Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:34 am UTC

One percent of the population being unable to work due to mental illness sounds about what I would expect.

Edit: typo
Last edited by Iulus Cofield on Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:29 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Kethryes » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:21 am UTC

The problem is not that there are people who 'abuse' the system by faking disability. The problem is that those people would be in a worse situation if they did not. And as it was mentioned that is hardly riding on gold...
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby folkhero » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:30 am UTC

Kethryes wrote:The problem is not that there are people who 'abuse' the system by faking disability. The problem is that those people would be in a worse situation if they did not. And as it was mentioned that is hardly riding on gold...

I agree that the fact that faking to get on disability is the best option for lots of people is a major problem. I was just pointing out that there are almost certainly plenty of fakers out there and if we are going to have a real discussion about this we can't get offended at the suggestion that some people are faking. And again, when I say "faking" I include things like exaggeration of somewhat serious conditions.

It's also important to keep in mind that the incentives aren't just for the person receiving disability benefits, but for the states that might otherwise be on the hook for welfare benefits and lawyers who only get paid if they secure benefits for clients. The agencies states hire to get people from welfare to disability and the TV ad lawyers pretty much are riding on gold.
Iulus Cofield wrote:One percent of the population being unable to work due to mental illness sounds about what I would expect.
For all I know it might be quite a bit higher. Of course not everyone that can't work due to mental illness is on disability. Some people can't function at a high enough level to even get on the program (and don't have a support structure that can get them on it either) some people are taken care of by families or communities that would prefer to help the person without government help, some people refuse to get on disability for reasons of ethical beliefs or pride, etcetera. It's not a matter of simply looking at the number of people that can't work due to disability and comparing it to the number of people that are getting disability benefits to see which is higher. You have to look at the people on disability benefits and determine how many of them got on disability with some degree of fakery.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby leady » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:18 am UTC

bare in mind that the percentages being discussed here aren't of total population (were they approach reasonable) but rather a percentage of working age populace (broadly, their are exceptions such as carers allowance etc), which is roughly 50% of the total ( and getting worse)

yes that does mean in the UK that our 5 - 6 million across incap and disability is about 20% of working age folks.

I don't know about other UK people, but I don't walk around agast at a populace that looks like akin to returning veterans of ww1 (cue retorts they are home bound, disenfranchised etc)

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:35 am UTC

folkhero wrote:One thing I hope we can agree on is that we need to consider the large number of people on disability when we talk about unemployment and welfare numbers instead of pretending the people on disability aren't a significant part of the issue.


I want to repeat -- businesses are more efficient when they can hire fewer people, and hire people at lower wages. Industrial automation has reached the point that most jobs that you can define easily -- where you can write out what the employee should do and have them do it -- can be automated. The big barriers are that first it costs money to automate that kind of job the first time, and second robots must be owned, while people can be rented cheap. So at the margin it is cheaper to rent people who can be laid off at the first downturn, than buy machines.

The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.

But if people can get by without working, some of them will choose not to work. The horror! They might get by without working and not starve! Leeching off the hard workers! This is horribly immoral! We have to make sure that nobody who *could* work, who doesn't have anything wrong with them that keeps them from getting work, doesn't get away with anything. In fact we can pay people to work hard to make sure that able-bodied workers don't try to get away with not working. That provides some jobs for the people who do the checking.

We feel like it's immoral for people to try to get by without working. If the government gives away money to people to not work, that's transfer payments. Your taxes, on your hard-earned income, goes to bums who don't work, who would rather not work! You don't want to work, you only do it for the money, and other people get money for free. Horrible.

One possible approach is to pay people to do hard work which does not produce anything. The harder they have to work, the clearer it is they don't get something for nothing. During the depression somebody came up with the idea to arrest bums and put them into cells that gradually fill up with water, and they have to either work hard pumping the water out or they drown. I doubt that ever happened, but people felt better thinking about it.

