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Inverted Vantage

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And remove my social safety net, help with college tuition, national parks, public libraries, and any other public use program that's deemed part of "big government"? No thanks :p
 

roverjohn

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No way that would happen if even 40% of us would switch to the Libertarian party. Take the "how Libertarian are you" test and you'll see that your beliefs about us are absurd.
 

Inverted Vantage

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I Googled that and found this;

Libertarian Purity Test

Is that what you're talking about? Because I like my minimum wage standards, free government schooling, free public-use land, public post office, and kind of disagree with this rather pointed question:

"Is all government essentially exploitation of the productive members of society for the benefit of a parasitic ruling elite?"

I think the real key difference here between someone who's pro-government and someone who's anti government is the two's perception of exactly what the US gov stands for. IMO anything that's government is also mine, unless it's something restricted for security purposes (say, the inner sanctum of the CIA or DOD). Libraries, land, schools - they all belong to me. And you. It sounds "socialist" but the US gov was never purely capitalistic to begin with; it's always been a hybrid, just a more right leaning hybrid than, say, Europe's version of the same. I would argue that the US was founded upon a kernel of democratic socialism; a government "by the people, for the people," where all public land and projects belong to the tax payers - that sounds pretty "socialist" to me, no?***

Meanwhile, anti-government views the government as a separate entity, as something that owns these "products" just like any private company would. Therefore, it's not land that belongs to all of us, it's land that belongs to the government that it's keeping us, the private citizens from buying, or restricting the things we can buy (certain types of banned foods, drugs, etc).


***And I can already see the noses turning up and the eyes narrowing at the implication of "socialism"; trust me, I think pure socialism is very bad; just look at Germany during WW2. But by that same token, pure Democracy is bad; look at Athens back in Grecian times. So's a pure Republic; look at the fall of Rome. But also so is a pure Confederation; look at the US before the Constitution. Don't get me started on pure no-government rule; I believe that anarchy is a policy subscribed to by people who don't truly know what it entails.
My point is that trying to completely purge the US of all government (or even most of it), like a pure Libertarian, or stick to only traditional values and minimal government, like a pure Conservative, or go hog wild and throw all values to the wind and spend everything, like a pure Liberal - all of those choices are very bad. The only way you can get a decent government is by honestly and analytically viewing the pro's and cons of each side, and figuring out which is the best solution to the current application, with as little institutional and organizational dogma as possible.
 
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piperpilot1363

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Well, I scored a 102 of 160, which qualifies as hard core. Ditto to just about everything dave said.

Andrew
 

lr27

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Really, now, that's not how it happened in the US. Yes there were rules brought in, but I think that was in reaction to a lot of accidents. Air traffic control became a big deal, in the USA at least, after a mid air collision that killed 128 people in 1956.
snip
Once the politician saw the man can fly, invented the air traffic controller.
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I'm kind of amazed at the people who say the USA has swung left. If you mean that civil liberties are threatened, that's perennial. Or didn't you read about (or remember) McCarthy? It does feel to me that we may be in danger. But when I think about the danger, the guy with the truncheon is to my right. Now, realistically I think the danger can come from either side. And to call the anti-drug laws the creation of the liberals is very strange. If you look at Nixon, he was demonstrably to the left of Obama in many ways. What would be your reaction to wage controls? Price controls? Gas rationing? A proposed federal health plan? (oh yeah, I guess we know that one, but if Teddy (!) hadn't voted against it maybe we'd have gotten there 40 years sooner). Ford did stuff like that too. Anyway, I'm sick of the revisionism. I remember those times, somewhat. A lot of people who complain about socialism don't really know what it is. Either that or the US has been socialist for decades. (You could sort of make an argument that WW2 pushed us in that direction.) Don't just spout what they tell you. Think about it. Everyone's a little right, and everyone's a little wrong.
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I think, since I'm not immune to cholera, that government is necessary and desirable. That doesn't mean we don't have to keep an eye on it. Those people who think government is an economic burden should demonstrate how much more productive they can be in Somalia.
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Anarchism isn't necessarily just no government, and no organization. Although I'm not up on it, Anarcho-syndicalism was clearly something else.
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Most of us are just one bop on the head and a couple of years from being totally dependent on others. What happens to you if you can't work anymore and you haven't got a big wad of dough yet? Or you get laid off in every recession? (Maybe you decided you wanted to work in aviation!) What happens if we lose the serial entrepreneurs who fell down three or four times before they got it right?
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I'm against coercion, but money can be coercion too, and we don't get to vote for the corporations.
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Anyway, I think if this ADS B becomes cheap, and there are restrictions on the use of the data, maybe we'll all want it.

