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Old 24th July 2012, 05:06 AM   #361
PixyMisa
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
To the "free to move" bit, yes. It's quicker than giving a detailed analysis of how much it would cost to "freely" move to another country.
Eppur si muovo.

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As for the rest of it, communication between us seems to be too poor for us to reach any sort of consensus.
Nothing will come of nothing; speak again.
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Old 24th July 2012, 06:16 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by Londinius View Post
But let's just say that the unprecedented optimism that socialism is superior to capitalism (which includes such events as the transformation of the Soviet Union into an industrialised country and their success in launching of the first manmade satellite in 1957 etc, which I should clarify, was the fake Stalinist version of socialism rather than those advocated by Marx or Trotsky)
The Stalinist version of communism is the intersection of Marx and Trotsky with reality. q.v. Every communist country ever.
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Old 24th July 2012, 06:44 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by Londinius View Post
While I do agree that the CCP is way more totalitarian in than the western world, to label them as murderers of the innocent is definitely an exaggerated claim often perpetuated by those in conflict with the government.
You can't be serious.
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Old 24th July 2012, 11:18 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Sounds fair, because also I believe that Capitalism is not necessary or desirable, and we may have great difficulty finding an example where this is practiced, and some use it as a counterargument.

What is the "Socialism" that is not needed "at all", is a vague statement.
You said in a previous post that ppl generally accept some socialism as necessary, andargument for a mixed market, which is in fact the norm with some fairly extreme range. I don't accept that this is necessary

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1) Obviously some taxation is necessary to run a state, and it could be said that taxation rate is a Socialism rate, which hardly can be zero. 30% or 50% overall taxation rate would mean that the state is 30% or 50% Socialist and 70% or 50% Capitalist.
Not so - socialism is about ownership of the means of production, and full or cooperative management of these.. A government taxing and paying for a good or service is not socialism. I see no need for government to OWN or manage any production. There are a few things that we might consider services (legislature, criminal courts) there it's difficult to avoid government operating these - I don't consider these minimal services to amount to socialism but that comes down to precise definitions.


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2) Obviously the state must also own at least some institutions, which can be said to be state-run companies. Typically at least the police force, army, and prisons. Usually also health care from birth to death bed, and a schooling system from baby care all the way to universities. How many percent of GDP runs through these state-owned institutions, can be said to be a Socialism rate of the country, which hardly can be zero.
Not obvious at all. ANd nearly all of these are services not production - so there is a definitional issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_prison
There are examples of some privatized police used in US cities.
http://spectator.org/archives/2011/0...tize-fire-depa
The US military logistics are very much dependent on private companies for infrastructure.
There is no reason that state must own or operate healthcare, with many successful counter examples.
Here the state operates most of the basic (pre-college) schooling and it's performance, esp in large cities, is often so horrible so that many places now allow for tax funding for education to be used to pay for privately operated schools (privatization).

No reason that state must actually own/manage services even when it makes sense for the collective to contract for and pay for the service.

Admittedly it would be very problematic for any private company to provide modern offensive military features, primarily b/c these must be integrated, but this gets back to state monopoly on force.

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The more organized has more control. (Allegory: why labour unions are such a devil in some countries and business cultures. Because they really make a difference to the bargaining power of employees.) Entrepreneurs tend to be more organized, sometimes also beyond what would be allowed by law, than consumers. Buyer unions that actually do the buying together are rare.
I do not know how unions work elsewhere but here that often amount to a monopoly on labor. At union places you cannot work without being a member or at least paying the union. The potential employer cannot choose a different union or different employees. Perhaps long ago unions were a necessary counterbalance to insufficient competition for labor by employers, but today they are generally an impediment to efficiency and good use of resources. They have far too much power. I have personally seen some shocking examples of union inefficiencies and these have largely been responsible for the loss of manufacturing production in my part of the US.

You are very wrong - this is NOT about "more organized" this is about unfair, anti-competitive anti-free-market monopoly power. It is despicable in any form whether unions or Microsoft.


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Efficiency does not necessarily follow from adversaliality. It only follows from the availability of an effectively priced offer, and adversaliality between sellers and consumers does not guarantee that the selling parties compete against each other as effectively as they could. "Price terrorism" is a word you hear when a company starts selling something for a really effective price.
No - I left off the adjective "competitive", that is all. You have some romantic notion that you don't set the price by your purchase that it's done without market input by "terrorists". That is simply not true. When a million people choose to buy an iPhone instead of an Android or whatever they necessarily determine the production levels and prices.

Yes efficiency IS a direct result of masses of people choosing among alternatives based on price and quality, while at the very same time the producer is trying to maximize profits by weighing costs (his producers), profit margins and volumes. This IS the adversarial market process. Your repeated ignorance or rejection of basic economic concepts ... is a place where an ECON101 course would resolve a lot of your confusion on these very basic issues. Without that common basis of terminology and understanding of basics - this can't go much farther.



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You won´t stop it, because the rich will not fund a candidate that would oppose the current system, and in the current system you cannot win national or even state elections without support from the rich.
You really need to set your cartoonish classicist biases aside. Unions of average income working people and organizations like NRA or "Emilys List" have as much political influence and potentially distortion on politics. It's not just the rich or the corporations playing this game.


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The situation would be improved by the state funding some national bulletins that give equal space for all candidates. Plus a law that bans major media from giving inequal space to the candidates during X months under elections. Now it goes so that the major newspapers and TV stations give 99% of all space to 2 leading candidates only, and the other candidates are as if they didn´t even exist. That effectively functions as marketing, and turns out as votes.
Bulletins are a great idea and for many many years I've wondered why there aren't more. There are some good on-line resources btw. Why you imagine state funding is needed or desirable for a simple bulletin is puzzling. In every case here in the US campaign regulation has been used to disadvantage 3rd party competitions. - so I don't care for any solution from the two-party legislature.

We have an 'equal time' provision and it's terrible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-time_rule
There are exceptions that make it bad. Someone can produce a smear-job and call it a documentary and then it is aired w/o equal rebuttal time. Some non-news party can sponsor a debate, exclude any candidate they choose, then the news can cover it in detail w/o equal time. Worst of all this provision of law has several times been used by the party in power to threaten news organizations they do not like - NPR, Fox, NBC - it becomes a means of harming free speech. I don't think dictating or regulating this broadcast speech is a good idea at all, especially when the regulation comes from a body that intends to exclude minority parties.

Is this an issue in Finland - or are you trying to design a solution for the US ? I think you are missing some major issue that impact US politics, but this is off topic.

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I am not talking about a moneyless society. Everything has a price, including labour, land and natural resources. You argue based on differences which do not exist between Capitalism and non-moneyless Socialism.

I have also not mentioned that all salaries must be 100% equal. You argue that nobody can have an incentive to create in Socialism, because people are inherently greedy. I argue that if this is true (and it might not be true), then the state-owned companies would need to use salaries as the incentive.
No - I never thought or suggested that this was a money-less society or that all salaries are equal - that is not part of my rebuttal.

You simply don't understand the economic importance of price-signaling in markets. Yes - these difference really do exist as soon as prices are set by a planner instead of a free market. I don't see how you can avoid this bad situation when the state owns 80% of production in your utopia.

Same on salaries - when your state sets salaries they have no primary motivation to meet customer demand, and since they must determine salaries - who would the reward and why ? Salaries won't be adjusted to market (customer) value. There is no closed feedback loop to adjust salaries in correspondence to value. You've destroyed the control variable when the state sets the price.

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But I don´t believe that such incentives would be necessary to such an extent as they are in Capitalism. No one man is necessary in a war. If someone asks an exorbitant salary, the state would tolerate it only as long as it takes to educate a more moderately priced person to do his job. The salary levels of medical doctors would be halved in the long run. They are clever, but they are not above the population as much as their high salaries indicate.
This is just another aspect of your command economy thinking. *MAYBE* it makes economic sense for the government to spend resources to educate another Yasha Heifetz or Bill Gates - but it seems unlikely to be cost effective. Even more mundane talents - like web-designers of the 1990s - yes you can train many people to do this - but is it a good use of resources to do so ? How many ? Only a market can tell you that.

People have individuated talents and are fundamentally NOT interchangeable or replaceable. I see a lot of this silly "anyone can do it" attitude from progressives and socialists. It's not true, and it's a demeaning view of humanity.

