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(The New York Times)   The myth of America as the land of opportunity is busted by some Nobel winner   (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com) divider line 368
    More: Sad, Nobel Laureates, Ayn Rand, equality of opportunity, environmental hazards, second inaugural address, Alan Krueger, achievement gap, Stiglitz  
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8200 clicks; posted to Politics » on 18 Feb 2013 at 3:31 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-18 11:41:13 PM
KiltedBastich
No, the governing of complex modern societies with the intricate and large scope problems they face implies a bureacracy. Bureaucracies are not limited to governments. Any large and complex social system develops them. The only question is whether their authority is formalized in the government or not.

You can have bureaucracy but not a government, sure (a private corporation, I guess?). You can have laws but not a government (many indigenous societies). You can't have government without both laws and a bureaucracy.

Yes, because even with a system that is as corrupted by money and power as yours currently is (Note, not an American myself) there are still political actors that attempt to do the right thing when they can. Change is possible. It will be slow and extremely difficult, and the wealthy and powerful will fight you the whole way, but no one ever promised change for the better was going to be easy or quick.

Duh. But what you propose is pushing back directly linearly against the prevailing force. Like standing in front of a freight train and trying to stop it by shoving it.

Remove that limitation

Oh, well, it's that easy. And who exactly will "remove that limitation"? The very same politicians who are currently doing so well by it?

That is a counterproductive attitude. Every human society that advances beyond the tribal level has politics, pretending otherwise is just willful blindness.

That depends on what you mean by "politics". Let me remind you that "representative politics" is a subset of politics, not the only kind.

What you advocate is anarchy, and contrary to what certain ideologies would have you believe, the wealthy love anarchy, because those are exactly the situations where they can leverage their wealth into power and control most easily.

Don't presume to lecture me on that. You don't have any clue what you're talking about.

No spokespeople ment that anyone is a spokesperson, and there's no way to disprove the more ridiculous and outlandish claims.

There is actually a process for selecting spokespeople, but do you seriously think the media would have respected Occupy's chosen delegates? Actually, you don't even need to speculate, because many Occupy chapters issued officially consented-on statements, which were roundly ignored and/or mocked in the corporate media.

Then you take it back. Social organizations are not fixed in stone. They are always in flux, by their very nature. This is how things are now. That means there is work to be done to change things, not that nothing can be done.

Twaddle. That's not a plan, it's a wish.

it will have grown so large and have garnered so much support as to be the government.

If you want to call it that.

Because the government is literally no more and no less than the legitimate will of the nation which it serves.

In that case, don't call it a "government".

Economic action requires economic power commensurate to the scope of the problems to be addressed. As the problem is specifically the enormously unequal distribution of wealth and income and the way it allows a small minority to call the shots for your nation, I am deeply skeptical of your claimed economic action. All of those examples you cite are ultimately going to result in only short-term localized victories that do not significantly change the larger situation, and will continue to remain so unless systemic change is enacted. That requires either the political action which you claim to eschew, revolution or else you becoming the wealthy and powerful calling the shots. Superficial victories do not impress me if you have not in any way substantially affected the underlying social systems that produced the problems in the first place.

That's a fair challenge. Not only that, it's a plan rather than a wish.
 
2013-02-18 11:45:54 PM

o5iiawah: Unfortunately yes. GM should have gone to the bondholders and all of the toxic mortgage assets should have been auctioned off to credit unions and local banks who wanted to take a flyer on the debt. All of this was decided by government, approved by government and made legal by government.


And this is why nobody takes you seriously.
 
2013-02-19 12:11:04 AM

o5iiawah: Wait. You just said that people are constantly in a game, seeking to maximize their own best interests (to which I agree) yet you say government must be able to transform itself to combat the wealthy and powerful. Government is simply made up of people, who are also seeking to maximize their own self interest and that usually means some sort of financial gain. Some contract for their brother in law. Some big fat make-work project for their district that keeps the citizens placated. The original intent of Government was to strip away the power and glamour and make it so that nobody but those with the best of intentions wanted to do it and would usually be done with it after a term or two. Rick Scott in FL spent a few hundred million of his own money to win an office which pays a few hundred thousand dollars per year. What is the logic in that?


Because those who are not wealthy (usually the majority of the population) can see that not letting the wealthy run roughshod over their society is in their best interests. They can understand that acting in the good of the society as a whole can require acting in ways that do not allow every individual to maximize their own gains at the expense of everyone else. And they can recognize that only by acting in concert do they have the means to oppose the wealthy and powerful few, and thus protect and maximize their individual interests more effectively than by their own individually limited means. The tragedy of the commons is not a new problem, and people have been trying to solve it on a social level literally since civilization began.

Remember that those who form goverments in the first place are usually thinkers and political philosophers. The Founding Fathers of the USA certainly were, and so were the early politicians in many nations. They can be credited for having at least tried to set up a system that would be responsive to the people in general rather than to the wealthy few - even if their definition of who "The people" was was a bit narrower than the current one.

So yes, the intent of government has been subverted, but that's inevitable. You can't do without it, so you must reform and rebuild it - and accept that this is an ongoing process. Every new iteration will have its own exploitable flaws which profit seekers will seek to exploit. Those can then be identified and corrected, and the process repeats. Expecting any human social system to function other than by this cycle is foolish at best.

o5iiawah: Which is why we have (or should have) a limited government. There's no point in Wal-Mart sending lobbyists to Washington if there's no gain in doing so.


If government is arbitrarily limited, then the corporations will simply exploit the limitations, as they have done repeatedly in the past in many situations. That which is not regulated shall be exploited. This is as close to a fundamental truth of human activity as you will ever find. Government must be able to flexibly respond to the actions of the wealthy, or else you've lost the contest before you even begin. Lobbyists exist to abate, avoid or prevent the existence of regulations. When government is limited as you propose, groups like Wal-Mart don't send lobbyists not because there is no point to it, but because they don't need to. Nothing is stopping them from acting as they see fit anyhow.

o5iiawah: There's no reason to respond to "Wall street et al" if laws werent written to benefit them in the first place. If Countrywide wrote a bad mortgage contract with someone, we have government to mediate the contract and determine if there is fault - not to shoulder the public treasury with the bad asset. When GM went tits up, the role of government was to liquidate the business in court with the bondholders at the front of the line. Thanks to too-big to fail and a bunch of senators and reps who would get their teeth kicked in by their constituents, we got a bailout and a transfer of legally acquired private property. GM is now losing money, run by bureaucrats and its once profitable and popular brands, which would have been snatched up in a heartbeat are no more and never will be.


What you suggest would result in a few very wealthy individuals walking away with the fortunes they have already made, and a massive economic perturbation that would ruin the lives of many poor and middle class, not just those directly involved in those businesses. And that is exactly the sort of economic environment that the wealthy can then exploit further by purchasing depressed assets at pennies on the dollar.

No, the bailout was a good start, but it was only a half measure. What the government then should have done would be to use the leverage gained by the bailout to break up those too big to fail entities into smaller companies, institute laws that would prevent reamalgamation into corporate entities of the problematic size, and then let them go at it in a more competitive market situation. That would have protected the vulnerable poor and middle class, punished the wealthy who were responsible for the whole exploitative fiasco, encouraged competition and taken preventative action against a reoccurrence. Essentially, the Ma Bell answer.

o5iiawah: And guess what? The only person capable of stopping big business is government but when government sees more of a benefit in partnering with business than serving their constituencies, that is what you will get.

 
So take it back. Focus on the real issues, and avoid the distractions that the corporations will try to throw at you. Recognize that you need collective action, not individual bootstrappiness. Recognize that you need to harness the power of government to rein in the excesses that the wealthy and powerful will constantly try and engage in simply because they are humans acting as humans do. Recognize that so-called values issues are usually distracting side-shows used to divide and weaken the poor and middle class, keeping them from finding common ground to act on to challenge economic exploitation.


Social systems are not fixed in stone. What is now can be changed with sufficient effort and a pragmatic understanding of the issues, as opposed to ideological chest-thumping. The powers that be love ideologues. They are predictable and easy to manipulate into acting against their best interests simply by appealing to the weaknesses inherent to their ideologies.

o5iiawah: Unfortunately yes. GM should have gone to the bondholders and all of the toxic mortgage assets should have been auctioned off to credit unions and local banks who wanted to take a flyer on the debt. All of this was decided by government, approved by government and made legal by government.


