Differences in political views.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
18-09-2013, 05:16 PM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2013 05:29 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Differences in political views.
(18-09-2013 12:50 PM)frankksj Wrote:  @Luminon, I like reading your posts. They're so philosophical. But, again, bringing it down to earth, to the the practical, real-world and 'what can be done today with the tools we have to make the world a better place'. I think it's great that the free-spirited philosophers are planning the next great experiment in civilization. But until then, surely you agree there are concrete steps we can take to make things better?
Yeah! I just made my Bachelor's degree! I passed exams of Law, Public Administration and Economy. That's as practical as I ever get. My philosophical musing is not practical, but it gives me so much energy that it's intoxicating. But I see the subtle reproach and I'll try to do better. See:

(18-09-2013 12:50 PM)frankksj Wrote:  I've previously referred to those measurable tests of how much force a country exerts on it's people on economic and social measures. Switzerland and Hong Kong are always at the top. North Korea, Zimbabwe, are generally at the bottom. If you then plot measures of who is living long, healthy, prosperous lives, it's always a curve where those countries that exert the least amount of coercion on their people do better. When I debate liberals and we ask “well our country is somewhere in between those 2 extremes, what should policy changes should we implement?” I always say “We should move in the direction to be more like the Swiss”, and they're response is often “Well Switzerland isn't perfect, it's not 100% free of coercion, and there are probably better ways. So I think we should head in the opposite direction, towards North Korea where the government exerts more coercion.” Which is to say that you're at a fork in the road. One path leads you to a place where people live long, healthy, prosperous lives. The other to a place where people die young, miserable and destitute. Why would a rational person say “Well because the first path isn't 100% perfect and could be improved upon, I'm going to choose the 2nd path. And I'm going to use force to make you join me on my journey down that 2nd path.”

Then they'll counter "Well what about Sweden and Denmark". But then we go round and round because they assume Sweden and Denmark exert more coercion on their people, but if you look at the facts, they exert LESS. Sure, they have high taxes. But having a tax rate of 40% vs. 30% isn't any more violent or coercive. What matters is if violence is used to enforce it. And both Denmark and Sweden make the payment voluntary; if you don't like it, they have treaties with the other countries in EU that their citizens can move to any of them, including tax-free havens, with no strings attached, no further obligations, without giving up their citizenship. They make it easy. And they have relatively light regulation. And they're generally peaceful and don't fight wars. I would be HAPPY if the US took a step towards being more like Sweden and Denmark. But "liberals" just want their high taxes but don't want their reduction in violence.

So I'll ask another question. What if every country in the world was more like Switzerland. They all just left their people alone and didn't try to force anybody to do anything against their will, and they never had any wars, and they never went outside their borders or tried to coerce other countries, they never killed anybody, they never colonized any land, and they had a system that successfully eliminated poverty and ensured everybody had a home, food and medical care. Wouldn't the world be a better place? Do you think people would be complaining about how rotten the system is if everybody lived like that? So WHY resist living like that now? What's the harm in following that 'live long, healthy, prosperous' path today, while never stopping to find ways to make it even better and find the next evolution?

From a practical standpoint, as an American, the Swiss model is very easy to implement because it IS a copy of the US model. Their constitution was copied from the US's; they just followed it while the US abandoned it. There needs to be only change in the US to fix this; the Supreme Court needs to do it's job as defined in the constitution, the one it sworn to uphold, and strike down any and all laws that stray outside the very limited enumerated responsibilities in the constitution, all of which are to defend liberty, so that the Federal government plays a purely defensive role, and any 'coercion' occurs at the local level where there's automatic checks and balances (ie people can move if it's too much). Easy shmeazy. The only thing holding us back is the club-wielders who insist on using their violence at the national level because they want to be sure that everyone is subjected to it and has no way to escape by moving to another state.
It's all nice what you say, but Switzerland is not a model. It is a geological formation Smile I mean, it's a place with deep historical roots of being safe & sound in the Alps, a freak of nature just like USA, protected between two oceans. Switzerland can hardly be called a nation with modern global culture, they're like frozen in the good old times for the tourists and nature. It works, but it's a small niche. The few good exports that the Swiss have are the Constitution experts. Switzerland can write the best constitutions (political systems) in the world. They probably have to, if all the cantons should agree on them.

I know it's kind of a cheap cop-out that I propose, but let's add another dimension.

