OtherGround Forums It Shouldn't be "Capitalism Vs Socialism"

14 days ago
2/1/08
Posts: 13268
Le Shat V2 - Same crap with Robert, prefaces his remarks with I think both are great but then proceeds to do nothing but tell you why leftist unions and socialist policies are fantastic! Basically just a sales pitch for "Democratic Socialism" which is just rebranded socialism/fascism.


History has proven fully implemented socialism is an abject failure 100% of the time. Every fully socialist country became tyrannical, murdering tens of millions, imprisoning tens of millions, and eventually causing total economic collapse. Once again, this is every single time it's been attempted. Yet he doesn't mention these facts, instead it's some minor crimes (by comparison) by corporations.

What this tells any thinking person is that the concept of socialism is flawed at it's core. It's not a matter of implementation or degree, it's a matter of fact that your basic premise is false as evidenced by your results (not your rhetoric).

So the onus is on those advocating socialism to tell us how they have abandoned the principles that lead to devastation and have revised them with something valid. So far all I see is attaching the same philosophy onto capitalism like a parasite. Having government dictate wages, profits, higher regulations, etc...hmmm seems that's been tried and failed as well, just a slower death.

It's obvious he has no experience with unions or he would acknowledge their level of corruption, intimidation, etc.. can be on par with the worst corporations in history. Yes, they had their time to help, but ultimately became a burdensome special interest group that prevents growth with their ridiculous rules and demands. Look what they have done to the textile and steel industries, not to mention auto and ruining Detroit. Then we have government unions with ridiculous pay, pensions, etc..and no accountability. So just another failed leftist idea.

Le Shat
©



So, where are all the successful anarcho-capitalist countries?

14 days ago
1/3/18
Posts: 5397
The Jentleman -

Capitalism is innocuous, amoral. Yet because of that it is the only moral economic system. It does not force conditions onto people, and leaves the decision making to those of free will. Yet also because of that, it is susceptible to immorality by individuals, corporations, and groups. These immoral actions can be regulated, but regulating the free market itself is a blight against our rights as human beings and free will.

Socialism is immoral in nature. It forces people under threat of severe punishment to work under very specific standards. This does not mean that relatively good people won’t try to use Socialist policies to try and do things that they agree with as being good, but that comes at a price of forcing others to your wants. To work and give up more of their earnings to your whims. That’s inherently evil.

And yet your precious holy book is a socialist manifesto by the messianic hippy himself and capitalism goes against xtian principles. 

14 days ago
8/29/19
Posts: 2
The Jentleman -

Capitalism is innocuous, amoral. Yet because of that it is the only moral economic system. It does not force conditions onto people, and leaves the decision making to those of free will. Yet also because of that, it is susceptible to immorality by individuals, corporations, and groups. These immoral actions can be regulated, but regulating the free market itself is a blight against our rights as human beings and free will.

Socialism is immoral in nature. It forces people under threat of severe punishment to work under very specific standards. This does not mean that relatively good people won’t try to use Socialist policies to try and do things that they agree with as being good, but that comes at a price of forcing others to your wants. To work and give up more of their earnings to your whims. That’s inherently evil.

100

14 days ago
1/7/09
Posts: 3814

99% of people worried about “socialism” don’t know what it is

14 days ago
1/3/18
Posts: 5405
TheDecider -

99% of people worried about “socialism” don’t know what it is

You’ve obviously studied socialism in-depth and have thus audited the many OGers posts, responses and discussions on the subject.

Apparently you have advanced knowledge so why don’t you just educate the 99%?

14 days ago
3/15/15
Posts: 12147
in for eventual racism.
14 days ago
11/13/14
Posts: 4502
TheDecider -

99% of people worried about “socialism” don’t know what it is

It's where a dictator tells everyone where to work and then he gives their money to the lazy people.

14 days ago
3/20/15
Posts: 12322

OP is right to the extent that socialism is a socio-economic system, where capitalism is purely an economic system.

 

Neither is exist in pure form in this world. No such thing as a free market. Every government has there filthy little hands in it.

14 days ago
4/19/09
Posts: 32692
David@accu -
Ghengiseanie - 
robert bentley -

This is a childish framing of the discussion and essentially a result of tribalism. People are less interested in discussing whatever the topics are at hand than they are yelling about which team they're on -- and in this case it's "Team Capitalism Vs Team Socialism"

It shouldn't be a one-or-the-other, it should be "How can we make our current system better" - period.

And if that means taking ideas from other systems, or tweaking aspects of your current system, then so be it. 

When you make a topic more about an identity to be protected, you're less likely to listen to good ideas. There are wonderfully functional free-market economies out there in the world that allow for wealth-generation, property ownership, and private enterprise...all while tackling issues such as worker's rights, poverty, education, healthcare, and social support systems.

These systems aren't perfect by any stretch of course - but there are *some* things they're doing better than the U.S and it would make sense to look at how they're tackling these problems instead of dismissing everything that isn't corporate worship as socialism or communism.

For example - I believe in the power of the free market and don't believe there should even BE a minimum wage. However - I also believe that employees should have more rights than they do now (particularly the right to organize/unionize). The general working class should have more control over what is and isn't acceptable with respect to their treatment, and when they have that power - a federally mandated minimum wage isn't necessary.

BUT - in the U.S perhaps a higher minimum wage IS necessary. If corporations and lobbyists aren't willing to cede ground in allowing people to organize etc then they have no real power to keep corporate interests in check. Perhaps in this scenario a mandatory minimum wage is necessary.

On a very general note there is the benefits to literally everyone in society when that society itself is elevated; so improvements to education, healthcare, and systems in place for when people fall on hard luck -- are all things which maximize the general talent pool. If you want more people contributing to the greater good, and more talent available for medical, scientific, or cultural advancements -- you're going to want fewer people starving or just barely scraping by. 

I

The people you are addressing  on this forum are not politically literate. 


So because we don't agree with your opinion, we are politically illiterate? And you wonder why people are sick of the left and leaving in droves.  That's the major problem with the left. It's not a matter of opinion anymore. You people think you are just right and everyone else is either stupid or evil. That's exactly what makes you disgusting people. 

You frequently misuse accepted academic terminology for the sake of hyperbole.

Socialism is not everything from centre Democrat to the left. 

Communism and socialism do not equate t facism. 

Opinion pieces and overblown rhetoric do not make reality. So many on here buy propaganda hook lime and sinker. This is my educated opinion as a Pol Sci grad. 

Your opinions mean nothing to me. Semantic accuracy does because without accuracy you are just engaging in meaningless buzzword demagoguery.  

 

I dont agree with several so called ,"left AND right" posters ideologies but there are definitely those capable of carrying out a discussion. And there are those who arent. 

14 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 53667

More and more are steering center-right. It's not the right time to compromise.

14 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 4304
robert bentley -
The Jentleman - 
robert bentley -
The Jentleman - 

^I had a much longer post but lost it.

In a nutshell. Corporations do mostly good too. Most people without insurance are in entry level jobs. Most CEO’s provide benefits and make less than unions bosses.

Much of the degradation of “bargaining power” is by unions themselves who block people from bargaining on their own behalf or joining a separate union.

I have no problem with greedy and corrupt CEO’s being called out, but that’s not your average CEO. If you want more “bargaining power” with unions than unions need to actually be for the workers and follow more “moralistic” (free market) values and allow competition instead of following the greedy and corrupt CEO’s in their bid for more money and power. You would see a big uptick in unionized workers if they did that.


Is that what you feel is happening in countries where unions have a much stronger presence? 

Are these issues you mention more a problem with American unions and not so much unions as a whole?

I’m not so certain about unions in other countries and if they make it impossible for other unions to exist within a company, or try to keep nonunion members from bargaining on their own behalf. And I would never say as a whole because I’ve dealt with good people in unions, and a few bad. 

I would say they’re just like corporations here. You have mostly good people and some corrupt people. It’s easy to find those with the most desire for money/power/both in a microcosm and put the onerous on them all, but I find in general that most people are good. The one problem that unions have over even those “evil corporations” is their complete hypocrisy in saying they’re for the workers when they actually limit workers from being able to negotiate. And this has been common practice here in the States.


I'm almost on the same page with respect to the idea that most people are good, but I draw the line at corporations - but for purely pragmatic reasons. 

The nature of a person is going to be guided by things like empathy, their desires, their nature, greed in some measure (of course) as well as compassion and kindness. Most people also want very similar things. But there is a limit to an individual's greed, and a limit to what they'll do to accomplish their own individual goals. Not just legal limits - but things they'll feel bad about doing.

In a corporation you have an entity that has one primary function, the enrich the shareholders - and each part and each cog in this larger organization (each made up of good people who have the same or similar moral concerns as you or I) does their specific part to ensure that happens. So this larger conglomeration of people doesn't have the same individuals stops in place that you or I do. We make our decisions as a whole. Not only that - we do so understanding that if we are caught red-handed we can't simply dissolve the legally culpable entity to rebuild another one in its place. 

In many cases it's not a specific act of "Evil" per se, but a series of sub-optimal decisions that all work towards contributing towards what ends up becoming an enormous disaster. For example - a common strategy to insure that profits keep going up in a chemical plant is to put metrics in place so that each department's manager is held accountable. Each manager gets a bonus on reducing costs while increasing output. (this is a heavy oversimplification - but I think my point is clear) Now in the various departments or plants that are of course safety measures and restrictions...but managers find that they have no problem just skirting the edges of these limitations to achieve the best ration and best bonuses for themselves. Everything *should* be okay but if an unforseen event pushes something over the edge the result could be (and in some cases has been) catastrophic. 

This type of scenario is what can lead to giant environmental disasters where people can suffer enormously. Basically - a powerful entity whose primary concern is profit with many moving parts has actions or decisions separate enough from the individual that their motivations are going to vary.

I don't have a specific corporation in mind with the above (although in some ways the various safety failures in the Union Carbide disaster appear similar) -- my point is that if an entities motivations are primarily financial, they have a lot of power, and decisions are broken down in such a way that no one individual can be genuinely held accountable for something that goes terribly wrong... this is not a moral entity in the same sense you or I are.

Yet even in your example it boils down to a specific individual (manager) making a decision that isn’t acceptable to company policy. For no corporation wants their employees to “skirt” safety policies and procedures. It opens them up to lawsuits, or worse. 

And yet I see a blanket condemnation from you against corporations themselves for the actions of potentially just one person. If one person can skirt company safety policies, procedures, and restrictions then that one person can also skirt governmental policies, procedures, and restrictions. The human element, and potentially bad and disastrous selfish decision making is still present. Except with more government control comes a bigger piece of the pie that can be negatively impacted by one individual. One bad decision within government can then have horrible results on an entire industry and cripple the economy.

It’s something that has played out numerous times in history.

14 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 10710

"Yet even in your example it boils down to a specific individual (manager) making a decision that isn’t acceptable to company policy. For no corporation wants their employees to “skirt” safety policies and procedures. It opens them up to lawsuits, or worse. 

And yet I see a blanket condemnation from you against corporations themselves for the actions of potentially just one person. If one person can skirt company safety policies, procedures, and restrictions then that one person can also skirt governmental policies, procedures, and restrictions. The human element, and potentially bad and disastrous selfish decision making is still present. Except with more government control comes a bigger piece of the pie that can be negatively impacted by one individual. One bad decision within government can then have horrible results on an entire industry and cripple the economy.

It’s something that has played out numerous times in history."

It was precisely my point to give an example that doesn't require malice, only an individual's detached short sightedness. A corporation doesn't move, act, or make decisions as a single entity - but it does provide a great deal of *power* and magnification for mistakes. So a manager who is "confident" they can get away with something that skirts the edge (but doesn't violate) safety regulations doesn't believe they are doing anything wrong.

The person who creates an incentivized system which encourages managers to push the limits of these regulations also doesn't believe they are doing anything wrong or dangerous.

