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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    Fascism aka tea party
    This. Lovely quote, really, I want to steal it sometime.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    How cheap is our gas relative to the rest of the world...

    There is currently no fiscal incentive to adopt anti-globalist ideology.
    You're asking the wrong question. How car dependent are we relative to the rest of the world?

    Our dependence upon fossil fuel is created by an unhealthy consumer driven dependence on personal automobiles, versus walking, biking, public transportation...or, you know, creating new jobs through alternative fuels instead of continuing to make the same people rich.

    Tsk tsk.

    Really, you're asking the wrong question.

  3. #23
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    You know I've been reading a book about the UK suggesting that from shortly before the end of the Cold War the UK has been seriously trying to manipulate and pull the strings of the US, including a lot of attempts to control oil and the political scene in the middle east through the various terror players out there, its mad because for a long time I'd read and believed accounts which squarely placed the blame with Russia, particularly in the fomenting of islamic threats in Chechens, who were originally seperatists and nationalists, or Israel. That's not to say that they couldnt all be capable of that.

  4. #24
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    You're asking the wrong question. How car dependent are we relative to the rest of the world?

    Our dependence upon fossil fuel is created by an unhealthy consumer driven dependence on personal automobiles, versus walking, biking, public transportation...or, you know, creating new jobs through alternative fuels instead of continuing to make the same people rich.
    That post was in response to an assertion that the US hasn't done a very good job of securing its interests over the last decade or so.

    Our dependence on fossil fuels isn't something so simple that it can be blamed on any one factor, or group.

    The discovery of oil in the US, and the industrial revolution that it catalyzed, laid the foundation for global hegemonic power.

    Cheap oil was our ace in the hole for growth over the course of the 20th century.

    Our emergence as a first world nation, and the development of our modern infrastructure were made possible by cheap oil, and our focus on the automobile.

    The US dependence on oil is structural, and legislative.

    Our current legislative paradigm is based on a world of cheap oil, and a strong manufacturing base... Neither of which still exist.

    In order for us to actually decrease our oil use for transportation, we would need a bottom up rethink of the entire domestic energy and transportation pictures.

    In the short term, I think our best bet is to minimize the use of petrol for anything but transportation.

    Like I said in the gas prices thread, our best bet to decrease fossil fuel dependence in the short term is to shift domestic electricity production from fossil sources to renewables (I consider nuclear renewable).

    I'm not optimistic about our ability, in the near term, to redesign our transportation infrastructure in such a way that our dependence on individual vehicles would be lessened.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    So I was reading a book by Zbigniew Brzezinski and came upon a part where he described his view of globalization as a new, American ideology. He proposed that this was a somewhat unusual occurrence in that the USA has historically been driven more by pragmatic national interest than ideology. But supposedly this was an inevitable result of the USA facing the gaping, uncertain abyss in the wake of the cold war.

    I found his description on this ideology interesting. Its two key components were free market economics, and an erosion of state sovereignty in the political sense, enhanced by global military involvement. It really struck a chord with me, because it was descriptive of a certain kind of American ideologue that I have encountered quite frequently.

    The free market part amounted to what I would call libertarian. As I've often noted, this country has been shifting libertarian in the political arena for decades, and has recently experienced a sudden, populist burst of libertarian enthusiasm on top of that. It is definitely a passionate ideology, and it is definitely the most rapidly growing one in the USA.
    It's not a problem unique to America, it's a problem unique to corporations.

    Have a look at this:
    Huge Corporations Win Global Economic Spoils as 99 Percent Get Squeezed
    Behemoths like Exxon and Apple plus ‘smaller’ companies like Qualcomm are the real 1 percent, raking in trillions and widening the gap with individuals and even nations. They must be held accountable.

    The 1 percent versus the 99 percent—the haves and the have-nots; the government or the people; China versus the United States. Our conversations today are framed by these splits, yet as compelling as these are, they are each secondary to the yawning gulf that has emerged between large, multinational companies and everything else.

    The real 1 percent are the panoply of global corporations that are even now reporting astonishing profits for the first part of 2012, just as they have for nearly every quarter for the past decade—save for a brief blip at the end of 2008 and early 2009. The much-vaunted gap that has emerged in the United States and elsewhere in the world—income inequality is also increasing in countries such as Brazil and China—is a by-product of the much wider gap between companies and all the rest. So stark is the contrast between companies on the one hand and individuals, nations, and various groups on the other, that it would be better to speak of multinationals as inhabiting their own world, with their own rules, mores and rewards, and that world, call it Corporateland, is the undisputed victor in the global game of spoils.

