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Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2013, 08:47:20 PM »
Free market economies created freedom-based political systems, which in turn created the greatest increase in standard of living in human history. 

Tyrannical political systems, amplified when combined with socialist (anti-freedom) economies, have created the worst standards of living in human history.

This all depends on who's behind the wheel, for example, Germany 1930's, a facist state, pretty much what happens when the government is put on steroids, went from being a piss poor country plagued by hyperinflation to one of the wealthiest and most powerful states ever, keynesian economics done right. Scandinavia or Israel in it's early days prove that free market and socialism are not incompatible and that the notion of socialism = anti freedom is partisan hackery.

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So that begs the question about democracy as to what would you replace it with?

I refuse to trust any political system because I refuse to trust politicians.
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Offline Cheese

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2013, 09:01:09 PM »
I refuse to trust any political system because I refuse to trust politicians.


Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2013, 09:47:52 PM »
This all depends on who's behind the wheel, for example, Germany 1930's, a facist state, pretty much what happens when the government is put on steroids, went from being a piss poor country plagued by hyperinflation to one of the wealthiest and most powerful states ever, keynesian economics done right.

Interesting points, I like them.  But I'm convinced this decade is going to reveal the death of Keynsian economics.  Its a flawed theory based on what is seen at the surface but ignoring the reality that exists beneath the surface... as the failure that's been Obama's presidency clearly shows. 

But, specifically with Nazi Germany all you have is the broken window fallacy.  Its a matter of confusing destroying something & spending money (by the government, but really the people's money that's been taken from them in the form of taxes) to repair it.  The alternative being having had that money to spend on other things plus also still having the thing that was destroyed.

Now first off I will say that the Nazi's had political tyranny but free enterprise was still the dominant economic form.  Beyond that though sure unemployment went down because Hitler forced all the Jews out of the workforce and replaced their jobs with non-Jewish Germans.  He did the same thing w/ women because he felt the woman's place was barefoot, naked & preggo in the kitchen.  So you didn't actually have unemployment go down, it remained the same, you just forced certain groups out of the labor market.  The Nazi government also employed a lot of people in useless public works projects not unlike what America did with the WPA.  But taking people who could have been producing something economically useful (a real good or service to be sold in the market) and paying them to stand around, or dig ditches, or whatever.. doesn't actually matter what it is... still has the invisible cost of losing what they could have otherwise been doing were they engaged in productive activity.

Next he made military service mandatory for a time.  Being employed by the government in any capacity - military included - does not create a good or service in the economy.  Its a net loss.  Yes most ppl will say that defense is a public good, which is true.  HOWEVER to a baseline.  Above and beyond that baseline its a net loss.  Germany created a military far above and beyond what it needed for basic national defense (which could have been accomplished with a tiny army as the country was under no threat).

Next, Nazi Germany's GDP.  The total GDP figure includes government spending.  Spending money you don't have doesn't make you richer.  And spending on wars is an alternative to foreign investment.  Closing your borders to foreign trade costs you all the unseen growth that could have existed but never came into being.  So in so much as there was any growth in the German economy (which I don't think there was) it was way less than it would have been under peaceful conditions. 

That's Keynsian economics.  Wartime spending is never a path to prosperity even though on the simple surface it seems like it has the effect of an economic increase.

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2013, 10:17:37 PM »
That just kinda reinforces the idea of who's behind the wheel, the whole bit about free enterprise being the primary earner in one of the most oppressive countries ever (Nazi Germany) :P. Free market =/= automatic freedom and socialism =/= anti-freedom.
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2013, 07:46:14 AM »
That just kinda reinforces the idea of who's behind the wheel, the whole bit about free enterprise being the primary earner in one of the most oppressive countries ever (Nazi Germany) :P. Free market =/= automatic freedom and socialism =/= anti-freedom.

You're absolutely correct.  History shows us that capitalism is a necessary condition of freedom, but not a sufficient condition.   A nation can have capitalism without political freedom however a nation can not gain its political freedom without having capitalism first.  The places where mankind has always been the least free of all are the countries where the people don't have political or economic freedom like Soviet Russia.