The US military is kind of like that. They do hard, dangerous, usually-boring work. I doubt they are actually accomplishing anything in Afghanistan but there's no question they are working hard enough to deserve their pay. While the Reserves are overseas they can't do their jobs at home and somebody else has to do that work at least temporarily, but they are guaranteed to get their jobs back when they come home. The number of jobs probably goes up some. And war industries provide some jobs that otherwise would not exist, though they tend to be a bit ahead about automating those. But the wars are extremely expensive jobs programs so they are being phased out. I hope.

Another approach is to set up training programs. We can pay people to teach new skills to unemployed people, and pay the students a little to learn. Of course, why would anybody hire somebody with no experience fresh out of a government training program? It provides jobs for teachers and something to do for unemployed people, but when the graduates don't get many jobs then we naturally want to close it down.

It's a game of musical chairs, and we naturally tend to think the losers are immoral for losing. If they had tried harder they could have gotten those jobs. The ones who tried harder and got the jobs are good. The ones who didn't try hard enough and didn't get them are lazy bums who should be punished because they don't want to work.

And if they try to say there's something wrong with them that keeps them from getting jobs, that's even more immoral. If they just had enough determination they could have gotten past their disabilities and gotten the jobs. If I can get a job, anybody can get a job. I got my job by hard work, I worked full time and overtime looking for work and I won. When I get fired (likely the company will get bought out in the next 6 months, but maybe it will hold out more than a year) I will work even harder getting another job. (I ought to start now, but it's hard to put in the effort after a full day's work.) Anybody with enough dedication can do it. If you fail, it's because you didn't try hard enough. Musical chairs. The winners are good people. The losers are lazy bums.

We don't want people starving in the streets. That's gross. Particularly when we make so much cheap food, more than we know what to do with. So we feed lots of poor people. Food stamps are an attempt to make sure they buy food and not any kind of luxuries. But we look for ways to punish people who don't try hard enough to get jobs, because we don't want them to get away with anything.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Роберт » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:54 pm UTC

Some people care about not providing perverse incentives that would overall reduce the standard of living. That's why a lot of the discussion on how to help poor people ends of talking about welfare cliffs, or situations where parents are afraid that if their child does well in school they'll lose income.

We don't want people to starve, but we don't want people to be stuck in a situation where they aren't doing anything productive. Honestly, even if you have disabilities that are fairly severe, there's probably something productive you could offer. And being productive usually helps people feel better than they would otherwise.

Also, some people are privileged arrogant jerks who feel the experience of others is less valid than their own opinions and literally think that "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" is a realistic option, and anyone on welfare is probably just lazy.

Try to keep in mind which kind of person you're responding too. There are valid concerns in how disability and unemployment should be handled.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:22 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Some people care about not providing perverse incentives that would overall reduce the standard of living. That's why a lot of the discussion on how to help poor people ends of talking about welfare cliffs, or situations where parents are afraid that if their child does well in school they'll lose income.

We don't want people to starve, but we don't want people to be stuck in a situation where they aren't doing anything productive. Honestly, even if you have disabilities that are fairly severe, there's probably something productive you could offer. And being productive usually helps people feel better than they would otherwise.


Agreed. We could find something productive to do with almost everybody, if we needed them. But a whole lot of people are simply not needed by today's economy.

Why should companies offer low-paying hard-work jobs to people with disabilities, when there are a surplus of healthy people begging for the work? Well, because the federal government will reward them if they do and punish them if they don't. But the healthy workers need the jobs more, because they have far less excuse for not getting them....

Percent of Americans with jobs.
http://static4.businessinsider.com/imag ... ecades.jpg
Notice that in the old days, this amount of employment was considered about right. A lot of people managed homes etc rather than be employees in the outside economy. But we can't do it that way now. First, women deserve to go out and be successful employees just as much as men do. More important, in a family with an adult who doesn't work, the breadwinner might at any time find somebody else and go off with them, leaving their spouse depending on child support plus whatever they can earn with no work history. And other things equal, the cost of maintaining two households is around twice the cost of maintaining one. In a world where divorce is cheap, easy, and not socially disapproved, it's far too risky for any adult to depend on someone else for their bread.

