Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

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Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Valhallen » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:01 am

Split from the discussion thread here. Discussion of George Soros began here, and became the official topic here. Other topics popped up at various points. Feel free to let this one wander.

My reply to the discussion is about done, but technical issues have arisen. Is there a size limit to posts?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby BeeAre » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:07 am

Valhallen, if there is such a problem, You can divide it into multiple posts. Use the preview button to see if there is a character-limit. Shouldn't be an issue. :)

Anyway, my previous remarks still stand: Is it necessary to assume that people suck? Even if people are ultimately self-interested, self-interest when containing the self-interest that is shared by others is the fastest way to do the most amount of practical fulfillment of all the different sorts of self-interest, and thus is the proper way to acclimatize yourself into a group with which you fully participate, and by extension is the proper way to acclimatize new members into this group or community (like kids!).

Teach your kids that sharing is caring and makes everyone feel good, and eventually with technology: communism! yay!
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Valhallen » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:10 am

I know i can split it. I was hoping there would be a way to get it all in one post. For enhancing the mind destruction properties and such.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby BeeAre » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:12 am

Valhallen wrote:I know i can split it. I was hoping there would be a way to get it all in one post. For enhancing the mind destruction properties and such.


the limit should be above 11000 words, but I can check for you very rapidly, if you don't mind me using one post in this thread to do so.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Valhallen » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:35 am

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:For the following, consider that in 2010, the world GDP was ~$62 trillion, and the US GDP was ~$14.5 trillion.
Is that first number including the US? If so, then that means the US makes up ~23% of the world's GDP, and that China's was ~$5.7 trillion (or 9%), Japan's was $4.1 trillion (or 6.6%), and Russia's was $2.2 trillion (or 3.5%). Not sure how it's relevant, but good to know.
Yes and yes. GDP is a proxy of power. This shows that, for example, the US is a superpower currently in a class by itself, though China is catching up. Now consider the economic power of some entities we've mentioned so far. George Soros has about $14 billion, and the Open Society Institute spends about half a billion dollars annually, or about .003% of US GDP and about .0008% of world GDP. Soros is a big fish, but the pond is very big itself. News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, had about $33 billion in revenue last year, or ~70x the economic power of the Open Society Institute.

Let's examine the Rose Revolution in Georgia. At the time, Georgia had a GDp of about $4 billion (current USD), and Soros spent about $42 million (~$49 million in current USD) to encourage the popular protests against a government that had apparently (by the reckoning of exit polls, national organizations, the UN, and the US) just stolen an election. That's about 1.2% of GDP spent to support a cause with widespread support against a leader widely recognized as bad in various ways. 1.2% of current US GDP is ~$177 billion, and Obama is reasonably popular.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote: something like 500 organizations.
... Rupert Murdoch ... Billionaires tend to have their fingers in a lot of pies. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are (or are not) using them to advance particular political agendas.
Yeah, but Murdoch is not actively pursuing any kind of worldwide or systemic change. He's never helped overthrow any oppressive regimes
Rupert Murdoch is in many ways a conservative mirror of Soros. Both naturalized US citizens are capitalistic self-made billionaires who influence many international organizations and meet with presidents. Murdoch tends to display more conservative values (i.e. conserving good things in the status quo) while Soros tends to display more liberal values (i.e. fixing bad things in the status quo.) As such, Murdoch has mostly concentrated on expanding and securing his power, and pursues politics to that end. Soros has taken a more proactive approach to things he sees as problematic around the world, hence the OSi and his other activities. Since the status quo largely fits with Murdoch's goals, it would not be expected that he would pursue systemic change. However, it would be expected that he would oppose those who seek change that would disadvantage him. Lo and behold, Fox News. Note that I am not presenting this as unquestionable truth, but rather a reasonable explanation that self-consistently fits known facts, an advantage over the accusation that Soros wants to overthrow the US and establish socialism.

Speaking of which, Soros spent some of his resources to peacefully overthrow oppressive regimes. How is that bad, exactly, and how does that justify your statement that Soros is targeting the US in that manner?

RuffDraft wrote:or actively tried to get other news stations taken off the air (more on this below).
Rather, he prefers to take over and control media. Aside from the NPR thing. And the BBC and various other rivals.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:What does it do advance Soros's supposed agenda?
It's how he disguises his charitable giving, directly or through the Tides Foundation. That means that he can donate to anyone he choeses, freely, with very few, if any, restrictions. I'll get to Tides and whether or not he has done this in a moment.
You're saying that Soros gives money to the OSI and directs it as he sees fit. I agree. I'm asking for evidence that Soros is directing money through the OSI to things that support what you're accusing him of. And your statements about the Tides Foundation don't support that either.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:he has donated money to the founding members of the Weather Underground
Make the connection. Who did Soros give money to, who was responsible for the Days of Rage, and what influence did Soros have?
Well... this sums it up nicely. Scroll down about a third of the way and you'll find the names, Robert Bernstein, Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, and Linda Evans. Just to name a few.
I see the names, but they don't seem to indicate what you were saying.

To relay what that article says, Robert Bernstein (who was not in Weather Underground) was a founding member of Human Rights Watch (which was founded to make sure that the Soviet Union followed the Helsinki Accords, and now does comparable things around the world with an annual budget of $40-some million). Soros recently gave $100 million over 10 years to Human Rights Watch.

Bernadine Dohrn and her husband Bill Ayers were active in Weather Underground... about 40 years ago. They turned themselves in in 1980. The charges against Ayers were dropped, and Dohrn was fined and served probation. Dohrn has since become a lawyer and law professor, and chairs the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights board. She has done other things to support the well-bring of children, as mentioned in the CV linked in that article. Ayers has also done academic and social stuff with an emphasis on children's schools, but the article mentions him only in connection to Dohrn.

Linda Evans was also in the Weather Underground, was arrested in 1970 and again in 1985, and was in prison until 2001. Since her release, she has advocated for better treatment of woman in prison, especially lesbians, and is active in All Of Us Or None, a group that advocates for former prisoners. It was in this capacity that she received a Soros Justice fellowship, since the Open Society Foundations is also interested in reforming the US criminal justice system.

So how does this support your point?

RuffDraft wrote:however, who better to fund/employ if you're trying to plot a revolution or change a regime than those who have first-hand knowledge of how to do it? They weren't successful then, but people tend to learn from their mistakes, especially if their backer is a billionaire who has succeeded in other countries.
That's right, they weren't successful then (and there wasn't risk that they would be - have you seen what they did and planned?). Further, they've been out of practice for decades, as they're apparently more interested in humanitarian pursuits now (i.e. improving things through peaceful rather than violent means, as that didn't work out well for them). What would Soros (who, as you mentioned, actually succeeded in overthrowing governments, fairly recently even) possibly gain from them in his supposed scheme to overthrow the US?

RuffDraft wrote:And before you comment, I realize that this is weak by itself; all will be explained at the end, after I answer your other points.
The thing is, an argument is like a chain: it's only as strong as its weakest link. And you didn't strengthen it with your later statements.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:to ACORN (a working-class advocacy group cited as having its workers commit voter fraud)
Note that that was voter REGISTRATION fraud, not actual VOTING fraud.
I'm glad you made that distinction. Yes, they got caught trying to register fake voters. And they've been trying to do it (possibly getting away with some but not all of their attempts) for years, going back as far as 2005 (and maybe further), according to FactCheck.Org. Some of these people have actually plead guilty to intentionally submitting false voter registration forms. One person said he did it because ACORN told them to do at least 20 a day (which ACORN denies, but I'm not sure I buy that).
But who is the "they" that tried to register fake voters, who was trying to get away with it, and who was actually defrauding whom? It was low-level ACORN employees who submitted fake registrations in order to defraud ACORN, to get paid without actually doing their jobs.

RuffDraft wrote:And ACORN simply brushes it off by firing a few employees or saying that any investigation it's part of a plot to suppress voter registration.
Since the problem involved employees defrauding their employer, I would say that firing them is an appropriate solution. As for the plot, consider this. ACORN focused on registering poor and minority people, as they have been underrepresented historically. They also tend to vote Democratic. In the 2008 election campaign, John McCain accused ACORN of "voter fraud," as you did earlier, implying something that would actually affect elections, which most Republicans believed to have actually happened. It may not be a plan to suppress voter registration, but it looks awfully convenient, as an investigation of ACORN management is not warranted for what the low-level employees did of their own accord, but it does serve to undermine ACORN's efforts to register poor/minority people.

