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« The President’s gullible base re-acknowledged (#2 update 3apr12) | Main | A Postscript for the IRS »

05 April 2012

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Michael Anderson

This ode is overly simplistic.

George Rebane

MichaelA 314pm - so it the battle between tyranny and liberty, but we have done ourselves proud in complexifying it over the past half century or so. We need to forgive our simpler forebears for their unwarranted clarity.

Michael Anderson

Complexity is to our advantage if we are ever going to figure this stuff out. Unwarranted clarity has gotten us into an awful lot of trouble over the years.

THEMIKEYMCD

Simple. Comes down to the Bastiat triangle.

Enslaving the individual to the mob.

Force or freedom?

Russ Steele

For those readers not familiar with The Law by Frederic Bastiat a free audio book is available at freeaudio.org. This is from the web site:

The Law is one of the most important books ever written on the uses and abuses of law. While short, The Law has proven itself time and time again to be life changing to those who read it. Walter Williams an economics professor at George Mason University put it thusly:


I must have been forty years old before reading Frederic Bastiat's classic The Law. An anonymous person, to whom I shall eternally be in debt, mailed me an unsolicited copy. After reading the book, I was convinced that a liberal-arts education without an encounter with Bastiat is incomplete. Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life. The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct.

He goes on to say:

Many philosophers have made important contributions to the discourse on liberty, Bastiat among them. But Bastiat's greatest contribution is that he took the discourse out of the ivory tower and made ideas on liberty so clear that even the unlettered can understand them and statists cannot obfuscate them. Clarity is crucial to persuading our fellowman of the moral superiority of personal liberty.

If you are looking for a single book that once read will provide you with many hours of thought and may perhaps change the way you look at life and your interactions with others, this is it..

Michael Anderson

Do SS and Medicare "enslave the individual to the mob?"

George Rebane

MichaelA 448pm - given what is inevitably happening today, the answer is a clear YES! Obama and Moonbeam fully agree and have no better solution.

In this discussion it is important not to confuse the selection of what category of solutions we intend to investigate for useful methods to cure social problems - e.g. the biggest is the redistribution of wealth - with what the particular solutions are that we devise. I am among those that proclaim it a clear and simple choice in choosing the category according to the guidance of the Bastiat Triangle as again pointed out by MikeyMcD and RussS.

Having chosen that, then the real work starts for a sustainable solution. Choosing the wrong categorical fork and going down the path of collectivism yields no solution that anyone would sign up for at the start. That is the point of this post.

Michael Anderson

Well OK then...what is the alternative?

George Rebane

MichaelA 543pm - I don't want to orbit the barn again. I have suggested that a starting point can be a critical examination (excluding the repeated flippancy of PaulE) of the Non-profit Service Corporation. You may even have a better alternative starting point that we could tackle.

http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2009/09/workers-and-work---the-coming-crisis.html

Michael Anderson

Yes, "orbiting that barn" would indeed be redundant, at least as far as you're concerned. Not sure if Mikey D. is on board that particular project, however.

And since we're talking about 1/6th of the US economy, how could we possibly address our current broken system in time with such an initiative?

George Rebane

MichaelA 626pm - You speak as if time were our enemy in the implementation of Obamacare. But therein lies our debate. The delay of that implementation would do nothing but favor our fair land, and give time for better solutions, some of which have even been described in these pages.

Russ Steele

Here is one view of what to do about technology driven jobs loesses from the Socialist Labor Party in a 2005 policy statement which can be down loaded HERE.

ooo

Eliminating Workers

Labor-displacing technology is becoming more evident even in our everyday lives. Self-service grocery checkout lanes are replacing clerks, ATM machines are replacing bank tellers and automated airline kiosks are replacing ticket agents. The driving force behind these technological advances is the elimination labor. You know it, we know it and the ruling class that “earns” its living by destroying yours knows it too. Here is a bit of the evidence straight from capitalism’s “newspaper of record,” The New York Times:

“Eager to save money on labor costs, businesses are stepping up the pace of automation. Nearly 13,000 self-checkout systems will have been installed in American retail stores like Kroger and Home Depot by the end of this year, more than double the number in 2001, according to the market research firm IDC. Delta Air Lines spent millions of dollars this year to line 81 airports with chest-high automated kiosks: 22 million of its passengers—40 percent of the total—checked in by touch-screen this year, up from 350,000 in 2001.” (Nov. 17, 2003)

The benefits for the firms that use these machines are plain—a machine does not require a wage, it never calls in sick and it does not need health insurance or a pension. A machine would certainly never organize with its mechanical brethren for better working conditions.

ooo

Your Power

Well, you, to start with; then there are millions in the same leaky boat you are. The American working class has the power, but changing society takes some knowledge and training, just like any other job.

It is obvious that current trends are leading the working class further into poverty and destitution. Workers, however, can avert this by recognizing that they constitute a class with mutual interests of survival and well-being and whose interests are in conflict with those of the capitalist class. Accordingly, they must unite to abolish the social relationships that bind them to a life of misery and economic servitude.

They must unite to establish a socialist society where the means of social production are collectively owned and operated for the social good, thus allowing advances in technology to be used to reduce the burden on those that do the work and not to kick people out on the street with no means to support themselves. In a socialist society, mechanization and technological advances will simply mean less arduous toil and a shorter workday—and the benefits will accrue to all of society, not just a wealthy few.

The Socialist Labor Party calls upon the working class to take the first steps toward this goal by organizing their strength economically and politically. On the economic field workers must build new economic organizations to include all workers, employed or unemployed, young and old, blue collar or white collar, with the goal of collectively taking, holding and operating the industries and services for the benefit of all. On the political field, workers must organize to challenge the capitalist form of government and to institute a new form of government based on social ownership and economic democracy.

The question is are you ready for this socialist paradise?
My bold emphasis was added.

George Rebane

RussS 822pm - Thank you for that very appropriate and revealing addition to this discussion.

Scott Obermuller

So the socialist dream starts with stealing and theft. Bound to be a bit of a problem with that. And who runs this well oiled machine? Oh - thats right, the workers that don't have the means to even support themselves. I'm sure if they can't even figure out how to be productive on their own some how they will magically have astute managerial skills. That screed brings into sharp focus why we cherish the right to keep and bear arms.

Russ Steele

The New York Times had an article by Eduardo Porter on manufacturing, the economy and innovation. It can be read in full HERE and deserves your attention, but for this discussion I want to share this interesting excerpt:

Remember agriculture? In the 1960s, plant scientists at the University of California, Davis, developed an oblong tomato that ripened uniformly, and its engineers developed a machine to harvest it with one pass through the fields. By the 1970s the number of workers hired for the tomato harvest in California had fallen by 90 percent.

In the book “Promise Unfulfilled,” Philip Martin, an economist at the university, says that in 1979 the worker advocacy group California Rural Legal Assistance sued the university for using public money on research that helped agribusiness at the expense of farm workers. And in 1980, Jimmy Carter’s agriculture secretary, Bob Bergland, declared that the government wouldn’t finance any more projects aimed at replacing “an adequate and willing work force with machines.” It’s hard to say that workers won this battle, however. After Mr. Bergland pulled the plug, research on agricultural mechanization came to a near-halt.

UC Davis develped an automated machine to find weak spots in highway pavement using high tech sensors, before the spot became a pot hole, and then drill a hole and fill it wiith fast curing cement. The whole process was automated. The device just needed to be loaded with material and towed slowly over the target highway. According to the story I heard the Caltrans Union Killed the project because it would put thousands of them out of work. Just think of the savings to autos and truck owners if they did not have to fall into pot holes before the highway could be fixed by human labors. Automated pot hole preventive mantenance is no longer a UC Davis focus. They are now designing green machines, that create green jobs.

billy T

The Pilgrims might have been the first Europeans to try out socialism in the New World. Human nature and the survival instinct put an end to that. The human nature part was exhibited by the men who busted their rears only to have the same reward as the slackers. It was exhibited by the women who became resentful of washing the slacker men clothes while their husbands where out there toiling. After almost starving to death, a group huddle was organized and each was to receive the rewards of his own labor. The old "if a man will not work, he shall not eat" kicked in and the operative word being "will", not to be confused with "cannot". Since then, the left has always argued without exception that socialism failed because it was the wrong kind or it was not tried hard enough. Socialism failed because of human nature with its envy, control freaks, sloth, deceit, and going broke. I still don't see how any socialist society can overcome the resentment of a wife washing some other husband's clothes who is a sluggard.

Steven Frisch

Ten bucks says that "prominent Democrat from Georgia" wrote his poem by the light of power provided by either the Tennessee Valley Authority of the Rural Electrification Program.

