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Land of Bourgeoisie Opportunists

 
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Quoting from Michael Ernest

No offense, but if you're turning down $30/hour to stay on unemployment, you're part of what's wrong with the American Dream.


I don't think so. While Balaganov has missed the
fine points of the American political system, some of his capitalistic knowledge is refreshing.
Here in the heartland we have an employers that have technically demanding jobs. They pay better than 30 bucks an hour. The buorgeoisie has a lot of exerience with the task and knows the pitfalls.
The problem with these jobs is that they ruin
your marketability. They are problem domains
peculiar to one company. Funny thing, when they
have a big project come along they like to staff
up with contractors. Funny thing II, when they
are 24x7 and burn out jobs, they'll hire
contractors and have a rule that you can only be a contractor for 18 months. Now when
project runs out or they find out your not their
idea of a team player, your out the door. Oh,
by the way, I hear they are hiring bus boys at
the casino.
Guess what boys? El Bourgeoisie across the land
of oppurtunity, free markets and SEC has been
caught cooking the books. Looks likes American
free enterprise is another scam.
They have found people who will live in cardboard boxes in Mexico. They have found more cheap
labor in Mubia. They are not going to pay you
and your spouse enough money for a house in the
burbs, two kids, a dog, a cat, an SUV and a Honda
Civic. They do not need unemployment insurance,
OSHA standards, pollution control, social security
or 401K plans.
They have found more profitable people who just want an opportunity to be creative.
Why did they hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? They could have hit the liberty bell,
the statue of liberty, or the building that holds
the declaration of indendepence. They choose
icons of the rich are getting richer, and the
muscle bound racketeers enforcing it.
It is just wonderful that some people have the
wisdom to save their capital so they can
fight for liberty and economic justice in world
swerving away from Marxism and Jeffersoni-ism
and heading back to feudalism.
 
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A little cynical, aren't we?
 
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:

Why did they hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? They could have hit the liberty bell,
the statue of liberty, or the building that holds
the declaration of indendepence. They choose
icons of the rich are getting richer, and the
muscle bound racketeers enforcing it.


It is obvious why they did that. Someone was definitely stepped on by money-and-power grabbing US corporate machine. Who that was, remains a question, just pleeease, don't blame simple minded, hiding in caves militia commander bin Laden for it. PLEEEAASE. :roll: :roll:
Now, Rufus, I'll let you fight this game...
Shura
 
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Exploitation is where you find it. Wherever you have people who want to make the most money they can and do the least work necessary to get it, you'll find exploitation. bin Laden's money comes from that same basic source; there's nothing inherently American about making lots of money on other people's backs. We're arguably the most self-conscious culture where that's concerned, but hardly unique.
But it's nice to see someone trying to keep the Songs of the 1960's alive. Thanks Rufus!
 
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I will say that as I get older I am starting to doubt that capitalism is the *best* economic system for this country. It's true that it's been responsible for creating the largest middle class in history, but since the 70s this has been in decline.
I think the basic problem with capitalism is that the acquisition of profit is more important than the welfare of your workers. I understand that this aspect of capitalism forces companies to be more efficient and less "bloated", but as a result we're creating a society where the average citizen has no social guarantees that their basic needs will be met, no matter how earnest they are or how hard they work. While this might be beneficial to a corporation and it's shareholders in the short term, I think it's having a devestating effect on our society as a whole.
I think we need to tweak and fine-tune our political/economic system to fix these things, but unfortunately the average citizen doesn't have the power or means to effect the kind of changes that are needed, and the people who can, our politicians, are themselves corrupted by the system.
[ July 03, 2002: Message edited by: Rob Ross ]
 
Jason Menard
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Who that was, remains a question


:roll:
Didn't you know? It was a joint CIA-Israeli operation. :roll:
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Rob Ross:
I will say that as I get older I am starting to doubt that capitalism is the *best* economic system for this country. It's true that it's been responsible for creating the largest middle class in history, but since the 70s this has been in decline.
I think the basic problem with capitalism is that the acquisition of profit is more important than the welfare of your workers. I understand that this aspect of capitalism forces companies to be more efficient and less "bloated", but as a result we're creating a society where the average citizen has no social guarantees that their basic needs will be met, no matter how earnest they are or how hard they work. While this might be beneficial to a corporation and it's shareholders in the short term, I think it's having a devestating effect on our society as a whole.
I think we need to tweak and fine-tune our political/economic system to fix these things, but unfortunately the average citizen doesn't have the power or means to effect the kind of changes that are needed, and the people who can, our politicians, are themselves corrupted by the system.
[ July 03, 2002: Message edited by: Rob Ross ]


