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Forum Post: Dear Person Seeking a Job: Why I Can't Hire You

Posted 2 years ago on July 3, 2012, 7:11 p.m. EST by ponchovilla (16)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Dear Person Seeking a Job: Why I Can't Hire You (July 3, 2012)

Potential employers have to respond to the incentives and disincentives that exist in today's world, and those do not favor conventional permanent employees.

I know you're hard-working, motivated, tech-savvy and willing to learn. The reason I can't hire you has nothing to do with your work ethic or skills; it's the high-cost Status Quo, and the many perverse consequences of maintaining a failing Status Quo.

The sad truth is that it's costly and risky to hire anyone to do anything, and "bankable projects" that might generate profit/require more labor are few and far between. The overhead costs for employees have skyrocketed. So even though the wages employees see on their paychecks have stagnated, the total compensation costs the employer pays have risen substantially.

Thirty years ago the overhead costs were considerably less, adjusted for inflation, and there weren't billboards advertising a free trip to Cabo if you sued your employer. (I just saw an advert placed by a legal firm while riding a BART train that solicited employees to sue their employers, with the incentive being "free money" for a vacation to Cabo.)

The other primary reason is that there are few (to borrow a phrase used by John Michael Greer) "bankable projects," that is, projects where hiring another worker would pay for the costs of the additional overhead, labor and capital and generate a reason for making the investment, i.e. a meaningful profit.

There is very little real "new business" in a recessionary, deflationary economy: any new business is poaching from an established business. The new restaurant isn't drawing people from their home kitchens, it's drawing customers from established restaurants.

The only competitive advantage in a deflationary economy is to be faster, better and cheaper or have a marketing and/or technology edge. But marketing and technological advantages offer increasingly thin edges. The aspirational demand (driven by the desire to be hip or cool) for a new good or service has a short half-life. As for technology: miss a product cycle and you're history.

Put these together--higher costs and risks for hiring people, and diminishing opportunities for expansions that lead to profit--and you have a scarcity of projects where hiring people makes financial sense.

Faster, better and cheaper usually means reducing the labor input, not increasing it. In a deflationary economy, it's extremely difficult to grow revenues (sales), and as costs continue climbing inexorably, the only way to survive is to cut expenses so there is still some net for the owner/proprietor to live on.

Consider the tax burden on a sole proprietor who might want to hire someone. The 15.3% Social Security/Medicare tax starts with dollar one. After the usual standard deductions, the Federal income tax is 15%, and 25% on all earned income above $34,800. My state tax is around 5%. Since every other advanced democracy pays basic healthcare coverage out of tax revenues, the $12,000/year we pay for barebones healthcare insurance is the equivalent of a tax. That's 15% of our income. Property tax is also $12,000 annually, so that's another 15%.

Above $35,000 in income, my tax burden is 15% + 25% + 5% + 15% + 15% = 75%. You can imagine how much money I would need to clear to be able to afford hiring someone. The number of businesses that generate huge sums of profit are few and far between, and the number of businesses that scale up from a one-person shop to mega-millions in revenues is also extremely limited.

The potential employer is faced with this reality: the money to hire a new employee will come out of my pay, at least at first. Hiring an additional worker only makes sense if the new employee will immediately generate enough additional revenue to fund his/her own wage and overhead costs, the added expense of supervision and a profit substantial enough to offset the risks.

I should stipulate that my knowledge of hiring people and being an employer is not academic. My partner and I launched a business in late 1981, in the depths of what was at that time the deepest recession since the end of World War II. We had a very diverse ethnic workforce and did millions of dollars of work. Rather than make a fortune I lost $50,000 and had to mortgage the house we'd built by hand to make good all debts. I exited in 1987 with my personal integrity intact: nobody lost money working for us.

The losses were basically the result of me pushing the outer boundaries of my experience and thus my competence in an unforgiving, very competitive environment. The learning curve in business is steep and pricey.

I have also been involved in saving/managing a small non-profit organization that had expanded payroll far beyond what the organization's revenues could support.

What newly minted employers understand that employees rarely understand is that the overhead costs of hiring even one person do not scale at first. To hire one person, even part-time, the employer needs to set up a complex infrastructure to manage the payroll taxes and accounting, and comply with a variety of statutes. If the employer does not follow the many laws regarding labor, witholding taxes, workers compensation, liability coverage, disability insurance, unemployment insurance and so on, then the employer is at risk of penalties and/or lawsuits.

If a business does $1 million in gross receipts a year and already has five employees and a manager, it's not that burdensome to hire a seventh employee--the framework is all set up. But the cost of setting all that up for employee #1 is not trivial, especially when you realize the complex machinery all has to be overseen and managed.

In the Silicon valley model, a couple of guys/gals work feverishly in the living room/garage until they have a product/service to sell to venture capital. If the pitch succeeds, the VCs give them a couple million dollars and they hire a manager to sort out all the paperwork, management, etc.