Douglas Keachie

"And in 1980, Jimmy Carter’s agriculture secretary, Bob Bergland, declared that the government wouldn’t finance any more projects aimed at replacing “an adequate and willing work force with machines.” It’s hard to say that workers won this battle, however. After Mr. Bergland pulled the plug, research on agricultural mechanization came to a near-halt."

Let's do the math. When did Ronald Reagan take office? When did he fire Berglund? What a coincidence! Same day.

Sounds like the dude is quite a nice guy. From Wikipedia: At the end of the Carter administration in 1981, he became the chairman of Farmland World Trade until 1982 when he became the vice president and general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In that capacity he lobbied both congress and regulatory agencies on behalf of Cooperatives in the electricity business. Throughout his life he was widely considered a tireless advocate for working class rural Americans, particularly farmers.

He retired in 1994 only to be elected by the Minnesota State Legislature to serve on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. He finally retired after one term, and owns a 600-acre (2.4 km2) farm in Minnesota. He is married to Helen (Grahn) and they are the parents of seven children (Dianne, Linda, Stevan, Jon, Allan, William, and Franklyn), 15 grandchildren (Tomas Bergland), five great grandchildren (Megan Klein) and two step-grandchildren. He is also a guitarist for the Highway 11 Ramblers.

Douglas Keachie

"to kick people out on the street with no means to support themselves."

Oh no, Russ, I'd much prefer this Capitalist paradise. I see you do too.

Douglas Keachie

"Obermuller" Back to the old grindstone.

Douglas Keachie

"That screed brings into sharp focus why we cherish the right to keep and bear arms. "

Obermuller is joining the Zimmerman Brigade? If there's no jobs, well there's just no room for extra horses, so what do we do with them?

billy T

Doug, Reagen? Wasn't he the union man from Hollywood? Think he headed up Hollywood's biggest union in his wayward youth. Socialism could work if everybody took the Wizard's advice and paid no attention to the man behind the curtain.

George Rebane

Collective bargaining is the ever-present seed of socialism in all free capitalistic countries. In such nations there is no cure for this malady except real education and enlightened population control, which the latter may counter the nation’s principles of individual liberty.

Today collective bargaining, as affected by both private and public sector unions, is a definite drag on economic progress that has been outlined by commenters in this thread. (It also has a corrosive effect as it promotes the mentality of ‘getting more for giving less’.) These unions are also a drag on the nation’s overall quality of life when they subvert advancing technology and generally behave as luddites in the workplace and voting booths. My first personal and bitter experience with this phenomenon was posted in ‘Singularity’s Apprehensive Approach’ here
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2009/07/singularitys-apprehensive-approach.html ,

where I also outlined ten observations about the approaching Singularity. You can decide how many of those have come to pass, and what is the portent of those that remain.

Paul Emery

Non-profit Service Corporation

Oh I remember that. The McDonalds sponsored FDA, the Koch Brothers EPA, the Fox News public school system. Sure, turn it all over to corporations and let them write their own rules. Flippant response to flippant idea.

Douglas Keachie

Reagan had long since forgotten his union days by 1981. In fact even by 1968 he was trying but not succeeding in wrecking one of the nation's best universities. http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/public-colleges-with-highest-graduation-rate-2012/8.html#top

Douglas Keachie

"The central idea of the Singularity is the ongoing “intelligence explosion” as proclaimed by Dr. Ray Kurzweil and others. The inevitable result of this explosion is a world in which ever smarter machines will design ever smarter machines – and this explosion is already well on its way. The result, for the instant we call the Singularity, will be the arrival of peer intelligence (‘what if your computer were as smart as your spouse?’), and then we enter the unknown post-Singularity era. All the rules will change." ~ George Rebane ~

I think your list basically ignores the Colossus theme. What on earth makes you think that the first machine that becomes sentient is going to tell anyone anything about it's existence? More likely we might wind up with Harlan Ellison's, "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" or other scenarios of the genre found listed here:

http://photosinferno.blogspot.com/2009/03/singularity.html

You can bet the first AI lifeform that wakes up is not going to implement Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

Douglas Keachie

George, I would assume you placed your invention elsewhere, or did you just give up?