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To sum it up, you argue that Socialism cannot function (with an arbitrarily set required level of productivity) because of factors X, Y and Z. I argue that I have doubts about the necessity of factors X, Y and Z, but in case they are proven to be necessary, then Socialism can have factors X, Y and Z.
No, you've misunderstood me in very basic ways. A socialist society like the "80% owned by state" one you describe would seem to require that the state set prices on many goods without reference to market considerations.
The state-mines produce uranium ore which is processed by the state refinery and used in the state power plant to produce electricity. How do you set the prices of these things ? You can't say "just charge a little profit" - that begs the question - you don't know the cost or price or potential value w/o a market. You lack the information to do this. The wages of all the employees are variable, the costs of the inputs and operations and product are variable, the demands for the electrical product are variable. How do you even know it's not cheaper to buy uranium or electricity from another country when your pricing is arbitrary ?

This problem of inefficiency due to lack of price-signalling isn't immediately fatal. USSR at one time had 24000 goods priced by committee and they took decades to fold. China was doing exactly the same for a small number (a few dozen IIRC) commodity goods back in the 1970s and by circa 1990 they realized this was foolish. It would probably work a little better in a small nation with a uniform culture - where some altruism and selflessness and trust could help prevent some problems. Why anyone think this can possible work is a triumph of ideological thinking over over basic economics and historical examples.

Maybe you have some brilliant and unstated solution for the lack of price-signalling in your system. If so explain.


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Depends on the national strengths (no matter what the economical system of the nation is). Some countries make most of their foreign currency from tourism, others from oil, some from various mining products, some from production, some from design, some from offshore banking.
You aren't it stating it clearly. Some national economies are highly dependent on vending natural resources, others on manufactured goods and services. But we need to distinguish trade economy from the entire economy. Then there is also a scale issue wrt trade. So US trade only totals ~10+% of GDP exports and ~15% imports, similar %s numbers for EU, but Finland around 42% for each and a typical household it's near 100%. Smaller means more fraction of GDP from trade but that doesn't imply much about the economy per se.

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International trade is nowadays based on free competition and world market prices, only seldom to preferential deals between countries.
I vigorously disagree. OPEC is a clear example of a anti-competitive non-free-market priced international trade. It''s much harder to explain to someone with no economics background but the currency fixing by China and many cases of other nations of dumping are decidedly NOT free competitive trade. Even the WTO stance on VAT tax vs corporate tax treatment causes a trade and pricing distortion with competitive advantage.


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I don´t theorize any reason why a Capitalist state would be motivated to support a Socialist system by buying something for a higher price than they can get from elsewhere. Quite the opposite, countries like USA love to punish Leftist countries for their ideology, I imagine that being treated as a trading partner equal to others would face some ideological friction with some countries.
Snotty invective and garbage thinking doesn't deserve a response. Give an example of this confusing melange of ideas - and leave your prejudice against nations you do not understand out.


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Not to badmouth the Russian people, they lived under dictators, and now live under a system that by all means is equal, and superior, to what mafia is in Italy. With the exception that in Italy the state police fights against mafia, so there is light at the end of the tunnel, but in Russia the police is the mafia.
Nor I - I have worked closely with a number of Russian emigres and generally like them very well - generally bright and talented from my experience. This is NOT the issue we are discussing. The old USSR government organization was tragically bad and harmed the people of that nation as well as the world substantially. ONE aspect is that their command pricing PREVENTED creation of a vigorous efficient consumer market. Then we have he current government of Russia which falls somewhere between a strong-man dictatorship and a kleptocracy with poorly enforced property rights and rule of law. Very sad indeed.



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I have not said that the state would steal anything without proper market value compensation.
You ignore the elephant in the room. How do we determine the value w/o a free market ? You invent a new means of refining uranium for the power-plant example above. HOW does the state assess the value of that invention when the only competition is from the state-controlled operation ? Without vending these things competitively you can't know the value.



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True, and the actual depth of poverty is of more interest than "earning less than 50% of GDP", which might be quite okay living if the GDP is high
.


PLEASE READ IT AGAIN. It's 50% of average family income, not GDP.
I REJECTED that valuation and instead looked at equal purchasing power.
Anyway that is far afield of the point. Generally capitalist free-market societies have served their citizens better then far more socialist ones.


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In Finland nobody gets less than 400 EUR per month + housing aid or something, the welfare system automatically feeds money to anyone who for any reason gets less than that. We have no homeless people for other reason than some individuals drinking the state-given money instead of renting a house with it -- which is a flaw in the system, the poverty aid should be earmarked for housing and food.
What an amazing distortion and display of USA hatred. PLease provide some real facts not this handwaving & hatred.

Finland Homeless 7600/5.38M = 0.14%
US homeless 750k/310mill = 0.24%
Europe Homeless 3M/738M = 0.41%
Canada Homeless = ~300k/35M = 0.85%

But of course comparing the large diverse US with tiny culturally coherent Finland is grossly unfair nonsense - so let's try a better comparison.

Finland:
per capita GDP(ppp) $35,900USD(2010) $36,700USD(2011)
population: 5.26M
Homeless: 7600

South Carolina
per capita GDP(ppp) : 35,717 (2010)
population: 4.6M
homeless:4,473 (total)

So a more fair comparison is that Finland, despite several program pushes fails to prevent homelessness as well as S.Carolina- which is no socialist utopia, in fact the 48th poorest state.

Neither am I suggesting this is a fair comparison, just a lot fairer than your USA hatred inspired distortion.

I know you want to ignore the truth in favor of your prejudices, but the US has a very extensive social support system too which may be even more costly than yours. Including housing aid, food stamps (cards really) aid to dependent children and income support, school lunch program etc. If we implemented the SAME exact programs as Finland in the US they would likely be less effective due to a lot of factors that have nothing to do with socialism/capitalism but that also make socialism less likely to succeed here.

My ultimate objection to socialism is it's infringement in personal liberty.

Here in the US you and anyone who chooses are completed free to create your own means of production and own it communally. There have been quite a number communal and utopian movements here over centuries. There are any number of co-ops even running power distribution and other infrastructure. However socialists typically seem insist on preventing private ownership to exist, or at least restrict it dramatically. Perhaps because they realize they can't compete on an equal basis, perhapos b/c they are fundamentally totalitarian personalities.
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Old 24th July 2012, 06:54 PM   #365
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Stevea you continue to rock my world with your posts. Well done.
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Old 24th July 2012, 08:26 PM   #366
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Stevea kicks ass.
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Old 24th July 2012, 08:33 PM   #367
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Second that.
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Old 24th July 2012, 08:48 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Rather than have us read the whole thing, which parts, specifically, for the benefit of those reading the thread ?
"Read the whole thing"?

It is a list of 14 cases only, and each case gets only a short mention in its own paragraph.
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Old 24th July 2012, 09:20 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
"Read the whole thing"?

It is a list of 14 cases only, and each case gets only a short mention in its own paragraph.
Yes, but which are you objecting to?

1. WWII operations. +1

2. Cold War operations in Eastern Europe and North Korea. +1

3. Overthrowing the Iranian government. Pretty dubious and has had long-term consequences. But it needs to be taken in context with the recent history at the time - Iran was initially an ally of Nazi Germany in WWII and the Soviets were busy causing trouble. Still, the CIA helped overthrow an elected government and install a monarch. -1

4. Overthrowing the Guatemalan government. -1

5. Support for failed Indonesian rebellion. The CIA didn't come out of this looking very good (or particularly competent), but the Indonesian government of the time wasn't all beer and skittles either. A wash.

6. Bay of Pigs. Worthy goal. Lousy implementation. A wash.

7. Support for Dominican revolt. Good work; Trujillo ("El Jefe") was a murdering despot. Big +1.

8. Actions in Vietnam. Well, they were certainly bad guys, but we know how that worked out in the end. A wash.

9. Overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. CIA still denies they played an active part in this. I'll leave this as a wash.

10. Church Committee. Not relevant.

11. Support for Afghanistan against the Soviets. +1, though it caused problems later.

12. Various operations of varying degrees of success and worth. A wash.

13. Stopping operations to mobilise the Kurds against Saddam Hussein. Well.... What? A wash.

14. Operations against al Qaeda. Insufficiently effective, as we all know, but still +1.

So.... What was the point again?
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Old 24th July 2012, 11:31 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by stevea View Post
A government taxing and paying for a good or service is not socialism.
Services and production belong to the same package.

I guess the Scandinavian welfare states have a twice higher taxation than many of the more Capitalist countries. I don´t bother to google for exact data right now. When taxation goes well above 50%, it starts to deserve the name Socialism.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
union places (...) are generally an impediment to efficiency
(...) these have largely been responsible for the loss of manufacturing production in my part of the US.
In a minority of cases only, labour unions do sometimes over-achieve, so to say. For example when the Finnish labour union of doctors went on national strike to demand higher salaries -- people who already earn twice more than the average person -- it seemed a bit odd to use their monopoly on medical expertise for such quest of personal gain.

