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Chance
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Quote :
"Again, you can simply tie value to average hours of labor per unit produced."


And it's democratically determined how many hours it takes to produce a certain widget? Lonesnark has asked for how this all will work practically and your best answer is "well, it's too complicated to explain, but we can think really hard about it and it makes sense to anyone not enslaved by 'the man'?"

6/8/2011 5:13:29 PM

McDanger
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It's not the only way to do it, just a way. Average hours per unit, but all books for production are kept open (worker hours, inputs and outputs for the shop, etc). It's not democratically determined, it's averaged. You might feel, intuitively, that workers would gold brick as they do currently under capitalist employment. With the operations open to public scrutiny and with no added incentive to work yourself to the bone (if it's not life or death, a matter of survival), people aren't going to drag their feet making widgets any more than they have to.

When I work, for instance, I get exactly as much out as I put in (as an academic researcher). It doesn't make sense for me to sit at my desk and pretend to work, I could just go home instead. Plus, nobody cares how long it appears I work, just what I accomplish.

Quote :
"Lonesnark has asked for how this all will work practically and your best answer is "well, it's too complicated to explain, but we can think really hard about it and it makes sense to anyone not enslaved by 'the man'?""


Not at all. I'm simply being honest and admitting I don't have the entire system worked out from top to bottom. I gave you a mechanism to tie together value to a unit of an item, based off of the average amount of worker effort required to produce it.

Again, asking me how coal miners will organize their industry is like me asking you what an imaginary product will cost in 30 years. Yes there'd be a price for that item, and yes there'd be a particular way in which coal miners organized (which I can imagine based on existing communications technology) for instance, but I can't give you specifics of that anymore than you can tell me what a "Pocket Lightsaber" would cost in 25 years, 3 months, and 18 days.

I know you're not going to take this conversation seriously, and you'd rather spend hours talking out of your ass than minutes reading and thinking carefully, but that's okay. Is it really so hard to believe that the majority of your sensibilities have been put in your head by capital? We all have middle-class values drilled into us as white kids especially, by our parents, by the news, by the government, by the people around us. Socialism has never been discussed honestly in our lifetimes, and there's a reason for it. The "anti-communist" hysteria that companies, the State, and the media pushed faithfully and in unison for the entirety of the 20th century has affected the discussion, and you have to study fairly in depth on your own and investigate stuff carefully in order to find the threads of the world's discussion on political and economical issues again. Based on what you say you are confined to American misconceptions, just like your betters want for you. You can ridicule all of this and claim to be some super man who can both ignore knowledge and resist misinformation, but I find it unlikely. Your head is a muddle of CIA and State Department buzzwords. Be your own fucking man already.

[Edited on June 9, 2011 at 7:05 AM. Reason : .]

6/9/2011 6:55:03 AM

McDanger
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Just realized I used "price" where I meant to say "value" above. Otherwise it looks weird. Too late to edit, although it's worth pointing out that prices may need to be used during a transition period.

It's also worth pointing out that I wouldn't want to put industry into the hands of just any group of workers. The poorly educated lower classes of America, for instance, would probably make a mess of things and that's why education is so important. You need workers capable of, say, intelligently reading a graph. Seeing as how a lot of "college educated" TWW'ers can't even do this, the problem of actually teaching people basic mental skills is first and foremost.

The problem as I see it is that education, for a society like ours, has to be limited. Nobody learns philosophy, intellectual history, the original arguments, the threads of thought anymore. Now it's all about producing workers (even skilled workers) that don't ask questions or think critically outside of their fields. If you look at academia, for instance, this is the case. People are by and large vaguely leftist (mostly welfarists) but they don't really pay attention to public affairs and write/discuss them like intellectuals used to.

6/9/2011 7:31:41 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"I'm simply being honest and admitting I don't have the entire system worked out from top to bottom."

And why not? You seem to be passionate about it. More accurately, you are not the first socialist to be born, certainly you have assaulted the library and read every book you could find and at least one of them described how such a system could operate from top to bottom. I was fascinated with the Soviet economy and the campus library had lots of books discussing their inner workings.

Quote :
"for instance, but I can't give you specifics of that anymore than you can tell me what a "Pocket Lightsaber" would cost in 25 years, 3 months, and 18 days."

Perhaps, but if the technology was invented tomorrow, just as your revolution might occur tomorrow, based upon assumptions we can hypothesize what the "PL" would cost. Professors in Economics and Business courses do just this thought experiment every day in class in order to demonstrate how aspects of the capitalist economy operates, it is where the term "widget" comes from. Should we really hold your system to a lower standard than an Econ 101 lecture?

My father teaches economics at Methodist College, so I grew up playing this game, making up some new technology or social organization and trying to figure out how the system might change as a result. What effect might Pocket Light Sabers have on the existing gun industry? I believe I became an engineer because of it.

You came here to have fun berating the capitalist system as evil. We came here to have fun by constructing a thought experiment of a socialist system operating and try to devise what such a world would look like and how it might fail. You are unwilling to discuss the system, we are unwilling to debate platitudes.

[Edited on June 9, 2011 at 10:19 AM. Reason : ,.,]

6/9/2011 10:13:19 AM

d357r0y3r
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One of the glaring faults I see within this theoretical system is what seems to be an assumption that equality of ability will come through ample education. The principle of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is extremely offensive to me. If one worker can produce one widget in 30 minutes, while another can only produce one widget every 10 hours, why should they come out on equal ground? People should be able to freely go where their talents can be utilized, and they should be rewarded for their talents.

Socialism sounds great if you're completely inept and don't want to do any work. If you're someone that takes their work seriously and tries to excel at whatever you do, then it sounds like a miserable, oppressive system to live under. This is what I mean when I say socialism ignores human nature.

