What's the matter with the French?

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delbified said:
what doesn't add up is that neoliberal capitalism as you refer to it is supposed to reduce govt debt, by reducing spending. this - political and economic ideology - is what the French blame, as you seem to have, for the austerity measures. but it's not true - it's not ideology that's driven the French govt to reform its social policies, but a much more powerful force - namely a debt crisis. much of western europe is broke and can no longer afford to fund retirees - it is a looming disaster.
As I had mentioned before the tax payers made their contributions, it was up to the government to spend wisely. Thus it isn't the system at fault in principle, which is as solid as it gets, but those who have been in power managing it. As I previously stated, the question isn't about debt per se, but how and by whom has the debt been created.

Tax evasion is just as at fault as political corruption and mismanagement and this has to do with simple greed. No system is perfect, but I prefer the "third way" in principle of civility, then the other alternatives. Human weakness, greed and corruption are rife in any system. But I was talking about principle, which was the primary consideration. If we can't change people's behavior, and I'm not an idealist (though have been called such) because I have no hope in the human race, then at least we can hold on to our principles.


Having said that, now I'm going to comment on something which I know will get some folks all worked up here, but it absolutely needs to be said. And it is this: it seems to me that there are a lot of Americans critical of France's and Europe's debt, as if look at how irresponsible, spoiled and not willing to look at the reality those people are, though I don't here a critique in equal measure regarding the monstrously gargantuan US debt. Thus the first thing that comes to mind, is from which pulpit are they preaching.

Moreover the United States, because the superpower, has had the "luxury" of living entirely above its means (the virtual wealth as against the real wealth as mentioned before) with its colossal debt for two reasons: the petrol currency in $s and China's sustaining investments in the $. It is a debt that has allowed it to sustain its mastodonic military apparatus and fight its multi-front wars, meanwhile the public sector has been raised to the soil entirely, its highway and bridge infrastructures are terribly outdated and now look pitiful compared with the Chinese equivalents. Healthcare is still a long way from being socialized, the housing market is terribly ill, etc. And yet we still hear triumphalistic rhetoric for its system.

And all this only because America is the superpower and has now brought even the European third way on the verge of extinction. Of course that superpower status is destined to mitigate and so the luxury it has provided the nation to have the world's largest communal debt, would, therefore, be rapidly transformed into its own precipitous decline. Imagine if another money, say the Euro, were to replace the dollar as the international petrol currency. And then the Chinese began asking a return on their investments from the US. It is a scenario obviously, for the momment at least, nobody wants (except, perhaps, Iran); but it goes to show you how illusory and in many respects iniquitous the US system is and the model it represents to the world.

For this reason I support the French.
 
May 22, 2010
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you're right that the US has also let it's spending get out of control. who knows what it's been spent on - wars i suppose - it's not spent on social welfare like the french have.

the fact is - living beyond your means, no matter who you are, is unsustainable. it seems like a great thing when monetary supply is good, but as soon as the credit market tightens up, as it has, the reality hits home.

the point is - neoliberal capitalism, french socialism - they're all choices. i don't think they are right or wrong. none work if you don't manage how you spend your money. but that's one reason i like the conservative principle of small govt - there's less risk. once the state takes on a broader role as social benefactor, the risk of mismanagement increases. i'd be interested in reading about how the French govt has stuffed up.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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LugHugger said:
Christian, forgive me for dipping in. Your perspective regarding working life rather than focusing on retirement age is an interesting one. I read somewhere in the last 10 days that President Mitterand reduced the retirement age from 65 to 60 as a political stunt during one of his campaigns. Is this correct?
Sorry but I have no idea whether or not that is true about Mitterrand.

I have to say I'm not french so it doesn't concern me directly, but I can understand the people at my college. If everything goes according to plan I'll be 25 when I finish college, then probably not find a job right away (this will get even more difficult with the new reform, since elder people occupy their jobs longer), maybe do voluntary work for a year somewhere ... so I'd say for some people 27 is a realistic age to find their first real, paying job. I'd say it's probably a minority though and not "the average young person" as they try to make it seem.

