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if we needed to get rid of capitalism, could we?


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it is my belief that the economic mechanics and infrastructure that are held as self evident despite their constructed nature are wholly incapable of fixing the problems that they bring about, and I have been trying to picture what a world would look like without them.

 

I think the biggest hurdle would be how do we move away from capitalism when we have sunk so much resources in convincing ourselves that there is no other option? I would love to hear other folks thoughts on this.

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I don't think it's possible. People want to own things. And when you do, you can trade, and money is a medium for that.
Being able to regulate the economy in some ways is the way to go, instead of trying to come up with a system that would just get taken advantage by those in charge anyway.

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Just now, Sarah-Sylvia said:

I don't think it's possible. People want to own things. And when you do, you can trade, and money is a medium for that.
Being able to regulate the economy in some ways is the way to go, instead of trying to come up with a system that would just get taken advantage by those in charge anyway.

a economy that is regulated is a system that gets taken advantage by those in charge anyways. there is no detached arbiter who can regulate an economy for us.

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1 minute ago, gisiebob said:

a economy that is regulated is a system that gets taken advantage by those in charge anyways. there is no detached arbiter who can regulate an economy for us.

Yup, but at least there's more experience with money, though that doesn't mean people have learned how to go about things, and alternatives to the system means even more government control. Though in either case we need to watch the politicians much closer and find some ways to stop laying in bed with companies.

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Depends on who you mean by 'we'. There's a lot of very powerful people very invested in keeping capitalism around.

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34 minutes ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

I don't think it's possible. People want to own things. And when you do, you can trade, and money is a medium for that.
Being able to regulate the economy in some ways is the way to go, instead of trying to come up with a system that would just get taken advantage by those in charge anyway.

There is no reason people can't be able to own things. If you think about it, most of the stuff that you value is only valuable to you. And I mean "you" in the general sense ... most of our things have value that we have attached to them, but there's a reason our capitalist society has just ended up with massive landfills full of useless crap -- the majority of the "stuff" we have is not needed or even wanted by most people.

 

Food and shelter also do not need to be hoarded. We throw away massive amounts of food, and every city has buildings if not whole blocks of buildings that are just empty and unused. Not to mention that once you leave the cities, the vast majority of the country, in the US at least, is just empty land, that could be used to house people, if needed.

 

The way out of the Capitalist stranglehold is that we can allow people to still own things, and varied abilities and efforts can be rewarded differently -- if you're a talented artist or athlete, there's no reason your talents shouldn't be rewarded, or if you go to school forever to become an expert of some kind, you should be able to earn more for your expertise, too.

 

There's just no need for anybody to accrue billions or trillions of dollars though, regardless of what they do. I don't care if you start or run the largest company in the world. You can still be rich. Just not at the expense of others being homeless or starving.

 

It doesn't need to be an extreme, where people can't own anything, or are allowed to hoard necessities away from the most disadvantaged. We can take care of the most vulnerable people, while still rewarding talent and hard work.

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5 minutes ago, Rynn said:

Depends on who you mean by 'we'. There's a lot of very powerful people very invested in keeping capitalism around.

There's a lot more poor people than rich ones, though. The hurdle is unity for economic justice ... which I have no idea how to make happen, granted. But, I also don't think it is impossible.

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@rebisI have no problem with taxing the rich so that it gets back distributed in society. Problem is though governments waste a ton of that money.
Things have value based on scarcity too. Gold will always have value and be wanted as well, and people can trade with it. So either way you can't stop there being an economy. And if you try it can run into a lot of problems.

As far as empty places and lands, that's something I've thought about and wonder what could be done. If someone owns them then you can't just go and take them. The world needs to learn negotiation. If those lands could be used, then groups or the government can try to do something about that with whoever owns it.

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26 minutes ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

@rebisI have no problem with taxing the rich so that it gets back distributed in society. Problem is though governments waste a ton of that money.
Things have value based on scarcity too. Gold will always have value and be wanted as well, and people can trade with it. So either way you can't stop there being an economy. And if you try it can run into a lot of problems.

As far as empty places and lands, that's something I've thought about and wonder what could be done. If someone owns them then you can't just go and take them. The world needs to learn negotiation. If those lands could be used, then groups or the government can try to do something about that with whoever owns it.

