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Offlinehongomon
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Irreconciable differences?
    #665054 - 06/05/02 11:34 PM (15 years, 20 days ago)

Okay I almost posted this on the thread A New Hope, but then I decided that my topic doesn't focus directly on government, or government leaders, so I decided against it. I like the non-flame, everybody join in attitude, though.

I'm wondering how, or if, these two stories are reconcilable.

In a May 31st article on Yahoo,

http://story.news.yahoo.com/newstmpl=story&u=/ap/20020531/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy_15

it reads that productivity in the U.S. this past quarter was its highest in 19 years. Productivity is defined as "the amount of output per hour of work," and I admit I'm not sure how that translates to actual materials produced. However, in the same article it says that "stronger demand for cars, computers, household appliances and machinery helped to boost orders to factories" and contributed to a 1.2 rise in factory orders.

Economic terms such as "recession" and "depression" are difficult for me to understand. There does seem to be a correlation between how much we produce per hour of work, how much we're spending, and how healthy our economy is (i.e., the more, the more, the healthier, respectively). (The above article was a "good news for everyone" article.)

What I'm trying to understand is, does the U.S. economic system (and others like it) depend on growth?

If so, that?s on the one hand, which, barring any major misunderstandings on my part, I have difficulty reconciling with what's on the other hand--the warnings coming out of the scientific community. This article appeared May 22nd on Yahoo (it's not all I read, just my homepage?)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/newstmpl=story&u=/nm/20020522/sc_nm/environment_britain_dc_1

We all know the message, the gloomy one about global warming, pollution, deforestation, coral reef destruction, and so on. Gloomy, yes, but worthy of every consumer's attention. The Bush administration even acknowledged for a few days there that human activity did, in fact, contribute to greenhouse gasses and global warming, but then in today's paper Bush retracted the admission. Huh.

And yet I recall, in the slump that followed the Sept. 11 incident, appeals to the public to get out there and spend, to fight off the recession. It became a matter of patriotism. In his editorial "Our Town," Tom Grein coined the term "new patriotism," and among the definitions included this:

"1. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.
That's what President Bush wants us all to do. Go out there and spend money to keep the economy rolling. Unfortunately, these uncertain times are making many of us horde our money, to save more and spend less. According to The New Patriotism, that's down right unpatriotic. Spending is good. Saving is bad."

http://archive.observernews.com/stories/archives/viewpoints/2001view/101201/town_101201.shtml

It sounds a lot like satire, but after reading the rest of the article I think Grein is serious.

So to sum up my perplexity:
Are these two concepts--
1. An economy that depends on increased growth and spending (consumption)
and
2. The fact that our current high-consumption lifestyle is seriously endangering our environment
--at all reconcilable?

I'd really appreciate any comments.


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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #665161 - 06/06/02 04:22 AM (15 years, 20 days ago)

That part of Bush's definite platform (bushonomics) that spending money fixes the ecomony is fucking crazy. It shows how far this propaganda tool has come. Now it is a definite construct inside people's minds, so that now we using toward other countries as well. I remember some news a while back, that says, look at Japan's economy, they are saving money, not even spending it, that's why they are becoming poor! All I can say, is that better economic theories are out there...


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InvisibleSenor_Doobie
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #665314 - 06/06/02 06:14 AM (15 years, 20 days ago)

export>import=strong economy


--------------------
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“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.”  -- Thomas Jefferson

The greatest sin of mankind is ignorance.

The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally. --Salena Zeto (9/23/16)


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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Senor_Doobie]
    #665964 - 06/06/02 01:26 PM (15 years, 19 days ago)

export (2 y) > import (1 Y) = good economy (2 Y)

However I think this equation is wrong


Export (2y) - Import (1Y) = Economy (1 + Y)







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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: nugsarenice]
    #666356 - 06/06/02 06:37 PM (15 years, 19 days ago)

What do the y's stand for?


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: nugsarenice]
    #666365 - 06/06/02 06:43 PM (15 years, 19 days ago)

Oh, and I completely agree about Bush's idea of how the good life is achieved. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and the concept of the environment someday throwing in the towel is just beyond his beady-eyed comprehension.

Okay, I admit, I hate the man.

Of course, he didn't invent that type of economics. Only in this century have we had to seriously entertain the notion of what our environment can and can't take (in particular the macro/global prospect is new).

Laisez-faire capitalists: I'd love to hear some comments. The non-heckling type.


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Offlinefoghorn
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #666427 - 06/06/02 07:21 PM (15 years, 19 days ago)

this is interesting, because reconciliation is likely to happen on its own rathar than by any kind of political force or solution - capitalism in itself is self-destructive; the people currently controlling the wealth (basically, the richest) will at some point no longer have any need to invest in the market anymore, because they've already controlled all of the capital; progress towards this end is already evident if you just look at the poverty gap, which has only gotten larger in the past century

and as for the environment - its probably only going to get worse, considering the way third-world countries are still striving to establish the materialistic lifestyle we all enjoy...

hmmm...


Edited by foghorn (06/06/02 07:23 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: foghorn]
    #666501 - 06/06/02 08:16 PM (15 years, 19 days ago)

"capitalism in itself is self-destructive"

As opposed to Communism or Socialism? You've been reading too much Marx, it's time to expand your mental horizons. Care to compare Communist societies with those that allow capitalism? Ever heard of the Soviet Union? It collapsed! There's no poverty gap in a pure communist society, EVERYBODY'S POOR!!! Disparities in wealth are a sign of a dynamic economy.

"The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group, but for all groups."
From the book I recommend, Economics In One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt


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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #666629 - 06/06/02 09:30 PM (15 years, 19 days ago)

Y stands for Yuan , Yen, I guess they are not good variables, my equations need inspection also, because there is a different formula for greater then/lesser then equations, but algebra seems so long ago... I doubt anyone here rembers though!


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InvisibleSenor_Doobie
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: ]
    #666979 - 06/07/02 07:52 AM (15 years, 19 days ago)

And the former Soviet Union is doing SO much better now that it is capitalist.

Oh no, wait...they are still poor.


--------------------
"America: Fuck yeah!" -- Alexthegreat

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.”  -- Thomas Jefferson

The greatest sin of mankind is ignorance.

The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally. --Salena Zeto (9/23/16)


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: ]
    #666998 - 06/07/02 08:05 AM (15 years, 19 days ago)

Evolving, you've hit on a good point. History may not have provided a viable alternative to capitalism, and at this point we don't want to risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But I do want to know, like foghorn, if capitalism is inherently self-destructive.

I believe that as it functions now, it is self-destructive. But whether that is an indictment of the system, or the people (us), or a little of both, I don't know.

It's been pointed out to me that the destructive element of capitalism is consumerism, and even then it's not consumerism per se (we all have to consume), but the current manner of consumerism.

I'm willing to consider that. What do you think? Oh, and thanks for that link. I wasn't sure about a couple of the questions (should read up a bit), but as it was I ended up "leftist guerilla extremist" heh--actually between libertarian and liberal.

hongomon


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: foghorn]
    #667005 - 06/07/02 08:10 AM (15 years, 19 days ago)

"And as for the environment - its probably only going to get worse, considering the way third-world countries are still striving to establish the materialistic lifestyle we all enjoy..."

This is a huge concern. We can't blame third-world countries for their efforts to achieve the life that we have--it's a pretty good life. But there is little room to doubt that our style of prosperity, even on the scale it is now, is just too much for our little planet to sustain.

I think I'm going to go and get drunk.


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Anonymous

Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Senor_Doobie]
    #667108 - 06/07/02 09:31 AM (15 years, 19 days ago)

Senor_Doobie wrote:
"And the former Soviet Union is doing SO much better now that it is capitalist."

It is doing better, economic growth exceed that of the U.S. last year, their income tax rates are lower.

You cannot realistically expect that they would reverse the effects of generations of tyranny in a decade. The people have to learn to adapt.

A little anecdote. My friend's mother is from a farming region in Germany. When the wall fell, the people of her community welcomed the people from the former East Germany and gave them jobs on their farms. The welcome didn't last very long however as the West German farmers who are used to being productive had to contend with the laziest group of people they have ever encountered! People who were raised under communism had no incentives to be productive, as a matter of fact, the incentives were to be as lazy as possible and let the other fools work.

This is why communism never has and never will work as a means of bettering the existence of the common man. It provides no incentives. Why should one work hard when he only gets as much as one who is lazy and unproductive? Why should anyone take risks of being an entrepreneur when the fruits of his labor will be confiscated and handed out to all others regardless of the effort expended?


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OfflineLOBO
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: ]
    #668218 - 06/08/02 03:55 AM (15 years, 18 days ago)

I agree with you communism is a dead end, but in the other hand I think capitalism is also a dead end, capitalism works only for a select group of countries, mainly the US. Example Argentina embraced US police of opening their markets, and was even held by the US as an example to fallow, and look at it now, bankrupt.
The truth is free market means, I will sell you everything (US and others), and won’t buy you anything (Poor countries), and it’s a new way to conquer with out bullets.
I think what the world needs is a new system; the problem is that I don't now which one.


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


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OfflineLOBO
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #668226 - 06/08/02 04:09 AM (15 years, 18 days ago)

I heard once that if the entire world would live like the US. We will need 3 earths.
I have lived in third world countries, and traveled to others, I have seen what our current system does, how our polices exploit others for our benefit.
Be ware of our government polices they only serve a very few, and it's sowing bad seeds around the world.
No one blows a plane against a building "because they envy our freedom" like president Bush said.


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Anonymous

Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: LOBO]
    #669298 - 06/08/02 10:14 PM (15 years, 17 days ago)

Lobo wrote:
"capitalism works only for a select group of countries"

Yes it works for countries that have property rights, a stable political system, a stable monetary system, and a stable legal system. Argentina hardly qualifies on any of these points. The reason poor countries are poor is because property rights are in doubt, their governments are fucked up (a lot worse than the U.S.), their monetary systems are fucked up, and their legal systems are corrupt and arbitrary . Capitalism requires the ability to plan for the future and make business and investment decisions with reasonable expectations of future situations. If you can't count on these things in a country, the fruits of capitalism will never be able to emerge and the country will forever be poor.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: ]
    #669883 - 06/09/02 12:35 PM (15 years, 16 days ago)

I still want to understand how capitalism, as it is allowed to function in society today, even under the most "ideal" situations, can be reconciled with the facts concerning our continued degradation of the environment?

I've mentioned this before, and I'm interested in comments: The planet cannot sustain "American-style" prosperity, even at the scale it has been achieved today. It is unthinkable to expect that type of prosperity on a larger scale, as a means in itself to improve the world's lot.

So while we certainly should work to improve the quality of life everywhere, what, really is "the quality of life"? If this is a reasonable tenet of capitalism--

"Capitalism requires the ability to plan for the future and make business and investment decisions with reasonable expectations of future situations."

--and I accept it, how does it jibe with environmentalism? If we aren't able to modify our capitalist/consumerist system, what can we expect of our future situation? Completely removed from any accountability towards our environment, capitalism seems to thrive best, and that's troubling.


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Offlinefoghorn
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #670782 - 06/09/02 11:44 PM (15 years, 16 days ago)

I think the enviromental side of this problem is also a factor in capitalisms eventual collapse

if the western world keeps up the amount of resources we're consuming, while at the same time third world countries are becoming industrialized, resources will simply become scarce. There is already high demand, and resources are alrady beginning to deplete. Either things continue, and the Earth will eventually be unable to support us all, or violence eurpts over resources - both would probably cause the collapse of the consumerist lifestyle we enjoy

.........


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OfflineLOBO
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: foghorn]
    #671189 - 06/10/02 07:37 AM (15 years, 16 days ago)

In reply to:

There is already high demand, and resources are alrady beginning to deplete. Either things continue, and the Earth will eventually be unable to support us all, or violence eurpts over resources




The Violence has all ready started; all the conflict in the Middle East is all about one thing OIL, and acquiring resources.
And in order to secure that, we will not care about liberties, human rights or destruction.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #671448 - 06/10/02 10:31 AM (15 years, 15 days ago)

hongoman writes:

I still want to understand how capitalism, as it is allowed to function in society today...

Note that that what is referred to as "capitalism" today is far from it.

... even under the most "ideal" situations, can be reconciled with the facts...

What "facts" would those be?

...concerning our continued degradation of the environment?

As you yourself noted recently in a post in another thread, humans by their nature must alter nature to survive -- "...the inevitable damage humans currently inflict on their environment..." The more humans inhabit the planet, the more the environment must be manipulated in order to support them. This is true regardless of the politico/economic system in place.

The planet cannot sustain "American-style" prosperity, even at the scale it has been achieved today.

Says who?

It is unthinkable to expect that type of prosperity on a larger scale...

Why? There is no reason (other than political) that Russia, for example, should be any less prosperous than the US.

...and I accept it ("Capitalism requires the ability to plan for the future and make business and investment decisions with reasonable expectations of future situations"), how does it jibe with environmentalism?

How does ANY political system jibe with "environmentalism" (whatever that may be)? It is easily observable that the industrial countries of the world furthest from true Capitalism are those with the worst pollution problems.

Completely removed from any accountability towards our environment, capitalism seems to thrive best...

Actually, such is not the case. In a true Capitalist system, with 100% ownership of private property, the incentive not to pollute is higher than in any system involving public "ownership" of natural resources. Even evil Capitalists recognize the benefits of not shitting in their own nests.

pinky



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