But such anomalies aside, this reveals a basic ideological difference between Capitalism and Socialism. In Capitalism it can be considered a good thing when you find cheap labour. In Socialism the existence of any poorly paid job is considered a social loss for the person doing the job. I adressed this issue already when introducing my "80% state-run economy" afore, where I mentioned a sweatshop tax for (imported) products which have been produced with grossly underpaid labour, to steer the competition to technological and logistical efficiency, not "efficiency of paying the workers as low wages as possible". Such an efficiency exists in Capitalism, but Socialism recognizes it as evil not good.

You say that USA has "lost production jobs" because labour unions refused to compete in salaries -- with whom, China? A key objective for Socialist thinking is to remove from economical competition the socially predatory aspect of companies roaming the whole world to find grossly underpaid labour force. Technological competition is OK for me, but predatory competition in low salaries is a non-starter.

Harmonized fair salaries, and otherwise relatively free technological competition -- that would begin to sound OK for me.

Labour unions are not a good example of Socialism, because the labour force as a whole are not bargaining fair equal salaries. Each profession group is bargaing the most for themselves, at the cost of other professions, so there is not much Socialist ideology in it from this perspective.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
When a million people choose to buy an iPhone instead of an Android or whatever
they necessarily determine the production levels and prices.
Production level, yes.

Prices, mainly for physical products, and if there is extensive price competition on the product, which is not the case with some new patented products.

Over-pricing of non-physical products and services is one of my greatest annoyances with free market pricing. When scarcity is created by a price that many people are not willing to pay, when no scarcity exists from a technological viewpoint. For example, if watching a TV channel costs X EUR per month, Z people buy the subscription and see the channel. The rest of population don´t, even if they gladly would if the channel were free. Pricing creates scarcity. If I were a Socialist leader of another country, and I would wish to broadcast this channel X in my country, I would ask them what they realistically expect to make with the channel in our country, and make a deal that we pay the sum that they expect to earn fro it, and then the chanel is shown for free to everyone in our country. The same money earned by the company, but no unnecessary scarcity.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
There is no closed feedback loop to adjust salaries in correspondence to value.
In Socialism people are viewed as equals and deserving an equal standard of living, and therefore the value of labour is seen ideologically as a constant. Not necessarily per month, some people can choose to work fewer hours and earn less. And not necessarily per work output, efficiency criteria may be applied to punish laziness at work, and to steer people to work in jobs (and study jobs) that they can do effectively.

Varying the salaries of people is not supposed to happen for any other reason than absolute necessity, such as your theorized necessity to create an incentive for people to be creative.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
People have individuated talents
True in the sense that each individual is unique.

Originally Posted by stevea View Post
and are fundamentally NOT interchangeable or replaceable.
Not true. The only place where this might be considered even partly true is theorizing that person X invented thing Y, and if he had not invented it, nobody else would have either. This theorization is unfalsifiable, possibly true and possibly false. Probably true in short term and false in the long run.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
it's a demeaning view of humanity.
It is realism based on facts. 98% of humans are "one in a million" -- their job could be done by a million others. It is rare that an individual has skills which nobody else is either able or willing to learn. Not the "willing" part, I accept that as a remarkable part of the issue. You cannot mass-produce mathematicians or nuclear physicists, even if you have masses of people with sufficient talents. It takes some passion for the science, which is rarer than the basic talent to be able to learn.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
The state-mines produce uranium ore which is processed by the state refinery
and used in the state power plant to produce electricity. How do you set the
prices of these things? You can't say "just charge a little profit"
Domestic pricing of domestic natural resources is not a major problem for a national economy. Long-term sustainability planning from generation to generation is, and Capitalists are not known as the most responsible in that matter -- USA has been against environmental treaties that the rest of the world are trying to make.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
How do you even know it's not cheaper to buy uranium or electricity
from another country when your pricing is arbitrary?
Foreign trade vs. local production is a complex question, with many factors involved. A key factor is our employment rate: if we buy the goods from abroad, instead of producing them ourselves, will we stay fully employed? If not, comparing the price of imported goods with the total effect of unemployment etc. becomes a complex formula to solve.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
It would probably work a little better in a small nation with a uniform culture
- where some altruism and selflessness and trust could help prevent some problems.
I don´t believe in the bliss of dictated Socialism, or dictated anything. I believe in freely chosen Socialism, which practically would mean splitting a political region into the area (or economical system) of those who choose Capitalism and those who choose Socialism, with the right to also change between these.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
OPEC is a clear example of a anti-competitive non-free-market priced international trade.
Here we agree.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Give an example of this confusing melange of ideas
USA et.al. have been quick to economically isolate countries like Cuba and Zimbabwe, to punish them for nationalizing private property. No such response is seen from USA et.al. when a government commits crimes against any other human right than private ownership. Also Finland has been (if not still is) on US watchlist of countries where US products do not enjoy a totally free market (specifically the medical products, because of the system favouring cheapest drug alternative). Being on the watchlist does not yet mean anything, but apparently a next step would exist, probably some kind of economical punishment, isolation or diversion.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
How do we determine the value w/o a free market?
You invent a new means of refining uranium for the power-plant example above.
In this particular case, finding out the actual market value is not very necessary. Neither is there an absolute market value for a company -- you sell your stock today for price X, without knowing if the company is worth twice more or twice less a year from now.

In a typical case, the person who actually invents something gets only a small fraction of the market value of the product, and his employer reaps the patent and most of the economical gains. Even a blindly estimated compensation to the actual inventor would easily be more than what the actual inventor gets as employee in companies owned by others than the inventor.

Originally Posted by stevea View Post
not this handwaving & hatred.
Your debating tactics include using the word "hatred" a lot. We are not even discussing issues of life and death, like military politics.


Originally Posted by stevea View Post
My ultimate objection to socialism is it's infringement in personal liberty.
My ultimate objection to Capitalism is measuring success without any reference to collective social responsibility.

Last edited by JJM 777; 24th July 2012 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 25th July 2012, 12:46 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Over-pricing of non-physical products and services is one of my greatest annoyances with free market pricing. When scarcity is created by a price that many people are not willing to pay, when no scarcity exists from a technological viewpoint. For example, if watching a TV channel costs X EUR per month, Z people buy the subscription and see the channel. The rest of population don´t, even if they gladly would if the channel were free. Pricing creates scarcity. If I were a Socialist leader of another country, and I would wish to broadcast this channel X in my country, I would ask them what they realistically expect to make with the channel in our country, and make a deal that we pay the sum that they expect to earn fro it, and then the chanel is shown for free to everyone in our country. The same money earned by the company, but no unnecessary scarcity.
So what you would do is force the people who weren't willing to pay for the channel, to pay for it anyway?

Great.

Quote:
In Socialism people are viewed as equals and deserving an equal standard of living, and therefore the value of labour is seen ideologically as a constant.
However, we don't live in Socialism, we live in Reality.

Quote:
Varying the salaries of people is not supposed to happen for any other reason than absolute necessity, such as your theorized necessity to create an incentive for people to be creative.
Well, some of us live in Reality.

Quote:
It is realism based on facts. 98% of humans are "one in a million" -- their job could be done by a million others.
But it's that other 2% that drive human progress.

Quote:
Domestic pricing of domestic natural resources is not a major problem for a national economy. Long-term sustainability planning from generation to generation is, and Capitalists are not known as the most responsible in that matter -- USA has been against environmental treaties that the rest of the world are trying to make.
No; they're just more honest. Check actual compliance with those environmental treaties.

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Foreign trade vs. local production is a complex question, with many factors involved. A key factor is our employment rate: if we buy the goods from abroad, instead of producing them ourselves, will we stay fully employed? If not, comparing the price of imported goods with the total effect of unemployment etc. becomes a complex formula to solve.
There was an article on the High Scalability web site not long ago about the interesting work Indian Railways have been doing on their ticket ordering systems. The problem they have is that when online ticket sales open each week, all the tickets on key routes for the entire week sell out in 15 minutes, and they've been having trouble scaling their systems to cope with the rush.

It never occurred to them to simply raise the price. More money -> more trains -> more people getting to work -> better for everyone.

In case you missed the point: No, it's not a complex question, it's dead simple. You buy the cheaper one.
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Old 25th July 2012, 12:49 AM   #372
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Oh, and this: Anyone who says "pricing creates scarcity" has never seen a Steam sale.
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Old 25th July 2012, 02:28 AM   #373
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
it's dead simple. You buy the cheaper one.
If it´s so simple, then why is US foreign aid food bought locally from expensive US producers, instead of local farmers in the target countries receiving the "aid"?

Answer: because domestic employment is a factor, it is so complex as I say, not so simple as you say.
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Old 25th July 2012, 02:39 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
"Read the whole thing"?

It is a list of 14 cases only, and each case gets only a short mention in its own paragraph.
Humour me.
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Old 25th July 2012, 02:42 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
If it´s so simple, then why is US foreign aid food bought locally from expensive US producers, instead of local farmers in the target countries receiving the "aid"?
Because it's a government program. It's a simple question. Doesn't mean that a government is capable of getting the right answer.

I refer you back to my post, specifically the point regarding Indian Railways. By setting prices artificially low, they created a problem that took great expertise to work around.

They could solve the problem entirely simply by raising prices. But that simply never occurred to them.

What's your take on that?
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Old 25th July 2012, 02:47 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Humour me.
Frankly, the article left me with a more favourable view of the CIA than I held before.
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Old 25th July 2012, 06:39 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Oh, and this: Anyone who says "pricing creates scarcity" has never seen a Steam sale.
What is Steam sale?
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Old 25th July 2012, 07:46 AM   #378
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Unfortunately, you just missed it.

This is Steam.

They have regular sales where games sell for 75% off (and sometimes more), often from prices already dramatically reduced. For example, Dragon Age: Origins launched at $60, now sells for $20, and a couple of days ago was selling for $5.

Game companies report that these sales are incredibly profitable - that they can make more profit from one day of sales at 75% off than from a month of full price sales.
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Old 25th July 2012, 08:09 PM   #379
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JJM777, you realize the socialist vision you've been describing was the economy of East Germany?
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Old 25th July 2012, 09:02 PM   #380
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
They could solve the problem entirely simply by raising prices.
I don´t remember you solving the problem "entirely". The core problem to solve is too low income of the general population, which prevents raising the prices unless the politicians are ready to face riots for that.

In the spirit of this thread, you should have suggested free competition as the answer, allow a Russian cleptocrat or an Arab statehead who somehow took the national oils as his private property, to found a competing more expensive railway service there. Those start using it who can afford, and the poor continue using the poor service.
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Old 25th July 2012, 09:23 PM   #381
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I can confirm that Steam sales do have a dramatic effect.

Anyway the whole point of capitalism is to create a positive sum game. It's not clear to me how any other system that is centrally planned is going to be as efficient at maximizing profits (the positive sum part of the equation).
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Old 25th July 2012, 09:30 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
To the "free to move" bit, yes. It's quicker than giving a detailed analysis of how much it would cost to "freely" move to another country.

As for the rest of it, communication between us seems to be too poor for us to reach any sort of consensus.
When I moved to china it cost me a few hundred hong kong dollars: the price of my train ticket from hong kong to shanghai. Perhaps I should include my living expenses before my first pay check in shanghai, maybe $1000.
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Old 25th July 2012, 11:04 PM   #383
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I don´t remember you solving the problem "entirely". The core problem to solve is too low income of the general population, which prevents raising the prices unless the politicians are ready to face riots for that.
People can't get the tickets now; there aren't enough to go around. The railways aren't getting the funding they need from ticket sales to expand services.

Raising prices solves both problems.
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Old 25th July 2012, 11:09 PM   #384
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
I can confirm that Steam sales do have a dramatic effect.

Anyway the whole point of capitalism is to create a positive sum game. It's not clear to me how any other system that is centrally planned is going to be as efficient at maximizing profits (the positive sum part of the equation).
Right, the idea being that since transactions are freely made, in the general case people will only enter into transactions that favour both sides.

Since socialism begins with coercion, and decisions are taken away from the people involved in the transaction, it has none of those qualities. Capitalism seeks local maxima, which is computationally tractable if imperfect. Socialism seeks a global maximum, which is computationally intractable and necessarily concentrates power in a few hands. So it fundamentally can't achieve its goals, and it creates the conditions for spectacular failure.
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Old 25th July 2012, 11:10 PM   #385
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
JJM777, you realize the socialist vision you've been describing was the economy of East Germany?
Socialism averages out economies, which has the same effect on people as averaging out colours does to art. Everything ends up a muddy grey.
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Old 26th July 2012, 09:32 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Socialism averages out economies, which has the same effect on people as averaging out colours does to art. Everything ends up a muddy grey.
It's funny how people don't seem to get this. Socialism is the straight up enemy of diversity. Which I find hilarious because the same people bleeting about diversity are likely socialists.

I am impressed that northern europe (sweden, finland etc) has been able to keep it together this long. Let's see how they are doing in 50 more years. Part of my overall theory here is that culture is super important. Finns and other northern european types tend to have a strong work ethic and a practical outlook on life. This translate into a hard working populace who feels an obligation to pay their taxes and contribute to the system. But what happens when that kind of culture slowly gets eroded over time? As soon as the culture shifts to an "I'm due this because I'm breathing" type of mentality the system will start to break down. Maybe, just maybe, the finns, swedes, danes etc can keep their systems going but to think that the same kind of thing would work someplace like the USA is naivety in the extreme.
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Old 26th July 2012, 10:52 AM   #387
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Why do the left hate economic freedom?
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Old 26th July 2012, 11:25 AM   #388
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Holy sweeping generalizations !
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Old 26th July 2012, 07:46 PM   #389
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
Why do the left hate economic freedom?

Insecurity and envy, same as always.
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Old 26th July 2012, 07:50 PM   #390
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
It's funny how people don't seem to get this. Socialism is the straight up enemy of diversity. Which I find hilarious because the same people bleeting about diversity are likely socialists.

I am impressed that northern europe (sweden, finland etc) has been able to keep it together this long. Let's see how they are doing in 50 more years. Part of my overall theory here is that culture is super important. Finns and other northern european types tend to have a strong work ethic and a practical outlook on life. This translate into a hard working populace who feels an obligation to pay their taxes and contribute to the system. But what happens when that kind of culture slowly gets eroded over time? As soon as the culture shifts to an "I'm due this because I'm breathing" type of mentality the system will start to break down. Maybe, just maybe, the finns, swedes, danes etc can keep their systems going but to think that the same kind of thing would work someplace like the USA is naivety in the extreme.
Ah yes, the "I reject your reality and substitute my own" defense .
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Old 26th July 2012, 08:56 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Socialism averages out economies
Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
Socialism is the straight up enemy of diversity [in standard of living available to people]
You guys are finally getting something correct.
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Old 26th July 2012, 09:45 PM   #392
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
You guys are finally getting something correct.
Yes. What you don't grasp is that this is a bad thing.

Look at your own example. People want a TV channel but don't want to pay for it? Easy solution: Force them to pay for it (through taxation) and present the TV station with an ultimatum.

You combine a fundamental abridgement of freedoms with the removal of any market forces to control the output of the TV station. We know what happens. We've already run the experiment. It doesn't need to be done again.
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Old 26th July 2012, 10:18 PM   #393
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JJM how do you respond to the fact that the economic system you described is what they had in East Germany?

And that they had the Trebant while West Germany had the BMW?
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Old 27th July 2012, 10:38 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Yes. What you don't grasp is that this is a bad thing.

Look at your own example. People want a TV channel but don't want to pay for it? Easy solution: Force them to pay for it (through taxation) and present the TV station with an ultimatum.

You combine a fundamental abridgement of freedoms with the removal of any market forces to control the output of the TV station. We know what happens. We've already run the experiment. It doesn't need to be done again.
Also, where did this TV station come from? Why did people risk their capital to build it? Why where they laboring to put it together in the first place? Under a communist system without capital you don't get a diversity of television because anything the state can't imagine it cannot create.

I laugh and scoff at the communists here. Sorry but your ideology is a joke.
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Old 27th July 2012, 10:40 AM   #395
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
JJM how do you respond to the fact that the economic system you described is what they had in East Germany?

And that they had the Trebant while West Germany had the BMW?
The top gear episode with the eastern european cars is classic. Classic communism that is... junk products made by unhappy workers who had no incentive to produce anything better. That's the reality of communism.

Innovation dies and everyones standard of living goes down. Does nobody pay attention to what's happening in the world? We haven't even started on the insanity that is Venezuela right now...
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Old 27th July 2012, 11:33 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
JJM how do you respond to the fact that the economic system you described is what they had in East Germany?
It wasn´t.

Originally Posted by Virus View Post
And that they had the Trebant while West Germany had the BMW?
I don´t remember an era when the average German citizen drove BMW. It was Volkswagen they drove.
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Old 28th July 2012, 01:48 AM   #397
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
It wasn´t.
Yes it was.
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Old 28th July 2012, 04:14 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Yes it was.
Equally as the economic system of Haiti is Capitalism, and what can we learn from these two examples? That you can fail with anything.
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Old 28th July 2012, 08:48 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Equally as the economic system of Haiti is Capitalism, and what can we learn from these two examples? That you can fail with anything.
East Germany had the very system you described.
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Old 28th July 2012, 01:45 PM   #400
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Originally Posted by Virus View Post
Why do the left hate economic freedom?
Safety nets and reduced inequality can provide more economic freedom.
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