Meanwhile, I don't want to go boating anywhere near the coast of Florida, or flying anywhere near Mexico. And when I get some dough, some of it goes to the ACLU.
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"There is always an easy solution to every human problem--neat,
plausible, and wrong."
-H.L. Mencken (allegedly)
 

lr27

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I hesitate to admit my score on that test in this venue. But it did NOT say I was a socialist. Or even a statist. It said I was "soft core". Like Scott Brown?
 

RacerCFIIDave

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People truly misunderstand what Libertarians are all about...having been one since 1982...and as a former member of the LPNC Executive Committee, I feel myself rather well qualified to speak to this...

Basically all Libertarian philosophy comes back to a single point...

"No one...no individual, no group, no corporation and no government has the right to use force first. And no one has the right to delegte a right they do not have to others."

If you agree with this statement...you are a Libertarian...you may have just learned this right now...but that is the truth...

With the exception of the very limited things that are specifically listed in The Constitution...everything Government does is force...that is what it is best at...

George Washington, in his farewell address upon the completion of his second term as President said...

"Government is a force... like fire to be feared and used only when it can be controlled..."

1996 and 2000 Libertarian Presidential Candidate...and someone I counted as a friend before his untimely death of ALS a few years ago... Harry Browne said it best...

"Would you trade the elimination of your favorite Government program for the complete elimination of the Income Tax and the IRS?"

I sure would...


Dave
 

RacerCFIIDave

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BTW...if anyone wants to check out a much better variant of the political quiz...my friend Dr Carl Milstead developed one that I believe is WAY more accurate...

It can be found at: www.quiz2d.com

Dave
 

Mac790

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I couldn't disagree more.

Most of the rules you're told they're "from Europe" are from your government. In fact the European union is throwing overboard regulations at an incredible speed, simply look at aerospace (EASA vs the old regulations) or traffic regulations. Things became so much simpler the last years, because of the EU, daily dozens of pages of regulations are scrapped. Your examples are outdated and the nice thing is that many regulations are discussed beforehand with groups of interest and industries. Thus the EASA and car regulations became much simpler and more fitted to reality. I've dealt a lot with the EU (JSF-project, work, political activities) and they're way more efficient than the Dutch, German or French government...
Auto I wasn't going to reply to that, I'm very busy at the moment, but you forced me to that with your response, I want also underline that this is my LAST post here about UE (better known as a commie state).
UE is a commie state first, have you ever seen biography of the current UE commissars? A lot of them have COMMIES background, not socialist but COMMIES.
Just check out a few of them;
José Manuel Barroso, was one of the leader of the Maoist MRPP (Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers)
Catherine Ashton, was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which was financed by Moscow.
Stefan Füle was a member of Czechoslovak communist party, he studied in Moscow, maybe it doesn't mean anything for you, but I have a member in my family which also studied in Moscow (fortunately there is not blood relations) and believe me only commies were studying there.
Check out also others, I have no time for it.
What about a resolution against commies crimes in Europe, which was proposed by some of MP ( member of parliament), not every body were happy about it, there was no problem when commies proposed a resolution against Nazi crimes, Why? It's funny because commies are responsible for more victims than nazis. Uncle joe my as...

Of course your politicians tell you differently so they don't get the blame for it...
Common Auto I now that first of April is coming, but a few days left.
Just two samples I don't have time for more, first CO2 reduction, do you really want me to believe that, it was my government and only my government idea to reduce CO2 emissions. Just in case I want to say that about 90% of the electricity here is produced from COAL power stations. They want to force us to build some nuclear power stations ( generally idea isn't bad but I don't like the method which they use). Of course it's all about money it seems that French guys will make some money ( they want to sell us their technology).

Our shipyards, in one of them worked one well known person, (mr. Walesa, I believe I don't need to introduce him).
UE commission forbidden my government to help them, they said if my government give any money to shipyards from MY TAXES, they will have to pay big fine, funny story is that is same time other governments German and others, were supporting their falling banks, (similar to what Obama did in th US).
...nice thing is that many regulations are discussed beforehand with groups of interest and industries.
Interest of which groups companies or citizens? It seems that they care more about first.

