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I.O.U.S.A the 30 mins version of the movie?
Posted: 03 December 2008 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What do you guys think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_TjBNjc9Bo

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Posted: 17 December 2008 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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cepr.org has blown the documentary out of the water

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Posted: 17 December 2008 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would imagine that any 30-minute statement on the US economy would be susceptible to charges of oversimplification, but there’s no question that the US economy is now seriously ill and there are few easy resolutions. We have mortgaged our children’s future earnings, and we’ve been able to do so because, as the world’s biggest economy, there’s a lot of fiscal trust in us. We have taken advantage of that and our children will have to default on the debts we have take out in their names—ruining their economy.

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Posted: 17 December 2008 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Chris Crawford - 17 December 2008 09:49 AM

I would imagine that any 30-minute statement on the US economy would be susceptible to charges of oversimplification…

It’s not an issue of “oversimplification” and more of one of highly inaccurate information.

Here is the CEPR exposure of the film:

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/iousa-failed-scare-flick-of-the-decade/

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Posted: 17 December 2008 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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another link from CEPR

this one more detailed: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/iousa-not-ok/

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Posted: 17 December 2008 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Let’s differentiate between short-term and long-term requirements. For the short term there is no doubt that we must accept a huge budget deficit. However, it should be just as doubtless that for the long term we need to reduce the deficit.

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Posted: 18 December 2008 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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that’s a given and not really the point. the point is that it makes no sense to advocate a cut in spending when spending is the thing we need. the film is a joke highlighted by its bad timing.

if we want to talk about healing the economy in terms of short term and long term requirements then here is my two cents:

short term: we must seek reforms that address financial regulation - banks should be put on a tight leash, and we should address issues of income inequality by methods of addressing privatization - social services like health care, education, telecommunications and so forth, and taxation - we need to shift the burden of taxation from the poor to the rich through progressive taxation.

Without getting too lengthy we can look at the current “financial crisis” and see reason enough why they should be highly regulated and contained.

Income inequality is a severe problem in this country and social goods should not be made into atomized, private goods where people’s needs are turned into commodities to be at the mercy of markets.

long term: we need to look at replacing Capitalism all together. The core features of this economic system - private ownership, market allocation, remuneration and corporate division of labor - are key factors behind much of the economic problems we face. It is not enough to deride “greed” while ignoring the structural practices that nurture them.

But neither does this mean the alternative is central planning or coordinatorism like we saw in the USSR or in China and so on.

We need to address economies core elements - ownership, allocation, remuneration, and division of labor - know how certain methods of organizing produce certain results, define what we want and need out of an economy and construct new institutions and practices that give us them.

Already this has been done with Participatory Economics (parecon).

In parecon there would be no private, corporate or state ownership. There would be, however, social ownership in that workers and consumers through their respective councils would be owned and managed by the workers themselves.

In parecon allocation would not be done through markets - which are inefficient and anti-social - or central planning. For the latter, even if it could produce benevolent results - which it never has - it would not empower workers and consumers, give them any meaningful way to democratically manage their economy nor would it do anything to build, improve and strengthen social bonds. Through workers and consumer councils planning could be done democratically, with each actor give a say to the degree they are affected and the inefficiencies of market systems could be remedied through their abolition and institutional practices that allow true costs and benefits to enter into the equation.

In parecon remuneration would be based on effort and sacrifice though tempered by need (ie the eldery, sick, disabled and so on). Compensating people based on private ownership, inheritance or genetic inheritance is unethical. Whereas paying people for the duration and intensity of their work isnt.

In market systems and centrally planned systems there are divisions of labor that produce unequal results. some have empowering and fulfilling jobs while others dont. keeping alienated and unequally divided labor in a parecon would not allow meaningful and functioning participation in the democratic process of planning economies. If I only sweep floors then I will rely on others to make decisions for me. I may vote but my participation is relatively meaningless. The alternative can be balanced job complexes where fulfilling and unfulfilling tasks are divided and distributed more fairly. This also addresses income inequality. This doesnt necessarily mean everyone does all job functions - though in some workplaces this might be possible and preferable depending on the tasks and the size. This does mean, however, that depending on what one desires, qualifies for and what is available could determine what job functions a worker has so that all tasks are done and divided in such a way as to give everyone a meaningful way of democratic participation.

Of course this is just a brief overview the long term solution to systemic inequalities and inefficiencies can be remeded with also allowing economies to be democratized by addressing institutional practices of ownership, allocation, remuneration and division of labor. For a more detailed understanding and the explanations and arguments behind Parecon I suggest these books: The Political Economy of Participatory Economics by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, Parecon; Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert, Economic Justice and Democracy by Robin Hahnel, and The ABC’s of Political Economy by Robin Hahnel

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Posted: 18 December 2008 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Wow. I have never experienced a sharper transition from “What this person is writing is boringly correct” to “What this person is writing is crazy!” This meme you present is full of obvious injustices. For example, if everything is owned by the local group, then what happens when the neighborhood group assigns a shack to the blacks while the dominant white family votes itself the big mansion? Or are you suggesting that all mansions and shacks will be torn down and replaced with huge housing buildings with identical apartments?

What if neighborhood group A adopts one policy while neighborhood group B adopts another policy—can I move from one neighborhood to the other? Wouldn’t we start seeing groups of like-minded people coalesce? Black people move to A, gays move to B, fundamentalists move to C, and so forth? And what happens when these different groups start competing for economic resources? How are those differing demands resolved? Are you proposing a hierarchy of allotment groups, from neighborhood to village to town to city to county to state to country? What happens when the assignment of some resource could rationally be made at several levels—which level gets to make the decision?

I could think of a million other holes in this scheme. Perhaps there are ways of handling them; if you know them, please present them.

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Posted: 18 December 2008 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Chris,

There are ways of handling them. First, your “holes” are more of a reflection of your misunderstanding. I suggest reading at least Parecon; Life After Capitalism. You can read it for free online.

But I will point out some particular errors of your criticisms:

1) you confuse socially owning workplaces with personal property (ie homes)
2) you completely missed the point about self-management where people are empowered to the degree they are affected (ie your comment about whites assigning blacks shacks). This also ties in to your question of which “level gets to make the decision?” The answer is at the level that reflects those affected.

Also, keep in mind what I said about economies: they consist of ownership, allocation, remuneration and division of labor. How we devise our economies will produce certain values. So if we want economies that produce solidarity, equity, diversity, self-management and efficiency then we need to devise institutions and practices that do so.

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Posted: 18 December 2008 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I confess that I don’t have the time to read the entire book, but I did go through the Wikipedia explanation of the idea, and my criticisms have only grown. For example, the concept of personal property is a mess. You write most recently:

1) you confuse socially owning workplaces with personal property (ie homes)

and earlier you wrote:

In parecon there would be no private, corporate or state ownership.

and the Wikipedia article states:

Advocates of parecon say the basis of capitalism is the concept of private ownership

which certainly seems like a rejection of private ownership to me. Now, I don’t want to play “gotcha quote games” with you—I hate that childish behavior. If you want to clarify the point, please do so. Does parecon permit individuals to own private property or does it not? If it does, how does it differentiate between private property as consumption and private property as the means of production?

2) you completely missed the point about self-management where people are empowered to the degree they are affected (ie your comment about whites assigning blacks shacks). This also ties in to your question of which “level gets to make the decision?“ The answer is at the level that reflects those affected.

This raises even more problems. What if there is a difference of opinion as to who is more affected by a decision? In a perfectly economically integrated society, everybody is affected by every decision. I am affected by the Chinese factory that makes screwdrivers for me to use, but I’m also affected by the CO2 that factory makes. So do I get a vote in their decisions? Do I get a partial vote? If so, who decides exactly how big a vote I get?

Here’s a fundamental problem with the concept: ultimately, every society must be run by laws, not majority votes. That is, majority votes can only have force in the context assigned to them by law; otherwise majorities everywhere would run rampant all over minorities. But laws are necessarily universal in application. So who gets to make the laws that apply to everybody?

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Posted: 18 December 2008 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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chris,

you completely misinterpreted my quote and that of wikipedia. it is plain to a third grader that it is referring to workplces and not personal property. just read the sentence that followed and which you did not quote.

parecon differentiates between private ownership of the means of production and personal property of goods consumed.

if you want to own a book or a house or a tee shirt to wear then you could so.

if you want to own a factory and employ workers that would be a no-no.

and parecon is not lawless. your comment about majority votes, you should know, is your own projection about your own misunderstanding. if you read the books you would feel embarassed because all of that is addressed. in other words, youre jumping the gun and passing judgments before making an iota of an attempt to understand.

if you dont have the time to read a book or two then you surely dont have the time to expect me to explain every detail and respond to every misunderstanding of yours.

if time is precious to you then consider reading the books. because time is precious to me and while I referenced the system I have absolutely no desire to get into a forum squabble where i am expected to go over every detail. especially not with a pompous ass who calls others boring, crazy and who cant seem to comprehend sentences or infer that when talking about workers owning something that it refers to workplaces….

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Posted: 18 December 2008 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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it is plain to a third grader that it is referring to workplces and not personal property.

Let’s keep it a discussion, not an argument.

parecon differentiates between private ownership of the means of production and personal property of goods consumed

That distinction is impossible to enforce in practice. Sure, it’s easy to differentiate between a huge factory and a screwdriver, but they’re both means of production, and there’s going to be a middle ground between these two extremes where you get into all sorts of definitional trouble. Here’s an example:

Joe is a machinist. He sets up a machine shop behind his house. So far, so good; it’s all private property. Joe works for years and builds up quite a business; people really like his high-quality work. But Joe has to turn away business because he can’t keep up with orders. So Joe decides that he must expand. He can’t just hire an apprentice, because the apprentice would get an equal vote with Joe in the running of the business, and the apprentice would want income equal to Joe’s. Joe isn’t willing to do that, because he’s the one who has built up the business and, if he hires an employee, then his income is cut in half but his productivity doesn’t double. It’s a net loss for Joe. So the only way he can expand is to hire somebody who’s exactly as productive as Joe. But how does he find such a person? There aren’t that many machinists as experienced as Joe, and they own their own shops. And since salaries are assigned on a peer group basis, how do you handle salary assignment when the peer group consists of exactly two people, each of whom overestimates his own contribution and underestimates the other’s?

your comment about majority votes, you should know, is your own projection about your own misunderstanding. if you read the books you would feel embarassed because all of that is addressed. in other words, youre jumping the gun and passing judgments before making an iota of an attempt to understand.

if you dont have the time to read a book or two then you surely dont have the time to expect me to explain every detail and respond to every misunderstanding of yours.

if time is precious to you then consider reading the books. because time is precious to me and while I referenced the system I have absolutely no desire to get into a forum squabble where i am expected to go over every detail. especially not with a pompous ass who calls others boring, crazy and who cant seem to comprehend sentences or infer that when talking about workers owning something that it refers to workplaces….

OK, fine. I’m an ass, and you don’t care to explain your thinking. Your position boils down to this:
“There’s this really great book that you should read. I think the ideas in it are wonderful, and here’s my summary of those ideas. But if my summary leaves you with questions, and you refuse to read the book, then you can go to hell.”

Well, OK. So you really aren’t trying to communicate anything other than the recommendation to read the book and your own endorsement of its ideas. For what it’s worth, I do not recommend that anybody read the book, and I do not endorse its ideas. That’s pretty much where we stand.

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Posted: 18 December 2008 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Right, I made a reference about something I advocate and suggested some books. I did not extend an offer to defend it against someone who doesnt understand it but yet somehow doesnt recommend it or endorse it and wants to argue against it. I find that revealing and confirming my suspicion that you are not interested in learning, only dismissing.

If I felt anything but online antagonism coming from you I might have been more inclined to participate. But since you immediately began calling me boring, crazy, and misquoting me and passing judgements before you took the time to understand I reasonably chose not to “express” my thoughts any further.