I agree with you for the most part. But what is the best system? Does it even exist, or is it even being practiced anywhere? Socialism is a proven dismal failure that would most definitely cause more problems here. Even the social-democracies of Europe would be a bit too much to work here I think. What other options are there?
As it is, the tax tolerance of most Americans is very low, and the additional tax burden would be more than most are willing to tolerate. In addition, our various burocracies are bad enough now, but this problem would be vastly magnified under a more social system, creating an even less efficient use of tax funds.
I don't disagree that there must be some better solution. I think maybe the best chance would be a reform of the political process. Corporate influence needs to be removed from politics and the influence of the people needs to be restored. Campaign finance reform is a start, but I think it will be quite some time before we see this on any meaningful scale.
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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What a twist of fate this is the JavaRanch.
Cynical? I want you to tell me that George W.
Bush is not Bill Gates' yes man, and that
Microsoft needs an oligachy status to continue
bringing cutting edge technology to the people.
We know benevolant dictator is best, just as
we know Microsoft must be split up.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
What a twist of fate this is the JavaRanch.
Cynical? I want you to tell me that George W.
Bush is not Bill Gates' yes man, and that
Microsoft needs an oligachy status to continue
bringing cutting edge technology to the people.
We know benevolant dictator is best, just as
we know Microsoft must be split up.


Do I think that corporate America wields far too much influence with our politicians? Absolutely! I saw little in your original post relating to Microsoft in particular, however.
While I have many problems with Microsoft's business practices, I feel that the fact that Windows is effectively the only operating system is what has enable PC's to finally reach mass market appeal, and therefore overall, a good thing. All other consumer operating systems are irrelavant in the home, and that is far more beneficial than not.
This is getting way off track from your original comments though and I believe we have already fought the Microsoft Wars here before.
Is the Microsoft situation just an indicator of larger problems? In general, probably. I believe Microsoft is not all that relevant though. The media and pharmaceutical industries, to name just a couple, are far more influential and far more dangerous to the average American, particularly when they are able to get laws written that expand their grip over us to our detriment and their benefit.
 
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If the government was less involved in the economic system, as it should be in free market system, then there would less corruption since governmental decision making would have less economic effect.
Capitalism has a self evident ruthlessness to it, but isn't that the point since the aggregation of increasing efficiencies, achieved ruthlessly, increases the overall productivity which in turns raises living standards?
You complain about private corporate excesses, but you remain strangley quiet about the capacity and history of public governmental excesses. The usual solution to perceived private excesses is a govenmental one, yet history shows the magnitude of public governmental abuse of power far exceeds anything dreamed of by a private corporations.
Don't fantasize that human nature will change, it won't. So you might as well put that driving force of greed to use through capitalism.
Also, shame on you; very bad manners to bite the hand that has fed you and your forefathers. And happy 4th of July!
[ July 04, 2002: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
If the government was less involved in the economic system, as it should be in free market system, then there would less corruption since governmental decision making would have less economic effect.


This is tautological reasoning. If corruption is defined as governmental abuse, then no government amounts to no corruption. But that's just standard libertarian anarchism. No rules, no crime! And if people get hurt, then it's not because of corruption. Riiiight.

Capitalism has a self evident ruthlessness to it, but isn't that the point since the aggregation of increasing efficiencies, achieved ruthlessly, increases the overall productivity which in turns raises living standards?

'Self-evident ruthlessness' sounds a whole lot more like feudalism than capitalism.

The usual solution to perceived private excesses is a govenmental one, yet history shows the magnitude of public governmental abuse of power far exceeds anything dreamed of by a private corporations.

Facts, Herb. "History shows"? Please.

Don't fantasize that human nature will change, it won't. So you might as well put that driving force of greed to use through capitalism.

We have feudalism, libertarianism, now a sunny Hobbesian view going here. Outside of economic realist theory, we define greed as an excess of self-interest, not human nature. Hunters don't kill more than they can eat because they want to. Greed exists and is easy to find, but that doesn't mean it is fundamental to our nature.
 
Rob Ross
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
If the government was less involved in the economic system, as it should be in free market system, then there would less corruption since governmental decision-making would have less economic effect.


I have news for you : The same kind of carbon units run both the government AND all our corporations. Are you suggesting for some reason that while the governmental units are corruptable, the corporate ones are not??


Capitalism has a self-evident ruthlessness to it, but isn't that the point since the aggregation of increasing efficiencies, achieved ruthlessly, increases the overall productivity which in turns raises living standards?


