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    National economic planning: Right or wrong for the US? — with Hubert Humphrey (1976) | ARCHIVES
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    National economic planning: Right or wrong for the US? — with Hubert Humphrey (1976) | ARCHIVES

    February 17, 2020

    Announcer: From the nation’s capital, the
    American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research presents Public Policy Forums, a
    series of programs featuring the nation’s top authorities presenting their differing
    views on the vital issues which confront us. Today’s topic, “National Economic Planning:
    Right or Wrong For the U.S.?” Peter: In an era of continuing economic problems,
    businessmen find that planning ahead is a must. So do governments, from small villages to
    the federal government, for example, all have budgets for the coming months. Increasingly, there are those who say that
    a detailed central economic plan must underlie the federal budget. Opponents say that rigid overall planning
    has been a failure in other countries, that it is undemocratic and highly subject to political
    maneuvering. Welcome to another round table discussion
    brought to you by AEI, the American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, research
    and education organization. Our topic is, “National Economic Planning:
    Right or Wrong For the United States?” Taking part in our discussion are four experts,
    Herbert Stein, who is a Willis Robertson professor of economics at the University of Virginia. Dr. Stein has been a member of the president’s
    council of economic advisors and served as its chairman. He is an adjunct scholar at AEI in the field
    of economics. Democratic Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. Senator Humphrey was first elected to the
    Senate in 1948. He served as vice president of the United
    States during the Johnson administration. Senator Humphrey is chairman of the Joint
    Economic Committee. Republican representative Clarence Brown of
    Ohio. Congressman Brown holds a degree from the
    Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He serves on three House committees, government
    operations, interstate and foreign commerce, and the Joint Economic Committee. Wassily Leontief, professor of economics at
    New York University. Professor Leontief won the Nobel Prize in
    economics in 1973. He taught for many years at Harvard and has
    written extensively on economic matters. John Charles Daly is our moderator. Mr. Daly was a news correspondent and analyst
    for CBS. Later, he became Vice President of ABC for
    news and public affairs. Now, here’s Mr. Daly. John: This public policy forum, one of a series
    presented by the American Enterprise Institute, may be one of the few beneficial results of
    the deep recession through which we have just suffered. Economics is not a subject that normally excites
    wide public interest in yet economic literacy is crucial to the long-run success of a free
    society. And lately, happily, we have all become furiously
    interested in inflation, stagflation, monetary supply, price stability, etc., etc., etc. While impelled by a privately sponsored initiative
    committee for national economic planning, co-chaired by our panel member, Professor
    Leontief, and by United Automobile Workers president Leonard Woodcock, Senator Humphrey,
    who is also one of our members on the panel, and Senator Javits introduced S1795, the Balanced
    Growth and Economic Planning Act of 1975, and invited a vigorous national debate on
    these measures. S1795 concentrates on a general system of
    economic planning, establishing a new agency, councils, and committees to compile data and
    produce an economic plan with broad participation of local and state governments, private interest
    groups, and the public. The question is “National Economic Planning:
    Right or Wrong For the United States?” Senator Humphrey, the United States economy
    is the most productive in the world and U.S. living standards, the highest in the world. If a major restructuring of our processes
    of economic management and planning is necessary, why? Senator Humphrey: For the very simple reason
    that we have suffered colossal waste in these past years and then over many years, the potential
    of the American economy has never been realized. It is estimated the last 2 years we have lost
    over $400 billion in production. Even if we had unemployment levels at 4%,
    we’ve lost some $27 billion in revenues for our local and state governments. We’ve had as many as 20 million people in
    any one year unemployed, as many as 75 million Americans who have been directly affected
    by unemployment in their families. This is a colossal waste, plus the fact your
    federal government…and let’s talk about for a minute. Your federal government expends about approximately
    25% of the total gross national product. Now, that government provides money, credit,
    regulates money, the supply of money, regulates industries, invests, builds facilities. It is involved in a tremendous amount of economic
    activity and yet there is no design. The EPA doesn’t pay much attention to what
    the Federal Energy Agency does. The Federal Power Commission doesn’t pay much
    attention to what the Federal Energy Agency does. The ICC doesn’t talk to the CAB. And I don’t think anybody talks to the Federal
    Reserve, that’s who controls the money supply of this country. So that you have a situation where nobody
    bothers about coordinating this vast array of public programs. The least that we ought to do is to have some
    idea of where the country is heading in terms of governmental expenditures. The federal government reduces taxes to encourage
    the private sector. State and local government raise taxes at
    the same time because they’re short of revenue back home to take care of their public services. I happen to believe we can do a better job. I don’t want a planned society. I just want a society in which there is planning
    where we look ahead beyond the fiscal year, where we take a look at what the food policy
    of this country ought to be, where we take a look at what the transportation policy ought
    to be. The relationship, may I say, between transportation,
    energy, food, all the things that go into making up commerce. Today we don’t have that. John: All right. Dr. Stein is former chairman of the Council
    of Economic Advisors. You know the present economic management and
    planning mechanism very intimately. Is major change necessary? Dr. Stein: Well, I don’t think that change
    is needed in the mechanism, in the processes by which we make decisions. I agree with Senator Humphrey that the American
    economy has not worked nearly as well as we would like it to have worked in the past 10
    years. But that isn’t because the federal government
    had too little power, had too little function, had too few responsibilities. In fact, I think most of our difficulty has
    been the result of inadequacy and the way in which the government manages the functions
    that it now has. And I think that what we need is to improve
    the way in which the government, both in the administration and in the Congress, operate
    more of what are by now the traditional functions of government to manage its fiscal policy,
    its budget, its monetary policy. And certainly nothing I saw when I was in
    the government gave me so much confidence in the ability of either the executive branch
    or the Congress to think that it ought to extend its powers, its responsibilities farther
    or into the operation of the American economy than it already has. And while the Senator says that he doesn’t
    want a planned economy, the fact the bill that he has signed and introduced is a prescription
    for a planned economy in the United States. And that is the big issue. I don’t think there’s any big issue about
    whether we want to do more intelligently and with more foresight the things that government
    has to do. The big issue is whether we want government
    to take over much more power and control in the American economy, and I think to the answer
    to that is clearly no. John: Professor Leontief, to come down to
    nuts and bolts and following up really on what Dr. Stein has said, has the United States
    government performed so well, for example, has it handled the energy crisis so well that
    it may be considered equal to the task of planning for a trillion-and-a-half-dollar
    economy? Dr. Leontief: Let me observe first with the
    fact that United States, and I think they’re all happy about it, is still the richest country
    in the world which provides the greatest income to its people. Does not mean we can rest on our laurels and
    innovation is necessary not only in building planes or television sets or even new ways
    of producing energy. Innovation is necessary in running the entire
    system. John: Congressman Brown, as ranking house
    minority member of the Joint Economic Committee, you have heard reams of testimony on how big
    business plans. Why shouldn’t big government? Congressman Brown: Well, big business does
    plan, but not always effectively. Witness the Lockheed Corporation and WT Grant
    and Chrysler and some other companies that have gotten into trouble, and the Ford motor
    company with its Edsel. The problem is not whether planning should
    be undertaken, it should, and we do in the Congress and in the executive branch. To some extent, the budget each year is a
    plan and the Congress is now getting more aggressively into that act. But the difference is, or the problem is whether
    or not the planning should be done in a centralized sense by government. Business, the largest businesses in the country
    control over only about 1% or less of the economy. Exxon, I think, is the largest company in
    sales currently. They have less than 1% of the total national
    sales and the total gross national product. General Motors, the largest employer, employs
    less than 1% of all those employed in the United States. And so these are individual units planning
    along with every American family about what their future would be. And it is a sort of a self-managed dynamic
    system. But when we put the planning at a centralized
    location like the federal government, Senator Humphrey has said it controls 25% of our gross
    national product, all governments, federal, state and local, control 35% of our gross
    national product. And the impact on that is almost sure to take
    American freedoms from those people who produce the wealth and perhaps, most importantly,
    from those people who consume the wealth and in our society today, the consumer is king. It seems to me that we ought to keep that
    dynamic balance that is produced here in this country, the wealthiest nation in the world. John: Senator Humphrey, you want to respond? Senator Humphrey: I surely do. I want to respond in this way. First of all, I think energy is a classic
    example of the failure to plan. We knew what the facts were, we had the reports,
    but there was no mechanism in the government for any planning at all. In fact, there was no institutionalization
    for it. I’m not saying that we needed some czars in
    the government to tell every drug store operator, every canning factory, and every steel plant
    what to do. But I do think this government needs to establish
    priorities, targets, and goals. We ought to have a timeframe in which we do
    things. And by the way, most states plan. I come from a state that has a state planning
    agency. We have land use planning, we have regional
    planning, we have multi-district planning. You cannot, in my state, in the five-county
    area known as the metropolitan area, build a highway without fitting into the metropolitan
