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Old 11-14-2006, 02:30 AM
 
9,715 posts, read 12,959,164 times
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I used to work for a Swiss company. Nestle is a Swiss company, as is Rolex, Omega -- there's quite a few of them but I can't think of them offhand. They do have several premium chocolate companies and watch manufacturers.

It's a really beautiful country.
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:58 AM
 
Location: Maine
15,117 posts, read 19,764,702 times
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Ever seen The Third Man with Orson Welles?

"In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

The thing is, the cuckoo clock was actually invented by the Germans.
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Old 11-14-2006, 03:08 AM
 
Location: Maine
15,117 posts, read 19,764,702 times
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In the strictest definition of the word, socialism is when "the means of production" (factories, farms, industry) are owned and operated by the state. If the state is a democratic one (like most of Western Europe) then socialism can certainly have its benefits.

Socialism does NOT mean that there is no such thing as private property, privately-owned businesses, etc. That's a common misconception.

However, the term tends to get tacked on to other things, like in the UK for example where the government runs and regulates health care. People generally call it "socialized medicine" because it is run by the government.

But in political discussions, I often see folks calling liberals and Democrats "socialist" simply because they think we ought to tax Big Business and have some government programs to help the less fortunate. That ain't socialism, folks. You can call it welfare if you like, but it ain't socialism.

Myself, yes, the notion of Big Brother does make me nervous. I don't want the government running everything. But the notion of Big Boss makes me equally nervous, and the one thing that we the people can use to restrict the excesses of Big Business is the Government. We need a just and equitable balance between the two.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Triangle, North Carolina
2,816 posts, read 9,204,773 times
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Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that imagines a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. As an economic system, socialism is associated with state or collective ownership of the means of production. This control may be either direct exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils or it may be indirect exercised on behalf of the people by the state.

The modern socialist movement had its origin largely in the working class movement of the late-19th century. In this period, the term "socialism" was first used in connection with European social critics who condemned capitalism and private property. For Karl Marx, who helped establish and define the modern socialist movement, socialism implied the abolition of money, markets, capital, and labor as a commodity.

It is difficult to make generalizations about the diverse array of doctrines and movements that have been referred to as "socialist," for the various adherents of contemporary socialist movements do not agree on a common doctrine or program. As a result, the movement has split into different and sometimes opposing branches, particularly between moderate socialists and communists. Since the 19th century, socialists have differed in their vision of socialism as a system of economic organization. Some socialists have championed the complete nationalization of the means of production, or decentralized collective ownership in the form of cooperatives or workers' councils. Social democrats have proposed selective nationalization of key industries within the framework of mixed economies. Stalinists insisted on the creation of Soviet-style command economies under strong central state direction. Others advocate "market socialism," in which social control of property exists within the framework of market economics and private property.

In short, Big Government

Who in modern times do I define as a Socialist or a socialist movement?

MoveOn.org
Democratic National Committee
Today's Republican National Committee
George Bush
Hillary Clinton
John Kerry


I guess the majority of today's politicians on both sides of the ilse have socialist idealologies
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Comunistafornia, and working to get out ASAP!
1,959 posts, read 4,645,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia View Post
Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that imagines a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. As an economic system, socialism is associated with state or collective ownership of the means of production. This control may be either direct exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils or it may be indirect exercised on behalf of the people by the state.

The modern socialist movement had its origin largely in the working class movement of the late-19th century. In this period, the term "socialism" was first used in connection with European social critics who condemned capitalism and private property. For Karl Marx, who helped establish and define the modern socialist movement, socialism implied the abolition of money, markets, capital, and labor as a commodity.

It is difficult to make generalizations about the diverse array of doctrines and movements that have been referred to as "socialist," for the various adherents of contemporary socialist movements do not agree on a common doctrine or program. As a result, the movement has split into different and sometimes opposing branches, particularly between moderate socialists and communists. Since the 19th century, socialists have differed in their vision of socialism as a system of economic organization. Some socialists have championed the complete nationalization of the means of production, or decentralized collective ownership in the form of cooperatives or workers' councils. Social democrats have proposed selective nationalization of key industries within the framework of mixed economies. Stalinists insisted on the creation of Soviet-style command economies under strong central state direction. Others advocate "market socialism," in which social control of property exists within the framework of market economics and private property.

In short, Big Government

Who in modern times do I define as a Socialist or a socialist movement?

MoveOn.org
Democratic National Committee
Today's Republican National Committee
George Bush
Hillary Clinton
John Kerry


I guess the majority of today's politicians on both sides of the ilse have socialist idealologies

Great post! You can the new wave of dems coming to power as well. People like Polosi, Boxer, Feinstien, Reed, Obama, etc.
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:22 AM
 
11,589 posts, read 17,539,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia View Post
.
Big Government
You got it down in two words. Socialism is a few degrees away to the left on the sliding political scale from the standard platform of the democratic party. The U.S. certainly has some socialistic programs and institutions in place, the difference is to the degree they are in place. When it comes down to the difference in political parties it can be put in simple terms - the GOP believes in less Big Government, the DEM's beleive in a larger big government, as if government programs and high taxes can solve all the social ills of the country.

