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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:

Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't.
I'm not coal mining efficiency expert (neither are you...) so it's not my job to make this call.


The statement of mine that you quoted concerned increasing the productivity of EACH worker. It doesn't take an expert to see that a new 200 ton crane makes a particular coal miner more productive than using a new shiny shovel.
Historically, through nearly every industry, management has strove to reduce labor costs using machinery where ever possible, and commonly its been possible to do that. This trend and the logical reasons for it are not even seriously debateable.


If the market tells us that a shovel is 10 bucks, and a 200 ton coal moving crane is 10 million, then a million shovels are indeed worth one crane.


Exactly wrong. A business would primarily look at the total costs and expected revenues. Total costs would include not only the costs of the assests but related costs. In terms of the shovels there will be related higher labor costs, insurance costs, etc, for the 1 million workers vs the maintence costs of one crane and wages for one or two workers to run the crane. Then you need to balance that against how much coal can be extracted for 1 million shovels vs one crane. Businesses throughout the past 100 years have consistenly chosen labor saving devices becuase it makes good business sense.


Remember, these prices have been reached because buyers (who are coal mining efficiency experts) are willing to pay them. Who are we to tell these people that they don't know the value of the things they buy?
[ April 16, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Treglio ]


[/QB]
I, a free marketeer, would be the last to tell someone how to run their business. But look at how businesses have been run since the Industrial Revolution. Why do you think they called it a "revolution"?
[ April 16, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Do you think this may have been due to the terrain they lived in?


I'm really not certain of the reason. But wouldn't a wheel still be the most efficient use of energy on their roads? There were large areas of flat plains also(Nazca area at the very least).
My point was that cetain inventions/entreupenurial activities may be delayed for whatever reasons. It was to counter the assertion that if some individuals are prevented from doing something, another will always automatically jump into his place because of market forces.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Peter den Haan:

Herb, "name-calling" is an activity quite distinct from "discussing". Clearly we live on different planets.


Peter,
I was hoping no one was taking my commnets personally; sometimes they are phrased outrageuously for entertainment effect, yet even then they do contain some elements of truth. Politicians do espouse certain idealogies that are conducive to their nefarious ends. The philosophy of collectivism is very easily manipulated into something horrible as history has shown for the past 70 years.


But let me say this: Actually, this comparison is in a sense quite apt, although we do of course disagree that either one of the answers is "correct". 90% of mathematical physics, for example, consists of finding the right approximations for your problems, because the full system is almost always more complicated than you can handle. Similarly, we have here two or more extremes which are all one-dimensional oversimplifications, yet a truly fair system is simply inachievable. The rational thing to do is to try and find the best approximation with whatever tools are available and practical.
- Peter
[ April 16, 2003: Message edited by: Peter den Haan ]



If we have no better resource than approximations I would agree it would be the tool to use, but I believe logical deductions can be made based on a few simple axioms of human rights to decide most issues without resort to the approximations of which you speak.
 
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A business would primarily look at the total costs and expected revenues. Total costs would include not only the costs of the assests but related costs. In terms of the shovels there will be related higher labor costs, insurance costs, etc, for the 1 million workers vs the maintence costs of one crane and wages for one or two workers to run the crane.


Conceeded, because the value of 1,000,000 shovels is not 1,000,000 times the value of one shovel, for all sorts of practical reasons. A better way for me to have said this would be "one shovel is indeed worth one-millionth of one crane." If it weren't, what kind of jackass would buy a shovel for a millionth the price of one crane?
So let's get to the point: Clearly you think that the purchase of a crane is a capital investment for Giant Mining Inc..
Let's say that I own the smallest mining company in existence, and I am its sole employee. (And let's suspend disbelief that it's practical to do this... I know that a one-man mining co. would not survive today, but that's a unique attribute of the modern mining industry. Lots of one man mining companies have existed in the past, and lots of one man companies exist in other industries today.) Why is my purchase of a tiny little mining crane (i.e. a shovel) not a capital investment?
[ April 16, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Treglio ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:

Conceeded, because the value of 1,000,000 shovels is not 1,000,000 times the value of one shovel, for all sorts of practical reasons. A better way for me to have said this would be "one shovel is indeed worth one-millionth of one crane." If it weren't, what kind of jackass would buy a shovel for a millionth the price of one crane?
So let's get to the point: Clearly you think that the purchase of a crane is a capital investment for Giant Mining Inc..
Let's say that I own the smallest mining company in existence, and I am its sole employee. (And let's suspend disbelief that it's practical to do this... I know that a one-man mining co. would not survive today, but that's a unique attribute of the modern mining industry. Lots of one man mining companies have existed in the past, and lots of one man companies exist in other industries today.) Why is my purchase of a tiny little mining crane (i.e. a shovel) not a capital investment?
[ April 16, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Treglio ]


I'm not really arguing that your purchase isn't a capital investment, what I am arguing is that your investment and those of others like you in the economy, will not substantially raise
per capita productivity in the same way as a larger more capital intensive investment would such as a 10 million dollar crane. Its the increasing efficiencies and increasing level of productivity that occurs throughout the economy that raises general living conditions over time.
You can't compete with larger mining companies for many reasons today. I'm willing to bet they can extract coal for far less cost than you and can therefore sell it at a price that will hardly make it worthwhile for you.
 
Chris Treglio
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

I'm not really arguing that your purchase isn't a capital investment, what I am arguing is that your investment and those of others like you in the economy, will not substantially raise
per capita productivity in the same way as a larger more capital intensive investment would ...


Of course you're not -- it would be silly to try to label things like cranes and shovels "capital" and things like workboots "non-capital." An investment's stimulative value is better judged by how "capital intensive" it is. But what makes $10 million spent in one lump sum more "capital intensive" than $10 million spent in lots of little chunks? Some industries favor the latter.
Hey, I'm not saying that my $10 shovel outlay wasn't a bad investment. It would be a terrible investment -- I'd be out of business in five minutes! But I think we both agree that the gov't should not be trying to guess which investments will be bad or good ... If it consiously targets "stimulus" at larger investors with a "trickle-down" justification, that's what it would be implicitly doing.
 
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:

...
For our society to continue to exist and develop we must accept sacrifices to these rights, and not at the whim of individuals but at the 'whim' of the majority.
...


Very impressive statements and you're in good company. Great minds and popular movements have often echoed very similar thoughts :
"The activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the community, but must take place within its confines and for the good of all.
We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunities for employment and earning a living...etc"
Nazi party platform adopted at Munich, February 24, 1920
"This "private proprerty" represented
the right of the individual to manage and to speculate with inherited or acquired property as he pleased, without regard to the general
interests...German socialism had to overcome this "private", that is, unrestrained and irresponsible view of property. All property is common property.
The owner is bound by the people and the Reich to the responsible management of his goods. His legal position is only justified when he satisfies this
responsibility to the community."
(Ernst Huber, Nazi party spokesman 1939)
http://www.lawrence.edu/sorg/objectivism/socfasc.html
"...The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone...."
Benito Mussolini writing in the Italian Encylopedia of 1932 on Fascism.
www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.html
The common thread between all the varients of socialism, communism, and fascism are their collectivism. Without some recognition of the rights of the individual as being superior to that of the State, any thing can justified at any time by whatever mob happens to be in power at the time. History has given enough examples of the mass horrors that a collectivist philosophy can bring to an entire nations so there should be no need to elaborate this point.
 
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Herb, you are so obsessed with name calling i.e. Nazi, Communist and Socialist that you overlook the benefits each of these ideologies bring about on their own.
Sure, if one exercises all the principles of Nazism/Communism/Socialism it might be bad. But just as bad as the person who exercises all the principles of Capitalism. Each political ideology has pluses and minuses and it is important that we not blindly reject a thought process because it contains one principle also found in Nazism or Communism or Socialism.
If me paying my taxes puts food on the table for 50 needy children then I am a socialist. If my vote leads to a strong nation that believes in itself I am a fascist. If I believe in total seperation between church and state I am communist. Sure, call me all the names you want.. but in the end that is all it is. A Name!
 
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Originally posted by <herb slocomb>:
The common thread between all the varients of socialism, communism, and fascism are their collectivism. Without some recognition of the rights of the individual as being superior to that of the State, any thing can justified at any time by whatever mob happens to be in power at the time. History has given enough examples of the mass horrors that a collectivist philosophy can bring to an entire nations so there should be no need to elaborate this point.


Hi Herb! Or is it now <herb slocomb>?
Anyway, you're determined to ignore the substance of my post. I should never have used term 'collective'. In the context of these posts I mean society and groups in society working together towards common goals.
Twice now I've stated that collective actions are good when they protect society and the rights of individuals. Within a framework of free speech, a constitution and a relatively transparent government, collective action is essential to get things done.
I agree totally that you cannot create a just society with collective ideals alone - groups of people always get persecuted. You cannot create a just society based on excessive individualism either because a society that doesn't acknowledge and work towards common goals (such as protecting individual rights as much as possible - there you've made me say it again) isn't a society, its just a bunch of people stitching each other up.
[ April 17, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:
Herb, you are so obsessed with name calling i.e. Nazi, Communist and Socialist that you overlook the benefits each of these ideologies bring about on their own.


Of course we can't say say Naziism was all bad. It brought pride back to the German people, gave people jobs, helped modernize factories and transportation systems, helped lead to the formation of the United Nations, etc, etc. Unfortunately Naziism only gets bad press today. Why don't we open another thread to help explain all the good points of Naziism? Maybe with just a few minor tweakings and removal of the bad points, we could develop a new improved version ?
Communism has also lent its mighty humanitarian hand with efforts towards preventing world overpopulation by removing tens of millions obstacles (people) towards the evolution of the worker's paradise.
Socialism is merely a weaker varient of the same species; I can't find any great achievements for socialism.
By the way, although I'm often accussed of name calling, I have not called anyone a Nazi, Communist or socialist in this thread that I remember. I may call people "collectivists", and that may have ideas in common with all three; it is still not the same as calling someone a Nazi or a Commie. So, please don't accuse me of such accusations. Thankyou.



Sure, if one exercises all the principles of Nazism/Communism/Socialism it might be bad. But just as bad as the person who exercises all the principles of Capitalism.


Voluntary exchange of goods and services - the essence of capitalism, is "just as bad as" Naziism??? Which exact principles of capitalism are just as bad as Naziism???


Each political ideology has pluses and minuses and it is important that we not blindly reject a thought process because it contains one principle also found in Nazism or Communism or Socialism.


That's true, and admittedly some of my arguments can look like that if not examined carefully. What I'm trying to do is point out the core, foundational issues that separate collectivism vs individualism.


If me paying my taxes puts food on the table for 50 needy children then I am a socialist.