Government does not mean bad. It does not mean other. It should mean "the will of the people". It always means social power that is not inherently beholden to money (although as I have said repeatedly, it can be made to be so by external coercion). It is right and appropriate that government take an interest in something which has the potential to harm the livelihoods of large numbers of its constituents. If a hurricane is going to put, say, 10000 people into insolvency by destroying their homes, the government takes action. Why then should it be required to stand aside if the problem is their livelihood failing due to bad corporate management?

Just because an ideology says "small government GOOD! big government BAD!" doesn't necessarily make it so. I object to incompetent or coopted governance. I have no issue with governance itself. The pragmatic requirements of the situation are what should dictate the actions and responses of governement, not ideological mantras that are easily exploited by the unscrupulous.

o5iiawah: because the market is ever moving. it is a dynamic system of prices and exchange which currently 7+BN people are engaging in at any given time. The smartest man in the world cannot harness it. The most up to date and knowledgeable bureaucracy cannot understand it. Human history is wrought with examples of benevolent, autocratic governments trying to decide who does what and if they didnt succeed in butchering/starving/freezing a good bit of their population, they were lapped by those governments who set up a fair system of rules, enforced them, and allowed people to exchange freely with one another.

The end result of the Tragedy of the commons, or the solution to the game if you will, is private property. No bureaucrat can manage the needs of a forest or the market demand for lumber but 5 lumber companies, each with a lease or a parcel that they own, has an incentive to be wise with his land since his trees are protected and there is government to enforce and punish those who might intrude and cut down a competitor's tree If you let 5 loggers loose in a completely public forest with no penalty for over-logging, you'd end up with a parking lot.



Oh please. Global markets as you speak of are very new, and they have been endlessly exploited by the wealthy already, by means of exploitative labor then shipping goods to be sold at inflated markups in western countries. That is only possible because the international trade laws allow it. Formerly, it would have been stopped in its tracks by protectionism in the form of trade tariffs.

And, no, private property is not the answer to the tragedy of the commons because it ignores the fact that there are many physical commons that cannot be privatized. Are you going to privatize the air? The seas? Every river that flows? Every forest? Every band in the radio spectrum? It also ignores that many of the commons are in fact intangibles, not even actual objects at all, things like the basic fact that sharing with the community means you get less for yourself, but the whole community including you benefits, whereas if you keep it all to yourself you gain, but all of society suffers - the free rider problem. Private property does nothing to address  that issue, because it is impossible for an individual to provide everything he or she needs by her own direct actions in a modern society. You can't make your own roads, you can't insure your own health against catastrophe or major illness, you can't regulate the quality of your own food and drink, you can't answer your own grievances in a personal court. All of these things are common goods that cannot be addressed through private property.

Furthermore, it does not address externalities which do not impact the private property owners, but does affect the society as a whole and the enviroment. Logging can cause soil erosion which causes dust storms and ruins water quality. It can change rain fall patterns. It can destroy populations of game animals or displace migratory birds into new areas causing damage to those new areas. Nearly any large scale private property ownership will have something similar. Do you think BP had planned for all the externalities created by the spill in the Gulf? Evidence suggest not.

There are all kinds of consequences that simply cannot be addressed by simple private property ownership that any kind of in depth analysis will reveal. And the only way to deal with those additional problems is through government. You can if you so choose debate what the responses to those problems should be, but denying that they exist in the first place is just willful ignorance.
 
2013-02-19 12:25:21 AM

o5iiawah: Zombie Butler: I was more interested in your ideas of government monopoly on force.  I have a lot of Libertarian friends and I've never heard that before, so I was just curious on the take.

In a society that functions well, only government can force you to pay taxes to support programs or products.  Only government can (with a warrant) kick your door in.  Lately though, with consent of the courts and a completely oblivious, 30-second news cycle electorate, corporations, acting in their own self-interest are using government, also acting in their own self interest to do their dirty work.  Monsanto is using government to pass laws, which then impose force on individual farmers.  GE uses government to write a favorable tax code so that instead of offering the market products that people will willingly purchase, they use government to force people via taxation to contribute to GE in the form of tax credits and taxpayer-subsidized projects that benefit GE.  See also: Banks, GM, etc.

It all goes back to the idea of living in a republic and having a degree of liberty means you're going to have to exercise some bit of it at some point.  That means placing limits on those who wield force and being cognizant of what they are doing with it.  Unfortunately politicians seem to have struck a good balance between first screwing people out of their own money and giving it back to them slowly and straight up lining the pockets of companies who would rather invest in congresscritters than making good products.


Ah, thank you. I see what you are driving at. No further comments, just chewing on the thought food.
 
2013-02-19 12:33:10 AM

RanDomino: You can have bureaucracy but not a government, sure (a private corporation, I guess?). You can have laws but not a government (many indigenous societies). You can't have government without both laws and a bureaucracy.


Indigenous societies generally do not have to deal with the complexities of the modern world. They are local and tribal and generally don't have the knowledge, wherewithal or need to deal with the complexities of administering a nation of millions, let alone hundreds of millions.

Hence, government and politics are a necessary evil, as is bureaucracy. Pretending otherwise is pointless.

RanDomino: Duh. But what you propose is pushing back directly linearly against the prevailing force. Like standing in front of a freight train and trying to stop it by shoving it.


Not so. More like Sisyphus's task of rolling a rock uphill, for it is difficult, arduous, and will need to be repeated endlessly - but can at least be accomplished for the moment. Revolutions, peaceful and otherwise, do happen. Social systems are not set in stone.

RanDomino: That depends on what you mean by "politics". Let me remind you that "representative politics" is a subset of politics, not the only kind.


Indeed, but unless you are going to tell me that the USA (and by extension, the rest of the democratic western world) is suddenly going to toss out it's entire political system, that is the subset we are talking about.

RanDomino: Don't presume to lecture me on that. You don't have any clue what you're talking about.


My degrees in sociology and psychology would say otherwise, as would the historical evidence of many examples of wealthy individuals buying up valuable property for pittances during times of economic distress. Learn your history. What I describe is not theory. It is historical fact.

Let me be VERY specific. I do not give the slightest of shiats what your ideological commitments are. Everyone has an ideology, and in the end what matters is what you do, far mroe than what you say or believe. The empirical evidence is what it is, and the behaviour of the wealthy in general in times of economic and social chaos when government is lacking is very well documented.

RanDomino: There is actually a process for selecting spokespeople, but do you seriously think the media would have respected Occupy's chosen delegates? Actually, you don't even need to speculate, because many Occupy chapters issued officially consented-on statements, which were roundly ignored and/or mocked in the corporate media.


Local chapters that did not build anything larger than those local voices. Greater levels of organization were necessary. And yes, the actions of the corporate owned media was entirely predictable, and should have been planned for. That's why political action is needed, not just social action. Note that I am not saying political action instead of social action. I am saying you need both, that the one without the other is insufficient. You need the social action to drive public motivation, and the political action to find and enact actual workable solutions.

RanDomino: Twaddle. That's not a plan, it's a wish.


No, it's a goal defined in abstract terms. How you go about achieving that goal in the specific depends entirely on the context and the available resources, so it's pointless to go any further than that without having some actual practical knowledge of specific situations. As I lack such, I will refrain from playing armchair general beyond saying that the evidence of history is that change is always possible if you are willing to work and sacrifice enough for it. Believing it is impossible and hopeless to attempt change is what the propagandists among the powers that be want you to think - because then you don't rock the boat.

RanDomino: it will have grown so large and have garnered so much support as to be the government.

If you want to call it that.

Because the government is literally no more and no less than the legitimate will of the nation which it serves.

In that case, don't call it a "government".


That's what the word means. That you want it to be otherwise is irrelevant. In a representative democracy, government governs by the will of the people. Absent that, the government loses legitimacy. If you have enough support that you supplant the government in action, you then become the government in fact. All that remains are the details, which may well be very bloody.

RanDomino: That's a fair challenge. Not only that, it's a plan rather than a wish.


It's a victory condition, actually, a criterion for empirical evidence of successful social action. I favor pragmatism over ideology in all cases. And yes, I am aware that this is also an ideological statement. I apply it recursively.
 
2013-02-19 12:49:15 AM

Zeno-25: Of course America is still the land of opportunity. There are dozens of chains of big box stores for people to choose from for employment after 30 years of conservative voodoo economics.


No, they also won't hire you.  But they'll let you shop there!

