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Author Topic: what the hell is happening?  (Read 12608 times)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2010, 06:44:48 PM »

Quote from: Rob C
... So no, it isn't a recent phenomenon at all; it's been going on for many years...
How true... I believe there is a technical term for it: life  

rgmoore

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2010, 12:19:09 AM »

This is indeed a very interesting topic and the answer to the posed question involes numerous social, political, and economic changes over the years that have affected virtually every sector of the working world. Below are listed several items gathered from lectures on economics, radio discussions, news, and one of the books by Thom Hartmann entitled: "Screwed: the Undeclared War Against the Middle Class.

1. For about 150 years up until late 1970s in USA wages were steadily increasing and most could see that each generation
    did a little better financially and in general standard of living than the last.

2. During the last 3 decades wages have been stagnant and in some cases even decreasing if inflation is factored in.    
    A few explanations for these changes:
   
        a) Introduction of computers has increased productivity

            More women entering the work force

        c) Increase in the number of immigrants from Central and South America

        d) Deregulation of many industries and changes in trade policies and tax codes

        e) Moving entire factories overseas and outsourcing

        f) Weakening of labor unions      

3. The effects of these changes on the business sector

        a) Upper managemenet thought they died and went to heaven; they have a work force that is constantly    
            improving in productivity with the same wages
       
            Profits have soared as never before allowing cash heavy companies to take over other companies and
            astronomical salaries and bonuses for upper management
       
        c) The discrepency between CEO and laborers has increased to the extent that an average CEO makes more money
            before lunch on the 1st working day of the year than a laborer does for the entire year
   
        c) During the 1st decade of this century 400 richest individuals in US have doubled their wealth

4. Effects on the working families

        a) Working harder and longer hours with less time off while being happy just to have a job

            Disappearance of pensions and introduction of planned retirement 401(k)s, etc.

        c. Instead of higher wages working classes are provided with credit cards (more funds float to investor classes)

        d. Increased cost of healthcare and education

        e. At the end of their lives when illness drains lifelong savings people are given a chance for a reverse mortgage
            So no inheritance for the next generation.

This outline is not meant to be comprehensive. It is from what I consider to be relieable sources and as best as I remember and it does reflect my own experience in the working world as a Registered Nurse in the hospital for over 30 years. Even doctors are struggling and some have left their private practices as they are tired of fighting with insurance companies and have joined HMOs. Believe it or not, HMOs and insurance companies tell doctors how to practice to a large extent. Some of my nurse friends have changed jobs and even occupations and have come to the conclusion that there is no where to go and
no place to hide. Most hope that they can last until their retirement.  

I am told that the brightest minds in USA have chosen not to enter medical schools. Instead, they have gone into insurance, management, or investment banking. That's one reason why there are so many foreign MDs in USA. And these minds are indeed bright; they don't have to deal with unwashed masses, they tell doctors what to do, they make a ot more money than MDs, and even when they run a company into the ground and fail, they end up with aseverence package/golden parashoot.

But, this is photography forum.... in the 90's just by word of mouth I made over 25% of my income from portrait work.
It all dried up when the new century started. And that is the same story I hear from professional commercial and advertising photographers  know in San Francisco.

My examples and information are US based, but from all that I have gathered the same scene may apply to other parts of the world. If memory serves me they are attempting to change labor policy in France - longer working week - to be competitive in the world market. And my relatives in European Eastern Block tell me they feel enslaved by the emerging corporate culture even with the high hopes of joining EU.

So the short answer to your question: "what the hell is happening?" - is what is and has been happening for a few decades is that increasingly more money and power has been going into fewer hands leaving the vast majority of the population in the industrialized world (working classes) destitute and struggling.

I would be very interested in reading ideas on this topic from different parts of the world.      
           
Richard
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 12:58:43 AM by rgmoore »
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K.C.

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2010, 02:39:36 AM »

Quote from: fredjeang
Maybe this profession would need a sort of international organism that fight for their rights (and duty).
It does exists for plane pilots, doctors etc...
Why not?

Because we passed the feasibility of that years ago.

Standards are only effective if you can enforce them and today's market is driven by cost, not value.

With medical malpractice suits at an all time high and not infrequent news of drunken or incompetent commercial airline pilots I think the professions you mention are struggling with their own issues.

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K.C.

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2010, 02:40:57 AM »

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
How true... I believe there is a technical term for it: life  

That may be true, but at the cost of being a defeatist.
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Rob C

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2010, 03:51:52 AM »

I would dispute that being realistic equates with defeatism.

There is little sense in chasing around the place like a headless turkey on the killing room floor, spilling your blood in futile attempts to make it all go away and turn back the inexorable approach of Christmas.

As has been said in this thread, it's life. I happened to watch a tv show last night on the effect of the box container on Britain. From about 200,000 dockers befoe the invention of the container, the force has reduced to around 11,000 in total. Those guys had few other skills - if any - and where are they and their families now; ditto the miners? Who's going to break their heart or change government policy over a few professional snappers who, other than for a brief period during the 60s/70s when they were like pop stars, count for nothing in the public consciousness?

