This is the dream solution so far, but this does NOT exist.
Blah blah blah ponzi scheme
Wank wank not real money
warghaghgahgahl... money laundering
Have I missed any?
Yes, you have missed the point that with the possible exception of money-laundering all of those are in fact valid points that have yet to been answered by the pro-bitcoin people. You also confused inflation with deflation.
Bitcoin is most certainly not a real currency at this point. It's a commodity that a very limited set of mostly online services accept as a form of payment. And it is by design such that it tends to to increase in value over time, which means hyper-deflation not hyper-inflation as you claimed. This makes it almost useless as a currency (hyper-deflation is even worse for a currency than hyper inflation) but at the same time, very lucrative as an investment, especially for those who got onboard while it was possible to mine millions with regular desktop CPUs/GPUs. The early adopters are certainly at a very distinctive advantage. While this does not directly mean that BC is intended to be a malicious Ponzi scheme, it does share quite a lot of features with those schemes.
As for money laundering, that's something that I don't see as such a large issue, as BC is not really anonymous. That is, the exchanges of cash into BC and vice versa are traceable, so any large scale money laundering can be spotted.
As for everything else, to this day I still haven't heard a good reason to use BC as anything else than a speculative investment target. I see zero benefits in using it for purchases. If I want anonymity, I'll be better off sticking with cash. At least with that, in addition to being truly anonymous compared to the pseudo-anonymity of BC wherein anybody can see who paid what to whom (a feature, not a bug), I also know that the money I give to my friend will be valued roughly the same (or a tad less) in a few months time and that my currency is secured even if my bank goes down - 2 features I see as essential for any real currency, and 2 features sorely missing from Bitcoin in its current state.
People have to **USE** Bitcoin or Bitcoin dies...until you can directly exchange Bitcoin to currency this will just be an elaborate hoax.
The ease of exchange is not nearly the only problem with BC. Let me list a few others:
1. Deflation. Because there's a set cap on the total amount of Bitcoins that can ever exist (made worse by the fact that it is possible for coins to disappear permanently, limiting the supply even more), the currency is by nature deflationary (this does not however mean that it cannot go down in value but I'll get to that later). Deflation is of course good for those who use BC for investment/speculative purposes, but very bad for anyone wanting to actually use it for trade. For the consumer, having currency that looks like it will be worth more next week than now does not really encourage spending in any way. Pricing is difficult as hell because of the deflation since you have to keep adjusting prices down because of the deflation (and people have to convert the amounts to standard currencies anway, because saying something is worth "0,02 bitcoins", doesn't really tell you anything unless you go and check how much the current rate is)
2. Useability: let's be honest: what's the one thing people use BC for at the moment in addition to speculating? Paying for suspicious goods or services online. And I know there are other things you can get with bitcoins as well, but the main reasons people exchange their regular currencies for bitcoins is because even though BC is not anonymous (unlike some people think), it's the closest/most used equivalent we currently have for cash in the online world, making it the currency of choice for those who want to order something which they do not want to get caught buying (not just drugs btw, gambling is also a big thing with BC).
Now, these two factors are entwined: currencies only have value because people expect that they will be accepted (ie. retain their value) later on. In the case of bitcoin, the reason the value has shot up as fast as it has, and what makes it so lucrative at the moment for speculators, is the 'quasi-anonymous' nature of it - and services such as silkroad. That is to say, in a completely hypothetical scenario wherein drugs would become legal to buy and sell online using 'old fashioned' currencies the price of the BC would likely plummet fast. Now, while such a scenario seems rather unlikely, it's just meant to show how dependent BC currently is on such sites/services. For reference, this is what happened to the exchange rates of bitcoin when silkroad was closed. Which gets us to the third point:
3. Volatility. Right now BC has been fairly steadily increasing in value, as people have become more interested in it, but there is no guarantee that this situation will continue. In fact, looking at the rather massive increase in value and comparing it to a classic model of a bubble (got the links from a recent BC story and its comments here on
You're right, people need to use bitcoin or it dies, but the essential question is: would you be confident in having large sums of money in a form which makes it very hard to predict how much it will be worth in a couple of months, and with which you can buy hardly anything outside certain online products and services, and even in those the only benefit you'll get from using bitcoins compared to regular currencies is that it makes it harder (but not impossible) to trace the purchase to you. Even if stores started accepting BC at large tomorrow, I'd still prefer to do my shopping in Euros because it would be easier, and even though regular currencies are by no means stable either all the time, I have more faith in government backed currencies maintaining their value in the long run than in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is not a total hoax, because it does have its uses. Nevertheless, looking at the way it is build and its current state, it's closer to a pyramid scheme than an actual working currency model.
