On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 2:27:18 AM UTC-4, Stephen Paul King wrote:
>  On 9/5/2012 12:40 AM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> On Tuesday, September 4, 2012 11:14:17 PM UTC-4, Stephen Paul King wrote: 
>>  On 9/4/2012 9:07 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
>> On Tuesday, September 4, 2012 8:49:45 PM UTC-4, Stephen Paul King wrote: 
>>> On 9/4/2012 4:23 PM, Richard Ruquist wrote: 
>>> > What struck me is that the "the USERS of wealth in directing the life 
>>> > of the country." 
>>> > seem to be exporting jobs overseas and hiding their money there as 
>>> well. 
>>> > Richard 
>>>      OK, let us confiscate all capital and distribute it evenly to every 
>>> one. Then what? 
>> then we have democracy?
>>     No, because people always congregate into groups, it is their nature. 
>> And from there it is "Lord of the Flies" all over. It has happened many 
>> times before. Why do we never learn?
> I think that's why Jefferson was keen on periodic revolutions. If 
> inequality is inevitable though, it makes sense to mediate that tendency to 
> some extent if we can, rather than giving carte blanche to the winning 
> savages. It's like saying we should learn that there is always crime so why 
> bother with police. Isn't civilization based upon the effort to tame our 
> innate tendencies toward self interest? Or at least to agree to conspire 
> against the barbarians outside of the walls.
>  Hi Craig,
>     I completely agree, but that is exactly why Jefferson was also keen on 
> a fully armed populace. Gun control is unilaterally the way that Tyrannies 
> eliminate the revolutions. 

You don't need gun control to put down a revolution anymore though. The 
government would love an armed uprising - the perfect pretext to roll in 
the tanks. Tank control is the way that Tyrannies eliminate revolutions. 
Nuclear proliferation treaties. The government has nerve gas, hydrogen 
bombs, integrated surveillance, bulletproof crowd control gear...guns are 
no threat to Tyranny in this country at all. Tyranny loves private citizens 
to have a false sense of security with guns, not to mention their ubiquity 
allows anyone who they want to get rid of to be accused of threatening 
police with a gun.

> We are supposed to have Police, not to control the populace, but to 
> enforce the laws that we all agree upon as citizens (social contract 
> theory?). Failure to enforce laws leads to dire consequences. What makes 
> the US unique is the "rule of Law and not of men". Change this and we are 
> doomed to be the next Venezuela or Cuba.

We don't agree on the laws though, they are passed by armies of lawyers who 
manufacture consent on behalf of the ultra-wealthy.

>> wouldn't even need to confiscate all capital, and I don't think that 
>> anyone is suggesting that. Just make hoarding wealth more expensive.
>>     Sure! A tax credit for investing. Oh way, that already exists! It is 
>> why the investment tax is so low as it is!
> Investing in guaranteed payouts is what makes hoarding of wealth possible.
>     When is it savings and when is it hoarding. Who decides the 
> difference? 

It's like a pyramid scheme. If most of what your money is spent on is 
purely to make more money from the accumulation of money rather than to 
purchase goods and services (including employment) then it is hoarding. 
It's not that hard to decide the difference.


> Why do the pension funds like to invest in big Venture Capital funds, like 
> Bain 
> Capital<http://www.factcheck.org/2012/05/lemon-picking-bain-capital-obama-style/>and
>  not MF Global or Solyndra? Are the people whose lively hood is 
> completely dependent on their pensions hoarding or saving for a rainy day?

Pension funds have been largely replaced by 401k I think, which offer a 
very limited selection - almost entirely mixes of the same 50 companies. 
They invest in those types of funds because those are the people who 
lobbied for the 401k's existence. Not that people wouldn't invest in them 
if they delivered the highest returns - they would, of course, but given 
the chance these days, people would much rather have the opportunity to put 
a lot of their money in a stable investment that earns 6% a year like they 
used to have in the 70s with regular savings accounts. The retirement 
accounts on Fidelity 401k now offer almost zero for money market now. All 
they offer is a place for tax deferred stagnation unless you play at their 
casino by their rules.