Most small businesses/proprietors don't get handed a couple million dollars. They have to grow organically, one step at a time. Each expansionist step is fraught with risks, especially when opportunities to grow revenue are few and far between and are generally crowded with competitors.

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[-] 4 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

CONTINUED

Thirty years ago the employer's share of Social Security tax was not today's 7.65%; it was much less. Worker's compensation rates were lower, as were disability and liability insurance rates. Adjusted for inflation, healthcare insurance was half (or less) of today's absurdly expensive rates. To pay someone a modest $20,000 annual salary today would cost at least $30,000 in total compensation costs, and if the employee is middle-aged or requires family healthcare coverage, it could easily exceed $40,000. That sum many be trivial in the bloated $3.7 trillion Federal government or in Corporate America, but in millions of small businesses that $40,000 is the proprietor's entire net income.

In other words, as costs of hiring anyone to do anything have climbed while revenues have stagnated, the threshold to hire an employee keeps getting higher. Back in the day, I could hire a young person out of high school for a modest cost in overhead, and the work-value they produced to justify the expense was also modest. I could afford to hire marginal workers and as long as they didn't get in the way too much and ably performed basic tasks then I could afford to have them on the payroll.

The same was true of older workers, veterans living on the beach who wanted work, etc.--I could afford to give all sorts of people a chance to prove their value because the costs and risks were low.

That's simply less true today. The costs and risks are much, much higher.

Liability has become a lottery game where anyone with assets or income is a target for "winner take all" lawsuits. I would have to be insane to hire someone to work around my property on an informal basis: if the person injured himself, I would face the risks of losing my property to the legal defense costs and potential settlements that exceed the homeowners' insurance policy.

In an office environment, I could be sued for harassment or for engendering a "stressful work environment." If you think these kinds of cases are rare, you need to get out more.

Simply put, the feeble hope of increasing revenues does not even come close to offsetting the tremendous risks created by having employees.

There's a Catch-22 aspect to all this; small business can't expand revenues without employees, but the costs/risks of having employees makes that a gamble that is often not worth taking. The lower-risk, lower-cost survival strategy is to automate everything possible in back-office work and free up the proprietor's time to grow revenues that then flow directly to the bottom line.

Managing people is not easy, and it's often stressful. Once a proprietor hires an employee, he/she must wear a number of new hats: psychiatrist/counselor, manager, coach, teacher, to name but a few. Frankly, I don't need the stress. I would rather earn a modest living from my labor and avoid all the burdens of managing people. (In my case, that included bailing workers out of jail, loaning them my truck which was subsequently rolled and destroyed, and a bunch of other fun stuff.)

I am not embittered, I am simply realistic. I enjoyed my employees' company, even the one who rolled my truck and the ones who managed to get into trouble with the law. But I got tired of meetings and all the wasted motion of office management, and I got tired of taking cash advances on my credit cards to make payroll.

If anyone out there thinks being an entrepreneur/small business proprietor is easy and a surefire pathway to the luxe life, then by all means, get out there and start a business and hire a bunch of people. I applaud your energy and drive, and sincerely hope you are wildly successful.

I hope you now understand why so many businesses only want to work with contract labor/ self-employed people: having employees no longer makes financial sense for many small enterprises. What makes sense is paying someone a set fee to accomplish a set task, and that's it, the obligation of both parties is fulfilled. If the task isn't completed, then the fee isn't paid.

Revenues just aren't steady enough in many cases to support a permanent employee. When the work comes in, then contract labor is brought in to get the work done. When it's done, they're gone, and all their overhead costs are theirs.

It's extraordinarily difficult to generate revenue in a deflationary economy, and extraordinarily difficult to scrape off a net income as expenses such as taxes, insurance, healthcare, etc. continue climbing year after year.

Self-employment places a premium on professionalism and results. Unlike offices filled with managers and employees, nobody cares about your problems, conflicts, complaints about the common-area fridge or your attendence at meetings. Once you've been self-employed for a while, and you only hire/work with other self-employed people, then you look back on conventional work places as absurdist theaters of schoolyard politics, tiresome resentments and child-parent conflicts acted out by self-absorbed adults.

Once you're self-employed, your focus shifts to nurturing a productive network of clients, customers and like-minded, reliable, resourceful self-employed people who will give you work/work for you when you need help. Building trust and following through on what you promised to do become your priority.

The economy is different now, and wishing it were unchanged from 30 years ago won't reverse the clock. We have to respond to the incentives and disincentives that exist in today's world, and those do not favor conventional permanent employees except in sectors that are largely walled off from the market economy: government, healthcare, etc.

But these moated sectors cannot remain isolated from the deflationary market economy forever, and what was considered safely walled off from risk and change will increasingly face the same market forces that have changed private-sector enterprise.

If you want security and a steady income, it may be more rewarding to build it yourself via highly networked self-employment.

