Population Density

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Batou667:
and generally getting our noses out of international affairs while we get our own house in order.

How does being involved in international affairs have a detrimental effect on our domestic situation?

Atrocious Joystick:

I don't know anything about Doug Sanders, perhaps he is mostly an anglo-centric writer? What are his arguments? And in what way are they applicable to all of the west, from New York to Motala? And I haven't said anything about "muslim tides". I'm not concerned with that. All I know is that the Swedish central beureau of statistics painted a pretty bad picture until it they stopped keeping track of that.

The latest report on crime rate differences was done in 2009 by the SCB, so it makes sense that a new one hasn't been released yet. Either way, Doug Saunders writes about all of Europe and North America. Really, his argument is right there. If you want to take issue with it I suggest you read it first and then come back so we can discuss it properly. Sufficient to say is that he wrote a very well-sourced book and has a reputation for thorough journalism, you write uninformed SD-propaganda on the internet. One of you two have some credibility.

Atrocious Joystick:

And this is what I'm talking about with your black and white mentality. I'm arguing for looking over how our asylum, immigration and integration policies currently work because they aren't working like they should. I think its a valid view that part of the problem is sheer volume. Especially in a country like Sweden with population that is dwarfed by many large cities. And suddenly we're talking muslim tides and "the death of europe and america".

It isn't "black and white mentality" when you are making arguments that have already been proven wrong. Both by Saunders mentioned earlier and in the report to the Swedish government called Invandringen och de offentliga finanserna (Ekberg, 2009) that reaches the conclusion that there's no fiscal political benefit in either stopping or maintaining Sweden's current level of immigration. So really, you have no leg to stand on.

evilthecat:
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Haiti is a struggling country, Sweden and the UK are not. You claim you don't want people to view this issue in black and white terms, so I'd suggest you stop insulting the millions of people in this world who do live in "troubled" countries.

I also don't like how bad the housing situation is in Sweden's major cities. I think we could probably do something about that if we looked at it from the right way. Is that okay with you? Because I'm pretty sure the housing situation is worse in Haiti. We do have the highest taxes in the world though. Does that mean Haitians can never complain about taxes or is the suffering scale more of an accumulated points thing?

Segregation is a two-way process. There are plenty of places in the world with enormous migration and yet very few social problems. If you have a community where migrants are socially ostracized and disadvantaged in gaining legitimate employment, then of course you're going to get social problems.. That's not a problem with immigration, it's a problem with our society and one which needs to be stamped out.

Yes! Segregation is a very real problem in our society. Especially true the further an immigrant group is "removed" from what is considered average in a country. But how do you propose we stamp it out? We can't just tell people to behave. The problem isn't along the lines of people burning down houses in white robes its more along the lines of people preferring their own kind and seeing no real reason to make the effort of hanging out with or employing foreigners. Especially when there is no need, seeing as any given job today will have a bunch of Swedes applying.

No. It wouldn't. It wouldn't be easier, it certainly wouldn't be cheaper and it wouldn't really be more humanitarian.

Japan did that too. It doesn't work. You know why, because very few women are going to want to spend their lives shitting out babies if they have other chances to make a legitimate contribution to society. Having children is a shitty choice of career, you are not going to change that short of outright state control and monetarization of childcare, which would require a radical (and extremely expensive, and politically impossible) overhaul of the entire work economy.

The only people who are genuinely going to be swayed by monetary incentives to have children are the long-term unemployed who have basically given up on work, and I don't see how that's a better environment or less likely to perpetuate unemployment, criminality and social marginalization.

Of course you can make differences with things like entitlements and better available childcare. Countries were a large percentage of children are enrolled in some sort of childcare program, like in Scandinavia and the netherlands, have a much higher birthrate (between 1.7 - 1.8) than the EU average (between 1.2 - 1.4). The exception is Ireland and France. If you have already proven that you are able to affect birthrates by government programs it wouldn't take titanic efforts to push a birthrate from 1.8 to 2.1. Certainly a lesser efforts than curing segregation and integrating masses of immigrants from very poor backgrounds.

Yes there are. There are countless growth industries. We have a ageing and shrinking native population in Europe, for one. Who do you think is going to provide you with cheap social care when you have Alzheimers? For that matter, who is going to look after all these kids you want to fund childcare for?

Before you call me things like fascist. Realize that what you've written here is a that you basically want to import loads of uneducated immigrants from poverty stricken countries so they can perform cheap labor. I think its pretty obvious who I prefer to be the ones to take care of our welfare and old folks if I'm arguing for trying to improve birthrates rather than trying to fix the issue through immigration?

Furthermore, since you've mentioned supply and demand, what about demand? Migrants need to eat, so they'll buy food. Sure, some of them might be using benefits to buy it which is not great, but they're still buying it from people in their adopted country so it's going straight back into the economy. They need to live somewhere, so they'll pay rent. They need electricity and water, so they'll pay for those. There isn't just a fixed supply of jobs, people create jobs through economic activity and demand. If you just gave up, closed your borders and let the population shrink, there would be fewer people demanding things and thus other people would not be able to support their jobs. That is the grim reality, that is the reason why however much governments talk about cutting immigration they're not actually going to do it. "Encouraging" women to have more babies is a fascist pipe-dream, it's not going to happen. Can we live in reality please?

I think relying on the market to magically fix things is very unreliable and irresponsible. We can't just import a whole bunch of people who has little or no education, can only speak one language fluidly and Swedish barely, throw them all into cheap housing and hope that the markets invisible hand is going to fix things. On the job market they are going to be competing against Swedes who usually at worst only has a elementary school education and can speak two languages (Swedish and English). The only edge they are going to have is that they might be willing to work for much, much less. Which creates whole other problems.

Unemployment leads to "poverty" which leads to criminality. This in turn is going to lead the native population and other ethnic groups without the same problems to view the groups in the uneducated immigrant/refuge group in a more negative light. This in turn leads to segregation.

I'm only arguing that instead of the massive volumes we have now we cut down on it so we can better apply our resources to the ones that we take in. So we can cut down the times it takes from entry to supporting yourself. I believe if we do this we'll see a larger spread of immigrants from the middle east and africa across all economic classes. Rather than concentrating in the lower class as they do now. If we have a class spread that is pretty much equal to that of the native population I believe the problems of criminality and segregation will go away. Not completely of course. If people work together, if kids play togther and teens/young adults hang out together then I see our societal problems when it comes to this issue being much smaller. But you can't properly put a puzzle together if people keep throwing larger and larger amounts of pieces at you.