When I had my photovan (full E6 color slide line) outside the yacht clubs I needed a way to mount slides faster for presentation. We were hand cutting them and hand mounting them. I discovered a machine that was not much bigger than a bread box, that would do the 9 minutes per roll in less than 30 seconds. I was astonished at the $12,500 price tag. Found one war surplus and bought it for $200 via old BBS technology, and flew to AZ to pick it up, when the Son of a Bee didn't ship it right away (two months of stalling) He was angry I showed up, and threw a knife that stuck in the wood crate that held the machine, about a foot from my leg, from ten feet away. Did get the machine and still have it, a marvel of useless metal today, but fond memories.

George Rebane

DougK 1045am - Very good Doug. Then you do agree with what I have long written in these pages about the advent of the Singularity (which you have not read).

And again, your illustration of progressive logic is consistent and unending. "What on earth makes you think that the first machine that becomes sentient is going to tell anyone anything about it's existence?" Where on earth did you draw that conclusion of my thinking?? Such 'connections' make communications difficult.

PaulE 1019am - To greater intellects it may seem like a "flippant idea". But, as I have said before, after a lot of thought, it is simply the best that I could do. I have never tried to offer the NPSC as a form of flippancy, and in my scribblings and talks on the topic to various organizations it has never been so received. The only alternative I have heard from the Left is more socialism based on bigger government, higher taxes, and inhuman altruism. Perhaps you can improve on that.

Ryan Mount

I think everyone is overstating their positions. I think Michael is offering/attempting the most moderate perspective here.

There are parts of our Republic that are decidedly socialist or socialist leaning (roads? Medicare? the FCC?) and there are parts that are indeed more capitalist (I dunno, pick something: Goldman Sachs, Nancy Pelosi--she only plays a Socialist on TV.).

We need to grade things more on a sliding 1(Anarcho-Capitalist to 10(Communist) scale:

- Medicare: 6, 7?
- Social Security: 5
- CalTrans: 7 (on breaks: 10)
- Democrats: 6
- Republicans: 4
- George Rebane: 3?
- Michael Anderson: 5
- South Park fans: -3

Douglas Keachie

There is something of a distinction to be made between a machine that is as "smart" as us, and one that is self-aware. I think you are just dealing with the "smart as" side of things. God help us if a "stupider than human" machine becomes self-aware.

Douglas Keachie

I think the first indication that there is a self aware machine will occur on the day the Internet either dies or becomes strangely restrictive. "All your base are belong to us." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_your_base_are_belong_to_us

Paul Emery

George

I think you have to accept that in a complex modern world "socialism" is and will continue to be a major part of any modern government. You're lack of a clear alternative , NPSC being by your admission the best you can come up with means you have to live with that reality. Take a deep breath. It's really not that bad. The fact that every country on the top 20 Economic Freedom Index compiled by the Heritage Foundation has a form of national health care but us is evidence enough to illustrate my point.

George Rebane

DougK 1114am - Not a possibility Doug - please see the machine vs man curves of mental evolution. If you really feel that 'peer smarts' and 'self-awareness' are orthogonal, you should publish. The AI community would welcome such a discovery.

PaulE 1204pm - there isn't a single country in the 'top 20' or any other index you care to mention that has a sustainable single payer healthcare system. Your only argument to the contrary is the famous one they have used in Athens until Greece crashed - 'Well, we haven't crashed yet.' And that only worked when sovereign debt levels were an order of magnitude lower than today. As your arguments continue to evince that liberalism is a philosophy of gross stasism, nothing is assumed to change in response to proposed progressive nostrums. This has always been the sum and substance of socialist planning

billy T

Interesting to read today that the debt to GDP ratio of the USA will be equal to that of Italy by the end of this year. 112%. I would feel more comfortable it they said in 5 or ten years, not this year. That means we might have to tackle the problem.....after the November election, maybe next year. Spain just turned the bailout clock back to last December as its bonds are back at 6% and rising. Greece needs another bailout the moment they blow through the last bailout....maybe in 3 months. Isn't it grand we are getting so good at kicking the can down the road. More folks left the labor market than were fired on our side of the Pond. Me thinks the Chevy Volt was rolled out prematurely. Oh yeah, we got downgraded again today by the same little company that downgraded us before Moodys did. No one paid attention then either.

Ryan Mount

Billy-

It is a concern. We're not anywhere near Japan territory, but the trend is ominous. I would be a lot happier if we were trending in the opposite direction. But then again, we're more productive than the Italians can ever hope to be.

My concerns are less at the national level, as nutty as our fiscal condition seems to me, and more at the State and municipal levels where we can't create liquidity out of thin air.

billy T

Agreed there, Mr. Mount. What concerns me is while our economic gurus and experts are focusing on the lessons of the Great Depression, we are looking more and more like Japan and Japan's history over the last dozen years. Oh yeah, I am off topic. Bad Billy, bad dog.