    plan. You cannot put up a plant without fitting
    into the metro. And by the way, it’s a very prosperous area. Might I say, it’s more prosperous than Cleveland. It’s even more prosperous than Virginia. John: Okay. Congressman Brown. Congressman Brown: If municipal planning is
    such a virtue, how come these big cities are in such deep trouble. But more than that… Senator Humphrey: Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Congressman Brown: More than that… John: Let him have a minute. Then you’ll have another shot. You’ve got the floor now. Congressman Brown: Let me address if I can
    the difficulties that we face in the energy situation in our country today. As you know, I’m also the ranking member on
    the House Energy Subcommittee in Congress and we’ve had the energy crisis now before
    us for about four years. The fact of the matter is we’ve had a plan
    proposed to us in the Congress by the president now for about 15 months and the Congress has
    yet to take very effective action on that plan. Senator Humphrey: Which is just exactly what
    I’m talking about. Nobody…Wait a minute. Senator Humphrey: I want to get this fellow. John: All right. Well, Dr. Stein wants to put something in
    this too. Senator Humphrey: This proves my point. The president or nobody at the executive level
    is going to tell this country what to do. We don’t want any czars around here. The president made his proposal, the Congress
    discussed it, the people came in and presented their information and we redesigned it with
    the use of private individuals, state and local government, companies and all. Ah, Mr. Brown, what you want to do is have
    the president present the plan and we all goose step. No way, sir. No way. John: All right, Dr. Stein, you have the floor. Dr. Stein: But I think the reference to the
    energy problem and the energy program brings us back to realism. And that is the fact that a government plan,
    a plan prepared and the government is going to be reviewed, amended, adopted or rejected
    by those same 535 people who sat there with the energy problem for 2 years and muddled
    around with it. So do not think that this is going…the plan,
    if we get it, is going be spring full-blown from the brow of Athena. It’s gonna come out of the same messy governmental
    process that we’re also familiar with. And the senator says that we had no institution
    for dealing with the energy problem. The difficulty is that the senator doesn’t
    recognize an institution unless it’s in a building on constitution Avenue with a label
    over that we have an institution which is known as the free market. Our big problem in energy as that you and
    we, when I was there, we’re sitting on the free market and not allowing it to deal with
    the energy problem as it would have done much more efficiently than has been the outcome
    of any of the programs that have so far been developed. Senator Humphrey: Well, what was the free
    market? Wait a minute. What’s the free market with the Shah of Iran
    and the King of Saudi Arabia and energy? Come on, Doctor, knock it off. Those prices were fixed. It was a cartel, an international cartel. There is no free market when a handful of
    nations can get together and tell you you’re going to pay $13 a barrel for oil. What’s free about that? It’s not.. Congressman Brown: But the federal government
    is telling us what we pay for domestic oil in this country and the result is our dependence
    upon that foreign… Senator Humphrey: Simply because… Congressman Brown: …oil producer is greater
    than it was before. Senator Humphrey: Simply because you were
    facing an international cartel. Dr. Stein: But you couldn’t control that. Dr. Leontief: Let me break in here. You know, our government’s traditional procedure
    is whenever you have a problem, you appoint a commission and if you have 20 problems,
    you have 20 commissions and you have more mess. The problem is not what commissions they appoint,
    but what technique you use to analyze the situation and planning is not the problem
    of commissions. It’s a problem to using information and techniques
    which are available to make a list of alternatives but really not contradicted alternatives,
    but complete alternatives which take in account all different aspects of a situation. In a democracy, if it had completely automatic
    free market, would be no choice at all because you will just see how this big machine works
    it out, we obviously don’t accept it. We want to have a choice, but to have a meaningful
    choice, we need presentation items between we can choose, we don’t have. Congressman Brown: Information is good to
    have and there’s nothing per se wrong with planning. But if government was so good with its ability
    to plan, how did we get in so much trouble with the railroads in the Northeast? They’ve been regulated for almost a hundred
    years by government and it’s been one mess over the last several years. Dr. Leontief: If four people want to move
    a piano and everybody is pushing it, which is what our government does, somebody must
    select fella one, two, three let’s move. And this can be done without any additional
    powers to the government. At the present time, one side of a government
    works against other side of a government so piano doesn’t move. Everybody is stuck. Dr. Stein: But the problem of 215 million
    people living together in a society is how one integrates and reconciles all their different
    objectives and there are different purposes and that cannot be done in the way that you
    put a man on the moon. If the federal government was to decide that
    everybody should have bran flakes for breakfast, they would be one thing and they could do
    that. But we don’t want that. We want these 215 million people to exercise
    their choice about the way they live their lives and the way they spend their incomes. And that choice is not a choice between three
    or four alternatives that professor Leontief might give them out of his input-output table. It is a choice among the millions of varieties
    of products and places and ways of working and living that there are here. And the wonderful thing about the market is
    that it permits all these separate individual choices to be expressed. It permits all this infinite body of information
    that is out there in the hands of the people to be reflected in the action of the economy
    and in the action of the society without having to be funneled through some government agency,
    which obviously could not master all this information if it could ever collect it. Senator Humphrey: Dr. Stein, I must say to
    you that you know full well that no one has presented a plan or a piece of legislation
    that’s going to tell people what they ought to have for breakfast. What we are trying to present is a program
    that will indicate some hope that we’ll have something for breakfast. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re trying to talk about…we’re trying,
    for example…let me give you an example, Dr. Stein. Let me give you a good example. On the instance of agricultural production,
    you think we ought to have any idea of where we’re going to go in agricultural production? Do you think we ought to just depend upon
    the elements? Do you think it was smart of us to go and
    sell all that we had to the Russians and increase the grocery bill by $57 billion without any
    regard to the economic consequences? And that’s exactly what happened. I don’t say that the government of the United
    States should run things. I simply say that the government of the United
    States should aid the free market in trying to have some better perspective on what the
    result of certain actions will be. Let me be even more precise. I believe in helping the free market, Doctor,
    and I think the people in the free market ought to have some idea of what the credit
    policy of this government is going to be. I think they ought to have some idea of what
    the money policy’s going to be, the tax policy’s going to be. And instead of that, what they’ve had is confusion
    confounded and might I say that you were around when it happened. Now, what I do think we need, first of all,
    is an actual base of data that is reliable. That’s number one. Number two, we can look down and see what
    some of the problems in the future might be. We could take a good look, for example, of
    what the resource problems of America might be, what the capital needs of America might
    be. How do you plan the capital needs of this
    country, the fulfillment of those capital needs? What do you think will be the demand upon
    natural resources of this country? How can we best plan for their conservation
    and their use? Now, government can help in this. No one is going to tell you that government
    does it, but government can help just like it does today in the health field. Congressman Brown: Let me pick up a little
    bit, if I may, on the help that government gave us 10 years ago in agriculture when one
    of your colleagues, Secretary Freeman, was running agriculture. At that time, we were spending more of our
    gross net, more of our income for our breakfast in this country than we’re spending today,
    even though food prices have gone up. Another very important thing… Senator Humphrey: That’s wrong, Clarence. But that’s all right, go ahead. Congressman Brown: Another very important
    thing is that we had exports at that time of only $6 billion in agriculture. Now, it’s $22 billion. It’s the strongest part of our economy. And the difference is that we freed up… Senator Humphrey: That there were 85 million
    tons of grains and surplus overseas, and now there are 27, that’s the difference. Congressman Brown: The difference is that
    we have freed up American agriculture and it’s the most productive part of our society
    and the most productive thing we do for the rest of the world, and it is a contribution
    to the world and to ourselves. Senator Humphrey: Mr. Brown…wait a minute,
    it’s nice to applaud but let me tell you something. Ten years ago, there were 85 million tons
    surplus grains in the world. Today there are 27 million. The biggest reason that we freed up… Congressman Brown: But the controlled economy… Senator Humphrey: The biggest reason we freed
    up American agriculture is that the Russians have been the biggest buyers and the Chinese… Congressman Brown: But they both have planned
    agriculture. Senator Humphrey: Wait a minute, but I’ll
    tell you something else. God Almighty put the land of the Soviet Union,
    90% of it north of the latitude of Minneapolis, which means that you’ve got a short growing
    season and you know it and I know it and this is not the way to educate a public. What you need to tell the people is that the
    Soviets cannot possibly be self-sufficient in agriculture. What you need to tell the people is that when
    you open up land as we did for the farmers and told the farmers to plant that maybe somebody
    ought to take a look, is there any fertilizer? Maybe somebody ought to have said is there
    any credit for them because they need credit. Maybe somebody should’ve said, are there any
    boxcars? Because the farmers took a whipping while
    they were waiting for boxcars, Congressman, and I think that some kind of governmental
    organization and coordination might’ve seen to it that there was a way to ship it, number
    one. Congressman Brown: The ICC has had a boxcar
    problem for 40 years. Senator Humphrey: That there might have been
    some credit… May I? Look at…that’s the reason, because there’s
    been no planning. Regulation is not planning. Regulation is interference. Dr. Leontief: I think planning involves a
    lot of information, technical work of coordinating the see how much pollution you have, how much
