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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Every single thing here is untrue. Laughably so. Immigrants to major cities who got factory jobs saw their living standards rise DRAMATICALLY.

    No, that was not always true. Have you studied anything AT ALL that was actually written by immigrants at that time about their experience?

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    The Cherokee Nation might find your statement highly disagreeable.
    I'm actually part-Native on my paternal grandmother's side. The life of a Cherokee was short and back-breaking long before any white man ever showed up. I wouldn't trade places with a pre-Columbian Native American for ANYTHING, and neither would any sane American in 2009.


    I can't disprove the actual business figures for McDonald's. However, these numbers alone do not prove anything about actual human experience, or negative vs. positive impact upon a nation.
    The numbers are accurate, and they tell a story: no McDonald's = less money made through the world economy. I am sure you'd have no problem putting 400,000 people out of work, though. I mean, McDonald's doesn't pay them enough, right? I am sure they'd rather not work and make no money than continue to work voluntarily for a low wage. For Christ's sake, come on.


    Every "real republican" I know.
    Perhaps you're hanging out with some, shall we say, misinformed "real Republicans." Are they people who have hopped on the Ron Paul bandwagon in the past year or two? I've been a libertarian for about 13 years, and I am pretty well-versed in the theory and literature. I even met Ron Paul last year at a Future of Freedom Foundation event in Virginia. Very sweet man. I disagree with him on a number of points (abortion and immigration being two big ones), but some of his fans are newbies and straight-up cranks. Libertarianism is not about wrecking large companies in favor of smaller ones. It's about letting everyone compete and letting the market decide what works.


    WRONG!!! Libertarianism doesn't include a <i> government regulated </i> preference for some people over others. This means that right-wing government would stop giving special benefits to big business.
    This is confusing. Libertarianism does not favor one group or business type or anything over another. The government would stop giving special benefits to big businesses, surely. But it would stop giving special benefits to small businesses, too. It would stop giving special benefits out entirely. Small businesses can compete in that type of marketplace. Anyone who has read Gabriel Kolko would realize that Big Business and Big Government ally themselves. The best way to break that is to decrease the amount of control that the government has over economic activity, like Obama's bailouts. Libertarians HATE bailouts.


    Lots of people in the world do harder work than you for less money and get treated like shit. That's not fair.
    What you're basically saying is that it's unfair that some people get to grow up in America while some grow up in Africa or South Asia. That may be in an abstract sense, but we can't control that. And there really aren't that many people who have a job in the United States who make less money than I do, believe me. Certainly not in Los Angeles. I was smart and fortunate enough to be able to save up a good portion of money before I moved here. I should be able to scrape by until I go back to grad school a year from now, but there is no way I would ever be able to have a room to myself in Hollywood on my paycheck.


    There's so much more to life than this.
    More to life than making money? Of course there is. But we're talking about an economic entity here, not an individual human being. Their primary motivation is to make money, and that's a good thing. The profit motive is critical to pushing living standards higher. Businesses can actually improve the world through their economic activity, not to mention the fact that they pay very high levels of income taxes and they often donate tremendous amounts of money to charity. The corporate income tax rate in the United States is outrageously high, BTW.


    Ok, you're arrogant. But I think that's already plenty obvious.
    It's easy to be arrogant when you make cogent arguments based on evidence, and your counterpart is either unable or unwilling to do the same.


    Two disturbingly racist, classist comments in one thread. I'm out, dude.
    Ah, there we go. A casual accusation of racism from an ignorant person. Another great tactic. :rolli: There is nothing racist about that. If you were able to guarantee that a poor Malaysian person's living standards would increase in the span of one generation as quickly as those of an American's of the early-20th Century, they would be astounded. The hope that they could achieve that is why people are volunteering to work in these factories. Now, if you voluntarily want to pay more for "fair trade" goods, that is great. You've made an economic decision for yourself. The problem comes when governments try to create "better" situations by stepping in with greater regulations, minimum wages, protectionist trade policies, et al. We all end up poorer when that happens.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #73
    Member cheerful-pessimist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Every single thing here is untrue. Laughably so. Immigrants to major cities who got factory jobs saw their living standards rise DRAMATICALLY.
    I suggest you read Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis before you make any rash accusations about the trustworthiness of my statements. Immigrants were often fleeing from war or famine, so yes, they were probably pleased to eat. But what about second or third generation immigrants? There was very brutal prejudice against many foreigners, such as the Irish, and the children of immigrants probably weren't pleased with their lot in life.
    And I'm fairly sure that every single thing I said was not untrue. I have studied this time period extensively in school and have read multiple primary political and social writings from the time. I'd love it if you could point out anything flawed and prove me wrong, which would validate this as a discussion. Out of middle school, you can't say things without any sort of proof and expect people to consider you right.
    "Yet, the right act
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  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I'm actually part-Native on my paternal grandmother's side. The life of a Cherokee was short and back-breaking long before any white man ever showed up. I wouldn't trade places with a pre-Columbian Native American for ANYTHING, and neither would any sane American in 2009.
    Because the white man surely helped them on that trail of tears, yeah. The white man slaughtered native americans as far as the eye could see. They raped their women and stole their land and forced them on a death march across the continent. Just because you are part Native on your paternal grandmother's side doesn't make you a part of the Cherokee nation, which still exists, by the way. It's a cultural, an ethnicity, not just a random gene.










    It's easy to be arrogant when you make cogent arguments based on evidence, and your counterpart is either unable or unwilling to do the same.
    But you aren't. Aside from your random McDonald's numbers, you're just blasting a lot of arbitrary horse shit capitalist dogma. Your arguments aren't particularly "cogent" or convincing. They mostly sound classist, racist, and self-congratulatory.




    Ah, there we go. A casual accusation of racism from an ignorant person. Another great tactic. :rolli:
    yeah, another damn liberal calling you out for what you obviously are...actually, allow me to correct myself - you aren't racist, you're nationalist. You believe that your cultural is superior to others.

    There is nothing racist about that. If you were able to guarantee that a poor Malaysian person's living standards would increase in the span of one generation as quickly as those of an American's of the early-20th Century, they would be astounded. The hope that they could achieve that is why people are volunteering to work in these factories. Now, if you voluntarily want to pay more for "fair trade" goods, that is great. You've made an economic decision for yourself. The problem comes when governments try to create "better" situations by stepping in with greater regulations, minimum wages, protectionist trade policies, et al. We all end up poorer when that happens.
    Yeah, the flip comment about praising allah to be like an American wasn't racist at all. It was totally nationalist. You act like I haven't heard all of this before. You keep patting yourself on the back for repeating statements that are no more well-thought out or original than anything I've said.

    This really has not been a productive conversation about anything of merit. I apologize for my participation in this largely ad hominem war and step away now, not better informed by you, but more convinced that what I believe is absolutely necessary in order to fight people like you politically.

  5. #75
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    I could list out lots of things for you to read about the experiences of Native Americans, immigrants, and Appalachian citizens at the turn of the century.

    "Cherokee Women and the Trail of Tears"
    "An Indian's Looking Glass for the White Man"
    "Coming to America"
    Farewell to Manzanar
    the Sacco and Venzetti trials
    Bread Givers
    Storming Heaven
    Old Wounds, New Words
    The Tall Woman

  6. #76
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheerful-pessimist View Post
    I suggest you read Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis before you make any rash accusations about the trustworthiness of my statements.
    I will check it out, but I was really taking issue with your "look at the novels of the time" comment there. Novels are not the places to go for reliable economic data.


    Immigrants were often fleeing from war or famine, so yes, they were probably pleased to eat. But what about second or third generation immigrants? There was very brutal prejudice against many foreigners, such as the Irish, and the children of immigrants probably weren't pleased with their lot in life.
    My grandparents were second-generation Americans, and they always told me that they had great childhoods. They lived through the Great Depression here, but living standards were MUCH higher in the United States at the time than they were in Ireland, which was one of the economic backwaters of Europe until the past 30 years or so.


    And I'm fairly sure that every single thing I said was not untrue. I have studied this time period extensively in school and have read multiple primary political and social writings from the time. I'd love it if you could point out anything flawed and prove me wrong, which would validate this as a discussion. Out of middle school, you can't say things without any sort of proof and expect people to consider you right.
    OK. I will do that.

    First of all, people didn't "show up looking for jobs" then take them in "sweat shops" because nothing else was available. They showed up to work those jobs purposefully. Working in a factory 6 days a week, 12 hours a day was a much better alternative than working constantly on a farm or as a blacksmith or whatever with no capital whatsoever.

    Secondly, living standards for the average American increased rapidly in the late-19th and early-20th Centuries. Just look at the statistics on life expectancy in the U.S.:

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005140.html

    The average life expectancy in the U.S. increased from 38 years to 66 years in the span of one century (1850-1951). And that is including two world wars in that period! People were far wealthier, had more free time, and had access to far superior food and medicine there. It increased SIX YEARS in the span of one decade 1890-1900, before there was significant government involvement in health care or social welfare.

