Redistributing wealth is communism

Our "pub" where you can post about things completely Off Topic or about non-silent PC issues.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

snutten
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 1:27 pm
Location: Sweden

Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by snutten » Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:08 pm

Have a look at Second European Quality of Life Survey. (Societies that strive for equality are consistently best in class.)
But economy also plays a big part. The happiest folks live in countries with high taxes - which at least to some extent burdens the economic growth that also matters. We know USA's economy always fares better than EU's, financial crisis or not.

I'm curious what the thoughtful SPCR crowd thinks about the actual goals of economic growth. Pumping GNP in itself has no merits, it's simply something we can easily measure, a tool, or rather a means, to achieve other actual goals like better standard of living and cures for diseases etc.

To heat up things I'd like to ask why you think the idea of "taking other (i.e. rich) peoples money" to give them to the less fortunate is such a heinous concept in the US while at the same time in e.g. Sweden there is near consensus about the merits of the system. Keep it civil please.

For interesting international development comparisons, check out the fun and informative Gapminder website! Note especially the nice development of poor countries and the environmental comparisons.

aristide1
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 4284
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:21 pm
Location: Undisclosed but sober in US

Post by aristide1 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:15 pm

And giving it all to Halliburton is making poor fools out of everyone.

As for the banks, the question is why isn't anyone going to jail?

The auto makers? Well stupidity is not a jailable offense.
People who put money and political ideology ahead of truth and ethics are neither patriots nor human beings.

NyteOwl
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Post by NyteOwl » Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:22 pm

I suggest that people look up the definitions of communism (a political system based on changing governments by radical means.

Socialism on the other hand is an economic system, the same way that capitalism is an economic system.

Far too many people equate the latter with the former simply because the Bolshevek Revolution in Russia and its subsequent supporters and imitators chose socialism over capitalism for their economies. Though that is changing in China which is a Communist country with an increasingly capitalist economy.
Obsolesence is just a lack of imagination!

N7SC
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:22 pm
Location: Sunny Florida, where dead people vote 3 times in a county they never even lived in!

Re: Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by N7SC » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:36 pm

snutten wrote:I'm curious what the thoughtful SPCR crowd thinks about the actual goals of economic growth. Pumping GNP in itself has no merits, it's simply something we can easily measure, a tool, or rather a means, to achieve other actual goals like better standard of living and cures for diseases etc.
I don't accept that "economic growth" is necessary for a society. It never made sense to me that there always had to be "growth," just for growth's sake. It seems to lead to a frenzied rat race that is ever spiraling out of control. Stability should come more readily from a community that has a more, for lack of a better word, sustainable economy. That is one where everyone's needs are met, and perhaps their more socially conscious wants too, but there is no need to drive the hidden and elusive "growth." This kind of makes me want to ask: Just who benefits from the "growth" anyway? And who pays for it, in one way or another?
snutten wrote:To heat up things I'd like to ask why you think the idea of "taking other (i.e. rich) peoples money" to give them to the less fortunate is such a heinous concept in the US while at the same time in e.g. Sweden there is near consensus about the merits of the system. Keep it civil please.
I have long believed that the best overall socio-economic system would be a blend of the socialistic and capitalistic systems. One where individual effort would be rewarded to a reasonable degree, but where the individuals also had fully developed social consciousness and did not ever lapse into the anti-social state of greed that sometimes pervades our US society. The dangers to the individuals and the society itself from rampant and unchecked capitalism are every bit as horrible as the dangers from totalitarian communism (as practiced in the defunct Soviet Union).

In other words, an ideal society would be one where gain was the reward for increased effort, but that effort had to be in a way that furthered the interests of society. And where everyone had reasonable (as opposed to outrageous) expectations for that gain and carried an internal moral compass or limiter that helped the attain a good balance between their self-interest, and their desire to build a good, strong society, and thus their obligations to that society. Perhaps that is the problem: maybe we, here in the US just don't want to build a good society any more, and so resort to a highly individualistic form of capitalism where it is every man for himself.
[size=75]The Dog philosophy is the best:
Eat, Sleep, Play, Love.[/size]

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:01 pm

I'll go straight to the "hot" part of the discussion, and I realise that I'm generalising, but I have always been shocked by the obsessive hatred that Americans appear to have for tax and government spending (unless of course it is for police or military!). It is an incongruous stance given the so-called Christian values so many of these people seem to hold dear. It's kind of sad that they are able to take an ancient creation story so literally, but then basically ignore the unambiguous teachings of Jesus, who also, ironically, had plenty to say about hypocrisy.

