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What would it take for Russia to be #1?


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#421 Buttersideup

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 04:39 AM

All the little animals went on strike and rioted against there now bland diet. The lion, weakened by a steady diet of nothing (he's no longer a predator) hadn't the means to placate the little animals. It was a sad day in the jungle many lost there little furry lives tragically.
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#422 The Beat

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 04:47 AM

Man,

The next time you guys decide to party, please invite me!
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#423 machlud haul

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 07:28 AM

Bader is right: Scandinavia is in many ways a special case, and powerless to affect the rest of the world. Its mere existence is still very useful in refuting American conservative capitalist fundamentalism. As to religion, I would say that all five countries are overwhelmingly secular - this is one of the greatest differences as compared to the USA. I think that in many ways Christianity there really is opium to people, or, at least, a very effective painkiller that makes this very ferocious form of capitalism work without any serious counterforces. But most social democrats and social liberals here recognize the link with our Christian past, and see our version of Lutheranism (which was for long a state monopoly here as opposed to the US system of much freer competition) as being beficial in many ways.

Hmm, hard to keep track of this thread: the discussion is so varied and most interesting. Happily also the common Internet rancour and disrespect of others is quite missing from here. In this company I have to say, I feel myself to be quite a negativist and pessimist - maybe even an outright passivist...
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#424 Bader

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 10:52 AM

Machlud haul-ist you are also and more so a real-ist.
At the end after finding some alternative interpretations I would have to
say that over all I think I can say I appreciate your position and agree there is not much hope (in this dimension).
The minority that get control never want to give it up and the majority who should make democracy work, don't. Yet we can't walk away from it as may others couldn't before us.
Excellent article DONQ.
I won't call you greenspan though, no offence T Beat, because Greenspan is with the GDP and thus if you have to be a green I will call you greenfingers as it suggests productive and pro-active reality rather than mess.
Have seen similar making the exact same measage. The economic system as you can see is a politically correct type surrigate
of the fraudulent usury banking system, once condemned by all three Monotheistic religions. Old Test. Judaeism, Christianity
and Islam. Now down to just Islam which I suspect is one reason why it is being shattered by the Bush crusade since it is an obstruction to the NWO and capitilation through debt.
The "cold stark reality" I find and totally the opposite from our
Creamy Goodness, is that the Greenspan option does exactly
what the banking system critically needs to survive. The GNP
tallies everything up like income with expenditure together to give grossly inflated figures that hide reality.
Briefly I will explain why. The late John Hotson Prof. economic
facalty Ill. Uni explained it this way. It's fairly rare for economists to call it like it is. He said that the money (banking ) system is like an airliner. It has to maintain a certain minimum airspeed to
avoid falling out of the sky. What he depicted was that since vertually all the money supply is created as a debt and basically vertually all the money in circulation is the principle borrowed out of which both the principle and the interest has to be paid ( mathematically impossible). The inbuilt fundamental "error"
can only be oversome by incorporating dynamics in the economic system that drives an ever increasing expansion of the money supply ( yes you got it - fundamentally inflationary while they
tell us lies they are fighting inflation and we must bare with them)
This is why Mr Greenspan has been reduced down and down the interest rates to beg people to expand the money supply by borrowing more. Now they are thinking about makes people take money into a bank once a month to get it stamped for it to retain its value- yeah so you will spend it before you loose it and to discourage saving it as they want people to raise consumer demand and the economy with it which will make bigger demands for the money expansion. And someone suggested there was no economic crisis at present.
If you dwell on it you will discover that it is not an error but the
very teeth of the Lion. The ever expanding debt is effectively never paid just the interest. Given enough time the exponential debt will ultimately own every tangible and intangible asset on the planet. In the meantime the banker calls the tune
as to what governments can and cannot do, rather than the voters. The mafia and their protection rackets are a bunch of joboes compared to this racket.
As I said previously a bunch of thieves waited until Xmas eve in 1913 to steal the American peoples sovereign right to create their own money debt free. ( in time for the WW1 bonanza)
The GPI tells us the real world and puts the negatives in perspective. The system is designed so the effective losses
are passed down to the bottem where unfortunately they have no one to pass it on to.
Sorry to disaggree with you Creamy Goodness the LEFT in issue here is the leftovers.
When you appreciate the GPI you can see why the statistics in the free-market (so called) world is that 80% are loosing because thay are either standing still which means going backwards in real terms or they are clearly loosing. Plus the poverty line is rising up the 80%.
Incomes are meaningless unless measuered in what it can purchase and how long it takes to earn it in comparison, with the same dates.
There is another perspective that can be added and that is that
while the GDP mentallity has us thinking that we are doing well
if we can find good exports and selling our goods overseas
helping to make our country prosperous etc etc. Remember the
"error" or perhaps a better word- dilemma? Its getting the more
money from somewhere to pay the debt. This is where the trade\wars come from and World War One in particular, an outcome of the dynamics of the money sytsem in turn driving the dynamics of the economic system. So what are we doing? Well the economy was originally the outcome of the need for society
to use goods and services we couldn't manage ourselves. We
become specialists making one thing and traded for all those other things we need we can't make. So the fundamental purpose of the economy is to aquire goods and services.
The wealth then of our society is the goods and services - these make for a good standard of living, take them away and there is no standard of living, just a standard of existing.
Now lets refect on how the fraudulent banking system has turned it on ourbacks. We are over producing (overusing resources)
in order to export our real wealth (goods and services) to aquire more money to pay for what we produced for ourselves. The extra industry equates with working longer not less as we become more technically suffisticated once again the opposite to
the reality that should be reflected. The economy has in part
become a means of creating work ( income to pay our way) which means work for the sake of money not just work to produce the wealth our nation demands.
This demand for more money to pay the debt keeps the price of money up as every good businessman would like it. That is until
there is a saturation of debt restaining demand as in the US now.
Sure there is a component of trade for what a country lacks, that's accepted but the greater
burdon is the debt by far and our labour, our wealth and or
resources are being drained away by a system that can and should be replaced if the Conman can be exposed to enough people.
So every nation is trying to sell more than it buys to ballance the budget- another impossibility since there has to be a loser to make a winner, but only because of the dynamics of the debt money system.
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#425 Auld Nick

