Econ Thread

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Post #1 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:54 am

dempsey_k wrote:Probably should have its own thread separate from the investment thread.

Russia ended the auction for its bonds today after admitting there was only one party who showed up for the auction.

Britain just announced it's adopting the Evans Rule - another win for market monetarists, and tragic loss for goldbuggerers.


The Evans rule is linking interest rate hikes to unemployment, rather than the tradition thumb in the air for inflation?
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Post #2 by Useful Idiot » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:06 am

For those interested in learning about the subject, MRUniversity[0] has some comprehensive, free courses. The audio for two of the major courses is also available in podcast form on iOS.

[0]: http://mruniversity.com/
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Post #3 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:31 am

Craig wrote:The Evans rule is linking interest rate hikes to unemployment, rather than the tradition thumb in the air for inflation?


My understanding is that it ties unemployment considerations into monetary policy in addition to other considerations, such as inflation. Such as don't relax rates until unemployment is below x, inflation above x. Should be shit loads more complex, but that's the jist of it from me understanding.
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Post #4 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:43 am

Remember having read something (Schiller book on something else) to the effect that traditionally held belief of a direct tradeoff between inflation and employment has been disproved and so we can pursue both targetted low inflation and employment at the same time. Yay!
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Post #5 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:34 pm

I think they're going to eventually be stuck in a situation where historic employment rates simply aren't attainable any more. Too many jobs are being automated now or have the potential to be automated in the future. When they brought in machines to do all the physical labour jobs everyone got a service job. Where are people going to work when they automate the service jobs? Eventually (and I mean long-term here, like decades from now) they're going to have to come up with a system where people don't have to work as much to make a living.
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Post #6 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:47 pm

Craig wrote:I think they're going to eventually be stuck in a situation where historic employment rates simply aren't attainable any more. Too many jobs are being automated now or have the potential to be automated in the future. When they brought in machines to do all the physical labour jobs everyone got a service job. Where are people going to work when they automate the service jobs? Eventually (and I mean long-term here, like decades from now) they're going to have to come up with a system where people don't have to work as much to make a living.


That or just make people do with less.
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Post #7 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:53 pm

Craig wrote: system where people don't have to work as much to make a living.


How is slack in the labour market going to lead to hirer wages (needed to make a living on less work)?

I'd vote for ever widening income gap as far more likely.
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Post #8 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:53 pm

Masterplan wrote:That or just make people do with less.


Then you have ridiculous unemployment and you'll need a massive welfare state. I think you're better off spreading the work around but shortening the work day or week.
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Post #9 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:56 pm

Craig wrote:Then you have ridiculous unemployment and you'll need a massive welfare state. I think you're better off spreading the work around but shortening the work day or week.


It's going to be ok when all boomers die and we'll need to work long and productively (no more broads) just to prevent the economy from shrinking.
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Post #10 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:56 pm

Dog wrote:How is slack in the labour market going to lead to hirer wages (needed to make a living on less work)?

I'd vote for ever widening income gap as far more likely.


You don't need higher wages if prices go down. If it gets more efficient to make/do things without involving people, the should translate into cheaper things.

I think the income gap is more likely too, but eventually that will ruin us. How sustainable do you think democracy will be with a 20% unemployment rate? 30? 40?
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Post #11 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:57 pm

Dog wrote:It's going to be ok when all boomers die and we'll need to work long and productively (no more broads) just to prevent the economy from shrinking.


Yeah, the death of the boomers will mitigate this for a bit. But I'm talking decades from now, not in the next 10 years.

For the moment, the link to unemployment is pretty sensible, though it will probably guarantee low rates for quite a while.
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Post #12 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:03 pm

Craig wrote:You don't need higher wages if prices go down. If it gets more efficient to make/do things without involving people, the should translate into cheaper things.

I think the income gap is more likely too, but eventually that will ruin us. How sustainable do you think democracy will be with a 20% unemployment rate? 30? 40?


Prices will find an equilibrium either way, but what you want is to exploit your economy's full potential. Humans are a crafty bunch, we'll keep busy.
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Post #13 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:10 pm

Dog wrote:Prices will find an equilibrium either way, but what you want is to exploit your economy's full potential. Humans are a crafty bunch, we'll keep busy.


I'm not convinced. At a certain point computers and robots become just as capable as humans are. At that point, society should reorganize itself somewhat.
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Post #14 by Useful Idiot » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:13 pm

Craig wrote:Where are people going to work when they automate the service jobs?


3D printing could create a new industrial age. It would be powered by small businesses employing 3D modellers, Web developers, and marketers. Until machines can think on their own, there will be a high demand for programmers as well.

