What's a Trillion? and do we have an Echo Forum?

This is a discussion on What's a Trillion? and do we have an Echo Forum? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; However not putting liquidity back into the system would certainly lead to another Depression. If you study the depression several ...

  1. #16
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    However not putting liquidity back into the system would certainly lead to another Depression. If you study the depression several financial decisions were made by the government that only made the problem worse. While we may only be staving off the inevitable I believe it is the hope that the economy may recover long before we have to inject more and more to keep it going and thus really hurt it more.

    I see a couple of things that worry me that the government is considering and/or advocating.

    • Raising taxes in a recession. Major no-no. Do some research on the what happened prior to the depression and the steps the government took that really paved the way for it rather than avert it.
    • Investing in energy that has little or no benefit to the current economy. Whether you agree or disagree about our reliance on supposed fossil fuels I think most can agree that our system is not ready for a huge energy upheaval nor do we have the technology to completely support ourselves with any of the new systems...save for nuclear which has it's own inherent and difficult problems. Creating green jobs may actually backfire and make things worse. Imposing huge fines and ridiculous standards on manufacturing cannot and will not lead to a better economy. If you have worked in this sector at all you realize that the current standards are ludicrous as they currently stand. The EPA in my mind is a complete waste of money in their current capacity. They should be finding solutions to the issues rather than hindering industry and sectors of the economy that actually could bring jobs. Green may be in but green is expensive due to the fact that it is new and the infrastructure for it is simply not there. Changing to green energy amidst a booming economy would be extremely difficult much less trying to do it inside of a very deep recession.
    • Placing earmarks and essentially 're-modelling' funds into a stimulus plan. Some of the current stimulus plan is outright ridiculous. $6,200,000,000 of it is going towards weatherization of buildings? Some $2,500,000,000 of it is going towards rebuilding and restructing federal buildings to make them more green? So in the middle of the deepest recession since the Great Depression the federal government is...remodeling? Nice.
    • Government gaining more of a stake in the day to day affairs of commercial business. This is never a good thing in a democratic capitalist system. The government cannot balance the budget yet they are going to tell banks how to conduct their affairs? The very reason that Bank of America is in dire straits now is because the government played hardball on their purchase of Merril Lynch. Essentially BOA wanted to back out knowing that Merril Lynch was going to lose almost 14 billion prior to the purchase. BOA was not sure they could handle this type of loss or make up for it. As it stands now I believe BOA lost 1 billion last quarter. However the government having injected money into BOA told them essentially that if they did not purchase ML that they would not look to favorably on helping BOA in the near future should they need it. So the government figured what was good for the economy or the image of the economy was good for BOA. However we can clearly see it was not. The government needs to get out of the affairs of companies as soon as possible and allow them to get back to the business of making money. I realize they had to inject money but they shouldn't be calling the shots. Thats the pot calling the kettle black since the government and money have never been a good combination.
    • Blaming the problem on consumers, the executive branch, and whoever else they may. The problem is not just consumers but the fact that banks allowed the consumers to 'slip by' and purchase property way out of their budget. The problem was not the President nor his cabinet since this office does not act in a vacuum in our system and is limited by several checks and balances put there for good reason. The problem of oversight really belonged to Congressional oversight groups and they alone had the clout and the power to enforce the policies which they clearly did not. So if the Congress and the banks want to find someone to blame all they need to do is look in the mirror because they got us here.
    • Advocation of protectionism and isolationism. These types of policies will result in a trade war with many many nations. The current economy is global and America cannot act as if we can meet all of our own demands because we simply cannot. Without the influx of imports we currently have America would be in a huge mess. Many factories that I worked at built factories in other nations in order to supply that nation. American factories simply could not handle the demand. One could make the argument they could meet the demand now but when the economy ramps back up, and it will, it will be capped by our own refusal to admit that we simply cannot produce fast enough or gain access to enough raw materials to meet the demand. Isolationism is probably the biggest deterent to economic growth you could ever have and yet we have those who are suggesting it. History shows that it simply does not work.


