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Anonymous

When You Say You Hate Corporate America...
    #1122675 - 12/08/02 08:41 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Your hatred is misguided. All corporations do is give the idiots in this country what they want - more stuff.

I was driving through my neighborhood today, looking at the Christmas lights. First we had the lighted reindeer. Then we had the lighted icesicles. Now we have huge ass lighted balloons. WTF is that? People buy whatever commercials tell them to. But whose fault is that?

The more into the holiday season we get, the more I despise humanity.


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Anonymous

Post deleted by Moe Howard [Re: Anonymous]
    #1122688 - 12/08/02 08:48 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)



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Anonymous

Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: ]
    #1122728 - 12/08/02 09:14 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

No, the corporations simply pander to the fools. The fools were made by an educational and social system that stresses materialism.


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Anonymous

Post deleted by Moe Howard [Re: Anonymous]
    #1122732 - 12/08/02 09:16 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)



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OfflineGunboat
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: ]
    #1122744 - 12/08/02 09:23 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Corporations aren't hated because they market stuff... that would be a little redundant, no? They're hated because of their top-level executives and CEOs that defraud their shareholders out of millions of dollars.


--------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."
- J. Danforth Quayle


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Anonymous]
    #1122764 - 12/08/02 09:34 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Scenario: 6 different countries do something to annoy U.S.

U.S government is trying to figure out who to go after and is trying to get priorities straight.

Oil company says "go after this one" andthrows money at government by lobbying(it's obvious these guys are the ones oil companies want invaded cause this is an oil providing country).

U.S goes after that country even though it should not be the top priority.


--------------------

"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


Edited by sir tripsalot (12/08/02 09:35 PM)


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Offlinejohnnyfive
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Anonymous]
    #1123178 - 12/08/02 11:25 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

I agree, yes tv is big in that game.


--------------------
And the gameshow host rings the buzzer (brrnnntt) oh and now you get a face full of face!


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Offlineehud
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1123205 - 12/08/02 11:32 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

i dont think that is concidered corprate 'America'

Corprate america is just the modern day class system like kings and queens. It is just the wealthy people doing what they need to do to stay wealthy. I doubt there are many top ceo's and leading executives going to bed each night trying to think ways they can fuckover the american public. Instead they just want money like everybody else. How can you blame them for finding a good way to make a buck?


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: ehud]
    #1123311 - 12/09/02 12:12 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Of course they deserve to try to ake a buck, but if they influence how or if a war happens ,there needs to be laws against it. Take Enron for example one of the big issues was having their auditors also be a company that they pay for consulting. The auditing company ignored alot of important things out of fear of losing the big client. So now they are trying to change laws and accounting practice so these situations do not occur. I think the governent needs to find a way to do the same.


--------------------

"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


Edited by sir tripsalot (12/09/02 12:14 AM)


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OfflineMurex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: ehud]
    #1123371 - 12/09/02 12:29 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

How can you blame them for finding a good way to make a buck?

I can blame them for not having any dignity. They should be trying to help their country and the people in it instead of fucking it over for money.


--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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Offlinezeronio
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Murex]
    #1123960 - 12/09/02 04:59 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Well said!


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: ]
    #1124395 - 12/09/02 11:32 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)


yes, but who made the idiots?
the corporations shift dependancies and create the idiots they market their shit to


I don't think corporations made people into mindless consumers. They certainly
goad people along. Of this, there is no doubt. But, I think it all falls back to the fact
that people naturally like to have "stuff". Corporations just take advantage of this.


RandalFlagg



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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1124411 - 12/09/02 11:43 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)


Of course they deserve to try to ake a buck, but if they influence how or if a war happens ,there needs to be laws against it. Take Enron for example one of the big issues was having their auditors also be a company that they pay for consulting. The auditing company ignored alot of important things out of fear of losing the big client. So now they are trying to change laws and accounting practice so these situations do not occur. I think the governent needs to find a way to do the same.


This area of debate is very complicated, with all kinds of things that need to be
considered. You could write entire books on it.

Corporations bring about some good(providing jobs, community outreach type
stuff, providing cheaper and more efficient products, etc..). But, when a
corporation engages in misconduct(bad auditing, damaging the environment, using
influence to alter government policy, etc..), they cross the line. Granted, this line
has been crossed many times by corporations over the years. The only thing we
can do is investigate their behavior(not with a witch-hunt mentality, but with a
level-headededness), and determine if anything illegal has been done. If so, they
need to be prosecuted. And, if their behavior is not illegal, but very suspect, we
need to work to enact legislation to limit such behavior in the future.


RandalFlagg


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Anonymous]
    #1124480 - 12/09/02 12:11 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Anyone interested in corporations and their influence on the world should check out "When corporations rule the world"

When Corporations Rule the World has become a modern classic with a message that seems increasingly prophetic with each passing day. Its central message is a clear and unequivocal wake up call to humanity. The global economy has become like a malignant cancer, advancing the colonization of the planet's living spaces for the benefit of powerful corporations and financial institutions. It has turned these once useful institutions into instruments of a market tyranny that are destroying livelihoods, displacing people, and feeding on life in an insatiable quest for money. It forces us all to act in ways destructive of ourselves, our families, our communities, and nature. This destructive process is driven by a combination of institutional forces and an extremist ideology of corporate libertarianism that invokes the theories of Adam Smith and market economics to advance policies that systematically undermine both the market and democracy.

Human survival depends on a community-based, people-centered alternative beyond the failed extremist ideologies of communism and capitalism. This alternative is already being created through the initiatives of millions of people around the world who are taking back control of their lives and communities to create places where people can live and grow in balance with the living earth. When Corporations Rule the World provides an agenda of national and global reforms by which we may reclaim our power to localize economies while globalizing consciousness.



--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: ehud]
    #1124589 - 12/09/02 12:54 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"How can you blame them for finding a good way to make a buck?"

Well, they've forced mediocrity onto us. In our music, television, movies and food.

Saying that stupid people deserve to be ripped off is downright evil. Plenty of people are just born stupid. If you break into a stupid persons house and steal all their shit because they forgot to lock their door isn't right. They didn't deserve that.

Take this for example. This is a perfect example of corporate greed.

Or how about this? And we wonder why american kids are getting fat. In this case, I'd have to say any parent who buys this crap deserves to be smacked around. I'll bet that idiot who's suing McDonald's for making her fat had something like this when she was young.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1124624 - 12/09/02 01:07 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

I'd rather live in a world with more corporations and less government than the other way around. Governments have ruined more lives (certainly they have ENDED more lives) in the last decade than corporations have in the entire history of the species.

pinky


--------------------


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phluck]
    #1124661 - 12/09/02 01:21 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Phluck writes:

Well, they've forced mediocrity onto us. In our music, television, movies and food.

Nobody has "forced" anything on anyone. Some corporations provide mediocre or even downright useless products, true. No one is forcing anyone to deal with those corporations. You don't like buying a crappy CD? Buy one you DO like, or create your own music. You don't like watching a crappy TV show? Watch one you DO like, or turn off the TV for a while. Can't stand the thought of sitting through yet another James Bond movie? Rent "Amelie" or "The Grey Zone" or "Amadeus", or take a walk in a park instead. You don't like Taco Bell food? Buy your Tacos from a genuine Mom and Pop Mexican restaurant, or make your own.

What's so hard about following any of the above suggestions?

Take this for example. This is a perfect example of corporate greed.

If you don't want to increase that company's profits, DO NOT post that link in the Spirituality and Philosophy forum!

Or how about this? And we wonder why american kids are getting fat. In this case, I'd have to say any parent who buys this crap deserves to be smacked around. I'll bet that idiot who's suing McDonald's for making her fat had something like this when she was young.

Or the famous Kenner "Easy-Bake Oven".

pinky



--------------------


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1124744 - 12/09/02 01:53 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

That's not true. It's forced on us, it's the first thing we hear or see when we turn on the TV, open up any magazine, or even just go out in public.

Why do so many people listen to Britney Spears or Limp Bizkit? Because it's all they hear. No eleven year old kid is going to know how to seek out the good stuff, especially when he has all this easily digested musical pablum right in front of him.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflineGunboat
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phluck]
    #1124807 - 12/09/02 02:13 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Well said, Phluck. You've pretty much summed up an essay's worth of my thoughts about my generation in one post.


--------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."
- J. Danforth Quayle


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1124973 - 12/09/02 03:14 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

I'd rather live in a world with more corporations

Government for the last 20-30 years has simply been the public face of big business. All the same it's better than the nightmare of what happens when corporations had total control. You only have to look at the weaker governments in south east asia where the corporations have complete control. 10 year girls working in dangerous working conditions, 36 hour shifts, beatings, intimidation of anyone who tries to organise a union, no employment rights, no regard for pollution, privatising water supplies and ramping up the cost of water by 70%.

They don't go to south east asia and Mexico for the fun of it, if they could get away with it here they'd end the right to education, abolish all workers rights, abandon all pollution controls, close off health care to the poor and have 10 year old slaves working for 15 cents a day. That's the corporate future.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleBuddha5254
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1125603 - 12/09/02 06:25 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Very well put Alex.


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Anonymous

Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Buddha5254]
    #1125941 - 12/09/02 08:00 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Examples of how TV results in mindless drones of people:

Watch a football game on CBS and compare the number of commercials, especially commercials for useless shit, to on ESPN.

Watch a movie on TNT and compare the number of commercials with those on Comedy Central. The more readily and popular TV stations have seen the gold mind of advertising, and do every damn thing they can to make another buck.


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OfflineMurex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phluck]
    #1126625 - 12/09/02 10:49 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Why do so many people listen to Britney Spears or Limp Bizkit? Because it's all they hear. No eleven year old kid is going to know how to seek out the good stuff, especially when he has all this easily digested musical pablum right in front of him.

You said it Phluck!  :grin:


--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phluck]
    #1126886 - 12/09/02 11:53 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)


That's not true. It's forced on us, it's the first thing we hear or see when we turn on the TV, open up any magazine, or even just go out in public.



Why do so many people listen to Britney Spears or Limp Bizkit? Because it's all they hear. No eleven year old kid is going to know how to seek out the good stuff, especially when he has all this easily digested musical pablum right in front of him.


Yes, this drivel is ubiquitous. It is this way because a lot of people don't have
very good taste(in my opinion), and corporations give people what they want(i.e.
vapid garbage).

You seem to be saying that the American public's tastes are confined to what
they see and hear, and what they see and hear is controlled by a few people.
There is some truth to that. But, there comes a time when a person must take
responsibility for themselves, and realize who they are. If a person is not capable
of thinking or doing anything on their own, or if they have a homogenized view of
what the world is and how one should live, then they are stupid. That is not the
corporation's fault, they merely take advantage of it.


RandalFlagg


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1127372 - 12/10/02 02:16 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

Government for the last 20-30 years has simply been the public face of big business.

Reading comprehension, Alex, reading comprehension. My comment was "I'd rather live in a WORLD with more corporations than more government." There are governments in the world in countries other than the United States. There's not much big business in Cambodia or the ex-USSR or North Korea or China or Cuba or Iran etc. Certainly the governments of those countries hardly represent "the public face of big business".

All the same it's better than the nightmare of what happens when corporations had total control.

And that would be when and where, exactly?

You only have to look at the weaker governments in south east asia where the corporations have complete control.

Such as?

10 year girls working in dangerous working conditions, 36 hour shifts... bla bla bla

Sigh. The patented Alex123 hyperbole and outright untruths. There are no 10 year old girls working 36 hour shifts in any corporate factories anywhere. I doubt there were even ever Zeks in the Gulag Archipelago during Stalin's reign who worked 36 hour shifts -- certainly neither Solzhenitsyn nor any other Soviet dissidents ever saw fit to mention it. There are however young girls (and boys and adults of both sexes) voluntarily working long hours for low pay (by the standards of the Twenty-First century Western World) in some developing countries. These people do so by choice -- they are not rounded up at the point of a gun and chained to their work stations. Let me ask you yet again (knowing full well you will never answer the question) why these people choose to seek such employment?

pinky


--------------------


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1128091 - 12/10/02 09:45 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"These people do so by choice -- they are not rounded up at the point of a gun and chained to their work stations. Let me ask you yet again (knowing full well you will never answer the question) why these people choose to seek such employment?"

I'll take that one, but first let me ask you one, pinky: Why aren't children allowed to "choose" to take similar jobs in the U.S., Canada, or a list of other nations?

The capitalist use of the term "force" requires the most literal of definitions. You feel you need to make the distinction, fine, but I hardly think you've thrown out the other uses (such as by Alex and Phluck in this thread.) in some cases I'd say that a gun to the head or a chain to the sewing machine area about the ONLY way the people AREN'T forced. In a "free" society, subtler means are necessary.

Anyway, what "forces" people to "choose" to take such employment must vary from one situation to the next, but it generally boils down to shitty conditions where there are little or no other options to go around. One big cause of this is war. The U.S. military strategy in Southeast Asia was to eliminate the two hiding spots of the resistance--the jungle (agent orange was used here) and villages (massive bombing and air raids were used here). Farmlands were destroyed in the process as well. I don't know if the resulting mass urbanization was part of a master plan or not, but a huge population of displaced refugees do make a very available, very willing workforce.

U.S.-backed governments/factions/regimes in Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries used similar tactics to battle the leftist guerillas in their own forests and villages. The result was similar mass urbanization and similar destruction of local economies.

Now we might hear the response, "Oh, so it would be better for these evil corporations to stay out and let these people starve?" I'd say no, but this takes us back to the problems of child labor and other unfair practices. People are being taken complete advantage of. Often they are poorer than dirt, there's no raise on the horizon, they have little or no education, no means of providing one to their co-worker children, and they probably have no idea what people are talking about when they use words like "freedom" and "opportunity". And how many of them work for mega-huge multi-national corporations?

It sure would be nice if these groups of people could join together and win a better hand in things, a fairer share of the fruits of their labors. There are cases where this happens. But a lot of times the people who try to help these people get organized wind up dead or missing.

hongomon


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: hongomon]
    #1128291 - 12/10/02 11:33 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Hongomon! Long time no see. How's tricks?

You write:

Why aren't children allowed to "choose" to take similar jobs in the U.S., Canada, or a list of other nations?

So your problem is not with the fact that people in these nations choose to accept employment at what you consider to be insufficient wages, your problem is that they allow their children to do so?

To answer your question, the reason children are not legally allowed to accept such a job in most Western countries (although there are plenty of pre-adolescents in farm families who work harder than many slackers I know who suck off unemployment insurance and welfare benefits) is that the governments of those countries have made it illegal for them to do so, just as the previous Afghani ruling clique made it illegal for women to work. Different cultures have different ways of doing things. Just one of the many joys of a multicultural planet, I guess.

The capitalist use of the term "force" requires the most literal of definitions.

How is it possible for rational discourse to occur if one side insists on evading the accepted definition of a commonly used word because to use it correctly would destroy their position? You can "prove" any point of view you want if you make up definitions as you go along. I don't twist definitions. Whether you agree with my points or not, you cannot deny that I speak literally and do not employ even subtle rhetorical tricks to obscure my meaning. Would that my opponents were capable of doing so.

You feel you need to make the distinction, fine, but I hardly think you've thrown out the other uses (such as by Alex and Phluck in this thread.)

Yes, I do feel the need to use words as they were meant to be used. Just because some feminazis insist on calling sex "rape" doesn't make it so. Just because Phluck insists on calling advertising "force" doesn't make it so.

Lets call a spade a spade. Factory workers in developing countries (regardless of their age) are not forced to accept offers of employment from Nike or Martha Stewart or whoever -- they are enticed to do so. What is the enticement? A standard of living higher than the one they currently enjoy. No amount of evasion and definition-twisting can conceal the fact that these people accept these jobs voluntarily, even eagerly. Or, as you yourself admit:

Anyway, what "forces" people to "choose" to take such employment must vary from one situation to the next, but it generally boils down to shitty conditions where there are little or no other options to go around.

One big cause of this is war.

Correct. That is one of the reasons options are limited for some.

The U.S. military strategy in Southeast Asia... (snip)... I don't know if the resulting mass urbanization was part of a master plan or not, but a huge population of displaced refugees do make a very available, very willing workforce.

Funny you should mention this. The Vietnamese economy is booming -- the fastest-growing economy in Asia at the moment. In the last decade the Vietnamese government has embraced the capitalist ethic to a greater degree than even China has.

The result was similar mass urbanization and similar destruction of local economies.

1) It is far easier to rebuild a farm after a war than to rebuild a city.

2) Urbanization doesn't require war. Urbanization has been occurring since pre-Roman Empire times, accelerated exponentially during the Industrial Revolution, and is arguably greater in countries which never suffered had their farmland "destroyed" in war, i.e. England, Sweden, Canada, United States, Japan, etc.

Now we might hear the response, "Oh, so it would be better for these evil corporations to stay out and let these people starve?" I'd say no...

Why would you say so? Why should the US government allow its corporations to set up production facilities in other countries when American workers are being laid off as those same corporations close American factories? Why should American corporations improve the living standards of foreigners when they won't provide jobs for every American?

...but this takes us back to the problems of child labor and other unfair practices. People are being taken complete advantage of.

How are they being taken advantage of? They are being provided better opportunities by the foreign corporations than they are by their domestic corporations (in those countries where there ARE domestic corporations). If anyone is getting screwed in this scenario, it is the domestic corporations, not the employees.

Often they are poorer than dirt, there's no raise on the horizon, they have little or no education, no means of providing one to their co-worker children, and they probably have no idea what people are talking about when they use words like "freedom" and "opportunity".

How is this the fault of the foreign corporations? If the foreign factories didn't exist, they would still be poorer than dirt, there would be no cash on the horizon, much less a raise, they would still have little or no education, no means of providing one to their co-worker children, and they would probably still have no idea what people are talking about when they use words like "freedom" and "opportunity". What's your point?

And how many of them work for mega-huge multi-national corporations?

Not as many as want to.

pinky


--------------------


Edited by pinksharkmark (12/10/02 11:35 AM)


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: hongomon]
    #1128871 - 12/10/02 02:34 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)


I'll take that one, but first let me ask you one, pinky: Why aren't children allowed to "choose" to take similar jobs in the U.S., Canada, or a list of other nations?


First of all, let me state that I think it is immoral for a company to go to country that
is not democratic, and set up shop. Because the people who have to do the
working have no say in the political process, which means that enacting
reform is practically impossible. Which means that they will probably be taken
advantage of.


Anyway, what "forces" people to "choose" to take such employment must vary from one situation to the next, but it generally boils down to shitty conditions where there are little or no other options to go around.


When no options are around, people starve. When a company moves in and
creates jobs and economic opportunity, I don't think they should be faulted for
that. It's not like these companies are moving into vibrant areas where people
are doing great, and everything is fine, and magically overnight the corporations
ruin everything. These areas are dirt poor and the people languish in
filth and poverty. Having to work twelve hour shifts is better than starving
and being jobless in a slum. However, I will reiterate that when corporations cross
the line from providing economic opportunity to exploitation, that is wrong.


One big cause of this is war. The U.S. military strategy in Southeast Asia was to eliminate the two hiding spots of the resistance--the jungle (agent orange was used here) and villages (massive bombing and air raids were used here).


The following is a shitty truism of war; the civilian population that inhabits the
battlefield will suffer. We should have either done two things in Vietnam(which is
the war that I am assuming you are referring to). We either should have never
gotten involved, or we should have finished the job so that communism would
have never spread to the entire peninsula(if you read through some of my posts
especially in the democracy and capitalism thread, you will see why I think
communism is a mistake, why it doesn't work, and why it is oppressive to its
citizens).


U.S.-backed governments/factions/regimes in Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries used similar tactics to battle the leftist guerillas in their own forests and villages. The result was similar mass urbanization and similar destruction of local economies.


The U.S. shouldn't have its hands in shit like this. There have been some definite
dirty dealings by the U.S. government. Although, every government that has
ever existed has had its hands in some unsavory things.


RandalFlagg


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Offlineehud
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phluck]
    #1129043 - 12/10/02 03:29 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Yea that bracelet thing is for idiots I dont know why anybody would buy that.  As for the Happy Meal Play doe set... well that is just plain fun I kindof wish I had one now.  Or maybe even a Big Mac with cheese.  Actualy I should go to Burger King and get a whopper the way I want it.  Or Subway and eat fresh.  mmmmm im hungry now time to consume. :tongue:


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1129321 - 12/10/02 04:53 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

If you have a corporation over seas that is allowing children to work you change that. I suppose you find those bumb fight videos harmless since these homeless people were only being enticed to do illegal things.


--------------------

"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1130867 - 12/11/02 02:05 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

There are no 10 year old girls working 36 hour shifts in any corporate factories anywhere.

Any evidence or is this just the usual fantasy? Strange because I've seen women interviewed who did just this when they were 10. On a regular basis. The western factories made "no comment".

These people do so by choice -- they are not rounded up at the point of a gun and chained to their work stations.

It took millions of brave men and women fighting in the face of brutal corporate oppression to win the right to educate our children. If we had allowed your beloved corporations free reign you would never have recieved an education. You too would have been working "by your own choice". Thankfully we fought to make our "choices" different.


--------------------
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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1130873 - 12/11/02 02:09 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

How are they being taken advantage of?

You are living in a world that is so far removed from reality that it is unimaginable.

Read more about the subject. Until you gain the slightest inkling and insight into the subject there really is no point "debating" with you.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1131238 - 12/11/02 09:23 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Hey there pinky, things are alright. How's the windsurfing?

So your problem is not with the fact that people in these nations choose to accept employment at what you consider to be insufficient wages, your problem is that they allow their children to do so?

I don't have trouble with either in general, but with both in many cases. The question I asked was sort of an interjection into the conversation you and Alex were having about ten-year-old children. I don't think I'm being too demanding with what I "consider to be insufficient wages," but since I'm sure this discussion could spin off in any number of directions (all of them worthwhile), I'm going to hold off on that one. I'll also just consider child exploitation for the same reason.

...(although there are plenty of pre-adolescents in farm families who work harder than many slackers I know who suck off unemployment insurance and welfare benefits)...

You have issues with the welfare system. So do I. Again, that's for another time. I'll leave it at this: those plenty of pre-adolescent farmers don't have to work sixty-hour weeks to work harder than some of the slackers I know, and I assume the same could be said about the slackers you know. I'm not against children working from a young age as a rule --but we're talking about how much work, in what kinds of conditions, and with what kinds of wages and benefits.

...the reason children are not legally allowed to accept such a job in most Western countries is that the governments of those countries have made it illegal for them to do so, just as the previous Afghani ruling clique made it illegal for women to work.

I don't like the comparison. The Taliban were Islamic fundamentalists. They were infamous for violating women's rights, not for protecting them. Their laws forbidding women from working is more akin to their laws forbidding women's skin from showing in public. Governments of western countries made those laws because it was clear to them that they were shooting themselves in the foot if they allowed so many of their poor to enter adulthood with no education. Winding spools or packing nails into boxes doesn't count.

Different cultures have different ways of doing things.

What do you mean? Those are foreign companies coming in with job offers. Where does culture play in? Do ten-year-old Brazilian goldmine workers carry 30 kg bags of rock and mud because culturally that's what Brazilian ten-year-olds do? Can the differences in child labor policy in England between 1820 and 2000 be explained as a difference in culture? No, they can't. The original conditions resulted from mass urbanization/widespread poverty. We changed those things. The bottom line is that poverty is why children must work to supplement their families income, and in plenty of countries worldwide, lack of regulation of Western corporations contributes to a vicious cycle--kids grow up as beasts of burden--they have no education but their reproductive systems work fine--their kids grow up as beasts of burden--etc.

Shit, I'm outa time. There was a lot more I wanted to reply to, but I've got to go. Thanks for your responses pinky. Always packin a punch.

hongomon


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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131490 - 12/11/02 12:06 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"corporations give people what they want"

People consume what corporations want us to consume. why dont we have cleaner cars and a light bulb that never burns out? what about legal marijuana and healthcare for everyone? corporations dont care about what people want they care about brainwashing you into emptying your wallet into their hands. you need this and you need that. they would take the last dollar from a homeless person.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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Invisible1stimer
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1131505 - 12/11/02 12:11 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

corporations represent, to me, everything that is wrong with the world and the reason why america is hated across the world. greed, arrogance, control.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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Anonymous

Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131622 - 12/11/02 12:49 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

The fact that you have a computer with a net connection proves that you are using corporate inventions for your own pleasure, thus proving my point.


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Invisible1stimer
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Anonymous]
    #1131631 - 12/11/02 12:52 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

the government invented the internet, or was it al gore? i never said corporations dont do good things im saying corporations need to be strictly controlled and people should be very skeptical of corporations and their advertising. also almost every corporation is corrupt in some way.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131648 - 12/11/02 01:03 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)


"corporations give people what they want"



People consume what corporations want us to consume.


People consume what they want to consume. Corporations just provide the
stuff. True, corporations do egg us on. But if a person is too stupid to think for
themselves, and to decide what they need and what they don't, then fuck them.


RandalFlagg


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Invisible1stimer
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131652 - 12/11/02 01:04 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

when you are brain-washed from birth it negates free-will. just because someone is brainwashed doesnt mean they are ignorant or stupid.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131657 - 12/11/02 01:08 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)


i never said corporations dont do good things im saying corporations need to be strictly controlled


Participate in the democratic process in order to help enact policies that you think
corporations should be legally bound to follow.


and people should be very skeptical of corporations and their advertising.


People should be skeptical of everything and everyone.


also almost every corporation is corrupt in some way.


That is a generalization. You are taking the actions of a few and applying it to
an entire community.


RandalFlagg



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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131666 - 12/11/02 01:11 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"Participate in the democratic process in order to help enact policies that you think corporations should be legally bound to follow."

why do you think i dont. i write my congressman everyday and vote in every election(i never vote for the 2 major parties).

"People should be skeptical of everything and everyone."
agreed.

"That is a generalization. You are taking the actions of a few and applying it to an entire community."
youre right it was a generalization, but it is more right than wrong.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131673 - 12/11/02 01:14 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)


when you are brain-washed from birth it negates free-will. just because someone is brainwashed doesnt mean they are ignorant or stupid.


When you live in a society where the free exchange of ideas is
allowed, "brainwashing" is not a mandatory thing that happens to everyone. As
can be evidenced on this board, there is a lot of dissent and many alternative
ways of thinking that are being expressed by people.


RandalFlagg


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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131677 - 12/11/02 01:16 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"When you live in a society where the free exchange of ideas is allowed, "brainwashing" is not a mandatory thing that happens to everyone."

i would argue that there isnt a free exchange of ideas.

"As can be evidenced on this board, there is a lot of dissent and many alternative ways of thinking that are being expressed by people."

are you saying the internet is american? i tend to see the internet as not having a nationality.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131681 - 12/11/02 01:17 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)


"Participate in the democratic process in order to help enact policies that you think corporations should be legally bound to follow."


why do you think i dont. i write my congressman everyday and vote in every election(i never vote for the 2 major parties).


I never said you didn't. I was just stating my opinion of what a person should do
if they disagree with something that is going on.


RandalFlagg


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131692 - 12/11/02 07:34 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)


"When you live in a society where the free exchange of ideas is allowed, "brainwashing" is not a mandatory thing that happens to everyone."


i would argue that there isnt a free exchange of ideas.


How so? In America, there are publications that represent every political, social,
and cultural bent imaginable. There are people and groups espousing every
imaginable viewpoint. A person is allowed to say what they want, read what
they want, and pursue what they want.


"As can be evidenced on this board, there is a lot of dissent and many alternative ways of thinking that are being expressed by people."


are you saying the internet is american? i tend to see the internet as not having a nationality.


hahaha No not at all. I guess it is a habit to automatically assume when I see English being typed, that the person belongs to a "standard Western country",
such as England, Canada, or the U.S.

RandalFlagg


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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131712 - 12/11/02 07:42 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

the mainstream media is all that really matters. its what the majority of the population hear. the government lies and the media echoes.

"A person is allowed to say what they want, read what
they want, and pursue what they want"

not true. religion is being forced into schools and government facilities. operation tips is a program that tries to limit what people openly say. also censorship is running rampant in the media due to the fat whit big wigs who own the companies.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1132152 - 12/11/02 11:35 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)


the mainstream media is all that really matters. its what the majority of the population hear. the government lies and the media echoes.

No it isn't. I reiterate; anybody in a free society is allowed to get their information from whereever they please.


"A person is allowed to say what they want, read what
they want, and pursue what they want"


not true. religion is being forced into schools and government facilities.


Huh? Where have you been for the last thirty years? It was my understanding
that religious beliefs in schools and in public life are constantly under attack. Did
you see the recent ruling that said "under God" was illegal to have in the pledge of
allegiance? Led prayer is strictly forbidden in schools. Courthouses that have the
ten commandments hung up are being sued by the ACLU. Religion is not being
forced into anywhere. It is being driven from everywhere.


operation tips is a program that tries to limit what people openly say. also censorship is running rampant in the media due to the fat whit big wigs who own the companies.


It's funny. The left-wing screams that the media is biased towards hawkish and right-wing causes. The right-wing screams that the media is hopelessly biased towards the left-wing. Go figure.


RandalFlagg



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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1132339 - 12/11/02 12:42 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Alex123 writes in response to my refutation of his bullshit claim:

Any evidence or is this just the usual fantasy?

You have no conception of how discussion works. It is not up to me to prove that your completely unsupported claim is false, it is up to you to prove that it is true. Your claim that there are 10 year old girls working 36 hour shifts in factories owned by Western corporations is bullshit, pure and simple.

When you first started fantasizing about this issue a few months ago, your claim was that they worked 18 hour shifts for a dollar a day. A few days later it magically became 20 hours for fifty cents a day. Next post it was 24 hours for thirty cents a day. Lately it has been 36 hours for 15 cents.

I call bullshit.

Strange because I've seen women interviewed who did just this when they were 10. On a regular basis. The western factories made "no comment".

You are lying through your teeth. Anyone can spin a fantasy that they saw some imaginary interview. Prove it.

It took millions of brave men and women fighting in the face of brutal corporate oppression to win the right to educate our children.

Bullshit. People have been educating their children since the dawn of revorded history.

If we had allowed your beloved corporations free reign you would never have recieved an education.

More bullshit. Educated workers are of far more value than uneducated ones.

You too would have been working "by your own choice".

If I was one of those inhabitants of a developing nation where the living conditions were so bleak, I probably WOULD choose to work in a Nike factory. What would YOU do?

pinky


--------------------


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: hongomon]
    #1132413 - 12/11/02 01:09 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

hongomon writes:

I'm not against children working from a young age as a rule --but we're talking about how much work, in what kinds of conditions, and with what kinds of wages and benefits.

Who has the right to decide these things? If they (or their parents) feel they are working too hard and too long in unsatisfactory conditions for insufficient compensation, they have every right to decide to expend their effort elsewhere, do they not?

I don't like the comparison.

You don't have to like it.

The Taliban were Islamic fundamentalists.

My point exactly. Different strokes for different folks. It's a cultural thing. Some cultures find it normal for a woman to be pregnant by age 14. Others find it bizarre that we don't allow our youth to drink alcohol before age 21. Some cultures feel it is acceptable for an individual to start working for a living at an earlier age than other cultures. Do you not agree that multiculturalism is a GOOD thing? Or are you so chauvinistic that you dare to believe some cultures are superior to others?

Governments of western countries made those laws because it was clear to them that they were shooting themselves in the foot if they allowed so many of their poor to enter adulthood with no education.

Clearly not every government in the world feels it must follow the example of imperialistic exploitive money-grubbing planet-raping culture-destroying Western governments. They have their own ancient cultures and they are proud of them.

Those are foreign companies coming in with job offers. Where does culture play in? Do ten-year-old Brazilian goldmine workers carry 30 kg bags of rock and mud because culturally that's what Brazilian ten-year-olds do?

1) Not all mines in Brazil are foreign-owned.

2)There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.

3) Brazilian culture expects able-bodied youths to work (presuming they can find employment)at an earlier age than American culture does.

The bottom line is that poverty is why children must work to supplement their families income...

Finally! Someone who actually grasps the issue at hand!

...and in plenty of countries worldwide, lack of regulation of Western corporations contributes to a vicious cycle--kids grow up as beasts of burden--they have no education but their reproductive systems work fine...

Assume that no Western corporation had ever set up a single factory in such a country. Please explain to us how their situation would be any different.

pinky


--------------------


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1132447 - 12/11/02 01:21 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

1stimer writes:

the mainstream media is all that really matters. its what the majority of the population hear. the government lies and the media echoes.

So you haven't been brainwashed, but the majority of the population has?

How is it that you managed to escape this fate? What makes you so special?

RandallFlagg writes:

A person is allowed to say what they want, read what they want, and pursue what they want

1stimer responds: not true. religion is being forced into schools and government facilities.

How does this prevent people from saying what they want, reading what they want, and pursuing what they want?

operation tips is a program that tries to limit what people openly say.

Wrong. Operation TIPS is a stoolie program. It most emphatically does not want people to limit what they say. Quite the reverse. It wants them to spill their guts to the Feds. If people limit what they say, the program is a failure.

also censorship is running rampant in the media due to the fat whit big wigs who own the companies.

This is not censorship, this is choice. Censorship by definition can be imposed only by force, not by voluntary selection.

pinky


--------------------


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1133365 - 12/11/02 07:37 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

the government invented the internet

The taxpayer funded every last cent of the programme that created the internet. Billions. Then the technology was pissed away to private corporations for them to make the profit. It's always been the way.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1133418 - 12/11/02 07:53 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

If they (or their parents) feel they are working too hard and too long in unsatisfactory conditions for insufficient compensation, they have every right to decide to expend their effort elsewhere, do they not?

What bullshit. Do you think kids work 36 hour days for 10 cents because they want to? Find me a single worker happy to work in a Nike factory.

Some cultures feel it is acceptable for an individual to start working for a living at an earlier age than other cultures.

Bullshit. Every parent would rather his child had a chance in life rather than worked in a Nike factory from the age of 10.

Clearly not every government in the world feels it must follow the example of imperialistic exploitive money-grubbing planet-raping culture-destroying Western governments. They have their own ancient cultures and they are proud of them.

Bullshit again. Most western corporations are far more powerful than any government over there. Install a few corrupt dictators, build them a few palaces and they'll agree to halve the minimum wage, turn the other way when workers drop dead from industrial poisons and let you pollute to your hearts content.

There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.

Evidence please. Not your bizarre personal fantasies.

Assume that no Western corporation had ever set up a single factory in such a country. Please explain to us how their situation would be any different.

You'd need to read a book on the subject. No doubt it would be your first...start with "When corporations rule the world".


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1133510 - 12/11/02 08:17 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Here's an article from the Washington Post about one factory in China that supplies various American toy companies. Some of the key points:

Mandatory daily shifts of 15 hours or more, from 8:00 a.m. to after midnight and sometimes past 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.
Forced to work seven days a week for two months straight, without a day off.
Paid 12 cents an hour, for 105 hours a week.
Cheated out of overtime pay.
Wages paid two months late.
Fined three days' pay for missing a night shift due to exhaustion.
Fined for more than five minutes in bathroom.
Fined for failing to meet production quotas.
Air thick with fibers, temperature above 90 degrees.
Total suppression of right to organize.
Company monitoring inspections always announced in advance.
Many factories not "monitored" at all.

American toy companies do business with factories such as this obviously because they sell them the product at the cheapest cost. While American companies claim that they oversee labor practices at their subcontractors' factories, this is complete bullshit. They don't. And even when reputable news organization such as the Washington Post make these revelations public, the American companies still gear up their PR Denial Machines.

But of course, I don't expect the "libertarians" and right wingers on this forum to give a shit. In their eyes, multi-billion dollar, multinational corporations can do no wrong, and the poor and uneducated people who get suckered into working at their factories have only themselves to blame. Why, they should get out there and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

By Philip P. Pan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, May 13, 2002; Page A01



SONGGANG, China -- On the night she died, Li Chunmei must have been exhausted.

Co-workers said she had been on her feet for nearly 16 hours, running back and forth inside the Bainan Toy Factory, carrying toy parts from machine to machine. When the quitting bell finally rang shortly after midnight, her young face was covered with sweat.

