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#52 Feb 07 2012 at 7:26 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm sure you congratulate yourself on convincing others to join up and fight for the cause of worker liberation, while you yourself are part of that middle class which benefits massively as a result of the free market.


Woah, woah, woah. I'm not the proletariat, you're the proletariat. I work for me. I control the means of production, I own my own intellectual property. I derive income form the labors of others.

I'm the first one against the wall when the revolution comes. I mean aside from the shareholders of the Sirrius Cybernetics Corporation, of course.
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#53 Feb 07 2012 at 10:05 PM Rating: Default
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Smasharoo wrote:

I'm sure you congratulate yourself on convincing others to join up and fight for the cause of worker liberation, while you yourself are part of that middle class which benefits massively as a result of the free market.


Woah, woah, woah. I'm not the proletariat, you're the proletariat. I work for me. I control the means of production, I own my own intellectual property. I derive income form the labors of others.


Working as a consultant? Gambling? Being self employed isn't sufficient to move you out of the proletariat Smash. The differences between that and a salaried employee are purely paperwork related.

And you're still missing the point. Marx was wrong about the correlation between controlling the means of production and the ability to derive a higher than subsistence level wage. If he were right, people doing what you do would have been squeezed out of the market long ago and forced to work for others for minimum wage. And people like me would also be working for minimum wage. Everyone would be working for minimum wage *or* the owner of a very large company *or* be the tiny part of the proletariat trading slightly higher pay in return for keeping the rest in line (management basically).

But in the real world that last group, rather than being small and constantly pressured to do horrible things to the workers in exchange for some crumbs from the masters table, is a large portion of the whole workforce and have significant labor power in the market. And they don't need unions to do it either. But you know this. Which makes one wonder why you love to talk about Marxist theories as though they are things that others should hold up as ideals.


Let me present an alternative theory here. There is no difference between the two. There will always be some group who control the means of production. Communism doesn't change that, despite endlessly talking about how that's the problem with the Free Market. What communism does is change how one becomes a controller of the means of production. It shifts that group from enterprising businesses and their skilled workers to the state and its politicians. The route to power changes from those who find ways to produce a better product at a lower price to those who have the right connects, rub the right elbows, and scratch the right backs so that they can move up in the state power structure.


That's why it's not only not better, but is infinitely worse. And frankly, I think once you get past the throngs of idiots who can't think clearly enough to realize this, everyone who espouses communism (or even lesser forms of socialism) know this. They know that it's not really about greater equality, or fairness, or elimination of some horrible negatives associated with one group controlling production. It's about being the ones in control of that production. It's about manipulating the masses into thinking that they'll be better off if they give that group power instead of letting those who have it now keep it. They know **** well that those workers will be infinitely worse off under their rule, but they also know that if they can actually get that level of power, the workers wont have the power to do anything about it.


Should have learned the lessons of the Soviet Union and the early years of the Chinese Red Revolution. Who suffered the most? The rich? Not hardly. Some of those in power previously did suffer. But the overwhelming amount of harm was heaped on the workers. They're the ones who didn't just suffer negative economic outcomes (they did), but died in the millions while the state tried to figure out how best to implement their policies and use the power they had. All the while, of course, the same human desire for power drove those within grasp of it. To the detriment of everyone else.


Again, it's not a change in terms of that power existing, like they claim. It's just a means to gain that power for a different group. And that group has far less reason to utilize it well once they have it. Wealthy businesses can fail if they don't continue to perform. But a state that has abolished private property and seized control of everything? Doesn't matter how poorly they do. They have the power and it's almost impossible for it to be taken away.


Quote:
I'm the first one against the wall when the revolution comes. I mean aside from the shareholders of the Sirrius Cybernetics Corporation, of course.


No. You'll be among those who attempts to worm their way into power in the new regime. Just as always happens. The result is that those who don't actually create the production will control the means to produce. Surely even you can see how this is a really really bad idea.
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#54 Feb 08 2012 at 12:07 AM Rating: Good
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****, Smash, you're right. It is obvious that gbaji has never read Marx.
#55 Feb 08 2012 at 2:55 PM Rating: Decent
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[******************, Smash, you're right. It is obvious that gbaji has never read Marx.[/quote]

Ah. The self indulgent lie. Beautiful! Strange that Smash claims that the Communist Manifesto doesn't talk about the middle class, yet the exact phrase is used 5 times in the first chapter. And then you fall over yourself to agree with him that I have never read Marx? ****. It's not that long a read.


Why not actually follow Smash's link yourself and ask if what is described in the first chapter actually matches your impression of what has happened with the free market over the last century. Then read the second chapter and ask if the actions and methods described are things you think are good ideas. Some highlights:

Quote:
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.


Is this really what you want? Now, to be fair, they follow that with talk about how they just want to abolish property which is used to impose capitalistic methods (Bourgeois property), but it's important to realize what this really means:

Quote:
The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it.


This means that you earn only what you need to survive. Just enough to put a roof over your head, food on your table, and clothes on your back. And this is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union. Because any more and it might be used to "oppress" others, or to become fodder for a free market of some kind. So to protect you from the evils of the bourgeois free market, your compensation must be carefully managed so that you don't have any money of your own. Just things that you need.

Isn't that wonderful? Oh wait! It isn't at all wonderful. And it's not at all what most people who fight for workers rights today want. But this *is* what the folks at the top of those movements want. It's not about freedom for the workers. It's about elimination of any means for any workers to ever get ahead in life. It's about control of the workers for the benefit of the ruling class. A ruling class not made up of disparate free market individuals who's power is built on their ability to make the lives of others better, but just a classical "we've got all the money and guns" sort of ruling class.


And here's how they justify it:

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You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.



Do you think that today 9/10ths of the population have no property beyond that required to barely sustain their lives? No? That's why Marx was wrong. Horribly wrong.


And let's not forget those methods:

Quote:
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.



Oh... That sounds wonderful! I mean, they'll have to use despotic power and strip our rights from us. But only in the beginning. And the economy will suffer and people will starve. But only in the beginning. And don't worry. In the long run, everything will work out fine!

Except it never works. It never has worked. It never will work. Because as long as people desire to have more than they have for less effort than they currently expend, any means to more easily gain power and wealth will be used. And those elected or chosen or self appointed to manage the property of the proletariat will by natural human forces become (or already be) corrupt. They will use that power to benefit themselves more than the common workers. And a new class will arise that will rule the proletariat. But since you've necessarily stripped away all rights, property, and means for the proletariat to fight against their former leaders, that class will have nearly absolute power.


And guess what? That's exactly what has happened every single time this sort of thing has been attempted. The problem is self-evident. If society were socially advanced enough for people not to take advantage of that power and wealth, you wouldn't have need of a revolution in the first place.