RuffDraft wrote:What do you think would happen if no one caught them doing this? They'd have a ton of fake voters to vote however they wanted in whatever election cycle they wanted. So now the question becomes: how many now-registered voters are real, and how many are bots?
Seeing as how there was apparently no attempt by ACORN or its employees to vote using the fake registrations, I think that the results would have been some extra names registered (though, as the link I gave earlier stated, ACORN policy says that questionable registrations are flagged before being passed to local election officials, as it is the job of the election officials, not ACORN, to vet them). Note that the investigation concluded that "they" never intended to cast fraudulent votes. Without the controversy, there would probably have been somewhat more poor and minority people registered for the 2008 election. And none of the fraudulent registrations are bots, as someone would still have to do the voting if election fraud were attempted.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:How does this implicate the management of ACORN in political shenanigans, let alone Soros?
Well on the matter of how it implicates ACORN, I have no hard evidence. ...
I guess there is some hard evidence...
Actually, no there isn't, as explained below. Which is a problem for your argument.

RuffDraft wrote:Oh wait, there's the fact that they hired 9 people who THEY KNEW were in prison for Identity Theft
So, your criticism here is that work-release programs are baaad? What's wrong with hiring work-release prisoners to do unskilled legwork?

RuffDraft wrote:and the fact that an investigation found that about 48% of their registration forms were falsified
That's not what your sources said. That article is not related to the previous mention of work-release prisoners, and the 48% figure is a statement by Larry Lomax (it was not reported in that article how he arrived at that figure).

RuffDraft wrote:Marcel Reid, a former ACORN board member, removed last year for demaning an audit of their books, said, "Acorn has been hijacked by a power-hungry clique that has its own political and personal agendas. We are fighting to take back the group."
The article you linked says that Reid was removed AFTER demanding the audit, not FOR demanding the audit. Anyway, it sounds like she wasn't getting along with the other board members. But let's suppose she's right about the other board members having political and personal agendas. Most everyone has personal and political agendas, but that doesn't mean that they have a particular agenda to commit massive election fraud and overthrow the government. Do you have any evidence that they have the agenda you're attributing to them?

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:to the Tides Foundation ... wrote the original, wasteful $700 billion stimulus
How do we know that, and what influence did Soros have in that or other Tides Foundation activities?
I'm sorry, I made a mistake; it was the Tides Foundation who funded the Apollo Alliance, who wrote the stimulus. With this in mind I shall reassert my point and clarify my position.

The Apollo Alliance (AA for short) wrote the origninal stimulus package, which they called the Apollo Economic Recovery Act.
This is the Apollo Alliance's proposal, and this is the stimulus package. You may notice that the Apollo report is 24 pages of marketing-speak and graphics, while the stimulus bill is 406 pages of legalese.

RuffDraft wrote:This, only about a week after Pres. Obama called for a "big stimulus package," almost as if they had it prepared beforehand.
It's almost as if the economy had been in trouble for months, and reasonable observers expected the government to do something. There may have even been controversy among different groups about what should be done.

RuffDraft wrote:So the Obama Admin. took it and it became the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with some minor changes (mostly in the number of billions being spent) to the original.
Rather, it was introduced in the House by Dave Obey and the Senate (a somewhat different version) by Harry Reid, the Senate changed a bunch of stuff, and the conference version changed more stuff. So the Apollo Alliance may have helped, but Congress bears responsibility for what actually made it into law. And how does the stimulus package advance Soros's plot to overthrow the US, anyway?

RuffDraft wrote:The link for George Soros and the Tides Foundation is just as transparent. First of all, Tides is basically a money-laundering firm. According to what I can find, it's been used for: radical environmentalist groups; anti-firearm ownership movements; anti-war movements; anti-free trade campaigns; abolishment of the death penalty; government-funded abortion-on-demand; the list goes on.

Halfway down that link is a section detailing how OSI (George Soros) has donated money to the Tides Foundation.
It says that Soros donated "more than $7 million over the years." Each year, the Tides Foundation has a budget of about $200 million, and receives about $100 million in grants. So how influential do you think Soros is in what the Tides Foundation does, and just what does the Tides foundation do to advance Soros's plot to overthrow the US?

RuffDraft wrote:The link also talks about the    Shadow Party   , which I will get to in a moment. But for now, keep scrolling and look a little further and see how many organizations are listed as being funded through the Tides Foundation. It's all over the place. There's the Children's Defense Fund, which describes itself as a "child advocacy" group, but then there's Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the US! I don't see a single right-wing organization here (which is a relief, at least to me), although I do see a lot of organizations that are funded by George Soros in this list, such as CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). Tides truly does not care where its money comes from as long as it receives its 8% fee.
...So? What does any of this have to do with Soros's plot to overthrow the US?

RuffDraft wrote:And look--Tides also receives money from the Federal Government. Isn't it great that our tax dollars are being used to fund such (a) charitable(?) organization(s)?
Considering that the Tides Foundation does things like these, I think that some federal funding is appropriate.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:he donated $1.8 million dollars to NPR
How is that supposed to support your point, and how is Soros supposed to have contributed to Williams being fired?
While I admit that Soros' involvement in this is more indirect...
Soros' involvement is more along the lines of giving private funds to a public entity for the sole purpose of "hiring new journalists." This might seem small, but it does come in to play, as I will soon illustrate.
And what's wrong with that? Most of NPR's funding comes from fees and donations. The government only provides about 1.5% indirectly through the CPB.

RuffDraft wrote:it is a fact that NPR was unhappy that Williams was even appearing on FoxNews. He made an opinionated comment and was fired. However, some woman did the same thing (gave an opinion, that is) and is still with them. It's pure hypocracy, and telling of how they hate the Right so much that they're willing to sever ties to anyone even associated with FoxNews.
Williams violated the NPR ethics code, and was fired. Nina Totenberg did not, and was not. The issue wasn't expressing opinions per se, but expressing opinions that would undermine NPR's impartiality. Williams had said that it was not bigoted to become nervous when seeing people in Muslim garb at airports, when Muslim air terrorists to date have not dressed like that. This shows that he is, in fact, bigoted, and thinks that expressing that bigotry as neutrality is appropriate.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:... even if you didn't like George Bush, this is still a very questionable act
Questionable how? It's not like millions of other people didn't also want Bush out of office and funded groups to that end. This indicates that Soros wants to take part in the political system, not overthrow it.
You really think it's good for someone like Soros--a wealthy businessman and one who has a history of aiding in the overthrow of various governments and who has shown a vested interest in currency devaluation--should have any say in how our country is run?
Sure, why not? He is a US citizen, and can vote, express himself, spend his money as he sees fit, etc. Are you objecting to his rights to do so, or to what he may or may not be doing?

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:he's also donated millions upon millions of dollars towards getting FoxNews off the air.
Citation? I see that Soros gave a single million to Media Matters, but that's rather different from what you're accusing.
Yes, Media Matters... and MoveOn.Org, the Center for American Progress, America Coming together, TeaPartyTracker.Org, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Think Progress by way of the Center for American Progress...
But see, funding organizations that compete with Fox News in the marketplace of ideas is not the same thing as getting Fox News off the air, any more than a commercial for Pepsi is an attempt to shut down Coca-Cola.

RuffDraft wrote:He's called for/funded boycotts; intimidated sponsors; paid for an ad calling Glenn Beck an anti-semite (which I saw on TV but can no longer find on the internet) for his comments about Soros' childhood during Nazi Germany in Beck's 3-day Soros (Puppet Master) special.
This is more the sort of thing that would qualify as trying to get Fox News (or at least certain parts of it, indirectly) off the air. However, you have not provided any evidence that this is the case.

RuffDraft wrote:Soros is so afraid of people calling him on his devious acts and hypocrisy that he had a legal team go to Canada to intimidate a blogger named Kathy Shaidle after she posted an essay he apparently didn't like. How exactly does an American citizen get off telling Canadian bloggers they can't talk badly about them?
She relayed a story calling Soros a Nazi collaborator, and used that to characterize Soros as disturbed and morally questionable as an opening to a blog post titled "George Soros’ 8 Most Despicable Acts". Sounds like defamation to me. And defamation laws in Canada are different than in the US. As I mentioned before, it is nearly impossible to win a defamation case in the US barring a confession of actual malice, but Canada uses a standard that allows meaningful legal threats to be made. The very article you linked said. "How can anyone know with reasonable certainty what Mr. Soros did or believed as a teenager in Nazi-ruled Hungary..." which implies that Shaidle's claims are dubious despite the attempt at defending another NewsReal blogger.

RuffDraft wrote:If Kathy Shaidle had said "Soros is a great man who wants to create a global economy and bring America to its knees" do you think she would have been sued by Soros for defamation?
Possible, but irrelevant.

