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  Topic: The thread of liberation, free your mind and the rest will follow< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:07   

I started this thread just to have a place to answer questions about "politics" that come up in other threads. The name of the thread is intentionally ridiculous.

I don't know what's going on with the board. When I try to use a link, the preview pane puts it in html instead of the message board code. That's also why the thread title is messed up.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:14   

This first post is to reply to this post by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 02 2007,20:49)
   
Quote (phonon @ May 02 2007,19:42)
Interesting. How exactly did FDR "save their asses?" I'm just curious as to what you're talking about.

At the time of the New Deal, the depression was raging, political radicalism was skyrocketing, and there were basically two choices --- reform, or revolution.

FDR forced reform onto the business interests, which saved them from revolution.

In return, they fought him all the way.  So he saved their asses, in spite of their opposition.



See:
www.hoover.org/publications/digest/4512566.html

I didn't realize there was a revolution looming. I did hear about a proposed coup d'etat., so someone saved FDR's ass too.

I usually listen to these podcasts here.
Last week there was a historian on and FDR came up. You might think this guy's opinions are funny. He loves Warren Harding and hates FDR. It's here. The FDR stuff starts at about 20 minutes.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:17   

http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/4512566.html
Quote
Franklin Roosevelt succeeded in undercutting the growth of left-wing political movements in the mid-1930s by adopting much of the rhetoric of the left and co-opting many of its leaders.
I guess the Democratic Party never stopped that practice.

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 03 2007,22:14

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:19   

1) Remember, square brackets.

2) Haven't heard that Clinton quote in a while.

3) Since this thread is about Lenny's political views, I have but two simple questions:

a) Should people be lynched for thinking "bad" thoughts?

b) If they shouldn't be lynched for "crime" thought, do you see any irony in equating a supporter of mob violence to a voice of freedom?

I look forward to your answer.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:25   

Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,18:17)
Quote
Franklin Roosevelt succeeded in undercutting the growth of left-wing political movements in the mid-1930s by adopting much of the rhetoric of the left and co-opting many of its leaders.
I guess the Democratic Party never stopped that practice.

Just ask Ned Lamont.    :)

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:28   

I am wondering what the source is of Paley's obsession with me . . .

My conclusion:  he's gay for me.

And he hasn't even seen a photo.

How sweet.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:33   

Lenny:

Quote
I am wondering what the source is of Paley's obsession with me . . .


Amorality sorta sticks in my craw. But now I'm through with you. The point has been made.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:38   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ May 03 2007,18:33)
Amorality sorta sticks in my craw.

BWA HA HA HA AHA HA HA HAA HA HA AH AHA HA HA HAA HHA HA HA AHA H HAHA HA HA HA HA HAA HA HA HA HA HAHA HA AH HA AH HA AHA HA HA HA HA AHA HA HA HA AH HAA AHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAH AHA HA AHA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coming from you, that's pretty goddamn funny.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:41   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ May 03 2007,18:33)
But now I'm through with you.

Again . . . . ?

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:46   

Lenny,

I'd like to know if this "thought police murder" advocacy is real too. I doubt it is based on what I know of you, and I'll wager dollars to doodlebugs that this is yet another GoP quote mine or extraction from the GoPiverse anus.

If it IS true though. Dude, I'm fucking shocked in advance! And I'd LOVE to see the justification for it. ;-)

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:48   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ May 03 2007,18:33)
The point has been made.

(shakes your hand)  And a brilliant job of it, too.  Wonderfully done.  I stand utterly devestated.  Poor me.  How EVER will I recover?

Well, having accomplished your task so well and truly, I expect you'll be mosey-ing along now, huh.  Your life's work having been accomplished, and all . . . . . On to bigger and better targets, eh?

Bye.

(waving as you ride off into the sunset on your snow-white horse)











Asshole.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,18:58   

I'm gonna break my vow to type something I never thought I'd type:

Answer Louis's question, Lenny.

Wow, that sounds so wrong.....but seriously.

Answer the fucking question.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,19:03   

Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,18:14)
I didn't realize there was a revolution looming. I did hear about a proposed <a href="e://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot" target="_blank">coup d'etat.</a>, so someone saved FDR's ass too.

Not looming, certainly, but definitely a possibility in the not-distant future.  The union movement (particularly the CIO) was then at the height of its power, and was taking on (and beating) some of the largest corporations in the world.  The Communist Party also had quite a large membership, particularly among educated people, and had extensive ties to the CIO and the rest of the labor movement.  It also had a quite large number of sympathizers who weren't actual members.  (Indeed, if you look carefully at the McCarthyite hysteria of the 50's, it focused almost exclusively on people who were Commie Party members in the **1930's**, not in the 1950's; and the reason is simple -- the CP was at the height of its influence then, and that scared the crap out of a lot of people.)

It should also be noted, though, that the FASCISTS also had a lot of sympathy in the US, particularly amongst the corporados (Henry Ford went so far as to write a book titled "The International Jew" that was happily reprinted by Hitler in Germany).  So if the Depression had continued for much longer, a fascist takeover was just as likely as a commie one.

Whether either the commies or the nazis could *actually* have taken over in the US at that time is not really the point --- the point is that a lot of people (including the corporados) THOUGHT that one or the other could.  Indeed, one of the major reasons why so many corporados in the US openly supported the fascist movement was because they viewed it as a counter to the potential for a Bolshevik-style revolution in the US.

Had the Great Depression continued for a few more years, that potential would have been, well, more than just a potential.

I suppose, though, it could be argued whether FDR actually saved the US by ending the Depression, or whether *Hitler* did it for us . . . .

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,19:10   

How about you support your assertion GoP?

That's right, support your fucking claims.

Louis

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Bye.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,19:12   

Quote (Louis @ May 03 2007,18:46)
I'd like to know if this "thought police murder" advocacy is real too.

Nope.

It started with one of Paley's idiotic sockpuppeting rants about how immigrants were gonna take over the US, and white people would become a minority.  I pointed out that, uh, worldwide, white people are ALREADY a minorty, pointed out that white people WILL be a minority in the US within a few decades, and asked Paley what he thought of that.  He said something about 'if minorities took over here, you'd be swinging right next to me'.  And I responded by saying 'no, I'd be helping them hang YOU, since I don't like racist pigs like you very much'.

Paley took it hyperliterally, pretended moral outrage and moral superiority, and therefore missed the whole point.  (shrug)


It's all in the archives.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,19:27   

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

Oh THAT!

Fucking hell GoP's dishonest! Even I (a highly sensitive fucker on matters of lynching and thought police stuff) didn't think that was an advocacy of thought police derived murder.

Jeeeezis wept GoP is THAT the best you have? No wonder you didn't back up your assertion. You'd have been laughed at. What a joke you are GoP!

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,19:29   

Quote (Louis @ May 03 2007,18:46)
Lenny,

I'd like to know if this "thought police murder" advocacy is real too. I doubt it is based on what I know of you

Indeed, I would hope that everyone here would know me better than that . . . . (even Skeptic).

Although I'm absolutely not a pacifist, I'm far too much the anarchist to want any part of mass repression, of anybody, by anybody.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,20:15   

Now that we are discussing my plans for world domination ---- uh, I mean my, um, manifesto for liberating the workers of the world . . . . (giggle)

Over the years, I have noticed that there is indeed a significant difference between me and most of the other radical leftists I have met;

Back in my younger days, I was invited to give a talk on radical politics to a classroom of economics students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.  And during the Q and A session afterwards, one of the students asked me why poor workers can't just go find jobs with owners who are willing to pay them higher wages than the rest of the owners are.  I was flabbergasted -- and after sputtering in disbelief for a few seconds, I said" Come ONNNNNNNNN!!!  You guys are ECONOMICS students, for crissakes! . . . Don't you  *know*  what happens to a business owner who voluntarily raises his costs above those of his competitors . . .?"  It took a few seconds for that to sink in, but once it did, several of the students, including the questioner, looked awfully sheepish.  I think they learned a valuable lesson.

But that question illustrated, I think, a difference between me and most of the radical lefties I've known; for most lefties, it's a matter of capital-ISTS being evil and bad -- they are simply greedy heartless people who don't care about their workers and are just out to squeeze as much money from them as they can.  

But for me, on the other hand, it is capital-ISM that is evil.  It's not the PERSON, it's the social/economic system that forces EVERYONE to act the same way. A business owner may be the sweetest person in the world; he may give money to the SPCA; he may help little old ladies cross the street -- but he MUST, absolutely MUST, treat his workers as "equipment" rather than as "people", if his business is to survive.  If Mother Theresa were to become a business owner, she would have no choice but to act in the very same way as the most heartless ruthless uncaring clod who ran a competing business -- because if she DIDN'T, she'd be broke and out of business in a very short time.  Capital-ISM, as a social/economic system, forces EVERYONE down to the lowest possible level, whether they want it or not.  To me, THAT is its greatest evil.

So I don't view business owners as evil, greedy, uncaring people (although, of course, many individuals ARE, and I then treat them accordingly).  It's the social system itself which FORCES everyone to be greedy, uncaring and evil, whether they want to or not.   It is not the PEOPLE that are my enemy, it's the economic structure that forces even good people to act in an evil manner.

That is, I think, why I have no interest in putting business owners up against the wall and shooting them -- which many of my radical left compadres would have no problem at all with.  For me, it's not the PEOPLE that are the root of the problem.  My target is the entire social system which forces people to act in certain ways -- indeed, in many cases, I view the business owners as being victims of the social system just as much as their workers are.  After all, a business owner who disposes of his toxic waste properly loses out in the marketplace to any competitor who avoids all that expense by just dumping it into the river --- and then BOTH business owners have to drink the polluted water (along with everyone else, of course).  

So the economic SYSTEM is my enemy, not the people who are caught in it.

A subtle difference, perhaps, but, I think, a significant one . . .

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,00:39   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ May 03 2007,18:33)
Lenny:

 
Quote
I am wondering what the source is of Paley's obsession with me . . .


Amorality sorta sticks in my craw. But now I'm through with you. The point has been made.

Oooh! Can you be 'through with' all of us now?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,02:28   

Quote
I'm gonna break my vow


*yawn*

yet another thing from the "dummies guide to trolling".

-always come back right after you said you were done.

nice one, gawp.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,05:07   

It amazes me that he bothers. We called his bluff as a Loki troll well before he "confessed" (note: in GoPWorld this means we are annoyed he fooled us. Bwaaaahahahaha, sheah, right. That would require us to believe his "parody" claim), not a single mentally capable poster considers him anything other than a troll (see standard definitions), and he is universally regarded as, and I think I can say this with no qualification or hesitation whatsoever, a vacuous twat.

If he made a positive intellectual contribution, it might be worth him staying, He doesn't, it isn't, I wonder why he does or is allowed to.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Darth Robo



Posts: 148
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,05:12   

"Oooh! Can you be 'through with' all of us now?"

Aw, but he provides so much entertainment!  :(

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"Commentary: How would you like to be the wholly-owned servant to an organic meatbag? It's demeaning! If, uh, you weren't one yourself, I mean..."

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,08:47   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 03 2007,19:12)
 
Quote (Louis @ May 03 2007,18:46)
I'd like to know if this "thought police murder" advocacy is real too.

Nope.

It started with one of Paley's idiotic sockpuppeting rants about how immigrants were gonna take over the US, and white people would become a minority.  I pointed out that, uh, worldwide, white people are ALREADY a minorty, pointed out that white people WILL be a minority in the US within a few decades, and asked Paley what he thought of that.  He said something about 'if minorities took over here, you'd be swinging right next to me'.  And I responded by saying 'no, I'd be helping them hang YOU, since I don't like racist pigs like you very much'.

Paley took it hyperliterally, pretended moral outrage and moral superiority, and therefore missed the whole point.  (shrug)


It's all in the archives.

I find it fascinating that GoP automatically assumes that when white people are no longer the majority in America that this of course means that the brown people will start killing all the white people. Somehow GoP can't imagine a world where violent retribution wouldn't be the very first thing on the mind of nonwhites.  And somehow we 'libs' are the racists, not Paley.

What a childish, pompous twit.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,09:34   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ May 03 2007,18:19)
1) Remember, square brackets.

2) Haven't heard that Clinton quote in a while.

3) Since this thread is about Lenny's political views, I have but two simple questions:

a) Should people be lynched for thinking "bad" thoughts?

b) If they shouldn't be lynched for "crime" thought, do you see any irony in equating a supporter of mob violence to a voice of freedom?

I look forward to your answer.

I did use square brackets. In fact, I used the little buttons on top of the pane. Somehow when the code was being changed to html, it got put into the preview pane as html, which didn't translate to the actual post.


If some admin person can take the [The Rev...etc] out of the title that would be great. I don't know how the original [quote...] got in there at all.

Oh, and this thread isn't just for Lenny's views, it was just because the other thread was getting too many OT posts.


Also, I just came across something. Went to freerepublic.com to see what they thought about the GOP debate last night, and someone in the comments linked to a press release.
http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2005/pr072205.htm
Ron Paul calls himself a libertarian and most people accept him as such, and he proposed legislation to protect civil rights. I didn't provide any evidence to my claim before (in the other thread) so I just wanted to do that here. He also voted against the Patriot Act itself.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,14:47   

Arden Chatfield:

   
Quote
I find it fascinating that GoP automatically assumes that when white people are no longer the majority in America that this of course means that the brown people will start killing all the white people. Somehow GoP can't imagine a world where violent retribution wouldn't be the very first thing on the mind of nonwhites.  And somehow we 'libs' are the racists, not Paley.

What a childish, pompous twit.


Uhhh...Arden, I suggest you check out the archives. This is precisely the opposite of what I said. The point of the "swing with me" comment was that Lenny was smacking his lips over how people of colour were going to punish us "Aryan supremacists", and perhaps even all whites (which he supported, since "turnabout was fair play"). I said if this nightmare scenario were to happen, then he would be swinging next to me. This prompted The Response. And if you check the record you'll see that I disagreed that Lenny's scenario would come to fruition.

By the way, Lenny repeated these sentiments when I changed my sig, stating that I should have kept my previous one since it codified what he'd like to do with me.

So yes, many liberals are racist. Ask any lacross player.  :)

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,15:25   

Quote
Ask any lacross player.


because of course, lacross players represent such a large section of mainstream...

er, what?

you've lost your mind.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,17:43   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 04 2007,08:47)
I find it fascinating that GoP automatically assumes that when white people are no longer the majority in America that this of course means that the brown people will start killing all the white people.

Well, Paley is just a troll, so he (and his sockpuppets) doesn't actually "assume" or "think" anything.  

But your observation is actually a pretty common sentiment amongst all the Aryan Nations and neo-Nazi types that I've had the misfortune to run into (and since I used to live near the Aryan Nations "training camp" in Berks County, Pennsylvania, I've run into an awful lot of them).

They quite naturally assume that nonwhite people want to do to THEM precisely what THEY want to do to nonwhite people.

"Projection", I believe, is the clinical term.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,21:09   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 03 2007,19:15)

But that question illustrated, I think, a difference between me and most of the radical lefties I've known; for most lefties, it's a matter of capital-ISTS being evil and bad -- they are simply greedy heartless people who don't care about their workers and are just out to squeeze as much money from them as they can.  

But for me, on the other hand, it is capital-ISM that is evil.  It's not the PERSON, it's the social/economic system that forces EVERYONE to act the same way. A business owner may be the sweetest person in the world; he may give money to the SPCA; he may help little old ladies cross the street -- but he MUST, absolutely MUST, treat his workers as "equipment" rather than as "people", if his business is to survive.  If Mother Theresa were to become a business owner, she would have no choice but to act in the very same way as the most heartless ruthless uncaring clod who ran a competing business -- because if she DIDN'T, she'd be broke and out of business in a very short time.  Capital-ISM, as a social/economic system, forces EVERYONE down to the lowest possible level, whether they want it or not.  To me, THAT is its greatest evil.

So I don't view business owners as evil, greedy, uncaring people (although, of course, many individuals ARE, and I then treat them accordingly).  It's the social system itself which FORCES everyone to be greedy, uncaring and evil, whether they want to or not.   It is not the PEOPLE that are my enemy, it's the economic structure that forces even good people to act in an evil manner.

That is, I think, why I have no interest in putting business owners up against the wall and shooting them -- which many of my radical left compadres would have no problem at all with.  For me, it's not the PEOPLE that are the root of the problem.  My target is the entire social system which forces people to act in certain ways -- indeed, in many cases, I view the business owners as being victims of the social system just as much as their workers are.  After all, a business owner who disposes of his toxic waste properly loses out in the marketplace to any competitor who avoids all that expense by just dumping it into the river --- and then BOTH business owners have to drink the polluted water (along with everyone else, of course).  

So the economic SYSTEM is my enemy, not the people who are caught in it.

A subtle difference, perhaps, but, I think, a significant one . . .

Yes, significant. But I must ask, Lenny, do you even think that our system is capitalist anymore? To me, with corporations having been deemed "individuals," something even more sinister is going on.

Who the hell owns a corporation anymore? Is it the board, the CEO, the CFO, the stockholders? It sure isn't the employees, the stockholders of GM screwed them over big time. But the top brass at Enron screwed both the employee and the stockholders.

I mean, who are the business owners anymore? Supposedly Cheney no longer runs Halliburton, but we don't believe that, do we?  ;)  And Halliburton has diversified into the Energy Group (now the Halliburton Energy Services Group) and KBR, which has filed bankruptcy I believe. (What a mess!;) Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace and is positioning himself for the Wall Street Journal, but who owns him? Anyone?

My point is, it's all such an unholy incestuous contrived vampiric cluster-fuck that I'm not even sure it should be called capitalism anymore. It's looking rather Soviet (as opposed to Marxist) to me. The supposed laws of supply and demand seem rather quaint in comparison, and irrelevant.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,21:30   

Quote
Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace and is positioning himself for the Wall Street Journal, but who owns him? Anyone?


hmm, that's a good question, actually.

who is behind the mass media conglomeration that's been happening over the last 20 years?

Is it really all just a reflection of the conglomeration that's been happening across the board, or is there something else going on?

I thought about this for a while, and really can't see any particular group or individual behind it, which suggests it might indeed just be reflective of the way profits are being generated through consolidation over the last decade or so.

the biases in the media were always there, they just become more obvious as fewer and fewer companies are involved.

that was my conclusion, anyway.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,21:34   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 04 2007,21:30)
Quote
Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace and is positioning himself for the Wall Street Journal, but who owns him? Anyone?


hmm, that's a good question, actually.

who is behind the mass media conglomeration that's been happening over the last 20 years?

Is it really all just a reflection of the conglomeration that's been happening across the board, or is there something else going on?

I thought about this for a while, and really can't see any particular group or individual behind it, which suggests it might indeed just be reflective of the way profits are being generated through consolidation over the last decade or so.

the biases in the media were always there, they just become more obvious as fewer and fewer companies are involved.

that was my conclusion, anyway.

Don't you kow? It's those damn atheist Jews in the Illuminati trying to form a New World Order to supress all us god fearin' Jesus lovers.

It's all a conspiricy....

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,21:38   

uh yeah, it's just stock driven economy, or what you said.

;)

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2007,22:09   

Having dealt with the most ridiculous elements in govt' for quite some time, my opinion is still worth very little but here goes anyway:

Any system you want to implement won't work. The forces against it will have something to fight and the underdog evokes sympathy. The best we can hope for is a clusterfuck where no one has enough real power to make any good targets.

Money and power do weird things to people. I've had public officials who are national figures, do interviews on network news, etc. look me straight in the eye and say, "I don't know what the hell you are talking about." when I was answering a question that they absolutely positively need to know the answer so they can make political decisions and make things happen. After I explained, they, dead serious I should add, say things like "Can't we just release these reports in the opposite order? That would make it easier to sell." when doing so actually reverses the meaning of data. This is not isolated and it's not "them" as opposed to "us". It's agendas as opposed to intelligence.

I am potentially damaged by the level of jadedness I've aquired. I do give a damn sometimes but I hold out 0 (that's zero) hope that anything can change. The only way to do it is with a smart and hip dictator and we all know where that ends up. I have watched money players bribe people to prove to me that they can and do. There is no hope without utterly destroying our entire system of living. And that doesn't seem very hopeful to me.

But I do enjoy writing songs.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,00:17   

Quote (Kristine @ May 04 2007,21:09)
But I must ask, Lenny, do you even think that our system is capitalist anymore?

No.  Indeed, the corporations themselves are building the basic framework of socialism, and they are being forced into it by their own economic interests.

There are some economists who have declared that the rise of employee-stock-ownership plans and IRA's and 401(k)'s and such, have "democratized" the economy, leading to "ownership" of the corporations by a larger and larger number of stockholders.  That, alas, is bullshit.  It is, of course, the stockholders who "own" the corporations, but stock ownership in the US is still heavily centralized -- despite all the crap you might hear about "union pension plans" or "employee stock ownership plans" and "IRA plans" counting for the majority of stock, it is a simple fact that stock ownership, as with all wealth, is (and always has been) heavily concentrated in a very few hands.  In 2001, the wealthiest 1% of the US households owned 33.4% of all wealth, while the bottom 80% of househoulds owned just 15.5% of wealth.  The wealthiest 1% of households also owned 44.1% of all stocks, bonds and mutual funds (the bottom 90% owned just 15.5%). Of all stockholders, the wealthiest 1% held 94.8% of all stock holdings with value of $5,000 or more.

