then LOC might have a coronary.

    Re currency manipulation start with Krugman (a progressive economist) - http://is.gd/Hi28C9 and move on from there (he also has a more extensive column on this topic that caused a bit of an uproar in 2010). This is basically accepted by economists now. If you don't know what you're talking about then at least try to use citations.

  35. One other comment for those who dislike free trade, can you please share your thoughts on the dormant commerce clause? Should we allow Alabama to impose tariffs on California and New York goods and services to protect Alabama jobs?

  36. That's not an academic article 9:37, that's a four paragraph and conclusory NY Times blog post by someone who has zero expertise in WTO law and who is a known media troll.

    I asked you to go see what WTO law professors and serious economists have written on the topic. Don't come back until you understand the meaning of the term "Prices are flexible."

  37. LawProf - an argument against free trade is an argument for protectionist policies.

    I am not a laissez-faire nut-job. I would be very happy to see labor, environmental and wage regs attached to free trade agreements. But to say that free trade is not a very healthy dynamic under most economic conditions is a bit short-sighted. Unless you want a soviet-style command economy (we all saw how successful that was for the average worker) then we will always have displaced sectors of the economy. A century ago one of the largest corps was a leather manufacturer (train seats, etc)....guess what happened after Ford? Progress itself cause displacement.

    There will always be "losers" in any economy, something I do not celebrate, and is why we need a more secure safety net and better infrastructure investment (see the top 1% I complained about above) but free trade is not the culprit.

  38. Only the U.S. CONSUMER benefits from free trade, but that doesn't say anything for the U.S. WORKER. And the more people are unable to find WORK, then the less they are able to CONSUME. We have essentially reached a crossroads in many industries by which the free trade benefits in one area have undermined the consumption end of this equation.

  39. 9:47. That's absolutely right. Here's the process:

    1. Better Chinese worker takes American's job.
    2. American continues to spend until he runs out of money.
    3. Company can't sell to American anymore, so it sells to the Chinese worker who has the money.
    4. American doesn't have a job or money.

    Basically free trade leads to jobs and consumption going to the employees who deserve it, and those who do not deserve it are left penniless and unemployed.

  40. @9:42 - Ok, a Princeton nobel-prize winning economist = media troll. Got it. And that was an amazing and highly impressive refutation of his analysis.

    So now give us a summation of how and why China isn't manipulating its currency? Since you're so knowledgeable and everything...

    Come back when you understand why China was buying $30 billion a month to add to its reserves.

  41. 9:32, your conversation-facilitating "lols" notwithstanding, it sounds like you don't understand economics very well. Nor have you read anything about productivity studies, where everyone (including the UN!) says that US workers are dramatically more productive than third world workers. Again, the workers in overpopulated countries are willing to accept sub-standard wages; that's why they're getting hired. Not because competition is raising everyone's game, but because the capital class is manipulating overpopulation and poverty.

    9:46: I'd love a good dose of intra-national protectionism, but that's not the only alternative. Severe redistribution of the gains from globalization is an alternative. But, the economic theories espoused by classical (and Austrian) economists about the macro benefits of free trade are meaningful only in a system that bears almost no resemblance o ours. Again, we've had a long term experiment in this in the US; it isn't making the majority better off. It's stripping them of their meaningful claim on the goods and services created by the economy, but in return if credit standards are incredibly loose they can buy some really cheap shirts with somebody else's money.

    9:50: that's gotta be shtick.

  42. @9:47 and 9:50. Oy vey. Look up and study comparative advantage. It helps to understand why western economies have been so successful over the last century. Now look up liquidity trap. It helps to explain the current situation (as well as highly destructive financial-sector financial instruments).

  43. I'm not arguing against free trade. I'm arguing against the idea that free trade is "good for everybody in the long run." This argument is deployed regularly by those interested in blocking even the mildest egalitarian policies in response to economic dislocation, since "everybody" is winning already. (I'm not attributing this motive to you, since you obviously didn't literally mean that everybody wins in the long run under free trade arrangements).

  44. I was hoping that you at least had the ability to research an issue by reading a few articles, but I guess you don't, so let me spoon feed you the answers because I'm apparently talking to someone who needs that level of remedial help:

    1. You can't affect trade over the long term by manipulating currency. You can only affect it in the short term, until prices adjust. This is a very well known economic concept.

    2. There is absolutely no WTO law provision forcing countries to revalue their currency. Again, go read what WTO law experts say.

    3. But the biggest reason currency manipulation is incoherent is that you don't need other countries to raise the value of their currency to achieve the result this theory seeks, because you can achieve it by simply devaluing your own currency.

    There are other critiques but in summary the theory has zero economic merit and the US could devalue its currency by 50% and it wouldn't matter in the long term. It could devalue it by 500% and it wouldn't matter.

  45. "says that US workers are dramatically more productive than third world workers."

    Really? You're still pushing this absurd theory? Fine. Why don't you start a competitor manufacturing firm, hire Americans over Chinese and reap the rewards of your claim! rofl.

    In reality, a company would have to be insane to hire an American worker when they could hire a Chinese one. It would be a breach of fiduciary duty to the shareholders.