Silvanus:

Batou667:
and generally getting our noses out of international affairs while we get our own house in order.

How does being involved in international affairs have a detrimental effect on our domestic situation?

International aid and military spending are both costly. If we reduced both (outright stopping either is probably not a good idea), that would free up literally billions to spend on domestic concerns.

evilthecat:
Both are dependent on government regulation or investment. The former through the Common Agricultural Policy, and the latter through direct government contracts.

Since UKIP's main reason for existing is to attempt to withdraw from the European Union, British farmers would no longer receive any subsidies from the CAP and would now face unrestricted competition from foreign producers. They would cease to be competitive very rapidly.

UKIP claims that it will solve this problem by "labeling and promoting" British food to encourage people to buy it, but you can't encourage people to buy food when the same food is available at a fraction of the price elsewhere. It's probably lovely to dream that the whole country can be turned into some kind of quaint little farmer's market full of overpriced organic produce and people will buy it just to savor the glorious smell of their own farts, but it's a dream that's obviously not going to come true.

Handled properly I think it'd be realistic to become self-sufficient in most foods that grow here (yeah, bananas would probably still have to be imported...). It's lunacy that chicken from South America is cheaper than home-grown chicken, for example. There would be ways around this. Initially subsidise UK produce until the logistics and scale of production make it profitable. Disincentivise imports by changing the tax loopholes (most foreign meat arrives in the UK dried and salted, and is reconstituted with water, to benefit from a lower tax category). Hell, put an embargo on certain imports if need be.

Don't take my UKIP example at face value, I don't agree with a lot of their policies, the EU isolationism being one of them. I would support a decrease in reliance on imports, but that would probably start with non-EU sources.

As for renewable energy.. Let's just say that UKIP "takes a skeptical view" to the idea of man made global warming and heavily opposes the use of renewable energy sources, full stop.

Well, that's a non-sequitur, surely? Regardless of whether global warming is man-made, or even happening, renewable energy is a self-evident no-brainer. We live on a windy island with a large coastline which lends itself well to wind and hydroelectric farms. I also think biomass as an energy source should be capitalised on - that'd tie in pretty well with my crackpot idea for increasing agricultural output.

Lilani:

I have never heard is "I want to get some subsidies from the government."

My Dad tells me for one that a girl asked him to get her pregnant so she could have a government subsidized lifestyle. He declined.

This goes around the Internet a lot:

"My Momma told me I'm the Breadwinner for the Family."
The Bread Winner

"My Momma told me that I am the breadwinner for the family."

I was speaking to an emergency room physician this morning.

He told me that a woman in her late 20's came to the ER with her 8th pregnancy.

She stated "my momma told me that I am the breadwinner for the family." He asked her to explain. She said that she can make babies and babies get money for the family.

The scam goes like this:

The grandma calls the Department of Child and Family Services and states that the unemployed daughter is not capable of caring for these children. DCFS agrees and states that the child or children will need to go to foster care.

The grandma then volunteers to be the foster parent, and thus receives a check for $1500 per child per month in Illinois ..

Total yearly income: $144,000 tax-free, not to mention free healthcare (Medicaid) plus a monthly "Linx" card entitling her to free groceries, etc, and a voucher for 250 free cell phone minutes per month.

This does not even include WIC and other welfare programs.

Indeed, grandma was correct in that her fertile daughter is the "breadwinner" in the family.

I hope you share this story with your contacts so they know how the ruling class spends our tax dollars.

We have got to cut out all government give away programs!!

Cheers,

Sebastian J. Ciancio, M.D.

Urologist, Danville Polyclinic, LTD.

My own world view was shaped in part by an episode of a daytime talk show back in the 1980s. Can't recall if it was Oprah or Phil Donahue (stop laughing, I was pretty entertainment starved back then! No Internet!) A young lady said she was working as a nursing assistant and found the work "demeaning". Oy. Her own mother told her she should have a baby and forge a government subsidized lifestyle, which she did and feels entitled to. The audience was scandalized. She told the audience she was not their slave and was entitled to this life style.

For now, I just want the "Life Of Julia" type programs ended. That will be a step in the right direction.

EDIT: You are correct about societies debts to the least fortunate. At a minimum, I want this done at a more local level where maybe change is more likely to take place and be done in a manner that is not socially destructive.

Gorfias:
-snip-

I'm not sure if you realize this, but explaining your worldview through an untrue chain email and a random person from a talk show does not make for a very compelling argument, and rather makes it look like you're attacking a boogeyman rather than something of the real world.

Also, I feel like you have this idea that if we stop "subsidizing" people, they will go away, or at least stop what they're doing. Drunks, layabouts, and con artists have existed as long as society has. This isn't anything new, and going back to the workhouses of the Dickensian era will not make them go away. It confuses me that you say your approach to seeking what is socially constructive is purely by eliminating what is "destructive" when in reality you can't. These people will always exist, and they aren't going to change.

But there are other people who do want to change. Who legitimately have had life kick them in the face, or have made bad choices but realize what they've done wrong and want to change. So here's the way I see it: No matter how much you "punish" these "socially destructive" people, they are still going to exist. They're still going to pop out babies they can't support, they're still going to waste their money, and they're still going to take advantage of the generosity of others. They will always be a "net loss" to society, as you would consider it, no matter how much they are or aren't given. So the only way to get a net gain out of the poor is to make sure the ones who aren't like them also have something to grab onto. A way to keep afloat and not fall so far that getting out is insurmountable, or screws over their children as well (which causes a type of deadly cycle that is hard to break). Why throw away a possible net gain by trying to punish the net losses that will never go away?

I don't mind the idea of the government taking steps to make sure it doesn't get taken advantage of. However, we can't let ourselves believe that people are going to be changed by being forced to live on the streets, and nor should we ever think for a moment that the welfare of children is acceptable collateral damage in pursuing this.

Batou667:

International aid and military spending are both costly. If we reduced both (outright stopping either is probably not a good idea), that would free up literally billions to spend on domestic concerns.

Well, it'd free up billions if you cut billions from those budgets. I'm not going to view it as a good thing if the privileged white countries cut billions of aid to sort out their own domestic issues.