And as I said, many people get it wrong: you don't have to work until you're 62, but you have to work 42 years in order to receive a full retirement. If you start your first paying job at 27, that makes you 69 by the time you are eligible for a full retirement.
 
delbified said:
you're right that the US has also let it's spending get out of control. who knows what it's been spent on - wars i suppose - it's not spent on social welfare like the french have.

the fact is - living beyond your means, no matter who you are, is unsustainable. it seems like a great thing when monetary supply is good, but as soon as the credit market tightens up, as it has, the reality hits home.

the point is - neoliberal capitalism, french socialism - they're all choices.
i don't think they are right or wrong. none work if you don't manage how you spend your money. but that's one reason i like the conservative principle of small govt - there's less risk. once the state takes on a broader role as social benefactor, the risk of mismanagement increases. i'd be interested in reading about how the French govt has stuffed up.
Indeed, Christian, it boils down to choices. Of course, my choice would be for a social-democratic system for all the reasons I mentioned over neoliberal capitalism. Because rationally and morally to me it is by far the more enlightened choice.

The United States, because the superpower, again has had the "luxury" of living entirely above its means (the virtual wealth as against the real wealth as mentioned before), only because backed by an incredible, and the world's first, military power and by the universe of finance. None of which has anything to do with an ideological or moral superiority of its system. To the contrary it only demosntrates, once again within history, that "might makes right." And indeed, as the post WWII period and current events have demonstrated time and time again, the more insidious aspects of the US superpower come out whenever some nation/s dare to challange its global hegemony and so refuse to play along as Europe has done. The usual response is that they are first threatened with sanctions, and, if this fails, are cowed and beaten into submission whenever its military apparatus is able to place the necessary pressure to bear. Some would say that's the price to maintain its power, which of course is in no way gratifying of anything and in fact simply demonstrates that immense power is as much a condemnation as it is a beneficiary asset. And for me only reinforces a conviction that its system isn't something to which I could rationally aspire.

Europe has tried to evolve, since WWII, beyond this crude polemic. It's third way was a plan that drew the good lessons form Marx and merged them with the economic development possibilities which Western capitalism afforded. Unfortunately the outside pressures of neoliberal capitalism from the US starting with Regan and from Britain, that insular appendage of America in the heart of Europe, beginning with Thatcer; were, yes, the dynamic forces that helped facilitate the demise of Soviet communism, though in the wake of current events also became the motor of a thoroughly insidious and caotic globalizzation, which, now with rising China, has all but crushed a system in Europe that should have been seen as the model for building a more just society. And there are no arguments that cold convince me otherwise, also because, as an outsider, I have lived it on my skin for too long.

Europe's debts are, yes, conditioned by the exploitation and missmanagement of this system, but that is a human failure not an ideological one. For there are intrinsically nobel elements in it from collective sustainment, a defensive spirit behind the military and a humanistic approach to civil education, all of which are lacking in neoliberal (capitalist) America.

I'd thus rather see the latter ideology being placed under much more severe scrutiny (idealy by Americans, but in this I know I'm dreaming), rather than hearing lectures from a society that is the last on the planet to be asking for calls to a "reality check" in terms of national debt. For one it is a colossal form of hypocricy. Secondly it is an isult to intelligence and reality. And it matters little that some of the French demonstrators have motivations much more about personal gain than defending a system and concerns for the course of history. The alternative is to remain silent before the power structure that is establishing policy, which will determine the future of our democracy and what that represents to those who will be facing the consequences down the road. Thus their struggle must be taken to the streets.
 
May 26, 2009
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rhubroma said:
Europe has tried to evolve, since WWII, beyond this crude polemic. It's third way was a plan that drew the good lessons form Marx and merged them with the economic development possibilities which Western capitalism afforded.
I'm not going to quote the entire collected works here, but +1 to everything rhubroma has written in this thread.

The historic victory of neo-con politics is that it's managed to persuade a generation of people to fervently support a system that's relentlessly shifting wealth from them into the hands of a very select little group.