In the 50s when I left school, it was almost impossible to get into pro photography for two reasons: nobody knew anything about that shadowy world; it didn't qualify for deferment from military conscription, a device invented to keep down the unemployment figures and put young lives at pointless risk in countries far from the native heath. Imagine dying for your country (oh, really?) in Cyprus, the Far East, Kenya or Ireland or other foreign lands which would inevitably go their own happy way in the end. So, if you found a way into the trade, you were either going to be kicked out when you reached eighteen years of age, with slim chance of getting your old job back two years later or, alternatively, you were going to go the David Bailey route and get into it after that two-year hiatus when you reached twenty, a bit late for starting at the bottom again. In the event, it took me until my late twenties to find the moolah with which to try my luck as an independent.

That last sentence is probably what hurts most today: people no longer have to take any risk. All they need do is send some digital images to a penny stock shop; they still earn the peanuts.

Warhol was right, and we have had our fifteen minutes.

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 03:54:08 AM by Rob C »
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fredjeang

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2010, 04:23:08 AM »

France and Spain, some thoughts.

FRANCE (I'm french)
In France there is a current debate for implementing more legal working hours for a reason: Years ago, they implemented what was called the 35 hours.
35 hours / week paied 39 hours. 4 hours not worked but paied. (Before that law the legal week was 39 hours).
So basically they said, we will work less but been paid the same as before. And they did it.
That idea emerged from the philosophy that a rich country, an advanced society has to tend to more life quality, working less but being more wealthy.

It's been a long time now this law was implemented, and it worked quite well. France did not fall in a crash like a lot where saying, it is actually economically better than England where such a system is unthinkable.
So, reducing the amount of worked hours, AND keeping the salaries high has not affected the economy at all.
Now, logically, they want to come back to the 39 hours. Who said you could work less for more?  
First wired point.

Second wired point:
SPAIN (I'm living in Spain)
Here in Spain, all you hear about is crisis. And as it has been said, it is there.
But a deeper observation of the real situation shows that it is not as easy as it looks.
There is still a lot of money here, and the spanish middle class is still very wealthy. At least in the big cities.
What I'm observing with clients, is that they are paying less and ask for more, yes, but not because they can't pay, because they can put the pressure claiming the crisis.
My clients spend more and more money in pleasure and peripherical expenses. What they do not give any more in one sector, they will spend on another one.
This is a very important data.
Ironically, each time there is a long week end, Madrid is absolutly deserted, People travel, spend, and spend in bars, drinks, expensives watches, cars etc...and then they claim the crisis to cut down the price in the craft sectors.
I'm not saying that there is not a slow-down in economy, there is.
But I can tell you that I see that people here are spending like spoiled child. In a real crisis, you just can not do that.

But one important factor pointed by James Russel and Epd:
it is true that most of the photographers and videographers I know are having harsh times. Some of them are good photographers.
But it is also true that I know some few who are doing better and better and enjoy like James.
And I can see a clear correspondance in each case in: attitude, talent, enthousiasm, habilties to manage contacts and social aspects, proper style etc...

The equation is incredibly simple: the one who have a frighten attitude, that do not enjoy their talent, that do not manage contacts, that are not working harder to shoot better and better etc...are having really hard times
The opposite of all these (and I forgot), are having better times.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 05:19:33 AM by fredjeang »
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fredjeang

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2010, 04:45:58 AM »

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
How true... I believe there is a technical term for it: life  
 I've always liked very much your synthesis habilities Solbodan, but here you did it too much IMO.
Yes, that's the nature of life by essence.

But the characteristics (the how), are changing according to a time given.
The forces that are governing the world now are completly different than in the 16th century for example.

I guess we are not debating on the unmovable laws but on the current changes that where not there let's say 30 years ago.
And these are bringing different form of society etc...
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 04:46:57 AM by fredjeang »
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fredjeang

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2010, 04:56:00 AM »

Quote from: rgmoore
This is indeed a very interesting topic and the answer to the posed question involes numerous social, political, and economic changes over the years that have affected virtually every sector of the working world. Below are listed several items gathered from lectures on economics, radio discussions, news, and one of the books by Thom Hartmann entitled: "Screwed: the Undeclared War Against the Middle Class.

1. For about 150 years up until late 1970s in USA wages were steadily increasing and most could see that each generation
    did a little better financially and in general standard of living than the last.