Third, here's wages as percent of the economy.
http://static2.businessinsider.com/imag ... me-low.jpg
It takes two jobs to maintain what people think of as an adequate standard of living.

So there are more people competing for fewer jobs. There's no particular reason to think the bubble economy jobs will come back. The compute revolution and the internet have created a new economy which might never need those jobs. Too soon to be sure, there's room for hope, but I think that's the way to bet.

Try to keep in mind which kind of person you're responding too. There are valid concerns in how disability and unemployment should be handled.


Sure. At the moment, we have a lot of people who want work but who can't get it. We try various ways to fudge the numbers to make them look smaller because it makes the President look bad, but it's a lot. It isn't just that we have people who are used to making big bucks who don't want to work retail. We don't even have enough minimum wage jobs for the number of people who are looking for work. Maybe if we reduced the minimum wage a lot? But in my area it's hard for a single person to survive on minimum wage, they'd still need various sorts of support.

Profits per dollar of sales are doing fine. It's just that the bulk of the US population is getting a smaller share of that....
http://static5.businessinsider.com/imag ... before.jpg

If some of that money got shifted to support people without jobs and people with low-paying jobs, the nation would be better off. On the other hand, we need to concentrate that wealth so we can invest in green energy and infrastructure and all the things that can help the economy survive the coming crises.

Something has to give. My natural thought, apart from public opinion, is to cut medical care. If we cut back our medical treatments to around 1970 levels, not doing the things we did then that we now know were useless or worse, people wouldn't be that bad off. We lived pretty well then. And it didn't cost anything like what it costs now. Then we could improve the care as we found cost-effective ways to do so.

That would free up a whole lot of resources. But I doubt the public would accept it.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby engr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:40 pm UTC

emceng wrote:I find this quote to be quite disheartening.

Jahleel's mom wants him to do well in school. That is absolutely clear. But her livelihood depends on Jahleel struggling in school.


"In a country where people get paid for being sick, old, and disabled, people become sick, old, or disabled".
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Derek » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:42 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.

I've got about five thousand years of evidence that the number of jobs will go up.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:51 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.

I've got about five thousand years of evidence that the number of jobs will go up.


That's nice. I have five thousand years of evidence that we will have recurrent plagues and famines, and the number of literate people will usually be very low.

I'll raise you. I have over a million years of evidence that the level of technology will be mostly things that people can make for themselves with their own hands out of stuff they find lying around, though excellent flint knappers will almost always do well.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:16 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Derek wrote:
J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.

I've got about five thousand years of evidence that the number of jobs will go up.


That's nice. I have five thousand years of evidence that we will have recurrent plagues and famines, and the number of literate people will usually be very low.

I'll raise you. I have over a million years of evidence that the level of technology will be mostly things that people can make for themselves with their own hands out of stuff they find lying around, though excellent flint knappers will almost always do well.


Looking at averages and ignoring trends is silly. Assuming that the current trend will not continue is something that, while not unreasonable, demands at least a scrap of evidence, not reduction to an argument of the type used by climate denialists.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby EMTP » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:25 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:One percent of the population being unable to work due to mental illness sounds about what I would expect.

Edit: typo


Gonna be more than that. 1% is the incidence of schizophrenia (interestingly, this seems stable across many different societies) and very few of them will ever hold down a job.

Of course lots of mentally ill people are never going to have it together enough to get on disability.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:48 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:One percent of the population being unable to work due to mental illness sounds about what I would expect.

Edit: typo


Gonna be more than that. 1% is the incidence of schizophrenia (interestingly, this seems stable across many different societies) and very few of them will ever hold down a job.

Of course lots of mentally ill people are never going to have it together enough to get on disability.

Indeed, something like 20% of homeless people suffer from a mental illness. Forget being on disability, having a place to live and food security aren't a given. So of course the percentage claiming disability isn't the same as the incidence of mental illness.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

Good point. I wonder how many people on disability officially for other reasons also have a qualifying mental illness.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Derek wrote:
J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.

