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Posted: 17 June 2013 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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LogicMan - 17 June 2013 11:59 AM

Humans always pursue their own self-interest. All one can do is design a system around this fact.

As if competition is the only way to benefit oneself. We’ve already seen where such logic is leading us right now in the current state of our economy. Humans are just as capable of making sacrifices as they are at being selfish.

Collectivist systems never work.

“Collective systems” have existed long before capitalism. One reason they haven’t worked on a massive level in recent centuries is due to the lack of technology to properly allocate and distribute resources efficiently and deal with resource scarcity. That is no longer an issue. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they have failed because they weren’t really “collectivist” in the first place. They were centrally ran by single individuals/groups with enormously concentrated power, which ALWAYS leads to corruption and inefficiency, like this current system. Capitalism has that same problem as power get’s pushed in a single direction. Such systems will only work for the people when they are democratically run.

And yes, robots do create jobs. They destroy jobs, but lead to the creation of new ones. That is what technology has done throughout the history of the entire industrial revolution. We could go back to the 1800s and you be saying, “Machines don’t create jobs, they destroy them.” Yes, they did destroy certain jobs, but they let humans have the freedom to be able to create lots of new ones as well. Then came computers, which also destroyed certain professions, but led to the creation of lots of new ones. The productivity achieved for the overall economy by these things also helps create more jobs. Robots will do the same. They will destroy certain jobs while leading to the creation of wholly new ones.

No, that is not an example of “robots creating jobs.” That is an example of people figuring out ways to accommodate to the loss. My point is that we are at a point in history where the entrepreneur can no longer keep up with it, and it’s happening right now.

I am not sure how capitalists are “denial” as there is no hard evidence that robots are causing more jobs to be destroyed than replaced right now.

They are in denial when they can only point to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution as if it’s somehow proof that it can’t happen, while ignoring the presently exponential rate at which technological advancement is currently progressing.

The problem though is that every attempt at socialism ever tried has failed. And there never will be a shortage of “smart” people who have grand plans on how they can create a better society than what we have now. What you need to keep in mind is that creation of any utopian “perfect “society will never happen, because of human nature. All we can do is create the systems that function the least badly, whether government (democratic government) or economy (market capitalism).

I’m not arguing for a utopia. Libertarian socialists are the last people to argue for a utopian society, because we don’t believe that one could ever exist. What I’m arguing for is progression. Capitalism was better than feudalism and monarchies, yet it is still severely flawed, and we are seeing why right now.

And I have no idea what you are talking about when you keeping speaking about “human nature”. Human nature is highly malleable by environment and personal experiences. The radical individualism that we are dealing with right now is mostly learned, and can easily be educated out of a society. Repeatedly preaching that people are genetically determined to forever be jerks doesn’t prove that this it is actually the case.

Corruption, crime, poverty, etc…will always be problems that plague society. The issue is how well a society is able to manage them.

It will always be a major problem when you live in systems that perpetuate social stratification, like this one. The problem is that society has no real power to “manage this system” like you say, because it is designed in such a way to keep power in the hands of a small group of people.

I do not personally see patriotism as something only adhered to by lesser minds (if anything, I think sometimes it’s the opposite, a lot of people who look down on the concept of patriotism only do so because they think of themselves as being a lot more intelligent than what they actually are). That said, blind patriotism is not a good thing. Regarding soldiering, the kind of soldiering you are thinking of that was mindless was back when you had the officers (who themselves had to be highly educated) commanding the soldiers in formations marching with muskets, and the soldiers just had to blindly follow the orders without any critical thinking. The modern military is much different.

Patriotism and nationalism are religions and essentially pointless. Intelligent people are capable of falling into such nonsense too. It’s called a failure in critical thinking or simple ignorance of history. 

And blindly following orders in the military is the norm, not the exception.

People choosing to go into credit card debt to buy things they don’t need is to a good degree their own choice. It is a lack of personal responsibility. University and college used to be a lot cheaper, where one could work and pay their way through them. The problem is that with the drive to get “everyone” to go to university, and thus all of the subsidies that were started up, it has caused a great deal of inflation in the cost of higher education as a result.

The behaviors, beliefs, and traditions of individuals in a particular culture tend to be highly influenced by the norm/paradigms of that culture. As I said, you can’t separate a society’s economic system from it’s culture. Again, capitalism plays a HUGE role in getting us to this point.

Yes, lots of things were done to the Native Americans, but one of the things that contributed to their downfall was their becoming dependent on the fine goods of the Europeans and settlers and forgetting their own survival and craft skills that they had relied on previously. The reason they became dependent on those goods is because they were of such better quality. And like all humans, they liked them as a result.

But self-sustainable living can easily be taught, and as you have said, it’s possible to live just as comfortably (“rich” like you say) in a sustainable lifestyle. As has already been demonstrated, their over-depency was primarily environmentally caused, not simply a product of “human nature”. At least admit that.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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Lois - 17 June 2013 12:38 PM
Cloak - 15 June 2013 02:49 PM
Lois - 15 June 2013 02:45 PM
Cloak - 14 June 2013 09:13 PM
Lois - 14 June 2013 08:01 PM

Stay in Canada.

I don’t think you’re understanding my point though. If the real issue is inequality, then just trying to remove guns doesn’t solve the issue. Violence will still increase. Has not Canada enjoyed a lot more equality than the US until recent years? If so, then those numbers still support my point: inequality makes societies more violent. All this talk about guns, in my opinion, is really beside the point.