Particularly when they can be a little more even-handed with tax, instead. Ashcroft pays no tax, Philip Green pays no tax. Countless millionaire Tory donors pay no tax, and corporations pay bugger all in relation to their incomings. It even makes economic sense to levy higher taxes on corporations and the obscenely wealthy, because most of their wealth would otherwise be inert.

With this in mind, I don't think our problem is how much we're helping the poorer nations. (I can agree on military spending, though. We're not in the fifties anymore).

Lilani:

Gorfias:
-snip-

I feel like you have this idea that if we stop "subsidizing" people, they will go away,

I think we'll give them less reason to engage in socially destructive acts.

I don't mind the idea of the government taking steps to make sure it doesn't get taken advantage of. However, we can't let ourselves believe that people are going to be changed by being forced to live on the streets, and nor should we ever think for a moment that the welfare of children is acceptable collateral damage in pursuing this.

I agree.

Who is more likely to take corrective actions: A distant, centralized government that cannot distinguish between a rip off and someone that should be helped? Even someone who is a rip off can't be allowed to starve. Who is more likely to keep that from happening, but ensure that there is a cost to destructive actions to minimize the damage?

We've been centralizing authority for 100 years and the result is that we have gone from one of the greatest creditor nations that gained super power status to being the most broken nation in the modern world with a Senate that can't pass a budget, schools that cost a ton but don't educate, single motherhood rates that are skyrocketing and all of the social pathologies that follow single motherhood have skyrocketed, curbed only by (theoretically) abortion and the largest imprisonment rate in the industrialized world.

It is well past time to stop this.

(BTW: The reason that "I'm the Bread Winner" goes around is, even if you can quibble over items in it, we have multi generations of people on the dole. Quibbling aside it is painting an accurate picture.)

An issue I have is that you write you haven't heard of people that have kids as a matter of government subsidized industry. I have, personally, on the job, in mass media. It really cannot be missed or dismissed. That may require saving people from their own destructive behavior. I trust the Church, the local government, family, to police such matters much better than a distant and indifferent central authority.

Batou667:

evilthecat:
The irony being, of course, that if UKIP ever did come to power the entire UK agriculture and renewable energy sectors would die on their feet pretty much overnight..

Really? Why?

With regards to energy, it might have something to do with UKIP's freely accessible and openly published policy documents which explain that climate change is a myth, green power is economically disastrous, and Britain's impact on global CO2 emissions is insignificant (2%). The conclusion is that we may as well burn gas and oil like crazy. As the UK has a very limited supply of both, this policy therefore demand a high degree of energy dependence.

With regard to food (policy documents also freely accessible) it's more complex, as their policy is a mix of ideology and crass populism that seem to me to combine into incoherent gibberish. They say the want greater self-sufficiency, but then suggest policies that undercut it: they want to phase out farming subsidies and have no food import tariffs, which we must presume would expose British agriculture to world competition in rather the same way British manufacturing has been since the 1980s.

Gorfias:
I think we'll give them less reason to engage in socially destructive acts.

But they won't stop, history has proven this. The idea of a town drunk and professional beggars has been around for centuries.

I agree.

Who is more likely to take corrective actions: A distant, centralized government that cannot distinguish between a rip off and someone that should be helped? Even someone who is a rip off can't be allowed to starve. Who is more likely to keep that from happening, but ensure that there is a cost to destructive actions to minimize the damage?

We've been centralizing authority for 100 years and the result is that we have gone from one of the greatest creditor nations that gained super power status to being the most broken nation in the modern world with a Senate that can't pass a budget, schools that cost a ton but don't educate, single motherhood rates that are skyrocketing and all of the social pathologies that follow single motherhood have skyrocketed, curbed only by (theoretically) abortion and the largest imprisonment rate in the industrialized world.

I think you're conflating a bunch of issues and trying to give them all the same cause. America has a lot of problems, but I don't see how it's caused by a more centralized authority. Hell, the problem that has our economy in its current state--the housing crash--was caused by a relaxing of regulations that kept banks from pursuing such self-destructive moneymaking schemes. And the stock market crash from 1929 has been prevented from repeating on that same level due to holding companies and speculators accountable for the information they provide.

(BTW: The reason that "I'm the Bread Winner" goes around is, even if you can quibble over items in it, we have multi generations of people on the dole. Quibbling aside it is painting an accurate picture.)

Sorry, but I'm not buying this for a second. If I had provided an anecdote that proved the opposite that you proved as factually false, you'd be all over me for it. You know you would, and rightly so. There are plenty of stories of people using the system to their advantage, but using one that is an outright lie does nothing but prove you either can't be bothered to look any of them up or you couldn't find the ammo you wanted so you had to invent some of your own.

Here, I'll give you an example. A few years ago there were two children at the school my mom works at who were on reduced-cost lunches. However, their mother was the owner and operator of a beauty school in town, and often picked them up from school in her personal Hummer. The lady was loaded. But she got them on reduced lunches by putting down the kid's father's income--to whom she was divorced and shared custody with. Their father could barely hold down a job, so his income did the trick.

This lady was an entrepreneur and ran a successful and "constructive" business for the town. People don't screw the system because they're poor, they do it because they can. And if one door closes on them, they don't walk away and reconsider their approach to life. They move down the line. If they can't get their freebies from the government, they'll get it from the churches, or just bother passerbys. They go into it expecting to fail, and fail often. So another failure or denial of service is not going to make them give up.

An issue I have is that you write you haven't heard of people that have kids as a matter of government subsidized industry. I have, personally, on the job, in mass media. It really cannot be missed or dismissed. That may require saving people from their own destructive behavior. I trust the Church, the local government, family, to police such matters much better than a distant and indifferent central authority.

I see it as a problem with the idea of the foster system itself. I think an orphanage system would be a much better way to approach it, given it's done right. With an orphanage, the people caring for the kids will be professionals, and the conditions they live in can be more easily regulated and kept to a higher standard. Of course there would have to be a good portion of caretakers per child--I'm not sure about exact ratios, but I'd say no more than 7 children to a caretaker, because they need some sort of parental figure. The goal of the foster system is supposed to be so that the kid is actually growing up in a household with a family, rather than them being in what is very comparable to a military academy. But I don't see how the idea of an orphanage can't be restructured to provide that familial atmosphere without leasing them out like cars or TVs.