    energy you have, how much bread you have, how much housing, how much social expenditure
    and private consumption. You cannot decide on each thing separately
    because they are very closely interrelated. It is a technical work of presenting this
    thing and that, in a democracy, you have a choice. You have a political process of choosing between
    one or another. It is not just government interference. Now, I completely agree. In Russia, is not as prosperous as we are,
    but let me say one thing. Anybody who saw a Russian plan, it’s a complete
    mess. Senator Humphrey: The Soviet Union is a planned
    economy, a collectivist economy, state capitalism, not private capitalism. It has no relationship at all to what we’re
    talking about. Let’s take a look at Sweden, for example,
    they do fairly well. Let’s take a look at the Federal Republic
    of Germany, they have some planning, they do fairly well. Congressman Brown: The British? Senator Humphrey: Let’s take the British…That’s
    right. The British haven’t done very well and they’ve
    had lousy planning, I think. Congressman Brown: I don’t think it’s just
    the plan. I think it has to do with the control of the
    society and the depth that the planning goes. The Swedes still maintain a strong free enterprise
    system. The other thing about the Swedes is that the
    Swedes have stayed out of war as the Swiss have for a number of years and maybe that’s
    a key to their success. But the Federal Republic of Germany is the
    most free-enterprise-oriented society in Europe and it is the most successful in Europe, and
    the Italians are among the most controlled and they’re the least successful in Europe. There is a message there. Senator Humphrey: It depends on how you work. But let me just say this, one other little
    matter here. We take a look at our economic policy machinery,
    which my good friend Dr. Stein has had something to say about. We’ve got a budget policy on the one hand,
    which may be totally unrelated to tax policy on the other. We have a money policy of the Federal Reserve
    Board, which may very well be working in contradiction to the tax policy and the budget policy. And by having these gears grinding in their
    own little separate way as if they were separate principalities, this economy of ours suffers. Now, there is… Senator Humphrey: May I point out that it
    is possible to give responsibility as I’ve suggested in one bill to the Council of Economic
    Advisors properly staffed to coordinate and set some targets through the president to
    the Congress for production, a target for production, real growth, a target in terms
    of employment, and see whether or not we can’t designed fiscal policy, tax policy, budget
    policy and monetary policy to accomplish those targets. At least have some way to measure our particular
    kind of performance. Might I further suggest that when we prepare
    a budget, and it was mentioned here today, that it might not be a bad idea that we had
    a policy about planning and coordination that would permit governors and mayors and chambers
    of commerce and labor unions and farmers’ organizations to have something to say about
    what goes in that budget. Here’s one instrumentality of government that
    is designed in-house, in government with none of the citizen input. Now, the Humphrey Bill that you’re talking
    about, Mr. Javits and Mr. Humphrey, requires that there be input from the local level,
    requires that there be the private sector input, requires also that when the product
    finally comes out, it is not compulsory, it establishes goals, it sets priorities. It is what we call indicative planning. It gives a goal for us to achieve and I submit
    to you that that’s not a bad idea, Congressman Brown: But we have all that input
    through the United States Congress and it’s elected every two years that the people can
    talk to and tell them what they want. And the result is that the Congress is a… Senator Humphrey: Congressman, everybody’s
    business is nobody’s business. That isn’t the way you can run it. You can say, look, we can take care of the
    medical problems by the Congress, but occasionally I need a clinic. And let’s just face up to it, you’ve got to
    institutionalize and structure some of this. And I think we have ways that we can do it. We can do better. We don’t want a plan, a plan forced down the
    people’s throat. But I think the American people have a right
    to know that when we demand pollution standards that somebody thought about how we can pay
    for them. I think that when we demand, for example,
    that there be a regulation over transportation in the railroads, we might also want to coordinate
    regulation in the airlines. I do believe that it could do a better job. And that’s what we’re talking about here. A better planned use of the resources of the
    American people that come to the government of the United States and state and local governments. Congressman Brown: Senator, we have these
    airlines… John: Dr. Stein has been trying to get through. Dr. Stein: Well, I think I may inadvertently
    be on the verge of coming into agreement with Senator Humphrey. Senator Humphrey: Don’t let it come too quick. Dr. Stein: Because I agree that there are
    these important functions of the federal government, spending, taxing, and monetary policy, which
    need to be coordinated and which need to be better managed. I think that the senator has greatly overdrawn
    his picture of the lack of coordination among these things. Of course, the president does submit a budget,
    which contains both expenditures and taxes and the relation between them, has been calculated
    in a rather sophisticated way, and in relation to an estimate of the rate of growth of the
    money supply. You know, if you read the economic report
    that it was predicated on a certain budget, a certain rate of growth, the money supply. Our problem has been that when this thing
    went into the Congress, it fell apart. But now there’s a great improvement, I think,
    in congressional procedures. I think that’s all very hopeful and I think
    that we ought to be working in the direction of trying to improve the management of these
    functions which are essential in the area where we have performed worst, but that we
    should not try to push the government into those areas of the American economy where
    it has performed best. Senator Humphrey: That’s exactly right, Doctor. No one wants to do that at all. Dr. Stein: But I’m afraid whether you want
    it or not, I’m afraid that’s what your bill does. Senator Humphrey: That is not at all the case. Not at all, that isn’t what it does at all,
    and there’s nothing that you can point to in that bill that does it at all. It sets up a mechanism for policy decision-making. Congressman Brown: Senator, let me give you
    an example of excellent planning. You have the Interstate Commerce Commission,
    which is in charge of the railroads, the highway transportation regulated truck lines, and
    the barge lines. These are three different kinds of transportation,
    all presumably coordinated, planned, regulated, so their routes, their rates, and their returns
    in the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the thing has been a bomb. We’re about to wind up without any railroads
    in this country or at least without any railroads in the Northeast. If it weren’t for
    the Congress pumping better than $1 million a day into the railroads, we would be in deep
    trouble in the Northeast railroads. Now we’ve tried to resolve that problem by
    having the federal government take over the railroad with Amtrak, with Conrail. And I must say, I don’t know that it’s very
    promising. Dr. Stein: The critical point is to decide
    where are the important and productive areas in which to intervene and where are not? And I think that what has been established
    over a long time is that the process of adapting output to people’s wants, of getting things
    produced efficiently, and of promoting growth does better under market conditions than under
    plan conditions. Whereas the maintenance of the general conditions
    necessary for stability cannot be left to the market, must be handled by the government,
    and we need to devote all our effort and attention to doing that better. And that’s the point in which I agree with
    Senator Humphrey. But I’m afraid that all the long list of goals
    that the senator is always stating in his legislation and bringing in these masses of
    people who are going to consult with everybody else is just a diversion from the central
    problem of how we stabilize the economy by making our monetary and fiscal policy work
    better. And you don’t have to decide what…Our problem
    is not a lack of balanced growth. It is not the fact that west of the Mississippi
    they grow faster than east of the Mississippi or whatever balanced growth means. It is a failure to maintain the overall conditions
    of aggregate demand in a way that would be stabilizing and I think we know some of the
    reasons for that failure and some of the reasons we don’t, but they don’t have to do with the
    need to plan in the detailed operations of the system. John: I don’t believe that anybody is proposing
    that we plan detailed operations of the system. I do think it is important that you plan a
    transportation system, that you have an interrelationship between water transportation, rail transportation,
    highway transportation. I’m sure that this has something to do with
    economic growth and development. If there’s not an airport in a town, you’re
    very likely not to have an industry. If you’re not on a trunk highway, you’re obviously
    are crippled in terms of economic growth. There is a relationship to even the production
    of food and fiber and farm to market roads. There are relationships. All that Dr. Leontief and Hubert Humphrey
    are saying is that we ought to have a better way of assessing our needs, on the one hand,
    of developing an information or database, on the other hand, that we ought to be able
    to layout some choices for the American people of what they wish to do in a timeframe. Dr. Stein: Well, look, the whole system is
    made up of interrelations, an infinite number of interrelations. And I haven’t heard this evening any one of
    them that you don’t want to look at and make better except whether what we eat for breakfast,
    that privilege you conceded to us to decide. But aside from that, every other relationship
    in the economic system is to be under the purview of this planning agency, and the Joint
    Economic Committee presumably, and the rest of the Congress. And I think that is a critical question. How far does this thing go? And you listed all these goals in S1795 about
    balance, economic growth, the efficient use of public and private resources. Now, that it seems to me, as a goal for a
    planning policy, is absolutely unlimited. I get out of the discussion of the planning
    people, no conception of the point at which they would draw the line between what the
    government ought to do and the government ought not to do. And it seems to me completely open-ended legislation
    to be turned over to a group of people whose natural ambitions will be to do more and more
    since that’s natural… Senator Humphrey: Doctor, there is no directive,
    there is no compulsion. There is nothing mandatory in any piece of
    legislation that you have read, and you know it. It is all in terms of analysis of database
    of what we call indicative planning of setting goals and agreed upon priorities in the hope
    that the private economy itself might see this of some value in its planning, in its
    planning. What good does it do, for example, to put
    billions of dollars into housing projects when you have no one in the locality, for