  46. I'm still waiting for one of the anti free trade "economists" (i.e. people who think economics means reading four paragraph blog posts written by notorious trolls) to tell me their thoughts on Alabama imposing tariffs on New York and California goods to protect good old 'Bama jobs. Alabama has "studies" showing their workers are three times as productive as California ones!

    That's what's so hilarious about this "debate." Not only do you have someone who is ignorant of economics telling others to take an economics class, but this person is apparently ignorant of a basic Con Law concept called the dormant commerce clause!

  47. Better Chinese worker?

    I think you mean cheaper, and willing to tolerate a lower standard of living.

    Actually, I think you missed the step where oligarchs skim the profits, and keep the Chinese workers just enough above poverty to prevent civil unrest. Which is where free trade actually leads. Sorry to crush your ECON 101 analysis.

  48. "I think you mean cheaper, and willing to tolerate a lower standard of living. "

    That's the definition of better worker!

  49. "Actually, I think you missed the step where oligarchs skim the profits, and keep the Chinese workers just enough above poverty to prevent civil unrest. "

    No I talked about that when I pointed out the evil of Steve Jobs and Apple having literally $70 billion in cash as a result of underpaying Chinese worker.

  50. So the Swiss Franc peg had no effect?

    I think you should call that UBS trader and tell him that he didn't lose billions of dollars.

    Oh, you said long term. I forgot that economists live in a semi-drunken fantasy land where everything comes out the way they predicted in the long term.

    The market is not efficient. Individuals are not rational actors. Economics is not a science.

    Come on down to wall street and I'll eat your lunch.

  51. Regarding free trade, what you need to realize is that companies aren't arbitraging labor costs. They're arbitraging tax laws and labor/environmental regulations. There's a *reason* that Geoffrey Immelt would buy from China even when, "[i]n an aggressive bid to keep the factory open, ATI offered to match the price of the Chinese producers. GE once again said they would prefer to buy from China". [source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-elk/ge-promotes-manufacturing_b_241944.html]

    Regarding American manufacturing and its efficiency,
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/09/the-decline-of-manufacturing-in-america-a-case-study.html is an interesting look, though it's probably sufficiently non-academic (i.e. practical) to be blown off by everyone who's sure that the world works exactly the way econ models say it does. In any event, the fault in this case lies more with the American managerial class than the workers...

    "You can't affect trade over the long term by manipulating currency. You can only affect it in the short term, until prices adjust." -- Right. But the short term can last for several decades, and as someone or another of no significance once said, in the long run we are all dead.

    The legality of currency manipulation isn't really relevant to whether or not it's happening and what its economic effects are. And are you seriously calling for a round of competitive devaluations as a way to strengthen the Yuan? That's just insane, not to mention completely impermissible by the financier class that currently owns our government.

    I'd go on, but one banquet for hungry trolls is probably more than my quota for the day.

  52. Of course a devaluation would have a short term impact, but who cares? It's the long term that matters and a devaluation has no long term effect on trade.

    Let me give you an example, in 1999 $1 could buy you 1.25? Euro if I recall correctly. Now $1 buys you 0.7 Euro. That is a massive devaluation relative to the Euro. Do you see fewer German cars on the streets? No.

  53. Fuck....tired of blogspot eating my posts. @10:02 - I wrote a longer reply but didn't copy. Don't have the time or inclination to repeat. A summation:

    Have you ever heard about currency pegging?

    What do WTO requirements have to do with currency manipualation (insert MLB and steroids testing metaphor)?

    You have very little understanding about short term vs.long term and economics (see @10:36). But its good to see that you agree that they are manipulating the currency. In the short term, of course. Which has no effect on us, of course.

    Still waiting on your rebuttal to a nobel-prize winning economist and how Chin is not artificially devaluing their exports.

    "because you can achieve it by simply devaluing your own currency."....umm, have you heard of domestic policy? How about bond vigilantes?

  54. Let me give another example with pertains to Krugman specifically.

    A few years ago he commended Israel's finance minister Fischer for devaluing Israel's currency to keep jobs. He seemingly wanted Fischer to get the Nobel.

    The then other shoe fell. The devaluation led to massive inflation, which led to literally hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting due to rapidly increasing prices.

    If economic success was as easy as playing games with your currency then everyone would do it. It's not easy and game playing will get you no where. You have to work hard like the Germans and Chinese do.

  55. You know, if you guys had, like me, lived in a place where the auto industry had been built from the ground up by collaboration with, amongst others, Mercedes and Hyundai, you might have a different view on whether the US benefits from free trade.

  56. "Still waiting on your rebuttal to a nobel-prize winning economist and how Chin is not artificially devaluing their exports."

    I gave you very clear rebuttals repeatedly, even HAND FEEDING you the answer in 10:02. Your problem is that you don't understand what you're talking about enough to digest the points I'm making to you. You just repeat the same line over and over again with out answering any of the points I raised, any of the examples I gave, or answering the question about Alamaba tariffs.

    How many dozen ways does someone have to explain something to you?

  57. is @10:57 the same person as 10:41? If so you are completely contradicting yourself. I thought manipulation has no long-term affects? pick one side of an argument and stick with it....

