Peterstreep posted a thought about today's capitalism being different, (and the implication was that it is more dangerous), than the capitalism of the early 20th Century.
Here is what he said:
On the basics, I disagree, I think it is the same game, just with different players and boundaries. But in a consideration of degrees, and with the evolution of Global financial markets, I think there are differences in societal impact.
I think a totally free market is too Darwinian for our evolved, (speaking as an American), society, but I also think a too regulated semi-free market, (as in Democratic Socialism), is too stifling. Of course, that has been our political struggle since Theodore Roosevelt's time.
Where to draw the line for our society as we, (meaning each of us), want it to be.
Obviously, most know my leanings, (I consider myself a Conservative, but for the labels sticklers, I actually fall into the Classic Liberalism basket), what are yours?
Much of the turmoil we see today in the world is attributable to two major forces...
The drive of International bodies to create a One World government based on Socialism (see the CCP for what it would look like on a global scale).
And the drive (greed) of International corporations.
International bodies (UN, WB, IMF, IBA/IIB) have no loyalties to Sovereign Nations, and no particular preference for Freedom & Liberty of the Individual.
International corporations care about the bottom line, profits. They want cheap labor, they want cheap materials, and they want control over the politicians so they can get cheap labor and cheap materials.
Without the Capitalist System however... humanity will stagnate and eventually fail, like all predominantly Socialist systems do.
Without the system we have had, there would be no Elon Musk... no Tesla, no Space X. There would be no Amazon and Jeff Bezos, there would have been no Steve Jobs and Apple.
If those with the best ideas and best products are not rewarded, we will never see the level of advances and growth we enjoy today.
The Capitalist system rewards those who create our latest EVs and latest cell phones and latest medical breakthrough. And that in turn ensures the best and brightest are motivated to continue to advance humanity forward... progress.
Its a crappy system... and the International bodies and corporations are growing in power to the point where they are jeopardizing civilization itself... but there is no alternative that has worked nearly as well, or benefited nearly as many.
I agree that Capitalism is the best system found so far, and it is the one system that has elevated the prosperity of people and nations.
When I say that I don't think Capitalism has changed it is the basic concept that I am speaking about. Capitalism is simply a system of risk and reward. It was that way in Standard Oil's time and it is that way now in the time of Space X.
However, I do think the operation of Capitalism in today's societies has changed—in the magnitude of its power of influence. Such as the Global aspects you mention.
I think life is the same game, one of risk and reward. That's why Capitalism works so well, it matches our nature.
Ken, I really do enjoy a lot of your stuff and agree with much of it. I'm just so disappointed when you veer off into your QAnon inspired conspiracy theories.
I'm not sure I fear a global economy as much as you or the idea of America helping other nations grow their economies and general global free trade, but given how much China manipulates and controls a lot of the global economy, I do agree that we aren't operating in a fair system right now.
And it's strange how you decry greedy corporations. Their power to change everything on a whim is a little scary.
I don't know what QAnon really is, I waste no time on it, it is less relevant in my life than NPR, which I haven't listened to in years,
I wouldn't say I "fear" the topics I brought up, I recognize that we will switch over to a digital currency system like China has, switch to a Social Credit system like China has, and when there is a greater Internationally recognized authority that is higher than our Federal Government, it will come at the expense of freedoms and liberties we take for granted today.
Recognizing what is to come, is not the same as fearing it.
You seem to throw in the occasional comment about pedophilia. QAnon believes there's a giant child sex-trafficking ring run by Satan worshippers. They also are the purveyors of the Deep State that exists to bring down President Trump. The cabal is formed by Democrats, people in Hollywood, and others.
I would put it into another perspective.
The Democrats have become the party of the Rich, Elites, and Revolutionaries.
The Hollywood stars, the Athletes, the media... the lion's share of them are all Democrats, and push the agenda.
The Democrats are no longer the Party of the working class, they denounce the police, they push division, racism, sexism, every chance they get.
Pedophiles are another issue all together... but it certainly is that there are some "Progressive" groups pushing for its normalcy in our society.
It certainly doesn't surprise me there is some group out there pushing such an extremist viewpoint that you attribute to QAnon... no more surprising than CNN spending years creating a story about how Trump is a Russian puppet and Putin is pulling his strings.
I haven't seen anything about progressive groups trying to legitimize pedophilia. Usually, that's a dog whistle for anti-gay propaganda.
However, we do know for sure that QAnon supporters are winning races in GOP districts and that QAnon is not quite that fringe anymore.
I think the CNN point is relevant. Our news media, in an effort to get viewers (not unlike some of the arguments in this forum) goes to extremes. They try to rile up their viewership, like people in the forum try to rile up each other by making polarizing points.
It always seemed the issue with CNN was providing the evidence that the Russia investigation was legitimate and not a hoax. The argument ended up being between legitimate and hoax, which was a win for Trump. So CNN went to the extreme to try to pull the argument toward the middle. Didn't work.
There is a vast difference between your perceptions and my own.
You say there was something between legitimate and hoax with CNN's reporting, I see CNN's reporting as suspect propaganda, all the time, there was nothing legitimate about Russiagate, every charge against Trump was fabricated.
The only ones who were colluding with the Russians and Ukrainians were the Clintons and Bidens, of which there has been plenty of evidence, from Uranium One to Burisma.
Same for pedophilia, Clinton and Epstein, a prime example of where there is plenty of evidence, it has nothing to do with it being a 'dog whistle' for anything else.
Denying that these issues are legitimate and trying to claim they tie me to some extremist group to me its a sign of lack of sincerity and an effort to slander not just the topic, but the person bringing it up.
I imagine most who read these posts see through it as well as I do.
I'm not trying to tie you to anything, but your statements mirror what we see from QAnon and what our own FBI has said is Russian propaganda. The legitimacy of the Russia investigation has been proved by a Congressional bi-partisan commission. If I'm tying you to something, then you are doing the same by saying I am providing false information to support a hoax and am part of a conspiracy.
And surely you've seen the pictures of Trump and Epstein? I absolutely hope Ghislaine Maxwell coughs up all her secrets. And if Clinton is implicated, he should be put in prison. Anyone who knew what Epstein was doing should be put in prison forever. Hopefully, that statement is pretty clear on my feeling about pedophilia. I don't care whether Democrats or Republicans were involved.
The issue here that's concerning is that, like many people, we have completely opposite views on a subject and are both consulting totally different news sources. Among the many that I have consulted are CNN, The Washington Post, The Hill, Politico, NPR, and The Washington Examiner, and The New York Times. Those, along with the FBI and Congress. I feel like I'm on pretty solid ground.
That you are repeating what, as others have pointed out, is Russian propaganda, has to be addressed. The original story about Biden and Burisma was put out by Russia.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08 … usion.html
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/mostl … forts-role
Among the things the report details is Paul Manafort's direct work with a Russian intelligence agent.
How is that a hoax? If Obama was working secretly with Russian intelligence, would that not be grounds for impeachment? Does Russia have our best interests at heart? What about Russian interference in the 2016 elections? I mean, this seems to be so ho-hum to many people. If it's a hoax, it's a vast conspiracy that reaches every level of government and society and involves a large number of news organizations.
I don't think your sources are remotely reliable. You don't trust mine. How do we as Americans get out of this? We clearly need some kind of source most of us can believe is accurate or I think our Democracy will come to an end.
I really am trying to discuss ideas, Ken. You're clearly a smart guy with a really interesting background. I hear the Republican stoking fear at their convention that if Democrats take over, it's the end of the Republic. I certainly fear the opposite.
This takes me back to the days of George W. Bush and Dems calling him a Nazi. How do we get out of these extremes and start discussing issues instead of politics? When the discussion devolves into politics, it seems almost worthless from any angle.
Sharlee and I were discussing bankruptcy and our tolerance for how much state control of failure we're willing to accept. To me, what's clear from that discussion is that if we discuss ideas, we can advance as citizens and as a society. If we discuss politics, we all seem to lose.
crankalicious, I think you said a "mouthful"... "To me, what's clear from that discussion is that if we discuss ideas, we can advance as citizens and as a society. If we discuss politics, we all seem to lose."
We have work to do when it comes to discussing politics for sure. I really feel we can get there. It's clear to me right and left may not come to the middle. However, We need to listen, we all need to keep open-minds, and just respect where the other is coming from. Political belifs, in general, are developed through life experiences, and agenda's that suit one's personal needs, and lifestyle. What's good for me may not be good for your kind of thought process. This is where the conflicts start.
I must agree to discuss politics can lead to discord. I always feel I need to back up how I arrived at a political opinion, hoping to at best share the whys and hows of my thoughts.
Its funny, Ken
When Trump was ask about Qanon and their extremist kooky beliefs, he said that they were all ok as they supported him.
So, he and his party are the ones to look to in regards to the best interests of the nation? When I listen to the scare tactics used to associate Democrats with protests featuring Bonnie and Clyde McClosky representing a overall conservative phobia in regards to both race and social class, what kind of message is this? These two were allowed to speak, taking up valuable time? Given such a prominent place, what were they suppose to represent regarding Trump and the attitude of the GOP?
GOP scares the scoccer mom with an idea that low income housing are to be built in their neighborhoods.
Several dog-whistles that can be heard by people if you listen carefully.
Their theme is beware of the attacking hoard, threatening the established order, be it fair and just or not. Western Civilization is made to appear as synonymous with white supremacy, but is preferred to be race and ethnic neutral and to define the struggle in these terms.
Their bigotry and xenophobia is lumped under the title "Socialism".
I will take the opinions of a more culturally and ethnic diverse group of people over one fixated on the paranoid fears of just one group.
There is a difference between saying a group, a political party, is delivering "dog-whistle" material... and saying that my opinions are the "dog-whistle" to something more nefarious.
I saw the comments made as labeling me an extremist. This is a typical tactic used against anyone espousing a differing opinion, a ploy that is becoming too normal and accepted.
Why is it, the majority of the MSM wants to paint these riots as "peaceful protests" there is nothing "peaceful" about the ongoing attacks we have seen in Portland for 90 consecutive days.
There is nothing peaceful about stores being looted and store owners being attacked, and buildings being burned. These are riots, people are being assaulted, businesses are being ruined.
And as I have mentioned to you in previous discussion, over 80% of this damage is done in poor neighborhoods, where the struggle to keep a business alive is hardest.
The threat coming from these brainwashed revolutionaries that have been programmed by their Critical Theory and Social Justice studies in our Universities have grown in numbers and are placed in positions to become a major threat to our Nation.
You think these efforts are going to bring racial justice and fairness, they will not, this is the wrong way to go about change... a revolution looking to destroy a system/civilization that did away with Slavery, then created Equal Rights for all, and then worked to make reparations through access to grants, scholarships, etc. is not going to bring about a better world.
It is going bring more hardship and turmoil for all Americans, such revolutionary turmoil always does, always has.
The comment about pedophilia being anti-gay was pretty much a non-sequitur to your original discussion. So I'm sorry about that.
However, accusations of pedophilia have been used against the gay community for some time, so I think tossing out pedophilia into a discussion is tossing a pretty large grenade. It's fine if you want to link Clinton and Epstein. There are photos. But you also have to link Trump and Epstein in the same breath.
Hopefully we agree that we all want to hear Ghislaine Maxwell spill the beans and anyone who can be proven to have been involved should be thrown in jail?
I can only label you very conservative and further to the Right than just off center. I wouldn't go any farther than this.
I have to ask about the source of the information regarding the extent of protests/riots in minority neighborhoods.
Supporting Rightwingers and ultra conservatives for solutions to my benefit, I end up faring badly. Their interests are diametrically opposed to my own.
The modest form of restitution I suggested earlier needs to be continued and not diffused by rightwing backlash which is what the so-called Trump Revolution actually is.
I was satisfied with the Obama administration, he would have satisfied me even more by subduing the right wing GOP obstructionists in Congress. Neither Obama or Clinton, in the face of the world of Trump, leaned far enough to the left for me. Our world view is completely different and quite frankly, it has to be.
The idea of equal rights here in America is still a work in progress and society as a whole needs to be reminded of this frequently. Efforts to get to a better place in this regard need to take place at full throttle
https://www.npr.org/2020/08/12/90185988 … wned-busin
https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/06/02/ … usinesses/
https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/08/26 … t-mention/
You can find plenty of information, I am sure, if you want to go looking.
In your two most recent posts to me, you have expressed that you believe I am a "right winger" more or less.
The truth is that I was once very Liberal, before many years of service, before many years of working in close relation to Federal gov funding and programs.
Like you, I have been shaped by my experiences.
But also, what is Left, Liberal, Progressive today is far different than what it meant 25 - 30 years ago.
Unlike you, I do not see salvation, or even a more moderate alternative to Trump in what the Democrats propose and represent today.
I hear what they are saying in their speeches, I saw what went on in the debates, and I see how they support or are silent about the months of rioting.
These people are using race and turmoil to gain power and control, and what they are proposing to do after they gain control, should give pause to any rational American.
They had the choice of choosing a real leader of change... they chose Biden. That is all I really need to know about who is in control, and what we see being allowed in these Democratic cities is a glimpse of how far they will go to get power.
This is being pushed by Hollywood stars and athletes the likes of Lebron James, who has been worth hundreds of millions of dollars since he was 18... the audacity of this man to lecture on the inequities of the system or to fearmonger against the police is disturbing.
Oddly enough, there are plenty wealthy individuals that complain about the inequities built into the system, Warren Buffet comes to mind. While I think of the Presidents that came from wealthy families in modern times, the Roosevelt's and the Kennedy's, what distinguish them from someone like Trump was their commitment in both words and deeds to interests of working and middle class people.
Thanks for the links, your views mirror those of any rightward leaning individual that participates in this forum and if there is a distinction, it is not visible to the naked eye.
The GOP is using "Law and Order" and recalcitrance to stir up their troops in fear of the oncoming hoard, people who do not look like them. They couldn't care less about the issues that are driving so much discord or want to get to the root causes. I cant associate with such people or have any affinity for their mindset.
I never thought that Obama and his administration was so out of line and "radical", for example. For conservatives today, anyone to the left of Hannity or Rush Limbaugh is the radical left. The Dems could not have satisfied anyone on the rabid right these days short of nominating a Republican. I say the Dems waste their time looking for moderate Republicans to peel away, as there are none.
Any Democratic nominee would be "over the top" for Republicans.
Rather than being more conservative, I have become more leftist in my views with age. The very opposite that conservatives say should occur with time. The more I see and understand, the more I appreciate where we actually are and what needs to be done.
What you see in anything I bring forth, is right-wing (even when its from the NPR).
So I offer you someone who is most definitely not right-wing, and most definitely a POC, give my reply, it encompases my position well enough.
He was ousted from the Democratic Party for speaking this.
Apologies if you have already viewed this, but for me, it really strikes to the heart of what the Democratic Party is NOT... it is not tolerant, it is not honest, it is not willing to allow any voice speak out, unless that voice is in lock step with their dogma.
I watched the video, I can't say that I disagree with a word that this representative had said.
I say no violence, no property damage and that peaceful protests begin and end peacefully, just as he says. But bringing up points of violence and vandalism does not mean that there does not remain a need to protest at all.
The underlying concerns behind the "protests" are still quite valid and need to be brought front and center to the public square.
There may be a need for protests (or not, depending on the person speaking), but when that protest almost inevitably deteriorates into violence and destruction that perceived need vanishes very quickly. There are other ways, if slower and more expensive.
Obviously you are not well informed, the vast majority of these protests have been peaceful. I would not denigrate as conservatives tend to do by linking the cause and saying the very concept of protest inevitably leads to violence and property destruction.
Conservatives want to destroy the messenger, but the message must and will continue. Muzzling the message is just not going to happen.
If things are made too comfortable there is no motivation to act on the complaints that underlie the protests.
People can talk about the protests themselves. They were violent, or only black people walked the streets, or only hippies or only teenagers. Etc. But that's not what a protest is about. It is a diversionary maneuver to talk about these things.
You should always talk about why there is a protest in the first place. Why are people angry, why are they asking for action. Apparently something is wrong enough that people organize and go on the streets. You don't organize a protest for a price increase of rice crackers.
There are many that just as soon not have these conversations at all. No need to make concessions when the other side is muzzled and without a voice.
It easy to ignore and deny underlying problems by attacking the messenger. I say that the Right would have the same attitude about the messenger even if the all protesters wore flowers in their hair.
I doubt it, I believe you think too little of your fellow Americans if you believe that to be true.
It flies in the face of what was accomplished in the 60s by men who took the high road.
It flies in the face of what had been occurring during that first week after Mr, Floyd's death.
There was overwhelming unity that what we saw (those 8-9 minutes) was wrong and a great amount of good could have come from that tragedy.
But then the riots began, first there, then in many other cities. Buildings burning, people being murdered (IE - David Dorn whose death was posted on facebook as it occurred).
Police officers killed surge 28% so far this year. On Saturday, two police officers were shot in St, Louis. One of them died Sunday night.
This is what the insane Democratic position of villainizing Police, of defunding Police results in.
More anarchy, more deaths, more criminals attacking the Police.
The Police are the GOOD guys. They are the ones who arrive at someone's home when they are being beaten, or raped, or robbed.
The people with warrants out for their arrest, and the fools sky high on Meth or Crack or whatever the latest greatest high is are the ones that are a threat to innocent people... NOT the Police.
Three months of Police Stations being attacked, Court houses being attacked, people on the streets being assaulted and murdered. Police being assaulted and murdered.
What happened to Mr. Floyd, even when seeing the full context of what happened, and how the police tried to calm him down, and tried to get him in the vehicle is still a tragedy, still wrong.
But not to the degree the media made it out to be, as a racist and deliberate act.
The same for what happened in Kenosha. When seeing the full context, what the media reported was wrong, the police tried to arrest him, tried to taze him, told him repeatedly to stop.
Do police have to wait until they have been shot or stabbed to react?
No... you resist arrest, you fight with the police, especially when you attack them with ANY weapon, then I absolutely believe any and all force required to eliminate that threat is justified.
So ALL of this... three months of rioting and attacks on the Police for doing their jobs and protecting their own lives... has gone WAY to far.
The Police are not the villains... they are the ones laying their lives on the line for us, to stop the villains.
I completely agree. This is how I was brought up. Police are the good guys. They represent authority.
However, there are many black people who are treated like they are less than human, are profiled, and mistreated. There are so many stories of African Americans who live their lives in fear of the police because of how they are consistently treated.
How do we reconcile the experience most white people have with the police with the experience many black people have with the police?
I think you would find plenty of white people who fear the police as well.
That has a lot to do with economics, poverty, feeling as if you lack control over your life. Or, if you happen to have issues with drugs or alcohol.
People who are established in the community they live in, people who have jobs and work for a living or have businesses, tend to have more positive interactions with the police.
Its as simple as that, it is not a race thing, its an economic and addiction thing. Once you are in that cycle of drug/alcohol abuse and arrest, or criminal activity and arrest, its hard to break out of it.
Does profiling exist? Sure, but if you aren't breaking the law, and just say yes officer, no officer, and keep it civil, there is a 99.9% chance nothing worse than a ticket will occur.
That's if you are not intoxicated, high on drugs, etc. that seemed to be a problem in more than one of these recent attempted arrests that turned tragic.
And here's where it all goes wrong. This is so typical. The inability to understand another person's experience and an unwillingness to acknowledge the validity of that experience.
What you've described is your experience. This is my experience as well, for the most part.
However, when you extrapolate this unwillingness to acknowledge the experience of others and thus rendering it invalid, there are all sorts of nasty side effects.
All one needs to do is a little research to read the stories of the many black people who are constantly harassed and profiled simply because of the color of their skin. They say yes sir and no sir and comply, yet nothing changes. Their lives are slowly ruined. They're late for work. They can't get a loan. Their house value is under appraised compared to their white neighbor's house. On and on.
It takes so little effort to recognize that people have different experience of things and that your experience or my experience shouldn't necessarily be the experience that determines how everything should be.
This is my general observation of the GOP, conservatives - it's only their experience that's important and right. When somebody describes a different experience, there's always this attempt to invalidate it.
What you've described is the message African-Americans have been getting since slavery ended. Just stay in the background. Be good. Keep quiet. Things will turn around. Look at all the progress we've made. No more slavery!
I'm not saying I agree with the general drift of the protests, but if you beat a dog long enough, eventually it bites you. Others, of course, cower in the corner. Abuse almost always results in more abuse.
This is some pretty strong stuff, Crank. It is a relief to have anyone corroborate what it is that I have been saying for some time.
I like your irony and sarcasm wedded into your reply. (see how far you have come, No more slavery)
The Right has to invalidate all this as it would point to a society and a reality that they would never be willing to admit as it would unravel their entire world view.
Any solution to such an intractable problem starts by acknowledging its existence. If you are not serious about this then you are not really seriously seeking a solution. Human nature such as it is, this may be a problem that will be virtually impossible to repair. What is behind a population's need to torment any specific group? I never had a reason to run over people simply because they don't look like me. If I can do it others should be able to do it as well.
in Hawaii, the Micronesians are the sort of underdog, with people ascribing to them all the worse of habits. Its catching, taking a negative view about those that you have never even met, because of what others say about them. Having lived in such circumstances, I knew better.
It takes effort to look at a circumstance from the other's point of view and it is as easy as falling off from a log to discount their view as part of maintaining ones comfort zone.
I know you have said that Credence.
But you still adamantly support the Democrats and their association and support of the BLM & Antifa movements.
I have not done the best of jobs perhaps expressing my agreement with your positions, as YOU state them, in the context of race and economic matters.
Where we are worlds apart, is how we see THIS Democratic Party and what their expressed goals are, to say nothing of the veiled and suggested.
Biden the other day openly said the Military would happily oust Trump after the election. And top officials at the Pentagon had to then come out and answer to that.
https://www.wionews.com/world/military- … ley-323938
This is not being covered by our MSM news, they are peddling an entirely different reality to you... its a false one.
There is nothing peaceful going on in Portland Oregon, it has been 3 full months of riots and assaults.
There was no "summer of love" in Seattle, there was unrest, violence, rape and ultimately murders taking place.
There was nothing peaceful about the riots in Minn. or the riots in Wisconsin, or the riots in NY. People were attacked, businesses were burned and looted, murders took place.
And the Democrats, they don't call for peace, they call for more unrest.
They villainize and demonize anyone who opposes them or even criticizes them.. from Trump & Kavanaugh to Noam Chomsky & Jimmy Fallon.
People who fled from countries like Cuba and Nicaragua are sounding the alarm.
Orlando Flores who fled a Marxist regime in Nicaragua as a child, had this to say: “Years ago, we fled Communism to escape indoctrination, absolutist thinking and restrictions on our freedom of speech. If we see these traits in America, we must speak out and oppose it.”
Only if you want the destruction and reformation of America (and all the terror and murder that will be required to make that happen) should anyone be supporting THIS Democratic Party.
Here is my answer and it's good enough for me.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/fac … 317862001/
"But you still adamantly support the Democrats and their association and support of the BLM & Antifa movements"
Yes, I do, but as my Democratic colleagues say, not violent protests. One is not necessarily contingent upon the other. Express your 1st Amendment Rights, but do it peacefully, as these concerns can remain on the evening news.
The Right is so predictable, when I look at history and see people much like the Rightwinger today that were referring to MLK as a dangerous radical and his movement as Communist inspired despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.
The fact that the protests he led were peaceful did not matter, it was the message that detractors were more concerned about. Being the social justice laggards that they have always been, the Right now trots out his name whenever they want to make a point.
The Right talks about the destruction of the country due to the rise of Biden and the Democrats? More "chicken little" stuff. I wasn't born yesterday, you know. The Right identified Obama as Non-American, Marxist, Communist, what have you, from the first day he took office, regardless of the fact that his background and that of Biden are considerably different.
With their "tea parties" and all that rot, they portrayed Obama as this insufferable tyrant, who wanted to rule for life. But over the ages,we know what conservatism and right wing advocacy has always been about, don't we Ken? I mean, let's be honest.
I reiterate, I support leftward movements in this society and will do what I have to to promote this within a peaceful political environment NOT SUPPORTING violence, property damage and vandalism. When these are employed, you lose my support because by behaving in this fashion you cede moral authority to our adversaries.
You have done a fine job helping me understand the logic of the other side and its attempts to make its agenda the only viable one in the universe.
Biden is correct in saying if Mr. Trump does not hand over the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20, 2021, in the event that he has lost the election, then as the new Commander and Chief, Biden can prevail upon the military to forceably remove him. The new president is operating within his authority given to him by the people to govern. I would expect no less. The Pentagon is not supposed to operate in the political realm within our system.
I am open to peaceful reformation, not destruction.
I, as always, enjoy the the stimulus of our continued discourse, even though we disagree on quite a bit.
I can only judge based upon policies promoted and what those policies have done based upon the conduct of past Democratic Adminstrations compared with GOP and see for myself. I have done this for almost 50 years and the trends are quite clear to me.
You gravitate toward what it is that confirms your attitude and views, no different than anyone else.
Discussion and debate is meant to broaden one's understanding of not just a topic, but one's own perspectives.
I think you have made sound arguments for why you support your position and where you draw the line.
I do however feel you are too ingrained into certain aspects, and fall back onto the Left/Progressive and Rightwinger/Republican divide. And too easily identify others as one or the other.
A comfort zone perhaps, easier to contend with, than the larger aspect of corruption and malfeasance that has taken near complete control of DC and those within that bubble, be they scholar or reporter.
As for Biden... talk about Red Flags... even the mention of using the military to oust a sitting President is downright 3rd world thinking.
As the General said, it would be up to Congress and the Courts, to ultimately decide that.
Red flags? Honestly, it blows my mind that this is your perspective.
Isn't Biden's response reasonable given the months of the President refusing to acknowledge he will accept the results of the election, repeating over and over again that if he loses it means it was rigged, trying to suppress the vote, assailing mail-in voting with no proof (while using vote by mail himself), and trying to run the post office into the ground so it can't serve the people?
Sure. Biden's the problem.
Are you trying to say that the "mail in voting" being proposed has the same methodology as "absentee voting", which is what Trump used?
We ALL know (I'm pretty sure that includes you) that they are very, very different; that the two actions are carried out with vastly different methods.
Just as we ALL know that the post office is already being run into the ground; that it cannot compete with private services, and that it has considerably different tasks beyond that of private industry is NOT the entire reason.
Yes, different methodologies. Still, no evidence of fraud in either. Virtually all ineligible ballots are caught.
Are you not concerned with the other points? Trump not accepting election results, trying to slow down the post office, trying to suppress voting?
We all know that the reason the post office is not doing well has to do with its pension system and how they're accounting for it. The post office has a federally mandated responsibility. If you want to turn mail over to private industry, rural America can forget about getting mail anymore.
That said, the U.S. Postal Service does need to be revamped and I am aware that many of the changes there were initiated prior to Mr. DeJoy being put in charge. Like many aspects of our government, a business simply cannot spend more than it takes in. Perhaps we do not need to get our mail every day?
Isn't it dictators who talk about election fraud and not accepting results? If I win, it's a great victory. If I lose, it's rigged. It's a nice way to view things. You never lose!
I must jump in here ---"Are you not concerned with the other points? Trump not accepting election results, trying to slow down the post office, trying to suppress voting?"
In my view, you are running and running around the same tree. Words, if comes, many nonfactual situations. This may happen or maybe that.,. No gosh. How about this reality
All the problems you speak of the need for many changes that the black people deserve by every right! The Democrats over many many years have not even come close to solving. Why the heck are you chasing yourself around a tree?
The Dems play a good blame game, they show phony empathy, nothing gets done. My God man you have a black president. When he walked into the office he held a majority in Congress. Stop falling into the trap of borrowing more problems. Trump won't accept the election, Trump is skrewing with the post office. They want to keep you looking at all kinds of stuff other than what is in front of you. They offer you the same thus election --- Nothing
Again, you're just jumping to another issue. That doesn't address an American president acknowledging that he has no respect for democracy. He has already said he won't accept if he loses. He has already said that if he loses, the election was rigged.
You are completely correct about Obama's first two years. But this is among the reasons I despise the Democratic Party. When they call me to ask for money, I laugh at them.
Let's try to talk about ideas. Could you imagine in your lifetime hearing a President threaten not to accept the results of an election? To talk about our rigged system of voting? To try and suppress the vote?
This is a major difference between our two parties right now. One tries to encourage voting and one tries to discourage it.
Let's face it, and I'll be as judicious in this assessment as possible. The Republicans know they lose elections the more people vote. The Democrats know they win elections the more people vote.
Republicans hope that fewer minorities vote while Democrats hope more minorities vote. That's why Republicans don't court that segment of the electorate while Democrats do.
You have quoted or should I say said something that just is not true. The president never said he would not except the outcome of the election. Words matter. He said the same thing he said last time around.
Frist what he said the first time around His explanation.in his own words.
Now once again he gives the same answer pretty much I will have to see".
I have not or ever heard him say "I will not accept the election."
He has been very clear in his opinion about why he would need to see the outcome as well as if problems occurred during the election. Content matters. And so does always looking at a very negative "what if this happens". Why not look at what is happening right now in our country, and what he has done in his four years concrete things that you may not like or maybe you liked. Do you not see what the media is doing. They pass over all that is present, concrete to keep you in a negative state about what is going to happen. Most of their gloom and doom predictions never came to fruition. Can't you see that? Trump never said he will not accept the election, but you believe he did... You are at this point believing an if come, and a lie.
You are aware recent Democratic elections were riddled with mail-in fraud? In NJ they must repeat the election due to sever fraud.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/19/nyre … fraud.html
This is something that the left media just did not cover as they should have. It's not an if come it is happening, it's a truth.
And did I think I could ever hear a president say he believes there is mail in fraud? I would think him an idiot to ignore it at this point, with so much going on with mail-in voter fraud. I like having a president answer a question giving a relevant opinion. Not a much hashed over nonsensical politically correct response. I have come to detest well-written speeches that all gas up with helium, words that in the end actually mean nothing, and leave me scratching my spinning head.
In the end, we all have a vote. This election will be very telling. In my view, it will work to prove, are we a society that can realize concrete results a president that has worked and solved problems or will they cling to unreal fears of what if, no real solutions but well-written words that they know you want to hear.
This is the first time in many years I feel America is moving forward not backward, for every American, not just a few.
Crankalicious, you repeat the party talking points' mantra about Trump trying to "slow down the post office," and "trying to suppress voting," but have you looked into either claim?
I am not sure what suppression you are speaking about, so I can't address that one, but there is plenty of information about the slowing down the post office charge that clearly shows it to be an unsupportable partisan talking point.
You can look for the details yourself, and you will find that more 'Blue Boxes' were removed during the Obama years than recently under the Trump administration. You will also find that sorting machines were also idled, or used at less than 50% capacity during the Obama years. *Note the mention of Obama years isn't a slam against the Obama administration, but just a timeframe reference.
You will also find that the post office cuts in overtime and delivery schedules were also pre-mail-in ballot scenario cost-cutting initiatives.
What is your support for such a statement?
I do agree with you that the Post Office has a federally mandated responsibility. And that their pension commitments are the largest part of their problem. I think the Post Office should remain as a Federal function—even as a money-losing proposition, but, I think their pension commitments, (from the present forward), should be more realistically constructed. It seems as it stands now, that the union(s) are the stumbling block to the reality that the pension promises are unrealistic and unsupportable.
The GOP is always trying to suppress voting by those who are unlikely to support them.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p … e-1028988/
https://www.npr.org/2018/10/23/65978427 … alist-says
https://www.businessinsider.com/leaked- … rk-2019-12
https://www.vox.com/2020/5/20/21263596/ … reme-court
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/04 … ns-to-vote
I think you might have missed one or two left-wing pubs that might have commented on the topic.
https://cpusa.org/article/mobilize-for- … nd-beyond/
https://peoplesworld.org/article/voter- … who-votes/
Okay Crankalicious, I followed all your links.
The Rolling Stone's article'? Really?
"fear-mongering about voting by mail. . . "
That's still a fairly open debate, isn't it? Yet because Rolling Stone said it you present it as fact?
Your NPR link . . .
- requiring voter ID? I support this, but, even for those that don't, this is still an ongoing debate and it is certainly not a settled point that requiring a voter ID equates to voter suppression. If so, then requiring an ID to rent a car would be driver suppression.
- and "use it or lose it," . . . Do you really think updated and validated voter registration roles equate to voter suppression?
Then we come to your BusinesdsInsider link . . . you got me there. The article reads like a he said - she said thing. The culprit said he was misunderstood etc. etc. etc. I don't know who to believe.
On to your Vox link.
" And it is likely that only a small percentage of voters were disenfranchised by a US Supreme Court decision backing the Republican Party’s effort to make it harder to cast a ballot."
Come on Crank, (may I? too familiar?), "likely" really? Nothing loaded about that statement is there.
"Politico reported on Friday that Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has launched a massive, pricey legal fight to block changes to the voting process, including a vote-by-mail proposal for November’s contest. "
It seems we are back to the mail-in ballot debate, which is a strongly debated discussion, yet you quote an article that equates it to factual proof of voter suppression?
We aren't making any progress on your voter suppression claim Crank, (I would love to use a name instead of a moniker if you wanted to offer one), how about a response to the criticism of your "slowing down the Post Office" claim?
Yes, Biden is a big problem, with bigger issues than Trump.
I consider his being selected by the DNC and the Establishment a way of saying to all voters, F U, you want change, we aren't giving you any... we are going back to corrupt cronyism and screwing the American people and we aren't even going to hide it... we think that little of you.
You want a different option... new ideas... a new face?
Too bad, here you go, here is your alternative, a career DC politician as corrupt as they come, a racist, sexist, creepy old man. There is your choice, and for VP we are going to give the most power hungry, callous, flip her opinion on a dime to suit the moment sell out we can find.
Super interesting, analysis, Ken. All my liberal friends and I agree. We're not happy with Biden and take it as a signal that the DNC cannot get itself together (to put it mildly). Most of my liberal friends want a candidate who supports real change.
"For conservatives today, anyone to the left of Hannity or Rush Limbaugh is the radical left."
You should become a politician, Cred - such gross exaggeration, such appeal to the emotions without any basis in fact at all, is where they excel. It is even forgiven today as expected...from a politician.
Should we be concerned?
Doesn't seem like much of an outsider. Just a few of hundreds. Seems like they were buds, no? And somebody feel free to post Epstein with Clinton. Does anybody disagree we need to know the truth about all this?
Yes, we should have the truth.
I am realistic however, when everyone from Bill Gates to Clinton to Trump was schmoozing with these two, I doubt we will get it.
I don't expect you to remember all my posts or have read my articles, but just as I supported Trump over Clinton, I preferred change again, if it were Tulsi Gabbard or Andrew Yang... people not corrupted and controlled by the worst elements in DC.
So, as I say, Trump has his flaws, his uncouth manner and antics are divisive and disruptive... and if his being there had allowed for new voices to rise up in the Democrats, it would have been time for change again.
But that didn't happen.
We got a senile establishment stooge rolled out, complete with legit rape charges against him, dozens of pictures of his groping and sniffing little girls, and his financial 'interactions' with foreign nations that amounted to billions of dollars being funneled through his son's firm.
We got Biden... one step worse than Clinton in my book.
So no... its not time to get rid of Trump.
We agree about who should lead the Democratic Party. They keep gravitating toward hacks.
However, we disagree that Biden is worse than Trump. That's not even close. Trump is the biggest disaster we've ever seen.
I disagree, Trump is the biggest disruptor we have ever seen.
From disrupting our decades long sycophant relationship with China, to renegotiating one sided trade deals (ie NAFTA) he has been the best President America has had in anyone's lifetime.
Manufacturing jobs grew at the fastest rate in 23 years and the unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma reached the lowest point ever recorded.
The Wall Street Journal reported that wages rose 3.1 percent, the biggest jump since 2009 and that “low-skilled workers are among the biggest beneficiaries.”
Trump also got Mexico, Canada and South Korea to sign new trade deals.
He took on the International Criminal Court, which tried to usurp jurisdiction over U.S. soldiers and citizens.
He has battled the WHO and UN for the best interests of Americans.
Biden would have done none of that for America.
Biden is a corrupt crony a 45 year politician.
Doesn't seem like much of an outsider. Just a few of hundreds. Seems like they were buds, no? And somebody feels free to post Epstein with Clinton. Does anybody disagree we need to know the truth about all this?
We do need to know if President Trump was involved in any crimes related to Epstein or anyone else. At this point, his name has not been brought up in relation to the women that have stepped up with their stories. The woman they have in custody claimed to have documents tapes, and will most likely out many if she has these taped. If she indicates and has proof Trump raped someone, I am very sure he will be indicted at some point. The President was on the Epstein plane once. Flight logs list, Donald Trump, on a January 1997 flight on Jeffrey Epstein's private jet from Palm Beach, Florida, to Newark, New Jersey.
So should we be concerned, I am not at this point, I would be if proof of crime emerges. It is truly unfair to impugn anyone's reputation due to innuendo.
Sharlee, c'mon now.
Rape? Sure, that would be awful. But whether it's Clinton or Trump or anyone, rape is at the far end. Closer is whether they had knowledge of what was going on. Did they know? If they knew, they should be in prison.
If you knew your neighbor was running a child sex-trafficking ring, would you remain silent? That's a crime.
Epstein had too much access to the wheels of power. I suspect many people knew what was going on. If we don't hold people to account for this, we're immoral. It's amazing that with these pictures and the ones of Clinton, an investigation hasn't been started.
How about some bi-partisan, Congressional hearings? Make Clinton and Trump testify.
It will be interesting to hear from the women that were victimized, it would only be these women that could shed light on who may have known what, also Maxwell, she as I said claims to have tapes. This kind of evidence will work to prove who knew what or did what. I imagine this could be a very ugly scandal. I would be pleased to see Clinton, Trump, and anyone involved questioned if there is evidence they know something that will shed light on the investigation. I don't believe either should be accused or questioned if not implicated in a crime or as you say could share knowledge.
I would find it hard to believe anyone that was a close friend with Epstein was not aware of his crimes or at least hear of what he was doing. The list of his acquaintances shocks me. Like I said this will be an ugly scandal.
Agreed! I think it speaks to corruption in our government that Congress hasn't called for an investigation. This could be a true bi-partisan endeavor. And I think no mater whether you are a Republican or Democrat, you want to know the whole truth about this.
I think if there is evidence that comes out that anyone in Government is under investigation or has been accused of wrongdoing an investigation would be warranted. The crimes are being pursued and as you see Maxwell has been charged and so far this is what we know ---
Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on July 2, 2020, on multiple charges related to the sexual abuse of young women and girls by Jeffrey Epstein.
She was denied bail and currently remains behind bars.
A court recently released a number of documents related to the case, including emails between Epstein and Maxwell.
Maxwell's trial is expected to take place next summer.
This point would seem a witchhunt to go after anyone until there is some proof of a crime. Unfortunately --- Generally speaking, most people are under no legal obligation to report a crime, whether they knew about it in advance, witnessed its commission, or found out about it after the fact.
I agree with you if anyone would have knowledge of Epstein's crimes they should have a moral duty to report their knowledge.
I don't think the Federal Gov needs to be involved at this point nothing points to anyone who has committed a crime. Let's have Southern District of New York investigate, and see what develops. I can guarantee if anyone needs to be charge in any crimes resulting from Epstein they will be charged.
I suggest you read the "Communist Manifest" from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It is a small booklet, comprised of 2 parts. Part 1 is a thorough economic and social analysis of the capitalist society in the 19th century. Part 2 is the political part, you can skip that.
For part 1: If you replace steam engines of 1850 by lets say artificial intelligence of 2020, if you replace steel production of the 19th century with industrial robot output of the 2000s, essentially nothing has changed. The analysis was as valid in 1850 as it is in 2020.
What has changed is the economic basics. 100 years ago much more effort was needed to manufacture something. Probably more than 30% of the economy was used to produce. 75% were service. Today technical progress has reduced the product sector to less than 15%, giving 85% to service. So production is more prone to be monopolized. Already happening as only few economies are left to be the factories of the world.
And in our globally connected world it is easier to trade production than to trade service. It simply doesn´t make sense to order a sizzling pizza baked in Milwaukee, if you live in Paris, France. However you can order a barrel of beer and have it shipped. Beer is product, pizza making is service (if not deep frozen in the supermarket).
Even in the middle ages there was betting on the future of resource markets (how good or bad next years grain harvest would be). We have a different level today but no real change. Actually companies like Uber reflect this betting game.
Marx and Engels concluded that capitalism is always in crisis. I would say: capitalism is like a car race on a gravel road. You do best if you keep the car unstable, have wheels spinning. There is much power needed and people on the sidelines may get hurt by debree. The socialist way is like a paved road. Relaxed driving. Only problem is: you can´t make offroad shortcuts, which are sometimes necessary for progress.
We seem to agree that the basics of Capitalism haven't changed Chris57.
I like your paved road vs. gravel road analogy, but instead of thinking of it as a difference between having the opportunity of "shortcuts," I would describe as the difference between having the opportunity of choices. I think our human nature requires us to have the opportunity of choice to be happy in life.
That same analogy might also work to describe a well-mixed system—capitalism with some socialist aspects; a main paved road with unlimited gravel road off-shoots. When any particular off-shoot becomes heavily traveled it will end up getting paved and becoming an artery of the main paved road.
And rather than "sometimes necessary" I think they are always necessary. Change is life.
Actually if you read that, you will realize how short sighted Marx was, as well as limited in his understanding of how economics truly work.
When he wrote that, he thought mankind's advancement had reached his pinnacle, and what he advocated for ensured there would be stagnation, not advancement.
Follow Marx's ideas, and you never see AI or Robots, because there will be no systemic push of incentives and competition for anyone to bother creating them.
Entrepreneurial Capitalism transformed America, and it transformed China, that is the power of a merit and reward based system. You can't achieve a great civilization without it.
Socialism without Entrepreneurial Capitalism and competition ensures a civilization's demise. Always.
"Entrepreneurial Capitalism transformed America, and it transformed China, that is the power of a merit and reward based system. You can't achieve a great civilization without it.
Socialism without Entrepreneurial Capitalism and competition ensures a civilization's demise. Always."
yeah, but I said it first . . . ;-)
Whoever writes about AI or robots today to measure the state of development will probably be belittled in 50 years, when other future indicators will be more appropriate.
Does not mean that Marx analytical works are wrong "Histomat" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_materialism or "Dialectical Mat" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism
On the contrary, these analytics are a good toolbox to understand what is happening today.
The controversy about Marx and Engels is IMHO not on their diagnostics, but on the cure, they prescribed.
To return to the topic "Capitalism". Basic definition is: The means for work, the tools to create value add are in private hands. These means are not owned by workers, employees. So workers can not participate in the value add (productivity) as a whole, but only to the portion that was bargained to be the salary.
By this definition not much has changed over decades and centuries. Always look at the added value that is created and who benefits. Brush off the paint (AI, steam engines..) and it is always the same story.
In central Europe in past 3 centuries craftsmen (masons, bricklayers, carpenters...) owned their own tools (hammers, ..) for their work. Masters organised work for the craftsmen and added their own tools (workshops) to create value add. What is different to companies like Uber, who also don´t own part of the value add chain (cars, drivers) but do the organising.
For most of my life i am a capitalist in the true sense of the definition. I have people work for me, while i supply the means, the workshop, the infrastructure, the organisation. I benefit from the whole value add chain, while employees only get salary.
Yet, to understand the system, to know how to run a business, to predict how markets will behave, what structural changes will occur, where begins entrepreneurship and where it ends with exploitation, until this very day i cherish the analytical works of Marx and Engels.
Perhaps deliberately so, perhaps they understood well enough, that what they prescribed as solutions would actually be more akin to slavery for all except a small minority of the chosen elite/ruling class.
There are those who can lead, and those who cannot, there are those with the intellectual capacity to handle a variety of demands and complete a complex amount of transactions or tasks, and those that can barely be counted on to fill out a form correctly.
There are those who will work hard all day long without complaint, and those that will work hard all day long to avoid working.
Their beliefs put into action, in Russia, in China, as examples, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people, and eventually led to stagnation and starvation.
China was revived and its people have thrived, during the last 30 years due to acceptance of the Capitalist system.
Its not perfect, but its the best system out of all of them, if you believe technological, standard of living, medical advances to be important.
Thank you for posting thins GA, as the comment was off-topic where it was posted.
What I wanted to say is not to think directly along the lines of capitalism vs socialism. Both systems don't work as pure ideology. Nothing works as pure ideology. And I'm allergic to those pure ideologies as they are dangerous.
China can't be seen as a socialist country. And to be honest I don't know if such a country exists. Cuba was boycotted so badly that you can not say if it worked or not as the economy and society were sabotaged from the outside.
Chili was under Pinochet a country with a free market and an example to Milton Friedman. I don't think we want that kind of capitalism.
To me the biggest problem of capitalism today is the thought that a country needs growth to evolve.
The growth of making products, selling them, dispose of them, making them again and selling them. This with producing them as cheaply as possible and selling them with as much profit as possible. In other words, using slave labor and child labour in Africa to produce your chocolate bar. To give an example. The same for making clothes and what al not.
And so the growth mentality of capitalism is eating resources at an alarming rate creating the huge problem of the Climate Crisis we face.
Rainforests are cut down in sizes of countries to grow crops for the cattle that we eat. The oceans have floating plastic islands nowadays!!
We have huge problems today and that's why I think we have to rethink the way capitalism works today. Not with solutions of Marx and Engels, as they focus on labour and the market. But with solutions focused on resources and work and living space. And how our relationship is with the environment.
"And so the growth mentality of capitalism is eating resources at an alarming rate creating the huge problem of the Climate Crisis we face."
Is the root of this in capitalism or in greed? Greed for what we don't have, but want to have?
I see this as more of a cultural thing than capitalism, for whether capitalism or socialism (even the textbook socialism of govt. owned businesses), the people still want more than they have an demand that they get it. As a result they still demand low prices (and the devil with whoever is producing it) because they can have more that way.
Short sighted and destructive, yes, but that doesn't come from the form of economy - it comes directly from the desire for more than we currently have.
Ah greed. Yes that's one important factor.
Is the root of this in capitalism or in greed? Greed for what we don't have, but want to have?
I think you answered it. It is a grait motivator and a core threat of capitalism.
The whole market place is to let you buy new stuff. All the ads are there for you to want something. The new iPhone, the new trousers, the new app. It is a mentality highly pushed and supported by capitalism.
Products are made to break, so you will buy new ones. Lightbulbs used to last for decades. Now they last for hours. (as the package proudly tells you)
The capitalism of today is a monster. It literally destroys the earth.
That's why I think we have to rethink capitalism. As there are alternatives. Like a capitalistic system that is not based on eternal growth but for instance on sustainability.
One such a model is becoming more popular, the doughnut model.
"I think you answered it. It is a grait motivator and a core threat of capitalism."
The point was that it was a great motivator for ANY economic or political system. Socialism, capitalism, dictatorship - whatever, the greed for more than we have is a great motivator. Consider that Islam has been fighting greed (greed of women to be educated, to drive, to walk free) and it isn't even an economic OR governmental system.
One can also point out that it is greed that produces more, new, products for humanity, AND that they become available more readily under capitalism. Whether brand new CAT scanner technology, a better phone system or most anything else, capitalism will spread it to people faster than socialism, for the incentive to earn more money is a great motivator for many people. A positive, then, to greed.
As far as built in deterioration - I have never seen, in 70 years, a lightbulb that would last for decades under reasonable usage. I grew up with incandescent bulbs and they were seldom good for even one year, never decades. I HAVE seen cars (nearly all of them) that have gone from an expected lifespan of 100,000 miles to double that.
I have also seen many things that are NOT being built to last. A household freezer used to be good for 10+ years; now they MIGHT make a decade. I am using a window style air conditioner that was purchased and put into service in about 1965; try THAT with a modern one.
But again, to blame it on capitalism is unfair. It comes from greed, the desire to sell more products...AND from the shortsighted greed of consumers that look at only the price tag and noting else.
(greed of women to be educated, to drive, to walk free)
That's a sentence I do not understand. As I don't think greed has anything to do with it. Power to control women yes, not greed.
It is easier to find examples under capitalism of greed then under socialism or other isms. Because greed is a great motivator to buy things. So capitalism benefits by greediness. Socialism less so.
The story of the long-lasting lightbulb versus the modern short-lived one is an example of cartel contracts. And a classic example of why it's better when things break and thrown away for consumerism then things that last a long time.
https://www.newyorker.com/business/curr … lt-to-last
I do not think to blame capitalism is unfair. Capitalism simply should not be worshiped as a great system that is untouchable and infallible.
To go back to the core of the thread: Is capitalism of today different than the capitalism of 70 years ago? I think, yes. I think it went out of control with companies that can buy entire countries. Apples Market Capital was in 2019 bigger than the GPD of the Netherlands!! Bigger then from Indonesia or Mexico! Great for Apple you could say, it surely is. But is there anybody who is controlling Mega companies like Apple, Google, Facebook. Like we vote for a government that in the end organizes the law and structure of a country. Who is voting for what Apple and Google is doing? The shareholders? Don't think so. Still, such big companies are part of our lives too. They shape the world but without anybody voting for the direction the world is going to. This may sound philosophical but capitalism is a huge concept that not only touches money but also how a society is organized.
That's why you can blame capitalism for the climate breakdown. You can blame it the huge division between super-rich and poor - "8 men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam" -
I think it is something to think about.
Not that I have a direct answer, but I think it's not bad to be critical.
No worries Peterstreep, I didn't take your comment as a Capitalism vs. Socialism thought. To be clear, this statement matches my own thoughts:
"Nothing works as pure ideology. And I'm allergic to those pure ideologies as they are dangerous."
But . . . we begin to part ways in the rest of your comment. I firmly believe that without growth—whether as an individual or a nation—stagnation begins, and with stagnation comes regression. So, I think a nation must have growth to evolve. Growth is not a bad thing.
Your "slave labor" thought is a good illustration of the need for a regulated Free Market. I am only a semi-Darwinian, so I believe a beneficial Free Market will require some regulation, but I also believe that regulation should be as little as possible. So I could accept market regulation that prohibits the use of slave and child labor but not regulation that prohibits manufacturing in Africa.
You closed with a thought I can heartily agree with:
"Not with solutions of Marx and Engels, as they focus on labour and the market. But with solutions focused on resources and work and living space. And how our relationship is with the environment."
Now, all we have to do is find the balance between what's required to achieve those solutions and still maintain a Free Market. Easy Peasy.
Peterstreep and Nathan ville, I am mostly a fan of you two as we think much alike. I am not in the viscious circle of politics or religion. I have faith in the people's Gross national product of happiness. Mostly to do about our health and what we can forget.
Forget wars, the greedy corporation and allow A- holes to be A-holes. I stepped up to happiness in Nova Scotia Canada and winters in Latin America. Keep it up you two, I'll take notes.
Same to you Castlepaloma, always good to hear read your input and point of view.
Yes, I think it's not a bad idea to put the Gross National Product of Happiness. (GNPH) into the mix when restructuring capitalism. As many tend to speak only about profit and loss, but never look at the consequences of the free market capitalsim.
My perspective focus on Africa, a "happy state of paradise." Here capitalise is shared equally on equal contribution. Then, enter for example, Her Majesty the Queen. Capitalise and creed become friends. Seriously, if an individual can not contribute the equal or fair share, it turns up from the nuclear family. This place a check and balace system. No one is super rich or super poor. The British introduction of the Bible and Plough Policy, and later the Gun Boat Diplomacy create instability into the balance. From 1900 forest products with forced labor sent to. Britain, for products like margarine, and others, and laler export to the same Africa to exploit the people further. I prefer the old over the modern, though many advantages hold good of the later.
I was taught about the rules of supply and demand as a child.
However I've come to see that oftentimes they really don't apply. For example there have been instances where when the demand for oil dropped but the price remained high due to investor speculation in the market or because oil producers (chose) to cut back on production.
Being able to "manipulate" the supply isn't pure capitalism in my opinion.
The same is true with government subsidies paid out to tip the scales.
In addition the fed raises/cuts interest rates to manipulate the economy.
Last but not least in the past most businesses that were launched made products and employed people in their own country. Most of the huge companies today are "service industries" or marketing tools.
For example Amazon is nothing more than a eCommerce site and order fulfillment center, Facebook and other social media sites earn their money from (sponsored advertisers) hoping to have their ads clicked on.
Some individuals actually earn money for being "influencers" because they have millions of followers on YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram.
Companies will pay them for being seen using their product online.
Others have made money from creating apps/games for cell phones.
Software and search engines which make finding information faster or even sites like Yelp which simply is a forum site for consumers to post reviews on other businesses and their services is the new capitalism.
The "Gig economy" such as Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, and DoorDash essentially create jobs whereby individuals use their own car as taxis and delivery services and do not receive any of the traditional benefits associated with traditional jobs such as sick time/holiday pay/vacation. Essentially they are "contractors" and not actual employees.
The business is basically a "matchmaking service" for consumers.
We see a similar business model with digital publications and websites which solicit writers to provide the content for little or no pay and the site charges advertisers based upon number of monthly visitors or clicks the writers of the articles generate by "sharing it" on their social media sites.
Older manufacturing companies seek to cut cost by building plants in foreign countries. Today's capitalism is more tied to stock market performance than creating jobs or benefiting the masses in some way.
These are not the traditional brick and mortar type of businesses that were once associated with capitalism in past eras.
On the bright side there are more millionaires and billionaires than ever before and they're younger too!
Interesting you should mention Uber. Uber is having a tough time in the UK:
• Uber have been fighting a five year legal battle in the UK over the issue of whether Uber drivers are employees; which reached the Supreme Court last month.
• And simultaneously Uber was fighting a three year legal battle in London, against TfL (Transport for London) who has consistently refused to grant Uber a licence to operate in London on the grounds that Uber are not "fit and proper" as a licence holder.
In the former, Uber was originally taken to an Employment Tribunal by Uber drivers back in 2015 under the ‘Employment Rights Act of 1996’ on the grounds that their drivers are employees. In the UK the Employment Tribunals is a Free Government Service run by ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), an ‘Independent Government’ Department, and their services are FREE to all.
Uber lost their case in the Employment Tribunal, and have constantly lost in every Appeal Court since; currently the case is being considered by the Supreme Court. If Uber loses then in the UK they will have to give all their drivers’ full employees’ rights under UK law e.g. six weeks paid holiday a year (vacation), minimum legal wage, paternity and maternity paid leave for expectant mothers and fathers etc.
ACAS (Government Department) in the UK: https://youtu.be/1fOsYkxr-UI
As regards the latter, the TfL (Transport for London) is a Local Government Department in London, responsible for integrating all of London’s public transport, and owns and operates parts of it e.g. the London trains and buses etc. Albeit taxis in London (the Black Cabs) are private (self-employed), but to operate in London Taxi drivers have to be licenced by the TfL (who have strict Regulations on Standards). TfL refused Uber a licence to operate in London back in 2017 on the grounds that they are not “fit and proper" as a licence holder; which Uber Appealed, but Uber lost on all its Appeal in the Courts, and lost their final Appeal in February of this year.
Although London Taxi Drivers are self-employed: To become a London Taxi Driver you have to pass a stringent test called ‘The Knowledge’, as explained in the video below:-
Cracking London’s Legendary Taxi Test: https://youtu.be/sU4W36_5oiM
TfL (Transport for London), a Local Government Department: https://youtu.be/J-_JpmFDeBo
I understand, (I think), your perspective dashingscorpio, but I have to disagree. In all the instances you noted you seem to be defining a product as a physical manufactured "thing."
Facebook, Google, and Amazon are all offering products. Theirs just aren't physical. Their products are still examples of capitalistic trade—an exchange of value, (money), for something, (physical product or service).
My perspective is that Facebook's service of access is no less a product than Standard Oil's kerosene was.
I think your examples are still examples of supply and demand.
Of course today's capitalism is different. And the difference is pretty simple: the amount of regulation by government.
And much of our political battles are over whether it's enough regulation or too much.
Nope. The degree of regulation is secondary to the question of whether the operation of Capitalism is different.
Of course, you are right about a change in the regulation of capitalism now vs. our grandfather's day, but the capitalistic concept is still the same.
I can also agree that the magnitude of capitalism's societal impact has changed, (ie. globalism and the orders of magnitude in monetary values in the financial markets), but the concepts of capitalism are still the same.
On your last aspect, you are right; that idea of the degree of regulation is exactly the argument that is the root of our poltical differences.
Overall, I think you're right; capitalism has remained capitalism. With one, rather major, exception - it used to be that people could hope, and perhaps expect, to find a company and make a lifelong career out of it.
Those days are gone; there is no corporate loyalty to employees, only concern with the bottom line. And as a result (I don't think I'm putting the cart before the horse here) there is no loyalty of employees for employers, either. Only what is necessary to keep a job...until a better one is found.
Well, for the reasons you mentioned, and others. I have changed my mind. Capitalism as a concept hasn't changed, but, with the changes in regulation and the added power of the global market, I think I must consider that capitalism, as we experience it, has changed from our grandfather's time.
I thought of football as an analogy. Consider the game in our grandfather's time when the only real rules were the out of bounds and number of players on the field. Then consider today's football when there are so many rules that a misplaced arm or foot in a tackle is a broken rule.
The game is still football; with end zones and passing and kicking, but it is a very different game than our grandfathers watched. I think the changes in capitalism's free market is the same. It is certainly experienced as a different game.
Well, perhaps it has been more like the past than we think, but as you say, technology and the speed of transactions, and centralized banking has changed it vastly, much in the way football has been changed.
Within the last hundred years, with the growth of Central Banking and especially with President Wilson's capitulation and creation of the Federal Reserve (Private Central Bank which profits the richest people on earth) and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service which can tax or ruin any citizen) we have seen the growing inability of people to fully control their lives or their resources.
2008 was a good example, like a heard of sheep being brought in to be fleeced, tens of millions lost their homes, lost their retirement funds, lost their businesses. The Banks only got richer for it.
The same is in the process of occurring now, those that don't recognize it, those that don't have the ability to shift their assets and protect themselves, those who don't understand how to maintain a budget or how debt works, will all be fleeced, starting in earnest as soon as this election is over.
The problem we have now... and it is a BIG problem... is that they have been able to entwine racism into this 'fleecing'.
Instead of Americans wanting to hold all the corrupt DC politicians (and the banks) accountable for ruining their lives, they have been brainwashed into taking sides... either blame Trump and the Republicans (whites) who are so evil they need to be destroyed... or defend yourself and your property from these extremist Democrats and BLM, Antifa groups that are trying to burn it all down.
It is critical to understand, that those that have chosen the "Progressive Left", are intent on this country's destruction as we know it... intent on destroying anyone who opposes them, be they black or white, rich or poor.
There hasn't been this dangerous a divide, and unwillingness to compromise, since the Civil War.
I give you the author of the book "How to be an Antiracist" a book that is becoming akin to the bible for those siding with this "movement":
If the book has a core thesis, it is that this war on racism allows for no neutral parties and no ceasefires.
For the author Ibram X. Kendi, “there is no such thing as a not-racist idea,” only “racist ideas and antiracist ideas.”
This outlook extends to policy. “Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity,” Kendi proclaims.
Given the hypothetical example of a capital-gains tax cut. Most of us think of the capital-gains tax, if we think about it at all, as a policy that is neutral as regards questions of race or racism.
But given that blacks are underrepresented among stockowners, Kindi when asked, would it be racist to support a capital-gains tax cut?
“Yes,” Kendi answered, without hesitation. And in case you planned on escaping the charge of racism by remaining agnostic on the capital-gains tax, that won’t work either, because Kendi defines a racist as anyone who supports “a racist policy through their actions or inaction.”
Pay attention to that, because it is something espoused over and over again in his book, and in his speeches,
If you are not actively anti-racist... you are a racist. If you are not a SJW fighting the fight, you are the enemy. There is no neutral... there is no compromise.
This is the stance of the Democratic Party, this is what they meant when they said over and over again, speaker after speaker during their 3 day DNC extravaganza that "we must continue the fight" and ""carry on the fight".
"Instead of Americans wanting to hold all the corrupt DC politicians (and the banks) accountable for ruining their lives, they have been brainwashed into taking sides... either blame Trump and the Republicans (whites) who are so evil they need to be destroyed... or defend yourself and your property from these extremist Democrats and BLM, Antifa groups that are trying to burn it all down."
In reality, the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the extremes. I can't speak for others when I get specific about my views. Which "side" is more likely to actually reduce the influence of money and privilege in our system? Which side has consistently resisted campaign finance reform to minimize the influence of money in the political process? It is the conservatives that have tended to want to let corrupt banks and banking practices off the hook. The candidates that I have supported wanted to lower the boom, and dispense with all the mumbo jumbo. Because of this and other things I remain suspicious of Biden and Democratic Party establishment and, of course, the (GOP) Regressive Right to even a greater extent as it would be against their charter to even consider such ideas. So, whose side am I on?
I am "progressive left", I never said anything about Revolution our destruction of the country, but I do support change and reform. Is that so radical to support change in the current system, on a continued and all deliberate evolutionary pattern over the status quo?
This inability to compromise to so great an extent started with the GOP and their resistance to Obama to a man. Yes, we are in trouble.
Hitler wrote Mein Kamph, so a lot of people have written books. The fact that they have does not necessarily makes its contents credible.
You are taking an alarmist attitude about a book. Leftists taking over America? poppycock.
A race neutral stance is by definition not a racist stance.
The capital gains tax cut is not racist, but can be still considered an injustice from a social economic standpoint.
When you support racist actions as did "Karen" in Central Park. By action or inaction, it is possible to be an accessory to racist policies and actions.
In this culture and environment, conscious effort is needed to avoid an attitude and concept so deeply etched in the American psyche. Whether you are aware of it or not, many of you exist in that universe. In opposition to the author of this book, my point is that not ALL actions can be categorized as having racial overtones. If I am fired by my employer for not doing my job well, that is not necessarily racist, it's business.
As I said, I am Progressive Left and do not agree with all of Kendi's ideas. Kendi leaves no room or possible alternatives for those that are truly innocent and desire to see things approve and consciously work toward it. The reality and the greater prevalence of race neutrality is given short shrift by the author.
No one is talking about a second Civil War, Ken. The status quo and your advocacy of it is pretty secure and that seems to be the main theme of both political parties to my great dismay. The powers that be are not in the game to lose, they will ultimately control the extent at which the "boat" may be rocked. The fact that I end up with a Joe Biden in the face of so much "radical left" activity and ideas attests to that.
capitalism, I agree, it is the same game. Today, there a few more protections from its excesses today than there were during the guilded age of the Rockefellers and Carnegies....
But the tools and methods that has come through technology today has more than made up for what we might have considered a form of restraint against excesses.
But when it is all weighed out, considering their influence and control of how our government is run, today's Capitalism is worse.
I can only speak from a European/British perspective; as the mentality of the American Society is far more ‘materialistic’ than in Europe.
In Britain, since the transformation of the Conservative Party from the Tory Party in 1834 very little of substance in 'capitalism' has changed.
The basic fundamental economic and social principles of the British Conservative Party today is very much what it was almost 200 years ago; basically as follows:-
British Conservative philosophy is based on the Principle of ‘Top Down’ economics e.g. the concept of “look after the employer, and the employer will look after the employee”.
What has changed in Britain has been the progression towards ‘Socialism’.
In Britain, Liberalism (The Liberal Party) evolved from the old Whig Party between 1852 and 1859. Liberalism being a tempered form of Capitalism that pays more attention to the Social needs of the less wealthy.
However, in 1900 the Trade Unions formed the Labour Party, as a Socialist Party that follows the Principle of ‘Bottom Up’ economics e.g. “Look after the employee, and they will help the employer to make wealth”. The Labour Party didn’t come to power (with a majority Government) in the UK until 1945; and ever since has have had a major impact on the Political, Economic and Social aspects of British Society e.g. the formation of the NHS and Welfare State in 1948.
Dan Snow's History of the UK Labour Party https://youtu.be/_3A_nChO1G8
Dan Snow's History of the UK Conservatives Party https://youtu.be/U3fi-IhelrY
John Cleese's party political broadcast for the UK Liberal Democrats - April 1997 https://youtu.be/9gv4Abt3sZU
I think you nailed it Nathanville; Americans are more materialistic and Europeans are more accepting of socialist concepts.
I'm not sure that Americans are more materialistic than Europeans.
Much of American "materialism" is expressed in "big boy toys" - giant RV's, 4,000 sq ft homes, huge SUV's, etc. - things that are impractical and very expensive in most of Europe.
But do Europeans demand the same high end cell phones? A computer(s) in every home? Fine dining out on the town? Beautiful, high speed, rail - something America does not have? All of these things seem "materialistic" to me...just not in the same fashion that Americans do it, because what Americans buy is not reasonable there.
Obviously the point of "more materialistic" can only be one of opinion.
I stand by mine, even if it is only supported by perception. I think several of your examples fail to meet the mark of the point; high-speed rail, fine dining? They don't seem to fit the context of the materialism of this discussion.
Now, if Europeans have the same $800 Logo sneakers or "big boy toy" markets as we do then you might have a point. Maybe a European voice will chime in.
Absolutely it is opinion. And only an opinion from one that has spent years in both places (preferably at the same time) can carry much weight.
High speed rail, fine dining? Is there a real difference between that and materialism? Both require expenditures for nothing more than a desire for fine things.
The sneakers would be a test, but the "big boy toys" aren't, for the reasons I gave. They simply are not reasonable in much of Europe. Large RV's, for instance, could hardly navigate the narrow roads of Britain and there are few campgrounds that could handle them. Where do you operate an ATV in France? Downtown Paris or in somebody's grape orchard? And then there's the cost of fuel...
I would say capitalism has produced our materialism. We're very much a consumer culture. It's definitely not organic.
yeah, yeah, yeah. But I still disagree that high-speed rail and fine dining fit the context of the "materialistic" aspect of this discussion.
As for the large RV's in Britain, I immediately got a mental image of a, (although not really an RV), monster truck commanding an entire British roadway as it forced the rest of traffic to scramble out of the way. ;-)
And an ATV in Paris, (or an orchard), would be a blast. Just picture one roaring in and out of traffic, on and off the sidewalks, with cafe patrons spilling their espresso in their laps, or blasting between the rows of grapevines as pickers scrambled to get out of the way. Yep, sign me up for that one. I would give it a go in a heartbeat.
Yeah, this was our experience when we met an oncoming bus while on holiday in Cornwall a few years ago.....
When Car Meets Oncoming Bus on a Narrow Cornish Road https://youtu.be/k3NrXr7WqYY
All these essential personal gadgets, eating out alone or with family, the sleek trains, sounds wonderful.
Yeah, they have their pros & cons; and as wilderness surmises, there’s too much emphases on material possessions these days. Certainly they can make life more comfortable; but when on holiday nothing beats ‘peace and quiet’ e.g. just sunbathing on the beach all day listening to the sound of the waves breaking on the sand.
Now, we would get along very well on vacation. My son (and to a lesser extent my wife) would not agree with you; they want excitement and to be entertained all day. An amusement park, shopping, museums, high adrenaline sports, etc. They are not happy just relaxing.
Yes, I can remember you telling me how you like driving to the forests and camping up under the tall trees in America; it’s the sort of thing that would appeal to us e.g. the peace and quiet of the countryside. It’s another leisure activity we seek on our holidays, including in years past our holidays to Haddiscoe Island, in Norfolk, the Lack District in North West England, the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, the Highlands of North Wales, and Cornwall etc.
This was our holiday trip to the Mourne Mountains a few years back: https://youtu.be/mW7TToUvLC4?t=128
Another of our isolated holidays, which might put a smile on your face, was when we rented a holiday cottage (converted windmill) on Haddiscoe Island in Norfolk; the largest inland island in the UK.
Haddiscoe Island is an inland island measuring 25 square miles, small by USA standards I know, but nevertheless it was just us and a couple of farms on the island, and to get to our holiday cottage was a 5 mile, 20 minute, slow drive across fields from the main road.
However, the biggest obstacle to use getting across the island to and from our holiday was the infamous black bulls, which according to the guest book, was a menace to all holidaymakers on the island:-
As demonstrated in this old video I made at the time:-
Black Bulls of Red Mill Try to Push Our Car into Ditch https://youtu.be/vKoLMYZ6kvE
This short (3 minute) video, which I published just today, may also be relevant to your comments GA?
Marginalisation of Bristol Cars: https://youtu.be/eQnkDjAS_dw
Good point GA. Obviously the ‘Fashion Industry’ in the UK is big business, just like anywhere else in the world; but ‘designer’s clothes’ (and shoes) is a niche market e.g. in the whole of my life I’ve never paid more than £5 ($7) for a pair of shoes.
However, on your question, this video below may give you your answer on British attitudes towards buying clothes and shoes e.g. most Brits are satisfied in buying their clothes from Marks & Spencers (who sell inexpensive but smart clothing), or similar Retail Stores.
COME SHOPPING WITH ME IN M&S (Marks & Spencers): https://youtu.be/3HhWdBRDasw
I didn’t say Europeans are not materialistic, I said Americans are more materialistic than Europeans; I think GA was right when he said “Europeans are more accepting of socialist concepts.
Yes America has a reputation of everything being ‘Over Sized’; to add to your list are clothes dryers. In the UK we have combo ‘Washer/Dryers’ that are installed in the kitchen, and which doesn’t need an air vent.
Regarding Europeans demands for the items referenced in your last paragraph; with respect to the UK:-
#1: Mobile Phones (American word cell phone): These days over 99% of the British population have ‘Smart Phones’ because it is considered an essential part of modern life; even to the point that ‘welfare benefit’ is theoretically set at a level to make it affordable for the socially disadvantaged to have their own smart phones.
We know a number of people on ‘benefit’ (lower classes), and every single one we know has a ‘smart phone’. In fact, currently, due to the ‘Government Restrictions’ imposed in the UK to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s impossible to eat out in a restaurant or drink in a pub (bar) without a smart phone (or contactless credit card) because you can only use ‘contactless’ payment in such places.
Ironically, although we are classified ‘lower middle class’, neither I, my wife, nor my son have ‘smart phones’; we’ve all independently chosen to stick with the old ‘brick’ mobile phones, that doesn’t allow apps e.g. contactless payment. And we prefer the old ‘basic’ phone technology because in our view a phone is for making phone call only e.g. we are not interested in all the fancy gadgets on a smart phone (that’s our personal choice).
#2: Computers: It might surprise you to know that not every British home has a computer; they are not considered as important as one might think! Out of all the people we know, apart from ourselves, only two other people actually have a decent computer; my brother, and a close family friend. Everyone else we know either have old low speck computers (often over 10 years old), a cheap laptop or just use their smart phone for emails and web. It’s not just a question of price, just as often it’s simply because they’re not interested in anything fancy e.g. they can get all they want from their ‘smart phone’.
Again, my family buck the British trend e.g. we’ve got a high end computer in our home-office, our son has high end computer equipment in his bedroom/office, and we have a high-end laptop for use in our living room.
However, computers are considered essential for ‘university’ these days, so in the UK it’s relatively easy to get a Government Grant to buy a computer if you’re going to university e.g. Government Grant was how we got our first computer back in the mid 1990’s (when my wife went to university as a mature student), and Government Grant was how our son got his first computer when he went to university about 10 years ago.
#3: Fine dining out on the town: Yes, wining and dining is (in normal times) quite popular in Britain; albeit I wouldn’t call it materialism, but leisure. Albeit, the restaurants in the UK that are popular are not the expensive ones, but the cheap ones e.g. where you can get a three course meal (with drinks) and ‘all you can eat’ salad for about £20 ($26) each; such as the ‘Harvesters’, or a ‘pub lunch’ with drink for anything from about $10 each.
Traditional British Pub Food https://youtu.be/ClQAKesK7pY
Again, the prime factor isn’t cost; it’s just that you can get just as much ‘good quality’ food and a good service in a cheap restaurant as you can in a ‘posh’ restaurant; and be more relaxed because you are not worrying about your Ps & Qs.
Traditionally, I would take my wife out for a meal for special occasions e.g. birthdays; and we like to occasionally eat out as a family when on holiday.
After being shut by the Government on the 23rd March (as part of the lockdown) Restaurants and pubs (bars) reopened again in England on 4th July (‘Super Saturday’); and as an economic drive to help the leisure industry recover; currently (until the end of August) the Government is paying £10 ($13) per person, under the slogan “Eat Out to Help Out” for anyone who eat out in a restaurant from Mondays to Wednesday. Not surprisingly, the generous offer by the Government hasn’t been that popular with the British Public because Brits (including us) are still apprehensive about socialising in enclosed spaces because of the risks of catching Covid-19.
#4: Trains: I wouldn’t say they were all necessarily beautiful; albeit the modern ones are quite sleek. Also, I wouldn’t classify trains as materialism, as they are an integral and essential part of the integrated ‘Public Transport’ system in the UK. Most of the rail network in the UK isn’t as fast as on mainland Europe, but they are a lot faster than American trains, and certainly the network is far more vast than in the USA.
The rail network across Britain was first laid by the Victorians almost 200 years ago. Although a substantial part of it was decommissioned by the Conservative Government in the mid 1960’s (Beaching Report), the Conservative Government has reinvested heavily in the rail network (infrastructure) since 2010 to bring it back to its former glory of the Victorian era.
One of several recent Conservative Government rail projects in the UK being the ‘Hydrogen Train’ (Renewable Energy); which is rather cool. A technology first developed in China (R&D), with Germany being the first country in the world to commercially use Hydrogen Trains, and (last year) the UK being the 2nd country in the world to start using hydrogen trains.
UK's first (Renewable Energy) Hydrogen train: https://youtu.be/geATz4pdCSg
The concept of ‘Make do and Mend’ is now deeply engrained into the Brits psyche; from the 2nd world war e.g. we Brits love DIY, recycling, upcycling and repurposing etc., which is why during the lockdown in the UK from 23rd March to 4th July DIY stores were classified by the Government as ‘An Essential Service’ and therefore remained opened, along with food stores and off-licences (Liquor stores in the USA); while all other retail was forced to close during the lockdown.
The main reasons Brits enjoy recycling, upcycling and repurposing, in order of importance, are generally:-
1. Rewarding e.g. personal achievement, satisfaction, being creative etc.
2. Helps the Environment, and
3. Saves money.
I absolutely agree that Europeans are more socialist inclined than Americans. No question there.
Clothes dryers: Given that what you describe is available (it is in the US), AND that the cost is more than separate, large units, AND that it takes nearly double the time to wash several loads, AND that there is plenty of room for separate units, which is more "materialistic"? The larger, separate units for less cost and are quicker or the smaller unit? Things like this are a reflection more of culture and population density than anything else, I think.
Phones: I was asking, not whether everyone has a cell phone (or smart phone), but whether the popularity of high end phones is similar in Europe as it is in the US. Do people give up a perfectly good phone that satisfies their needs to get the latest and greatest? This, to me, becomes "materialism" far more than ownership of a phone does.
Trains: passenger train use in the US has never caught on, mostly I think because of the vast distances. When it is cheaper and far quicker to fly than to take a train the choice is rather obvious. But beyond that, is it "materialism" to demand a high speed train to go a few hundred miles, saving an hour, or is it actually valuable and necessary?
Dining: I was more asking about the proliferation of restaurants (or pubs in the UK) and their use than anything. Americans eat out, and there are, seems to me, huge numbers of places to do it, but it also seems that Europeans (specifically Brits) eat out several times a week and that isn't what Americans do. Americans will grab a "fast food" hamburger, perhaps, a couple of times to save time and effort, but a sit-down restaurant is limited to once a month or so for most of us (or less). On top of that I shudder at your prices; my last restaurant was a buffet (all you can eat) that was priced at $15. Not only all you can eat salad, but all you can eat of a dozen or more main courses. I like seafood: a huge platter of shrimp, fish, scallops and lobster costs less than your all you can eat salad bar with a 3 course meal. At your prices I would take the wife out for our anniversary and that's about it!
But the question/point was whether Europeans are as materialistic as Americans. While Americans tend to purchase physically large things (houses, cars, toys) that really stand out, I was asking if Europeans do it with physically smaller items that are just not as obvious. High end clothing, high end dining, jewelry, etc. Is the personal service industry, from a pedicure to lawn cutting services, as popular there. It's not so much what is purchased, for I lump most luxury items, whether service or physical, into the same category of "materialism". When speaking of culture or economic paths, does it matter so much whether it is yacht or the latest cell phone? Environmentally it might (would, in most cases, I think) but not economically or culturally.
Wilderness, your analysis is well noted. Thank you.
In answer to your specific points:-
I guess the popularity of ‘high end’ phones is similar in Europe as in the USA. I haven’t researched any stats in this area; but I haven’t seen anything to suggest otherwise.
When it comes to people who “give up a perfectly good phone that satisfies their needs to get the latest and greatest”, one worldwide study conducted last year suggests that 10% of mobile phone (cell phone) users do. The full results of that study into why people upgrade was:-
• 32% = Phone wasn’t working as well as before.
• 23% = Phone was broken, damaged or lost.
• 18% = Phone was outdated.
• 10% = Wanted the hot new model.
• 5% = Upgraded on Contract.
• 5% = Disliked the previous phone.
• 7% = other reasons.
How often people replace their phones these days; one survey in 2018, which seems to be in line with other reports suggests:-
• USA: On average, people wait 24.7 months before upgrading their phone.
• In France, Germany, Italy and Spain: the average was between 23.4 & 26.2 months.
• UK: The average was 27.7 months.
So I get the impression that it’s only a tenth of people who upgrade because they want the hottest and latest model (materialism); and that there doesn’t seem to be much difference in that worldwide.
In the UK, and across Europe, it’s not materialism; trains are an essential, and integrated part of the ‘Public Transport’ system e.g. unlike Americans, Europeans use trains far more than they fly.
• In the USA air accounts for 12% of passenger transport use; trains less than 1%.
• In the UK trains accounts for 10% of passenger transport use; air for only 1%.
In the UK trains are not just for leisure travel they also play a major role in getting people to and from work daily. Therefore time is of the essence e.g. spending less time getting to and from work is a practical desire. Also, when using the trains for holiday, holidaymakers are using it as a means of transport to get from A to B, and if a fast train means they can get to their holiday destination quicker, then that is desirable.
For example, I can get from Bristol, England to Paris, France or Brussels, Belgium by train in just a few hours, which makes it a viable option for a long weekend holiday trip to Paris, or Belgium by train; no need to drive; and actually just as quick as air when you take into the account the time and effort of getting to and from airports e.g. Bristol trains run from the city centre, planes don’t.
Eurostar Celebrating 20th anniversary (1994–2014) London to Paris by High Speed Passenger Train: https://youtu.be/zfmaOznjJms
Pubs (bars) and Brits are synonymous; we Brits love our beer just as much as the French love their wine. Any where In Britian (even in the smallest villages) you will always find a choice of pubs to choose from e.g. within a ten minute walk from where I live we have the option of 20 pubs to choose from.
Yes people going out every night to drink socially in their local pub is part of the British culture; just as much as ‘pub crawls’ are. The British Film “The World’s End” (2013) portrays the British pub culture quite well! In the UK the legal drinking ages are:-
• 18 to buy and drink in public.
• 16 in public if with a meal, and if bought by someone over 18.
• From the age of 5 at home.
As regards restaurants: Yes in the UK also, as with the USA, a lot of people do buy fast foods, if they don’t have the time to cook at home, or can’t be bothered to cook, not just the McDonalds, but also the famous Traditional ‘BRITISH’ ‘Fish & Chip’ shops. Due to a quirk in the British Law, fast food places like McDonalds can open on a Sunday in England, but a British Fish & Chip shop cannot!
As regards dining out: In the UK, its not several times a week, as you surmised; it is only for special occasions and holidays; so it is only a few times a year. However, when we dine out Europeans don’t rush, we do take our time and make an occasion of it.
To a European, dining out is something to be savoured, at a leisurely and relaxed pace (a Social Occasion). So typically a meal out in a restaurant will last TWO Hours. But I wouldn’t call that materialism, I would call that ‘leisure’.
As regards prices; McDonalds, last time I checked with my correspondent in New York, was around the same price in the USA and UK. There are ‘pub restaurants’ in the UK, such as Weatherspoon's, where you can get a drink and meal for less than $7; and ‘Full English Breakfast’ in most any café, restaurant or pub is generally less than $7. There’s also the posh restaurants (which we always avoid, because they are too up market for the likes of us) where a typical meal will be in excess of $80 per person. But the sort of places we frequent are priced, as I previously quoted. Cafes are cheaper than restaurants, so if we are looking for a quick meal at lunch time while on holiday then we be more inclined to use a café e.g. in a café for a quick lunch while on holiday it would be about $13 each for something like omelette and chips with beans, and a drink; and we wouldn’t rush (about an hour), as we would want to enjoy the meal.
As regards your last point:-
To Quote “I was asking if Europeans do it with physically smaller items that are just not as obvious. High end clothing, high end dining, jewellery, etc. Is the personal service industry, from a pedicure to lawn cutting services, as popular there.”
High end seems to be the emphasis of your question. In that respect I would say no, Europeans generally don’t look at the high end of the market. A small percentage of people do obviously. But a high percentage of people tend to go for the cheapest, with little regard to quality; something which I think too many people do, and something I never advise people to do. When people ask my advice, for most things, I tend to try to encourage them to spend more than they want, and buy mid-range.
My personal preference for most things tends to be mid-range e.g. weighing up quality and price and buying something that’s good value for money, and that goes for my DIY tools and ‘white goods’ as much as anything else.
However, the areas where I will almost invariably buy the ‘high-end’ are when it comes to computers and TV equipment; and that’s not because of materialism, its because they are items that are an integral part of our daily lives and as such, we want the best performance they can offer.
I don’t know if that’s any closer to answering your question?
I'm not seeing a whole lot of difference between the countries here, given that neither of us has actually experienced the other counry.
Phones - about the same.
Trains - There are good reasons the US doesn't use trains as much as Europe, and particularly Britain, the #1 reason probably being time and distance. When we can save a day's travel by going air vs train the choice is clear.
But high speed rail vs slower trains, in Europe, is what I meant to address. When it saves an hour or two for a "long" (European "long, not US "long") trip and the population opts for expensive high speed rail it becomes, in my mind, "materialism". It seems equivalent to buy a Rolls Royce when a Chevy will do just fine.
Pubs - when I visited we nearly always ate in pubs, and that was what I intended there, not a social drinking hour. It sounds as if you feel the two societies spend the same amount of time "eating out" at nicer (but not "posh") places. From a cultural (not environmental) viewpoint, though, I'm equating your "leisure" to "materialism"; either one means buying what is not needed simply because you want it.
Agree on some high end items; when I bought my current computer it was definitely "high end"; that was under the theory that in the fast changing world of electronics it will be useful for twice as long as a cheaper model. Not so much last and operate longer, but be useful as the requirements change (more memory required, for example). Most other things I purchase at the "middle" level; neither cheapest or highest luxury. Although I AM learning to appreciate the small luxuries in cars; keyless ignition and entry, built in GPS, seat warmers, etc.
In the UK 11% of workers get to work using the train; so speed is vital and not a luxury: Hence, not materialism e.g. ‘time is money’.
Also, unless it’s the ‘Orient Express’ or a steam train, train passengers are not using the trains for leisure or as a luxury, they are using trains to efficiently and quickly get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ e.g. travelling to get to work or to their holiday destination; so again ‘time is of the essence’: Hence not materialism but a means of transport.
So High Speed Passenger Trains are essential in Europe, as practical and efficient means of transport (not a luxury) and therefore isn’t materialism.
I did see the Orient Express once, when it was stationed in Bristol Temple Meads, but I’ve never been tempted to journey on it e.g. to rich (snobby) for my taste. However, we do make a point of travelling on steam trains whenever we can, but that’s for historic, nostalgic, reasons; not materialism.
Reference your quote “I'm equating your "leisure" to "materialism"; either one means buying what is not needed simply because you want it.”
That’s where we have a differing viewpoint. To me, dining out is a leisure activity, and a social event, and not materialism. Spending two hours having a leisurely meal in a restaurant, to us (Europeans) is part of the fabric of the European social way of life e.g. Leisure Time, not a ‘status symbol’.
The best analogy I can think of is:-
A: Privately owning a Rembrandt because you appreciate the art is personal pleasure, and not materialism.
B: Privately owning a Rembrandt because you can (wealthy enough to buy one), and bragging about it to your friends (and everyone else) is a ‘Status Symbol’, and is materialism.
C: Privately owning a Rembrandt, but loaning it to an art gallery, so that everyone else can appreciate the art, isn’t materialism, its art.
So in these discussions, there is a fine line between what materialism is, and what falls into other facets e.g. pleasure, consumerism etc., and sometimes the lines are blurred and may overlap. And to some extent a matter of personal judgement; in this respect I think Chris makes a lot of valid points in his comments.
On reflection, I feel that a lot of what we are talking about falls more neatly into consumerism than materialism; albeit the two can overlap. And like materialism, in excess, consumerism can also be a bad thing! e.g. the commercialisation of Christmas is disliked by a small number of our personal friends.
Nice percentages. But to be honest Nathan. From my perspective, the UK is an incredible consumeristic country. Compared to other European countries the UK is closest to the US.
If I walk in Londen I see a SubWay here, a Starbucks there, a Burger KIing on the other side, just opposite the Apple store....
I want to cross the street and I'm almost run over by a red Porsche.
The UK. Or let's say London, is capitalism and consumerism big time. If I compare it with other European capitals it is the one that is most Americanized. Maybe you don't see it anymore but I only have to look at the buildings and cars and shops in London to know that it is a city that thrives on consumerism. More then any other European city I know.
And about the trains. When I go to London or Amsterdam I do not go by train. I take the plane from Valencia. The train is far too expensive.
To start with peterstreep, you are talking London; not the UK.
• London is one of the main ‘Financial Centres’ of the world, and a major tourist attraction, and therefore is very much commercialised.
All the shops you mention (except for Apple) are fast food outlets. Food and drink, whether they be fast food (junk food), restaurants, cafes or pubs, are all part of the tourist/leisure industry which you will find in any country in the world.
London attracts 280 million day trippers a year, 27.8 million Brits who stay overnight in London as domestic tourists each year, and 21.7 million international tourists from around the world; making it one of the world’s most visited cities in the world. Therefore, of course London is going to have lots of shops, including food shops.
In contrast the UK as a whole only attracts 40.9 foreign visitors (tourists); so it isn’t so commercialised e.g. whenever we go on holiday in Britain we always seek out all the non-commercialised places; of which there are plenty in Bristol and across the UK. For a couple of examples:-
• Our day trip to Ashton Court Estate, Bristol last week. Ashton Court Estate is a Mansion House built in 1663 and Estate of 850 acres (340 hectares) of woods and open grassland (with deer park), which is open to the public every day of the year, and is Free entry (just a modest parking fee if you’re not disabled).
• The New Forest, in South East England, which is a major tourist attraction, and FREE.
• St Ives Estate, West Yorkshire, 500 acres of Country Park open to the public, large areas of woodlands and open spaces; free entry, and free parking.
• Aysgarth falls, North Yorkshire (another major tourist attraction); again free access, and free parking.
Nature Reserve at St Ives Country Estate in West Yorkshire, England https://youtu.be/25u0rgB7jMo
Aysgarth Falls, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, England https://youtu.be/w5_H5Og2ytc
Road Trip to Ashton Court Estate, Bristol https://youtu.be/o2fQ1ZWsF_c
Furthermore, you are talking about the tourist areas of London. If you lived in London e.g. we have friends and relatives who live in London, then you get a different perspective. For example, next time you’re in London I suggest you make a point of visiting the famous ‘Portobello Road’ as portrayed in the famous 1971 film ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’.
The Bristol equivalent of Portobello Road is ‘Stokes Croft’ in Bristol (just off the city centre), which is 2 miles of local shops; not very commercialised, but like Portobello Road in London you can find almost anything you want (if you look). In 2011 Tesco Supermarket (a chain store/commercial food shop) sparked riots in Stokes Croft’ when they attempted to muscle in and open a store in the street; something the local residents did not want.
Bristol Stokes Croft Riot https://youtu.be/hkCvka1uwuo
Finally, I’ve never flown in a commercial plane, but I do frequently use the trains. FYI 10% of the British Public uses the trains daily to get to and from work; only 1% of the British public fly. When we go on holiday across mainland Europe, most predominantly southern France and Belgium, we never fly, we always drive.
Yes, trains are currently expensive in the UK, thanks to Margaret Thatcher. She privatised the trains in the late 1980s using the excuse that competition would keep fairs down; but of course that was a lie, as instead of pricing falling, they sky rocketed so that profits could be creamed off for the shareholders.
However, it’s only a matter of time before that changes because opinion polls show that 66% of the British public want the trains to be nationalised again, and renationalising the trains is at the top of Labour’s agenda; once they get back into power.
Nathan I know that London is different than the countryside of the UK. But whatever the reason, tourism, financial hub, London is incredibly materialistic. Amsterdam and Barcelona are touristic too, but have a far less capitalistic look and feel. (Yes, I know they are a bit smaller..)
My wife is from London (Rayners Lane), And I try to avoid Bricklane or Trafalgar Square if I'm there visiting friends.
I would have been there in October as I'm participating with an artist group I'm a member of in an exhibition in London But as with the quarantine I can't be there in person. Next year there will be a followup of the exhibition in the same place. In the A.P.T. (Deptford.) Hope to be there then. If you're on Instagram you can follow our artistic process. @ground_work_apt
I think I mentioned it before. But if you look at the BBC programs. How many programs are not centered around money? Cash in the Attic, Antique Roadshow, Bargain Hunt, etc.Off the top of my head. (Not that I watch them...I can't receive the beeb here anymore) And there are much more.
Sure the BBC has other programs too.(My wife loves Gardeners World and we watch it on YouTube regularly.) But I think it tells something.
Same when I was talking about the chains like Starbucks. By accident it was food "restaurants", I could also have said Boots, C&A, H&M etc.
It's about the huge commercial and materialistic feel London has.
The UK is simply closer to the US then the rest of Europe if you want it or not. If were it only for the historical ties. But I must say that the Netherlands is not far behind...
You can always find a positive point. And I think that's the way to go, but the reality is still that we live in an incredible commercial and materialistic world, a disposable society..
The question is. How to change the capitalism we have today that created companies that can buy countries. Into a world that is a more environment-friendly system.
I like to visit Bristol, the farthest west from Londo I've been was Reading. So perhaps I will get there in the end.
Yes, the privatization of the trains was one of such stupid ideas. The Netherlands was happy to follow. Including the post as well, service went down the drain and the working conditions too.
Some things should simply not fall in commercial hands. I hope the NHS and the Spanish Health Care system won't, but it's a tough fight.
As Nathan said, London is the HUB of Banking for the Western world, and more.
A part of London is its own entity known as the "square mile", it is beholden to no one, like Vatican City.
The "Liberties and Customs" of the City of London are guaranteed in Magna Carta’s clause 9, which remains in statute.
The richest people and corporations invest in property there, from all over the world, and this is why you will see far more extravagance there then most other places in the world.
I don’t dispute much of what you say peterstreep, but you do misunderstand the British people.
If you want a clearer insight in whom and what Brits are, then you need to look at the British humour, and compare it to American humour:-
• American humour puts the hero as successful, wealthy, social climber and on top (Middle Class).
• British humour portrays the hero as a failure, the underdog, working class who generally never climbs the social ladder.
