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18 February 2020

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Fred

Walrus,

"Michael made his fortune simply by collecting unprocessed financial information and then selling it to end users. " As pointed out in a 2014 interview with CNN he also witholds information that some, in the case of that particular interview - the Communist Chinese government, don't want aired.

Ghoti

Thank you, Walrus.

I concur. Bloomberg’s own magazine ran an article a few years ago explaining that an average tractor is more computerized than a space shuttle. Farmers have to hack their tractors to get around software intended to make maintenance difficult without relying on the sellers. Richard Rhodes of “Making of the Atomic Bomb” fame wrote about how farmers are very talented in a broad array of skills. Your point on farmers and finance is spot on. A good farmer has a solid understanding of puts, calls, swaps, and other derivatives.

I wanted to like Bloomberg because I am beyond sick of Trump. I just can’t. Can’t people like him understand that their ignorance and smugness is what drives the revolt against elites?

Jack

Walrus

This is a vanity play for Bloomberg. To spend $2-3 billion on this project is investing less than 5% of his wealth. It likely was the same for Trump but since he’s always been a hustler he figured even if he lost he could parlay that to more celebrity and more brand value.

Unlike Trump however who did have a message that resonated with the working class, Bloomberg is similar to Hillary in that he’s a smug elitist condescending towards the lower middle class. There’s not an ounce of humility in him.

He’s attempting to buy the nomination by buying all those DNC office holders and party establishment figures as well as the media hacks who will sing and dance for some baksheesh.

While he struts the stage showering his billions he is just a puppet for Dear Leader Xi and his totalitarian Communist Party.

different clue

If people want to know just how complexificated farming can be, here is a short presentation by a farmer explaining some of what he did to grow 514 bushel-per-acre corn as a demonstration of the possible.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=sfp&p=you+tube+corn+school#id=1&vid=5f6af32e4add33d18f420e98e15b1533&action=click

akaPatience

In spite of his gun control and Big Gulp stances, I used to think Bloomberg was smarter than what's been revealed recently. I'm truly shocked at the ease with which he's publicly stated such ignorant, elitist opinions.

Wait until more of the public sees his Mary Poppins skit. Oh boy.

anon

Strange comment from a $68 billion self made man indeed.But as per script.Called 2 way information control.By controlling the flow of information from opposing sides one can change the facts on the ground to suit oneself

jayinbmore

Walrus,
As someone with 30 years in IT, comments like Bloomberg’s infuriate me. People seem to forget that without those who have skills like metalworking, all the physical infrastructure that makes IT possible disappears and IT work along with it. Programming is a worthless profession if the bridges collapse and the power goes out.

sbin

A Hillary Bloomberg ticket would would despise and find 99.9% of American population contemptible.
Fortunately a majority of Americans would hold a similar opinion of those two.

james

it would be so much easier if bloomberg was russian... but he's a capitalist.. oh well...

Flavius

As political power has shifted from so called flyover country to Washington DC, the bureaucracies, and the Federal Courts, the Democratic Party fattened itself up feeding in the government trough and forgot where it came from.
The new Democrat really does deplore the working man and all his works and days. His last remote connection with the farm was when he thought milk and meat came from the supermarket. Now staples just appear on the shelves of his refrigerator where the Salvadoran help has put them.
The new Democrat is one of the new Economy's big winners; and he considers himself justified in his winnings and his loathings because he thinks good thoughts about the help. What he pays her is not the point; and he knows a deplorable when he hears about one.

Upstate NY'er

Well said up to "anybody can be taught to code."
That depends - much of today's "coding" (web sites) is script writing and yes many people can be taught that.
Writing a complicated application in "C" or "C++" is not a job for the "anybodies."
I have 40 years in the software development field and have seen many intelligent people fail as programmers.
It's a certain way of thinking, ability to solve complex problems in a totally conceptual world.

Walrus

Upstate: “I have 40 years in the software development field and have seen many intelligent people fail as programmers.

It's a certain way of thinking, ability to solve complex problems in a totally conceptual world.”

With the greatest respect, so is farming and metalwork. Nothing is more conceptual than next years crop or a new metal product like an aircraft such as a B737 Max, Oh wait!

