I like the door-in-door feature more than I thought I would. Not so much for energy saving – mostly just to keep frequently used items handy. (Like an MRU for your fridge.) Also be aware of the thickness of the doors (like if there’s an icemaker in one) if your fridge is next to a wall.
We just ordered a new one from Lowes. Our two concerns were will it fit? and price. Which limited our options. And using the Lowes credit card we got a 5% credit on the price. And we added $15 for them to haul away the old frig.
This is the fridge we have. Not many bells-and-whistles to break down; maximum storage & organization. Got a good deal at Sears Outlet.
Note: Had to remove the fridge doors in order to get it thru all the doorwaysand into the kitchen of my older house, and it was still a near thing. Measure carefully.
@compunaut@jbartus we have similar model, except we have two drawers…one is fridge, the other is freezer. Love the small drawer, we used it to keep the kids food in it, now, we use it for fruits/vegetables.
Samsung and LG, while they look nice, are hard to come across. Same thing with parts. Samsung is also notorious for having loud ice makers. Newer more expensive fridges have very expensive control boards. The less bells and whistles, the less things to break. I have a 14+ year old GE fridge that, knock on wood, works great. Basic ice and water in the door side by side.
I strongly dislike side by side and prefer the freezer on the bottom as a drawer. Part of me wishes the 10+ year old (top freezer) Frigidaire that came with my condo would die.
However, I am seriously considering using a chest freezer (with a temperature controller) as my next fridge. The energy savings (from not dumping cold air all over the floor every time you open the door) are amazing even when compared with the most efficient fridges available today. I partially mitigate this by storing a bunch of 1 gallon plastic jugs of water in my fridge so that less cold air is able to fall out.
The main issue I see is getting at stuff on the bottom of the fridge. I plan to address this with shelving that lifts up easily (possibly power assist, tho some kind of variable counterweight system is floating in the back of my mind.
@baqui63 you are the perfect picture of frugality!
I say this as a cheapass myself and offer the following observations…
Am I crazy for once considering freezing bottles of water outside in the winter… and then stowing them in our fridge and chest freezer?
We car camp and freeze bottles of water in the chest freezer to keep our body-sized igloo cooler cold on the trip. When we need the space in the chest freezer, rather than simply taking the bottles out and letting them thaw, I put that ice I paid to make in the fridge where the energy can be harvested.
The problem that exposes the above as silliness: modern fridges use about as much energy as an incandescent 100 watt lightbulb! Their compressors have shrunk to the point where they run virtually constantly except for the defrost cycle.
Chest freezers use even less energy. Part of it is they aren’t opened as frequently. And as you point out, the cold air doesn’t leak out when opened. But also the lack of a defrost cycle means they don’t turn on an electric oven heating element to melt the frost a couple times every 24 hours.
@RedOak My fridge is about 11 years old and likely not as efficient as some of the newer ones. Long ago I replaced the incandescent bulbs it came with with LED ones (seems frakking stupid to me to heat something to the point of incandescence to make light inside a space you want to keep cool).
On average per month, my fridge costs $12.50 to run, while my 220 bottle wine cellar costs $7.50 and the 9 cubic foot chest freezer (with manual defrost, of course) costs $6.75. The chest freezer is set to 0 degF and wine cellar to 57 degF; both are in my basement which hovers around 68 degF all year. The fridge is upstairs where the ambient temp varies from 67ish to 90 or more.
Anyways, prior to my putting the gallon jugs of water in the fridge, it used over $13.50 per month so there is a definite power saving for doing this. Plus, if I need more space, say to defrost a couple of turkeys, it is easy to pull the jugs out to make room.
@RedOak Yes, NYC gets hot and humid during the Summer months. While I don’t especially like A/C, I hate humidity even more.
You have presumed I have an electric oven. I do not: both it and the stove top are “natural gas” (ie. piped in from utility company, not from a local tank). The stove is the only gas appliance I have at present.
Last July, I picked up a single burner induction “hot plate” for a project and ended up using it the rest of the Summer in my kitchen. It is so much more efficient than gas at heating food without heating the kitchen that I believe that I saved money overall as the A/C bill was reduced. It also boils the 1.5 liters of water for a pot of coffee faster than my gas stove top. I don’t recall using the gas oven at all tho I did use the microwave.
