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Harvard study: America is an oligarchy

POSTED BY: SIGNYM
UPDATED: Sunday, December 31, 2017 04:56
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Friday, April 18, 2014 10:39 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


April 9, 2014
Testing Theories of American Politics:Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens
%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf


Even if 80% of citizens want a program, it's instituted only 43% of the time.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 10:47 AM

CHRISISALL


I read the first five pages so far, and it's pretty thorough stuff...

Last line on page 6 says it pretty straight out.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 11:18 AM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Liberty University study: "Sun rises in East."

Sorry, couldn't resist the snark. Of course Harvard is correct, but it's pretty obvious. And extremely irritating.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 12:05 PM

CHRISISALL


The summation on page 24 is very... kind.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 12:08 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by NewOldBrownCoat:
Liberty University study: "Sun rises in East."

Sorry, couldn't resist the snark. Of course Harvard is correct, but it's pretty obvious. And extremely irritating.

Want to understand our market-crazed era? Rediscover the 20th century’s most prophetic critic of capitalism. http://prospect.org/article/karl-polanyi-explains-it-all
Quote:

The middle class is beleaguered. A global reserve army of the unemployed batters wages and marginalizes labor’s political power. Even elite professions are becoming proletarianized. Ideologically, the view that markets are good and states are bad is close to hegemonic. With finance still supreme despite the 2008 collapse, it is no longer risible to use “capital” as a collective noun. The two leading treasury secretaries during the run-up to the 2008 financial crash, Democrat Robert Rubin and Republican Henry Paulson, were both former CEOs of Goldman Sachs. If the state is not quite the executive committee of the ruling class, it is doing a pretty fair imitation.

Yet Marx, for all of his stubbornly apt insights about capitalism, is an unreliable guide to its remediation. Polanyi, with the benefit of nearly a century’s worth more evidence, has a surer sense of how markets interact with society. More humanist than materialist, Polanyi did not believe in iron laws. His hope was that democratic leaders might learn from history and not repeat the calamitous mistakes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Polanyi lived long enough to see his wish fulfilled for a few decades. In hindsight, however, the brief period between the book’s publication and Polanyi’s demise is looking like a respite in the socially destructive tendencies of rampant markets. In seeking to understand the dynamics of our own time, we can do no better than to revisit Polanyi.



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Friday, April 18, 2014 12:12 PM

CHRISISALL


Sounds like fine reading, SECOND.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 12:17 PM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Indeed, thanx, Second. I'm gonna hafta hunt the guy down and read his theory. SOunds very interesting.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 1:17 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by NewOldBrownCoat:
Indeed, thanx, Second. I'm gonna hafta hunt the guy down and read his theory. SOunds very interesting.

The book mentioned in the article is The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique by Fred Block and Margaret R. Somers (Mar 31, 2014)
www.amazon.com/Power-Market-Fundamentalism-Fred-Block-ebook/dp/B00JR17
6H8
/
Book Blurb: “What is it about free-market ideas that gives them staying power in the face of such failures as persistent unemployment, widening inequality, and financial crises? The Power of Market Fundamentalism extends economist Karl Polanyi's work to explain why these dangerous utopian ideas have become the dominant economic ideology of our time.”

Another article to read is Why We’re in a New Gilded Age
www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/may/08/thomas-piketty-new-gilde
d-age
/


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Friday, April 18, 2014 4:19 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


I saw it expressed this way: they are predators and all they think of us is as prey.

And I think that's true.



To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. - Thomas Paine The American Crisis
OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Friday, April 18, 2014 5:05 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 1kiki:
I saw it expressed this way: they are predators and all they think of us is as prey.

And I think that's true.

I got a different point and it is in the last paragraph.

In the 1830s, the British state served the interests of the rising merchant class. The result was the hatred of public relief, the distrust of state action, the insistence on respectability and self-reliance on the part of the English working class. That describes members of today's Tea Party and the tendency of citizens throughout the West to give up on governments in the pockets of the rich, doing the bidding of private capital rather than providing a democratic counterweight.