The Twisted Genius

Walrus,

Upstate NY'er made the point that struck me. Real coding requires artistic imagination that not everyone possesses. It goes beyond C or C++. My younger son has to envision what parts of a coding challenge are best addressed by any number of the myriad languages available today. Then piecing it all together in a way that avoids all the possible pitfalls requires even more imagination. I'm glad to see you realize that in your response to Upstate. Come to think of it, damned near any endeavor requires skills and thinking skills to execute competently as you aptly note in acknowledging the skills of a machinist and tool maker.

Having said that, I agree that Bloomberg's denigration of farming is flat ignorant. He may be good at many things, but his words indicate a certain blind spot to our society. In my opinion, extreme wealth, even if self-made, has a tendency to cause this blind spot. Just like Leona Helmsley or Donald Trump, Bloomberg seems to think he is owed something that the bulk of us are not.

doug

Walrus,

"Nothing is more conceptual than next years crop or a new metal product like an aircraft such as a B737 Max, Oh wait!"

No kidding. Programming failure. Validation failure. Simulation failure, Boeing failure.

In my years of hiring/firing programmers, the best ones were a bit on the autistic spectrum which isn't exactly a positive for most other areas. Also college degrees seem to have little relationship with how good a programmer is. Other areas where skills are developed and honed require both smarts and some degree of interpersonal skills.

Programmer's pay has benefited from the explosion of cheap hardware cpus. One result is that some places like Google grab up talent and pay a lot for it while others, especially old biz like Boeing, GE, etc. have pretty entrenched salary structures. There's been a lot of talent migration. Consider the median (not mean) pay at Google has been reported at around 250k/y.

Pretty much all fields find people getting ahead that have some programming skill. Farming is just one of them. It's a force multiplier because there are computer driven tools everywhere.

Maybe this will level out over time. Predictions are hard. Especially about the future.

David Solomon

The idea that anyone can be taught to code, is why we often encounter such garbage software. The skills that go into good programming are not unlike the skills that go into good farming and good auto repair. In each of these cases, not just anyone can be taught to do the job properly. Good programming skills, like good farming skills require patience, intelligence and dedication.

Upstate NY'er

Walrus:
I'm not disputing the difficulty of modern farming.
I live in a rural area and know farmers.
You couldn't pay me enough to do that job.
My point is that not everybody can learn to write complex production (can't fail) code.
Totally different(neither superior nor inferior) mindset from farming or metal work.

james

wendell berry is a type of hero of mine - an american farmer and more... read up on him if you don't know who he is... i've read many of his books on farming and etc too..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendell_Berry

The Twisted Genius

James,

If you like Wendell Berry, you may also like someone who I admire, Eric Sloane. He often wrote about early American farmers, their tools and their barns. As an artist he richly illustrated his works. His views about the strong and healthy connections between man and nature are similar to Berry's.

james

thanks ttg! i will look him up..

English Outsider

Different Clue - Corn School was fascinating. Thank you. Presumably much the same techniques are used with wheat.

I'm not going to tell you how many (few) tons to the acre I got in my long ago and only venture growing wheat, but I sold it at £110 per ton more than thirty years ago and now see the price here is around £160 per ton.

So putting the high flyers like the farmer in your video to one side, and if American wheat prices have followed the same trend, that means today's farmers are working on considerably lower margins than they were. Should they be?

Bloomberg and his fellows might do better to be focusing on those sorts of questions rather than telling people to learn to code.

different clue

English Outsider,

Your question is so important and interesting that an answer deserves more thought than I can give it right now.

All I can say right now is that I am a backyard hobby gardener, not a working professional farmer. I try reading/ listening/ etc. about farming in hopes of understanding some things in order to pull them down to my hobby gardening level.

If "Farmer Don" still reads these threads, one hopes he decides to contribute an answer as well.

I don't think Bloomberg/ Buttegieg/ Biden would even understand that these questions even exist. I think Klobuchar would vaguely understand that " an answer" of some sort might be expected. Sanders would recognize the importance of the question but I am not sure that he would actually know any more about agricultural policy and affairs than he knows about foreign policy and affairs.

different clue

@ English Outsider,

When I was very young, my father was an Assistant Professor of Economics at a mid-major Mid-Southern University. So I refused to learn Thing One about economics. You know how kids are.

Some decades later I found my way to a farming-and-agronomy paper called Acres USA. Under its founder and editor Charles Walters Junior it also had a heavy secondary emphasis on economics and political economics from farm to whole society and country and beyond. I struggled to understand what Walters and others were writing and writing about. I have spent so many years reading internet that I have neglected reading real books and I need to see if I can understand them ( and the legacy articles) better after years of living and learning otherwise.

What I still remember of the books and articles is that they were extremely high information and high-understanding and well worth having read and reading again. I will try to mention a couple or so of them briefestly to indicate why understanding them might offer answers to the questions you raise.

Walters's own understandings of economic affairs and management was encapsulated most briefly in a pamphlet called Parity: The Key To Prosperity Unlimited. I may have an unfindable copy somewhere. There is zero trace of its ever having even existed anywhere on the internets. My very partial understanding of "parity" is that it was about setting the best price . . . not too low or high . . . for raw materials from farm/forest/fishery/mine so that the producers of these things were paid enough money to be able to re-spend that money on enough production and services based on refining those first-step raw materials to keep a maximum amount of money actively circulating maximally to help keep all the "downstream" producers optimally paid and employed.

There was a time when "parity" was a recognized concept in the United States. Currently its proponents are dismissed as backward cranks and eccentrics. There are a couple of references to it on the interweb.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_parity

https://www.cornucopia.org/2013/01/a-brief-history-of-parity-pricing-and-the-present-day-ramifications-of-the-abandonment-of-a-par-economy/

and other links are findable and clickable.

Charles Walters also wrote a very dense and detailed book semi-recently re-issued under the title Unforgiven: The American Economic System SOLD For Debt And War.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2445566.Unforgiven
I can't synopsize a book in a paragraph. I will just say that this book led me to some of the same economic thinkers that Walters first found on his long slow grinding journey to understand these things. He laid out in detail the thinking and research of people like . . . Frederick Soddy, Erhard Pfingsten, "Red" Paulsen, Carl H. Wilken, and other people that America's Intelligentsia have never heard of.

He described how these people went from being well known at the time to being carefully obscurified and carefully forgottenized in the last few decades up to our own day. Who today has heard of " Carl H. Wilken"? And yet he once gave a long presentation on Parity Economics to a full Joint Session of Congress during the immediate Post-Depression period. And today? His name is barely findable in odd corners of the internet.
http://normeconomics.com/fame.html
copies of Wilkens's book may be findable with serious effort.
https://www.worldcat.org/title/prosperity-unlimited-the-american-way-the-answer-to-our-economic-problems/oclc/1847704/editions?referer=di&editionsView=true

One other name I learned and still remember from Charles Walters's book is Henry Carey. In America's first few decades, Free Trade was understood to be unAmerican and poverty-genic and was overtly rejected as a concept by Henry Carey and other people in the new Republic's government. It was called " the British system".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Charles_Carey

Also, Charles Walters more recently wrote a book called
Raw Materials Economics. https://www.acresusa.com/products/raw-materials-economics
A group called National Organization for Raw Materials has a page where one can gain a flavor of what this book is about.
http://normeconomics.org/

Again . . . it is years since I have actually read these books and I really need to again. I might understand them better this time around. But I strongly sensed at the time and still do that these books are worth knowing and understanding. They would help answer the question of whether the margins today's farmers are working on are high enough.

Bloomberg and his fellows have clearly never heard of these books or these people. They know nothing of any of this.

And neither has Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is considered the Gold Standard of brilliant knowledge on the left. He is not "just" a socialist. He! is a Syndico-Anarchalist or some such thing. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. If I were to visit Europe and try moving in left wing social circles, the appearance of knowing Chomsky would get me into all the best parties and dances.

But I feel confident that Chomsky has never heard of Charles Walters or Erhard Pfingsten or Vince Rossiter or Red Paulsen or Carl Wilken or any of those people.

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