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Old 09-26-2009, 01:16 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
2,221 posts, read 4,735,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
IDunn wrote:
As much as so many decry the very notion of socialism in this country, most all of us depend upon such a contrivance far more than imagined.
Those who bad mouth SOCIALISM and treat it as if it was a disease are dependent on government services just like everbody else. They are just more comfortable pretending to be independent like their forebears may have actullly been.
There's a big difference between societal interdependence and socialism. And a big difference between independence and isolation.

We depend upon our social structure for the things we can't do alone...but not for all things. When you depend on the nanny state to house, feed, clothe, bathe, educate, entertain, minister, nurse, and bury you, you will find that it does few of those well. I witnessed first-hand the scourge of socialism in other places, and that condition is nothing to aspire to. Socialism is a cancer that destroys drive and work ethic, as the lazy and the overconsuming fare the same as the hard-working and frugal, and at some point people ask in frustration "what's the point?" and pull back.

True, the guy with the idea of a Ted Kasczinski existence in a plywood cabin in the snowy woods is a poorly thought-out pipedream by someone that probably just watched Jeremiah Johnson on Spike TV. But make no mistake, socialism is a disease...an addiction...an affliction. There's a difference between a society of productive people putting their resources together to build institutions and infrastructure, and a society of people expecting even their most basic needs to be provided by government.

And then there's fascism...what we probably should expect when Goldman Sachs finally completes their hostile takeover of the Fed.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,384,996 times
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Sorry, been busy, haven't been back in a while.

I don't believe in the "end of days". I believe that those who are solely dependent on a service economy cannot help but ultimately fail. Those who are able to survive such failure are independent thinkers, people who can fix things, people who can make things work - the old "jack of trades and master of none" or the "Duct tape and WD40" people who are not solely dependent on others' creations, finances, or machinations.

When you talk about prosperity, are you talking about the accumulation of wealth or objects? If so, and if such accumulation is based on a service, non-creative, and non-productive society, then you are doing nothing but passing the same old tired dollars around. That is not prosperity but profligate spending. Those who can manufacture what is necessary, for both themselves and their community/society, are the ones who truly prosper, because when something breaks they can fix it, not run right out and buy a newer one, or create what is needed (when not bound and crippled by regulation). They are also invaluable as creators, especially when they create something which needs help in manufacturing, because those who help in the manufacturing profit by that employment. As the manufacturing and sales of the product expands, then the creation of opportunities expands.

Many rural communities are no longer dependent solely on what they grow ("manufacturing" food) but must also be dependent on either government subsidies or out-of-area service or government jobs. So naturally their economy will suffer as their adjacent "booming" communities suffers, because their income is all too often at least partially based on that economy. Not to mention the fact that many rural communities are often 'hosts' to those who don't want to live in a city or under an HOA, but want to play "gentleman" or "weekend" farmer, who have a couple of horses, maybe some goats, but whose major source of income is employment in the city. They simply cannot be counted as "rural" communities when their major component of income is still based on a primarily service economy. Most of the ranchers I know are employed at least part time in towns, or their wives and children are, because they simply cannot depend on the twice-yearly paycheck of selling their cattle or produce to pay their bills. Kids who see their parents working 30-40 hour a week jobs, THEN trying to run a productive ranch or farm, quickly decide that a 40 hour a week job in a fun and bustling environment is a lot more fun, a lot less work, and a lot "cleaner" environment. It is easier to live in a city and buy your food at a supermarket, neatly wrapped and kept cold, and grouse about the higher costs, than it is to slaughter, clean, and butcher your meat. Easier to buy cans or bags of vegies than to plow, plant, and harvest in all weathers and in all conditions. That is the reason for "the brain drain" from rural communites.

It is the dependence on government and the service economy - both of which promise prosperity that is fleeting and insupportable without the third "leg" of economic prosperity,i.e., manufacturing, that is going to continually drop our economic prosperity. As we continue to hand over our dollars to economies that DO produce - either meat and vegetables, or plasma TVs, or Wiis - we are substantiating THEIR economy, and failing our own. The regulatory and political atmosphere that currently restricts local productivity, even cripples it, while bringing in imports from once-American companies that are now overseas, less regulated, and more profitable, can only hamper progress. We are just now seeing the tip of that iceberg. If you want prosperity, you must encourage, not discourage, manufacturing and creativity, and permit businesses to rise and fall on their own merits, creativity, and productivity. Embrace socialism if you want as the solution - it doesn't work, has never worked, and cannot work, no matter who is in charge of it, because it devolves into communism and Marxism, with the many bound in political and fiscal servitude to the few. It discourages creativity and interdependence and true free market solutions that find less expensive and more productive answers to problems, and always - always! - chooses the most expensive (re:kickbacks, buddy-employments, bureaucracies) solution for any problem, and eats itself, its adherents and its victims alike, thereby.