>  Why would we want to give tax breaks for the wealthy to find ways of 
> taking more money out of the economy faster?
>     OK, let us make up a policy. Let us test various possibilities. How 
> will we manage the risk that we have to take to make investments? 

We don't. If you have the money to risk in an investment to make more 
money, then the risk is yours to take. If you don't want to take the risk, 
why not invest in your own family?

Do we sink out money into untested theories or proven ones? Where is the 
> money coming from in the first place? Value is generated by investment, of 
> time, sweat, ..., resources must be consumed or life fails. There is no 
> other way. There is not such thing as a free lunch. Why are people 
> screaming about the sustainability of the planet and yet treat the national 
> treasury as if it where an inexhaustible supply? We can only borrow money 
> from ourselves for so long... 

I think that the game is not being played that way anymore. The treasury is 
only a nominal figurehead. Our real treasury is global military presence. 
The theory is that as long as our military is so much more powerful than 
the next several nations put together, nobody is going to try to collect on 
our debt. We fully intend to operate as if there were an inexhaustible 
supply, because there is...we are bankrupt. It's all debt that we know we 
will never pay back. Everything is just plate spinning as long as we can - 
the whole government is nothing but putting on a show of earnest concern 
while the reality is a full on Roman bacchanal. It is a literal looting of 
the world by a tiny elite and they are completely unstoppable. The only 
thing that threatens them is to not laugh too hard in public.

>  At the plutocrat level, you should be rewarded only for investing in 
> non-profit enterprises that lose money.
>     Really! Please think about what this implies. Why not just burn the 
> money in giant bonfires. It will keep us warm in the winter for a little 
> while. Why are we even allowing 
> "plutocrats<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocrats>" 
> to exist or less harshly, make public policy? 

Why would investing in valuable social services like sanitation and 
medicine be comparable to burning money?

> [image: Burning Marks to warm]
>     This is what hyperinflation looks like eventually. 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation_in_the_Weimar_Republic
I don't see the connection. If the government is going to reward me for 
spending money on enhancing the community, why would there be 

>  Being able to invest huge amounts of money, especially unearned money 
> from a dynastic fortune, is a privilege that should be taxed, not rewarded.
>     Tell this to the Tides Foundation and the Templeton Foundation and all 
> the other "Foundations". It is not just families that concentrate power. It 
> is power that is at the root of this. Power prints the money.

Sure, yeah there should be disincentives for anyone to concentrate 
excessive power privately.

>>  Maybe follow the Scandinavian model on a trial basis for 20 years in a 
>> handful of cities.
>>     Scandinavia is a bad place to build a model because it has a 
>> homogeneous population. Such populations behave, on average, very different 
>> from highly diverse populations. Segregation into polarized groups happens 
>> much slower in homogenous populations. You might check out the meme flow in 
>> such conditions, its amazing.
> If by homogeneous you mean financially homogeneous, then a plan which 
> tilts the economy in favor of the middle class should by definition make 
> any place into a more homogeneous society - in which case the Scandinavian 
> model would be expected to perform as it does for them now.
>     No, it is ethnically homogeneous vs. ethnically diverse that I am 
> asking you to consider. Diverse populations tend to be more dynamic and 
> volatile. Homogenous populations much less so. 

What is so dynamic and volatile about the U.S. population? It seems like 
millions of sheep and pockets of wolves. It's the type of thing that I 
think if you scratch the surface amounts to blaming the victim. If by 
ethnically diverse we mean descendents of slaves or refugees from 
conquered/colonized cultures, then that would be a different factor having 
nothing to do with ethnicity. If you are an Imperial power, you are going 
to get some blowback. Find an example of ethnic diversity without organized 
exploitation behind it and I think you will find a diverse population that 
is economically indistinguishable from a homogenous one.


> One question: Are the financial classes something that individual people 
> are stuck in from birth to death or are they just windows that see some 
> quantity of worth? In European countries most people are permanently stuck 
> in a single class. In the US, not so much. 

No, that is not true at all anymore. We are worse off than many of the 
countries in Europe: 
http://larspsyll.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/corak.png. "If you live in 
Scandanavia, you have a 100% better chance of becoming wealthy than if you 
live in US." http://www.ikostar.com/2008/03/20/yay-billionaires/ 

> Why is that? It is in places like North Korea that we see wealth 
> concentrated the most to a select few and their children and their 
> children's children. In the US you can go from poor to rich and back in a 
> single generation without just winning the Lotto or breaking laws.

No, you can't anymore. All of that has been over for a long time. Middle 
class people are increasingly becoming the working poor. Getting rich is 
not something that happens to people in the US that are not rich already 

> Amazing! It is the corruption of government that is our enemy, not some 
> class of people.

The government is that class of people. The point of working for the 
government now is to get a sweet revolving door job after your stint in 
congress is over and you have made your connections. There is no difference 
between the government and the ultra wealthy as it is the interests of the 
ultra wealthy that are represented at all levels of government.

>  If you are talking about anything else, then I suspect it's just a coded 
> racism.
>     Really? So why does that term come into mind? Racism is "the ideology 
> that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities 
> called "races". This ideology entails the belief that members of a race 
> share a set of characteristic traits, abilities, or qualities, that traits 
> of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral 
> characteristics are inherited, and that this inheritance means that races 
> can be ranked as innately superior or inferior to others." This is the 
> widespread 
> scourge of evilness IMHO.

How is that different from 'ethnicity'? 

>     The words "Racial Code" do happen to be bouncing around in the media. 
> Are you infected by a meme?

It's probably bouncing because it is an appropriate term. It puts a finger 
directly on the veiled ideology behind a lot of the scare tactics used by 
political campaigns.

>     How does the fact that consideration of the consequences of ethnically 
> homogeneous populations has anything to do with specification of ethnic 
> groups? 

Because there are no consequences of ethnically homogenous populations. 
There are cascading consequences of historical exploitations, which are 
easily confused with ethnicity owing to the historical basis of 

> There are measurable and objective differences in  the distribution 
> statistics of populations that have different levels of diversity. 

Sure, but It's all due to the financial disparity. There are ethnically 
diverse areas in wealthy suburbs and homogeneous areas that are ghettos. 
The connection is a misinterpretation.

> To consider the physiological implications of slanted eye and rounded eyes 
> is not a ranking of one over the other. So why are you going there? I think 
> you might be a bit tired and not thinking straight.  

No, not at all. I remember first hearing that buzzword 'homogenous 
population' in 1985 and thought it sounded fishy. I didn't connect it with 
racism then but something about it sounded really old fashioned and odd. 
Now to me it seems like obvious ideological apologetics. There is some 
truth to the term when applied to economics - yes Norway is well off 
because it is a nice neighborhood with lots of oil and fish, far from 
conflict etc, and yes their shared values and culture make it easier to 
wrangle collective agreement, but it's no argument that we shouldn't try to 
emulate what they are doing right.

>  This country was built in large part by slaves.
>     So where the Pyramids. Are we to tear them down? We must not fall into 
> the delusion of chronocentrism: all events in history should be seem 
> through the prism of my currently held values. I used to believe that all 
> Catholics where going to burn in Hell when I was 7 years old. Did that give 
> me the right to expedite their judgement? NO! We live in a complicated 
> world that came to be the way it is in complicated way. It is a mistake to 
> sit around and make policy for the present and future based on some ideal 
> view of how things should have been. Utopias always fail, simply because we 
> cannot take into account all of the variables.

It's not a matter of making policy based on the past, it's a matter of 
understanding the factors that are involved. All empires have some kind of 
ruthless history, but there may not necessarily be a way of escaping the 
consequences of that, even if it takes a few generations to come back 

>  We exploit poor migrant workers.
>     What would those migrant workers get paid if they where not allowed to 
> come and pick the corn? I happened to have lost two jobs in the 
> construction industry to illegal immigrants. I try very hard to be 
> circumspect about the fact. I cannot compete with grey-to-black market 
> labor. So I found something better to do.
If we had to pay higher wages then we couldn't flood Mexico and Latin 
America with cheap corn to put the native farms out of business. They would 
stay in Mexico and work for local farms.