[Edited on June 9, 2011 at 11:42 AM. Reason : ]

6/9/2011 11:41:39 AM

y0willy0
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maybe not the best place to put this, but not really worthy of its own thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcuqM1LEi5c&feature=youtu.be

6/9/2011 2:32:44 PM

McDanger
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Quote :
"And why not? You seem to be passionate about it. More accurately, you are not the first socialist to be born, certainly you have assaulted the library and read every book you could find and at least one of them described how such a system could operate from top to bottom. I was fascinated with the Soviet economy and the campus library had lots of books discussing their inner workings. "


Are you really asking why I haven't already designed a council system from top to bottom, from the inner-workings of each industry up to how those industries lace together? Even the best works of libertarian and anarchist socialism cede ultimate decision-making and appropriateness to the working class and only try to sketch a system in which such a thing could happen sensibly (in a way that promotes well-being). Much of the theoretical lifting is analysis of existing systems, historical consequences of those systems, etc, and analysis of the structure of authority. The conditions under which such a vision would be a good one, arguments that it wouldn't result in the sorts of abject slavery/poverty you claim it would. Analysis of the Soviet economy should yield the conclusion that their system was not socialist in any meaningful sense, unless you simply consider "socialism" to be "the injection of any planning whatsoever".

Quote :
"Perhaps, but if the technology was invented tomorrow, just as your revolution might occur tomorrow, based upon assumptions we can hypothesize what the "PL" would cost. Professors in Economics and Business courses do just this thought experiment every day in class in order to demonstrate how aspects of the capitalist economy operates, it is where the term "widget" comes from. Should we really hold your system to a lower standard than an Econ 101 lecture? "


I'm trying to imagine a frame of mind this obtuse without it being intentional. I'm not asking about your wooden toy models, I'm asking about a reasonable estimate that you would stake real money on. What other price estimate holds water?

Quote :
"My father teaches economics at Methodist College, so I grew up playing this game, making up some new technology or social organization and trying to figure out how the system might change as a result. What effect might Pocket Light Sabers have on the existing gun industry? I believe I became an engineer because of it. "


This is different than calculating a reasonable, tight estimate of price that you'd be willing to stake money on. The level of organization that you'd want me to enumerate for each industry would require expertise in each industry; this is part of the point. It's precisely why you want capable workers making the organizational calls. If you think this is doable down to the last letter a priori then again, I want the exact price estimate for something that doesn't exist currently (in 20 years) and I want you to stake real money on it. Not construct some wooden mental simulation whose only check of correctness is coherence with your intuitions.

This really explains a lot about your economic and historical analysis: you proceed based on "what you imagine to be reasonable" given the skeleton of what you currently know. A priori reasoning only goes so far, surely an engineer would appreciate the need to bolster and reform one's models scientifically given more data? Often historical events don't unfold from "reasonable models" designed to generate or explain them.

Quote :
"You came here to have fun berating the capitalist system as evil. We came here to have fun by constructing a thought experiment of a socialist system operating and try to devise what such a world would look like and how it might fail. You are unwilling to discuss the system, we are unwilling to debate platitudes."


Of course I'm willing to discuss the system, but there's a lot of discussion that leads up to it that must be discussed first. You think it's just platitudes but you haven't actually exposed yourself to the material (and so far as I can tell have not even carefully read this thread), so how the fuck would you even know?

Quote :
"One of the glaring faults I see within this theoretical system is what seems to be an assumption that equality of ability will come through ample education. The principle of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is extremely offensive to me. If one worker can produce one widget in 30 minutes, while another can only produce one widget every 10 hours, why should they come out on equal ground? People should be able to freely go where their talents can be utilized, and they should be rewarded for their talents."


What makes you think people won't be allocated to where their talents are used in this system? This is a side-issue and has nothing to do with socialism. Your claim that everybody's automatically "on the same footing" materially, spiritually, politically, or whatever isn't some "socialist principle" that every socialist must ascribe to. Not even in the least. Where on earth are you getting this stuff?

Quote :
"Socialism sounds great if you're completely inept and don't want to do any work. If you're someone that takes their work seriously and tries to excel at whatever you do, then it sounds like a miserable, oppressive system to live under. This is what I mean when I say socialism ignores human nature."


Again: where are you getting this stuff from? These aren't things I'd ever agree with as a socialist. If you don't want to do any work guess what I think? I think your opinion should not matter, and that you should have no decision-making power over production, distribution; anything that requires resources or effort not your own.

The entire point of socialism is to exclude those who don't work from the decision-making process, and here you are claiming it would glorify the "do-nothings". This is just capitalist propaganda plain and simple, the kind of myth you're presented alongside Saturday morning cartoons and Power Wheels advertisements. The real "do-nothings" are the owners who reap benefit for doing nothing, or the parasites whose "labor" constitutes non-productive competitive elements of capitalism which are wholly ancillary to the creation of actual value.

[Edited on June 10, 2011 at 10:31 AM. Reason : .]

6/10/2011 10:27:03 AM

McDanger
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"maybe not the best place to put this, but not really worthy of its own thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcuqM1LEi5c&feature=youtu.be"


Trade unions are structures that become obsolete under socialism. Without a State employer or private employer to negotiate wages with, what would be the point of union bureaucracy?

6/10/2011 10:28:05 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"This is different than calculating a reasonable, tight estimate of price that you'd be willing to stake money on."

This is a bunch of yahoos ranting on an internet forum. No one is asking you or anyone else here to stake money on anything.

Quote :
"Even the best works of libertarian and anarchist socialism cede ultimate decision-making and appropriateness to the working class and only try to sketch a system in which such a thing could happen sensibly (in a way that promotes well-being)."

I recommend a book entitled The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism. It outlines an excellent description of how such a radical system work operate from a structured system (patterns of authority from how the police force is arranged, how judges are chosen, how contracts are enforced, right down to life as an individual living under such a system. The author and his readers recognize any such system would probably be different from the one described, but it is sufficiently detailed for the author to discuss where systemic problems will arise and how the citizenry might deal with them.

Quote :
"the parasites whose "labor" constitutes non-productive competitive elements of capitalism which are wholly ancillary to the creation of actual value."

Those "elements" as you call them provide allocation information to the system, just like the worker councils in your society which do no work themselves beyond wielding ultimate power in society and throwing non-workers (or merely workers the majority disagree with) into the street to starve.

What else can we think? You have given us yet another post where you have added nothing to the collective mental model of your system. Beyond "What makes you think people won't be allocated to where their talents are used in this system?" and "The entire point of socialism is to exclude those who don't work from the decision-making process", statement of principle without addressing How, Who, or Why the system will accomplish them.