Some are bringing up examples of euro-socialism that work. Sweden, Norway, Switzerland. Remember these are much smaller, homogenous societies and cultures that have been around for centuries. They don't have the diverse culture and multiple industries that the U.S. have. They aren't perfect either - high unemployment, drug abuse problems, etc. Many of us have been to Europe. There is a reason you see so many vespa scooters running about the roads. That's all they can afford with the high tax rates.

Beyond the economic factor you have the social factor of today's secular "euro-socialism" trend. Drug abuse, as I have mentioned, is at epidemic proportions in parts of Europe. A listless unemployed and unemployable youth population is a problem. Failure to intergrate a growing immigrant population is a problem (France is a time-bomb of muslim immigrants just waiting to explode). Property crime is a problem (try walking in Rome without at least one attempt at getting pickpocketed), Loss of freedoms are a problem - yes, the societies are more permissive, sure you can legally use drugs and prositution is legal, but at the same you have much more government control on the press, television, communication, etc. Wire tapping restrictions? Most europe police agencies would laugh at the mere suggestion of this debate.

So yeah, I will fight with my vote any attempt to make this country into more of a euro-socialism society.
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,814 posts, read 11,905,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FistFightingHairdresser View Post
France is an interesting case, but I think your comments were more based on stereotype than fact (France has their heatwaves, America has its hurricanes). Their unemployment is very sticky, but in other ways their tax regime is actually quite innovative. First of all, no other Western country rewards families from a tax standpoint as much as France does. And in spite of their 32 hour workweeks, their productivity rate (GDP per hour) is acutally higher than and has grown faster than the US.
But still, the Frogs do sit around and smoke too much.
(sorry, some stereotypes exist for good reason)
You're right in saying that, at least as of the OECD numbers for 2004, France has a slightly higher hourly GDP per hour than the U.S. However, at $47.7 compared to the United States at $46.3, the difference is statistically insignificant. Germany comes in at $42.1, the United Kingdom at $39.6, and Japan at $32.5.
The problem with France is economic structure.
France's GDP per capita is significantly lower than the U.S. GDP per capita, being in fact comparable to the GDP per capita of the other European countries, which is on average 30% below the US level. The reason for this is that a much smaller percentage of the French population is working compared to the U.S., which lowers the GDP per capita of France, despite its slightly higher productivity. In fact, France has one of the lowest percentages of its population aged 15-64 years with jobs among the OECD countries. In 2004, 68.8% of the French population aged 15-64 years was employed, compared to 80.0% in Japan, 78.9% in the UK, 77.2% in the US, and 71.0% in Germany.
Young adults know they won't find jobs easily, so they stay in university as long as possible. When they do get hired, it's for a probation period and they get dumped before it's over because once they're hired, they're almost impossible to get rid of and fire, so companies are very selective in whom they hire. France is also socially divided between the immigrant populations and the native French with integration being relatively rare. French demographers believe that 16% of the current French population is foreign/immigrant (foreign plus immigrant's children). This is on par with other European countries such as Britain at around 15% foreign, Germany and Holland at 20%, etc. But in France the unemployment rates for immigrants and their children are far higher than for native French. The economy of France is what needs tweaking and innovation as it seriously paralyzes the country.
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 595,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
You got it down in two words. Socialism is a few degrees away to the left on the sliding political scale from the standard platform of the democratic party. The U.S. certainly has some socialistic programs and institutions in place, the difference is to the degree they are in place. When it comes down to the difference in political parties it can be put in simple terms - the GOP believes in less Big Government, the DEM's beleive in a larger big government, as if government programs and high taxes can solve all the social ills of the country.

Some are bringing up examples of euro-socialism that work. Sweden, Norway, Switzerland. Remember these are much smaller, homogenous societies and cultures that have been around for centuries. They don't have the diverse culture and multiple industries that the U.S. have. They aren't perfect either - high unemployment, drug abuse problems, etc. Many of us have been to Europe. There is a reason you see so many vespa scooters running about the roads. That's all they can afford with the high tax rates.

Beyond the economic factor you have the social factor of today's secular "euro-socialism" trend. Drug abuse, as I have mentioned, is at epidemic proportions in parts of Europe. A listless unemployed and unemployable youth population is a problem. Failure to intergrate a growing immigrant population is a problem (France is a time-bomb of muslim immigrants just waiting to explode). Property crime is a problem (try walking in Rome without at least one attempt at getting pickpocketed), Loss of freedoms are a problem - yes, the societies are more permissive, sure you can legally use drugs and prositution is legal, but at the same you have much more government control on the press, television, communication, etc. Wire tapping restrictions? Most europe police agencies would laugh at the mere suggestion of this debate.

So yeah, I will fight with my vote any attempt to make this country into more of a euro-socialism society.
Hi,

I wouldn't superimpose a European brand of economy on the US either. The economic systems of Scandinavia, Britain, Central Europe, etc., developed in response to the needs of the country involved. Each country's situation is unique.

