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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    I interact with large, organized entities every single day. Everyone does.

    As far as their "power over me". My interaction with these large, powerful entities is completely voluntary.
    It is? You can choose what power company you use? You can choose what garbage company picks up your trash? You can freely choose which company you work for (in this jobless economy)? You can choose which company opens a megastore next door to your house? In theory, what you say is true. One of the misleading features of free-market ideology is that it looks sound in theory, but in practice there are a number of very real and very telling flaws. To provide a segue to the next topic, you can choose which health insurance your employer offers?

    If my health insurance is not to my liking, I can take my business elsewhere. If none of the companies deliver a product I want, then I can choose not to have health insurance.

    And, since I am willing to pay for health insurance, there is an incentive to deliver me the product I want.
    In theory, you are correct. In reality, very few Americans can freely choose to take their health insurance business elsewhere, as you must know. And judging by the 60% of bankruptcies caused by medical costs, virtually nobody can afford to go without health insurance. Philab did a fine job addressing this sub-topic, so I'll leave it at that.

    The toxic waste dump would be an example of an externality. Pollution is an externality where I think government has a role. The actions of the company that put the toxic waste dump next to my house have harmed me, a third party who did not agree to anything.
    I am glad we agree on this much. Does government have a role in environmentally regulating businesses to prevent the pollution in the first place as well, or only in dealing with the aftermath? I ask because of the high percentage of Superfund sites that were created by now-defunct businesses. The corporate owners got their profit, polluted freely, and got out, sticking us all with the cleanup bills in these cases. Moreover, large corporations are constantly pointing out that environmental regulations infringe on their free-market prerogatives and impact their bottom lines. Are they wrong?

    As far as safety standards. If the work is too dangerous, you don't have to work there. This is another example of competition in the marketplace serving the needs of those interested.
    In theory, you're right. In reality, people choose to work for companies that violate existing governmental standards and do so willingly because they do not actually have better options. On the ground, people knowingly work for companies that openly violate labor laws, safety laws, and environmental laws. They do so because, in reality, the marketplace is not a level-playing-field utopia. Jobs are hard to find, particularly in places like Raleigh County West Virginia, where Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine disaster killed 29 miners. That is reality. In the ivory tower world of free market theory, those miners, who knew all about Massey's decades-long history of safety violations, could have gone to find some other job. In reality, they would have been very hard pressed to do so, and were left with the option of unemployment or risking their lives for their corporate masters' profit margins (subsequently spent in part to influence the political system).

    In reality, people also work for those who violate labor and employment laws. I've worked with multiple people who were never paid overtime during years of 60 or 70-hour weeks. They did so because, in reality, not everyone is the perfect-knowledge, rational, market free agent that theories assume. If they were, we wouldn't need such things as minimum wage laws, or overtime laws, or child labor laws, or environmental regulations, or food safety laws, or even a prohibition against slavery. In free market theory, people should all be able to avoid those problems on their own. In reality, as demonstrated by history, they can't and they don't.
    Last edited by Labgrownmangoat; 02-15-2011 at 11:29 AM.
    I'm going to list ALEC in credits as associate producer of creating horrifying things for us to talk about -John Oliver

    People who think the least powerful members of society are responsible for most of its problems are deluded, at best.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat View Post
    This is a distinction without a difference. Herbert is obviously using "democracy" as shorthand for our form of government, as am I. Next objection?

    Moreover, tell the tens of thousands of Americans that the federal government and mega-corporation telecoms combined to illegally wiretap that their 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable searches "cannot be taken away." Tell US citizens like Jose Padilla who were held without charges for years at a time that their 6th Amendment rights against imprisonment without just cause, and to a speedy trial "cannot be taken away". Tell US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki, who has been placed on a targeted assassination list without any kind of due process that his 5th/14th Amendment due process rights cannot be taken away from him.
    I know what you are doing. As a historian, I tend to like clearer definitions. There is a distinction between the two.

    As far as your examples, I was telling you what government cannot do in theory. Yes government did those things, but it is illegal.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbroncos78087 View Post
    That doesnt quite fit with the conservative definition of government. It sounds like that view of government acknowledges that we need to protect the people from themselves.
    In a way it does. It is a protection of the minorities from the masses.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGGGG-Men View Post
    Corporations gaining the political rights of individuals is the greatest crime in this country's recent history. It defies everything this country was built on....well, what it was presented to have been built on anyway.

    It goes beyond media. We're down to 2 or 3 major companies in just about every industry (oil, dairy....research Monsanto and what they're doing to us and organic farmers). They control everything they can and when they can't, they change the rules so they have to gain control.

    It's funny that during the great depression wealthy Morgans, Rothchilds, Chase bought up all independent banks cheaply to get rid of competition. Then in the recent downturn they buy up the biggest independent bank Washington Mutual. Same patterns over and over.