Quote :
"Trade unions are structures that become obsolete under socialism. Without a State employer or private employer to negotiate wages with, what would be the point of union bureaucracy?"

Of course, you renamed the union a "worker council" as "the union" has taken the authoritative place of "the owners" in your system. As with all such political systems, the purpose is to serve the interests of insiders at the expense of outsiders, in this case serving the interests of workers in the firm at the expense of workers in society at large. Capitalism contains this desire through the use of competition for customers, something illegal under your system as we understand it, so I guess you are going to give authority to elected regional councils to force workers to run their firms in the interest of society at large at gun point in place of the prior competition model. This is what I can piece together from your ramblings, as you have yet to describe your system in authoritative terms. Rather than calling me names, why don't you try instead to point out how my description of your system is different from your understanding of it. Answer the question "Why should we not go home early today? These orders can wait."

[Edited on June 10, 2011 at 12:10 PM. Reason : .,.]

6/10/2011 11:57:54 AM

McDanger
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"I recommend a book entitled The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism. It outlines an excellent description of how such a radical system work operate from a structured system (patterns of authority from how the police force is arranged, how judges are chosen, how contracts are enforced, right down to life as an individual living under such a system. The author and his readers recognize any such system would probably be different from the one described, but it is sufficiently detailed for the author to discuss where systemic problems will arise and how the citizenry might deal with them. "


I wouldn't mind checking it out, as I'm interested in finding out how they sidestep roughly general, structural problems with human authority, official capacity, and privilege.

Quote :
"Those "elements" as you call them provide allocation information to the system, just like the worker councils in your society which do no work themselves beyond wielding ultimate power in society and throwing non-workers (or merely workers the majority disagree with) into the street to starve. "


And what does the allocation information serve? It's calibrated for the maximization of capital accumulation. Also, what makes you think that "non-workers" would be thrown in the streets to starve, or workers the majority disagrees with? I don't see how any of those assertions comes out of anything I've stated thus far.

Quote :
"What else can we think? You have given us yet another post where you have added nothing to the collective mental model of your system. Beyond "What makes you think people won't be allocated to where their talents are used in this system?" and "The entire point of socialism is to exclude those who don't work from the decision-making process", statement of principle without addressing How, Who, or Why the system will accomplish them."


Again, I imagine some sort of communication system that can devolve governance to the lowest possible level at each stage. Do you want a fucking algorithm? I'm confused at what you're asking for, so please either be more specific or drop your claims that I'm not giving you what you want. I need to know what level of granularity you're asking for so I can assess whether or not it's plausible for me (or anybody) to provide it. Otherwise you can just lazily shift your goalposts and run my energy down.

Quote :
"Of course, you renamed the union a "worker council" as "the union" has taken the authoritative place of "the owners" in your system. As with all such political systems, the purpose is to serve the interests of insiders at the expense of outsiders, in this case serving the interests of workers in the firm at the expense of workers in society at large."


This is more than a simple renaming, as workers councils don't have official capacities for people to fill, and they don't sever workers from their daily tasks. Unions have bureaucratic structures where the office-holders exercise authority in a way that's detached from the direct action of workers (except for, perhaps, during elections, depending on how the system works).

Quote :
"Capitalism contains this desire through the use of competition for customers, something illegal under your system as we understand it, so I guess you are going to give authority to elected regional councils to force workers to run their firms in the interest of society at large at gun point in place of the prior competition model."


No idea where this comes from, it's based on too many assumptions to even begin to pry apart. Again, I don't support the establishment of regional authority that's divorced from direct action and democratic control (however it be devolved through representatives for the mere sake of discussion and representation in debate, but who has no decision-making capacity beyond the body of workers themselves, never finding it possible to act in contradiction to the will of the mass they represent).


Quote :
"This is what I can piece together from your ramblings, as you have yet to describe your system in authoritative terms. Rather than calling me names, why don't you try instead to point out how my description of your system is different from your understanding of it. Answer the question "Why should we not go home early today? These orders can wait.""


Because labor is culturally different in every way, and a social activity that's meant to produce goods necessary for life. People in general need to act in order to eat (a basic rule of nature), and while people like you believe that fat poors would wallow in their low-cost housing until they starved for handouts, they wouldn't. When work becomes a social function to provide society with what it needs, going home early is certainly possible (and perhaps even preferable) if there's enough abundance. Without such abundance, people have a direct incentive to improve the system as a whole, as their value is being properly reflected in society (by mentalizing distribution based on need) and is added to them from others adhering to the same system. Yes, it's idealistic. It requires a well-educated, post-industrial work-force. Our educational system just produces intellectual drones like yourself, capable of stringing together a wooden model some scientist made for you in order to achieve results, but with no real desire or ability to think abstractly beyond pre-existing models (to the sorts of insights required to see the foundations). If people really understood the nature of exploitation and how they fall into a different class from their employers (independent of wealth/income) then they wouldn't be able to be governed in this way. Capitalists are usually happy to preach "cutting out the middle man" but never when it comes to cutting out themselves. Furthermore the lack of Americans' ability to think for themselves and resist simple-minded propaganda (even among the intellectual elite) is enforced by this shitty educational system which can only afford to teach people *just enough* to work hard, but not enough to ask questions.

[Edited on June 10, 2011 at 12:24 PM. Reason : .]

6/10/2011 12:22:55 PM

McDanger
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I want to point out that your analysis thus far, which you've admitted stems from "thinking about how things might affect each other" in a theoretical vacuum defined mostly by your own intuition, has been based on a string of demonstrable, factually incorrect statements about history and systems. How can you expect to make reliable inferences about human nature if your prism for analysis has been handed to you by simple-minded 20th century propaganda?

[Edited on June 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM. Reason : .]

6/10/2011 12:29:04 PM

Chance
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McDanger...you gotta stop being an asshole over some stupid shit brah. I've posted next to nothing in this thread and all you've given is static. As someone who thoroughly detests what has become of our Crony Capitalist economy I am interested to hear how any alternative may work. That I haven't spent the countless hours studying this shit surely doesn't garner the rage you constantly spew.

