Fightback against anti-Americanism

August 19th, 2008 at 4:50 pm by David Farrar

A group has been formed by some Londoners to fight , and they have launched a website.

They have a useful myths page, including:

  • Myth: America is not a truly free and open society
  • Myth: Black Americans are held back in a country plagued by racism
  • Myth: America refused any involvement in World War II, when the freedom of Europe was at stake, until the December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour forced her to participate
  • Myth: America is exceptionally ungenerous in its aid to developing nations
  • Myth: America is a violent, high-crime society

They also expose how ill-informed many people in the UK are on the US:

  • 80% think the US sold Saddam Hussein more than a quarter of his weapons. In fact it was 0.46%
  • 58% think polygamy is legal in some parts of the US
  • 52% think the US more often sides with non-Muslims and non-Arabs in wars, when in reality “during the last half-century, in 11 of 12 major conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and secular forces, or Arabs and non-Arabs, the United States has sided with the former group”

They also have a huge range of briefing papers on what the US has done for the world.

This is not a site saying America is perfect or that US Governments have not done some bad things. It is about adding some balance to the anti-Americanism out there, reflected in the poll results.

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198 Responses to “Fightback against anti-Americanism”

  1. Grant Michael McKenna (1,160 comments) says:

    The left has made up their mind- don’t confuse them with the facts…

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  2. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I’d love them to fight the myths that 40% of Americans can’t find Mexico/Canada/England on a map, would be great. Maybe i’ll email them..

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  3. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Myth: America refused any involvement in World War II, when the freedom of Europe was at stake, until the December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour forced her to participate

    “”If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don’t want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word.”
    – President Harry Truman

    (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,815031,00.html)

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  4. radar (319 comments) says:

    So is this new blog a CIA-front? Probably.

    “80% think the US sold Saddam Hussein more than a quarter of his weapons. In fact it was 0.46%”

    Way to go the Reagan administration! They also sent him a $3,000,000,000 loan. That would have been helpful I’m sure.

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  5. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    According to that link Ryan, he was a “little known senator” at the time, NOT president.

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  6. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Myth: America is exceptionally ungenerous in its aid to developing nations
    Fact: The United States government consistently contributes more towards overseas aid that the government of any other country

    Of course most of that goes to Egypt and Israel as a bribe to stop them from killing each other and the bulk of the rest goes to Columbia to fight their war on drugs. The amount of money that the US spends on actual aid (food, medical care ect) is minimal, especially for the richest country in human history.

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  7. Exclamation Mark (85 comments) says:

    Wow, Radar was quick to prove Grant Michael McKenna’s point!

    So is this new blog a CIA-front? Probably.

    Only ‘probably’ Radar? How about ‘most definately’ because only CIA operatives would support Amerikkka right?
    Couldn’t possibly be that there are actually people out there who don’t try and put the boot into the US at every given chance, so they MUST be CIA operatives.

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  8. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    According to that link Ryan, he was a “little known senator” at the time, NOT president.

    True. Apologies, all. Still a disturbing sentiment from a future president.

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  9. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Of course most of that goes to Egypt and Israel as a bribe to stop them from killing each other and the bulk of the rest goes to Columbia to fight their war on drugs. The amount of money that the US spends on actual aid (food, medical care ect) is minimal, especially for the richest country in human history.

    Aid to Israel is also about fuelling symbiotic high-tech industries, especially military.

    The US government contributes more overseas aid than the government of any other country, but proportionally far, far less.

    http://markc1.typepad.com/relentlesslyoptimistic/images/foreign_aid_chart1.GIF

    So that little fact is a little misleading.

    However, that is slightly offset by the higher-than-most degree of private charity from Americans to foreign needs.

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  10. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    Now if this post isn’t living up to the kiwiblog motto, I don’t know what does. Watch the anti-american lefties froth, watch them lie, watch them spin! haha!

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  11. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    goodgod,

    Only quoted statistical facts so far! haha!

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  12. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull, how old are you? Did you ever hear about lend lease, or convoy escorts to the mid Atlantic? As soon as I saw this post I set a stopwatch to see how long it would take for the idiots to turn up.

    No doubt you’ll be telling the Ukranians and Poles that they can rely on Germany and France to guarantee their security?

    And as for DIM, well let me see now, where did 90% of the aid for SE Asia after a recent disaster come from? The UN wallahs sitting on their arses in flash hotels or the US Navy and Air force. Exactly how much aid has the US pumped into the African continent in the last ten years?

    How mush private money goes from the US to other countris i the form of aid?

    How much does your piss ant socialist government in NZ along with it’s army of budging whingers actually give away to other countries?

    You people are almost as pathetic as Winston Peters.

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  13. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Oh, the poor dears! Life’s tough when you’re an American.

    Except it isn’t. it so, SO isn’t.

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  14. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Adolf,

    Before you whine on about “you people”, it was just a single quote, worth thinking about.

    And I was the one who pointed out that the US gives more private aid than most other countries. I looked for stats on that one for a bit, couldn’t find it, but I’m confident that I’m correct that US citizens give more private aid than most other developed-nation citizens.

    Take a deep breath, read what people write before responding, and wipe a little of that froth from your mouth. And maybe read what you write before posting, because asking “how mush” just makes you sound drunk.

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  15. Richard Hurst (859 comments) says:

    America is a superpower. So America gets hate, envy and jealousy from others. Americans could be living saints and donate 50% of their GDP to the third world but they’d still get hate, envy and jealousy. Britain was once a superpower, so it got hate, envy and jealousy from others. Its all just a little bit of history repeating…..take it away Shirley Bassey.

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  16. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Adolf: Not entirely up on the figures but since you mention it I am pretty sure NZ more or less totally supports several pacific island “countries”!

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  17. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    America is a superpower. So America gets hate, envy and jealousy from others. Americans could be living saints and donate 50% of their GDP to the third world but they’d still get hate, envy and jealousy.

    I think they’d get love and gratitude.

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  18. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Weak Libertarian view again Ryan,

    Anyway “The Fightback against anti-Americanism” Its very good to see a group seriously defending the US.- The Greatest Nation in the World.

    They give up their own sons lives to preserve the freedoms of others.

    The spin that went out about the Iraq war was fed completely from academic theories fed by peacenik propaganda.

    It became hysterical shrieking which affected weak western nations incl NZ and it was perfectly orchestrated by a left wing socialist MSM.

    You can’t sell papers and get screen time if you don’t have scandal so it must be created with continual dramatic effect.

    Where’s all the documentaries promoting the incredible progress that has been achieved in Iraq and the freedoms that the people have there now ! They can actually vote freely now like the US and NZ can.

    Old Churchill knew a few of the real facts of World History- “Peace is won”

    Compared to Neville Chamberlains lovely populist wet bus ticket proclamation( while the tanks were rolling into Poland) “Peace in our time”

    My old hardy annual is to compare the freedoms of the US with the repression of China etc

    Who would you really feel safer under the protection of ?
    Who do you really trust more ?
    The US?

    or China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, Nth Korea, Pre-war Iraq, Zimbabwe etc.?

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  19. Richard Hurst (859 comments) says:

    No, Ryan Sproull, they’d get: “bite the hand that feeds”.

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  20. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    They also sent him a $3,000,000,000 loan. That would have been helpful I’m sure.

    False. That was an agricultural credit of which only a third was actually used. The size of the credit pales in comparison to the loans from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which were over $US 70 billion when the war ended.

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  21. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Weak Libertarian view again Ryan,

    What view? I just pointed out that one of the facts is misleading. Do you want to address that point?

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  22. mickeyovalium (1 comment) says:

    I am unable to find any confirmation of the .46% supplying of Hussein’s weapons figure quoted as fact in this blog. Over what time period is this figure based and where are the supporting references?

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  23. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    Still a disturbing sentiment from a future president.

    I don’t see why it’s disturbing. The Soviet Union was an awful place and Truman’s statement was a recognition of that.

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  24. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    No, Ryan Sproull, they’d get: “bite the hand that feeds”.

    Well, as mentioned above, Israel receives 19 times more US aid than, say, Ethiopia. Do they bite the hand that feeds?

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  25. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Polemic: What makes you think it isn’t more accurate to say “They give up their own sons lives to preserve the freedom of their oil supply?

    Name a country USA has invaded {in recent times} in order to “preserve the freedom of others” that hasn’t been directly connected with their oil imports!

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  26. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    I would like to know if Ryan Sproull and other like minded people will sign the declaration on the site?

    “Ours is a better world because of America. The world is safer because of the American soldier. The world is wealthier because of American enterprise. The world is healthier because of American technology. No nation is perfect, but imagine the world without America. I reject anti-Americanism. I declare myself a friend of the United States of America.”

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  27. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    I don’t see why it’s disturbing. The Soviet Union was an awful place and Truman’s statement was a recognition of that.

    I was thinking more the “let them kill as many as possible”. Both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were fucked, for certain.

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  28. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    Compared to Neville Chamberlains lovely populist wet bus ticket proclamation( while the tanks were rolling into Poland) “Peace in our time”

    Get your facts straight. Neville the Appeaser’s statement was referring to the annexation of Sudetenland at Munich. After the invasion of Bohemia, Neville issued a security guarantee to Poland against any German invasion.

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  29. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    Name a country USA has invaded {in recent times} in order to “preserve the freedom of others” that hasn’t been directly connected with their oil imports!

    Haiti and Grenada

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  30. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Looks like its been copy and pasted from the various zealot blogs like Midnight Sun. Surprised DPF is even mentioning it. Didn’t think this propaganda was his bag.

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  31. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    I would like to know if Ryan Sproull and other like minded people will sign the declaration on the site?

    “Ours is a better world because of America. The world is safer because of the American soldier. The world is wealthier because of American enterprise. The world is healthier because of American technology. No nation is perfect, but imagine the world without America. I reject anti-Americanism. I declare myself a friend of the United States of America.”

    Emmess,

    Too vague for my liking. I’m a big fan of Volkswagens, Kant, Einstein, Nietzsche, television and aspirin, but I wouldn’t go signing a declaration that ours is a better world because of Germany.

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  32. gazzaj (99 comments) says:

    “Ours is a better world because of New Zealand. The world is safer because New Zealand has only fought to defend other countries against aggression. The world is wealthier (slightly) because of New Zealand. The world is healthier because of New Zealand milk. No nation is perfect, but imagine the world without New Zealand (No nukes without Rutherford). I reject anti-New Zealandism. I declare myself a friend of New Zealand.”

    I’d sign that.

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  33. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    Also Bosnia, Kosovo and Somalia.

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  34. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Gotta love google… on this post (hint: keywords anti-american[ism]) google has served me up a nice link to Muslima.com – The International Muslim Matrimonial site [Browse Photos Now!] :)

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  35. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    I WANT TO BELIEVE, but not in the arsehole BUSH,

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  36. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Some things I like about America:

    The Constitution
    Separation of powers
    The Bill of Rights
    Arrested Development
    Seinfeld
    Joss Whedon
    Judd Apatow

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  37. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Ryan, you must be white!

    Guilty! Except I don’t like coffee.

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  38. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # Danyl Mclauchlan (323) Add karma Subtract karma –2 Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Myth: America is exceptionally ungenerous in its aid to developing nations
    Fact: The United States government consistently contributes more towards overseas aid that the government of any other country

    “Of course most of that goes to Egypt and Israel as a bribe to stop them from killing each other and the bulk of the rest goes to Columbia to fight their war on drugs. The amount of money that the US spends on actual aid (food, medical care ect) is minimal, especially for the richest country in human history.”

    Ryan Sproull (734) Add karma Subtract karma –3 Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    “………However, that is slightly offset by the higher-than-most degree of private charity from Americans to foreign needs.”

    Good on you for pointing that out, Ryan, but you understate the case.

    Look at “The Index of Global Philanthropy 2008″ from the “Centre For Global Prosperity”.

    I will post a link separately because I don’t want THIS comment swallowed up in moderation.

    The amount of PRIVATE CHARITY from the USA to the rest of the world, is far, far bigger than the amounts given by the next most generous nation, and puts the USA way ahead of everyone else in the generosity stakes. One noteworthy thing is that nations that give large amounts FROM THE STATE tend to be piss-pathetic in their private giving.

    The obvious conclusion is that the Free people and their capitalism score all the points yet again – not that that will ever be admitted by all the lefties in the media all over the world.

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  39. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # Danyl Mclauchlan (323) Add karma Subtract karma –2 Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Myth: America is exceptionally ungenerous in its aid to developing nations
    Fact: The United States government consistently contributes more towards overseas aid that the government of any other country

    “Of course most of that goes to Egypt and Israel as a bribe to stop them from killing each other and the bulk of the rest goes to Columbia to fight their war on drugs. The amount of money that the US spends on actual aid (food, medical care ect) is minimal, especially for the richest country in human history.”

    Ryan Sproull (734) Add karma Subtract karma –3 Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    “………However, that is slightly offset by the higher-than-most degree of private charity from Americans to foreign needs.”

    Good on you for pointing that out, Ryan, but you understate the case.

    Look at “The Index of Global Philanthropy 2008″ from the “Centre For Global Prosperity”.

    I will post a link separately because I don’t want THIS comment swallowed up in moderation.

    The amount of PRIVATE CHARITY from the USA to the rest of the world, is far, far bigger than the amounts given by the next most generous nation, and puts the USA way ahead of everyone else in the generosity stakes. One noteworthy thing is that nations that give large amounts FROM THE STATE tend to be piss-pathetic in their private giving.

    The obvious conclusion is that the Free people and their capitalism score all the points yet again – not that that will ever be admitted by all the lefties in the media all over the world.

    https://www.hudson.org/files/documents/2008%20Index%20-%20Low%20Res.pdf

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  40. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    I also recall that the US has done more for fighting AIDS in Africa than any other nation (despite the handwringing of Europe they have done nothing).

    But hey, what have the Romans ever done for us? eh? (with apologies to the usual sources, couldnt resist)

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  41. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2008

    http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html#anchor1469361

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  42. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Thanks, PhilBest. That’s what I was looking for.

    Page 20, figure 4, I think, is the one that’s worth looking at.

    Also, the full quote in response to the myth is:

    “Fact: The United States government consistently contributes more towards overseas aid that the government of any other country, although in cash terms its contribution is smaller as a proportion of gross domestic product than that of most Western countries.[12] Most impressive, however, is the amount individual Americans choose to give in voluntary donations, dwarfing the amount contributed out of the government budget. US private giving to poor nations reached $34.8 billion in 2006. Next highest were the United Kingdom and Germany, which gave $1.61 billion and $1.35 billion respectively.[13] ”

    Which shows that the Fightback page does acknowledge the proportional difference, which is good.

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  43. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    On US “support” for Saddam Hussein, firstly, there was a “cold war” on, and they did woo him initially, only to lose him to the less scrupulous Russkies. (The Yanks tended to get fussy about things like human rights). Then there was “pragmatism” over Saddam’s war with Iran – hey, who would YOU “support”? Saddam or Khomeini?