The US is one of the most stressed and unequal countries in the developed world. Violence is going to happen. Knowing this, I’d rather have something to protect my family with.

Please explain what you mean about equality increasing in Canada.

We’ve had similar rates of gun deaths in the US for decades.  Is keeping guns available to almost anyone going to fix that problem or is it likely to make it worse?

Again, as I’ve said over and over again, placing further restrictions on responsible gun owners in a society with increasing inequality, border problems, and easy access to millions of firearms is not going to solve the problem. It is going to compound it.

And I never said that “equality is increasing in Canada”. I said that Canada’s equality levels have been higher than the US’ for decades, and that the gap/disparity is only recently starting to close.


Why doesn’t placing restrictions on easy access to guns compound the problem in other countries? Why does it cause fewer deaths in other countries instead of compounding the problem as you claim it would here?  Name one country with strict gun controls that had anywhere near the number of gun deaths the US has had per capita. Is there something inthe water in the US that causes vastly different outcomes from the same conditions in other countries?

I’m not exactly sure how to restate it. I’ve tried to state this as clearly as possible. There are many things in this country that needs to change before such a measure would be considered a good idea. Inequality is increasing, millions of firearms are already here. Nothing significant is being done about our border problems. You may have not been in a situation where you have had to protect your family from someone who won’t stop trying to break in simply because you ask them to. I have. You can rail as much as you want about guns, I’m going to keep mine right here and continue to protect my family with it.

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Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Lois - 17 June 2013 12:38 PM

Why doesn’t placing restrictions on easy access to guns compound the problem in other countries?

It does, in countries similar to the U.S. in that sense.

Why does it cause fewer deaths in other countries instead of compounding the problem as you claim it would here?

In the case of the U.K., they have had lower levels of gun violence than the U.S. long before enacting strong gun control laws. And one reason the problem would be compounded here is that even if all guns were banned tomorrow, there are still three hundred million guns in the country in circulation.

Name one country with strict gun controls that had anywhere near the number of gun deaths the US has had per capita. Is there something inthe water in the US that causes vastly different outcomes from the same conditions in other countries?

Mexico. And yes, one is the gang warfare in the major U.S. cities.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Cloak - 17 June 2013 12:58 PM

As if competition is the only way to benefit oneself. We’ve already seen where such logic is leading us right now in the current state of our economy. Humans are just as capable of making sacrifices as they are at being selfish.

That’s like saying that humans are just as capable of being good as being evil. Yes, but if you try designing a society that relies on people being good to one another, it will fail miserably. You have to design a society that assumes people will always act in their own self-interest. Also, do not confuse acting in one’s self-interest with selfishness. They are not one and the same. A society can consist of people who try to help one another but still otherwise act in their own self-interest (pursuing their own goals, dreams, etc…). Helping one’s fellow human doesn’t mean one must be a collectivist.

“Collective systems” have existed long before capitalism. One reason they haven’t worked on a massive level in recent centuries is due to the lack of technology to properly allocate and distribute resources efficiently and deal with resource scarcity. That is no longer an issue.

Collectivist systems, to the extent they have ever worked at all, have only functioned in very small groups. And there is no technology that can properly allocate and distribute resources efficiently and deal with resource scarcity. To claim that shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how an economic system works. There is still no way to gauge consumer demand when trying to centrally plan the economy. Prices, which provide information about supply and demand in an economy, are constantly in flux.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they have failed because they weren’t really “collectivist” in the first place. They were centrally ran by single individuals/groups with enormously concentrated power, which ALWAYS leads to corruption and inefficiency, like this current system. Capitalism has that same problem as power get’s pushed in a single direction. Such systems will only work for the people when they are democratically run.

Market capitalism is mostly democratically run. To the degree there is centralization, it is only in the form of organizations people form to be able to produce goods and services. And then the government provides regulations and also controls monetary policy. But otherwise, a market economy is a democracy for the production and distribution of the goods and services in the economy.

No, that is not an example of “robots creating jobs.” That is an example of people figuring out ways to accommodate to the loss. My point is that we are at a point in history where the entrepreneur can no longer keep up with it, and it’s happening right now.

Says who? And yes it is an example of machines/computers/robots creating jobs in that it frees up humans to produce more goods and services. Early on, most people were in agriculture. Than mechanization allowed that to become a minority and thus people were freed up to produce other additional goods and services, with most being employed in manufacturing. Then gains in productivity in this grew, thus further freeing up people and allowing most to be employed in services. Which is one key element you are missing here. You talk about robots taking manufacturing jobs away—-manufacturing jobs have been on the decline for a long time now due to machinery. But it hasn’t stopped the economy from growing. 

They are in denial when they can only point to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution as if it’s somehow proof that it can’t happen, while ignoring the presently exponential rate at which technological advancement is currently progressing.

I don’t think anyone is saying that it “can’t” happen, but that fears that it is or will happen are thus far without precedent. As said, manufacturing employment has been declining for many years now, but we manufacture more things than ever before.

I’m not arguing for a utopia. Libertarian socialists are the last people to argue for a utopian society, because we don’t believe that one could ever exist. What I’m arguing for is progression. Capitalism was better than feudalism and monarchies, yet it is still severely flawed, and we are seeing why right now.