RuffDraft wrote:Now, I know you're probably looking at some of those links above and saying "the organizations you cited received funds during 2004 to remove Bush from office, not rally against Fox News." And yet these are organizations that Soros still donates money to. They have a message that he believes in and have been known for being heavly anti-Republican/Conservative/Fox News/etc. If Soros believed they weren't doing what he thought they should be doing, he'd stop donating money to them, guaranteed.
But, as I mentioned before, Soros giving money to a group does not itself imply that the group does a particular thing. Inductive reasoning goes from data points to general conclusions, not the other way around. Your reasoning seems to be Conclusion: Soros is doing these things. Evidence: Soros funds these groups. Because Soros funds these groups, these groups must do these things. The proper way to do it is to go Evidence: These groups do these things. Why do they do these things? Because Soros tells them to. Conclusion: Soros is doing these things. The problem is that you haven't identified how the organizations are advancing Soros's supposed evil agenda, or how Soros influences them to do specifically those things. And when you're making a point, it does matter that "the organizations you cited received funds during 2004 to remove Bush from office, not rally against Fox News" because you were saying that Soros's contributions to those organizations meant that he was trying to get Fox News off the air.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:And regarding the sidestep ... If you think that donating money to Media Matters is an evil stifling of free speech, what do you think about Fox News using its "news" broadcasts to advocate for the removal of funding for NPR?
There's a strong difference here.
There is a strong difference. Media Matters, among other things, points out various questionable things Fox News does. Soros gave Media Matters money. This doesn't directly affect Fox at all. If lots of people see and agree with what Media matters does, they may freely choose to stop watching Fox, and Fox viewership might decline. Media Matters isn't stifling anyone's freedom of speech. Fox News advocated for removing government funding from NPR. As NPR gets most of its funding elsewhere, it wouldn't kill it, but it would crimp its budget, reducing its ability to operate normally. This is also not itself stifling free speech, but it is advocacy for the stifling of free speech. I note that you didn't mention what you thought the difference was.

RuffDraft wrote:We had a debate about Glenn Beck a little while ago where I followed a link in which MM took several of Beck's lines and completely distorted the meaning behind them (the one about Forest Fires in which they said Beck was justifying peoples' houses burning down by saying they were un-American, for instance).
Do you mean this? What's wrong with Media Matters' take on it? If Media Matters distorts things consistently, all the time, it shouldn't be hard to find a clear example.

RuffDraft wrote:I've never seen Media Matters issue a retraction on anything they've ever said about anyone on the Right. I don't claim to be a Media Matters expert of course, but when I pull up one of their web pages, I almost always see them laud the Left and revile the Right; and even on ones from years ago, I haven't seen a single apology on anything they've gotten wrong. Many of the pages I see are inflammatory, defamatory and often outright derogatory, and yet somehow they're protected from legal action, unlike in the above Canada incident.
Consider what kind of bias you're accusing Media Matters of. If you're accusing Media Matters of bias of omission, Media matters need never have made any erroneous claims, even if you're right. If Media Matters is actually committing falsehoods, you should be able to identify them (say, in the articles you linked). As for defamation, as I said, it's nearly impossible to win a defamation case in the US. Further, it would be more nearly impossible if Media Matters claims were correct.

RuffDraft wrote:http://www.newsrealblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/soros.jpg
ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS ! ! !
I get that it's a quick joke of a shoop from NewsReal, but for Cell's sake, rebalance the color.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:The idea behind insider trading is that you use advance knowledge to gain an advantage over those who don't have that knowledge and then profit off of it while others lose money. So how is that anything less than wrong?
Rather, that's the idea behind stock trading in general. You realize that real traders do not have perfect information and infinitely powerful number crunchers, right?
Real traders are out there on the Wall Street floor buying and selling in real time using whatever information they can gather and attempting to predict which way the markets will go based on a professional understanding of trend and analysis. I'm no expert but that seems a little different than someone taking the time to surf the internet and do their own research, then logging on to Etrade and punching up an order, or calling their broker and issuing a trade.
You are referring to open outcry (in which many of the people on the floor are merely representatives for people who do their research and work elsewhere) trading as "real" trading. For various reasons, electronic trading is supplanting that for professional as well as amateur traders (whose transactions are no less "real" as things are still bought and sold). In any case, as you said, traders try to predict trends and take advantage of them. They try to do that better than other traders (in order to make money off them) by using information that other traders don't have, like individual experience, analysis, and connections. So how is this greater than or equal to wrong?

RuffDraft wrote:Yeah, now. I'm talking about 1992. And sure it wasn't completely destroyed, I should have been clear that that wasn't what I was saying. It was severely damaged. A loss of 3.3 billion Pounds to the economy, even now, would be catastrophic.

Let's evaluate the exchange rates. According to Stlouisfed.org, in August of 1992, the Pound peaked at 1.9434 (USD). By October, it was down to 1.6529. That's a horrendous loss, especially in such a short time frame. They started to recover in February of '93, but only after the Pound fell to 1.4395, and it didn't get up to the 1.9000s from before Black Wednesday until 2004.
Let's have a look at the timeline. I'll be referring to graph A, graph B, and your exchange rate table C. As A shows, the UK economy was doing well through the mid '80s, but began to stagnate around the turn of the decade. The UK entered the ERM in October 1990, and (B) the economy shrank slightly for the next few quarters. Black Wednesday was September 16 1992, and C indicates ~10% devaluation of the Pound in that month. As you said, it continued to decline, bottoming out in February 1993. Note that B indicates modest but steady growth of the Uk economy during this time, continuing until the recent financial crisis.

This indicates several things relevant to our discussion. It indicates that the UK's recession was not caused by the events of Black Wednesday, but rather previous conditions that appear to have ended concurrently with the withdrawal from the ERM. Further, the continued decline of the Pound in the months following Black Wednesday and its low value for years afterward indicate that its economic equilibrium really was low at that time, so short term speculators like Soros just increased the rate of decline once the UK could no longer prop up the Pound's value through its intervention. Had the UK regulators allowed the Pound to experience an "orderly decline" as Soros described elsewhere, it would be reasonable to expect that the Pound would have experienced a similar loss, but it would have been much slower and less disruptive, and certainly less costly to the UK, as they would not have lost money in failed intervention.

So then, whence severe damage of the UK economy by Soros?

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:As I explained earlier, the Pound fell because of the economic situation - Soros just profited off of it. It's kind of like a guy who cashes his child's college fund and throws the money in the street. It's not good for the guy or his kid, but you might as well pick it up before it blows away. Are you suggesting that the UK wouldn't have had economic troubles if Soros hadn't taken advantage of bad policy? And no, I don't have a particular problem with that. Free market and such. Is your remaining criticism of Soros here that he was cold hearted?
My criticism is that George Soros is a vulture. Actually, scratch that; it's an insult to the vulture.
OK. Of course, condors are vultures too. Anyway, your criticism is that Soros is a ruthless capitalist pigdog? Fair enough, but that's a ways from being a socialist.

RuffDraft wrote:Your analogy of the child's college fund is a bit off. In your example, the father is willfully discarding his child's college fund and someone else is taking the money. Black Wednesday occurred because Europe was trying to prevent its currency from massive devaluation while participating in the ERM, to which the whole purpose was as a precursor to the Euro. At the sheer massive currency short-selling of Soros and his associates, the government could not act quickly enough or strongly enough to prevent the damage from being done. Is it any coincidence that Soros profits off the instability of the Pound when Europe is trying to create a singular currency, and is now saying we need a global economy?
Regarding the analogy, that's more or less what happened. The UK was willfully spending money to artificially prop up the Pound above what the market conditions would bear. Soros and other speculators saw this and and took advantage of it. If Soros didn't personally take part, others would have (and others did, in fact participate), and the UK would still have lost money in its poor investment. If no one were willing to speculate like that, the UK would have been unable to buy Pounds to prop up the value, and the crash would have happened sooner, though it would have been less costly for the UK, as less would have been sunk into it (analogous to the guy's wife kicking him out to collect the money that hadn't been blown away or collected by others). And it was the UK trying to prevent its currency's devaluation relative to Germany's (and by ERM regulations, the rest of ERM participants by extension). The ERM was more focused on stabilizing intra-European economic fluctuations than external variations, though stabilizing much of Europe would help with that from the combined economic inertia.

The ERM was not an attempt to create a single currency. And we already have a global economy. Soros was saying that, because of that, setting global economic policies effectively would take more international coordination than has gone on in the past.

RuffDraft wrote:And sure, the UK's problems probably would have still existed if Soros were never involved, but how does that excuse him for capitalizing from it?
If the problems would have existed without Soros's involvement, Soros is not responsible for the problems. If doing so doesn't cause problems, what's wrong with making a profit? Remember that what he did was legal.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:... Economic War Criminal.
I'd like to hear your explanation for why you think that that's justified. You might find this interesting. I agree with Soros's statement there that "the responsibility doesn't belong to speculators but to the authorities. The authorities should decide how markets should function."
...I'm not sure how to interpret that. Is he saying that governments shouldn't listen to people like him? And is he saying that speculators shouldn't be able to exploit the system? In which case I agree, but it makes me angry to think that George Soros is saying this.
No, that's about the opposite of what he's saying. Soros is saying that speculators should be able to conduct business within the rules set up by the authorities in charge of the market. If the authorities set up an easily exploitable situation, the speculators who take advantage of it are within their rights to do so.

