On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:04:28 PM UTC-5, Stephen Paul King wrote:
>  On 12/18/2012 4:40 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> On Monday, December 17, 2012 8:02:12 PM UTC-5, Stephen Paul King wrote: 
>> On 12/17/2012 5:11 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote: 
>> > Taxing the rich does not redistribute the income, it adjusts the 
>> > expenses so that those who benefit disproportionately from the public 
>> > resources pay their share for an educated labor force, policed cities, 
>> > well maintained roads, bridges, ports, airports, the grotesquely 
>> > hypertrophied military to enforce monopolistic trade policies 
>> > worldwide, etc. 
>> Hi Craig, 
>>      Could explain how it is that it is possible to "proportionally 
>> benefit" from public resources? Are you saying that resources are the 
>> natural property of the State and not of those willing to do the 
>> investment of time and labor to exploit them? 
> In a democracy, they are the natural property of the taxpayers who pay for 
> their construction and maintenance. The Port of Los Angeles is not the 
> property of Onassis Shipping or whatever. If they are making hand over fist 
> and bring in a dozen more tankers a week - who pays for the extra staffing 
> of that? Who pays for the construction on the port to be upgraded. This is 
> how corporations remain so profitable - privatize profit and socialize cost.
> Hi Craig,
>     We are getting somewhere, but we need to stop and define some terms so 
> we don't just confuse things. What exactly is the definition of "privatize 
> profit and socialize cost" that we can agree upon?

Let's use a real life example instead. 

"The 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état (18–27 June 1954) was the *CIA covert 
> operation that deposed President Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán (1950–54)*, with 
> Operation PBSUCCESS — paramilitary invasion by an anti-Communist “army of 
> liberation”. In the early 1950s, the politically liberal, elected Árbenz 
> Government had effected the socio-economics of Decree 900 (27 June 1952), 
> the national agrarian-reform expropriation, for peasant use and ownership, 
> of unused prime-farmlands that Guatemalan and multinational corporations 
> had set aside as reserved business assets. The Decree 900 land reform 
> especially threatened the agricultural monopoly of the *United Fruit 
> Company (UFC), the American multinational corporation that owned 42 per 
> cent of the arable land of Guatemala*; which landholdings either had been 
> *bought by, or been ceded to, the UFC by the military dictatorships who 
> preceded the Árbenz Government of Guatemala."*

> "Privatizing profits" seems to mean, in the context of your frame, the 
> funneling of profits into the pockets of a few persons, perhaps 
> undeservedly. "Socializing costs" seems to imply the spreading of costs to 
> arbitrary many people, perhaps undeservedly.

It's not a concept which needs to be abstracted or generalized very much. 
In the above case, a corporate monopoly, benefits by profits based on the 
virtual slave labor of Guatemalan peasants under a military dictatorship. 
The giant corporation (renamed Chiquita) has friends in the CIA who use the 
power and wealth of the US to overthrow the democracy of Guatemala and 
restore the Banana Republic to its previous status as a corporate asset.

The costs of this are obvious in terms of the resources of the US used to 
depose a foreign government, but then there are innumerable less obvious 
costs to the people of the US and around the world. Labor is held at 
artificially low costs to UFC, and the costs in financial and real terms of 
quality of life of real people are billed to the societies of Central 
America, the West, and the world at large.

>     So the key idea, if my interpretation is correct, hinges on the 
> definition of "deservedly" and its opposite, "undeservedly". This seems to 
> point to an idea of "fairness" that remains undefined. DO you care to 
> define a canonical measure of fairness?

You're trying to frame it into a 'social justice' talking point. A better 
frame is the obvious abuse of power. The reason you don't overthrow enslave 
people to make money on the bananas that grow in their country isn't 
because you don't deserve it, but because it is, how you say, the most evil 
thing that human beings can possibly do. It's like rounding up people who 
escaped Saddam's rape rooms and putting them back in there so you can keep 
raping them. When possible, atrocities should not be allowed to continue 
without trying to stop them. Is that unreasonable?

Of course, this is not some isolated example. This is the template for much 
of US Foreign Policy, from Iran to Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, etc. The corps 
are driving the bus, the gov is just the passenger with the credit card for 
the gas.

>>      By my logic, if the taxes of the public where taken from individual 
>> people, then the public resources belong proportionately to those 
>> individuals that paid the taxes. This means that if Fred paid more taxes 
>> than Albert then the public resources belong that much more to Fred than 
>> Albert. Simple math... How do you calculate "benefit"? 
> It's easy to calculate benefit - you look at the books. You see how much 
> more money a corporation is making and how much more costs are incurred by 
> the government to underwrite that volume of gains.
>     We need to compare apples to apples here. Governements are only bound, 
> in their cost, by their ability to collect taxes, levies, fees, etc. and 
> can do so with the force of law. Private citizens, or any collective 
> thereof cannot use force unless allowed by the government to do so, so 
> their ability to recoup costs will always be some smaller than the quantity 
> that the government can collect. No?

No. See above. Corporations are limited only in theory by government, 
otherwise they act with greater authority and less culpability than any 

>     Another way we can look at this is to consider the concept of 
> efficiency. Governments have fewer reasons to consider the efficiency. When 
> you can legally print money out of thin air, the need for efficiency 
> vanishes completely. Private citizens, nor their collectives, can do no 
> such thing!

That's a mico-economic theory applied to a macro-geopolitical reality. The 
reality is that if I work for a company that can call in an air strike 
without any threat of exposure, the concept of efficiency is a non-starter. 
We are talking about *permanent global domination*, not debits and credits 
on a spreadsheet.

>>      I don't understand the collectivization of people into equivalence 
>> classes. Numbers are equivalence classes, not people! I am trying to 
>> understand your thesis, not saying your wrong. ;-) 
> I'm open to being wrong, I just need to be pointed in the direction of a 
> reason why that might be the case.
>     What would be a clear indicator of "Craig being wrong"? You keep 
> shifting the argument frame around. 

If there were some facts supporting the success of Trickle down economics, 
for one. 

> Could you address the questions I asked here now directly?

I always do. 

> 1) What is fairness?

Fairness is a feeling of reciprocal satisfaction in a social context. It's 
a bit like bi-simulation - a feeling of equilibrium where someone feels 
that people representing different social positions within a particular 
ensemble of social conditions are being served in a way in which each 
position is reconciled with the other in a mutually satisfying and 
ethically sustainable way.

> 2) Why does government not do at least what is it supposed to do? Enforce 
> its own laws equally.

Because the government pays its workers much less than corps pay them to 
subvert the interests of the people. Obviously?


> -- 
> Onward!
> Stephen

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