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 11:12 AM

Someone should thank you for the work you put into that. Thank you. Only one niggle, and it's the one keeping the whole mess afloat. If people realise the system is fraudulent, and try to realise their assets all at once, it crashes, and everybody goes hungry. And there is no hope, as far as I see, of a safe exit from the Western-imposed economic system. The Muslim (ex-Christian, long ex-Judaic) ideal of a 0% interest rates is an honest one, but I think you can see on this forum the prejudice that exists among certain consumer capitalist beneficiaries.
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#426 cpwill

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 01:27 PM

(shrugs) all economy other than barter systems is built on public and private trust; and if that trust is broken, all economy fails.
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#427 Buttersideup

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 03:29 PM

"The wealth then of our society is the goods and services"

Part of the current "dilemma" is that a certain economy has turned heavily to a service economy. Goods are being produced in minimal quantities. Even if a domestic company owns the foreign plant, it benefits few within the domestic economy.
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#428 donquijote

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 08:21 PM

"The lion can indeed be tamed, and at that point is no longer a lion to all intents and purposes, an example is the Scandinavian lions giving up all predator's habits and actually wanting to share with the little animals"

<Ok, the lion can be tamed. But if he gives up all predator habits, how will he aquire enough to share with the little animals? And what about the poor lion? Forced to be a vegan against his nature.>

He can always work for food at the circus... :)

No, really, the smart lion is not the one that wants everything for himself... and creates a revolution against him, but the one who learns to cooperate with the little animals. Say, the Scandinavian lions--who are truly free to walk up and down safely--are better off than the Colombian lions--who fear kidnapping. Likewise, for the first time in history, all the lions--along with the little animals--are endangered species via the ecological or war catastrophe they are precipitating. It's in their interest to wise up...

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#429 donquijote

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 08:22 PM

<And all the animals cried out "no more cabbage!">

Was it 'cabbage' or 'garbage'?
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#430 donquijote

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 08:29 PM

<All the little animals went on strike and rioted against there now bland diet. The lion, weakened by a steady diet of nothing (he's no longer a predator) hadn't the means to placate the little animals. It was a sad day in the jungle many lost there little furry lives tragically. >

Don't be such a pessimist...