RuffDraft wrote:And on the Malaysian ex-Premier's words, his original words seem pretty inflammatory on their own, it kinda makes sense for the ex-Premier to apologize. Why would I find that interesting? How does it relate to Thailand?
The first sentence of that article wrote:Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad toay met his old foe George Soros and said he accepted the billionaire financier was not responsible for the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
I think that this is rather notable, especially given Mohamad's previous statements about Soros.

RuffDraft wrote:As to why the above is justified, I think it has something in part to do with the fact that Soros bragged about his methods of speculation and profit off of Thailand's currency devaluation. Thailand can hold whatever opinion of him they desire.
Citation? At any rate, as with the UK situation, the authorities made bad decisions in a bad economic environment. And whatever Thailand thinks, it wasn't a war, and "Economic War Criminal" is not recognized in international law.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:I'm sorry, but I fail to see the correlation between being right and being biased. Could you perhaps give an example?
Sure. <long quote>
Okay, so if I understand your point, it is that Beck's thesis is flawed because of his omission or commission of certain bias.
If you follow this line of discussion back, BeeAre criticized news organizations for vilifying people without participating in meaningful discussion. You said that that didn't make them wrong. I agreed but pointed out that it does make them biased, and here we are. The point of that bit you just quoted was to show that, while bias does not necessarily make a source wrong, it does make that source an unreliable source of information. I gave progressively more complex examples, concluding with Beck as a real-world case. Bias of omission, like Beck taking Soros's quotes of a new world order and orderly decline of the Dollar out of context, produces information that is correct in its details but presents a distorted overall picture, and is often a handy setup for bias of commission. Beck saying that Soros's quotes mean A, B, and C when the omitted context shows that they instead mean X, Y, and Z is a bias of commission, as he's basically making stuff up. Beck's thesis is flawed because the details he uses to build his case (many of them true) don't mean what he says they mean, though that is incidental to my point in this particular line of discussion.

RuffDraft wrote:The part about this that I find off is--forgive me if my assumption is wrong--that you probably have not fully researched the assertions he makes
The degree to which I have or have not researched things is relevant only as a proxy for whether I am right or wrong and whether my statements are justified or not. So, am I wrong? Can you find fault with anything I've said?

RuffDraft wrote:nor reviewed his sources, which are posted on his website and on TheBlaze.com. Many of his sources are directly from Soros' own books, biographies, or spoken word.
Have you considered that I may have reviewed them and found that they don't actually support Beck's claim that Soros wants to overthrow the US? Pick any point, check the context, and explain in detail how it does. Keep in mind that Beck is making the positive claim about Soros, so the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate that it really is so. As such, information that is consistent with the conclusion to be reached is insufficient; the information must actually support the conclusion and weigh against other possibilities. As an example, consider that Franz Greiter invented sunscreen. This is consistent with his being a vampire, but it does not support the conclusion that he was a vampire.

RuffDraft wrote:Even as such, I don't expect you to go through all of them (something like 14 pages worth of sources).
That's not too bad. For one of the global warming threads, I critiqued a scientific paper (39 pages of math and technical jargon). However, I would expect you to go through them thoroughly to check whether or not they actually support your argument.

RuffDraft wrote:And I understand what you're saying about bias of omission versus commission... but in all seriousness, when he's making a special on George Soros with the intention of bringing his words to light, since most people probably don't even know who George Soros is, and then telling his viewers not to take anything that he says as accepted truth but to "do your own research," and in telling his viewers to reverify all the sources that he has posted to the internet, would you not say he's encouraging his audience to make an informed opinion based on their own perception of facts?
A few things there. He did, at the end of the day, tell them that Soros is planning to overthrow the US. He said that had already done the research (which is kind of obligatory for "news" reports). And he didn't actually post his sources on the Internet. Instead, he mostly gave excerpts taken out of context, accompanied by a statement of where it was from, sometimes with a link. That's actually pretty good on his part, but how many of his viewers would you expect to suspend judgement until after they finished checking "like 14 pages worth of sources"? Especially when, as you imply, Beck's statements would be most viewers' introduction to Soros.

RuffDraft wrote:Sure, Beck might appear biased in claiming that George Soros is an evil, conspiratorial rich dood, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. That's the point I'm trying to make here. If you want to believe that George Soros is not evil, that's your right. Glenn Beck can't make you believe anything. Facts should speak for themselves.
And if the facts disagree with Beck?

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:My point here was that Beck, Hannity, and O'Reilly, the ones most known for vilifying people they disagree with, are also the most popular. I was implying that, if you're going to make a point about what you see going on, you should check that it is representative of the whole.
While I see what you're saying, it seems like your point branches over two different arguments. You say that we should check that it's representative as a whole, but claim that Beck, Hannity and O'Reilly are representative of that whole? They each only get an hour time slot during a normal day (3 hours out of what, 16 hours beginning with Fox And Friends?), and they're analyzing chunks of the news. It doesn't seem to me that that's an adequate representation of the whole. Just because something is popular doesn't mean it's the norm. Football is popular but when I step outside my house I don't see thousands of people sacking one another.
You had mentioned your experience as a viewer. I pointed out that, because the shows most known for vilifying people were the most popular (by a very large margin), your experience as a viewer may not be very representative of the typical experience of a Fox News viewer. And for this, being (very) popular does affect what is normal for Fox News viewers, as more are watching those shows.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:... Now, why was the Conservative permitted to talk over the Liberal, and did the Liberal eventually get his whole point out?
As I said it was a sort of round-table discussion in which everyone was permitted to speak freely. Someone got impatient and started talking over the other side. Impatience being a non-partisan emotion, it's not something to blame the whole of either party for. That said, yes the Liberal did get his whole point out.
Nice that he finished his point, but consider the environment and ground rules of the discussion. Apparently the Conservative who interrupted thought that it was fine to interrupt others when he became impatient. That you thought it was notable for the host to intervene implies that that's a reasonable assumption to bring to the discussion. In a discussion, especially a round-table discussion, especially one where interruptions are allowed, those who speak loudly and forcefully are at a significant advantage in controlling the discussion. In such conditions, if the hosting organization is selective about who it invites, it can pretty much decide in advance how discussions typically play out, and thus insert bias.

RuffDraft wrote:Now...
This is where I answer all the points I said I would get to later.
You did not respond to a point of my previous post.
Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:What I am saying is that Soros' influence is tremendous and that to consider him "only one man" is to completely underestimate him.
You've just been saying that Soros influences various organizations to do things. If Soros is responsible, he's doing it as "only one man" and if the other organizations are doing what they do on their own, you shouldn't be giving credit to Soros for what they do. So, which is it? You seem to want it both ways by being vague about Soros's relationships with various organizations and their activities. That's a false dichotomy, but can your argument resolve it?
Thoughts? What I was getting at is that there are degrees of influence, and Soros donating money to an organization does not mean that he controls it. Consider NPR. Soros's donation represents about 1% of NPR's budget for one year. Given the circumstances of the donation, it would be reasonable to conclude that Soros is responsible for NPR hiring some reporters shortly afterward, but it would be unreasonable to conclude that everything NPR does from that point on is because it fits Soros's plot to overthrow the US.

RuffDraft wrote:I'll start with Soros' own Five Step Plan to overthrow regimes.
Except it's Beck's plan, not Soros's.

RuffDraft wrote:1) Form a Shadow Government. This involves supplanting roots in the governmental system in the form of charitable organizations and "advocacy" groups that sound good but are really a front for creating widespread fellowship towards his true cause. I mentioned the OSI and Tides links, which allows him to give money to any organization he deems fit. And remember who is at the head of OSI? Bill Ayers, former Weather Underground co-founder. OSI is his "charitable arm" and consistently gives money to radical leftist groups all across America.
What does it mean to "supplant roots in the governmental system"? And Bill Ayers doesn't work at the OSI (check your link there, or perhaps the OSI staff directory). And the "radical leftist" groups you link there include Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Democratic National Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Public Radio, and the Young Women's Christian Association. Have you checked that those groups are actually radical leftists?

RuffDraft wrote:2) Control the Airways. Again, OSI comes in to play, having donated 1.8 million to NPR; a million to Media Matters; another million went to TeaPartyTracker.org; then we have Think Progress; the Huffington Post Investigation Fund; MoveOn.org. He's sent funds to hundreds of left-wing journalist organizations, and, as I have mentioned, even bullies other countries (Canada; read above) into silencing those that speak against him.

In funding all these news organizations
Sponsoring is not the same as controlling. Soros sponsored NPR. He gave NPR money, but NPR can do what it wants without worrying about what Soros wants. Likewise Media Matters and other organizations he's donated to. Rupert Murdoch controls Fox News. He is the CEO, chairman, and largest stockholder of the corporation that owns Fox News. Just Beck's and Hannity's radio programs together have about as many listeners as all of NPR's programming. Do you think that the organizations Soros funds remotely approach control of the airways, and that Soros actually controls them?

RuffDraft wrote:and attempting to boycott FoxNews and intimidate sponsors
Citation?

RuffDraft wrote:and in trying to discredit those organizations who he is against or vice versa, he is attempting to control the airwaves.
What about ABC? Is he against it or trying to control it? Because Disney is a rather bigger fish than Soros, larger even than News Corporation. Or what about CNN? Time Warner is about the same size as News Corporation. Or the many other media conglomerates that Soros would have to marginalize or control to control the airwaves?

RuffDraft wrote:Do you recall that Free Press (another organization funded by Soros) has been pushing a concept known as "Net Neutrality," which is basically a movement towards government regulation of the internet. If they got this passed, it would mean, among other things, that the government would be able to regulate that which may be posted to any internet site.
That very page you linked wrote:The phone and cable companies that control access to the Internet for most Americans want to get rid of Net Neutrality, the rule that prevents them from discriminating against online content. They want to become the Internet's gatekeepers, deciding which sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all — based on who pays them the most.
Did you read that page? Because Net Neutrality (the de facto status quo in the US) means that ISPs are forbidden (by government regulation) from, among other things, deciding what sites their customers get to access. It does not involve any restrictions beyond those already in place about what content sites may have.

RuffDraft wrote:3) Destabilize the State. This involves creating dissent against the government or its assets. Has he done that?
Apparently not on any meaningful scale, unless you propose that Soros is responsible for the Tea Party. Except...

RuffDraft wrote:I've shown how Tides is basically a money-laundering firm. One thing that I haven't mentioned is the Institute for Policy Studies, which seems to advocate bypassing the constitution, and supports anti-American causes around the world.
Except that, even if that "evidence" were correct, it wouldn't implicate Soros in destabilizing the state.

RuffDraft wrote:Add to that the current inflation and growing economic uncertainty that are causing prices to rise (I don't even need to link to any websites, just look at gas and food prices lately) and the job market to decline. We see major corporations (including banks) getting government bailouts although the companies are failing. It's no wonder people don't trust the government.
The price of food depends greatly on the price of fuel (as a large part of the price of food pays for the energy investment in growing and transporting it), and the price of fuel has risen. This has caused the prices of a number of things to rise, but overall, inflation is still low compared to the rates that prevailed over the last few decades. Unemployment is going down, if slowly, and GDP is growing.

RuffDraft wrote:4) Provoke an Election Crisis. This involves creating mistrust or dissent during an election and creating a case for voting fraud--or intentionally committing fraud in an obvious way so that it casts a suspicious light on the party involved. Remember the evidence I presented on ACORN
Which didn't involve any election fraud, and was a matter of individual employees rather than organizational policy. And remember that mistrusting election results because of ACORN is mostly a Republican thing. Do you think that Soros intends to motivate dissatisfied Republicans into a revolution to establish a socialist new world order?

RuffDraft wrote:additionally, remember that during the last election there were somewhere in the ballpark of a quintillion allegations of fraud by both parties, and by third-party groups.
Allegations like that are nothing new (though a quintillion would be billions of allegations per US citizen). Do you remember past elections? Also, in that second link, evidence was found of REGISTRATION fraud, not ELECTION fraud, even though the article called it "voting" and "voter" fraud. And what does this have to do with Soros?

RuffDraft wrote:This includes a case in Connecticut (though by no means the only case) in which, two days after Election Day, a bag of Democratic votes were "found" and Democrats demanded a recount.
The article you linked wrote:It is unclear where these ballots originated, where they have been for the last two days and whether they are valid ballots,” [Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom] Foley said. “This is a very serious matter, and the state police should immediately impound them until their origin, chain of custody and validity is determined.”
So it's not clear from that really what was going on (the article does not mention them being Democratic votes), so an investigation, possibly including a recount, seems appropriate. At any rate, Foley lost by a large enough margin that that bag of votes was irrelevant.

RuffDraft wrote:And let's not forget the possibilities of illegal immigrants being allowed to vote without proof of American citizenship.
Really? That guy is essentially saying there's a possibility because he says so, as he doesn't back up any of his claims. And I would be hesitant to trust the analytical abilities of a writer who produces syntax like "How did this person even become a judge is in the opinion of many is confusing." And back to the topic, sure, it's possible, but is it happening? To a degree that undermines the democratic process itself?

RuffDraft wrote:And while very little of this actually points to Soros, he doesn't expressly have to have his hand in it if he knows it's going to happen anyway; he just has to figure out how to capitalize off it (much like Currency Devaluation).
And you haven't explained how he is supposed to capitalize off it.

RuffDraft wrote:5) Finally, Take Power. Primarily, this is done by leaders of OSI and Tides-funded groups.
Which leaders, and how would they take power? In the places where Soros actually did topple governments, the power was taken by leaders of political opposition to the previous regime. Do you think that the OSI and Tides Foundation oppose Obama? Who are they supposed to take power from?

RuffDraft wrote:You know Van Jones, the Green Job Czar, as people were wont to call him? He is a Communist, and had a brief stint as one of Pres. Obama's aids, from March to September 2009. Where does Soros come in? In 2006 and 2007, he funded the Ella Baker Center, headed at the time by Van Jones, who not long after emerged as a senior member of the Center for American Progress, funded largely by Soros.
So Soros's takeover relies on the influence of a former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality who no longer works for the Administration?

RuffDraft wrote:And speaking of Pres. Obama... did you know that he is also a large recipient of Soros' money? Much of Obama's senatorial and presidential campaigns were funded by Soros.
Those articles say that "Soros and his family gave Barack Obama $60,000." And the limit for personal contributions in the Presidential primaries and general election is $2300. How much influence do you think that buys in Obama's several hundred million dollar campaign budget?

RuffDraft wrote:Not to mention that Soros has been to the White house several times, personally meeting and conferencing with Obama and his top aides.
Soros has been to the White House five times, never visiting alone, and usually visiting with several other people. Rupert Murdoch has also met Obama and every previous president since Truman.

RuffDraft wrote:I could go and find more people who have connections to Soros and bring up every single one of them... but this entire post has gone on far too long, and besides, isn't that enough?
No, it isn't enough. The thing is, finding a "connection" between someone and Soros does not itself imply a particular relationship between them. Since your argument needs evidence of particular relationships, you also have to provide evidence that the "connection" has attributes that support your point. As an example, Soros has a connection to his proctologist. Does that mean that Soros's proctologist is conspiring with Soros to overthrow the US and establish socialism?

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:So, to check on where we are, what do you think Soros is up to, given the discussion so far?
My position hasn't changed. Yours?
As you haven't substantiated your points, no. Since I've done some more undermining here, any update on your end?

RuffDraft wrote:Wow... awesome... that's the most... research... I've ever.. [Collapses due to information overload]
That which doesn't kill or maim you, makes you stronger.

RuffDraft wrote:On the "silencing" issue, I linked an example above, in which Soros sent his legal team to Canada...
Which is not silencing Fox News

RuffDraft wrote:Net Neutrality, defined by Wikipedia is "a principle proposed for users' access to networks participating in the Internet. The principle advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication." And I agree with this definition. However, Free Press has it totally fucking backwards. They have been using the name "Net Neutrality" to try and obtain extra government controls of the internet. This would also allow them to control what can and cannot be said.
The "extra government control" is the regulation that prevents ISPs from restricting their customers like that.

RuffDraft wrote:So why is Free Press trying to change it?
Because many influential telecom companies are trying to do away with it, and neutrality is starting to erode. Net neutrality is currently largely de facto, and proponents of net neutrality laws want to make it de jure.

RuffDraft wrote:Here's some more reading material on Soros. It outlines everything I've been talking about here.
As well as some new and interesting things, like Soros causing the 2008 market crash in order to help Obama get elected. Care to defend any of that?

RuffDraft wrote:Where does money come from, and who gets it if there's no rich?
...
-Economic imbalance: If it's Communism, there is no economy, because as BR illustrated earlier, there is no money.
Not all economic systems use money. Some don't even use media of exchange. Ever heard of a gift economy?