Violence vs. freedom is a good start. But what about Russia? When Soviet Union fell, people got free, but it resulted only in millionaires and billionaires rising up all over the place, through scamming their workers during privatization, buying out their company shares really cheap. Then, I heard Russian mafia are tough guys. Others are oil barons like Michail Chodorkovsky and above all rules the unsinkable Putin, who would even sell his soul (and state power) to the Orthodox Church, to stay in power. The same process pretty much repeated in most post-Soviet states and in India today.

Both Sweden and Denmark got very poor as a result of their policies. And Hong Kong has hundreds of thousands of people living like this, cooped up in a cabinet-sized apartments. (which I'd rather call togetherments) Clearly, the place is bursting in seams, drawing poor people from all the region. Clearly it is doing something right economically, but I believe with people living like that, it won't last. It's not HK's fault, it's the fault of China and surroundings that people want to leave. My guess is, the poor people in HK will resort to crime and demand some voice in how the state is run. From there, anything can happen. Riots, terrorism, deportations - or ban on immigration, based on if you already have a job and a place to stay provided in advance, or you don't. Either that, or the people will rise and demand social welfare and HK will have to raise taxes a lot and it will not be HK as it used to be.

So we have an economic freedom, political freedom or lack of thereof, and I say we need at least one more scale. And that is quality of human resources. How well people are educated in real problem-solving skills, how much they care about each other and their country, how active citizens they are, how they keep politicians on a short leash and watch out the things they buy and eat.

If you take this into account, you will see that a country can run pretty well, even if they implement a very bad economic policy like in Sweden and Denmark, even if they have a big sector with lots of redistribution, it will keep running for a few generations and it will almost look like the social state is working.

OTOH, when you take a paper and write "Constitution" on it and "Democracy" right under it, that does not magically make the population democratic. They will stay downbeaten, narrow-minded politically illiterate dolts with several very capable manipulators and opportunists who will quickly rise to seemingly legal power- democratic or financial. So even a democratic process will only invite corruption on a huge scale, only legal and semi-tolerated. That is the case in my country, the politicians are a clique that got so out of touch with reality, that it's sad and ridiculous. But many people still believe campaigns, which is even sadder.
It takes at least 50 years to make the human resources into real citizens, especially in capitalism, where they use about 8 hours a day to earn money, not to get smarter.

So basically, I'd rather propose the Finnish model. In Finland, education is a very special process. They do not have grades. Their teachers are only selected from among the very best students. It's not the institution that Mussolini and Kafka would design together, that we all went through.

People's consciousness is the factor - it needs both the burning light of curiosity, (which is a real and extremely powerful feeling) and the substrate for it, which means thinking tools that allow us to pick apart and understand the world, anything we decide to set our mind to.
Schools must not be factories to make workforce. They must be fun centers where curiosity is fed and nurtured. Curiosity is one of the greatest human virtues, a treasure greater than human blood, plasma or stem cells, yet our system is doing its best to destroy it utterly. Nearly every country, first thing it does is lobotomize the people and keep them lobotomized by schools and sedated by consumption. It's simplier that way for politicians, Coca Cola, McDonald and other parasites.

I tell you, as long as the country is full of lobotomized people, then even a good system has hardly a chance to work. But if a country is full of curious, keen-minded people, then they will make it work even if the system is bad. Even if the Swedish system did not favor production of wealth, they kept it going longer than anyone expected.
And who knows, maybe Swedes will now be just as successful and happy in near-capitalism as they were in the social state.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-09-2013, 05:23 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Quote:chances are extremely extremely low that one will move to a different class.

That's only true in those countries where the government is empowered to use excessive force. The ruling class use it to keep a class of perpetual slaves. Even here in the US, where social mobility is low, 58% of people born into the lowest class (lowest quintile) _DO_ move up the ladder to a higher class, and nearly 17% of those born into the poorest class, end up in the 2 highest classes. And in the more advanced Western European countries, the rate of mobility is MUCH, MUCH higher, with the lion's share of people moving to a different class. Here's the data from: oecd, wikipedia, and one from Forbes that shows that happiness strongly correlates with social mobility. Your generalization that the whole world lacks social mobility is simply factually wrong. The real question to ask is: "What are the countries with high social mobility doing that those are not? How can countries with low social mobility, which are not coincidentally, unhappy, improve?"

I've stated repeatedly how I think they can improve. But I've asked you a few times and yet to get an answer from you. What do you think should be done to make the system better? What alternative do you have to capitalism that you think would work better? And can you think of any country where people are happy and prosperous that does NOT follow the capitalist system you so despise?

Why won't you answer those questions? Every time you ask me a question I show you some respect and answer your questions.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-09-2013, 06:06 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Trulyx, why won't you answer my questions, like I answer yours?

Q: You're debating the definitions of words, but be specific, what POLICIES do you disagree with me on, and can you identify one instance where the difference between us does not come down to my resistance to use physical force, in the clear and literal sense of the word: namely the threat that a material object (fist, handcuff, bullet) will be exerted upon a person to coerce that person into doing something against his will?

Now, I'll answer your questions. Please do me the courtesy of answering the two basic questions I pose to you.

Quote:"Defense" is basically a euphemistic way to putting it. Like the US, calling the infrastructure/institution allowing them to carry out acts of aggression and terrorism against the world a Department of Defense or national defense/security. That would be an example of people using defense arbitrarily for acts of aggression.

Of course when people want to use violence but don't want to admit being violent they'll call it “defense”. But I'm not playing word games, and I use the term very literally and in the most narrow sense, so that argument is irrelevant in our discussion. If someone hits you in the face or pulls a gun to your head, etc. that is the initiation of force. Defense is when you resist that force. When one country drops a bomb on or sends soldiers into another, that is an initiating of force, and I feel self-defense is warranted. But this is so irrelevant because I've never seen you come up with an example where I'm using the idea of 'self-defense' in a loose manner.

Quote:out other arbitrary cutoff points, as part of your post. See: "if the right to self-defense includes purely your body or if it also includes other tangible property". That would be two arbitrary cutoff points... I'd say you don't have a right to either (self-defense or ownership of self or property).

Fine, why can't we agree to disagree? I believe that people DO “own” their own bodies and minds and do have a right to defend themselves from physical force (ie rape, mugging, etc.), and thus can properly delegate that right to an agent to act on one's behalf, like the police. This is the concept of all men having "inalienable rights to life, liberty and property", as embodied by Thomas Jefferson, where inalienable means they can never be taken from you, even if 99% of the population wants to.

You said you don't believe in that. You want the democratic majority to decide what is and is not defensible, including being able to decide what can be done with your body according to majority rule. I think this is dangerous, imagine if 51% of the population are men and they think it's moral to beat and rape women, or 51% of the population is white and thinks it's moral to keep other races as slaves. I also think it's impractical because then the 51% will plunder the property of the 49%. Regardless, even though I disagree with you, I'm content to live peacefully side-by-side with you, and won't try to change you.

I am perfectly happy to see you and those who think like you establish a society with those rules. You can setup a communist society or any other society you want. I'll genuinely wish you find a way to make it successful and be happy. Heck, if you guys are living longer, happier lives, then maybe I'll come join you and surrender my body and property to your collective.

Since I'm so tolerant of your beliefs and content to co-exist with you, why are you insistent on changing me? I'm not asking for my system to be imposed nationwide, or forced on anyone.

Q: Why do you feel the need to legislate your non-propertarian system at the national level so that those who disagree with you have no means of escape? What's wrong with implementing at the smaller, local level, where you can do it peacefully, without a civil war, and just permit those who are unhappy with your system to relocate?

Quote:You don't reject violence, do you? If you accept what you are considering defense, which you seem to be, and especially if you accept systems with justice/police systems/states/etc., that is definitely not rejecting violence.
You've said Switzerland. They have a system of justice, prisons, laws, crimes, etc., in Switzerland right?

I've explained this so many times, but you just don't like my answer. In Switzerland, the criminal laws and laws which coerce people are done at the LOCAL level—and it's made very easy for every Swiss to effortlessly relocate if they don't like the laws. Thus, while I still don't like the coercive laws, they're kept in check, and they can be considered 'voluntary', because you're given the choice of leaving.

Here in the US we could do the same thing two ways: 1) Just follow the constitution which states the Federal government has no role other than defensive and all 'offensive' laws must be at the state level, 2) OR if you're going to absolutely insist on having your oppressive laws at the national, first provide those of us who don't like it a practical way to leave, such as joining the 'European Union', or forming an 'American Union', where if a US citizen doesn't like it, he's guaranteed the right to easily relocate to a wide variety of places where he's sure to find one he likes, with no lingering obligations to obey the laws once he's left the territory.

