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Thread: The American Politics thread

  1. #2731
    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    The left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. That would increase consumption but, depending on the scope, would threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. You can't invest what you don't have, and you won't accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred away from you.

    The agility of the American corporation is critical. The right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix the problem. The free market doesn't guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. In other words, it may give more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy as a whole, but by itself it doesn't guarantee how wealth is distributed. The left cannot be indifferent to the historical consequences of extreme redistribution of wealth. The right cannot be indifferent to the political consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population's inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.
    I like the piece, it is interesting, but the part here is where it loses me.

    No system guarantees social outcomes. No system can placate all political persuasions. The juxtaposition in the above ignores this, as if it is an either/or aspect in which there are conversing paradigms. Where you gain one thing in this paradigm and lose it in the opposition. The juxtaposition is misleading because the left cannot guarantee those things, either.

    People that advocate free markets - or 'the right' - aren't proposing such a system to simply meet a political or social end - although they can. The argument generally is that the manipulation to bring about those ends - what 'the left' would do - is in itself troublesome and will lead to more unintended trouble. Whereas in the private sphere, those outcomes are what they are because the mass of individuals are proactively choosing it to be that way. Whether it is the right thing, whether it pleases all people, is not an issue because people's persuasions and moralities differ.

    There is also a question of whether they should be listened to at all. Whether one's persuasions should figure as coercion on another.

    The more worrying question for me is that, indeed, people are going to be split. There will be, and there is seeming to be, a group of very wealthy people and very poor people. Even in a free market type system people will be made poor and rich based on their decisions. What the author touches on is that during industrialization era of the late 19th century America had the biggest movement from the rich to the poor. It is also the era which is the most reflective of a free market environment - pre-income tax, pre-federal reserve, pre-progressive era.

    Unfortunately, that era - since the progressive era - has been disparaged. It is the era with which 'Robber Barons' ruled. While I am sure there were dishonorable people in that era - as in every era - that mischaracterisation has given way to the kinds of policies that have given rise to a shrinking of the middle-class. What I mean by that is that while I agree there will be certain sets of people who vary in wealth, at least there was a period in which the movement was more fluid.

    Because that's all you can be able to strive towards. That's the kind of system where even when there is an inequality in wealth and income, people won't be undermined and be bitter for it, as the article alludes to. At the least, they can see hope. It is when they see barriers that people become restless, that revolutions happen.

    The author is right, neither proposed solution is perfect. What doesn't seem to be as plainly stated is that there is no utopia. The closest we'll get to the kind of utopia - in an employment sense - is when technology makes it a reality.
    Last edited by Ikki; 08-01-2013 at 08:50 AM.
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    Hall of Fame Member grecian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    I did.

    The dumbness of it is staggering, though. It was legitimately painful to watch.
    The problem is, Morgan isn't any good, even against that idiot, he allowed the nonsense about 10s of thousands knife attacks in the UK go. It's my fave gun-nut argument, it conveniently forgets that the US have also got quite a lot of stabbings themselves.
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    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grecian View Post
    The problem is, Morgan isn't any good, even against that idiot, he allowed the nonsense about 10s of thousands knife attacks in the UK go. It's my fave gun-nut argument, it conveniently forgets that the US have also got quite a lot of stabbings themselves.
    True - and the fact that this only counts homicides suggests that the number of knife attacks is under-shown compared to the gun figures, what with guns being so much more efficient at killing people.

    On the other hand, showing how many stabbings there are in the US does lend weight to the theory that for some systemic reason, there are just more people willing to kill each other over there.
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    Hall of Fame Member Marcuss's Avatar
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    loled at the petition to deport Piers scrolling across the bottom


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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howe_zat View Post
    True - and the fact that this only counts homicides suggests that the number of knife attacks is under-shown compared to the gun figures, what with guns being so much more efficient at killing people.

    On the other hand, showing how many stabbings there are in the US does lend weight to the theory that for some systemic reason, there are just more people willing to kill each other over there.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Ikki, I think you've missed a few important points in the article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikki View Post
    I like the piece, it is interesting, but the part here is where it loses me.

    No system guarantees social outcomes. No system can placate all political persuasions. The juxtaposition in the above ignores this, as if it is an either/or aspect in which there are conversing paradigms. Where you gain one thing in this paradigm and lose it in the opposition. The juxtaposition is misleading because the left cannot guarantee those things, either.
    Possibly not, but that's not what Friedman is arguing. He's not saying that the left has the answers, he's saying that the problem is a fundamental social one, so the US (and, by extension, us, as we'll face similar problems in the long-term future if we continue on the current trajectory) needs a policy aimed at those social outcomes. The right arguing that it will take care of itself, given the history of corporate restructuring he outlines, is at best in need of a hell of a lot of substantive proof. Proof that has not been forthcoming because, for the most part, the right refuses to acknowledge that the problem even exists.

    People that advocate free markets - or 'the right' - aren't proposing such a system to simply meet a political or social end - although they can.
    Which is the issue here. The economy serves the society, not the other way around. In the end, social and political advancement is the fundamental aim.

    The argument generally is that the manipulation to bring about those ends - what 'the left' would do - is in itself troublesome and will lead to more unintended trouble.
    Alright, but barring that, what's the solution? I don't agree that this is a black/white bipolar problem with a black/white solution. The flaws in one solution don't automatically legitimise another.

    Whereas in the private sphere, those outcomes are what they are because the mass of individuals are proactively choosing it to be that way. Whether it is the right thing, whether it pleases all people, is not an issue because people's persuasions and moralities differ.
    But this misses the point: for whatever reason, the system as it is currently set up is asphyxiating the middle and lower classes. Whilst an ideologically pure system may have "aesthetic" or moral values, those are all really secondary to solving this problem. At a bare minimum, as Friedman outlines, we have to get to a state where we are at least talking about it

    There is also a question of whether they should be listened to at all. Whether one's persuasions should figure as coercion on another.
    It's hard to argue with statistics.

    The more worrying question for me is that, indeed, people are going to be split. There will be, and there is seeming to be, a group of very wealthy people and very poor people.
    It's not so much that, you will always and have always had wealth stratification. The problem is this:



    And this:



    It's quite simple: the economy is generating a hell of a lot of wealth, but vast swathes of the population are not seeing the growth. That growth is entirely concentrated in the hands of the top brackets whilst the bulk of the population stagnates - and as Friedman says, it's the stagnation, not the stratification, that's the problem. Even in an ordinary Western society with the unavoidable increases in the cost of even maintaining the same standard of life, it would be a serious issue, but in a society predicated on everyone getting richer, that's a real problem.

    Even in a free market type system people will be made poor and rich based on their decisions.
    Of course. But that's not the problem.

    What the author touches on is that during industrialization era of the late 19th century America had the biggest movement from the rich to the poor. It is also the era which is the most reflective of a free market environment - pre-income tax, pre-federal reserve, pre-progressive era.
    Perhaps, but I don't see any of these as legitimate explanations for the divergence after 1970 or so.

    Unfortunately, that era - since the progressive era - has been disparaged. It is the era with which 'Robber Barons' ruled. While I am sure there were dishonorable people in that era - as in every era - that mischaracterisation has given way to the kinds of policies that have given rise to a shrinking of the middle-class. What I mean by that is that while I agree there will be certain sets of people who vary in wealth, at least there was a period in which the movement was more fluid.
    Well, that's mostly because of the Great Depression, in which the movement was entirely downwards and a long, long way downwards too.

    Because that's all you can be able to strive towards. That's the kind of system where even when there is an inequality in wealth and income, people won't be undermined and be bitter for it, as the article alludes to. At the least, they can see hope. It is when they see barriers that people become restless, that revolutions happen.
    Quite. But the current wealth generation within the economy is not giving that hope, and that threatens the social fabric and hence the global position of the United States (remember, this is primarily a foreign policy group focussing on geopolitics)

    The author is right, neither proposed solution is perfect. What doesn't seem to be as plainly stated is that there is no utopia. The closest we'll get to the kind of utopia - in an employment sense - is when technology makes it a reality.
    The author isn't arguing for a utopian solution - he's arguing for a solution that appropriately acknowledges and weights the problem, rather than dissolving into the petty ideological left/right squabbles which characterises modern political debate.

    It's very hard to solve a problem when you can't acknowledge the problem exists. I'll give the left some credit: they're at least talking about it. The right are too obsessed with their bull****-mountain alternate universe to do so.
    Last edited by Spark; 08-01-2013 at 11:15 PM.
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  8. #2738
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Spikey's Avatar
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    why hasn't the free market managed to stop spark.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34-37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.

    Congress did manage to beat out telemarketers (45-35), John Edwards (45-29), the Kardashians (49-36), lobbyists (48-30), North Korea (61-26), the ebola virus (53-25), Lindsay Lohan (45-41), Fidel Castro (54-32), playground bullies (43-38), meth labs (60-
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    Not sure about the 25% voting for ebola though...

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Last edited by silentstriker; 09-01-2013 at 03:58 AM.
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  11. #2741
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Spikey's Avatar
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  12. #2742
    International Coach morgieb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I love PPP.

    Not sure about the 25% voting for ebola though...
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  13. #2743
    International Vice-Captain Redbacks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spikey View Post
    why hasn't the free market managed to stop spark.
    It may just be that the free market is compatible with individual liberty

  14. #2744
    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Ikki, I think you've missed a few important points in the article.
    Possibly not, but that's not what Friedman is arguing. He's not saying that the left has the answers, he's saying that the problem is a fundamental social one, so the US (and, by extension, us, as we'll face similar problems in the long-term future if we continue on the current trajectory) needs a policy aimed at those social outcomes. The right arguing that it will take care of itself, given the history of corporate restructuring he outlines, is at best in need of a hell of a lot of substantive proof. Proof that has not been forthcoming because, for the most part, the right refuses to acknowledge that the problem even exists.
    See, no one (at least no one with sense) argues that the initiatives espoused by the right will answer social problems. Unfortunately, the left does espouse that they can, but they can't either. My point was that social problems or desired social outcomes in itself are subjective at best and lead to more trouble at worst.

    When people refer to economics - i.e. the free market - they are talking about a system which is designed to create efficiency. That some, by way of others becoming smarter, more efficient, more useful to that economy, etc, then gain wealth - which may mean that others may lose their livelihood for the time being - is part and parcel of that system.

    But as I said, whether that is a 'social problem' is a subjective assessment. The right don't address it because if they do, and wish to impose a solution, they're making an arbitrary assessment and seek an arbitrary 'solution'. It is then counter-intuitive to ask people to become more smarter, efficient, etc, and at the same time consider it a problem that people do. That's the generic argument.

    However, even those who value free markets, etc, clearly do talk about this problem. Unfortunately, it isn't represented well in the R party. Just like civil liberties are being undermined by the Ds; it doesn't mean the left aren't talking about it.

    Which is the issue here. The economy serves the society, not the other way around. In the end, social and political advancement is the fundamental aim.
    The economy is society. It is not a separate machination which can be controlled to create desirable outcomes for all. Society is competitive, there are winners and losers. You can't ever get away from this fact - hence my point of there being no utopia - which is why I say; as long as there is movement, as long as the game is not rigged/fixed people will not be undermined. But the only entity that can fix/rig, is the government. People are rightly upset, but are pointing fingers at the wrong institutions. Corporations can't force you to do anything outside your own will...they only do that through the coercion of government. Which gains legitimacy through the advent of 'social problems'.

    Alright, but barring that, what's the solution? I don't agree that this is a black/white bipolar problem with a black/white solution. The flaws in one solution don't automatically legitimise another.
    As I said, it depends who deems what a problem to create a solution from it. Any action by government is arbitrary. Fairness, equity, etc, these concepts are arbitrary and subjective. So for me you are not only imposing a morality on people that may not be universal, through coercion; you are also imposing a fix which causes more problems than it fixes.

    That's why I replied to the post: people who are proponents on the right acknowledge that not every problem has a solution. It isn't a simple black/white proposition. At the least, it can guarantee freedom - and that is all that it promises and nothing more, nor should it promise more. What comes from that is the responsibility of all people. You cannot propose a solution to a problem which is being undermined because the mass of individuals themselves are choosing to not support it.

    In essence, you can either redistribute the wealth ignoring all the factors that have naturally made that inequality (and its not illegitimate that there are inequalities...people aren't equal, they don't try equally, therefore they don't earn equally) or you can give people a system which allows them to amass wealth and not be blocked by arbitrary - if even well-wishing - rules.

    But this misses the point: for whatever reason, the system as it is currently set up is asphyxiating the middle and lower classes. Whilst an ideologically pure system may have "aesthetic" or moral values, those are all really secondary to solving this problem. At a bare minimum, as Friedman outlines, we have to get to a state where we are at least talking about it
    The current system isn't what people on either the left nor right would like. The left think its because it is too 'free' and the right because it is not 'free enough'. It is being talked about, but both sides don't talk about the same things, hence the disconnect.

    I am simply stating that in trying to represent the right in the above, he is doing so erroneously; as if the arguments by the left are being ignored. They're not. And this misunderstanding of what the right proposes/idealises is illustrated in that juxtaposition.

    It's hard to argue with statistics.
    I don't understand. In what sense? Popularity of ideas? When I question whether some of the solutions being proffered should be listened to its because of the merit of their ideas. Its not that people disagree that there is a disparity, but they'll disagree what caused it and how it should be fixed.

    It's not so much that, you will always and have always had wealth stratification. The problem is this:

    And this:
    Yes, but the graphs do not illustrate why the disconnect. That's another contentious point for getting to a solution.

    It's quite simple: the economy is generating a hell of a lot of wealth, but vast swathes of the population are not seeing the growth. That growth is entirely concentrated in the hands of the top brackets whilst the bulk of the population stagnates - and as Friedman says, it's the stagnation, not the stratification, that's the problem. Even in an ordinary Western society with the unavoidable increases in the cost of even maintaining the same standard of life, it would be a serious issue, but in a society predicated on everyone getting richer, that's a real problem.
    Yes, but when a system of economics which has worked in the past, for creating large movements between wealth classes, is being undermined and is subject to demagoguery then its no wonder why the problem is exacerbated. The solution for this is now being seen as a problem by the left. That is why I wrote about the Robber Baron era and the Progressive era onwards. The writer, from what I read about him in Wiki, has had more of a background with Marxism; its not hard to see why he misunderstands.


    Of course. But that's not the problem.
    I know, but often it is argued that it is a problem.

    Perhaps, but I don't see any of these as legitimate explanations for the divergence after 1970 or so.
    The income tax and the fed are arguably the two greatest reasons for this problem. They're the biggest ways for wealth to be confiscated redirected, and through governmental coercion. Either directly through taxation or through inflation.

    Well, that's mostly because of the Great Depression, in which the movement was entirely downwards and a long, long way downwards too.
    But the GD itself is proof of meddling to find a solution which in turn was then discovered to be the actual cause of the problem in the first place. It is because of the Federal reserve - itself a government agent to 'help' the economy. Friedman (Milton) won his nobel on this, and even Bernanke on behalf of the Fed apologised for this.

    It was brought forth on the promise to regulate the economy better, to cause no/fix depressions/recessions but has done so even worse of a job. As Friedman (Milton) who studied the actions of the Fed in detail said; there isn't a worse government entity (its actually somewhat private) that has had as worse of a performance as the Fed.

    In that example you can see the different thinking. The left will propose that economic volatility is a problem and has to be fixed - hence, the creation of the Fed. The right will say nothing is perfect, but if there is no one arbitrarily determining the money supply there wont be as many problems - or as bad as those problems created by such an entity. But the rights' thinking is, unfortunately, turned into "they think that by doing nothing everything will be ok", and I am saying that is not the case. Its just considered to be the best alternative. But again, that's the generic argument. What exists right now is not appealing nor desirable for either side of the political spectrum.

    Quite. But the current wealth generation within the economy is not giving that hope, and that threatens the social fabric and hence the global position of the United States (remember, this is primarily a foreign policy group focussing on geopolitics)
    We're in agreement here. But why that problem exists is where the divide is illustrated.

    The author isn't arguing for a utopian solution - he's arguing for a solution that appropriately acknowledges and weights the problem, rather than dissolving into the petty ideological left/right squabbles which characterises modern political debate.

    It's very hard to solve a problem when you can't acknowledge the problem exists. I'll give the left some credit: they're at least talking about it. The right are too obsessed with their bull****-mountain alternate universe to do so.
    I know the author isn't advocating it. I am saying he should straight out say it: there is no utopia. Neither the left nor the right are under that illusion. Where he differentiates on the arguments of the left and the right is where he mixes up/misunderstands the arguments. In essence, he is saying the right aren't listening to the left because of x; and I am saying the right are well aware of x, but disagree regardless. At the same time, they're well aware of the limitations of their ideology, but that those limitations also exist for the left...but at the least people aren't arbitrarily restricted. And if you want wealth to move, you have to give people the rights to pursue the activities that can bring about that...not just give them wealth to solve what they deem is a problem.

    Income disparity is not itself a problem, it is that people are being restricted in keeping/creating wealth that is.
    -----

    tl;dr version: both sides are talking about it, but giving different routes to success. He touches on the differences but mischaracterises the right's positions and the attributes of the left's. No economic solution is going to fix social problems and many of those 'problems' are subjective/arbitrary and so are the proposed 'solutions'.
    Last edited by Ikki; 09-01-2013 at 01:47 PM.

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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