I've dealt a lot with the EU (JSF-project, work, political activities
And, what is it change?, a friend of mine was one of a key member of political campaign of one politician who became MP, I had a lot of fun about it, I never liked that politician, he represented the right side of the political scene, funny story is that they found some papers on him later, he was cooperating with commies before 1990:gig:
I don't know what is your political preference, but I believe in it "better dead than red".

Just in case if you are wondering why we are in EU, personally I want historical justice, we didn't have Marshall plan after WWII, we were sold and abandon (Yalta, Teheran), despite ours sacrifice during WWII, BOB, Monte Cassino, Tobruk, Falaise pocket,etc.(we had third biggest army in west after, US Army and UK Army) At the moment we are getting more from UE, than we are paying, so it's ok, I tolerate it.

BTW. Didn't they chose UE president in the last months, they want also to create one common foreign policy, I bet they also think about one common UE government. Remember we were first out of Commies State, and we will be first out of UE.


Seb
P.S sorry for my English, but I had last time book with English grammar in my hands about 2 years ago, I don't have time for it, if you don't understand something read it 2-3 times and you should get it. It usually works for me.:gig:
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
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A lot of people who complain about socialism don't really know what it is.
I'm against coercion, but money can be coercion too, and we don't get to vote for the corporations.
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Socialism is when the means of production(business) are owned by the state. The state will say: "the people own the company". Give me a break, do you have any vote in the operation of "your" state owned enterprise? No.
On the other hand, you can vote for your favorite corporation with every dollar you spend. If you don't like a corporation then buy from another. State owned enterprises are monopolies and you have no choice or alternative.
 

Mac790

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Poznan, Poland
Socialism is when the means of production(business) are owned by the state. The state will say: "the people own the company".
You guys have a wrong imagination of real socialism (communism), in socialism everybody is equal (of course only theoretically), for example here during seventies or sixties, (don't remember exactly I was reading about it), during kind of starvation in Russia, commies were taking pigs, cows from our farmers, for example if farmer had 40 pigs, they were taking 20 of them, of course they didn't pay for that, and nobody cares about our farmers, will the survive only with 20 pigs or not, etc. So even if our farmers were working really hard, our shops looked like that. I've heard many stories from my parents.

Seb
 

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autoreply

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Auto I wasn't going to reply to that, I'm very busy at the moment, but you forced me to that with your response, I want also underline that this is my LAST post here about UE (better known as a commie state).
UE is a commie state first, have you ever seen biography of the current UE commissars? A lot of them have COMMIES background, not socialist but COMMIES.
Just check out a few of them;
José Manuel Barroso, was one of the leader of the Maoist MRPP (Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers)
Catherine Ashton, was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which was financed by Moscow.
Stefan Füle was a member of Czechoslovak communist party, he studied in Moscow, maybe it doesn't mean anything for you, but I have a member in my family which also studied in Moscow (fortunately there is not blood relations) and believe me only commies were studying there.
Check out also others, I have no time for it.
What about a resolution against commies crimes in Europe, which was proposed by some of MP ( member of parliament), not every body were happy about it, there was no problem when commies proposed a resolution against Nazi crimes, Why? It's funny because commies are responsible for more victims than nazis. Uncle joe my as...
Well, if you only see what you want to see...
A commie state? If you mean by UE the EU, let's simply have a look at the European commission vice presidents. I count 3 conservative/right people, two socialists and one who's not so clear. If you look at the whole commission you have a close match to the political distribution in the European Parliament. You might not like that, but that's democracy, not communism...
Just two samples I don't have time for more, first CO2 reduction, do you really want me to believe that, it was my government and only my government idea to reduce CO2 emissions. Just in case I want to say that about 90% of the electricity here is produced from COAL power stations. They want to force us to build some nuclear power stations ( generally idea isn't bad but I don't like the method which they use). Of course it's all about money it seems that French guys will make some money ( they want to sell us their technology).
Nonsense. Europe wants to reduce emissions. Whether you like that or not is irrelevant, the majority of the voters want that and thus it happens. Since a reduction in coal power plants can achieve that that's done. If you don't like that, simply step out of the EU and isolate yourself...
Our shipyards, in one of them worked one well known person, (mr. Walesa, I believe I don't need to introduce him).
UE commission forbidden my government to help them, they said if my government give any money to shipyards from MY TAXES, they will have to pay big fine, funny story is that is same time other governments German and others, were supporting their falling banks, (similar to what Obama did in th US).
Yes, so what? Many companies here went bankrupt as well. They should have saved money for better times. Why do you think our shipping yards are still running great?

