• NOS4A2
    4.4k
    A few years ago people started buying Sinclear Lewis' It Can't Happen Here because the media was making much ado about dictators and fascism. It turns out their warning were misplaced, because no populist fascist dictators were required to toss us into totalitarianism. And it is totalitarianism. The control is total. We're ruled by decree; governments have seized economies; the people can no longer assemble; the police have set up checkpoints; officials have closed borders; dissent is suppressed; religious observances have been cancelled.

    What is surprising is that most have accepted it, even applauding it.
  • synthesis
    702
    Hence I object to the populism that the only winners are the (corporate) elite and the politicians and the (only?) losers are the regular folks. Sorry, but anybody talking about the benign "regular folks", the "common people" as these people who are the suffering losers uses populist rhetoric. You and I know that in the West the majority of the people have it OK. They are not starving. They have it reasonably well. It is a minority, the underclass, who really are poor. In the US or in Western Europe, they don't make up a majority.ssu

    Let's look at three periods, post WWII (say, 1950), the beginning of globalization and financialization (1980), and forty years later (2021). And let's just take the U.S. as an example.

    The great thing about economic self-sufficiency is that a country can create a relative balance between production and consumption. This is very important for all kinds of reasons. Economic dependency can lead to all kinds of problems (as witnessed over the past year).

    One of the great benefits of self-sufficiency is sound money, and if you had to lay blame at one issue that has un-nerved all kinds of markets, it is has been the proliferation of funny money. Just the same, it is key that your country manufacture most of it's necessities.

    With the final disengagement of the USD to gold in 1971 and the onset of the financialization in and around 1980, you see the first results of globalization, the outsourcing of much of the West's manufacturing base to Asia. This had a profound effect on Western middle classes as well as on the value of currency (which was dropping precipitously and the money-printing party was on).

    Other than losing tens of millions of good manufacturing jobs (so you can enjoy your banana in January in the North Pole :), inflation is what has economically destroyed most people in the U.S. No longer could regular folks afford to buy a house (without be quite house-poor), they couldn't afford to send their kids to college (so the next generation was plunged into debt), they couldn't afford health care, or anything else that could not benefit from cheap labor-added in Asia. Quality commodities and services based in the U.S. became very expensive.

    The lasting legacy of globalization has been monetary inflation which has gutted the American middle class. This is a product of monetary policy and (by far) the winners are those who profited by the corporate bonanza in cheap manufacturing in Asia, the ramp-up in stock prices, ,and the political class (and it's employees who in 1950 made 50% of what the average private-sector worker made, and now makes double what the average makes in this country!).

    Despite access to your yellow tropical fruit, this past 50 years has been a disaster the average American worker and a bonanza for the average corporate exex. and all federal employees. It's the exact opposite of what you want in a healthy economy and another example of how socialism destroys everything it touches.

    The real problem is that far too many things that globalization has given us we take for granted, while we are too eager to focus on the downsides. Perhaps it's just a matter of rhetoric: we simply don't want make an argument like this and that is good, but here we have problem. Far better to say only that here we have a problem.ssu

    You might have difficultly having doctors (getting out of school hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt) buying into that idea.

    Seems pretty interesting that Germany and Japan still kept robust high quality manufacturing in their countries.
    — synthesis
    They have been far more better export oriented countries than many. And here we get onto thin ice, if we really want to look at why some countries have been more successful than others. Some can argue about a worse starting point, poverty or war or having been colonies, but sometimes, as in the case of Argentina, the real reason why they have been failures is quite puzzling, when they have had all the cards stacked for them.
    ssu

    I think it called making to the commitment to manufacturing high quality products that people want to buy. Ever drive a Porsche?
  • James Riley
    316
    And it is totalitarianism.NOS4A2

    I disagree. Witness 500k dead, invasion of the capital, spring break parties, etc. I go to town and see the maskless, and Trump flags flying, and open carry all the time. I hear of people (on both the left and right) invading government buildings with relative impunity (especially if white), and marching in the streets destroying shit. Granted, it's just the U.S., and granted, my perceptions are based on what the "news" tells me, so I could be duped.