What works for Europe doesn't necessarily work for the US. The reverse is also true. As this thread has shown, many Americans tend to assume their economic model as superior in every respect. This is an assumption that isn't supported by evidence. What you *can* say is that the US model is superior in the US than the European model. America makes the best advantage of its strengths in a more loosely-coordinated economy, where a small country like Finland multiplies it's strengths with a more regulated economy. And in the end, in a democracy it's the will of the people that dictates the system right?

I have a fortunate perspective in being American and living in Europe. One thing I can say is that it's not a black & white, better or worse comparison. There are things about British society that are absolutely enraging, and there are things I see in America that are just downright silly as well. But if we're going to make value judgements about which aspects of a country are better, let's please have our facts straight.

Europeans have the same superiority problem. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to explain to people that a US hospital won't leave you on a gurney to die if you don't have insurance or you won't get shot the minute you leave the hotel. Yet the stereotypes persist.

Your fear of "euro-socialist secularism" is a bit baffling. The crime, drug abuse, prostitution, wiretapping, exploding immigrant population, restricted press...one might say America acquired these problems a long time ago without any help from Europe.

Finally, your Vespa comment was one I'd like to save & share. Considering the medieval width of roadways, the fact that things are closer together, and a Vespa is dead easy to run & maintain, it's a very sensible choice of transport. It cuts both ways: Europeans travelling to America do get a laugh at those crazy extended cab pickups that are used to haul absolutely nothing.

Last edited by FistFightingHairdresser; 11-14-2006 at 03:31 PM..
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Old 11-14-2006, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 595,113 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoMark View Post
You're right in saying that, at least as of the OECD numbers for 2004, France has a slightly higher hourly GDP per hour than the U.S. However, at $47.7 compared to the United States at $46.3, the difference is statistically insignificant. Germany comes in at $42.1, the United Kingdom at $39.6, and Japan at $32.5.
The problem with France is economic structure.
France's GDP per capita is significantly lower than the U.S. GDP per capita, being in fact comparable to the GDP per capita of the other European countries, which is on average 30% below the US level. The reason for this is that a much smaller percentage of the French population is working compared to the U.S., which lowers the GDP per capita of France, despite its slightly higher productivity. In fact, France has one of the lowest percentages of its population aged 15-64 years with jobs among the OECD countries. In 2004, 68.8% of the French population aged 15-64 years was employed, compared to 80.0% in Japan, 78.9% in the UK, 77.2% in the US, and 71.0% in Germany.
Young adults know they won't find jobs easily, so they stay in university as long as possible. When they do get hired, it's for a probation period and they get dumped before it's over because once they're hired, they're almost impossible to get rid of and fire, so companies are very selective in whom they hire. France is also socially divided between the immigrant populations and the native French with integration being relatively rare. French demographers believe that 16% of the current French population is foreign/immigrant (foreign plus immigrant's children). This is on par with other European countries such as Britain at around 15% foreign, Germany and Holland at 20%, etc. But in France the unemployment rates for immigrants and their children are far higher than for native French. The economy of France is what needs tweaking and innovation as it seriously paralyzes the country.
Hi,

Yes sir, the unemployment problem in France is sticky. And the Eurocratic solution of bringing in unschooled immigrants to shore up the pension system is a worrisome trend. It is something that's captured public attention.

That said, I don't think Britain has a foreign population of 15% to be honest. Eurostat had the UK at 4% foreign, and most of those were from the EU. It's probably higher now but I doubt it's by much.

We could run down a whole laundry list of what's wrong in Europe. But we could turn around and do the same for the US. My point is that you can't make an adequate comparison of something as complex as national economies with only a few numbers. GDP per capita is a good example. Just because one country has a higher GDP/PC than another, doesn't mean it's more prosperous. You can have a higher GDP/PC, but have 50% of that wealth concentrated in the upper 1% of the population. Would that mean it's a better place to live? I don't believe so. Just take a look at Bermuda -- a GDP/PC of $70,000, more than 50% higher than the US!

Remember the old story about the blind men and the elephant? One touched his side and said it was a wall, one grabbed his tail and called it a snake, and one grabbed his leg and said it was a tree.... Same goes for economic data. You can pull a few together to tell a good story, but more than likely it doesn't tell a correct one.

Last edited by FistFightingHairdresser; 11-14-2006 at 03:22 PM..
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 595,113 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia View Post
I guess the majority of today's politicians on both sides of the ilse have socialist idealologies
Hi,

I like to use "Socialism" and "Capitalism" as terms to describe directionally where economic power resides. The terms are very gooey, so it's hard to say whether any country is Socialist or Capitalist. But in general, Socialism describes where power tends toward the state, and Capitalism is where power tends toward private enterprise.

I wouldn't call America a capitalist country and I wouldn't call Canada a socialist country. But I would say America is more capitalist than Canada, and vice versa.

Each direction has endpoints in very unattractive extremes: Statist Communism on one end, Corporatist Fascism on the other.

There's my very unsophisticated economic theory. If someone can figure out how to turn it into gainful employment, please let me know how.
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