  58. BL1Y, that's true. A new automotive plant hasn't opened in the North in like 30 years I believe. They open in Tennessee and Alabama and Georgia and so on. You reaped those rewards for the same reason that China reaps them - cheap labor + + lax regulation + free trade allowing you to export your product to other states (i.e. the dormant commerce clause).

    (I admit my Alabama imposing tariffs on California example should have been restated as California imposing tariffs on Alabama.)

  59. @11:03 - you have answered nothing at all. I am at the point of just throwing up my hands and calling you a troll. Answer the freaking question - why is China buying billions of dollars every month and placing it in reserve? Is that making its exports cheaper? Yes or freaking no? If not, then why are they doing it?

  60. How so 11:03? What did I say that contradicted what I wrote earlier?

  61. China doesn't buy American money, Americans give Chinese money for Chinese goods. What do you expect China to take for their goods if not dollars? China is rapidly getting rid of their dollar holdings and replacing it with gold. You are an idiot.

  62. @11:06 - you...are...a...goddamn...MORON. Chinese have US $ from what we BUY from them???? My god, man. Read and learn:

    "In March 2011, China held $3.04tn US dollars in reserves, Xinhua news agenecy reported. It is the largest holder of US treasuries, or government debt, with $1.166tn as of June 30, 2011, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Thus, major devaluation of the dollar would hurt China, as it would be left holding wads of worthless paper.

    China is locked into a position where they cannot sell a big portion of their dollar reserves overnight without hurting themselves," Aizenman said. "It is too late for now to diversify rapidly the stock they have already accumulated."

    The answer: Buy gold. Everyone seems to be doing it. The value of the glistening commodity, useless for most practical purposes, increased almost 400 per cent, from less than $500 an ounce in 2005 to about $1,900 in September.

    "Gold has risen in value because of uncertainty in the world economy," said Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, a think-tank in Washington. "Normally, gold would rise due to high inflation. It is a store of value that increases if there is inflation. But in this case it is going up because nobody knows where else to put their money."

    In the WikiLeaks cable, China alleged that "the US and Europe have always suppressed the rising price of gold", but neither Weisbrot or Aizenman think such a policy is taking place or even possible.

    Presently, China places strict controls on its currency, limiting foreigners from doing business in the yuan or trading it on foreign exchange markets. That could change in the next five years, according to governor Xiaochuan's recent announcement.

    By owning such large reserves of US currency, and through controlling the yuan, China can keep its currency lower than it would be if it floated freely. This makes Chinese exports cheaper"


  63. ...i.e. they are buying gold to protect themselves from what we should be doing - devaluing the dollar....genius.

  64. "No I talked about that when I pointed out the evil of Steve Jobs and Apple having literally $70 billion in cash as a result of underpaying Chinese worker."

    I have said this elsewhere, but I will say it here as well: people flock to the Foxconn factory in Longhua, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China (where I used to work, and where Apple's iPod and iPhone are manufactured) because the conditions there are so much better, better, paid, and offer much greater opportunities than living on the farm, or taking work at a factory in the interior, or even work at any other local factory (with the exception of Huawei's facility) in Longhua. A worker at the Longhua factory makes 2,000 Yuan a month. For comparison, when I was working as a university teacher in 2003 whilst I was studying Chinese, I was paid 3,000 Yuan a month.

    More to the point, the workers at the Longhua factory are overwhelmingly not competing with American workers. The manufacturing of plastic components, their mating with complex components manufactured elsewhere in the world, and their assembly into finished products, is exactly the kind of labour-intensive work it has been uneconomical to do in the United States for getting on 40 years. This kind of labour-intensive industry left America for Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Southern and Central America, and Eastern Europe, a long time ago, and it is with workers in these places that the average Chinese worker is competing. Even were China to disappear from the map tomorrow, these jobs would not return to the US.

    What should give the people on this forum some pause, though, is what was happening in the office that I worked in. In that office, some 200 patent engineers, each making about 5-6,000 Yuan a month (about 800 USD in 2007 prices) worked churning out US patent applications at a rate of thousands a year. These would then be channelled through a handful of qualified US patent agents or attorneys who would handle the prosecution side (with the engineers drafting arguments etc. according to instructions).

    On the issue of whether China is 'manipulating' its currency, I personally have never been convinced that China was doing anything that was blameworthy in this regard. Sure, China operates a movable peg to a grab-bag of currencies, as many countries have in the past. The value of this may bee too high or too low, but, as others have pointed out, other countries are free to adjust the values of their own currencies.

    As for American workers having a higher productivity that Chinese and Indian workers, this is obvious. American workers are much more productive than Chinese workers because they have all the advantages of technology, skill, and training. It is only in labour intensive industries that these advantages do not count so much.

  65. "The Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday dismissed a Senate bill that could punish China for undervaluing its currency, saying it was "pretty dangerous" for Congress to tell another country how to run its monetary policy."


    So China isn't manipulating its currency?

  66. $3 trillions is approximately the cumulative trade deficit with China over the past decade. If you buy something from China, but they don't buy something from the US, then that dollar stays in China. You are an ubelievable idiot.

    China doesn't even want dollars. That's why they're dumping them in favor of a mixed basket and gold. China just started allowing its citizens buy gold from vending machines, vending machines, to stimulate this process.

