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Post 20

Friday, May 12, 2006 - 1:56pmSanction this postReply
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My words:
"Regardless whether my attacker has a machete or a firearm, I have a much better chance of defending myself using a Beretta or AK than a knife - and I have 0 reason to believe that government restrictions on weapons would disarm the attacker instead of myself."

Mr Skinner:
"Are you arguing that a machete is less dangerous than a gun?"

I'm arguing:
1) A firearm is directed and ranged, hence far more useful in defense than likely alternatives such as cutting implements or explosives.
2) Gun control disproportionately disarms the innocent rather than their aggressors.

[regarding sweatshop type scenarios]
"By that method of analysis it isn't questionable for me to offer a crack-addicted women going through withdraw, a few bucks to pleasure me sexually. Or it isn't questionable for me to sell past sell by date food to the starving, when I can provide good food to them."

Assuming you aren't using fraud (eg. saying the food is fresh when it isn't), then yes, you've got it.




Post 21

Friday, May 12, 2006 - 2:50pmSanction this postReply
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Further to Aaron's comments:
"By that method of analysis it isn't questionable for me to offer a crack-addicted women going through withdraw, a few bucks to pleasure me sexually. Or it isn't questionable for me to sell past sell by date food to the starving, when I can provide good food to them."
Mr. S:

The bartering for sexual pleasure offends me personally no matter whether the person is a crack addict or not but as a believer in libertarian principles I think that two people should be able to do just that. That one person might be a crack addict is irrelevant and a red herring to this discussion.

Would you throw the food out? Obviously, yes, even though it may still be thoroughly nutritious. One could provide a huge amount of out of date food for the same cost as a tiny amount of the freshest food. Why would you choose deny the starving population the best total nutrition?

Evil.

 




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Post 22

Friday, May 12, 2006 - 3:59pmSanction this postReply
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Mike Skinner wrote,
Why is it not morally questionable to go to a place where people are desperate, and get them to work in appalling conditions, and for appalling wages because the other alternative is starvation?
Mike, is it morally questionable for the company not to go there at all, even if the local inhabitants would starve if it didn't? And if not, then why is it morally questionable for the company to go there, hire the local inhabitants at low wages, and help them to avoid starvation?
By that method of analysis it isn't questionable for me to offer a crack-addicted women going through withdrawal, a few bucks to pleasure me sexually.
In some countries where Nike employs children at low wages, the children's only survival alternative is prostitution. Would you prefer that Nike not employ them under these circumstances as well, even though the children would then have to work as prostitutes?
Or it isn't questionable for me to sell past sell by date food to the starving, when I can provide good food to them.
Suppose that instead of buying a computer, you could send the money to the starving in other countries. Isn't it morally questionable for you to buy the computer? And if not, then why is it morally questionable for you to sell food to them past its expiration date? At least in the latter case, you are helping them to avoid starvation, whereas in the former, you are not.

In essence, your argument amounts to the following: It is morally questionable for me to help the starving in other countries, unless I'm doing all I can for them. If anything is morally questionable, however, it is that very premise, because it implies that the moral agent must sacrifice his values for the sake of others, who, as moral agents, must sacrifice their values for the sake of still others, etc, ad infinitum. Who benefits from this endless chain of sacrifices? Clearly no one, which is the fallacy inherent in altruism, a doctrine that divorces benefactor from beneficiary.

- Bill



Post 23

Friday, May 12, 2006 - 10:45pmSanction this postReply
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Well said, John A. (Mike Skinner is equivalent to a murderer).

Ed




Post 24

Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 2:13pmSanction this postReply
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Ed and Bill:

     What you say about Mike may be true. But, Mike did implicitly make one other very important, salient, and quite necessary point:

     The U.S. needs a better set of PR agents (govt and industry) than it has had for mucho years.

     Hate to say it, but,  they're probably only found in Hollywood...and they're all probably very, very busy.