Next Fall (after tuition and child support payments end) I plan to sell my stacked clothes washer and (electric) dryer that lives in the closet next to my bathroom and put a gas dryer and washer in the basement. This will reduce my electric usage significantly and also increase my gas usage so that I’m using more than a therm a month and not paying for gas I do not use. I also get a linen closet upstairs with plenty of room for other stuffs.
BTW- Given how amazingly well an induction cooktop works I have also considered replacing my gas stovetop as it would certainly be more efficient overall. However, outside of the A/C season (perhaps three months a year?) it wouldn’t make sense as electricity in NYC costs ~30 cents per kWh on average after delivery charges, taxes and fees. Outside of the A/C season there is no good reason to avoid cooking with gas.
@RedOak When I got the induction plate, I tested it with a number of different pots by measuring the temperature change of 2 liters of water at ~70degF with exactly three minutes on high (1800 W). (I got it to build a boiler for something.)
A non-magnetic thin stainless steel stock pot was one of the better pots. My Lodge woot! skillet works well also (it is magnetic) but a magnetic ceramic coated cast iron dutch oven I have dbarely raised the temp 4degF in testing (so much for that bullshit about “if a magnet sticks, your pot will work”).
They weren’t large enough for the above testing, but I have a set of three cast iron frying pans from Macy’s in 8", 10" and 12". The 8" and 10" ones work well; the 12" one not at all (all are magnetic).
My kettle is ceramic coated steel and works quite well with the induction plate. I got a $300-like-new-but-missing-lid 3 liter stainless pot at an estate sale for $8 and picked up a nice 12" stainless frying pan on sale for $25 from Oneida… these, plus the cast iron stuff, means I can do my Summer cooking with the induction plate without having to pay for A/C to cool down the kitchen (very much).
So we have officially purchased the fridge. We managed to get a bargain that we just couldn’t pass up. Mom was adamant that she needed an ice maker in the door and I was determined to get French doors with door and door is possible and we both ended up winning with the added bonus of a second ice maker in the bottom.
Someone special ordered this fridge and then it didn’t fit returned it and with a couple of scratches on the side from where they tried to force it past the counter we were able to knock the price down and got a $2,500 fridge for $1,700 flat plus an additional $218 for a 5 year warranty from Lowe’s.
For what it’s worth I don’t think the second ice maker is included in the 2500 it comps at so I’m guessing it originally cost a couple hundred more.
LG LFXS29766S 28.5 cu.ft. Ultra Capacity 3-Door French Door Refrigerator with Door-in-Door
@jbartus Wow, that is a stainless version of the Kenmore Elite fridge we have. I’ve had it about 2.5 years now. It’s great. No complaints EXCEPT the fucking ice maker. It holds about a pound of ice. If you’re having company over, plan on buying an extra bag of ice, or keeping some extra ice in a chest freezer.
Another thing – the left door has a little flap that seals between the two doors. It has a heating element in it to prevent condensation from forming and causing mold on your door seals. If you don’t turn off energy saving mode, that little heater doesn’t come on and your seals will get nasty pretty quickly (A lof of that depends on use and if you’re opening it 300 times a day like my kids do).
Just a couple of minor issues, but maybe they’ve fixed that on the newer models?
@capguncowboy yeah we looked at Sears too. Funny thing is the sales guy swore to me up and down that the Kenmore fridges we looked at were all made by Whirlpool, yet the Kenmore Elites all had that telltale blue square light in the back that the LG units at Home Depot and Lowes had… also Im reasonably certain some were Frigidaire which I was warned has issues with their French Door ice makers. I knew more about those fridges than the salesperson. Also the Kenmore version had a thousand dollar higher MSRP, no second ice maker, and the sale price was $2,459!
Looking forward to having it will look into the heating coil you mentioned. Thanks for the tip!
@capguncowboy that was a bit of a gross oversimplification. Whirlpool is the number one in the world followed by Electrolux. Not sure where LG fits into things but I’m betting Samsung makes their own and then you have brands like Bosch. Then there are the super premium brands that you don’t typically find in your big box stores that are probably manufactured on a smaller basis by individual companies.