My perception is that there is still a sense of the "wild west" in America, where the disadvantage of others is no obstacle when personal profit is concerned. However, America is also a country of diverse peoples and attitudes, and it may be more difficult to find consensus on how to put wealth towards a common good than it is in more "integrated" societies. So while there may be a constitution that everyone can agree on, each person sees themselves as having not too much in common with others (or those from other socioeconomic groups).

Personally, I don't want to live in a world of extreme disadvantage, no matter how "undeserving" the recipients of welfare appear to be. Spending my taxes on welfare (not necessarily "handouts") is good insurance against crime and civil unrest, and makes society a better place for everyone, including me. It's more a matter of government spending priorities and mismanagement that makes me angry, but that's another story.

blackworx
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 am
Location: UK

Post by blackworx » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:07 am

I can't remember who said it, but: "society is the mirror in which we catch sight of our morals".

From what little I know of it, I have grown up admiring the Scandinavian system. I support wholeheartedly the notion that the accumulation of personal wealth and generous spending on welfare are not mutually exclusive. As alleycat says: it makes society a better place for everyone.

The rise of the corporation has given great economic benefit to a global elite, whilst removing from them the burden of personal social responsibility. It is clear to me that the extreme laissez-faire capitalism that has been practised in the USA and to a lesser extent throughout the rest of the western world has been the root cause of a great deal of suffering. Greed begets greed, in both the wealthy and the poor.

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:46 am

To heat up things I'd like to ask why you think the idea of "taking other (i.e. rich) peoples money" to give them to the less fortunate is such a heinous concept in the US while at the same time in e.g. Sweden there is near consensus about the merits of the system

first of all, one of the main diffences, culturally speaking, between the US and Sweden (and Scandinavia in general) is that in the US it is a much more individualistic culture. the wants and needs of the individual are the number one priority, and being selfish is virtually a national sport (I have phrased that in a provocative way, but it is certainly not wholly untrue).

The Nordic countries, however, are very homogenous and have many hundreds of years of a collective mindset (ie where the needs of the group is more important than the needs of the individual). Therefore the society is much more accepting that the burdens of healthcare, unemployment benefits, etc is a shared burden and that the welfare of one person equates to the welfare of the whole society.
Spending my taxes on welfare (not necessarily "handouts") is good insurance against crime and civil unrest,
my perception from the UK is that welfare spending actually causes crime, as you create an underclass of people who have never had to earn an honest living, and so they have no qualms about stealing from other people, as they do not realise the hard work that that money represents.

also, it is inevitable in any country that when the economy is bad, the more people lean toward socialism, as they see that there is a chance they themselves will need state handouts, whereas when the economy is good it is every man for himself. that is simply people obeying their own self-interest.
[size=75]JFK:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."[/size]

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:05 am

jaganath wrote:my perception from the UK is that welfare spending actually causes crime, as you create an underclass of people who have never had to earn an honest living, and so they have no qualms about stealing from other people, as they do not realise the hard work that that money represents
That's true to some extent, and that's why I don't think that welfare should mean "handouts". There are many constructive ways to help minimise disadvantage and make the world a better place in general.

blackworx
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 am
Location: UK

Post by blackworx » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:36 am

jaganath wrote:my perception from the UK is that welfare spending actually causes crime
I agree with that to a certain extent, but, as I'm sure you'd agree, welfare spending is certainly not the root cause. The grand social engineering/town planning failures of the late 20th c., the breakdown of traditional industries and the wholesale breakup of communities which grew around them have had a far greater part to play. Subsequent welfare spending certainly hasn't been of any great benefit and has in many cases exacerbated the situation.

You yourself say that the more cohesive the society the more likely it is to accept such a collective welfare burden. I'd go further and say the more cohesive a society the less likely it is that welfare spending on its own will make existing social problems worse. Obviously the welfare state depends on every person recognising and fufilling their responsibility to society. When the example being set at the top is one of every man for himself, these actions will be replayed at every level in a society.
Last edited by blackworx on Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:53 am

Agree totally

croddie
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:52 pm

Re: Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by croddie » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:23 am

snutten wrote:I'm curious what the thoughtful SPCR crowd thinks about the actual goals of economic growth. Pumping GNP in itself has no merits, it's simply something we can easily measure, a tool, or rather a means, to achieve other actual goals like better standard of living and cures for diseases etc.
I don't think promoting material well-being for the rich or poor (NB in developed countries) is a useful end in itself. But it can have advantages such as: allowing an education system, providing the funds for world influence, allowing some sorts of investment in knowledge and culture.
To heat up things I'd like to ask why you think the idea of "taking other (i.e. rich) peoples money" to give them to the less fortunate is such a heinous concept in the US while at the same time in e.g. Sweden there is near consensus about the merits of the system. Keep it civil please.
The US is a freer, more individualistic country. (Admittedly rather ideological about many things, but countries with a socialist consensus are presumably more so.) The system is more geared to encouraging individual (as opposed to state) pursuits, and the energy of the system is in the private sector, expressed in acquisition of wealth and property but also charity, mass media, innovating firms, religious denominations, you name it.

As a result the US generates so much more (even considering its size) than Sweeden in ideas, culture beliefs, research, influence - all both good and bad.

Happiness is not aim. It is not even something I value. I would hate to live in a country without conflict - conflict of people, ideas, beliefs, aims. Deadening and mind-numbing.

If I were a dictator I would run a different system than the US system but I hope I've explained how I find the US system of values better than Sweedish et al. The opposite point of view can be explained by people who like social cohesion, safety of trusting in the state & shared social(ist) values.

croddie
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:52 pm

Post by croddie » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:41 am

alleycat wrote:I have always been shocked by the obsessive hatred that Americans appear to have for tax and government spending (unless of course it is for police or military!).
Yes there is a lot of nonsense in the arguments about redistribution in the US - it's a bad word for some reason even though it goes on to a large extent in practice and is supported in practice by the policies of both parties.
It is an incongruous stance given the so-called Christian values so many of these people seem to hold dear. It's kind of sad that they are able to take an ancient creation story so literally, but then basically ignore the unambiguous teachings of Jesus, who also, ironically, had plenty to say about hypocrisy.
I'm not sure what you are referring to. Jesus said you should pay your taxes, but that's not controversial in the US. Where do his words imply that you should have high taxes and high welfare spending?
Personally, I don't want to live in a world of extreme disadvantage, no matter how "undeserving" the recipients of welfare appear to be. Spending my taxes on welfare (not necessarily "handouts") is good insurance against crime and civil unrest, and makes society a better place for everyone, including me.
Please bear in mind that socialism doesn't help the world here! If you want to help disadvantage in the world, which I completely support, you should target your efforts at the developing world: improving education, health, law in Africa for example. I very much support these efforts by charities and government agencies and think they should be increased.

If you are saying, what you really care about is that your own little bit of the world is homogeneous then that is a very different goal!

Note that the US has more inherent inequality and potential crime problems just from its population distribution alone. Historically with inflows of African slaves and brain-draining some of the rest of the world you have a very unequal distribution of human capital to start with, and a large proportion of crimes are done by the African American population, while Scandinavia doesn't have this ethnic issue. (I'm not saying the population distribution is a big problem; but it's an insuperable problem if you wanted to create a society via economic policy that is as homogenous as Scandinavia. And I'm not saying that the US can't have better crime policies; for example to me the lack of gun control is incredible.)

blackworx
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 am
Location: UK

Post by blackworx » Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:27 am

croddie wrote:Where do his words imply that you should have high taxes and high welfare spending?
I think it's more of a "taketh thy bread, and give it to the poor" thing than a "thou must haveth high taxation and high spending" thing.

snutten
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 1:27 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by snutten » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:09 pm

croddie wrote:As a result the US generates so much more (even considering its size) than Sweeden in ideas, culture beliefs, research, influence - all both good and bad.
Is this true?
croddie wrote:Happiness is not aim. It is not even something I value. I would hate to live in a country without conflict - conflict of people, ideas, beliefs, aims. Deadening and mind-numbing.
If you were to hate the system you lived in, then you'd give it a bad score if you were to participate in a survey. What is it you're trying to say? If happiness means unhappiness, then we need to straighten out the meaning of the word or call it a red herring. Please tell me what I missed here.

snutten
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 1:27 pm
Location: Sweden

Post by snutten » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:13 pm

Has anybody heard of any valid retort to John Rawl's Veil of Ignorance, presented in A Theory of Justice?

croddie
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:52 pm

Post by croddie » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:26 pm

snutten wrote:Has anybody heard of any valid retort to John Rawl's Veil of Ignorance, presented in A Theory of Justice?
Well it's completely spurious. I'm sure Rawls' work only received its popularity because of the simple mathematics which the ordinary person both can understand because it's simple yet respects because it's maths, which as maths he fundamentally doesn't understand. I include philosophers, sociologists and whoever else reads Rawls here.