The European Union’s austerity follies are recapitulating the perverse policies of the 1920s and inviting the same brand of know-nothing backlash. In the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, voters disgusted with the failure of politics to remedy the prolonged recession are poised to deliver big gains to nationalist far-right parties. In Hungary, the right already governs.

In the 1920s, as in the 1830s, the intellectual dominance of free-market economists gave pseudo-scientific cover to elites pursuing brutal and perverse policies, with a studied myopia about real-world consequences. In our own time, market fundamentalism is again the dominant ideology. The latest great transformation, from a balanced social market economy to a dictatorship of the invisible hand, has weakened the power of the polity to restore balance and undermined the confidence of the working and middle classes in the use of the democratic state to counter market excess. One must hope, with the optimistic Polanyi, that capitalism can be fixed. - http://prospect.org/article/karl-polanyi-explains-it-all

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Friday, April 18, 2014 8:38 PM

OONJERAH



Long is the way & hard that out of Feudalism leads up to Equality.



... oooOO}{OOooo ...



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Friday, April 18, 2014 9:50 PM

REAVERFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Oonjerah:

Long is the way & hard that out of Feudalism leads up to Equality.



... oooOO}{OOooo ...



We're back to robber barons, again. Literally. They really don't give a fuck. They'll be long dead when their equally psychotic kids inherit basically all their wealth.

There was a time when inheritance laws prevented "royal families," but no more.


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Friday, April 18, 2014 9:58 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by reaverfan:
We're back to robber barons, again. Literally. They really don't give a fuck. They'll be long dead when their equally psychotic kids inherit basically all their wealth.

There was a time when inheritance laws prevented "royal families," but no more.


Welcome to the New World (old world) Capitalism.
It's good to be the King.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 8:49 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Couple of things.

First, its a Princeton and Northwestern study.

Second, the folks at Princeton, Northwestern, and Harvard, when asked about the study's conclusion that America is an oligarchy, all responded, "Yes. And we like it that way."


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 11:06 AM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by reaverfan:
Quote:

Originally posted by Oonjerah:

Long is the way & hard that out of Feudalism leads up to Equality.



... oooOO}{OOooo ...



We're back to robber barons, again. Literally. They really don't give a fuck. They'll be long dead when their equally psychotic kids inherit basically all their wealth.

There was a time when inheritance laws prevented "royal families," but no more.




Ah, inheritance laws. You, of course, mean the "death tax", as it's "Rightly" known, don't you?

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 11:50 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



Cite?

Originally posted by Geezer:

Second, the folks at Princeton, Northwestern, and Harvard, when asked about the study's conclusion that America is an oligarchy, all responded, "Yes. And we like it that way."




To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. - Thomas Paine The American Crisis
OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:49 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Oh, yeah- PRINCETON not Harvard. It's hard to keep those Ivy League schools straight! Those rich people and their institutions ... they all look alike to me.

Those who read the paper title, roll their eyes and think "Yeah, yeah... tell me something I DON'T know" are missing some interesting points.

Who decides in America? has been the topic of many books, stories, theories, case studies and other papers. But none of them have had a large data set and looked comprehensively at one group's role versus another's.

According to this paper, the potential decision-makers fall into four categories/processes (according to previous work):

1) Majoritarian electoral democracy- where the majority of individuals decide on policy by electing politicians who represent their interests

2) Economic elite domination- where the very highest elites decide on policy, either because politicians tend to be from the economic elite themselves, or because of person-to-person gifts or influence. (This paper focuses on economic elites, not social elites or those in positions of "influence")

3) Majoritarian pluralism - where all kinds of people influence policy through interest groups and lobbyists: business groups, professional groups, think tanks, labor unions, AARP, NRA, pro-life groups, etc.

4) Biased pluralism- is like the above, but biased to favor the wealthier groups such as chambers of commerce, banking groups, etc.