LLAP
J:D




Post 25

Monday, May 22, 2006 - 10:13pmSanction this postReply
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Okay Dailey (never called you that, before) -- I concede that point.

Ed




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Post 26

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 2:27pmSanction this postReply
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Does the US need better PR agents? Or does the rest of the world need to stop promoting altruism as a moral ideal?



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Post 27

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 2:44pmSanction this postReply
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Great point, John.

Ed
[not a fence-sitter]




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Post 28

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 1:35pmSanction this postReply
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Well said, John A. (Mike Skinner is equivalent to a murderer).
Equivalent to a murderer? Equivalent to a M-U-R-D-E-R-E-R?
I hope a least one person on this forum found the claim as absurd as I did.

Or recognized the predominantly pro-Iraq war Objectivist stance, a war which has now been responsible for over 38,000 civilian causalities. http://www.iraqbodycount.net/

Or recognized arms corporations selling weapons to countries and militias with extremely poor human rights records.

Or people buying food that contains water from other countries and is destroying the ecosytem of the other countries.

Or recognized Coca-cola using 3 litres of water to make 1 litre of Coke when 1000's of people die daily from lack of access to drinking water. And Coca-cola draining water from aquifers in areas in India, and drain the local water cycle, to the point that people are struggling to have enough water to farm, and drink.

Or recognized an Oil company that continues to finance a government that aids in widespread human rights abuse.

Or recognized internet companies that provide the information of dissidents to fascist regimes, knowing it will probably result in their detention, and torture, or even death.

Or acknowledge water companies in the developing nations that are content to let the poor people who can't afford the high prices die.

Or what about Dick Cheney being part of a US administration that funded. armed and trained the Muhajideen in the 1980’s to fight the soviet.

Or what about US attempts to block international humanitarian aid to the citizens of Palestine in need of medicine and food.

Do you consider them the equivalent of murders too? Or just a person, (and movement) that is against those kinds of actions. www.indymedia.org

A point that seems to be missed by most advocates and pro-globalization activists is the following;

The fact that the 'equal' playing field championed by capitalist principles doesn't exist in reality. For example in the UK, (and - according to the business news/NGOs/WTO NGO spokesperson I spoke to today - most industrialized countries are too) the transport industry, utilities industry, technology industry, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries receive heavy subsidies, grants and loans from the government to start up, stay afloat, and stay affordable. As I'm sure you know this heavily diminishes the 'equal' playing field of capitalist principles, and has aided in the gaps between rich and poor societies throughout the world.

When true privatization (meaning no subsidies, grants, loans from governments) is implemented for water in places like Bolivia (and many other countries) the consumer costs for connection are as high as 7-10 times higher than the average monthly wage. The poor die because they cannot afford it. That kind of behaviour happens time and time again in developing countries which have been told to (truly) privatize their water supplies. That is what prompted the coca wamba poor uprising against the multinational corporation in charge of water.

This eschewed world-market that currently exists (called by myself and others globalization) is responsible for making UK farmed goods so cheap that it is cheaper for African 9and other countries) local sellers to import the goods than to buy it from local farmers.

The reality is that the EU, China, and US are economic powerhouse and don’t want to give up their prominent position in the world market and don’t want to give up their position. They continue to provide financial support for their industries despite promoting the values of free-trade, and being a part of the WTO free-trade agreements. For a developing nation to bring their dispute to the WTO they have to go up against the might of the 300+ lawyers on behalf of the US, it‘s ‘pull’ in the World Bank.

I know what your about to write; your against that, and that is why people should champion free-market principles. The reality is the economic success of the US and the UK etc, are proudly displayed and defended by you guys and other pro-free marketers as showing the advantages of free-trade, when it clearly isn’t free-trade.

