• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Paul Clapham
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
Sheriffs:
  • Junilu Lacar
  • Knute Snortum
  • Henry Wong
Saloon Keepers:
  • Ron McLeod
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Holloway
  • Carey Brown
Bartenders:
  • Frits Walraven
  • Joe Ess
  • salvin francis

Have we got it wrong? - My anti-capitalist rant for Christmas

 
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Having signally failed to convince anyone of my anti-lender arguments with my feeble maths here, or my anti-corporate sentiments here, which nevertheless produced some very interesting posts, I open up the discussion to anyone who wants to reply.

This thread was prompted by this post by Chris Webster, who linked an article which definitely spoke to me. It's an open thread with no particular "point", so please feel free to join in, whether you agree or disagree.

Have we got it wrong? - Absolutely.

Why? Because the West (and I'd say, by default, capitalism) has forgotten its social contract. Unlike David Simon, I'm not sure that the US ever had one, but the UK most assuredly did, and it gave it to Western Europe, who have followed through on it far more than we ever did.

  • Education - In the UK, it used to be free, right through to undergraduate level - based on the precept, grounded in the 1870 Education Act, that everyone has the right to education. Not an education until some arbitrary cutoff point, but education in general. Personally, I think it all started to go out of the window when Paxman - a Caymbridge grad - was so publically disgusted by the idea of the Open University winning University Challenge (I jest).
    Suffice to say, my brother was landed with a 90,000 pound bill for his university education that I (had I gone) would never have had to deal with.

  • And doesn't it bother anyone in the US that they spent 68bn on public education last year, and 608 bn on the military? Not to mention the 55bn extra for Homeland Security, who seem to have become, even more than the IRS, a byword for 'scary'.
    Oh, and I forgot the other 50-odd bn for "intelligence", presumably located near Langley, VA.

  • Welfare - Presumably an unknown quantity in the US, since it doesn't even register in their "major" public expenses, but is nevertheless the target of vitriol; and, as far as I'm concerned, a direct result of corporate failure.
    If you don't want "bums", give them jobs - it's a fairly simple equation. Western Europe, at least, provides alternatives; the UK, post-Thatcher - nah.
    The question is - and this is (hopefully) where government comes in - do you want computer programmers picking up garbage? I'm going to be 57 this year...do I have to cow-tow to my bosses to keep my job, simply because I'm older, even if I don't agree with them? Or do I settle for life as "put out to pasture" and spend the rest of my days as a 'power user'? And I (and the older) are only a microcosm of the actual problem. At some point, you (corporate America) may be able to get people to work in the right job in the right place; but not until:
    (a) You do some planning.
    (b) You stop labelling everyone who doesn't happen to have a job as a "bum".

  • Environment - Perlease. I lived in British Columbia for 16 years, so I know all about what David Simon was talking about; and the idea of some public/private "initiative" being the answer is laughable (Google "stumpage fees" if you don't believe me). The Kyoto Accords, AFAIC - much as I applaud their intent - aren't worth the paper they're written on.
    The only solution to our environmental rape is sustained, bi-partisan, committed and sufficient funds; not just for the building of sustainable energy resources, but for the people (and education) that decide where they should be directed. And that's a 50-100 year undertaking. Does anybody see that happening anytime soon? The French have managed it - at least for 40 years - both with their high-speed train systems and their nuclear program (whatever you may think of 'nuclear'). Perhaps someone should ask them.
    China also seems to be set on a "sustainable energy" policy; although I suspect they have fewer roadblocks than we do.

  • So, what say you? Am I the "old Liberal" that Winston (not me) warned about? Or do my worries about loss of identity and national and international power in the face of faceless (and unendictable) corporations worry you too?

    Winston
     
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 130
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Or do my worries about loss of identity and national and international power in the face of faceless (and unendictable) corporations worry you too?

    The system started to threaten middle class on this side of the pond – that's when all the shit started to fly. For the working class the system is simply disfunctional (if lucky) or punitive (if Black). I feel like a social collapse is on the horizon. Most likely caused by the money failure caused by some future ingenious financial invention. What we need to do: form survival communities and best time to start is now.

    Why? Because the West (and I'd say, by default, capitalism) has forgotten its social contract.

    I'd say it's when we started to lend money for interest.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Martha Simmons wrote:What we need to do: form survival communities and best time to start is now.


    Sounds like a 'me' solution to me. No idea of a national 'we' or a real community, just 'me and mine'. Don't see much "social contract" out there.

    I'd say it's when we started to lend money for interest.


    Hoisted by me own petard. I will say that that thread was specifically about mortgages. But if you'd care to elaborate further...?

    Or maybe you're just making fun. Dang us You-ropeans. That's fine too.

    Winston
     
    Martha Simmons
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 130
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    WG: No idea of a national 'we' or a real community

    Didn't I just say survival communities? Actually, I meant movements like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_Towns married to the ideas of Universal Design. (Universal meaning "all including": people with and without abilities, animals, children, elderly etc.)

    "Social contract" will have to be rebuilt anyway, from ground zero, which we almost reached - thanks to the perfectly working (up to now) capitalist machine.
     
    author & internet detective
    Posts: 39755
    797
    Eclipse IDE VI Editor Java
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

  • Education - In the UK, it used to be free, right through to undergraduate level

  • When my mother went to City University of New York, it was free for everyone. When I went, it was free for me because I was the highest ranked student who chose to go there. So yes, a big difference. But the list price was only $3,200 a year - a big difference between that and public ed.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    And doesn't it bother anyone in the US that they spent 68bn on public education last year


    That's what the Federal Government spent. Much of the funding for schools comes from the state and city levels. Making the actual expenditures 10 times that much.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    [list]Welfare - Presumably an unknown quantity in the US, since it doesn't even register in their "major" public expenses, but is nevertheless the target of vitriol; and, as far as I'm concerned, a direct result of corporate failure.


