The Problem With Socialism

koan
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by koan »

I think we've had a few anti-capitalism threads lately and want to balance out the perspectives.

First I'll place myself. I'm an anarchist. That makes me more "right" than "left" but I have no intention of trying to tell anyone how it would be better than the current system.

So, Socialism:

The first argument you usually hear is that it produces laziness. I'm pretty sure that people like their stuff so I'd argue against society becoming so lackadaisical they stop producing.

My main concern is that, if you put the government in charge of running our affairs you create a control spiral. If they are to be responsible they need to be given the tools to ensure success and that means giving all of our personal resources and decision making power to the overseers. If you've ever worked with a control freak who started without any power you've see how the one evolves from the other.
recovering conservative
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by recovering conservative »

koan;1339459 wrote: I think we've had a few anti-capitalism threads lately and want to balance out the perspectives.

First I'll place myself. I'm an anarchist. That makes me more "right" than "left" but I have no intention of trying to tell anyone how it would be better than the current system.

So, Socialism:

The first argument you usually hear is that it produces laziness. I'm pretty sure that people like their stuff so I'd argue against society becoming so lackadaisical they stop producing.

My main concern is that, if you put the government in charge of running our affairs you create a control spiral. If they are to be responsible they need to be given the tools to ensure success and that means giving all of our personal resources and decision making power to the overseers. If you've ever worked with a control freak who started without any power you've see how the one evolves from the other.


Well, I guess we can't agree on every issue! For a good portion of my adult life, I have considered myself to be a libertarian, or a conservative by Canadian standards here.

I have never been a social conservative, but up until recent times there was no such thing here; now our conservative parties are becoming branch operations of the Republican Party.

On economic matters, a smaller, more efficient government seems to make sense, and social welfare problems are always prone to attracting the "free rider" problem, as they call it in game theory.

For a number of reasons, I feel like I have moved right across the political spectrum from one end to the other during the last five years or so.

One big reason is dealing with environmental problems. For all of the problems of government, there is not going to be a free enterprize solution to climate change. It's a slowly accelerating problem that corporations such as energy companies are placing a distant 2nd behind their concerns for maintaining a highly profitable industry. Not only is it going to take governments that don't take orders from oil company CEO's; it's going to require international coordination. It's a long shot to get the kind of action that needs to be taken to prevent the worse catastrophic scenarios -- like a possible 6 degree rise in global temperatures at the end of this century -- but nothing else is going to put together a coordinated effort to stop continuous increases in greenhouse gases.

My no. 2 reason for losing faith in libertarian dogma is that all of their focus on reducing the size and scope of government has blinded us to the increasing power of corporate citizens; and like it or not, government is the only check on the power of the corporation. What about the corporate control spiral? That's the one we should really be worrying about today.

Next, would be the broken promises of free trade and globalization. Thirty years ago, we were told that some jobs and some inefficient industries would be lost, but on balance, there would be more wealth and better paying jobs. And none of this has come true.... neither in Canada, nor in the U.S. Instead, the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs has been relentless; and even high tech jobs are being outsourced to India. The beneficiaries have been the corporations who have cut payrolls and maximized profits at the expense of the shrinking middle class.

Finally, since I live in an economically depressed city, that has been hammered by the hollowing out of our manufacturing, we see a lot of the harmful effects of growing levels of poverty here in Hamilton. Those of us who are still part of the middle class are the usual targets of tax increases, and we all know that there some people who are on social assistance that are using the system -- but, nevertheless I am not with those who want more cuts to social spending (added to the ones that have already been made). The gap in incomes has already gone too far, and the libertarian strategy of cutting taxes and cutting support for the poor is eventually going to make Canada and the United States look like third world nations that have drastic divisions between rich and poor.
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Accountable
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koan;1339459 wrote: First I'll place myself. I'm an anarchist. That makes me more "right" than "left" but I have no intention of trying to tell anyone how it would be better than the current system. All the online tests I've taken tell me I'm as libertarian (small l) as they come. I met a self-described "libertarian socialist" online. I consider him a good friend, but still can't convince him that the label is an oxymoron.

koan;1339459 wrote: My main concern is that, if you put the government in charge of running our affairs you create a control spiral. If they are to be responsible they need to be given the tools to ensure success and that means giving all of our personal resources and decision making power to the overseers. If you've ever worked with a control freak who started without any power you've see how the one evolves from the other.We see that even now in our relatively free society.



recovering conservative;1339465 wrote: One big reason is dealing with environmental problems. For all of the problems of government, there is not going to be a free enterprize solution to climate change. It's a slowly accelerating problem that corporations such as energy companies are placing a distant 2nd behind their concerns for maintaining a highly profitable industry. Not only is it going to take governments that don't take orders from oil company CEO's; it's going to require international coordination. It's a long shot to get the kind of action that needs to be taken to prevent the worse catastrophic scenarios -- like a possible 6 degree rise in global temperatures at the end of this century -- but nothing else is going to put together a coordinated effort to stop continuous increases in greenhouse gases.

My no. 2 reason for losing faith in libertarian dogma is that all of their focus on reducing the size and scope of government has blinded us to the increasing power of corporate citizens; and like it or not, government is the only check on the power of the corporation. What about the corporate control spiral? That's the one we should really be worrying about today.You seem to be under some illusion that corporations have no influence over the government. That may be true in Canada, I don't know. It's definitely not true in the US. But setting that aside, smaller government trimmed of all the social programs the US federal gov't was never intended to enact (and is arguably even prohibited from it) would be better able to check corporate power.

recovering conservative;1339465 wrote: Next, would be the broken promises of free trade and globalization. Thirty years ago, we were told that some jobs and some inefficient industries would be lost, but on balance, there would be more wealth and better paying jobs. And none of this has come true.... neither in Canada, nor in the U.S. Instead, the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs has been relentless; and even high tech jobs are being outsourced to India. The beneficiaries have been the corporations who have cut payrolls and maximized profits at the expense of the shrinking middle class.I think our mistake in this case was imposing our own meaning onto the words. (1) Inefficient industries were lost. The more efficient industries, being more efficient, require fewer employees. (2) There is more wealth, just not in everybody's pockets. (3) Those jobs in those newer, more efficient industries, do pay very, very well. So the reality does match the promise, just not the implication.

Nevertheless, that's the current reality. Pain brings about innovation. I'm optimistic about the future.

recovering conservative;1339465 wrote: Finally, since I live in an economically depressed city, that has been hammered by the hollowing out of our manufacturing, we see a lot of the harmful effects of growing levels of poverty here in Hamilton. Those of us who are still part of the middle class are the usual targets of tax increases, and we all know that there some people who are on social assistance that are using the system -- but, nevertheless I am not with those who want more cuts to social spending (added to the ones that have already been made). The gap in incomes has already gone too far, and the libertarian strategy of cutting taxes and cutting support for the poor is eventually going to make Canada and the United States look like third world nations that have drastic divisions between rich and poor.Social spending encourages complacency & dependence, inhibits innovation, and maintains poverty. A safety net to keep people from starving is fine, but gov't programs such as this current endless unemployment compensation will only increase that income gap that you indicate is so important.
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by Ahso! »

Accountable;1339473 wrote: Pain brings about innovation.

Social spending encourages complacency & dependence, inhibits innovation, and maintains poverty. A safety net to keep people from starving is fine, but gov't programs such as this current endless unemployment compensation will only increase that income gap that you indicate is so important.What evidence causes you to espouse this view? The first thing that comes to my mind is if this were correct wouldn't we see countries such as Africa and Afghanistan leading the way on innovation? Also, here in America wouldn't it also follow that blacks as well as native Americans and females would be the richest among us. Knowing you as I do I doubt you'd assert that all blacks, Native Americans and females are complacent and dependent.

Poverty, since it is painful would be a good thing and drive innovation, no?
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

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yaaarrrgg
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by yaaarrrgg »

koan;1339459 wrote: I think we've had a few anti-capitalism threads lately and want to balance out the perspectives.

First I'll place myself. I'm an anarchist. That makes me more "right" than "left" but I have no intention of trying to tell anyone how it would be better than the current system.

So, Socialism:

The first argument you usually hear is that it produces laziness. I'm pretty sure that people like their stuff so I'd argue against society becoming so lackadaisical they stop producing.

My main concern is that, if you put the government in charge of running our affairs you create a control spiral. If they are to be responsible they need to be given the tools to ensure success and that means giving all of our personal resources and decision making power to the overseers. If you've ever worked with a control freak who started without any power you've see how the one evolves from the other.


*The* government? There's more than one type of government. If you attach a socialist economic system to an authoritarian government, it will likely fail as will any economic system. Everyone will be miserable.

However, if you attach it to a democratic model it is not much different than making everyone a partial shareholder in the company they work for. Would you work less or more, if you had a direct stake and vote in the business you were working at?

Socialism and capitalism are really not diametrically opposed systems, as one can implement socialism within the framework of capitalism and private property law. The GPL software license is a good example of this.
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by yaaarrrgg »

Ahso!;1339504 wrote: What evidence causes you to espouse this view? The first thing that comes to my mind is if this were correct wouldn't we see countries such as Africa and Afghanistan leading the way on innovation? Also, here in America wouldn't it also follow that blacks as well as native Americans and females would be the richest among us. Knowing you as I do I doubt you'd assert that all blacks, Native Americans and females are complacent and dependent.

Poverty, since it is painful would be a good thing and drive innovation, no?


That's a good point. If pain is good, should also pick the most lousy form of government possible. Which, according to capitalists is socialism. :)
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by yaaarrrgg »

Accountable;1339473 wrote: All the online tests I've taken tell me I'm as libertarian (small l) as they come. I met a self-described "libertarian socialist" online. I consider him a good friend, but still can't convince him that the label is an oxymoron.




In software development, you meet a lot of liberatarians and socialists that support open source software. In it's best form, both goals converge. You have the freedom to use the software anyway you want, and there's no private property (other than the software belongs to whoever uses it). I'm not sure the label is always a contradiction, but in some cases you are right it might be difficult to achieve both aims simultaneously.
recovering conservative
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Post by recovering conservative »

I had a feeling that your ears would be burning!

Accountable;1339473 wrote:

You seem to be under some illusion that corporations have no influence over the government. That may be true in Canada, I don't know. It's definitely not true in the US. But setting that aside, smaller government trimmed of all the social programs the US federal gov't was never intended to enact (and is arguably even prohibited from it) would be better able to check corporate power.
Wee've talked about this before! How exactly could smaller governments, which have outsourced more services and responsibilities to private corporations be a check on corporate power?

The problem is that large corporations already have too much influence over government -- and not just over the politicians! The Citizen's United Case is the latest and most egregious sign of their growing influence among lawmakers. The rights of artificial corporate citizens has been growing slowly for over a hundred years, and Citizens United shows that even the highest judicial body -- which is out of reach of their lobbyists, is still contaminated by the arrival of conservative judges steeped in decades of right wing thinking that larger, wealthier, more powerful corporations are to everyone's benefit. Otherwise, the judicial activism of the Supreme's conservatives makes no sense.



I think our mistake in this case was imposing our own meaning onto the words. (1) Inefficient industries were lost. The more efficient industries, being more efficient, require fewer employees. (2) There is more wealth, just not in everybody's pockets. (3) Those jobs in those newer, more efficient industries, do pay very, very well. So the reality does match the promise, just not the implication.
Show Me The Numbers!

Every time I've looked at stats on income over the last ten years, or the last 30 years, the top income groups are getting richer, while everyone else is stagnating and falling backwards; and the hollowing out of manufacturing in the U.S. and Canada has shrunk the middle class to insignificance. Forty years ago, factory closings would have led to strikes on par with what's going on in France or Greece -- but now the factories close, the jobs get shipped overseas, and most of the former plant workers finish off their working lives working in McDonald's or donut shops. Most of the ones who try to start up their own businesses get ripped off by franchisers, and have to hope that they didn't waste their entire nest egg trying to start their own business.

And (3), those "newer, more efficient industries" do not pay higher wages than the existing manufacturers. When GM and Ford started a strategy of outsourcing parts manufacturing, the suppliers had state of the art equipment, but paid half or one third of what a North American auto worker would make for the same job.

But that's all beside the point now since manufacturers have tried to outsource everything to China and Indonesia, and elsewhere. U.S. manufacturing jobs used to make up more than one third of the work force 30 to 40 years ago; now they are barely 15% of the total, and people working in financial services -- pushing money around in new creative ways -- are the new backbone of the economy. And the banking and real estate meltdown of a couple of years ago, showed the dangers of relying on funny money scamming to drive the economy.

Nevertheless, that's the current reality. Pain brings about innovation. I'm optimistic about the future.


I'm not, for a lot of reasons! My crystal ball tells me that America is an empire that is about to collapse, and Canada is already a petro-state that is going to be ruined both environmentally and economically by the developments of dirty tar sands oil.

The big picture is that we are living in an overcrowded, overconsuming world that has reached the limits of sustainability because the cheap oil has run out. Eventually I'm going to get around to starting a thread on this subject, but briefly, my prediction for the near future is that every time the economy starts to improve....under Obama, or the next president, it will fall back into recession, because the extra oil right now is coming from our tar sands and expensive offshore, deep sea oil rigs. Every time the economy goes up in the coming years, oil prices are going to go back to $150 a barrel or more, and then we are back in recession again.

Now where the problems of supplying vast amounts of cheap energy intersects with political ideology, is that simple supply and demand rules should have led to new oil supplies.....well they have, but they are too expensive to maintain globalized capitalism. Many of these current problems are not going to be solved by technological innovation, but instead by re-localization -- we are going to have to go back to the old ways of producing most of what we need locally, because transportation costs are going to rule out importing everything from China.

Social spending encourages complacency & dependence, inhibits innovation, and maintains poverty. A safety net to keep people from starving is fine, but gov't programs such as this current endless unemployment compensation will only increase that income gap that you indicate is so important.
How about a guaranteed minimum income? Because in most places outside of Sweden, living on welfare is pretty close to starvation.

It boils down to what kind of society we want to have. I don't deny that there are going to be free riders in a welfare state; but the alternative of having an even poorer, more desperate underclass will fuel crime rates, prostitution, drug and other substance abuse....and we end up like the Third World -- where the rich live safely behind walled communities, and have armed security guards travelling with them and their children, while the small middle class that can't afford all this, has to deal with the increasing violence coming from below.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

recovering conservative;1339556 wrote: How exactly could smaller governments, which have outsourced more services and responsibilities to private corporations be a check on corporate power?




Not sure where that one came from, the suggestion has always been that the Federal Government should be made smaller by devolving most of the functions that it now performs onto local government, not outsources it to commercial organisations.

A government that concentrates its attention on foreign relations, security (internal and external) and national law would be less influenced by commercial considerations and pressure from big corporations after mega-contracts for projects that would then be handled by the State Governments.
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Post by Ahso! »

Bryn Mawr;1339581 wrote: Not sure where that one came from, the suggestion has always been that the Federal Government should be made smaller by devolving most of the functions that it now performs onto local government, not outsources it to commercial organisations.

A government that concentrates its attention on foreign relations, security (internal and external) and national law would be less influenced by commercial considerations and pressure from big corporations after mega-contracts for projects that would then be handled by the State Governments.Far too often these projects handed out to private contractors end up underbid, overcharged, workers underpaid, left without health insurance and workers compensation insurance and more while the corporation makes tens of millions in profit. A few years ago our main bypass was reconstructed by a British firm who was the lowest bidder and it became a total disaster. I just don't see why these services cannot be done by state employees as was the custom years ago. I appreciate the fact that the burden of legalities are borne by the contractor, but state and local governments can purchase the insurance too.

Heres a blurb on the project. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-9124862.html
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Ahso!;1339593 wrote: Far too often these projects handed out to private contractors end up underbid, overcharged, workers underpaid, left without health insurance and workers compensation insurance and more while the corporation makes tens of millions in profit. A few years ago our main bypass was reconstructed by a British firm who was the lowest bidder and it became a total disaster. I just don't see why these services cannot be done by state employees as was the custom years ago. I appreciate the fact that the burden of legalities are borne by the contractor, but state and local governments can purchase the insurance too.

Heres a blurb on the project. Balfour Beatty: Finished on '30' but not in Pa. // In settlement, controversial British company allowed to bid on state projects - Sunday News Lancaster, PA | HighBeam Research - FREE trial


Was that the Lancaster County section?
Ahso!
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Post by Ahso! »

Bryn Mawr;1339598 wrote: Was that the Lancaster County section?Yes
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,”

Voltaire



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koan
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Post by koan »

My first argument against socialism is that if you legislate compassion to make it mandatory, then people become less caring towards each other because they already paid so much in taxes to help their fellow man that they don't feel they have anything left. I'm talking about the average person and the poor classes, not the wealthy who like to make tax deductible donations with big fanfare. I'm also not really talking about making donations to charities at all. I feel that people take on a survival of the fittest attitude when socialist programs are funded by taxes.
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Post by recovering conservative »

Bryn Mawr;1339581 wrote: Not sure where that one came from, the suggestion has always been that the Federal Government should be made smaller by devolving most of the functions that it now performs onto local government, not outsources it to commercial organisations.
In the U.S., it certainly is happening at the federal level if the grossly under-reported story of private military contractors is considered. State and provincial governments are also seeking to privatize government services; and then when you get to the local level, that's where we get private subcontractors doing everything from collecting the garbage, looking after water and waste treatment plants, taking care of road maintenance and snow removal etc.. No big surprise that there are scandals involving political payoffs attached to the awarding of most of these contracts.
recovering conservative
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The Problem With Socialism

Post by recovering conservative »

koan;1339635 wrote: My first argument against socialism is that if you legislate compassion to make it mandatory, then people become less caring towards each other because they already paid so much in taxes to help their fellow man that they don't feel they have anything left.
And on average, the stories I've heard on this subject are that citizens of nations like Sweden and Denmark -- which have high taxes, along with better government services, do not give as much per capita to charities as the average American....and why should they? A Swede who is paying over half of his income to support the welfare state, expects that the state should be taking care of problems with poverty, foreign aid, and such.

Personally, I would prefer this situation to gutting the welfare state and making charity optional. Maybe a lot of people are going to be generous during good times, but if you've been reading the news lately, and noticed extra appeals coming to you from charities that you support -- this is because the decline in the economy of the last two years has created a big hit for charities right across the board. So, anyone depending on those charities for support, is feeling the crunch right now.

Also, religious charities are allowed to claim a lot more expenses as tax deductible than secular charities have available. Should evangelizing and proselytizing be considered equal to actually sending real aid to Haiti, or running the food banks locally? Because no distinction is made as far as tax exempt status! A lot of charitable giving coming from America is spent on sending bibles and preachers to Africa, rather than food and medicine.

I'm talking about the average person and the poor classes, not the wealthy who like to make tax deductible donations with big fanfare. I'm also not really talking about making donations to charities at all. I feel that people take on a survival of the fittest attitude when socialist programs are funded by taxes.
From what I've read, the breakdown in civil society has more to do with how great the gap in incomes are, rather than how high taxes are. What happens is that a high stratification of incomes reduces social cohesion, because both the rich, and the poor start losing trust in others. So the rich build their fortresses and hire private security guards, while the poor lose interest in the political system, the schools, and supporting law enforcement in their neighbourhoods.

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
koan
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Post by koan »

The wealthy hide their income from taxes via corporations. Taxes only really hit the poor and middle classes. The only support for government tax that I can stand behind is source tax on non essential consumables. I wouldn't mind paying 50% tax on luxury items if I wasn't paying income tax. Source tax will only ever affect the people who have money to buy luxury items.

correction: change "source tax" to "consumption tax"
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Post by K.Snyder »

Ahso!;1339504 wrote: What evidence causes you to espouse this view? The first thing that comes to my mind is if this were correct wouldn't we see countries such as Africa and Afghanistan leading the way on innovation? Also, here in America wouldn't it also follow that blacks as well as native Americans and females would be the richest among us. Knowing you as I do I doubt you'd assert that all blacks, Native Americans and females are complacent and dependent.

Poverty, since it is painful would be a good thing and drive innovation, no?Slavery has existed for thousands of years only to see the first ever man of color lead a nation over not only a majority of white people but a significant one at that in the last 100. Are you sure your perspective isn't limited to your own lifetime?
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Post by K.Snyder »

"Free loader" doesn't exist beyond the percentage of equal wealth distribution. What's exactly hard to understand that capitalism doesn't have to cease, only the relative worth of resources?

Get rid of real estate tax and give equal share of the company to workers from a fixed percentage of income and disburse the profit margin thereafter to those that earn the commission of sales, in equal proportion of course.

Get rid of patents as well.

If people have the freedom to choose what they wish to make of their career and get paid just as much money everyone would enter the field of their choice and by default be better at that field than having to work a job they dislike creating a workforce that at best produces a mediocre society that has nowhere to go.

We'll soon find out where that nowhere is at the hands of the free market, sadly

Can anyone say "oops"?
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Post by Accountable »

AARRRRGGGHHH!! :yh_cry We're finally getting good action here and I'm too busy with work to enjoy it. I'm going to do what I personally don't like to see - I'm going to respond to older posts that aren't really current to the conversation ............. starting tomorrow.

koan;1339635 wrote: My first argument against socialism is that if you legislate compassion to make it mandatory, then people become less caring towards each other because they already paid so much in taxes to help their fellow man that they don't feel they have anything left. I'm talking about the average person and the poor classes, not the wealthy who like to make tax deductible donations with big fanfare. I'm also not really talking about making donations to charities at all. I feel that people take on a survival of the fittest attitude when socialist programs are funded by taxes.
Dang, Koan! Didn't you & I used to disagree on stuff?? :-2
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Post by yaaarrrgg »

As for pooling resources together, I would think public charity could collect more money than an unorganized network of private charities.

For example, a 1 dollar tax for everyone in the U.S. translates to roughly $300,000,000. Do a $10 tax, and that's over 3 billion dollars. That's a pretty straightforward way to collect a lot of money. We can even raise or lower the donations for those who can afford more or less.

How is a privite charity going to collect that much money? It's going to take a lot of marketing and adminstrative overhead. What's worse, is there's no gaurantee the private charity will collect any money at all. It's all based on the hope people will donate anything.
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Post by gmc »

Tell me -let's take Canada as an example, or america if you prefer. To whom do the resources under the earth belong? all the oil, gold etc. Who is entitled to extract them and what do you think should happen to the wealth thus generated?
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Ahso!;1339504 wrote: What evidence causes you to espouse this view? The first thing that comes to my mind is if this were correct wouldn't we see countries such as Africa and Afghanistan leading the way on innovation? Also, here in America wouldn't it also follow that blacks as well as native Americans and females would be the richest among us. Knowing you as I do I doubt you'd assert that all blacks, Native Americans and females are complacent and dependent.