If pro-capitalists were consistent, they would have to launch massive campaigns against government finance of industries. Which would mean you would have to align yourselves with the make trade fair campaign by Oxfam, and other anti-globalization NGO‘s. You would also have to denounce the effects of the government assisted economies- which would mean denouncing industrialized countries economic success. You would also have to denounce corporations that have benefited from government assistance which - I’m sure you’d agree - would be a large section of corporations. I’ve read articles on it of course - but not campaigns with the same depth and passion of attacking environmentalism, and the left. I read articles denouncing restrictions of free-trade in the form of labour laws, environment laws, etc, vastly outnumbering articles denouncing restrictions on free-trade in the forms of loans, subsidies and grants.

It is a straight-forward fact that the most ‘successful’ economies of the modern world (US, EU, China), are not examples of Capitalism, but successful state-coordinated economies, I haven’t seen this acknowledged by Pro-free marketers, much. Instead I mainly read the praises of the big business and state collusion, that are our current big 3 economies.
This is interesting - a footnote from understanding power by Chomsky (I‘m going to get flamed for that I know);
'For the British study, see Winfried Ruigrock and Rob Van Tulder, The Logic of International Restructuring, New York: Routledge, 1995, especially ch. 9. An excerpt (pp. 217, 221-222):

We assess that at least twenty corporations in the 1993 Fortune 100 would not have survived at all as independent companies, if they had not been saved by their respective governments. . . . Virtually all of the world's largest core firms have experienced a decisive influence from government policies and/or trade barriers on their strategy and competitive position. . . .

Government intervention has been the rule rather than the exception over the past two centuries. This intervention has taken the shape of all kinds of trade and industrial policies, and of a weak enforcement of competition or anti-trust regulations . . . . Government intervention has played a key role in the development and diffusion of many product and process innovations -- particularly in aerospace, electronics, modern agriculture, materials technologies, energy and transportation technology. . . . [G]overnment policies, in particular defence programmes, have been an overwhelming force in shaping the strategies and competitiveness of the world's largest firms.

See also, Michael Borrus [Co-Director of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy], "Investing on the Frontier: How the U.S. Can Reclaim High-Tech Leadership," American Prospect, Fall 1992, pp. 79-87 at pp. 79-80 (citing a 1988 Department of Commerce study showing that "five of the top six fastest growing U.S. industries from 1972 to 1988 were sponsored or sustained, directly or indirectly, by federal investment," the only exception being lithograph services. "The winners [in earlier years] -- computers, biotechnology, jet engines, and airframes'.

The fact is - I’m sure you’ll agree - is that the state-coordinate economies (called the corporatocracy by John Perkins) of the EU, UK and China, give them an unfair advantage in the global market, that is one of the central tenets of the anti-globalization movement. It is a system where it is extremely difficult for developing nations to ‘work’ their way out of poverty, it is designed to keep the hierarchy the way it is.

The 'right' like to say that competition is healthy and good - that may or may not be the case - but the world economy doesn’t reflect that. Also what businessman/corporation wants their competitors to actually challenge them? Maybe that is why with all the US and EU talk of free-trade is sham with government financing rampant.

Here is an author’s summary of the problems of globalization;

You plunder the earth, rape her of her resources, exploit her people, and systematically disenfranchise those who disagree with you for doing all of this, calling them ‘radicals‘.
You do all this for your own selfish purposes, because you’ve developed a lifestyle that you cannot maintain any other way.
You must cut down millions of acres of trees each year or you won’t be able to have your Sunday paper. You must destroy miles of protective ozone which covers your planet, or you cannot have hairspray. You must pollute your rivers and streams beyond repair or you cannot have your industries to give you bigger, better and more. And you must exploit the least among you - the least advantage, the least educated, the least aware - or you cannot live at the top of the human scale in unheard-of (and unnecessary) luxury. Finally, you must deny that you are doing this, or you cannot live with yourself.
You cannot find it in your heart to ‘live simply so that others may live’. That bumper sticker wisdom is too simple for you. It is too much to ask. Too much to give. After all, you’ve worked so hard for what you’ve got! You ain’t giving up none of it! And if the rest of the human race - to say nothing of your own children’s children - have to suffer for it, tough bananas, right? You did what you had to do to survive, to ‘make it’ - they can do the same! After all, it is every man for himself is it not?
- Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God book 2. (I don't think he did).