If their actions were purely sportsman-like and concerned with increasing our standard of living, you would be correct. But as evidenced by recent events in this country, most corporations think that "ruthlessness" includes breaking any laws that inconvenience them, taking unfair advantage of their dominance in one market to prohibit competition which would actually benefit society as a whole, and viewing their workforce as indentured servants whom they can cast out in mass quantities so they artificially manipulate their short-term stock price, without examining the longer term consequences to their bottom line. (There are many reports showing that huge layoffs are soon followed by large re-hirings, which end up costing the company MORE. They obviously don't really care about how their company actually does, only how their current stock options are affected.)


You complain about private corporate excesses, but you remain strangeley quiet about the capacity and history of public governmental excesses. The usual solution to perceived private excesses is a governmental one, yet history shows the magnitude of public governmental abuse of power far exceeds anything dreamed of by a private corporations.


I think you're in dream-land. Corporations are the ones driving our country. Economic power long ago eclipsed political power as the dominant force. The government takes a tiny cut in the form of taxes, but the corporations are the ones who buy legislators to do their bidding, passing laws protecting the corporation over the individual, or even government. Corporations are the ones who wipe out the savings of millions of people, leaving them destitue. Corporations are the ones who pollute the environment, crush our personal freedoms through excessive litigation, and control the media to manipulate popular opinion.


Don't fantasize that human nature will change, it won't. So you might as well put that driving force of greed to use through capitalism.


I have no argument that humans are unlikely to change their behavior any time soon, whether they work for the government or control the country via a corporation.


Also, shame on you; very bad manners to bite the hand that has fed you and your forefathers. And happy 4th of July!



Actually, I think our forefathers would be happy to see their experiment continuing, and that the freedom to criticize injustices is still enjoyed by the majority of our citizenry.
Happy 4th of July indeed!
[ July 04, 2002: Message edited by: Rob Ross ]
[ July 04, 2002: Message edited by: Rob Ross ]
 
frank davis
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On govt corruption - Regarding the "tautological" criticism, to use an analaogy : reducing the number of terrorists reduces terrorist activity. While you may say that's "tautological" does that mean its not a good thing to do? Also at another level, if the govt has immorally confiscated property via excessive taxation that is corruption in itself, then to give to others with illegitimate political influence (not always corporate by the way) is corruption yet again.
On Greed - Don't you guys remember the "greed is good speech"? What drives human progress?
Greed takes many forms, and it may be semantics, but at its most basic level its just a desire for more - more power, more sex, more money, more adulation, etc. Have the courage to admit that it is fundamental fact to our nature and don't call it evil.
On govt vs corporate corruption - the crucial difference here is that only one side here has the legal power to put a gun in your face which they will not hestiate to do if ther quest to reallocate the fruits of your labor. At least with a corporation you can run and you can hide, and they can't openly open fire on you. Resistance against the govt truly is futile and sane people don't consider it. There is also the matter of scale. Roughly speaking, corruption internal to a corporation has much less reach than govt nationwide corruption.
Capitalism and ruthlessness - Ruthlessness and criminality are two different issues. One can be ruthless within legal boundaries. Again, govt criminality is obviously more threatening since they have the legal monopoly on force. Would you rather live in a country where the police, courts, all the branches of govt are corrupt, etc or where only the corporations are corrupt? And corporations corrupt govt only when its in their self interest whcih brings me back to my original point that we should reduce those opportunities where it is in their self interest by reducing the involvement of the role of the govt in economic matters (which I happen to believe in anyway for other reasons).

Dreamland -"Economic power long ago eclipsed political power as the dominant force." Oh really, who was doing the genuflecting in court, MS or the US govt? Weren't there a number of extremely rich corporate execs doing time for insider trading, etc ? Was that because another corporation put them in jail ? Political power comes out the barrel of gun and guess who has the guns.
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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Corporations are the ones driving our country.


I don't this is the whole story.
I beleive FDR has created another potent political
power. The richest sector of our society does
not care about children in poverty. They do not
care that the public universities are pricing
the cost of an education out of the reach of many.
I doubt they are too concerned with corporate thievery.
The founding fathers never envisioned a
self-centered, time-rich, and government
subsidized block of voters that was only
concerned that utilities worked, cable TV does
not cost too much, and when are they going to
get the working person to pay for their
prescriptions drugs.
In the past we had to delegate decision making to
a few. I beleive the time is upon us to revisit
the concept of one person - one vote. It
certainly would be more expensive to bribe 500
Senators and 4350 CongressPeople.
[ July 04, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus Bugleweed ]
 
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
On govt corruption - Regarding the "tautological" criticism, to use an analaogy : reducing the number of terrorists reduces terrorist activity. While you may say that's "tautological" does that mean its not a good thing to do?