First you have to imagine a hypothetical world before the existing world in which there are people without identities. Each non-identitied person then has a equal chance of becoming any person that exists in the world.

Each pre-person has the same preferences over outcomes, and is infinitely risk averse, so he prefers situtation s1 over s2 if in s1 the worst-off person is better than the worst-off person in s2.

Then one policy is better than another if it is preferred by this pre-person.

Criticisms, proceeding logically backwards:

-assuming the myth is true and that ethics is in fact defined by the preferences of this pre-person, why is he infinitely risk averse. while people in the real world are not?
Consequences of infinite risk aversion are that if you have one society in which everyone is bored but spends his time eating sterilized food on hospital beds, compared to the real world where people communicate with each other at risk of infection, and cross roads at risk of being run over, you should pick the hospital society.
The obvious question that any student should ask - why should a society be evaluated by the poorest person - is also valid.

-how can you conceive of a person with preferences but no personality? Who is this person who could be a stock broker or a social worker or a despot or a glutton or an athlete and what does he want? (Rawls could answer he wants utility, but what is utility given that people want different things and different emotions. Note, for what it's worth, that the idea that utility is cardinal and comparable among persons is no longer a respected position among ecomists who deal in these theories.)

-even if you could conceive of this person, he never existed except in your story. I can write a story about an imaginary person too and claim that his preferences are the Ultimate Truth.

-A technical problem is that the number of people is not determined but affected by policy/choices is not brought up. The various ways of accomodating this issue give rise to extreme conclusions about life. (I'm insterested in how this problem can be dealt with in utilitarian theories in general and what would be the policy outcomes - probably not as extreme as Rawls but still unpallatable.)

croddie
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:52 pm

Re: Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by croddie » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:41 pm

snutten wrote:If you were to hate the system you lived in, then you'd give it a bad score if you were to participate in a survey. What is it you're trying to say?
Sure it would make me somewhat unhappy to live in this country, at least less happy than otherwise. But that's completely consistent with saying that I don't value hapiness. I value (consider good) x,y,z,... and that list does not include (psychological, however defined) hapiness of myself or others.

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:13 am

To not value happiness, is to me like not valuing breathing. Conflict is symptomatic of a failure to understand, and holds no inherent value. I strive wherever possible to promote harmony and happiness. That is my life's work.

NeilBlanchard
Moderator
Posts: 7680
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Contact:

Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:58 am

Hi,

This thread got going quickly! Here's what I think:

We are all in this world together, and we all benefit from other people's success, and we all lose when other people fail.

Government is necessary. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: good government must do what the people cannot, or cannot do well.

So, we need other people to succeed (too) in order for society as a whole to succeed; and we need government to do this -- and therefore, we must pay for the government to function.

How to do this fairly is the question. In the end, it has to happen, and the best government is the kind that adjusts things to work better as time goes on. What we call this kind of government, really doesn't matter in the end.

I love the quote from Winston Churchill: "I think democracy is the worst kind of government -- except for all the others."
Last edited by NeilBlanchard on Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:39 am

Image
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

Erssa
Posts: 1421
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:26 pm
Location: Finland

Re: Redistributing wealth is communism

Post by Erssa » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:18 am

snutten wrote:To heat up things I'd like to ask why you think the idea of "taking other (i.e. rich) peoples money" to give them to the less fortunate is such a heinous concept in the US while at the same time in e.g. Sweden there is near consensus about the merits of the system.
Because taxing is stealing, and stealing is wrong.

Taxes are a protection racket. Fundamentally it's the same as protection money collected by the mafia. Government steals tax payers money using threat of violence. Back in the feudal period people paid taxes to sponsor the extravagant lifestyle of the nobles. Not paying taxes could get you killed. These days you pay taxes to support the lifestyle of plebs, refusal to pay won't get you killed, but the plebs will throw you in jail for a long time. Despite these small differences the same old principal still applies - pay taxes or pay the consequences.