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly12/why-cant-hire7-12.html

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 2 years ago

"If you want security and a steady income, it may be more rewarding to build it yourself via highly networked self-employment."

"A secondary component of ACT could be support for the creation of worker-owned cooperatives through crowdfunding. This would require a Cooperative Employment Service that would assess the skills of the unemployed individuals to patronize it and match them with a suggested cooperative business plan. Upon acceptance or rejection of the plan for an alternative plan, the Cooperative Employment Service would facilitate the crowdfunding of the new cooperative business. Of course, each municipality of cooperative communities should have their own branch of a nationwide Cooperative Credit Union to handle both cooperative and personal accounts. With the Cooperative Employment Service, cooperatives, and Cooperative Credit Union established, imagine what would happen nationwide if the unemployed of each city were to be consistantly channeled into either newly or already established worker-owner cooperatives."

http://occupywallst.org/forum/political-organization-rather-than-political-party/

[-] 1 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

what you write has some truth but many of your numbers a nonsense -12k real estate tax - where do you live and what is your house worth? we were paying less than $500 a year ago for fairly good medical coverage. people who inflate numbers to make their point are not to be trusted. we started a construction business 1 yr ago - no trouble to hire people on temp basis. yes there are some added costs but not a problem. as our business stabilizes we will add permanent positions and pay more costs - health care etc but at the same time our company will be paying our insurance in pre tax dollars. lots of advantages in the tax system for small businesses (i have run my own business for 40 years). in many countries this would be much more difficult if even possible. i am not against the european work rules nor am i saying that our health system is good but your comments to not hold water in many ways.

[-] 2 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

You obviously don't live in the northeast. Where I live, real estate taxes are insane. I pay more than $10,000 a year in real estate taxes on my house, and it isn't a mansion by a long shot. Around here, if you've got a house with a couple of acres of land around it (it's a rural area, so many people, including poor people, do) or a commercial building with an assessed value of $500,000, which wouldn't be much for a small warehouse or garage (real estate values are likewise seriously inflated), you could easily be paying $15,000 or $17,000 a year in real estate taxes. When I moved here, I was stunned by the taxes. The taxes on my house are more than 10 times what I was paying in the southwest.

[-] 0 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

i live in nj (for 40 yrs) and know the tax structure well - you don't pay 12k unless you own something very nice in a very nice area - we pay 6k on a house worth 450k - what is yours worth?

[-] 2 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

10k+ on a house valued at 320k, and that's overvalued. Real value is more like 280k.

I might add that it's not a ritzy area, either. There are some fancy housing developments with McMansions that serve as the bedroom community for the local city, but it's mostly working class folks in what is basically a working class redneck area. Guys with pickup trucks running a one-man tree trimming service out of their house, that sort of thing. The taxes are eating people alive.

[-] 0 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

wow - you live in the wrong town! sorry - i hope you have "good schools"

[-] 2 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

It's nuts. The taxes are a whole second mortgage payment. And they wonder why Pennsylvania is losing population.

[-] 2 points by penguento (362) 2 years ago

It's nuts. And they wonder why Pennsylvania is losing population. The property taxes are a whole second mortgage payment.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

In CT we pay $16,500 on a house assessed at $550K (mil rate of about 30). It is ridiculous but really not that out of the ordinary compared to neighboring towns. That is CT for you.

A lot of what his says is true. My assistants "make" about $40K per year but it costs me about $78K to employ them. After they pay their taxes they are probably left with about $30K. So they cost me $78K but they only take home $30K. The other $48K goes to all different avenues but ultimately end up with the government in one way or another.

I would love it if they "made" more money but I don't really think I am the one who is short changing them.

[-] 1 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

compare that to the 1956 tax system and you will have some answers - look at the % corporations paid of you over all tax and then look at the top tax rates - l;et me know what you find out

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

It looks like 52% in 1952 and 35% today. I don't necessarily think 35% is too low because most companies pay no where near that much, especially the large ones. I think the argument is better made for higher personal tax rates on the super wealthy. Say those making more than $2 million per year.

If corporate tax rates are increased corporations will simply lower their tax burden by paying higher salaries to their top employees. Wouldn't you just rather pay yourself a higher salary taxed at 35% than send 52% to the government? Or just layoff a couple thousand low level employees to keep the bottom line the same?

The majority of profits made by corporations end up in the hands of the wealthy one way or the other, whether it be salary, dividend payments, capital appreciation, etc. This is where higher taxes will lead to additional revenue because as much as the super wealthy will send jobs overseas to increase the bottom line of their companies, they are unlikely to move to a third world country to avoid paying personal income taxes to the US.

The US will never be able to compete with other countries when it comes to the cost of labor so we need to find other ways to make doing business here more appealing. What incentive do businesses have to keep doing business here when it just keeps getting more and more expensive?