Actually I’ll try to articulate (my view of) the anti-globalization movement in a few sentences (a summary remember), because you guys are unclear;

Globalization is the for profit corporation that by law have to put the profit of their shareholders above any other concern. Working conditions, benevolence, and treatment of the ecosystem is only considered a worthwhile investment if public perception is seen to support those things. If it is not there corporations have exploited, mistreated and aided killing to gain more profit. Examples are Nestle, Coca-Cola, Shell, Pfizer, Google, and many more.

Globalization is marketing which uses psychologists, obfuscation, and lies, to sell products to adults and children. It attempts to manipulate us via cultural, psychological, educational and developmental vulnerabilities. (Read No Logo by Naomi Klein). Body Shop was marketed to anti-globalization/conscientious shoppers then evidence started to come out (before the L’oreal takeover) that it was a marketing ploy and had no substance. When near identical products flood the market, marketing is used to gain more profit than your competitor.

Globalization is the consumerism and commerce that has become a central tenet that western society is shaped around, at the expense of awakening man‘s deeper sense of self and existence. The UK education system is basically a conveyor belt to employment. Remember fight club? A major movie that was based on exploring that trend.
Globalization is the unfair policies of the WTO, that create the unequal trade playing field and justifies policies that promote corporations before human and ecosystem welfare.

Globalization is the state co-ordinated economies of the developed countries.

I thought I’d also add that the large ‘corporate social responsibility’ movement has largely been thanks to anti-globalization activists against corporate harm. If it wasn’t for a movement against sweatshops, corporations would have continued to allow people to work in factories where they are beaten; forced to have pregnancy test; no health and safety, child labour, etc.
Campaigns and issues raised by anti-globalization movements like, socialists/radical left (worker mistreatment), anarchists/left (military-industrial complex/arms trade), environmentalists/eco-anarchists (environmental harm).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear John,

And who do you most likely see protesting in anti-globalisation rallies? Rich white college kids. If that is not racist, I don't know what is.
How is a white, rich, anti-globalization protester racist? In case you were wondering I’m a black, working class man, living in the inner city.

Why not protest the evils of totalitarianism? The evils of communism, socialism, of Islamo-facism?

I do protest all those things. You wouldn’t know that because I’m arguing about Globalization with you, and I’ve no need to bring up the atrocities you just mentioned because I know you denounce them. I'm sure you know that Britain and the US governments/arms corporations helped/help Islamo-facism?

Why is Saudi Arabia not part of the Bush Administration axis of evil?

You can escape corporatism. Go to Cuba
I cannot escape globalization, how would I get to Cuba? The only way I could escape - with no hint of mockery - is if I strip naked, float into out space and die, because quite simply our society (UK) is sustained, and ‘powered’ by Globalization.

As if someone who is a crack addict bears no responsibility to their choice to become addicted to crack?

That is a fair point - and important - but we all make mistakes, and some people make huge mistakes… Crack - I believe - is 85% addictive from the first hit.

I don’t know emotionally how you were before you found your philosophy, or where you grew up, but - as I’m sure your aware - there are some pretty messed up people out there, and many grew up in appalling circumstances.

Maybe they were beaten, raped, and severely neglected as a child, (If you’ve ever read research on rapists and serial killers, some of their lives have been so appalling it made me sick to read them). Maybe they grew up in a culture, and circumstance where it was ‘told’ to them; ‘take this and all your problems will go away’ (like marketing in general), maybe they take it and become addicted.

I’ve personally known someone for a few years who was ‘normal’ and got hooked on crack, it changes your psyche a lot. I also worked as a security guard (recently redundant) and engaged with crack addicts on a daily basis.