To explain where this all leads, I will quote-mine from myself:

Stock ownership is, in a corporate economy, particularly important, since it translates directly into corporate power.  And what the corporation or joint stock company has done is centralize ownership, control and financial benefit, into a very small number of hands.  Rather than "democratizing" the economy, the joint stock company only centralizes it further.

And as a side effect, the joint stock company has in effect removed the controlling capitalists from the sphere of production. The actual day-to-day management of the corporation is left to a team of hired executives, managers and directors, who are responsible solely to "the stockholders" -- i.e., the wealthiest 1% of the population that controls nearly all the corporate stock.

This hired managerial apparatus is not in itself capitalist--that is, it does not extract any surplus value by virtue of owning capital. It is true that, in many corporations, the major shareholders are themselves members of the managerial apparatus, but this is peripheral to their role as capitalists. To the extent that the managers or executive officers of a corporation are not in themselves the major shareholder, they cannot be viewed as capitalists in the strict sense of the term (although they are certainly capitalist in their outlooks and value systems). They are merely "hired guns" who manage the capitalist's interests for him in exchange for part of the spoils.

The popular distinction between "labor" and "capital" as being "those who work" as opposed to "those who don't" here reaches its clearest form. The corporate capitalist, besides performing no labor in the process of production, now is not required to take part in directing or managing it either. As he does with the laborer, he merely buys the ability of somebody else to do this for him. In essence, the corporate capitalist simply sits back and lets other people produce his living for him. His living comes, not from his "management skills", nor from his "entrepreneurship", nor from his "superior business acumen"--it comes solely from the fact that he, and he alone, owns capital. Corporate owners are not at all necessary for the process of production and are, in essence, social parasites. They do not labor to produce anything, they do not manage their own enterprises; instead, they hire others to do all of this for them. In short, they do nothing to earn their keep, and live solely by hiring others to make their living for them.

Although the corporate sector of the economy is owned jointly by the capital-owning class (the small number of stockholders), it cannot be said that any corporation is "owned" by any individual (unless, of course, the corporation is itself a family-owned business). In essence, the capitalist system itself has done away with private property ownership and has introduced social property in its place.

In the heydey of the capitalist system, economic decisions were the perogative of a single owner, who made his decisions individually and in his own short-term interests. Today, however, this capitalist ideal no longer applies. In the modern corporation, the search for long-term stability and profitability forces the corporations to make long-term plans for the investment and use of their capital and resources. These decisions are no longer made by individual property-owners; they are made by a network of hired managers and professionals. In essence, private short term investment has given way to joint long-term planning for the optimum utilization of resources.

Another crucial factor which resulted from the joint stock company is the separation (both legally and in practice) of ownership from management. In the early days of capitalism, the capital-owner had to serve as his own entrepreneur and manager. He could profit from his investment only if he himself made the decisions upon which profitability was based. This allowed the capitalist to justify his appropriation of surplus value as "compensation" for his decision-making entrepreneural role.

Today, however, the socialized capital-owning class has no such connection to business decision-making. Instead, the capitalist stockholders are able to hire the services of a network of professional managers, decision-makers and innovators who perform this role for them Those who own a majority of stock in a corporation have no need of business sense or entrepreneural ability; they can merely hire others who have these abilities. The stockholder-capitalist makes his living without lifting a finger. He performs no labor, produces no commodity, and develops no new innovation. The only thing he does is allow the managers to use his capital and then cash the dividend checks they send to him. Even if one accepts the argument that the capitalist as decision-maker receives his profits as compensation for his decision-making ability, one can certainly not make this argument when the capital-owner makes no decisions at all, but merely hires others to do this for him.

Thus, capitalist practice itself demonstrates that the capital-owner, the stockholder, is superfluous and parasitical. If the managers perform their tasks on behalf of the absentee stockholders, they can perform them just as well if those stockholders are deposed and replaced by elected representatives from the workplace and the surrounding community. There is no reason why the managers cannot be made responsible to the social entity as a whole rather than to the minority of stock-owner members.

Developing methods of capitalist management are beginning to acknowledge this fact. In the days of individual capitalism, economic enterprises were essentially top-down affairs, mere extensions of the capital of a single capitalist who ran the enterprise in essentially dictatorial fashion--Carnegie Steel, Ford Motor Company, the Gould railway empire.

As corporations moved towards social ownership and control by professional managers, however, they turned from a vertical system of organization to a horizontal association of diverse economic enterprises. This process accelerated with the onset of the overproduction crisis, which forced corporations to diversify in order to survive.

The old "dictatorial" method of management works fine for a vertical organization which only had to monitor a small number of routine tasks, but top-down management fails miserably when faced with the task of integrating and coordinating a large number of diverse units.

As a result, modern managers have been forced to adopt methods which are more horizontal and "democratic", through the use of such concepts as project teams, work councils, ad hoc committees, and autonomous project teams. And, since this diverse economic process is too large and too involved to be overseen by a small number of hired managers, it has become necessary to integrate the workers in the shop more fully into this coordination process. This management concept was pioneered by the Japanese, and has since been adopted by US corporations, which have referred to them as "job enhancement" or "industrial democracy".

The long-term effects on the capitalist mode of production will be profound. These new management styles weaken the very core of the capitalist's raison d'etre. If management and workers can make economic decisions without the input of the owners, it is obvious that the owners are not needed and can be dispensed with. Furthermore, the increasing integration of workers into this management process will make the workers able to carry out these management tasks by themselves, thus making the professional management sector equally unnecessary. The capitalist program of "industrial democracy" is the beginning of a new social and economic structure which will eventually bring full control of the economy to the workers who run it. These infant "workers councils" represent the future society of worker control; they represent the beginnings of socialism. All that remains is to kick out the absentee stockholder-owners and their hired representatives, and turn "industrial democracy" into *actual* democracy, run by elected representatives from the surrounding social entity.

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guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,04:38   

I thought there had been movements towards this sort of thing back in the early 20th century.  Indeed, after WW2, at least in Europe, the unions power was enough to be able to bargain directly with the owners.  Except that now, at least in the UK, with the unions crippled by legislation and economic changes that have destroyed their usual workplaces, there is no-one to perform tha function.
And, there is still too much external pressure to force the business's into profit maximisation than to allow much in the way of workplace democracy.  I am aware of various places actually empowering staff, I first read about it years ago.  But as for how widespread the actual uptake of it is, is another matter.  Moreover, here in the UK, there are many moves towards further alienation.  These include casualisation, short term contracts, threats of leaving, and maintenance if not extension of hierarchies.  

Maybe if you mention some of the countervailing problems as well, such as the management moving into the upper owners class through accumulation of wealth (Or plundering of the company if you like) and the proliferation of low paid service work.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,10:20   

Quote (guthrie @ May 05 2007,04:38)
 I am aware of various places actually empowering staff, I first read about it years ago.  But as for how widespread the actual uptake of it is, is another matter.

Well, of course, the corporados are absolutely determined that none of these moves towards "industrial democracy" give any REAL decision-making power or control to worker representatives -- all the corporados want are puppets.  They absolutely will not give up their economic power voluntarily.

And of course you are entirely correct that unions themselves (particularly here in the US) have been crushed (legally and otherwise) virtually out of existence.

However, the class struggle never ends, and every time the owners think they have successfully tamed the working class, it always roars back to life.  So, as the corporados are inexorably forced, by their own economic imperatives, into making economic production more and more social in character, the working class is just as inexorably forced, by its separate economic imperatives, to assume more and more control of that social process.

And at the same time, circumstances force the DISTRIBUTION of economic products to also become more and more social in character.

Another quote mine from myself:


As economic capacity and productivity continue to grow under monopoly capitalism, moreover, profound changes are introduced into capitalist social relationships. Of increasing importance is the social structure which determines exchange value, the marketplace, which is crucial to the bourgeois mode of production.

In early capitalism, when the productive ability of society is relatively low, the general level of social production is insufficient to produce all of the various commodities which are necessary and desirable. This leads to a scarcity of commodities, and the task of the capitalist marketplace, as bourgeois ideology sees it, is to "allocate" these resources, to decide through the "impersonal marketplace" who will receive the scarce commodities and who will not. The capitalist marketplace bases this on the control of wealth--those with more wealth get more commodities. This is a convenient exchange system for a ruling class that controls most of society's wealth, and obtains it by siphoning it from the working class.

As productive abilities continue to expand under monopoly capitalism, however, the problem of "scarcity" becomes less and less acute. As commodities become overproduced, the capitalist exchange relationship becomes less suited to the social distribution of the necessities of life. When the supply of a commodity is scarce, potential consumers must compete with each other to get it, and the criterion for this competition is how much exchange value one is willing and able to part with.

If there is an abundant supply of the commodity available, however, the need for exchange-value competition disappears. Social circumstances now demand a system of distribution based on the allocation of resources according to use-value. Instead of determining whether this or that party to the social relationship will obtain the limited supply of commodities, the new system of distribution must determine the most efficient manner to distribute abundant supplies between both parties.

Thus, the affluence of the monopoly capitalist's high level of productivity undercuts the very basis for the capitalist's domination of social relationships, and forces profound changes in the mode of production. It demands, in essence, the production and distribution of use-values, not exchange-values.

The capitalist mode of production, which is by its very nature constructed around the private production of exchange-values (and the consequent appropriation of surplus value) is unable to adapt itself to the changes demanded by these circumstances. The result is an insoluble conflict--if humans are to continue to extract their means of life from existing circumstances through labor, the methods by which this process is carried out (i.e., the existing mode of production) must be altered drastically; yet capitalism is unable to adapt itself to these circumstances.

n fighting to save themselves from this fate, the monopoly capitalists daily prove that they are no longer suited for providing the necessaries of life to the members of human society. The development and utilization of human productive capacity which is demanded by current circumstances is instead hampered and distorted by the narrow class interests of the bourgeoisie, who are forced to periodically cut back on the utilization of human productive forces in order to avoid producing more commodities than they can sell profitably.

The capitalist is not at all concerned with the production of use-values; he cares only about exchange-values, and is thus forced to lower the utilization of productive abilities which could otherwise be used to raise the standard of living for all members of human society. Instead of a self-managed super-abundant system which uses human labor power for everyone's benefit, monopoly capitalism produces a system in which human labor power is deliberately *underutilized* to protect the privileged position of the ruling class; a system which, instead of producing enough to feed hungry people, uses "price supports" to pay farmers *not* to grow food and thus protect profit levels.

Increasingly, economic problems turn from determing how to divide scarce commodities amongst those who can afford to buy them, to how best to distribute abundant commodities to those who CANNOT pay for them.  In other words, just as the production process begins more and more to be socially controlled, with socially-determined goals, so does the process of distribution.

That is the basis for a socialist economy.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,10:52   

Quote (guthrie @ May 05 2007,04:38)
I thought there had been movements towards this sort of thing back in the early 20th century.

Yes.  Those were the "council communists", and they were prominent in Europe at the time.  Indeed, the council-communists were the originators of the original 1917 revolution in Russia -- the Russian word "soviet" means "council".

The Leninists (who can best be viewed as state-capitalists) didn't want worker control any more than the corporados do, so the first thing the Leninists did upon taking over later that year was to destroy the soviets, transfer power to the Party bureaucracy, and shoot all the council-communists they could find.

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guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,16:06   

And then do their best to maintain the myth that the proletariat require to be led/ inoculated with revolution.  

OK, got any good books on that period?  I have "Ten days that shook the world" around somewhere, but cannot remember any of it.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,16:10   

Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,19:07)
I started this thread just to have a place to answer questions about "politics" that come up in other threads. The name of the thread is intentionally ridiculous.

I don't know what's going on with the board. When I try to use a link, the preview pane puts it in html instead of the message board code. That's also why the thread title is messed up.

Let me know what you want the title to be, and I'll change it.

   
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,16:12   

So in one sense, a welfare state is also a means of distributing goods amongst those who cannot afford them.  Which is undoubtedly related to their growth.  But also the increasing gvt expenditure seems to me to be partly a compensatory mechanism to keep people employed.  (as well as a means of empire building by bureacrats and others)

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,16:51   

Quote (guthrie @ May 05 2007,16:12)
So in one sense, a welfare state is also a means of distributing goods amongst those who cannot afford them.  Which is undoubtedly related to their growth.  But also the increasing gvt expenditure seems to me to be partly a compensatory mechanism to keep people employed.  (as well as a means of empire building by bureacrats and others)

Both are a method of dealing with the capitalist overproduction problem (capitalists can PRODUCE far more things than they can profitably SELL).

One of the biggest boons to the corporados are heavy military budgets, since those put a lot of money into the economy, but don't put any useful commodities into the economy, thus helping to ease the overproduction problem.

Welfare-state programs are also a convenient way for corporados to gain docile workers without having to PAY for them, since every dollar that the government gives to someone is a dollar that an employer doesn't have to give them.  That, of course, is one reason why some major corporations, like GM and Wal-Mart, are now lobbying in favor of single-payer tax-funded national health care ("socialized medicine").  The reason for that is simple --- they know that universal health care coverage is now all but inevitable, and they don't want to get stuck PAYING for it.

Don't let the corporados fool you -- they're all in favor of the welfare state (and even socialism) when it benefits THEM.  What they DON'T like is welfare or socialism that does NOT benefit them.  And for god's sake, they REALLY don't like it if THEY have to pay for it.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,16:59   

Quote (guthrie @ May 05 2007,16:06)
OK, got any good books on that period?

I'm working on editing a collection of writings by the prominent council-communists Anton Pannekoek, Hermann Gorter, Sylvian Pankhurst and Otto Ruhle.  It'll probably be printed before the end of the year.  In the meantime, if you Google those names, you'll get some stuff to look at.  In addition, I humbly offer my own book-length writings on the subject (from which I have quote-minded here) at:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/marxindex.html


Those too will all be available in printed versions before the end of the year.  (I've set up my own micropublishing company specifically to put non-Leninist Marxist books into print, since none of the "communist parties" will ever print anything like that, and they are the ones that print nearly all the commie books available in the US, except for a few academic presses.)

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,17:10   

Quote (guthrie @ May 05 2007,16:06)
And then do their best to maintain the myth that the proletariat require to be led/ inoculated with revolution.  

Exactly.  

Yet another quote-mine from myself:

The philosophical basis of Leninism had been laid out in 1908 in Lenin's work "Materialism and Empirio-Criticism". In this work, the subtle distinctions of Marx's dialectical view of totality were lost. Rather than the Marxian interpenetration between mind and matter--"Thinking and being are certainly distinct, but are at the same time in unity with each other"--Lenin took the view that all outlooks and philosophies are either idealist or materialist, with nothing in between. Lenin dismisses as "litter and rubbish" any attempts to form a unity between these two philosophical frameworks: "The attempt to escape these two basic trends in philosophy is nothing but 'conciliatory quackery'."

Marxism, Lenin repeatedly asserted, was a materialist outlook--material (economic) factors were the sole determinant of human actions. In an argument which broke out among socialists over the outlooks of the physicist Ernst Mach, Lenin asserted that material reality is objectively independent of human thought, that the "real world" exists "out there" and operates without regard to the position or viewpoint of the observer. Human thoughts themselves, Lenin asserted, were material things, since they were the result of the motion of molecules and chemicals in the human brain.

Since material reality was independent of consciousness, Lenin concluded, there exists some "objective truth" which corresponds to existing material reality. The process of human knowledge, as the Leninists came to see it, is "reflective"; ideas are merely the mental reflections of an objective material reality, and those ideas that could be shown through practice to correspond to material reality were objectively "true".

It is easy to see how Lenin's political outlooks developed from this philosophical base. If the world operates independently of humans according to objective laws, then it is possible for humans to discover those laws, and thus come to a "scientific understanding" of the operation of human society. The Marxist-Leninist party, being trained in the methods of "dialectical materialism", could understand these laws and interpret them to those who were less "conscious". Therefore, the task of interpreting the laws of history for the working class fell to the trained cadre of Leninists who would rule in their name.

The debate over Lenin's "objective reality" was more than an abstract intellectual debate--it had profound practical implications. Lenin, by arguing that reality existed independently of human consciousness, was led to embrace the strategy of "injecting" a radical consciousness into the working class, in accordance with the "laws" of economic determinism and dialectical materialism.

This of course, would quickly lead to a situation such as existed in the Soviet Union. Since only the party is wise enough to know what issues are worthy of public attention, the press would have to submit to its "guidance"; since only party members can decide what best serves the interests of the working class, officials and bureaucrats would have to submit to "party discipline". Above all, since only the party can master the subtleties of dialectical materialism and thus know what is in the "real" interests of the working class, it alone should be given the power to make political and economic decisions.

Hence, a dictatorship "of" the proletariat turns into a dictatorship "on behalf of" the proletariat, and thence to a dictatorship OVER the proletariat.

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phonon



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Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,19:49   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 03 2007,20:15)
But for me, on the other hand, it is capital-ISM that is evil.  It's not the PERSON, it's the social/economic system that forces EVERYONE to act the same way. A business owner may be the sweetest person in the world; he may give money to the SPCA; he may help little old ladies cross the street -- but he MUST, absolutely MUST, treat his workers as "equipment" rather than as "people", if his business is to survive.  If Mother Theresa were to become a business owner, she would have no choice but to act in the very same way as the most heartless ruthless uncaring clod who ran a competing business -- because if she DIDN'T, she'd be broke and out of business in a very short time.  Capital-ISM, as a social/economic system, forces EVERYONE down to the lowest possible level, whether they want it or not.  To me, THAT is its greatest evil.

I know a guy that runs his own landscaping business. He hires illegals simply because he can't find any citizens to do the job. But, he pays these illegals at least $10/hr. He says he does that because he doesn't want to be a bitch and he wants his workers to be happy. I really don't know why he can't find citizens to do yardwork for $10/hr. Meanwhile a homeless guy is asking me for change.

Google, Inc. basically pampers its employees, who purportedly are more productive because of it.

So, it could be said that some employers realize the value of happy employees and their bottom line is actually improved by treating their workers like human beings.

 
Quote (Kristine @ May 04 2007,21:09)
My point is, it's all such an unholy incestuous contrived vampiric cluster-fuck that I'm not even sure it should be called capitalism anymore. It's looking rather Soviet (as opposed to Marxist) to me. The supposed laws of supply and demand seem rather quaint in comparison, and irrelevant.

Unfettered capitalism always tends toward monopoly (at least that's what I heard) so the incestuous vampiric clusterfudge is only natural. (if we had unfettered capitalism, which we do not.)
 
Quote (BWE @ May 04 2007,22:09)
Any system you want to implement won't work. The forces against it will have something to fight and the underdog evokes sympathy. The best we can hope for is a clusterfuck where no one has enough real power to make any good targets.

Money and power do weird things to people.

Yes, there is no magic system that will end corruption and greed. People will always find ways around any system so they can serve themselves.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



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Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,19:56   

Quote (stevestory @ May 05 2007,16:10)
 Let me know what you want the title to be, and I'll change it.

Well, I was going to ask you to change it so it doesn't have the bracketed "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank, but seeing how the thread is progressing so far...

Never Mind....

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,20:14   

I changed it. Let me know if it's still not fixed quite right.

   
Seizure Salad



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,21:49   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 03 2007,19:03)
Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,18:14)
I didn't realize there was a revolution looming. I did hear about a proposed <a href="e://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot" target="_blank">coup d'etat.</a>, so someone saved FDR's ass too.

Not looming, certainly, but definitely a possibility in the not-distant future.  The union movement (particularly the CIO) was then at the height of its power, and was taking on (and beating) some of the largest corporations in the world.  The Communist Party also had quite a large membership, particularly among educated people, and had extensive ties to the CIO and the rest of the labor movement.  It also had a quite large number of sympathizers who weren't actual members.  (Indeed, if you look carefully at the McCarthyite hysteria of the 50's, it focused almost exclusively on people who were Commie Party members in the **1930's**, not in the 1950's; and the reason is simple -- the CP was at the height of its influence then, and that scared the crap out of a lot of people.)

It should also be noted, though, that the FASCISTS also had a lot of sympathy in the US, particularly amongst the corporados (Henry Ford went so far as to write a book titled "The International Jew" that was happily reprinted by Hitler in Germany).  So if the Depression had continued for much longer, a fascist takeover was just as likely as a commie one.

Whether either the commies or the nazis could *actually* have taken over in the US at that time is not really the point --- the point is that a lot of people (including the corporados) THOUGHT that one or the other could.  Indeed, one of the major reasons why so many corporados in the US openly supported the fascist movement was because they viewed it as a counter to the potential for a Bolshevik-style revolution in the US.

Had the Great Depression continued for a few more years, that potential would have been, well, more than just a potential.

I suppose, though, it could be argued whether FDR actually saved the US by ending the Depression, or whether *Hitler* did it for us . . . .

Didn't fascism take over anyway? Wasn't that what The New Deal was timidly groping towards?