@jbartus My grandmother has the same fridge, and loves it! Has had it for three years. The only thing, that you have already been warned about, is the icemaker has very little ice. If you have a big ice-heavy family, you will have to keep extra, but it works great for my grandmother (and my grandpa until he died last fall.)
Never had trouble with the coil, but good to know @capguncowboy I’ll keep my eye on it.
@capguncowboy thanks for the info, our new house has the Kenmore elite (LG) without door in door or second ice maker. The flap was nasty when we moved in and we have to keep at it. Time to turn off that little leaf.
Also, the in door ice maker does empty fast when company is over, though it’s fine for two people.
@jbartus@capguncowboy I’m sure you’ve read this. From Reviewed.com:
Refrigerators: Here’s where it gets tricky. Most top-freezer Kenmore fridges are made by Electrolux, and are similar to Frigidaire models. Most side-by-side and some inexpensive French door models are made by Whirlpool, while nearly all high-end French door and some side-by-side models are made by LG.
@jbartus I think the problem is it’s just tiny. It may refill slightly faster when I turn that off, but the ice tray is the size of those tiny ones you use in dorm fridges and I’m sure it can only make a tray of ice so quickly. It has no problem refilling overnight after being empty the night before. That will be a bonus of it makes ice faster; I’m pumped to hear it can defeat the mold issue.
Also, since the ice maker is in the door, if you add a lot of food (say Thanksgiving leftovers) at once and heat up the fridge, it can cause the ice to melt and refreeze together so the bin is full but it won’t dispense. I know to look out for that now. The freezer ice maker won’t suffer from that.
@jbartus Nope. No 2nd icemaker. She just occasionally puts extra in the freezer in a tub before bed. A bit of a hassle, but like I said, it was just for the two of them most of the time, so it held up unless there was company.
@jbartus Looks very similar to the Kenmore-branded one I’ve had for about two years. Been pretty happy with it. Only complaint is that it occasionally makes a noise like a cell phone ringing on vibrate. We’re used to it, but still we still yell, “Answer the fridge!” when it happens. If anyone knows what that is…
@jbartus The people I stayed with have this fridge and are reasonably happy with it. My major complaint was where you have to put a gallon of milk. Otherwise it was decent. The freezer holds a lot (which was a priority to me when I bought a fridge back when I owned a house).
@cranky1950 current fridges are built like crap and die early so there’s that.
The innards, especially drawers, even on expensive models are crappier than crap.
But hopefully your electricity rates are cheap. That 35 year old machine is very likely a power pig compared to new fridges. It is really shocking how much more efficient they’ve become in the last 10 or so years. A trade off I guess.
@cranky1950 Might not be far off. Depending on your electricity rates, a new vs. 30 year old fridge could save $150-200 per year on the electricity bill.
There does seem to be an opportunity in the appliance market for a simpler (more durable) fridge that lasts. Although when I asked GE about that they said they tested the concept - even with longer warranties. People refused to pay the premium price.
We are stupid people. And seem to love throwing away ‘exciting’ everyday things like appliances every 5-7 years.
I hate appliance shopping - there are no sure things. We gave up trying to match our appliances when virtually every Kitchenaid appliance we had (100% in the house) had problems. Now we simply look for the right combo of price and reviews (apparent quality) regardless of brand.
I’ve been tempted to revert to two cheap $300-400 18-20 cu ft fridges and keep one in the kitchen. Buy them staggered by a couple years so you have a chance of saving your food when they die. I suspect it would save a good chunk of money in the long run… #IhateExpensiveAppliances.
I doubt the durable fridges actually needed to be much more expensive. I imagine the manufacturers priced them that way in an effort to create a new and differentiated “premium” product line.
I also imagine that the product line failed because the too high $$$$ pricing strategy turned off customers.
If they create durable appliances, and price them decently, they will lose sales over the years because people won’t need new appliances very often. So they view that as a revenue loser. Their shareholders would bitch.
@RedOak@f00l I’m pleased so far with the Whirlpool dishwasher & fridge we purchased from Sears Outlet.