Prime examples of popular British Comedy (popular because people can relate to it) includes: Just to name a few:-
• Only Fools and Horses.
• On the Busses (the trials and tribulations and bad luck of bus drivers and their families).
• The Liverbirds (the trials and tribulations of two unemployed Liverpudlian women).
• Red Dwarf (a luckless spaceship crew in the future).
• 2.4 children (the trials and tribulations of an average British family)
• Are You Being Served (the trials and tribulations of shop workers)
• Birds of a Feather (the trials and tribulations of two convict wives).
• Blackadder (the trials and tribulations of an aristocrat who always plagued with bad luck)
• Dad’s Army (the trials and tribulations of a rag bag volunteer home defence army during the 2nd world war)
• Father Ted (the trials and tribulations of Irish Catholic Priests who are always plagued with bad luck).
• Faulty Towers (The failings and bad luck of a wannabee Hotel Owner)
• Just Good Friends (The misfortunes in love and life of an unemployed layabout).
• Men Behaving Badly (The rocky relationship of two friends, one of which is always unemployed).
• One Foot in the Grave (the continued back luck of a retiree).
• Porridge (the trials and tribulations of a pair of convicts).
• Rising Damp (a luckless landlord).
• Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (a luckless, incompetent who’s can’t hold a job, and therefore always unemployed).
• Steptoe and Son (the trials and tribulations and bad luck of a father and son business which is always on the brink of bankruptcy).
• The Good Life (the attempts of a British couple to live off-the grid; self sufficiency).
• The Likely Lads (the trials and tribulations, and bad luck of two friends, one of whom is always unemployed).
This short video below sums up the social and cultural differences between Americans and Brits quite well:-
The Office UK vs The Office USA https://youtu.be/UnKJr_z-JcI
Finally, Ken is spot on in his summery, as explained in these two videos below:-
The (Secret) City of London, Part 1: History https://youtu.be/LrObZ_HZZUc
The (Secret) City of London, Part 2: Government https://youtu.be/z1ROpIKZe-c
Uff, I touched a patriotic nerve there. As I said Nathan, my wife's from London. I've got a lot of friends living there and I speak on an almost day to day basis with ex-pats living in the neighbourhood (UK spelling...)
I've seen a lot of the series you mentioned, Some great, some less. As we had the BBC while living in Amsterdam. And I followed East Enders for a long time.
To my surprise some of the ex-pats I met in Spain were even worse then the characters I saw on East Enders!!
I enjoyed the Magic Roundabout too, So, I think I know a bit about the English culture. Some things are great, some things aren't, just like any other nation.
I simply stated that London is pretty capitalistic (English understatement), As you said the UK isn't that materialistic. But London is part of the UK (last time I checked...). And should not be kept out of the equation. Same reason I mentioned the television programs. It's all about money. And you, I, and many who are doing different things are in the end exceptions. Most people want a red Ferrari and a sausage on a golden plate.
I don't think we should underestimate the materialistic attitude of the Europeans.
Every western country has its own capitalistic system and they are not that far apart. Some countries have better working conditions than others etc. But I think the common denominator is that we all live in a society where it is promoted to buy things and to throw things away as quickly as possible.
We regulate ourselves based on our beliefs. Its called free will and it does need to be guided. Would you have us give up free (self-guided) will because of the mis-use of the free market? Wouldn't it be better to change ourselves and behave more wisely in regards to spending habits and our propensity toward catering to selfish desires?
Free will is a different subject. Chinese people living in China have free will, People living in Saudi Arabia have free will. Every human being has free will. The moment it's given up you are a vegetable.
Free will has nothing to do with free-market capitalism.
Change ourselves and behave more wisely? I think sometimes you need a law to make people wise. Smoking cigarettes for example. Ever since the law became more strict, not smoking in buildings, on the plane on the workspace etc. people started to smoke less and become "wiser".
People don't eat less sugar even if they know it is unhealthy. Only when you force them to. I would strongly advocate a sugar tax for example. And not trust on the people or companies to become wise and see the light suddenly. That will never happen, and so the obesity problem will only grow if nothing is done.
Funny you should mention the ‘sugar tax’ to Kathryn. The UK Conservative Government introduced a ‘sugar tax’ in January 2014; which hit Companies like Coca-Cola the hardest. In simple terms it’s a 24% tax on drinks with more than 8% sugar, and 18% tax on drinks containing sugar between 5% & 8% sugar.
Patriotic, no: There is a lot about being English not to be proud of; I much prefer to think of myself as Bristolian, European and British than English; albeit there are lots of good points to attribute to the English.
I don’t underestimate the materialistic attitude of the Europeans, and the consumerism; but not everybody is as materialistic as you seem to portraying.
Yes we do all live in a society where it is promoted to buy things and to throw things away as quickly as possible; but that doesn’t reflect the attitude of most Brits these days like it did in the 1980s (Thatcherism). These days you will find that most Brits are conservative in what they buy, and will try to hold onto things as long as possible.
Cars are not the status symbol they used to be, these days a lot of people go for cheap run-arounds rather than expensive posh or sporty cars. Likewise, Brits do not throw things away like they used to in the 1980s; these days there is a lot of emphasis on recycling, upcycling and repurposing. Not quite the make-do-and-mend of the 2nd world war because people can afford to buy new; but there is a greater awareness on Environmental issues and climate change (global warming), and in their own small way, people do take personal pride in doing their bit for the planet.
Yes I acknowledge that London is a part of the UK, but London is only a small percentage of the UK population; and by far not all Londoners are capitalists, as reflected in their politics e.g. Londoners are stubbornly Socialist, to the frustration of Conservatives in General and Local Elections.
London does not represent the majority of people in Britain.
Finally, in reference to your comment “Same reason I mentioned the television programs. It's all about money”. It’s not ‘ALL’ about money. You cited a few money orientated British programmes (ones that I don’t watch); but I also cited 20 British comedies that are the reverse, and EastEnders (which you mentioned) is about the working class, not materialism. Also, there are far more programmes on British TV that are not materialism or consumerism than there are that is about materialism and consumerism e.g. ‘The Repair Shop’, and the BBC’s short documentary series “War on Waste”, which when it was first aired in 2015 had a profound effect on ‘Supermarkets’.
The first series of “War on Waste” on BBC highlighted the issues in Britain of farmers having to bury a high percentage of their crops because they didn’t meet supermarket standards, and the high percentage of food that supermarkets where throwing away because they reached their ‘sale by date’.
The BBC then went on to ‘name & shame’ the biggest offenders, and praised those supermarkets who responded positively to the documentary series.
The result of the documentary series (due to raising public awareness, and consequently influencing public opinion) was that many supermarkets now give their surplus food to charity, and some supermarkets now buy what they consider substandard crops from the farmers and sell them (at cut price) to the public under the generic name of ‘wonky fruit and veg’.
Below is a short ‘abridged’ version of the BBC Documentary Series:-
The BBC Takes on the Supermarket Giants: https://youtu.be/v8gw-CioloE
Also, Channel 4 (which like the BBC is owned by the Government) is a very maverick British TV Channel that frequently makes documentaries similar to the BBC’s ‘War on Waste’ documentary series; plus other controversial documentaries, including documentaries that challenge certain social political aspects of the elite e.g. Conservative Government. Their most controversial stunt, which they’ve pulled twice now, being what the call ‘Banned Week’ e.g. spending a whole week broadcasting programmes that have been banned by the British Government; the first time they pulled the stunt (under Thatcherism) they got to within a hairsbreadth of being prosecuted; but the Crown Prosecution Service didn’t pursue the matter. Alternatively the Government can at any time cancel C4’s Charter to Broadcast, but to date the Government has tolerated C4’s antics.
I've got the feeling that we're just arguing about, well, about what exactly..
Probably about the number of flavours of crisps you can buy in the UK or in Holland. All made by the same company...
They are details in the greater scheme of things. And on a meta-level I think we agree.
On another note. I just saw on my Facebook wall a notice that they had spotted Pilot Whales off the coast of Cornwall. Isn't that your neighbourhood? (kind off..) Or is this old news...
Hi Natrhanville, I hope you don't mind if I jump in, but . . . your comments about the "sugar tax" really got my interest.
But first, I must say, I have such high regard for British stoicism that it puzzles me that you feel the need to clarify that you are a " Bristolian" and not a Britan.
But back to the sugar thing. I understand, and must reluctantly agree, (I am a chocoholic), that sugar, in excess, is bad for your health. But, I couldn't disagree more strongly that it is the government's job to get involved in this issue.
Are you really comfortable with the government regulating your sugar intake? What part of your life would you not feel comfortable with the government speaking to?
I agree peterstreep, ‘shades of grey’; what shade of grey exactly is Britain, compared to other countries! And besides, what aspect of society you look at, and which class of society, will all change the shade of grey e.g. middle class ‘snobs’ are defiantly very materialistic, whereas the middle class who relate to the working class (like me), rather than look down their noses at the working class, find aspects of materialism distasteful. FYI, according the ONS (Office of National Statistics) I’m classified as ‘lower middle class’.
As regards the Pilot Whales off the coast of Cornwall (or Kernow, as the locals like to call themselves):
• Yes Cornwall is part of our neighbourhood, like Bristol its part of the ‘West Country’.
• However, hearing that Pilot Whales are off the coast of Cornwall is not great surprise these days; in the last ten years it’s become increasingly more common for all manner of sea creatures that shouldn’t be in our neck of the woods to appear off our coasts because of global warming.
Hi GA, I actually said I prefer to consider myself as Bristolian and British rather than English.
The English have done a lot of good e.g. the birth of the Industrial Revolution, Trade Unions, the NHS etc., and the list goes on…… And the English have always been very innovative; especially in a crisis e.g. ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.
However, the aspects of being English that I am not proud of includes, but not exclusive to:-
• We were conquerors (The British Empire).
• England’s involvement in the slave trade until 1807.
• Our arrogance as a nation, ‘Pride before a fall’ e.g. Brexit.
Picking up on the first point, the ‘British Empire’, the Cornish are less proud to be part of England than I am as a Bristolian e.g. Cornwall’s struggle to be recognised as an ‘independent minority nation’ (Celts); just like the Welsh, Scottish and Irish. Cornwall won that fight in 2014 when the UK Government granted Cornwall ‘protected status’, as a ‘national minority nation’.
The video below was part of Cornwall’s campaign to be recognised as Celts, independent of the English, in 2012 (just two years before they won their campaign):-
Kernow (2012): https://youtu.be/-nN9I_7djgo
Cornwall granted national minority status by Government (2014) https://youtu.be/vmzA8v3H5nw
As regards the sugar tax in the UK; it only applies to soft drinks (not food) and it was part of an extensive campaign by ‘pressure groups’ who lobbied the Government to introduce the tax.
In the UK ‘Pressure Groups’ (which reflects Public Opinion) are quite often (but not always) successful in influencing Government Policy; especially when it comes to ‘Environmental’ and ‘Health’ Issues. Another recent example of Government Policy being influenced by action from pressure groups, being the banning of ‘single use’ plastic bags in the UK in 2015.
As a Brit, yes I am more than happy for the Government to regulate my sugar intake. The British attitude (mentality) is that when it comes to matters that benefits the ‘nation’ as a whole, then the Government should ‘Regulate’ because we know that if it was left to the ‘individual’ not everyone would co-operate, and the good of the ‘nation’ would suffer.
Yep, I know it’s a different ‘mentality’ to Americans who are more ‘free spirited’ e.g. more of a ‘wild-west’ mentality (every man for himself). But in Britain we have more of a ‘collective view’.
The approach of the British Government, when pressure groups (public opinion) is lobbying the Government to take action by Regulating on something, is often in the first instance to seek voluntary ‘self-regulation’ from Industry; and if Industry doesn’t self-regulate to the satisfaction of the Government, then the Government will impose ‘Regulations’. So often, in the UK Industry will try to self-regulate first, in the hope that they do it to the satisfaction of Government, so that they don’t have Regulations imposed on them; sometimes their efforts are successful, sometimes not.
A prime example of that is the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). The ASA is the self-regulatory body set up in the UK in 1961 by the Advertising Agency in the UK, and financed by the Advertising Agency themselves, to ‘self-regulate’.
As a non-statutory organisation the ASA cannot enforce the law themselves, but they can and do refer ‘bad advertisers’ to the two Government watchdogs (Government Departments) for prosecution e.g. the ‘Office of Fair Trading’ and Ofcom (Office of Communications). So with the backing of the ‘Office of Fair Trading’ and Ofcom the ASA has considerable powers e.g. they can and do ban any advert in the UK they deem unsuitable.
About the ASA and how we did in 2017 https://youtu.be/exjLWHd_ksU
Clearcast, Ofcom and the ASA (UK TV Advertising regulations explained). https://youtu.be/J5yK5-E5yno
In relation to your last question “What part of your life would you not feel comfortable with the government speaking to?”
The one area that sticks out in my mind is the Police and Local Government’s misuse of the ‘Anti-terrorist’ Regulations passed by Theresa May (previous UK Prime Minister), often misused to spy on people who may be committing minor offences e.g. the Police’s controversial trial of ‘face recognition’ software last year to automatically log and trace the movements of ordinary citizens en-mass in one city in the UK?
i am not sure if i can contribute to this discussion about differences between Europe and the US. But let me throw this in:
I noticed that the display of wealth is handled very differently in Europe. If you have money, you simply don´t say and don´t show in Europe.
Besides practical matters like narrow roads it is this social preconditioning that drives putting Europeans into the box " more socialist" and the Americans into "more materialistic".
Being materialistic is often associated with consumer behavior. And consumer behavior is conditioned by the upper 5 to 10% income people. What they buy with their excess cash is what all others want to have. Only - they can´t afford it and so the next conditioning trap is layed out: Make things cheap and affordable, and with lower quality.
People buy cheap stuff, that breaks every 3 years. People brag about having something new all the time. In reality they buy expensive. A no name washing machine may last 5 years, a "Miele" will do it for a lifetime. No name is half price, but a what "total cost of ownership". Bragging and display of something new is materialistic, isn´t it?
When do you go on your next Cruise ship travel? You have not been to South America? You should go, delicious buffet on board. Did i invite you on my new yacht? It is located in Antibes, only few kilometers from Monaco. The yacht is fully automatic, crew only 5 people on board.
Don´t take last words too serious. I only want to show how superficial all this materialistic stuff is. "Casino Royal" or "Slumdog Millionaire"
I liked your comment Nathanville, and I agreed with most of it.
..British Conservative philosophy is based on the Principle of ‘Top Down’ economics e.g. the concept of “look after the employer, and the employer will look after the employee”...
That's more or less what Henry Ford said., I pay my employers a wage so they can buy a Ford. This may be true in 1920, it is certainly not true today. The UK is famous for its 0 hour contracts. That has nothing to do with "old-fashioned" capitalism let alone socialism. It's close to exploitation.
In my opinion, the UK's capitalism is closer to the US capitalism than any other European country. Compare London with any other European Capital and you see the difference in commerce.
As Wilderness said. Every gadget, Ipjone, watch, clothing, cars, computers are there. London is buzzing with Maserati's and iBook pro's with a latte in Starbucks. A millionaire place, thanks to the capitalistic embrace and close political and historical connection with the US.
Haven't said a word about Magret Thacher yet....
I think you are a bit optimistic about Britain, Nathan.
