Leadership investigate

Sanity check: Is the U.S. losing its role as the world leader in information technology?


Issue: U.S. as IT leader

The United States is the birthplace of both the personal computer and the Internet. It has written the rules for using business technology to deliver staggering increases in worker productivity. It has given the world major innovations in the microprocessors that power computing and electronics devices of all sizes and functions.

The U.S. has quite simply served as the undisputed leader and catalyst of the global IT industry for the past 40 years. Yet the landscape has changed rapidly over the past decade, and especially in the past five years, as the U.S. is now facing challenges across the board from nimble innovators in Europe and Asia.

In the past several months, many journalists and commentators in the U.S. have made bold assertions and dire predictions about America's decline as a force in technology. Below is a list of some of the more prominent (and most dire) reports, including links and some quotes that provide a brief synopsis of each one.

US Losing Its IT Chops (TechNewsWorld)

"The United States has fallen to seventh place among 122 economies in its network readiness, or ability to leverage the opportunities of IT, according to a report ... by the World Economic Forum [sponsored by Cisco]. Denmark supplanted the U.S. at the top of the list thanks in part to its regulatory environment, government leadership and vision in leveraging IT for growth."

"I'm surprised we were in the No. 1 spot in 2006," said Safa Rashtchy, senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray. "The fact is, as much as we don't like to admit it, we are not the leading edge of Internet and wireless technologies. Part of the reason has to do with our economy and lack of government support; it's also a byproduct of the extremely competitive market."

U.S. Technology Deployment Leadership Threatened by Emerging Economies (Info-Tech)

"The world's emerging economies are narrowing the technology deployment gap with the U.S. and other developed countries, says a new global study conducted by Info-Tech Research Group and KnowledgeStorm. While the U.S. is still the global leader in the implementation of technology-enabled business solutions, adoption of these systems by enterprises within regions such as India, Africa, Asia and Latin America is growing due to confidence in the ability of technology to transform business...

"Emerging economies can play catch-up quickly because of the ability of these countries to adopt the latest versions of technology that's already been tried, tested and improved in established economies. From an Information Technology (IT) solutions perspective, India has already joined the ranks of established economies because of the willingness of its IT managers to embrace sophisticated solutions."

Study: US Lags Behind in Broadband Speeds (PC World)

"The U.S. is lagging behind other industrialized nations in the availability and use of high-speed broadband connections, according to a report [by] Washington-based Communications Workers of America... According to the report, the U.S. is 16th in the world in deployment and availability of high-speed networks...

"The U.S. [also] lags behind other nations when it comes to cost of broadband access... Speeds of 50Mbit/sec., which is not available to residential consumers in [the U.S.], is available to Japanese consumers for roughly US$30 per month. U.S. consumers typically pay $20 for about 1Mbit/sec. service and $30 to $40 for about 4Mbit/sec. service."

Perspective: America's tech moment of truth (CNET)

"In the past few years, other nations have caught up with, and in many ways surpassed, the United States in reaching important milestones, and the future is probably going to get worse... A decade or so ago, roughly 35 percent of the investments in leading-edge chip technologies were made in the United States. In the last five years, only about 10 percent to 12 percent of those investments landed stateside... Many of these overseas investments are made by U.S. corporations."

Turning Our Backs on Tech: Corporate America has to make IT jobs sexy again (Fortune)

"In the global battle for infotech supremacy, is America surrendering? Recent evidence suggests that the U.S. is at least thinking about giving up. I'm talking not just about America's ability to produce the fastest chip or most popular software but also about something potentially even more serious: the ability of all businesses to be world-class users of information technology...

"The more worrisome problem is what's happening with the kids. Moving herdlike, as usual, they've decided that IT is excruciatingly uncool. Of course it was the coolest thing on the planet just seven years ago, when interest in computer science as an undergraduate major hit a 20-year high. But then a lot of things happened. The dot-com boom went bust at just the time companies stopped hiring staff to fix Y2K problems. More important, the pop culture image of infotech workers flipped from dot-com billionaires in Gulfstreams to Dilbertesque drones writing code in cubicles and Third World masses working for pennies an hour."

Sanity check

After reading those articles, it's easy to get pessimistic about the current state of IT in the U.S., but I would caution against concluding that the U.S. is doomed to tech mediocrity for the following four reasons:

1.) The U.S. is at a tactical disadvantage at the moment -- Since many of today's latest technologies (in virtually every field) are simpler to use and implement, have more features, and are much cheaper than their predecessors, international upstarts have a big advantage right out of the gates when they establish their internal IT infrastructure. These upstarts get to build their infrastructure from scratch, unlike many of their U.S. rivals, which don't have the luxury of a clean slate but have to face the difficulties of data migration and staff retraining when upgrading or migrating to the latest technologies. That means new rivals have the advantages of new technologies. However, this advantage will even out and disappear over time as the upstarts become entrenched in their current systems. The irony is that the technology itself -- much of it created by U.S. companies and often including major innovations in recent years -- can be one of the major factors that allows startups to quickly make up ground on incumbents. 2.) This was bound to happen as IT helped accelerate globalization -- One of the most significant changes that has come with the rapid advancement of computers and networks has been the world-changing developments in communications technology. Just think of it ... you can now make a good-quality Skype video call from the U.S. to China and be connected for over an hour, and it's free! These changes have connected people more quickly and cohesively than ever before, have spread new ideas and developments across the planet, and have driven the powerful forces of economic globalization. With all of these forces at work, it was only a matter of time before more people from new parts of the globe got involved in the technology sector and helped drive it forward in new directions. 3.) Silicon Valley is still the epicenter of the technology world -- Clearly, not all of the best ideas in technology are hatched from that overpriced stretch of real estate from San Jose to San Francisco, California. Companies such as Vidoop (in Tulsa, Oklahoma) and Zoho (with its product teams in India) have proven that. Nevertheless, there are still more new and innovative tech ideas concentrated in Silicon Valley than anywhere else on earth. And with Google, Intel, Yahoo, Apple, and so many other tech giants anchored in Silicon Valley, nothing is going to change that fact anytime soon. More of the greatest innovations in technology are coming out of the U.S. than anywhere else. 4.) The sleeping giant hasn't woken up yet -- The U.S. can never go back to having the kind of unparalleled tech leadership position that it enjoyed a decade ago. That genie will never go back in the bottle. There are simply too many players involved now and too much competition. However, the sleeping giant does need to wake up and acknowledge that it is under attack from various competitors. Many of the problems that the IT industry faces in the U.S are due to complacency, and that's fixable. The U.S. tech industry must shake off that complacency and work toward creating a better regulatory atmosphere for tech companies to flourish here (with help from the U.S. government, of course), a better approach to reigniting interest in tech education, and a better sense of the areas where the competition is winning and where there are still opportunities for U.S. companies and workers to take the lead in today's multinational IT industry.