DaCrum wrote:All it requires is for people to be non-selfish.
Not even selfless. Just non-selfish.
(and also to some related statements)
Pretty much this. The problem is devising a system robust enough to survive people attempting to subvert it for personal gain. Because, sooner or later, someone will probably try that. Probably a significant portion of the population. If it can't withstand human nature, it's not a very good system.

Q.U. wrote:So no, no system is perfect, even in theory.
I would propose that a benevolent dictatorship run by an omniscient, omnipotent, immortal being that cares about the freedom and well-being of everyone would be pretty good. Not that that's remotely possible in practice, of course.

RuffDraft wrote:-The idea that technology relates in some way to Communism: I don't see how you draw a line from one to the other in this case. Could you explain in greater detail?
Technology usually increases productivity, and the level of productivity influences the effective cost of social programs. The US has about 10x the GDP (PPP) per capita as Morocco. That means that the US could spend as much per person as an average Moroccan person's entire economic budget while only using 10% of the average American's budget. With something like Star Trek replicators, productivity would increase so massively that the government would be able to supply extravagant (by today's standards) social services for negligible systemic cost. This assumes a mixed economy rather than theoretical communism, but productivity helps there too. Ever heard of the Culture?

Sentios wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:Professions like what, for example?
Most professions that just move money around with out any direct connection to material goods or services which improve the society on the whole. Bankers, the stock market, CEOs, and so on.
While those do not produce real (in the economic sense) goods, they do grease the economic wheels, so to speak. E.g. it's hard to build a factory without a loan, or start a biotech company without venture capital.

Q.U. wrote:Also, most wealthy people started out as poor as anyone else, and worked hard enough to amass wealth (exceptions being inheritance, fraud etc, as I mentioned).
I would consider "most" to be rather dubious, though that depends on how you define the categories.

Q.U. wrote:In fact, getting money for doing absolutely nothing is really rare, even among the wealthiest.
Except for interest from lent money and capital gains from investments. Which is what a lot of wealthy people do with their money.

Q.U. wrote:Exactly, that's the beauty of having money. But you keep on forgetting that they had to GET that first bunch of money somehow. And trust me, G-man giving them his suitcase is NOT a likely explanation for people getting rich.
Case study here, my friend's father used to be your regular rather middle class worker. ...
And now his children have their first bunch of money, not having themselves worked for it. Not that that's necessarily bad, but a lot of rich people did get their money from their ancestors.

Q.U. wrote:What I mean as perfect theoretical model for a capitalist utopia is a situation in which every person starts off at the same level and has equal opportunities. Then those who work harder or are smarter profit more, and those who aren't profit less. It's a situation in which not only can you be happy choosing to do what you want to and what you may be passionate about, but also to reap all the benefits of your work. It's a system that favours working for the same satisfaction as you mentioned it, but also cutting off and penalizing people who don't want to be a functional part of the system.
Until external factors come into play, like someone's parts supplier going bankrupt. Or until someone is able to exert market control, steamroll competitors, and establish a monopoly.

Sentios wrote:Gates is an outlier because it's likely he would have done what he did even without profit incentive based on what I've seen of him.
He probably would have done programming of various kinds, but it's pretty clear that he ran Microsoft with a profit motive.

icha_icha_paradise wrote:Also, why not robots that shovel shit? Some parts of our manufacturing and industry are mechanized, and a machine that shovels shit doesn't sound too hard to make.
They do in fact exist for use in farms. The animals are housed such that refuse collects in a trough, which is emptied mechanically into a storage place of some kind, usually with a conveyor belt or a chain with scoops.

Sentios wrote:Your example of advertising as work is retarded and hasn't been used by any big business in decades if ever. I doubt even small business do it, it's more cost effective to rent advertising space on a bus.
Believe it or not, some businesses still do pay people to walk around with advertisements as described previously. Not as common as it used to be, as the price of labor has risen.

BeeAre wrote:What happens if we just suppose that people aren't awful? That our predispositions are not towards awful things but good things? Suddenly everything is easier. :X
Except robust real-world applications, which need to accommodate both the good and the bad things about people.

Q.U. wrote:I'd say you're a dreamer, but that's just my standpoint.
But BeeAre's not the only one. He hopes some day you'll join him, and the world will be as one.

BeeAre wrote:right see, anecdotal evidence means nothing.
It's good for supporting an existential claim, or possibly a case study.

Sentios wrote:If people truly want something so bad then I'm certain they'll find a way to make it for themselves.
Would you be able to make a microchip capable of running your computer?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Mathias » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:20 am

WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!?!?!?!?!
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby DaCrum » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:28 pm

Vahallen is a god of debate apparently. This is why I stopped seriously debating.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Kkeellaacc » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:30 pm

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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby DaCrum » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:33 pm

Also, reading historically about laissez-faire and its opposition to mercantilism, Adam Smith was opposed to government intervention because all the money gained from mercantilism was put into govt. coffers rather than given to the people. Effectively, if the government was taking a majority of the GDP and putting it into a low-interest to no-interest bank account for safe keeping on the basis that because the GDP existed, the country was rich. Smith also proposed that GDP was the basis for economic power, rather than bullion wealth and specie. He also opposed trade unions and other things which him and other physiocrats described as 'tourniquets' on the 'circulatory system' of the economy: money. Could this include monopolies, and trusts?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:22 pm

Valhal, I'm probably not going to be able to start on my reply until late this week. Just FYI.

If you don't mind me asking, what is it you do for a living?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby BeeAre » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:58 pm

Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:I could go and find more people who have connections to Soros and bring up every single one of them... but this entire post has gone on far too long, and besides, isn't that enough?

No, it isn't enough. The thing is, finding a "connection" between someone and Soros does not itself imply a particular relationship between them. Since your argument needs evidence of particular relationships, you also have to provide evidence that the "connection" has attributes that support your point.

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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Sentios » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:21 pm

Valhallen wrote:While those do not produce real (in the economic sense) goods, they do grease the economic wheels, so to speak. E.g. it's hard to build a factory without a loan, or start a biotech company without venture capital.


Fair enough they do indeed serve a (probably vital) function in a capitalistic society, but that does not mean that they are benefiting or improving the society (which were the words I used). You would not say that your heart benefits your body, as it's merely serving a neccessary function in your body. Though I would add that unlike our bodies abstract systems like economics are human constructs and can be changed with a bit of thought and effort.

As for my original intent in that statement, RuffDraft was talking about 'lazy' people not contributing to the common good. I take the 'the common good' to mean 'benefiting or improving' which, as I've defended above, money movers do neither which should mean logically they are equivalent to 'leeches' to use RuffDraft's favorite word.

Valhallen wrote:He probably would have done programming of various kinds, but it's pretty clear that he ran Microsoft with a profit motive.


When opportunity knocks I suppose...
The point was his contributions were not brought about because he had a carrot dangling in front of him. He had an idea and pursued it, when it worked he founded Microsoft and turned a profit after that.

Valhallen wrote:Believe it or not, some businesses still do pay people to walk around with advertisements as described previously. Not as common as it used to be, as the price of labor has risen.


Perhaps... around here it's just signs planted in devil strips.
Either way it doesn't compare to factory work in terms of actual work or contribution to the common good.

Valhallen wrote:Would you be able to make a microchip capable of running your computer?

If I wanted it bad enough to do all the research theoretically I could do so.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Valhallen » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:20 pm

Mathias wrote:WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!?!?!?!?!
WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!

DaCrum wrote:Vahallen is a god of debate apparently. This is why I stopped seriously debating.
I make arguments to fit the facts; I usually can't do the reverse. If you find me seriously disagreeing with you, you may want to double check your argument, but you shouldn't necessarily give up.

DaCrum wrote:He also opposed trade unions and other things which him and other physiocrats described as 'tourniquets' on the 'circulatory system' of the economy: money. Could this include monopolies, and trusts?
Sure. Efficient classical (as in what Adam Smith described) market operation breaks down when either supply or demand has too much power.

Sentios wrote:Fair enough they do indeed serve a (probably vital) function in a capitalistic society, but that does not mean that they are benefiting or improving the society (which were the words I used). You would not say that your heart benefits your body, as it's merely serving a neccessary function in your body. Though I would add that unlike our bodies abstract systems like economics are human constructs and can be changed with a bit of thought and effort.

As for my original intent in that statement, RuffDraft was talking about 'lazy' people not contributing to the common good. I take the 'the common good' to mean 'benefiting or improving' which, as I've defended above, money movers do neither which should mean logically they are equivalent to 'leeches' to use RuffDraft's favorite word.
Consider what happens when the financial system (or a heart) stops working normally, as in the Great Depression and the recent recession. Businesses can't easily get loans to conduct business, so they shut down or scale back, which itself affects the ability of related businesses to keep functioning. The tangible benefit of the financial system is that it lets business as usual be much more active and efficient, which results in a higher overall standard of living and a higher economic growth rate. I'd call that a pretty significant benefit.

Sentios wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Would you be able to make a microchip capable of running your computer?
If I wanted it bad enough to do all the research theoretically I could do so.
Except that modern chips may take man-centuries of work, and you'd still need a billion-dollar fabrication facility with the equipment to reliably make billions of nanometer-scale components per chip, and the infrastructure to supply the exotic materials needed.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:26 pm

Pfft, I'll just make one with my handy 3-D printer from the World of Tomorrow!
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Sentios » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:17 am

Valhallen wrote:Consider what happens when the financial system (or a heart) stops working normally, as in the Great Depression and the recent recession. Businesses can't easily get loans to conduct business, so they shut down or scale back, which itself affects the ability of related businesses to keep functioning. The tangible benefit of the financial system is that it lets business as usual be much more active and efficient, which results in a higher overall standard of living and a higher economic growth rate. I'd call that a pretty significant benefit.


You missed the point, those things you mention are all directly attributed the system of reference.

Not having loans is only detrimental if the system is designed to need them. Thus bankers are only needed in a system that needs banks to operate, that doesn't make their work beneficial even if the lack of them can be detrimental.

Or to go back to the heart example; without it you'd die but it doesn't do any good for a robot.

Valhallen wrote:Except that modern chips may take man-centuries of work, and you'd still need a billion-dollar fabrication facility with the equipment to reliably make billions of nanometer-scale components per chip, and the infrastructure to supply the exotic materials needed.


Irrelevant to the question being asked.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Q.U. » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:55 pm

Valhallen wrote:
Also, most wealthy people started out as poor as anyone else, and worked hard enough to amass wealth (exceptions being inheritance, fraud etc, as I mentioned).

I would consider "most" to be rather dubious, though that depends on how you define the categories.

I rounded up wealthy as in anywhere from above middle class up to millionaires.

Exactly, that's the beauty of having money. But you keep on forgetting that they had to GET that first bunch of money somehow. And trust me, G-man giving them his suitcase is NOT a likely explanation for people getting rich.
Case study here, my friend's father used to be your regular rather middle class worker. ...

And now his children have their first bunch of money, not having themselves worked for it. Not that that's necessarily bad, but a lot of rich people did get their money from their ancestors.

That's true. Which is why I'd consider inheritance an "issue" to be solved. On the other hand, living standard itself would have little to do with your financial future provided that it doesn't affect the amount of opportunities you have.

Until external factors come into play, like someone's parts supplier going bankrupt. Or until someone is able to exert market control, steamroll competitors, and establish a monopoly.

That's why we have law. It should prevent such people from abusing and exploiting the system.

Valhallen wrote:
I'd say you're a dreamer, but that's just my standpoint.

But BeeAre's not the only one. He hopes some day you'll join him, and the world will be as one.

Hard to do with my cynic nature. Technically, a perfect would would be ours if we just all truly believed in any religion of those we have. Since each religion tells you to be a good person, we could make a perfectly good world. And yet, most people who believe are as bad if not worse than those who don't. There's your "people are inherently good" scenario revealed for what it is.


Not having loans is only detrimental if the system is designed to need them. Thus bankers are only needed in a system that needs banks to operate, that doesn't make their work beneficial even if the lack of them can be detrimental.

I don't think you define "beneficial to society" the correct way. You see, from what I see you post, I'd say you define it as "beneficial to each and every person of the society", which I think is completely wrong. If you define it like that, then a doctor might not be beneficial, because one person in the society might never need a doctor's help. So a given individual doesn't benefit from the work of any doctors directly. But that would be nonsensical.
I qualify something as "beneficial to the society" if it is beneficial to at least one member of said society. Thus if you pay me to jump up and down all day, it is beneficial to me, since I get money for it to make a living. It might not help cure cancer or produce pillows, but it still allows me to spend money on living expenses that are necessary, and without which I'd be starving. Thus beneficial.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Valhallen » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:50 pm

Sentios wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Consider what happens when the financial system (or a heart) stops working normally, as in the Great Depression and the recent recession. Businesses can't easily get loans to conduct business, so they shut down or scale back, which itself affects the ability of related businesses to keep functioning. The tangible benefit of the financial system is that it lets business as usual be much more active and efficient, which results in a higher overall standard of living and a higher economic growth rate. I'd call that a pretty significant benefit.
You missed the point, those things you mention are all directly attributed the system of reference.

Not having loans is only detrimental if the system is designed to need them. Thus bankers are only needed in a system that needs banks to operate, that doesn't make their work beneficial even if the lack of them can be detrimental.

Or to go back to the heart example; without it you'd die but it doesn't do any good for a robot.
Starting with the heart, that's actually a pretty good example. There's a reason why all large/highly active animals have hearts: a heart and an efficient circulatory system enormously increases the attainable growth and metabolism because it transports oxygen to where it's needed much better than diffusion. Thus, an animal with a heart may have a metabolism orders of magnitude greater than an animal without a heart, at the expense of dying if the heart should stop working or if the circulatory system bleeds out.

Extending this a bit more, the cells of an animal with a heart are still capable of anaerobic metabolism (relying on their own stored sugar rather than outside oxygen, analogous to using personal economic resources), and will do so when experiencing oxygen scarcity. The problem is that while that's enough for much simpler organisms to use exclusively, it's not nearly enough to sustain most complex life.

Consider what the real world was like before the development of the financial system. The only capital available was from personal resources or those of personal contacts. Consequently, much less was effectively available even though people had to keep more resources tied up as savings in case of rough times. This meant a much lower rate of development and innovation. 250 years of 5% growth is about 10x a thousand years of 1% growth, and 1% is much faster than most of human history. Over the long term, civilizations without a financial system simply can't compete with those that do.

Sentios wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Except that modern chips may take man-centuries of work, and you'd still need a billion-dollar fabrication facility with the equipment to reliably make billions of nanometer-scale components per chip, and the infrastructure to supply the exotic materials needed.
Irrelevant to the question being asked.
Sentios wrote:As for things going off the market, if no one is willing to make a product then there simply isn't a product to be had. If people truly want something so bad then I'm certain they'll find a way to make it for themselves.
You seemed to be saying that, in a volunteer economy where people don't actually volunteer to make enough of a particular thing for everyone who wants it, people who want it can make it for themselves. I gave a modern microchip as an example of something that is vital to modern activities but truly beyond the capability of an individual to make. The billions needed to design and build them are justified by a profit motive in a large capitalistic economy, but saying that the enormous amounts of capital and high technology needed will just be there to use in a volunteer economy strikes me as wishful thinking.

Q.U. wrote:
Valhallen wrote:I would consider "most" to be rather dubious, though that depends on how you define the categories.
I rounded up wealthy as in anywhere from above middle class up to millionaires.
Except that sounds like the somewhere in the upper middle class. The US doesn't really have well-defined classes with discrete boundaries - it's more of a smooth continuum of income. Where exactly would you put the line such that most "wealthy" people started out "poor"? And do you mean real or nominal wealth, because inflation can be significant over a lifetime?

Q.U. wrote:
Valhallen wrote:And now his children have their first bunch of money, not having themselves worked for it. Not that that's necessarily bad, but a lot of rich people did get their money from their ancestors.
That's true. Which is why I'd consider inheritance an "issue" to be solved. On the other hand, living standard itself would have little to do with your financial future provided that it doesn't affect the amount of opportunities you have.
"Solving" the issue of inheritance such that it doesn't lead to imbalances for the next generation would take something like a 100% inheritance tax. What do you mean in the second part there? Money pretty clearly affects opportunities.

Q.U. wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Until external factors come into play, like someone's parts supplier going bankrupt. Or until someone is able to exert market control, steamroll competitors, and establish a monopoly.
That's why we have law. It should prevent such people from abusing and exploiting the system.
But that would inhibit their ability to profit more by working harder or smarter. And because of the interconnected nature of the economy, people could still be hurt through others' business decisions, like the parts supplier going bankrupt. My point is that capitalism can't be made completely fair while still being free. Or for that matter, especially when it's free.

Q.U. wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
Q.U. wrote:I'd say you're a dreamer, but that's just my standpoint.
But BeeAre's not the only one. He hopes some day you'll join him, and the world will be as one.
Hard to do with my cynic nature. Technically, a perfect would would be ours if we just all truly believed in any religion of those we have. Since each religion tells you to be a good person, we could make a perfectly good world. And yet, most people who believe are as bad if not worse than those who don't. There's your "people are inherently good" scenario revealed for what it is.
The effectiveness of a single religion at establishing a perfect world relies on that religion having a perfect understanding of how to achieve happiness and a good society. Not that that's a very realistic scenario. At any rate, I think your comment about believers being worse may be related to most religions having a moral code that is externally applied. Some people may not internalize it, so they would follow it only out of convenience. Someone without such an externally imposed moral code would have more of an incentive for developing their own. That doesn't say much about the systemic effects of either situation though.