This study used a total of 1799 policy changes, which were selected because they had national surveys which represented pro/con choices, were related to specific Federal action, and also had respondents' income breakdown. Looking at who influences policy...

Quote:

when all three independent variables are included in the multivariate Model 4 and tested against each other. The estimated impact of average citizens’ preferences drops precipitously, to a non-significant, near-zero level. Clearly the median citizen or “median voter” at the heart of theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy does not do well when put up against economic elites and organized interest groups.


So, average citizen bats ZERO.

Quote:

By contrast, economic elites are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy. This does not mean that theories of Economic Elite Domination are wholly upheld, since our results indicate that individual elites must share their policy influence with organized interest groups. Still, economic elites stand out as quite influential –more so than any other set of actors studied here – in the making of U.S. public policy.


Quote:

the system has a substantial status quo bias ... normative advocates of populistic democracy may not be enthusiastic about democracy by coincidence, in which ordinary citizens get what they want from government only when they happen to agree with elites or interest groups that are really calling the shots. When push comes to shove, actual influence matters.


and
Quote:

the predictions of Biased Pluralism theories fare substantially better than those of Majoritarian Pluralism theories... Relatively few mass-based interest groups are active, they do not (in the aggregate) represent the public very well, and they have less collective impact on policy than do business-oriented groups – whose stands tend to be negatively related to the preferences of average citizens. These business groups are far more numerous and active; they spend much more money; and they tend to get their way.




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Saturday, April 19, 2014 1:05 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


There are a few follow-on conclusions

A voting democracy doesn't work to represent the average citizen's interests. That bears a lot of thought. That means that all of those groups who try to shape public opinion in order to influence "the vote" may be fighting the wrong battle, since policy is apparently made in a non-democratic fashion anyway, and public opinion never gains independent traction. This parallels the recently-voiced notion of the "deep state"... decision-makers you don't see are really pulling the strings.

The fact that the average public opinion tends to "go along" with the elite opinion tells me that the elites have an outsized influence on the media. Since public opinion doesn't influence policy anyway, the purpose of controlling public opinion is probably to prevent public action by other (non-voting) means.

IF we are, in essence, a voting but non-democratic nation, what is it, exactly, that we claim to be "exporting" to other nations?

On what basis do we claim any difference from those "oligarchic" nations of eastern Europe and elsewhere?







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Saturday, April 19, 2014 3:59 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Signy

I saved the pdf though I haven't read it all yet. And I appreciate the exacting confirmation of what I've suspected for a long time.

I guess my focus is a little different - or perhaps it might be answered if I read the whole paper.

I want to know how EXACTLY does money confer influence? Is it through access? Is it through consistency and volume of message? Is it because the people in government know that the average citizen doesn't have the wherewithal to influence their personal political and economic futures? And who EXACTLY makes the decisions that run our lives? And who relays it? A vast majority wanted the Canadian system...would have grudgingly settled for a public option - who EXACTLY made that decision and who EXACTLY relayed the message so that Obama pivoted away from both?

And - how does Europe get far better representation of its citizens through the same process? (I suspect it's their parliamentary system, but maybe not.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:39 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Bill Moyers on America’s Mad Dash Toward Oligarchy April 18, 2014
http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/18/bill-moyers-on-americas-mad-dash-towa
rd-oligarchy
/

Economist Paul Krugman explains how the United States is becoming an oligarchy - the very system our founders revolted against.
http://billmoyers.com/episode/what-the-1-dont-want-you-to-know-2/



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 10:29 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by 1kiki:

Cite?



Originally posted by Geezer:

Second, the folks at Princeton, Northwestern, and Harvard, when asked about the study's conclusion that America is an oligarchy, all responded, "Yes. And we like it that way."



Four of the 10 richest Americans have degrees from Ivy league schools (8 out of 4,500 colleges and universities in the U.S.). One from Princeton, one from Harvard, and two from Columbia. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg also went to Harvard, although they didn't get degrees. Seems like the Ivy League is pretty much the education of choice for oligarchs.

http://college-education.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=00544
3


Northwestern, I expect, would like to get some grads on the list.




"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 10:36 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Well OK. I see you don't mind putting words in the mouths of other people as well! You don't just do that with us here!



To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. - Thomas Paine The American Crisis
OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Monday, April 21, 2014 10:40 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


This morning Paul Krugman wrote about the study that started this thread:

Apr 21, 8:29 am
Class, Oligarchy, and the Limits of Cynicism
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/class-oligarchy-and-the-li
mits-of-cynicism
/

A recent paper (pdf) by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so. Gilens and Page look at a number of issues over the past 30+ years where polling data let us identify public policy preferences, which can be compared with elite and interest-group preferences. And what they find is that politicians don’t seem to care very much about what the public thinks: when elite preferences and popular preferences are different, the elite almost always wins.

This is an important insight — and it gains special force these days, when the elite’s views not only favor the elite versus the rest (duh) but have also been systematically wrong, on issues from invading Iraq to giving deficits a higher priority than jobs.

But there is a danger here of going too far, and imagining that electoral politics is irrelevant. Why bother getting involved in campaigns, when the oligarchy rules whichever party is in power?

So it’s worth pointing out it does make a difference. Yes, Democrats pay a lot of attention to plutocrats, and even make a point of inviting Patrimonial Capitalism: The Next Generation to White House galas (I would have missed that, even though it’s in my own paper, but for Kathleen Geier. Thanks!). But it’s quite wrong to say that the parties’ behavior in office is the same. As Floyd Norris points out, Obama has in fact significantly raised taxes on very high incomes, largely through special surcharges included in the Affordable Care Act; and what the Act does with the extra revenue is expand Medicaid and provide subsidies on the exchanges, both means-tested programs whose beneficiaries tend to be mainly lower-income adults. The net effect will be significant losses for the super-elite — not crippling losses, to be sure, and hardly anything that will affect their elite status — and major gains to tens of millions of less fortunate Americans.

If you’re waiting for a revolution, or even a new New Deal, this may seem disappointing. But it matters a lot all the same.


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Monday, April 21, 2014 12:36 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Then Krugman is an idiot.

Both Republicans AND Democrats built the economic/ politcal monstrosity under which we now live:

Manufacturing jobs shipped off to Mexico (thank you Clinton) and China (thank you Bush)

The greatest disparity in wealth since even before the Great Depression (thank you, all Presidents since Reagan but especially GWB and Obama) leading to...

The collapse of the entire world's financial system which destroyed 40% of the worlds' wealth (thank you, Clinton for ending Glass-Steagall)

The complete control of ideas by large entities (thank you Clinton for DMCA)

Over the past 14 years, we've experience a historic transfer of wealth fror the American middle class to the very wealthy here and in China.

The inexorable transfer of "rights" from individuals to corporations. (thank you Supreme Court)

------------

It takes a very partisan economist to ignore all of those tectonic shifts... which BTW have not been reversed even the littlest bit, but continue on their inexorable way. The average American hemorrhaged wealth and rights upwards, and Democrats manage to scavenge a few crumbs from the process?

We don't need crumbs, we need to get control of this process and have our interests represented. Isn't that what the politicans are getting paid to do???

If they're not running the country FOR US, FIRE THEM. Kick them the fuck out.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 12:46 PM

JONGSSTRAW

We carry in our hearts the true country, and that cannot be stolen.


^ Total bs and utter nonsense.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 12:46 PM

JONGSSTRAW

We carry in our hearts the true country, and that cannot be stolen.



.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 12:47 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


"If you’re waiting for a revolution, or even a new New Deal, this may seem disappointing."

Because crumbs matter.



To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. - Thomas Paine The American Crisis
OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Monday, April 21, 2014 1:10 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


And Krugman demonstrates WHY public opinion doesn't count: Because people become partisan, and lose sight of WHAT'S IMPORTANT. So when both political parties become co-opted, the audience is still engaged with show, which they mistake for a real choice.