Yeah, I wouldn't try to stop there being an economy. Trade happens naturally, I'm all for people being able to buy and sell things. You're right about scarcity, too -- not everyone will be able to have a gold toilet, even if we all wanted one. What I'm saying though is that, sure, because you own the biggest company in the world or whatever, maybe you created the world's first flying car, or are the world's top expert or artist in some area or something -- okay, due to your rare abilities or actions or whatever, then if you want a bunch of gold, then by all means, you should be able to buy plenty of gold. While this person at the far other end of the economic spectrum -- he or she will have no gold, being as they didn't invent anything, don't own anything, etc. They just don't need to starve or be homeless.

 

The point is not that everybody needs to have all the exact same things. Scarcity will always lend some extra value, sure. Truffles, caviar, whatever -- there's always going to be stuff not everyone can have, and I have no problem with only some elites being able to get that stuff. You can even get a big mansion on a beach or something, sure, I have no problem with that.

 

That doesn't mean your potential wealth needs to be unlimited, though. You don't need to own more than you can possibly use in a lifetime, while others live in abject poverty. I'm saying, we just limit what the absolute top and the absolute bottom can be. At the bottom, everybody gets shelter, everybody gets food, healthcare, access to education. We provide the basics to prevent abject misery, for everyone.

 

I'll leave aside the comment about governments wasting money, except to say that is not some kind of universal decree. Inefficiency and efficiency are both possible in any kind of system, government or otherwise.

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1 hour ago, rebis said:

There's a lot more poor people than rich ones, though. The

Those who are richest, often will be the most heavily armed. In some countries, oligarchs have private armies.

 

Many at the top, think like Carlos Slim. He was quoted as to stating he didn't believe in hand outs. 

 

He preffered providing opportunities via employment. 

 

You would be hard pressed, to have many in the 1% sign off a Robin Hood tax scheme.

 

You don't become rich by giving money away.

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51 minutes ago, rebis said:

Yeah, I wouldn't try to stop there being an economy. Trade happens naturally, I'm all for people being able to buy and sell things. You're right about scarcity, too -- not everyone will be able to have a gold toilet, even if we all wanted one. What I'm saying though is that, sure, because you own the biggest company in the world or whatever, maybe you created the world's first flying car, or are the world's top expert or artist in some area or something -- okay, due to your rare abilities or actions or whatever, then if you want a bunch of gold, then by all means, you should be able to buy plenty of gold. While this person at the far other end of the economic spectrum -- he or she will have no gold, being as they didn't invent anything, don't own anything, etc. They just don't need to starve or be homeless.

 

The point is not that everybody needs to have all the exact same things. Scarcity will always lend some extra value, sure. Truffles, caviar, whatever -- there's always going to be stuff not everyone can have, and I have no problem with only some elites being able to get that stuff. You can even get a big mansion on a beach or something, sure, I have no problem with that.

 

That doesn't mean your potential wealth needs to be unlimited, though. You don't need to own more than you can possibly use in a lifetime, while others live in abject poverty. I'm saying, we just limit what the absolute top and the absolute bottom can be. At the bottom, everybody gets shelter, everybody gets food, healthcare, access to education. We provide the basics to prevent abject misery, for everyone.

To be honest I agree with your take. So I wouldn't argue against that XD


I'm for some form of regulation so long as it's simple enough and well done.
I think taxing enormously the super rich, and putting that money at the bottom, is one way to go about it. No matter what's done though they always try to find loopholes, like offshore businesses in example. But then that can mean taxing the import of goods more, and stuff like that.

For governments wasting money though, that's definitely a concern that needs to be talked about.
I watched a documentary just recently, seaspiracy, and even if it doesn't have to do with this topic, one part they mentioned that governments gave subsidies and stuff like that to commercial fishing companies, as a way to get the prices down and make the fish more available, and I don't remember if it was the subsidies or also something else, but anyway they calculated that that amount of money is around the same amount that was posed to end world hunger.
There's also the bills where they cram so many things in and fill their pockets through other agencies instead of it going to the people, and stuff like that.