Yeah. I've read Marx. Many many times. Probably more times than most. Perhaps if more people did read his work, more people would be able to recognize the danger signs of certain social and political movements present around them today. But sadly, most people are more than happy to wallow in ignorance and pretend that there really is a magical alternative, full of rainbows and unicorns, where you can increase the power of your government, decrease your individual rights, and somehow magically make all your lives better. It doesn't exist. It wont work. All you're doing is putting the chains around your own neck and giving the key to someone else and foolishly hoping that he'll treat you well.


Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
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#56 Feb 08 2012 at 3:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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Your definition of property is not Marx's.

[EDIT]

My favorite part is how he Ctrl+f searched through the manifesto, but failed to even read one or two sentences prior to the passage he quoted.

It's just sad.

Edited, Feb 8th 2012 4:03pm by idiggory
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#57 Feb 08 2012 at 3:41 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Your definition of property is not Marx's.


Excuse me? I'm using the word as it was used in the manifesto. Property is used to mean the product of any labor in excess of that needed to sustain the life of the laborer, and which is used instead to buy goods from the free market, thus enriching those who own the means of production. Sound about right? BTW, this is very different than the use of the same word when I discuss the works of Locke. I'm using the word exactly as it's used in the source I'm referencing. Unless you'd care to provide some different definition?


Quote:
My favorite part is how he Ctrl+f searched through the manifesto, but failed to even read one or two sentences prior to the passage he quoted.


My favorite part is how you assume this, but are wrong. I read through each section and picked out relevant paragraphs. For example, I mentioned in between two quotes that the manifesto explains that they don't want to take all property, but then quote the section where they talk about what property would be allowed to be retained by the proletariat.

But if it makes you feel better, I'll post the stuff in between:

Quote:
We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.

Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?

But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.

To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion.

Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.



My interpretation of the meaning of this section is spot on. The objective is to ensure that no worker has more than he needs to survive. Any excess would be used to buy things from the Bourgeois, or might be used by that person in a Bourgeois manner himself (like say, starting your own business with your savings and thus oppressing others with your desire to create wealth for yourself).


Again though, if you think I'm wrong, then please provide some alternative meaning and support it with quotations from the manifesto itself. Can you do that? I mean, it's easy to just declare that someone else is using the words wrong, or doesn't understand something. But if you can't show how this is true, then aren't you just saying what you want to be true without actually looking at the facts?

Quote:
It's just sad.


Yes. It is sad when people are so utterly unwilling or unable to read something with their own eyes and then use their own brains to determine what is being said. What's funny is that Smash knows I'm right about this. Oh, he might blow in and declare me wrong just because he thinks it's funny to do so, but if you've paid any attention at all to his posts on the subject of wealth, you know that my interpretation is correct. Smash has personally argued many times that it is the accumulation of wealth that is the problem with the free market. Sound familiar? Any earnings above that needed to obtain a livelyhood is considered "bad" by communists. And interestingly enough, this same concept pops up in many modern labor movements as well. The call for a "living wage". The opposition to capital gains (people making money with money). The desire to tax away wealth and not just earnings. The desire to eliminate inherited wealth.

All of those are methods proposed by the communists to eliminate "Bourgeois Property". But along the way, it also deprives us worker bees from gaining anything beyond a subsistence level existence. The costs of elimination of that property is way too high. That's why most proponents of this sort of thing hide their end goal from those they seek to support them. They talk about workers earning more money, while allowing those workers to assume that they'll be able to buy more things. But if they are able to get to that end goal, there wont be anything for the workers to buy, and no money to buy it with. They actively want to replace private monetary gains with "benefits" that they can control. Housing, education, food, health care. Give the workers those things instead of a salary, and you can get to that communist utopia one simple step at a time. All without the proletariat even realizing what you're doing to them!


Want to know why they lie? Because modern capitalism has turned out to be so successful at granting the workers vastly improved standards of living and luxuries undreamed of in Marx's day, that you can't make the same arguments today that Marx and Engels made. You can't point to 9/10ths of the people working for slave wages and get them to rise up to support your movement. Modern communists and socialists have to lie to people about what they're doing to get them to support them.


And yeah. It's "sad" how many people don't realize this. Because they haven't read the source material. Or if they have, they didn't understand it and certainly can't see how it's applied today. It's not like those socialists disappeared. They just changed tactics is all.

Edited, Feb 8th 2012 1:47pm by gbaji
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#58 Feb 08 2012 at 4:00 PM Rating: Good
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First of all, you were intentionally trying to confuse the issue in the first place. You quoted that passage in order to make a statment, then said that they THEN followed it with talk that they only wanted to abolish one type of property.

False. The entire work is only discussing property as defined by Marx. There IS no other property for him, other than what he defines. You were intentionally trying to pretend that Communists were specifically anti property by common definition, but were trying to mask that with a discussion of a different type of property.

Furthermore, you completely corrupt what Marx says for your own use. It's a ******** move, and is frankly pathetic. If you are so sure you were right, you would present his case in the most generous version possible. That's a fundamental of logical debate--if you disprove the best possible version of their argument (preferably in a way that disproves all the worse versions as well), you effectively cripple an argument.

But no, instead you default to your classic strawman argument. At the very best, that's attacking the version of an argument taken in worst possible forms (those generally being the ones even the proponent wouldn't accept). At worst, like in this case, it's attacking something that isn't at all related to the intention or meaning of an argument.

The cornerstone of Marx is From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Marx isn't fundamentally opposed to income dispartiy. He's opposed to the idea of the powerful controlling the lives of those weaker than them, so that they can barely eat or sleep, and live only to work for the advancement of the wealthy.

The fundamental backbone of why Marx ever wrote the Manifesto in the first place is that he was disgusted that so many people were living in abject poverty, with absolutely no way out.

And deferring to the Soviet Union or modern China in any discussion about Communism is a fundamentally absurd move. Both were distinctly incompatible with the tenants of Marx, and no honest economist or political theorist considers them Marxist (or even Communist). This is true of both liberals and conservatives. Why? Because if you make a list of the fundamentals of the political and economic theories of Marxism, they are incompatible most, if not all, of them.
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#59 Feb 08 2012 at 4:01 PM Rating: Excellent
Are you guys trying to give Gbaji Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
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#60 Feb 08 2012 at 4:05 PM Rating: Good
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Technogeek wrote:
Are you guys trying to give Gbaji Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?


Just a bonus.
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#61 Feb 08 2012 at 5:53 PM Rating: Good
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Working as a consultant? Gambling? Being self employed isn't sufficient to move you out of the proletariat Smash.


It is, in fact. I determine the value of my labor, there is no surplus value from my labor being accumulated by someone else, you get the idea. Well, no, let's stipulate that you probably don't get the idea. I also employ a non zero number of people and benefit from their labor.

I'm not sure at what point your lunatic mind would allow one to "qualify" as removed from the proletariat.

Anyway, the more important point was that you should actually read things.