The shareholders who pressure this person to devise these systems aren't just the most powerful, they are also the most detached from the various consequences of any decisions they make -- and by their very definition their decisions are based purely on the accumulation of wealth.

If an incredibly powerful entity's primary concern is wealth generation, and the potential consequences of malfeasance catastrophic, and the ones with the most power within this organization are the ones most detached from its consequences -- it's only a matter of time before something goes wrong. And this is *without* malice.

With people, the consequences of their actions are something they personally have to deal with as well as see and experience themselves. People have empathy and compassion, corporations do not.

Now of course there are examples where there is easy to point out catastrophic failures of judgement that ruin lives. All of the variations on Ponzi schemes, price fixing, and other well documented issues of corporate fraud. But my example was to show that the nature or corporations themselves will eventually lead to some disaster IF they're not kept tightly in check.

Now if we take your claim that corporations are for the most part good like most people, then surely we would have seen far greater protest from the corporate sector itself when Trump made motions to roll back safety measures, regulations, and other "red tape" that are there quite specifically to prevent terrible things from happening in the first place. And we wouldn't see these regulations being maligned as unnecessary wastes of time and money.

We also would see greater protest of corporate tax cuts. Money that corporations *used* to pay into the system that has benefited them so much, money that would go towards infrastructure, healthcare, education, and other things that they themselves benefit directly from (an educated workforce, roads for their delivery trucks etc. etc.). But they don't - in fact they take these corporate tax cuts and hoard the wealth. 

So what would you call a group of powerful entities that wish to continually erode their contributions to the society they benefit so much from being a part of, and wish to remove the very necessary regulations in place because they consider them an unnecessary burden?

Would you say as a whole this is a "good" group? Or would you say it's exactly what you would expect to see of entities whose sole purpose for existence is the generation of profit?

 

14 days ago
2/1/08
Posts: 13276
The Jentleman -
robert bentley -
The Jentleman - 
robert bentley -
The Jentleman - 

^I had a much longer post but lost it.

In a nutshell. Corporations do mostly good too. Most people without insurance are in entry level jobs. Most CEO’s provide benefits and make less than unions bosses.

Much of the degradation of “bargaining power” is by unions themselves who block people from bargaining on their own behalf or joining a separate union.

I have no problem with greedy and corrupt CEO’s being called out, but that’s not your average CEO. If you want more “bargaining power” with unions than unions need to actually be for the workers and follow more “moralistic” (free market) values and allow competition instead of following the greedy and corrupt CEO’s in their bid for more money and power. You would see a big uptick in unionized workers if they did that.


Is that what you feel is happening in countries where unions have a much stronger presence? 

Are these issues you mention more a problem with American unions and not so much unions as a whole?

I’m not so certain about unions in other countries and if they make it impossible for other unions to exist within a company, or try to keep nonunion members from bargaining on their own behalf. And I would never say as a whole because I’ve dealt with good people in unions, and a few bad. 

I would say they’re just like corporations here. You have mostly good people and some corrupt people. It’s easy to find those with the most desire for money/power/both in a microcosm and put the onerous on them all, but I find in general that most people are good. The one problem that unions have over even those “evil corporations” is their complete hypocrisy in saying they’re for the workers when they actually limit workers from being able to negotiate. And this has been common practice here in the States.


I'm almost on the same page with respect to the idea that most people are good, but I draw the line at corporations - but for purely pragmatic reasons. 

The nature of a person is going to be guided by things like empathy, their desires, their nature, greed in some measure (of course) as well as compassion and kindness. Most people also want very similar things. But there is a limit to an individual's greed, and a limit to what they'll do to accomplish their own individual goals. Not just legal limits - but things they'll feel bad about doing.

In a corporation you have an entity that has one primary function, the enrich the shareholders - and each part and each cog in this larger organization (each made up of good people who have the same or similar moral concerns as you or I) does their specific part to ensure that happens. So this larger conglomeration of people doesn't have the same individuals stops in place that you or I do. We make our decisions as a whole. Not only that - we do so understanding that if we are caught red-handed we can't simply dissolve the legally culpable entity to rebuild another one in its place. 

In many cases it's not a specific act of "Evil" per se, but a series of sub-optimal decisions that all work towards contributing towards what ends up becoming an enormous disaster. For example - a common strategy to insure that profits keep going up in a chemical plant is to put metrics in place so that each department's manager is held accountable. Each manager gets a bonus on reducing costs while increasing output. (this is a heavy oversimplification - but I think my point is clear) Now in the various departments or plants that are of course safety measures and restrictions...but managers find that they have no problem just skirting the edges of these limitations to achieve the best ration and best bonuses for themselves. Everything *should* be okay but if an unforseen event pushes something over the edge the result could be (and in some cases has been) catastrophic. 

This type of scenario is what can lead to giant environmental disasters where people can suffer enormously. Basically - a powerful entity whose primary concern is profit with many moving parts has actions or decisions separate enough from the individual that their motivations are going to vary.

I don't have a specific corporation in mind with the above (although in some ways the various safety failures in the Union Carbide disaster appear similar) -- my point is that if an entities motivations are primarily financial, they have a lot of power, and decisions are broken down in such a way that no one individual can be genuinely held accountable for something that goes terribly wrong... this is not a moral entity in the same sense you or I are.

Yet even in your example it boils down to a specific individual (manager) making a decision that isn’t acceptable to company policy. For no corporation wants their employees to “skirt” safety policies and procedures. It opens them up to lawsuits, or worse. 

And yet I see a blanket condemnation from you against corporations themselves for the actions of potentially just one person. If one person can skirt company safety policies, procedures, and restrictions then that one person can also skirt governmental policies, procedures, and restrictions. The human element, and potentially bad and disastrous selfish decision making is still present. Except with more government control comes a bigger piece of the pie that can be negatively impacted by one individual. One bad decision within government can then have horrible results on an entire industry and cripple the economy.

It’s something that has played out numerous times in history.

I would definitely dispute your first statement.  There are plenty of corporations that encourage the skirting of such regulations because the juice is worth the squeeze.

