Why do you disagree with libertarianism?
I believe they are all crazy
3.6% (9)
3.6% (9)
I believe their economic ideas are wrong
35.5% (89)
35.5% (89)
I believe their social ideas are wrong
6.8% (17)
6.8% (17)
I believe their economic and social ideas are wrong
25.5% (64)
25.5% (64)
I am a libertarian
17.5% (44)
17.5% (44)
Other
10.4% (26)
10.4% (26)
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Poll: Why do you disagree with libertarianism?

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AgedGrunt:

Overhead:
But even ignoring the possibility of doing away with Capitalism all together, we can still talk about how much influence it should have and we are able to say that X would be handled better if controlled directly by the government than by capitalism.

You can reverse the words capitalism and government and have that discussion, as well. All I'm wondering is why you believe a bureaucracy is, by its own nature, more righteous than private business.

(Al)Most (all) private businesses (the largest ones, especially) are bureaucracies of some kind. So why are you using 'bureaucracy' to describe only the apparatuses of government?

aelreth:
Snowden wasn't running anything. His actions have yet to stop the behemoth. The thing he fights has the backings of the state. Even now with the truth out, the NSA director can lie to congress with utter impunity. The institutional problem is a feature to the state. This is what they wanted.

Even so it takes an individual of strong character, yet you fail to understand that the will of bureaucracy prevents others from speaking out. This is the case in all collectives. Going against it will result in pain.

My point wasn't that Snowden was in charge of PRISM (he wasn't), but rather that increasing the amount of people associated with a project does not inherently increase the vulnerability of corruption.

You also seem to be confusing bureaucracies with governments as AgedGrunt did. Many large corporations are also massive bureaucracies and have had whistle blowers point out their corrupt actions, like Samy Kamkar (an outside hacker) letting people know how pretty much everyone was being tracked by their mobile phone data or Bradley Birkenfeld showing how his employer UBS was massively defrauding the US government.

I would say it's clear that whistleblowers from the private or public sector are under mass pressure not to reveal the mssive problems they know of. The obvious solution is greater legal protection for them, enforced by the government.

Overhead:
More rent seeking. Speaking of GMAC (A bank) since most of these banks operate out of NYC who was in charge of the NY Federal Reserve while this was going down? Perhaps we should have had our treasury secretary look into that matter.

It wasn't doing anything illegal. All that was perfectly above board and in the interests of the shareholders (just not the customers, the workers, etc).

If you agree that it shouldn't have happened, that's an argument for greater democratic control over businesses rather than greater capitalist freedom to drain businesses dry and leave them bankrupt wrecks.

Sounds like most Triple AAA game publishers just with a longer timeline. This is inevitable, all the more reason why you shouldn't let your company go public. Instead they should pass it down to their chosen successor. Handing it to the collective will of share holders will only serve their short term will. Bondholders in my mind are much more sane. They have a timeline that exists in decades.

Like locusts the share holders only interested in their short term gain will eat out it's sustenance until they find a new host. Their timeline is measured in how long it takes to reach their target yield. If we were in an healthy economy that had a higher interest rate and could survive it (US debt is way too high) savings would be used to expand business rather than chase yield.

I'd argue the point about basically having a dynasty control companies, but you seem to be agreeing with my point so I'll leave it there.

I have no problem if a non-capitalist organization of some kind exists, endures or prospers so long as I am not expending my labor or it's fruits to maintain it. Any dealings I have with such an entity should be honored on both sides of the deal. This is the same with any Capitalist entity.

Well unfortunately you have a problem with reality then, because at this stage in human development the only way to exist is either living in the woods in a log cabin by yourself or in a manner which relies on other people. All the fruits of civilisation, from the roads you drive, to the school you went to to the myriad technical breakthroughs that went into something as everyday as a car, you owe others for them and in one way or another you will pay for them. This could be through taxes. This could be through charges to receive basic necessities that you have basically no choice in (like water)

They were free to choose which model works for them. It seems to have worked for them. One should not force others to forfeit their property. Also so you know I have no love for the IMF and the world bank since they are a cartel given license to the state to their own monopoly of currency.

Were they free to fire and hire as they see fit? Were they free to set wages? Were they free to set the minimum required productivity?

To me it sounds like each compartment of the organization was free to determine how it should best serve the organization. Each part was held accountable.

Sounds like they were individuals trying to find the best way they can serve one another. Not some central planner deciding for them.

The South Korean government specifically made them pursue these lines of development. These lines of development that they didn't want to follow and only did because the government forced them turned out to be spectacularly succesful. I'm not sure what you're trying to argue because it clearly answers his point that "at these people do not know how to manage it better than the person who created and maintained it up until that point" is clearly wrong.

If you have other points you personally would like to make, go into detail on them and I'll come back with a reply. That part of my post through had nothing to do with hiring and firing or setting wages, but rather specifically AgedGrunt's point.

Overhead:
Yet the state enforces these local monopolies with licensing. Then the established will write regulations to keep smaller businesses from entering their sector.

States specifically have anti-monopoly laws (antitrust in the US, I believe) with the purpose of discouraging monopolies. I'm not sure what this licensing is that you're referring to or how it enforces local monopolies seeing as you're very vague about it, but the problem either way is Capitalism. Either it uses it's massive power to influence government or it uses it's massive power to effect a stranglehold on the marketplace.

Either way, it's clear where the problem lies.

The polls tell a different story. Before during and after TARP, the people were against it. Instead now we are left with the same problems as last time but more debt than before.

I wasn't referring to popular opinion of the matter as that would simply be an Argumentum ad populum and completely invalid, which is what you seem to be relying on here.

Correct, it's what the "money" is backed with. It's also why Zimbwambawe's 100 trillion dollar bill isn't worth anything.

Also those given the power to print the "money" will inevitably abuse it. That's why one should put some safeguards in place to keep it from being abused.

Are you talking about the backing of money with precious metals? Many countries suffered hyper inflation and economic catastrophes while on the gold/silver standard.

Also in a long enough view the chances of anyone abusing anything reaches 1. Those with the power to run companies will inevitably abuse it. Those with the power to run governments will inevitably abuse it.

This isn't about making trite homilies, it's about the comparative advantages.

AgedGrunt:

I feel it's disingenuous to assert that businesses are more focused on the money and deregulation rather than their own clientele, whereas government is out to serve its people. One could just as easily say that business and government give the people what they need and want.

Governments and corporations do to a great extent give people what the need and want.

However, government is to some degree is looking out for everyone in a way corporations are not. This because government interacts with everyone whereas corporations interact with smaller subsections of society. It is much easier to externalise costs onto people who have little or no significance to you.

Giving either side too much power is going to increase the chances of harm/abuse. As I say above, government is a far worse disaster to have go wrong, and making it overly complicated creates a bundle of knots to untangle. This is why some go on to cutting the cords (rebellion), because sometimes it's not possible to get back to the way things ought to be.

Rebellions rarely - if ever - occur because government is (over-)complicated.

And whether government is overcomplicated is itself questionable. How could that measurement meaningfully be made? It's all well and good to say there's a 10,000+ page tax code, but is it actually a problem? Much is probably lengthy legal speak, much simply won't apply to most of the population, and those for whom lots of it will matter can easily afford accountants.

For instance, there are four main taxes (well over 90% of my tax burden) that currently affect me: Income tax, NI, VAT, local tax. They might take up hundreds of pages of the tax regulations, but I could usefully summarise them all and what they mean for me in a paragraph each.

Overhead:
to simply state that governments are by harder to fix smacks of ideology. One key different separating them is governments have elections. As imperfect as they may be, something which differs from nation to nation, there is the opportunity there to throw out the government and replace it with a new one. With companies there is no such prerequisite. If a company is acting within the bounds of the law, then no matter how corrupt or immoral or cartoonishly evil they are, there is no definite mechanism to effect change.

Elections are merely opportunities. No guarantees or legal contracts, just vague promises and fundraising. People don't choose everyone in their government, either; they rely on the chosen to choose others (e.g. a President's cabinet).

Government is not required by law to meet public demands. On the other hand, government demand is reinforced by law and criminal justice. Consider an athlete and sport's official relationship: with a fair rulebook and good officiating, you have nothing to complain about. Here is the problem when government is the problem: one must use the very same system he's trying to fix.

By the way, exploitation is human-driven, not profit-driven. I hope my position is now clear; it's my last on the topic -- disagree if you insist.

Agema:
Rebellions rarely - if ever - occur because government is (over-)complicated

A government body too large and thick with bureaucracy resists reform because people can't reach very far into it to make the necessary changes.

And what is there to love about a 10,000+ page tax code? It requires an army to enforce and an industry to help the people comply with it. That's one thing when considering tax law, it's another when considering thousands of pages of healthcare law. Complication breeds ignorance and ignorance begets problems, such as government exploitation (or literally any form thereof).

AgedGrunt:
Elections are merely opportunities. No guarantees or legal contracts, just vague promises and fundraising. People don't choose everyone in their government, either; they rely on the chosen to choose others (e.g. a President's cabinet).

Yes. Elections are opportunities. That is the point of them. They're an opportunity to set your country on a new path and make it take a course you choose. They're not guarantees because everyone can't have their way so it can't be a guarantee.

You're just pointing out the self-evident as if this should be damning.

Government is not required by law to meet public demands. On the other hand, government demand is reinforced by law and criminal justice. Consider an athlete and sport's official relationship: with a fair rulebook and good officiating, you have nothing to complain about. Here is the problem when government is the problem: one must use the very same system he's trying to fix.

Governments aren't required by law to meet all public demands (again, the nature of an democracy), but there are many public demands they have to meet. In my country, as I'm sure is the case in yours too, there are massive amounts of laws which state that the government must do things in specific situations. If someone's salary is low, that person has the ability to demand housing benefit. If a person is hurt they have the right to free medical treatment. I have all kinds of things that I can demand from my government and they have no ability to deny me, which if they did try to demand from me I would be able to appeal to an independent judiciary.

Meanwhile companies aren't required to meet any public demands except the ones governments put in place. To continue your metaphor, with capitalism there is no rulebook and no officiating. I don't like the fact that oil companies are killing the world with fossil fuels, but what can I do to stop them? I don't like the fact masses of companies are hiring people at minimum wage or below minimum wage, but my ability to directly effect this mass of companies is next to non-existent. Democratic government gives me a way to alter this.

Also in reference to your sports example, in sports there are people taking illegal drugs to cheat, famous teams that use their powers to enforce a stranglehold on the top-most league of their particular sport, sports teams going bankrupt in this commercialised world due to poor financial decisions which break the hearts of all their fans, poor employees cutting the grass and doing the maintenance at stadiums and other essential jobs for a pittance, etc. In short, in sport there are all the problems of capitalism because it is run as a capitalist industry

By the way, exploitation is human-driven, not profit-driven. I hope my position is now clear; it's my last on the topic -- disagree if you insist.

I could argue the point, but you've misunderstood me. I meant exploitation in economic terms, the extraction of surplus value from the labour of workers to create a profit. It wasn't just a throwaway phrase, I was specifically describing the mechanism which is essential and lies at the heart of creating a profit.

AgedGrunt:

Agema:
Rebellions rarely - if ever - occur because government is (over-)complicated

A government body too large and thick with bureaucracy resists reform because people can't reach very far into it to make the necessary changes.

To an extent. But mostly, governments are frequently slow to reform for political reasons rather than bureaucratic.

And what is there to love about a 10,000+ page tax code? It requires an army to enforce and an industry to help the people comply with it. That's one thing when considering tax law, it's another when considering thousands of pages of healthcare law. Complication breeds ignorance and ignorance begets problems, such as government exploitation (or literally any form thereof).

It takes an army to enforce any tax code, and there will always be battalions of accountants and lawyers trying to get round them. There are a lot of people who want to dodge taxes no matter what the system is. Frankly, half the complexity in law probably is the government trying to stop people exploiting loopholes.

Overhead:

My point wasn't that Snowden was in charge of PRISM (he wasn't), but rather that increasing the amount of people associated with a project does not inherently increase the vulnerability of corruption.

You also seem to be confusing bureaucracies with governments as AgedGrunt did. Many large corporations are also massive bureaucracies and have had whistle blowers point out their corrupt actions, like Samy Kamkar (an outside hacker) letting people know how pretty much everyone was being tracked by their mobile phone data or Bradley Birkenfeld showing how his employer UBS was massively defrauding the US government.

I would say it's clear that whistleblowers from the private or public sector are under mass pressure not to reveal the mssive problems they know of. The obvious solution is greater legal protection for them, enforced by the government.

Bureaucracies are a completely human organism. The same rules apply whether it is a state or corporate one.

Right now unfortunately whistle-blowers are a species marked for extermination. It would take an informed populace that fights back in the ballot box and in the jury box to protect them. Jury rights are a strong individual right that is being slowly erased or hidden from the public at large.

Overhead:

It wasn't doing anything illegal. All that was perfectly above board and in the interests of the shareholders (just not the customers, the workers, etc).

If you agree that it shouldn't have happened, that's an argument for greater democratic control over businesses rather than greater capitalist freedom to drain businesses dry and leave them bankrupt wrecks.

I would conclude that monetary policy has made it more expedient to use this business practice instead of honest expansion. Also the banking organizations in the west have an incestuous relationship with the government. Businesses help write the regulations that supposedly bind them, this used to protect them from competition and insure longevity.

Overhead:

I'd argue the point about basically having a dynasty control companies, but you seem to be agreeing with my point so I'll leave it there.

If the government gets it after I die, all the more reason to squander my wealth on my way out of mortality. The government will conduct nepotism or hand it to the well connected.

Overhead:

Well unfortunately you have a problem with reality then, because at this stage in human development the only way to exist is either living in the woods in a log cabin by yourself or in a manner which relies on other people. All the fruits of civilisation, from the roads you drive, to the school you went to to the myriad technical breakthroughs that went into something as everyday as a car, you owe others for them and in one way or another you will pay for them. This could be through taxes. This could be through charges to receive basic necessities that you have basically no choice in (like water)

I'm referring to your experiment. The division of labor is advantageous to my comfort and longevity. All of these devices are paid for by every mile my parents and I drove, loans that were made that my parents and I had/ve to pay for, that will never be paid back. The speed at which people are willing to make debt slaves out of themselves and their neighbors is quite hideous.

Ironically both the schools and the roads you describe were privately operated until they were seized by the state.

Overhead:

The South Korean government specifically made them pursue these lines of development. These lines of development that they didn't want to follow and only did because the government forced them turned out to be spectacularly succesful. I'm not sure what you're trying to argue because it clearly answers his point that "at these people do not know how to manage it better than the person who created and maintained it up until that point" is clearly wrong.

If you have other points you personally would like to make, go into detail on them and I'll come back with a reply. That part of my post through had nothing to do with hiring and firing or setting wages, but rather specifically AgedGrunt's point.

It does, if the lowest level managers were not given the control to assemble the best team and those they reported to did not hold them accountable, success would have been impossible. This implies that the individual not the group should be given more power.

Overhead:

States specifically have anti-monopoly laws (antitrust in the US, I believe) with the purpose of discouraging monopolies. I'm not sure what this licensing is that you're referring to or how it enforces local monopolies seeing as you're very vague about it, but the problem either way is Capitalism. Either it uses it's massive power to influence government or it uses it's massive power to effect a stranglehold on the marketplace.

Either way, it's clear where the problem lies.

I disagree, licensing and regulation are tools used to ensure dominance of the established business. The large corporations have the bureaucracy to comply to regulatory demand, while the more nimble maverick business does not. Licensing acts in the same perverse way. That is why tax code and regulation are so long and complex. To overwhelm the individual and create the demand for ever expanding bloated bureaucracies. This is true of even rural towns.

Overhead:

Are you talking about the backing of money with precious metals? Many countries suffered hyper inflation and economic catastrophes while on the gold/silver standard.

Also in a long enough view the chances of anyone abusing anything reaches 1. Those with the power to run companies will inevitably abuse it. Those with the power to run governments will inevitably abuse it.

This isn't about making trite homilies, it's about the comparative advantages.

More against central banking than that actually.

I just don't see accountablity occurring if the state and corporation are one. Usually leads to totalitarianism, not fun for anyone but the 'elite'.

aelreth:

Bureaucracies are a completely human organism. The same rules apply whether it is a state or corporate one.

Right now unfortunately whistle-blowers are a species marked for extermination. It would take an informed populace that fights back in the ballot box and in the jury box to protect them. Jury rights are a strong individual right that is being slowly erased or hidden from the public at large.

It's a bit iffy, because for the public to actually be informed, an occasional whistle-blower is a necessity. I don't think whistle-blowers are marked for extermination because the populace is uninformed, but in order to keep the populace uninformed.

I would conclude that monetary policy has made it more expedient to use this business practice instead of honest expansion. Also the banking organizations in the west have an incestuous relationship with the government. Businesses help write the regulations that supposedly bind them, this used to protect them from competition and insure longevity.

Well, corporations aren't people, they're just made of people. Just like governments. And in the end it simply falls down to people with most clout writing the laws. And clout doesn't only come from politics.

If the government gets it after I die, all the more reason to squander my wealth on my way out of mortality. The government will conduct nepotism or hand it to the well connected.

But what makes you think a business will not, aside from the whole "not being the government" thing? Honestly, this keeps me baffled. It so often seems to me that "not being the government" is being held as a virtue, often the only virtue of private business, and a virtue in and of itself. That's both illogical and downright stupid.