I don't mean fascism in the social sense--gas chambers, and Bergen-Belsen, and secret police, et cetera--but economically speaking. After all, the reason the US economy didn't sink back into the depression after WW2 was because it maintained the essentially fascist economic model the had been developed to sustain the war effort. I am speaking of military Keynesianism, government stimulation of the economy, etc., which is the way every industrialized nation eventually managed to save itself from the sinkhole of free market capitalism. Germany was just the first nation to stumble on it.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,22:52   

Quote (phonon @ May 05 2007,19:49)
I know a guy that runs his own landscaping business. He hires illegals simply because he can't find any citizens to do the job. But, he pays these illegals at least $10/hr. He says he does that because he doesn't want to be a bitch and he wants his workers to be happy. I really don't know why he can't find citizens to do yardwork for $10/hr. Meanwhile a homeless guy is asking me for change.

Google, Inc. basically pampers its employees, who purportedly are more productive because of it.

So, it could be said that some employers realize the value of happy employees and their bottom line is actually improved by treating their workers like human beings.

Well, just like biological evolution, surviving in easy times is . . . well . . . easy.  It's getting through the TOUGH times that really draw the line.


As for small businesses, they are basically nonentities.  In terms of their economic and political power, they are non-players.  Indeed, they only exist because the big boys haven't yet bothered to either buy them out or drive them under.

The ironic thing is that Adam Smith's entire outlook (and indeed that of every free-market fan, including the Libertarians) is based on an economy of small shopkeepers -- a society that simply no longer exists.  The natural trend of any market system is towards oligopoly and corporate monopoly.  The big boys don't play by "the market" --- indeed they do everything they can to AVOID "the market".  And unlike the little guys, the big boys have the economic, political and social power to do it.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2007,23:01   

Quote (Seizure Salad @ May 05 2007,21:49)
I don't mean fascism in the social sense--gas chambers, and Bergen-Belsen, and secret police, et cetera--but economically speaking. After all, the reason the US economy didn't sink back into the depression after WW2 was because it maintained the essentially fascist economic model the had been developed to sustain the war effort. I am speaking of military Keynesianism, government stimulation of the economy, etc., which is the way every industrialized nation eventually managed to save itself from the sinkhole of free market capitalism. Germany was just the first nation to stumble on it.

Indeed, and then the Cold War quickly stepped in to fill the gap left by the collapse of Hitler and Tojo.

That's one reason why, after the Cold War ended, the "war on terror" has taken global proportions and now substitutes for the Cold War.  Not only does the huge bloated American military machine need a continuous reason to justify its existence (and its ever-growing budgets) for its own bureaucratic interests, but without that bloated military machine, the economy would collapse utterly.  Not to mention that the US has always found it convenient to have a fear-inspiring external enemy to focus everyone's attention upon  . . . .

Americans, though, must be awfully stupid to swallow the story that the same massive military machine that was needed to fight the nuclear-armed USSR, the only other "superpower" in the world, is now needed to, uh, fight terrorists with box-cutters . . . . . .

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 06 2007,00:40   

Quote
Indeed, and then the Cold War quickly stepped in to fill the gap left by the collapse of Hitler and Tojo.


...and Eisenhower warned americans in his "farewell" address that this is exactly what would happen.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 06 2007,02:13   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 06 2007,00:40)
Quote
Indeed, and then the Cold War quickly stepped in to fill the gap left by the collapse of Hitler and Tojo.


...and Eisenhower warned americans in his "farewell" address that this is exactly what would happen.

And he was in a better position than most to really understand why.

Alas, no one listened to him.

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Seizure Salad



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(Permalink) Posted: May 06 2007,04:35   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 05 2007,23:01)
That's one reason why, after the Cold War ended, the "war on terror" has taken global proportions and now substitutes for the Cold War.  Not only does the huge bloated American military machine need a continuous reason to justify its existence (and its ever-growing budgets) for its own bureaucratic interests, but without that bloated military machine, the economy would collapse utterly.  Not to mention that the US has always found it convenient to have a fear-inspiring external enemy to focus everyone's attention upon  . . . .

Yeah. There's lot of hilarious leaked documents regarding the creation of a new enemy. Snippets of the 1994 Defence Planning Guide (authored by dear old Wolfowitz, of course) discuss how the government needs to think up new enemies to justify the permanent war economy and thus save "industrial policy".

But the "war on terror" really started under Reagan, in the early 80s. I suppose because they'd just screamed "the Russians are coming!" too many times and nobody cared anymore. Same people are in power now. Figures.

Imagine how much healthier the US would be if the government pursued social spending instead of military spending. I know it'll never happen, but it would stimulate the economy to roughly the same extent (lots of good studies on this). I suppose it would have a democratizing effect; people care about schools and stuff, and would want to get involved and help make decisions. But if you decide to build an F-22 Raptor instead, it really excludes people from having any kind of participation. That's great for the elites.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 06 2007,06:22   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 05 2007,17:10)
Marxism, Lenin repeatedly asserted, was a materialist outlook--material (economic) factors were the sole determinant of human actions. In an argument which broke out among socialists over the outlooks of the physicist Ernst Mach, Lenin asserted that material reality is objectively independent of human thought, that the "real world" exists "out there" and operates without regard to the position or viewpoint of the observer. Human thoughts themselves, Lenin asserted, were material things, since they were the result of the motion of molecules and chemicals in the human brain.

Since material reality was independent of consciousness, Lenin concluded, there exists some "objective truth" which corresponds to existing material reality. The process of human knowledge, as the Leninists came to see it, is "reflective"; ideas are merely the mental reflections of an objective material reality, and those ideas that could be shown through practice to correspond to material reality were objectively "true".

It is easy to see how Lenin's political outlooks developed from this philosophical base. If the world operates independently of humans according to objective laws, then it is possible for humans to discover those laws, and thus come to a "scientific understanding" of the operation of human society. The Marxist-Leninist party, being trained in the methods of "dialectical materialism", could understand these laws and interpret them to those who were less "conscious". Therefore, the task of interpreting the laws of history for the working class fell to the trained cadre of Leninists who would rule in their name.

The debate over Lenin's "objective reality" was more than an abstract intellectual debate--it had profound practical implications. Lenin, by arguing that reality existed independently of human consciousness, was led to embrace the strategy of "injecting" a radical consciousness into the working class, in accordance with the "laws" of economic determinism and dialectical materialism.

This of course, would quickly lead to a situation such as existed in the Soviet Union. Since only the party is wise enough to know what issues are worthy of public attention, the press would have to submit to its "guidance"; since only party members can decide what best serves the interests of the working class, officials and bureaucrats would have to submit to "party discipline". Above all, since only the party can master the subtleties of dialectical materialism and thus know what is in the "real" interests of the working class, it alone should be given the power to make political and economic decisions.

Hence, a dictatorship "of" the proletariat turns into a dictatorship "on behalf of" the proletariat, and thence to a dictatorship OVER the proletariat.

From what little I've read so far, I don't recall Marx being quote so dogmatic about economic factors being the sole determinant of human behaviour.  WHich they are not.

So far it looks like he was right about molecules etc in thinking, but where he was wrong was our ability to comprehend and use the "objective truth" of reality outside of ourselves.  

Then of course it ignores that people outside the party can work things out too.  Why should the party be the sole repository of knowledge about how things work?  

Not to mention that politics etc is bound up with values etc, in a way which makes promulgating !"objective" truths rather hard.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 06 2007,13:21   

Quote (guthrie @ May 06 2007,06:22)
From what little I've read so far, I don't recall Marx being quote so dogmatic about economic factors being the sole determinant of human behaviour.  

He wasn't.

Nor was he all gung-ho about the Party and the centralized state.

All that crap came from Lenin.


I have no love for Leninists of any sort.  One of the sparks that helped set off the collapse of the Soviet Union was a coalminer's strike in the Ukraine.  At the time, I and the IWW branch of which I was a member sent what was for both of us a considerable amount of money to help the striking miners.  So not only did I have no love for the USSR, but in my own small way, I helped to bring it down.

That always baffles the rightwing nutters.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,19:14   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 05 2007,10:20)
And of course you are entirely correct that unions themselves (particularly here in the US) have been crushed (legally and otherwise) virtually out of existence.

Hey now, there's one union that is making great strides. They work for you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3mw49mk_x0

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 05 2007,22:52)
Well, just like biological evolution, surviving in easy times is . . . well . . . easy.  It's getting through the TOUGH times that really draw the line.

As for small businesses, they are basically nonentities.  In terms of their economic and political power, they are non-players.  Indeed, they only exist because the big boys haven't yet bothered to either buy them out or drive them under.

I don't think Google or Costco are small companies.

Also, what about service related "industries" like law where the "workers" are paid handsomely?

 
Quote
The ironic thing is that Adam Smith's entire outlook (and indeed that of every free-market fan, including the Libertarians) is based on an economy of small shopkeepers -- a society that simply no longer exists.  The natural trend of any market system is towards oligopoly and corporate monopoly.  The big boys don't play by "the market" --- indeed they do everything they can to AVOID "the market".  And unlike the little guys, the big boys have the economic, political and social power to do it.
Well, no Google doesn't like to "play the market" and neither does any big oil company.

But, you can't just go from one extreme to the other. You can't say that because unfettered capitalism leads to tyranny we must become communist.

What would be nice is a government that can check corporate power instead of colluding with it and enabling it. Alas, there is no magic system that can circumvent human failings when it comes to corruption or greed.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,22:15   

Well, as I noted before, it is the corporados themselves who are building a socialistic economy.  They've already largely done away with private property and replaced it with socialized property.  The only difference is that they try very hard to monopolize all the decision-making power (and economic benefit) from it, in their own hands, and keep it out of everyone else's hands (such as, oh, the millions of people who are affected by those deicisons but who have no say in them).  

Which seems, well, rather undemocratic to me . . . . .

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,22:20   

Quote (phonon @ May 07 2007,19:14)
What would be nice is a government that can check corporate power instead of colluding with it and enabling it.

Well, in a government where money rules and the corporados have all the money, it's simply impossible for any effective government control over corporations.  Fox, henhouse, and all that.

What would be needed is (1) removal of money from the electoral process and (2) government input in corproate decisions.  (Which sounds pretty, uh, socialistic to me . . . . )

The corporados will die fighting, of course, before allowing either one.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,22:31   

Quote (phonon @ May 07 2007,19:14)
Alas, there is no magic system that can circumvent human failings when it comes to corruption or greed.

Of course there is --- we call it "democracy".  It does a pretty darn good job of preventing corruption and greed from running rampant.  As George Bush and the Republicans are about to find out . . .

I think "democracy" is a wonderful thing.  That's why I think we should have it WITHIN the workplace as well as outside of it.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,22:49   

Quote (phonon @ May 07 2007,19:14)
Also, what about service related "industries" like law where the "workers" are paid handsomely?

What about them?  They are, economically and politically, bit players.


And in any industry where the "workers" are paid "handsomely", the owners are paid obscenely.  After all, business owners aren't in business to give good paychecks to their employees.  It's not their employees' bank account the owners are interested in.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,14:04   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 07 2007,22:15)
Well, as I noted before, it is the corporados themselves who are building a socialistic economy.  They've already largely done away with private property and replaced it with socialized property.  The only difference is that they try very hard to monopolize all the decision-making power (and economic benefit) from it, in their own hands, and keep it out of everyone else's hands (such as, oh, the millions of people who are affected by those deicisons but who have no say in them).  

Which seems, well, rather undemocratic to me . . . . .

I think "fascist" is the word you're looking for. At least when using Mussolini's definition of the term.

This is the result of poor lawmaking and flaws in our constitution. It's too easy to buy your way into the pages of the US Code and make laws that benefit your financial interests.

 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 07 2007,22:20)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 07 2007,19:14)
What would be nice is a government that can check corporate power instead of colluding with it and enabling it.

Well, in a government where money rules and the corporados have all the money, it's simply impossible for any effective government control over corporations.  Fox, henhouse, and all that.

What would be needed is (1) removal of money from the electoral process and (2) government input in corproate decisions.  (Which sounds pretty, uh, socialistic to me . . . . )

The corporados will die fighting, of course, before allowing either one.

Direct government input into corporate decisions? I don't like it. It sounds too close to what we have now wrt to energy companies, telecom companies, and airlines and the such. If by "input" you mean the formation of laws that corporations have to follow, well, that's different.

 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 07 2007,22:31)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 07 2007,19:14)
Alas, there is no magic system that can circumvent human failings when it comes to corruption or greed.

Of course there is --- we call it "democracy".  It does a pretty darn good job of preventing corruption and greed from running rampant.  As George Bush and the Republicans are about to find out . . .

I think "democracy" is a wonderful thing.  That's why I think we should have it WITHIN the workplace as well as outside of it.

Hmm, unfettered "democracy" would lead to exactly what we have now. If you're rich enough, you can buy favors from politicians or supply your own, hijack the system. Voters are usually too stupid to notice or realize. This isn't really the way we envision democracy being practiced ideally, but it's the way it turns out in the real world.

My solution to that sort of thing would be public campaign finance and very strict laws regarding gifts to politicians. I'd basically outlaw it altogether and if there was so much as a fishing trip thrown in, the politician and the gift bearers would all be in prison for some number of years.


Now, wrt to "democracy within the workplace," what do you mean?

If you mean that corporate decisions are made by a majority of the workers in the company how would that work? First off, how would companies be started? Who would risk the initial capital? Then, once the company is started, who gets a vote? Does Bob in the mailroom who was hired last week get a vote equal to the VP of marketing?

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,17:49   

Quote (phonon @ May 10 2007,14:04)
This is the result of poor lawmaking and flaws in our constitution. It's too easy to buy your way into the pages of the US Code and make laws that benefit your financial interests.

It was, of course, INTENDED to be that way.  That's why, under the Constitution, only white male property owners were allowed to vote.  After all, that's the only people that those who wrote the Constitution were at all interested in "protecting".

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,17:58   

Quote (phonon @ May 10 2007,14:04)
Now, wrt to "democracy within the workplace," what do you mean?

Well, my concept of "democracy" means that everyone who is afected by a decision, should have a say in that decision.

Hence, I'd take everyone who is affected by corporate decisions ----- the workers, the people who live near the plants, the people who breathe the emissions from the plants, everyone ----- and give them a say in how the corporation is run.  "Democracy".

Of course, that system ALREADY exists ------ shareholders already get to vote their apporval or disapproval for everything the corporation does, and anyone in the US can legally be a shareholder.

I would simply make everyone who is effected by the corporation's decisions, a stockholder in that corporation.

And, to prevent the wealthy from dominating the voting (as they do now), I'd change the rules from "one SHARE, one vote" to "one share-HOLDER, one vote".  Instead of "this guy's vote counts a thousand times more than that guy's vote", I'd introduce the standard democratic ideal -- "one person, one vote".  Same as US Congressional and Presidential elections.

If the hired managers can make their decisions on behalf of a few thousand stockholders who elect them, there's no discernable reason why they can't make those same decisions on behalf of lots MORE stockholders who elect them.  After all, the President of the US does.







Democracy in the workplace.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,18:18   

Quote (phonon @ May 10 2007,14:04)
If you mean that corporate decisions are made by a majority of the workers in the company how would that work? First off, how would companies be started? Who would risk the initial capital? Then, once the company is started, who gets a vote? Does Bob in the mailroom who was hired last week get a vote equal to the VP of marketing?

Well, the same way it's done *now*.  

After all, a majority of shareholders (which of course in some companies does include all the workers) *already* votes to select the people who make the decisions (well, to be more accurate, a majority of SHARES does, which I would change to be more democratic).  Companies are *already* started by any shareholders who want to start one. Heck, most new large companies today *already* are based on research and development that is carried out at taxpayer expense, either by government-run research agencies (DARPA, for instance) or by nongovernment researchers under government contract and funding (academia).  After the company is started, all the shareholders *already* get a vote, one vote per share (which I would change to "one vote per shareholder", to prevent the wealthy from dominating the process).  If Bob in the mailroom *already* has any stock shares (even if he just bought them last week, or even just an hour ago) he *already* gets a vote, and one of his shares is *already* exactly equal in voting power to one of the marketing VP's shares

So what's the problem?

All I'd change is to make *everyone* in the county, state or nation, a shareholder.

An EQUAL shareholder.

Democracy in action.

Everything else that needs to be done will take care of itself, through the same democratic process we've had for 200-odd years -- and which, despite its initial (intended) undemocratic unfairness, seems to have served us pretty well, problems and all.

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Seizure Salad



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,20:34   

I've heard pretty decent arguments that the US was never intended to be a "democracy" in the sense that we're talking, but rather what's come to be called a polyarchy or oligarchy.

This sounds kind of nuts at first, but if you read the debates of the constituional convention, James Madison (whose viewpoint ultimately prevailed) wanted to use the British version of "democracy" as a framework, which happens to be very elite oriented. He basically seemed to be advocating a system of elite decision making with occasional public ratification (which is indeed the system we have), and spoke rather disdainfully of the general public.

Just a thought.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,21:06   

Quote (Seizure Salad @ May 10 2007,20:34)
I've heard pretty decent arguments that the US was never intended to be a "democracy" in the sense that we're talking, but rather what's come to be called a polyarchy or oligarchy.

This sounds kind of nuts at first, but if you read the debates of the constituional convention, James Madison (whose viewpoint ultimately prevailed) wanted to use the British version of "democracy" as a framework, which happens to be very elite oriented. He basically seemed to be advocating a system of elite decision making with occasional public ratification (which is indeed the system we have), and spoke rather disdainfully of the general public.

Just a thought.

The Constitution specifies clearly that only white male property-owners would be allowed to vote (about 5% of the US population at the time).  And, further, neither the President nor the US Senate would be elected by a direct vote of the electorate -- and the President STILL isn't.

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2007,21:48   

It's gotten a lot more democratic, though, eh?

   
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,03:36   

Quote (stevestory @ May 10 2007,21:48)
It's gotten a lot more democratic, though, eh?

Shhh, don't say that, he'll use it as evidence for what he is talking about.
:p

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,06:47   

Quote (stevestory @ May 10 2007,21:48)
It's gotten a lot more democratic, though, eh?

Yes, but only because a whole lot of "common people" banded together and FORCED those changes onto a ruling elite who fought against them every step of the way.

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George



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,11:18   

Thought I'd float something new and see what you all think.

It's election time here in Ireland.  One of the advantages of Irish elections over American ones is that they're much shorter and therefore less painful & boring.  The other is the proportional representation system.  It's complicated and took me a while to figure out, but I think I can explain it.

In a constituency you have more than one representative to parliament, 3-5 depending on population.  (FYI, in Ireland the parliament is called the Dail, pronounced "dahl" and members are "TD" instead of "MP".) When you vote, you rank all the candidates in order of preference.  All the votes are collected and 1st preferences tallied.  At this point any candidates who reach the quota- number of votes required to get a seat- are elected.  Then their surplus 1st preferences are collected and the 2nd preferences are reallocated to the other candidates.  Another check to see if anyone reaches the quota.  If at any stage no one reaches the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed according to 2nd preferences.

This process goes on through as many stages and redistributions of preference as needed until the total number of seats in the constituency is filled.  That can mean days of counting, which also adds some drama and interest to the election.

The main advantage of this system over the first-past-the-post systems of the US and UK is that the members of the Dail who are elected are more representative of the views of the constituency.  If you have a constituency whose voters prefer party A (say 54%), party B (23%), party C (21%) and party D (4%) in a three-seat constituency.  Then you'll probably have 1 TD from each of parties A, B & C.  But depending on transfers, you may have 2 As and 1 B.  Smaller parties on the national scale are guaranteed at least a few seats and it's very hard for the system to break down into a US-style two-party oligarchy.  More democratic, I think.

Sorry for the messy post, but I'd be interested in opinions from back home in the States and also from those who have similar systems in their countries.

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,14:00   

It's called single transferable vote I believe, I think I'm right in saying its the most proportional system that still allows constituencys. We were all politely told we couldn't have it in the UK because it's too complicated for our tiny brains to comprehend even though we use it for local government elections, european parliment elections and Scottish and Welsh Assemby elections. Of course I'm not so cynical as to think this is because Labour wouldn't have won a majority in the last two elections. Oh well I doubt Gordon Broon can get a majority in any event.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,14:11   

Chris, it's because this best of all countries in the world needs a strong determined leadership which does what it thinks is right.
Rather than a consultative democratic setup which gives power to the people.

Is it my imagination or did Blairs goodby speech do away with the image of third way blairism that he tried to promulgate in the early years of his regime?

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,14:22   

I guess so, I was never a big fan of the third way anyway. At this point I think he'll do anything he can to get the people to not want him to be tried in The Hague for war crimes.

Did you notice the Broon campaign seems to have abandoned the label of 'new Labour' and gone back to the old logos. I'm thinking of joining Labour on monday so I can vote for the other guy, he's definately someone Lenny would approve of.

  
George



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,14:25   

Quote
It's called single transferable vote I believe


Oh, yes, I think I've heard it called that as well, tho' it's usually just proportional representation over here.  I can't remember if they also use it for the Northern Ireland assembly, but I'd guess so- or maybe something even more complicated.