Regarding these type of comments:

Quote :
"Your superiors have convinced you this is the case, and you are firmly indoctrinated into the thought that mankind requires masters."

Quote :
"you and the other house slaves"

Quote :
" If you'd rather remain an intellectual house slave then there's little I can do to help you"

Quote :
"Is it really so hard to believe that the majority of your sensibilities have been put in your head by capital? We all have middle-class values drilled into us as white kids especially, by our parents, by the news, by the government, by the people around us."


Are just diversions from having a real debate about socialism/capitalism.

However, if I allow that my socio-economic value system has been subconsciously implanted in me by capital I'll ask you just how your system can possibly make my life better than it is...because it's pretty god damn fantastic. Or...is the idea for your system that folks with a life like mine actually have take a decline in living standard so that everyone else on a lower lever gets to raise their standard? Is the idea that mine stays the same but all the rich owners who have standards fantastically unfathomable to me get theirs reduced to merely unfathomable so that those below me get an increase?

I asked about successful socialist systems and I got attacked for not knowing history (apparently examples are everywhere but capital has made it so the average person doesn't realize it). You've repeatedly harped on education as being the thing that is going to make this thing survive and I asked a simple question and didn't actually get an answer but got insulted. If you have decided to be a voice of the virtues of socialism, well, you're fucking failing.

6/11/2011 10:26:11 AM

McDanger
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"McDanger...you gotta stop being an asshole over some stupid shit brah. I've posted next to nothing in this thread and all you've given is static. As someone who thoroughly detests what has become of our Crony Capitalist economy I am interested to hear how any alternative may work. That I haven't spent the countless hours studying this shit surely doesn't garner the rage you constantly spew."


My initial frustration with you stemmed from the fact that you didn't even read this thread. I don't expect you to spend "countless hours" researching socialism, and I don't mind summarizing and explaining parts of it to you. But when you repeat propaganda smugly how do you expect me to respond? I'm not just angry at *you* when that happens, it makes me generally disgusted to see someone else unwittingly animated by thoughts not their own, not in their interest. That being said I'll try and calm down, I don't intend to sputter like that (and should honestly avoid looking at TWW when I'm drinking in the evening).

Quote :
"However, if I allow that my socio-economic value system has been subconsciously implanted in me by capital I'll ask you just how your system can possibly make my life better than it is...because it's pretty god damn fantastic. Or...is the idea for your system that folks with a life like mine actually have take a decline in living standard so that everyone else on a lower lever gets to raise their standard? Is the idea that mine stays the same but all the rich owners who have standards fantastically unfathomable to me get theirs reduced to merely unfathomable so that those below me get an increase?"


It's important to hold apart the two different positions I'd take on any of this. There are two questions at hand:

(1) What's the socialist end game? (socialism)
(2) How do we get there?

(2) Can't be answered as "go directly to (1)". There are plenty of things that have to be accomplished along the way and this is where most of the disagreement among socialists come in. Ideally your standard of living wouldn't decrease much, if at all, but I don't know much about how much gets distributed to you so I can't say for sure. When you stop private ownership (or ownership divorced from labor in any way) and end exploitative labor relations, you end the accumulation of surplus-value to those who didn't earn it. In this country, "earning" money can mean letting someone borrow capital. In the new system, you'd earn a living by working, whether that be crunching numbers or closing the gate of an injection molding machine.

Convincing you that your great life style is dependent on mega-profits flowing into the hands of the elite who don't work (to the detriment of nearly everybody) is how they get their hooks in you. It's one technique by which they exert spiritual dominance over the middle class, extending their roots deep into labor. It's a lie; socialist economics, like any sensible system of economics, seeks to create those things essential and desirable to life. This includes leisure.

Quote :
"I asked about successful socialist systems and I got attacked for not knowing history (apparently examples are everywhere but capital has made it so the average person doesn't realize it)."


No there aren't successful examples everywhere. "Socialism" has taken on a few different faces in the developing world (and elsewhere). By definition, socialism is the economic control of industry by workers. Nationalist movements, whether socialist or not (or maybe vaguely socialist), have called themselves "socialist" at times. Whether this was due to misunderstanding, difference in interpretation, or propaganda to control the working class (as in fascist Germany) depends on the situation.

The reason why I flipped shit earlier is because the US has intervened with extreme violence and deception all over the Third World (and places in Europe). Sabotage (East Germany, Russia, China, Indonesia), terrorism and roaming band of fascist thugs (ex-Nazis in the case of East Germany at the time, China, Korea, all over South America, direct military action in Greece), propaganda floods (Italy, Greece, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala, Ecuador, countless others including infiltrating official radio stations and founding phony newspapers and journals worldwide), the list goes on and on. Nothing seems too evil, too nefarious for the US during the Cold-War when it comes to self-proclaimed (but not defintional) socialists and communists. But it doesn't stop there: any nationalist movement damaging to US business interests (socialist or not), any "neutral" government that wasn't wholly in the US camp (damaging to their citizenry and the longterm interests of their economy) was branded "communist", and stories tying them to Soviet support were either wholesale manufactured (including the planting of arms) or created by stonewalling any help from the "free world".

This is what pisses me off: the notion that "socialism" has seen its day in the arena of ideas and lost on its own merits. Rather, it's been harassed since day one with the amazing amount of resources that capitalists can command. West Germany stole a lot of skilled labor from East Germany by providing better wages; this was possible in part due to the lack of social services in West Germany and general conditions of inequality. When the upper crust and the owners they serve have concentrated wealth, they can command that wealth to further cement their power. This includes the secret armies the CIA trained and deployed in the Cold-War era, mostly cobbled together from right-wing extremists and thugs in the various countries they tried to topple (Cuba is a good example). These armies weren't raised from scratch, but were initially funded at home to participate in terror and sabotage; deployment abroad came later.

Quote :
"You've repeatedly harped on education as being the thing that is going to make this thing survive and I asked a simple question and didn't actually get an answer but got insulted. If you have decided to be a voice of the virtues of socialism, well, you're fucking failing."


Again I'm sorry for the frustration I expressed earlier, but the frustration didn't just stem from a misunderstanding of socialism itself. I guess I was frustrated you demonstrated such little knowledge about the history of the US in the past 70 years. Most of that rage is generated by how complicit the media is in keeping people like you in the dark. Really pisses me off; if capitalism is the right way, then full appreciation of the facts should reveal that.

[Edited on June 11, 2011 at 11:21 AM. Reason : .]

6/11/2011 11:09:25 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"I asked about successful socialist systems"


Many parts of Europe use elements of socialism successfully. China has also use socialism much like the Soviet Union did to facilitate rapid economic and social growth. Asking for a completely socialist system is like me asking for a completely capitalist system. There are elements that work better than others. The thing I like about central planning is that it has the ability to get better. That advantage cannot be understated when compared to a static system like capitalism. It has known problems which will simply not get better, while socialism at least has the potential to get better. It's difficult for me to look at central planning as anything less than a traveling salesman problem or something similar.

6/11/2011 11:19:54 AM

McDanger
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^ This is perhaps a better response than I provided. I'm way too much of a purist sometimes, and really the "actual" definition of socialism might do well to take on a different name to provide misunderstandings. Kris is right, although I really don't like calling them "socialist-like" ... maybe "in the direction of socialism". Any other use of the word trains people in the current vein, that socialism requires or IS central planning. Planned capitalism is just that; it's not socialism.

That being said it's just my fussiness over language and I don't disagree with what Kris said in any material way. I don't like a view of socialism that sees it as planned capitalism + welfarism, though. This is the chief American misconception about the left.

[Edited on June 11, 2011 at 11:25 AM. Reason : .]

6/11/2011 11:23:44 AM

LoneSnark
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The thing I like about capitalism is that it has the ability to get better. That advantage cannot be understated when compared to a static system like central planning. It has known problems which will simply not get better, while capitalism at least has the potential to get better. It's difficult for me to look at central planning as anything less than a principal-agent problem or something similar.

6/12/2011 2:15:43 AM

Kris
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How would capitalism get better? Supply and demand doesn't get smarter, central planners, at least, could possibly get smarter.

6/12/2011 11:31:44 AM

LoneSnark
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The winners of democratic elections are not going to get smarter.

However, people under capitalism can use experimentation to learn what modes of organization and trade are better by constructing new patterns from the bottom up while liquidating the inferior.

Capitalism is a continuous process of creative destruction. Central planning seems to find it extremely difficult to destroy anything, even structures capitalism destined for destruction (GM, Chrysler, etc).

6/12/2011 1:10:46 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"The winners of democratic elections are not going to get smarter."


The voters will pick smarter ones, or just the same, they will pick ones who pick smarter cabinets or whatever over the long term.

Quote :
"However, people under capitalism can use experimentation to learn what modes of organization and trade are better by constructing new patterns from the bottom up while liquidating the inferior."


No, they will always be slaves to simply reacting to supply and demand. The better idea and the more profitable are not always the same. Central planning at least has the ability to pick the better over the more profitable.

Quote :
"Capitalism is a continuous process of creative destruction."


And many times that destruction is waste.

Quote :
"Central planning seems to find it extremely difficult to destroy anything, even structures capitalism destined for destruction (GM, Chrysler, etc)."


Central planning can make mistakes, but it is not static, it can grow and not make the same mistakes, unlike capitalism. Over a large timeframe, governments have managed to make great improvements over how they handle social issues. I would expect similar growth in how they manage economics over a large timeframe. On that scale, governments have only begun to deal with economic issues as they have previously either not had the power, tools, or ideas to deal with them.

6/12/2011 4:35:16 PM

Lumex
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Quote :
"Central planning at least has the ability to pick the better over the more profitable."

I guess. You could say that central planning also has the ability to pick the "worse" over the more profitable.

6/13/2011 9:21:10 AM

LoneSnark
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And in capitalism customers always have the option of making the "better" more profitable by offering to pay more.

6/13/2011 9:53:11 AM

McDanger
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People do not always have the option to just pay more.

Lonesnark's advice for capitalism: "Just get more money, dummy"

6/13/2011 10:21:09 AM

LoneSnark
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax

6/13/2011 10:57:56 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"And in capitalism customers always have the option of making the "better" more profitable by offering to pay more."


Customers are just as much slaves to supply and demand, on agregate they'll take cheaper over better.

6/13/2011 11:07:42 AM

LoneSnark
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^ As far as I can tell, goods today compared to my childhood are cheaper, yes, but also much higher quality.

If customers are as stupid as you suggest when spending their own money on themselves, why do you believe they suddenly become brilliant when they step into a voting booth to spend other people's money on themselves?

[Edited on June 13, 2011 at 11:35 AM. Reason : .,.]

6/13/2011 11:33:32 AM

McDanger
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Clearly the low-quality person that your pet system produces is the supremum of working class intelligence

6/13/2011 11:50:51 AM

BobbyDigital
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Quote :
"As far as I can tell, goods today compared to my childhood are cheaper, yes, but also much higher quality. "



I dunno, my anecdotal experience differs from yours. Take for example transformers toys. The ones I had as a kid were mostly die-cast metal and some plastic. Very very durable stuff, all the parts and pieces fit together well, and with a good range of motion for the moving parts.

My 6 year old nephew has some now, and they are all cheap junky plastic, even the more expensive ones. They don't fit together well, break easily, and the moving parts butt up against each other awkwardly. The stuff is garbage.

just one anecdotal example, but if i thought about it i could probably come up with more. That said, there are likely cases where things are both cheaper AND of better quality, but I wouldn't say that was the norm.

6/13/2011 11:58:06 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"As far as I can tell, goods today compared to my childhood are cheaper, yes, but also much higher quality."


It's not the quality of the goods, it's the longer term economic impact of them, customers will just as quickly buy into bubbles as investors, and they will just as strongly irrationally scare away from everything when they crash.

Quote :
"If customers are as stupid as you suggest when spending their own money on themselves, why do you believe they suddenly become brilliant when they step into a voting booth to spend other people's money on themselves?"


They can act longer term and thier interest is better spread across many.

