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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:59 pm 
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"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war." _Lincoln

Yeah, how odd old Abe the *compassionate dictator* and the one who instituted Mechantilism as the US Econo-government would then bemoan the devil he unleashed. He was the original Republican, and GW carries on his tradition of old boy elitism. They shot his Hamiltonian ass 4 years too late (exactly when he realized, to his late begotten patriotic horror, what he had done to America by allowing the Merchantilists to get a foothold)

If you bothered to actually stay awake in hisotry class you would have learned that the ISSUE that drove the southern states to secceed was merchantilism, high tarriffs, taxation, corporate welfare and fedralized control of money, all isssues put forth by Lincoln as an extension of Henry Clay's vicious *American System*. Prior to Lincoln, corporations were SO strictly controled that it was *unprofitable* to engage in them for anything but the noblest of causes (cuz you weren't gonna get rich). AFTER LIcoln and his Federal institution of Clay's nightmare, we had the growth of the *Robber Barons* that led to the whiplash of the *Trade Unions* as they bled workers dry, and we see a steady growth in this from then until now. One side winning for a while and the other lashing back for a while.

Lincoln isn't talking about CAPITALISM. He is talking aobut Corporate Merchantilism. And yes, I agree with you, if you mis-define capitalism as corporate merchantilism, you have a situation where only the very worst can happen. It is unfettered greed. But this is EXACTLY because there is NO LONGER A FREE MARKET.

The role, IMHO, of any governence in a free market is keeping the playing field level by 1) allowing open markets to exist unfettered and untaxed 2)enforcing strict patent policies that guarentee the assimilation of technology and innovation into the social base and 3) making corporations all but illegal. Corporations have their place, but it is limited and MUST be limited for a free market to exist. When projects are too large for localized markets (building a railroad from coast to coast) or other such jobs a corporation can becaome the only viable method of success, but a corporation is a wild animal, and must be held on a short leash. Localized (decentralized) free market capitalism means lots of choices, and changes the focus of production from PROFIT (the merchantil model) to PRODUCT and QUALITY (the free market ideal).

Capitalism is NOT merchantilism. Merchantilism is the abuse of a free market by a select few to over power the markets and enslave the workforce for profit. Don't toss the baby out with the filthy diaper.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:07 pm 
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And the only way to have a free market is to restrict its abuses by government intervention and regulation, as shoeless put it. This is contrary to capitalist thought which looks constantly to competiton to regulate costs, usually at the expense of the worker. Lower wages are the consequence. Therefor a protection is required, such as union or work standard guarantees, or it regresses into a state of merchantilism, whereby there is abuses that lead to lower wages and what we find developed in the present day.

As for Lincoln, IF you read your history books, there was a war on at the time so he witnessed first hand the profiteering that goes along with war and who stood to profit. This was his epiphany as to abuse of power and privilege to create economic situations that favored the arms suppliers and their associated industries, (food, the rise of lobbyists, carpetbaggers etc). During the war the US was simultaneously engaged in the biggest land grabs in the west in their history and expansionism was the capitalist ideal. New lands new opportunities and expansion in this lawless realm was a dream of the opportunist as land grabs became a way to seek fortune. How many blacks seized the opportunity to move west, only to be exploited by unscrupulous land and cattle barons, without government supervision.

So whats it going to be? Conscientious capitalism reigned in by government supervision, or is it the form of capitalism that takes advantage of the needs of the people by keeping them at a survival level while dangling the carrot of success in their faces ? This is what develops when the government steps aside and allows the ruthless greedy capitalist owner to compete for the lowest cutthroat prices to accomodate the excuse for "free market", without conscience. Since this is what has developed, Lincolns' epiphany ( or merely a letter) of foresight was accurate. He may have been a monster at heart, by ordering the western expansion and pretending emancipation was his legacy, but that doesn't stop him from writing about the way that the capitalist system would develop and eventually turn against its own citizenry.

Turned out to be pretty accurate. Maybe the goal of "Getting Rich" is the true deception. Maybe guaranteed security for all is a better goal to strive for. If an employer loses his business to progress, he should have certain guarantees for his attempts at helping society develop and not be bankrupt and punished for trying to help others live their life. Maybe employees should be safeguarded from the usury of the banks in their attempts to help build a better society and country. Instead of this cutthroat existence where some are at the mercy of the whims of progress and change, there should be a measure of security to go with the risks. Otherwise we end up with the choices that mega stores provide us with. And no others.

The day of the private entrepreneur is nearly over, as we develop the one stop, one shop philosophy. Or can't you see that far ahead. Maybe we need another far sighted Lincoln to tell us what the future holds.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:29 pm 
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I think that free market can and will work, with little government interference. Your example of the *bad company* is a perfect example. Some owner treats his workers badly. They form a Union and strike for beter work conditions. The only protections required from the state are the right to congregate and the right to seek redcress for wrongs done. I suppose if they tended to be corrupt (and I admit government will become corrupt in ANY circumstance) then one additional law, the right to of a Union to strike for redress, might be necessary.

If government has no reason to interfere (ie it is not run by Corporation Masters) then everything will be fine.

The *seperation of business and state* is as important a concept to me as the seperation of church and state. Government's role in business should be minimal, and for the most part restricted to muzzeling corporations. I would concede that government should enact minimal standards of treatment, minimum wages, working conditions, safety standards to keep the greedy at bay. Beyond this, I see no reason for socialist approaches to business.

That corporations are an abuse of the free market system is certain. What is DANGEROUS is that they have taken control of the reigns of government and the economy. I fail to see what this has to do with free market. There are many examples of decentralized free markets that are flourishing in the US. A wonderful example is Ithaca NY which prints it own money to keep the economy local and decentralized. Wal Mart can't compete (unless they decide to deal in local currency, which their structure cannot accomodate). This corporate intrusion into the local economy is exactly what caused them to begin making their own cash. THIS is free market at its best. As a result? Ithaca Guitars are the one of the finest products made in their field, and innovative. Their SALES PEOPLE (who really mostly sell CD's and DVD's) make over 10 bucks (thats a WHOLE lot in this area) an hour and Luthiers are paid twice what they wopuld make anywhere else. Their modifed F-hole structure is developing quite a following. This is only ONE company flourishing in this free market *wonderland*, there are dozens of others that are quickly seing the advantage of local decentralized free market economies.

Lincoln Electric is another example of free market destroying the corporate facade of merchantilism.

It can be done. I do not beleve MOST people would mis-treat their employees. Certainly some would, but if the Government didn't actively SUPPORT their robbery, it would die its own death.

I once worked for a small manufactering company. When my wife had our daughter, she took a bit of time off to be with our daughter. Our two income lifestyle was definately challenged by one income (even though I was pulling better than Union wage). After 6 months it was getting hard. One day at lunch I was sitting with a stack of bills and a piece of paper and trying to figure how to make a little butter cover a whole lot of bread. The owner came by and stopeed to say hello (this was common, in this case). He looked over my papers and inquired about it, and I told him about trying to get by on one paycheck. He talked to me about it and, being an astute businessman, informed me that in order to make it till my wife returned to work I would fall about 2 grand short (he was right almost to the penny). He then took out his checkbook and wrote a check for 2500 USD, and told me to come see him when my wife was back to work. I thanked him (almost kissed him) and when my wife was working went to see what the repay was...25 bucks a week and more when I could manage it. It took us a year but we paid him back. He did this for all of his employees. Small, decentralized business, everyone knows the owner, and he works right beside you doing the same job.

A bit later he fucked up on a BIG job and bid it for WAY too little. He had a company meeting and told us he was gonna lose his shirt (so please dont' milk it for any more). Ok. WE (the EMPLOYEES) got together on LUNCHES and jigged the job, then worked second shifts for straight time and bailed him. He cried. He also gave us all a (paid) hoilday and a party when he ended up not only making money but getting a bonus on his *excellent quality* and no complaints when he rebid the job at a higher price.

That is free market at work. It behooved ME to make as much money as possible, to find ways to do things better, faster, to hit higher quality levels. THe secret to this is DECENTRALIZED ownership working without the strangling bridle of a ton of government interference.

Now I have my own company and I pay living wages (not minimum) and then some to all my associates. None of them come close to being eligible for ANY social services. I know PLENTY of others who do the same. We get together and talk about how to compete with Wal Mart and Microsoft and the rest of the Government Subsidized Corporations that have destroyed America.

If you want to see America grow, make Corporations illegal, or in leiu of that taxed at a minimum rate of 50% on GROSS income not net, turn Medicine Free Market (and watch those prices fall. I suggest people PAY Doctors when they are healthy and not when they are sick.) close all the insurance companies (legal extortion if you ask me). Eliminate income tax (it's illegal anyway), Turn America over to Americans and let them WORK. Release patents after the life of the inventor. Make *ophaned* products public domain. Limit research to University and research groups which publish findings in public records (cut the nuts off the drug dealers when the recipe for pharms are listed at Stanford.edu).

Don't believe that because a few people (and the owners of all the biggest buttfucking corporations would all fit in a medium sized theatre) who are greedy and will cheat anyone out of anything that ALL of us should be treated like criminals. Remember, the 95% of ALL the money in the US is OWNED by 2% of the population. There aren't as many of them as you think.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 12:01 am 
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I once read a book on Business that put forth a progressive plan to foster a healthy economic dispersion of funds. It went rather like this. Compnaies pay *business tax* say the rate is like 30%. WOW hard to make ends meet there. But then if there is a wage ratio of 5:1 (no one in the company makes (annually) more than 5 times the lest paid employee) then the tax rate drops to 10%. WOO HOO. Raise the ratio to 3:1 and go tax free.

I feel this is one excellent way for the government to manage business abuses and the economy, and it doesn't interfere with free market (in fact, it encourages it).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:03 am 
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What discussion????


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:51 am 
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Quote:
Norway tops index of living conditions

Items compiled from Tribune news services
Published September 8, 2005


UNITED NATIONS -- An annual UN report on development released Wednesday shows that living standards in parts of the former Soviet Union and in sub-Saharan Africa have been steadily declining even while conditions elsewhere in the world have largely improved.

Norway tops the index, which seeks to assess nations' economic development, dignity and quality of life, while Niger is at the bottom.

The United States is ranked 10th.

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The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of social capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector (through large-scale state enterprises).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway#Economy


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:12 am 
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Nods in agreement

Norway is definately on the right track. They limit corporate hegemony and encourage free enterpirise and a free market.

Their tax rates are a bit repressive.

In a hunter-gather community the average work day is 2 hours (23 hours leisure time)

Technology is suppose to do the work so we don't have to, yet in the US the average workday is over 9 hours.

Until America frees itself from the strangulation of Corporate owned federalism, we will continue to fall on the *list* as the division between the upper class and lower class whittles away the middle class, sending the vast majority DOWN the scale into poverty.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:14 am 
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Oops, typo...24-2 is 22........22 hours leisure time (so shoot me)

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:51 pm 
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Thanks Alkemi for an interesting discussion. Thanks shoeless for your info on Norway. I am pleased that we didn't regress into pointless namecalling etc and got past the uselessness of debate to find some common ground. Discussion is so much more real than debate.

I was pleased to hear that you are a fair employer. The key is to keeping staff honest and happy. It is common knowledge that Wal Mart has problems with their employees stealing and so need increased security monitors and devices not merely for shoplifters, but for their own employees, who don't have any care for their employer. It is also true that many employees of these mega stores are very unhappy and insecure about their jobs. It would be interesting to find out a study of substance abuse such as alcoholism to cope in these situations.

Wal Mart spends so much extra on security because they force an attitude of saving on an already oppressed and poorer segment of society which only wishes to stretch their dollar as far as it will bend. It's no wonder they don't exude an aura of respect. They would spend countless dollars on the BIG BROTHER concept, instead of being the LOVING MOTHER. More money for the staff gets dedication more than what insecurity breeds. Comes from exploiting people all over the world, so what do they expect. Karma of sorts.

I went shopping with the old lady the other day, and every shop we went to, the clothes were made in the far east. One sales clerk told me that it was the material that was made in China, but it was designed here at home. Yeah, right- that's why it says made in China and not Material from China -assembled HERE!. What kind of crap do they pass on to appease braindead consumers. Try and buy a pair of running shoes made here. I found a pair of New Balance once, made in USA but most of them are made in the far east. The argument is "It's the only way we can compete" by the employers. Such is the demise of home industries and the fair wage also.

I guess the biggest argument against free market capitalism is the idea that the environment is a secondary to last incidental consideration in our post consumerist world. What with our control of resources and the rise of the third world in the industrial playing field, power and energy becomes the means of production. If we were to force the wages to rise elsewhere in the world, it would have a genuine reflexive affect here at home. Instead of lowering wages here we force them to raise wages there. Of course, now that fossil fuels are outrageously priced, their net costs of production is rising, but at what cost to their employers. Does it get passed on to their overworked employees? Then there's the problem of resource depletion on the earth as we provide all people with those DVD and fridges etc. The earth is a limited provider. We can't expect to be the only ones to benefit from the means of production and the only ones with access to unlimited power sources. There has to be a day of reckoning with the issues that will build to a climax, if we think we can control the ends and means of production and consumption. Americans already consume more resources than any others in the world. Ratio's like 10-1 with Mexicans and 30-1 with the Chinese show the scales are already weighed in our direction. What can be done to alleviate these kinds of assumed privileges, is going to be a key issue for our futures to continue. So the question of free enterprise capitalism as we have had it may be a Moot ideal of the past if we wish to confront the realities of continued existence on earth. If we think that by controlling the resources on earth we can dictate who gets to play, history tells us that it has always been a struggle over resources, ever since the first ape/human took up a bone or stick to use against his fellow man. This is our next step in evolution- to change the very nature of what made us what we are today. Look around the world and see how we resolve our issues. Not much has changed as we still quarrel over resources. Just try and tell China they can't participate in the games.

We're in for interesting times. We need a new way of doing business and the first order of business seems to be eliminating the present order of things. As Jesse said in his blog today-

Quote:
What has been made very clear by the invasion of Iraq, the Patriot act and the ineffective response by the US government to hurricane Katrina is that neoconservative ideology dictates that government is for 2 things: war & eliminating civil and human rights.

The notion of “smaller government” serves one purpose: to snatch the wealth associated with government and place it in the hands of the ruling elite. Contrary to popular opinion the economic state of America is moving along as planned. The costly Iraq invasion and hurricane Katrina, combined with ever increasing energy and health costs combined with “privatization” of many government entities, are causing the wealth of this nation to shift out of the hands of most Americans into the hands of a few (less than 10,000).

America is no longer America. It has been dismantled to such a point that it is hard to imagine any kind of real recovery without an all out world wide overthrow of our ruling elite. Think about it!


It seems Jesse and I have arrived at the same page. I've been aware and spoke of this with many souls on earth, but their defeatest attitude keeps them from a course of action. It is even a challenge to ones psyche to speak of this with others as they brand you LOONY, ANARCHIST, Disestablishmentarianist, etc. But it requires more people to wish to save the planet and return to a fair world to ascend past our petty needs. Really, if the inevitable vision of success is a mass suicide, lemming race for survival by consumption, then who is the crazy here? The crass consumer who seeks his/her security in owning and possessions , or the one to shape a brave new world where our children and their children have new more important goals in the end. Am I the only one who believes we must leave our children a world they can continue in?

I envision a purpose for man is to escape earth and spread out, as it is a trap anyway. It will continue to change and will eventually be hostile to us anyway, so while we can, we should work together to get an alternate plan besides OWNING the world. The Natives and most pre contact cultures never understood the concept of owning something that keeps you alive. We have to learn to respect the earth and all, its people as brothers. If greed was eliminated from the equation, as well as our present leadership, then real progress could be made with the business of creating a world that represents our true feelings. "For the people, By the people" means anarchy. Anarchy means without rulers, not without rules.

As I said, it may be the evolutionary hump that we can't get over. But it may be the only way we get past this stage of De-evolution. We are the crazy ape still trying to find a secure place to sleep, and suffering from sleep deprivation. That fear is what keeps us from sleeping well, is the fear of our past. We need to feel secure to sleep well enough to wake up from the fear of change itself. We have nothing to fear but the thought of fear of change itself. It can be done.

We could start by challenging our leaders to change themselves, or change them into the ones who promise real change. The next problem is to prevent them from changing the rules, which is what they always do when people challenge and defeat authority. Of course, they've stacked the deck in their favor, so good luck.

It is always good to vent, and capitalist ideals are so short sighted that they naturally make me challenge their eventuallity. There's no future in it, in any guise.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:21 am 
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Damn you folks are brilliant, it is a pleasure to be here. I hope to learn volumes!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:52 pm 
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Sadly, I do not think it is our leaders who need to change.

The fact is there is no one in the current federal arena I would *vote* for.

They are all Merchantilist Whores who will sell us into a *One World* corporate hell.

It is us, the people, I believe, who have to change. We have to revolt, overthrow the entire system and start anew.

I do sincerely believe that those men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America gave us the foundation for a true free democracy. I have never seen a plan of government that says it better. Perhaps it is my nationalistic heart speaking, but I do believe that.

We haven't had enough of it yet, from the looks of it. Not enough blood, or war, or hate yet. The Neo-cons have remarkable popularity. Pax Americana is moving forward, and it seems that nothing can stop it sometimes.

I believe it will take a huge action, a dangerous action, and a great deal more blood before it is settled, and I hope that through it we don't end up in some martial dictatorship, as happens all to often in revolutions these days. I often envision the Blue States secceeding, and succeeding where the Confederacy failed.

I cannot imagine the blood of another civil war though. Still there is no hope with our current system for change within my lifetime. The Neo-cons are only one arm of the beast that holds America in its grasp. The other arm belongs to the Moderate Democrats who offer our only *choice*. I am not sure the Democrats can even be called a party anymore. In Washington they are a joke, far from a minority party, they are not even to be considered. And even if they did manage to regain the throne, would it be another round of Clinton-esque southern style corruption?

And this is one reason I am so vehement about decentralizing as much as possible, making sure that resources are locally controled, or that, at the very least, they COULD be locally controlled if need be.

Right now, against all the wisdom of centuries of Economic Scholorship, the American Economy (and the government it is deeply entwined with) is in a very fragile state. We have heard this from the World Bank, from leading Economists, from foreign investors. The old rule of 95-5 has been surpassed and then some. (The old rule was no economy could survive once 95% of the resources were held by 5% of the population). Right now it is far scarier than that, something like 90% being held by a mere 500 families. We have an elitest society that rivals the very worst Aristocracies of revolutionary Europe. Never have so few held so much of one nation's resources.

The difference is credit, which even a century ago was almost unknown to the common man. Our country is being *floated* on money we don't even have. People are buying houses on margin, with nothing down. Why? Banks have to allow it, they have to spread out more *fake money* because it is so frail. Imagine how many trillions of dollars are out there in unpaid real estate, every penny doesn't exist, its *virtual money* floating our crippled economy as the upper 500 famlies take and hold another percent of our *real money*. It boggles the mind. A single percentage point increase in interest could bring it all crashing down. So they give us more credit, credit I truly believe they KNOW they can never recover. The changes recently made in bankruptcy laws should tell us that bankers are deeply concerned.

China is devesting US funds. Japan is devesting US funds. Iran is trying to move the petrol-dollar to the Euro. This is why the Neo-cons are making war against them. If their oil market succeeds, all the US hedge in petrol dollars will be in great danger. And belive me, the US DOES use the hedge of petrol dollars, we actually spend it (on the federal level). The Saudi's new Royal family is moderatly anti-american (or at least pro-arabian, which really amounts to the same thing under the current administration), and already quite old. It will be replaced by a Saudi family openly hostile to the US, and quite willing to divest billions of dollars.

In my mind, Americans have very little time. The best fix is to prepare for the inevitable, and decentralize as much as possible. Buy local. Keep money local. Save precious metals. Learn how to live on the cheap. Never a borrower or a lender be. Set up extended families that can care for themselves, support community agriculture that uses saved seed. Drive less, and walk more.

Of course, I am always hopeful. Perhaps there is a leader out there, one who has been heretofore overlooked, who will step forward with the bold new *New Deal* to take back our counrty from the Robber Barons and put it back in the hands of the people. I do not see them yet. Not at all.

The question is not IF the Federal Government will fail, it's when, and what will happen after.

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