You don't have the option to freely give your money directly to the hungry ones? In the US we have had a long tradition of charitiable organizations. Also many religious groups have an even longer tradition of helping the less fortunate. All of this has been done vouluntarily with respect for people's rights.


If my vote leads to a strong nation that believes in itself I am a fascist.


Regardless of other things that accompany being strong??? Good thing Hitler is not running for a second term.


If I believe in total seperation between church and state I am communist.


That's not a distinguishing feature of communism,
all the "isms" could believe that except theocracy advocates.


Sure, call me all the names you want.. but in the end that is all it is. A Name!


You collectivist!
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:


Twice now I've stated that collective actions are good when they protect society and the rights of individuals.


I missed those statements (remember in java how the "AND" operator works).
My concern was your first post where you said :
"I think a society without an intrusive (but democratic) state would be a less pleasant place to live overall, even if sometimes collective values override our so-called individual 'rights'."
The concern is the 'overriding' (not "protecting") of individual rights that you sanction, and the way you say such individual rights are "so called" and then put single quotes around them. That statement
fits in quite well with the philosophy of the other groups I tried to associate it with. But doesn't exactly fit with what you are saying now here in substance or spirit.
My view of individual rights is more towards an absolutist position and this is where our disagreement centers.
In a later post you said,
"And these things are important because they protect the cohesion of society, whilst also protecting the rights of the many individuals with a multitude of different cultural and philosophical backgrounds and beliefs (religious and secular), individuals that make up most modern, western societies. Certainly not something a fascist regime would support."
Fascism is all about the "social cohesion"
you mention. Also a fascist society can recognize individual rights and tolerate many viewpoints on philosophical and religious issues, its just that it won't allow a few particular ones to be expressed when they threaten its sovereignity. Pinochet didn't care about your religious views and he allowed the court systems to uphold many individual rights, yet he is still classified as a fascist. No fascist cares about philosophical views in general until it gets too close to being political.


Within a framework of free speech, a constitution and a relatively transparent government, collective action is essential to get things done.


OK, now we're in closer agreement. The important point to me is the word "constitution" which to me, can give much more rigid support to individual rights. I recognize that consitutions can be ignored and abused by fascist states, but the principle is one that I approve of and it can be workable in some societies.


I agree totally that you cannot create a just society with collective ideals alone - groups of people always get persecuted.


Agreed


You cannot create a just society based on excessive individualism either because a society that doesn't acknowledge and work towards common goals (such as protecting individual rights as much as possible - there you've made me say it again) isn't a society, its just a bunch of people stitching each other up.
[ April 17, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]


Individuals can work towards common goals while protecting each others individual rights in an absolute manner. Businesses often enter into partnerships working towards common goals and respect each other's rights. Not all common activity has to be compulsory or in violation of individual rights. The proepr role of government is as a neutral third party to enforce rights, not to "override" them.
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:

Of course you're not -- it would be silly to try to label things like cranes and shovels "capital" and things like workboots "non-capital." An investment's stimulative value is better judged by how "capital intensive" it is. But what makes $10 million spent in one lump sum more "capital intensive" than $10 million spent in lots of little chunks? Some industries favor the latter.
Hey, I'm not saying that my $10 shovel outlay wasn't a bad investment. It would be a terrible investment -- I'd be out of business in five minutes! But I think we both agree that the gov't should not be trying to guess which investments will be bad or good ... If it consiously targets "stimulus" at larger investors with a "trickle-down" justification, that's what it would be implicitly doing.


I think we are emphasizing two different aspects.
My intended empahsis is on the long term overall improvement of productivity in society that leads to an increase in overall living standards to all over time, not the short term effects of one particular stimulus. Buying shovels year after year will do little to raise a society's standard of living. New, improved machinery, replaced regularly, will raise per capita productivity over time.
In general, those devices that enhance productivity the most, are more expensive.
And while we may agree that government should not be guessing as to what is best for the economy (maybe all of it isn't pure guessing which is what my arguments are suggesting),
I can agree with the moral justiication for cutting taxes for those who already pay at a higher rate than others. To me its a side effect that everyone just happens to benefit from that tax cutting action.
 
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Herb: Which exact principles of capitalism are just as bad as Naziism???
Urestricted desire to become rich?
Communism has also lent its mighty humanitarian hand with efforts towards preventing world overpopulation by removing tens of millions obstacles (people) towards the evolution of the worker's paradise.
Communists in the fUSSR made school education obligatory and college education free. Cruel animals they are...
Remind me, what exactly happened to Indians in both Americas after free individuals came here?
 
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We may very well be emphasizing two different points, but in summary, here's mine : The stimualative effect of spending equal amounts is equal, whether it's made in little drips or one huge pile. The productivity increase (like you keep saying) will also be equal, because the market will encourage whoever these investors are to invest in small units where the industry wants that, or in big hunks when the industry wants that. Of course no coal mining exec would forgo a 200 ton crane to buy a million shovels, but a landscaper would forgo a millionth time share in the crane for 1.
We both agree that the money's going to find something useful to do, no matter to whom (or in what denominations) you give it. The stimulative effect, though, is gravy -- the real issue in favor of cutting taxes for the heavily taxed is justice?
 
Chris Treglio
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Unrestricted desire to become rich?


The lust for wealth, and the status it confers, is part of the fundamental human condition, and the desire, if not the opportunity, was just as alive and well under communism as it is here and now. That's why the powerful there always seemed to feel the need to exhibit their power with the same trappings we here refer to as extravangance. It might be why Marxism was not realized under Communism, or perhaps is not realizable at all.

