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Last Build Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:41:56 +0000


Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by nigelj

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:41:56 +0000

Thomas @309 My understanding is neoliberalism generally includes ideas of competition, free markets, very fluid immigration, extensive privatisation, self regulation, deregulation, flat taxes, minimal labour laws etc. It opposes subsidies. As below: I don't have a problem with competition or free trade, and some moderate level of immigration, its the rest that can go too far, and doesn't always make sense, or seem fair minded. The whole thing can become dogmatic like a religion, and panders to the corporate sector. Neoliberalisms track record has had some failures as below. Basically a light weight version of neoliberalism works, but too much neoliberalism becomes toxic very quickly, almost like the growth of an exponential curve. I'm going by observations in my country, as we pioneered these ideas I'm embarrassed to admit (Roger Douglas in the 1980s). Some elements have worked well, others have not worked as the advocates claimed they would. This will not help the dummies that want everything simple, black and white, right or wrong, sadly. It's complicated, and that's just how it is.

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by nigelj

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 06:13:24 +0000

Nemesis @303 ” And even the greed of wall street can be of benefit…” "Wonderful. So we don’t have to worry about anything, because capitalism will solve all problems soon. All the discussions about “saving the planet” and shit is just a waste of time anyway, just let’s trust in capitalism, the free market. I mean, the planet does not need to be saved anyway, " Now you are quoting me out of context, the same sort of pathetic trick used by climate denialists. What I said was"And even the greed of wall street can be of benefit, if governments regulate the sector more firmly to contain the worst excesses" Surely you can comprehend this? Perhaps not. Corporations are driven to make profits, nothing wrong with that, and some executives will be greedy by nature. These excesses can be controlled with government rules and so on. Read what BPL has said. Sorry, I feel you deliberately twist what I say, deliberately miss the point, just want to score points, and are way out of your depth. It gets boring for me listening to that. Anybody can criticise "the system", that talk comes cheap and means little. You have not provided a workable alternative. "Sharing stuff" is not an alternative that actually means anything, and is not viable in the real world on global scales.It didn't work to well in the USSR because of human nature. Basically sharing as an economic system works in very small communities, but doesn't work in large modern, more anonymous societies and certainly not globally. I personally like the way modern Scandinavia approaches these things by combining capitalism with elements of socialism in pragmatic, sensible ways. But you are so cynical you would probably not be satisfied with that.

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by Nemesis

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 05:16:05 +0000

The complete funny story in a nutshell. Communism vs capitalism, islam vs christianity, right vs left, democrats vs republicans, climate believers vs climate deniers ect ect ad infinitum: " As there was nothing else to do while on the train, I turned on the radio and decided to listen to a talk show. On this particular program they had two opposing politicians in, debating the then upcoming election. I listened for a while, wishing I could get a decent music station, or had bought some CDs with me. The debate was getting boring, and was essentially becoming a right/left conflict: Give up your social freedom for more economic freedom, or give up your economic freedom for your social ones. Damn, that was stupid! I found myself thinking. So basically, I have to give up some sort of freedom, in order to gain another? Looking closely, there wasn’t even that much of a choice. To take benefit of the "economic free market" of the Right means you have to have the money in the first place. And on the left, without economic freedom, social freedom was nothing, as money is a large part of the social structure. So was there really a choice? To be sure, there are some differences. Certainly among the personalities involved. But the basic philosophy was the same. Almost all our current politicians come from the "Oxbridge elite", those lucky few without enough connections or cash to get into those 2 universities. This is pretty much the same for the leadership of both parties, whether right or left wing. And either way, it basically benefits them, as they are richer than their constituents who they supposedly represent. However, you can con an honest man, if you do it with two men. Make them look like opposing teams, like a "thief" getting caught at a jewelers and a "copper" taking the stolen goods as evidence. But in reality, they are both working ultimately for their own benefit. That’s the way politicians keep conning the public. We get the same old guard year after year, being moved by their party from safeseat to safeseat. That’s modern politics. Keep voting yourself pay rises and make sure there aren"t equal taxes applied to the rich. And people wonder why fringe parties and apathy are on the rise."

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by nigelj

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:38:49 +0000

Al Bundy @311 I read Ayn Rands fountainhead years ago and also Atlas Shrugged. I don't agree with her point of view. While individual selfish pursuits are not always a bad thing, she is basically giving a very one sided account of economic life slanted utterly towards the private sector utterly ignoring the failings of corporations. It reflects her history growing up in the distortions of the USSR. I'm a fan of the Scandinavian model. But they are basically capitalist societies with some sensible socialism attached on. They pick and choose various ideas at will. They have a consensus of putting interests of children first, and using this to help decide the best economic ideas, and end up with a good mixture of right and left leaning ideas.

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by Thomas

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:20:59 +0000

305 Ray Ladbury says: "I’m saying that nobody has a plan for this, nor even an inkling of how to come up with a plan." Where's your evidence that is true Ray? How long have been looking for one, and where have you been looking? Because an absence of (known) evidence is not evidence of absence Ray. Neither is a lack of awareness of X any kind of credible evidence for possessing a profound level of awareness. As per Rumsfeld's Unknown Unknowns etc.:-) The majority of human beings only place their attention on those things that interest them, or demand their attention and they ignore the rest. They usually run out of time to be able to focus on anything else than their core business. eg scientists tend to focus on science, their families and hobbies and that's about it. eg activist White Supremacists and Billionaire businessmen don't have much time (or interest) for researching climate science. :-)

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by nigelj

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:20:31 +0000

BPL @301, I couldn't agree more. The profit motive is a powerful and great tool, but its like a dangerous weapon as well, that can lead to toxic outcomes sometimes. There have to be limits and rules on how corporations are allowed to operate.

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by Thomas

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:06:15 +0000

typo -- The LAST thing it was, was “challenging”

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by Thomas

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 04:05:28 +0000

311 Al Bundy says: "I’m in the last chapters of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”." Oh you poor bugger. I feel for you. I read Atlas Shrugged in my last year of High school. It was a challenge then because I was not aware wtf the story.intent was supposed to be about. I have no idea who Ayn Rand was, nor what she stood for, nor how dysfunctional a person she was. I simply read the book. I thought before starting to read it and as the early chapters flew past, that it was a "fiction book" trying to make a broader cultural point. By the time I got to the end, it made no sense whatsoever. My conclusion as a 16/17 year old was that it was garbage and not worth reading in the first place. The thing it was was "challenging". Decades later, and after eventually finding out wtf Ayn Rand was and what so many people "thought about her great works" well I simply shook my head. I heard about Paul Ryan's "best book he has ever read"? Far out! No I never read another Ayn Rand book and have never come to regret that in many decades! Each to their own I suppose, "there but for the grace of God go I" as they say.

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by nigelj

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 03:59:06 +0000

zebra @300 “…define capitalism flexibly…” "That’s the problem. " I respect your desire for precise definitions, but I think the social sciences are harder to be precise about than laws of physics. I think the normal dictionary definition of capitalism is ok even if its pretty broad. I'm struggling to think of better, but find your attempts pretty interesting. What we should really do is be precise about what we are promoting or saying in terms of policy details (Nemesis take note) Just as an aside, I don't have a problem with capitalism with other ideologies welded on. They are not always mutually exclusive. That should be the real target of discussion. "The standard definition of capitalism is private ownership, competitive free markets, individual freedom, etc. Its rather descriptive and simply differentiates from state ownership. Its crude I guess, but there’s a fundamental difference between private and state ownership." "Crude indeed– my point is that now both Right and Left can pick any element of that kind of laundry-list description and blame the negative effects on “capitalism” or “socialism”. A logical fallacy to be sure, but when has that ever stopped either side’s extremes?" Yes but no matter how you define capitalism, people will still blame the ills of society on the profit motive, bankers, hoarding capital, etc,etc. Anything associated with capitalism will be criticised and totally shredded! Of course these things are not inherently wrong, but there are sometimes valid criticisms of how they are applied, but the real problem is it all gets confused because people have poor logic. "1. You seem to have trouble with this time axis thing. Can you answer the question I posed to BPL about subsistence farmers? BPL BPL," It was a good question, but subsistence farmers that own private property and are free from too much state control, or local government control over what they choose to farm are really capitalists. I think Vietnam operates like this. If property is held more in common, communally, as in some older subsistence farming communities, that is not really capitalism. I would also suggest theres ultimately no hard dividing line between capitalism and other systems. Capitalism evolved and didn't come into being suddenly, instantly with a fully developed text book. Early hunter gatherers were egalitarian and property was often communally owned. The specialisation of labour that goes back to early farming communities 10,000 years ago, gradually lead to more private ownership and control, and took off in a big way with the industrial revolution, because state control and / or ownership of everything became cumbersome. It also obviously involved increased use of private capital as a way of funding private ventures. In other words technological complexity lead more and more to markets and ultimately capitalism. That's not to say private ownership suits everything. "As another example, I read recently about the Germanic tradition of the journeymen, who travel around providing services but can only accept food and lodging for their work. They “own” their tools (means of production). But, they can’t accept money and so accumulate wealth. Are they “capitalists”? Tough one. I think it's a peculiar version of capitalism like a subset. Or maybe its something else different from capitalism or socialism or whatever. Accumulation of wealth can be in money or goods obviously, but all societies have some of this. That's why I think capitalism comes back more to whether the individual or state owns the wealth. ( Of course in sensible countries there's a mix of both regardless of any "ism" we apply or how we define it. Even america has a public ownership of some things. St[...]

Comment on Unforced Variations: August 2017 by Thomas

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 03:55:29 +0000

306 Mal Adapted, I see that you didn't get the obvious point, that I have no interest in playing 'mind' games with you or anyone else. Try an open mic stage for budding stand up comics? I am not interested in your bs. Savvy? That's a Knife! :-)