The little animals will behave if you give them education and food. America's jungle is far unsafer than Scandinavia. In the latter the lion can go to sleep and mingle with the little animals without fearing for his life... It's an idillyc life for the lion--and the little animals--indeed...

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#431 donquijote

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 09:09 PM

<The next time you guys decide to party, please invite me!>

We are party animals, man!

You speak Spanish right?

(if not jump to the end)

ENCUESTA

Como parte de los preparativos de la FIESTA DE LA VICTORIA, estamos haciendo la siguiente encuesta pa' que no falte na':

ENCUESTA #3

POR QUE DEBEMOS LIBERAR LAS MASAS?

__ Porque las masas estan oprimidas
__ Pa' que cojan sol
__ Porque producto que no se anuncia, no se vende
__ Otras razones

ENCUESTA DEL JALAPENO

A UD. LE GUSTA EL JALAPENO VERDE Y PEQUENO O ROJO Y GRANDE?

__ Verde y pequeno
__ A mi me gusta rojo y grande
__ Como sea pero que sea picoso

ENCUESTA DE LA AREPA

A UD. LE GUSTA LA AREPA SECA Y FRIA O MOJADITA Y CALIENTE?

__ Seca y fria
__ A mi me gusta mojadita y caliente

ENCUESTA DE LA BANANA

A UD. LE GUSTA LA BANANA PELADA O PELUDA?

__ Me gusta pelada
__ Me gusta peluda
__ A mi me gusta pelarla
__ No existe la banana peluda


SURVEY

In preparation for the VICTORY PARTY, we are doing the following survey so there ain't nothing missing:

Do you like the juice squeezed by hand or with the little machine?

__ By hand

__ With the little machine

__ Other methods

SURVEY #2

What is it that we shouldn't lack at the party?

__ Juice (guarapo)

__ Rum

__ Colored balloons (what color you like?)

more info...

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#432 donquijote

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 09:19 PM

<Bader is right: Scandinavia is in many ways a special case, and powerless to affect the rest of the world. Its mere existence is still very useful in refuting American conservative capitalist fundamentalism. As to religion, I would say that all five countries are overwhelmingly secular - this is one of the greatest differences as compared to the USA. I think that in many ways Christianity there really is opium to people, or, at least, a very effective painkiller that makes this very ferocious form of capitalism work without any serious counterforces. But most social democrats and social liberals here recognize the link with our Christian past, and see our version of Lutheranism (which was for long a state monopoly here as opposed to the US system of much freer competition) as being beficial in many ways.>

Hi Mach

You got it right. However, where Scandinavia is failing big time is in not *actively* promoting her model to the rest of the world. By not doing so, the mighty hungry lion may do the job for himself and in so doing threaten everybody, including peace-loving Scandinavia... In other words, the lion may eat you anyway.

<Hmm, hard to keep track of this thread: the discussion is so varied and most interesting. Happily also the common Internet rancour and disrespect of others is quite missing from here. In this company I have to say, I feel myself to be quite a negativist and pessimist - maybe even an outright passivist... >

Because it's a 'lion free zone'? ;)

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#433 donquijote

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 09:36 PM

<I can see why the left would prefer GPI to GDP. GPI embraces Social and political constructs which the left finds attractive, it is nebulous it consists of many variables and intangibles and thus can easily be finessed to suit your world-views. Not at all like the cold hard stark realities of traditional accounting. >

I know, a human-first economy may easily overlook the hard stark reality of the economists' world.

Not all economists are 'looking the other way' though...

An interview with Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of Development as Freedom

December 15, 1999

Eyebrows were raised when Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in Economics last year. Sen had frequently been mentioned as a candidate, but it had been predicted that in an era when laissez-faire market economics were all the rage Sen's insistence on looking beyond GNP figures -- his penchant for emphasizing the social in the social science of economics -- meant that he would never win the prize. Indeed, the previous year's winners -- Robert Merton and Myron Scholes, co-founders of the high-powered Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) hedge fund -- epitomized the ideas of free-market capitalism.