I'm referring to your experiment. The division of labor is advantageous to my comfort and longevity. All of these devices are paid for by every mile my parents and I drove, loans that were made that my parents and I had/ve to pay for, that will never be paid back. The speed at which people are willing to make debt slaves out of themselves and their neighbors is quite hideous.

Ironically both the schools and the roads you describe were privately operated until they were seized by the state.

Either way, owned privately or by the state, that's stuff other people created.

It does, if the lowest level managers were not given the control to assemble the best team and those they reported to did not hold them accountable, success would have been impossible. This implies that the individual not the group should be given more power.

Levels of management, another thing that keeps me baffled. Just how many of does have to exist to keep people believing this "The less you have to work and the more you can delegate, the more successful you are" shtick? Actual production of anything is always in the hands of the lowest rank in such a hierarchy. Telling people that they should aspire to not having to produce is...not a sound thing to tell them I think.

I disagree, licensing and regulation are tools used to ensure dominance of the established business. The large corporations have the bureaucracy to comply to regulatory demand, while the more nimble maverick business does not. Licensing acts in the same perverse way. That is why tax code and regulation are so long and complex. To overwhelm the individual and create the demand for ever expanding bloated bureaucracies. This is true of even rural towns.

In a political system that's not as prone to getting bogged down in obstinate dick-waving of two nearly identically strong entities, some strong civil initiatives could push for the simplification and transparency of the tax code.

But here we're back to the entire "people with clout" thing.

I just don't see accountablity occurring if the state and corporation are one. Usually leads to totalitarianism, not fun for anyone but the 'elite'.

Quite right. But, on a large scale, some degree of bureaucracy and oversight are simply necessary. Maybe the private business is the new church. Maybe in the coming decades, a separation of the two will be necessary so that narrow interests of the new elite stop interfering with the governing.

Still having it taxed of course (and I also maintain churches should be taxed as well).

Greetings Vegosiux.

Vegosiux:

It's a bit iffy, because for the public to actually be informed, an occasional whistle-blower is a necessity. I don't think whistle-blowers are marked for extermination because the populace is uninformed, but in order to keep the populace uninformed.

I completely agree, Overhead mentioned earlier that other parties knew about what was going on and trying to get the word out in the PRISM case. Those that were warning others of the surveillance state were being dismissed by the media as kooks and conspiracy theorists. The whistle blowers such as Thomas Drake were under immense pressure unfortunately they were being sidelined by mainstream sources.

More indicting is that many of those in mainstream media have direct marital relations with members of the current administration. I don't blame this administration for that, by design, the white house press corps was conceived to create a more incestuous relationship between the media and the government. Throw in the wiretaps on members of news organizations and you can quickly have some very dirty things going on.

This is also why I hate licensing broadcasters. An easy tool for government to abuse it's authority.

Vegosiux:

Well, corporations aren't people, they're just made of people. Just like governments. And in the end it simply falls down to people with most clout writing the laws. And clout doesn't only come from politics.

If you want to remove clout my suggestion would be fission, by which you would further divide representation amongst the people, then let them form new bonds of association. We can call those states. Let them form new agreements with their governments on the powers the government would be granted and things the government can never take away.

Vegosiux:

But what makes you think a business will not, aside from the whole "not being the government" thing? Honestly, this keeps me baffled. It so often seems to me that "not being the government" is being held as a virtue, often the only virtue of private business, and a virtue in and of itself. That's both illogical and downright stupid.

Avoiding a business cartel is easier than avoiding the state. The 'necessary' powers of the state are far more reaching and coercive than the powers of a private business. Also my recourse if the business is corrupt is the state, if the state is corrupt I must do something revolutionary, and that makes me an enemy of the state. Which is not good for my continued employment and my health. Especially since I am an agent of the State.

Vegosiux:

Either way, owned privately or by the state, that's stuff other people created.

Indisputable, however the state had to first take via taxes, to create those things then it forever holds over the use of that with the power to tax indefinitely. Even after you are done utilizing it.

I prefer buying outright to perpetual rent via debt.

Vegosiux:

Levels of management, another thing that keeps me baffled. Just how many of does have to exist to keep people believing this "The less you have to work and the more you can delegate, the more successful you are" shtick? Actual production of anything is always in the hands of the lowest rank in such a hierarchy. Telling people that they should aspire to not having to produce is...not a sound thing to tell them I think.

I have done both, I do both at the same time in my current station. As far as production and management of subordinates.

As to the aspiration I have yet to create something that perpetually makes something of value with minimal time required from me. Ultimately though such an entity would be something where you built a business and find someone that can run it while you do something else with your time. Or you find a business or a business proposal and become a bond holder.

Vegosiux:

In a political system that's not as prone to getting bogged down in obstinate dick-waving of two nearly identically strong entities, some strong civil initiatives could push for the simplification and transparency of the tax code.

But here we're back to the entire "people with clout" thing.

Such Freudian agreement on the fallacy, that being the 2 party system. Pun intended.

Vegosiux:

Quite right. But, on a large scale, some degree of bureaucracy and oversight are simply necessary. Maybe the private business is the new church. Maybe in the coming decades, a separation of the two will be necessary so that narrow interests of the new elite stop interfering with the governing.

Still having it taxed of course (and I also maintain churches should be taxed as well).

While I believe that central banking is the new church it's unsurprising on the direction you are suggesting. The so-called religious right is walking right into this trap since they are so easily predictable.

aelreth:
Bureaucracies are a completely human organism. The same rules apply whether it is a state or corporate one.

Only in a very very broad sense, so broad that any relevance you are creating with bureaucracy is meaningless. Signing in at your job so they know you're there is not the same as the police keeping records on criminals which is not the same as the insurance industry's exacting mechanics for deceiding on and (sometimes) paying claims.

One bureaucracy is completely different from another. The one thing you're right on is that they're complex.

Right now unfortunately whistle-blowers are a species marked for extermination. It would take an informed populace that fights back in the ballot box and in the jury box to protect them. Jury rights are a strong individual right that is being slowly erased or hidden from the public at large.

Yup. Nothing to do with libertarianism though.

Overhead:
I would conclude that monetary policy has made it more expedient to use this business practice instead of honest expansion.

In what way? It wasn't just GMAC, it was years of under investment, layoffs, protectionism, etc all gone about because it was the alrgest company in the world and so it could afford to coast and accrue profit at the expense of it's workers.

Also the banking organizations in the west have an incestuous relationship with the government. Businesses help write the regulations that supposedly bind them, this used to protect them from competition and insure longevity.

Yes, a reason to do away with banking organisations, not democratic government.

Overhead:
If the government gets it after I die, all the more reason to squander my wealth on my way out of mortality. The government will conduct nepotism or hand it to the well connected.

Well you're still agreeing with my point, but now you're just adding meaningless unproven claims to it as well.

I'm referring to your experiment. The division of labor is advantageous to my comfort and longevity. All of these devices are paid for by every mile my parents and I drove, loans that were made that my parents and I had/ve to pay for, that will never be paid back. The speed at which people are willing to make debt slaves out of themselves and their neighbors is quite hideous.

I agree, no-one should be debt slaves. But you seem to be retracting your earlier point. Is that the case or can you clarify?

It does, if the lowest level managers were not given the control to assemble the best team and those they reported to did not hold them accountable, success would have been impossible. This implies that the individual not the group should be given more power.

That is just further proof that AgedGrunt's point, that only the business owner should know what to do with a company, is wrong. You're agreeing with me but posting as if you're disagreeing.

I disagree, licensing and regulation are tools used to ensure dominance of the established business. The large corporations have the bureaucracy to comply to regulatory demand, while the more nimble maverick business does not. Licensing acts in the same perverse way. That is why tax code and regulation are so long and complex. To overwhelm the individual and create the demand for ever expanding bloated bureaucracies. This is true of even rural towns.

There is nothing inherently bad about licensing or regulation. To carry on using South Korea as an example (why not) in the early 1990's Far Eastern Economic review pointed out that it would take up to 299 different permits form up to 199 different agencies to set up a factory in the country. The ultra-capitalist nation of the Asian continent. How could this be?

Well the analysis was fairly clear. When the regulations encourage growth and good practice, business people will take the time to fill out those 299 forms. If there is little profit and a bad economic environment, even 10 permits might be too much.

Because regulations can be good. They can stop short-sighted behaviour. They can stop over-fishing which will give companies short-term gains followed by bankruptcy when fish stock is massively depleted. They can encourage good practice, like making it illegal to hire children and so thereby improving the quality of life of children and creating a better educated future workforce to continue expanding the economy in the future (assuming there are schools to go to.

Licensing can be good or bad. Same with regulation. Stop treating them like they're inherently bad and look at where the bad regulations often come from (the concentration of power/wealth in capitalist businesses which needs to be done away with)

I just don't see accountablity occurring if the state and corporation are one. Usually leads to totalitarianism, not fun for anyone but the 'elite'.

I'm not arguing for that. I'm not a fan of the state and I certainly don't like corporations.

aelreth:

I completely agree, Overhead mentioned earlier that other parties knew about what was going on and trying to get the word out in the PRISM case. Those that were warning others of the surveillance state were being dismissed by the media as kooks and conspiracy theorists. The whistle blowers such as Thomas Drake were under immense pressure unfortunately they were being sidelined by mainstream sources.

More indicting is that many of those in mainstream media have direct marital relations with members of the current administration. I don't blame this administration for that, by design, the white house press corps was conceived to create a more incestuous relationship between the media and the government. Throw in the wiretaps on members of news organizations and you can quickly have some very dirty things going on.

This is also why I hate licensing broadcasters. An easy tool for government to abuse it's authority.

Sorry to butt in, but the problem with the media at the moment is that it's capitalist. No ifs, no buts, no trying to push it onto state control. The purpose of news organisations should be to seek the truth about major stories, but the purpose of Capitalism is to make profit. Finding the truth and making a profit do not go hand in hand and although all governments do control the media narrative to a good extent, the problem lies in the profit-seeking roots of the news organisations.

I wrote a fairly extensive post on this last year, which I've edited to make relevent and placed below to explain the situation to you.

Unethical behaviour

Recently in the UK we've had massive problems with unethical news media behaviour.

The first hints of something major going on and the first proper police investigations into illegally stealing information actually took place in the 90's. Johnathan Rees was the first target, a private investigator who had been operating for a decade and got paid 150,000 to obtain illegal evidence including details of active police investigations. This was for the News of the World mainly, but also the Mirror and the Sunday Times and he went to prison in 2000 (For planting cocaine on someone). When he came out, Andy Coulson, the then Editor of the News of the World, offered him a job getting information for the News of the World again. In a surprise twist that Andy Coulson couldn't possibly have expected to happen and David Cameron certainly doesn't hold against him for not anticipating, Rees continued to get the information for News of the World illegally in exactly the same manner way as he did before his arrest.

It was Operation Motorman that really shed the light on how in depth the illegality went. Police raided the house of Steve Whittamore, a private investigator, and found he had been selling illegal information to journalists. The real scoop was he'd kept meticulous records of every transaction. He'd sold over 13,000 pieces of illegal data over three years like peoples criminal records, credit cards bills, friends and family numbers, bank statements and all other kinds of confidential information to over 300 different journalists at basically every major newspaper. The estimate of how much he earned in these three years is around half a million pounds. They also found that Whittamore was something of a middle-man who had a network of informants feeding Whitamore him information which he then passed on to the papers. A Hells Angel that knew how to pretend to be a BT engineer and blag people's detail, a police worker who would get information from Scotland yard databases, two men at the DVLA, a civil servant at the DWP and several more. These sources let him pull information from pretty much every major database in the UK, so when the police tried them they had put together the biggest case against black market information that had ever been organized in UK history and newspapers and journalists were starting to feel really nervous about this, but they needn't have bothered.

Whittamore and three others were brought before the caught. The prosecutor laid out how they were being commissioned to perform illegal activities by journalists and how payments had been traced to major newspapers in return for providing confidential police when the QC asked a really relevant question of where these journalists were and why the paymasters behind these illegal activities weren't being tried as well. The prosecutor didn't have an answer. There simply hadn't been any political will to pursue them.

But even Whittamore and his informants were safe. The four of them were found guilty but the judge found himself due to the circumstances of the case to give them anything more than conditional discharges, even though he had the power to give them prison time and unlimited fines. For the same reason, a parallel case involving Whittamore and a different section of the of conspirators fell apart.

It was massive case showing not just one or two bad apples but hundreds of journalists systematically pursuing massive amounts of illegal data through these hired agents. It was obvious that newspapers were involved in large amounts of illegal activity but this was just left to rot and fester, but the scope of these activities meant that more instances of illegal activity kept becoming known. The Royal Phone hacking scandal with Goodman, Mulcaire and Coulson. Civil suits by various celebrities about being hacked. David Connett at the Sunday Times taking up a wrongful dismissal suit where he was able to show he was hired by the Sunday Times specifically to deal with illegal activities. A couple of reporters at The Guardian following this story of journalistic corruption quite doggedly.

All this has lead into where we are now. We've had the Levenson inquiry which has heard massive amounts of evidence from those involved and came out with a light-touch solution that the government still refused to fully implement, but beyond that we've got five separate police investigations in the UK, we've got investigations underway internationally in the USA and Australia, The Home Select Affairs Committee has said it's almost impossible to escape the conclusion that News International were deliberately trying to thwart the criminal investigation into hacking, Commissioner Akers has suggested that as well as the major players like Brooks and Coulson which have already been charged they are looking at charges against corporations, which is potentially a much bigger deal. Things are moving in the right direction in terms of illegal behaviour.

This is all good news, but it is also things which should have been done years ago when the extent of phone hacking was known because this was known about for years before this became a major issue. It's only because of a series of revelations like Millie Dowlers phone being hacked, the London Bombing victim's phones being hacked, etc snowballing that there's been enough public outrage to get this really pursued. It shouldn't come as a surprise to us that people involved in a massive criminal conspiracy like Rebecca Brooks are actually getting tried for their crimes, but in this case it is a surprise because she should have been hauled in years ago.

Politics and Journalism

You mention there is an incestuous relationship between politics and journalism and you are right in that regard.

What was a bit more unexpected revelation from Leveson, because it wasn't the focus of all these investigations even if a lot of us might have guessed it, is the link between journalists and politicians. The private meetings, the political sport, papers throwing their support behind parties, the Chipping Norton set, the gifts, the friendly and family relations. There's a lot of reasons to think that there has been a really inappropriate relationship between politicians and the media, but the massive investigations being carried out have so far largely ignored that aspect of the problem.

Now I don't want to be too biased or judgemental about whether any politicians or journalists were engaged in immoral or illegal behaviour in this particular regard, because if someone was being tried for something serious like murder I'd say we shouldn't prejudge them and we should let the evidence come out before it is looked at. The problem with this point of view is that for all the political cosying up and suspicious information we have, the truth will likely never come out. There isn't any investigation targeting this kind of corruption in the same way illegal hacking is being pursued, so we really have no choice but to look at the limited evidence available. What we know has only come about because it's tangentially connected to the main investigation into hacking and illegal methods of obtaining information.

In this case being judgemental isn't really a problem, as this limited information we currently have is likely all we will ever have, so there are a few things that immediately stand out.

Firstly, that even if we take things at face value and accept everything the politicians and journalists have said about their relationship, it's still not good. They've said that sure, we're friends, we meet up for Christmas dinner, give each other presents, go to the same parties, but we'd never let that influence any professional dealings. Now what I'm about to say might sound obvious, but even if you're not doing it consciously people are biased in favour of people they associate with. There's a lot of research been done into the science behind it, which is called in-group bias, and it's even accepted by The British Government that this kind of socialising influencing people. After all, that's the entire reason we've had royals like Prince Andrew as trade envoys. Not because they're brilliant salesmen who can deliver a good pitch, not because he has any kind of authority to change deals so they're more profitable - but because he's a friendly face that can hob-nob with billionaires and middle-eastern dictators and this in itself helps our diplomatic and foreign trade fronts.

But that's if we're taking them at their word, which there is good reason not to do. There has been a fair bit of criticism about how little some of the witnesses at the Leveson inquiry seem to be able to remember and a few analysis have been put together of just how forgetful people are. One of my favourites, even though it is an informal piece of research rather than anything truly scientific as nothing of that calibre yet exists, is one that gets a baseline level of forgetfulness in the low level journalists, members of the public and celebrities who took part in earlier modules of the Levenson inquiry and compares it with the forgetfulness of the politicians, senior advisers and executives that took place in Module 3. It turns out politicians are x8 more forgetful than normal. Cameron personally was x12 more forgetful. Senior Murdoch employees on average had x19 worse memories than normal and if you associated with Jeremy Hunt then your memory was x20 worse. Adam Smith, who was Jeremy Hunt's Special Advisor and exchanged 257 texts with Fredric Michael, a News Corporation lobbyist, was the runaway winner though with a memory that is a little more than x50 times worse than normal judging by how many times he didn't remember things when he was in front of Leveson. It doesn't fill you with hope when even in the most favourable light this indicates the people running our country and heading up companies are at best forgetful idiots and at worst are liars who're trying to protect themselves.

