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Comment Re:That's Right (Score 1) 66

The Roman senate eventually gave up their autonomy willingly because they were tired of the civil wars.

I think it more accurate to say that the members of the Senate who weren't sufficiently enthusiastic in expressing their tiredness (or whatever propaganda excuses they really used at the time), ended up on the wrong side of Augustus Caesar.

And somehow I doubt the Chinese Communist Party will go gently into that good night for the sake of a calm succession (especially given their brutality while putting down the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989). The viewpoint you describe is only relevant while the Party is not threatened.

Comment Re:That's Right (Score 1) 66

It also doesn't mean that you have to bring it up in every conversation.

I disagree. The viewpoint you discussed doesn't actually exist except as a propaganda fabrication by an oppressive government to remain in power.

Then you write the following:

So that is the problem the Chinese government needs to solve. Keep order and harmony, because for the vast majority of people, it's better than chaos. (Look at what happened in Egypt recently when they had their new government.....lots of violence, then nothing really changed. Replacing Mubarak was probably a mistake, but some people paid for it with their lives).

With a different form of government, unscrupulous men can start a campaign of lies, and build a following, and if he's convincing enough, even make it into power as president. But all this will happen without real violence (that is, violence does not lead to power and political enemies don't need to 'disappear'), and the system is designed with power balances to prevent things from getting too messed up, even with a lousy president.

The very narrative you repeated (of being concerned about order versus chaos) is an example of a "campaign of lies". Funny, how this viewpoint is so concerned about rival parties causing trouble by spreading lies (or perhaps rather inconvenient truths). That's such a refined and elegant hypocrisy.

Comment Re:That's Right (Score 1) 66

let's leave aside which is 'right' and 'wrong' for now, and concede them the right of self-determination

No, let's not. Let's note instead that exercising the right of self-determination would require the sort of communication and social unrest that is supposedly bad under their "chosen" form of government.

This is not accidental. An effective parasite is hard to eliminate from a host. And at the human level, we see plenty of examples of this, here, a variety of authoritarian governments that insert themselves into every aspect of life, creating both a dependent class of citizen who supports the government merely because that's where their benefits come from and a large cost to remove the government.

Comment Re:Makework (Score 1) 1140

Didn't say it wouldn't happen anyway. The point is having "at will" increases distrust and reduces loyalty between employers and employees, and that is not friendly to employment.

It doesn't. The employer now has greater distrust of the employees, especially after it picks up a bunch of bad seeds that can't be fired.

Comment Re:More of a protect an entire industrial base thi (Score 1) 140

Don't naively think reciprocal means "dollars", note that my post mentions "barriers" not "balance of trade" (i.e. dollars).

I was naively thinking this was a selfish and futile attempt to protect developed world labor from reality. You know, I still think that is the case. The developed world doesn't need additional barriers, it needs economically healthier societies that among other things treat their employers better.

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 504

Likewise what you think of as "capitalism" - given that the USA (and other) governments have repeatedly stepped in to prevent capitalist monopolist oligarchies forming (the railway and oil robber-barons being one example) or break them up when they've managed to establish a toehold(**). There's a new set emerging which have managed to get further than than the last few times, but the reality is that unfettered capitalism leads to abject misery for most and lack of progress for all.

Or create them. There's a centuries long history of government-created monopolies. The railway and oil robber-barons are such examples since strike breaking and market cornering was routinely done with government assistance. I note that many of the examples you gave later on are monopolies due to government interference. AT&T is a particularly notorious example.

(****) the biggest risk associated with atmospheric CO2 spikes and methane breakouts levels isn't ocean level rises. It's anoxic dieoffs resulting in the extinction of pretty much every land animal larger than 40kg.

Unless, of course, your assertion is wrong. Then it's not. That's the problem with asserting things without support from reality. They can be right, they can be wrong.

(*) Communism requires a surplus of production and of labour, such that there isn't enough actual work for people to do. This is close to what we now have in western countries - which without adequate backstops in place leads to large amounts of un(der)employment and the political need for "make work" schemes(***) (In the old days unemployment used to be hidden by hiring people into government service or moving them workseeker to sickness allowances. These options are frequently less available thanks to the breach of the social contract that started with Ronald Reagan's welfare slashing efforts in California in 1970 and gathered pace with California's voting in of proposition 13. That malaise has spread far and wide since then, with the rich getting richer and the poor increasingly being systematically disenfranchised through institutionalised racist and classist policies.)

That's a funny way to say that the US and other countries are competing poorly with cheaper labor from the developing world. The obvious point to make in all this is that labor remains valuable. If there's not enough work to go around, then it's because of systemic failures of the society, not because we've achieved some wonderful state of economy where a few people can do all the work.

Rather than touching a system which relies on labor failure in order to operate, how about we make employment easier so that we can get back to doing useful stuff?

(***) If you start with the notion that a basic allowance will allow creative types to flourish, accept that some people will piss it against the wall and somehow address the raging anti-intellectuallism that's destroying the USA and other countries so that people _want_ to learn, then there's a lot of mileage in it.

Unless, of course, that sort of policy has the opposite effect and encourages more raging anti-intellectuallism. For example, I steer you towards the example of protest culture which has as examples of anti-intellectualism: sloganeering, naked pursuit of self-interest, disturbing and irrational mob behavior ("snapplause" for speech that the mob likes, shouting down of speech the mob doesn't like), careers consisting of tilting at imaginary windmills, and pointless disruptions of parts of society unrelated to the grievance at hand. Having a basic income would of course, make this annoying hobby more prevalent.

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 504

I think one of the greater turn offs of Communism is just how much reason has to be fucked up in order to embrace the system. In the real world, such systems are comparable because they manifest in all three of your "dimensions". There's no mileage to be gained from your gobbledygook.

A brief critique would include a) society and political dimensions are not independent, b) when you say "a way of organizing society", you automatically introduce a political dimension, and c) in reality, we already have manifestations of capitalism and communism which both competed with each other and were quite comparable to each other.

Basically if you would define the terms more sharply you could have a combination of any of those variations in the economic dimension, society dimension and political dimension.

But there would be no point to doing so since no one else would share your choice of definition nor would such division of definitions illuminate a real distinction, assuming you have a higher life goal than labeling "american" thought as a mistake.

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