Yes, it’s the system that functions the least badly. Same with democratic government. It too is severely flawed, but I don’t know of any alternatives to it. 

And I have no idea what you are talking about when you keeping speaking about “human nature”. Human nature is highly malleable by environment and personal experiences. The radical individualism that we are dealing with right now is mostly learned, and can easily be educated out of a society. Repeatedly preaching that people are genetically determined to forever be jerks doesn’t prove that this it is actually the case.

Human nature, to a certain degree, is malleable by environment and personal experiences, but other aspects of human nature remain fundamentally the same across all societies, which is why socialism always fails no matter where it is tried and market capitalism always succeeds so long as the proper institutions for it are put into place.

As for individualism, you’re again confusing self-interest with selfishness. Individualism/self-interest is not mostly learned, that is how humans are. You cannot educate individualism/self-interest out of a society. Didn’t happen in the Soviet Union or any other communist society that tried it. However, you can to a degree educate selfishness out. A core pillar of a society or culture can be helping one’s fellow human when one can, and through things like church and charity, and so forth. This is one of the core misconceptions many leftists have about the political right-wing, that those who believe in market capitalism and individualism advocate a philosophy of not caring about one’s fellow person.

You are confusing individualism/self-interest with people having the attitude that they don’t care about their fellow person or community at all, which is not the case. But a society must always be structured around the idea that people will act in their own self-interest. No society that is structured on the good will of people alone will work.

It will always be a major problem when you live in systems that perpetuate social stratification, like this one. The problem is that society has no real power to “manage this system” like you say, because it is designed in such a way to keep power in the hands of a small group of people.

Perpetuate social stratification? One of the hallmarks of market capitalism is how it has democratized economic opportunity and standard of living so much and only continues to do so. Power yes is concentrated in certain ways, but not anywhere near like it is in socialist systems. It is utopian to envision some system where there is no concentration of power whatsoever.

Patriotism and nationalism are religions and essentially pointless. Intelligent people are capable of falling into such nonsense too. It’s called a failure in critical thinking or simple ignorance of history. 

And blindly following orders in the military is the norm, not the exception.

I’d say it’s a failure in critical thinking to have such a view about patriotism. Patriotism is just pride in one’s culture, nation, etc…it has nothing to do with blindly thinking one’s nation/people/culture are better than everyone else. Patriotism is oftentimes an individual endeavor, something that a person will remain quietly when not popular and devote effort to. Nationalism, by contrast, is much more prone to being cultlike. It is often a mass movement, involving the collective. It is a wave movement, a mania, that people get caught up in, and usually has the view that one’s nation is better than others.

I would disagree that “blindly following orders” is the norm in the military. 

The behaviors, beliefs, and traditions of individuals in a particular culture tend to be highly influenced by the norm/paradigms of that culture. As I said, you can’t separate a society’s economic system from it’s culture. Again, capitalism plays a HUGE role in getting us to this point.

Depends. Who are some of the most ardent proponents of market capitalism? Conservatives. And what are the values of conservatives? Thrift, prudence, self-reliance, restraint, hard work, etc…that is why bankers (good bankers, not the bankster types of Wall Street these days) are often naturally conservative in that sense. So a culture that emphasizes market capitalism does not necessarily emphasize the type of thinking that leads people to get into credit card debt. Selfishness, greed, etc…are not reliant on market capitalism itself.

But self-sustainable living can easily be taught, and as you have said, it’s possible to live just as comfortably (“rich” like you say) in a sustainable lifestyle. As has already been demonstrated, their over-depency was primarily environmentally caused, not simply a product of “human nature”. At least admit that.

It wasn’t environmentally caused, it was a product of human nature. They liked the better stuff. That’s natural.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Cloak - 17 June 2013 01:03 PM
Lois - 17 June 2013 12:38 PM
Cloak - 15 June 2013 02:49 PM
Lois - 15 June 2013 02:45 PM
Cloak - 14 June 2013 09:13 PM
Lois - 14 June 2013 08:01 PM

Stay in Canada.

I don’t think you’re understanding my point though. If the real issue is inequality, then just trying to remove guns doesn’t solve the issue. Violence will still increase. Has not Canada enjoyed a lot more equality than the US until recent years? If so, then those numbers still support my point: inequality makes societies more violent. All this talk about guns, in my opinion, is really beside the point.

The US is one of the most stressed and unequal countries in the developed world. Violence is going to happen. Knowing this, I’d rather have something to protect my family with.

Please explain what you mean about equality increasing in Canada.

We’ve had similar rates of gun deaths in the US for decades.  Is keeping guns available to almost anyone going to fix that problem or is it likely to make it worse?

Again, as I’ve said over and over again, placing further restrictions on responsible gun owners in a society with increasing inequality, border problems, and easy access to millions of firearms is not going to solve the problem. It is going to compound it.

And I never said that “equality is increasing in Canada”. I said that Canada’s equality levels have been higher than the US’ for decades, and that the gap/disparity is only recently starting to close.


Why doesn’t placing restrictions on easy access to guns compound the problem in other countries? Why does it cause fewer deaths in other countries instead of compounding the problem as you claim it would here?  Name one country with strict gun controls that had anywhere near the number of gun deaths the US has had per capita. Is there something inthe water in the US that causes vastly different outcomes from the same conditions in other countries?