I know what you’ll probably write; that’s why we need to spread correct values now, to prevent things like that from happening. What about the people suffering now? Do we cast them aside because it is their own fault?

A crack/heroin addict unfortunately may be one of the 1000’s of US soldiers coming back from Iraq with psychological problems in the future. They may take it to block out the psychological effects of being in a soldier, like the drug abuse in Vietnam by the soldiers. They may be deep reasons why that person is on drugs, be thankful you haven't been through such a traumatic event that you go to sleep everynight and have nightmares, and throughout the day you have flashbacks. Maybe they don't have the support system around them, and fear the stigma of having mental health problems, maybe they slide slowly into self-prescribing drugs. We all need help, maybe they don't recieve any, and don't know how to receive any?

I suppose I'm trying to appeal to your compassion, however I know objectivism doesn't place to much emphasis on compassion. But people can have alot of pain in their life (I was almost hospitalized with depression), it can be very difficult to deal with, I hope in your personal life you try to gently and persistantly encourage them to seek help, and not denounce them as 'weak' or because their condition is 'self-inflicted' therefore 'we shouldn't waste to much time on them'. Just before you assert I'm not advocating helping other at the expense of your own happiness, the Buddhist (I'm not a buddhist) prayer 'may all beings be happy' includes youself.    

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3570255.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4632263.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4620279.stm

On sweatshops. I don’t believe it is moral to go to a country that is where the people are starving, or to a country where there are no labour laws or aren’t enforced (China), simply so you can exploit their situation by offering them long hours and poor pay. 

The possible social effects of the exploitation of the workers can lead to serious problems humanity. The breakdown of the family unit (which people in sweatshops report to NGO’s) from the long hours they have to work (16 hrs 6-7 days a week), has serious effects on society I‘m sure you‘ll agree. If you say they are free to demand better conditions, well employers in the area fire the ’troublemakers’ and blacklist them, also how much energy for organization do you think the workers have The corporations of course don’t hire these people for any benevolent reasons, it is simply to maximise profit - which I know you guys have no objection to - it is thanks to NGO’s and the outrage compassionate public, that the phenomenon has got attention and action by some companies to better conditions.

#######################

Can anyone provide me with a justification of corporate personhood consistent with Objectivist theory of rights?

@@@@@@@@@@@@''

I apologize for the late reply, personal difficulties.




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Post 29

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 3:08pmSanction this postReply
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This might seem a little strange to you, but:
- checking the forum once a day and writing a 10 line post
- checking the forum once a month and writing a 300 line post
are really not equivalent substitutes.




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Post 30

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 3:32pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Mike Skinner,

I don't REALLY consider you 'identical' to a murderer. After all, it is 'only' your espoused 'ideas' that would lead (and have lead) to the deaths of millions upon millions upon millions of earthlings -- how do you sleep well at night, man? Oh, I know ... you stay crazed with a blind denial of outcome.

Everywhere where free-market capitalism (ie. property rights & transparent rule of law) is unnaccepted, tragedy awaits. Here is an example ...

In China, in 1976, free-market capitalism (ie. property rights & transparent rule of law) was not accepted -- and this held individual wealth down in that country -- way, way below its level here. And wealth-deficiencies -- such as that noted in 1976 China -- are not inert (they have consequences).

So, what consequence came from the inherent wealth-deficiency which results whenever folks don't accept free market capitalism? Mass death.

In 1976, an earthquake measured on the Richter scale at 8.2 -- hit China and took 240,000 lives (with another 50,000-100,000 unaccounted for).

"Oh, but 8.2 is really bad -- so THAT must be why so many thousands had to die in that quake" -- is THAT what you're thinking? That it's not "possible" that they could have died from a 'wealth-deficiency' -- because you've, personally, never thought in those terms before?

Then how do you explain these data? ...

