Political Compass

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Part 1/2 (sigh... sorry, a few things just had to be explained at length. But, since my posts basically amount to me saying the same things over and over, you should be able to respond in one post if you don't use too many quotes)

cff said:
And it is not like Austria 'won' the war. And as I said it isn't like we didn't have to pay restaurations so we did inherit a debt if you want to call it so.
My point is that Germany had to pay its pre-war debts because it had no choice - it would not have done so if it didn't have to, and certainly Austria did not volunteer to pay back its pre-1938 debts, even if it paid the reparations imposed on it by the winners.

VISA and America: I did say VISA is not exactly a true private currency. Still, consider that VISA, as a credit company, must keep very close track of the USD. I suspect that already right now, they operate partially in other currencies - they have to, because otherwise they'd be making huge losses by covering purchases done in Euros with their own dollars. And if the US economy started spinning out of control (no economic crash ever happens out of the blue, and that includes the infamous 1929 crash), they'd definitely be prepared.

Circumstances: entirely irrelevant. If *I* have cash, I can spend it to protect myself and my property. There may be a war on, but I *still* have a chance to use my funds to salvage something. If the government is my insurer, however, and goes bankrupt, I am utterly fucked, and it doesn't matter what the circumstances are - there could be 20 million UN peacekeepers operating in the country for all I care, and I'd *still* be fucked.

Incidentally, note that until the US (this applies to other countries as well, of course) ceased backing its money with gold, it would have been physically impossible for the country to go bankrupt *and* everybody using the USD to lose everything they owned. Quite simply, the country had to always have enough gold reserves to cover every dollar banknote in existence. So even if it went bankrupt, it still would have these reserves (because it couldn't spend them - the gold does not belong to them), and therefore the currency would continue to function. Today, because currencies are not backed by anything at all, the value of your money is not bound to the value of a commodity like gold, but instead to the value of your government.

Indeed it is my problem. If I am a useless Neanderthal I would just have been thrown out of the tribe.
Right. Meanwhile, in a capitalist society, you're free to hang around and beg for money. Or maybe you have a family willing to help you out. In either case, you're much better off than being exiled.

Defining usefulness: I wouldn't define it at all. It's not my business what he does with his life (as long as he doesn't break the law). This would, of course, change if he asked me for a job or for a favour - in such a situation, I would take his life into consideration in order to determine what the right decision would be. Until that point, however, I do not care, and that's good for him, as he doesn't have to worry about the society killing/exiling him for uselessness.

Corporations and capitalism: this argument makes no sense whatsoever. Of course it's free capitalism - I'm not actually forbidding anything to anyone. We all have certain rights, but the ability to take a part of your property and to divest yourself of any legal responsibility for this property while simultaneously maintaining your ownership of this property is not such a right.

Tell you what, let's do this another way. I've explained to you why corporations have nothing to do with capitalism. Indeed, although I have yet to read The Wealth of Nations, from what I've heard about it, I understand that Adam Smith (who everyone agrees was the father of capitalist theory) said pretty much the same thing. So, now it's your turn. You claim that corporations are not only necessary in capitalism but that they are in fact a vital part of capitalist ideology. Prove it.

The problem in our conversation is that you equal socialist and authoritan while I kinda equal Nazi and authoritan. Which results from both our countries experiences.
Then we are in agreement - I equal socialists and authoritarians, you equal [national] socialists and authoritarians. We're saying the same thing. Although, to be fair, I don't really equal socialists and authoritarians. I *do* think that some level of authoritarianism is required for socialism to exist (and is not required for libertarianism), but I certainly am aware of the difference between socialists and authoritarians (especially since the latter can indeed be right-wing... though they virtually never are).

(please, do not respond with the standard "but the Nazis were right-wing " - given that the Nazis always claimed to be left-wing, and their policies were most definitely left-wing, such a statement requires actual proof)

WHAT?! I really think you are starting to completely mix up definitions.
Nope, I'm entirely consistent - it's your definition of capitalism that's confused and irrational. Think about it - as a capitalist, an entrepreneur, I want to make money. I want to make money as efficiently as possible. And if my business is successful, I want to take 100% of the profits - because to want otherwise would not make much sense, when I've spent so much effort on maximising these profits. In this situation, a corporation is clearly *not* capitalist - sure, setting up a corporation reduces my risk, but it also imposes a limit on my profits. I'm better off owning a company that earns $10,000 and gives me $10,000 than as the CEO of a corporation that earns $50,000 and gives me $5,000.

Corporations and evilness: I think I've said this before already - the owner of a company is responsible for everything the company does (to him, there is no legal difference whatsoever between his car and his company). This doesn't change if he hires somebody to manage it for him - he knows he's still responsible, so he'll keep track of what's going on. A corporation, on the other hand, is responsible for its own actions - it has the legal status of a separate entity. Like a company owner, the stockholder draws profit from the corporation that is, de facto, his property. Unlike the owner, however, for the stockholder there is no connection between risk, responsibility, loss and profit.

Imagine this - you are walking down the street. You are hit by a car. You survive, and you want to sue the car owner. Is there any court in the world that would turn down your lawsuit if the car owner responded that he takes no responsibility for this accident because his car, after all, is a separate entity from him? Of course not. What's more, any laws that would allow for such an excuse to be taken seriously are clearly harmful for the entire society. Above all, such laws have absolutely nothing at all to do with capitalism. Yet, while these laws are exactly what corporations are about, you insist that corporations are somehow linked to capitalism - which makes no sense whatsoever.

It means to increase the subjective feel of content of the population. It is a very western and capitalist mindset that equals this to the increasal of wealth. What would make you happier? 1000 bucks or the truely perfect girlfriend? Money isn't everything - this is only the industry trying to lure us into buying unseless stuff so that we think we are happier.
So, if this is the *real* objective of a true democracy... then a true democracy, rather than giving me unemployment benefits, would assign me a truly perfect girlfriend? Methinks you may need to rethink that theory...

Romania: This is a case of Okham's razor - faced with the two options that Romania was devastated by communism (which has been known to do the same elsewhere) or by the laziness of its own people (of which there is no proof), any reasonable person would obviously choose the simpler, more logical answer - communism. And if Romania is more devastated than other communist countries, and it's also more 'responsible' than other communist countries, Okham's razor again dictates that these two facts are most likely linked.

(note, incidentally, that there is nothing lazy about 'responsible' communism - in fact, I would argue that the Polish option of keeping people happy by financing socialist 'improvements' with foreign loans is undeniably the lazier way)

Cycles, bloody cycles: you want similarities between the EU and the Roman Empire? Sure. The Roman Empire was socialist. It provided food and entertainment to the masses at ever lower prices, and eventually for "free". This process was accompanied by a mirror process of ever-growing taxation, but this wasn't enough to keep a balanced budget. The natural solution, of course, was to conquer more territory. Possible parallel between the Empire and the EU there?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Part 2/2

Of course, the Roman Empire was a very, very different breed of socialism compared to the EU. There was hardly any barriers to trade, no obsessive protection of local industries, and perhaps most importantly, no income tax. Indeed, if I recall correctly (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong), for most of the duration of the Republic and the Empire there was practically no taxes at all for citizens - the non-citizens were the ones who financed the state (eventually, this changed because one of the Emperors turned just about everyone into citizens). This explains why the late Republic and the Empire were so much more aggressively expansionist than the EU is today - the price of defeating Hannibal had been to turn all of Italy into citizens, so outward expansion was a necessity (so, paradoxically, Hannibal built the Roman Empire).

There are definite similiarities, then. So why do I disagree when you say there are similarities? Well, above all, it must be pointed out that I disagree more with your explanation (that cycles happen because cycles happen) of these similarities than with the similarities themselves. But, another reason is that I really do believe the dissimilarities are more significant than the similarities. The Roman Empire financed itself through conquest, while the EU is perfectly happy to screw its own citizens. The Roman Empire was gradually moving towards a strong, centralised monarchy, while the EU is heading in the opposite direction. And, above all - the Roman Empire lasted for hundreds of years, going through stages of growth, stability, and finally into collapse. The EU, on the other hand, appears to be compressing these three stages into one - it hasn't even stopped growing yet, but it already seems to be collapsing (if nothing else that I said persuaded you, perhaps this will - as far as chronological order is concerned, the EU is *nothing* like the RE, so the simplified chronological order of your cycle is completely unlike the reality on the ground). In any case, what must not be forgotten is that what I've said here is a grossly simplified version of history. Truth is, historians still argue what caused Rome's expansionism and its collapse - I merely wrote here the explanations that make the most sense to me. So, the comparison between the Roman Empire and the EU is a misleading one.

Which is not to say we shouldn't make such comparisons - quite the opposite, since this comparison allows us to predict that the same factors that caused the Roman Empire to fall are going to be just as deadly for the EU (we hope? :p). There is, however, an *extremely* significant difference between stating that the same processes that took place in the RE are taking place in the EU, and stating that the EU is following the same cycle that the RE followed.

Very true. BUT if I want to make a profit on the stock market does it matter to me if he was true in analyzing it or if he did cause the effect in the first place? I know the prediction and can act accordingly. As I said the why (besides being scientifically interesting) is only relevant if you want to break the cycle.
It matters greatly to you. If the price of Corporation A's stocks collapsed after some famous economist said they would (but misidentified the cause - his claimed cause did not materialise, and the collapse happened only because he said it would), the market will quickly adjust to this - people will realise the guy's an idiot and the stocks will bounce back soon afterwards. Now, if you ignored his predictions and held onto your stocks, you've lost nothing and perhaps even gained something. Perhaps, if you're smart, you actually bought even more stock at artificially low prices - so you gained big-time. And if you accepted his predictions and sold everything, you're screwed. By the time you started selling, the price had already fallen, and by the time you realised he was wrong, the prices had already recovered.
On the other hand, what if the economist in question got the cause right (ie., he didn't cause the collapse but merely warned about the factor that would cause it)? Well, if you ignored his predictions, you're screwed. And if you followed them... well, you're probably screwed anyway (since you did make a small loss selling the stocks), but it could've been worse.

But then what do you consider to be the more nobel act? If a person on minimum wages gives $10 which will cost him his next meal himself or if Bill Gates gives $1000 which he won't even notice missing?
Let me present you a different situation. You're hungry and homeless. Person A gives you $10. Person B gives you $1000. Now, which is the nobler act?

It's so very easy to be judgemental when you're standing on the sidelines. But who the fuck are you, anyway, to tell Bill Gates what he can and cannot afford? It’s his money, not yours. The guy receiving the donation prefers $1000 than $10, and it’s nobody else’s business.

Penalties: what you are saying is that someone who has more resources should have less rights than someone who has nothing. But why be so narrow in your definition of resources? That makes no sense, especially given what you said earlier about money being far less important than the other things in life. Like sex. If you're married and I'm not, I should have the *right* to sleep with your wife. Not every night, but, you know, at least once a year. It's no big deal for you, after all - since you have her all year round, this tax is only 1/365th. Less than 0.3%, so you can afford it. Come to think of it, that's much too good for you, since you can afford a lot more. 30 days sounds a lot more better. Now is that fair? Nope. But then would it be a good idea if we both had to find a sleeping partner for ourselves? Nope. It only ensures more rights for the married.
And how about knowledge? If you know more than me, I have the *right* to make use of your knowledge every once in a while. You know, like if I enter a quiz show, I should be able to send you instead of me - regardless of how you feel about this, of course. In fact, this is clearly an *even better* idea than imposing additional burdens on people based on their wealth. After all, someone who's rich may have worked all his life to attain this wealth, so he's got a fair claim on the money. You, on the other hand, may be naturally more intelligent than me, and that's clearly not in the least bit fair. So, requiring you to share your knowledge with me is not only a good idea, but even fair. Come on, man, pay up!

If you think about it, however, the above forms of discrimination make no sense. If I work hard to get rich, I've achieved something. Thanks to my money, people have jobs. If I'm married, I've achieved something. My wife has security, as will my kids. If I have knowledge, I've achieved something - after all, intelligence doesn't equal knowledge. So, if we think discrimination is a good idea, then let's consider what forms of discrimination would make more sense?

Well, how about the situation where I go to work every day, while that other guy does nothing. I'm more productive - so I'm the one that should be receiving money from the government. He should be paying a special unemployment tax. And how about the situation where I, as the CEO of Nokia, get caught speeding? Should I pay more than some random poor guy? Of course not! In fact, I shouldn't be paying at all. A responsible guy like me wouldn't be speeding for no reason, so clearly, important business depends on my speed. Instead of giving me a fine, the police vehicle that caught me should escort me at the highest possible speed to my destination, giving fines to anybody who dares to get in the way. Finally, how about the two mirror situations where I, the CEO of Nokia, kill a random worker, and some other random worker kills the CEO of Ericsson? Can these crimes be even compared? It's obvious that my murder was a far less harmful act. The guy I killed, even if he had a family, was just some random guy. But the CEO of Ericsson... man, that guy employed thousands of people. So, let's execute the guy that killed him. As for me... hmm, a $1000 fine sounds right. Now, is that fair? Nope. But would it be a good idea if the two crimes were punished equally? Nope. It only ensures more rights to the poor.


Ok, enough sarcasm. It's amazing how devoid of logic your argument is. What is the criteria that you use to conclude that the rich should not have more rights*? Clearly, this criteria is not based on the needs of the society, as I've shown above. That's something, at least. But if not the society... then what? Justice? Obviously not. Equality? Clearly not. Simply because it's a good idea? Hah. So... why?

*Obviously, I don’t disagree with the idea that everyone should be equal. But my point is that the way you go about implementing this equality in fact destroys the very idea of equality.

You did read my example right? I was not complaining that we don't give enough. I SAID we give the MOST of at least Europe in relation to population. So DESPITE the high taxes this doesn't stop people form donating. And as I also said - these aren't companies that can use it as tax deductions.

I sure did. You didn't mention that these donations were equally spread across the population, and I assumed that was your point - that the rich weren't giving as much as the poor. If that wasn't your point, then I simply don't see what you're trying to say - you are indeed providing some evidence that I'm wrong (since I believe that the rich give less when burdened with heavier taxes - though of course, we don't know how much Austrians would give under lower taxes, so I could still be right), but at the same time you are destroying your own argument, since you are also providing evidence that the rich do in fact give as much as the poor.
 
Quarto: You're making the dangerous assumption that our government isn't aware of that, which it is. As for the percentage of taxation, I can only provide myself as example, so I'll just consider your numbers irrationally high. :p (Hm... What little I can remember about my fathers wages include paying some 30-ish % in tax, which was the amount of money I got BEFORE the taxes were deducted (10-20%?) at that workplace (tax-financed, mind you), and my father STILL has a lot of money to live for. Oh, the evil of taxation...)
I just used the IT-bubble as a convenient example during a short period of time, nothing more. Just the rise and fall. As for the students changing degrees, suppose they don't want to. Suppose they've found what they really want to do with their lives in IT. That isn't something you just walk out on.
And yes, it was quite stupid of people to throw all their money away on IT back then, but that didn't have all that much to do with the point I was trying to have you reject:
Capitalism doesn't care. Which I suppose you've actually ENFORCED. *Cough* Well, no capitalism for me, all the same. If there's nothing further, we can consider this exchange to have gone its course.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Mystery muppet said:
Quarto: You're making the dangerous assumption that our government isn't aware of that, which it is.
Dangerous? Not for me :p. See, I don't care, because I know that the only way your government can save Sweden is if they abandon socialism (and your government knows this too). If they do this, Sweden gets saved and they prove my point. If they don't do this, Sweden gets flushed down the toiled, and they still prove my point. In this situation, I can only win :).

Well, no capitalism for me, all the same. If there's nothing further, we can consider this exchange to have gone its course.
Fair enough. As a libertarian, I respect your choice (while you, as a socialist, will never respect mine). Heck, for me, it's actually good if Sweden refuses to turn away from socialism - we need a good, solid national crash so that people can see once and for all the ultimate effects of socialism. And frankly, that's something I'd rather see happen to you than to me.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Just replying to the more important parts...

Quarto said:
Circumstances: entirely irrelevant. If *I* have cash, I can spend it to protect myself and my property. There may be a war on, but I *still* have a chance to use my funds to salvage something. If the government is my insurer, however, and goes bankrupt, I am utterly fucked, and it doesn't matter what the circumstances are - there could be 20 million UN peacekeepers operating in the country for all I care, and I'd *still* be fucked.
[sarcasm]
Surely that is why MONEY always kept its value during any war while GOLD always is a very unsecure form of wealth and never raises in value during wartime...
[/sarcasm]
No doubt rich people will always arise on top. But still once war is on 90% of your money will be gone in either case - governmental or private.

Quarto said:
So even if it went bankrupt, it still would have these reserves (because it couldn't spend them - the gold does not belong to them), and therefore the currency would continue to function.
Dream on. Really. If they were close to bancrupcy they WOULD spend that gold and there would be a 90% infaltion at the very least.

Quarto said:
Defining usefulness: I wouldn't define it at all. It's not my business what he does with his life (as long as he doesn't break the law). This would, of course, change if he asked me for a job or for a favour - in such a situation, I would take his life into consideration in order to determine what the right decision would be. Until that point, however, I do not care, and that's good for him, as he doesn't have to worry about the society killing/exiling him for uselessness.
Again I have to ask you to slow down. Obviously I don't care about social usefulness as long as I do not have to interact with a person.
Obviously as soon as you have to interact with someone you will define your personal usefulness of him for you. So far so good.
Now I am not sure where your society killing/exiling him for uselessness comes in here, but in any case only a capitalistic societey would do it. Usefulness isn't really existant in communism I'd dare to say.

Quarto said:
Tell you what, let's do this another way. I've explained to you why corporations have nothing to do with capitalism. Indeed, although I have yet to read The Wealth of Nations, from what I've heard about it, I understand that Adam Smith (who everyone agrees was the father of capitalist theory) said pretty much the same thing. So, now it's your turn. You claim that corporations are not only necessary in capitalism but that they are in fact a vital part of capitalist ideology. Prove it.
Ah, but here you are wrong. I don't claim that corporations are necessary or are even a vital part of capitalist ideology. I claim that they are the inevitable and unfortunate consequencee.
Just like a total loss in productivity is the inevitable and unfortunate consequence of communism.

I'd actually even go as far as to say that we agree capitalism is a good thing, but need some form of control. Now I see this control comming from moderate socialism while you see the only chance for it to emerge from something that doesn't exist yet I'd dare to say. And I'd also claim that whenever this thing emerges it will be economic left. What else should it be? Any restriction on the market is economic left after all.

Quarto said:
but I certainly am aware of the difference between socialists and authoritarians (especially since the latter can indeed be right-wing... though they virtually never are).
See, but that really is the central part of this discussion between us. Cultural background. You grew up with the evil totalitarian communists ("left wingers", economic left). I grew up with the warning of the evil totalitarian nazis ("RIGHT wingers", economic probably indeed also LEFT). This probably also explains why Europe for a big part is so afraid about liberals which is actually a misinterpretation of the naming convention.