I've got about five thousand years of evidence that the number of jobs will go up.


That's nice. I have five thousand years of evidence that we will have recurrent plagues and famines, and the number of literate people will usually be very low.

I'll raise you. I have over a million years of evidence that the level of technology will be mostly things that people can make for themselves with their own hands out of stuff they find lying around, though excellent flint knappers will almost always do well.


Looking at averages and ignoring trends is silly. Assuming that the current trend will not continue is something that, while not unreasonable, demands at least a scrap of evidence, not reduction to an argument of the type used by climate denialists.


Yes, exactly. So we can talk about the last 5000 years, but for most of 5000 years there were more agricultural jobs than anything else. Then within the last few hundred years we started pushing more and more people off the land until now the USA grows a nice food surplus using less than 1% of the population. How much of the evidence from the last 5000 years is relevant to that?

The current US trend is a pretty flat job market, where the number of jobs goes up around the rate of population increase, and the new jobs tend to pay badly. But this trend hasn't gone on long enough to have much certainty about it. Only 3 years.

But then, the industrial revolution hasn't been going on for very long compared to the million+ years before, where there weren't many machines that a person couldn't figure out by looking at them for a little while. Surely it's been long enough to say the industrial revolution was a fundamental change, and things are different now.

Has industrial automation gone far enough to say things are truly different? I don't know.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:20 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Then within the last few hundred years we started pushing more and more people off the land until now the USA grows a nice food surplus using less than 1% of the population. How much of the evidence from the last 5000 years is relevant to that?
All of it. Trends don't have to be linear. In this case it would probably look like an asymptotic curve approaching zero. And the more data you have, the better you can project that curve.
J Thomas wrote:But then, the industrial revolution hasn't been going on for very long compared to the million+ years before, where there weren't many machines that a person couldn't figure out by looking at them for a little while. Surely it's been long enough to say the industrial revolution was a fundamental change, and things are different now.
Nope, while the industrial revolution may have departed from the norm slightly, I'm sure you can fit a curve to overall jobs. In fact, the IR is a great example of how while jobs shift around, they still generally go up. Even though agriculture jobs were going down, industrial jobs were going up, and overall jobs went up.
J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.
The idea that the national job market peaked in 2007 and will never again reach that level is pretty ridiculous and would need substantial evidence to support it even without historical trends pointing to the contrary.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:34 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.
The idea that the national job market peaked in 2007 and will never again reach that level is pretty ridiculous and would need substantial evidence to support it even without historical trends pointing to the contrary.


I hope you are right. From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right, but you probably have access to different evidence.

Regardless, you could be right in your conclusion and I hope you are.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby curtis95112 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:49 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right.


One heck of a sentence you have there.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby jestingrabbit » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:17 am UTC

folkhero wrote:Saying that people are faking mental illness isn't good obviously, and we shouldn't accuse people of it unless we are trained in the relevant field and have given the person in question a full work up. But let's look at it from a demographic point of view: almost 5% of the US population is on disability and almost 20% of those are getting disability for mental illness. Another third are getting disability for back and other muscle pain (and related conditions). Is it really a coincidence that over half of disability claims are in the categories of medical conditions that are hardest to diagnose?


That works out to 1% of the population getting disability payments for mental illness. .4% of the population has bipolar, .2% have schizophrenia. Its estimated that major depressive disorders effects about 4.3% of the global population. We haven't talked about OCD, anxiety disorders etc etc.

It seems like a lot of people with these, sometimes incredibly debilitating, illnesses aren't claiming, or eligible, for disability.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Kethryes » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:29 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right.


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J Thomas wrote:From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:26 am UTC

curtis95112 wrote:
J Thomas wrote:From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right.


One heck of a sentence you have there.


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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby yawningdog » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:29 pm UTC

When I returned from my Iraq tour in late '06, I sat through a lot of briefings to ensure I was aware of all the benefits available to me as an Iraq war vet. I'll paraphrase the disability speaker.