Speaking of NI, didja hear all the mutual backslapping at the assembly opening on monday going on between the Prime Ministers Blair and our Bertie Ahern, doubtless carefully designed to bolster the historical reputation of one and the electoral chances of the other.

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,14:59   

Haha yes I did notice that it was quite amusing. I thought Tony timed that quite well.

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,16:49   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 10 2007,18:18)
Quote (phonon @ May 10 2007,14:04)
If you mean that corporate decisions are made by a majority of the workers in the company how would that work? First off, how would companies be started? Who would risk the initial capital? Then, once the company is started, who gets a vote? Does Bob in the mailroom who was hired last week get a vote equal to the VP of marketing?

Well, the same way it's done *now*.  

After all, a majority of shareholders (which of course in some companies does include all the workers) *already* votes to select the people who make the decisions (well, to be more accurate, a majority of SHARES does, which I would change to be more democratic).  Companies are *already* started by any shareholders who want to start one. Heck, most new large companies today *already* are based on research and development that is carried out at taxpayer expense, either by government-run research agencies (DARPA, for instance) or by nongovernment researchers under government contract and funding (academia).  After the company is started, all the shareholders *already* get a vote, one vote per share (which I would change to "one vote per shareholder", to prevent the wealthy from dominating the process).  If Bob in the mailroom *already* has any stock shares (even if he just bought them last week, or even just an hour ago) he *already* gets a vote, and one of his shares is *already* exactly equal in voting power to one of the marketing VP's shares

So what's the problem?

All I'd change is to make *everyone* in the county, state or nation, a shareholder.

An EQUAL shareholder.

Democracy in action.

Everything else that needs to be done will take care of itself, through the same democratic process we've had for 200-odd years -- and which, despite its initial (intended) undemocratic unfairness, seems to have served us pretty well, problems and all.

Let's say I wanted to start a company with my own money. Let's say it's delivering pizza (to Fort Dix). I risk a lot of my own money (maybe I mortgaged my house) to open this restaurant, but now I have to give the bus boy an equal say in the way the restaurant is run? I'm just trying to understand what exactly that you have in mind.

Now there are some companies, usually restaurants, that work somewhat on your basis. All the workers are "owners" of the company and they are paid based on that week's profits. They all own their share in the company and employees, but they don't make democratic decisions.


Let me ask you, under your democratic workplace, would customers also get a vote? If so, then I could see one vote coming up that would be bad. "Should we give away our product/service for free? Yes/No." Well, customers might just vote Yes.

Also, if someone is being negatively affected by a company's practices, i.e. someone's land is being polluted by a factory, then there is already an outlet for their grievances, which is the court system. They can sue.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,17:29   

Quote (phonon @ May 11 2007,16:49)
Let's say I wanted to start a company with my own money. Let's say it's delivering pizza (to Fort Dix). I risk a lot of my own money (maybe I mortgaged my house) to open this restaurant, but now I have to give the bus boy an equal say in the way the restaurant is run? I'm just trying to understand what exactly that you have in mind.

You proceed from a false assumption.  It's not pizza shops or donut shops or maid services that I'm interested in right now.  It's the economic big players, the corporados.  My immediate goal is to democratize the economy and remove it from the control of then 1% of wealthiest families in the US who own most of the wealth and nearly all of the stock.  Your pizza parlor, quite frankly, isn't worth bothering with.  I want the big fish, not the minnows.

Once we, collectively, as a society, run our economy democratically with everyone's input and for everyone's benefit, THEN we can decide what to do with the piddley little pizza shops.  It's not up to me to decide that --- that is a decision that should be made by ALL OF US, democratically.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,17:48   

Quote (phonon @ May 11 2007,16:49)
Let me ask you, under your democratic workplace, would customers also get a vote? If so, then I could see one vote coming up that would be bad. "Should we give away our product/service for free? Yes/No." Well, customers might just vote Yes.

Well, we already give away our sidewalks, roads and highways for free. . .  (shrug)

Indeed, I would HOPE that is exactly what everyone would vote ------ after we decentralize the economy and eliminate unnecessary duplication (for most industries, having big conglomerates that ship things all across the world to compete with other big conglomerates there, is a huge waste of resources).  So I'd prefer to let the local community itself decide, democratically, how many pizza parlors or whatever that it wants, and then put up the money, collectively, to establish them.  Then let the local community elect the people who run it (with the ability to UN-elect them if they do things the community doesn't like -- it's lots faster than lawsuits, and much cheaper too).  If we find we haven't enough pizza joints, we open another one.  If we find we have too many, we shut one down and use the money for something else.  Just like roads or highways.

And if the community does indeed decide that certain things should be free for everyone (such as basic food, shelter and clothing) -- and of course I would hope that it does decide exactly that --  then I would suggest that everyone, collectively, put up the money to meet those expenses.  Just like we do with free roads and highways today.

With larger economic units, like auto factories or airplane factories, same deal, but on the state or federal level rather than local.  Just like interstate highways.

My own preference would be that all the current corporate chain restaurants and mega-stores would be kicked out, and replaced with locally-controlled and locally-operated entities instead.  But again, that isn't my decision to make ----- that would be up to the community itself to decide, democratically.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,17:55   

Quote (Chris Hyland @ May 11 2007,14:22)
I'm thinking of joining Labour on monday so I can vote for the other guy, he's definately someone Lenny would approve of.

I dunno --- I'd be willing to bet that I'd probably think him too conservative for my taste.   (grin)

In any case, I long ago gave up on electoral politics.  If elections could really change things, they'd be illegal.


As for proportional representation, from what I've heard of it, it is indeed far more representative than what we have here in the States, and gives smaller parties a chance to gain a platform and some influence.

Alas, in the US, the electoral system is carefully maintained to PREVENT any viable third party from arising.  And since the Republicrats and the Democans spend much of their time blithering about "bipartisanship", there simply isn't that much difference between them.

Real change in the US won't come through elections.  It never has.  It has always come from people in the streets.

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Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,18:23   

Quote
I dunno --- I'd be willing to bet that I'd probably think him too conservative for my taste.
Possibly but John McDonnell is pretty socialist, plus he says he'd recall all British troops from Iraq within 24 hours of being elected. That being said my communist friends think he's too right wing.
Quote
If elections could really change things, they'd be illegal.
One of my favourite quotes from Yes Primeminister is 'no government will reform the system that put it in power'.
Quote
Alas, in the US, the electoral system is carefully maintained to PREVENT any viable third party from arising.
Same here but think fourth. Having said that there's more difference between the Rebublicrats and Democons (is that right?) than there is between ours.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,18:55   

Quote (Chris Hyland @ May 11 2007,18:23)
Having said that there's more difference between the Rebublicrats and Democons (is that right?) than there is between ours.

Well, their proper name is "Democrats" and "Republicans".  Since they're pretty much the same anyway, I refer to them as "Democans" and "Republicrats".  


There is more difference between them now than there was before the elections.  That difference didn't come from the parties themselves --- it came because a massive upswelling of American public opinion (and the election results) FORCED the Democans into an antiwar stance that they had resisted for years.  So the major difference between the parties was the result of one of them being dragged, kicking and screaming the entire time, away from the other one.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,19:06   

A question for our friends in the UK ---- from here, it sounds as if the YEC-ID movement in the UK is raising lots of money and recruiting lots of fools (like ours here in the US), but is floundering rather badly in the political sphere (like ours here in the US).

What effect is Blair's exit and the next election likely to have on the UK YEC's?

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Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2007,19:43   

The guy who's likely to be the PM after the next general election (if you believe opinion polls), David Cameron ...
Quote
]When asked about the issue he said on Friday: "Personally I don't support the teaching of creationism," but he added, "I'm a great believer that we need to trust schools and governors of schools to get these things right and I think that's the right approach." He said he advocated a "more devolved system" for deciding what schools were allowed to teach.
Essentially the education minister has said they can't teach ID, but there are likely to be isolated incedents of schools teaching it anyway. In the UK the national science curriculum is decided by scientists, and public opinion will be fine as long as they are kept informed.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,03:21   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 12 2007,02:06)
A question for our friends in the UK ---- from here, it sounds as if the YEC-ID movement in the UK is raising lots of money and recruiting lots of fools (like ours here in the US), but is floundering rather badly in the political sphere (like ours here in the US).

What effect is Blair's exit and the next election likely to have on the UK YEC's?

Actually I don't think they're floundering as much as we might like. Someone pointed out that we don't have a separate church and state nor a constitution protecting us from establishment of or preference for religion.

They're a relatively serious problem here because a) Tony and Tony's Cronies are the most religious bunch we've had in Number 10 for a while. Fucking B-liar is a right little god bothering nerk....or at least appears to be. Second we have a habit, a culturally ingrained blindspot, of not challenging religious claims here in the UK. This is how Vardy has got away with STATE FUNDED creationist academies in the North East and how faith schools are proliferating. Don't worry over much, some of us are fighting it.

Louis

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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,07:11   

Quote (Louis @ May 12 2007,03:21)
Actually I don't think they're floundering as much as we might like. Someone pointed out that we don't have a separate church and state nor a constitution protecting us from establishment of or preference for religion.

They're a relatively serious problem here because a) Tony and Tony's Cronies are the most religious bunch we've had in Number 10 for a while. Fucking B-liar is a right little god bothering nerk....or at least appears to be. Second we have a habit, a culturally ingrained blindspot, of not challenging religious claims here in the UK. This is how Vardy has got away with STATE FUNDED creationist academies in the North East and how faith schools are proliferating. Don't worry over much, some of us are fighting it.

Louis

For our British friends who'd like to join the anti-creationism fight, there is:

The British Center for Science Education:

http://bcseweb.org.uk/

Tell 'em Lenny sent ya.   :)

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,07:31   

Lenny,

I'm the (anonymous for the moment) treasurer of the BCSE! ;-)

Louis

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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,07:45   

I figured you HAD to be one of those bunch.   ;)

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,07:52   

Erm, I'll take that as a compliment I think! ;-)

The best bit is they keep mentioning you (very complimentarily of course) as if you're this covert, American big wig. Of course I know the truth. You're not covert.

Louis

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Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,08:32   

Quote
Tony and Tony's Cronies are the most religious bunch we've had in Number 10 for a while.
Maybe but they have said you can't teach ID, plus remember the 'we don't do God' incident. Tony is certainly pretty religious, but he is unwilling/prevented from talking about it.

What I think is important is that the public know that the BS is BS.

  
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(Permalink) Posted: May 12 2007,10:02   

Quote (Louis @ May 12 2007,07:52)
Erm, I'll take that as a compliment I think! ;-)

The best bit is they keep mentioning you (very complimentarily of course) as if you're this covert, American big wig. Of course I know the truth. You're not covert.

Louis

Well, for a long (LONG) time I was pretty much the only one who was talking about the POLITICAL role of ID/creationism -- everyone else wanted to focus solely on the SCIENCE.  Back then, no one even knew who Howard Ahmanson is, why he backs ID, or what Christian Reconstructionism is.  Today, more people know ---- and they don't like it.  I'd like to think that I had at least a small role to play in that.

The folks at BCSE saw the political implications of it quite quickly, particularly since I think it very likely that the people (and money) behind that agenda in the US are also the same ones ultimately behind it in the UK.

Creationism is almost completely an American phenomenon.  Scratch a creationist anywhere else in the world (UK, Australia, Canada, France) and you'll find an American beneath.

Hence my advice to BCSE from the very start --- "follow the money".

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Darth Robo



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(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2007,11:25   

"They're a relatively serious problem here because a) Tony and Tony's Cronies are the most religious bunch we've had in Number 10 for a while. Fucking B-liar is a right little god bothering nerk....or at least appears to be. Second we have a habit, a culturally ingrained blindspot, of not challenging religious claims here in the UK. This is how Vardy has got away with STATE FUNDED creationist academies in the North East and how faith schools are proliferating. Don't worry over much, some of us are fighting it."

So who the heck can we vote for here?  I admit that politics isn't my forte, but Cameron has apparently been pandering to the fundies a little recently, and yeah, Blair certainly does that.  Brown isn't showing any particular reason to make us think that he's gonna run the country any different to Blair - he's already been spewing the same old bull about what Labour has done to reduce NHS waiting lists etc when in actuality IMHO they fucked it up.  :angry:

The Lib Dems don't exactly inspire me, they'd probably turn out to be just as useless as Labour and the Conservatives.  Feel like I'm in voting limbo.   :(

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(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2007,12:08   

Watch tonights news about the Labour election. I'm voting for the other guy.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 14 2007,16:07   

There hasn't been a real politician in this country since Screaming Lord Sutch did himself in.

I agree Darth, we are getting increasingly like the USA in this regard. As Bill Hicks put it "Hmmmm I'll vote for the puppet on the left, no wait I think the puppet on the right most represents my views". If the vote weren;t such a hard won right, I'd say "don't vote, it only encourages them". Vote Lib Dem, imagine the shock if they get in!

Louis

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Darth Robo



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(Permalink) Posted: May 15 2007,09:24   

Ah, the Monster Raving Looney Party!  There's an idea!   :)

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Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 16 2007,23:00   

Quote
So who the heck can we vote for here?  I admit that politics isn't my forte, but Cameron has apparently been pandering to the fundies a little recently, and yeah, Blair certainly does that.  Brown isn't showing any particular reason to make us think that he's gonna run the country any different to Blair - he's already been spewing the same old bull about what Labour has done to reduce NHS waiting lists etc when in actuality IMHO they fucked it up.  :angry:

The Lib Dems don't exactly inspire me, they'd probably turn out to be just as useless as Labour and the Conservatives.  Feel like I'm in voting limbo.
Ok now I agree with you.

  
Robert O'Brien



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(Permalink) Posted: May 16 2007,23:09   

Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,18:14)
Last week there was a historian on and FDR came up. You might think this guy's opinions are funny. He loves Warren Harding and hates FDR.

Replace Harding with Hoover and that describes my view. (Well, I don't "hate" FDR, but I certainly dislike him as a president.)

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blipey



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(Permalink) Posted: May 16 2007,23:49   

Quote (Robert O'Brien @ May 16 2007,23:09)
Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,18:14)
Last week there was a historian on and FDR came up. You might think this guy's opinions are funny. He loves Warren Harding and hates FDR.

Replace Harding with Hoover and that describes my view. (Well, I don't "hate" FDR, but I certainly dislike him as a president.)

I thought he was dead.

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Robert O'Brien



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,01:11   

Quote (blipey @ May 16 2007,23:49)
Replace Harding with Hoover and that describes my view. (Well, I don't "hate" FDR, but I certainly dislike him as a president.)[/quote]

I thought he was dead.

No, he has been fitted with cybernetic parts and rules as shadow leader of the US.

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Richardthughes



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,01:44   

Quote (Robert O'Brien @ May 17 2007,01:11)
Quote (blipey @ May 16 2007,23:49)
Replace Harding with Hoover and that describes my view. (Well, I don't "hate" FDR, but I certainly dislike him as a president.)


I thought he was dead.[/quote]
No, he has been fitted with cybernetic parts and rules as shadow leader of the US.

And you critique Ed Brayton's humour...

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Robert O'Brien



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,02:02   

Quote (Richardthughes @ May 17 2007,01:44)
And you critique Ed Brayton's humour...

Humour? I think it is safe to say you are not from the U.S.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,07:28   

Quote (Robert O'Brien @ May 16 2007,23:09)
Quote (phonon @ May 03 2007,18:14)
Last week there was a historian on and FDR came up. You might think this guy's opinions are funny. He loves Warren Harding and hates FDR.

Replace Harding with Hoover and that describes my view. (Well, I don't "hate" FDR, but I certainly dislike him as a president.)

No one cares what you think, Bobbie.  (shrug)

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,11:00   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 11 2007,17:48)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 11 2007,16:49)
Let me ask you, under your democratic workplace, would customers also get a vote? If so, then I could see one vote coming up that would be bad. "Should we give away our product/service for free? Yes/No." Well, customers might just vote Yes.

Well, we already give away our sidewalks, roads and highways for free. . .  (shrug)

Indeed, I would HOPE that is exactly what everyone would vote ------ after we decentralize the economy and eliminate unnecessary duplication (for most industries, having big conglomerates that ship things all across the world to compete with other big conglomerates there, is a huge waste of resources).  So I'd prefer to let the local community itself decide, democratically, how many pizza parlors or whatever that it wants, and then put up the money, collectively, to establish them.  Then let the local community elect the people who run it (with the ability to UN-elect them if they do things the community doesn't like -- it's lots faster than lawsuits, and much cheaper too).  If we find we haven't enough pizza joints, we open another one.  If we find we have too many, we shut one down and use the money for something else.  Just like roads or highways.

So if 51% of people don't like a pizza joint and 49% do, then what? Would this be an example of tyranny of the majority? But you said that piddly pizza joints would be immune? Also, if we shut down a business, who decides which one is shut down? What happens to the workers of that business, who are trained in that area, but not in others?

 
Quote
And if the community does indeed decide that certain things should be free for everyone (such as basic food, shelter and clothing) -- and of course I would hope that it does decide exactly that --  then I would suggest that everyone, collectively, put up the money to meet those expenses.  Just like we do with free roads and highways today.

With larger economic units, like auto factories or airplane factories, same deal, but on the state or federal level rather than local.  Just like interstate highways.

My own preference would be that all the current corporate chain restaurants and mega-stores would be kicked out, and replaced with locally-controlled and locally-operated entities instead.  But again, that isn't my decision to make ----- that would be up to the community itself to decide, democratically.
Would people hold elections to figure out who runs the locally owned businesses? Or would  entrepreneurs put up their capital to open these businesses? Would their business be allowed to grow, or once it reaches a certain size, they would be subject to the will of others (51%) through ballots? If an entrepreneur risks his capital and his business is shut down, how would he be compensated? Where is the cut-off point between a locally owned small business and a business large enough to be subject to the new rules?

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,11:04   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 11 2007,17:29)
Quote (phonon @ May 11 2007,16:49)
Let's say I wanted to start a company with my own money. Let's say it's delivering pizza (to Fort Dix). I risk a lot of my own money (maybe I mortgaged my house) to open this restaurant, but now I have to give the bus boy an equal say in the way the restaurant is run? I'm just trying to understand what exactly that you have in mind.

You proceed from a false assumption.  It's not pizza shops or donut shops or maid services that I'm interested in right now.  It's the economic big players, the corporados. My immediate goal is to democratize the economy and remove it from the control of then 1% of wealthiest families in the US who own most of the wealth and nearly all of the stock.  Your pizza parlor, quite frankly, isn't worth bothering with.  I want the big fish, not the minnows.

Once we, collectively, as a society, run our economy democratically with everyone's input and for everyone's benefit, THEN we can decide what to do with the piddley little pizza shops.  It's not up to me to decide that --- that is a decision that should be made by ALL OF US, democratically.

Okay then, so you would "democratize" Pizza Hut and Dominoes and not Joe's Pizza?

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,19:25   

Alas, since I have no plans to be a dictator, I am in no position to answer any of your questions --- they all need to be answered democratically, by EVERYBODY (not just by, say, the tiny minority of the population who own capital and who currently unilaterally control the economy).  

Yes, Phonon, democracy is awfully messy.  I'm sure there will be lots and lots of screaming and shouting over things.  Probably even some pounding on tables.  And yes, I'm even pretty sure that some people (heck, in many cases a LOT of people) won't like what gets decided.

As the French say, "C'est la vie".

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,19:34   

That's why the Founders set up a Representative Republic.  You avoid the messy mob rule of democracy.  I think it's proven to be a pretty good idea.

  
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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,19:50   

Quote (skeptic @ May 17 2007,19:34)
That's why the Founders set up a Representative Republic.  You avoid the messy mob rule of democracy.  I think it's proven to be a pretty good idea.

I think it's a pretty good idea too.

And I see no reason why it should stop at the workplace door.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 17 2007,19:56   

Edited to fit with Skeptic's pedantic spirit:


Alas, since I have no plans to be a dictator, I am in no position to answer any of your questions --- they all need to be answered democratically in a Representative Republic, by EVERYBODY (not just by, say, the tiny minority of the population who own capital and who currently unilaterally control the economy).  

Yes, Phonon, democracy Representative Republicanism is awfully messy.  I'm sure there will be lots and lots of screaming and shouting over things.  Probably even some pounding on tables.  And yes, I'm even pretty sure that some people (heck, in many cases a LOT of people) won't like what gets decided.

As the French say, "C'est la vie".






(What the heck is the code for strike-out letters . . . . ?)



-edit-  OK, strike-out letters added.   :)

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Phonon, I'm pretty sure that no business owner or "entepreneur", of any sort, will like anything at all whatsoever that I propose to do.  Indeed, I think it's a pretty safe bet that they will resist it in every way possible.

But then, the 18th century French royal aristocracy didn't like that whole "democracy" thingie, either, and they too resisted it as long as they could.  (shrug)

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2007,07:43   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 17 2007,19:56)

(What the heck is the code for strike-out letters . . . . ?)


It's been a while, but I think it's just an "s".

strike this sentence

yep.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2007,17:44   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2007,07:43)
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 17 2007,19:56)

(What the heck is the code for strike-out letters . . . . ?)