    And it might be possible that the Totalitarian State wants people to die. You know, cull the herd. But I don't think so. From what I've heard from those who have lived in states that are more totalitarian than ours, we are a very long way from it.

    Whenever I see some hot young lawyer chick take off her high heels in the airport line, I can't help but think of Mohamed Atta smiling in his grave thinking "I did it!" In reality, as you said, we did it to ourselves. It is our reaction to stuff that enslaves us, if we are enslaved at all. But I don't think we are.

    There are also cultural distinctions, where some societies are more inclined to be socially conscious and play ball. Hell, I remember 40 years ago, when I was young and eons before Covid, I'd see news from the far east (especially Japan), in pieces entirely unrelated to disease, and I'd see folks walking around with masks on. I thought "WTF? I'd never do that! Why are they doing that? They must be doing it because they are trying to protect themselves from something." Then I heard those folks have a cold, or some other disease and they are, out of common curtesy, wearing a mask to help protect others. That won't fly in the U.S. If there is anything we hate more than foreigners, it's each other.

    Anyway, who's to say that in foreign lands it's the heavy hand of the state, or just people being considerate of others?

    Totalitarian State? No. Not yet. Our state checks itself because, to a large extent, it fears us, as well it should. We are supposed to be it, the state. And like I said, we hate each other, especially the left (cats). Where conservatives love a strong leader, our American traditions and culture and heritage is killing strong leaders (unless we can buy them).
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I can see your perspective on how collapses take place, especially the Roman empire. However, what I wonder about is whether Western civilisation would collapse in a similar way or not. That is because the various parts of it are probably extremely different, mainly in of the technology level of sophisticated we have reached. That is why I see economic growth as a possible starting point because it may mean that many people would lose access and may be excluded gradually.

    I am not really sure to what extent I think that totalitarianism is coming. That would be more of an organised attempt at control and it does appear that we are in a position where governments are really confused. The worst scenario which I would imagine is one in which there was a strategic attempt to ensure that the ruling class and their lineage were protected, while life became worse and worse gradually for the less wealthy.
  • NOS4A2
    4.4k


    Sounds like you live in a freer area than most. In others there are curfews, stay at home orders, rule by decree, state seizure of the economy, line-ups at the grocery store. Had we not had an internet to supplement our social lives, our employment, our entertainment, I wager we would not be so unresponsive to our reality. Totalitarianism crept into our lives through the decree of establishment politicians and public health bureaucrats, and not through the dictator we were once promised.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I certainly hope that totalitarianism is not coming. The point at which I wrote this thread was when I saw news of possible Covid_19 passports in Britain. However, it does appear that so many members of parliament are strongly against it, so it may not happen. The possible implications were as extreme as suggesting that all kinds of checks would have to be done to enter most places, including non essential shops.

    Just imagine just wishing to go for a cup of coffee and having to have all these checks. It would also be so much of a nightmare for staff and I think that many people would just prefer to stay at home. Also, I am really not convinced that if people had all this data available that it would have any bearing on preventing the virus. However, I do think that everything is in such a state of confusion in Britain that it may result in draconian measures being introduced eventually.
    However, in Britain what might also be going on is confusion over the exit from the EU. It has gone through officially, but when the vote for this took place it was in a pre Covid world, and as it is taking place at this particular point, it may be a big mess.
  • TheMadFool
    9.1k
    So the choices are, 1. Keep all our freedoms but prepare for another pandemic and all the problems that accompany it OR 2. Give up some of our freedoms and never have to experience global disasters like COVID-19. A tough choice for people by all accounts. Perhaps, we need to channel more money and other appropriate resources into health and medicine so that we could have the best of both worlds - freedom in world immune to catastrophes of this and other types.

    Plus, I feel our fears of totalitarianism is unfounded especially since whatever emergency measures that were enforced for COVID-19 seem just to prevent the spread of the disease and once we either manage to rein it in or find a cure, things will normalize and we can go back to the life we had before 2019. In other words, we need to ensure the powers that be are fully aware that emergency powers are temporary and last only as long as a national crisis does.
  • James Riley
    316


    Yeah, I must live in a free zone. All of the curfews, stay at home orders, etc. were more or less strongly recommended, based on an appeal to citizenship and science. If you didn't feel like you wanted to comply, you were not rounded up, no one slowed your internet access or delayed your flights, etc. And the lines, if any, were due to individual stupidity, like runs on butt-wipe and whatnot. You know; panic.

    A digression here, for my own trip down memory lane: When the pandemic first became "a thing", I remember a trip to town to buy some air-tights and whatnot. I remember the streets were nearly empty. I was still served by essential workers at a fast food place, and all the stuff I wanted was in the store, except paper products. Luckily, we have a huge supply of such, due to our former business which we had just retired from. But everything else had been delivered to the grocery store by the essential-worker truckers who got it from people who were apparently still working, producing the essential stuff I needed. Mind you, most of those essential people were getting paid shit, but they still showed up to serve me in my privilege. But the best thing, that I still look back on with fondness, is the empty streets.

    When I was young I could drive for hours and hours at night without having to flip between high beam and low beam. This was like that. When I was a little boy I would awake long before everyone else and walk my suburban/rural, dew-covered street before and at first light. Before the milk man came around to make his delivery, the whole neighborhood was dead of humanity. Only the birds would sing. Maybe a dog would bark. I would wonder if everyone had left. I would wonder if I was the last person on earth. I absolutely fucking loved it! My heart would always fall a little bit when some guy in his underwear stepped out on his stoop to grab a news paper that had been tossed to him before even I was out and about. The beginning of the pandemic flashed me back to that.

    Then I think of the wisdom/meme circulating on social media saying something to the effect: "In your rush to get back to normal, think about what is worth rushing back to."

    So I, living in privilege now, with my nearest neighbor about two Klicks away, on an inholding, surrounded by miles of river and mountain, dreading a trip to the city to get serviced by essential workers, think yeah, there ain't no totalitarianism here. I could be naïve. And even if not, I could be lucky while my fellow man suffers, but I do know for a fact that he who thinks he can go it alone is full of shit. Society, and the social contract exists for a reason. And when "freedom" permits each person to sling his semen all over hell and gone, then he has to be prepared to live with the consequences of his freedom. You put too many rats in a place, even free and uncaged, they will start eating each other. And they will have brought that, or the totalitarian system which prevents it, upon themselves.

    Those who whine about totalitarianism have often brought it upon themselves through their exercise of unbridled freedom, a lack of enlightenment in their pursuit of self-interest, and their externalization of costs onto the backs of others, without supporting those others politically or in some other form.

    Man, I loved the beginning of the pandemic! But the teaming masses have been out and about doing the same old shit as far as I can tell. Check that! I haven't been to a movie theater in over a year. And I love movie theaters. Woe is me.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    With your choice 1 of keeping all our freedoms or 2 of not doing so, I am unsure to what extent loss of further freedoms would address the pandemic. Even if we have all our personal information and medical history on open display on our phones, I don't see how it would stop any potential pandemic because viruses are invisible and unpredictable.

    One of the arguments against digital passports etc is that it would give rise to a loss of the need for social distancing. Part of the idea in Britain behind Covid_19 passports was to enable pubs to operate without need for any distancing measures. I am sure that would to lead to a definite third wave because even if people have the vaccine and tests they can still catch it, especially if new variants arise.

    Also, even if the ideas of digital passports or biometrics were introduced as a temporary measure, is it really likely that this would ever end? I can see the idea of passports for international travel being useful but if they were required just to go and buy a pair of shoes or trousers in a shop that would seem absurd. One idea which I have come across in Britain is the possibility of sugar tax, with restrictions on what food people can buy. I am in favour of healthy eating but I don't know that official restrictions would be pleasant for many. The idea behind it is that people who got Covid_19 got more sick if they were obese. Could it get to the point where people had to declare their weight on phone apps when they shop? Of course, I am being extreme but I am wondering what could happen eventually.

    Also, bearing in mind that we are a long way from totalitarianism now, if that was a direction in the futue, would we even have the freedom to express ourselves on sites like this? Already, it does appear that there is a lot of surveillance of search engines, so we might not be as free as we would like to think that we are.
  • NOS4A2
    4.4k


    Personally, I much rather the risk of freedom than the paternalism of statism. I do not believe a "social contract" exists in any case, and is little more than statist apologetics, so maybe our differences here lie in the general principles.