As for the banks, that's a whole different matter. They were supported because their fall would collapse (a major part of) the whole economy while another bankrupt company has far less catastrophic effects.
Interest of which groups companies or citizens? It seems that they care more about first.
They you're only seeing what you want to see. I've given you the examples, EASA for example. First go look in there before you have nothing but complaints without support..
Just in case if you are wondering why we are in EU, personally I want historical justice, we didn't have Marshall plan after WWII, we were sold and abandon (Yalta, Teheran), despite ours sacrifice during WWII, BOB, Monte Cassino, Tobruk, Falaise pocket,etc.(we had third biggest army in west after, US Army and UK Army) At the moment we are getting more from UE, than we are paying, so it's ok, I tolerate it.
You guys were unlucky to be on the wrong side when the US and Russia raced for Berlin. If you still have communist roots in politics, simply vote for those that weren't "wrong" back then, that's democracy.
BTW. Didn't they chose UE president in the last months, they want also to create one common foreign policy, I bet they also think about one common UE government. Remember we were first out of Commies State, and we will be first out of UE.
That will probably degrade you to a 3rd world country (as it would us). While the EU may have problems and drawbacks the economical benefit is huge and stepping out of the EU would be unwise to say the least.
I still have the opinion that the EU is more efficient at many matters than most local government are. Some level of bureaucracy is unavoidable.
Seb
P.S sorry for my English, but I had last time book with English grammar in my hands about 2 years ago, I don't have time for it, if you don't understand something read it 2-3 times and you should get it. It usually works for me.
Never mind.
If you want to improve your English I suggest "Life of a European Mandarin" by Derk Jan Eppink. He has worked for the European Commission for a long time and gives some interesting looks about how things go over there:
Derk Jan Eppink - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And just note that Bolkestein and Kroes (the two last EC's) weren't doing too bad ;)

Where exactly do you live by the way? I know about 20 of your countryman, but because of our mutual interests we might actually mutually know some people :)
 

lr27

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Dave wrote:
"Would you trade the elimination of your favorite Government program for the complete elimination of the Income Tax and the IRS?"

I certainly would not. I don't like cholera.
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Um, last time I checked the gov't wasn't proposing to employ the docs directly. I get to vote in every election. I have NO CHOICE except, for instance, giving up my computer, when it comes to private monopolies. (I like the other operating systems too, but Solidworks, another emerging monopoly, doesn't run on them.) You could probably argue that some of the countries in Europe are rather socialist, but are you really going to say that Nixon and Ford were? If so, then probably it's fair to call Obama that as well. One person, one vote is a lot fairer than one person, one dollar, one vote vs. one person, one billion dollars, one billion votes. Money is not the measure of virtue or wisdom.

I think it hurts just as much if you get screwed over by corporations as if you get screwed over by the government. Really, you have a choice of government by corporation or government by government. I pick the latter.

I don't see a lot of state owned production here, though of course there's stuff like highways. Even on those, most of the work is contracted out. Plenty of state owned destruction, I suppose.
Socialism is when the means of production(business) are owned by the state. The state will say: "the people own the company". Give me a break, do you have any vote in the operation of "your" state owned enterprise? No.
On the other hand, you can vote for your favorite corporation with every dollar you spend. If you don't like a corporation then buy from another. State owned enterprises are monopolies and you have no choice or alternative.
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"In capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism, it's the other way around."
-a Russian guy I knew
 
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RacerCFIIDave

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Dave wrote:
"Would you trade the elimination of your favorite Government program for the complete elimination of the Income Tax and the IRS?"
I certainly would not. I don't like cholera.
-------------------

There are, of course, non-governmental ways to accomplish the same goal... Why is it that so many think that just because Government has "always" done something...that Government is the best or only way to do it...

Perfect Example: (And one most would think it impossible to argue against... the USDA Food Stamp Program)

The USDA FSP is only 15% EFFICIENT.....that is only 15% of its budget actually goes out the door as Food Stamps to feed poor people...the rest feeds the **** bureaucrats....

Here in Asheville NC we have a charity that feeds the poor...it is 94% efficient... I can give up half as much of my money to them instead of the USDA and feed multitudes more...


You could probably argue that some of the countries in Europe are rather socialist, but are you really going to say that Nixon and Ford were? If so, then probably it's fair to call Obama that as well.

This is assuming there is a difference between the right and left wings of the Demopublican Party...both want to control our lives and steal our money...


Really, you have a choice of government by corporation or government by government. I pick the latter>

If the Government would not build barriers to entry...this would not be a problem...

Health Insurance would not be nearly as expensive if there was not some Government Agency there to say who gets to be an insurance company...then there would be all kinds of competition...kind of like what happened in the telecom business...! We now have 3 smartphones in our house...and our total telecom bill is significantly less than it was for the old single landline and long distance bill was 20 years ago...


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"In capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism, it's the other way around."
-a Russian guy I knew
Until there is actually a truly Free market...the gripes on capitalism are unfounded...

As for Communism...that experiment has already been done...in a very well funded 75 year test...killed 20 Million people... and it still failed miserably...show me any successful Communist State...

(and realize that for China to become what it is now...they are no longer really Commies...just totalitarian scumbags...)

Dave
 

BBerson

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I don't see a lot of state owned production here, though of course there's stuff like highways. Even on those, most of the work is contracted out. Plenty of state owned destruction, I suppose.
The local airport here is socialist. It has the power to tax every county land owner and they do tax us. I pay a property tax for the airport like every other land owner. The airport managers are paid a high salary with benefits about 5 times more than the average income of the local property tax payers.
They tell me I am an airport "owner", this gives me the right to pay tax, I suppose. They get the income.
By the way, if I want to use the airport an additional rate is charged, as an "owner" I still must pay.
No corporation has the power to tax me as this organization does.
 

Mac790

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Poznan, Poland
autoreply said:
You might not like that, but that's democracy, not communism..
There was a one guy, you must heard about him, his name was karl marx, do you remember what he said? If you don't I'll remind you Democracy is a road to socialism., you think that democracy is cool, right? I don't. Democracy is ruled by majority, but the problem is that 80% peoples of each community are like sheep, they vote for people which they see in TV (ask yourself who own TV). There is only one politician which I like and which I trust, unfortunately there is only one interview with him with English subtitles (he's a libertarian).

Nonsense. Europe wants to reduce emissions. Whether you like that or not is irrelevant,
Who actually wants, I don't remember any referendum about CO2 reduction nobody ask me about it (probably it wasn't the best example with CO2 emission, but it shows mechanism, state make decision for their citizen because thinks it' s better for them,and I'm getting tired of it, I had a very funny accident a few weeks ago, those idiots from social insurance lost my papers, they said to me that i wasn't insured for last 3 years and have to pay a fine 2000$ :roll:, of course I was insured, but I think it's my private business, they force us to it, the funniset part is that usually I go to private doctors anyway so I have to pay two times, for ^% social insurance because I MUST , and for private doctors because they are better and I don't need to wait 2-3 weeks ), you probably knows that China is probably the biggest producer of C02, maybe we should invaded them? The funny story is that probably in one week they produce more CO2 than entire UE in one year.
Yes, so what? Many companies here went bankrupt as well
You didn't get what I said, the problem is that my government couldn't help them, because UE commission forbid it. So in short UE telling my government what they can do and what they can't.
They should have saved money for better times. Why do you think our shipping yards are still running great?
You don't get it, they bankrupt because they were victim of communism.
I'll try to introduce it to you on a small sample, check out pics 1,2,3. On the picture 1 there is a tram which was designed about 40 years ago, on the picture 2 there a current version of same tram, after 40 years (of intensive work:gig:) they made just few composites parts, on the pic3 is a new tram build by new company. This new company was established by a guy who during communism lived in Western Germany (he's a Pole, he produce also great buses. which drive in many European cities, in Germany, Greece, etc). The funny story that those two companies are in my city, in both of them work engineers after same UNI (same UNI I'm in). And you know what that first company will bankrupt soon (the second company just won deal for 40 new trams they'll make millions), why? because they are also victim of communism, they don't understand economy, if you want sell product, it must be better or cheaper (or both) than existing ones. Those guys in the first company don't understand it, most of them were risen in communism (they are mentally still in communism, during communism you could sell everything good products and **** products) . For same reason our shipyard bankrupted, you can't change people mentality, entire generation is lost, it's really sad.