    All of these to me are scary. We can continue our social expirements and free energy, no pollution pie in the sky ideals at a later date. Right now we need to go with what works.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-10-2009 at 06:28 PM.

  2. #17
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    However not putting liquidity back into the system would certainly lead to another Depression.
    I agree there is a liquidity problem, but shoving money at wallstreet won't solve it. Employment has to rise, the ratio of M3 to M1/M2 has to decrease in order to improve liquidity. Increasing M3 will only constrict liquidity further as smaller businesses and individuals will not be able to effectively compete for resources, including financing, against large corporations. Until we stabilize employment in this country, defaults on personal credit are the only possible outcome.

    • Raising taxes in a recession.
    The budget has to be balanced, otherwise we are just exchanging one form of debt for another. Noone likes paying taxes, but the system doesnt work without them.

    Investing in energy that has little or no benefit to the current economy.

    While I agree that we shouldn't be wasting money on research that doesn't benefit th economy, I disagree that energy research doesnt benefit the economy. I will sya that I've doen the numbers and solar power is just as economical as nuclear, so we don't need to waste money researchign it, we need to spend that money developing it, i.e. actually building solar farms. The major problem with that right now is that noone wants to invest in solar power, they jsut want to lend money to people who will invest it. Well, sorry people, but while solar power is economically feasable, it isn't going to pay 12% on top of recouping its expenses. The other problem is failure of companies to make large quantites of commercial solar cells actually available. I wrote a business plan a few years back, btu when I started callign up to get pricing and availability, BP told me there was a 2 year lead time and I couldnt get more than 1000 units at a time. Then when I checked on available land, there wasn't any at reasonable prices due to the expanding (at the time) housing bubble. So the technology si already feasable, its just there are too many economic and logistical hurdles in the way to make it worth developing. I'm not going to do all the work, take all the risk, and then hand someone else all the profit.

    [quote]
    Placing earmarks and essentially 're-modelling' funds into a stimulus plan.
    [quote]
    ... employing thousands of construction workers, which then in turn improves liquidity ...

    Government gaining more of a stake in the day to day affairs of commercial business.
    Sorry but Businees has already shown that it cannot run its own affairs without regulation. They had their chance and they blew it again, again. No you can't leave it up to choice, because the prisoners dilemna will always force teh Nash equilibrium into the least effective mode of operation. When your actions effect the lives of others who do not have a direct say in those actions, your actions must be regulated, PERIOD. When banks invest money they arent investign THEIR money they are investign the money of their depositers, therefor the methods they use to invest that money must be in place to prevent abuse and incredibly obvious misjudgements.

    Blaming the problem on consumers, the executive branch, and whoever else they may.
    The indisputable fact is that there IS a problem. I'm not blaming anyone, but I will identify what is causing the problem, and if that cause is the decisions being made and defended by some group then too bad so sad, get over your ego trip. I hate to use a cliche but if you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem.

    Advocation of protectionism and isolationism.
    I never advocated protectionism, but I will say that we need to level the playing field. If we pass a law saying you can't use slave labor then a company should not be able to step across an imaginary line and still sell us products made with slave labor.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  3. #18
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    >> Raising taxes in a recession.
    Nobody's advocating raising taxes, all plans include lower taxes, right?

    >> [The EPA] should be finding solutions to the issues
    Isn't that what the market is supposed to do? If you make it more profitable for companies to find the solutions then you spur innovation in a much better way than letting an agency try to figure things out itself.

    >> Green may be in but green is expensive
    The stimulus bill is subsidizing the cost of making things green so that it gets done and that jobs are created and supplies are purchased to get it done. I don't think anybody is being forced to go green, the government is just providing incentives so that they will be better off if they do.

    >> Placing earmarks
    There are no earmarks in either version of the bill.

    >> So in the middle of the deepest recession since the Great Depression the federal government is...remodeling? Nice.
    My understanding is that the money spent on supplies helps the companies that make those supplies, and the money spent on the labor obviously creates jobs. That money is hopefully then spent on other things which overall helps to stimulate the economy. Do you disagree with that assessment?