[-] 2 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

we are the worlds biggest economy - anyone who wants to sell their things to our people would have to pay the proper tax. as far as salaries go it would be simple to say anything over a certain amount is not decutable - here are some comparisons - .............Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue 1955 . . . 27.3% 2010 . . . 8.9%

Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP 1955 . . . 4.3% 2010 . . . 1.3%

Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue 1955 . . . 58.0% 2010 . . . 81.5% Finally, for those in the top 0.01 percent of the income distribution, the effective tax rate was 71.4 percent in 1960, 74.6 percent in 1970, 59.3 percent in 1980, 35.4 percent in 1990, 40.8 percent in 2000 and 34.7 percent in 2004

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (6441) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

The key is recovering taxes on assets that are never sold but pass down trough trust funds.

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Ah yes, pillage the dead guy....

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (6441) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

You think it is better we should take care not to "punish" the dead rather than take care of the living?

And why shouldn’t those who have benefited from all that deflect spending pay the bill when they die, after all they can’t take it with them.

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I would rather restructure our tax code than start forcibly taking money from those that are grieving.

[-] 2 points by factsrfun (6441) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

They will have no problem stopping their grieving to tell you and your children to get back to work so they can keep adding to their bigo pile of inherited wealth.

Hope you like being a peasant.

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I understand where you are coming from. But that is the overall problem. We place a value on money in this country that is incredibly self destructive.

I would be a peasant in some communities in this country, and very well off man in others. Send me to South America and Im damn near rich.

[-] 1 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

Welp, here you go as an example:

http://www.century21.com/property/95-mullen-dr-sicklerville-nj-08081-REN006195725

Sicklerville, NJ - A house for sale is $415,000 and property tax is $12,800 a year.

I guess you're expected to work until you die even if you manage to payoff your mortgage under that utopian tax structure, eh? No flip, the numbers aren't nonsense, your rationalizing reality is. Have a nice day, sucker.

[-] 1 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

well sucker where i am from 415k is lots of money for a house - in my home town you can get a house (and a nice one) for less than 100k - lots of places in pa where that is true. i do think the real estate tax is the wrong way to raise revenue but seems to me that you are the sucker

[-] 1 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

I live in Loudoun County, Virginia. We don't have the idiot "issues" that donkey blue New Jersey put itself in.

The real estate listing was an example of the stupidity of the tax and spend mentality of the left and its consequences.

[-] 1 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

very uninformed poncho - Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue 1955 . . . 27.3% 2010 . . . 8.9%

Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP 1955 . . . 4.3% 2010 . . . 1.3%

Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue 1955 . . . 58.0% 2010 . . . 81.5%

[-] 1 points by flip (7174) 2 years ago

that's really funny

[-] 1 points by evelyngermain43 (1) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I don't know about you guys, but I've had a fair amount of success in property banking and investment. If you start out small and just kind of flip as you go, you stand to make a lot of money. It's not for everyone, though. A few years ago, I also hired a custom home builder from http://www.iqconstruction.biz/ and had a house built. Surprisingly, it's wasn't as expensive because everyone is desperate for work.

[-] 1 points by writerconsidered123 (344) 2 years ago

thank you very well written, I was aware that there was substantual cost in hiring new employee's, I just didn't know the exact numbers. I myself survived the last few years working for people small projects some landscaping and just general day labor. not as nice as having a full time job.

as time goes by it becomes harder to find work because no one wants to hire a worker who hasn't worked. Thats what I've found.

however I did finally get a job in maintenence full time permanent. And I'm working it my boss likes my work and giving it my all. It's a gift that I don't want to shit on.

so for all those employers who don't want to hire someone who hasn't worked in a long time think again they have the gift of desperation. something you'll never see on a resume.

As for the rest of you who think that work and a job is overrated or passe or whatever such nonsense. go live in the back of pickup for 3 yrs and get back to me on that let's see how that's workin for you

[Removed]

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21572) 2 years ago

If we had an economic system that worked for the people and not vice versa this would not be a problem. With everyone employed and earning a living wage plenty of money would be put back into the system to create the demand that creates jobs.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Please define a living wage..

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21572) 2 years ago

This is from wikipedia, but the definition can be found in any economic textbook.

"In public policy, a living wage is the minimum hourly income necessary for a worker to meet basic needs (for an extended period of time or for a lifetime). These needs include shelter (housing) and other incidentals such as clothing and nutrition. In some nations such as the United Kingdom and Switzerland, this standard generally means that a person working forty hours a week, with no additional income, should be able to afford a specified quality or quantity of housing, food, utilities, transport, health care, and recreation. In addition to this definition, living wage activists further define "living wage" as the wage equivalent to the poverty line for a family of four."

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I need a dollar amount, or a dollar amount scenario.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21572) 2 years ago

It is actually very complicated because it works off geographic areas and the cost of living in each area. So, someone living in NYC would have a different and much higher living wage than a smaller city or a rural area. Small businesses under a certain size could be exempt, etc. It's complicated but one way to ensure that all people have enough to live decently in a country that really does have plenty of money to go around.

There's also something called a basic income guarantee which is kind of like social security, but for all citizens. It would regularly provide each citizen with a sum of money, a basic amount for necessities.

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I understand it would be very complicated.

But I need some sort of dollar example.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21572) 2 years ago

Well I'm not a professional economist, but I suppose you could take an average rent in a particular town, add in average food costs, clothing costs, transportation costs, healthcare costs, education costs and come up with some kind of number. I'm fairly certain it would be a good deal higher than minimum wage just about anywhere.

Here's a couple of websites that might be helpful:

http://www.communitybenefits.org/section.php?id=154

http://www.livingwageaction.org/workshops_lw101.htm

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

You should not have to be a professional economist to compute this fairly quickly in your head.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21572) 2 years ago

So do it.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I already have. Im asking the guy who is endorsing it if he has ever figured out what his own living wage would be?

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (21572) 2 years ago

Oh. Am I the guy endorsing it? It would be rather high where I live. Rents alone average around $1,500 per month for a one or two bedroom.

[-] 2 points by HempTwister (667) from Little Rock, AR 2 years ago

That first employee is a huge step. Put that on top of the extra taxes and impossibility of affording health insurance when you decide to start a business and you will see why the primary goal of Occupy is:

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY!!!!!!!!!!!!

[-] 1 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

You think it's unaffordable now. Wait until the 2,700 page health insurance bill that no one in congress read kicks in.

Ameritopia!

[-] 1 points by HempTwister (667) from Little Rock, AR 2 years ago

For once something will be better for small business. The problem with insurance is the small risk pool. After 2014 they get to buy into a large pool like the big companies do. And under 25 employees get a subsidy. Great for small business.

[-] 1 points by freehorseman (267) from Miles City, Mt 2 years ago

Take your job and shove it!

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 2 years ago

simple solution. pay people cash. then all those percentages fall on the employee problem solved

[-] 1 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

Problem solved how?

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 2 years ago

the only expense of hiring is the wage you pay. solves the problem s listed in the post. no taxes, insurance, fees, ect.

[-] 1 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

Fine - go sell Obama on it!

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

A thought just occurred to me, since I have a technology background. What in the world is going to happen when humanoid robotics completely replaces ALL workers in about 20-30 years? There will have to be a completely new economic paradigm. Capitalism says to make the biggest profits, reduce labor costs to zero. If a businesss is able to replace all (or substantially all) workers with robots then logically they should do that (they will likely be intelligent enough by then).. They can own these artificial "employees" quite literally for an initial investment in capital outlay, requiring only occasional routine maintenance to continue their operation.

The problem with this is that it completely eliminates all human labor and therefore approaches the theoretical possibility of almost 100% unemployment. So, quite obviously, there would have to be a complete overhaul of our economic paradigm since companies could automate production of all goods and services, but there would be no money available on the part of humans to pay for them.

This points to the necessity of working toward the eventual elimination of money as a medium of exchange. Something else will have to be thought up by then.

I know you think I'm crazy for bringing this up, but this WILL happen someday...perhaps within the lifetime of some who are reading this. Science is closing in on science-fiction. Humanoid robotics capable of functioning equal to (and perhaps even surpassing) humans is being pursued right now...and these developers have a dream and are SERIOUS about achieving it.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Whoever controls the robots controls the world, whether they are of flesh or machine.

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 2 years ago

Can't eliminate all labor. Somebody still has to program the robots.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

At the level that I am talking about, they will be intelligent enough to program themselves. Humans learn and program themselves, and these humanoid machines will be intelligent enough to do the same.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 2 years ago

If the machines program themselves, and society depends on the machines, then the machines will be in charge. Obviously we don't want to cede authority over society to machines. So somebody has to tell them what to do. Those people will be some of the most powerful people around, and other human workers will be unnecessary.

Hm, I guess that sort of describes today's reality actually.

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 2 years ago

Here is a prediction on what is coming by 2099. Of course, many of these things may never come to pass, but these are the types of things the visionaries are thinking about to shape the future. This is from Ray Kurzweil's timeline (link provided below at bottom):

2019 A $1,000 computing device (in 1999 dollars) is now approximately equal to the computational ability of the human brain.   Computers are now largely invisible and are embedded everywhere-in walls, tables, chairs, desks, clothing, jewelry, and bodies.   Three-dimensional virtual reality displays, embedded in glasses and contact lenses, as well as auditory “lenses,” are used routinely as primary interfaces for communication with other persons, computers, the Web, and virtual reality.   Most interaction with computing is through gestures and two-way natural-language spoken communication.   Nanoengineered machines are beginning to be applied to manufacturing and process-control applications.   High-resolution, three-dimensional visual and auditory virtual reality and realistic all-encompassing tactile environments enable people to do virtually anything with anybody, regardless of physical proximity.   Paper books or documents are rarely used and most learning is conducted through intelligent, simulated software-based teachers.   Blind persons routinely use eyeglass-mounted reading-navigation systems. Deaf persons read what other people are saying through their lens displays. Paraplegic and some quadriplegic persons routinely walk and climb stairs through a combination of computer-controlled nerve stimulation and exoskeletal robotic devices.   The vast majority of transactions include a simulated person.   Automated driving systems are now installed in most roads.   People are beginning to have relationships with automated personalities and use them as companions, teachers, caretakers, and lovers.   Virtual artists, with their own reputations, are emerging in all of the arts.   There are widespread reports of computers passing the Turing Test, although these tests do not meet the criteria established by knowledgeable observers.

2029 A $1,000 (in 1999 dollars) unit of computation has the computing capacity of approximately 1,000 human brains.   Permanent or removable implants (similar to contact lenses) for the eyes as well as cochlear implants are now used to provide input and output between the human user and the worldwide computing network.   Direct neural pathways have been perfected for high-bandwidth connection to the human brain. A range of neural implants is becoming available to enhance visual and auditory perception and interpretation, memory, and reasoning.   Automated agents are now learning on their own, and significant knowledge is being created by machines with little or no human intervention. Computers have read all available human- and machine-generated literature and multimedia material.   There is widespread use of all-encompassing visual, auditory, and tactile communication using direct neural connections, allowing virtual reality to take place without having to be in a “total touch enclosure.”   The majority of communication does not involve a human. The majority of communication involving   There is almost no human employment in production, agriculture, or transportation. Basic life needs are available for the vast majority of the human race.   There is a growing discussion about the legal rights of computers and what constitutes being “human.”   Although computers routinely pass apparently valid forms of the Turing Test, controversy persists about whether or not machine intelligence equals human intelligence in all of its diversity.   Machines claim to be conscious. These claims are largely accepted.

2049 The common use of nanoproduced food, which has the correct nutritional composition and the same taste and texture of organically produced food, means that the availability of food is no longer affected by limited resources, bad crop weather, or spoilage. Nanobot swarm projections are used to create visual-auditory-tactile projections of people and objects in real reality.

2072 Picoengineering (developing technology at the scale of picometers or trillionths of a meter) becomes practical.1

By the year 2099 There is a strong trend toward a merger of human thinking with the world of machine intelligence that the human species initially created.   There is no longer any clear distinction between humans and computers.   Most conscious entities do not have a permanent physical presence.   Machine-based intelligences derived from extended models of human intelligence claim to be human, although their brains are not based on carbon-based cellular processes, but rather electronic and photonic equivalents. Most of these intelligences are not tied to a specific computational processing unit. The number of software-based humans vastly exceeds those still using native neuron-cell-based computation.   Even among those human intelligences still using carbon-based neurons, there is ubiquitous use of neural-implant technology, which provides enormous augmentation of human perceptual and cognitive abilities. Humans who do not utilize such implants are unable to meaningfully participate in dialogues with those who do.   Because most information is published using standard assimilated knowledge protocols, information can be instantly understood. The goal of education, and of intelligent beings, is discovering new knowledge to learn.   Femtoengineering (engineering at the scale of femtometers or one thousandth of a trillionth of a meter) proposals are controversial.2   Life expectancy is no longer a viable term in relation to intelligent beings.

http://markii.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/kurzweils-singularity-time-line/

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

Dear Person Seeking a Job: Why I Can't Hire You

cause I don't need you

[-] 1 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 2 years ago

If you can't beat em, join em.

Starting a bank sounds like an impossible Gilded Age enterprise; more befitting of a Rockefeller than today's small business owner. But it's not as impossible as one might think -- or as risky.

According to Smart Money.com, "the three-year failure rate for new banks is less than one in 1,000," which, compared with a "60 percent failure rate for new restaurants," is not so horrible. The profits are not too shabby either. The site reports: "6,770 community banks earned $67 billion over the past five years."

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, even Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says that he would start a bank -- if he were 50 years younger.

So, help start a direct democracy bank, as follows:

https://docs.google.com/a/strategicinternationalsystems.com/document/pub?id=1mKKLMTIyvRCLK2ppPj_GDjdieCvJnATaZaCmlajubWU

Furthermore, not just start a direct democracy bank (which is a crucial 1st step), but start-up businesses in all 12 sectors of the local (or global) economy; namely, services, vehicles, education, retail, food, construction, technology, manufacturing, wholesale, health, justice, and banking -- that is, as described, step-by-step, in the Detailed Operations Forecast of the above constitution.

