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(Yahoo)   Obama to CEOs "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" CEOs to Obama: "We will let you give us tax breaks"   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 220
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4805 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Feb 2011 at 4:40 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-02-08 10:31:18 PM  

RanDomino: Hydra
That is not a free market. That's a bastardization of the market using the force of the government to achieve it.

If there wasn't the government, then the rich would just hire gangs of armed thugs to intimidate competition. That's how government was invented in the first place! There is no such thing as the "free market".


There's a difference between enforcing property and individual rights, enforcing contracts, providing a judicial system, and protecting against fraud and force among people in a society (things the government SHOULD do) and promoting/prohibiting certain behavior in markets or market sectors via the use of regulations, subsidies, and laws (things the government should NOT do).

The former allows the market to operate safely for the benefit of all parties involved with the ability for recourse against any party that defrauds or otherwise harms another.

The latter distorts the market - usually for the benefit of some favored party that has been able to buy influence over politicians to pass laws in order to create and perpetuate the distortion.

Example: The Agricultural Adjustment Act paid farmers not to grow certain crops and even to kill excess livestock. Let's follow the causal chain: government provides a subsidy not to grow crops and to kill cattle - fewer crops grown and fewer heads of livestock - less overall supply - result: higher prices.

Thanks to this law and the force of government to enforce it, farm prices were kept artifically higher than they would have, so more people were forced to pay higher prices for food at a time when unemployment was at an all-time high.

It's a common fallacy of anti-capitalists to think that anyone who favors free markets are arguing for anarchy. You don't need anarchy to have a free market - you need a government that is willing not to intervene into a market to protect a special interest. For that to happen, though, we'll need politicians who actually have spines, too.
 
2011-02-08 10:49:02 PM  
Ow My Balls
The idea that one must do almost nothing but work from the age of around 18 until the deterioration of the body is unacceptable to me. In my opinion, as technology increases, so should the work day decrease. We should be at 6 hours, 4 days and 40 weeks by now. But it will never happen so long as someone is greedier than you and willing to work more of their life away and hoard that extra opportunity.

The mechanism of control is what's important. If we weren't wasting resources on things like yachts, jewelry, sports cars, and mansions, and if the product of society was divided evenly, we would only have to work a few hours per week to maintain a good standard of living, because of the technology we have that lets us do more in less time. Instead, those productivity gains have been captured by the owners of the factories, and reinvested in more productivity gains that, again, they themselves monopolize.

So the question is, why should providing the capital entitle a person or class to such a disproportionate amount of the benefits? Owners are paid by selling commodities; workers are paid by the hour. That's the fundamental source of the problem.


technicolor-misfit
We cannot DE-regulate, so it's far more important that we regulate intelligently and scrutinize the regulators relentlessly.

You say this as if the government's regulatory agencies haven't been captured by the corporations they were meant to regulate.


Hydra
There's a difference between enforcing property and individual rights, enforcing contracts, providing a judicial system, and protecting against fraud and force among people in a society (things the government SHOULD do) and promoting/prohibiting certain behavior in markets or market sectors via the use of regulations, subsidies, and laws (things the government should NOT do).

Then you get patches to plug loopholes, which create new loopholes, which require new patches, which create new loopholes... How do you think we got here?
 
2011-02-08 10:50:09 PM  
Hydra - It's a common fallacy of anti-capitalists to think that anyone who favors free markets are arguing for anarchy.


...almost as common a fallacy as it is for Randroid libertarian dipwads to call anyone who doesn't share in their fanciful utopian laissez faire daydreams "anti-capitalists."


"Golly, we should have just enough government to protect the rich from the poor and nothing more! I know it's true because a bona fide think-tank funded by rich people told me so!"
 
2011-02-08 10:56:34 PM  

technicolor-misfit: This.

Even short of that extreme, the minute regulation was lifted collusion and price-fixing would explode. It is not in the best interest of businesses to engage in a race to the bottom with one another. Sure, if one business has an overwhelming advantage to exploit to eviscerate and rid himself of an opponent... He'll take it. But it does not serve his interests to nickel and dime a close competitor, because they're both just going to drive each other to the basement.

It makes far more sense for them to ring each other up and say "obviously, we're stuck splitting this market... I won't go lower than _____ if you won't."


This is a fallacy that has been proven wrong time and again.

As production expands and firms grow, costs fall because of economies of scale. A firm that produces a good at a lower cost than its competitor will be able to grab some share of the market while attracting new customers who previously could not afford to buy it.

There's much more I can explain to you if you like, but you have to let me know if you have an open mind to an opposing viewpoint first before I spend my time doing it.


Ow My Balls: While capitalism has done a fair share of improving the human condition to this point, I do not believe it will be the best vehicle for that in perpetuity.


It's been almost four hundred years. We're still waiting for something better.


At some point, we're either going to have to eradicate the existence of assholes who want power over others, or I believe our whole species will cave in on itself.

This is a problem as old as civilization itself. It's what made Rome fall, and it's what will make our empire fall. The Constitution was supposed to limit exactly that - politicians' power over the people - but that's been supplanted over the years as an obstacle to "progress."


The idea that one must do almost nothing but work from the age of around 18 until the deterioration of the body is unacceptable to me.

Too bad it's unacceptable to you, but it's a harsh reality that must be confronted, and in comparison to 99% of all the civilizations that came before ours, it's a pretty cushy reality to have to face.

Not having to work until you're 18? The frontiersman who was working on his dad's farm when he was strong enough to work a hoe (heh) would GLADLY trade places with you. So would the Zimbabwean child who woke up today wondering if she'll have something to eat since she hasn't eaten in three days.


In my opinion, as technology increases, so should the work day decrease. We should be at 6 hours, 4 days and 40 weeks by now. But it will never happen so long as someone is greedier than you and willing to work more of their life away and hoard that extra opportunity.

Yup, that family in China that just moved from the countryside to Shanghai to work in a factory and earn a wage 10 times what he was earning as a subsistence farmer sure is greedy!


Also, the idea that economic growth has no end is just silly. There aren't enough atoms in the solar system for Pepsi-Cola and Monsanto to grow infinitely.

There is such a word as "enough." And other than finding cures for diseases, I think we're there.


Okay, I'll stop being facetious.

It won't be enough until poverty is a thing of the past. We in the industrialized world are a privileged bunch because we've enjoyed such a much higher standard of living for so long in comparison to the rest of the world. We've taken it all for granted and called anyone who dares to subvert our cushy lifestyles "greedy." We have no contemporary context or perspective, historical or otherwise, on just how good we've had it for so long.

And we only have the generations before us who built the foundations of it all to thank.
 
2011-02-08 10:58:28 PM  
RanDomino - technicolor-misfit
We cannot DE-regulate, so it's far more important that we regulate intelligently and scrutinize the regulators relentlessly.

You say this as if the government's regulatory agencies haven't been captured by the corporations they were meant to regulate.



Yes, chiefly under the guise of deregulation.

The American people jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. It's like having a demon tied up and believing him when he says he can make all your dreams come true if you'll just loosen the rope a little bit.

"OMG, $50k toilet seat! Get government out of the way and private industry will treat you right!"

"Okay..."

.
.
.

"HAHAHA, now that we're done skullfarking you, where are your children? WHERE ARE YOUR CHILDREN?!?!?!?!"
 
2011-02-08 11:11:10 PM  

Hydra: The idea that one must do almost nothing but work from the age of around 18 until the deterioration of the body is unacceptable to me.

Too bad it's unacceptable to you, but it's a harsh reality that must be confronted, and in comparison to 99% of all the civilizations that came before ours, it's a pretty cushy reality to have to face.

Not having to work until you're 18? The frontiersman who was working on his dad's farm when he was strong enough to work a hoe (heh) would GLADLY trade places with you. So would the Zimbabwean child who woke up today wondering if she'll have something to eat since she hasn't eaten in three days.


All three of us would gladly trade places with the lucky ones who'll live in my idea of an intelligent world. We're not there yet. I'm not satisfied until we are. And I'm pretty sure capitalism won't get us there, despite doing a decent job of getting us here.
 
2011-02-08 11:11:27 PM  

RanDomino: The mechanism of control is what's important. If we weren't wasting resources on things like yachts, jewelry, sports cars, and mansions, and if the product of society was divided evenly, we would only have to work a few hours per week to maintain a good standard of living, because of the technology we have that lets us do more in less time. Instead, those productivity gains have been captured by the owners of the factories, and reinvested in more productivity gains that, again, they themselves monopolize.


For that to come even remotely close to working, we'd also have to spread losses evenly across society. How would you suggest we do that?


So the question is, why should providing the capital entitle a person or class to such a disproportionate amount of the benefits?

A) You'll have to define exactly what a "disproportionate" amount really is.

B) There is a risk of loss involved by providing that capital. There is a chance that a person who puts up capital to start a venture will fail and lose all of his capital that he invested, so he must be allowed to be compensated for this risk.

That's what a discount rate measures (please tell me you know what this is) - the riskiness of future cash flows.


You say this as if the government's regulatory agencies haven't been captured by the corporations they were meant to regulate.

Here's something upon which we agree: government regulatory agencies often get captured by the very industry they are supposed to be reglating. The Federal Reserve is a perfect example of this.


Then you get patches to plug loopholes, which create new loopholes, which require new patches, which create new loopholes... How do you think we got here?

The loopholes wouldn't exist in the first place if the government wouldn't grant special passes for lobbyists and special interests.


technicolor-misfit: ...almost as common a fallacy as it is for Randroid libertarian dipwads to call anyone who doesn't share in their fanciful utopian laissez faire daydreams "anti-capitalists."

"Golly, we should have just enough government to protect the rich from the poor and nothing more! I know it's true because a bona fide think-tank funded by rich people told me so!"


You seem to read a lot into my posts. Where did I call you, technicolor-misfit, an anti-capitalist? Also, where did I say that I subscribe to any of Ayn Rand's philosophies? Or that we need government simply to protect rich people from poor people? And that I got the idea from a think-tank funded by rich people?

Cite it, and I'll eat my words.
 
2011-02-08 11:12:49 PM  
Hydra - technicolor-misfit: This.

Even short of that extreme, the minute regulation was lifted collusion and price-fixing would explode. It is not in the best interest of businesses to engage in a race to the bottom with one another. Sure, if one business has an overwhelming advantage to exploit to eviscerate and rid himself of an opponent... He'll take it. But it does not serve his interests to nickel and dime a close competitor, because they're both just going to drive each other to the basement.

It makes far more sense for them to ring each other up and say "obviously, we're stuck splitting this market... I won't go lower than _____ if you won't."




This is a fallacy that has been proven wrong time and again.

As production expands and firms grow, costs fall because of economies of scale. A firm that produces a good at a lower cost than its competitor will be able to grab some share of the market while attracting new customers who previously could not afford to buy it.



Then why do we have laws against collusion and price-fixing?

We have laws against murder because people murder. We have laws against burglary because burgle. We have laws against mugging because people mug.

Why do we have laws against collusion and price fixing?



There's much more I can explain to you if you like, but you have to let me know if you have an open mind to an opposing viewpoint first before I spend my time doing it.



I'm well aware of how the theory works. I'm just also aware of how the reality works.

Lots of things sound workable in theory, yet fail to unfold as expected.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2011-02-08 11:13:37 PM  

Ow My Balls: All three of us would gladly trade places with the lucky ones who'll live in my idea of an intelligent world. We're not there yet. I'm not satisfied until we are. And I'm pretty sure capitalism won't get us there, despite doing a decent job of getting us here.


Why are you so sure of that? If it's done such a good job of getting us here, why can't it help us get there? Seriously. How do you think things can be done better?
 
2011-02-08 11:15:02 PM  
Ow My Balls Quote 2011-02-08 11:11:10 PM

All three of us would gladly trade places with the lucky ones who'll live in my idea of an intelligent world. We're not there yet. I'm not satisfied until we are. And I'm pretty sure capitalism won't get us there, despite doing a decent job of getting us here.

>>>>

America just needs to get the mix of capitalism and socialism down right, they threw away the cooking instructions and thought they could just go full blast to the right. 20% of Americans are happy so who gives a fark about the rest right?
 
2011-02-08 11:17:12 PM  

Hydra: The idea that one must do almost nothing but work from the age of around 18 until the deterioration of the body is unacceptable to me.

Too bad it's unacceptable to you, but it's a harsh reality that must be confronted, and in comparison to 99% of all the civilizations that came before ours, it's a pretty cushy reality to have to face.

