Economics

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,810
SW Virginia
One of the best books I read on this was: Your Money or Your Life by Vivki Robin and Joe Dominguez. Give a copy to your kids too.
Amazon product
I 2nd this - great book. I own it and re-read every so often.
It will change how you view material things/work/money/life.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,668
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, it's about a lot more than just how to save money.
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,454
Michigan
Yes, it's about a lot more than just how to save money.
We're cut to the bone, if theirs a way to save anymore, I'm all ears.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,668
South Puget Sound, WA
So Begreen, what's your long term way in which to weather this storm?
That's a tough one. It depends on how serious things get, one's skills and the demand for them. Network in the community and find small jobs that fit within your scope. Find things that will go on even in a slower economy. Learn how to repair things. My mom made pies for the local diner during the great depression. My dad taught himself how to repair radios and opened up a shop at that time. He also fixed appliances on the side, learning as he went. It paid the bills. Regardless, start with practicing frugality. Learn to repair and reuse rather than toss and buy another. Cut out packaged and snack foods. Learn to make your own. Pick up new skills like sewing. Let the lawn grow longer and cut it half as frequently. Start a garden and grow your own. Don't defer maintenance, fix it now to avoid larger repair costs later. Cut all those items that are sucking dollars out of your wallet on a monthly basis. (cable tv, netflix, subscriptions, etc.) and get down to the bare bones if necessary. Sell that extra car. Go to the library for books, videos, and magazines. Remember that every dollar earned took a fraction of your life force that you will never get back. Your time on the planet is finite so treat the money that you exchanged your life for as something precious. Help your community build resilience and support systems that will make it easier to weather the storm. Things like a tool library and repair cafés are a good start.

Also, find out what the market wants. Infrastructure jobs are a good bet. Right now there is a shortage of line workers for electrical companies. Locally, the union will pay for your training. There is also a shortage of water systems operators.

All of this has nothing to do with oil, it's more about home economics. Moving post to the Economics thread.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: johneh

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
655
MA
… My goal was spending my winters in the south pacific, which i did achieve to some extent …
One of the founder of WAGS (Wagner and Griswold Society) and the WAGS forums retired and moved from MA to Fiji. He recently posted that they were hit by major Category 4 tropical cyclone Harold and he was without power for a while.

I commented that I hadn't heard anything about it since news here is all COVID-19.

Fellow WAGS members,
Sorry I’ve been a little out of it for about two weeks. Category 4 tropical cyclone Harold hit us 11 days ago and I’ve been without electricity since then. EFL was here today and put in our downed lines and fixed two poles that were destroyed by Harold.

It has been a matter of survival for a week or more just maintaining power to save food, water etc. today I had my first hot shower in 11 days and started to do laundry for the first time in two weeks. Life should back to normal except that we also have COVID19 to also worry about here. Life goes on. !! Happy hunting!!


May have to join the forum to see link.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Seasoned Oak

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,071
Eastern Central PA
Yes, it's about a lot more than just how to save money.
Sounds like a good read. For me its not about money so much as it is about freedom. Money is just a tool to give you the freedom to do what you want. Piling up more than you need is time and effort wasted when you could be doing what you really want to, where you want to do it. Some will get sidetracked with the money side and lose sight of the real goal.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,297
Northern NH
Oil or no oil, there is a major brain drain for technical professionals and a "brawn" drain for skilled and unskilled labor. Immigrants may fill in unskilled slots to some extent but skilled labor is another story. Most studies are 10 workers are retiring for every 1 entering the trades. Its not just electricians, welders, pipers, ironworkers, concrete and carpenters are all in demand. Strong union areas will have apprenticeship programs with training facilities while non union areas usually have tech schools. The trick with all the trades is to keep getting training as in most cases a typcial journeyman is pretty beat up and worn out after 20 or 30 years. Folks who keep up with training tend to move up into management before they are worn out. Canada has been treating the lack of trades as long term crisis for years, other countries just import the labor (that is how all the buildings in the middle east get built) but with a tight immigration policy i the US importing labor is not going to happen.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,785
Eastern Ontario
I have no idea what it is like Stateside but in the Great White North
in order to get into a trade, you have to know someone. My Youngest is an HVAC teck 2 years of school
and the only reason he works in his trade is because I know someone and got him his job. The Young
lad down the road is an electrician only because his uncle is an electrician. If you want
a job as an apprentice you will look long and hard to find someone to hire you. If you have a Lic. in a trade
you can get work tomorrow. How do I know I am first and foremost a farmer also I hold interprovincial seals
as an Auto Teck, A plumber, and an electrician. I am also an Ontario lic Industrial woodworker (Cabinet Maker)
I have trained many apprentices over the years at my own expense. I wish more kids would get a job in the trades
you don't become rich as a tradesman but you always have work and an income
 