Communists in the USSR made school education obligatory and college education free. Cruel animals they are...


By "free" I'm assuming you don't mean "inclusive of all the world's ideas," or "not constrained by the gov't?" Like when we say "free press?"
[ April 17, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Treglio ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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The lust for wealth, and the status it confers, is part of the fundamental human condition, and the desire, if not the opportunity, was just as alive and well under communism as it is here and now.
Yeah, that's why I added "unrestricted" word.
It might be why Marxism was not realized under Communism, or perhaps is not realizable at all.
What is "Marxism"?
By "free" I'm assuming you don't mean "inclusive of all the world's ideas," or "not constrained by the gov't?" Like when we say "free press?"
No, I mean "free of charge" - you did not have to pay for it. Instead, the government paid you while you were studying. Might not be the best educational system in the world, I keep on bringing this example because I am afraid all people think about when reading the word "communism" are mountains of dead bodies or other horrors. While what I observed was lots of happy faces, no dead bodies anywhere, well, not until capitalism came. Today's news: a prominent political leader was killed in Russia. One of many. I cannot recall any prominent political or cultural leader killed by communists during last 20 years of their term (they used to sent them to capitalist hell, though), and there are quite a few killed after communism was considered evil. :roll:
 
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Instead, the government paid you while you were studying.
The money doesn't grow on trees. My college education in Russia was free, but my monthly salary as an engineer in Russia was enough to buy 10 books, that's all.
While what I observed was lots of happy faces, no dead bodies anywhere, well, not until capitalism came.
I observed a lot of alcoholics sleeping drunk in the streets, long lines to buy toilet paper, Marx and Engels, massive corruption and buracracy, and rampaging antisemitism, encoraged by the government.
Eugene.
 
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The money doesn't grow on trees. My college education in Russia was free, but my monthly salary as an engineer in Russia was enough to buy 10 books, that's all.
When did you start to work as an engineer? What was your salary? The most expensive book I can remember costed about 3 r. (most around 1). A beginner engineer made about 110-120 r. per month. Experienced 200-350. *After* communism -- this is when engineers couldn't afford new books. If they were lucky enough to get any money at all. When my father left his factory, this factory, where he worked more than 25 years, owned him money for 8 months. Wonders of capitalism...
I observed a lot of alcoholics sleeping drunk in the streets, long lines to buy toilet paper, Marx and Engels, massive corruption and buracracy, and rampaging antisemitism, encoraged by the government.
You did not read Noam Chomsky lately, did you? Sounds familiar... Of course, there were problems, and life wasn't honey, but at least admit that you did not see dead bodies on the streets, killed by their own government.
Are you going to blame communists for alcoholism too? Russians drunk before communists and they happily drink after. "alcoholics sleeping drunk in the streets" - this means that militia did not do their job well. It was part of their responsibilities to pick up drunk guys and put them in special places where they spent night, vytresvitel.
rampaging antisemitism
Rampaging? What are you talking about? The place where I worked was full of Jew people. I remember only one case when some stupid girl said something anti-Semitic. We talked to her and never heard anything bad again. This not to say that there was no anti-Semitism in the fUSSR, there was. That the government encouraged it... Sometimes and covertly, officially anti-Semitism was considered harmful. Come to think about it, most of my bosses were Jews, and Russian people worked as mere engineers.
Look, you paid for your education whether your wrote out a check or not.
This is true, of course. The difference is that education was paid collectively, it's not that somebody had his/her education paid by parents, and somebody had a debt after graduating. Students had better (more fair) chances to develop their individual abilities. Herb would love this system, I am sure, as it is more individual-friendly.
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

[b]rampaging antisemitism

Rampaging? What are you talking about? The place where I worked was full of Jew people. I remember only one case when some stupid girl said something anti-Semitic. We talked to her and never heard anything bad again. This not to say that there was no anti-Semitism in the fUSSR, there was. That the government encouraged it... Sometimes and covertly, officially anti-Semitism was considered harmful.
Come to think about it, most of my bosses were Jews, and Russian people worked as mere engineers.


The last sentence could be interpreted that way.
 
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The last sentence could be interpreted that way.
That's what I am talking about.
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Herb: Which exact principles of capitalism are just as bad as Naziism???
Urestricted desire to become rich?


Two issues to be resolved :
1. Is "unrestricted desire to be rich" a principle of capitalism?
2. Is such a desire as evil as the principles of Naziism?

Dealing with the first issue first :
Capitalism relies a theory of individual rights, especially property rights. It is not a politcal system, but instead exists within a political system that must protect and enforce such rights.
Because capitalism relies on property rights for its justification, it would contradictory to insist that a violation of property rights would be a principle of capitlism. Therefore capitalism does not have "unrestricted desire to be rich" as one of its principles if you are implying unrestricted actions to accompany such a desire, since property rights, by principle, place restrictions on such greed.

Now if you meant a type of greed that is always acting within the stated principles of capitalism, then we can admit that such a desire is part of the principles of capitalism. But because it is always restricted by the primary principles of property rights, it is not only relatively innocuous, but usually beneficient, at least in its aggregate effects.
Greed, which takes many forms, is a natural human impulse due to evolutionary design and sometimes other influences. Any theory which does not take into account human nature is fundamentally flawed. Capitalism harnesses the energy of greed for the good of all within the restrictions of a system that respects rights and honors voluntariness.
Regarding the second issue :
Now, in contrast we have Naziism, a varient of fascism. Its primary philosophy is collectivist and the Aryan race is seen as the collective. The distinguishing feature of the Nazi brand of fascism is its emphasis on race. "Impure races" were to be eliminated. Murder was part of its official policy. I believe the official name of the policy dealing with the Jews was "the final solution".
It is really disgusting for anyone to attempt to equate an ideaology that had systematic murder as one of its principles, or one of its derived principles, with a system that respects individual rights. I really can't continue discussing this gross absurdity...


Communism has also lent its mighty humanitarian hand with efforts towards preventing world overpopulation by removing tens of millions obstacles (people) towards the evolution of the worker's paradise.
Communists in the fUSSR made school education obligatory and college education free. Cruel animals they are...
Remind me, what exactly happened to Indians in both Americas after free individuals came here?


Yes, and Nazis were great people too since they also had compulsory education and free college education.
Whatever happened to the Indians was in violation of individual rights and therefore in violation of principles of capitalism. In contrast, under collectivist systems, there was no violation of rights since the "will of the people", the "good of society", "the forces of progress", etc, can legitimately supercede the rights of minorities and could justify the extermination of an entire people.
 
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:
We may very well be emphasizing two different points, but in summary, here's mine : The stimualative effect of spending equal amounts is equal, whether it's made in little drips or one huge pile. The productivity increase (like you keep saying) will also be equal, because the market will encourage whoever these investors are to invest in small units where the industry wants that, or in big hunks when the industry wants that. Of course no coal mining exec would forgo a 200 ton crane to buy a million shovels, but a landscaper would forgo a millionth time share in the crane for 1.
We both agree that the money's going to find something useful to do, no matter to whom (or in what denominations) you give it. The stimulative effect, though, is gravy -- the real issue in favor of cutting taxes for the heavily taxed is justice?


A "stimulatory effect" is more of a short term concept of about a couple of years or so. I'm looking at it from a period of tens of years to hundreds of years and how such a policy affects the general standard of living within a society. Living standards are affected by productivity; productivity is effected by technology. The big increases in productivity are not usually from $10 investments, they're from larger investments in labor saving devices. Lowering tax rates at middle income levels will have less effect than at higher income levels because at the higher levels the amounts will be more and can be invested in productivity enhancing machinery. Sure, theorectically, the middle income people could pool all their tax refund money, but there are too many transaction costs, not enough information, etc to make that realistic for the foreseeable future.
 
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Chris Treglio:
The stimulative effect, though, is gravy -- the real issue in favor of cutting taxes for the heavily taxed is justice?


Yeh, I guessed you missed all my other rantings about how top 5% income earners pay over 50% of all federal income taxes. Its discriminatory and violating the property rights of a minority.
 
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by <herb slocomb>:... the way you say such individual rights are "so called" and then put single quotes around them.

Just trying to emphasis that rights are not 'natural' but 'social', ie a concept created by us for us.

Originally posted by <herb slocomb>:My view of individual rights is more towards an absolutist position and this is where our disagreement centers.

It would seem that way! However striving for the principle of absolute rights is definitely an important political activity; it prevents excessive state intrusion and forces proposed intrusions to be debated publicly.

Originally posted by <herb slocomb>:No fascist cares about philosophical views in general until it gets too close to being political.

I wouldn't know, I'll take your word on it. However our current political systems (UK, US) also support diversity of political thought.

Originally posted by <herb slocomb>:Individuals can work towards common goals while protecting each others individual rights in an absolute manner.

Sometimes yes.
I have less faith in humanity than you and the fact that we ever needed to develop and enforce ideals such "freedom to go about our business" should tell us something about ourselves.
You and I are never going to agree on how much intrusion into our private lives is acceptable but we both seem to be saying "as little as possible". Frankly I believe alot of the time we need coercion, whether its being fined for not recycling our rubbish or being forced to pay for roads we might never use. I accept this as a consequence of living in a modern western society.
On that point at least lets just disagree!
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Wonders of capitalism...


And when was capitalism fully instituted in Russia? The legal and social structure has never been fully supportive of captialism to the best of my admittedly limited knowledge. For example, the banking system was in some respects about 500 years behind that of some Western countries when I was there about 5 years ago. In particular the checking system (personal checks) which we take for granted, and I imagine also to a lesser degree bank notes and credits that support international trade. The legal system is also lagging since the right of foreginers to own property was restricted or in some cases banned. The use of credit cards five years ago was also nowhere near as widepsread as it is in western countries. None of this, and I can legitimately imagine there's more instances, encourages fullblown capitalism.
When I got off the plane in St Petersburg 5 years ago, a man in front of me in line was questioned by the airline personnel about what his purpose was coming to Russia. He said "business" and I thought they would give him special treatment to encourage business development. He got "special" treatment all right. He got his baggage searched very intensely with cold hard looks and questions also just as cold, hard, and intensive. Definitely not a welcoming committee...
I walked by him without any delay since I said my purpose was personal.


You did not read Noam Chomsky lately, did you? Sounds familiar... Of course, there were problems, and life wasn't honey, but at least admit that you did not see dead bodies on the streets, killed by their own government.


Outside of St Petersburg, they recently found a mass grave where thousands had been excuted... (I gave the URL in a prior thread)
Every Jew has reported anti-semticism that I have have heard speak on that issue.


