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Old 01-18-2012, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,711 posts, read 16,549,308 times
Reputation: 14641

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We grew up with the idea that more is better. We like bigger or more expensive vehicles; we like large houses, we like bigger and better TV’s and electronics - we like the idea of a lavish lifestyle.

But; bigger has a price. Our goods cost more as more people want the same as we have - supply and demand. As our population grows; so does pollution. We also loose our freedom. We also loose time as more people are in our way as we proceed to our destinations. There is just more competition for fewer products.

Because of the recent economic downturn; many have come to question this push for growth. Larger and more expensive looks like it might not always be the answer.

Should we ever control our population growth? Should we control the products that we buy - such as gas guzzling vehicles? Should we control the internet (don’t ask Wikipedia today)? How much should we control ourselves and others? Should everybody be required to be a productive member of our society? If we are all replaced by robotic and technology; how do we still make a living?

I guess I am asking is: Can we tweak the system; so that it still functions with our new realities - or; do we have to change the game? I would hope that we would debate the issues and have alternative solutions to the changes that are ahead of us.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 57,441,812 times
Reputation: 24832
I will start by pointing I am a real leftist. I believe everyone should have the same opportunity to pretty much live as they please including on a minimal dole if that is their choice. Everyone should also have access to health care when they need it. The society should, like in much like the Scandinavian system, provide a minimum to survive.

The question is how to provide funding for this universal dole. I would pay for operating the government with a progressive income tax on all income from all sources with a deduction equal to the 90th percentile. Government borrowing would be strictly limited to capital projects like roads, bridges, dams, electric power (government monopoly) and other legitimate government expenses. The capital and operating costs of the military would be on a pay as it goes basis.

I suggest the most effective economic system is straight Capitalism as described by Adam Smith. I mean Capitalism without any government guarantees, open and full trade in an unconstrained market, complete elimination of crony and inside trading and all the other means that distort a true and open free uninsured market. Monopolies and oligopolies would be completely forbidden. All businesses would be responsible for any damage they do to the people and or the environment. For example the huge oil spills would have to be completely cleaned up or better yet prevented by the petroleum companies. Failure to do this would result in government fines resulting in government ownership of the companies and the oil for public benefit. I have also considered having all natural resources be owned by the government and possibly operated by private sector businesses.

In any case businesses would be prevented from cooperation to reduce competition and the financial system restricted to completely prevent speculation. If investors want to gamble let them buy a lottery ticket.

Our current system of crony businesses, greedy speculation and corrupt government is doomed to die of its own unspeakable greed and improper investment. This is a small part of my recommendation but I could summarize by recommending socialist protection for most of us and a free market for the Capitalists
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,711 posts, read 16,549,308 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
I will start by pointing I am a real leftist. I believe everyone should have the same opportunity to pretty much live as they please including on a minimal dole if that is their choice. Everyone should also have access to health care when they need it. The society should, like in much like the Scandinavian system, provide a minimum to survive.

The question is how to provide funding for this universal dole. I would pay for operating the government with a progressive income tax on all income from all sources with a deduction equal to the 90th percentile. Government borrowing would be strictly limited to capital projects like roads, bridges, dams, electric power (government monopoly) and other legitimate government expenses. The capital and operating costs of the military would be on a pay as it goes basis.

I suggest the most effective economic system is straight Capitalism as described by Adam Smith. I mean Capitalism without any government guarantees, open and full trade in an unconstrained market, complete elimination of crony and inside trading and all the other means that distort a true and open free uninsured market. Monopolies and oligopolies would be completely forbidden. All businesses would be responsible for any damage they do to the people and or the environment. For example the huge oil spills would have to be completely cleaned up or better yet prevented by the petroleum companies. Failure to do this would result in government fines resulting in government ownership of the companies and the oil for public benefit. I have also considered having all natural resources be owned by the government and possibly operated by private sector businesses.

In any case businesses would be prevented from cooperation to reduce competition and the financial system restricted to completely prevent speculation. If investors want to gamble let them buy a lottery ticket.

Our current system of crony businesses, greedy speculation and corrupt government is doomed to die of its own unspeakable greed and improper investment. This is a small part of my recommendation but I could summarize by recommending socialist protection for most of us and a free market for the Capitalists
Thank you for your post.

I do worry about the new technology and what it will do to good old Adam Smith.

