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Chris Norse

More bottom up or more top down?

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Thanks for posting that video Chris!

It's good to pay close attention to where these plans are trying to lead us & encourage others to think critically also.

I think the global plan now is to erase the middle class everywhere & have us all live in "austerity" forever for imaginary reasons -- reasons that really amount to smoke & mirrors.

Sure looks like the top 1% has begun a class warfare against the rest of us.

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What the video fails to show is that both Keynes and Hayek are on the payroll of the filthy rich, who pay them through a system of legalized bribery (lobbying, campaign finance etc.) for helping to drive the general population into poverty and corporate serfdom while keeping them divided and distracted with meaningless hot button issues such as gay marriage (one of the negative aims mentioned in the second video).

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You do realize that Hayek is calling for less government power, so your "legalized bribery" wouldn't have much effect.      You only bribe those who have the power to grant you favors.  Remove that power and you remove the favortism. 

Corporations have no power without the government giving it to them.  

 

Tell us Ish, what system should we use to order society?

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Chris Norse wrote:

You do realize that Hayek is calling for less government power, so your "legalized bribery" wouldn't have much effect.      You only bribe those who have the power to grant you favors.  Remove that power and you remove the favortism. 

By disempowering the government, you only make it easier for the top 1% of the population who currently play the government like a fiddle. You'd cut out the middle man and allow them to rule the country directly. Welcome to the corporatocracy.

 


Corporations have no power without the government giving it to them.  

They seem to have an insane level of power. The power of the filthy rich became apparent when some of them recently extorted trillions of dollars from the general population by holding the world economy to ransom. With proper regulation of the banking system, it would never have come that far.

 


Tell us Ish, what system should we use to order society?

The German system seems to work quite well. Despite all our socialism, but we have a relatively high standard of living, low poverty levels, and a healthy economy compared to the current economic situation in the USA. We can even afford to throw vast amounts of money at our less fortunate EU neighbors and pay for the upkeep and equipment of 54k U.S. soldiers (the fact that several other countries do the same enables the USA to remain a military super power).

Sure, our healthcare system is not the best, but that is also partially the fault of insufficient regulation of pharmaceutic corporations, who are in a position to dictate medical practice and charge insane prices for patented drugs that, instead of curing people, merely suppress the symptoms of chronic conditions (many of which are caused by other corporations, such as the fast "food" industry). But all in all, we seem to be doing quite well. Keynesianism does seem to work every once in a while :)

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Now you are doing double talk.  The rich bribe the powerful government we have now.  So depowering it will let them bribe the government?     Without the power, there is no reason to  bribe them.

What power do the corporations have without the government empowering them?  With free markets they have no power.  Bill Gates can't force me to use Microsoft products.  Steve Jobs can't make me buy Apple.    It is the government that distorts markets leading to monopolies.  For instance the last round of "consumer protection" laws in the US were supported by the big toy companies. They wanted the laws.  The regulations put small competitors out of  business. The regulations  gutted the used children's book market.    Without those regulations we would have more cometition.

 

Oh, now that is funny.  I will gladly pull all the US troops out of Germany, and every where else in the world.     We should have done that after WW2, left you to the tender mercies of Stalin.  

 

I happen to like  the medical care that the free market provides me.      The rest of the world has been riding on our innovation, our improvements.       Profit leads to   advances.  You cannot deny that.    

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that might be true in an idealic society, except money IS power, and the more you have of it, the more power comes with. Money allows corporations to not only "bribe" but to influence in many ways. And to keep their own power, Governments HAVE to listen. IF the "bribery" is made illegal, then it will be only driven into the shadows where we will not be able to see it, at least at the moment it is official records.

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Chris, thank you for posting these videos here!    : )

Recently, I took over as director of the Mises Institute SL, which is the SL branch of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  I'll be relocating the inworld location, and remaking many of the materials located there.  I've been given free rein by Jeffrey Tucker the editorial vice president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  

I'd welcome input and ideas from like-minded people.  If you're interested, I'll send you a LM for the current inworld location so you may see what's there.