I think corruption is the biggest thing to tackle, because in whatever case if we give government any power to do something they have to be carefully watched and made accountable, it's the people's money afterall, what they contribute to their own society.

 

Also, there needs to be more severe regulation for commercial fishing companies XD, now that I've seen just how bad it is.

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RoseGoesToYale
2 hours ago, gisiebob said:

I think the biggest hurdle would be how do we move away from capitalism when we have sunk so much resources in convincing ourselves that there is no other option?

I think in order for it to happen, enough people (and I mean a majority of the population) will have to realize for themselves that capitalism doesn't work. They have to be overworked enough, lied to enough times by the American dream, gone through enough election cycles with no change, screamed enough at protests while politicians don't listen, read enough under-the-table literature, and died enough. You basically have to have an epiphany of "This is complete bullshit", and it does happen. I watched friends go from singing the praises of 'Murica® to posting outright socialist rants on social media, after so many horrible minimum wage job experiences, the soul-crushing hell that is trying to find a job here, and seeing their neighbors and loved ones beat down by the system.

 

Many people still convince themselves that they get something out of capitalism, even when it very visibly fails them. You take a drive through Republican states, where people staunchly vote for free market capitalism, and you see communities that lack enough food stores or are miles away from a single hospital. There's no public transit and people have to drive older, unreliable cars because they're affordable enough to maintain and there's no alternative. Their roads and infrastructure are falling apart. Their public schools are underfunded.

 

There're only so many times you can hit a puppy before she realizes she has teeth and can leap up and bite you.

 

But as for Americans, I don't envision them staging a rebellion. I think the ones who've had their BS epiphany will just leave. It's what people have been doing for centuries. There are plenty of other countries out there who have better working conditions and more benefits and are improving every day, all while taxing the tar out of corporations. I think it would be better than a socialist revolution. America could easily justify itself as the poor victim of socialist insidiousness and use the army to kill people, but if people emigrate? It can't shoot at or kill them. It could stop people from leaving, but then the whole world would recognize the US as an undemocratic oppressor. It's just a question of how many people have to leave a country before it falls down? (To clarify, I don't see any of this being accomplished in my lifetime)

 

2 hours ago, gisiebob said:

I have been trying to picture what a world would look like without them.

I imagine it would look like earth in Star Trek. No war, free healthcare and food and shelter. Free education. People who are free spirits can go and do whatever they please, learn whatever craft they want. People who need rigorous work and structure for their lives to have meaning can join an institution (like Starfleet). Technology so advanced that minimum wage jobs become obsolete, but that leaves the vernacular landscape. People can become doctors or lawyers or engineers or professors based not on their ability to pay for school, but on their talent and desire to succeed and help others. All the energy used is self-sustaining. Basically, utopia. (Not that Star Trek earth reached utopia without a bunch of really awful shit happening to humanity first)

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53 minutes ago, RoseGoesToYale said:

I think in order for it to happen, enough people (and I mean a majority of the population) will have to realize for themselves that capitalism doesn't work. They have to be overworked enough, lied to enough times by the American dream, gone through enough election cycles with no change, screamed enough at protests while politicians don't listen, read enough under-the-table literature, and died enough. You basically have to have an epiphany of "This is complete bullshit", and it does happen. I watched friends go from singing the praises of 'Murica® to posting outright socialist rants on social media, after so many horrible minimum wage job experiences, the soul-crushing hell that is trying to find a job here, and seeing their neighbors and loved ones beat down by the system.

I don't believe that will ever happen. The 2008 crisis is a good example: not only was it totally caused by capitalism, it also proved that neoliberals were full of shit and a self-regulating market is a fantasy. People had reason to turn on this system, but they didn't in any great numbers - I think that in the end the media and the ones in power are too good at keeping people in line by throwing them table scraps.

 

Of course there's always the impending climate disaster, but that's probably just going to lead to climate refugees getting massacred.

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Comrade Jade Cross
2 hours ago, Perspektiv said:

Those who are richest, often will be the most heavily armed. In some countries, oligarchs have private armies.

 

Many at the top, think like Carlos Slim. He was quoted as to stating he didn't believe in hand outs. 

 

He preffered providing opportunities via employment. 