As for your emphasis on local government, while that's all well and good, there has to be some oversight and national standards to be met. Otherwise people like Joe Arpaio and that "school-to-prison" pipeline will be allowed to fester unchecked. Yes there are some things local governments are better suited to handle, however don't trick yourself into thinking they aren't just as capable of cruelty, corruption, and a disregard for the people it is meant to protect as the national government. Yeah, a central authority can be "distant and indifferent," but it can also standardize things that need to be standardized, and hold local governments accountable for the things they do wrong.

Lilani:

Gorfias:
I think we'll give them less reason to engage in socially destructive acts.

But they won't stop, history has proven this. The idea of a town drunk and professional beggars has been around for centuries.

But if the incidence of town drunkeness goes up, you have to examine your social policies to see if something you are doing has a causal relationship.

I think you're conflating a bunch of issues and trying to give them all the same cause.

I think I need to chill out. After this post, I'll try to hang out in games and reviews for a bit. Play some COD MW2 some more. Nothing you did, but I can tell I'm getting off topic. STEAM just thanked me for trying their Beta. What? I don't recall being given a choice!

Sorry, but I'm not buying this for a second.

You do seem to buy the concept that there is a subsidy system causing multi generational abuse issues. How to seperate the wheat from the chaff?

A huge problem is that a free society assumes the competance of the governed. The reality is, some people need intervention. I don't think that will come (responsibly and well done) from a centralized authority.

I think an orphanage system would be a much better way to approach it, given it's done right. With an orphanage, the people caring for the kids will be professionals, and the conditions they live in can be more easily regulated and kept to a higher standard. Of course there would have to be a good portion of caretakers per child--I'm not sure about exact ratios, but I'd say no more than 7 children to a caretaker, because they need some sort of parental figure.

And I thought I was a radical free thinker! Not an easy topic. I proposed this to a woman that replied indignantly that her Mom grew up in an orphanage and would rather die than ever experience it again. As this was personal, I held my tongue. But I know of kids killed outright or by neglect in incompetent homes. Her mom would not have been better off in one.

Yes there are some things local governments are better suited to handle, however don't trick yourself into thinking they aren't just as capable of cruelty, corruption, and a disregard for the people it is meant to protect as the national government. Yeah, a central authority can be "distant and indifferent," but it can also standardize things that need to be standardized, and hold local governments accountable for the things they do wrong.

You have a point. But man, I wish we could get rid of the 17th Amendment. It was put in place on the view that local governments were corrupt. They were. But I have to think that local corruption was easier to goal tend than Federal.

Atrocious Joystick:
I also don't like how bad the housing situation is in Sweden's major cities. I think we could probably do something about that if we looked at it from the right way. Is that okay with you? Because I'm pretty sure the housing situation is worse in Haiti. We do have the highest taxes in the world though. Does that mean Haitians can never complain about taxes or is the suffering scale more of an accumulated points thing?

Don't care.

You don't live in a struggling country. You have guaranteed social security which is higher than most of the planet's wages. You actually have a reasonable chance of having a roof over your head. You have amenities and services which work. You have an effective police force and no serious crime problem. You have a stable democratic government. The only reason you pay high taxes is because your citizens are wealthy enough to afford to do so. I didn't say your country doesn't have problems, but describing yourself as "struggling" is ridiculous hyperbole and using it doesn't help you to appear less petty.

There is no impending disaster. There is no coming race war. There is no collapse of Western civilization. Exciting as it may be to imagine these things, your "social problems" are fundamentally very minor and very banal. Every society has crime, every society has unemployment (a few unsustainable technicalities aside), every society has cultural conflict. I don't see why people like you should be allowed to wreck the European economy for the sake of ringfencing privileges which are actually pretty insignificant.

Atrocious Joystick:
The problem isn't along the lines of people burning down houses in white robes its more along the lines of people preferring their own kind and seeing no real reason to make the effort of hanging out with or employing foreigners. Especially when there is no need, seeing as any given job today will have a bunch of Swedes applying.

There's a word for this, it's on the tip of my tongue.

Seriously, why do you want me to feel sympathy for people like you over problems you created. I've have the great fortune of living in one of the most multicultural cities on earth. I couldn't have lived my life without coming into contact with or talking to people from different countries. It's not a big deal. Get over yourself.

Atrocious Joystick:
Of course you can make differences with things like entitlements and better available childcare. Countries were a large percentage of children are enrolled in some sort of childcare program, like in Scandinavia and the netherlands, have a much higher birthrate (between 1.7 - 1.8) than the EU average (between 1.2 - 1.4).

Except the UK, which has the same fertility rate with none of the childcare support.

The massive growth in Sweden's fertility rate doesn't correspond with childcare provision, it actually corresponds pretty well with immigration. In fact, with the exception of Ireland, the defining factor of all the European countries with high fertility is high levels of immigration. Immigration tends to boost fertility, as first generation immigrants tend to have more children. Native Swedes and the multigenerational children of immigrants do not have very high birth rates.

Childcare provision is an admirable measure, but it's nothing to do with fertility. The actual reason is gender equality, something which Sweden does extremely well, but again, you can't "encourage" large numbers of people to have children they don't want by promising monetary incentives. It doesn't work that way. It never will.

Atrocious Joystick:
Before you call me things like fascist. Realize that what you've written here is a that you basically want to import loads of uneducated immigrants from poverty stricken countries so they can perform cheap labor.

Whereas you're proposing having them perform even cheaper labour in their own countries and letting you buy the products at unfair prices.

Besides, I'm not "importing" anyone. In case you didn't notice, people want to come to Europe. Of course they do, not because they envy our superior culture, but because (for the very same global economic reasons which allow you to buy cheap shit from the third world at below cost) this is where the money is and many people want a better life for themselves and their families. Who the fuck are you to tell them they can't do that because only you and people like you have a right to the advantages of living in a rich and stable society which has more than enough wealth to support its own population and more?

And I didn't call you a fascist, but if I was it would be because what you're proposing is actually what fascist governments did. No woman has a "duty" or social obligation to have more babies for the good of the state. People generally don't want to spend their lives birthing and caring and taking responsibility for endless children if they have other options, and providing (fundamentally limited) childcare is at best a sticking plaster on the real issue. Get over that, and move on.

evilthecat:

Besides, I'm not "importing" anyone. In case you didn't notice, people want to come to Europe. Of course they do, not because they envy our superior culture but because (for the very same global economic reasons which allow you to buy cheap shit from the third world at below cost) this is where the money is and many people want a better life for themselves and their families

You would almost certainly be right to say that money is the primary drive for immigration to the West, probably by quite some margin.