    Thirdly, I don't see how attacking trusts and monopolies = better conditions for the poor. I mean, I am in favor of making sure that people are allowed to compete, but I don't see how one follows immediately from the other in this particular example. Plus, monopolistic companies need help from friendly regulation and natural barriers. Even when that does happen, there can be positive externalities. During the time of Standard Oil, the price of oil actually fell by over 90%.

    Lastly, the amount of people who made fortunes in America in the period between the Civil War and the Great Depression is staggering. Many, many people went from poor immigrants or farmers to becoming members of the urban middle class, which never really existed before. Some became millionaires several times over. There was a tremendous amount of mobility between social classes. The problem (if you consider it one) is that the people at the very top during this period became fantastically wealthy when compared to the median. Still, if almost everyone is getting wealthier, doesn't that mean things are going well?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #77
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Because the white man surely helped them on that trail of tears, yeah. The white man slaughtered native americans as far as the eye could see. They raped their women and stole their land and forced them on a death march across the continent. Just because you are part Native on your paternal grandmother's side doesn't make you a part of the Cherokee nation, which still exists, by the way. It's a cultural, an ethnicity, not just a random gene.
    What the hell does that have to do with what we were talking about? I am saying that the lives of the Cherokee were brutal and short. That is true. I said nothing about what white people did to Native Americans. You should stop posting if you are going to go off on tangents like that.


    but you aren't. Aside from your random McDonald's numbers, you're just blasting a lot of arbitrary horse shit capitalist dogma. Your arguments aren't particularly "cogent" or convincing. They mostly sound classist, racist, and self-congratulatory.
    They're accurate and supported by evidence. Have you even attempted to produce some numbers in your argument? No. Have you been able to refute my assertions with anything other than tired rhetoric? No.


    yeah, another damn liberal calling you out for what you obviously are...actually, allow me to correct myself - you aren't racist, you're nationalist. You believe that your cultural is superior to others.
    I don't appreciate being called a racist or a nationalist or a classist (which actually made me LOL, because that's hilarious). You show me one instance in which I claimed that my culture is superior to another. I've said that the lives of the pre-Columbian Cherokee were very harsh and I wouldn't trade places with them, but that's because of the conditions of the world then. I wouldn't trade places with Columbus himself. He died a horrible death at 54, most likely of an infection that would not be fatal today. That being said, you need to disabuse yourself of the notion that Native Americans lived in a sweet, peaceful world of everyone sharing everything and fun dances all day long.


    Yeah, the flip comment about praising allah to be like an American wasn't racist at all. It was totally nationalist. You act like I haven't heard all of this before. You keep patting yourself on the back for repeating statements that are no more well-thought out or original than anything I've said.
    You explain how that is racist or nationalist. I triple dog dare you. I'll give you a hint: you won't be able to, because it wasn't. And your repugnant accusations poison the atmosphere of debate.


    This really has not been a productive conversation about anything of merit. I apologize for my participation in this largely ad hominem war and step away now, not better informed by you, but more convinced that what I believe is absolutely necessary in order to fight people like you politically.
    Good. Resulting to calling people racist and classists and nationalists when they outclass you in a debate shouldn't be tolerated here, anyway.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #78
    Member cheerful-pessimist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I will check it out, but I was really taking issue with your "look at the novels of the time" comment there. Novels are not the places to go for reliable economic data.
    We're not necessarily talking exclusively about reliable economic data. What we're arguing about is the living conditions and happiness of the people of the time period, which cannot be expressed well with statistical data. That's why so many historians use novels of the time period to get a feel of its mood. Many things, such as family life, living conditions, morals, and opinions of the time period are expressed in its literature. It's very important to look at all documents of an era as clues to what the overall picture looks like.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    My grandparents were second-generation Americans, and they always told me that they had great childhoods. They lived through the Great Depression here, but living standards were MUCH higher in the United States at the time than they were in Ireland, which was one of the economic backwaters of Europe until the past 30 years or so.
    That's true. But the Great Depression was after the Progressive era, a period of reform in the US. You can read about the Progressive movement at wikipedia, Progressive Era - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, or you can read about it in books like Eyewitness History: The Progressive Era or Great Issues in American History: From Reconstruction to the Present Day, 1864-198. Progressives, which included Presidents Taft and Wilson, worked to reduce hours for workers, stop child labor, protect workers, etc. They also made the first antitrust laws.


