90% of the media is controlled by 6 mega-corporations
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18-09-2012, 04:03 PM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2012 04:37 PM by Luminon.)
RE: 90% of the media is controlled by 6 mega-corporations
Wow, looks like I'm not brief again. This is something of what meditation does to me, I'm full of ideas and all other ideas are clear. Let's see if they're also clear to others.

(16-09-2012 02:22 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  I am going to fixate on taxation of labour, which is the part that I think is immoral. Very breifly, the environmental issues, that comes down to property rights. If I pollute and damage your property, it should be illegal. I should be punished for doing it.
Does it involve natural resources, renewable and non-renewable? Which we use in industry? Who protects the rights of Earth? I think the resources should be kept by the state, which should control their sale to the business or transparent barter with other states for other resources. Resources are special, Federal bank can't print them, Wall Street can't generate them. They are the true wealth and de facto our supplies on this journey on a closed spaceship called Earth. Money are just an imaginary wealth, only a carriage mechanism of wealth.
Basically, I don't think the state should tell people how to do business, but it should keep control over natural resources and money. I'm against private personal ownership of huge amounts of money. You can think of money as a carriage to transport labor to customers (or to you), but they don't own that carriage and have no right to hog it when other people could need it. And printing more money is wrong, because too much liquidity carries everything valuable away, leaving behind only poverty and ecologic devastation. So it's better to keep the amount of money constant. Just as our body has a constant supply of blood, it can't hold more blood than 5-7 liters. The state should be able to 'print' or 'shred' money by immediate need and loan them on zero interest on publically beneficial projects. Which makes it utterly pointless and absurd to charge interest or to trade the money internationally as a kind of commodity. Trading money is a twisted invention of financial gamblers and lobbyists.

(16-09-2012 02:22 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  Now, on to the part that really upsets me....It is a position of morality, so you are either going to think it is or is not immoral. To me slavery, or coercion, is immoral. Forcing people to do something against their will, whether it is through force, or threat of force, to me is one of the most atrocious acts a human can commit. I am not against all taxes, but I want to have a choice in the matter. If I buy gas (petrol), there is a tax on it. I can choose to not buy that gas. I can produce my own fuel with a wood gasifier, I can walk, or ride a bicycle, or just stay home. I can go to the grocery store and buy some vegetables, or I can avoid the tax buy growing my own vegetables, or buying them directly from a local farmer. I can not avoid labour and continue to live. When they tax my labour they own me. They take the fruits of my labour, and allow me to keep a percentage of it. If I do not comply I will be imprisoned and/or they will act in accordance of the laws, which they passed, to take my money against my will. That is theft. That is coercion. That is immoral.
Let's get a little philosophic here. I coerce myself all the time and also people coerce their children for their own good. I admire free will and consider it sacred - but people usually don't act out of free will. They act out of uncontrolled bodily and emotional needs and wants, idiosyncracies, ignorance, laziness, overindulgence and other vices and weaknesses. These are not sacred to me. Quite opposite, overcoming them is easier by having some external organization to help. I say, only a disciplined person can have free will. (regardless if for good or bad) That is actually the best and yet realistic definition of free will I've seen so far.
I think everyone would benefit from an adequate amount of self-discipline and therefore it is good to have a state system that mildly (not absolutely) coerces people towards self-discipline and rewards it. (by adequate amount I mean an amount of discipline necessary to manifest a person's individual potential, talents, etc)

But when it comes to the state, not an individual... Well, I find myself using this expression a lot lately in various topics. When we somehow make a wrong turn and go a wrong way a long time, then we must return. But until we return, nothing we ever do will be good. It will all be bad and we can only choose between lesser and greater evils. The lesser evils are those that lead us back to the right way. See below.