 

You would be hard pressed, to have many in the 1% sign off a Robin Hood tax scheme.

 

You don't become rich by giving money away.

No, but in the taxing system, giving money away, under some charity, is another way to not have it get taxed off you. 

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Comrade Jade Cross
1 hour ago, RoseGoesToYale said:

I think in order for it to happen, enough people (and I mean a majority of the population) will have to realize for themselves that capitalism doesn't work. They have to be overworked enough, lied to enough times by the American dream, gone through enough election cycles with no change, screamed enough at protests while politicians don't listen, read enough under-the-table literature, and died enough. You basically have to have an epiphany of "This is complete bullshit", and it does happen. I watched friends go from singing the praises of 'Murica® to posting outright socialist rants on social media, after so many horrible minimum wage job experiences, the soul-crushing hell that is trying to find a job here, and seeing their neighbors and loved ones beat down by the system.

 

Many people still convince themselves that they get something out of capitalism, even when it very visibly fails them. You take a drive through Republican states, where people staunchly vote for free market capitalism, and you see communities that lack enough food stores or are miles away from a single hospital. There's no public transit and people have to drive older, unreliable cars because they're affordable enough to maintain and there's no alternative. Their roads and infrastructure are falling apart. Their public schools are underfunded.

 

There're only so many times you can hit a puppy before she realizes she has teeth and can leap up and bite you.

 

But as for Americans, I don't envision them staging a rebellion. I think the ones who've had their BS epiphany will just leave. It's what people have been doing for centuries. There are plenty of other countries out there who have better working conditions and more benefits and are improving every day, all while taxing the tar out of corporations. I think it would be better than a socialist revolution. America could easily justify itself as the poor victim of socialist insidiousness and use the army to kill people, but if people emigrate? It can't shoot at or kill them. It could stop people from leaving, but then the whole world would recognize the US as an undemocratic oppressor. It's just a question of how many people have to leave a country before it falls down? (To clarify, I don't see any of this being accomplished in my lifetime)

Slight problem, citizenship. Few things that people don't know about citizenship, including the binding terms of the one they currently posses can make the process elsewhere a painstaking nightmare, especially if there is a huge influx of immigrants which is never taken lightly.

 

It's also worth noting that America absolutely loves using fear tactics to keep people in check so far as categorizing anything they don't like as "terrorist attempts", so in order to overthrow the government, you would basically need a World war 3 scale civil war, which surprise, the average citizen doesn't know how to map out. 

 

Or try making a Ponzi scheme like Bernie Madoff and just pray you don't get caught. But hey that lucky bastard got away with it for years and would have continued to if it hadn't been for the 2008 collapse. Gotta give credit to the guy, that was a genius scam

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1 hour ago, RoseGoesToYale said:

I think in order for it to happen, enough people (and I mean a majority of the population) will have to realize for themselves that capitalism doesn't work.

I think the problem as Woody Guthrie wrote is that the system isn't broken it just wasn't made for you and me. Capitalism is working better than ever people are being exploited more and the wealthy are getting more powerful. For me we will abolish capitalism when we realize it is working and that that's the whole problem.

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2 hours ago, ben8884 said:

I think the problem as Woody Guthrie wrote is that the system isn't broken it just wasn't made for you and me. Capitalism is working better than ever people are being exploited more and the wealthy are getting more powerful. For me we will abolish capitalism when we realize it is working and that that's the whole problem.

I feel like more than "working for" anyone, what it provides is positive reinforcement, such that unless your circumstances are unrecoverable and/or you take a step back and look at the system from a nonpersonal perspective, all you see is that if you play by the rules of the game you will be rewarded, and there is self-delusion that it is a game of skill. I don't think capitalism works for even the people who find themselves profiting under it.

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6 hours ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

I have no problem with taxing the rich so that it gets back distributed in society. Problem is though governments waste a ton of that money.
Things have value based on scarcity too. Gold will always have value and be wanted as well, and people can trade with it. So either way you can't stop there being an economy. And if you try it can run into a lot of problems.

I feel like this accurately sounds like someone who is stuck as an enabler to an addict.