    example, that everybody figured out whether or not there was going to be water and sewer,
    schools, shopping center, the public services that are necessary? And we have literally had this happen. Dr. Stein: Private developers don’t do that. Senator Humphrey: Private developers do do
    this and this is why we’ve had very serious problems in our municipalities, in our states,
    and what has happened? State government, may I say, does not live
    under the fear of shadow that you’re spreading, Dr. Stein. What you’re worried about is that somehow
    or another there might be some planning between tax policy, budget policy, and monetary policy. Dr. Stein: That’s not true. That’s what I’m for. Senator Humphrey: But you haven’t got a mechanism
    to get it and I suggest that we start putting it together. Congressman Brown: If you let me break in,
    I agree with you on the propriety of local planning up to a degree and just for the reason
    that you suggest because people can get at that local government because they can participate
    actively in it. The further you get away from them though
    and the more you centralize it, and that’s my point, my concern about the centralization
    of it in Washington, the more I’m concerned. Now, you suggested that there was no force
    in this plan, but let me just say that the legislation which you’ve drawn provides for,
    and I quote, “Legislative and administrative actions necessary or desirable to achieve
    the objectives of the plan.” Now, the leverage is clearly there then for
    legislative and administrative actions to try to put this plan into effect and that’s
    what I am concerned about. Dr. Leontief: I think I can reply to it, I
    mean, theologically. I think what individual regions, city government,
    state government cannot plan without knowing what the central government does. I receive hundreds of letters. Texas has one of the best planning organizations. Other states, Wisconsin. Senator Humphrey: Minnesota, please. Dr. Leontief: Minnesota. We cannot do anything because we do not know
    what will happen in other regions. You cannot plan if you have a plan, five workshops. Plan each workshop separately, you need a
    coordination throughout the whole system. It doesn’t mean dictation, but at least coordination. So that you know what the possibilities are. Congressman Brown: Can you explain the subtly
    to me between coordination and dictation? Dr. Leontief: Yes. Difference is this in dictation, somebody
    decide and prescribes the plan. In coordination, it means propose alternatives. And then, of course, we through discussion
    decide where you want to move a piano to the dining room or to a living room that everybody
    indeed has together move a piano. Congressman Brown: I suppose I don’t agree. Dr. Leontief: I would say a nation in which
    you cannot decide where to move the piano is in a very bad state. I would… John: We have very little time… Congressman Brown: You may get two pianos
    as the result. John: We have very little time of this segment. So may I ask you a question? Doctor, can I ask you a question? Dr. Stein: I apologize. John: I apologize too. But I shouldn’t ask a question, but now I’m
    a layman, I don’t know all of these things, but is France not now operating under an indicative
    planning system, national planning system? And if she is, how is it working? Dr. Stein: Well, France has had an indicative
    planning system, which I believe has had decreasing influence on government policy and on private
    behavior. We had a certain infatuation with French planning
    just because with French about 15 years ago and it seemed glamorous. But I think that the current state of affairs
    is that it is just frosting on the cake and has very little to do with the behavior of
    the French economy. John: Do you agree with that, Dr. Leontief? Dr. Leontief: No, not necessarily. John: You disagree? Let’s see… Dr. Leontief: I want to say when the oil crisis
    came and Mr. Kissinger got hysterical and called all foreign ministers to Washington
    and want international planning without having planning in home. Mr. Zubair, French minister said, “Look here,
    I have my economy pretty good control.” And he had, so he said, “Let’s not have international
    panic because I, with my team, pretty well disciplined can go ahead very well.” And it was a great embarrassment to us. It still is. We’ll always have now argue for international
    planning without really being able to say what will happen at all. Peter: The pros and cons of national economic
    planning are many, will it, as its backers claim, actually help raise living standards
    and help reduce unemployment or, as its critics contend, is it merely a wasted exercise? The many branches of government never able
    to agree on a unified national economic plan. Now, to challenge our speakers, let’s call
    on the experts in our audience to pose questions to the members of the panel. John: Sir, would you ask the first question? Carl: Carl Knoller [SP], I’m the general counsel
    for the committee to investigate a balanced federal budget of the democratic research
    organization. The senator has been consistent over many
    years in advocating governmental intervention in the economy and he has admitted tonight
    that this has not worked out particularly well. And now, of course, rather than advocating
    a reduction in government intervention, he advocates national planning. The question I’d like to ask is simply this,
    what is necessary, Senator, in order to convince you that the government ought to get out of
    the economy? What’s needed? Is there anything that would convince you… Senator Humphrey: Change those who are running
    it. That’ll help a lot. When a corporation starts to lose money, get
    new management, when it’s lost its contact with its customers and lost its market, get
    new management. The governmental institutions here can be
    made to work, but they need somebody that gives them some sense of direction and also
    some sense of coordination. John: Very good question now because everybody
    wants to answer it. Congressman Brown. Congressman Brown: The senator and I agree
    for once, but we differ slightly on the specifics. The fact of the matter is the president and
    his cabinet only execute policies which had been established by the Congress. Now, we’ve changed the presidents over the
    years and from one party to the next, but we haven’t changed the Congress of the United
    States in the last 40-some years. It has been a democratic Congress for all
    but about 4 years of those 46 years and the policies have been consistently for more intervention
    by the government in our society. This is what’s created the regulation that
    the senator and I both find some fault with. This is what’s created the dominance of the
    government over our private industry that the senator would like to plan a little bit
    more and that I think has had some stultifying effects in our economic development. We’ve gone up in the last few years from 25%
    control of the gross national product to 35% control of the gross national product and
    in our bicentennial year, I think that’s the wrong direction for a society that started
    out on the East Coast of the United States, what now is the United States, throwing the
    tea into the harbor because they didn’t want to be taxed and they didn’t want to be controlled. It seems to me that we have created this great
    nation of ours with that spirit rather than the spirit that we’ve had for the last few
    years. John: Dr. Stein. Dr. Stein: I think the senator is laboring
    under a misapprehension about the way the executive branch works. I don’t know how it was when he…he did spend
    four years in the executive branch, I realize in a rather removed capacity, but nevertheless. Senator Humphrey: Not quite as much as being
    chairman of the council. I
    was a member of the cabinet, I might add. Dr. Stein: Yeah. Well, I will agree that we don’t have cabinet
    government in the United States and that no useful coordinated function is served by the
    cabinet. But we do have effective machinery for coordinating
    economic policy. We have very close continuous working relations
    among the Council of Economic Advisors, the Office of Management and Budget, the Treasury,
    the Federal Reserve, and all of these decisions. What I have observed and all this discussion
    that coordination means that I get my way. We have had coordination. We at the council did not always get our way,
    OMB did not always get its way, and there have been mistakes made, but they were mistakes
    which we mostly all shared. And I think that at the administration level,
    we have not suffered from lack of communication, interaction, exchange of information. And finally, a decision made on the basis
    of the options presented to the president, which reflected the wide range of analysis
    and argument. John: Next question. Senator Humphrey: Mr Daly,
    May I say that what we’ve tried to propose in our suggested bill and again, I repeat,
    it’s a focal point of attention. It is obviously to be adjusted and designed
    as anybody knows in the legislative process. What we’ve tried to do here, number one, is
    to make the cabinet much more sensitive to the interrelationships. Cabinet ought to be a coordinating mechanism. But in our bill, we also bring in closer coordination
    of the CEA and the OMB in with the cabinet function and the cabinet and the president
    then do present their proposals for the Congress. But then what happens? They go on out to the respective governors
    and each of the governors in the 50 states holds hearings, has open discussion, calls
    in business, labor, community people, gets the input of people, brings that on back into
    the planning process, which plan, in meantime, is readjusted in terms of the input of the
    people, of the people. What happens in the government? I don’t care what administration it is. The budget is the main planning instrument
    that we have. It presents basically what is going to be
    done by government. That is a total in-house operation. I repeat, not a single governor, not a mayor,
    not a legislator, not a businessman, not a schoolteacher, not a college president, not
    a single person on the outside has any input in that budget. That is an in-house document and they say
    that it’s prepared by people who have a passion for anonymity. Well, anybody that’s anonymous and passionate
    at the same time, I’m suspicious of. I think you need an input which gives you
    a picture of what your country needs. Congressman Brown: But Senator, they don’t
    spend a nickel of that budget until Congress approves it or disapproves it, and that’s
    the difficulty. John: I think that question has been answered. We want to get as many questions in as we
    can in the time. Let’s have a question from this side. Do we have one? Sir. George: I’m George Hagadorn, National Association
    of Manufacturers. I’d like to ask Senator Humphrey this question. Granted that better planning of the government’s
    own economic activities is needed, desperately needed. Is the type of bureaucracy that would be created
    by your bill, Senator, the best way of achieving that? You have a planning board, you have a planning
    commission, you have an information bureau, you have participation by the 50 governors,
    you have public hearings, you have review by all the committees of Congress. Then the Joint Economic Committee goes over
    it. Then it goes on the floor of Congress. It looks like what would come out of that
    would be a monstrosity, Senator. Senator Humphrey: Well, let me say very candidly,
    it may not be the best mechanism, but you made my case for me, you do feel that we ought