This is true, of course. The difference is that education was paid collectively, it's not that somebody had his/her education paid by parents, and somebody had a debt after graduating. Students had better (more fair) chances to develop their individual abilities. Herb would love this system, I am sure, as it is more individual-friendly.


"Individual friendly" ? Perhaps from the perspective of individual students, yes. Maybe also from the perspective of those who did not mind working hard each day to pay for other people's childrens education. But I imagine some people thought it not so friendly; however since they were a minority their opinion has no importance, right?
 
Mapraputa Is
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Therefore capitalism does not have "unrestricted desire to be rich" as one of its principles if you are implying unrestricted actions to accompany such a desire, since property rights, by principle, place restrictions on such greed.
You are probably talking about capitalism within one country, while I was mostly concerned with foreign affairs. What property rights restricted the USA from bombing Saddam's palaces, as well as other Iraq's property?
It is really disgusting for anyone to attempt to equate an ideaology that had systematic murder as one of its principles, or one of its derived principles, with a system that respects individual rights. I really can't continue discussing this gross absurdity...
Which system respects individual rights? Capitalism? If I am not mistaken, this country used slave labor for quite a long time?
Any theory which does not take into account human nature is fundamentally flawed.
There are more than one theories about human nature, I believe. Just choose whichever you like...
Yes, and Nazis were great people too since they also had compulsory education and free college education.
Sriraj Rajaram:
"Sure, if one exercises all the principles of Nazism/Communism/Socialism it might be bad. But just as bad as the person who exercises all the principles of Capitalism. Each political ideology has pluses and minuses and it is important that we not blindly reject a thought process because it contains one principle also found in Nazism or Communism or Socialism."
Communists declared that men and women have equal rights. Does that mean that all democracies in the world should now say that men and women cannot have equal rights, just because this was what communists did?
Whatever happened to the Indians was in violation of individual rights and therefore in violation of principles of capitalism. In contrast, under collectivist systems, there was no violation of rights since the "will of the people", the "good of society", "the forces of progress", etc, can legitimately supercede the rights of minorities and could justify the extermination of an entire people.
How interesting. So when capitalist country violates individual rights, it's "in violation of principles of capitalism", but when communist country does it, it's because such is the nature of communism. This reminds me famous "fundamental error of attribution" problem. People tend to think that when they did something bad, it's because they had no other choice, or were tired, sick, irritated by something that happened before, in short "I wasn't myself". When another guy does the same, that's because he is a jerk.
Principles of communism were: internationalism, equality of people of any nation, equality of men and women, access to jobs, education, medical assistance for everybody, peaceful coexistence of countries with different political systems. Whatever happened to victims of repressions, was in violation of principles of communism.
 
Paul McKenna
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Wow! I like this. Two Russians with really good debating capabilities. Got to hand it to you guys. (I hope my assumptions on your nationalities is correct)
Looks like communism really brought out the speech skills in you. So much for lack of freedom of speech in Russia
 
Mapraputa Is
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Two Russians? There are three of us in this thread: me, Eugene and Herb.
For Herb:
And when was capitalism fully instituted in Russia?
So what you are doing, you are looking only on pleasant convenient examples and you agree to call only these examples "capitalism"?
Outside of St Petersburg, they recently found a mass grave where thousands had been excuted... (I gave the URL in a prior thread)
Executed when?
 
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For Eugene:
That's what I am talking about.
What are you talking about? What is your point? Anything "could be interpreted that way" if there is some desire to. "most of my bosses were Jews, and Russian people worked as mere engineers" is a simple fact, perhaps sign confused you. I added it for sarcastic purpose. I am not anti-Semitic, I am pro-Semitic. I like Jews much better than Russians. Most of Jews I know are extremely well educated, intelligent and nice people. But again, I am not going to claim that there was no anti-Semitism in the fUSSR. I only object to "rampaging" epithet.
 
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Sriraj Rajaram: Wow! I like this. Two Russians with really good debating capabilities.
Herb Slocomb is Russian? No, he would not survive with that name in Russia.
Map: I only object to "rampaging" epithet.
I understand that you lived in the middle part of Russia. Antisemitism was very pronounced in the west part of former USSR, especially in Belarus and Ukraine.
The department store near the place where I lived was all over in graffities: "Kill the jews, save mother Russia!". The government owned factories were notorious in their refusal to hire jews. The government established the "jew quotas" in the universities and in the factories. The neighbor next to me in my appartment would call me names, after he got drunk (and that was almost every day) and vomited all over the elevator. In the summer camp were I spent my time as a kid, the little Russians organized and prosecuted the jew kids. And on a number of occasions, I've heard the rumors of pogroms, although I was lucky not to wintness any.
And look at those Russian based web sites with discussion boards, -- the antisemitism is all over the place. Very sad.
Eugene.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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"middle part of Russia" - yes. I do not know about Belarus and Ukraine, so I have to believe you. I read that anti-Semitism was very high in Poland, and they basically drove all Jews away. What is it about West Slavs that makes them so anti-Semitic, I do not understand...
I am not sure how anti-Semitism correlates with communism though. After all, it's not a big secret that most communist leaders during the Revolution were Jews. Some "patriots" even claim that communism was imposed on innocent and defenseless Russia by evil Jews. You may have different prospective, my understanding is that the government was careless about anti-Semitism, rather than consciously supporting it. I remember reading an article in Eugene, OR community college newspaper about what happened when somebody painted swastika somewhere on the campus. Turned out, there is an official procedure how to react: within two-three hours a special group is called in, they take photos of the scene for police, and then paint offensive signs out. After that actions of support for "targets of hatred" can take place, but if even not, the fact that the signs are eliminated the same day was impressive. Nothing close existed in the fUSSR, swastikas and anti-Semitic signs could stay for weeks, if not longer. Maybe people believe that communists in the USSR were totalitarian and oppressive, but more often they were lazy, slow and indifferent, rather than evil.
 