Paul Emery

George

"- there isn't a single country in the 'top 20' or any other index you care to mention that has a sustainable single payer healthcare system."

Quite the contrary. These systems have proven to be durable and sustaining. It is only in your theory that they are not. According to the Heritage Index these countries offer the highest economic freedom. It is our health care system that is likely too lead to disaster since it consumes the highest percent of GDP of modern nation. The problem is you have no solution except theories based on 19th century capitalism and colonialism that relied on free land and cheap labor. Show me one contemporary country that has succeeded in going in your direction.

A bold statement that all the countries in the modern world are going bankrupt is totally unsustainable and simply not true.

George Rebane

PaulE 415pm - I have no "theory" to offer to you save the FACT that everywhere it is practiced, nationalized healthcare is taking a larger share of GDP year after year. That is not sustainable (by the logic I subscribe to), and given the scrambling that EU countries are now doing, none of these programs have "proven to be durable and sustaining." That you and your fellow progressives keep talking past this point is itself the biggest admission that you have no more viable plan forward than Greece for healthcare (or for any other sector of the economy).

Many alternatives to socialism and nationalized healthcare have been placed on the table and totally ignored by the Left. The policy that must win is state control of its citizenry.

Paul Emery

George, exasctly what alternatives have been placed on the table? Are you talking about the ideas for tort reform and access across state boundaries that the Repubs offer? Those are reforms indeed but there are no assurances they will be a substitute for universal access. Even under the best of sceneries insurance companies have no interest in insuring those with pre existing conditions. Why should they? It's bad business. Either way the government will get involved unless we are willing to let people die on the streets. No country pays as big a percentage of the GDP as we do and we have no universal care at this time so we're worse off than those that do in that department.

What is the "viable plan forward" that you see for those with pre existing conditions for example or those in their 50's that want to go in business for themselves or the young couples who have to work two jobs to support their families and can't pay the over $1000 per month to insure their family or someone unfortunate that has appendicitus with no insurance and is charged $30,000 for emergency treatment and has to lose their home because they cannot pay. These are real situations.

By the way, Hong Cong, New Zealand and Australia are not in the EU and seem to be doing quite well economically.

Scott Obermuller

Doug - Are you saying that Zimmerman shot Trayvon because Trayvon was robbing Zimmerman? Please enlighten us. I wasn't aware that Tryvon Martin was a thief.

Douglas Keachie

Didn't say that at all. One two or three folks and your weaponry will work. A horde of 100 meth heads and it won't help at all. "Know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run..."

billy T

Just been reviewing Dr. Rebane's other posts and it seems all roads lead to healthcare, er I mean free health care for somebody, er...I mean a lot of people. It is a serious issue no doubt. First we need a vibrant economy to get the ball rolling. Expanding Medicaid is the first step which may or may not bankrupt states if the Feds keep mandating coverage eligibility expansion while closing the purse strings to pay for it. It will lead to lay offs and diminishing services by the states for certain to pay for the expansion. 2nd, I am no longer a believer in purchasing health insurance across state lines. New Jersey requires insurers to carry marriage counseling benefits. Why would I want that crap? Florida requires sex change coverage. Now why would I want to chop my gonads off and grow boobs? Don't care for Fla's plan. Why would two men living as domestic partners be forced into buying prenatal/maternity coverage? That ain't fair. Nope, I will keep what I got. 3rd (for purely selfish reasons) I have better coverage than our Congresspersons for a lot less per month. They can keep their lousy coverage for 5-600 clams/month. Why should I be forced to pay more just to drop under the Cadillac plan limits or be taxed on the value of my insurance? Especially if some big eared bozo tells me I have to have it? That is not fair. I will go along with jacking up my (and every workers') medicare withholding, but I am keeping my same doc and same coverage. Opps, didn't Obama just cut all our SSI/Medicare deductions by a third to cover the cost of gasoline? Back to the drawing board.

Scott Obermuller

Doug - Meth heads? I thought you said I joined Zimmerman? I was clearly talking about protecting myself from thieves. Now it's meth heads. Are you saying Trayvon was a meth head? Are you able to articulate something intelligible or is this just another rambling collection of words that fall from the trees?

Michael Anderson

Scott, take a powder...things are not as they seem.