 

The BP oil-spill is a perfect example of systemic flouting of both company policies AND government regulation and that goes all the way to the corporate management level.  Yes, they still got hit with lawsuits AND government fines, but it was worth it in the big picture.

 

Wells Fargo, Enron, and so on.  There are plenty of companies that do fucked up shit that goes WAY beyond a single (or handful of) individuals breaking the rules - it becomes unofficial company policy.

14 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 4307
notsobigmike -
The Jentleman -
robert bentley -
The Jentleman - 
robert bentley -
The Jentleman - 

^I had a much longer post but lost it.

In a nutshell. Corporations do mostly good too. Most people without insurance are in entry level jobs. Most CEO’s provide benefits and make less than unions bosses.

Much of the degradation of “bargaining power” is by unions themselves who block people from bargaining on their own behalf or joining a separate union.

I have no problem with greedy and corrupt CEO’s being called out, but that’s not your average CEO. If you want more “bargaining power” with unions than unions need to actually be for the workers and follow more “moralistic” (free market) values and allow competition instead of following the greedy and corrupt CEO’s in their bid for more money and power. You would see a big uptick in unionized workers if they did that.


Is that what you feel is happening in countries where unions have a much stronger presence? 

Are these issues you mention more a problem with American unions and not so much unions as a whole?

I’m not so certain about unions in other countries and if they make it impossible for other unions to exist within a company, or try to keep nonunion members from bargaining on their own behalf. And I would never say as a whole because I’ve dealt with good people in unions, and a few bad. 

I would say they’re just like corporations here. You have mostly good people and some corrupt people. It’s easy to find those with the most desire for money/power/both in a microcosm and put the onerous on them all, but I find in general that most people are good. The one problem that unions have over even those “evil corporations” is their complete hypocrisy in saying they’re for the workers when they actually limit workers from being able to negotiate. And this has been common practice here in the States.


I'm almost on the same page with respect to the idea that most people are good, but I draw the line at corporations - but for purely pragmatic reasons. 

The nature of a person is going to be guided by things like empathy, their desires, their nature, greed in some measure (of course) as well as compassion and kindness. Most people also want very similar things. But there is a limit to an individual's greed, and a limit to what they'll do to accomplish their own individual goals. Not just legal limits - but things they'll feel bad about doing.

In a corporation you have an entity that has one primary function, the enrich the shareholders - and each part and each cog in this larger organization (each made up of good people who have the same or similar moral concerns as you or I) does their specific part to ensure that happens. So this larger conglomeration of people doesn't have the same individuals stops in place that you or I do. We make our decisions as a whole. Not only that - we do so understanding that if we are caught red-handed we can't simply dissolve the legally culpable entity to rebuild another one in its place. 

In many cases it's not a specific act of "Evil" per se, but a series of sub-optimal decisions that all work towards contributing towards what ends up becoming an enormous disaster. For example - a common strategy to insure that profits keep going up in a chemical plant is to put metrics in place so that each department's manager is held accountable. Each manager gets a bonus on reducing costs while increasing output. (this is a heavy oversimplification - but I think my point is clear) Now in the various departments or plants that are of course safety measures and restrictions...but managers find that they have no problem just skirting the edges of these limitations to achieve the best ration and best bonuses for themselves. Everything *should* be okay but if an unforseen event pushes something over the edge the result could be (and in some cases has been) catastrophic. 

This type of scenario is what can lead to giant environmental disasters where people can suffer enormously. Basically - a powerful entity whose primary concern is profit with many moving parts has actions or decisions separate enough from the individual that their motivations are going to vary.

I don't have a specific corporation in mind with the above (although in some ways the various safety failures in the Union Carbide disaster appear similar) -- my point is that if an entities motivations are primarily financial, they have a lot of power, and decisions are broken down in such a way that no one individual can be genuinely held accountable for something that goes terribly wrong... this is not a moral entity in the same sense you or I are.

Yet even in your example it boils down to a specific individual (manager) making a decision that isn’t acceptable to company policy. For no corporation wants their employees to “skirt” safety policies and procedures. It opens them up to lawsuits, or worse. 

And yet I see a blanket condemnation from you against corporations themselves for the actions of potentially just one person. If one person can skirt company safety policies, procedures, and restrictions then that one person can also skirt governmental policies, procedures, and restrictions. The human element, and potentially bad and disastrous selfish decision making is still present. Except with more government control comes a bigger piece of the pie that can be negatively impacted by one individual. One bad decision within government can then have horrible results on an entire industry and cripple the economy.

It’s something that has played out numerous times in history.

I would definitely dispute your first statement.  There are plenty of corporations that encourage the skirting of such regulations because the juice is worth the squeeze.

 

The BP oil-spill is a perfect example of systemic flouting of both company policies AND government regulation and that goes all the way to the corporate management level.  Yes, they still got hit with lawsuits AND government fines, but it was worth it in the big picture.

 

Wells Fargo, Enron, and so on.  There are plenty of companies that do fucked up shit that goes WAY beyond a single (or handful of) individuals breaking the rules - it becomes unofficial company policy.

And you have plenty of companies that do not. I would say the majority. I won’t dispute that management within a company can produce a culture of pushing the envelope in order to bolster their numbers, but that’s not always the case, and that culture can be pushed in any scenario.

The problem with government control is that it’s now a consolidation of power. If a culture of corruption is produced there then it has a far worse impact. And with the ever changing of hands, it’s inevitable that a group will come in and cause major problems. It’s a guarantee.

Can you imagine if one of these corrupt corporations that you’re referring to had major control over numerous aspects of the economy? 

Edited: 14 days ago
12/26/05
Posts: 43076

There are a great deal of tribal designs the world would be better without...but we are not able to escape the bondage of tribalism..  it's in our DNA.  

We love tribalism. We love the mob. We love the state.  We love to dissolve our individuality in it.

It's why I can only take libertarianism so far despite agreeing with the vast majority of arguments that support it.  I am aware that we arent emotionally capable of dealing with a world without a centralized authority as a species.

 

Outside of some kind of transhumanist shift, we arent shedding tribalism, especially in government.  There arent enough libertarian minded people, or those with the psychological makeup that find it palatable, to create this shift. 

