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  1. #81
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    9w1 sx


    Wow, I can't believe I made it all the way through this thread without losing my mind.

    Ever since I actually started paying attention to politics I've always hated the divide. I get so sick of hearing about liberals vs conservatives. I honestly don't see how anything will ever change as long as the two parties are too busy bickering over whose policies are better.... And it damn sure won't work as long nothing new is being passed because of Republicans voting against Democrats and Democrats voting against Republicans. Is it so damn hard to work together? Whatever happened to people listening to the entire idea/concept and then providing their input? It seems that neither side wants to listen to anything presented to them.

    As for business owners... I commend those that have built themselves up from nothing. It is an impressive feat. I just hope some realize that there are some of us that simply aren't comfortable having all the responsibilities of owning our own businesses... I, for one, have never desired to own/run a giant corporation (or even a small one) and be responsible for employees or any other liability associated with it. That being said... It definitely doesn't mean I'm not a hard worker or I resent those in a position of power. It's just not for me. I know I would be horrible at running my own business, unless I was the only one in the business. (If that makes any sense?)

    In the letter, he describes my aunt and uncle perfectly. They try so hard to live the rich lifestyle... However, I really think they are going to wind up in some serious trouble in the future if they keep it up. After recent events... I've learned that my husband and I have more money in one of our accounts, than they do across all of their accounts. The sad thing is... My aunt and uncle make double what me and my husband do, yet my husband and I have more than triple the amount of money in our accounts than they do. The problem with some people is they want so desperately to be rich they do everything they can think of to appear rich....when in reality...if they would just stop trying to appear rich, they probably would be rich! Most people I know that would be classified as rich are pretty frugal. They don't take a ton of expensive vacations, they don't buy stuff that aren't necessities, and I've noticed they don't talk about the things they have...

    Just my observations. And in all honesty... I don't know what the answer is to the economic issues... And I'll never pretend to know.

  2. #82
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2009


    In relation to this topic there's a few key points I'd like to make, they will be familiar to anyone who has seen my posting on economics topics before and they are solidly rooted in what is unmistakeably realeconomik, similar to realpolitik but economics, and even simple logic and practical reasoning:-

    1) Not all businesses succeed. Its not the states responsibility to ensure that they do by amending tax and spending it is so.

    2) The feeling that you have earned your privilieges does not make them any more legitimate than other feelings of entitlement. Neither privileges nor entitlements are defensible per se and a rationale needs to be provided for either of them particularly when a recession threatens them.

    3) The hue and cry from privileged persons that their privileges are being threatened presently and efforts to cut or wholesale eliminate public spending reflect that under usual conditions economic growth can pay for state spending commitments without the wealth of elites, their privileges, being encroached upon at all. In a recession growth can not cover the costs so the choice is either elimination of spending priorities or taxation upon elites/encroachment on privileges. Cutting spending may or may not be a legitimate reform objective, however, doing so simply to defend the privileges of a core constituency of uber richies is simply vulgar class struggles.

    4) Without public spending there will be a lot less money in the economy as there will be less public employees earning a wage and or citizens in receipt of other benefits.

    5) Without money people will not have a disposable income.

    6) Without a disposable income people can not buy homes, they can not pay mortgages or loan repayments, they can buy fast moving consumer goods such as food, they can not buy consumer durables such as lap tops, TVs, Radios, cars or other commodities.

    7) Without sales businesses, of any size, selling fast moving consumer goods and consumer durables can not turn a profit, neither can financial services or banks create a revenue for themselves.

    8) Without profits or revenue businesses can not pay their workers, can not create revenues or dividends for shareholders. They have to close.

    So, you see cutting public spending may permit failing businesses or businesses likely to go to the wall in any case through competition with other firms which are able to take advantage of existing economies of scale, monopoly powers, market share etc. to last for a little while longer but they are doomed in the long run.

    Whether it is true or not this letter is a good illustration of the ignorance of economics which informs a lot of politicised business enterprise and they are slow to learn that just as presently no one has a right to live who has not earned it money to afford that equally no one has an automatic right to join the business class or ensure their business survives through short sighted public policy.

    It also is more than a clue to the fact that most pop economics and certainly most political free market economics bases its appeal upon normative arguments, although that's fine because none of it could have prevented the current crisis from occuring and none of it wants to provide any provisions against it happening again, its only contribution is in the shape of a kind of normative philosophy. It defends existing privileges and confers legitimacy there upon. Thats all it has to do.
    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    Chapter IV, p. 448. - Adam Smith, Book 3, The Wealth of Nations

    whether or not you credit psychoanalysis itself, the fact remains that we all must, to the greatest extent possible, understand one another's minds as our own; the very survival of humanity has always depended on it. - Open Culture

  3. #83
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    5w4 sp/sx


    ^a picture says more than 1000 words

    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
    A herring's blog
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  4. #84
    Meat Tornado DiscoBiscuit's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    I hope you still keep yourself open to having your political beliefs evolve and develop. Political ideologies and belief systems were encapsulated in environments, subject to normative preconceptions and under pressures that were very different from the world we live in today. "Liberal" and "conservative" were terms created to discuss the relationship between the interests of the bourgeois class and the landed nobility, and have become relatively useless in an environment where a meritocratic polity is accepted as a norm.
    If time doesn't stay in one place, neither will my beliefs.

