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Thread: Article-Picking either unregulated capitalism or stifling socialism is a false choice

  1. #1
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    Article-Picking either unregulated capitalism or stifling socialism is a false choice

    [url]http://www.marketwatch.com/story/notes-on-a-new-economic-model-2012-05-14[/url]

    [QUOTE]DUBLIN, Ireland (MarketWatch) — Watching the U.S. GOP on the right and assorted Greek communists on the left, it’s easy to assume that there are only two directions for Western society to go. We must, it seems, kneel before the golden calf of the free market or chant at the smoke and mirrors of pain-free socialism. Seriously? Those are the choices?

    Why can’t we just pick the bits that actually work, and assemble a new model that reflects the society we want to live in? Has there never been a country that taxed the megawealthy up to 91% in peacetime and yet still managed to have a booming free-market economy? More about that in a moment, but let’s consider a few pointers to guide us on our way:

    1. At this stage of human development in the West we can eliminate poverty. We have the wealth to ensure a basic level of income, housing, health care and education for all of our people. No one need fall beneath a minimum threshold if we as a society decide to make it so.

    2. However, whereas we could fund a right to health care, we can’t fund the right to an iPad, and spending more money on poverty reduction means less money, through taxation, for disposable consumerism. That doesn't mean that we cannot buy and sell these products, but consumers would have to pay an effective “social premium” on the end price of the product.

    3. Capitalism, for all its flaws, has still proven to be the most effective way of encouraging innovation and wealth creation. It is no accident that very few of the products produced by genuinely communist countries have survived communism, short of the ones that can kill you, like the Kalashnikov.

    4. If we are to fund a society that prevents its people from falling into poverty, wealth production requires that the overwhelming majority of the adult populace contribute. As part of that, we have to accept that the idea of people retiring and ceasing to be productive potentially from age 50 in some countries is an arbitrary concept founded on a retirement date decided in the age of Bismarck. Capitalism, through medical advances, makes the idea of living to 100 realistic. A successful society cannot have a large proportion of its population expecting to spend half their adult lives paid for by the work of others while they are still able to contribute to wealth creation. Retirement has to be more fluid and has to take account of increases in life expectancy and the quality of life of older people. It also has to make planning for funding eventual retirement a greater priority.

    In New Zealand the KiwiSaver scheme, run by the government, automatically creates a savings account for pensions or home buying for all workers when they start their first jobs. It isn’t compulsory but cleverly makes opting out voluntary, which has resulted in a huge take-up by younger workers who would not normally start saving for their retirements until much later in life. Of course, a bit of imagination could go a long way, too. One wonders why governments don’t just permit workers who continue to work beyond pension age to work tax-free, in return for delaying drawing down a state pension, thus boosting their income and saving their fellow taxpayers money?

    5. Capitalism will only survive with the consent of the great majority. This means that the great majority must feel that it works for the common good. An ordinary 40-hours-a-week worker has to be provided a reasonable lifestyle for that effort. If this means that there must be wealth redistribution from the top of society, that is the price to be paid.

    Now, the phrase “wealth redistribution” seems to trigger (literally, in some cases) a reaction among some U.S. conservatives, but consider the bigger picture.

    In Denmark a government policy known as “Flexicurity” offers an interesting social-contract model between employers and employees. The deal, broadly speaking, is that employers can hire and fire with relative ease, allowing them to adapt to changes in the market. In return, employers pay taxes to fund a generous social safety net to sustain prospective employees when they are between jobs. Such a concept, especially if applied to the public sector as well, would be a radical departure in Europe. But it would deliver to both sides of the capital/labor divide a clear and measurable benefit, thus maintaining consent for capitalism as a force for mutual good.

    Such a deal has to recognize, however, that while job creation, alongside stable families, is the greatest contributor to wealth creation and poverty reduction, it is at its most effective when linked to the pursuit of profit. Take the high level of Spanish unemployment among under-25s, which is close to 50%. Yet small family-owned Spanish businesses resist hiring needed extra staff because those staff are entitled, from Day 1 of employment, to 33 days of severance pay per year of service. With such potential costs, why would a small Spanish business take the risk of hiring? The left in Europe has to recognize that business is there to make profits, with employment a welcome by-product.