That will probably degrade you to a 3rd world country (as it would us). While the EU may have problems and drawbacks the economical benefit is huge and stepping out of the EU would be unwise to say the least.
Not necessary, if we step out now, maybe, but if we wait 10-20 years I don't think so, check out Switzerland, Norway, (of course there is a difference between us and them, we did a big step during those 20 years, and i think we going in right direction, wasn't my country only one UE country in 2009 with positive grow, all others were in recession ?) keep also in mind that in the next 30-40 years some of European countries might became an Islamic Republics.
There is a book The Next 100 Years by George Friedman, with some potential hypothetic scenario, kind of science fiction, but maybe I get one, it will be an occasion to improve my English abilities also. Amazon.com: The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (9780385517058): George Friedman: Books, there are also some interviews with that guy about his book on youtube, just write Next 100 years.

I still have the opinion that the EU is more efficient at many matters than most local government are.
That's probably a difference between us, I'm not a nationalist but I'm a patriot (that's why I really like guys in US, you can see USA banner on their planes, cars etc, they are really proud of it) I prefer to have not perfect own government, than "perfect" foreign. We had one in Moscow for 40 years, we don't want new one, that's probably a difference between us.
Where exactly do you live by the way? I know about 20 of your countryman, but because of our mutual interests we might actually mutually know some people
Poznan about 150km from German border, I propose also to finish this discussion, before Orion or other moderator lose patience, it's completely unrelated to this forum, maybe we can speak about it one day, I have a big family in Aachen, maybe I could visit you , when I go there next time.

Seb;)
 

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Inverted Vantage

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Until there is actually a truly Free market...the gripes on capitalism are unfounded...
There was. Try the US circa turn of the century. Ever read "The Jungle"? Worker abuses, child labor, horrific working conditions, tainted food, the works. That's what happens when you completely get rid of regulation and make a market truly "free" - with no punishment for slipshod service, then everyone will try to do things the cheapest and easiest way possible. Oh, you might say that those people would go out of business then because someone would bring a better product; not true. Why improve if you can just make it cheaper? And why bother improving if everyone else can make it twice as bad but twice as cheap?
 

lr27

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Someone wrote:
"If the Government would not build barriers to entry...this would not be a problem..."
That's rather naive, I'm afraid. The first guy to get established can sometimes afford to keep everyone else out. One way is that he's got more money and can lower prices temporarily until the other guys go bust, then raise again. Plus there are natural monopolies for things like utility networks and operating systems. What do you think happens to all the local retail stores when Walmart moves in? Most of us would probably not have a choice of internet service if not for government regulations.
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There are places to the left of raw capitalism which are not yet Communism. Communism as originally proposed by Marx is just as nice as the Capitalism promoted by libertarians. Both are about equally possible, IMHO. Is there a place more capitalist than, say, Somalia? The real world is a complicated place. If you say that capitalism has not yet been tried, the same argument can be made about Communism.
 

autoreply

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You didn't get what I said, the problem is that my government couldn't help them, because UE commission forbid it. So in short UE telling my government what they can do and what they can't.
That's the bottomline in this discussion. You don't like the EU. Most of your countryman do however and they have good reasons to, notably the dozens of billions of euro's that go your way. According to several articles 75% of the Polish supported the Polish membership of the EU. Hence, that's democracy ;)

Not necessary, if we step out now, maybe, but if we wait 10-20 years I don't think so, check out Switzerland, Norway, (of course there is a difference between us and them.
Norway is facing serious financial problems in the future and Switzerland is approaching the EU very quickly because they were seriously hurt by not being in the EU. (Schengen, all kind of international and financial treaties and so on)
Poznan about 150km from German border [...] maybe we can speak about it one day, I have a big family in Aachen, maybe I could visit you , when I go there next time.
You're more than welcome to come by, as are the other people in this discussion ;)

As for the above remarks about everything left of capitalism being communism, I completely agree. If you're looking at the whole package (highest quality of life) in the slightly more social (Northen) European countries that's the highest in the world. While I agree that some more liberty over here would be great, you have to look at all aspects. We have one of the highest levels of healthcare in the world (and pay only half of what's paid in the US, for everybody), nobody is forgotten, whether unemployed or handicapped, education is there for everybody and we're a safe, stable country. But of course it could always be better ;-)

Some of you might also like this picture:
 
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