Not having to work until you're 18? The frontiersman who was working on his dad's farm when he was strong enough to work a hoe (heh) would GLADLY trade places with you. So would the Zimbabwean child who woke up today wondering if she'll have something to eat since she hasn't eaten in three days.


Yeah, even though I posted a negative comment about capitalism, I was apparently a frontiersman's child. Did you know there are farmers, and even people who aren't farmers, right here in America who make their kids work? Barbaric, I know.

Then again, those of us from farmin' country tend to be fat, so we've got that over the average Zimbabwean. Maybe it has something to do with lower population density? Maybe continuing to treat vaginas like clown cars when there are people starving all over isn't the best idea ever?
 
2011-02-08 11:30:21 PM  

technicolor-misfit: Then why do we have laws against collusion and price-fixing?

We have laws against murder because people murder. We have laws against burglary because burgle. We have laws against mugging because people mug.

Why do we have laws against collusion and price fixing?


Because many legal barriers raise the barriers to entry for many markets, so it's very hard - if downright impossible - for many new firms to enter certain markets and challenge older, more established firms with competition.

There's a reason the Goldman Sachs executives in the Obama administration approved of the regulations placed on them by Dodd-Frank - because they have the economies of scale to be able to afford to comply with them and pass the additional costs off to their clients.

Why would they be in favor of such a sweeping new regulatory change? Because they know their smaller competitors cannot afford the regulations nearly as much as they can. The result: Goldman becomes further entrenched and secures itself in a quasi-oligopoly while its competitors are forced out.


I'm well aware of how the theory works. I'm just also aware of how the reality works.

Lots of things sound workable in theory, yet fail to unfold as expected.


You've failed to disprove the logic of the theory or even to present a single citation for anything you've been ranting about. If none of what I'm talking about works out in reality, then it should be easy either to poke a hole in my logic or to provide a few links of support for what you say.
 
2011-02-08 11:32:39 PM  
Big Al - Ow My Balls Quote 2011-02-08 11:11:10 PM

All three of us would gladly trade places with the lucky ones who'll live in my idea of an intelligent world. We're not there yet. I'm not satisfied until we are. And I'm pretty sure capitalism won't get us there, despite doing a decent job of getting us here.

>>>>

America just needs to get the mix of capitalism and socialism down right, they threw away the cooking instructions and thought they could just go full blast to the right. 20% of Americans are happy so who gives a fark about the rest right?



This.

We need to tell the doctrinaire ideologues and zealots to go screw. There's a reason nothing is ever as flawlessly executed as it should have been to work right.

The country got sold a bill of goods on Reaganomics and we keep doubling down on the promise that if we can just keep fine-tuning it a little bit more, the wealth is gonna trickle down a gusher any day now.

We need a healthy pragmatic balance between freedom to innovate, oversight to prevent eregious abuse, and strategic public investment to light our path into the future.

Anyone who says you need to throw the wheel all the way to the ________ and aim for absolute purity is engaging in religious faith.
 
2011-02-08 11:46:35 PM  

Big Al: America just needs to get the mix of capitalism and socialism down right


We've seen what happens when you mix capitalism and socialism. You get a horde of lobbyists and special interest groups influencing politicians for favorable legislation.

Capitalism allows for economic progress from the bottom-up (i.e. people are given control over their own economic production).
Socialism only allows for economic progress from the top-down (economic production is controlled by central planners in the government who have authority over the masses).

It is a system incompatible with individual freedom, hence why it fails.


theMightyRegeya: Yeah, even though I posted a negative comment about capitalism, I was apparently a frontiersman's child. Did you know there are farmers, and even people who aren't farmers, right here in America who make their kids work? Barbaric, I know.


I actually meant to write "The frontiersman in 1850 who was working on his dad's farm" since we don't have too many frontiersmen still around (though I've met some people from north Georgia who could probably fit the bill).
 
2011-02-08 11:50:23 PM  
Hydra - technicolor-misfit: Then why do we have laws against collusion and price-fixing?

We have laws against murder because people murder. We have laws against burglary because burgle. We have laws against mugging because people mug.

Why do we have laws against collusion and price fixing?



Because many legal barriers raise the barriers to entry for many markets, so it's very hard - if downright impossible - for many new firms to enter certain markets and challenge older, more established firms with competition.



What does that have to do with collusion and price fixing? Are you saying that the older established firms engage in collusion and price fixing? Why would they if it doesn't serve their interests?

Are you saying the barriers to entry encourage younger newer players to collude and/or engage in price fixing? Why would they if it's an unviable business practice that doesn't happen?

Or are you saying that the older established players enact regulations against price fixing and collusion to hamstring younger upstarts? And again, unless it's a successful tactic why would such regulations hamstring them? Outlawing murder doesn't hobble me unless murder serves my interests.


This is a fine example of how people aren't like academic models... Sure, in an academic model, a guy may always be willing to give 100% to win it all and eliminate all his competition... but in the real world, a guy is apt to say... "how about we both eliminate our risk, work half as hard, and take home 35% more income this year by working together and agreeing not to charge less than $X.

Why do people go in together on lottery tickets? The potential for loss greatly outweighs the potential for gain. You cut your potential winnings in half or more, in exchange for a tiny miniscule fraction of an increased chance of winning and/or a trivially-reduced initial investment.

For want of three dollars or .000000000000004% increased chance of winning $45 million dollars was lost!

It's totally irrational... So why do they do it? Because people are emotional. They can't bear the thought that one of their friends might hit it big and they'll be left out in the cold with nothing. So they're willing to risk sacrificing 50+% of tens of millions of dollars because they fear being the loser.

That's why people collude and price fix. They can play all or nothing and maybe win bigger or lose everything, or they can cooperate and virtually guarantee a win, albeit a smaller one.

The laws are on the books because people do it... A LOT. Enough to warrant laws.
 
2011-02-08 11:55:50 PM  
Hydra Quote 2011-02-08 11:46:35 PM

We've seen what happens when you mix capitalism and socialism. You get a horde of lobbyists and special interest groups influencing politicians for favorable legislation.


What are you talking about? That is exactly what happens when you let corporations control government. They have an unfair advantage and have hijacked Democracy. That is what happens when blind crony capitalism puts all the power in the hands of those with money.


Capitalism allows for economic progress from the bottom-up (i.e. people are given control over their own economic production).
Socialism only allows for economic progress from the top-down (economic production is controlled by central planners in the government who have authority over the masses).