=====================
Richter Scale 6.9 or below:

1988 (6.9) in Armenia – 60,000 killed

1989 (6.9) in San Franciso – 60 killed
=====================

=====================
Richter Scale 6.6 or below:

1972 (6.25) in Nicaragua – 10,000 killed

1994 (6.6) in Los Angeles – 58 killed
=====================

A 200-to-1000-fold increase in death, from similar, or less, magnitude quakes.

Hmm. I wonder Mr. Mike Skinner -- would you care to postulate a REASON for such a wide disparity in outcome? I would love to hear your answer -- as would the families of tens of thousands in these 2 instances (and the tens of millions in others).

Ed
[Curiosity: Why don't I believe that you will EVER answer this question?]

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 6/13, 3:37pm)




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Post 31

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 4:02pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Mike Skinner,

=============
Or what about US attempts to block international humanitarian aid to the citizens of Palestine in need of medicine and food.

Do you consider them the equivalent of murders too?
=============

No one has the "right" to the wealth, time, or energy of anyone else on this planet. That would be the contradictory "right to enslave" -- ie. the "right" to take away another's "rights". Palestinians, therefore, have no "right" to receive aid in the first place (nobody does).

Over half (over 50%) of the Palestinian economy is "aid" (and has been for years). They don't need more "aid" (it hasn't worked, and won't EVER work). They need property rights and a transparent rule of law.

Emergencies don't last for decades. Their plight is their fault. They should get what they deserve (natural justice). Our aid has only allowed them to suffer more -- rather than to learn how to live well, as a human being on this planet.

Stopping aid may be the best thing that could ever be done to/for them.


=============
Why is Saudi Arabia not part of the Bush Administration axis of evil?
=============

[silence]


=============
Can anyone provide me with a justification of corporate personhood consistent with Objectivist theory of rights?
=============

Corporations shouldn't have personhood, people should. Corporations shouldn't have legal obligations to share-holders -- except transparency in management and finance. Corporations are, always and only, groups of people freely associating with the intent of wealth creation. Thinking of them differently would be dangerous.

Ed




Post 32

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 8:51pmSanction this postReply
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Well said Ed. Hey that rhymes!

Mike Skinner, you'll forgive me if I pay no attention to any of the statistics and sources you gave since you have already demonstrated in your original posts the references you cite come from questionable sources and are often wrong.

You haven't exactly established a good track record of giving us reliable sources, so I'm not sure how much energy I want to devote to completely annihilating the probably phoney, and dishonest data you provide.

And who do you most likely see protesting in anti-globalisation rallies? Rich white college kids. If that is not racist, I don't know what is.

How is a white, rich, anti-globalization protester racist? In case you were wondering I’m a black, working class man, living in the inner city.


And? You still advocate polices that only seek to kill millions of third world citizens. Is that supposed to be ok now that you're black?

You can escape corporatism. Go to Cuba

I cannot escape globalization, how would I get to Cuba? The only way I could escape - with no hint of mockery - is if I strip naked, float into out space and die, because quite simply our society (UK) is sustained, and ‘powered’ by Globalization.


Strip naked, float into out space and die? Huh? You could just buy a plane ticket to Havana. There are state run airlines that fly there. I don't know about stripping naked, I'd prefer you keep your sexual forays to yourself.






Post 33

Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 4:34amSanction this postReply
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Dear everyone,

I have decided to leave this forum.

The posts that have followed my one - and I apologized for the lateness I had personal problems to sort out - have been laced with sarcasm, and what I can only describe as what Ayn rand calls argument from intimidation;

 'If you weren't so stupid and caught up in self denial you would see how right I am!'.

Noone addressed the problem I presented that the 'successful economies of the US - that yes Ed helped avoid tragedy - are NOT FREEMARKETS. and to be consistent you would have to denounce them.

Also Ed if you don't beleive in Coporate personhood, then that invalidates alot of pro-business Objectivist/libertairian praise for the US economy don't you think. The Multinationals are legal persons.