    This is a good example of where our political language meets its limitations. I don't believe that there are adults, if not subject to more pressing needs, such as putting food on the table by whatever means necessary, who disagree with the central tenets of what is commonly described as "fiscal conservatism." Except for a few people who unfortunately have a whole lot of power in this country, most of us understand that you have to live within your means, and you can't get something for nothing. Much of the debate, though, comes from a reasonable misunderstanding of where things come from. A big part of that stems from the widespread belief that money is something in and of itself, rather than a means of exchange that is solely representative of something else.
    You're right, we have a fiat currency that is worth something because the gov't says it is. Which basically means its worth nothing.

    However that's not entirely correct, the thing that is actually worth something, is confidence (global and domestic) in that currency.

    The article that addresses stimulation I posted in that other thread, are things that would improve creditor confidence over the long term, things that should allow us to pay back our obligations more readily.

    In the grand scheme of things, the books always balance.
    That may be true, but the ratio of debt to GDP necessarily factors into how willing creditors are to loan us $$$.

    The problem with compromise is that it requires that all actors are participating in good faith, that all actors have information parity, and that none are willing to engage in outright deception. We know from experience that this does not happen in our political system.
    Up until about the early '90s we had a strong tradition of compromise within our political system. Reagan raised taxes (this is just one example of many).

    While this is a noble intention, I'd offer the critique that this comes off as a little self-serving. Rather than doing what's best for everyone involved, it seems like you're more interested in how to "win" the argument. Since politics is about figuring out how we're all going to live together, it can be counterproductive to think of things this way.
    I'm ludicrously competitive, what can I say. The better I am at something, the more competitive I get.

    I'm pretty good at a number of things, but Politics is right in the smack dab middle of my wheelhouse.
    One of the most subtle assumptions that pervades American life is that competition is a good thing by its very nature. Competition is seen as efficient, impartial, fair and ultimately, virtuous. The political ideal is supposedly the marketplace of ideas, where the "best" idea will win out.

    Unfortunately, what this viewpoint loses sight of is that competition is also very dangerous, because it adds the element of domination to the social equation. Unlike medieval feudal hierarchies, where the domination of a few over others was seen as the end result of Man's sinfulness, modern hierarchies justify the "winners" as deserving to dominate over the "losers." Furthermore, everyone wants to be a winner, and no one a loser, with no place in between. This sort of ranking leads to all sorts of tension.
    How else do you incentivize success?

    Of course taken to extremes, competition (or really most anything) can be detrimental. Just one look at our corporate oligarchy can confirm this, but don't throw the baby out with the bath water man.

    I don't think this is what most people here think, necessarily. This places too much emphasis on the structure itself, rather than the ends served. It's not so much about the preservation of the welfare state, as much as it is preventing the "losers" of society from being cast aside, exploited, or treated inhumanely by a dominating class that regards them more as a nuisance than a fellow human being of equal worth and dignity.
    That's fine as long as we don't compromise the competitiveness of our system (internationally) in an effort to uplift the poor.

    A safety net is good, but taken too far it can result in things like the slow motion train wreck that is the European Union at the moment.
    Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
    - Edmund Burke

    8w9 sx/so

  5. #85
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    I think there's problems with Keynesianism too, ultimately its shoring up a system which is threatening to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, but its a damn sight better than the alternatives. At least presently.
    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    Chapter IV, p. 448. - Adam Smith, Book 3, The Wealth of Nations

    whether or not you credit psychoanalysis itself, the fact remains that we all must, to the greatest extent possible, understand one another's minds as our own; the very survival of humanity has always depended on it. - Open Culture

  6. #86


    It is pretty funny. Some stories were brought to my attention recently. Although this message was sent a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was hilarious that plutocrats with persecution complexes actually used this pretentious and insulting fictional letter as a basis for a real letter.

    David Frum's commentary on this:

    There is also a similar incident involving the Koch brothers:

    Maybe we should encourage these whiny plutocrats to go ahead and go Galt, so that they can be replaced by more worthy stock.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #87
    your resident asshole /DG/'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    So I didn't bother to read ten pages, but I must say that the letter was awful. It started out okay, but then it turned into a gigantic threat. "If you don't vote Romney then I will fire you" is what I read. Who does that??

    I'd quit as soon as possible.

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