a DRUDGE headline blares: “AL JAZEERA July 4 vid mocks Americans as fat, gun-toting, pill-poping, porn-watching racists …” Al-Jaz has always been a clone of the American left. John Stewart on steroids. RT, however, used to have a strong libertarian streak. No more. The American anchor babes took control there and that was that. The Al-Jaz headline could have come from RT (which went instead with as a mild “Number of ‘extremely proud’ Americans drops by 3 percent”).
About the decline in US labor-force participation, when compared to other developed countries: One would think that the US has to have an absolute greater labor participation percentage than the rest of the far-less vibrant, Third-Way, Western economies, given the vitality of our economy. What RT is screeching about pertains to the rate of decline in US labor participation rates. One would expect this to be more precipitous in our economy, given that extreme welfarism and interventionism in labor markets are newer here than in the already atrophied European economies.
RT Boom & Bust: “The US stands alone, at least when it comes to labor participation rates. If you compare America to seven other advanced economies, such as Canada, France, and Germany, it’s the only country that hasn’t shown gains in labor force participation over the past 15 years. That’s according to a new study out by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Boom Bust’s Ameera David weighs in.”
First, Russia’s labor-force participation rate, if these figures are accurate, is better than expected:
“The World Bank provides data for Russia from 1990 to 2012. The average value for Russia during that period was 61.9 percent with a minimum of 57 percent in 1998 and a maximum of 67.2 percent in 1990.”
The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development) ranks the Russian Federation at 68.2 participation rate, in 2011. Not bad.
The number of Americans not in the labor force, as of 05/08/2015, is a staggering 93,194K, “with the result being a participation rate of 69.45 or just above the lowest percentage since 1977.”
This still puts the US above all other developed countries, besides Sweden, Norway and Iceland whose participation rates are in the 70s.
Labour Force Participation Rate – USA 62.60% Apr-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Japan 59.06% Mar-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Germany 60.40% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – France 56.50% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Brazil 55.86% Mar-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – UK 62.90% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Italy 49.20% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Canada 65.60% Apr-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Australia 64.81% Apr-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Spain 58.80% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Mexico 59.64% Nov-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – South Korea 61.79% Mar-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Indonesia 66.90% Aug-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – Turkey 49.12% Feb-2014
Labour Force Participation Rate – Argentina 60.53% May-2013
Labour Force Participation Rate – South Africa 57.13% Nov-2013
UPDATE I (6/28): Labor Participation: Just Another Gov. Index.
Europe has all sorts of labor laws, increasingly creeping up on America. For example, job-sharing. Instead of firing, two individuals will be forced to “share” one job. Fewer work hours and less pay is involved, but “labor participation” is kept up artificially. Naturally, the more skilled occupations are less prone to this central tinkering.
Yes, productivity: I am told by my sources in high-tech hubs that while the great American companies will have one super-duper specialist working on, say, a niche design in a product; the Scandinavian competitors—countries that sport the highest labor-participation—will have seven experts working that niche in a product.
In other words, productivity in an American mega-company is way higher, with one man doing the work of seven. However, the obviously misleading labor-participation index will lag the more productive a country is.
UPDATE II: Via Facebook Thread:
John Clement: If the job participation rate is at 69.45% then why isn’t the unemployment rate at 30.55%?
Ilana Mercer: John Clement, we presumed that LPR is calculated on the basis of an estimation of the number of people who ought to be working. So if total employment is 100%, your point is a good one.
“The Grotesquely Stalinist FDR” is the current column. It questions the current libertarian support (my own included) for Russia, and recounts how ‘grotesquely Stalinist’
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was. An excerpt:
… One can well understand why the medieval blood ties that tethered some Ukrainians to the Russians would have been severed by the criminal communist regime, which targeted the Ukrainian breadbasket with a vengeance. The communists robbed the Ukrainian peasants of their fertile farms, forced them into slave labor by corralling them into state-owned, collective farms, and systematically starved them by requisitioning most of their grain. The peasants had been left with a fraction of the amount of grain required to sustain life.