Old fridge (traditional freezer-on-top GE. I think) was perfectly serviceable but we kinda needed a bigger unit & I was getting damn tired of crouching down to get items out of meat & produce drawers
Old dishwasher just wasn’t cutting it. Only feature I needed was flatware basket in door; only Whirlpool offers that. While I agree that many appliances (esp small appliances) are now built with relatively poor quality, dishwashers seem much better now. Our new-ish dishwasher cleans everything without any prewash - could never get away with that in the past.
@f00l I’m not so sure the planned obsolescence model works over the long run. That used to be the accusation against Automotive companies. However, the durable car builders seem to be the more successful companies.
Why not the same in Appliances? Perhaps they’re stupid, short term thinking and think we are as well.
@f00l Actually they probably do have to charge more. Speed Queen (love that name) still makes the same washer they made in the 70s and 80s. In the early 80s a speed queen washer/dryer set cost $995 today the washer alone costs 1200. They will last for 20 years and still guzzle water as they always did.
@RedOak I think it’s the shareholder thing. Not much business growth available for a manufacturer that builds machines which lasts 50+ years (like the vintage Sunbeam appliances I’ve inherited from my grandmother). “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”.
Interesting about autos: Not many blink an eye replacing a car after 7-10yr, but that’s short for many major appliances
@f00l regarding the not much more expensive to build but priced much higher fancy models, of course all companies do that to bump profit margins, not just appliance companies.
But what I don’t understand is the apparent premium pricing in the mainstream volume sweet spot of the market. When you look at the cost to manufacture a fridge, there isn’t much there.
Sheet metal, Plastic, Glass, a really small Compressor, some tubing, and a cheap circuit board. In volume it seems there shouldn’t be much more than $50-100 in materials, if that, and perhaps another $100 at most in manufacturing and assembly.
Clearly everybody has a nice markup in the foodchain, including the shippers. But transaction prices of $1,300-1,800?
One wonders whether collusion has been investigated. You’d think someone would break the pricing dam if there were one. OPEC can’t keep its members in line and they’re a public cartel.
@compunaut regarding longevity, there’s a happy medium and I don’t think anybody demands or even wants to pay for 50 year durability. Perhaps a solid 10-15 would be good tho.
Not many blink an eye replacing a car after 7-10yr, but that’s short for many major appliances
Big difference for autos - they have a thriving secondary market unlike appliances. So it is not unusual to see that car go 15-20 years total.
And autos live in a far more hostile environment - with far more sensitivity to how they are cared for and driven. Appliances luxuriate in climate controlled environments without moving after their initial journey.
@RedOak Don’t know anything about what it takes to build a ‘quality’ fridge. But I have some experience in aerospace, and I can tell you that very few folks have an appreciation for the time & money it takes to produce a complex machine. If Engineering could keep refining & improving, the product would get better and cheaper. When the growth-drivers (and others) insist that newer, better features are needed all the time to differentiate in a crowded market then quality suffers & price surges.
@cranky1950 Those old washers and dryers also clean better and wash faster. I have ones from 1984 that I refuse to give up for that reason. Wash 1/2 hour, dry 1/2 hour works out perfectly. Each has been repaired only once (although I think the washer will need repaired once I can start using it again as the drum makes noises- I live in an apt at the moment with no hookups so it is in storage)
@f00l I swear the agitator motion on our old washer could break bones; water temp made no difference.
Have a gentle (and water-sipping) front loader now. Don’t think I can get away with washing whites in cold tho - unless I want them converted to ‘grays’
@compunaut Lol - aerospace and fridges. I don’t ask that my fridge evade enemy defenses or keep me alive for ten days in orbit above the earth. Keeping things cold suffices nicely.
Having repaired so many appliances, I can say a basic fridge (as long as it doesn’t have a TV sized tablet built into the door… a feature that magically adds $2,000 to the price but only about $300 at most to the cost) is a very simple device.
For an extreme example, look how cheaply they can sell cube fridges - a hundred bucks or less. Scaling it up does not drive 1500%+ pricing.
@thismyusername The terrible part is those updates install about every third time you switch from crushed to cubed ice. And every time the ice bin is full it throws heap overflow errors. But it’s so much easier to develop for than the old ones that ran embedded WinICE.
@RiotDemon Yah, I think SAMs is selling a matching 18 inch Samsung tablet fairly cheap. And by Velcro’ing it on the door, when the tablet catches fire, your food is safe since it is isolated by the stainless door rather than the flimsy plastic behind the above built-in version.