There is a way for me to have my cake and for you to eat it. Which means, so that people will be well cared for and yet they will do with their products of labor whatever they want. Remember industrial revolution? Remember socialist riots, people rioting because machines took their jobs away? Heartless businessmen replaced a hundred workers with one machine and workers went hungry. The businessmen were actually pragmatic, the ones heartless were the statesmen, who did not tax the machines and did not use these funds to pay the people. Figuratively said, businessmen should pay the employees for the right to run a machine instead of them (which is a good deal) - or in a modern way, they should have the machine labor taxed. If we don't tax the machines, they make a lot of money without any responsibility. Because the people aren't employees anymore, they become a burden on the state and the businessmen won't get responsible. Human labor is obsolete, most of today's vocations actually can be automatized with yesterday's technology. A total employment is something that Earth can't afford. And unemployment is something that the people can't afford. Such an use of machines might even allow us to take out the money out of transaction altogether (a technical problem, really) and then we'll be in a resource-based economy, a paradise that Jacque Fresco envisioned.
In RBE you can probably get whatever you need and want - more than today, because it's much cheaper than to keep it secured and punish thieves by an elaborate and ineffective penal system. But in RBE there will be a great treasure you'll get for free, and that is simplicity. Many of us need and crave simple life, because it frees us from petty chores to think great thoughts, make great creations, pursue great achievements and do a greater work (note for later). (with right education of course) If you value your own work, how much more would you value a work that you don't do to make a living, but because you love it? Then you could share it as a gift, there'd be no reason to keep it for yourself, economic or otherwise. Joy and appreciation of others would be your currency.

So back to the topic to make a point. We're not there yet and so on our way back there will be necessary lesser evils. One of these evils is taxation, but it's a sacrifice that helps us to make a next step. The next step is not to get rid of taxes (that would leave the state penniless and helpless), but to stop their misuse and use them correctly, that is to build the human resources. Money are here for the people and not people for the money. If you think social benefits make people lazy, tie that together with high quality education and know, that educated people won't sit around on streets, drink, yell and sing well into night, unlike some uneducated people we can all imagine.
Education needs quite an overhaul (a subject of my finished thesis) and a right education should do the job. Education needs a state and state needs taxes. Clear enough?

(16-09-2012 02:22 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  If you REALLY want to understand economics, the the redistribution of wealth (long and dry read) may I suggest reading Lysander Spooners ideas on the subject.
I suspect he is correct and I regret it very much, because by now we should have a completely different, better system. (as I hopefully demonstrated) Our system is so reactionary and corrupted, that Spooner's principles would be a huge improvement, except his principles can't be applied today. Not with globalization and technologies we have. 200 years ago these ideas were just right and still very adequate 100 years later. After WW2 it was however too late. Economists warned us then that endlessly expanding economy is not a good idea. Even Keynes himself must have believed in stopping of expansion.

Today our relative perfection and salvation lies elsewhere. Instead of mere self-sustenance by own labor (technically unreal and environmentally short-sighted as it is), we need to understand the environment and world as a part of ourselves. As an extension of our living room and porch. We do not suffer disorder and mess in our living room. Why should we tolerate it on our planet? If the current (or Spooner's) labor model only suffices to sustain us and does not free us for the greater work beyond the porch, what is it worth then? I think the ideal model of a citizen of the future is one educated for altruism, trained for self-discipline and modestly but adequately materially secured. Such a citizen then can be likened to a stem cell in an organism.

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19-09-2012, 01:43 PM
RE: 90% of the media is controlled by 6 mega-corporations
(18-09-2012 04:03 PM)Luminon Wrote:  Wow, looks like I'm not brief again. This is something of what meditation does to me, I'm full of ideas and all other ideas are clear. Let's see if they're also clear to others.