    But like you said, and what my favorite human being of all time said "Nobody cares because everybody's got a cell phone that will scratch their balls and make pancakes". - George Carlin
    Corporations are simply a collection of people just as unions are. We have PACS and other such things. It really isn't anything different from what we have allowed before, except corporations are generally on the other side from unions.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahjazzno12fan View Post
    Corporations are simply a collection of people just as unions are. We have PACS and other such things. It really isn't anything different from what we have allowed before, except corporations are generally on the other side from unions.
    They're much more than just the Webster dictionary definiton that describes a "corporation". Corporations are persons, who have all the rights of living, breathing human beings...but none of the responsibilities. They're protected under numerous constitutional amendments now, and their power and wealth dwarf that of many countries.

    I would suggest doing some research. They've always been, here but you don't always recognize their power over our government, media, policy, foreign policy, etc. They are the dominant institution of our time.
    Last edited by The Schmooze; 02-15-2011 at 11:38 AM.

  6. #66
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    For those interested in further well-sourced reading on this topic, I recommend taking a look at the Working Group on Extreme Inequality. It details the pervasive negative effects of having such a huge percentage of our nation's wealth concentrated in so few hands, and suggests steps we can all take to help address the problem.
    I'm going to list ALEC in credits as associate producer of creating horrifying things for us to talk about -John Oliver

    People who think the least powerful members of society are responsible for most of its problems are deluded, at best.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahjazzno12fan View Post
    Corporations are simply a collection of people just as unions are. We have PACS and other such things. It really isn't anything different from what we have allowed before, except corporations are generally on the other side from unions.
    They are not exactly in the same spot. With unions we're still talking about a group of organized workers who are seeking rights of the people (even IF their leaders are sometimes corruptible). This is a group of working/middle class who seek better treatment.

    When corporations lobby to change rules so they can increase profit at the expense of everyone's well-being, there is a very small group who benefits and the public at large, whom this country is about, suffers.

    PACs are just about the worst thing that happened to American politics.

  8. #68
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    Some form of anarcho-capitalism is essentially what gcoll seems to favor. I don't see how this utopia is any more acceptable or workable than socialism but it's definitely gaining traction (again) in conservative circles. Welcome back, John Birch Society.

    I'd be interested to know whether gcoll is pro-life/pro gay marriage. Seems to me that if the government is incapable of legislating sound economics on the individual level it wouldn't be perfectly okay to accept their legislating moral authority on an individual level. If I were going to choose a radical ideology I'd at least go all the way with it - abortions all the way up until live birth.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Schmooze View Post
    They're much more than just the Webster dictionary definiton that describes a "corporation". Corporations are persons, who have all the rights of living, breathing human beings...but none of the responsibilities. They're protected under numerous constitutional amendments now, and their power and wealth dwarf that of many countries.

    I would suggest doing some research. They've always been, here but you don't always recognize their power over our government, media, policy, foreign policy, etc. They are the dominant institution of our time.
    I am not saying whether right or wrong, but that the bigger question is should groups have political power or just individuals. If you are going to get rid of corporations in the political arena, you really should get rid of unions in the political arena as well.

    And then we have GM who is owned by the government but could donate money to political parties which is not a good idea.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGGGG-Men View Post
    They are not exactly in the same spot. With unions we're still talking about a group of organized workers who are seeking rights of the people (even IF their leaders are sometimes corruptible). This is a group of working/middle class who seek better treatment.

    When corporations lobby to change rules so they can increase profit at the expense of everyone's well-being, there is a very small group who benefits and the public at large, whom this country is about, suffers.

    PACs are just about the worst thing that happened to American politics.
    Unions vs. Corporations battles would simply be the worker rights vs. the owner and executive rights. You can't ban one and allow the other.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahjazzno12fan View Post
    Unions vs. Corporations battles would simply be the worker rights vs. the owner and executive rights. You can't ban one and allow the other.
    I agree in theory and am no fan of lobbying from either group, but an argument can be made that the gov't is there to serve the people not profit. So the united steel workers have more of a right in the process than say...ALCOA.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by utahjazzno12fan View Post
    Unions vs. Corporations battles would simply be the worker rights vs. the owner and executive rights. You can't ban one and allow the other.
    That is a pretty good comparison, but the real breakdown lies in what can one group (for example Unions) contractually force the other group to accept. And if one side (for example the Corporations) break that agreement and go with non-Union workers, what compensations are there established for breaking Unions and what legal requirements are placed on a job that make Union membership required. For steel workers, if because of the major safety risk you were required to get a "Steel Worker Institute" certificate for example where you would learn about safety procedures. But then the Union runs the SWI then they could require Union membership. Or on the opposite if the Corporation runs the SWI then they could require you not join a Union. Many times Unions get blamed for problems, and dont get me wrong they do tend to get overconfident and refuse to give anything up, but the Corporation shouldnt be looked down on as the victim. It is much closer to describe their relationship as a three-legged race or something similar because they if they decide to work together things can go great, but one misstep (cough cough NFL, by both sides in that case) and all hell breaks loose.
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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat
    It is? You can choose what power company you use? You can choose what garbage company picks up your trash? You can freely choose which company you work for (in this jobless economy)? You can choose which company opens a megastore next door to your house? In theory, what you say is true. One of the misleading features of free-market ideology is that it looks sound in theory, but in practice there are a number of very real and very telling flaws. To provide a segue to the next topic, you can choose which health insurance your employer offers?
    Not sure why you'd use utilities and garbage collection to make your point. And I'm not sure what your point is about the mega-store.