There's this movie I'm sure you haven't seen, wouldn't understand, and couldn't enjoy. It's called Metropolitan. It's about some NYC prep kids and their lives. There's a scene where a girl tells a boy she enjoys Jane Austen and they discuss their favorite books. He makes some comments about one of the novels and she asks him why he thought that when he read it. He states that he doesn't actually read anything, just criticism.

It's a funny book in the movie because it resonates well. All reasonably sophisticated people go through life ignoring obvious lies told them by others they don't care enough about to bother challenging.

It's important that you realize: this is simple politeness. People can tell, immediately. This tendency to bluff your way through things has, I'm sure, served you well in the corporate world. I find myself smiling and nodding dozens of times a day to executives play acting their way through pretending to understand something. I imagine you probably have come across this as well with technical issues, people pretending they understand something when they don't.

Remember how that feels. Remember how obvious it is to you when they get it wrong. That's how we feel when you pretend you've read Marc or Locke or whatever.

We can tell, and it's embarrassing for all of us.

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#62 Feb 08 2012 at 6:43 PM Rating: Default
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
First of all, you were intentionally trying to confuse the issue in the first place. You quoted that passage in order to make a statment, then said that they THEN followed it with talk that they only wanted to abolish one type of property.


Yes. Because that's exactly what they said:

Quote:
We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.

Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?

But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.


What they're doing is countering the notion that the abolition of private property will hurt the working class by taking away from them the fruits of their labors. That's the "other type of property". The Marxist insist that that other type doesn't really exist and is just an illusion. The property they are taking is really not property at all, but "capital", which serves only the purpose of further enriching the Bourgeois.

What part of that was confusing to you? I understood it right off the bat. Do you need me to hold your hand and explain to you what each word means and how they all work together to form an idea?

Quote:
False. The entire work is only discussing property as defined by Marx.


Not technically true. It "discusses" property as defined by others, and then discounts that definition. But I think we can (or should) all agree that whether we call the wages earned by workers above that which is needed for basic subsistence "property" or "capital", it's still darn useful to the workers and something that they do work to obtain. It's what gives them a standard of living above just subsistence. The whole argument by Marx is essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater. He's so concerned that the exercise of the fruits of one's labors might financially benefit someone else that his solution is to make is so that no one has any money to buy anything. That's kinda stupid, isn't it?


Quote:
There IS no other property for him, other than what he defines.


Yes. I get that. He's wrong. Or using a meaningless term. As I said, it doesn't matter what label you apply to it, there is absolutely value to the worker to gain wages above that needed for subsistence. And it's that extra wealth that communism attempts to eliminate. He's literally arguing that store owners are evil, so we should take all the money from the people so that they can't buy anything, so as to drive the store owners out of business. But doesn't that hurt the people even more? Yeah. It does.

Quote:
You were intentionally trying to pretend that Communists were specifically anti property by common definition, but were trying to mask that with a discussion of a different type of property.


I don't care what label you use. Make one up if you get confused. Let's call the wages earned above that needed for subsistence "Bob". Does that help? Communism seeks to eliminate all Bob from society because Bob is used to make the owners of the means of production richer. Get it? You're obsessing on a word, but failing to see how it's used. What's strange is you get that Marx is using a specific definition for "property", but then getting so caught up in my counter use of the same word that you missed that I was still addressing exactly the use of the word Marx was using.

Quote:
Furthermore, you completely corrupt what Marx says for your own use. It's a bullsh*t move, and is frankly pathetic. If you are so sure you were right, you would present his case in the most generous version possible. That's a fundamental of logical debate--if you disprove the best possible version of their argument (preferably in a way that disproves all the worse versions as well), you effectively cripple an argument.


Ok. Then counter my statement. Argue to me, using quotes from the source, that Marx is not proposing that we seize all earnings of the workers beyond that needed for subsistence. Can you do that?

You're just repeating "you're wrong" over and over. How about you provide an alternative meaning instead? Wouldn't that be constructive?

Quote:
But no, instead you default to your classic strawman argument.


If that's true, then prove it's a strawman. Tell us what Marx really meant with that section of the manifesto. Saying something is a strawman doesn't make it so. You need to show how the other guys interpretation is wrong, by providing an alternative (hopefully more accurate) version. If you can't do that, then isn't my interpretation correct by default?

Quote:
At the very best, that's attacking the version of an argument taken in worst possible forms (those generally being the ones even the proponent wouldn't accept). At worst, like in this case, it's attacking something that isn't at all related to the intention or meaning of an argument.


I am exactly quoting the words written and explaining what they mean. If you have some other interpretation, by all means provide it. If you can't then stop insisting that mine is wrong.

Quote:
The cornerstone of Marx is From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Marx isn't fundamentally opposed to income dispartiy. He's opposed to the idea of the powerful controlling the lives of those weaker than them, so that they can barely eat or sleep, and live only to work for the advancement of the wealthy.


Except that the means he wishes to use to prevent that control of the workers by the wealthy is to eliminate any means to acquire wealth and personal advancement. Income disparity in his eyes is what leads some to control others. Those with more gain more and become Bourgeois. Those with less lose what they have (and the ability to gain more) and become Proletariat. He posits this as a starting condition in the world around him.

His problem, as I've explained several times now, is that the real world did not cooperate and form itself according to how he thought it would. What actually happened is that the free market created a vibrant middle class. Instead of everyone being sucked to one side or the other, a whole range in between was created. He couldn't have known that this would happen, so I suppose he can be excused the extreme measures he proposed to deal with the problem.


But those who still espouse the same ideas today have no excuse. They should know better. But most just skip over the parts where he describes the natural condition and right to the solution parts. But even the best solution is wrong if the problem you're trying to solve isn't what you started out to fix.

Quote:
The fundamental backbone of why Marx ever wrote the Manifesto in the first place is that he was disgusted that so many people were living in abject poverty, with absolutely no way out.


Except that he was wrong. Horribly, painfully, wrong. There were many people living in abject poverty. But there had been just as many living in that state prior to the rise of the free market and industrialization. He made the mistake of assuming that the same rules applied, but with different folks at the top. He applied Feudalistic economic principles (cause that's what he knew) to this new paradigm and concluded that the owners of production would simply become wealthier and more powerful and the workers would continue to be pooer and less powerful. Then he set out to imagine a way to solve this problem.

But, at the risk of repeating myself (again!), he was wrong. What happened is something he and his fellow socialists and communists did not consider. The rise of free markets and industrialization, while initially negative to the workers (we're talking about the first half of the 19th century here), resulted in significant increases in the standard of living for the working classes. Not just a little bit, but an astounding amount. The complaints that capital just made the owners richer were made irrelevant in the face of the fact that the desire by them to get richer required both that they pay their workers enough so that they could buy products in the free market *and* that the products thus sold become better and cheaper and more available over time.

That's what Marx didn't see. He lived in a time when all of this was new enough that he could not accurately predict what would happen. He certainly could not have predicted something which had never happened in the history of mankind. Again, he can be forgiven for being so wrong. But those today who still spout his ideas really can't be. They are ignoring the conditions which Marx assumes and not realizing that they don't apply in the real world.