    Either way, I disagree that any restrictions on freedom are the consequences of free citizens. Every restriction on freedom has been implemented by those in power who believe they know what's best for everyone else, and is therefor the consequence of their actions, not of the free man. Freedom can be bridled by choice and responsibility, and if we hand off these choices and responsibilities to some central authority we do so at our peril.
  • James Riley
    316
    especially if new variants ariseJack Cummins

    I know new variants can and will arise on their own, but it sure doesn't help when all the petulant folks won't follow advice.

    even if the ideas of digital passports or biometrics were introduced as a temporary measure, is it really likely that this would ever end?Jack Cummins

    No, it's not likely to end. The toothpaste rarely gets crammed back into the tube. It's unnatural to relinquish intelligence/power.

    One idea which I have come across in Britain is the possibility of sugar tax, with restrictions on what food people can buy.Jack Cummins

    When individuals refuse to internalize the costs of their actions, then yeah, gov't can tax them. So, if I produce a widget that harms people, and people buy that widget and hurt themselves or others, and if I then look for tax reductions or bailouts, or my buyers look for medical services or subsidized insurance premiums which other people have to pay for, then I say make me pay for it.

    Also, bearing in mind that we are a long way from totalitarianism now, if that was a direction in the futue, would we even have the freedom to express ourselves on sites like this?Jack Cummins

    Yeah, anything could happen. I see a greater threat arising from the "slippery slope" argument, where that which is relatively innocuous or beneficial is avoided just because some paranoid person thinks it's the first step on an inevitable ride to the bottom.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    However, I do think that everything is in such a state of confusion in Britain that it may result in draconian measures being introduced eventually.Jack Cummins

    My window on Britain's confusion is very small, but it does seem like public policy in the UK is disordered. I thought Brexit was always a colossal error, the consequences of which would unravel for a long time. As someone said, "Politicians are famous for screwing up big projects, but they can screw up small tasks too." At a distance, policy and politics in the UK look chaotic.

    Draconian policy might be imposed only to freeze chaos in place.

    The EU, composed of a population of something like 440 million, seems to have served people well with regulation, systems, organization, etc. Pulling out of the EU was so stupid... but what's done is done, at least for now.

    As for Covid-19, the prudent policies of quarantine, mask wearing, and social distancing when public contact is necessary seem obvious. Now that vaccines are available, getting jabbed (as you say over there) is the obvious response. Somewhere around a 25% to 33% of the US population can be counted on to refuse vaccination. Who are they? Most often they are conservatives and evangelicals--always an unwholesome combination.

    Because there is an epidemic of dithering, delay, and denial over prudent public policy, the length of the Covid-19 pandemic is being prolonged, maybe indefinitely. If it's any comfort, Britain isn't the only country having difficulties establishing sensible policy.
  • James Riley
    316
    I do not believe a "social contract" exists in any case, and is little more than statist apologetics, so maybe our differences here lie in the general principles.NOS4A2

    That's the thing about the social contract: it's a contract of adhesion and it exists whether anyone believes in it or not.

    I always thought "limited sovereignty" was a joke. It's like limited infinity. While I will entertain it for philosophical discussion, the individual, the State, the Indian Tribe, will play ball. Either that or we are back fighting wars that were already fought and won. The individual is no different.

    Every restriction on freedom has been implemented by those in power who believe they know what's best for everyone else, and is therefor the consequence of their actions, not of the free manNOS4A2

    Just out of curiosity, can you show me a policy or regulation or law that popped out of a vacuum? I'm not saying it's not out there, but the only people I see generating anticipatory limitations are the the slippery slope people. Everyone else implements limitations based upon a collective human experience with humans who are left to their own devices. Most of my limited experience comes from ten years of environmental/administration/litigation in the U.S. Federal Courts. Everything was always a response to some idiot who decided to shit in the river just because he thought it was his right to do so. After all, if the guy down river didn't want to drink this shit, then he could pay Uncle Sugar to get the damn river off his property.