@jbartus This belongs in the blame thread, but I’m here, so- whatever ailed your fridge is apparently contagious. My microwave turned its little toes up and died tonight. Off to Sears Outlet and the Sears Appliance Sale! page tomorrow. As goat, you will provide a counterbalancing event, of course.
@jbartus It’s still covered (through March) by the extended warranty I bought two years ago, so the repairperson will be here Monday morning. I thought the expiration date was December 31st. Whew. Good work!
Microwave Longevity Tip (counter top model)
We blew through microwaves almost every year and tried virtually all brands… until we finally tried plugging it into a surge protector strip. Problem solved - apparently something on that circuit was dirty. (Someone will probably say microwaves are supposed to be on a dedicated circuit… not in our post WWII home when Microwave ovens didn’t exist!)
As an aside we really like the Panasonic’s we’ve bought at Costco/SAMs.
Bonus Electronics Longevity Tip
Your stuff will love you if you plug all of it into surge protector strips. Everything - including phone/tablet chargers, including when you travel/visit the coffee shop/library.
On top of that, if you know house wiring, for about $100 Home Depot sells a hole house surge protector that you install at your breaker panel. (Easy install) It won’t protect you from everything but should add another layer against the outside world. (Still need those individual surge protectors tho.)
@RedOak Microhood, newer house, dedicated circuit, and the circuit breaker has never been tripped. It’s just one little part in the control panel, and I’m tempted to get my own for next time. Sears has now replaced the part four times (five on Monday). I have serious surge protectors for every room where I have stuff. My Wall of Chargers lives on its own surge protector. Every couple of years I get new ones, because this is Florida and we do like our lightning, and occasional power surges. I think of it as electrical termites: every so often you have to throw out the rotten bits and get new ones. I do need to install the whole house one. Maybe next month, if the world is still here.
@narfcake I detest HF. Every time I go there sincerely wanting to buy something, I can’t find anything I’d want.
I see one single purpose for HF - for very specialized single use tools.
Otherwise I’ve learned the hard way too many times that a cheap tool is false economy.
If it breaks in the middle of a project that’s no good. Or if it doesn’t do the job as well that’s no good. Even if it happens to do the job OK but feels like shit or vibrates like hell or makes detestable noises that’s no good.
@RedOak Hence, hand tools, not power tools. Their quality is improving on their power tools, but they still aren’t up to par with the major brands. Granted, with the major brands almost being imported too, the gap is shrinking from the opposite way too.
The last HF tool I broke (bent) was a 1/2" breaker bar back in the early 2000’s – I had a 3 foot long cheater pipe on it. They replaced it with a beefier model, no questions asked, and that has held up. None of the wrenches, sockets, or pliers in my junkyard bag (a $2 thrift store duffel bag) has broken either. Any replacements were because I lost a piece here or there.
@narfcake that extra trip to HF to claim the warranty is expensive to me. Both in real costs of stopping the project and driving to HF… and in terms of something that becomes more and more precious as I get older… Time. For me at least, a false economy.
PS: there isn’t a HF within 100 miles of our rural wooded “up north” property. In that case a stopped project could ruin an entire weekend or more.
(I hate our new fridge…it’s too tall and I have to use a stool to get stuff on the top, the freezer is bigger than our other one, which is a waste because we already have a freezer, the fridge side is not as wide and the fridge only has two deep drawers, no third short drawer for stuff like cheese blocks, lunch meat, bacon, etc.)
@lisaviolet not sure I’d buy anything else by Lucky Goldstar but we’ve been really happy with our LG washer and dryer. Have them stacked into a tall monster config and love the extra floorspace in created for our chest freezer.
Maintenance: Gotta be vigilant about leaving the washer door ajar, wiping the down the seal at the bottom of the opening, cleaning the pump filter, and running the tub clean cycle with bleach regularly tho. All easy once the habbit is formed.
@RedOak Just got back from Lowes. Remember the husband? If we’d gotten what I picked out on line, we’d have spent half as much money.
Another Samsung. Front loader. Great reviews. Azure blue (I think that’s what caught his eye…ooo, look, shiny! blue!) And a matching gas dryer. But I had a chance to look at them and I really couldn’t find anything to complain about. They were both $400 off, which will help pay for the pedestals. And we’ll get additional money from Samsung, as well as rebates.
