Questions for capitalists.
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02-11-2013, 11:28 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
Term reform is designed to combat the very problem of which you speak, and I wasn't necessarily talking at the presidential level (the congressional level is where is does the most good). But thats the idea, instead of infinite 2 year terms for congress you give them one 6 year or 8 year term. Basically put an end to the career politician, put an end to the begging for money that dominates a congressman's time and energy. Holding office should be something you do to make a difference once you are accomplished/retired, not a career, not a stepping stone to back-room corporate pension.

States rights sound well and good (and it is for a lot of things) but states can't stand up to multi-national corporations. Buying a state level election/official is trivial for all but the largest of states and coincidentally the influence/market share that the larger states will hold pretty much guarantees that CA and TX will be deciding most of the regulatory policies for the nation. We need protection at the national level for the environment, food safety, healthcare... Hell without centralized government the Southern 'taker states' would be as good as doomed (yet the advocate it anyway, the fools). How can Rohde Island or North Dakota keep in a check a corporation like Walmart whose GDP is larger than Norway's?

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02-11-2013, 11:48 AM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(02-11-2013 11:28 AM)ridethespiral Wrote:  instead of infinite 2 year terms for congress you give them one 6 year or 8 year term. Basically put an end to the career politician

Agreed

Quote:States rights sound well and good (and it is for a lot of things) but states can't stand up to multi-national corporations. Buying a state level election/official is trivial for all but the largest of states and coincidentally the influence/market share that the larger states will hold pretty much guarantees that CA and TX will be deciding most of the regulatory policies for the nation.

It works the opposite. It's much easier for a corporation to buy off one set of politicians in Washington who are thousands of miles from voters and completely out of sight, and their budgets are so huge that nobody can account for them. Here's a video where the Fed admits "losing" $9 trillion and not knowing where it went. That's over half the nations gdp! That could NEVER happen at the local level. It's much harder for a corporation to buy off 50 state governments, which have stricter oversight, than 1 federal government that has no oversight. I'd want the power moved even MORE locally. In Switzerland, the average population of each autonomous district is only 250,000 people, and this works much, much better. So, I'd like to see not only moving the power back to the state level, I'd like to go a step further since the states are already so big, and move it to the local level, and have big cities like LA and NY split into autonomous districts. Even a city like NY already has a government that's so big the people can't keep account of what's going on.

Also, look at the real world. In Switzerland they push everything to the state (canton) level and it works the opposite of what you say. Neutral organizations that rank corruption have ranked them as being one of the least corrupt, along with New Zealand, which has a population of 4 million. The most corrupt governments are usually the really big ones with centralized power, like Russia, China and India.

Are you basing your opinion on any empirical data? Or you just like centralized power so you're fabricating facts (like centralized governments are less corrupt) to support your opinion?

Quote:We need protection at the national level for the environment, food safety, healthcare... Hell without centralized government the Southern 'taker states' would be as good as doomed (yet the advocate it anyway, the fools). How can Rohde Island or North Dakota keep in a check a corporation like Walmart whose GDP is larger than Norway's?

I concede the environment (pollution of air and water) is difficult to localize because the pollution of one state flows into the others. However, as for the rest, like standing up to Walmart, local governments are MUCH more effective. Lots of local governments have been able to block Walmart's expansion into their communities by denying building permits and other local ordinances. Some small towns even have rules limiting the size of retail operations in their town. I'm not saying whether or not I'm in favor of it, I'm merely pointing out the fact that local governments, which look after a small population, are MUCH better able to keep a watchful eye and put the brakes on abusive corporations than a Federal government 2,000 miles away responsible for 300 million people.
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02-11-2013, 03:03 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
@ridethespiral, @Chas, @cjnr, et al,

Here's a serious question for you guys....

All of us agree that when a corporation gets a monopoly or becomes huge and monolithic it is devastating for the customers. That much centralized, concentrated power leads to corruption, price gouging and other disasters. We agree how bad it was when Standard Oil, AT&T and other corporations got too much power and have no competition. We agree that when they get too big, they abuse the power and feel like they are above the law.

BUT, when the corporation in question is a government, suddenly you flip sides and think a monopoly is wonderful, the bigger the better, centralized and concentrated power is great. Why? What's the difference?

After all a government and a corporation are fundamentally the same thing. They are both entities where the stakeholders get to vote on who runs the entity. They both have voting rules that determine who gets a vote. They both operate by a set of laws (bylaws). In fact, every time you drive into a town you see a sign reminder you that a government IS a corporation (City of Los Angeles, incorporated 1850).

The only fundamental difference is that governments get to use guns and can lock up people. To me, that means it is even MORE important that power not be concentrated.

This debate also reveals a fundamental difference in the way libertarians approach matters. We use the scientific method and start by doing research, fact-finding and applying logic tests and THEN we reach a conclusion. Whereas others start with an opinion, and then if forced to back it up, either ignore the challenge or cherry-pick a few facts. See how @Chas and I disagreed on whether a patent system promotes or inhibits innovation? The intuitive answer is that it promotes it. But as a libertarian, you suspend that and start by looking for empirical studies and research and realize that low and behold, the research proves it's actually the opposite. When I asked @Chas what research and studies he used to reach his conclusion, I got no answer. There was none.

Now with @ridethespiral it's the same thing. We're debating if, when it comes to government, bigger centralized governments are more or less corrupt than small ones. Again, as a libertarian, you start with research. Look at Transparency International's ranking of government corruption:

What countries are on top? Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Australia, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Hong Kong, Barbados, Belgium. And NONE of them has a big, centralized government. They are all either small countries, or, like Australia and Canada, they operate Federalist systems that decentralize the power. They also all have a lot of political parties. Now scroll to the bottom of the list. In last place is North Korea, with one political party, and the most concentrated, centralized power. The US is in 19th place, and while I'm arguing that to become less corrupt we should do what the least corrupt countries do, namely disperse the power and encourage more political parties. @ridethespiral is arguing we should be more like North Korea and concentrate the power.

Just like I asked @Chas what studies he used to form his opinion about patents, I'll ask @ridethespiral what studies he used to conclude that concentrated, centralized power makes a government LESS corrupt. I can already safely predict there are none, because every study out there confirms that governments are no different than corporations; monopolistic, centralized, concentrated powers are disastrous.
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02-11-2013, 03:13 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(02-11-2013 03:03 PM)frankksj Wrote:  @ridethespiral, @Chas, @cjnr, et al,

Here's a serious question for you guys....

All of us agree that when a corporation gets a monopoly or becomes huge and monolithic it is devastating for the customers. That much centralized, concentrated power leads to corruption, price gouging and other disasters. We agree how bad it was when Standard Oil, AT&T and other corporations got too much power and have no competition. We agree that when they get too big, they abuse the power and feel like they are above the law.

BUT, when the corporation in question is a government, suddenly you flip sides and think a monopoly is wonderful, the bigger the better, centralized and concentrated power is great. Why? What's the difference?

After all a government and a corporation are fundamentally the same thing. They are both entities where the stakeholders get to vote on who runs the entity. They both have voting rules that determine who gets a vote. They both operate by a set of laws (bylaws). In fact, every time you drive into a town you see a sign reminder you that a government IS a corporation (City of Los Angeles, incorporated 1850).

The only fundamental difference is that governments get to use guns and can lock up people. To me, that means it is even MORE important that power not be concentrated.

This debate also reveals a fundamental difference in the way libertarians approach matters. We use the scientific method and start by doing research, fact-finding and applying logic tests and THEN we reach a conclusion. Whereas others start with an opinion, and then if forced to back it up, either ignore the challenge or cherry-pick a few facts. See how @Chas and I disagreed on whether a patent system promotes or inhibits innovation? The intuitive answer is that it promotes it. But as a libertarian, you suspend that and start by looking for empirical studies and research and realize that low and behold, the research proves it's actually the opposite. When I asked @Chas what research and studies he used to reach his conclusion, I got no answer. There was none.

Now with @ridethespiral it's the same thing. We're debating if, when it comes to government, bigger centralized governments are more or less corrupt than small ones. Again, as a libertarian, you start with research. Look at Transparency International's ranking of government corruption:

What countries are on top? Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Australia, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Hong Kong, Barbados, Belgium. And NONE of them has a big, centralized government. They are all either small countries, or, like Australia and Canada, they operate Federalist systems that decentralize the power. They also all have a lot of political parties. Now scroll to the bottom of the list. In last place is North Korea, with one political party, and the most concentrated, centralized power. The US is in 19th place, and while I'm arguing that to become less corrupt we should do what the least corrupt countries do, namely disperse the power and encourage more political parties. @ridethespiral is arguing we should be more like North Korea and concentrate the power.

Just like I asked @Chas what studies he used to form his opinion about patents, I'll ask @ridethespiral what studies he used to conclude that concentrated, centralized power makes a government LESS corrupt. I can already safely predict there are none, because every study out there confirms that governments are no different than corporations; monopolistic, centralized, concentrated powers are disastrous.

A Corporation is responsible to no one but itself and it's shareholders. A Government is responsible to it's people. That is the difference.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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02-11-2013, 03:51 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(02-11-2013 03:13 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(02-11-2013 03:03 PM)frankksj Wrote:  @ridethespiral, @Chas, @cjnr, et al,

Here's a serious question for you guys....

All of us agree that when a corporation gets a monopoly or becomes huge and monolithic it is devastating for the customers. That much centralized, concentrated power leads to corruption, price gouging and other disasters. We agree how bad it was when Standard Oil, AT&T and other corporations got too much power and have no competition. We agree that when they get too big, they abuse the power and feel like they are above the law.

BUT, when the corporation in question is a government, suddenly you flip sides and think a monopoly is wonderful, the bigger the better, centralized and concentrated power is great. Why? What's the difference?

After all a government and a corporation are fundamentally the same thing. They are both entities where the stakeholders get to vote on who runs the entity. They both have voting rules that determine who gets a vote. They both operate by a set of laws (bylaws). In fact, every time you drive into a town you see a sign reminder you that a government IS a corporation (City of Los Angeles, incorporated 1850).

The only fundamental difference is that governments get to use guns and can lock up people. To me, that means it is even MORE important that power not be concentrated.

This debate also reveals a fundamental difference in the way libertarians approach matters. We use the scientific method and start by doing research, fact-finding and applying logic tests and THEN we reach a conclusion. Whereas others start with an opinion, and then if forced to back it up, either ignore the challenge or cherry-pick a few facts. See how @Chas and I disagreed on whether a patent system promotes or inhibits innovation? The intuitive answer is that it promotes it. But as a libertarian, you suspend that and start by looking for empirical studies and research and realize that low and behold, the research proves it's actually the opposite. When I asked @Chas what research and studies he used to reach his conclusion, I got no answer. There was none.

Now with @ridethespiral it's the same thing. We're debating if, when it comes to government, bigger centralized governments are more or less corrupt than small ones. Again, as a libertarian, you start with research. Look at Transparency International's ranking of government corruption:

What countries are on top? Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Australia, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Hong Kong, Barbados, Belgium. And NONE of them has a big, centralized government. They are all either small countries, or, like Australia and Canada, they operate Federalist systems that decentralize the power. They also all have a lot of political parties. Now scroll to the bottom of the list. In last place is North Korea, with one political party, and the most concentrated, centralized power. The US is in 19th place, and while I'm arguing that to become less corrupt we should do what the least corrupt countries do, namely disperse the power and encourage more political parties. @ridethespiral is arguing we should be more like North Korea and concentrate the power.

Just like I asked @Chas what studies he used to form his opinion about patents, I'll ask @ridethespiral what studies he used to conclude that concentrated, centralized power makes a government LESS corrupt. I can already safely predict there are none, because every study out there confirms that governments are no different than corporations; monopolistic, centralized, concentrated powers are disastrous.

A Corporation is responsible to no one but itself and it's shareholders. A Government is responsible to it's people. That is the difference.

Corporations have a vested interest in all their stakeholders, not just shareholders and a board. If you have happy workers for example than they're more productive.
Happy workers don't change jobs or leave as often as unhappy workers which saves on the costs of hiring and training new staff.

And besides, smaller local governments are far easier to be held accountable by the people than national large governments. Simply because people have more say. I mean look at the US government, they start illegal wars, they torture people, they illegally spy on people, they waste $1.5trillion dollars on a glorified welfare on jet fighters that don't fucking work, they get the country into huge amounts of debt that's quickly becoming unmanageable etc.. etc..
Where's the people making the government accountable for all that bullshit?
Where's Bush currently? On his ranch being served the finest wine by one of his servants no doubt. The dude starts an illegal war for oil and get's even richer as a result. Yea, that's accountability right there...

Not saying corporations are any better, those at the top get very rich, but at least everyone knows the purpose of a corporation is to make money...

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02-11-2013, 04:04 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
(02-11-2013 03:51 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(02-11-2013 03:13 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  A Corporation is responsible to no one but itself and it's shareholders. A Government is responsible to it's people. That is the difference.

Corporations have a vested interest in all their stakeholders, not just shareholders and a board. If you have happy workers for example than they're more productive.
Happy workers don't change jobs or leave as often as unhappy workers which saves on the costs of hiring and training new staff.

And besides, smaller local governments are far easier to be held accountable by the people than national large governments. Simply because people have more say. I mean look at the US government, they start illegal wars, they torture people, they illegally spy on people, they waste $1.5trillion dollars on a glorified welfare on jet fighters that don't fucking work, they get the country into huge amounts of debt that's quickly becoming unmanageable etc.. etc..
Where's the people making the government accountable for all that bullshit?
Where's Bush currently? On his ranch being served the finest wine by one of his servants no doubt. The dude starts an illegal war for oil and get's even richer as a result. Yea, that's accountability right there...

Not saying corporations are any better, those at the top get very rich, but at least everyone knows the purpose of a corporation is to make money...


Neither war Bush started was Illegal. They were ill-informed and destructive and ultimately a bad idea but they did follow the legalities. Look at what BP did in the Gulf a Mexico a few years ago. Cost cutting safety for profit and until forced by the Strong Federal American government completely unaccountable to those they directly harmed.

What unfettered Corporate Greed nets you.

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02-11-2013, 04:23 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
I try not to engage in debates with ideologues, certainly not ideological ones.

I don't agree with their assumptions - the assumptions any of of them.
I disagree with libertarians, communists, anarchists, monarchists, Democrats, and Republicans. I'm a freethinker and pragmatist, if you must have labels.

Some problems require big solutions, some require small solutions, and some require no solution at all because they are not actually problems.

Some problems require a solution at a world level - pollution, over-fishing, pandemics, etc.

Problems need to be addressed at the proper level with the proper tools. Check your ideology at the door.

Discussion and resolution can only occur when we listen to possible solutions regardless of whether its in accord with your ideology. Check your ideology at the door.

When one side won't even entertain the possibility of an approach because it is not ideologically agreeable, the discussion is over. Check your fucking ideology at the door.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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02-11-2013, 04:36 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
Quote:A Corporation is responsible to no one but itself and it's shareholders. A Government is responsible to it's people. That is the difference.

Guess you don't know what a corporation is. Think this through. When you say government is responsible to “people” whereas a corporation is responsible to “itself”, well what is a corporation? What color is it? What shape is it? What does it look like? Can you answer those questions? You cannot because obviously a corporation, like a government, simply IS a group of people. Both governments and corporations are abstract concepts, both are groups of people, and both are accountable to people. You're assertion that a corporation is accountable to itself is sillly.

