Questions for capitalists.
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25-10-2013, 10:08 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
Quote:I remember seeing your Hong Kong argument decimated in another thread by cjlr or chas

This says a lot about the strength of our respective positions. I typed many pages containing tons of facts and figures, none of which were disputed, nor the conclusions I reached. Chas found one typo because I condensed the history, which didn't materially effect any of the points I was making, and therefore, you jump on that, claim the whole argument was 'decimated' and dismiss everything.

To clarify, Hong Kong was a small fishing village administered by the British. But after WWII, John James Cowperthwaite, “returned to Hong Kong in 1945 and continued to rise through the ranks. He was asked to find ways in which the government could boost post-war economic outlook, but he found the economy was recovering swiftly without any government intervention. He took the lesson to heart, and positive non-interventionism became the focus of his economic policy as Financial Secretary. He refused to collect economic statistics for fear it would encourage officials to meddle in the economy.”

In 1971 he was able to show the British how well Hong Kong was doing without government intervention, and so in that year, the British made non-intervention the official policy, until it was returned to China.

Since my post was so long, I condensed the history and simply referred to the experiment in laissez-faire capitalism (1971-1997) as a period of transforming Hong Kong from a small fishing village into the world's most successful economic powerhouse. Of course, I should have elaborated that by 1971 before the “official” experiment began, it had already been transformed from a fishing village. This omission was immaterial to the argument. But Chas pounced on this issue of the official vs. unofficial start date and posted a picture from 1971 where you could see that Hong Kong's progress was already underway. Therefore, because of this small and irrelevant omission, you dismiss EVERYTHING I said. But to recap the points I made:

Hong Kong was transformed from a fishing village into the most successful trading hub: undisputed
Per capita income went from $180/year to $33k/year (the same as the US): undisputed
They had the 6th largest stock market, 1st if accounted for size: undisputed
They had the most active harbor in the world: undisputed
They had the most active commercial airport in the world: undisputed
Millions of people immigrated to Hong Kong making it the most densely populated place in the world: undisputed
The standard of living rose dramatically: undisputed
The crime rate fell so that at the end it was the only large city in the world with zero homocides, and had the 2nd lowest violent crime rate of any country in the world: undisputed
Life expectancy shot up, infant mortality down, so they became #2 in the world: undisputed

On and on and on. But you found one typo, so you dismiss the whole thing. That REALLY is a sign of desperation.

Quote:s for your challenge I would go back more than a century to the 1880's and the rise of the robber barons in post civil war America. Worker exploitation, child labor, atrocious working conditions (for a great look at this read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair) all done with little to no government oversight or regulations. This of course lead directly to the formation of Labor Unions and worker safety laws.

Milton Friedman destroys the 'robber baron' myth here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmzZ8lCLhlk

The fact is the period of the “robber barons” the US had the largest flow of immigrants coming to find a better life, and the US became the 'beacon of light on a hill' and a place of hope for the 'tired and huddled masses'. Why would they be coming here in droves only to get crushed and exploited? Friedman has published facts on this period showing that the US, with it's unregulated laissez-faire economy, provided the best place in the world for the average man to be able to improve his lot in life. Some got amazingly rich. And nearly all the great institutions the US has today which make our life better, originated by charitable contributions from the “robber barons”. All the top universities, Harvard, Standford, the Ivy Leagues, the institutions like the human society and spca, and a huge network of charity hospitals providing free care for the poor, and on and on, all came from this period.

So, the reality is that during the 19th century, the country that was most successful at improving the lot of the every day man with the greatest influx of immigrants (the US), practiced laissez-faire capitalism. During the 20th century, the country that was most successful at improving the lot of the every day man with the greatest influx of immigrants (Hong Kong), also practiced laissez-faire capitalism. THEREFORE, you conclude laissez-faire capitalism is bad. And the desperate measure you go to is to compare the 19th century US, where it's true working conditions were atrocious, to 20th century non-laissez-faire countries (like the US and Sweden). What you're forgetting is that during the 19th century, before the industrial revolution, EVERYWHERE on the planet working conditions were atrocious. The only reason they improved so much in the 20th century is BECAUSE of the laissez-faire system and the industrial revolution it brought, which ushered in much, much greater efficiency and automation, which thus empowered workers to be able to demand better working conditions, and allowed the most laborious tasks to be handled by machines.

It's pathetic to blame laissez-faire capitalism for the harsh conditions in the 19th century since they were harsh everywhere at that time, and it's ridiculous to look at the huge advancements we've made in the 20th century as a result of the 19th century laissez-faire capitalism, and use them as an argument against it. Look up on wikipedia the 'historic inventions of the world'. For thousands of years, very little progress. Suddenly, during the age of enlightenment, there is an EXPLOSION of innovation that has completely transformed our lives. Were it not for that period, we would still have a life expectancy of 40 based on subsistence farming.
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25-10-2013, 10:25 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
@I and I,

You complained in an email to me about users posting 'strawman arguments', but that's what you're doing to me too!

