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Comment: Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (Score 2) 158

by BringsApples (#47921095) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance
I'll give it a go.

You people who believe you'd run a functioning society without taxes and the things it pays for are completely deluded.

In a taxless society, there would be no one to run it other than those with wisdom and experience. But they wouldn't "run" the society as we understand it today.

You would not end up in some libertarian fantasy of a self regulating society. You'd end up in a shit hole of a society in which things like roads and schools don't work and don't get funded.

Again, I think you're missing the point. Roads? Why would there be this need for roads? If you walk through the forest a path will naturally develop. And schools? Why would we need schools? Do parents get paid to teach their kids now? I mean, in this taxless society that we're talking about, the need for a lot of things that we have today diminishes.

Blah blah blah. Everything you say is pure fantasy, and doesn't mean anything other than your overly romanticized notions of a world which never was, and which never could be.

Go look up aboriginals, American Indians and/or any other indigenous peoples. Also, if you think that there has always been taxes (as if they're a part of nature) then you are the one that's overly romanticizing the situation. Taxes were invented long ago, for sure, but to say that they've always been there, is wrong, and just sounds obnoxious.

If you think a modern society is possible without taxes and some things being paid for by society, you really are a drooling idiot.

This is where no one can argue, you are 100% correct. However the word "modern" is the reason. But there's no reason that we cannot have a society housing a group of people that have no "currency".

If you want to have a nice civil group of people, working to have food and shelter, this can be achieved without money. The American Indians used to live in a society where they had no money, but they were successful at trading with other tribes. Sure they fought, but there was an underlying mutual understanding that their way of life had a goal of staying in tune with Nature. "Money" is not a part of nature, otherwise all races of beings would have it, not just humans.

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1) 308

by gstoddart (#47920527) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

You can teach people how to write better code. You can't teach a stubborn old self taught programmer with 40 years experience why it is better to have maintainable code than to save a few CPU cycles if he doesn't want to hear it.

You know, I don't disagree with you.

But, conversely, I've been on the receiving end of a programmer who refused to do any optimization whatsoever because he said it was pointless (as a result his code frequently became a bottleneck because he had no idea of just how much stuff he was calling), and his (to his own mind) lovely and elegant code was actually brittle crap which was anything but maintainable. In fact, it was garbage which painted him into corners more times than I could count.

On several occasions when asked to make a code change, there was a realization that it was impossible without a complete re-write (because the change violated the aesthetics of his assumptions he'd built into it). In other words, his code was shit to begin with, His "theoretical" understanding of writing good code didn't translate into a "practical" ability to write good code.

Sometimes people trip over their own "elegance", and create garbage.

I'm not saying "all young punks are stupid", and I'm not saying "all old timers know everything", because I think categorical statements are usually garbage.

Programmers of all ages think they know everything and have bad attitudes.

On that point, we are completely in agreement.

But, in my personal experience .. sometimes having been there and done that means you have a bigger picture understanding of what you're really doing, and not some theoretical model you don't know how to apply.

Similarly, if you get to the point where nothing new is worth looking at, you have your own baggage and issues which gets in the way of you doing a good job.

In the middle of those two is where you find the good.


New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-our-benjamins-home dept. writes: Reuters reports that plans for a major rewriting of international tax rules have been unveiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that could eliminate structures that have allowed companies like Google and Amazon to shave billions of dollars off their tax bills. For more than 50 years, the OECD's work on international taxation has been focused on ensuring companies are not taxed twice on the same profits (and thereby hampering trade and limit global growth). But companies have been using such treaties to ensure profits are not taxed anywhere. A Reuters investigation last year found that three quarters of the 50 biggest U.S. technology companies channeled revenues from European sales into low tax jurisdictions like Ireland and Switzerland, rather than reporting them nationally.

For example, search giant Google takes advantage of tax treaties to channel more than $8 billion in untaxed profits out of Europe and Asia each year and into a subsidiary that is tax resident in Bermuda, which has no income tax. "We are putting an end to double non-taxation," says OECD head of tax Pascal Saint-Amans.For the recommendations to actually become binding, countries will have to encode them in their domestic laws or amend their bilateral tax treaties. Even if they do pass, these changes are likely 5-10 years away from going into effect.
Speaking of international corporate business: U.K. mainframe company Micro Focus announced it will buy Attachmate, which includes Novell and SUSE.