Also, you ignored my facts in the prior post on this. The fact is that corporate responsibilities are defined in the by-laws. Some corporations, like employee run corporations, are accountable to employees. Others, like coops, to customers. Others, like home owner's associations, to residents. What's the difference between a town and a home owner's association? In both cases, every resident within the borders gets a vote, and the entity (the government and the corporation) are responsible to all the residents. Please be SPECIFIC. How do you justify that a town is responsible to “people” whereas a home owners' association is not?

Quote:Neither war Bush started was Illegal

Really? UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said "From our point of view and the UN Charter point of view, it [the war] was illegal." The International Commission of Jurists, the US-based National Lawyers' Guild all concluded it was illegal. The 'pro-legal' side argue that the UN Security Council resolution Saddam violated authorized the use of force, but they ignore that only the Security Council had the legal right to determine what was a violation and when force should be used. Again, did you base your opinion on facts and research? Or just a blanket defense of the government?

Quote:Look at what BP did in the Gulf a Mexico a few years ago.

Exactly! The Iraq war cost around 1,000,000 people their lives. The deepwater horizon spill cost 11. To compensate the victims of the Iraq war the government paid $ZERO. To compensate the victims of the deepwater horizon spill, BP paid $10 billion. The Iraq war cost an estimated $6,000,000,000,000, or $60,000 per American household. How much did they get reimbursed for their losses? 0%. The BP spill caused an estimated $14 billion in damages. And how much did BP pay for it? 100%. And you're arguing that corporations are NOT accountable to people and governments are?!?! How about a reality check.

And you refer to the Bhopal disaster in India, which is the WORST corporate-caused disaster in human history, costing an estimated 3,700 people their lives? Not only do you forget that the corporation in question, UCIL, was 50% government-owned, you also ignore that the loss of 3,700 is NOTHING compared to the tens millions of people who die because of government-caused disasters, like wars. And that the directors of UCIL all went to jail for killing those 3,700 people, whereas the politicians who kill tens of millions also due to negligence don't even get a warning. And you forget that UCIL had to compensate the families of the victims, whereas governments do not. Corporations are infinitely more accountable to people than governments!!! Corporations have to abide by the rule of law. What about Obama's recent repeal of Habbeus Corpus in the NDAA of 2013? Habbeus Corpus has been the most basic human right in any civilized society for 1,000 years since the signing of the Magna Carta. Talk about a giant step backward. We're back to pre-medieval times. Name one corporation that has ever just pulled people off the street and locked them up indefinitely? What about the drones? How many corporations launch drones to kill everyone they don't like?

You just turn a total blind eye to the atrocities of government.
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02-11-2013, 04:42 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
@chas,

Quote: Check your fucking ideology at the door.

EXACTLY! That is exactly what I said. Don't base your opinions on emotion (and ideology). Base it on facts!

The last thing we disagreed on is if the patent system encourages or inhibits innovation. I started with academic research and empirical studies, and formed a conclusion based on them. No ideology involved. You started with your ideological assumption that 'government is good', and refused to even consider the facts and research.

In this current issue, @Revenant77x makes an absurd statement that 'corporations are accountable to themselves' while 'governments are accountable to people' (which I responded to), but even though the statement makes no sense, you still 'like' it because it suits your ideology.

We're debating if small governments with dispersed power are more or less prone to corruption than big governments with centralized, concentrated power. I start by reading Transparency International's report on corruption, get the facts, look for patterns in the data, and then form a conclusion. No ideology involved. You just ignore all that and stick with your ideology.

Unless you can show me that you actually did research to conclude that patents encourage innovation, and big, centralized governments are less corrupt, "Check your fucking ideology at the door".
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02-11-2013, 04:57 PM
RE: Questions for capitalists.
You are aware that to this day Bhopal has not been cleaned up and too this day people die there from cancer and other diseases and the children are born deformed? The settlement the victims received was the equivalent of a paltry 7k US per household and doesn't even scratch the surface of the medical bills, property damage and loss of income.

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