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Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

I understand your argument, but I don't buy it. There haven't been any pharmaceutical researchers making the claim that drug X might have improved the quality of life of 95% of people with Lupus but caused liver failure in the remaining 5%, but the evil FDA stopped them from selling it. Or drug Y extends the life of 60% of cardiovascular patients, but 8% get leukemia.

And most important of all, these long term clinical trials help establish connections that the vendor might be able to conceal without them - maybe drug Z does wonderful things for the first four years and then causes a high rate of kidney failure.

So how can you prove that the type 2 losses are higher than the type 1 losses, especially when a profit motive is involved to downplay and otherwise conceal the former and emphasize the latter?

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 2) 609

Yes, abuse. A human being's worth and right to a quality of life and happiness should not be tied to supply and demand like he's a sack of rice.

Further, the competition for labor pits people against each other. And worst of all, the employer/owner/investor has a financial incentive to treat employees as poorly as he can get away with without hurting productivity or driving the employee to quit.


You and I are lucky, we're in the tiny portion of the labor market where demand exceeds supply. So we can post to Slashdot during work hours and nobody cares. But by the very definition of supply and demand, this can't apply to most people. If another million Americans became as qualified to write code as I am, software development would become a minimum wage job. Likewise for nurses, doctors, dentists, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and every other skill - as soon as enough people acquire it, it would become worthless.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

First and foremost, I'm not saying I - or anybody - should be running anyone's lives. And to be clear, Marx wasn't either. He believed communism could be run as a community, more or less as a direct democracy. I find this particular criticism of communism and socialism frustrating, because it skips a step in explaining the flaw. It would be like saying, "People opposed to gun rights want government oppression of the population!" - it skips a critical step, people opposed to gun rights may or may not want government oppression, but if you take gun rights away then the risk of government oppression of the population skyrockets. Likewise, communists want communism, which in theory allows everyone to have more (not less) of a say in their own daily lives than they have today - but in practice creates a bureaucracy that's even more oppressive than a capitalist plutocracy.

The regulatory burden on pharmaceuticals is necessary because of the risks. And as bad as that burden is, sometimes it's not enough - remember all of the cholesterol lowering drugs being heavily promoted that didn't actually reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or stroke?

Cars today are marvels of engineering. But it's difficult to prove either way whether the 200,000 plus mile span of cars today is something that could only happen due to engineering and technology pioneered in the 1990s. It's possible the world had to endure decades of unreliable garbage strictly because the automakers informally (or maybe even formally) agreed with each other that engineering for reliability was unprofitable.

With respect to smart phones, I agree that people are not prioritizing reliability. I think that's wrong. Again, I'm not asking for the ability to dictate what people want, but I would call it a failure of our education and a product of marketing that pushes blind consumerism over educated purchases.

Likewise with respect to SUVs, or trucks, or whatever, I'm not asking for the right to dictate anything. But I think it's not good for our society for people to be drawn to buying something so much larger than they need for the sake of vanity, and it's a product of marketing that pushes blind consumerism over educated purchases.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

I misunderstood the previous comment, then. Competition is not antithetical to communism - competition for resources is antithetical, but not competition in work. You want to raise a better strain of grain, develop a better cure for the common cold, or design a better phone? Go ahead, the other communists won't stop you. You want to own the grain market? You want to own the rights to your cure? Then there is a problem.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

Putting my money where my mouth is doesn't get fair treatment for most working class people, does it? If charity was going to solve unfairness, it would have worked already. So you're at best willfully ignorant and at worst intentionally dishonest with your suggestion.

Go back to your Ayn Rand romantic fantasy, where every capitalist is a hard-working, ethical genius made rich by their efforts and every altruist or even every poor person is an idiot, a liar, a whiner, and a thief.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

It's not snake oil. Marx's solution - communism - is fundamentally flawed in its design. He misunderstands some crucial aspects of human nature and human social organizations. But his solution came after he diagnosed the problem, the fundamentally exploitative nature of capitalism. My summary of the key points:

- The employer/employee relationship is dehumanizing to the employee, because the employer is using them as a means to an end. And has an incentive to push them as hard as they can get away with to extract wealth from their work for the minimum possible payout.
- The value of the employee is controlled by supply and demand, not the basic human dignity of each person.
- The labor market pits people against each other, because anything that improves your value to a potential employer makes it less likely I can get good pay from that employer.