America is the land of opportunity because you have the opportunity to spend your money in so many ways!

Oh, you don't have any?

GTFO
 
2013-02-19 01:00:33 AM

o5iiawah: the USSR, Libya and currently Syria were taken down or pestered to bankruptcy largely as a result of a tireless, armed insurgency who knew the layout of the terrain and who eventually got on-the-fence locals to come over to their cause. That is another thread altogether but there's plenty of examples in the last 50 years of human history of established, regular armies getting harassed to no end by an angry band of locals.


The revolution will never have the support of the population. Fascism 2.0 will have the benefit of history at its side. It'll realize the Iron Fist is nowhere near as effective at controlling the population as the fluffy pillow. People will be kept comfortable, productive, and saturated with opiates of all kinds. Fascism 2.0 will be sold under the banner of freedom. "Government" will be almost non existence replaced instead by a coalition of large multinational corporate monopolies. There will be no El Presidente for Life, the President will just be a figure head elected by the people so they can feel they're part of the process. That's assuming the office even exists and hasn't been drowned in a bathtub in the name of freedom. The ones right now who love to talk about "2nd Amendment Solutions" will be the ones defending Fascism 2.0 the most.

The actual rebels who would be fighting it will not be the future George Washingtons, they'll be the future Osama Bin Ladens. They will not be engaging in straight up fire fights with the Armed Forces of the United States, because just like every other insurgents that have tried that they will lose those battles. They will instead be doing things like blowing up shopping malls, movie theatres, and office buildings. The closest they might get to an actual military target will be when they blow up a police station.

The new fascism will have the advantage of being able to study the whole history of human civilization. They will know how to keep the population happy enough not to revolt. They will make sure bellies are full and hands aren't idle. They will control population size enough so that there are enough people to fill every roll needed to make the world work. Everyone will have some function to perform, assigned to them by the corporations that control their district. Everyone will have a roof over their head, assigned to them by the corporation that assigned them their job.

The 2nd Amendment Solutions crowd seem to think that fascism is going to happen one day when Obama pulls off his rubber mask and reveals himself to be Hitler and goes BWAAAHAAAHAAAA and suddenly jackbooted stormtroopers will start repelling from black helicopters and take over the US.

Market research shows that kind of fascism historically doesn't work for very long. Dictatorships and boots on the throat tyranny doesn't tend to work very long. The New Fascism will be sold to you by advertising firms that will make the Nazi's Propaganda Machine look like a kid's lemonade stand. Guns won't do squat against that. Once it takes hold it's not going anywhere.

The only possible defence against it is to not vote it in in the first place. As long as people hold onto their fantasies that they're going to be the next George Washington in the glorious revolution they're pretty much laying the foundations for it to happen.
 
2013-02-19 01:04:54 AM

sendtodave: Zeno-25: Of course America is still the land of opportunity. There are dozens of chains of big box stores for people to choose from for employment after 30 years of conservative voodoo economics.

No, they also won't hire you.  But they'll let you shop there!

America is the land of opportunity because you have the opportunity to spend your money in so many ways!

Oh, you don't have any?

GTFO


We all have the same opportunity to grow up to work for the government for a fat paycheck, great benefits, and job security, regardless of our talents, drive, worth, or ability of the taxpayers to pay for it, so this land is as great as it ever was, just for a different type of person.
 
2013-02-19 01:05:17 AM
the worst part is we're not even getting to eat cake.
 
2013-02-19 01:14:36 AM

GoldSpider: Higher education isn't the problem.  The problem is that our culture seems to value education of any kind less and less with each generation.  That problem isn't so easy to fix with public funding, so we ignore it.


And why should they? "Teach the controversy" and all of the hullabaloo over the pledge pretty much gives kids the idea they're just there to be brainwashed (and those who are brainwashed in such schools just think they need Jesus not no edumacation) into converting to the favored death cult of the American Taliban and being indoctrinated into nationalism. The state's austerity measures continues to take away resources for a valuable education in a designed economic ploy to keep the lower classes enslaved to those at the top (austerity was never about fixing the problem, those who vote for it or support it may be mentally insane or stupid, but those who implement the policies know exactly what they're doing as it's always been a policy for class warfare and extraction/theft of resources from the bottom-up and was never supposed to be for its "intended purpose".)
High schools are increasingly prison like. And while a certain amount of standardization doesn't hurt, the way we go about it is designed to make loyal obedient wage slaves.
College is now pretty much impossible without debt for the non rich or non lucky (whether or not you pay it off or not in the end, you still rent yourself out as an indentured servant essentially) in a system pretty much designed to take all your money and ensure you're permanently indentured to paying off the loans. And it's increasingly coupled with a complementary form of indentured servitude known as unpaid internships. Degrees are not a job guarantee or even necessarily likely to get you a job and are increasingly meaningless compared to who you know, despite what high school counselors and college recruiters will tell you.

I'm not surprised "education" isn't valued because most people conflate education with the institutions around it. It's a bit like asking why certain people don't value "development" projects when the projects fark up their drinking water, destroy their villages, and the aid organizations just tell them "do it our way" making them reliable on the man with the fish than teaching them how to fish. And that what benefits do come from said projects are out of reach of the people they farked over and affected during the "development" (much like how even if you get through high school and the BS involved only to be told "good job, but that's pretty much worthless, you should go to college and cover yourself in debt to get a degree slightly less worthless" or people choose to abstain from higher education because they know how farked they'd be because of the debt and so choose not to take the "option" supposedly open to them that they can't really afford).
Granted these are generalizations of institutional education at large in America. There's just graduating high school and going into the workforce, trade school, technical and liberal arts institutions, experimental alternative schools and there are non-institutional options that are pretty farked up like religious indoctrination private schools or being brainwashed in a fundamentalist family through home schooling as well as scam online colleges and DeVry like institutions. There are scholarships and grants available (but Pell Grants can be difficult to get, I know someone who can't get one until they're 24 for whatever reason). But there's increasingly more "need" for debt or just being rich to get into higher education and increasingly less obviously practical reasons to get the degrees.
 
2013-02-19 01:18:52 AM
KiltedBastich
Indigenous societies generally do not have to deal with the complexities of the modern world. They are local and tribal and generally don't have the knowledge, wherewithal or need to deal with the complexities of administering a nation of millions, let alone hundreds of millions.

Hence, government and politics are a necessary evil, as is bureaucracy. Pretending otherwise is pointless.


Conjecture.

Indeed, but unless you are going to tell me that the USA (and by extension, the rest of the democratic western world) is suddenly going to toss out it's entire political system, that is the subset we are talking about.

You seem to like to wildly jump from announcing the impossibility of revolution to proposing it and back again.

economic and social chaos when government is lacking

To you, a tautology.

Greater levels of organization were necessary.

Which somehow translates to "get involved in politics"?

the actions of the corporate owned media was entirely predictable, and should have been planned for.

Weren't you just saying that it should have been engaged with?

the political action to find and enact actual workable solutions.

Sometimes you can work out a perfectly good solution without having to involve the government.

That's what the word means. That you want it to be otherwise is irrelevant. In a representative democracy, government governs by the will of the people. Absent that, the government loses legitimacy. If you have enough support that you supplant the government in action, you then become the government in fact. All that remains are the details, which may well be very bloody.

I like how you do this trick. First you say that all effective systems are government. Then you say that all governments are representative democracy. It follows that representative democracy is the only effective system. Do you think your degrees can help you see the exact point where the logic doesn't work?
 
2013-02-19 01:24:15 AM

pacified: the worst part is we're not even getting to eat cake.


Cake sucks. Pie all the way.

Apple pie.

America f*ck yeah.
 
2013-02-19 01:25:48 AM

bbfreak: Yes, that's the problem clearly. American's don't work hard enough. American's work plenty hard enough, some people work two jobs or maybe three just to keep their head above water. These people may or may not be able to afford health care, may or may not have sick days, in most cases not. You can work plenty hard and get nowhere. Working smarter is better than working harder. Myself, I think life is too short to toil away. I don't say that as a lazy person, I am not lazy. I have no problem working hard when it is necessary, but the idea that working hard by it self will get you anywhere towards a life of happiness is farking ridiculous.


a. Using a minute amount of the populace to back your thesis is half assed at best.

2. Semantics is at the root of your disagreement between the terms "working harder" and "working smarter."

d. If you are content working until your medicare and social security are enabled, then by all means, only work hard when it is necessary.
 
2013-02-19 01:32:59 AM

Lost Thought 00: They never specified *equal* opportunity. We built this country on the back of slavery and indentured servants, up until WW1 and 2 made that system impractical.


Well the system didn't ever become impractical, we just installed some updates.
Instead of chattel slavery we just have wage slavery, prison labor (and the War on Terrorism and War on Drugs to pull together all the labor for these private prison work camps), and criminalized migrants because "free trade" and "free market" means only free movement of capital don't you know. The education system provides the indentured servants. Profit, taxes, rent, interest, and other forms of non-labor income are still reaped by those who do the least to no labor and they maintain this hierarchy through corporate or government security infrastructure and physical force while doing their best to hide the violence through morality tales, lies, propaganda/newsspeak and monetary/economics illusions. Warfare is maintained because America is still an empire and we need to control the labor and resources of other countries through austerity and other forms of violence to keep the upper class in their comforts and keep the rest of the people comfortable enough to keep from revolting. We have this massive "debt" of "loans" from other countries and coincidentally just have a global military force policing everything but the two aren't connected no sirreee because tribute and empire are impolite words in this day and age. Welfare programs serve to keep those excluded comfortable with their position and away from radicalization. Warfare as the stick, welfare as the carrot.
So there are some updates to the program, but the basic premise and purpose of the program is the same as it's ever been.
 
2013-02-19 01:56:22 AM

RanDomino: Conjecture.


No, empirical conclusion. But, please, go ahead and prove me wrong. Tell me how you govern a modern society with all its complexities without recourse to a government. I'll wait, but I'm not holding my breath.

RanDomino: You seem to like to wildly jump from announcing the impossibility of revolution to proposing it and back again.


The powers that be throwing out democracy to institute some other system is not revolution in the sense we have been previously discussing, and revolution does not inherently mean warfare and violence, it can simply mean radical social change. In fact, pragmatically speaking, violent revolution is the worst option and the one most likely to not result in achieving the goals you are seeking to accomplish and most likely to cause collateral damage, because a violent revolution is also the kind that is the least predictable and most easily transformed into a random bloodbath. Again, the French Revolution is the most well known example, but look at what happened in the Iranian revolution, and various others around the world.

RanDomino: To you, a tautology.


No, a consequence. Social interaction always contains within it the possibility of exploitation. I already linked the free rider problem in this thread. In small communities, this is prevented by direct social pressures, but that fails in any group larger than roughly 300 people. So any social environment larger than that needs some form of formal governance, and lacking it you then get the opportunity for exploitation by the powerful and unscrupulous. This pattern has repeated over and over again throughout history, and is the major reason why failed states are considered to be extremely bad by all nearby.

Anarchy is not self-sustaining. It is a temporary condition that transitions to some form of social organisation. Unless someone is paying attention and trying to manage the transition, it is often autocratic despotism of a highly exploitative nature, and corporations can engage in this just as easily as anyone else.

RanDomino: Which somehow translates to "get involved in politics"?


If you want to take any meaningful action in the social milieu, yes, because politics is how shiat gets done in a complex society. You don't have to like it, but if you try and pretend otherwise, you're going to be notably ineffective at pursuing your goals, unless that goal is eliciting mockery.

RanDomino: Weren't you just saying that it should have been engaged with?


Of course I was, because you've got no choice in the matter. What I was saying is that this response from corporate media was predictable. You can't prevent it, all you can do is try to mitigate it, and seek other courses of action at the same time. You can't mitigate the effects without interacting with it, even if you fully expect they are going to do their best to twist your words anyways. Ignoring it or pretending it isn't a factor because you don't like how it does things is pointless and counterproductive, because then you give the corporate media free reign to do and say whatever they want about you, instead of trying to at least force them to edit your sound bites to their liking.

RanDomino: Sometimes you can work out a perfectly good solution without having to involve the government.


No, you can't. You can work out a perfectly feel-good and completely ineffective solution that doesn't have any hope of enacting significant social change but makes everyone involved feel empowered and good about themselves.

Such solutions I consider not worth the time wasted on them. They are a distraction that consume time and resources that could have been better spent on working on actual meaningful solutions. They are also exactly the kind of victory that the powers that be love to let their opponents have, because they abate social momentum without having any significant impact on their activity.

Say you want to boycott a corporation and put it out of business? That's nice. Suppose you even succeed. That's even nicer. Now, what are you doing to make the kind of abuses that triggered the boycott in the first place impossible? If the answer is "nothing", then all you are teaching the replacement is what they have to hide better. If the answer is anything other than "nothing", then you are talking about legislation and regulation, and that means you have invoked the agency of government.

I repeat. Social action is what raises the issue in public consciousness and makes change possible. Political action is what enacts real solutions that will last beyond the fickle swell of public interest. You need both. Without the former, there is no meaningful impetus to enact change. Without the latter, there is no way to make any changes lasting and meaningful.

RanDomino: I like how you do this trick. First you say that all effective systems are government. Then you say that all governments are representative democracy. It follows that representative democracy is the only effective system. Do you think your degrees can help you see the exact point where the logic doesn't work?


Are you unable to read? Did you miss the part where I pointed out we are talking about the subsection of political action called representative democracy? And have you not noticed that even in autocratic systems of government, the government is still ultimately answerable to the people if you rile them up enough? I don't like violent revolutions, I think they are destructive, wasteful and counterproductive, but they still sure screw things up for whoever is in charge at the time.

At no point did I say all governments are representative democracies. However, the government of the USA is, as is Canada, and the UK, and most of the rest of the western world, which is the scope in which we are having this conversation. If you want to start talking about the characteristics of theocracies in the middle east or the like, that would be a different conversation.

So let me clarify, again, your muddled thinking. All effective systems of laws in complex societies are government. In a representative democracy of some kind, like the USA or Canada, government gains its legitimacy from the will of the people. If that legitimacy is lost by the government, to the point that some other body has supplanted it as the source of law and social order, then that other body is then the government in fact, and what remains are the details, however bloody they may be.

For a specific example of this, look at what's happening in Syria, and how certain other nations (like Turkey) are starting to recognize the rebels as the legitimate government. Look at what happened in Libya for a similar transition. In both cases, it was messy, brutal and disorganized (still is in Syria) but other representative democracies recognized that when the current regime no longer was supported by the will of the people, that which the will of the people did support was now the de facto government.

Seriously now, it's not a hard concept to follow. Why are you having problems with this? The ability to enact law and act as a locus of social order with the consent of the people is a reasonable shorthand identifier for government in a representative democracy. The specific details of how this is accomplished, elections, governing bodies, legislation and so on, are the means of that government, not the government itself. The government is the embodiment of the consent of the people that are willing to be governed.
 
2013-02-19 02:16:06 AM
Seems that everybody except peasants and Americans know this.
 
2013-02-19 02:16:59 AM

o5iiawah: The wealthy can only do that if they ingratiate themselves with government.  your beef, Occupy's beef, the Progressive agenda....

All of it should be directed towards Washington, DC.

Thanks to the tax code they write, GE and facebook pays no taxes and GETS billions back whilst a schlub earning $50,000 in a factory probably pays $14,000 and is just happy to get a couple hundred bucks back in middle February.  Thanks to the laws they write, companies escape prosecution when they commit fraud.  Thanks to government, it is easier to get rich investing in congressmen and lobbying than in R&D for a product.  Who needs the market to buy your products when you can convince government to do it? What is easier, making a product that 309,000,000 people might want or making a product that a few people in Washington can order 309,000,000 people to pay for?


Good points. The market and the state aren't these opposing dichotomies, they're in a symbiotic process designed to steal from us as much as possible.

o5iiawah: There is income mobility in this country, it is just an affront to the people at the NY Times and HuffPo that a first-generation Guatemalan immigrant isn't going to earn as much as some kid who grew up in Sun Valley, ID, went to Stanford and works for Sun Microsystems.   real wealth and prosperity is accumulated through generations of earning, education, home ownership and transfer of property from one generation to another - the very thing progressives like to attack.

I'd say that having a 60% chance of moving out of poverty and into the middle class while living in a country where nobody starves to death, nobody is denied the best medical treatment in the world, just about everyone has a cellphone with access to the internet is pretty damn good.

That must be why so many Americans are packing up and moving to Juarez.