You equate the one character from the Bibble that had the balls to stand up against the divine tyranny to this Mark Zuckerberg? That's offensive to Satan.
In all seriousness, as an atheist I don't much care about the feelings of imaginary beings, but looking at the bibble as a story and comparing the characters, there is 1 divine "big brother", who watches everything you do and one guy who tells you to oppose such foolishness.
To quote great speech by Al Pacino ('John Milton'), whose in fact Satan (in the movie), in The Devil's Advocate
John Milton: Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Ahaha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, fuckin' ass off! He's a tight-ass! He's a SADIST! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!
Kevin Lomax: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven", is that it?
John Milton: Why not? I'm here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began. I've nurtured every sensation man's been inspired to have. I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I'm a fan of man! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist."
Just sayin: you should reconsider things if you think satan's the bad guy in the """good""" book.
the entire basis of capitalism, trading labor for capital
Uhm, that'd be wrong. The basis of capitalism is the ownership of the means of production.
Yes, it also implies that since everyone owns their own bodies, they're free to trade the labor provided by their body - be it mental pr physical - to capital, but that is not what the ideology is founded upon.
You're entirely correct in that western societies are fast approaching a point wherein the need for low skill (ie. uneducated) labor will be zero. This means that we societies at large need to figure out how to best handle the masses of people who don't want to or cannot be educated and thus cannot employ themselves in a future where there is no need for manual labor. Personally I think that a person's ability to live and enjoy a decent standard of living should never be dependent on how much they are able to work.
However, it is important to realize that even if we agree to this, it does not mean the end of capitalism. Even if we an use machines to do work faster and better, those machines need to be built. And even though we will most likely end up at a point wherein we use machines to build those machines we will still need raw materials to do so. Even if we figure out a way to build a machine, which will produce anything we can think of, that machine will still be limited by 2 factors:
1) the resources available and
2) the energy needed to run the machine
Now, theoretically we can even eliminate the 1st one of these. But supposing we manage to build a functioning replicator, unless we figure out a way to get unlimited energy to the replicators it will still be constrained in how much stuff it can produce. As long as this is the case, meaning; as long as there exists any sort of material and/or energy-production scarcity, some form of capitalism will exist. Why? For the simple reason that if we need to utilize some finite resource to produce stuff, somebody will need to provide those resources.
Using the example of star trek, supposing we have the capability to replicate anything, I want to replicate myself an entire starship. If we have unlimited resources this will be no problem, because we can simply replicate entire starships or even fleets of starships to anyone who wants them. But if we have limited resources, producing a starship for me will mean that we can't produce a starship - or anything else using the same amount of resources - for anyone else.
That is to say as long as we don't have infinite amounts of energy and materials, we cannot simply give anyone anything they desire. So if both me and Bob want a straship, but we can only manufacture 1 of them, what basis do we use to decide which one of us gets it? There needs to be some way to determine how the finite resources are to be allocated unless you're just advocating for a model of society in which anyone can ask for anything and someone randomly chooses which items get produced (and for whom). This doesn't necessarily mean we'll always have a money based economy - simply that as long as there is any type of scarcity there will also be supply and demand, and the demand has to be quantified in some way. I can say I need a starship more than Bob does and therefore I should be the one who gets it, but need is an entirely subjective concept and is of no use unless I tell, why I need it. I can say I need the starship to explore the galaxy and seek out new materials and life, and Bob can say he needs it because he really likes piloting a starship. Both are valid reasons for wanting a ship, but if we only have the resources to fulfill either my wish or Bob's, whoever controls the starship-factory will have to decide who he'll listen.
This is where the true basis of capitalism lies: the ownership of the means of production. Whoever controls the manufacturing, controls the supply. If Bob owns the replicator, he can simply build a ship for himself no matter how good arguments I might present to him for why I should be the one to get it and vice versa. The ship has value for both of us, but the value needs to be quantified if any sort of rational decisions are to be made about who gets it. This is why we have a tool of trade, money, which allows me to say "I need the ship more than Bob and therefore I am willing to pay more money (ie. resources) for it." Even if we abolish monetary-economy, some mechanism of valuation of the needs of individuals will exist as long as we don't have infinite production capabilities.