It's been a while, but I think it's just an "s".

strike this sentence

yep.

Doh, well that makes sense, doesn't it . . . ?


Gracias.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2007,18:33   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 18 2007,17:44)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2007,07:43)
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 17 2007,19:56)

(What the heck is the code for strike-out letters . . . . ?)


It's been a while, but I think it's just an "s".

strike this sentence

yep.

Doh, well that makes sense, doesn't it . . . ?


Gracias.

de nada.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2007,18:37   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 17 2007,19:56)
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Phonon, I'm pretty sure that no business owner or "entepreneur", of any sort, will like anything at all whatsoever that I propose to do.  Indeed, I think it's a pretty safe bet that they will resist it in every way possible.

But then, the 18th century French royal aristocracy didn't like that whole "democracy" thingie, either, and they too resisted it as long as they could.  (shrug)

To compare aristocrats to entrepreneurs isn't a good analogy. When I say entrepreneurs, I mean people who busted their humps to make some money, used that money (and lots of debt) to create a business.

Aristocrats were usually people born into money, land, and position or people who did a favor for the king (or whatever sovereign) and received money, land, or position as a reward.

Also, the democracy they resisted was with respect to the law, not the way a business or company is run.

It's just not the same.

Now, there are people in this country and others that can be compared to aristocrats in that they were born into money and position, but I wouldn't call them entrepreneurs. (eg, George Dubya Bush and/or J. Danforth Quayle)

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2007,18:45   

ya know, I read Bobbo's poots for this month, and I'm reminded of a line Hitchens recently used to describe Falwell:

 
Quote
If you gave Falwell an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox.


of course, you could apply that line to any of the putative "leaders" of the IDC "movement" as well.

btw, if you haven't seen the recent interview on CNN with Hitchens, you should check it out.

It's here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkAPaEMwyKU

talk about liberating.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2007,23:30   

Quote (phonon @ May 18 2007,18:37)
To compare aristocrats to entrepreneurs isn't a good analogy. When I say entrepreneurs, I mean people who busted their humps to make some money, used that money (and lots of debt) to create a business.

Aristocrats were usually people born into money, land, and position or people who did a favor for the king (or whatever sovereign) and received money, land, or position as a reward.

Oh, I think it is quite a good analogy.  In both cases, they make decisions that affected everyone's lives, without any input or responsibility to anyone who was affected by those decisions.  And in both cases, they justify their autocracy with "But. . .  but . . . I'm the guy who MAKES the decisions and BUILT the country/company !!!!!! You commoners are just too STUPID to take over from me !!!!!!"

As for being born into it, uh, how did most of the richest people in the US get their fortunes?  That's right -- they got it the OLD-FASHIONED way ------- they inherited it.

The situation is PRECISELY the same.  Both set up a social system wherein their authority is not only unquestioned, but unquestion-ABLE.  And both resist democracy within their domain just as avidly as the other.

As for "busting their humps", surely you know that the way to get rich is NOT to work hard --- the way to get rich is to have lots of OTHER PEOPLE work hard FOR you.

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phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 20 2007,21:52   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 18 2007,23:30)
Quote (phonon @ May 18 2007,18:37)
To compare aristocrats to entrepreneurs isn't a good analogy. When I say entrepreneurs, I mean people who busted their humps to make some money, used that money (and lots of debt) to create a business.

Aristocrats were usually people born into money, land, and position or people who did a favor for the king (or whatever sovereign) and received money, land, or position as a reward.

Oh, I think it is quite a good analogy.  In both cases, they make decisions that affected everyone's lives, without any input or responsibility to anyone who was affected by those decisions.  And in both cases, they justify their autocracy with "But. . .  but . . . I'm the guy who MAKES the decisions and BUILT the country/company !!!!!! You commoners are just too STUPID to take over from me !!!!!!"

As for being born into it, uh, how did most of the richest people in the US get their fortunes?  That's right -- they got it the OLD-FASHIONED way ------- they inherited it.

The situation is PRECISELY the same.  Both set up a social system wherein their authority is not only unquestioned, but unquestion-ABLE.  And both resist democracy within their domain just as avidly as the other.

As for "busting their humps", surely you know that the way to get rich is NOT to work hard --- the way to get rich is to have lots of OTHER PEOPLE work hard FOR you.

I guess the question I keep trying to ask is where do you draw the line?

When does someone go from "hard working entrepreneur" to "corporado aristocrat?" When does he have to relinquish control of his company?

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,07:10   

Quote (phonon @ May 20 2007,21:52)
I guess the question I keep trying to ask is where do you draw the line?

When does someone go from "hard working entrepreneur" to "corporado aristocrat?" When does he have to relinquish control of his company?

And the answer I keep giving is that it's not ME who draws the line, it's EVERYONE.

What I want, is simply to place the entire economy under democratic control, just like the political system.

The business owners -- all of them -- are unelected, unchecked, and answerable to no one.

I find that intolerable in any democracy, particularly when a corporation like General Motors or Exxon-Mobil has more resources than many governments in the world, and its decisions effect a larger population than the United States of America.

So if you have some good reasons why business leaders or owners, alone of all social authority figures, should have the inherent right to make unilateral decisions affecting others without being answerable or responsible to anyone, I'd sure like to hear them . . . . I doubt any of them differ in any significant way from the very same arguments made by the French royal aristocracy to defend THEIR right to make unilateral decisions that effected others without being answerable to anyone.

As for "relinquishing control of his company", I've already shown that the corporados already did that, long ago.  The "owners" of a corporation (the tiny minority of the population that owns most of the stock) don't ned to actually control anything -- they make no decisions and introduce no new ideas.  Instead, they simply hire the ability of others to do that for them.  If all the stockholders of the world were to be kidnapped by aliens tomorrow, the corporations would all go on without them with barely any change at all.

And as for the small businesses like "Joe's Pizza", they are also already steadily losing "control of their businesses", at an alarming rate, because of the capitalists themselves.  After all, any small business lives solely on the crumbs left behind by the Big Boys -- they live only because the Big Boys haven't yet decided to either buy them out or drive them under.  Indeed, the vast majority of small businesses [i]can't[i/] find enough crumbs to live on, and die within a few years.

The entire history of corporate America is the history of one corporation in each industry growing steadily to dominate that industry and drive everyone else into oblivion (or forced cooperation).  If the "small businesses" are to have any chance at all of survival against such an onslaught, they must consolidate their resources together under a joint management until they are large enough to compete (i.e., they must give up "control of their business" and in essence become corporados themselves).

So all I want to do is continue and complete the task that the corporados themselves are already doing quite efficiently.  It is the corporados who have already eliminated virtually all private business ownership, and replaced it with social ownership overseen by elected managers.  I simply want to consolidate those who haven't yet been consolidated, and then elect those managers with a larger electorate, which includes everyone rather than just the tiny minority of stockholders.

The economic structure that you (and all "free-market" apologists" want to defend --- an Adam Smithian large network of small individual shopkeepers --- no longer exists.  The corporados destroyed it long ago, and replaced it with socialized property ownership.

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phonon



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Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,10:49   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 21 2007,07:10)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 20 2007,21:52)
I guess the question I keep trying to ask is where do you draw the line?

When does someone go from "hard working entrepreneur" to "corporado aristocrat?" When does he have to relinquish control of his company?

And the answer I keep giving is that it's not ME who draws the line, it's EVERYONE.

What I want, is simply to place the entire economy under democratic control, just like the political system.

When you say everyone, you really mean the majority. 51%

 
Quote
The business owners -- all of them -- are unelected, unchecked, and answerable to no one.

They are answerable to shareholders and ultimately the customer/consumer.

When the "corporados" infiltrate our elected government, that's when there is much less response to the customer and shareholder because they use the power given to politicians by voters, the 51%


 
Quote
I find that intolerable in any democracy, particularly when a corporation like General Motors or Exxon-Mobil has more resources than many governments in the world, and its decisions effect a larger population than the United States of America.
The oil industry is powerful, it's true, but to attack this problem, you'd change the whole system? The reason they were so powerful is because they buy politicians. If you could cut that out without changing the whole system, would that be acceptable?

 
Quote
So if you have some good reasons why business leaders or owners, alone of all social authority figures, should have the inherent right to make unilateral decisions affecting others without being answerable or responsible to anyone, I'd sure like to hear them . . . . I doubt any of them differ in any significant way from the very same arguments made by the French royal aristocracy to defend THEIR right to make unilateral decisions that effected others without being answerable to anyone.
The French aristocracy's reason was their "birthright" to lord over other people. The reason that a business owner should be able to make unilateral decisions regarding HIS business is because he OWNS it. He doesn't own the people working for him. They don't have to work for him. And you can make him directly answerable and responsible to his workers through worker organization (unions). The reason you shouldn't be forced to landscape your yard some certain way or paint your house a certain color just because a majority of people in your jurisdiction want your house to be a certain color is the same reason you should wrest control of a business from someone who started it.

 
Quote
As for "relinquishing control of his company", I've already shown that the corporados already did that, long ago.  The "owners" of a corporation (the tiny minority of the population that owns most of the stock) don't ned to actually control anything -- they make no decisions and introduce no new ideas.  Instead, they simply hire the ability of others to do that for them.  If all the stockholders of the world were to be kidnapped by aliens tomorrow, the corporations would all go on without them with barely any change at all.
Well, you know, except that the investment capital would be gone.

 
Quote
And as for the small businesses like "Joe's Pizza", they are also already steadily losing "control of their businesses", at an alarming rate, because of the capitalists themselves.  After all, any small business lives solely on the crumbs left behind by the Big Boys -- they live only because the Big Boys haven't yet decided to either buy them out or drive them under.  Indeed, the vast majority of small businesses [i]can't[i/] find enough crumbs to live on, and die within a few years.

The entire history of corporate America is the history of one corporation in each industry growing steadily to dominate that industry and drive everyone else into oblivion (or forced cooperation).  If the "small businesses" are to have any chance at all of survival against such an onslaught, they must consolidate their resources together under a joint management until they are large enough to compete (i.e., they must give up "control of their business" and in essence become corporados themselves).

So all I want to do is continue and complete the task that the corporados themselves are already doing quite efficiently.  It is the corporados who have already eliminated virtually all private business ownership, and replaced it with social ownership overseen by elected managers.  I simply want to consolidate those who haven't yet been consolidated, and then elect those managers with a larger electorate, which includes everyone rather than just the tiny minority of stockholders.

The economic structure that you (and all "free-market" apologists" want to defend --- an Adam Smithian large network of small individual shopkeepers --- no longer exists.  The corporados destroyed it long ago, and replaced it with socialized property ownership.
First of all, I'm just debating a point with you and my position here may not actually have anything to do with my actual opinions.

And I agree that unfettered capitalism and laissez-faire economics leads eventually to monopoly. There should certainly be checks on corporate power. But, to say that 51% of the population knows what's best, economically, for the other 49% is not what I'd call an improvement.

The problems that you aim to address by ("I simply want to consolidate those who haven't yet been consolidated, and then elect those managers with a larger electorate, which includes everyone rather than just the tiny minority of stockholders.") would still be there unless the people/voters were educated to the problem and care about it. Well, under our system you could still enact certain controls over large corporations through elected officials, but to do that you'd have to have a majority of people who are educated enough on the subject and care enough about it to vote in representatives that would actually fight for them in this way. There is no magic system. What it takes is overcoming human nature. Overcoming greed and corruption as well as ignorance and intellectual laziness.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,18:25   

Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
And the answer I keep giving is that it's not ME who draws the line, it's EVERYONE.

What I want, is simply to place the entire economy under democratic control, just like the political system.[/quote]
When you say everyone, you really mean the majority. 51%

That's what a "democracy" is.

Or, if you prefer, a Representative Republic.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,18:29   

Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
The reason that a business owner should be able to make unilateral decisions regarding HIS business is because he OWNS it. He doesn't own the people working for him. They don't have to work for him.

Well heck, the King of France literally owneds the country.  He owned the treasury, he owned all the state lands, he owned the military and all its equipment.

"L'etat, c'est moi."

Furthermore, it was the King's sweat and brainpower that made the country what it was.  He decided matters of war and peace. He set economic policies.  He made laws as he saw fit.  He decided everything.  

So who were those uneducated peasants to take the King's country away from him . . . .?  Heck, if the peasants didn't like it, then let them move to England or something.  They don't HAVE to live in France.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,18:36   

Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
If you could cut that out without changing the whole system, would that be acceptable?

No, because even then, the corporados would still weild more economic and social power than many governments in the world do, and they would do so unilaterally, unanswerable to anyone but themselves (the "stockholders").

People with power over others (whether political power, social power, or economic power) should hold that power only with the consent of those who are subjected to it.  Whether it's the King of France, the President of the US, or the CEO of General Motors.

I think democracy is a wonderful thing.  I see no reason why it should end at the workplace door. Those who exercise unelected and unchecked power within the workplace, of course, are all FULL of reasons why democracy should end at the workplace door.  Oddly enough, people who have power are always anxious to tell you why they should have it, and you shouldn't.

I don't buy any of their arguments.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,18:39   

Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
But, to say that 51% of the population knows what's best, economically, for the other 49% is not what I'd call an improvement.

It is, when the current situation means that the 0.5% of the population that controls 45% of the wealth and nearly all of the corporate stock, gets to decide economic life for the other 99.5% .  Particularly when those 99.5% have no say, none at all, in any of those decisions.

I'd very much prefer that 51% of the population controls the economy, rather than 0.5% .

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Henry J



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(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,21:56   

Lenny,
Are you really serious about wanting the changes you're talking about? The proposed system looks to me like it would be a disaster waiting to happen.

Businesses get build and stay running because the people who run them have something to gain from doing so. Take that away, how do you propose that businesses be kept running? Voters can't force it to keep running if nobody's there to do the job, and you'd remove any motivation that anybody might have to run anything larger than they need for their own household.

What about power plants, water utilities, sewers, communication utilities, roads, etc.?

How, under your proposed changes, would voters (those people in whom you seem to have little confidence) be kept from screwing up the utilities on which you (and I) depend for power, water, telephone, internet, transportation, etc.?

Henry

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 21 2007,23:41   

Probably worth pointing out that those things did perfectly well as government owned companies in the UK (the roads and the sewers are still governemt run I think). Although obviously not democratised to the extent Lenny wants.

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,04:42   

I still need to read more on this sort of thing, but it appears that during the Spanish revolution and the Paris commune, things were kept going pretty well, from refuse collection to newspapers to clothes manufacturing.  

What matters is an interested and fairly cohesive bunch of workers.  The great triumph of the right wing is to convince everyone that there is nobody but themselves and to look out for number one.  Whereas back in the 19th century, a great many working people knew that in unity lay strength, and also the ability to get things done.  

What would happen is that the revolution occurs, and everyone gos back to work as normal, but paid the same or whatever mechanism you want to introduce.  Jobs that are unnecessary, such as telesales and much marketing and so on, would decrease in number, and what would happen is that peopel would be pressured to find some sort of work.  Ideally, the working week would decrease due to all these extra people working away on useful jobs instead of pointless bureacratic jobs.

I'm not saying that is how it would happen.  It is how I can envisage it, IF you get enough motivated people together.  Heck, even Argentina can do it.  Back when they ahd the crisis a few years ago, a lot of bosses ran away to avoid paying their factory workers.  Who then occupied the factories and recomenced production, selling the goods they made and keeping themselves and their families.  Later on the bosses returned and tried to take the factories back.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:16   

Quote (Henry J @ May 21 2007,21:56)
Are you really serious about wanting the changes you're talking about?

Absolutely.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:19   

Quote
 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 21 2007,18:25)
   
Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
And the answer I keep giving is that it's not ME who draws the line, it's EVERYONE.

What I want, is simply to place the entire economy under democratic control, just like the political system.

When you say everyone, you really mean the majority. 51%

That's what a "democracy" is.

Or, if you prefer, a Representative Republic.

Then our system is fine.

If 51% wanted what you propose, then we'd have it.

OR maybe you should support Mike Gravel for president, or at least his 18 year crusade to institute the National Initiative. Personally, I think this is a great idea and it should have been done long ago. I still don't see 51% supporting 'democratic' micromanaging of the economy.


I'm really torn lately. I don't even usually bother with presidential elections because you usually get to pick between tweedle dum and tweedle dee, but this time we've got both Ron Paul and Mike Gravel.

I think Ron Paul has a better chance of winning despite the fact that media people and the Republican Party itself are trying to sideline him. But I like this National Initiative idea from Mike Gravel. But I also like that Ron Paul says he'll attack the IRS and the Fed. Maybe if one wins their party's nomination he will ask the other to be his running mate.

I think though that if either of these men were president you'd have very little chance of this sort of thing happening:
http://www.statesman.com/news....rd.html
Quote
Evolution opponent is in line for schools post

Kansas school board member who supports intelligent design might be next leader of national education association.


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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:23   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 21 2007,18:29)
Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
The reason that a business owner should be able to make unilateral decisions regarding HIS business is because he OWNS it. He doesn't own the people working for him. They don't have to work for him.

Well heck, the King of France literally owneds the country.  He owned the treasury, he owned all the state lands, he owned the military and all its equipment.

"L'etat, c'est moi."

Furthermore, it was the King's sweat and brainpower that made the country what it was.  He decided matters of war and peace. He set economic policies.  He made laws as he saw fit.  He decided everything.  

So who were those uneducated peasants to take the King's country away from him . . . .?  Heck, if the peasants didn't like it, then let them move to England or something.  They don't HAVE to live in France.

So maybe comparing business owners to royalty is a bad analogy (I say again).

SO originally some warlord (king if you will) fought his way to the top of feudal society and conquered the land and ruled it. He took the risk and made the original "investment" in the venture. But then he passed ownership on to his progeny.

Maybe you'd like to allow those who built their businesses to run them as they see fit, but then when they die, the mob decides how the spoils are divided, if at all.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:25   

Quote (guthrie @ May 22 2007,04:42)
The great triumph of the right wing is to convince everyone that there is nobody but themselves and to look out for number one.  

People have also been convinced that capitalism is the "natural order of things" and that human society simply can't function without it.  The truth is, of course, that capitalism itself didn't even exist till the 17th century, and that human society functioned without it for 95% of its existence.  

And on top of that, as I pointed out earlier, it is the capitalists themselves (the corporados) who are currently destroying capitalism's holy mantra of "private property" and are replacing it with socialized property.  All *I* have to do is sit back and watch them do it, then, when they are finished, kick them out and place the system that they themselves are creating under everyone's control, rather than theirs.

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phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:28   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 21 2007,18:36)
Quote (phonon @ May 21 2007,10:49)
If you could cut that out without changing the whole system, would that be acceptable?

No, because even then, the corporados would still weild more economic and social power than many governments in the world do, and they would do so unilaterally, unanswerable to anyone but themselves (the "stockholders").

People with power over others (whether political power, social power, or economic power) should hold that power only with the consent of those who are subjected to it.  Whether it's the King of France, the President of the US, or the CEO of General Motors.

I think democracy is a wonderful thing.  I see no reason why it should end at the workplace door. Those who exercise unelected and unchecked power within the workplace, of course, are all FULL of reasons why democracy should end at the workplace door.  Oddly enough, people who have power are always anxious to tell you why they should have it, and you shouldn't.

I don't buy any of their arguments.

So any degree of "power" should be checked by the majority.

You have the power to keep me off your property and from trespassing in your house. I guess we should take up a vote to see if you should still retain this power. You should only be able to keep us out of your house with our consent.

Do you ever listen to http://takingaimradio.com/ brothers and sisters?

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:32   

Quote (phonon @ May 22 2007,07:19)
Then our system is fine.

Yes, it is.  As I said before, the corporados are already doing nearly everything that I want to do -- they are eliminating private ownership of industry, introducing socialized ownership, consolidating each industry under a common elected management, and introducing local, regional, national and international economic planning in both production and distribution.

All that remains is to eliminate the corporado domination and control of it, and make the whole system democratic.

I don't really need to change very much.  The corporados are already doing most of it for me.

However, since people who monopolize power don't give it up willingly, I expect, uh, a bit of a fight over it.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:37   

Quote (phonon @ May 22 2007,07:19)
If 51% wanted what you propose, then we'd have it.

Well of course if 51% wanted creationism out of schools and evolution in schools, then we'd have it.

(grin)

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:37   

Quote (guthrie @ May 22 2007,04:42)
The great triumph of the right wing is to convince everyone that there is nobody but themselves and to look out for number one.  Whereas back in the 19th century, a great many working people knew that in unity lay strength, and also the ability to get things done.  

What would happen is that the revolution occurs, and everyone gos back to work as normal, but paid the same or whatever mechanism you want to introduce.  Jobs that are unnecessary, such as telesales and much marketing and so on, would decrease in number, and what would happen is that peopel would be pressured to find some sort of work.  Ideally, the working week would decrease due to all these extra people working away on useful jobs instead of pointless bureacratic jobs.