Here is a link to the Ludwig von Mises Institute's website:  http://mises.org/

In keeping with your very excellent post here, I'll add a link to a recent Mises Institute editorial about the Hayek  VS Keynes debate:     http://mises.org/daily/5567/Hayeks-Ghost-Haunts-the-World

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

The German system seems to work quite well. Despite all our socialism, but we have a relatively high standard of living, low poverty levels, and a healthy economy compared to the current economic situation in the USA. We can even afford to throw vast amounts of money at our less fortunate EU neighbors and pay for the upkeep and equipment of 54k U.S. soldiers (the fact that several other countries do the same enables the USA to remain a military super power).

Ishatara, the small amount of money that Germany provides toward upkeep of a US military presence, does not even begin to touch the actual cost needed.  Nor, is the amount that Germany provides very high in relation to the GNP of Germany.  

Here is a visual representation of how much Germany spends on military, and it amounts to about 3% of their GNP, as compared to what the US spends which is 19.3% :

http://www.visualeconomics.com/how-countries-spend-their-money/

So, in actuality, the prosperity that Germany enjoys, is greatly subsidized by other NATO nations, and a huge amount of money, manpower and resources by the US.

Now, I'm going to use the Wiki as source, because it has legitimate sources cited for the statistics 

"The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the world's defence spending.[9] The United States alone accounts for 43% of the total military spending of the world[10] and the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy account for a further 15%"   

So, the US contributes 43% of the total, and all the other countries combined divide up the remaining amount, with Germany, United Kingdom, France & Italy together adding 15%. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO

The Wiki source, if anyone wants to know, is this:  http://milexdata.sipri.org/

The fact the Germany has had a strong economy I think has more to do with the German people's propensity for frugality and good money management on an individual personal level, then socialist economics. Personally, I think that there would be more wealth and prosperity in your country, if Germany was not so socialist oriented.

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Celestiall, nice job -- it is good once again to read you (and) Ishy, you are both so well informed.

 

ETA:  Not that others are not interesting as well, just remembering the contributions of these two from Xstreet.

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Celestiall Nightfire wrote:

Ishatara, the small amount of money that Germany provides toward upkeep of a US military presence, does not even begin to touch the actual cost needed.  Nor, is the amount that Germany provides very high in relation to the GNP of Germany.  

The USA has about 1,4 million soldiers under arms. 250,000 of those are paid for by Germany, Japan, Korea, and the Philipines. Which means that almost 18% of the U.S. military is not financed by the American tax payer. I have to admit that I thought the percentage was even higher, but it's still a considerable contribution.

I mean, it's not as if all these countries really needed the American military presence. Not that I'm complaining, but why are there still troops stationed in Germany? The threat of the USSR is no more. The only reason that the troops are still here is that if they pulled out, the USA would have to pay for them themselves.

 


Celestiall Nightfire wrote:

Here is a visual representation of how much Germany spends on military, and it amounts to about 3% of their GNP, as compared to what the US spends which is 19.3% :



So, in actuality, the prosperity that Germany enjoys, is greatly subsidized by other NATO nations, and a huge amount of money, manpower and resources by the US.

How exactly are we being subsidized? We have all the military we need. At this point, the USA are not providing a service to us by having these troops stationed in Germany, we provide a service to the USA by paying for them. I'm pretty sure that the NATO would remain capable of acting if the USA were to cut their military spending down to a more reasonable level.

Besides, many NATO operations seem to serve mainly U.S. interests. The interests of the military sector and big oil, that is, not the interests of the American tax payer. Think of the operations in Libya for example, or the Iraq war. I don't really see the NATO as a peace keeping organisation when we invade Middle Eastern countries but sit back and watch the genocide in Rwanda.

Not that I think the NATO should intervene in places like Rwanda and Darfur. I don't think anybody should take it on themselves to play global police. The NATO was founded to defend the West against the USSR, which is no longer necessary, so I'm not entirely sure that we still need the NATO at all.

 


The fact the Germany has had a strong economy I think has more to do with the German people's propensity for frugality and good money management on an individual personal level, then socialist economics.

I can think of many adjectives to describe the German people, but frugal is not one of them :) I mean, it's not as if we live like the Amish. Germany is the third biggest market for consumer electronics, software, video games, music, and movies. German middle class families drive two to three cars, just like families in the USA.

Only the housing market looks a bit different, seeing that more people live in apartment buildings. The building standards are much higher here though, with high requirements regarding energy efficiency, groundwater protection etc., which appears quite restrictive but is ultimately in the best interest of house owners and tenants. I'd rather live in a well maintained apartment than own or rent a run down house.

Other than that, consumerism and standard of living are on the same overall level. With the important difference that we have less billionaires on one end and less poverty on the other. Our wages are a lot higher -- taxes too, but don't forget that social charges pay for health and other social insurances, which many people cannot afford in the USA -- which leaves more money in the pockets of the average consumer. That might be the reason that our economy is doing comparatively well. A wealthy work force does more for the economy than a handful of billionaires.

PS: If we compare government services such as road maintenance and public transportation, it is the USA that leaves a more frugal impression imho. Government spending isn't all bad. It can greatly improve the quality of life for everybody.

 


Personally, I think that there would be more wealth and prosperity in your country, if Germany was not so socialist oriented.

Wait... we're comparing two economic and political systems here: Germany's social market economy, a fairly regulated capitalist economy that is doing quite well despite the global recession, and the much less regulated U.S. economy, which has fallen into a deep recession due to a severe lack of regulation in the financial sector. Also due to the fact that wages have stagnated and declined since the 1990's, while the costs of living have increased by more than 65%, which has greatly reduced the purchasing power of the average citizen and driven many people below the poverty level. And you are suggesting that if we were to emulate the USA, we would be even better off? Sorry, but I somehow can't believe that.

We've learned a lot from the USA in the past. I think it is now time that the USA learns from social market economies such as France and Germany. Every system has its flaws and we can all learn from each other. It is rather arrogant to cling to the belief that the American political system is the best in the world when it clearly has some serious problems that become ever more apparent.

Patriotism is all good and well, but I think it often gets in the way of badly needed reforms. None of the rigid political ideologies that divide the USA and keep everyone at each other's throats is a be-all end-all solution that solves all economic and social problems. This almost religious adherence to political ideals only enforces a centrist course, no matter who is in charge, and prevents any real change for the better.

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Celestiall Nightfire wrote:

Here is a visual representation of how much Germany spends on military, and it amounts to about 3% of their GNP, as compared to what the US spends which is 19.3% :



So, in actuality, the prosperity that Germany enjoys, is greatly subsidized by other NATO nations, and a huge amount of money, manpower and resources by the US.

Oh gawd, not that old chestnut again. Look, you Americans spend waaaay too much on your military. Whether or not you buy the 'defending the free world' hokum what it's really about is imperial overreach. Why do you have your military bases all over Europe? [Cold war legacy perhaps?] Why do you insist on propping up unsavoury dictators-for-life in the various 'stans? [i can answer that one: encirclement of China and Russia]. Why does your CIA support the heroin trade in the golden triangle? [again: to keep a standing mercenary army on the Chinese border].

You americans are the lunatic militarists of this era. Get your military budget in line with the rest of the world [ie: maximum of 2% - 3% of your GDP] and live within your means. Maybe even start trusting other nations to look after themselves instead of insisting that it's Pax Americana or the Highway.

BTW, hello Chris you old neo-liberal shill. Up to your old tricks again with your soft-sell slippery-slope arguments? And, to answer your question-du-jour: Bottom-up. Trickle down appears to be just another euphemism for making the rich richer. Our dear little looters here in the UK were applying the same smash'n'grab take-it-all approach to life as exemplified by our so-called captains of industry and finance albiet on a more prosaic and local level. Their one mistake? Not to think big enough. Smashing a shop window and taking a mobile phone gets you a jail sentence. Gambling with [and losing] the savings of millions and bankrupting national economies while pocketing billions in bonuses and fees gets you a knighthood. No doubt they've all learned their lesson and will be marching en masse into the City of London in suits'n'ties ready to suck the life out of the world economy as soon as they get out of jail.