Your characterization of progressives is completely wrong.
1) They're fighting for higher wages so they value earning. Much more than the conservatives who want cheap labor and outright slavery for some. Now the problem is they're fighting for a "good guy" to be the monopoly on the pie and don't see the big picture of the monopoly being a problem in itself. In addition to thinking what they need is just a "good" leader to pass out the pieces of pie or just a bigger piece of pie instead of seizing the farking pie and giving it a horizontal distribution process.
2) Progressives value education and it is in fact one of the issues they're fighting the hardest for. Conservatives actively seek to stratify it even more among class boundaries and force their religious fundamentalism into schools to continue building the base for their American Taliban.
3) This is another issue progressives are fighting their hardest for. They were the ones who want to make home ownership easier and were likely to sympathize with people fighting the theft of their homes during foreclosure processes. Meanwhile conservatives could be seen on this site as well as anywhere generally cheering the violent eviction of a family from their home. Now from personal experience because of the current economic environment progressives are more likely to rent and avoid home ownership or debt when possible because they know they'll likely be screwed. On the flip side, on a personal level more conservatives seek home ownership because of the traditional sense of family values.

Nobody really starves except in extreme outlier situations but many people go hungry and the market leaves many excluded and in the hands of welfare programs with their own restrictions and hoops.
Plenty of people are denied basic medical treatment unless you think the emergency room covers everything and our healthcare pales in comparison to other industrialized countries so we're definitely not the best in the world. Even "Obamacare" was a thin veneer of helpful implementations to pretty up a bill basically designed to hand out moneybombs to private health insurance companies.
 
2013-02-19 02:17:11 AM

Forbidden Doughnut: sheep snorter: Poor people earning over 180,000 bucks a year.
disclaimer: this graphic is from some douche who wants you to think that the black folk on it don't pay taxes.


[i.imgur.com image 614x408]

Everyone in this graph looks sad. If I made as much money as these people, I'd have a permanent shiateating grin on my face..


That graphic appeared in the Wall St. Journal.
 
2013-02-19 02:22:34 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: And people were able to scrape and claw for progress because of our system. Our system was set up so that people could petition the government and demand address of grievous. I believe that we have everything in place to allow the evidential evolution to a state of equality for all people. You can not force the human heart.


Can I take a hit of whatever you just dropped?
 
2013-02-19 02:45:40 AM

o5iiawah: Wal-Mart cannot kick your door in at 4am.  Wal-Mart will never judge your fate in court.  Wal-Mart will never be able to send you to war.  Only government can and so there's a reason we hold them extra accountable. I can choose not to shop at Wal-Mart. I can choose not to work for Wal-Mart.   Wal-Mart has personally done nothing to me and never can unless I willingly on my own accord choose to enter their business and if an agent of Wal-Mart harms me in any way, we have government to settle the dispute.


And Wal-Mart (using your specific example, but in big picture terms: the wealthiest corporations in general) gives directions and runs the government, so good on spotting where the physical violence is coming from, but work on whose pulling the strings.
The problem is people are imagining a dichotomy. The market and the state are made for and by each other. A Representative republic or wage system isn't about democracy or equalization, it's just new and improved selling points and accommodations to certain classes to stave off revolt. The problem isn't bad apples or individuals, any crisis we're experiencing now are pretty much just outlier symptoms from what's been the norm for a while.
 
2013-02-19 03:03:13 AM

Zombie Butler: Really just interested in discussion here (yea I know this is Fark but what the hey, give it a go neh?)

I have some thoughts on your ideas about Government having a monopoly on force, I have some thoughts and I'd like to see what you think.

There are multiple examples of private security throughout our history, Wackenhutt, The Pinkertons, The De Beers army/ navy, Blackwater, and many, many others. Often they have operated outside of the law acting as thugish agents for those that could pay.

Also,"The Ford Service" a private police force of 3,500 that would not only beat strikers but go to workers homes to make sure the workers were living a sober and American life with the wages they were paid.
 
While they do not go into your home at the present moment, it seems to me that none of these organizations had/have popular checks and balances (voting) placed upon them.  While it could be argued that these organizations, operate under the auspices of government, and violations of the law are punishable by the government, internally they are no different than any other business, yet they wield force.

If the government is corrupt (bought) enough to allow violations of the law by these organizations to abuse power unchecked, who is to blame? The one wielding the nightstick or the one who stands by and watches?  What of the unbridled rise in private security and the declines of the police force we've seen recently?  What if the government is bought enough that it will actually use force on behalf of those who bought it rather than the checks you mention.  What if the government busts down your door on behalf of Walmart at 4 A.M.?


I would say whether it's public forces or private security, they ostensibly work on behalf of the ruling class anyway. A private corporation with its own security force is just a state. Granted, they'd be more like dictatorships or kingdoms given the nature of CEOs. Basically the only real competition between the public and private sphere is whether public bureaucrats who leech off of other people's labor or private capitalists who leech of other people's labor should get the bigger portion of the loot. State communism/the Soviet Union is an example of what happens when the bureaucratic class wins and the state functions as one homogenous corporation. Bureaucracies form your board of directors and the CEO is the dictator. The security forces stop pretending they don't work for the CEO, and markets are still kept around. The flip side is if the private capitalist faction wins you get fascism ala Nazi Germany or modern Greece and Italy where the government is handpicked by a bunch of private bankers while the people are robbed under austerity and the government acts almost completely as the extension of a few private companies. On the other hand, the private power players who own Greece use the EU, IMF, and ECB institutions to bleed it dry. Modern neoliberalism seems to have the factions on the same page but errs to the capitalist side in some cases. And reformist parties/social democrats err on the bureaucrat side.
 
2013-02-19 03:17:14 AM

KiltedBastich: Do they really think those corporations will be good corporate citizens just because?


Yes, they do.  Because they really, truly are...  Just.  That.  Stupid.

I've discussed this very aspect at length with very many conservatives, so I do not make this observation lightly.

They have rejected reason, and embraced propaganda. They'd rather have power handed to entities which publicly, proudly proclaim that their primary goal is to exploit you - rather than an entity which at least pays lip service to protecting you.

We live in a very sick culture.
 
2013-02-19 03:33:23 AM

DrewCurtisJr: So the answer to creating more good jobs is taking full time jobs with benefits and turning them into part time positions?


The answer is abolishing the concept of "work" and wage slavery as a whole.
Not a futurist or a primitivist. It's not about the level of tech, it's about the social relations in society.
The Abolition of Work by Bob Black would be a good place to start reading.
 
2013-02-19 04:25:26 AM

o5iiawah: Wal-Mart cannot kick your door in at 4am.


Not Wal-Mart but the RIAA has a habit of sending armed security guards carying semi-automatic military weapons and dressed in very official looking tactical gear with RIAA badges to conduct warrantless raids of shops they suspect are selling bootleg CDs. This is done almost exclusively on shops owned by immigrants who don't know 1) the RIAA is not a government agency and 2) they have no legal right to conduct such raids on private property.

It's basically a shakedown operation. Nice shop you got here Fong, it would be a shame if something happened to it. Give us a a couple thousand bucks and we won't confiscate your inventory.

If corporations had it their way their private security staff would have all the powers of a legitimate police force and that force would be used to crush any and all competition under the pretence of protecting intellectual property rights such as patents, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets. The corporation itself would be judge jury and executioner. Large players would merge rather than compete and small players would simply be strong armed out of the market.

It's basically government regulations, rule of law, and the legal system that prevent corporations from conducting their business the same way the Mafia does.
 
2013-02-19 04:36:37 AM

m2313: DrewCurtisJr: So the answer to creating more good jobs is taking full time jobs with benefits and turning them into part time positions?

The answer is abolishing the concept of "work" and wage slavery as a whole.
Not a futurist or a primitivist. It's not about the level of tech, it's about the social relations in society.
The Abolition of Work by Bob Black would be a good place to start reading.


When it comes down to it drudgery is the only thing that truly drives the economy. In order for modern civilization to function we require people to perform crappy jobs that nobody wants to perform. To do this artificial shortages are created, the wealthy with hold resources from the poor in order to force them to perform the shiatty jobs nobody wants to do.

Nobody WANTS to perform back breaking labour harvesting crops. But we need food to feed the population.
Nobody WANTS to flip burgers but large urban centres need restaurants to cook for a population too busy to cook for itself.
Nobody WANTS to dig ditches but we need sewage systems.

There are millions of shiatty jobs that people would quit in a second if they ever won the lottery. The vast majority of the population work at jobs that if money were not an object they would never work at.