Even more astoundingly, it manages to convince people that this process must continue and therefore 'times are tough' - when in reality, the amount of wealth produced in the first world today is stupendous (in fact, unsustainably so).
 
May 22, 2010
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yourwelcome said:
The historic victory of neo-con politics is that it's managed to persuade a generation of people to fervently support a system that's relentlessly shifting wealth from them into the hands of a very select little group.
this is the key problem with socialism - it assumes wealth is a zero sum game. if george soros is accumulating $billions, others must be deprived of the same. that's untrue though - wealth is able to be created. capitalism is merely a lubricant for that process.

socialism assumes there is a fixed amount of wealth, for which the only challenge is to ensure its equal distribution. when there isn't enough to go around, as is the case right now in France, people get angry as they assume someone is hiding it somewhere.

capitalism is big and ugly - some people do end up with obscene amounts of wealth. but it should be judged at a societal level - how does it impact on the broader population? the US, for all its faults, has delivered a high standard of living to its citizens. as i mentioned above, i don't believe the French fully subscribe to the "third way" as rhubroma called it - what i would call a balance between material and non-material wealth. i think the problem is that they view with jealousy or envy the material wealth generated in capitalist societies and demand the state provide it to them.

that is not a shortfall of the ideology, anymore than alleged US hegemony is a shortfall of capitalism. those are human errors.
 
delbified said:
this is the key problem with socialism - it assumes wealth is a zero sum game. if george soros is accumulating $billions, others must be deprived of the same. that's untrue though - wealth is able to be created. capitalism is merely a lubricant for that process.

socialism assumes there is a fixed amount of wealth, for which the only challenge is to ensure its equal distribution. when there isn't enough to go around, as is the case right now in France, people get angry as they assume someone is hiding it somewhere.

capitalism is big and ugly - some people do end up with obscene amounts of wealth. but it should be judged at a societal level - how does it impact on the broader population? the US, for all its faults, has delivered a high standard of living to its citizens. as i mentioned above, i don't believe the French fully subscribe to the "third way" as rhubroma called it - what i would call a balance between material and non-material wealth. i think the problem is that they view with jealousy or envy the material wealth generated in capitalist societies and demand the state provide it to them.

that is not a shortfall of the ideology, anymore than alleged US hegemony is a shortfall of capitalism. those are human errors.
You really don't expect us to buy this bull, do you delbified? Your intellectual dishonesty would be offensive, were it not for the embarrassment that it solicited for your feeble and pathetic attempts to justify a system that has no social conscience whatsoever, and pretty much promotes unbridled greed as the recent Wall Street crack and US housing market bust has made painfully clear.

And it is not even a sustainable model globally because unremittingly egocentric, if we are to take into consideration the inevitable desires of the emerging societies to enjoy their share in the pie. Unless through sheer muscle, forced compliance and consequently eternal sanctions and wars. And this would only mean a long term, nearly universal, anti-Americanism. This is not a prospect I could hold dear for the world my children and grandchildren will be inheriting form us.

And don't try to coop my arguments about so called "human error" in regards to neoliberal capitalism. For it is an ideology intrinsically based upon greed, no more, irrespective of the short term benefits to a certain beneficiary (namely the one practicing it) in a world under constant competitive struggle, and thus has no philosophical or ethical merit. As if the principle of placing "me" before collective society could be rationalized as something noble and socially evolved. Please!

Nor was the "third way" a pure socialist model, but, as mentioned previously, merging aspects of socialism to a tempered capitalism, which thus tries to achieve a ballance between individual desire and self realization, while safeguarding the collective. Consequently nobody has assumed, as you erroneously believe they have, that "wealth is a zero sum game." But that it is something which should be managed more humanely, to prevent the inevitable outcome of a savage form of pure capitalism: namely, the tyranny of the individual over the group. Where the "individual" might also mean the corporate entity, the financial conglomerate, the military lobby, etc. Which is what, though in a sublimely insidious fashion, we are precisely seeing in the West today.