    >> Advocation of protectionism and isolationism.
    I agree this is not a good thing. I have heard that some are trying to remove some of these components of the stimulus bill but I'm not sure if they have or will succeed.

  4. #19
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I never advocated protectionism, but I will say that we need to level the playing field. If we pass a law saying you can't use slave labor then a company should not be able to step across an imaginary line and still sell us products made with slave labor.
    If you can tell a pair of shoes was made by a sweaty brown person in Honduras rather than a well-paid sweaty brown person in Honduras, then by all means, help regulate importers.

  5. #20
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    http://www.usnews.com/blogs/capital-...epression.html

    This is an early article from back in Sept 08. There were talks then of raising taxes and we were 9 months into a recession. Admittedly I don't think it was concrete until it was announced some months later that were were definitely in one. Taxes will have to be raised eventually to pay for the plan. Hopefully by then we will be out of the woods. However if industry and business is forced to pay more that will also be a problem. Also if green jobs which are at best unsteady at the moment replace industry jobs then you are taking from one sector to give to another with nearly no net job growth. This is what some call the broken window theory. Essentially if a boy breaks a window in a shop is that good or bad? Those for the theory say its good because then a company has to produce and install the new glass so therefore the boy actually created jobs. However it fails to take into account the company that had to pay for the broken window and possibly the insurance that took a loss on the broken window. So while jobs were gained in one area just as many were lost in another. If the company had not had a broken window then they could have spent the money to replace it on something more constructive rather than repairing what is already there. Of course this is a story and one broken window isn't going to cause all that but you get the idea. Going green at the expense of others is not going to produce growth. It will have to be both and for quite some time.

    In essence it is similar to Katrina. Was it good for the economy or was it bad? It raised gas prices significantly, raised demand for lumber and building materials and created thousands of jobs. However it destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and put just as many out of work as it later put to work. No net gain.

    Here is a breakdown of the plan. It is 1588 pages long and I, for one, am not going to read the entire thing so this graph from the Washington Post should give a good overview.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...020100154.html

    Sorry but Businees has already shown that it cannot run its own affairs without regulation. They had their chance and they blew it again, again. No you can't leave it up to choice, because the prisoners dilemna will always force teh Nash equilibrium into the least effective mode of operation. When your actions effect the lives of others who do not have a direct say in those actions, your actions must be regulated, PERIOD. When banks invest money they arent investign THEIR money they are investign the money of their depositers, therefor the methods they use to invest that money must be in place to prevent abuse and incredibly obvious misjudgements.
    While I don't disagree completely with your statements surely you must agree that the best path forward for a capitalist society is to get government back to governing and businesses back to making profits? It is a sad affair when business is propped up and/or saved by the government in a capitalist economy. I'm not saying it wasn't necessary to put liquidity back in the market but I am saying if it does not stop somewhere bad things are on the horizon. Just because a sector of the economy failed to practice ethical business does not mean that capitalism as a whole is a failure and we should over-regulate the entire system. It does mean we need oversight but it does not mean that government meddles with everyday business decisions. But since America is definitely reactive and not pro-active we will over regulate till it gets under people's skin. At that point it will calm down as it always does and companies can get back to making money the old fashioned way. By earning it instead of begging for it.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-10-2009 at 11:25 PM.

  6. #21
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    I couldn't care less whether the SBG in honduras is makign a good living or not, but when you continually export dollars to honduras, it effects liquidity locally. Which is fine if there is a constrained labor market or an expanding M1, which there isn't. A great many things that we are currently doing in this country are perfectly fine by themselves, but taken together they create a situation where teh economy slowly bleeds to death from 1000 paper cuts.

    We are very very far from over-regulation, in fact the financial system is so under-regulated that its basically a huge free for all. If the nash equilibrium produces undesireable behavior, you have to make changes that create a new equilibrium, you cannot just expect people to make the less selfish choice of their own free will. You will never get everyone to cooperate by choice, its human nature. Therefor regulations are required to make everyone play by the same rules, or suffer the legal consequences.
    Last edited by abachler; 02-11-2009 at 12:44 AM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  7. #22
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I just don't see how it is reasonable to regulate products produced from slave labor in the manner you described. There is often no observable difference... that doesn't mean an effort cannot be made, but I have to wonder about unintended consequences. Particularly if the people in these poor countries will be able to sell anything anymore: I expect business owners to be very uncooperative about any sort of investigation just to get on the "white list" to export here.

  8. #23
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Exactly, noone wants anything that will actually require effort, or produce results or in the least way interfere with 'business' doing what ever the hell it wants. Well, too bad 'business' can't stabilize itself, so everyone else has to go through a recession, lose their homes and live in poverty, again. God forbid we change the way things are done...

    Let's be honest, it has nothing to do with what's best for the country, it has everything to do with an elite few staying in control with no interference regardless of the consequences to everyone else. All the math, economic theory, and logic points to a solution, but that solution requires self control and restraints on behavior, so it wont happen.
    Last edited by abachler; 02-11-2009 at 01:14 AM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  9. #24
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Meanwhile, we can't import anything anymore because all the ICE agents are busy globetrotting, trying to get sweatshops to reveal themselves and somehow keep them in one spot so that they don't accidentally sell us goods produced by slave labor. Not to mention that we would need constant support from foreign governments to do this without starting some sort of war, and everyone knows America is so great at diplomacy.

    We basically can only do something about slave labor if the sweatshops come here or try to leave our borders because that's our jurisdiction.

    Hell, America is dumb enough to declare war on a tactic (the war on terror) and try to eliminate it from the outside in. It clearly hasn't worked; I don't see why it does for anything else; I don't think an eventual war would be worth it.

  10. #25
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    >> This is an early article from back in Sept 08
    That's just a blog discussing what not to do, not anybody actually proposing tax raises. Nobody has any plans to raise federal taxes to help the economy, so you don't have to worry too much about that.

    >> you are taking from one sector to give to another with nearly no net job growth.
    The problem is that the jobs are being taken from one sector whether we like it or not. In fact, it would be great if we ended up with no net job growth. The alternative is a continuing rise in unemployment. Right now windows are already cracked or broken, the government is just deciding to fix them.

  11. #26
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    I should've voted for Bubba...

  12. #27
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    That's just a blog discussing what not to do, not anybody actually proposing tax raises. Nobody has any plans to raise federal taxes to help the economy, so you don't have to worry too much about that.
    The blog was brought on based on issues that arose out of the two Presidential campaigns. For a bit there the Dems were talking of raising taxes as they usually do. I'm sure they have backed off that stance now realizing that would be a very bad idea.

    But in the long run the final bailout and stimulus bills have to be paid by someone. That boils down to you and I in the form of tax increases. The money has to come from somewhere. And the really really really bad part of the whole thing is not one politician has even suggested as to how we are going to pay this back and what it is going to take to pay it. They don't want to discuss it because they know the ONLY way to regain the money is through higher taxes. The Repubs know it and the Dems know it. None of them seem to have viable solutions for the long term and continue to be short-sighted. Congress has continually written checks that they cannot cash or expect the taxpayer to cash even though they know there is no way possible taxes could begin to pick up the tab.

    So all this is change we can believe in? I seriously doubt it. The only change I see is in the amount of red ink in the budget.

  13. #28
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    Holy crap! The U.S. national debt is up to $11 trillion now!
    So what happens when a country declares bankrupcy anyways?
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

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  14. #29
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    11 x 10 ^ 12
    or
    11 x 10 ^ 15?

    These accursed american twisted mathematical names for numbers...
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  15. #30
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    11 x 10 ^ 12
    Yes.

    Long scaled trillion would be 10^18, anyway.

    I don't quite see why so many nations follow the long scale anyway... I mean England was sensible enough to switch 20 years ago or so. Numbers are seperated every power of 1000 (1,000,000,000,000,000.00). I'm pretty sure that system is universal (albeit with different delimiters) Doesn't it make sense that those seperators should represent the start of a new term? I just don't get the "thousand million" nonsense.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 02-12-2009 at 07:54 AM.
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