>  There may not be a choice ultimately for us but to choose whether to 
> become slaves and disposable workers ourselves (assuming we are not 
> already) in a feudal plantation-prison society or to settle the score and 
> go after those who continue to benefit the most from the system as it is.
>     But why a political system that would have all of us as slaves to the 
> State, following its dictates or else? Consider the number of people that 
> have become completely dependent on a DSS check for their survival. After a 
> while people lose their initiative to improve themselves. What is the value 
> of free stuff? There are mountains of it in trash piles! 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok7g02yxwUQ
>     Consider this. Why do athletes in professional sports command such 
> huge salaries? Maybe because there are not that many persons that can do 
> what is necessary to win? Does not the same argument go for the CEO of a 
> huge multinational corporation? How many people have the mental skills to 
> run a GE or a FORD or a Apple? Not many, and when a resource is scarce, it 
> is expensive, never free. Simple economics.

No, there is no argument for CEOs making the level of salary they are now, 
especially considering their utterly worthless behavior in the crisis that 
they caused. CEO should be an unpaid position, offered as an honor to 
established, financially independent leaders. For the privilege of having 
people kiss their ass all day and traveling in private jets and making 
deals to make people rich, they should be paid nothing at all, or even 
better, they should compete to pay for the honor. The simple economics is 
that CEOs all sit on multiple overlapping boards so that they escalate 
their own salary in a mutual circle jerk. That's the reason. Not because 
they are like super athletes. Athletes don't deserve the money either - 
they just happen to be something that people want to stare at for a longer 
time than the other stuff on TV so more commercials can be absorbed. Simple 
economics. Doesn't make it good. 

> In any case, there is no reason to think that experimenting with a 
> Scandinavian type system, or even Canadian, British, etc, when it comes to 
> health care would not be better than what we have now.
>     Let us compare apples to apples. Is the Canadian style system or the 
> UK system or the Cuban system working as efficiently as ours could be 
> without the massive tangle of kudzu that is the FDA and 
> DoC<http://www.commerce.gov/>? 
> I have paid for to get treated at a hospital for a broken bone. It is 
> freaking expensive! Why is that? Why does a bandaid cost $20 in a hospital? 
> There are reasons for this! Its not simple and simple ideas cannot grasp it.

One reason is that Nixon allowed the insurance companies to make HMOs, 
effectively putting hospitals in the business of making it difficult for 
people to get medical treatment until their problem becomes very serious. 
That is what an HMO is - a company that you pay to deny you health care 
until its too late. Another reason is that we subsidize expensive 
world-leading medical research and fantastically expensive elite medical 
schools by spreading the cost throughout the system. Another reason is that 
people who can afford any care at all wind up picking up the tab for all 
the people who can't. It's kind of a vicious circle.

>  The biggest problem is that our political assumptions are unfalsifiable.
>     Why is this? State some. Let's bat them around!

I mean that we don't experiment with different laws in different areas, so 
no matter what we do, we won't know if it worked or if it was something we 
did in the previous cycle that worked, or if it was just random/inevitable.

>  No matter how far our standard of living plummets and how the 
> far-too-rich get richer at everyone else's expense, it can always be 
> suggested that it could be worse had we not done what we did. Only through 
> experimentation in a scientific way will we ever learn anything.
>     It is the "at everyone else's expense" idea that needs to be tested. 
> When we start treating people as objects to be collected into abstract 
> equivalence classes and ignore the vagaries and eccentricities of real 
> individual personal initiative and motivation, we are stuck in a vast 
> tar-pit of blaming and recrimination that we could of avoided easily. The 
> point is that we already have a lab up and running all around us in other 
> countries of the world. It is up to use to be objective and dispassionate 
> (up to a point!) and look around. I lived in Puerto Rico for most of my 
> childhood. It sucked. I can only imagine what Haiti must be like or Cuba. 

I am talking about voluntary experimentation though. We can't look to other 
countries, especially ones that we have undermined and colonized as a guide 
to what will work for a global empire.


> -- 
> Onward!
> Stephen
> http://webpages.charter.net/stephenk1/Outlaw/Outlaw.html

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