It's very frustrating... the FF gave us a mechanism... imperfect and corruptable, but still there... by which we can non-violently force government to do our bidding. Because, yanno, who the fuck wants a revolution every sixty years? But partisanship has completely derailed the process.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 1:14 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Bump, just because this is important, unlike Jongsstraw.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 3:41 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


A bigger question to me is: how do you get the 1% to turn over a chunk of their money, and not by mandate, but happily?

Why happily? Aren't they benefiting disproportionately from society? And doesn't society have the right to govern itself? And, uhm - how does this compare with European democracies?


If you threaten or tax you will get a fight, could get real ugly, could even get worse. So, how do we get them to agree to turning over some of their wealth willingly?

I've wondered for some time now just how much democracy we have. If people woke up from their stupor and started voting their own interests, and threatening the privilege of the wealthy and powerful - would we see the military come out? It would be an interesting experiment in this democracy. I'd like to see just how much power the vote ultimately has here.




OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Monday, April 21, 2014 5:37 PM

CHRISISALL


Think of this on a smaller level: my Son starts making deals with peeps in my house. He'll do the laundry for this bit of food, the car washing for that bit, the dishes for another, the garbage for another, errands for another, he'll flat out purchase some of it with his allowance, he'll have friends over that we have to provide snacks for, he decides to feed a stray dog every day, etc. I suddenly find out there is no food left for the rest of us. I say, whoah buddy, you're makin' so many deals here I can't keep track, you're back to getting your fair share so WE can eat too.

Is THAT Communism? Am I over-controlling my family's free-market economy? Shouldn't the rest of us just starve because we aren't as good at wheeling & dealing as my boy?


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Monday, April 21, 2014 5:40 PM

OONJERAH



The National Defense Authorization Act

Do I Even Have Any Rights Anymore?

Should I have any rights? If you wanna talk about complacency of
the common citizen, point at me. I have been an escapist all my life,
even before we had television. But with television ... gee, can't
everyone be lulled into a state of deluded security? Helpless, but
sorta secure.

SO! The Internet replaces TV for a lot of people (less passive people?)
The Internet can gather people for a common purpose. People need
to believe they could have power before they can get it back.



... oooOO}{OOooo ...

I've given up looking for the meaning of life. Now all I want is a cookie.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 6:36 PM

JONGSSTRAW

We carry in our hearts the true country, and that cannot be stolen.


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Think of this on a smaller level: my Son starts making deals with peeps in my house. He'll do the laundry for this bit of food, the car washing for that bit, the dishes for another, the garbage for another, errands for another, he'll flat out purchase some of it with his allowance, he'll have friends over that we have to provide snacks for, he decides to feed a stray dog every day, etc. I suddenly find out there is no food left for the rest of us. I say, whoah buddy, you're makin' so many deals here I can't keep track, you're back to getting your fair share so WE can eat too.

Is THAT Communism? Am I over-controlling my family's free-market economy? Shouldn't the rest of us just starve because we aren't as good at wheeling & dealing as my boy?


Not communism, but definitely child abuse!

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Monday, April 21, 2014 6:43 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Jongsstraw:
Not communism, but definitely child abuse!

I'm glad you amused yourself. Does that mean you can't make any kind of an argument agreeing or disagreeing with that analogy?

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Monday, April 21, 2014 6:49 PM

JONGSSTRAW

We carry in our hearts the true country, and that cannot be stolen.


It means you got your son working like an indentured servant around the house for "bits of food". Lord only knows what he has to do for a hot meal. Poor kid.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:44 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

"Happily" because you want it to get done
There is always The Guillotine.

THHHHWAAACK!

Happiness is a relative term. It can be otained by considering the alternative.



---

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:48 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Jongsstraw:
It means you got your son working like an indentured servant around the house for "bits of food". Lord only knows what he has to do for a hot meal. Poor kid.