I'm not saying that is how it would happen.  It is how I can envisage it, IF you get enough motivated people together.  Heck, even Argentina can do it.  Back when they ahd the crisis a few years ago, a lot of bosses ran away to avoid paying their factory workers.  Who then occupied the factories and recomenced production, selling the goods they made and keeping themselves and their families.  Later on the bosses returned and tried to take the factories back.

I don't think you were speaking about libertarianism, but I think people allow themselves to be 'confused' about what libertarianism really means, even people who call themselves that. To say that that you need to look out for number one isn't an ideal, it's reality.

Quote
Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
 - Bertrand Russell


Usually, though, libertarians believe that in the absence of government social engineering, people would spontaneously organize to solve social problems. To some extent I agree with that, but there would be no guarantee, no safety net. But, I guess under the current system, people still fall through the cracks.  

And I think it's funny that the term "right wing" is used to describe libertarians since the term originated to describe those that supported the King of France, of all people.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:42   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 22 2007,07:37)
Quote (phonon @ May 22 2007,07:19)
If 51% wanted what you propose, then we'd have it.

Well of course if 51% wanted creationism out of schools and evolution in schools, then we'd have it.

(grin)

We do.

How many public schools in this country teach creationism?

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,07:45   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 22 2007,07:32)
However, since people who monopolize power don't give it up willingly, I expect, uh, a bit of a fight over it.

Yes, we are just pack animals and will fight over material resources until everyone is satisfied (which never happens).

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
guthrie



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,11:01   

Quote (phonon @ May 22 2007,07:37)
I don't think you were speaking about libertarianism, but I think people allow themselves to be 'confused' about what libertarianism really means, even people who call themselves that. To say that that you need to look out for number one isn't an ideal, it's reality.

Quote
Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
 - Bertrand Russell


Usually, though, libertarians believe that in the absence of government social engineering, people would spontaneously organize to solve social problems. To some extent I agree with that, but there would be no guarantee, no safety net. But, I guess under the current system, people still fall through the cracks.  

And I think it's funny that the term "right wing" is used to describe libertarians since the term originated to describe those that supported the King of France, of all people.

OOps, there are times I forget about the cross Atlantic communications difficulties.  
Here in the UK, by using Right wing and referencing things like I have I was talking especially about Thatcher et al.  Their mantra was individualism, but what they practised was closer to state capitalism.  (The gvt actually grew under Thatcher, despite all the work she did in destroying public services)  

I should have been more specific about looking out for number one- of course you are the only person who knows what you want and you are in a position to have a better idea of what is good for you in many instances.  However most people (who stop to think about it anyway) also recognise that they are part of society, and therefore there is give and take about exactly they can/ want / would like to do.  What Thatcher et al drove towards was a kind of rampant individualism, in which no emphasis was put on the kind of enlightened self interest previously mentioned.

Do you call yourself a libertarian?  

The way you have put it sounds rather like anarchism.  Which is not a million miles away from Lennies thing.  But what myself and many of my friends would like is a more socialised set up in which people are not permitted to fall through the cracks.  (Unless they really want to of course).  You see, I can very easily imagine several scenarios involving countries which all somehow get into an anarchic setup, but because of the previous history of each country, will each take a different course in social provision etc.  Look at Europe and the USA.  Putatively similar, but due to different histories, have had interestingly divergent societies in the past 50 years.

I have no particular problem with nice libertarians- its just the idea seems to attract "I've got my guns and I'm keeping all this to myself and I don't care who falls through the cracks" kind of individualistic people.

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,11:02   

Quote (phonon @ May 22 2007,07:45)
Yes, we are just pack animals and will fight over material resources until everyone is satisfied (which never happens).

Not exactly.  We have negotiated settlements as well, which end up with enough for everyone.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 22 2007,17:52   

Quote (guthrie @ May 22 2007,11:01)
I have no particular problem with nice libertarians- its just the idea seems to attract "I've got my guns and I'm keeping all this to myself and I don't care who falls through the cracks" kind of individualistic people.

Yeah, the libertarians are indeed a strange animal --- part anarchist, part free-market cheerleader.

What they want, it sounds to me, is a return to pre-corporate days, where the economy consisted of individual Adam-Smithian small English shopkeepers.  Alas, those days are gone, gone, gone, and they will never return.


Of course, I have problems with the very philosophical basis of libertarianism, which is, as I hear it, "individualism is the basis of humanity, and we only form governments to protect our individualism from each other".  Rather a disheartening view of humanity, I think.

But then, as I said, the very basis for that is simply wrong.  Humans are NOT atomistic independent rugged individuals.  We are profoundly, deeply and irrevocably, SOCIAL animals.  Indeed, drop any one of us into the woods by ourselves, and we'd die within weeks.  We simply cannot survive outside a social framework.  We are utterly completely unchangeably interdependent upon each other.  Naturally, the very core of capitalist (and, it seems, libertarian) ideology consists of "every man for himself" (and that is indeed a convenient philosophy for a tiny minority of the population that fully intends to control the economic system for their own benefit and to abandon everyone else to their own devices), but that, alas, is not social reality. Individual greed has already proven itself simply an unworkable basis for an effective social system or a successful economy. That indeed is why "free market economics" was largely abandoned half a century ago, after the Robber Barons and the Great Depression gave everyone a good close look at what a "free market economy" is really all about.   We live today in a social economy, and indeed it was the **corporados themselves** who made it that way and indeed continue to make it even MORE socialized.

I don't view that as a bad thing.  Indeed, I welcome it.  I say let the corporados go ahead and socialize the entire economy.  It saves *us* the trouble of doing it.  In the end, all we'll have to do is kick them out of power and run it for ourselves.

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guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,08:00   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 22 2007,17:52)
What they want, it sounds to me, is a return to pre-corporate days, where the economy consisted of individual Adam-Smithian small English shopkeepers.  Alas, those days are gone, gone, gone, and they will never return.

Yes, exactly.  The advances in technology and suchlike that enables them to try and live a more individualistic lifestyle at the same time require greater cooperation and concentration of power.

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,08:47   

Quote
Alas, those days are gone, gone, gone, and they will never return.
Completely true, but you try explaining that to an anarchist or a libertarian.

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,16:27   

Quote
How many public schools in this country teach creationism?


officially?  

gotta be next to none.

unofficially?

hundreds if not thousands.

don't oversimplify the issue.  You damn well know there are hundreds of teachers that teach creationism that simply are left alone.

moreover, there are thousands (tens of thousands), who refuse to teach evolution either due to personal bias or because of external pressures from their communities.

so, don't oversimplify the issue just in order to argue with Lenny.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,17:45   

Oh heck, I dont' mind people arguing with me --- I've gotten pretty used to it over the past 30 years.   ;)

What strikes me, though, is the fact that our friends from over the pond know exactly what I'm talking about (and even know about such things as the Spanish Civil War and the Paris Commune), while we Americans know . . . well . . . nothing about any of it.  It is a sad commentary on the US to realize that an entire half of the political spectrum, simply doesn't exist here (and is stamped into oblivion any time it appears).  That is why so many Americans have the idiotic idea that **Hillary Clinton** is a, uh,  "leftist".

Note to the rest of the world: PLEASE stop us before it is too late.  PLEASE.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,18:00   

Quote (Chris Hyland @ May 23 2007,08:47)
Completely true, but you try explaining that to an anarchist or a libertarian.

Well, that depends a great deal upon what one means by an "anarchist".  There are two flavors of "anarchists", and they really don't have much to do with each other (or much nice to say about each other).  One is the pseudo-right-wing "individualist" who simply doesn't want to be told what to do by anyone (especially by the government).  The libertarians and the free-market apologists seem to fit into that wing.  

Then there are the collectivist anarchists, who want a socially-oriented system in which nobody has power over anyone unless that power is elected and revocable. They are radical democrats (with a small "d")  -- it's not "the government" that is their enemy, but "unchecked hierarchy", in any form.

Indeed, the political outlook which I have been advocating in this thread is "syndicalism", which is also known widely as "ANARCHO-syndicalism".  Its most famous proponent was the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, the "Wobblies").  Of which I have been a member for decades, and have served as Co-Chair of the General Executive Board.   :)

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,18:21   

Quote
Oh heck, I dont' mind people arguing with me


just to be clear, it wasn't my intention to stem argument, rather not to let an oversimplified point be used simply for the sake OF argument.

It just caught my eye.  I'm sure there have been many oversimplified points in this thread already.

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Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,18:31   

Quote

Indeed, the political outlook which I have been advocating in this thread is "syndicalism", which is also known widely as "ANARCHO-syndicalism".  


ARTHUR:
How do you do, good lady? I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that?
WOMAN:
King of the who?
ARTHUR:
The Britons.
WOMAN:
Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR:
Well, we all are. We are all Britons, and I am your king.
WOMAN:
I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
DENNIS:
You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship: a self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
WOMAN:
Oh, there you go bringing class into it again.
DENNIS:
That's what it's all about. If only people would hear of--
ARTHUR:
Please! Please, good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
WOMAN:
No one lives there.
ARTHUR:
Then who is your lord?
WOMAN:
We don't have a lord.
ARTHUR:
What?
DENNIS:
I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week,...
ARTHUR:
Yes.
DENNIS:
...but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting...
ARTHUR:
Yes, I see.
DENNIS:
...by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,...
ARTHUR:
Be quiet!
DENNIS:
...but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major--
ARTHUR:
Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN:
Order, eh? Who does he think he is? Heh.
ARTHUR:
I am your king!
WOMAN:
Well, I didn't vote for you.
ARTHUR:
You don't vote for kings.
WOMAN:
Well, how did you become King, then?
ARTHUR:
The Lady of the Lake,...
[angels sing]
...her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur.
[singing stops]
That is why I am your king!
DENNIS:
Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR:
Be quiet!
DENNIS:
Well, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR:
Shut up!
DENNIS:
I mean, if I went 'round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!
ARTHUR:
Shut up, will you? Shut up!

DENNIS:
Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR:
Shut up!
DENNIS:
Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
ARTHUR:
Bloody peasant!
DENNIS:
Oh, what a give-away. Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about. Did you see him repressing me? You saw it, didn't you?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 23 2007,18:48   

For anyone who's spent some time with the Left (the REAL Left, not the goddamn Democrats), "Life of Brian" is absolutely the funniest movie ever made.


"BRIAN: Thank God you've come, Reg.



REG: Ahh, yes. Well, I think I should point out first, Brian, in all fairness, that we are not in fact the rescue committee. However, I have been asked to read the following prepared statement on behalf of the Movement. Uh, 'We, the People's Front of Judea, brackets, officials, end brackets, do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you, Brian, on this, the occasion of your martyrdom.'



BRIAN: What?



REG: 'Your death will stand as a landmark in the continuing struggle to liberate the parent land from the hands of the Roman Imperialist aggressors, excluding those concerned with drainage, medicine, roads, housing, education, viniculture, and any other Romans contributing to the welfare of Jews of both sexes and hermaphrodites. Signed on behalf of the P.F.J., etcetera.' And I'd just like to add, on a personal note, my own admiration for what you are doing for us, Brian, at what must be, after all, for you, a very difficult time. "

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www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
phonon



Posts: 396
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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,09:43   

Quote (guthrie @ May 22 2007,11:01)
OOps, there are times I forget about the cross Atlantic communications difficulties.  
Here in the UK, by using Right wing and referencing things like I have I was talking especially about Thatcher et al.  Their mantra was individualism, but what they practised was closer to state capitalism.  (The gvt actually grew under Thatcher, despite all the work she did in destroying public services)

Oh, right wing in the US also tends to be used to describe that type of thing. It's just that the term itself originated with a different meaning.

And what Thatcher did sounds like what Reagan started, but Dubya perfected. Grow gubmint while destroying regulation and social services.

 
Quote
I should have been more specific about looking out for number one- of course you are the only person who knows what you want and you are in a position to have a better idea of what is good for you in many instances.  However most people (who stop to think about it anyway) also recognise that they are part of society, and therefore there is give and take about exactly they can/ want / would like to do.  What Thatcher et al drove towards was a kind of rampant individualism, in which no emphasis was put on the kind of enlightened self interest previously mentioned.
Oh yes, this went on in the US too. Remember the 80s was the "greed is good" period and everyone was part of the "me generation."


 
Quote
Do you call yourself a libertarian?  
No.

I don't like to classify myself, but I think I'm probably closest to a classical liberal. I'm definitely a civil libertarian in that laws should merely protect rights and not enforce a certain culture or try to keep people from harming themselves (e.g. the "nanny state"). But I also believe in environmental and corporate regulation, which I see as a way for the government to protect individual and collective rights. this is where I deviate from libertarians and classical liberals.



 
Quote
The way you have put it sounds rather like anarchism.
Letting business owners keep their property sounds like anarchism?

 
Quote
Which is not a million miles away from Lennies thing.  But what myself and many of my friends would like is a more socialised set up in which people are not permitted to fall through the cracks.  (Unless they really want to of course).

 You see, I can very easily imagine several scenarios involving countries which all somehow get into an anarchic setup, but because of the previous history of each country, will each take a different course in social provision etc.  Look at Europe and the USA.  Putatively similar, but due to different histories, have had interestingly divergent societies in the past 50 years.

I have no particular problem with nice libertarians- its just the idea seems to attract "I've got my guns and I'm keeping all this to myself and I don't care who falls through the cracks" kind of individualistic people.
Yes, well, obviously people should be allowed to keep their guns. And yes, if someone owns something that is not violating the rights of others, they have the right to keep it. Also, a "true" libertarian may say "I don't care who falls through the cracks," but most of them are humans with compassion. They just don't think it's the government's job to provide a safety net and that any social safety nets should be provided through private organizations, like church's and charities. The main argument is that the government is too inefficient and tends to use force to solve problems, which leads to even bigger problems.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,09:47   

Quote (guthrie @ May 22 2007,11:02)
Quote (phonon @ May 22 2007,07:45)
Yes, we are just pack animals and will fight over material resources until everyone is satisfied (which never happens).

Not exactly.  We have negotiated settlements as well, which end up with enough for everyone.

True. But the pack that settles within itself will eventually find another pack to battle with.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,09:51   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 22 2007,17:52)
Quote (guthrie @ May 22 2007,11:01)
I have no particular problem with nice libertarians- its just the idea seems to attract "I've got my guns and I'm keeping all this to myself and I don't care who falls through the cracks" kind of individualistic people.

Yeah, the libertarians are indeed a strange animal --- part anarchist, part free-market cheerleader.

What they want, it sounds to me, is a return to pre-corporate days, where the economy consisted of individual Adam-Smithian small English shopkeepers.  Alas, those days are gone, gone, gone, and they will never return.


Of course, I have problems with the very philosophical basis of libertarianism, which is, as I hear it, "individualism is the basis of humanity, and we only form governments to protect our individualism from each other".  Rather a disheartening view of humanity, I think.

But then, as I said, the very basis for that is simply wrong.  Humans are NOT atomistic independent rugged individuals.  We are profoundly, deeply and irrevocably, SOCIAL animals.  Indeed, drop any one of us into the woods by ourselves, and we'd die within weeks.  We simply cannot survive outside a social framework.  We are utterly completely unchangeably interdependent upon each other.  Naturally, the very core of capitalist (and, it seems, libertarian) ideology consists of "every man for himself" (and that is indeed a convenient philosophy for a tiny minority of the population that fully intends to control the economic system for their own benefit and to abandon everyone else to their own devices), but that, alas, is not social reality. Individual greed has already proven itself simply an unworkable basis for an effective social system or a successful economy. That indeed is why "free market economics" was largely abandoned half a century ago, after the Robber Barons and the Great Depression gave everyone a good close look at what a "free market economy" is really all about.   We live today in a social economy, and indeed it was the **corporados themselves** who made it that way and indeed continue to make it even MORE socialized.

I don't view that as a bad thing.  Indeed, I welcome it.  I say let the corporados go ahead and socialize the entire economy.  It saves *us* the trouble of doing it.  In the end, all we'll have to do is kick them out of power and run it for ourselves.

Cooperation derives from individual survival instincts.

When will people realize that libertarianism is NOT anarchism?

Of course we are social animals. Of course we live in an interdependent society.

It's just that this society is composed of individuals with their own desires and drives and these desires should only be hindered by force if they interfere with others' rights.

I don't think libertarians want to return to any particular time in our history. I think they want something that has never really existed.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,09:57   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 23 2007,16:27)
 
Quote
How many public schools in this country teach creationism?


officially?  

gotta be next to none.

unofficially?

hundreds if not thousands.

don't oversimplify the issue.  You damn well know there are hundreds of teachers that teach creationism that simply are left alone.

moreover, there are thousands (tens of thousands), who refuse to teach evolution either due to personal bias or because of external pressures from their communities.

so, don't oversimplify the issue just in order to argue with Lenny.

Well, then lets apply your realism to Lenny's proposal.

Even if we had perfect democratic control over our economy, what's to stop some people from circumventing it?


EDIT: I was just reading back through this thread and I had to add that keeping creationism out of schools has little to do with democratic action (except electing school board members) and everything to do with legal action to enforce a constitutional provision. If that provision weren't there, then you would likely see creationism spring up all over the place in public schools through democratic action.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,09:59   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 23 2007,18:48)
"Life of Brian" is absolutely the funniest movie ever made.

One of, for sure.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,10:09   

Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:51)
It's just that this society is composed of individuals with their own desires and drives and these desires should only be hindered by force if they interfere with others' rights.

I don't think libertarians want to return to any particular time in our history. I think they want something that has never really existed.

Hang on, I thought that was what anarchists were on about as well?  No restrictions on people unless they interfere with others rights?  

The one thing I think all "isms" have in common is a drive towards some sort of ideal.  That this ideal has never really existed in the first place is besides the point.  Before the NHS we never had free at point of use universal health care in the UK, it was an ideal to be striven for.  Furthermore all sorts of nasty things were said about it before it happened, as if it would be impossible or if implemented, would lead to the collapse of society.  Now we've had it for decades, everyone takes it for granted and would fight its destruction.

(Except is is being destroyed right now, by stealth)

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,12:32   

Quote (guthrie @ May 24 2007,10:09)
Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:51)
It's just that this society is composed of individuals with their own desires and drives and these desires should only be hindered by force if they interfere with others' rights.

I don't think libertarians want to return to any particular time in our history. I think they want something that has never really existed.

Hang on, I thought that was what anarchists were on about as well?  No restrictions on people unless they interfere with others rights?  

The one thing I think all "isms" have in common is a drive towards some sort of ideal.  That this ideal has never really existed in the first place is besides the point.  Before the NHS we never had free at point of use universal health care in the UK, it was an ideal to be striven for.  Furthermore all sorts of nasty things were said about it before it happened, as if it would be impossible or if implemented, would lead to the collapse of society.  Now we've had it for decades, everyone takes it for granted and would fight its destruction.

(Except is is being destroyed right now, by stealth)

No, not as I understand it. An anarchist would say no restrictions on people and you defend your own rights, or organize locally to defend your rights as you define them. There will be no central government to defend them.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,13:00   

Whoops, yes, no central gvt at all.  

Which reminds me of something I read in a chomsky book a few weeks ago.  An argument between Marx and (I htink) Bukhanin, and the difference came down to Marx thinking there could be a state for a while, having been taken over by the proletariat, and Bukhanin saying that a state was a really bad idea in any form you like.
The thing is, I can see how both are correct.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,15:07   

Quote
I was just reading back through this thread and I had to add that keeping creationism out of schools has little to do with democratic action (except electing school board members) and everything to do with legal action to enforce a constitutional provision.


well, since you felt you had to add it, I think with a little more thought on your part (you started the process with school boards), you might feel inclined to retract that as well.

to make even one point against your contention; are you sure you don't think democratic action has anything to do with legal action?

Is there really a clear separation between the legislative/administrative and judicial in this country?

hmm.

--------------
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-CC

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,18:05   

Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:57)
Even if we had perfect democratic control over our economy, what's to stop some people from circumventing it?

Um, the same thing that stops it now.

But of course democracy *is* the very worst, most impractical form of government ever conceived of.

Except for all the alternatives.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,18:14   

Quote (guthrie @ May 24 2007,13:00)
.  An argument between Marx and (I htink) Bukhanin, and the difference came down to Marx thinking there could be a state for a while, having been taken over by the proletariat, and Bukhanin saying that a state was a really bad idea in any form you like.
The thing is, I can see how both are correct.

And indeed, that whole argument is no longer worth having -- the corporados themselves have made it irrelevant.

To quotemine from myself again:


The conflict between the Marxists and the Bakuninists can be seen, then, at its most basic level, to center around the problem of economic scarcity. The assumed "scarcity of resources" lies at the very heart of capitalism. If there are not enough economic resources to go around, some method must be found to decide who gets access to them and who must go without. Under capitalism, ownership of property decides this--wealthy people have unlimited access to resources, while poor people have severely limited access.

To be successful, socialism must have at its disposal sufficient economic resources to insure that every member of society can be provided for, and this can only take place in an economy where productivity and economic ability are extremely high. Marx, however, was writing at a time when the productive forces of capitalism were just beginning to develop, and no one could be sure how quickly or how far this productive capacity would be able to expand. Marx was able to see the potentially rapid expansion of resources under capitalism, but he never saw the actual immense productive ability which developed under monopoly corporatism.