Yet these heroic, individualistic farmers rose up against the Reds.
The slogans of the Ukrainian peasantry, in 1919, were “Ukraine for the Ukrainians, down with the Bolsheviks and the Jews (whom they associated with the Bolsheviks), free enterprise, free trade.” Besides the standard mass executions, in order to wipe out this class of people, Stalin devised a diabolical man-made famine which killed up to 10 million .
Fast forward to Kiev, circa 2013, where Ukrainians tore down the statue of the founding father of Bolshevism and a mass murderer in his own right. But that man, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, still reposes in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.
Why, pray tell? …
Read the rest. “The Grotesquely Stalinist FDR” is now on WND.
Ron Paul chronicles what went down between Kiev, the Kremlin and the confederacy of knaves in DC. He asks:
“What if John McCain had stayed home and worried about his constituents in Arizona instead of non-constituents 6,000 miles away? What if the other US and EU politicians had done the same? What if Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt had focused on actual diplomacy instead of regime change?”
It was one year ago last weekend that a violent coup overthrew the legally elected government of Ukraine. That coup was not only supported by US and EU governments — much of it was actually planned by them. Looking back at the events that led to the overthrow it is clear that without foreign intervention Ukraine would not be in its current, seemingly hopeless situation.
By the end of 2013, Ukraine’s economy was in ruins. The government was desperate for an economic bailout and then-president Yanukovych first looked west to the US and EU before deciding to accept an offer of help from Russia. Residents of south and east Ukraine, who largely speak Russian and trade extensively with Russia were pleased with the decision. West Ukrainians who identify with Poland and Europe began to protest. Ukraine is a deeply divided country and the president came from the eastern region.
At this point the conflict was just another chapter in Ukraine’s difficult post-Soviet history. There was bound to be some discontent over the decision, but if there had been no foreign intervention in support of the protests you would likely not be reading this column today. The problem may well have solved itself in due time rather than escalated into a full-out civil war. But the interventionists in the US and EU won out again, and their interventionist project has been a disaster.
The protests at the end of 2013 grew more dramatic and violent and soon a steady stream of US and EU politicians were openly participating, as protesters called for the overthrow of the Ukrainian government. Senator John McCain made several visits to Kiev and even addressed the crowd to encourage them.
Imagine if a foreign leader like Putin or Assad came to Washington to encourage protesters to overthrow the Obama Administration!
As we soon found out from a leaked telephone call, the US ambassador in Kiev and Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, were making detailed plans for a new government in Kiev after the legal government was overthrown with their assistance. …
David Warsh, proprietor of economicprincipals.com, also questions the media monolith:
… Notice anything funny about this narrative? Putin is always the impulsive actor, never the one who is acted upon. He is never reacting to anything that NATO or the Americans do.
There is nothing here about NATO expansion. Nothing about the brief 2008 war with Georgia. Nothing about the continuing controversy about who fired the shots on Kiev’s Maidan square, nothing about the phone call by US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, taped by the Russians at the height of the crisis; nothing about the Russian naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea. Nothing about the sanctions imposed on the Russians since the crisis began. Nothing about the Ukrainian army offensives in the southeast. Nothing about the Ukrainian vote to join NATO that may have triggered the January offensive. Nothing to note that all this is happening on Russia’s doorstep. Is it any wonder Putin is “doubling down”?
The scariest thing of all is that it may be Putin who has been telling the fundamental truth all along: NATO expansion in Georgia Ukraine is unacceptable to him and Russia is willing to go to war to rule it out. He’s been improvising, all right, but often in response to probes – Ukrainian, European, US. For a fuller argument along these lines, see Gordon Hahn’s illuminating commentary on The American Education of Vladimir Putin, by Clifford Gaddy and Fiona Hill, which appears in The Atlantic for February. …