Li Chunmei stands in her impoverished hometown of Xiao'eshan before she traveled to Songgang to work in a toy factory. (Family photo)
This was the busy season, before Christmas, when orders peaked from Japan and the United States for the factory's stuffed animals. Long hours were mandatory, and at least two months had passed since Li and the other workers had enjoyed even a Sunday off.



Lying on her bed that night, staring at the bunk above her, the slight 19-year-old complained she felt worn out, her roommates recalled. She was massaging her aching legs, and coughing, and she told them she was hungry. The factory food was so bad, she said, she felt as if she had not eaten at all.

"I want to quit," one of her roommates, Huang Jiaqun, remembered her saying. "I want to go home."

Finally, the lights went out. Her roommates had already fallen asleep when Li started coughing up blood. They found her in the bathroom a few hours later, curled up on the floor, moaning softly in the dark, bleeding from her nose and mouth. Someone called an ambulance, but she died before it arrived.

The exact cause of Li's death remains unknown. But what happened to her last November in this industrial town in southeastern Guangdong province is described by family, friends and co-workers as an example of what China's more daring newspapers call guolaosi. The phrase means "over-work death," and usually applies to young workers who suddenly collapse and die after working exceedingly long hours, day after day.

There has been little research on what causes these deaths, or how often they occur. Local journalists say many of them are never documented but estimate that dozens die under such circumstances every year in the Pearl River Delta area alone, the booming manufacturing region north of Hong Kong.




The stories of these deaths highlight labor conditions that are the norm for a new generation of workers in China, tens of millions of migrants who have flocked from the nation's impoverished countryside to its prospering coast.

In an historic shift, these migrant workers now number more than 200 million by some estimates, more than the 80 million employees working in China's shrinking state industries.

These new workers are younger, poorer, and less familiar with the promises of labor rights and job security that once served as the ideological bedrock of the ruling Communist Party. They are more likely to work for private companies, often backed by foreign investment, with no socialist tradition of cradle-to-grave benefits.

The young migrants are also second-class citizens, with less access to the weak courts and trade unions that sometimes temper market forces as China's economy changes from socialist to capitalist. Most of all, they are outsiders, struggling to make a living far away from home.


'Go Out and Make Money'


Li Chunmei's home was the village of Xiaoeshan, a remote hamlet high in the mountains of western Sichuan province, 700 miles and a world away from the factories of Songgang, where she died. The area remains among the poorest in China, with no roads, one telephone and limited electricity and plumbing.

There are no tractors, just oxen, a few primitive tools and peasants who till the earth with their hands. Few residents can read a newspaper, and fewer still speak the national language, Mandarin. Traveling there entails a hike through fog-shrouded mountains, along narrow paths that resemble muddy balance beams.

Li Chunmei was the second of five children born to parents who squeeze out a living from this rough terrain, farming small plots of land on terraces carved into the mountainside. Day after day, they climb up and down the mountain, tending to scattered patches of wheat and rice.

"This is a poor village, and all the parents here want their children to leave for the cities as soon as possible," said Li's father, Li Zhimin, sitting inside a house he built out of packed dirt. "The sooner they go, the sooner they can help support the family."

The economics are simple, residents said. People in Xiaoeshan eat most of what they grow, and by selling the rest they earn an average annual income of about $25 each. But local officials demand about $37 per person in taxes and fees. Several peasants who refused to pay last year were arrested.

Residents say there is only one way to survive: Pull the children out of school, and later send them to find work in faraway cities.

Li took his eldest daughter, Li Mei, out of school in the third grade, before she learned to write her name properly. Li Chunmei left school in the third grade, too. The girls were put to work farming and feeding the livestock.

When Li Mei was 15, she boarded a bus to Shenzhen, the special economic zone adjacent to Hong Kong.

"Our family was having difficulties," she said. "I wanted to support myself and earn money to help my parents. I wanted to help keep my other sisters in school."

Two years later, Li Mei returned home with more than $100 in savings. Li Chunmei was 15 then, and she announced she was ready to join her sister in the city. The family needed the money, and she didn't want her father to work so hard, Li Mei recalled her sister saying.

At the end of the holiday, Li Zhimin accompanied his daughters on the long walk through the mountains to the nearest bus station. Li Chunmei was crying quietly, he recalled.

"Of course, I was worried, . . . but I told her not to cry," her father said. "I told her, 'There's no reason to cry. Go out and make money.'

"I told her, 'It's bad luck to cry.' "



The Worst Job


The ride lasted three days and three nights.

When they reached the elevated expressway between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Li Chunmei caught her first glimpse of the factory complexes of the Pearl River Delta, her sister said. Drab, concrete dormitories line the road, decorated only by lines of laundry hanging from window to window. Late at night, passing motorists can peer through the factory windows and see rows of young women hunched over machines, working under florescent lights.

The Li sisters disembarked in Dongguan, a fast-growing city of 9 million residents, of whom more than 7 million are migrant workers. Li Mei had spent the past two years there, moving from one toy factory to another, and she had a job waiting. She said it didn't take long to arrange one for her little sister, too.

But Li Chunmei's first year in the factories ended abruptly when a motorcycle struck her and broke her leg while she was crossing the street. Her father said he traveled to Dongguan and took his daughter home to recuperate.

When she returned more than a year later, at the age of 17, Li Chunmei settled in Songgang, a satellite town northwest of Shenzhen where her sister had found work with a Korean toy manufacturer, Kaiming Industrial Ltd. Sister helped sister again, and Li Chunmei landed a job there, too.

In the two years before her death, friends and relatives said, Li worked in three different plants that produced stuffed animals, one run by Kaiming and two others that regularly received orders from the company.

Songgang is dominated by sprawling, fenced-in industrial complexes that produce all manner of clothes, toys and electronic goods for world markets. In the evenings, after quitting time, groups of young men and women stroll through the town, their factory ID tags pinned to their uniforms, time cards tucked in shirt pockets.

The town presented an exciting new world for a country girl, a place with streetlights and mahjong parlors, and off-key karaoke songs drifting through the warm air. But friends and co-workers said Li rarely ventured outside the factory gates.

Inside, life followed a rigid routine, co-workers said. Li was out of bed by 7:30 a.m. and in uniform and at her post by 8. At noon, she could take 90 minutes for lunch and a quick nap. At 5:30 she had 30 minutes for dinner. Overtime began at 6, and the quitting bell usually didn't ring until after midnight.

Workers said most of the factory's employees were assigned to assembly lines that stitched together stuffed animals. One worker attached an eye, and the next sewed on an ear. They spent the whole day sitting in front of their sewing machines, performing a single task again and again.

Li was a runner, co-workers said, always on her feet. When one worker finished a task, the runners picked up the toy and raced it to the next worker on the line. An average line had 25 workers and just two or three runners, and produced as many as 1,000 toys a day.

"She had the worst job, and the bosses were always yelling at her to go faster," said one worker on Li's assembly line, who asked to be identified by his surname, Liu. "There were no breaks, and there was no air conditioning." He added that the air was full of fibers, and with the heat from the machines, sometimes the temperature climbed above 90 degrees.

Runners required no special skills, and were paid the least, about 12 cents per hour, workers said. During the busy season, including extra pay for overtime, Li could earn about $65 a month.

But there were deductions. Workers said the company withheld about $12 a month for room and board and charged them for benefits they never received. For example, workers said they paid for the temporary residence permits they needed to live and work in Songgang legally, but never received them.

Managers also had the power to impose arbitrary fines, including penalties for spending more than five minutes in the bathroom, wasting food during meals and failing to meet production quotas, workers said.

Li often complained about the conditions, but she also seemed happy to be earning money, friends said. Once, she told them she was saving for her dowry.

"She was shy and honest, and the poorest of all of us," said Shen Xiuqun, a co-worker from Li's hometown. "She didn't have a boyfriend. She didn't like music. When all of us went out, she usually stayed in."

Another colleague, Zhang Fayong, recalled that Li once purchased a new dress, then refused to wear it. She said Li was amazed she had spent the money on it, and afraid she somehow might ruin it. After her death, her father found the dress among her belongings, folded and wrapped in plastic, he said.

He also found a stack of laminated snapshots, taken at local photo parlors for 50 cents apiece. They show Li with her friends, standing in front of false landscapes, dressed up in costumes: a military uniform, a traditional Chinese gown. She looks surprisingly young, just a teenager with long black hair, holding flowers, or saluting, or sitting with an ID tag pinned to her blouse.

She was smiling in only one picture.


'We Were Trapped'


Two months before she died, Li Chunmei was transferred from the main Kaiming factory to a new plant down the street, the Bainan Toy Factory, a featureless brown building. She and about 60 other Kaiming employees began making toys in a third-floor workshop under the supervision of her manager at Kaiming, Wu Duoqin, co-workers said.

There, conditions got worse. The peak season had arrived, and Wu pressed her employees to work longer and longer hours, sometimes past 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., workers said. They worked every day for more than 60 days.

"Everyone has to work overtime. You have no choice. Even if you're sick, you have to work," said one of Li's co-workers, who asked to be identified only by her surname, Zhao.

"But we don't even get paid for all of the overtime," she added. "For example, we might work six or seven hours extra, but then they just put down three or four hours on the timecards."

Less than a week before she died, Li begged her line manager for a day off, saying she was exhausted. He refused. Then Li skipped a night shift to catch up on sleep and was docked three days' pay, co-workers recalled.

Friends said Li often spoke of quitting and returning home. But the factory had not paid her for two months, and if she quit, she was afraid she might not get the money. Several workers were in similar situations. "We were trapped," said one, a 17-year-old girl from Sichuan province. "All we could do was keep working."

Many of the conditions described by Li's co-workers violate Chinese law. The minimum wage in Songgang is about 30 cents per hour. Overtime is limited in China to no more than 36 hours per month, and it must be voluntary. Arbitrary fines and pay deductions are prohibited. But enforcement of the law is weak.

"It may be illegal, but it's normal," said Wu Chunlin, 25, a migrant from Sichuan who said he has worked in a half-dozen different factories in the region over the past five years. "It's more or less the same wherever we go."

One Chinese journalist who has investigated working conditions in the Pearl River Delta said the problem is a "merger of interests" between local government officials and factory managers. The officials are eager to stimulate investment and generate taxes and bribes, so they are often willing to overlook labor rights and safety violations, he said.

Li Qiang, a former labor organizer in China who fled to the United States two years ago, described helping a group of 400 migrant workers in Shenzhen file a complaint about factory conditions, only to be turned away by local officials.

"They said, 'Go back to the factory.' They said, 'You should know better. It's like this everywhere,' " Li Qiang recalled. "The problem is a lot of these local officials have relatives or friends who are hired as managers in the factories. There's a network of connections, and migrant workers are on the outside."

In many ways, migrant workers are among the most vulnerable in China's working class. Under a government system intended to restrict population movement, migrants enjoy fewer rights and welfare benefits than workers in the old state factories, and police can arbitrarily arrest and repatriate them to their hometowns.

It is also more difficult for them to organize protests or follow through with a complaint in the slow-moving courts. "The state workers have been together a long time. Sometimes they grew up together, so it can be easier for them to stick together," Li Qiang said. "But migrant workers are from different places, and they don't have deep roots. They're easily scattered."

The migrant workers usually are less educated than their urban counterparts, and largely unaware of their rights. Very few belong to government-controlled trade unions; in interviews, many had never even heard of the Chinese word for labor union.

In the private factories where migrants often work, managers are primarily concerned about profit. By contrast, despite new market pressures, managers of state factories in China often resemble political leaders, responsible for the overall welfare of their workers.

Foreign outcry over sweatshop labor has led some multinational firms to monitor conditions in their factories and among their direct suppliers. But a system of subcontracting has undermined such measures.

For example, Kaiming Industrial receives orders to produce toys for a variety of brand-name companies, but their inspectors rarely visit the company and always announce visits in advance, according to a senior manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

He said the factory maintains good labor standards. It can afford to do so, he said, because it farms out the least profitable and most difficult orders to factories with lower standards, including Bainan, and then just takes a commission. The Bainan factory, in turn, distributes some of its workload to subcontractors such as Wu Duoqin, the supervisor who employed Li Chunmei, he said.

"So you see, she wasn't working for us," he said. "It's not our problem."

A woman who answered the phone at the Bainan factory but refused to give her name said the same thing: "Yes, we heard about that. But she wasn't working for us. It's not our responsibility."

Wu Duoqin could not be located. Officials at Kaiming and Bainan said they had lost touch with her, and a phone number she once used was disconnected.



A Father's Sorrow


Immediately after learning of his daughter's death, Li Zhimin traveled to Songgang. For 28 days, he said, he tried to get someone to take responsibility for what happened.

The police sent him to the offices of the local labor bureau, which sent him to the Bainan factory, where managers refused to see him. Then he tried the district-level labor bureau, which sent him to the local commerce department and the Shenzhen city labor bureau.

Finally, police gave him a letter that said a district medical examiner had concluded Li Chunmei "suddenly died because of an illness while she was alive." There were no other details, and the local labor bureau declared her death "non-work-related."

Li said he was unhappy with the finding, but was helpless to do anything about it. Eventually, he said, Kaiming Industrial pressured Wu Duoqin to pay for his daughter's funeral, for the expenses he incurred while in Songgang and for his bus ticket back home. His eldest daughter, Li Mei, returned with him.

Now, the family is again struggling to make ends meet. Li Mei is planning to return to the factories next year.



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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1133543 - 12/11/02 08:31 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Those who like more facts and investigative reports on working conditions around the world should check out the website of a watchdog organization called The National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights

Another organization that focuses on sweatshops right here in the US is
http://www.sweatshopwatch.org

Just for those who actually want to be informed. The rest of you should feel free to continue living in your worlds of ideological delusion and Randian superman complexes.


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1133679 - 12/11/02 10:08 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

I read the entire article and it was fantastic. Thanks for sharing some hard facts.


--------------------

"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1134004 - 12/12/02 04:06 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Pinky asks:
Who has the right to decide these things? 

Let me guess, you're opposed to any "union" activity among nations.  Face it, there are some very poor nations in the world which provide labor and resources to the U.S. and other developed nations.  Often, along the time line, they've been shat upon in serious ways.  Then we say, Why can't these backward nations get their shit together!  I'm all for international pressure against corporations who exploit.  There are puh-lenty of people among any of these cultures who are in the fight.  You want specifics to be culturally pertinent?  There's your answer.  But--oh, damn, another activist just got macheted up and dumped in a ditch near the workers' slums.  (That does happen, doesn't it?)

I know you think that when a destitute individual accepts employment to stave off death the negotiations are automatically fair and square, but there's just so much evidence to the contrary.

Have you read any Zola?  "Germinal", for one, highlights the plight of just the sort of people we're discussing here.  They gave a serious go at fighting against the coal mine barons.  It's a depressing book.  How about Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude", and the disastrous strike attempt against the banana companies? 

Of course, that's all fiction, right?  Riiight.

I don't like the comparison.

You don't have to like it.

So, tact is out the window, ay?  Your comparison is tripe. I've explained why I think so.  What a shame you feel so protective of your ideology that you must defend exploitation of children as "a cultural thing".  One of the lamest things I've read from you.  Have you seen Zoolander?  The hypnotism scene is funny because he's speaking such complete bullshit.  And now you're presenting it in a serious tone.

Do you not agree that multiculturalism is a GOOD thing? Or are you so chauvinistic that you dare to believe some cultures are superior to others?

I don't place any fixed value on multiculturalism.  It is a thing.  Technology is a thing.  A gun is a thing.  They have their ups and downs.  I smelled this coming when you brought the culture thing up before.  If only I'd made a wager with a friend, I could've won a dinner.  :grin:  If you weren't using the culture issue in such an absurd way, it would be worth discussing.  I agree that cultural and social factors need to be considered in the matter of child labor.  But it ain't the trump card you seem to want to think.

Clearly not every government in the world feels it must follow the example of imperialistic exploitive money-grubbing planet-raping culture-destroying Western governments.

Tell that to the various failed social experiments in Central and South America starting in the fifties.  Now, here I'm confused: As a laissez-faire capitalist, what exactly  is  your take on the U.S. government's foreign policy?

Those are foreign companies coming in with job offers. Where does culture play in? Do ten-year-old Brazilian goldmine workers carry 30 kg bags of rock and mud because culturally that's what Brazilian ten-year-olds do?

1) Not all mines in Brazil are foreign-owned.

Don't forget the title of this thread.  Or are you making a serious arguement?

2)There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.

I want to know how you're so sure.  Is it because no one has kidnapped you and dragged you to Brazil?  Well, I'm sure I can find Cabarete....  I lived in Brazil and spent some time in Minas Gerais, Brazil's mining country.  I went to Ouro Preto, and I went to a mine.  Maybe I'm lying through my teeth, or maybe I dreamed it all, but I'll be damned if those bags didn't weigh 30 kg.  I don't think the average North American tourist gets the tour I did.  I even slept on a dirt floor under a corregated tin roof.  If you choose not to believe me, fine--there are plenty of documented cases of similar problems elsewhere.

3) Brazilian culture expects able-bodied youths to work (presuming they can find employment)at an earlier age than American culture does.

That is a much more reasonable application of cultural sensitivity to the issue.  Tell me, though, about Brazillian culture.  At what age do they expect their youth to begin?  What types of employment are acceptable?  What age/types are considered exploitative?  What happens then? 

The bottom line is that poverty is why children must work to supplement their families income...

Finally! Someone who actually grasps the issue at hand!

Sorry for enticing you to take that comment out of context.  The bottom line, I should have stated, is that poverty,  not culture , is why children work.  I'm sure you'll see a starting-age difference between economic classes within just about any culture.  In fact, can you find one where this isn't so?  What do children generally do with all their time when they don't have to work?  In the U.S., they go to school, the bums.  Canada too.  Education--a whole nother thread, with challenges of its own.

hongomon 


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1134657 - 12/12/02 08:33 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

An instructive and moving story, Echovortex. Thanks for providing it.

For those who don't care to read my point-by-point critique, here's a capsule version:

A 19 year old girl (who was 15 at the time she started working for wages) from an impoverished village in a Communist country becomes ill and dies after working 16 and 17 hours a day (subtracting her 2 hours a day breaktime) for 60 days in a row at the peak time of year in a factory that subcontracts to a Korean company. Previously in the non-peak time she had been working up to 14 hours a day (subtracting 2 hours a day for breaktime). It is not reported how many days a week she worked during non-peak times.

The reason she took this job was that there was no other way for her family (peasant farmers) to survive. She is the lowest-paid employee in the entire plant. Although the minimum wage is 30 cents an hour with extra pay for voluntary overtime (compulsory overtime is illegal in China) she is paid only 12 cents an hour and must work overtime at extra pay or be fired. She is illegally cheated out of some overtime hours, and has her pay illegally withheld for two months. The Communist authorities responsible for enforcing the labor laws are corrupt, so refuse to do their job.

Note that she was not 10 years old. She was not working 36 hours. She received at least 12 cents an hour (note that Alex123 has yet again revised his wage figure downwards for his mythical 10 year old girls -- they now get 10 cents for a 36 hour shift. Tomorrow it will be 8 cents), more than that once she had worked nore than 10 hours in a given day. Some months she received as much as $53 (double what the average worker in her home village accumulates in an entire year) after deductions for the room and board provided by the company.

Echovortex writes:

Here's an article from the Washington Post about one factory in China that supplies various American toy companies.

In their eyes, multi-billion dollar, multinational corporations can do no wrong...

Not in my eyes. Corporations are just as capable of doing unethical and illegal things as are individuals. In a Capitalist (or even quasi-capitalist country) society, such corporations are subject to an objective code of laws. Apparently, such is not the case in Communist countries.

...the poor and uneducated people who get suckered into working at their factories have only themselves to blame. Why, they should get out there and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

The workers are not to blame for the fact that they were born into poverty. Neither are Western corporations. I ask again (knowing full well I will never receive an answer), if no Western Corporation had ever set foot in China, what would those workers be doing?

"On the night she died, Li Chunmei must have been exhausted."

"Co-workers said she had been on her feet for nearly 16 hours..."

Imagine how much more exhausted she would have been after working a 36 hour shift. Here we have a contradiction in the reportage, though. Later in the article the author says that she receives a 90 minute break for lunch and a nap, and 30 minutes for supper. It is unclear why on this particular day she is working 16 hours straight through.

"Li Chunmei stands in her impoverished hometown of Xiao'eshan before she traveled to Songgang to work in a toy factory. "

We are left to wonder why her hometown is impoverished. Could the answer be Communism?

"Lying on her bed that night, staring at the bunk above her, the slight 19-year-old complained she felt worn out, her roommates recalled."

I'll bet a 10 year old would have felt even more worn out.

"The stories of these deaths highlight labor conditions that are the norm for a new generation of workers in China, tens of millions of migrants who have flocked from the nation's impoverished countryside to its prospering coast."

Why is the coast prospering when the countryside is not?

"In an historic shift, these migrant workers now number more than 200 million by some estimates, more than the 80 million employees working in China's shrinking state industries."

Why are the state industries shrinking?

These new workers are younger, poorer, and less familiar with the promises of labor rights and job security that once served as the ideological bedrock of the ruling Communist Party.

Could it be they are quite familiar with the promises but observant enough to know the promises are empty?

"They are more likely to work for private companies, often backed by foreign investment, with no socialist tradition of cradle-to-grave benefits."

An apparently unfulfilled tradition, at least in "the countryside".

"The young migrants are also second-class citizens..."

How can that be? Communism is a "classless" society!

"The economics are simple, residents said. People in Xiaoeshan eat most of what they grow, and by selling the rest they earn an average annual income of about $25 each. But local officials demand about $37 per person in taxes and fees. Several peasants who refused to pay last year were arrested.
Residents say there is only one way to survive: Pull the children out of school, and later send them to find work in faraway cities."


So according to the people who know the situation best (the residents themselves), if there were no factories to send their children off to, there would be no way to survive.

"Inside, life followed a rigid routine, co-workers said. Li was out of bed by 7:30 a.m. and in uniform and at her post by 8. At noon, she could take 90 minutes for lunch and a quick nap. At 5:30 she had 30 minutes for dinner. Overtime began at 6, and the quitting bell usually didn't ring until after midnight."

Fourteen hours a day spent working. Those are definitely long hours.

Runners required no special skills, and were paid the least, about 12 cents per hour, workers said. During the busy season, including extra pay for overtime, Li could earn about $65 a month....Workers said the company withheld about $12 a month for room and board and charged them for benefits they never received.

So the least-skilled, lowest-paid worker in the entire plant made double in a month what she would have made in a year in the village she had left. Now we begin to understand why she left the village.

"He also found a stack of laminated snapshots, taken at local photo parlors for 50 cents apiece."

Terrible as her working conditions seem to us, it is worth remembering that each photo in that "stack" cost her the same amount of cash that a worker from her home village would be able to accumulate in a week.

"The peak season had arrived, and Wu pressed her employees to work longer and longer hours, sometimes past 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., workers said."

Now she is working as long as 16 and 17 hours a day... 10 hours at regular rates, 6 or 7 hours at overtime rates. Overtime is compulsory.

"But we don't even get paid for all of the overtime," she added. "For example, we might work six or seven hours extra, but then they just put down three or four hours on the timecards."

A clear case of fraud,a crime in a Capitalist country.

"Friends said Li often spoke of quitting and returning home. But the factory had not paid her for two months, and if she quit, she was afraid she might not get the money."

Breach of contract. Again, a crime in a Capitalist country.

"Many of the conditions described by Li's co-workers violate Chinese law. The minimum wage in Songgang is about 30 cents per hour. Overtime is limited in China to no more than 36 hours per month, and it must be voluntary. Arbitrary fines and pay deductions are prohibited. But enforcement of the law is weak."

Ah! So these practices are also illegal in the People's Paradise. The politicians have no difficulty sending tanks against demonstrators, but seem unwilling or unable to ensure their dutiful citizens are receiving the benefits to which they are entitled. Interesting.

"The officials are eager to stimulate investment and generate taxes and bribes, so they are often willing to overlook labor rights and safety violations, he said."

Corrupt bureaucrats? How surprising!

"Under a government system intended to restrict population movement, migrants enjoy fewer rights and welfare benefits than workers in the old state factories, and police can arbitrarily arrest and repatriate them to their hometowns."

So the problem is caused by government restrictions on individual freedom?

"managers of state factories in China often resemble political leaders, responsible for the overall welfare of their workers."

Too bad there aren't enough state factories to employ everyone who wishes to work in one. Sounds like China should have never allowed foreign factories to be built.

"Now, the family is again struggling to make ends meet. Li Mei is planning to return to the factories next year."

Despite the tragedy of her sister's death, Li Mei is willing to risk the same fate. Ask yourself why that might be.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1134747 - 12/12/02 09:02 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Note that she was not 10 years old

THIS girl wasn't.

She was not working 36 hours

THIS girl wasn't.

She received at least 12 cents an hour (note that Alex123 has yet again revised his wage figure downwards for his mythical 10 year old girls -- they now get 10 cents

In THIS factory they get 12 cents.

Neither are Western corporations.

Oh come on. Propping up brutal dictators who obey corporate commands, creating tax exempt trade zones with massive walls around them to keep out any inspectors, paying nothing for any infrastructure they use, shacks built for the workers to lay on the floor inside the zone, refusing to pay a living wage leaving nothing left to stimulate the local economy. I think that's making just a *tiny* contribution to the situation.

if no Western Corporation had ever set foot in China, what would those workers be doing?

Making their own way? Like the early americans did?

Despite the tragedy of her sister's death, Li Mei is willing to risk the same fate. Ask yourself why that might be.

Because there are a lot of desperate people in this world. If the government allowed corporations to open factories in america paying 5 bucks a day you would still get people desperate enough to do the work. And once they are working for a lousy wage every other corporation would say "Hey, they're working for 5 bucks a day, why should we pay 20 bucks a day?" It's called the "race to the bottom". Within a short period of time the corporations are paying 10 cents.

It's the kind of situation the unions saved us from. But in south east asia when you've got a western installed psychotics like Suharto for president and complete corporate control of all aspects of the law forming a union isn't easy. As echo pointed out, try forming a union and you end up "accidentally" machetted to death in a ditch. "The machette just slipped your honour..75 times"


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1134865 - 12/12/02 10:02 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

*shakes head* You're a cold SOB. There government ignoring the law probably has a lot to do with money going in their pocket fromm the corporation.


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Edited by sir tripsalot (12/12/02 10:04 AM)


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1134954 - 12/12/02 10:56 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

THIS girl wasn't.

In THIS factory they get 12 cents.

Feel free at any time to provide proof of your imaginary 10 year old girls working 36 hour shifts for ten cents. Until then lets discuss people who actually exist.

Propping up brutal dictators who obey corporate commands...

Western corporations didn't "prop up" the politburo of the People's Republic of China, or Pol Pot in Cambodia, or the People's Chamber of Deputies in Viet Nam, etc.

...creating tax exempt trade zones...

Corporations can't create tax exemptions; governments do.

...with massive walls around them to keep out any inspectors...

Government inspectors go wherever the government tells them to go, especially in totalitarian states.

....paying nothing for any infrastructure they use...

If the owner of that infrastructure (government) sees fit not to charge them, why should they pay?

....refusing to pay a living wage leaving nothing left to stimulate the local economy.

Hmm. So the workers shouldn't be allowed to send back to their families starving in the interior the savings they accumulate? They should be forced to spend those savings locally? I can see how a government could force them to spend their savings locally, but I don't see how a corporation could.

Seems we agree, Alex. It's not the corporations that are doing bad things, it's the government.

I think that's making just a *tiny* contribution to the situation.

Re-read what I wrote. I said it was not the fault of the workers they were born into poverty. Neither is it the fault of Western corporations that they were born into poverty.

I asked: How would the workers raise themselves out of poverty if not a single Western corporation had ever set foot on Chinese soil? You replied:

Making their own way? Like the early americans did?

An admirably detailed answer. *sarcasm* Seems the only time you care to deal in specifics rather than vague generalities is when they are imaginary specifics.

But let's let your well-reasoned answer stand, and ask the next logical question. How does the presence of Western corporations prevent the people of China from "making their own way"? Why do the people not simply ignore the Western factories and continue making their own way?

If the government allowed corporations to open factories in america paying 5 bucks a day you would still get people desperate enough to do the work.

Unlikely. Why would anyone give up welfare benefits to work for five bucks a day?

And once they are working for a lousy wage every other corporation would say "Hey, they're working for 5 bucks a day, why should we pay 20 bucks a day?" It's called the "race to the bottom". Within a short period of time the corporations are paying 10 cents.

This is nonsense. I have held many jobs in my life, and the only one where I was ever paid minimum wage was the very first, when I was still in school. Every other non-unionized company I worked for paid more than minimum wage. No one was forcing these companies to pay more than minimum wage -- neither government regulations nor union pressure. Yet they did. How does your "race to the bottom" theory explain this fact?

It's the kind of situation the unions saved us from.

The only unionized job I ever held was as a mail sorter. It was the second-lowest-paying job I ever held.

But in south east asia when you've got a western installed psychotics like Suharto for president...

You're talking governments again. This is why I said I'd prefer more corporations to more government.

...and complete corporate control of all aspects of the law...

Tell the Politburo of the P.R.C. that they are under corporate control. Please videotape the encounter so we can all enjoy their reaction.

...forming a union isn't easy.

Correct. Neither is running your own business. But at least in a society where the government has no power over economic matters (i.e. Laissez-faire Capitalism) it is possible to do both.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1135016 - 12/12/02 11:19 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

sir tripsalot writes:

You're a cold SOB.

Why do you say that? I personally think it is a shame that the best life people in these countries can find for themselves is to work under those conditions. I wish it were otherwise.

But the fact of the matter is that for those 200 million migrant workers in China as mentioned in the article Echovortex provided, such a life, difficult as it is, is better than anything else available. Without those factory owners (regardless of what you or I or anyone else may think of their practices) many of those people would die of starvation. Literally.

The 800 pound gorilla sitting in the corner that all the Statists in this thread are deliberately ignoring is that the poverty in these countries is a direct result of the government policies of those countries. Nike and Hasbro Toys didn't create the conditions in the villages in China, but they do offer a way to ameliorate that poverty; something the Chinese government is apparently incapable of doing.

Your compassion for these people is warranted, but your anger is misdirected. Don't blame foreign corporations, blame the government.

There government ignoring the law probably has a lot to do with money going in their pocket fromm the corporation.

Gee, ya really think so? Why make a law if it is to be ignored by those responsible for enforcing it? If the laws are merely for show, why have laws at all? For that matter, why have government at all?

Hence my declaration that I would rather have more corporation, less government.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: hongomon]
    #1135141 - 12/12/02 11:57 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

hongomon writes:

Let me guess, you're opposed to any "union" activity among nations.

I am unclear as to precisely what you mean by union activity "among nations". I am certainly not opposed to workers organizing and joining unions. When I was young I was once a shop steward in the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. My only excuse for this lapse in judgement is youthful ignorance.

Face it, there are some very poor nations in the world which provide labor and resources to the U.S. and other developed nations.

Correct. Why are they poor?

I'm all for international pressure against corporations who exploit.

Governmental pressure? Or boycotts by consumers? For what it's worth, I have never knowingly bought a product manufactured in the People's Republic of China. This is VERY hard to do living in the Dominican Republic, because the hardware stores are FULL of Chinese goods, and nothing BUT Chinese goods. Whenever I return from a vacation in Canada I have kilos and kilos of padlocks, tools, kerosene lanterns etc. for which I cheerfully pay overweight charges. I willingly pay higher prices for the goods, PLUS Canadian sales taxes, PLUS $5.00 per kilo overwight charges, in order not to contribute to a communist regime.

I know you think that when a destitute individual accepts employment to stave off death the negotiations are automatically fair and square...

An employer needs employees. He makes job offers. The terms and conditions of the offer comply with the laws in place at the time. Potential employees decide whether or not the offer is acceptable to them. A contract is (or isn't) signed. At some point, some of the employees may regret their decision and quit. The employer then makes new job offers to other potential employees, perhaps (or perhaps not) more attractive offers. The cycle continues.

Please explain to us at which point during this continuing cycle the employer is violating anyone's rights?

What a shame you feel so protective of your ideology that you must defend exploitation of children as "a cultural thing".

Whoa! Who said anything about exploitation? I merely pointed out (accurately) that the age at which an individual begins his working life differs from culture to culture.

If you weren't using the culture issue in such an absurd way, it would be worth discussing. I agree that cultural and social factors need to be considered in the matter of child labor. But it ain't the trump card you seem to want to think.

Who said anything about a trump card? I asked you if it was the poor working conditions that upset you or the fact that individuals whom Westerners consider to be children were working. I then pointed out (correctly) that the age at which an individual begins his working life differs from culture to culture.

Now, here I'm confused: As a laissez-faire capitalist, what exactly is your take on the U.S. government's foreign policy?

It is incompatible with Laissez-faire Capitalism.

There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.
I want to know how you're so sure.

Until I see a report from a reputable source, I will stand by my assertion.

I went to Ouro Preto, and I went to a mine. Maybe I'm lying through my teeth, or maybe I dreamed it all, but I'll be damned if those bags didn't weigh 30 kg.

I have no doubt there were bags in that mine that weighed that much. The question is did you see anyone who appeared to be ten years old carrying those bags?

If you choose not to believe me, fine--there are plenty of documented cases of similar problems elsewhere.

Then it should be a fairly simple matter to:

1) point me to a site supporting your contention that ten year old kids in Brazil lug around 30 kilogram bags of rock in mines that are owned by non-Brazilian corporations.

2) point me to a site which explains (preferrably in English, my Portuguese is non-existent) at which age a Brazilian is legally allowed to work in a mine.

That is a much more reasonable application of cultural sensitivity to the issue. Tell me, though, about Brazillian culture. At what age do they expect their youth to begin? What types of employment are acceptable? What age/types are considered exploitative?

I have no idea. I presume you asked those questions of the Brazilians you met while you were there. What did they tell you?

Sorry for enticing you to take that comment out of context. The bottom line, I should have stated, is that poverty, not culture , is why children work.

Gee, ya think? All that I am saying is that, poverty or no poverty, some cultures believe a human should start his working career at an earlier age than others. I have no doubt that these cultural beliefs get bent or even discarded in areas where extreme poverty trumps traditional customs. But, as I have made abundantly clear in numerous posts in this thread, the Western factory owners did not create that poverty.

I'm sure you'll see a starting-age difference between economic classes within just about any culture. In fact, can you find one where this isn't so?

I probably can't. How does that make unilateral government coercion preferrable to mutually-agreed upon contracts of employment?

pinky


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1135145 - 12/12/02 11:58 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Don't blame foreign corporations, blame the government.

Don't blame the americans for installing and propping Suharto for 25 years? Are you insane?


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1135158 - 12/12/02 12:01 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Don't blame the americans for installing and propping Suharto for 25 years? Are you insane?

Who "installed" and "propped up" Suharto for 25 years? Are you claiming it was American corporations or the American government?

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1135170 - 12/12/02 12:04 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

They are one and the same...


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1135242 - 12/12/02 12:19 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Who "installed" and "propped up" Suharto for 25 years?

American government at the behest of the corporations. Here's a little background:

http://www.motherjones.com/east_timor/comment/chomsky.html

There are three good reasons why Americans should care about East Timor. First, since the Indonesian invasion of December 1975, East Timor has been the site of some of the worst atrocities of the modern era -- atrocities which are mounting again right now. Second, the US government has played a decisive role in escalating these atrocities and can easily act to mitigate or terminate them. It is not necessary to bomb Jakarta or impose economic sanctions. Throughout, it would have sufficed for Washington to withdraw support and to inform its Indonesian client that the game was over. That remains true as the situation reaches a crucial turning point -- the third reason.

President Clinton needs no instructions on how to proceed. In May 1998, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called upon Indonesian President Suharto to resign and provide for "a democratic transition." A few hours later, Suharto transferred authority to his handpicked vice president. Though not simple cause and effect, the events illustrate the relations that prevail. Ending the torture in East Timor would have been no more difficult than dismissing Indonesia's dictator in May 1998.

Not long before, the Clinton administration welcomed Suharto as "our kind of guy," following the precedent established in 1965 when the general took power, presiding over army-led massacres that wiped out the country's only mass-based political party (the PKI, a popularly supported communist party) and devastated its popular base in "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century." According to a CIA report, these massacres were comparable to those of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao; hundreds of thousands were killed, most of them landless peasants. The achievement was greeted with unrestrained euphoria in the West. The "staggering mass slaughter" was "a gleam of light in Asia," according to two commentaries in The New York Times, both typical of the general western media reaction. Corporations flocked to what many called Suharto's "paradise for investors," impeded only by the rapacity of the ruling family. For more than 20 years, Suharto was hailed in the media as a "moderate" who is "at heart benign," even as he compiled a record of murder, terror, and corruption that has few counterparts in postwar history.

Suharto remained a darling of the West until he committed his first errors: losing control and hesitating to implement harsh International Monetary Fund (IMF) prescriptions. Then came the call from Washington for "a democratic transition" -- but not for allowing the people of East Timor to enjoy the right of self-determination that has been validated by the UN Security Council and the World Court.

The UN Security Council ordered Indonesia to withdraw, but to no avail. Its failure was explained by then-UN Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In his memoirs, he took pride in having rendered the UN "utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook" because "[t]he United States wished things to turn out as they did" and "worked to bring this about." As for how "things turned out," Moynihan comments that, within a few months, 60,000 Timorese had been killed, "almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War."

The massacre continued, peaking in 1978 with the help of new arms provided by the Carter administration. The toll to date is estimated at about 200,000, the worst slaughter relative to population since the Holocaust. By 1978, the United States was joined by Britain, France, and others eager to gain what they could from the slaughter. Protest in the West was minuscule. Little was even reported. US press coverage, which had been high in the context of concerns over the fall of the Portuguese empire, declined to practically nothing in 1978.



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1135347 - 12/12/02 12:54 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

the Western factory owners did not create that poverty

No but they are exploiting it. Would ypu aprove of someone wandering around downtown and ofering homelss people a dollar if they would eat a piece of shit? Sure seems like you would....


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"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1135367 - 12/12/02 12:58 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

ex?ploit ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ksploit, k-sploit)
n.
An act or deed, especially a brilliant or heroic one. See Synonyms at feat1.

tr.v. ex?ploit?ed, ex?ploit?ing, ex?ploits (k-sploit, ksploit)
To employ to the greatest possible advantage: exploit one's talents.
To make use of selfishly or unethically: a country that exploited peasant labor . See Synonyms at manipulate.
To advertise; promote.


Even the folks at dictionary.com know whats up.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1135427 - 12/12/02 01:22 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

The United States supported Pol Pot who killed millions. Yea


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Buddha5254]
    #1135512 - 12/12/02 02:02 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Not sure what you are talking aobut.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1135563 - 12/12/02 02:25 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Pinky writes:
"Note that she was not 10 years old. She was not working 36 hours. She received at least 12 cents an hour (note that Alex123 has yet again revised his wage figure downwards for his mythical 10 year old girls -- they now get 10 cents for a 36 hour shift. Tomorrow it will be 8 cents), more than that once she had worked nore than 10 hours in a given day. Some months she received as much as $53 (double what the average worker in her home village accumulates in an entire year) after deductions for the room and board provided by the company."

I didn't post this to corroborate Alex's figures. These figures are bad enough, and this is only one example of many.

"Not in my eyes. Corporations are just as capable of doing unethical and illegal things as are individuals. In a Capitalist (or even quasi-capitalist country) society, such corporations are subject to an objective code of laws. Apparently, such is not the case in Communist countries."

It is not the case anywhere except where the people have the power to oversee their own government. In a Capitalist country extreme amounts of wealth would accrue to certain corporations and individuals. This is already the case in quasi-capitalist nations such as the United States. Extremely wealthy individuals and corporations would be just as free in a Capitalist as in a Communist nation to bribe officials. "An objective code of laws" means nothing whatsoever when the people charged with enforcing them are themselves corrupt. In previous threads you have argued that in a Capitalist society it doesn't matter HOW those in government power are selected: heredity, picking lots, whatever. This is patently absurd. There is one and only one check on excessive government power: democratic representation.

"The workers are not to blame for the fact that they were born into poverty. Neither are Western corporations."
Western corporations are not to blame for the fact that the workers were born into poverty. Correct. They ARE, however, to blame for keeping them in poverty. Western corporations have the CHOICE to maintain humane working standards both in their own factories and to demand the same from their subcontractors. Making such a CHOICE (they, unlike the workers, are free to choose) may in fact cut into their profits. If they're on the verge of bankruptcy they may not have a such a choice. But that is not the case with most of these corporations: they have healthy bottom lines, they reward their executives handsomely (very often excessively, in fact) so taking an ETHICAL STAND would not exactly drive them under. They choose however to maximize profit at the expense of human decency. They ARE to blame for making that choice.

The Chinese owner of the factory is also immoral. There is no question about that. So are the bribed government officials who do not enforce their own laws. No question about that, either. But your argument is of the "everyone's doing it, why can't we?" variety. The immorality of others is not an excuse or a justification for our own.

"Despite the tragedy of her sister's death, Li Mei is willing to risk the same fate. Ask yourself why that might be."

Once again, because she has no choice. Either die immediately or die slowly. Western corporations, however, have the power to ameliorate these working conditions somewhat, without causing themselves any terrible hardship. They choose not to do so.

In any event, your contention that Capitalism would magically solve all of these problems has no basis. As long as there are people rich enough to bribe them, those who are responsible for overseeing the laws can be bribed, and laws, no matter how "objective," become a farce. The only way to control this situation is for the the people to oversee the overseers. This is what representative government, what democracy, was designed for. It was also designed in recognition of the fact that laws must often be renegotiated--i.e., legislated--because they may no longer be appropriate for current realities. None of the Founding Fathers, Jefferson least of all, believed there could be an "objective" set of laws that should stand for all time.

Quote:

"Let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated
periods. What these periods should be nature herself indicates.
By the European tables of mortality, of the adults living at any
one moment of time, a majority will be dead in about nineteen
years. At the end of that period, then, a new majority is come
into place; or, in other words, a new generation. Each generation
is as independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which
had gone before. It has then, like them, a right to choose for
itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its own
happiness; consequently, to accommodate to the circumstances
in which it finds itself that received from its predecessors; and it
is for the peace and good of mankind that a solemn opportunity
of doing this every nineteen or twenty years should be provided
by the constitution; so that it may be handed on, with periodical
repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time, if
anything human can so long endure." --Thomas Jefferson to
Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:42



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1136244 - 12/12/02 06:23 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

American government at the behest of the corporations. Here's a little background:

Chomsky, eh?

Where does he say that Suharto was "installed" by the US government (at the behest of American corporations or no)? All I could find about his rise to power in that article is:

... in 1965 when the general took power, presiding over army-led massacres that wiped out the country's only mass-based political party (the PKI, a popularly supported communist party) and devastated its popular base in "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century."

pinky



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1136276 - 12/12/02 06:31 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

sir tripsalot asks:

Would ypu aprove of someone wandering around downtown and ofering homelss people a dollar if they would eat a piece of shit?

Would I approve of people like that? Nope.

What's your point? Are you trying to claim that offering people a job in a factory which not only allows them to support themselves but also allows them to help support others (i.e. their family back home in the starving village) is equivalent to giving people a lump of shit and a dollar for some sick thrill?

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1136291 - 12/12/02 06:35 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

sir tripsalot writes:

I suppose you find those bumb fight videos harmless since these homeless people were only being enticed to do illegal things.

I have no idea what a bumb fight video is. Explain, please.

pinky


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1136308 - 12/12/02 06:41 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Bumb fight videos are along the same lines. Paying them to tatooe "bumbfight" across their forehead for a small amount of money. And to do stupid stunts for pathetic fees cause it is fast cahs for the homeless.
Address Echovortexs or Hongoman post why dontcha? Instead of digging up old comments by me that you origianally skipped over and then going right to Alex123 to say how much his posts are wrong.


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"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


Edited by sir tripsalot (12/12/02 06:44 PM)


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1136511 - 12/12/02 07:33 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Would I approve of people like that? Nope.

Strange, bumfights sound right up your street, as you yourself say:

An employer needs employees. He makes job offers. The terms and conditions of the offer comply with the laws in place at the time. Potential employees decide whether or not the offer is acceptable to them. A contract is (or isn't) signed. At some point, some of the employees may regret their decision and quit. The employer then makes new job offers to other potential employees, perhaps (or perhaps not) more attractive offers. The cycle continues.

Why are you so skittish of bumfights?


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1136589 - 12/12/02 08:00 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

.
In reply to:

An employer needs employees. He makes job offers. The terms and conditions of the offer comply with the laws in place at the time. Potential employees decide whether or not the offer is acceptable to them. A contract is (or isn't) signed. At some point, some of the employees may regret their decision and quit. The employer then makes new job offers to other potential employees, perhaps (or perhaps not) more attractive offers. The cycle continues




Where in this cycle is the acknowlegement that people NEED money to live. A job isn't a hobby or some other trivial pursuit, an income is essential. Like air. Some greedy hellbound fucks exploit this situation because they know in some environments, people will put up with a lot of shit.

The compliant from us socialist types is this...the rulers (owners) do not care about what is fair, or what can be accomplished socially. They (with exeptions of course) care only for thier own profit, and will squeeze to the breaking point to increase it, EVEN IF THEY ARE ALREADY FILTHY RICH. I find that discusting. Jesus Christ would find that discusting.


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Edited by carbonhoots (12/12/02 08:03 PM)


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1136664 - 12/12/02 08:37 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

I didn't post this to corroborate Alex's figures.

I realize that. But since Alex's "figures" are figments of his own overheated imagination, I thought it best to address yours instead.

In a Capitalist country extreme amounts of wealth would accrue to certain corporations and individuals.

Different people have different ideas of what constitutes "extreme", but that is certainly a probability in a Laissez-faire Capitalist society, yes.

Extremely wealthy individuals and corporations would be just as free in a Capitalist as in a Communist nation to bribe officials.

Correct.

"An objective code of laws" means nothing whatsoever when the people charged with enforcing them are themselves corrupt.

Correct.

In previous threads you have argued that in a Capitalist society it doesn't matter HOW those in government power are selected: heredity, picking lots, whatever.

Presuming those occupying the government posts (cops, judges, prosecutors, miltary officers) obey their oaths to abide by the constitution of that society, also correct. You're on a roll.

There is one and only one check on excessive government power: democratic representation.

But judges and district attorneys are democratically elected in America, and jurors aren't even officials -- they are selected more or less randomly from the populace. Are you saying that no democratically elected American judge or prosecutor or juror has ever taken a bribe?

They ARE, however, to blame for keeping them in poverty.

Poverty and wealth are relative terms. The girl who was the subject of that story (even though she was the lowest-paid employee in that factory and was cheated out of much of what she did earn) was wealthier than any two dozen people combined in the village from where she came. So wealthy, in fact, that even though she was clearly a frugal person she chose to buy a nice dress and "squander" some of her savings on a stack of pictures, each of which cost an entire week's earnings back home. You and I consider her poor. Do the villagers back home?

Far from "keeping" her in poverty, that corporation made it possible for her to increase her net worth enormously, despite blatantly violating pretty near every one of China's labor laws.

Note that the journalist who wrote that article chose (understandably) to report on one of the worst foreign factories, not one of the best, and to write about the lowest paid worker rather than the higher paid ones, so we are discussing a worst-case scenario here. The other workers in that factory, much less the workers in less illegal factories, are even less poor than she was.

Western corporations have the CHOICE to maintain humane working standards both in their own factories and to demand the same from their subcontractors.

Correct. The factory in your example was Korean-owned. For the sake of this discussion are we to consider Korea to be a Western nation?

Let's take this down the chain. You seem knowledgeable enough to realize that the pieces manufactured in the Chinese subcontractor's factory and then sold to the Korean factory (corporation number one) would typically then be sold to a distributor (corporation number two) with distribution rights for the Pacific rim, who then sold it to an American distributor (corporation number three) who then sold it to an American retail store such as Toys 'r' Us (corporation number four) who then sold it to your neighbor.

You are saying that Toys 'r' Us has an obligation to spend enough time and money to trace it back and verify (I mean REALLY verify, not just take the word of corporations one through three, who may be lying) that everything they purchase from corporation number three has had every component in it manufactured under humane conditions. It further follows that Toys 'r' Us has the obligation to ensure that every worker who was involved in extracting, packing and shipping of all the materials (including the miners who dug the ore and the workers in the refinery if the toy has metal parts and the drillers on the oil rigs if the toy has plastic parts, the dock workers who loaded it onto the ship, the seamen on the tramp steamer, etc.) used in the manufacture of that toy at every stage of its construction were treated humanely. If they fail to do so, they are guilty of exploitation.

Further, Toys 'r' Us must apply the term "humane" as understood by current American labor codes, not the labor codes of the countries of origin.

Am I misrepresenting your position?

But that is not the case with most of these corporations: they have healthy bottom lines, they reward their executives handsomely (very often excessively, in fact) so taking an ETHICAL STAND would not exactly drive them under.

If Toys 'r' Us were to take all the steps I have outlined above, and refuse to buy any toys that failed to meet all of the above tests, how much do you think that would impact their bottom line?

They choose however to maximize profit at the expense of human decency.

Maybe they don't see it that way. Maybe they feel that by buying toys manufatured in China, they are increasing the likelihood of many Chinese families surviving. After all, the people of that girl's village say the only way they can survive is for some of them to travel vast distances and work in foreign-owned factories. Why should Toys 'r' Us assume those villagers are lying? Toys 'r' Us kills two birds with one stone -- they achieve their selfish end of increasing their own profit while simultaneously achieving the altruistic end of literally saving someone (actually MANY someones) from death by slow starvation.

The immorality of others is not an excuse or a justification for our own.

Correct. But who determines what is moral and what is not? We both agree that the factory owners in this case were acting immorally. We have yet to establish that ALL foreign factory owners in China do so.

Let's assume that Greedhead Inc, incorporated in Delaware, buys permission to set up a widget factory in China. Greedhead Inc. scrupulously adheres to all existing Chinese labor codes, even though the Chinese inspectors never do anything more than visit the front office every now and then to extort a bribe or two.

Is Greedhead Inc. acting immorally? If so, why?

Once again, because she has no choice. Either die immediately or die slowly.

Wait a minute. Are you now claiming that all the workers in those factories are fated to die slowly? The girl in that article died. I must have missed the part where all her co-workers did.

In any event, your contention that Capitalism would magically solve all of these problems has no basis.

Well, we certainly know that in the case of China at least, Communism hasn't been particularly successful at solving those problems either. What politico-economic system would you recommend China adopt?

As long as there are people rich enough to bribe them, those who are responsible for overseeing the laws can be bribed, and laws, no matter how "objective," become a farce.

This is true in any society, Capitalist or non-Capitalist, with officials who are elected through the will of the majority or appointed by a King. This has been true since man invented the concept of government. The only solutions I can come up with to the bribery issue are:

1) Massive government redistribution of wealth so that no one in the society has any more wealth than anyone else. No more rich people, no more bribes. Of course, there have been recorded cases of officials being bribed with some pretty small sums of money -- sums even an assembly-line worker could afford. Someone prone to take one bribe is prone to take another. Each bribe may be small, but they add up over an entire career, don't they? Lots of crooked cops amassed tidy little retirement packages this way. As well, bribes need not be monetary -- there are more than a few individuals who would be willing to pull a string or two if bribed sexually. Bribes can be of a negative nature too, i.e. blackmail. In the case of blackmail, no money need change hands at all. "If you rule in my favor, judge, your nasty little secret STAYS secret."

I'm sure you can think of others. So, now that I come to think of it, option 1) is really no solution to the bribery issue at all, is it? That leaves us with:

2) No government. It stands to reason that if there are no officials to bribe, bribery is a non-issue. Of course, that opens up a whole other can of worms.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1136671 - 12/12/02 08:45 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

sir tripsalot writes:

Address Echovortexs or Hongoman post why dontcha?

Scroll back and check the order of my replies I addressed hongomon's post before I addressed yours. I addressed Alex's post first because it was quick. EchoVortex's reply required more time. I was unaware I had to answer posts in chronological order of their appearance. My apologies.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1136677 - 12/12/02 08:52 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Why are you so skittish of bumfights?

Now that I know what they are, I can comment on them.

I would neither pay someone to do something like that nor would I pay money to watch a video of people doing that.

However, some people choose to make their livings in strange ways -- circus geeks, for example. If someone wants to accept money to have "bumbfight" tattooed on his forehead, what gives me (or anyone) the right to prevent him from doing so? It's his choice, not mine.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1136689 - 12/12/02 09:03 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Just don't let it happen again.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1136698 - 12/12/02 09:06 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

The pedophile in me is wanting to go and fuck a child in Thailand for a fair price. What gives you the right to judge that(it must be cultural)? BTW the bumbfight people are in legal trouble.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: carbonhoots]
    #1136705 - 12/12/02 09:11 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

carbonhoots writes:

Where in this cycle is the acknowlegement that people NEED money to live.

Not quite accurate. People need food and clothing and shelter, etc., and the usual way to obtain these thing is through purchasing them. It's not the only way, just the most common. A lot of humans lived before the concept of currency was invented. However, lets stipulate that money is essential to life and move on.

Some greedy hellbound fucks exploit this situation because they know in some environments, people will put up with a lot of shit.

Where I live there are no greedy hellbound fucks around to exploit anyone. How do I get some money so I can live?

They (with exeptions of course) care only for thier own profit, and will squeeze to the breaking point to increase it, EVEN IF THEY ARE ALREADY FILTHY RICH.

What if my filthy rich factory owner uncle dies and I inherit all his stuff -- money, factory, cars, mansion; the whole nine yards. I now have enough to live the rest of my life in comfort. I decide to close down the factory, gut it, and spend all but a fraction of my fortune on filling the ex-factory with modern art. There is now a really cool museum where there was none before. I allow anyone who wants to view this art to do so at no charge. I retain just enough of my inheritance to pay the taxes on a studio apartment and provide myself with the bare necessities (food, replacement clothing, medicines, etc.) for the statistically probable length of my life.

Am I acting morally?

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1136714 - 12/12/02 09:15 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

The pedophile in me is wanting to go and fuck a child in Thailand for a fair price.

And your pedophilia relates to corporate "greed" exactly how?

BTW the bumbfight people are in legal trouble.

Ah. I must have missed something then. What country did this take place in? What are they charged with?

pinky



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1136826 - 12/12/02 10:50 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

How does it relate? Well I think it is unexceptible to exploit children, you think it is up to the culture to decide. So I brought up sex with children which is a commen practice in some parts of Thailand. You seem to think going abroad and taking a part in these practices(illegal here at least) are O.K.
Part of your argument is "If we don't do it someone else will" This I find tobe a copout.And about Toys R us having to research to see if children are slaving over making the products? Damn straight they should pay the dollars to find out. Ignorance is not an excuse.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1137421 - 12/13/02 05:45 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Good point trips. If an american wants to have sex with a 6 year old girl and he can pay for it why isn't this right pink? As you yourself say:

An employer needs employees. He makes job offers. The terms and conditions of the offer comply with the laws in place at the time. Potential employees decide whether or not the offer is acceptable to them. A contract is (or isn't) signed. At some point, some of the employees may regret their decision and quit. The employer then makes new job offers to other potential employees, perhaps (or perhaps not) more attractive offers. The cycle continues.

Paedophiliac prostitution fits this cycle perfectly.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: sir tripsalot]
    #1137911 - 12/13/02 09:38 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

How does it relate?

Sigh. How does it relate to corporations operating for a profit, not individuals indulging their sexual perversions.

Well I think it is unexceptible to exploit children, you think it is up to the culture to decide.

No, I do NOT think it is up to a culture to decide. I am sorry I didn't make it clearer, but my whole "cultural equality" riff was tongue in cheek. Clearly some cultural practices are just plain wrong, even evil. Those who yatter on about how no one has the right to diss different cultures are just plain dumb. Certain practices of certain societies are immoral whether the majority of the people in the society acknowledge it or not.

Having said that, when we examine the specific case of "children" working (as I was doing), the cultural aspect of child labor laws is not irrelevant. As hongomon correctly pointed out, even within a given society there are anomalies in the definition of both what constitutes a "child" and what constitutes "child labor".

In the less developed countries (and even in rural areas of the more developed countries), "children" tend to start work at an earlier age than do those in the more developed countries. Neither the "children" nor the adult members of that society consider it to be "exploitation of children".

Part of your argument is "If we don't do it someone else will"

No it isn't. Please point out the part in this thread where I espoused such a concept. I do not espouse doing something JUST because someone else is. There are many things people do that I won't do. What I said was that no one has the right to prevent someone from trading with another, providing both parties to the trade agree to the terms of the trade.

And about Toys R us having to research to see if children are slaving over making the products? Damn straight they should pay the dollars to find out. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Ignorance is not an excuse? So when your neighbor buys a toy from Toys 'r' Us without even asking where it was manufactured she is guilty of exploiting children?

Ignorance is not an excuse? The final-level distributor from whom Toys 'r' Us buys their goods may offer literally thousands of different products, and Toys 'r' Us certainly buys from several distributors -- probably dozens. Any one of those distributors is capable of misrepresenting the origin of any one of their products either knowingly or unwittingly (in the case where they have been misled by THEIR distributor) or through ignorance. In order for Toys 'r' Us to KNOW unequivocally all the origins of that single item (out of the thousands they carry) they must literally send an employee on an airplane to investigate every single stage of that item's manufacture and shipping. And that's just for ONE item, remember. Multiply that procedure by hundreds or thousands and see how profitable your business becomes.

Ignorance is not an excuse? Have you ever bought one of those ubiquitous little hash pipes made out of interchangeable threaded brass tubes and fittings? The longest tube (the pipestem) has a sheath of colored plastic tubing or sometimes wood around it and a threaded white or black plastic collar-type mouthpiece. You know the ones I mean -- they've been around since the Sixties -- every head shop I've ever seen has them.

Were you aware of the appalling conditions the Brazilian miners who extracted the copper and zinc ore that were used to make the brass endured? According to hongomon, there are ten year old kids lugging thirty kilo bags of rocks around in those mines. What about the long hours in insanely hot and dangerous conditions they endure in front of smelters and blast furnaces? Or the steady deterioration of the eyesight and aching backs of those running the threading machinery and the lathes that shape the cast brass fittings that end up as elbow joints and bowls?

The bits and pieces that comprise that pipe are sold in bulk for pennies a pound, and your headshop charges you fifteen bucks or more for the smallest, simplest one in their display case. That's a HUGE profit margin -- far larger than the profit margin on a Wal-Mart T-shirt.

So all that human suffering took place in order for some stoner on Unemployment Insurance to zone out in front of the boob tube with a tube of Pringles at his elbow and that pipe in his mouth. According to you, the head shop owner is guilty of exploitation. By extension, so is the stoner who bought the pipe.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (12/13/02 10:28 AM)


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1138030 - 12/13/02 10:20 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

If an american wants to have sex with a 6 year old girl and he can pay for it why isn't this right pink?

This falls under the legal concept of "age of consent". Although there are variations from culture to culture in the laws regarding sexual congress with minors, I can't think of one offhand that considers a female child to be an "adult" in the sexual context before their first menstrual cycle. Other cultures set the age of consent higher. I believe in most American states it is 16. To complicate matters further, some societies may have varying gradations of "age of consent" that depend on the age of the sexual partner. For example, a 16 year old boy having sex with a 15 year old girl may not be violating the law, while a 35 year old man having sex with a 15 year old girl may be. Regardless, the case of a 6 year old is easy to decide -- forbidden.

The law (or custom, or tradition in the case of primitive societies with no written legal code) in every society of which I am aware recognizes that in many matters, a child under a certain age lacks the necessary wisdom to make decisions on her own. In such a case a parent or close relative or legal guardian is responsible for making the decision on behalf of the child. In the case of an orphan with no individual to act on her behalf, the courts assume the responsibility for the child -- the legal term for this situation is in loco parentis.

To address the point of an American businessman wishing to have sex with a Thai female, the relevant question is whether or not the female has reached the age of consent under Thai law. If she has, then any Thai man may have sex with her if and only if she voluntarily agrees. It therefore follows that (absent any Thai law to the contrary) any American or English or German man may do the same, again of course assuming she voluntarily agrees. If the female chooses to charge a fee for the sex act, that is her right. In the eyes of the Thai society (or Thai culture, if you will) no one has been harmed or even exploited in this scenario.

In the context of factory labor in a foreign country, the same principle applies. If the law in Singapore says that a boy (or girl) may begin work at age 14, then it is up to that boy or girl -- not to anyone else -- to make the decision to work for a Singapore company or an American company or not to work at all.

That's the way objective law works -- at a certain landmark age (and note that there may be several such ages: age of sexual consent, age to begin work, age at which to leave school, age to vote, age to drink, age to marry without parents' permission, age to become eligible for military service, age at which one becomes liable for criminal prosecution, etc.) additional legal rights of the individual become recognized by society until such time as the individual is legally a full and independent member of that society.

My example of an employer offering a job to a potential employee applies only to those who have had their right to work recognized by the society in which the place of work is located. This is why I included the phrase "The terms and conditions of the offer comply with the laws in place at the time."

If you would take the time to actually read what I write, we could both save ourselves some time.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1138803 - 12/13/02 02:32 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"But judges and district attorneys are democratically elected in America, and jurors aren't even officials -- they are selected more or less randomly from the populace. Are you saying that no democratically elected American judge or prosecutor or juror has ever taken a bribe?"

Obviously not. But democratically elected officials with limited terms are easier to remove.

"Poverty and wealth are relative terms. The girl who was the subject of that story (even though she was the lowest-paid employee in that factory and was cheated out of much of what she did earn) was wealthier than any two dozen people combined in the village from where she came. So wealthy, in fact, that even though she was clearly a frugal person she chose to buy a nice dress and "squander" some of her savings on a stack of pictures, each of which cost an entire week's earnings back home. You and I consider her poor. Do the villagers back home?"

The people back home may not make as much money working the land but at least they're not worked to death in a factory.

"Far from "keeping" her in poverty, that corporation made it possible for her to increase her net worth enormously, despite blatantly violating pretty near every one of China's labor laws."

Gee, Pinky, I wonder what DYING did to her "net worth" as you call it. It certainly put a crimp on her "future earning potential."

"Note that the journalist who wrote that article chose (understandably) to report on one of the worst foreign factories, not one of the best, and to write about the lowest paid worker rather than the higher paid ones, so we are discussing a worst-case scenario here. The other workers in that factory, much less the workers in less illegal factories, are even less poor than she was."

He chose to write about this factory because somebody actually died. That makes good copy. If you check the websites I provided, however, you will see that these conditions are hardly extraordinary.

"Let's take this down the chain. You seem knowledgeable enough to realize that the pieces manufactured in the Chinese subcontractor's factory and then sold to the Korean factory (corporation number one) would typically then be sold to a distributor (corporation number two) with distribution rights for the Pacific rim, who then sold it to an American distributor (corporation number three) who then sold it to an American retail store such as Toys 'r' Us (corporation number four) who then sold it to your neighbor."

In some cases the supply chain is that long. In others it is not.

"You are saying that Toys 'r' Us has an obligation to spend enough time and money to trace it back and verify (I mean REALLY verify, not just take the word of corporations one through three, who may be lying) that everything they purchase from corporation number three has had every component in it manufactured under humane conditions. It further follows that Toys 'r' Us has the obligation to ensure that every worker who was involved in extracting, packing and shipping of all the materials (including the miners who dug the ore and the workers in the refinery if the toy has metal parts and the drillers on the oil rigs if the toy has plastic parts, the dock workers who loaded it onto the ship, the seamen on the tramp steamer, etc.) used in the manufacture of that toy at every stage of its construction were treated humanely. If they fail to do so, they are guilty of exploitation."

Do they have to go that far? That would probably be unrealistic, granted. But here's the issue, pinky: many watchdog groups have provided them with solid information of what's going in their subcontractors' factories. This information was provided to them at no cost whatsoever. Yet they still do nothing and then deny that anything is wrong. If they're unwilling to do ANYTHING whatsoever on information that was given to them at NO COST WHATSOEVER, it's clear that they really don't give a shit about human life.

"Maybe they don't see it that way. Maybe they feel that by buying toys manufatured in China, they are increasing the likelihood of many Chinese families surviving. After all, the people of that girl's village say the only way they can survive is for some of them to travel vast distances and work in foreign-owned factories. Why should Toys 'r' Us assume those villagers are lying? Toys 'r' Us kills two birds with one stone -- they achieve their selfish end of increasing their own profit while simultaneously achieving the altruistic end of literally saving someone (actually MANY someones) from death by slow starvation."

You know, Japan achieved its current position after World War II in spite of not having any foreign companies having factories in their country. In fact, it could be argued that Japan achieved its current position precisely BECAUSE they didn't have foreign corporations taking advantage of their (at the time) low-paid and highly skilled workers.

"Correct. But who determines what is moral and what is not? We both agree that the factory owners in this case were acting immorally. We have yet to establish that ALL foreign factory owners in China do so."

I never said that ALL factory owners in China do so. Apparently just the ones that these particular employees have access to.

"Wait a minute. Are you now claiming that all the workers in those factories are fated to die slowly? The girl in that article died. I must have missed the part where all her co-workers did."

Not yet. But given the pollution levels and working standards in their factory, their lives will be cut short by decades, easily.

"Well, we certainly know that in the case of China at least, Communism hasn't been particularly successful at solving those problems either. What politico-economic system would you recommend China adopt?"

China is Communist in name. The Communist Party has absolute control of the government. No political or religious dissent is allowed. On the economic front, many heavy industries are still state-owned. But everything else is more or less completely open. Completely unregulated. In fact: Libertarian. Yes, that's right. Have you been to China? I have. All of those pesky laws about worker safety, product safety, pollution, etc. all rendered invalid. You can walk into any pharmacy in China and find a cornucopia of Western drugs that you would need a prescription for anywhere else--all available without a prescription. Hundreds of thousands of businesses operate under the radar and completely regulation free (either because they're not noticed or because they bribe the powers that be). At the level of small business, the situation is much freer than that in the US and infinitely freer than it is in Europe. Wild west capitalism at its best. The result: stupendous growth. Oh, and 7 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

What China needs, first and foremost, is the rule of law. And then, perhaps if this and the next generation of leaders finally dies, perhaps they may even be able to make a move towards democracy. But capitalism is already there.

"The only solutions I can come up with to the bribery issue are:"

There ARE no failsafe solutions to the problem of bribery. Human nature being what it is, corruption will always be with us in some form or another. But, all other factors held equal, the more democractic a nation is, the less leeway there is for bribery per se. It's much harder to bribe an entire nation than it is to bribe a number of very powerful officials. Yes, yes, I know all of your arguments about the "tyranny of the majority." I for one, however, would rather have the tyranny of the majority than the tyranny of the oligarchy. This is unfortunately the state we have fallen into the US, and would certainly be the case in any truly Capitalist system. There are really only three possible government arrangements:
democracy, centralized authority, or feudalism. A Capitalist society would eventually revert either to feudalism or oligarchy (a non-governmental form of centralized authority).


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1139362 - 12/13/02 06:42 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

But democratically elected officials with limited terms are easier to remove.

A democratically elected official with a four year term can accept a lot of bribes before he is democratically removed. As you yourself state towards the end of your reply, there really IS no way to solve the bribery problem, therefore it logically follows that the best course of action is to reduce the number of officials to the bare minimum, and to restrict their area of influence to the bare minimum. Laissez-faire Capitalism achieves both these objectives.

By the way, I have no objection to the concept of electing those officials to a limited term rather than appointing them to a limited term or choosing them at random through a lottery to serve a limited term or whatever. HOW they are selected is less important than what they do (and, much more importantly, don't do).

The people back home may not make as much money working the land but at least they're not worked to death in a factory.

According to the report, the people back home make NO money working the land -- or at least they are not allowed to KEEP any money. According to the report, they grow more indebted each year by an average of 12 dollars per head. They say they cannot survive by working the land. Lack of survival equals death, does it not?

Gee, Pinky, I wonder what DYING did to her "net worth" as you call it.

She died. Her co-workers didn't. Perhaps she had some congenital heart defect. There have been reported cases of apparently perfectly healthy American teenagers dying during physical education classes in high school from such defects. Since the autopsy was flubbed, no one will ever know the true cause of her death. Due to the circumstances, I believe it is likely that whatever caused her death was at the very least aggravated by the demands of her work, but there is no way to be certain of that. Interestingly enough, when I was working at the Post Office back in the Seventies, a seemingly perfectly fit man in his thirties dropped dead while sorting letters, right after returning from the lunch break. Scared the crap out of everybody. It turned out cause of death was an aneurysm -- an artery somewhere in his brain just blew out for no apparent reason.

He chose to write about this factory because somebody actually died. That makes good copy.

Precisely. The very fact that someone actually died was noteworthy -- an unusual occurance.

If they're unwilling to do ANYTHING whatsoever on information that was given to them at NO COST WHATSOEVER...

Ah! Now THAT is a valid point. These watchdog agencies don't uncover EVERY case of factories that ignore local labor laws, but they definitely do catch quite a few of them. Is it okay if Toys 'r' Us makes their decisions based solely on the reports of these agencies?

... it's clear that they really don't give a shit about human life.

This does not necessarily follow. See my previous "two birds with one stone" analogy -- "Maybe they don't see it that way. Maybe they feel that by buying toys manufatured in China, they are increasing the likelihood of many Chinese families surviving.... bla bla bla". After all, there is not much point in paying workers to make things that no one is in a position to buy. The consumers in Western societies are in a position to buy their goods, but very few Chinese are in the same position. It logically follows that the export of goods is essential in order for the Chinese to improve their financial situation, does it not?

What if no Western corporations are involved in the process at all? What if the Chinese employees work only in Chinese-owned factories, who then sell directly to American retail outlets -- no middlemen at all. Just straight from the factory to the sales counter. Better yet, let's cut out even the American retail outlet, and say that it goes from a Chinese-owned factory to a Chinese-owned retail store located in mid-town Manhattan or wherever. Do you have an objection to that?

You know, Japan achieved its current position after World War II in spite of not having any foreign companies having factories in their country.

Massive aid to rebuild the country may have been a contributing factor, don't you think?

In fact, it could be argued that Japan achieved its current position precisely BECAUSE they didn't have foreign corporations taking advantage of their (at the time) low-paid and highly skilled workers.

First, let's remember that the Chinese workers being "taken advantage of" in the article you provided are far from being "highly-skilled".

Second, if the Japanese went from being a bankrupt country with next to no resources to being wealthy, why has China been unable to do the same?

Third, let me ask you why you don't seem to have a problem with those Japanese workers having been low-paid. Is it because they were being paid pitiful wages by a Japanese corporation rather than by an American corporation? Is it okay for Japanese to "exploit" Japanese?

Finally, do you consider that the Westerners who bought all those billions of dollars worth of cheap postwar "made in Japan" gizmos and gewgaws and widgets were "exploiting" the Japanese workers?

Hundreds of thousands of businesses operate under the radar and completely regulation free (either because they're not noticed or because they bribe the powers that be). At the level of small business, the situation is much freer than that in the US and infinitely freer than it is in Europe. Wild west capitalism at its best. The result: stupendous growth.

So Capitalism is in the process of raising the per capita wealth of the Chinese?

Oh, and 7 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

I can believe that. A lot of that pollution was probably inherited from the pre-capitalist era (Communist-bloc Europe and the USSR became notoriously polluted with no capitalism being involved), and a lot from the sheer weight of numbers in those cities, but a lot of it undoubtedly comes from capitalist activity as well. It takes time, technology, and money to clean up pollution. Sounds like the capitalist sector of China will eventually provide enough of all three for the Chinese to start attacking their environmental issues.

What China needs, first and foremost, is the rule of law.

Agreed. Without that, there is no way to protect individual rights. Without individual rights, there is no way to achieve prosperity.

And then, perhaps if this and the next generation of leaders finally dies, perhaps they may even be able to make a move towards democracy. But capitalism is already there.

Pockets of it certainly are, particularly in the coastal areas. With luck, those pockets will expand.

It's much harder to bribe an entire nation than it is to bribe a number of very powerful officials.

Career politicians would disagree; they have found it relatively easy to bribe an entire nation. Promise the electorate benefits and lower taxes, then hope everyone will believe the same load of empty promises the next election, ad infinitum. Literally BUYING votes (busing homeless and welfare recipients to the polling booths and handing out $20 bills) might be considered bribery as well.

I for one, however, would rather have the tyranny of the majority than the tyranny of the oligarchy (a non-governmental form of centralized authority).

Please explain to us how a non-governmental "centralized authority" has the power to force one to do anything. For that matter, please explain how such a body has any "authority" at all.

This is unfortunately the state we have fallen into the US, and would certainly be the case in any truly Capitalist system.

That is far from certain. Saying something is so doesn't make it so. Exactly how would a society in which every individual has complete freedom (except the "freedom" to initiate force against others), a society in which individuals deal with each other only by voluntary consent, end up as a tyranny? Outline the steps by which this inevitably occurs, please.

There are really only three possible government arrangements: democracy, centralized authority, or feudalism.

Or Laissez-faire Capitalism, or individual self-government.

A Capitalist society would eventually revert either to feudalism or oligarchy.

I invite you to expand on the process by which this eventually occurs.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1139547 - 12/13/02 08:51 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

You know, Japan achieved its current position after World War II in spite of not having any foreign companies having factories in their country. In fact, it could be argued that Japan achieved its current position precisely BECAUSE they didn't have foreign corporations taking advantage of their (at the time) low-paid and highly skilled workers.

Amen Echo. You look at the countries where the foreign corporations are allowed sweatshops and they are hellholes, Japan never had a single foreign sweatshop and it's an economic powerhouse. Kinda puts the cat among the pigeons on the "we help countries develop" myth.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1139636 - 12/13/02 10:05 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"Precisely. The very fact that someone actually died was noteworthy -- an unusual occurance."

Not at all. It was simply a story that this particular journalist was lead to by his sources. Similar stories may very well happen all the time
and not come to the attention of foreign journalists.

"This does not necessarily follow. See my previous "two birds with one stone" analogy -- "Maybe they don't see it that way. Maybe
they feel that by buying toys manufatured in China, they are increasing the likelihood of many Chinese families
surviving.... bla bla bla". After all, there is not much point in paying workers to make things that no one is in a position to buy. The
consumers in Western societies are in a position to buy their goods, but very few Chinese are in the same position. "

Do you have any idea how corporations make decisions? Obviously not. They don't sit around thinking "wow, we're increasing the
likelihood of many Chinese families surviving." All they're thinking is "this is the cheapest dependable supplier." End of story, Pinky. As for
"very few Chinese are in the same position," that's crap. China has, at last count 1.4 billion people. At least one hundred million of them
are already in a position to be consumers of reasonable means. A market that size is already quite formidable. With time it will be even
more formidable.

"What if no Western corporations are involved in the process at all? What if the Chinese employees work only in Chinese-owned
factories, who then sell directly to American retail outlets -- no middlemen at all. Just straight from the factory to the sales counter.
Better yet, let's cut out even the American retail outlet, and say that it goes from a Chinese-owned factory to a Chinese-owned
retail store located in mid-town Manhattan or wherever. Do you have an objection to that?"

That depends on how those Chinese businesses treat their own employees and do business. This is not some simple arithmetic of "American companies=bad,"
"Chinese companies=good" Chinese capitalists are just as inhuman as their counterparts all over the world.

"You know, Japan achieved its current position after World War II in spite of not having any foreign companies having factories in
their country.

Massive aid to rebuild the country may have been a contributing factor, don't you think?"

A contributing factor, yes. The US military umbrella and the Korean war were also contributing factors. So what? "Contributing" factors
do not the whole story make.

"First, let's remember that the Chinese workers being "taken advantage of" in the article you provided are far from being
"highly-skilled".

Second, if the Japanese went from being a bankrupt country with next to no resources to being wealthy, why has China been unable
to do the same?

Third, let me ask you why you don't seem to have a problem with those Japanese workers having been low-paid. Is it because they
were being paid pitiful wages by a Japanese corporation rather than by an American corporation? Is it okay for Japanese to "exploit"
Japanese?"

Chinese workers in general are more dependable and more highly skilled than their counterparts in most parts of the world, including
most of Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and certainly Africa. They're the best bargain in town, which is why China has
become the factory of the world. A full third to a half of the material goods in a typical American home are made in China.

Why has China not matched Japan's achievement? Many reasons: it's too massive and overpopulated to govern effectively, Chinese
people don't have the same group-oriented bent as the Japanese, the same unswerving loyalty to the company, Japan had an earlier
start (late 19th century) on modernization and industrialization, and so on and so forth. Of course you would downplay all of these factors,
(and there are many more) and resort to your usual simpleminded reductionism: become Japan is closer to pure Capitalism. Right? Bullshit. Japan
rose to prominence because of "convoy capitalism." If you don't know what that is, I'll explain it in the next post.

Postwar Japanese companies didn't exploit their workers in the same way that Chinese employers do now. It was the postwar period that
saw the development of lifetime employment in Japan, a contract of mutual trust and loyalty between company and employee that has
never been matched anywhere else. Japanese willingly pay higher prices for goods in order to keep unemployment low. Japan has a much
larger middle class than the US and even larger than many socialist Scandinavian countries. Executive salaries were kept modest. Japan is about as
different from Capitalism and Anglo-American quasi-capitalism as a country can get while still being called "capitalist."

"So Capitalism is in the process of raising the per capita wealth of the Chinese? "
Yes, at an unacceptable price. But since your brain seems incapable of computing other than dollar signs (like your hero Ayn Rand, who
had a dollar sign prominently displayed at her funeral) you will never accept that any price is too high to raise per capita wealth. There
are other ways to do it: the Japanese model is one.

"Career politicians would disagree; they have found it relatively easy to bribe an entire nation. Promise the electorate benefits and
lower taxes, then hope everyone will believe the same load of empty promises the next election, ad infinitum. Literally BUYING votes
(busing homeless and welfare recipients to the polling booths and handing out $20 bills) might be considered bribery as well."

You criticize others for insulting the intelligence of the majority. You don't seem to have a high opinion of them yourself. Fair enough. But reality
sooner or later catches up to bite the ass of every politician who doesn't deliver the goods.

"Please explain to us how a non-governmental "centralized authority" has the power to force one to do anything. For that matter,
please explain how such a body has any "authority" at all. "

Good God, Pinky, how many times does one have to explain the same thing over and over again before you finally get it? In an oligarchy,
the rich and powerful BUY the governmental authority. Either that or they buy and train their own personal armies. Either one will do the trick.
And who's to protect the poor and powerless in such a case? "The objective laws"? When the officials who are charged to enforce those laws
are bought off by the rich and powerful? What kind of fantasy world are you living in? Do you think that in your Randian Libertarian Utopia when
somebody tries to buy the police the police will answer "You can't bribe me! I'm a Libertarian!"

"That is far from certain. Saying something is so doesn't make it so. Exactly how would a society in which every individual has
complete freedom (except the "freedom" to initiate force against others), a society in which individuals deal with each other only by
voluntary consent, end up as a tyranny? Outline the steps by which this inevitably occurs, please."

1. Certain groups and individuals attain ridiculous levels of wealth and power.
2. Said groups and individuals buy off the very people who are supposed to enforce the "complete freedom" of every individual.

Can I prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this will "inevitably" occur? No. Neither can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that
this inevitably will NOT occur. It only stands for reasonable people to make their own decision as to what the likelihood of each outcome
might be, and cast their votes accordingly. So far they've been voting overwhelmingly against the Libertarians.

"A Capitalist society would eventually revert either to feudalism or oligarchy.

I invite you to expand on the process by which this eventually occurs."

Excessive wealth and power will accrue to the hands of the few. They will either set themselves up in competition with one another and establish
competing domains of power and influence--feudalism. Either that or they decide to work together to maintain their power over the larger populace--
oligarchy.

There are really only three possible government arrangements: democracy, centralized authority, or feudalism.

Or Laissez-faire Capitalism, or individual self-government.

No truly Laissez-faire Capitalist state has ever existed. Libertarians themselves admit as much. They never go further to wonder whether there might not be a good reason for this.

Individual self-government? Sure, maybe in extremely sparsely populated and undeveloped areas. In mass society this is an impossibility, as is
demonstrated by the fact that no mass individual self-government society has yet existed.

Libertarians remind me a lot of turn of the century communists. They believe that their untested political arrangements will magically
usher in a glorious new era of peace, prosperity, and individual freedom. Anybody with a decent head on his shoulders over the age of 20 or 25
realizes that those who make such magnificent (indeed, utopian) promises are probably selling snake oil.



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1139700 - 12/13/02 10:50 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

Good God, Pinky, how many times does one have to explain the same thing over and over again before you finally get it?

This is a question I've been wondering myself.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1140184 - 12/14/02 06:36 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Do you have any idea how corporations make decisions?

Actually, having worked in upper-middle-management for quite a large one, and having spent countless hours in various corporate seminars and conferences, yes I do. Amazingly enough, sheer short-term bottom line profit is not the only factor in the decision-making process. Just one example from my own company -- every employee, even the janitors and mailroom clerks and stockroom attendants, was paid substantially more than minimum wage, although we would have had no problem whatsoever filling those positions at minimum wage. Every employee in the company (including janitors etc.) received the supplementary medical plan (full dental, all prescriptions at $2, semi-private hospital room, etc.). Every employee (including janitors) could buy as much stock in the company as he wished and receive an equal number of stocks free. Every employee (including janitors, etc.) received at least a week more per year paid vacation per year than the law required. There's more, but you get the idea. And my company was far from unique in this.

The company didn't need to do any of those things in order to attract competent employees. All of those things decreased bottom line profits.

Note that many companies also contibute to charities. Ever hear of Ronald MacDonald house? And before you mention tax breaks, look up some of the relevant tax codes. You'll find that in many cases the amounts contributed to charities exceed significantly the savings from taxes. Effect? Reduced profits.

All they're thinking is "this is the cheapest dependable supplier."

Many of our suppliers were not the cheapest, or even the second cheapest dependable supplier.

China has, at last count 1.4 billion people. At least one hundred million of them are already in a position to be consumers of reasonable means.

There are a hundred million consumers of fuzzy stuffed animals in China? Unlikely. There are, however, that many in the West.

A market that size is already quite formidable. With time it will be even more formidable.

And how did that 100 million group attain their position of "consumers of reasonable means?" Through capitalism. What will increase the size of that group? Capitalism.

That depends on how those Chinese businesses treat their own employees and do business.

I refer only to the Chinese businessess who adhere scrupulously to the Chinese labor laws, inspectors or no inspectors.

Chinese workers in general are more dependable and more highly skilled than their counterparts in most parts of the world, including most of Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and certainly Africa.

Apparently you don't feel the laborers in the state-owned industries are being exploited, just the ones in the capitalist industries, so let's ignore the state employees and focus just on those similar to the girl in the article. According to that article those workers (200 million of them) are almost exclusively migrant workers from fleaspeck villages in the interior where their education is so minimal they haven't even heard the promises of socialist cradle-to-grave security, much less received any job training. Please explain to us how a teenage peasant girl becomes "highly-skilled" under those circumstances.

Of course you would downplay all of these factors, (and there are many more) and resort to your usual simpleminded reductionism: become Japan is closer to pure Capitalism.

Nope. I won't ignore any of them if you won't ignore the factor of capitalism. But I will say that if China had embraced small-c capitalism at the same time and to the same degree that Japan did there would today be no stories coming out of China as moving as the one you provided. I will go further and say that if such had been the case, China would have surpassed Japan long ago.

Yes, at an unacceptable price.

Unacceptable to whom? Apparently it's acceptable to the people involved -- the Chinese.

But since your brain seems incapable of computing other than dollar signs (like your hero Ayn Rand...

Ah. Can't address the principle, so you resort to the personal attacks? I was waiting for this.

As you are well aware, Ayn Rand neither invented Laissez-faire Capitalism nor did she bother to do much more than give a passing mention of its beneficial effects in the real world (although other far more economically and politically sophisticated commentators have.) She cared not a whit about the economics of Capitalism -- her reason for supporting it was strictly moral; Laissez-faire Capitalism is the only system in which the rights of the individual are fully recognized. The fact that it is also the best system for improving the financial worth of those living under it was to her merely icing on the cake -- literally a side issue, as it was to the Founding Fathers and, for that matter, to me.

Even if Ayn Rand had never been born, Laissez-faire Capitalism would still retain all those attributes.

You will never accept that any price is too high to raise per capita wealth.

Incorrect. I oppose any method of increasing per capita wealth which involves the violation of individual rights.

There are other ways to do it: the Japanese model is one.

Slavery is another. I oppose slavery.

You criticize others for insulting the intelligence of the majority. You don't seem to have a high opinion of them yourself.

It has nothing to do with the the intelligence of the majority. It has to do with what knowledge they have acquired to date. How many of the intelligent people on this message board even know what Laissez-faire Capitalism is? How many Americans have taken the time to sit down and strip away the oh-so-carefully-crafted reasonable-sounding political rhetoric spouted by Nanny-state candidates and match those statements against reality? You and I both know far more about political theory than the average American voter not because we are necessarily more intelligent than they are, but because it is an area of special interest to us. Even at that we spent years and years attaining our current level of knowledge.

But reality sooner or later catches up to bite the ass of every politician who doesn't deliver the goods.

Such is not always the case. The question is, what are "the goods" that the electorate wants?

"Please explain to us how a non-governmental "centralized authority" has the power to force one to do anything. For that matter, please explain how such a body has any "authority" at all. "
Good God, Pinky, how many times does one have to explain the same thing over and over again before you finally get it? In an oligarchy, the rich and powerful BUY the governmental authority.

So the rich and powerful bribe the police chiefs and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to violate their constitutional oaths and initiate force against the citizenry? What is the reaction of those officials who can't be bribed? Do they oppose the corrupt ones or go along with it? Why doesn't the electorate democratically throw out the corrupt officials who have been bought?

Either that or they buy and train their own personal armies.

Why would government's army allow the private armies to do what they will?

And who's to protect the poor and powerless in such a case? "The objective laws"?

The courts and the armies of the government.

When the officials who are charged to enforce those laws are bought off by the rich and powerful?

You can't buy them all off. Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, couldn't stop the lawsuit against Microsoft. At&T couldn't stop the breakup of their company.

Do you think that in your Randian Libertarian Utopia when somebody tries to buy the police the police will answer "You can't bribe me! I'm a Libertarian!"

Are individual policeman amenable to bribes in a Libertarian society? Yup. Are they amenable to bribes in any society? Yup. You have correctly stated that bribes cannot be eliminated regardless of the political system in place, and I have agreed with you, so let's stop re-hashing it. Your challenge is to explain to us how a bribed policeman is more of a threat to the populace in a Capitalist society than he is in a Socialist society or in a Democratic society or in a Feudal society or in a _______ society.

Exactly how would a society in which every individual has complete freedom (except the "freedom" to initiate force against others), a society in which individuals deal with each other only by voluntary consent, end up as a tyranny?

1. Certain groups and individuals attain ridiculous levels of wealth and power.

You are conflating wealth and power. This is a common error and I must admit I am surprised to see you make it. There are numerous wealthy individuals in America with no power and numerous powerful individuals in Iran with no wealth. In order to have "power" one must exercise force. This is the whole concept of government, after all.

2. Said groups and individuals buy off the very people who are supposed to enforce the "complete freedom" of every individual.

We have already established that this can occur under any system of government. See "bribery".

What you are saying is that the inevitable end result of any attempt by humans to form a just government is doomed to eventual failure because men cannot be trusted. Thomas Jefferson believed that this was true, so you are in good company. On the other hand, the United States, which started off closer to Laissez-faire Capitalism than any other society of which I am aware (thanks in large part to Jefferson), is still far from being a tyranny.

Let's assume you are right, and that even a Laissez-faire Capitalist government will eventually disintegrate into a tyranny. I submit that the process will occur much more gradually under Capitalism than under any other form of government (it takes time to gut a constitution), that it gives more warning of the impending collapse than any other (freedom of the press), and that it gives the best chance for the populace to toss out the corrupt bums and install uncorrupted ones (the right to bear arms).

As a side note, some of the Founding Fathers were in favor of a "means test" for those aspiring to public office as a way of trying to eliminate the bribery issue. Their rationale was that the wealthy would be less likely to accept bribes. In retrospect, this seems pretty naive, doesn't it?

It only stands for reasonable people to make their own decision as to what the likelihood of each outcome might be, and cast their votes accordingly. So far they've been voting overwhelmingly against the Libertarians.

For about a thousand years reasonable people metaphorically cast their votes overwhelmingly for the Catholic Church. That didn't make it right. Reasonable Muslims are still voting for Sharia law. That doesn't make it right.

Excessive wealth and power will accrue to the hands of the few. They will either set themselves up in competition with one another...

With you so far.

... and establish competing domains of power and influence--feudalism. Either that or they decide to work together to maintain their power over the larger populace -- oligarchy.

Why will the government not prevent them from using force against the populace?

Libertarians remind me a lot of turn of the century communists. They believe that their untested political arrangements will magically usher in a glorious new era of peace, prosperity, and individual freedom.

Untested? Not fully tested, true. Collectivists claim that true Collectivism has never been fully tested either, so we must settle for observing the results of societies which tend towards either Capitalism or Collectivism.

The closest thing to a Laissez-faire Capitalist country of which we are aware is the United States of America. Is it not more prosperous and free than the countries furthest from Laissez-faire Capitalism? Are their citizens not more free than the citizens of the countries furthest from Capitalism?

Anybody with a decent head on his shoulders over the age of 20 or 25 realizes that those who make such magnificent (indeed, utopian) promises are probably selling snake oil.

On this we agree, which is why one rarely sees a Collectivist over that age. Given human nature, Utopia is an unattainable goal, so we must try for the next best thing. The best we can realistically aim for is the system which does the least harm; a system under which every individual is free to live his life to the best of his ability and left free to deal with other individuals by mutual consent while still other individuals are prevented from fucking with him while he does so. Laissez-faire Capitalism fits the bill. Collectivism doesn't.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1141351 - 12/14/02 04:43 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"Actually, having worked in upper-middle-management for quite a large one, and having spent countless hours in various corporate seminars and conferences, yes I do. Amazingly enough, sheer short-term bottom line profit is not the only factor in the decision-making process. Just one example from my own company -- every employee, even the janitors and mailroom clerks and stockroom attendants, was paid substantially more than minimum wage, although we would have had no problem whatsoever filling those positions at minimum wage. Every employee in the company (including janitors etc.) received the supplementary medical plan (full dental, all prescriptions at $2, semi-private hospital room, etc.). Every employee (including janitors) could buy as much stock in the company as he wished and receive an equal number of stocks free. Every employee (including janitors, etc.) received at least a week more per year paid vacation per year than the law required. There's more, but you get the idea. And my company was far from unique in this."

Your example is anecdotal and there is nothing to suggest it is representative. Of course there are ethical and honorable corporations in this world. There are even mutual funds, such as Working Assets, whose purpose is to identify such companies and encourage investment in them. Such ethical corporations are also surprisingly profitable. Which makes the actions of immoral corporations that much more unforgiveable. My question is: why are you making justifications for the actions of the immoral corporations?

"There are a hundred million consumers of fuzzy stuffed animals in China? Unlikely. There are, however, that many in the West."

Actually, if all we're talking about is fuzzy stuffed animals, there are probably TWO hundred million potential consumers for those in China. They're not particularly expensive, even in China.

"And how did that 100 million group attain their position of "consumers of reasonable means?" Through capitalism. What will increase the size of that group? Capitalism."

So what? Your statement rests on the assumption that sweatshops are a necessary part of capitalism. Wrong.

"I refer only to the Chinese businessess who adhere scrupulously to the Chinese labor laws, inspectors or no inspectors"

Fine. More power to them.

"Apparently you don't feel the laborers in the state-owned industries are being exploited, just the ones in the capitalist industries"

And on what do you base that? I'm sure many employees in state-owned Chinese industries are also being exploited. Once again, what does this have to do with Western corporations running sweatshops? Answer: nothing. You're ducking the issue. The issue is that you're acting as an apologist for sweatshops.

"Unacceptable to whom? Apparently it's acceptable to the people involved -- the Chinese. "

Hahaha! We could MAYBE say that if China were democratic. It's indicative of your style of thinking to turn a nation of 1.4 billion people into a monolithic mass while all time claiming to stand for individuality. I know many, many Chinese people for whom it is completely UNacceptable. But I won't hold that against you since you probably don't meet many Chinese people in the DR.

"Ah. Can't address the principle, so you resort to the personal attacks? I was waiting for this."

Ah, Pinky, how I love these little exchanges. You duck issues so often by feigning ignorance or pretending not to understand that it's difficult not to get a little hot under the collar. Sorry for the nastiness.

"Such is not always the case. The question is, what are "the goods" that the electorate wants?"

"Goods" was not the best choice of words. What I meant is "delivering on promises made."

"So the rich and powerful bribe the police chiefs and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to violate their constitutional oaths and initiate force against the citizenry? What is the reaction of those officials who can't be bribed? Do they oppose the corrupt ones or go along with it? Why doesn't the electorate democratically throw out the corrupt officials who have been bought?"

Oh, so now you've come around to admitting that democratic representation is a GOOD thing after all. Well, I'm glad we were able to reach agreement on that.

"You can't buy them all off. Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, couldn't stop the lawsuit against Microsoft. At&T couldn't stop the breakup of their company."

Have you read the news recently? Microsoft is in the clear. The anti-trust suit is dead in the water, and a breakup of the company is at this point a total impossibility.

Laissez faire capitalism always favors those with capital at the expense of those without capital. The more capital one has, the more one is favored under this system. Although it is not absolutely ESSENTIAL to possess capital in order to create capital (yes, good ideas, if protected by patent law, can do the same thing), it is orders of magnitude easier to create capital when one already posssess it. Even though the US is not fully laissez-faire, the nation's richest man, at the height of his wealth, had a net worth (90 some billion) that was TWO AND A HALF MILLION TIMES as great as the per capita GDP of the nation in which he resided. The disparities in wealth would logically be greater in a laissez faire system than in a system of progressive income tax, inheritance tax, etc. Greater income disparities give those who HAVE wealth much more wealth with which to buy influence.

But this discussion is no longer pertinent since you have already agreed with me that democracy is essential. Taxation, wealth redistribution, etc., are all separate issues that we've already addressed to our hearts' content in other threads.

"Let's assume you are right, and that even a Laissez-faire Capitalist government will eventually disintegrate into a tyranny. I submit that the process will occur much more gradually under Capitalism than under any other form of government (it takes time to gut a constitution), that it gives more warning of the impending collapse than any other (freedom of the press), and that it gives the best chance for the populace to toss out the corrupt bums and install uncorrupted ones (the right to bear arms)."

Non-Capitalist democracies can also have constitutions. Freedom of press is not unique to Capitalism. The right to bear arms is meaningless in the face of a government that has tanks, attack jets, chemical and biological weapons, nukes, etc. ad nauseam.

"For about a thousand years reasonable people metaphorically cast their votes overwhelmingly for the Catholic Church. That didn't make it right. Reasonable Muslims are still voting for Sharia law. That doesn't make it right."

Indeed, but it also not my right (and is certainly not within my power) to impose a system of government on millions of people who do not want it. Even if I believe that system of government is intrinsically and demonstrably right. Even if that system of government makes individual liberty its foundation. How is laissez-faire Capitalism going to become a reality if not through a democratic decision to adopt it as the law of the land? A massive electoral victory for the Libertarians is not in the cards any time soon. So what's it going to be? Armed insurgence? Revolution?

"The closest thing to a Laissez-faire Capitalist country of which we are aware is the United States of America. Is it not more prosperous and free than the countries furthest from Laissez-faire Capitalism? Are their citizens not more free than the citizens of the countries furthest from Capitalism?"

Wait a second. Didn't you say some months ago that the Dominican Republic had learned from the "mistakes" of the US and was in fact CLOSER to laissez-faire Capitalism? Yes, yes, I'm certain you did say something like that. Gee, funny how things change. So I guess we'll have to take the Dominican Republic as the model to judge by. Hmmmm . . .

As for citizens of the US being more free, not at all. We are more free in two respects: in terms of owning guns and in terms of making money. However, there are many countries which enjoy much greater social freedom, freedom of expression, freedom from draconian drug laws, freedom from inhumane conditions of incarceration if one breaks said draconian drug laws, etc. etc. The Bush Administration is currently trying to turn this country into a police state, trying to break down barriers between Church and State, trying to eliminate transparency in government, and gunning for a foreign war of invasion without even deigning to share with the public the "evidence" it claims to have justifying such an invasion. Meanwhile sending inspectors to look for the evidence it apparently already has, without sharing that evidence with the inspectors to make their job easier, etc. The situation is positively Kafkaesque and I for one am making arrangement to leave the country within the year if things get worse.

"On this we agree, which is why one rarely sees a Collectivist over that age. Given human nature, Utopia is an unattainable goal, so we must try for the next best thing. The best we can realistically aim for is the system which does the least harm; a system under which every individual is free to live his life to the best of his ability and left free to deal with other individuals by mutual consent while still other individuals are prevented from fucking with him while he does so. Laissez-faire Capitalism fits the bill. Collectivism doesn't."

No, limited capitalism within the context of democracy fits the bill. Limited capitalism is not the same thing as Collectivism. I've taken the trouble to understand your definition of Capitalism with a capital "C". Maybe you should take the trouble to learn that not everybody who opposes your favored brand of Capitalism is a Collectivist.

Somehow this thread has morphed into a rerun of threads we have had before. I think I'm really beginning to understand Nietzsche's dictum of "the eternal recurrence of the same." The point is still this: throughout this thread you have been making justifications for sweatshop labor practices. My question is: why? Is sweatshop-ism a necessary aspect of Capitalism? Why do you make excuses for American companies that engage sweatshop labor? I have never once argued that the state should step in and forcibly stop those companies from doing what they're doing. I have simply argued that what they are doing is wrong and that consumers should educate themselves on the practices of the companies they patronize. They should vote with their dollars and their voices to send a message to those companies. Yet at every turn you try to find some way to rationalize and justify sweatshopism. What does this even have to do with individual liberty, for chrissakes? Those companies that engage in such practices are morally reprehensible. Nothing you have written changes my mind about that, and I will continue asserting the immorality of such corporations (which is not a blanket indictment of ALL corporations or businesses) as long as such practices continue.

The fact is that Libertarians are more interested in transferring wealth from the poor to the rich than they are in individual rights. Currently there is only ONE organization in the US that is fighting in the trenches to protect Americans' civil liberties from all-out assault: the ACLU. Even longtime conservatives such as Congressman Dick Armey have seen the light and become "card-carrying members" of this organization. And what are the "libertarians" doing while the United States sinks into crisis and big-brother authoritarianism? Sitting with their thumbs up their asses from all I can tell. Either that or expending time and effort on internet discussion forums defending sweatshops.

My own personal hunch on this is that some libertarians would actually LIKE to see the United States go to hell in a handbasket. Great revolutions can only occur in the wake of creat chaos. If the status quo collapses in a quagmire of financial collapse, terrorism, war, police-state tactics, and so on, then marginal and/or extreme political movments (and this includes the far Right and far Left) as well might have an opportunity to gain influence and power. Of course many people will suffer and die in order for this or that group of crackpots to test out their pet political theories on a live populace. Only time will tell how all of this plays out.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1141612 - 12/14/02 07:46 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Your example is anecdotal and there is nothing to suggest it is representative.

The report of the young girl dying in her workplace in China is anecdotal and there is nothing to suggest it is representative.

Of course there are ethical and honorable corporations in this world. There are even mutual funds, such as Working Assets, whose purpose is to identify such companies and encourage investment in them. Such ethical corporations are also surprisingly profitable.

The company I used to work for was both ethical and profitable. As I said, it was far from unique.

My question is: why are you making justifications for the actions of the immoral corporations?

We disagree on what is "immoral". A corporation that offers a job to an employee with all the terms and conditions of employment clearly explained up front (those terms and conditions being in strict compliance with the labor laws of the host country) who then scrupulously adheres to the employment contract is not acting immorally. The company in the article you provided was acting immorally not because it offered her a job, but because it violated her contract of employment.

So what? Your statement rests on the assumption that sweatshops are a necessary part of capitalism.

No, that's your assumption. Sweatshops are not a necessary part of Capitalism. Neither are brothels or circus freak shows.

I'm sure many employees in state-owned Chinese industries are also being exploited.

In what way are they being exploited? By being overworked and underpaid? Do you think that the Chinese government is not paying them as much as they can afford to? Or do you think the Chinese government is not providing them with safe working conditions? Or both?

You're ducking the issue. The issue is that you're acting as an apologist for sweatshops.

I am acting as an apologist for whichever corporation offers a job to an employee with all the terms and conditions of employment clearly explained up front (those terms and conditions being in strict compliance with the labor laws of the host country) who then scrupulously adheres to the employment contract.

It's indicative of your style of thinking to turn a nation of 1.4 billion people into a monolithic mass while all time claiming to stand for individuality. I know many, many Chinese people for whom it is completely UNacceptable.

Is it unacceptable to the Chinese who are actually involved -- the ones who willingly accept employment in these factories?

Have you read the news recently? Microsoft is in the clear. The anti-trust suit is dead in the water, and a breakup of the company is at this point a total impossibility.

So it was a frivolous lawsuit that cost the shareholders (and taxpayers) billions of dollars in legal fees and lost revenue (and taxes on that revenue), but at least Microsoft is able to get on with business. AT&T was not so fortunate.

Greater income disparities give those who HAVE wealth much more wealth with which to buy influence.

*SIGH*. Yes, yes, yes... we have both stipulated repeatedly that the wealthy have an easier time buying (bribery, remember) political pull regardless of the system of government in place than those without wealth. Since we both agree that men in power regardless of the system of government in place cannot all be trusted, does it not logically follow that the way to minimize the damage a bribed politician may do is to restrict the power politicians wield to the absolute bare essentials? Laissez-faire Capitalism is the only system which does this.

But this discussion is no longer pertinent since you have already agreed with me that democracy is essential.

Not essential, no. But I repeat that I have no objection to representatives of a constitutionally-limited Laissez-faire Capitalist republic being chosen through democratic methods.

The right to bear arms is meaningless in the face of a government that has tanks, attack jets, chemical and biological weapons, nukes, etc. ad nauseam.

Tell that to the Viet Cong.

Indeed, but it also not my right (and is certainly not within my power) to impose a system of government on millions of people who do not want it.

How can you IMPOSE freedom on someone? You simply stop fucking with him.

How is laissez-faire Capitalism going to become a reality if not through a democratic decision to adopt it as the law of the land? A massive electoral victory for the Libertarians is not in the cards any time soon. So what's it going to be? Armed insurgence? Revolution?

If I were in a country such as Cambodia, I would be in favor of a revolution. I personally think it is not necessary (yet) to go that route in the United States. I believe the recent developments (which you summarize so neatly a little further on) in the US will result in people voting for candidates who have as their platform less government interference in the lives of the citizenry.

Didn't you say some months ago that the Dominican Republic had learned from the "mistakes" of the US and was in fact CLOSER to laissez-faire Capitalism? Yes, yes, I'm certain you did say something like that. Gee, funny how things change.

Then you will recall I did also say that the newest Dominican government was rapidly reversing the trend. Sadly, it continues to do so. I may have to bail from here in the next year or so. Not sure yet where I'll end up.

As for citizens of the US being more free, not at all. We are more free in two respects: in terms of owning guns and in terms of making money.

And freedom of speech.

However, there are many countries which enjoy much greater social freedom, freedom of expression...

If by that you mean greater freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I call you on it. Example, please.

I for one am making arrangement to leave the country within the year if things get worse.

Wouldn't it be ironic if we both end up in the same place?

I've taken the trouble to understand your definition of Capitalism with a capital "C". Maybe you should take the trouble to learn that not everybody who opposes your favored brand of Capitalism is a Collectivist.

I must have not been sufficiently clear in my definition of Capitalism, then. In a "Limited capitalist" state, who decides what the limitations are to be? From your posts so far I think I can guess... the majority (in other words, the Collective). The group (the Collective) trumps the individual. Anything goes, as long as the Yea group (the Collective) outnumbers the Nay group, am I right? If you prefer I can call it "Groupism" or Majorityism" or "Yeaism" rather than Collectivism.

Somehow this thread has morphed into a rerun of threads we have had before.

Not surprising, since you are one of the few contributors to this forum who understands that these things depend on fundamental principles. You and I hold different fundamental principles, the ramifications of which effect our positions on different specific applications of ethics to political and economic practice. It is inevitable that no matter what the starting point of a specific newspaper article under discussion may be, sooner or later we end up back at the bedrock.

The point is still this: throughout this thread you have been making justifications for sweatshop labor practices. My question is: why? Is sweatshop-ism a necessary aspect of Capitalism?

It is neither necessary nor is it prohibited. To a Laissez-faire Capitalist all that is germane is: are the rights of the employees being violated by the employer or are they not? In the case of a "sweatshop", no one's rights are being violated. The workers are not forced to work in them, and even if they choose to work in them they are not forced to keep working in them. They can quit at any time.

...consumers should educate themselves on the practices of the companies they patronize. They should vote with their dollars and their voices to send a message to those companies.

I agree. No one should buy products from companies which offend their sense of what is right. I repeat, I myself have never knowingly purchased a product that was made in the People's Republic of China -- I go to considerable effort and expense because of that scruple. Not only that, I fully support -- even encourage -- the right of everyone to involve themselves in a boycott campaign of companies they perceive to be bad.

But the business of educating oneself is not as simple as it seems at first glance. As just one example, if every consumer in the West were to do as I do and refuse to buy Chinese products, the standard of living of 200 million Chinese workers (bad as it is at the moment) would plummet.

Yet at every turn you try to find some way to rationalize and justify sweatshopism. What does this even have to do with individual liberty, for chrissakes?

It has EVERYTHING to do with individual liberty. The difference between those "sweatshops", bad as they are, and the oldschool Chinese paradigm of collective farms and State factories is that the workers are free to refuse to work there.

The fact is that Libertarians are more interested in transferring wealth from the poor to the rich than they are in individual rights.

That is completely untrue.

Currently there is only ONE organization in the US that is fighting in the trenches to protect Americans' civil liberties from all-out assault: the ACLU.

Are there no members of the ACLU who are Libertarians? Funny... I'm sure I have seen at least a couple of ACLU lawyers described in the press as Libertarian.

And what are the "libertarians" doing while the United States sinks into crisis and big-brother authoritarianism?

Many are running for office. Many more are voting for the ones who are running for office.

My own personal hunch on this is that some libertarians would actually LIKE to see the United States go to hell in a handbasket.

Doubtless some would. Certainly many of the Socialist posters in this forum would be delighted to see that happen, judging from their posts.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1142418 - 12/15/02 07:45 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)



In response to EchoVortex's question, And what are the "libertarians" doing while the United States sinks into crisis and big-brother authoritarianism? I provide this link:

http://www.freestateproject.com/

Shroomophile brought this to our attention in his post titled "Free State". It will be interesting to follow their progress.

pinky



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1143155 - 12/15/02 01:51 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"I am acting as an apologist for whichever corporation offers a job to an employee with all the terms and conditions of employment clearly explained up front (those terms and conditions being in strict compliance with the labor laws of the host country) who then scrupulously adheres to the employment contract."

In the absence of strictly enforced worker protection and minimum wage laws, the choice for most unskilled workers is between one dishonest exploitative company or another. Either that or not working at all. What good jobs may exist in all likelihood have already been taken. Without a minimum wage law, for example, employers can collude to depress worker wages (especially for low or unskilled workers) to a point that is impossible to live on, even though the employers could pay more. Now the standard libertarian argument is that one employer could offer more money in order to attract better workers. This assumes that any given arrangement automatically becomes a free and open market. Even if a few companies decide to take that route though (and that is especially unlikely in the case of unskilled workers, who are considered more or less interchangeable, so why pay more?) it will still not make a difference for most of those workers. It is in the interest of most employers to collude to keep wages as low as possible, which in the absence of laws preventing them from doing so is precisely what most of them will do.

"So it was a frivolous lawsuit that cost the shareholders (and taxpayers) billions of dollars in legal fees and lost revenue (and taxes on that revenue), but at least Microsoft is able to get on with business. AT&T was not so fortunate."

It wasn't frivolous at all, at least not in the opinion of many consumers, many state attorneys general, and many judges. It was killed by a politically motivated judge and we will probably never know just how much money changed hands to give us that result. The breakup of AT&T was a tremendous boon to American consumers and to the telecommunications industry in general. A similar breakup of Microsoft would have had similarly beneficial effects on the software business.

"Tell that to the Viet Cong."

Reread your history: the Viet Cong was armed and financed by the Soviets. They were not a "civilian militia."

"How can you IMPOSE freedom on someone? You simply stop fucking with him. "

You IMPOSE a set of values on a society that may not want those values. If a given society wants to stop a person from putting up banners across from elementary schools explicitly depicting sex acts with animals, they could arguably have the right to stop that person from putting up those banners. There are cases in which another's unlimited freedom may be detrimental to me even if he or she doesn't actually initiate direct force against me. If a given society does not accept "initiation of force" as the ONLY recognized infringement of one person's rights upon another's, your defintion of freedom will not be acceptable to them. You seem completely oblivious to the fact that words do not exactly equal their referents. "Freedom," like any other concept, is a matter of interpretation. Different societies will interpret it differently. You seem incapable of accepting that any person's definition could differ from yours.

"does it not logically follow that the way to minimize the damage a bribed politician may do is to restrict the power politicians wield to the absolute bare essentials? Laissez-faire Capitalism is the only system which does this."

The most damage that can be done by bribed officials is precisely that which can be done by those in the "courts, cops, and military" which you assert is the basis of a "minarchy." The rest is child's play, arguably insignificant.

"If by that you mean greater freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I call you on it. Example, please."

The US has flag desecration laws, government censorship of the press in cases of "national security," various gag laws, etc. There have historically been many abuses as well, such as during the "Red Scare" of the '20s and during the McCarthy era. At that time it wasn't censorship laws per se that were the issue, rather blacklisting and witch-hunts. In any event, I'll limit myself to the present.

Sweden, for example, has greater free speech than the United States. Possession of child pornography is legal there (although production or distribution of same is illegal). They don't give a crap about flag desecration either. There are also many countries whose free speech situation is more or less as good as the US: most of Europe for example, except perhaps Germany where there are laws prohibiting "revisionist" histories of the Holocaust.

"But the business of educating oneself is not as simple as it seems at first glance. As just one example, if every consumer in the West were to do as I do and refuse to buy Chinese products, the standard of living of 200 million Chinese workers (bad as it is at the moment) would plummet."

If we all refused to buy all Chinese-made goods simply because they come from a Communist regime, yes that would probably happen. But if we refused to buy from companies that have or condone immoral labor practices, what would more likely happen is that those companies would reform their practices. It would create a situation in which they would have MORE to lose by taking unfair advantage of workers than they would to gain.

"It has EVERYTHING to do with individual liberty. The difference between those "sweatshops", bad as they are, and the oldschool Chinese paradigm of collective farms and State factories is that the workers are free to refuse to work there."

I see, up to the old "false choice" trick again. You create a false choice between sweatshops and "collective farms and State factories," as if those were the only two possibilities. Totally wrong. The choice is between sweatshops and humane working conditions. By humane I do not mean "luxurious" or anything of the sort, anything that would drive companies under.



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1143320 - 12/15/02 02:51 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"In response to EchoVortex's question, And what are the "libertarians" doing while the United States sinks into crisis and big-brother authoritarianism? I provide this link:

http://www.freestateproject.com/"

Now that genuinely sounds interesting. I'll keep on eye out for this group and if they can actually get this thing off the ground I'll follow closely just what happens in their experimental community. As I've stated before, I'm not a bigot about it. There are indeed certain aspects of Libertarianism that are attractive to me, and I'm certainly open to seeing how such a system would work in the real world. In the meantime, however, I still take a rather unrosy view of pure laissez-faire Capitalism.



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1144222 - 12/15/02 08:55 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

In the absence of strictly enforced worker protection and minimum wage laws, the choice for most unskilled workers is between one dishonest exploitative company or another. Either that or not working at all. What good jobs may exist in all likelihood have already been taken.

What you are saying, in essence, is that it is immoral to offer a job to anyone unless you can offer a "good" job, which raises the question once again of who decides what a "good" job is. Unless I misunderstand your point, you believe the decision should be made by legislators (democratically elected legislators, of course) rather than by jobseekers. Are there not jobseekers who would prefer to work for less than minimum wage (even if only till they find something better) rather than remain unemployed; jobseekers who believe that something is better than nothing? What gives the government the moral right to thwart that preference?

Without a minimum wage law, for example, employers can collude to depress worker wages (especially for low or unskilled workers)...

They could do that. But that only works if every employer agrees to do it. Even before there was such a thing as minimum wage laws, there was always competition among employers (they were competitors after all) for good employees. Henry Ford is one who "broke ranks" because he understood that by paying more than others did he got more dedicated workers, hence better productivity, hence market advantage, hence increased profits. His initial extra investment in higher wages was more than repaid.

...(and that is especially unlikely in the case of unskilled workers, who are considered more or less interchangeable, so why pay more?)...

Even in the case of unskilled workers, there is always a demand for competent unskilled workers. They are most definitely not "more or less" interchangeable. A ditch digger who can dig a hundred meters of trench a day is objectively worth more than one who can dig seventy meters a day, and it makes economic sense to pay such a worker more. I see this all the time here in the Dominican Republic; the construction contractors who pay their workers better are the ones who get the most contracts. A developer here who awards a bid to the lowest bidder (inevitably the one with the lowest-paid workers) does so only once, believe me. Moving from construction to service, there are no remaining bars and restaurants here in Cabarete who pay their staff minimum wage. All of them started paying the same wage; the government-mandated minimum (effectively the same as voluntary collusion), but it didn't take long for the first of them to "break ranks". Where I live you will never hear a restaurant owner complaining "Damn, I wish I didn't have to pay my staff so much," but you will hear over and over, "Damn! I wish I could find more staff worth paying!"

It was killed by a politically motivated judge and we will probably never know just how much money changed hands to give us that result.

If in fact the decision was "politically motivated", it supports my contention that it is incorrect to allow politicians powers over economic matters. If it was a case of bribery, you have already admitted that bribery will occur in any political context.

Reread your history: the Viet Cong was armed and financed by the Soviets. They were not a "civilian militia."

Your claim was: "The right to bear arms is meaningless in the face of a government that has tanks, attack jets, chemical and biological weapons, nukes, etc. ad nauseam." The Viet Cong had none of those things, but they were a civilian militia.

You IMPOSE a set of values on a society that may not want those values.

Not at all. You leave each and every person free to choose his OWN values.

If a given society wants to stop a person from putting up banners across from elementary schools explicitly depicting sex acts with animals...

Whose school is it? It is the owner's right to decorate his property as he sees fit.

...they could arguably have the right to stop that person from putting up those banners.

You once accused me of using "ridiculous" examples. Why on earth would anyone do such a thing? How could he possibly attract the teachers he needed to run his school, let alone persuade anyone to enroll their children there?

There are cases in which another's unlimited freedom may be detrimental to me...

"Detrimental" is a slippery word. Have your rights been violated? If not, precisely HOW have you been affected "detrimentally"?

...even if he or she doesn't actually initiate direct force against me.

Example, please.

If a given society does not accept "initiation of force" as the ONLY recognized infringement of one person's rights upon another's, your defintion of freedom will not be acceptable to them.

Correct. Can you give me a hypothetical example of a society where not ONLY the initiation of physical force (and as always, by logical extension, fraud) but also ___________ are both considered actions which violate individual rights? In such a society, what would be the accepted definition of "freedom"?

You seem incapable of accepting that any person's definition could differ from yours.

Not so. I realize that some people have different understandings of the same word. That is why I have always been careful to precisely define my use of the word "freedom" so that there are no misunderstandings about what I am saying. That is also why I usually yield when someone is uncomfortable with the way I use any word which subsumes a number of complex abstract concepts (see my offer to substitute "Groupism" or Majorityism" or "Yeaism" for Collectivism). If you believe that I am misusing the word "freedom" in the current context -- if you feel that individual freedom requires more than just the absence of others initiating force against someone -- please go ahead and add whatever further essentials you feel I have left out. I will then modify my statements on "freedom" accordingly.

The most damage that can be done by bribed officials is precisely that which can be done by those in the "courts, cops, and military" which you assert is the basis of a "minarchy."

Correct, which brings us right back to the undeniable fact that your preferred society of democratically limited capitalism also contains courts, cops, and military. This is precisely why people like Murray Rothbard advocate the elimination of even THOSE institutions.

The rest is child's play, arguably insignificant.

If the effects of what government officials do or don't do in areas other than courts, cops, and military is child's play and insignificant, what justification is there for them being there in the first place? Why pay taxes if the benefits are insignificant?

Let's examine a few things governments do which don't have anything to do with protection of the individual (courts, cops, military), but have consequences no reasonable person would consider "insignificant".

Governments inflate the money supply. Result: lifetimes worth of savings vanish.
Governments impose tariffs. Result: the cost of living goes up.
Governments grant subsidies. Result: businesses with political influence crush those without.
Governments restrict entry into certain markets. Result: coercive monopolies are created to those with political influence.
Governments expropriate property. Result: people are displaced from their homes and businesses against their will.
Governments initiate "visible minority" quotas for businesses. Result: non-minorities get screwed.

There's lot's more, but I don't want to get tedious about it. Are these government actions insignificant?

The US has flag desecration laws...

As do other countries.

...government censorship of the press in cases of "national security"...

This is universal. I can't think of a single country that doesn't have this.

...various gag laws, etc.

Again, this is universal.

Sweden, for example, has greater free speech than the United States. Possession of child pornography is legal there (although production or distribution of same is illegal). They don't give a crap about flag desecration either.

Do they also allow people to put banners depicting sex with animals on their property? Just kidding.

If we all refused to buy all Chinese-made goods simply because they come from a Communist regime, yes that would probably happen. But if we refused to buy from companies that have or condone immoral labor practices, what would more likely happen is that those companies would reform their practices.

Didn't you say, "I'm sure many employees in state-owned Chinese industries are also being exploited"? Oh, wait... I see, only "many" of the state workers are being exploited, not all of them. Okay then, how can we know which products were produced in factories staffed only by non-exploited government workers? If it is okay to buy from a government "corporation" where only SOME of the workers are exploited, why is it not okay to buy from a private corporation where only some of the workers are exploited? I must confess I fail to see the difference, so I will continue to boycott ALL Chinese products.

You create a false choice between sweatshops and "collective farms and State factories," as if those were the only two possibilities. Totally wrong. The choice is between sweatshops and humane working conditions.

The above comment logically implies that collective farms and State industries do not offer humane working conditions, so apparently there is no "false choice" in China -- state factories and private sweatshops suck equally. There is no third alternative. How can there be if we accept your argument? According to you, there are no capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops and never will be because the owners will always be free to collude with each other to keep wages at rock bottom.

It therefore follows that the only way to increase the wages is through government decree, but the government won't increase it because that would mean they would have to pay the workers in the State factories more, which they apparently lack the capacity to do. So it looks to me like the only thing Chinese employees who want to improve their working conditions can do is to band together, get a business development loan from the World Bank or a venture capitalist, and start their own businesses.

"By humane I do not mean "luxurious" or anything of the sort, anything that would drive companies under."

Would providing humane working conditions drive the Chinese government under? One would think the government of a country with a population of 1.4 billion people, a government with essentially unlimited power within its borders, would have sufficient wherewithal to provide humane working conditions for its employees.

Here's a question: If it is possible for a corporation to be both profitable and humane (and your comment on the ethical mutual funds show that it is), why is it that no such corporation has opened a factory in China yet?

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1145418 - 12/16/02 10:56 AM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"What you are saying, in essence, is that it is immoral to offer a job to anyone unless you can offer a "good" job, which raises the question once again of who decides what a "good" job is. Unless I misunderstand your point, you believe the decision should be made by legislators (democratically elected legislators, of course) rather than by jobseekers. Are there not jobseekers who would prefer to work for less than minimum wage (even if only till they find something better) rather than remain unemployed; jobseekers who believe that something is better than nothing? What gives the government the moral right to thwart that preference?"

Not a "good" job necessarily, simply one where the employee can be treated humanely. Your assumption here is that creating a minimum wage would immediately make large numbers of jobs disappear. This assumption has no basis. There was no surge in unemployment when the minimum wage was introduced in the US. Your attempt to paint minimum wage laws as "thwarting" the preferences of jobseekers is laughable. No low-paid job seeker has ever protested the existence of minimum wage laws, only business owners have.

"If in fact the decision was "politically motivated", it supports my contention that it is incorrect to allow politicians powers over economic matters. If it was a case of bribery, you have already admitted that bribery will occur in any political context."

It was not a politician who made the decision, but an ideologically motivated judge. You have judges in your minarchy.

"If a given society wants to stop a person from putting up banners across from elementary schools explicitly depicting sex acts with animals...

Whose school is it? It is the owner's right to decorate his property as he sees fit.

...they could arguably have the right to stop that person from putting up those banners.

You once accused me of using "ridiculous" examples. Why on earth would anyone do such a thing? How could he possibly attract the teachers he needed to run his school, let alone persuade anyone to enroll their children there?"

It is not the OWNER of the school who is putting up the banners. The banners are being put up on private property within view of the school. Let's say I own a lot across the street from the school. Let's say I'm a pervert who likes little children. I can put up huge banners, within view of the school, showing explicit sexual acts. With a libertarian government there is nothing the owner of the school or the parents could do about it.

"Detrimental" is a slippery word. Have your rights been violated? If not, precisely HOW have you been affected "detrimentally"?

...even if he or she doesn't actually initiate direct force against me.

Example, please."

Example? Let's say I don't like having lots of dying orphans littering the streets and decomposing all around me. Let's say I don't have enough money to help them all and neither do the private charities. Living in a society like that is detrimental to me even though no direct force has been initiated. Or let's say that everybody around me owns a firearm. They may not have violated my rights just yet, but they possess, at every given moment, the ability to take my life. Even if I own my own firearm what's to say one of them won't sneak up behind me and put me out? Sure, he'll get arrested and punished for it, but some good that will do me once I'm dead. My rights have not been violated (YET) but the unlimited freedom of others to own firearms is detrimental to my peace of mind. Not to mention the fact that I would probably have to arm my children as well so that they too could have "self-protection." There's no way I would live in a society like that. Or here's another example. Under libertarianism, the owners of private businesses would be completely free to bar blacks or other ethnic groups from their place of business. Apartment building owners would be able to exercise the same freedom. After all, it's THEIR property and if they don't want blacks, the government can't FORCE them to accept blacks. If it is my place of business, it is my RIGHT to keep blacks out (private property is sacrosanct don't ya know) and the little darkie has no right to come onto MY property. I could just see it--within a second of the adoption of "libertarianism" huges portions of the US would return to large-scale segregation. It would be a dream come true for the Dixiecrats.

These are only three examples of many possibilities. The upshot is that I for one would leave a libertarian society in a New York minute. So would a lot of other intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful people, including most professionals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors) the majority of whom vote Democrat. All of the so-called "freedoms" such a society would give me would be no compensation for the detrimental effects on my quality of life. By limiting the discussion simply to "rights" you give yourself rhetorical leverage but the real world consequences of such a state would be truly horrific and absurd.

"Governments inflate the money supply. Result: lifetimes worth of savings vanish.
Governments impose tariffs. Result: the cost of living goes up.
Governments grant subsidies. Result: businesses with political influence crush those without.
Governments restrict entry into certain markets. Result: coercive monopolies are created to those with political influence.
Governments expropriate property. Result: people are displaced from their homes and businesses against their will.
Governments initiate "visible minority" quotas for businesses. Result: non-minorities get screwed."

Point one: the government's ability (power) to do all of these things and force people to comply is maintained by the courts, cops, and military, which is why corruption in those three institutions is the most dangerous of all.

Point two: governments CAN do those things. That doesn't mean they always do. Governments can also build roads, generate new intellectual property and technology through research, protect industries from unethical business practices on the part of foreign companies (like the semiconductor dumping from Japan in the 80s) and so on. Government is like a gun, pinky. Its use for good or bad depends on the users, which is why, more important than the political SYSTEM itself is the character of the people in both government and society. Unfortunately, the "crooked timber of humanity" will often find ways to screw things up even in the best of systems. Even in systems where government is small, as well as in systems where government is big.

"Didn't you say, "I'm sure many employees in state-owned Chinese industries are also being exploited"? Oh, wait... I see, only "many" of the state workers are being exploited, not all of them. Okay then, how can we know which products were produced in factories staffed only by non-exploited government workers? If it is okay to buy from a government "corporation" where only SOME of the workers are exploited, why is it not okay to buy from a private corporation where only some of the workers are exploited? I must confess I fail to see the difference, so I will continue to boycott ALL Chinese products."

Fine by me. I can only act on information I possess. I do know, however, that most products produced by state enterprises in China stay in China and are not exported.

"The above comment logically implies that collective farms and State industries do not offer humane working conditions, so apparently there is no "false choice" in China -- state factories and private sweatshops suck equally. There is no third alternative. How can there be if we accept your argument? According to you, there are no capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops and never will be because the owners will always be free to collude with each other to keep wages at rock bottom."

Your attempts to confuse the issue are always so charming. Some collective farms and State industries may have humane working conditions, and some not. Such is the way of life. Or have you not stepped outside in a long time? And I've already stated before that there probably ARE capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops, but the number of jobs in those places is not unlimited. Many people have no choice but to work someplace bad because all that's left are the dregs. As long as laws don't prevent them from doing so, owners are free to collude to keep wages at rock bottom.

"It therefore follows that the only way to increase the wages is through government decree, but the government won't increase it because that would mean they would have to pay the workers in the State factories more, which they apparently lack the capacity to do. So it looks to me like the only thing Chinese employees who want to improve their working conditions can do is to band together, get a business development loan from the World Bank or a venture capitalist, and start their own businesses."

Once again you've completely lost the plot. Westerners, though their purchasing decisions, can influence the situation for the better. Or did you forget about that point already? I never said Western consumers can solve the situation completely--simply that they can INFLUENCE IT FOR THE BETTER. This is a perfectly reasonable statement that you are obsessed with demolishing for reasons known only to yourself. You really live in deranged mental universe, don't you?

"Would providing humane working conditions drive the Chinese government under? One would think the government of a country with a population of 1.4 billion people, a government with essentially unlimited power within its borders, would have sufficient wherewithal to provide humane working conditions for its employees. "

You seem to think I've been defending the Chinese government all this time. Once again, you've lost the plot completely.

"Here's a question: If it is possible for a corporation to be both profitable and humane (and your comment on the ethical mutual funds show that it is), why is it that no such corporation has opened a factory in China yet?"

Why not ask them?

Here's a question for YOU: do you support the right of business owners and landlords to bar customers or tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity? According to libertarian principles, you would have to.



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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1147140 - 12/16/02 09:45 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Your assumption here is that creating a minimum wage would immediately make large numbers of jobs disappear. This assumption has no basis.

I am not assuming, I am observing what I see in front of my eyes. The minimum wage laws in the Dominican Republic are certainly making a large number of jobs disappear. I have made two posts already in this forum detailing exactly what happened when the new government here raised the minimum wage.

There was no surge in unemployment when the minimum wage was introduced in the US.

1) I thought we were discussing China (which already has a minimum wage, by the way -- just not high enough for your liking).

2) The first minimum wages introduced in the US were not that much higher than the average going rate for workers at the time.

Your attempt to paint minimum wage laws as "thwarting" the preferences of jobseekers is laughable. No low-paid job seeker has ever protested the existence of minimum wage laws, only business owners have.

Come visit me some time and I'll introduce you to some jobseekers (read "ex-jobholders") who oppose the existence of minimum wage laws, and they'll introduce you to plenty more. If you speak a bit of Spanish you'll find their opinions enlightening. They used to work in foreign factories that made clothing for export... what you would call "sweatshops", although those shops did pay more than the Chinese ones do.

It was not a politician who made the decision, but an ideologically motivated judge.

Oh. I must have somehow messed up my cut and paste operation. I could have sworn you had written "politically motivated". My bad. Oops... wait a minute... why, you did write "politically motivated!

You have judges in your minarchy.

And you have judges in your limited capitalist democracy. Presumably some of those judges would even have ideologies.

It is not the OWNER of the school who is putting up the banners. The banners are being put up on private property within view of the school.

Oops. Okay... I misread the original statement. Now I got it.

Let's say I own a lot across the street from the school. Let's say I'm a pervert who likes little children. I can put up huge banners, within view of the school, showing explicit sexual acts.

If that's the worst thing that could happen under Laissez-faire Capitalism, it still beats alternative forms of government. Even you will admit the odds of someone doing such a thing are slim. However, I will admit that it COULD happen.

With a libertarian government there is nothing the owner of the school or the parents could do about it.

Not so. They could ask the guy to remove the banner. If he refused, they could remove the banner, roll it up, and stuff it in the guy's mail box with a note explaining why they feel it is better that he not display it anymore. If he replaced the banner, they could do what Mennonites do today -- shun the individual involved. By "shunning", I don't mean just ignoring him, I mean actively following him everywhere he went with picket signs indicating their displeasure. They could surround his property with similar picketers. If none of the above measures worked, they could petition the courts to hold a competency hearing to determine whether or not the individual should be legally committed to an insane asylum -- his actions arguably indicate he is likely to be suffering from an antisocial mental condition that could pose a threat to others if left untreated.

Example? Let's say I don't like having lots of dying orphans littering the streets and decomposing all around me.

No one will stop you or anyone else from helping them.

Let's say I don't have enough money to help them all and neither do the private charities.

No one will stop you from assisting the charities and the churches in their fund-raising efforts.

Living in a society like that is detrimental to me even though no direct force has been initiated.

Detrimental in what way?

Or let's say that everybody around me owns a firearm. They may not have violated my rights just yet, but they possess, at every given moment, the ability to take my life.

Each of your neighbors right now possesses at every given moment the ability to take your life.

Even if I own my own firearm what's to say one of them won't sneak up behind me and put me out? Sure, he'll get arrested and punished for it, but some good that will do me once I'm dead. My rights have not been violated (YET) but the unlimited freedom of others to own firearms is detrimental to my peace of mind.

How does this differ from a limited capitalist democracy?

As for "peace of mind", people have been bringing frivolous lawsuits for centuries trying to claim damages against someone for affecting their "peace of mind". I could claim that your passionate comments in this debate are threatening my peace of mind because they indicate a dangerous instability, and I am worried you will find out where I live and kill me because my philosophical comments enrage you.

There's no way I would live in a society like that.

You already do. So does Rono. Any one of your current neighbors (or even a total stranger) could kill you or your children at any time, and the police could only punish him after the fact. That's the case in every country in the world, and has been the case since the beginning of recorded time.

Under libertarianism, the owners of private businesses would be completely free to bar blacks or other ethnic groups from their place of business. Apartment building owners would be able to exercise the same freedom. After all, it's THEIR property and if they don't want blacks, the government can't FORCE them to accept blacks. If it is my place of business, it is my RIGHT to keep blacks out (private property is sacrosanct don't ya know) and the little darkie has no right to come onto MY property.

Correct. Similarly, different owners would be free to bar WASPs. In today's society, most (if not all) such businesses would go under pretty quickly because enough people would refuse to patronize them that they would fail. However, some would probably continue to survive, if they were located in areas with high concentrations of racists.

The upshot is that I for one would leave a libertarian society in a New York minute. So would a lot of other intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful people, including most professionals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors) the majority of whom vote Democrat.

All of whom would be free to go if they so chose. Note that a lot of intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful doctors, lawyers, teachers and professors left England for Canada and America once England started embracing socialism to a greater degree. It was called the "Brain Drain" in the early Sixties. Note further that a lot of people matching the same description (especially doctors) are now leaving Canada to move to the US, for the same reasons the English ones did.

All of the so-called "freedoms" such a society would give me would be no compensation for the detrimental effects on my quality of life.

It requires effort to obtain those things which improve the quality of life through your own resources and voluntary exchange with others. I have no doubt that some people would prefer more goodies to more freedom, and that some of those who preferred not to expend the necessary effort might choose to leave.

By limiting the discussion simply to "rights" you give yourself rhetorical leverage but the real world consequences of such a state would be truly horrific and absurd.

So far the only horrific things you have claimed is that orphans would litter the street and some nutbar would string up an offensive banner. I leave it to the readers of this thread to decide whether these scenarios are likely to occur in the real world or whether they are absurd. Of course, they might be mere rhetorical ploys.

As for limiting the discussion simply to "rights", I can't help but notice that you don't dispute my definition of rights, nor do you dispute they are essential, nor do you explain how all of the things that give you "peace of mind" can be obtained without violating someone's rights. If you feel that a society requires more than simply the complete recognition of individual rights, feel free to explain how these things are to be obtained without violating same.

Point one: the government's ability (power) to do all of these things and force people to comply is maintained by the courts, cops, and military, which is why corruption in those three institutions is the most dangerous of all.

Correct. This is why Laissez-faire Capitalists insist that the government never be given any power over economic matters. In a Laissez-faire Capitalist society, the cops, courts, and military are constitutionally limited to protecting the individuals of the society from those who initiate force. That's ALL they can do.

Point two: governments CAN do those things. That doesn't mean they always do.

Of course they always do. There is not a country in the world that has not done ALL of the above, except the minority quota thing, which only a few so far have adopted. Oh, and some have not inflated their fiat currencies to the point of disaster, but ALL have inflated them to some degree, thus causing savings to be lost.

Governments can also build roads...

Not without expropriating property.

...generate new intellectual property and technology through research...

Not without seizing money from people who might prefer to do their own research.

...protect industries from unethical business practices on the part of foreign companies (like the semiconductor dumping from Japan in the 80s) and so on.

Semiconductor "dumping" benefited more people in the countries who got cheap electronics than it harmed.

Government is like a gun, pinky. Its use for good or bad depends on the users...

NOW you are starting to get it! That's an excellent analogy. A gun is a tool for emergency use only; literally the "last resort", and should be resorted to only for self-protection and then holstered as quickly as possible. It is not for everyday use and certainly it is not to be used as the way make a living.

And I've already stated before that there probably ARE capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops...

So your comment on capitalist factory owners getting together and colluding to screw the workers was incorrect. That's all I wanted to clarify.

...but the number of jobs in those places is not unlimited.

So your problem is that there aren't yet enough capitalist non-sweatshops to employ every Chinese worker who wants to work in one. What do you think is a reasonable way to persuade more capitalist non-sweatshop owners to open factories in China?

As long as laws don't prevent them from doing so, owners are free to collude to keep wages at rock bottom.

As you pointed out, not all owners do this, or there wouldn't be capitalist factories that aren't sweatshops. If the capitalist owners who don't pay rockbottom wages are profitable (and you say they can be), they will soon be able to open more non-sweatshops, and more workers can have decent jobs.

Once again you've completely lost the plot. Westerners, though their purchasing decisions, can influence the situation for the better.

Oh, I understand. For example, you boycott Chinese goods because "most products produced by state enterprises in China stay in China and are not exported," so most Chinese goods you are in a position to buy are produced by capitalist factories, most of which are sweatshops. I, on the other hand, boycott Chinese goods because I have no way of knowing whether they were produced in State factories (most of which are sweatshops too) and because I disagree with China's refusal to recognize individual rights. Both of us are hoping to influence the Chinese, but we target different groups of Chinese; we use the same methods but have different goals.

You seem to think I've been defending the Chinese government all this time.

Nope. I just wonder why you expect capitalist factory owners to provide better working conditions than the State. Is it not enough that they provide conditions equal to those the State does?

Here's a question for YOU: do you support the right of business owners and landlords to bar customers or tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity?

I support the right of owners of businesses (and renting buildings is a business) to deal with whomever they choose, and to refuse to deal with whomever they choose. The criteria for selection could be anything the owner desires, including but not limited to race and ethnicity. A business owner who refuses to deal with potential customers strictly on the basis of their race or ethnicity would be a gigantic fool to do so, and runs a very real risk of bankruptcy (not to speak of social ostracism), but such a person is morally bankrupt anyway so I would not mourn any misfortune he brings upon himself.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1147223 - 12/16/02 10:29 PM (18 years, 5 months ago)

"If that's the worst thing that could happen under Laissez-faire Capitalism, it still beats alternative forms of government. Even you will admit the odds of someone doing such a thing are slim. However, I will admit that it COULD happen."

For someone who spends a lot of time on the internet, you're sure in the dark about just what kind of sickos are out there.

"Not so. They could ask the guy to remove the banner. If he refused, they could remove the banner, roll it up, and stuff it in the guy's mail box with a note explaining why they feel it is better that he not display it anymore. If he replaced the banner, they could do what Mennonites do today -- shun the individual involved. By "shunning", I don't mean just ignoring him, I mean actively following him everywhere he went with picket signs indicating their displeasure. They could surround his property with similar picketers. If none of the above measures worked, they could petition the courts to hold a competency hearing to determine whether or not the individual should be legally committed to an insane asylum -- his actions arguably indicate he is likely to be suffering from an antisocial mental condition that could pose a threat to others if left untreated."

Oh, I see. So instead of working at my job and being a productive member of society I should spend my time chasing after all of the lunatics out there trying to persuade them to stop what they're doing or trying to get them committed to insane asylums (where they will then be stripped not only of their right to post pornographic banners but other rights as well). Your "solution" to the problem is absolutely absurd.

"You already do. So does Rono. Any one of your current neighbors (or even a total stranger) could kill you or your children at any time, and the police could only punish him after the fact. That's the case in every country in the world, and has been the case since the beginning of recorded time."

I live in a city that has laws against concealed weapons. Do some people still carry them? Sure. In any event, this was only one of many, many possible examples of aspects of a libertarian society that would compel me to leave.

"It requires effort to obtain those things which improve the quality of life through your own resources and voluntary exchange with others. I have no doubt that some people would prefer more goodies to more freedom, and that some of those who preferred not to expend the necessary effort might choose to leave."

It seems you can only understand "quality of life" to be bound up with material objects that can be bought and sold. All I can say is: you know not of what you speak. As far as "goodies" go, I have never received any "goodies" from the government and anticipate I never will.

"Correct. This is why Laissez-faire Capitalists insist that the government never be given any power over economic matters. In a Laissez-faire Capitalist society, the cops, courts, and military are constitutionally limited to protecting the individuals of the society from those who initiate force. That's ALL they can do."

I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking stupid? Let me write it in caps for you: A CONSTITUTION IS A PIECE OF PAPER. IF THEY HAVE BEEN BOUGHT OFF THEY CAN DO A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN THAT, WHETHER OVERTLY OR COVERTLY.

"Of course they always do. There is not a country in the world that has not done ALL of the above, except the minority quota thing, which only a few so far have adopted. Oh, and some have not inflated their fiat currencies to the point of disaster, but ALL have inflated them to some degree, thus causing savings to be lost."

Your ignorance of economics is astounding. CURRENCIES ARE AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LEGAL INSTRUMENTS WHOSE VALUE IS NOT ABSOLUTE BUT NEGOTIABLE. Go read an economics textbook. You seem to think that because you earned 500 dollars one day that same five hundred dollars should be able to buy the same amount of goods tomorrow, the day after, next month, next year, and next century. Doesn't work that way. Currency values are determined on an open market. I thought libertarians liked open markets.

"Here's a question for YOU: do you support the right of business owners and landlords to bar customers or tenants on the basis of race or ethnicity?

I support the right of owners of businesses (and renting buildings is a business) to deal with whomever they choose, and to refuse to deal with whomever they choose. The criteria for selection could be anything the owner desires, including but not limited to race and ethnicity. A business owner who refuses to deal with potential customers strictly on the basis of their race or ethnicity would be a gigantic fool to do so, and runs a very real risk of bankruptcy (not to speak of social ostracism), but such a person is morally bankrupt anyway so I would not mourn any misfortune he brings upon himself."

Ok, let's sum up some of the things you've defended and justified in the past and over the course of this debate, so I can get an idea of what a libertarian society might look like:

sweatshops
orphans left to die on the streets
displaying pornography (or anything else for that matter) in sight of kindergartens and nursery schools
unlimited gun ownership
the potential for racial and ethnic discrimination and segregation on all private property (which could be anywhere, since there would be NO public property in a libertarian society)

You've also argued elsewhere that UN inspectors have no business checking out US prisons (because this undermines national sovereignty) and then turn around and support a "preventive" war of invasion against a sovereign nation that would result in tens if not hundreds of thousands of deaths (I suppose nations that pose any potential threat whatsoever to the United States immediately forfeit their sovereignty). Not to mention the fact that it would cost taxpayers some 60 to a 100 billion dollars. These are just some of your "consistent principles."

Any state in which your kind of thinking became the law of the land is a state that I would avoid like the plague. Individual freedom is well and good, but where individual freedom comes in conflict with the very bases of civilization and human decency, individual freedom can take a walk. Barbarism is also a kind of freedom. So is the ignorance of children and the lunacy of madmen. That's why civilization has always sought to tame barbarians, to educate children, and to place madmen in environments where they cannot hurt others or themselves. All of these actions involve limiting the freedoms of individuals, but civilizations cannot survive without such limitations. Absolute state power is surely a monstrosity. But the absolute freedom of the individual is also a monstrosity, yet you have become so blinded by ideology that you cannot seem to see that. It is fortunate for you, though, that libertarianism will probably never become a reality in your lifetime: it is so painful to have one's dreams punctured by reality. And I suppose we all need dreams . . .

Adios, amigo


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1147983 - 12/17/02 07:50 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Oh, I see. So instead of working at my job and being a productive member of society I should spend my time chasing after all of the lunatics out there...

Not all lunatics, just the ones whose actions offend you.

... trying to persuade them to stop what they're doing...

Not all your time, no. Just the amount of time you want to invest in trying to change something that offends you. If you don't want to invest any time at all, that's fine with me. One need not quit his job in order to affect change. Do you not participate in campaigns to persuade people to stop buying from "sweatshops"? How many hours of your time have you invested in this thread alone trying to persuade people to boycott sweatshops located in a foreign country? Why weren't you being a productive member of society instead?

...or trying to get them committed to insane asylums...

If they are lunatics, are they not better off in insane asylums where they can be treated rather than left to their own devices? In your limited capitalist democracy, do the courts lack the power to commit people to asylums?

It seems you can only understand "quality of life" to be bound up with material objects that can be bought and sold. All I can say is: you know not of what you speak.

The problem is, I know not of what you speak. From what I can gather, you think that "quality of life" is enhanced by such things as orphanages, (material objects), libraries and museums (material objects), roads and water pipes and sewage treatment plants (material objects), schools (material objects), social programs (which must be paid for, i.e. bought), etc.

As far as "goodies" go, I have never received any "goodies" from the government and anticipate I never will.

You didn't go to school in a government run school system? You don't drive on roads that run through land governments expropriated from their rightful owners? You have never bought a product from an inefficient American industry that exists only because it is propped up by government (i.e. virtually ANY farm product)? You are not eligible for Social Security? You are correct when you say that particular goodie is one you will never receive.

I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking stupid? Let me write it in caps for you: A CONSTITUTION IS A PIECE OF PAPER. IF THEY HAVE BEEN BOUGHT OFF THEY CAN DO A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN THAT, WHETHER OVERTLY OR COVERTLY.

I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking stupid? Let me write it in boldface for you: If the officials in your limited capitalist democracy have been bought off they too can do a whole lot more than that. Have we not already agreed about half a dozen posts ago that the only way to prevent corruption of officials is to do without them? Are you suggesting there should be no cops, courts, and military? Why do you persist in beating this same dead horse?

*Whew!* Now please explain to us how the generals, judges and police chiefs in a Laissez-faire Capitalist country decide which of them will create and organize (in addition to performing their real duties, of course): the department of energy, the department of public works, the department of labor, the department of education, the department of agriculture, the department of trade, the federal reserve bank, the mint, the department of science and technology, etc. Once you have done that, please explain to us how they will obtain the money to staff and operate these departments.

Your ignorance of economics is astounding. CURRENCIES ARE AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LEGAL INSTRUMENTS WHOSE VALUE IS NOT ABSOLUTE BUT NEGOTIABLE. Go read an economics textbook.