Marx, based on the studies he made at the time, expected that capitalism would never be able to fully develop its productive abilities on its own. This was not because he doubted capitalism's capacity to continually expand its economic resources, but because he believed he was witnessing the contradictions and stresses that would soon tear capitalism apart. Until the end of his life, Marx expected that the socialist revolution would come very soon, and thus remove capitalism before it had a chance to fully develop its productive forces on its own.

Since, he assumed, capitalism would die before it was able to produce an economy of super-abundance, Marx expected that it would fall upon the socialist revolution to accomplish this task. After the revolution, Marx thought, the working class would have to carry out this task of expanding productive ability on its own. It would also have to carry out the process of fully integrating political and economic functions into one administrative apparatus, and developing these various structures into the socialist mode of production.

This process of economic development, if it was to be done under the guidance of the working class, had to be accomplished through economic planning, and this necessitated a central authority which controlled and allocated all economic resources. This socialist system, Marx concluded, would have to remain until the planning apparatus was able to accomplish its task and produce the highly developed productive forces which were necessary for a communist system. Marx thus argued in favor of a period of "socialism"-- a government of the proletariat--which would carry out the process of economic expansion before dying off and allowing "communism" to take over.

After the Paris Commune, Marx decided that the old bourgeois state apparatus was not suitable for the working class's purposes, and that the workers would have to introduce their own transitional governmental structure; one which would be able to take control of the nation's economic resources and expand them to the necessary levels.

Marx's conflict with Bakunin centered around the structure of this "dictatorship of the proletariat". In essence, Marx wanted to use a working class socialist government to develop the productive forces which would be left by capitalism until they were strong enough for the super-abundance necessary for communist economic relationships. Bakunin, on the other hand, wanted to develop productive forces using independent communes, not a central planning apparatus administered by a socialist state.

The Leninists, who took power in a country that was economically weak and undeveloped, found the Marxian idea of the central "proletarian state" to be perfectly suited for their need for rapid industrialization. They were thus able to use Marxist phraseology to justify their centrally-planned state-capitalist industrialization program, which developed high productive levels in the economy, but did it in the class interests of the party bureaucrats rather than the working class.

In retrospect, we can see that Marx was wrong, as modern capitalist development has made much of his reasoning irrelevant. Today, capitalism itself has already developed extraordinarily high levels of productivity, and has increased economic capacity far beyond anything which Marx could have imagined.

Given the incredible output that could result from the full utilization of our current productive capacity, it seems possible for an industrialized society to produce all of its needs while utilizing only a fraction of its present work force. Farming and food production has already undergone such an explosion of productivity under capitalism. While, under feudalism, nearly every member of society was engaged in producing food, under capitalism the impact of machinery has produced a society where more than enough food can be produced using only 5% of the population.

Similarly, manufacturing ability has expanded to the point where most people simply do not need to produce anything. The rise in employment in such non-manufacturing areas as service, advertising, sales and entertainment makes it clear that it is no longer necessary for a majority of the population to work in order to produce the economic necessities of life. In addition, the capitalist trend towards greater use of computer and robot technology introduces a means of reducing the working population still further, by replacing the human worker with machinery, automation and robot factories.

There is, then, no need anymore to postulate a "socialist" state which replaces the capitalist state with a dictatorship of the proletariat". It is not necessary to plan for a rapid expansion of productive ability after the revolution, because modern monopoly capitalism has already produced it, and has already brought about the development of an economy of super- abundance.

Today, the tasks of a socialist revolution consist of replacing bourgeois institutions and structures with social-ist ones, with new relationships of social hegemony that can carry on social production and distribution from the start. The social relationships which carry out these tasks must be rooted in the institutions which were used by the working class to carry out the revolution; in other words, the revolutionary bodies must be capable of serving as the nucleus of the socialist system.

In this manner, Marxism and anarcho-syndicalism can both be seen to be merely differing approaches to solving the same problem--that of building and running a social-ist society.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,18:17   

Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,12:32)
An anarchist would say no restrictions on people and you defend your own rights, or organize locally to defend your rights as you define them. There will be no central government to defend them.

You labor under a (very common) misperception.

See my earlier post on this very topic.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,18:23   

lenny-

a minor irritation:

you aren't quotemining yourself if the quote you give is in proper context and complete.

you're simply quoting yourself, that's all.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,18:49   

Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:43)
The main argument is that the government is too inefficient and tends to use force to solve problems, which leads to even bigger problems.

Quick, can anyone tell me offhand how many forcible overthrows of elected governments the United Fruit Company has fomented in the past 100 years . . . . ?

As for "inefficient", that's pretty funny, coming from proponents of an economic system that, after three centuries, still can't even FEED everybody.

If the purpose of an economic system is to efficiently funnel wealth and resources from everyone's hands into those of a small minority of capital-owners, then indeed, capitalism has been quite efficiently successful.  In the US today, the wealthiest 0.5% of the population owns about one-third of the total wealth -- a proportion that matches pretty closely that found in Mexico or India or Guatemala.

But if the purpose of an economic system is to, ya know, feed people, clothe them and shelter them, then I think it's awfully hard to describe capitalism as anything other than an abject failure.

Unless, of course, you (1) happen to be one of those fortunate few who monopolize the wealth, and (2) you don't happen to care about anyone other than yourself.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,18:57   

Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:43)
They just don't think it's the government's job to provide a safety net and that any social safety nets should be provided through private organizations, like church's and charities.

Quick show of hands here --- how many think that more efficient health care would be provided by:

(1) a profit-oriented system paid for by church donations, or

(2) a government-provided social utility akin to fire departments or police departments


(looks at industrialized nations that have national health care systems)

(looks at industrialized nations -- oops, I mean "nation" -- that doesn't)


Hmmmmm . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,19:46   

currently, both models have serious drawbacks, and nobody appears entirely happy with either, based on conversations I've had, anyway.

likely a combination of the two will be the solution for the US, but what that would actually look like is beyond my current comprehension.

The most comprehensive attempt at a plan was Clinton's (and even then, there were big questionmarks in it), but there was simply not enough support to even begin to flesh out the details.

I do worry that the situation here will continue to worsen to the point where something entirely drastic will be required just in order to meet basic needs.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,20:02   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 24 2007,19:46)
I do worry that the situation here will continue to worsen to the point where something entirely drastic will be required just in order to meet basic needs.

Oddly enough, some major corporados, like WalMart and GM, are now lobbying in favor of "socialized medicine", paid for entirely by the government.

The reason, of course, is simple ---- the corporados realize that the popular call for universal health care is all but unstoppable, and they don't want to get stuck paying for it.  The corporados are all gung-ho for socialism -- when it benefits THEM.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2007,20:46   

Quote
Oddly enough, some major corporados, like WalMart and GM, are now lobbying in favor of "socialized medicine", paid for entirely by the government.


heh, I could see taking them at their own game.

sure, socialized medicine...

paid for by higher corporate taxes.

then let's see how much they want it.

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,07:51   

The national health service here in the UK worked very well (or at least not as badly as the alternatives) until we erm....well...fucked it, basically!

I'm loath to comment on this thread because I know so very very little about economics and politics, but to my mind I don't understand why ethical capitalism is not executed better. It is possible to make profits and be socially responsible, admittedly one has to change one's focus ("shareholders only" does not work). But like I said, it seems relatively simple to me which means two things: a) I don't know enough about it and b) I haven't understood what I do know!

What I know a little bit more about is the way the pharma industry works. Sadly it's currently being run as a profit making business which causes it all sorts of problems, not the least of which is that dear old Dame Nature doesn't lift up her skirt whenever the shareholders need a reassuringly profitable blockbuster. The REALLY sad thing is that no one else is making new drugs, not charities, not governments, not anyone. That's criminal! AH well.

Louis

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,16:43   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 24 2007,15:07)
Quote
I was just reading back through this thread and I had to add that keeping creationism out of schools has little to do with democratic action (except electing school board members) and everything to do with legal action to enforce a constitutional provision.


well, since you felt you had to add it, I think with a little more thought on your part (you started the process with school boards), you might feel inclined to retract that as well.

to make even one point against your contention; are you sure you don't think democratic action has anything to do with legal action?

Is there really a clear separation between the legislative/administrative and judicial in this country?

hmm.

I'm not sure what you're talking about so let me recap to see if I follow.

I said:
"If 51% wanted what you propose, then we'd have it." (not necessarily true since it somehow may be deemed unconstitutional, but for the sake of argument...)

Lenny replied:
"Well of course if 51% wanted creationism out of schools and evolution in schools, then we'd have it."

So I replied:
"We do have creationism out of our schools."

I should have replied:
"51% in some areas actually want creationism in our schools, but they don't have it, because of a constitutional provision that is defended legally/judicially. But I don't think there is a constitutional provision prohibiting what you (Lenny) propose."

Democratic action has an indirect effect on judicial action, yes, since an elected official usually appoints a judge. In some cases judges are elected, but that will only affect the interpretation of the law, which can only be stretched so far.

I guess I should clear it up this way. When I said "democratic action" I meant direct democratic action in the manner that Lenny is proposing wrt the economy.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,17:18   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 24 2007,18:49)
   
Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:43)
The main argument is that the government is too inefficient and tends to use force to solve problems, which leads to even bigger problems.

Quick, can anyone tell me offhand how many forcible overthrows of elected governments the United Fruit Company has fomented in the past 100 years . . . . ?

How the hell does that follow from what I said?

   
Quote
As for "inefficient", that's pretty funny, coming from proponents of an economic system that, after three centuries, still can't even FEED everybody.
Uh, yeah, I'm sure we FEED everyone now, huh.

What happens when you feed starving people?
You get more people.
What happens when people fend for themselves?
You get more people.

So let's just feed everyone whether they fend for themselves or not, then we'll have more people to feed whether they fend for themselves or not. Where does it end? Or do you propose sterilizing everyone that is fed for free? Or maybe instituting a one child policy? then sterilizing them? What?

When feeding people for free, do they get to decide what to eat? Will you slip the sterilizing drugs into the vat of gruel served in the labor camp? or would it be just a government barracks?

I'm just yanking yer chain.

   
Quote
If the purpose of an economic system is to efficiently funnel wealth and resources from everyone's hands into those of a small minority of capital-owners, then indeed, capitalism has been quite efficiently successful.  In the US today, the wealthiest 0.5% of the population owns about one-third of the total wealth -- a proportion that matches pretty closely that found in Mexico or India or Guatemala.

Purpose? As if capitalism was devised by some evil cabal with the purpose of funneling everyone's money into their hands? If they are that powerful, why do they need money?

Anyway, yes, currently our system funnels money from the bottom up to the top, but it isn't capitalism doing it, it's corporatism. "Corporados" writing our laws and buying and selling politicians. This isn't capitalism, it's fascism.

If you want to talk about evil cabals, let's look at the number one money funnel that sends trillions from the bottom up to the top, The Federal Reserve System coupled with the IRS. It's a huge shell game that fabricates money out of nothing and makes your dollar worth less and less every year, which makes these privately owned banks richer and more powerful every year.

The dollar is also tied to oil, so that the Fed can basically tax the world because oil is bought and sold in dollars (that's changing and that's what all these wars are about) and held dollars are worth less and less while oil costs more and more. The spice must flow.

   
Quote
But if the purpose of an economic system is to, ya know, feed people, clothe them and shelter them, then I think it's awfully hard to describe capitalism as anything other than an abject failure.
Well, communism did a bang up job, didn't it?

   
Quote
Unless, of course, you (1) happen to be one of those fortunate few who monopolize the wealth, and (2) you don't happen to care about anyone other than yourself.
No, I'm no Rockefeller or Rothschild. And I say again, these people are not capitalists.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,17:19   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 24 2007,18:05)
Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,09:57)
Even if we had perfect democratic control over our economy, what's to stop some people from circumventing it?

Um, the same thing that stops it now.

Nothing?

People circumvent the law all the time and get away with it.
But in this case, you've got this hugely complicated and costly election system to hold votes every weekend on what to do about the McDonald's down the street, who will run it, and how long it can stay on that plot of land, etc. Why bother when the law (the arbitrary law that protects no one's rights, just enforces their whims) will be broken with little or no consequences?

Quote
But of course democracy *is* the very worst, most impractical form of government ever conceived of.

Except for all the alternatives.
There are many forms of this thing you call "democracy." Some are better than others. You are proposing an over the top form where everyone votes on every little detail of other people's lives. At least that would be possible under what you propose.

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 24 2007,18:17)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,12:32)
An anarchist would say no restrictions on people and you defend your own rights, or organize locally to defend your rights as you define them. There will be no central government to defend them.

You labor under a (very common) misperception.

See my earlier post on this very topic.

Which post?

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To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,17:23   

Quote (Louis @ May 25 2007,07:51)
I'm loath to comment on this thread because I know so very very little about economics and politics,

As you can see, that's not stopping any of the rest of us!!

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,17:34   

How many prestigious universities were founded by donations from wealthy "capitalists"? and are named after them?

I can think of off the top of my head:

Carnegie Mellon
Stanford
Duke
Vanderbilt
Purdue
Tulane
Rice

There are many more, just can't rattle'em off.

Oh, I like the history of Cornell U.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Cornell
Quote
After settling in at Ithaca, Ezra quickly went to work proving himself as a carpenter. Colonel Beebe took notice of the industrious young man and made him the manager of his mill at Fall Creek.
...
So, having purchased rights in a patent for a new type of plow, Ezra began what would be decades of travelling away from Ithaca. His territories for sales of the plow were the states of Maine and Georgia. His plan was to sell in Maine in the summer and the milder Georgia in the winter. With limited means, what transported Ezra between the two states were his own two feet.
...
Ezra made his fortune in the telegraph business as an associate of Samuel Morse, having gained his trust by constructing and stringing the telegraph poles between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, as the first ever telegraph line of substance in the U.S. After joining with Morse, Cornell supervised the erection of many telegraph lines, earning a substantial fortune as a founder of the Western Union company.
...
Cornell retired from Western Union and turned his attention to philanthropy. He endowed the Cornell Library, a public library for the citizens of Ithaca. A lifelong enthusiast of science and agriculture, he saw great opportunity in the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to found a university that would teach practical subjects, as opposed to the classics as favored by more traditional institutions. Andrew Dickson White helped secure the new institution's status as New York's land grant university, and Cornell University was granted a charter through their efforts in 1865.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornell_university
Quote
The youngest member of the Ivy League, Cornell was founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White as a coeducational, non-sectarian institution where admission was offered irrespective of religion or race.


I think they didn't want to call it White University because of Cornell's cool story. Being a brother in the Order of Death at Yale didn't sound so cool for a back story.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Dickson_White
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull_and_Bones

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:05   

Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:34)
How many prestigious universities were founded by donations from wealthy "capitalists"? and are named after them?

And, uh, where'd the money come from . . . . ?

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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:08   

Quote (Louis @ May 25 2007,07:51)
I don't understand why ethical capitalism is not executed better. It is possible to make profits and be socially responsible

Well, because it's easier to make BIGGER profits with NO social responsibility.   :)

Capitalists, as they will happily tell you, are in business to make money for their stockholders.  They're NOT in business to feed hungry people or heal the sick or house the homeless.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:10   

Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
What happens when you feed starving people?
You get more people.
What happens when people fend for themselves?
You get more people.



I'm just yanking yer chain.

Sadly, I have indeed heard that very argument, in all seriousness, from more than one corporado.


And I've also heard it from more than  one, uh, "environmentalist" (who should have known better).


They're all heart, those guys . . . .

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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:21   

Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
   
Quote
But if the purpose of an economic system is to, ya know, feed people, clothe them and shelter them, then I think it's awfully hard to describe capitalism as anything other than an abject failure.
Well, communism did a bang up job, didn't it?

I presume you mean by this the state capitalism that the Leninists have imposed (after first destroying all the democratic workers councils) . . . .

Oddly enough, though, they DID do a pretty good job at it.  In the space of less than twenty years, the USSR went from a peasant agrarian economy that could barely feed its people, to a heavily industrialized economy that was capable of supporting a world superpower.  No capitalist country has ever come close to the rate of economic growth carried out by the Soviet Union in the 30's (with the possible exception of Nazi Germany, whcih after all used many of the same methods).

For the most part, everyone in the Soviet Union got enough to eat.  Sure, it was the same boring meal every day, and they had to stand in line for two hours for it, but heck, I'd be willing to bet that most of them didn't mind that if the alternative was to be unable to afford food at all (like many of them, uh, now).

Seriously, though, the Soviet economy didn't collapse because it failed -- it collapsed because it succeeded.  It's sole and only focus, throughout its history, was to industrialize as rapidly as possible, since that alone would allow the state to build up sufficient economic (and military) resources to prevent its economy from once again being dominated by foreign economic interests.

Once that industrialization process was completed, there was no longer any useful economic purpose served by the Leninist state, and its demise was inevitable.  

In a strange twist of history, radical Islam is now serving the same purpose as Leninism used to, in many countries -- it's an ideological justification for keeping foreign economic interests from dominating the economy by excluding them or placing them under tight controls, and allowing native economic resources to be gathered and expanded as rapidly as possible.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:26   

Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:19)
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 24 2007,18:17)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,12:32)
An anarchist would say no restrictions on people and you defend your own rights, or organize locally to defend your rights as you define them. There will be no central government to defend them.

You labor under a (very common) misperception.

See my earlier post on this very topic.

Which post?

Quote
Well, that depends a great deal upon what one means by an "anarchist".  There are two flavors of "anarchists", and they really don't have much to do with each other (or much nice to say about each other).  One is the pseudo-right-wing "individualist" who simply doesn't want to be told what to do by anyone (especially by the government).  The libertarians and the free-market apologists seem to fit into that wing.  

Then there are the collectivist anarchists, who want a socially-oriented system in which nobody has power over anyone unless that power is elected and revocable. They are radical democrats (with a small "d")  -- it's not "the government" that is their enemy, but "unchecked hierarchy", in any form.  



It's not accurate to say that anarchists (the leftist anarchists, anyway) want "no government" or "no central government".  What they want is no unchecked hierarchical authority by anyone in government.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:33   

Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
If they are that powerful, why do they need money?

They don't.  Money is just a method of exchange.  It has no more power in and of itself than a lump of coal or a pile of wooden sticks has.  The power lies within the  social system of exchange that lies behind that money.

In feudal society, there was virtually no money nor much need for it.  Yet the social relationship was pretty much the same.  At core, it consists of one group of people (who control the resources) saying to a larger group of people (who have NO control of resources), "Here, you can use my resources to produce lots of wealth, then keep a small part of that new wealth for yourself -- and I'll take all the rest."

Whether it's a feudal baron taking corvee from the serfs, or a majority stockholder taking dividends from GM, it's the same relationship.  "Money" is just the intermediary.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,18:47   

Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
Anyway, yes, currently our system funnels money from the bottom up to the top, but it isn't capitalism doing it, it's corporatism. "Corporados" writing our laws and buying and selling politicians. This isn't capitalism, it's fascism.

Well, call it what you will (and I think "fascism" is indeed a pretty accurate label for it) --- it's the inevitable product of capitalist competition.

When you have lots and lots of little competitors, some of them will of course lose, and their resources are then absorbed by the winners, who therefore become bigger.  That leaves fewer, but larger, competitors.  The more losers there are, the fewer (and bigger) the winners become.  After a while, you'll be down to just a handful of (very very large) competitors -- and anyone who wants to be a NEW competitor has to be able to cough up the cash to be **just as large**.  And since no bank on this planet is gonna loan Joe Truck Driver the billions of bucks he'd need to compete with Toyota or Microsoft or John Deere or Monsanto or Exxon-Mobil or whoever, the time quickly appears when there simply IS no new competition (other than perhaps a reshuffling of resources from one corporate bigshot to another) -- no one can afford to compete with the Big Boys who dominate each industry.  

The result --- corporate monopoly, in which the entire economy is dominated by a small number of gargantuan mega-sized resource-holders.

Sure, we can seize all those corporations, divvy up their resources and turn them back into bazillions of small individually-owned English shopkeepers.

Which will just begin the process all over again . . . . . (shrug)

The economic world of itty bitty non-corporate corner stores, which you seem to want to defend, no longer exists.  And it never will exist again.  Its very existence led inexorably to its own death.  And there's nothing anyone can do to prevent that.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,12:18   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:05)
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:34)
How many prestigious universities were founded by donations from wealthy "capitalists"? and are named after them?

And, uh, where'd the money come from . . . . ?

From the rubes?

Rubes who wouldn't have founded a university with it all spread out. It's only until the marks wanted to start communicating with each other and riding on railroads did they get suckered into paying for goods and services. Then the money was funneled into the Skull and Bones vault and stacked up until the Illuminati decided that the rubes needed edukayshun.

Suckers.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,12:25   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:21)
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
   
Quote
But if the purpose of an economic system is to, ya know, feed people, clothe them and shelter them, then I think it's awfully hard to describe capitalism as anything other than an abject failure.
Well, communism did a bang up job, didn't it?

I presume you mean by this the state capitalism that the Leninists have imposed (after first destroying all the democratic workers councils) . . . .