Less than a year after Merton and Scholes won the prize, however, Thailand's Baht plummeted, markets from Bombay to New York were in turmoil, the talk was of worldwide depression, and LTCM itself was on the verge of insolvency. Suddenly, Sen's distrust of unadulterated market economics no longer seemed so heretical. In the wake of a crisis sparked in large part by a lack of openness in Southeast Asia, his argument that growth should be accompanied by democratic decision making seemed only too correct; amidst the human suffering caused by mass unemployment and exacerbated -- as many felt -- by the stringent economic policies of the International Monetary Fund, Sen's call for social support in development appeared humane and wise. A new brand of softer, gentler economics seemed in order. In 1998, when Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize, he was credited by the Royal Swedish Academy with "having restored an ethical dimension to economics."

The author states...

"By ignoring the distribution of income, the GDP hides the fact that a rising tide does not lift all boats. From 1973 to 1993, while GDP rose by over 50 percent, wages suffered a decline of almost 14 percent. Meanwhile, during the 1980s alone, the top 5 percent of households increased their real income by almost 20 percent. Yet the GDP presents this enormous gain at the top as a bounty to all."

<This is a total lie. A quick glance at the US Census bureaus Historical income tables will easily varify that (with the exception of the Carter years) income for ALL Americans has risen steadily since before '73.>

A ghetto still a ghetto, and it ain't getting any better. Just go ask the little people...

Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich
by Kevin Phillips

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
Most American conservatives take it as an article of faith that the
less governmental involvement in affairs of the market and pocketbook
the better. The rich do not, whatever they might say--for much of
their wealth comes from the "power and preferment of government." So
writes Kevin Phillips, the accomplished historian and one-time
Washington insider, in this extraordinary survey of plutocracy,
excess, and reform. "Laissez-faire is a pretense," he argues; as the
wealth of the rich has grown, so has its control over government,
making politics a hostage of money. Examining cycles of economic
growth and decline from the founding days of the republic to the
recent collapse of technology stocks, Phillips dispels notions of
trickle-down wealth creation, *****s holes in speculative bubbles, and
decries the ever-increasing "financialization" of the economy--all of
which, he argues, have served to reduce the well-being of ordinary
Americans and government alike. Highly readable for all its charts and
graphs, Phillips's book offers a refreshing--and, of course,
controversial--blend of economic history and social criticism. His
conclusions won't please all readers, but just about everyone who
comes to his pages will feel hackles rising. --Gregory McNamee

<Tisk, tisk. You guys always drink the Kool-aid.>

Vodka on the rocks is better... :)

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#434 The Beat

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 12:23 AM

ENCUESTA #3

POR QUE DEBEMOS LIBERAR LAS MASAS?

__ Porque las masas estan oprimidas
XX Pa' que cojan sol
__ Porque producto que no se anuncia, no se vende
__ Otras razones

ENCUESTA DEL JALAPENO

A UD. LE GUSTA EL JALAPENO VERDE Y PEQUENO O ROJO Y GRANDE?

__ Verde y pequeno
__ A mi me gusta rojo y grande
XX Como sea pero que sea picoso

ENCUESTA DE LA AREPA

A UD. LE GUSTA LA AREPA SECA Y FRIA O MOJADITA Y CALIENTE?

__ Seca y fria
XX A mi me gusta mojadita y caliente

ENCUESTA DE LA BANANA

A UD. LE GUSTA LA BANANA PELADA O PELUDA?

__ Me gusta pelada
__ Me gusta peluda
XX A mi me gusta pelarla
XX No existe la banana peluda

DQ,

This is one of the all time weirdest surveys I've ever taken. I like the sexual undertones to the questions, though. Very funny. One of the things I've always liked about Hispanics, they are very upfront with their sexual feelings. They don't have any sexual hangups as far as I could see, a nice change to the "uptight" American attitude in general concerning the topic.
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#435 machlud haul