6/13/2011 1:07:16 PM

Lumex
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Quote :
"As far as I can tell, goods today compared to my childhood are cheaper, yes, but also much higher quality."

Not only do you laden your posts with anecdotal horse-shit - you also come up with these un-knowable mass generalizations. How the hell did you arrive at this opinion? Not even Consumer Reports would be qualified to make such a statement.

6/13/2011 1:41:51 PM

McDanger
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"How the hell did you arrive at this opinion?"


He already told us; he reasons a priori without consulting the world beyond whatever restricted subset it takes to confirm his pre-theoretic suspicions, proceeding based on his intuitions and "what makes sense" to him.

[Edited on June 13, 2011 at 3:13 PM. Reason : .]

6/13/2011 3:12:43 PM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"My 6 year old nephew has some now, and they are all cheap junky plastic, even the more expensive ones. They don't fit together well, break easily, and the moving parts butt up against each other awkwardly. The stuff is garbage.

just one anecdotal example, but if i thought about it i could probably come up with more. That said, there are likely cases where things are both cheaper AND of better quality, but I wouldn't say that was the norm."

Yes, I noticed that too about small toys. When making sweeping generalizations there will be exceptions, many toys clearly argue against the generalization. Perhaps toys are somewhat special because they tend to be purchased with our money for use by others, namely the children, so parents are happy to trade reliability for lower cost.

It might also have something to do with the dramatic fall in toy prices, such that toys are sufficiently cheap parents consider them completely disposable, so a $1 toy that breaks within a week is fine but a $15 toy that breaks in a few months is unacceptable. Neither explanation would apply to cars, because even at the lower prices a car is still a major expense and is usually purchased by the driver, which have fallen in price but have improved in quality at the same time.

Quote :
"Not even Consumer Reports would be qualified to make such a statement."

Perhaps no one on Earth is qualified to make such a statement as fact, but that isn't going to stop people from stating their opinion, as I have read several Consumer Reports articles which have made a similar statement about the improving quality of various durable consumer goods.

6/13/2011 3:37:57 PM

Chance
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I just don't get by what mechanism the planned economy can "get better". The statement is with education/learning/models it can but no one here has shown any example or theoretical way it can.

I had a similar thought to Lonesnark, I see no real difference between voting with a wallet and checking a box.

Regarding "education", again, what is that mechanism that people that are by and large retarded are suddenly going to become bright?

6/13/2011 5:04:42 PM

Kris
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^^ you've really gotten way to interested in your own red herring, I wasn't talking about the durability of goods since that has nothing to do with anything.

Quote :
"I just don't get by what mechanism the planned economy can "get better"."


It's the same mechanism that has caused governments to get better at social issues.

Quote :
"I had a similar thought to Lonesnark, I see no real difference between voting with a wallet and checking a box."


When voting for a candidate you invest in that person's longer term goals, thats why candidates sell those longer term goals rather than simply offering tax breaks or other financial pandering, while in a more individualistic manner you concern yourself much more with immediate payoffs.

Quote :
"Regarding "education", again, what is that mechanism that people that are by and large retarded are suddenly going to become bright?"


I'm not sure what it's called, but it's happened across the entire world in almost any timeframe. The world literacy rate is over 80%, it was exponentially lower than that only 100 years ago. It's not a "sudden" thing, it's gradual, but it's there, and quite powerful. We like to talk about people being dumb, but the average person keeps getting smarter.

6/13/2011 5:24:56 PM

Chance
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Kris, you're just talking platitudes and generally just talking "past" me.

Quote :
"It's the same mechanism that has caused governments to get better at social issues."

Not at all. Social issues and economic issues can be related but are generally entirely different. Whether a black guy can vote or not has very little bearing on what tire maker A decides to produce.

Quote :
"When voting for a candidate you invest in that person's longer term goals, thats why candidates sell those longer term goals rather than simply offering tax breaks or other financial pandering, while in a more individualistic manner you concern yourself much more with immediate payoffs."

Plattitudes. Longer term goals are accomplished by a series of short term decisions. And I scoff at the idea that I concern myself with immediate payoff for anything worthy of a "long term" decision/planning/actioning process.

Quote :
"I'm not sure what it's called, but it's happened across the entire world in almost any timeframe. The world literacy rate is over 80%, it was exponentially lower than that only 100 years ago. It's not a "sudden" thing, it's gradual, but it's there, and quite powerful. We like to talk about people being dumb, but the average person keeps getting smarter."

Again, just talking past. I'm not talking about getting from being abjectly unintelligent because something as basic as reading isn't possible, I'm talking about high school and college educated folks somehow becoming enlightened in such a way that they can vote on production and consumption in some way that is altogether superior to what capitalism already offers in this regard.

6/13/2011 5:37:42 PM

d357r0y3r
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Quote :
"It's the same mechanism that has caused governments to get better at social issues."


lol. Let's think about "social issues." Liberalizing means repealing legislation, in most cases, and allowing people to act as they will. Governments typically lag behind the people on these issues. You can hardly call this progress, it's just governments overstepping their bounds and, over time, being pressured into doing the right thing.

Quote :
"I'm not sure what it's called, but it's happened across the entire world in almost any timeframe. The world literacy rate is over 80%, it was exponentially lower than that only 100 years ago. It's not a "sudden" thing, it's gradual, but it's there, and quite powerful. We like to talk about people being dumb, but the average person keeps getting smarter."


You know, it's interesting. Socialists tend to use the traditional example of a factory with machines (capital), where workers are mostly unskilled laborers operating the machines. That probably has to do with the fact that socialism is utterly absurd in light of modern era specialization.

Let's just take a software company as an example. You've got coders (with various expertise), sales, support, financial guys, whatever. Each of the positions require varying degrees of education and training. Some of those positions even require a certain personality. The argument is "people will eventually get smart enough, and you won't need division of labor," but that seems silly. If anything, modern industry has proven that specialization can only increase, because no one is capable of learning everything. Some trades are much more difficult to learn, and people will naturally seek compensation; we've only got a limited time on this earth, and you're an idiot if you think I'm going to spend years learning a trade only to get the same pay off as the janitor. I'm sure we wouldn't need janitors in a socialist paradise, though, because everyone would pick up their own trash out of concern for the greater good.