This is SO simple. I think the problem is that you are demanding the right to force your laws upon everybody else and provide them no means of escape, trapping them like prisoners, but you don't want to admit this so you keep bringing up irrelevant distractions.

Quote:Liberty to you might be all included and described perfectly by being defined as a non-aggression principle, which I pointed out is pretty arbitrary, but others might not have that same view.

It's not a big box. Click the hyperlink 'liberty' and you'll see are the generally two camps (see below). As I've said a million times, I belong to the Classical liberal camp, BUT I do respect those who belong to the Social liberal camp and am willing to co-exist and not try to change them.

Liberty:
Classical liberal conceptions of liberty typically consist of the freedom of individuals from outside compulsion or coercion, also known as negative liberty. This conception of liberty, which coincides with the libertarian point-of-view, suggests that people should, must, and ought to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions, while in contrast, Social liberal conceptions of (positive liberty) liberty place an emphasis upon social structure and agency and is therefore directed toward ensuring egalitarianism. In feudal societies, a "liberty" was an area of allodial land where the rights of the ruler ormonarch were waived.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-09-2013, 06:28 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Luminon,

I disagree that Switzerland has any natural protections. In fact, the opposite. It's landlocked and easy to cut off all access to the oceans, and the Alps are the southern-most flank. They're a natural barrier should Italy want to invade, but the west, north and east are exposed and wide open to a lot of historically aggressive neighboring countries. The US, I'll agree, does have a geological gift.

You're concerned about HK collapsing. But can you think of one example where a country has stuck to the principle of non-aggression and has collapsed? Haven't they all been successful, and the ones that have collapsed all were aggressive?

I was in Russia a few times in the 90's, shortly after the fall. It was so sad. A real tragedy. And I largely blame Reagan. I hate that his philosophy was to start an arms race with both countries spending massively on weapons and wracking up massive debt because he felt the US had the economic edge and could survive this game of chicken longer until the Soviet Union imploded in a chaotic collapse, where the communist leaders who were in power plundered everything and left the rest destitute. I think we should have been the Soviet Union's friend, led by setting a positive example, and that over time the Russians would start pushing for reforms and the communist system could have been unwound gradually in a controlled and hopefully more fair manner.

I agree 100% with you on the merits of the Finnish education system. Who can deny it? They are #1 in nearly every internationally standardized test! I'm not convinced that Sweden and Denmark are total disasters. The fact that they make it very easy for their people to leave with no strings attached means that all the 'low tax' people have left, leaving behind a homogenous, almost completely liberal society where everybody is content to hand over 50+% of their income to the government.

I hate that guys like Krugman hold up Sweden as a model for the US because he wants to cherry pick and copy Sweden's high taxes, but he forgets everything else that Sweden does to make the system work! Sweden actually only has 2 federal income tax brackets: 20% and 25%, plus a 24% VAT and another 20+% in local taxes. So the tax is pretty flat, and and the base broad—everybody pays half, which is the only way they sustain such a system. It could never work in the US because: (a) most Americans don't want to pay half their income in taxes themselves—they always want somebody else to pay the tax, making the tax base too narrow, (b) the US spends it's federal income taxes on wars whereas the Swedes spend it on the people, so doubling US federal income taxes would only double the number of wars, and © the US has 30 times more people than those countries and being so massive, could never operate as transparently as the Swedes. You would never hear of Sweden secretly wire-tapping their people's phones, reading their emails, and lying about it to the people. The Swedish people are more involved and they hold the government accountable and would never let it get away with that stuff.

So, while I don't hold up Sweden as a really good system like I do Switzerland, I actually think Sweden DOES have a better system of government than my own country, the US. I'm sure liberals will be shocked to hear a libertarian say that.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-09-2013, 04:41 AM (This post was last modified: 19-09-2013 04:47 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Differences in political views.
(18-09-2013 06:28 PM)frankksj Wrote:  @Luminon,

I disagree that Switzerland has any natural protections. In fact, the opposite. It's landlocked and easy to cut off all access to the oceans, and the Alps are the southern-most flank. They're a natural barrier should Italy want to invade, but the west, north and east are exposed and wide open to a lot of historically aggressive neighboring countries. The US, I'll agree, does have a geological gift.
Ah, I didn't know that. The Swiss were conquered a few times in history, but I still don't see how comes they've got so easy out of all major wars and centuries of occupations that were common in all the history. War is brutal and it often means genocide of intelligent people. There was a rule until a few years ago that all people with university education are by default backup officers for the army. Enemy forces round them up as officers and execute them. That's what Soviets did in the Katyne forest in Poland and in many other sites across Europe. I wonder if the nations which escaped this fate are much better off economically and politically today.

But I see we agree, Switzerland and Sweden have historical reasons for their wealth and freedom, they did not get hit so hard with all the wars.

(18-09-2013 06:28 PM)frankksj Wrote:  You're concerned about HK collapsing. But can you think of one example where a country has stuck to the principle of non-aggression and has collapsed? Haven't they all been successful, and the ones that have collapsed all were aggressive?
Yes, you're right. I'm concerned that HK will not keep the non-aggression principle, when the poorest people start rioting. HK is rich, but it can only sustain this much people and it's already overcrowded. Either it will act against the poor, or the poor will succeed politically and restrict the favorable conditions for the rich. If the government of China did as HK, people would stay there and didn't emmigrate to HK, there would be much less population pressure. HK works, but not with all the Asian region knocking at its door.

(18-09-2013 06:28 PM)frankksj Wrote:  I was in Russia a few times in the 90's, shortly after the fall. It was so sad. A real tragedy. And I largely blame Reagan. I hate that his philosophy was to start an arms race with both countries spending massively on weapons and wracking up massive debt because he felt the US had the economic edge and could survive this game of chicken longer until the Soviet Union imploded in a chaotic collapse, where the communist leaders who were in power plundered everything and left the rest destitute. I think we should have been the Soviet Union's friend, led by setting a positive example, and that over time the Russians would start pushing for reforms and the communist system could have been unwound gradually in a controlled and hopefully more fair manner.
Oh, but USA was friends with Soviet Union near the end. Near the end, they both knew SSSR is economically weak and collapsing. USA kept sending an awful lot of food aid in form of wheat to the SSSR and it still wasn't enough. Libertarians say that the SSSR only held out for so long, because it could copy the prices of commodities from the U.S. markets and set them centrally, to get at least approximately right how much should everything cost, to avoid the worst market inefficiencies.
And I think USA went along with it, because the politicians needed a strong rival, a threat that got them in power had to be kept standing to keep them in power. If Soviet Union would fail, they'd have to cut military spending, abandon their seats and give way to liberal government.
They eventually had to, but soon they invented the War on Terror ™ - an exclusive global wild goose chase that justifies absolutely anything and can be kept indefinitely. Military spending is today much higher than during the cold war arms race.

(18-09-2013 06:28 PM)frankksj Wrote:  I agree 100% with you on the merits of the Finnish education system. Who can deny it? They are #1 in nearly every internationally standardized test! I'm not convinced that Sweden and Denmark are total disasters. The fact that they make it very easy for their people to leave with no strings attached means that all the 'low tax' people have left, leaving behind a homogenous, almost completely liberal society where everybody is content to hand over 50+% of their income to the government.
They're not total disasters, they got everything right except one thing. They were successful historically, politically and socially (education, freedom, etc), but they forgot what is the origin of wealth.
I say to you as someone who was a huge leftist a couple years ago, I imagined how beautiful it was if companies paid off most of their profit to the people and those who pay the most, get to cooperate with local government on projects like schools and stuff. How big corporations have a social responsibility, not profit as a goal.

However, I did not find a single case where wealth was not a result of free market enterprise system. I do not like private sector, I do not want to work in it or produce goods and services. I am totally a public sector person, leftist at heart. But I have to give in on this one.
Even Sweden and it was originally a very poor country. Sweden opened itself to the free market some time along 19th century and kept at it well into the 20th century. The politicians realized they had nothing, so they might as well open the borders, and they did and it worked.
Not getting destroyed by WW1 and WW2 was essential too. But later in 20th century the public sector grew enormously, while the private sector did not grow at all. The problem with the public sector is, it does not produce surplus. It provides as much goods and services as you pour money into it, usually less, even if it's not corrupt.

So Swedes had this beautiful country, good and smart people and honest public sectors and they kept it working for 3 generations at least. But that still does not mean it's viable! Claiming it's viable would be like these guys on Youtube with a flywheel that is running almost forever, saying they've got a free energy machine. No, Sweden just got very good at preserving its wealth. But in order to do that, it had to abandon the force that produced it, the free market enterprise. Today, if Sweden joined United States, it would be the poorest member.
And really, between 2000 and 2010 they really did cut public spending, the share of public sector in GDP went down seemingly not much, but very much politically speaking on how it originally was.