Quote:
And deferring to the Soviet Union or modern China in any discussion about Communism is a fundamentally absurd move.


No. It's not. They are the outcome when ever a political movement attempt to apply the principles of communism. I think it's quite relevant to point this out. I even quoted the section of the manifesto where they talk about doing exactly what those countries did. Now, Marx and Engels imagined that those controlling things would have some egalitarian motives and would only use that power and wealth for good. But what we've seen is that this doesn't seem to happen very often (or at all). Best of intentions and all of that.


Quote:
Both were distinctly incompatible with the tenants of Marx, and no honest economist or political theorist considers them Marxist (or even Communist). This is true of both liberals and conservatives. Why? Because if you make a list of the fundamentals of the political and economic theories of Marxism, they are incompatible most, if not all, of them.


But they aren't incompatible to the methods. That's the point. We can assume that the Soviets weren't "true communists" because they didn't follow up their seizure of all property with the creation of a communist utopia. But that sure didn't stop them from convincing the people to rise up in a communist revolution by quoting Marx, then seizing all the property, and then turning into an oppressive authoritarian regime. It's a meaningless distinction to make. The workers taking part in a communist revolution can't possibly know what their leaders will do with all the power they give to them when the revolution is over. They wont know until after those leaders have all the power and control if they are "true communists" or not.


But so far, every single time it's been tried on even a semi-large scale, it's resulted in massive oppression of the workers. Ever. Single. Time. As I said earlier, the methods they propose are exactly like putting the chains around your own neck, handing the keys to someone else, and then hoping that he's not going to abuse that power. If someone came up to you promising that if you help them clean up some legal problems in Nigeria, they'll be able to get a big fortune out and then they'll share it with you, do you trust them to actually follow up on the promise? No. You don't. And you'd be an idiot to fall for it.


But that's exactly the sort of scam the communism is. It promises that if the workers sacrifice everything they have to help the leaders take control of the wealth and power, that those leaders will turn around and give them a wonderful life much better than what they had. Why would anyone fall for this? And what are the odds that those leaders really mean to do what they promise versus them being the equivalent of scam artists just using you to gain wealth and power for themselves?


It's a stupid ideology. It really is. I mean, even the outcome promised doesn't make any sense. They provide no explanation as to how the state control of all wealth will make things better for the people. None at all. They just declare that it is because it'll free everyone from the "Free Market". It's pretty circular. You must first assume that the free market produces a worse result than otherwise. But that clearly and demonstrably isn't the case, is it?

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#63 Feb 08 2012 at 7:41 PM Rating: Good
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No, he was specifically responding to criticisms that have been made against communists in the past, to explain why they were not valid and did not apply under his definition of property.
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#64 Feb 08 2012 at 7:52 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
No, he was specifically responding to criticisms that have been made against communists in the past, to explain why they were not valid and did not apply under his definition of property.


Um... Ok. Smiley: oyvey

So they were arguing that those "other forms of property" didn't really exist, so when they talk about eliminating personal property, they aren't talking about those "other forms". Isn't that what I started out saying and you jumped all over as wrong?


And at the risk of repeating the same thing again, I'm still waiting for you to come up with some alternative interpretation of that section which means something other than "we intend to take all earnings from the workers above that needed for a subsistence living". I mean, it's fun to argue over the semantics of whether or not Marx mentions "other forms" of property, or dismisses them as invalid, or not real, or whatever the **** you want to spin the words around to mean. But at the end of the day, isn't it more important to look at what they were actually talking about in terms of their proposed actions?


The fact is that no matter what you call it, they believed that any earnings held by workers beyond that needed for subsistence was just a tool which benefited the bourgeois. And I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that most people don't think that's a great idea. Do you agree?
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#65 Feb 08 2012 at 8:42 PM Rating: Good
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No, my point was that he was making it clear what he meant by property, and included standard responses to classical arguments against him. Smith did the exact same thing. As do most other Enlightenment thinkers. It's not even remotely a hard concept, and you'd be familiar with the tactic if you'd actually read half of the works you pretend to understand perfectly.

Your strawman argument was:

Quote:
My interpretation of the meaning of this section is spot on. The objective is to ensure that no worker has more than he needs to survive. Any excess would be used to buy things from the Bourgeois, or might be used by that person in a Bourgeois manner himself (like say, starting your own business with your savings and thus oppressing others with your desire to create wealth for yourself).


That's so ridiculously far from what Marx is saying that it's impossible to believe that any rational human being could arrive at that conclusion through any attempt to understand the actual written words before them.

The reason your response was ridiculously stupid was because:
-you go out of your way to establish the Communist as an oppressive other, instead of the worker himself. The communist wants to "take" all his earnings beyond subsistence. Bull. The communists want him to be in a situation where his earnings and his ability to subsist are completely distinct--they want a world where he can work reasonable hours at something he finds fulfilling, that actually betters the community, and never have to fear that his family won't be provided for.
-you raise up subsistence as their "goal". It's an absurd move. Marx here was noting that as long as the proletariat continued to allow for a capitalist system, they would always be either the oppressed or (if they accrued property) the oppressors.

You specifically try to phrase his argument in a purely capitalist context, which is fundamentally absurd because the whole point of the work is to do away with that capitalist context and move into a communist one out of it.
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#66 Feb 08 2012 at 9:38 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
No, my point was that he was making it clear what he meant by property, and included standard responses to classical arguments against him.


Yes. Thus making it clear that he was speaking only of one specific type of property when saying that they wanted to "abolish private property". I don't understand why you said my statement was wrong, then after you explain further, it turns out that you're agreeing with what I originally said.

How about I simplify this for you: When I said that Marx was only arguing for the abolishment of a single type of property, I was *not* suggesting that he believed there were multiple forms of property and he was just abolishing one. I was saying that Marx believed that only one form of property existed, and that it was bad, so it was ok to abolish it.

Is that better? I'm kinda scratching my head trying to figure out why you're arguing this with me.

Quote:
Smith did the exact same thing. As do most other Enlightenment thinkers. It's not even remotely a hard concept, and you'd be familiar with the tactic if you'd actually read half of the works you pretend to understand perfectly.


Yes. Which makes me wonder why you assumed I was saying something else. I got immediately that he was speaking of other definitions of property and rejecting them. I didn't say anything that should have given you the impression otherwise. It's like you looked for an interpretation of what I wrote that made no sense, and argued against that, while ignoring the very logical, reasonable, and consistent interpretation that I meant.

Quote:
Your strawman argument was:

Quote:
My interpretation of the meaning of this section is spot on. The objective is to ensure that no worker has more than he needs to survive. Any excess would be used to buy things from the Bourgeois, or might be used by that person in a Bourgeois manner himself (like say, starting your own business with your savings and thus oppressing others with your desire to create wealth for yourself).