(16-09-2012 02:22 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  I am going to fixate on taxation of labour, which is the part that I think is immoral. Very breifly, the environmental issues, that comes down to property rights. If I pollute and damage your property, it should be illegal. I should be punished for doing it.
Does it involve natural resources, renewable and non-renewable? Which we use in industry? Who protects the rights of Earth? I think the resources should be kept by the state, which should control their sale to the business or transparent barter with other states for other resources. Resources are special, Federal bank can't print them, Wall Street can't generate them. They are the true wealth and de facto our supplies on this journey on a closed spaceship called Earth. Money are just an imaginary wealth, only a carriage mechanism of wealth.
Basically, I don't think the state should tell people how to do business, but it should keep control over natural resources and money. I'm against private personal ownership of huge amounts of money. You can think of money as a carriage to transport labor to customers (or to you), but they don't own that carriage and have no right to hog it when other people could need it. And printing more money is wrong, because too much liquidity carries everything valuable away, leaving behind only poverty and ecologic devastation. So it's better to keep the amount of money constant. Just as our body has a constant supply of blood, it can't hold more blood than 5-7 liters. The state should be able to 'print' or 'shred' money by immediate need and loan them on zero interest on publically beneficial projects. Which makes it utterly pointless and absurd to charge interest or to trade the money internationally as a kind of commodity. Trading money is a twisted invention of financial gamblers and lobbyists.

(16-09-2012 02:22 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  Now, on to the part that really upsets me....It is a position of morality, so you are either going to think it is or is not immoral. To me slavery, or coercion, is immoral. Forcing people to do something against their will, whether it is through force, or threat of force, to me is one of the most atrocious acts a human can commit. I am not against all taxes, but I want to have a choice in the matter. If I buy gas (petrol), there is a tax on it. I can choose to not buy that gas. I can produce my own fuel with a wood gasifier, I can walk, or ride a bicycle, or just stay home. I can go to the grocery store and buy some vegetables, or I can avoid the tax buy growing my own vegetables, or buying them directly from a local farmer. I can not avoid labour and continue to live. When they tax my labour they own me. They take the fruits of my labour, and allow me to keep a percentage of it. If I do not comply I will be imprisoned and/or they will act in accordance of the laws, which they passed, to take my money against my will. That is theft. That is coercion. That is immoral.
Let's get a little philosophic here. I coerce myself all the time and also people coerce their children for their own good. I admire free will and consider it sacred - but people usually don't act out of free will. They act out of uncontrolled bodily and emotional needs and wants, idiosyncracies, ignorance, laziness, overindulgence and other vices and weaknesses. These are not sacred to me. Quite opposite, overcoming them is easier by having some external organization to help. I say, only a disciplined person can have free will. (regardless if for good or bad) That is actually the best and yet realistic definition of free will I've seen so far.
I think everyone would benefit from an adequate amount of self-discipline and therefore it is good to have a state system that mildly (not absolutely) coerces people towards self-discipline and rewards it. (by adequate amount I mean an amount of discipline necessary to manifest a person's individual potential, talents, etc)

But when it comes to the state, not an individual... Well, I find myself using this expression a lot lately in various topics. When we somehow make a wrong turn and go a wrong way a long time, then we must return. But until we return, nothing we ever do will be good. It will all be bad and we can only choose between lesser and greater evils. The lesser evils are those that lead us back to the right way. See below.