However, aspects of liberal Western culture are frequently attractive to immigrants, and for some the greatest incentive. Specifically, that in the West their ethnicity / gender / religion / politicas / sexuality are not going to put them at high risk of official or unofficial persecution, or a simple desire to live somewhere that isn't riven by generalised conflict and crime.

evilthecat:

Seriously, why do you want me to feel sympathy for people like you over problems you created. I've have the great fortune of living in one of the most multicultural cities on earth. I couldn't have lived my life without coming into contact with or talking to people from different countries. It's not a big deal. Get over yourself.

Who are people like me and what problems exactly have I created? I'd like to see you list all the things that you think I am based on my views on this policy. You seem to be very convinced that I want certain things or that I believe certain things that I have never talked about. So it would be nice for me to know who it is that you think you are arguing against? I'd also like to know what exactly you think it is I am arguing for?

Atrocious Joystick:
Who are people like me and what problems exactly have I created? I'd like to see you list all the things that you think I am based on my views on this policy. You seem to be very convinced that I want certain things or that I believe certain things that I have never talked about. So it would be nice for me to know who it is that you think you are arguing against? I'd also like to know what exactly you think it is I am arguing for?

This is why I bolded part of your post.

You seem to believe that treating immigrants the same as everyone else is too much effort. As someone who learned to do so within a matter of months as a basic necessity for survival in the adult world, I find this a profoundly unsatisfactory excuse and I fail to see how it would genuinely be a legitimate reason for anyone to behave as you are suggesting. Thus, it strikes me that your attitude is a big part of the problem here.

You're asking that people assimilate, openly admit that you aren't willing to afford them opportunities to do so and then turn around and claim that assimilation isn't working. I don't understand this position, I don't understand people who hold it and I don't think in the 21st century there is any excuse for advocating open discrimination on any grounds.

People have brought up a few things that I hadn't considered or forgot like optimum age for birth and percentage of "young workers." Interesting discussion. :) What I would like to see is overhauled and consolidated city infrastructure. More emphasis on walking and smaller transport. I would love if traffic in cities consisted of pedestrians, cyclists, segues and moving sidewalks. Sprinkle in some elevated walkways between buildings and you've removed a lot of congestion and pollution from hundreds of idling cars in a square block of area. Don't remove them completely just treat the city like a giant airport terminal essentially with people parking on the periphery and only delivery, utility, and emergency vehicles roaming the interior. The only problem I see is that it's an overhaul. Historically those cost a lot of money and have some cultural inertia to move. On the upside think of all the workers required to do it. :) I know, keep dreaming...darn right I will!

Lilani:

I think you're conflating a bunch of issues and trying to give them all the same cause. America has a lot of problems, but I don't see how it's caused by a more centralized authority. Hell, the problem that has our economy in its current state--the housing crash--was caused by a relaxing of regulations that kept banks from pursuing such self-destructive moneymaking schemes. And the stock market crash from 1929 has been prevented from repeating on that same level due to holding companies and speculators accountable for the information they provide.

The loosening of standards was done at the FDA & Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. Recently they dropped the standards again, now you can get a house for 3% down instead of 5%. The historical norm is 20%, why this is important is because the US taxpayer that is on the hook for the losses.

So what humans will do because they will naturally find shortcuts is, take a loan at 3% down. If it goes up in value make payments on it and take out equity on their credit cards to feed the insatiable human consumption and if the house drops in value to stop making payments on it and wait a year for them to be foreclosed on.

These crashes aren't hard to see coming. The fundamentals of the previous crash are being recreated for another looting of our savings. Those schooled in the Austrian perspective can see these things, while the fools in power will say that there is no crisis, the talking heads will act like nothing is wrong.

Unfortunately the wall street regulation bill is just a whitewash.

and here is the sham with the Attorney General that he is powerless

Gorfias:
But if the incidence of town drunkeness goes up, you have to examine your social policies to see if something you are doing has a causal relationship.

Are the numbers going up that much, and is it incongruous with the state of the economy? I mean I imagine more people than usual are on government aid right now, but that would make sense considering we are in a recession at the moment.

I think I need to chill out. After this post, I'll try to hang out in games and reviews for a bit. Play some COD MW2 some more. Nothing you did, but I can tell I'm getting off topic. STEAM just thanked me for trying their Beta. What? I don't recall being given a choice!

Yeah, Steam is funny like that. On my home computer I play it offline since my Internet is so bad I usually can't download an update in a timely manner, but the computer lab will often tell me the same thing. I don't get it either, lol. Like, surely Betas are only useful if you're getting feedback on its performance?

You do seem to buy the concept that there is a subsidy system causing multi generational abuse issues. How to seperate the wheat from the chaff?

A huge problem is that a free society assumes the competance of the governed. The reality is, some people need intervention. I don't think that will come (responsibly and well done) from a centralized authority.

I know the system is abused, I see it myself. I've helped out with food distribution charities in my community and seen people go through the line with iPod headphones in their ears and smartphones in their pockets. And as I said, the people who abuse the system do need an intervention, but simply cutting them off is not going to solve the problem, and their problem is not rooted in the fact that they are getting aid. They're a bit like drug and alcohol addicts--cutting them off won't make them change their mind about their lifestyle. What they need is something like therapy, or in the case of that rich lady who abused the system, a lesson in not being a greedy asshole. The problem isn't the fact that the aid is offered, it's the character of the people who seek it. Taking away the aid won't change their character, it will just make things more difficult for the people who need them to get them.

It may be a bit obnoxious of me to point this out, but your logic is sounding a bit like those people who think murder will be solved by banning guns ;-)

And I thought I was a radical free thinker! Not an easy topic. I proposed this to a woman that replied indignantly that her Mom grew up in an orphanage and would rather die than ever experience it again. As this was personal, I held my tongue. But I know of kids killed outright or by neglect in incompetent homes. Her mom would not have been better off in one.

Yeah, I think the problem is when people hear the word "orphanage" they immediately think of Oliver Twist. But these days when I hear "foster home" I think of a special needs boy who one of my friends worked closely with at a school who died when his foster home burned up. If I recall correctly, the fire was truly an accident and the foster parents weren't at fault, but my friend said he wasn't treated well at the home because the woman who cared for him didn't know anything about working with special needs children. If structured correctly an orphanage could work, but the problem with foster homes is structure and regulation are basically impossible to achieve and uphold.

