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  • pascii0

    i think we all know al gores electricity bills and michael moores cholesterine rate. oh, and we know barack obama is no superhero.

    but it's good from time to time to put peoples view on something so they start to think for themselves,

    • to say: columbine made me respect america a bit more. because it is not so different from here, y know?pascii
  • raf0

    Healthy free market capitalism in the US has long gone, what you're seeing and attribute the label of capitalism to is a mixture of keynesizm and something in the shape of corporatism or oligarchism – big business buying politicians to tweak the system in their favour. It's not capitalism anymore, hasn't been for long decades.

    You're outraged by corporation exec's earnings, so you want more government control. You will get it. That's what they want too, because they control the government. That's why they're pushing for more and more regulations. It's the very process of tweaking the system in their fashion, while you're thinking they're fixing it.

    Here's a good article on how falsely capitalism is being blamed for current crisis:

    • thank youdeathboy
    • was capitalism ever any different, raf? It just seems to me that the "pure" capitalism you speak of might be some merchant in Venice in 1400.Corvo2
    • luth shop in Venice in 1400.Corvo2
    • You might be right. But it is about a direction: let's keep going towards freedom, not control I think.raf
  • lowimpakt0

    so, you're saying there is no difference between state and market and government intervention only serves the interests of the corporatists? (even though Reisman says state intervention is to blame)

    and therfore the alternative is "true" free-markets with no oversight, transparency or control?

    • Yes. That worked before. Like in the 1920's. Or the 1890's. No monopolies or anything.TheBlueOne
    • Oh..wait...TheBlueOne
    • There is no reason for the stare to own any businesses. Yes I am pro lassez faire, markets self-regulate themselves.raf
    • they dont, proven by nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitzdrgss
    • Fuck, proven by the last couple of years. No system regulates themselves, they tend towards strange attractors.TheBlueOne
  • lowimpakt0

    what is the role of the state in a laissez faire utopia?

    • none. it may start in honesty but will end up in corruption, or some other form of abuse.Corvo2
  • raf0

    People tend to think that capitalism leads to monopolies and those need to be dealt with with antitrust laws.
    Monopolies are like empires. They cannot last. They either crumble under their own gravity or get swept off their position by new players. For every Goliath there comes a David.

    This is particularly visible in IT related businesses, new companies emerge from an idea and turn markets upside down.
    Look ad Adobe and how Dreamweaver is getting dethroned by likes of Coda and Espresso. It's only a matter of time that new Photoshop will come out of someone's garage.

    Just look at how Microsoft's IE struggles with open source browsers like Firefox or Webkit.

    What happened with monopolies in the old days, before antitrust institutions?

    "J. P. Morgan and Elbert H. Gary founded U.S. Steel in 1901 (incorporated on February 25) by combining the steel operations owned by Andrew Carnegie with Gary's Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies for $492 million. It was capitalized at $1.4 billion, making it the world's first billion-dollar corporation. At one time, U.S. Steel was the largest steel producer and largest corporation in the world. In 1907 it bought one of its largest competitors Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company which was headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. This led to the company being listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, doing so by taking the place of Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. The federal government attempted to use federal antitrust laws to break up U.S. Steel in 1911, but that effort ultimately failed. Time and competitors have, however, accomplished nearly the same thing. In its first full year of operation, U. S. Steel made 67 percent of all the steel produced in the United States. It now produces less than 10 percent.

    The Corporation, as it was known on Wall Street, always distinguished itself to investors by virtue of its size, rather than for its efficiency or creativeness during its heyday. In 1901, it controlled two-thirds of steel production. Because of heavy debts taken on at the company's formation — Carnegie insisted on being paid in gold bonds for his stake — and fears of antitrust litigation, U. S. Steel moved cautiously. Competitors often innovated faster, especially Bethlehem Steel, run by U. S. Steel's former first president, Charles M. Schwab. U. S. Steel's share of the expanding market slipped to 50 percent by 1911."

    Time, competition, innovation – these factors are enough to erode monopolies on a free market.

    • Said by a guy who lives in a world with a 40 hour work week. Very brave.TheBlueOne
  • ukit0

    I think the title of the movie is saying to a certain extent what raf is saying. It seems intended more to mock the idea that what we have is capitalism that offers actual choice and freedom, rather than saying capitalism as a whole doesn't work. But successful capitalism requires the government to act as an actual neutral regulator, it doesn't mean getting rid of regulations and laws.

  • raf0

    Minimal, lowimpakt, minimal. Ideally, defence, justice, and treasury.
    Of course, for this to be realistic there are a lot of issues that have to be dealt at some official level, first off hand, who's going to build and maintain public roads?
    The principle though should be "less government is more". Governments' bureaucracies grow naturally – it's government clerks producing jobs for themselves. It is a cancer.
    I'm in favour of decentralization, as far as it is possible. I think Swiss model of self-governing and competing cantons is more efficient than centralized self-bloating socialist model EU is going towards.

    • you shouldn't mix the social model of the EU with a socialist model.lowimpakt
    • European socialists think the EU is too right wing and neo-liberal.lowimpakt
  • lowimpakt0

    if we agree the capitalist experiement hasn't worked and the suggestion that a further extenstion of the laissez faire theory is require, what are the processes that need to be put into place to allow this to happen?

    will it happen by:

    consensus? this won't happen because people don't trust the market either
    political will? it won't happen because politics expects power
    force? maybe the shock doctrine isn't so wishy washy after all

  • GeorgesII0

    I propose a good ol' Dictatorship,
    Who's with me ?

  • drgss0

    There is a famous economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who studied why in some countries the free market regulates itself more or less ok, but in other countries doesn't regulate anything at all.

    He proved through mathematical models that a free market can not regulate itself if the players have unequal information, that is, when some knows more than others. A free market economy can work only on one crucial condition, that there is 100% full transparency of information about the transactions and all of its participants.

    But that's only a mathematical assumption, which doesn't meet reality, in the same way the definition of "perfect competition" assumes an infinite number of participants which are all equal in size.

    Scam products are an example. Sort of like when someone can sell the stupidest garbage possible through a skillful advertising ,given that people are not well-educated, and haven't learned from childhood that capitalists eat shit, and that advertisers are the most heinous of all low-life animals that are ought to be killed.

    Foot detox pads, which change color because of a chemical reaction with your feet, not because theres something actually being detoxed. In a free market where prices are formed by supply and demand, assuming 100% transparent information both ways, the price of foot detox pads should be zero.

    Why do these products exist? If you're going to say this is because of government regulation, you're a clinical idiot.

    • he's talking about ""imperfect information" as an element of "market failure"lowimpakt
    • or informational asymmetry - http://en.wikipedia.…lowimpakt
    • yeahdrgss
    • In most countries, accessing crucial info and advantage points is what makes the successful entrepreneur.Corvo2
    • Excellent points drgssukit
    • DIE, FOOT DETOX PADS, DIE!janne76
  • drgss0

    Which leads me to this point: A country's wealth is not measured in amount of crap each resident can buy for his salary, but in THE FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION AND PEOPLE WHO CAN NAVIGATE IN IT. This is the main public capital -- in universal access to education. (As well as medicine and public art, a working juridical system, and absence of corruption.)

    • < raw, but i find it mostly truth.
      But not only that the sell shit like this. The government educational
    • system is built to supply market with idiots. Thats the trick.TomBac
  • lowimpakt0

    raf - you mentioned the building of roads.

    can you expand on your theory how a laissez faire system deals with non-appropriability, non-rivalry, non-excludability etc in the delivery of public goods?

  • Corvo20

    I don't think Capitalism is the fundamental and unique method of having liberal mercantile societies, although if you think of Ford or Microsoft you end up realizing that monopolies are an inevitable part of liberalism.

    As drgss pointed out, the State can have a decisive role in the outcome of the redistribution of wealth, just as long as it strives to share information and make it accessible to all its citizens equally.

  • ukit0

    The "deregulate everything"/ pure capitalism philosophy is simplistic and would lead to a society that would be great for about 1% of the people and really shitty for the remaining 99%.

    Think about the fact that deregulation in the 90s in the United States under Clinton and the Republican Congress allowed banks, insurers and securities firms to merge, repealing the safeguards that were put in place during the 30s after the Great Depression. Then during Bush's term, rewriting the laws so that the amount of leverage allowed to be made on loans (ie, loans based on other loans) was many times greater than before, which led to worldwide investment in risky securities greater than the entire world's GDP.

    All of these things helped create the current crisis but the "free market" couldn't solve them because the risks weren't immediately apparent. In fact, the opposite was true - banking firms were able to make huge profits by bilking the system over the short term and once it became apparent that the system was flawed, everyone was fucked.

    So it's unclear to me how a purist free market system prevents a crisis like that. A similar argument could be made in terms of the environment - it's in nobody's short term interest to reduce pollution because it costs money to do so, but over the long term, everyone suffers if companies are allowed to pollute as much as they want.

    • 1%–99% really? Those were 'oppressed' American workers that were the first in the world to afford to own cars.raf
    • That's because we have a hybrid economy. Where do you think the minimum wage and 40 hr week came from?ukit
    • Before those laws were put into place with the help of progressive politicians and unions, working life in America was significantly shittierukit
    • was significantly worse. And that doesn't even get into child labor.ukit
    • Ford Model T was launched in 1908raf
  • raf0

    I don't know what could be done to restore freedom - we certainly are going in the other direction now and people seem to ask for even more state control.
    Shock doctrine isn't wishy-washy other than Naomi Klein absurdly blaming Milton Friedman and libertarian ideas and mixing them with the real culprits – neocons, who used them for their err.. cons.

    The main problem with socialism/marxism/kenesism is the inefficiency. EU is a socialist organization in my bok and Europe's largest economies, the one with most developed welfare have been stalled for long time. The whole Eurozone is in recession while some far Eastern countries employing savage capitalism gain momentum.
    Soviet empire (a real world example of "socialist experiment") ended because it went bankrupt, not for any other reason.

    Just look at Ireland, in the wake of a crisis the government is fighting fire with petrol, increasing taxes just when entrepreneurial activity should be stimulated by lowering them. Wasn't low taxation what current Irish prosperity was built on in the first place? Irish economy was almost slaughtered by last year's tax increases.

    I believe the nature of the world is "capitalist" though, that's why it will naturally prevail. Capitalism is not just like evolution, it is the exemplification of evolution in economy. I certainly wouldn't call it an experiment.

    Interesting thing I noticed in Cuba, that among all restrictions imposed by government which has monopoly on doing business, gray market is what everyone thrives on. Even Raul Castro said he cannot imagine how people can live on state regulated salaries of $15/month.
    Everyone is doing some trade on the side in Cuba. Free market finds its ways, it's like water running through obstacles. Sometimes it takes a funny shape, ie. selling real estate is not allowed, you cannot change ownership of a house. Yet people told me that houses and apartments are being traded and while an official record indicates a person still owns their house, people adhere to and respect unofficial contracts that reflect change of ownership. Economic freedom just cannot be tamed.

    • Or maybe we could just admit that neither extreme works all that well, and that some kind of hybrid economy is the best solution?ukit
    • yeahdrgss
    • social-capitalism is the name.TomBac
  • GeorgesII-1

    Raf I enjoyed your rant, but I don't understand this

    "I believe the nature of the world is "capitalist" though, that's why it will naturally prevail. "

    it just doens't make sense to me, I rather exchange goods and services then trade with volatile assets.

    • I also enjoy his views !!lowimpakt
    • Hey, I never said free market required money :) It's just a tool people agree to use.raf
  • Corvo20

    I'm not sure a pure free market can exist if Banks and Insurance companies are part of that free-market.

    Current recession started precisely Banks and Insurance companies abused from they natural dominant position over the work-force. That is decided by politics.

    What if instead "let's give the tax-payers billions to banks so they can keep doing what they do" they gave the tax-payers that money so they could keep buying? I'm sure you'd have much less people in the unemployment queue.

    Who in the end moves the economy? Speculation? Money that does not exist physically? Financial smart-arses that pawn you and your family for 60 years? Or you and me with the bucks we do everyday by hard-work?

    • Risk-takers. Crazy people who throw themselves face first into their inventions they believe in.raf
    • ..people who sell their houses to bootstrap a business - they are the fuckers who make it grow :)raf
    • But not everyone is like that. Not everyone is a risk-taker. Should one leave them to die?Corvo2
    • You can think like that. You're striving on your own. Ok. But should govs think like you? Why have govs then?Corvo2
    • Government is a parasite you cannot live without. It's not your friend though. They are and only care for their own class.raf
    • least that's my view ;)raf
  • lowimpakt0

    raf - france and germany are out of recession, no?

    "The French and German economies both grew by 0.3% between April and June, bringing to an end year-long recessions in Europe's largest economies."… Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:51 UK

  • ukit0

    Take a look at what America was like in the late 19th and early 20th century, when the industrial revolution was in full swing but before workers' rights laws were put in place. I wonder if any of the people who call themselves "libertarian" would really want to live in a society like that.

    • Wasn't that bad.. As I said, they were 1st to own cars. Women could afford not to work & raise big families. Can they now?raf
    • "Wasn't that bad?" LOL
      Read some history, this was before the mass production of cars BTW.
    • And the time when everyone could afford to buy cars and women could stay at, 50 60s...was when we had tax rates of up to 90% on the richukit
    • rates of up to 90% on the richukit
  • raf0

    Regarding scams – interesting point, drgss. Actually, completely absurd.
    Are you saying government should charge everyone in taxes in order to employ people who will watch out for scams, for the protection of the public?
    Funny or not, this is what modern governments are doing. As someone said "a socialist government struggles heroically fighting problems unknown to other systems"
    What about those who don't want protection? Can they opt out of this tax? Why don't people who want scam protection tax themselves and pay an organization that would watch out for scams for them, huh?

    One of the worst effects of a nanny state is that it takes away people's responsibility for themselves.
    It should be your own responsibility to have common sense to avoid scams, just like other dangers in life. It should be your own responsibility to assess your own risks. In today's world people are less vigilant, less cautious because there is a padding for them everywhere. It's nice to have that padding, but it is more expensive than we think.
    People (like us) who know shit about investing buy property and get burnt when the market takes a downturn. Then they come to the government crying for help. Buying a house worth your salary of 10 years is risky ffs! By buying property you are speculating, don't do it if you don't want the risk! It's not for the faint at heart, damit.

    • http://en.wikipedia.…lowimpakt
    • But what is the purpose of a State then, raf? Why would people gather under countries and banners?Corvo2
    • Is it not so that the weakest can be as strong as the strongest? To me, that's the purpose of a State.Corvo2
    • It is the role of the state.. in socialist Portugal! How's that working? ;)raf