In regards to self denial maybe the Oist movement needs to acknowledge and discuss; the actual, and gross, lack of free-market principles that they praise the US (and other industrialized nations) for, and the legal recognition of corporations as persons.

Those 2 points I've just presented I've read discussed by anti-globalization activists/literature, from what I've read of Captalism the unknown Ideal, not once has Rand mentioned corporate personhood.

A suggestion, try actually assuming and treating people with benevolence.

Last thing; according to the US government, 3 people committing suicide in Guatanamo Bay is a PR stunt!  www.antiwar.com

Many blessings,

PS www.whywefight.com

(Edited by Mr Mike Skinner on 6/15, 4:38am)




Post 34

Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 9:22amSanction this postReply
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Closure:

Mike Skinner had viewed the promotion of free markets as the actual promotion of a mixed economy (he viewed the 'Unknown Ideal' as if it were the 'Real'). In doing so, he was led to believe that free markets are evil -- because of the evil of the 'Real' mixed economy that we are working within (to try to bring about a freer economy).

He had a rightful disdain for the wrong thing -- and this led him to denounce the very lifeblood of man on earth. They say that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Mike Skinner's premises portrayed this dynamic eloquently.

Ed




Post 35

Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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Mike,

So sorry to see you go. Awhile ago, I answered a couple of your posts, but never received a reply or an acknowledgement from you. Your tactics are apparently hit and run - to spout the standard leftist line against "corporate capitalism" and then disappear for extended periods only to return with another litany of complaints and criticisms.

Question: Are you sincerely interested in a dialogue, or in simply preaching to Objectivists and in tarring all of them with the same brush, because a few happen to respond in a manner you consider sarcastic?

I replied to you in an eminently civil manner. The result? I was ignored. Your criticisms are not new. Do you really think that Objectivists don't have answers for them? But it seems that you have little interest in what those answers might be. If you should change your mind, you might want to read a book entitled Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. Or you could just take a course in economics, in which you would learn something called "the law of comparative advantage."

You mention the U.S., EU and China as economic powerhouses. It is true that China's economic growth is now 10%, but that's because their economic base is so low. If your average income is $5000 per year, and it increases to $5,500, your growth rate is 10%, but your yearly income has only increased by $500. If your average income is $30,000, and it increases to $31,500, your growth rate is only 5%, but your yearly income has increased by $1,500. So if your economic base is low, as is China's, then a small increase in wealth, if expressed in percentage terms, can appear much larger than it actually is.

Moreover, China's economic growth is occurring only in the major cities. The people living in the countryside are still dirt poor and many are on the verge of starvation. But the Chinese government could care less. Witness its policy of expropriating people's property through eminent domain, throwing the owners out on the streets to freeze to death, while it turns their property over to new developers with political connections. Yes, China is "reforming"; it's moving from communism to fascism - from one form of government intervention and control to another.

But if you want to compare economic systems, compare China's with Hong Kong's prior to the take over. Hong Kong was, and in some ways still is, a much freer economy than the U.S., and if China had not intervened, would almost certainly overtake the U.S. in a few years. It may still do so, if China keeps its interventionist policies to a minimum. Today, Hong Kong, despite a paucity of natural resources, is far wealthier than China (which has fastly more natural resources), precisely because of free trade. The same is true of Taiwan. Both of these largely free economies are an embarrassment to the state-controlled economy of China.

You mention the EU, but the European economies are not as productive as you suggest. They have double-digit unemployment rates, due, among other things, to their many restrictions on freedom of competition in the labor market.

Nor is the argument that infant industries need protection from foreign competition economically sound. As economist Murray Rothbard notes,
[I]f long-run prospects in the new industry are so promising, why does not private enterprise, ever on the lookout for a profitable investment opportunity, enter the new field? Only because entrepreneurs realize that such investment would be uneconomic, i.e., it would waste capital, land, and labor that could otherwise be invested to satisfy more urgent desires of the consumers. (Man, Economy and State with Power and Market, p. 1106)
You should know that Objectivists are not defenders of the U.S. economy as it currently exists, which is about as far from laissez-faire capitalism as one can get without being fascist. The U.S. is riding on energy from the past. It's current, relatively high standard of living is not the result of government intervention, but precisely of its absence.