Probably the clearest indication of bias though in my eyes though is the difference in how Vince Cable and Jeremy Hunt were treated. Vince Cable made comments to an undercover journalist that he was going to 'war with Murdoch'. While obviously sounding bad it's not as bad within the context of the conversation where he'd used that kind of language for lots of things, like how he's fighting a war against the conservatives on a host of issues, how he has a nuclear option of walking out of the cabinet if there is ever a big Lib/Com disagreement, that kind of thing and from what he said before that particular line it was pretty clear that declaring war meant referring it to OfCom, which was one of the things he was supposed to decide on and was within his remit.

Still, it was enough to get rid of him for bias. I think people in public office should be held to the highest standards and scrutiny, so I wouldn't have had a problem with getting rid of him if they hadn't replaced him with Jeremy Hunt. This is Jeremy Hunt who before he had even been appointed had massive amounts of contact with News Corp lobbyists both directly and through advisors in his office, who had sent emails to the Prime Minister in support of the deal from his private gmail account to avoid them being accessible through the freedom of protection act, who had to be told by a government legal advisor that even though his contact with News Corp wasn't technically illegal he still shouldn't be doing them and who when he was given legal advice not to meet with James Murdoch simply talked to him over the phone instead of meeting him directly.

Saying that Vince could be biased so we have to replace him with a neutral figure, fair enough. Replacing him with someone several times more biased but biased in the opposite direction simply makes it look all the more likely that Hunt severely lacked the required impartial that this quasi-judicial decision requires.

An incestous relationship? Yes, I'd say so. However if we're going to take a proper look, we need to go beyond that standard libertarian assumption that somehow the government is to blame.

The downfall of journalism

One thing we can do though is look at how we got here; Why journalists are churning out stories on celebrities, hacking phones and blagging for easy stories and pumping our press releases and wire reports rather than doing original research into what matters. What is it that makes this incestuous relationship? The short answer is Capitalism but the long answer is as follows:

For one, the network of journalists that are the essential to reporting news just don't exist any more in the same way they used to and in large part this is down to Murdoch. Before 1986 the printers unions and the National Union of Journalists did a fair enough job of holding off commercial interests, standing up for their principles and ensuring high quality, although they relied on the printers union for support. An example of them fending off commercial interests came a couple of years before 1986 when the miner's strike was going on. The Sun tried to run a front page photo of Arthur Scargill waving to miners in a way that had been captured in a way looked kind of like a nazi salute, with the headline planned to be 'Mine Fuhrer' in a fairly obvious attempt to slur him. Well I don't know if anyone's seen the front page of The Sun from the day they went with the story, but there's no photo and no headline. The printers just weren't willing to put it together. Instead there was a large print statement saying that the Sun production chapels had refused to print the headline or picture. It wasn't just basic morality and a sense of decency which lead the printers to do this, but also a recognition that if Thatcher succeeded in breaking the miner strike which Scargill supported then they could be next. That's basically what happened.

Murdoch built a new print plant in Wapping and tried to reach agreements with staff which would limit their ability to organise as a union, like the end of the closed shop and a no strike clause. After months of negotiation the employees eventually went on strike and with military precision Murdoch, after asking Thatcher to confirm she would support him, had all 6,000 of them fired, convinced enough journalists to work as scabs to carry on publishing and got new workers in from EETPU to run their new presses (EETPU being this catchily named electricians union that got expelled from the TUC a couple of years later). The strike managed to last over a year under a lot of criticism from the government and newspapers as well as police suppression, but in the end it was broken, thousands of people were out of work, the union's strength was destroyed, the ability of average workers to stand up for themselves or for standards they held to was gone and Murdoch was making more profit. After that, the rest of the Fleet Street papers followed suit.

From there there was little resistance as journalists were fired and not replaced on a massive scale. Before the Wapping change Murdoch's titles made 35 million in profit. Three years later and this had quadrupled but during the same period their total staffing had dropped from 8,731 to 949. Again, the other papers were quick to follow him.

It's this breaking of the unions that has really accelerated commercialisation of news, because they were the big barrier against the focus purely on profit. Before then you couldn't lay off a load of staff in downsizing because you'd have a horde of journalists and printers mobilising against it. After Wapping, they couldn't. It's not news to me and I hope it's not new to you that in every privatised industry, the drive for profit will turn the focus away from social benefits and towards increasing earnings. The energy sector is pursuing short-term profit while causing massive long-term term problems for the entire world by continuing with their use of fossil fuels, with trains the rail infrastructure of the country has gone to rot since it was privatised and with housing there are millions of people who can't afford a home because the housing industry's focus is obviously on making the most money rather than housing the most people. With journalism, I'd say that ideally what they're meant to be supplying is a truthful representation of the important events.

If we look at how the system has changed, especially in comparison to how things were pre-Wapping, then we can see a lot of ways in which the current set-up has really got in the way of that goal. This isn't just just because there are a few bad eggs who'll break laws if it gets them a good scoop and some money, it's a systematic failure of the media's ability to accurately report the truth.

This occurs in two primary ways that I will go into, the workers and the sources, as well as some other ways that I will only briefly touch on.

The Workers

Firstly there are simply far far less journalists out there. There aren't and have never been tens of thousands of Guardian, Daily Mail, Mirror, Independents and Times journalists out there digging up stories all across the UK for the big top tier nationals. Instead they and all the major TV and radio stations relied upon a network of smaller local papers and specialists scattered about the country that formed the essential infrastructure of news gathering. These organisations just no longer exist in the same way they did a few decades ago. A third of the local newspapers that used to exist twenty years ago have simply disappeared, while the number of journalists at the local newspapers still up and running has gone down with more than half of the provincial NUJ members lost their jobs in the decade and a half after Wapping.

The local freelance agencies that didn't publish their own paper but simply rooted out stories and sold them on were the other place that journalists could go to to get news from across the country, but these are even worse off as the big papers cut their budgets for buying stories and froze the prices of those they did get meant the agencies had to shed staff and close. There were five agencies in Leeds, now there is one. Around Merseyside three of the four agencies closed and the one that did remain shrunk to around half the number of staff. The same thing happened in Stoke, Manchester, Derby and pretty much every city across the country save London while in rural areas, the smaller towns and villages, the one-man-bands that had covered them simply went bust.

The story is the same wherever you look, like the specialist court reporting agencies that used to dig out several national news stories every day, including some fairly large scandals like when they caught the Chancellor Nigel Lawson's wife being snuck into her drink driving hearing which had been scheduled for before the courts would normally be open. Practically every supply line of national news and information to the major new organisations, not just the papers but TV and radio too, has collapsed in a bid to save money and cut costs. Meanwhile, at the big well-known news organisations things aren't much better. Although they haven't suffered cuts as massive as the ones faced by smaller newspapers because, for instance that 8000+ employees being reduced to less than 1000 I gave for Murdoch's papers after Wapping was mostly normal working people like the printers rather than journalists who are involved in finding and reporting on news, the numbers of journalists at the major Fleet Street organisations has still dropped. The big problem they face though is completely different; it's the workload. Although there are almost as many journalists at major papers as there used to be, they space they're expected to fill in a paper has trebled and that's before you take into account more recent innovations like free sheets, websites, blogs, podcasts and all those extra things that are considered essential nowadays.

Trying to do three times as much work in the same space of time has two effects. One is that they spend less time checking the accuracy of their stories to make sure they're true and the other is that they are having to rely less and less on their their own investigative journalism and more and more on other sources of information. Now the normal pipelines of information, the local newspapers and independent journalists, have been cut and replaced by new kinds of service providers that aren't up to task which the remaining journalists have to rely on more and more.

This is all a massive problem for the quality of news, but it keeps costs down.

The Sources

The big source journalists use is now the wire agencies like the Press Association. These are the people that the Queen or an MP or the police service or government departments speak to if they want to make a national or an international statement who also have their own reporters around digging up information. Every news organisation of any sizes subscribes to them. All the national papers, all the major regions, all the freesheets like the Metro, all of the BBC national and regional outlets, all the commercial news and radio stations, they all subscribe to it and they all rely on it. A study into the major Fleet Street publications, the respected ones like The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, as well as the Daily Mail because it's a monstrously well-selling mid-market title found that about a third of their articles were direct rewrites of Wire material where at best they'd just slightly changed the layout. Another fifth were largely reproduced from the Wire and another fifth on top of that contained elements of wire stories but had a fair amount of original material added on top. That's about 70% of major UK stories either wholly or partly rewritten from wire copy.

It's completely replaced the national network of local journalists as the major pipeline of stories into the big papers. A typical journalistic rule is that you need two sources for every story. For a lot of media organisations, including the Beeb, a Press Association story pulled off of the wire doesn't need a second story to go on the waves, it's considered good to go as is. The problem is that wire organisations just aren't up to the job, either in terms of coverage or accuracy.

To compensate for the thousands of local reporters that have disappeared from regional newspapers throughout the country, the PA have assigned an extra fifty reporters to cover regional and local news across the Irish republic, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and all the major cities outside of London.

This means, for instance, that Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria are covered by five reporters, including trainees. Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales have two. Cardiff has four for all of South Wales and the Wales Assembly. No matter how hard these journalists work, these dozens of journalists can only dig up the tiniest fraction of news that the several thousand journalists they're replacing used to. It's not anywhere near enough. On weekends and evenings they have one reporter to cover the entire North West. That's over seven million people being covered by one person.

That's the network that the major newspapers are using in part or whole for 70% of the stories they publish. They don't have the resources to comprehensively check for accuracy which means we get stories that are simply wrong and they don't have the manpower to go and actually find out all the important stories that are happening out there. Those same problems being faced by the newspapers who are now forced to rely upon the Press Association and other wire services are being faced by the wire services themselves, but moreso.

A really good example of this is back in 2006 when two people, one of them a BNP activist who had stood as a councilor, were found with the biggest chemical explosives haul in UK history. The only place to report on this when it happened was the Lancashire Telegraph, with the information copied a few days later in the Burnley and Pendle Citizen. When people complained, the BBC's response was that the BBC didn't avoid the story, they just didn't know about it. They had no local reporter and the police chose not to push it: they hadn't gone to the PA and feed them a story which would find it's way onto the wire. How could the BBC know about it if someone didn't go out of their way to tell the Press Association them about it and the BBC didn't have their own reporters down there? One BBC reporter did try to follow it up with the Lancashire Telegraph journalist who filed the story, but she declined to get involved because the BBC couldn't afford to pay her for her work.

It's worth mentioning here that although I'm focusing on the newspapers because traditionally they form the network of journalists that funnel news upwards to all the bigger organizations whether they're radio, national newspapers, tv or anything else, the rest of the media has been effected in the same way. The BBC are state owned but have been forced to compete in the marketplace, which predictable results. 7000 jobs cut in the 8 years after Wapping. A 25% cut in 1997. Another 13% cut in 2005 followed by more cuts in 2007 to the present day. At the same time as this is happening, they're released guidelines to journalists that stated they must maintain accuracy and adequately source all stories while at the same time stating that within five minutes of a breaking news being known they have to have a four paragraph version of the story online - which simply isn't enough time to find sources for anything. The commercial stations have gotten worse too, especially ITV which used to have a strong regional presence when it was made of 11 companies but collapsed into a monopoly in 2004 and lost much of it's regional coverage along the way.

But the other bring problem of where they are sourcing their information from apart from this massive over reliance on wire agency reports is that the other influxes of data all come from biased sources. More than half of newspaper articles have clear indicators of using PR material, which is an industry that has exploded in terms of growth since the 70's. I think it's fairly obvious why we don't want PR material to become news, but a good example of this is Paul Hucker and britishinsurance.com where in 2006 a story was put out about how he insured himself against mental distress if England got knocked out of the World Cup. It was a nice little story, which easily found it's way into the Times, Guardian, BBC, ITV, Sky, Daily Mail and a lot of international organizations as well. The problem was it was fake and could be found to be fake with a few minutes on google. Paul did the same thing in 2002. He also appeared in 2005 as a generic member of the public who was so happy that british insurance would insure his house. He's also a marketing director who specializes in promoting web-based companies like britishinsurance.com and had been involved in business ventures with the Managing Director of the company before. They'd also written stories about insuring yourself against becoming ugly, being kidnapped by aliens and three women who took out an immaculate conception policy. It shouldn't have been published, and it doesn't take long to confirm this is a non-story, but it was a neat easy story of the kind the newspapers need to fill space so it became news and pushed the Britishinsurance brand. More repellent PR practices can be seen by big business, where oil companies will use PR to cast doubt on global warming.

On the other hand, and what's not so obvious is that the reliance on PR agencies just as easily stops news from becoming known if the people involved don't want it to be known. Journalists are used to getting stories from PR officers if something happens. With police forces for example they publish the info on the big stories and the positive stories, not not ones they'd prefer kept quite. As long as a reporter has enough stories to fill his column inches, it's no longer a concern that there could be several major stories he's not covering. A freelance journalist used Freedom of Information requests to find out what information one police force (Northumbria) hadn't released information on in a single weekend. It turned out over 5,000 crimes hasn't been mentioned, almost all minor but including major crimes like a man who went missing from hospital and was found dead at sea, a 74 year old man badly beaten by a group of youths and a young girl who died when she fell from a tower block. If the journalists who historically would have looked for those type of stories don't exist anymore and the people involved don't push it, there's no way for it to become news. The constant stream of information that DOES come through keeps the journalists busy enough that they can't check in on those stories that aren't pushed.

Other problems

There are various other ways that truthful new reporting is damaged in perhaps more minor ways, but which all contribute to the overall problems with your news coverage:

If you want a story to sell it has to fit the popular wisdom of the day. The torture and abuse of American prisoners in the Middle east was found out about a year before if became a national news story, but wasn't run with because it didn't fit the narrative of Americans being the rescuing heroes of the Middle East. Something controversial will get you in trouble and alienate readers and major bodies like the government that you rely upon to feed you stories.

Different newspapers also have different audiences which they have to cater for in different ways. Journalists at the Daily Mail have said how they've gone to visit victims of murder, only to be called back to the office halfway there because the victims are black as one damning example. Similarly an editor at a left-wing paper would be hesitant to publish an article damining some liberal idea that most of it's readers thought was good.

One thing which seems like it could be a positive ideology but has some big downsides is the need to be 'fair and balanced' while providing all sides of the story. In cases of opinion where there is no hard fact or truth, this can be good but in cases of factual news problems just dilutes the coverage because this is typically done when the news is especially damning against a powerful group and needs to be neutered so the news organsiation doesn't come under fire.

Israel, for instance, has massive professional and voluntary lobbying groups. HonestReporting, which is one major pro-Israel lobbying group, has a 140,000 strong member base that it can call on to drench news organisations with complaints if they see stories which refer to Israel's policies negatively and claims to have caused hundreds of apologies, retractions and revisions from news outlets. They even had enough clout to get in meetings at CNN headquarters and get them to adopt pro-Israel policies like consistently Palestinian militants as terrorists. The thing is, Palestine has no comparable lobbying organisation. In an article critical of Israel there is good reason to neutralise the real news by providing an alternative stance as it protects the paper from criticism. When you are running an article critical of Palestine, there isn't the need to present a pro-Palestinian voice in the same way because there are no Pro-Palestinian organisations out there that lobby news organisations at that level. When fair and balanced is used ideologically to ensure all voices are heard, it's fair enough. When it's used to cover a newspapers back when real news can get them in trouble, it is a problem.

Why has this happened and what to do about it

It is this combination of less staff, less resources, less comprehensive sources and having to turn a profit off eye catching stories that has turned many journalists (and most likely the organisations they work for) towards illegal activity and poor journalism. These journalists didn't grow up dreaming of hacking C-list celebrities phones, but in the current circumstances who is going to give a reporter several days to track down the truth in whether a story is made up.

What's clear from all of this is that a the capitalist approach has disincentivised responsible and thorough journalism. The owners got rid of journalists because it was more profitable to deliver a cheaper but lower quality product. The owners cut operating budgets so they stopped paying for stories from all the disparate sources spread across the UK rooting up information and largely rely on wire reports which are every cost effective per column inch and PR reports which are free. The editors at the owners behest make sure that stories which fit the right narrative get printed or that they get printed but framed in the correct way. We can pick out particular people like Murdoch for taking on the unions, but if Murdoch was out the picture then the same set of conditions would have been pushing other newspaper owners to do the same thing. He might have been especially ruthless and quick to act, but the dialectic between labour and capital in this instance wouldn't have been substantially altered without him.

In my opinion a socialist news industry is required to deal with a lot of these problems. Workplace democracy, the removal of capital and profit from the equation and a focus on social benefit eliminates much of the drive to not bother checking stories and churning our regurgitated information quickly from the wire and PR agencies.

I must be clear that I don't mean a centralised state-owned media. Media plurality issues have been a massive concern with the current framework so completely collapsing everything into a monopoly would be a nightmare. Instead what is needed is investment in the means of producing newspapers like printing presses and offices from where journalists can work. These facilities should then be given, lent or leased to any people in the UK capable of putting together a papers, with paper sales being tracked in a similar manner to how they are now so adequate resources can be given to each paper and adjusted as needed. We'd still have the the Times and the Daily Mail and the Mirror, but the journalists would be working for themselves. There would also be room for much more competition now that you don't need large amounts of capital to set up a rival newspaper but rather good journalism.'