    Freedom can be bridled by choice and responsibility,NOS4A2

    Yes, it can be. Human experience show that is a risk not worth taking.

    if we hand off these choices and responsibilities to some central authority we do so at our peril.NOS4A2

    True. That should be kept in mind when deciding whether or not one wants to externalize the costs of his actions upon the backs of everyone else. But human experience shows most of those "muh freedom!" guys don't think that deep.

    A slight digression, but here's something for you to think about: I would come across onerous environmental regulations that were actually dreamed up, and championed by industry. They knew their competition, and especially start ups, could not compete with them if they had to comply with X regulation. So, the industry got the benefit of both worlds: 1. They kept competition out of the market; 2. They got to parade their "green" all over the public; 3. They got to use the money they made to support tax laws that allowed them to write off all the foregoing as a business expense; and 4. They got to complain behind closed doors to guys like you about how they were put upon by big an evil government which interfered with job creation, kept your wages low, and stalled the economy. LOL! Genius, really. they could also use the profits to prime the well.

    I discussed, in a another post or thread, the notion that someday we'd have to choose the Plutocracy or the Cartels as our "side." But both the Plutocracy and the Cartels would keep government (neutered, of course) extant as a punching bag for the minions. That's whole regulatory BS is part of it.

    But when it comes to freedom, just remember what Aldo Leopold said: "Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?" In other words, freedom ain't worth shit if you don't have a place to be free in. No one can tell me that some guy long in city pent, who ostensibly has all the freedoms I have out here in the sticks, on paper, is really as free as I am. A lot of that may have to do with a distinction between "freedom from" and freedom to" and what kind of freedom one wants. But any who wants libertarianism can move to Somalia or some place like that.
  • Vessuvius
    117


    While I haven't yet familiarized myself with that proposal of a possible social-credit system that you allude to, as applied within parts of the Commonwealth, and as infringing upon the most basic of freedoms, it seems to me that a general decline of national prosperity within much of the United Kingdom and England in particular has given cause for an opening to both mislead and restrict the doings of the public at large; the purpose of which, I don't know even in prospect, but a grand-scale restructuring of English society is what one can expect, such as may be determined with the available information in hand. Perhaps, the desire among those in power, and with the exception of those in parliament whose overall influence in recent years has from what I understand been curtailed, and to the benefit of the executive branch, is to distract from the failure of Brexit to make manifest the promises of wealth and improved standard of living that were treated within media as the foremost selling-point of secession from the European bloc. The perception of ineffective leadership, and lack of confidence among members of the public which now reign, in the ability of the current administration to govern, and to deliver that which had been assured, is to be seen as indicating on the latter's part, the need for subtler forms of control over the public discussion. That the country is on the verge of economic collapse, even when overlooking the negative effect of a continued lockdown on economic productivity, and how very unappealing it has since become as a hub of cultural and financial exchange even in the case of London proper, means the discontent will continue to expand in its hold; so too, can a growing show of Totalitarianism, at least as a more subtle approach than its historical expression, be expected as political infighting occupies much of parliament, as public goods become ever scarcer in consequence of the logistic and economic hurdles imposed by the loss of EU membership, and especially, upon the coming death of the Queen; that last bastion of hope in a world gone bleak. Do keep in mind, even this assessment of mine is unduly charitable to your country's circumstances, for the reason that it provides no mention of one of the central difficulties thereof; the status of the Commonwealth as Britain retreats from its former position of prominence on the world-stage, and whether other members of this union such as Australia, as they themselves make a steady gain of clout, are therefore under the obligation still to defer to the whims of monarchical authority, even on paper. Another issue that deserves analysis, and which has up to this point been a cause of great tension, and taken on the form of legitimate violence in the course of the so-called Time Of Troubles, is the status of Northern Ireland, the possibility of later reunification with its other half, and its consequent departure from this union, also. Any one of these developments would strike a great blow to national prestige, but taken together, and if occuring within a relatively short period of each other, such as they just might, would be sure to result in utter despondency; and, despondency it should be noted, is the condition from which more extremist ideologies always emerge, as well as a requisite for their establishing a broader acceptance within society.
  • synthesis
    702
    Those who whine about totalitarianism have often brought it upon themselves through their exercise of unbridled freedom, a lack of enlightenment in their pursuit of self-interest, and their externalization of costs onto the backs of others, without supporting those others politically or in some other form.James Riley