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23 minutes ago, gisiebob said:

I feel like this accurately sounds like someone who is stuck as an enabler to an addict.

That's an incredibly weird thing to say. But clearly you think capitalism is bad. I don't. It can take regulation to make sure things don't get out of hand for some things, and that's normal for someone who also believes in socialism. I think banks and the creation of money need to be scrutinized too though, some things are not totally right in that area.

 

27 minutes ago, gisiebob said:

if you play by the rules of the game you will be rewarded, and there is self-delusion that it is a game of skill. I don't think capitalism works for even the people who find themselves profiting under it.

The game is meeting demand (or, what has worth) for people in society. Something that would be there in any system unless you don't want to let people give value for something they want.

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Right now no, we couldn't. Especially not in America. It's too ingrained in the culture and if you talk to anyone who's moderate, or even moderate-left, and they'd think it's unthinkable of getting rid of capitalism. 

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You have to define what is meant by "capitalism".   There are certainly countries that are not capitalist by any definition - like North Korea, but there are very few, because that doesn't seem to work. 

 

Almost all countries have a regulated market of some sort-  just the amount of regulation varies. 

 

Most countries allow private ownership - which is essentially "capitalism". A think you own that has some use is capital.   

 

Once you have ownership, then it seems natural for a capitalist economy to develop.  The guy who owns the only lawnmower in town (capital) discovers he can be paid to mow people's lawns.  He earns enough to buy another lawnmower and to pay someone else to use that one.  Eventually he no longer needs to mow lawns because he owns enough lawnmowers.     I believe you need regulation to prevent that from happening. 

 

There may be some system that works better, but I haven't seen it.

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3 hours ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

That's an incredibly weird thing to say. But clearly you think capitalism is bad. I don't. It can take regulation to make sure things don't get out of hand for some things, and that's normal for someone who also believes in socialism. I think banks and the creation of money need to be scrutinized too though, some things are not totally right in that area.

 

The game is meeting demand (or, what has worth) for people in society. Something that would be there in any system unless you don't want to let people give value for something they want.

is there anything that is currently not out of hand within the mechanics of our economy? I guess what I am saying is that in order to regulate the system to a point where we are not hurting ourselves with it, it would seem entirely draconian to me, and I would much rather have the individual freedom that an entirely different system might offer.

I know it seems like something that works, it is something that is built to have us tell ourselves that it is a system that works, or that could work with just a little tweak, and threats to that system have had us telling ourselves that stringently for years.
I didn't really want to talk about if the systems that we have need changing at a fundamental level, because I know that that is hard.
what I am wondering is, if they did, like if the system was your job and your boss said that the company was switching to a new system, deal with it, how would that look?

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2 minutes ago, uhtred said:

You have to define what is meant by "capitalism".   There are certainly countries that are not capitalist by any definition - like North Korea, but there are very few, because that doesn't seem to work. 

 

Almost all countries have a regulated market of some sort-  just the amount of regulation varies. 

 

Most countries allow private ownership - which is essentially "capitalism". A think you own that has some use is capital.   

 

Once you have ownership, then it seems natural for a capitalist economy to develop.  The guy who owns the only lawnmower in town (capital) discovers he can be paid to mow people's lawns.  He earns enough to buy another lawnmower and to pay someone else to use that one.  Eventually he no longer needs to mow lawns because he owns enough lawnmowers.     I believe you need regulation to prevent that from happening. 

 

There may be some system that works better, but I haven't seen it.

ok, so to describe my mindset, I am thinking of two changes to your analogy, in functional scarcity and the concept of trade: there being nothing to prevent anyone else from also owning a lawnmower, they simply requisition one from a factory, or even make their own; and the absence of the mindset that someone mowing your lawn should be paid to do so, not that they should be forced to, just that lawnmowing would be a transaction in isolation.

 

however, I only want to offer that idea as structure, if there are others I would love to hear them

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Crooks wouldn’t be able to make a living if the arguably necessary reforms and interventions were made to capitalism as we know it here in the US.

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@gisiebobanother system would offer less individual freedom. Any going away from the free the market means more government control. Unless you have some creative proposal.

 

There's changes that can be made in the current system that can allow for more. I'm actually not against universal income, in example, but it would have to be done really really well or else it could ruin the economy even more.

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18 hours ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

@rebisI have no problem with taxing the rich so that it gets back distributed in society. Problem is though governments waste a ton of that money.
Things have value based on scarcity too. Gold will always have value and be wanted as well, and people can trade with it. So either way you can't stop there being an economy. And if you try it can run into a lot of problems.

Just want to point out a couple arguments that you've already baked in here:

 

1 - Governments waste a ton of money.

 

The implication here is that this is a unique feature to governments. That is, private industry doesn't waste a ton of money, but government does. Except - that's clearly not true. Private industries make a bunch of bad business decisions all the time, which is why you get scandals about bad investments. More than that, most corporations aren't actually beholden even to their own welfare - just to shareholder value. Startups who get bought out by large companies and then shelved or chopped up for parts (like, their innovative software, or their brand logo) make large amounts of money for the owners, but they end up producing LESS and wasting resources. And that's without talking about what happens to the employees who actually did the work to get the company into position to be bought out (most likely a few months of severance pay, which they may have had little to no idea was on the table).

 

Later, you talk about government corruption due to lobbyists, and that boggles my mind - who do you think is lobbying and doing the corruption? The government doesn't lobby itself. The private sector does that. When a government employee grifts, that grift involves funneling public funds to a private firm, then that private firm misusing the funds and giving kickbacks. Corruption isn't endemic to government - it's endemic to the idea of profit.

 

2 - Gold will always have value.

 

Why? I mean, I know there are a lot of people who are really caught up on the idea of the 'gold standard', but why? Gold isn't magical. It's a soft metal, whose chief uses are as decoration and a component in electronics. But decorations aren't inherently valuable. So why would gold be?

 

This has always been the most mystifying concept to me, because the reason gold is valuable is the same reason money is valuable: everyone agreed it was. That's it. Gold was just money before we put it on paper. The 'gold standard' is as meaningless as the 'dollar standard' or the 'coconut standard'. They're all just objects. Actually, gold is a worse standard than a controlled currency, because someone might accidentally dig up a bunch of gold, or a meteorite full of gold might crash into us, and then what happens? At least in theory, you can control how many dollars there are. Why do people think gold has a magic power of 'being valuable'?

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@Epic TetusI don't care if others waste money. The government represents the people, our money deserves to be used well.

 

We need to watch the government. In a way lobbying being done not just behind the doors right now can be good to know what's going on. but things like that need to be brought up to be discussed and dealt with well, not bribing people who represent the people.

And you don't need money or capitalism to bribe people. It'll always be a problem that needs to be handled.

 

Gold is shiny and rare. Not sure what you wanna know more :P It makes great jewelry and more.

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Just now, Sarah-Sylvia said:

@Epic TetusI don't care if others waste money. The government represents the people, our money deserves to be used well.

Okay - but then your resistance is merely one of principle?

 

Like, you have to use your money on things one way or another. At the very least: food, shelter, clothing. I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that you also like some of the things we're used to having: roads, bridges, running water. So if the government isn't going to provide or maintain any of these services, I guess you're going to get them from private industry. But you don't care if they waste your money?

 

Even if you're right about the government being somehow inherently more wasteful than private industry (which I don't actually agree with, this seems like just as magical thinking as 'gold is inherently valuable'), your money is still going to waste.

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3 minutes ago, Epic Tetus said:

Okay - but then your resistance is merely one of principle?

 

Like, you have to use your money on things one way or another. At the very least: food, shelter, clothing. I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that you also like some of the things we're used to having: roads, bridges, running water. So if the government isn't going to provide or maintain any of these services, I guess you're going to get them from private industry. But you don't care if they waste your money?

 

Even if you're right about the government being somehow inherently more wasteful than private industry (which I don't actually agree with, this seems like just as magical thinking as 'gold is inherently valuable'), your money is still going to waste.

What are you talking about? That has nothing to do with anything I said. Taxes fund public services.

And I never said they were more wasteful. I said they represent us so we need to find a way to hold them accountable. and that's pretty hard when people don't recognize how corrupt they can be too.

Well, lots of people used to answer that politicians are crooked. Not sure what people say now.

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