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

The USA has about 1,4 million soldiers under arms. 250,000 of those are paid for by Germany, Japan, Korea, and the Philipines. Which means that almost 18% of the U.S. military is not financed by the American tax payer. I have to admit that I thought the percentage was even higher, but it's still a considerable contribution.


Ishy, where are you getting your statistics?   Where are you getting the 18% of the US military budget financed *not* by US taxpayers?   Please cite your sources.  

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

I mean, it's not as if all these countries really needed the American military presence. Not that I'm complaining, but why are there still troops stationed in Germany? The threat of the USSR is no more. The only reason that the troops are still here is that if they pulled out, the USA would have to pay for them themselves.

 



I, for one,  (and I can't think of too many US citizens who would not want this)   would love to see the US military pull out of Europe, as it is a huge money drain on our taxpayers.   So, you have to ask your fellow EU members why they want the US military presence.   It probably has something to do with the history of the region, which Germany played not small part in.  The USSR as only part of the picture.  

I say bring the US military home, but have you thought about how that would affect your German economy?   You can't tell me that all those US military personnel and their families don't send money in Germany and help the local economy their.  I know they do.   Do you know how many Germans are employed by the US military?  At one time over 70,000 German were employed by the US military.  (down to 17,000)  That does not include the money spent on land, housing, food, services, tourism, and more.  All US has put billions of dollars into the German economy.  This has provided a constant economic money flow into Germany, and it's still going on.  How many people do you know that get their income from either from direct employment or indirectly from US military?     If the US pulls out, there go the billions of dollars we currently funnel into Germany.  I'd be ok with that, but it may not be the scenario you are envisioning. 

http://www.bicc.de/uploads/pdf/publications/reports/report04/report4.pdf

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

How exactly are we being subsidized? We have all the military we need. At this point, the USA are not providing a service to us by having these troops stationed in Germany, we provide a service to the USA by paying for them. I'm pretty sure that the NATO would remain capable of acting if the USA were to cut their military spending down to a more reasonable level.


Ishy, refer to my paragraphs above.  Germany is subsidized by billions of US dollars coming into your economy.  Through employing German citizens, through buying food, housing, land, and services.  All the US troops and their families spend money, as does the US military...they spend money in your country.   The small amount of money that Germany contributes does not begin to cover the money put out by the US in having a military presence in Germany. 

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

Besides, many NATO operations seem to serve mainly U.S. interests. The interests of the military sector and big oil, that is, not the interests of the American tax payer. Think of the operations in Libya for example, or the Iraq war. I don't really see the NATO as a peace keeping organization when we invade Middle Eastern countries but sit back and watch the genocide in Rwanda.

 


Of course NATO serves US interests.  We would not be a part of it if it did not.  The cost in lives and money after two world wars was determined to be greater, and the threat of the former USSR, than they cost of being part of NATO.  So, yes, the US has benefited for a long time from this arrangement as there was a controlled peace.  But, Germany and the other NATO nations also benefited from this arrangement.  Both monetarily and strategically.  

NATO was not organized to keep peace in the Middle East or Africa, so I'm not sure why you are mentioning those places. 

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/nato/

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

I can think of many adjectives to describe the German people, but frugal is not one of them :) I mean, it's not as if we live like the Amish. Germany is the third biggest market for consumer electronics, software, video games, music, and movies. German middle class families drive two to three cars, just like families in the USA.