Oddly enough, though, they DID do a pretty good job at it.  In the space of less than twenty years, the USSR went from a peasant agrarian economy that could barely feed its people, to a heavily industrialized economy that was capable of supporting a world superpower.  No capitalist country has ever come close to the rate of economic growth carried out by the Soviet Union in the 30's (with the possible exception of Nazi Germany, which after all used many of the same methods).

For the most part, everyone in the Soviet Union got enough to eat.  Sure, it was the same boring meal every day, and they had to stand in line for two hours for it, but heck, I'd be willing to bet that most of them didn't mind that if the alternative was to be unable to afford food at all (like many of them, uh, now).

Seriously, though, the Soviet economy didn't collapse because it failed -- it collapsed because it succeeded.  It's sole and only focus, throughout its history, was to industrialize as rapidly as possible, since that alone would allow the state to build up sufficient economic (and military) resources to prevent its economy from once again being dominated by foreign economic interests.

Once that industrialization process was completed, there was no longer any useful economic purpose served by the Leninist state, and its demise was inevitable.  

In a strange twist of history, radical Islam is now serving the same purpose as Leninism used to, in many countries -- it's an ideological justification for keeping foreign economic interests from dominating the economy by excluding them or placing them under tight controls, and allowing native economic resources to be gathered and expanded as rapidly as possible.

and since the fall of the soviet union, and the institution of more "capitalistic" economic systems, has the standard of living in russia increased or decreased?

how about china?

there has never been "pure" communism just like there has never been "pure" capitalism

you always end up with a hierarchical  social structure one way or another

capitalism *is* the very worst, most impractical form of economy ever conceived of.

Except for all the alternatives.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,12:26   

Lenny,
What would it take to bring about the changes to society that you would like? AFAIK the changes I "think" you want will never happen as long as we have paper/electronic money.

EDIT for clarity: The scare quotes around THINK are because I am not entirely certain what you want.

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,12:40   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:26)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:19)
 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 24 2007,18:17)
     
Quote (phonon @ May 24 2007,12:32)
An anarchist would say no restrictions on people and you defend your own rights, or organize locally to defend your rights as you define them. There will be no central government to defend them.

You labor under a (very common) misperception.

See my earlier post on this very topic.

Which post?

 
Quote
Well, that depends a great deal upon what one means by an "anarchist".  There are two flavors of "anarchists", and they really don't have much to do with each other (or much nice to say about each other).  One is the pseudo-right-wing "individualist" who simply doesn't want to be told what to do by anyone (especially by the government).  The libertarians and the free-market apologists seem to fit into that wing.  

Then there are the collectivist anarchists, who want a socially-oriented system in which nobody has power over anyone unless that power is elected and revocable. They are radical democrats (with a small "d")  -- it's not "the government" that is their enemy, but "unchecked hierarchy", in any form.  



It's not accurate to say that anarchists (the leftist anarchists, anyway) want "no government" or "no central government".  What they want is no unchecked hierarchical authority by anyone in government.

when i see the word anarchy, i think "no archy"

"unchecked" hierarchy is what this country's government was intended to be, but I don't think Jefferson and Madison called it "anarchy"

unfortunately, as someone put it, the constitution is all sail and no anchor, so it's not as checked as we'd like

 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:33)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
If they are that powerful, why do they need money?

They don't.  Money is just a method of exchange.  It has no more power in and of itself than a lump of coal or a pile of wooden sticks has.  The power lies within the  social system of exchange that lies behind that money.

In feudal society, there was virtually no money nor much need for it.  Yet the social relationship was pretty much the same.  At core, it consists of one group of people (who control the resources) saying to a larger group of people (who have NO control of resources), "Here, you can use my resources to produce lots of wealth, then keep a small part of that new wealth for yourself -- and I'll take all the rest."

Whether it's a feudal baron taking corvee from the serfs, or a majority stockholder taking dividends from GM, it's the same relationship.  "Money" is just the intermediary.

Well, it's all about control and money is just a means to that control.

 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:47)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:18)
Anyway, yes, currently our system funnels money from the bottom up to the top, but it isn't capitalism doing it, it's corporatism. "Corporados" writing our laws and buying and selling politicians. This isn't capitalism, it's fascism.

Well, call it what you will (and I think "fascism" is indeed a pretty accurate label for it) --- it's the inevitable product of capitalist competition.

When you have lots and lots of little competitors, some of them will of course lose, and their resources are then absorbed by the winners, who therefore become bigger.  That leaves fewer, but larger, competitors.  The more losers there are, the fewer (and bigger) the winners become.  After a while, you'll be down to just a handful of (very very large) competitors -- and anyone who wants to be a NEW competitor has to be able to cough up the cash to be **just as large**.  And since no bank on this planet is gonna loan Joe Truck Driver the billions of bucks he'd need to compete with Toyota or Microsoft or John Deere or Monsanto or Exxon-Mobil or whoever, the time quickly appears when there simply IS no new competition (other than perhaps a reshuffling of resources from one corporate bigshot to another) -- no one can afford to compete with the Big Boys who dominate each industry.  

The result --- corporate monopoly, in which the entire economy is dominated by a small number of gargantuan mega-sized resource-holders.

Sure, we can seize all those corporations, divvy up their resources and turn them back into bazillions of small individually-owned English shopkeepers.

Which will just begin the process all over again . . . . . (shrug)

The economic world of itty bitty non-corporate corner stores, which you seem to want to defend, no longer exists.  And it never will exist again.  Its very existence led inexorably to its own death.  And there's nothing anyone can do to prevent that.

its the result of unethical circumvention of competition through the buying of lawmakers

if you want to control markets, just buy politicians and write the laws

yes, unfettered capitalism tends inevitably to monopoly, but it tends to be a very slow process, unless you've got the law in your pocket

i don't agree with liberatrians, et al. that believe that the "invisible handjob" will always fix a problem in the market

wrt to Microsoft, there is competition from free OS's and software, but people are usually too apathetic to care or simply unaware that the software exists

anyway, the gubmint sets up tax laws as such that there are incentives for these uber-rich pseudo-monopolies to invest in charities

i think, between bill gates and warren buffet, something like $75 billion in foundations have been formed to do "the lord's work"

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,12:43   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 24 2007,19:46)
currently, both models have serious drawbacks, and nobody appears entirely happy with either, based on conversations I've had, anyway.

likely a combination of the two will be the solution for the US, but what that would actually look like is beyond my current comprehension.

The most comprehensive attempt at a plan was Clinton's (and even then, there were big questionmarks in it), but there was simply not enough support to even begin to flesh out the details.

I do worry that the situation here will continue to worsen to the point where something entirely drastic will be required just in order to meet basic needs.

The US already has a combination of both, and it takes the worst of both world's and combines it into a monstrosity.

I'm really anxious to see the new Michael Moore film, Sicko.

he he, even Fox News called it 'brilliant and uplifting'
:O

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,15:40   

Quote (phonon @ May 27 2007,12:25)
and since the fall of the soviet union, and the institution of more "capitalistic" economic systems, has the standard of living in russia increased or decreased?

For who . . . . ?


By the way, Bangledesh, Haiti, and Chad are capitalist economies, all.

How's their, uh, standard of living . . . . ?

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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,15:44   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 27 2007,12:26)
Lenny,
What would it take to bring about the changes to society that you would like?

Depends on how hard the corporados fight against it.

If the corporados give up their power without a fight, it will take ballots.

If the corporados don't give up their power without a fight, it will take guns.

I don't expect them to give up their power without a fight.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,15:48   

Quote (phonon @ May 27 2007,12:40)
When you have lots and lots of little competitors, some of them will of course lose, and their resources are then absorbed by the winners, who therefore become bigger.  That leaves fewer, but larger, competitors.  The more losers there are, the fewer (and bigger) the winners become.  After a while, you'll be down to just a handful of (very very large) competitors -- and anyone who wants to be a NEW competitor has to be able to cough up the cash to be **just as large**.  And since no bank on this planet is gonna loan Joe Truck Driver the billions of bucks he'd need to compete with Toyota or Microsoft or John Deere or Monsanto or Exxon-Mobil or whoever, the time quickly appears when there simply IS no new competition (other than perhaps a reshuffling of resources from one corporate bigshot to another) -- no one can afford to compete with the Big Boys who dominate each industry.  

The result --- corporate monopoly, in which the entire economy is dominated by a small number of gargantuan mega-sized resource-holders.

quote]
its the result of unethical circumvention of competition through the buying of lawmakers

No, it's the result of winners winning, and losers losing.

I didn't mention "political control" even once.  I didn't need to.  It's not necessary (though of course it helps).

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,15:49   

Quote (phonon @ May 27 2007,12:18)
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:05)
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:34)
How many prestigious universities were founded by donations from wealthy "capitalists"? and are named after them?

And, uh, where'd the money come from . . . . ?

From the rubes?

Nope. Try again . . . .

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,12:44   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 27 2007,15:44)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 27 2007,12:26)
Lenny,
What would it take to bring about the changes to society that you would like?

Depends on how hard the corporados fight against it.

If the corporados give up their power without a fight, it will take ballots.

If the corporados don't give up their power without a fight, it will take guns.

I don't expect them to give up their power without a fight.

In which case I have not made my question very clear.

How can society ever be equal with the monetary system that is in place right now?

I am not particularly in favour of absolute equality of every citizen in society, but I would like to see a fairer distribution of wealth. IMO this is impossible with a paper or electronic monetary system. For a fair distribution I think that we need either a barter system or paper money linked to something of real value (possibly gold).

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,15:43   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,12:44)
How can society ever be equal with the monetary system that is in place right now?

It's not the monetary system that matters --- money is just a medium of exchange and has no power over anyone in and of itself.

Change those power relationships, and the monetary medium doesn't mean anything anymore.

So what you are really asking is whether society can "ever be equal" with the POWER RELATIONSHIPS we have now.

And the answer is "no".  Those power relationships are specifically maintained to make them UN-equal.

As for "absolute equality between everyone", I don't know what that phrase means.  So I avoid discussions of it.  Just as I avoid discussions about "pure capitalism" or "pure communism".  I'm not interested in doctrinal purity -- purity is a matter for the church, not for a political and social movement.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,15:45   

Quote (phonon @ May 27 2007,12:43)
I'm really anxious to see the new Michael Moore film, Sicko.

Moore, alas, strikes me as just another "limousine liberal" that the Democans seem to attract.

Where was Moore while Bill Clinton was dismantling the welfare safety net and shoving "free trade agreements" down everyone's throat?

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,13:55   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 28 2007,15:43)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,12:44)
How can society ever be equal with the monetary system that is in place right now?

It's not the monetary system that matters ---

This where I disagree. If the monatery system was different the "way of life" would be diferent.

Example: If a british pound was still linked to be a pound of sterling silver inflation would be negligible.

It would also be far more difficult for someone to earn "millions" by being nothing more usefull than being a "celebrity".

Right now the most important workers in our societies are paid a pittance in comparison to superfluous celebrities, I doubt that this would be possible if we had money that actually was worth something.

  
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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,18:38   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 29 2007,13:55)
Example: If a british pound was still linked to be a pound of sterling silver inflation would be negligible.

It would also be far more difficult for someone to earn "millions" by being nothing more usefull than being a "celebrity".

Right now the most important workers in our societies are paid a pittance in comparison to superfluous celebrities, I doubt that this would be possible if we had money that actually was worth something.

Alas, the distribution of wealth hasn't changed much in the past 200 years, no matter WHAT monetary system was being used.

And that is because the power relationships within society have not changed much in the past 200 years.


Changing the monetary system, won't change those power relationships.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,14:06   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 27 2007,15:49)
Quote (phonon @ May 27 2007,12:18)
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:05)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 25 2007,17:34)
How many prestigious universities were founded by donations from wealthy "capitalists"? and are named after them?

And, uh, where'd the money come from . . . . ?

From the rubes?

Nope. Try again . . . .

Why don't you just tell me where you think the money came from.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,14:32   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 25 2007,18:21)
Seriously, though, the Soviet economy didn't collapse because it failed -- it collapsed because it succeeded.  It's sole and only focus, throughout its history, was to industrialize as rapidly as possible, since that alone would allow the state to build up sufficient economic (and military) resources to prevent its economy from once again being dominated by foreign economic interests.

Once that industrialization process was completed, there was no longer any useful economic purpose served by the Leninist state, and its demise was inevitable.

Sorry, but this is just not true.

Just read a brief history of 5 year plans and how they really worked well at first, and then, not so much.

Also, the people you say you care about so much, the poor, had to stand in line to get toilet paper and bread, etc.

I know a guy who used to live in one of the Eastern Bloc states and he can remember when all there was on the shelves at the store was vinegar.

But, hey, there was a great depression here too. Some people argue that it was the creation of the Federal Reserve and its ability to artificially grow or shrink the money supply that led to it.

 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 27 2007,15:40)
 
Quote (phonon @ May 27 2007,12:25)
and since the fall of the soviet union, and the institution of more "capitalistic" economic systems, has the standard of living in russia increased or decreased?

For who . . . . ?


By the way, Bangledesh, Haiti, and Chad are capitalist economies, all.

How's their, uh, standard of living . . . . ?

There's more to a thriving economy than what economic system is in place. These places usually have poor political systems, especially Haiti and Chad. I don't think our country had such a great economy during the civil war either.

Haiti is pretty close to Cuba. How's that going?

So you see, there is no magic system. Whether a country and its people are prosperous has much more to do with natural resources, culture, and human relations. But the best way to ensure that the most people have a good life is for them to be able to freely buy and sell and to run their affairs as they see fit.
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 27 2007,15:44)
 
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 27 2007,12:26)
Lenny,
What would it take to bring about the changes to society that you would like?

Depends on how hard the corporados fight against it.

If the corporados give up their power without a fight, it will take ballots.

If the corporados don't give up their power without a fight, it will take guns.

I don't expect them to give up their power without a fight.




Viva La Revolución!!

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,14:59   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 28 2007,15:43)
 
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,12:44)
How can society ever be equal with the monetary system that is in place right now?

It's not the monetary system that matters --- money is just a medium of exchange and has no power over anyone in and of itself.

Change those power relationships, and the monetary medium doesn't mean anything anymore.

So what you are really asking is whether society can "ever be equal" with the POWER RELATIONSHIPS we have now.

And the answer is "no".  Those power relationships are specifically maintained to make them UN-equal.

As for "absolute equality between everyone", I don't know what that phrase means.  So I avoid discussions of it.  Just as I avoid discussions about "pure capitalism" or "pure communism".  I'm not interested in doctrinal purity -- purity is a matter for the church, not for a political and social movement.

Sorry, but this too is just plain wrong.

The power relationship is built on the monetary system.

Why did we go to war in the Middle East? We don't import much oil from there. But the dollar stays afloat because of oil. The US is much much richer (well, Wall Street is) because of it. The US monetary system taxes its citizens through the income tax (the institution of which was necessary to institute the Fed because the US govt had to guarantee that it would be able to pay interest to the Fed by a direct taxation on income) and through inflation, which is controlled by interest rates. It also taxes the world through inflation because countries have to maintain dollar reserves if they want to buy oil.

If we replaced Federal Reserve Notes (the green stuff in your wallet) with a fiat currency regulated by Congress, or a decentralized currency system based on a network of competing private banks, all that revenue for (?) dries up and the people could keep their income taxes and the world wouldn't have to pay interest through inflation on their dollar reserves, which they wouldn't have to even keep as much of.

One reason we went to war in the middle east is the oil-backed dollar. Another reason was to jack up oil prices. Saddam was flooding the market with cheap oil. Remember when gas got really cheap there in the late nineties? Oil companies hated that. Now they are making record profits.

If you want to get rid of monopolies, the Federal Reserve is the monopoly at the root of so many other monopolies and the problems that come from them. At least they are problems for everyone except the Fed banks, Wall Street, oil companies, and merc exchanges.

What do you think drives power relationships?

Money.

 
Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 29 2007,18:38)
Alas, the distribution of wealth hasn't changed much in the past 200 years, no matter WHAT monetary system was being used.

And that is because the power relationships within society have not changed much in the past 200 years.


Changing the monetary system, won't change those power relationships.

Again, NOT TRUE.

Let's just leave slavery out of this, though, shall we?

The distribution of wealth has gone up and down throughout US history (and extremely in British history).

Series of booms and busts have enriched and impoverished most of the population, but some folks at the top always seem to come out richer.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:16   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:06)
Why don't you just tell me where you think the money came from.

"If someone gets a dollar that he didn't work for, that means that someone ELSE worked for a dollar that he didn't get".

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:17   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:32)
Once that industrialization process was completed, there was no longer any useful economic purpose served by the Leninist state, and its demise was inevitable.[/quote]
Sorry, but this is just not true.

Just read a brief history of 5 year plans and how they really worked well at first, and then, not so much.

Alas, it is true.  And you pointed out why.

The purpose of the five year plans was to industrialize the economy as rapidly as possible.

They did.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:21   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:32)
Also, the people you say you care about so much, the poor, had to stand in line to get toilet paper and bread, etc.

Well, I'm nto sure why you are expecting me to defend the USSR, since back in the day I not only hated it, but gave what was for me a quite considerable sum of money to a bunch of striking coal miners to help bring it down.

But as I noted before, I'd be willing to bet that poor people would very much prefer standing in line for an hour for a loaf of bread, to not having enough money to buy bread at all.

If you look at the distribution of wealth pre-Soviet collapse and post-Soviet collapse, you'll find something interesting.

And if you look at who had the wealth pre-Soviet collapse and who has it post-Soviet collapse, you'll find something equally interesting . . . .

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:22   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:32)
But, hey, there was a great depression here too. Some people argue that it was the creation of the Federal Reserve and its ability to artificially grow or shrink the money supply that led to it.

And those people would be wrong, since the Depression was a, uh, global phenomenon.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:24   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:59)
Sorry, but this too is just plain wrong.

The power relationship is built on the monetary system.

No, it's the other way around.  The monetary system is how they maintain their power.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:28   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:32)
Just read a brief history of 5 year plans

By the way, I've read lots of 'em.  Even wrote one myself.  You can read it at:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/counter.html

:)

(I also researched, but never wrote -- beyond a rough draft anyway--, a similar history of China, Cuba and Vietnam.  The basic economic trajectory is the same.)

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:33   

Ahh , power and money.  We could argue for ages about which came first, I prefer to think of it as co-evolution.  

We could, by sheer weight of numbers, pass laws making only, say, 5 levels of pay for people, depending on what jobs they do.  That would bring pay disparities right down, but would hack off a certain section of the population.  If they upped and left, it would be interesting to see what difference it would make.  I think very little, as long as those remaining were interested in keeping things going.  However if this were to be tried, I would expect external action which would try to restore the previous situation.

  
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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:40   

Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:32)
But the best way to ensure that the most people have a good life is for them to be able to freely buy and sell and to run their affairs as they see fit.

(looks around at the US distribution of wealth)

Hmm.  Apparently not.

But, as I've already pointed out, that idea of a "free market economy" has already failed.  Miserably enough that every industrialized nation (including the US) rejected it long ago.

For the corporados, a "free market economy" simply means "we can do whatever we want".  And of course, that is also what all the Reaganesque "trickledown" theorists in the Republicrat Party mean by it, too.

Alas, your ideal economy of itty bitty shopkeepers, is dead.  It will never return.

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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:41   

Quote (guthrie @ May 30 2007,18:33)
We could, by sheer weight of numbers, pass laws making only, say, 5 levels of pay for people, depending on what jobs they do.  That would bring pay disparities right down, but would hack off a certain section of the population.  If they upped and left, it would be interesting to see what difference it would make.  I think very little, as long as those remaining were interested in keeping things going.

I once suggested, to my co-workers, a way to see who was more important to the company -- the owners or the workers.  My suggestion was that we let all the owners go home for a month and see how much production output we had.  Then, we let all the workers go home for a month, and see how much production output we had.

I'm pretty sure I can guess the outcome . . . .


;)


This, BTW, is always my response to those who say "Democratize the economy?  Omigod, if we do that, the owners will all LEAVE !!!!!!!!!"  

I say, "Go ahead and leave.  Bye.  We'll get along just fine without you."  (shrug)

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phonon



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Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,18:44   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 30 2007,18:22)
Quote (phonon @ May 30 2007,14:32)
But, hey, there was a great depression here too. Some people argue that it was the creation of the Federal Reserve and its ability to artificially grow or shrink the money supply that led to it.

And those people would be wrong, since the Depression was a, uh, global phenomenon.

The economy was global then too.

The Great Depression started in the US after the stock market crash and spread worldwide.


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I don't have time right now to answer anymore, I just came here to show an example of the "un-free" markets we have now.

http://www.iht.com/article....Cow.php

got this from crooks and liars.



Quote
The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.

The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn't have the authority to restrict it. - A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was scheduled to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal, effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge has played out.
Can you believe that crap? A small company wants to test its cows for BSE so that it can tell its customers that the beef has been tested and is safe. The government is like anti-regulating here, and telling the company that it can't test for the disease because it'll hurt the big beef companies. WTF? Obviously someone had a scotch, a cigar, and a conversation with someone at the USDA.

An amazing country we live in.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.