You have a point. But man, I wish we could get rid of the 17th Amendment. It was put in place on the view that local governments were corrupt. They were. But I have to think that local corruption was easier to goal tend than Federal.

I'm not really sure what you get by this. And it's not that I disagree, I'm just not seeing how making the election of senators a direct election can be a problem. They are supposed to be representing the people just as the house is, so what's the problem there?

The biggest problem I have with the house and senate is the term lengths, specifically consecutive terms. I think, if we keep the term lengths the same, you should only be able to serve two consecutive terms as a senator and six as a representative. That's 12 years, a good amount of time to build a rapport and reputation, and see pet projects though. But after that number of terms has been reached, senators should have to sit out at least one term and representatives two. After that they can run again. This keeps the same people from sitting like lumps on a log and gives them more of a sense of urgency when it comes to negotiating and seeing things through. I feel like people who stay in the house and senate for decades upon decades get complacent and less prone to deal with things in a timely manner.

That might be a disastrous plan, I'm no expert on the mechanics of American politics, but if there's one thing I'm sure that's not helping our system it's career politicians.

aelreth:
Those schooled in the Austrian perspective can see these things, while the fools in power will say that there is no crisis, the talking heads will act like nothing is wrong.

One might be slightly more impressed at an Austrian school economist predicting the crash, were it not for the facts that: 1) nearly all the rest of them didn't call it, 2) Austrian school economists keep making false positives where they have predicted crashes that don't happen, and 3) numerous non-Austrians also predicted it too.

Let's also bear in mind that Peter Schiff and his Austrian buddies have been predicting imminent hyperinflation and dollar collapse since 2008. Five years down the line, US inflation has not surpassed 4% and the dollar is pretty stable. How embarrassing for them - their economic model appears to suck. But then they might be right occasionally: probability suggests anyone who makes enough claims will have at least a few of them turn out to be true.

Lilani:

It may be a bit obnoxious of me to point this out, but your logic is sounding a bit like those people who think murder will be solved by banning guns ;-)

Oh, now you are egging me on! :-)

I wish we could get rid of the 17th Amendment.

I'm not really sure what you get by this.

The 17th turned the Senate into a sort of Super House. They too became more direct representatives of the people. This undid one of the balance of power mechanisms the founders created. Before the 17th, the Senate was a natural representor of the State (Elected by State Reps who could lose power if it got centralized away from the State). A Rep could say,"my constituants want a program". The Senate would reply, "that program is to be done by the State if at all". The only time the two houses could agree was when the interest of the State and individuals in that State coincide, which, wasn't often. It was naturally decentralizing and limiting and frustrating to those that wanted to further centralize power.

It has been argued that the 17th was never legally passed as even then, everyone knew how threatening the idea was to the balance of power. IE, http://www.wnd.com/2005/02/28776/ Might just be loons. But a broken clock is right twice a day.

Fun thought experiment: how much radical crap would happen if it was proven the 17th was a fraud? Example: every Amendment starts in Congress. Therefore, prohibition, which happened after the 17th, was not real as the Senators then in power were illegit. I guess we owe the descendents of Al Capone reparations!

Gorfias:
I wish we could get rid of the 17th Amendment.

I would be careful what you wish for. Republicans control a lot of small-population states and Democrats a few large-population ones. Consequently a return to the pre-17thA system would essentially deliver a guaranteed majority, even super-majority, to the Republicans in the Senate. In today's partisan atmosphere, that might be divisive to the point of political catastrophe.

It has been argued that the 17th was never legally passed as even then, everyone knew how threatening the idea was to the balance of power. IE, http://www.wnd.com/2005/02/28776/ Might just be loons. But a broken clock is right twice a day.

I might suggest that at minimum wnd.com has several contributors that make Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter look like simpering mainstream pinkos, and have stepped well beyond the point where you still have a foot in reality.

I am extremely skeptical that the 17th amendment was not legitimately passed. Is it credible that state representatives (plus any other possible witnesses) would not have noticed that their legislatures were erroneously declared to have passed a Constitutional ratification, and then not left extensive records (official, media or personal) to that effect?

Agema:

Republicans control a lot of small-population states and Democrats a few large-population ones. Consequently a return to the pre-17thA system would essentially deliver a guaranteed majority, even super-majority, to the Republicans in the Senate. In today's partisan atmosphere, that might be divisive to the point of political catastrophe.

That is fascinating. You are right! Small states still have 2 Senators a piece, just like large ones. You have to agree, we wouldn't be bored!

It has been argued that the 17th was never legally passed as even then, everyone knew how threatening the idea was to the balance of power. IE, http://www.wnd.com/2005/02/28776/ Might just be loons. But a broken clock is right twice a day.

I might suggest that at minimum wnd.com has several contributors that make Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter look like simpering mainstream pinkos, and have stepped well beyond the point where you still have a foot in reality.

Trying to think of some good examples where the loons ended up being correct. I'll have to check www.cracked.com They tend to be good for this sort of thing.

I am extremely skeptical that the 17th amendment was not legitimately passed. Is it credible that state representatives (plus any other possible witnesses) would not have noticed that their legislatures were erroneously declared to have passed a Constitutional ratification, and then not left extensive records (official, media or personal) to that effect?

A good question. For that reason, and the thought experiment I suggested (I don't want to owe Al Capone's family reperations!) I'd rather work on its appeal.

This isn't even a small vs. big government matter, but, where do you concentrate power: centrally or locally. I think locally is better. That doesn't mean the Central government has no power: just limited.

Agema:

aelreth:
Those schooled in the Austrian perspective can see these things, while the fools in power will say that there is no crisis, the talking heads will act like nothing is wrong.

One might be slightly more impressed at an Austrian school economist predicting the crash, were it not for the facts that: 1) nearly all the rest of them didn't call it, 2) Austrian school economists keep making false positives where they have predicted crashes that don't happen, and 3) numerous non-Austrians also predicted it too.

Let's also bear in mind that Peter Schiff and his Austrian buddies have been predicting imminent hyperinflation and dollar collapse since 2008. Five years down the line, US inflation has not surpassed 4% and the dollar is pretty stable. How embarrassing for them - their economic model appears to suck. But then they might be right occasionally: probability suggests anyone who makes enough claims will have at least a few of them turn out to be true.

So what your saying is that my dollar hasn't lost purchasing power since 2006?