If you want to know the details, look up Johan Norberg: the end of Swedish model.
My technical mind would say, that Swedes realized they've got to put the foot again on the acceleration pedal, if they want to drive into the future.

(18-09-2013 06:28 PM)frankksj Wrote:  So, while I don't hold up Sweden as a really good system like I do Switzerland, I actually think Sweden DOES have a better system of government than my own country, the US. I'm sure liberals will be shocked to hear a libertarian say that.
I totally agree. I just say both America and Sweden have the same cause for their initial success: free market enterprise system, escaping worst war casualties, small public sector, lots of freedom for everyone to come or leave.
Both USA and Sweden abandoned this gold mine, Sweden to introduce a very efficient welfare state, which I'd totally love to live in, and USA to protect the world from Soviet Union, which later was more like protecting the world from itself. USA has such a privileged position thanks to being an economical hegemony. Remember, if Osama bin Laden had a message of Islam to deliver, he could attack a megachurch in Dallas and kill 24,000 people in one go. No, he attacked a freakin' World Trade Center. Both of them and then some, and then the Pentagon and made an attempt at the White house as well. This has nothing to do with Islam or religion, American government is a global mobster. Even Muslims like OBL realized, why the hell should the global trade have a center and why should it stand in America???
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Luminon's post
19-09-2013, 06:04 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
The United States like any other successful capitalist country, did not get its wealth from being a " free" market ( free for who? For what?)
Capitalist countries get their wealth from force, violence and coercion. How was it a "free" market when humans were forcefully (through laws) moved off their land thus creating a landless working class in the position where they HAVE TO trade their labor (at the buyers price of course) in order to live.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-09-2013, 08:13 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
@Luminon,

Quote:They eventually had to, but soon they invented the War on Terror - an exclusive global wild goose chase that justifies absolutely anything and can be kept indefinitely. Military spending is today much higher than during the cold war arms race.

Agreed 1 million %.

Quote:Johan Norberg: the end of Swedish model

Imagine you have a business that makes widgets, and you have a permanent, fixed staff of 100 people, which are divided into 2 roles: those who fabricate the widgets (produce the goods), and the janitors who play a supporting role keeping the place clean. What is the right % of fabricators vs. janitors? Well imagine if you had 99 janitors and only 1 fabricator who bore the burden of making enough widgets to keep the company going and pay the other 99's salaries. On the other hand, if you had 99 fabricators and 1 janitor, the work load would be much, much less (99x less) since 99 people were making the goods needed to support 100, instead of having the burden on 1 person. But the factory may be so filthy that it's miserable to work, so the employees are willing to move a few factory workers to janitors, knowing that means they'll have to work harder, but it's worth the extra effort to work in a clean environment. So what is the right ratio of fabricator – janitor? The answer is the highest % of fabricators you can have with just enough janitors to keep the place clean.

Government is no different. You have the private sector that makes all the goods and services for the whole population, and the public sector which plays a supporting role providing services and infrastructure to support the private sector. Imagine if 98% of the population worked in the public sector. Sure, there's lots of people to build roads, and lots of teachers. But you the burden on the 2% in the private sector is too much. 2% of the population has to provide ALL the goods and services needed for the entire population. That 2% needs to build all the cars and houses for the 100%, provide all the entertainment, sell all the clothes, etc. The 2% would need to work 1,000 hours/day just to keep up. So, when my fellow liberal Americans say they want a bigger public sector, what they're not taking into account is the extra burden this places on the private sector as there are fewer people making all the goods and services for the whole. They forget that every time the needle moves 1 tick toward the 'public sector' side, it's not just the tax burden that goes on the 'private sector' it's the workload as well. Therefore, the right answer is we should have the largest private sector possible, and that means ensuring the public sector is lean, efficient, and only as big as it needs to be to provide adequate support services.

I'm not too familiar with Sweden's system, but I read once that the difference between the US and Sweden is that Sweden takes a lot of taxes, but then gives the money back to the poorer working class (transfer payments). Thus they're not shifting the % of private vs. public workers, they're just taking money from some in the private sector and giving it to others in the private sector, thus the workload on the private sector doesn't increase. In the US, Americans are loathe to give money to the poor—it's considered a handout. So, instead the income tax money goes primarily to wars, and what's left goes to bureaucracies, like the NSA, the DOE, etc. In other words, every time they raises they're shifting the public vs. private balance, whereas in Sweden they're not. The left defends this by arguing that the Federal government's largest expenses are medicare and social security. But that's wrong; those expenses are NOT paid for with income taxes, they are paid with “FICA contributions”, which is a separate system. Income taxes never go to medicare and ss. So increasing income taxes does not go to medicare and ss—it goes to more wars and useless bureaucracies, and just increases the burden on the private sector.