    Where are you looking? I see 400B listed for the welfare category which includes unemployment.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    Or do I settle for life as "put out to pasture" and spend the rest of my days as a 'power user'?


    That is a problem. Skills don't just evaporate as one ages.

     
    Martha Simmons
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 130
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    WG: Hoisted by me own petard. I will say that that thread was specifically about mortgages. But if you'd care to elaborate further...?

    I think it was this book that I read the observation regarding "money works" expression: "Nobody ever saw money working. People do." So if money work for you, it simply means that other people work for you. And the size of your income is the size of your debt to society.
     
    Bartender
    Posts: 9603
    16
    Mac OS X Linux Windows
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    [list]Welfare - Presumably an unknown quantity in the US, since it doesn't even register in their "major" public expenses, but is nevertheless the target of vitriol; and, as far as I'm concerned, a direct result of corporate failure.


    Where are you looking? I see 400B listed for the welfare category which includes unemployment.



    You missed the $321b under Health Care ("Vendor Payments (Welfare)") plus the $505b for Medicare (Medical service (Seniors)). Is Social Security and SSI included in this chart? Wiki says Social security accounts for $1.3t, or 37% of the budget, but the chart you linked must split expenses differently.
     
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    Have we got it wrong? - Absolutely.

    Why? Because the West (and I'd say, by default, capitalism) has forgotten its social contract.



    Our social contract? Is that like the Magna Carta? In what year was this social contract enacted into law? (If we _had_ drawn up a contract by that name, I'm sure it would have contained such commonsense provisions as, "Don't marry until your finances are in order" and "Don't conceive children until you are married, and then only with your marriage partner.")

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    [list]Education - In the UK, it used to be free, right through to undergraduate level - based on the precept, grounded in the 1870 Education Act, that everyone has the right to education. Not an education until some arbitrary cutoff point, but education in general.



    My wife's parents grew up in London where, like most working class people they finished school and went to work at age 15.
    Back then (1950s), the British thought America's goal of offering academic high school education to the entire population was a sentimental waste of money and pupils' time that could be indulged only by a country as rich as America was in the 1950s.

    So, I think you're overgeneralizing based on a few of Great Britain's uncharacteristic recent decades.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    Suffice to say, my brother was landed with a 90,000 pound bill for his university education that I (had I gone) would never have had to deal with.



    Education at those prices is really only for the children of the very wealthy. Does the UK not offer subsidized education at perhaps less prestigious institutions, comparable to America's public colleges and universities?

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    And doesn't it bother anyone in the US that they spent 68bn on public education last year, and 608 bn on the military? Not to mention the 55bn extra for Homeland Security, who seem to have become, even more than the IRS, a byword for 'scary'.
    Oh, and I forgot the other 50-odd bn for "intelligence", presumably located near Langley, VA.



    Having a unified military is the main reason for establishing the federal government. We're supposed to be a _federation_ of semi-sovereign states. You're complaint is like complaining that the United Nations spends more on peacekeeping missions than for kindergarten teachers.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    [list]Welfare - Presumably an unknown quantity in the US, since it doesn't even register in their "major" public expenses, but is nevertheless the target of vitriol; and, as far as I'm concerned, a direct result of corporate failure.
    If you don't want "bums", give them jobs - it's a fairly simple equation. Western Europe, at least, provides alternatives; the UK, post-Thatcher - nah.



    Your suggestion to give them jobs, i.e., to require labor from welfare recipients, could not be enacted due to opposition from the Left.

    It is feasible to provide a welfare state for a society that is relatively homogeneous, like Sweden is (or was). However, if Great Britain had annexed its colonies instead of granting them independence, one could not find a level of support that would both provide a meaningful feeling of security to its first-world citizens without simultaneously offering more money than most 3rd World citizens could ever hope to earn. That's why Great Britain did not enact its welfare state until after its colonies had been given up.

    America's slave plantation colonies were in the mainland, so we did not have the option of granting them independence. We're not a pure 1st world country -- we're a mixture of 1st and 3rd world, with the 3rd world proportion growing rapidly larger since 1960.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    The question is - and this is (hopefully) where government comes in - do you want computer programmers picking up garbage? I'm going to be 57 this year...do I have to cow-tow to my bosses to keep my job, simply because I'm older, even if I don't agree with them? Or do I settle for life as "put out to pasture" and spend the rest of my days as a 'power user'? And I (and the older) are only a microcosm of the actual problem. At some point, you (corporate America) may be able to get people to work in the right job in the right place; but not until:
    (a) You do some planning.
    (b) You stop labelling everyone who doesn't happen to have a job as a "bum".



    It is most unfair to label the unemployed as "bums" -- at least since 2008, when the long-term U.S. decline took a sudden lurch. However, central planning doesn't work because the problem is too complicated for mortal minds, and because even if planners _were_ brilliant enough to plan well -- politics would constrain their decisions in counterproductive ways.