In addition to the Hazlitt book, you might consider George Reisman's The Government Against the Economy, or, if you're really ambitious, his latest book, Capitalism.

- Bill



Post 36

Friday, June 16, 2006 - 5:04amSanction this postReply
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There was a story on ABC that showed why in Africa, for example, it is so hard for small business to get established.  The reason was, this poor woman and her business was being bulldozed.  Why?  Who knows?  She might have just pissed off the wrong guy who had pull.  Bottom line was that it was a lack of respect for property rights.

Skinner, you did the very thing you accuse us of - you did nothing but make ad-hominum attacks, argued from authority - and not very good authority at that, and what I would call argument by mass - volumes of drivel.  If you truly would focus on one question, in depth, and stay with that, it would be possible to actually discuss something.

William, you made some good points on China, but actually the rural poor are a concern, some of which is being addressed.  What they have is a single party, authoritarian government.  This makes it difficult for people to be opposed to the government by switching parties, and they would be better served by more transparent government - but there is progress being made.  All we hear often is the bad news.  Think about all the crap our legislatures do and if that is all the story you ever heard.  Not as egregious, to be sure, but they are in a lower stage of development.




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Post 37

Friday, June 16, 2006 - 10:49pmSanction this postReply
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As a kid from a poor working town in Kansas [Wichita], I find the remarks of this Skinner person to be a joke. When the Free Trade agreements were finally passed, people here in Wichita claimed work would drain out of this town. That was about a decade ago [NAFTA was signed I believe in 1996...], and now we have more diverse jobs than ever. And our dependence on military aircraft contracts is waning with the addition of many other companies within the city and surrounding area. There was talk about expanding Highway 54 to six lanes [three each side] for traffic TO Mexico of beef and other products that Mexicans demand TO BUY from US. Yet, if your anti-globalization efforts were made into law then that flow of goods from us here in Wichita to Mexico would stop and jobs would be lost. With such losses result in the loss of secondary service jobs, thus chilling the deeper rooted economy itself within the city and surrounding areas.

Under your vision of the 'future', Mr Skinner, my life as a poor working college kid would not be possible. Your methods and means are immoral by any measure to be sure since you demand that we all owe others something that we do not. I wonder if you think a baby just minutes old owes his 'community' anything..? A debt not accrued is a debt not owed, Mr Skinner, anyone with a decent education knows that. And to complain about corporatism [aka government-command economics] rather than trying to help the RLC, RoR, LP, CATO, and the other libertarian and/or Objectivist organizations to thwart the efforts of such government interventalist tactics shows on the poor character of your efforts [if one could call them efforts, I prefer to call them shrills and whines...].

In short, goodbye, Mr Skinner, you got plenty of fallacious premises to keep you busy for a long time...

-- Bridget, the poor workin' kid in Wichita that fears the future cause of idiots like Skinner running around in Che t-shirts...



Post 38

Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 12:03pmSanction this postReply
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Bill wrote:

Yes, China is "reforming"; it's moving from communism to fascism - from one form of government intervention and control to another.


Bill I wholeheartedly agree with this. I think it's time this meme got into more people's heads. We need to stop calling China a communist country and start calling it by it's proper label of Fascism. If people still insist on calling China a communist country, the condemnation of communism that it has always deserved and has only half-heartedly received, will only get worse and succeed in muddying the waters. Neo-Communists often point out the economic successes of China and insist it's empirical proof Communism works. How naive can one be to still insist on calling it Communism?

China is a Fascist country.



Post 39

Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 4:03pmSanction this postReply
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Fascism is still a variation of socialism, so - big deal...



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