As far as your comment that I am not trying to communicate anything beyond recommending a book, you are wrong. I would be more than happy to discuss it with you or anyone else. But I do prefer to discuss it with someone who at least understands it. I dont want to teach it to you. Its too time consuming. Which is why I suggested four books that go way beyond answering any question or concern youve stated or that I could predict you would make.

I see it this way: if you are truly interested in the subject then reading the book should not be difficult. But if you just want to argue against it without understanding it then I am not really doing anything ot help “communicate.” I am just enabling your desire to be an online pugilist. Read at least the one book suggested, if not all four, and get back to me on a discussion. If you can do that you will see that I won’t quickly shut down on you like I am doing now.

I got one last thing to say to help you understand where we stand and why I decided to shut down so quick: Imagine someone wanting to discuss advanced physics and someone who doesnt understand it at all is pointing out “holes” and calling them “boring” and “crazy.” The desirability of “discussing” something with someone who A) doesnt understand it; yet B) already has a position and doesnt “endorse” it is plain silly. Now parecon is nowhere near as complex as advanced physics but I hope the intended point still gets across.

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Posted: 18 December 2008 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Odd that you would mention physics, as my training is in physics and in fact I do try to explain it to others. A good example is the global warming denialist nonsense. I have spent many hours trying to patiently explain the physics to denialists who respond with little more than invective. On more than one occasion I have been complimented for the patience and thoroughness I have shown in responding to these arguments. I recall one case, a blog by an Australian woman heavily populated with denialists, in which my announcement of my departure was met with a number of responses along the lines of “I disagree with your arguments but I compliment you for your explanations and I apologize for the jerks who have engaged in nothing but vituperation.”

When I believe in something, I am happy to explain it to anybody who asks sincere questions. I don’t mind somebody rejecting my claims so long as they do it discussively rather than argumentatively. Discussion is the best means for learning. Socrates in the Phaedro rejected the written word as less useful than the spoken word because the readership cannot question the author. (That’s why Socrates never wrote down any of his thinking.)

My questions have been sincere and I have certainly not approached this issue with animus. Let me point out something very important: you wrote:

you immediately began calling me boring, crazy

in response to my statement:

I have never experienced a sharper transition from “What this person is writing is boringly correct” to “What this person is writing is crazy!“

There’s a gigantic difference here that I think you should consider. I said that what you wrote was boringly correct; you interpreted that as my calling you boring. And where I wrote that what you wrote was crazy, you read it as an accusation that you are crazy. Basically, you’re concluding that, if I criticize your writing, then I’m criticizing you personally—which means that I cannot criticize anything you write without your taking personal offense. So what’s the point of discussing things if you require that I agree with everything you write?

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Posted: 18 December 2008 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Chris,

I don’t mind somebody rejecting my claims so long as they do it discussively rather than argumentatively.

How you wrote that without blushing with embarassment is beyond me…

Well, I dont care to spend many hours “arguing” with you something you dont understand in the hopes that at the end you will get it. You said you dont have time to read a book, but it would be more time consuming to educate you in this forum. That is why I suggested the book. To save you and I time. Take it or leave it. I dont care which.

Yes, criticizing what I write - especially when the particular writings of mine are expressions of me - is criticizing me! But I also think it went beyond criticizing and into the realms of insulting. I mean, calling that which you dont understand “crazy” in a manner intended to dismiss it is a tad bit insulting.

Also, I never said or implied you had to agree with me to discuss. Another reason I shut down on you is all of these red herrings that keep popping up. What do I have to look forward to when a good portion of your arguments are figments of your imagination; when they are little more than windmills you and Rocinante are slaying?

No, in fact I did not request agreement, but rather I requested understanding, at the minimum. Again, I will not waste my time arguing with you something you dont understand. That you admittedly dont understand it yet have the nerve to not recommend it or endorse it says an awful lot about your predisposition. It also says a lot about the credibility of your recommendation and endorsement.

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Posted: 18 December 2008 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Seems to me Chris was bending over backwards to elicit a useful dialogue about a subject which appears completely unpersuasive on its face. But I won’t press the point because, at the very least, it’s somewhat OT in this thread.

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