That's not a strawman. That's exactly what the Communist Manifesto says. I've quoted it for you several times. I guess I have to quote again the relevant portion:

Quote:
The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it.


It does not get any more clear than that. They believe that all people should receive from their labors only that which they need to maintain a subsistence existence. ****. You talk about the words "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", but you miss the meaning. What are the "needs" of the people? To the people, they get only what they "need". Not what they want. Not what they'd like to have. Only what they need.


Because to have more opens up the possibility of using that excess, that "wealth" as a means to conduct free trade. And that leads us back to the evil Bourgeois situation again.

Quote:
That's so ridiculously far from what Marx is saying that it's impossible to believe that any rational human being could arrive at that conclusion through any attempt to understand the actual written words before them.


Holy ****! It is exactly what Marx is saying.

I'll ask again: If you believe otherwise, then provide an alternative explanation for that section. You keep refusing to do this. What do you think they meant?

Quote:
The reason your response was ridiculously stupid was because:
-you go out of your way to establish the Communist as an oppressive other, instead of the worker himself. The communist wants to "take" all his earnings beyond subsistence. Bull. The communists want him to be in a situation where his earnings and his ability to subsist are completely distinct--they want a world where he can work reasonable hours at something he finds fulfilling, that actually betters the community, and never have to fear that his family won't be provided for.


Someone is going to be in charge though. Always is. It's the part that Marx kinda leaves out. There's no information on the form of government that would result from all of this. You're assuming some kind of utopian outcome where everyone would just collectively agree on everything, with no clear leaders, no one in positions of power, etc. Do you honestly think that is possible? I don't. No sane person should. Thus, a small number of rulers will be in the position of power to determine what everyone gets out of the pool of wealth they've taken.

The communist system *will* take all away from the workers and give back just that which the system believes those workers need.

Quote:
-you raise up subsistence as their "goal". It's an absurd move. Marx here was noting that as long as the proletariat continued to allow for a capitalist system, they would always be either the oppressed or (if they accrued property) the oppressors.


But his alternative solution doesn't change that. What it does is change the nature of oppression. He calls the need to work for wages to buy things from those who already benefited from the work "oppression". However, that oppression results in greater standard of living and luxuries for the workers than any other system ever in the history of man.

On the flip side, his solution results in direct oppression by a state that controls all aspects of the economy. He justifies taking away all property because the proletariat don't really have any anyway. Ok. Fine. But he doesn't give anything of equivalent value back. Under capitalism your labor is rewarded with pay, which you can use to buy things that may make your life better. The more valuable your labor for others, the more you get paid. Under communism, you get nothing for your labor. Instead, the state takes all the fruits of your labors and provides you with what it thinks you need.


Which of those enslaves the workers? I'm honestly confused how anyone can read that work and not recoil in horror at it. It's a blueprint for using the work force to turn themselves into slaves. It uses the argument of unequal pay to make everyone equally poor. It's stupid. How the **** anyone fails to see this is beyond me.

Quote:
You specifically try to phrase his argument in a purely capitalist context, which is fundamentally absurd because the whole point of the work is to do away with that capitalist context and move into a communist one out of it.


Ok. Pick a different context. Find a context in which the quoted statements from the manifesto result in something other that what I've said. I'm not even talking about whether I think it would result in greater total productivity, nor have I spoken about incentive to work, or any of those other classic pro-capitalism arguments. I'm looking purely at the statements by the communists in their own manifesto in terms of what they would do with the fruits of the labors of all workers under their system.


Can you find *any* context in which that would be a good thing?
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#67 Feb 09 2012 at 3:14 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm not going to inflict actually reading any gbaji posts on you all here. But I want to emphasise an already made point. China (the PRC) and Russia and the other Soviet states (the USSR) NEVER EVER implemented Marxist Communism. It wasn't even Communism, let alone Marxist Communism. The revolutionaries had great intentions, but they mostly tried jumping from Feudal type societies straight into Communism, without trying Democracy and Capitalism in between. By and large what they wound up with was Totalitarian Feudalism with a whole different set of titles for the people in the chain of authority. The aristocrats (Party Officials) pushed the peasantry (Comrades) into high tech manufactures as hard as possible, but it was still Feudalism.
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#68 Feb 09 2012 at 10:14 AM Rating: Good
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What Ari said.
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#69 Feb 09 2012 at 10:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Aripyanfar wrote:
I'm not going to inflict actually reading any gbaji posts on you all here. But I want to emphasise an already made point. China (the PRC) and Russia and the other Soviet states (the USSR) NEVER EVER implemented Marxist Communism. It wasn't even Communism, let alone Marxist Communism. The revolutionaries had great intentions, but they mostly tried jumping from Feudal type societies straight into Communism, without trying Democracy and Capitalism in between. By and large what they wound up with was Totalitarian Feudalism with a whole different set of titles for the people in the chain of authority. The aristocrats (Party Officials) pushed the peasantry (Comrades) into high tech manufactures as hard as possible, but it was still Feudalism.


Yeah, Marx was very clear that a transition to Communism would be impossible without a long Capitalist stage before it, as you would need an advanced system capable of producing goods through a fair bit of automation.
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#70 Feb 09 2012 at 12:50 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Yeah, Marx was very clear that a transition to Communism would be impossible without a long Capitalist stage before it, as you would need an advanced system capable of producing goods through a fair bit of automation.

But then you end up with a whole new class of Proletariat: the robots.
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#71 Feb 09 2012 at 12:53 PM Rating: Good
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Anyway, the more important point was that you should actually read things.

There's this movie I'm sure you haven't seen, wouldn't understand, and couldn't enjoy. It's called Metropolitan. It's about some NYC prep kids and their lives. There's a scene where a girl tells a boy she enjoys Jane Austen and they discuss their favorite books. He makes some comments about one of the novels and she asks him why he thought that when he read it. He states that he doesn't actually read anything, just criticism.

It's a funny book in the movie because it resonates well. All reasonably sophisticated people go through life ignoring obvious lies told them by others they don't care enough about to bother challenging.

It's important that you realize: this is simple politeness. People can tell, immediately. This tendency to bluff your way through things has, I'm sure, served you well in the corporate world. I find myself smiling and nodding dozens of times a day to executives play acting their way through pretending to understand something. I imagine you probably have come across this as well with technical issues, people pretending they understand something when they don't.

Remember how that feels. Remember how obvious it is to you when they get it wrong. That's how we feel when you pretend you've read Marc or Locke or whatever.

We can tell, and it's embarrassing for all of us.


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#72 Feb 09 2012 at 1:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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Eske Esquire wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
Anyway, the more important point was that you should actually read things.

There's this movie I'm sure you haven't seen, wouldn't understand, and couldn't enjoy. It's called Metropolitan. It's about some NYC prep kids and their lives. There's a scene where a girl tells a boy she enjoys Jane Austen and they discuss their favorite books. He makes some comments about one of the novels and she asks him why he thought that when he read it. He states that he doesn't actually read anything, just criticism.