I don't think anyone minds paying taxes for things they would have to pay for in a free market society. Things like road upkeep, basic education, school system, police and rescue workers, universal health care etc. But instead I also happen to sponsor talentless artists, gay animal sanctuarys, fold dance festivals and other useless projects, religious baby factories through child benefits, lazy, freeloading, career unemployed people etc...

Knowing how my tax money is spent makes it extremely hard to accept taxes.
[color=blue][size=84]Antec Solo case /w Seasonic S-12 430W, Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2, X2 4850e /w Scythe Ninja, 2x2Gb DDR2800, WD Raptor 150GB, 500GB WD GP in Antec MX-1, BenQ G2400W, Logitech diNovo Laser, Logitech z-680[/color][/size]

blackworx
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 am
Location: UK

Post by blackworx » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:33 am

Erssa, do you know what proportion of your taxes is used for these unworthy causes you mention, as opposed to the proportion spent on roads, schools, defence, government, civil service, etc. etc? At what ratio does it become something seriously worth getting angry about? Or is it a principles thing? I don't know about Finland, but it seems to me here in the UK that if (for example) we got rid of a few lazy civil servants it would make a bigger dent on my tax bill than if we stopped funding, er, gay animal sanctuaries.

kevral
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:21 pm
Location: Norway

Post by kevral » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:44 am

blackworx wrote:Erssa, do you know what proportion of your taxes is used for these unworthy causes you mention, as opposed to the proportion spent on roads, schools, defence, government, civil service, etc. etc?
I do know that in Norway, after you have lived an average life and paid average income tax, sales tax, car tax, alcohol tax, property tax, wealth tax, home purchase tax, inheritance tax and whatever else -- you're left with roughly 30 % of your income.

In other words, you are forced to work for the State until lunchtime each Thursday. Or you are forced to work for the State until sometime late September, if you prefer to look at it that way.

And with the worst roads in Europe (I think Albania just passed us), a school system that isn't teaching, police that won't protect you, military that couldn't protect you, and a health care system that'll let you wait months for critical surgery and then die in the hallways -- I think that's a pretty raw deal.

On the other hand, I have a slightly better conscience than when I lived in the States. I guess not having to take responsibility does that.

Erssa
Posts: 1421
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:26 pm
Location: Finland

Post by Erssa » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:28 am

blackworx wrote:Erssa, do you know what proportion of your taxes is used for these unworthy causes you mention, as opposed to the proportion spent on roads, schools, defence, government, civil service, etc. etc? At what ratio does it become something seriously worth getting angry about? Or is it a principles thing?
It's more of a principle. As a ratio it's not an overwhelming problem, but since budgeting is a zero sum game, every euro wasted on giant clits, is a euro away from premature infant health care. According to 2008 budget review Finland spent 2.4 billion euros on public order and safety, 2.6 billion on defence and wasted 1.9 billion on recreation, culture and religion. I think even as a ratio it's a lot to spent almost the same amount to opera, Jesus, waterpainting and giant clits as you do on public safety. Also more then half of our budget was spent on social protection and general public services. A field that covers a lot of the most wasteful, useless and harmful spending.
I don't know about Finland, but it seems to me here in the UK that if (for example) we got rid of a few lazy civil servants it would make a bigger dent on my tax bill than if we stopped funding, er, gay animal sanctuaries.
I bet the same applies to Finland as well. It's one of the reasons why I'd like to get rid of these useless civil servants and move to a less byrocratic flat tax and basic income systems to replace the current complex and wasteful paper pushing system.
[color=blue][size=84]Antec Solo case /w Seasonic S-12 430W, Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2, X2 4850e /w Scythe Ninja, 2x2Gb DDR2800, WD Raptor 150GB, 500GB WD GP in Antec MX-1, BenQ G2400W, Logitech diNovo Laser, Logitech z-680[/color][/size]

blackworx
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:04 am
Location: UK

Post by blackworx » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:05 am

Very much agreed on the system of taxation. I'm guessing it is just as ridiculously complex to a greater or lesser extent in every country worldwide as it is here, and that plays straight into the hands of those for whom every loophole is worth exploiting.

kevral
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:21 pm
Location: Norway

Post by kevral » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:44 am

It's not actually the exploiters that bother me, it's rather the powertrippers who believe violence is a perfectly viable foundation for society.