And finally this is what you conservative capitalists in America are always saying to defend their position, that (in this case the French) we are simply envious of wealth. It is a position which says that if normal people don't like what's happening, they're just inevitably jealous of the "successful." How simpleminded, really. Personally I could care less about being rich. I have enough in my life and so all that extra money would be burden and, in any case, would ruin my style. Your problem is that you find it incomprehensible that anyone should actually give a fig about accruing lots of cash, which is the only position you can rely upon to sustain your arguments. Well let me inform you of something, the struggling masses in France by and large feel the same way as I do. They are just righteously indignant that the privileges of the few, become their increased burden when they are told that now its time to make sacrifices. When the need for such sacrifices have been caused, or largely so, by the imbalanced and chaotic situation the alpha class has generated and its lack of willingness to impose more rigor in their own lives as an example to us, the masses, who witness our hard earned tax dollars being spent on everything but the collective well-being. And this is the failure of democracy under the neoliberal capitalist regime.

Had I a crystal ball, if the present situation continues its course, then in about 2050 I'd bet the world is going to be a very hot and hostile place indeed. Though I don't like making predictions, because it's unbecoming of a rationalist.
 
May 22, 2010
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rhubroma, it's a pity that you feel the need to make personal insults, as i was enjoying the discussion. as i said earlier, i sympathise with the "third way" philosophy and am not a purist supporter of capitalism, nor am i American for that matter.

however, as you have pointed out the negative symptoms of capitalism, i have pointed out some for (relatively) more socialist systems. i don't share your impassioned, ideological assessment of each system. in its simplest form, capitalism is just freedom of individuals (and institutions) to generate wealth, or not. it is not "based on greed" - there are many under it who earn a moderate income, live happily and are not threatened by ethically vacuous corporations, similar to the objectives of the "third way". i count myself as one, more or less.

there are laws that may prevent the misuse of power that accompanies wealth - to the extent they are not well formed or enforced is again, arguably a failure of practice rather than principle. the same can be said of the stereotypical lazy left winger who prefers to rely on the state to provide for them. both systems are flawed and susceptible to manipulation and corruption.

i don't subscribe to your doom-and-gloom assessment of capitalism, but then differing perspectives keep life interesting.
 
delbified said:
rhubroma, it's a pity that you feel the need to make personal insults, as i was enjoying the discussion. as i said earlier, i sympathise with the "third way" philosophy and am not a purist supporter of capitalism, nor am i American for that matter.

however, as you have pointed out the negative symptoms of capitalism, i have pointed out some for (relatively) more socialist systems. i don't share your impassioned, ideological assessment of each system. in its simplest form, capitalism is just freedom of individuals (and institutions) to generate wealth, or not. it is not "based on greed" - there are many under it who earn a moderate income, live happily and are not threatened by ethically vacuous corporations, similar to the objectives of the "third way". i count myself as one, more or less.

there are laws that may prevent the misuse of power that accompanies wealth - to the extent they are not well formed or enforced is again, arguably a failure of practice rather than principle. the same can be said of the stereotypical lazy left winger who prefers to rely on the state to provide for them. both systems are flawed and susceptible to manipulation and corruption.

i don't subscribe to your doom-and-gloom assessment of capitalism, but then differing perspectives keep life interesting.
You have missed my point entirely. Try removing your ideological blinders and then we can have a serious discussion.
 
May 18, 2009
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rhubroma said:
You have missed my point entirely. Try removing your ideological blinders and then we can have a serious discussion.
He probably missed it because of the way you write, along with your bizaar takes. I can't get thru your posts without feeling like I've been smoking crack.
 
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rhubroma said:
You really don't expect us to buy this bull, do you delbified? Your intellectual dishonesty would be offensive, were it not for the embarassment that it solicited for your feable and pathetic attempts to justify a system that has no social conscience whatsoever, and pretty much promotes unbridled greed as the recent Wall Street crack and US housing market bust has made painfully clear.

