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  1. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Correction - There are several different documentaries where some of these ideas were derived from. I do admit that one of them in particular has influenced my thinking a great deal.

    Do you think any of the statements to be untrue?
    Yes, I do think those statements are untrue. Let's break them down:

    1) Corporate personhood and sociopathy

    Corporate personhood just makes sense. Why would a group of people functioning collectively not have the same rights as each individual within the group? And, of course, a corporation cannot vote in elections or hold office, anyway. If you want to argue that corporations should be held to strict transparency standards, I would tend to agree. I also have no problem with the government demanding certain parameters among corporate structure and accounting standards.

    As to sociopathy, corporations are no more sociopathic than the people running them. When you have good people in power, the corporation tends to be a positive force for society. When you have bad people in power, you end up with huge problems. That doesn't make a problem endemic. Unless you really believe that all or most corporate managers and directors have no conscience or empathy for human beings and the world around them, you simply cannot argue that corporations per se are sociopathic. Impossible.

    2) Material envy

    Predates capitalism. Predates mercantilism and feudalism, even. Human beings are flawed. When someone else has more, we often envy the person we consider more successful, especially when that person "doesn't deserve it" for whatever reason. Marketing and advertising can have an effect on the more easily-led of us, but they operate in response to human nature, they don't create human nature.

    As to credit, haven't we seen that easy credit does NOT always work to corporate favor in the past few years? There are some gigantic corporations that are dead or on government-sponsored life support because they wanted to make quick bucks using financial instruments carelessly.

    3) Effects of credit overextension

    "Families can get ahead over generations, through luck, persistence, hard work, and good ideas. But in doing so, how much of their soul do they sometimes lose?"

    Lose their souls how? Do you think any of those things truly can steal your soul? Working long and hard is bad for individuals and families? I don't understand this at all.

    "We are all like rats running on a treadmill faster and faster except we're not in good shape - we eat too much processed foods and don't exercise"

    Speak for yourself.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  2. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Correction - There are several different documentaries where some of these ideas were derived from. I do admit that one of them in particular has influenced my thinking a great deal.

    Do you think any of the statements to be untrue?
    Yes, I do think those statements are untrue. Let's break them down:

    1) Corporate personhood and sociopathy

    Corporate personhood just makes sense. Why would a group of people functioning collectively not have the same rights as each individual within the group? And, of course, a corporation cannot vote in elections or hold office, anyway. If you want to argue that corporations should be held to strict transparency standards, I would tend to agree. I also have no problem with the government demanding certain parameters among corporate structure and accounting standards.

    As to sociopathy, corporations are no more sociopathic than the people running them. When you have good people in power, the corporation tends to be a positive force for society. When you have bad people in power, you end up with huge problems. That doesn't make a problem endemic. Unless you really believe that all or most corporate managers and directors have no conscience or empathy for human beings and the world around them, you simply cannot argue that corporations per se are sociopathic. Impossible.

    2) Material envy

    Predates capitalism. Predates mercantilism and feudalism, even. Human beings are flawed. When someone else has more, we often envy the person we consider more successful, especially when that person "doesn't deserve it" for whatever reason. Marketing and advertising can have an effect on the more easily-led of us, but they operate in response to human nature, they don't create human nature.

    As to credit, haven't we seen that easy credit does NOT always work to corporate favor in the past few years? There are some gigantic corporations that are dead or on government-sponsored life support because they wanted to make quick bucks using financial instruments carelessly.

    3) Effects of credit overextension

    "Families can get ahead over generations, through luck, persistence, hard work, and good ideas. But in doing so, how much of their soul do they sometimes lose?"

    Lose their souls how? Do you think any of those things truly can steal your soul? Working long and hard is bad for individuals and families? I don't understand this at all.

    "We are all like rats running on a treadmill faster and faster except we're not in good shape - we eat too much processed foods and don't exercise"

    Speak for yourself.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Their claim to the money is on the basis that they inherited it.
    Then why don't I claim it on the basis that I did not inherit it. It's equally arbitrary.

    Be that weak or strong, it is in any case stronger than your claim to the money, which is on the basis that you want it.
    No. My argument is based on the principles of fairness. There is no reason for one baby to be given more entitlements than the next. Neither did anything to earn it.

  4. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    If this is your position, we're never going to agree on anything of consequence.
    On the contrary, believing that nothing is inherently right or wrong frees us to reach a mutually acceptable standard. Believing in absolutes will make that impossible.

  5. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    How much of your soul do you think you will lose if you partake in the horrors of hard work, persistence, and the creation of new ideas?
    A lot actually. If you spend 60-70 hours a week at a job you hate so that you can afford $5000 suits and live in $3000/night hotels, then I would say you're wasting your life away. You are squandering a limited valuable resource (your life) in pursuit of items of dubious value.

  6. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Working long and hard is bad for individuals and families? I don't understand this at all.
    If it isn't bad, then what's wrong with being a slave?

