After Gamestonk will hedge funds now threaten U.S. solvency itself?

Silvanus

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They are willing to do the labor for less there. That is it. That is how it isn't exploitation. Employees have agency, and have decided making TVs is worth that pay. As it turns out, poor people arent soulless robots after all.
Turns out, economic desperation and a dearth of good alternatives will drive people to accept inferior terms of employment. They have agency and choice, yes-- within a severely limited set of options, and with intense pressure to go for one under threat of destitution. Hardly a free or fair choice.

I'd make a comparison with the family of a kidnapping victim, handed a ransom by the kidnapper. They have agency, because they have the choice to pay or not to pay! They're willing to pay! So it's hardly exploitation to put them in that situation, then, is it!?

Or, y'know, maybe context actually matters.
 

Seanchaidh

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Turns out, economic desperation and a dearth of good alternatives will drive people to accept inferior terms of employment. They have agency and choice, yes-- within a severely limited set of options, and with intense pressure to go for one under threat of destitution. Hardly a free or fair choice.

I'd make a comparison with the family of a kidnapping victim, handed a ransom by the kidnapper. They have agency, because they have the choice to pay or not to pay! They're willing to pay! So it's hardly exploitation to put them in that situation, then, is it!?

Or, y'know, maybe context actually matters.
It is of course weird how people who have choice and agency have in many cases used that agency to, instead of accepting whatever conditions of life they could find in a capitalist system, overthrow it and institute something better even whilst enduring the enmity of and sabotage by the United States and other capitalist powers. If people are driven to revolutionary fervor, it suggests that whatever 'freedom' they enjoy is severely compromised.

They are willing to do the labor for less there. That is it. That is how it isn't exploitation. Employees have agency, and have decided making TVs is worth that pay. As it turns out, poor people arent soulless robots after all.
Would you consider yourself 'free' if I kidnapped you and took you to North Korea and told you that either you can pay me a hundred thousand dollars or stay there? I'm guessing you'd say no. Just a hunch.

What if I said you could also choose to live and work in Vietnam, Venezuela, China, Laos, Cuba, or the Donetsk People's Republic, but choosing anywhere else would still mean paying me a hundred thousand dollars? Would that make you 'free'? Has this suddenly become a 'free choice'?

Capitalism offers workers a choice of masters or miserable destitution. It is no more 'free' than the choice I gave you above.
 
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Generals

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Better results depending on who you're looking at, of course. A poorer person needing major surgery is in better hands in Cuba than in a lot of the USA.
Sure but in the USA a teacher doesn't need to prostitute herself to take care of her family.
This said, there is a reason why I didn't mention the USA. I believe it's a Capitalist system that still needs a whole lot of work before becoming a "relative success"- story. It has a bit too much "Liberalism" and too little "Social".


"Held", and derived a great deal of wealth from them whilst they were held, giving these countries a financially comfortable starting position moving into modern capitalism. A solid foundation and a head start.
That would be an oversimplification of what helped Capitalism to become a "relative success". Northern European countries like Sweden, Norway and Switzerland weren't particularily known as colonial powers. Yet they are now examples of the less bad capitalist systems. Spain and Portugal once were great colonial powers and are now part of the "poorer south". We could also discuss how regions which were once rich industrial power houses are now poor areas with high unemployment. It's not just as simple as saying "Yes but colonies!".
We could also bring in factors which held these countries back: all the costly European wars, world wars, etc.



Hard disagree.
I am confused, I thought you were against the scale and not the principle ?


For the majority of the history of our species, we've lived in hunter-gatherer societies, or under local warlords, petty kings, and corrupt militaristic empires. That's not a high bar, and a system doesn't get accolades for accomplishing a better standard of living than the abject misery of feudalism.

And plenty of people cannot afford food, shelter, medicine etc. I walk past numerous homeless people on the way to work. If a society allows some to hold more money than they could ever spend, even if they spent £100,000 an hour, while other people cannot afford the absolute basic of sustenance and shelter, then I don't think you can call that a functioning system in any moral sense of the word.
I never said the bar human history has set is "high". But doing better than it has ever been is an accomplishment nonetheless. If someone has always lived in abject misery and suddenly becomes "poor" as Europeans have defined it I would say that person can consider that as a great victory.

I didn't mention the UK for a very good reason. As it is kind of that Euro-America hybrid in Economic/welfare policies and I do not have great esteem for the American system which provides little help for the less fortunate and where people can go bankrupt on healthcare costs.