    Keep your inane points coming, while you ignore every rebuttal and example made to you. Just go on a pathetic hunt and peck when you hope to magically say a pattern of words that will be right, because you are talking about something that you fundamentally do not understand.

  67. LP makes a good point that even the kids getting in to TTTs are still very smart relative to the rest of the population. Even down in the third tier, the median student is around the 70th percentile on the LSAT.

    I think Scalia got it right when talking about the types of smart people who become lawyers:

    "Well, you know, two chiefs ago, Chief Justice Burger, used to complain about the low quality of counsel. I used to have just the opposite reaction. I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.

    "I mean there’d be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?

    "I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.

    "And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. I’m usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who’s not so good. But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds."

    We definitely need smart people practicing law, but if every year we crank out 20,000 students who will either never become lawyers or who will leave the profession so early that they do not gain substantive skills or knowledge, we're wasting a lot of our resources. If you look at our economy and ask what the majority of our smart people are doing, the answer is "Nothing."

  68. "So China isn't manipulating its currency?"

    Oh yes, whatever some Senator says is true. Wow what a moron. I'm debating someone who hasn't read any of the serious literature on the topic, and who can only come back come with crap he googled off of USA Today!

    Here's an idea, when you don't know what the F you are talking about how's about not wasting people's time and keeping your mouth shut?

  69. Holy sweet jesus....dude, you really need to read. You don't know that China bought trillions of US govt treasuries? umm, wut???

    So again, you are telling us that China is NOT manipulating its currency? So you can freely trade in it, right? It is freely floating? Hmmmm...interesting. And why would they be doing that?

    And why would that be hurting us right now in the middle of a major recession?

    Its one thing to be so stupid but to do it so arrogantly....you must be really fun to hang out with.

  70. Now you're just repeating the same inane points you made earlier that have been thoroughly rebutted. I'm not going to clog the blog by copying and pasting a comment I already wrote above, but congratulations on wasting everyone's time.

  71. "You don't know that China bought trillions of US govt treasuries?

    Whilst the US is engaged in quantitative easing? All countries 'manipulate' their currency to some extent. China, whose currency moves within a 'floating peg' does this more than other, but there really is no justification for the rage you see in the US on this subject. Do you see people in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, or any other countries which are major markets for Chinese exports complaining so vocally on this subject? The answer is no.

    China's buying of US treasuries represents them investing long-term in the US economy. The money they use to buy it is in fact the very money that is earned from exports to the US. It represents a compulsory saving imposed on the people of China by their government - money which would otherwise enrich the Chinese people (but also potentially cause runaway inflation in China) is instead lent to the US.

  72. You are the dregs of the internet and a total troll.
    Lets make this simple. Answer yes or no:

    you can freely trade in Chinese currency? yes or no?

    It is freely floating? Yes or no?

    Is Chinese currency pegged? yes or no?

    If yes to any of those questions why is that not manipulating your currency.

    Finally, and this shows how truly misinformed you are, did China buy trillions of $$ of US govt securities? Yes or no?

  73. FOARP,

    Please do not repeat the idiot's nonsense. China does not buy US dollars. They get them for goods. Last year China sold the US $365 billion of goods, and purchased $92 billion of goods (and this was in a bad economic year). That results in $365 billion minus $92 billion or approximately $270 billion of dollars moving from the US to China.

    Do this exercize cumulatively and you'll have about $3 trillion moving from the US to China.

    China, over the past few years, has been on a crash course to get rid of these dollars and replace them with Euros (that didn't necessarily turn out well), gold, and other worthwhile assets.

    Accusing China of currency manipulation because they own treasuries is like accusing Macy's of currency manipulation because you have a balance on your Macy's charge card.

  74. 11:42, I've already, painfully, exhaustively explained it to you. I hand fed you the answer and gave you numerous examples and I'm not going to clog up the thread by copying and pasting. You are an idiot. A complete idiot.

  75. FOARP - oh I am not saying that currencies aren't being manipualated...this guy is arguing that China is NOT. My main point is that under current conditions ( a liquidity trap) this is really hurting our exports and we should be responding (and no, quantitative easing does not equate to what China is doing...the US dollar needs to be drastically devalued before you can equate the two).

    "China's buying of US treasuries represents them investing long-term in the US economy." Well that is certainly an interesting way of putting it. I would argue that it represents an investment in THEIR economy. The same reason they are now trying to switch to gold.

  76. By the way, here is what will happen if the Senate passes the China tariffs:

    1. Increase in prices.

    2. Perhaps an increase in US employment as American workers are able to compete due to the higher cost of Chinese goods.

    3. China will take the US to the WTO tribunal and get the world to impose retaliatory tariffs.

    Beyond that, I don't know, but it will be ugly.

  77. "$270 billion of dollars moving from the US to China."

    . . . which was then thrown on a bonfire and burned?

    No. Instead it was forcibly redirected to the People's Bank of China, which exchanged the USD received by the Chinese exporter for CNY. The USD was then re-invested overseas, mainly in the US.

    The entire reason for the Dollar-Yuan symbiosis was a need to earn money overseas without leading to run-away inflation.