    The answer is ALWAYS more freedom and transparency. Those advocating the opposite are attempting to protect their dirty system.
  • synthesis
    702
    The EU, composed of a population of something like 440 million, seems to have served people well with regulation, systems, organization, etc. Pulling out of the EU was so stupid... but what's done is done, at least for now.Bitter Crank

    WHAT?? The EU is a complete joke...one destined to failure from the start. Why would any successful country want to be part of that dys-functional dys-union unless their political leaders were totally corrupt?
  • synthesis
    702
    That should be kept in mind when deciding whether or not one wants to externalize the costs of his actions upon the backs of everyone else.James Riley

    Isn't this the entire point of every social institution that ever was, that is, getting something for nothing (somebody else footing the bill).
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I think that England has been a very pleasant country to live in but it is changing dramatically. We are lucky to have a welfare state. I don't think that people will cope if life becomes harsh as people are not used to it.

    I have not been to Ireland, despite having a father who was born there. He spoke highly of the country although he never went back there. Northern Ireland is very different though and the only people I have ever known from there seem fairly wounded by so much unrest there.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    For the same reason that 13 States United in the late 18th century--in union there is more power than standing alone.

    The answer is ALWAYS more freedom and transparency. Those advocating the opposite are attempting to protect their dirty system.synthesis

    You perhaps think that any large system leads to corruption, opaqueness, tyranny, etc. A brief perusal of history, or group dynamics, will show that one can get the benefits of corrupt, opaque, arbitrary and capricious rule just as well in small groups as in large.

    We are quite far apart in this.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    the only people I have ever known from there seem fairly wounded by so much unrest thereJack Cummins

    Literally and figuratively wounded.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I remember getting to know a boy on a bus who came to England with his mother after his father was killed in the terrorism of Northern Ireland. Generally, the people I have known from Northern Ireland described it a bit like the way U2 do in the song, 'Where the Streets Have No Name.'
  • ssu
    3.9k
    Let's look at three periods, post WWII (say, 1950), the beginning of globalization and financialization (1980), and forty years later (2021). And let's just take the U.S. as an example.synthesis
    Globalization didn't start in 1980, it might be called an era of de-regulation.

    Also here it's important to see also the reasons of American dominance before, because the US isn't an island when it comes to the global situation:

    1950: All other major industrialized countries in ruins after WW2, China has communism, India and the Far-Eastern "Tigers" very poor, some still colonies. Hence US dominance in every field.

    1980: China just starting to change it's economic system, West Europe and Japan back on track and can compete well with the US.

    2021: China has enjoyed historical growth, India has too shed it's socialist system, many Far-Eastern Tigers like South Korea and Taiwan are wealthy countries.

    The lasting legacy of globalization has been monetary inflation which has gutted the American middle class. This is a product of monetary policy and (by far) the winners are those who profited by the corporate bonanza in cheap manufacturing in Asia, the ramp-up in stock prices, ,and the political class (and it's employees who in 1950 made 50% of what the average private-sector worker made, and now makes double what the average makes in this country!).synthesis
    Indeed, I think this more because of monetary policy than because of globalization. Going off the gold standard and having a fiat system was the crucial thing. Other countries, like mine, would quite quickly face a current account crisis and a run on their foreign reserves, but not the US. When the Saudis were OK with just getting dollars for their oil, why not? (And then are things like that Americans simply want to pay the most for a mediocre health care system, I guess.)

    The US has enjoyed the situation where it can print the global currency everybody uses, hence debt doesn't matter and the current account can be negative for over 40 years. And why not? Since the World is OK with an US Dollar system, then US politicians can print as much as they want. We all seem to believe now in modern monetary theory.

    us-current-account-1960-17.png

    Who cares about things that more debt actually creates more problems...

    Despite access to your yellow tropical fruit, this past 50 years has been a disaster the average American worker and a bonanza for the average corporate exex. and all federal employees. It's the exact opposite of what you want in a healthy economy and another example of how socialism destroys everything it touches.synthesis
    Well, some export oriented countries like Germany have done quite well and don't have such wealth inequality. Even if I'm not a leftist, I think one important issue is that Americans aren't in labor unions, hence the employers can do nearly whatever they want. I think this also more of a domestic issue than just globalization.