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 06:21 AM

Well, thinking evolves slowly. I am still quite at loss to translate my ideas into any sort of political program as they quite specifically deal with the general impossibility of political programs... Hmm. What I would do if it were in my power, would be to slow down, to think a bit. We seem to spend so much time in running around scared, defensive and aggressive, fighting for power and inventing all sorts weapons in search of security and certainty. I would suspect - though it's no doubt very far fetched as biology - that the first reaction of that group of monkeys when they lifted their eyes over the plains and up to the sky and became aware was deep terror. It's a huge and cold universe, and it's scarily silent here. But is it not time to stop running and start thinking? Like donquijote says, this hysteria is beginning to endanger our whole existence.
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#436 machlud haul

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:49 AM

I would not deny that capitalism is fairly effective (at least more effective than anything else ever tried) in producing goods and growth. Before capital, we all were basically at subsistence levels (excluding the tiny aristocracy) in the agricultural civilizations, so the present day wealth in the industrial countries is actually not causing poverty in the Third World - and many free market ideas (such as freer trade) would actually be of great help in ending this poverty and mismanagement. Wealth is then really the exception and poverty used to be universal. In my view the price is just getting way too high - there has to be other than material values - I seem to remember it was pursuit of happiness and not wealth that was the inaliable right and with its feudal and archaic remnants and excess materialism capitalism is not now increasing happiness but only stress and overwork. Production is not the only value (there are many interesting affinities between Soviet rhetoric and capitalist practice...) - it has to be only means to end, and with this very dynamic and destructive form of capitalism we are in acute danger of forgetting that.
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#437 Bader

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 08:40 AM

I am thankful others much smarter than me have gone before
and done all the work. Some have paid for it with their lives.
Such as Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy.
The changeover as you say is very *****ly and the potential for the uneducated public to panic is very real (the politicians will first,
they are easliy scared by the bankers, the thought of it all crashing, when it doesn't have to be that way).
The world has seen runs on banks under the existing system.
What amuses me is that people who try to defend the present system usually resort to scare tactics and point out something that already happens under the existing, well known for its boom-bust.
There is so much mis-imformation about the present system that
it actually is not easy to get through to the otherside and arrive in confidence. I suspect many have started out and turned back.
Note that the general subject is always hidden behind mists
and notions of elevated intelligence we mere mortals are led to believe is beyond us. Not so when you see a switched on person
who has decode it in contest with a person well versed and held a high position in the banking world, its not so precise or scientific
and is rather a lot simpler than one would expect.
Sure there are millions who would fear for their life saving, especially those already in retirement and therefore cannot start
again. Yet what about the billions of retirement funds that
evaporated thanks to dishonest bureaucrats in Enron, as one
example. The German mark collapsed overnight in 1923.
A large number of very big banks have collapsed in the last twenty years. Then there's Mexico, Agentina, the Asia crisis,
Russian, the run on the pound, I've missed others. If the public could see how unstable it all is they would be fearful anyway.
When one gets to realise the cost on humanity this system has
caused, and the interest is very insignificant to wars, revolutions,
genocide, starvation of African children in our own time-today,
stable societies like Norway turned upside down by global policies
and the peoples assets stolen and resourses plundered- you have to do the home work to appreciate what I am saying.
Then there is the benefits on the other shore.
DONq has a glimpse of the other shore and he's going for it. The
power being stolen from humanity if returned would create a
world we haven't been able to imagine because of the negative
environment, propoganda and lack of knowledge.
It would great to see the Russian arive there first after what they have been put through. I have yet to hear anyone say anything
that would suggest they deserved that. ( I haven't opened a can of worms here have ?)
Mach-h's advice is good here, can't rush this and conclude its too
difficult or what ever until one has got their head around it.
cpwill has got the crux of the ediface, its all about trust. If you look at what has been used for money, like shells and hyde
discs, the value of the token is not in issue its what people can trust that the next person will also take it in exchange and so on.
Trust is also built on honesty and integrity not fraud.
Banks create money out of nothing and charge interest. The basis is our credit so if their business is based on using our credit to create it our royalties should be higher than their interest!
You mentioned prejudiced opposition unbias. I actually don't see
it because I know this is so different to what most people understand they really don't understand the real issues and their response is common and human and they have investments as
well so to speak but you have covered that anyway.
The commonest approach to change is to return the power of the creation and cancellation of money back to the state (gov.)
where applicable, such as the USA. In the UK it was under the
crown- the King but would go to Parliament today.
I don't agree with this as Donq has put it there is a lion at that level and they already abuse power too much and we would be stupid to give them an open cheque book as well.
The wiser choice I beleive is an independant financial authority
that Gov can't control (some reserve banks are thus) that is
accountable to the public as much as gov. Now this is empowering the people when the money system is of service to them and not an elite. You can forget the poor v. the rich.
The rich can go through the roof and not deprive anyone else if honest and the poor are only poor because they waste it.
I will post a few paragraphs from a British MP which put's it all
in a nut shell, this was back in the 17 hundreds after the mother
of the modern banking system, the bank of england was formed.
But I won't add it in here. Don't want to hog the page on everyone scene.
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#438 machlud haul