  78. 11:47 - can't even say yes or no because, well....we all know why. You're just one of those idiots who paints himself in a corner and repeats the same swill over and over again. And China doesn't buy US securities?!?!?! So yea, I am going to buy the idiotic repeteive babblings of a commenter on a blog over the analysis of a nobel-prize winning economist.

    Again, answer the questions...yes or no?

  79. Exactly. But the point is that China didn't buy US dollars to invest them in treasuries and other assets. They got those dollars because it's the only thing America could give for the goods that America purchased.

  80. What I've learned from the above currency debate is this:

    1) At least 1 of the sides is wrong, and

    2) I don't care.

  81. 11:56, You're an idiot and I've already addressed all of your points above repeatedly. You're just asking the question again and again as if you can harass your way into being right on a topic on which you are ignorant. Go read US News & World report's business section so you can proclaim economic knowledge.

  82. BL1Y - kind of like 98% of your posts here which represents ~40% of total posts. Just sayin'

  83. @12:00 - simpleton. answer yes or no to extremely simple questions.

  84. @11:58 - king of semantics. And why did they buy trillions of $$ of US treasuries instead of say, Danish Kroner? You're still in school aren't you?

  85. I'm not your simpleton, but here goes:

    you can freely trade in Chinese currency?

    - No, the value of the Yuan floats only within limits set according to a bag of currencies and assets, and can only be traded by licensed/authorised traders.

    It is freely floating? Yes or no?

    - See above.

    Is Chinese currency pegged? yes or no?

    - see above.

    If yes to any of those questions why is that not manipulating your currency.

    - Because all countries, to an extent, 'manipulate' their currencies. A peg is a perfectly valid instrument of policy, so long as the market continues to believe that it is credible.

    Finally, and this shows how truly misinformed you are, did China buy trillions of $$ of US govt securities? Yes or no?

    - Yes, China re-invested much of the money received through trade with the United States in the United States in an effort to avoid inflation at home. The currency relationship between the US and China was symbiotic and not especially harmful for either side. On the one side China earned money from export and had a safety-valve to avoid inflation. On the other, the US received cheap loans.

  86. "@11:58 - king of semantics. And why did they buy trillions of $$ of US treasuries instead of say, Danish Kroner? You're still in school aren't you?"

    A $3 trillion reserve doesn't mean it's all literally held in dollars. That's just the value of the reserves. In fact it's held in a mixed basket of currencies. Most of it is probably in dollars, though, because that's what the US provides when it buys goods.

    Now please stfu so we can get back to the law school scam topic.

  87. The currency manipulation idea is helpful in that it touches on the flaw of modern American culture. Modern Americans actually think that by manipulating the value of a currency, without any increase in their work performance or the quality of their goods, they can improve the economy! That's what sleight of hand folks like Krugman and Fisher of Israel want you to believe but the world doesn't work that way. There are no shortcuts and you can't game the system in the long term. The same issue comes up when law schools lie about job placement to get student loan money. Sure, it works in the short term, but in the long term it leads to blogs like this and lawsuits.

    What's great about German, Japanese and Chinese culture is that if you even approached them with such tactics they would perceive you as an opportunist an ostracize you.

  88. Weak entry today. The inevitable "mission creep" is starting.

  89. FOARP - you and I agree on the first three but then to say that this is not a form of currency manipulation that arguably violates the spirit, if not the law, of GATT...well lets just say just because you say so online along with the other idiot does not make it so. And the fourth answer is a rather favorable way to view Chinese policy and objectives. I can cite tons of academics, economists, etc. agreeing with my point so don't sit here and write out a conclusion as if it isn't completely arguable. (for example - Krugman: "This (buying US treasuries at $30 billion a month) is the most distortionary exchange rate policy any major nation has ever followed.")But that would be a typical lawyer. And, pray tell, please explain how the US manipulates its currency to the extent that China does??

    "A $3 trillion reserve doesn't mean it's all literally held in dollars." Moron - learn to read. I repeatedly stated that they held trillions of $$ worth of US TREASURIES....and thats aside from the mixed bag of currencies you cite. God you're dumb. The main point was they purchased these securities in order to maintain the (low) value of their currency. FOLLOW THE ARGUMENT.

    Please do go back to arguing about law schools because you are seriously misinformed and mixing up arguments and drawing conclusions I didn't even make.

    The arrogant stupidity of people online is amazing. But yea, the idiot typing in nonsense repeatedly online > Princeton Professor of Economics.

    You were the most annoying gunner in law school weren't you?

  90. @12:44 - you're the same retard aren't you? You don't know that American workers are the most productive in the world? Holy shit...I get it now though. You have your little ideology and need to fit all the facts into it no matter what the reality states. But OK, you're smarter than Krugman.

    Please tell me you're still in school. Only explanation.

  91. Please tell me you'll stop posting the repeatedly and exhaustively rebutted points over and over again and that you'll stfu. Only request.

  92. "You don't know that American workers are the most productive in the world?"

    They're not most productive in terms of amount produced per hour (that's France), and they're definitely no where near most productive in terms of amounts produced per hours divided by compensation.

    But again, if you think American workers are better then why aren't you running to open up a factory hiring Americans? Seems to me like you'll be printing money.