Q.U. wrote:I qualify something as "beneficial to the society" if it is beneficial to at least one member of said society. Thus if you pay me to jump up and down all day, it is beneficial to me, since I get money for it to make a living. It might not help cure cancer or produce pillows, but it still allows me to spend money on living expenses that are necessary, and without which I'd be starving. Thus beneficial.
I'd say "beneficial to the society" involves a net benefit overall. With the jumping example, it helps you and presumably your employer, with little impact on others, so still a benefit to society. If someone went around hunting people for amusement, that person is benefitting, but it comes at significant cost for others, with a net negative effect. But this is just semantics.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Q.U. » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:43 pm

Valhallen wrote:Except that sounds like the somewhere in the upper middle class. The US doesn't really have well-defined classes with discrete boundaries - it's more of a smooth continuum of income. Where exactly would you put the line such that most "wealthy" people started out "poor"? And do you mean real or nominal wealth, because inflation can be significant over a lifetime?

I mean people who are on the wealth level of small to average company owners. Can't really tell how much the average wealth counts there. And maybe I should narrow it down, to avoid defining poor and wealthy, that they started "poorer". Which usually means middle or upper middle class (since lower class doesn't as often have enough opportunities like education and investments to make it that far).

"Solving" the issue of inheritance such that it doesn't lead to imbalances for the next generation would take something like a 100% inheritance tax. What do you mean in the second part there? Money pretty clearly affects opportunities.

Yes, and yes. It does affect opportunities, because we're running a spoiled and corrupt capitalist system. By equal opportunities I mean equalizing the levels of education, health care, and social institutions throughout the country/world. So that you don't get stories like this one.

Valhallen wrote:But that would inhibit their ability to profit more by working harder or smarter. And because of the interconnected nature of the economy, people could still be hurt through others' business decisions, like the parts supplier going bankrupt. My point is that capitalism can't be made completely fair while still being free. Or for that matter, especially when it's free.

Free capitalism id not the way to go. Seems a quite obvious thing when you consider how I don't trust in good nature of people. They cannot be given freedom that can impair others from executing their freedoms. Going out of business because somebody else came up with a cheaper and better way of manufacturing a product, sure. If he did then apparently he proved to be more clever. And if the one that goes out of business is clever too he will stand back on his feet anyway.

Valhallen wrote:I'd say "beneficial to the society" involves a net benefit overall. With the jumping example, it helps you and presumably your employer, with little impact on others, so still a benefit to society. If someone went around hunting people for amusement, that person is benefitting, but it comes at significant cost for others, with a net negative effect. But this is just semantics.

Exactly. Well, obviously killing people is illegal. And so it would be. How could it not? So all the "legal" ways of making money would have been beneficial. To you, your employer, and any family that you might be supporting.

Valhallen wrote:The effectiveness of a single religion at establishing a perfect world relies on that religion having a perfect understanding of how to achieve happiness and a good society. Not that that's a very realistic scenario. At any rate, I think your comment about believers being worse may be related to most religions having a moral code that is externally applied. Some people may not internalize it, so they would follow it only out of convenience. Someone without such an externally imposed moral code would have more of an incentive for developing their own. That doesn't say much about the systemic effects of either situation though.

They are "often worse" for that reason out of a few others. I've seen the bible incite racism, inequality, violence, mysticism, hatred, and indifference. And that's simply because it is interpreted wrongly. So is the issue with Qur'an and jihad. They have so much useless history in them that it cause people to get confused in what they are supposed to follow. Humans have a natural morality coded in them genetically, they don't need religion. Just law to keep them from dropping their morality in favour of survival in when in peril.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Sentios » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Valhallen wrote:Starting with the heart, that's actually a pretty good example. There's a reason why all large/highly active animals have hearts: a heart and an efficient circulatory system enormously increases the attainable growth and metabolism because it transports oxygen to where it's needed much better than diffusion. Thus, an animal with a heart may have a metabolism orders of magnitude greater than an animal without a heart, at the expense of dying if the heart should stop working or if the circulatory system bleeds out.

Extending this a bit more, the cells of an animal with a heart are still capable of anaerobic metabolism (relying on their own stored sugar rather than outside oxygen, analogous to using personal economic resources), and will do so when experiencing oxygen scarcity. The problem is that while that's enough for much simpler organisms to use exclusively, it's not nearly enough to sustain most complex life.

Consider what the real world was like before the development of the financial system. The only capital available was from personal resources or those of personal contacts. Consequently, much less was effectively available even though people had to keep more resources tied up as savings in case of rough times. This meant a much lower rate of development and innovation. 250 years of 5% growth is about 10x a thousand years of 1% growth, and 1% is much faster than most of human history. Over the long term, civilizations without a financial system simply can't compete with those that do.


And none of that does a robot any good; different systems, different rules, different benefits.

Besides if individual parts of your body were operating under the tenets of capitalism you'd need tens of thousands of calories a day by your forties just to handle the inflation. When your intestines couldn't pay up the your heart and lungs would own your intestines and start rationing calories to all the rest of your organs. Until of course your liver and kidneys rebelled and poisoned your heart and lungs.

You seemed to be saying that, in a volunteer economy where people don't actually volunteer to make enough of a particular thing for everyone who wants it, people who want it can make it for themselves. I gave a modern microchip as an example of something that is vital to modern activities but truly beyond the capability of an individual to make. The billions needed to design and build them are justified by a profit motive in a large capitalistic economy, but saying that the enormous amounts of capital and high technology needed will just be there to use in a volunteer economy strikes me as wishful thinking.


I'm not saying the capital or technology will be that at all though, if someone wants something that no one can or is willing to make they have to make it themselves. Flying cars for example, those never got made but there are a handful of people who have been building their own. They might one day make money off their work but there's not even a likely chance of it thus no profit incentive.

The idea you have that because someone wants something others feel compelled to make it is a tad naive. The only thing that even begins to apply to on any level is massively popular desires and extremely low risk ventures, which will result in an abnormally large and quick profit. The ideas will usually be pretty simple in nature or only appear to meet the need they're supposed to fill.

Also like I keep saying none of that means anything to someone who wasn't brought up placing value in something that has no intrinsic value or direct benefit (our money system).
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby BeeAre » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:51 am

Q.U., it's so hard to discuss the nature of people with you because your experiences have taught you apparently nothing so fair as to allow for room for even the possibility of people's actions being the result of any sort of allowed morality in the reality within which we exist. :x

i offer to the discussion this question: are thoughts and information quantifiable within the universe, able to adhere to a number scale?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Q.U. » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:22 am

Q.U., it's so hard to discuss the nature of people with you because your experiences have taught you apparently nothing so fair as to allow for room for even the possibility of people's actions being the result of any sort of allowed morality in the reality within which we exist. :x

I do accept the existence of natural human morality. The built-in genetic one. Without it we would have no inhibitors preventing us from killing each other, which in turn would lead to unstable population and our extinction. So yes, every living specie on earth has some from of social morality.
Problem is that the priority of human morality dies out in certain circumstances. A life-threatening situation is enough to push people to drop all of their morality, despite them boasting intellect and civil behaviour when their morality isn't challenged by the circumstance. Technically, we are no more than savage animals that tame their wild nature by fixing their surroundings to prevent the need to ignore the morality we all have.
Now the reason for my cynicism is that so far we have found so many situations in which humans will go off like wild animals and no situation that would prevent each of them from going that way. Even with all our wealth and technological prowess there are many for whom the situation is still not good enough to stay within the natural bounds of our common morality. That's all. The day we have proof that it also works the other way, we can make a discussion, but so far we only have evidence to what I mentioned.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby BeeAre » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:37 am

what would constitute as evidence, then, specifically?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Rough Giraffe » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:30 am

Stuff that doesn't prove you wrong that you can claim somehow proves you right?
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby Q.U. » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:12 am

BeeAre wrote:what would constitute as evidence, then, specifically?

Make up a small sample society and put it into circumstances and situation which would induce "good" and moral behaviour from all of them. In other words, make an isolated system in which people would be so happy and pleased that they would not find a need to steal, kill, rape, cheat, or be mean and hostile towards one another.
Because we already know that putting people into a dangerous, difficult and mentally straining situation will eventually lead them to break down and abandon the very qualities that you would probably refer to as humanity. We know conditions that can push "good people" to start killing one another, but not conditions in which "bad people" would stop.
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Re: Split from weekly discussion: Soros, communism, and utopia

Postby DaCrum » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:01 pm

You must know some very low-integrity people if they break down so damned quickly. Where's the evidence? Lord of the Flies?
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