    It’s not just the behemoths like Exxon, Apple, Google, IBM, GE, Vale, Petrochina, Siemens, Wal-Mart, Samsung and Disney. It’s a host of smaller (though still quite large) companies that aren’t exactly household names but are still making billions upon billions in profits. Yes, the ones on the first list have market capitalizations in the hundreds of billions and generate revenues that would place each of them in the top 100 nations by GDP. And yes, Apple alone would crack the top 50. But then there are companies such as Qualcomm, State Street, Blackrock, Schlumberger, Potash Corporation, all of which are worth tens of billions of dollars and have profit margins in the double digits. They are generating more cash each year than they can meaningfully and productively spend, and even as they increase the amount they return to shareholders, they are collectively sitting on trillions of dollars of unspent profits. And yes, that trillions is not a typo.

    Large companies have always made large profits, but the divide in recent years is so stark because the efflorescence of Corporateland is in such contrast to the general stagnation of many of the countries where they do business. As a number of analysts—including most recently the consultant and former Commerce Department official David Rothkopf, the late Tony Judt, and the political philosopher Michael Sandel—have emphasized, the success of large companies today is more detached from the fortunes of most ordinary people than at any point in decades. It may be that for much of history, the pyramid was steep and stark, but today, the scale is global.

    Wealthy individuals, paying taxes or not, generate political heat and headlines in part because it is easier to personalize wealth divides between real people than between nations and corporations. And of course, banks in the past few years, and energy companies periodically, do serve as a lightning rod of popular discontent, as the Occupy Wall Street movement showed. But the issue is just as trenchant for technology companies such as Apple and Google and Microsoft and Oracle, each of which pays its senior executive tens of millions of dollars (at least) and each of which has thrived in a period of time when economic discontent and stagnation has been the rule in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

    Of course, many of these companies have been exposed to fast-growing and dynamic economies such as China, India, Brazil, and the rest. But that alone cannot account for the gap.

    What does is that, over the past decade-plus, companies have managed to shed costs and increase their sales and profits. Sounds benign and logical, and from the bird’s eye of an individual company operating globally, it is. The problem is that those costs didn’t disappear; they just went somewhere else, and mostly they went to governments.

    There is a direct correlation between the increased debts of governments over the past decades and the increased profits of companies. Correlation isn’t causation, and some of the reasons for higher government debt have nothing to do with the behavior of large companies. European governments accumulated a portion of their debts because of promises made to populations for education, health care, and retirement in an earlier demographic era. But as a result of various shifting of both rules and mores, companies have been able to divest themselves of their most significant costs: workers.
    For much of the 20th century (but not before), companies carried the burden and responsibility not just of worker salaries but also their health care and pensions. That was a cost they could absorb in a rising economic tide, but even so, it established a lid on profit margins. Now, however, companies have been able to externalize those costs, or to put it more bluntly, they have been able to vastly reduce their commitment to labor. Given that labor expenses have traditionally represented more than two thirds of total costs borne by a company, sharply reducing those costs leads to sharply increased profits. Companies have shed labor costs by using technology, by shifting workforces to less costly venues around the world, and by moving away from guaranteed pensions. In parts of the world, health care remains their responsibility, but in most of the world, retirement, aging, and care are either directly borne by government (Europe, Canada) or left to individuals (China).

    If you think about the companies today that are most profitable, almost all of them have relatively sparse workforces relative to sales: Whether that is Facebook with a valuation of $100 billion and a few thousand employees or even a global company such as IBM that has shed tens of thousands of higher-paid workers in the United States and added tens of thousands in India and elsewhere. The exception is state-owned companies in China or Brazil, which still have bloated workforces but have been moving quickly in the direction of the multinational cohort.

    These companies have surpassed their mandates and managed to offer their goods and services to ever more people at ever more lower costs. That had been central to the booming new economies around the world. The middle-class emergence of hundreds of millions of people in the past decade is partly due to efficient multinational enterprises offering affordable and plentiful goods and services ranging from appliances to food to clothing, along with intangibles such as entertainment. But the downside has clearly been the fate of hundreds of millions of others caught on the wrong side of history and trapped in an inflection point.

    Governments pay the price. Companies can shed workers, but governments cannot shed citizens. Companies can integrate technology to do the work formerly done by people; nations and societies cannot externalize the costs of their young, sick, and elderly. The flourishing of Corporateland has undeniably benefited the emerging world, and it has unquestionably placed pressures on the emerged world.

    Unfortunately, the knee-jerk solution—to tax their profits as France’s Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande proposes—has little effect in a globalized world. Until everywhere is “developed” and “middle class,” companies can keep shuffling the formula of wages, geography, and technology to their advantage. And one government that attempts to reverse that tide is likely to harm only its own domestic economy rather than impede these trends, even the U.S. government. Companies are doing what they do because their structural incentives demand it, not because they are evil or care not at all for the fate of their societies and workers. Until those incentives shift, they will do as they have done, and likely do it very, very well.

    Addressing the emergence of Corporateland and beginning to craft global strategies to grapple with it is a challenge not for one government but for all, and it will take time and care, neither of which is in easy evidence. But every prognosis has to start with a clear, steely diagnosis. Corporateland isn’t the enemy, but it is the most important actor in the world today. It is largely invisible, however, and in the shadows, it may be doing more harm than it should. Time to welcome it into the family of nations, and demand that its leaders tend to the global commons.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It's not a problem unique to America, it's a problem unique to corporations.