This said the homeless problem is a very tricky one in nations where it shouldn't exist. It is unfortunately often caused by very poor personal choices the state cannot (easily) interfere with. When you have universal healthcare, social housing, minimum living wages/ad vitam unemployment benefits and all sorts of other aid out there like in Belgium you need to be doing something very wrong to end up on the streets. And in many cases they do.
It has opened my eyes when an investigative reporter once decided to make an experiment during which he would pick homeless people based on the chances they could have to make it back into the system (based on their life story, their motivation, etc.) and see if they could make it if they were given a great boost. What was this boost? 10 000€ and free access to a social worker, psychologist and financial adviser.
The 10 000€ is enough so they could find a place to live and become resident (this would instantly allow them to apply for welfare support as you indeed need to have an address) and they have 3 persons with relevant skills they can contact at any time they want for human support. That's the kind of support even a great welfare state is unlikely to ever give. None of them made it back into the system. Even with a positive selection bias the experiment was a total failure to the great surprise of the reporter. Sometimes you need to accept that some people end up in misery due to their own and the system cannot help them.
Now I am not saying there is nothing the system can do to prevent people to fall that deep. But it is a very complex issue which often involves a whole lot of personal and psychological issues that a system alone cannot address.

This last paragraph is only to be considered for countries with generous welfare system. Obviously people living in their car in LA despite having a job because housing is just too expensive is a totally different issue which can be solved by the system.
 

Silvanus

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Sure but in the USA a teacher doesn't need to prostitute herself to take care of her family.
This said, there is a reason why I didn't mention the USA. I believe it's a Capitalist system that still needs a whole lot of work before becoming a "relative success"- story. It has a bit too much "Liberalism" and too little "Social".
Actually, a lot of lower income people in the US are indeed forced to turn to sex work by economic hardship.



That would be an oversimplification of what helped Capitalism to become a "relative success". Northern European countries like Sweden, Norway and Switzerland weren't particularily known as colonial powers. Yet they are now examples of the less bad capitalist systems. Spain and Portugal once were great colonial powers and are now part of the "poorer south". We could also discuss how regions which were once rich industrial power houses are now poor areas with high unemployment. It's not just as simple as saying "Yes but colonies!".
We could also bring in factors which held these countries back: all the costly European wars, world wars, etc.
Obviously, I wasn't saying that was the end of the question. There's a lot more to it. But throughout the last several hundred years, Europe has generally been in a stronger financial and geopolitical situation than have South America, Africa, and most of Asia. This isn't seriously debatable. Vast swathes of these (including socialist South and Central America, and "communist" Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba) have only themselves experienced independence and self-determination in the last century. This kind of thing hampers a nation's development.

I am confused, I thought you were against the scale and not the principle ?
?

No. I'm against the principle, though the scale exacerbates it greatly.


This said the homeless problem is a very tricky one in nations where it shouldn't exist. It is unfortunately often caused by very poor personal choices the state cannot (easily) interfere with. When you have universal healthcare, social housing, minimum living wages/ad vitam unemployment benefits and all sorts of other aid out there like in Belgium you need to be doing something very wrong to end up on the streets. And in many cases they do.
It has opened my eyes when an investigative reporter once decided to make an experiment during which he would pick homeless people based on the chances they could have to make it back into the system (based on their life story, their motivation, etc.) and see if they could make it if they were given a great boost. What was this boost? 10 000€ and free access to a social worker, psychologist and financial adviser.
The 10 000€ is enough so they could find a place to live and become resident (this would instantly allow them to apply for welfare support as you indeed need to have an address) and they have 3 persons with relevant skills they can contact at any time they want for human support. That's the kind of support even a great welfare state is unlikely to ever give. None of them made it back into the system. Even with a positive selection bias the experiment was a total failure to the great surprise of the reporter. Sometimes you need to accept that some people end up in misery due to their own and the system cannot help them.
Now I am not saying there is nothing the system can do to prevent people to fall that deep. But it is a very complex issue which often involves a whole lot of personal and psychological issues that a system alone cannot address.

This last paragraph is only to be considered for countries with generous welfare system. Obviously people living in their car in LA despite having a job because housing is just too expensive is a totally different issue which can be solved by the system.
This ignores the systemic prejudices within any given employment/ welfare system. A welfare system may be generous on paper, but research into the implementation of the UK welfare system have shown that advisors were heavily incentivised to find reasons to refuse applicants if they could. Then we have the issues of addiction (higher in lower income demographics, resulting from lack of support or opportunity) and outright disownment (there's a reason LGBT youth are far, far more likely to be homeless). Then we have temporary homelessness, owing to a precarious renting market and unstable, unpredictable contracts (like the growth in zero hour contracts here in the UK, providing employment one cannot rely on more than a week in advance.

This problem cannot be explained away through personal choices. It is systemic.
 

Seanchaidh

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Actually, a lot of lower income people in the US are indeed forced to turn to sex work by economic hardship.
When it is teachers specifically that do this, and it is discovered, they are generally as a matter of course fired from their teaching job. So to the extent that it happens it is kept secret or the arrangement shortly ends. In some particularly libertine districts with particularly tame edge cases, there may be some deviation from this tendency. Some.