I’m not exactly sure how to restate it. I’ve tried to state this as clearly as possible. There are many things in this country that needs to change before such a measure would be considered a good idea. Inequality is increasing, millions of firearms are already here. Nothing significant is being done about our border problems. You may have not been in a situation where you have had to protect your family from someone who won’t stop trying to break in simply because you ask them to. I have. You can rail as much as you want about guns, I’m going to keep mine right here and continue to protect my family with it.

You live by the gun, you die by the gun.  Suit yourself.

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Posted: 17 June 2013 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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LogicMan - 17 June 2013 06:32 PM
Lois - 17 June 2013 12:38 PM

Why doesn’t placing restrictions on easy access to guns compound the problem in other countries?

It does, in countries similar to the U.S. in that sense.

Why does it cause fewer deaths in other countries instead of compounding the problem as you claim it would here?

In the case of the U.K., they have had lower levels of gun violence than the U.S. long before enacting strong gun control laws. And one reason the problem would be compounded here is that even if all guns were banned tomorrow, there are still three hundred million guns in the country in circulation.

Name one country with strict gun controls that had anywhere near the number of gun deaths the US has had per capita. Is there something inthe water in the US that causes vastly different outcomes from the same conditions in other countries?

Mexico. And yes, one is the gang warfare in the major U.S. cities.

Which is as bad as it is for no other reason but the availability of guns.  You can’t get away from it.  But you’d make sure the availability of guns continues and the gang problem is never improved. It’s a vicious circle.

Lois

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Posted: 17 June 2013 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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LogicMan - 17 June 2013 06:32 PM
Lois - 17 June 2013 12:38 PM

Why doesn’t placing restrictions on easy access to guns compound the problem in other countries?

It does, in countries similar to the U.S. in that sense.

Why does it cause fewer deaths in other countries instead of compounding the problem as you claim it would here?

In the case of the U.K., they have had lower levels of gun violence than the U.S. long before enacting strong gun control laws. And one reason the problem would be compounded here is that even if all guns were banned tomorrow, there are still three hundred million guns in the country in circulation.

Name one country with strict gun controls that had anywhere near the number of gun deaths the US has had per capita. Is there something inthe water in the US that causes vastly different outcomes from the same conditions in other countries?

Mexico. And yes, one is the gang warfare in the major U.S. cities.

Which is as bad as it is for no other reason but the availability of guns.  You can’t get away from it.  But you’d make sure the availability of guns continues and the gang problem is never improved. It’s a vicious circle.

Lois

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Posted: 17 June 2013 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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Lois - 17 June 2013 07:51 PM

You live by the gun, you die by the gun.  Suit yourself.

lol. So I’m guessing that I should have just let them come in and do what they want to my family. Because, ya know, if I “live by the gun, I will die by it”, right? Yeah, sure, excellent argument. This is just evidence that you don’t have a response. No big deal, suit yourself.

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Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

- Bruce Lee -

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Posted: 17 June 2013 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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LogicMan - 17 June 2013 07:03 PM

That’s like saying that humans are just as capable of being good as being evil. Yes, but if you try designing a society that relies on people being good to one another, it will fail miserably. You have to design a society that assumes people will always act in their own self-interest. Also, do not confuse acting in one’s self-interest with selfishness. They are not one and the same. A society can consist of people who try to help one another but still otherwise act in their own self-interest (pursuing their own goals, dreams, etc…). Helping one’s fellow human doesn’t mean one must be a collectivist.

Humans are just as capable of being constructive as they are destructive. Cooperative or competitive. And nobody here is designing a society that fails to account for jerks. What I’m saying is that your system celebrates and encourages such behavior. What one must understand is that environment plays a significant role in determining how prevalent such behavior will be. As most neuroscientists and biologists will tell you, to get a good idea about how a particular species will develop, you must study it within its relative environment. If a child grows up in a healthy family, with a good education, and lives in a society that teaches a balanced set of healthy individual and collective values, then chances are, he won’t grow up to be a raving sociopath. But instead, you advocate a system which does encourage selfishness and rewards it (the very thing which got us where we are).

Collectivist systems, to the extent they have ever worked at all, have only functioned in very small groups. And there is no technology that can properly allocate and distribute resources efficiently and deal with resource scarcity. To claim that shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how an economic system works. There is still no way to gauge consumer demand when trying to centrally plan the economy. Prices, which provide information about supply and demand in an economy, are constantly in flux.

Personally, I think that technology can do completely without a pricing system to gauge consumer demand (tracking order inputs and trends), but that’s not exactly what I’m advocating. Sure, there is no system that can perfectly do so, but the problem with capitalism is that it an inherently unstable system, breeds social stratification and inequality, is inefficient, wasteful, and environmentally destructive. It also has no real way to deal with disequilibriating forces, non-competitive market structures, and cost externalization. This is why lassez faire markets are extremely dangerous.

Yet regulating it doesn’t solve the problem as regulations only work so long, because, as I said already, regulations can be monetized as well. It’s the nature of the capitalist game.

Market capitalism is mostly democratically run. To the degree there is centralization, it is only in the form of organizations people form to be able to produce goods and services. And then the government provides regulations and also controls monetary policy. But otherwise, a market economy is a democracy for the production and distribution of the goods and services in the economy.

The present reality is, alone, a sufficient refutation of the above statement.

Says who? And yes it is an example of machines/computers/robots creating jobs in that it frees up humans to produce more goods and services. Early on, most people were in agriculture. Than mechanization allowed that to become a minority and thus people were freed up to produce other additional goods and services, with most being employed in manufacturing. Then gains in productivity in this grew, thus further freeing up people and allowing most to be employed in services. Which is one key element you are missing here. You talk about robots taking manufacturing jobs away—-manufacturing jobs have been on the decline for a long time now due to machinery. But it hasn’t stopped the economy from growing. 

As if every single service job is safe from technological advancement, or that you can actually keep up with the current rate at which things are being automated.

You keep harping on the past, as if it’s proof that things will be just fine. Tell that to the 1 million Foxconn workers that are losing their jobs as we speak. And they are just one example. This isn’t the same situation as the past. The rate of change is ridiculous in this current age and experts are only seeing it increase in the coming years. If you think that we can still magically keep accommodating to such changes then you are simply naive. Technology directly reduces labor. That is it’s very nature. Any creative accommodations to the reduction are made by the human, and humans can’t beat the robot, especially as it gets better. A few new jobs for every several hundred lost isn’t going to make a dent in the problem.

Yes, it’s the system that functions the least badly. Same with democratic government. It too is severely flawed, but I don’t know of any alternatives to it. 

How about a decentralized system, where there are many things that are completely free and safe from monetization, and it is the actual workers who own the means of production? That sounds like a great start.

Human nature, to a certain degree, is malleable by environment and personal experiences, but other aspects of human nature remain fundamentally the same across all societies, which is why socialism always fails no matter where it is tried and market capitalism always succeeds so long as the proper institutions for it are put into place.

As for individualism, you’re again confusing self-interest with selfishness. Individualism/self-interest is not mostly learned, that is how humans are. You cannot educate individualism/self-interest out of a society. Didn’t happen in the Soviet Union or any other communist society that tried it. However, you can to a degree educate selfishness out. A core pillar of a society or culture can be helping one’s fellow human when one can, and through things like church and charity, and so forth. This is one of the core misconceptions many leftists have about the political right-wing, that those who believe in market capitalism and individualism advocate a philosophy of not caring about one’s fellow person.

No, I’m not saying that right-wingers advocate selfishness. I’m saying that their celebrated system does. And no, I’m not confusing the natural tendency to take care of oneself as selfishness. I’m quite aware of the differences. I’m saying that capitalism encourages SELFISHNESS and human exploitation. And I’ve already told you why socialism has failed, and that I’m not arguing for a “society that is structured on the good will of people alone”, so I’m not sure how to respond to that.

Perpetuate social stratification? One of the hallmarks of market capitalism is how it has democratized economic opportunity and standard of living so much and only continues to do so. Power yes is concentrated in certain ways, but not anywhere near like it is in socialist systems. It is utopian to envision some system where there is no concentration of power whatsoever.

As I’ve already said, it works for a while, until someone figures out how to win even more at everyone else’s expense. Then we start to see the “other hallmarks” of the system. Power doesn’t just merely get “concentrated in certain ways”. It eventually gets concentrated absolutely. This is why the 1% basically rules the world right now, in case you weren’t aware. That “social stratification” thing I was talking about? Yeah, that’s right now, and it’s due to capitalism.

I’d say it’s a failure in critical thinking to have such a view about patriotism. Patriotism is just pride in one’s culture, nation, etc…it has nothing to do with blindly thinking one’s nation/people/culture are better than everyone else. Patriotism is oftentimes an individual endeavor, something that a person will remain quietly when not popular and devote effort to. Nationalism, by contrast, is much more prone to being cultlike. It is often a mass movement, involving the collective. It is a wave movement, a mania, that people get caught up in, and usually has the view that one’s nation is better than others.

I would disagree that “blindly following orders” is the norm in the military. 

Who gives a heck about a particular nation and its symbols? The only “patriots” of the past that we’ve respected are famous because they devoted their lives to a positive ideal or to the benefit of the people, not to a symbol. What really makes those people special is not their “patriotism”, but their humanity. Who cares whether he is impressed or has “pride in his nation or culture”? That’s his/her thing. That means nothing to me. What I’m more concerned with is whether or not one’s actions benefit people. Like I said, patriotism is basically pointless, and doesn’t really tell me anything good or bad about the person.

But in reality, it’s nothing but semantics/definitions. It depends on how you define it, so I don’t really care to continue discussing it, because it is pointless in itself.

And that’s fine that you “disagree” about blindly following the orders being the norm in the military. I disagree with your disagreement. smile

Depends. Who are some of the most ardent proponents of market capitalism? Conservatives. And what are the values of conservatives? Thrift, prudence, self-reliance, restraint, hard work, etc…that is why bankers (good bankers, not the bankster types of Wall Street these days) are often naturally conservative in that sense. So a culture that emphasizes market capitalism does not necessarily emphasize the type of thinking that leads people to get into credit card debt. Selfishness, greed, etc…are not reliant on market capitalism itself.

What? Now you’re just being silly. I’m guessing that if we find a conservative whose in credit card debt, that just totally throws your theory out of the window, right? And I love how you try to separate those “mean old Wall Street types” as if none of them support your ideals, kinda like an embarrassing uncle or cousin. Here’s a secret: you can be self-reliant and hard-working, yet still be a greedy selfish prick. Nothing contradictory there.

It wasn’t environmentally caused, it was a product of human nature. They liked the better stuff. That’s natural.