Someone more studied in Marx and his ideas may call these gross mis-characterizations of his ideas. That's just my understanding. But I think his ideas are right. My kids' teachers are influencing young minds, I'm playing code monkey for corporate executives. Supply and Demand says I get three times their income. If you consider human beings a resource no different from cattle, iron, or cotton then it makes sense. If you think every person has fundamental value no matter whether they work feeding chickens or performing brain surgery, then it's beyond stupid. Again, I'm not saying communism is the answer. It's not. But what we have today is wrong, and Marx saw and articulated how it was wrong.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 3, Insightful) 609

Marx's diagnosis of the problem was flawless - capitalism is fundamentally exploitative. The investor class abuses the worker class.

Competitiveness is not a magic solution. When a pharmaceutical company brings a drug to market, it's patented and over time other companies can sell generic versions and conduct their own research with it and variants of it. But when a pharmaceutical company researches a drug and the drug is deemed to ineffective or unsafe to bring to market, it's buried - and there's a good chance a dozen other pharmaceutical companies will have researched and then dropped the same drug. Or look at planned obsolescence. Do cars need their styling tweaked every four years, and the cupholder layout rearranged? How about smart phones, wonderful pieces of engineering that consumers are expected to discard in two years because it's better for the vendor - not the consumer - if they do. How about foods and large food portions laden with extra salt and sugar because they sell more? And I don't begrudge Jane and John Doe their choice when they take a 5500 pound SUV to drop off their only child at elementary school, but you can't call that model an efficient use of resources. Competition is not always efficient.

I do agree that Marx's cure for capitalism is unworkable, for the reasons you describe. But I think his criticisms are rock solid.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

It's more complicated than that. Cities with restrictive gun ownership laws like Chicago and Los Angeles have very high rates of gun violence. Cities with very permissive gun ownership laws like New Orleans have very high rates of gun violence. Statistics on how many violent crimes are prevented by private gun ownership are difficult to reliably obtain - if someone is shot, there's probably a record at a hospital or morgue. If I claim that I brandished a pistol to frighten off an intruder, was I a citizen protecting my property from a deadly threat or a delusional tough guy wannabe? If I was protecting my property, would a baseball bat or golf club or machete been equally effective at scaring off the intruder? How can you prove it either way? How do you know I didn't scare off a neighborhood kid that was just walking home from a friend's house and was only on the sidewalk in front of my property? Statistics on gun discharges are easier to get - if a privately owned gun is fired at a human being, it's much more likely to be an accidental shooting, murder, or suicide than an act of self-defense. So whatever my intent when I buy the weapon, in descending order the odds are: it never harms anyone (highest likelihood, well over 99%), it's involved in an accidental shooting, suicide, or murder, or (smallest possibility) used in self-defense.

All of which leads to a great big mess. You cannot assert this is all ignorance and power-hungry tyrants against freedom-loving gun owners. There are idiots and intelligent, thoughtful people on both sides. I'm still not sure where I stand - if I support gun rights, does that mean most teachers, nurses, and mall cops should receive extensive firearms training? If not, how do I expect to stay safe?

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

I think Tyon's [i]concept[/i] is perfect, but the human race is not currently in a state to implement his proposal properly. And the human race may never reach that state.

The same could be said for Marxism. I can't fault the logic behind it at any level. But the devil is in the implementation details.

Comment Re:Saturation (Score 2) 170

Speaking for myself, I lost interest in tablets because they break so easily.

Smart phone cases are strong and the screens are generally small enough that breaks are rare. They happen, but in my family of six we haven't had a smart phone screen break in over three years. Tablets? Three complete tablet failures in three years. Five tablet screen cracks in three years. Meanwhile we have a netbook, two laptops, and four desktops, and the oldest machine is from 2006. The only traditional computer hardware failure in ten years was one hard drive. And I still have a PC from 2001 that works, I just don't turn it on because it's got less computing power than a Raspberry Pi.

That's why I lost interest in tablets.

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