    6. The creation of a permanent economic aristocracy of the megawealthy has the potential to be a threat to capitalism itself, in that by sucking the wealth away from the rest of society it calls into question the ability of capitalism to provide an acceptable living standard to the great majority, which could lead to dissatisfaction and eventual revolution. In short, capitalism needs millionaires to survive, to act as an incentive to others to innovate. But does it actually need billionaires? Would the spark of innovation really be extinguished? “Gee, I have a business idea that could make me $50 million, but if I can’t make a billion without being taxed I’m not going to bother!” Really?

    7. This doesn't mean that we should follow the confiscation policies of the hard left. They advocate a short-term solution that, if followed, will actually strangle the wealth-creating capacity of the West. The problem with the hard left, especially in Europe, is that it believes that wealth is a naturally occurring phenomena, whereas capitalists believe, rightly, that wealth is created by the ingenuity of man, and requires that man be free to create and benefit from the fruits of his creation.

    8. The key must be to balance the freedom to strive and create and benefit from that effort with a proportion of that wealth going back into society through redistribution. How does one do that without stifling effort through punitive taxation? Estate taxes have proven an effective means, not interfering with the wealth-creation effort during the life of the creator. This does have to be balanced with the maintaining of economically viable entities after their creator’s passing and the very human desire to pass on wealth to family.

    9. Finally, a new economic model must recognize that globalization is a fact. The days of national sovereign control of economic affairs are gone. A West wishing to protect its values must be willing to ensure cooperation and common policy on a scale unimagined before. It must also understand that for proper free-market competition to work, a strong state with an antimonopoly regulatory function is vital. An economic version of NATO, if you will.

    The United States and the European Union have a combined market of 830 million of the wealthiest consumers in human history. That is the golden prize that we offer entrepreneurs, and it is not unreasonable of us as a society to ask them to pay, through taxation, an entry fee for access.

    Many on the political right will look aghast at such ideas as socialist or “big government.” They should look to history. From the Industrial Revolution onward, it has been progressive politicians of the center and left who have adjusted capitalism to save it from revolution. Mill owners said an eight-hour day wasn't economically viable. Plutocrats said banning child workers or slavery would destroy the free-enterprise system, and that the welfare state would end capitalism.

    But is it a coincidence that the period of intervention in the free-market system, not to control it but to regulate it, has been the period of its greatest triumph? During the U.S.’s golden age of the 1950s, oft harked back to by conservatives, the top marginal income tax rate was an eye-watering 91% under that well-known arch-pinko Dwight Eisenhower. From the creation of National Insurance in 1911 in the U.K. to FDR’s New Deal to Clement Attlee’s welfare state in 1945 to Johnson’s Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 to Obama’s saving of General Motors, the center-left across the West has taken just enough cream from the top to fund the social stability that is vital for the free-enterprise system to prosper in.

    In short, is it the progressive and thoughtful centrists who will once again save capitalism?

    [/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    Sounds like the same old same old utopian social-welfare state masquerading as "moderate centrists ok with Capitalism" to me.

    I see very very little in the article not strait-down-the-line in agreement with general Euro-style Social Welfare Statism.

    Smells like an attempt to redefine the terms of the debate yet again. Now, to be against Universal State-based Healthcare, a Massive Welfare State that "ends poverty", no retirement and an end to "National Economci Sovreignty", you're now a extreme non-Centrist, too stupid to left progressive (i.e. Euro Social welfare statist) "Save Capitalism" from the usual implied threat of "do it, or we the mob will take it from you anyway".

    Lets see...

    1. Universal Healthcare
    2. Universal Social Welfare
    3. Limited Capitalism to ensure Wealth is available to confiscate
    4. No Retirement (??) Odd one out....
    5. Do What We Say, or Else We'll Take It. Wealth Redistribution or else.
    6. No Inheretances, No Billionaires, their money (Both) will be taken by the State and redistributed.
    7. Meaningless blather about "hard left", which (in this case) must mean 100% State Socialism or outright Communism
    8. Back on Estate Taxes Again
    9. Globalization = New World Order and an End of National Sovreignty, i.e. "Workers of the World Unite"

    And finished off with the usual "this isn't really big govt., really" and "this really is fair, if you think about it" and "wealth redistribution is ok" rhetoric, a few more veiled threats about revolution if we don't give in, and more of the same.

    Finished, as one might expect, with the "this is really moderate centrism, anyone who disagrees must be an extreme right winger....well, he better watch out or the mob will get him" talk.
    Last edited by Warfish; 05-15-2012 at 12:25 AM.