I'll take that as a yes.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:59 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


We have the democracy we deserve. Voting - can't see what it matters when the choices are so few. It feels more like a system problem.

And yet, I point to Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand as examples where democracy works better. I sometimes think it's due to the parliamentary system - you need to hew to the mood of the voters or you could be out at any time. But the US could employ a similar tactic, just delayed. And there's SignyM's proposal that when the result is a lock you vote third party. Either of the two major parties will notice if their margins go the wrong way, and in what direction they're eroding.

Given all that I still do wonder - if we the voters got smarter and created a real threat to TPTB, how much democracy would we find we really have? I would love to be in a position to find out. Wouldn't you?



OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:03 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


So, how do other democracies manage?



OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:57 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


By 'manage', I mean manage to represent the welfare of the unmonied and non-powerful 99%. Many of these are common, if not universal.

Redistribution of wealth that includes

1) free or inexpensive comprehensive health care for all (even tourists)
2) free pre-school, primary and secondary school, inexpensive college and graduate education (including Mds)
3) free or inexpensive comprehensive public transportation
4) free or inexpensive long-term care (there's distinction to be made between acute care and rehabilitative care provided by the medical system, and maintenance care)
5) minimum standard of living

Plus

6) widely publicly available arts, recreation, parks
7) privacy laws that protect people from the government, corporations, and other people
8) strong action on maintaining the commons, especially pollution and climate change laws
9) strong action on consumer protection and mandated labeling

Now I'm sure compliance isn't so 'happy' that it would be voluntary in the absence of laws. And yet these laws do exist that benefit ordinary folk in the face of the wealthy and powerful.




OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 6:46 PM

MAGONSDAUGHTER


I sometimes think the main reason why some democracies work better than others is about size. It seems to me the the US is just too big to be governed effectively.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to talk about the pros and cons of our different systems but I do know that you do not have to be rich to be elected to government here. However, Parliament is still dominated by a certain socio economic group, gender and ethnicity although the latter two are changing.
http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parli
amentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1314/43rdParl


so often I think its just out size that means that government can be a bit more representative and accountable.

Like everywhere else, we've been influenced/bullied http://www.globalexchange.org/resources/wto/services away from taxpayer funded services to more user pays systems. When I got my first university qualification, higher education was free. Utilities were state government owned and cheap, but you had no choice. Hooray, now I have choice about which expensive power company I get to use. I still dont understand the reason behind private ownership of utilities except that the government made a shit load of money when they sold off these amazing investments, but I'm an old fashioned gal.

I have to admit I dont share the despair/hopelessness/cynacism that is demonstrated by many American posters on these boards. Maybe its because we've never seen ourselves as either a global power or the greatest country on earth, so there's not that despair at feeling knocked off one's perch.

I tend to see the current system as somewhat flawed, but not without redemption. Livable, but I'm not sure for how long.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 6:59 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Magonsdaughter:
I have to admit I dont share the despair/hopelessness/cynacism that is demonstrated by many American posters on these boards. Maybe its because we've never seen ourselves as either a global power or the greatest country on earth, so there's not that despair at feeling knocked off one's perch.

If I display any of those feelings it's NOT because of the reasons you postulate; I welcome not being 'the' global power, and I've never seen us the greatest country on Earth. It's because the poor will soon have the middle class joining their ranks to keep the 1% up there. And that means revolution.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:10 AM

MAGONSDAUGHTER


I was thinking more of your ideals and sense of being the shining light of democracy rather than global imperialists.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 1:28 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

Harder to get them to sign documents or type in their PIN when they can't move their hand.
I don't think you can't threaten the rich well successfully, especially if they own the rings of power as you suggest. You might guilt them into it, or annoy them into it, "Begone peasants! Here's a weeks wages, scurry off to do you muddy buggering you call life!" But lasting contributions? Again, do you want to see blood or money?