My position has always been that whether you have private ownership of the means of production (capitalism) or public ownership (socialism/communism), either way, sometimes it has succeeded (like Switzerland and the Kibbutz), and most of the time it has failed (like Africa and North Korea). THEREFORE, I do not say that either system is good or bad, only that both systems CAN BE implemented well, or poorly, and with either system, when they're implemented poorly and power is concentrated in the hands of a few, it leads to tyranny, oppression, inequality and misery. SO, I focus on the RIGHT implementation, and conclude that with either system, they both work when power is divided and dispersed.

Thus, although I strongly prefer capitalism I am NOT being unfair in comparing capitalism vs. communism.

You, however, are so stubborn that communism is wonderful and capitalism is bad, that you cover your eyes and ears whenever people talk about the failures of communism, but shout from the roof tops the failures of capitalism and cover your ears when people talk about its successes. Originally, I gave you credit for being an intellectual and said that I'm sure you would agree communism had not been implemented well, such as in N. Korea and the Soviet Union. You countered that there was nothing wrong with the way it was implemented. When I ask you to explain why, in both countries, millions of people risk their lives in desperate attempts to escape, why the greatest inequality in the world is in those communist systems, etc., etc., you just ignore this, and somehow insist there's nothing wrong with old-school communism and that it's all wonderful. When I ask you then why you don't move to N Korea, where you'll receive a very warm welcome and can enjoy old-school communism, you go silent. But, when talking about capitalism, I point out that the places in the world which rate as the 'most happy', and which have the lowest inequality, the strongest worker protections, etc., are ALL capitalist countries that have never tried communism, you ignore it.

You just keep insisting that capitalism is always evil, communism is always good, and no amounts of facts and logic will ever convince you otherwise.
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25-10-2013, 10:25 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(25-10-2013 10:08 AM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:I remember seeing your Hong Kong argument decimated in another thread by cjlr or chas

This says a lot about the strength of our respective positions. I typed many pages containing tons of facts and figures, none of which were disputed, nor the conclusions I reached. Chas found one typo because I condensed the history, which didn't materially effect any of the points I was making, and therefore, you jump on that, claim the whole argument was 'decimated' and dismiss everything.

To clarify, Hong Kong was a small fishing village administered by the British. But after WWII, John James Cowperthwaite, “returned to Hong Kong in 1945 and continued to rise through the ranks. He was asked to find ways in which the government could boost post-war economic outlook, but he found the economy was recovering swiftly without any government intervention. He took the lesson to heart, and positive non-interventionism became the focus of his economic policy as Financial Secretary. He refused to collect economic statistics for fear it would encourage officials to meddle in the economy.”

You are wrong about Hong Kong - try doing some actual research.

Hong Kong in 1940:
[Image: 1483victoria.jpg]

Hong Kong in 1930:
[Image: s1930e06.jpg]

Hong Kong 1900:
[Image: HongKongHarbour__early1900s_.JPG]

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-10-2013, 11:15 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
@Chas,

According to Wikipedia the population of Hong Kong in 1945 dipped to 500,000. The per capita income was $180/year.

Every thing I've said about Hong Kong is supported by the Wikipedia pages on Hong Kong. The fact is that during the period of time when they practiced hands-off laissez-faire capitalism, Hong Kong enjoyed the highest economic growth in the world, and the standard of living rose dramatically. These are facts that are not disputed. You're apparently so unwilling to accept this cold, harsh reality that you'll do everything you can to run from it. I'm not even sure WHAT specifically you're trying to dispute.
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25-10-2013, 11:22 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
BTW, although I use facts and figures instead of pictures, even the pictures you post prove my post. Look at the picture of HK Harbor you posted from the 1940's.

[Image: 1483victoria.jpg]

And look at HK Harbor today.

[Image: night-view-of-victoria-harbour-from-victoria-peak.jpg]

I dare you to post me one set of pictures from any other place in the world that shows that kind of progress. Show me the before and after pictures of Stockholm, or any other city that practices a political system you favor. I will bet you that you will run from this challenge because you simply cannot find any other transformation that comes remotely close to what was achieved with laissez-faire capitalism in Hong Kong.

[Image: gmLOb.jpg]
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25-10-2013, 11:50 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
Quote:A fake battle between labor and capital? FAKE????
How many times has the capitalist class paid police to beat working protesters in the past few hundred years?

@I and I, I gave you the example of my small business, I listed the roles and responsibilities, and challenged you to decide who is labor and who is capital. You ran from the challenge, even though I've posted it several times. Thus, you've conceded you cannot tell the difference.

Is there lots of violence between PEOPLE?! Hell, yes. That's why I'm libertarian. That's the one and only thing that differentiates libertarians from the rest--we oppose violence. But when you talk people beating protesters, that has nothing to do with capitalism. Often times the managers of a company beat the workers, even though neither of them have any ownership in the company. Socialist societies beat each other. They beat each other over all sorts of things.