    Figure-1.png
  • James Riley
    316
    Isn't this the entire point of every social institution that ever was, that is, getting something for nothing (somebody else footing the bill).synthesis

    Yes and no. Yes, in that every social institution that ever was tends to want to get something for nothing from nature. But no, as between the members of society. The point of society has at times been to spread both the profit and cost among all the members. An example would be the corporation. Big Government (society) decides to protect the shareholder from having to take personal responsibility for his own actions (making a car that pumps poison into the air) in return for a social good of transportation, and a taxation on the profits to allay some of the costs of the poison. Otherwise, the investor would indeed pass on the costs to those who don't drive, or who would never agree to sell what they (and a court) might perceive to be their right to breathe. (Nature be damned).

    The problem is when the shareholder and his peers make so much money they can buy off their obligation to pay taxes or provide good transportation. But that is not society's fault. That might be the fault of politicians and people that allow that to happen, and maybe society sits back a lets themselves get screwed, but that is not society's point. The point, and the individual reliance on and participation in the social contract, was to protect the individual; not make him pay for some jerk's adventure.

    In other words, there is no doubt that people often get together and agree to look the other way while the Earth, or some other poor sap or people bear the brunt of their adventures. But that is not the point of society.....
  • Vessuvius
    117


    My understanding is that just a decade prior your country remained quite prosperous, and indeed, held a higher standard of purchasing-power than even Germany did at the time. This changed however, with the onset of the Great Recession, which caused your government's representatives to naively institute a number of austerity measures aimed at minimizing the federal deficit, and notwithstanding the fact that in the face of recession along economic lines, this is precisely the response opposite that which should be implemented; a finely executed stimulus that has as its purpose to increase margins of public-spending, and provides direct subsidization to affected industries, is the only response of benefit in these circumstances. Reducing either factor instead, not only leads toward a delay in the rate of recovery, but induces a downward spiral of ever less ability to cope, leading toward the usage of austerity measures in an even further degree so as to thereby perpetuate the cycle. The reductions in funding then made to that most venerated National Health Service of yours, were particularly detrimental both to research, and quality of care; all of which, as gleaned from what I have read on this point.
  • James Riley
    316
    The answer is ALWAYS more freedom and transparency. Those advocating the opposite are attempting to protect their dirty system.synthesis

    I disagree. Transparency does not translate into an ability to do anything about an asshole who is exercising freedom to shit in the river. Unless, of your course, you are granting me the freedom to shoot him through his brain housing group. Lots of misuse of freedom are out in the open. We try to regulate those misuses, but the offender then whines about regulation. At least that regulation works in favor of the integrity of his skull.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    So do you think that it will be a downward spiral for England? I am definitely aware of austerity measures being introduced in the last few years. I hope that England is not really collapsing..
  • Vessuvius
    117


    England is already confronted with the downstream consequences of this earlier decision, such as contraction or loss of economic growth, and these patterns I am sure, will only be rendered all the more apparent in the years ahead even to those who had previously been in complete ignorance to which, as the transition out of the European bloc is finalized. Eventually, your country will be consigned to a peripheral role in most matters of diplomatic exchange; politically isolated, faced with increasing rates of internal as well as economic strife, the loss of a monarch that members of the public can either adore or otherwise respect, the collapse of the Commonwealth as a united front, and the secession of Northern Ireland as a member thereof; just to name a few.

    To cite another example; the levels of Anti-Union sentiment among those who fall within the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, since the referendum first passed, have surged by a margin of more than three-fold as compared to what they were before, according to the most recent polls. And do remember, that this example of mine accounts for just one facet of the geopolitical difficulties, and the broader question of national relevance, that England now confronts. Moreover, lacking an effective basis of leadership, I am confident the state will only stumble through in disorientation, rather than seek to resolve with the urgency that is due, these same difficulties.

    Demonstration of empty rhetoric without any additional evidence to predicate it, is a far easier thing to achieve than good-governance; and to some, such as the issue of Brexit illustrates so well, more palatable also.
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