You can say that as much as you want, but the history, as asanta mentioned, as well as the fact that people can easily be educated into or out of unsustainable/sustainable living shows that your argument is on shaky ground.

[ Edited: 18 June 2013 10:16 AM by Cloak ]
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Posted: 18 June 2013 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Cloak - 17 June 2013 08:58 PM
Lois - 17 June 2013 07:51 PM

You live by the gun, you die by the gun.  Suit yourself.

lol. So I’m guessing that I should have just let them come in and do what they want to my family. Because, ya know, if I “live by the gun, I will die by it”, right? Yeah, sure, excellent argument. This is just evidence that you don’t have a response. No big deal, suit yourself.

If it weren’t for the free availabilty of guns in this society, they probably woudn’t have had guns, and the situation would be far less likely to present itself. It’s the free availability of guns that makes thieves feel powerful and able to commit any kind of crime and often get away with it.  They know that a gun is going to put them in a superior position in most instances.  There are many fewer home invasion robberies in countries with strict gun control, than in the US.  The reason you think you need a gun “to protect your family” is for the very reason that guns are so easily obtainable by those who would execute such attacks. How much protecting could you do when several armed people invade your home and can position themselves in multiple directions? You and your family would most likely be killed in an explosion of gunfire.  But you will resist any law to limit guns, making these situations possible and likely.  You apparently prefer the chance to have a bloodbath than to prevent these situations. Having a gun gives a false sense of safety. In most situations you and your family far more likely to be killed than to scare off armed criminals. Yet you will protect their rights to have guns because you have falsely convinced yourself that you can protect and your family yourself against armed marauders, who will only become more bold and devious the more guns they can obtain. They know very well that if you manage to kill or maim one of them, that they can shoot you or your family multiple times in response. Armed criminals have the upper hand in nearly every sitation. That’s what it means to live by the gun and die by the gun. You are far more likely to be killed or to have a family member killed than you are to protect anyone. The fact that you can arm yourself so easily means the criminals can do the same.  Believe me, you will be outgunned in nearly every situation. The crimimals will always have the upper hand with a gun in it.

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Posted: 18 June 2013 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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Lois - 18 June 2013 08:54 AM
Cloak - 17 June 2013 08:58 PM
Lois - 17 June 2013 07:51 PM

You live by the gun, you die by the gun.  Suit yourself.

lol. So I’m guessing that I should have just let them come in and do what they want to my family. Because, ya know, if I “live by the gun, I will die by it”, right? Yeah, sure, excellent argument. This is just evidence that you don’t have a response. No big deal, suit yourself.

If it weren’t for the free availabilty of guns in this society, they probably woudn’t have had guns, and the situation would be far less likely to present itself. It’s the free availability of guns that makes thieves feel powerful and able to commit any kind of crime and often get away with it.  They know that a gun is going to put them in a superior position in most instances.  There are many fewer home invasion robberies in countries with strict gun control, than in the US.  The reason you think you need a gun “to protect your family” is for the very reason that guns are so easily obtainable by those who would execute such attacks. How much protecting could you do when several armed people invade your home and can position themselves in multiple directions? You and your family would most likely be killed in an explosion of gunfire.  But you will resist any law to limit guns, making these situations possible and likely.  You apparently prefer the chance to have a bloodbath than to prevent these situations. Having a gun gives a false sense of safety. In most situations you and your family far more likely to be killed than to scare off armed criminals. Yet you will protect their rights to have guns because you have falsely convinced yourself that you can protect and your family yourself against armed marauders, who will only become more bold and devious the more guns they can obtain. They know very well that if you manage to kill or maim one of them, that they can shoot you or your family multiple times in response. Armed criminals have the upper hand in nearly every sitation. That’s what it means to live by the gun and die by the gun. You are far more likely to be killed or to have a family member killed than you are to protect anyone. The fact that you can arm yourself so easily means the criminals can do the same.  Believe me, you will be outgunned in nearly every situation. The crimimals will always have the upper hand with a gun in it.

Except your scenario didn’t happen in my case. They ran off when they realized that the home owner was armed. And after they ran off, they were arrested later. Sure, you can always bring up tons of hypothetical situations, and I would have to respond to each scenario wisely and to the best of my ability, but until you’ve been in an actual situation, you’re doing nothing but talking. And in case you haven’t been reading anything I’ve posted, AGAIN, the reason that I think I need a gun to protect my family is not “because of the availability of guns”. As I’ve said repeatedly, the current conditions are continuously deteriorating. Violence is and will continue to increase. If you think that gun restrictions are so effective, and reduce crime (the thieves would be “less emboldened” as you apparently think), then you haven’t been reading the numbers. Most of the places in the US with the strongest gun restrictions happen to be some of the most dangerous places to live. Try living in Detroit or Chicago (and many other places in the US) right now, or even Mexico, or the UK, and then come talk to me.

Basically, in light of the facts, your little theories about the mind of a thief fall apart. Most thieves are looking for a quick and easy score. Few of them are willing to risk their lives against an armed home-owner to get it, though, which is why most of them will run when they hear a gunshot. Ask a local police officer, and they will likely tell you the same thing. Criminals are more emboldened when they are NOT anticipating a gunfight. Bottom-line, in a country with massively increasing inequality or deteriorating economic conditions, tight gun restriction laws are counterproductive.