    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat
    In reality, very few Americans can freely choose to take their health insurance business elsewhere, as you must know.
    Right. And why don't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat
    I am glad we agree on this much. Does government have a role in environmentally regulating businesses to prevent the pollution in the first place as well, or only in dealing with the aftermath? I ask because of the high percentage of Superfund sites that were created by now-defunct businesses. The corporate owners got their profit, polluted freely, and got out, sticking us all with the cleanup bills in these cases. Moreover, large corporations are constantly pointing out that environmental regulations infringe on their free-market prerogatives and impact their bottom lines. Are they wrong?
    I wouldn't phrase it as "preventing pollution". I'd phrase it as a regulatory scheme that seeks to reflect the costs of polluting onto the business that pollutes. Externalities are a "market failure" but that's just "in theory". Sort of like evolution. Just a theory. Totally no solid scientific thought, or factual basis behind it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat
    In theory, you're right. In reality, people choose to work for companies that violate existing governmental standards and do so willingly because they do not actually have better options.
    Right. Typically those more dangerous jobs pay better. People take them because they do their own cost-benefit analysis and decide that the extra money they can make is worth the risk.

    I do not buy into the assumption that working people are too stupid to run their own lives. But, just as a question. Why do you think that mining tends to pay better?
    Quote Originally Posted by Labgrownmangoat
    In free market theory, people should all be able to avoid those problems on their own.
    If "free market theory" were that the free market is flawless, you'd be right. But that's not the theory.
    Last edited by gcoll; 02-15-2011 at 07:12 PM.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    Right. Typically those more dangerous jobs pay better. People take them because they do their own cost-benefit analysis and decide that the extra money they can make is worth the risk.
    Where is the evidence for this? I'm not trying to play the "support it!" game; it's just that every shred of evidence I've ever encountered stands directly contrary to this point.

    I mean, factory jobs pay nothing. Dangerous jobs don't pay you up front for the associated risk. No, they only pay after the harm is done.

    I do not buy into the assumption that working people are too stupid to run their own lives.
    I caught this sentiment underlying your posts. Now that you've come out and said it ...

    This isn't about people being too stupid to run their lives. It's precisely the opposite. The problem arises when the only rational decision people can make is to put themselves at danger or to accept an unfair deal. THAT is when the market breaks down.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    Where is the evidence for this? I'm not trying to play the "support it!" game; it's just that every shred of evidence I've ever encountered stands directly contrary to this point.

    I mean, factory jobs pay nothing. Dangerous jobs don't pay you up front for the associated risk. No, they only pay after the harm is done.
    You gotta compare it to jobs requiring the same skill level. It's qualified. A miner doesn't make more than a plastic surgeon.

    And the dangerousness of the factory job depends on what type of factory job it is, and compared to what. A lot of factory work, the danger is you'll lose a hand or some fingers. There aren't many physical jobs that don't have that risk.
    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    I caught this sentiment underlying your posts. Now that you've come out and said it ...

    This isn't about people being too stupid to run their lives. It's precisely the opposite. The problem arises when the only rational decision people can make is to put themselves at danger or to accept an unfair deal. THAT is when the market breaks down.
    And when does that scenario occur?

    But. As a general point. Even if there is a role for government in enforcing minimum safety requirements in particularly dangerous occupations due to unequal bargaining power, that's not the end of the debate. That doesn't justify subsidizing health insurance. People who make the pro-regulation argument think the battle is over as soon as they find some example where regulation may be necessary.

    And they never have to answer for any regulatory failure. The failures of the free market show that it is just "theory" and not workable in practice. Yet, when regulated markets fail, and regulation fails, it's proof that we need more regulation.


    In answer to Flea's question. My ideology isn't all that extreme, at least I don't think so. I am pro gay marriage. And I am pro-choice. But I find abortion to be a morally corrupt endeavor, save in cases where the mother's life is threatened. Partial birth, and late term abortions....no. Those should be illegal. The baby is a person at that point. You can't murder a person just because it happens to live inside you, unless of course it poses a real threat to your life.
    Last edited by gcoll; 02-15-2011 at 08:07 PM.

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