I am not an "end of days" person, as I said before - I am looking forward to seeing the socialist response to 'cataclysms' that have occurred throughout history, both natural and man-made, that disrupt the socialist's Utopian dream. Afterwards, those who didn't fall for it, or who eventually eschewed it, will be the ones who prosper.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:06 AM
 
204 posts, read 529,390 times
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SCGranny wrote: "Kids who see their parents working 30-40 hour a week jobs, THEN trying to run a productive ranch or farm, quickly decide that a 40 hour a week job in a fun and bustling environment is a lot more fun, a lot less work, and a lot "cleaner" environment. It is easier to live in a city and buy your food at a supermarket, neatly wrapped and kept cold, and grouse about the higher costs, than it is to slaughter, clean, and butcher your meat. Easier to buy cans or bags of vegies than to plow, plant, and harvest in all weathers and in all conditions. That is the reason for "the brain drain" from rural communites."

I don't agree that kids leave rural areas because the work is too hard. They leave for a variety of reasons and perhaps more so than in "they old days" because they now have more options.

Not everyone can head for the hills and live off the grid, so we're all living in a country that requires social connectivity to varying degrees. When people accept that, and drop the socialism! screed everytime there's an attempt to adress an issue that affects most citizens, then perhaps we can go back to tooling our government to serves our changing needs. Labeling something "socialist" in my part of the country is like outpatient frontal lobectomy, whether it's health care, the environment, or French vanilla ice cream (damn commie ice cream!) Sure, social Darwinisn is one way to go, but not everyone is down because it's their fault; where's the compassion? And just look beyond our boundaries to see how that works when allowed to play out. No thanks.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:20 AM
 
417 posts, read 1,359,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
The citizens of the United States are soon going to learn that unbridled growth is not an end in itself, but an unsustainable Ponzi scheme that will enact a price.
Seems to me that we've already seen a great example of that in the frenzied housing "boom", followed by the inevitable "bust". Looking back, it still floors me that so many millions of Americans couldn't see the obvious train wreck coming as they gleefully mortaged themselves to the hilt in search of easy money.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:31 AM
 
417 posts, read 1,359,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
As much as so many decry the very notion of socialism in this country, most all of us depend upon such a contrivance far more than imagined. Way more than our pioneer forefathers who to a large degree were on their own. ....

While the United States might not be Sweden, it ignores the interdependence and complexity of its society at its own peril. If often liking to fantasize ourself some stalwart son or daughter of pioneers, self-capable and strong, we usually do so from the comfort of a suburban living room, the electricity of our reading lamp from some unknown source, most likely coal. Most of us have neither the real desire or ability to return to the land; it would prove a very difficult transition. So, perhaps best now to reorder that we have in a sustainable fashion that it might continue. To the extent that our society is socialistic, the aspects we would wish to be, it should be well ordered.
Fabulous post!
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,832,501 times
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SCGranny wrote:
Embrace socialism if you want as the solution
Just to be clear on my part. I do NOT see socialism as the solution, and I also do not see it as the evil that so many make it out to be. I do see it as part of the solution. As Bob pointed out, it does have its place.
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:19 AM
 
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I am no socialist. Having worked in both the public and private sectors, I fully recognize that governmental enterprise should be limited. So, I fear socialistic programs. I fear fascism even more in some ways, however--since one of fascism's prime characteristics is the marriage of powerful, large corporate interests with those of large government--the absolute worst of both worlds, rife with abuses. That, rather than the socialist/communist model, is where we appear to be headed in this country.

Unfortunately, some of the most egregious socialist/fascist programs in the country--and ones that affect Colorado greatly--are not recognized by Americans as such. The first is the American highway transportation system. It is a perfect fascist/socialist experiment, where private interests and public bureaucracy entered an unholy marriage that has left this country wholly dependent on the automobile for personal transportation, and has sent us down a road (excuse the pun) of nearly hopeless dependency on oil--most of it now imported (and much of that from our avowed political and economic enemies). Those same socialist/fascist tendencies have been what has fostered modern suburbia--another unholy marriage of private interests and public bureaucracy. This marriage being one that encourages the privatization of development profit to the developers and the socialization of the development costs onto the taxpayers. The current economic meltdown boils down to the inevitable failure of both institutions, where the hiding of true costs, distorted economic "signals", and rife inefficiency has become a bottomless pit devouring much of the nation's wealth. The ugly sprawl destroying Colorado (and the rest of the country) is not only an eyesore and an environmental disaster, it is--more than any other single thing--what may sink the United States as both the world's primary economic power and, indeed, even its legitimacy as a country. As was said in the old Pogo comic strip, "We have discovered the enemy, and he is us." The problem with such grand socialist/fascist experiments is that, even though they always wind up being collectively suicidal, a huge amount of the public is individually addicted to the purported benefits, and will resist any effort to curb their addiction. In the case of both automobile dependency and suburbia, we are seeing that in spades right now.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:23 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,017,737 times
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Wink Oil & Socialism

Anyone having walked in Colorado for business, such as for groceries, probably appreciates how impractical it can be. In some places, in some circumstances one might conduct their life this way. More usually one will discover a suburban sidewalk or bike path shortly terminating in the reality of large intersections clearly best designed for vehicles. Crossing them, or a veritable gauntlet of other hazards no motorist has to deal with, presupposes a certain grim determination to beat the odds. Not to mention inclement weather, or that one's job might very well reside a town or two over.