[Edited on June 13, 2011 at 5:51 PM. Reason : ]

6/13/2011 5:51:23 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"Kris, you're just talking platitudes and generally just talking "past" me."


You're being a bit too defensive and not really listening to what I'm saying.

Quote :
"Not at all. Social issues and economic issues can be related but are generally entirely different. Whether a black guy can vote or not has very little bearing on what tire maker A decides to produce."


But how a government decides this is very similar between the two.

Quote :
"Longer term goals are accomplished by a series of short term decisions. And I scoff at the idea that I concern myself with immediate payoff for anything worthy of a "long term" decision/planning/actioning process."


Compare the two, political ads and commercial ads. Commercial ads sell right now, political ads sell a future. It's simply a fact that people on the aggregate spend short term and vote long term. If the opposite were true casios would go out of business and the lottery would be losing money, what "you" do is irrelevant.

Quote :
"I'm talking about high school and college educated folks somehow becoming enlightened in such a way that they can vote on production and consumption in some way that is altogether superior to what capitalism already offers in this regard."


I don't know what kind of question you're asking then. I very directly answered the question you asked earlier when you asked "how do people get smarter?", It seems like with this post you are just saying "people don't vote well".

Quote :
"Liberalizing means repealing legislation, in most cases, and allowing people to act as they will. Governments typically lag behind the people on these issues."


People acting as they will would involve theft, murder, rape, and discrimination.

Quote :
"You know, it's interesting. Socialists tend to use the traditional example of a factory with machines (capital), where workers are mostly unskilled laborers operating the machines. That probably has to do with the fact that socialism is utterly absurd in light of modern era specialization."


Did you even bother reading what I posted? I never said such a thing.

6/13/2011 6:21:33 PM

d357r0y3r
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Quote :
"People acting as they will would involve theft, murder, rape, and discrimination."


You're aware of my position on this. Your freedom ends where mine begins.

Quote :
"Did you even bother reading what I posted? I never said such a thing."


"The factory" has been mentioned in this thread, but the purpose of my statement was to dissolve the ridiculous notion that education can eliminate inequality. There will always be people that are harder (or better working), and the incentive for effort/creativity is a reward beyond the simple satisfaction of accomplishment. The socialist system, as it has been described in this thread, removes those incentives.

6/13/2011 6:28:39 PM

Chance
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Quote :
"and not really listening to what I'm saying.
"

That is my point...you aren't actually saying anything to the argument. It's a Kris hallmark - either by accident or on purpose - to non-reply reply.

This response is a perfect example:
Quote :
"But how a government decides this is very similar between the two."

"this"? You mean how it decides economic policy and how it decides social policy? Similar how? Which governments? How is this at all related to a failure in capitalism and how does socialism automagically make it better?

Quote :
"political ads sell a future"

This has to be a joke.

Quote :
" It's simply a fact that people on the aggregate spend short term and vote long term. "

In what fact book?

Quote :
" If the opposite were true casios would go out of business and the lottery would be losing money"

Casinos and the lottery really have nothing to do with the discussion, why even bring them in?

Quote :
"It seems like with this post you are just saying "people don't vote well"."

You are saying when they get smarter they'll vote "better". What does "smarter" even mean in this context and why does socialism offer a better alternative to capitalism?


The entire premise of your theory is that with better models and information socialism provides a better mechanism for decision making but you've done nothing yet to show how this can't work in capitalism or how socialism will do it better.

6/13/2011 10:06:55 PM

Kris
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Quote :
"You're aware of my position on this. Your freedom ends where mine begins."


What a lovely idea, unfortunately in the real world, your freedom ends where the person with the most guns says it does, that's been true for all human history, and while I would love for it to change, I don't have any good ideas how.

Quote :
""The factory" has been mentioned in this thread, but the purpose of my statement was to dissolve the ridiculous notion that education can eliminate inequality."


Well you replied to me, so I assumed you were responding to something I said, and I said nothing about the factory or education eliminating inequality.

----------------------------------------------------

Quote :
"It's a Kris hallmark - either by accident or on purpose - to non-reply reply."


I wish we could go through one argument with you actually responding to my argument rather than responding to what you think about how I argue. I have gotten in quite a few debates, I know that I am directly answering your questions. In your next post you will say that you understand what I am saying, but that I am doing a really bad job of saying it. You realize you are the only person on this board that I have to go through this silly exercise with?

Quote :
"Similar how?"


In how the officials are elected, in how laws get presented, in how they are passed, in how they are judged, etc. The entire legal process is very similar between the two types of issues.

Quote :
"How is this at all related to a failure in capitalism and how does socialism automagically make it better?"


Capitalism has failures, socialism has failures, capitalism's failures are static, socialism's are dynamic.

Quote :
"This has to be a joke."


It's not and it offends me that right after I ask you to listen to my argument and in the same post that you accuse me of "not saying anything", you fail to take what is a very clear statement seriously.

Quote :
"Casinos and the lottery really have nothing to do with the discussion, why even bring them in?"


You said:
I scoff at the idea that I concern myself with immediate payoff for anything worthy of a "long term" decision/planning/actioning process.

I was pointing out that while you may not think like that, the success of gambling proves that on the aggregate, people are more concerned with immediate payoff than whether it's actually a good idea or not.

Quote :
"You are saying when they get smarter they'll vote "better". What does "smarter" even mean in this context and why does socialism offer a better alternative to capitalism?"


Smarter means better able to problem solve, which would be necessary to do something like planning an economy. As I have said before, socialism's more dynamic nature allows it to take advantage of people's increasing ability to solve the kind of problems necessary to accurately plan an economy.

Quote :
"better models and information socialism provides a better mechanism for decision making but you've done nothing yet to show how this can't work in capitalism"


This can't work in capitalism because the market ALWAYS allocates goods in capitalism. Socializing something allows you to use something else besides the market to allocate goods, let's say like models or information.

6/14/2011 9:20:04 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"Capitalism has failures, socialism has failures, capitalism's failures are static, socialism's are dynamic."