I don’t like the fact that the majority of machines don’t let you choose your rinse temperature, the only machine they had on the floor that had that option had no agitator.
He did mention to the woman who checked us out that he was sorry he bought the fridge without seeing it first. He doesn’t care for it, either.
@lisaviolet Call the store and demand to return it. Call the manufacturer and sound off. Nice gets you nowhere. I have an extra helping of bitchy which you can have for free, if it isn’t natural to you.
@OldCatLady The problem is we’re limited on space and there were only a couple that fit that were in our budget. This was the best of the bunch. If we’d spent more on it or really, really hated it, we’d return it, but it’s okay. It’s just the old one was better.
If it bothered me enough, I’d have him take this one into the shop and bring the other one back inside.
I’m sure there wouldn’t be a problem to return it. We have thirty days I think. Lowe’s is pretty good about returns.
But thanks for the offer. That was very kind of you.
@lisaviolet If you like Samsung appliances, I just noticed Costco started selling them online.
Not that it matters now. Perhaps for price comparison, but without one of their “sales”, likely beatable locally.
And if you’re budget-constrained (who isn’t?), Costco is not a great way to go for computers or appliances since they have this ‘load it up disease’. Everything is 50% higher configured than the average person needs. Kinda like their crazy 72 packs of AA batteries (what was wrong with 48???).
The dryer was $100 more for gas, which is a cheaper fuel where we live. Usage is tiered and because of his work, we’re usually over the first tier on electric ten days into the month and the rate more than doubles. Not so with gas.
I love Costco. Last week we went there and spent less than ninety bucks! Can you believe it?
@lisaviolet don’t get me wrong - we too like Costco (perhaps not “love”).
But SAMs is equal or better in some ways.
Generally higher quality stuff when the brands don’t match @sams.
Clearly higher quality service and superior tire center. Results in faster lines.
Too often crazy too large sizes, more so than SAMs.
Unstable product selections. Get you hooked on a product and then they dump it. Makes it difficult to establish “staple shopping” habbits at Costco.
No “Scan & Go” app like SAMs… that lets you scan items with your phone (amazingly fast/capable scan subroutine) as you shop and then bypass the lines by paying within the app. This neutralizes slow lines at SAMs.
We generally find the prices equivalent or a penny less at SAMs. Even the sales at both are generally pretty equivalent over time.
Business Week reported in June that Costco pays its hourly workers an average of $20.89 an hour, not including overtime, while Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club’s average wage for full-time employees in the U.S. is $12.67 an hour. Eighty-eight percent of Costco employees have company-sponsored health insurance while Wal-Mart said that “more than half” of its do.
You likely realize, one generally gets the quality of labor one pays for. So yes, the higher compensation (pay + benefits) results higher qualified employees and commensurately higher quality of service.
Smart or not, clearly Costco and SAMs have different quality of service objectives.
Definitely not a fan of The Fool, but those hit job stories typically ignore reality.
Reality: It is sadly amusing to hear the heart-tug words of Costco’s founder claiming Costco pays more because it is the humanitarian thing to do. That might be his motivation, but in the end, employees are compensated according to their productivity and qualifications. He paid more and got more.
If SAMs were to match Costco’s compensation - over time - what would happen to existing SAMs employees? They’d be out of a job.
Put another way: (This same example works for artificially forced wages - the “minimum wage”)
If you were the owner or manager of a business that needed to hire employees, and someone suddenly said, “you now have to pay 50% higher wages”, what would you do?
Your advertising for the jobs would show that higher wage. And not only would the previous candidates apply for your jobs, but also, new, higher qualified candidates would apply.
Advocates of minimum wage laws and Costco vs. SAMs compensation as “humanitarian” seem to believe the owner/manager would somehow continue to hire the previously lower qualified candidates. Not gonna happen. They’re going to hire the higher qualified candidates… or worse, hire fewer people and automate.
So from a “humanitarian” perspective, one could argue SAMs is actually more “philanthropic” since it provides jobs for lesser qualified employees who would otherwise be out of work.