  93. @1:11 - ever hear of wage differences? And you can manipulate the data to move the top countries up or down a bit but it still shows how ignorant that moronic ideologue is.

    He states that China isn't manipulating its currency at all....its been repeatedly shown by many different comments how they are doing it. But yet he still types.

    He states that China doesn't own trillions in US securities....you have to not ever read a newspaper or done a simple google search not to know this. Yet he still types.

    He states that American workers are not comparatively productive....there are UN studies showing they are the most productive in the world. Yet he still types.

    And so on and so forth. Some people have no shame. getting your economic news analysis from this dope is like getting taught science from Michelle Bachman. But yea.

  94. ..and so on and so forth. Some people have no shame. Getting your economic news and analysis from this dope is like being taught science from Michelle Bachman. But yea.

  95. "@1:11 - ever hear of wage differences?"

    Yes, I have heard of wage differences and so have the companies that hire Chinese workers over American ones because of those wage differences. What kind of moronic "productivity" measure doesn't do that measure as productivity per unit of wage?! sthu already.

  96. I completely disagree with every mischaracterization in 1:25. What you've done is, after having your inane and nonsensical points thoroughly refuted, is resorted to repeating the same statements over and over again in the hopes of starting some time wasting "Yes / No" flame war. I'm not going to clog the thread by copying and pasting earlier answers that exhaustively explained your errors and hand-fed you answers. You are a complete idiot and you represent every lazy, uninformed, useless, deceptive, dishonest thing that is wrong with this country. Go post another 100 comments as you proclaim how you're a much better worker than the chinese person who produced 10 Ipods in the time you spent mentally masturbating.

  97. LOL - your shrill stupidity is now showing. You stated:

    "But again, if you think American workers are better then why aren't you running to open up a factory hiring Americans? Seems to me like you'll be printing money."

    Why would I think I would be "printing money" by hiring American workers over Chinese workers?

    You stated:

    "Modern Americans actually think that by manipulating the value of a currency, without any increase in their work performance or the quality of their goods, they can improve the economy!"

    So which is it genius? Improvement on work performance (which I showed you is about as high as any in the world) or lower wages, which you did not originally cite but now do once I point it out?

    You are a fucking mess.

  98. @1:40..lolwut? So you do agree that China is manipulating its currency, that they hold trillions in US Securities and that they aren't simply holding US dollars from the money we gave them by buying their products (this was my favorite). But you don't agree with the mischaracterization that american workers are highly productive? Or are they making all those ipods because of low wages?

    You are a very confused individual.

  99. You know what? Fine. You're 3x as productive as the Chinese worker and the only reason he "stole" your job is because his country "manipulates the currency." What we should do is impose tariffs on all Chinese goods, actually just outright ban them, and that way you can get your job back. I really look forward to buying something produced by a complete imbecile. That's going to have such great quality for a good price.

    When can you start?

  100. @1:46...no dummy - only simpletons like you utilize black and white thinking. This started out with a statement that China manipulates their currency to make their exports cheaper which is hurting us now when we need to stimulate our economy. Getting China to float their currency is one of many things that would help. Nobody said this was the answer to all our worries.

    As has been explained a million times above by many people, China's manufacturing base has exploded because of low wages. Not high productivity. There is a more nuanced argument about how Chinese jobs are actually stolen from Latin America which also hurts us but is way too nuanced for a moron like you.

    You are stupid.

    Now go outside and try to feed oxygen to that little tiny brain of yours and stop typing contradictory ill-informed nonsense.

  101. I already explained to you why that is completely wrong and incoherent with numerous examples. See the economic theory of Price Flexibility in response to currency manipulation (do you understand what this means? No because you're a dumb buffoon and it wasn't in a USA Today op-ed). See the appreciation of the Euro relative to the dollar and the increased market share for German goods. See the fact that the US doesn't need to demand that China appreciate the currency because the US could devalue its own currency thus achieving the goal without forcing China to do anything. See the fact that tariffs for "currency manipulation" are illegal and would lead to a massive global backlash at the WTO.

    But whatever. You're an idiot and the only way to debate with an idiot is to let him have his way and let him suffer the consequences. Fine, the Senate imposes tariffs on Chinese goods, and actually bans them.

    Now all we Americans have is you, you dumb uninformed idiotic buffoon. We have you to make our Ipods, which will now cost $1,500 each and will have dubious reliability. Meanwhile, the Chinese couldn't give a shit because they'll sell their products to other countries. So I'll be paying $1,500 for an Ipod while my friend in the UK pays $500, all so a complete moron like you can have a job. Happy?

  102. No moron - economics does not live in a bubble. Things like financial crises and domestic policy influence what happens. So will the Euro continue to appreciate if Greece is forced to leave? If they don't create a cohesive bailout of the banks? What happens if Greece defaults? Lehman style collapse?

    There are many factors besides price flexibility to explain the current success or Germany, the differences in how Iceland, Ireland and Greece have dealt with banking crises and how it has effected their economies. You are just a n ideologue and a simpleton.

    Finally, we cannot devalue our currency because of domestic politics and the poser of the rentier class (although other factors may make this inevitable). Again, this is a very nuanced argument that I don't get into with morons who say one thing one minute and then completely ignore that they were proved wrong the next.

    And are you so fucking stupid not to realize that there are other third world nations out there with cheap labor besides China? (not that Im buying your last straw man argument - just once again pointing out how truly simplistic and dopey you are).

    Stop being stupid, stupid.

  103. One other thing, US states that are losing jobs to other states (e.g. when Michigan loses autoworker jobs to Alabama) should also impose tariffs on the import of Alabama cars. Then when Alabama sues Michigan under the dormant commerce clause, Michigan should raise the "currency manipulation" defense. Michigan should accuse Alabama of not appreciating the dollar. It's not fair that the Michigan dollar is pegged to the Alabama dollar!!!! What a f*cking moron you are.

  104. This right wing retard is shifting the focus of the discussion from a productive direction.

    Lawprof's post does not seem like message creep to me. Intergenerational conflict (and specifically the older generation's capture of wealth and the political system) is both 1) an explanation for the terrible job prospects of indisputably more qualified candidates, and 2) fuel for the law school scam machine. Eliminating the law school scam (by making it more transparent/shutting down third tier toilets/whatever) will only eliminate a very small part of a massive social problem.

  105. It's like watching a toddler throw a tantrum. Hopefully the anonomi will tire and take a nap. so cranky.

  106. He came up with a brilliant defense to the dormant commerce clause. How dare those Tennesseeans peg their currency to the Michigan currency. Those Tennesseeans are stealing auto worker jobs even though the Michigan workers are three times as productive. The entire US monetary regime is one of currency manipulation designed to help states with low cost of living and low wages!

    Does Chief Justice Roberts know about this? Send him this blog immediately!

  107. @2:34 - yep, you're still in school. And you're unbelievable stupid. How is that a rational analogy? (no need to answer - purely rhetorical).

    LawProf - you really attract the wackjobs. This guy and steroid boy need to get together and hold an intervention for each other. Hopefully the off each other.

  108. "Eliminating the law school scam (by making it more transparent/shutting down third tier toilets/whatever) will only eliminate a very small part of a massive social problem."

    This is absolutely true, but even stealing $100 from the federal government is enough to put you in jail. To the extent that we have one kid who is misled into spending federal loan money on an educational program that does not teach him skills that the economy could use, and he is unable to repay that loan, then that is a crime that should be investigated.

    Will it solve all of the nation's problems? No.

  109. 2:37, you don't know what the dormant commerce clause is? You might want to look into it before you develop your position on free trade.

  110. *a buffoon rapidly searches wikipedia for the terms "door man commerce clause," on his Chinese made computer*

  111. This is why I showed my class "Gung Ho" this quarter!!!! hahahahahah

  112. Gung Ho, from the days when only one Asian country was economically dominating America.

  113. Holy shit - I just spent hours arguing with a complete wackjob. I should have known - the combination of stating outright lies with fervent enthusiasm is usually a tell. I just thought you were seriously misinformed.

    Do yourself a favor and start filing your unemployment deferment now...you'll be very familiar with it once you graduate.

  114. The only wackjob here is you. You are an idiot, and homicidal as well (see your comment @ 2:37). If I want help with unemployment I'll call you.

  115. To the anonomi (thank you Mr. Malloy, that was brilliant!): I think you're both whack jobs.

  116. Thanks for that post TDennis. That was really helpful. You entered a discussion for no other reason than to insult not one, but two people. You're a great person.

  117. But isn't what "Gung Ho" (1984, close to my birth) teaches us is these things are ongoing...the Japonese, efficient and collective/group oriented now have a decadent youth culture. All we have to do is give the Chinese youth a generation to become as decadent as we are and then it's back to a level playing field. In the meantime I'll just sell Chinese kids whatever they think is cool like the English language, Disney, Pabst blue ribbon, College and Law School courses (odd, http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/07/21/pabst-blue-ribbon-is-classy-and-expensive-in-china/)....oh wait, that is already what many of my indebted college grad friends are doing in Korea, China, etc etc. IMHO Micheal Keaton was good in that movie....

  118. "I’m sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics.
    All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth." -John Lennon

  119. 3:22, the problem with that theory is that in 1984, the US trade deficit with Japan was $46 billion. Now it's about $60 billion. Nothing has change vis a vis the US economic relationship with Japan over the past 25 years. All that happened is that China emulated Japan, as did North Korea and so what was a leaking out of jobs turned into a whooshing sucking out of jobs.

    Also, Japanese only superficially have a decadent culture. Even Japanese kids in punk getup and rainbow hair are very respectful and hard working. Americans have a decadent culture in reality even if they're clean cut and wearing suits.

  120. "To the dismay of consumer groups and the discomfort of Democrats, President Barack Obama wants Congress to make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other billions owed the federal government."


  121. 3:35. 'gung ho boy here' - Interesting thoughts; all of them.
    The essence I get from both my middle class friends and lower class students aspiring to entry level pink collar and odd-collar jobs - some of who have worked in bullet and envelope-making factories (god bless them), is that that life, the life of the "factory worker" is for the birds. The whole "you're lucky if you have a job" - no, some jobs decidedly suck - canard aside nobody wants to do that shit, not my felon, junkie, minority, female (90%)students - they aren't having any of that shit. (not hatin, I can relate) Yeah, a nice union Claycomo-Ford job is worth 28 or so an hour plus benny and pension...but that ain't what they're hiring at now...temp workers get like 16$. I'm an "exploited" adjunct and get 35 an hour to do fuck-all in air-co with genteel co-workers while the ware-housed unemployed (really, formerly employed adults) students rack up their loans sowing virtual fields on Farmville and paying a hefty stu-loan (which hypothetically we will bail out to the tune of 1 trillion). I make 28 fucking thousand dollars a year and FEEL GUILTY for the masterful con played on the rubes/students that I'm in on and since I get to live like a prince with clean finger nails, a cozy home, and fair to middling luxury. So, the douche law-prof who makes any living at all in this game and refusing to admit it's a crooked, crooked, sham - well... Dante and all that.

  122. Interesting. We've gotten into an argument about free trade. It's not a bad conversation to have, but it will polarize even those who can agree law school is a scam for most would-be law students. I see a lot of short-sightedness and selfishness when Americans speak on this subject. What about a billion plus Chinese (to say nothing of India or other countries) lifted out of poverty and starvation--not worth 10s of millions of American blue collar jobs? Was the American economy really so great in the 70s when we didn't have global competition? History has had a lot of global hegemons. That status doesn't last indefinitely. There's no bringing back America's global dominance. We need to work with what we have. How do we move forward? Protectionism is something we tried in the Great Depression... without good results. More redistributive inheritance taxes might be a better fix for the growing wealth gap.

  123. Great post today, LP.

  124. "but what about the guy who had an A average at a good undergraduate school and a 167 on the LSAT, and finished in the top 20% of his class at George Washington, and can't get a job?... What did that guy do wrong again? Oh right he should have "worked harder" and spent a couple of more holidays in college working on Guatemalan farm cooperatives, and gotten into NYU Law... Because no matter what happens, the thing to remember is that if something goes wrong it's your fault, or possibly your parents,' but never ever the system's, which is fundamentally fair and just if always amenable to some marginal tweaking to make it even better."

    Um, he'd get into Michigan or Cornell and this hypo would never take place. But yes, if he did go to GW, he should have (a) worked harder on getting a decent LSAT score, or (b) not gone to GW. What's wrong with a law firm hiring system that's dubious of a school generally filled with mediocre talent? Or, what's unjust about a world in which there are more spots in law schools than open spots in big law firms?

  125. Interesting post. Lots of really stupid commentary afterwards.

  126. 6:41, to the extent that those Chinese & Indians (etc.) have been turned into my economic competitors, fuck 'em. They're no different than somebody trying to steal my land or steal my oil; they're taking my livelihood away from me. If my kids and I could have a middle class existence financed on their starvation and misery, fine. Don't pretend they don't feel the same toward me.

    The leaders of those countries foolishly allowed overpopulated in their countries, then bailed themselves out by allowing multi national corporations to use their overpopulation as a weapon to crush and eviscerate the american middle class. They aren't the most culpable actors, but they're undercutters who have to know what they're doing is taking food out of other peoples' mouths.

  127. I'd love to know what races fall into the category of "etc." in 8:07.

    I appreciate the candid comments.

  128. You know, there was a time in this country where men didn't need jobs. If they didn't get a job they would just go live in the wilderness and live off of the land. They viewed a job as oppression. See Rambo 1.

    What happened to so pussify our country?

  129. And yes it is me "Steroid Guy" who wrote the post above. Get a backbone people.

  130. 8:34, not races per se, the residents of the underdeveloped world. Sometimes they're in China, sometimes they're in Poland, soon they'll be in Columbia, Panama, and South Korea.

  131. @9.03 - The basic fact is that workers in Brazil or China are not, in the main, competing with American workers. Who do Chinese workers fear? They fear the Vietnamese, the Indonesians, the Indians - all of whom can potentially do the same labour-intensive export-oriented work that they do, the same kind of jobs that were leaving the US before the US even established diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.

    American worker's biggest source of competition is from their fellow citizens of developed countries in East Asia, Australasia, and the EU. Why? Because workers in these countries provide the same kind of skills-and-technology intensive labour that they do.

    @Steroid Gut - So let me get this straight, your answer to joblessness is that every unemployed man should take his family into the woods and carry out a single-handed guerilla war against local authority?

  132. Being on the scene to watch the trend toward increasing pointiness for years, I am struck how little these broadening experiences actually translate into a higher quality professional worker. We're actually going backwards because as students put time in to produce increasingly impressive resumes, they are not making gains in the areas of street smarts and common sense. They graduate no better equipped to tackle the challenges of the workplace than us dullards who drank beer and slept during our holiday breaks did 10-20 years ago.

    It is time to put some controls on the activity arms race. There are only 168 hours in a week so anyone claiming more broadening than can be done in that time while still accommodating sleep and personal hygiene is OUT. Same for the weekend warriors who weave a bunch of superficial commitments into a tapestry that is a mere illusion of broadminded worldliness. Bonus points to those those who do things well and make a difference even if it means their laundry list of activities is shorter than others. Finally, put some focus back on academics. Candidates should have explain what did they do to academically stand out.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.