We wouldn't eliminate these practices entirely because there are various other factors we can't instantly solve, like the fame from breaking a big story which can drive someone in the same way profit can or the feeling of a moral duty like David Leigh of the Guardian who has admitted to hacking the phone of a corrupt arms dealer who made hundreds of millions, although in his case he was vindicated as a the police decided it was not in the public interest to pursue a case against him. A strong and independent body to deal with press problems rather than the current system of self-regulation which newspapers can even opt out of if they find it too restrictive would ensure that those problems that do occur are dealt with seriously, but I believe a socialist system would be eminently preferable the the system we have at the moment which does still work and does produce some great stories, but is in many ways a complete shambles and a shadow of both what it was previously and what it could be if run in the proper socio-economic context.

Further Reading

Richard Peppiatt's publicly published resignation letter highlights a lot of the problems I mention from a first-hand perspective: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/04/daily-star-reporter-letter-full

Flat Earth News is an excellent book from which I pulled a lot of info I mention here.

Dial M for Murdoch is a good guide for those who want to catch up on what happened with hacking and news international but doesn't really add much new if you've kept up to date with this as it has been happening.

Private Eye magazine does a good job both of exposing newspaper hypocrisy and covering some of the government corruption which doesn't make it into the main papers, although the humour is private school crap.

Overhead:

Only in a very very broad sense, so broad that any relevance you are creating with bureaucracy is meaningless. Signing in at your job so they know you're there is not the same as the police keeping records on criminals which is not the same as the insurance industry's exacting mechanics for deceiding on and (sometimes) paying claims.

One bureaucracy is completely different from another. The one thing you're right on is that they're complex.

I refer to the natural element where they grow for the sole purpose of insulating themselves from irrelevancy.

Overhead:

Yup. Nothing to do with libertarianism though.

A libertarian is also an anti-statist so anything that invalidates the necessity of the state would be 'on the radar' to libertarian activists.

Overhead:

In what way? It wasn't just GMAC, it was years of under investment, layoffs, protectionism, etc all gone about because it was the alrgest company in the world and so it could afford to coast and accrue profit at the expense of it's workers.

Protectionism on both the so called union and the corporate side.

Overhead:

Yes, a reason to do away with banking organisations, not democratic government.

As long as you throw banking cartels and central banks you can always count on libertarian support in your endeavor. For whatever that's worth to you.

Overhead:

Well you're still agreeing with my point, but now you're just adding meaningless unproven claims to it as well.

I bring up selfish human behavior. If economic models don't account for human action, then the result could unfortunately be the opposite of the projection.

Overhead:

I agree, no-one should be debt slaves. But you seem to be retracting your earlier point. Is that the case or can you clarify?

How so, your asking me to be forever indentured to the state for what my parents already paid for. Or you are throwing out a red herring that I should live as a hermit in the middle of nowhere to reach my economic dream.

What I am saying is, that if you want to be a part of a purely non-capitalistic society, I have no issue with it so long as I am not coerced into participating. If we were to conduct trade that we would conduct it without fraud between us.

Overhead:

That is just further proof that AgedGrunt's point, that only the business owner should know what to do with a company, is wrong. You're agreeing with me but posting as if you're disagreeing.

So you would prefer to readjust everyone single entity's business model at the crest of the political pendulum swing? I prefer self determination. I dislike top-down decision making on the micro.

Overhead:

There is nothing inherently bad about licensing or regulation. To carry on using South Korea as an example (why not) in the early 1990's Far Eastern Economic review pointed out that it would take up to 299 different permits form up to 199 different agencies to set up a factory in the country. The ultra-capitalist nation of the Asian continent. How could this be?

Well the analysis was fairly clear. When the regulations encourage growth and good practice, business people will take the time to fill out those 299 forms. If there is little profit and a bad economic environment, even 10 permits might be too much.

Because regulations can be good. They can stop short-sighted behaviour. They can stop over-fishing which will give companies short-term gains followed by bankruptcy when fish stock is massively depleted. They can encourage good practice, like making it illegal to hire children and so thereby improving the quality of life of children and creating a better educated future workforce to continue expanding the economy in the future (assuming there are schools to go to.

Licensing can be good or bad. Same with regulation. Stop treating them like they're inherently bad and look at where the bad regulations often come from (the concentration of power/wealth in capitalist businesses which needs to be done away with)

I admit that licensing & regulation could be good. Just bear in mind that I prefer laws to regulation. To someone of the conservative and libertarian bent, a regulation is created by an agency that businesses must follow, whilea law is created & voted on by our representatives.

As for costs, I don't look to the profit, I see the unseen in getting those licenses passed, how much more steel could have been manufactured if they weren't utilizing resources to follow them. If it is the law I have no issue, it's the act of unaccountable bureaucrats making things more difficult than they have to be. How much cheaper would that steel have become? Cheaper steel and materials pushes down prices, makes cars more affordable for the poor. Or how much more steel they could have pushed out if they simply used the resources for compliance into exponentially expanding.

If you were taking that into account however, I have to apologize, seen and unseen is something that is rarely taught.

Overhead:

I'm not arguing for that. I'm not a fan of the state and I certainly don't like corporations.

I agree with the former, while I am distrustful of the latter. I also think skepticism for any organization is a healthy bias.

Overhead:
Snip

Consider yourself excused, I'll get to that reading later. I'll PM or forum reply as you see fit. Hold me to it.

Read, a more verbose look than before. Very little of journalism has changed psychologically since Walter Lippmann's time.

Off-handed, I would think that it's more dangerous if we centralize the news, if any organization is breaking the law or corrupt it should be exposed to the sunlight and destroyed not only in the court of public opinion but in the court of law. If the law is unjust then it would have to be destroyed in the court by a jury.

Even before the case you presented before me I honestly don't see fox surviving the decade.

After hearing over one of my non-traditional news sources speak of how the super-powerful already control what's on the news the last thing I want to see is more control by the government over the press. We need more voices not less.

Personally, whenever you find a news organization that has gone public, it is the shareholders interest not the public at large they are beholden to. This bias taints their opinions.

aelreth:
I refer to the natural element where they grow for the sole purpose of insulating themselves from irrelevancy.

That's quite a claim, care to back it up?

A libertarian is also an anti-statist so anything that invalidates the necessity of the state would be 'on the radar' to libertarian activists.

These are government granted rights which even you are saying are bad when being weakened. The inference I got from your post is that you agreed they need to be strengthened, hence more government strength in this particular facet of society and nothing to do with libertarianism.

Protectionism on both the so called union and the corporate side.

No, protectionism in that they had the money to make it tough for foreign imports to be able to sell in the USA. Instead of making better cars to compete, they just made it harder for the better cars of competitors to be sold in their territory.

I bring up selfish human behavior. If economic models don't account for human action, then the result could unfortunately be the opposite of the projection.

The original point in this line of discussion was mine, about investors often not having the long-term interests of companies they're invested at heart. You agreed with that. Since then you've tacked on to your responses to this line of discussion these random unsupported claims, like goverments will just give out any money they got from you if you die to some well connected person in a nepotistic fashion.

Overhead:

I agree, no-one should be debt slaves. But you seem to be retracting your earlier point. Is that the case or can you clarify?

How so, your asking me to be forever indentured to the state for what my parents already paid for. Or you are throwing out a red herring that I should live as a hermit in the middle of nowhere to reach my economic dream.

That neither should happen, that at the moment the status quo needs to go towards taking away capitalist corporate control, putting the power of companies and industry into the hands of ordinary people. Later we can worry about smashing the state.

What I am saying is, that if you want to be a part of a purely non-capitalistic society, I have no issue with it so long as I am not coerced into participating. If we were to conduct trade that we would conduct it without fraud between us.

We'll keep Hong Kong capitalist just for you and send all the libertarians there to fight it out amid the ruins of a dying civilisation and outmoded economy. There will be a massive wall build around the city and if any of you come to your senses and want to leave, you can so so Snake Pliskin style.

But it depends how you mean 'not coerced'. If you take yourself out of this purely non-capitalistic society, why would you be expected to follow those rules? IF you are in that society and simply trying to ignore the democratic decisions that have been made on how that society has been run and trying to do what you want even though people have decided that's not how it works there, sorry, no dice.

So you would prefer to readjust everyone single entity's business model at the crest of the political pendulum swing? I prefer self determination. I dislike top-down decision making on the micro.

No, if I thought that then I probably would have posted something remotely similar to it.

What I meant was what I said, that AgedGrunt's was wrong because of the overwhelming evidence showing he's wrong.

As for costs, I don't look to the profit, I see the unseen in getting those licenses passed, how much more steel could have been manufactured if they weren't utilizing resources to follow them. If it is the law I have no issue, it's the act of unaccountable bureaucrats making things more difficult than they have to be. How much cheaper would that steel have become? Cheaper steel and materials pushes down prices, makes cars more affordable for the poor. Or how much more steel they could have pushed out if they simply used the resources for compliance into exponentially expanding.

Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in one way or another. Also you just seem to have made the assumption that anything coming from bureaucracies is an uncountable act of stupidity. If there's one point I can hammer home to you, one point I want you to take away from this, it's nuance.

Not all bureaucrats are corrupt. By railing against these specific points in a way that is complete condemnation with no regard for their actual utility of benefits, you come across as partison, uninformed and ideologically biased.

Now we can have a discussion about bureaucracy, but the first thing we're going to have to do is agree that yes, bureaucrats can be good, they can be bad and then go from there working out the relative benefits of them and what would happen without them.

aelreth:

Off-handed, I would think that it's more dangerous if we centralize the news, if any organization is breaking the law or corrupt it should be exposed to the sunlight and destroyed not only in the court of public opinion but in the court of law. If the law is unjust then it would have to be destroyed in the court by a jury.

Even before the case you presented before me I honestly don't see fox surviving the decade.

After hearing over one of my non-traditional news sources speak of how the super-powerful already control what's on the news the last thing I want to see is more control by the government over the press. We need more voices not less.

Personally, whenever you find a news organization that has gone public, it is the shareholders interest not the public at large they are beholden to. This bias taints their opinions.

As I said: "I must be clear that I don't mean a centralised state-owned media. Media plurality issues have been a massive concern with the current framework so completely collapsing everything into a monopoly would be a nightmare."

Overhead:
Yes. Elections are opportunities. That is the point of them. They're an opportunity to set your country on a new path and make it take a course you choose. They're not guarantees because everyone can't have their way so it can't be a guarantee.

You're just pointing out the self-evident as if this should be damning.

I simply feel, if I had to choose one to become "too powerful", it would be business every time. One bill in a legislature can change everything; one new politician can't fix a big, bad government.

Overhead:
If someone's salary is low, that person has the ability to demand housing benefit. If a person is hurt they have the right to free medical treatment. I have all kinds of things that I can demand from my government and they have no ability to deny me, which if they did try to demand from me I would be able to appeal to an independent judiciary.

I'm assuming your healthcare system is a public fund. Our US equivalent is known as the mandate, which I believe is overreach (forcing individuals and businesses to buy health insurance). I don't see that as a public demand, I see it as a government demand on the public because we will be punished if we don't pay.

Reform would be nice here, but generally the only way to do that is to use the Congress and force career politicians to sabotage themselves, party agendas and bids for power.

Overhead:
I could argue the point, but you've misunderstood me. I meant exploitation in economic terms, the extraction of surplus value from the labour of workers to create a profit. It wasn't just a throwaway phrase, I was specifically describing the mechanism which is essential and lies at the heart of creating a profit.

Government doesn't merely exploit in economic terms, it has a lot of control over the economy itself. It also handles discretionary spending, opening the doors to lobbyists, and public positions are always subject to attentions of special interests, and special interests too often mean special treatment.

I agree that the reality of profit will produce harm, but the laws of nature say that power corrupts. It's a fool's game to think of one as morally superior when people grow up with different morals.

AgedGrunt:
I simply feel, if I had to choose one to become "too powerful", it would be business every time. One bill in a legislature can change everything; one new politician can't fix a big, bad government.

If, when it comes down to it, you simply feel that these things are going to happen rather than having a structured analysis of the situation, evidence, etc; then your feeling isn't something I can really debate you out of but it's also nothing which shows libertarianism works or is worth pursuing.

I'm assuming your healthcare system is a public fund. Our US equivalent is known as the mandate, which I believe is overreach (forcing individuals and businesses to buy health insurance). I don't see that as a public demand, I see it as a government demand on the public because we will be punished if we don't pay.

Reform would be nice here, but generally the only way to do that is to use the Congress and force career politicians to sabotage themselves, party agendas and bids for power.

You've confusing individual example which occur in different nationstates with the systematic example I was talking about. The individual examples I happened to use to illustrate my point of rights the public can demand in my country aren't necessarily the same rights that everyone in every country on earth can demand.

The point was that you have rights. You CAN make demands of your government. Obviously the demands you can makle of your government aren't the same as every single person regardless of their personal situation (normal person, billionaire, homeless person, imprisoned criminal, solider, etc) can make of every single country (The Uk, USA, Finland, Noth Korea, Iraq). That doesn't mean that in the typical Western democracy, you can demand things of your government.

To try and make the point you are making is to completely miss the point I was making

Overhead:
I could argue the point, but you've misunderstood me. I meant exploitation in economic terms, the extraction of surplus value from the labour of workers to create a profit. It wasn't just a throwaway phrase, I was specifically describing the mechanism which is essential and lies at the heart of creating a profit.

Government doesn't merely exploit in economic terms, it has a lot of control over the economy itself. It also handles discretionary spending, opening the doors to lobbyists, and public positions are always subject to attentions of special interests, and special interests too often mean special treatment.

Government doesn't necessarily exploit in the economic sense. The rest of your post seems irrelevant and unconnected to the point we're meant to be discussing, unless you'd like to try and use those to raise a new point.

I agree that the reality of profit will produce harm, but the laws of nature say that power corrupts. It's a fool's game to think of one as morally superior when people grow up with different morals.

"the laws of nature says that power corrupts"?

I've told you before; what you're doing is just throwing soundbites at me, not actually making a cogent argument.

Power corrupts? So when a person who's dedicated their life to helping others gets extra funding to open a new hospice, they're becoming corrupted?

Power corrupts? So when a person on a tightly run funding committee for local charities with strict oversight is given a larger budget to pass around, he's becoming corrupt?

Power corrupts? So when a person bought a cotton plantation in the 1750's the power will corrupt them just as much as someone owning a cotton plantation now because all the social, psychological, legal, financial, economic and sociological changes which have happened since then will bow before the logic of power corrupting?

You either need to step up and debate honestly or leave the debate, because all you're doing by offering meaningless libertarian platitude after platitude is showing that you have no solid backing for the ideas you're trying to represent.

Overhead:

That's quite a claim, care to back it up?

I am a bureaucrat. I am an agent of the state. That is the way things are. You are in grave danger of making me a civil master rather than that of a civil servant.

In the black art of bureaucracy the most common regulation is the one that so long as you abide by it you are immune from prosecution and/or termination. Next the bureaucracy will create numerous layers of these rules to shield themselves from not only responsibility and accountability but create numerous positions that are in the line of fire for wrongdoing.

Overhead:

These are government granted rights which even you are saying are bad when being weakened. The inference I got from your post is that you agreed they need to be strengthened, hence more government strength in this particular facet of society and nothing to do with libertarianism.

Rights? Governments don't have rights, they have powers that were granted to them at the consent of the governed. When these powers are abused it's natural to try to return these powers to it's people.

The best way to hold governments accountable is more chains on it's powers. Not more government. Especially if these so called watchers are appointed by the very same of those supposed to be watched.

It seems as if you trust technocrats with power more than limiting the power in the first place.

Overhead:

No, protectionism in that they had the money to make it tough for foreign imports to be able to sell in the USA. Instead of making better cars to compete, they just made it harder for the better cars of competitors to be sold in their territory.

You mean there was no protectionism before Adam Smith? No special privilege granted to a select person or group, prior to him writing writing his theory of Moral Sentiments & Wealth of Nations?

Blaming capitalism for what is clearly a human behavior is a failing to understand people.

Overhead:

The original point in this line of discussion was mine, about investors often not having the long-term interests of companies they're invested at heart. You agreed with that. Since then you've tacked on to your responses to this line of discussion these random unsupported claims, like goverments will just give out any money they got from you if you die to some well connected person in a nepotistic fashion.

Shareholders and bondholders are two different things. If the government gets the company when I die, why shouldn't I squander it on my way out? After all I built it. People also want the best for their children, so they will work harder and shoulder greater burdens if they believe it's for the children.

You fail to understand human behavior.

Overhead:

That neither should happen, that at the moment the status quo needs to go towards taking away capitalist corporate control, putting the power of companies and industry into the hands of ordinary people. Later we can worry about smashing the state.

I only see the elite enriching themselves by attaching themselves to the state. Why do you believe that this is unique to capitalism?

Overhead:

We'll keep Hong Kong capitalist just for you and send all the libertarians there to fight it out amid the ruins of a dying civilisation and outmoded economy. There will be a massive wall build around the city and if any of you come to your senses and want to leave, you can so so Snake Pliskin style.

So the rest of the world belongs to you? Typical, although we would still be blamed for all the worlds ills. Strangely we had that crazy libertarian government in the US until a crazy killed McKinley. Then the progs decided to dictate what is best for us.

Overhead:

But it depends how you mean 'not coerced'. If you take yourself out of this purely non-capitalistic society, why would you be expected to follow those rules? IF you are in that society and simply trying to ignore the democratic decisions that have been made on how that society has been run and trying to do what you want even though people have decided that's not how it works there, sorry, no dice.