    For example, the number of people intelligent enough to program computers is much smaller than the percentage of people capable of collecting the garbage. If economic decisions were made by politicians in a democracy, voters might demand that garbage collectors earn as much as computer programmers. I might then decide that I'd rather be a garbage collectors (so my nightly studies could be fully dedicated to my hobbies instead of work-related matters), and use my intelligence (such as it is) to better navigate the system and _get_ one of those jobs. The result of many such decisions might be: (1) an insufficient number of computer programmers and (2) no work at all for more of the people who cannot do that sort of work -- but who _could_ have done a perfectly adequate job collecting garbage.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    [list]Environment - Perlease. I lived in British Columbia for 16 years, so I know all about what David Simon was talking about; and the idea of some public/private "initiative" being the answer is laughable (Google "stumpage fees" if you don't believe me). The Kyoto Accords, AFAIC - much as I applaud their intent - aren't worth the paper they're written on.
    The only solution to our environmental rape is sustained, bi-partisan, committed and sufficient funds; not just for the building of sustainable energy resources, but for the people (and education) that decide where they should be directed. And that's a 50-100 year undertaking. Does anybody see that happening anytime soon? The French have managed it - at least for 40 years - both with their high-speed train systems and their nuclear program (whatever you may think of 'nuclear'). Perhaps someone should ask them.
    China also seems to be set on a "sustainable energy" policy; although I suspect they have fewer roadblocks than we do.



    The bulk of global warming is the result of 2nd and 3rd World development since the 1950s. I don't think "the people" would vote to keep those people and their descendants dirt poor, even if you or I might. In any case, we no longer rule them. Our only hope is that high energy prices will motivate brighter elements of "the people" to come up with technical innovations that do more with less.

    There's not much global warming being caused by Chernobyl; I guess one day humanity will come to rue the 20th century's avoidance of a mass nuclear holocaust.
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Meant to edit, not reply. What happened to the delete button?
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:Is that like the Magna Carta? In what year was this social contract enacted into law?


    Of course not. But watch out if you claim that as a basis come the next revolution.

    It has, however, been the yardstick by which most philosophers and economic theorists have dubbed capitalism "good" (or at least, the best of evils) for the last three hundred years or so. And enlightened self-interest makes a lot of sense to me. My worry is that it's all too easy to forget the "enlightened" part, which is the most complex.

    Silly example: I went out shopping today, to find a traffic snarl-up at my local "place" in Brussels. Why? There are traffic lights, which are normally obeyed; but when there's lots of people trying to get home, some drivers forget that, unless the entire square is clear, everyone suffers. A reasonable system undermined by a few who somehow feel that their requirements are more important than anyone else's. It's the equivalent of barging in a queue, and it comes down to greed - and possibly also hubris. Those writers knew what they were talking about when they penned the 7 deadly sins.
    Or maybe its just that misery loves company.

    My wife's parents grew up in London where, like most working class people they finished school and went to work at age 15.
    Back then (1950s), the British thought America's goal of offering academic high school education to the entire population was a sentimental waste of money and pupils' time that could be indulged only by a country as rich as America was in the 1950s.


    And yet I went to a school (Millfield) that was founded on precisely those lines. And I hated it. Despite the fact that it (and nepotism) was probably what got me started me off in my programming career.

    Education at those prices is really only for the children of the very wealthy. Does the UK not offer subsidized education at perhaps less prestigious institutions, comparable to America's public colleges and universities?


    Of course, and probably more equably than the US. My worry is that education in the UK is now a commodity, not a right. As I say, Western Europe has taken our model far further than we ever did, and my worry is that we're drifting across the Atlantic to a society that values the buck more than 'égalité' - one of the three basic precepts that founded the French Revolution, much revered by the founding fathers.

    Having a unified military is the main reason for establishing the federal government. We're supposed to be a _federation_ of semi-sovereign states. You're complaint is like complaining that the U.N. spends more on peacekeeping missions than for kindergarten teachers.


    And I guess my question to you is: Why don't you? Perhaps you do, but it seems to me like you've just raised the white flag and said "there's nothing we can do about it". I give to two charities - and two charities only - Amnesty International and Medecins sans Frontières; the first because I think it's important, the second because it's practical. I'm not going to save a starving child, but I can help him/her grow up healthy.

    Your suggestion to give them jobs, i.e., to require labor from welfare recipients, could not be enacted due to opposition from the Left.


    I think you'll have to explain that one: Where, in times of unemployment, is the workforce going to come from other than the unemployed? My contention is that unemployment (or perhaps, excessive unemployment) is a direct result of corporate, not government, failure; quite possibly because they feel that employing people in cheaper parts of the world is the answer to their problems. Which brings us back to the original point that sparked this thread.

    And don't get me wrong, I'm no apologist for "imperialism"; I just don't see any evidence that the next lot - or indeed, the current bunch - are going to be any better than the previous.

    It is most unfair to label the unemployed as "bums" -- at least since 2008...


    Well, I'm glad we agree somewhere , but I'd say that it's not fair to label them at all. EVER.

    Our only hope is that high energy prices will motivate brighter elements of "the people" to come up with technical innovations that do more with less.


    But should it take a global energy/financial crisis to even get us thinking about it? I'm certainly not qualified to talk about global warming, but it seems a reasonable assumption that if we don't start thinking about sustainable energy, and requiring businesses to pay the true cost of doing their business, we're going to run out.

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:Meant to edit, not reply. What happened to the delete button?


    Don't worry, we've all done it.

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

  • Welfare - Presumably an unknown quantity in the US...
  • Where are you looking?


    You're quite right. I was looking only at the federal budget. The figures still worry me though.

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:... my worry is that we're drifting across the Atlantic to a society that values the buck more than 'égalité' - one of the three basic precepts that founded the French Revolution, much revered by the founding fathers.



    I think our adoration of 'égalité' was always limited. Some of our founding fathers admired the French Revolution, but others found it repugnant. (Which, I suppose is only to be expected, as the Movement contained both admirable and repugnant aspects.)

    Winston Gutkowski wrote: I give to two charities - and two charities only - Amnesty International and Medecins sans Frontières; the first because I think it's important, the second because it's practical. I'm not going to save a starving child, but I can help him/her grow up healthy.