    to do a better job of the planning of the resources of the federal government. Maybe our mechanism…I didn’t say, you know,
    this was handed down from on high. This is not a rediscovered dead sea scroll. This is just a proposed piece of legislation. Its fundamental purpose was to generate the
    kind of discussion that we’re having here to do some constructive thinking. It may very well be top-heavy what we proposed
    here. It may be too cumbersome. What we were trying to get at though, and
    we’ve got to find some way of bringing in to any kind of planning, I don’t care what
    kind it is, citizen participation. John: Dr. Leontief. Dr. Leontief: I’d like to observe two things. First, increase in steel production. We have many steel companies. Officially, we’re not permitted to confer
    whichever, which of course do. We have to build new steel capacity. Each of them decides how much to build without
    officially taking an account what our will do, the result of this was, hit and miss. Of course, if overbuilt, it’s their funeral,
    we’ll go bankrupt and feel competition. It’s a very expensive way of getting equilibrium
    through bankruptcies. Second, bureaucrat, let me see, we always
    criticize bureaucrat. Now, government bureaucrats, I don’t mean
    political appointees, undersecretaries who come for five months and go away. I mean people who work in the department are
    some of the most conscientious, best-trained expert people who we have any country at least
    as good as the people in the business and we let the bureaucrats settle oil crisis. It would be much faster settled when the oil
    industry officials who were called in for five months to work. John: Dr. Stein, do you want to…? Dr. Stein: Yes. Well, I think that professor Leontief’s example
    of the steel industry indicates what is a key issue here and what seems to me is a central
    difference between him and Senator Humphrey because Senator Humphrey keeps maintaining
    that all he wants to do is to improve the way in which the government performs the functions
    that it necessarily, or in any case, does perform. Whereas Professor Leontief is pointing to
    a function which the government does not now perform. The government doesn’t decide how much should
    be invested in the steel industry or what the output of the steel industry should be. And I think that is the critical issue to
    which Senator Humphrey does not really address himself… Congressman Brown: If I may, Professor Leontief,
    let me just say sitting on the committee where we originated the Clean Air Act, the Congress
    turned over to the bureaucrats an objective with reference to clean air. And before we knew what had happened to us,
    the bureaucrats, in setting that objective, literally outlawed the use of coal in this
    country. We had no way to clean up the stacks, but
    we did say that you couldn’t use the coal and we created something of an energy problem. We’ve had the regulation of natural gas for
    the Federal Power Commission for years and years and years. We’ve had declining production of natural
    gas and the price now is going up sharply as we run out of natural gas currently. If we had that price freed up so that the
    market would do something about the shortage of natural gas, I think we would have more
    natural gas. And we have some basic differences here about
    whether regulation by government, whether it’s as a result of congressional set policy
    by bureaucrats or the development of that congressional set policy can make the determination
    for a free society. Bart: I’d like to raise a question. John: Can you identify yourself? Bart: I’m Bart Rowan of “The Washington Post.” I want to raise a question about French economic
    planning, which was mentioned in the first part of the program. I wonder if Senator Humphrey would agree that
    perhaps it was a mistake to get the phrase indicative planning mixed up into this particular
    proposal because that’s the way French economic planning is known. For example, it’s my understanding of French
    economic planning that industry has such a role that it gets into the kind of activity
    that in this country would be considered a violation of the antitrust laws. Senator Humphrey: Absolutely. Bart: So I would like to raise the question
    in terms of distinction, in your a bill, Senator, how do business and labor participate and
    what would be the differences in the way they would participate under your bill and the
    way they participate under the French plan? Senator Humphrey: In our proposal as it is
    now, the plan that would go on out to the governors for the purposes of the public hearings
    and public testimony and input would be the proposals that had been presented by the cabinet
    and the console. That is the three-man console that came down
    from the president, the commissioner of the console, and the cabinet. That would go on out to the governors and
    it would be at that stage that the private sector would be involved. It would not be in the sense of collusion
    between, as Dr. Leontief was saying here a moment ago, where the steel companies could
    get together and decide amongst themselves how much steel they were going to produce
    and under what prices. That violates our antitrust laws. But we would have a chance for people who
    are in the marketplace, people who are out doing the business, producing the goods to
    make commentary and suggested proposals and adjustments to whatever proposal came out
    of the planning console. John: Dr. Stein. Dr. Stein: Well, I’d like to say something
    about the notion of indicative planning, that’s HR50, which is associated with the French
    planning and it’s related to the senator’s idea that there’ll be nothing here but us
    experts and this guidance. And we will make some decision or we will
    make some finding about what should be invested in the steel industry and what should be invested
    in this and that in the industry. But the government will not determine or enforce
    the outcome. Well, in the French case when the plan was
    at its heyday, although it was called indicative, the government you had many instruments to
    use and the cases that are considered important such as tax incentives, subsidies, allocation
    of credit, and just general arm twisting with which we are not unfamiliar to bring about
    its results, the results that it was indicating. And I think it’s quite incredible that having
    gone through this whole elaborate procedure that Senator Humphrey has described, the government
    then comes out with its finding about what should be the activity and investment of the
    U.S economy, sector by sector. And then it just lays there and the private
    sector either conforms or does not conform. It seem to be told, anybody who knows the
    way government operates and its inherent tendencies knows that there will be efforts to achieve
    these objectives by incentives, by subsidies, by arm twisting, by all these things. And in fact, the senator’s bill says that
    the president shall use his influence and these administrative procedures and may suggest
    legislation to try to achieve the objectives of the plan. So the plan is not just going to be plastered
    up on the wall for people to look at. It is going to be a directive to the government
    to achieve it. The line of argument that Professor Leontief
    and Senator Humphrey are using now seems to be that since the government does a number
    of things, it might as well do everything. Since we have a cold, we might as well have
    pneumonia. And I don’t really find that very convincing. Senator Humphrey: I don’t either, by the way. Dr. Stein: Well, it’s your option is to stop
    using it. This point that these incentives and subsidies
    and so on do not compel anybody to follow them or nobody’s required to take the tax
    and send over the subsidy. It’s like the math [SP] method of operation,
    you know, the government makes you an offer you just cannot afford to refuse, and so you
    behave in the way that the government prefers. I think the basic point that we don’t seem
    able to get across is that the senators keep saying we need an institution which will collect
    the information and analyze information and make decisions on the basis of the information. Well, we have an institution, that is the
    market economy, that’s what it does. And we have seen no evidence of superior performance
    in those areas that are the function of the market economy anywhere where there has been
    any plan. The advocates of planning claim to be great
    pragmatists and believers in the force of information. But you have a body of historical information
    all over the world about the operational planning which shows failure after failure, the British
    being a notable case, and the only response we get to that is, “Well, we’ll do it better.” I don’t find that very convincing. Yes. John: Next question. Senator Humphrey: Let me just say to Dr. Stein…I
    know we’re getting questions but we’re also going to answer some of these things. I want to say to Dr. Stein, we’re not trying
    to prescribe pneumonia for America, but I don’t think that we’re a healthier country
    because you want to just linger along in a cold. If there seems to be any way to relieve oneself
    of it, I think we ought to try to do so. Now, the market economy doesn’t take care
    of anything, Doctor. You worship at that shrine, but let me tell
    you something, it doesn’t take care of the needs of low-income people. It doesn’t take care of the needs of people
    that can’t afford to buy a home under the market economy at 9% interest and tight credit. It doesn’t take care of the needs of people
    today, may I say, that they can’t afford medical care when the average cost of the hospital
    in this city of Washington D.C. is $200 a day. The market economy doesn’t do everything,
    Doctor, we live in a country in which there are people…and I don’t believe that you
    can have a market economy that’s supposed to give you services at the expense of leaving
    millions of people left out and left behind. The purpose of government is to try to supplement
    the market economy, not to supplant it, to supplement it, to fill in, to give it energy,
    to energize it, to help it, and believe me, the government has done it in many instances. Congressman Brown: My problem with Senator
    Humphrey’s bill is not the part that says let’s do better what we’re already doing. The part that I have a problem with is the
    part that says we’re doing a poor job now, so let’s do more. I just think we ought to try to either do
    better what we’re doing or perhaps even in some areas try to do a little less. John: Well, this concludes…our time has
    run out. Oh, you don’t have to applaud me now. You can wait a bit. This concludes another public policy forum
    presented by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. On behalf of AEI, our heartfelt thanks to
    the distinguished panelists and also to the experts and the press in the audience who
    were kind enough to participate. Goodnight. Peter: This round table discussion on national
    economic planning has brought you the opinions of four experts in the field. It was presented by AEI, the American Enterprise
    Institute. It is the aim of AEI to clarify issues of
    the day by presenting many viewpoints in the hope that by so doing, those who wish to learn
    about the decision-making process will benefit from such a free exchange of informed and
    enlightened opinion. I’m Peter Haquez in Washington. Announcer: This public policy forum series
    is created and supplied to this station as a public service by the American Enterprise
    Institute, Washington D.C. For a transcript of this program, send $3.75
    to the American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20036.