Is this a joke? If it wasn't for progressive ideals you'd still be slaving away in a steel furnace owned by Carnegie lucky to make $20 dollars a day.


It is a system incompatible with individual freedom, hence why it fails.


Without the New Deal, capitalism would have collapsed long ago. It was the New Deal era that showed America blind free market capitalism is not the answer. There needs to be regulation, and taxes, and protections of minorities rather than the government working for the corporation to smash labor. That is what free market capitalism does, Adam Smith warned against it and would never have agreed it would work. You are a delusional fanatic too caught up in the money chase.
 
2011-02-09 12:07:37 AM  
Hydra
The loopholes wouldn't exist in the first place if the government wouldn't grant special passes for lobbyists and special interests.

Every loophole and patch is emergent from the government's role as protector of rights and property etc. You can't just go back to 'a simpler time' and expect things to turn out differently.


Big Al
America just needs to get the mix of capitalism and socialism down right

We had that, it was called "the 1960s". It's a situation of balancing on a knife's edge, in the middle of a tug-of-war between unequal strengths. It can't last, it didn't last, and if we try it again it will, again, not last.
 
2011-02-09 12:11:45 AM  
Ridiculous, the problem was the spending by the military industrial complex and the righting of minorities at home. Every other social indicator was positive. If it wasn't for the military industrial complex, we wouldn't have had a war since WWII and could have properly funded a healthy society where the lowest class worker makes 50k and unemployment under 1%
 
2011-02-09 12:12:32 AM  
-righting
+fighting
 
2011-02-09 12:36:24 AM  

technicolor-misfit: What does that have to do with collusion and price fixing? Are you saying that the older established firms engage in collusion and price fixing? Why would they if it doesn't serve their interests?

Are you saying the barriers to entry encourage younger newer players to collude and/or engage in price fixing? Why would they if it's an unviable business practice that doesn't happen?

Or are you saying that the older established players enact regulations against price fixing and collusion to hamstring younger upstarts? And again, unless it's a successful tactic why would such regulations hamstring them? Outlawing murder doesn't hobble me unless murder serves my interests.


I'm thinking you may have missed my point.

Competition keeps prices down.

Let me try an example:

Firm A and Firm B are in direct competition with each other and have equal market share. We'll initially assume no barriers to entry for new firms.
Right now, they both sell gadgets (a commodity) for $10.00 each because that is the marginal cost of producing the good. They each sell 50 in one day.

Firm A came up with a more efficient way of making gadgets that reduces the cost by $1.00 without laying off any employees or cutting into any profits.

Now, instead of selling one gadget for $10.00, Firm A can offer gadgets for $9.00 each.

Ceteris paribus, consumers are going to buy their gadgets from Firm A because they can get the same product for a cheaper price. Unless Firm B can lower its costs as well to match the price reduction, it is forced out of the market.

Before the price reduction, both firms A and B were earning $500 each day. When A lowers its price to $9, those 50 gadgets that used to be bought from B will instead be bought at A, bringing A's total earnings to $900 instead of the original $500.

Firm A now has a monopoly (as a result of competition as opposed to chartered by law - this distinction is important) on the market and an incentive to maintain its control.

Enter Firm C which can produce gadgets more efficiently than A and can sell them for $8 each.

In a free market, Firm C would not have a legal barrier to entering that market and would be able to compete with Firm A.

Firm A doesn't like this, so it lobbies the government to impose a regulation that prevents new firms from entering the gadget market.

Now, Firm C cannot enter the market to challenge Firm A's monopoly. The result: the price for a gadget to a consumer is stuck at $9 instead of $8.


This, of course, is a crude example, but it demonstrates on a microeconomic level how firms in competition will always seek to lower their costs in order to drive out competitors and gain market share.

As for collusion, it fails for the same reason socialism fails: it's hard to coordinate the actions of many players in a market. If this example were to include 1,000 existing firms and 10,000 potential start-ups ready to enter the market, there would be almost no possible way to coordinate among so many individuals in order to keep prices at a higher level than their marginal cost of production.


This is a fine example of how people aren't like academic models... Sure, in an academic model, a guy may always be willing to give 100% to win it all and eliminate all his competition... but in the real world, a guy is apt to say... "how about we both eliminate our risk, work half as hard, and take home 35% more income this year by working together and agreeing not to charge less than $X.

Because there are 4.5 billion people who don't have what we have and are willing to die to get it. Just look at what's been going on in Egypt.


It's totally irrational... So why do they do it? Because people are emotional. They can't bear the thought that one of their friends might hit it big and they'll be left out in the cold with nothing. So they're willing to risk sacrificing 50+% of tens of millions of dollars because they fear being the loser.

I'll agree with you here that people act irrationally sometimes, and you're also correct in saying that assuming rationality is not always proper.

/did I surprise you there?


That's why people collude and price fix. They can play all or nothing and maybe win bigger or lose everything, or they can cooperate and virtually guarantee a win, albeit a smaller one.

Like I said before, cartels and collusion only works if there are a few players involved, and even then, there were no guarantees that any side would hold to their agreement.

Look at OPEC before the rioting. Nations routinely cheated on their quota numbers, and unless the others could get Saudi Arabia to go along with what the others wanted, there was little they could do to prevent the Saudis from just walking away from their agreements - which they sometimes did.

Let me ask you this: before there were laws against collusion, what kept producers from charging $10 million for a bushel of wheat?
 
2011-02-09 12:40:29 AM  
Captain, we are taking a direct assault of derp...
there are too many words, we can't stop it sir!
None of them make sense, it's too powerful for our shields!
 
2011-02-09 12:41:23 AM  

Weaver95: Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the president urged the business community to help accelerate the slow economic recovery by increasing hiring and unleashing some of the $2 trillion piling up on their balance sheets.

look...dude...I'm about as big a capitalist as you can get and still be sane. so lemme see if I can explain something to ya: corporations do not recognize the concept of 'the greater good'. they care about one thing: maximum profits. that's it. they don't care about jobs, they don't care about approval ratings, they don't care about morality or ethics. they care about money. they care about how much money they've got, how much they have to spend and how to make more money.

grind it into your skull - corporations do. not. care. they are a necessary evil, and they can do some really great things for you and your economy...but the moment the economic situation changes, they will abandon you to your fate. Use corporations to accomplish your goals. NEVER trust them. Always assume that a corporation will f*ck you over first chance they get. If they behave, hey - that's great! But you'll want a big stick handy just in case they turn against you.

so don't try appealing to the better side of a corporation - they don't have one. instead - focus your efforts on finding ways to get corporations to accomplish your goals. if you have to lie, manipulate and/or resort to outright thuggery in order to bring a corporation to heel then do so...because if situations were reversed, a corporation can and will do so to you and your country.

welcome to the machine.