Quite right, capitalism's static failures consist of always underpricing pollution and public goods, while socialism's failures are dynamic, sometimes consisting of gulags and other times merely invading Iraq.

Quote :
"the success of gambling proves that on the aggregate, people are more concerned with immediate payoff than whether it's actually a good idea or not."

Gambling is a form of entertainment. People don't pay to see a movie because they expect to earn money doing so in the long run.

Quote :
"Socializing something allows you to use something else besides the market to allocate goods, let's say like models or information."

Quite right. Instead of the market, you will allocate goods in accordance with political influence. Tell me again how political influence is more evenly distributed among the population than money?

[Edited on June 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM. Reason : .,.]

6/14/2011 10:05:07 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"Gambling is a form of entertainment. People don't pay to see a movie because they expect to earn money doing so in the long run."


It's amazing that you can read the mind of everyone who goes to gamble so you can say something like "every single person who goes to gamble does not think they will make money off of it".

Quote :
"Instead of the market, you will allocate goods in accordance with political influence."


How would you explain the real world where the poor tend to have the least political influence yet the most government support?

6/14/2011 10:26:50 AM

LoneSnark
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It's amazing that you can read the mind of everyone who goes to gamble so you can say something like "people are more concerned with immediate payoff than whether it's actually a good idea or not."

Quote :
"How would you explain the real world where the poor tend to have the least political influence yet the most government support?"

Simple, I don't think they do. In most countries "the poor" as a group tend to pay about the same in taxes as they receive in benefits. At best, when the poor receive anything it is because some other more influential group was feeling charitable. I believe this because in our country, the poor are very mistreated as a group, as most regulations on the books are designed to stop the poor from living where they want or competing with other more politically influential groups for jobs. So the poor find themselves being suppressed by the political system while being offered handouts because their oppressors feel bad about it, just not bad enough to stop oppressing them.

6/14/2011 10:54:16 AM

Kris
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Quote :
"It's amazing that you can read the mind of everyone who goes to gamble so you can say something like "people are more concerned with immediate payoff than whether it's actually a good idea or not.""


Considering the number of lives that have been ruined by gambling I felt comfortable making that statement.

Quote :
"In most countries "the poor" as a group tend to pay about the same in taxes as they receive in benefits."


Proof? Additionally I can see that you are attempting to compare to third world countries rather than first, although the context of the discussion has been around first world countries with stable political systems.

Quote :
"At best, when the poor receive anything it is because some other more influential group was feeling charitable."


Ha, last post you try to paint them as thieves, now you want to paint them as saints? I do not believe charity is an accurate explanation for this extremely large and widespread phenomenon, and hell, even if it does, it would still explain how resources could be allocated to the less politically connected.

Quote :
"this because in our country, the poor are very mistreated as a group, as most regulations on the books are designed to stop the poor from living where they want or competing with other more politically influential groups for jobs"


Quite a little conspiracy to have absolutely no proof, but that's the best kind right? How would you explain the same phenomenon happening in pretty much every other developed country?

6/14/2011 11:07:36 AM

McDanger
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Quote :
"this because in our country, the poor are very mistreated as a group, as most regulations on the books are designed to stop the poor from living where they want or competing with other more politically influential groups for jobs"


Which regulations are you talking about? Can I have a few examples of what you're talking about? How is a poor person limited by these regulations rather than being limited by not having money? I really would like you to clarify your point, because I don't understand what you're picturing as happening here.

[Edited on June 15, 2011 at 1:15 PM. Reason : .]

6/15/2011 1:13:11 PM

Str8Foolish
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Quote :
"I believe this because in our country, the poor are very mistreated as a group, as most regulations on the books are designed to stop the poor from living where they want or competing with other more politically influential groups for jobs. "


Here I thought their mobility was being limited by the fact that it costs money to move, and being poor severely restricts what housing you can afford.

Quote :
"So the poor find themselves being suppressed by the political system while being offered handouts because their oppressors feel bad about it, just not bad enough to stop oppressing them."


I agree, the poor are ruthlessly exploited by Capitalism and welfare does a good job of keeping them from rioting.

[Edited on June 15, 2011 at 1:14 PM. Reason : /]

6/15/2011 1:13:49 PM

Chance
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Quote :
"I wish we could go through one argument with you actually responding to my argument rather than responding to what you think about how I argue."


You don't make arguments. You parrot what you call facts based on your preferred theory of economics and generally either don't bother to provide some sort of supporting evidence or, growing bored that someone doesn't know what you're referring to, just result to calling them an idiot and feigning amazement that they haven't fully bought into the Chicago/Keynesian/Big Government school of economics.

You could attempt to answer this:
Quote :
"In what fact book?"


Quote :
"The entire legal process is very similar between the two types of issues."

Just another vague statement that doesn't address any particular argument. Again, similar how? Sure, whether the policy is economic or social I do in fact believe the process is...the same. You originally said this:
Quote :
""It's the same mechanism that has caused governments to get better at social issues."

That makes no sense. If the process is the same, why isn't the government just as "good"- which means nothing because you've given it no context - at economic issues right now as it is at social issues? Please spell out what you mean.

Quote :
"It's not and it offends me that right after I ask you to listen to my argument and in the same post that you accuse me of "not saying anything", you fail to take what is a very clear statement seriously."

I hope it does offend you. You said something was a fact, I asked in what book, and you restated your statement in a different form only more hilarious. Here, I'll do it the Kris way. It's a fact that consumption and voting can both be long term and short term. Wanna ask me how I know, I'll just state it differently.



[Edited on June 16, 2011 at 6:47 AM. Reason : .]

6/16/2011 6:46:08 AM

McDanger
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"Chicago/Keynesian/Big Government school of economics."


lol what?

6/16/2011 7:05:37 AM

Chance
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Come on, really? The idea that with enough information and enough modeling of the human psyche you can make an economy do whatever it is you want whenever you want it and have the outcome perfectly predicted.

6/16/2011 7:17:47 AM

McDanger
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@_@

6/16/2011 7:39:38 AM

Chance
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My overlords keep me too busy to be internet hip. I have no idea what that means.

[Edited on June 16, 2011 at 8:25 AM. Reason : .]

6/16/2011 8:02:01 AM

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