Also what typically spurs us to political change is threat.  Threat makes people more tribal, not less.  Government is a tribal organization by it's very nature.  Wanting government to be something other than tribal in design is wanting to turn a whore into a housewife.  It ain't gonna turn out the way you hope.

 

The change you hope for will not happen, at least not through government.  

 

14 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 4308
robert bentley -

"Yet even in your example it boils down to a specific individual (manager) making a decision that isn’t acceptable to company policy. For no corporation wants their employees to “skirt” safety policies and procedures. It opens them up to lawsuits, or worse. 

And yet I see a blanket condemnation from you against corporations themselves for the actions of potentially just one person. If one person can skirt company safety policies, procedures, and restrictions then that one person can also skirt governmental policies, procedures, and restrictions. The human element, and potentially bad and disastrous selfish decision making is still present. Except with more government control comes a bigger piece of the pie that can be negatively impacted by one individual. One bad decision within government can then have horrible results on an entire industry and cripple the economy.

It’s something that has played out numerous times in history."

It was precisely my point to give an example that doesn't require malice, only an individual's detached short sightedness. A corporation doesn't move, act, or make decisions as a single entity - but it does provide a great deal of *power* and magnification for mistakes. So a manager who is "confident" they can get away with something that skirts the edge (but doesn't violate) safety regulations doesn't believe they are doing anything wrong.

The person who creates an incentivized system which encourages managers to push the limits of these regulations also doesn't believe they are doing anything wrong or dangerous.

The shareholders who pressure this person to devise these systems aren't just the most powerful, they are also the most detached from the various consequences of any decisions they make -- and by their very definition their decisions are based purely on the accumulation of wealth.

If an incredibly powerful entity's primary concern is wealth generation, and the potential consequences of malfeasance catastrophic, and the ones with the most power within this organization are the ones most detached from its consequences -- it's only a matter of time before something goes wrong. And this is *without* malice.

With people, the consequences of their actions are something they personally have to deal with as well as see and experience themselves. People have empathy and compassion, corporations do not.

Now of course there are examples where there is easy to point out catastrophic failures of judgement that ruin lives. All of the variations on Ponzi schemes, price fixing, and other well documented issues of corporate fraud. But my example was to show that the nature or corporations themselves will eventually lead to some disaster IF they're not kept tightly in check.

Now if we take your claim that corporations are for the most part good like most people, then surely we would have seen far greater protest from the corporate sector itself when Trump made motions to roll back safety measures, regulations, and other "red tape" that are there quite specifically to prevent terrible things from happening in the first place. And we wouldn't see these regulations being maligned as unnecessary wastes of time and money.

We also would see greater protest of corporate tax cuts. Money that corporations *used* to pay into the system that has benefited them so much, money that would go towards infrastructure, healthcare, education, and other things that they themselves benefit directly from (an educated workforce, roads for their delivery trucks etc. etc.). But they don't - in fact they take these corporate tax cuts and hoard the wealth. 

So what would you call a group of powerful entities that wish to continually erode their contributions to the society they benefit so much from being a part of, and wish to remove the very necessary regulations in place because they consider them an unnecessary burden?

Would you say as a whole this is a "good" group? Or would you say it's exactly what you would expect to see of entities whose sole purpose for existence is the generation of profit?

 

You’re assigning altruism to government and their reasons for creating all the “red tape”. This is not always the case, and in many instances it causes more harm than good. Most of this “red tape” isn’t just regulation of behavior but regulation of the market itself in order to gain control. 

I don’t understand this attitude of assigning corruption to corporations but ignore the mountain of evidence of corruption in government while trying to give them more power over multiple aspects of the economy/country. It’s asinine to do this when if a corporation messes up big, yes it can cause problems within a certain area with a few possible tendrils of negative effects, but smart decisions by other industries can protect the overall economy. If government messes up big then it has the potential to drag everyone down at once.

14 days ago
12/26/05
Posts: 43077
The Jentleman -
robert bentley -

"Yet even in your example it boils down to a specific individual (manager) making a decision that isn’t acceptable to company policy. For no corporation wants their employees to “skirt” safety policies and procedures. It opens them up to lawsuits, or worse. 

And yet I see a blanket condemnation from you against corporations themselves for the actions of potentially just one person. If one person can skirt company safety policies, procedures, and restrictions then that one person can also skirt governmental policies, procedures, and restrictions. The human element, and potentially bad and disastrous selfish decision making is still present. Except with more government control comes a bigger piece of the pie that can be negatively impacted by one individual. One bad decision within government can then have horrible results on an entire industry and cripple the economy.

It’s something that has played out numerous times in history."

It was precisely my point to give an example that doesn't require malice, only an individual's detached short sightedness. A corporation doesn't move, act, or make decisions as a single entity - but it does provide a great deal of *power* and magnification for mistakes. So a manager who is "confident" they can get away with something that skirts the edge (but doesn't violate) safety regulations doesn't believe they are doing anything wrong.

The person who creates an incentivized system which encourages managers to push the limits of these regulations also doesn't believe they are doing anything wrong or dangerous.

The shareholders who pressure this person to devise these systems aren't just the most powerful, they are also the most detached from the various consequences of any decisions they make -- and by their very definition their decisions are based purely on the accumulation of wealth.

If an incredibly powerful entity's primary concern is wealth generation, and the potential consequences of malfeasance catastrophic, and the ones with the most power within this organization are the ones most detached from its consequences -- it's only a matter of time before something goes wrong. And this is *without* malice.

With people, the consequences of their actions are something they personally have to deal with as well as see and experience themselves. People have empathy and compassion, corporations do not.

Now of course there are examples where there is easy to point out catastrophic failures of judgement that ruin lives. All of the variations on Ponzi schemes, price fixing, and other well documented issues of corporate fraud. But my example was to show that the nature or corporations themselves will eventually lead to some disaster IF they're not kept tightly in check.