Craig wrote:Eventually (and I mean long-term here, like decades from now) they're going to have to come up with a system where people don't have to work as much to make a living.


That system is called capitalism. The amount which we work in order to make a living depends on our allocation of scarce resources. As the allocation becomes more efficient, we can work less.

Aside from a shortage of cheap housing, essential living is already quite cheap. 20 hours of work at $10 per hour yields a $50 per week food budget. Two-and-a-half days of work at that rate can feed one, if not two people, for a month.
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Post #15 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:22 pm

Craig wrote:I'm not convinced. At a certain point computers and robots become just as capable as humans are. At that point, society should reorganize itself somewhat.


Bah, we either do (recycle ourselves/innovate and keep busy) or don't. If we don't, we either redistribute or further increase gap between the haves and have nots . Both are suboptimal. I suspect we'll do a little of both, someplaces more than others.
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Post #16 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:24 pm

A Despondent Soul wrote:3D printing could create a new industrial age. It would be powered by small businesses employing 3D modellers, Web developers, and marketers. Until machines can think on their own, there will be a high demand for programmers as well.



That system is called capitalism. The amount which we work in order to make a living depends on our allocation of scarce resources. As the allocation becomes more efficient, we can work less.

Aside from a shortage of cheap housing, essential living is already quite cheap. 20 hours of work at $10 per hour yields a $50 per week food budget. Two-and-a-half days of work at that rate can feed one, if not two people, for a month.


The trend is already working towards computers that can program themselves. I don't think programmers are any safer today than welders were in the 1930s.

3D printing is an example of exactly the kind of technology that will shrink the workforce. It has the potential to eliminate all kinds of jobs in manufacturing, transportation, sales, human resources, and so on. Just think of how many jobs are involved in you going to the store to buy a chair. Now think what happens to all those jobs when you can just download a design on the net and print it at home.

The problem with capitalism is people don't just volunteer to work less, they instead opt to make more. That's why there's a growing income gap.
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Post #17 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:26 pm

Dog wrote:Bah, we either do (recycle ourselves/innovate and keep busy) or don't. If we don't, we either redistribute or further increase gap between the haves and have nots . Both are suboptimal. I suspect we'll do a little of both, someplaces more than others.


I think optimal would be to get to the point where we can have an acceptable and improving standard of living and more free time to enjoy ourselves. I know, I know, dream on.
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Post #18 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:27 pm

I'm going to have to wait a bit longer to see how the war between human and computer plays out before picking a side.
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Post #19 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:37 pm

Craig wrote:Then you have ridiculous unemployment and you'll need a massive welfare state. I think you're better off spreading the work around but shortening the work day or week.


Pfft! Welfare. Not a chance. Work or nothing.
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Post #20 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:45 pm

dempsey_k wrote:Welfare is the price you have to pay to keep biker gangs from raping you in front of your family.


Welfare won't stop that.
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Post #21 by RTWAP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:48 pm

Craig wrote:You don't need higher wages if prices go down. If it gets more efficient to make/do things without involving people, the should translate into cheaper things.

I think the income gap is more likely too, but eventually that will ruin us. How sustainable do you think democracy will be with a 20% unemployment rate? 30? 40?


That's a very good question. Almost all of the recent increases in productivity have gone to higher corporate profits and comparatively few have gone to higher relative wages.

A Despondent Soul wrote:That system is called capitalism. The amount which we work in order to make a living depends on our allocation of scarce resources. As the allocation becomes more efficient, we can work less.


But it hasn't worked out that way. People work more now than they did in the past, despite the tremendous increases in productivity. Families used to have one parent at home, and one working out of the home. That's now a fantasy for most.
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Post #22 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:57 pm

RTWAP wrote:That's a very good question. Almost all of the recent increases in productivity have gone to higher corporate profits and comparatively few have gone to higher relative wages.



But it hasn't worked out that way. People work more now than they did in the past, despite the tremendous increases in productivity. Families used to have one parent at home, and one working out of the home. That's now a fantasy for most.


Case in point my wife or I could stay at home, but we don't because we'd rather have the monies and retire sooner, but we won't do that either because we could make even more....

Vicious cycle, but if we could somehow be convinced that making the extra money wasn't worth it, we'd work less, but right now the rat race continues.
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Post #23 by Sturminator » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:22 pm

Craig wrote:I think optimal would be to get to the point where we can have an acceptable and improving standard of living and more free time to enjoy ourselves. I know, I know, dream on.