RockCastile

Member
Nov 9, 2015
35
VA
That's a tough one. It depends on how serious things get, one's skills and the demand for them. Network in the community and find small jobs that fit within your scope. Find things that will go on even in a slower economy. Learn how to repair things. My mom made pies for the local diner during the great depression. My dad taught himself how to repair radios and opened up a shop at that time. He also fixed appliances on the side, learning as he went. It paid the bills. Regardless, start with practicing frugality. Learn to repair and reuse rather than toss and buy another. Cut out packaged and snack foods. Learn to make your own. Pick up new skills like sewing. Let the lawn grow longer and cut it half as frequently. Start a garden and grow your own. Don't defer maintenance, fix it now to avoid larger repair costs later. Cut all those items that are sucking dollars out of your wallet on a monthly basis. (cable tv, netflix, subscriptions, etc.) and get down to the bare bones if necessary. Sell that extra car. Go to t
Totally just reminded me of "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)". Well put.
 

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
Oil or no oil, there is a major brain drain for technical professionals and a "brawn" drain for skilled and unskilled labor. Immigrants may fill in unskilled slots to some extent but skilled labor is another story. Most studies are 10 workers are retiring for every 1 entering the trades. Its not just electricians, welders, pipers, ironworkers, concrete and carpenters are all in demand. Strong union areas will have apprenticeship programs with training facilities while non union areas usually have tech schools. The trick with all the trades is to keep getting training as in most cases a typcial journeyman is pretty beat up and worn out after 20 or 30 years. Folks who keep up with training tend to move up into management before they are worn out. Canada has been treating the lack of trades as long term crisis for years, other countries just import the labor (that is how all the buildings in the middle east get built) but with a tight immigration policy i the US importing labor is not going to happen.
You are right that at least here in Alberta getting new people into the trades has become a major focus of the government. But this also comes full circle from the beginning of this thread that most people now don't want to work hard enough to work actually succeed within
the trades. The nice thing here is getting a trade is the same regardless of being union or non-union, all the trades have mandatory apprenticeship terms and technically training to go with it, for example I'm a steamfitter-pipefitter which was a 3 year apprenticeship with 3-8 week technical training sessions.

It is often very difficult for us to find new apprentices however, where I work starting wage is $20 per hour and most trades make in the $35-$40 range once they achieve their trade certificate, and of course much more in a supervisory position. The money is very good for what we do, yet finding people that actually want to work hard and outside in the cold to earn it is still difficult. My family mostly work in the professions, Engineers, Accountants, Teachers, the difference in earnings between us in the trades vs professions is very similar, if anything most of us in the trades earn more. But there are days when I'm working outside in -40 with the wind blowing that I'd like that office job lol.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,297
Northern NH
You are right that at least here in Alberta getting new people into the trades has become a major focus of the government. But this also comes full circle from the beginning of this thread that most people now don't want to work hard enough to work actually succeed within
the trades. The nice thing here is getting a trade is the same regardless of being union or non-union, all the trades have mandatory apprenticeship terms and technically training to go with it, for example I'm a steamfitter-pipefitter which was a 3 year apprenticeship with 3-8 week technical training sessions.

It is often very difficult for us to find new apprentices however, where I work starting wage is $20 per hour and most trades make in the $35-$40 range once they achieve their trade certificate, and of course much more in a supervisory position. The money is very good for what we do, yet finding people that actually want to work hard and outside in the cold to earn it is still difficult. My family mostly work in the professions, Engineers, Accountants, Teachers, the difference in earnings between us in the trades vs professions is very similar, if anything most of us in the trades earn more. But there are days when I'm working outside in -40 with the wind blowing that I'd like that office job lol.
A major problem is economic theory assumes that the labor is portable and that available skilled workers will move to where the work is. It may look great on paper but people want to live where they want to live, even if they do want to move, a large amount of their savings are tied up in their home and if they own a home in and area where an industry has collapsed they are stuck . Sure there are attempts at setting up work camps to attract labor to remote areas but that typically only attracts certain types of people. There are many former workers that have no choice, they have no options for earning living in their home countries, so they work where the work is and send remittances home. In many of these countries, the remittances from workers working off shore is major part of the economy. If they workers are not crippled or killed they eventually go home at the end of the careers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

mcdougy

Feeling the Heat
Apr 15, 2014
424
ontario
It's safe to generalize that most trades working in Western Canada have already followed the work out there, and will follow the work wherever it ends up. Like stated, the difficulty will be selling a home if they were able to buy one, and if they did buy a home the inflated price they paid due to the "good times" may prove hard to get out of at the price paid.
Is there really a possibility that in the case of the Oil sands they can simply ignore the resource sitting there? I don't understand how human nature would allow that? We tend to be a more of a "take and pillage" society of known resources...even if bottom lines in revenue don't make sense, the workers bare the brunt of the hostage game the corporations/industry start playing. Ask the fisherman and wood sector in this country how that goes? "We have a job for you, just don't bank on it to always feed your family,as we squeeze the employee with wage and common layoffs."
Again I hope I'm wrong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: johneh and SpaceBus