Poverty, since it is painful would be a good thing and drive innovation, no?Don't you believe people in Africa and Afghanistan are innovative?? I saw a story of an Indian family that makes a living by hunting and killing rats in the rice fields. The rice farmer pays them for getting rid of a pest for him, and the family roasts the rice-fed rats. Innovation doesn't have to be high-tech. I've seen some pretty innovative thinking from people who receive public funds here in the US, as well. They don't want to lose the government check, so they find ways to make money without Uncle Sam finding out.



As for the complacency & dependence, I could point to the same Americans. Rather than taking a chance at a better-paying job that has no guarantee of being there for more than a few years or even a few months, many choose to take the 'bird in the hand' of a meager-but-steady government check.

I just recently caught myself being complacent & dependent, albeit because of employer-paid dental insurance rather than a welfare check. For several years now my beloved has been stoically enduring jaw pain, while I dutifully (and helplessly) jumped through the required hoops, only to find that it doesn't cover what she needs. Since we're at the point of annual renewal, I dropped the insurance. I then went to a couple of professionals and asked point-blank, "who's the best in town for 'X' problem?" The name came from both of them quick and emphatic; so I did a little research, liked what I saw, and called the guy for an appointment. "He doesn't accept any insurace," I was warned, which was fine since I don't have any. Cutting that insurance tether feels very liberating.
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Post by Ahso! »

Accountable;1339741 wrote: Don't you believe people in Africa and Afghanistan are innovative??Yes I do but I don't judge them based on it. They are people first, innovators last.

I believe your point was that pain and greed are necessary components to spur innovation (correct me if I'm mistaken) and my position is that life along with an innate drive to survive along with the evolution of the brain are the forces that spur innovation. We're living in a time when we have a better understanding of what and who we are and the older dogmatic beliefs are becoming irrelevant. Accountable;1339741 wrote: I saw a story of an Indian family that makes a living by hunting and killing rats in the rice fields. The rice farmer pays them for getting rid of a pest for him, and the family roasts the rice-fed rats. Innovation doesn't have to be high-tech. I've seen some pretty innovative thinking from people who receive public funds here in the US, as well. They don't want to lose the government check, so they find ways to make money without Uncle Sam finding out.



As for the complacency & dependence, I could point to the same Americans. Rather than taking a chance at a better-paying job that has no guarantee of being there for more than a few years or even a few months, many choose to take the 'bird in the hand' of a meager-but-steady government check.

I just recently caught myself being complacent & dependent, albeit because of employer-paid dental insurance rather than a welfare check. For several years now my beloved has been stoically enduring jaw pain, while I dutifully (and helplessly) jumped through the required hoops, only to find that it doesn't cover what she needs. Since we're at the point of annual renewal, I dropped the insurance. I then went to a couple of professionals and asked point-blank, "who's the best in town for 'X' problem?" The name came from both of them quick and emphatic; so I did a little research, liked what I saw, and called the guy for an appointment. "He doesn't accept any insurace," I was warned, which was fine since I don't have any. Cutting that insurance tether feels very liberating.I'm glad your situation worked out for you.
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Post by Accountable »

Ahso!;1339751 wrote: Yes I do but I don't judge them based on it. They are people first, innovators last.I feel like I'm being accused of something but I don't know what.

Ahso!;1339751 wrote: I believe your point was that pain and greed are necessary components to spur innovation Not at all, only that pain spurs it (and where in the world did you fabricate greed from??). Lots of things spur innovation. If (general) you are comfortable, or at least accepting of your situation, you are less likely to do things to remove yourself from it than if you are uncomfortable.
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Post by koan »

people are less likely to argue with "necessity is the mother of invention" as it's a saying that has historically been well accepted and means basically the same thing.
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Post by koan »

yaaarrrgg;1339700 wrote: As for pooling resources together, I would think public charity could collect more money than an unorganized network of private charities.

For example, a 1 dollar tax for everyone in the U.S. translates to roughly $300,000,000. Do a $10 tax, and that's over 3 billion dollars. That's a pretty straightforward way to collect a lot of money. We can even raise or lower the donations for those who can afford more or less.

How is a privite charity going to collect that much money? It's going to take a lot of marketing and adminstrative overhead. What's worse, is there's no gaurantee the private charity will collect any money at all. It's all based on the hope people will donate anything.


The private charity will be able to directly put the money collected towards the cause it represents. The money the government collects is not spent directly on anything the payer can determine with their donation. A lot more money goes to administration with the government vs with the direct charity.
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Post by Accountable »

yaaarrrgg;1339506 wrote: That's a good point. If pain is good, should also pick the most lousy form of government possible. Which, according to capitalists is socialism. :):wah:



recovering conservative;1339556 wrote: Wee've talked about this before! How exactly could smaller governments, which have outsourced more services and responsibilities to private corporations be a check on corporate power?They can't, but I didn't mention anything about outsourcing services and responsibilities. If the federal gov't were pruned of all the extra-constitutional services they are not responsible for, they would be smaller and would be better able to fulfill their actual responsibilities.

recovering conservative wrote: The problem is that large corporations already have too much influence over government -- and not just over the politicians! The Citizen's United Case is the latest and most egregious sign of their growing influence among lawmakers. The rights of artificial corporate citizens has been growing slowly for over a hundred years, and Citizens United shows that even the highest judicial body -- which is out of reach of their lobbyists, is still contaminated by the arrival of conservative judges steeped in decades of right wing thinking that larger, wealthier, more powerful corporations are to everyone's benefit. Otherwise, the judicial activism of the Supreme's conservatives makes no sense. I absolutely agree, though I really wish you were as sharply critical of the criminals to your left as you are to your right.



recovering conservative wrote: Every time I've looked at stats on income over the last ten years, or the last 30 years, the top income groups are getting richer, while everyone else is stagnating and falling backwards; and the hollowing out of manufacturing in the U.S. and Canada has shrunk the middle class to insignificance. Forty years ago, factory closings would have led to strikes on par with what's going on in France or Greece -- but now the factories close, the jobs get shipped overseas, and most of the former plant workers finish off their working lives working in McDonald's or donut shops. Most of the ones who try to start up their own businesses get ripped off by franchisers, and have to hope that they didn't waste their entire nest egg trying to start their own business.There's nothing in your post that conflicts with mine.

recovering conservative wrote: I'm not [optimistic], for a lot of reasons! My crystal ball tells me that America is an empire that is about to collapse, and Canada is already a petro-state that is going to be ruined both environmentally and economically by the developments of dirty tar sands oil.Yup. Ain't it great (meaning about America; I don't comment on Canada)? Once the empire collapses, maybe just maybe we'll remember that we were never designed to be an empire, but a land that values individual liberty. I can't wait! :yh_dance
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Post by Ahso! »

Accountable;1339852 wrote: I feel like I'm being accused of something but I don't know what.Accountable;1339473 wrote: Social spending encourages complacency & dependence, inhibits innovation, and maintains poverty. A safety net to keep people from starving is fine, but gov't programs such as this current endless unemployment compensation will only increase that income gap that you indicate is so important.I hear you implying here that people tend to become lazy when they recieve a helping hand on any medium or long term. I disagree with that.



Accountable;1339852 wrote: Not at all, only that pain spurs it (and where in the world did you fabricate greed from??). Lots of things spur innovation. If (general) you are comfortable, or at least accepting of your situation, you are less likely to do things to remove yourself from it than if you are uncomfortable.I believe I recall you somewhat preaching in the past that greed is good. Do I have that wrong?

There is nothing wrong with being comfortable. I doubt discomfort contributes to one becoming "innovative". Creating is simply something some humans do more than others. Because we, like other animals, are different in the way of breeds IMO, not all of us focus, behave or are motivated alike.

This is the problem with capitalism, it refuses to recognize differences in the human being. Those who are successful in a competitive environment are competitive minded, but as we can witness by the small number of rich people, its a minority. There is so much more diversity in the human that is not recognized because it does not suit this culture thus much of it is considered disorders or behavioral problems.

I'm optimistic that as life continues to evolve this will change. How long that will take has got me, but I think it will provided the planet doesn't wipe out life again with some cataclysmic event.

I wanted to say more but I forget what it was. You all are probably relieved about that anyway.
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Post by koan »

gmc;1339729 wrote: Tell me -let's take Canada as an example, or america if you prefer. To whom do the resources under the earth belong? all the oil, gold etc. Who is entitled to extract them and what do you think should happen to the wealth thus generated?
I'm against "private property" I think Canada and every other part of the Earth belongs to every living being equally. I believe one of the biggest cons ever pulled off was when the first person said "this is my land" and the people said "oh, okay then."

I think that, if someone puts in effort to dig up or otherwise extract a resource the result of their personal effort belongs to them. If someone wants to pay them to extract a resource for them, I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to purchase the labour but if anyone wants to extract it for themselves, they shouldn't be told that someone else owns the land it's on. If they "hire" a crew to help dig then the crew also has claim to the resources they helped extract as they'd only be hired labour if the hirer doesn't want to do the digging themselves, in which case they are paying the crew for whatever resources they dig up that the money buys.
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Post by koan »

Was just thinking about how being against private property seems to be socialist and that is part of why I have trouble discussing politics in terms of right and left.

My opposition to Socialist political systems is that if everything belongs to everyone equally then it can't belong to one body in the form of government or it interferes with freedom of no ownership. Governments are leviathans that take on a body. With a socialist government no one owns anything because the government owns it all. I believe no own should own anything because no one owns it.
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Post by recovering conservative »

koan;1339867 wrote: Was just thinking about how being against private property seems to be socialist and that is part of why I have trouble discussing politics in terms of right and left.
There goes your chance for a new career at FoxNews! Seriously though, many people are left or right depending on what the issue is, and for doctrinaire libertarians, property rights are more important than human rights.

My opposition to Socialist political systems is that if everything belongs to everyone equally then it can't belong to one body in the form of government or it interferes with freedom of no ownership. Governments are leviathans that take on a body. With a socialist government no one owns anything because the government owns it all. I believe no own should own anything because no one owns it.
I don't think anarchism could ever work as a practical system of government. And socialism today is some sort of mixed economy that would have a lot higher level of public ownership than exists today. Marxism was never able to make a communist system work, and the regimes that tried the hardest -- like the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, became the most oppressive and genocidal.

The problem today is that the present system of globalized capitalism is unsustainable, because it depends on continuous economic growth, and greater consumption of resources. It wouldn't be a problem if there were new lands to colonize and exploit for natural resources, but we're running out of room, and the Earth can't expand to meet our desires.

What is the best economic system to deal with re-localization and steady declines in economic output? Because we are going to have to find out one way or another in the coming years.
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Post by koan »

I'm against socialism, not by reason of lack of concern for the well being of the masses, but because I believe government takes control of everything and inevitably becomes more concerned with its own existence than with the well being of the people it serves. Government always reaches a point where it no longer serves the people... Because it's made up of people who are given a taste of power.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

koan;1339856 wrote: The private charity will be able to directly put the money collected towards the cause it represents. The money the government collects is not spent directly on anything the payer can determine with their donation. A lot more money goes to administration with the government vs with the direct charity.


The money spent in administration is directly attributable to the collection of monies for the governments own use and would be spent regardless of whether the mechanism was used to collect charity money or not. The cost of distribution, which is the only additional cost of using this mechanism, would be minimal and no different (if not lower due to centralisation) than that of the private charities.

With most charities the cost of advertising and the collection of the donations is the major part of the admin cost and is quite high - especially over the number of charities competing for our money. The cost of centralised collection with no advertising would be lower even if the above argument is not accepted.
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Post by koan »

I'm more for the type of charity that runs like this: a person needs a barn, the community gets together and builds him one.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

koan;1339893 wrote: I'm more for the type of charity that runs like this: a person needs a barn, the community gets together and builds him one.


Local charity for local needs is the way life should be but how do you deal with a drought in West Africa that's killing millions through crop failure?
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Post by recovering conservative »

Accountable;1339857 wrote: :wah:



They can't, but I didn't mention anything about outsourcing services and responsibilities. If the federal gov't were pruned of all the extra-constitutional services they are not responsible for, they would be smaller and would be better able to fulfill their actual responsibilities.


And what are these extra-constitutional services? Is garbage collection, fire and police, water and waste management - all constitutional services? And does that mean they have to be performed by government employees, rather than being outsourced to large corporations that are specializing in these fields?

As a theoretical argument, why can't a government today provide services that were never envisioned over 200 years ago? I've avoided these arguments about the Constitution till now -- largely because I'm not an American -- but I do feel a need to speak out against the mythologizing of American Revolutionary history, especially the claims that the Founding Fathers were libertarians, and they intended the new constitution to be followed to the letter -- like it is some sort of Bible that Jefferson, Adams, and Madison brought down from Mount Sinai.

If we go back to their time, I'd like to know if some of the early federal initiatives, such as the Embargo Act and the Louisiana Purchase violated the Constitution? They certainly set a course for later expansion of federal powers.

I absolutely agree, though I really wish you were as sharply critical of the criminals to your left as you are to your right.


Maybe you can tell me where exactly the left is these days? Forty years ago, there was a visible force on the left; where is it now? It's certainly not like the left that called a general strike over in France.



There's nothing in your post that conflicts with mine.


Great! We agree that an income gap exists. But do you consider wide gaps in income to be a problem? I think the widening gap is a threat to freedom, democracy, and civil society.

Yup. Ain't it great (meaning about America; I don't comment on Canada)?
We're the new Saudi Arabia! We are your number one source for imported oil now.

Once the empire collapses, maybe just maybe we'll remember that we were never designed to be an empire, but a land that values individual liberty. I can't wait! :yh_dance
If it takes an economic collapse to scale back the size of the military, the fallout could look worse than what happened to the Soviet Union 20 years ago.
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Post by koan »

Bryn Mawr;1339898 wrote: Local charity for local needs is the way life should be but how do you deal with a drought in West Africa that's killing millions through crop failure?


As narrow as it sounds, I'm trying to just focus on how to right the wrongs at home right now.

I think it can become problematic to expand one's concerns so far that any regional solution becomes impossible.
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Post by Accountable »

recovering conservative;1339900 wrote: And what are these extra-constitutional services? Is garbage collection, fire and police, water and waste management - all constitutional services? And does that mean they have to be performed by government employees, rather than being outsourced to large corporations that are specializing in these fields?This is where my conversations on this get bogged down. When I talk about government in general terms, I'm talking about federal gov't. I always forget to specify that. Do you mind if we keep this particular conversation in the federal realm? I see state & local as being very different with a distinct purpose separate from federal.

recovering conservative wrote: As a theoretical argument, why can't a government today provide services that were never envisioned over 200 years ago? I've avoided these arguments about the Constitution till now -- largely because I'm not an American -- but I do feel a need to speak out against the mythologizing of American Revolutionary history, especially the claims that the Founding Fathers were libertarians, and they intended the new constitution to be followed to the letter -- like it is some sort of Bible that Jefferson, Adams, and Madison brought down from Mount Sinai. The Founding Fathers were by and large libertarians (small 'l') so they likely didn't intend the new Constitution to be followed to the letter. But the spirit of limited federal gov't and maximum personal freedom in which they wrote the Constitution must be honored. Now, as for the US government, specifically, providing un-envisioned services, the FF put a mechanism in place to amend the Constitution. It's a slow, cumbersome process, and it was purposely designed to be so, because anything really important should be given ample time to examine and debate before putting it in place. This is a concept lost on the current litter in Washington, who laugh condescendingly at any naive suggestion that they should actually read and understand a bill before they vote it into permanent law that will impact generations to come.

recovering conservative wrote: If we go back to their time, I'd like to know if some of the early federal initiatives, such as the Embargo Act and the Louisiana Purchase violated the Constitution? They certainly set a course for later expansion of federal powers.Actually, President Jefferson did think he didn't have constitutional authority for the Louisiana Purchase, but the deal was going to be pulled off the table so he jumped. Can anybody say George Bush?

recovering conservative wrote: Maybe you can tell me where exactly the left is these days? Forty years ago, there was a visible force on the left; where is it now? It's certainly not like the left that called a general strike over in France.Corporatism has no prejudice. Labor unions are one of the biggest industries around.

recovering conservative wrote: Great! We agree that an income gap exists. But do you consider wide gaps in income to be a problem? I think the widening gap is a threat to freedom, democracy, and civil society.I've never been able to wrap my head around this. If I have a net worth of $200 thousand, and you have a net worth of $200 billion, and we both make 10% this year, the gap between your net worth and mine is widened, surely, but how is that problematic to me?

recovering conservative wrote: If it takes an economic collapse to scale back the size of the military, the fallout could look worse than what happened to the Soviet Union 20 years ago.The Soviet Union ceased to exist and national boundaries went back to pre-Soviet days. I don't see that as a bad thing. We've built an artificial economy - a fiction. Coming out of that haze might be painful, but I don't see how it is 'bad'.
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Post by gmc »

koan;1339859 wrote: I'm against "private property" I think Canada and every other part of the Earth belongs to every living being equally. I believe one of the biggest cons ever pulled off was when the first person said "this is my land" and the people said "oh, okay then."

I think that, if someone puts in effort to dig up or otherwise extract a resource the result of their personal effort belongs to them. If someone wants to pay them to extract a resource for them, I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to purchase the labour but if anyone wants to extract it for themselves, they shouldn't be told that someone else owns the land it's on. If they "hire" a crew to help dig then the crew also has claim to the resources they helped extract as they'd only be hired labour if the hirer doesn't want to do the digging themselves, in which case they are paying the crew for whatever resources they dig up that the money buys.


Congratulations, at heart you are a socialist.

Was just thinking about how being against private property seems to be socialist and that is part of why I have trouble discussing politics in terms of right and left.


It's a european concept, goes back to the french revolution when those deputies who wanted to give more power to the people sat on the left of the chamber and those who believed in the divine right of kings to rule as they see fit sat on the right. Left is power to the people right is power to the ruling classes and for the status quo. The american revolution (as it is known here) was a left wing one that had repercussions all round the world.

Politics is the argument about how we govern. Most european governments are social democratic in nature or democratic socialists of you prefer. Even the tory party in the UK would not dare touch the NHS that argument was settled sixty years ago. Most europeans would also make a distinction between socialism and communism, although related the two are not synonymous. Communism never really caught on in the industrialised nations - too many literate workers could see through to the obvious flaw in the reasoning. Both america and canada owe a great deal to socialism in terms of legislation protecting workers rights and what welfare provision you do have but I suspect they're not thought of as socialist policies.

My opposition to Socialist political systems is that if everything belongs to everyone equally then it can't belong to one body in the form of government or it interferes with freedom of no ownership. Governments are leviathans that take on a body. With a socialist government no one owns anything because the government owns it all. I believe no own should own anything because no one owns it.


Don't know how land ownership works in canada but in scotland for historical reasomns it is all feudal - there is no freehold or leasehold although in practice it's the same as freehold. nowadays, the necessity of me paying feu duty was done away with in the seventies.

If it belongs to everybody equally then elected govt is how you decide to parcel it out which brings it back to the heart of the debate. Who Rules? we give elected government temporary custody but how do we elect them and control them?

If you look at the states when they opened up the indian territories to settlers who decided they had the right to do that? In essence it was no different from a warlord coming in and just taking everything because they could. All property is theft according to marx, if you are forced off your land for whatever reason you have an understanding of what he was referring to.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Originally Posted by recovering conservative

Great! We agree that an income gap exists. But do you consider wide gaps in income to be a problem? I think the widening gap is a threat to freedom, democracy, and civil society.




Originally Posted by Accountable

I've never been able to wrap my head around this. If I have a net worth of $200 thousand, and you have a net worth of $200 billion, and we both make 10% this year, the gap between your net worth and mine is widened, surely, but how is that problematic to me?




Try this one then, if I work a sixty hour week as a labourer and earn $20,000 and you work a thirty hour week as a non-executive director on the boards of three different companies and earn $20,000,000 is this equitable?

The income gap is not about absolute levels so your example is not the point which is whether the difference between the median wage and the top 5% of earners is a factor of ten or a factor of a thousand.
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Post by recovering conservative »

Accountable;1339925 wrote: This is where my conversations on this get bogged down. When I talk about government in general terms, I'm talking about federal gov't. I always forget to specify that. Do you mind if we keep this particular conversation in the federal realm? I see state & local as being very different with a distinct purpose separate from federal.
Yes, but although outsourcing at the local level is more common, and has become a big business for service providers, it is also being done at the federal level if we add up all of the private security and defense contractors, that are working in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Some of the companies, like the former Blackwater, are getting pretty close to being essentially private, mercenary armies....and I'm pretty sure that is one thing that is unconstitutional!

But what about prisons! Aren't some of these private, for profit, prisons being run be the Federal Gov. too?

The Founding Fathers were by and large libertarians (small 'l')
Were all of the Founding Fathers libertarians? Was Alexander Hamilton a libertarian? He seems to be one in particular, who worried that the Federal Gov. was too weak, and feared the fledgling nation would dissolve into separate nations.....and I don't think creating a national bank was a libertarian idea.

so they likely didn't intend the new Constitution to be followed to the letter. But the spirit of limited federal gov't and maximum personal freedom in which they wrote the Constitution must be honored. Now, as for the US government, specifically, providing un-envisioned services, the FF put a mechanism in place to amend the Constitution. It's a slow, cumbersome process, and it was purposely designed to be so, because anything really important should be given ample time to examine and debate before putting it in place. This is a concept lost on the current litter in Washington, who laugh condescendingly at any naive suggestion that they should actually read and understand a bill before they vote it into permanent law that will impact generations to come.


The government would be totally unwieldy if every new federal program had to be ratified by an amendment. The Tea Party extremists like Joe Miller and Sharron Angle are calling Medicare and Social Security unconstitutional. And this is likely a big part of the reason why these candidates are losing appeal, even in a serious recession with a weak president. A lot of people will put on teabagger hats, and demand cuts to government....until they discover that their ox is the one that is next to be gored! It's been revealed that Joe Miller, in Alaska, has collected on a whole bunch of federal and state programs -- and this makes him a libertarian in name only, since he is not willing or able to practice what he preaches to others!

Actually, President Jefferson did think he didn't have constitutional authority for the Louisiana Purchase, but the deal was going to be pulled off the table so he jumped. Can anybody say George Bush?