    Unfortunately, it was because in part because of the transfer of modern medicine to the 3rd World that they experienced their population explosion -- a population explosion which contributes severely to global warming.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote: My contention is that unemployment (or perhaps, excessive unemployment) is a direct result of corporate, not government, failure; quite possibly because they feel that employing people in cheaper parts of the world is the answer to their problems. Which brings us back to the original point that sparked this thread.



    They're doing it to make more money, or to compete with those who are already doing it. These corporate decisions reduce 3rd world poverty, but in doing so the corporations are providing us in 1st world countries with fewer good jobs than the corporations used to create for us. I think it would be great if we could prevent 1st World wealth from drifting away to poorer countries, but the people who choose to invest in poor countries (both the corporate executives and the poor countries themselves) have strong motivation to find ways around any remedy one might propose.

    On the other hand, we don't have to work against ourselves. Throughout the 20th Century the U.S. threatened to send the Marines or the CIA against any foreign government that considered stealing the foreign investments of American citizens. Maybe if we stopped doing that, and as a result foreign investments became less secure, there'd be less temptation to invest overseas. (Unfortunately, many countries may have already come to see the benefits of the rule of law, and might continue to respect foreign-owned property out of enlightened self-interest.)

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Our only hope is that high energy prices will motivate brighter elements of "the people" to come up with technical innovations that do more with less.


    But should it take a global energy/financial crisis to even get us thinking about it? I'm certainly not qualified to talk about global warming, but it seems a reasonable assumption that if we don't start thinking about sustainable energy, and requiring businesses to pay the true cost of doing their business, we're going to run out.



    I've thought about the need to reduce the burning of fossil fuel, particularly imported oil, since 1973 -- when I realized how much evil in the world was being financed by petrodollars. But most technical innovations are discovered by accident, for which we later find uses, and you cannot force fortuitous accidents to occur. Consider, for example, hybrid automobiles such as the Toyota Prius. This simply was not feasible until computer technology -- created for purposes having nothing to do with power generation and use -- provided us with lithium-ion batteries and ultra-cheap pervasive embedded computers to control the switching between dissipation of battery power to drive the vehicle versus the generation of battery power when slowing the vehicle. There is no way that we could have produced the necessary servo-control devices using older mechanical/analog technology.

    Similarly, the practicality of solar farms had to await not only the development of cheap, efficient solar-voltaic silicon chips, but also the computer controls to keep the panels pointed at the sun as it traverses the sky, or to keep the windmills pointed at the wind.

    You simply cannot force these inventions; the best we can do is to let hundreds of millions of people know that if they happen to think of something that will help solve this problem -- they can become personally very wealthy.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:I think our adoration of 'égalité' was always limited...


    Then that's probably where we disagree. I'm an old guard Liberal, and equality of opportunity has been our goal for nearly two hundred years. To me, it's a laudable one, and much more practical than simple 'equality' - as any supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment will tell you.

    Unfortunately, it was because in part because of the transfer of modern medicine to the 3rd World that they experienced their population explosion -- a population explosion which contributes severely to global warming.


    So, what's the alternative? Personally, I'd say education, particularly about birth control - unfortunately, actively discouraged by one of the major religions, and governments who stand to make money out of the growth of an underclass.

    They're doing it to make more money, or to compete with those who are already doing it.


    And this is where we came directly from the previous thread: Money is all. I'm not quite sure about what we can do about 'competition', but I doubt I'm alone in thinking that the combination of highly protective producer countries, along with relatively open consumer ones, is the best recipe for transfer of wealth that we could possibly have come up with.
    But it's not general.

    My only comfort comes in knowing that China - a government (and I use the word advisedly) no less greedy than ours, but with far less regard for human values - will have exactly the same problems in a hundred years or so. State capitalism is possibly even more rapacious, and certainly less regulated, than democratic capitalism, and I can easily see the demise of a China that has plundered its natural resources the way Czechoslovakia did, except on a much grander scale.

    But hey, maybe all those wind farms they're building, or the 600 million people who don't live in urban areas, will slow that process down.

    .

    But at the end of the day, we're still arguing about the mechanics. At this time of Christmas - a time when Christians are supposed to think about major issues - this business of greed still bothers me. I'm not a religious person, but when I listen to stuff like this, I wonder if we haven't got our priorities screwed up.

    You might be able to put it down to an emotive response to the music, but I think there's more to it than that. This is excellence in its purest form; and it comes from everyone: from the composer, to the musicians, to the architects that designed the building, to the choir itself (Tallis Scholars), working to produce something sublime. If profit is all, where's the room for this kind of endeavour?

    I actually wish it was part of our Christmas music. Unfortunately, the powers that be - who would have preferred that we'd never heard it at all - decided it was better played at Easter. Ah well.

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:I think our adoration of 'égalité' was always limited...


    Then that's probably where we disagree. I'm an old guard Liberal, and equality of opportunity has been our goal for nearly two hundred years. To me, it's a laudable one, and much more practical than simple 'equality' - as any supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment will tell you.



    The anti-federalists, led by Jefferson, considered the French Revolution an advance. The federalists, led by John Adams, were more concerned about its darker side.

    To the writers of the Constitution, "equality" meant that everyone would be government by Common Law, rather than having one law for commoners and a different law for aristocrats -- the nobility and their knightly servants. (There was no agreement at the time as to how slaves fit into this model.) But I don't think anyone then even pretended to believe in equality of ability, equality of wealth, or equality of opportunity.

    (We see echoes of that argument today, as in the fight over whether there should be two firearms laws -- one for civilians employed by the government as law enforcement officers, and a different law for other civilians -- or one law for all citizens. (At least, one law for those who are not subject to martial law as soldiers -- and who are thus forbidden to participate in domestic law enforcement).

    I doubt the phrase "equality of opportunity" even predated the 20th century. I suspect it was a position adopted by moderates of the Left to contrast with the radical economic equality that Marxists advocated. But I doubt that pre-New Deal conservatives advocated either.

    Sure, it's bad for large segments of the population to be condemned to their low status no matter what, and it's a good thing when most people have significant opportunity to improve their circumstances. But the idea that opportunity can be _equal_ is ludicrous. Even use the phrase is dangerous, because it suggests that no matter what we do to extend opportunity to those at the bottom -- it will never be enough.


    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Unfortunately, it was because in part because of the transfer of modern medicine to the 3rd World that they experienced their population explosion -- a population explosion which contributes severely to global warming.


    So, what's the alternative? Personally, I'd say education, particularly about birth control - unfortunately, actively discouraged by one of the major religions, and governments who stand to make money out of the growth of an underclass.



    Two of the major religions, if you include Roman Catholicism (despite the fact that few take it seriously anymore).

    I guess we have to choose between genocide versus the admission that we cannot always give top priority to the environment.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    They're doing it to make more money, or to compete with those who are already doing it.


    And this is where we came directly from the previous thread: Money is all.



    Well, no, also they're trying to stay within the law. And we don't even know how often businessmen overlook moneymaking ideas on the grounds that they would be morally criminal. But politicians in the 1990s worked _specifically_ to tear down trade barriers, so it would be curious to expect corporations to act as though the barriers were still there.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote: I'm not quite sure about what we can do about 'competition', but I doubt I'm alone in thinking that the combination of highly protective producer countries, along with relatively open consumer ones, is the best recipe for transfer of wealth that we could possibly have come up with.

    Agreed. To some extent, tolerance of the situation can be considered a form of foreign aid.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    But at the end of the day, we're still arguing about the mechanics. At this time of Christmas - a time when Christians are supposed to think about major issues - this business of greed still bothers me. I'm not a religious person, but when I listen to stuff like this, I wonder if we haven't got our priorities screwed up.

    You might be able to put it down to an emotive response to the music, but I think there's more to it than that. This is excellence in its purest form; and it comes from everyone: from the composer, to the musicians, to the architects that designed the building, to the choir itself (Tallis Scholars), working to produce something sublime. If profit is all, where's the room for this kind of endeavour?

    I actually wish it was part of our Christmas music. Unfortunately, the powers that be - who would have preferred that we'd never heard it at all - decided it was better played at Easter. Ah well.



    In the post-medieval West, that's the role of religion -- to remind people that profit is not all. Charles Dickens emphasized that in _A Christmas Carol_. That's why the founding fathers -- even those who personally were not believers (and there were many) -- were careful not to discourage religion.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:In the post-medieval West, that's the role of religion -- to remind people that profit is not all.


    And yet for the best part of a hundred years we produced light bulbs that were not just inefficient (you could put that down to lack of technology) but designed to fail. Nobody squawked when we were asked to buy "energy savers" at 10 times the price, despite the fact that we've known since the 1920's how to produce a filament bulb that would last for 5-6,000 hours.

    But we're getting back to mechanics again...

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:I doubt the phrase "equality of opportunity" even predated the 20th century.


    Actually, as a political slogan, I believe it dates back to Gladstone (d. 1898, after 60 years in politics); but as an idea, I'm pretty sure it predates even Carlyle.

    And sure, you can pick holes in it, just as you can any political slogan, but it at least has a reachable goal - not that we're ever likely to see it, for all the reasons we're discussing; the main of which is that it works directly against the profit motive. If people, in general, are educated, they're going to want to be paid. More money to them; less to "us".

    Solution (incredibly short-sighted, when you think about what we're talking about): Hey, India, which produces nearly as many graduates as the whole of Europe and North America combined, who work for one-fifth of the wages; or, hey again, the rest of South East Asia, which provides a workforce that works for even less, and has far fewer laws on the expolitation of labour.

    This is the simplistic dynamics of profit, which allow companies like British Telecom to spend vast amounts of money to set up infrastructure, and employ people, in countries other than the one that they supposedly represent, while simultaneously wringing their hands with the rest of us at our current problems.

    Anyone know how to spell 'hypocrisy'?

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:In the post-medieval West, that's the role of religion -- to remind people that profit is not all.


    And yet for the best part of a hundred years we produced light bulbs that were not just inefficient (you could put that down to lack of technology) but designed to fail. Nobody squawked when we were asked to buy "energy savers" at 10 times the price, despite the fact that we've known since the 1920's how to produce a filament bulb that would last for 5-6,000 hours.

    Nobody stopped you or others from going into the light bulb business.

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:I doubt the phrase "equality of opportunity" even predated the 20th century.


    Actually, as a political slogan, I believe it dates back to Gladstone (d. 1898, after 60 years in politics); but as an idea, I'm pretty sure it predates even Carlyle.
    And sure, you can pick holes in (equal opportunity), just as you can any political slogan, but it at least has a reachable goal

    That's the point -- if you take the words literally I do not believe it is a reachable goal.
    Equality is not the same as "lesser degree of inequality." Six and four may be less unequal than eight and two, but they are not equal.

    Providing equal opportunity for Englishmen and Indians would more likely result in a massive decline in your opportunity than to result in everyone having the opportunity we had thirty years ago.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:Nobody stopped you or others from going into the light bulb business.


    No, 'nobody' except the means (and money) to mass production ... or should we say overproduction?

    But this is mechanics again. I prefer design, not code.

    Winston
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:Equality is not the same as "lesser degree of inequality." Six and four may be less unequal than eight and two, but they are not equal.


    ??? Sounds like something from Animal Farm to me. All I'm saying is that equality, as a notion, enacted by law, is probably not possible. Equality of opportunity may not be either; but it's an awful lot more feasible.