"I am personally on 30% disability due to pain in my shoulder from carrying a weapon. You can get disability for just about anything from back pain, to headaches, to anxiety. Pretty much any ailment you have is covered by disability, even if it's just ten percent."

I'll stop paraphrasing now and give you a direct quote from him.

"I want to encourage everyone here to apply for some kind of disability." He said this having no knowledge of anyone in the group with injuries or ailments. He was not a doctor, or any other kind of health care professional.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:15 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:The job market has become a game of musical chairs. There is little reason to expect that the number of jobs will ever go up much, and strong reason to think it will go down.
The idea that the national job market peaked in 2007 and will never again reach that level is pretty ridiculous and would need substantial evidence to support it even without historical trends pointing to the contrary.


I hope you are right. From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right, but you probably have access to different evidence.

Regardless, you could be right in your conclusion and I hope you are.

Are you referring to actual evidence or are you repeating your own personal ramblings? You've stated several times that you think technology is going to make jobs disappear forever. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea I'd love to see it.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:25 pm UTC

yawningdog wrote:I'll stop paraphrasing now and give you a direct quote from him.

"I want to encourage everyone here to apply for some kind of disability." He said this having no knowledge of anyone in the group with injuries or ailments. He was not a doctor, or any other kind of health care professional.


Yup. I also heard that as part of my getting out of the military training. I believe it's standard practice to bring in a VA speaker to discuss such things. Awareness is good, but they go too far in encouraging absolutely everyone to apply.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Shepherdess » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:36 pm UTC

I'm not on disability, but I'm looking to get on supplemental disability. I've got four different chronic illness. I've never actually had a job because there are none where I'm currently at and very few where I'm going back to live. But school was very difficult for me because I kept missing so much of it, and while everything is a bit more in control now I know there are going to be days in the future where I can't go to my hypothetical work, so I'd like to have some insurance that I'm going to be able to buy food when I'm on my own.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:01 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I hope you are right. From the evidence I have seen it looks utterly foolish to think it's ridiculous to doubt you are right, but you probably have access to different evidence.

Regardless, you could be right in your conclusion and I hope you are.

Are you referring to actual evidence or are you repeating your own personal ramblings? You've stated several times that you think technology is going to make jobs disappear forever. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea I'd love to see it.


Currently we need human drivers. We won't always.
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"As of the end of 2008, there were 92,600 self-checkout units worldwide. The number is estimated to reach 430,000 units by 2014."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_checkout

There are still places for humans in industry. Some jobs require human brains to do things that we have no idea how to program, particularly to handle idiosyncratic human language, and to "think like a human being". No existing machine can replace a human nose to judge the esthetics of smells. No computer program is as good as an expert human to predict irrational human choices and respond profitably to them.

"Many roles for humans in industrial processes presently lie beyond the scope of automation. Human-level pattern recognition, language comprehension, and language production ability are well beyond the capabilities of modern mechanical and computer systems. Tasks requiring subjective assessment or synthesis of complex sensory data, such as scents and sounds, as well as high-level tasks such as strategic planning, currently require human expertise. In many cases, the use of humans is more cost-effective than mechanical approaches even where automation of industrial tasks is possible."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automation ... automation

The new trend is still too new to be certain of. But production is up. Profits are up. Employment is not up. It is suggestive. I will be glad if the job market expands. I don't think it's ridiculous to suppose it might not.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:34 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Currently we need human drivers. We won't always.

Cars themselves rendered coach drivers, valets, and stableboys obsolete. Edison and Westinghouse put the coal-lamp industry out of business. I'm sure someone had the idea back in the 1900s that employment had peaked and would never again return to the glory days of 1849. That person was wrong.

The human population continues to grow at an incredible rate. So does the job market. None of the thousands of "earth-shattering" technological advances has changed that to date.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:07 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Currently we need human drivers. We won't always.