I'm with you, Craig. Mandatory shortening of work weeks is probably in the cards within our lives (hell, it has already begun). The information revolution has created an epidemic of accessibility which has led to more work (and more burnout) in spite of increasing productivity, but this will balance itself out in time as people realize that they are making themselves sick. Simply giving people handouts is not much of a solution; better education in the west (probably with integration of more information technology in the classroom) combined with spreading less work wider looks like the best medium-term solution. Only viable long-term solution to stave off suicidal boredom is probably interstellar exploration. Make it so.
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Post #24 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:32 pm

Shortening of the work week leading to less pay will only result in people working more OT or taking a second job. Shortening the work week at equal pay will just inflate costs to the point where people work more OT or take a second job. It's a no win, unless people realize the insustainability of western lifestyles and you can convince people to live in poverty and be happy (or at least controlled).
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Post #25 by clawfirst » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:39 pm

Kill the rich. Redistribute wealth. Start over.
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Post #26 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:23 pm

clawfirst wrote:Kill the rich. Redistribute wealth. Start over.


You say you want a revolution...
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Post #27 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:26 pm

I tell you, we'll find something to keep people busy.

If not, then there is simply too many of us.

:paranoid:
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Post #28 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:27 pm

Masterplan wrote:Shortening of the work week leading to less pay will only result in people working more OT or taking a second job. Shortening the work week at equal pay will just inflate costs to the point where people work more OT or take a second job. It's a no win, unless people realize the insustainability of western lifestyles and you can convince people to live in poverty and be happy (or at least controlled).


If the work week were shortened from 40 hours to 35, I bet a bunch of people would be too lazy to get a second job. Myself most definitely among them.
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Post #29 by MP » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Craig wrote:If the work week were shortened from 40 hours to 35, I bet a bunch of people would be too lazy to get a second job. Myself most definitely among them.


Your gonna ask everyone for a 12.5% paycut? That'll go over well, and won't make a dent in unemployment. Heck most civil servants already only work 37.5...
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Post #30 by Sturminator » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:32 pm

My wife and I both work about 30 hour weeks by choice. It's fucking super. I don't see why it should be so hard to convince people that once one attains a middle class standard of living, time becomes more valuable than money.
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Post #31 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:37 pm

Sturminator wrote:My wife and I both work about 30 hour weeks by choice. It's fucking super. I don't see why it should be so hard to convince people that once one attains a middle class standard of living, time becomes more valuable than money.


I, like many others, have chosen career paths where i earn less than i could for the tradeoff of better quality of life. That's an easy call when you still earn well (and when working less in your profession basically means working 35-45 hour work weeks). It's less of an option for folks making average or below average wages. People don't want to just survive.
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Post #32 by Craig » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:50 pm

Masterplan wrote:Your gonna ask everyone for a 12.5% paycut? That'll go over well, and won't make a dent in unemployment. Heck most civil servants already only work 37.5...


Why wouldn't it? Washington and Iowa did it to their state employees during the recession to avoid layoffs.

You'd also have to get a handle on people working well beyond the 40 hour week, of course.
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Post #33 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:56 pm

Bah, redistributing work is more fairer than redistributing wealth, I guess. I'd still suspect considerable losses in efficiency, motivation and overall wealth, but none of that is real if you are a commie like greg.

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Post #34 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:03 pm

But, yeah, if you have structurally high unemployment, you either need less people, different people and/or wealth and/or work redistribution.
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Post #35 by mayoradamwest » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:40 pm

Soon you'll all be pining for Rae days.
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Post #36 by Macbeth » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:10 pm

dempsey_k wrote:Probability of your butt cheeks being penetrated by a Quebekker named Le Biftek on your front step drops sharply with a redistributive safety net that provides for the destitute.


Take that back.


















































TAKE IT BACK
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Post #37 by AD » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:03 pm

35 hour work weeks!!! You people are nuts. I can barely manage a 35 hour work month!
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Post #38 by Dog » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:40 pm

Banana wrote:35 hour work weeks!!! You people are nuts. I can barely manage a 35 hour work month!


They mean hours at work. :shakehead:
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Post #39 by Sturminator » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:33 am

Dog wrote:Bah, redistributing work is more fairer than redistributing wealth, I guess. I'd still suspect considerable losses in efficiency, motivation and overall wealth, but none of that is real if you are a commie like greg.


The only way a "redistribution of work" doesn't result in efficiency losses is if we make considerable improvements to our educational system. There would also have to be a good deal of flexibility in the system for people at the top/in the most specialized professions. It is obviously the professions where supply is beginning to outstrip demand where reform is most needed. Artificially restricting supply in professions with unmet demand is just retarded. There will probably also need to be some reform of university fees which encourages students to go into economically useful courses of study. At any rate, we don't need labor reform for nuclear physicists and CEOs.