    Japanese Train Pushers and Other Crazy Strange Jobs
    Articles, Blog

    Japanese Train Pushers and Other Crazy Strange Jobs

    January 16, 2020

    This episode is brought to you by Dashlane. Try Dashlane Premium free for 30 days at
    and never forget another password and keep all your online accounts secure! Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan, is the busiest
    train station in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. It’s a confusing maze of hallways and exits
    leading to more lines than we could possibly mention, and on any given day 3.5 million
    passengers will pass through this place. As you can imagine, during rush hour getting
    onto a train might not be easy, and that’s where the pushers come in. These guys are called “oshiya”, and if
    you were at that station and it wasn’t looking like you’d get fully into the train you
    might feel one of these guys on your back. This gives a whole new meaning the expression
    rat race, because in some respects folks are herded onto those trains as if they were animals. But it’s a job that needs doing because
    it’s well known that many Tokyo trains run at over capacity. If you didn’t get pushed in, the doors wouldn’t
    close and the train wouldn’t move, and nobody wants to be late for work, do they? Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure,
    Transport, and Tourism said in 2018 that some of the busiest lines were well over the limit
    of 180 percent full. That office said it just wouldn’t do, stating
    that “bodies come into contact with each other and one feels considerable pressure.” People don’t really want to be that close
    on a train, especially considering that japan has a problem with something called “Chakan”,
    which means people taking advantage of their surroundings but in this case groping on trains. It happens quite a lot, in spite of Japan’s
    media criticizing these rush hour fondlers. In fact, 50 percent of the hundreds and hundreds
    of cases of fondling happen on trains. We are talking about pushers now we know,
    but the fondling problem is also partly down to congestion. They’ve been around for a long time these
    pushers, with the New York Times doing a piece on them back in 1964. Then there were 90 pushers working at Shinjuku
    Station, some of whom told the Times it was a demanding job. People so desperate to get to work often held
    trains up, while others were so busy trying to get to work after they lost shoes in the
    melee. It’s a crazy job if you watch the videos
    because that pushing is sometimes intense, so much so it looks a bit like a game of rugby
    being played by men in black coats. We should just hope that none of those guys
    are fondlers who’ve found a way to legally get what they want. He was such a good man
    A stranger job by a mile is what we call professional mourners. Sometimes this person is also called a Moirologist. They are professional criers who know how
    to make the grief look real, so they have some acting skills. Why would anyone do this? We mean hire someone to cry. Well, it goes back centuries and the tradition
    could be found in Europe, but right now you might find these folks in countries such as
    China or Thailand. These countries are what you might call “face
    cultures”, meaning saving face is a big thing. And what if someone dies and not many people
    turn up to the funeral in tears, that’s a big loss of face for the surviving family. The thing to do is hire some folks to look
    like they have lost someone dear, and tell them to really turn on the waterworks. These people, who are paid anything from thirty
    to one hundred bucks, blend in. You won’t know they are actors and you likely
    won’t interrupt their crying and talk to them. When the job is done they turn around and
    happily go home. We actually found a company in the UK that
    rented out mourners and they said their staff are very discreet. For around $60 an hour they’ll turn up at
    the funeral and stand near the back and make some noise. A few friends and family will likely be saying,
    “You know what, I just can’t make that face”, and then the professional will never
    be seen again by those people. But at this company, called “Rent a Mourner”,
    the actors are more than just scenery. They might not approach someone, but if they
    do they have to know what’s going on. So, the actors will have to meet the family
    first and get the background on the deceased. They will also have to create a background
    story for themselves that links them to the dead. It sounds hard and it likely is, but the good
    news for the actors is they usually go in a group. You need skills for this line of lugubrious
    work, and so you must be very good with your memory and also a great improviser. One guy in London who did this job said in
    an interview, “The only thing sadder than a funeral is a funeral that nobody shows up
    to, so the decision is generally coming from a good place.” He said he actually tries to mingle as he
    feels it’s a big part of the job, so he spends lots of time on his back story. Can you imagine just making that up, saying
    something like, “Such a sad loss. Me and Jack went back years. We worked in a toy shop in Buffalo, through
    the winters we’d…etc, etc.” It must be quite demanding to do such a routine
    in front of people who are really sad. The guy in the interview said, “Naturally,
    since I don’t know the deceased, it can be hard to work up too many tears about them. Some professional mourners I know can cry
    on cue like a toddler at Toys “R” Us, but most of us keep a supply of tools to help
    us jerk out some tears on command.” He added that he’d only been caught out
    once, but the person who caught him out just said the deceased would have liked it. Canine culinary
    The next job sounds a lot less demanding and it just involves eating. Who wouldn’t enjoy being paid for eating
    stuff? But what if the product you were hired to
    test was dog food? In this world there are people whose job it
    is to test dog food, and this is what they do. It’s actually a highly skilled occupation
    because the taster is the person who usually creates the dish and makes sure it has all
    the right nutrients. They work in a lab, but at some point when
    the concocting has taken place they will have to have a nibble. Those animals can’t tell you how the stuff
    tastes, so a human has to do it. The good news is that they might be paid from
    $40,000 to $100,000, and it’s not just dog food either, other pet food is tested by humans. We found a guy in the UK who is famous for
    pet food tasting. He works for the company Marks and Spencer,
    and his job is making sure the dog food is up to scratch. In an interview he said, “I have trained
    my palate to look for materials that we will not allow in the recipe, such as tripe – pet
    owners react badly to the smell of tripe. I’m looking for a pate texture, almost to
    the point where you could spread it on crusty bread.” If you don’t know what tripe is, it’s
    the stomach of a cow. It looks like it sounds. The guy added that he thinks his job is very
    important and he’s doing it for the pets well-being and the owners sense of trust in
    the product. He said, “The more we can make the pet food
    like the owner’s food, the more comfortable we think customers will be serving it.” A surgeon of toys
    We’ll keep this one short. The job is a person who fixes Teddy Bears
    surgically, and the title is Teddy Bear Technician. In Florida they even have a bear hospital
    where the surgeons work. Why? We guess some people really love their teddy
    bears. Professional Sleeper
    This is the best job in the world if you are seriously lazy. One case we found of this job was when a hotel
    in Finland wanted people to test their beds, so they put an ad out asking for professional
    sleepers. But the U.S. space agency NASA went a lot
    further than that because Forbes reported that in 2013 NASA was hiring regular folks,
    but they had to do something pretty hard. That was to lie on a bed and move very little
    for a total of 70 days. Why you might ask? Well, if people are going up in rockets and
    spending a lot of time in a closed space then NASA wants to know what effects this will
    have on the human body. Except they didn’t want to use their astronauts
    for this experiment, and so they said they paid $18,000 for volunteers. The deal was you had to stay on that bed,
    but you were allowed to use a phone, look at a TV, even work on a laptop. You couldn’t get off that bed, and so we
    assume the people were hooked up to a valve they could urinate through. “Subjects in the study look at it as a way
    to help,” said a senior scientist on the bed rest study. “In that what we eventually do will help
    astronauts maintain their health while in space.” She also said, “by putting someone in bed
    for a long time, there is also atrophy of the muscle and atrophy of bone density.” It’s now starting to sound pretty horrible. We wonder how many people dropped out of the
    study, but 18,000 bucks for 70 days work doing nothing but sitting and lying down isn’t
    that bad. Professional zombie
    From hired sleeper to the living dead. According to the British media something called
    the London Bridge Experience hired two people in 2009 to do the job of being a zombie. They got almost $40,000 a year to scare tourists,
    no doubt many of them American tourists. One of the guys who was hired said he gone
    for a similar role at the London Dungeon but he didn’t get the job. He told the press this is why: “The Dungeon
    said I was too intimidating and scary and they told me to tone down my act.” The cuddlers
    We started with Japan and we’ll finish with Japan. It seems there are a lot of strange occupations
    in this country and many of them involve touching people. While there is a line of work in Japan that
    means some folks are a hired boyfriend or girlfriend, and we mean really pretending
    to be a lover and not about bedroom stuff, you can also hire someone to cuddle you. For about 30 bucks you can lie in a bed for
    20 minutes and be cuddled. That’s it, nothing else, just cuddling. The longest course we found was a 10-hour
    cuddle, which must be really hard for the cuddler. That will set you back about $460. You can fall asleep of course, and we expect
    that happens over 10 hours. Some cuddle cafes in Japan advertise themselves
    as “co-sleeping specialty shops.” Apparently this is a booming industry in Japan,
    a country where some people work really long hours and according to reports more and more
    people are deciding to stay single. Some reports state that since the cost of
    living is so high many men don’t want the stress of bringing up a family and many women
    don’t want to be broke housewives, so more people are just staying single. This in part has led to what some media say
    is a booming industry of cuddle cafes. It’s not just Japan, though, we found cuddle
    cafes in New York City and also Toronto. New York’s “Snuggery” café says it’s
    all about cuddling and absolutely nothing else. It seems in this busy world there are a lot
    of people that just need a hug. It’s said more people don’t get enough
    human interaction, working so hard, looking at dating sites but not meeting, and staying
    alone. Word on the street is expect more cuddle café
    to pop up. It’s kind of nice but also kind of sad. We thought a lot of these strange jobs actually
    sounded pretty fun and we think the people doing them are probably lovely, well adjusted
    people. But one strange job we hate and think that
    the people who do it are subhuman monsters? Hacking. Hackers are the worst! Absolute scum! But what are we supposed to do about them? And how do we stop data leaks and online account
    compromisation? Don’t worry, we have the answer – Dashlane. Dashlane is the one and only tool you need
    to keep your personal info and digital accounts safe and secure. They even offer monitoring services that will
    immediately notify you if it finds any personal information for sale on an online marketplace,
    so you can take steps to protect yourself from these scourges of the human race right
    away! Don’t be like millions of victims every
    day, get Dashlane and keep your digital life secure right now! Head on over to
    for a free 30 day trial, and if you use the coupon code ‘infographics’ you can get
    10% off a premium subscription today! Have you ever had a weird job? Or maybe just a really strange thing happen
    at your normal job? Tell us all about it in the comments. Now go watch the “11 Highest Paying Teen
    Jobs.” Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
    forget to like, share and subscribe.