    Have a look at this:
    Huge Corporations Win Global Economic Spoils as 99 Percent Get Squeezed
    Behemoths like Exxon and Apple plus ‘smaller’ companies like Qualcomm are the real 1 percent, raking in trillions and widening the gap with individuals and even nations. They must be held accountable.

    And more capitalist deregulation will end that?

    This is a bit like asking a Stalinist "what about that whithering away of the state there?"

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    And more capitalist deregulation will end that?

    This is a bit like asking a Stalinist "what about that whithering away of the state there?"
    That article, and my point in that post had nothing to do with capitalist deregulation.

    I was merely rebutting the presumption in the thread that globalization is the hallmark of America.

    As the article states, no one gov't can address this issue.

    As corps have become global, the externalities of their actions have begun to affect people on a scale that only gov't actions had done before.

    My solution would involve a public international body of corps (above a certain size) that was roled into the UN, and would force a greater level of transparency upon corporate actors.

    It's not feasible to try to regulate companies larger than countries with the laws of one nation.
    With power comes responsibility. As corps have begun to surpass gov't's we will have to hold corporate actors to the same kinds of scrutiny that we do countries in an international and binding way.

    The only way i can see this happening is if corps are forced to take roles on the international stage, where their decisions can be scrutinized by the entire world. Their decisions have global externalities, what better way to regulate them than to try to make them accountable to the global populace?

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    That article, and my point in that post had nothing to do with capitalist deregulation.

    I was merely rebutting the presumption in the thread that globalization is the hallmark of America.

    As the article states, no one gov't can address this issue.

    As corps have become global, the externalities of their actions have begun to affect people on a scale that only gov't actions had done before.

    My solution would involve a public international body of corps (above a certain size) that was roled into the UN, and would force a greater level of transparency upon corporate actors.

    It's not feasible to try to regulate companies larger than countries with the laws of one nation.
    With power comes responsibility. As corps have begun to surpass gov't's we will have to hold corporate actors to the same kinds of scrutiny that we do countries in an international and binding way.

    The only way i can see this happening is if corps are forced to take roles on the international stage, where their decisions can be scrutinized by the entire world. Their decisions have global externalities, what better way to regulate them than to try to make them accountable to the global populace?
    Yeah, I doubt that, the US in particular has flexed its state versus private and corporate power lots of times, for instance busting Mega Download and other corporations. No corporation is international enough that it wont be tracked to some territory and that territory's political elites can usually be threatened enough to comply with the washington consensus some how.

    The exceptions are examples such as China suggesting that if the UK or US become too punitive with their financial theives in the city or wall st. that they can all move in with them, there's reasons why that isnt ever going to happen, the industrial and commercial sectors already learned that they cant wholesale relocate to China without risking industrial esponiage losses or patent violations or the like.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Yeah, I doubt that, the US in particular has flexed its state versus private and corporate power lots of times, for instance busting Mega Download and other corporations.
    When it comes to the US gov't and corps, the tail wags the dog. Look at the bail outs.

    Here we have companies that have pursued dumb business practices (in the case of the US auto industry) or effectively lobbied deregulation to the point where they were allowed to over-leverage our entire economy and in so doing crash US finances (in the case of the finance industry), and we still gave them billions in order to shirk the pain that would come with allowing them to die and be replaced by more effective institutions. Granted that pain would have been very significant, but the fact that we keep subsidizing the fools that ruined us will only lead to their old habits coming back.

    In the good ol' day's the private sector just bugged the gov't for contracts, and beneficial legislation. Now it's a two way street where the gov't is as interested in courting corp.s as corp.s are in courting the gov't.

    No corporation is international enough that it wont be tracked to some territory and that territory's political elites can usually be threatened enough to comply with the washington consensus some how.
    But (all the big ones) are big enough escape regulatory schemes put in place in a single country.

    which is why I used that article which says:
    Unfortunately, the knee-jerk solution—to tax their profits as France’s Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande proposes—has little effect in a globalized world. Until everywhere is “developed” and “middle class,” companies can keep shuffling the formula of wages, geography, and technology to their advantage. And one government that attempts to reverse that tide is likely to harm only its own domestic economy rather than impede these trends, even the U.S. government.
    Whether it's taxes or other regulatory schemes, multinationals have a strong history of changing shape and relocating in such a way as to avoid the worst of the regulations while remaining in the market where the regulation is implemented.

    The power of these companies to jump borders, and restructure themselves, makes regulating them effectively like grasping at straws.

    Until we create a global set of rules for multinationals, they will avoid them.

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    Oh hey imagine if the ruling class included elites from both the government and private sector?

    I suppose that would make libertarianism bullshit.

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