There is a way for me to have my cake and for you to eat it. Which means, so that people will be well cared for and yet they will do with their products of labor whatever they want. Remember industrial revolution? Remember socialist riots, people rioting because machines took their jobs away? Heartless businessmen replaced a hundred workers with one machine and workers went hungry. The businessmen were actually pragmatic, the ones heartless were the statesmen, who did not tax the machines and did not use these funds to pay the people. Figuratively said, businessmen should pay the employees for the right to run a machine instead of them (which is a good deal) - or in a modern way, they should have the machine labor taxed. If we don't tax the machines, they make a lot of money without any responsibility. Because the people aren't employees anymore, they become a burden on the state and the businessmen won't get responsible. Human labor is obsolete, most of today's vocations actually can be automatized with yesterday's technology. A total employment is something that Earth can't afford. And unemployment is something that the people can't afford. Such an use of machines might even allow us to take out the money out of transaction altogether (a technical problem, really) and then we'll be in a resource-based economy, a paradise that Jacque Fresco envisioned.
In RBE you can probably get whatever you need and want - more than today, because it's much cheaper than to keep it secured and punish thieves by an elaborate and ineffective penal system. But in RBE there will be a great treasure you'll get for free, and that is simplicity. Many of us need and crave simple life, because it frees us from petty chores to think great thoughts, make great creations, pursue great achievements and do a greater work (note for later). (with right education of course) If you value your own work, how much more would you value a work that you don't do to make a living, but because you love it? Then you could share it as a gift, there'd be no reason to keep it for yourself, economic or otherwise. Joy and appreciation of others would be your currency.

So back to the topic to make a point. We're not there yet and so on our way back there will be necessary lesser evils. One of these evils is taxation, but it's a sacrifice that helps us to make a next step. The next step is not to get rid of taxes (that would leave the state penniless and helpless), but to stop their misuse and use them correctly, that is to build the human resources. Money are here for the people and not people for the money. If you think social benefits make people lazy, tie that together with high quality education and know, that educated people won't sit around on streets, drink, yell and sing well into night, unlike some uneducated people we can all imagine.
Education needs quite an overhaul (a subject of my finished thesis) and a right education should do the job. Education needs a state and state needs taxes. Clear enough?

(16-09-2012 02:22 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  If you REALLY want to understand economics, the the redistribution of wealth (long and dry read) may I suggest reading Lysander Spooners ideas on the subject.
I suspect he is correct and I regret it very much, because by now we should have a completely different, better system. (as I hopefully demonstrated) Our system is so reactionary and corrupted, that Spooner's principles would be a huge improvement, except his principles can't be applied today. Not with globalization and technologies we have. 200 years ago these ideas were just right and still very adequate 100 years later. After WW2 it was however too late. Economists warned us then that endlessly expanding economy is not a good idea. Even Keynes himself must have believed in stopping of expansion.

Today our relative perfection and salvation lies elsewhere. Instead of mere self-sustenance by own labor (technically unreal and environmentally short-sighted as it is), we need to understand the environment and world as a part of ourselves. As an extension of our living room and porch. We do not suffer disorder and mess in our living room. Why should we tolerate it on our planet? If the current (or Spooner's) labor model only suffices to sustain us and does not free us for the greater work beyond the porch, what is it worth then? I think the ideal model of a citizen of the future is one educated for altruism, trained for self-discipline and modestly but adequately materially secured. Such a citizen then can be likened to a stem cell in an organism.

You have changed the definition of coercion for your argument. It is impossible to coerce yourself. Even if there are outside influences acting on you, that doesn't take away free-will as long as you are doing something that you want to do. For example, if I saw a commercial for ice cream and said to myself "Mmmm, that looks good, I'm going to go buy an ice cream." then yes, that commercial influenced my decision to eat an ice cream, but they did not force me to get one against my will. They didn't make me choose between buying an ice cream and getting shot, or being locked up in a cage for some period of time.

As for the Spooner argument, I disagree that it is outdated. I know you are hung up on the resources but let my explain why it would work using capitalism, actually why it is already working do to capitalism. Yes some resources are finite, such a oil. At first it is plentiful, and therefore relatively cheap, so it becomes popular as a source of energy. As the supply dwindles the price goes up eventually, even as efficiency of the oil increases. Then, because of capitalism new resources become more and more viable. Companies find new resources to use, eventually renewable resources. With competition for this new renewable resource the price goes down, and efficiency goes up creating an ideal situation for consumers. This is already happening. Yes the market goes up and down, just as it would if it was controlled by the state, because when there is a strong enough demand for something, it will happen or the state will fail. The only difference when the state controls it is that progress is delayed and you create artificially inflated prices. Artificially inflation is always doomed to fail as we saw with the American Housing Market, and the value of the USD, etc.