It's disingenuous for you to condemn this violence, but then advocate your OWN violence that is 1000x harsher!!! In free market societies, workers have been abused, but they're always free to leave if they don't like it. However, when I asked you if you got your way and got a communist system installed if I should be allowed to peacefully leave, your answer was "NO". You advocate building a Berlin Wall and shooting me if I try to flee your oppression. That is orders of magnitude more violent than anything that has ever occurred in a factory.
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25-10-2013, 12:52 PM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2013 12:57 PM by Chas.)
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(25-10-2013 11:15 AM)frankksj Wrote:  @Chas,

According to Wikipedia the population of Hong Kong in 1945 dipped to 500,000. The per capita income was $180/year.

Every thing I've said about Hong Kong is supported by the Wikipedia pages on Hong Kong. The fact is that during the period of time when they practiced hands-off laissez-faire capitalism, Hong Kong enjoyed the highest economic growth in the world, and the standard of living rose dramatically. These are facts that are not disputed. You're apparently so unwilling to accept this cold, harsh reality that you'll do everything you can to run from it. I'm not even sure WHAT specifically you're trying to dispute.

You continue to mischaracterize it as "a little fishing village" in the 20th century when it was no such thing.

It was a British Crown Colony and a trading port in the 19th century with government buildings, schools, docks, warehouses, etc.

It does not strengthen your argument to continue this falsehood. Quite the contrary.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-10-2013, 01:29 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(25-10-2013 12:52 PM)Chas Wrote:  You continue to mischaracterize it as "a little fishing village" in the 20th century when it was no such thing.

It was a British Crown Colony and a trading port in the 19th century with government buildings, schools, docks, warehouses, etc.

It does not strengthen your argument to continue this falsehood. Quite the contrary.

As predicted, you ran from the challenge and are off on another tangent. Fine, if you don't like my characterization of Hong Kong as a 'fishing village' (btw, which came from Wikipedia), then I'll retract it. It's immaterial and you're hung up on some irrelevant side point, using that as an excuse to ignore the actual issue.

My claim is that after WWII, the one place in the world that practiced 'positive non-interventionism' and laissez-faire capitalism is also the one place in the world that experienced the greatest transformation over that time, on a variety of measures, like life expectancy, infant mortality, per capita income, population, etc. If you disagree with that conclusion, then I will restate the challenge that I keep making and you keep running away from:

What place, in your opinion, enjoyed the greatest growth and transformation after WWII?

Post your own before and after pictures of some other place that had greater growth. It's an absurd position for you to argue that Hong Kong was not that place, but then keep running from the challenge to find a better example.

Further, you've argued that the period of laissez-faire capitalism which lasted in the US until the 1920's wasn't as successful as libertarians argue. Fine, then

What place, in your opinion, enjoyed the greatest growth and transformation in the 18th and 19th centuries?

You keep running for cover every time I ask those questions, and this only proves that you know I'm right, but you just can't bring yourself to admit it, so you keep getting hung up on irrelevant side points. Sure, it's debatable if the 'before' picture you posted below, when Hong Kong had a population of 500,000 was a "fishing village". But that's immaterial. The point is look at the change in the 'before laissez-faire capitalism' vs the '50 years into laissez-faire capitalism'.

Hong Kong 1940's, before laissez-faire capitalism:
[Image: 1483victoria.jpg]

Hong Kong 50 years into laissez-faire capitalism:
[Image: night-view-of-victoria-harbour-from-victoria-peak.jpg]

New York in the 1920's, built on laissez-faire capitalism:
[Image: newyorkcitylandscape252c1920s252822529.jpg]
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25-10-2013, 01:46 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(25-10-2013 01:29 PM)frankksj Wrote:  New York in the 1920's, built on laissez-faire capitalism:
[Image: newyorkcitylandscape252c1920s252822529.jpg]

Your arguments are weakened by factual errors.

That picture of NYC can't be the 1920's as the Chrysler building was not completed until 1930.

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25-10-2013, 02:19 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
If my arguments are weak, then how come I can accurately and reliably predict what questions you will run from and refuse to address? Isn't it scientifically accepted that the one who understands complex interactions best is the one who can reliably and accurately predict the outcome?

I listed 2 questions in BIG, BOLD type in my last post, and predicted you would run from them and refuse to address them. Big, big surprise. That's exactly what you did. You cannot come up with one example of any other place that did nearly as well as those places that practiced laissez-faire capitalism, so you keep running to irrelevant side points.

This argument about the NY photo is absurd. Do a google search on it. It is all over the internet with the tag NY 1920's: https://www.google.com/search?sa=X&espv=...500%3B1050

And do a google search for "New York 1920's" and it's one of the first images. Plus, according to Wikipedia, the building was officially opened on May 20, 1930, just 4.5 months after the end of the 1920's. Therefore, it's quite likely that all the google images are RIGHT and that you are WRONG, because in all likelihood on December 31, 1929, the exterior was already complete and they were doing interior work.

Therefore, NOT ONLY have you run from my questions, NOT ONLY have you tried to derail the subject to irrelevant side points, BUT ON TOP OF IT, I still believe you're factually wrong and the photo is from the 1920's.
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