Your ignorance of economics is astounding. Currency was not invented by government, and existed long before governments got involved in the printing game. Go read an economics textbook. I suggest an introductory one by von Mises or Hayek.

You seem to think that because you earned 500 dollars one day that same five hundred dollars should be able to buy the same amount of goods tomorrow, the day after, next month, next year, and next century. Doesn't work that way.

I believe no such thing. I am well aware that a kilogram of gold (for example) can be exchanged for differing amounts of goods at different times, depending on the supply of the goods in one wishes to trade that gold for. Fluctuation in the cost of goods is not inflation.

Currency values are determined on an open market. I thought libertarians liked open markets.

You are correct that the market determines the value of a currency. This is why no government has ever been able to bamboozle the market into thinking their fiat currencies are worth what the government says it is just because the government says it. Flood the economy with unbacked fiat currency (which ONLY governments can do), and inevitably people will need wheelbarrows (no exaggeration -- there are historical examples of this occurring in the twentieth century) to carry enough of the stuff to exchange for a day's worth of groceries. This is precisely what has happened in country after country time and time again.

Ok, let's sum up some of the things you've defended and justified in the past and over the course of this debate, so I can get an idea of what a libertarian society might look like:

sweatshops

Who decides what is a sweatshop? Who employs those who once worked in a now-closed sweatshop?

orphans left to die on the streets

How many orphans died on the streets before governments took over their operation from churches and charities?

displaying pornography (or anything else for that matter) in sight of kindergartens and nursery schools

If the individuals who send their children to those particular schools and the teachers who work in those schools don't care enough to resolve the situation, why should I be forced to?

unlimited gun ownership

What is your objection to that? Do people not have the right to self-defense? Are there not limited capitalist democracies (Switzerland comes to mind) where unlimited gun ownership already exists?

the potential for racial and ethnic discrimination and segregation on all private property

Racial and ethnic discrimination is today being promulgated by government in a limited capitalist democracy (the US) through "affirmative action" laws.

You've also argued elsewhere that UN inspectors have no business checking out US prisons (because this undermines national sovereignty)...

No, I pointed out that the US government is prevented from signing such a treaty by its constitution. The government does not have the power to sign such a treaty without first amending that constitution. You are free to start campaigning for such an amendment.

...and then turn around and support a "preventive" war of invasion against a sovereign nation).

Nope. I support direct assassination of Saddam Hussein. But those who support the resumption of hostilities point out that the only reason military action was halted in 1991 was because Iraq signed a contract promising it would do certain things in exchange for a cessation of hostilities. Iraq has not fulfilled the terms of that contract, therefore hostilities may resume.

Individual freedom is well and good, but where individual freedom comes in conflict with the very bases of civilization and human decency...

In societies where individual freedom is not recognized, there is neither civilization nor human decency.

...individual freedom can take a walk.

So freedom can take a walk because some free individuals might do things that offend you. Your "peace of mind" trumps another's right to self-defense. The pseudo-rights of The Tribe are paramount, but the rights of the individual are to be recognized only until it becomes inconvenient. In other words, you are a Collectivist, which is what I have been pointing out all along.

So is the ignorance of children and the lunacy of madmen.

Children and madmen have always been recognized in every society as being fundamentally different from sane adults. Every legal system of which I am aware has special provisions for them. A Laissez-faire Capitalist country's legal system would have special provisions as well.

But the absolute freedom of the individual is also a monstrosity...

I am not in favor of absolute freedom for individuals. I have always clearly stated that individuals must be prevented from violating the rights of others. They may not be allowed to initiate the use of force in their dealings with others.

... yet you have become so blinded by ideology that you cannot seem to see that.

You have become so blinded by Collectivist ideology that you cannot seem to see that group "rights" can only be attained at the sacrifice of individual rights. You honestly can't see that without individual freedom, societies cannot be free. You honestly see nothing wrong with violating the right of a jobseeker to accept a job, because the notion that anyone might actually choose to work in a job that you would reject does not compute.

It is fortunate for you, though, that libertarianism will probably never become a reality in your lifetime: it is so painful to have one's dreams punctured by reality.

It is unfortunate for you, though, that Collectivism is still perceived as a reasonable way of organizing a society despite the numerous examples in your lifetime of its inevitable end result. It will be painful to have your dreams punctured by reality.

Adios, amigo

Later, dude. Drop by any time.

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (12/17/02 07:57 AM)


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1148046 - 12/17/02 08:12 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Iraq has not fulfilled the terms of that contract, therefore hostilities may resume.

Bullshit. Don't believe everything Colin Powell tells you. This is a bit of truth to absorb:

Lie Number One is the justification for an attack on Iraq - the threat of its "weapons of mass destruction." Few countries have had 93 per cent of their major weapons capability destroyed. This was reported by Rolf Ekeus, the chairman of the United Nations body authorised to inspect and destroy Iraq's arsenal following the Gulf War in 1991. UN inspectors certified that 817 out of the 819 Iraqi long-range missiles were destroyed. In 1999, a special panel of the Security Council recorded that Iraq's main biological weapons facilities (supplied originally by the US and Britain) "have been destroyed and rendered harmless."

As for Saddam Hussein's "nuclear threat," the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iraq's nuclear weapons programme had been eliminated "efficiently and effectively". The IAEA inspectors still travel to Iraq and in January reported full Iraqi compliance. Blair and Bush never mention this when they demand that "the weapons inspectors are allowed back". Nor do they remind us that the UN inspectors were never expelled by the Iraqis, but withdrawn only after it was revealed they had been infiltrated by US intelligence.

Lie Number Two is the connection between Iraq and the perpetrators of September 11. There was the rumour that Mohammed Atta, one of the September 11 hijackers, had met an Iraqi intelligence official in the Czech Republic last year. The Czech police say he was not even in the country last year. On February 5, a New York Times investigation concluded: "The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the United States in nearly a decade, and the agency is convinced that Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to al-Qaeda or related terrorist groups."

Lie Number Three is that Saddam Hussein, not the US and Britain, "is blocking humanitarian supplies from reaching the people of Iraq." (Foreign Office minister Peter Hain). The opposite is true. The United States, with British compliance, is currently blocking a record $5billion worth of humanitarian supplies from the people of Iraq. These are shipments already approved by the UN Office of Iraq, which is authorised by the Security Council. They include life-saving drugs, painkillers, vaccines, cancer diagnostic equipment.

This wanton denial is rarely reported in Britain. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly children, have died as a consequence of an American and British riven embargo on Iraq that resembles a medieval siege. The embargo allows Iraq less than ?100 with which to feed and care for one person for a whole year. This a major factor, says the United Nations' Children's Fund, in the death of more than 600,000 infants.

I have seen the appalling state of the children of Iraq. I have sat next to an Iraqi doctor in a modern hospital while she has turned away parents with children suffering from cancers that are part of what they call a "Hiroshima epidemic" - caused, according to several studies, by the depleted uranium that was used by the US and Britain in the Gulf War and is now carried in the dust of the desert. Not only is Iraq denied equipment to clean up its contaminated battlefields, but also cancer drugs and hospital equipment.

Denis Halliday, the assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, resigned in protest at the embargo which he described as "genocidal". Halliday was responsible for the UN's humanitarian programme in Iraq. His successor, Hans Von Sponeck, also resigned in disgust. Last November, they wrote: "The death of 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad."

IN any attack on Iraq, Saddam Hussein's escape route is virtually assured - just as Osama bin Laden's was. The US and Britain have no wish to free the Iraqi people from a tyranny the CIA once described as its "greatest triumph". The last thing they want is a separate Kurdish state and another allied to the Shi'ite majority in neighbouring Iran. They want another Saddam Hussein: one who will do as he is told.

On March 13, the Foreign Office entertained Brigadier-General Najib Salihi, a former commander of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and chief of the dreaded military intelligence who took part in the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Now funded by the CIA, the general "denies any war crimes". Not that he would ever face arrest in the West. At the Foreign Office, he is known as a "rapidly rising star". He is their man, and Washington's man.

http://pilger.carlton.com/print/101687



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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1150453 - 12/18/02 02:08 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Alex, these points have been addressed in the past. There was more to the ceasefire agreement than just the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, much more. Even presuming the WMD issue was fulfilled (which it wasn't), there are many others which have not been, as your beloved UN is well aware and has stated on many occasions. Go to the UN website and do a search on UN resolutions regarding Iraq and see for yourself.

As I stated, Iraq has not fulfilled the terms of that contract...

They haven't. The US says they haven't, and so does the UN.

I have also, in three separate threads now, used the UN's own surveys to show that the figure of "600,000 Iraqi children dead due to UN sanctions" is a bogus figure, with quotes from the people who did the survey and links to the complete survey itself. You still have never bothered to read the survey.

EchoVortex mentioned Iraq in passing in his last post only as an illustration of what he claimed to be a contradiction in my position regarding national sovereignity, and even HIS reference was off-topic. I could properly have ignored it, but I didn't. I addressed it, then moved back to the topic at hand.

As you have done so many, many times in the past, you are attempting to derail a thread with irrelevancies. I will happily shoot you down for the umpteenth time if you want to discuss the sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Iraq, but not in this thread. Either open a new one or bump an old one -- Lord knows there's been enough of them.

If you want to comment about my position that less government is preferable to less corporate action, jump right in. If you want to talk about Iraq or gun control or alien visitations, do so in the correct venue.

pinky



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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1150464 - 12/18/02 02:23 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

sorry to act like a party pooper but Ive never seen you "shoot" anyone down. You have to do more than convince yourself old bean!  :grin: :grin: 


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1150480 - 12/18/02 02:49 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Sorry I haven't been around to keep up my share of the discussion. It's turned into a very interesting thread.

This is a quick visit to the wwworld before I lapse into another brooding silence, so I'm not going to add any more.

Thanks, guys

hongomon


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1150671 - 12/18/02 05:46 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

The US says they haven't

The US says a lot of things. That doesn't make them true.

I addressed it

You stated a falsehood, I corrected you. End of story.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1151771 - 12/18/02 12:50 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Well I was ready to let this thread die since we were beginning to rehash the same old stuff as always, but since it's been bumped up and since there seems to be some interest, I think, what the hell, why not address a couple things. The key issue here is your last zinger:

"It is unfortunate for you, though, that Collectivism is still perceived as a reasonable way of organizing a society despite the numerous examples in your lifetime of its inevitable end result. It will be painful to have your dreams punctured by reality."

I have consistently argued in favor of limited capitalism in the context of democracy. If you wish to call this "Collectivism" that's fine by me, although it's also clear you're trying to exploit the association that word has with "collectivized farms" and Stalinism and all sorts of other nasty things. The implication is that any all forms of "Collectivism" inevitably lead to the same destination: oppression, tyranny, mass murder, etc. Clearly you've lifted (without due credit) this line of thought from Hayek and his "Road to Serfdom," which is made even more clear by the fact that you mentioned Hayek earlier in the post. It should also be made clear to whoever is reading that Hayek's works are not "introductory texts" in economics. Hayek has some interesting ideas but he is a partisan whose ideas are very contentious. He is not at all mainstream. And furthermore, his thesis in "The Road to Serfdom" is unproved and vociferously debated.

Once again, I favor limited capitalism in the context of democracy. This describes all of the most successful nations, including the United States. Now, it may be true that the US is SLIGHTLY more laissez faire than other Western nations, but the relative success of the US is also attributable to a very fortuitous combination of other factors: a wealth of natural resources, a strong ethic of work and materialism, the finest network of public and private research universities in the world, a steady stream of hardworking and entrepreneurial immigrants, a pop culture industry that has the rest of the world in thrall, unchallenged military superiority, etc. etc. But anyway, this is not point I wish to make. The point is that the US is NOT LAISSEZ FAIRE CAPITALIST. There are progressive income taxes, there are regulatory bodies, there is a whole raft of safety and workplace laws, etc. etc. The US government has the largest budget of any government in the world. It is not "hands off" by any means.

Let's look at some other realities. Here are the richest countries (of population of one million or higher) ranked in terms of per capita GDP calculated by price power parity (purchasing power, in other words, not real number of dollars). These are 2001 figures from the CIA World Factbook.

1. The United States (limited capitalist democracy/leaning laissez faire)
2. Switzerland (limited capitalist democracy/leaning laissez faire)
3. Norway (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
4. Singapore (capitalist authoritarian)
5. Denmark (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
6. Belgium (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
7. Hong Kong (capitalist authoritarian)
8. Austria (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
9. Japan (limited capitalist democracy/state interventionist)
10. Canada (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
11. France (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
12. Netherlands (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
13. Germany (limited capitalist democracy/ leaning socialist)
14. Australia (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
15. Finland (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
16. United Kingdom (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
17. United Arab Emirates (oil state)
18. Sweden (limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)
19. Italy (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)
20. Ireland (limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)

PPP calculations are helpful because they reflect the actual purchasing power in light of prices, whereas raw per capita GDP figures are misleading because of variable prices in each country.

Now, granted the top two lean laissez faire. But they are still LIMITED CAPITALIST DEMOCRACIES. Representative democracy in the case of the US, and something coming very close to direct democracy in the case of Switzerland. Note too that eight of the top 20 countries lean socialist. Oh, and in case you didn't notice, none of the nations on this list has pure laissez faire capitalism.

Your argument that democracy is "acceptable" yet "not essential" is sorely misguided, if this list is any indication. And since I'm the only person who is providing hard facts instead of just rhetoric and anecdotes, I will assume this list is a very good indication of how reality works.

What this list suggests is that economic freedom is a good thing--in moderation. What it suggests most of all is that moderation is a good thing. Economic freedom is good, but that doesn't mean that laissez-faire economics is good, just as exercise is good but that doesn't mean one should exercise 20 hours a day. Sleep is also good, but one shouldn't sleep 20 hours a day either. The life of an organism, with its need for balance and moderation in all things, is a much better model of the needs of the social body than any rhetoric about the absolute importance (if not absolute freedom) of the individual. Yes, it may be unfair to place the group above the individual. But placing the individual above the group is simply absurd. It is the social equivalent of cancer.

My position is not a dream waiting to be punctured by reality. My position is a recognition of reality.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1152194 - 12/18/02 03:28 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

The French aren't laissez faire?

Man they bitch about all these non French words infiltrating their language, and then they don't even use a perfectly good one like "laissez faire"!

Fuckin' whiny ass Frenchies!  :grin:


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1152464 - 12/18/02 05:27 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

I have consistently argued in favor of limited capitalism in the context of democracy.

Limited by whom? By the majority. In other words "The Collective", "The Group", "The Herd", "Society", "The People". If you prefer I refer to you as a "Groupist" from now on, I have no problem doing so. The Groupist contention is that individuals are not to be allowed by The Group to do what they want with either themselves or their possessions, even if they are harming no one else. They can't eat a psychedelic mushroom in any of the countries on your list, for example. Prostitution and gambling are also illegal in most (if not all) of those countries.

It's pretty clear cut; one either believes that every individual has inalienable rights which must not be violated by any cause, purpose, group, or any number of other men whatsoever... or one believes that a NUMBER of men ? it doesn't matter what one calls it: a collective, a class, a race, a State, a Society ? hold all rights and any individual can be screwed over if some "collective good" ? it doesn't matter what you call it: better distribution of wealth, peace of mind, equalization of opportunity or whatever ? demands it. Try to see past the labels and grasp the fundamental principle at work here -- corporations do not need to exert force in order to thrive. Governments DO need to exert force in order to even exist. Hence corporations are preferrable to governments.

This is why I say I prefer dealing with corporations to dealing with governments. If I don't want to deal with a corporation, I don't have to. I go my way and they go theirs. I voluntarily reduce some of my quality of life because of my voluntary choices (for example, my refusal to buy inexpensive Chinese goods means I must spend more money on tools and hardware and clothing thus leaving less money for books and medicine) but it is MY choice. I have no such choice when it comes to government. Nor do you.

...it's also clear you're trying to exploit the association that word has with "collectivized farms" and Stalinism and all sorts of other nasty things.

In the words of Steve Kangas: It's often the case that when a critic uses an embarrassingly accurate term to describe what a wrong-doer is doing, the wrong-doer protests: "Why don't you use my white-washed, conscience-soothing euphemism?" Such euphemisms, they claim, help promote "civilized debate."

The implication is that any all forms of "Collectivism" inevitably lead to the same destination: oppression, tyranny...

But that is what you have been arguing as well (via your "corrupt officials" line of thought), and I presume that is why you included your quote from Jefferson regarding the advisability of overthrowing the existing government (ANY existing government) once per generation.

Clearly you've lifted (without due credit) this line of thought from Hayek and his "Road to Serfdom," which is made even more clear by the fact that you mentioned Hayek earlier in the post.

It's been decades since I read Hayek, but it doesn't surprise me that he said such things. Many people a lot smarter than I have said the same thing, because it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to figure it out, and takes less brainpower with each year that passes and more examples of the principle are demonstrated empirically. For the record, I didn't steal any lines from him, but if some of what I said sounds that way, I'm pleased.

It should also be made clear to whoever is reading that Hayek's works are not "introductory texts" in economics.

Then start with von Mises. Both of them will tell you that your claim of fiat currency being equivalent to specie is incorrect, and both of them (and just about ANY economist who ever wrote on the subject) explain quite clearly the inevitable consequences of governments running the printing presses day and night. Evolving once asked a question of Lallafa (I believe) here in this forum, one that was never answered. It had to do with counterfeiting and originally appeared in a thread called "Federal Reserve Board Questions", but I just checked that thread and Evolving's post has vanished through some mysterious Shroomery glitch. Maybe Evolving will repost it in this thread -- it has a direct bearing on your misconception of how fiat currency works.

Once again, I favor limited capitalism in the context of democracy.

Who decides what limits are to be placed on the rights of individuals to do as they see best? Why, The Group, of course.

This describes all of the most successful nations, including the United States....Here are the richest countries (of population of one million or higher) ranked in terms of per capita GDP calculated by price power parity (purchasing power, in other words, not real number of dollars). These are 2001 figures from the CIA World Factbook.

Why are you providing us with a list of the 20 wealthiest nations? Are you saying we are to tailor our ethical systems (the way individuals deal with each other) in such a way as to ensure maximum riches? Are you telling us that the number of dollars in a nation is more important than the rights of the individuals who inhabit that nation? If you believe that, then why on earth are you so upset at the foreign corporations operating in China? They are undeniably raising the per capita GDP calculated by PPP. It appears you consider that to be a good thing.

The point is that the US is NOT LAISSEZ FAIRE CAPITALIST.

I know that. I've been saying that since my first post to this forum. Not only is it not Laissez-faire Capitalist, it is moving further away from Laissez-faire Capitalism all the time.

Your argument that democracy is "acceptable" yet "not essential" is sorely misguided, if this list is any indication.

Only if the goal to which all other goals are to be subordinated is the accumulation of wealth. I have pointed out that the accumulation of wealth is more assured under Laissez-faire Capitalism than under any other system, but I have also pointed out several times that this is just icing on the cake. The justification for Capitalism is that it is the only sytem that sets individuals free from the tyranny of The Group. It is of course also true that it makes people richer as a side-effect, but that's just an unintended bonus. Even if it didn't deliver that bonus, Laissez-faire Capitalism would still be superior to Groupism because Groupism is immoral.

Now, granted the top two lean laissez faire. But they are still LIMITED CAPITALIST DEMOCRACIES.

I can't help but note that the US is highest on the list. This means the GDP as measured by ppp is higher than that of Switzerland. How much higher? Ten per cent? Twenty per cent? How much higher still do you think the GDP as measured by ppp would be in the US today if the US had adhered to Laissez-faire Capitalist principles? To give just a few examples, what if it had left the sending of men to the moon to another country? What if it had refused to embroil itself in Korea, Viet Nam, Panama, the Gulf War, the Balkans, the War on Drugs and the tax dollars which paid for such boondoggles had been left in the hands of individuals? My guess is that the GDP as measured by ppp would then have been at minimum 33% higher than the next country on the list and maybe as much as 100% higher. Not that it matters, of course. What matters is that the rights of a whole hell of a lot less individuals would have been violated.

What this list suggests is that economic freedom is a good thing--in moderation.

Not even close. What this lists proves is that the only two countries even "leaning" towards Laissez-faire Capitalism are the two at the top of the list -- the two countries that "moderate" their economies the least. This is what analysts call a "trend". And it is this trend I have been talking about all along... the countries in the world that have the LEAST government interference are the ones that do the best. The countries which have the MOST government interference are the countries which do the worst. I suggest you list the bottom twenty countries for us, label them as you see fit, and we'll see if they fit the trend. By the way, I presume it was you who decided who was "middle of the road". "authoritarian", etc. rather than the CIA. I won't even bother to argue with your classifications, though some others may choose to.

Yes, it may be unfair to place the group above the individual.

There is no "may be" about it, and it is worse than just "unfair".

But placing the individual above the group is simply absurd.

You still don't get it. In Laissez-faire Capitalism the individual is not above The Group. No individual is "above" any other individual, or "above" any other group of individuals. In Laissez-faire Capitalism (unlike Groupism) one cannot gain (or lose) any extra rights whatsoever by joining a group.

Economic freedom is good, but that doesn't mean that laissez-faire economics is good, just as exercise is good but that doesn't mean one should exercise 20 hours a day. Sleep is also good, but one shouldn't sleep 20 hours a day either. The life of an organism, with its need for balance and moderation in all things, is a much better model of the needs of the social body than any rhetoric about the absolute importance (if not absolute freedom) of the individual.

Now you are reaching. Using biological models to prove or disprove ethical points is not appropriate and you know it. Which of us is using "rhetoric?"

It is the social equivalent of cancer.

You're not having a whole lot of luck with appropriate analogies in this thread, are you? First your "government is a gun" example, now this. A cancer is not an individual cell, EchoVortex. It is a group (an ever-expanding group) of cells.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1153192 - 12/18/02 11:06 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

In reply to:

Your assumption here is that creating a minimum wage would immediately make large numbers of jobs disappear. This assumption has no basis. There was no surge in unemployment when the minimum wage was introduced in the US.





Minimum wage laws were first introduced in 1938 at a wage of 25 cents per hour. When they were introduced unemployment rose by nearly 2.5%, over a period of approximately 1.5-2 years. Prior to that period unemployment had been declining. An increase in minimum wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded. Workers will become unemployed, and as a result some will move to sectors of labor which are not covered by unemployment wages. This, in turn, reduces the wages is such sectors of the job market. Furthermore unemployment is increased by firms which are forced out of the market due to the imposed wage rigidities. It is estimated that increasing the minimum wage will increase unemployment in the job sectors which are affected by minimum wage laws by 1-2 percent. Also, by implementing minimum wage laws or increasing the minimum wage, the cost of production increases. In turn, the cost of all products increases which increases the price level. This, to an extent, will reduce the effectiveness of minimum wage laws.

This is all proven, undisputed economic fact. Pick up an economics book and learn something before you pull bullshit out of your ass.




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OfflineI_Fart_Blue
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1153197 - 12/18/02 11:13 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

In reply to:

2) The first minimum wages introduced in the US were not that much higher than the average going rate for workers at the time.




When introduced, the 25 cent minimum wage was roughly 40% of the average manufacturing wage.


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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1154643 - 12/19/02 10:46 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"They can't eat a psychedelic mushroom in any of the countries on your list, for example. Prostitution and gambling are also illegal in most (if not all) of those countries."

You can eat shrooms in the Netherlands and, until very recently, they were legal in Japan as well. A lot of European countries have laws on the books against selling but more or less turn a blind eye on home cultivation for personal use. The most draconian drug laws in the free world by far are in the United States--one of the most ECONOMICALLY laissez faire countries on the list! The relationship between economic and social freedom is not that clear-cut.

Under the Bush administration, the economy has become MORE laissez faire, not less. At the same time that the administration has been cutting taxes and limiting the power of economic and environmental regulatory agencies, it has also increased surveillance, increased focus and funding on the drug war, and dismantled fundamental civil liberties involving detention and right to a fair trial.

"This is why I say I prefer dealing with corporations to dealing with governments. If I don't want to deal with a corporation, I don't have to. I go my way and they go theirs."

If you wanted to place a long distance call in the US before AT&T was broken up, you HAD to use AT&T. The only other choice was not to make long distance calls at all. If a corporation is dumping effluent upstream from me, I HAVE to deal with them, and I have absolutely no leverage to do so without government to help me.

"I voluntarily reduce some of my quality of life because of my voluntary choices (for example, my refusal to buy inexpensive Chinese goods means I must spend more money on tools and hardware and clothing thus leaving less money for books and medicine) but it is MY choice. I have no such choice when it comes to government. Nor do you."

Of course I do. I can leave. So can you, which is what you chose to do. Canada didn't stop you from leaving. Not only did they not stop you, they allow to come and go as you wish. If enough people feel that their rights are being violated, they can leave. Sure, it's inconvenient, but people emigrate all the time. If enough talented and productive people leave a country, that country will suffer for it. This is the free market at work. A country that doesn't allow its citizens to leave is nothing less than a prison and worthy of the strongest rebuke, but that's not the case with limited capitalist democracies.

"But that is what you have been arguing as well (via your "corrupt officials" line of thought), and I presume that is why you included your quote from Jefferson regarding the advisability of overthrowing the existing government (ANY existing government) once per generation."

My point was only that ANY government CAN be corrupted--not that EVERY government INEVITABLY must become a murderous tyranny. Also, you have misread the Jefferson quote: he doesn't say "overthrow" anywhere--he merely says the constitution should be REVISED once every generation. His point was that no set of laws can be eternal, NOT that government should forcefully be overthrown every generation. This is a common misunderstanding and it surprises me that you made it, especially since I provided the quotation.

"Why are you providing us with a list of the 20 wealthiest nations? Are you saying we are to tailor our ethical systems (the way individuals deal with each other) in such a way as to ensure maximum riches? Are you telling us that the number of dollars in a nation is more important than the rights of the individuals who inhabit that nation?"

Not at all, simply countering your claim that PURE laissez faire economics leads to the greatest economic gain. I could also have listed them in terms of life expectancy, in which case the socialist democracies would dominate the list even MORE thoroughly and the US would fall off. I can't very well list them in terms of inherent "morality" because such judgments are inevitably subjective.

"The justification for Capitalism is that it is the only sytem that sets individuals free from the tyranny of The Group. It is of course also true that it makes people richer as a side-effect, but that's just an unintended bonus. Even if it didn't deliver that bonus, Laissez-faire Capitalism would still be superior to Groupism because Groupism is immoral."

I don't accept that Groupism is immoral so long as one is free to leave the group. This is not "love it or leave it." Once a person attains majority they should have some understanding of how their society operates. They can then make a choice as to whether to stay or leave. If they stay, they implicitly sign a social contract, just as if you enter a restaurant, order a meal, and eat it you are implicitly signing a contract to pay for the meal when you are finished. Yes, emigrating is difficult and inconvenient, but it is not IMPOSSIBLE and therefore the individual still has the freedom to free himself from the clutches of group with whom he doesn't agree.

"How much higher still do you think the GDP as measured by ppp would be in the US today if the US had adhered to Laissez-faire Capitalist principles? To give just a few examples, what if it had left the sending of men to the moon to another country? What if it had refused to embroil itself in Korea, Viet Nam, Panama, the Gulf War, the Balkans, the War on Drugs and the tax dollars which paid for such boondoggles had been left in the hands of individuals? My guess is that the GDP as measured by ppp would then have been at minimum 33% higher than the next country on the list and maybe as much as 100% higher. "

Making predictions about the future as well as speculating on counterfactual history is impossible and a waste of time. Others might argue that the (thoroughly immoral, it's true) wars of the past fifty years actually STIMULATED the economy.
We'll never know I certainly consider those wars immoral. We agree there.

"I suggest you list the bottom twenty countries for us, label them as you see fit, and we'll see if they fit the trend. By the way, I presume it was you who decided who was "middle of the road". "authoritarian", etc. rather than the CIA. I won't even bother to argue with your classifications, though some others may choose to."

Ok. Here goes, listing FROM THE BOTTOM UP

1. Sierra Leone (Consitiutional democracy, free market, tremendous income inequality)
2. Somalia (In the midst of civil war)
3. Dem. Republic. of the Congo (Intermittent civil war)
4. Ethiopia (At war with Eritria, dependent on agriculture, often hobbled by drought)
5. Eritrea (Same as Ethiopia)
6. Tanzania (Democratic republic--subsistence agriculture)
7. Burundi (Republic--ethnic strife and civil war)
8. Madagascar (Republic)
9. Afghanistan (Formerly Taliban--religious state)
10. Yemen (Islamic republic)
11. Mali (Republic)
12 Guinea-Bissau (Republic--intermittent civil war)
13. Zambia (Republic)
14. Rwanda (Republic, ethnic genocide)
15. Malawi (Multiparty democracy, dependent on agriculture)
16. Nigeria (Formerly military government)
17. Chad (Republic--dependent on agriculture)
18 Gaza Strip (Israeli-controlled police state)
19. Niger (Republic--dependent on agriculture)
20. Angola (Republic--quarter century of near continuous warfare)

So what does this list tell us? Not very much at all. Africa is screwed, but we already knew that. The only moral here is not to depend too much on agriculture as the linchpin of your economy, and most of all avoid war, civil war, and ethnic violence. It should be made clear that civil war indicates a weak government, not a strong one. These countries lack educational facilities, infrastructure, and all of the other things necessary to build both civil society and a strong economy.

"Economic freedom is good, but that doesn't mean that laissez-faire economics is good, just as exercise is good but that doesn't mean one should exercise 20 hours a day. Sleep is also good, but one shouldn't sleep 20 hours a day either. The life of an organism, with its need for balance and moderation in all things, is a much better model of the needs of the social body than any rhetoric about the absolute importance (if not absolute freedom) of the individual.

Now you are reaching. Using biological models to prove or disprove ethical points is not appropriate and you know it. Which of us is using "rhetoric?" "

Okay, forget about the biological model if you want. You still haven't addressed the argument that a BALANCE of moderating factors is what holds a society together and always it to continue in peace, stability, and prosperity. The electorate checks the power of government through elections and term limits. Different government bodies check the power of one another. Government checks the power of extremely powerful, unaccountable individuals, groups, and corporations. That's the principle at least. Does it always work perfectly? Obviously not. But as far as principles go, it is a sturdier set of principles than one which allows individuals to do anything and everything short of initiating force on their neighbors. Ok, so we allow racists in the south to resegregate. We allow everyone to buy full automatic rifles without background checks. We allow private schools to teach Creationism and doctrines of racial purity. Encourage everyone to "let it all hang out." You don't live in the US so I don't expect you to understand just how deep the fissures are in this society, just how much hatred is simmering underneath the surface, but your brand of libertariansim will atomize and fragment this society even further, will fan the hatreds, will provide countless incitements to racial strife and social disruption. I'm talking about REALITY pinky. Do I LIKE government? Of course not. In an ideal society we would free of the need of any government whatsoever, INCLUDING courts and cops and military. But that's not the world in which we live.

"A cancer is not an individual cell, EchoVortex. It is a group (an ever-expanding group) of cells."

A cancer is group of cells that refuses to follow the logic of the body and then takes on a logic of its own, proliferating endlessly at the expense of healthy cells.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1154907 - 12/19/02 12:10 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

They can't eat a psychedelic mushroom in any of the countries on your list, for example.

Actually they can. Fresh psilocybin mushrooms are legal.


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1155640 - 12/19/02 05:15 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

The most draconian drug laws in the free world by far are in the United States--one of the most ECONOMICALLY laissez faire countries on the list!

I thought the most draconian drug laws were in Malaysia -- execution is pretty draconian. I repeat yet again, the justification for Laissez-faire Capitalism has nothing to do with economics, but with the fact that it recognizes fully the rights of the individual.

The relationship between economic and social freedom is not that clear-cut.

What good does it do you to be allowed to burn a flag or own child pornography or smoke a joint in a cafe --none of which are necessary to sustain life -- when you are subject to having your property taken from you --property being necessary to sustain life?

Under the Bush administration, the economy has become MORE laissez faire, not less. At the same time that the administration has been cutting taxes and limiting the power of economic and environmental regulatory agencies, it has also increased surveillance, increased focus and funding on the drug war, and dismantled fundamental civil liberties involving detention and right to a fair trial.

So Bush is not a Laissez-faire Capitalist? Tell me something I don't already know.

If you wanted to place a long distance call in the US before AT&T was broken up, you HAD to use AT&T.

That is exactly my point. AT&T was a coercive monopoly. It achieved its position through government restrictions on entrants to the field.

If a corporation is dumping effluent upstream from me, I HAVE to deal with them, and I have absolutely no leverage to do so without government to help me.

A corporation doing such a thing is breaking the law. The job of government is to enforce the law. Dumping effluent into rivers would be every bit as illegal in a Laissez-faire Capitalist society as it is in a limited capitalist democracy.

If enough people feel that their rights are being violated, they can leave.

Regardless of your protests, this is nothing more than the "love it or leave it" argument. A farmer should not have to leave a farm that's been in his family for generations in order to avoid having his rights violated. He is in the right, the government is in the wrong.

My point was only that ANY government CAN be corrupted--not that EVERY government INEVITABLY must become a murderous tyranny.

Unless (according to you) that government is based on the principle that an individual must not have his rights violated.

Also, you have misread the Jefferson quote: he doesn't say "overthrow" anywhere--he merely says the constitution should be REVISED once every generation.

And how is this to be accomplished if those in power don't wish to relinquish their power and allow the constitution to be revised? Especially if the citizenry has been disarmed?

Not at all, simply countering your claim that PURE laissez faire economics leads to the greatest economic gain.

Not a very effective counter, since the only two countries you list as even leaning towards Laissez-faire are the two that top the list.

If they stay, they implicitly sign a social contract, just as if you enter a restaurant, order a meal, and eat it you are implicitly signing a contract to pay for the meal when you are finished.

Sophistry. Eating a single meal in a single restaurant is hardly the same thing.

1) You CHOOSE to enter a restaurant. You don't choose to be born into a Groupist country.

2) You CHOOSE to eat at a restaurant rather than cook your own meal at home. You can't choose to school your own children at home in a Groupist country.

3) You know going into the restaurant how much of your money the meal will cost. You never know from year to year how much government "meals" will cost you in taxes in a Groupist country.

4) You can order a single cup of coffee in a restaurant. You must accept (and pay for) the entire full course meal in a Groupist country, even if you never eat a bite of it.

5) In a restaurant, you pay for your own meal, and you pay the same price no matter how much money you have in your wallet. In a Groupist country, you have to chip in for everyone else's "meals" too, and the more you have in your wallet, the more you have to chip in.

6) In a restaurant, you can send a shitty meal back and not be charged. Try that in a Groupist country.

7) I could go on, but that's enough for now.

Yes, emigrating is difficult and inconvenient, but it is not IMPOSSIBLE and therefore the individual still has the freedom to free himself from the clutches of group with whom he doesn't agree.

The group has no right to ensnare him in their clutches in the first place. That's just like bringing your car in for an oil change only to find the garage has done, without your authorization, an unnecessary engine rebuild (and an incompetent one at that), presented you with an inflated bill, and then told you that if you don't want to pay the bill you are free to leave your car with them.

Others might argue that the (thoroughly immoral, it's true) wars of the past fifty years actually STIMULATED the economy.

Only those with no grasp of reality. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that money spent on things that explode buys no more than money that is used to make a bonfire. Not to mention the deaths of people with forty years or more of productive labor ahead of them.

So what does this list tell us? Not very much at all.

It might tell us more if you were to apply the same objectivism and lack of editorializing to their descriptions that you did to the top 20. What happened to "(limited capitalist democracy/leaning socialist)" and "(limited capitalist democracy/middle of the road)" ?

You still haven't addressed the argument that a BALANCE of moderating factors is what holds a society together and always it to continue in peace, stability, and prosperity.

Because no one has argued convincingly that this is the case. There are many ways of holding a society together that don't require individual rights to be violated. You claim that the only way to keep disaster from overtaking the human race is for the biggest group (the majority) to take away the rights of others. I say that the only way to keep disaster from overtaking the human race is to renounce the initiation of force and fraud in human interaction. Your "balance", stripped of all the feel-good phraseology, is that SOME people get to tell OTHER people what they must do. The only justification you offer for this usurping of power is that there are MORE of them.