  3. #3
    The article makes a great argument for less distribution.

    [QUOTE][B]Such a deal has to recognize, however, that while job creation, alongside stable families, is the greatest contributor to wealth creation and poverty reduction, it is at its most effective when linked to the pursuit of profit.[/B] [/QUOTE]

    The article rightly points out this truth while pining for a scheme that will destroy wealth and the family through the destruction of this truth.

    If Job creation along with stable families is the greatest contributor to the reduction of poverty how will a State that rewards job destructin and family destruction reduce poverty? Redistribution destroys the two greatest contributors to societies wealth. You can see what's going on in Europe right now. Less wealth is being distributed and people are getting edgy.

    Social safety net should be a temporary solution not a permanent fix. You don't treat a herion addiction with controlled dosses of herion and remove the addiction, you just function at a lower level.

    A temporary social safety net with some regulation mostly against predatory practices and the protection of vital resources makes sense. A regulated market based on the will of the people or a handful of beauracrats seems like a recipe for wealth destruction and a poorer over all society.
    Last edited by Winstonbiggs; 05-15-2012 at 11:00 AM.

  4. #4
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    While neither extreme is optimal, this article sucks ass. :yes:

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4468306]Sounds like the same old same old utopian social-welfare state masquerading as "moderate centrists ok with Capitalism" to me.

    I see very very little in the article not strait-down-the-line in agreement with general Euro-style Social Welfare Statism.

    Smells like an attempt to redefine the terms of the debate yet again. Now, to be against Universal State-based Healthcare, a Massive Welfare State that "ends poverty", no retirement and an end to "National Economci Sovreignty", you're now a extreme non-Centrist, too stupid to left progressive (i.e. Euro Social welfare statist) "Save Capitalism" from the usual implied threat of "do it, or we the mob will take it from you anyway".

    Lets see...

    1. Universal Healthcare
    2. Universal Social Welfare
    3. Limited Capitalism to ensure Wealth is available to confiscate
    4. No Retirement (??) Odd one out....
    5. Do What We Say, or Else We'll Take It. Wealth Redistribution or else.
    6. No Inheretances, No Billionaires, their money (Both) will be taken by the State and redistributed.
    7. Meaningless blather about "hard left", which (in this case) must mean 100% State Socialism or outright Communism
    8. Back on Estate Taxes Again
    9. Globalization = New World Order and an End of National Sovreignty, i.e. "Workers of the World Unite"

    And finished off with the usual "this isn't really big govt., really" and "this really is fair, if you think about it" and "wealth redistribution is ok" rhetoric, a few more veiled threats about revolution if we don't give in, and more of the same.

    Finished, as one might expect, with the "this is really moderate centrism, anyone who disagrees must be an extreme right winger....well, he better watch out or the mob will get him" talk.[/QUOTE]

    You definitely have a gift for exaggeration.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs;4468491]The article makes a great argument for less distribution.



    The article rightly points out this truth while pining for a scheme that will destroy wealth and the family through the destruction of this truth.

    If Job creation along with stable families is the greatest contributor to the reduction of poverty how will a State that rewards job destructin and family destruction reduce poverty? Redistribution destroys the two greatest contributors to societies wealth. You can see what's going on in Europe right now. Less wealth is being distributed and people are getting edgy.

    Social safety net should be a temporary solution not a permanent fix. You don't treat a herion addiction with controlled dosses of herion and remove the addiction, you just function at a lower level.

    A temporary social safety net with some regulation mostly against predatory practices and the protection of vital resources makes sense. A regulated market based on the will of the people or a handful of beauracrats seems like a recipe for wealth destruction and a poorer over all society.[/QUOTE]

    I think numbers 1, 2 and to some degree 9 (although I think it does make sense to have as many laws in common with the Europeans when it comes to financial regulation) are too far, and there are others I would tweak. And I understand that this article is from a European perspective, generally more liberal than many Americans.

    But while I may not love all of his solutions, I think the premise is correct - we do not need to choose between laissez-faire capitalism and Hollande style socialism.

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    [IMG]http://p.twimg.com/AsqIjOiCMAArwQR.jpg[/IMG]

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    [QUOTE=shakin318;4468715][IMG]http://p.twimg.com/AsqIjOiCMAArwQR.jpg[/IMG][/QUOTE]

    BigFurHat is an ideologue!

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4468601]You definitely have a gift for exaggeration.[/QUOTE]

    If you say so.

    I would disagree, obviously. I went through teh article, and posted what I felt the main thrusts of each point were. :dunno:

    As I said, it's politics as usual to effort to change the terms of the debate. In the first two points, the article unquestionable (IMO) makes a case for both Universal State Healthcare and a State-Taxation-based way to "end poverty" via a Social Welfare system. Not exactly new ideas, not exactly ideas embraced by the rigth or middle, but clearly progressivist/leftist ideas.

    With respect, thats Euro Social Welfare Statism to a T. Combine that with the "no billionares", limits on passing wealth on, and a clear (again, IMO) undercurrent of "if you don't do this, there WILL be a revolution, and it'll be taken from anyway" threat, and we have what I posted above. Standard issue Euro-style Socialist/Progressivist ideals.

    The article then tries to make a case that this is centrism and the implies case that "right" wingers who reject this are clearly extreme.

    :dunno:

    Feel free to disagree Safety.

    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4468608]But while I may not love all of his solutions, I think the premise is correct - we do not need to choose between laissez-faire capitalism and Hollande style socialism.[/QUOTE]

    Thats not saying much tbqh.

    There is more than enough room between the two for a massive shift towards Euro-style Social Welfare Statism, an outcome that (IMO) "centrist moderate" Americans will reject.
    Last edited by Warfish; 05-15-2012 at 01:58 PM.

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    [QUOTE=Winstonbiggs;4468491]The article makes a great argument for less distribution.



    The article rightly points out this truth while pining for a scheme that will destroy wealth and the family through the destruction of this truth.

    If Job creation along with stable families is the greatest contributor to the reduction of poverty how will a State that rewards job destructin and family destruction reduce poverty? Redistribution destroys the two greatest contributors to societies wealth. You can see what's going on in Europe right now. Less wealth is being distributed and people are getting edgy.

    Social safety net should be a temporary solution not a permanent fix. You don't treat a herion addiction with controlled dosses of herion and remove the addiction, you just function at a lower level.

    A temporary social safety net with some regulation mostly against predatory practices and the protection of vital resources makes sense. A regulated market based on the will of the people or a handful of beauracrats seems like a recipe for wealth destruction and a poorer over all society.[/QUOTE]

    This is an excellent post, Winny

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    Hollande's plane was struck by lightning today. LOL ! (no one was hurt)

    Warning from above?

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    [QUOTE=shakin318;4468715][IMG]http://p.twimg.com/AsqIjOiCMAArwQR.jpg[/IMG][/QUOTE]

    :clapper:


    But he's sucking the wrong thing..... :banana:

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4468755]If you say so.

    I would disagree, obviously. I went through teh article, and posted what I felt the main thrusts of each point were. :dunno:

    As I said, it's politics as usual to effort to change the terms of the debate. In the first two points, the article unquestionable (IMO) makes a case for both Universal State Healthcare and a State-Taxation-based way to "end poverty" via a Social Welfare system. Not exactly new ideas, not exactly ideas embraced by the rigth or middle, but clearly progressivist/leftist ideas.

    With respect, thats Euro Social Welfare Statism to a T. Combine that with the "no billionares", limits on passing wealth on, and a clear (again, IMO) undercurrent of "if you don't do this, there WILL be a revolution, and it'll be taken from anyway" threat, and we have what I posted above. Standard issue Euro-style Socialist/Progressivist ideals.

    The article then tries to make a case that this is centrism and the implies case that "right" wingers who reject this are clearly extreme.

    :dunno:

    Feel free to disagree Safety.[/QUOTE]

    We need to change the terms of the debate. That's the point of the article; the author is not subtle.

    Changing the terms of the debate is not always a negative.

    And here's how you described each point:

    [QUOTE]1. Universal Healthcare
    2. Universal Social Welfare
    3. Limited Capitalism to ensure Wealth is available to confiscate
    4. No Retirement (??) Odd one out....
    5. Do What We Say, or Else We'll Take It. Wealth Redistribution or else.
    6. No Inheretances, No Billionaires, their money (Both) will be taken by the State and redistributed.
    7. Meaningless blather about "hard left", which (in this case) must mean 100% State Socialism or outright Communism
    8. Back on Estate Taxes Again
    9. Globalization = New World Order and an End of National Sovreignty, i.e. "Workers of the World Unite"[/QUOTE]

    First, I think you switched up the first two - the first is about poverty and the second relates to healthcare - we agree on the poverty one, that is, we agree that poverty will always exist, even in western countries and it's far too vague to say "lets end it".