I don’t know Costco’s financial innards, but I have read in biz journals (don’t remember which) that Costco employees are so much more productive and so much greater a value than Sam’s employees, that altho Costco employees make more per hour, they make far less per dollar of profit.
As for fewer employees if Sams raised its wages? Yes, if store revenues and profits stay the same. No, quite possibly, if increased motivation, increased effort, increased loyalty bring greater revenue and profit to an individual store.
The economics of a single biz can be a complex matter. The economics of a large diverse techno-nation are incredibly complex. And economic distortions such as unspoken business or govt collusion, local near-monopolies, political and tax gestures, access to legal advantages, and friends at the top colluding on their advantages further bend the market away from being “free”.
I have no prob with the minimum wage laws. I would like to see economic and financial education be part of the permanent curriculum starting in 1st grade and every year after.
@RedOak So by saying exactly, you just countered what you said earlier that “… from a “humanitarian” perspective, one could argue SAMs is actually more “philanthropic” since it provides jobs for lesser qualified employees who would otherwise be out of work.”
Yes, if teenagers are still the only source of labor for those jobs, then what you are seeing, is a market wage that is above “minimum wage”. That is healthy! The higher market wage has rendered minimum wages mute.
Artificially raise that minimum wage, to $15 or more in a naturally $8-10 market and watch what happens to teenage employment.
More experienced/qualified/smarter candidates will jump in.
And economic distortions such as unspoken business or govt collusion, local near-monopolies, political and tax gestures, access to legal advantages, and friends at the top colluding on their advantages further bend the market away from being “free”.
Yes! Cronyism is a horrible tax on everyone except the cronies! Don’t forget Unions, another form of Cronyism. Single industry job protection. Duties to protect industries. More Cronyism.
Big business loves regulation. Only big business can afford regulation. Regulation that protects big business from competition from smaller startups that cannot afford to deal with regulation.
Only big government with lots of regulations can protect big business.
The number one thing we could do to boom our economy would be to eliminate Cronyism.
If the minimum wage is raised, teenage employment would suffer for a bit and then come roaring back.
And removal of minimum wage does not imply any true free market. It just tosses a tiny advantage to the less fortunate. The more fortunate are, in many cases, already able to strongly distort the market to their advantage.
Re cronyism: Theoretically you could elimate some degree of it. And then other cronyism would substitute. Theoretically you cannot eliminate all of it. And practically, you can only eliminate a tiny amount of it. It’s built in to our species.
Cronyism gives huge economic and power advantaged to the already rich and powerful, and to large businesses, therefore they will always practice it. Ban one form of it, it will go underground or people will create another form of it. Cronyism was rampant in the past, “more purely free” economies, it created enormous distortion then, and it will be rampant in the future and create distortions and unfair advantage there also.
As for unions: big biz is allowed to get as big as it wants, offshore as much as it wants, treat people as commodities as much as it wants, but you don’t want people to be able to band together the seek similar advantage? Yes, unions can be corrupt, abusive, and detrimental to the economy. So can businesses, and they are far more successful at all these sins than unions ever dreamed of being.
To me, the notable flaw of purist free-market theory is the unsupportable notion that there is a perfect or ideal system. There is a none, has not been one since we started living in groups larger than a few hundred, or groups where power and access to resources were unequally distributed to a serious degree. And now that we are all pretty global, there never will be one. That’s right: no perfect system can possibly exist from here on, assuming no worldwide catastrophe, for the foreseeable future. Pecause it will be to the near-term or long-term advantage of everyone,esp powerful persons and institutions, to cheat or crony up or distort or limit opportunities for others where they can.
The best system, theoretically, for growth, for innovation, for protection of the weak who cannot possibly fend for themselves (which does not include healthy adults who’ve had educational opportunities), for long term productivity, health, political stability, intellectual freedom and freedom of action and belief, and for innovation, is a hodgepodge of free market and regulation, combined with intense and varied opportunities for further education and training available the all, including adults. Esp economic, financial, business, media, logaic, and technological education.
What people ought to be arguing about is what sort of hodgepodge for free market and regulation.
A purely free market economy might work beautifully in a world of perfect, honest, hardworking, ethical, rational (insofar as our species is capable of rationality) individuals who would always value fairness, decency, and fair access to opportunities, every single time, over any other potential advantage.