You have a limited imagination!!!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 7:35 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by G:
So, seems like trying to strike a deal makes the most sense to me. I understand The Rich like deals too. Hey, maybe we could sell them shares in infrastructure projects?

You are thinking too small. There will be no little deal. It will be a BIG deal.

The ratio of wealth to income is rising in all developed countries. Absent extraordinary interventions, expect that trend to continue. If it continues, the future will look like the 19th century, where economic elites have predominantly inherited their wealth rather than working for it.

Visualize a class-ridden, neo-Victorian society dominated by the unearned wealth of a hereditary elite. And old-Victorian society didn't end with a deal; it ended with WWI and the Great Depression.

See Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, the #1 best-selling book on Amazon for some calculations about how wealth (and power proportional to that wealth) will end up in very few hands. www.amazon.com/Capital-Twenty-First-Century-Thomas-Piketty/dp/06744300
0X
/

Or read the free www.vox.com/2014/4/8/5592198/the-short-guide-to-capital-in-the-21st-ce
ntury


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:03 PM

REAVERFAN


This conversation is getting interesting.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:10 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


"... more intent on punishing than resolving ..."

There are two things that can't be satisfied at the same time: endless economic expansion and living within the finite planet resources.

You could keep the system that generates extreme wealth discrepancies (where wealth is skimmed off at every turn of the cycle) and still avoid driving most of the people in starvation-level poverty if you expand the economy endlessly.

But resources are limited. They are a zero-sum environment.

That means that the only way to avoid global mass poverty is to redistribute wealth. You think of it as 'punishment' but it's a necessity.



OONJERAH - We are too dumb to live and smart enough to wipe ourselves out.
"You, who live in any kind of comfort or convenience, do not know how these people can survive these things, do you? They will endure because there is no immediate escape from endurance. Some will die, the rest must live."

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Friday, April 25, 2014 12:21 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Thanks for your reply.

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Friday, April 25, 2014 1:30 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

I proposed voluntary, non-violent redistribution.
It'll never happen. But, it's a great fantasy!

As to the question, "Do you want blood or money?" the question is... what I REALLY want is a system in which a 1% will never rise again.

It's possible to get rid of any particular 1%. Seen any Bourbon kings prancing around France lately? Any Romanovs in charge of Russia at this point? Any Knights Templar at your local bank?

The problem is, you can effectively get rid of "a" 1%, but another 1% will rise up to take its place. So we have Gateses and Soroses and Heluses instead of Romanovs and Templars and Bourbons.

Under the right circumstances, POWER CONCENTRATES. The idea that power and money seeks a level, like water, is one of the memes I got rid of decades ago as completely unrealistic and unworkable. Power concentrates. It's like a friggin' law of nature, like the viral nature of life. A small imbalance of power is springboarded into a greater imbalance of power. Multiple efforts by multiple people over decades and decades under the right circumstances ensures that it happens.

There have been a few societies where this DIDN'T happen: Mohenjo-Daro and its sister-cities, for example. Cities rebuilt over and over, through 500 years, without (apparently) slums, temples, palaces, ramparts, armories, or war: no signs of death by fire, no mass graves, no death by violence. Unfortunately, we have no idea how they achieved this.

If I can't figure out how to re-create the initial conditions, I'll be happy with redistributing money. It takes a powerful mental pathology to think that one is "better than" everyone else when one is deprived of excessive wealth. Punishment isn't necessary. However, it amy take violence to achieve the redistribution.

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Friday, April 25, 2014 10:58 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

mine is related to the other discussion about evolving Man.
The "man" who needs to evolve is the 99.999%, not the 0.001% who've learned to parasitize the remainder.

Seriously, unless that 99.999% learns to stand up on its hind legs ... to activate the social immune system, so to speak, and reject that parastitical 0.001% and make it ineffective... we're doomed to experience revolution after revolution, until our environment gives out and we're ALL just plain doomed. It's not like we have endless iterations to figure this out. We're working against the clock, so to speak.

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