In the end though for those who call for a bigger government (in any area) there's one point none of them have ever been able to refute (and 99% are unwilling to address even).  Its mankind's dirty little secret about government: the worst evils humanity has ever had to endure have all been inflicted by big governments.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 09:17:24 AM by Valjean »

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2013, 10:02:32 AM »
Also, some of the best countries to live have big government (Scandinavia) and the absolute worst places to live has no government whatsoever (Somalia), so it all comes back to what went right or what went wrong. All that said, I'm neither for or against big government, this is all just for the sake of discussion.
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2013, 10:18:27 AM »
Also, some of the best countries to live have big government (Scandinavia) and the absolute worst places to live has no government whatsoever (Somalia), so it all comes back to what went right or what went wrong. All that said, I'm neither for or against big government, this is all just for the sake of discussion.

Well there's no right or wrong government, there's only free & less free.  The people living in Somalia are very unfree, they're subject to alot of constraints.  Its like Robinson Crusoe.  Was he free living alone, shipwrecked on the island?  Not at all, his freedom was very much constrained to the point that he could only engage in a very limited number of activities & he wasn't free to purchase things he desired.  State of nature does not mean freedom.  You only get freedom to engage in any occupation you want & buy anything you feel like under unregulated free market capitalism.  And in order to have that it requires a government to provide courts of law, etc.

Scandinavia (which for discussion purposes it does make a difference if we're saying Sweden, Finland or Norway) but in general Norway & Sweden have the #2 & #6 highest amount of government spending per citizen.  What has that spending bought them?   Its not made those countries more free, its made them substantially less free.  Now take Sweden: the area where that country is held up as being the best example (its education system) is the area where that is completely capitalist & not socialist at all (you can get a voucher from the government for the money they'd have spent to educate your child and take that to defer the cost of a private school).

There is a misconception that any kind of political arrangement can be combined with any kind of economic arrangement.  So to many people who've never considered it too deeply it seems to make sense that you could take something like the main features of the Soviet Russian economic arrangement and somehow avoid totalitarianism by keeping individual freedom safe through political arrangements.  That is the "democratic socialism" theory that gets thrown around so often & has been tossed around on the forum by a good number of people in the past.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 12:28:18 PM by Valjean »

Offline Cheese

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2013, 03:17:08 PM »

Scandinavia (which for discussion purposes it does make a difference if we're saying Sweden, Finland or Norway) but in general Norway & Sweden have the #2 & #6 highest amount of government spending per citizen.  What has that spending bought them?   Its not made those countries more free, its made them substantially less free.  Now take Sweden: the area where that country is held up as being the best example (its education system) is the area where that is completely capitalist & not socialist at all (you can get a voucher from the government for the money they'd have spent to educate your child and take that to defer the cost of a private school).

Then take Finland, where there are no private schools, and all students attend the same level of classes and receive the same benefits. It is focused on equality. (Not to mention everything is payed for from daycare to college) They scored number one in the PISA exams. Is that not as socialist as an education system can get?

Just to note I may have missed the entire point of your argument, I just wanted to argue education.

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2013, 07:48:42 PM »
Plus the Swedish school system is like the rest of the country, hybrid capitalist-socialist, just because the voucher system is there doesn't mean the public system just vanishes into thin air.
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2013, 08:27:19 PM »
Is that not as socialist as an education system can get?

I wish PreD was still here cuz he loved taking about this stuff. So education is not my area of expertise but I'll give you the limited answer as i see it.  So with things like education of a whole country external comparisons take into account alot of variables that are hard to compensate for accurately: native language proficiency, immigration rates, family size, socioeconomic stuff.  So the purest comparison is a nation against itself because there are the least variables.  That's why i mention that Sweden has improved since going to a voucher system.

The question with Finland is easiest to address by looking at Finland with successful education vs Finland when education wasn't working as well and what changed?

In Finlands case the education system improved into what it is today once they deregulated and reduced government interference.  One of the philosophical tenets of capitalism is that people are their own best judge.  That's why capitalists believe innovation happens at the local level.  Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the auto industry at the direction of a government bureaucrat, and so on. Socialism is the philosophical opposite: people can't be trusted and must be directed and controlled by a central government through edicts, regulation, government ownership of capital, etc.