  7. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    On the contrary, believing that nothing is inherently right or wrong frees us to reach a mutually acceptable standard. Believing in absolutes will make that impossible.
    What about rape or genocide?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #118
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    As to sociopathy, corporations are no more sociopathic than the people running them. When you have good people in power, the corporation tends to be a positive force for society. When you have bad people in power, you end up with huge problems. That doesn't make a problem endemic. Unless you really believe that all or most corporate managers and directors have no conscience or empathy for human beings and the world around them, you simply cannot argue that corporations per se are sociopathic. Impossible.
    Afraid I only have a few minutes but to begin to respond and this part may be at the heart of our disagreement. I have worked for a few corporations and a couple partnerships. I can tell you from experience that the values are different. In a corporation, decisions are made with one primary goal and motive - to increase short term profits to support a stock price. There is enormous pressure at all levels which overwhelms over time any other factors in making decisions. So, there can be a lot of good people but the mechanism those people are working through has this singular focus and it does influence the decision making to fit those goals. One company I worked for was acquired two different times (after I left). Executives left with golden parachutes. Workers got laid off. It's the way of the world.

    In a partnership it is different. The partners that own the company have a very strong personal stake since their personal capital is at stake. Their focus is on the long term as well as the short term (unless of course, they go public).

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    2) Material envy

    Predates capitalism. Predates mercantilism and feudalism, even. Human beings are flawed. When someone else has more, we often envy the person we consider more successful, especially when that person "doesn't deserve it" for whatever reason. Marketing and advertising can have an effect on the more easily-led of us, but they operate in response to human nature, they don't create human nature.

    As to credit, haven't we seen that easy credit does NOT always work to corporate favor in the past few years? There are some gigantic corporations that are dead or on government-sponsored life support because they wanted to make quick bucks using financial instruments carelessly.
    You are right about envy.

    Think of the stock market like a giant casino where the odds are in your favor and you can see why in the big picture, people don't really care if a few companies go bankrupt or if stocks go down for some period. There are a lot of people who made a lot of money including as the upturn progressed. I know one who is retired right now. He just got back from touring Europe. Remember, we bailed out a bunch of companies too.

    I don't have the answers but I do think there are some fundamental problems at the core of some of the issues we face in society today - and it has to do with some of the things I explained.

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  9. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Afraid I only have a few minutes but to begin to respond and this part may be at the heart of our disagreement. I have worked for a few corporations and a couple partnerships. I can tell you from experience that the values are different. In a corporation, decisions are made with one primary goal and motive - to increase short term profits to support a stock price. There is enormous pressure at all levels which overwhelms over time any other factors in making decisions. So, there can be a lot of good people but the mechanism those people are working through has this singular focus and it does influence the decision making to fit those goals. One company I worked for was acquired two different times (after I left). Executives left with golden parachutes. Workers got laid off. It's the way of the world.
    But pressure to do something unethical doesn't mean that the enterprise itself has not ethics. That is what I mean. The behavior of the collective will reflect the choices of the individuals involved. People may subsume their own motivations for the group direction, but a corporate setting won't turn a good person into a sociopath. That's really extreme. ANY type of power or potential personal gain can tempt people. What is to say the government isn't sociopathic by nature, or major religions? They do awful things seemingly without regard for people, too.

    I disagree with the "short-term profits" motive, too. You are seeing that change right now. People aren't total idiots; they see what happens when you sacrifice legitimacy and long-term solvency for short-term benefit. Well, some of them do. We'll always find a delineation between the quick-buck artists and those seeking to build lasting value. The siren song proves too much for some people. They deserve to be punished, though. By the market financially, and by the government if they've broken the law. I also don't feel that an acquisition followed by downsizing (golden parachutes or not) is necessarily a sociopathic behavior.


    In a partnership it is different. The partners that own the company have a very strong personal stake since their personal capital is at stake. Their focus is on the long term as well as the short term (unless of course, they go public).
    Arthur Andersen was an LLP. Again, it seems more a reflection of management than inherent business structure.


    You are right about envy.
    This blind squirrel will gladly munch that nut, thank you.


    Think of the stock market like a giant casino where the odds are in your favor and you can see why in the big picture, people don't really care if a few companies go bankrupt or if stocks go down for some period. There are a lot of people who made a lot of money including as the upturn progressed. I know one who is retired right now. He just got back from touring Europe. Remember, we bailed out a bunch of companies too.

    I don't have the answers but I do think there are some fundamental problems at the core of some of the issues we face in society today - and it has to do with some of the things I explained.
    Fair enough. I am not trying to be a corporate apologist here. As a libertarian, I criticize the shit out of many corporations (look back at some of the things I've had to say about Blackwater and that crew). I just don't see these things as innate or intractable.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #120
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post

    But pressure to do something unethical doesn't mean that the enterprise itself has not ethics. That is what I mean. The behavior of the collective will reflect the choices of the individuals involved. People may subsume their own motivations for the group direction, but a corporate setting won't turn a good person into a sociopath. That's really extreme. ANY type of power or potential personal gain can tempt people. What is to say the government isn't sociopathic by nature, or major religions? They do awful things seemingly without regard for people, too.
    It's more subtle than that. Think about the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Why did it happen? My guess is that several people made a sequence of decisions to cut corners or not to spend some money somewhere along the line to save money in the goal of short term profit. They didn't sufficiently consider risks. They weren't necessarily bad people. They are part of a system with a value structure and behave in alignment with that value structure. Why would anyone work for a tobacco company? Are they bad people bent on destroying lives? No - they are part of a culture and value structure and are required to fit in to obtain a paycheck. And as that documentary you mentioned described - I think you are referring to The Corporation where the sociopath analogy comes from (or is it psychopath - can't remember), companies are not rewarded for doing good for society and there are externalities that may have negative impacts - like people dying from a lifetime of smoking or cancers caused by petrochemicals in our environment.

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