Do you think the U.S. has lost its role as the world leader of IT? Why or why not? If you do think so, what do you think are some of causes? Where do you think the U.S. still has opportunities to lead? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

356 comments
Deborah.Odparlik.ctr
Deborah.Odparlik.ctr

I think were losing our role because we don't have the education requirements that european countries have for their children. My son can take a computer apart and put it back together again but doesn't like to read. Go figure that one.

the.famous.blurt
the.famous.blurt

Quote: "...whether the United States is truly losing its "birthright" as a technology powerhouse." That's not a right-of-birth! A birthright is any right or privilege to which a person is entitled by birth: e.g., rights in a constitution. Doing anything well is the result of two things, education and hard work --- ask anyone --- sitting in front of the telly scoffing coke and happy meals will not get you ahead.

Minstrel Mike
Minstrel Mike

Define technology first. If it is just computer hw/sw and electrical engineering, then perhaps the US has lost its lead. But if you think of technology as basic understanding of new things, then the US has for sure lost its lead. Biotech is the wave of the future. China is studying it while the evangelical Republicans pass laws against stem cell research.

grantb
grantb

I think that one thing that is hurting us internally is programs like Act software that is a piece of junk. Now a days what program does not let you import all information from one program to another. And once you have entered the info will not let you export all of it. I am a programmer myself and know what is possible. Peddleing programs like these are actually degrading to US programmers in general. They prey on the end user and his ingorance instead of offering the best product possible. I have seem many examples of this in may programs. I think that any software company that is always working to improve it's programs with the latest features and coding is doomed and should just go away.

the.famous.blurt
the.famous.blurt

Quote: "...whether the United States is truly losing its "birthright" as a technology powerhouse." That's not a right-of-birth! A birthright is any right or privilege to which a person is entitled by birth: e.g., rights in a constitution. Doing anything well is the result of two things, education and hard work --- ask anyone --- sitting in front of the telly scoffing coke and happy meals will not get you ahead.

billinge
billinge

Yes, in lieu of the immediate almight dollar (which also is slipping in the market). The bottom line has replacd the artisan. So what else is new?

mikifin
mikifin

What did Lenin say...hum "You can buy the rope you are going to use from the capitalist before you hang him." or something to that effect. Now that we have moved all the "stuff" overseas chasing the almighty cheap buck the foreigner have figured out they can cut out the middle man...us.

HiCSQ
HiCSQ

The US has led in many disciplines, especially since WWII, because it was the freest nation state and Capitalism provided resources. If you had a good idea, you could find the financing to expand or perfect the idea - or fail. That is changing. See Hans Roslings TED presentation - you will not be bored! http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/92 Note when he looks at regions - the freest nation with low tariffs has the best performance in most categories. Of course not everyone uses the same metrics but the trends are obvious. Free people, Capitalism, and low tariffs serve the people best. Stateism and Socialism lead to slow and even stagnant nation states. And corruption destroys all! Also check out Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" series. You can watch it here. http://www.ideachannel.tv/ And of course the famous Milton Friedman's version of "I, Pencil" from his "Free to Choose" series. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6vjrzUplWU or http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=315805075&channel=79558311 Freedom wins! Will the US face greater competition? You bet. But the world will be better for everyone.

morpheus5150
morpheus5150

I to like to take things apart & reassmble them but hate to read unless it absolute. I was not told I had this untill I was like 20 and droping out of school @ 15. They (the GOV) don't want the poor to come up in the world. Thats why we don't have the thing we really need to stay in power. We (the Poor) have the power to take back our gov. but no body has the guts. Just keep paying for your freedom and your right to work. 30% off the top of my checks and then I have to pay even more just to eat buy clothes, get to and back from work to pay every year you own a house or a car. As long as you live you have to pay! I thought that's why the white man came over here to kill my poeple, was to be free from UNJUST TAX'S.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I used birthright to connote that these innovations were "born" in the U.S. so U.S. citizens feel as if they should continue to play a leading role in developing them. Naturally, they will only continue to lead if they continue to work hard and innovate, and they need to accept that they will be doing it as part of a federated world economy.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Mr Nixon. Free is a very short word it means different things to different people. Of course not everyone uses the same metrics... Well no sh*t sherlock, hardly going to shout your success by using ones that don't show your reasoning in the best light are you. Who's Milton Friedman ? :D Okay I was taking this p1ss there, a well known bean counter, great.

mykmlr
mykmlr

In fact, China, India and Japan are all corporatists to one degree or another, providing tax breaks and direct subsidies. As these are the fastest growing economies in the world, it behooves us to ask "Why is this "Capitalism is freedom is greatest good" propaganda still being spread? The fact is, as Greenspan noted, Capital is cowardly, and only goes where it is most wanted and rewarded. It is quite irrelevant to the investor if you have the better idea (Windows v. Mac, ODF v Word xml, Fiber v. copper net delivery), what matters is, how to make the most money with the lowest investment over the shortest time. That is a recipe for social failure of the nation that embraces unrestricted Capitalism. A million short term returns will not improve the infrastructure.

Mikiel
Mikiel

Well, ignorant masses are certainly a good way to keep in power ? especially if the masses just believe what they?re told. I don?t think many want a certain subclass of people to be poor in the U.S. because the hate that group. But if many people are poor and rely on the government?s welfare ? that?s a great way to lock in a political base. The welfare recipients will likely vote for whoever promises them more and continued welfare. If you can keep such people fat and happy, they won?t care what you (the government) do. Like the ?bread and circuses? of the Roman Empire. But a welfare state encourages people to be non-productive because is dis-incentivises people working and bettering themselves. That?s bad for the individuals, bad for the countries economy, and bad for fighting government corruption. If you can get some charismatic leaders running around telling the poor that their lack of money is not their own fault, but is instead because evil group X is trying to keep them down, that?s really good for stopping them from bettering themselves and from thinking for themselves. If you?re advocating less welfare, then I?m behind you. Florida has some quirky rules wherein certain workers are allowed to put money that would have gone into Social Security (the U.S.?s government-sponsored pyramid scheme) instead into personal IRAs. It?s amazing to see how much of one?s income taxes go into Social Security. Our welfare spending far exceeds even our military spending.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

They went over there to be free. They kicked our asses out over taxes. If they hadn't they wouldn't have been unjust. Any non-native who was foolish enough to state that they weren't free, was shown your peoples' plight on the 'it could be worse basis'. If there were no poor, there could be no rich, some find this intolerable.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The white man came over here to escape religious persecution. In typical human fashion, they promptly proceeded to practice the intolerance they left behind on the local residents.

trambo
trambo

I have read many of your comments and have been impressed by many of them. However, I feel the gentleman made his case and sited examples he felt supported it. Of course, anyone can site quotes, documents, statistics, etc. to support virtually anything...including the fact that you have a distinct anti-American bent and a very snarky style. I am sorry we have an incredibly conceited, self-centered and arrogant president for the last two administrations. His impact is felt domestically far more than it is there. We do not all support rampant capitalism or total free markets. We did not all vote for Mr. Bush or support his policies either internationally or domestically. But take a step back and look at the 20th and 21st centuries. The United States in partnership with its allies and trading partners, including our greatest ally and former enemy, Great Britain, have created this globalization that some claim is tearing us down. You know, in most cases the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I believe you have become reactionary because of the polarization of politics in this country and its tendency to reward the lunatic fringe on the right and the left. I am truly sorry we have failed in our leadership and disillusioned you somehow. Most of us are just like you. Working sods trying to make ends meet in a system we don't control. People are not really so different across the pond. The fact that the world feels we failed in our leadership role proves our leadership in many areas. The reason we have been a leader is our freedom, open markets, diversity and willingness to embrace those who would join us...and defend those who can't defend themselves. The failure of the leadership of one administration should not taint everything you know and respect about the United States. Unfortunately, there is a class war going on in this country between the extremely wealthy and the have-nots. You can see how "trickledown" economics has failed. We have seen how socialism failed in your country in the past. The problem seems to me to be this lack of support for the largest middle class in the world by the mercenary wealthy people in control, recently. There has always been a general resentment of America in Europe. We saved you, we built you back up and defended you. I understand your disillusionment, but please understand, the vast majority of Americans are still common hardworking decent people who don't always support what our government does.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

generally by pencil necks. You can be granted wealth in the system either by inheritance, by might, by cunning or by extreme viciousness. To view it as a social advance from running around in a tin suit with a big knife, indicates naivety at best. If the state was run by capitalist rules. There would be no welfare , no infratructure, no democacrcy, no taxes, no foreign policy, no law, no police ....

trambo
trambo

...is indeed simplistic. Perhaps when the Chinese currency is allowed to float freely on the world market, China can pretend to compete on a level playing field. But until such time as that happens, don't pretend to play fairly with the other truly free markets. Yeah, we really rested on our laurels there. We have kept your grasping clutches off of Taiwan, fought the Korean War to create one of the most dynamic economies of the modern world...oh, and we also won the Cold War. Yeah, we really made a lot of money off of that WWII scam we put together...and then forgiving millions of dollars of debt after rebuilding Europe, that was brilliant. All those North American soldiers really messed up the world, it's a good thing we didn't have any other countries involved in all that bombing and soldiering, things could have really gotten unsightly. Yeah, we rested on our laurels all the way to the moon and back. Gee, I wonder what we could have done if we really set our minds to it. Of course you have no understanding of the value of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, you poor things were held down by Mao and could not possibly know what motivates a free man. Oh yeah, you're still pretty much fodder for the communist state. Enjoy your false prosperity, it will be taken from you whenever the state wants or needs it. Perhaps you can explain to all the people I know that lost a father in WWII that we were not AT war, we were merely PARTICIPATING. Your post is so trite and ridiculous that I can only feel sorry for you and your pitiful understanding of history. We'll just blame it on decades of ignorance and censorship and leave it at that.

The Smoking Man
The Smoking Man

One thing that must be remembered about both of the WW's is that America were merely participants in the war while the rest of the the world was AT war. Really, besides Pearl Harbor, was there any damage actually done to the Continental USA or Canada? What we saw was the ultimate destruction of the infrastructure of Europe, Asia and North Africa with North American bombers and soldiers laying waste to the rest of the world. Their lands remained unscathed. America achieved the level of Technology and Economic success as a result of NOT having to rebuild after the war and becoming the supplier of the needed goods and equipment to the rest of the world. Those who could, emigrated to America where things merely advanced rather than having to be rebuilt and restored. Since that time, America has mistakenly identified 'the American way' as the reason for success while it was merely profiteering after the war that brought this about. Unfortunately, the USA began to believe this lie and sat on its laurels while the rest of the world played 'catch-up'. America is now in a bit of a rock and a hard place because the final land to rebuild, China, is approaching recovery due to the delay caused by the interference of Mao. America will soon realize that it wasn't 'hard work', the Constitution or Bill of Rights that resulted in their success. It was because North America was protected by a rather large moat made up of two oceans: the Atlantic and the Pacific. The moat has shrunk with the world and the industrialists/profiteers have discovered that the American worker can be replaced many times over with the labor of the developing world. Welcome to the 21st century. We hope you enjoyed your rest. Time to face the competition again.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

al-Qaida is to Islam as the Christian Identity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Identity) is to Christianity: a radicalized, ethno-centric view of religion and the world. Just as not all Christians subscribe to the views of the Christian Identity, not all Muslims subscribe to the views of al-Qaida. Edit: spelling

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

:D indicates a joke. I note you didn't contest any of the other points. I never said leaving the middle east alone would stop them hating you, us, them or each other, only a f'ing moron or someone who constructs strawmen in a vain attempt to look clever would come out with that. Nothing will stop them hating the west, east, each other and next door's dog. Being a dumbass englishman, may be you can clue me in. How is blowing the sh1t out of their country, illegal imprisonment and torture is going to make them love us? I must confess the logic is escaping me. Idiot.

Techamateur
Techamateur

I couldn't agree more with your reply. The USA,as a rule, does NOT attack first, but once attacked, we come out fighting like a caged tiger. We gave Afganistan plently of warning to turn over Bin Laden before attacking them. THEY chose not to and suffered the consequences. As for Iraq, Hussein was recorded numerous times encouraging attacks against the USA, he was allowing terrorists into Iraq for training, he DID have WMD, though where they've gone now is anyone's guess (it's a BIG desert), and we ARE WINNING the war there. BTW, I am NOT a huge Bush fan, but I am intelligent enough to recognize the threat of militant Islam. For those morons who believe "if we just get out of the Middle East (Muslim lands), they'd stop hating us", pull your collective heads out of your a---- and do some research on Islam. According to the Quran the ENTIRE world is Muslim land (it says to KILL all infidels until the whole world is Muslim). This is NOT a "peaceful" religion, the Quran states over 200 times to KILL infidels (anyone who does not accept allah and Muhammed). The reason they hate us is because we stand in their way of a WORLDWIDE theocracy! They have stated repeatedly that their goal is to destroy the United States, and we will NOT allow this. I do believe the majority of Muslims are peaceful people, but they are the true radicals, and they will not step up and speak/fight against the militants. Here are two quotes from President John F. Kennedy: "We in this country, in this generation, are - by destiny rather than choice - the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, goodwill toward men.' That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago, 'except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.'" ?Let every nation know, whether it wishes us will or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.? We WILL fight to protect our nation, people, and way of life (and our allies). BTW, Tony, your comment of "We want our colony back" speaks volumes. I believe your dislike of America stems from jealousy over losing your empire (we weren't your only colony). If you wish to be a socialist, great, more power to you; however, instead of trying to make your, and other's countries, socialist, why not move to one that is already socialist and you can just be a happy camper! 'Nuf said

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If your mother was a slut that's your society' s fault. They labelled her as one she didn't and you shouldn't either. Killing to protect your family is not murder, it's common sense. However, this soon gets abstracted to killing to protect your friends, your politics, your reigion, your community, you colour,your country, your half of the hemisphere. Somewhere in there it gets more common and makes less sense. Especially when the cunts selling you the flags to wave before they are used to wrap your corpse, have absolutely no intention of joing in on the risking life and limb bit. A powerful ally is an enemy you have to 'friendly' with..... For now.... Diplomacy 101 My opposition to Iraq etc, I don't consider disloyal, I consider it sensible. Never fight a war you can't win, nothing to do with politics, everything to do with being pragmatic.

F4A6Pilot
F4A6Pilot

Woodrow Wilson campaigned for President of the US on keeping us out of WWI. He was elected by a very slim majority. Then, the U.S. people got pissed at the sinking of the Luisitania. It left the realm of his anti-war stand making the difference. The people decided we would fight. Then, we got into the war, when Congress voted for war. Wilson NEVER wanted to get into WWI. He appointed BlackJack Pershing who pissed off all British officers by refusing to augment European forces. Pershing stated No American will ever be commanded by foreigners... Even today within NATO US Forces are not subjected to foreign command. McCormack was a publisher of the Chicago Tribune who ran anti-FDR editorials every day. At every single decision that he disagreed with, and there were many, he called for the impeachment of FDR. McCormack, and many U.S. citizens really did want to keep the U.S. Isolated from the war and to milk it for money as did many capitalists in Britain and Germany, and France. Making money from someone else's (Britain's) stupidity is not my fault. If you didn't want to learn to read and write German, you needed our aid. If your mother was a slut that was her shortcoming, not yours or your father's. Next, As a country, we have always waited until after we have been sucker punched to start really fighting. In fact it takes several punches to wake us up. The Cole wasn't enough. The first WTC bombing wasn't enough. Taking down the towers pissed the USA off. Some of our politicians and many A-- holes don't wnt to fight. I believe them when they say they will kill us in our homes. So now we are returning the favor to people who want to kill us. Kill them there or kill them here. Our (dis) loyal opposition to our combat in the Mid-East is mostly political. Many people just think it is wrong to kill. I believe it is wrong to murder, but there is a time to kill. Not to protect your home and family is a bigger sin than killing the ones who are intending to kill your family. Americans would rather be left alone. When the fight actually hits us, we have the right, the duty, and the desire to hit back.

trambo
trambo

I had my tongue planted firmly in my cheek towards the end there...that's the problem with email, blogs, etc., that doesn't always come through. I "got your goat" as we say in the colonies...on purpose. I present the argument that since you have taken a mercenary bent, that it is in your best interests and Western Civilization (and I define that as the ideals of freedom and equality) that we are actually from the same roots, have similar cultures and it behooves us to not unnecessarily bash for the sake of trendy bashing. We are still, historically, the most generous nation in history. I understand there are always self serving motivations behind the actions of government. They serve you and represent you in that way. But I would also submit the the American people are still good, for the most part, and believe in those Western ideals. I hope we can aspire to the acme of cynicism that you have, alas, we are still a starry-eyed youth in comparison to Great Britain, mucking about where we shouldn't. By the way, thank you for being the bulwark that has borne the waves of facism that swept Europe throughout the 20th century. Although it has been called the "American Century," I believe it was the resolve of Winston Churchill and the British people that gave the "sleeping giant" a chance to wake up. Of course, Pearl Harbor had something to do with it, as well. People do tend to "resent" (perhaps a better word than "jealousy") those who would lead or try to lead. That is all I have. In the "battle of wits," I am afraid I am out of ammunition. Touche', Monsieur Hopkinson!!! (I say that hoping to touch that British Nationalist streak that makes French-bashing a national pastime.) I say we gang up and bash the French!

neilb
neilb

The only thing worse than having someone steal a treasured possession is to get it back broken.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

And I agree the US constitution is one of the most impressive feats in the history of mankind. I don't agree with my own govenrnment, so I'm afraid I can't stand up for yours. My people and your people that's a different matter. I don't think I was hard on him. Nothing wrong with sticking up for your country, don't expect me to stick up for it as well, except when it's in my interest to do so. For some strange reason this is percieved to be all the time, so far from true, calling it false is being kind. US power is waning, not so much in quantity and quality but because it's the wrong sort of power, or it's being mis-applied. You need some of your leaders to figure out the cold war is over, otherise you are going to drop behind Europe and Asia for a good while. There you were sounding all reasonable and then you come out with one of the most arrogant statements in the entire thread. Jealous of what ? OK we want our colony back, other than that, can't think of a single thing. As far as Ben Franklin goes, I'm more worried about us all hanging together. Thanks for the current banking crisis by the way.

trambo
trambo

Of course we all have our perspective of history as filtered to us by our leaders and government. I DO wish someone would remember the Marshall Plan, occasionally. Other than that I think you nailed it. You have the dry humor I love. My main problem was that I thought you were unnecessarily hard on the gentleman you commented on, even though he gave you his opinion and sited his support...which I agree was rather dated and Nixonian. What it is chap, is the trendy America bashing that goes on incessantly, now. Yeah, our administration earned it. But sight me a document, other than the Magna Carta, that has done more for Western Civilization as we know it, than the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. We invented modern representative democracy.Unfortunately, we are now doing everything we can to circumvent the original intent of the colonists who became the founding fathers of the US. Please don't site the Ten Commandments or any other religious documents. I am speaking strictly from a secular viewpoint. All I ask, is to remember that we are both key members of Western Civilization, and as Ben Franklin once said, "We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately." sic Oh, and if you want your colonies back, please feel free to come try to take them back. We need just a little more testing of our weapon systems, on say an advanced, industrialized nation. (^: Give us a break, we're just like you at the end of the British Empire. Hopefully, we can decline as gracefully as you have. Jealousy is very unbecoming...as are ugly Americans. At this point I will quote a British bard: O, it is excellent To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant. ? William Shakespeare, (1564-1616)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I can only applaud the level of statesmanship that brought the British Empire to it's knees and then killed it, and then moved into the resulting power vacuum. A masterstroke, we were hoist by our own petard. I respect the american people enormously, most are worthy adversaries. I'm not getting why you want me to be grateful though, I mean you keep winning... Doesn't matter how well mannered we are as a nation, sitting their with egg all over your face, saying "Oh jolly good" gets really tiresome after a while. There's alot more to history than dates and spin. Whatever the 'reasons' for your having to gallop to our rescue in WWI and WWII, the result is undeniable. We got f'ed, you got laid. Another key fact you should take out of WWII, despite all the bravery of your troops, some brilliant generals and powerful leadership, your economy (the only one that didn't get bombed to sh1t), won you the war and the peace. A brit's perspective on the relatively recent history. WWI Late, you have a go mate we are knackered. Lend Lease Pay for new arms to come rescue us by selling us your old crap so we'd need rescuing. A stroke of genius that was. Machiavelli would have come in his trousers. WWII F'ing late again, and why is my missus wearing silk stockings and a big grin presenting me a son called Elmur? Suez You didn't pay for the bloody thing did you? Northern Ireland. Those nice stand up peace loving, Geneva convention abiding, Freedom Fighters, the Provisional IRA, thank you. The Falklands. Our land, our people, f*** negotiating Kyoto Cough, splutter... Steel Tariffs. Free Market economics my arse Iraq WTF ! Oh and give us our colony back. :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

What I see you implying in your latest post is that since I disagree with you on this issue, I'm in favor of everything you're against? You couldn't be more wrong. Or more stupid. How American of you... Edit: Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Nice. It [u]would[/u] be good to get rid of the current Pravda coming out of DC.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

example of how things get screwed up when you introduce a major socialist element into a capitalist environment. When the 'Commons' were originally established, they were done so as community property for the people in the village, every villager was allowed to run their own stock on it, BUT, there were limits on what an individual could run - the most common situation was a limit of one cow, one goat, and two sheep per household. They were called 'Commons' as they were owned by all the villagers 'in common.' The way to handle the situation of a commons being heavily used by actual farmers, would be to fully capitalise the situation - as did happen in some cases. Have all the stock and the land owned by a cooperative that all the farmers belonged to - and they share the work and the benefits. In some of the larger towns, they did something similar by incorporating the town - some of those incorporations are still running now, about a thousand years later.

wmlundine
wmlundine

...lets invade a country awash with oil; lie about the reasons then threaten everyone who disagrees with us. No wait...we tried that and it lead to death and destruction. Now before you challenge me Nick; why don't we try truth, justice and REAL American ideals like human rights? I know, that is not perfect either but if we don't keep trying, winning at any cost will gain us nothing.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

When I took History of Economics in college, we touched on the problem of the commons on our way from barter and feudalism to communism, socialism, utopianism, capitalism and all the other failed economic models. We even touched on enlightened self-interest and the possibility that humans could actually function in such a manner. If I remember, the consensus in that class was either "not for long" or "no way in h3ll." So if nothing works, what's left? Edit: spelling

wmlundine
wmlundine

Location, location, location!!! (not to mention the environmental impact of exploiting the new "New World" and the native people).

Mikiel
Mikiel

NickNielsen, I believe when Wmlundine says ?Capitalism is exploitive of the commons? he may be referencing the ?Tragedy of the Commons? problem. In this problem a common field is shared by sheep herders. If a given herder adds a new sheep to his flock he gets a big benefit. But the new sheep grazes the shared field more than before its introduction. This additional grazing negatively impacts all the herders equally. But since the benefit to the one herder is greater than the negative impact on that herder ? it?s in his best interest to get the new sheep. Thus all herders, if following self-interest, logically keep increasing their herd size until there?s no more grass (or at least there?s a grass crisis that needs to be solved and/or a maximum number of supportable sheep is reached). The ?Tragedy of the Commons? is generally an incitement on free capitalism ? or at least an argument in favor of some regulation or management. I would guess that if each herder were given his own land (instead of sharing), he would be incentivized to look at the long term impact of his herd?s grazing and self regulate his herd size ? because the negative impact of his actions affect him. Perhaps it was sharing the commons in the first place that was the problem. (I?ll admit that the private property solution does raise the issue on how to divide the commons ?equally? in the first place.) (If I say ?incentivize? enough will it become a word?)

wmlundine
wmlundine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Tragedy of the Commons is a type of social trap, often economic, that involves a conflict over finite resources between individual interests and the common good. The term derives originally from a comparison noticed by William Forster Lloyd with medieval village land holding in his 1833 book on population.[1] It was then popularized and extended by Garrett Hardin in his 1968 Science essay "The Tragedy of the Commons".[2] However, the theory itself is as old as Thucydides[3] and Aristotle[4].

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

nor am I thumping a Bible. I don't even want to know why you hate Christians so much or why you brought Jesus into the discussion. I would like to know what you mean by "Capitalism is exploitive of the commons." To the best of my knowledge, a capitalist economy is the [b]only[/b] economic model in which the "commons" have as much chance to advance financially as anybody else. Do you mean that the "commons" are not smart enough to work with the system to improve their lot? Do you mean that anybody without money is "common?" Do you mean that everybody deserves an equal slice of the pie, regardless of their contribution to the baking? What? Instead of hurling insults from behind a closed door, come on out onto your porch and explain your views. Or is it "greedy" to wish to do better for ourselves?

wmlundine
wmlundine

...get the hell off my porch!

F4A6Pilot
F4A6Pilot

He wasn't bankrupt by any means. The Gold,Mhyrr, Frankensence alone would have kept his family for many years. It financed a trip to the Pyramids(flight to egypt) and then there was the fact that he was very well known as a Carpenter. ("My yoke is easy" is considered the first widely known advertisement. So he wasn'rt a socialist, but a capitalist who delivered value for worth. That is the blessing of capitalism. A workman is worth his wages. A lousy workman should get paid in an appropriate manner. A master craftsman should be paid in the same... The socialist system of averaging wages via union agreement and group negotiating isn't really appropriate if you are a Christian... Because you want to put labels on People LM try this one on youself: Ignorant. Not stupid, but ignorant. Maybe both if you refuse to study... Then, you would want to be in the Socialist system, as you aren't willing to work so you can have surplus to give generously... That is the point. Give from generosity, not at gunpoint as the government can come with guns to support their socialism. When the US was not Socialistic tax rates at 5%. Now true tax rate os close to 70% 43% FED, 7% state, Corportate rate 43% of a 20% avg markup. passed through many hands the base tax rate is 70% in the US. It may be worse other places... Especially the more socialistic places... Chew on that before you respond.

F4A6Pilot
F4A6Pilot

I suspect antichrist tendencies, or dislike of individuals has led him to this position. Or, probably he doesn't like any rules that include a definition of sin.

wmlundine
wmlundine

...I love 'em. They are real popular here in the southern US and so are bible thumpers, here in the south...grits and bible thumpers...god bless Ernst and grits. Oh, and thanks for the greed hook. Capitalism is exploitive of the commons. What happens when greed meets limited resources? I am not a socialist but it seems to me that we need to find a way to collaborate without demonizing opposing ideologies. People get killed when we do that. Sorry Ernst...you'll live.

Mikiel
Mikiel

wmlundine, Ernest?s postings do have a lot of Jesus blah blah content ? but to dismiss his arguments would be ad hominem. I think Ernest?s example of the socializing of Australia?s health care system is a good example of how socialism (and government management) is usually inferior to a free market solution. Greed (or at least the need to make money to get by) is generally a really good motivator for making a system work well. It?s the sloth engendered by free handouts and a lack of financial consequences for management that run systems into the ground. While socialism often looks like a good idea at first glance (money to the unemployed, health care for everyone), the implementation of socialism tends to bring bad results. You have to look not only at the direct benefits ? but also at the long term impact a policy will have on humans from its incentives and disincentives. While trying to help the poor, socialist systems generally tend to pull everyone down including the poor.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Ernest, I'm still trying to figure out why wml is fixated on Jesus and Bible thumping. He's the one who brought him into this branch. You merely responded to his post. I strongly suspect he's not atheist, but anti-Christian (no pun intended). I don't blame him there; I don't have much use for many of today's self-proclaimed Christians. wml, to better understand Ernest, these are his words (exerpted from this post: http://tinyurl.com/2g5pfm). Christ came with a message of love - he reduced the ten commandments to two - 1/. Love they God with all thy heart, body, mind, and soul; 2/. Love they neighbour as yourself. Paulians follow the teachings of the apostle Paul, these teachings are his interpretations of Christ's teachings, and they do vary a lot. Most of the main stream Christian churches have a lot of Paulian teachings in them as they are based on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church which is very Paulian. The main points of variation between Christianity and Paulianity are: 1. Christ taught that every person has the right to speak with, and receive revelation from, God. Each has the same authority to speak to God and to spread his word. The Paulians are authoritive and teach that only those who are ordained ministers have any authority to speak on God's behalf, and the higher up you are in the church, the more authority you have, and the more righteous you are. This leads into the teaching that the more righteous have more right to tell others how to behave. Thus the Bishop can tell priests and individuals what to do, etc. 2. Christ taught that he came to save the sinners. Paulians teach that the righteous have the right to order the sinners about. 3. Christ taught that we have free will and can choose to follow God's teachings or not. Paulians teach that we should all follow God's teachings, as they see them, no matter what, and they have a right to make us do so. 4. Christ said that all that has gone before is now void. Thus, a true Christian follows the teachings of the New Testament, if you do then you follow the two commanments above and all of the ten commandments etc are rolled into them. Paulians teach that you should also follow the Old Testament rules and all its teachings. Nothing in the Old Testament over rules the teachings of the Gospels, yet the Paulians believe certain aspects do. The Old Testament is there to show the authority of Christ through the prophecies related to him, and where the church came from. Nothing in the Old Testament is valid doctrine to a Christian, except where it is reinforced in the Gospels by Christ's teachings, then it's used to refine some aspects of Christ's teachings. 5. Christ taught that you should love everyone, including your enemies. Paulines teach you to hate people who disagree with you. 6. Christ taught that all those who believe in Christ shall be saved, he did not teach that they HAD to believe in him their entire life. He acknowledged that many would come to now and believe in him late in life, and they would be accepted and saved. He also taught that they had to come to him of their own free will and choice. Paulians teach that people must be made to believe. If after this you still believe that Ernest (and by extension myself, as I agree substantially with Ernest here) are Bible thumpers, well, it's not our problem, is it?

wmlundine
wmlundine

...in the '50s a charismatic (Times Man of the year 1951) leader was democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran by an overwhelming margin. He was determined that the resources (read oil) of Iran should actually benefit the people of Iran (gasp). The Brits cried "Socialism" when he nationalized the oil companies and they urged their WWII allies (USA) to do something. Now the USSR to the east precluded direct military intervention so the CIA gave an agent named Kermit Roosevelt a million bucks to undermine the elected government. It worked and the heartless Shah of Iran ruled Iran with an iron fist for corprotacracy until his overthrow. Now this is a fact. No one (including the CIA) denies this and they repeated this same strategy all over the globe starting so many "fires" we may never put them all out. So don't spew your crap about the socialist evil. Tell it to Tony, he thinks you are priceless (which puts the lie to your whole diatribe). As for me I weary of re-educating "Ernst the Bible Thumper".

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

You abuse the early church for burning a few books they disagree with, that puts them ahead of most socialists who burn every damn book that doesn't agree with their ideology, However, I love the fact you call me a Bible thumper based on a single reference to the teachings of Jesus, and you can't even spell my name correctly, despite all the times it appears in this thread. I just love the way you keep trying to avoid the truth of the core issue by trying to mix it up with other issues and assigning your own interpretations on things with very few facts. Don't worry, you commissar commander will be along soon to give you new instructions. BTW: If you go back to the very root philosophy from which most socialist doctrine was originally drawn - it required (a) for all the members of the society to ELECT (that is choose) to join the socialist society, and (b) all decisions affecting the society required that all members of the society sit down at one place and discuss the matter until such time as EVERYONE was of the very SAME mind on the matter and the course of action. Sadly, no socialist doctrine since then has included either of these important core elements, most involve forcing socialism onto people, regardless of if they want it or not. but then, many modern socialist agendas also assume the average person has a very low IQ - considering the behaviour of many of their members, I can understand that.

wmlundine
wmlundine

...Ernst is a bible thumper and I accept that. He takes the world as it comes to him and applies it to a template he has accepted on blind faith. Anything that falles outside the template is rejected. Unfortunately; his template is a collection of writings that were canonized by the early church. Anything that did not fit was burned (along with anyone who did not agree). Nick...I do not call that reasoning.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

for themselves, not just as an example of some sort of stereotype - at least until such time as they prove they're only a stereotype with as much working intelligence as road kill. Jesus taught choice and acceptance of others - you can't blame him for what others have done since. WML Firstly, in a capitalist society, Jesus would be paid for his teachings and healings, and he'd use that to buy accommodation, food, drink, clothes, etc just the same as everyone else - come to think of it, he did have some money and bought all those sorts of things - the scriptures tell us so. Over the years, I've been in many positions of leadership in both work and sports, some I've given up as I moved to another area or field, some because of family considerations, and some (recently) due to health - so having other wouldn't bother me, nor would not having any more leadership positions. I haven't been, or tried to be, a major political leader, as I don't want the sort of troubles that got with such jobs. It's clear you know nothing about true capitalism. In a truly capitalist society, everything is a matter of personal choice and individual decisions. It fully recognises that any effort, skill, or ability a person puts into something increases the worth and usefulness of that, and provides a method for the person to be rewarded for their work and effort. Sadly, we have no purely capitalist societies, and never have. Greed is an aspect of human nature, not capitalism, even the socialist societies suffer from greed. If you want a list of the dangers of a socialist society, think of Chernobyl - a capitalist society wouldn't, and hasn't, taken the sort of short cuts the socialists took to get that plant operating and eventually caused the melt down. The people in charge were greedy and wanted resources and rewards for doing things with less and sooner. Capitalists want expensive things done properly, to stay in one piece and working, while socialist don't really care, as they're all replaceable. In history, we've had several aristocracy / capitalist societies, feudal / capitalist societies, restricted democracy / capitalist societies and everyone has had a fair sprinkling of socialist input mixed in as well. Some of the biggest complaints leveled at a capitalist society are variations created within the system to deal with certain socialist aspects of the society. Taxation, limited liability, restricted control - all these derive from socialist aspects of society being impressed on the capitalist society. In a true capitalist society, each person has full responsibility and liability for their own actions AT ALL TIMES, and they get growth rewards for doing good work, and losses for bad work. As a general rule, the rewards are evaluated in money, but they work just as well in a barter economy society as well. No society today is totally a capitalist society or a total socialist society, they have a mix and tend to be called by which side has the higher degree of control in the overall scheme of that society.

wmlundine
wmlundine

Moreover, I think Ernst would still be a socialist if he had risen to the position of leadership that he so desperately desired. And last but not least, I think this is a silly game, comparing socialists to capitalist. Do you want to make a list of evils? Capitalism/Chritianity wins...going away. Hey Ernst; "What would Jesus buy"?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

What are you for? You respond to reasoned discussion with ideological cant and provide nothing reasoned in return. If I'm reading Ernest correctly, he is in favor of personal choice and the [often ignored] Christian value of acceptance. How is this wrong?

wmlundine
wmlundine

...pure socialism or even pure Christianity. Try having a little compassion for your fellow man instead. Because even if you succeed in foisting your Christo/capitalistic dogma on the entire planet and destroy it in the process, Jesus is not likely to recognize your purity.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the manifestos put out by many of the ideological leaders of the socialist cause, and also having read translations of many of the speeches and policy statements by many of the socialist leaders of the last 100 years - all of which have very similar major directives - I have a fair idea of where they would like to go. Also, watching them in action in the political sphere of the real world also gives an idea of what they want and how they behave. Now, it's possible that you either have a different ideological view to the general socialist agenda, or have some very different interpretations on the meanings of certain words. I go with the meanings of words as found in a very good English dictionary. As to knowing what Jesus said, or is reputed to have said, all you need do is read a good translation of the Gospels in the New Testament. Having said that, it's amazing how many people of different religious beliefs find so many ways to interpret the few words he did say. What doesn't help is the other books in the New Testament that are written by others to give their own doctrinal points of view on the message from Jesus. Some of the worst interpreters are fundamentalist Christians and some church leaders, past and present - often they interpret the words to say what they want them to say. Also, most such variations are based on verses from the books other than the Gospels, so such misunderstandings are a bit easier to understand. I don't have a hateful screed of lies, so I must assume that you are attributing to me some of your own feelings on this. I've looked closely at both sides of this issue, and worked out that a capitalist system offers the individual more freedom and chance to get ahead than a socialist system. The sad part is we don't have any pure capitalist systems, most of the supposedly capitalist countries have large amounts of socialist laws and activities operating in them, due to the influence of socialists in the local political sphere. What's really sad is watching such people destroy perfectly working system because they disagree with the ideology. here in Australia, we had a perfectly good health system with some social aspects where in the federal government paid for basic health services for the unemployed and other welfare groups. The capitalist health system sighted a card from the government, and then sent the bill to the government. A socialist federal government changed all that and introduced a new tax to have the entire health system provided free - a major part of their socialist agenda to make all such things government run. The system had a lot of strength and was very robust, it took over a decade for that to be sapped and the system started to implode through being straight jacketed by the socialist 'one shoe fits all' health service. It's been limping along for the last decade simply because after the government took over control of every hospital they could justify in any way (stealing billions of dollars of property and equipment) the few fully capitalist hospitals and doctors that stayed totally outside the government system proved to be so efficient and effective, those that could afford to pay extra, dropped out of the government system and went private - to save waiting months or years for operations. The biggest problem with a socialist operation is the assumption that you have to have everything the same, this means a tight control, which means a large controlling administration - and that creates a system that has absolutely no flexibility - which, in turn, forces errors onto people and becomes very tyrannical in its operation. A full capitalist system is the reverse, in it allows people to make their own choices and take their money where they want. BTW: Before I did a lot of reading on the socialist manifestos and agendas, I used to support our local leading socialist party. But after I got fed up with watching them mess the people around, and found out how they kept lying to the voters and refusing to listen to the people, I did some research and gave them the flick.

wmlundine
wmlundine

...now you should learn a little about your socialist neighbors because your hateful screed is full of lies!

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

aspect of things. The only comment on ownership he clearly made was "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and give unto God that which is God's." He also told us to love God and love our neighbours.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

it sees the value of a person as being the same as a horse a plow or a dog. They can be used up and wasted if that is felt to be in the good of the 'greater socialist community.' Philosophically, when all things have the same value, then there is no value as they are all at the same point on the line. You may call it a billion dollars each, priceless, or zero - the reality is there is zero value and zero difference between you, me, the thief next door, the fastest horse in the world, and the slowest horse in the world as far as the socialist ideology is concerned. the fact they apply the same value to inanimate objects as living objects as sentient beings shows they have a contempt for everything and don't actually value anything at all. Those who follow Stalin's variation of socialism are Stalinists - the big difference with this is his method of choosing the leaders of the community. When you look at all the socialist manifestos and ideology statements, they clearly show everything to have the same value of zero, as they include the clear concept that anything can be easily and quickly offered up for the 'greater good.' If everything was valued as priceless, they would not be so easily offered up, especially in offering sentient beings replacement of non-sentient beings. A classic and true example of the differences between the two ends of the cultural spectrum is that of the three cooks. A. Can take good apples, flour, sugar and other ingredients and turn out a barely edible mess that they call an apple pie. B. Can take those some ingredients and turn out a reasonably good apple pie. C. Can take the same ingredients and turn out a deliciously perfect pie that makes the others seem tasteless. Under the socialist system they are all equal and of equal value; the value of the pies they make are all the same and have the same value as each other and the cooks. Transfer this to a work situation and you can have three workers: A. Can make 10 widgets an hour; B. Can make 20 widgets an hour; C. Can make 40 widgets an hour; And the socialists say they are all exactly equal and worth the same. The capitalists, say C should get more than A, as he's providing more in return. The way the unionists deal with this situation is to make you pay everyone the same rate, but put in place systems to make it impossible for anyone to make more than 20 widgets per hour, as that would show the slower worker isn't worth his pay - this is how they interpret the socialist manifesto and level the playing field.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Socialism does not value things at zero, but at priceless. I'm getting well tired of people judging socialism as though it was Stalin's new plan. All socialism is, is an appreciation that important things go beyond arbitrary market based judgements on value based on money. How much is your family worth? Their bank balance, houses, insurance policies, weight of compost once unfortunately deceased. What value do you put on their health, welfare and happiness? I guarantee the beancounters have got a figure for these things, for your family and mine, not f'ing theirs though. To say that you and I have the same value means there is no difference between us, not that we have no value.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

and thus improve the situation of yourself and your family. the major ill of socialism, is it sets the value of EVERYTHING, including people, as the same and at NOTHING, zip, zero, zilch. under a socialist system human life has no value at all. While under a capitalist system it does have a value of some sort, and compensation is allowed for damage to it. Sure, some societies warp the system, some warp both systems. But I'd rather something that values people some how, than one that sees them as being of no value at all.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The ill of capitalism is that it puts a monetary value on everything. Human capital, says it all.

robertknapp
robertknapp

Arguments regarding capitalism appear to confuse two separate concepts: Capital formation and limited-liability corporations; and free enterprise. One need not form a capitalized corporation to engage in free enterprise. Many of the ills of "capitalism" result from the extension of the "limited liability" concept from economic liability to civil/criminal liability. If the choice is between central planned government economy and free enterprise economy, free enterprise tends to win, with or without a liability-limited capital formation system. Let's not confuse limited-liability capital formation with free enterprise; they're at quite different levels of conceptualization.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If Mr Corp comes and gives 'you' money for voting in his interest, then 'you' are corrupt. If Mr Corp only funds candidates for office who will vote the way he wants then you are not corrupt. You could be called biased or even predjudiced, but that would mean you could n't have any preconcieved ideology / dogam / ideas. This is our system, it is NOT democracy. You can add presidents, royalty, tv presenters and small dogs to it. it will still not be democracy. It is capitalism though. Swap Mr Corp, for Mr SpyMaster, Mr Military, Mr Religion, Mr Royal, same thing, no fing difference. Quest for power for personal aggrandizement, they only pick f'kers they can buy.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The writers of the American Constitution attempted to take into account the need for stability. Initially, Senators were elected by state legislatures for a term of 6 years. Unfortunately, the years have undone that foresight. The 17th Amendment moved the selection of Senators to the electors of a state and the election cycle has become eternal. American Presidential campaigns now run the entire four-year term or longer. For crying out loud, Hilary Clinton has essentially been campaigning for the office since her husband left office eight years ago. Personally, I think we need to go back to the smoke-filled room when selecting candidates for national office. There have been exceptions, but overall the current primary system has resulted in the selection of politicians, not statesmen. The US now needs a President and legislators who are statesmen and, without exception, I don't think there's a chance in h3ll we'll get them.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

and a fully representative democratic system, as used in the USA and Australia, we don't have that stability. This is because the system allows for too many special cause people to take control of both parts of the governmental controls. Yes democracy has some advantages, but remember Hitler was originally elected to office in a very democratic governmental system. So have many left and right wing dictators in the last 100 years. A strong stable political system either has some solid almost rigid aspects, or it's built on a triangle of political power, and the stability is provided by the tension of the three legs of political power. --------- In some countries like Sweden and the United Kingdom, they have the stability through inherited power. Although similar, the power bases of Sweden and the UK are different - the Swedish monarchy has, and exercises, more real day to day power than the UK monarchy. The real stability in the UK comes from the inherited right to sit in the House of Lords - not having to rely on being elected every so many years, allows them to think about what's best for the country and the people, not what's best for winning the next election. It also allows for more diversity in opinions and areas of concern. because it involves humans, there are some who are open to being bought by gold or promises, but that happens in every system. the requirement to be re-elected places a huge stress on the real integrity of many elected officials. ------- The best way, that I can think of, to minimise the influence of business over elected politicians, is to introduce laws that places strict limits on how much an individual can donate to the electoral campaign of an individual politician, and limits on the number they can contribute to. Limits on how much each politician can spend on their campaign, and require all such spending to be done at the individual's electoral level. No huge party donations or campaigns. Such donations are NOT tax deductible in any manner, nor are they an operating cost. So businessman Bob, can make a donation to ONE, and only one, of the candidates for each position in each house he has to vote for. So if he has only one position open in the lower house or congress - he can donate to only one of those candidates. If he has to vote for two upper house or senators, then he can donate to only two of the several candidates. The money goes to that candidate's campaign account, and the candidate can only spend it on the campaign activities within the borders of their electorate. Or, if retiring from public office permanently, hand it over to local charities. Any business or businessman that donates more than the set amount has to pay an automatic , non deductible fine, of 100 times the amount donated, which is then given to charities. And the person and business is not allowed to make any political donations for ten years. Also, if a candidate can be proven to have knowingly accepted extra funds, he's automatically dismissed from office, and not allowed to stand for public office for ten years. That should really encourage them to abide by the rules.

Mikiel
Mikiel

Well, I guess you could say ?Medicine is neither good nor bad, it has no morality or ethics in and of itself.? But I?d say medicine has helped a lot of people and I think capitalism (vs. socialism/communism) tends to lead to a higher standard of living which I?ll define as good. I see your point about rampant capitalism and how capitalism doesn?t necessarily eliminate the concentration of power in the hands of someone unaccountable. I guess we can again turn to China as an example ? lots of capitalism growing which has helped standards of living ? but not too much better on the civil rights front. Still a lot of corruption in the government and the government uses its power to stay in power. Definitely a lot of suppression of free speech. So maybe the point is, regardless of the economic system, you need a political system that doesn?t concentrate power too much. In that case, democracy does seem like a really good system. (And here were really talking about a republic government with elected officials.) To obtain political power you must be elected ? moving power into the people?s hands. You need great freedom of speech so the people know what?s going on and the people with political power are less able to do stuff behind closed doors to cement their power, and less able to silence those who point out corruption. The politicians can be criticized and thrown out. That said, once the U.S. started larger income taxes, that money became power for the federal government. It could withhold money from the states to get them to do what it (the federal government) wanted. And companies could use money to influence the legislators to make laws that benefit that particular business. Thus money becomes power (vs. power by birthright). If you?re cynical, then this becomes yet another corrupt system. But I think the level of corruption is less in a ?free speech/republic/capitalistic? nation than elsewhere. A true literal democracy might help to eliminate corruption ? but they?re unwieldy and slow in making decisions. (One of the reasons we have a president over the executive branch - to speed things up decision-making-wise.) I see your point about the ease of running for political office in our supposed democracy. Without the backing of one of the two political parties, it?s very difficult to win ? especially as you go higher up the political chain. The parties make sure to pass laws to keep out independents (signature to get on ballot and such) and their deep pockets stop all but the richest from having a chance against them. Perhaps one of your points is that while you might be able to throw out one corrupt politician, the power is still held by the corrupt political parties here in the U.S. As bad as republic political systems are I don?t see a better alternative. I fear I come away from your postings thinking all governments are corrupt. Curse you for disillusioning me! Perhaps some are less corrupt and we should strive to institutionalize factors that lead to less corruption.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Define good. Capitalism is neither good nor bad, it has no morality or ethics in and of itself. The freedom you have to become successful in a capitalist system is the same one that those in power can use to make sure they keep theirs. Here's an alternative, the greatest good of the greatest number. Don't forget to define good. Or how about democracy? If you think you have one, stand for president, or senator or governor or some such. You either sell out to the boys with the real clout, or you wont make two sentences on page 15 of the local rag, next to some jokes posted in by other sad people who want their name in print. Come to think of it capitalism is worse, at least it was n't illegal to stop the robber barons robbing you.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If a rich person robbed you, you'd be f'ed. Plenty of examples abound now.

normhaga
normhaga

the old Norse. There body of law was the Allthing for government, and they had trade arrangements as well. They would arrive by ship and ask to trade. You had the option of saying "No." If you said "No" to the offer of trade, they would leave. However you needed to watch the next few foggy mornings for they might just come back in a "Dragon" ship. Along with the Greeks and the Romans, the Norse had much to give to modern society, including the class system.

Mikiel
Mikiel

Tony, I fear I've been duped by my U.S. education. Could you explain how capitalism is not a step up from feudalism? I think that experience has shown that economic systems that are freer tend to generate more wealth (for all levels of society) than those that regulate economics more. Even the poor benefit when a country moves towards capitalism. (witness China) You're correct that you wouldn't want to move all the way to pure libertarianism - we need anti-monopoly laws, we need a government and army, we need a national infrastructure funded by taxes, etc. However, I still see capitalism as a very good thing, especially in comparison to the alternatives.

jdclyde
jdclyde

many of those things are good for business, which is the root of capitalism. need a way to get goods to market, so there would still be infrastructure. there would be a form of law and order, although there would be more on-the-spot executions.... foreign policy is again, good for business. it opens up new markets.