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:Nobody stopped you or others from going into the light bulb business.


    No, 'nobody' except the means (and money) to mass production ... or should we say overproduction?

    If someone who had the money to invest could make a profit manufacturing longer lasting light bulbs but didn't, that would mean they cared more about the well-being of other rich people than about profit. I don't buy it. I see too many rich people who have no problem whatsoever impoverishing other rich people to benefit themselves. It's quite likely that longer-lasting light bulbs would have been less efficient, or maybe they would have cost more to manufacture and their experiments with more expensive but modestly longer lasting bulbs didn't sell. Or, maybe someone tried it a long time ago, sold some bulbs that never needed replacement, but due to the lower rate of replacement sales they lost the economy-of-scale -- which in turn would have increased per-unit costs beyond what people would pay.

    Now we do have longer lasting bulbs available -- LED bulbs, which are more efficient, too. Longer lasting and slightly more efficient even than the fluorescent bulbs, but also much more expensive. I haven't bought any yet. At today's prices they're probably more economic than either incandescent or incandescent over a ten-year period of use, but I figure I will benefit even more so if I wait a couple of years before replacing on the assumption that prices will come down further, so that delaying will be yet better over a ten-year period. (And I'm someone who converted to fluorescent over twenty years ago.)

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:Equality is not the same as "lesser degree of inequality." Six and four may be less unequal than eight and two, but they are not equal.


    ??? Sounds like something from Animal Farm to me. All I'm saying is that equality, as a notion, enacted by law, is probably not possible. Equality of opportunity may not be either; but it's an awful lot more feasible.

    Smaller degree of inequality of opportunity is feasible; equal opportunity ("as a notion, enacted by law") is still infeasible. Saying that something infeasible is less infeasible than some other infeasible thing is like comparing two infinities.

    If you say you want a smaller degree of inequality, then it becomes a question of how much to do, how to do it, and at what cost. Saying you want equality, or alternately, saying you want a lesser degree of inequality with no discussion of how much improvement is good enough -- would impose an insurmountable burden that will bankrupt a country unless someone, sometime, says, "Stop!"
     
    Marshal
    Posts: 24812
    60
    Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:If you say you want a smaller degree of inequality, then it becomes a question of how much to do, how to do it, and at what cost. Saying you want equality, or alternately, saying you want a lesser degree of inequality with no discussion of how much improvement is good enough -- would impose an insurmountable burden that will bankrupt a country unless someone, sometime, says, "Stop!"



    It's not quite that complicated in real life. If you go to South Africa and see people living in palaces surrounded by razor wire next to people living in cardboard shacks, you might want there to be a lesser degree of inequality. If that's the case then at this point there isn't a need to discuss how much inequality you're willing to tolerate, the only need is to work on reducing it. As you know, proposing discussions is often a delaying tactic used by those who want to preserve the status quo.
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Paul Clapham wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:If you say you want a smaller degree of inequality, then it becomes a question of how much to do, how to do it, and at what cost. Saying you want equality, or alternately, saying you want a lesser degree of inequality with no discussion of how much improvement is good enough -- would impose an insurmountable burden that will bankrupt a country unless someone, sometime, says, "Stop!"



    It's not quite that complicated in real life. If you go to South Africa and see people living in palaces surrounded by razor wire next to people living in cardboard shacks, you might want there to be a lesser degree of inequality. If that's the case then at this point there isn't a need to discuss how much inequality you're willing to tolerate, the only need is to work on reducing it. As you know, proposing discussions is often a delaying tactic used by those who want to preserve the status quo.



    You're assuming that if I am willing to do (A) and you want to do (A) followed by (B) and (C) then there is no question but that we should begin by joining together to do (A). That's not necessarily so. If doing (A) sets a momentum and structure that makes it more difficult for me to prevent (B) and (C), then agreeing to do (A) might be bad strategy for me. (That's not to say this is my position on cardboard shacks in South Africa, but it does apply to a number of other political issues on which people consider my side unreasonable for opposing step A.)
     
    Paul Clapham
    Marshal
    Posts: 24812
    60
    Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    And again we have a generalization which is apparently intended to obfuscate. It's true that all issues are different, which means that they each have to be treated on their own merits.
     
    Martha Simmons
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 130
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Paul Krugman butts in:

    "Via Mark Thoma, David Cay Johnston has a great piece noting that today’s service economy is in many ways like the Edwardian-era economy in which a small number of wealthy people employed a large number of servants — except that we tend to outsource the service, relying on restaurants and cleaning services instead of cooks and maids. And our outsourced servants are, he notes, arguably paid and treated worse than the in-house servants of the past, even in absolute terms — let alone relative to per capita GDP.

    It’s a novel and useful way to think about just how unequal our society has grown."
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/11/upstairs-downstairs-outside/
     
    Sheriff
    Posts: 3838
    66
    Netbeans IDE Oracle Firefox Browser
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I don't want to dispute that the "modern servant's" life is hard. I do, however, find the comparison of today's fast food workers to Edwardian-era house servants a bit misleading. I've always assumed that a house servant's job was actually quite a decent one; quite unlike today's fast food job. Are these two positions really easily comparable?
     
    Paul Clapham
    Marshal
    Posts: 24812
    60
    Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    All that most of us know about that nowadays is what we see on "Downton Abbey" and similar television shows. However my impression is that getting "into service" was a coveted position in those days. Maybe you had to sleep in a small and cold room, maybe you would be subjected to sexual harassment from the male members of the household, but at least it was a paying job where you had some prospect of advancement. For many people it would have been preferable to the alternative, which was usually working on a farm.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Paul Clapham wrote:For many people it would have been preferable to the alternative, which was usually working on a farm.