It's a funny book in the movie because it resonates well. All reasonably sophisticated people go through life ignoring obvious lies told them by others they don't care enough about to bother challenging.

It's important that you realize: this is simple politeness. People can tell, immediately. This tendency to bluff your way through things has, I'm sure, served you well in the corporate world. I find myself smiling and nodding dozens of times a day to executives play acting their way through pretending to understand something. I imagine you probably have come across this as well with technical issues, people pretending they understand something when they don't.

Remember how that feels. Remember how obvious it is to you when they get it wrong. That's how we feel when you pretend you've read Marc or Locke or whatever.

We can tell, and it's embarrassing for all of us.


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#73 Feb 09 2012 at 6:34 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Aripyanfar wrote:
I'm not going to inflict actually reading any gbaji posts on you all here. But I want to emphasise an already made point. China (the PRC) and Russia and the other Soviet states (the USSR) NEVER EVER implemented Marxist Communism. It wasn't even Communism, let alone Marxist Communism. The revolutionaries had great intentions, but they mostly tried jumping from Feudal type societies straight into Communism, without trying Democracy and Capitalism in between. By and large what they wound up with was Totalitarian Feudalism with a whole different set of titles for the people in the chain of authority. The aristocrats (Party Officials) pushed the peasantry (Comrades) into high tech manufactures as hard as possible, but it was still Feudalism.


Yeah, Marx was very clear that a transition to Communism would be impossible without a long Capitalist stage before it, as you would need an advanced system capable of producing goods through a fair bit of automation.


Well, there's a whole set of assumed conditions that are talked about. I mentioned that earlier as being one of the problems with modern socialist/communist movements. They forget about those conditions and move forward as though they exist. And it's not just about feudal economies versus capitalist economies. He assumes a set of outcomes that arise from capitalism. But those conditions don't seem to occur naturally as he predicted.

Why I say that China and Russia are still relevant (although not identical) cases, is because they attempted to force communism into existence without having the pre-requisite conditions. But since those conditions don't exist in societies with long histories of capitalism either, it's just as wrong/harmful/whatever to attempt to move towards communism everywhere, not just in Russia or China.


Where it really becomes problematic, and frankly one of the things we conservatives often warn about, is that some people seem to want to try to artificially force the conditions that Marx speaks of. This is how socialism can be used to create communism. The conservative argument is that if government regulates too much and in the wrong way, or it consumes too much of the output of the free market, it can force more people into poverty. It can change the economy so that more people are dependent on the government than the free market. This allows for a creation of a proletariat where one might not have existed naturally on its own.


Which I suppose brings us full circle back to my original point about the dangers of having too high a percentage of the population paying zero of the tax burden. It creates a "free money" condition, where those receiving it will want to get more. But the cost is born by those who might otherwise employ them, meaning that more people fall into the "needy" category. By artificially extending that category to those who aren't really poor, you can shift the flow of money to the people from one that goes through employment to one that goes through government. And that then makes those people poor (in terms of their own capabilities absent government intervention). Get enough people dependent on the government, and you can eventually get them to become a proletariat. You will squeeze the middle class out of existence, just as is required for communism.


That's why it's a problem. Unless you honestly think that communism (even "true communism") is a better overall method? It's just that while everyone is great at pointing out flaws in the free market, they seem to have huge blind spots for the flaws in any alternative. And I still believe that no matter what starting conditions exist, any application of communism will have a high probability of becoming totalitarian. I honestly don't believe that China and Russia were exceptions to that, and no one has yet presented an argument for how a communist revolution could occur *without* that same high probability of corruption and totalitarian outcome.


Can anyone? I mean, do we really just believe that magic pixie dust will sweep along and make the leaders of a communist revolution, who then seize all property, communication, transportation, etc to their control any less likely to become despotic once they have all that power? I don't see it.
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#74 Feb 10 2012 at 7:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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#77 Feb 12 2012 at 11:54 PM Rating: Good
I'll bet gbaji will be really ****** to hear about my tax refund too. I made a whole whopping $340 last year in work income, and came out about $100 ahead with my scholarship and grant money compared to the tuition I paid. I'm getting $25 back from the feds, and I didn't even have any taxes taken out! Yay for free money! Smiley: grin
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#78 Feb 13 2012 at 12:04 AM Rating: Decent
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#79 Feb 13 2012 at 4:23 PM Rating: Decent
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I'll bet gbaji will be really ****** to hear about my tax refund too. I made a whole whopping $340 last year in work income, and came out about $100 ahead with my scholarship and grant money compared to the tuition I paid. I'm getting $25 back from the feds, and I didn't even have any taxes taken out! Yay for free money! Smiley: grin


Don't cry to me when you have to pay back your student loans then! You darn hippy! Smiley: tongue


On a side note, I think I finally got the last of the tax documents I need last week. So I'm going to think about doing them this week (or maybe over the weekend). Hopefully, I'll get a good chunk back, but given the amount the federal government felt the need to take out of my hide this year, I **** well better be able to talk them into giving some of that back. Smiley: motz


What I'm interested in is for folks who've done their taxes, or as they complete them this year to do some very basic math on them. Take the starting income (Box number 1 on the W2, plus any interest, dividend, or capital gains earnings) and then divide the actual tax owed at the end by that starting number. I think it would be interesting to see what percentage of actual taxes people pay. The real number. Not what bracket they're in, but how much they actually end out paying after they file their taxes relative to the income they started out with (before deductions, credits, etc). I'd be interested to see how many people here actually pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffet.
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#80 Feb 13 2012 at 8:33 PM Rating: Decent
Read what I posted again... I said scholarship and grant money. Y'know, that stuff I don't have to pay back? I actually am going to be doing rather well (at least compared to most people) once I graduate, in terms of student loans. Helps being a student over 25, since my parents income isn't counted against me. I still won't be doing as well as I should, but that's because I should have graduated in 2010. It's just lovely be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult... would have been nice if I had known I had it years ago, then I might have been able to graduate on time, because I would have already had the tools to deal with inattentive issues. Smiley: glare
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#81 Feb 14 2012 at 2:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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It's just lovely be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult... would have been nice if I had known I had it years ago, then I might have been able to graduate on time, because I would have already had the tools to deal with inattentive issues. Smiley: glare


I think we just found the root of your polyamory. Smiley: grin
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#82 Feb 15 2012 at 1:37 AM Rating: Excellent
Well that's a new one, lol. I'm polyamorous because I'm ADHD? I'll have to tell all my poly friends who aren't ADHD about that. Smiley: wink2
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#83 Feb 15 2012 at 4:09 AM Rating: Good
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Well that's a new one, lol. I'm polyamorous because I'm ADHD? I'll have to tell all my poly friends who aren't ADHD about that. Smiley: wink2
It makes sense, really. You're just all "oooh look, shiny!" only then with boyfriends instead of shinies.
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#84 Feb 15 2012 at 3:15 PM Rating: Excellent
I do like shinies... whether it be metal shinies or massage oil covered shinies... Both are awesome!
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#85 Feb 15 2012 at 8:35 PM Rating: Good
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I am set to get back just under 5K (yippie). Thanks to my massive tuition credits (still have about 20K after this years taxes). I am planing a trip to somewhere cheap, how is Hawaii this time of year?
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#86 Feb 15 2012 at 8:52 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm polyamorous because I'm ADHD?