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20-09-2012, 02:29 AM
RE: 90% of the media is controlled by 6 mega-corporations
(05-09-2012 09:00 PM)roadrunner Wrote:  Thats fine. I think people need to learn to take everything with a grain of salt then make up their own mind when they hear or see something. then it wont matter if 100% of channels are owned by one company.

100% owned by one company? I can't speak for everyone else, but I would chuck my tv out the window if that were to happen. It is boring enough sometimes. I have seen what sell and that means what the majority of our country must watch. I couldn't survive long in a would like that.
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21-09-2012, 12:58 PM (This post was last modified: 21-09-2012 01:45 PM by Luminon.)
RE: 90% of the media is controlled by 6 mega-corporations
(19-09-2012 01:43 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  You have changed the definition of coercion for your argument. It is impossible to coerce yourself. Even if there are outside influences acting on you, that doesn't take away free-will as long as you are doing something that you want to do. For example, if I saw a commercial for ice cream and said to myself "Mmmm, that looks good, I'm going to go buy an ice cream." then yes, that commercial influenced my decision to eat an ice cream, but they did not force me to get one against my will. They didn't make me choose between buying an ice cream and getting shot, or being locked up in a cage for some period of time.
Well, maybe I changed the definition or didn't recognize all the meanings. But as far as I can tell you also ignored the fact, that the money don't belong to you and that the owner of money can charge a price for using the money, which seems like a fair deal to me. Unless you actually thought they're your possession. If you think the money belong to you, try to burn them and tell the police about it Smile If you invented money and had a monopol on them, wouldn't you allow others to use them for a fee? You can be glad that a lot of that fee is still used for the benefit of society.

It all seems to me like you're saying "taxes are fine, those I can avoid." (which I can't really disagree with) So tell me, under what conditions you would be willing to pay taxes voluntarily? For example, if you could see or choose where they go?

Anyway, I don't see that much difference between direct and indirect taxes. It's true that the indirect taxes are more effective, but the more small taxes you have, the more it costs to keep track of them administratively. I don't know if it pays off.

Anyway, I'll find myself mostly agreeing with you, but there's one thing. Limits or social nets. Pirate party in Germany suggests an existence of an safety net for everyone, that ensures basic living needs universally, a certain level of income, a welfare per head.
And I suggest there must be another limit, much higher, marking the top limit under which it is possible to use money for private purposes, or perhaps another net marking a similar limit for corporations. Perhaps this is necessary to finance the lower safety net.

If corporation's main stock is money, resources and people, none of which they actually created, it de facto mostly belongs or should belong to the state. Money, people and resources should be like gaming cards, chips and and dice that the state lends businessmen for the economic game. But they can not raise the stakes above a certain level. People must have the right to be cushioned from economic downturns and upturns. Otherwise it will be like when I worked in a car factory, working harder because there was a crisis, or working harder because there were sales. Or working harder because the state-given tax vacations are slowly coming to an end.