    Or in a factory, or down a mine...but you're absolutely right. In those days, entitlement came from class - and the Americans have always accused the Brits of being class-conscious - but these days, when entitlement is solely a product of money, I wonder if it isn't even worse.

    My main worry is that when profit is all, we lose any idea of excellence or craft - ie, of making something better, rather than simply cheaper or more plentifully. It also takes an extraordinary person or company - eg, Cadbury's (see Bourneville) - to see that decent working conditions and proper housing actually benefit the employer.

    Winston
     
    Marshal
    Posts: 66949
    255
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Paul Clapham wrote: . . . preferable to the alternative, which was usually working on a farm.

    Working on a farm would probably be pleasant enough in Summer. It would probably be pleasant where I am at the moment, being dazzled by the setting sun under a slightly overcast sky.

    But in different Wintry weather, with rain falling on frozen clay, farm work would have been positively purgatorial.
     
    Campbell Ritchie
    Marshal
    Posts: 66949
    255
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Where I am sitting was a farmhouse until about 130 years ago. Oldest building in a ¼ mile radius.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Campbell Ritchie wrote:Where I am sitting was a farmhouse until about 130 years ago. Oldest building in a ¼ mile radius.


    Sounds nice. Where - if you don't mind me asking?

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Campbell Ritchie wrote:

    Paul Clapham wrote: . . . preferable to the alternative, which was usually working on a farm.

    Working on a farm would probably be pleasant enough in Summer. It would probably be pleasant where I am at the moment, being dazzled by the setting sun under a slightly overcast sky.

    But in different Wintry weather, with rain falling on frozen clay, farm work would have been positively purgatorial.

    Farm workers probably lived in one room with their animals and a dirt floor and baths in the icy river once or twice a year. Starvation was a threat in bad years, and perhaps every winter. Before the industrial revolution, when peasants became so numerous that each additional worker ate more than the resulting increase in production lords would go to war against competing lords. If they won more land -- great, his peasants could produce more. If it was a draw, well, at least the number of peasants was reduced -- without the demoralization and weakening of all peasants that starvation produced. If he lost, well most of his peasants died and the neighboring lord benefited, but at least the population was again sustainable.
     
    Martha Simmons
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 130
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Frank Silbermann: For example, the number of people intelligent enough to program computers is much smaller than the percentage of people capable of collecting the garbage.

    Not any more. Check this: Homeless Man Releases 'Trees For Cars' Mobile App After 16 Weeks Of Coding Lesson
     
    Joe Ess
    Bartender
    Posts: 9603
    16
    Mac OS X Linux Windows
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Martha Simmons wrote:
    Not any more. Check this: Homeless Man Releases 'Trees For Cars' Mobile App After 16 Weeks Of Coding Lesson



    Leo Grand is a MetLife salesman who became homeless when he lost his job, so he's probably got more mental acuity than the typical homeless person (especially when paired with one-on-one tutoring). I don't think we're in danger of being overwhelmed with an onslaught of street person programmer talent any time soon.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Joe Ess wrote:Leo Grand is a MetLife salesman who became homeless when he lost his job, so he's probably got more mental acuity than the typical homeless person (especially when paired with one-on-one tutoring). I don't think we're in danger of being overwhelmed with an onslaught of street person programmer talent any time soon.


    Oh no? Ever seen "A Beautiful Mind"? I've met at least half a dozen who suffer from either schizophrenia or acute depression - one of whom was my bridge partner for several years (and he was much better than me) - and if they can't afford their meds after the latest government cutbacks (in Canada), any one of them could easily end up on the street (in fact, my BP was for a while).

    What a waste; especially for a country that can easily afford to keep them employable.

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Paul Clapham wrote:

    Frank Silbermann wrote:If you say you want a smaller degree of inequality, then it becomes a question of how much to do, how to do it, and at what cost. Saying you want equality, or alternately, saying you want a lesser degree of inequality with no discussion of how much improvement is good enough -- would impose an insurmountable burden that will bankrupt a country unless someone, sometime, says, "Stop!"



    It's not quite that complicated in real life. If you go to South Africa and see people living in palaces surrounded by razor wire next to people living in cardboard shacks, you might want there to be a lesser degree of inequality. If that's the case then at this point there isn't a need to discuss how much inequality you're willing to tolerate, the only need is to work on reducing it. As you know, proposing discussions is often a delaying tactic used by those who want to preserve the status quo.

    When the people living by western standards are outnumbered 5-to-1 by people who are completely impoverished, even paying Swedish-level taxes to redistribute the wealth will still leave a HUGE amount of inequality. Making matters worse, the ANC politicians decided (through their actions, not necessarily their words) that rather than raise the standard of living for the poor by a small amount, they'd rather use the tax money to provide a full western standard of living to a much smaller number of bureaucrats and politically connected people.

    There's not much white South Africans can do to reduce the inequality, as they no longer rule. Back in the 1980s I suppose the blacks could have offered a deal in which the whites were allowed to rule in peace and keep apartheid _provided_ they were willing to spend a lot of money and effort raise the black standard of living (e.g. by providing education, medical care, birth control, etc.). But black majority rule was more important to them. You usually cannot get _everything_ you want, so you have to set priorities, and they did get black majority rule and the end of apartheid -- so the majority got what they wanted most.

    At least those in power realize that there is a limit to what the government can take. We see from Detroit that wealth deteriorates very rapidly without wealthy people to maintain it. For example, if someone gave me a mansion with the stipulation that I could not sell it or rent it out -- it would quickly bankrupt me. I wouldn't be able to afford to heat it, to maintain its lawns or to repair its roof. If someone gave me an office building in downtown Atlanta I would be a very rich man; but the same office building in Detroit would be worthless -- as there would be businesses offering to pay me rent there. In Detroit, huge amounts of capital were abandoned -- the government didn't even have to confiscate it. I'm sure most white South African businessmen would rather start over selling life insurance in Australia than the keep their businesses at the cost of accepting a 3rd World standard of living.