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 10:00 AM

Well, I would say that capitalism is (and especially used to be) just one factor in this pluralistic and quarrelsome liberal Western civilization. But it is nowadays the driving factor, the most dynamic one that brings constant change and destruction. Market forces are clearly obliterating civic values and destroying autonomous spaces within the society. We are becoming not growth focused but growth centered: everything is geared towards accumulating more wealth and if something is not conducive for that, it's deemed worthless. This is already resembling theocracies with capital (and the power that it brings) being the elusive and for some not so elusive God. It is true that I think that our Western, liberal and free market society is the best there has yet been (in the way of organized, complex civilizations) but as a liberal (in the European sense) I still think that this is deeply primitive and irrational way of living. Capitalism is of course mostly guilty of effectiveness, unlike the Soviet system it really does deliver. It needs and necessitates the rule of law (especially corporate law) and a measure of free flow of information and debate, but purely in itself it's indifferent to anything but material values of accumulation. It needs hierarchies and supports irrational power structures (not as psychotic and murderous as Stalin's, for example, but irrational nevertheless). If we would be more reasonable and more enlightened, we would not need capitalism's blind structures for delivery.
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#439 donquijote

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 03:45 PM

<This is one of the all time weirdest surveys I've ever taken. I like the sexual undertones to the questions, though. Very funny. One of the things I've always liked about Hispanics, they are very upfront with their sexual feelings. They don't have any sexual hangups as far as I could see, a nice change to the "uptight" American attitude in general concerning the topic.>

Hey Beat

Very wise choices... :)

My first round of writings were sexually charged, and they were a smashing success with the little (party) animals. Remember 'bread and circus'? We shouldn't forget that, only that the bread--wholesome--and the circus--the arts--we provide should be of the finest quality. The little people wouldn't be nearly as interested in 'humanism' as in a party and food occasion, so be it. Besides if you have as *unofficial* name the name of some foodstuff people associate with it very closely and it signals that at least there will plenty of that stuff, a real concern for the little people.

In my second round of writings though I concentrated more in the serios stuff. What's funny about it is that the Internet people--more educated--is slow to the first, while the common people show real interest on it. Who's right? I don't know, but everything may just come together at one point...

YOU GOTTA BURN THE CALORIES!!!

In light of the recent suit against the fast food giants in the US, for making people fat and sick with empty calories and artificial ingredients, on the one hand, and the difficulty for people to burn them off, on the other, I'd say: "You gotta burn the calories!!!" How? Well, I leave it up to your imagination... But, as the following opinion shows, is doesn't seem to be an easy task in America...

Source: Talking Point, BBC News

Having lived in the US last year, I can say most of the comments here
belittling this lawsuit stem from ignorance of life in the US. People
here in the UK are MUCH more aware of what is healthy. In the US "Big
Food" dominates the airwaves and the vast majority of people are
genuinely misinformed. Americans live off processed food regularly now.
Having said that, I think the lawsuit is partially misguided because bad
food is no more than half the problem of obesity that is now coming to
the fore in the US. The other half is the lifestyle the country imposes
on people. In the US you are literally FORCED to drive everywhere - even
a 5 minute hop to a local supermarket. People live in a system where
they do everything sitting down. So it is not just that massive amounts
of calories (with little nutrition) are readily and cheaply on offer,
but that burning any of it off in the normal course of a day is near
impossible.
James, UK


Is obesity a U.S. public policy issue?
By Lou Marano

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- Americans are fat. But is obesity a
problem that lends itself to public policy solutions?

Shannon Brownlee, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is
inclined to think it does. James Glassman, an economic analyst at the
American Enterprise Institute, thinks it does not. The two presented
their arguments at a New America Foundation forum on Tuesday.

Brownlee said the issue is not whether the government has a right to
interfere with your right to eat Big Macs, but whether it is
contributing to the "epidemic" of obesity in the United States and
whether it should play a role in reducing the rate of obesity.

She said obesity is a public health problem, not a matter of
aesthetics, and asked to what degree government policy is subsidizing
obesity.

Brownlee said the medical establishment defines obesity as being 100
or more pounds over one's optimum Body Mass Index. Obesity rates have
increased dramatically since 1970. Now nearly one-third of the
population is considered obese. Another 35 percent is considered
overweight. "Sixty percent of Americans are at increased risk for all
kinds of diseases," she said.

Brownlee quoted Harvard economist David Cutler as saying that even
small improvements in health can justify the high cost of medical
insurance. "Health is worth an enormous amount to the wealth of this
country," Brownlee said.

"Imagine a disease that kills almost as many people as tobacco kills.
It disables you and kills you slowly, like AIDS. It kills more than
AIDS, drugs and guns combined. Your kids are at risk from this
disease. It's not communicable like AIDS, but is rather the result of
behavior and environment.

"Not only is local, state, and federal government not doing anything
about this disease, they are promoting the disease through taxes and
other policies."

Government is actively encouraging obesity by failing to have any
credible anti-obesity campaign, Brownlee said. "We subsidize the
advertising of junk food, we allow the advertising of all kinds of
food to children, when we don't allow everything to be advertised to
children ... We allow entire subdivisions to be built without
sidewalks or bike paths. We're letting junk food into schools, and
even hospitals have junk food franchises these days.


From the jacket of the book "Fast Food Nation," by Eric Schlosser.

To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar America. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad.

Schlosser also uncovers the fast food chain's efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers and hone the institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities.

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#440 donquijote

donquijote

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:15 PM

<I would not deny that capitalism is fairly effective (at least more effective than anything else ever tried) in producing goods and growth. Before capital, we all were basically at subsistence levels (excluding the tiny aristocracy) in the agricultural civilizations, so the present day wealth in the industrial countries is actually not causing poverty in the Third World - and many free market ideas (such as freer trade) would actually be of great help in ending this poverty and mismanagement. Wealth is then really the exception and poverty used to be universal. In my view the price is just getting way too high - there has to be other than material values - I seem to remember it was pursuit of happiness and not wealth that was the inaliable right and with its feudal and archaic remnants and excess materialism capitalism is not now increasing happiness but only stress and overwork. Production is not the only value (there are many interesting affinities between Soviet rhetoric and capitalist practice...) - it has to be only means to end, and with this very dynamic and destructive form of capitalism we are in acute danger of forgetting that.>

Hi Mach

I'd add to your well thought-out arguments that capitalism is also failing, among others, at the following levels:

- Environment. It's so obvious--except for a few countries, most notably Scandinavia--is causing a major catastrophe. Our lands and oceans are being preyed upon with no mercy. Like Jacques Cousteau said, "Living like rats is not my idea of life."

- Conflict. Never, ever has the word "save" has been uttered by this administration before going to war with oil-rich Iraq. An SUV is a sign of "prestige," I in my little bike am at the wrong end of the food chain.

- Poverty. The poor, the homeless got no hope. The whole society pays the price in the form of crime, litter and blight.

- Culture. The garbage--talk shows, violent programs--the people get is at the level of the roman circus, with even less quality.

- Food. Our food supply is fully manipulated into plastic stuff, our children particularly being preyed upon by junk food multinationals.

- Hunger. 800 million people--300 million of them children--go hungry as we speak.

- Serfdom. That's the only word that applies to low paying jobs, with total lack of security, not even the security to eat or have a roof, something the serfs took for granted...

Well, save for these, and a few other "small" defects with capitalism, everything is alright... :confused:

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