    Troubles in Coal Hit Railroad Employees
    Articles, Blog

    Troubles in Coal Hit Railroad Employees

    August 28, 2019

    SPEAKER: Basically, the
    railroads are a story of us. It’s important for people to
    know because it’s being lost. My name’s Adam Fotta. I’ve been a lot of places. I’ve done a lot
    of things in life, even though I’m not that old. I had my first job
    at 10, which I don’t know if they allow anymore. So the railroad was hiring
    out of Grand Junction. And it offers good money,
    benefits, health care, so I jumped on it. And it was a hope
    for a better future. It was the hope for
    the American dream. It’s no more than
    anybody else wants. But it’s the best
    job I ever had. best job I ever had. It finally felt like
    we were middle class. Coal was partially responsible
    for me chasing work because as coal slowed
    down, so did the work. And a lot of rail
    traffic is actually coal traffic, for power
    plants, exporting, things of that nature. As it hit the oil and
    gas and then it hit us. And the coal started dropping
    off immediately after that. Just absolutely amazing
    to see basically 200-year industry just
    shutdown overnight. They encourage employees to
    take pictures of the trains. And they put it on
    the company calendar. Some guys think this is
    corny and dopey and stuff. But I think it’s fantastic. It’s great. And it’s pride in what you do. This furlough affected
    me extremely hard. My wife was diagnosed with
    cancer at the same time that I was furloughed. Found out she
    definitively had cancer and I got furloughed
    at that same moment, as we were stuck in
    traffic and people were honking their horns. And that was kind of
    like, wow, this is bottom. It’s hard being optimistic
    about it all the time because I don’t know
    if the coal industry is going to– I think this
    might be a permanent change in this country. I hope that we
    figure things out, find the balance between
    the economy being viable, the environment. I’m hopeful to going back to
    work somewhere for the railroad and kind of getting my life
    back and get my debt paid down and getting my wife healthy. That’s all I want.

    Delaware State Jobs – Find Your Career in HVAC
    Articles, Blog

    Delaware State Jobs – Find Your Career in HVAC

    August 27, 2019

    If you like a challenge you will like it here,
    you’ve worked hard to get your master HVACR and your universal CFC certification. HVAC technology has had some exciting changes
    in the past few years and we need your talent to complete our team. The Division of Facilities Management is responsible
    for maintaining more the three million square feet of building space is over one hundred
    facilities statewide. Our staff of HVAC refrigeration technicians
    ensure that critical building components such HVAC units and power supplies remain continuously
    operational. Each day we plan our schedule but many times
    we can have an emergency situation occur. So if we get a call that comes in, you know
    they’ll, somebody says hey I have a rooftop unit that doesn’t run. First thing you do is gather up information,
    you know what kind of rooftop is it, there’s different types, there are some that are fed
    from chillers, some that have compressors in them, you gotta know what you’re dealing
    with, brand names, you have to deal with that type of thing Usually get, collect the information on the
    symptoms as you’re, so when you’re you know when you’re going there, you’re gonna go up
    on a rooftop it’s good to know what tools you’re gonna bring and what you can
    leave behind, So, it’s that type of thing, where, you know, you’re evaluating on the
    way to your job what it could be. Not in HVAC think about making a career change,
    HVAC might be a great fit if you have experience in hydraulics or pneumatics as it is an easy
    tie into refrigeration. A career in HVAC is very rewarding and as
    a technician with the state you have great job security as HVAC services will always
    be needed to continue to heat and cool our offices. At the state we have great work life
    balance and work a thirty-seven and a half hour week and we offer benefits that work
    for you every stage of your life. Explore a career with the State of Delaware. We love all things HVAC!

    State of the Union: Building Infrastructure and Creating Jobs at Home
    Articles, Blog

    State of the Union: Building Infrastructure and Creating Jobs at Home

    August 24, 2019

    The President:
    Next, we can put Americans
    to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (applause) From — from the first railroads to the interstate highway system, our nation has
    always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or
    China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories
    that manufacture clean energy products. Tomorrow, I’ll visit
    Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break
    ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by
    the Recovery Act. There are projects like that all
    across this country that will create jobs and help move
    our nation’s goods, services, and information. (applause) We should put more Americans
    to work building clean energy facilities, and give — (applause) — and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy efficient, which supports
    clean energy jobs. (applause) And to encourage these and other
    businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally
    slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs
    overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create
    jobs right here in the United States of America. (applause) Now, the House has passed a jobs
    bill that includes some of these steps. (cheers and applause) As the first order of
    business this year, I urge the Senate to do the
    same and I know they will. (cheers and applause) They will. (applause) People are out of work. They’re hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill
    on my desk without delay. (applause)

    Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea?
    Articles, Blog

    Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea?

    August 22, 2019

    There’s a movement in cities across the
    country to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. One of the most prominent advocates
    is former labor secretary Robert Reich who thinks that $15 per
    hour should be the minimum wage for the entire country, this is a bad idea. Here are three reasons why,
    first of all, it would kill jobs. One of the basic lessons of economics is
    that when the price of something goes up, people buy less of it, so, if the price of pumpkin lattes rises you
    can expect consumers to buy fewer of them. This law of demand also
    effects the market for low-skilled workers,
    raising the minimum wage means a higher cost of employing each worker which makes
    workers less affordable than before. Our coffee shop won’t keep a worker at
    a mandated $15 per hour if that worker’s efforts only result in $7.25
    per hour in added revenue. Over the course of the year, a shop
    that keeps such a worker full-time would lose $15,500, so instead,
    it would eliminate that job and evidence shows that employers in fact do
    respond in this way to minimum wage hikes. Recent research by economists
    Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither finds that 1.4 million jobs
    were destroyed in the late 2000s when the minimum wage rose across all 50 states
    by an average of nearly 30%, and worse, those job losses were probably suffered
    by the people who need jobs the most. This fact brings us to reason number 2, the minimum wage actually hurts
    the people we most want to help. When the minimum wage rises, the workers
    fired first and the ones hired last are those who employers judge to be
    the least productive, the inner city teen from the lousy school district or
    the immigrant with poor English will be fired before the suburban American
    teen from the excellent school district. So those who are most disadvantaged, tend to suffer the most job losses, this
    reality is compounded by the fact that raising the minimum wage causes
    more competition for jobs. A supermarket job that once paid $8 per
    hour draws more applicants when it pays $15 per hour, applicants who include
    retirees, and people with higher education who reenter the workforce only
    because of the higher wage. Because these people often have more
    skills, they squeeze out immigrants and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who
    are likely more desperate for the jobs, and certainly more desperate
    to gain job experience. The third reason is that minimum
    wage hikes aren’t necessary to give deserving workers raises. 96% of American workers today earn wages
    higher than the current minimum wage, which proves that employers don’t just
    pay the minimum that they’re obliged to pay by law. Employers respond to the value
    that each employee adds, so they can retain the best talent. It’s expensive to train new employees and businesses don’t wanna lose good
    workers to their competitors, so they raise worker pay voluntarily as
    employees gain more skills and experience. But when government imposes such
    raises by hiking the minimum wage, some of the least experienced workers
    will not only lose their current jobs, they’ll find it incredibly
    hard to find other jobs. In essence, the minimum wage cuts off
    the first rung on the employment ladder. And it’s that first, lowest paying rung,
    that provides the skills and experience workers need to
    reach the next rung, and to continue climbing their
    way to a better life.