    As for the razor wire, when there are many thieves and robbers you do what you have to do. There is no razor wire in or around my neighborhood, but in some of the poorer neighborhoods every business or parking lot is surrounded by razor wire. Either you do that, or you stop doing business there. I would bet that the high-minded VIP's from all around the world attending Nelson Mandela's funeral _all_ had a sufficient number of armed men at their disposal who ensured that no impoverished South African attempted a robbery.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
    Bartender
    Posts: 10777
    71
    Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:When the people living by western standards are outnumbered 5-to-1 by people who are completely impoverished, even paying Swedish-level taxes to redistribute the wealth will still leave a HUGE amount of inequality.


    Or indeed, Belgian level taxes; but it has absolutely nothing to do with the question. NO country on its own - not even the US these days - could alleviate poverty worldwide; and the last thing you'd want to do if you were trying is to simply hand people money.

    The level of taxation in Sweden or Belgium - which I wholeheartedly agree with, I might add - is entirely a national issue. As is how African leaders run their countries: we can only advise or protest (unless, of course, they threaten the oil supply ).

    Personally, I wish there was some form of "brownie point" system for rating countries who do their darndest to look after their disenfanchised because, on that scale, Sweden, Belgium, and quite possibly Cuba, would rate near the top; the UK and Canada further down; the US even further; and African and some south-east Asian countries near the bottom. I think the Gini and HDI systems at least try, but they're by no means fullproof.

    There's not much white South Africans can do to reduce the inequality, as they no longer rule.


    Seems to me that they had nearly 200 years to try; but they spent most of it (especially the last 50) ensuring it; far from trying to eradicate it.

    I'm sure most white South African businessmen would rather start over selling life insurance in Australia than the keep their businesses at the cost of accepting a 3rd World standard of living.


    I'm really not quite sure what to say about your "Detroit" analogy, except that it might be more applicable to the landed gentry in 1970's UK, but the above statement is patently absurd.

    For one: Unless they have a lot of money, or they're under 35 (I think), they wouldn't be able to go to Australia, which has the strictest immigration laws I know of in the Western World.
    Secondly: Most white South Africans I've met are fiercely patriotic; and that hasn't changed much since the end of apartheid. To be honest, I'd be worried about the ones that do want to leave.

    Winston
     
    Frank Silbermann
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 1408
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    There's not much white South Africans can do to reduce the inequality, as they no longer rule.


    Seems to me that they had nearly 200 years to try; but they spent most of it (especially the last 50) ensuring it; far from trying to eradicate it.



    No argument there. I was thinking only that they _might_ have agreed to start reducing economic inequality if that were the price of maintaining white rule and apartheid given the challenges it faced in its last years. (Obviously, the Afrikaners preferred to maintain white rule and apartheid _without_ reducing inequality -- when that was an option.)

    Winston Gutkowski wrote:

    I'm sure most white South African businessmen would rather start over selling life insurance in Australia than the keep their businesses at the cost of accepting a 3rd World standard of living.


    I'm really not quite sure what to say about your "Detroit" analogy, except that it might be more applicable to the landed gentry in 1970's UK, but the above statement is patently absurd.

    For one: Unless they have a lot of money, or they're under 35 (I think), they wouldn't be able to go to Australia, which has the strictest immigration laws I know of in the Western World.
    Secondly: Most white South Africans I've met are fiercely patriotic; and that hasn't changed much since the end of apartheid. To be honest, I'd be worried about the ones that do want to leave.
    Winston

    Your objection about Australia is true but irrelevant, as by "Australia" as an example I meant "any western country."

    Do you really believe South Africans are sufficiently patriotic that they would sooner accept a 3rd World standard of living rather than emigrate? It's hard to believe that descendants of the Dutch and English would be more reluctant to emigrate to western countries than, say, the millions of illegal immigrants trying to get to the west whose ancestors had never lived in western countries.

    Oh, and for another example of the use of razor wire, my boss recently took a trip to India to visit our new outsourcing partners. They have very high-tech facilities and infrastructure to ensure connectivity on the work campus, though not so much in the surrounding city. The work campus, he said, is surrounded by barbed wire and protected by guards with machine guns. (I guess that's the price of development.)
     
    Martha Simmons
    Ranch Hand
    Posts: 130
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    FS: They have very high-tech facilities and infrastructure to ensure connectivity on the work campus, though not so much in the surrounding city. The work campus, he said, is surrounded by barbed wire and protected by guards with machine guns. (I guess that's the price of development.)

    Much milder form of the same phenomenon here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/opinion/what-tech-hasnt-learned-from-urban-planning.html
     
    Bartender
    Posts: 11445
    18
    Android Google Web Toolkit Mac Eclipse IDE Ubuntu Java
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Frank Silbermann wrote:
    Oh, and for another example of the use of razor wire, my boss recently took a trip to India to visit our new outsourcing partners. They have very high-tech facilities and infrastructure to ensure connectivity on the work campus, though not so much in the surrounding city. The work campus, he said, is surrounded by barbed wire and protected by guards with machine guns.


    I am sorry. As an Indian I find the machine guns a bit hard to swallow. Hell the Mumbai police were equipped with 303 rifles from WWII when the terrorists struck there. If possible, can you share the details like name, location?
     
    The problems of the world fade way as you eat a piece of pie. This tiny ad has never known problems:
    Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
    https://products.aspose.com/total/java
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!