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January 22, 2010

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zero

oh, and doug, if you really don't believe that the world is controlled by power by those who purport themselves to be smarter than everyone else (i don't think they are smarter, necessarily, just craftier and willing to stop at nothing to get what they want), you truly are naive.

Doug

Oh, I do believe that is the case, which is why I believe in freedom.

evagrius

Interesting.

Do you know Wal-Mart drives out small, non-corporate businesses?

You know the kind- the local hardware store where the owner and a few employees, paid a decent wage,( so that they don't receive Food Stamps or Medicaid), give out excellent advice about products and how to do home repairs etc;

Or the baker, again with an owner and a few decently paid employees, who bakes excellent bread and cakes and cookies etc;

Or the local greengrocer who may actually have some links to local farmers and actually offer decent food.

All of these are driven out by Wal-Mart. While the income of the small stores stayed in the local area, the income generated by sales at Wal-Mart goes, guess...to corporate headquarters far, far away.

Doug, you're the one who really doesn't know economics. Sure, you accepted, lock stock and barrell, the "free-market" ideology of someone like Steve Forbes, ( has he actually any idea of how working class people live and work- I don't think so), but you have to do a lot more observation of how things actually work rather just theory.

Where do you get the idea that union employees earn twice as much as the median income? The median yearly family income is, in the U.S., around $45K. Do you really think they earn $90K?

Compared to the CEO's and other executive pay, that amount is small change, never mind the median.

I avoid buying anything from China, not because I wish Chinese people harm, but because I think that China would do a lot better if it dealt with its own problems first and make products for their own people rather than export a lot of goods that destroy other nations' economy.

For a very clear example of all this just look at Haiti. They were food self-sufficient until quite recently. Now, they are dependent on cheap rice from the U.S. and their farmers are starving. The same thing is occuring in India.

david beasley

Does anyone have a read on the history of China's economic development as a manufacturing center for the USA? And the consequent economic concept to urbaize China and ruin the rural agricultural/fishin industries by creating polluted rivers and lakes and air for more urbaization electrical grid needs? In my naivity I wonder about the parallels of the past 2 decades ... late 1980s... and the rise of Wal-Martism in the USA. Of course as USA cleaned up many rivers China destroyed as many as well as air quality and rural livlihood.

zero

i love not only being ignorant but also defeatist. can't wait to learn what else i might be! oh, yes, self-contradictory!

as to that last adjective. if money is what matters than i want everyone to have more so they can live more decent and stable lives. if that's the way to live, then, yes, i want more than just those at the top to have a big bunch of it.

david beasley

I've posted a poem that is more than bleak about contemporary humanity. For the most of things in the world at large I agree with that bleakness in the individual nations full of militarism and unkindness. I say Christ help us see and know and live rightly within an international community an absolute knowledge of the Beatitudes' concept of comfort zones in both Matthew and Luke...if we do not already. Some do, most don't.

An excerpt from "Views" by Philip Booth

Miles beyond hills,
the capital cities, their walls behind walls.
Monuments to our lies,
to our self-blinded lives.
Above us now, two fishhawks, cheeping musical shrieks,
the risen sun easing their wingbeats.
Over us all,
daylight's invisible satellites, shamelessly
bouncing back from space the emptiness we feed them.

"Views" by Philip Booth, from Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999. © Penguin Group, 1999.


zero

with systems designed to keep, we the people, from being effective in any meaningful way in regard to influencing government action/inaction, this poem bothers me. it is said we get the government we deserve but that seems to be blaming the victim. the most critical line within this bleak poem is "the capital cities, their walls behind walls". governments do what they wish, and in the people's name, behind these walls. there are those of us who care and rail against this injustice for the people of the world; there are those of us who only care about nonsense; there are those of us who care about precisely that that ends up hurting them; there are those of us who care not at all. what's the answer? certainly not to get out there and vote and be active (even though i participate in that futility). where does that get the people?

defeatist? more like realistic. maybe i'm trying to come off that jfk book that won't let go of my mind. good ole larry summers just pronounced that economically we are experiencing a "statistical recovery as the people are in a recession". translation: the rich have maintained their wealth (and power) and the people are sinking fast. economics. winners and losers.

david beasley

"realistic" like the profound vision of the 20th century existentialists who lived through WWI and WWII, the realization of America using the atomic bomb on peoples, wars for oil and minerals and continued exploitation of the international poor by the international rich backed by nationalistic corporations moving in and out of pockets of oil and minerals who more and more gained solid footholds in the outcome of matters that touch each of us world wide citizens. I consider my own complicity in supporting such as the world's rich in the way I live even though it is meeker than many. It makes sense of Thomas Merton giving it all up as a way of living a good life. But I guess we have hashed out the merits and problems of monasticism/retreatism/seclusion as a reality.

zero

merton was discussed a great deal in the jfk book, david. he wrote copious letters to people all over the world from all different perspectives. he wrote letters because his views were such that his superiors tried to silence him and wouldn't allow him to publish his manuscripts after a certain point. he was being held down by the catholic hierarchy just as jfk was being held down by the "real" government hierarchy. last night on booktv (cspan2), a lecture of howard zinn's was reaired. a person asked the question of how could he be in school, study his course of study (something that would help him help the world) but can't find a job and how can he stay true to himself and still eat! zinn's response was enlightening. he said that we have to be able to survive in this world and if that means taking a job with corporate america or in some field not of our choosing, we have to do that in order to live. he said even though there are plenty who want to do good there's just not enough nonprofit work or think tank work or charity based for everyone. instead of beating oneself up for this seeming contradiction, take a job that will support that is the least harmful possible and then do good works besides. he said that means most of us have to have two jobs besides family; employment and doing good but that is the only solution that the structure of society holds for us. wow. that's right and good for those who needed to hear that. it made me feel better.

david beasley

I don't think so:
"he said that means most of us have to have two jobs besides family; employment and doing good but that is the only solution that the structure of society holds for us"

zero

don't understand your comment, david.
you don't think he's correct? is that what you are saying? if so, why? and what's the alternative?

david beasley

Perhaps Dr. Zinn would send my kids to the military too as a way of this duty-share paradigm. Guilt-share, duty-share for the culture that dropped the A bomb on two civilian populations to climax, accentuate and proclaim the bloodiest century of American history which saw the rise of the world dominating military force like no other on into the next century. And we still drop bombs on kindergartens and call it just war. Roll up the collective sleeves of the jims and janes of America while they are still in their cradle's so that they accept a world without mom and dad in their out of the womb kindergarten care. And that is what Dr. Zinn asks me to do? It is according to you.

david beasley

"Enlightened (survivalist like a roach)"
"...still eat! zinn's response was enlightening. he said that we have to be able to survive in this world and if that means taking a job with corporate america or in some field not of our choosing, we have to do that in order to live." -- Dr. Zinn.
Formulaic proposition: Happy profits,happy belly, happy life. Sounda like new age buddhism to me.

"Not enlightened"
"Blessed are you who are hungry now for you will be filled."-- Matthew's Jesus

"Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob*, who gave us the well.... Jesus said everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again...." -- John's Jesus. *Paternalistic Nationalism.

"One does not live by bread* alone." -- Luke's Jesus *

"For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfiet their life" -- Mark's Jesus

"Occasions for stubling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come."-- Luke's Jesus.

z,
Dr. Zinn preaches a biblical herodian sermon of worldliness and irreligion. Just like the just war advocates who follow Bonhoffer.

Z,
I am not a very good person to ask of "how to" live. But you might pilrimage to a Thich Nhat Hanh following and stay there for a few years if you really want to know. It is in France. Or go live in community with the contemporary Eberhard Arnold community. Contact them at Plough Publishing House 1-800-521-8011 or 412-329-1100. Otherwise work it out in fear and trembling... or ask Dr. Zinn.

zero

i'll just tell you, david, that dr zinn was replying to a senior in college, whose question was his dilemma about what to do. he was getting a degree in a field that was all about helping people and had already begun to look for a job only to find few to none. he said he had spent four years trying to work toward something positive in his life after school and what was he going to do? he had to work in order to live. where was he going to work? he felt anywhere less than the nonprofits, etc made him a sellout to corporate america. (he didn't say this but in today's world, most college students leave school with a load of student loan debts which have to be repaid). dr zinn was trying to help him see that he could work somewhere less than a nonprofit and still do good in the world even if it was harder to manage. he also said that working for a company that would cause harm to anyone or the world wouldn't be a good idea (i take that to mean joining the military as well). so that's what that was about. i would further add that it seems to me that there's always higher unemployment than necessary to force some individuals to enlist in the all "volunteer" military because they just don't have any other options. this is the manipulation of government/business to ensure the military has bodies. that's much worse than anything dr zinn said, which i hope i clarified for you.

Doug

Evagrius, whatever your "real life" stories are about Wal-Mart, studies have proven your theory to be false. Yes, some people will go out of business, but why is that a bad thing? Businesses fail every day, and they should if they fail to compete.

the fact of the matter is that you are not condemning Wal-Mart for its business practices—although that is included—but you are condemning the actions and behaviors of your neighbors for patronizing Wal-Mart instead of the more "virtuous" baker who pays more, etc.

Not everyone at Wal-Mart is on government subsidies.

Art Carden is a Christian economist who has studied Wal-Mart and written several papers on its affects on the economy. Contrary to propaganda, Wal-Mart actually benefits the economy more than it hurts it. Yes, temporarily some businesses fail, but there are myriad examples of other businesses sprouting in their place that bring goods and services that otherwise wouldn't have been able to be there had the baker not gone out of business. If the baker is such a great businessman, he'll survive by competing in other ways or in other areas of business by providing something that the community wants and is willing to pay for.

Your utopian vision of everyone having a job, never having to compete, and always providing for all the "right values" is simply a dream and has nothing to do with the real world. Sure, you can point to a few anecdotal stories that show that Wal-Mart isn't a saintly corporation (and I've never argued that it is). But that doesn't prove anything.

http://www.artcarden.com/walmart.html

And as for median income, I was citing the wages and benefit package of UAWU in Michigan. Yes, with benefits they do make that kind of salary. CEO pay is unrelated, because if you took all of the CEO pay in every major auto company and divided it out among all the automobile workers, they'd earn about $100 more per year.

evagrius

doug,

Boy I really ticked you off. My, what a sensitive person you are, so strenuously defending your "betters".

Wal-Mart has an advantage because of its scale. It, like every international corporation, can easily dominate any area it enters into.

www.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/stone/mssupercenterstudy.pdf -

http://wakeupwalmart.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Wal-Mart

There's a lot more, of course.

As for CEO salaries, your response is typically obsequious to the CEOs. I think you'd excuse any of their actions.

You really need to get over defending the "free-market" system.

Here's an interesting link to a view on the free market from another part of the world;

http://www.geotimes.ge/index.php?m=home&newsid=20199

I don't agree with all of it but I do understand the concerns of the writer.

zero

not everyone is on government assistance at walmart.

that makes it ok that most of the low level workers are??

david beasley

z,
Thanks for the clarity. Sorry to others for downloading scripture since verily, verily Jesus never quoted Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and our host requests not.

If anyone would like to help pay our (2 Mdivs)seminary bank loans/interest and plastic/interest for living expenses and books they are about $90,000+ though we have faithfully paid minimally every month since 2004.

zero

now, david. don't you know it's your own fault for electing to study a field where there's few jobs and not much money in it to boot? you did this to yourself, you know. why didn't you become an investment banker so you could make so much money in a few years' time so as to have no education debt whatsoever? and then when you screwed over the people of this country with your illegal or at least unethical practices, you had your hand out for a bailout from the taxpayers?! you just didn't get into the right job so it's your fault.

where can i make a modest contribution to help retire david's debt?

Doug

Many CEOs are indeed greedy bastards. I won't defend any particular one. I was defending individuals' freedom of choice to exchange in ways they find mutually beneficial.

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