I would argue the only thing one CAN do without having massive revolts is to simply pay the masses not to work, just as we pay farmers not to grow, because like it or not we are quickly reaching a point where the tech has made us humans obsolete.
Yes, to an extent. But note that if you're going to argue that we pay them, that implies using a currency, which in turn implies an economy based on some level in capitalism, because it requires that the goods and services on the market have a value measurable in some type of currency. So to sum it up: we're in agreement that not everyone can or will do work in the future, but you're mistaken if you think this instantly means the end of capitalism - it merely means that we will have to transform the way our societies at large implement capitalism,
I'm not sure how higher standard of living is connected with adequate food, shelter, and education for the majority of the population. I'm sure with a base line, the rest will follow but you have missed the entire point.
I'm not the guy you were responding to, but I'm gonna give my 2 cents on the matter. I think you kind of missed his point. In your original post you said:
But expecting government to provide something is really harsh on someone trying to provide for themselves. That is how a country becomes wealthy- when the population provides for themselves and the government only keeps the social economic environment that makes it possible to do so.
Implying that the government being involved in these things (ie. welfare). As someone who lives in a welfare state (Finland) and currently works for the public healthcare sector, let me give my thoughts on why I think you're both wrong and right. I know you didn't originally talk about healthcare, but I'm going to be using that as an example because that's what I'm most familiar with and I think health is no different from the other basic necessities (food, shelter, housing) that you mentioned.
So the facts of the current situation are these: The US is spending the most tax dollars per citizens on healthcare and is ranked 33rd in life expectancy. Of the countries that are ahead of US, pretty much all have at least some from of socialized healthcare. Even the countries with insurance-systems like Switzerland and Germany have a model where insurance is used like in the States, but it is mandated and regulated to keep the prices in line and the companies are not allowed to reject sick people. Point being: the US is pretty much the only industrialized country in the world where high amounts of people with no insurance (and therefore pretty much no healthcare) still exist, largerly because of the pricing. This is why it is so expensive: since the law still denies ERs from letting people die even if they're uninsured, the hospitals perform the necessary operations which are priced with (often insane) profit margins because traditionally the insurance companies would pay them, and if/when the uninsured individual cannot pay the bill it is footed by the taxpayers.
Note that the most expensive healthcare system after the US is Norway's single payer model but even that is a whopping 34,6 % cheaper than the US model and the country with the highest life expectancy (Japan) has a socialized model that is 63,1 % cheaper!. Japan's average life expectancy is 83 compared to 79 of the States. This means, that the Japanese are using 63 % less money and still getting 5 % better performance from their system. These figures leave no room for interpretation: the US model is clearly more expensive, and at the same time less effective in increasing maintaining/increasing national health (note that I'm not talking about wealthy individuals, I'm very much aware that if you happen to be rich you can get excellent care in the States but that is not my point) than pretty much any other system used by any industrialized country, yet American politicians and the insurance lobby does their best to keep the current system in place.
But expecting government to provide something is really harsh on someone trying to provide for themselves.
You're right, but this is true only in cases where the thing being provided - whether it be healthcare, housing or education - is treated as a privilege instead of as a basic right. The US constitution makes no mention of any of these things as far as I'm aware (although I admit to not having read the thing in its entirety) even though you could easily argue that all of them are necessary for "the pursuit of happiness" that's so often used as the core of the american idealism.
If you treat stuff like education and health as a commodity to be sold for profit, of course it's going to be unfair for the ones paying for it themselves to see others being funded by the government while you're working hard for your share. But if you have a system which guarantees everyone the right to these things and puts that before making profit, you're much more likely to get a functional system. This is why the US is currently losing to fellow OECD members on these matters (ie. standard of living). You're still the richest country, but your populace is in general is doing a lot worse than in many other "poorer" countries exactly because of these extremely market-driven policies and the rather irrational fear of government intervention.
For comparison, the Finnish constitution says the following about the matters of education and healthcare:
Section 16 - Educational rights
Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge. Provisions on the duty to receive education are laid down
by an Act.
The public authorities shall, as provided in more detail by an Act, guarantee for everyone equal opportunity to
receive other educational services in accordance with their ability and special needs, as well as the opportunity to
develop themselves without being prevented by economic hardship.
The freedom of science, the arts and higher education is guaranteed.
Section 19 - The right to social security
Those who cannot obtain the means necessary for a life of dignity have the right to receive indispensable
subsistence and care.
Everyone shall be guaranteed by an Act the right to basic subsistence in the event of unemployment, illness, and
disability and during old age as well as at the birth of a child or the loss of a provider.