Ok, so we allow racists in the south to resegregate. We allow everyone to buy full automatic rifles without background checks. We allow private schools to teach Creationism and doctrines of racial purity. Encourage everyone to "let it all hang out."

How are any (or even all) of those things worse than what limited capitalist democracies do each and every day? The War on Drugs, expropriation of property, inflation of money supply, tax rates at 90%, tariffs, subsidies, monopolies, people jailed for victimless crimes, tax dollars wasted in foreign countries or in sending men to the moon, young men conscripted into the military, trusting people defrauded in the Social Security Ponzi scam.... You get the idea.

... your brand of libertariansim will atomize and fragment this society even further, will fan the hatreds, will provide countless incitements to racial strife and social disruption.

You don't think if welfare programs were halted the rednecks just might feel a little less animosity to those they perceive as "freeloading scum"?

Do I LIKE government? Of course not.

You appear to like it more than I do. For example, you feel it is correct to use government power not only to protect you from those who would harm you, but also from those who would merely OFFEND you. You believe it is correct to use government power to seize money from people not because they have done something wrong, but because other people have less money than they do. You believe it is correct for government to sentence to death (through AIDS in prison) those who perpetrate victimless "crimes". Your only justification for these beliefs is that "most people want it that way".

Corporations do none of those things, therefore I stand by my statement that I prefer corporations to governments.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1157595 - 12/20/02 10:26 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Echovortex writes:

Well I was ready to let this thread die since we were beginning to rehash the same old stuff as always...

Astute observation. Time to redirect this monster! You joined the thread with a post critical of "sweatshops". Let's restrict the discussion to them from here on in. I realize the occasional tangent may pop up, but let's make every effort to try to return to that central issue with as little diversion as possible.

First, let's hammer out a definition of "sweatshops". If I understand you correctly, a sweatshop is to be defined as a business (usually a factory) in which employees work hours longer than is considered the norm in the West for wages substantially below those considered the norm in the West. Such a business may be owned by a foreign corporation, a domestic corporation, or even by the government. It is not necessary that a business cheat its employees or violate labor regulations in order for it to meet your definition of a sweatshop. Am I misrepresenting your definition?

You claim that sweatshops exploit their employees and therefore should not exist.

I claim that those sweatshops which do not cheat their employees (through arbitrary fines, shortchanging of hours worked, missing agreed upon payroll dates, etc.) and meet all the labor regulations in place in the country in which they are located, provide benefits to shareholders, customers, and employees while violating no one's rights in the process. In my view, there are situations where sweatshops (with all their imperfections) are preferable to nothing at all, because:

1) Sweatshop shareholders benefit because their investment in the sweatshop is repaid with profit on top.

2) Sweatshop customers benefit because they receive less expensive goods.

3) Sweatshop employees benefit because their standard of living is higher as a sweatshop employee than it is with any other method of making a living currently available to them.

Let's examine 3) in more detail, since your main concern lies not with the effects of a sweatshop on its shareholders or customers, but on its employees. Here are some relevant facts:

3a) A jobseeker accepts employment in a sweatshop voluntarily, usually because he is unable to find a more attractive alternative. Note that it is not the fault of the sweatshop owner that his offer is the most attractive -- other employers (either state or private) have chosen for their own reasons not to make such alternatives available.

3b) Once hired, the sweatshop employee is free to resign his position at the sweatshop at any time for any reason. Usually he will do so when he discovers another way of making a living more attractive to him -- i.e. a non-sweatshop is now hiring, or he has accumulated enough capital to start his own business, or he inherits some money, or the government pays him welfare/unemployment benefits, or he marries into wealth -- whatever.

3c) If the sweatshop had never opened its doors, the jobseeker would be in worse shape than he is now. He would either be making his living through some other activity even less attractive to him than working in the sweatshop or he would not be making a living at all.

Everybody wins, the employee wins most of all. Potential shareholders have gained the ability to choose to invest in one more out of hundreds of thousands of possible other investment opportunities -- Ho hum. Potential customers have gained the ability to buy a Teddy Bear for $23 rather than $25 -- Yawn. But the employee has gained the ability to support himself and his family while he seeks out more attractive ways of making a living.

pinky



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1160160 - 12/21/02 12:46 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"I thought the most draconian drug laws were in Malaysia"
I wouldn't classify Malaysia as belonging to the "free world."

"A farmer should not have to leave a farm that's been in his family for generations in order to avoid having his rights violated. He is in the right, the government is in the wrong."

Oh, so now your heart BLEEDS for family farmers. A few posts ago you were trashing government subsidies, without which most family farms (what little remains of them, anyway) would have long ago succumbed to Big Agribusiness.

"Also, you have misread the Jefferson quote: he doesn't say "overthrow" anywhere--he merely says the constitution should be REVISED once every generation.

And how is this to be accomplished if those in power don't wish to relinquish their power and allow the constitution to be revised? Especially if the citizenry has been disarmed?"

Jefferson was an articulate man. If he had meant armed revolt, he would have said so.

"1) You CHOOSE to enter a restaurant. You don't choose to be born into a Groupist country."
Yes, but you can CHOOSE to leave.

"2) You CHOOSE to eat at a restaurant rather than cook your own meal at home. You can't choose to school your own children at home in a Groupist country."
Of course you can. I have a number of friends who are home-schooled. You can also pull your kids out of government schools and send them to private day schools, to boarding schools, to Catholic schools, to religious schools, and to various kinds of experimental schools. That's the situation in the US and most of Europe, at least. I don't know about Canada.

"3) You know going into the restaurant how much of your money the meal will cost. You never know from year to year how much government "meals" will cost you in taxes in a Groupist country."
Yes, but I also have the right to participate in deciding who is going to be running the country and setting the cost for those meals.

"4) You can order a single cup of coffee in a restaurant. You must accept (and pay for) the entire full course meal in a Groupist country, even if you never eat a bite of it."
Of course you eat a bite of it. The second you step on public property you eat a bite of it. The second you breathe clean air that was made clean by government regulations limiting pollution you take a bite of it. The second a policeman arrests a criminal who had your house targeted next on his list you take a bite of it. If you drive on a road built by the government or ride public transportation built by the government you take a bite of it. So what if you don't eat the full course? Nobody possibly could. Some people get welfare for the poor, some people get corporate welfare. Some people get free education for their children, some people get low-interest loans to start a small business. Some people use the roads, some people use public transportation.

"5) In a restaurant, you pay for your own meal, and you pay the same price no matter how much money you have in your wallet. In a Groupist country, you have to chip in for everyone else's "meals" too, and the more you have in your wallet, the more you have to chip in."
Once again, you have the right to work to select leaders who can change that if you consider it unfair or unjust. Also, the wealthy have plenty of ways to hide their wealth from the taxman. In reality, they don't pay a greater percentage than everybody else if they're even the least bit intelligent about it. If they're smart they can find ways to pay even less. Many corporations in America in effect pay NO TAXES.

"6) In a restaurant, you can send a shitty meal back and not be charged. Try that in a Groupist country."

That depends on the restaurant. Once again, if the meals are shitty in a Groupist country, YOU CAN CHANGE THE MANAGEMENT.

"Do I LIKE government? Of course not.

You appear to like it more than I do. For example, you feel it is correct to use government power not only to protect you from those who would harm you, but also from those who would merely OFFEND you. You believe it is correct to use government power to seize money from people not because they have done something wrong, but because other people have less money than they do. You believe it is correct for government to sentence to death (through AIDS in prison) those who perpetrate victimless "crimes". Your only justification for these beliefs is that "most people want it that way".

OK, the AIDS in prison bit is pure rhetorical hyperbole. Furthermore, I don't at all support laws that imprison those who commit victimless "crimes." Unfortunately the society in which I live does. I can work to convince them otherwise, but if they remain tenacious in the mistaken beliefs there is nothing I can do about it except leave. That would be sad, yes, but not the end of the world.

I believe society, through the arm of the government, has to right to designate a certain portion of an individual's income as society's share. Here is a quotation from a recent biography on Benjamin Franklin by Edmund S. Morgan:

"In Franklin's view property was not a natural right. n a paper written a few months before his death, he argued that property is a 'Creature of Society and is subject to the Calls of that Society whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing.'

"Was this a new view for him? Far from it. As early as 1750 we have seen him stating his conviction 'that what we have above what we can use, is not propery ours, tho' we possess it." In 1776, presiding over the convention that drafted the Pennsylvanaia constitution, he gave his approval to a Declaration of Rights that did include a natural right to acquire, possess, and protect property; but he also approved a provision that the convention later dropped: 'That an enormous Proportion of Propert vested in a few Individuals is dangerous to the Rights, and destructive of the Common Happiness, of Mankind; and therefore every free State hath a Right by its Laws to discourage the Posession of such Property.'

"In 1785 he wrote Benjamin Vaughan in the same vein that 'Superfluous Property is the Creature of Society.' Before society came into existence, he explained, a savage could protect his own bow, hatchet, and coat of skins by himself. But when societies were formed they passed laws, and when 'by virtue of the first Laws Part of the Society accumulated Wealth and grew Powerful, they enaced others more severe, and would protect their Property at the Expence of Humanity. This was abusing their Powers, and commencing a Tyranny.' It would not have been an abuse of power, Franklin thought, if the Continental Congress had taken American property in taxes precisely because, he told the superintendent of finance in 1783, property is 'the Creature of publick Convention.' The public in this case was American, and Congress as its representative had the power to dispose of what it created 'and even of limiting the Quantity and Uses of it.'"

Sounds pretty extreme--even I wouldn't go as far as to say down to the last Farthing. But the important point that Franklin makes here is that excess or superfluous wealth can only accrue within society. A person can only amass wealth if people are willing to trade with him, if they all accept a commonly recognized form of currency or barter, and if they have a commonly accepted understanding of exactly what consititutes "property," what constitutes "fraud," what constitutes "negligence," etc. Sure, a person could choose to trade only with a small group of people outside of mainstream society who abide by a different set of understandings of those things, but the smaller the market, the smaller the capacity for great amounts of wealth. But back to the key point: property is not a metaphysical absolute, as you seem to believe. It is a social construct. Wealth is only possible if many other people are willing to play the game of wealth creation with you. Because one depends on other people to play the game simply in order to be able to play the game at all, one also has to accept that the Group as a whole, not any single individual, has the final say on what the RULES of the game are. You are always free to try to convince the group to change the rules. If that doesn't succeed, you are always to join another group that plays the game by a different set of rules. If you can't find a group that plays by the rules you like, you are always free to gather with other like minded people to buy an island or something and create your own state with your own rules.






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OfflineI_Fart_Blue
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1161005 - 12/21/02 09:02 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

In reply to:

Oh, so now your heart BLEEDS for family farmers. A few posts ago you were trashing government subsidies, without which most family farms (what little remains of them, anyway) would have long ago succumbed to Big Agribusiness




Wow, wrong again. Imagine my surprise.

Roughly the top ten percent of all producing farms receive sixty-one percent of all government farm subsidy payments. These farms use the payments to increase their output and often buy out smaller surrounding farms.

Riceland Farms of Stuttgart, AR in the years 2000 and 2001 received a combined total of $220,821,862.98 in government farm subsidies. They were the highest paid farm during that period. Even more shocking, the money that Riceland Farms received was nearly three times that of the second highest paid farm during that period which was Producers Rice Mill Inc. also of Stuttgart, AR, which received $77,184,521.18. Fortune 500 companies also benefit from subsidy payments. International Paper received a payment from 1996-2000 of over $375,000.

The average yearly payment to the bottom eighty percent of national farm subsidy recipients? A whopping $5,830.

Furthermore, farm subsidies allow for the dumping of US crops on other foreign nations. To protect their own farmers, many of the rich countries, primarily European and Asian nations, raise tariffs on American foodstuffs. This directly hurts the poorer nations which cannot compete in the international market due to the tariffs. Furthermore because poorer nations cannot afford to raise tariffs on their own, American foodstuffs are sold again at a decreased price, driving the large and small farmers out of business in those countries.

Though I imagine you will choose to ignore this post just as you did my last, I decided to post again. I am not really sure where you get your info from...maybe you make it up?


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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: I_Fart_Blue]
    #1161143 - 12/21/02 10:53 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

I am not really sure where you get your info from...maybe you make it up?

Nope, echo's points are perfectly valid, see below. Perhaps you could let us know where you get your info as it seems completly inaccurate?

Incidentally, I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that big business has got it's snout in the corporate pork barrell.

In Illinois alone, the average income of a farmer this year averaged at US$37,000, of which US$16,000 comes from government farm subsidies. These subsidies reportedly help farmers meet their current debt liabilities.

?Without federal assistance over the last three years, we would have seen large numbers of farm bankruptcies,? said Doug Yoder, director of marketing for the Illinois Farm Bureau, adding that one in seven of the state?s 79,000 farms is losing money this year, while many others are barely breaking even.

But for the small farmer, low prices can be lethal, and subsidies have become the difference between continuing to farm or not.

Much also has been made of the large government payments going to farms. But I don't know any farmers around here who are getting rich on subsidies. As in North Dakota, farmers here need the subsidies just to meet their expenses. Crop prices are as low as they were 30 or even 50 years ago, but fuel and other operating costs have soared. Today's profit margins can be measured in microns. That's why nearly all local farmers work full-time jobs in addition to farming.

The cheap food policies of the past 50 years have failed. American households are paying nearly $5,000 apiece (through taxes and higher food costs) to subsidize farming. Food is not cheap anymore, and it will continue to become more costly as the ag corporations strive to do what all corporations do -- satisfy their shareholders.


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OfflineI_Fart_Blue
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1161348 - 12/22/02 04:28 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

I get my information from the Environmental Working Group's webpage concerning Farm Subsidy payments. The EWG is a not-for-profit research organization which really focuses on the facts.

Here is there website which I use for my information:
Environmental Working Group Farm Subsidy Database, 1996-2001

Just an article that I used in my previous post:
Far From Dead, Subsidies Fuel Big Farms

I didn't use these, but here are some more.
EWG's FAQ's
Big Farms Get Bulk Of Subsidies
See the Economics section
Some Farmers Growing Rich on Government Crop Subsidies
Farm Bill: Sowing Bad Seeds
Funny article in the Washington Post about EWG's database
Incorporation ruins farming
FEEDING THE GREEDY, STARVING THE NEEDY
US FARM SUBSIDES FAVOUR LARGE CORPORATE FARMS
Time to make farming viable again
Farm Bill 2002: Corporate Welfare or Farmer's Friend?
Small towns suffer from decline in farming

*yawn*

I think I have made my point.

Did you even read what you posted?

one in seven of the state's 79,000 farms is losing money this year, while many others are barely breaking even
But I don't know any farmers around here who are getting rich on subsidies.
That's why nearly all local farmers work full-time jobs in addition to farming.



While I will concede that the average may have been $16000, it is just that, an average. Tell me, what is the average of 49995, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1? The article you posted is hardly a compelling argument for government farm subsidies.

You are more than welcome to try again though.


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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: I_Fart_Blue]
    #1161363 - 12/22/02 04:52 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Here's Echo's point again:

government subsidies without which most family farms (what little remains of them, anyway) would have long ago succumbed to Big Agribusiness

You bizarrely insisted that this was "wrong". It is quite clearly simple fact.

In fact what exactly is your point? That big business gets more than it's fair share in welfare? So what else is new?




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OfflineI_Fart_Blue
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1161383 - 12/22/02 05:11 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

My point is that government subsidies are going further to help Agribusiness consume smaller farms. It isn't rocket science.

Edit: If you've got corporate farms receiving millions of dollars in comparison to small farms, I really and truely cannot see how subsidies keep the larger farms from swallowing the smaller ones. If you've got a family farm earning $35000 a year, it is likely you will take little convincing to turndown a check for $350,000 to buy out their farm. Government subsidation allows corporate farms to grow by leaps and bound and the average family farm to continue to struggle to survive. The extent to which subsidies help smaller farms is nil.

Furthermore, his post gives the impression that that he believes that farm subsidies are a great benifit to family farms. While they do contribute to the income they are hardly a cureall to small farm financial woes.

Government subsidation of the smaller farms is bad business through and through. It is a waste of the taxpayer's dollars to continually invest in the smallest of farms which just barely break even with the subsidies. Dropping the subsidation forces those who are "living" off of the program to go out and find other work.

I am all for welfare programs that do good, or support people who need the money. I am not too keen on giving my money to "support" corporate farms which really just use my money to grow bigger and bigger, enabling them to drive the smaller farms out of business. Hopefully this new Farm Bill passed this year is a step in the right direction, but I doubt it.


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"A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind. I do not know which makes a man more conservative-to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." -John Maynard Keynes


Edited by I_Fart_Blue (12/22/02 05:39 AM)


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Offlinejohnnyfive
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Anonymous]
    #1161591 - 12/22/02 07:31 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

I don't know if this was erased or not some im posting this agian!


"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and the cause me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corperations have been enthroned, and era of corruption in high places will follow, ... and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed." - President Lincoln sent a letter to Col. Williams F. Elkins


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1162408 - 12/22/02 03:09 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Well, I really would like to narrow the focus back to "sweatshops", but a few of these I can't let slide, so...

EchoVortex writes:

Oh, so now your heart BLEEDS for family farmers.

Fine. Change that to "A miller should not have to abandon a mill that's been in his family for generations in order to avoid having his rights violated."

A few posts ago you were trashing government subsidies, without which most family farms (what little remains of them, anyway) would have long ago succumbed to Big Agribusiness.

As I _Fart_Blue pointed out, government subsidies to agriculture have done more to accelerate the decline of the family farm than any other single factor.

Jefferson was an articulate man. If he had meant armed revolt, he would have said so.

Jefferson perhaps gave too much credit to the intelligence of members of future generations who would read his words... he assumed the answer would be obvious. I ask you (and Jefferson) again, HOW (by what SPECIFIC methods) is the population to revise a constitution when those in power oppose its revision?

Also, the wealthy have plenty of ways to hide their wealth from the taxman. In reality, they don't pay a greater percentage than everybody else if they're even the least bit intelligent about it.

They don't pay more? How do you explain the fact that according to data from the IRS, the top 1% of income earners pay nearly 35% of the income tax burden; the top 10% pay 65%; and the top 25% pay nearly 83%. The bottom 50% of income earners pay barely 4% of income taxes.

Once again, if the meals are shitty in a Groupist country, YOU CAN CHANGE THE MANAGEMENT.

Then the faster we change the management to a Libertarian one, the better. Changing from a Democrat to Republican and back again makes no substantive difference, since both parties support the initiation of force against peaceful individuals.

OK, the AIDS in prison bit is pure rhetorical hyperbole.

Is it? You think young "drug offenders" are left alone by the hardcore prison element? "Hey, Sam, don't assrape that sweet young thang over there. He's just a doper."

Furthermore, I don't at all support laws that imprison those who commit victimless "crimes." Unfortunately the society in which I live does.

That's my point exactly. The MAJORITY has decided that these people need to be imprisoned. You know and I know they are wrong, but the fact there are MORE of "them" than there are of "us" means "they" have the right, IN YOUR WORLDVIEW, to imprison people who have harmed no one. You may disagree with their position ON THAT SPECIFIC ISSUE, but you support their right to punish all those who smoke dope... not because smoking dope is wrong, but because The Group has decreed it to be. You are therefore responsible for the excesses they commit, because you support the SYSTEM (Groupism) which allows those excesses to be legally sanctioned.

That would be sad, yes, but not the end of the world.

Tell that to someone doing ten to fifteen for smoking dope.

But the important point that Franklin makes here is that excess or superfluous wealth can only accrue within society.

False Appeal to Authority. On the above points, Franklin was incorrect. It is fortunate that Franklin alone was not in charge of drafting the Constitution.

A person can only amass wealth if people are willing to trade with him...

Not so. A single person acting alone over time can accrue substantial amounts of wealth, even "excess" or "superfluous" wealth. He need not trade with others in order to do so. It is no big trick for a single farmer to grow and store enough grain (wealth) in a few years to feed himself for three or four lifetimes.

But back to the key point: property is not a metaphysical absolute, as you seem to believe. It is a social construct.

Property is most assuredly NOT a "social construct". It refers to more than just land. It refers to all that one possesses, including the handful of nuts you just gathered from beneath a pecan tree. Property does not need society in order to exist -- a man alone on an island can possess property. But man cannot exist without property. To prove it, just select any random man, strip him naked, and take everything he tries to collect from him as soon as he acquires it. That man will soon be dead. That has nothing to do with "social constructs", but with the nature of the universe, of which man is a part.

Wealth is only possible if many other people are willing to play the game of wealth creation with you.

Not so. See above.

Because one depends on other people to play the game simply in order to be able to play the game at all...

False premise. See above.

... one also has to accept that the Group as a whole, not any single individual, has the final say on what the RULES of the game are.

Not so. It doesn't matter if the Group "as a whole" has no interest in trading their food for my pottery, as long as enough individuals within the group do. Maybe only one in a thousand are willing to do so, but if there are enough thousands I make a comfortable living as a potter.

You are always free to try to convince the group to change the rules. If that doesn't succeed, you are always to join another group that plays the game by a different set of rules. If you can't find a group that plays by the rules you like, you are always free to gather with other like minded people to buy an island or something and create your own state with your own rules.

None of the above changes the fact that "the rules" in a Groupist society are immoral.

I await your comments on "sweatshops".

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1163004 - 12/22/02 06:38 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"It is not necessary that a business cheat its employees or violate labor regulations in order for it to meet your definition of a sweatshop. Am I misrepresenting your definition?"

Yes, you are. Simply having long shifts (by Western standards) for low wages (by Western standards) does not qualify to make a business a sweatshop. Any business which abides by labor regulations, maintains a physically safe and non-toxic workplace, does not defraud its employees, and allows employees to leave at any time is not a sweatshop--it is simply a business that offers low pay for long hours. As long as all of the term s of employment are made absolutely clear to the employees up front and as long as those terms are abided by, there's not a problem. Ideally, factory owners would have the decency to pay their employees something above the local poverty rate, but that is a matter of decency and not of flagrant immorality. You and I may have different notions of what constitutes "decency" so we can just leave it at that.

The article I referenced was about a factory that violated numerous labor codes, lied to its employees, and did a number of other things that qualify it as a sweatshop.



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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1163144 - 12/22/02 07:30 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"As I _Fart_Blue pointed out, government subsidies to agriculture have done more to accelerate the decline of the family farm than any other single factor."

Ah, the master of distortion is at it again. Nowhere does it say "more than any other single factor" or even that these subsidies accelerate the decline of the family farm. It simply states that large farms receive more in subsidies. The small family farms may receive less in subsidies, but they still receive subsidies, and these are apparently enough to keep them in business.

"Jefferson perhaps gave too much credit to the intelligence of members of future generations who would read his words... he assumed the answer would be obvious. I ask you (and Jefferson) again, HOW (by what SPECIFIC methods) is the population to revise a constitution when those in power oppose its revision?"

I'm sure Jefferson would have preferred a set of laws that stipulated a recurrent and periodic revision in an orderly and peaceful fashion. He would have been horrified at the idea of civil war every twenty years. If you can't figure that much out, you're quite hopeless as a student of Jefferson.

"They don't pay more? How do you explain the fact that according to data from the IRS, the top 1% of income earners pay nearly 35% of the income tax burden; the top 10% pay 65%; and the top 25% pay nearly 83%. The bottom 50% of income earners pay barely 4% of income taxes. "

I said that they don't pay a greater percentage of their own total wealth. Sure they pay a greater percentage of of the incoming tax revenue, because they make and own astronomically more.

"Is it? You think young "drug offenders" are left alone by the hardcore prison element? "Hey, Sam, don't assrape that sweet young thang over there. He's just a doper.""
Oooh, scary. You're playing to the gallery now, pinky, trying to appeal to drug users' quite understandable paranoia. Your implication however is that a drug conviction=death sentence, which is, I repeat, rhetorical hyperbole.

"False Appeal to Authority. On the above points, Franklin was incorrect. It is fortunate that Franklin alone was not in charge of drafting the Constitution."

Not quite. If I said something to extent that "Such and such is right because Franklin said so," that would be False Appeal to Authority. I quoted Franlin's RATIONALE for a position that I happen to agree with because he said far more eloquently than I could. If you could address any of the points that Franklin brought up I might entertain your contention that "Franklin is incorrect" but as it is you just say he's wrong and expect me to agree. On the basis of what? Appeal to YOUR Authority?

"Not so. A single person acting alone over time can accrue substantial amounts of wealth, even "excess" or "superfluous" wealth. He need not trade with others in order to do so. It is no big trick for a single farmer to grow and store enough grain (wealth) in a few years to feed himself for three or four lifetimes. "

Bullshit. He can only do so if the land he is working is recognized by others as belonging to him. Otherwise somebody else can come along and push him off. And where did he get his seeds? What is the source of his irrigation? Who TAUGHT him how to farm in the first place? Does he spin his own cloth? Does he sew together his own clothes? Did he construct his own hoe? Speaking of which, who gave birth to him? Who fed him as a baby? The individual is not an entity unto itself. The indvidual is a nexus of a web of social relations.

"Property is most assuredly NOT a "social construct". It refers to more than just land. It refers to all that one possesses, including the handful of nuts you just gathered from beneath a pecan tree"

Wait a second, I thought that under libertariansim there was no public property. So in order for me to pick those pecans, I would have to own the pecan tree and the land under it. Property most assuredly IS a social construct, one that is protected only by force or the threat of force. Either society recognizes and protects your property or you have to do it for yourself. If you had to do it for yourself 24 hours a day, you would have neither the time nor the energy to gain new property or produce new wealth.

"Property does not need society in order to exist -- a man alone on an island can possess property"

A hopelessly absurd and illogical propostion. What need is there to designate something as "my property" when no other living agent is around to make any claims on it or pose any threat to it?

"But man cannot exist without property. To prove it, just select any random man, strip him naked, and take everything he tries to collect from him as soon as he acquires it."

Once again, this is only an issue if there are other people around to "strip him naked, and take everything he trieds to collect from him as soon as he acquires it." If he is alone, there is nobody around to strip him or take his stuff so what need is there for the concept of "property"? None at all. There are only a few things necessary to exist: food, clothing (not even that in tropical climates) and a place to rest your head, and for the man who is completely alone and completely apart from society there is no need to worry about any threat to these sources of survival. I repeat: THE IDEA OF PROPERTY IS ONLY NECESSARY AND MEANINGFUL IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIETY.

"That has nothing to do with "social constructs", but with the nature of the universe, of which man is a part."

Oh, so man springs up from the dirt itself? I don't know about you, pinky, but I CAME FROM A WOMAN'S BODY. Even before I was conceived I was imbricated in the social order, I was connected to other people. The universe, for its part, is more or less indifferent to us as human beings. We as a race survive or die together.

"Not so. It doesn't matter if the Group "as a whole" has no interest in trading their food for my pottery, as long as enough individuals within the group do. Maybe only one in a thousand are willing to do so, but if there are enough thousands I make a comfortable living as a potter."

And if your pottery is crap and you refuse to give their food back those individuals have no recourse but to turn to the Group to deliver justice. Either that or act as judge, jury and execurtioner to deliver the justice of their own choosing. Their willingness to do business with you is not simply dependent on how much they like or trust you AS AN INDIVIDUAL. They are willing to proceed on the assumption that there are certain rules in place in case something goes wrong. How do those rules get decided? By DISCUSSION AND CONSENSUS. Not because some guy says "these are the laws of the universe as I see them so you all follow me."

"Then the faster we change the management to a Libertarian one, the better. Changing from a Democrat to Republican and back again makes no substantive "

Why would I change to a management that doesn't see the necessity of my having the right to change the management in the future? You have said that democracy is 'acceptable" but "not essential." OK, let's say that by some miracle a public referendum decides to adopt a libertarian constitution and completely dismantle the existing governmental structure. And let's say also that your wonderfully optimistic and comforting prognostications of how things would be under libertarianism don't pan out in reality. Let's say society turns into a living hell, just for the sake of argument. What recourse do the people have? ZERO. Why? Because a bunch of libertarians convinced them that libertarian principles are universally valid, universally moral, universally correct. So tough nuts if your world is going to shit--you can't change it because we have demonstrated that libertariansim is right and everything else is wrong.

KEEP DREAMING!




Edited by EchoVortex (12/22/02 09:07 PM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1164105 - 12/23/02 07:59 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

The article I referenced was about a factory that violated numerous labor codes, lied to its employees, and did a number of other things that qualify it as a sweatshop.

Understood. I as a Laissez-faire Capitalist also oppose such practices. I wouldn't call them "sweatshops", though -- I would call them "outlaw" factories. Whatever we choose to call them, however, we agree they are not to be defended.

pinky


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1164353 - 12/23/02 09:20 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Nowhere does it say "more than any other single factor" or even that these subsidies accelerate the decline of the family farm.

I suggest you read some of the links he provides.

I'm sure Jefferson would have preferred a set of laws that stipulated a recurrent and periodic revision in an orderly and peaceful fashion.

And if the corrupt officials in charge at the time refuse to allow revision to take place in an orderly and peaceful fashion?

I said that they don't pay a greater percentage of their own total wealth.

Yeah they do. That is the whole principle behind the sliding income tax scale.

Your implication however is that a drug conviction=death sentence, which is, I repeat, rhetorical hyperbole.

What hyperbole? Are you claiming my chances of getting ass-raped in prison don't exceed my chances of getting ass-raped while out of prison? Am I certain to catch AIDS while in prison? Nope. Am I much more likely to? Yep.

If you could address any of the points that Franklin brought up I might entertain your contention that "Franklin is incorrect"...

Easily done:

"As early as 1750 we have seen him stating his conviction 'that what we have above what we can use, is not propery ours, tho' we possess it."

This is nothing more than Franklin's opinion, with no chain of reasoning behind it to support his opinion.

"That an enormous Proportion of Propert vested in a few Individuals is dangerous to the Rights, and destructive of the Common Happiness, of Mankind; and therefore every free State hath a Right by its Laws to discourage the Posession of such Property."

This is nothing more than Franklin's opinion, with no chain of reasoning behind it to support his opinion.

Before society came into existence, he explained, a savage could protect his own bow, hatchet, and coat of skins by himself. But when societies were formed they passed laws, and when 'by virtue of the first Laws Part of the Society accumulated Wealth and grew Powerful, they enaced others more severe, and would protect their Property at the Expence of Humanity.

Franklin fails to explain how keeping others from seizing one's property (whether through one's own efforts or through the efforts of a designated agent) causes expense to humanity. Again, he makes baldfaced declarations with not a shred of supporting argument, much less evidence.

It would not have been an abuse of power, Franklin thought, if the Continental Congress had taken American property in taxes precisely because, he told the superintendent of finance in 1783, property is 'the Creature of publick Convention.' The public in this case was American, and Congress as its representative had the power to dispose of what it created 'and even of limiting the Quantity and Uses of it.'"

Franklin is espousing the same error you do -- that "The Group" creates wealth. It doesn't. Individuals create wealth.

He can only do so if the land he is working is recognized by others as belonging to him.

What if there are no others around to recognize anything? What if he is alone on an island?

Otherwise somebody else can come along and push him off.

Only in a Groupist society. In a Laissez-faire Capitalist society no one is allowed to push him off.

And where did he get his seeds?

From the plants he gathered and didn't consume immediately.

What is the source of his irrigation?

If the rainfall is insufficient, from the stream near his plot and the ditches he digs from the stream to his plot.

Who TAUGHT him how to farm in the first place?

Are you saying that whoever taught him to farm has the right to seize his farm? How about whoever taught him to fish -- does that person have the right to seize the fish he catches?

Did he construct his own hoe?

Yes.

Speaking of which, who gave birth to him? Who fed him as a baby?

That individual no longer exists at the time he is farming.

The individual is not an entity unto itself. The indvidual is a nexus of a web of social relations.]

So You claim. That is the false claim of all men who seek to bend others to their will.

So in order for me to pick those pecans, I would have to own the pecan tree and the land under it.

Or to obtain them from a pecan tree growing on property no one owned yet.

Property most assuredly IS a social construct, one that is protected only by force or the threat of force.

No it isn't. Property can exist in the case of a castaway alone on an island.

Either society recognizes and protects your property or you have to do it for yourself. If you had to do it for yourself 24 hours a day, you would have neither the time nor the energy to gain new property or produce new wealth.

Correct. This is why Laissez-faire Capitalists recognize the necessity for some designated agent (government) to protect their lives and their property. Anarchists don't recognize this necessity, which is why Anarchism is inherently a faulty concept.

What need is there to designate something as "my property" when no other living agent is around to make any claims on it or pose any threat to it?

It is possible to lose property without human intervention. You can fall into a stream swollen by a flash flood and lose your bag of pecans. A raccoon can pilfer them from your storage area while you sleep. Your pecan storehouse could be burned in a forest fire started by lightning. You could store your pecans improperly and they get mouldy or infested with insects and become inedible. In each case, you had property before the incident, you had none afterwards.

Once again, this is only an issue if there are other people around to "strip him naked, and take everything he trieds to collect from him as soon as he acquires it."

Which is what happens in Groupist societies, but not in Capitalist ones.

If he is alone, there is nobody around to strip him or take his stuff so what need is there for the concept of "property"? None at all.

See my above examples of floods, fires, mould, and animal predation.

THE IDEA OF PROPERTY IS ONLY NECESSARY AND MEANINGFUL IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIETY.

Not so. The concept of the PROTECTION of property from human activity is only necessary in the context of society. A man alone still needs property. That which he has gathered and is in control of is his property -- his spear, knife, axe, food store, hut, clothing, water jug. A coconut hanging on a tree across the river is not yet his property and may never be his property if he doesn't make the effort to knock it from the tree.

Oh, so man springs up from the dirt itself? I don't know about you, pinky, but I CAME FROM A WOMAN'S BODY.

As did we all. Are you saying if your mother dies you are no longer a man?

The universe, for its part, is more or less indifferent to us as human beings.

I would say it is completely indifferent.

We as a race survive or die together.

All that is necessary for the continuation of "the race" is a fertile breeding PAIR of humans.

It is EASIER to survive with the assistance of others (if those others do not violate your rights) but it is not essential to a human's survival that there be others around. As you yourself point out, "There are only a few things necessary to exist: food, clothing (not even that in tropical climates) and a place to rest your head, and for the man who is completely alone and completely apart from society there is no need to worry about any threat to these sources of survival."

Furthermore, there are no guarantees that "the race" will survive at all. An asteroid could hit the planet tomorrow, wiping out ALL human life. The Groupist rationale that is okay to violate the rights of individuals alive today for the benefit of some FUTURE individuals who don't exist today and MAY NEVER EXIST is thus a faulty one.

And if your pottery is crap and you refuse to give their food back those individuals have no recourse but to turn to the Group to deliver justice.

Which is why I say we must have courts in order to decide who is acting correctly in such disputes. I remind you that I am not an Anarchist.

They are willing to proceed on the assumption that there are certain rules in place in case something goes wrong. How do those rules get decided? By DISCUSSION AND CONSENSUS.

Discussion and consensus are not infallible guides to morality. At one point in time it was the consensus that black people were not really human. Elsewhere in the hemisphere it was the consensus that unless babies were tossed down wells there would be no rain and the crops would fail.

Of course the DETAILS of a legal code must be hammered out tediously, with scrupulous fairness and the utmost exertion of intellect, but none of that effort makes a bit of difference if the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES on which the laws rest are flawed -- if anything goes as long as the majority doesn't object to it. Such lack of principles is responsible for the current prohibition of marijuana, to name just one of many possible examples.

Why would I change to a management that doesn't see the necessity of my having the right to change the management in the future?

You have every right to choose your own slavemasters. You have no right to choose mine.

OK, let's say that by some miracle a public referendum decides to adopt a libertarian constitution and completely dismantle the existing governmental structure. And let's say also that your wonderfully optimistic and comforting prognostications of how things would be under libertarianism don't pan out in reality. Let's say society turns into a living hell, just for the sake of argument. What recourse do the people have? ZERO.

Well, YOU would say something like, "You are always free to try to convince the group to change the rules. If that doesn't succeed, you are always to join another group that plays the game by a different set of rules. If you can't find a group that plays by the rules you like, you are always free to gather with other like minded people to buy an island or something and create your own state with your own rules." If you believe such a response has validity when applied to those who espouse freedom, it logically follows you must believe it has equal validity when applied to those who want to limit freedom in a Groupist enclave somewhere. If there are a number of people who feel that they absolutely cannot survive without others violating their rights, they would be free in a Laissez-faire Capitalist society to select some people willing to limit their freedom, PROVIDING:

1) The authority of such people is binding only on the members of the Groupist enclave.