Well, then you should be happy that the US has pumped billions of dollars into the German economy over the years.   : )  Have you thought about where the Germany economy would today, if after WWII, the US had pulled out all together?  Do you know how much money total that the US has put into the Germany post-WWII?   If you don't recall the details, then read up on the Marshall Plan and the European Recovery Program, (ERP) .  Billions of dollars put into the UK and EU nations.  Yes, this has been decades back, but what do you think the current condition of your economy would be if this had not been done? 

 

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

Wait... we're comparing two economic and political systems here: Germany's social market economy, a fairly regulated capitalist economy that is doing quite well despite the global recession, and the much less regulated U.S. economy, which has fallen into a deep recession due to a severe lack of regulation in the financial sector. Also due to the fact that wages have stagnated and declined since the 1990's, while the costs of living have increased by more than 65%, which has greatly reduced the purchasing power of the average citizen and driven many people below the poverty level. And you are suggesting that if we were to emulate the USA, we would be even better off? Sorry, but I somehow can't believe that.


Yes, I'm saying that the German economy and the German citizens would be better off if they were not living in such a socialistic system.  Do you even know what the "poverty level" in the US represents?  

"A  family is counted as poor if its pretax money income is below its poverty threshold. Money income does not include noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, employer-provided health insurance and food stamps."

Look at this link:    http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

We've learned a lot from the USA in the past. I think it is now time that the USA learns from social market economies such as France and Germany. Every system has its flaws and we can all learn from each other. It is rather arrogant to cling to the belief that the American political system is the best in the world when it clearly has some serious problems that become ever more apparent.

 



I agree, that there are always opportunities to learn how to improve conditions.  But, I disagree that the socialist leanings of the EU nations have the lessons that will help.  It is directly due to intervention and economic aid over many decades from the US, that so many EU nations, and particularly Germany, are in decent position.  The sheer volume of wealth created by capitalist economics is unparalleled in the world.   Thus, the companies that create wealth provide jobs, and the standard of living and disposal income of those in the US remains high, even during a world-wide economic recession.  

(BTW:   I currently, get my RL paycheck from one of the largest (if not the largest) and wealthiest US computer and electronics companies in the world)  

 


Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

Patriotism is all good and well, but I think it often gets in the way of badly needed reforms. None of the rigid political ideologies that divide the USA and keep everyone at each other's throats is a be-all end-all solution that solves all economic and social problems. This almost religious adherence to political ideals only enforces a centrist course, no matter who is in charge, and prevents any real change for the better.



Hmm, I was thinking the same thing about Germany and it's citizens after seeing how you have tried so hard to compare Germany and the US.   A little national pride getting in the way of your good sense.   :  )  : )

Here's an interesting comparison article written by someone who grew up in Germany, lived there 26 years, and then moved to the US:   

http://math-www.uni-paderborn.de/~axel/us-d.html

That comparison may help explain our diverging opinions here.  

 

(Edited to add italics to separate Ishy's words from mine,  as this forum software does not want to cooperate) 

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Alazarin Mondrian wrote:

Whether or not you buy the 'defending the free world' hokum what it's really about is imperial overreach. Why do you have your military bases all over Europe? [Cold war legacy perhaps?] Why do you insist on propping up unsavoury dictators-for-life in the various 'stans?
[i can answer that one: encirclement of China and Russia]
. Why does your CIA support the heroin trade in the golden triangle? [again: to keep a standing mercenary army on the Chinese border].


Uh, yes...read your history.  The US has military bases in Europe because of the "Cold War".  Are you asking *me* a Libertarian about US overseas interests?!  Oh, good golly, miss molly.  

Here's a link to the Libertarian platform:   http://www.lp.org/platform

I'll quote you a little section:    

"We would end the current U.S. Government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights."

 


Alazarin Mondrian wrote:

 

You americans are the lunatic militarists of this era.

Well, aren't you a nice fellow...name calling all.   Lunatic?   hehe 

See, it's hard to take someone serious who does not have the reading comprehension that is good enough to follow-a-long with the comments being posts and just goes off on a ranting tangent.   Perhaps you should get a blog, I hear those are good for posting rants, and you don't have to actually pay attention to what the other people have written. 

 

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