    3. Capitalism is necessary for a functional, tax collecting government.
    4. "No retirement" is a gross exaggeration. We need to work longer, because we live longer, was the point.
    5. Moderation and compromise prevent radicalism.
    6. He specifically says in the last line of that point that there will be inheritances and wealth passed down. It will simply be taxed.
    7. Argues against pure socialism of your boy Hollande
    8. Redistribution of wealth is necessary function for any society, lets do it in a way least damaging to economic growth.
    9. Financial regulation would be more effective, if it were uniform for the Western Banking world.

    Those are fair interpretations of his points, not your exaggerated versions.

    You seem to be unwilling or incapable of accepting that there is a middle-ground between laissez faire capitalism and Hollande style socialism.

    [QUOTE=Warfish;4468755]Thats not saying much tbqh.

    There is more than enough room between the two for a massive shift towards Euro-style Social Welfare Statism, an outcome that (IMO) "centrist moderate" Americans will reject.[/QUOTE]

    I agree - there is a middle, and I think this guy isn't far off. If you disagree, then give me what you think is the middle.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=SafetyBlitz;4468877]We need to change the terms of the debate.[/quote]

    I distrust immediately anyone who wants to "redefine terms" or "chnage the terms". Words have meaning. Attempts to "redefine" them is usually done in order to take something rejected or bad, and give it a shiny new face, to trot it out again and see if it sticks.

    [QUOTE]3. Capitalism is necessary for a functional, tax collecting government.[/QUOTE]

    Tax being the operative word in the phrase. It's clear Socialists in the modern era realize some capitalism is required to fund their socialism/social welfare. Otherwise, as shown in the Easter Bloc, you go poor fast.

    [QUOTE]5. Moderation and compromise prevent radicalism.[/QUOTE]

    And here we go with terms that have no specific meaning.

    Radical to you is not radical to all. Moderation to you is not moderation to all.

    And it skips the most important point: Moderation/acceptance of a bad (as you see it) things is not a blessing, and intolerence (radicalism) against bad things (as one sees it) is no failing.

    [QUOTE]6. He specifically says in the last line of that point that there will be inheritances and wealth passed down. It will simply be taxed. [/QUOTE]

    Again, taxed being the primary word in that sentence. Devil's in the details, and I don't trust the details of Euro-style Socialists, for whom 95% tax of inheretance would be a dream.

    [QUOTE]7. Argues against pure socialism of your boy Hollande[/QUOTE]

    My Socialists are the SNP. Thank you very much.

    [QUOTE]8. Redistribution of wealth is necessary function for any society, lets do it in a way least damaging to economic growth.[/QUOTE]

    Wrong, redistibution is not neccessary, and is in fact one of the worst things we can do. It makes for a lazy, dependant society of non-productives. The more redistribution, the worse that problem becomes, i.e. the UK Social Welfare system as a perfect example.

    [QUOTE]9. Financial regulation would be more effective, if it were uniform for the Western Banking world.[/QUOTE]

    Alot of things would be "better" in a Utopian ideal world under a One-World-Governance of so and so or this and that.

    Sadly, some of us like self-determination and self-rule.

    [QUOTE]Those are fair interpretations of his points, not your exaggerated versions.[/QUOTE]

    You say I exxagerate. I say you vastly underplay the real intentions and ideals behind Euro-style Social Welfarism.

    [QUOTE]You seem to be unwilling or incapable of accepting that there is a middle-ground between laissez faire capitalism and Hollande style socialism. [/QUOTE]

    I absolutely accept it. As I said, there is so much room between the two as to make saying it a meaningless nothing. Specifics are what counts.

    [quote]If you disagree, then give me what you think is the middle.[/QUOTE]

    You'll have to be more specific, given we're discussing entire socio-economic systems here. If you want to name a specific policy, I'll name a "middle" I'd find appropriate.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4468921] Otherwise, as shown in the [B]Easter[/B] Bloc, you go poor fast.
    [/QUOTE]

    At the very least, you get no eggs. :alien:

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