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:24 pm

And with the worst roads in Europe (I think Albania just passed us), a school system that isn't teaching, police that won't protect you, military that couldn't protect you, and a health care system that'll let you wait months for critical surgery and then die in the hallways -- I think that's a pretty raw deal.
wow. and here I was thinking the Nordic countries were the perfect model of how a socialistic country can be wealthy, healthy and prosperous. where did all the oil money go??!
It's not actually the exploiters that bother me, it's rather the powertrippers who believe violence is a perfectly viable foundation for society.
what violence? if you mean the threat of violence is used to enforce taxes, this is not true. taxation is not theft, taxation without representation is theft, very important point. if you don't want to pay for gay animal sanctuaries, you should write to your political representative in parliament ( a fat lot of good that will do! :) )
[size=75]JFK:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."[/size]

qviri
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact:

Post by qviri » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:04 pm

jaganath wrote:
And with the worst roads in Europe (I think Albania just passed us), a school system that isn't teaching, police that won't protect you, military that couldn't protect you, and a health care system that'll let you wait months for critical surgery and then die in the hallways -- I think that's a pretty raw deal.
wow. and here I was thinking the Nordic countries were the perfect model of how a socialistic country can be wealthy, healthy and prosperous. where did all the oil money go??!
The roads are always smoother on the other side. (Germany is the only exception to this rule.) The other country's education system that doesn't emphasise pointless rote learning is better suited to today's economy. Or was it that the other country's system that doesn't make children into wishy-washy 'creative' artsies with no backbone?
Thinkpad X200 – aging fan, T60p – Core Duo whine :(
Nothing endures but change

Tobias
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 9:52 am

Post by Tobias » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:53 pm

jaganath wrote:
And with the worst roads in Europe (I think Albania just passed us), a school system that isn't teaching, police that won't protect you, military that couldn't protect you, and a health care system that'll let you wait months for critical surgery and then die in the hallways -- I think that's a pretty raw deal.
wow. and here I was thinking the Nordic countries were the perfect model of how a socialistic country can be wealthy, healthy and prosperous. where did all the oil money go??!
That oil money is both a blessing and a curse. What would happen if the government went on a shopping spree? The amount of available money would increase and with it, the inflation would increase. When the inflation increase, the national bank of Norway would increase the interest which would drain all that extra cash away from the market, making everyone with a loan in Norway worse off and everyone will know who did what in the next election...

The only way to possibly avoid it would be to connect to the euro, but the Norwegians are to wealthy for that. The ECB would most probably use a sub optimal interest regime for Norway.

In a downturn, the ECB will decrease interest rates. The Norwegian government would probably be more expansionistic. The added effect of this would be huge, so the governments would probably need to cut back on public spending, negating the useful use of expansionistic policies

. There is also the demand of a Balanced budget to concider. Each nation in the Euro zone must try to not have a to large budget deficit. It is not only detrimental to the national finances, it also infringes on ECBs role. As explained above for Norway, if the Euro countries would borrow alot of money, ECB would have to intervene and increase interest rates. So if the governemnt tries to use expansive politics, the Central banks will be forced to use restrictive strategies.

Alas, Euro is not optimal for Norway either. It is interesting to see that a nation with to much money may not find it useful, as well as a country with to much debt will be choked by interest. As always, some sort of golden middle road seems to be favourable.




Wether taxation is a crime or not is also interesting. While violence is the basis of all governments, it is also imortant to note that all human society is based on violence. Either you pay your government for protection, or you pay someone else for "protection". Atleast with the government one has the option to (in a democracy) influence how that cash is spent. In a system with every man for itself, you have no such options. In the government case there is also the option of influencing how much money to be taxed, and again in the anarchy scenario, there are no such option. Whether taxes is stealing or not, is irrelevant. One will have to buy that protection somehow anyways and a democratic government has so far proven to be the lesser of the evils.

kevral
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:21 pm
Location: Norway

Post by kevral » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:07 pm

jaganath wrote:where did all the oil money go??!
You mean the Oil Fund, heavily invested in international stocks?
jaganath wrote:what violence? if you mean the threat of violence is used to enforce taxes, this is not true. taxation is not theft, taxation without representation is theft, very important point.
If you don't pay your taxes, men will eventually come for you. If you resist, they will come for you with guns. If you defend yourself, they may kill you. How is that not violence?

And as for representation? There are no non-social-democratic/non-socialist/non-communist parties with a single mandate in the Norwegian Parliament. I am not represented, and odds are I never will be.

Post Reply