Now if we take your claim that corporations are for the most part good like most people, then surely we would have seen far greater protest from the corporate sector itself when Trump made motions to roll back safety measures, regulations, and other "red tape" that are there quite specifically to prevent terrible things from happening in the first place. And we wouldn't see these regulations being maligned as unnecessary wastes of time and money.

We also would see greater protest of corporate tax cuts. Money that corporations *used* to pay into the system that has benefited them so much, money that would go towards infrastructure, healthcare, education, and other things that they themselves benefit directly from (an educated workforce, roads for their delivery trucks etc. etc.). But they don't - in fact they take these corporate tax cuts and hoard the wealth. 

So what would you call a group of powerful entities that wish to continually erode their contributions to the society they benefit so much from being a part of, and wish to remove the very necessary regulations in place because they consider them an unnecessary burden?

Would you say as a whole this is a "good" group? Or would you say it's exactly what you would expect to see of entities whose sole purpose for existence is the generation of profit?

 

You’re assigning altruism to government and their reasons for creating all the “red tape”. This is not always the case, and in many instances it causes more harm than good. Most of this “red tape” isn’t just regulation of behavior but regulation of the market itself in order to gain control. 

I don’t understand this attitude of assigning corruption to corporations but ignore the mountain of evidence of corruption in government while trying to give them more power over multiple aspects of the economy/country. It’s asinine to do this when if a corporation messes up big, yes it can cause problems within a certain area with a few possible tendrils of negative effects, but smart decisions by other industries can protect the overall economy. If government messes up big then it has the potential to drag everyone down at once.

Economist Robert Higgs had some great insight into the fact that what we often see as inefficient use of government is just the opposite... what appears to be inefficiency is often extremely efficient for the interested party of the government agency itself.

 

I'll try to dig it up.

14 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 10711

"You’re assigning altruism to government and their reasons for creating all the “red tape”. This is not always the case, and in many instances it causes more harm than good. Most of this “red tape” isn’t just regulation of behavior but regulation of the market itself in order to gain control. 

I don’t understand this attitude of assigning corruption to corporations but ignore the mountain of evidence of corruption in government while trying to give them more power over multiple aspects of the economy/country. It’s asinine to do this when if a corporation messes up big, yes it can cause problems within a certain area with a few possible tendrils of negative effects, but smart decisions by other industries can protect the overall economy. If government messes up big then it has the potential to drag everyone down at once."

I'm not assuming altruism at all, I'm assuming that those in power wish to maintain that power - and in the case of the government that power should be maintained by winning elections. This *should* (but often isn't) what democracy is supposed to be about; but unfortunately *corporate* influence means that fairly often the selfish desires of a government official isn't hinged on making good on promises to the people, but by serving the interests of those who funded their campaign.

Having said that - much of what is just being dismissed as "red tape" are regulations put there AFTER something awful happened. In Ontario for example there was a Listeria outbreak that resulted in 22 people dying, and this outbreak can be directly connected to trying to save money by handing over inspection issues to the corporations running the meat plants.

There's also "red tape" regulating what can and can't be dumped and where it can/can't be dumped. Red tape regarding everything from safety regulations to who can and can't be hired -- most of which was put there to prevent some disaster that the corporations *don't* have a vested interest in preventing.

What I'm suggesting isn't to believe that the government is some benevolent uncorruptable force, that's absurd. What I'm saying is that it's imperative that we remove the influence of something that by its very definition is self serving. Corporations are far too powerful in North America and have far too much say in government policy. It's so bad now that it's hard to even speak of government without acknowledging how much of it is already purchased.

In countries where these influences are curtailed and there are regulations on what can/can't be donated to any given political candidate, they're more likely to have policies which work better for the people. We accept that the government should cover a certain amount of public spending - we live in a society that has infrastructure, education, law enforcement, disaster services, and much else besides. Without those very valuable aspects society would suffer enormously - and again, the countries that take better care of those are healthier, happier, and the citizens live longer while continually being at the top of "best places to live".

I'm not denying governments can be corrupt, but far and away the biggest corrupting factor in the United States isn't that they're government - it's that they're bought and paid for by corporations or those serving corporate interests. 

Things like product labeling, laws against false advertising, employee rights, consumer rights, fraud, environmental issues etc are all causes that required advocacy by governments to pass. Regulations and laws created to avoid tragic consequences that in many cases occured previously, stimulating the need and political will to address it.

Do you know who oppose those regulations? Corporations for whom this would mean a small reduction in their profitability.

Now you regulalarly try to equate corporations with people in the sense that they're mostly good with just a few bad apples. But besides the structural issues mentioned above (related to the fact that their primary function is profit - whereas a person's primary function is also connected to things like empathy etc.) -- there is the fact that there was little to no protest when they were given a huge tax cut (a cut they used to primarily hoard more wealth), and the fact that when they do protest it is against the above mentioned regulations.

So we have entities that want to pay as little as possible towards the upkeep of the society they directly benefit from, they fight and campaign against regulations that are (more often than not) put in place for public safety, and if they have been unambiguously caught doing something awful or catastrophic - they have the most powerful lawyers in the world to help them either escape liability or minimize it as much as humanly possible.

Do those actions seem like the actions of an inherently moral entity? Cripes - look at the medical insurance corporations - there is financial insentive to *deny* people care/coverage. There have been court cases where in each link in the chain the most important thing to protect was the companies bottom line and not the customer's health. 

14 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 4313
robert bentley -

"You’re assigning altruism to government and their reasons for creating all the “red tape”. This is not always the case, and in many instances it causes more harm than good. Most of this “red tape” isn’t just regulation of behavior but regulation of the market itself in order to gain control. 

I don’t understand this attitude of assigning corruption to corporations but ignore the mountain of evidence of corruption in government while trying to give them more power over multiple aspects of the economy/country. It’s asinine to do this when if a corporation messes up big, yes it can cause problems within a certain area with a few possible tendrils of negative effects, but smart decisions by other industries can protect the overall economy. If government messes up big then it has the potential to drag everyone down at once."

I'm not assuming altruism at all, I'm assuming that those in power wish to maintain that power - and in the case of the government that power should be maintained by winning elections. This *should* (but often isn't) what democracy is supposed to be about; but unfortunately *corporate* influence means that fairly often the selfish desires of a government official isn't hinged on making good on promises to the people, but by serving the interests of those who funded their campaign.