That's the issue though, the useful idiots who can't stand a Attractive and Successful African American President and Yellow-dog Republicans and useful idiots actually believe that Corporate America is more moral and righteous than the president.
 
2011-02-09 12:42:54 AM  

Shakin_Haitian: EatHam: Weaver95: corporations do not recognize the concept of 'the greater good'.

Not only that, but if they do skew towards the "greater good", their shareholders will sue them, and win.

So you guys are for effective government regulation of businesses?


I would be. However, effective is more than just 'more'. Regulations should be, by definition, regular. This means consistent in both creation and enforcement, subject to modification only as conditions merit, not subject to whim or political favoritism and certainly not self-contradictory.
 
2011-02-09 12:47:14 AM  

Weaver95: Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the president urged the business community to help accelerate the slow economic recovery by increasing hiring and unleashing some of the $2 trillion piling up on their balance sheets.

look...dude...I'm about as big a capitalist as you can get and still be sane. so lemme see if I can explain something to ya: corporations do not recognize the concept of 'the greater good'. they care about one thing: maximum profits. that's it. they don't care about jobs, they don't care about approval ratings, they don't care about morality or ethics. they care about money. they care about how much money they've got, how much they have to spend and how to make more money.

grind it into your skull - corporations do. not. care. they are a necessary evil, and they can do some really great things for you and your economy...but the moment the economic situation changes, they will abandon you to your fate. Use corporations to accomplish your goals. NEVER trust them. Always assume that a corporation will f*ck you over first chance they get. If they behave, hey - that's great! But you'll want a big stick handy just in case they turn against you.

so don't try appealing to the better side of a corporation - they don't have one. instead - focus your efforts on finding ways to get corporations to accomplish your goals. if you have to lie, manipulate and/or resort to outright thuggery in order to bring a corporation to heel then do so...because if situations were reversed, a corporation can and will do so to you and your country.

welcome to the machine.


THIS.
 
2011-02-09 12:55:07 AM  

Big Al: What are you talking about? That is exactly what happens when you let corporations control government. They have an unfair advantage and have hijacked Democracy. That is what happens when blind crony capitalism puts all the power in the hands of those with money.


This will surprise you: you won't get any argument from me on that.

The problem is that interest groups (corporations are simply a subset of interest groups) will ALWAYS gain control over the government the moment it starts to influence the market for "socialist" ends.

Once people find out that the normal rules of the economic game can be changed by buying off the right person in Washington, they're going to flock there to try to jockey for the best outcome for themselves. Politicians only want to be re-elected, so they're going to give favor to 1) those with the most money to donate to their campaigns, and 2) those who can deliver the most votes. Hence why Democrats love the unions and why Republicans love oil companies.

The sad fact of the matter is that the crony capitalism is exactly what results when you mix socialism and capitalism together.


There needs to be regulation, and taxes, and protections of minorities rather than the government working for the corporation to smash labor.

You might be surprised to know that FDR's labor legislation to keep wages artificially high was to favor southern unions in order to keep black laborers from encroaching on their grip on southern manufacturing jobs. Poor, unemployed blacks were willing to work for much lower wages than the white unionists, so the unions wanted to keep their wages from going down.


That is what free market capitalism does, Adam Smith warned against it and would never have agreed it would work.

Okay, you're DEFINITELY going to need to cite Smith on this one.
 
2011-02-09 01:00:32 AM  

Big Al: Captain, we are taking a direct assault of derp...
there are too many words, we can't stop it sir!
None of them make sense, it's too powerful for our shields!


It's called reading. Top-to-bottom, left-to-right. Group words together as a sentence!

/take Tylenol for any headaches
//Midol for any cramps
 
2011-02-09 01:08:45 AM  
Hydra Quote 2011-02-09 12:55:07 AM

The problem is that interest groups (corporations are simply a subset of interest groups) will ALWAYS gain control over the government the moment it starts to influence the market for "socialist" ends.

>>>

It's kind of strange how you have formed this idea that letting the magic of capitalism ala corporations have free reign and control politicians, it's all because of socialism? Ummmmmmmm Lay off the meds.
 
2011-02-09 01:19:38 AM  

edlmco: stolen from
http://boortz.com/nealz_nuze/index.html
Now ... let's do a quick Cliff Notes review of this man as it relates to commerce and the private markets.

Obama hurp derp derr er derpity durr

In short ... this is a man who has no idea in the universe what it means to own and operate a business, yet there he is telling businesses that they have to go out there and figure out how they can hire more people.


You think that it's better that the government be co-opted by whatever business interest has the most influence. No thank you, but I don't want another Victorian Era.


Would you rather have him start channeling FDR and just giving up on any cooperation with an unwilling private sector? At this point, I'm not sure that it's entirely a bad idea. Businesses have a large disconnect with the reality of high unemployment, yet want to create more of it.

Businesses aren't hiring, but want to complain that they aren't being served as if they were the G-d Almighty. Well, if you're not going to create jobs willingly, perhaps it'd not be too much to presume non-cooperation on the part of business - and start making it harder to not hire, until the situation changes.

When you're at a gun fight, you don't try to appease the other parties into not shooting you. Yet you ask our government to do just that.
 
2011-02-09 01:25:25 AM  

Big Al: It's kind of strange how you have formed this idea that letting the magic of capitalism ala corporations have free reign and control politicians, it's all because of socialism? Ummmmmmmm Lay off the meds.


Cite where I said that corporations should be allowed to control and buy off politicians. It's pretty obvious that I've been adamantly against that from the beginning.

As I've said before, when a corporation or another special interest (you do know that there are other influences on politicians aside from corporations, correct?) buys off a politician to tilt the outcome of the market toward its own favor, that is not free maket capitalism.

It's a distortion of the market and a mischaracterization of capitalism.