He decided that the new nation was in a precarious position, as long as England and France were building their empires...so he took the land deal, so that America could become large enough to compete economically and militarily with the colonial powers. And of course this led later presidents to argue for increased western expansion, whether by legal means, deceit, or outright wars of aggression -- so, it was inevitable that the U.S.A. would be one more nation that went from being a weak, fledgling startup, to becoming a colonial power itself!

Corporatism has no prejudice. Labor unions are one of the biggest industries around.


Corporatism has no prejudice! You can say that with a straight face with all of the propaganda and influence-buying that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is doing right now! The Koch Bros. have used their vast sums of wealth to advance corporate feudalism; and one of the reasons why there is such a pervasive attempt to identify corporatism with libertarianism is because they fund Cato and other libertarian/conservative think tanks, and have their people saturating the media to argue for limiting government, and letting that corporate trojan horse in to take complete control.

And, like I said before: where are the unions? The only union activists I see on TV are over in FRance right now! A few days ago I came across a story that the UAW has ratified a new agreement that will phase out all of the "legacy" employees at the GM plants in Michigan; and have everyone working for $14.00 an hour. And this deal is from the Democrats, and the Obama Administration has made "saving General Motors" one of their campaign issues.

What it boils down to is: Republicans want to close the auto plants and outsource as much of production as possible to China; whereas the so called "Left" is keeping the jobs here at half the pay! So where is the real Left? In the current ridiculous media circus, leftists are Democrats who want to save some manufacturing jobs, as long as the employees are willing to work for donut shop wages!

Forty years ago, the UAW would have called a general strike, and demanded that the Government do something about Globalization and the flood of cheap imports. Nowadays, there is no real Left in America (or Canada for that matter) and we are all going to end up as serfs for that less than 1% of highest income earners!

I've never been able to wrap my head around this. If I have a net worth of $200 thousand, and you have a net worth of $200 billion, and we both make 10% this year, the gap between your net worth and mine is widened, surely, but how is that problematic to me?
The concept of progressive taxation is based around the simple fact that the higher your income, the less you need to spend on necessities of life. In a poor Third World country, most of what the average person earns is going to be spent on food and lodging.

In the West, increased productivity has reduced the costs of life's necessities, but instead of people working less, and shorter hours, as predicted by economists 50 to 75 years ago -- a pervasive and sophisticated marketing machine developed, using the electronic media and psychological research to create a couple of generations of impulse buyers, who NEED a bigger car, and NEED a bigger house, and NEED designer clothes, and NEED the latest electronic gadgets etc. So consumer demand keeps pushing for more and more crap to buy, and people think they NEED more money to buy luxury items. Back in the summer, Wired Magazine ran a story by Jonah Lehrer called Why Money Makes You Unhappy that shows that there is a limit to how much happiness money can buy.

Poverty and deprivation cause misery (no surprise), but at the other extreme, gluttony does not make people more happy. And that brings me to that richest 1% -- back when Enron collapsed, one of the middle managers who testified, said later that it was a relief when it all came crashing down, because his high paying career at Enron never provided enough money to buy everything that was expected of him. The executives at Enron compared each other's houses, cars, and other status symbols -- no matter how much they made, it was never enough! And that makes me wonder about the billionaires at the top of the heap! What is the motivation for these guys to continually need more and have a bigger yacht than the others in the billionaire boys club? Not only are they increasing poverty through their business practices and threatening the social fabric of our society, they are not even happy with their own lives. And that keeps them, pedal to the metal, trying to get more and more.....and when they are like the Koch Brothers, and decide that they have a vested economic interest in fighting against efforts to combat the rise in greenhouse gases -- then they have already shown themselves to be dangerous psychopaths who would risk destroying civilization, if it could maximize their short term profit margins.

The Soviet Union ceased to exist and national boundaries went back to pre-Soviet days. I don't see that as a bad thing. We've built an artificial economy - a fiction. Coming out of that haze might be painful, but I don't see how it is 'bad'.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was an economic opportunity for the high level bureaucrats who profited from the privatization of state-controlled industries, but for many of the poor, especially retired senior citizens, it meant outright starvation and death. The only pensions they were concerned with protecting, were the ones of top state officials; retires who were depending on their pensions had them cut to fractions of their original value, and if they didn't have family members who could afford to support them, they were SOL. Today, a gradual reduction and cutting back of the military will be better than falling off a cliff, when it is imposed by the collapse of the Dollar.
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The Problem With Socialism

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Accountable;1339925 wrote: I've never been able to wrap my head around this. If I have a net worth of $200 thousand, and you have a net worth of $200 billion, and we both make 10% this year, the gap between your net worth and mine is widened, surely, but how is that problematic to me?


The considation of wealth is also the considation of power. Your proportional vote in how the world is going to work just got smaller.

Even Jefferson noted that banks were more dangerous than standing armies, and corporations where a threat to democracy.
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Accountable;1339925 wrote: I've never been able to wrap my head around this. If I have a net worth of $200 thousand, and you have a net worth of $200 billion, and we both make 10% this year, the gap between your net worth and mine is widened, surely, but how is that problematic to me?


Bryn Mawr;1339933 wrote: Try this one then, if I work a sixty hour week as a labourer and earn $20,000 and you work a thirty hour week as a non-executive director on the boards of three different companies and earn $20,000,000 is this equitable?

The income gap is not about absolute levels so your example is not the point which is whether the difference between the median wage and the top 5% of earners is a factor of ten or a factor of a thousand.When I worked a sixty hour week as a laborer I earned around $20K. I neither knew nor cared what a director of a company board made. If he had cut his pay by 50% it would not have effected my pay one cent. If he had raised his pay by 50% it wouldn't have effected my pay, either, since my company didn't have a board of directors. The equity is irrelevant to my life. I'm not the jealous type.



recovering conservative;1340077 wrote: The concept of progressive taxation is based around the simple fact that the higher your income, the less you need to spend on necessities of life. In a poor Third World country, most of what the average person earns is going to be spent on food and lodging.

In the West, increased productivity has reduced the costs of life's necessities, but instead of people working less, and shorter hours, as predicted by economists 50 to 75 years ago -- a pervasive and sophisticated marketing machine developed, using the electronic media and psychological research to create a couple of generations of impulse buyers, who NEED a bigger car, and NEED a bigger house, and NEED designer clothes, and NEED the latest electronic gadgets etc. So consumer demand keeps pushing for more and more crap to buy, and people think they NEED more money to buy luxury items. Back in the summer, Wired Magazine ran a story by Jonah Lehrer called Why Money Makes You Unhappy that shows that there is a limit to how much happiness money can buy.

Poverty and deprivation cause misery (no surprise), but at the other extreme, gluttony does not make people more happy. And that brings me to that richest 1% -- back when Enron collapsed, one of the middle managers who testified, said later that it was a relief when it all came crashing down, because his high paying career at Enron never provided enough money to buy everything that was expected of him. The executives at Enron compared each other's houses, cars, and other status symbols -- no matter how much they made, it was never enough! And that makes me wonder about the billionaires at the top of the heap! What is the motivation for these guys to continually need more and have a bigger yacht than the others in the billionaire boys club? Not only are they increasing poverty through their business practices and threatening the social fabric of our society, they are not even happy with their own lives. And that keeps them, pedal to the metal, trying to get more and more.....and when they are like the Koch Brothers, and decide that they have a vested economic interest in fighting against efforts to combat the rise in greenhouse gases -- then they have already shown themselves to be dangerous psychopaths who would risk destroying civilization, if it could maximize their short term profit margins.
Not a syllable of your response addressed my question (I'll respond to the rest of your post later, I'm cheating with time right now). My net worth goes from $200K to $220K, I'm happy as a clam. Another stranger's wealth does not effect me.

yaaarrrgg;1340089 wrote: The considation of wealth is also the considation of power. Your proportional vote in how the world is going to work just got smaller.