The public authorities shall guarantee for everyone, as provided in more detail by an Act, adequate social, health and
medical services and promote the health of the population. Moreover, the public authorities shall support families
and others responsible for providing for children so that they have the ability to ensure the wellbeing and personal
development of the children.
The public authorities shall promote the right of everyone to housing and the opportunity to arrange their own.
So to summarize: I think the facts are not on your side in this matter but it of course all depends on whether you think that the government's job is to prioritize the wealth of the nation or the happiness and wellbeing of the entire populace.
the economic rationale is logically sound (more so than standard economic mantras such as "a little inflation is good")
There is a very simple reason why a "little bit of inflation" (usually anywhere from 0 to 2 percent a year) is preferable to a deflationary currency: if people know for a fact that in some given timeframe the value of the money they have is going to go up, instead of using it to buy things that they don't absolutely need they're going to wait for when they can get more things with that same a amount of money, which in turn is generally not too god for the economy. Out of hand deflation is just as bad (if not worse) as out of hand inflation.
Now, combine that with the fact that the bitcoin system heavily favors early adopters and you can start to see why some people are skeptical about bitcoin. We know that a large chunk of all the bitcoins thusfar mined have never yet been moved (I don't remember the numbers right now but as far as I know this much can be verified by examining the keychain data). This means that there are people out there sitting on "piles" of bitcoins waiting for the value of the currency to creep up as the mining gets more and more difficult and rewards for mining get halved every 4 years. If these people decide that they want to cash in some or all of their winnings and start exhanging those bitcoins for money at large volumes, it has the potential to crash the course of bitcoin in a major way.
Note that I'm not saying it will happen, or even that if it happens it will completely destroy bitcoins, I'm merely pointing out that because of the way the system is built the danger of a large scale dump and a crash is ever present and a huge threat to the stability of the currency.
Is it a scam? I don't know. It's an interesting experiment and has some potential but scam or not it could still be a bubble waiting to burst. Only time will tell.
People here are having a good laugh at HFT's expense and overlooking the actual issue here: someone trusted a single tweet to be a good enough of a source for a news event like this.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge lover of HFT either, it's just that in this case it didn't cause the prblem, lack of fact-checking of any sort did. Think about it for a moment, if you were working at any of these banks and saw a tweet saying that there has been an explosion at white House, would you:
A) Make a decision right away upon seeing the tweet
B) Type "whitehouse explosion" into google or just open up BBC or CNN or any major news channel and confirm that this has actually happen before staring to move about vast sums of money based,
I would somehow be able to understand it if it was their webpage that was hacked and somebody posted a headline about the fake attack or something but it's not even that, it's a tweet. A single tweet from a single source.
This is a case of major user error. I am not the boss of these traders but if I were they'd be out of jobs right now. I understand that speed is a key factor in these things - and that is largely because of the way HFT operates so it certainly has its problems. However, checking something like this only takes a few seconds and should really be the first thing anybody does upon reading such news from a god damn microblog.
To conclude: Yes, HFT made the situation worse and caused to escalate so quickly but the decision that led to that chaos was still made by a human or humans.
I think by "Christian skeptic" people mean that they take the essentials of Christianity to be true (i.e. there is a God, Jesus was his son) but sensibly don't have to swallow things like Adam and Eve as literal truth.
I'm aware of this. But even those people still accept certain core beliefs such as there being a supernatural being who can somehow interact with the world around us yet not be detected in any way, the idea of souls, heaven and so on. All of these are beliefs which any truly skeptic person would have to abandon because there's not a shred of evidence to support them. That's why I think the term "skeptic christian" is BS.
I used to regard myself as a Christian skeptic
I'm sorry but that's just silly. Christianity (and pretty much all religions for that matter) is a belief system which rests on accepting stuff on faith, ie.without proper evidence to support them.
Anybody can label the as "skeptic" but if one is wiling to believe in virgin birth, non-existent floods, angels, walking on water and people rising from the dead (just to name a few) all because it says so in an old book then one hardly fills the criteria of a skeptic.
That is not to say that belief in a god/gods is altogether incompatible with skepticism. It's possible to be a deist and a skeptic but believing in any religion that makes testable claims about the universe around us means that if you want to truly be skeptic you need to apply same standard of evidence to those claims as to all others - and failing to do so and reverting to "well this is what I believe so I don't question it" -mentality is intellectually dishonest.
The only christian skeptics in the true sense of the word are ex-christian skeptics.
There is nothing the US has or has not done that causes jihadis to hate you
Okay, let's have a thought experiment. Let's say that some unkown force starts to bomb places in the US. They claim they're targetting only "militants" and warmongerers but every now and again they happen to kill the entire family, a few neughbours etc. Are you telling me that this would not cause everyday citizens to become enraged at whoever it was that was doing this? And that the recruitment officials wouldn't use it as a marketing tactic to get young men (and women) to enlist? Because that's essentially what you're doing right now. And your take on this seems to be along the lines of "well, we can't reason with their ideological leaders, so we might just as well not give a fuck about what the general populace thinks of us."
You're missing something important here: jihadists don't appear out of nowhere. These kids don't list "suicide bomber" as their dream job when they grow up. They're recruited - just like american soldiers. The difference is, recruiting is not exactly hard when you can just walk into a neighborhoodthat recently had a drone strike and find the relatives/friends of those who've died on that strike and start talking to them about vengeance.
So it is a legitimate question to ask whether or not the drone strikes are acutally helping or just making the problem bigger. No matter what the media would often want you to believe the world isn't neatly black and white. Believe it or not the way your foreign policy is conducted affects how people all over the globe judge you and if you're seen as the world police who will use whatever means to destroy those who disagree with it with little to no regard for civillian lives... well, let's just say you're not making life any easier for yourselves.
You tried the "The communists hate because they hate us and you can't reason with them so we must destroy them all" -tactic with much greater force in Vietnam and it failed there. And islam played no part in that whatsoever. All you've done now is replaced the Viet Cong with terrorists/jihadists and communism with islam.
Maybe it's time to try something else? Just a thought.
To be fair I expect this hole existed when they brought Skype
That doesn't seem likely. In fact, I think this is a side effect of Microsoft preparing to integrate the 100 million msn messenger users into Skype. Somebody has been trying to ensure that the accounts will overlap nicely and has obviously made a huge mistake which allows this to happen.
We understand all IP to be government interfering with our private property.
Yes but many libertarians seem to have no issue whatsoever with Ron Paul wanting to ban abortion (he would want to overturn Roe v. Wade and has co sponsored 4 separate bills to "To provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception.")
I've never understood all the hype about Ron Paul. The guy has some good ideas but also very many that are close to sheer lunacy (many of them being because he's very much a religious conservative. Among other things he sponsored the original Marriage Protection Act).
Anti-IP or not, I could never vote for someone who wants to mess with people's right to their own bodies. No-one can honestly hold a "pro-life" (quotes because I think the very term itself is loaded) stance and at the same time claim that they're for small government. It doesn't get bigger than government telling you what to do and what not to do with your own body.
enough with the Islam/Christian bashing. Or religion in general. It's a red herring, there to distract you from the real problem.
"If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people." -House
I get and fully agree with your point about gullibility being the real issue. However what you're proposing (ignoring the religious part of the matter) sounds a bit like saying that instead of getting treatment for an illness a person should simply switch to a healthier lifestyle and the disease will magically fix itself.
Complicity to auhtority is an integral part of most religions. And I'm not talking just about muslims here. Members of the abrahamic religions usually gorw up in an enviroment where they are told that their view of the world is the correct one and everyone else - no matter what kind of reasoning or evidence they might use - is wrong. Likewise they are most often than not told that questioning anything told to them by their religious leaders is wrong. No adult would swallow all of this without questioning it but the mind of a child is extremely gullible, especially when it comes to information coming from his/her own parents so they come to accept it as the norm.
Don't get me wrong. The problem isn't that these people are stupid. The problem is that they've been told to never question anything that comes from a position of authority, no matter how much they dislike it. Many of the Iranian people probably disagree with the regime but - just like they're afraid to question the existence of God (in public) - they're afraid to question their leaders, no matter how vastly they might outnumber the people in power. Some people see and understand this but they tend to escape from the country instead of risking their lives (and the lives of their families) by trying to speak up because they also know that the majority of their fellow men will - out of fear - be demanding their public execution rather than standing with them.
That is essentially what organized religions are used for by both religious and govermental leaders: as a tool to control people and make them obidient and fearful. So while I agree with you that the true problem is indeed gullibility: I don't agree that religioin is a red herring because as far as I can see the vast majority of these people wouldn't be so gullible if it wasn't for their religion and religious upbringing.
Recent leaked documents have revealed the email sent by CIA to the Iranian officials, it reads:
"These are not the drones you are looking for, move along."