peter lindsay

Physics Teacher,


This conversation is closed.

The political debate regarding free-market v socialism v libertarianism etc is actually all a complete waste of time.

Every human civilisation eventually spontaneously generates an upper class that goes on to hoard all the goodies to the detriment of the plebians. You've just got to hope that as a pleb you can convince the upper class you have something they need. The time when you really have a problem is when the default ruling class have no ambition and decide to maintain the status quo. It's been 1955 in North Korea for over 50 years now for exactly that reason.

  • Apr 6 2013: Reread Origins of the Political Order. Francis Fukuyama pretty much convinced me that deadwood is invariably the result of success. How sad. While he didn't mention it. My review of dynasties in Rome, Egypt, Russia, Britain, France , Turkey, etc. suggest that 300 years is about tops. Wht that means to a modern democracy, I can't say.
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      Apr 6 2013: According to Niall Ferguson they typically fall abruptly.

      I listened to the video below. He puts this situation in context. It makes you realize how long it takes to create a working democracy let alone one like the U.S.

      A couple of thing Francis says in that video that are just plain ignorant. He says that Bernanke did exactly the right thing. By practicing crony capitalism to the tune of trillions? I disagree, that is stupid.

      He states that the upper class has increased from 12% to 25%. This is not true he is regurgitating the class warfare propaganda.
      • Apr 7 2013: Thanks Pat He summarized his long dry book in thirty minutes so my understanding is better. Niall Ferguson is a person who I will research later on the net. I think I see the difference, but something like the 6th dynasty could fall quickly or the 22nd dynasty after a good period of time. In defence of Paulsen and Bernanke they were concerned that the whole system could collapse. That's what they said later. It didn't. That seemed good to me at the time. However, we are caught I believe in several growing bubbles which will leave a real mess whan they pop. I am very negative, and we should hope I am wrong. Fukuyama seemed concerned too, but he expected problems in the future in China. To disagree with FF i would note that China is the big source for tourists for the world. That shows two things for me - We are having real problems, and they are very much improved. Back to FF I was impressed that he noted that "we let China deindustrialize us." To me deindustrialization is crazy, and it's never been done before. Actually, I view it as a crime against the American people, and the Americans that did it should stand before military tribunals as the war criminals did at Nurenberg.
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          Apr 7 2013: David Stockman came out with a book(haven't read it), in it he said in an interview that Paulson has the attention span of 5 min, and that no it would not have collapsed. I wrote my congressman and stated to vote against TARP he wrote back and said he had to or the entire economy would fall and such, alas he too had drank the Kool aid. Remember Paulson is a Goldman alumni, that was his concern. I think Bernanke sees his job as how to deal with the mess and keep his job. Remember that before 1913 we had roads and public utilities and fought wars all without a central bank and ZERO inflation.

          Think about the amount of spending, between Bush and Obama they have effectively flushed the U.S. down the toilet in 2 terms. Right now the debt service is 200 billion a year at 1.5% interest when it goes to historic norms of 5% the debt service is going to be700 billion or so. When that happens something has to give. He can go the hyperinflation route or default or we have to take money away from other parts of the budget.

          Who do you think created the bubbles? Some say there is an opportunity to short bonds.

          Yup China is going to have some problems. FF has a profound understanding of how countries are formed that part was very interesting. But the part that is going give them the most trouble is the lack of private property and when you get 1.3 billion people mad you have a big ass tiger by the tail?

          Take a look at the positive side of trading with China also. First of all the U.S. is the biggest manufacturing in the world far bigger than China (don't believe the media) we give the manufacturer of bobbles and trinkets to china (which you see in Walmart) but they don't build airplanes, tractors, space craft, etc. Not that that isn’t changing. The main thing to know about this is that it is not a zero sum game the pie grows and it is a win win. The Americans benefit by being able to buy more crap for less money and MORE jobs are created by the lower cost.
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          Apr 7 2013: He also mentions (49:39) that the top 1% of families went from 9% to 24% of GDP from 1970 to 2007. This is a popular meme that is beyond specious. It was started by a couple of economists named Piketty and Saez who came up with the numbers by cherry picking statistics and ignoring the fact that tax law changes encouraged people to report taxes as personal income instead of corporate income. This is similar to the steaming pile of propaganda that Elizabeth Warren espouses in order to create class warfare.

          In FF’s defense he lives in the bay area, you lie with dogs you are going to get fleas.

          The thing to know about the economy is that jobs are created by investment. When you tax more and regulate more investment dries up when investment dries up jobs dry up.

          You see demand is created it is not already there. What the U.S. has now is a case of Atlas Shrugged.
      • Apr 8 2013: Paulson was not treated kindly in Quants, but the question he had for the brillant young finance MBA made sense to me.
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    Apr 4 2013: One thing is for sure unless something changes the U.S. is toast. Another thing that is for sure when the U.S. crumbles it will effect the rest of the world adversely.

    Ignorance = inactivity

    knowledge = application and production

    regurgitating conjecture is not a manifestation of knowledge, rather the prior

    I think the most effective tool on this subject are books. How many have you read on the subject?

    I suppose it would be hard for one to embrace a philosophy that does not align with one's rice bowl?
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      Apr 5 2013: G’day Pat

      I don’t really believe the world is toast when the US goes under & it will go under like any other dominant civilisation, right through human history there’s always another to take its place however it will hurt. Over all human survival has never relied on one dominating race of people, thank God.

      Knowledge is fine but it’s the quality of knowledge that is worrying me these days, many people with a degree think they know it all when they have learnt very little in university/college. Stop putting out quantity & focus more on quality because the way I see it this world is far worse off with so many degree wielding know-it-all’s running the show these days when it should be a lot better off, just look at the state of the world of today it doesn’t say much for education!!!

      I love your last statement & of course you’re right it would be hard for anyone to take on a philosophy that doesn’t put a roof over one’s head however we shouldn’t think consumerist materialism is the answer to everything either, in actual fact there can’t be just one answer but many working in unison I believe.

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    Apr 5 2013: 'The time when you really have a problem is when the default ruling class have no ambition and decide to maintain the status quo. '

    ..and exactly how is this not the case in multiple sectors in a large portion of countries right now?
    There are substantial numbers of examples of the ruling class stifling political, social, scientific and technological progression, lobbying for policy adjustments inorder to monopolize industries and ultimately rendering themselves free from all liability..

    So your argument is that it doesn't matter about the problem...until it crosses your personally defined line, and that raising the issue prior to that is just a big waste of time?
    Thanks, very helpful..
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    W. Ying

    • +1
    Apr 5 2013: .
    Knowing "invalid happiness", no person wants to corrupt.
    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at
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      Apr 7 2013: If you base your observations of North Korea on weaponary, their current crop seems to be a step backwards from what they had during the war. Also they aren't totally isolated, they do business with China and China seems to be going ok on the technology front. Anyway my point is they are not progressing as the leadership wants it that way. If they wanted progress they could open their borders but they chose not to.
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    Apr 4 2013: The outcome of a debate may be decided by audience vote, by judges, or by some combination of the two. Since no decision is forth coming we are really discussing. There will be no defined right or wrong. IMO, a discussion requires participants to listen and exchange with the willingness to evaluate the others statements.

    Example: On Pat Gilberts talk regarding Lincoln many took offense as it was not the common and accepted view. Others read and questioned, researched, and found documentation that supported views that were not present by Ms Schmidlap in PS 102.

    So your question is if a discussion is a waste of time? If each side is willing to evaluate the opposing view openly and honestly then no discussion is ever a wastre of time.

    In this case I may learn that each of the three has strong and weak points ... I may better understand the life style that is associated in each system ..... if inclined I may research and discover the fate of other societies/countries/etc that have embraced this form of government.

    My way is not the only way, nor am I always correct ... However ... if I refuse to learn and grow from errors of others that have sufficient documentation to be considered "failed" then I to will fail and thus history repeats itself.

    That each civilization has upper and lower classes is true ... the question becomes ... under which system is the plebians offered the best quality of life, given a opportunity to advance, is treated with dignity and respect, etc...

    Education (as compared to indoctranation) and communications are the enemy of "bad" governments.

    So no ... a discussion is a learning opportunity and not a wate of time ... unless your mind is closed.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • Apr 8 2013: It's been awhile since I read the book, but he asked the man to name what the "x" "y's" that they were investing in were? The expert couldn't answer.
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    Apr 4 2013: i feel that quite often. i mean, that it is a waste of time.
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    Apr 4 2013: G'day fellow Teders

    This is strange because we are tending to relate socialism with starvation & capitalism with plenty, how we have forgotten our past. Under the Tsar’s in Russia many people were starving now this system of ruling is very similar to capitalism of tody, you have your elite & affluent on one hand who are not starving but living off skin & bone of the people & on the other hand you have the starving living off what the affluent felt like throwing them.

    When communism took over what happened to the starving citizens that weren’t killed, the communist government got them out in the field to grow real food not the plastic & genetically modified foods we have today & why do we have plastic & genetically modified foods today? They have a bigger profit margin, this capitalist system is all based on the profit margin & the bigger the profit margin the better no matter what it kills or harms. I don’t know about anyone else but this is sad & plainly wrong to me. I can see it going the way of the old Tsar’s, people of today are starving in a different way while they watch how the gap between the rich & the poor ever increasingly grow & what do the affluent do? Exactly what the affluent did in the day of the Tsar’s throw the poor a few scraps when all the poor really want is decent living standards in accordance with the ever growing wealth of the affluent. I suppose that is why countries like Iceland are rebelling & throwing the affluent perpetrators in jail for crimes against society.

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    Apr 4 2013: "Every human civilisation eventually spontaneously generates an upper class " Is this true? Did you mean Cultures? Have you ever heard of the Potlatch?
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      Apr 7 2013: The Potlatch could be construed as a way for the wealthy to domonstrate their wealth which puts the plebians in their place.
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        Apr 8 2013: face it people that throw good parties are well liked. I guess if you have a culture of social climbers with a junior league mentality you might be correct. Anyway I've never been big on original sin either.
  • Apr 4 2013: The fact that something has always been a certain way does not mean that it will always continue that way.

    Women have been considered inferior to men, to the best of our knowledge, since the beginning of the human species. That is now changing.

    Until recently, starvation was the fate of many because we could not grow enough food. When I was still a child, over 50 years ago, people argued that we could never grow enough food to feed everyone. Now we can grow plenty of food for everyone.

    The rich and powerful get richer and more powerful at the expense of others. To the best of our knowledge, this has always been true. Thinkers like Thomas Jefferson and Karl Marx saw this as an injustice, and did something about it. We have not yet overcome this injustice, but we have made progress. You seem to be arguing that this progress is a waste of time because it is not perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good enough. And in your argument, perfect is the enemy of progress. Rather than despairing of further progress, we need new ideas to push forward. We need people who can imagine and invent the next major reorganization of society, going beyond the weaknesses of the systems we know.
    • Apr 4 2013: there are people that still starve.
      • Apr 5 2013: You are correct People still starve in spite of the fact that we can grow plenty of food for everyone.
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    Apr 4 2013: This tired argument that the upper class hoards wealth leaving the lower class wanting assumes, incorrectly, that there is a limited amount of wealth. A robust economy can create abundance for everyone.
  • Apr 4 2013: Please do not stop this debate.

    It has provided me with entertainment for years. It is much better than television.

    By the way, your contention is exactly what the upper classes want us all to believe, while the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Karl Marx believe there might be a better way to think. The lack of success to date is not evidence that the upper classes are correct.
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      Apr 7 2013: Can you name a past civilisation that didn't end up with a well defined ruling class?
      • Apr 8 2013: No, and that is irrelevant.

        That fact does not imply that a ruling class is inevitable. I believe it is possible to organize a populous culture in such a way that a ruling class never develops. To do so, we may have to go beyond our current thinking about "free-market v socialism v libertarianism etc " It will require thinking outside of the box. It might require smaller government jurisdictions. Some forms of government do not scale upwards successfully. It might require a whole new way of viewing human rights, justice and civic responsibilities. It might involve a culture where ethics is more a matter of social acceptance than legal regulation and punishment. It will probably involve changes that I cannot now imagine.

        We each live for only about one century, so the course of history, about 100 centuries, seems like a long, long stretch of time. But history is not fate. The USA Constitution was written less than three centuries ago, and that was some very out-of-the-box thinking. Far from being the last form of representative government, it was merely one experiment.

        I can tell you one thing for sure, if we give up on the idea, and just concede that there will always be a ruling class, there always will be. I would prefer to try another experiment, and another and another. After another millennium or two, we just might get it right.
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          Apr 8 2013: I don't necessarily see my initial statement as one of doom and gloom. I would argue that any of the current forms of governance can provide for everyone if the right people are in charge. It's possible to have a dictatorship where the dictator cares deeply for the well being of his/her people. Just as it's possible to have a free market where large corporations have the well being of prospective customers as a priority. Don't ask me to quote odds on either of these though.
  • Apr 4 2013: You're correct, this is the truth of Human kind. We as a species will always elect leaders, there will always be people working for others who profit by doing very little, it doesn't matter how we build our political system because fundamentally we all work in the same way.
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    Apr 4 2013: Is the question for debate whether you are correct or not?
  • Apr 4 2013: so what do u suggest?