Where is the outcry over this cancel culture?
 

tstorm823

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Amazon is worth a lot because what its workers produce sells for a lot more than what it pays its workers
No, it isn't. Again, Amazon does not profit. In what sense can you say employees are getting fair pay compared to owners where the owners get literally none of the revenue?
Ahh, yes, the good ol' "you can choose between poverty and exploitation, but it's your choice" argument.
Dumbest take I've seen in a long time. Good job.
Turns out, economic desperation and a dearth of good alternatives will drive people to accept inferior terms of employment. They have agency and choice, yes-- within a severely limited set of options, and with intense pressure to go for one under threat of destitution. Hardly a free or fair choice.

I'd make a comparison with the family of a kidnapping victim, handed a ransom by the kidnapper. They have agency, because they have the choice to pay or not to pay! They're willing to pay! So it's hardly exploitation to put them in that situation, then, is it!?

Or, y'know, maybe context actually matters.
Would you consider yourself 'free' if I kidnapped you and took you to North Korea and told you that either you can pay me a hundred thousand dollars or stay there? I'm guessing you'd say no. Just a hunch.

What if I said you could also choose to live and work in Vietnam, Venezuela, China, Laos, Cuba, or the Donetsk People's Republic, but choosing anywhere else would still mean paying me a hundred thousand dollars? Would that make you 'free'? Has this suddenly become a 'free choice'?

Capitalism offers workers a choice of masters or miserable destitution. It is no more 'free' than the choice I gave you above.
Oh look! Actual racism! As it turns out, living in Mexico is functionally equivalent to drowning or being kidnapped by North Korea. Good job, people.
 

Gethsemani

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Oh look! Actual racism! As it turns out, living in Mexico is functionally equivalent to drowning or being kidnapped by North Korea. Good job, people.
Did you warm up prior to the mental gymnastics you did to miss the point of those replies or are you just that good at willfully misunderstanding?
 

Seanchaidh

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No, it isn't. Again, Amazon does not profit.
Of course it does. It just doesn't send it to dividends or savings.

If I:

pay 1 person to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 2 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 4 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 8 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 16 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 32 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
and so on for 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768, 65536, 131072, 262144, 524288, and 1048576

Then:

I'm profiting. Even without dividends. Even without savings. It's called growth.

Note: this is an abstraction that is not meant to precisely describe what is going on in a particular example in the real world but rather the principle of what is going on in that example.

In what sense can you say employees are getting fair pay compared to owners where the owners get literally none of the revenue?
If I:
pay 1048576 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs, and then simply
pay 1048576 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs again, I am up

1048576 times my last round of labor costs. Because I stopped growing. This isn't where profit suddenly happened. It was profit the whole time, just distributed in a way that isn't strictly regarded as an accounting profit.

Oh look! Actual racism! As it turns out, living in Mexico is functionally equivalent to drowning or being kidnapped by North Korea. Good job, people.
 
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tstorm823

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Of course it does. It just doesn't send it to dividends or savings.

If I:

pay 1 person to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 2 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 4 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 8 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 16 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
pay 32 people to make something and sell it for twice as much as I paid for the inputs and then
and so on for 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768, 65536, 131072, 262144, 524288, and 1048576
So a business having more employees is stealing from existing employees? Fascinating logic.
 

Seanchaidh

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So a business having more employees is stealing from existing employees? Fascinating logic.
Your ability to willfully avoid understanding a point is impressive if not fascinating.

When I use my bargaining power and people's need for a job, any job, to get them to accept a deal in which I pay them half of what they produce for me in revenue, that's exploitation. Measurable exploitation. And it's going on in the example above. Just like a lord who demands half of the crop from the serf. It doesn't suddenly become not exploitative if the lord uses the crop to for example pay an army and then conquer the next county over rather than keeping it in a silo or selling it and storing the proceeds in a treasury.
 

tstorm823

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Your ability to willfully avoid understanding a point is impressive if not fascinating.

When I use my bargaining power and people's need for a job, any job, to get them to accept a deal in which I pay them half of what they produce for me in revenue, that's exploitation. Measurable exploitation. And it's going on in the example above. Just like a lord who demands half of the crop from the serf. It doesn't suddenly become not exploitative if the lord uses the crop to for example pay an army and then conquer the next county over rather than keeping it in a silo or selling it and storing the proceeds in a treasury.
Even an overcompensated worker is going to be paid dramatically less than half the revenue tied to them, because labor is only a fraction of the costs of business.
 

Seanchaidh

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Even an overcompensated worker is going to be paid dramatically less than half the revenue tied to them, because labor is only a fraction of the costs of business.
And when I speak of the revenue created by labor, I'm speaking specifically of the value added by labor, which is to say revenue minus the cost of other inputs.
 