Ah, so you have a gun in my face with me disarmed? Typical.

Overhead:

No, if I thought that then I probably would have posted something remotely similar to it.

The very instant you give the government power to coerce others to do things your way, if the tide turns then it can be done my way or Thatcher's, Nixon's, Cheney's, Reagan,s or Mellon's.

Overhead:

What I meant was what I said, that AgedGrunt's was wrong because of the overwhelming evidence showing he's wrong.
Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in one way or another. Also you just seem to have made the assumption that anything coming from bureaucracies is an uncountable act of stupidity. If there's one point I can hammer home to you, one point I want you to take away from this, it's nuance.

So technocrats making the rules is morally equal to elected representatives passing laws?

Overhead:

Not all bureaucrats are corrupt. By railing against these specific points in a way that is complete condemnation with no regard for their actual utility of benefits, you come across as partison, uninformed and ideologically biased.

Now we can have a discussion about bureaucracy, but the first thing we're going to have to do is agree that yes, bureaucrats can be good, they can be bad and then go from there working out the relative benefits of them and what would happen without them.

Corruptible, and very rarely is a bureaucracy abolished. What happens to a bureaucrat if they make an unpopular rule? When is it removed?

You seem to have a fetishism for technocrats.

Overhead:

As I said: "I must be clear that I don't mean a centralised state-owned media. Media plurality issues have been a massive concern with the current framework so completely collapsing everything into a monopoly would be a nightmare."

Nature abhors a vacuum.

I consider myself a moderate Libertarian. I used to be hard-line but over the years I've reconsider my political leanings. As of right now I hate political parties, because they force you to tow the party line often or compromise it to the point of irrelevance.

I believe in absolute restructuring and socializing the American education system. They problem, well to problems in my opinion is both the corrupt private sector and public sector in our nation. Education is a mess in this nation(Education is the great equalizer in my opinion, if there would be a hardline libertarian society, I believe that all education should be equal and free for all to give everyone a chance to succeed. If all the same tools were given to in the beginning poor or rich then it was up to the individual to succeed. This includes all higher education again in my opinion.)

Also I believe that the disable should be taken care of, as well as social programs in place to actively target improvised areas to uplift them such as community centers, adult ed, and centers to help people find work. I'm not talking about slapping them down in the ghetto and hoping they work I'm talking about a work and education and or skill education draft.

Despite my somewhat authoritarian leanings when it comes to that. I'm very Libertarian when it comes to social and economic issues. For instants I love the way Texas handles small business, low regulation and minimum wage. You might scoff at the minimum wage thing but living here and with no skills I have never had a job go under 10$ an hour minimum and seen few jobs that offer that and never seen a job that goes for minimum wage in less it was an internship. The abundance of jobs and has business competing for workers here. Everything is cheaper here. Despite the higher minimum wage in California(my birth state) I could never live there. I was to poor, my family was to poor. There was no jobs that offered living wages.

Maybe I'm getting off topic I just turned 21 not to long ago. Felt like a Few Shiner's. My point is that I've seen Liberal Economics fail horribly, and disenfranchised the poor(to the point that including me and thousands of other blue state citizens had to move to this state otherwise just be homeless, I saw a guy haul a mini little trail on a bicycle through Arizona to get here, just to escape California) while conservation economics have made it possible for anyone here with a dream to make a good living, even the lazy live pretty well as long as your willing to work a job. Fuck, I'm working 4 hours a night, while going to school and I still can afford a place to live, pay my bills and having some spending money basically working as a glorified usher.

Social I don't agree with the lone star state. I believe in Gay marriage. I don't believe in these voting laws, this states attitude towards sex and science is crazy to me and drug laws have never made sense to me. I've always been social Liberal in my views as long as your a consenting adult and not hurting or indirectly hurting someone whos business is it but your own? When it comes to economics(besides Educations and fire/police and other government agencies I have a soft spot for) I believe if you have a dream, follow it. If you fail well pick yourself up and try again. I think if you are disabled or a vet I don't mind giving my tax dollar up for that or short time assistance to single parents or work programs. I'm not above helping people.

Well thats my experience in life and what shaped my political views. Agree with them or not, thats what I've been through and lived. I know I'm not the protagonist of the world and every one has different experiences. Thats why my views shift and I'm very open to new ideas.

aelreth:

I am a bureaucrat. I am an agent of the state. That is the way things are. You are in grave danger of making me a civil master rather than that of a civil servant.

In the black art of bureaucracy the most common regulation is the one that so long as you abide by it you are immune from prosecution and/or termination. Next the bureaucracy will create numerous layers of these rules to shield themselves from not only responsibility and accountability but create numerous positions that are in the line of fire for wrongdoing.

What you said and what I asked you to back up was "I refer to the natural element where they grow for the sole purpose of insulating themselves from irrelevancy."

Prove to me that the only reason bureaucracies grow is to insulate themselves from irrelevancy. Not because it's a police bureaucracy and crime has gone up, not because it's a corporate bureaucracy and they're expanding operations into a new country, not the mountain of reasons that anyone would normally assume but instead they they are growing "for the sole purpose of insulating themselves from irrelevancy."

Proof involves more than just making more unsupported claims. Back what you've already said up.

Rights? Governments don't have rights, they have powers that were granted to them at the consent of the governed. When these powers are abused it's natural to try to return these powers to it's people.

The best way to hold governments accountable is more chains on it's powers. Not more government. Especially if these so called watchers are appointed by the very same of those supposed to be watched.

It seems as if you trust technocrats with power more than limiting the power in the first place.

'Government granted rights' means rights that are held by the people and given and enforced by the government, not rights that specifically the government has. You've got completely the wrong end of the stick.

You mean there was no protectionism before Adam Smith? No special privilege granted to a select person or group, prior to him writing writing his theory of Moral Sentiments & Wealth of Nations?

Blaming capitalism for what is clearly a human behavior is a failing to understand people.

Protectionism isn't synonomous with a special privilege so I have no idea why you're bringing that up. Protectionism is a specific economic policy of restricting imported goods through tariffs, quotas, etc.

It is not something that is omnipresent throughout human history; tribal societies and many feudal ones had nothing like it.

It is an economic decision which is only useful in certain economic situations (mostly Capitalism or the Capitalist-like aspects of Feudalism). Protectionism is by it's very nature linked to Capitalism and while this doesn't mean it's omni-present in every UK society, the EU for instance having abolished it between member countries, it's the econpmic structure of society which makes policies of protectionism in any way meaningful.

Overhead:

The original point in this line of discussion was mine, about investors often not having the long-term interests of companies they're invested at heart. You agreed with that. Since then you've tacked on to your responses to this line of discussion these random unsupported claims, like goverments will just give out any money they got from you if you die to some well connected person in a nepotistic fashion.

Shareholders and bondholders are two different things. If the government gets the company when I die, why shouldn't I squander it on my way out? After all I built it. People also want the best for their children, so they will work harder and shoulder greater burdens if they believe it's for the children.

You fail to understand human behavior.

For one, again this doesn't have anything to do with the point of short-term nature of investors being detrimental to a business.

For two:

Ha-Joon Chang, award winning economist and professor at University of Cambridge:
"The assumption of self-seeking individualism, which is at the heart of free-market economics, has a lot of resonance with our personal experience. We have all been cheated by unscrupulous traders, be it the fruit seller who put some rotten plums at the bottom of the paper bag of the yoghurt company that vastly exaggerated the health benefits of its products. We know too many corrupt politicians and lazy bureaucrats to believe that all public servants are solely serving the public. Most of us, myself included, have goofed off from work ourselves and some of us have been frustrated by junior colleagues and assistants who find all kinds of excuses not to put in serious work. Moreover, what we read in the news media these days tells us that professional managers, even the supposed champions of shareholder interest such as Jack Welch of Ge and Rick Wagoner of GM, have not really been serving the best interests of the shareholders.

This is true. However, we also have a lot of evidence - not just anecdotes but true systematic evidence - showing that self-interest is not the only human motivation that matters in our economic life. Self-interest, to be sure, is one of the most important, but we have many other motives - honesty, self-respect, altruism, love, sympathy, faith, sense of duty, solidarity, loyalty, public-spiritedness, patriotism, and so on - that are sometimes even more important than self-seeking as the driver of our behaviours.

Our earlier example of Kobe Steels shows how successful companies are running on trust and loyalty, rather than suspicion and self-seeking. If you think this is a peculiar example from a country of 'worker ants' that suppresses individuality against human nature, pick up any book of business leadership or any autobiography by a successful businessman published in the West and see what they say. Do they say that you have to suspect people and watch them all the time for slacking and cheating? No, they probably talk mostly about how to 'connect' with the employees, change the way they see things, inspire them, and promote team-work among them. Good managers know that people are not tunnel-visioned self-seeking robots. they know that people have good sides and bad sides and that the secret of good management is in magnifying the former and toning down the latter.

Another good example to illustrate the complexity of human motivation is the practice of 'work to rule', where workers slow down output by strictly following the rules that govern their tasks. You may wonder how workers can hurt their employers by working according to the rule. However this semi-strike method also known as 'Italian strike' (and as 'sciopero bianco' or 'white strike', by Italians themselves) - is known to reduce output by 30 - 50%. This is because not everything can be specified in employment contracts (rules) and therefore all production processes rely heavily on the workers goodwill to do extra things that are not required by their contract or exercise initiatives and take shortcuts in order to expedite things when the rules are too cumbersome. The motivations behind such non-selfish behaviours by workers are varied - fondness of their jobs, pride in their workmanship, self-respect, solidarity with their colleagues, trust in their top managers or loyalty to their company. But the bottom line is that companies, and thus our economy, would grind to a halt if people acted in totally selfish ways, as they are assumed to do in free-market economies.

The Capitalists of the early mass production era thought like you when they tried to deprive workers of control over the speed of the shiny new conveyor belts. They quickly found their workers becoming passive, unthinking and even uncooperative when they were deprived of their autonomy and dignity.

Starting with the Human Relations School in the 30s, which highlighting the need for communication with and among workers, loads of new managerial approaches have emerged that emphasise the complexity of human motivation and suggest ways to bring the best out of workers.

One of the best known if the Japanese or Toyota production system. It exploits the goodwill of creativity of workers by giving them responsibilities and trusting them as moral agents. Workers are given a considerable degree of control over the production line. They are also encouraged to make suggestions for improvements to the production process. This approach has enabled japanese firms to get such production efficiency that many non-Japanese firms are now imitating them.

By assuming that there are lots of other motivations besides self-interest, Japanese companies have got the best out off their employees."

Me and my internationally famous economist says that it's you who doesn't know how people work. So does pretty much the entirety of every sociology department on the planet seeing as pretty much every academic considers trying to boil someone's intentions down to one thing "People are X so will do Y" (e.g. "People are greedy so will keep their money") ludicrous.

I only see the elite enriching themselves by attaching themselves to the state. Why do you believe that this is unique to capitalism?

It's not unique to capitalism. That's not a point in my argument about how capitalism is dangerous and immensely harmful, which is what you should focus on.

So the rest of the world belongs to you? Typical, although we would still be blamed for all the worlds ills. Strangely we had that crazy libertarian government in the US until a crazy killed McKinley. Then the progs decided to dictate what is best for us.

I would have hoped that me talking about Snake Pliskin would have made it obvious that that part of my post was a joke, but then I'm not so sure if your reply is a joke or just a bad arguement.

McKinley was famous for his protectionism. He instituted massive tariffs so companies inside the US wouldn't have to worry about competing with companies outside the US on a level playing field. It's pretty much what he's most famous for and is decidedly anti-free-market.

Ah, so you have a gun in my face with me disarmed? Typical.

What are you talking about? In the example I quoted you've chosen to live in a society which specifically doesn't confirm to your minority opinion. It's not everyone else's obligation to bend over backwards giving you special privilege because of your ideological selfishness.

Overhead:

No, if I thought that then I probably would have posted something remotely similar to it.

The very instant you give the government power to coerce others to do things your way, if the tide turns then it can be done my way or Thatcher's, Nixon's, Cheney's, Reagan,s or Mellon's.

And again, if I thought that then I probably would have posted something remotely similar to it.

Also even if you were 100% spot on with this point, this has nothing to do with the point you're supposedly trying to rebutt of "That is just further proof that AgedGrunt's point, that only the business owner should know what to do with a company, is wrong." You seem to have got lost about what you were trying to argue about and just be trying to make random points.

Overhead:

What I meant was what I said, that AgedGrunt's was wrong because of the overwhelming evidence showing he's wrong.
Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in one way or another. Also you just seem to have made the assumption that anything coming from bureaucracies is an uncountable act of stupidity. If there's one point I can hammer home to you, one point I want you to take away from this, it's nuance.

So technocrats making the rules is morally equal to elected representatives passing laws?

Read what I wrote again.

"Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in one way or another."

not

"Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in exactly one way, with that way being the moral equal to elected representatives passing laws."

Your question is not only irrelevant but it ignores the points I was making about how you're making massive obviously wrong assumptions about bureaucracies, like them always being uncountable and always being stupid which are clearly wrong.

Corruptible, and very rarely is a bureaucracy abolished. What happens to a bureaucrat if they make an unpopular rule? When is it removed?

You seem to have a fetishism for technocrats.

Putting aside the fallacy of relying on argumentum ad populum as a legitimate reason for thinking something is wrong, I can guess that you seem to think you have the answers to this in your head. Allow me to guess what you think based on the implication of your posts:

"What happens to a bureaucrat if they make an unpopular rule?" - Nothing, the bureaucratic elite is untouchable

"When is it removed?" - Never or at least until libertarians abolish the bureaucracy

Again, you're sticking to blind partison lines with no basis in reality. The real answers are:

"What happens to a bureaucrat if they make an unpopular rule?" - If a bureaucrat makes an unpopular move, many things can happen depending on the nature of what they've done, how unpopular it is, exactly what they're a bureaucrat of, if the unpopularity if based in something more solid than general public rage, etc. To try and come up with an outcome for such a generic undefined example is to start to use simple stereotypes completely irrelevant to the complicated world we live in.

"When is it removed?" - At some point between instantly and never, again depending on all those specifics.

Also technocrat is a funny name for, say, an underpaid teacher who's spent all their life trying to improve education for children and is put on a local board with authority to make decisions on how local schools are run. And by funny I mean inappropriate and you're just trying to use bad-sounding words where they're not relevant because bureaucracies cover a lot more than just technocrats.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

And I specifically state in my post what it is it should be filled with, so maybe instead of trying to criticise a post you haven't actually read yet you should hold off until you've got the slightest idea of what you're talking about.

I've already put a lot of effort into laying out my position on the matter, I'm not going to repeat myself because you're going to make claims about my post without reading it.

Overhead:
your feeling isn't something I can really debate you out of but it's also nothing which shows libertarianism works or is worth pursuing.

You haven't shown how it doesn't or why more liberty and lean, efficient government isn't worth pursuing. Allegations that libertarianism will gut regulations, starve the middle/lower class and let business bend the world have been inflammatory attacks. Go into credible detail or provide examples, please.

People continue to defend a strong central power yet impugn private business because its quest is for profit, in spite of all the good it does to build the world and provide for people. My comparison is that money and power are both corrupting forces, and since they exist in government and the private sector, the unilateral attack on profits is a clear sign of prejudice, if not flagrant bias.

Overhead:
You've confusing individual example which occur in different nationstates with the systematic example I was talking about. The individual examples I happened to use to illustrate my point of rights the public can demand in my country aren't necessarily the same rights that everyone in every country on earth can demand.

A government can pass a law that orders individuals and businesses to do something. There is no mechanism for the reverse to happen. That's why I believe restraint is necessary; I don't see government restraint happening, strictly because of how big, dumb and diseased it is. Elections are circus shows and the value of rights is frequently in question.

Overhead:
You either need to step up and debate honestly or leave the debate, because all you're doing by offering meaningless libertarian platitude after platitude is showing that you have no solid backing for the ideas you're trying to represent.

This is where you stop intellectual condescension and insulting the presented arguments while making yours about a holier than thou authority on the merits of general welfare and actually make a point of your own. The historical and ongoing abuses of power, waste and corruption in government are as ingrained to that very bureaucracy as the honest, upstanding charitable services you and others defend to your deaths (made possible by forcefully taking peoples' money business provided for them).

All I've tried to deliver is a rebuke of the attack on profit (which is a bigger attack on private business) and conclude that similar forces play in government. The supposed "superiority" of a government is false when equal justice can be found in the private sector. Some of you are just not willing to acknowledge the difference.

AgedGrunt:

Overhead:
your feeling isn't something I can really debate you out of but it's also nothing which shows libertarianism works or is worth pursuing.

You haven't shown how it doesn't

When appropriate in this thread quoted noted economist, explained the stated position of top managers, referenced real life incidents in economies, brought up specific examples of corporations working in particular ways which prove my point, and made a heavily researched 6000+ word post specifically pointing out the flaws of Capitalism in one particular area, etc, etc. All you've done is give me your opinion. That doesn't really give me a lot to work with.

If I haven't shown how libertarianism doesn't work yet, it's because you've yet to engage me on any real level. I've gone quite in depth with aelreth because he can at least be bothered to offer some logical analysis. All I get from you is opinion, so what is there that's really worth saying to that aside from pointing out the more obvious holes in your arguement?

Everyone's opinion matters to themselves, but the point here is to be able to back it up.

or why more liberty and lean, efficient government isn't worth pursuing.