You are saying that prices have only gone up 4%?

Where are you shopping that only had a 4% increase in all goods and services? CPI is an invention used to weigh down the inflation numbers so we don't have to pay out as much social security.

aelreth:

So what your saying is that my dollar hasn't lost purchasing power since 2006?

Sure, but not significantly different from the decreased purchasing power in the previous 7-year period 1999-2006.

You are saying that prices have only gone up 4%?

Where are you shopping that only had a 4% increase in all goods and services? CPI is an invention used to weigh down the inflation numbers so we don't have to pay out as much social security.

Effective inflation for the average Joe has gone up more than stated CPI in the last few years. This is because CPI excludes both fuel and food from its calculations, both of which are major expenditures for lower income households. There is a good reason for this: food and fuel have extremely volatile prices. Although the long-term inflation of both actually does tend to approximate closely to CPI, in the short term it causes huge fluctuations that are extremely inconvenient for the sort of reasons most people want to use CPI.

Unfortunately, fuel and food prices have gone up a lot recently.

This brings in the second factor of inflation, that it has numerous causes. It can be caused by printing more money (or rather, more money than GDP increase), but it can also be caused because demand has has increased relative to supply. Fuel has gone up in price because demand for oil/gas has become very high and supply is currently plateaued. Food has gone up in price because of supply disruption (adverse weather) and competition for agricultural products for things like biofuels.

Predicting hyperinflation pretty much demands someone turns on the printing press. Hyperinflation due to demand far outstripping supply would mean some sort of catastrophe had occurred, a catastrophe so huge that hyperinflation would be the least of our problems.

Agema:

Effective inflation for the average Joe has gone up more than stated CPI in the last few years. This is because CPI excludes both fuel and food from its calculations, both of which are major expenditures for lower income households. There is a good reason for this: food and fuel have extremely volatile prices. Although the long-term inflation of both actually does tend to approximate closely to CPI, in the short term it causes huge fluctuations that are extremely inconvenient for the sort of reasons most people want to use CPI.

Yet they use home prices in the CPI those are considered less volatile? Why don't they use the pre-1980s measure of inflation?

Agema:

This brings in the second factor of inflation, that it has numerous causes. It can be caused by printing more money (or rather, more money than GDP increase), but it can also be caused because demand has has increased relative to supply. Fuel has gone up in price because demand for oil/gas has become very high and supply is currently plateaued. Food has gone up in price because of supply disruption (adverse weather) and competition for agricultural products for things like biofuels.

However we have had multiple bad years in a row for a bad harvest. This is beginning to sound much like the Soviet Union where they blame these shortages on bad luck rather than central planning gone awry.

I agree that we await the grand hyper inflation that Schiff explains, but hyperinflation isn't nearly as dramatic. It usually builds to the crescendo.

aelreth:

Yet they use home prices in the CPI those are considered less volatile? Why don't they use the pre-1980s measure of inflation?

Firstly, it might be different in the USA (although I doubt it), but house prices are not included in CPI either. I believe they are included in RPI, which is frequently still listed, although generally less popular.

Home prices are indeed less volatile than food or fuel - considerably so. Houses are traditionally very stable, although less so in the last 10 years due to bubble and crash. Even still, they aren't a patch on food: the global price of products like wheat or sugar can halve or double in price in a single year.

However we have had multiple bad years in a row for a bad harvest. This is beginning to sound much like the Soviet Union where they blame these shortages on bad luck rather than central planning gone awry.

Well, the USA's food production very obviously is not controlled by central planning! The price of food in the USA is also heavily affected by global events, as prices are globalised. For instance, the global price of wheat exploded a few years ago after wildfires in Ukraine and Russia (the former particularly being a massive wheat producer).

I agree that we await the grand hyper inflation that Schiff explains, but hyperinflation isn't nearly as dramatic. It usually builds to the crescendo.

Well then, you can be pleasantly surprised when hyperinflation does not occur, and then have a good, hard think about why the economics you believe in was so badly wrong.

Agema:

Firstly, it might be different in the USA (although I doubt it), but house prices are not included in CPI either. I believe they are included in RPI, which is frequently still listed, although generally less popular.

Home prices are indeed less volatile than food or fuel - considerably so. Houses are traditionally very stable, although less so in the last 10 years due to bubble and crash. Even still, they aren't a patch on food: the global price of products like wheat or sugar can halve or double in price in a single year.

Part inflation, part supply issue. Don't you recall when I said that the central banks around the world are also devaluing their currencies? After all you can't print food. This is part of why prices are going up.

Agema:

Well, the USA's food production very obviously is not controlled by central planning! The price of food in the USA is also heavily affected by global events, as prices are globalised. For instance, the global price of wheat exploded a few years ago after wildfires in Ukraine and Russia (the former particularly being a massive wheat producer).

Actually ever since Wickard, agriculture has been centrally planned. With the subsidies being given out to farmers, we no longer have a free market. It's a fixed market being run in Manhattan. If we did have a free market, with the Ukrainian bad harvest the farmers in the United States that weren't growing wheat because it was cost prohibitive would have grown more of it instead of being paid not to grow wheat.

aelreth:

Part inflation, part supply issue. Don't you recall when I said that the central banks around the world are also devaluing their currencies? After all you can't print food. This is part of why prices are going up.

Yes, but if everywhere else but the USA devalues their currency, it's actually cheaper for the USA to buy their food.

Not that most places are devaluing their currency particularly. Look at the inflation of virtually all major countries since the crash, and they are all well within typical levels since 1980 or so.

Actually ever since Wickard, agriculture has been centrally planned. With the subsidies being given out to farmers, we no longer have a free market. It's a fixed market being run in Manhattan. If we did have a free market, with the Ukrainian bad harvest the farmers in the United States that weren't growing wheat because it was cost prohibitive would have grown more of it instead of being paid not to grow wheat.

lol.

There is a BIG difference between a command or planned economy, and a market economy with some subsidies. By the logic you're using there, everywhere west of the Appalachians may as well be called West Coast USA.

Agema:

Yes, but if everywhere else but the USA devalues their currency, it's actually cheaper for the USA to buy their food.

Not that most places are devaluing their currency particularly. Look at the inflation of virtually all major countries since the crash, and they are all well within typical levels since 1980 or so.

Unfortunately we are in the midst of a currency war in which the citizenry loses.

So you go by government numbers instead of information on the street?