[ Edited: 18 June 2013 10:21 AM by Cloak ]
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Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

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Posted: 18 June 2013 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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Lois - 17 June 2013 07:56 PM

Which is as bad as it is for no other reason but the availability of guns.  You can’t get away from it.  But you’d make sure the availability of guns continues and the gang problem is never improved. It’s a vicious circle.

Lois

Mexico’s bad situation is not “for no other reason but the availability of guns.” It’s more like a totally corrupt government, corrupt institutions, poor-functioning legal system, corrupt police, powerful drug cartels, and so forth. Mexico doesn’t have violence because it has a lot of guns. It has a lot of guns because it has so much violence.

[ Edited: 18 June 2013 02:32 PM by LogicMan ]
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Posted: 18 June 2013 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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Cloak - 17 June 2013 09:23 PM

Humans are just as capable of being constructive as they are destructive. Cooperative or competitive. And nobody here is designing a society that fails to account for jerks. What I’m saying is that your system celebrates and encourages such behavior. What one must understand is that environment plays a significant role in determining how prevalent such behavior will be. As most neuroscientists and biologists will tell you, to get a good idea about how a particular species will develop, you must study it within its relative environment. If a child grows up in a healthy family, with a good education, and lives in a society that teaches a balanced set of healthy individual and collective values, then chances are, he won’t grow up to be a raving sociopath. But instead, you advocate a system which does encourage selfishness and rewards it (the very thing which got us where we are).

I do not advocate a system that encourages selfishness. Market capitalism no more encourages selfishness than any other system does. And who said anything about raising a kid to be a sociopath? The way you describe raising a child is the way any decent person would seek to raise a child.

Personally, I think that technology can do completely without a pricing system to gauge consumer demand (tracking order inputs and trends), but that’s not exactly what I’m advocating.

Tracking order inputs and trends via technology is already done. To actually gauge consumer demand in the way needed to centrally plan the economy would require being able to read minds.

Sure, there is no system that can perfectly do so, but the problem with capitalism is that it an inherently unstable system, breeds social stratification and inequality, is inefficient, wasteful, and environmentally destructive. It also has no real way to deal with disequilibriating forces, non-competitive market structures, and cost externalization. This is why lassez faire markets are extremely dangerous.

Disagree completely. To the contrary, what you have provided a perfect description of is socialism, not market capitalism. Capitalism without a market can do this, but with a market, and in conjunction with liberal democracy, market capitalism reduces social stratification and inequality, increases efficiency, reduces waste (seriously how can anyone argue market capitalism is inefficient or wasteful, when we have decades of proof that it’s alternative, socialisms, is far more inefficient and wasteful and people are incentivized to be as efficient and non-wasteful as possible when profits are at stake?), and far more environmentally friendly. Sure, market capitalism can hurt the environment, but then so does socialism, and unlike socialism, market capitalism creates technology that develops enough to address environmental concerns.

Cost externalization can be dealt with via taxes on certain things, as for non-competitive market structures, those are just something a society has to deal with. Again this baffles me, because either you allow competition (free-market capitalism) or you don’t (non-competition). You can’t complain both are wrong.

Yet regulating it doesn’t solve the problem as regulations only work so long, because, as I said already, regulations can be monetized as well. It’s the nature of the capitalist game.

Regulating it works very well, but just isn’t a panacea and has flaws inherent to it as well.

The present reality is, alone, a sufficient refutation of the above statement.

What “present reality” do you speak of?

As if every single service job is safe from technological advancement, or that you can actually keep up with the current rate at which things are being automated.

So what if they aren’t safe? No job is safe. That is how free economies work. 

You keep harping on the past, as if it’s proof that things will be just fine. Tell that to the 1 million Foxconn workers that are losing their jobs as we speak. And they are just one example. This isn’t the same situation as the past. The rate of change is ridiculous in this current age and experts are only seeing it increase in the coming years. If you think that we can still magically keep accommodating to such changes then you are simply naive. Technology directly reduces labor. That is it’s very nature. Any creative accommodations to the reduction are made by the human, and humans can’t beat the robot, especially as it gets better. A few new jobs for every several hundred lost isn’t going to make a dent in the problem.

There is no real proof or evidence to anything you are saying here though. Yes, technology reduces labor. So what? It allows us to create new jobs as well. You speak of the “rate of change” from a one-sided perspective, regarding jobs lost. You forget that rapid change means lots of jobs gained as well. We had the most rapid change over the last thirty years and yet we have also seen the most economic growth over the last thirty years as well. As for the Foxconn workers, that sucks, but the same thing has happened numerous times in the past.

How about a decentralized system, where there are many things that are completely free and safe from monetization, and it is the actual workers who own the means of production? That sounds like a great start.

Sounds like the communist fantasy. Two things:

1) Nothing is safe from monetization. You want goods or services, you have to produce something to trade. The medium of exchange that we use in society is what gets called money. There is no way to have a society with no money except at the very small group level and even then, trading still occurs.

2) How exactly would the workers own the means of production? If you mean worker-owned businesses, well we have those already. If you mean through the government, well that is socialism. Also, why should the workers own the means of production? If I scrape together the capital, take the risk, and start a widget-manufacturing operation, I own that business, not the workers, and no one has any right to take that away from me. The workers did not take the risk or do any of the work to get the project started. I trade them money for their labor.