Finally, you probably underestimate the efficiency losses associated with overwork. Two qualified people working 30 hour weeks are almost certainly more productive than one working a 60 hour week.
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Post #40 by MP » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:09 pm

We could just reinstate slavery. If you school grades are inadequate you go into the slave labour market. To be bought, housed, and taken care by industry.
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Post #41 by AD » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:53 pm

That's actually very expensive MP.
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Post #42 by Macbeth » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:55 pm

Banana wrote:That's actually very expensive MP.


Is that why your mee-maw left the slave business ?
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Post #43 by mayoradamwest » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:19 pm

Macbeth wrote:Is that why your mee-maw left the slave business ?


I don't know what you meant by that, but I resent the insinuation.
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Post #44 by AD » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:44 pm

Macbeth wrote:Is that why your mee-maw left the slave business ?


She wasn't in the slave business. I mean.. she didn't buy and sell slaves for profit.

To be completely transparent, she didn't actually buy slaves. They came with the house (no joke). And then a few months later she had them manumitted.
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Post #45 by Dog » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:50 pm

Banana wrote:She wasn't in the slave business. I mean.. she didn't buy and sell slaves for profit.

To be completely transparent, she didn't actually buy slaves. They came with the house (no joke). And then a few months later she had them manumitted.


Betcha she had her bathroom and backyard deck redone before letting them go.

:sickening:
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Post #46 by Macbeth » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:10 pm

Banana wrote:She wasn't in the slave business. I mean.. she didn't buy and sell slaves for profit.

To be completely transparent, she didn't actually buy slaves. They came with the house (no joke). And then a few months later she had them manumitted.


The stories you tell yourself...
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Post #47 by AD » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:12 pm

My teta told me she freed the slaves Mac.

She promised me she did.




















SHUT THE FUCK UP!
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Post #48 by Macbeth » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Banana wrote:My teta told me she freed the slaves Mac.

She promised me she did.




















SHUT THE FUCK UP!


:mkbét:
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Post #49 by Dog » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:56 am

Looking like it will be Summers over Yellen for the fed job. Would have preferred Yellen, but can't say i'm much in the know.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/13/us-usa-fed-summers-report-idUSBRE98C06120130913
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Post #50 by Useful Idiot » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:41 pm

RTWAP wrote:That's a very good question. Almost all of the recent increases in productivity have gone to higher corporate profits and comparatively few have gone to higher relative wages.


If you want to get a better idea of where money is going, you need to look beyond wages. Worker benefits continue to rise alongside stagnant wages. One interesting example is the ECEC (Employer Cost for Employee Compensation) index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor[0].

Here is the definition of the index:

" wrote:The ECEC series measures the average cost to employers
for wages and salaries, and for benefits, per employee hour
worked. As mentioned earlier, the series provides quarterly
data on employer costs per hour worked for total compen-
sation, wages and salaries, total benefits, and the following
benefits: paid leave—vacations, holidays, sick leave, and
personal leave; supplemental pay—premium pay for work
in addition to the regular work schedule (such as overtime,
weekend, and holiday work) and for shift differentials, and
nonproduction bonuses (such as yearend, referral, and attend-
ance bonuses); insurance benefits—life, health, short-term
disability, and long-term disability insurance; retirement and
savings benefits—defined benefit and defined contribution
plans; and legally required benefits—Social Security, Medi-
care, federal and state unemployment insurance, and workers’
compensation. Cost data are presented both in dollar amounts
and as percentages of total compensation. The ECEC uses
current employment weights to reflect the composition of to-
day’s labor force.


Wages as a total percentage of compensation have fallen by over one percent amongst private sector workers from 2004 to 2013; benefits as a total percentage of compensation have risen by over one percent[1 (page 124)]. That is around double the percentage change for the same metrics between 1986 and 2001[2 (page 13, bottom half)].

In short:

[table]Year | Wages (% of compensation) | Benefits (% of compensation)
1986 | 74.4 | 25.6
2001 | 73.8 | 26.2[/table][2 (page 13)]

[table]Year | Wages (% of compensation) | Benefits (% of compensation)
2004 | 71.5 | 28.5
2013 | 70.3 | 29.7[/table][1 (page 124)]

I am no œconomist, but there is a clear downward trend for wages as a percentage of compensation. As the Patient Protection and Affordable (Health) Care Act is implemented, more and more compensation will be funneled into health insurance.

RTWAP wrote:But it hasn't worked out that way. People work more now than they did in the past, despite the tremendous increases in productivity. Families used to have one parent at home, and one working out of the home. That's now a fantasy for most.


I am going to concede that one until I can study more on the topic.

[0]: http://bls.gov/ncs/ect/

[1]: ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ ... ecqrtn.pdf

[2]: ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ ... echist.pdf

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