Having said that - much of what is just being dismissed as "red tape" are regulations put there AFTER something awful happened. In Ontario for example there was a Listeria outbreak that resulted in 22 people dying, and this outbreak can be directly connected to trying to save money by handing over inspection issues to the corporations running the meat plants.

There's also "red tape" regulating what can and can't be dumped and where it can/can't be dumped. Red tape regarding everything from safety regulations to who can and can't be hired -- most of which was put there to prevent some disaster that the corporations *don't* have a vested interest in preventing.

What I'm suggesting isn't to believe that the government is some benevolent uncorruptable force, that's absurd. What I'm saying is that it's imperative that we remove the influence of something that by its very definition is self serving. Corporations are far too powerful in North America and have far too much say in government policy. It's so bad now that it's hard to even speak of government without acknowledging how much of it is already purchased.

In countries where these influences are curtailed and there are regulations on what can/can't be donated to any given political candidate, they're more likely to have policies which work better for the people. We accept that the government should cover a certain amount of public spending - we live in a society that has infrastructure, education, law enforcement, disaster services, and much else besides. Without those very valuable aspects society would suffer enormously - and again, the countries that take better care of those are healthier, happier, and the citizens live longer while continually being at the top of "best places to live".

I'm not denying governments can be corrupt, but far and away the biggest corrupting factor in the United States isn't that they're government - it's that they're bought and paid for by corporations or those serving corporate interests. 

Things like product labeling, laws against false advertising, employee rights, consumer rights, fraud, environmental issues etc are all causes that required advocacy by governments to pass. Regulations and laws created to avoid tragic consequences that in many cases occured previously, stimulating the need and political will to address it.

Do you know who oppose those regulations? Corporations for whom this would mean a small reduction in their profitability.

Now you regulalarly try to equate corporations with people in the sense that they're mostly good with just a few bad apples. But besides the structural issues mentioned above (related to the fact that their primary function is profit - whereas a person's primary function is also connected to things like empathy etc.) -- there is the fact that there was little to no protest when they were given a huge tax cut (a cut they used to primarily hoard more wealth), and the fact that when they do protest it is against the above mentioned regulations.

So we have entities that want to pay as little as possible towards the upkeep of the society they directly benefit from, they fight and campaign against regulations that are (more often than not) put in place for public safety, and if they have been unambiguously caught doing something awful or catastrophic - they have the most powerful lawyers in the world to help them either escape liability or minimize it as much as humanly possible.

Do those actions seem like the actions of an inherently moral entity? Cripes - look at the medical insurance corporations - there is financial insentive to *deny* people care/coverage. There have been court cases where in each link in the chain the most important thing to protect was the companies bottom line and not the customer's health. 

I’ve agreed from the get go that regulations against corrupt behavior is necessary.

Most corporations ARE good. You’re taking scenarios that are only true for a small percentage and making it about every corporation operating.

Of course they want lower taxes. Every company should want to pay lower taxes.

Corporations don’t just benefit from society, they ARE part of society. Society as a whole benefits from corporations as well.

14 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 10712

"I’ve agreed from the get go that regulations against corrupt behavior is necessary.

Most corporations ARE good. You’re taking scenarios that are only true for a small percentage and making it about every corporation operating.

Of course they want lower taxes. Every company should want to pay lower taxes.

Corporations don’t just benefit from society, they ARE part of society. Society as a whole benefits from corporations as well."

It's not just regulations against corrupt behavior, there should be health, safety, and other related regulations as well. Regulations often dismissed as "red-tape" or unnecessary costs.

Regarding their tax contributions - they benefit the most from things purchased with public money. The wear and tear I personally put on the roads with my walking getting from point A to point B is absolutely miniscule compared to the corporations using those same roads daily with multiple delivery trucks getting their products to and from places. This usage of the same road results in enormous profits. As they use, cause wear to, and profit from these aspects of infrastructure orders of magnitude more than I ever could in my entire lifetime - they should be contributing a larger percentage than they do. And the fact that they paid more in the past with no ill-effect shows that it isn't a case of not being able to foot this type of bill, it's that they will do everything they can to avoid it. Same goes for things like law enforcement, protection of private property, and numerous other areas where public money is the primary support.

And you keep saying most corporations aren't corrupt and are generally good. Can you name a few corporations that you would say are good? A corporation that doesn't use slave labour, hasn't been found guilty of any problems/issues/crimes, doesn't exploit or cause long-lasting damage etc?

 

13 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 4314
robert bentley -

"I’ve agreed from the get go that regulations against corrupt behavior is necessary.

Most corporations ARE good. You’re taking scenarios that are only true for a small percentage and making it about every corporation operating.

Of course they want lower taxes. Every company should want to pay lower taxes.

Corporations don’t just benefit from society, they ARE part of society. Society as a whole benefits from corporations as well."

It's not just regulations against corrupt behavior, there should be health, safety, and other related regulations as well. Regulations often dismissed as "red-tape" or unnecessary costs.

Regarding their tax contributions - they benefit the most from things purchased with public money. The wear and tear I personally put on the roads with my walking getting from point A to point B is absolutely miniscule compared to the corporations using those same roads daily with multiple delivery trucks getting their products to and from places. This usage of the same road results in enormous profits. As they use, cause wear to, and profit from these aspects of infrastructure orders of magnitude more than I ever could in my entire lifetime - they should be contributing a larger percentage than they do. And the fact that they paid more in the past with no ill-effect shows that it isn't a case of not being able to foot this type of bill, it's that they will do everything they can to avoid it. Same goes for things like law enforcement, protection of private property, and numerous other areas where public money is the primary support.

And you keep saying most corporations aren't corrupt and are generally good. Can you name a few corporations that you would say are good? A corporation that doesn't use slave labour, hasn't been found guilty of any problems/issues/crimes, doesn't exploit or cause long-lasting damage etc?

 

They also pay a lot in taxes and fees. Most roads are going to be state and local. They pay a lot of money in higher property taxes for commercial properties, higher tolls for those delivery trucks, licensing, etc.

I’m currently dealing with red tape. Much of it is about money and power. I actually have a lot of first hand knowledge regarding that.

I can name Newman’s Own and Costco off the top of my head. The technology firm I currently work with has been in business over 30 years with an excellent track record. In fact, I know lots of small and medium size corporations that are very good. They may not be billion dollar companies, because they’re not all about the money, but that’s why you never hear about them.

On the flip side, I can’t name a single government that hasn’t had any problems/issues/crimes that doesn’t exploit or cause long lasting damage, etc.

13 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 10713

"They also pay a lot in taxes and fees. Most roads are going to be state and local. They pay a lot of money in higher property taxes for commercial properties, higher tolls for those delivery trucks, licensing, etc.

I’m currently dealing with red tape. Much of it is about money and power. I actually have a lot of first hand knowledge regarding that.

I can name Newman’s Own and Costco off the top of my head. The technology firm I currently work with has been in business over 30 years with an excellent track record. In fact, I know lots of small and medium size corporations that are very good. They may not be billion dollar companies, because they’re not all about the money, but that’s why you never hear about them.

On the flip side, I can’t name a single government that hasn’t had any problems/issues/crimes that doesn’t exploit or cause long lasting damage, etc."

Can I ask the nature of the red tape you're dealing with? (totally cool if not, I'm just interested and know I'm not owed any information). 

Perhaps there's a (rought) correlation then between the size of a corporation and the level of its destructive power. You mention small and medium sized businesses - and perhaps simply having fewer disconnects between what's being done and the consequences of those actions make it harder for the people in charge to make purely selfish decisions. If the CEO ends up seeing and personally interacting with most of their employees their decisions regarding their welfare may be better motivated.

With respect to government crimes, the worst ones in American history (especially recent history) are *directly* tied to corporate influence. Wall Street favors (one of the most popular reasons people hated Hillary were her corporate ties), the entire prison industrial complex, a LOT of U.S foreign military involvement (Blackwater, Arms sales, companies profiting directly from U.S involvement in Iraq etc.). 

In developed countries with less corporate influence you'll see a government with less corruption. Of course there will never exist a government totally devoid of corruption, but increased corporate power is clearly a corrupting factor.

13 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 10714

Oh - and about corporate taxes. They do pay a lot in taxes, but not proportional to how much they benefit. They also find ways to hide as much of their money as possible. Do you remember when the Panama papers came out showing clearly how corporations everywhere avoided paying what they were supposed to in taxes by hiding all of their money? 

 

13 days ago
8/2/19
Posts: 118
robert bentley -

Oh - and about corporate taxes. They do pay a lot in taxes, but not proportional to how much they benefit. They also find ways to hide as much of their money as possible. Do you remember when the Panama papers came out showing clearly how corporations everywhere avoided paying what they were supposed to in taxes by hiding all of their money? 

 

"They do pay a lot in taxes, but not proportional to how much they benefit."

 

Generally speaking, businesses provide far more benefit to a city than they receive, even if they pay 0% in taxes.

Amazons HQ2 in New York was going to bring 25,000 - 40,000 jobs at an average salary for $150,000.  An economic impact study showed that Amazons move into the state could bring about $27.5 billion to the state (if they hit 40,000 in employment)...

 

What percentage of their profit *should* they have to pay to the state in taxes in your opinion?

13 days ago
10/6/17
Posts: 4315
robert bentley -

"They also pay a lot in taxes and fees. Most roads are going to be state and local. They pay a lot of money in higher property taxes for commercial properties, higher tolls for those delivery trucks, licensing, etc.

I’m currently dealing with red tape. Much of it is about money and power. I actually have a lot of first hand knowledge regarding that.

I can name Newman’s Own and Costco off the top of my head. The technology firm I currently work with has been in business over 30 years with an excellent track record. In fact, I know lots of small and medium size corporations that are very good. They may not be billion dollar companies, because they’re not all about the money, but that’s why you never hear about them.

On the flip side, I can’t name a single government that hasn’t had any problems/issues/crimes that doesn’t exploit or cause long lasting damage, etc."

Can I ask the nature of the red tape you're dealing with? (totally cool if not, I'm just interested and know I'm not owed any information). 

Perhaps there's a (rought) correlation then between the size of a corporation and the level of its destructive power. You mention small and medium sized businesses - and perhaps simply having fewer disconnects between what's being done and the consequences of those actions make it harder for the people in charge to make purely selfish decisions. If the CEO ends up seeing and personally interacting with most of their employees their decisions regarding their welfare may be better motivated.

With respect to government crimes, the worst ones in American history (especially recent history) are *directly* tied to corporate influence. Wall Street favors (one of the most popular reasons people hated Hillary were her corporate ties), the entire prison industrial complex, a LOT of U.S foreign military involvement (Blackwater, Arms sales, companies profiting directly from U.S involvement in Iraq etc.). 

In developed countries with less corporate influence you'll see a government with less corruption. Of course there will never exist a government totally devoid of corruption, but increased corporate power is clearly a corrupting factor.

I don’t want to go into exact details but I will say that even though all things are done properly and would pass stringent inspections, and I’ve pulled all the necessary permits, I’m told there’s certain wheels that need to be greased first. Which would result in redoing licensing and permits from the local government which is for nothing but giving money.

The number of companies able to influence policies is very small in percentage. Plus there has to be corrupt people in government to be influenced. The governments that don’t have much corporate influence are usually those who are quite dictatorial. Not good for anyone.

That said, I would outlaw lobbying in a heartbeat. I don’t disagree that huge corporations have too much control. They help push “red tape” that hurt small companies and stifle their competition. It’s kind of funny because the corruption you’re pointing out with some of these corporations goes hand in hand with the corruption in government that hurts the rest of us. They’re married to one another in unholy matrimony. Two sides of the same coin.

I want to remove some of the power on one side (big corporations with too much influence), but not by giving it to the other side (big government with final say). Big government should lose some of it’s power too.