2. During the last 3 decades wages have been stagnant and in some cases even decreasing if inflation is factored in.    
    A few explanations for these changes:
   
        a) Introduction of computers has increased productivity

            More women entering the work force

        c) Increase in the number of immigrants from Central and South America

        d) Deregulation of many industries and changes in trade policies and tax codes

        e) Moving entire factories overseas and outsourcing

        f) Weakening of labor unions      

3. The effects of these changes on the business sector

        a) Upper managemenet thought they died and went to heaven; they have a work force that is constantly    
            improving in productivity with the same wages
       
            Profits have soared as never before allowing cash heavy companies to take over other companies and
            astronomical salaries and bonuses for upper management
       
        c) The discrepency between CEO and laborers has increased to the extent that an average CEO makes more money
            before lunch on the 1st working day of the year than a laborer does for the entire year
   
        c) During the 1st decade of this century 400 richest individuals in US have doubled their wealth

4. Effects on the working families

        a) Working harder and longer hours with less time off while being happy just to have a job

            Disappearance of pensions and introduction of planned retirement 401(k)s, etc.

        c. Instead of higher wages working classes are provided with credit cards (more funds float to investor classes)

        d. Increased cost of healthcare and education

        e. At the end of their lives when illness drains lifelong savings people are given a chance for a reverse mortgage
            So no inheritance for the next generation.

This outline is not meant to be comprehensive. It is from what I consider to be relieable sources and as best as I remember and it does reflect my own experience in the working world as a Registered Nurse in the hospital for over 30 years. Even doctors are struggling and some have left their private practices as they are tired of fighting with insurance companies and have joined HMOs. Believe it or not, HMOs and insurance companies tell doctors how to practice to a large extent. Some of my nurse friends have changed jobs and even occupations and have come to the conclusion that there is no where to go and
no place to hide. Most hope that they can last until their retirement.  

I am told that the brightest minds in USA have chosen not to enter medical schools. Instead, they have gone into insurance, management, or investment banking. That's one reason why there are so many foreign MDs in USA. And these minds are indeed bright; they don't have to deal with unwashed masses, they tell doctors what to do, they make a ot more money than MDs, and even when they run a company into the ground and fail, they end up with aseverence package/golden parashoot.

But, this is photography forum.... in the 90's just by word of mouth I made over 25% of my income from portrait work.
It all dried up when the new century started. And that is the same story I hear from professional commercial and advertising photographers  know in San Francisco.

My examples and information are US based, but from all that I have gathered the same scene may apply to other parts of the world. If memory serves me they are attempting to change labor policy in France - longer working week - to be competitive in the world market. And my relatives in European Eastern Block tell me they feel enslaved by the emerging corporate culture even with the high hopes of joining EU.

So the short answer to your question: "what the hell is happening?" - is what is and has been happening for a few decades is that increasingly more money and power has been going into fewer hands leaving the vast majority of the population in the industrialized world (working classes) destitute and struggling.

I would be very interested in reading ideas on this topic from different parts of the world.      
           
Richard
Very interesting panorama description.
I think your last sentence resume it perfectly.
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fredjeang

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2010, 05:38:25 AM »

...In fact I do not think that a revolution in photography has happened yet,

I'd talk more about an evolution.

What is D3? an expensive digital adaptation of classic 35mm film cameras.

What is Phase+p65? a very expensive digital adaptation of a film Pentax 645

What is Photoshop? a cheap, efficient and practial digital adaptation of traditional retouching

What is a 5DII ? a digital bargain adaptation of cinema and film camera merged into a body

Etc...

These are almost the same tool. Any traditional photographer or videographer feels at home.
We can complain about how bad, better, unreliable, unstable it is, but we are not yet in another planet.

So the changes and adaptations requiered so far are pretty much managable. In fact, I think that it is more exciting for the creator, without being
break-ruler.

Remember, 5 years ago we had to do our website everything in Flash. Now we have to re-do everything in HTML.
Tomorrow we'll have to re-re-do everything in "HYPERSUPRAHTML or whatever stupid name they will find"
Not big deal, just minimal adaptations. We'll do fine.

Now, what are they cooking in the shade for the next generations?
When I say the next generations I'm thinking that we will see it pretty soon.

Maybe the current evolution in the craft is nothing less than a previous step to a real revolution, where the tools may be completly differents
as the one we know now.
And that adaptation will be IMO, much much drastic than what is happening now.

Global economy is affecting the professional photography, but I think technology will affect it in a much more powerfull extend.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 05:47:02 AM by fredjeang »
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Morgan_Moore

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what the hell is happening?
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2010, 06:29:34 AM »

Quote from: fredjeang
...In fact I do not think that a revolution in photography has happened yet,

There are definitaly some revolutions

-looking on scene the screen on the back - makes the job easier to be an OK/adequate photographer - bringing lo ballers to the market

(and you know what the trainees and assistants I have with their 5d2s are really good - they only fall down on 20% of images - that hard ones)

-transmission of images ..

was a $50k hasselblad wire machine - operated generally by union reps - keeping people out of the market (press)

Then the Mac and $2000 coolscan - thats when I was able to fund going freelance before that I had to transmit throught the union people - my employers of the time

now - wifi $500 ?

Everyone can send

------

Another phrase is 'good enough' honestly the youngsters in many situations are 'good enough'

Thats why im pushing something that is harder to be 'good enough' with - motion


S
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 06:41:52 AM by Morgan_Moore »
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