Once technology has reached the level where it can end drudgery there really is no need for an economy based on withholding resources from the needy.
 
2013-02-19 05:31:28 AM

colon_pow: socialist utopias have no need of opportunity.

all is provided.

obama ahkbar!


The defense for never reaching for an improved society always invokes the word utopia. Its use is a false dilemma. Citing that the world will never be perfect isn't sufficent reason to settle for the status quo. It's defeatism, mixed with a myopic vanity that says we're the best we ever hope for, and conservatives would have you believe we need to regress because our best was in the past, which is pure historical fallacy.

As trite as the following may sound it's our daring to dream of a better world and implement those changes that can solve these problems we face, not regressing to a fictional past that was never as prosperous or kind as proponents like to pretend. It is after all that past that has led us here thus it must have been critically flawed from the start. As anything can be good for a small time I.e. a jump off the Empire State Building is delightful for the first few seconds, but it's the sustainability of a high mark that is the measure of greatness.
 
2013-02-19 05:59:00 AM
The American Dream was predicated on the idea of a "classless society", a meritocracy where what family you were born into didn't matter so much as what you could accomplish with your own skill and hard work. No ruling classes of nobility like in the old countries they came from. America was a fresh start for all.

To have gone from those heady optimistic times to today where upward mobility has slowed to a trickle is sad.
 
2013-02-19 06:12:55 AM

stevenrushing: Let me just come out as one very against "equality of opportunity". I don't want the government artificially putting the children of those who did not properly prepare them for life on the same playing field as my children. I am working hard to give my children a leg up, a head start in life. By definition, to have a head start, there are going to be people who start behind you, and there are people who are working even harder than I am, or whose parents or grandparents worked harder than mine, whose children will be ahead of mine. I do not deny them that.


The only proper role of the government is to ensure that we are all equal before the law. Not equality of outcomes or even equality of opportunity.There is so much work here to be done. The rich often go to different judges, different prisons, and face shorter sentences. This is a serious problem in our society, and needs to be rectified. I don't claim to have all the answers, but we can start by paying defense attorneys competitively with what the private sector pays, and by auditing judges so that they are not a law unto themselves.


Before someone says I must have had it good as a child, let me assure you that I grew up incredibly poor, and have worked my whole life to be where I am.



I would like to understand this line of thinking more. I appreciate what you are saying.
Why are you against the notion of some children being "education distant" simply because of the family and environment they were born into? Why not have us, all of us, the government, try to provide a social equal playing field that even those individuals have the equal opportunity to apply themselves? Not make it easier then it is for others but at least level the playing field until their own impetus and drive actually takes over. At that point it is indeed up to them but nobody can tell me that it is not desirable to provide equal basis to all until a certain age against the force of the environment they were born into until they are old enough to actually apply themselves.
 
2013-02-19 06:13:55 AM
Horatio Alger horseshiat is horseshiat.
 
2013-02-19 06:16:39 AM
I blame Human Resources. Everything bad related to work stems from the rise of corporate HR departments

- Stagnating salaries
- Requiring degrees for non-degree work
- Draconian workplace policies and rules
- Union busting
- Erosion of pension benefits to risky 401(k) plans
 
2013-02-19 06:31:42 AM
More proof that the Nobel in economics should have been tossed out as illegitimate, as has been recommended; apparently all its good for is a soapbox for liberal moralizing untie NYT that has nothing to do with economics.


The problem with our schools is not money.  My sons school spends thousands less per student than the local public schools but the students do better.

If 6% of the bottom fifth move to the top , that means that in spite of millions of immigrants who don't speak English, 1 in 5 rich folk were born dirt poor.  That's amazing, until you realize that poor is redefined every few years by liberals.

Astoundingly, the median wage, corrected for inflation, is basically the same today as it was in 1968.  O the horror.

T
 
2013-02-19 06:40:06 AM

zedster: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Aar1012: What are the odds of it happening again? What are the odds that a poor black kid or any poor kid that was born within the past decade would be able to do the same?

The dream isn't dead, but it is on life support


It a really really long shot. It was a really really long shot to begin with. But it was and is possible. The dream doesn't come with a guarantee

A Family Affair: Intergenerational Social Mobility across OECD Countries - PDF

The US has the third lowest upward mobility index behind Italy and Great Britain

Ignore the dream of being break out rich or even two cars in the garage and a chicken in every pot. The real American dream has always been if you play it straight your children will have more opportunity then you had. With 20 somethings and younger today we are seeing the dream evaporate. The cost of education has shot up, the job market has crashed. We (Gen Y) were told go to college, get good grades, and you will be alright. Instead you have JDs waiting tables and people with solid degrees doing jobs they could have done out of high school. Don't give me the crap about oh if you went into STEM, thanks to outsourcing, H1As, loss of grants, etc... those fields aren't that much more secure these days.

We are looking at a lost decade and a lost generation unless we decide that we need to do something about it instead of attempting austerity. The life time earnings of Gen Y are going to be significantly less just because of how late we are getting into actual jobs.


Just because you went to a low ranked law school and are pissed that it didint work out doesn't mean govt needs to do anything.

When they pay off my mortgage I will support them helping your stupid worthless degrees

Get a job a work till you die
 
2013-02-19 06:49:19 AM

Macular Degenerate: I blame Human Resources. Everything bad related to work stems from the rise of corporate HR departments

- Stagnating salaries
- Requiring degrees for non-degree work
- Draconian workplace policies and rules
- Union busting
- Erosion of pension benefits to risky 401(k) plans



You've shot lots of messengers in your time haven't you?


Animatronik: Astoundingly, the median wage, corrected for inflation, is basically the same today as it was in 1968.  O the horror.


Ahh the ole, there is no problem tactic. All these sissies need to suck it up because their problems are imagined and improvement isn't necessary because people are simply whiny.
 
2013-02-19 06:54:11 AM

Animatronik: More proof that the Nobel in economics should have been tossed out as illegitimate, as has been recommended; apparently all its good for is a soapbox for liberal moralizing untie NYT that has nothing to do with economics.


The problem with our schools is not money.  My sons school spends thousands less per student than the local public schools but the students do better.

If 6% of the bottom fifth move to the top , that means that in spite of millions of immigrants who don't speak English, 1 in 5 rich folk were born dirt poor.  That's amazing, until you realize that poor is redefined every few years by liberals.

Astoundingly, the median wage, corrected for inflation, is basically the same today as it was in 1968.  O the horror.

T


Let's see: scatter brain post, blames liberals for everything, screws up basic math, uses statistic that actually undermines his point, casually belittles the issue at hand...

Isn't it late in the thread to be trolling?

hinten: stevenrushing: Let me just come out as one very against "equality of opportunity". I don't want the government artificially putting the children of those who did not properly prepare them for life on the same playing field as my children. I am working hard to give my children a leg up, a head start in life. By definition, to have a head start, there are going to be people who start behind you, and there are people who are working even harder than I am, or whose parents or grandparents worked harder than mine, whose children will be ahead of mine. I do not deny them that.


The only proper role of the government is to ensure that we are all equal before the law. Not equality of outcomes or even equality of opportunity.There is so much work here to be done. The rich often go to different judges, different prisons, and face shorter sentences. This is a serious problem in our society, and needs to be rectified. I don't claim to have all the answers, but we can start by paying defense attorneys competitively with what the private sector pays, and by auditing judges so that they are not a law unto themselves.


Before someone says I must have had it good as a child, let me assure you that I grew up incredibly poor, and have worked my whole life to be where I am.


I would like to understand this line of thinking more. I appreciate what you are saying.
Why are you against the notion of some children being "education distant" simply because of the family and environment they were born into? Why not have us, all of us, the government, try to provide a social equal playing field that even those individuals have the equal opportunity to apply themselves? Not make it easier then it is for others but at least level the playing field until their own impetus and drive actually takes over. At that point it is indeed up to them but nobody can tell me that it is not desirable to provide equal basis to all until a certain age against the force of the environment they were born into un ...


He must think that education is a zero sum game and that any gains his child enjoys from good parenting are undone if some other kid gets help he thinks they don't deserve.  Maybe it's some kind of 21st century version of sins of the father?  Punish the child for the mistakes of the parent?
 
2013-02-19 07:14:24 AM
Some short black guy said "Fark that land of opportunity shiat, I don't need permission to sell a damn hit". And there you have it.
 