Well for one, you're making an a priori assumption that libertarianism = liberty which isn't the case and if it is the case you need to give reasoning for why before I have to agree with you.

As for why lean efficient government isn't worth pursuing, I'm actually for the eventual abolition of the state completely and have specifically stated so in this thread.

Allegations that libertarianism will gut regulations, starve the middle/lower class and let business bend the world have been inflammatory attacks. Go into credible detail or provide examples, please.

Not what I've been saying:

"Harm can happen in any political and economic system, completely right. It's about comparative levels of harm. Capitalism is better than feudalism is better than slave societies and so on."

I've been going for a measured response where I can accept the good points of Capitalism but also analyse how it is flawed and harmful.

I think you've confusing me with Blaster395 who you replied to at the same time as me and accused him of saying what you've just accused me of, while I'd taken a fair-minded approach where I'd pointed out government was flawed as well:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.410416-Poll-Why-do-you-disagree-with-libertarianism?page=6#19869992

People continue to defend a strong central power yet impugn private business because its quest is for profit, in spite of all the good it does to build the world and provide for people. My comparison is that money and power are both corrupting forces, and since they exist in government and the private sector, the unilateral attack on profits is a clear sign of prejudice, if not flagrant bias.

A government can pass a law that orders individuals and businesses to do something. There is no mechanism for the reverse to happen. That's why I believe restraint is necessary; I don't see government restraint happening, strictly because of how big, dumb and diseased it is. Elections are circus shows and the value of rights is frequently in question.

Your original statement was:

"Government is not required by law to meet public demands."

As I pointed out, every western country has laws already in place that force it to meet some but not all public demands. Regardless of whether people and businesses can force the government to put new laws in place, that point is still true.

Now as for this new point, no, it's wrong on an obvious and fundamental level. There are plenty of mechanisms for allowing individuals and businesses to get laws passed which make government do something. They can vote. They can lobby. They can stand for government themselves. They can donate to political parties. They can set up think-tanks. They can protest.

Now none of these guarantee a law will get passed (just like a government can't guarantee a law can get passed by it's legislature) and you could argue that these mechanisms aren't strong enough. That's an argument you could make and I'd be happy to have with you, but it's not the one you're making. You're saying there's no way for people and businesses to effect government and that's obviously wrong from any ideological viewpoint.

This is where you stop intellectual condescension and insulting the presented arguments while making yours about a holier than thou authority on the merits of general welfare and actually make a point of your own. The historical and ongoing abuses of power, waste and corruption in government are as ingrained to that very bureaucracy as the honest, upstanding charitable services you and others defend to your deaths (made possible by forcefully taking peoples' money business provided for them).

All I've tried to deliver is a rebuke of the attack on profit (which is a bigger attack on private business) and conclude that similar forces play in government. The supposed "superiority" of a government is false when equal justice can be found in the private sector. Some of you are just not willing to acknowledge the difference.

If a persons' arguement just relies on saying "Government is bad and corrupt, business seek profit but they're not as bad as government" in different ways, then the argument itself is bad and I will be critical of the level of reasoning they're bringing.

J Tyran:
...but the 20% that do can make life a living hell for everyone else.

Agreed; and I don't even think it's just the people who are irresponsible punks who would make life difficult for everybody else. I can guarantee there'd be a lot of rigging of the system, of establishing oligarchies of sorts, of - rather than just chaos and anarchy - very cold, calculated planning for establishing undue power over other people. If it were only the rowdies and thugs, I'd not even be that worried. But get somebody to organize those thugs to beat everybody else down in an orderly fashion, with clear goals in mind, and you can kiss your freedoms goodbye.

Overhead:

What you said and what I asked you to back up was "I refer to the natural element where they grow for the sole purpose of insulating themselves from irrelevancy."

Prove to me that the only reason bureaucracies grow is to insulate themselves from irrelevancy. Not because it's a police bureaucracy and crime has gone up, not because it's a corporate bureaucracy and they're expanding operations into a new country, not the mountain of reasons that anyone would normally assume but instead they they are growing "for the sole purpose of insulating themselves from irrelevancy."

Proof involves more than just making more unsupported claims. Back what you've already said up.

Other than the continuous 5 year reorganization of our org charts to coincide with the models of 15 years ago. I got nothing. Naming names or invoking special knowledge is bad form.

Conceded.

Overhead:

'Government granted rights' means rights that are held by the people and given and enforced by the government, not rights that specifically the government has. You've got completely the wrong end of the stick.

Government granted rights are not rights. They can be taken at the next available convenience of the authority.

Overhead:

Protectionism isn't synonomous with a special privilege so I have no idea why you're bringing that up. Protectionism is a specific economic policy of restricting imported goods through tariffs, quotas, etc.

It is not something that is omnipresent throughout human history; tribal societies and many feudal ones had nothing like it.

It would require a degree in specialization in those societies. Feudal societies are more likely to "license" or prohibit certain classes or castes from doing certain trades. Omnipresent is far too vague for me to prove, conceded.

Overhead:

It is an economic decision which is only useful in certain economic situations (mostly Capitalism or the Capitalist-like aspects of Feudalism). Protectionism is by it's very nature linked to Capitalism and while this doesn't mean it's omni-present in every UK society, the EU for instance having abolished it between member countries, it's the econpmic structure of society which makes policies of protectionism in any way meaningful.

That is one of the reasons for the commerce clause in the US constitution, that way states didn't tariff one another.

I agree to the second point. The US for it's first century was tailored to a "structure of protectionism" that made it's policies Meaningful.

Overhead:

The original point in this line of discussion was mine, about investors often not having the long-term interests of companies they're invested at heart. You agreed with that. Since then you've tacked on to your responses to this line of discussion these random unsupported claims, like goverments will just give out any money they got from you if you die to some well connected person in a nepotistic fashion.

For one, again this doesn't have anything to do with the point of short-term nature of investors being detrimental to a business.

Interest rates are driving people into the stock market that shouldn't be there. They seek to make money that traditional CoDs & savings account made. Bondholders are exempt from this merely because they by their very nature are long term financial tools.

Overhead:

Ha-Joon Chang, award winning economist and professor at University of Cambridge:
"The assumption of self-seeking individualism, which is at the heart of free-market economics, has a lot of resonance with our personal experience. We have all been cheated by unscrupulous traders, be it the fruit seller who put some rotten plums at the bottom of the paper bag of the yoghurt company that vastly exaggerated the health benefits of its products. We know too many corrupt politicians and lazy bureaucrats to believe that all public servants are solely serving the public. Most of us, myself included, have goofed off from work ourselves and some of us have been frustrated by junior colleagues and assistants who find all kinds of excuses not to put in serious work. Moreover, what we read in the news media these days tells us that professional managers, even the supposed champions of shareholder interest such as Jack Welch of Ge and Rick Wagoner of GM, have not really been serving the best interests of the shareholders.

This is true. However, we also have a lot of evidence - not just anecdotes but true systematic evidence - showing that self-interest is not the only human motivation that matters in our economic life. Self-interest, to be sure, is one of the most important, but we have many other motives - honesty, self-respect, altruism, love, sympathy, faith, sense of duty, solidarity, loyalty, public-spiritedness, patriotism, and so on - that are sometimes even more important than self-seeking as the driver of our behaviours.

Our earlier example of Kobe Steels shows how successful companies are running on trust and loyalty, rather than suspicion and self-seeking. If you think this is a peculiar example from a country of 'worker ants' that suppresses individuality against human nature, pick up any book of business leadership or any autobiography by a successful businessman published in the West and see what they say. Do they say that you have to suspect people and watch them all the time for slacking and cheating? No, they probably talk mostly about how to 'connect' with the employees, change the way they see things, inspire them, and promote team-work among them. Good managers know that people are not tunnel-visioned self-seeking robots. they know that people have good sides and bad sides and that the secret of good management is in magnifying the former and toning down the latter.

Another good example to illustrate the complexity of human motivation is the practice of 'work to rule', where workers slow down output by strictly following the rules that govern their tasks. You may wonder how workers can hurt their employers by working according to the rule. However this semi-strike method also known as 'Italian strike' (and as 'sciopero bianco' or 'white strike', by Italians themselves) - is known to reduce output by 30 - 50%. This is because not everything can be specified in employment contracts (rules) and therefore all production processes rely heavily on the workers goodwill to do extra things that are not required by their contract or exercise initiatives and take shortcuts in order to expedite things when the rules are too cumbersome. The motivations behind such non-selfish behaviours by workers are varied - fondness of their jobs, pride in their workmanship, self-respect, solidarity with their colleagues, trust in their top managers or loyalty to their company. But the bottom line is that companies, and thus our economy, would grind to a halt if people acted in totally selfish ways, as they are assumed to do in free-market economies.

The Capitalists of the early mass production era thought like you when they tried to deprive workers of control over the speed of the shiny new conveyor belts. They quickly found their workers becoming passive, unthinking and even uncooperative when they were deprived of their autonomy and dignity.

Starting with the Human Relations School in the 30s, which highlighting the need for communication with and among workers, loads of new managerial approaches have emerged that emphasise the complexity of human motivation and suggest ways to bring the best out of workers.

One of the best known if the Japanese or Toyota production system. It exploits the goodwill of creativity of workers by giving them responsibilities and trusting them as moral agents. Workers are given a considerable degree of control over the production line. They are also encouraged to make suggestions for improvements to the production process. This approach has enabled japanese firms to get such production efficiency that many non-Japanese firms are now imitating them.

By assuming that there are lots of other motivations besides self-interest, Japanese companies have got the best out off their employees."

Me and my internationally famous economist says that it's you who doesn't know how people work. So does pretty much the entirety of every sociology department on the planet seeing as pretty much every academic considers trying to boil someone's intentions down to one thing "People are X so will do Y" (e.g. "People are greedy so will keep their money") ludicrous.

It's not unique to capitalism. That's not a point in my argument about how capitalism is dangerous and immensely harmful, which is what you should focus on.

Your economist completely misses the reasons for the bubbles that followed the Reagan years, it was monetary policy, namely low interest rates that laid the foundations for the future recessions.

He talks of fast and loose on regulations yet Reagan's attorney general throws nearly a thousand bankers in jail.

Following the internet bubble bursting in 2000, we lower interest rates again with Goldman Sachs helping write Sarbanes-Oxley (which is quickly copied in nations across the globe) so they could quickly become even larger than before.

Reagan also lacked a clear majority in the Congress to pass these regulatory reform bills, he had to have help. No doubt he forgets the Reagan boom years happen before the regulatory reforms.

It's also fairly irritating that when the state and it's incestuous relationship with the banking sector makes rules and exceptions that create moral hazards. When these things inevitably falter and fail, you blame capitalism instead of blaming the government when they laid the foundation for it.

Overhead:

I would have hoped that me talking about Snake Pliskin would have made it obvious that that part of my post was a joke, but then I'm not so sure if your reply is a joke or just a bad arguement.

McKinley was famous for his protectionism. He instituted massive tariffs so companies inside the US wouldn't have to worry about competing with companies outside the US on a level playing field. It's pretty much what he's most famous for and is decidedly anti-free-market.

Famous?!?! Prior to 1913 (The year that created The Federal Reserve that caused the Great Depression), the United States never had an income tax.

After FDR completely wrecked the economy again in 1933 in a misguided attempt to use inflation to rescue us, we won the industrial race because everyone else's economic base was burned to the ground in war.

Overhead:

What are you talking about? In the example I quoted you've chosen to live in a society which specifically doesn't confirm to your minority opinion. It's not everyone else's obligation to bend over backwards giving you special privilege because of your ideological selfishness.

I did, then I was saying that I have no problem doing business with you or you with me, however you insisted greater scrutiny on me and only me. I ask for equal treatment.

Overhead:

And again, if I thought that then I probably would have posted something remotely similar to it.

When you suggested re-arranging every single business model because of Kobe Steel. It means that you open the road for people can do the opposite.

I would encourage and be a bondholder if someone simply copies the business model described in the Kobe model (can we call it that) then removes things they don't like or adds something then make a glorious conquest of the US marketplace.

Barring the fact that the US has the highest Corporate tax rate in the world and a tax system that handicaps expansion in foreign markets. In which state would you think is the best place
to do this in?

Overhead:

What I meant was what I said, that AgedGrunt's was wrong because of the overwhelming evidence showing he's wrong.
Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in one way or another. Also you just seem to have made the assumption that anything coming from bureaucracies is an uncountable act of stupidity. If there's one point I can hammer home to you, one point I want you to take away from this, it's nuance.

Read what I wrote again.

"Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in one way or another."

not

"Pretty much all bureaucracies will be accountable in exactly one way, with that way being the moral equal to elected representatives passing laws."

Your question is not only irrelevant but it ignores the points I was making about how you're making massive obviously wrong assumptions about bureaucracies, like them always being uncountable and always being stupid which are clearly wrong.

I apologize, I forget that neither party is ever interested in removing bureaucrats from within the federal government. It is something that is often said but is almost never done. This is one of the things that drove me from both parties.

They are accountable, the congress is holding a show trial on IRS abuses and both sides know that it's a dog and pony show. That way they can screw the American people with the left hand while the distract us with the right.

Overhead:

Putting aside the fallacy of relying on argumentum ad populum as a legitimate reason for thinking something is wrong, I can guess that you seem to think you have the answers to this in your head. Allow me to guess what you think based on the implication of your posts:

"What happens to a bureaucrat if they make an unpopular rule?" - Nothing, the bureaucratic elite is untouchable

"When is it removed?" - Never or at least until libertarians abolish the bureaucracy

Again, you're sticking to blind partison lines with no basis in reality. The real answers are:

"What happens to a bureaucrat if they make an unpopular rule?" - If a bureaucrat makes an unpopular move, many things can happen depending on the nature of what they've done, how unpopular it is, exactly what they're a bureaucrat of, if the unpopularity if based in something more solid than general public rage, etc. To try and come up with an outcome for such a generic undefined example is to start to use simple stereotypes completely irrelevant to the complicated world we live in.

"When is it removed?" - At some point between instantly and never, again depending on all those specifics.

Conceded. Completely immature.

Overhead:

Also technocrat is a funny name for, say, an underpaid teacher who's spent all their life trying to improve education for children and is put on a local board with authority to make decisions on how local schools are run. And by funny I mean inappropriate and you're just trying to use bad-sounding words where they're not relevant because bureaucracies cover a lot more than just technocrats.

They have been doing that for quite some time, I can already tell that district for less money that the problem is that your school is a dropout factory. It's symbiotic, the only thing you can do is run.

Technocrats are their own class of people. I should have separated this out long ago. I was completely wrong for doing. so.

Again, they are accountable, the republicans will continue to talk a good game but never commit to any action.

Overhead:
If I haven't shown how libertarianism doesn't work yet, it's because you've yet to engage me on any real level.

I don't believe you've done anything I haven't, giving your opinion. I don't reference my post history. I don't need to. My views are my own and I engage people directly, regarding what they have said. I am not reading through 230+ posts, many of which are text walls and quote wars, before I respond to statements. If you are well researched on the topic it should not be difficult to be clear with someone and engage with them on an equal, not superior level.

I'll remind you this thread is about why you disagree with libertarianism, so playing offense and disputing every new post and its nuances is detrimental to a discussion. Much of it is buried under the unnecessary weight of intellectualism that harms clarity and has tended to splinter arguments.

I've had to defend libertarianism on the merits of capitalism; I don't believe that's fair or justified, but it is what it is.

Overhead:
You're saying there's no way for people and businesses to effect government and that's obviously wrong from any ideological viewpoint.

This is where you have me completely misunderstood. That is not what I have been saying. Not at all.

Overhead:
If a persons' arguement just relies on saying "Government is bad and corrupt, business seek profit but they're not as bad as government" in different ways, then the argument itself is bad and I will be critical of the level of reasoning they're bringing.

Well, it's funny because if you had noticed, the exact opposite contention was going around, and that's why I interjected in the first place. My original point seems to have been rotated 180 degrees.

I've defended the need of government and have done nothing but contended that bad things happen in government too, but stress that it's part of its very culture. That culture, which people are acknowledging but seem to judge as something less significant, is deeply ingrained. The supposed superiority of government, because it lacks a profit-motive, is ideologically convincing but realistically inane, taken seriously.

I also believe I was saying, comparatively, that a bad government would be a worse scenario than bad business. It goes back to relationships and distinguishing the balance of power. On that note, I've provided more than enough explanation, reiteration and clarification of my viewpoints under caustic lectures. I know it's difficult for these views to be tolerated around here, but you'll respect them and those that have been engaging with them.

aelreth:
Government granted rights are not rights. They can be taken at the next available convenience of the authority.

As opposed to what? 'Natural rights'?

There are no rights that are inviolable.

Take whatever you believe are your most deeply held rights. Those aren't the same rights your ancestors believe in. They're not the same rights as everyone else in the world believes in, for instance I know for our fact our beliefs in property rights are totally different.

They're also not things that can be enforced or lived to simply by your holding to them.

There's only one thing that makes a right what it is, which is that it's societally enforced. Usually this is by a government.

The fact that rights may change, disappear, reappear, be created from nothing (for instance the numerous amendments to the USA constitution, the thousands of laws passed each year in each country, etc) does not detract from the fact that they are rights.