If driving across the West it becomes even more clear how critical the automobile is to society. Entirely aside from whether one could or would wish to walk within their own community, each of these towns can easily be 40 miles or more from the next. Even if one usually stays home, most of the goods and services used are from elsewhere. According to one statistic the items at your grocers traveled, collectively, about 1,200 miles to get there.

All this presupposes oil. It is the one ingredient that makes so much of the rest of this possible. Yet we have built a society based upon a resource that has definitive limits, and this well known, if many unwilling to concede it, since Dr. M. King Hubbert detailed as much in 1956 to the American Petroleum Institute. He forecast Peak Oil extraction in the United States to be 1970, following the peak of proven reserves by about 35 years. These two bell curves are nearly identical, one only lagging the other, and he was off with his forecast by only one year, with Peak Oil in the US in 1971. We crossed the Rubicon shortly thereafter, for the first time becoming a net importer of oil; as of 2007 the US imported about 66% of oil used. Due a variety of factors known global oil reserves are not known exactly, in part because OPEC nations have an incentive to inflate their national figures, but basically the peak of global oil reserves was about 1980. It may have been earlier. Globally we are at, or very near Peak Oil right now, meaning mankind has used half of all oil ever extent. Moreover, that extracted henceforth will not only steadily decrease in volume, but prove more difficult and costly to procure than before. Due the diligent efforts of concerned industrialized nations, the level of output may well plateau or even slightly increase in the short term, to maintain business as usual, but this leading to an even more abrupt and final decline.

One would think someone might pay attention. Some are. But clearly many Americans would just as soon ignore such an impending reality, with their politicians only too happy to oblige them. When we talk about the future of Colorado we are discussing in part how her citizens will adapt to increasingly expensive energy. Then of course the entwined issue of how our use of such fossil fuels has led to the death of forests in this state, of less available water, and environmental problems which are certainly economic as well. With world demand for oil only fractionally less than present output, it would only take one significant disruption, such as in Nigeria, to find petrol prices at record highs overnight, only escalating higher. Our flirtation with $4 per gallon petrol, that so many disliked, but was an indication and warning. This decline in the interim but a pause, a period of grace few seem to appreciate.

More of us may be walking or biking soon out of necessity. All the nicer if it was practical. If individuals will adapt in one way or another, or not, it is our collective society which is best positioned to reorder our affairs to work in changing circumstances. It was our collective will that created interstate highways and suburban communities. The same will, or lack of it, that will hopefully apportion our resources and use to their best advantage. If elements of pure capitalism in such an enterprise, that of socialism as well. That is just fact. How we order it is up to us, but it had better work.
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Old 09-30-2009, 05:52 AM
 
204 posts, read 529,390 times
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Idunn wrote: "One would think someone might pay attention. Some are. But clearly many Americans would just as soon ignore such an impending reality, with their politicians only too happy to oblige them."

So many people in my part of the country think they pay attention. They think they're informed. They typically get their "news" from a few very unreliable sources and anything that questions their rock solid views is quickly shot down as socialistic, immoral, etc. It's as if they're pre-programmed and new info. be damned. Those people are more frustrating than the happily clueless who shop and consume like it's 1955. (At least those folks might be receptive when something gets their attention.)

When gas went above $4/gal. it caught the attention of the self-deluded and their solution.....drill, baby,drill. Yesterday I filled my tank with $2.24/gal., so in these parts you'd be labeled a crack-pot alarmist. Seriously.

It's easy to become pessimistic for the future when surrounded by such a large population with this mindset. Hopefully, this is not representational of other parts of the country?
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 51,211,590 times
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I want to thank all the participants on this thread for their very well thought out comments. I do agree with most that we are a complex economy unfortunately dominated by a "privatize the profit, socialize the loss" mindset supported by both the private sector and the government. I think we need to reverse this situation if we want to have a functioning long term economy instead of the most massive Ponzi scheme of all time.

I am planning on retiring in a couple of years. I am investigating moving, part time at first, to central New Mexico because of the climate and slower pace of life. I figure I will find an old farm and settle there. The only thing that will allow me to live in a semi rural location is the pension I have earned by working for the same place for 20+ years. That is the kind of subsidy I like.

I am one of the "handymen" you have mentioned. I can fix almost anything mechanical (you cannot fix the little electronic boxes) as well as do most anything else required to build and maintain a house as well as weld and use machine tools. I figure this will provide some additional income.

I do worry some about future oil shortages but also realize that if prices get high enough we can start manufacturing oil from coal. We can also do a lot to improve energy efficiency of transport by redeveloping our railroad system. We really do not need the huge trailer truck fleet we have. There are alternatives.

Again, thank you for the discussion. GregW
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