Comment: Re:I like to tell college-bound people... (Score 1) 308

by gstoddart (#47919859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

...double major in something useful and something useless.

I'm of the opinion that it isn't "something useful and something useless" ... it's more about "something directly practical" coupled with "something interesting and abstract to give you balance and perspective".

Not all things are 100% objective. And, likewise, in some things there's just no room for subjectivity.

Being able to tell the difference is something many people don't learn.

Comment: Re:You guys are always entertaining! (Score 3, Insightful) 308

by gstoddart (#47919723) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The dogmatism that I have seen and heard on the job and here on Slashdot makes all of you come across as delusional and self aggrandizing.

LOL, you know, I won't dispute the point. Because I agree with it. It's been true for a very long time, and is widespread.

What I suggest is that being an asshole isn't due to a lack of critical thinking skills, it's a personality defect which can subsequently be overcome. ;-)

In some disciplines (*cough* Poli Sci *cough*) where there is no objective right or wrong, the ability to state a case for anything as being equally valid to anything else ... well, some of us don't see that as critical thinking, we see it as rhetoric and sophistry. Because you're not measuring against an objective standard.

The problem comes when you do come from a discipline where things are right or not right, you end up with an overly simplified world view, and nuance becomes something you don't necessarily get.

When there's no room for wishful thinking and sophistry, and you need to use empirical evidence to determine what is happening and what to do about it ... your "feeling" that your "belief" that the router must be sending moon packets is meaningless if you claim it has as much weight as me telling you that the cable is unplugged. Mine is testable and can be acted on, yours is the mistaken belief that if we solve the existential crisis of the router things will sort itself out.

But it becomes a clash of cultures when someone's sensing/feeling/intuition has nothing to do with objective reality, and objective reality is the only thing which matters.

And, likewise, people who only deal in objective reality and can't see past it are largely incapable of doing anything else, unless they've tried really hard to pick up an additional set of skills.

Which means we mostly want to punch people who say the universe could be just a simulation or that a tree doesn't make any noise if anybody is around to hear it, because if it can't be proven true or false, it's probably just a pointless mental exercise. ;-)

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1) 308

by gstoddart (#47919383) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Some do, but the stereotype of IT having a myopic view of technology and projects didn't spring from nowhere.

In my experience, that's not a lack of critical thinking skills.

It's a lack of a breadth of education, and a complete lack of maturity and wisdom.

The problem is a lot of people come out of a STEM degree with a minor god complex, and are completely incapable of recognizing when their book learning doesn't match real world experience, and the stuff they're digging in their heels about doesn't work so well in the real world.

Basically they think they know everything.

But ask any senior programmer who has dealt with one straight out of school. Very often the lack of real world experience means they're unwilling/incapable of recognizing that someone knows some things they didn't cover in school, and that their theoretical model falls on its face when confronted with other things.

I once worked with a junior programmer who really didn't know nearly as much as he thought he did. He wrote crap code, and I once had to demonstrate why his version of the code was 100x slower than mine when called a very large amount of times. He quickly got shunted into a corner because he wouldn't listen, and management eventually realized he was useless to us. He had an engineering degree, and he had the right skills ... but he had the entirely wrong attitude. In his mind, nobody could possibly tell him anything ... which made him an asshole, not someone lacking in critical thinking ability.

I'm more of the opinion that STEM candidates should be forced to take a little more arts classes to make them more well rounded and be able to interact with other people.

But, who do you want debugging your production outage? Someone who is well versed in Chaucer, or someone who can apply logic and critical thinking to the problem at hand and has the technical skills to back it up?

Comment: Re:Ya, but... (Score 1) 308

by gstoddart (#47919137) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Yeah, no kidding ... I'm pretty sure you can't get a STEM degree without critical thinking skills.

However, some of the Poli Sci majors I've met have precisely zero critical thinking skills, and mostly just parrot whichever rhetoric they adopted in their second year of school for the rest of their lives.

I'm not saying liberal arts students don't have the chance to develop critical thinking skills. But I am saying anybody who thinks STEM graduates don't have them is clueless.

I've lost count of the number of sales people I've known who don't come from technical backgrounds. They lack the critical thinking skills to even know if they're lying to you or not.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun