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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics, Religion & other Controversies » Government taken over by Bankers ?

Default Government taken over by Bankers ?

April 23rd, 2009, 23:42
Hello, everyone,

I just read this article:

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/stor…ist=TNMostRead

I found it most disturbing.

It fits imho very, very well into the "Shoch Doctrine" Thesis by Naomi Klein:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shock_Doctrine

Last year I developed a thesis of how companies could take over whole governments. In a nutshell: By firing thousands of workers, so many that the social net system of the government gets overloaded, and the government dives so much into debts that they'll have to loan money, ideally even from the companies which have fired the workers before.

This doesn't work in all countries, of course, but in the article from above I see a glimpse of how it might work …

I feel very disturbed right now.

Alrik

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April 23rd, 2009, 23:54
Goldman effectively running the treasury/fed is nothing new. And yes it is disgusting.

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April 25th, 2009, 13:09
Well, that would explain why almost as many Americans under 30 think that socialism is preferable to capitalism as the other way around.

[ http://crookedtimber.org/2009/04/23/…for-socialism/ ]

That's got me stymied. They can't possibly mean textbook socialism (state ownership of the means of production). Can they?
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April 25th, 2009, 14:32
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
That's got me stymied. They can't possibly mean textbook socialism (state ownership of the means of production). Can they?
I suspect its more likely they don't know that definition and are using Socialism(American): a government that frowns on industry burning live babies to run powerplants. Serously though the way 'socilaism' gets thrown around as a label there I'd be supprised if anyone outside a political science department knew what the actual definition was.
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April 25th, 2009, 14:54
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
I suspect its more likely they don't know that definition and are using Socialism(American): a government that frowns on industry burning live babies to run powerplants. Serously though the way 'socilaism' gets thrown around as a label there I'd be supprised if anyone outside a political science department knew what the actual definition was.
When they say socialism they mean France or most likely Sweden. And since our government and media uses that definition, and I've heard Europeans use it as well, it's the word that's going to stick. Definitions do change over time - just look at "Democracy", for example.
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April 25th, 2009, 15:51
We've had this problem before. When everything's cheery, everyone's pretty much fine with using popular definitions even though they aren't historically accurate, but as soon as the conversation turns in an uncomfortable direction, there's 20 dictionaries drug out.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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April 25th, 2009, 17:39
I'm getting a sinking feeling here — 'cuz I've been here before. I tried to stick with "negro" for a very long time back when the PC crowd was outlawing it, on the grounds that if it's good enough for Martin Luther King, it's good enough for me. But eventually I found myself doing a five-minute disclaimer every time it came up, and I gave up.

Looks like I'm going to have to cave to the PC crowd on "socialism" as well — even though this time they're from the right, not the left. Yuck.

Now, what will we call a political system where the means of production are state-owned, since we've just declared that "socialism" now means a political system based on capitalism, a free market, and comprehensive social services funded through taxation? Suggestions, anyone?
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April 25th, 2009, 17:40
The word "socialism" has different meanings here.

First, there is the "socialism" of the GDR (East Germany before the Wiedervereinigung),
and second we have the "socialism" as what dict.leo.org translates as "social market economy". This is hugely supported (especially in spirit) by the unions.

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April 25th, 2009, 17:47
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Now, what will we call a political system where the means of production are state-owned, since we've just declared that "socialism" now means a political system based on capitalism, a free market, and comprehensive social services funded through taxation? Suggestions, anyone?
The problem arises from a scheme called "make profits private, all costs and losses public".

This is the basic model for banking, especially as we see it now (the bankers themselves got away with the crisis they ignited with lots of profits meanwhile the states must pump billions of dollars into the economy and especially the banks so that they might not collapse),
but it can be seen very clearly in the field of scientific research, too : The universities and their running costs are (at least here) payed by the government, and therefore by the public, but the results of these scientific researches are sold in the form of pricey books by publishers.

As far as I know, there's currently a huge debate going on in the U.S. and in the E.U. just about that. With the publishers fighting over their rights to publish these research results, because if they would lose that, their profits would go down - and their reasons to exist, too.

"Open Science" is the new buzz-word in that.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 25th, 2009, 20:01
I doubt people from ex-Soviet countries like Czech would like their nation to be called socialist. It just seems out of place. Sure, there are people living in EU countries who support socialism, but the national governments of EU don't really play such a huge role in the economy these days. Most of the time they just assign laws and regulations. As far as I know nationalizations and other forceful interventions rarely happen in the EU zone.

For replacements for the word, something like wellfare state would be in my humble opinion more to the point.

Going back to the original topic, I'm sure there has been and will be horse trading between bankers and politicians, but that's not exactly new (or tolerable). Simple economic power and influence itself already plays relatively huge role in our societies and that banks have in abundance.
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April 26th, 2009, 17:53
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Now, what will we call a political system where the means of production are state-owned, since we've just declared that "socialism" now means a political system based on capitalism, a free market, and comprehensive social services funded through taxation? Suggestions, anyone?
I'm not sure you can call France, with it's insane labor laws (to grab the most noticeable point), a true free market. Anyway, we could always cop out and go with "classical socialism" and "neo-socialism". There's a lot of baggage that goes with "welfare state", although by definition it might be relatively close to France. I know you like to emphasize the similarities between the French and US systems (and there are more similarities there than to the USSR, which is, I believe, the source of your discomfort), but there are significant differences that have to be acknowledged when we drag out labels. You simply can't put France and the US under the same umbrella.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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April 26th, 2009, 19:11
Bleh, I resent my country being called socialist… There is a huge gulf between the "third way" baloney of our social democrats and true socialism. Our one proper socialist party gets 5-7% of the votes and is hugely distrusted by the majority of the population

FWIW there are official and recognised rankings of countries by economic freedom, they tend to look like this (I use numbers from the one on the left with 100 being totally free):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of…onomic_freedom

The US stands at 80 (so not exactly a perfectly free market either), EU at 60-80 (France at 60, Sweden at 70), and North Korea parks at 2. Denmark which has an extensive welfare state and has been run by social democrats quite often stands at 79.6…

Originally Posted by Rithrandil View Post
When they say socialism they mean France or most likely Sweden. And since our government and media uses that definition, and I've heard Europeans use it as well, it's the word that's going to stick. Definitions do change over time - just look at "Democracy", for example.
I dont think any mainstream Europeans besides possibly the UK tories would claim that the countries mentioned practice socialism I'd rather say that it (much like liberalism which is a small government ideology here) is one of the words whose definition speciated and became different on your side of the pond, as I suspect the only ones using the old textbook definition in the US are commie sectarians One just have to consider the readership when using those terms online…
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April 26th, 2009, 19:16
Daily Show on "socialist" Sweden:
pt 1
pt 2

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April 26th, 2009, 21:25
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I'm not sure you can call France, with it's insane labor laws (to grab the most noticeable point), a true free market.
Oh, please. EU membership alone requires that it's a free market. Tacking "true" on it won't get you anywhere — other than, eventually, to the conclusion that there *is* no true free market anywhere.

Anyway, we could always cop out and go with "classical socialism" and "neo-socialism". There's a lot of baggage that goes with "welfare state", although by definition it might be relatively close to France. I know you like to emphasize the similarities between the French and US systems (and there are more similarities there than to the USSR, which is, I believe, the source of your discomfort), but there are significant differences that have to be acknowledged when we drag out labels. You simply can't put France and the US under the same umbrella.
That depends on how big we make the umbrella. Both the US and France fall under the broad definition of "advanced capitalist economies" — as opposed to, for example, Belarus, which is a genuinely socialist economy, or Syria, which is a mixed economy.

And yes, surely there are differences, both philosophical and practical. That means that a finer subdivision may at times be worth doing — for example, if you're comparing how various advanced capitalist economies have attempted to resolve the problems they're all confronting.
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April 27th, 2009, 00:31
What do you call an economy that darn near guarantees employment for life? There's certainly no merit-based hire/fire dynamic to churn your labor pool and demand that they progress. I would think a free market would include competition in the labor sector.

It's the same sort of argument—while they both fit under broad umbrellas such as "advanced capitalist economies", that in no way forces them to be considered equivalent.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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April 27th, 2009, 08:43
There are areas in which competition doesn't lead to a better society but is rather harmful to humanity.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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April 27th, 2009, 08:55
OK, name a few.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 27th, 2009, 09:18
Competition in addictive goods and services with severe sideeffects.
Drugs, gambling, unhealthy food, tobacco etc.

Competition in harmful goods such as weapons.

Competition in products which puts unrepairable damage to the environment during the production.

Competition in labor. When there's no regulation on labor, citizens who can work more are more attractive to employees. This lead to two things;
1. It's increasingly difficult to get a job that cares about physical and mental health which lead to increased unemployment and increased social problems due to the unhealthy population.
2. The upper limit is set by the hardworking citizens in their best days. When one reach the limit it usually ends with a burnout leading to additional harm.

In general competition serve mankind when it leads to increased health, an improved society, a steady environment. When competition instead lead to decreased health, increased social issues and a devastated environment, then competition is directly harmful to humanity. When all that matters is your end income, there are no demands on you to be responsible and people tend to get blind by the rush.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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April 27th, 2009, 09:36
Originally Posted by jemym
Competition in addictive goods and services with severe sideeffects.
Drugs, gambling, unhealthy food, tobacco etc.

Competition in harmful goods such as weapons.

Competition in products which puts unrepairable damage to the environment during the production.
I can see your point in the case of labor, but why is competetion itself blamed for the other industries that already produce harmful products? I would put the blame on the demand that exists for these kinds of products in the first place.
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April 27th, 2009, 09:44
Originally Posted by Surlent View Post
I can see your point in the case of labor, but why is competetion itself blamed for the other industries that already produce harmful products? I would put the blame on the demand that exists for these kinds of products in the first place.
It's in the providers best interest to increase their income or at least keep it stable. This leads to using all sorts of strategies to increase demand such as advertisement and other kinds of "customer-catchers". It's also their interest to block reduction in demand.

When in a competition it's not in your best interest to say "well, my product is bad for your health so I should probably make sure to sell less, inform you about it's harmful sideeffects, block you from buying if I know you have an addiction, swap to more expensive but environmentally better alternatives" etc.

When your own hide is depending on you selling harmful items or use harmful production methods, why would you change your ways and why would you strive for decreased rather than increased sales?

The way it works in Sweden where things like Alcohol and Gambling is regulated is that part of the income goes to informing customers regarding harmful sideeffects as well as directly helping people with addiction. The mentality is somewhere between freedom and responsibility. You as a customer should be free to have these products, they will be sold to you, and the market is even open to new products. But no extra stress is put on making sure you buy them. If losses happen, thats perfectly ok. Ofcourse, one could point out that there is an ongoing debate regarding if this actually works or not.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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