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Author Topic: Western 'Superiority'
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 17 June 2002 11:05 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I watched the news tonight about the G8, planning to talk about Africa. That's what made me post this essay...

"It is fashionable to attack 'political correctness' these days.

The attackers pick out examples of ridiculous extremes and hold these up as proof that 'political correctness' is a bad thing.

What they are attacking, in fact, is our tolerance for our 'tolerable' differences.

The neo-conservative backlash, that has been sweeping over the world during the last three decades, leaving untold pain and death in its wake, is on the roll. They are on new and new attacks against any social achievement that still stands in their way to unrestrained greed and gluttony.

Their newest target now is people's tolerance for each other.

Just as Hitler was whipping up the German people into a frenzy of self-proclaimed superiority, our neo-conservatives are becoming more and more defiant in their racial, religious, cultural bigotry and spout their 'obvious superiority' with more and more venom.

Well, since they have been running this show exclusively for the last 30 years and predominantly for the last two hundred, I suggest we look at the result of this 'superiority'. They have had enough time to prove it to us.

It is easy to find the truth. The books on the shelves are begging you to read them. They are not even hard to find: the reference section is bursting with factual books describing our planet and our species:

The United Nations’ Human Development Report, UNICEF’s "The State of the World’s Children’, The World Bank’s ’World Development Report on Poverty’, The Worldwatch Institute’s ’State of the World’ and ’Vital Signs’, The Oneworld News Service’s publications, The US Census Bureau’s International Database, The 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity', just to name a few.

It is a sea to drown in. Any one of these books is enough to scare you half to death and there are hundreds. Written by Nobel prized scientists, artists, historians, people from all walks of life having one thing in common: social conscience.

The picture these books paint about the state of us humans is nauseating. They speak of a planet drowning in poison, they speak of a species that swarm over every livable square inch, like crazed rats in a sewer eating each other alive. We are locust with technology.

It is so hard to see the magnitude of the problem while living in one of the ’safe heaven’ enclosures. Canada has been on the top of the list of the UN’s Human Development Report for years now and Canada is my home. It shames me to realize that I have been complaining about minor frustrations in this Paradise that would be a dream beyond reach for most of humanity.

There are over six billion human beings now living on this Planet, organized into 228 countries. The ten largest countries make up for 60% of humanity. Only 6.8% (US and Japan) out of these 60% has a high average human development index, the other 53.2% lives in poverty so deep that most of us in the west could not conceive of.

How many of us could live on $1 a day? Yet, 1.3 billion people (one out of every five) in the world try to do that today. Those who fail – die. The next 2 billion people who have up to $2 a day to spend are better off. They, together, make up over half of our species.

Yet, the net worth of the richest 358 people on the planet is equal to the combined income of the poorest 2.3 billion (45 percent) of the world’s population. I tried to demonstrate the inequality on a chart and the chart became meaningless: a very low flat line suddenly jumping up to the sky.

As I was going through the list, writing down names of countries and their data, a weird thing happened: I felt like I was playing God, dishing out fates to real, live human beings. Like: "Zaire: population 45,430,619; Life expectancy 52; GNP/capita less than $695 (Canada’s is $20,670) under 5 mortality rate 196 out of 1000 live birth (Canada’s is 8)......

I feel that somehow I am responsible for those forty five million, four hundred and thirty thousand, six hundred and nineteen human beings. Somehow, I feel that I am feasting on a lot more than my share: the extra weight that I carry and can’t lose, no matter how much I diet, I stole from the bones of those skeleton-like children, of which roughly two out of ten starve to death before they reach five.

According to their average life expectancy, my time would be just about up now, even though I am still planning for another twenty five years, while my paper-people of Zaire are blinking out at fifty two, after a life full of pain and wounds and fear and suffering, not even understanding what life could have been, not even knowing who stole and destroyed their share of the planet.

I don’t even know exactly where Zaire is. I know that it is somewhere in Africa, I have to look it up in the Atlas to know that it is roughly in the centre, half way between Libya and South Africa. Shouldn’t I at least know a bit more about those I am feeding on? As I open the Almanac to read up on these phantom people, I find that they have a capital city called Kinshasa with two million, six hundred and fifty three thousand, five hundred and eighty eight human inhabitants.

When I try to picture a city of two and a half million, I think of the big cities I have seen: London, Stockholm, Helsinki, Toronto, New York, San Francisco,... it is a long list. All of these cities are modern, western metropolises in countries where GNP/capita is around $20,000 a year. I find I can not conceive of a city where people have to live on less then $2 a day. I know nothing about that world.

Do they have public libraries, parks, swimming pools? Do they have free medical facilities, schools, theaters concert halls, opera houses? Do they have beauty salons, weight-loss clinics, abortion centers, sports arenas, revolving restaurants, career counseling, country clubs? All the things I have been taking for granted for twenty seven years in Canada, starting as a newly arrived immigrant?

Zaire with its forty five million people is just a small island in the sea of misery. Going through the list in order of increasing GNP per capita are names and people I know nothing of. Burma, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nepal, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria. I just listed eight countries out of two hundred; two hundred and forty five million human beings out of three billion who live on less than two dollars a day.

The almanac says Zaire gained its independence from Belgium on June 24, 1960. The GNP/capita for every one of Belgium’s ten million citizens is $21,210 each year or $58 a day. Compare this with the $695 a year or $1.90 a day Zaire’s 45 million citizens have to live on.

Is there a connection? Does Belgium’s thirty to one ratio to Zaire have anything to do with the fact that Zaire had a pre-independence existence when citizens of Belgium had full and total power over Zaire’s resources, manpower, ecology and the life and death of every one of its dwellers?

Don’t take me wrong, I am not condemning Belgium. There is no such person as Belgium. If I was to visit the country, I am sure I would find most people as hard working folks, intent on living their lives, raising their children, paying their rents and bills like most decent people everywhere. Most of them were never asked about their country’s rape and pillage of Zaire, those decisions were made behind closed doors by their political and business leaders like it is done all over the world.

Their process of ’democracy’ is as flawed as it is in most ’democratic’ countries where the citizens are asked periodically to choose from a few parties with no real difference and then get out of the way till the next election for the big boys to play their games. The ’unwashed masses’ are not expected to take part in decisions.

If you look at the $21,210 per capita GNP of Belgium, it does not mean that every one of the Belgians have so much money to live on. The share of the top 20 percent of the country’s wealth and income is 36% while the bottom 20 percent has only 7.9% of the pie. These are 1978 figures, internal gap between the rich and poor grew steadily since, in Belgium, just like everywhere else.

If we assume that the top ten percent make (or meaningfully contribute to) most decisions in most countries, then we can see roughly one million Belgians deciding the fate of the other nine million Belgians and the forty five million Zaireans.

And there you have it. If you follow the food chain to the very top, you will probably find the richest 358 people on the planet that I mentioned earlier. What kind of mind, character, passion is required to cling to power that awesome? The answer is beyond my comprehension.

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 17 June 2002 11:12 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is incredible that we are so bloody stupid.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 124

posted 17 June 2002 11:40 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One question

quote:
The neo-conservative backlash, that has been sweeping over the world during the last three decades, leaving untold pain and death in its wake, is on the roll. They are on new and new attacks against any social achievement that still stands in their way to unrestrained greed and gluttony

What evidence do you have that the state of affairs was so much better before this so-called "neo-conservative backlash"

Was the rest of the world that much better of a place in the 60's? Or did we simply not hear about the tragedies that happened at those times because communication with the rest of the world was far less than it is now? Was their life expectencies any higher back then?

Clersal wants us to apologize for our success. What kills me is if the western world started suffering, who would we blame the rest of the worlds problems on.

I think your more concerned with lowering our quality of life than raising others quality of life.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 17 June 2002 11:48 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You call making a parking lot out of a country a bloody sucess? Holy whacko Markbo what has happened to your brain. We are not comparing history and better or worse. It was and still is complete bullshit.

This bloody arguement of What would you do if......ad nauseam. That is not the bloody point. There is no arguement. What we are doing is complete insanity. It doesn't matter who the hell it is. You know this too. This is not anti anything. Things have to change. Don't you dare call me a dreamer. You have been warned.


From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 17 June 2002 11:50 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: Was the rest of the world that much better of a place in the 60's?
It could have been, Markbo, if only...

Belgium just recently apologized to Zaire (prev. Belgian Congo) for Belgium's part in the assassination of Zaire's first democratically elected Prime Minister: Patrice Lumumba in 1961 (primarily a CIA operation). Lumumba was replaced by the murderous Mobuto, who enjoyed full American support in exchange for unlimited access to Zaire's mineral (primarily copper, cobalt and diamond) resources.

Barbara Kingsolver's fantastic novel: "The Poisonwood Bible" gives a good account of behind-the-scene ugly reality of "Western Superiority" in action.

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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Babbler # 124

posted 18 June 2002 12:05 AM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
You call making a parking lot out of a country a bloody sucess?

I'd rather be here than there.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 18 June 2002 12:08 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: I'd rather be here than there.
They are there, because you are here...

From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 18 June 2002 12:28 AM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: I'd rather be here than there.
Exactly what I mean Markbo. Again that is not the point.

From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 18 June 2002 01:00 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: I'd rather be here than there.
You are here, because they are there...

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 18 June 2002 02:37 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What evidence do you have that the state of affairs was so much better before this so-called "neo-conservative backlash"

Was the rest of the world that much better of a place in the 60's?


My depth of knowledge is concentrated among the industrialized nations, so I can tell you that even just looking at the inequality indexes for North America and Western Europe gives you a good feel for the truth of this statement:

"Things were indeed better in the 1960s."

This, of course, refers to inequality within nations, which was mirrored by relatively less inequality among nations back then than the situation today, which, in full circle, leads us to note the greater inequality within nations today as well.

To Zatamon: That's a beautiful piece of writing.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 18 June 2002 08:14 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thanks, Dr.C

Our friendly corporations talk about the “Global Village”. They want us to think globally.

Let's do them a favour and think globally.

They wont like it -- they want us to think globally only when it serves their interest: they want unlimited access to the Globe, but they don't want to feel responsible for what that unlimited access does to our Globe. Sorry boys, you can't have it both ways!

Lets start the exercise of thinking globally:

Imagine humanity as one country, living on planet Earth.

The population of this Planet-Country is enslaved by a small elite, living in unimaginable luxury.

They force the majority of citizens to live in unspeakable poverty (1 billion trying to live on $1 a day, 2 billion trying it on $2).

Because of this poverty 30,000 of our children starve to death every day. (This is about eleven million dead children every year -- just about all the children in Canada)

They destroy our environment, they kill our forests, they poison our rivers, lakes and oceans, they deplete our natural resources, they make more and more of our wildlife extinct.

And whenever any of us protests and resists, they persecute him, jail him, torture him and kill him with his family, his friends, neighbors and sympathizers.

I think I accurately described conditions in our planet-country (If you have doubts, please visit "As the World Turns" -- it is a beautifully done web page with a short summary , quite an eye-opener!

Damn if we do, damn if we don't.

If we don't think globally, our leaders will hate us.

If we do, we will hate ourselves.

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 124

posted 18 June 2002 12:40 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
They are there, because you are here...

You ever think they are there, simply because they are there.

quote:
Things were indeed better in the 1960s."

This, of course, refers to inequality within nations, which was mirrored by relatively less inequality among nations back then than the situation today, which, in full circle, leads us to note the greater inequality within nations today as well.


See thats exacly my point. You think things were better solely because of equality. It has nothing to do with the quality of life of the poor. So what if that was actually less. Its those damn rich people just got so much richer.

If we took away the wealth of the rich. But didn't raise the quality of life of the poor one bit. By the statement you made above you would consider things to be better.

Thats wherein our disagreement lies.

Simply punishing the rich does not make things better.

It has to have the outcome of raising standards for the poor. If we followed your prescription we would in the short term, but in the long term we would simply fail to produce any more wealth for anybody to share. Just like the Soviet Union couldn't.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 18 June 2002 01:44 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: Simply punishing the rich does not make things better.
But leaving their elected leaders alive might! (See fifth post of this thread)

Thinking "globally" the 'right' way might! (see my post just before your last, above)


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
mikedean
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2696

posted 18 June 2002 04:29 PM      Profile for mikedean        Edit/Delete Post
markbo,
i think that the point is that the institutions which dictate how the world is run are clearly doing so in a way which increases suffering for many people.
the point is not to punish the rich. the point is to attempt to reform our institutions to the point where they provide everybody(or as many people as possible)with a decent standard of living. many policies consciously(because we assume the people who run these institutions are not stupid) exacerbate the problems. like structural adjustment programs which force sudan to focus on cotton production instead of grain production and which have led to massive starvation in that country due to poverty and lack of food.

From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 124

posted 18 June 2002 07:41 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
markbo,
i think that the point is that the institutions which dictate how the world is run are clearly doing so in a way which increases suffering for many people.

Or maybe there is increases suffering in many people that are independant of what institutions which are governed by elected leaders of the western world.

We've already heard Zatamon's scientists tell us that a major cause of our suffering was overpopulation and the fact that women had no equality. Those items are independant of our institutions.

quote:

the point is not to punish the rich. the point is to attempt to reform our institutions to the point where they provide everybody(or as many people as possible)with a decent standard of living.

Why would you think thats even possible. Its funny how you have absolutely no consideration for the fact that if you redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, there will be no incentive in the future to create wealth again. Its a one time fix.

The middle east is sitting on an incredible amount of wealth. Did that help them? no?

quote:

many policies consciously(because we assume the people who run these institutions are not stupid) exacerbate the problems. like structural adjustment programs which force sudan to focus on cotton production instead of grain production and which have led to massive starvation in that country due to poverty and lack of food.

Very good points, You have my full support in improving these institutions. As long as you stop laying the blame for all the worlds problems at their feet.

Its back to the old, you haven't saved the world, so you must be evil. Who cares whether it was even possible or not.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Simon Shields
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2771

posted 18 June 2002 08:30 PM      Profile for Simon Shields     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Good rant Zatamon!

I'm with you - but careful you don't burn out, you're WAYYY too earnest ;-). Your profile says you're 57 - I MIGHT have written something like that when I was 22, which I'm not - but at 57 - where do you get the energy?

Seriously. Good rant, don't mind the critics - they have some good things to say but are fixated on criticism. I haven't heard one yet that compliments or expresses solidarity in any other than a passing fashion.

As for the last part of your rant, (roughly paraphrasing): how do the top ones exist, how do they morally live with themselves? Well they could be sociopaths, absent a moral conscience - it appears that it's a very successful survival trait, bound for genetic perpetuation - and/or they could just be more successful examples of what we all are in part - morally lax in an environment that doesn't deter us from being morally lax.

It's trite but appropriate to quote Pogo, the cartoon character: "we have found the enemy, and he is us" (hope that's accurate). I hate the rich too, but it's a limited strategic paradigm in which to operate.

Anyway ... I look forward to your more prosaic posts.

Cheers


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 18 June 2002 09:37 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Markbo, just because a person is rich does not mean that that person wants to invest in the real economy.

"Why would you pour a foundation, buy machines, hire employees, if you can
make as much money buying bonds?" - Frank Stronach, Magna International,
July 1994.

Average ROE, Canadian business (1990-1997) - 5.5%
Average interest rate, long-run Canadian bonds (1990-1997) - 8.5%

Lifted from Jim Stanford's Paper Boom.

It is also to be noted that entrepreneurial skill is independent of wealth, given that managers of enterprises freely apply their ingenuity and wisdom to improve businesses they do not personally own.

The Polish-born economist Kalecki had things to say about that.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 18 June 2002 10:47 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Simon Shields: Good rant Zatamon! I'm with you - but careful you don't burn out, you're WAYYY too earnest ;-). Your profile says you're 57 - I MIGHT have written something like that when I was 22, which I'm not - but at 57 - where do you get the energy?
It is fuelled by life. In all its form and shape and conflict. Its Markbos and Dr.Conways and WingNuts and Slick Willies and .... its drama and tragedy and comedy and futility.

PS. My favourite dog may be dying and guess what? I don't give a damn about the rest of the world right now. My dog is the nicest 'human being' I have ever known -- with honour, loyalty, love and responsibility any human could wish for. It is not hard to have ideals when you have 'superior' beings in your life.

[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dogbert
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1201

posted 19 June 2002 12:02 AM      Profile for Dogbert     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Why would you think thats even possible. Its funny how you have absolutely no consideration for the fact that if you redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, there will be no incentive in the future to create wealth again. Its a one time fix.

Why do we need huge inequality to create incentive to generate wealth? What about the simple desire to have a good, comfortable life?

I work 8 hours a day for a wage. In doing so, I'm creating wealth. I'm under no illusions that I'm ever going to become a billionare by doing so. Nor do the vast majority of other people who work for a wage. They work to provide for their families and for themselves.

Markbo, can you please exlain how distributing more wealth to these working people will destroy society's desire to create wealth?


From: Elbonia | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 19 June 2002 12:09 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
World Domination???
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 19 June 2002 12:10 AM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I had a dog called Daisy too. A Golden Retriever. She died a couple of years ago. It is hard when part of the family dies.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 19 June 2002 12:14 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Part of you dies with it...
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 19 June 2002 12:16 AM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The memories are always there.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 19 June 2002 12:20 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
thanks clersal...
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 124

posted 19 June 2002 06:04 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo, just because a person is rich does not mean that that person wants to invest in the real economy.
"Why would you pour a foundation, buy machines, hire employees, if you can
make as much money buying bonds?" - Frank Stronach, Magna International,
July 1994.

Isn't this the same guy who's buying up race tracks like they're going out of style?

But I agree, Thats why I think there should be huge breaks for small and midsize businesses that make under 1 million a year and middle class folk that make under $150,000 per year. They're the ones who spend every dime they earn. They're also the ones who pay the majority of our societies costs, they should get a huge break.

Regarding, Zatamon, I hope he sees that my criticism of his beliefs and so called "plan" is simply that they lack specifics and a roadmap of how to get there.

My criticism is not being levelled at his ideals. There is nothing wrong with them except that I don't believe they are achievable.

quote:
Why do we need huge inequality to create incentive to generate wealth? What about the simple desire to have a good, comfortable life?

We don't need inequality to create incentive, by having a system that creates incentive to generate wealth we end up with inequality. The simple desire to have a good, comfortable life will not generate the present wealth that you want to redistribute. Why punish someone for having the desire to have a good life.

Its the old story about the communist and the capitalist looking in the window of a wealthy estate. The man inside is in the lap of luxury, sits smoking an expensive cigar, drinking vintage cognac in front of his surround sound entertainment system.

The communist shouts: No man should live like that
THe Capitalist shouts: Everyman should live like that.

quote:

I work 8 hours a day for a wage. In doing so, I'm creating wealth.

are you creating wealth that is being reinvested or are you simply paying the bills. Don't confuse the two.

quote:
Markbo, can you please exlain how distributing more wealth to these working people will destroy society's desire to create wealth?

Whoah whoah whoah, I'm on your side, I think everyone who makes under $150,000 should get a huge tax break and not anybody over that. I wouldn't qualify and I don't care, I believe in the trickle up theory of economics. Give working people more money and they'll spend every penny.

You give a guy that makes $80,000 another $10,000 of his taxes back. He'll spend probably another $15,000 per year.

But why do have to strip a guy like me of the money I make over $150,000. I spend every penny I make building new buildings, Opening new businesses.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 19 June 2002 08:01 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: Regarding, Zatamon, I hope he sees that my criticism of his beliefs and so called "plan" is simply that they lack specifics and a roadmap of how to get there. My criticism is not being levelled at his ideals. There is nothing wrong with them except that I don't believe they are achievable.
Now finally you agree with me Markbo! You just stated that there is no solution! Haven't I been saying it all along?

We don't need a roadmap, Markbo, because there are only two roads. One leads to hell and the other leads to heaven. And you just agreed that heaven is 'unachievable'.

So what you seem to be saying is: "since we are on our way to hell, we might as well travel in comfort!", and there are a lot of people who agree with you.

That is what Capitalism is all about.

I hope you realize that I was somewhat facetious above, so don't waste your time arguing with my statements.

On real bad days I believe all of it, on better ones I pick and choose.

Today is a better day, so I find it all very comical!


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir-Canuck-Of-The-North
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Babbler # 2702

posted 20 June 2002 10:05 AM      Profile for Sir-Canuck-Of-The-North        Edit/Delete Post
OK so if we buy this theory of neo conservatives thinking that they are superior, how do you erxplain the Soviet invasions of Czecheslovakia, and more recenlty Afghanistan and Chechnya, all are pretty much based on intolerance, but how can that be, an intolerant socialist?

China's invasion of Tibet?


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1394

posted 20 June 2002 10:14 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
SCOTN: ...how can that be, an intolerant socialist?
how can that be, an intolerant SCOTN?

Or just one who does not read posts carefully enough to understand?

Or he thinks he reads 'something' when he reads something quite different?

My suggestion to him is to go back to the beginning, re-read everything very carefully and see if he had read what he thought he had.

With someone who has IQ in the stratosphere, it shouldn't be too difficult.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir-Canuck-Of-The-North
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posted 20 June 2002 10:20 AM      Profile for Sir-Canuck-Of-The-North        Edit/Delete Post
Yet another jibe:


Now to this:

"The neo-conservative backlash, that has been sweeping over the world during the last three decades, leaving untold pain and death in its wake, is on the roll".

I simply pointed out the obvious oversights, Afghanistan sure is a nice parking lot now isn't it.


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 20 June 2002 09:55 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
clersal: This bloody arguement of What would you do if......ad nauseam. That is not the bloody point. There is no arguement. What we are doing is complete insanity. It doesn't matter who the hell it is. You know this too. This is not anti anything. Things have to change.
I somehow missed this gem earlier. As she often does, clersal saw the core of the dilemma.

It does not matter whose fault it is and who did what to whom and when and how it started!!!

The patient is dying and it is the human species. Forget the countries, forget the regimes, forget the excuses.

Lets think globally (see my earlier post above) in terms of our human family on this beat up old Planet. See if we can save our collective asses, before we follow the dinosaurs into extinction.

Markbo, forget the 'blame-game' -- you know what needs to be done if we want to survive.

And time is as short as that.

Lets panic intelligently.

It's time!


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 21 June 2002 12:04 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Now finally you agree with me Markbo! You just stated that there is no solution! Haven't I been saying it all along?
We don't need a roadmap, Markbo, because there are only two roads. One leads to hell and the other leads to heaven. And you just agreed that heaven is 'unachievable'.

AHAA! this is where we disagree however. You think there are only two roads. Well guess what, the road we are on does not lead to heaven and it does not lead to hell. It leads to the type of pergatory that Earth is. We have both heaven and Hell conditions on this earth. Heaven is unachievable, but Hell is not coming either.

quote:

So what you seem to be saying is: "since we are on our way to hell, we might as well travel in comfort!", and there are a lot of people who agree with you.

That is what Capitalism is all about.

I hope you realize that I was somewhat facetious above, so don't waste your time arguing with my statements.


Not arguing just stating that I do not think we are headed towards hell. We are heading in the right direction its just that for every 3 steps forward we end up taking two steps back.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
beproud2
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posted 21 June 2002 03:41 PM      Profile for beproud2        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But I agree, Thats why I think there should be huge breaks for small and midsize businesses that make under 1 million a year and middle class folk that make under $150,000 per year. They're the ones who spend every dime they earn. They're also the ones who pay the majority of our societies costs, they should get a huge break.

Hate to say it but the poor fu#%er makes sense on this one.

But I must mention something along the lines of equality. Equality is a very important point to consider. It is this psychological feeling of "equality" that really determines how you feel as a person. Little thought seems to go into this point.

For example all your friends get to play hockey and you don't. How does this affect your psychological well being? ITs all very relative and this is the bottom line, this is the end goal.

People aim for this "utopia" and sadly this is what it is going to be. Its a feeling of equality with your peers, among other things.

Don't get me wrong thier is a particular level of survival that a person has to attain before this equality issue kicks in but here in the west we have attained that. Now its equality.

I had much more to say but I have lost my train of thougth too many distractions here at work.

hmmm.. oh yes regardless of the 60's the time is now.... the whole point is that we have teh means to do things and yet we don't. We use these means to get fatter not help those below us.

I believe that we like to live ignorant lives and are perfectly fine with our government doing what we would otherwise have to do ourselves if we wanted to live our current lifestyles.

k peace


From: ottawa | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 21 June 2002 04:56 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
markbo: for every 3 steps forward we end up taking two steps back.
Now we are almost in total agreement Markbo. Exchange the two numbers in your statement and it is perfect. (For proof see reports of widening gap between rich and poor, increasing child poverty, dismantling social services, deteriorating environment, increasing militerization, decresing freedoms, blah blah blah...)

But you disappointed me Markbo, I was bracing myself to survive your 'unforgiving' criticism in the 'Specific Suggestions' thread and,... nothing? Does it mean that we are in complete agreement or you finally got tired of going around the same circle yet one more time?

beproud2, I am not sure I understand what your main point is and how it relates to the topic of this thread.?

[ June 21, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 21 June 2002 06:10 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mind reader you! Exactly what I was going to say. How about 3 steps back and one forward.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 21 June 2002 06:57 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Of course you are right clersal, I just wanted to break the news gently to Markbo.
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Arch Stanton
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posted 21 June 2002 07:33 PM      Profile for Arch Stanton     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Always listen to clersal. She has a knack for getting to the core of everything it seems, even if she's a cat freak.
From: Borrioboola-Gha | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 21 June 2002 07:47 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
...because she is a cat freak -- Jerome tells her everything!
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
frandroid_atreides
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posted 21 June 2002 08:57 PM      Profile for frandroid_atreides   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

But I agree, Thats why I think there should be huge breaks for small and midsize businesses that make under 1 million a year and middle class folk that make under $150,000 per year. They're the ones who spend every dime they earn. They're also the ones who pay the majority of our societies costs, they should get a huge break.

...

Whoah whoah whoah, I'm on your side, I think everyone who makes under $150,000 should get a huge tax break and not anybody over that. I wouldn't qualify and I don't care, I believe in the trickle up theory of economics. Give working people more money and they'll spend every penny.

You give a guy that makes $80,000 another $10,000 of his taxes back. He'll spend probably another $15,000 per year.

But why do have to strip a guy like me of the money I make over $150,000. I spend every penny I make building new buildings, Opening new businesses.


Markbo, I'm reading this message and it does not make sense to me. You seem to be contradicting yourself. First you go and say that "middle-class" people should be given a break ($150K is middle class? Do you live in NYC? Not even in Toronto is $150K middle class). Then you go on and say that people who earn over $150K shouldn't be striped. So if you eliminate the rich and the middle class, who's left to pay for society's infrastructure? Certainly not the poor.

quote:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I work 8 hours a day for a wage. In doing so, I'm creating wealth.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

are you creating wealth that is being reinvested or are you simply paying the bills. Don't confuse the two.

...

I believe in the trickle up theory of economics. Give working people more money and they'll spend every penny.


If you do believe in the trickle up theory of economics, I don't see how this person who works as a wageslave is not generating wealth.

There is a limitation with the economic system we are living under today: scarcity of resources, and secondarily, waste. Our current economic system depends on economic growth in order to survive. We need to constantly produce more and more wealth. If we stop producing wealth, we enter a recession, and god we know how recessions can suck. Thankfully now we have buffer mecanisms to outlive recessions, but we still can't afford to have them. We have to grow. The problem we end up with is that a huge chunk of our economic production rests on physical resources. We can grow and grow, and hopefully spread wealth throughout humnanity, we need even more resources to fuel that growth. During the last end of the 20th century, we have managed to access an incredible of new resources with the use of new technology that has allowed us to get minerals, harvest plant life and make chemicals in precedently unknown ways. With the help of the IMF and the World Bank, we have displaced populations, allowed rainforests to be gutted, polluted our lakes and rivers, etc. Capitalism has conquered the Earth. The problem we have here is that if we keep this compounded growth rate, by the end of this century, maybe by the end of the next one if we are lucky, we will be Gone. We will have run out of oil, of natural gas, we will have polluted most of our waterways, the polar caps will be seriously melted off, there will be huge ecological disturbances within Gaia, some minerals that we consider common today will achieve "precious" status, billions of agricultural land will have disappeared, desertification will make tremendeous gains, etc. We might have a few spots irradiated from nuclear explosions, whether from bombs or power stations.

Will capitalism flourish in such an environment? Will it be capable of sustained growth? I'm talking simply from economic terms here, I'm not even going into the human factors yet. Capitalism is headed for self-destruction. Those who refuse to accept this fact are not in for the survival of capitalism. Truth is, nobody's in for the survival of capitalism, people are in for their own survival.

Paradoxically, I think that capitalism's best chance relies in ecologists. Recycle, Re-use. Fuck Reduce, we're fighting entropy. Ecologists are mostly fighting against entropy. Renewal energy is much more profitable, on the long term, than non-renewable energy. What's 200 hundred years of high oil prices on two millenia's worth of solar power for free, except for the cost of building the panels? What's with non-reusable containers? We could have about 10 different formats for all the different kinds of food at the grocery store, and have a consignment on each container. How hard is this? Is it a problem to get my maple syrup in the same container that contained soy sauce beforehand? It pisses me off every time I throw out a plastic-5 margarine container, because Toronto doesn't recycle it. I'm not really a big fan of recycling through, not with our current materials that weren't made to be recycled.

Anyway, that was the Green part of my rant. Now to the human part of it. So we have limited resources, which means that capitalism is bound to keep people in poverty forever. Trickle-up economics will never give bread all to the poor of the world. I'm not talking about equality... I'm just talking about feeding the Earth. We have no shortage in the global food supply as we speak. None. We have enough food to feed the Earth. Why then are 2 billion people hungry? Capitalism has no answer to this problem. Markbo, this single injustice is enough reason for me to be a tax-the-rich-and-the-middle-class socialist. I don't want to wait one generation, or three, or ten, for "trickle-up" capitalism to catch up with the world population. The problem exists now, the problem is very immediate, and every minute we spend not solving it, thousands die. When capitalism can provide food, shelter, education and health to humanity, I will be the first to support capitalism. But it cannot, it isn't organized to, and it will not feed humanity, let alone the rest. Capitalism has increased poverty in the world, capitalism kills, and that is why I oppose it.

Sorry, I got carried away. I suspect that you agree with some of the stuff I mentioned here, especially the green stuff, but I wanted to connect some dots. I think I've left some stuff out, I wanted to point out to the similarities of unbridled communism and trickle-up capitalism but I'll have to come at it from a different angle.

Later.


From: Toronto, Arrakis | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 21 June 2002 11:22 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
To refocus this thread to its original intent, let me reiterate from the first post:
quote:
...since they have been running this show exclusively for the last 30 years and predominantly for the last two hundred, I suggest we look at the result of this 'superiority'. They have had enough time to prove it to us.
I have described some of the 'results' in the first post. Nobody really disputed my description.

Then Markbo started arguing about the superior 'theory' of Capitalism with some fine logic that does not seem to apply to reality.

Then I tried to refocus the discussion by suggesting we all think 'globally' as our Capitalist leaders urge us to do ad nauseum. The result of this global view was the recognition of what I call "The Nation of the Dead Children" - 11 million dead children each year. The entire population of my native country: Hungary.

Nobody disputed this figure either.

Markbo just went on spouting 'Capitalist theory' over the dead bodies of those dead children. Then he was playing the 'blame game' as if it would somehow resurrect all those young victims.

Then he complimented me for my ideals and expressed his regret that those ideals are 'unachievable'. As if only ideals resulting in death and destruction could be achievable, by definition.

And finally he 'reassured' me with his statement that even though we make two steps backwards, but we also make three steps forward at the same time.

And finally, this is something I totally agree with.

While the beneficiaries of the Capitalist system (a very small minority) make three steps forward, the rest of us, the 'not well connected' and 'not luckily born' make our stumbling two steps backward.

How very convenient!

The only difference between capitalist societies and cavemen is in method: in Capitalism, physical violence is mostly replaced by legal compulsion, which is, ultimately, based on the threat of physical violence. As Will and Ariel Durant put it in their magnificent book "The Lessons of History": "Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume each other by due process of law".

It does not become the ideal system based on individual achievement and cooperation based on mutual consent, but becomes a standoff between two interest groups: the entrenched elite, holding most of the wealth (hoarded together by whatever means proved expedient over the centuries), and the majority whose lots range from moderate comfort to utter poverty and deprivation.

The decision making process that is supposedly democratic becomes a farce of 'no choice' selection from virtually identical political parties that never question basic assumptions, and never threaten the elite. The masses are brainwashed, manipulated, duped by massive propaganda campaigns via media owned by the elite. Elections are financed by those who have the money.

So, again, my main point in this thread:

quote:
...since they have been running this show exclusively for the last 30 years and predominantly for the last two hundred, I suggest we look at the result of this 'superiority'. They have had enough time to prove it to us.
I apologize for all the repetition, but I think it was important to emphasize what this thread was meant to be about!

[ June 22, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 22 June 2002 01:35 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It does not become the ideal system based on individual achievement and cooperation based on mutual consent, but becomes a standoff between two interest groups: the entrenched elite, holding most of the wealth (hoarded together by whatever means proved expedient over the centuries), and the majority whose lots range from moderate comfort to utter poverty and deprivation.
The theme of the “entrenched elite”, or Them v the rest of Us is unconvincing to me. This is mostly because in my short almost 50 years, I’ve seen many extremely poor become fabulously rich and, likewise, many born to wealth decay into virtual poverty. This pattern, in my experience, is almost the rule v the exception. The same has occured with me.

I recall a study done in the early 80s (can’t find a link, pre Internet, Forbes I think) that analyzed who, exactly, by quintile of wealth and income, were the rich and poor. A genealogy of wealth of sorts. The findings were consistent with my anecdotal experience in that they suggested a tremendous amount of churning within the ranks. Most notable was the rise and fall between the middle quintile and the upper quintile and visa versa. And the churning took place within two generations; hardly enough time to form a club.

The Them (entrenched rich) v Us doesn’t seem to stand up to these observations. It seems to smack of easy demagoguery instead. A necessary condition if nothing else. J22 claims to “hate the rich”. This is utterly astonishing. Bigotry by income class. And nobody is ashamed.


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 01:41 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
SHH, are you talking about humanity as a whole, living on our planet, or just pick and choose a convenient group of people where your figures come out right?

You see, I am a 'big picture guy' and like to look at the whole system instead of a small part of it where I feel comfortably at home.

Just wondering.

But, just in case you tell me that you are talking about the whole Planet, I would like to know which Planet you are talking about.

I live on Earth.

Which Planet do *you* live on?

[ June 22, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 22 June 2002 01:58 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The study was, I’m fairly sure, within the US only. I didn’t pick any figures to get any desired results. My personal experience is, most certainly, within the US. Big picture or no, since the US economy dominates the planet, and there appears to be considerable turnover among the ranks of the wealth classes within the US, the “entrenched” notion seems highly suspect to me. Check that, it’s not suspect, it’s fiction I think.
From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 02:09 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
SHH: Big picture or no, since the US economy dominates the planet
SHH, I can't help referring to the 'big picture'. This whole thread is about the big picture. It is called "Western 'Superiority'" and examines the result of centuries of Western (not only US) domination (your word) of the Planet.

If you want to start another thread about 'inter-quintile mobility' in the US, by all means, do that.

However, in this thread, I can't help talking about the human species on Planet Earth.

You see, my thinking is hopelessly 'globalized' by the convincing arguments of our business leaders.

PS. If we *do* look at things globally, exactly how much 'inter-quintile mobility' do eleven million dead children (per year) have?

[ June 22, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 22 June 2002 02:37 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You’re good, we can have some fun. For now, after 26 hours of awake time and traveling I must retire. I’ll will not forget this thread.

Recall, I questioned your “entrenched” wealthy v the others. As if they were, well, “entrenched”. I assert that they are not; that the Us v Them is largely demagoguery (ie appeals to the young and uniformed) and is therefore not only useless, but destructive.

Nighty night…..


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 03:05 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
SHH, if you wish to discuss the question of 'entrenchedness', I suggest you start another thread and I will meet you there. However, I don't want to do it here, as it is a small detail of the 'big picture' analysis I was trying to pursue in this thread. And I really don't want this thread to lose focus. I am sure you understand.
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 22 June 2002 10:34 AM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ahh, so much to reply to but so little time

Zatamon, I didn't fire at you with both barrels because I don't want to scare you away.

You talk about withdrawing support from dictatorships. Isn't that what we've done in Cuba?

Withdrawing funds from the Middle east will not persuade them to change either. They'll just become like Africa. No big deal, it will happen anyways once oil phases out in the next 30 years.

You think things are getting worse because income gap is increasing, I disagree. I do not believe the poor in the west are getting poorer, only that the rich are getting richer. Thats great.

Now I hear rumblings about a huge education initiative by the G8 towards Africa.

I see Russia and the U.S. with a good relationship. I see the U.S. as both an allie to India and Pakistan with China and Russia all trying their damnest to broker a peace. When have China, Russia and the U.S. all worked this hard inconjunction to bring peace to two countries like india or pakistan???

I see regimes like the Taleban falling. I see Afghanistan rebuilding, however how long.

I see an economy that although may drop into recession again still creating record job numbers.

I see us all agreeing that we have to do more for the environment, only simply arguing about how much.

You people see no difference between republicans and democrats. No difference between liberals and progressive conservatives. No difference between the third way and conservatives.

I see this as the vast majority of the population finally agreeing on the basic fundamentals. Instead of arguing these fundamentals we have now moved on to arguing implementation strategies. This leading to less drastic swings in the pendulum. A more stable society that can concentrate on a game plan instead of what game to play

Ei. Now that tax cuts by Eves have been cancelled. What differences exist between the Liberals and PC's


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 10:41 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: Zatamon, I didn't fire at you with both barrels because I don't want to scare you away.
Not a chance Markbo! The only reason I started posting again was one of your comments I just ***had to*** respond to.

Are you kidding? Poking fun at 'Teflon Markbo' is a lot of fun I would not want to miss!

PS. Please let me know when both barrels are firing, so I can stop waiting for it!

[ June 22, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
ValleyGirl
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posted 22 June 2002 11:12 AM      Profile for ValleyGirl        Edit/Delete Post
All I can think of is: Save the Humans!
From: Slocan;British Columbia | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 11:26 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
whales first! (they are more 'innocent' than we are)
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 22 June 2002 11:27 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans also note that environmentalism isn't just about saving the planet. It saves humans too.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ValleyGirl
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posted 22 June 2002 12:36 PM      Profile for ValleyGirl        Edit/Delete Post
People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans? Is that where my T-shirt came from?I agree-environmentalism is fundamental to the preservation of life on Earth.As a member of a (oxymoron)"Working-Poor" family,we often feel our hands are tied,on a global scale.Since B.C.'s evil,twisted Liberal(?) govt. declared War on the Poor,people have been more inclined to think about themselves.It's difficult to think about eradicating world hunger while you're struggling to feed the kids.I do believe it is possible to act locally to incite change,though.We can start by using kindness and respect for other human beings.Whew!I realize that sounds overly simplistic and naive...I guess I'm sick of being cynical and sarcastic.It's a beautiful day,here in the West Kootenay.
From: Slocan;British Columbia | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 01:15 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
ValleyGirl: I do believe it is possible to act locally to incite change,though.We can start by using kindness and respect for other human beings.Whew!I realize that sounds overly simplistic and naive...I guess I'm sick of being cynical and sarcastic.It's a beautiful day,here in the West Kootenay
ValleyGirl, it is such a beautiful thought! I tried to respond to it on a new thread I started about "Hope, Despair, Coping..."in "Body and Soul"

From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 22 June 2002 01:28 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo, I'm reading this message and it does not make sense to me. You seem to be contradicting yourself. First you go and say that "middle-class" people should be given a break ($150K is middle class? Do you live in NYC? Not even in Toronto is $150K middle class). Then you go on and say that people who earn over $150K shouldn't be striped. So if you eliminate the rich and the middle class, who's left to pay for society's infrastructure? Certainly not the poor.

Number one I still believe that if you give people who make $150k or less tax breaks that the government will receive more revenue.

When I say don't "eat the rich" I mean that 50% is a great psychological barrier that shouldn't be broken. Right now in Ontario max tax rates are at 44-45%. Fine go up to 50% but thats it. YOu should get to keep half of what you make after that. To me its just right. 50% shouldn't start however until a person makes over $150k.

Then there's the Walmarts of the world. Right now if your business makes over 200K per year, you are taxed at the same rate that Walmart is. What the F*** is that about. 200K per year equals 160K after taxes which is supposed to pay for new equipment and any other new capital expenditures needed just to stay current??? Plus wanting to get some sort of personal reward for taking risks that most people don't have the stomach for. Meanwhile on anything more than that you have to compete head to head with Walmart. What chance in hell does anybody have?

There should be a mid rate up to 1 million and then find some way to go after the Walmarts of the world. When it comes to "walmarts"of the world, I hate to hurt my stereotype, but I'm on the same side as you.

quote:
There is a limitation with the economic system we are living under today: scarcity of resources, and secondarily, waste.

Which resources are scarce again? I forget.

quote:
Capitalism is headed for self-destruction. Those who refuse to accept this fact are not in for the survival of capitalism. Truth is, nobody's in for the survival of capitalism, people are in for their own survival.

Of course people are in it for their own survival, Capitalism is the only system that recognizes this basic human instinct and works with it instead of trying to repress it.

quote:

Paradoxically, I think that capitalism's best chance relies in ecologists. Recycle, Re-use. Fuck Reduce, we're fighting entropy.

I can actually sympathize with your comments about reduce. What the hell does it matter if we cut back 10% per person but then double our population? Anybody serious about reducing would have to address the problems of overpopulation.

No environmentalists seem to seriously want to address the issue of overpopulation.

quote:

Anyway, that was the Green part of my rant. Now to the human part of it. So we have limited resources, which means that capitalism is bound to keep people in poverty forever.

Again, which resources are limited.

quote:
I'm just talking about feeding the Earth. We have no shortage in the global food supply as we speak. None. We have enough food to feed the Earth. Why then are 2 billion people hungry?

Hey your the one saying we have shortages, the problem is a political one not an economical one. If the governments of the countries that were starving would implement more reforms, their people would not go hungry.

Hell look at health, you have the country with the worst amount of aids death, having leaders who say that aids is not related to HIV. You gotta start blaming some of the deaths on that asshole rather than poverty.

As far as food goes we have the countries with the worst starvation problems being ones with the most repressive governments. Look at North Korea.

quote:

Capitalism has no answer to this problem. Markbo, this single injustice is enough reason for me to be a tax-the-rich-and-the-middle-class socialist.

So just because a system doesn't instantaneously create utopia we must destroy it. Even though no workable alternative has been found. Tax-the-middle class socialism will simply compound the suffering.

quote:

I don't want to wait one generation, or three, or ten, for "trickle-up" capitalism to catch up with the world population. The problem exists now, the problem is very immediate, and every minute we spend not solving it, thousands die. When capitalism can provide food, shelter, education and health to humanity, I will be the first to support capitalism. But it cannot, it isn't organized to, and it will not feed humanity, let alone the rest. Capitalism has increased poverty in the world, capitalism kills, and that is why I oppose it.

Problem is that socialism kills far more, and thats why I oppose it. You cannot state a case where socialism would improve our situation at all.
Your basic argument is that because capitalism has not brought instant utopia we should abandon it in favour of a system that has been shown to fail time and time again and at lead has never been shown to succeed anywhere, anytime.

[ June 22, 2002: Message edited by: Markbo ]


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 01:34 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Please notice how conspicuously Markbo refuses to comment on the main points of this thread, no matter how many times I point them out. I wonder why?
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 22 June 2002 02:18 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
OK OK, you asked for it, but because of the way you write its difficult to tell what the main points are so I'll address your opener.


quote:
I watched the news tonight about the G8, planning to talk about Africa. That's what made me post this essay...
"It is fashionable to attack 'political correctness' these days.

Was this the new plan that might guarantee huge aid for primary education of African children??

quote:
The neo-conservative backlash, that has been sweeping over the world during the last three decades, leaving untold pain and death in its wake, is on the roll.

Or how I would put it. The mutual agreement by the "third way" and the conservatives about what economic fundamentals are essential to create prosperity. Minimizing the amount of pain and death, saving untold countless more people from the increased amount of pain and death that so called alternatives would cause.

quote:

They are on new and new attacks against any social achievement that still stands in their way to unrestrained greed and gluttony.

Uh exactly what achievements were made under socialist systems. Any social achievements to date were paid for by capitalist countries. In canada Capitalism and trade surpluses with the U.S. pays for our health care, social safety net etc. etc... Socialism and absence of trade will do for us what it did for Cuba.

quote:
Their newest target now is people's tolerance for each other.

Completely the opposite, Capitalism and trade bring people together. As a businessman, I care not about peoples religion, race or creed. Only that they make good business partners and employees. The true capitalist is blind when it comes to race and religion.

quote:

Just as Hitler was whipping up the German people into a frenzy of self-proclaimed superiority, our neo-conservatives are becoming more and more defiant in their racial, religious, cultural bigotry and spout their 'obvious superiority' with more and more venom.

Problem is that capitalism is not defined by a race or religion. THe U.S. capitalism has created thriving and successful businesspeople from almost every walk of life. Our greatest threat now comes from people who pevert islam while true muslims make up a fundamental cornerstone of our economy. Proving its not the religion separating us and that Capitalism is inclusive

quote:

Well, since they have been running this show exclusively for the last 30 years and predominantly for the last two hundred, I suggest we look at the result of this 'superiority'. They have had enough time to prove it to us.

Well its obvious when you compare the western world to the non western world. The life span, income per capita, luxuries, education, choices we have prove how much our system works.

quote:
The United Nations’ Human Development Report, UNICEF’s "The State of the World’s Children’, The World Bank’s ’World Development Report on Poverty’, The Worldwatch Institute’s ’State of the World’ and ’Vital Signs’, The Oneworld News Service’s publications, The US Census Bureau’s International Database, The 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity', just to name a few.

What you are doing is making 1 billion people responsible for the other 5 billion. Thats great in theory but the 1 billion people are also responsible for themselves.

We have already defined the true culprit and it has nothing to do with capitalism.

Every government of every country has committed to put the interests of the people who live in that country before the interests of the rest of the world

It wouldn't matter which political or economic system you endorse, they would all yeild the same result with the above mandate.

Now this doesn't mean that these governments simply ignore the needs of the rest of the world. It just means they help countries that mutually help their own intersts first and do what ever they can for the rest.

quote:

The picture these books paint about the state of us humans is nauseating. They speak of a planet drowning in poison, they speak of a species that swarm over every livable square inch, like crazed rats in a sewer eating each other alive. We are locust with technology.

Thats why I try not to put to much stock into them. Look around where you live Zatamon, things just arent as bad as you say. I look around where I live and I also have hope.

quote:
It is so hard to see the magnitude of the problem while living in one of the ’safe heaven’ enclosures. Canada has been on the top of the list of the UN’s Human Development Report for years now and Canada is my home. It shames me to realize that I have been complaining about minor frustrations in this Paradise that would be a dream beyond reach for most of humanity.

Exactly. Ant this paradise is the result of the "western superiority" you want to see us punished for.

quote:

There are over six billion human beings now living on this Planet, organized into 228 countries. The ten largest countries make up for 60% of humanity. Only 6.8% (US and Japan) out of these 60% has a high average human development index, the other 53.2% lives in poverty so deep that most of us in the west could not conceive of.

Problem is that you cannot link how punishing the 6.8% will help the other 93.2%.

quote:
I feel that somehow I am responsible for those forty five million, four hundred and thirty thousand, six hundred and nineteen human beings.

Then you have an unrealistic view about how much we are capable of. We can't save the world. We can only do our best and we're saving a lot, your expectations are simply unrealistic.

quote:

Somehow, I feel that I am feasting on a lot more than my share: the extra weight that I carry and can’t lose, no matter how much I diet, I stole from the bones of those skeleton-like children, of which roughly two out of ten starve to death before they reach five.

This is simply an unhealthy view. I like that analogy that you can wish to be 6'2" all you want but that will never change that you are 5'10". Why would you want to punish yourself or torment yourself for that???

The rest of your post simply goes on with the details of how the West has been able to provide its population with so much more comforts, health, and necessities than the rest of the world through the acceptanced of capitalism. I don't know how to respond to this except to once again explain that this is not at the cost of other countries. If we weren't here, its not like they would have used those resources anyways. They would be still sitting in the ground.

quote:
The almanac says Zaire gained its independence from Belgium on June 24, 1960. The GNP/capita for every one of Belgium’s ten million citizens is $21,210 each year or $58 a day. Compare this with the $695 a year or $1.90 a day Zaire’s 45 million citizens have to live on.

Is there a connection? Does Belgium’s thirty to one ratio to Zaire have anything to do with the fact that Zaire had a pre-independence existence when citizens of Belgium had full and total power over Zaire’s resources, manpower, ecology and the life and death of every one of its dwellers?


Now here is something interesting, You now talk about how people never treated each other fairly in the past. Guess what, thats the way the world was back then. You should read Guns Germs and steel as I am now. ITs simply the natural evolution of man. In Belgium they had horses and agriculture while Zaire had hunter gatherers. You can no more blame belgium for this happenstance than you can blame Zaire. It just was the way we progressed on this planet. Sort of the luck of the draw.

quote:

Their process of ’democracy’ is as flawed as it is in most ’democratic’ countries where the citizens are asked periodically to choose from a few parties with no real difference and then get out of the way till the next election for the big boys to play their games. The ’unwashed masses’ are not expected to take part in decisions.

Flawed compared to what system. Again you talk about solutions, but again you always oppose never propose. Propose in any meaningful way that would give us a process to follow.

quote:

And there you have it. If you follow the food chain to the very top, you will probably find the richest 358 people on the planet that I mentioned earlier. What kind of mind, character, passion is required to cling to power that awesome? The answer is beyond my comprehension.

Well why don't you strive to develop that mind, character and passion to achieve that power so you can simply give it all away.

Once you seize it however, that wealth will never reappear to be redistributed again. And that will not help anybody. It will not help the people who were employed by the 358 people you speak of either. How many jobs can be attributed to the 358 people. Theres a good statistic for you to look up. How many jobs have been created by Microsoft and those who supply it. How many jobs have been created by the companies that Warren Buffet purchases and runs better stopping them from going bankrupt.

Before you wipe out those 358 people. You should do some research as to how many millions will be affected.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 02:34 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Markbo, was this the other barrel you were talking about? Because if it was, then it either misfired or it had a blank in it.

I will see later if there is anything in it worth 'picking on' for fun -- for content, it said nothing new.

And, I will have you know, sir, that clersal thinks I write very clearly. So there!


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 22 June 2002 10:18 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Again, which resources are limited.

Well, isn't part of the definition of economics the study of how scarce resources are allocated?


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 22 June 2002 11:33 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You won’t get an answer Markbo because it’s contra-cant. Virtually every raw material resource has seen its price decline precipitously over the last several decades. This fact just sends the Erhlich cult into orbit. As Hoffer said:
quote:
It is the true believer's ability to shut his eyes and stop his ears to facts which in his own mind deserve never to be seen nor heard which is the source of his unequalled fortitude and consistency.

From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 22 June 2002 11:38 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So are you denying that economics recognizes that there must be an allocation of goods and services based on available inputs in some form?

I find it rather singularly curious that right-wingers place such a heavy emphasis on economics as it was set up by Adam Smith and the free-market followers, and simultaneously proclaim that they accept its precepts (including the one about allocation of resources in some fashion) and deny the scarcity of resources.

[ June 22, 2002: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 22 June 2002 11:56 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Markbo, SHH, you are still missing the main point of this thread.

Who is running the show?

Who is the superpower?

Whose economy 'dominates' the planet (SHH's word)?

Whose 'self-interests' are agressively served (Markbo's word)?

Where is most of the world's wealth stashed away?

Who are the biggest per capita consumers of the world's resources?

Who are the biggest per capita polluters in the world?

Who exercised their military muscle most often and ruthlessly on foreign soil the last fifty years?

Who has been raining bombs on the heads of defenseless people from 40,000 feet high up the last thirty years?

Who used the first and only nuclear bombs on an already defeated enemy, killing hundreds of thousand of civilians?

Who invented, manufactured and used 'Agent Orange'?

Who has plotted to assassinate most foreign leaders and overthrow most foreign governments?

Who has been the supporter of the most brutal dictatorships of the world the last fifty years?

Who has the largest military budget in the world?

Who is the largest weapons manufacturer in the world today?

Who invented, developed and manufactured weapons of mass destruction for the first time?

Who has the biggest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction today?

Who is the biggest arms merchant in the world today?

Who gave the 'gift' of two 'total' world wars to humanity?

Whose ambitions of empire (French, German, English, Belgian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, American, Japanese) turned much of the world into a cesspool during the last four hundred years?

Who committed the largest scale genocide in humanity's history, all but wiping out the native populations on three continents (North and South America and Australia)?

Who had institutionalized slavery and flourishing slave trade as recently as 137 years ago (less than two average life-spans)?

Who brought back 'de facto' slavery on a global scale with their 'globalized' manufacturing system today?

Who scuttled most attempts at international cooperation for peace, ecology, humane conduct?

Who is primarily responsible for the eleven million dead children each year?

You guessed: The 'Superior' Western powers.

Sorry guys, but the buck stops right in your lap and there is no way you can wiggle out of it.

No matter how hard you try, you can't have it both ways.

You wanted us to think globally.

As the saying goes: if God really wants to punish you, He will grant you your wishes.

He has and now we are on to your games.

And it is a very ugly one.

The Western Powers are in no ethical position to 'pursue their self-interest aggressively'. They are in the ethical position to beg the world's forgiveness and do everything in their power to undo as much of the damage they caused as possible.

[ June 23, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 23 June 2002 12:49 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Dr.C: I find it rather singularly curious that right-wingers place such a heavy emphasis on economics
Dr C., every magician can tell you that the most important tool of the trade is distraction and misdirection. Make sure they watch your right hand while you are pulling the fast one with your left.

Get them lost in the details, the more complicated and more meaningless they are, the better. Make them go around in circles, try to solve unsolvable equations.

Make sure they never see the simple, underlying structural elements that determine the shape of the world.

For a demonstration, I offer all of Markbo's posts on this thread and the ones to come.

I wish he followed the KISS principle and allowed himself to see the naked truth.

It is highly visible for anyone but the dishonest and the blind. And I know he is not dishonest.

So how do you give sight to the blind?

[ June 23, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 23 June 2002 05:36 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Who is running the show?

Actually, no one person, We have a number of competing interests being China, Europe, North America, Russia, Africa and the Middle east and southeast asia. I don't include South America because they pretty much keep to themselves.

quote:

Who is the superpower?

The U.S. is a super power now, but to think that this gives them unlimited power is foolish. They simply are the biggest kid on the block where any combination of other kids could stop them if they got together.

quote:

Whose economy 'dominates' the planet (SHH's word)?

U.S. followed by Europe followed by Japan. THen you have Russia and Brazil.

quote:

Whose 'self-interests' are agressively served (Markbo's word)?

Every country aggressively attempts to serve their self interest. In my opinion, I'd have to honestly answer Canada with Australia being second. Other countries with aggressive self interests would have to be Sweden and a few other European countries who don't put other interests even remotely high on their list.

quote:

Where is most of the world's wealth stashed away?

I was thinking the Caribean but Switzerland might still be pretty high.

quote:

Who are the biggest per capita consumers of the world's resources?

CONSUMPTION GROWTH RATES AND GDP, 1990-98
The highest consumption growth rates
UA Emirates 18.95 17 870
Kuwait 9.17 id
Singapore 8.80 30 170
USA 7.83 29 240
Canada 7.18 19 170
Belgium and 6.21 26 340
Luxembourg
Australia 5.56 20 640
Norway 5.48 34 310
Netherlands 5.36 24 780
Iceland 5.07 27 830
Saudi Arabia 4.98 6 910
Sweden 4.89 25 580
Finland 4.71 24 280
France 4.24 24 210
Germany 4.09 26 570
* Commercially traded fuels only

Roundwood *
Cubic GNP per
meters capita
per capita US$ 1998
Finland 12.08 24 280
Guatemala 12.03 1 640
Sweden 7.43 25 580
Canada 6.41 19 170
Gabon 3.20 4 170
New Zealand 2.90 14 600
Norway 2.50 34 310
Latvia 2.42 2 420
Austria 2.27 26 830
Chile 2.11 4 990
Eq. Guinea 1.88 1 110
USA 1.76 29 240
Estonia 1.74 3 360
Belarus 1.66 2 180
Uruguay 1.62 6 070
* Raw timber only

Passenger cars
Cars per GNP per
thousand capita
people US$ 1998
Italy 539 20 090
Germany 506 26 570
Australia 488 20 640
USA 483 29 240
Austria 481 26 830
Switzerland 477 39 980
New Zealand 470 14 600
Canada 455 19 170
France 442 24 210
Belgium 435 25 380
Sweden 428 25 580
Slovenia 403 9 780
Norway 402 34 310
Japan 394 32 350
Finland 392 24 280

I guess the your criticism should start being directed at the countries who are consistently high.

quote:

Who invented, manufactured and used 'Agent Orange'?

ANd what does that have to do with anything. Are you forgetting that they stopped while the rest of the world continued building chemical weapons and then used them still.

At least we know that there is no threat of use of chemical weapons by the U.S. today. Why don't you work on critisizing the countries who do represent a threat

quote:
Who gave the 'gift' of two 'total' world wars to humanity?

The Germans.

YOur rant just goes on with critisizing the parts of our history that we're happy to outgrown. IF this natural evolution of man seems somehow the source of your need to blame people, I recommend the book Guns Germs and steel. Maybe you'll understand that this was a natural evolution of things.

quote:
Who had institutionalized slavery and flourishing slave trade as recently as 137 years ago (less than two average life-spans)?

Why wouldn't you talk about countries who institutionalize slavery today, like Sudan.

quote:
Who brought back 'de facto' slavery on a global scale with their 'globalized' manufacturing system today?

I honestly don't know, China, Cuba???

quote:

Who scuttled most attempts at international cooperation for peace, ecology, humane conduct?

I give up, arafat, China?

quote:

Who is primarily responsible for the eleven million dead children each year?

The governments who run the countries they died in.

quote:
You guessed: The 'Superior' Western powers.

Not my guess, if it was it would be wrong.

quote:

Sorry guys, but the buck stops right in your lap and there is no way you can wiggle out of it.

Unless you've recently moved to the east then its your lap as well. I'm pretty comfortable where I sit, no need to wiggle.

quote:
The Western Powers are in no ethical position to 'pursue their self-interest aggressively'. They are in the ethical position to beg the world's forgiveness and do everything in their power to undo as much of the damage they caused as possible.

You beg for forgiveness, while the rest of the western world simply works to make things better, one small bit at a time.

quote:

So how do you give sight to the blind?

by not misdirecting them with your attacks regarding historic events that are irrelevant regarding the "good" or "bad" that a country is now.

You simply stated it, you don't want to help the rest of the world, you simply want the West to be punished for their success.

I'd rather make the entire world "Western" That way we can all be superior. IT would result in far more than trying to make the "West Inferior". THat will help no one.

Just rid you of your illogical guilt of being successful.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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Babbler # 1394

posted 23 June 2002 05:55 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Markbo: I recommend the book Guns Germs and steel. Maybe you'll understand that this was a natural evolution of things.
I have read the book (it's on my bookshelf, an excellent analysis of History) and your statement I quoted above is the (I am sure accidental) most beautiful admission of guilt.

Translation: "We never did what you accused us of doing, but anyways, it was the most natural thing, in the world, to do "

Markbo, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this ***slip***.

I am sure 'our readers' will know exactly what it means.

PS. My favourit line from "Staying Alive" with John Travolta is the following:

"You mean, Mom, that I have always been this bastard, but it is all right, because it comes naturally to me?"

[ June 23, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 23 June 2002 06:33 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well Zatamon, you’re probably right, I guess I don’t get the point of this thread. But let me offer a few thoughts anyway.

Maybe I missed it, but where exactly is there a claim that the West is superior? And if it is there, I’d have to say such a claim is obvious nonsense. If you’re alleging that the West has often behaved badly, again, isn’t that rather obvious? I’m unaware of any country or groups of countries – West, East, North or South – that haven’t often behaved badly.

As to your list of: Who…[fill in the blank with transgression], I could just as easily prepare a similar list with: Who..[fill in the blank with notable positive accomplishment]. Like everything, it’s a mixed bag. We’re all just groups of imperfect humans generally trying to do our best to live our lives. As humans, we often succumb to one of the seven deadlies and err. And the results are sometimes disastrous. But we often learn from these mistakes too.

Unlike you, I think we’re getting better; that “the patient” has never been healthier and the promise of continued improvement never stronger. In just the last few decades over a hundred countries have moved from one-party or military rule to democracy. That’s a momentous shift towards freedom of the likes never seen before in human history. That alone will bear fruit unimaginable, as the creative energies of people formerly repressed are unleashed into their own hands. And let’s not forget that democracies, as compared to autocracies, have a much better track record when it comes to behaving badly.

So no, I don’t share your pessimism or find much use in self-flagellation. My thoughts are to the future with a realistic optimism; that is, after all, where I plan to spend the rest of my life.


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 23 June 2002 06:55 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
SHH: Maybe I missed it, but where exactly is there a claim that the West is superior?
See Markbo above, answering my statement of "I suggest we look at the result of this 'superiority'. They have had enough time to prove it to us." with
quote:
Markbo: Well its obvious when you compare the western world to the non western world. The life span, income per capita, luxuries, education, choices we have prove how much our system works.
Next one...
quote:
SHH: Like everything, it’s a mixed bag.
Sure, like a black widow spider and a cookie jar in a bag. Guess what happens when you reach in?
quote:
SHH: Unlike you, I think we’re getting better; that “the patient” has never been healthier and the promise of continued improvement never stronger…. My thoughts are to the future with a realistic optimism;
SHH, in view of what you wrote above:...
quote:
SHH: I’ve seen many extremely poor become fabulously rich and, likewise, many born to wealth decay into virtual poverty. This pattern, in my experience, is almost the rule v the exception. The same has occured with me.
(my highlight) ...is not surprising at all. It sure explains your optimism if not your realism. If I wasn’t so tired of doing it over and over again, now I would throw some eye-opening statistics at you to show you how far from reality you strayed. But I am sure you would not find it convincing. If anyone else (with room for doubt in his mind) asks for it, I will make the effort.

It is easy to be optimistic when you find yourself "fabulously rich" in your own experience.

[ June 23, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 23 June 2002 07:03 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Translation: "We never did what you accused us of doing, but anyways, it was the most natural thing, in the world, to do "

Markbo, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this ***slip***.


A more proper translation would be "Yeah we did it, but we did it with the limited knowledge that we had at the time, The complete lack of known consequences. Now we're learning from the consequences of those actions and we're getting better. We'll still make mistakes, they'll stil have consequences from which we'll add to our present knowledge and also learn from"

What is your punishment for looking outside each day and seeing the beauty you see, Those mountains in the distance and the lush green valleys. ALl the while Perceiving that the only reason you see it is because millions of others can't?

Have you begged for forgiveness today? What punishment will you inflict on yourself? What do you do when the sunrises and sunsets are extra beautiful and the food you eat is fresh and delicious? How do you live with yourself thinking that it is only because millions starve that you eat so well.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 23 June 2002 07:14 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Markbo, I already answered your questions here and here and here

Happy reading!


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 23 June 2002 07:26 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There’s no doubt that when it comes to life expectancy, luxury items, etc., the West is best. I was taking the meaning to imply an intrinsic superiority. I haven’t heard that assertion.

As to my experience regarding the rich and poor; you left out the part about how my experience was in fact, a fact.

I don’t get your spider thingy.

I doubt you can produce many statistics I haven’t already seen, but your welcome to try. (To bring me back to reality of course).

PS: I'm rich alright, but not in monetary terms.


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 23 June 2002 07:49 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
SHH, please tell us about your experience. If you already have, I missed it. I also would like to know in what way you are rich, and if it is not monetary, then why you alluded to it in the context you have.

The 'spider thingy' was to illustrate that a 'mixed bag' may actually be deadly.

For the time being, if you don't mind, I will accept you in your own reality, such as it is. Maybe later, when I am really bored, I will try to 'convert' you.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 23 June 2002 09:52 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
SHH, please tell us about your experience. If you already have, I missed it.
I come from poverty and now I’m fine. I’m reluctant to toot my horn beyond that except to say that I didn’t get any help. All of my siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces, who came from similar roots, have done the same. Ditto numerous high school friends and other acquaintances. My experience is that in the US, if you stay in school, don’t be stupid, pursue a marketable set of specialized skills and stick with it, you can’t help but to find yourself doing very well monetarily. Barring some health or personal misfortune, it’s just not that hard. It does require dedication, long hours, and consistency though.

Okay, here’s your opening, tell us about the non-US experience.

quote:
I also would like to know in what way you are rich,
Family, friends, marriage, health, vocation. Still have my hair too.

quote:
and if it is not monetary, then why you alluded to it in the context you have.
Your mixing things. My first comment was in reference to your claim about an “entrenched” rich. I noted that this was inconsistent with both my experience and studies on the subject. This is apart from any unintentional suggestion that I was monetarily rich.

quote:
The 'spider thingy' was to illustrate that a 'mixed bag' may actually be deadly.
Well sure; life is deadly. Why the obsession with the Dark Side?
quote:
For the time being, if you don't mind, I will accept you in your own reality, such as it is. Maybe later, when I am really bored, I will try to 'convert' you.
Ah, c’mon. Convert me now. Let’s have some fun!

From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 23 June 2002 10:14 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
OK, SHH, I will make the attempt to 'convert' you, but I can't do it intensively. My expectation on 'return on investment' does not justify it. But I will try.

However, I don't want to 'onfocus' this thread, so I will start another one here

[ June 23, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 09:11 AM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think it would be easy to think that this thread was motivated by 'guilt.' I may be mistaken, but Zatamon sound's ashamed and guilty for being born into the 'west' and indulging in the luxuries it has raped from the oppressed regions of the world.
Like any liberal person, I know it is not right that most people in the world go without while we live in such priviledge. At the very least it seems un-christian.
Sure it may have been this way for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. (Perhaps back to Alexander the Great's brief Euro-Asia-straddling dictatorship?) But this does not justify the oppression of any man by another, be it by sword or corporate subsidiary. The state of the world is unjust.
Yet, it is the state of the world. This thread seems to me to be spelling out the obvious.
In my travels I have seen how the disenfranchised live. And I have seen the hatred(/love) of the West for this inequality.
But I always return home (Canada) and thank my stars that it is my home.
What have I learned?
I believe that very few Canadians will ever accept a decline in prosperity, let alone a decline in the rate of prosperity's increase, to help dislodge this festering oppression of the world's poor. In fact, most fight (or try to fight) to keep it...I think that has been the narrative for the heroic epic that is humanity.

From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 09:21 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No wei-chi, I was not born into the west. I have lived my life on both sides of the fence.

Guilt is an important emotion. If you are a decent person, it motivates you to undo the wrong you feel guilty about.

Guilt is only the first step. Saying 'Sorry' is the second. Start returning the stolen goods is the third.

But you are right, most people stop at step one. It is more important to them to continue owning the stolen goods than it is to be an honourable human being.