Socialism holds that the government should have complete control over the means of production and the allocation of resources - a.k.a. the market. Any degree of socialism that you try to mix with capitalism means that the government does not have complete control but influences the outcome in some way.

That's like opening Pandora's box - once you get the government involved in influencing the market to benefit, say, agricultural businesses with subsidies for destroying crops like I explained before, you're going to get a flood of other special interests begging for the politicians to tilt the market in their favor as well.

This so-called "magic mix" of socialism and capitalism that you keep saying we can find won't work. It only results in the broken crony "capitalist" system that isn't really capitalism that we have now.
 
2011-02-09 01:30:22 AM  
Free market capitalism prevents corporations and the wealthy from having more influence? Really? Where? What government oversight prevents that? Your dream of free market capitalism lead to the Gilded Age and the 29 crash already, why do you want to keep repeating history?
 
2011-02-09 01:48:15 AM  

Big Al: Free market capitalism prevents corporations and the wealthy from having more influence? Really? Where? What government oversight prevents that?


It was supposed to be the Constitution.

If the central government was kept small and only marginally powerful over both the states and the people, people would be free to conduct business in their states as they pleased.

Bribing George Washington wouldn't have gotten you very far if you were trying to get a bill passed to provide you with a subsidy not to grow crops because the government did not have that kind of power.

Of course, state governments were by no means immune to corruption, so if states decided to try to overregulate a certain market or engage in unfair practices to favor one group over another, people could "vote with their feet" and move to a more fair state.

This made states compete in an effort to have the most open and fairest markets among the various states to attract the most new business.


There weren't a dozen different federal agencies with which to comply in opening a new factory - any regulation of that kind was left to the states, and those with the harshest regs soon saw their manufacturing move South as with what happened to the textile industry.


The problem with top-down regulation from the federal government is that people can't "vote with their feet" to find the best place to do business - unless they leave the country, which thousands of people and businesses are doing in droves.

Federalism is a concept we've completely forgotten about in this country.
 
2011-02-09 02:33:08 AM  

140toesandfingers: MadCat221: 140toesandfingers: WhyteRaven74: 140toesandfingers: Once money is taxed it is destroyed

LOL wut?

Where do you think a dollar bill comes from? Money has to be borrowed into existance.

That paycheck that the DoT roadworker cashes in to pay for his living and discretionary expenses paid to entities other than the government says otherwise.

Like Whyteraven said... LOL WUT?

Good story... although you missed my point. You show the dollar can be traded. I am talking about created.


Here's an interesting little tidbit: the Federal Reserve isn't technically part of the government. In fact, it's a private organization. The government doesn't actually have too much in the way of controlling its day-to-day operations and would have to create legislation to change it in any way.

Thus, even in your example, taxes are not "destroyed" money. The government isn't the one creating money, the Federal Reserve is.

And this isn't just semantics, the reason the Federal Reserve was made a private, separate organization was specifically to discourage the government from simply "creating more money" when it needed to. The Federal Reserve (ideally, although politics is always at play) is there to simply gauge the economy and how well it's doing and decide how much money there should be to represent the GDP.

Now credit on the other hand, is a whole farkload of evil that functions closer to what you described.
 
2011-02-09 02:39:28 AM  

Mr. Right: Pincy: Mr. Right: If Obama or the Congress wants to bring jobs into this country, they need to make the cost of employment competitive.

And how exactly do you propose they do that?

And what about making it more expensive for companies to move production out of the country in the first place?

There are literally thousands of regulations coming at companies from almost every branch of government and they all cost money to keep track and comply. The amount of paperwork - electronic or otherwise - that must be generated, filed, and maintained is the biggest single task of any HR department. A lot of it could be eliminated, nearly all of it could be streamlined. Large companies have whole departments just to insure diversity. Whether or not that fits in with your social goals, it is an enormous expense which adds no value to the customer. Mandates like ADA and FMLA sounded like a good idea at the time but they add costs that companies in other countries do not bear. Those are just a couple with which you are probably familiar. You may think they are fine ideas - that's OK. You just need to understand that they drive up the cost of employment and make moving jobs overseas more attractive.

How do you propose to make it more expensive to move production out of the country? Bear in mind that we are involved in a global economy. We can have a company based in this country with some jobs here and a lot overseas or we can have no company in this country and import those goods from a company based overseas. Until the U.S. government runs the entire world and impose their idea of fairness globally, they will have to let U.S. companies compete.


The U.S. is still the single largest consuming force in the world. When you're the largest exporter, free trade is great. When you're the largest consumer, free trade is not.

Tariffs will allow a short-term barrier until other economies develop enough consuming power (this is quickly happening in China and India) to off-set their cheap-labor offerings.

The tariffs wouldn't need to last very long. I estimate we'd only need 10 years before China and India become incredibly large consumers in the world and are hungry for U.S. made goods.
 
2011-02-09 02:45:23 AM  

Zeno-25: 140toesandfingers: WhyteRaven74: Someone tell these CEO's that hiring people is its own tax break. Since corporations pay taxes on what's left after expenses have been paid, if you spend more on employees, you end up with a lower tax bill.

Corporations do not pay taxes. It is a cost of doing business and is passed on to the consumer.

Pretty much. Which is why as a lefty I would favor a compromise eliminating the corporate income tax, so long as we added a few extra income tax brackets. Say, 500k through 1M is taxed at 40%, 1M-5M is taxed at 50%, and everything over 5M is taxed at something nice and high like 60+%. Right now I believe it stops at ~370k and 35%? That way you have a structural arrangement that puts pressure on a more equitable distribution of a company's profits without directly affecting the consumer. Pretty much the way things were before Reagan castrated federal revenue by lowering the % taxed on the most high brackets.

/not holding my breath
//bad for the plutocracy


The tax system is a bit fudgy. If you try to shift the corporate tax burden onto its investors and high earners, then corporations will simply stop paying dividends and accumulate wealth. A corporation is not bound in any way to stay in the U.S. (it can operate anywhere, after all) so it could very well then just move its headquarters to another country along with all of that wealth its accumulated.

The biggest problem currently is that it's far too easy to do this. There is almost no cost to a corporation for moving outside the U.S.

We are no longer the growing producers. Having trade policies (free trade) that treat us as if we were the major growing producers of the world does not make sense. We are the dominant consumers. Let it cost outsiders money to take ours.
 