2) No property is seized from those who don't wish to relinquish their freedom.

pinky


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1164370 - 12/23/02 09:24 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

All that is necessary for the continuation of "the race" is a fertile breeding PAIR of humans.

Bullshit. When the population of any species drops beyond a certain critical level it becomes extinct. This is always a lot higher than "the last pair".

(Not to mention the genetic abnormalities that would occur if a single pair of humans were all that were left to breed)


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1164942 - 12/23/02 01:36 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)


"As early as 1750 we have seen him (Franklin) stating his conviction 'that what
we have above what we can use, is not propery ours, tho' we possess it."

"That an enormous Proportion of Property vested in a few Individuals is
dangerous to the Rights, and destructive of the Common Happiness, of Mankind;
and therefore every free State hath a Right by its Laws to discourage the
Posession of such Property."


This is nothing more than Franklin's opinion, with no chain of reasoning behind it to support his opinion.

Benjamin Franklin was a vicious anti-semite as well.

I am dismayed when I see anybody use carefully selected quotes from the
founding fathers to add legitimacy to their own arguments. Because, it
wouldn't take much more investigation to find another founding father who
said the exact opposite thing.

There is no doubt that they were wise men. But, that doesn't mean their words
and opinions are infallible and must be agreed with.

RandalFlagg


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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1166978 - 12/24/02 09:43 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"And if the corrupt officials in charge at the time refuse to allow revision to take place in an orderly and peaceful fashion?"

Their refusal to allow revision would simply make evident the corruption that might otherwise have passed unnoticed for some time longer. In Jefferson's day a violent overthrow of such a government would have been a possibility. Today it is little more than a pipe dream. Today, in such a case, a citizen would have to decide carefully between leaving the country and resuming his life elsewhere or taking up arms in the quixotic and probably fatal task of trying to fight a government with 21st century weaponry.

"I said that they don't pay a greater percentage of their own total wealth.

Yeah they do. That is the whole principle behind the sliding income tax scale."

I'll assume you write this not because you're trying to distort the facts, rather simply because you don't understand them. The income tax is not the only tax out there. Wage earners pay a payroll tax that high-income earners do not. They also pay a much, much higher percentage of their "take home" pay in regressive state sales taxes than do the wealthy. Although it is true that homeowners pay property taxes, landlords without exception pass their own property taxes onto tenants so its not even as if low income renters can escape that either. On the other side of the fence, the wealthy have access to highly paid and knowledgeable tax attorneys who can exploit every single loophole and shelter in order to minimize their clients' tax liability. These factors render the progressive effects of a sliding income tax scale largely irrelevant.

"Am I certain to catch AIDS while in prison? Nope. Am I much more likely to? Yep. "

Finally, a reasonable statement. Your comments up until now implied that you were CERTAIN to catch AIDS in prison. I'm glad to see we're making progress.

"Franklin is espousing the same error you do -- that "The Group" creates wealth. It doesn't. Individuals create wealth. "

The one in error here is you.

"What if there are no others around to recognize anything? What if he is alone on an island?"

Once again, property has no meaning to somebody who is utterly alone. What reason is there to declare something his property when there is no conscious agent around to take it away or make claims on it? The only reason he could even imagine to claim that the island was his was because NOBODY WAS THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Your logic is completely circular and you don't even realize it. I repeat: other people are necessary for property "rights" to have any meaning whatsoever. In any event, your example provides a beautiful image of the typical libertarian mentality: a man alone on a desert island hiding and hoarding his coconuts, repeating to himself: "my coconuts . . . MY coconuts . . . MY COCONUTS!!!!"

"Otherwise somebody else can come along and push him off.

Only in a Groupist society. In a Laissez-faire Capitalist society no one is allowed to push him off."

OK, so we're assuming he lives in a Laiseez-faire Capitalist society. And we're also assuming he's living in the present, then. That means he had to buy the property from somebody else. In the United States today there IS NO property that isn't either publicly or privately owned. Okay, so where did our imaginary farmer get the capital to buy this farm? Do you mean to tell me he didn't trade with any other economic players?

"And where did he get his seeds?

From the plants he gathered and didn't consume immediately."

Once again, all property is already owned by somebody else. Unless he paid the owner of the property from which he gathered those plants, he actually STOLE those seeds.

"What is the source of his irrigation?

If the rainfall is insufficient, from the stream near his plot and the ditches he digs from the stream to his plot."

Somebody else owns the stream to his plot. He will have to pay that person for access to that streamwater. isn't Capitalism wonderful?

"Who TAUGHT him how to farm in the first place?

Are you saying that whoever taught him to farm has the right to seize his farm? How about whoever taught him to fish -- does that person have the right to seize the fish he catches?"

No, not the right to seize his farm. But if the people who first developed successful techniques of agriculture had the same niggardly attitude that current-day Capitalists do, they and their heirs would be charging royalties in perpetuity to everybody who applies the farming methods which they developed. It would be their intellectual property, after all.

"Did he construct his own hoe?

Yes."

Oh, so that means he mines his own iron ire, is that correct? And with what tools does he do that? And from whose land did he steal the materials with which to construct his own hoe?

"Speaking of which, who gave birth to him? Who fed him as a baby?

That individual no longer exists at the time he is farming."

Well, what a convenient way to forget about the fact that OTHER PEOPLE EXIST and that to a very great extent WE OWE OUR EXISTENCE TO OTHER PEOPLE. Without whom, we would have died as infants--as orphans in the street. Oh yeah, I forgot, there would be a lot of that going on in a Capitalist society.

EVERYBODY, at some point or another in life, HAS TO enter into economic intercourse with other people. Neither on logical nor on empirical grounds have you shown an exception to this rule to be possible. The fact that you even tried shows just how disconnected from reality libertarian philosophy actually is, and demonstrates its incapacity to think more than a few steps back in any causal chain.

"The individual is not an entity unto itself. The indvidual is a nexus of a web of social relations.]

So You claim. That is the false claim of all men who seek to bend others to their will."

Ahh, more meaningless rhetoric and hyperbole. First of all, you have not demonstrated to one iota that this claim is flase. Second of all, I do not seek to bend anybody whatsoever to MY will. Quite the contrary: much of what the majority in my nation believes is contrary to MY will. But I recognize that democratic mechanisms of government, as grievously imperfect as they may be, are still superior to a rigid and immutable system of laws based on what a minority of people at a given point in time consider to be "universal" principles.

"So in order for me to pick those pecans, I would have to own the pecan tree and the land under it.

Or to obtain them from a pecan tree growing on property no one owned yet."

Wake up. This is no longer the 18th century.

"It is possible to lose property without human intervention. You can fall into a stream swollen by a flash flood and lose your bag of pecans. A raccoon can pilfer them from your storage area while you sleep. Your pecan storehouse could be burned in a forest fire started by lightning. You could store your pecans improperly and they get mouldy or infested with insects and become inedible. In each case, you had property before the incident, you had none afterwards."

So what? Property is a legal defintion and therefore only of importance in the context of society. Everything you list is an example of nature taking back what it gave free of charge in the first place. Either that or someobody losing something because of his own stupidity.

"All that is necessary for the continuation of "the race" is a fertile breeding PAIR of humans. "

Funny that an avowed atheist takes his understanding of biology from biblical mythology. Alex's response to this bit of laughable nonsense was dead on. I could add other objections: the continuation of the race is also dependent on an ecology that supports human life. It is precisely such an ecology that global economic activity is endangering. We can start a new thread on that topic if you like.

"Once again, this is only an issue if there are other people around to "strip him naked, and take everything he trieds to collect from him as soon as he acquires it."

Which is what happens in Groupist societies, but not in Capitalist ones."

Hahahaha. I live in a Groupist society but nobody ever stripped me naked and took everything from me before I could put it in my mouth. More of your hysterical hyperbole again. Ever thought of taking some Xanax? I pay taxes, yes, but that is not the same thing.

"It is EASIER to survive with the assistance of others (if those others do not violate your rights) but it is not essential to a human's survival that there be others around. As you yourself point out, "There are only a few things necessary to exist: food, clothing (not even that in tropical climates) and a place to rest your head, and for the man who is completely alone and completely apart from society there is no need to worry about any threat to these sources of survival."

I can survive by myself as an indivudal as long as there is nobody around and nobody to claim that the fruits and plants and trees are HIS PROPERTY. In a society that recognizes private property however, I would have to interact with others or die.

"Furthermore, there are no guarantees that "the race" will survive at all. An asteroid could hit the planet tomorrow, wiping out ALL human life. The Groupist rationale that is okay to violate the rights of individuals alive today for the benefit of some FUTURE individuals who don't exist today and MAY NEVER EXIST is thus a faulty one. "

Ok, so you're saying "an asteroid could wipe us out tomorrow so fuck the rights and interests of human beings who happen to be born five, ten, fifty, or a hundred years from now." To the extent that past generations were kind enough NOT to share your wholly misguided thinking, we are able to enjoy the fruits of life and existence. To the extent that past generations were insane enough TO SHARE your wholly misguided thinking, we bear the consequences of their selfishness and mistakes.

"Which is why I say we must have courts in order to decide who is acting correctly in such disputes. I remind you that I am not an Anarchist."

And who decides the laws that the courts must uphold? You and your libertarian buddies, I assume.

"Of course the DETAILS of a legal code must be hammered out tediously, with scrupulous fairness and the utmost exertion of intellect, but none of that effort makes a bit of difference if the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES on which the laws rest are flawed -- if anything goes as long as the majority doesn't object to it. Such lack of principles is responsible for the current prohibition of marijuana, to name just one of many possible examples."

Once again I ask you, who decides what those FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES are? You and your libertarian buddies, I assume.

"You have every right to choose your own slavemasters. You have no right to choose mine."

Which is why you are free to leave at any time. Don't hit your butt on the way out.

"If there are a number of people who feel that they absolutely cannot survive without others violating their rights, they would be free in a Laissez-faire Capitalist society to select some people willing to limit their freedom, PROVIDING:

1) The authority of such people is binding only on the members of the Groupist enclave.

2) No property is seized from those who don't wish to relinquish their freedom."

Fine, go start a Laissez-faire Capitalist society somewhere. You don't honestly expect us to hand you the keys to the most powerful nation in the world, do you? A nation that became that became that way over the past century through a combination of Groupist and capitalist (with a small "c") principles.

Merry Christmas!











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Offlinedjamor
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1167575 - 12/24/02 12:43 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

whew, that's some long-winded shit, man. this thread is way interesting, so I'll post my long-winded opinion - not in response to anyone in particular. And yes, I'm in the US.

First off, who the hell is 'corporate america'? The individuals in the secret board meetings? the rich execs? everyone who works for those individuals? everyone who buys the product without protest? whitey? the 'man'?

'Corporations' and 'the Goverment' are people, people with a choice. Brainwashed? maybe, but that implies there's a higher 'truth' that they are brainwashed against. Guilt-ridden is a better way to describe it. I think its part of the human condition.

We all know that we should share. As children it seems natural to share, it builds social bonds that make us feel secure. But eventually we get greedy (out of fear) and want to horde our toys, and isolate ourselves. Our own human kindness (childlike innocence) is confronted by the realities of this world, that is, our failure to act as we know we should act.

This contradiction creates guilt. And we as humans don't know how to deal with guilt (so we created religion). Because guilt isolates us, we cant overcome that guilt. That guilt becomes unbearable so we try to rationalize it away, to varying degrees of success. Some actually feel the guilt, while others deny the guilt.

Some do acts that help alleviate that guilt (volunteer, go to church, pray, etc.), while others simply embrace the guilt (as part of being human, or they accept the idea that humans are evil).

Greed is not uniquely corporate, or american, we all have the capacity for greed. For those who blame the media - realize that the media is a reflection of this greed. You might want to break that mirror, but that wont stop the greed.

Many rich people hate the bum on the street because they remind them of this guilt. They rationalize this hatred by blaming the bum. This 'blame the bum' philosophy extends to other nations, since our leaders are no better at dealing with this guilt than we are. This is not unique to the times, either. It's the basis of royalty, which I absolutely do not recognise. Everyone is born equal.

But not everyone is born lucky. If you were born into money, you may or may not be lucky, depending on whether dealing with this guilt is important to you. You were lucky if you were born into a loving family that taught you that sharing is cool and that social bonds are more important than money and the toys of isolation. Realize that you were lucky and you wont blame the unlucky.

I know what many would say to that, "I (or my parents) worked my ass off for that money - I didn't piss it away on partying and self-indulgence" and some would proudly state "I played the game and won". Lets see, what else..."your mentality allows you to be exploited", and even "hell man, you're white and intelligent, step up to the plate and claim what's yours".

Personally, I feel the guilt. I recognise the inequality and do what I can to alleviate it, but I dont kid myself. I'm lucky. I'm lucky enough to have the free time to write what I just wrote. I don't have the answers, but together we can deal with this mess.


Edited by djamor (12/24/02 07:28 PM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1167796 - 12/24/02 02:58 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

Their refusal to allow revision would simply make evident the corruption that might otherwise have passed unnoticed for some time longer.

And what difference does that make? The corruption is evident, everybody recognizes it, it's time to throw the corrupt bums out and revise the constitution, they refuse to leave. Now what?

In Jefferson's day a violent overthrow of such a government would have been a possibility.

Correct. That's what he didn't have to state the obvious: If the bums refuse to leave peacefully, all that is left is to remove them forcibly or to grin and bear it. Americans chose the latter option.

Today it is little more than a pipe dream. Today, in such a case, a citizen would have to decide carefully between leaving the country and resuming his life elsewhere or taking up arms in the quixotic and probably fatal task of trying to fight a government with 21st century weaponry.

As they did in South Viet Nam. Look, if you are saying that Jefferson's words have no meaning in today's world, stop quoting him. You can't have it both ways.

Once again, property has no meaning to somebody who is utterly alone.

Of course it does. A shipwreck survivor is cast ashore on an uninhabited island with his eyeglasses, his clothes, his knife, his compass, and his water bottle. Those things are his, whether anyone is there to acknowledge it or not. He uses his knife to kill a rabbit. That rabbit is now his food.

What reason is there to declare something his property when there is no conscious agent around to take it away or make claims on it?

He doesn't have to declare something his property in order for it to be his property. If his eyeglasses are not his, whose are they? The rabbit's?

I repeat: other people are necessary for property "rights" to have any meaning whatsoever.

Not so, as I have demonstrated above. However, it is true other people are necessary in order to seize his property.

You then go into a series of objections about my claim that a person can amass excess wealth (i.e. food) without the aid of society. I can see that my trimming of your words in order to save space got a little extreme, so it was not clear what PRINCIPLE either of us was addressing. My bad. Here is the untrimmed version of what I was replying to:

But the important point that Franklin makes here is that excess or superfluous wealth can only accrue within society. A person can only amass wealth if people are willing to trade with him, if they all accept a commonly recognized form of currency or barter, and if they have a commonly accepted understanding of exactly what consititutes "property," what constitutes "fraud," what constitutes "negligence," etc.

"Society's" only contribution to the production of wealth by my hypothetical single farmer was to leave him alone. Yes, an INDIVIDUAL may have sold him the land, or in the case of an inherited farm, recognized his right to keep what was once barren land owned by no one -- remember the Homestead Act? Society didn't create the farm, he (or his ancestors) did. But his effort and his effort alone produced the wealth.

But if the people who first developed successful techniques of agriculture had the same niggardly attitude that current-day Capitalists do, they and their heirs would be charging royalties in perpetuity to everybody who applies the farming methods which they developed. It would be their intellectual property, after all.

You misunderstand patent and copywright law. One may not copyright an idea, one may only patent or copyright an actual object: a tool, a string of words or symbols, a newly synthesized molecule, etc. Moreover, patents and copyrights expire.

Oh, so that means he mines his own iron ire, is that correct?

There are still areas of the world even today where wooden hoes are in everyday use.

Well, what a convenient way to forget about the fact that OTHER PEOPLE EXIST and that to a very great extent WE OWE OUR EXISTENCE TO OTHER PEOPLE.

That is sophistry, and a weak example of sophistry at that. Yes, without parents, I would not be here. Without parents, the mosquito I just killed wouldn't have been here either. What has either fact got to do with whether or not it is moral for a Group to violate the rights of an individual?

EVERYBODY, at some point or another in life, HAS TO enter into economic intercourse with other people.

Not so. It is entirely possible for a single human to survive alone in clement surroundings. Japanese soldiers hiding out in the hills of some remote Pacific island thinking the war was still on did so for decades, in some cases.

Neither on logical nor on empirical grounds have you shown an exception to this rule to be possible.

Yeah, I did. See above. As for "empirical", there have been hermits throughout recorded history.

Quite the contrary: much of what the majority in my nation believes is contrary to MY will.

Then why are you an apologist for those who oppress you?

But I recognize that democratic mechanisms of government, as grievously imperfect as they may be, are still superior to a rigid and immutable system of laws based on what a minority of people at a given point in time consider to be "universal" principles.

In other words, what you wouldn't approve of an individual doing you DO approve of The Group doing. Why? Because there are MORE of them. You have given no other answer, nor can you. You believe that some individuals lose their rights by belonging to The Group, while others gain extra rights by belonging to The Group. Why? Because there are MORE of them. This is nothing more than a variation of "might makes right".

Property is a legal defintion and therefore only of importance in the context of society.

Incorrect. See above.

Everything you list is an example of nature taking back what it gave free of charge in the first place.

Not so. Nature didn't GIVE those pecans free of charge. They didn't fall into his mouth while he was sleeping. He had to actively seek, actively gather and consciously store them. His WEALTH (the pecans) were obtained through his EFFORT.

Either that or someobody losing something because of his own stupidity.

And what exactly was it that he lost, EchoVortex? Why, his PROPERTY. Even though he is alone and there is no society, he gained -- through his consciously directed actions -- PROPERTY.

I live in a Groupist society but nobody ever stripped me naked and took everything from me before I could put it in my mouth.

I didn't say it happened to every person who lives in every Groupist Society. I said it happens in Groupist societies but not in Laissez-faire Capitalist societies. See Germany and Poland in the early 1940s.

I pay taxes, yes, but that is not the same thing.

So they only take HALF your property? At what point DOES it become the same thing? When they take seventy percent? Ninety-five percent? Ninety-nine percent?

I can survive by myself as an indivudal as long as there is nobody around and nobody to claim that the fruits and plants and trees are HIS PROPERTY.

Not true. It is not a given that every tree would be owned by someone... some may be owned by NO ONE. It is not a question of whether every single twig and cubic centimeter of surface on the planet is owned either by someone or by everyone. There are three possibilities: This plot of land is owned by someone (a farmer, perhaps), this plot of land is owned by several individuals (a church congregation, perhaps), and this plot of land is as yet owned by no one (a barren valley high in the mountains, perhaps).

In a society that recognizes private property however, I would have to interact with others or die.

Not so. If you lived on a self-sufficient farm, you need NEVER interact with another individual.

However, purely for the sake of argument, let's pretend for a minute that a man cannot survive on his own, and must interact with others or perish. What we are doing here is establishing the proper terms by which such interaction may occur. I say no such interactions may involve the initiation of force. You say the initiation of force is okay as long as it is the many against the few rather than one on one. You have yet to defend this position, despite the pages and pages of dancing and dodging the basic principle under discussion. To tie this into the title of this thread, corporations are preferable to governments because corporations owe their existence to voluntary interactions, while governments owe their existence to forcible interactions.

Ok, so you're saying "an asteroid could wipe us out tomorrow so fuck the rights and interests of human beings who happen to be born five, ten, fifty, or a hundred years from now."

Nope. I favor recognizing their rights to the same extent that I favor recognizing the rights of the living; no more, no less. In case you haven't grasped it yet, it is not me who is in favor of violating the rights of people, it is you.

To the extent that past generations were kind enough NOT to share your wholly misguided thinking, we are able to enjoy the fruits of life and existence.

Not so. To the extent that past generations have respected the rights of others to be free from the initiation of force, there are still humans around to enjoy life.

To the extent that past generations were insane enough TO SHARE your wholly misguided thinking, we bear the consequences of their selfishness and mistakes.

Why is it insane to recognize that individuals have rights and that it is WRONG for other individuals to violate those rights?

Once again I ask you, who decides what those FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES are?

Certainly anyone who refuses to recognize that it is wrong to initiate force against peaceful individuals, anyone who believes that anything goes as long as enough people go along with it, should not be placed in a position to make such a decision.

I must wearily point out yet again that you have not yet provided us with YOUR definition of "rights". A suspicious person might begin to think it is because you have none.

You don't honestly expect us to hand you the keys to the most powerful nation in the world, do you?

If the only way you can keep the keys is through mass violation of individual rights, you have no legitimate claim to those keys.

A nation that became that became that way over the past century through a combination of Groupist and capitalist (with a small "c") principles.

The nation that had a far better chance than any in history of being more than just "the most powerful nation in the world", but instead allowed Groupist apologists to piss all over it. You have given that nation up for dead. I haven't.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: djamor]
    #1167802 - 12/24/02 03:01 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Paragraphs, dude, PARAGRAPHS!

You've got some interesting points in there, but I can guarantee you a lot of people will never read them until you edit that chunk into paragraphs.

pinky


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Offlinedjamor
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1168355 - 12/24/02 07:42 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

yeah, you are right, good call. I was in a hurry to go celebrate x-mas.  Better? Anyway, I just watched my neice get a McDonalds Barbie. And half the presents were Wal-Mart shopping cards, wrapped in small boxes, of course. Guess we had a Wal-mas!
I just think it's funny because the fam has no idea what I buy at Wal-Mart!  :wink: Thanks for the new pressure cooker pops! 


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1176014 - 12/28/02 09:02 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Pinky writes: "Of course it does. A shipwreck survivor is cast ashore on an uninhabited island with his eyeglasses, his clothes, his knife, his compass, and his water bottle. Those things are his, whether anyone is there to acknowledge it or not. He uses his knife to kill a rabbit. That rabbit is now his food."

My point is not that these things are not his, rather that the fact that they are his is of no importance to anybody except himself. It's a dead issue, a matter of semantics rather than a matter of social importance.

"You misunderstand patent and copywright law. One may not copyright an idea, one may only patent or copyright an actual object: a tool, a string of words or symbols, a newly synthesized molecule, etc. Moreover, patents and copyrights expire."

Limiting the duration of patents and copyrights is one example of limiting Capitalism--one that you apparently consider a good idea.

"Not so. It is entirely possible for a single human to survive alone in clement surroundings. Japanese soldiers hiding out in the hills of some remote Pacific island thinking the war was still on did so for decades, in some cases. "

Fine. If one is able to survive alone and chooses to do so, there is no need for him to file a tax return. He has no official income to declare and therefore needn't pay any taxes. He can drop off society's radar altogether if that's what he wishes to do. But those who DO need society's participation in creating their surplus wealth--and this includes anybody who is in the upper tax brackets in an industrialized society--is subject to the rules of the wealth creation game.

"Quite the contrary: much of what the majority in my nation believes is contrary to MY will.

Then why are you an apologist for those who oppress you?"

I'll be the judge of whether I am "oppressed" or not. Cool the hyperbolic rhetoric, please. Because I do not agree with their choices does not mean I am "oppressed." I do not find the situation ideal, but I would still prefer to live in a nation whose leaders are chosen by the people than one where all laws are logically "deduced" from a set of principles defined by a minority.

"Not so. Nature didn't GIVE those pecans free of charge. They didn't fall into his mouth while he was sleeping. He had to actively seek, actively gather and consciously store them. His WEALTH (the pecans) were obtained through his EFFORT."

Oh, I see. So the input of MY LABOR is what defines something as mine. In that case we can logically deduce that factory workers should be the owners of the products they produce, and NOT the factory owner who only owns those products on paper, i.e., owns those products because SOCIAL CONVENTION agrees he owns them. Gee Pinky, you're almost beginning to sound like Marx!

"I didn't say it happened to every person who lives in every Groupist Society. I said it happens in Groupist societies but not in Laissez-faire Capitalist societies. See Germany and Poland in the early 1940s."

No Laissez-faire Capitalist society has ever existed so there is no way to verify this statement. You have your Faith. I do not share it. Also, lumping in 1940s Germany with Sweden in 2002 is just plain dishonest or stupid or both.

"So they only take HALF your property? At what point DOES it become the same thing? When they take seventy percent? Ninety-five percent? Ninety-nine percent?"

It becomes the same thing when I cannot leave the country that is taxing me and they take away the food in my hands and the clothes on my back. If I make $100 million and ninety-nine percent is taken away, I am still able to exist and quite comfortably at that. The fact that I make 100 million in the first place is a function of society according me that value. Why does a corporate CEO make 2000 times as much as a line worker in his company? Obviously not because he produces 2000 times as much material as that line worker, but rather because the governing board THINKS (and this is the key word) that he's "worth it." This opinion (that he's "worth it") is an opinion based on social convention (whatever the market for CEOs happens to be at the moment), nothing more. Twenty years ago, the social convention was that a top CEO was worth about 3.5 million a year. Today the social convention is that a top CEO is worth about 150 million a year. Did these companies become 40-50 times more profitable in twenty years? Of course not. It is simply that social conventions changed.

"Certainly anyone who refuses to recognize that it is wrong to initiate force against peaceful individuals, anyone who believes that anything goes as long as enough people go along with it, should not be placed in a position to make such a decision.

I must wearily point out yet again that you have not yet provided us with YOUR definition of "rights". A suspicious person might begin to think it is because you have none."

I support the rights outlined in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Mind you that nowhere in those documents does it state that one has the "right" never to be subjected to taxation. In addition to this, I believe adults have the right to engage in whatever activities they wish in the privacy of their own homes, as long as the participants in those activities are consenting adults. I do not, however, recognize the absolute property rights that you argue for. The argument that all "initiation of force" is immoral sounds nice on the face of it, but it is too broad to be practicable in the real world. In an ideal world, yes, it would be nice if all human interactions were non-coercive.

Absolute property rights are an absurdity. You argue that my property is metaphysically an extension of me. Let me ask you this:

If some teenage kid cuts across my lawn, do I have the right to shoot him? He has trespassed on my property, after all.
How about if he picks a daffodil from my lawn? Can I shoot him then? He has initiated force on "me" (my property) so I should be able to take any measure necessary to stop him.
How about if he starts taking my prize-winning roses, upon which I depend for my livelihood. Can I legally shoot him then?

What happens in Libertarian society when all the sidewalks and all of the roads are privately owned? If the owner of each and every road wants to charge me a toll to use his road, do I have to pay it? What if the roads have multiple owners? Do I have to go from one toll booth to another? What if I want to walk on the sidewalk? Will I have to pay a toll then? After all, if property rights are absolute there can be no leans on property. Everything will be owned by someone and I will have to pay that someone just to cross the road. What if the owner of a particular road I need to take is a racist and doesn't want to let me use his road because I'm black or Asian or Caucasian or whatever? I can't use that road, now can I? What if there is a medical emergency and I need to take my mother to the hospital and I don't have the cash on me to pay the tolls?

You have also said that in a Libertarian society court costs will be paid for by the losing litigants. In other words, if I bring a suit and lose, I will not only have to pay my own legal fees, but also have to pay for the courtroom, the salary of the judges, clerks, gaurds, etc. Perhaps this will discourage me from bringing frivolous lawsuits to court, but no doubt it will also discourage many honest people who have been defrauded or wronged from bringing their cases to court. No suit, no matter how well justified, is ever completely guaranteed of winning in court. If one doesn't have considerable resources at one?s disposal, the chance that one could lose and be financially wiped out would be enough to discourage any person of average or below-average means from trying to get justice. In other words, legal remedies will be an option open only to those who are wealthy enough to pay for court costs in case they lose. Where is the justice in this? There IS not justice in this.

What happens if the country is under attack and revenues are needed immediately to build new weapons and replenish armaments, etc.? Since the income tax is "immoral" the nation cannot go that route to create new revenues. Since the draft is also "immoral" the nation cannot draft new recruits to fight a necessary war. The government's hands are tied: the war is lost, and the victor comes in and dismantles the very "rights" that were meant to be protected in the first place. Where is the benefit in that?

I could go on for pages and pages about the practical impossibilities and absurdities that would be created by the kind of system you advocate. It takes very little imagination to see all of the insoluble problems that would be created, but apparently libertarians are bit short on imagination. And whenever these objections are raised, the reply is always: "we'll figure something out." Well guess what: promises aren't good enough. Nobody is going to dismantle a system that works, however imperfectly, for a system that's heavy on moralizing rhetoric and empty of proven, practicable methods of dealing with the problems that will inevitably arise.

I repeat: I and many others are more than open and willing to see such a system attempted on a trial basis somewhere, sometime. That?s why I expressed interest in following the progress of the Free State Project. Let?s see what happens, let?s see if there are enough Libertarians out there willing to put their money where their mouth is, to actually commit themselves to such a system and do what it takes to work through the practical and logistical difficulties. If self-designated Libertarians aren?t willing to risk their own livelihoods on such an experiment, why the hell should anybody else?




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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1176168 - 12/28/02 10:31 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Japanese soldiers hiding out in the hills of some remote Pacific island thinking the war was still on did so for decades, in some cases.

There is food growing on remote pacific islands pink. You do not find food growing in the middle of most cities that you can eat without being chased by police. Obviously there is no basis for comparing the two situations whatsoever.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1178104 - 12/29/02 08:02 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

My point is not that these things are not his, rather that the fact that they are his is of no importance to anybody except himself. It's a dead issue, a matter of semantics rather than a matter of social importance.

Are you saying if there are other people around, all of a sudden those objects are not his?

It is not just a matter of semantics at all. Those things which he possesses (his property) may very well be the difference between him living and dying, whether there are other humans around to mark his passing or not. Your point was that the concept of "property" is valid only in a society. Clearly it is not.

Limiting the duration of patents and copyrights is one example of limiting Capitalism--one that you apparently consider a good idea.

You dodged the issue. One cannot patent an idea -- such as irrigation or planting seeds. And of course patents must expire. That is not an example of limiting Capitalism. Even the framers of the US Constitution recognized the need for time limits on copyrights and patents: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. "

But those who DO need society's participation in creating their surplus wealth--and this includes anybody who is in the upper tax brackets in an industrialized society--is subject to the rules of the wealth creation game.

Who decides the rules?

Oh, I see. So the input of MY LABOR is what defines something as mine. In that case we can logically deduce that factory workers should be the owners of the products they produce, and NOT the factory owner who only owns those products on paper, i.e., owns those products because SOCIAL CONVENTION agrees he owns them.

Wrong again. A blacksmith owns the ten horseshoes a day he produces with his forge and anvil. But if he wants to use my semi-automated foundry to produce a hundred horsehoes a day, I'm going to charge him for it.

If I make $100 million and ninety-nine percent is taken away, I am still able to exist and quite comfortably at that.

So the sole criteria for determining how much it is correct to seize from an honest peaceful individual against his will is that he be left enough to exist?

The fact that I make 100 million in the first place is a function of society according me that value.

Actually, no it isn't. You made 100 million in the first place because you produced wealth that individuals voluntarily traded currency for. "Society" did nothing other than to stand back and let those transactions occur. "Society" didn't create the wealth. You did.

Why does a corporate CEO make 2000 times as much as a line worker in his company? Obviously not because he produces 2000 times as much material as that line worker, but rather because the governing board THINKS (and this is the key word) that he's "worth it." This opinion (that he's "worth it") is an opinion based on social convention (whatever the market for CEOs happens to be at the moment), nothing more.

Correct. What's your point? That the efforts of some people is sometimes overvalued by those in charge of handing out money? WHOSE money is it? If it's YOUR money, either try to convince them that their valuation is incorrect or withdraw your money. I fail to see the problem.

I support the rights outlined in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Mind you that nowhere in those documents does it state that one has the "right" never to be subjected to taxation.

But it does very specifically limit what the government is allowed to raise revenues for. See Article 1, section 8. Where in this list do you see the right to fund schools, welfare programs, hospitals, orphanages, scientific research, museums, art galleries, farm subsidies, etc.? Where does it grant the government the power to draft individuals to fight in foreign wars? Where does it grant the government the power to imprison a citizen of the United States for smoking a weed?

Yet the government (with your tacit approval) has abrogated to itself all of those extraneous "powers" and more, under the umbrella of "the will of the people".

I do not, however, recognize the absolute property rights that you argue for.

Why not? Who is harmed if I choose to keep my stuff? People are always free to get their own stuff -- that's the beauty of a free society.

The argument that all "initiation of force" is immoral sounds nice on the face of it, but it is too broad to be practicable in the real world.

If it is too broad, how specificallywould you see it narrowed? At what point in the routine, everyday running of a society does it become necessary to violate my rights? Who decides?

In an ideal world, yes, it would be nice if all human interactions were non-coercive.

So, since we don't live in an ideal society, you are saying that the survival of humanity is dependent on coercion. There's a whole heck of a lot of anthropologists who disagree with you.

If some teenage kid cuts across my lawn, do I have the right to shoot him?

No. You have the right to involve the police and ultimately the courts if it becomes necessary.

How about if he picks a daffodil from my lawn? Can I shoot him then?

No. See above.

He has initiated force on "me" (my property) so I should be able to take any measure necessary to stop him.

Simple trespass, where no damage is done, is not the same as vandalism (picking the daffodil). Picking a weed (daffodil) from a lawn is not the same thing as stealing a car from a garage. Objective law recognizes those distinctions, and sets the penalties accordingly.

How about if he starts taking my prize-winning roses, upon which I depend for my livelihood. Can I legally shoot him then?

No. However, in this case, the penalty levied on him by the courts would be higher than the one levied on him for picking the daffodil. Now it is no longer a case of altering the aesthetics of your lawn (vandalism), it is a question of theft.

What happens in Libertarian society when all the sidewalks and all of the roads are privately owned?

Not all sidewalks and roads need be privately owned. The spaces between plots of land need not be owned by anyone. That is how pathways (roads) come into being without any central planning in even primitive societies.

If the owner of each and every road wants to charge me a toll to use his road, do I have to pay it?

If the owner chooses to charge you for setting foot on his property, be it a field or a long skinny strip of dirt, he has that right.

What if the roads have multiple owners? Do I have to go from one toll booth to another? What if I want to walk on the sidewalk? Will I have to pay a toll then?

If the owners see fit to charge for passage, yes.

Everything will be owned by someone...

Not necessarily. See my previous post.

What if the owner of a particular road I need to take is a racist and doesn't want to let me use his road because I'm black or Asian or Caucasian or whatever? I can't use that road, now can I? What if there is a medical emergency and I need to take my mother to the hospital and I don't have the cash on me to pay the tolls?

If you choose to trespass on someone's property, the courts will assign the appropriate punishment if the owner of that property chooses to complain.

You have also said that in a Libertarian society court costs will be paid for by the losing litigants.

I said that was one way that court costs could be partially financed, yes. I also pointed out that in civil actions even today in non-Libertarian societies (such as the US), it is not uncommon for the court to charge the losing plaintiff with court costs.

What happens if the country is under attack and revenues are needed immediately to build new weapons and replenish armaments, etc.?

Why is the standing army not equipped properly? That is the responsibility of the government.

Since the draft is also "immoral" the nation cannot draft new recruits to fight a necessary war.

No nation under attack has ever had a shortage of volunteers.

I could go on for pages and pages about the practical impossibilities and absurdities that would be created by the kind of system you advocate.

But you are apparently unable to go on for even a sentence or two to describe your version of individual rights. In essence, all you have said so far is that you agree the initiation of force against peaceful individuals is a bad idea unless the majority decides otherwise, at which point anything goes.

I repeat: I and many others are more than open and willing to see such a system attempted on a trial basis somewhere, sometime.

As long as it's not within the borders of the US, right?

If self-designated Libertarians aren?t willing to risk their own livelihoods on such an experiment, why the hell should anybody else?

Nobody is asking you to risk anything. Libertarians don't want a dime from you. All that is being asked is that you leave them alone.

pinky


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Invisibledjfrog
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Anonymous]
    #1178115 - 12/29/02 08:05 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)



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