Which would actually arise a question for me. If we put the Nazis and the Communists into autoritan and ECONOMIC left how would you denote the difference between them? It kinda seems out of that particular scale?

Quarto said:
Nope, I'm entirely consistent - it's your definition of capitalism that's confused and irrational. Think about it - as a capitalist, an entrepreneur, I want to make money. I want to make money as efficiently as possible. And if my business is successful, I want to take 100% of the profits - because to want otherwise would not make much sense, when I've spent so much effort on maximising these profits. In this situation, a corporation is clearly *not* capitalist - sure, setting up a corporation reduces my risk, but it also imposes a limit on my profits. I'm better off owning a company that earns $10,000 and gives me $10,000 than as the CEO of a corporation that earns $50,000 and gives me $5,000.
Well nice numeric examples really. But they are completely made up and have no counterpart in real economy. In the end the corporation REDUCES competition which is good for the company as it increases prices. It also REDUCES production cost (due to pooling of resources) which is good for the company. It will also INCREASE the income of the CEO as he is responsible for more people.
There really isn't much going against it when it comes to the viewpoint of that particular company.

Quarto said:
A corporation, on the other hand, is responsible for its own actions - it has the legal status of a separate entity. Like a company owner, the stockholder draws profit from the corporation that is, de facto, his property. Unlike the owner, however, for the stockholder there is no connection between risk, responsibility, loss and profit.
Just that there is. A stock holder of course shares a part of the risk. He surely cares for the profit or loss of the company. Also it IS possible that shareholdersy have to PAY if a company goes bancrupt!
It still doesn't anwer my question however - how to prevent corporations? Forbid the whole stock market? And all limted companies as well?

Quarto said:
So, if this is the *real* objective of a true democracy... then a true democracy, rather than giving me unemployment benefits, would assign me a truly perfect girlfriend? Methinks you may need to rethink that theory...
You are of course deliberately misunderstanding me. Have a look at polls as to what is the most important thing for people. Place 1: Family. Place 2: Health. Place 3: Employment. Money only comes 5th or 6th. For example I'd dare to say that SECURITY (Police) is more important then money to most (indeed you might argue that money could buy you security, but that really isn't the point and also most doen't realize that). In fact this is one of the reasons companies come to Austria despite the high taxes.
So again the goal of the democracy isn't money, but all of that points while the goal of the capitalism is only one of them. Ideal capitalism is a compatible subset of ideal democracy. They are not equal.

Cycles, bloody cycles: you want similarities between the EU and the Roman Empire? Sure. The Roman Empire was socialist. It provided food and entertainment to the masses at ever lower prices, and eventually for "free". This process was accompanied by a mirror process of ever-growing taxation, but this wasn't enough to keep a balanced budget. The natural solution, of course, was to conquer more territory. Possible parallel between the Empire and the EU there?[/QUOTE]

Quarto said:
But, another reason is that I really do believe the dissimilarities are more significant than the similarities. The Roman Empire financed itself through conquest, while the EU is perfectly happy to screw its own citizens. The Roman Empire was gradually moving towards a strong, centralised monarchy, while the EU is heading in the opposite direction. And, above all - the Roman Empire lasted for hundreds of years, going through stages of growth, stability, and finally into collapse. The EU, on the other hand, appears to be compressing these three stages into one - it hasn't even stopped growing yet, but it already seems to be collapsing (if nothing else that I said persuaded you, perhaps this will - as far as chronological order is concerned, the EU is *nothing* like the RE, so the simplified chronological order of your cycle is completely unlike the reality on the ground).
Just some nitpicking:
* We don't know if the Roman Empire did not face similar tendencies.
* I'd say the EU is pretty much centralised and is movin to frow MORE centralised, not the other way around.
* As I said it might be that the EU levels the way for the real empire. It is a bit too soon to say that already.

Quarto said:
There is, however, an *extremely* significant difference between stating that the same processes that took place in the RE are taking place in the EU, and stating that the EU is following the same cycle that the RE followed.
Of course there is. That is why cycles only predict similarities, not identities. OTOH NOTHING is ever identical due to quantum effects, so all of our knowledge is only working on similarities.

Quarto said:
It matters greatly to you. If the price of Corporation A's stocks collapsed after some famous economist said they would (but misidentified the cause - his claimed cause did not materialise, and the collapse happened only because he said it would), the market will quickly adjust to this - people will realise the guy's an idiot and the stocks will bounce back soon afterwards.
On the other hand, what if the economist in question got the cause right (ie., he didn't cause the collapse but merely warned about the factor that would cause it)? Well, if you ignored his predictions, you're screwed. And if you followed them... well, you're probably screwed anyway (since you did make a small loss selling the stocks), but it could've been worse.
I see your logic. however in this particular case you'd be surprised how few linkage is between the company and its stock value. Its really far more connected to image and 'gambling' then it is to economic success. So in reality the net effect woul dprobably differ far less then you'd might imagine.

Quarto said:
Let me present you a different situation. You're hungry and homeless. Person A gives you $10. Person B gives you $1000. Now, which is the nobler act?
Different topic. The second is the more useful act to me. Don't confuse economic value with ethic values. Which is nobler: Give $1000 to Bill gates or $10 to a homeless?

Quarto said:
I sure did. You didn't mention that these donations were equally spread across the population, and I assumed that was your point - that the rich weren't giving as much as the poor. If that wasn't your point, then I simply don't see what you're trying to say - you are indeed providing some evidence that I'm wrong (since I believe that the rich give less when burdened with heavier taxes - though of course, we don't know how much Austrians would give under lower taxes, so I could still be right), but at the same time you are destroying your own argument, since you are also providing evidence that the rich do in fact give as much as the poor.
My point hasn't changed: It doesn't really matter if you are rich or poor. If there are high or low taxes. The will to donate is much more a factor of the person itself. So it is not true to claim that more money around equals more donations. People do not refuse to donate because they are short on money, but because they just don't want to.
 
Quarto: You're wrong again! :p I CAN respect that you wish to hang on to this foolish capitalism, :) but I don't think I'll ever really understand it. And, well, in either case, I'm not convinced socialism is a doomed project from the start. Socialism seems to depend more on common faith (in PEOPLE, like, flesh and stuff) than capitalism, and that faith is strongly tested after every election where EVERYONE promises more resources to the public sector and then backs down, while bizarre roadconstructions (rarely REconstruction, it seems, or maybe they're too common to bother reporting about) and 'representation-dinners' and EU eat more and more tax-money. If you ask me, that's an even bigger threat than full-blown capitalism. ;) (There's also been a bribe-affair in our liquor-selling monopoply-thingy. THAT didn't improve things.)
Ok, now I can let this matter rest and live happily ever after.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Whoa, almost a week since my last post... sorry about that :p. In my defence, it's been busy, and I've made a lot of Standoff progress. Anyway, I haven't quite finished my reply to you, Karl, but I'll get that done soon.

Mystery Muppet: if you could indeed respect the wishes of people like me who want to live under capitalism, you would have to make 95% of Sweden's taxes (and the services for which they pay) optional. But this will never happen, precisely because socialists do not respect the wishes of other people. They - sorry, you - always insist on doing what you think is best, and you ignore everybody else's objections. See, under the libertarian system I am arguing for, there is absolutely nothing stopping people of socialist ideals from getting together and building their 'better society' (provided they don't force it on people who don't want it). On the other hand, under socialism, the government will imprison me if I try to live according to my ideals - because under socialism, that's called tax evasion.
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
Socialism is not based on solidarity, it's based on coercion. Solidarity is voluntary, a state enforced "solidarity" by means of taxation is nothing short of tyranny.

Progressive taxation is one of the indirect tools to imposing a totalitarian regime without violent revolution, as predicted by communists over a century ago. Of course, if you argue that to anyone, it’s a conspiracy theory, ignoring the fact that it’s been openly stated for so long.

The reason to why socialists won't let someone live outside the system is that, by either being drained or depending on the state, people can resist its power. But that cannot be allowed, can it?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ok, time for another round :). Part 1/2.

cff said:
No doubt rich people will always arise on top. But still once war is on 90% of your money will be gone in either case - governmental or private.
Not sure what you're basing this assumption on. A lot of people in occupied Poland (where, disturbingly enough, the occupant's taxation was lower than in today's independent Poland) lost their wealth, but definitely not everyone or even most of them. And that's in spite of the fact that the government had ceased to exist. A far bigger property loss, in fact, came during the forced mass migrations after the war was over (and the rich people were by far the biggest losers in the post-war situation).

Dream on. Really. If they were close to bancrupcy they WOULD spend that gold and there would be a 90% infaltion at the very least.
Certainly, that's why most governments have gotten rid of the gold standard - they were short on money, so they decided to rob the nation. At the same time, this is not necessarily the case. Using the gold reserves to get out of a financially bad situation doesn't work quite as well as anticipated, precisely because of what you said - inflation appears, and the government finds itself actually losing money in the process.

It is also worth pointing out that none of these changes I suggest can be looked upon separately. Instead, you should be looking at this in the context of system-wide changes. Consider, for example, the link between the removal of the gold standard and socialism - it was invariably to finance the excesses of socialist spending that governments would remove the gold standard (and, in earlier centuries, debase metallic currencies). The kind of government that I advocate is minimalist, and has no reason to get into excessive debt.

Now I am not sure where your society killing/exiling him for uselessness comes in here, but in any case only a capitalistic societey would do it.
What? No. As I've already told you, a capitalist society would not do anything to such a person. They would consider it to be his business, and his business alone. It is a socialist society that would worry about a person's usefulness (as you've repeatedly demonstrated by advocating forced labour for the unemployed, so don't bother denying it). It is a socialist society that gives itself reasons to care about a person's usefulness. In a socialist society, I have no choice but to deal with the loser in question - because my taxes pay for his life. Thus, it is a socialist society that will, sooner or later, introduce laws that force the unemployed to work. When these rules fail to do the trick, this same society will, sooner or later, take the inevitable next step - to penalise those who refuse to work. It is in a socialist society that, ultimately, exiling or executing a 'useless' person for the sake of the common good is a perfectly reasonable (and morally justifiable, in socialist thinking!) thing to do. And I'm not just idly speculating here - these are all things that had already happened in history, at one point or another. All this is physically impossible in a capitalist society, where every person is an independent entity - no person is a burden on anyone else, and therefore, the society does not have a claim on any person.

This is really getting frustrating. It seems to me that you automatically assume that anything bad can only happen under capitalism, even though I've explained time and again why this is not at all true.

Corporations as consequence of capitalism: corporations are a possibility. They are not an inevitable consequence of capitalism, because they can be created just as easily (more so, even) in socialist states.

In a very roundabout way, I partially agree with you, though - corporations are socialist entities, and socialism is, sadly, a possible (even probable) and unfortunate consequence of capitalism. However, to use this as an argument against capitalism would obviously be missing the point - rather than complain about capitalism devolving into socialism, we should try to work out why this happens, and what can be done to prevent it.

Economic restrictions: you're missing the point - disallowing corporations is not an economic restriction. It has nothing to do with economy, since the economy can happily exist without them - in fact, the economy can even be healthier (and certainly stabler) without them. So the difference between your views and mine is that you believe capitalism is something that needs to be controlled, while I believe that it is capitalism's suicidal tendency of going left that must be controlled (and this can be done easily with no abuse of individual rights).

You grew up with the evil totalitarian communists ("left wingers", economic left). I grew up with the warning of the evil totalitarian nazis ("RIGHT wingers", economic probably indeed also LEFT).
Irrelevant. If they teach you at school that both the sun and the sky are blue, this may confuse you, and it may lead you to say some downright ridiculous things, but it does not actually make the sun blue. It is the same way with the Nazis - call them whatever you like, but the fact remains that the Nazi party, as far as economic policy is concerned, the Nazi party would feel right at home in today's left-wing Europe.

Which would actually arise a question for me. If we put the Nazis and the Communists into autoritan and ECONOMIC left how would you denote the difference between them?
That depends on your definition of 'communists'. For argument's sake, I will assume you mean the USSR type. The difference is merely one of degrees, and (ironically) the Nazi party comes out better in the comparison - certainly, at least under during the era of Stalin, there can be no doubt that the Nazi party was more moderate both on the authoritarian and the economic scale (though still well left-of-centre). But really, a far more interesting question is, why do you assume difference between the Nazis and the Communists must be a significant one?

Back to corporations: sure, my numeric examples are made up. But they remain accurate - can you even for a moment doubt the simple fact that Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft, would be earning more than Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corporation?

And yes, definitely the corporation carries with it many advantages. However, the bigger the corporation, the less likely it is to face competition of equal size - well, obviously, since a monopoly by definition has no competition. So what, you may ask - isn't this something desirable for capitalists? Yes and no. Every capitalist agrees that it's best to be a monopoly. But the smaller the company owned by a capitalist, the more hostile he will be towards corporations and especially monopolies - the bigger fish are obviously far more dangerous competitors than smaller companies. That is why in a capitalist society, the vast, overwhelming 99 percent of the population would regard corporations as generally a bad thing.

Stockholders and profits: no, the stockholder doesn't care for the profit or loss of the company - he cares (like anyone) for his profit or loss. I'm sure you've heard of the crime known as insider trading. Ironically, to a stockholder, the corporation's loss is actually the possibility of greater profits.

It still doesn't anwer my question however - how to prevent corporations? Forbid the whole stock market? And all limted companies as well?
Well, first up, I want to acknowledge the point you're indirectly making here - yes, dismantling socialist systems is a very difficult thing to do. This applies not just to corporations, but to everything - public healthcare, unemployment benefits, and so on. However, this is only a side issue - certainly, you cannot use these difficulties as an argument in favour of keeping the existing system, in the same way that you cannot use the difficulties of a life-saving heart surgery as an argument against performing this very necessary operation.

Now for your question - how. Well, the way to do it is actually quite simple (but of course everyone will oppose it - hence the difficulty). Simply introduce legislation that makes it impossible for non-physical entities to own anything - in short, de-legalise corporations (with some kind of transition period, of course). What happens to the existing corporations, though? Well, for many of them, the situation is really quite simple - if a physical entity (say, Bill Gates) owns 51% or more of their stock, then this person is the owner. He must of course, arrange things with the other stockowners so that they get their money back. And as for corporations that are owned by other corporations, their current stockowners (human and non-human) have all of the transition period to make arrangements. If no clear ownership has emerged after this transition period (unlikely), the government steps in to arbitrate (but not to confiscate).
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Part 2/2.

You are of course deliberately misunderstanding me. Have a look at polls as to what is the most important thing for people. Place 1: Family. Place 2: Health. Place 3: Employment. Money only comes 5th or 6th.
No, I don't believe I am. If anything, you're misunderstanding the implications of what you're saying. The things you list are divisible into just two categories - things that can be (and are) bought and secured with money, and things that cannot. My point, therefore, remains - if, as you claim, a true democracy's role is not to increase people's economic standing but rather to give them things other than money, then you must, by definition, be referring to things from that second category. So, either you don't understand what you're saying, or you actually believe that a true democracy is a totalitarian system where the government decides absolutely everything for the individual - where he'll work, who he'll marry, how many kids he'll have... everything. In which case, I think I can live without true democracy...

(one other thing: I must point out that I don't actually think the government's role should not be to help everyone improve their situation, but rather to ensure that everyone has the same chances as everyone else to improve their own situation - in other words, a government that really is nothing more than the referee in a game, only intervening when rules are broken)

I see your logic. however in this particular case you'd be surprised how few linkage is between the company and its stock value. Its really far more connected to image and 'gambling' then it is to economic success. So in reality the net effect woul dprobably differ far less then you'd might imagine.
I think you'd be the one who's surprised, though. If everyone suddenly decided to sell off their Microsoft stocks, would this destroy the company? No. It would drive the stock prices down overnight, but it would not actually affect Microsoft's business very much. And, since Microsoft's business is good, the law of supply and demand would kick in - the stocks sold off in panic would soon afterwards be bought up by other people. In the long run, the stock price would stabilise, and the people who sold off their stocks for no good reason would come to regret their decision.

Different topic. The second is the more useful act to me. Don't confuse economic value with ethic values. Which is nobler: Give $1000 to Bill gates or $10 to a homeless?
You're turning my question on its head in order to avoid answering it. Interestingly though, your upside-down question actually serves to further confirm that I'm right. Of course giving $10 to a homeless guy is nobler - because $10 given to a homeless guy has a greater economic value for him than $1000 does for Bill Gates. So again, ethical values go together with economic values. These things are bound together inseparably - at the end of the day, helping others invariably comes down to economics, and an action’s ethical value is linked with its utility.

Taxes and donations: so... what is your point, then? This part of the discussion started when I disagreed with your claim that rich people are usually less willing to give money away than the poor... and this is a claim that you now support by saying that people give donations regardless of whether they are rich or poor? I'm getting confused here - have you suddenly changed sides in this argument without telling me? :)
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Damn you - now you've done it, I am back to two posts as well

Quarto said:
Not sure what you're basing this assumption on. A lot of people in occupied Poland (where, disturbingly enough, the occupant's taxation was lower than in today's independent Poland) lost their wealth, but definitely not everyone or even most of them.
I could tackle that response with various replies, but to stay closest to topic I'll ask a question first - So most private money was conserved. What about governmental debts to persons? Conserved or lost?

Quarto said:
What? No. As I've already told you, a capitalist society would not do anything to such a person. They would consider it to be his business, and his business alone.
Right. And that is exactly my definition of being excluded due to being useless. I think you confuse the state with the formalisms. True, noone could tell you you are useless and thus throw you out of the society in capitalism. Not by law or by any ritual anyhow. Which isn't the point however. Defacto once you are useless for a capitalist society you are excluded from it by not gaining their money and thus being forced away into a Ghetto.

True a socialist society can formally and by law exlude you from its merits. You seem to completely ignore that the same happens in capitalism, just minus the formalism.

Quarto said:
It is a socialist society that would worry about a person's usefulness (as you've repeatedly demonstrated by advocating forced labour for the unemployed, so don't bother denying it).
Nothing to deny about it. I said this was MY opinion. And the only part of my country that even considers such a step is our EXTREME RIGHT one. The farther left they are they more the OPPOSE to forced labour. Forced labour and lack usefulness isn't any way left related.

Quarto said:
This is really getting frustrating. It seems to me that you automatically assume that anything bad can only happen under capitalism, even though I've explained time and again why this is not at all true.
Nope. I state that bad things are bound to happen in free capitalism. Similar I will e completely on the same road with you when it comes to communism however. Bad things are bound to happen there as well. I'll even give you that communism is worse then capitalism.
My only point is and always will be is that the negative aspects of both are negated when you combine it with the other one. And obviously that mixture would be heavily biased towards capitalism. Its you who claims that capitalism is prefect and doesn't need any improvement which is rediculous in my eyes.

Quarto said:
In a very roundabout way, I partially agree with you, though - corporations are socialist entities, and socialism is,
And here I disagree with you. Corporations aren't socialist entities. They are authoritan entities. Which you errogenously (given your countries background) equal sozialist entitites.

Quarto said:
Economic restrictions: you're missing the point - disallowing corporations is not an economic restriction.
But this is simply not true. Why do you think corporations are formed? The one and only goal in the end is to reduce costs while preserving profits. Which is in the end an INCREASE in economy. So if you forbid them you inevitably REDUCE economy. I really don't understand what is so hard to see here.

Quarto said:
It has nothing to do with economy, since the economy can happily exist without them - in fact, the economy can even be healthier (and certainly stabler) without them. So the difference between your views and mine is that you believe capitalism is something that needs to be controlled, while I believe that it is capitalism's suicidal tendency of going left that must be controlled (and this can be done easily with no abuse of individual rights).
Irrelevant. Economy can happily exist under tyrany as well. Just at what level. You can twist and turn it as you like, but corporations increase economy so preventing them is always against capitalism. Stablicity was never a part of the capitalist mindset.
The only way that small companies COULD win this race is in the long term. Many corporations seem to be planned to short sighted and in the end turn bankrupt due to their own weight. This boils down mathematically speaking to local maxima versus the global maximum. You cannot deny that corporations reside on a local maximum when it comes to economy. Maybe (tho I seriously doubt it) indeed small companies would form a better local maximum or even the global maximum. But even if this would be true it is irrelevant. Because noone would ever think as far ahead. It is the profits NOW that matters.

Quarto said:
But really, a far more interesting question is, why do you assume difference between the Nazis and the Communists must be a significant one?
A cheap answer would be "because everyone else does". But I'll go into a bit more detail:
Because of the confusing classification. Its a bit running in circles of course, but if everyone considers them as opposite forces, why is that so? There must be a reason for that. Personally if you want a single scale from me I'd say it would be nationalism or xenophobia or something like that. Communism seems to be quite happily working together with other communist countries (after all they are their brothers).
The Nazi regime OTOH did not at all see the communists as brothers, quite the contrary. These politically right wing parties always seem to be far more isolationist then communism.

Quarto said:
Back to corporations: sure, my numeric examples are made up. But they remain accurate - can you even for a moment doubt the simple fact that Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft, would be earning more than Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corporation?
Yes I can. If only for the following problem: Do you truely assume that the Microsoft Corporation owned by Bill gates would be in the same position as it is today? Usually (money stealing scumbags excluded) a company only goes to the stock market because it desperately needs the money to expand. So in the end MS probably would not be the size it is now if Bill Gates hadn't turned it into a Corporation. Now which is better? Getting 100% of 1 Million or 10% of 100 Millions? You only talk about the percentages, ignoring the full picture.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Quarto said:
That is why in a capitalist society, the vast, overwhelming 99 percent of the population would regard corporations as generally a bad thing.
So? To stick with Microsoft (and for what it is worth I am not against them because the are the marked leader with a quasi monopoly - it is the way the ABUSE it. I don't hate Nokia for example who are in a quite similar position) by your logic 99% of population would see it as a bad thing. Besides that this is far from true - so what! People still buy Windows despite they hate Microsoft. Your proclaimed self regulation just doesn't happen.
When did _I_ last buy a version of Windows? Never. My last version is 98 which came bundled with the machine back then and could not be avoided. My next 2 machines I built myself and consequenty they had been Windows free.
Can I live without Windows? Heck yeah. But my customers obviously cannot. Thus I have to have a version running to be able to do Windows programming because of the market demand. Do I try to convince people away from it? Surely!

Quarto said:
Now for your question - how. Well, the way to do it is actually quite simple (but of course everyone will oppose it - hence the difficulty). Simply introduce legislation that makes it impossible for non-physical entities to own anything - in short, de-legalise corporations (with some kind of transition period, of course).
Ah, but how could two people own a company then? If that company cannot act as ONE legal person how could that work? Note that I am not trying to kill your idea - I really don't see how you could avoid this problem and would actually be fairly interested in a constructive discussion here.
As you migth have guessed I am talking of personal experience here. This isn't an unlikely example either. X people join together to start a company. Everybody with an equal share of it. How would they do such a thing after this legislation would come into effect? To forbid that constellation would destroy many many startups.

Quarto said:
No, I don't believe I am. If anything, you're misunderstanding the implications of what you're saying. The things you list are divisible into just two categories - things that can be (and are) bought and secured with money, and things that cannot.
My point, therefore, remains - if, as you claim, a true democracy's role is not to increase people's economic standing but rather to give them things other than money, then you must, by definition, be referring to things from that second category.
Not necessarily. SECURITY and ENVIRONMENT can be taken care of by the government (surely money is a driving factor here). BUT no matter how much money you'd hand your people they cannot take care of it themself, especially in the environment problematic. So basically you ignore the third category - political power + money.

Quarto said:
So, either you don't understand what you're saying, or you actually believe that a true democracy is a totalitarian system where the government decides absolutely everything for the individual - where he'll work, who he'll marry, how many kids he'll have... everything. In which case, I think I can live without true democracy...
Actually this might well be true besides one minor point(*).
A TRUE democracy IS the tyranny of many over few. It might be a benevolent tyranny, but in the end it is one.

* minor point: A true democracy would not need a government. EACH AND EVERY decision would have to be done by vote. But indeed a democracy can be a tyranny that forces you what to do and to think. This doesn't contradict with democracy. So if the majority of people WANT to be forced all will be forced. As such I'd similar say that completely unrestricted democracy is just as dangerous (and shortsighted) as is capitalism. It needs people with visions to lead a country. People with long term plans. Doing everything by vote and thus by averaged opinion would be too short sighted.

Quarto said:
(one other thing: I must point out that I don't actually think the government's role should not be to help everyone improve their situation, but rather to ensure that everyone has the same chances as everyone else to improve their own situation
However this really isn't as easily separated as you think. How would you ensure equal changes if not by helping the poor to improve their own situation first? Poorness is an opposing factor to equal chances. The most equal chances would actually be in communism. Granted the chances are 0, but they are 0 for all ;)

Quarto said:
I think you'd be the one who's surprised, though. If everyone suddenly decided to sell off their Microsoft stocks, would this destroy the company?
Possibly, yes. Simply because they surely use their own stock as security for their own debts. Which they suddenly would be forced to pay due to the lacking security. Which they couldn't do. Don'd forget that the average company or corporation only has about 10%-20% financed through OWN money! Which is catastrophal.

Quarto said:
And, since Microsoft's business is good, the law of supply and demand would kick in - the stocks sold off in panic would soon afterwards be bought up by other people. In the long run, the stock price would stabilise, and the people who sold off their stocks for no good reason would come to regret their decision.
I agree besides on your logic. Indeed the mechanism of supply and demand would kick in. But not the demand of the free market. It would be the one of the stock maket. So in other words again lost of people would buy shares in order to profit from the low value. But this really could be played in a casino as well again not havin anything todo with the economy of the corporation itself. Besides those who sold would probably rebuy cheaper then what they sold and still make a profit.

Quarto said:
You're turning my question on its head in order to avoid answering it. Interestingly though, your upside-down question actually serves to further confirm that I'm right. Of course giving $10 to a homeless guy is nobler - because $10 given to a homeless guy has a greater economic value for him than $1000 does for Bill Gates. So again, ethical values go together with economic values.
But you just weakened your point with that reply. After all you claimed before the more I give the nobler it is. By that definition it has to be nobler to give $1000 to BG. By telling me that $10 given to a homeless guy has a greater economic value for him and thus is nobler you similar agree to my reverse point. If Bill Gates gives $1000 it is a less noble act than it is when I give $10 BECAUSE that $10 has greater economic value for ME.

Quarto said:
Taxes and donations: so... what is your point, then? This part of the discussion started when I disagreed with your claim that rich people are usually less willing to give money away than the poor... and this is a claim that you now support by saying that people give donations regardless of whether they are rich or poor? I'm getting confused here - have you suddenly changed sides in this argument without telling me? :)
Not really. But I am proposing two concepts.
a) Rich people are less willing then poor to donate (if only because they don't see the poorness first hand)
b) No matter if the average income raises or lowers - it WON'T change the behaviour of people regarding donations (it changes absolute values of course, but not the willingness per se).
To speak more numerically: If the average person gets 100 and a rich one gets 1000 the average person is more likey to donate.
If the average person gets 1000 and the rich one gets 10000 still the average person is more likely to donate. It will be kust as willing as the person with 100 above.
Your problem in my argument seems to be that you would say that in the second case there are only rich persons. Which I'd object to. Richness is always a function of the average. It is impossible that all people are rich just as it is impossible that all people are above average in any respect. Richness is a dynamic value.

We could now of course get into the discussion if you want to be rich. Personally I really don't care if I am rich or not. As long as I can support my way of life I am content with that. I really could care less if I am considered upper 10% or lower 10% in that regard.
 
Quarto said:
Whoa, almost a week since my last post... sorry about that :p. In my defence, it's been busy, and I've made a lot of Standoff progress.
Ok, I forgive you. :)

If you could indeed respect the wishes of people like me who want to live under capitalism, you would have to make 95% of Sweden's taxes (and the services for which they pay) optional. But this will never happen, precisely because socialists do not respect the wishes of other people. They - sorry, you - always insist on doing what you think is best, and you ignore everybody else's objections.
Ok... Look, that's just stupid. If 95% of the taxes, how many would pay them? (I'll answer that question for you: Not enough.) Every public enterprise would collapse, and private enterprises haven't expressed much desire in filling such would-be gaps. They couldn't recieve grants or contributions from the government, so the students would have to pay the whole site's wages. Would NOT work. Blaming me, and everyone else who happen to believe in looking after each other, for not working towards such bedlam is just insane. Order yourself. Hmph, as if capitalism would let people try to get back on their feet after a large set-back... What system respects the other's wishes? [Looking over the sentence, I feel it may be a little unclear as to what I mean. Consider it a rhetorical question.]

See, under the libertarian system I am arguing for, there is absolutely nothing stopping people of socialist ideals from getting together and building their 'better society' (provided they don't force it on people who don't want it). On the other hand, under socialism, the government will imprison me if I try to live according to my ideals - because under socialism, that's called tax evasion.
Full-circle, I suppose. A nation can't possibly operate with two different economic models. I simply can't see it working in practise. If you are indeed talking about slicing up two different nations, it would naturally be another story. Living in a country where tax-paying is demanded, of course you get punished if you refuse to pay taxes. Justice, legislation, etc.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ok, I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm somewhat tired of this thread... unsurprising, given that we've written enough words for some kind of university thesis :p. So, I promise to reply faster next time, but we have to wrap this up in the next two or three posts.

cff said:
True a socialist society can formally and by law exlude you from its merits. You seem to completely ignore that the same happens in capitalism, just minus the formalism.
Before I respond - 'formalism' is a nice, soft way of putting it. Let us be clear that this is about more than mere formalism - it's about laws and individual rights.
Yes, the same thing does happen in capitalism, minus its legal enforcement. Now, if I could say nothing more in defence of capitalism, that by itself should be enough, as clearly legal enforcement makes socialism a far more cruel system - better a system where you may or may not be excluded than a system where you most certainly will be excluded. But I can say even more in defence of capitalism. Under capitalism, the society cannot tell you what to do, and neither can they tell anyone else what to do. Therefore, under capitalism, you've got pretty good chances of finding someone willing to help you out (under socialism, you wouldn't - you'd already be gone, because the law says so; just to be clear, this is not present-day socialism I'm talking about in this paragraph, but rather the system to which present-day socialism will lead).

And the only part of my country that even considers such a step is our EXTREME RIGHT one. The farther left they are they more the OPPOSE to forced labour. Forced labour and lack usefulness isn't any way left related.
Well, if I ever needed proof that what you consider 'extreme right' is not actually right-wing at all, you've just delivered it.

Nope. I state that bad things are bound to happen in free capitalism. Similar I will e completely on the same road with you when it comes to communism however. Bad things are bound to happen there as well. I'll even give you that communism is worse then capitalism.
And the millions without jobs, billions more suffering under the pathetic and inefficient public healthcare and education of the socialist 'middle path'? The negative effects of socialism are not figments of my imagination. They're facts - and no middle path will cure them. Meanwhile, the negative effects of capitalism that you keep talking about, are vague 'bad things' that you think might happen. Your arguments are based on fear and emotion, not on reason. I mean, good God, we've already been suffering for a century because the socialists wanted to 'improve' capitalism. Your way does not work and your 'improvements' are a menace to society.

Corporations: How on earth can corporations be authoritarian? They're based on the democratic concept of shared control and profits (and the socialist concept of the lack of personal responsibility).

The goal of forming a corporation is not to reduce costs but to increase financial resources. And for this, corporations are entirely unnecessary - I don't need to set up a corporation just to borrow money from someone. Furthermore, note that eliminating the status of corporations as legal entities does not mean that corporations become illegal. What it means is that they must become responsible, because their owner is legally responsible for their actions. But there is nothing stopping him from issuing shares on the stockmarket. After all, shares are really nothing more than glorified "I owe you" notes. The only difference is that somebody who owns a company would be much more careful about retaining control, so shareholders would end up being nothing more than money lenders.

Because of the confusing classification. Its a bit running in circles of course, but if everyone considers them as opposite forces, why is that so? There must be a reason for that. Personally if you want a single scale from me I'd say it would be nationalism or xenophobia or something like that. Communism seems to be quite happily working together with other communist countries (after all they are their brothers).
The Nazi regime OTOH did not at all see the communists as brothers, quite the contrary. These politically right wing parties always seem to be far more isolationist then communism.
The Nazis rose to power fighting against the communists. For them to say that actually, they're really a lot like the communists, would have been political suicide. So they denied this. And indeed, it was a pretty reasonable thing to do - you're doing the very same thing now, highlighting the difference between your 'middle path' and ordinary socialism.
A second question is, why do today's socialist parties deny their near-identicality with the Nazi ideology (in its economic aspects, of course)? Well, the answer to that is obvious as well:
Voter: "So, you guys are like the communists, kinda, eh? I don't like communists."
Socialist: "No, no, we're nothing like the communists, we're the good guys. We're like the Nazis."
Voter: "Ah. Good bye."

Microsoft: MS turned into a corporation not because it was the only way for it to grow, but because it was a quick and easy option. MS could definitely have reached its present size as a privately-owned company.

Dual ownership: if two people couldn't own something together, we wouldn't have divorce courts :). And if you wanted to set up a business that you own entirely, but still needed your friends' money to do it, that's what contracts and other agreements are for. You could, for example, agree with your friends that when you set up the company, they will give you x amount of money each to finance it, and in return they will get x percent of the profits. Heck, you could even make it an ordinary loan - whatever makes sense. You see, that's really the heart of capitalism - common sense. Capitalism describes how the world works, while socialism describes how socialists think the world should (but doesn't) work.

Not necessarily. SECURITY and ENVIRONMENT can be taken care of by the government (surely money is a driving factor here). BUT no matter how much money you'd hand your people they cannot take care of it themself, especially in the environment problematic. So basically you ignore the third category - political power + money.
That makes no sense at all - you're saying that if the government gives me a million dollars, I won't be able to use it to arrange for my own security? No, really - there is no third category, because political power = money. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the American president or the Tsar of Russia, your power is still derived from your ability to pay people to obey you.

In any case, if that's what a true democracy is, then I think I'll pass.

However this really isn't as easily separated as you think. How would you ensure equal changes if not by helping the poor to improve their own situation first? Poorness is an opposing factor to equal chances.
You don't quite understand. Think of it as sports. The government is the referee, ensuring that everyone is playing by the same rules, but not interfering in the game unless the rules are broken.

But you just weakened your point with that reply. After all you claimed before the more I give the nobler it is.
No, I did not - I claimed that the more you RECEIVE, the nobler you will consider the act of giving. If you are the donor, you will probably always consider your donation to be nobler than BG's, because you feel that you can afford less. However, you are entirely irrelevant. You're just the donor. It's up to the homeless guy to decide which action he found nobler.

a) Rich people are less willing then poor to donate (if only because they don't see the poorness first hand)
b) No matter if the average income raises or lowers - it WON'T change the behaviour of people regarding donations (it changes absolute values of course, but not the willingness per se).
You forget one thing - it doesn't matter if most rich people are less willing to donate (although this is a claim that even a cursory examination of history would prove wrong anyway), because those that do give, end up giving a hell of a lot more than the poor.

Personally I really don't care if I am rich or not. As long as I can support my way of life I am content with that.
That's exactly right - and I'm pretty sure I've pointed this out earlier :p. It's also exactly why socialist concepts like minimum wages fail miserably in practice - if by raising people's income you end up raising the prices on everything they purchase, you're just making things worse.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Mystery muppet said:
Ok... Look, that's just stupid. If 95% of the taxes, how many would pay them? (I'll answer that question for you: Not enough.) Every public enterprise would collapse, and private enterprises haven't expressed much desire in filling such would-be gaps. They couldn't recieve grants or contributions from the government, so the students would have to pay the whole site's wages. Would NOT work. Blaming me, and everyone else who happen to believe in looking after each other, for not working towards such bedlam is just insane.
Yeah, whatever. As I said, capitalism allows people to choose for themselves (even to choose socialism), while socialism does not offer anyone such a choice. Your ridiculous excuses merely serve to confirm that I'm correct. It also makes you a hypocrite - first you tell me that socialism doesn't restrict my freedom, and now you try to explain why socialist restrictions must be enforced?
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Quarto said:
Now, if I could say nothing more in defence of capitalism, that by itself should be enough, as clearly legal enforcement makes socialism a far more cruel system - better a system where you may or may not be excluded than a system where you most certainly will be excluded. But I can say even more in defence of capitalism. Under capitalism, the society cannot tell you what to do, and neither can they tell anyone else what to do.
Ah, but you are ignoring one thing - capitalism will defacto exclude you from society MUCH MUCH earlier then socialism will formally do so. And it will probably do 'harder.
Lets take a look at child education. What is the worse form of punishment? Physical or mental? Socialism would whack you a couple of times. It would hurt. Capitalism would just ignore you. Guess what is worse...

Quarto said:
Well, if I ever needed proof that what you consider 'extreme right' is not actually right-wing at all, you've just delivered it.
Ok - lets assume that is true for a moment. So Haider's FPOe is actually left. NOW would you dare to claim they are MORE left then the social democrats and also more left then the green party?

Quarto said:
And the millions without jobs, billions more suffering under the pathetic and inefficient public healthcare and education of the socialist 'middle path'?
Better pathetic and inefficient then NON EXISTANT!

Quarto said:
Meanwhile, the negative effects of capitalism that you keep talking about, are vague 'bad things' that you think might happen. Your arguments are based on fear and emotion, not on reason.
Sure everyone living in a slum due to the great distribution and non polarisation capitalism provides, will happily agree with that argument. Geez - wake up. In many parts capitalism went too far already. Lobbyists rule instead of people.

Quarto said:
Corporations: How on earth can corporations be authoritarian? They're based on the democratic concept of shared control and profits (and the socialist concept of the lack of personal responsibility).
Sorry, but last I checked a corporation usually has a strong hierachy. Hierachy equals authoritan towards the lower levels in the hierachy for me. I am not sure how you want to argue that away.

Quarto said:
The goal of forming a corporation is not to reduce costs but to increase financial resources.
Huh? Why would anyone want to do that. Its really about increasing profits either be reducing costs (mostly) or by increasing prices or profits.

Quarto said:
Furthermore, note that eliminating the status of corporations as legal entities does not mean that corporations become illegal. What it means is that they must become responsible, because their owner is legally responsible for their actions. But there is nothing stopping him from issuing shares on the stockmarket. After all, shares are really nothing more than glorified "I owe you" notes. The only difference is that somebody who owns a company would be much more careful about retaining control, so shareholders would end up being nothing more than money lenders.
Ok, 2 Problems:
Again - how could 2 people OWN something then?
Also you'd end with some pore guy who owns the thing ON PAPER. That guy has no personal wealth. So if the company would go bankrupt not much would change at all.

Quarto said:
Voter: "So, you guys are like the communists, kinda, eh? I don't like communists."
Socialist: "No, no, we're nothing like the communists, we're the good guys. We're like the Nazis."
Voter: "Ah. Good bye."
Well nice example., Just not holding in real life.
The leader of our social democrats quite happily kissed the ground in a visit to Russia. It quite surely was a sin of youth and at least partially done as a joke, but none the less it happened. So that we are nothing like the communists simply doesn't hold true. As I said the politic left parties seem to be quite well connected. The politic right ones don't.

Quarto said:
Microsoft: MS turned into a corporation not because it was the only way for it to grow, but because it was a quick and easy option. MS could definitely have reached its present size as a privately-owned company.
Maybe. Maybe not. Quick is a very important aspect. If Microsoft didn't grew as fast as it has we'd probably be using OS/4 now. (MSDOS would probably have been replaced by CPM which is IBM IIRC).

Quarto said:
Dual ownership: if two people couldn't own something together, we wouldn't have divorce courts :). And if you wanted to set up a business that you own entirely, but still needed your friends' money to do it, that's what contracts and other agreements are for.
I am talking about the divource case all way long. Equal partnership. You see the problematic thing is that in a marriage you don't buy or sell stuff as the Quarto household. Either you or your wive does. That cannot work in a company. You have to have ONE entity representing the copany to the outside. Or do you want to have 20 people signing each time a decision is needed if there are as many owners?

Quarto said:
That makes no sense at all - you're saying that if the government gives me a million dollars, I won't be able to use it to arrange for my own security? No, really - there is no third category, because political power = money. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the American president or the Tsar of Russia, your power is still derived from your ability to pay people to obey you.
Untrue. No matter how much money I got I cannot buy laws (or at least I shouldn't be able to buy laws).

Quarto said:
You don't quite understand. Think of it as sports. The government is the referee, ensuring that everyone is playing by the same rules, but not interfering in the game unless the rules are broken.
But then you don't have equal opportunity. You have equal rules, true. But not equal opportunity. So the rich people would be able to afford better trainers and better equipment. You'll never have the best athlethe win as well.
Of course if this would be real world the rich people would additionally bribe the referee additionally shifting the balance.

Quarto said:
No, I did not - I claimed that the more you RECEIVE, the nobler you will consider the act of giving.
And as I will repeat - this isn't a rating of how noble you are, but as to how useful the donation was. Different scale. Similar you could say a car pulling a trailer has done more work then an ant building an ant hill. Which just isn't true as well. You are mixing effort and end result.
 
Quarto: Understand this already: Taxes is not about limiting freedom. With a tax-system, the nation relies on everyone paying their taxes. If people don't, how the hell can the taxes be set to a reasonable level? Your suggestion about running socialism and capitalism parallell in one country, which is what I'm batting down on, sounds like right and proper anarchism.
Either way, a change to something like that in Sweden seems to require a revolution to take place. No freedom restricted (though all the taxes DOES eat a fair share of the paycheck) - you just can't buy a SUV every week. (SUVs are... held in certain contempt here, by the way.) All choices (within the extent of legislation and common sense, of course) are available, except opting to pay taxes or not. Since that system depends on everyone paying. I don't recall bashing capitalism's offer of choices (it must've been an unfortunate formulation or a misinterpretation), I just threw a boot at its humanitarian aspects. I don't feel I'm a hypocrite, and I don't take too kindly to such accusations. Tread gently around those parts, or I'll probably say something I'll regret. I also consider your excuses for capitalism ridiculous, who's right? Stop being a zealot. (A suggestion not limited to just you, right here and now, of course.)
Hm... Perhaps you're just an anarchist with a capitalist touch? :D
we have to wrap this up in the next two or three posts
Agreed. We should've done that long ago, it seems. Let's agree to strongly disagree, and leave it at that.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Mystery Muppet: a falsehood, no matter how many times you repeat it, does not become truth (even if you yourself believe it to be true). If a person is forced to give up his own property under threat of government prosecution, that's a pretty severe limitation on his freedom, regardless of what you believe. Note also that the fact that high taxes are necessary in order to uphold socialism is not something I disagree with - but to me, that's just more proof that socialism is a bad system. And why shouldn’t I be a zealot, anyway? You haven’t given me a single reason to doubt my position, so why should I be the one to back down? :p

Finally, I won’t apologise for accusing you of hypocrisy. I've already explained why I think your words were hypocritical; now it's up to you to explain why this is not true.

cff said:
Lets take a look at child education. What is the worse form of punishment? Physical or mental? Socialism would whack you a couple of times. It would hurt. Capitalism would just ignore you. Guess what is worse...
That's a really bizarre example. For one thing, we've adressed the adults-and-children analogy a few posts ago - it just doesn't work that way. Capitalism is not a way of life (unlike socialism, which gradually takes hold of everything in your life), it is an economic ideology. As far as everything else in life is concerned, capitalism has no opinion - things like how you raise your children or whether you give charity to people on the street it leaves to you. Furthermore, your comment is especially ironic in light of the fact that socialists today are inextricably linked to those extreme liberals (not to be confused with libertarians ;)) that believe that it is immoral to punish children by hitting them.

Ok - lets assume that is true for a moment. So Haider's FPOe is actually left. NOW would you dare to claim they are MORE left then the social democrats and also more left then the green party?
You tell me. My comment was based on what you said about their policies - I'm afraid I know very little else, since (as I said earlier) the media is not particularly informative about Haider's party.

Better pathetic and inefficient then NON EXISTANT!
Hell no! What's so good about forcing people to suffer pathetic and inefficient unemployment benefit systems and healthcare if the price that you're paying for these systems is the destruction of jobs, with which these people would not need unemployment benefits, and would be able to afford quality private healthcare?

In many parts capitalism went too far already. Lobbyists rule instead of people.
If lobbyists rule instead of people, then the changes have not gone far enough. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - under the system I'm arguing for, government intervention in the economy is so limited that for business owners, trying to bribe government officials (which is all that lobbying is, after all) is a waste of money.

Sorry, but last I checked a corporation usually has a strong hierachy. Hierachy equals authoritan towards the lower levels in the hierachy for me. I am not sure how you want to argue that away.
How is that relevant? Every single democratic government in the world has a strong hierarchy - the president or the prime minster calls the shots, and everyone listens, passing the orders down the hierarchy. But this doesn't make these governments authoritarian in any way. Indeed, the head of the government is elected - just like the head of the corporation (who is appointed by the board, who are appointed by the stockholders).

Huh? Why would anyone want to do that [increase financial resources]. Its really about increasing profits either be reducing costs (mostly) or by increasing prices or profits.
In your last post, you mentioned that Microsoft wouldn't have been as big today if it wasn't a corporation because it wouldn't have had the money to expand. Now you’re saying Microsoft wouldn’t want to increase its financial resources? Make up your mind :).

Also you'd end with some pore guy who owns the thing ON PAPER. That guy has no personal wealth. So if the company would go bankrupt not much would change at all.
Not true. If I lend you a million dollars, and you're unable to pay it back, that makes a vast difference to me - one million dollars' (plus interest) worth of difference, to be precise.

The leader of our social democrats quite happily kissed the ground in a visit to Russia. It quite surely was a sin of youth and at least partially done as a joke, but none the less it happened.
The fact that you feel the need to explain this act away as a joke or a sin of youth suggests that I am, in fact, correct :p.

You have to have ONE entity representing the copany to the outside. Or do you want to have 20 people signing each time a decision is needed if there are as many owners?
You're absolutely right. And you certainly would not want to invest into such an insane company. Instead, what you would do is get together with the other potential investors and work out an agreement, whereby one person makes all the decisions. In short, it would be just like forming a corporation, with the vital difference that you, as the (co-)owner of the company, would remain legally responsible for its actions - and responsibility is what this is all about.

Untrue. No matter how much money I got I cannot buy laws.
Untrue. Imagine that I decide that, from now on, everyone should bow when they see me. This is my law - but nobody obeys it, of course. So I pay people to bow when they see me. Now they obey it. I have, therefore, bought a law. Of course, it would be too expensive to pay everyone - so, I use an alternative method. I pay a few thugs. They follow me around, and they hit anyone who doesn't obey my law. Now they obey. Again, I have bought a law. That's all that a law is, you see - a rule that people obey, because they believe they will be rewarded for obeying, or punished for disobeying. And whether the enforcement mechanism is reward or punishment, you still have to spend money to keep it going. Power = money.

So the rich people would be able to afford better trainers and better equipment. You'll never have the best athlethe win as well.
Of course you will. Those rich people will analyse the costs, and rather than make the effort by themselves, they'll hire the best athlete (and if they don't, that's too bad for them, because he'll win anyway - trainers, equipment and drugs can improve an already-good athlete, but they cannot turn a loser into a good athlete). And there's really nothing wrong with this. Your position doesn't make sense - if it's all right for intelligent people to use their abilities, then why do you talk as if it was a crime for rich people to use their wealth?

Of course if this would be real world the rich people would additionally bribe the referee additionally shifting the balance.
Not if the referee is additionally the owner of the playing field - in such a situation, he'll be afraid to take the bribe, because if it comes out, then most of the players will leave and go to other playing fields. Of course, he might still decide that the bribe money is worth the risk, and that's fine. In the long run, natural selection will ruin him, because those other players really will leave - nobody wants to play a game where they cannot win.

And as I will repeat - this isn't a rating of how noble you are, but as to how useful the donation was. Different scale. You are mixing effort and end result.
But effort is absolutely irrelevant - it is the end result that matters. No matter how hard you try, the significant thing is whether you succeed or not. This is true in every aspect of life, even in place like school - in some education systems, kids get separate grades for achievement and for effort, but nobody would think even for a moment that it's better to get high effort and low achievement than low effort and high achievement. Returning to our example, the homeless guy on the street really doesn't give a damn about your monthly income. To him, the fact that your $50 represents 10% of your income while Bill Gates' $1000 represents 0.01% of his income has no meaning. He will appreciate your sacrifice of course, but he'll appreciate Bill Gates' money even more.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Quarto said:
Capitalism is not a way of life (unlike socialism, which gradually takes hold of everything in your life), it is an economic ideology.
Wrong. Both are mostly an economic ideology. You see I can have capitalism and tyranny combined. I can also have democracy and sozialism combined.

Quarto said:
As far as everything else in life is concerned, capitalism has no opinion - things like how you raise your children or whether you give charity to people on the street it leaves to you. Furthermore, your comment is especially ironic in light of the fact that socialists today are inextricably linked to those extreme liberals (not to be confused with libertarians ;)) that believe that it is immoral to punish children by hitting them.
Oh, but capitalism has a STRONG opinion how you should life. Live the way that maximizes profits. What you don't seem to realize is that this already forces people into a very rigid path. Just open your eyes - pupils are beaten by others because they don't have the 'right' hip clothes. You simply cannot say I do it my way in capitalism as well.
Regarding children - it is a bad thing to punish them at all. And no I am not an anti-authoritan freak.

Quarto said:
You tell me. My comment was based on what you said about their policies - I'm afraid I know very little else, since (as I said earlier) the media is not particularly informative about Haider's party.
As I said I'd have a very hard time classifying them. They change programs weekly ;)
But for sure they are right of the Greens.

Quarto said:
Hell no! What's so good about forcing people to suffer pathetic and inefficient unemployment benefit systems and healthcare if the price that you're paying for these systems is the destruction of jobs, with which these people would not need unemployment benefits, and would be able to afford quality private healthcare?
And you assumtion is based on what facts? Just being private doesn' make anything better. You sound a lot like some zealots here - just sell governmental companies as fast as possible into the private sector (no matter how much the state looses in that deal in the long hand) and poof - all will be better. What a great idea - NOT.
Besides you also employ a rather capitalistic idea to the sozial system as well. If it is broken throw it away. Ever heared about the ancient art of fixing things?

Quarto said:
If lobbyists rule instead of people, then the changes have not gone far enough. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - under the system I'm arguing for, government intervention in the economy is so limited that for business owners, trying to bribe government officials (which is all that lobbying is, after all) is a waste of money.
Ah, but if capitalism rules 100% the companies themself will force the government that it will increase its influence in order to help them along once again. That is really the core of the problem. Money equals power. Companies have the money. The less you control them the more THEY rule and the less the people or even the common sense rules. In the end your vote counts accordingly to the millions on your account.

Quarto said:
In your last post, you mentioned that Microsoft wouldn't have been as big today if it wasn't a corporation because it wouldn't have had the money to expand. Now you’re saying Microsoft wouldn’t want to increase its financial resources? Make up your mind :).
Not the contradiction as you see it. But I have to explain a bit more. Young Microsoft is a case of bringing a company to the stock market (which forces it to become a corporation, no?) This is always done with the sole purpose of making money.
The other topic is the fusion of corporations. This isn't really done to raise financial resources, but to maximize the control over the market/to better the position on the market..

Quarto said:
Not true. If I lend you a million dollars, and you're unable to pay it back, that makes a vast difference to me - one million dollars' (plus interest) worth of difference, to be precise.
I think you misunderstood.
What is the difference if a bankrupt company owes you money versus a bankrupt single person owes you money? Neither will be able to pay you back your million. It just needs a person willing to stay bankrupt for the rest of his life (or tricked into getting bankrupt). Now you migth say who is so stupid - many people. Just give all your wealth to your wife and go bankrupt yourself. Your life standard stays where it is and the people you owe get nothing. Simple as that done millions of times even under current law.

Quarto said:
The fact that you feel the need to explain this act away as a joke or a sin of youth suggests that I am, in fact, correct :p.
I don't feel the need for anything. I just try to give as objective observations as possible.

Quarto said:
You're absolutely right. And you certainly would not want to invest into such an insane company. Instead, what you would do is get together with the other potential investors and work out an agreement, whereby one person makes all the decisions. In short, it would be just like forming a corporation, with the vital difference that you, as the (co-)owner of the company, would remain legally responsible for its actions - and responsibility is what this is all about.
The line to todays corporation gets far thinner already however. Firstly the fictional leader of that company would of course be more guilty if something bad happens then the silent co-owners, right?
Now the CEO of a todays corporation is in a fairly similar position. He also can be sued for failures and his private property is at risk as well.
I mean I see the difference, but by weakening your position towards this middleground for a new kind of corporations you loose the steering effect as well. If there are 1 Million people owning a corporation who designate a new type CEO there really isn't all that more responsibility produced versus anything as everyone would just feel as disconnected to the corporation as they are today.

Quarto said:
Untrue. Imagine that I decide that, from now on, everyone should bow when they see me. This is my law - but nobody obeys it, of course. So I pay people to bow when they see me. Now they obey it. I have, therefore, bought a law.
And what about people who refuse your money? You just created a law without penalties. A teethless law.

Quarto said:
Of course, it would be too expensive to pay everyone - so, I use an alternative method. I pay a few thugs. They follow me around, and they hit anyone who doesn't obey my law. Now they obey.
You of course ignore that you will go to jail because of that 'law'.

Quarto said:
Again, I have bought a law. That's all that a law is, you see - a rule that people obey, because they believe they will be rewarded for obeying, or punished for disobeying. And whether the enforcement mechanism is reward or punishment, you still have to spend money to keep it going. Power = money.
However as I said - either your private law is voluntarily or it is illegal. Simply because you don't have the right to issue laws.

Quarto said:
Your position doesn't make sense - if it's all right for intelligent people to use their abilities, then why do you talk as if it was a crime for rich people to use their wealth?
I don't say it is a crime. It is just a question about your values. YOU said that everyone should have equal chances. So actually one would have to impose communism AND make sure that all people have equal talents as well. On a regarding note - have a look at the movie IQ-Runner if you get the chance for it. It plays with this equality to the degree of stupidity extremely well. Its not a great movie, but the philosophy behind it is kinda interesting. Ok, back from the movie review and on topic - personally I believe that talent and skill should be the value. Money is just an artificial random variable.

Quarto said:
But effort is absolutely irrelevant - it is the end result that matters. No matter how hard you try, the significant thing is whether you succeed or not.
I could not disagree more. I respect people solely for how hard they try. Thats what I try to say all along when I am talking about scales. Sure economy will only rate results. But who said that this is a good scale? What is results anyhow? What is more valuable? A new car design or a new painting? Depends on time, on general wealth,...
On the other hand effort is an ultimate measurement of value. No matter how times or environment changes effort is still effort. Tools might be invented that reduce your effort for doing the same thing, but your effort would still be worth the same.

Quarto said:
This is true in every aspect of life, even in place like school
And that is a sad system, really. Because in the end where does it lead? People will start to engineer our race towards achieving the most results out of the least gain. Ignoring anything else. A standardized human will emerge for each job, fit for one and only one work. Lets maximize strenght. Minimize sexual drive. Minimize attraction to hobbies or free time. Minimize need for sleep. Minimize emotions. In the end you'd end with biological robots.

Quarto said:
Returning to our example, the homeless guy on the street really doesn't give a damn about your monthly income. To him, the fact that your $50 represents 10% of your income while Bill Gates' $1000 represents 0.01% of his income has no meaning. He will appreciate your sacrifice of course, but he'll appreciate Bill Gates' money even more.
Of course. I never denied this. Bill Gates money is more useful. But it is LESS NOBLE.
 
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