If the minimum wage is raised, teenage employment would suffer for a bit and then come roaring back.
And removal of minimum wage does not imply any true free market. It just tosses a tiny advantage to the less fortunate. The more fortunate are, in many cases, already able to strongly distort the market to their advantage.
There is no steady state middle ground. Give control to the state and it will get abused. Or at a minimum it will be ineptly managed. Nobody is smarter than the market. The market always wins. Always. Fight it and you get nasty repercussions.
There is no perfectly benevolent system on earth. But the most benevolent over time is the free market.
That is not to say the free market is without pain. But its adjustments tend to be localized and short term. The adjustments that occur in a centrally controlled market are broadly painful and long lasting.
Capitalism is not a choice. It is human nature. Every single economic system that has fought it has failed to one extent or another. 100% of them.
It addresses, better than any alternative system, bad actors, and does so naturally.
The folks who don’t like free markets? The lazy. The bossy. The folks who think they know better. And want to control others.
(I’m not under the illusion we’ll have markets free of cronyism and govt interference anytime soon. But I haven’t seen convincing evidence there is any better alternative. I diligently search.)
Re wages: the wage rise was likely too sudden, too much too soon. Any radical change of any severe sort that affects much of the economy will result in painful dislocations, various fire losses, possibly various gains. Predictable result.
Artificially pushing wages up funds automation to some extent, depending on its availability in a general area. Yes. Obviously. But automation is coming no matter what. Fast or slow. In the long run many of our current lower level jobs will be cheaper to automate no matter how low wages go. And that might come to knowledge and communications jobs as well. Is it better to raise wages and accept that audomation may therefore come somewhat faster? Or to keep them as is and automation comes anyway? I don’t have a clear crystal ball on that one - because automation will introduce market dislocations that are not sufficiently similar to the industrial revolution to model our future using it as a template. We simply don’t know what’s coming.
We have never had a truly free market with people starting at reasonably decent starting positions. Not at any point in history. For that matter we’ve never had truly free markets. Various factors always intervene. Political/religious/cultural power. Custom and superstition. Threats, gangs, extortion, other criminal forces. Buy offs of whomever can be bought. The powerful working to maintain their power and their resources thru whatever means are available to them.
In the post-enlightenment, we add more sophisticated and modern pressures on the market: purchasing of power or of elections. Purchasing of legislatures and political chief executives and local Doing favors for ones friends and for other powers in order to stave off competitive attacks and instead become allies in the search for more power. Theft of resources. Intimidation of the less powerful. Restricting opportunity for the less powerful.
A totally free market in the modern world will tend, over time, to settle into a few near-monopolies in many or most areas of the economy where large corporations can thrive - or a few very large entities that compete somewhat with each other, bit tend to present a fairly monopolistic set of opportunities for their lowest level employees and for those who do business with them. They will collude, either with open agreement, or by tradition and custom and unspoken understanding, to a great degree, in how they treat their lowest level employees or partners. It will be to their advantage to keep things stable, not have employees have too many other opportunities, and not have new competitors threaten their dominance.
There is no “knows best”. Not in a free market, not in govt, not in the economic depts of various universities. We stumble along. The market doesnt know anything. People in power - economic or political - will simply manipulate and grab whatever advantage they can, There is every reason to believe that an unregulated market will result in a variety of monopolies and near-monopolies and industry-groups that, taken in aggregate, act like monopolies. There is no magic wand that makes things fair.
Among our values in this a nation are a written and also an unwritten set of freedoms. And also we have a sense of some degree of obligation to those who are hurting or in need. I value both. I value a lightly regulated mostly free market. Which is all anyone has had since our human groups got so large that we no longer knew every single person we might see.
I know I won’t convince you nor you me. Also also found this interesting and valuable. Thanks much.
@connorbush not sure if we’re talking about the same fridge but a month ago I saw a smaller (top edge was about 5 feet) two door freezer on top model at Home Depot that looked pretty OK. But I don’t recall it being that expensive.
We’ve been looking for smaller fridges that sipped electricity for an off grid solar powered cabin. Amazing how little juice these things take. But they do very, even for the same size.
If you care, watch out for giving up auto-defrost on cheaper models.