I think the Swiss model is the most sustainable. Keep the taxation and government at the local government, so the local communities are locked in competition with each other to get residents. That's how the Swiss have a government that takes a smaller % of the total economy than the US, BUT, gives even more services to the people than the Swedes.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-09-2013, 08:31 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
(18-09-2013 05:23 PM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:chances are extremely extremely low that one will move to a different class.

That's only true in those countries where the government is empowered to use excessive force. The ruling class use it to keep a class of perpetual slaves. Even here in the US, where social mobility is low, 58% of people born into the lowest class (lowest quintile) _DO_ move up the ladder to a higher class, and nearly 17% of those born into the poorest class, end up in the 2 highest classes. And in the more advanced Western European countries, the rate of mobility is MUCH, MUCH higher, with the lion's share of people moving to a different class. Here's the data from: oecd, wikipedia, and one from Forbes that shows that happiness strongly correlates with social mobility. Your generalization that the whole world lacks social mobility is simply factually wrong. The real question to ask is: "What are the countries with high social mobility doing that those are not? How can countries with low social mobility, which are not coincidentally, unhappy, improve?"

I've stated repeatedly how I think they can improve. But I've asked you a few times and yet to get an answer from you. What do you think should be done to make the system better? What alternative do you have to capitalism that you think would work better? And can you think of any country where people are happy and prosperous that does NOT follow the capitalist system you so despise?

Why won't you answer those questions? Every time you ask me a question I show you some respect and answer your questions.

I don't believe the capitalist system along with it's government should be functioning at all. I am a communist.

I also believe that capitalism is running just how it was meant to be from the very beginning when Adam Smith wrote about it. When I state the problems of capitalism I am referring to problems that are inherent in capitalism itself, problems that no reform can fix.

As I stated before, there has never been any time period under capitalism in which capital was not derived from the result of force, either on ones own citizens, a foreign government, war etc etc. Capital has to be extracted from the labor of the many into the private property of the few. That is capitalism and no reform is going to stop that.

I also mentioned Adam Smith in his book wealth of nations pointing out how capitalism began in it's modern form. He states quite clearly that wealthier people began to use and manipulate government into enacting land rules that eventually drove farmers off their land and then the wealthier people bought the land up. This process gave birth to the modern wage worker. A landless (most of the time) no property (property that can bring an income like farm land). This situation of a wage worker forces them by circumstance to either work to make someone else's company profits and have no ownership of what his labor produces, or he can refuse to do this and be homeless.

The relationship of the worker and capitalist is not on a level playing field and is not a "free" market. Many times workers are beat up, by the state (which the capitalists use to enforce their control) for trying to decide what they want to sell their labor power for.

Force and coercion upon workers and the working class has always existed in capitalism and is the only way a minority can keep the vast majority as workers working for them. Consumerist culture, bullshit entertainment and news propaganda are other tools used by corporations to keep the propertyless worker believing that he is free.


Drinking Beverage
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-09-2013, 08:40 AM (This post was last modified: 19-09-2013 08:47 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Differences in political views.
(19-09-2013 06:04 AM)I and I Wrote:  The United States like any other successful capitalist country, did not get its wealth from being a " free" market ( free for who? For what?)
Capitalist countries get their wealth from force, violence and coercion. How was it a "free" market when humans were forcefully (through laws) moved off their land thus creating a landless working class in the position where they HAVE TO trade their labor (at the buyers price of course) in order to live.
Well, the early United States before 1929 and WW2 say you're wrong.
Except United States stand on a great theft and conquest of the land with all its resources, the zealous pioneers pressed on from east to west as long as there was no ocean, as long as it wasn't too cold or too hot - and then some.
If Muslim terrorism is terrorism, then Israeli conquest of land is terrorism as well and so is "colonization" of the America.
So in essence you are right. This is how the states were created. Our problem is continuing these violent practices right until today. This nationalism stuff should have been left in 19th century. Today we probably are abandoning nationalism or use it just as a cover of the monetary and resource wars. Wars that destroy more resources than they can steal, so that is an idiotic thing as well. That is a capitalistic competition carried to the extreme. You see how the competition switched so easily from nationalism and military to resources and finances? If I had to describe the embodiment of evil in one word, I'd call it competition.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-09-2013, 08:42 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
@I and I,