    On the subject of weapons sales to Iraq, there is actually a Wikipedia on it. Figures are from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. They are easier to access and follow on the wiki.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_sales_to_Iraq_1973-1990

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  44. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    On US “support” for Saddam Hussein, firstly, there was a “cold war” on, and they did woo him initially, only to lose him to the less scrupulous Russkies. (The Yanks tended to get fussy about things like human rights). Then there was “pragmatism” over Saddam’s war with Iran – hey, who would YOU “support”? Saddam or Khomeini?

    On the subject of weapons sales to Iraq, there is actually a Wikipedia on it. Figures are from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. They are easier to access and follow on the wiki.

    My posting with link has been swallowed up in moderation. Google it yourself.

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  45. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    .

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  46. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Basically the record shows that the Yanks were NOT Saddam’s suppliers of arms once they had made a firm stand on his human rights record, and that Russia and France were the main ones with the necessary lack of scruples.

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  47. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RRM gives us the usual lefty crap about “invasions for oil”.

    Why was Saddam a threat to the world, and Mugabe isn’t? Can you say, “oil money”? DUH.

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  48. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    PhilBest – wow. great link. that table on pp23 is pretty telling. usa is off the scale. i’d also suggest that donated value per capita may be a ‘feel good’ stat for the donor nation… but its the quantum of $ gifted that matters to the needy (and hat’s the purpose..!). the usa quantum is huge.

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  49. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Yeah, isn’t the ingratitude and spite sickening in the light of the facts? Keep reading that report, “getstaffed”, the USA is top even per capita when all the “private” activity is taken into account. Also important to consider, is that “private” charity is far more EFFECTIVE than government charity.

    Good on Farrar for putting this up here. Note how any thread of this nature tends to take off. I’m disappointed that I’m going have to be out of the loop for a while now, I feel really strongly about this.

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  50. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    stephen, that’s an extremely intelligent comment.

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  51. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The quality of aid is of course, terribly important. From Gareth Morgan:

    En route we juddered through 3 villages where it was clear the people were quite ill. Our driver Steve confirmed that Aids is rife, malaria common and just one of them had a water well. Inhabitants of the others had to walk miles for water.

    Yet each village had at least two churches – which, as you might expect, were the finest buildings in sight. The denominations? Seventh Day Adventists, Apocalyptic Faith and Action, Latter Day Saints and all other manner of Christian fundamentalist imperialists from America’s Bible Belt.

    I suspect missionary David Livingstone is turning in his grave, 150 years, at this legacy of religious capture amid continued deprivation. The ubiquity of churches through Zambia – all built with US money – doesn’t sit well with the continued exclusion of ordinary Zambians from economic progress.

    http://nbr.infometrics.co.nz/up-in-smoke_1153.html

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  52. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    It was a deleted comment adolf.

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  53. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    Cha’s list is simply rehashed propaganda. To give one example:

    In the first half of the 20th century it repeatedly sent Marines to “protectorates” such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. All these interventions directly served corporate interests [...]

    In the specific case of Haiti, the Haitan Government took out a huge loan from European bankers and promptly pissed the loan against the nearest wall. When the time came to repay, they couldn’t. The European bankers started complaining to their governments who started making noises about sending an armed invasion force and annex it (this was perfectly legal by the international law of the time – Egypt got incorporated into the British Empire simply because it had bad loans over the Suez canal). Since the stated policy of the US government was the Monroe Doctrine – that the states of the New World should be politically free and independent, it had to act to thwart such a possibility thus the short-term occupation to satisfy the European bankers.

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  54. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    What’s the point? Those that dont want to believe it never will, and Europeans dont want to believe it.

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  55. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    It is a pity that, due to it being somewhat trendy to criticise America, accurate criticisms can be drowned out by misinformed generalisations and outright mistakes. People are often very ready to believe anything bad they hear about any people or entity they’re predisposed to dislike. Really, critics of some of the US’s policies (like myself) should welcome a site that separates some of that chaff.

    A good example is one of the myths listed: that the US government was behind 9/11.

    Noam Chomsky, whom I consider to be a pretty insightful critic of US foreign policy (usually just by applying US standards to itself), made himself [even more] enemies when he attacked the “9/11 Truth” movement:

    “That’s an internet theory and it’s hopelessly implausible. Hopelessly implausible. So hopelessly implausible I don’t see any point in talking about it.”

    In an interview, he expressed his frustration about the conspiracy theorists:

    “One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis.”

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  56. gazzaj (99 comments) says:

    The quality of aid is of course, terribly important.

    Of course – there’s a whole industry measuring and improving aid (including rebranding it as “development cooperation”).

    And aid from U.S. religious groups is $8.8bn out of a U.S. contribution of $129bn. While some of that may be involve missionary work it seems to be a small fraction of the total.

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  57. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Im off to the USA in a couple of weeks CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!
    Americans are great people, very friendly which in my mind more than makes up for the occasional ignorance of the wider world around them.
    Not like those arogant stuck up europeans that frequent our shores with their almost universal contempt for anything kiwi.
    Take a photo of a mountain and ridicule a kiwi should be their motto. Although I have to admit, some poms aren’t to bad if a little “whingy”.

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  58. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Good quantitative point gaazaj, but aid quality is probably a lot harder to measure i.e. were those religious groups giving money towards a new clean water supply or buying bibles?

    Another quality of aid issue is ‘tied aid’ – giving money, but with the proviso that the money must be spent on say, tractors from the donor country, as opposed to the best value product worldwide…

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  59. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Often even accurate criticisms lack proper perspective. The focus is “all America, all the time” so relatively small criticisms appear much greater than they are.

    This is compounded when blissfully ignorant Europeans repeat the criticisms ad nauseum and never apply their own standards to themselves.

    According to many I have met in Europe, Europe > America. It is a simple formula that is never accompanied by a proof. It is just assumed.

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  60. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    You might’ve seen/heard Chomsky say this too Ryan…

    I choose to live in what I think is the greatest country in the world, which is committing horrendous terrorist acts and should stop.

    My emphasis.
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/30/ltm.01.html

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  61. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Its amazing how the left develop morals as soon as the USA comes up.
    “They are rich they should do more for poor people”.
    “They make bombs that kill people” (deerrrrrr!!!)
    ” they don’t bend over (backwards!) for the UN”

    Maybe they are right and the yanks should pay for NZ to be one giant welfare state, they are rich after all, what an evil country they are not bowing down to the poor wretched kiwis, don’t they know who we are? We should ban some more of their boats, then they will know who’s boss!!!!!

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  62. gazzaj (99 comments) says:

    stephen, you’re right, as far as I know aid quality is very difficult to measure. Who ends up benefitting from it, how long-lasting the projects are, what effect food aid has on local farmers, does it encourage dependency etc. all seem like pretty difficult questions to answer and will probably be argued over by academics in journals forever, with no clear resolution (if i remember anything from the one sociology paper i did at uni).

    I’m sure there’s a lot of misspent, counterproductive or even outright bad aid out there. The point I was making was that U.S. aid isn’t necessarily of “worse quality” than that of other countries, even if religious aid presumably is.

    Re-reading your original comment, I’m not sure now if you meant it as a criticism of the U.S. – but in the spirit of attacking/defending American aid efforts that’s how I read it. ;-)

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  63. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “I’m sure there’s a lot of misspent, counterproductive or even outright bad aid out there. The point I was making was that U.S. aid isn’t necessarily of “worse quality” than that of other countries, even if religious aid presumably is. ”

    Pretty unfair to assume christian aid is worthless, and it is certainly not accurate with the christian organisations I know from the US.
    Infact one ministry was so effective with their disaster response team after hurricane katrina, that the govt officials asked them to manage the resources to be distributed over a very large area. These christian organisations can mobilise very fast after a disaster and opperate with incredible efficency.
    But no body hear’s about it cause they don’t crow about it afterwards.

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  64. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    Oh wank wank…

    I remember that at the outset of the Iraq war there were many pundits who claimed that critics of the Bush administration were simply ‘anti-American’. Unfortunately, I found very few people who could tell me what it meant to ‘be American’ in a way that necessarily made ‘Americans’ distinguishable from anybody else in the west (and in a few other places too). I hung out with a lot of U.S. military people then and they seemed to have the idea drilled into them that it was ‘the ability to walk down the road and buy a hamburger’. I guess we really are all Americans then.

    Frankly, I think in these postmodern times it is a bit silly to essentialise a sovereign administrative and geographical unit (for that is all that a nation is, really) and say that the people who live there are this way or that way. The concept of “America” means different things to different Americans. But it is equally stupid to paint those who ‘think America is a racist place’ (despite the fact that race is a real political issue in some parts of the U.S.) or disagree with U.S. foreign policy (even facts carefully selected by politically motivated pollsters wrong) as ‘anti-American’. If the concept of ‘America’ is fluid and subjective, then one cannot really ‘oppose’ it, now, can one? I bet most of those Brits polled would agree that Disneyland is a fun place, Coca-cola tastes sweet and they would do either Brad or Angela. Most may even agree with false statements such as ‘America invented television’ and debatable assertions such as ‘the entry of the U.S. into the Second World War saved Europe from Hitler.’ Does that then make them ‘pro-American’?

    The point is these terms are worthless. I downright hate some aspects of current United States government policy. And I don’t like bits of the Constitution either. And pardon me, but the fact that I think there are some areas where ‘the United States’ could improve their record on race relations certainly does not make me an “anti-American.” It simply means I can identify what I think are problems. And if, occasionally the facts I use to identify those “American” problems are incorrect, that doesn’t make me “anti-American” either. Just a tad ignorant.

    I do the same with aspects of ‘New Zealand society’ too. Fortunately, in NZ we have not had the ‘what does it mean to be a New Zealander’ debate until fairly recently, so few people abroad are under the illusion that it actually means anything.

    I think that’s a good thing.

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  65. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Thats the end of that then, charlie is the smartest the rest of us should shut up.
    Go Charlie!!!!

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  66. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    “Angela” sorry “Angelina”

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  67. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    Phil Best at 7.04

    “Why was Saddam a threat to the world, and Mugabe isn’t? Can you say, “oil money”? DUH.”

    You mean apart from the fact that Iraq had the largest army and airforce in the region, versus Zim not having enough fuel for a fleet of Hilux utes?

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  68. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    Smedley Darlington Butler wrote war is a racket.

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  69. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    gazzaj, yeah you’re right – theres a massive amount of introspection within the aid and academic communities about…any issue you can think of really. They’d all love those farm subsidies to be lifted though, oh boy!

    “The point I was making was that U.S. aid isn’t necessarily of “worse quality” than that of other countries, even if religious aid presumably is.”

    I agree too. My ‘original’ post (the Morgan one?) was simply to illustrate that absolute numbers are really a bit pointless.

    Shunda, we were talking about the QUALITY of the aid, nothing else (see the gareth morgan one).

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  70. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Good stuff Charlie! To accuse someone of being anti-american is just one of the laziest ways to shut someone up going around, and is deplorable. Unless of course, that someone has just been seen chanting ‘death to America’. Though really, what exactly does that mean? ‘Death to Bush’? ‘Troops out’? Big flaming hole between Canada and Mexico?

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  71. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    “Shunda, we were talking about the QUALITY of the aid, nothing else (see the gareth morgan one).”

    Yes I agree some missionary projects are a little short term and alot have been a waste of resources.
    The organisation I was talking about saw this problem and decided to start a water well project in Africa. They found that 90% of wells built from various charities would cease to function after a year or so. This group decided to educate people how to maintain the wells and made sure spare parts were available (alot of wells were not working due to the malfunction of relatively cheap parts). The thing they found the most destructive was organisations that gave big handouts, all it did was get the people reliant on handouts and never actually gave them a foot up.
    This is the problem with all aid agencies that have a short term investment in an area, it just dosen’t stick.

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  72. honey badger (37 comments) says:

    Why are americans so loud? It’s terribly off-putting but the web site doesn’t explain.

    The lack of ability to use an “inside voice”, or at least yell out useful, non-ego-centric comments rather than inane or ignorant observations, is the main basis for my general aversion to Americans at Large.

    I know a few who are softly spoken AND / OR intelligent.

    This compensates hugely but does not change the overwhelming impression and accompanying banality inflicted on all those within earshot.

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  73. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    It is just very unfortunate that many people (including the ones who launched this website) confuse legitimate criticims of US Government practices (ie criticism of imperialism) with genuine Anti-Americanism (ie racism).

    I’m not anti-American, but I do think that every US Administration (with the possible exception of Carter’s) since that of FD Rooseveldt (an even he made a very bad call on nuclear weaponry) has been aggressively imperialist.

    “Hate the Government” does not mean “Hate the People” – so I hate it when people label me “Anti-American” for criticising the US Administration.

    This is the same argument that Zionists put up – claiming that if you oppose Zionism, then you are anti-Semitic and therefore racist. I fully support the right of Jews to self-determination in Israel/Palestine, but Palestinian Arabs also have that same right in that same land.

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  74. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    >>Too vague for my liking. I’m a big fan of Volkswagens, Kant, Einstein, Nietzsche, television and aspirin, but I wouldn’t go signing a declaration that ours is a better world because of Germany.

    If there was a large movement of irrational Anti- Germanism. I would sign that if it wasn’t for Hitler.

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  75. pushmepullu (686 comments) says:

    The European bankers started complaining to their governments who started making noises about sending an armed invasion force and annex it (this was perfectly legal by the international law of the time – Egypt got incorporated into the British Empire simply because it had bad loans over the Suez canal).

    Wrong. Egypt was never annexed by Britain.

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  76. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    STRAWMAN ALERT!!!!

    toad, stephen, and charlietan, all you are doing is asserting that “they” think anti-Americanism is X and then arguing that in reality X isnt anti-Americanism.

    “”They” are saying that disagreeing with foreign policy is being anti-American, but I’m not.”

    Disagreeing with some parts of America is not anti-Americanism, and the authors never said it was. In fact, nobody has said that it is.

    Considering something bad or wrong simply because America did it, or because an American company sells it IS anti-Americanism.

    Believing the worst about America without even knowing the truth of the situation or caring to find out IS anti-Americanism.

    Willfully ignoring facts and prefering to rely on a cartoonish fantasy of what Amerikkka “really is” is anti-Americanism.

    Assuming that all or even the majority of a group of people are ignorant, fat, lazy, greedy, etc is pretty much racism any way you look at it, and no free pass is going to be given to you just because your particular bigotry is against those from the richest country in the world.

    This attitude is rife in Europe.

    Accusing someone of anti-Americanism isnt a tool for shutting down debate. It is simply a way to point out that someone is using a fantasy of what America “really is” to support an irrational hatred that is hardly justified.

