Timmy elsewhere

The Guardian Wrong – Apple, Suicide, China, Wages – About Everything, All The Time

Mr. Chakrabortty’s latest insane drivel.

28 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Summing up, we can have iKit made in China (or some other lower wage country) that the vast majority can afford, or we can have very expensive iKit for the rich. And that would really get Chakrabortty wound up.

  2. Tim

    Major alert – Check out Murphy’s second post this morning – Swedish tax incentives for repair – would be interested to hear your take on this, as I do try and repair stuff where possible. It’s a very rare beast, a Murphy post where some thought seems to have gone into it – I am bookmarking it in the favourites as it is simply extraordinary for him.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    Wasn’t there a factoid going around when there was was a big stink about Dyson moving his manufacturing abroad it turned out he doubled or trebled the UK workforce as a result? And these were the high end jobs that people talk about needing to generate.

    *(or some other multiple)

  4. BiND

    The glories of trade and capitalism, as our gracious host constantly points out.

    We get the kit at a price all, not just the elite, can afford (look at all the SJW and havenots who use Apple .-) ) and the Chinese (read any poorer nation) get lifted out of poverty.

    Is there inequality? Of course, but poverty is on the way out and no thanks to gits like Chaky. When I have a Ferrari and you have 3 that is inequality, and somehow that doesn’t worry me.

    Re Dyson, the guy is so worried about the lack of engineers (he currently wants to double the number he has in the UK, to 3000 I think, and yes those are the high paid jobs like in Apple in Cupertino) that he has linked up with Imperial to produce 40 a year to meet his requirements. He sees quite rightly that manufacturing is now low added value and he is out of it. Way to go for hi-tec companies.

    My 18 year old twins are starting Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff and Loughborough (phew!) as they see no point in getting into debt over something with nil job opportunities and they know that as engineers, they can be entrepreneurs, barmen, gigolos or corporate drones or work on all sorts of exciting stuff.

  5. Van_Patten,

    What? That’s incentivising people keeping older, more inefficient washing machines than new ones. And for what? A small amount of energy to melt it down into scrap? A few bits of plastic and glass? Compared to the effect of years of washing, miniscule.

    People mostly switched from repair to binning because it’s more efficient. I asked around about the price of a new battery as I think mine is on the blink. And I got quoted £60. But I can get a Moto G4 for £159 that outperforms my phone. So, it’s borderline what to do.

  6. Chakrabortty’s doubly wrong, of course. Not only doesn’t he recognise the benefit to countries like China, he’s missing the effects of globalisation on the western workforce.

    There’s no guarantee the devastation of low-to-medium skilled job markets in the west won’t continue, or even accelerate, as countries like India and China build on the advances they’ve made under globalisation and technology makes it cheaper to automate jobs.
    Sure, there’s feedback loops all over the place, I don’t pretend to know how this will play out. But that’s where globalisation’s actual dangers lie.

    The Guardian types are getting exactly what they’ve asked for, the rich are lifting the poor out of poverty. Pity they never worked out that even Western poor are rich in comparison.

    The Guardian: We haven’t learned a fucking thing since at least the Miner’s Strike.

  7. BiW

    There’s also the “what’s your time worth to you” issue. Even if you “charge yourself” at about the non-specialist labour rate, £10/hr or so, all the fiddling about with getting instructions or watching tutorials and obtaining parts adds up to a fair amount for many tasks. If you rate your time at £20, £30, £50 an hour then for something that only costs a couple of hundred pounds to replace new then there’s often very little point. And if would cost in the thousands (motors or building works or restoring top-end furniture) and you’re an amateur who doesn’t know what you’re doing, there’s a very good case for getting the professionals in.

    The DIY Ethos is all well and good, and I’m sure it can be very personally rewarding to think “I did that!” – but you can’t have a complex and wealthy economy like we do without there being some merit to specialisation.

  8. (Self-sufficiency is one of those things that sounds very worthy, but generally makes us all poorer. Ditto “repair and recycle” if you’re working against the value chain to do it.)

  9. BiW

    I agree with you – I think it’s a matter of choice, and it is down to the individual to make a rational cost analysis of whether to repair or replace. My point being normally a Murphy entry is either functionally illiterate, self-contradictory or idiotic (frequently all three) This stood out because while I agree with you there are flaws with the policy, it could at least be vaguely defensible. For Murphy, believe it or not, that makes it something of a rarity

  10. > to slash the VAT rate on repairs to bicycles, clothes and shoes from 25% to 12%

    It’s not going to make much difference though, is it? If it costs £20+VAT to fix a bicycle today, the tax difference is just £2.50.

    It’s a moot point in Britain: our VAT threshold is high enough that small repair shops shouldn’t be paying VAT in the first place. Sweden apparently has a nil threshold.

  11. BIND

    You make it sound like having it made somewhere else would translate into a more expensive handset but the price is pretty much at the top end of what the market will bear (I’m sure it could go higher but only at the cost of overall numbers).

    Rich people only is out too; if it became too expensive then they wouldn’t be making them as Apple has never been a luxury product company.

  12. The stupid twat whinges about Trump while himself complaining about American jobs going to China.

    Purge,purge,purge. The left must be finally smashed before they destroy everything worthwhile.

  13. Bloke in North Dorset


    SJWs switched to inequality because absolute poverty has more or less been alleviated in the western world and they know we can’t fix inequality so they will always have a horse.

    I was listening to someone describe a thought experiment on the subject. Imagine a perfect society where we all have exactly the same house and the State provides us once a week with a box full of all our food and drink needs which includes beer and wine. Assume I don’t like beer and you don’t like wine so we swap beer for wine. Now we are both better off than before and society is unequal.

    @Simon B

    Its not much of a stretch to assume that if they tried to manufacture in the USA the costs would increase to a point where sales weren’t enough to cover them. I agree Apple probably wouldn’t produce them as a luxury good, but someone would.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset



    Good luck to your kids, they obviously have maturity beyond their years. Like their dad at that age?

  15. The problem with measurements of inequality is that they don’t take into account the diminishing incremental value of money. We all know the life-difference between having £0 and £1000 is bigger than the difference between having £1000 and £2000, and so-on all the way up.

    I’d hazard a guess that once you get to, say, £100m, it might take more than a doubling of your wealth to have a noticeable difference in your lifestyle of any kind.

  16. The cost of manufacturing is small per unit. Great. That’s what we want.
    Its the rest of the costs that presumably are higher? A shop in a prime shopping area – half million costs per year before they sell anything?
    Take off the VAT, factor in the costs of design, selling, advertising etc and it all adds up.
    Making it say 10 times more expensive to make won’t change the price much – but will impact the price. And of course the tax.
    And of course if jobs are moved from China to USA then the Chinese workers are impoverished….

  17. Why are manufacturing costs higher in the western world if robots are used? I suppose it comes down to energy costs, land costs and taxes, with the disparity in energy costs is down to tax and green twaddle. The container has whittled transport costs down to negligible, whereas at one time, transport costs evened out the differences in wages.
    If only we had better tax regimes we could see off low wage economies.

  18. Two types of people in the world practise self-sufficiency:

    The poor bastards who have no other choice. Thankfully a rapidly diminishing subset despite the best efforts of Murphy’s ideological mates;
    Rich westerners who have the huge amount of spare time necessary to indulge all the pointless fucking around which rejecting specialisation requires.

  19. Dave,

    When you get above a certain level, you’re really into positional goods. No-one buys a Damian Hirst because they like them. You can get kids to make you a spin painting (literally, those were made by Hirst’s kids). It’s that you’ve got a Damian Hirst on your wall. It’s an upper class version of Loadsamoney whopping his wad on the counter. I’ve drank some of the finest wines available to humanity, and really, once you hit £40 for Bordeaux, the improvement up to £180 for Mouton is pretty marginal.

    At one time, being rich meant you got to do things that the not so rich didn’t. 100 years ago, few people had gramophones, or took foreign holidays. Today, it’s more like you do foreign holidays to a few obscure islands, or a more exclusive version. Or you buy hand-made audiophile gear. Food, including things like steak are within most people’s reach. It’s now that the rich buy some organic, personally massaged meat.

    I’m struggling to think of much that’s out of reach of the average family today.

  20. BIW>

    I don’t think you’re disagreeing with me there. In rich nations most people can do near enough anything they want. Not everything, though.

    I’d define rich as having the money to do what you want and the free time to do it. The free time remains out of reach even for lots of people with lots of money.

  21. Assembly of electronics is not a high paid job. In fact, at a mean wage of $15.99 it is substantially below the mean wage for the US as a whole of some $25 an hour.

    To the guy flipping burgers on a mean income of $7.98[1], $15.99 looks really good. People that already want protectionism will use this as pro argument.

    The usual estimate is that assembly of a piece of iKit costs around $8. For something that costs (with a bit of fudging) perhaps $800. Adding 1% of the value

    The uninformed take that doubling the wages of assemblers will only lead to a 1% price increase is also an argument for protectionism. Obviously, to most readers here, there will be ripples leading to a greater increases but the burger flipper generally won’t understand them.

    [1] http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Fast_Food_Worker/Hourly_Rate

  22. In regards to repairing items the major problem I have is finding parts. I would say 60% of my time spent on repairing household items has gone into futile searches for someone local that sells what I need.

    For example a couple years ago I needed to replace a capacitor in my tv. The online cost was $0.29(buying 5 or more) with a shipping charge of $12*. I spent around 5 hours looking for a local supplier. While several had similar capacitors for less than $2 none were the right shape to fit in the casing. No supplier had the stock that Radio Shack of my youth carried, let alone the wonderful warehouses full of bits that used to be available.

    I also question the energy efficiency of modern appliances. Since I moved into the house I have purchased a fridge and a washer. In both cases total electricity usage went up slightly. I did not do the testing to prove causation but there is a definite correlation.

    * I ordered 5 and replaced a 2 other similar capacitors. The fault was a tin whisker so they probably didn’t need to be replaced. As I was already removing the bad solder I replaced the other capacitors at the same time. When my stock of leaded solder runs out spending $500+ on a replacement tv will be lower than swapping out a part that costs pennies due to a failed supply chain.

  23. LY>

    There is a thriving repair market for games-console controllers, judging by Ebay – new switches, thumbpads, etc. I assume that’s because there are lots of kids playing consoles who have more time than money.

    In your case presumably you enjoyed fixing the tv enough to do it in your spare time – and it was a reasonably high-value item.

    Realistically, most people just don’t have that time to spend as often as lower-value items demand it.

  24. Dave,

    The tv was about $600 and yes I do enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from fixing things. It was worth the parts costs to keep it going. Excluding the time searching for parts I only had around two hours invested.

    The fridge and washer really bother me. A replacement compressor and other bits would have been around $300. I dropped $800 on a new fridge because I didn’t want to spend the time cleaning out 15 years of built up gunk. A new washer motor was only $120 and I made the mistake of replacing the whole machine($550). I’ve spent around $250 on repairing, just after the warranty ended, the new one already. The second hand dryer built in 1987 is still going strong though with a parts cost of about $80.

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