Nope, I am not optimistic about Britain. Britain is a split personality politically e.g. Conservatives vs Labour. The Conservative philosophy is ‘Top Down’ economics; and that’s why I think it ‘sucks’. Because we know that the principle of ‘look after the employer and the employer will look after the employee’ advocated by the Conservatives means in practice that the employer will try to screw over the employee e.g. zero hour contracts. That’s why Labour prefers the ‘Bottom up’ approach to economics.
However, if you lived in the UK you would know that ‘zero hour contracts’ only applies to a small percentage of the British work force (2.5%); the other 97.5% of the British work force are fully protected by the stringent employment protection Acts, not dissimilar to the employment laws across Europe e.g.
• 6 weeks paid leave per year from the moment you start your new job,
• Maximum average working week of 48 hours for all employees, except the NHS
• Up to 39 weeks paid maternity leave for mothers (the decision on how much paid leave to take is the mother’s choice),
• 2 weeks paid paternity leave for the father, or up to 37 paid parental leave for the father if the mother opts to give the father some of her maternity leave e.g. by law the mother must take at least 2 weeks maternity leave.
* Also, every employees Legal Right in the UK to legally request 'Flexible Working', including 'Home Working' from their employer. In 2019 5.1% of the British work force were working from home full time, and including people working from home part time it was 14% of the British work force e.g. I worked from home 3 days a week for the last five years in the civil service, until I took early retirement.
Creating a flexible working culture at John Lewis Partnership (Retail Shop) and Ford UK: https://youtu.be/2Qs0EL6JWD0
None of the above: of which Americans enjoy.
And of course, in the UK, once you’ve worked for your employer for more than 2 years it’s almost impossible to get the sack; unlike the USA where employers can ‘hire & fire’ their employees on a whim.
That’s why I am a ‘Socialist’ and why I support Labour, because Capitalism is designed to benefit the wealthy, not the working class; whereas Labour (Socialism) puts the interests of the working class at the core of their social and economic policies e.g. the Legal National Minimum Wage introduced by Labour in 1999.
Sorry to get back to you so late. Lot of things to do..
I didn't know about the percentage of 0-hour contracts. It was just an example. I hope the UK is not going that way and the percentage is becoming bigger.
But now the UK is out of the EU, chances are that it will...(sad smiley)
Yes, the Trickle-down economics has utterly failed.
But to me, it's not even the division in poor and extremely rich that makes me sad. I'm fine with millionaires.
What makes me sad is the disposable society that is created by the capitalistic system. Everything you buy is meant to be thrown away, consumed.
The disrespect for the environment and the earth makes me sad. As this part of capitalism is literally destroying the world and feeding a climate catastrophe.
That's why I think we should start rethinking about the capitalism of today as it does not work. And I think we should think in the lines of a society that is closer to nature. Build from there and new jobs and professions will come. And with these jobs you can structure how the jobs and payments are done.
In other words. environmentalism first, socialism second. Together with a capitalistic system that is not based on growth but on sustainability.
No probs peterstreep, I’ve been rather busy too (as always)…..
In fact the percentage of zero hour contracts in the UK could dramatically drop soon e.g. about half of the 2.5% are Uber Drivers; and just last month (after a five year legal battle) the case to determine whether Uber Drivers are employees or not reached the Supreme Court. If Uber loses (as it’s done at each Appeal over the past five years) then Uber will have to treat Uber drivers just like any other employee in the UK e.g. legal minimum national wage, six weeks paid annual leave, paid maternity, paternity and parental leave etc.
Uber has already been banned from London, under a separate (three year legal battle in the courts) bought against them by TfL (Transport for London). Transport for London being the London’s Local Government Department responsible for overseeing and running the ‘integrated’ public transport system in London.
The UK doesn’t actually leave the EU until the 31st December this year (Transition Period), so there’s not much the Conservative Government can do just yet to change things; and besides Boris (Prime Minister) has currently got his hands full keeping the pandemic under control in the UK.
However, even when we do leave the EU next year, if it’s without a Trading Deal, which is looking increasingly likely, then Boris will also have his hands full for the next few years trying to mitigate the looming economic and social cliff edge!!!! So he’s not going to have much time to think about employment legislation.
Beside, because any suggestion to dismantle the employment protection laws was not in the Conservative’s Election Manifesto last year; any attempt by Boris to dismantle the laws would be blocked by the House of Lords.
Under the British Constitution, for Boris to make such changes in the employment laws he would need to publish his intensions in their ‘Election Manifesto’ and win the General Election.
The crunch time will come in four years’ time e.g. the next General Election:-
• If in 2024 the Conservatives win a comfortable majority, then yes, Boris will be in a strong position to start dismantling the employment protection law, if (and only if) they are proposals in the Conservative’s Election Manifesto.
• If in 2024 the Conservatives win a slim majority, then Boris will have a tough time getting Legislation through Parliament because the ‘soft left’ Conservative MPs in his party will resist measures that are too radical; and the House of Lords will give him a tough time to.
• If in 2024 it’s a hung parliament with the Liberal Democrats holding the balance of power, then the Liberal Democrats will only work with any Political Party that agrees to seeking re-joining the EU, which rules out the Conservatives.
• If in 2024 Labour wins the General Election, then they will be seeking to protect the employment protection laws; making it difficult for future Conservatives Governments from dismantling it.
So for the next few years it will be an uncertain future.
At least as regards your second point; the future for the UK is brighter.
In the past 10 years the British Conservative (Capitalist) Government has been surprisingly very committed to Green Policies. Largely because although we only have one elected Green MP in Parliament, she makes her voice loud and clear, so the topic of ‘Green’ and ‘Environmental’ issues are always high on the agenda in Parliament e.g. any Parliamentary Select Committees where environmental issues are relevant; which helps to boost public awareness and public support.
Consequently over the past 10 years the British Conservative Government has been fully committed to the Paris Agreement, even to the extent of passing strict Regulations to make fracking in the UK commercially unviable. So the only Company in the UK that was trying to frack on commercial bases has now gone bankrupt.
Under the Conservatives in the last ten years, burning coal for energy has dropped from over 30% to less than 2%, with the last coal fire power station due to shut down in 2025.
Under the Conservatives in the last ten years, Renewable Energy has gone from about 14% of our total energy to over half now, and is set to be 100% by 2050.
Under the Conservatives, Legislation has been passed to ban all fossil fuel cars in the UK by 2035.
Under the Conservatives over the past 10 years, there’s been a massive investment of the electrification of the railways to phase out diesel (fossil fuel) trains in preference for electric (Renewable Energy) trains, and last year Britain was the 2nd country in the world to start using hydrogen (Renewable Energy) trains; Germany being the 1st country to do so.
Knowing how unpredictable Boris can be, and knowing that Boris would most likely become the next Prime Minister, just before she stepped down from office as the British Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May rushed Legislation through Parliament that makes it a ‘legal requirement’ (by law) that Britain becomes net carbon neutral by 2050 (the only country in the world to pass such legislation).
The Legislation passed through Parliament with no opposition because it’s an ideology supported by the Opposition Socialist Parties, and fully supported by the House of Lords.
The effect is that because it’s Law, it ties Boris’s hands into staying committed to Green issues, whether he likes it or not. The only way he could undo the Legislation passed by Theresa May would be to put his intentions in the next General Election Manifesto, and win the next General Election.
UK Law to be net zero emissions by 2050: https://youtu.be/hj7v8e1uLyE
I don't see the basic principles as different. I see the problems associated with capitalism today as a failure to react to the specific problems attributable to globalization, large corporations lobbying for laws that are,in many ways, detrimental to the little guy and the thing that I find the most maddening is corporations who have leadership far removed from the factories and workers, with no real consideration for, or loyalty to, the forces that are responsible for doing the work that contributes directly to the success of the company.
Any system in place will eventually result in a small group at the top and the vast majority at the bottom. But, if the top of any system ignores the needs and desires of the bottom long enough it will produce disastrous results. It's past the time capitalism should look at the long term picture and move to more equitably operate.
I heard 3 billionaires made 53 billion in one week recently. That doesn't sit well in an environment where the vast majority can either not make ends meet or are one paycheck away from bankruptcy.
"It's past the time capitalism should look at the long term picture and move to more equitably operate."
I agree Live to Learn. With our technological and knowleged-based advances, and with the evolution of global markets as dominant forces, our system has become too bottom-line focused. Too shortsighted.
But I don't have a problem with those 3 billionaires as long as they played by the rules.
So how do you make that happen? Isn't the argument right now between having government step in and try to regulate it or just having the free market make those determinations?
What does play by the rules mean? In a true capitalist, free market system, what seems to be encouraged is a cutthroat mentality. Get ahead at all costs. Make as much money as possible.
It's funny that reading a lot of this, I would agree with Ken, Live to Learn, and GA, yet we disagree on so much else, it seems.
I think if we stay away from American politics and discuss ideas, we have much more productive discussions.
I am having second thoughts on this one. I think I was thinking too narrowly regarding the question of whether capitalism has changed.
I still think the game is the same; an exchange of value, (money), for something valued, ( a product or service). But, Live to Learns thought about the difference in market regulation is right, and caused me to come back to this one.
I still think the game is the same, but how it is played is definitely different. So yes, I suppose I do have to think that capitalism—as we experience it, has changed. Back to you Peterstreep. (before I change my mind again. ;-) )
I think the excesses of Capitalism, have swung back and forth, similar to the way the political pendulum has swung in this country.
There have been times in the past where the very richest businessmen had immense control over politics and politicians.
I would say we are living in a time where there is so much corporate wealth and even the wealth of foreign nations involved in our politicas now, it is as bad as it has ever been.
Trump for all his faults, has done more to reign in this imbalance than anyone in decades has done. Doing away with TPP, renegotiating NAFTA, contesting China's favored status, protecting America's intellectual properties, these are efforts that will prolong America's place on top of the economic food-chain for a while longer.
Trump was elected in large part because people had enough, politics in DC have been so corrupt for so long, it hadn't mattered if the Democrats or the Republicans had total control of DC... We the People continued to get the shaft, while businesses fled to China, or Canada, or Mexico.
They passed new laws making it illegal for elderly citizens to take a bus to Canada to have their prescriptions filled for cheap. That was costing Big Pharma profits.
They rescinded Glass-Steagall which ultimately cost tens of millions of Americans their savings and/or their homes.
Then they passed the ACA, written by the Insurance companies, and when it went into effect the Pharma and Insurance companies reaped the rewards, while hard working Americans paid the price for higher Insurance with deductibles that made it next to worthless to have.
Our politicians have been selling out Americans. And the people when finally offered another option, an outsider that called out the corruption, they took it.
For four years the "Establishment", with the help of CNN and the NYTimes and others has worked to destroy him, to convince Americans that everything wrong in their lives and in the world is a direct result of Trump.
Trump closes borders with China he's a xenophobe, the WHO condemns his actions, three months later he didn't act quickly enough and isn't doing enough.
Trump is no angel, but he is not one of them. By their efforts alone they continuously expose their own corruption, investigations into Trump based on lies they created. Impeachment efforts based on nonsense.
What are the Democrats running on other than "our work is not done" and Trump. Americans are not going to support Open Borders, Police Defunding efforts, higher taxes for "free stuff".
These things may sell to the American people maybe in another 10 years... after another generation or two has been programmed to believe in a Global society rather than an American one, and technology has moved to the point where a Social Credit system is as strong here as it is in China, but the nation is not there yet.
Nor do I think the Democrats right now are doing anything for the betterment of the citizens of this country, I see this as a power grab, an effort for the old-guard and the most corrupt in DC to regain control.
"There have been times in the past where the very richest businessmen had immense control over politics and politicians."
This was true, but today the powers that be make sure that there are no Teddy Roosevelts' around to challenge them. Much like the threat represented by either Warren or SAnders who would have. The GOP, since they have always been in bed with the oligarchs, could not begin to offer such candidates. They would be totally ideologically inconsistent with who the Republicans actually are and whose interests they actually support.
As always, I question your narrative of events and who you say the culprits are. Despite your claim of corruption from Democrats, I see as much or more from the GOP
Trump is a Teddy Roosevelt, I realize you don't see it that way, and probably never will.
Teddy Roosevelt was a rich privileged egotistical arrogant individual with grandiose self perception... much like Trump.
Trump is a disruptor. First he disrupted the Republican Party,... the RNC didn't want him as the nominee, and many Republicans in DC even now don't want him as President.
And the Democrats certainly don't want him, of the two parties they have been the more corrupt and more traitorous to the people, they had gone from champions of the working class to their biggest enemy in just a few short years.
You have too much bias Credence, and you may have plenty of right to have it, based on experience... but you will never be able to clearly see what is going on, objectively, because of it.
In the 60s racial discrimination was severe, but those with courage were able to stand up, have their voices heard, and make the politicians take note... and make changes for the betterment of all.
Look around at what is going on now... this isn't about systemic racism that is keeping people down based on the color of their skin.
These politicians, and the revolutionary extremists they support, are stoking the fires of racism for their own benefit...
What should be, if anything, a protest against the elites in DC and the corrupt politicians who have been there for decades selling out Americans, and about class inequity.
Has instead become about hating people based on race, and destroying the police... the very people we rely on for what law & order we have.
This is being pushed by Hollywood stars and athletes the likes of Lebron James, who has been worth hundreds of millions of dollars since he was 18... the audacity of this man to lecture on the inequities of the system or to fearmonger against the police is disturbing.
While these millionaires and billionaires preach to us about how unequal the system is, and how awful the police are... they are safe in their mansions as the poor neighborhoods are burned to the ground, businesses are ruined, and lives are lost.
The elites in DC fear Trump (and the people who put him there) enough to make false accusation after false accusation in an effort to destroy him, they have used every political trick, investigation to impeachment to ruin him.
And their allies in the media, have assaulted Trump nonstop for 4 years, every thing he has done bad they have magnified it, and anything good he has done they try to make it sound as bad as possible.
As bad as Trump may be, the powers intent on destroying him, the powers supporting these endless riots (at the expense of many small businesses and lives being destroyed) and the ones stoking the flames of racial divide are the true enemies... of all of us, regardless of race.
As for Teddy Roosevelt, you are right, I don't. To compare a man like Donald Trump to a man of character and courage like Theodore Roosevelt is more than erroneous, it is almost whimsical.
I am satisfied as to Democrats in governance as compared with Republicans.
The thing about you is what about your "rightwing" bias? I have seen more than just a little in our communication. What makes you believe that your sources and perspectives are infallible? Just as you can't see the back of your head, what you consider objective is well tainted by your own preconceptions of matters and events.
Ken, the fires of racism have always been here, they do not need to be stoked. They have been much like a cauldron waiting to boil over under any number of a variety of triggers. Put out the fire instead of being so being so concerned about controlling it.
We do not want to always have to "pull teeth" to achieve movement in the correct direction.
Even Biden said that he was not for the dissolution of police forces and why Republicans continue to repeat this lie is beyond me. I want reform of the police departments in major metropolitan areas and specific changes in SOP which I had mentioned before.
The millionaires and billionaires have a vested interests in maintaining the status quo. They are not the ones that feature the structural inequity of the system as they are the ones that benefit most from it and like Bloomberg and Trump, as well, would not willingly give up their advantage.
Trump, his mouth and persona are his biggest enemies. No one else could have managed to earn the ire of so many in so short a time. His performance appraisal can only be described as considerably than fully successful.
This is an interesting quote:
"In the 60s racial discrimination was severe, but those with courage were able to stand up, have their voices heard, and make the politicians take note... and make changes for the betterment of all."
Like who? Martin Luther King? Malcolm X?
Hmmm, what happened to those guys?
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