And it is not even a sustainable model globablly because unrimittingly egocentric, if we are to take into consideration the inevitable desires of the emerging societies to enjoy their share in the pie. Unless through sheer muscle, forced compliance and consequently eternal sanctions and wars. And this would only mean a long term, nearly universal, anti-Americanism. This is not a prospect I could hold dear for the world my children and grandchildren will be inheriting form us.

And don't try to coop my arguments about so called "human error" in regards to neoliberal capitalism. For it is an ideology intrinsically based upon greed, no more, irrespective of the short term benifits to a certain benificiary (namely the one practicing it) in a world under constant competative struggle, and thus has no philosophical or ethical merit. As if the priniciple of placing "me" before collective society could be rationalized as something noble and socially evolved. Please!

Nor was the "third way" a pure socialist model, but, as mentioned previously, merging aspects of socialism to a tempered capitalism, which thus tries to achieve a ballance between individual desire and self realization, while safegaurding the collective. Consequently nobody has assumed, as you erroneously believe they have, that "wealth is a zero sum game." But that it is something which should be managed more humanely, to prevent the inevitable outcome of a savage form of pure capitalism: namely, the tyranny of the individual over the group. Where the "individual" might also mean the corporate entity, the financial conglomorate, the military lobby, etc. Which is what, though in a sublimely insidious fashion, we are precisely seeing in the West today.

And finally this is what you conservative capitalists in America are always saying to defend your indifendable position, that (in this case the French) we are simply envious of wealth. It is a position which says that if normal people don't like what's happening, they're just inevitably jealous of the "successful." How simpleminded, really. Personally I could care less about being rich. I have enough in my life and so all that extra money would be burden and, in any case, would ruin my style. Your problem is that you find it incomprehensible that anyone should actually give a fig about acruing lots of cash, which is the only position you can rely upon to sustain your arguments. Well let me inform you of something, the struggling masses in France by and large feel the same way as I do. They are just rightiously indignant that the priviliges of the few, become their increased burden when they are told that now its time to make sacrifices. When the need for such sacrifices have been caused, or largely so, by the imballanced and caotic situation the alpha class has generated and its lack of willingness to impose more rigor in their own lives as an example to us, the masses, who witness our hard earned tax dollars being spent on everything but the collecive well-being. And this is the failure of democracy under the neoliberal capitalist regime.

Had I a crystal ball, if the present situation continues its course, then in about 2050 I'd bet the world is going to be a very hot and hostile place indeed. Though I don't like making predictions, because it's unbecoming of a rationalist.
Rationalist? No. Self-Delusionist? Probably.

Collective well being? From Big Government? You mean like now?

I know I feel so much better now that my unemployment insurance has gone up 55% in two years. Makes me want to get out there and hire more people.
 
May 26, 2009
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delbified said:
this is the key problem with socialism - it assumes wealth is a zero sum game. if george soros is accumulating $billions, others must be deprived of the same.
Actually, I didn't say any such thing, nor am I a socialist in real terms. I'd only be 'socialist' in right-wing terms, where the word is generally just used as an insult, interchangeable with 'communist'.

I agree that the size of the pie varies (although the classic idea of an ever expanding economy sounds ludicrous in the face of a finite planet).

The disparity of income also varies. When the disparity becomes extreme, it generates social problems. When one small sector is seen to be accelerating their income while the majority are in fear of losing their jobs, told to belt up and work harder for less, it generates social problems.

I don't see how that is a socialist statement.

Personally I prefer a capitalist society where income disparity is not so obscene, the lowest paid are paid a decent wage, and there's a social safety net. It's called social liberalism (where 'liberal' actually means 'pro free market and individual freedom'), not 'socialism'.

Capitalism is perfectly capable of supporting and propelling a society like that, in fact it already has several times. But in the last twenty years or so, neoconservative ideology is gradually breaking down that system in favour of what is essentially an extreme distilled form of capitalism that aggressively denies any role of ethics in economics.

I don't like it one bit and believe it's demonstrably working against the interests of the majority.
 
May 26, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Rationalist? No. Self-Delusionist? Probably.

Collective well being? From Big Government? You mean like now?

I know I feel so much better now that my unemployment insurance has gone up 55% in two years. Makes me want to get out there and hire more people.
Scott, doesn't matter whether the government is big but whether it works. It's not at the moment. The US government (and to a large extent here in Australia) is dysfunctional*, hence the problems.

* except for NASA. I'm in total awe of what that organisation achieves. It's the best ambassador the US has in my opinion.
 
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yourwelcome said:
Scott, doesn't matter whether the government is big but whether it works. It's not at the moment. The US government (and to a large extent here in Australia) is dysfunctional*, hence the problems.

* except for NASA. I'm in total awe of what that organisation achieves. It's the best ambassador the US has in my opinion.

I suppose you'd have to further define government "working."

I think we are so far away from government "working" I'm not sure if most would even recognize what "working" would look like.

There does seem to be, at leaset in the US, a correlation between big government, big cost of government and big problems for private enterprise (which of course feeds big government).
 
Jun 12, 2010
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rhubroma said:
A couple of comments MI: firstly, in regards to the French reacting against the unjust privileges of the ruling class "taking a few centuries to figure out," have you not heard of the Bastille and the Revolution? It has to be said that theirs was much more historically significant than ours, because it struck at the core of the ancient regime. Ended up cutting off it's head and was not merely a war of colonial independence (and only with the help of the French, oh my!). De Tocqueville then came abroad to study how a colonial project, without the weight of history on its back, might be useful. The weight of the straw has always, therefore, been heavy in France.

Secondly you seem to forget that the stock market's precipitous fall was directly connected to the US housing market. That the Americans didn't start a revolution against the criminals, seems to me potentially far worse for the future of democracy than a few French students exercising their democratic right to occupy the public square and make their voices heard (raging against the machine). I'm all for it. The machine is the problem, like the ancient regime was back in 89, not the people's voice.

If America is so inclined to accept all the hardships with apparent stoic heroicism, it is precisely because they have been utterly cowed and beaten into submission. How much more will it take for them to get truly riled up?

The French say if our leadership has systematically defrauded us for years (and no worse is this the case than among the US leadership toward the US people), then why should I just submissively fold to whatever helps clean up the mess they have made. In the end the differences between the US and French position are profoundly cultural, though you seem to take no account of this, or rather are willing to only take into consideration America's and its way of dealing with things. As if they are "wrong" simply because behaving "differently." But the world is beautiful, MI, because varied. ;)

In a world where politics has been given the homework by industry and finance to adapt society to the globalizzation of the economy - and thus must enact policies which promote competitiveness, while at the same time has to try compensate for the negative consequences for society caused by opening up to the global market - its nice to know there are still some who remind them that there are other concerns of a more fundamentally human nature such as the rest of life.


Briliant post!..could not put it better.:)
 
Scott SoCal said:
Rationalist? No. Self-Delusionist? Probably.

Collective well being? From Big Government? You mean like now?

I know I feel so much better now that my unemployment insurance has gone up 55% in two years. Makes me want to get out there and hire more people.
My dear Scott SoCal this is all you have ever been able to respond with because you have no other arguments. And I had expected so much more from you. All you can ever say is "Nope, it just can't be done." But this is a rather provincial outlook, Scott SoCal, because it has already been done, though, unfortunately, too many nefarious interests have decided that it should be driven straight into the grave as they say. Not because it can't be done, but because they don't want it to be done.

Your unwavering conformism, however, is in reality an intellectual cop-out. And the worst thing about it is that you are smart enough to understand this, which probably is eating away at your insides. :p

PS. The size of government has little to do with it. The US govt. is mastodonic, even though not ideologically disposed to do anything for society. The question is rather one of role and purpose. Making government smaller would be nice, though making it more useful would be even better.
 
ChrisE said:
He probably missed it because of the way you write, along with your bizaar takes. I can't get thru your posts without feeling like I've been smoking crack.
No it has been just too taxing on your mind, which was never up to the task Chris E, from the beginning you simply overrated it and have been consuming too many brain cells while trying to keep up.;)
 
yourwelcome said:
..............
The US government (and to a large extent here in Australia) is dysfunctional*, .........

* except for NASA. I'm in total awe of what that organisation achieves. It's the best ambassador the US has in my opinion.
I agree NASA has the best public relations program anywhere. Thus, with a few great achievements people forget their failures (ISS in particular, in which they dragged Europeans, russians, etc). Whenever ESA and NASA achieve the same identical results, who gets quoted in the European press? Invariably it's NASA.

Now if you compare the total results of NASA with its expenditures the picture just does not look so bright.
Black (budgetary) holes hiding behind Hubble's bright light.
 
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rhubroma said:
My dear Scott SoCal this is all you have ever been able to respond with because you have no other arguments. And I had expected so much more from you. All you can ever say is "Nope, it just can't be done. "But this is a rather provincial outlook, Scott SoCal, because it has already been done, though, unfortunately, too many nefarious interests have decided that it should be driven straight into the grave as they say. Not because it can't be done, but because they don't want it to be done.

Your unwavering conformism, however, is in reality an intellectual cop-out. And the worst thing about it is that you are smart enough to understand this, which probably is eating away at your insides. :p

PS. The size of government has little to do with it. The US govt. is mastodonic, even though not ideologically disposed to do anything for society. The question is rather one of role and purpose. Making government smaller would be nice, though making it more useful would be even better.




In a historical context limited government is hardly conformism thus I conceed nothing. My insides are just fine because I am smart enough to recognize the risk of governing against the will of the governed.

The size of the government has much to do with it.... like it or not. Government size is directly proportional to govt waste and inefficiency.

The last sentence of your post I actually agree with although I'm confident I would not agree with your definition of 'useful government.'
 
May 26, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
The size of the government has much to do with it.... like it or not. Government size is directly proportional to govt waste and inefficiency.
Scott, whether an organisation is government or business is not automatically related to better or worse waste and inefficiency.

In the course of my work I've had a top down inside look at government organisations, and the same view in large private enterprises. You'd be shocked to find how much money is burnt by overly self confident business managers, and how similar the management style is.

Business is not there to improve anybody's life, it's there to maximise the amount of $ it can get from you while providing as little as possible in return. Government over many years has been told to adopt the same model, as it's 'more efficient' - no miracle that people end up hating it.

Let's face it, neo-con right wing ideology has been running the USA for a few decades now under both parties. If you have a problem with the current situation, no point in blaming 'communists' or 'socialists'. They've had no input in how the place is run for a long time.
 
May 22, 2010
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Scott SoCal said:
The size of the government has much to do with it.... like it or not. Government size is directly proportional to govt waste and inefficiency.
i've worked in policy development roles for govt. the statement above is to a degree, correct. i find it extraordinary the degree to which people are willing to rely on govts to determine policy on their behalf, whether it's public ownership of assets or social welfare. obviously these are legitimate roles for govt - i'm not a libertarian - but the degree to which people are willing to yield control amazes me.

the theory of capitalism is that corporations will converge towards efficient behaviour, in as much as that efficiency supports profitability. it's the latter part that has limitations - profitability sometimes can result from inefficient (and unethical) corporate behaviour.

this has led some countries to adopt more socialist systems of govt - characterised in part by wresting control from corporations and handing it to govt. a key question is - will govt policy makers act more efficiently (measured in terms of supporting societal objectives) than corporations? just as with capitalism, there is a big problem with this - with less accountability than corporations (i.e. by virtue of holding a monopoly), govts and particularly bureaucrats often act inefficiently. as there is no direct feedback loop (e.g. sales), it is difficult for govts to determine what is an efficient outcome. this is often reflected in unfair criticism of govt and bureaucrats as out of touch, bumbling and incompetent.

the question is - where is the optimum point on the capitalist-socialist spectrum? i think most western economies are not too far from that point, but i also think that by "choosing a side", people often miss the point, which is not whether corporations or govt are intrinsically good or bad, but what their respective roles and influence should be. simply demonising corporations and capitalism, or socialism, doesn't usefully contribute to resolving that quandary.

the problem with the French system is that the public have become angry, apparently having decided that the French govt are behaving inefficiently. for those who agree with my argument, that shouldn't come as a great surprise. but it's clear that many people (in France) have a firm belief that the govt should be able to behave efficiently (such as in how they develop policy and spend public funds), and if they aren't - then they're incompetent or not trying hard enough. it's just not that simple.
 
A

Anonymous

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yourwelcome said:
Scott, whether an organisation is government or business is not automatically related to better or worse waste and inefficiency.

In the course of my work I've had a top down inside look at government organisations, and the same view in large private enterprises. You'd be shocked to find how much money is burnt by overly self confident business managers, and how similar the management style is.

Business is not there to improve anybody's life, it's there to maximise the amount of $ it can get from you while providing as little as possible in return. Government over many years has been told to adopt the same model, as it's 'more efficient' - no miracle that people end up hating it.

Let's face it, neo-con right wing ideology has been running the USA for a few decades now under both parties. If you have a problem with the current situation, no point in blaming 'communists' or 'socialists'. They've had no input in how the place is run for a long time.
In the course of my work I've found there's a huge difference between a PRIVATE corporation wasting earned profit and a TAX SUPPORTED public entity wasting another's labor. Do you get the difference or is further explaination necessary?
 
delbified said:
the question is - where is the optimum point on the capitalist-socialist spectrum? i think most western economies are not too far from that point, but i also think that by "choosing a side", people often miss the point, which is not whether corporations or govt are intrinsically good or bad, but what their respective roles and influence should be. simply demonising corporations and capitalism, or socialism, doesn't usefully contribute to resolving that quandary.

the problem with the French system is that the public have become angry, apparently having decided that the French govt are behaving inefficiently. for those who agree with my argument, that shouldn't come as a great surprise. but it's clear that many people (in France) have a firm belief that the govt should be able to behave efficiently (such as in how they develop policy and spend public funds), and if they aren't - then they're incompetent or not trying hard enough. it's just not that simple.
It has become painfully obvious that the role of corporations has replaced that of government, is taking over the education system and is eroding all sense of what is Public and thus the domain of everyone. In Italy the current government even wants to privitize water! It is, therefore, only nice to know that many in the masses refuse this type of Private Hegmony over something so basic and vital to the collective. In fact the intitative has been shot down. It's nice to know that there are still many who feel that life, with a capital L, isn't a business. That government isn't, or shouldn't be, a business, but a political institution. That our univeristies shoudln't be in the hands of the private, corporate world, which is exactly what is taking place in the US and it is deplorable. We have university students that graduate and don't know anything except how to enter the world of finance and defraud everybody! I have spoken with so called professors who have entered the classroom directly from their corporate jobs. The questions they ask me! Their ignorance of anything that doesn't have to do with the most creative and insidious ways to make cash is pathetic. What a world they are producing!

It seems to me that many Americans feel that business management principles are the solution to everything, literally everything, and can even fill the role that culture, politics and education should. If it works for making cash and balancing the budget, then what else is there to worry about. Nevermind that it is a way that has been producing a type of mass ignorance, in which critical thinking is all but annihilated. And this is so convenient to the private interests of the rich and the powerful.

It's not a world many people here in Italy, just as in France, are happy with with: this systematic dismantling of the public sector in favor of the corporate world. And this is all being done with the wilful concent of the politicians! It's just terrible.
 
Scott SoCal said:
In the course of my work I've found there's a huge difference between a PRIVATE corporation wasting earned profit and a TAX SUPPORTED public entity wasting another's labor. Do you get the difference or is further explaination necessary?
How about the so called creative private finace producing a fantom wealth, based a paper skyscraper, and then defrauding everyone! With goverment support, and then using tax dollars to bail out the system!

Do you think before you write this utter nonesense Scott SoCal? Or are you just so cynical? The only other plausible option is that you truly think we are stupid enough to latch on to what you say.
 

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