Pity.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 09:53 AM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sorry Zatamon, I forgot you are from Hungary (?). But I figured you were including the former USSR and Eastern bloc in the 'west'. Hungary is part of NATO now, and almost all the Eastern Bloc countries will be in the EU by 2004...

We've never known another way of life than Western Oppression, so I'm not sure something else (not western oppression) is any more desirable.

[ June 25, 2002: Message edited by: wei-chi ]


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 10:14 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes wei-chi, I lived in Hungary for 27 years before leaving. During my years there Hungary was in no position to suppress anyone (being the 'suppressee') so I had no reason to feel guilty about my Country's current role in the world (past roles are a different matter).

I am very sad that Hungary is part of NATO and, in way, I feel ashamed about it.

As I am getting older I think more in terms of humanity on this Planet and keep thinking of it as a badly devided country. This view helps me avoid the 'us' versus 'them' mindset and gives me the attitude of 'we are all in it together'.

Whether we admit it or not, humanity is our common family and we are responsible for all of it. It is all connected, we are part of it all.

Selective blindness may be very convenient at times, but convenience is not the same as honour.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 11:07 AM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But do we think Socrates had honour?
While Athens produced all kinds of decadence, perhaps Socrates was the most decadent of all. For you can't go looking for a wise man when your belly is empty, it must be very, very full. Full of life and knowledge only available in prosperous Athens. Zatamon, you yourself know what you can and cannot afford to say or do when you don't enjoy the luxuries of 'Western'-style democracy (for all its flaws).

Is it really like that short story "The Ones Who Leave Omelas"? Do you know the story? A perfect civilisation exists. The cost: one horribly suffering child. The moral: is it worth the cost? I'm not entirely convinced the metaphor is accurate, but nonetheless, does the world suffer so the West can enjoy nintendo and jeopardy?

It seems we can only question our morality once we have done something wrong. In an odd way, evil gives us knowledge of good. We can only afford to ask such questions on the back of our great wealth.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 11:41 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wei-chi, we can talk about individual honour or collective honour (just as we already agree that there is such a thing as ‘collective’ justice and collective guilt)

For me individual honour means “intellectual integrity” meaning: you try to find out what the truth is (with a completely open mind), and in possession of this knowledge, try to do the ‘right thing’. You aim to be fair to everyone, even if you have to give up something you would like to keep.

On this personal journey you make many mistakes and you do things you regret later or even are ashamed of. But it does not make you dishonourable, because you always did what you thought was fair and right.

On the collective level, no twisted excuse will relieve a group of the responsibility for the consequences of its actions. If it got rich by stealing other groups blind, it is a thief at best.

The fact that I had a full stomach while learning truth from ‘wise men’ does not make the truth less true. The fact that I enjoy the relative freedom of Canadian democracy does not change the fact that those who don’t, are not free.

I have to live somewhere on this planet and I happen to be in Canada and I love my new country (I would not have stayed for thirty years if I did not). And because I love my country, I am trying my best to contribute to Canada being an honourable country I can be proud of.

Nothing will change my being proud of the Canadian people, as I learned to appreciate them in the last 30 years. However, I am quite ashamed of our elite who do everything to corrupt, destroy and sully this beautiful people and what we stand for in the world.

[ June 25, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 12:37 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm not sure that if the West poured everything it had into equalizes the situation, righting past wrongs, that it would have a desirable impact. What do you think?

If resources are scarce, I don't know that there is enough to go around for 6 Billion people. Definately not enough to bring them up to our level of prosperity.

(I did some math once, I figured if the wealth in Canada was distributed evenly then a household would have about $40,000 a year to live on - which isn't too bad, but it's not all that great.)


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 12:42 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
wei-chi, which step are we at now? Remember the three steps I described earlier? (1./guilt 2./sorry 3./undo)

Do you agree about these steps as an ethically 'logical' progression?

If you do, where are *you* at?

Your last post sounds like you are talking about step 3./

Before I reply, I need to know what you think about step 1 and 2.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 25 June 2002 12:49 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If the world had but 2 billion people on it everyone could live like kings, because there'd be more than enough to go around for everyone.

It will take time to go from 6 billion to 2, but we're already almost there, since population growth is starting to fall off.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 12:52 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You mean DrC. that right now I could live like a '1/3 king'? Damn, who is using most of my share?

[ June 25, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 12:56 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, I guess I'm at stage 3, because I'm the kind of guy who figures if you aren't going to talk about stage 3, then stage 2 is probably not worth the breath.

That said. Stage 1: I'm not sure I feel guilty per se. For the same reasons I don't feel guilty about Canadian Aborignal disenfranchisement - I had nothing to do with the roots or maintenance of the problem. But I do feel responsible. Every political choice I make now affects others, not only globally, but locally: the homeless (am I willing to vote in a politician who will cut taxes but also cut social services). So I have a sense of responsibility. I guess its kind of like an existentialist responsibility, which is kind of like guilt.

Stage 2: I think 'apologies' are, unfortunately, mainly useless nowadways (in my experience they seem to be followed quickly by requests for compensation - which is why people don't apologize anymore). Actions speak louder than words. But on a case by case basis, I think it should be done in conjunction with Stage 3. If a company is building something in a community, it should re-examine its operating practices, listen to the community to know what they want. Apolgize for past abuses. Put together a local citizen group to act as a 'watchdog' on the company's new or renewed operations in the area, and actually listen to them. Build wealth together with the members of the community and strengthen the community with investment in infrastructure and culture.

if you get the drift of that quickly assembled series of things. I figure it can apply to governmental organisations as well.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 01:19 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
wei-chi, I have no quibble with what you wrote. I consider it a reasonable and responsible attitude.

Now, if we are talking about step 3./, things get a lot more complicated.

There are several levels on which step 3./ can be discussed.

The two considerations in choosing a level are: scope in space and time.

Scope in space means in what radius you want to deal with problems:

1./ Own country
2./ Own culture (western)
3./ Whole world

Scope in time means how soon you want to see results:

1./ immediate
2./ short term
3./ long term

There are a few other considerations:

1./Sustainability
2./Realistic nature

Sustainability asks if your action has a chance of being permanent or only temporary

Realistic nature has a bearing on your plan being only a nice dream or can actually be realized in view of:

a./ Historical forces
b./ Human psychology
c./ Power-matrix of the world (ruling elites)
d./ Availability of resources and technology
e./ Magnitude of existing damage

I hope I did not miss too much.

So pick a scope in space and time, and then we can proceed.

To warn you (you may have guessed by now) my interest is "Long term, sustainable and realistic solution for the whole world" and I am very reluctant to spend time on anything less than that.

[ June 25, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 01:29 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A long-term, realistic, sustainable solution for the whole world is really where all other solutions shoud lead.

When I think of long-term, realistic, sustainable solutions for Saskatoon, I think it should blend well with an overall solution for the world. (If my solutions are ethical).

Don't some people argue that the current state of the world, is a long-term, realistic, sustainable (well, getting better) solution for the whole world? Maybe in 15 years things will be better in India and Ghana.

Confronted with such a list of options, I must admit that if I were in charge, I'd concentrate on 'own country' immediate and long-term solutions of a realistic and sustainable nature. Taking into consideration the multiple aspects. I'd try and make this place better, and operate with better principles, and try conduct the business more ethically and sensitivly.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 01:48 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
All right, I have to add a few more considerations:

Are we talking about:

1./ what “I” personally should do (we have quite a bit of control)
2./ what our leading elite should do (we have very limited control)

What is our estimate on the vulnerability of the world that can lead to catastrophe in military/terrorist/fascist/environmental/health-epidemic/starvation areas

1./ Lots of time to fix things
2./ time to ‘panic intelligently’

What is our estimate about the dynamic status of the world:

1./ Moving in the right direction
2./ Stagnating in status quo
3./ On the wrong path, sliding out of control

Again, my personal take on these is: I am interested in ‘what one person can do’ in a world which is on the wrong path, sliding out of control, and it is time to ‘panic intelligently’.

Of course, I have my opinion on what our leaders should do, but it is of very little practical value to me or to the world.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 02:00 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, I'm mostly interested in what 'I' can do. You are right: a limited series of options.

I figure it is going to take a long time to fix things, so regardless: "lots of time to fix things," alternating between the next 1 and 2: "mostly on the right track, with regions and specific countries stagnating in the status quo."

As far as I can see, it is in the interest of the corporate 'elites' for the developing world to increase its prosperity. So it can sell them things. So I figure that corporations will move to cheap labour continously from A to B. There will always be the cheapest labour source, it will just be more expensive that it is now. In the future I think manufacturing will be too complex for people to do it. Or it will be too cheap to let people to do expensively.

Of course, the timeline is variable.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 02:14 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Now, when I consider what “I” can do, then I have several options that I have been pursuing for years.

1./ Adjust my own life style to minimize damage and maximize good that I do in the world. See "What one person can do"

2./ Spread awareness of ‘truth’ (the way I see it) to as many people as I can (by typing my fingers to the bone on forums)

3./ Get involved in local community where my action has a chance of making a difference (we just won a fight against Rogers about a proposed cell-phone tower -- yippee!)

4./ Write the occasional letter to MP/PM/newspaper

5./ Go to local rallies and demonstrations (mostly anti-war and anti-globalization).

You may be right about the 'interests' of the elite, but I have given up (a long time ago) expecting them to act in their own rational long term interest.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 25 June 2002 02:29 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What about action in political parties?
Local businesses? City Hall?

Do you actively engage in the politics of the 'system'?

I figure it's the best way.


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 02:41 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I take part in local (municipal) council meetings and public hearings when I think I can make a difference (like some of the fight with Rogers took place in local council meetings).

As far as the provincial and federal levels are concerned, I am very pessimistic about my chances. I am not a ‘team-player’ in the sense it is required at those places and I am not good at manipulating other people to get my way.

So I stick to what I know best: talk straight, try to make sense, listen, analyze, communicate.


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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