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  77. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    I think as warm gesture of eternal friendship between the nations of New Zealand and America that New Zealand should immediately rescind the anti-nuclear legislation and invite an American warship (or even small battlegroup) to visit New Zealand’s ports. What better message could be sent to the friendly American people than Helen Clark standing on a nuclear powered American warship, docked in Wellington, giving a big toothy grin and shaking the hand of the American Captain.

    An added bonus is it would be cheaper on the New Zealand taxpayer than flying Helen to Washington to shake George W Bush’s hand which she has done twice now.

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  78. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Electing Presidents of the calibre of Bush doesn’t help create a good international perception of Americans (even though his election was by way of the FPP gerrymander with a little bit of electoral fraud thrown in for good measure).

    Did anyone else see Bush a couple of nights ago on Al Jazeera, when he couldn’t remember the outgoing Pakisatani President’s name?

    Um, General, um, er…

    I’m hoping they’ll put it on YouTube, but it’s not there yet. Almost as good as Dan Quayle’s “potatoe”!

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  79. Eisenhower (137 comments) says:

    [i]Did anyone else see Bush a couple of nights ago on Al Jazeera, when he couldn’t remember the outgoing Pakisatani President’s name?

    Um, General, um, er…

    I’m hoping they’ll put it on YouTube, but it’s not there yet. Almost as good as Dan Quayle’s “potatoe”![/i]

    This was from an interview back in 1999 when he was the Republican presidential candidate. Musharraf was hardly well known at the time.

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  80. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    About half way through this thread is becomes apparent the the left are nothing but fucking liars (as it we did not know that)

    We read all the usual pathetic excuses for being anti American “I am not anti American just anti imperialism” “I am not racist I just do not like the president” “I don’t like their constitution” “they only want oil” blah blah blah..

    Not ONE of the pinkos is brave enough to tell the bloody truth, they hate (and yes Hate is the right word to use) the USA and Americans because they represent capitalism, the only reason they are not brave enough to admit this is that they have not yet managed to move the debate from being anti Bush to being anti American and anti capitalism, many of them are still pissed off at the end of socialist/communist Russia.

    Do NOT doubt that this is their plan, the current NZ government has been on a slow “re-education” process with the public since the mid to late 70’s, one only needs look at the whole anti nuke legislation of the 80’s to see this.
    Clark, Wilson and co snookered Lange into a total American ship ban when that was never the intention of Lange or his government.

    The issue was NEVER about being nuclear free, it was all about being anti USA as it continues to be to this day, remember dear corrupt leader rushing to contradict what Condoleezza Rice said about us being an allies, Clark could not wait to remind the people that we were only an allies with a small “a”

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  81. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Not so much a strawman Kimble as a natural progression of a thread, I think. There are lazy generalists on both ‘sides’.

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  82. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Gee big bruv, once they’ve finished hating America, they can go on to hating the other several dozen capitalist countries in the world, sounds like a real fiendish plan.

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  83. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    >Willfully ignoring facts and prefering to rely on a cartoonish fantasy of what Amerikkka “really is” is anti-Americanism.

    Yes, and using carefully selected and framed statistics to show that America is not really what these people think it “really is” and to mask serious problems that do exist is equally reprehesible. Implying that there are few problems with race in America because “only” 30% of Black Americans think they have a bad deal, for example, is more than a little bit disingenuous.

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  84. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Talk about false dichotomies:

    British “Respondents to the survey were asked if their opinion of Barack Obama or John McCain
    would rise or fall if they took certain decisions.”

    “He approved a military strike against Iran:
    Barack Obama: Rise 12% / No difference 26% / Down 51%
    John McCain: Rise 12% / No difference 33% / Down 40%

    He failed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons:
    Barack Obama: Rise 6% / No difference: 31% / Down 52%
    John McCain: Rise 5% / No difference: 31% / Down 49%”

    Conclusion. U.S. presidents are “DAMNED IF THEY STRIKE AGAINST IRAN, DAMNED IF IRAN ACQUIRES NUCLEAR WEAPONS” as if there are no other options.

    http://americaintheworld.typepad.com/home/files/PollFindings2.pdf

    I wonder why they didn’t ask if the estimation of the president would rise if “he managed to broker a deal where Iran gave iup its ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons and agreed to a robust inspections regime that ensured that they had done so.” Perhaps because the evidence would have gone against their general thesis that everybody hates America no matter what.

    This organisation is a bunch of bullshit.

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  85. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Lefties deny anti-Americanism by squealing anti-American slogans.

    The only people chucked out of the dickhead club for being too dickheaded.

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  86. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “Implying that there are few problems with race in America because “only” 30% of Black Americans think they have a bad deal, for example, is more than a little bit disingenuous.”

    It would be, if they were saying that at all. But they arent. They are saying that the problem isnt as bad as people in Europe seem to be determined to think. And not only that, America is actually better off on some counts than places in Europe.

    On this issue in particular, racism in the US is on the decline and has been for decades.

    This whole thing is similar to the false idea that the US is to blame for slavery in the world. They were actually one of the first countries to outlaw it and free their slaves. This doesnt mean that they are perfect by any means. They did have slaves. But the misinformation leads to false assumptions and feeds into the anti-American sentiment in Europe and a false sense of European superiority.

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  87. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Big Bruv.

    We read all the usual pathetic excuses for being anti American “I am not anti American just anti imperialism” “I am not racist I just do not like the president” “I don’t like their constitution” “they only want oil” blah blah blah..

    I didn’t say any of those, except perhaps the first. I actually said I like their constitution, if you read above.

    Not ONE of the pinkos is brave enough to tell the bloody truth, they hate (and yes Hate is the right word to use) the USA and Americans because they represent capitalism, the only reason they are not brave enough to admit this is that they have not yet managed to move the debate from being anti Bush to being anti American and anti capitalism, many of them are still pissed off at the end of socialist/communist Russia.

    I’m not pissed off at the end of state-socialist Russia, and I never was.

    I don’t hate the USA, but I’m happy to “tell the bloody truth” and say that I hate capitalism. Why would I have a problem saying that?

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  88. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “Perhaps because the evidence would have gone against their general thesis that everybody hates America no matter what.”

    That isnt what they are saying at all. You are full of shit.

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  89. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “I don’t hate the USA, but I’m happy to “tell the bloody truth” and say that I hate capitalism.”

    This is what is known as biting the invisible hand that feeds you.

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  90. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    “The truth” is right up there with unicorns, fairies and rocking horse shit.

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  91. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    Ryan

    How on earth did you get the impression my post was directed at you only?

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  92. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    This is what is known as biting the invisible hand that feeds you.

    Heh heh, that’s pretty clever. But no, I’m well aware that I’m not suffering from capitalism. I’m on the winning side of it.

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  93. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    How on earth did you get the impression my post was directed at you only?

    Well, I’m on the left. And so your post called me “a fucking liar”. If you weren’t talking about everyone on the left, don’t say “the left”.

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  94. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “I’m well aware that I’m not suffering from capitalism. I’m on the winning side of it.”

    Of course you are, pretty much everybody is. Even those who you think aren’t are. Everybody who can work can be better off because of capitalism. And even those that can’t are better off because most other people can.

    Sure you can point to an individual person and say that they specifically would be better off in a managed economy (or whatever utopian fantasy that you think is better than capitalism), but I would be able to point to more people who would be worse off. And as time goes on I would be able to point to more and more and more and more and more….

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  95. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Oh come ON, Ryan, is libertarian anarchism “of the Left”? What ARE you?

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  96. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Also of interest here: “How Poor Are America’s Poor?”, Heritage Foundation.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/PoliticalPhilosophy/BG791.cfm

    Basically, if you split out the bottom 16% of Americans, who are alleged to be in “poverty”, they are still better off on average than the average in every country in the world apart from Japan and Switzerland.

    And if you split out the African-Americans, who do lag behind the rest (not by as much as popularly thought), the same applies. They are still better off on average than every other country in the world except Japan and Switzerland. And exponentially better off than any others of their race anywhere in the world, especially the part of the world they came from.

    The fact that 43% of African-American women go on from high school to attend universities would be celebrated from the rooftops as the world’s most outstanding example reversal of minority and gender disadvantage had it occurred anywhere other than in the USA.

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  97. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    toad (404) –4 Says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    “It is just very unfortunate that many people (including the ones who launched this website) confuse legitimate criticims of US Government practices (ie criticism of imperialism) with genuine Anti-Americanism (ie racism).

    I’m not anti-American, but I do think that every US Administration (with the possible exception of Carter’s) since that of FD Rooseveldt (an even he made a very bad call on nuclear weaponry) has been aggressively imperialist.”

    Oh come ON, Toad, typical lefty bullshit definition of “imperialist”. Where have there ever been countries around the world that have been conquered by the US that DON’T have their own democratically elected government? Funny, I don’t remember any other historical example of an “imperialist” power that matched the US in this regard.

    It is funny, too, that the Soviet Russian occupation of everywhere surrounding Russia itself from Finland to East Germany to Georgia to Krzgyistan, was never referred to in popular leftist parlance as “imperialism”.

    What was Roosevelt’s “bad call” on nuclear weaponry, Toad? Not halting development of it so that some totalitarian regime could get it first and use it to conquer the world? Please explain.

    It was Truman, of course, not Roosevelt, who authorised the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (And was that a “bad call”?)

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  98. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    “Perhaps because the evidence would have gone against their general thesis that everybody hates America no matter what.”

    >That isnt what they are saying at all. You are full of shit.

    So your explanation as to why they didn’t survey people on foreign policy options other than “bomb the shit out of them” or “lose” whould be what, exactly?

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  99. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    PhilBest – the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were what we would call terrorism today. Yes, your beloved US is responsible for the most horrendous terrorist act of all time. Just because the US and Japan were at war doesn’t justify using weapons of mass destruction designed to annihilate whole cities with the loss of thousands of civilian lives. Besides, the war was effectively over when they were bombed, so it was totally unnecessary.

    Roosevelt’s bad call was authorising their development in the first place. He did that after receiving a letter from none other than Albert Einstein, who had been persuaded that Nazi Germany might be developing a nuclear bomb. Actually, they were nowhere near having a nuclaer bomb, and Einstein later acknowledged his writing the letter to Rooseveldt was the worst decision made in his life.

    The lie is put to your approach that “it’s okay for the good guys to have it, but not the bad guys” because the US actually used theirs, rather than just maintain them as deterrence.

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  100. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    ” Just because the US and Japan were at war doesn’t justify using weapons of mass destruction designed to annihilate whole cities with the loss of thousands of civilian lives.”

    Really? So what would you have prefered a complete invasion perhaps? How many lives on both sides would have been lost then? Do you even know how many lives on both sides were lost during the invasion of Okinawa? Find out the think for your self what the devestation would have been – you lament the loss of life from two nuclear bombs, try thinking about the loss resulting from inner city combat throughout the entire Japanese mainland! Think Stalingrad in every fucken Japanese city – idiot.

    “Besides, the war was effectively over when they were bombed, so it was totally unnecessary”

    And here you show you know nothing of the subject. The Japanese would not have surrendered until at least half the island had been conquered militarily – again think of the casualties.

    Or are you that calous in regard to human life, how many allied casualties would be too much for you?

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  101. adc (595 comments) says:

    those are myths?

    Coulda fooled me. except maybe the generosity thing – they do give a lot of aid.

    But I wonder how much they spent bombing Iraq and Afghanistan… those bombs are real expensive.

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  102. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Toad you are a classic appeasement dreamer fixated with socialism theories that never work.

    As horrific as it was it prevented far more suffering and bloodshed and potentially we could have been overrun by yellowbellies.

    “PEACE IS WON”

    Overwhelming force is sometimes needed- It takes courage for a man with enough guts to decide that some lives may need to be lost to save others – In fact it is a principle of Christianity of which the US is not ashamed of!

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  103. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    “And here you show you know nothing of the subject. The Japanese would not have surrendered until at least half the island had been conquered militarily – again think of the casualties.”

    Bevan (you don’t live in an Asian city with a hanging monorail do you?), I don’t think you have much of an understanding of the events at the end of the war. The Japanese cabinet was divided on whether or not to surrender with the Emperor wavering. The interesting thing for our discussion is that recent scholarship had shown that according to cabinet notes and interviews with Japanese cabinet members after the war, the atomic bombings didn’t actually have much influence over Japan’s decision to surrender. After all, many Japanese cities had suffered greater damage than Hiroshima and Nagasaki through allied firebombing (itself a morally repugnant strategy). Some cabinet members, when they heard the Americans had a new weapon continued to insist that Japan could withstand what was essentially an aerial bombardment strategy. In any case, it turns out that the atomic bombings were barely discussed by the cabinet, not least because communications were down and the political decisionmakers probably didn’t understand what was going on. While we will never be sure what happened, it seems that the Soviet decision to declare war on Japan in the latter stages of the war was more inluential in the emperor’s decision to intervene on cabinet deliberations and effectively force their surrender.

    Of course, even if you do not buy this argument (and I’m sure it will be lambasted here as revisionist history) you are still claiming there were only two decisions to be made at the end of the war. Bomb cities or invade. Why not demonstrate the awesome power of the A bomb by detonating one just outside of Tokyo harbour, an option that was actually discussed by the Americans? It would probably have demonstrated more directly to the Government in Tokyo the power of the A-bomb more effectively than Hiroshima/Nagasaki, given that those two cities are far from Tokyo and their lines of communication would have been broken.

    It would also have avoided the deaths of a hundred thousand or so civilians. But I guess you don’t have to think about that when you are on the side of the angels. As Harry said “when you deal with a beast, you must treat him as a beast.”

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  104. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Oh come ON, Ryan, is libertarian anarchism “of the Left”? What ARE you?

    PhilBest,

    Haha, yes, it is. Anarchism is libertarian by definition. Anarchism is socialist libertarianism – against private ownership of the means of production (anti-capitalist/socialist) and against government and systems of authority.

    I’m moving into a new apartment on Friday, and will have some time there to write something up explaining better for Pascal and you – in an attempt to answer “what ARE you?”

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  105. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Kimble,

    Of course you are, pretty much everybody is. Even those who you think aren’t are. Everybody who can work can be better off because of capitalism. And even those that can’t are better off because most other people can.

    Globally, I’d dispute that, but that’s why you’re a capitalist and I’m not, obviously. Neither of us wants people in general to be worse off. We just have different views on which systems help people in general most.

    Sure you can point to an individual person and say that they specifically would be better off in a managed economy (or whatever utopian fantasy that you think is better than capitalism), but I would be able to point to more people who would be worse off. And as time goes on I would be able to point to more and more and more and more and more….

    Again, if I agreed with you on that, I would agree with you in supporting capitalism. Certainly I think that capitalism has been a driving force in history that has brought about great things. To continue with it, though, I believe is like carrying the boat on your back once you’ve reached the other shore. Again, something I hope I can explain more at full length when I have some time to do some writing.