It would require a degree in specialization in those societies. Feudal societies are more likely to "license" or prohibit certain classes or castes from doing certain trades. Omnipresent is far too vague for me to prove, conceded.

That's not protectionism. As I said, protectionism is a specific economic policy of restricting imported goods through tariffs, quotas, etc.

For a quick summary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protectionism

"Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow (according to proponents) "fair competition" between imports and goods and service produced domestically.[1]"

"This policy contrasts with free trade, where government barriers to trade are kept to a minimum. In recent years, it has become closely aligned with anti-globalization. The term is mostly used in the context of economics, where protectionism refers to policies or doctrines which protect businesses and workers within a country by restricting or regulating trade with foreign nations."

What you are talking about is not protectionism.

Interest rates are driving people into the stock market that shouldn't be there. They seek to make money that traditional CoDs & savings account made. Bondholders are exempt from this merely because they by their very nature are long term financial tools.

I'm not talking about some flash in the pan thing from the last few years, the example I gave to illustrate this point was General motors which has been suffering from this for decades, during which time the interest rate has varied from -1.47 to 8.47.

But besides from that, this is a point about all shareholders - not just newcomers who don't know what they're doing. The principle the managers of business are meant to stick to and that has been emphasised since the 80's is shareholder value maximisation.

With the birth of the limited liability company, Capitalism was left with the problem that the years of entrepreneurship seemed to be dead dead. The Thomas Edisons and Henry Fords were no longer possible because the flow of capital accumulation was now channelled through these limited liability companies which means that it is very very rare to get a large company with a single major owner.

Instead there are a multitude of owners and the business is essentially run by professional career bureaucrats. This was seen as inevitable by many, the price that had to be paid for the dynamism of publicly traded companies but not altogether good. The problem is that market capitalisation isn't always the key focus of a managing director, instead trying to focus on increasing sales or the size of the company or prestige projects other things which enhance their position but don't in and of themselves put profit into the shareholder's pocket.

It took a few decades for the answer to be invented and then institutionally absorbed, but it was shareholder value maximisation. That is the principle that the managers are there and only there to give profit to the shareholders and that this is how they should be rewarded, this mainly happening by the proportion of their compensation packages being changed to stock options are a much greater portion of it - causing them to identify with the interests of shareholders.

Firstly, this can be done by ruthlessly cutting costs. Wages, investment, stock, middle-management, etc

Secondly, share buybacks and dividends which will divert as much money as possible directly to the shareholders rather than elsewhere.

This worked and when it was implemented in the 1980s investor's share of profits started to rise after having declined for the last two decades.

The problem is, what's good for investors isn't necessarily good for the company, the workers or the country.

The business is essentially being ransacked and stripped bare for the profit of the current owners. Worker's are being badly paid and badly treated. Research into staying competitive is de-prioritised. Money that should go into expansion goes to shareholders.

This isn't to do with the wrong people getting involved, it's a core aspect of the way these companies are structured. Shareholders can move their money at any time. What reason have they to get a fair return year on year for the next thirty years when they can get a massive return for the next few years by company restructuring then reinvest in a different company and get massive returns by repeating the process?[1]

Your economist completely misses the reasons for the bubbles that followed the Reagan years, it was monetary policy, namely low interest rates that laid the foundations for the future recessions.

He talks of fast and loose on regulations yet Reagan's attorney general throws nearly a thousand bankers in jail.

Following the internet bubble bursting in 2000, we lower interest rates again with Goldman Sachs helping write Sarbanes-Oxley (which is quickly copied in nations across the globe) so they could quickly become even larger than before.

Reagan also lacked a clear majority in the Congress to pass these regulatory reform bills, he had to have help. No doubt he forgets the Reagan boom years happen before the regulatory reforms.

It's also fairly irritating that when the state and it's incestuous relationship with the banking sector makes rules and exceptions that create moral hazards. When these things inevitably falter and fail, you blame capitalism instead of blaming the government when they laid the foundation for it.

What is this even relating to? We were specifically talking about how human behaviour effects how businesses are run.

Regulatory reform, monetary policy, etc seem to be completely off topic with no relevance to this point.

Did you mean to put this as a response to a different point?

Famous?!?! Prior to 1913 (The year that created The Federal Reserve that caused the Great Depression), the United States never had an income tax.

After FDR completely wrecked the economy again in 1933 in a misguided attempt to use inflation to rescue us, we won the industrial race because everyone else's economic base was burned to the ground in war.

Yes, he was famous for his protectionism - which has nothing to do with income tax (incidentally the USA had previously had income tax before 1913).

He did nothing about income tax one way or the other. What he did do was push for massive tariffs on imports, effectively destroying the concept of the free market by imposing a massive handicap on foreign firms.

When you suggested re-arranging every single business model because of Kobe Steel. It means that you open the road for people can do the opposite.

I would encourage and be a bondholder if someone simply copies the business model described in the Kobe model (can we call it that) then removes things they don't like or adds something then make a glorious conquest of the US marketplace.

Barring the fact that the US has the highest Corporate tax rate in the world and a tax system that handicaps expansion in foreign markets. In which state would you think is the best place
to do this in?

I think you're forgetting the starting point of this particular part of the debate. It was AgedGrunt's claim that the business owner will always know best what do with their own business.

To counteract this I have given examples of the workers knowing best what to do with the business (Kobe Steel), the government knowing best to do with the business (The few South Korean Examples I gave) and no-one in particular knowing what best to do for the business but it certainly not being the owners (General Motors).

The point of this isn't that I'm trying to set out some grand theory of who exactly knows best how to run any type of business in any situation regardless of all the complex variables, it's that AgedGrunt's statement about the business owner always knowing best being clearly wrong.

That's the point we're meant to be going back and forth on and as far as I'm concerned I've proven that it's wrong.

I apologize, I forget that neither party is ever interested in removing bureaucrats from within the federal government. It is something that is often said but is almost never done. This is one of the things that drove me from both parties.

They are accountable, the congress is holding a show trial on IRS abuses and both sides know that it's a dog and pony show. That way they can screw the American people with the left hand while the distract us with the right.

This is a very American centric view, one that is to do with particular instances rather than the structure of society. In the UK for instance and throughout pretty much all of the European Union (an economic area bigger than the US), there are massive cuts taking place. Greece just got rid of it's state broadcaster. In the UK we're facing cuts to the NHS, police, welfare, etc, etc.

You can't set rules of "the government never cuts it's bureaucracy, the companies never want the government to cut their bureaucracy" because society isn't static and it isn't simple. It's complex and constantly changing and some of the time due to a variety of reasons, massive cuts to the bureaucracy is exactly what companies and government will want.

That's why you're not seeing the same things happen in the USA as are happening in the UK, the details of the situation are completely different and so the governments act completely different - not sticking to these hard and fast rules you set for them.

[1] There are of course reasons they wouldn't. There are even reason as simple as laziness, they're happy to let the company do whatever it's doing as long as they get a decent return. However the point is that this is a unique component of these massive corporation which form the heart of Capitalism and it is weakness which causes considerable harm.

Overhead:

Take whatever you believe are your most deeply held rights. Those aren't the same rights your ancestors believe in. They're not the same rights as everyone else in the world believes in, for instance I know for our fact our beliefs in property rights are totally different.

They're also not things that can be enforced or lived to simply by your holding to them.

There's only one thing that makes a right what it is, which is that it's societally enforced. Usually this is by a government.

The fact that rights may change, disappear, reappear, be created from nothing (for instance the numerous amendments to the USA constitution, the thousands of laws passed each year in each country, etc) does not detract from the fact that they are rights.

I agree, if you aren't willing to fight for them they don't hold much meaning. Then they will quickly disappear.

Overhead:

That's not protectionism. As I said, protectionism is a specific economic policy of restricting imported goods through tariffs, quotas, etc.

What you are talking about is not protectionism.

Then we weren't I apologize then, I speak about monopolies given via licensing and regulatory regimes.

Overhead:

I'm not talking about some flash in the pan thing from the last few years, the example I gave to illustrate this point was General motors which has been suffering from this for decades, during which time the interest rate has varied from -1.47 to 8.47.

But besides from that, this is a point about all shareholders - not just newcomers who don't know what they're doing. The principle the managers of business are meant to stick to and that has been emphasised since the 80's is shareholder value maximisation.

I was speaking of how interest rates have driven people into the stock market that shouldn't be there. In the past the money from ordinary people just wasn't there to do this, it stayed in peoples bank accounts.

Overhead:

With the birth of the limited liability company, Capitalism was left with the problem that the years of entrepreneurship seemed to be dead dead. The Thomas Edisons and Henry Fords were no longer possible because the flow of capital accumulation was now channelled through these limited liability companies which means that it is very very rare to get a large company with a single major owner.

Instead there are a multitude of owners and the business is essentially run by professional career bureaucrats. This was seen as inevitable by many, the price that had to be paid for the dynamism of publicly traded companies but not altogether good. The problem is that market capitalisation isn't always the key focus of a managing director, instead trying to focus on increasing sales or the size of the company or prestige projects other things which enhance their position but don't in and of themselves put profit into the shareholder's pocket.

It took a few decades for the answer to be invented and then institutionally absorbed, but it was shareholder value maximisation. That is the principle that the managers are there and only there to give profit to the shareholders and that this is how they should be rewarded, this mainly happening by the proportion of their compensation packages being changed to stock options are a much greater portion of it - causing them to identify with the interests of shareholders.

Thank you for that, literary sources that expand upon this? Thank you.

Overhead:

Firstly, this can be done by ruthlessly cutting costs. Wages, investment, stock, middle-management, etc

In the case of GM, they weren't able to bring wages down to the level of the Japanese branch of car manufacturers state side.

Overhead:

Secondly, share buybacks and dividends which will divert as much money as possible directly to the shareholders rather than elsewhere.

This worked and when it was implemented in the 1980s investor's share of profits started to rise after having declined for the last two decades.

Not at all familiar with the former but the latter can be explained because by then the rest of the world began emerging from the wreckage of the war.

Overhead:

The problem is, what's good for investors isn't necessarily good for the company, the workers or the country.

The business is essentially being ransacked and stripped bare for the profit of the current owners. Worker's are being badly paid and badly treated. Research into staying competitive is de-prioritised. Money that should go into expansion goes to shareholders.

This isn't to do with the wrong people getting involved, it's a core aspect of the way these companies are structured. Shareholders can move their money at any time. What reason have they to get a fair return year on year for the next thirty years when they can get a massive return for the next few years by company restructuring then reinvest in a different company and get massive returns by repeating the process?[footnote]There are of course reasons they wouldn't. There are even reason as simple as laziness, they're happy to let the company do whatever it's doing as long as they get a decent return. However the point is that this is a unique component of these massive corporation which form the heart of Capitalism and it is weakness which causes considerable harm.

It's rather hard for capitalism to work when labor prices you out of a future.

Overhead:

What is this even relating to? We were specifically talking about how human behaviour effects how businesses are run.

Regulatory reform, monetary policy, etc seem to be completely off topic with no relevance to this point.

Did you mean to put this as a response to a different point?

Assume I began reading your sources books.

Overhead:

Yes, he was famous for his protectionism - which has nothing to do with income tax (incidentally the USA had previously had income tax before 1913).

He did nothing about income tax one way or the other. What he did do was push for massive tariffs on imports, effectively destroying the concept of the free market by imposing a massive handicap on foreign firms.

Perhaps an absolute statement of no taxes was incorrect. Yes we had a tax during the Civil War, which was repealed shortly after (hard to repeal things when the President actively jails dissidents).

They also tried a flat tax, that was passed 30 years later, and it was declared unconstitutional after a year.

McKinley did nothing about an income tax because it was unconstitutional. Out of 125 years, only 11 with some type of National Tax.

As for it being anti-free market. The state has never been a fan of letting people transact freely in goods or services anyway. So you should not be very surprised when it suppresses society in that way.

Overhead:

I think you're forgetting the starting point of this particular part of the debate. It was AgedGrunt's claim that the business owner will always know best what do with their own business.

To counteract this I have given examples of the workers knowing best what to do with the business (Kobe Steel), the government knowing best to do with the business (The few South Korean Examples I gave) and no-one in particular knowing what best to do for the business but it certainly not being the owners (General Motors).

The point of this isn't that I'm trying to set out some grand theory of who exactly knows best how to run any type of business in any situation regardless of all the complex variables, it's that AgedGrunt's statement about the business owner always knowing best being clearly wrong.

That's the point we're meant to be going back and forth on and as far as I'm concerned I've proven that it's wrong.

As above you said that the "entrepreneurship" is gone, now just lead by shareholders and a "professional bureaucrat" that acts (in my opinion as a "Custodian". I talk about that "entrepreneur" should be the person that chooses how his business is run. We both distrust the shareholders. That's why I prefer being a bondholder in an entity that is not going to go public.

In the case of GM, just look to the rot that infested Detroit since the 1960s. After electing that leadership of their community what makes you think they would have run it better? Especially if it means they reduce their own salaries?

Overhead:

This is a very American centric view, one that is to do with particular instances rather than the structure of society. In the UK for instance and throughout pretty much all of the European Union (an economic area bigger than the US), there are massive cuts taking place. Greece just got rid of it's state broadcaster. In the UK we're facing cuts to the NHS, police, welfare, etc, etc.

You can't set rules of "the government never cuts it's bureaucracy, the companies never want the government to cut their bureaucracy" because society isn't static and it isn't simple. It's complex and constantly changing and some of the time due to a variety of reasons, massive cuts to the bureaucracy is exactly what companies and government will want.

That's why you're not seeing the same things happen in the USA as are happening in the UK, the details of the situation are completely different and so the governments act completely different - not sticking to these hard and fast rules you set for them.

The topic is about Libertarians actually.

In the face of austerity I would recommend reading about the austerity that was practiced in the face of the Forgotten Depression of 1920 in the US. In the meantime the EU is unfortunately going to eat the US's inflation until it decides to stop. Once that happens the US will have to address it's financial situation with actual seriousness.

aelreth:
I agree, if you aren't willing to fight for them they don't hold much meaning. Then they will quickly disappear.

But it also means that your dismissal of rights as not being real rights if they're enforced by government is incorrect.

I was speaking of how interest rates have driven people into the stock market that shouldn't be there. In the past the money from ordinary people just wasn't there to do this, it stayed in peoples bank accounts.

That could be an additional problem, but it doesn't effect the basic mechanism I'm talking about.

Everyone, whether in your opinion they should be involved in the stock market or not, has a great deal if flexibility as to how they channel their investments. If they want to, they can literally pull all their money out of a business in a matter of... moment, minutes, hours? It will vary, but very quickly.

The fact they're not chained to a business in the same way a sole trader or a partnership is has an effect on the way they will look to run businesses they invest in.

This is the point I've been expanding and speaking on even before you brought up ordinary people getting involved in the stock market. The basic set-up of the stock market effects everyone involved in it, putting a comparative greater focus on immediate profit and a weakening the drive to pursue the kind of long-term growth that powers national economies.

Thank you for that, literary sources that expand upon this? Thank you.

Can't remember which of my books covers this. Maybe Capitalism Unleased - Finance, Globilisation and Welfare by A. Glyn.

Otherwise you can always do what I do when I'm stuck for what book to find info on something in, go to the wiki page and check out where the sources come from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shareholder_value#cite_note-1

Not at all familiar with the former but the latter can be explained because by then the rest of the world began emerging from the wreckage of the war.

It took specific steps to achieve this. Research, wages, share buybacks. It spent $20 billion on share buybacks alone. It became geared to providing shareholder profit and not to developing the business and unsurprisingly the shareholders profited and the business didn't develop.

I don't think recovering from war had anything to do with it because that period was pretty high growth - higher growth than anything we've seen for 3 decades certainly, but if it was just a general pick-up of the economy that drove profits upwards then that just makes the point I'm making even more relevant and important. Rather than wrecking the company to get better profits for the shareholders, if you're right they wrecked the company for no good reason because the profits just came from the worldwide economic situation.

It's rather hard for capitalism to work when labor prices you out of a future.

Pardon?

In the face of austerity I would recommend reading about the austerity that was practiced in the face of the Forgotten Depression of 1920 in the US. In the meantime the EU is unfortunately going to eat the US's inflation until it decides to stop. Once that happens the US will have to address it's financial situation with actual seriousness.

Your point was that neither business nor government is interested in cutting away bureaucracy.

I pointed out this was wrong because cutting away bureaucracy is what's happening throughout masses of the world right at this moment and is what's been happening for years now.

Your point was incorrect.

AgedGrunt:

Overhead:
If I haven't shown how libertarianism doesn't work yet, it's because you've yet to engage me on any real level.

I don't believe you've done anything I haven't, giving your opinion. I don't reference my post history. I don't need to. My views are my own and I engage people directly, regarding what they have said. I am not reading through 230+ posts, many of which are text walls and quote wars, before I respond to statements. If you are well researched on the topic it should not be difficult to be clear with someone and engage with them on an equal, not superior level.

I'll remind you this thread is about why you disagree with libertarianism, so playing offense and disputing every new post and its nuances is detrimental to a discussion. Much of it is buried under the unnecessary weight of intellectualism that harms clarity and has tended to splinter arguments.

I've had to defend libertarianism on the merits of capitalism; I don't believe that's fair or justified, but it is what it is.

Overhead:
You're saying there's no way for people and businesses to effect government and that's obviously wrong from any ideological viewpoint.

This is where you have me completely misunderstood. That is not what I have been saying. Not at all.