Try this: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/06/DDS01NV40Q.DTL

M.

George Rebane

MichaelA 1214am - What should be our takeaway from Jon Carroll's op/ed piece in the SF Chronicle? Does he provide a measure of clarity for you?

Michael Anderson

George, I was just trying to help Scott get some perspective. I don't know where he lives but the Left Coast is the Left Coast, and Jon Carroll represents that two-legged animal zoo better than most.

I just hope Scott doesn't spend the rest of the year in his bunker. The weather's finally changing and there's baseball and BBQ to enjoy. Find the comedy, eschew the tragedy.

George Rebane

MichaelA 835am - Scott will, of course, speak for himself. But I too have been trying to "find the comedy". Failing that, I am also having trouble "eschew(ing) the tragedy" of a technology abetted Agenda21 (for lack of a better name) bringing down a great nation with its draconian solutions to pre-Singularity social problems.

Even though reason says we are beyond the tipping point, I continue to poke around for solutions that maintain the Bastiat Triangle of rights.

Michael Anderson

I'm just looking at the Big Picture. The San Francisco Bay Area, of which Nevada County is but one of many modest outlier resort towns in its sphere of influence, is as Blue as it gets, and yet humans from all over the world still flock to its silicon reefs, as swallows swarm to Capistrano.

The Bay Area must be doing something right, Agenda 21 not-withstanding.

Ben Emery

George,
We all know where you stand on leftist policies, please give examples of nations/ governments that you believe follow your ideology. Anytime and any nation in history. It will be very interesting to see how your perception of your ideology and reality match up.

side note Chicago/ Austrian school of economics are completely failed theories that have literally created the global economic mess we find ourselves in today. Remember coup d'etat General Augusto Pinochet that the right loves to promote and the Chilean experiment. First a overthrow of a democratically elected government, murder, torture, ten fold unemployment, skyrocketing debt, de-industrialisation of the nation, out of control corruption, and ultimately led to the abandonment of the theory and the nationalization of their financial institutions in the early 80s.

http://www.usip.org/publications/truth-commission-chile-90

http://www.hrw.org/news/2004/12/13/chile-pinochet-indicted-human-rights-crimes

Looking forward to see how far back and how much we have to regress before you find an example.

Paul Emery

Yes, Ben. I've been trying for a couple of years now to get that answer. Talk is cheap, show me the beef.

George Rebane

BenE 931am - Unfortunately, no nation follows what I consider to be 'my ideology'. In reality I am but a student of the Austrian and Chicago schools which you and yours lambast as failures, and which I and mine hold to foster the pinnacles of salutary socio-economic thought.

That we are irreconcilably different in our respective outlooks seems more and more a function of the different ways that we are wired. Please see an update on 'The Liberal Mind - Yes Virginia ...' for the breadth of attention this proposition is beginning to draw since I started covering the issue a few years back.
http://dornsife.usc.edu/usc-levan-institute-online-ethics-center/

MichaelA 929am - your implication is that the SF area is making progress. The truth, I believe, points in the other direction - the Agenda21 promoters have not yet had enough time to destroy what has been built, and they cannot take credit for the area's idyllic geography that still is a draw in spite of what California is doing to itself. More here -
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303302504577323353434618474.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion where we read, "It's no secret that California's regulatory and tax climate is driving business investment to other states. California's high cost of living also is driving people away. Since 2000 more than 1.6 million people have fled,..."

Ben Emery

George,
I would beg to differ with you on that no nation following you ideology. They are generally considered third world nations. Virtually no government services except law enforcement/ military. My brother lives in one. No roads, no power, no water, no functional hospitals, no avenue to redress grievances, and so on. He laughs at the idiocity of those in the US who claim to want such lack of government services. The other thing that happens are the absolute corruption of government officials and dominance of those with great wealth to have no accountability to their fellow citizens.

China has been dumping billions into this country to exploit their lower labor costs because China's average $0.57 per hour(2006) or $114 a month(50 hour week is to costly. The going rate where he lives is roughly $0.15 an hour plus working in unsafe work conditions and with toxic chemicals. Ahh paradise if you belong to the producer not the parasite(Rand terminology) segment of the population. Virtual slave laborers making your wealth and having no fear of recourse. Due to your version of free markets only capital and goods are allowed to cross international borders not labor.

George, I know you are an intelligent man who must have great work ethics but from the little I know about your history you would have been lucky to have climbed the SES ladder to that of a shop assistant or merchant at best. My brother lives and works in a culture where I guarantee you that a vast majority of the people work just as hard and even harder than you ever have in your life but feel blessed when their children pass the age of five years old because water born diseases take the lives of one out of every three children before the age of five. When the rules of society are set by those on top it makes for a very unequal society on multiple levels. Unfortunately in the US we have been moving more towards a plutocracy the last 30 plus years and inequality is the greatest in the US than it has been since the 1920's.

George Rebane

BenE 219pm - That is a weighty comment and again illuminates what divides us - thank you. Let me just answer one part, the rest has either already been answered or will have to wait for the sequel.

You misrepresent, nay, misunderstand what free market capitalism is, and the boon it has been to mankind since the Low Countries became the first merchant nations during the Renaissance. No conservative of today calls for the kind of third world governments that corrupt their leadership and pauper their citizens in perpetuum. That is simply leftwing red herring hyperbole that must draw some pretty hefty cheering when dished to collective choirs. I don't think it will get much traction with many voters in the US - I would love to see Obama venture out with one of these similes of what America will be like under conservative governance.

Paul Emery

But George surely you must be able to provide us with at least one example of a reasonably modern country following your prescription. Your lack of detail tends to breed speculations such such as B Emery's on what you refer to.

Scott Obermuller

Well my goodness! I was out enjoying the fine weather all day and I come home and find I've been assigned to a bunker. Where in the world do the lefties that post here find that I'm in a bunker? It was Douglas that imagined I'd "joined the Zimmerman brigade" whatever that is. I doubt even he knows what the heck he's jabbering on about. Sorry - I don't even have a root cellar, let alone a bunker. I can only suppose that the lefties are embarrassed over the actual words of real socialists who threaten civil society with mal intent and now try to divert the conversation to simply calling me names via a fabricated association with a fabricated cabal. This is the best you can do? Sad.

Michael Anderson

Scott, glad to see you have left the bunker. Welcome back!

I doubt the socialists have any mal intent toward you, they are too busy adjusting their TV packages and making sure their ice cream is politically correct.

George, here is another Jon Carroll column I think you will enjoy: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/03/DDEJ1NSL1P.DTL

Scott Obermuller

re: Michael A's post - "I doubt the socialists have any mal intent toward you"
I take it you didn't read the socialist screed above or pay attention to the news or read history Michael. Whenever the socialists get a wind behind their sails, they have always gone after the producers that won't kowtow to them. As it is, they are already eating away at my finances and threatening me with ever increasing fees and taxation. They like to say it is for the poor, but they always seem to extract a handling fee first for them selves.

Douglas Keachie

Scott, Since you choose to pick any words I type and rearrange them for purposes of malicious ridicule, let's see what you can do with this batch. Your efforts sre almost as amusing as they are juvenile, and certainly as self-accusing as they are futile. Are you any good at poetry?

Scott Obermuller

Douglas - since you claim I pick ANY word you type and rearrange it, can you actually provide any specific instance of what ever it is you are jabbering on about now? You still haven't explained what or whom is the Zimmerman Brigade that you claim I have "joined". You will please notice that I don't claim you say anything, I am asking you. That is because it is hard to tell what it is you are going on about. I went back and read the posts and find that it is you, sir that is claiming something specific about me. It was obtuse, to say the least and and I only followed up with questions. I have proffered nothing concrete about you or your words. The original posting was about the continuing failure and tragedies of socialism. Can we stay on topic?

Douglas Keachie

The Zimmerman connection.

Take one part: "and threatening me with ever increasing fees and taxation."

and a few sentences later add:

"That screed brings into sharp focus why we cherish the right to keep and bear arms. "

I bet conservatives will do their best to ban Skittles from the list of acceptable Food Stamp items. By the way, if I have Skittles in one hand and iced tea in the other, the logical attack would have been to throw the ice tea.

Scott Obermuller

Thank you, Doug. You didn't didn't answer a single question I asked. Instead you took 2 different quotes from me and put them not only out of order, but completely out of context. You also state this is the "Zimmerman connection". First, there is a Zimmerman Brigade that you won't discuss, now there is a Zimmerman connection. All very hush-hush, I imagine. I would advise you to hold your ice tea until the men in white coats come and you can throw it at them. Good grief.

A Facebook User

George,
What is the difference between an undeveloped nation and a developed nation?

The answer to this question is why "The Free Market" is nothing more than a theory and doesn't exist.

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