    Delaware State Jobs- Setting up Email Alerts

    August 20, 2019

    did you know most job postings on the Delaware
    employment link also known as DEL are typically listed for a limited amount of time and since
    we don’t want you to take any chance of missing out on your next great career opportunity. DEL offers you the option to sign up for and
    receive email alerts for positions as they become posted that are personally selected
    by you. In this video we will show you the basics
    for setting up your email alerts in the DEL system First lets go to the Delaware Employment Link
    homepage found out to get started choose the email alerts icon
    to begin creating your personalized job search agent You can narrow your search down by individually
    selecting the occupational group that interests you, or broaden your search by clicking on
    the check all boxes and then submit. You will then see comprehensive list of all
    the job titles you selected. From here you then can either scroll through
    each job title one by one from A to Z or you can further drill down your selection alphabetically
    by selecting from the alphabetical listing found directly above the job titles also,
    if at any time while scrolling through this page you should decide that you would prefer
    to view positions listed by occupational group all you have to do is choose the select job
    group option found at the top of the page. Not sure what jobs to be alerted for? click on any job title to open class specification. The class specification provides a detail
    list of essential functions, knowledge, skills, and abilities and most importantly job requirements. After reviewing each job specification remember
    to close the window to make your email alert choices When you’re done choosing all the positions
    you are interested in, click the add all checked classes to my job search agent option located
    near the top of the page to view a list of your selections. If you are satisfied with your choices click
    the finish button to then be able to add your email address or click continued searching
    classes if you would like to return to the previous page and select more job titles before
    continuing once you have entered your email address click next to see the list of your
    subscription choices and you will need to select subscribe to start signing up for emails. Thank you again for your interest in career
    opportunities with the State of Delaware. Make sure you watch our other videos to help
    you in your job search.

    The big debate about the future of work, explained
    Articles, Blog

    The big debate about the future of work, explained

    August 14, 2019

    A decade ago, robots still seemed pretty limited. Now, not so much. And computers don’t just win chess any more,
    they can win Jeopardy. “Watson.” “What is the of the Elegance of the Hedgehog?” They can win Go. “There are about 200 possible moves for
    the average position in Go.” This is all happening really fast. And it’s causing some to forecast a future
    where humans can’t find work. “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that
    a robot cannot do better.” “And what are the people gonna do?” “That’s the $64,000 question.” I believe this is going to be one of the biggest
    challenges we face in the coming decades. “People who are not just unemployed. They are unemployable.” But if you ask economists, they tend to have
    a pretty different view from the futurists and Silicon Valley types. Do you worry that new technologies could cause
    mass unemployment? Yes. No. I have devoted my career to worrying about
    the labor market, particularly worrying about the living standards of low and moderate income
    workers. So I worry a lot about things. I am not worried about this. One of the reasons a lot of economists are
    skeptical about robots taking all the jobs is that we’ve heard that before. There was a spike of automation anxiety in
    the late 20s, early 1930s when machines were starting to take over jobs on farms and
    also in factories. This article from 1928 points out that there
    used to be guards who opened and closed the doors on new york subway trains, and people
    who took tickets before there were turnstiles. And I just love this quote: It says “building
    materials are mixed like dough in a machine and literally poured into place without the
    touch of a human hand.” Automation anxiety surged again in the late
    1950s, early 1960s. President Kennedy ranks automation first as
    job challenge. “Computers and automation threaten to create
    vast unemployment and social unrest” “What should I do Mr. Whipple?” “Stop him!” This article from 1958 is about 17,000 longshoremen
    who were protesting automation on the piers. And if you don’t know what longshoremen are,
    that’s because there aren’t many of them left. Technology destroyed a lot of those jobs. And yet, we didn’t run out of work. This chart shows the percentage of prime-age
    people with jobs in the US. Ever since women joined the workforce in big
    numbers, it’s stayed around 80%, outside of recessions. During this period, technology displaced some
    8 million farmers in the US, 7 million factory workers, over a million railroad workers,
    hundreds of thousands of telephone  operators, we’ve lost gas-pumpers, elevator attendants,
    travel agents. Tons of jobs have died but work persists. What you realize when you look through those
    old reports is that it’s really easy for us to see the jobs being replaced by machines. It’s a bit harder to visualize the jobs
    that come from what happens next. New technology creates jobs in a few ways. There are the direct jobs for people who design
    and maintain the technology, and sometimes whole new industries built on the technology. But the part we tend to forget is the indirect
    effect of labor-saving inventions. When companies can do more with less, they
    can expand, maybe add new products or open new locations, and they can lower prices to
    compete. And that means consumers can buy more of their
    product, or if we don’t want any more of it, we can use the savings to buy other things. Maybe we go to more sports events or out to
    dinner more often. Maybe we get more haircuts or add more day-care
    for the kids. This process is how our standard of living
    has improved over time and it’s always required workers. The key economic logic here is automation
    does indeed displace workers who are doing work that got automated, but it doesn’t actually
    affect the total number of jobs in the economy because of these offsetting effects. Warnings about the “end of work” tend
    to focus on this part and not all of this — like a widely cited study from 2013,
    “According to research conducted by Oxford University, nearly half of all current jobs
    in America –” “47 percent of all our jobs–” “47 percent of US jobs in the
    next decade or two, according to researchers at Oxford, will be replaced by robots.” That study assessed the capabilities of automation
    technology. It didn’t attempt to estimate the actual
    “extent or pace” of automation or the overall effect on employment. Now, all this doesn’t mean that the new
    jobs will show up right away or that they’ll be located in the same place or pay the same
    wage as the ones that were lost. All it means is that the overall need for
    human work hasn’t gone away. Technologists and futurists don’t deny that’s
    been true historically, but they question whether history is a good guide of what’s
    to come. Fundamentally the argument is that this time
    it’s different. That’s what I think. Imagine a form of electricity that could automate
    all the routine work. I mean, that’s basically what we are talking
    about here. And so It’s going to be across the board. And it is easy to underestimate technology
    these days. In a 2004 book, two economists  assessed
    the future of automation and concluded that tasks like driving in traffic would be “enormously
    difficult” to teach to a computer. That same year, a review of 50 years of research
    concluded that “human level speech recognition has proved to be an elusive goal.” And now? “Ok Google. How many miles has google’s autonomous vehicle
    driven?” “According to Recode, that’s because the
    company announced its self-driving car project, which was created in 2009, has racked up over
    two million miles of driving experience.” This is the textbook chart of advancement
    in computer hardware — it’s the number of transistors that engineers have squeezed
    onto a computer chip over time. Already pretty impressive, but notice that
    this isn’t a typical scale: these numbers are increasing exponentially. On a typical linear scale it would look more
    like this. It really is hard to imagine this not being
    massively disruptive. And as the authors of The Second Machine Age
    point out, processors aren’t the only dimension of computing that has seen exponential improvement. The idea of acceleration in your daily life when do you encounter that? Maybe in a car for a few seconds? In an airplane for seconds again? The idea that something can accelerate for
    decades literally just continuously is just not something that we deal with. I mean, we think in straight lines. But even though there’s been all this innovation,
    it’s not showing up in the data. If we were seeing this big increase in automation
    we would see productivity growing much more rapidly now than it usually does, and we are
    instead seeing the opposite. Labor productivity is a measure of the goods
    and services we produce divided by the hours that we work. Over time it goes up – we do more with less
    labor. We’re more efficient. If we were starting to see a ton of labor-saving
    innovation you’d expect this line to get steeper, but when you look at productivity
    growth, you can see that it has been slowing down since the early 2000s, and not just for
    the US. It’s possible that new technologies are
    changing our lives without fundamentally changing the economy. So will this all change? Will today’s robots and AI cause mass unemployment? There’s reason to be skeptical, but nobody
    really knows. But one thing we do know is that the wealth
    that technology creates, it isn’t necessarily shared with workers. When you account for inflation, the income
    of most families has stayed pretty flat as the economy has grown. One of the problems we’ve seen over the last
    40 years is that we have seen all of this rising productivity growth but actually hasn’t
    been broadly shared, it’s been captured by a thin slice of people at the top of the income
    distribution. Even if unemployment stays low, automation
    might worsen economic inequality, which is already more extreme in the US than it is
    in most other advanced countries. But technology isn’t destiny. Governments decide how a society weathers
    disruptions, and that worries people on both sides of the debate about the future of work. We’ve adopted policies that instead of really
    trying to counteract the trend caused by technology and globalization and other things, we’ve
    in many cases exacerbated them. We’ve put a wind in the back of them and
    made them more extreme. And that’s a big problem. We will probably always be fascinated by the
    prospect of robots taking our jobs. But if we  focus on things we can’t really
    control, we risk neglecting the things we can.