2011-02-09 02:49:20 AM  

Hydra: The problem with top-down regulation from the federal government is that people can't "vote with their feet" to find the best place to do business - unless they leave the country, which thousands of people and businesses are doing in droves.


...until they figure out that there really isn't anywhere to hide.
 
2011-02-09 02:51:31 AM  

imgod2u: The tax system is a bit fudgy. If you try to shift the corporate tax burden onto its investors and high earners, then corporations will simply stop paying dividends and accumulate wealth. A corporation is not bound in any way to stay in the U.S. (it can operate anywhere, after all) so it could very well then just move its headquarters to another country along with all of that wealth its accumulated.


Not if the US really has a problem with that. If a company sufficiently offends the US Government enough, no country will be safe.
 
2011-02-09 03:11:59 AM  
Hydra
It was supposed to be the Constitution.

So what magic or perhaps extraterrestrial force corrupted things? If things were so perfect originally (and they must have been, since The Founding Fathers were god-like seers and wizards), how did it get so bad? The Devil, perhaps?
 
2011-02-09 03:14:48 AM  

Hydra: No, it doesn't. Free markets mean that those in the "underclass" have the best chance at ascending to a higher standard of living.


No, it doesn't. I'll point you to the Standard Oil days as historical proof. Or modern day China.

A truly free market is great at the beginning. Everyone is motivated to work and produce and the wealth is so plentiful, even the crumbs are great. A small percentage move up, but even at the bottom, it's not so bad.

But once you've consolidated all wealth and power into the hands of a few, the whole competition side of the free market dies. You then have an imbalance of power in which the consumer no longer have leverage over the producer.

This has happened over and over and over again in every single country that has employed a free market but didn't bother to regulate it at first. I'm afraid you're simply idealizing.

Free market being the operative word here because so many people fire right back at that by saying something like, "But the evil rich people are going to do everything they can to keep them down! They're going to pass laws that keep them from ascending higher!"

That is not a free market. That's a bastardization of the market using the force of the government to achieve it. The free market fails once the government steps in to subsidize, tax, promote, discourage, give tax breaks, make mandates, and a whole host of other ways of distorting the market.


Well see, here's the thing. I'm not going to disagree that it disrupts the efficiency of a free market to make mandates, promote through tax incentives, and set policies on trade. That's of course, true.

What I'm going to say is that as a person living in a civilized society, I would rather have those inefficiencies than have poison in my food, racial discrimination while hiring, unsafe working conditions, or short-sighted get-some-money-this-quarter business being the only game in town.

The free market is great at implementing and growing production. But it falls short when it comes to long-term planning and fairness for the whole. That's where government comes in.

Of course, I will give you that our current government doesn't step in on some areas where it perhaps should (say, actually taxing the rich) and steps in way too much in some areas it shouldn't (I view social security as a huge major over-step).

But that's not to say that government doesn't have a role in regulating the market. One simply has to evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and make a value judgement on whether it's worth the disruption to regulate some things.

I don't suppose you have a problem with the FDA and FCC?

Don't know who you've been listening to, but I and people like me have been blaming central planning for ruining the economy for a while now.

It's not entirely Jane's, Tom's, Steve's, and Joe's faults that they got laid off. They weren't the ones keeping interest rates artificially low; they weren't the ones who tried to stimulate the economy in the aftermath of the tech bubble bust and 9/11; they weren't the ones mandating lower lending standards at loan originators; they weren't the ones requiring FNMA and FHLMC to buy huge amounts of subprime MBSs; they weren't the ones who protected the ratings agencies' oligopoly.

And finally, they weren't the ones who decided to bail out everyone and his brother when the shiat hit the fan.


Of course not. But they are the ones being asked to pay more taxes. Whereas stock holders of AIG raked in cash while paying their 15% long-term capital gains or 15% qualified dividend tax.

We may pay lip service to the poor, but it doesn't change the fact that a secretary paying 25% of her income in taxes is being farked over backwards compared to a major investor paying 15% of his income in taxes.

I have a hard time finding folks credible on capitalist economies while they completely ignore-if-not-dismiss unintended consequences, cause and effect, and long term effects.

People who think that aggregate demand of the economy can be "stimulated" by either taxing and spending or printing and spending without any consequences are ignoring history and empirical evidence.

Those taxes come from somewhere - under an income tax, they come from production. Production is the engine of an economy (can't employ people unless they ...


Taxes don't halt production. It has never, in the history of the economy, made a dent in production. In fact, quite the opposite. I agree somewhat on the whole "stimulus package" thing but only so much as they're a temporary solution.

When income taxes were as high as 90% in the top bracket, the U.S. was booming to become the dominant power of the world. Industries were created and expanded and the standard of living for everyone (not just the top 1%) increased dramatically.

Income tax was lowered to it's all-time low because some laser-loving actor believed that if you gave the wealthy more money, they'd happily create jobs for no other reason than that they have so much money! Forgetting the demand side entirely.

The result is not only a slowdown of GDP growth, a massive increase in national debt, a devaluation of the dollar and a wealth gap that puts Rockefeller to shame; the worst thing of all is that it created Randian nutjobs that can absolutely, positively ignore history entirely and still claim this is in any way a good system.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: fark Reagan. He started the decline of this country and we're all suffering for it.
 
2011-02-09 03:22:43 AM  

Hydra: For that to come even remotely close to working, we'd also have to spread losses evenly across society. How would you suggest we do that?


By using tax money to balance the books of the major pockets of wealth when they can't front the bill?
 
2011-02-09 03:23:39 AM  

sethstorm: imgod2u: The tax system is a bit fudgy. If you try to shift the corporate tax burden onto its investors and high earners, then corporations will simply stop paying dividends and accumulate wealth. A corporation is not bound in any way to stay in the U.S. (it can operate anywhere, after all) so it could very well then just move its headquarters to another country along with all of that wealth its accumulated.

Not if the US really has a problem with that. If a company sufficiently offends the US Government enough, no country will be safe.


You might wanna tell them about Exxon, Intel, Microsoft, HP, Walmart, etc. etc. etc.
 
2011-02-09 04:15:47 AM  

RembrandtQEinstein: solution:

remove limited liability from corporate owners and stockholders

the problem will fix itself

(also remove immunity from police, judges and prosecutors)


This is why liberals fail at economics.
 