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This anti-Semitism issue is interesting, by the way. I believe there are some deep psychological reasons for people to become anti-Semite or not. From what I observed, it's not a question of being exposed to certain type of opinions or propaganda, not the question of conforming to prevailing opinion. I would be anti-Semitic if this was true, because my parents were pretty anti-Semitic and they explained to me that Jew people are bad when I was 4? 5? I had a girl friend, who was Jew, so they found it necessarily to enlighten me. And later, when I worked with Jew people they always found something bad to say about them, while much worse sins committed by ethnically clean Russians did not mean anything. And from what I observed in my co-workers, I did not find any better explanation than some people are somehow immune to it, and some are not. It's not the intellectual level, not anything else I can detect, it’s an independent factor for me so far, until I can make a better model.
I was talking to a Jew guy one day, he said that once he figured somebody is anti-Semitic, this person "doesn't exist" for him any more. I was puzzled that I probably apply the same filter. After I read somebody's anti-Semitic musings, I strike this person out of my reading list. Objectively speaking, this person *can* be a deep thinker, his anti-Semitism notwithstanding, but life is so short, and there are lots of *sane* deep thinkers, so what's the heck...
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Herb :Therefore capitalism does not have "unrestricted desire to be rich" as one of its principles if you are implying unrestricted actions to accompany such a desire, since property rights, by principle, place restrictions on such greed.
Map :You are probably talking about capitalism within one country, while I was mostly concerned with foreign affairs. What property rights restricted the USA from bombing Saddam's palaces, as well as other Iraq's property?



I think we can agree that principles can be non-specific to any particular country. Nazis in the US today have remarkably similar views in principle to Nazis in Germany in 1935 even if they are not acting on those views. During WWII, Naziism in the Nazi occupied countries was remarkably similar in principle to Naziism in Germany. Likewise, the philosophical principles behind capitalism, individual rights, are similar in many countries.
Since principles are not specific to particular countries it is not necessary to justify/debate specific actions/instances of specific countries.
Obviously in practice some countries are more consistent than others when it comes to respecting individual rights. Even the US is not 100% consistent in this regard, although perhaps more consistent than most other nations. But since the discussion was orignally about principles, not actions, this was not the issue.
Issues of warfare are unrelated to this topic. In war the principle is one of survival. Whether
the war was justified as a right of a self-defense, which follows from the right to life, is another issue unrelated to the topic being discussed.


Herb :It is really disgusting for anyone to attempt to equate an ideaology that had systematic murder as one of its principles, or one of its derived principles, with a system that respects individual rights. I really can't continue discussing this gross absurdity...
Map : Which system respects individual rights?


Which system respects individual rights ???
Good god, now you're asking whether capitalism or Naziism respected individual rights more?
Jesus Christ, give me a break.


Map : "Capitalism? If I am not mistaken, this country used slave labor for quite a long time?


The topic was about principles of capitalism vs Naziism. Are you saying the principles of Naziism and capitalism are in any way equivalent on this matter?? You astound me again.
Naziism had the principle of superior and inferior races. The superior race could do whatever they wanted to the inferior race. This included slavery and slavery was widely practiced as a PRINCIPLE.
In PRINCIPLE, capitalism relies on individual rights regardless of race. Slavery existed thousands of years before there was any conception of capitalism or the principles on which capitalism relies - individual rights. Slavery existed in nearly every culture of significant size at one time or another. But noteworthy is the fact that slavery was often outlawed in the most advanced capitalistic countries first. England and other European countries being more advanced than the US in the 1800s, etc. In contrast, slavery was not outlawed in the less developed countries until as late as the 1960s!! (some African countries) and to this day there are thousands of corroborated claims that slavery of children takes place in Africa.
In PRACTICE, the more capitalistically advanced a country is/was the less likely it is/was to use slavery.


Herb :Any theory which does not take into account human nature is fundamentally flawed.
Map : There are more than one theories about human nature, I believe. Just choose whichever you like...


Yes, we have evolutionary theories as originated by Darwin and more recently developed by socio-biologists, and we have theories of Creation where mankind's nature was created - "poof" - in the blink of an eye by some super being in the sky. Then we have theories that mankind's nature is determined entirely by social conditioning.
One of those theories has a lot more science behind it than the other; do you know which one?


Herb (sarcastically) :Yes, and Nazis were great people too since they also had compulsory education and free college education.
Sriraj Rajaram:
"Sure, if one exercises all the principles of Nazism/Communism/Socialism it might be bad. But just as bad as the person who exercises all the principles of Capitalism. Each political ideology has pluses and minuses and it is important that we not blindly reject a thought process because it contains one principle also found in Nazism or Communism or Socialism."

Map : Communists declared that men and women have equal rights. Does that mean that all democracies in the world should now say that men and women cannot have equal rights, just because this was what communists did?