I'd go with "too young to know better" on both as most likely. Likely you don't have ADD, likely being polyamorous doesn't work for you very long.

Are you sure you aren't just lazy and easily lead?
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#87 Feb 16 2012 at 3:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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rdmcandie wrote:
I am planing a trip to somewhere cheap, how is Hawaii this time of year?


Not particularly cheap. But as far as the weather goes, it's been nice. Warm. But it can rain at a moments notice.
#88 Feb 16 2012 at 3:55 AM Rating: Good
Smasharoo wrote:

I'm polyamorous because I'm ADHD?


I'd go with "too young to know better" on both as most likely. Likely you don't have ADD, likely being polyamorous doesn't work for you very long.

Are you sure you aren't just lazy and easily lead?


Good lord, you're almost as patronizing as gbaji and Alma. As I said in the poly family thread, I know a couple who have been together for over 40 years and have been poly that entire time. They're in their sixties, are they still "too young to know better?"

I'm pretty **** sure I have ADHD. Yes, it's a relatively new diagnosis. I've done a lot of research though, both online and in a few different books, and I have nearly all the symptoms of ADHD and have had them as long as I can remember. Also, I'm pretty sure if I didn't have ADHD, I wouldn't be able to take my meds without getting wired for hours upon hours. They don't give me much of an energy boost at all, they make it easier for me to concentrate and make responsible decisions.
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#89 Feb 16 2012 at 7:20 AM Rating: Decent
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Good lord, you're almost as patronizing as gbaji and Alma. As I said in the poly family thread, I know a couple who have been together for over 40 years and have been poly that entire time. They're in their sixties, are they still "too young to know better?"


More likely one of them is weak and miserable and suffers through the others spot fucking because they don't have the esteem to leave. That's the dynamic in 99% of "successful" situations. Not my fault, intellectually there's no reason it shouldn't work. It almost never does, though.


I'm pretty **** sure I have ADHD. Yes, it's a relatively new diagnosis. I've done a lot of research though, both online and in a few different books, and I have nearly all the symptoms of ADHD and have had them as long as I can remember. Also, I'm pretty sure if I didn't have ADHD, I wouldn't be able to take my meds without getting wired for hours upon hours. They don't give me much of an energy boost at all, they make it easier for me to concentrate and make responsible decisions.


Great. Stimulants make it easier for me to concentrate, too.

Look, I don't know anything about you, but it seems pretty obvious that you take GREAT comfort in labels. You should get over this. That you've been diagnosed with ADHD is the absolute least important thing I or anyone else will ever learn about you. It's probably one of the least important things you'll ever learn about yourself. It's a ******** diagnosis in almost every case, an easy thing for a clinician to write down, medicate, and move on.

Again, not my fault. I didn't make it this way. If the meds help, great, take them. Just don't put much value in the label.

Good luck.
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#90 Feb 16 2012 at 7:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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Smasharoo wrote:
Are you sure you aren't just lazy and easily lead?


If this were all it took, I'd be the poly-est person around.
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#91 Feb 16 2012 at 8:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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PigtailsOfDoom wrote:
Read what I posted again... I said scholarship and grant money. Y'know, that stuff I don't have to pay back? I actually am going to be doing rather well (at least compared to most people) once I graduate, in terms of student loans. Helps being a student over 25, since my parents income isn't counted against me. I still won't be doing as well as I should, but that's because I should have graduated in 2010. It's just lovely be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult... would have been nice if I had known I had it years ago, then I might have been able to graduate on time, because I would have already had the tools to deal with inattentive issues. Smiley: glare
I just wish that instead of being pumped full of Ritalin since elementary school, there had been a focus on learning to work with my ADD instead of just relying on drugs to function.
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#92 Feb 16 2012 at 11:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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The problem with gbaji's argument is that people who are only making 40K a year would happily and willingly pay a lot more taxes on their income if they were making 80K a year.

People making 20K a year would happy, gladly, and willingly pay any taxes at all if their income was actually 40K a year.
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#93 Feb 16 2012 at 12:04 PM Rating: Good
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I was waiting to get coffee today, and the guy in front of me was ******** about OWS. Usual things--don't want to work, lazy, etc. None of which is fair... considering these are people who largely do want to work but can't find jobs, which is why they are ****** off.

He then went on to say "And they all have laptops! Know who made those? Not us! That's these kids' problem; they don't want to work!"

Right. Because WORKERS are the reason why industry moved abroad. Smiley: rolleyes
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#94 Feb 16 2012 at 12:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
That's these kids' problem; they don't want to work 12 hour days for a dollar an hour in 100F and like it both ways uphill!

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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#95 Feb 16 2012 at 12:38 PM Rating: Decent
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catwho wrote:
The problem with gbaji's argument is that people who are only making 40K a year would happily and willingly pay a lot more taxes on their income if they were making 80K a year.

People making 20K a year would happy, gladly, and willingly pay any taxes at all if their income was actually 40K a year.


I don't know about happily and willingly, maybe begrudgingly. I personally have no issue paying taxes, I understand that it is the same as paying my electrical bill, or a mortgage. We have to pay the countries bills. Unfortunately there are a few folks out there who look for anyway they can to pass the buck on to someone else.

As for me not using any of the programs I pay into, doesn't bother me at all, I could get hit by a car and become a veggie at any time, there are an unlimited amount of things that could happen to me that reduce my ability to function as I currently do. I pay into these programs knowing that at some point I could be using them, and if I get hit by a car, I will collect my "free" health care, and my government living assistance, just like others who are unfortunate enough to be in that position currently.

Only free loaders in my country (and the US) are the ones who look for loopholes to get out of paying their fair share of the bill.


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#96 Feb 16 2012 at 12:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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My point is that if paying more taxes was the only condition for a substantial pay raise, people would jump all over it.

"We're going to double your salary. This will take you beyond the EIC level, and due to the increased taxes it will not actually double your take home pay check. However, you'll go from about $1200 a month in take home pay, to about $2000 in take home pay."

"So wait, I'll lose an extra $400 a month to more taxes? That's four thousand dollars more in a year!

"You'll also lose other tax benefits at tax time. But in exchange, you'll get getting $800 more each month and you won't have to do anything you aren't already doing."

Sane response: "I'll take it."

Grover Norquist Reponse: "I'll take less money rather than pay another penny in taxes!"

The conservative dream, that everyone makes more money and therefore the tax revenue issue will eventually take care of itself, is actually at odds with the conservative argument that the poorest people aren't paying enough in taxes. If they were able to make more money, of course they'd be paying more in taxes. But as long as the high wage jobs are bleeding overseas or getting replaced by robots, the lowest wage earners will never make enough to pay more in taxes. That's why I'm for punitive taxation for corporations who aren't doing their best to keep jobs in America. You want to ship your furniture factory to China because they'll make a dresser for twenty bucks plus the cost of parts, whereas in the US we ask for $200? Okay fine, you do that, but we're adding a 25% tax on top of each piece you sell to make up for the lost wages you're costing America.

Shoes had such a tariff for the last century. $5 a pair for every pair of shoes imported to America. Unfortunately, the tariff rate didn't actually increase with inflation, and in the last fifty years it still became cheaper to outsource shoes to Indonesia. (This is why Made in America walmart shoes are the only ones that can be sold for like three bucks.)
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#97 Feb 16 2012 at 3:53 PM Rating: Default
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First off, let me point out that most of the people who say they'd gladly pay higher taxes if they made twice as much money are really saying they want those people who make twice as much as they do to pay higher taxes. If they were actually making that much, they wouldn't say that. They'd still say that people making twice as much of them should pay a higher tax burden though. That's the consistency here, not that people are willing to trade one for the other.

More on that here:

catwho wrote:
My point is that if paying more taxes was the only condition for a substantial pay raise, people would jump all over it.

"We're going to double your salary. This will take you beyond the EIC level, and due to the increased taxes it will not actually double your take home pay check. However, you'll go from about $1200 a month in take home pay, to about $2000 in take home pay."

"So wait, I'll lose an extra $400 a month to more taxes? That's four thousand dollars more in a year!

"You'll also lose other tax benefits at tax time. But in exchange, you'll get getting $800 more each month and you won't have to do anything you aren't already doing."

Sane response: "I'll take it."

Grover Norquist Reponse: "I'll take less money rather than pay another penny in taxes!"


False Dilemma. Earning more money is never directly contingent on paying higher taxes. Your boss will never walk up to you and offer you that deal. Your pay is based on the value of your labor to your employer (subject to labor competition of course). So the real dilemma isn't between earning $40k and paying X% taxes or earning $80k and paying 2X% taxes. The dilemma is between earning $80k and paying X% in taxes, or earning $80k and paying 2X% taxes.

And in that choice everyone would rather pay less, right?


Quote:
The conservative dream, that everyone makes more money and therefore the tax revenue issue will eventually take care of itself, is actually at odds with the conservative argument that the poorest people aren't paying enough in taxes.


I think you're missing the motivation involved though. Conservatives don't want poor people to pay higher taxes for the sake of hurting the poor, or because we think that's a better way to collect more tax revenue. Conservatives want the government to limit itself in terms of what it does (small government). One tool to accomplish this is to limit the funds it has to work with. Conservatives recognize that if too many people are not taking part in paying the taxes that provide those funds, then it becomes harder to get people to vote to support lower taxes in total.

We don't want to "raise taxes on the poor". We want to ensure that everyone in society pays taxes so that they'll be less likely to allow them to be raised over time. In the long run, this results in lower taxes across the board. Ironically, the policies which are sold to the poor (and lets face it we're talking more about working and lower middle class income ranges here too) actually result in them suffering more negatives over time as they end out working against their own interests in the long run.


To put it back in the terms you used earlier: If you present someone with an immediate choice between paying more or paying less, they'll choose paying less every time. The difference is that conservatives want to use that truism to reduce the burden of government on the people, while liberals want to increase that burden. While today you'll happily accept lower tax rates which result in you paying no taxes, and you'll happily accept increased benefits from the government, sometime "tomorrow" you'll pay for that in decreased job opportunities, decreased potential pay over your lifetime, and eventually increased taxes on yourself or your children anyway when "the rich" is no longer a large enough segment of the population to pay for all the things the government has promised to the people.

But when that happens, possibly even taking a few generations, it'll be too late for those at that time to go back in time and undo those decisions. That's why it's important for us to be responsible now and work to avoid that situation down the line.


Quote:
If they were able to make more money, of course they'd be paying more in taxes. But as long as the high wage jobs are bleeding overseas or getting replaced by robots, the lowest wage earners will never make enough to pay more in taxes. That's why I'm for punitive taxation for corporations who aren't doing their best to keep jobs in America. You want to ship your furniture factory to China because they'll make a dresser for twenty bucks plus the cost of parts, whereas in the US we ask for $200? Okay fine, you do that, but we're adding a 25% tax on top of each piece you sell to make up for the lost wages you're costing America.


Do you understand that this not only does not work and will not work but it is the exact reason why those companies offshore their operations in the first place (well, one of the major contributing factors anyway). What do you think happens when you do that? The company will simply move all of its business offshore instead of just a factory or three. Then you lose all the tax revenue.


What you're talking about is one of those ideas that sounds really great at first glance, but if you think through, is a disaster waiting to happen.

Quote:
Shoes had such a tariff for the last century. $5 a pair for every pair of shoes imported to America. Unfortunately, the tariff rate didn't actually increase with inflation, and in the last fifty years it still became cheaper to outsource shoes to Indonesia. (This is why Made in America walmart shoes are the only ones that can be sold for like three bucks.)



Um... Tariffs like that don't have anything to do with tax revenue though. I think that's the problem here. You're conflating two (several?) completely different issues into one. The first question is how much we should spend at the federal level. The next question is how much taxes we should raise to pay for that spending. Then we ask how we should collect those taxes so that they least harm the economy.

Liberals seem to want to do that backwards. They start with ideas of who should pay the most first. Then they fight to raise taxes on those they feel should pay more and lower them on those they feel should pay less. Then they adjust the exact resulting rates based on how much money they want to collect. Then they go out and spend the money they collected. It's a bad approach since there is no break in the system.
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#98 Feb 16 2012 at 4:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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[quote=gbaji]First off, let me point out that most of the people who say they'd gladly pay higher taxes if they made twice as much money are really saying they want those people who make twice as much as they do to pay higher taxes. If they were actually making that much, they wouldn't say that. They'd still say that people making twice as much of them should pay a higher tax burden though. That's the consistency here, not that people are willing to trade one for the other.
************ that! I don't want people making twice what I make paying higher taxes. I expect to be there soon.
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#99 Feb 16 2012 at 6:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
First off, let me point out that most of the people who say they'd gladly pay higher taxes if they made twice as much money are really saying they want those people who make twice as much as they do to pay higher taxes. If they were actually making that much, they wouldn't say that. They'd still say that people making twice as much of them should pay a higher tax burden though. That's the consistency here, not that people are willing to trade one for the other.

Who, exactly, are these people?
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#100 Feb 16 2012 at 6:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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#101 Feb 16 2012 at 6:53 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Only one way to find out. Someone double my salary!

Wait...didn't you just do that?
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