Cars themselves rendered coach drivers, valets, and stableboys obsolete. Edison and Westinghouse put the coal-lamp industry out of business. I'm sure someone had the idea back in the 1900s that employment had peaked and would never again return to the glory days of 1849. That person was wrong.

The human population continues to grow at an incredible rate. So does the job market. None of the thousands of "earth-shattering" technological advances has changed that to date.


I hope you are right. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea, beyond the hope that nothing has really changed, I'd love to see it.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:38 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Currently we need human drivers. We won't always.

Cars themselves rendered coach drivers, valets, and stableboys obsolete. Edison and Westinghouse put the coal-lamp industry out of business. I'm sure someone had the idea back in the 1900s that employment had peaked and would never again return to the glory days of 1849. That person was wrong.

The human population continues to grow at an incredible rate. So does the job market. None of the thousands of "earth-shattering" technological advances has changed that to date.


I hope you are right. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea, beyond the hope that nothing has really changed, I'd love to see it.


There are a number of positions that machines simply cannot make, those requiring professional judgement. Judges, lawyers, engineers, land surveyors, nurses, doctors, etc. Then there are the aesthetic professions; architects, film makers, artists, makeup artists, fashion designers, etc.

For every machine that is made, you need someone to design it, someone to build the machines that build it (that build the machine that build the machines...); and someone to repair them when they break down.

Humanity is one of the most amazing species, simply for it capacity to be bored and making new shit up.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby sardia » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:58 pm UTC

Soon, eran, the tyranny of "professionals" and "artists" will end, and we'll finally have artifical intelligence provide better services than our current cadre of overpaid meatbags.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:03 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:I hope you are right. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea, beyond the hope that nothing has really changed, I'd love to see it.

That's where that 5000 years of history comes in. I believe that next year, the majority of humans will have work. I have 5000 pieces of evidence that support that historical trend.

You believe that this historical trend is going to take a wild turn, and there will never be as much work as there was in 2007, based on your irrational fears.

You might as well say that a sinkhole to hell will open up underneath the Eiffel Tower in 2014, because TECHNOLOGY. I would take you just as seriously.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:17 pm UTC

addams wrote:It is better for a people to be too generous with one another than not generous enough.

Better by far.

The only thing I I've seen you post that makes sense to my reading skills. Wow. Nice one.

We will gradually need fewer cashiers for various businesses.

The self check outs I saw used the same amount of staff, they just paid them less.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:30 pm UTC

yawningdog wrote:When I returned from my Iraq tour in late '06, I sat through a lot of briefings to ensure I was aware of all the benefits available to me as an Iraq war vet. I'll paraphrase the disability speaker.

"I am personally on 30% disability due to pain in my shoulder from carrying a weapon. You can get disability for just about anything from back pain, to headaches, to anxiety. Pretty much any ailment you have is covered by disability, even if it's just ten percent."

I'll stop paraphrasing now and give you a direct quote from him.

"I want to encourage everyone here to apply for some kind of disability." He said this having no knowledge of anyone in the group with injuries or ailments. He was not a doctor, or any other kind of health care professional.

Now, is this disability through the VA, or not? Cause yeah, absolutely apply for VA help... and then wait three years for them to process your claim.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:31 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Soon, eran, the tyranny of "professionals" and "artists" will end, and we'll finally have artifical intelligence provide better services than our current cadre of overpaid meatbags.


Meh. I'll wait for actual AI that's even on par with us before making such predictions. AI has niche uses at present, but really isn't immediately likely to surpass humanity.

And if it does, GOOD. We'll deal with it then, and it will be little different than having a pool of smarter, more highly educated people, which, frankly, is great.

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby folkhero » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:52 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:It seems like a lot of people with these, sometimes incredibly debilitating, illnesses aren't claiming, or eligible, for disability.

Yes, and? I said as much myself:
folkhero wrote:For all I know it might be quite a bit higher. Of course not everyone that can't work due to mental illness is on disability. Some people can't function at a high enough level to even get on the program (and don't have a support structure that can get them on it either) some people are taken care of by families or communities that would prefer to help the person without government help, some people refuse to get on disability for reasons of ethical beliefs or pride, etcetera. It's not a matter of simply looking at the number of people that can't work due to disability and comparing it to the number of people that are getting disability benefits to see which is higher. You have to look at the people on disability benefits and determine how many of them got on disability with some degree of fakery.
And let me reiterate (since you don't seem to be following my posts very closely) that when I say fakery I am including the slight exaggeration of marginal conditions (not quite bad enough to get on disability) which, I would guess make up a larger portion of fakery than outright fabrications of serious medical issues. It's hopelessly naive to think that there is no fakery of mental illness when it's difficult to get a firm diagnosis for mental illness and there is so much incentive for so many people to fake. I'm not just talking about the incentives for the patients, but also doctors (since disability includes medical coverage), lawyers (they don't get paid unless they win according to their ubiquitous commercials) and state-hired agencies that get paid for each person they move from welfare to disability.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:14 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I hope you are right. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea, beyond the hope that nothing has really changed, I'd love to see it.

That's where that 5000 years of history comes in. I believe that next year, the majority of humans will have work. I have 5000 pieces of evidence that support that historical trend.


OK, I'll take that as a no. You have every right to your unsupported belief and I hope you are right.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby EMTP » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:34 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I hope you are right. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea, beyond the hope that nothing has really changed, I'd love to see it.

That's where that 5000 years of history comes in. I believe that next year, the majority of humans will have work. I have 5000 pieces of evidence that support that historical trend.


OK, I'll take that as a no. You have every right to your unsupported belief and I hope you are right.


In point of fact there is a school of thought that argues that in the absence of clear evidence one way or the other, you can look at a condition that has existed for some time, and deduce that there is a 95% chance that it is neither in the first 2.5% of its duration, nor the last 2.5%. Therefore if you both agree that the condition has existed for 5,000 years, one could make a rational case that it is likely to persist for the next 125 years.

But getting to the specifics, the idea that mechanization is going to reduce the total number of jobs is a well-known and often disproved fallacy. Machines getting better does not make human labor valueless.

If most people come to lack any skills worth minimum wage, and are not trainable in such, then you could see a long-term decline in employment. That risk is more a function of the level of social services, healthcare, and education available to the population, not automation. Put simply, people can cease to be a valuable resource only if we chronically abuse the resource, taking too much out without investing enough.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby J Thomas » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:29 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:In point of fact there is a school of thought that argues that in the absence of clear evidence one way or the other, you can look at a condition that has existed for some time, and deduce that there is a 95% chance that it is neither in the first 2.5% of its duration, nor the last 2.5%. Therefore if you both agree that the condition has existed for 5,000 years, one could make a rational case that it is likely to persist for the next 125 years.


That makes sense, in the absence of any evidence. But there is reason to think that things are changing faster now than they did 5000 years ago. For example, there aren't many monarchies now that pass power from father to son. Syria is the main example I can think of, and it doesn't look likely that one will last to a third generation. Well, there are the Saudis who appear to have no serious opposition, but then they have absolute censorship and they're pretty ruthless when they do sniff out opponents. I guess there are a few more around there and somebody in north africa, etc. But 5000 years ago there must have been thousands.

But getting to the specifics, the idea that mechanization is going to reduce the total number of jobs is a well-known and often disproved fallacy. Machines getting better does not make human labor valueless.


Well, but what makes it a fallacy? When one kind of job is automated, the result is more product and better product, so there is more wealth. That can easily translate into more jobs making other things. And of course the first things to be automated tend to be the ones that humans do particularly badly. Very often those are jobs people find particularly debilitating. The new jobs are likely to be better. So in the long run everybody is better off.

But what if it were to happen to too many jobs at once? Lots of things are being produced better, there is more wealth, because they are not being made by human beings who are not very good at those jobs. What kind of work should the people do? We can't all be lawyers and judges. (At least I hope not.) We can't all be doctors or architects. Maybe a whole lot of people could become telemarketers and try to sell great new products to each other? Artists? Sell their art to each other? Performance artists?