No, I’m not saying that right-wingers advocate selfishness. I’m saying that their celebrated system does. And no, I’m not confusing the natural tendency to take care of oneself as selfishness. I’m quite aware of the differences. I’m saying that capitalism encourages SELFISHNESS and human exploitation. And I’ve already told you why socialism has failed, and that I’m not arguing for a “society that is structured on the good will of people alone”, so I’m not sure how to respond to that.

Again though, market capitalism doesn’t encourage selfishness anymore than any other system does.

As I’ve already said, it works for a while, until someone figures out how to win even more at everyone else’s expense. Then we start to see the “other hallmarks” of the system. Power doesn’t just merely get “concentrated in certain ways”. It eventually gets concentrated absolutely. This is why the 1% basically rules the world right now, in case you weren’t aware. That “social stratification” thing I was talking about? Yeah, that’s right now, and it’s due to capitalism.

1% has always ruled the world. Only it used to be a fixed 1%, whereas now, anyone can join the percentage labeled “the 1%” thanks to market capitalism. And also, the standard of living of the average person only continually keeps going up and up. I have already explained that power used to be far more concentrated in the early days of market capitalism than it is now.

Who gives a heck about a particular nation and its symbols? The only “patriots” of the past that we’ve respected are famous because they devoted their lives to a positive ideal or to the benefit of the people, not to a symbol. What really makes those people special is not their “patriotism”, but their humanity. Who cares whether he is impressed or has “pride in his nation or culture”? That’s his/her thing. That means nothing to me. What I’m more concerned with is whether or not one’s actions benefit people. Like I said, patriotism is basically pointless, and doesn’t really tell me anything good or bad about the person.

People “give a heck” about a particular nation and its symbols when they are proud of things like what the nation stands for, its history, art, architecture, music, literature, etc…whether patriotism is “pointless” or not I cannot really say, my point is that the notion patriotic people are those who do not engage in critical thinking I do not agree with.

But in reality, it’s nothing but semantics/definitions. It depends on how you define it, so I don’t really care to continue discussing it, because it is pointless in itself.

And that’s fine that you “disagree” about blindly following the orders being the norm in the military. I disagree with your disagreement. :)

The modern military is not like the republic-era Roman legions.

What? Now you’re just being silly. I’m guessing that if we find a conservative whose in credit card debt, that just totally throws your theory out of the window, right? And I love how you try to separate those “mean old Wall Street types” as if none of them support your ideals, kinda like an embarrassing uncle or cousin. Here’s a secret: you can be self-reliant and hard-working, yet still be a greedy selfish prick. Nothing contradictory there.

A “conservative” in credit card debt wouldn’t really be a conservative at that point, unless there was a really compelling reason to end up that way. And I separate the Wall Street types because they do not adhere to any conservative principles. They are extremely greedy and very prone to taking risks because they know they’ll be bailed out if the system comes crashing down. And yes, one “can” be self-reliant and hard-working, yet still greedy and selfish, but that’s rarer.

You can say that as much as you want, but the history, as asanta mentioned, as well as the fact that people can easily be educated into or out of unsustainable/sustainable living shows that your argument is on shaky ground.

How so? “Sustainable” living would still be living rich by Native American tribal standards of the time. Everyone likes to live rich, it’s just to what degree.

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Posted: 18 June 2013 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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Yeah, this is getting way too long for me, friend. This could apparently go on forever. Anyways, I’ve got a lot going on right now, and can’t afford to devote so much time to such large and increasingly complex posts. I’m going to bring this down a bit before it swells out of control, and give you a few points for clarification:

I do not push globalized economic planning. I push community/participatory planning, which is done on localized democratic levels, while in friendly cooperation (and maybe even competition) with other communities. Yes, worker owned businesses are examples of this. What I’m saying is that this should be the norm in communities. A better modern example is worker’s self-directed enterprises (WSDE’s). This can be done with or without currency, so I don’t have a problem with societies developing alternate currencies such as the Bitcoin in order to keep track of value and demand. When a person has to subject himself to another person in an unequal trade of labor and resources, then he is not truly free, because he really doesn’t want to do it in the first place. There should be available alternatives, a sentiment that any Libertarian should understand.

Secondly, sustainable living is simply living conscientiously. How that may look in each household and each community is relative to a large number of factors, and I’m sure that you can agree with that. The point I want to make is that people off of the grid can technically live just as happy and comfortably as others on the grid. People like Michael Reynolds has gone to the extreme to demonstrate with his radical architectural designs of self-sustaining homes. One does not have to be of a particular political affiliation to adopt such principles, because it directly benefits the one who adopts them. The focus on sustainability is also a focus on self-sufficiency (such as the “DIY culture”), something that I do advocate. But people can also take care of one another by exchanging free information, content, and whatever resources are needed for individuals and communities to sustain themselves (see Open Source Ecology, Open Access Movement, Open Source Movement, Free Software Movement, Remix Culture, Creative Commons; etc etc etc) and perpetuate democratic cultural progression.

What we could likely agree with is reduction of the state. One of the first things that should happen is that more power should be granted back at the local state level. The more reduction, the more power the people have. This is something that any true Libertarian can agree with.

Whether or not things happen exactly as Libertarian Socialists envision, there needs to be a unified movement that is determined to reduce this power. Regardless of whether you are on the left or right, we are moving closer and closer to totalitarianism, and it must be stopped before it’s too late.

This is not an argument. I just want to clarify some of my views, and reduce some of the unnecessary tension that has generated. You can respond if you want though.

Take care! smile

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