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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:16 pm
 


Is it possible that the recent darling of the 99%, Warren Buffet, used his ties to Obama to shoot down Keystone so Buffet's railroad would reap billions in profits?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-2 ... eline.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:15 pm
 


That would look like a story taken almost literally from Atlas Shrugged. Trains and oil trying to be carried and stopped by political interventions to protect lobbies :!:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:18 pm
 


I just hope we don't set the oil tar sands ablaze to protest :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:46 pm
 


A lot of modern politics sounds like thinly veiled Ayn Rand references. Or thinly veiled Biblical references. Or thinly veiled Karl Marx references. It's like horoscopes: if you're vague enough with your prophesies, they're almost guaranteed to come true.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:18 pm
 


Regardless of the comparisons, look at the issue.

I think it's entirely possible. My concern is, would building and using the pipeline inevitable end up producing more Canadian jobs, or will there be more Canadian jobs through railroad shipping?

Of course, the pipeline is more environmentally friendly than railroads, but I'm more concerned about $ that CO and CO2 at the moment.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:17 pm
 


Pipeline jobs will be mostly temporary. Once a pipeline is built, you don't need quite as many people to maintain as you did to build it. Railroads, on the other hand, are the retro-way of the future - we're picking up again where we never should have left off. They will provide permanent, skilled jobs, which is what we need more of.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:47 pm
 


romanP wrote:
Pipeline jobs will be mostly temporary. Once a pipeline is built, you don't need quite as many people to maintain as you did to build it. Railroads, on the other hand, are the retro-way of the future - we're picking up again where we never should have left off. They will provide permanent, skilled jobs, which is what we need more of.


What do you mean by that?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:35 pm
 


I suspect it's something to do with the desire to do away with all the jobs related to transporting oil in favour of a cheaper system that increases profit by removing labour in favour of a pipeline. As he said, all those construction jobs are temporary. The jobs currently in the transport industry for moving oil would disappear.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:48 pm
 


romanP's view of modernization reminds me of this:

"The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanized looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddites


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:34 pm
 


Fair enough but population continues to rise while we mechanism and reduce jobs.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:52 pm
 


Cheaper for the corporations bottom line.

But if we aren't going to worry about bottom lines, and instead worry about jobs, why aren't we building processing and refining capacity in Manitoba and Ontario and shipping the oil east?

Or, from a sovereignty perspective, ship the oil to the NWT or Yukon to be refined. Completely backwards, but you'll probably double the population of either of those territories overnight.

Actually, there is a thought. Build a processing facility near Whitehorse that will process Bitumen into oil that is destined for export to China, as well as some to be shipped to the refineries down in Burnaby (if there are any left). Kind of a backwards route, but you would dodge some of the populated "ecologically sensitive" area's causing headaches for the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and you'd increase our presence in the north by providing an alternative industry to the current... whatever they do up there. Mineral extraction?

Also, if there is more frozen oil sands in the NWT, having the processing facility in the Yukon will make for a much quicker turnover for processing, AND would be on the way to Prince Rupert for export.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:13 pm
 


I think there are two subtly different definitions of a job. If a worker gets paid a living wage, some consider that enough. To others, the worker must also be doing something of market value for society (through employers and/or customers). If you're paid to shovel snow from one side of the street to another and then shovel it back, is that really a job? Is the dignity of employment available to that worker?

Mechanization reduces jobs by reducing the need for jobs, which is bad for industry workers and good for employers, customers, and/or anyone who benefits from technological advancement. Whether that's a net benefit for society depends on which group of beneficiaries is larger and on whether would-be workers actually want to be the subsidized charity case doing an obsolete job a robot could do cheaper and better. I, for one, would not want to do that work.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:23 pm
 


If the mechanization results in a net job loss (which is not necessarily so) then people will be out of work. Many have suggested workfare for people collecting welfare so they don't just get a handout. Since in this scenario, there are too few jobs, then your snow shoveling picture would be an example of workfare - sort of like the workhouses in Victorian England.

Even if the mechanization just changes jobs - ie to more high tech ones, but we don't have sufficient people who can do those jobs, so we import them, that leaves current citizens without the possibility of work, so back to the treadmill.

Of course if the mechanization increases wealth, then more jobs can be created in services for those tech people. That's what we're seeing now, with a greater and greater split between the tech able and unable. And is one reason (not the main one) for greater income disparity. As you've noticed, relegating people to servant class and paying them barely enough to live creates unrest.

The utopic vision for mechanization was always that it would leave people more leisure time for higher persuits. Hasn't worked out that way, because of such unequal distribution of the wealth created by mechanization, and because it turns out most people don't really have much interest in higher persuits. They'd rather work more to buy crap that entertains them w/o effort.

But as we can see, the whole system is breaking down. Even National Post editors are pointing out that if you destroy the middle class, there won't enough people to buy the products of mechanization and the whole scheme comes tumbling down. Plus of course with increase population come increased demand on resources - another limiting point to growth.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:28 pm
 


Don't worry Andyt, there is one sector of the economy (the American economy at least), where mechanization is shunned.

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:45 am
 


andyt wrote:
your snow shoveling picture would be an example of workfare - sort of like the workhouses in Victorian England.
I'm not sure that comparison makes sense. Moving snow back and forth was intended as an example of physical effort with no market production to it at all. From a market perspective, it is completely meaningless busywork. Victorian workhouses produced goods and provided cleaning services -- things people would pay money for.

Maybe Victorian workhouses make a better comparison to obsolete jobs, where you are producing something for the economy but not as high-quality or as cheaply as can easily be found elsewhere. I donno, did workhouses produce sub-par products and services? Is this what you think of with the "workfare" idea? A child's lemonade stand also fits into this category; possibly educational, but not really a job.

My point is that I am not truly employed unless 1) my work pays me enough to live on, and 2) the economy benefits from my work at least as much as I am paid. If my work isn't helping anyone, it's not really work.

That relates to Gunnair's comment about "the desire to do away with all the jobs related to transporting oil in favour of a cheaper system that increases profit by removing labour in favour of a pipeline." If pipes can transport water more cheaply than a bucket brigade, is installing running water really some objectionable job-killing program? Operating a bucket brigade is a wildly inefficient, technologically backwards way to transport water. Replacing it puts those brigaders out of work, but it benefits everyone with running water; everyone, not just one outdated industry. It seems like the oil pipeline is more of the same.

That intentionally doesn't address the income inequality issue because I really don't want to get into that again. The overall goal is to lower cost of living (or at least slow it's increase) without lowering quality of life. That's a goal both sides can support, and it's a direction the pipeline could plausibly take us.


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