(19-09-2012 01:43 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  As for the Spooner argument, I disagree that it is outdated. I know you are hung up on the resources but let my explain why it would work using capitalism, actually why it is already working do to capitalism. Yes some resources are finite, such a oil. At first it is plentiful, and therefore relatively cheap, so it becomes popular as a source of energy. As the supply dwindles the price goes up eventually, even as efficiency of the oil increases. Then, because of capitalism new resources become more and more viable. Companies find new resources to use, eventually renewable resources. With competition for this new renewable resource the price goes down, and efficiency goes up creating an ideal situation for consumers. This is already happening. Yes the market goes up and down, just as it would if it was controlled by the state, because when there is a strong enough demand for something, it will happen or the state will fail. The only difference when the state controls it is that progress is delayed and you create artificially inflated prices. Artificially inflation is always doomed to fail as we saw with the American Housing Market, and the value of the USD, etc.
Oh, if only it worked like that. The reason why it is outdated is the global system of trading resources and money. The greatest power is held by those who do not produce anything, they're speculators, gamblers, parasites and psychopaths. The prices aren't set by supply or demand, but mostly by economic speculation. On the stock market very few people can get a control over very many, both producers and customers.
Remember back in about 2010 that man who accidentally bought the world's most of supplies of cacao? That's just a tip of the iceberg. A similar thing happened in 2009 with wheat, which caused a 30% rise in price of everything, including water and electricity. It caused violent riots in poorer states worldwide, like Mozambique. And that's just because stock market gamblers got jumpy because of Russian embargo on wheat, so they started buying supplies and the price went up.
And the price may go up for any reason, here it was global warming (Russia had wildfires) and a hoax that there won't be enough wheat, though there was.
As long as there is this unfair system, the gamblers dictate the prices and they obviously want to make a profit on it. Buy cheap from third world countries, sell expensively to us. (source: RajPatel.org)
I'd order to shut down all the stock markets immediately, if I could. But even then I'd want something more modern than Spooner's system, something that pushes us forward, not just another flavor of 20th century capitalism. I'm afraid of social and cultural stagnation, the world as a marketplace. Or better said, a brothel, but one that sells the workers' whole body and mind.
I am convinced there must be a more meaningful way to make a living than in the first, second or third sector of economy. A good part of these needs to be automatized, it is demeaning for the true human potential not to do so, specially when we have the technology for decades. We need to be more than just producers and consumers. If Christian motivation of Hell and Heaven degrades us, is the poverty vs. money so much better? Specially when most of people never get rich in their lifetime? What does it remind me of? Smile
You know how Christians say nobody can be moral without God? Well then, what about that nobody can be an active and valuable member of society without economic whip and sugar? Smile That is also a little uncertain question. But every worker should ask himself a question, what would he do, if he had his material needs fulfilled? If the answer is he'd lie on a couch and drink, then he should stay a worker, of course. Just like the Christians should keep believing if they feel like murdering people if God's not there.
What the heck, I'm an Aspie. Pursuit of individual special interests is my life. But what about you, if you truly believe in an individual pursuit of self-interest, why does it so often turn into collectively serving someone else's self-interest for a bit of money? Smile (Rhetorical question)

Yes, Spooner's system prove itself and de facto already exists in form of microcredit banking, that helps many people out of poverty. It's well-thought and certainly is and should be used when and where appropriate. Only as I said, I think no idea is self-sufficient and this one probably isn't too.
I haven't yet read through it enough to be sure if this system avoids dangers like extreme wealth, or if it deals with issues like globalization and general misuse or bad effects of money on society. Or even removing any semblance of golden standard from money 40 years ago.
At work I learned that a work collective can get along well, as long there is no problem with money. Then everyone starts hating each other. Money is like a cross between cocaine, petrol and tiberium from C&C. It is a crystallized power. I am very distrustful of a power running loose, a power without a clear and compelling instructions on it. I don't trust Humvees and Porsches, I trust tractors and combines. So we have this powerful extremely multi-functional substance turned loose in society and then we have a lot of shoulds and shouldn'ts to mitigate its negative effects, and man, these are some effects. In your or my country it almost seems that money are manageable, but those watching conditions globally know very well, that they aren't and stopped being long ago. About 40 years ago, so to speak.

You remember the old but legendary game Deus Ex? In the end, you have three choices. Either destroy the super- Internet and turn the world into local city-states, or let the global IT and automatized infrastructure be managed by a benevolent half-human, half AI super-entity, or give power back to the Illuminati (again) and let them solve problems through the power of tradition, 20th century capitalism, invisible hand of market and even more invisible and long institutional fingers.
Guess which choice was my favorite.
Hint: I lived at a village and worked for a corporation and it wasn't worth much.

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