2011-02-09 04:24:02 AM  

Zeno-25: Again, the only reason they're not doing this in the first place is because business never looks past next quarter's profits; they lack the collective foresight and coordination necessary to make broad social and economic decisions even if it's something that would make more money for them in the future.


So, your point is that every business in the history of the world is wrong and Obama is right.
 
2011-02-09 04:32:39 AM  

TheBigJerk: moral and righteous


Two words that do not describe Obama in the least. Don't even try to use them in the same paragraph. Obama is a slightly less smelly turd than a corporation, if the wind is just right.
 
2011-02-09 07:26:09 AM  

Shakin_Haitian: So you guys are for effective government regulation of businesses?


Yes. Note that it should be both effective and regular. That doesn't mean that I would knee jerk support any regulation that comes up though, most of it is terrible.
 
2011-02-09 08:17:31 AM  
All this talk and people forget that in order for free market principles to apply, the barrier to entry into that market must be low. The free market applies to things like plumbers and electricians, and small businesses.

Free market principles don't apply to the vast majority of big businesses.
 
2011-02-09 08:23:28 AM  

ansius: Private profit, socialized risk. It's the new American way.


/This
//Fark Coporate America
///Death to Plutocracy
 
2011-02-09 10:54:38 AM  
Look, a basic understanding of the problem isn't beyond our grasp. While complex, the underlying factors are fairly basic:

The Profit Motive is not inherently bad, in and of itself. It's a Motive. It Motivates people and corporate entities to get things done. Things getting done is generally beneficial, relative to nothing being done, all other things being equal.

Consequences, however, are another matter. If I hurt someone, there exists a body of law through which either the state or the wronged party can prosecute me or sue me to recover loss: the consequences of my destructive action.

Corporate entities were created to protect human entities from financial ruin in cases where lucrative business ventures could be undertaken, but were of such a size that failure would result in beyond-total-bankruptcy for all partners -- so nobody would invest, because the risk was too great. Corporations created an entity that could, functionally, go bankrupt FOR YOU, thus making investment in these super-large business opportunities possible.

Unfortunately, Corporate personhood is now beginning to shield the humans making the decisions from all kinds of broader, but still destructive consequences to society in general, instead of just managing financial risk. This is the part where psychologists will describe to you all the ways that Corporate decision making on the macro level is clinically Psychopathic, lacking in all empathy or concern for society or the individuals within it -- including other Corporate entities.

That way lies savagery. Without empathy, without consequences, all is barbarism. This is what we are seeing in our financial markets: barbarism. Some equivalent of "civilization" is going to have to evolve before things get any better. What most people call "regulation" was, essentially, the corporate/fiscal equivalent of Authoritarian rule. The King keeps order because it suits him to have a functioning kingdom instead of anarchy where people eat each other's children, that kind of thing.

The peasants (the corporations), meanwhile see this autocracy for what it is: something they hate because they feel it is unfair and disenfranchising. They want more freedom. Unfortunately, without replacing the Kingdom (regulation) with something better (?), you get anarchy (and the child-eating barbarism, fiscally speaking).

What I wonder is, does anyone, and I mean ANYONE, inside the Beltway get this?
 
2011-02-09 11:43:16 AM  

TheOtherGuy: Look, a basic understanding of the problem isn't beyond our grasp. While complex, the underlying factors are fairly basic:

The Profit Motive is not inherently bad, in and of itself. It's a Motive. It Motivates people and corporate entities to get things done. Things getting done is generally beneficial, relative to nothing being done, all other things being equal.

Consequences, however, are another matter. If I hurt someone, there exists a body of law through which either the state or the wronged party can prosecute me or sue me to recover loss: the consequences of my destructive action.

Corporate entities were created to protect human entities from financial ruin in cases where lucrative business ventures could be undertaken, but were of such a size that failure would result in beyond-total-bankruptcy for all partners -- so nobody would invest, because the risk was too great. Corporations created an entity that could, functionally, go bankrupt FOR YOU, thus making investment in these super-large business opportunities possible.

Unfortunately, Corporate personhood is now beginning to shield the humans making the decisions from all kinds of broader, but still destructive consequences to society in general, instead of just managing financial risk. This is the part where psychologists will describe to you all the ways that Corporate decision making on the macro level is clinically Psychopathic, lacking in all empathy or concern for society or the individuals within it -- including other Corporate entities.

That way lies savagery. Without empathy, without consequences, all is barbarism. This is what we are seeing in our financial markets: barbarism. Some equivalent of "civilization" is going to have to evolve before things get any better. What most people call "regulation" was, essentially, the corporate/fiscal equivalent of Authoritarian rule. The King keeps order because it suits him to have a functioning kingdom instead of anarchy where people eat each other's children, that kind of thing.

The peasants (the corporations), meanwhile see this autocracy for what it is: something they hate because they feel it is unfair and disenfranchising. They want more freedom. Unfortunately, without replacing the Kingdom (regulation) with something better (?), you get anarchy (and the child-eating barbarism, fiscally speaking).

What I wonder is, does anyone, and I mean ANYONE, inside the Beltway get this?


It's not really authoritarian if it's enacted by a representative democracy now is it?

The investors and CEO vote just like any other person.
 
2011-02-09 12:07:06 PM  
imgod2u: The investors and CEO vote just like any other person.

Dude, what version of the US are YOU living in, if at all? They vote like thousands upon thousands of people through their campaign contributions and lobbyists, not one-at-a-time with anything so plebeian as a voting machine, like the rest of us. How do you think they did away with that "authoritarian" regime they hated so much? They bought it out by going around and outside that representative democracy. We voted to put those restrictions in place so that society would function and we could all be comfortable, and they ripped it down because it was the difference between them making eleventy-billion or eleventy-billion-and-one dollars.

That said, I agree with you. It was only authoritarian from their perspective, since, technically, corporate entities themselves do not vote. I wonder if that thought leads to an interesting place...
 
2011-02-09 01:13:54 PM  

Hoopido: RembrandtQEinstein: solution:

remove limited liability from corporate owners and stockholders

the problem will fix itself

(also remove immunity from police, judges and prosecutors)

This is why liberals fail at economics.


OK professor, explain why people shouldn't be held accountable for actions carried out under their orders and in their names?

Risk doesn't magically disappear when the law says some people aren't fully liable for the results of their actions. Instead that risk is transferred to every person dealing with those who are immune.
 
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