Ok, so for you:
Terrorists:Terrorism :: Government:Corruption
That would certainly make your position easier to defend.
...if the govt has immorally confiscated property via excessive taxation that is corruption in itself, then to give to others with illegitimate political influence (not always corporate by the way) is corruption yet again.

But this is a given for you, is it not? You do not entertain the idea that it is wrongheaded, only that others fail to see your truth.
On Greed - Don't you guys remember the "greed is good speech"?

Are you referring to Michael Douglas' spiel in the movie 'Wall Street'? Seriously?

Greed takes many forms, and it may be semantics, but at its most basic level its just a desire for more - more power, more sex, more money, more adulation, etc. Have the courage to admit that it is fundamental fact to our nature and don't call it evil.

We're not out here with blinders all on our own, Herb. The notion of greed as a blight on the human spirit goes back a long way in Western literature, for dozens and dozens of years.

Resistance against the govt truly is futile and sane people don't consider it.

That's the stupidest thing I've heard today, but I defend your right to say it.

Roughly speaking, corruption internal to a corporation has much less reach than govt nationwide corruption.

Do the newspapers in your town have any mention of Enron, Worldcom, stuff like that? Do you wonder where the former employees of those companies go once they've learned their CEO has tens of millions of dollars of money that used to be pension funds and stock holdings?

Would you rather live in a country where the police, courts, all the branches of govt are corrupt, etc or where only the corporations are corrupt?

Name a country that exists in either form but not both. Your hypothetical allows for no basis in reality, so it hardly matters what one would choose.

And corporations corrupt govt only when its in their self interest...

What do corporations have beside self-interest? Look, take some of your own adovice, and have the courage to admit that a corporation is nothing more than an entity formed by governments! They don't exist outside the recognition of their own charters by at least one national body. For Pete's sake they're not their own countries.
Political power comes out the barrel of gun and guess who has the guns.
Welcome to America, Herb. We all have 'em.
 
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herb slocomb wrote:
a bunch of stuff


Rob Ross and Michael Ernest wrote:
a bunch of replies


Looks like the immediate problem is a failure to qualify arguments. Rather than preaching (not complaining, we all appreciate a good rant), herb probably needs to try 'i believe' and 'in my opinion' rather than trying to force 'everyone knows' and 'it is plain to see'.
At the moment I'd have to agree (based on pure reasoning) with Michael.
Bum, I'm off topic
(Oh, and we have 4th July in Australia too )
 