Each time that people have worried about job loss, it has turned out that there were more jobs later. Except for the Depression, which probably had specific causes, and we did get out of that one. And now, which is too soon to tell about.

If most people come to lack any skills worth minimum wage, and are not trainable in such, then you could see a long-term decline in employment. That risk is more a function of the level of social services, healthcare, and education available to the population, not automation. Put simply, people can cease to be a valuable resource only if we chronically abuse the resource, taking too much out without investing enough.


That's one way it can happen. If there aren't enough people who get advanced engineering training, then we won't have enough engineers. But on the other hand if we train too many engineers we won't magically find jobs for them just because we have them.

And people who can't do anything we need done, because they were never taught the skills etc, will be useless. We need to train more schoolchildren in web design, and Flash, and Cobol, RPG, assembly language, how to run a linotype, how to do subsistence farming, etc. What? You say Flash is on its way out and they need to learn Ruby on Rails instead? Historically it wasn't all that long ago you could join a guild and learn one profession in maybe 7 years, and spend the rest of your life doing it.
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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:03 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I hope you are right. If you have any actual evidence supporting that idea, beyond the hope that nothing has really changed, I'd love to see it.

That's where that 5000 years of history comes in. I believe that next year, the majority of humans will have work. I have 5000 pieces of evidence that support that historical trend.


OK, I'll take that as a no. You have every right to your unsupported belief and I hope you are right.


In point of fact there is a school of thought that argues that in the absence of clear evidence one way or the other, you can look at a condition that has existed for some time, and deduce that there is a 95% chance that it is neither in the first 2.5% of its duration, nor the last 2.5%. Therefore if you both agree that the condition has existed for 5,000 years, one could make a rational case that it is likely to persist for the next 125 years.

But getting to the specifics, the idea that mechanization is going to reduce the total number of jobs is a well-known and often disproved fallacy. Machines getting better does not make human labor valueless.

If most people come to lack any skills worth minimum wage, and are not trainable in such, then you could see a long-term decline in employment. That risk is more a function of the level of social services, healthcare, and education available to the population, not automation. Put simply, people can cease to be a valuable resource only if we chronically abuse the resource, taking too much out without investing enough.


Well, all trends have to end at some time. At some lovely point, perhaps robots really will provide our every desire. That actually sounds pretty nice. I'd happily live there. Ain't gonna happen anytime in the vaguely near future, though.

And yeah, machines getting better is a virtue, not a vice. I had the privilege of getting a private tour last summer of a factory by the fellow that was doing their process automation. He told me that as he automated, they didn't actually lose overall jobs...they simply converted jobs to operator jobs from the previous menial positions. Better paid positions, too, because, let's be honest, the menial jobs of stacking things and gluing things together paid poorly. How is this possible? Well, they made a LOT more stuff with the automation. So, the company overall grew, increasing US market share in that area, the end prices of the product got cheaper, and better jobs were there to be had. Win for everyone(except, I suppose, the companies in china who lost market share).

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Re: Nearly 5% of the US population is on disability

Postby jestingrabbit » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:25 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:It seems like a lot of people with these, sometimes incredibly debilitating, illnesses aren't claiming, or eligible, for disability.

Yes, and?


You invited me to look at the demographics. That's what I did. I then stated an obvious conclusion.

My point is that even if there is "fakery", there are also people who probably are eligible and not applying and are ineligible and should be. There might be some people scamming the system, but making it more strict is also going to deprive worthy individuals of the state's assistance. My point is also that 1 percent of the population claiming mental illness disability seems entirely in keeping with the incidence of these illnesses.

As for the incentives for people to help get people on disability, given that the rates of people on disability seems low when compared to the incidence of the illnesses, and that the system is already so complicated that you to hire a lawyer to have a reasonable chance of receiving help, the balance seems tipped well and truly against helping people.
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