Map, you were the one that brought up compulsory education, etc, as a way to justify communism; I was just attempting to point out that the good parts of Naziism or communism don't justify the evil. Now of course the OPPOSITE is not true. Just because there is evil in a system doesn't mean we have to reject the good. I already agreed with that point in a prior post and it is not the issue you are trying to make it be. No need to argue over something I am not claiming.


Herb :Whatever happened to the Indians was in violation of individual rights and therefore in violation of principles of capitalism. In contrast, under collectivist systems, there was no violation of rights since the "will of the people", the "good of society", "the forces of progress", etc, can legitimately supercede the rights of minorities and could justify the extermination of an entire people.
Map :How interesting. So when capitalist country violates individual rights, it's "in violation of principles of capitalism", but when communist country does it, it's because such is the nature of communism. This reminds me famous "fundamental error of attribution" problem. People tend to think that when they did something bad, it's because they had no other choice, or were tired, sick, irritated by something that happened before, in short "I wasn't myself". When another guy does the same, that's because he is a jerk.
Principles of communism were: internationalism, equality of people of any nation, equality of men and women, access to jobs, education, medical assistance for everybody, peaceful coexistence of countries with different political systems. Whatever happened to victims of repressions, was in violation of principles of communism.


We were talking about the principles. The principles of communism can justify, and have justified mass murder and executions. All collectivist principles justify such murder as long as it is for the common good. The principles of individual rights, which is what justifies capitalism, have never and can never such murder and executions.
Principle and practice are two different things. Often they are related. In fact we see that more people were executed and mass murdered under collecivist regimes, either communism or Naziism,
than under capitalistic regimes. Its still beyound me why someone would defend Naziism and place it on par with capitalism. Its disgusting and the sign of very sick mind.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Herb:And when was capitalism fully instituted in Russia?
Map : So what you are doing, you are looking only on pleasant convenient examples and you agree to call only these examples "capitalism"?


I'm simply saying that to condemn capitalism in Russia when it is still in the process of transition is not honest. It took Western nations hundreds of years to evolve the modern framework of capitalism with its supporting social (both legal and cultural) structures. Also there was, and is, still are anti-capitalistic factions fighting against such a transition now in Russia. If you can agree that such a thing as a transition period is a valid concept; that capitalism does not spring up over night, then you know exactly what I am saying. No need to argue over the obvious.


Outside of St Petersburg, they recently found a mass grave where thousands had been excuted... (I gave the URL in a prior thread)
Executed when?


Executed during Soviet times which was the time period under discussion. But for someone who is quick to jump back to exmaples over 100 years ago to condemn capitalsim, I would not think time would be such an issue with you.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:

Herb Slocomb is Russian? No, he would not survive with that name in Russia.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]


Does "Herb Slocomb" have any special meaning when pronounced in Russian ?
 
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An example of the things you were taught by the free Soviet education:


In any case, Michurin's views on evolution found favor with the party leadership in the Soviet Union. When the rest of the scientific world were pursuing the ideas of Mendel and developing the new science of genetics, Russia led the way in the effort to prevent the new science from being developed in the Soviet Union. Thus, while the rest of the scientific world could not conceive of understanding evolution without genetics, the Soviet Union used its political power to make sure that none of their scientists would advocate a genetic role in evolution.
It was due to Lysenko's efforts that many real scientists, those who were geneticists or who rejected Lamarckism in favor of natural selection, were sent to the gulags or simply disappeared from the USSR. Lysenko rose to dominance at a 1948 conference in Russia where he delivered a passionate address denouncing Mendelian thought as "reactionary and decadent" and declared such thinkers to be "enemies of the Soviet people" (Gardner 1957). He also announced that his speech had been approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Scientists either groveled, writing public letters confessing the errors of their way and the righteousness of the wisdom of the Party, or they were dismissed. Some were sent to labor camps. Some were never heard from again.
Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death.


Full article here:
http://skepdic.com/lysenko.html
 
Mapraputa Is
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Does "Herb Slocomb" have any special meaning when pronounced in Russian ?
Probably "Herb" part is what amused Eugene.
Herb, what are your, hm, national roots? If it's not too personal question to ask. I cannot map "Herb Slocomb" to English, German, Dutch, Japanese whatever else origin, so I am puzzled
 
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Tom said: "An example of the things you were taught by the free Soviet education:"
And you know what? The street where my school is, was named after Michurin. It's "Michurin's street". It always was, since I remember myself as a school girl, which is 1975. I *never* heard about Lysenko AT ALL until communists went out of power. And we had very good education in biology, it was taught from 5 till 10 grade non-stop - 6 years. What's more important, our biology teacher was an amazing guy. He now works in "school N 13" which is the most elitist school in my town. It has (officially) mathematical-physical specialization. They only have classes from 7 to 10 grade. And they have entrance exam to get only bright kids. And again, it was a school for mathematically-physically inclined kids. Then I read than my teacher of biology was nominated "teacher N 1" in this school. And his kids win international biological Olympiads now.
And I got very good education in genetics, thank you, Pimenov Anatoly.
[ April 18, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Does "Herb Slocomb" have any special meaning when pronounced in Russian ?
Probably "Herb" part is what amused Eugene.
Herb, what are your, hm, national roots? If it's not too personal question to ask. I cannot map "Herb Slocomb" to English, German, Dutch, Japanese whatever else origin, so I am puzzled


Tell me what Herb means first.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Tell me what Herb means first.
To me it doesn't mean anything besides "plant" (probably Greek origin), but I guess Eugene is amused with "Herb" sound like "her" which is an euphemism for "penis" in Russian.
 
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