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InvisibleXlea321
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Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
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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Don't worry, B. Caapi


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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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Registered: 02/26/01
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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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And the gameshow host rings the buzzer (brrnnntt) oh and now you get a face full of face!


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OfflinePhred
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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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OfflineEchoVortex
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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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OfflinePhred
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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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