The marketing mechanism to do this is a virtual-to-physical reality strategy game. The above constitution is the specification of that game. Consequently, we need analysts to help write the specification and programmers to code the game (plus artists). Why? Because the above constitution is only an administrative tool whereas the virtual-to-physical reality game is the marketing engine which gets the job done. However, administration, and its related constitution, needs to be completely clear before engaging in marketing using a virtual-physical reality game, so please tell all your friends, especially those under 20, to consider becoming a 1/12-time analyst/programmer at SIS LLC (whatever it pays, which is nothing for now), for it's an opportunity to do your duty for Freedom and Justice For All...if you please.

[-] 1 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 2 years ago

Excellent post! I am currently working on my exit strategy from a small business after 30 years and have lost almost everything. Seventeen employees will be elgible for unemployment benefits, but I was unable to pay them much more than minimum wage anyway.

However, MC/Visa has made about $75,000 annually from my business and I'm sure much of that will trickle down, lol. I have not been able to pay my annual property taxes of $18,000, I feel certain that large corps like Shell Oil and Coke are doing fine, because the rules of the game favor them. Maybe they will hire us.

[-] 1 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

OWS is not based solely on the search for jobs, but the dismantling of a system where "jobs" are necessary for life. Why do we live in a world where the only means by which we can survive is by working jobs?

Why do we no longer live in a world where we can simply be human? Why must we define success through a job? I think that's one of the questions OWS is trying to raise. At least, that is the question I hope we can adopt.

[-] 3 points by grapes (3312) 2 years ago

"Why do we live in a world where the only means by which we can survive is by working jobs?" That was the conventional way. There are unconventional ways, such as those employed by the influential ones. Mooching, trading inside information, and front running are all very unconventional but profitable means, perhaps not moral but morality could have already become passe with carbonic acid having dissolved backbones. Isn't it delightful to see all of these gigantic moonbeams fluttering gently around ready to sting?

"Why do we no longer live in a world where we can simply be human? Why must we define success through a job?" Becoming independent by insulating yourself from the needs and wants of conventional society will allow you to be more human. The problem of defining success through a job is mostly in your own mind. If you can decouple from conventional society, does it matter what society "defines"? Opt out and chill out.

[-] 2 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

Opting out isn't a viable option. How would I be able to live on my own farm in New England without first purchasing property from the government? And then I must pay property taxes, even if I don't wish to be a business but simply live for myself.

What about simply hunting for my food? Their are restrictions imposed by the government on my right to hunt. I need a license. Why? I simply want to live.

It is virtually impossible to opt out when this society has such a stranglehold on this land.

[-] 1 points by grapes (3312) 2 years ago

Learn to think unconventionally. If you have the knowledge about botany and the proper "eye", you do not need to hunt nor do you need to go far to get your food. Yes, you may need to become more of a vegetarian because plants are vastly more plentiful than animals. I am not saying to opt out completely. It takes time to build that up. You can fix a set goal of becoming almost self-sufficient, let us say, in five years, and work toward that while smoothly decoupling. You really think that the government can catch everyone who hunts? They cannot even see the elephant running at them and still get run over anyway. Stop thinking about limitations and start thinking about possibilities. Things will turn much more positive. I remember tasting excellent sweet nectar from wild flower buds - no one caught me! Think about Mathew 6:26 - birds do not sow, neither reap, nor gather into barns, yet they are fed. Why?

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

most property is owned privately

[-] 0 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

The government regulates the ability to hold private property.

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

it keeps records that the populous accept

[-] 2 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

"Why do we live in a world where the only means by which we can survive is by working jobs?"

Because there has to be a measure of effort for fairness in trade. If you don't contribute, you shouldn't expect. That metric is money or barter or something of value. If you don't have it, then you don't have it. Anything else is fantasy regardless of the "question" OWS raises.

Any system not following that is a transfer from one person to another of goods, services, labor or property without payment. No one is born with the right to impose and take from another.

[-] 2 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

"No one is born with the right to impose and take from another."

Yet a world constructed where land is privatized takes the natural right of a human being to hunt, gather, and exist on that property freely. When land is bought up, the right of a human to farm for food is stricken from that property. When one makes a purchase of property, one inherently takes from the masses their natural right to exist in this world on that property.

Capitalism is a fabrication on the natural existence of life. By it's existence, we take away the natural humanity of our children. Most men and women never get the chance to truly live free as we were once in ancient times naturally born.

There are many benefits to civilization. But their are also many questionable aberrations that restrict humanity at large from existing at peace with our natural selves.

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

nesting is natural

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[-] 1 points by Kinetica (14) from Houston, TX 2 years ago

Exactly.

[-] 0 points by conservatroll (161) 2 years ago

Yiour post is too stupid for words.

[-] -2 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 2 years ago

You don't have to have a job. Just don't whine about being broke if you choose not to work.

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

the total compensation costs the employer pays have risen substantially.

for who?

[-] 1 points by ponchovilla (16) 2 years ago

For employer and employee. That's why business is shying away from hiring new workers.