Generals

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There are many ways to deal with this. In the broadest terms, the company can negotiate extra compensation with the particular worker who put in that extra initial effort.
Do you really believe such a system could actually work? I feel that this would effectively kill opportunity driven entrepreneurship. And not just because of the profit motive but because a recurring motivation to become an entrepreneur is to become your own boss, building up your own business and so on. It's almost like a child for a lot of them (at least in the early/middle stages). Basically telling them that once they have 2 employees they become minority owners seems like total no-go.
(Because unless I am mistaken I suppose that "employees" replace "shareholders" in your system and they all get equal votes?)
 

Seanchaidh

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Do you really believe such a system could actually work? I feel that this would effectively kill opportunity driven entrepreneurship. And not just because of the profit motive but because a recurring motivation to become an entrepreneur is to become your own boss, building up your own business and so on. It's almost like a child for a lot of them (at least in the early/middle stages). Basically telling them that once they have 2 employees they become minority owners seems like total no-go.
(Because unless I am mistaken I suppose that "employees" replace "shareholders" in your system and they all get equal votes?)
If the Soviet Union of all places can land a grenade full of tacky flags onto the moon before anyone else, I don't see how any of the problems you raise are either significant or insuperable.

But to be less crass, what I'm describing fulfills that same motivation for more people, just without being the boss of someone else too.
 

Silvanus

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When it is teachers specifically that do this, and it is discovered, they are generally as a matter of course fired from their teaching job. So to the extent that it happens it is kept secret or the arrangement shortly ends. In some particularly libertine districts with particularly tame edge cases, there may be some deviation from this tendency. Some.
So the economic situation that necessitates such a chain of events still happens in the USA... but the USA just responds with punitive measures taken against the victims of financial hardship.

Yeah, that isn't sounding any better.
 
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Silvanus

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Oh look! Actual racism! As it turns out, living in Mexico is functionally equivalent to drowning or being kidnapped by North Korea. Good job, people.
Recognising that someone is exploited is apparently insulting to the victim, so we should therefore pretend they're not being exploited and just let the exploitation continue.

I'll have to remember that one. But you have to try harder.
 
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Agema

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If the Soviet Union of all places can land a grenade full of tacky flags onto the moon before anyone else, I don't see how any of the problems you raise are either significant or insuperable.
One might argue the Soviet Union landed a grenade of tacky flags onto the moon by directing resources at it which might have been better employed elsewhere. Society at large is a million projects running at the same time: that ten of them ran successfully is not necessarily a marker of great capability and competence.

Do you really believe such a system could actually work? I feel that this would effectively kill opportunity driven entrepreneurship. And not just because of the profit motive but because a recurring motivation to become an entrepreneur is to become your own boss, building up your own business and so on. It's almost like a child for a lot of them (at least in the early/middle stages). Basically telling them that once they have 2 employees they become minority owners seems like total no-go.
(Because unless I am mistaken I suppose that "employees" replace "shareholders" in your system and they all get equal votes?)
Let's imagine a company with 100,000 employees that makes $10 billion profit a year - not unrealistic for a large multinational. $10 billion / 100,000 is $100,000.

If merely half the profit were instead directed to workers, they would each get an average $50,000 a year extra. If merely 10% of the profits went to workers, they'd all take home another $10,000 a year. This would make a vast difference to many workers: I doubt losing that 10% would severely impair entrepreneurs and investors.

Of course, it would suck to work at Walmart, which has revenues around $10 billion with 2 million workers. But then, even $500 a year is a nice enough bonus.
 
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CaitSeith

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Recognising that someone is exploited is apparently insulting to the victim, so we should therefore pretend they're not being exploited and just let the exploitation continue.

I'll have to remember that one. But you have to try harder.
Not to mention, if Mexicans were ok with being exploited, there wouldn't be no illegal mexican immigrants. The fact is most mexican immigrants go to America in search of better life conditions, less corruption and better wages. Maybe one day @tstorm823 will acknowledge that basic fact.
 
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tstorm823

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Recognising that someone is exploited is apparently insulting to the victim, so we should therefore pretend they're not being exploited and just let the exploitation continue.
No, believing a nationality of people lack personal agency is insulting. And your alternative to "just let the exploitation continue" is no more US companies manufacturing in Mexico at all.
 

Silvanus

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No, believing a nationality of people lack personal agency is insulting. And your alternative to "just let the exploitation continue" is no more US companies manufacturing in Mexico at all.
The position you've ascribed to me & others is entirely fabricated, and your assumption of the solution is just ridiculous.

I remember a time when you did apply at least a modicum of respect to the people you debated with, here; it's now been replaced by wholesale batshittery.