2013-02-19 07:27:40 AM
A better article, from Stratfor:

"The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power"

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/crisis-middle-class-and-american-powe r
 
2013-02-19 07:29:16 AM
'Equality of Opportunity' means different things to Democrats and to Republicans.

For the former, it means actively bringing down the social structures that unfairly persecute groups.
For the latter, it means doing absolutely nothing.
 
2013-02-19 07:35:15 AM

Baryogenesis: Animatronik: More proof that the Nobel in economics should have been tossed out as illegitimate, as has been recommended; apparently all its good for is a soapbox for liberal moralizing untie NYT that has nothing to do with economics.


The problem with our schools is not money.  My sons school spends thousands less per student than the local public schools but the students do better.

If 6% of the bottom fifth move to the top , that means that in spite of millions of immigrants who don't speak English, 1 in 5 rich folk were born dirt poor.  That's amazing, until you realize that poor is redefined every few years by liberals.

Astoundingly, the median wage, corrected for inflation, is basically the same today as it was in 1968.  O the horror.

T

Let's see: scatter brain post, blames liberals for everything, screws up basic math, uses statistic that actually undermines his point, casually belittles the issue at hand...

Isn't it late in the thread to be trolling?

hinten: stevenrushing: Let me just come out as one very against "equality of opportunity". I don't want the government artificially putting the children of those who did not properly prepare them for life on the same playing field as my children. I am working hard to give my children a leg up, a head start in life. By definition, to have a head start, there are going to be people who start behind you, and there are people who are working even harder than I am, or whose parents or grandparents worked harder than mine, whose children will be ahead of mine. I do not deny them that.


The only proper role of the government is to ensure that we are all equal before the law. Not equality of outcomes or even equality of opportunity.There is so much work here to be done. The rich often go to different judges, different prisons, and face shorter sentences. This is a serious problem in our society, and needs to be rectified. I don't claim to have all the answers, but we can start by paying defense attorneys competitively with what the private sector pays, and by auditing judges so that they are not a law unto themselves.


Before someone says I must have had it good as a child, let me assure you that I grew up incredibly poor, and have worked my whole life to be where I am.


I would like to understand this line of thinking more. I appreciate what you are saying.
Why are you against the notion of some children being "education distant" simply because of the family and environment they were born into? Why not have us, all of us, the government, try to provide a social equal playing field that even those individuals have the equal opportunity to apply themselves? Not make it easier then it is for others but at least level the playing field until their own impetus and drive actually takes over. At that point it is indeed up to them but nobody can tell me that it is not desirable to provide equal basis to all until a certain age against the force of the environment they were born into un ...

He must think that education is a zero sum game and that any gains his child enjoys from good parenting are undone if some other kid gets help he thinks they don't deserve.  Maybe it's some kind of 21st century version of sins of the father?  Punish the child for the mistakes of the parent?


Fact: The Nobel prize in economics is not actually a Nobel Prize. It was created years later as a renaming of another prize to 'Nobel Memorial Prize' and the memorial part was dropped. Many scholars and scientists would like to see it removed, its illegitimate, politicized, and shouldn't have the name Nobel associated with it as it wasn't in his will.

Krugman and Stiglitz deserve awards for unswerving loyalty to the socialist and Keynesian paradigms, all logical arguments notwithstanding.

Liberals nowadays will complain endlessly about the cost of the wars, which is legitimate except when they multiply by three, but they will never acknowledge the failures of costly social programs. They'll just keep asking for more of the same.

Stiglitz will ask for more and more tax and borrowed money for education. Public education is a problem because its badly managed. Federal guarantees on student loans are inflating tuition while passing the cost of default to taxpayers and encouraging students to borrow too much.

We don't need to repeat what Europe is doing wrong to get it right. We need to cut spending and raise taxes to balance our books.

The alternative will be inflation, because that will be the only way to pay the debt down. In clarion will rapidly consume any minimum wage increase.
 
2013-02-19 07:36:37 AM

Cinaed: For the latter, it means doing absolutely nothing.


I would say the GOP has been actively trying to make us unequal as possible since, at least, the Reagan years... Trickle-down economics is nothing more that a gift to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else.

...And these regressive chicken farkers are still pushing trickle-down to this day.

These aren't conservatives trying to maintain the staus quo. These are regressive ideologues, who are actively working towards making us a full fledged plutocracy.
 
2013-02-19 07:37:11 AM
Damn mobile browser. I meant inflation not in clarion. And 'in the' not 'untie'...
 
2013-02-19 07:45:20 AM

keylock71: Cinaed: For the latter, it means doing absolutely nothing.

I would say the GOP has been actively trying to make us unequal as possible since, at least, the Reagan years... Trickle-down economics is nothing more that a gift to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else.

...And these regressive chicken farkers are still pushing trickle-down to this day.

These aren't conservatives trying to maintain the staus quo. These are regressive ideologues, who are actively working towards making us a full fledged plutocracy.


You've got it to the point where practically everyone in the bottom half pays no income tax, unemployment benefits extend out to a year and beyond and have not been paid for by money coming in as unemployment insurance, and now Obama wants the government to foot the bill for every kid's preschool.

Only a mental midget would sit around whining about trickle down economics in the face of the massive shift in money and resources at the Federal level.

The big story here is that the Federal government is going broke trying to secure equality of outcomes, so the solution is: go more broke doing more of the same, while more jobs get shipped overseas to cheaper labor markets. Until the scheme collapses under the weight of 30 trillion in debt.
 
2013-02-19 07:50:14 AM

Animatronik: blah blah blah


The big story here is you think I give a shiat about your canned talking points and bullshiat.
 
2013-02-19 08:02:13 AM
kg2095: Zeb Hesselgresser: WhyteRaven74: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Won't you admit that you can over regulate something?

Germany has far more regulations than the US does and just looking at the numbers, things are better for people there than in the US.

well, they work harder, so they can have nice things

They don't work harder - they have shorter working weeks and longer annual vacations than US workers.- Neither of these things means what you claim.

And that distribution has little to do with how hard one works. Many of the poorest in society are those who work the hardest. Many (not all) of the wealthiest have never done a decent day's work in their lives, unless you consider telling other people what to do as working - Dammit Jeeves, put a bit more shine on those Bentleys you lazy, shiftless prole. - Sure, but this more often OUR problem than theirs.

"Many of the poorest in society are those who work the hardest  least. " - sometimes. And before you set up that strawman, the sentence says MANY, not all, not even MOST, but enough to make a
difference.
 
2013-02-19 08:03:40 AM
Corporate taxes in the U.S. are the highest in the world. In the face of high corporate taxes and costly labor, its no surprise that capital is flowing overseas.

/stop whining about Republicans and agitating in favor of more government and work harder at making a difference as an individual.
 
2013-02-19 08:08:19 AM

Animatronik: keylock71: Cinaed: For the latter, it means doing absolutely nothing.

I would say the GOP has been actively trying to make us unequal as possible since, at least, the Reagan years... Trickle-down economics is nothing more that a gift to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else.

...And these regressive chicken farkers are still pushing trickle-down to this day.

These aren't conservatives trying to maintain the staus quo. These are regressive ideologues, who are actively working towards making us a full fledged plutocracy.

You've got it to the point where practically everyone in the bottom half pays no income tax, unemployment benefits extend out to a year and beyond and have not been paid for by money coming in as unemployment insurance, and now Obama wants the government to foot the bill for every kid's preschool.

Only a mental midget would sit around whining about trickle down economics in the face of the massive shift in money and resources at the Federal level.

The big story here is that the Federal government is going broke trying to secure equality of outcomes, so the solution is: go more broke doing more of the same, while more jobs get shipped overseas to cheaper labor markets. Until the scheme collapses under the weight of 30 trillion in debt.


No the big story here is that Republicans look at the ills of society and their solution is to make them worse. Let's do more supply side economics and by widening income inequality further we can live in the bright future of turning wage slaves into actual slaves.

The government has revenue problems because that bottom 50% you're complaining about that doesn't pay income tax is broke. They don't have money to spend, markets stagnate, and federal revenue plummets. Keynesian economics is no cure all, but it does stymie the bleeding, which otherwise would turn into devastating poverty for millions. What's needed is more regulation in labor and forcing employers loaded with profits to pay their employees either with a progressive minimum wage or progressive profit sharing, passive income via investment/debt needs bold new regulation that severely limits it from what it is today, and a shift in our capitalism/financial markets away from the ideals of infinite growth to a focus on sustainability.
 