Agema:

There is a BIG difference between a command or planned economy, and a market economy with some subsidies. By the logic you're using there, everywhere west of the Appalachians may as well be called West Coast USA.

You call it a market, I call it a racket.

aelreth:
Unfortunately we are in the midst of a currency war in which the citizenry loses.

We're more in a currency Cold War than actual war. Some have carried out inflationary policies, albeit not for the intent of devaluing their currencies.

For the most part, the central banks and governments of nearly all major economic powers and currencies have made it clear they consider low inflation a priority.

So you go by government numbers instead of information on the street?

Anyone can calculate inflation, and many different organisations do. The government's measures could not lie without it being noticed. There may of course be a media/finance/economics conspiracy and they are all in cahoots, but I find it unlikely.

You call it a market, I call it a racket.

I could not comment on the USA's agricultural policies specifically. In general, however, I and many others believe that the economy is a tool to serve the best interests of society, not society being a tool to serve the best interests of an economic ideology.

Agema:

For the most part, the central banks and governments of nearly all major economic powers and currencies have made it clear they consider low inflation a priority.

That would be the case, unfortunately the world reserve currency doesn't care and inflates away.

Agema:

Anyone can calculate inflation, and many different organisations do. The government's measures could not lie without it being noticed. There may of course be a media/finance/economics conspiracy and they are all in cahoots, but I find it unlikely.

Unfortunately CPI says that those on the dole get no Cost of living increase this year because inflation was low, even though everything but electronics costs more. It's self deceit, we say that inflation is less than what it really is so we don't have to pay social security recipients twice as much as they are now. The entire act of removing food and energy from the calculator was an act to prevent this expense from getting out of control. Ironically when Social Security was first implemented they did the math and predicted the insolvency in the 1980s. So we changed the equation.

Agema:

I could not comment on the USA's agricultural policies specifically. In general, however, I and many others believe that the economy is a tool to serve the best interests of society, not society being a tool to serve the best interests of an economic ideology.

I am admit to being the minority position. I see economy and the division of labor that comes with it as the most efficient means of survival. I would rather see the deflationary pressures at work of the gilded age than the inflationary pressures of this era.

aelreth:
That would be the case, unfortunately the world reserve currency doesn't care and inflates away.

But the world reserve currency is not inflating away - or at least, not any more than it ever has done, and not more than most currencies do.

Unfortunately CPI says that those on the dole get no Cost of living increase this year because inflation was low, even though everything but electronics costs more. It's self deceit, we say that inflation is less than what it really is so we don't have to pay social security recipients twice as much as they are now. The entire act of removing food and energy from the calculator was an act to prevent this expense from getting out of control. Ironically when Social Security was first implemented they did the math and predicted the insolvency in the 1980s. So we changed the equation.

There is no perfect inflation measure; CPI is generally regarded (and not just by the government but by independent economists too) as about as good as it gets. For all that, I do agree the government has preferentially linked to CPI whenever it has saved them money. But then, they're not the only people - my father's private pension used to switch from CPI to RPI whenever was one was lower - at least until they forced the company to pick one and stick with it.

I am admit to being the minority position. I see economy and the division of labor that comes with it as the most efficient means of survival. I would rather see the deflationary pressures at work of the gilded age than the inflationary pressures of this era.

I guess I do not have any strict beliefs; I am willing to trust the majority of economists when they say mild inflation is generally preferable. I appreciate also that may not always be the case.

Whilst in favour of capitalism, I am extremely skeptical about extreme neoliberal variants of it. I think it is pushed on societies temperamentally unsuited to it, used to justify the atomisation of society and destruction of alternative societal values irrespective of their merits, and distributes the gains of increased productivity so unequally that the less wealthy barely observe increases in living standards even in good times. I view a return to a sort of plutocratic feudalism not impossible in the long run.

Agema:

But the world reserve currency is not inflating away - or at least, not any more than it ever has done, and not more than most currencies do.

Yet the prices of the things I buy with the exception of consumer electronics goes up. Ironically prices going up was a big deal in the 2012 US Presidential Elections. In fact, everything that the government got involved in goes up.

Agema:
There is no perfect inflation measure; CPI is generally regarded (and not just by the government but by independent economists too) as about as good as it gets. For all that, I do agree the government has preferentially linked to CPI whenever it has saved them money. But then, they're not the only people - my father's private pension used to switch from CPI to RPI whenever was one was lower - at least until they forced the company to pick one and stick with it.

There was in the United States. Unfortunately they stopped using that measure. Now they use hedonics. The one I watch "says" that he uses the old measures, the 90s variant shows 5.5% & 9% pre-1980. The best way to measure inflation is to simply observe the prices of the same things you buy on a year over year basis. The economist will say that inflation is low because the newest version of the Ipad is the same price as the previous. However commodities and rents are heading up.

Agema:
I guess I do not have any strict beliefs; I am willing to trust the majority of economists when they say mild inflation is generally preferable. I appreciate also that may not always be the case.

Whilst in favour of capitalism, I am extremely skeptical about extreme neoliberal variants of it. I think it is pushed on societies temperamentally unsuited to it, used to justify the atomisation of society and destruction of alternative societal values irrespective of their merits, and distributes the gains of increased productivity so unequally that the less wealthy barely observe increases in living standards even in good times. I view a return to a sort of plutocratic feudalism not impossible in the long run.

Low interest rates tends to cause that. This makes money cheap. It also hobbles those trying to climb the economic ladder. I'm a minority since I think savings not consumption is the engine of growth. As it stands because consumption is so high and savings is abysmally low in the US, any move to save and thus reduce consumption will fatally wound the service economy.

aelreth:

Low interest rates tends to cause that. This makes money cheap. It also hobbles those trying to climb the economic ladder. I'm a minority since I think savings not consumption is the engine of growth. As it stands because consumption is so high and savings is abysmally low in the US, any move to save and thus reduce consumption will fatally wound the service economy.

Ehm, please elaborate on that, since either I'm not understanding what you're saying, or you're being contradictory. You claim both that saving is going to spur growth, and that it's going to hammer a nail in the coffin of a large sector of the economy.

But, you know, if people are saving money instead of spending it to buy stuff, the businesses that are not producing essential stuff aren't gonna be looking too strong.

And the entire bit about making money "cheap"...uh, money isn't even a commodity, it's a currency. Though yes, I do realize many people see it as a commodity. Not sure why though.

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