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[-] 0 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 2 years ago

What you have posted is very true in todays world. I doubt that you will get very much of a response because the vast majority of people who post on this site know nothing about business affairs.

I know exactly what you speak of - I worked for a company that delt with the same issues and for years has struggled to keep the doors open and pay the bills.

The vast majority of people who work as an employee don't have a clue as to what is involved in owning and operating a business - all they think about is how much the owner is making on the products being sold and have no idea the expense involved.

We have a new generation of people coming into the work force and unless they change their attitude about their perception of business, they will always be fighting a uphill battle and will always be wondering why they never can make a decent living.

This country was built on individualism, persistence and the will to survive and succede - not so today. Everyone thinks because they learn the basic job skills - be it going to apprentice school or going to college - they should be paid a premimum price. And if they don't get the job or pay they want they blame others for their failures.

It just doesn't work that way - if they ever decide to engage in owning/operating a business they will soon see what it takes to keep the doors open.

Great post and very informative regarding the struggles associated with running a small business.

You can also be certain there will be comments regarding the "evil rich and wealthy" on wall street and that is all they will focus on.

But what they fail to realize is that 75% of businesses in this country are small businesses run by individuals working with other smal business individuals are and they are able to survive because of their ability to adapt just as you have stated.

[-] 3 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

Although 75% of businesses in this country are small businesses, do you know the statistics on the wealth they control and employees they employ compared to larger corporations?

Many small businesses have trouble staying open and profitable because of the pressures of larger corporations.

[-] 1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 2 years ago

That's why they are called "small businesses". A small business can generate fifty thousand, one hundred thousand or one million in revenues even more if they so desire.

It all depends on what the company does and how big it wants to grow. The only restriction is the market place with what it has to offer.

There are plenty of successful small businesses out there today and there are plenty of small businesses out there just making it.

The business I was involved in only provided the consumer one product. As a result we were restricted in our revenues. Fast forward three years later we broke that mold and became more deversified.

As a result our revenues grew - That's called thinking outide the box and understanding what it takes to keep a small business running.

[-] 1 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

There would be many more small businesses if the market wasn't saturated by big corporations. That would meant he spread of national wealth would be more evenly distributed, more people could be employed at livable wages, and there would be less pollution and waste.

75% doesn't mean much when large corporations are still making the dragon's share of the wealth.

You could have a business far better than Wal-Mart, but because Wal-Mart has such a vast treasure trove of wealth, it can keep it's prices artificially low and run the small businesses out of town.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 2 years ago

The negative impact of corporations upon small business can be publicly restrained at the municipal level with American Prosperity Initiatives http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/ while a national wealth of living wage employment could be achieved through the creation of a Cooperative Employment Service http://occupywallst.org/forum/political-organization-rather-than-political-party/ .

[-] 1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 2 years ago

There are always opportunities for small businesses and the market isn't saturated by big corporations.

Big business right now is investing in the stock market instead of investing in expanding because of the "uncertanty" with regard to our government.

It has been reported time and time again on all the news channels - so when they invest in the stock market whom are they investing in? Businesses and in return they get rewarded.

If I had $50,000 to do something with, you can be sure I would invest in the stock market - on the other hand I could piss it away buying usless things that lose their value in a short period of time.

I wouldn't invest it in starting a small business unless I knew I had a corner on the market - in other words being sure that I had a product or business that would at least get off to a good start.

It may not end that way but that's the chance one has to take when being adventerous.

[-] 1 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

Steve, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say exactly. Could you elaborate?

[-] -1 points by conservatroll (161) 2 years ago

You think LARGE CORPS are pressuring small biz, wait til Obamacare kicks in and kicks them!

[-] 1 points by brosefstalin (139) from Wantagh, NY 2 years ago

A single payer health care system would actually benefit small businesses (and large businesses) who would no longer be required to shell out so much money on employee health care. Of course, most businesses are cutting down on health care anyway. If it weren't for the recent health care bill that was passed, many more people would be without health care in a few years after big businesses continue their trend of cutting health benefits.

"Obamacare" won't really have much effect on small businesses.

[-] 1 points by conservatroll (161) 2 years ago

Have you read about the potential penalties for businesses with under 50 employees, or just speaking from your Obamagut?

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[-] -1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 2 years ago

It's interesting to note how our societies demands from the government has changed over the years.

Compare a person who lived back in the 40's, or 50's, who lost everything and received a handout from the government, to a person living today who lost everything and received a handout from the governement.

No wonder the government is 15 trillion in debt - it can't keep up with the demands of todays societies wants and needs.

And yet todays society still expects the government to provide jobs. No wonder this countries economy is in a free fall. Nobody wants to work to contribute to make the economy grow.

They want the government to provide them with a job or the means to a job using taxpayer money, which by the way doesn't expand or contribute to the economy in any way shape or form, and have been brainwashed into thinking it's the governments job to grow the economy.