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  106. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Of course, even if you do not buy this argument (and I’m sure it will be lambasted here as revisionist history) you are still claiming there were only two decisions to be made at the end of the war.

    Actually no Charlie, I was highlighting how wrong Toad was in his ascertion that dropping the bomb was unjustified, and that the war was as good as over – a forgone conclusion perhaps, but to everyone except the Japanese.

    And I’m quite sure having two of their cities obliterated in the blink of an eye would have played a major fucken part in the decision mate…

    Russia declaring war may have been a factor and rightly so, but how long do you think it would have taken to re mobilise the Russian military machine and move them from Eastern Europe in the middle of an occupation, all the way to the other side of Russia to fight the Japs?

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  107. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Ryan, I think the Second Coming of Christ is required before your preferred political system will work. It’s called “The Millennium”.

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  108. adc (595 comments) says:

    dropping those A bombs didn’t send a message only to the Japanese.

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  109. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Ryan, I think the Second Coming of Christ is required before your preferred political system will work. It’s called “The Millennium”.

    Oh, anyone can dismiss anyone’s views as being utopian (which somewhere along the lines came to mean “unrealistic” as well as its proper praising sense). I could dismiss Kimble’s beliefs that capitalism will make the poor richer in the long term in the same way. “You keep hoping for that perfect capitalist world where everyone’s rich because capitalism’s made everyone rich.”

    My preferred political system is liberty. I could be unrealistically utopian, but republicans, suffragettes and anti-slavery campaigners have all been called unrealistically utopian. “You’d need Christ to come back before all men could responsibly elect their own government.” “You’d need Christ to come back before women could responsibly use a vote.” “You’d need Christ to come back before people will give up owning other people.”

    Like I say, you could be right, but I don’t think I’m a utopian in any bad sense of the word.

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  110. adc (595 comments) says:

    Ryan – who owns other people?

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  111. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Look, on the subject of ending the war with Japan, the elephant in the room is the Kamikazes. And it is not the last example of this tactic that the human race is confronted with. The Kamikaze or the suicide bomber, are both enormously successful tactics militarily; although they result in the death of the attacker, they do far more damage to the target than can be done by soldiers who aim to live to fight another day. So sorry, when we are not entitled at all to criticise what the leaders of the free world did when confronted with an enemy of that level of fanaticism.

    AS FOR TOAD:

    “…..the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were what we would call terrorism today. Yes, your beloved US is responsible for the most horrendous terrorist act of all time. Just because the US and Japan were at war doesn’t justify using weapons of mass destruction designed to annihilate whole cities with the loss of thousands of civilian lives. Besides, the war was effectively over when they were bombed, so it was totally unnecessary.

    Roosevelt’s bad call was authorising their development in the first place. He did that after receiving a letter from none other than Albert Einstein, who had been persuaded that Nazi Germany might be developing a nuclear bomb. Actually, they were nowhere near having a nuclaer bomb, and Einstein later acknowledged his writing the letter to Rooseveldt was the worst decision made in his life.

    The lie is put to your approach that “it’s okay for the good guys to have it, but not the bad guys” because the US actually used theirs, rather than just maintain them as deterrence.”

    Now that I’ve stopped spewing………Toad, your type are just sore that bloody Communists were not the first to get the bomb, and use it, and take over the world with it. The fact that the Yanks got it first, is evidence that there is a God, as far as I’m concerned. And yes, Communism was “the evil empire”. Enough of this twisted moral relativism and equivalence. You’re on the wrong side of history. I can recommend some very good reading for you, authors like Solzhentsyn, Shafarevich, and Kowalewski, who suffered under your evil mates regimes. Presumably I am wasting my time, but start with Solzhenitsyn at Harvard in 1978:

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/solzhenitsyn/harvard1978.html

    Let us know if it gave you any twinges of second thoughts, there’s a good fellow.

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  112. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Ryan – who owns other people?

    I was applying the same criticism to anti-slavery campaigners back in the days of legalised slavery.

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  113. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Look, on the subject of ending the war with Japan, the elephant in the room is the Kamikazes. And it is not the last example of this tactic that the human race is confronted with. The Kamikaze or the suicide bomber, are both enormously successful tactics militarily; although they result in the death of the attacker, they do far more damage to the target than can be done by soldiers who aim to live to fight another day. So sorry, when we are not entitled at all to criticise what the leaders of the free world did when confronted with an enemy of that level of fanaticism.

    AS FOR TOAD:

    “…..the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were what we would call terrorism today. Yes, your beloved US is responsible for the most horrendous terrorist act of all time. Just because the US and Japan were at war doesn’t justify using weapons of mass destruction designed to annihilate whole cities with the loss of thousands of civilian lives. Besides, the war was effectively over when they were bombed, so it was totally unnecessary.

    Roosevelt’s bad call was authorising their development in the first place. He did that after receiving a letter from none other than Albert Einstein, who had been persuaded that Nazi Germany might be developing a nuclear bomb. Actually, they were nowhere near having a nuclaer bomb, and Einstein later acknowledged his writing the letter to Rooseveldt was the worst decision made in his life.

    The lie is put to your approach that “it’s okay for the good guys to have it, but not the bad guys” because the US actually used theirs, rather than just maintain them as deterrence.”

    Now that I’ve stopped spewing………Toad, your type are just sore that bloody Communists were not the first to get the bomb, and use it, and take over the world with it. The fact that the Yanks got it first, is evidence that there is a God, as far as I’m concerned. And yes, Communism was “the evil empire”. Enough of this twisted moral relativism and equivalence. You’re on the wrong side of history. I can recommend some very good reading for you, authors like Solzhentsyn, Shafarevich, and Kolakowski, who suffered under your evil mates regimes. Presumably I am wasting my time, but start with Solzhenitsyn at Harvard in 1978:

    (original posting with link held up in moderation. Also, I spelled Kolakowski’s name wrong first time.)

    Let us know if it gave you any twinges of second thoughts, there’s a good fellow.

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  114. adc (595 comments) says:

    ah ok.

    I think people are struggling to imagine what system you refer to when you talk about your issues with capitalism.

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  115. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    I think people are struggling to imagine what system you refer to when you talk about your issues with capitalism.

    Yeah, I’m going to write up some things vaguely outlining my thoughts, maybe this weekend. It’s hard to know where to start.

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  116. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Actually, I think the best place to start is the question:

    Is capitalism embraced because it is the least bad, or because it is right and good? If the argument for capitalism is, “Well, it’s better than any alternatives I’ve ever heard of,” then the question becomes: Can we come up with any preferable alternatives? But if the argument for capitalism is, “Capitalist property rights are right and proper [almost in a religious sense],” then the questioning has to look at the basis for such an evaluation.

    There are those who consider capitalism to be right, in that capitalist property rights are almost laws of physics. And there are those who consider capitalism to be effective, in that capitalist property rights bring about preferable outcomes (such as Kimble’s views, above). And many advocates of capitalism hold a combination of both views.

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  117. adc (595 comments) says:

    so your issue is property rights?

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  118. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Certain kinds of property rights, yes. That is one of my issues with it. There are others, but that’s as good a place to start as any. And fairly central to my views is the notion that – greatly thanks to capitalism-driven and capitalism-directed industrialisation – we are now technically living in a post-scarcity world.

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  119. adc (595 comments) says:

    what different sorts of property rights are there? You mean land? Money?

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  120. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “Globally, I’d dispute that…”

    By the sounds of it you suffer from the usual lack of imagination that do most detractors of capitalism; the idea that one person cant be better off without making another person worse off. From this incorrect starting point springs most opposition to free trade, free markets, and other good things.

    Then the issue gets muddied by capitalisms detractors misunderstanding the term free market to mean a market without any rules or regulations. They picture some sort of anarchic circumstance where the strong exploit the weak. Which is not a position supported by anyone.

    Property rights, as in the right to keep the fruits of your labour, are morally right. A deviation from this is slavery.

    Another source of misunderstanding by capitalisms detractors is that this somehow means that EVERYTHING produced by a persons physical labour must be theirs, and if this doesnt hold true, then neither does the rule. The fact that modern car workers dont get to reap all the profit from the sale of a car is considered proof that the worker is not keeping the fruits of his labour.

    They ignore, marginalise, or flat out dismiss the role of the suppliers of capital, and any fruits which flow to them. Only labour matters, “capital” shouldnt be owned by anyone. It should be owned by everyone and no one and so the return on capital should be dispersed widely. The only real means to spread out this capital that has been tried has been to centralise it, which in turn requires a centrally managed, command economy.

    Human nature is such that this situation will be exploited by individuals, which we have seen. It will also mean that the situation will lead to gross inefficiencies, which we have also seen. It will mean that growth is stymied, living standards stagnate or fall, individual freedom is curtailed, shortages in desired products and services occurs, surpluses in nondesired products and services abound. All of which we have seen.

    All of which we will see again, but hopefully not in this country. Lets hope the examples of the folly of centrally managed economies continue to be far off countries like Venezuela.

    Not surprisingly, many consider the anti-capitalist position ill thought out and, quite frankly, childish.

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  121. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    what different sorts of property rights are there? You mean land? Money?

    Land’s one. Money’s another. In terms of difference, I mean the difference between owning, say, your car (a possession) and owning shares in a business.

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  122. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “And fairly central to my views is the notion that … we are now technically living in a post-scarcity world.”

    We will not live in a post-scarcity world, even technically, for a very, very long time.

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  123. adc (595 comments) says:

    I don’t see any distinction between owning a car or shares in a business in terms of whether or not you own it, or should be allowed to.

    Where do risk, effort, talent, luck and intelligence come into this picture?

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  124. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    If the argument for capitalism is, “Well, it’s better than any alternatives I’ve ever heard of,”

    No that is normally the arguement for Democracy…

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  125. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Ryan, what difference do you see between owning shares in a business and owning every single share in a car?

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  126. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Kimble,

    Before assuming I fall into your mental category of childish, unimaginative and misunderstanding, keep your mind open to the possibility that you have yet to meet everyone in the world and encounter every viewpoint in the world.

    I am aware that one person can become better off without making another worse off.

    I am also pretty happy with the free market determining the value of goods and services.

    And I agree that keeping the fruits of your labour is morally right, and I am one of those you mention who believe that being paid less (in many situations, vastly less) than the value of the fruit of your labour – ie., capitalism – is institutionalised theft for that reason. I do not believe that the owner of capital who profits without working is acquiring that wealth by just means, especially when the ownership of that capital was inherited. And the amount of wealth those owners of capital receive, especially towards the high end of wealth, grows exponentially greater while their lack of doing anything useful remains constant.

    Your response to this situation, which you seem to acknowledge as deviating from the ideal of “it’s morally right to keep the fruit of your labour”, seems to ignore the problem entirely by saying that the only alternative is far less effective. That capitalism may involve theft, but it’s a form of theft that leaves everyone better off.

    The point where we differ is your belief that the only real alternative to private ownership of capital is a centralised authoritarian command economy. Your position seems to be, as I assessed it above, that capitalism is the most effective option, and is therefore preferable. Central to that is your belief that there are only two possible ways society can be structured:

    1. Private ownership of the means of production.
    2. Centralised authoritarian command economy.

    I agree with your criticism of the latter, and your position seems to be that, whatever faults capitalism may have, it’s preferable to the sole alternative. Do you think it’s possible that there are any other alternatives?

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  127. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Where do risk, effort, talent, luck and intelligence come into this picture?

    Effort deserves reward. Talent, luck and intelligence can make effort more valuable (as determined by the market) and therefore deserve more reward. But these are questions about work, not ownership of capital.

    Which leaves risk. I think that risk is an exaggerated factor at the higher levels of capital ownership these days. While you or I may be risking everything by throwing our life savings into starting up a small business, the great majority of capital is not owned by small-business owners. The great majority of capital is owned by corporations that would, proportionally, barely be risking a thing by throwing some into a new venture.

    But risk is still something. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. If individually rewarding risk is necessary, and rewarding it to the degree we do now is necessary, and our current economic system is the only one that rewards risk, then we’ve simply come back to: “Capitalism may not be perfect, but it’s better than the alternative(s).”

    That may be the case, but I’m not convinced we can’t come up with a few more alternatives than simply Soviet Russia.

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  128. adc (595 comments) says:

    Ryan. There is another viewpoint which (I’ll go out on a limb here) and posit that if you’d ever owned a company and employed anyone you’d see as blindingly obvious.

    A provider of capital is someone who creates opportunities. Opportunities for others to earn a living based on them making their own choices and entering relationships where they trade their time and efforts for money. Even if it’s someone who only leaves their money in the bank to earn interest, or invests in investment funds etc, at the end of the day, the money provides opportunities.

    There are different risks involved in different areas of investment, and for that risk, a reward is deserved. There are plenty of companies that go bust, and the founders lose their shirts (and seed capital). If no-one was prepared to take any risks at all, there would be no companies, and no jobs, and we would all have starved to death. Humanity relies on people taking risks. The incentive to take a risk is the prospect of a reward.

    The risks in owning a company are very commonly overlooked by people I’ve talked to who are proponents of a “more fair” system.

    I strongly disagree that being paid less than the value of the outcome of the fruit of your labour is theft. When you sign up for a job, you agree that you will do certain work for certain pay. You are in a competitive labour market. This is a compromise you are forced to make to get the job, else someone else will do it in your stead. To claim ownership of someone else’s intellectual property is in my view an actual theft. To come into a company under agreed terms, and then claim ownership in the outcome of your work which doesn’t only exist due to your labour, but also others’ intellectual property and efforts and risks taken, is unbalanced and wrong.

    Anyone who feels aggrieved about this can always start up their own company, work their own ass off for their seed capital, hire their own employees (a nightmare under current employment law), and work like a dog and maybe have a cent at the end of a year. But the types of people who complain about these things I find are not generally the types that are prepared to do that sort of thing, which is a shame, because it makes it plain that having a job is not a god-given right, it must be earned, and employers aren’t just exploiting people – they are providing opportunities for you to earn a living to feed your family – for which one should be grateful. The employer is taking risks so the employee doesn’t have to.

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  129. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    adc,

    Thank you for a very well-written and considered reply. I hope that my response is, at least to some extent, covered in my post above. Individuals do risk a lot in starting up businesses, and most businesses run at a loss for several years before becoming successful (if they do, thus the risk). And so, in those situations, it is not the case that the employees are being paid unjustly, as no one is profiting. And once it becomes successful, yes, the risk and the intelligence and the talent and the stress and the often extraordinary effort of the person or people starting the business does deserve reward.

    And though I agree that entrepreneurs and investors create opportunities, I am not convinced it is the only way for opportunities to be created. I also do not believe that the majority of wealth acquired, at least today, via capital ownership is similar to the situation of the start-up entrepreneur we have both described. Very seldom does anyone taking that kind of risk with money they’ve earned through their hard work become the kind of reaper of wealth with which my criticisms are concerned. Mostly, if they succeed, they become people who acquire an amount of wealth that I don’t think is disproportionate to the hard work and risk they originally put in. My feelings are probably swayed more by the hard work small-business owners do than by the risk, but either way, I’m fine with it.

    It is also my experience that small-business owners care a great deal about their employees and pay them as well as they can.

    But I am still not convinced, even with the contribution made by that minority of capital owners who risk much or everything they own, that there are no alternatives to this for the purposes of creating opportunities and creating wealth. If there are not, and if I become convinced that there are not, then I will swallow the pill of capitalism just as I accept any other necessary evils.

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  130. adc (595 comments) says:

    actually I don’t want to come across like employees aren’t contributing. They of course are. But in the discussions I’ve had in the past with employees about whether they wouldn’t rather be self-employed etc you get a mixed bag of responses. Some people don’t want to take on all the headaches that come with owning and running a business and employing people. Conversely businesses couldn’t survive without employees. This all means that at the end of the day, there’s a balance struck in the employment agreement. It’s an agreement that no-one is forced into by the other party.

    I think in the end, the key issue is risk. We all only get 24hrs in a day, and we all have about the same life-expectancy. That’s the leveller. In the end, what we risk is our time (part of our life), and no-one has any more of that than anyone else.

    Having said all that – I do believe there are some parasitic aspects where money is earned, such as oil futures or spot trading. It’s hard to see value being provided for the money returned.

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  131. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Having said all that – I do believe there are some parasitic aspects where money is earned, such as oil futures or spot trading. It’s hard to see value being provided for the money returned.

    Agreed. And plenty would see that as a call for reform and regulation, rather than economic revolution. But I have my own parallel problems with authoritarian regulation, thus the “libertarian” part of “libertarian socialist”.

    Isn’t this nice? It’s so nice to have a conversation without being called a despicable Helen Clark-adoring Stalinist who hates all that is good in the world. How long till Redbaiter’s ban lifts?

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  132. adc (595 comments) says:

    ok, so you’re talking about the really incredibly wealthy people then?

    I’m struggling to consider how someone who say is a multi-billionaire is taking absolutely no risks, and providing absolutely no opportunities. Even if you have all your money in gold bullion, you’re still providing an (albeit small) opportunity for someone to prevent others from nicking it, and still taking the risk that it’ll be stolen, or you’ll have your child kidnapped for ransom.

    If your capital is tied up in companies (either directly or through the stock markets), then the opportunities are more clear – people are earning a living. If your money is tied up in futures contracts, you’re I guess providing certain stability to a provider which has some value – something they can work towards. In the end, I don’t think all these mechanisms would exist unless they provided some (even small) value.

    Oil futures is a good one. Playing on media speculation to ream the world on energy costs has obvious ethical issues. But what alternative is there that allows fairness where it’s needed? Most people are employed by small businesses.

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  133. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    “So sorry, when we are not entitled at all to criticise what the leaders of the free world did when confronted with an enemy of that level of fanaticism.”

    So when members of special military units that are fully indoctrinated to believe that the Americans are about to invade and rape their mothers and sisters torture their fathers and brothers fly into military targets, that is justification to exterminate entire cities full of unsuspecting civilians? There is no room for exploring other options like demonstrating you have the bomb by using it on a target that isn’t populated?

    “And I’m quite sure having two of their cities obliterated in the blink of an eye would have played a major fucken part in the decision mate…”

    Well, one might think so, but if that were the case then they would have surrendered much much earlier. Many of their cities had already been “obliterated” by the firebombings. And in some the scale of damage was larger than that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Judging by notes of the cabinet discussions and later accounts by cabinet members there is no reason to suppose that they viewed the atomic bomb as anything more than another arial attack. And as I have already noted, it is not entirely clear that the cabinet knew what was going on out west. Communication would not have been particularly reliable.

    “Russia declaring war may have been a factor and rightly so, but how long do you think it would have taken to re mobilise the Russian military machine and move them from Eastern Europe in the middle of an occupation, all the way to the other side of Russia to fight the Japs?”

    It has nothing to do with a Soviet attack. The Government of Japan through its officials in Switzerland was attempting to negotiate a conditional surrender using the Soviet Union as a go-between. (YOU GOT THAT? THEY WERE ATTEMPTING TO NEGOTIATE A SURRENDER WHEN THE BOMB WAS DROPPED.) When the Soviets declared war on Japan the Emperor and cabinet realised that all was lost and gave in.

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  134. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    ok, so you’re talking about the really incredibly wealthy people then?

    As an extreme and most obvious example, yes.

    I’m struggling to consider how someone who say is a multi-billionaire is taking absolutely no risks, and providing absolutely no opportunities. Even if you have all your money in gold bullion, you’re still providing an (albeit small) opportunity for someone to prevent others from nicking it, and still taking the risk that it’ll be stolen, or you’ll have your child kidnapped for ransom.

    The multibillionare is providing opportunities to many people. I’m just not convinced there aren’t other ways to create opportunities, however. And as for risks, I mean in the context of the kind of risk the small-business owner takes.

    If your capital is tied up in companies (either directly or through the stock markets), then the opportunities are more clear – people are earning a living. If your money is tied up in futures contracts, you’re I guess providing certain stability to a provider which has some value – something they can work towards. In the end, I don’t think all these mechanisms would exist unless they provided some (even small) value.

    Value to whom? But yes, I agree that capital creates opportunities. I’m just not convinced there aren’t alternatives.

    Oil futures is a good one. Playing on media speculation to ream the world on energy costs has obvious ethical issues. But what alternative is there that allows fairness where it’s needed? Most people are employed by small businesses.

    I don’t have stats on how many people are employed by small businesses, but keep in mind I am thinking globally, not just of Auckland or New Zealand. Your question – what alternative is there? – is my question too. But it’s a question that only gets asked when the problems with capitalism are considered, and the world is currently such that capitalism is so universal that it is practically transparent. Realising that capitalist economics are contingent, rather than a law of nature, is a necessary prerequisite for trying to come up with alternatives.

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  135. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Shift’s over. I’m heading home. Thanks for a very interesting conversation, Kimble and ADC. Have a good night.

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  136. adc (595 comments) says:

    I don’t think there’s a better system, only worse ones. As long as you believe (as I do) that people should have freedom to choose what they do (within reason), and how they can spend their after-tax money, then you can’t really bring in a system that curtails that. Those rights should apply to all without exception.

    State-provided opportunities just move the risk onto the tax-payer. There’s no way to eradicate risk completely.

    Makes me think of the flawed reasoning behind employer contributions to Kiwisaver. They talk about the employer contributing. There’s no such thing. No company takes on an extra cost without passing it on somewhere, and that particular cost universally gets passed on to employees (in terms of negative wage pressure) and consumers. If you’re employing 2 people to do the same job, and one opts for kiwisaver and the other doesn’t, how do you justify paying one employee 4% more than the other for the same job?

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  137. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    I’d be interested in Ryan’s theory of how wealth can be created absent of people getting to keep it irrespective of how much it is.

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  138. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “Before assuming I fall into your mental category of childish, unimaginative and misunderstanding, keep your mind open to the possibility that you have yet to meet everyone in the world and encounter every viewpoint in the world.”

    I deliberately used generalities, but to be fair I wasnt far off, was I?

    “I am one of those you mention who believe that being paid less (in many situations, vastly less) than the value of the fruit of your labour – ie., capitalism – is institutionalised theft for that reason.”

    See. Another error that anti-capitalists make is that labour has intrinsic value. It doesnt. The value of your labour is precisely what someone is willing to pay you for it. No one will pay you to sit in a dark room and pick your nose. That activity doesnt have any value.

    If you use someone elses tool to make something, you owe them for using their tool. That tool might be physical, or it might be someone elses labour, or it might be cash, or it might be an idea.

    “I do not believe that the owner of capital who profits without working is acquiring that wealth by just means, especially when the ownership of that capital was inherited.”

    Inherited capital was earned somehow and then gifted to the inheritor. If you dislike inheritance then you must also dislike all gifts. The only difference between the two is the amount of value involved. The accumulation of capital through hard work and inheritance is vital to the dispersal of capital. Poor workers can save, invest, and then pass on their investments to their children. Unless they must spend all that the earn to live, there will be savings that will be invested.

    By being so down on inheritance (and you can appreciate why people dismiss those that hold your views as nothing more than envious) means you are down on the major method of capital accumulation and dispersal open to every person.

    “And the amount of wealth those owners of capital receive, especially towards the high end of wealth, grows exponentially greater while their lack of doing anything useful remains constant.”

    What do you mean they arent doing anything useful? If I pay someone to build a park in the middle of the city, they are the ones actually building the park, but its creation is down to my expenditure of capital. Who should be thanked for the park? The worker or me?

    This is precisely the problem I identified. Anti-capitalists refuse to acknowledge any other input into production other than labour. It is a lack of imagination.

    “Your response to this situation, which you seem to acknowledge as deviating from the ideal of “it’s morally right to keep the fruit of your labour”, seems to ignore the problem entirely by saying that the only alternative is far less effective. That capitalism may involve theft, but it’s a form of theft that leaves everyone better off.”

    No, I am saying that there is no theft. I was stating the position of people who hold your beliefs.

    “The point where we differ is your belief that the only real alternative to private ownership of capital is a centralised authoritarian command economy. ”

    No, I said that the command economy is what we have already seen as the method of dispersing the fruits of capital. Can you name another? Can you articulate this “third way” you seem to hanker for? (I have come to realise that the third way is more of a religious term than anything else. It is born from the eternal hope that things can improve to the point of becoming paradise on earth.)

    “Your position seems to be, as I assessed it above, that capitalism is the most effective option, and is therefore preferable. Central to that is your belief that there are only two possible ways society can be structured:

    1. Private ownership of the means of production.
    2. Centralised authoritarian command economy.

    I agree with your criticism of the latter, and your position seems to be that, whatever faults capitalism may have, it’s preferable to the sole alternative. Do you think it’s possible that there are any other alternatives?”

    I agree there might be alternatives, I believe that in the vastness of the universe there are more things possible than we can possibly imagine. I have yet to hear any of these possible alternatives that,

    1. could ever exist in the real world
    2. that would actually achieve their objectives
    3. that is different enough from capitalism to be worthy of having a different name

    Though I am sure you would disagree, the biggest steps made in dispersing the means of production came with

    1. the emergence of publicly traded ownership in companies
    2. the breaking of union power
    3. the deregulation of financial markets
    4. the removal of tarriffs and subsidies

    And to round off the discussion on command economies, I believe,

    1. the individual is in the best position to determine what is best for them
    2. no small group of people, or even large committee, can ever possibly do the same work as the market does when it assigns a price, and they certainly can never do it more efficiently
    3. controls and regulations are vitally important to keep any free market free

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  139. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “I do believe there are some parasitic aspects where money is earned, such as oil futures or spot trading.”

    Oil futures trading is a zero sum cash game. One bets one way, one bets the other. Someone wins and someone loses.

    But if you expand your concept of value, then it can also be win/win. Sometimes someone wins by making money, and the other person wins by locking in an oil price with absolute certainty. In this case, one person has forgone the upside on the price for increased certainty, and the other person has forgone certainty for the potential of an upside in price.

    In no way is it parasitic.

    “It’s hard to see value being provided for the money returned.”

    Just because you can’t see it, doesnt mean it isnt there. The reality is that day trading and the like is just gambling. But like gambling, there is no net gain or loss, so why worry about it?

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  140. adc (595 comments) says:

    I only worry about oil futures traders when it pushes the price of my tank of gas through the roof for no good reason (i.e. no real issue with supply of oil).

    And I only worry about spot traders when currency speculators mess with the USD/NZD rate which costs me money (I export).

    Other than that, yes, I can see there is value in purchasing certainty – that’s what the whole insurance industry is based on (now those guys really do run the planet :) )

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  141. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Democratic principle dictates the Government be representative of “the people”
    I need no further justification to be derisive of the American people – call it “Anti-American” if you wish.
    The people had an opportunity to right the wrongs by their representatives in 2004. They chose to back the corrupt and lying Government of Power. That’s the crux of Democracy – polarisation into those who mandate the crap of their Government, and those who are collateral – no civilians in this ethos – no Victim civilians on 11/9 2001

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  142. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Quote – GWB – (when advocating Democracy)
    “You are either for us” (Mandating) “or against us” (Collateral)

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  143. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “… no Victim civilians on 11/9 2001″

    Fuck off and die you despicable piece of shit. Thats all you deserve here, and hopefully that is all you get.

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  144. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Kimble –
    so who did the “victims” vote for – the party that was responsible for thousands of Iraqi deaths due to misplaced sanctions – or those other fellas – maybe they were just collateral – do the numbers – hard to see a victim here shit picker.

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  145. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    “hard to see a victim here shit picker” – oops, the word is “victim civillian” and Capital S – Shitpicker

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  146. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    I personally, and New Zealand generally, have benefited from US generosity – call it “aid” if you like.
    I was a Harkness fellow and so was Wilson Whineray, and a host of other well known people such as Prof Beaglehole.
    Then there are all the Fullbright Fellowships.
    The Harkness fellowships (The Commonwealth Fund) are funded by the Harkness foundation which was funded by the Harkness family who founded Standard Oil and also happened to be the founders of Yale University.
    Standard Oil is now Mobil so you can see how I am tainted by oil money too. But then so is Helen Poutasi and all those others on the Harkness List.
    Including the New York Ballet.
    The UK Tate Gallery is able to mount an exhibition every year solely using paintings by UK Harkness fellows.
    Then there is that rather generous called Bill Gates. Didn’t he give a few billion to the UN?

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  147. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    valeriusterminus, go get fucked you sad wanker. You are as worthless a human being as those people that were happy that the still recent tsunami in killed so many muslims. Get aids and then die horribly in a grease fire you fucking maggot.

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  148. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Valeriusterminus, you are sick in the head and either need help desperately, or are beyond it for all time already.

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  149. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    You’re not Valery Morse by any chance, are you?

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  150. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    I’d be interested in Ryan’s theory of how wealth can be created absent of people getting to keep it irrespective of how much it is.

    I’m advocating the opposite – that the people who create the wealth get to keep it.

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  151. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Kimble,

    I deliberately used generalities, but to be fair I wasnt far off, was I?

    To be fair, I didn’t fit any of your cartoonish depictions of someone who thinks there’s a finite amount of wealth in the world, for example.

    See. Another error that anti-capitalists make is that labour has intrinsic value. It doesnt. The value of your labour is precisely what someone is willing to pay you for it. No one will pay you to sit in a dark room and pick your nose. That activity doesnt have any value.

    Here is a fundamental difference of views. To me, the value of labour is the value of the product or service it creates, determined by the sales market. To you, the value of labour is determined by the labour market, not the price consumers will pay for the product of the labour.

    Inherited capital was earned somehow and then gifted to the inheritor. If you dislike inheritance then you must also dislike all gifts. The only difference between the two is the amount of value involved.

    As private capital is a licence to profit without contributing, it is institutionalised theft. My problem with gifted capital is not that it’s a gift, but that it’s capital. I don’t mind people giving gifts that aren’t licences to profit without contributing.

    The accumulation of capital through hard work and inheritance is vital to the dispersal of capital. Poor workers can save, invest, and then pass on their investments to their children. Unless they must spend all that the earn to live, there will be savings that will be invested.

    And is it technically possible for everyone in the world to save, buy capital, and live off the returns of the investment?

    What do you mean they arent doing anything useful? If I pay someone to build a park in the middle of the city, they are the ones actually building the park, but its creation is down to my expenditure of capital. Who should be thanked for the park? The worker or me?

    Look at the situation as if you were an alien. Money is imaginary. It’s an agreed-upon medium of exchange, part of an agreed-upon economic framework (agreed-upon in the sense that it’s a shared idea). Who built the park? The workers. You, essentially, told them to do it. Insofar as you had an idea, you contributed. If you did any work in organising the workers, you contributed. But your “expenditure of capital” is an imaginary thing, having meaning only within this system as it is.

    This is precisely the problem I identified. Anti-capitalists refuse to acknowledge any other input into production other than labour. It is a lack of imagination.

    And you refuse to step outside of the capitalist paradigm and realise that the input of expenditure of capital only has meaning within the capitalist framework.

    No, I said that the command economy is what we have already seen as the method of dispersing the fruits of capital. Can you name another? Can you articulate this “third way” you seem to hanker for? (I have come to realise that the third way is more of a religious term than anything else. It is born from the eternal hope that things can improve to the point of becoming paradise on earth.)

    I don’t have a perfect alternative to capitalism, though an alternative would hardly have to be perfect to be preferable. But I’m willing to look for one. I haven’t read enough to make an informed evaluation of parecon, but you might want to check that out.

    And to round off the discussion on command economies, I believe,

    1. the individual is in the best position to determine what is best for them
    2. no small group of people, or even large committee, can ever possibly do the same work as the market does when it assigns a price, and they certainly can never do it more efficiently
    3. controls and regulations are vitally important to keep any free market free

    I’m fine with the market determining the value of the fruits of labour.

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  152. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “To me, the value of labour is the value of the product or service it creates, determined by the sales market. To you, the value of labour is determined by the labour market, not the price consumers will pay for the product of the labour.”

    Not strictly true. If a person builds something from scatch, without any help from anyone else, then I reckon they can keep all of the profits. But when they use someone elses tools, when they use someone elses facilities, when they use someone elses capital, when they use someone elses idea, when someone else assumes all the risk of failure, then they are no longer able to claim full profits. They may have done all the physical labour in creating the product, but without the help of other people they wouldnt have been able to.

    They may do the physical labour, but that is only a tiny part of what went into the making of the product.

    It may be that a different person supplies each of the; idea, tools, facilities, capital, risk assumption. There might be a range of ideas to choose from, a range of facilities to use, a range of sources of capital, and a range of ways to disperse the risk. And just like that there is a lot of people who are willing to supply the labour. The person orgainising all of this (another function that is minimised and dismissed too often, for this exampe lets assume it is the person supplying the labour) will choose the best combination to increase their share.

    They all deserve to be compensated from the sale of the final product. If they arent, then you will find that ideas will dry up, tools become scarce, facilities no longer get built, capital is no longer supplied, and risk is no longer shared.

    Now the person who was supplying the labour and only the labour has to supply everything else too. If they cant do that, then the product doesnt get made.

    The labour part is just as interchangeable as all the other parts, and therefore has its own market.

    “As private capital is a licence to profit without contributing, it is institutionalised theft.”

    Capital IS the contribution. This is where all your errors in judgement come from, and it is why I accuse people who share your ideas as lacking imagination. If you cant SEE it, you refuse to believe it actually exists. You cant SEE the contribution of capital, so you dismiss it.

    “And is it technically possible for everyone in the world to save, buy capital, and live off the returns of the investment?”

    It should be possible for anyone, but it isnt. Most people cannot accumulate enough in a single lifetime to live of the returns on their capital, inheritance makes it possible for some others. Are you opposed to it because not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to do it?

    “But your “expenditure of capital” is an imaginary thing, having meaning only within this system as it is.”

    So provision of the money to buy the idea, tools, facility, the assumption of risk, is nothing. It is INTANGIBLE but that doesnt mean it doesnt exist.

    I have heard of parecon, but I dont think it can work in more than the smallest of self sustaining groups who just happen to have no aspirations. The idea of self managing workers and planning councils is one of those fantasies that make it obvious to others that the proponents of parecon are living in a dreamland.

    Yes, it would be lovely if we could be perfecty socially efficient, with everyone having a say and decisions being made to ensure the best possible outcome. But that just isnt reality, it is a dream.

    Parecon wants all the negative impacts of an action to be taken into consideration before a decision is made to act. For example, they want all the externatlities of building a new factory to be known before it is built. Everyone that will be affected would be able to have a say, all those opinions are weighed up, and the factory will only get built if it is optimal to do so. Nice idea, and it is something which is strived for even in a capitalist system. But it is impossible, and that isnt just being negative. There is no practical way of achieving perfection in this.

    “The central features of the model called parecon are workers and consumers self managed councils, balanced job complexes, remuneration for duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valued labor, and participatory planning.”

    Participatory planning sounds good, but it is merely a term for something that ends up being central planning.

    “I’m fine with the market determining the value of the fruits of labour.”

    Then perhaps it is your defintion of “fruits of labour” that are misguided, which is understandable given the origins of the term. The “fruits” of a persons labour is not the product that is created, instead it is their contribution to the final product as valued in a seperate market. One market determines the value of the final product, another market determines the value of the labour input, other markets determine the value of all other inputs.

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  153. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    More about Parecon,

    Worker Councils
    “Every participatory economic workplace is governed by a workers’ council in which each worker has the same overall decision making rights and responsibilities as every other. When necessary, smaller councils are organized for work teams, units, and small divisions. Larger councils are organized for divisions, whole workplaces, and industries.”

    Consumer Councils!!!
    “As with workers, the principal means of organizing consumers in a parecon is consumer councils. Each individual, family, or other social unit would comprise the smallest such councils and also belong to its larger neighborhood consumption council. Each neighborhood council would belong in turn to a federation of neighborhood councils the size of a city ward or a rural county. Each ward council would belong to a city consumption council (or perhaps a borough and then a city council), and each city and county council would belong to a state council, and each state council would belong to the national council (or maybe to a regional and then to the national council). This nested federation of democratic councils would organize consumption, just as the nested federation of democratic workers’ councils organizes production.”

    Council, council, council!!!

    Organised consumption!!! Organised production!!!

    They have this idea of a Balanced Work Complex,

    “Instead of combining tasks so that some jobs are highly empowering and other jobs are horribly stultifying, so that some jobs convey knowledge and authority while other jobs rob mentality and convey only obedience, and so that those doing some jobs rule as a coordinator class accruing to themselves more income and influence while those doing more menial work obey as a traditional working class subordinate in influence and income–parecon says let’s make each job comparable to all others in its quality of life effects and even more importantly in its empowerment effects.”

    Its just that easy.

    Sorry, Parecon is a bad joke and is hardly a viable option to replace capitalism.

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  154. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Kimble,

    I can imagine capital being considered a contribution. I can imagine Paris Hilton’s contribution of capital to wherever her people invest her money. But it does take some imagination, and is certainly involves a greater degree of imaginary things than seeing the contribution made by the people actually doing the work. I can also imagine frameworks in which the investment of capital is not considered a contribution.

    I am well aware that more than labour goes into the creation of a product, and I do want all of those other things you mentioned to be compensated – whoever came up with the idea, whoever built the tools, whoever built the facility. Those are the people who contributed via those things, not the owner of those things.

    It should be possible for anyone, but it isnt. Most people cannot accumulate enough in a single lifetime to live of the returns on their capital, inheritance makes it possible for some others. Are you opposed to it because not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to do it?

    I’m just responding to your statement, “Poor workers can save, invest, and then pass on their investments to their children.” I hear this a lot as a defence of capitalism – that if workers were frugal, worked hard and saved, they could get on the other side of the owner-worker divide. But clearly, the system that makes it possible for a few to do that, also makes it inevitable that most will not. The situation of non-owners is hardly justified by the fact that only 90% are on the wrong side of the line, and 10% can become owners. The system ensures that a great majority will remain unable to get on the profitable side of the owner-worker divide.

    Now, this is to some degree mitigated by the idea that the system being so efficient and driving forward technology and the like, workers are better off with the lesser portion of greatly increased wealth in the world than they would be with a larger portion of wealth generated by an inefficient system. People who will today spend the rest of their lives working for the profit of owners can still enjoy luxuries unheard-of 50 years ago. Everyone has TVs, mobile phones, etc., even if they’re not owners.

    And that’s true to some extent. However, in thinking that, I’m talking about New Zealand workers. Globally, the majority of workers would never be able to afford those things.

    I’m all for incentive to work hard and smart, and I’m all for the various contributions (that don’t require “imagination”) to be compensated – ideas, creating tools, creating buildings, organising and managing. And I recognise the problem posed by risk. But I think the current system disproportionately rewards investment and risk, and I don’t think the majority of risk in the world now is comparable to the kind of romantic small business start-up.

    Going back to the systemic inevitability for the majority of people to be on the wrong side of the owner-worker divide, where do you see capitalism taking us? What kind of future would it create?

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  155. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Sorry, Parecon is a bad joke and is hardly a viable option to replace capitalism.

    So help me think of something better.

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  156. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    ”I know its a wiki, but quite frankly until you learn a little history instead of this revisionist crap your spewing the better.”

    Oh, thank you Bevan. I’m sure if I only listened to you and wikipedia I would know everything there is to know about the world.

    Interesting, however, that Wikipedia cites Richard B. Frank in its explanation of the surrender. There are more than a few problems with Frank’s analysis, not leasts that ignores documents that do not support his thesis and highlights those that do. His summation of the speech by the Emperor in the Imperial Council when he decides to surrender on August 10, for example, is copied from Robert Butow’s account. Yet Frank takes the liberty of inserting a sentence in parentheses that claims the Emperor spoke of the destruction of the atomic weapon. This little tidbit of information was gleaned from the post-war memoires of Takeshita Masahiko (Kimitsu sakusen nisshi), even though Takeshita wasn’t even present at the meeting where the Emperor made his speech. Butow, whose version of events was the most authoritative early account of in English, meanwhile, dedicated a whole chapter to negotiations with Russia, making it quite clear that the Japanese were trying to broker a surrender. Frank saw fit to overlook it. Also, nowhere does Frank acknowledge the Imperial Rescript on August 17 after Japan had formally surrendered:

    “Now that the Soviet Union has entered the war against us, to continue … under the present conditions at home and abroad would only recklessly incur even more damage to ourselves and result in endangering the very foundation of the empire’s existence. Therefore, even though enormous fighting spirit still exists in the imperial navy and army, I am going to make peace with the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, as well as with Chungking, in order to maintain our glorious kokutai.” (kokutai, roughly speaking, means polity).

    So thanks for the wikipedia reference, but I think I’ll stick to primary documents and historians who can read Japanese and who take a respectful approach to the source material.

    One final point. A bunch of absolute facts about events that went before is not “history”. It is “the past”. If all aspects of “the past” were known and fixed and there were no room to refine our understanding of what happened and why it happened. In other words, there would be no need for “history”. Therefore, ALL history, or at least all good history, is revisionist.

    If you would like to ‘learn a bit of history’ yourself, I suggest you stop looking at wikipedia and start reading primary sources, books and journal articles. Here are some about this particular period to start you on your way.

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/is3104_pp162-179_wilson.pdf
    http://www.japanfocus.org/_Tsuyoshi_Hasegawa-The_Atomic_Bombs_and_the_Soviet_Invasion__What_Drove_Japan_s_Decision_to_Surrender_/
    http://www.ndl.go.jp/index.html

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  157. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    “Remember Charlie, the Japs surrendered UNCONDITIONALLY in accordance to the terms laid out in the Potsdam agreement (between the USA, Great Britain and China), no negotiation, no fucken terms. And they surrendered aboard the USS Missouri, doesnt sound very Russian.”

    I wrote a long post explaining why you shouldn’t cite wikis for accounts of history and why people who cite them instead of other readily available and more authoritative sources are wankers who do not know their source material well enough, but for some reason it didn’t go through. For now, let me leave you with a quote from the Emperor on his reasons for surrender.

    “Now that the Soviet Union has entered the war against us, to continue … under the present conditions at home and abroad would only recklessly incur even more damage to ourselves and result in endangering the very foundation of the empire’s existence. Therefore, even though enormous fighting spirit still exists in the imperial navy and army, I am going to make peace with the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, as well as with Chungking, in order to maintain our glorious kokutai.” (kokutai roughly means polity, in case you don’t speak or read Japanese, and I’m guessing you don’t)

    http://www.japanfocus.org/_Tsuyoshi_Hasegawa-The_Atomic_Bombs_and_the_Soviet_Invasion__What_Drove_Japan_s_Decision_to_Surrender_/

    Also, for your interest, an article in what is perhaps the world’s most illustrious journal on security issues:

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/is3104_pp162-179_wilson.pdf

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  158. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (765) Add karma Subtract karma –2 Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    “I’m advocating the opposite – that the people who create the wealth get to keep it.”

    So you’d disagree with THIS assessment, then:

    “The cognitive behavior of Western intellectuals faced with the accom­plishments of their own society, on the one hand, and with the socialist ideal and then the socialist reality, on the other, takes one’s breath away. In the midst of unparalleled social mobility in the West, they cry “caste.” In a society of munificent goods and services, they cry either “poverty” or “consumerism.” In a society of ever richer, more varied, more productive, more self-defined, and more satisfying lives, they cry “alienation.” In a society that has liberated women, racial minorities, religious minorities, and gays and lesbians to an extent that no one could have dreamed possible just fifty years ago, they cry “oppression.” In a society of bound­less private charity, they cry “avarice.” In a society in which hundreds of millions have been free riders upon the risk, knowledge, and capital of others, they decry the “exploitation” of the free riders. In a society that broke, on behalf of merit, the seemingly eternal chains of station by birth, they cry “injustice.” In the names of fantasy worlds and mystical perfec­tions, they have closed themselves to the Western, liberal miracle of in­dividual rights, individual responsibility, merit, and human satisfaction.”

    From: “Will There Be an ‘After Socialism'”, By Alan Charles Kors

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  159. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    By the way, that essay is one hard-hitting work. Here are the first few paragraphs:

    WILL THERE BE AN ‘AFTER SOCIALISM’ By Alan Charles Kors, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania.

    “There is no “after socialism.” There will not be in our or in our children’s lifetimes an “after socialism.” In the wake of the Holocaust and the ruins of Nazism, anti-Semitism lay low a bit, embarrassed by its worst mani­festation, its actual exercise of state dominion. In the wake of the collapse of Communism, socialism’s only real and full experience of power, social­ism too lays low for just a moment. Socialism’s causes in the West, however, remain ever with us, the product of the convergence of two extra­ordinary achievements: liberal free enterprise and political democracy. The former creates wealth that has transformed all human possibility, but it also gives rise to particularly deep envy. The latter allows ambition a route to power by an appeal to the democratic state to seize and redistribute wealth in the name of social equality. As Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises understood perfectly, the bounty of free enterprise leads the unproductive to believe that such wealth is a fact of nature, there for the taking.

    Socialism means the abolition of private property, profit, and voluntary exchange. It means the organization of the production and distribution of goods and services – that is, of the fruits of human invention, innovation, thought, risk, talent, and labor – by political planners who allegedly know both what people need and how to satisfy that need. It means the expro­priation and allotment of wealth according to those planners’ sense of value. Socialism may be understood by any child. It is taking other peo­ple’s stuff. It is also the rash and ignorant slaughter of the goose that lays the golden eggs. That story is folkloric and enduring, however, precisely because it reflects something deep in human nature. Thus, one only could speak realistically of an “after socialism” if one eliminated envy, resent­ment, force, irrationalism, and political ambition from our affairs. That, however, would be in another world.

    It will not be difficult – it already is not difficult – for socialism to change its now quaint name a bit, where necessary, while still forging resentment, ambition, fantasy, and the mania for planning other people’s lives into a powerful political, economic, and ultimately cultural agenda. The full dream and millennial religion of nineteenth-century socialism perhaps no longer moves either masses, masters, or martyrs, but its underlying im­pulses and values remain potent and active. Politicians and demagogues, “after socialism,” do and will appeal successfully against property, profit, economic liberty, and “the market.” It was “after socialism” that Lionel Jospin and his Socialist Party swept to power in France on the platform of creating jobs by reducing the allowable work week at the same rate of pay. It is “after socialism” that “the Third Way ” has achieved such prom­inence, one of the abandoned “ways” being reliance upon the economic liberty of voluntary exchange. It is “after socialism” that we see the most classically liberal society in the world drawn toward the central planning of health care and pharmaceutical distribution. It is “after socialism” that we see more and more control of economic life given to international boards of alleged experts. This occurs in the midst of the supposed tri­umph of free enterprise occasioned by the catastrophe of centralized economic regimes. To believe that the future will be less susceptible than the present to demagoguery, envy, and the myth of planning would be a foolish act of faith. It is by no means clear to whom the future belongs.

    One should heed Mises’s preface to the second English edition (1951) of his magisterial work on socialism, Die Gemeinwirtschaft: Untersuchungen uber den Sozialismus (1922). Mises warned us not to confuse “mutual rivalries among the various totalitarian movements” – the struggle be­tween statist anti-Communists (e.g., New Dealers and Western European socialists) and Communists – with the deeper “great ideological conflict of our age” – the struggle between supporters of “a market economy” and supporters of “totalitarian government control.” 1 Mises was wrong, in historical context, to minimize in any way the conflict between New Dealers and Western European socialists, on the one hand, and Bolshe­viks, on the other, because the very possibility of human liberty depended upon the defeat of Communism. He was also wrong to argue, in the face of a Communism for which living human beings were nothing but a means toward an end, that it did not matter very much which set of social and economic engineers controlled the apparatus of the planning state. Mises never seemed fully to understand – if to understand at all – the indivisibility of self-ownership in all spheres and of economic liberty. In the long run, however, he was right that freedom still depended ulti­mately on the outcome of the struggle between private property, private enterprise, voluntary production, and voluntary exchange, on the one hand, and central planning, on the other.

    Hayek and Mises were at one in believing that central planning had an economic, social, ideological, cultural, historical, and, ultimately, totaliz­ing logic. In terms of fundamental economic theory, they both understood the obviousness of what appeared inane to most contemporary Western intellectuals: that the more complex a society and economy, the more impossible and incoherent the task of central planning becomes. Without the price mechanism to reflect the choices of individuals, there is no efficacious way to discover and allocate economic knowledge or to harmonize the activities of disparate actors toward human satisfaction. More deeply, in terms of the most profound consequences for human
    life and society, both Hayek and Mises understood that central planning placed us, in Hayek’s phrase, on “the road to serfdom.”

    In the late 1920s, Communists began to distinguish analytically be­tween “socialism” and “communism.” Departing from Marx, who cer­tainly appeared to use the terms interchangeably, the Communist Party of the USSR -and, hence, the world Communist movement-argued that “socialism” was a transitional stage between capitalism and a final “com­munism.” In some sense, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944) – though much, much more than this – was a sustained argument that independent of intention, “democratic socialism” also could only be transitional to­ward something else.2 It would not be toward utopia, however, but in­eluctably toward something akin to Soviet Communism, the totalitarianism that was the final stage of the abolition of economic and social liberty.

    At the heart of this argument lay Hayek’s chilling, inductively correct, and, in its predictive reach, prescient chapter, “Why the Worst Get on Top.” Hayek argued that it was no accident of time or place, specific to Nazism or Bolshevism, that the concentration of power over all life in a centrally planned society attracted and rewarded the morally worst. Per­sons of what views, personalities, and behaviors would succeed politi­cally in a collectivist system? In Hayek’s view, they would be the strong and aggressive. They would be the least scrupulous about the choice of means. They would be men who attracted and coalesced around them the simultaneously submissive and ruthless. They would be demagogues who could rally the docile, gullible, and passive. They would be lead­ers who skillfully divided society into a “we” and a dangerous “they” and who succeeded, also, in linking socialism to a virulent and popular nationalism and anticosmopolitanism. Above all, they would be those who took power not as a necessary evil, but as the very goal itself.3

    In a competitive society, Hayek reasoned, economic and political power were split, and no one could have more than a fraction of the breathtaking dominion available to those who planned the economic, social, educa­tional, and cultural lives of a society in its totality. Economic power over the whole life of another person, however, centralized as political power, created a society of virtual slaves. It is slavemasters who seek to rule slaves, in a society in which the ruler’s decisions about “the good of the whole” override all the prescriptions and prohibitions of individualist ethics and law. In such a society, those with concrete ideals of right and wrong will flee the immediate service of a ruler. Those “literally capable of everything,” in Hayek’s words, will rise to positions just below a ruler whose primary passion in life is the love of being obeyed. It is not just that the indulgent, principled, and restrained will not find power in a collec­tivist society, but that the very worst alone will succeed. Whatever the ideals, whatever the initial intentions, whatever the source of early so­cialist conviction, there are systemic institutional and psychological rea­sons why socialism will always lead to serfdom and the sacrifice of multitudes.4

    Hayek’s analysis has never been the common view in the West, and least of all in political Europe and in American intellectual circles. The collapse of the European Communist regimes would only entail disillu­sionment with the substance of socialism under other names if the latter were linked, in the Western mind, to the catastrophic experience of the former. There is no reason to believe that this has occurred. Let us exam­ine, for a point of reference, the first wave of significant disillusionment that swept across Europe and the West in the 1930s in response to the perceived “excesses” of Stalinism or, indeed, to the sense that it had not succeeded in accomplishing the Bolshevist dream. Note well, to under­stand the nature of such intellectual anti-Stalinism, that in the case of Nazism, there were no significant works that spoke of “disillusionment” because national socialism had failed to fulfill appropriately the rightful ideal of tribalism, exclusive and expansive nationalism, the corporate state, and the fuhrer principle. The anti-Communist texts of greatest ap­peal to Western intellectuals in the 1940s and 1950s, however, generally reached the conclusion that Communism had failed to achieve the right­ful socialist ideal. Although many reached to the existential autonomy of the individual’s experience, not one of them concluded on behalf of clas­sical liberal society and its system of private property, free enterprise, voluntary exchange, and individual rights……..”

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  160. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Ryan:

    “Going back to the systemic inevitability for the majority of people to be on the wrong side of the owner-worker divide, where do you see capitalism taking us? What kind of future would it create?”

    Simple. The best future those people could have had, irrespective of the existence of a divide in capitalism and which side they ended up on.

    I don’t reckon I’m lacking in ability. I could have had more “breaks”. But I have a philosophy that enables me to enjoy life and forswear envy. Wealthy people are a source of bread and butter to me. The fewer wealthy people there are, the harder it is for me to get ahead, and the less likely it is that I will get ahead.

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  161. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “So help me think of something better.”

    No. I am happy with capitalism. I just want it applied better and to have slightly more equitable rules, but asides from that I dont see much point inc hanging.

    “I can also imagine frameworks in which the investment of capital is not considered a contribution.”

    I can’t. If capital exists then it is contributing. It is the contribution which defines it.

    “Those are the people who contributed via those things, not the owner of those things.”

    If they sold their ideas etc, then they were compensated, and the new owner contritbutes them.

    “But clearly, the system that makes it possible for a few to do that, also makes it inevitable that most will not.”

    “The system ensures that a great majority will remain unable to get on the profitable side of the owner-worker divide.”

    So you want a world in which there is equality in everything, everyone can be rich enough not to have to work. This is little more than one more of your hope filled fanatsies. You are dreaming of a world where there are unlimited resources.

    If you accept that there are limited resources but still want everyone to be equal, then there is no reward for excelling. If that reward doesnt exist, then people wont bother excelling. Growth stagnates and then turns negative. Everyone is worse off.

    What this seems to come down to is that you dont think rich people deserve their money. But this is just a subjective opinion. You think you know better.

    “Globally, the majority of workers would never be able to afford those things.”

    Why not? What stops them? I fear that you are going to have to rely on the false idea that the prosperity in the West is only because of poverty everywhere else. Which is simply a version of the “for one person to become rich, others must become poor” argument.

    “But I think the current system disproportionately rewards investment and risk…”

    And that is purely a judgement call. The return on investment is the final amount left over after everything else is paid for. Its size is most often not determined before the fact the same way wages and salary are. Why shouldnt its share be larger?

    If its share was forced lower, there would be less investment. Think about a pharmaceuticals company. It costs millions of dollars to research and develop new drugs and cures. If it wasnt for the huge pay off in the end, why would anyone who is not directly affected by the disease bother?

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  162. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    PhilBest,

    Yes, I disagree with that paragraph that could be summed up in three words: “Socialists are wrong.”

    Simple. The best future those people could have had, irrespective of the existence of a divide in capitalism and which side they ended up on.

    Now you’re sounding a little religious about it. The best future those people could have had? It’s not even possible that another way of humans organising would leave them even better off?

    I don’t reckon I’m lacking in ability. I could have had more “breaks”. But I have a philosophy that enables me to enjoy life and forswear envy. Wealthy people are a source of bread and butter to me. The fewer wealthy people there are, the harder it is for me to get ahead, and the less likely it is that I will get ahead.

    What do you mean by “get ahead”?

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  163. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “I can also imagine frameworks in which the investment of capital is not considered a contribution.”

    Actually go ahead and give me some examples of where you think this is the case.

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  164. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Yeah, Ryan, go ahead and give us some examples.

    What does anyone mean by “get ahead”? What does anyone mean when they talk about helping “the poor” “get ahead”?

    One of our biggest problems in NZ is lack of wealthy people. Barack Obama, the most leftwing senator in the US, talks about a family earning less than $150,000 US Dollars per annum, as “struggling”. What was the figure at which Mikhail Kullen thought NZ-ers are “rich pricks”? Was it $60,000 NZ?

    In the US, the top 10% of earners can actually pay 70% of the overall tax take even though the rates are not punitive, and the bottom 40%, get that, FORTY PERCENT, can be exempted from paying any income tax altogether. Contrast that with NZ, where the unqualified school leaver on minimum wages will be ruthlessly pursued by the taxman for 15% of what they earn.

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  165. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    I know its a wiki…

    Enough said. Read a book you tard, and don’t tell me I don’t know the history of that period until you have. I recommend Butow. Frank, who the author of that wiki relies on heavily, leaves out vital information and uses dodgy sources.

    or you could start here:

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/is3104_pp162-179_wilson.pdf

    or here:

    http://www.japanfocus.org/_Tsuyoshi_Hasegawa-The_Atomic_Bombs_and_the_Soviet_Invasion__What_Drove_Japan_s_Decision_to_Surrender_/

    In the meantime, here is what the Emperor himself said about Russia:

    “Now that the Soviet Union has entered the war against us, to continue … under the present conditions at home and abroad would only recklessly incur even more damage to ourselves and result in endangering the very foundation of the empire’s existence. Therefore, even though enormous fighting spirit still exists in the imperial navy and army, I am going to make peace with the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, as well as with Chungking, in order to maintain our glorious kokutai.”

    And it is useful to note that in only one of the accounts that detailed the Emperor’s decision to surrender was there any reference to a-bomb. Yet that account was contained in the memoirs of a dude who wasn’t even present.

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  166. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    In the meantime, here is what the Emperor himself said in a public address on August 17 (two days after the announcement of surrender – Frank conveniently doesn’t quote this in his book):

    “Now that the Soviet Union has entered the war against us, to continue … under the present conditions at home and abroad would only recklessly incur even more damage to ourselves and result in endangering the very foundation of the empire’s existence. Therefore, even though enormous fighting spirit still exists in the imperial navy and army, I am going to make peace with the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, as well as with Chungking, in order to maintain our glorious kokutai.”

    Interesting to note also, that the Emperor did not make any mention of the atomic bomb when he informed the imperial conference on August 10 of his decision to surrender.

    CT

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  167. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Yeah, Ryan, go ahead and give us some examples.

    I’m sure we can work something out if we put our minds to it. Do you think it’s worth trying?

    What does anyone mean by “get ahead”? What does anyone mean when they talk about helping “the poor” “get ahead”?

    I don’t know. You talked about you getting ahead. I asked what you meant by it, not anyone else.

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  168. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    “I can also imagine frameworks in which the investment of capital is not considered a contribution.”

    Actually go ahead and give me some examples of where you think this is the case.

    There’s nowhere actual where it’s the case. But in my imagination, I could imagine syndicates of different kinds of workers voting on what new ventures to use communally owned equipment for. I could imagine the role currently played by owners of capital being replaced with elected directors of new ventures. The actual functional role of capital owners is simply to direct labour into ventures that will be profitable – ie., that will create products and services that are valued highly enough by the market to bring about a return. There are plenty of motivations other than personal financial gain that would work for people in that role. And such a person could be paid anyway – for the work of directing labour and capital. There doesn’t need to be a potential for millions of dollars to compel someone to do a good job. Simply a good salary would be enough for plenty of people who could do a fine job of directing investment in an economic system that had no private ownership of capital.

    My point is just that as we have to, as you say, use our imagination to see the value of capital investment without doing any actual work, we can use our imagination to come up with alternatives that see the rewards in the hands of the people actually doing the work.

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  169. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    Bevan, you also may want to read Tsuyoshi HASEGAWA ‘The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan’s Decision to Surrender?’ (Japan Focus) and Ward Wison ‘The Winning Weapon’. Respectable scholars writing in respectable journals who make the same points I am making here. I have cited them in earlier posts, but they seem to have disappeared, although they were posted on the site. I hope I am not being removed because somebody thinks the view that the a-bombs had less influence on Japanese decisionmaking than many people suppose is considered ‘revisionist’. It has been propounded ever since the 1960s when the first detailed study of the relevant events (Butow) showed it was so. By then, of course, the notion that the a-bombs ‘ended’ the war had been lodged in everyone’s minds. In any case the above publications are better than wiki, which cites Franks (see Hasegawa’s concerns with Franks).

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  170. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “There’s nowhere actual where it’s the case. But in my imagination, I could imagine syndicates of different kinds of workers voting on what new ventures to use communally owned equipment for.”

    The equipment is capital, being communally owned doesnt change that.

    “I could imagine the role currently played by owners of capital being replaced with elected directors of new ventures.”

    Like a board of directors of a venture capital firm elected by investors, then. Simply because someone is elected does not bestow upon them god-like powers of knowledged and reasoning.

    “The actual functional role of capital owners is simply to direct labour into ventures that will be profitable – ie., that will create products and services that are valued highly enough by the market to bring about a return.”

    You are again forgetting that they also take the risk in the enterprise. They are the last in line to get paid.

    “There are plenty of motivations other than personal financial gain that would work for people in that role.”

    Sure, but basic human nature doesnt work that way over the long term. In isolated cases it would work, but it will never work across a global economy.

    “And such a person could be paid anyway – for the work of directing labour and capital.”

    Yep, paid employees are just as committed to an enterprise as the entrepreneurs. Except they arent, as we have seen.

    “There doesn’t need to be a potential for millions of dollars to compel someone to do a good job.”

    But it doesnt hurt, so why remove the possibility at all?

    “Simply a good salary would be enough for plenty of people who could do a fine job of directing investment in an economic system that had no private ownership of capital.”

    Your problem here is that you are relying on the good nature of people not to be corrupted by their position of power. Or at least for corrupt people not to gravitate towards these positions. This is why I call your doctrine childish wishful thinking.

    Second of all you think that a small group of people can do the same work as is done is a complex system involving millions of people. That is, determine the appropriate allocation of scarce resources. When this has been tried in history, time and time again, it has failed. You are describing a system of economic organisation that has been tried and has failed. Badly.

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  171. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Ryan, if you have never read “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” by Joseph Schumpeter, you should. I don’t mean as a “bitter pill” or anything, I really think you would enjoy it.

    But I agree with Kimble, what you are describing sounds much more like what is a proven failure in terms of macro outcomes, and much less like what is a proven success.

    And by the way, I think Prof Alan Charles Kors’ assessment of Socialism is dead right.

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  172. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    If a business fails, oh well. The workers can try and find work elsewhere, the creditors are out of pocket, the buyers can try and find their products from another supplier.

    If all production is controlled by a centralised organisation and THAT fails, oh dear. People starve.

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  173. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Your problem here is that you are relying on the good nature of people not to be corrupted by their position of power. Or at least for corrupt people not to gravitate towards these positions. This is why I call your doctrine childish wishful thinking.

    Maybe I just associate with more good-natured people than you do. How does capitalism make itself immune to what you consider to be the easily corrupted and bad nature of people?

    Second of all you think that a small group of people can do the same work as is done is a complex system involving millions of people. That is, determine the appropriate allocation of scarce resources. When this has been tried in history, time and time again, it has failed. You are describing a system of economic organisation that has been tried and has failed. Badly.

    I haven’t described a system of economic organisation at all. You wanted examples of frameworks in which private ownership of capital isn’t considered a contribution to the creation of wealth, and I gave you some. You didn’t ask for a flawless economic system, which I couldn’t give you even if you had asked for that. Poke holes in them all you like. I’m not particularly attached to any of them. They were just examples you asked for – where people don’t use their imagination to convince themselves that shareholders and owners are contributing in any concrete way.

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  174. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    And by the way, I think Prof Alan Charles Kors’ assessment of Socialism is dead right.

    The quote that basically said, “Socialists say that things are bad, but look! They have been worse in the past!”? Please. Watch how it works:

    ““The cognitive behavior of Western intellectuals faced with the accom­plishments of their own society, on the one hand, and with the socialist ideal and then the socialist reality, on the other, takes one’s breath away. In a society that has given black men the vote, they now want women to have the vote too. In a society that has the most caring monarchs in the world, they want a republic. In a society where witches are no longer burned at the stake, they want to abolish torture. In a society where women can now divorce their husbands, they want women to have the vote. In a society that produces some of the finest minds in the world, they want universal primary-school education.”

    And so on.

    I hope I’m never driving from Auckland to Wellington with Alan Charles Kors. We’d get to the Desert Road and he’d say, “In car that’s come all the way from Auckland, you complain that you’re not yet in Wellington!”

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  175. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    And just to reiterate, since you both thought I was describing an economic system that I advocate, I was not. I was answering the question of imagining a framework in which owning shares in a company is not considered a contribution in the same way that the people who do the actual work and come up with the actual ideas contribute.

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  176. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    I see “Fightback against anti-Americanism” is still going strong two days later…

    I thought we’d established by now that it’s tough living in the free world and breathing the air-conditioned air, and everyone should just leave the poor Americans alone!

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  177. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    “Maybe I just associate with more good-natured people than you do.”

    Or maybe you are viewing the your fellow man with rose-tinted glasses.

    “How does capitalism make itself immune to what you consider to be the easily corrupted and bad nature of people?”

    Capitalism isnt immune, but it does have one advantage over collectivism: Decentralisation. Bad people exist and there is no getting around that. In a collectivist economy, the power over production eventually resides in a few elite. It isnt the same in a functioning capitalist economy. Instead of effecively having a handful of people making decisions, you have every individual making their decision. With the decision making process occuring in a decentralised way, the impact of a corrupt agent has less impact.

    You also seem to think that elections will solve the problem. As if the election of representatives on a production council means that everyone is getting their say. Annual elections give people the power to choose once a year, after that the decisions are out of their hands.

    The reality is that only under capitalism is each individual really able to have their say every single day, by deciding what to spend their money on.

    “You wanted examples of frameworks in which private ownership of capital isn’t considered a contribution to the creation of wealth…”

    No, I said nothing about private capital. Like I said at the very beginning, the failure to appreciate the role of capital in production is one of the central tenets in anti-capitalism.

    I said,
    “[Anti-capitalists] ignore, marginalise, or flat out dismiss the role of the suppliers of capital, and any fruits which flow to them. Only labour matters, “capital” shouldnt be owned by anyone. It should be owned by everyone and no one and so the return on capital should be dispersed widely. The only real means to spread out this capital that has been tried has been to centralise it, which in turn requires a centrally managed, command economy.

    Human nature is such that this situation will be exploited by individuals, which we have seen. It will also mean that the situation will lead to gross inefficiencies, which we have also seen. It will mean that growth is stymied, living standards stagnate or fall, individual freedom is curtailed, shortages in desired products and services occurs, surpluses in nondesired products and services abound. All of which we have seen.”

    The only solutions I have seen you allude to involve the dispersal of the fruits of capital by centralising it. Either this can happen naturally, which I think requires a childish view of human nature, or it happens by force, which is what we have seen most often.

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  178. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    Ryan, read the other longer version, there are quite a few good things in there.

    And the example you brought gave basically had the capital being owned by all the workers.

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  179. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Kimble
    I am never happy to see anyone lose their life – unlike yourself, as professed.
    There is no gloat in my post, just a statement that innocents are hard to find in a true democracy – the type of democracy where people take responsibility for the actions of their governments. Dictatorships abound with innocents.
    Your expressions of bile say so much more about you and your soul than your pretentious verbosity could ever reveal.

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  180. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    valeriusterminus, you think you can say that the VICTIMS who died in the WTC attack deserved it and expect us to believe that you didnt enjoy seeing them burn?

    Just fuck off and die, you worthless dickhead.

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  181. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    I think we all agree that capitalism is a brilliant system. It’s too bad that Labour doesn’t think so. What were they think bring in WFF (That’s right, votes). WFF is basically an income equalisation system. Everyone earning the same regardless of effort. Just look to the success of the USSR to see where that path leads.

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  182. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    Valeriusterminus,

    For once I find myself agreeing with Kimble. The fact that a particular government is occasionally engaged in actions deemed morally reprehesible sometimes does not give other actors the right to burn citizens under that government’s protection. I think that was my original point.

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  183. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Kimble – can’t see where I said they deserved it – just that they lived in a country where they had choices, and those choices gave US (Rep and Dem) governments since 1991 the mandate to sustain the imposition of misplaced sanctions on Innocents resident in Iraq – a dictatorship where the Innocents had no choice, and so many, so many more – died. (verbose yes)
    All unecessary loss of life is abhorrent – the loss of a child or parent – the grief is equal no matter the cause or claim to rightousness.
    Whats with this proprietory claim over this blog? – “fuck off and die”
    You usurp the rights of DPF – or is this just another American territorial assertion – I suspect your soul is American.
    You have no tenor in the claim to the worthiness of my dick-head, experientially this is the reserve of my wife. Yes it is circumsised in the revered Judaeo way – and has substantively proved its worthiness by prodigy.
    How about yours?

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  184. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Phil Best
    This may have answered your question – no I am not Ms Morse.
    dit dit dit – dit dit dit dit – dit dit dit dah

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  185. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    “just that they lived in a country where they had choices”

    deary me.

    So the foreign occupants of the tower when it was attacked were innocent because they couldn’t vote, but the Americans inside weren’t because they could? What about any occupants of the tower who voted for the Greens or the libertarians who would have supported less invasive policies in the middle east. Are they allowed to be victims? What about those who didn’t vote? Or those who voted for Kucinich in Congress? Or how about those who voted for Bush in 2000 because he was arguing that he would decrease America’s overseas presense.

    And let’s not forget that those guys flying the planes had choices too. They chose to be murderers. Your argument is the equivalent of suggesting that if I am walking down the street and I get jumped and murdered, then it is I, not the perpetrator who should be held responsible because I voted in the last general election.

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  186. Charlie Tan (255 comments) says:

    .

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  187. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Oh Charlie – We covered this already – already – the polarisation thing…
    Those who mandate and they who are collateral (an American word in this context)
    The people and scenarios you describe are the latter, their loss is sad, but inevitable, never justifiable.
    Do the numbers – on the innocent Iraqi deaths due to sanctions between 1993 and 2001, vs US innocents lost in the September 2001 reaction. No advocacy here – just a rebalancing of the scales of indignation.
    The people who pursued the murderous sanctions post 1993 had choices too.

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  188. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    That’s the funny thing about the Iraq war. Both America and the UK went to war with Iraq. Subsequently the political parties and people responsible for that decision went to the polls. They all got voted back into office. Looks like the voting public of America and the UK were fine and dandy about the invasion of Iraq. The people had their say.

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  189. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull:

    ““The cognitive behavior of Western intellectuals faced with the accom­plishments of their own society, on the one hand, and with the socialist ideal and then the socialist reality, on the other, takes one’s breath away. In a society that has given black men the vote, they now want women to have the vote too.”

    ABSURD. Both these things are a reality, in the “intellectuals” own society, while they advocate on behalf of Joe Stalin, redux.

    I won’t bother with the other absurd arguments, because you have provided such a nice analogy at the end.

    “I hope I’m never driving from Auckland to Wellington with Alan Charles Kors. We’d get to the Desert Road and he’d say, “In car that’s come all the way from Auckland, you complain that you’re not yet in Wellington!”

    Nah, the neo-Communists in the back seat would be grizzling, if only we could all have equal shares in the ownership of this car, it could FLY! , all the while ignoring the fact that all the equally-owned cars broke down back at Bombay Hill……..

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  190. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Valeriusterminus, OK, you’re not that Stalinist whore Valerie Morse. But you are still sick in the head. Does one Saddam Hussein not bear any blame in your argument? The sanctions you refer to were UN sanctions, not US sanctions, and they were adopted by the UN as the softer option than invasion. The biggest mistake in all this was that Saddam was not cleaned up in 1992.

    On Saddam Hussein, have you heard of “The Black Book Of Saddam Hussein”?

    http://www.oheditions.com/spip.php?article35

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  191. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull (772) –2 Says:

    August 21st, 2008 at 7:12 pm
    “And just to reiterate, since you both thought I was describing an economic system that I advocate, I was not. I was answering the question of imagining a framework in which owning shares in a company is not considered a contribution in the same way that the people who do the actual work and come up with the actual ideas contribute.”

    Ryan, are Bill Gates’ staff not paid very, very well, thank you?

    You are still just playing Devils Advocate. If you are testing out the position of Kimble and myself, as seems to be your main aim all the time, in contrast to establishing a position of your own, I think Kimble and I have made our case. See ya.

    And by the way, it is starting to wear a bit thin that you perpetually claim to be offended by debaters presuming that you are a tired old socialist, when we have not seen any argument from you that looked like it was not socialism. I credited you for a while, of being some kind of Libertarian. I no longer think that.

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  192. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    My my Charlie, no less than five posts responding to mine all full of rather nasty phrases, you must be frothing…

    Like I said – no point unless you learn a little history.

    UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER ABOARD THE USS MISSOURI!!!

    I know it sucks to be wrong, but someone has to be.

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  193. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Phil Best
    Sorry – won’t give a substanitve retort to the alluded claim that SH should shoulder entire culpability for civilian deaths despite the obscene “oil for food” scheme – other than to suggest that Ritter and Halliday and chorus were right – the sanction protagonists were wrong and must revisit their position. As SH correctly asserted- any WMD under Iraqs control were destroyed by 1993 – sanctions persisted at the behest of the US – the culpability mirrors the intransigence and pressure applied – against Intelligence agency advice – in subsequent UN forums.

    Yes – I have advocated Lada ownership in my youth, spent may hours ascending the steppes of the volcanic plateau in such – in transit between Auckland and Wellington to assert my love and suit for her. NZR afforded a comfortable overnight alternative – a bed, a wash, tea in a mug, a shavers point for the radio (ssb not morse). I see the privately owned trains recently can no longer progress beyond Bombay or Paekak – the tracks are warped and welded – a commercially expedient and profitable practice.. oh those Delaware companies. Kiwirail to the rescue.

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  194. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    and Ontrack.
    Talking about rescue – BNZ, Air NZ – last man standing is always a Collective Man – Rita painted a picture of him once!

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