frank davis
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The problem is that there are so many things I find objectionable in these postings that I tried a shotgun approach to try to hit all of them with a very broadly aimed blast rather than sharpshooting at the idiocy and indecency of each one in minute detail. Sorry , guess none of us really have the time to develop these arguments fully.
As some choice examples we have Shura very smugly assuring us he knows with great certaintity that Osama was not responsible for the Twin Towers attack, that some evil US corporation was to blame for the attack. That was preceded by an attack on capitalism ("American
free enterprise is another scam") because someone(of course while he benefited and was surrounded by a plethora of cheap imported items) disagreed with the scale of outsourcing to other countries. Then this is followed by a congratulations by Ernie : "But it's nice to see someone trying to keep the Songs of the 1960's alive. Thanks Rufus!" I guess I'll let my prior rantings be as is without further elaboration. I'll admit my rantings are not explicitly given with evidence, yet I trusted the impartial readers here to fill in the blanks with common knowledge in some cases. While I have been criticized for my ranting (giving my beliefs without sufficient supporting evidence), and I can accept that criticism, I find it odd that other rantings are just as incoherent yet not subject to the same criticism.
[ July 05, 2002: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
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Sorry to jump in here but it seems like an interesting conversation.
We're not out here with blinders all on our own, Herb. The notion of greed as a blight on the human spirit goes back a long way in Western literature, for dozens and dozens of years.
I think this is where most of your disagreement lies. Herb believes greed is good, Michael believes greed is bad. I'm firmly in Herb's camp.
Has anyone read Atlas Shrugged? Its an excellent 1300 page discussion of this subject. Rand's theory of objectivisim (in my opinion) is well formulated and is the best defense of capitalism I've read. I'm going to discuss (or butcher) the theory a bit.
The theory has also been called perfect selfishness, and this is a pretty acurate description of the theory's main thrust. According to Rand if we were all perfectly selfish we would have a perfect society. Of course unrestrained selfishness in the form of lawless behavior has the potential to damage society. This is where the government steps in. The government's role in a capitolistic society is to provide rule of law to restrain destructive selfish behavior.
The kicker is this: a perfectly selfish person would never break a law, because the penalites stipulated by the government would make breaking the law "unprofitable".
Of course in the real world this is not entirely true. No theory matches reality exactly. Corporations break laws in order to make a profit, politicians ignore situations where self interest is causing destructive behaviour, and any other bad thing Michael might try to convince us capitolism caused. The problem with the arugment as it has been presented, however, is that these negative actions are not a result of greed, but a result of an imperfect implementation of laws to restrain the behavior and irrational (not-selfish) behavior.
Example: Enron
Enron may seem like an indictment of greed, but greed is not to blame, an imperfect law and irrational behavior are.
If there were better reporting standards Enron would not have distorted profits. They still could distort profits, but people would find out about it, causing a negative impact on the stock price. Therefore with better laws it would not be "greedy" to distort profits.
Secondly, Enron did get caught. Enron managed to fool Wall Street for a while, but eventually, because of the laws our government has implemented, they were caught. Executives at Enron should have known that they couldn't get away with this for ever. Therefore, they were acting irrationally. Maybe they convinced themselves that they would not get caught. We need to fry these executives in court to show other executives who are thinking irrationally that you WILL get caught. Then it is in the companies self interest to never misreport earnings. This is already happening, investors are rewarding companies that report straight forward earnings, and punishing companies that do not.
The fact is Enron was not acting "greedy", but irrationally. If they were "greedy" they would have realized that misreporting their earnings would destroy the company.
I guess my point is this: capitolism isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn good. Many investors were hurt by the Enron. The only critique of the system that can be formulated from this example is that we should have caught the destructive behavior earlier. So, next time we will. We will improve the system so that negative behavior practiced by Enron will never again align with a corporations self interest.
So, in my opinion, greed is good.
I'm not even going to touch your concentration of wealth arguments. Objectivisim has quite a bit to say about this too, but I wanted to focus on what I think is the core principle argued here, whether greed is good or bad.
Michael Crutcher
 
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that is not a new idea (sorry Ms Rand). anyone who has taken any business classes knows that idea was originally the product of Adam Smith who expressed it in 1776 in his book The Wealth Of Nations
 
Michael Crutcher
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that is not a new idea (sorry Ms Rand). anyone who has taken any business classes knows that idea was originally the product of Adam Smith who expressed it in 1776 in his book The Wealth Of Nations
Umm... objectivism is a defense of capitolism. The Wealth of Nations is a justification for capitolism. Obviously they're going to have some common ground. Rand goes MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH
 
Michael Crutcher
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I accidently hit tab and then enter. Whoops.
You know what, I don't know why I'm even arguing this. Whether or not some of the ideas present in objectivism are completely original has no bearing on its validity.
If I hadn't accidently sent the last post I don't think I would have posted at all. So umm.. sorry ignore these two posts
Michael Crutcher
 
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I've read all the posts on this topic and I've decided to become a terrorists.
 
Randall Twede
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i just wanted to be sure people knew that the idea of...if everyone looks out for their own self interest everything will be hunky dory..is not a new idea
 
Michael Ernest
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The fashionable response in this topic seems to be surprise and dismay at being misinterpreted. I will throw in with that crowd, because I like to get along with everybody.
So rather waste time outlining how y'all are going to wither under my intellectual heat-vision, let me just ask:
1) Is a company like Enron or Worldcom an epitome of capitalism, or an aberration of it? How about Charles Keating? Michael Millken? See, I'd be arguing that their greed ultimately hurt lots of us. They were not good. The good word to me is "growth." Growth is good. Nothing to be ashamed of. Personal growth without regard for one's own company health, much less its other responsibilities? That's my definitin of greed.
2) Adam Smith, boys and girls, wrote the Wealth of Nations in part of justify British Imperialism. Capitalism was only the vehicle, not the end-goal. But if Adam Smith is a hero in all this, I'll keep my regulatory commissions well-funded and as close at hand as I can, thank you very much.
 
Randall Twede
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hehe...Adam Smith is no hero of mine! im no big fan of capitalism either, it's just better than any other economic system man has developed recently(IMO). it does have it's dark side. strange... i am against the government meddling in business but at the same time i am glad it tries to keep capitalism from getting out of control.
 
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