Here is a link to information on a story I caught on one of our news stations the other day: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2011/May/No-Waiter-Needed-Restaurant-Uses-iPads/ Thousand of waiters/waitresses could eventually join the unemployed. It probably will not happen overnight - but this is the future. We are fast approaching computers that have close to human brain power.

In 1964, in an old Twilight Zone, there was a manager that replaced all of his workers with his new computers - only to eventfully get replaced himself. Technology has replaced many workers and will continue to replace workers. Technology has not yet caught up to the people at the top - but; it soon could. We are not only loosing our jobs; we are also loosing our security.

We have OWS that wants a greater distribution of wealth (I think; they are not always clear about their goals). We have the Tea Party that wants a balanced budget. None of this matters if we cannot come up with a direction. Direction and planning are two points that our politicians seem to overlook.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 57,441,812 times
Reputation: 24832
The main threat to employment over the long run is not just poor people in foreign lands. It is the robotization of many semi skilled production jobs. For example I was watching “How it’s Made” on the Science Channel. One feature was on a new auto factory in Malaysia. Now Malaysia has no shortage of people looking for work and capable of working on an automotive production line. What the show illustrated was a line of forty robots spot welding body work instead of 50 to 80 people doing the same job. These robots cost a huge amount of money but were still replacing people. Other features illustrate humans being replaced by machinery in a very wide range of tasks from ditch digging to three dimensional designs.

This may be considered by the investors to be a great improvement because robots only require a bit of greasing and some electricity which is a major savings over wages, health insurance and pensions required for keeping people on the job. IMHO every economy requires the equivalent of a low cost near slave class of workers. These are still underpaid non union workers in much of the world. As these workers begin to require higher wages and better benefits the investors move on. Eventually they will run out of places to move to. Then they will invest in the mechanical slaves know as automated manufacturing. The lower costs are good for investors until they find out that assembly machines and robot welders do not buy automobiles or widgets.

For industrial economies to sell their products people have to have the money to afford to buy. Without enough money the stuff stays on the shelves. One way to assure people have enough money is to hire them to do necessary but non production work like environmental inspection, consumer quality control, medical services and all the rest of the work that needs doing but is not amenable to generating either physical product or profit. What this work does generate is wages that can be used to purchase physical product.

Some may call all this work socialism but it is absolutely necessary to keep the investment and manufacturing economy functioning. It is just recognizing that the other side of production is consumption and automated robots produce but only people consume.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,711 posts, read 16,549,308 times
Reputation: 14641
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
The main threat to employment over the long run is not just poor people in foreign lands. It is the robotization of many semi skilled production jobs. For example I was watching “How it’s Made” on the Science Channel. One feature was on a new auto factory in Malaysia. Now Malaysia has no shortage of people looking for work and capable of working on an automotive production line. What the show illustrated was a line of forty robots spot welding body work instead of 50 to 80 people doing the same job. These robots cost a huge amount of money but were still replacing people. Other features illustrate humans being replaced by machinery in a very wide range of tasks from ditch digging to three dimensional designs.

This may be considered by the investors to be a great improvement because robots only require a bit of greasing and some electricity which is a major savings over wages, health insurance and pensions required for keeping people on the job. IMHO every economy requires the equivalent of a low cost near slave class of workers. These are still underpaid non union workers in much of the world. As these workers begin to require higher wages and better benefits the investors move on. Eventually they will run out of places to move to. Then they will invest in the mechanical slaves know as automated manufacturing. The lower costs are good for investors until they find out that assembly machines and robot welders do not buy automobiles or widgets.

For industrial economies to sell their products people have to have the money to afford to buy. Without enough money the stuff stays on the shelves. One way to assure people have enough money is to hire them to do necessary but non production work like environmental inspection, consumer quality control, medical services and all the rest of the work that needs doing but is not amenable to generating either physical product or profit. What this work does generate is wages that can be used to purchase physical product.

Some may call all this work socialism but it is absolutely necessary to keep the investment and manufacturing economy functioning. It is just recognizing that the other side of production is consumption and automated robots produce but only people consume.
Apparently we are not the only two worried about tomorrow: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.2ed706274083b5e00481b72882b4a47 d.3b1&show_article=1

Here is a quote from the article: "Is 20th Century Capitalism Failing 21st Century Society?"

“Other discussions scheduled include 'Fixing Capitalism', 'Has Globalisation Reached its Economic and Political Limits?'“

The article goes on about the leaders from 1000 corporations have paid $45,000 to attend this Davos summit.

One last quote: “According to Klaus Schwab, the founder and organiser of Davos, this year's meeting will focus on how to develop a new world model as "capitalism in its current form, has no place in the world around us."“
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:09 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
11,973 posts, read 24,247,251 times
Reputation: 12106
I actually had a professor elude to the exact same thing yesterday. My thoughts...

1. Do you mean can private ownership of property continue? I think absolutely!!

2. Can the constantly longing for bigger and better everything continue?? NO, unless we find some more Earths out there to farm and drill oil on.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,711 posts, read 16,549,308 times
Reputation: 14641
Quote:
Originally Posted by censusdata View Post
I actually had a professor elude to the exact same thing yesterday. My thoughts...

1. Do you mean can private ownership of property continue? I think absolutely!!

2. Can the constantly longing for bigger and better everything continue?? NO, unless we find some more Earths out there to farm and drill oil on.
We did not pay the $45,000 to attend the Davos summit - I guess that we will have to get our information second hand.

I just hope that some, besides our corporate leaders, are planning for our future. It would be great if somebody actually thought about the average citizen when they plan. I also don’t like surprises. I hope that any changes will be a consensus and not just the ideas of a few leaders. This also sounds like a lot of the old 'one world government' movement.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Ohio
23,508 posts, read 17,615,409 times
Reputation: 20410
Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
Can Capitalism survive without growth or too much growth?
Your premise is inherently flawed.

Capital has an inherent need to expand.

Capital does not exist in a vacuum, it exists in all 3 property theories: Capitalism; Socialism and Communism.

Are you going to go through life wearing the same pair of shoes? No, you are not. No matter what, you will eventually need a new pair of shoes, and it doesn't matter whether your government is Capitalist, Socialist or Communist.

The bottom line is that in order for you to have a new pair of shoes, you need more Capital.

Whether you live in a Socialist or Communist society, the bottom line is that you must constantly acquire an ever-increasing amount of Capital, meaning you must have growth in Capital in Socialist or Communist societies in order to survive.

Premising...


Mircea
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,711 posts, read 16,549,308 times
Reputation: 14641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
Your premise is inherently flawed.

Capital has an inherent need to expand.

Capital does not exist in a vacuum, it exists in all 3 property theories: Capitalism; Socialism and Communism.

Are you going to go through life wearing the same pair of shoes? No, you are not. No matter what, you will eventually need a new pair of shoes, and it doesn't matter whether your government is Capitalist, Socialist or Communist.

The bottom line is that in order for you to have a new pair of shoes, you need more Capital.

Whether you live in a Socialist or Communist society, the bottom line is that you must constantly acquire an ever-increasing amount of Capital, meaning you must have growth in Capital in Socialist or Communist societies in order to survive.

Premising...

Mircea
Maybe my premise is flawed? But I am not the only one that feels capitalism is in trouble. You saw that link that I posted in post #4. You also saw the quote from Klaus Schwab.

When you have a 1000 corporations paying that kind of money to debate the merits of capitalism as we know it; changes could be forth coming?

If we create a new job; somebody will find a way to do that job for less money. Whether it is computers and robots or outsourcing; capitalism is still the quest to produce the product cheap. We want to maximize our profits. The problem is that this technology is catching up with us - it will eventually take over even the traditionally ‘secure’ jobs.

We will need another model - which is what they are debating in Davos.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Purgatory
2,663 posts, read 5,174,714 times
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Greg,

It's interesting to read your thoughts as an American true leftist. I didn't think that many of you existed.

Like you, I have always believed that everyone should be provided with the minimum to live off, which includes the right to housing, free education and healthcare. After that, anything else should be earned, so it would kind of placate both sides....there would be no poverty and those who have the drive to succeed will still be rewarded, only not quite as generously in financial terms.

You could argue that this would lead to a bunch of people choosing to sit on their arses, but it is my opinion that most people would still choose to work, albeit not having to kill themselves to work and without the pressure and stress of having to follow the herd. People would also be free to study whatever they choose, even subjects like philosophy or art. People would be free to change careers without worrying about paying for expansive tuition or healthcare.

The knock on effect would be a far more stable economy and a market in which rising to the top for those at the bottom would be easier and based on ability, rather than luck. Of course, our attitudes towards money and wealth and the so-called undeserving poor would need to change, but I feel that all of us would reap the rewards from a society forged on stability, fairness and equality and a society in which people of all walks of life would be free to find their niche and pursue their dreams, as opposed to being trapped in misery and forced to follow the herd or be an outcast.
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