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February 15, 2010

Comments

chuck

Thanks, Zero, Doug, and others.

Doug, that was not an ad hominem attack, it was an attack on some ideas that i think are remarkably naive:) But, no, feel free to respond and also notice my free use of smiley face emoticons....indicating partial teasing:)

evagrius

Yes,

I forgot to add this to my earlier post, ( a fault of thinking too fast and feeling too slow)... My condolences and sympathy.

The Orthodox tradition is also to state, "Memory Eternal!".

Doug

evagrius, what you are saying is that people ought to be restrained from trading with each other peacefully. By what right do you have to decide which trades should and should not be made between consenting adults?

evagrius

For a good laugh;

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/u_s_economy_grinds_to_halt_as

Doug- So...prostitution, drug trade, arms dealing, selling cheap liquor, etc;etc; are allright by you.

Trade between "consenting adults". Interesting. I forgot. Corporations are now full legal persons.

zero

memory eternal is lovely, evagrius! i shall remember this.

david beasley

thanx evagrius! : )))

zero

this is for all but doug especially....

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010020718/top-1-lower-tax-rate-their-secretaries

evagrius

Here's an essay that really begs for a good theological reflection;

http://www.macroresilience.com/2010/02/17/natural-selection-self-deception-and-moral-hazard/

When reading the essay, I could not help but think of this as an excellent description of the process by which Satan, the Great Liar, operates.

Perhaps Chuck could state a nice reflection on this essay.

It seems to me that, despite all appearances to the contrary, there seems to be a growing convergence of different strands of previously isolated thought, ( economics, politics, philosophy, science and theology), coming together and creating a more unified view of humanity and its situation in the world.

This essay, while dealing strictly with economics and finance, does point to some areas outside of the essay's focus, namely ethics and norality, and shows how those can be subverted to the needs of the ego, the false self.

Doug

Evagrius, all of those things on your list do not create "victims" in and of themselves the same way a war does, or the same way fraud or theft does. You apparently desire to tell other people what decisions they can and cannot make for themselves. I find that void of human dignity and respect. It's one thing to desire to protect people from the harm others inflict upon them. It's quite another to tell others they have to live by your subjective standards of morality.

Corporations are groups of individuals. Just as people say "the people have spoken" by voting for Obama, it is a legitimate group of people who have chosen to associate with one another. Yes, it's more complex than that, but that's the short of it.

Doug

I'm all for the "top 1%" paying as much as their secretaries. I'm for treating people equally, and if we're going to tax people, it ought to be equal.

Unless, of course, you believe that some people ought to be treated as "more equal than others."

That blog entry proved nothing but anecdotal evidence. The bottom 50% of Americans don't pay any income tax at all. The top 1% paid 27.5% of taxes for the entire nation in 2007. The top 5% paid 45.1%, and the top 10% paid 57.1%. The top 25% pay 72.4% of federal taxes. Now who isn't paying their "fair share"?!
Hatred of the wealthy isn't exactly a virtue. (and no, I'm not wealthy. I'm just around the national median income.)

zero

this article was based on the stats of the IRS!!!!! what is wrong with you? it's breathtaking your denial, doug. i'm gobsmacked.

so if you don't believe the irs, you won't believe this either and if you do you probably approve....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saul-friedman/gray-matters--outing-the_b_468007.html

evagrius

Doug,

I'm a little confused about what you're arguing. On the one hand, you decry "corporatism" but on the other, you describe corporations as a group of individuals who should be free to do as they like, never mind the consequences.

Do you really think Monsanto should have a monopoly on seeds to the extent that farmers are forbidden to save seeds for planting, ( patent infringement), especially when those seeds are not Monsanto's "creation" but "traditional"?

As for tax rates, incomes for the top 1% went up 300% while their taxes only went up 200% since 1980. Not bad.

chuck

Evagrius, you are getting at one of the core contradictions in positions like those Doug holds. They seem to think that the kind of idealistic free markets they imagine do not exist because government gets in the way. Sadly, this is one of the core areas of naivete that permeate "ideological libertarianism"--as opposed to the more chastened version. I am in the middle of editing my book, but hope to get to a series of posts on this soon. Of course, i do not expect the ideologues to agree, that is, after all, the nature of ideological positions--no evidence counts against them in the minds of the holders.
In a nutshell, what free market ideologues are unable to see is the extent to which free markets create abusive situations that require regulation and legislation to avoid. These are abuses the free marketeers also decry, but once the regulations/legislation is in place to protect from abuse, they decry the regulation/legislation as the problem. More detail to follow.

Doug

Evagrius, you are misrepresenting my position to suit your own conceptions of what I believe. I have never, ever, and will never, ever say that "free to do as they like" is a valid understanding of libertarian or "free market values." That it is not obvious to you the self-limiting nature of absolute freedom shows you've given little thought to the nature of freedom and are more concerned with controlling the lives of other people by your subjective preferences. Corporatism is a word used to describe the collusion of government and corporations at the expense of those who are not corporations. If a corporation—or any group of individuals gathered in different forms—colludes with the State for their gain at the expense of other people, that is unethical and immoral. Do you not agree?

Chuck, there is no contradiction because you are misrepresenting and assuming incorrectly what I have said. It is only a contradiction to you because you are projecting things upon my beliefs that I have not said (or believe). If what I've said sounds contradictory, perhaps I stated it wrong. And, of course, perhaps there are some aspects of my beliefs that are yet unrefined.

What you define as "free market abuses" are mythical devices created to say, "See! The Market abuses people!" and is about as useful as saying that since some Christians kill in the name of God that proves that Christianity is a violent religion. I'm not against regulation or legislation per se, but when such legislation is intended to rig the system in favor of a perceived victim (rather than protecting the victims from the flaws in the current legislation), then I have some issues.

Chuck/Evagrius, both of you have to decide whether or not you believe in slavery in all degrees. It sounds to me like you are okay with involuntary servitude to the State for the sake of your subjective preferences that you wish to impose upon the rest of us. It is a disrespect of human dignity and for the diversity of humans in general that you seem to be advocating. I could be wrong (just as you are wrong in identifying my beliefs), but that's how it is coming off.

evagrius

Doug- You're being incoherent.

I gave you the example of Montsanto. You did not respond.

What prevents corporations from "doing what they like"? "Self-control"?

Who comprises the "State"? Is it some alien entity, some "Leviathan", that has come from nowhere and has decided to impose itself on previously "free people"?

Did you read the article I linked to above about self-selection and moral hazard?

There's some fascinating insights there about how and why the financial market crashed. And notice, the "State" was not involved in the crash itself.

Doug

evagrius, what is incoherent about my statements? I don't know about Montsanto, but if "patent infringement" is what keeps farmers from saving the seeds, then no, I would be against that, as I am against government-granted monopolies (which is essentially what patents are).

Corporations ought to be prevented from "doing what they like" at the expense of others because the freedom of those "others" ought to be protected. By whom or by what, you ask? By whatever governance is ethically setup to arbitrate conflicts of interest and punish fraud, theft, and aggression.

Your "leviathan" comment has nothing related to what I actually said, but your description of a state that imposes itself against the will of the people... well, if the Bush administration didn't prove that to be the case, I don't know what will. The whole POINT of the State is its own preservation at anybody's expense. Unfortunately, we as a society haven't realized that it is a life-depleting force whenever it is used to accomplish anything other than protection of our freedoms... and EQUALLY our freedoms (which means no corporatism, no monopolies protected by government, no Big Business "tax breaks" from government).

If you believe that the state had nothing to do with the crash of the financial markets, you need to get your head from out of the sand and pay attention! I can understand if you think it's a mixture of financial markets and government interference, but to say NOT INVOLVED is just naive.

david beasley

"Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet That Can Reach Iran": a headline offering hope for manufacturing wealth... sans peace, but, what a prosperity for some???

evagrius

An interesting article;

http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/02/23/the-global-economic-crisis/

zero

evagrius, that is an interesting article. i shall be investigating further. thank you.

Jonay

Good point. I hadn't tohguht about it quite that way. :)

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