2013-02-19 08:42:32 AM

MayoSlather: Animatronik: keylock71: Cinaed: For the latter, it means doing absolutely nothing.

I would say the GOP has been actively trying to make us unequal as possible since, at least, the Reagan years... Trickle-down economics is nothing more that a gift to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else.

...And these regressive chicken farkers are still pushing trickle-down to this day.

These aren't conservatives trying to maintain the staus quo. These are regressive ideologues, who are actively working towards making us a full fledged plutocracy.

You've got it to the point where practically everyone in the bottom half pays no income tax, unemployment benefits extend out to a year and beyond and have not been paid for by money coming in as unemployment insurance, and now Obama wants the government to foot the bill for every kid's preschool.

Only a mental midget would sit around whining about trickle down economics in the face of the massive shift in money and resources at the Federal level.

The big story here is that the Federal government is going broke trying to secure equality of outcomes, so the solution is: go more broke doing more of the same, while more jobs get shipped overseas to cheaper labor markets. Until the scheme collapses under the weight of 30 trillion in debt.

No the big story here is that Republicans look at the ills of society and their solution is to make them worse. Let's do more supply side economics and by widening income inequality further we can live in the bright future of turning wage slaves into actual slaves.

The government has revenue problems because that bottom 50% you're complaining about that doesn't pay income tax is broke. They don't have money to spend, markets stagnate, and federal revenue plummets. Keynesian economics is no cure all, but it does stymie the bleeding, which otherwise would turn into devastating poverty for millions. What's needed is more regulation in labor and forcing employers loaded with profits to pay their employees either with a progressive minimum wage or progressive profit sharing, passive income via investment/debt needs bold new regulation that severely limits it from what it is today, and a shift in our capitalism/financial markets away from the ideals of infinite growth to a focus on sustainability.


You can't legislate equality of outcome. They tried that in the Eastern bloc. It didn't work. Maybe you're too young to remember. In the U.S. there will always be someone richer than you. Get used to the fact that being lower middle class in th U.S. is like winning the lottery in Africa, if you don't waste your money.


A few years ago the local paper did a story on a young mother with three kids and no baby daddy. There was a picture of her boy playing Xbox on a 55 inch flatscreen. She's got a car and a job but can't make her condo payments. She's a few miles from the house I rent.

The story is about how someone with no money and credit who fathered children from different men, who has been living for free for 6 months in her condo that the bank owns, should get my sympathy because she is going to lose the condo she shouldn't have bought in the first place.

The Washington Post, which is 10 times better than the NYT, made her the centerpiece of a page 1 story.

That's equality of opportunity, Democtat-style.

A little more equality of opportunity like that and we'll be a third world country.
 
2013-02-19 08:55:03 AM

Animatronik: You can't legislate equality of outcome. They tried that in the Eastern bloc. It didn't work. Maybe you're too young to remember. In the U.S. there will always be someone richer than you. Get used to the fact that being lower middle class in th U.S. is like winning the lottery in Africa, if you don't waste your money.


That is hardly an equivalent scenario. And yes, you can in fact legislate far more equality than now. It's fine if people are rich, that's great, but being so rich that you're depriving others of quality of life when that extra money provides extremely little value to you is a real problem. Being rich means you should actually have to earn your money and not simply make money because you have money. Passive income is a real problem and decidedly far from a meritocracy.

Republican's version of capitalism today is a lot like their version of Christianity. They sell it to their constituency while doing the polar opposite of the ideals they preach. Adam Smith's ideas have as little to do with Republican's idea of capitalism as Jesus has to do with their version Christianity.
 
2013-02-19 09:27:01 AM

MayoSlather: Animatronik: You can't legislate equality of outcome. They tried that in the Eastern bloc. It didn't work. Maybe you're too young to remember. In the U.S. there will always be someone richer than you. Get used to the fact that being lower middle class in th U.S. is like winning the lottery in Africa, if you don't waste your money.

That is hardly an equivalent scenario. And yes, you can in fact legislate far more equality than now. It's fine if people are rich, that's great, but being so rich that you're depriving others of quality of life when that extra money provides extremely little value to you is a real problem. Being rich means you should actually have to earn your money and not simply make money because you have money. Passive income is a real problem and decidedly far from a meritocracy.

Republican's version of capitalism today is a lot like their version of Christianity. They sell it to their constituency while doing the polar opposite of the ideals they preach. Adam Smith's ideas have as little to do with Republican's idea of capitalism as Jesus has to do with their version Christianity.


Jesus never advocated having the government take of charity for you. He didn't exhort tax collectors to collect more taxes. He didnt advocate puttin. people on dole from birth to death, and teaching them that as long as they voted for the right politicians they nneed not rely on themselves, their own ingenuity or gifts.

Jesus wanted people to make individual choices and sacrifices. People like you, who are advocates of the new socialist order, where the ideal is to collar as many votes as possilbe with govt checks, are the antithesis of the Christian ideal.

3 months ago Hugo Chavez bought an election by handing out 3 million appliances from China for free. Democrats in the U.S. have learned how to the same thing by labeling it social justice. Obama wants to give you free day care and our the other party opposes it as adding to our indebtedness he'Lo make it an election issue in 2014.

Who doesn't want free shiat?
 
2013-02-19 09:42:25 AM

Macular Degenerate: I blame Human Resources. Everything bad related to work stems from the rise of corporate HR departments

- Stagnating salaries
- Requiring degrees for non-degree work
- Draconian workplace policies and rules
- Union busting
- Erosion of pension benefits to risky 401(k) plans


Wow, that's a massively broad brush you're painting with there.  And you're using a terrible color.

HR has problems.  A lot of problems.  Bureaucracy, speaking their own incomprehensible language, not speaking to business needs or providing demonstrative value when making critical business decisions.  But the things you list above have little to do with HR as a business function.  In fact, the great majority of them are dictated by the king support function in any business - finance.  Pension benefits, stagnating salaries, union issues - these stem from bottom line financial concerns.  HR is just forced to make it happen and enact the new policies.  But finance always runs the show in those issues.  Requiring degrees is sometimes HR, but typically it's the hiring manager.  They want to neck-down the applicant pool so they're looking at 100 applications, not 5,000.

I'll grant you the "draconian policies" bit.  An immature or power-hungry generalist will often try to clamp down on biatching with the use of detailed and unnecessary rules.  No argument there.  It's the mark of a contentious work environment, and its only a band-aid solution to the larger problem.
 
2013-02-19 09:50:02 AM

Animatronik: MayoSlather: Animatronik: You can't legislate equality of outcome. They tried that in the Eastern bloc. It didn't work. Maybe you're too young to remember. In the U.S. there will always be someone richer than you. Get used to the fact that being lower middle class in th U.S. is like winning the lottery in Africa, if you don't waste your money.

That is hardly an equivalent scenario. And yes, you can in fact legislate far more equality than now. It's fine if people are rich, that's great, but being so rich that you're depriving others of quality of life when that extra money provides extremely little value to you is a real problem. Being rich means you should actually have to earn your money and not simply make money because you have money. Passive income is a real problem and decidedly far from a meritocracy.

Republican's version of capitalism today is a lot like their version of Christianity. They sell it to their constituency while doing the polar opposite of the ideals they preach. Adam Smith's ideas have as little to do with Republican's idea of capitalism as Jesus has to do with their version Christianity.

Jesus never advocated having the government take of charity for you. He didn't exhort tax collectors to collect more taxes. He didnt advocate puttin. people on dole from birth to death, and teaching them that as long as they voted for the right politicians they nneed not rely on themselves, their own ingenuity or gifts.

Jesus wanted people to make individual choices and sacrifices. People like you, who are advocates of the new socialist order, where the ideal is to collar as many votes as possilbe with govt checks, are the antithesis of the Christian ideal.

3 months ago Hugo Chavez bought an election by handing out 3 million appliances from China for free. Democrats in the U.S. have learned how to the same thing by labeling it social justice. Obama wants to give you free day care and our the other party opposes it as adding to our indebtedness ...



So now you're going to reply to my argument by conveniently conflating Jesus and Adam Smith? OK. Aside from that Christ did believe in helping the poor, acceptance, understanding, and a good will towards all men, nowhere in that message did it say anything about scapegoating the poor or offering advantages to those that already have everything.

And of course there's this...

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. -- Matthew 19:23-24, Mark 10:23-25
 
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