Overhead:
If a persons' arguement just relies on saying "Government is bad and corrupt, business seek profit but they're not as bad as government" in different ways, then the argument itself is bad and I will be critical of the level of reasoning they're bringing.

Well, it's funny because if you had noticed, the exact opposite contention was going around, and that's why I interjected in the first place. My original point seems to have been rotated 180 degrees.

I've defended the need of government and have done nothing but contended that bad things happen in government too, but stress that it's part of its very culture. That culture, which people are acknowledging but seem to judge as something less significant, is deeply ingrained. The supposed superiority of government, because it lacks a profit-motive, is ideologically convincing but realistically inane, taken seriously.

I also believe I was saying, comparatively, that a bad government would be a worse scenario than bad business. It goes back to relationships and distinguishing the balance of power. On that note, I've provided more than enough explanation, reiteration and clarification of my viewpoints under caustic lectures. I know it's difficult for these views to be tolerated around here, but you'll respect them and those that have been engaging with them.

Okay, I'll start from the ground floor with something that I brought up and told you but you moved away from, disregarding the topic and my responses and changing the subject.

This is the fact that different social and economic systems make people act differently.

This isn't something you buy into.

You said: At the root they're both designed with social benefit in mind. Both become corrupted for the same reasons, such as money. Government isn't anymore fundamentally righteous than business, you're overlooking the constant in both: people. We kind of have a big problem with people screwing each other over. Like everywhere. Since always.

and

="http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/528.410416.19861629"]There is an ultimate force that influences people: money, and it transcends capitalism. Perhaps consider that it's not the capitalist system, but the spirit residing in many people no matter where they are.

From your point of view people act the way they do because they are people. It is innate, it's in their nature and there's no reason to blame the system.

Now this argument falls apart based on three basic a priori reasons.

Firstly, you argue in favour of Libertarianism. If the social structure of society didn't effect how people act then there would be no reason to support libertarianism. Your own position invalidates your arguement.

Secondly, Sociology is based on the understanding that class, race, gender, age, cultural, national, etc differences effect how people act; in essence the the assumption of societal structure (and other things) governing people's actions being an implicit underlying assumption of all science directed at understanding how people act.

Thirdly, every single person on this forum can name someone who has done something paticularily heroic, self-sacrificing and completely contrary to how people are meant to and are understood to normally act. This might be a serial killer, a selfless war-time hero, a saint-like humanitarian, etc. There's plenty of examples to show that human beings are varied.

Now we can look at this in a bit more depth, which I think I'll do by reusing my quote from earlier in the thread:

Ha-Joon Chang, award winning economist and professor at University of Cambridge:
"The assumption of self-seeking individualism, which is at the heart of free-market economics, has a lot of resonance with our personal experience. We have all been cheated by unscrupulous traders, be it the fruit seller who put some rotten plums at the bottom of the paper bag of the yoghurt company that vastly exaggerated the health benefits of its products. We know too many corrupt politicians and lazy bureaucrats to believe that all public servants are solely serving the public. Most of us, myself included, have goofed off from work ourselves and some of us have been frustrated by junior colleagues and assistants who find all kinds of excuses not to put in serious work. Moreover, what we read in the news media these days tells us that professional managers, even the supposed champions of shareholder interest such as Jack Welch of Ge and Rick Wagoner of GM, have not really been serving the best interests of the shareholders.

This is true. However, we also have a lot of evidence - not just anecdotes but true systematic evidence - showing that self-interest is not the only human motivation that matters in our economic life. Self-interest, to be sure, is one of the most important, but we have many other motives - honesty, self-respect, altruism, love, sympathy, faith, sense of duty, solidarity, loyalty, public-spiritedness, patriotism, and so on - that are sometimes even more important than self-seeking as the driver of our behaviours.

Our earlier example of Kobe Steels shows how successful companies are running on trust and loyalty, rather than suspicion and self-seeking. If you think this is a peculiar example from a country of 'worker ants' that suppresses individuality against human nature, pick up any book of business leadership or any autobiography by a successful businessman published in the West and see what they say. Do they say that you have to suspect people and watch them all the time for slacking and cheating? No, they probably talk mostly about how to 'connect' with the employees, change the way they see things, inspire them, and promote team-work among them. Good managers know that people are not tunnel-visioned self-seeking robots. They know that people have good sides and bad sides and that the secret of good management is in magnifying the former and toning down the latter.

Another good example to illustrate the complexity of human motivation is the practice of 'work to rule', where workers slow down output by strictly following the rules that govern their tasks. You may wonder how workers can hurt their employers by working according to the rule. However this semi-strike method also known as 'Italian strike' (and as 'sciopero bianco' or 'white strike', by Italians themselves) - is known to reduce output by 30 - 50%. This is because not everything can be specified in employment contracts (rules) and therefore all production processes rely heavily on the workers goodwill to do extra things that are not required by their contract or exercise initiatives and take shortcuts in order to expedite things when the rules are too cumbersome. The motivations behind such non-selfish behaviours by workers are varied - fondness of their jobs, pride in their workmanship, self-respect, solidarity with their colleagues, trust in their top managers or loyalty to their company. But the bottom line is that companies, and thus our economy, would grind to a halt if people acted in totally selfish ways, as they are assumed to do in free-market economies.

The Capitalists of the early mass production era thought like you when they tried to deprive workers of control over the speed of the shiny new conveyor belts. They quickly found their workers becoming passive, unthinking and even uncooperative when they were deprived of their autonomy and dignity.

Starting with the Human Relations School in the 30s, which highlighting the need for communication with and among workers, loads of new managerial approaches have emerged that emphasise the complexity of human motivation and suggest ways to bring the best out of workers.

One of the best known if the Japanese or Toyota production system. It exploits the goodwill of creativity of workers by giving them responsibilities and trusting them as moral agents. Workers are given a considerable degree of control over the production line. They are also encouraged to make suggestions for improvements to the production process. This approach has enabled japanese firms to get such production efficiency that many non-Japanese firms are now imitating them.

By assuming that there are lots of other motivations besides self-interest, Japanese companies have got the best out off their employees."

Or to put it shortly, there are a mass of things which drive people and have to be taken into consideration when we talk about what's driving them and your basic assumption of human automatons is incorrect, which unfortunately for you is a foundation stone of your view.

Not only that, but when we do look to see what humans are capable of and we have systematic evidence showing that we are capable of the kind of egalitarianism that doesn't exist in the scenarios you've presents.

Norton and Ariely in 2011 found that 47% of USA citizens would want a much more eglatarian economic set-up and 43% of USA citizens would actually prefer full and total economic equality with no rich or poor, which is astounding in a country where this line of thought is probably more heavily disapproved of than anywhere else on earth. Only 10% of USA citizens wanted the current economic set-up.

Uslaner and Rothstein in 2005 found that social engagement rather than self interest increases as economic equality reaches. You see people earning the same as yourself and you feel closer to them rather than getting angry that there aren't bigger differences.

In ancient human tribal societies, the Hobbesian myth of fierce competition has become unravelled as we've seen that left to their own devices they initiated gift exchange, food sharing and a high degree of equality.

In the ultimate game, a pretty well known psychological experiment used countless times across the world, one participant is given some money and asked to split it with another participant, the first only getting to keep his share of it if the person he is splitting it with accepts the deal. The most common offer is a straight 50% split while the average is around 45%, with offers below 20% almost always being rejected because we seem to innately believe in 'altruistic punishment', the desire to punish others in a way that reinforces co-operation and prevents freeloading even when it costs you something to do.

Genetically speaking, Hammock and Young in 2005 found that we share the section of DNA important in regulating social behaviour with Bonobo rather than Common Chimpanzees. Bonobo's being the ones which have extremely weak hierarchies for an ape, close social bonds, a remarkable lack of competition and solve problems through social relations rather than force which has all been long documented by researchers like de Waal. The aggressive, hierarchal chimpanzees who don't co=operate are the ones we don't share this DNA with.

Or there are the real world nations and cultures with exceptional degrees of economic communalism, like the Iroquis nation where goods were communally stored in a longhouse and allocated by a women's council or the Pashtuns who are famously hospitable and generous with their gift-giving culture.

But the thing is, I could reel off examples of how humanity has a large potential for egalitarianism that is untapped all day using similar biological, psychological, economical, historical and sociological evidence, but there's an even more definite reason why that's incidental. All you have to do is look at the world. Pick up a history book, go outside and talk to people, however you prefer to do it. While atrocities do take place and the world is far, far, far from perfect we've also produced people of unfathomable humanity and kindness. From people in the Asia willing to self-immolate to try and bring about change that will help others to people taking their time to work in soup kitchens or homeless shelters to any one of a million things.

"The spirit residing in people" is what causes the awfulness of society? That's a 19th century view that belongs back in those times.

At this point it's not a matter of opinion that the socio-economic setup of society (such as whether a society is Capitalist and what manner of Capitalism) but stone cold fact.

Trying to brush off the massive systematic failures of Capitalism as human nature just doesn't cut it.

Overhead:

But it also means that your dismissal of rights as not being real rights if they're enforced by government is incorrect.

A populace that relies solely on the benevolence of the government to protect the government from itself will discover that the government has a conflict of interest and will stealthily erode those rights.

Overhead:

Snip

I refer to how people put their savings sometimes their life savings into the stock market, hold the rest of their net worth with equity in Real Estate that is financed by asset bubbles that are driven by easy money. They do this because the promise of a pensioner system like that of the UK where we call our system Social Security, will not pay out in the same value that was put in.

This is not the behavior of a healthy economy.

Overhead:

It took specific steps to achieve this. Research, wages, share buybacks. It spent $20 billion on share buybacks alone. It became geared to providing shareholder profit and not to developing the business and unsurprisingly the shareholders profited and the business didn't develop.

I don't think recovering from war had anything to do with it because that period was pretty high growth - higher growth than anything we've seen for 3 decades certainly, but if it was just a general pick-up of the economy that drove profits upwards then that just makes the point I'm making even more relevant and important. Rather than wrecking the company to get better profits for the shareholders, if you're right they wrecked the company for no good reason because the profits just came from the worldwide economic situation.

This money likely was needed to pay off the pension funds throughout the American Midwest.

Overhead:

It's rather hard for capitalism to work when labor prices you out of a future.

Pardon?

It was unlikely that the laborers among the Detroit auto makers were willing to take a pay cut.

Overhead:

Your point was that neither business nor government is interested in cutting away bureaucracy.

I pointed out this was wrong because cutting away bureaucracy is what's happening throughout masses of the world right at this moment and is what's been happening for years now.

Your point was incorrect.

While I'm surprised that Carney isn't turning to the printing press like he did in Canada, the fact the UK sits precariously close to debt level close to that of a certain Post WW1 German Republic, means that they will avoid the inflation path. What little I do know of the UK's economic history Post WW2 is that they had to be bailed out in the late 1970s. Thus I can say that the UK knows that a rock bottom exists, the US does not understand that there is such a thing.

If I was talking about the world you are correct but right now the world is foolishly importing inflation from the US. Since we currently hold the world's reserve currency (meanwhile Japan is making the yen appear as a dubious carry trade currency) we can afford to not live within our means.

As for the United States. The sequester right now is aimed at the reduction of growth in all government's bureaucracies budgets, along with an actual Defense department cut.

So long as our trade partners are insane enough to let us use the printing press. Austerity will not take root between the shores of the United States.

aelreth:

If I was talking about the world you are correct but right now the world is foolishly importing inflation from the US...

So long as our trade partners are insane enough to let us use the printing press. Austerity will not take root between the shores of the United States.

No-one is importing inflation from the USA. Inflation rates of all major Western economies are stable and comparable, and have been for two decades or more. You can check this yourself with easily Googleable charts. All modern Western economies are using the same economic rulebook where they aim inflation to be steady at a certain range, usually in the range of 2-3%. There are blips that go outside this range, but are really just that - small and transient misses.

What you really need to do is look at the inflation rates of various countries back in the past - records for the UK and USA at least go back to the 18th century. Without this historical context, you simply cannot appreciate how tightly and well controlled inflation is these days; doing so has been a cornerstone of monetary policy since the 1980s.

If you want to see a history of inflation, view for instance:
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/inflation/timeline/chart.aspx
http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/teacher/calc/hist1800.cfm

Overhead:
This is the fact that different social and economic systems make people act differently.

From your point of view people act the way they do because they are people. It is innate, it's in their nature and there's no reason to blame the system.

Once again you have me misunderstood. I was pointing out that money is an influential factor ("ultimate" was perhaps not the best word, I should have said ubiquitous). In the sense that no matter who you are, businessman or politician, money is a major factor in your decisions, and those decisions can be personally rewarding.

For instance, a businessman can make a deal that's very good for him yet not so good for a client. A politician can do this as well, making decisions to endorse a project, vote for a bill or support a particular industry to win support, earn campaign contributions and even bring money into his state, for example.

The "stone of my view" is not about money driving people like "automatons", it's to slap this point that money is everywhere and causes people harm both in the business world and government-run bureaucracy. The fat-cat businessman and the elite politician are hardly that different, thus the notion of superior motive and principle existing within government is nonsense.

Your further diving into egalitarianism and a classless system shows what you are really after, which is anti-liberty. The vision of America is that all people are supposed to be created equal, endowed with unalienable rights. But you don't need a declaration to spell it out that people should be allowed to be as happy and successful as they can possibly be. If that means becoming a billionaire, they should be able to become a billionaire. Not everyone will, but that's the very essence of life - you don't need to be a billionaire to be happy and successful.

Overhead:
"The spirit residing in people" is what causes the awfulness of society? That's a 19th century view that belongs back in those times.

Trying to brush off the massive systematic failures of Capitalism as human nature just doesn't cut it.

A person's spirit, or character, correlating into action is what causes good or harm. There is power to do good or bad within everyone. We are, to a large degree, autonomous; no matter our economic system we have the power to contribute or cause harm.

I don't brush off "failures" of capitalism because I don't believe it can fail on its own. Capitalism fails when people and their government fail to keep it; in the US, we have a failure of both. An informed, educated people with good, honest government doing as it should would enjoy a thriving capitalist economy. On the other hand, your ideal fails the people by confining everyone to the middle. It's not so much that it's a pipe dream as it completely up-ends the concepts of individualism and unlimited potential.

What "doesn't cut it" is a reasoning that says people should conform to economic equality regardless of how successful they are in life. Quote entire chapters of history that says otherwise, no right exists to deny a society unlimited potential.

AgedGrunt:

I don't brush off "failures" of capitalism because I don't believe it can fail on its own. Capitalism fails when people and their government fail to keep it; in the US, we have a failure of both. An informed, educated people with good, honest government doing as it should would enjoy a thriving capitalist economy. On the other hand, your ideal fails the people by confining everyone to the middle. It's not so much that it's a pipe dream as it completely up-ends the concepts of individualism and unlimited potential.

What "doesn't cut it" is a reasoning that says people should conform to economic equality regardless of how successful they are in life. Quote entire chapters of history that says otherwise, no right exists to deny a society unlimited potential.

Precisely, sir. This is something liberals just don't seem to understand. Conservatives and libertarians at least tend to agree on these things.

Big_Willie_Styles:

AgedGrunt:

I don't brush off "failures" of capitalism because I don't believe it can fail on its own. Capitalism fails when people and their government fail to keep it; in the US, we have a failure of both. An informed, educated people with good, honest government doing as it should would enjoy a thriving capitalist economy. On the other hand, your ideal fails the people by confining everyone to the middle. It's not so much that it's a pipe dream as it completely up-ends the concepts of individualism and unlimited potential.

What "doesn't cut it" is a reasoning that says people should conform to economic equality regardless of how successful they are in life. Quote entire chapters of history that says otherwise, no right exists to deny a society unlimited potential.

Precisely, sir. This is something liberals just don't seem to understand. Conservatives and libertarians at least tend to agree on these things.

It is hardly that we misunderstand it; we just believe there are other aims in life than how rich one can become.

Kaulen Fuhs:

Big_Willie_Styles:

AgedGrunt:

I don't brush off "failures" of capitalism because I don't believe it can fail on its own. Capitalism fails when people and their government fail to keep it; in the US, we have a failure of both. An informed, educated people with good, honest government doing as it should would enjoy a thriving capitalist economy. On the other hand, your ideal fails the people by confining everyone to the middle. It's not so much that it's a pipe dream as it completely up-ends the concepts of individualism and unlimited potential.

What "doesn't cut it" is a reasoning that says people should conform to economic equality regardless of how successful they are in life. Quote entire chapters of history that says otherwise, no right exists to deny a society unlimited potential.

Precisely, sir. This is something liberals just don't seem to understand. Conservatives and libertarians at least tend to agree on these things.

It is hardly that we misunderstand it; we just believe there are other aims in life than how rich one can become.

You just kind of proved you don't understand it. It's not about getting rich, it is about the freedom to pursue what you want and, then, enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Kaulen Fuhs:

Big_Willie_Styles:

Precisely, sir. This is something liberals just don't seem to understand. Conservatives and libertarians at least tend to agree on these things.

It is hardly that we misunderstand it; we just believe there are other aims in life than how rich one can become.

You just kind of proved you don't understand it. It's not about getting rich, it is about the freedom to pursue what you want and, then, enjoy the fruits of your labor.

And socialism inhibits that how? It's not like you can only produce something if you do it while on the clock.

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