Even Jefferson noted that banks were more dangerous than standing armies, and corporations where a threat to democracy.Finally! A direct response to my question, at least the first two sentences were.

We tried to balance wealth with one-man-one-vote. Going beyond that is flirting with limiting liberty, and I'm not willing to cross that line.
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Accountable;1340110 wrote:

Not a syllable of your response addressed my question (I'll respond to the rest of your post later, I'm cheating with time right now). My net worth goes from $200K to $220K, I'm happy as a clam. Another stranger's wealth does not effect me.




Well then, let's see what you come up with! Because your argument which is heading in the direction of P.J. O'Rourke's "my money doesn't make you poor" argument, doesn't address the social dysfunction caused by increasing gap in wealth.
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recovering conservative;1340144 wrote: Well then, let's see what you come up with! Because your argument which is heading in the direction of P.J. O'Rourke's "my money doesn't make you poor" argument, doesn't address the social dysfunction caused by increasing gap in wealth.That's what I mean. Correlation is not causation. Where's the proof that whatever social dysfunction it is that you're talking about (because surely you don't mean all social dysfunction) is caused by this gap, which has existed since one hunter-gatherer proved himself more skilled than another.
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Ahso!;1339858 wrote: I hear you implying here that people tend to become lazy when they recieve a helping hand on any medium or long term. I disagree with that.Why? I would think that industrious, capable people tend not to need medium or long term help unless there are extenuating circumstances; therefore, the otherwise healthy people without such extenuating circumstances who continue to receive the help into the medium and long term are, by definition, lazy, or at the very least have become so.

But use the terms that I used: complacent & dependent. That's what I had become, even though any 12-year-old passing math could figure out that I didn't need to be dependent. It's that whole "bird in the hand" thing. They are loathe to give up the unpleasantness they know, even though tons of evidence shows that they can do better.



Ahso! wrote: I believe I recall you somewhat preaching in the past that greed is good. Do I have that wrong? No. I said that, but one can't be greedy until one already has what one needs. We're discussing a different situation here.

Ahso! wrote: There is nothing wrong with being comfortable. I doubt discomfort contributes to one becoming "innovative". Creating is simply something some humans do more than others. Because we, like other animals, are different in the way of breeds IMO, not all of us focus, behave or are motivated alike.I don't see the connection. Innovating is not necessarily creating. It can be adapting. Imagine sitting in an uncomfortable seat for a long period - whether for a plane ride, car ride, or in a theater to watch a beloved kid's kindergarten play - where moving would be undesirable for whatever reason. Grabbing a pillow or purse to shove behind your lower back to relieve the pain would be innovative. You're right that some of us are more imaginative & innovative than others, but we all innovate.

You're also right that there is nothing wrong with being uncomfortable. Everybody wants to be comfortable. That's the whole point. If a person receives enough "assistance" to be comfortable, there's no reason for him to get himself free of it. He becomes dependent. Rather than rejecting the "assistance" for a more independent life, he instead accepts his lot in life - he becomes complacent.

Ahso!;1339858 wrote: This is the problem with capitalism, it refuses to recognize differences in the human being. Those who are successful in a competitive environment are competitive minded, but as we can witness by the small number of rich people, its a minority. There is so much more diversity in the human that is not recognized because it does not suit this culture thus much of it is considered disorders or behavioral problems."Recognize differences"?? It doesn't recognize anything at all. I'm not competitive and I consider myself successful - very successful. I'm nowhere near rich and never will be. It's simply not something I desire. It seems to me that the people who have a problem with capitalism are the competitive-minded who aren't able to "win." You rail that differences aren't accepted and are unaccepting of differences in the same breath.

Ahso! wrote: I wanted to say more but I forget what it was. You all are probably relieved about that anyway.
No, of course not. :yh_whistl

:yh_bigsmi
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koan;1339859 wrote: I think that, if someone puts in effort to dig up or otherwise extract a resource the result of their personal effort belongs to them. If someone wants to pay them to extract a resource for them, I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to purchase the labour but if anyone wants to extract it for themselves, they shouldn't be told that someone else owns the land it's on. If they "hire" a crew to help dig then the crew also has claim to the resources they helped extract as they'd only be hired labour if the hirer doesn't want to do the digging themselves, in which case they are paying the crew for whatever resources they dig up that the money buys.If there is no private property, what "result of their personal effort" would there be? There being no private property, why would someone want to pay them anything at all? what would they buy with the money? Or would it be some other payment, such as a good homecooked meal? (I could go for one of those.) If no one is allowed to own land - dirt - then why would someone be allowed to own whatever lies beneath it?

Without ownership, the issue of money is moot.
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recovering conservative;1339881 wrote: The problem today is that the present system of globalized capitalism is unsustainable, because it depends on continuous economic growth, and greater consumption of resources. It wouldn't be a problem if there were new lands to colonize and exploit for natural resources, but we're running out of room, and the Earth can't expand to meet our desires.

What is the best economic system to deal with re-localization and steady declines in economic output? Because we are going to have to find out one way or another in the coming years.The one thing we could get rid of that might make it work is our socialism, meaning our natural desire to be close to one another. There are vast expanses of land completely untapped by Man. While there are no resources there, we have the logistical capability to make it work. Everyone in this Garden gets some social satisfaction from these conversations but we still need physical contact. If we were somehow, over the generations, able to erase that need from our DNA then we could arguably live anywhere at all and telecommute to work. The only people who would be tethered to a specific location would be the ones who physically extract the raw resources from the earth.

Not gunna happen in this millennium, but there it is.



koan;1339884 wrote: I'm against socialism, not by reason of lack of concern for the well being of the masses, but because I believe government takes control of everything and inevitably becomes more concerned with its own existence than with the well being of the people it serves. Government always reaches a point where it no longer serves the people... Because it's made up of people who are given a taste of power.I agree. Couple with that the requirement for people to justify their jobs. Legislators have to show they are doing a good job. Otherwise how can they get reelected? What is the job of a legislator? To make law. So they do, even if no more law is needed. Unneeded law usurps unauthorized power. It's as natural as gravity and takes constant vigilance to prevent.
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The Problem With Socialism

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Accountable;1340110 wrote: Finally! A direct response to my question, at least the first two sentences were.

We tried to balance wealth with one-man-one-vote. Going beyond that is flirting with limiting liberty, and I'm not willing to cross that line.


One-man-one-vote is a good concept, though the weakness is I can convert my 200 billion into votes, and have more than one. For example, I can buy up an entire media empire and run my propaganda 24/7. What happens then is the government essentially becomes a functioning arm of the people with the most money. Limiting the government does not stop that problem either, since the same thing happens at the business level. Money and power are two sides of the same coin.
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Accountable;1340110 wrote: When I worked a sixty hour week as a laborer I earned around $20K. I neither knew nor cared what a director of a company board made. If he had cut his pay by 50% it would not have effected my pay one cent. If he had raised his pay by 50% it wouldn't have effected my pay, either, since my company didn't have a board of directors. The equity is irrelevant to my life. I'm not the jealous type.


When it is the one boss then no, it makes no difference but what I was talking about was the wage gap across the economy and there it makes all the difference.

If the top 5% of the population earn 10% of the income then prices are affordable to all. Where, the top 5% of the population earn 50% of the income then prices move beyond the reach of the bottom 20%.

So, if all directors take a 50% pay cut then prices become more affordable and if all directors have a pay rise of 50% then they become less affordable - it does not affect the level of your pay but it sure affects your buying power.

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