Current Topics
Justice is coming
by NW Ponderer
0 seconds ago
Another Solution
by Greger
Today at 02:48 AM
ICE - the new gestapo
by pondering_it_all
Yesterday at 11:24 PM
What Left?
by pondering_it_all
Yesterday at 11:16 PM
RoundTable for December 2018
by pdx rick
Yesterday at 06:02 PM
Archie Moore vs Yvon Durelle, December 10, 1958
by Greger
12/14/18 04:27 PM
Judge orders porn star Stormy Daniels to pay Trump $293,000 in attorneys' fees,
by pondering_it_all
12/12/18 09:51 PM
Election Day
by NW Ponderer
12/12/18 03:42 PM
The Passing Parade: Obituaries: 2018
by Golem
12/10/18 09:15 PM
Is it too soon to be talking 2020?
by chunkstyle
12/10/18 06:37 PM
Smart watches: Need Xmas Advice for Wifey
by rporter314
12/10/18 04:32 PM
None of the Above (NOTA)
by rporter314
12/09/18 06:03 PM
Israel negotiating with Hungary on revisionist Holocaust museum
by pondering_it_all
12/07/18 11:22 PM
Brexit Eve
by NW Ponderer
12/04/18 04:26 PM
Miscellaneous humor thread
by Jeffery J. Haas
12/04/18 12:52 AM
Our political elders
by Greger
12/03/18 02:52 AM
Round table NOVEMBER 2018
by pondering_it_all
12/01/18 07:59 PM
Historic Corruption
by pondering_it_all
11/30/18 08:36 PM
Sleazy Slimeball or Slimy Sleazebag?
by Ujest Shurly
11/30/18 08:25 PM
2 million federal workers receive memo warning they can’t use the word ‘resist
by pondering_it_all
11/30/18 06:45 AM
Forum Stats
6248 Members
58 Forums
16430 Topics
283260 Posts

Max Online: 294 @ 12/06/17 12:57 AM
Google Adsense
Page 7 of 10 < 1 2 ... 5 6 7 8 9 10 >
Topic Options
#51213 - 02/16/08 10:20 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: ]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 13415
Loc: Whittier, California
 Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
There is a third approach, which I think of as the "Cato" approach, and it is the worst approach, in my view. It holds itself out as positivist - we're just talking about how things work - but is, in reality, pursuing a normative approach in the guise of a "neutral" position. I think of Friedman's Chicago school as the source of this approach and a derivation of the Austrian school. My descriptions may be a bit conflated, but that is something of where I am coming from.


---I know for a fact that this is the system we're in now.
When I think of the movie "Syriana" I remember this scene with
"Danny Dalton":

<B>"Corruption charges! Corruption?? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win." </B>
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."
Leon Russell - Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

Top
#51215 - 02/16/08 10:31 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: Trouble]
Ardy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 12006
Loc: San Jose, Ca USA
I would like to make a few comments about some issues that “Troubled” brought up in his excellent posting; Centralization and bureaucracy

Centralization is to some degree unavoidable.
Strong typically dominated weak, Large is typically stronger than small. And so, all things being equal, large tends to dominate small. And so history provides an ongoing template of larger tribes dominating smaller, kings dominating tribes, and empires dominating kings. And as you observe this implacable move from smaller to larger organizations, there is a simultaneous move towards more centralization. Of course that impetus can vary over a range. For example the Romans gave extensive local freedom to friendly conquered political entities. But still, at the heart of it all was the Roman Emperor and his legions.

Centralization is not all bad.
As described above, greater centralization implies greater security through greater strength. But in an economic perspective, large organizations can leverage economies of scale that enable them to sell better products at lower prices while maintaining higher profitability.

Bureaucracy is not inherently bad.
A recent study established (according to that study) that the people of Denmark are the happiest people in the world. It happens that Denmark has an extremely high tax rate and a rather extensive bureaucracy to spend all of that tax money. And what is the result? A happy population, that also still has wealthy individuals, and maintains democratic institutions. So given that example I propose that Bureaucracy is not itself the center of the problem, It might, however, be true that less regulated capitalists of this country have used their power in influence to structure our bureaucracy in ways that they find advantageous. As an example we might consider the large bureaucracy of the pentagon. We might also consider our medical care system that is likewise structured to meet the needs of various economic interests in preference to cost effective delivery of health care. And so I would claim that bureaucracy is not the problem But instead the problem is poorly governed bureaucracy and bureaucracy that is corrupted by pressures from under regulated economic power.
_________________________
"It's not a lie if you believe it." -- George Costanza
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves. --Bertrand Russel

Top
#51547 - 02/18/08 08:19 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: Ardy]
Trouble Offline


Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 27
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan
One of the issues I've had with bureaucracy is that even a best case scenario when demands are met is that it is as an extension of a political institution and is susceptible to populism.

One may ask, 'what's so bad with that?' The problem is we have a program that is at the mercy of four year time-frames. Implementing policy that aids and maintains society is one thing, keeping it in an age of money shuffling where every answer to a given problem is the stop-gap measure. Such action does not preserve any form of liberty. What we end up with is an endless series of erosion amendments where the first iteration of public policy was the clearest response and through time contract law is whittled away with compromises. My arguement is not new, it is taken directly from a constitutionalist philosophy. Such ideas are packaged as "living, breathing" documents that reflect the needs of the people at any given time. Carefully consider the implications of such amendments. If I may make one observation of all western governments, it is that our officials have marketed "more" to us by amending away basic rights. This is typically known as "progress".

As a Canadian I value the fact that we have access to public health care. The overwhelming majority of the population are in favour of it. When compared to its southern counterpart, the Canadian system has all the typical socialist underpinnings which are castigated by opponents as having the potential for abuse. But setting up socialist policy does not automatically equate with waste as waste can be endemic in the private sector as well, most notably in comparing American and Canadian health care systems. On paper, the potential for greater corruption exists for the Canadian system, but in practice the insurance companies to the south have built up a bureaucracy far bigger than the Canadian government. Right now Canadian health care sits at 2/3 the cost of the American system and is delivering more. This is central to my thesis, a truly concerned citizen must recognize corruption in all its forms before constructing alternative legislation.

The second point I'd like to make is the distinction between inadvertent and overt bungling among public officials. Any program set up by the government can fail if properly liquidated. That is the best ideas in the world can be shown as failure if one drains the appropriate funds from them. To the disinterested laymen we chalk it up to bureaucratic incompetence, socialism in its most raw form, and then lose sight as the government goes rogue by defunding itself on an incremental basis without a subsequent drop in taxation. This is THE issue currently facing the Canadian health system.

I chose this example because it illustrates the complex problem that we have difficulty wrapping our heads around. Identifying regulation is the easy part, cross referencing services rendered against a private backdrop verses money spent is a necessary follow up.

The third point I will make for the more conservative among us is the nature of high population densities necessitates some level of public planning. We can't all go get a plot of land and start snaring rabbits anymore, there are simply too many of us. That age is past. To maintain a minimal level of civility we need access to schools, to law enforcement, to mobility and to a court system based on common law. To do that sets up level of centralization as Ardy has mentioned. The task all citizens have is one of being informed. It is only through engagement that we can recognize the ubiquitous road tax, also known as the slush fund where money is shuffled around for all manner of projects not including roads! This is one source of excessive taxation and has more than a little bearing on social unrest.

A good example abusive shuffling is earmark legislation (especially with regards to arms contracts). Another is having 16 intelligence agencies. How about oversight? According to Chalmers Johnson, authour of Nemesis, only 40% of the pentagon budget and none of the CIA budget are reviewed by congress in any meaningful way. House members that are allowed to see breakdowns are prohibited from comment and are not allowed back. My point is this we have created an atmosphere where every form of tax is so fluid we can no longer see cause and effect. Houston, we not only have a problem, we are inundated with road taxes.
_________________________
Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other. ~Thomas Jefferson

Top
#51562 - 02/18/08 10:38 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: Trouble]
Ardy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 12006
Loc: San Jose, Ca USA
Another excellent post, Trouble. Right on point
 Originally Posted By: Trouble
One of the issues I've had with bureaucracy is that even a best case scenario when demands are met is that it is as an extension of a political institution and is susceptible to populism.

One may ask, 'what's so bad with that?'


Yes, what is wrong with a bureaucracy that responds to the popular will? Isn't that what democracy is all about?

The problem would be illustrated if one would consider a corporation run by only it's customers and employees. Effective management needs to keep a close ear to concerns of customers and employees, but cannot simply give over each decision to those groups. And the unfortunate tendency of any democracy is that special interests can overrule sound management practice.
_________________________
"It's not a lie if you believe it." -- George Costanza
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves. --Bertrand Russel

Top
#52142 - 02/21/08 02:44 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: Ardy]
NW Ponderer Online   sad
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16373
I'll echo your description of Trouble's post.

The only quibble I have with your illustration, ardy, is that current corporate practice is to ignore, to the extent possible (and with some corporations that is completely) the interests of the employees and, to a very large extent, even the customers in favor of big investors whose primary interests are simply share price - not dividends or capital investment or even earnings. Completely absent, of course, is any interest in the public good.

One of the biggest failures to have occurred in the last 30 years in America - starting with the Carter administration - has been the tendency to import into government operations "business models." It is usually in the form of "making government run more like a business" (i.e., badly), or, more ubiquitously, running programs in the interest of business. Government policy is then truncated (as Trouble points out) to very short timeframes consonant with the "business cycle" and long term planning, the interests of the general public, and the very concepts of liberty and good governance enshrined in the Constitution are utterly ignored.

This translates into very poor policy planning, and the tendency of even the government to pay all of its attention to the stock market, and the interests of stock market investors. With this understanding in mind all of the pieces fit together - the collapse of a reasonable tax structure, the erosion of regulatory agencies, the dismantling of social services, and the complete inattention to infrastructure maintenance. This is the model adopted from business as it is currently run in the United States and why so many businesses and even industries are failing. They have looked only for short-term gain and ignored the underlying fundamentals. When a business fails, it has an impact to investors and employees (and sometimes customers). When the government fails, however, we are all losers.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

Top
#52293 - 02/22/08 02:13 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: ]
NW Ponderer Online   sad
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16373
One factor that I haven't addressed in this process is the impact of consumer's behavior on the markets, and the carryover into democracy. Consumers, by and large, look for the "best deal" - but lately that simply means "cheapest product." It used to be that consumers were interested in "value" and "quality." That is, I think, now a myth from the past. Now, cheap is king. In part, I think, that is the result of "planned obsolescence" - and it part it has always been a consideration. But as more of America drifted downward economically, and as products got progressively cheaper to produce (as transportation got cheaper, and union influence waned, and government policies rewarded quick-buck schemes over capital investment), cheap products won out over long-lasting products because it was all the devalued workers could afford.

I think there has been a carryover effect into the electoral process. People want quick results and will quickly tire of lack of production from their elected representatives. Instead of throwing the bums out, however, they have become resigned to accepting that "that is just the way it is" and are enervated.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

Top
#52298 - 02/22/08 02:25 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: ]
Schlack Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 9718
Loc: Ireland
 Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
One factor that I haven't addressed in this process is the impact of consumer's behavior on the markets, and the carryover into democracy.


ahem Mr Ponderer, and what influences consumer behaviour.

how many billions are spent on advertising? How much corporate propaganda is the average TV viewer subjected to on a daily basis.

Surely this is the real assault on democracy.

such powerful "persuasion" cant but have a huge impact upon citizens (termed consumers) beliefs and actions.
It has helped create a culture of short term instant gratification, and conditioned people to be sqayed by soundbite and what loks fresh and delicious.
_________________________
"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words."
(Philip K.Dick)


Top
#52304 - 02/22/08 02:44 PM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: ]
Ardy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 12006
Loc: San Jose, Ca USA
 Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
People want quick results and will quickly tire of lack of production from their elected representatives.
It is an interesting topic with many influences. One participating synergistic influence is the media. Film and TV have moved their style to rapid cutting with almost perpetual action. Older media now looks languorous and frankly a little stolid.

"News" is constantly shifting in a similar direction that largely ignores thoughtful inquiry of complex issues in favor of quick hitting stories with some explicit payoff.

In the same direction we see children who have shifted from board and card games to frenetically paced computer/video games.

In a slightly different direction, but with a similar impact, I would identify an over all shift in our culture towards the values of self indulgence vs. group benefit. People are much more looking at things from the perspective of what they want vs what is good for the country as a whole. I think the idealistic libertarian movement unintentionally fits into this dynamic.

The shift is further illustrated (and exacerbated ) by what we accept and value in sports. There was a time when it was unacceptable triumphantly taunt a defeated opponent, The self indulgent victory dances we see in sports can be "fun," but they also change the whole character of the competition. And in doing so, I would propose that this sort of attitude has changed the tone of our society.
_________________________
"It's not a lie if you believe it." -- George Costanza
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves. --Bertrand Russel

Top
#53776 - 03/03/08 03:45 AM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: Ardy]
NW Ponderer Online   sad
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 16373
I have finished Robert Reich's book, Supercapitalism, and he provides some suggestions for how Democracy can coexist with Capitalism. Some of his suggestions mirror my own (although I think they are not truly original anyway), one of the most important being to get money out of politics and its corollary to stop treating corporations as "persons."
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

Top
#53777 - 03/03/08 04:37 AM Re: Can Democracy survive Capitalism? [Re: ]
Ardy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 12006
Loc: San Jose, Ca USA
 Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
one of the most important being to get money out of politics

Yes, and that seems a problem whose difficulty may even exceed solving the issues surrounding medical care.
_________________________
"It's not a lie if you believe it." -- George Costanza
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves. --Bertrand Russel

Top
Page 7 of 10 < 1 2 ... 5 6 7 8 9 10 >

Who's Online
1 registered (NW Ponderer), 47 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
TrentonP, Nosf50, erumonej, Jensen Breck, Albertapkr
6248 Registered Users
A2