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
Portability of workers can be a big issue, but it is something both workers and companies are beginning to adapt to. Many of these trades have now settled in the communities where they want to live within the province and commute from there. Many companies now work schedules that allow these workers to go home on a regular basis and usually pay for the accommodations wherever they are working. Shifts like 2 weeks on 1 off, 2 on 2 off, 10 days on 4 off are becoming very common. It used to be at one point that the oil sands where so busy they would work a 3 week on 2 week off shift and would fly the workers to and from within anywhere in Canada, take advantage of labour nationwide. This program even got so big they were flying supervision and management anywhere in the world on there days off, although most of the workers were still Canadian. I know a few people that never went home, they used this system to their advantage to travel the world, every set of days off spending their time on vacation in a different country.

Now some of these travel policies have changed but the higher wage rates have remained. The simple fact is they have to pay more to get workers to come from many hours away to work there. At one point Alberta was so busy that many workers were brought in from outside the province to work here, the Okanagan Valley in BC became a huge supply of labour for the oilsands. The city of Kelowna alone had about 5,000 people working in the oil sands on a fly in/fly out basis, that puts a lot of money into the local economy having that many people taking home $100,000+ per year.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,297
Northern NH
Barring a major increase in oil demand, the Tar Sands as well as US shale oil will become economically stranded resources. Same with deep water oil in the gulf of Mexico. The current proven recoverable world wide reserves far exceed the amount of carbon that can be dumped into the atmosphere. That means that the expensive oil is probably going to stay in the ground while the cheap stuff gets pumped. If the cheap stuff gets less cheap than the more expensive stuff will get pumped. The Saudi's knew this for years and tried to keep oil in a certain range of prices, too little and they were leaving money on the table, too much and other producers would start producing. This optimum price worked for many years and slowly would increase as the Saudis got greedier and needed more money to pay off their population. As some point during one of the Bush adminstration's the price of oil shot up and that suddenly made unconventional oil recovery worth chasing after. The fundamental problem right now is the the Saudi's and Venezuela need more revenue than the current price of oil to cover their social costs. Putin and the Saudis have big cash reserves to drive the other producers out of business including Tar Sands and US unconventional oil (along with Venezuela) out of the market and then they will slowly let the prices rise. Of course the second as the prices rise, the rigs will go back in the field . How it all ends is a big unknown but with global warming its a zero sum game.

There were parallels with US natural gas prices until fracking got developed. The price would rise, more rigs went in the field, in 18 months the supply would rise and the price would drop, the rigs would pull out of the field, the price would rise and it would repeat on a 3 year basis. Fracking changed that and now the US is a net exporter of LNG (once they built enough plants). There are several other large gas supplies like Sakhalin Island (developed by BP and US companies but forcably taken over by Russia) and the Australian off shore oil fields and producing a net surplus of LNG.
 

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
The economics of it are one thing, politics and national security are another. There is no way any US administration would allow US oil production to be significantly rolled back and rely on imports from countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia or Venezuela. This is also where Canada and the oil sands fit into the picture, if the US is to import oil from another country Canada is by far the most friendly ally and the most similar ideologically.

The other part of it is the actual cost of the production of these unconventional resources such as the oil sands. There are a lot of environmental groups that want the oil sands shut down and as such claim the oil cost $65+/barrel to produce. The Narwhal being one of these, in an effort to make people believe these projects are uneconomical and also supported by the government through subsidies, which simply isn't true. I was working just into Saskatchewan a couple weeks on an in-situ SAGD project where the break-even point was $27/barrel, which isn't to far off alot of conventional production in North America.

The other thing to contend with unconventional oil is the high initial capital startup costs. For the plants that are now running that money has been spent and debt repayment is a significant portion of their operating cost. Regardless of the price of oil many of these facilities will continue to run in an effort to repay the initial capital spent to build them.
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,454
Michigan
I've heard, 2nd hand that we need $60 a barrel to make mid-western oil pay off.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
655
MA
On China manufacturing, I found this interesting.

Building 19 was an overstock, seconds, and the like retail store here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_19.

Went out of business a while ago. Interview with the owner mentioned, among other things, overseas manufacturing as a reason they went out of business. Said that he used to regularly receive phone calls from companies looking to unload trailer truck loads of seconds. That dried up with manufacturing moving overseas.