    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    First of all, people didn't "show up looking for jobs" then take them in "sweat shops" because nothing else was available. They showed up to work those jobs purposefully. Working in a factory 6 days a week, 12 hours a day was a much better alternative than working constantly on a farm or as a blacksmith or whatever with no capital whatsoever.
    I think you're underestimating farmers and small town people, but I have nothing to back up that opinion, so it doesn't matter. I am, however, going to direct you to a book, Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, which is a novel that tells the story of a girl from Wisconsin going to Chicago to live with her sister. The first part of the novel in particular is a good example of my point on the matter. It's a very long novel, so sparknotes or wikipedia may be better for you.


    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    The average life expectancy in the U.S. increased from 38 years to 66 years in the span of one century (1850-1951). And that is including two world wars in that period! People were far wealthier, had more free time, and had access to far superior food and medicine there. It increased SIX YEARS in the span of one decade 1890-1900, before there was significant government involvement in health care or social welfare.
    That's true. The government did begin to take notice of certain things, like food preparation, as early as the 1870s, when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. That's when the Food and Drug Administration was first created. (see the wikipedia page on the progressive era) Also, the working class in particular didn't have much free time until after unions started to form and the government began to get involved in reasonable hours for workers. Social and political reforms began in the late nineteenth century, so it makes sense that by 1951, the life expectancy rose dramatically. That's also not taking into account the huge growth of science and learning, which also helped quite a bit.
    However, you cannot deny that before the turn of the century, many people didn't have good jobs and weren't happy. I would still argue that without reform in the government combined with a huge growth in knowledge and science, there would be many people in America right now that would be incredibly unhappy.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Thirdly, I don't see how attacking trusts and monopolies = better conditions for the poor. I mean, I am in favor of making sure that people are allowed to compete, but I don't see how one follows immediately from the other in this particular example. Plus, monopolistic companies need help from friendly regulation and natural barriers. Even when that does happen, there can be positive externalities. During the time of Standard Oil, the price of oil actually fell by over 90%.
    I wasn't only attacking trusts on behalf of the poor. I was using trusts as an example of how capitalism in its extreme can be damaging. The problem with trusts in the late nineteenth century was that they made it almost impossible for companies to compete. Big companies would take possession of every aspect of a certain industry so that no other company could do well, and that not only contradicted the American dream, it made problems for a lot of Americans that would want to compete. Woodrow Wilson said about trusts: "I am for big business, and I am against trusts. Any man who can survive by his brains, any man who can put the others out of the business by making the thing cheaper to the consumer at the same time that he is increasing its intrinsic value and quality, I take off my hat to, and I say: 'You are the man who can build up the United States, and I wish there were more of you.'" He worked on the first antitrust laws.
    The reason I mention trusts with the 'poor' or normal people is because once a big company formed, many people could not compete with it. Therefore, those that went to a big city with a dream to do something often couldn't because they were crushed under the huge corporations. Trusts limited the options, so people had to find work under someone else. For people without experience or education, that often meant working in sweat shops.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Lastly, the amount of people who made fortunes in America in the period between the Civil War and the Great Depression is staggering. Many, many people went from poor immigrants or farmers to becoming members of the urban middle class, which never really existed before. Some became millionaires several times over. There was a tremendous amount of mobility between social classes. The problem (if you consider it one) is that the people at the very top during this period became fantastically wealthy when compared to the median. Still, if almost everyone is getting wealthier, doesn't that mean things are going well?
    This is true. I wasn't trying to deny that many people did do somewhat well or extremely well during this time period. The problem was that the working class, the 'poor' class, were so mistreated. The thought that if some people are wealthier, the whole culture is getting wealthy is true in the long run but incredibly unrealistic and unsympathetic to those people that did get their hands chopped off by machinery. If people are living in incredibly poor conditions, things are not going well for a society, ever. Once a society has been established and is becoming better and more productive, they have to look at the smaller people and wonder how to better their conditions. That's what happened in America, but first, we had to steer away from a purer form of capitalism and become very slightly socialistic. Neither pure socialism or pure capitalism is good, as shown by history. Only a happy medium works, and I don't think we've really found the perfect government recipe yet.
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  9. #79
    Senior Member dga's Avatar
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    for all of hte people that the cherry picked companies listed employ, and for all the money they earn, how many have they displaced and how much have they destroyed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Every single thing here is untrue. Laughably so. Immigrants to major cities who got factory jobs saw their living standards rise DRAMATICALLY.
    There is a long-standing (in the economic literature, at least) issue of measurement in regard to this matter. All the production aimed at self-sufficiency, such as most of the pre-industrial agriculture and home-industry, is not recorded. It's thus very difficult to say how much the living standards improved, given that there often is no data to compare with.

    However, it's obvious that the living standards right now are much better than the living standards pre-industrial-revolution.
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