In the case of Finland their education improved once it became more capitalist.  America could learn a lesson from this.  In America we have a huge standardized testing process that feeds government funding, lots of regulations on education, etc.  plus then you don't have educators going to prison for racketeering like this gal:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/us/08hall.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0



So back to what made Finland improve was reducing the government regulations, reducing govt dictating content in favor of a more entrepreneurial system where that's done at the local level, eliminating standardized testing as requirement for government funding.  All very capitalist changes at the philosophical level.  Move away from strong government command and control that's the hallmark of socialism.  Check it out:

http://www.nea.org/home/40991.htm

1.  Once poorly ranked educationally, with a turgid bureaucratic system that produced low-quality education and large inequalities, it now ranks first among all the OECD nations
2. , since the 1970s, Finland has changed its traditional education system... Although there was a sizable achievement gap among students in the 1970s, strongly correlated to socio-economic status, this gap has been progressively reduced as a result of curriculum reforms started in the 1980s.
3. The process of change has been almost the reverse of policies in the United States. Over the past 40 years, Finland has shifted from a highly centralized system emphasizing external testing to a more localized system in which highly trained teachers design curriculum around the very lean national standards.

Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2013, 08:31:31 PM »
Plus the Swedish school system is like the rest of the country, hybrid capitalist-socialist, just because the voucher system is there doesn't mean the public system just vanishes into thin air.

Having a voucher system doesn't make it hybrid capitalist-socialist.  It makes it very very capitalist.  In fact it actually makes it libertarian, and the very idea of a voucher system was put forward by a strongly anti socialist libertarian economist in the 50s as an alternative to government monopolistic control of the education industry.

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2013, 07:49:00 PM »
Having a voucher system doesn't make it hybrid capitalist-socialist.  It makes it very very capitalist.  In fact it actually makes it libertarian, and the very idea of a voucher system was put forward by a strongly anti socialist libertarian economist in the 50s as an alternative to government monopolistic control of the education industry.

But, the fact that there's still the tax funded state schools makes the notion that it's 100% capitalist untrue. That hasn't gone anywhere, the voucher system is just another option.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 08:08:53 PM by CyborgNinjaCowboy »
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2013, 08:21:24 PM »
the voucher system is just another option. breaks the government monopoly.

Monopolies are bad.  Every monopoly in the history of mankind has been created by government action (except 2).  Monopolies cannot exist in free markets & under capitalism.  They can only exist under socialism or due to government intervention in free markets.

I, for one, would not advocate completely privatizing education because I believe people should be free to choose.  The more choices the better each one must perform to compete.  Monopoly = no competition = crappy product (and I'm thinking of the American school system when I say this).

Its a core tenet of capitalism that free choice is left to the consumer.  Socialism is the opposite, it is the theory of taking by force.  A certain amount of people, maybe even the majority, would choose to send their children to public schools.  But whatever the percentage the consumer should be free to decide what they think is the best use of their money: public school or private.  Some other amount of parents would choose to have their kids educated elsewhere.  For those interested in private schools its a huge economic incentive to be able to get the cost of your child's education back from the government and use it to defray the cost.

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2013, 09:39:45 AM »
Its a core tenet of capitalism that free choice is left to the consumer.  Socialism is the opposite, it is the theory of taking by force.

This is called a hyperbole, socialism is the principle of "no man left behind" and not at all incompatible with capitalism.
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2013, 11:11:52 AM »
Its a core tenet of capitalism that free choice is left to the consumer.  Socialism is the opposite, it is the theory of taking by force.

This is called a hyperbole, socialism is the principle of "no man left behind" and not at all incompatible with capitalism.

Socialism is the principle of every man left behind.  The basic principle of a socialist society is force used against every person in the society.  You can't do good with someone else's money unless you are committed to using force first.  The only way you can take that money away from them is by the threat of force, just ask Wesley Snipes.  The basic principle of a capitalist marketplace or society is voluntary cooperation. 

Consider what values each system encourages in people like you and me:

How does socialism encourage Valjean to treat CyborgNinjaCowboy?  Socialism is based on me doing good to you based on what I think is good whether you want me to or not.  It also requires Valjean to force CyborgNinja to do what Valjean thinks is good.  You don't get to be your own individual & make your own decisions about what you want to spend your money on.  Under socialism you are forced to spend your money on what I (or I and my friends) have decided is "good".

Capitalism encourages CyborgNinjaCowboy to treat Valjean with respect and as an individual.  If you want money to change hands in a capitalist society you've got to persuade me.  Because under capitalism money doesn't change hands unless you understand me, understand what I want, and can persuade me that you have a solution for me.  Then if I decide we both benefit, only then does money change hands.  That's voluntary cooperation. 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 11:49:06 AM by Valjean »

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2013, 09:59:47 AM »
Hmmm, the Scandinavian countries are all free countries, capitalism and free market thrive, have low unemployment rates, yet they have socialist institutions, odd.
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2013, 12:12:49 PM »
the Scandinavian countries are all free countries, capitalism and free market thrive

No they don't.  Neither capitalism nor the free market thrive at all there, just in case you weren't aware.  Also those countries are in decline.  This great hybrid socialist paradise where people are economically enslaved, but we're led to believe they're free because they are white & speak English better than most Americans & have universal health care? 

Fine, fine, I'll elaborate.  Before the 1960s the Nordic nations had low taxes & small government spending. That caused them to prosper for much of the 20th century.  Like America today though, once their countries became rich, politicians in Nordic nations focused on how to redistribute the wealth.  Government grew & has been slowing growth ever since, but slow growth for a rich nation is much less of a burden than slow growth in a poor nation

1. The median family income for a family of 4 (when adjusted for PPP) in Sweden is $22K & $20K in Finland.  This is below the US poverty level.  The average family in Sweden would be below the poverty level in America.
2. A gallon of gas is $10 there.
3. Denmark & Sweden are #1 & 2 for highest individual tax rates in the world; Norway #12
4. The poorest 10% of Americans have about the same level of income as the poorest 10% in Finland & Sweden. But the rich, middle class, and working class in the US have higher levels of income than their counterparts in Finland & Sweden.
5. Long term unemployment is worse in all 3 Nordic countries than the US
6. 32.7% of people with a job in the 3 Scandinavian countries work for the government.  In other words they are a total drain on the economy and only supported by the other 67% that actually are engaged in productive activity.
7. Due to the above all 3 countries are falling behind because under their socialist governments bureaucrats have more power over how resources are allocated.
8. Economic growth beats income redistribution every time.  Because of that over the last 10 years the poorest 10% in Ireland has improved 800% more than in Sweden.  Poorest 10% in the UK?  600% faster improvement.  UK now has a smaller portion of its population below the poverty line than Sweden.
9. In 1970 Sweden was the #2 richest country in the world only behind the US.  Today it is #18th.
10. Entrepreneurs leave these countries are some of the highest rates in the world.
11. Denmark #1, Sweden #2, Finland #5 have the highest tax revenue as a % of GDP in the world.  You have no economic freedom there.  In fact, in some cases the total tax burden is as high as 80% on individuals.  Compare that with 23% in the US and 13% in Hong Kong.
12. The real unemployment rate is presently 15% in Sweden

I could go on.  But I'll just stop by saying this. Until Obama fucked up the price of health insurance a couple years ago I was paying about 3% of my family's income to provide health insurance + all medical expenses.  For a family of 5.  You think getting "free" health care (its not really free, actually you're going to pay about 10 times the price in taxes you'd have paid to buy it in the free market) justifies the things above?  That is a very... .odd... trade-off for anyone to want to make.

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2013, 05:05:31 PM »
Hmm, in decline, right.

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/country-statistical-profile-sweden_20752288-table-swe

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/europe/growth_and_renewal_in_the_swedish_economy.

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/country-statistical-profile-finland_20752288-table-fin


http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/country-statistical-profile-finland_20752288-table-fin

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/country-statistical-profile-united-states_20752288-table-usa

This is as deep as I can be bothered to go because now you've brought up a topic that doesn't bore me to tears, health care. We have the most absolutely broken system in all of the developed world, it leaves people so far in debt that they're better of just pulling the plug. The only ones who actually want our healthcare system are those who've never experienced it, who've never known what it is to pay massive massive medical bills out of pocket.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 05:27:17 PM by CyborgNinjaCowboy »
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Offline Valjean

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2013, 05:36:36 PM »
I don't have time to read the articles at the moment, but I'll try to glance at them later.  But as for the US health care system we lead the world in health care research, cancer survival rates and on and on the list goes. 

EDIT - opps, and yes Scandinavia is in relatively rapid decline.  They have a system that's completely unsustainable, and its collapse is inevitable.  You'll hear the word "austerity" being thrown around an awful lot more in the next 5 years.  And I'm not crazy about the structure of the system we have in America but it will sustain itself for a much much longer time period than Scandinavia's will.

Offline CyborgNinjaCowboy

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Re: US Debt
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2013, 05:57:42 PM »
I don't have time to read the articles at the moment, but I'll try to glance at them later.  But as for the US health care system we lead the world in health care research, cancer survival rates and on and on the list goes.

But we lag behind in accessibility, last time I got really sick I just toughed it out cause the system would have wrung me dry. $3500 just for a five minute ambulance trip? GTFO
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 06:10:52 PM by CyborgNinjaCowboy »
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