Quote:The United States like any other successful capitalist country, did not get its wealth from being a " free" market ( free for who? For what?)
Capitalist countries get their wealth from force, violence and coercion. How was it a "free" market when humans were forcefully (through laws) moved off their land thus creating a landless working class in the position where they HAVE TO trade their labor (at the buyers price of course) in order to live.

First, I asked you to explain how this generalization applies to Switzerland. You keep coming back to the US. But I made a long post showing how the Swiss got to be the most successful capitalist country, more than the US, WITHOUT force, violence and coercion, without ever confiscating land or exploiting anyone, and purely by following free market principles. And, with their free market system they accomplished what no other country has ever been able to do in all recorded history: ensure that the poorest in their society make at least half what the rest does.

It seems you don't contest this, which means your generalization is wrong. A free market system CAN lead to a happy, prosperous society without exploiting anyone if it's done right.

You also ignore the real problem in the US. Remember, even today it's difficult to categorize what are “species”. Are Bonobos and Chimpanzees different species? Scientists are constantly revising. In the 18th century, before the fields of evolution, DNA and modern classification existed, they relied purely on sight. Historically around the world slavery already existed and was never a racial thing (whites owned whites, etc.). But in the US they had a constitution that “all men were created equal”. So the plantation owners basically said “Well we found these creatures in Africa, they're not humans like us, they're some breed of animal, we will import them as livestock.” Similarly the native Indians were also categorized as non-human wildlife. If you read the debates about Thomas Jefferson and the plantation owners over slavery, Jefferson was adamant there could be no slaves because all men are equal. The plantation owners insisted that these African imports weren't men, that they were incapable of high-level thought, and couldn't make decisions for themselves. Humans (sadly imo) have always, even today, been “speciesist” and believe that it's moral to exploit every other species. I only hope that some day when humans evolve into a more advanced species, they don't have the same attitude and have 'human farms' where humans are kept in cages and raised as livestock. And women were just breeding vessels. I cannot imagine the long-term pain I'd feel if in the not so distance past, because of our skin color my people were labeled non-humans, and kept as property.

So I think you're mixing things. The tragedy in the US in the 18th and 19th centuries wasn't that a voluntary, free-market system was a failure and exploited people. Rather, it was HUGELY successful for those who were allowed to participate in it (ie white people). The Statue of Liberty welcomed the 'tired and huddled masses' from around the world coming for a better life. It was a beacon of freedom and opportunity. If, when people came here from Europe, they found an oppressive life where they were exploited by a capitalist class, why did they keep coming? Why is it that during that time, millions of people from all over the world were flocking to the US in droves and it was the #1 destination were they wanted to live? Nobody would pack up their families and spend a month at sea in a miserable boat to reach a land were they were being exploited and suffering. Remember the 'big names' in the US, like the Rockefellers, didn't started out with a privileged upbringing. Rockefeller's dad cut lumber. In fact, whereas in most of the world all the wealthy came from wealthy families and inherited it, in the US, the barons were self-made. The country had a lot of upward mobility. The only possible explanation for why so many people flocked to the US is that the free-market system worked very well and afforded great opportunities—for those who were allowed to participate in it.

Thus, to me, the great tragedy is NOT the free-market system since it proved to be the most successful way for people to lift themselves out of poverty and enjoy a better life. Rather, the great tragedy was racism, the fact that only white men were allowed to participate in the system, and everybody else was livestock. I genuinely believe that if the founders had not been so racist, and the free-market system was open to everyone, and the American Indians were invited to participate as equals and the white people respected their rights to keep their lands, I think the US as a whole would still have turned out to be a rich country, AND that Indians, Africans and everybody else would have shared in the prosperity. You're blaming the free-market system for what happened to those people of color—I'm blaming racism.

Serious question: What do you think would have happened in the US if it wasn't so racist, and all races were invited to participate? Are you saying the US would be a poor country and the wealth came purely from exploitation? If so, why is it that other countries that have tried a pure free-market system WITHOUT racism and exploitation, like Switzerland and Hong Kong, have become equally rich as the US?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: