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FSP -- General Discussion => Prospective Participants => Topic started by: penguinsscareme on January 23, 2004, 11:16:46 am

Title: Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on January 23, 2004, 11:16:46 am
Hi.
I'm a new member.  I've got one very real concern about this project, and it isn't being able to get 20k people, and it isn't getting all those individuals to agree on a collective will.
I'm wondering, if we succeed at achieving ultimate liberty in our lifetime, what will prevent us from having a whole state that resembles the filth and chaos of Mexico City?
Mexico has a weak government.  We know this.  What will we do to provide ourselves a government weak enough but not too weak?
I hope all FSP members realize and appreciate what a difficult freedom is to keep.  Freedom tends to either descend into anarchy, as in Mexico, or organize into socialism, such as in Canada.
The town where I grew up was an agricultural land many years ago.  The town has almost no local government to speak of.  This used to be a good thing, when I was a kid.  But in the past fifteen years real estate values have climbed sharply in the area.  The municipal government is still almost nonexistent, yet there is significantly less freedom in my hometown, and a whole lot less of what I loved about it remains intact.
There was a swimming hole where all us kids used to be "free" to go whenever we wanted.  Now it belongs to someone who has posted no tresspassing signs and enforces them with dogs.  As opposed as I am to big government, I can't help but regret that the town didn't preserve that swimming hole.
Let's not fool ourselves:  but for government restrictions, the giant sequoias of the west would be extinct.  The oceans would be fished empty.  The whales would be no more.  Witness the teeming buffalo herds of the plains states.  No private interest is going to protect our natural resources from capitalist exploitation.
I hate Greenpeace, let me be clear.  That's not my intent here.  I'm just bringing up what I think is an important issue.  I want to take the FSP's temperature on the ideas of zoning laws, building codes, state parks, beaches, forests.
New Hampshire has a lot of historical and natural beauty.  A lot of it has already been spoiled.  Are we going to destroy the rest?
The larger question -- can human freedom and unspoiled nature coexist?
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: FTL_Ian on January 23, 2004, 02:05:54 pm
Penguins,

     I suggest you read Mary Ruwart's book "Healing our World".  It's available free on her website: http://ruwart.com
     In it, she explains how the free market actually PROTECTS endangered species.  In their quest for profits, companies breed these animals.  Why would they want to exhaust supplies?  That would simply place them out of business.
     In fact, animals that are going extinct, are doing so because of government regulations barring their ownership and sale.
     Get all the details at http://ruwart.com

Regards,
Ian
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on January 23, 2004, 03:11:40 pm
I admit I have not read Healing Our World, but I am familiar with it.  There certainly are cases where private enterprise is the best thing that can happen to the environment.  Human stewardship at its best can greatly edify both nature and man.
But need I cite the example of the South American rainforests?  How has private enterprise worked out for the Amazon river basin?
In the fifties and sixties, the Mexican government recognized the infrastructure needs of a rapidly growing city and drafted plans, a la Big Dig, to modernize the city's arteries.  But lacking the power to execute such grand plans, the land which should have been set apart for freeways was bought by private land developers.  They didn't build a privately funded toll road; they built highrise apartments because it was a more profitable use of the land.  Today Mexico City is in a state of perpetual gridlock.
I'm not saying capitalism is to blame, or that free enterprise is evil.  Hell, I invest in real estate for a living.  Free market economy has been good to me.
The problem with a weak government is that it creates a power vacuum.  A controlling interest will always arise, and if it isn't the government it will be religion or a corporation.  In the twentieth century the government took more and more of that controlling interest.  But the government didn't create that role.  At the height of the Industrial Revolution throngs of people lived in company housing, ate company food, shopped at the company store, worked in the company mill -- "Ya load sixteen tons/whaddaya get..."  In medieval Europe the word it was spelled c-h-u-r-c-h.  There has always been something to fill that role.  The government is not evil.  Nor is private enterprise, nor is religion.  Only when they step into that role of controlling interest do they become ominous.
What makes the United States so unique is that for one brief, shining moment, that controlling interest resided with the PEOPLE -- the only place where it should ever be.
It's too easy to blame Abraham Lincoln for creating the Federal Government Monster.  The issues that caused the Civil War were largely forced by the Industrial Revolution.  Lincoln definitely did overstep the limits of the power granted him in the Constitution.  You can agree or disagree with what he did.  But understand that if he stays within those bounds then today we would have the United States of New England, the Confederate States of America, the Independent Republic of Texas, etc., etc.  In other words, we'd be Europe.
I went a long way off from my point, which is that I'd like to see all those quaint farms and back country roads in NH that I love so much not be turned into trailer parks and restaurant chains.  Can the FSP preserve both liberty and culture?
I refer back to my contention that liberty is a very difficult thing to keep.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on January 23, 2004, 04:15:32 pm
I admit I have not read Healing Our World, but I am familiar with it.  There certainly are cases where private enterprise is the best thing that can happen to the environment.  Human stewardship at its best can greatly edify both nature and man.
But need I cite the example of the South American rainforests?  How has private enterprise worked out for the Amazon river basin?

Private enterprise mostly hasn't been used. Collectivist indians have not made any land claims, have not asserted any political rights. Government bureaucrats sell off tracts of land without review and without recourse, to whoever bribes them the most.

Brazil and Mexico are two examples the left always bring up, when they are confusing examples. These two are examples of MERCANTILISM. Anybody who knows anything about economics knows this.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on January 23, 2004, 06:10:13 pm
It's true, I don't know anything about economics.
So, are you saying my concern is unfounded?  That a private interest won't be able to run counter to the public will or interest?
Look, does anyone else fear that if we play it wrong we can create a whole lot of problems and actually do more harm than good?
I totally agree that the government needs to play way less of a role.  I'm trying to point out, however, that if we create an absence of power then something is going to fill that absence.  That something needs to be the public interest.  And we need to talk about how to make that happen because it doesn't happen naturally.  It's too easy for the controlling interest to fall into the hands of the Fed, or a Rockefeller, or the bloody Church of England for cryin' out loud.
We want to effect a great change, and if we do that then we're going to have to take responsibility for it.  I don't want to find myself living in a NH twenty years from now where billboards outnumber pine trees and Hampton Beach in its entirety has been bought by an adult resort and turned into a place where I can't take my family.
So I ask again -- is the FSP going to destroy what it sets out to save?
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 24, 2004, 01:03:01 pm
So, are you saying my concern is unfounded?  That a private interest won't be able to run counter to the public will or interest?

I think what people here are trying to say is that there are only a very few aspects of the public interest that we can trust the state to ensure.  The state does a pretty good job of "killing people and breaking things" (a Limbaugh quote, one of the few sensible things he's said), but not of safeguarding morals or aesthetic taste.  If people are as ignorant or debased as you and I might fear, so that they want billboards to outnumber trees, how can we trust them to elect politicians who will make it all right?  If we're really surrounded by people like that, our only choice is to get all the sane, sensible to move to a single place and build a strong culture there through education and financial leverage, rather than regulations and red tape.

That's one of the less visible, but no less real aspects of the FSP: not just political liberalization, but cultural fortification.  But the more abstract point is that if you think people will go nuts without government to rein them in, then history shows that those same people will go much more nuts when they have control of government.  Hitler might have been a nasty individual, but it was only his control of a powerful state apparatus that allowed him to impose his nastiness on everyone.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on January 25, 2004, 08:34:31 am
Thanks, Jason, your reply makes a lot of sense to me, and I'm relieved to know that the FSP acknowledges that cultural fortification must take place with political liberalization.
A lot of the discussion I read on this message board reminds me of the dog who finally catches the car.  As a new member I guess I just need to do more listening; I only spoke up because I perceived a lack of concensus about what freedom means.  All social and political movements sound like the best thing ever in theory; but as with ideas from the French Revolution to Johnson's Great Society, success can be disastrous.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: FreeStateVol on January 25, 2004, 07:31:11 pm
  You brought up the example of the near extinction of the buffalo.  Actually, the extermination of the buffalo was prompted by the federal governments desire to deprive the Plains Indians of their main food source, thereby forcing them onto the reservations (if I am not mistaken).  In any case, it was private organization that initiated the movement to save the buffalo and deserves the real credit for pulling them back from the brink.  I can't remember the exact details of this story, can someone help fill in the details?
Nicholas Roland
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on January 25, 2004, 09:48:30 pm
  You brought up the example of the near extinction of the buffalo.  Actually, the extermination of the buffalo was prompted by the federal governments desire to deprive the Plains Indians of their main food source, thereby forcing them onto the reservations (if I am not mistaken).


Our government did that?  Dude.  That's just wrong.  Wow.  I guess I was mistaken about that.  I thought it was a trade thing -- but I learned that bit of history from the movie Dances with Wolves.  Serves me right for letting Hollywood educate me.
Anyway, don't miss the forest for the trees.  By undertaking this we set a very high standard for ourselves.  Fact is if we are intent on removing all government controls from private land developers and commercial enterprises, then we must be extremely diligent about protecting the state's wildlife and land through private grassroots citizens' groups.  Which, I guess, is what the FSP is...(lightbulb).

(...hamster runs in the wheel...)

So I guess that's the whole idea you people have been patiently trying to reveal to me.
Ah.
Okay then.  This has been both humbling and enlightening.
See you in NH.  I'll be the one mumbling to himself on the beach.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on January 25, 2004, 11:58:42 pm
if only the task ahead were so easy...
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on January 26, 2004, 10:56:59 am
 You brought up the example of the near extinction of the buffalo.  Actually, the extermination of the buffalo was prompted by the federal governments desire to deprive the Plains Indians of their main food source, thereby forcing them onto the reservations (if I am not mistaken).  In any case, it was private organization that initiated the movement to save the buffalo and deserves the real credit for pulling them back from the brink.  I can't remember the exact details of this story, can someone help fill in the details?
Nicholas Roland

Yes, I can. A fellow from Newport, NH by the name of Corbin, a lawyer, who made a fortune in banking, then developed Coney Island, NY and owned the Long Island Railroad and the Reading Railroad in the late 1800's. He then bought up a large tract of land covering parts of Croydon, Newport, Grantham, and Plainfield, NH which he fenced off into his own hunting preserve stocked with deer, antelope, moose, bison, boar, among other species. Corbin Park is the largest hunting preserve in the US and was the source of all of the American Bison lines used to restock the rest of the US in the 20th century.

So, the first rescue of an endangered species was caused by a man who was a lawyer, a banker, a real estate developer, a railroad man, and a hunter: all evil things to be according to todays alleged environmentalists.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: RhythmStar on January 26, 2004, 12:14:26 pm
 You brought up the example of the near extinction of the buffalo.  Actually, the extermination of the buffalo was prompted by the federal governments desire to deprive the Plains Indians of their main food source, thereby forcing them onto the reservations (if I am not mistaken).  In any case, it was private organization that initiated the movement to save the buffalo and deserves the real credit for pulling them back from the brink.  I can't remember the exact details of this story, can someone help fill in the details?
Nicholas Roland

Yes, I can. A fellow from Newport, NH by the name of Corbin, a lawyer, who made a fortune in banking, then developed Coney Island, NY and owned the Long Island Railroad and the Reading Railroad in the late 1800's. He then bought up a large tract of land covering parts of Croydon, Newport, Grantham, and Plainfield, NH which he fenced off into his own hunting preserve stocked with deer, antelope, moose, bison, boar, among other species. Corbin Park is the largest hunting preserve in the US and was the source of all of the American Bison lines used to restock the rest of the US in the 20th century.

So, the first rescue of an endangered species was caused by a man who was a lawyer, a banker, a real estate developer, a railroad man, and a hunter: all evil things to be according to todays alleged environmentalists.

ALLEGED environmentalists.  :)

RS
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: thrivetacobell on February 01, 2004, 11:14:04 am
Further explanation on the governments responsibility in the slaughter of buffalo (from my last weeks history notes). The U.S. government placed indians on reservations to get them out of the way in its haste in fulfilling westward expansion. Once on the resevations, government sought to alleviate the threat these indians posed through making them dependant, this done through supplying some food and financial assistance. The 'help' offered was far from adequate, on top of the fact that the indians were a nomadic people, used to following the buffalo as they moved over the land. Before long the boundaries of these reservations were being ignored, threatining expansion. The government responded to this by deciding to eliminate the indians greatest source of sustenance, the buffalo, and in so doing leave the indians completely dependant on the government for their survival as 'wards of the state'.
   It seems very like what is going on today, though government has dropped the stick and now offers carrots in the form of health care, tax breaks, education and innumerable other 'favors'.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 02, 2004, 09:29:30 am
Yeah, it's like a narcotic -- a very addictive one, too.  I acknowledge that you have a point about the buffalo.  But just two nights ago I watched something on the science channel about Yellowstone National Park -- federally owned land.  It was in this refuge that the last remaining wild herd of bison took shelter from the unrestricted private parties who slaughtered these animals to the brink of extinction for their hides and left the carcasses rotting on the plain.  It was also government initiative that started propogating from this herd and reintroducing them.
Once again, I am not by any means an apologist for big government.  But I am almost as wary of total lassiez-faire capitalism as I am of an Orwellian Big Brother-type government presence a la 1984.  One's no better than the other, and either unchecked is just "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
If you look to modern-day southeast Asia, or the northeastern US of the latter 19th century and pre-Teddy Roosevelt 20th century you will see what I am afraid of.  Having grown up in eastern Massachusetts, I am familiar with the stories of the old mill towns like Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester, Fall River, etc., etc. where children were chained to their machines for fourteen hours a day, people routinely died by the score in factory fires, digits and limbs were severed daily by industrial machines with no guards on moving parts, and the bumper crop of European immigrants were exploited to the point of inhumanity by private enterprise and uncontested organized crime.  It took a prototype liberal democrat in Teddy Roosevelt to begin to put a stop to these practices.
My view is that free enterprise is a wonderful garden which produces everything that we use every day; but if not carefully pruned and overseen by a superintending authority, it is just as fallible and susceptible to corruption as anything else.  A garden doesn't just happen; it must be carefully planned and constructed, and then diligently tended.  Left uncared for, anything from the simplest carrot patch to the most elaborate arboretum will not last long against plunder and encroachment.
I believe that in addition to "killing people and breaking things," government should be judiciously employed to balance and guide free enterprise.  When ideally combined, the opposing influences can be beneficial to both and in fact all.
I think of it as nothing more than the concept of checks and balances -- just applying to the private sector what our Founding Fathers built into the Constitution.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 02, 2004, 10:48:16 am
Yeah, it's like a narcotic -- a very addictive one, too.  I acknowledge that you have a point about the buffalo.  But just two nights ago I watched something on the science channel about Yellowstone National Park -- federally owned land.  It was in this refuge that the last remaining wild herd of bison took shelter from the unrestricted private parties who slaughtered these animals to the brink of extinction for their hides and left the carcasses rotting on the plain.


This is incorrect and typical government propaganda. Yellowstone's herd was created from the stocks at Corbin Park.

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It was also government initiative that started propogating from this herd and reintroducing them.

Once again, it was not, that is just government propaganda. Repopulation of buffalo started from Corbin Park and was founded by people involved in Corbin Park. They arranged with the Park Service to create a western herd at Yellowstone Park.

Quote
Once again, I am not by any means an apologist for big government.  But I am almost as wary of total lassiez-faire capitalism as I am of an Orwellian Big Brother-type government presence a la 1984.  One's no better than the other, and either unchecked is just "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
If you look to modern-day southeast Asia, or the northeastern US of the latter 19th century and pre-Teddy Roosevelt 20th century you will see what I am afraid of.  Having grown up in eastern Massachusetts, I am familiar with the stories of the old mill towns like Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester, Fall River, etc., etc. where children were chained to their machines for fourteen hours a day, people routinely died by the score in factory fires, digits and limbs were severed daily by industrial machines with no guards on moving parts, and the bumper crop of European immigrants were exploited to the point of inhumanity by private enterprise and uncontested organized crime.  It took a prototype liberal democrat in Teddy Roosevelt to begin to put a stop to these practices.

As my history books tell me, Teddy was a Republican. Furthermore, I was born in Lowell, and my family had lived in Lowell since the 1880's. The stories told that you say you heard are the claims of socialist rabble rousers, typically of the IWW (the wobblies), who have an established record of greatly exaggerated reports of conditions in the factories. Not surprising. "The Jungle" was mostly fiction as well, as later investigators discovered.

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My view is that free enterprise is a wonderful garden which produces everything that we use every day; but if not carefully pruned and overseen by a superintending authority, it is just as fallible and susceptible to corruption as anything else.  A garden doesn't just happen; it must be carefully planned and constructed, and then diligently tended.  Left uncared for, anything from the simplest carrot patch to the most elaborate arboretum will not last long against plunder and encroachment.

A garden is an artificial construct of a regimented mind. It is not surprising that left alone it goes out of control. It is hardly like a free market at all, so your analogy is flawed. A free market is like a prarie, where many species trade resources to best efficiency and live in a stable ecosystem, just like a free market that is free of government-mercantilist tweaking and distortions.

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I believe that in addition to "killing people and breaking things," government should be judiciously employed to balance and guide free enterprise.  When ideally combined, the opposing influences can be beneficial to both and in fact all.
I think of it as nothing more than the concept of checks and balances -- just applying to the private sector what our Founding Fathers built into the Constitution.

Then you are no libertarian. What you describe is called mercantilism, and is not at all what the founding fathers built into the Constitution.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 02, 2004, 01:13:38 pm
Wow.  Okay, I apologize for going on about the buffalo -- I honestly did not realize that everything that I thought I knew on the subject was from tainted sources.

Teddy was a Republican, yes, then a Progressive.  I mean he was a prototype of the liberal democrat.  Much as George W. Bush speaks like a Republican but walks like a Democrat.  Much as JFK was a Democrat yet was a taxcutter and believed in a strong military.  We're arguing a little bit of semantics here, and again I apologize, I didn't mean to get caught up in that with my unclear language.  In my view TR's well-intentioned expansion of gov't powers started the country on the treacherous path toward our current situation wherein we pay a third to a half of our incomes to the government, we live in a land where the law exists to serve the law, and we are not allowed, let alone encouraged, to take responsibility for our own selves.

I am unfamiliar with the IWW -- the "wobblies."  I can't comment on that.

I also didn't realize I was parroting socialist rabble rousers.  I love freedom and I love human rights.  I think there are many things that can encroach on them, and that government is one of those things.

I stand by my garden analogy, and here's why.  Currency-based economy is an artificial construct of a regimented mind, which is the same way you describe a garden.  Paper money has no intrinsic value.  It's an abstract; it's not real.
I contest that it is your analogy which is flawed.  I wish a free market economy really were like a perfectly balanced prairie ecosystem, but I'm just not buying it.  The inhabitants of the prairie are unable to act in their own best interest over the long term.  If on your prairie there becomes not enough clover to support the number of pronghorn living in the area, the pronghorn do not then begin planting more clover so that they may continue to live.  Rather, they consume what dwindling resources do exist at an ever faster rate, thus ensuring their own doom.  Then all but a tiny remnant starve when winter comes.  Look at the oil economy -- there's your prairie.
A garden works on the principle of carefully applied control to facilitate natural processes, not interfere with them.
It doesn't take much to upset the stability of the prairie ecosystem, either.  The aforementioned clover shortage is just one example.  It could be an environmental shift, or the introduction of a new organism.  The geologic record is littered with species who were unable to act on their own behalf and hence no longer exist.
It is because of our artificial constructs and regimented minds that we are the dominant species on the planet.  It is the reason economy exists.  It is the reason we are able to sit here and have this exchange of ideas without ever meeting each other.  It is the reason we have cornfields and wheat fields and barley fields and oats and cattle ranches where once there was only prairie. Face it, the garden supports us at a much higher level than the prairie.  All this and the prairie itself benefits too, from our increased understanding of its workings and its needs.

You accuse me of not being a libertarian.  No -- I am not a libertarian, nor have I ever made any claim to the contrary.  So what?

I don't understand what you mean when you say mercantilism.  What is this?

I recognize that you are much smarter than I am, and I appreciate you participating in this exchange of ideas.

So in Mike Lorrey World, what stands in the way of rampant commercialism?

One other comment:  yay Pats!
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 02, 2004, 07:13:35 pm
Mike my friend,
The more I think about your prairie paradigm, the more I disagree with you.  You would reduce our economy to a Persian bazaar.  I know when I go to the market to get a dozen eggs, I like seeing that USDA Grade A stamp on the carton.  I know I'm not going to get crappy eggs because I have the government's assurance on the matter.  I'm saying that the market needs to be regulated.  If you want to disband the FDA and the USDA and so forth then you'd better find another way to regulate the market because it's not going to regulate itself, and then we're going to have crappy eggs, and then we're all going to have to eat porridge for breakfast, and no one wants that.
I think the majority of the egg-stampers at the USDA are honest people who really want to make sure I'm not getting crappy eggs.
Expecting a free market to regulate itself is akin to asking rabbits to regulate their reproduction.
Every time shellfishing gets shut down off New Bedford the fishermen are the ones who complain the loudest.  You never see fishermen on the news talking to reporters saying how they were hoping someone was going to step in and save the shellfish from overfishing, or save the public from contaminated meat -- it's always about how they're taking away our livelihood.  Even though it's in the best interest of everyone, including the fishing industry, to lay off for a while, the individual fisherman -- the man at the ground level -- cannot see that, nor should we expect him to.  All he can see is that he's not going to get paid this week.  Left to his own devices he will sell polluted clams to the market, he will fish the seabed barren.
The whaling industry was brought to ruin long before the widespread availability of electric or gas-fired lighting; the industry looted the Atlantic to the point where whales became so scarce that the business was no longer profitable.
The Corbin case is a shining example of private enterprise at its best.  But what if Corbin had not been a hunter?  It is a happy coincidence that he was, but we cannot count on a Corbin in every case.

Perhaps I am naive to think the USDA really has my best interest at heart.  But you are no less naive to think that self-regulation will work any better.
Perhaps you mistake the degree of control I am advocating.  When I talk about market regulation, I am talking about keeping standards, having a plan, maintaining sustainability and anticipating and minimizing market peaks and valleys -- things which will lubricate and streamline commerce; I'm not talking about coercion and socialization.
It sounds to me like your system of economic theory, the prairie system, is like open prostitution on Main St.  Mount Washington will be renamed Dorito Peak, White Mountain National Forest will be subdivided and suburbanized, and none of the new houses will be held up to the fire code.  That's what scares me about your vision, Mike.  Tell me I'm wrong.  Please.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 02, 2004, 07:33:40 pm
Mike my friend,
The more I think about your prairie paradigm, the more I disagree with you.  You would reduce our economy to a Persian bazaar.  I know when I go to the market to get a dozen eggs, I like seeing that USDA Grade A stamp on the carton.  I know I'm not going to get crappy eggs because I have the government's assurance on the matter.  I'm saying that the market needs to be regulated.  If you want to disband the FDA and the USDA and so forth then you'd better find another way to regulate the market because it's not going to regulate itself, and then we're going to have crappy eggs, and then we're all going to have to eat porridge for breakfast, and no one wants that.

Ah, well, I can tell that you've never been exposed to libertarian ideas. It's going to be some work to educate you.

Firstly: is the Underwriters Laboratory or Consumer Reports agencies of the government? Nope. Are W3C standards bodies part of the government? Nope. Are building, fire, electrical, and other model codes created by the government? Nope.

These, and many other private standards, codes, tests, and conventions are all promulgated by private industry and private groups, NOT by government. It has consistently been proven through the 20th century that private standards outperform government standards. Government standards, by rewarding a lower threshold of compliance, act as a disincentive to improvement. I can detail for you how this works economically, using the energy conservation market as an example, but that would take quite a bit of time.

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I think the majority of the egg-stampers at the USDA are honest people who really want to make sure I'm not getting crappy eggs.


And I say that if consumer groups formed their own testing standards and promoted them, with a logo that egg producers could put on their cartons if they passed, they would attain as good, if not better (keep in mind that 90% of salmonella poisonings are caused by contaminated eggs) performance than government standards.

I also happen to know the egg industry a little bit. The USFDA does not inspect eggs, they inspect egg production and processing facilities. Consumer groups like Consumer Reports and others have maintained for years that the standards to which the USFDA holds producers are insufficient to guarantee public safety, yet the USFDA and other government agencies continue to act more as a shelter for industry against private quality standard initiatives, than as agencies protecting consumers.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 02, 2004, 08:53:35 pm
To the person who is afraid of Penguins,

The other thing that government regulation promotes is sloth.  This takes many forms, but lets use your 'crappy eggs' example.

When the government institutes (FDA) some sort of standard, it is taken as the 'de facto' truth - it must be because its from the government, right?  As long as a product meets the government standard, it is considered 'all right'.

In the absence of government standards, people still desire to make sure their eggs are of a certain quality.  So they form companies to test and verify the egg qualities.  But we are not limited to one standard - if there is sufficient demand, there will be multiple, competing standards: the 99.999% disease free egg standard, the 98% disease-free one - and each of these eggs will cost a different amount to produce to the quality desired.  This means that YOU will get a choice of how high of quality you desire in your eggs.  Some folks don't care, and will eat any old egg, some others (perhaps you) will demand premium, perfect 99.999% disease-free eggs and will put your money where your mouth is (so to speak).  With the government, you ALWAYS get one-size-fits-all which means barely anyone is satisfied - the people wanting crappy, cheap eggs can't get them, and the others wanting the veritable 'golden' egg can't get them.... so where does the sloth come in? (kinda asking myself that too...)

The sloth comes from abdicating responsibility to the government - by allowing them to regulate the market, we are denying ourselves the ability to.  This in turn promotes dependence on the government.  Take a look at your own statement: I don't want crappy eggs - I want the government to insure my egg quality.  Before the FDA, USDA, and all the other agencies - what did we do?  Did we have mass egg catastrophies?  The real question would be... did we have MORE egg-related harm come to consumers before or after the government regulations...

as far as the FDA is concerned, I truely believe we had LESS deaths BEFORE the FDA compared to after.  I know that because of certain FDA policies, people have died (tens of thousands of people) because the FDA did not 'approve' of a drug.

Government regulation is not a good thing.  Regulation equals control, and if they have the power to control AND since the folks in government are mere mortals - then we have power easily susceptible to corruption and bribery and much worse.  Governmental power almost always is used AGAINST its own people and not for them.  What people fear about corporate america gaining to much power is only true when there is government power over individual rights for the taking (or 'manipulating').

If two people are competing against each other under the law 'No person or group of people shall infringe on another persons private property or initiate force or fraud upon another person' - then they are safe, they must compete, but neither gets 'uber rights'.  Under a system where the law states the same exact thing, but at the end of the sentence adds 'except the government'.  Then we have a WHOLE new ballgame.  Which person is able to use the power of government over his competitor first?  Who will create the most powerful 'lobby' to get favors?  How many bribes will it take to get the government to create regulation which doubles the cost of producing for everyone BUT one individual company?  This happens, today as in the past...and we all suffer at the luxury of the few...

michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 02, 2004, 10:12:37 pm
Michael, Mike,
Thank you both for your responses.  Your positions are intelligent, well thought-out and well articulated.
Michael, your point about government power being used almost without exception against people rather than for them in particular resonates with me -- I have long believed that the government should exist in fear of its people, not the other way around; but that leads to my whole issue with our interpretation of the 2nd amendment, which is another thread for another time.
Mike, your short course in private industry regulation really educated me.  This is a very good alternative to government regulation.  I don't want you to take up your own time filling me in on the operational details -- I have to do that for myself.
Where I fall off the bandwagon is in the last paragraph of Michael's post.  Michael, "they must compete, niether gets uber rights...,"  this is the way it is supposed to work.  But it only works that way until the only two egg companies in town merge, and then you've got SOL/Time-Warner Eggs, LLC.  Now there's only one game in town and we have an egg monster.
Mike, you in particular, having hailed from Lowell, must surely have seen the old mill complexes of the post-Civil War boom where people's lives were defined from cradle to grave by the Company.  You can stand right in the lobby of the Paul Tsongas Arena in the center of Lowell and read all about it.  My God, don't you people realize that a tremendous amount of economic power in the hands of a private entity is every bit as dangerous as a tremendous amount of power in the hands of a government entity?  The difference is that at least we each get a vote -- for whatever it's worth -- over what the government does.
Does anyone know what a "baron" is?
This becomes intensely personal to me at about this point, and maybe I can shed some light on why I must seem so fanatically anti-corporate.  Most of my peers are not nearly so dependent on the government as they are on their jobs -- their corporate, mid-level, life-sucking jobs.  They undergo long indoctrinations into the Company Mission Statement.  They go on organized outings with their co-workers.  If they're good they get company cars, stock options, and so on, and if they're really good then one day they become indistinguishable from the Company.  They are assimilated.  Cripes, it's like science fiction, like the Matrix, or the Borg (Star Trek reference).
This is what privatization means to me.  It means almost nothing, except the drones are Corporate drones instead of Government drones.  And whereas I trust the government not to festoon the Kancamagus Highway with neon signs, I have no such confidence in a private entity.
I believe the answer may lie with consumer groups and citizens' groups.  I think to merely privatize everything is merely to pass our abdication of responsibility (thanks, Michael, for the nicely crafted phrase) from the government to the Company.
If you go back to my original post to start this thread, I mention the nearly complete lack of a municipal government in the town where I grew up.  I think this may be close to the root of the problem.  I have maintained that government is not itself an evil thing.  But we have allowed so much of the power that belongs at the municipal level to be siphoned off to the state or federal level that we have to have something as drastic as the FSP just to restore the balance.
Oh man, I'm so tired.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 02, 2004, 10:38:09 pm
Quote
Mike, your short course in private industry regulation really educated me.  This is a very good alternative to government regulation.  I don't want you to take up your own time filling me in on the operational details -- I have to do that for myself.

be aware: do not get caught up in the minute details, unless you are sure you know what you are talking about.  for instance:  I will constantly proclaim the Privatization of Roadways and of Education.  But I am neither a transportation engineer nor a teacher.  I can give you a pretty thorough 'idea' of what the private alternative could be like, but I really do not know - but I am willing to trust to those who do know and care.  My purpose is to show a 'plausible' avenue of privatization, not to institute my version of what it might look like - that would be extremely vain and cause the same exact problems that the government plans cause.

Quote
Michael, "they must compete, niether gets uber rights...,"  this is the way it is supposed to work.  But it only works that way until the only two egg companies in town merge, and then you've got SOL/Time-Warner Eggs, LLC.  Now there's only one game in town and we have an egg monster.
ok, i get it, you are afraid of some monopolistic company, right?  Well, this kinda diverges, but, a monopoly really cannot exist EXCEPT through government intervention.  I can do my best to 'prove' this to you if you would like me to expound... but, let me posit on example and question first:

Your example: 2 egg companies merging into 1.
Assumptions: Illegal to use Initiate force or Fraud (NAP)
Q1: Are they satisfying the market demand in the area (products, service, etc)?  are you saying that the people have only one choice and that choice is 'sub-standard'?
Q2: If this super-egg company is not providing good service, what is preventing another company from capitalizing on this opportunity?  What about all the 'Free-Egg Layers' - those folks who decide that they will not eat the BadEgg & Company eggs and start up their own home eggery, and then decide to expand and try to make a living from this hobby?

let me tell you what happens in todays world:
The BadEgg Co. lobbies government to regulate the egg-laying business so that people can't afford to start up their own business.  They get government to 'illegalize' the sale of eggs from ones home.  All these things under the guise of 'protecting the welfare of the people'.  Strip the ability/power from the government to do this, and BadEgg Co. would be 'forced' to compete with Ma & Pa Organic Eggs, Eggs-R-Us, and The Beaten Egg which means: we all 'win' - no more monopoly... lots of Egg choices, and most efficient egg production...

btw: you do have quite an open mind - congrats!  When I first read your post re: government regulation, I thought "awww geez, what the heck is a statist doing here!  This conversation is not going to amount to much!" - you proved me wrong, thank you!

michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 03, 2004, 08:24:34 am
Likewise, Michael -- thanks.
But I think what you miss is that this sort of unrestricted economy can very quickly degenerate into something not very far removed from organized crime.  The Egg Syndicate uses its tremendous size to outprice the local competition.  Because they buy chicken feed by the ton -- in fact more likely they own their own chicken feed company -- they are able to shave their overhead.  And because they move in such bulk, they are able to shave their profit margins.  Your next door neighbor, though a pleasant person whom everyone enjoys having around, must get $2/dozen to make egg sales worthwhile.  So it's a no-brainer when you can stop in at the Egg Syndicate on the way home from the post office and get the same quality eggs for $1.14/dozen.  Plus this week they're having a free egg-timer giveaway, and the kids love that funny guy in the chicken suit who stands out front and waves at all the people.
Examples are all around you.  The Egg Syndicate has used niether force nor fraud, and your next door neighbor ends up closing his business and sells his chickens below market value to the Egg Syndicate.

This sort of thing exists today -- try to go to a restaurant around Southern New England and order a glass of Moxie.  You can't.  If they don't serve Coke it's because they serve Pepsi.  I've already admitted that I don't study economics, but you don't have to have a phd to know this much: if all government restrictions are removed today, we're not going to have dozens of new soda companies competing tomorrow.  Quite the contrary, Pepsi and Coke will probably merge.  And that will absolutely guarantee that no one anywhere ever will ever drink any other kind of soda again.  The soda company archives will be expunged so that future generations will not even know there ever even was such a thing as Moxie.  Unless Moxie sells out to the Company.
And this is relatively benign compared to the barons of a hundred years ago.  If you didn't walk the company line you got turned out to the street and then you really were out of luck.  Corporate bosses and street thugs knew that if your name was Seamus O'Malley that they owned you.
It's true that the Mom & Pop Egg companies still flourished outside the cities while the Carnegies and Vanderbilts, etc. were crushing all in their paths, but that was only because it was more logical to start with durable goods like textiles and steel.
Mike tells me that the stories of corporate power abuse are greatly exaggerated, but I guess it must have been bad enough for people to demand better, because Teddy Roosevelt made a lot of allies among the little people and a lot of powerful enemies among the corporate power brokers of his day.  Bad enough to give rise to the labor unions, bad enough that a guy like Jimmy Hoffa could build a legend as the enemy of big business.

I think where our ancestors went wrong a hundred years ago was that they merely took away the power of the industry behemoths and moved it across the street to the halls of government.
If the FSP wants to succeed where they have failed, we must do more than move the center of power back across the street.  We must decentralize it as much as possible.  We have to bring legitimacy back to the township.  We must have real political power right in our own back yard, and we must keep it there.  As I have said time and again, freedom is a very difficult thing to keep.

Michael, Mike, I think that about exhausts everything I wanted to say on the subject.  I really appreciate your willingness to exchange ideas with me.  You have certainly given me an education (I wish to God I had never mentioned the damned buffalo!), and I only hope that my thoughts have somehow been enriching to you as well.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: lloydbob1 on February 03, 2004, 08:56:06 am
Penquin,
For the record, whenever I have lived near a local egg producer, I have gone out of my way to buy their eggs and paid the extra price to get fresh eggs and for the social interaction.
The growing shortage of local egg producers probably has a lot to do with the fact that keeping chickens is very time consuming and limits the producer's ability to do other things, like travel. We no longer have families made up of 3 generations with someone always around to tend the chickens.  Government enforced zoning has also limited this industry.
In any case, the great majority of consumers saving 50 cents a dozen buying eggs from the more efficient producer( you call the syndicate) at the same place they buy everything else. outweighs the few small producers who cannot stay in the egg business.
Moxie never even attempted the marketing efforts that the more succesfull soft drink companies did.  And, less face it, Moxie tastas like crap!
Lloyd
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Tony Stelik on February 03, 2004, 10:53:23 am
But I think what you miss is that this sort of unrestricted economy can very quickly degenerate into something not very far removed from organized crime. The Egg Syndicate uses its tremendous size to outprice the local competition. Because they buy chicken feed by the ton -- in fact more likely they own their own chicken feed company -- they are able to shave their overhead. And because they move in such bulk, they are able to shave their profit margins. Your next door neighbor, though a pleasant person whom everyone enjoys having around, must get $2/dozen to make egg sales worthwhile. So it's a no-brainer when you can stop in at the Egg Syndicate on the way home from the post office and get the same quality eggs for $1.14/dozen. Plus this week they're having a free egg-timer giveaway, and the kids love that funny guy in the chicken suit who stands out front and waves at all the people.
Examples are all around you. The Egg Syndicate has used niether force nor fraud, and your next door neighbor ends up closing his business and sells his chickens below market value to the Egg Syndicate.


Only as long as long you are satisfied with the price and quality. Once you want more of quality you will create demand. Eggs syndicate will have to either increase quality suffering loss of profit in the process or drop the price even further to attract you and this is also with drop of profit. Temporarily syndicate will outcompete ma&pa egg producer but it will bankrupt if it will continue higher quality production without raising the price / the same as before quality with much lower price. So as soon as syndicate does not see ma&pa eggs in operation it will come to economy as before and exactly in that same moment ma&pa eggs will spring back to existence again. Add to that eggs syndicate as every big corporation is slow, reluctant to new ideas and fast changes while ma&pa eggs is able to turn on the dime.
In such no monopoly can exist without government interference. Every monopoly comes from government.
BTW. Did you see naturally raised chickens for $15 in the supermarket vs. $2 or $3 for regular chicken? And if you have seen them, did you try them? As for me, those for $15 per piece are worth every penny I paid.

Quote
This sort of thing exists today -- try to go to a restaurant around Southern New England and order a glass of Moxie. You can't. If they don't serve Coke it's because they serve Pepsi.

Only because there is not enough demand for Moxie. If in the restaurant they would not have what I want they probably would run to the next business providing this thing and promptly bring it to my table



 
Quote
I've already admitted that I don't study economics, but you don't have to have a phd to know this much: if all government restrictions are removed today, we're not going to have dozens of new soda companies competing tomorrow.

Wrong. We will. Just go to any convenience store and see the variety.

Quote
Quite the contrary, Pepsi and Coke will probably merge. And that will absolutely guarantee that no one anywhere ever will ever drink any other kind of soda again. The soda company archives will be expunged so that future generations will not even know there ever even was such a thing as Moxie. Unless Moxie sells out to the Company.
And this is relatively benign compared to the barons of a hundred years ago.

Wrong again. Merge of Pepsi and coca would immediately create demand and many entrepreneurs would start competition. Customers would only benefit.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: lloydbob1 on February 03, 2004, 02:30:21 pm
Tony,
I'm hoping to get invited to dinner next tme you have chicken.
LLoyd
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 03, 2004, 08:21:52 pm
Oh, Tony...
I am almost reluctant to get into this, but here goes.

This isn't about Moxie, or eggs, or chickens, or Mexico City.
But even so, let me first address what you said about soda.  "See the variety," you say.  Look closer, man.  Look how many of those "varying" brands are owned by either Coke or Pepsi.  Canada Dry?  Mountain Dew?  Doctor Pepper?  ...betweeen the two of them, they own literally hundreds of brands.  If you look at the variety on the store shelf, and then took away all products owned by either company, I think you would probably be left with less than half the inventory.

But, this is not, nor has it been all along, the point.  I'm telling you the house is on fire and you're prattling on about the color of the living room carpet.

From No Logo, by Naomi Klein: Its [branded multinationals] enemies are national habits, local brands and distictive regional tastes.  Fewer interests control ever more of the landscape.  [An] assault on choice is taking place on several fronts at once.  It is happening structurally, with mergers, buyouts and corporate synergies.  It is happening locally, with a handful of superbrands using their huge cash reserves to force out small and independent businesses.  And it is happening on the legal front, with entertainment and consumer-goods companies using libel and trademark suits to hound anyone who puts an unwanted spin on a pop-cultural product.  And so we live in a double world: carnival on the surface, consolidation underneath, where it counts.
Media and retail companies have inflated to such bloated proportions that simple decisions about what items to stock in a store or what kind of cultural product to commission -- decisions quite properly left to the discretion of business owners and culture makers -- now have enormous consequences: those who make these choices have the power to reengineer the cultural landscape.  When magazines are pulled from Wal-Mart's shelves by store managers, when cover art is changed on cd's to make them K-mart friendly, or when movies are refused by Blockbuster because they don't conform to the chain's "family entertainment" image, these private decisions send waves through the culture industries, affecting not just what is readily available at the local big box [mega department store] but what gets produced in the first place.

Trading government control for corporate control is a loser deal.  I don't know how many other ways to say it.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: thrivetacobell on February 03, 2004, 08:49:52 pm
  Quite a dilemma, sure, and though I entirely side with  free and open competition and would argue for it to no end,  there are some questions that make frightening inferences... One possible path is to possibly emphasize that one form of activism would be to take on the role of an intelligent consumer, and spend your money in accordance with your values. One example of this would be the Wal Mart selling music. First they offer nothing i want, secondly, if they did it would be the last place i would make a purchase as i harbor a love for small independant stores with a little bit of soul. I would be much more active in how i spent my money if i knew what brands belonged to what companies which support what. Perhaps there could be some way to make this information public, just as state finances or doings...
    And i have got to add... I wear a Moxie baseball cap, have had a couple of pet chickens, and were i allowed  to keep chickens i'd be selling fresh eggs to all my neighbors.
   What a world.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 03, 2004, 08:56:27 pm
The problem, Penguin, is that if people want choices, they make them. If a product finds a niche that has willing buyers, the producer will sell. It really doesn't matter that half the store space is taken up by Coke or Pepsico. Both companies are very well run and know that they can only compete with each other by offering to the people the beverage choices they want. The minute either stops knowing this, they will lose market share. If both forget it, then others will gain market share of those who they satisfy.

Anti-trust laws are NOT there to protect competitors, they are there to ensure that CONSUMERS are well served, with product choices AND good value. When government is used to protect one corporation against another's better service to the customer, then we all lose.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 03, 2004, 08:58:20 pm
A pox on both houses (corporation & government alike) of everything BIG and beyond human-scale! They are equally de-humanizing and ultimately stifle creativity, self-reliance and community...

Affluenza excerpt:

"Without realizing it, you are probably suffering from a highly contagious malady -- affluenza, first identified in a recent PBS documentary.  Millions have been infected with this virus, which originated in the United States but has spread throughout the world.  Affluenza is an obsession with materialism -- consumer goods and services -- ranging from cosmetics, clothes, cigarettes, soft drinks, junk food, video games, and rock music to automobiles, computers, electronic gadgets, expensive homes, priceless art objects, high-tech health care, and international travel.  Those infected with this disease often suffer from overwork and stress in addition to viral overconsumption.  It affects both rich and poor alike.  The more you have, the more you want.

     The root causes of affluenza are threefold -- meaninglessness, separation, and fear of death.  We are living in the midst of a spiritual crisis of unprecedented proportions.  Our lives lack purpose or meaning.  They are grounded in nothingness.

     In our cities, schools, universities, factories, and shopping malls, there is a widespread feeling of detachment and disconnectedness -- a longing for community.  We are haunted by the yearning for connectedness, an irresistible need for communication, engagement, and friendship."


http://www.dixienet.org/spatriot/vol5no6/affluenza.htm (http://www.dixienet.org/spatriot/vol5no6/affluenza.htm)
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Kelton Baker on February 03, 2004, 11:10:29 pm
A pox on both houses (corporation & government alike) of everything BIG and beyond human-scale! They are equally de-humanizing and ultimately stifle creativity, self-reliance and community...

I can agree with that, on a certain level, though I cannot stand the thought of forcefully downsizing corporations simply because they were too big and 'scary' or the foolish work of the "trust-busters" and their futile efforts at regulating monopolies and the like.  Instead, I recognize the need to end the special privileges given to giant corporations that give them special status as individuals under the law and tax-payer funded corporate welfare programs all by that most giant of all monopoly corporations,  the U.S. Federal Government [Inc.] and its fiduciary subsidiaries and corporate affiliates like the Federal Reserve.
 


Quote
    The root causes of affluenza are threefold -- meaninglessness, separation, and fear of death.  We are living in the midst of a spiritual crisis of unprecedented proportions.  Our lives lack purpose or meaning.  They are grounded in nothingness.

     In our cities, schools, universities, factories, and shopping malls, there is a widespread feeling of detachment and disconnectedness -- a longing for community.  We are haunted by the yearning for connectedness, an irresistible need for communication, engagement, and friendship."

--Meaninglessness is taught in our government-funded public schools that seek to create a one-size-fits-all, socialized education program void of any thought for morals or absolute truth resulting in secularist nihilism and with a disregard for the culture and wishes of the parents.

--Private workplaces are forced, by regulation and strong government oversight, to conform to a single government vision of how to conduct business,  how to hire,  how to fire, how to produce, buy, and sell.  The very marketplace is governed by command-and-control "public servants" more than individual market choices that would allow for more vibrant work communities, connectedness, open communication and differentiated associations.

--Communities anymore are not formed by voluntary associations but by by government-licensed real-estate developers,  agents and lawyers, who know how to work the law and how to proceed.    Communities are tied together through common resources that are in complete control of government and politics, which is in turn controlled by special interests, politics and more government regulation,  built by forced taxation of the labor and lives of its citizenry. Communities nowadays are defined by the civil government jurisdiction and by property values and borders of rich and powerful.  Attempts to become close-knit communities with common values are foiled by government plans to integrate rich and poor, equalize, and regulate everything from what you may grow on your land to the color of your siding.  Under socialistic government regulation, an individual is merely another brick in the wall, and the wall supplants the individual.

--Social engagement and friendships are harmed because freedom is lost-- the activites in which you may voluntarily participate and how you may join with others now requires permits, licenses and political privileges, if allowed at all.

In short, communities are broken because individuals and families are not allowed to be the central unit of society.  Decisions are made outside the realm of where they should be made, at the individual level among freemen.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: SethA on February 03, 2004, 11:27:59 pm
Kelton, I couldn't agree more. You did a nice job of summarizing a lot of complex problems and how we got to the mess we have today.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 03, 2004, 11:28:04 pm
"If people want choices, then they will make them."
Mike, the beauty of your argument is its simplicity.  That is such basic common sense that it cannot be disputed.

I just finished reading an article called "The Moral Case For Free Trade," by Laurence M. Vance, thanks to a link posted by Tracy Saboe.  It was compelling.

I can sense intuitively that free trade, true free trade, unfettered by government interventionism short of protection from force or fraud, is the moral right.

So why do I find myself agreeing with Naomi Klein (quoted in my previous post) that mega-scale corporations are the enemy of free trade?
Why do so many of my peers -- my friends -- have their lifestyles dictated to them by a corporation?  Not just as consumers but as employees.  They are told how to dress and they do it, they are told what to say and they say it...I get the icky-poo willies just thinking about it.

I think that a free, well-managed economy is one of the greatest benefits of our society.  Yet my nightmares are inhabited by corporate giants like Wal-Mart, Disney, Nike, etc.  I think, in a way that is proving very difficult for me to articulate, that corporate giants are the enemy of independence.  There is something about them that feels a lot more like fascism than free enterprise.

I have one other comment to address to you specifically, Mike.  I still stand by the garden analogy I made a few days ago, but I have learned something very important, thanks in large part to our debate.  I still think it is more accurate to compare the free market economy to a rich garden which must be closely regulated and cared for at every phase; but I now recognize that the federal government is a lousy gardener.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 04, 2004, 03:43:07 am
this actually all comes back to how you look at a human being; are they 'stupid', 'immoral', 'evil', 'good', etc...

If we were to actually have a truely free market with the only role of government being to protect humans against force/fraud AND if then SuperPepsiCO did come into existence gobbling up every other soda manufacturer out there - then we MUST accept the reality that this is indeed how us humans want things to be...  I couldn't care less if I only had one choice in soft drink (unless it were lime soda or root beer) - I have other things which are larger priorities to me, like, the quality of my beef.  So I would choose to let the drink manufacturers combine BUT I would decidely fight with my wallet against any lessening of quality in my meat choices.  Other folks have different priorities... the conglomeration of all these priorities is what makes up the face of the free market.  make no mistake: though it appears to respond somewhat like a democracy, it if MUCH more able to offer multiple solutions even to minority groups whereas a democracy obliterates the minority voices with total 'oneness'... speaking of borgism!  Down with democracy, don't let it assimilate you!  Free Market for all!

michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 04, 2004, 05:46:39 am
Quote
I can agree with that, on a certain level, though I cannot stand the thought of forcefully downsizing corporations simply because they were too big and 'scary' or the foolish work of the "trust-busters" and their futile efforts at regulating monopolies and the like. 

It should be really easy to lead and sustain a good/meaningful/healthy life through the accumulation of endless "social" capital and limited material capital via the surplus afforded us all by others renting more than their equal share of the commonwealth...

It should be really hard to monopolize and thus accumulate and retain material wealth via government granted special priviledge...

Quote
Instead, I recognize the need to end the special privileges given to giant corporations that give them special status as individuals under the law and tax-payer funded corporate welfare programs all by that most giant of all monopoly corporations,  the U.S. Federal Government [Inc.] and its fiduciary subsidiaries and corporate affiliates like the Federal Reserve.

well done but then you go on to just bash government without equally bashing corporations...

Quote
In short, communities are broken because individuals and families are not allowed to be the central unit of society.  Decisions are made outside the realm of where they should be made, at the individual level among freemen

I like the Quaker term "standing alone together" because it portrays two strong human yearnings....freedom and equality - in perfect balance equals fraternity!
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 10:38:52 am
Michael, I think you are failing to come to grips with the scale on which companies are able to manipulate both the market and the supply chain.
The Egg Syndicate post was not a worst-case scenario by an incorrigible doomsayer; it was a composite description of the type of predation that takes place in our towns and cities all the time.
Wal-Mart and other powerful consumer-goods giants practice censorship.  The fact that it is corporate censorship instead of government censorship does not make it any more palatable to me.  And because of the tremendous power of these businesses, they wield a significant degree of influence over what consumer goods are produced in the first place.  This is the natural result of market forces under one controlling influence.
Some Hollywood studios will no longer make nc-17 films because they know that video rental giant Blockbuster will not rent them to the public.  So why forgo 25 per cent of a product's earning potential before it is even created?
This phenomenon is called the economy of scale.  Like film, television or software, retail has become an industry in which you must be huge to stay in the game.  The strange thing is that more products are sold, yet less choice exists.
This is not a philosophy or a prediction of mine.  It is a reality, and you are not recognizing it.
I'm still here saying that freedom is a very difficult thing to keep -- corporate interests not only can but demonstrably do take it away, just as does government.
To say you are going to speak with your wallet against corporations is like saying you are going to speak with your vote against government.  In both cases, there is just a lack of good choices.  You make a very cogent point that democracy obliterates the minority agenda, while private enterprise caters to it.  But that ideal is going away, Michael.
If left unmolested, if used as intended, our government would be a beautiful thing that would promulgate prosperity, respect, privacy and freedom.  The same can be said of the free enterprise system.  Both of these beautiful systems have been corrupted and distorted almost to the point of unrecognizability.  But almost all of the people whose posts I've read on the FSP seem to think that 100% of the blame belongs on the government for corrupting free enterprise and corrupting government.  But free enterprise has done lots to corrupt government, as well.  And to corrupt itself.
It's not complicated in my mind; I don't know why it's so hard for me to get my point across.  In my mind there are three things on the path of freedom which can be either very good or very bad.  On the left is government; on the right is commerce; above is religion.  Everyone seems to be in agreement that government and religion are bad, but no one seems to be able to allow for the possibility that commerce can be just as bad.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 04, 2004, 11:03:41 am
There are a few of us here who do agree with you...

RhythmStar is a very eloquent and passionate advocate of many of the same positions re: corporations and I would put myself in the same camp.

I get myself in trouble here because I advocate for a "third way" beyond left vs. right, government vs. free market, freedom vs. equality...etc.

When I am routinely attacked by libertarians as a socialist and similiarly attacked by socialists as a libertarian I know I am doing something right...

check out this prominent libertarian's website which attempts to address this issue:

http://holisticpolitics.org/ (http://holisticpolitics.org/)

Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 11:26:50 am
Thank you, BillG(not Gates), for sanity.  I briefly checked out the web link you supplied; the site design is, um, unique, I guess I didn't know websites like these had been around since 1977.  But web design aside, the content is refreshing and I will be going back to see more.  And I'll be playing my Allman Brothers cd when I do.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Tony Stelik on February 04, 2004, 11:31:56 am
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Wal-Mart and other powerful consumer-goods giants practice censorship. The fact that it is corporate censorship instead of government censorship does not make it any more palatable to me.

Private organization has the right to censor within its internal affairs.
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And because of the tremendous power of these businesses, they wield a significant degree of influence over what consumer goods are produced in the first place. This is the natural result of market forces under one controlling influence.

That is almost correct, except we see government influence at the first place.


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Some Hollywood studios will no longer make nc-17 films because they know that video rental giant Blockbuster will not rent them to the public. So why forgo 25 per cent of a product's earning potential before it is even created?
This phenomenon is called the economy of scale.

This phenomenon is called central (government) control of the media.


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Like film, television or software, retail has become an industry in which you must be huge to stay in the game. The strange thing is that more products are sold, yet less choice exists.

Everything according to central planing. Of course only big guys are convenient for government to control.


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This is not a philosophy or a prediction of mine. It is a reality, and you are not recognizing it.

Of course everybody recognize this. Cooperation of big companies in fusion with the government is recognized and it is called Cartel (i.e. Federal Reserve System)
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I'm still here saying that freedom is a very difficult thing to keep -- corporate interests not only can but demonstrably do take it away, just as does government.
These do this in mutual cooperation. Freedom is very difficult thing to keep since it requires continuous vigilance. Unfortunately people are apathetic, not vigilant and chose free lunch over freedom.


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To say you are going to speak with your wallet against corporations is like saying you are going to speak with your vote against government. In both cases, there is just a lack of good choices.

Again, big corporation – governments fusion. Ad yes, we have choices.
 
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You make a very cogent point that democracy obliterates the minority agenda, while private enterprise caters to it. But that ideal is going away, Michael.

just like all the liberties since the beginning.


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If left unmolested, if used as intended, our government would be a beautiful thing that would promulgate prosperity, respect, privacy and freedom. The same can be said of the free enterprise system. Both of these beautiful systems have been corrupted and distorted almost to the point of unrecognizability.

Agree. But it is unpossible for government not to get corrupted if unchecked. At the same time free market has automatic controls build in as natural laws (just like gravity or electromagnetism are build in physical world)

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But almost all of the people whose posts I've read on the FSP seem to think that 100% of the blame belongs on the government for corrupting free enterprise and corrupting government.
That is correct.
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But free enterprise has done lots to corrupt government, as well. And to corrupt itself.
If selling and buying is legislated, the first thing bought will always be legislators.

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It's not complicated in my mind; I don't know why it's so hard for me to get my point across.
We all see your point, just respectfully do not agree with it
 
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In my mind there are three things on the path of freedom which can be either very good or very bad. On the left is government; on the right is commerce; above is religion. Everyone seems to be in agreement that government and religion are bad, but no one seems to be able to allow for the possibility that commerce can be just as bad.


This correctly presents what most of us think, except there is not the matter of allowing possibility that commerce is bad. We are coming to conclusion the commerce is good.

Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Penfist on February 04, 2004, 11:46:27 am
The site doesn't appear to have been updated since July 4, 2003. What's up with that?

Thank you, BillG(not Gates), for sanity.  I briefly checked out the web link you supplied; the site design is, um, unique, I guess I didn't know websites like these had been around since 1977.  But web design aside, the content is refreshing and I will be going back to see more.  And I'll be playing my Allman Brothers cd when I do.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 04, 2004, 11:48:18 am
Thank you, BillG(not Gates), for sanity.  I briefly checked out the web link you supplied; the site design is, um, unique, I guess I didn't know websites like these had been around since 1977.  But web design aside, the content is refreshing and I will be going back to see more.  And I'll be playing my Allman Brothers cd when I do.

Carl kind of looks like Mick Jagger don't you think?

regarding color scheme...

"A Few Notes on the Format
In the buttons to the left there are different fonts and colors for different "chapters". The rainbow colored buttons denote chapters on holistic politics in general. Multiple colors symbolize looking at multiple values at the same time. The red buttons are about increasing equality (while improving freedom); red implies connection with the hardcore socialist movements. Green buttons are for chapters on cleaning up the environment and preserving nature (while actually increasing freedom). The blue buttons are on reconciling a free society with traditional notions of morality, as well as Biblical justifications for animal rights and a better welfare system. Grayish buttons indicate chapters that still need to be written.

Some early reviewers of this site have suggested that the loud color schemes and groovy fonts detract from the seriousness of the material. There are important reasons for the graphical nature of my presentation, gaudy though it may be. We live in an information saturated society; fast communication is needed. Pictures can be a much faster form of communication for certain ideas. Further, I am trying to convey thinking about multiple concerns at the same time; using multiple mental channels is thus appropriate. Perhaps most importantly, in order to address multiple concerns, I have to at times sound like people you do not like; therefore, it is critical to have reminders of the intent I am driving at even when the route is unfamiliar.

And finally, I just happen to like the artwork of the hippie era. Humor me."
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 04, 2004, 11:53:28 am
I think I do understand your position, Penguin.  All I know basically breaks down to this:

There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong or corrupt between two people making a voluntary trade - both benefit.  This is the micro level but holds true through the macro as well.

The problem we are having (in this thread) is that we all are basing our 'opinions' on faith rather than 'fact'.  It is my 'faith' in the above statement that leads me to the conclusions I write.  The point being that we have very little data to draw upon: the US market is not a true free market and we can rarely see evidence of a true free market at work (defined as being without ANY government influence).  I therefore advocate 'test' laboratories: let a state or various communities be able to operate as a true free market where all government intervention is withheld.  Then compare these experiments to their 'managed economy' counter-parts.  Only then will we be able to make good decisions in this regard, until then, we are making extreme leaps of faith.

It is my hope that the Free State might at least provide a fertile ground for a 'freer' market and, I also have hopes on some developing 3rd world nations too.

Lets do some real-world testing!  I am not afraid of competing against any managed economy!

michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Karl on February 04, 2004, 12:12:22 pm
It should be really easy to lead and sustain a good/meaningful/healthy life through the accumulation of endless "social" capital and limited material capital via the surplus afforded us all by others renting more than their equal share of the commonwealth...

It should be really hard to monopolize and thus accumulate and retain material wealth via government granted special priviledge...

Except, Bill, you define government protection of personal property to be one of those government granted special priviledges.  If you were at all principled in the matter, your definition would also classify free speech, freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, and the right to keep and bear arms as government granted special priviledges.

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well done but then you go on to just bash government without equally bashing corporations...

Naturally, because to do otherwise would be to treat the symptoms but not the disease.  As Kelton made clear, though you chose to ignore it and blow smoke in our faces, the government is the major reason corporations are permitted to misbehave.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 12:31:25 pm
Okay.
Tony, we agree that only through constant vigilance can we keep our freedom.  I'm preaching the gospel of decentralization.
Freedom and Power.  They might be synonymous.  They're definitely linked.  I think as much of that freedom and power as possible must be kept at the lowest possible level of control.  In political terms that means it must be from the municipal level, not the federal.  In private terms it means the individual, not the corporation.  The consolidation of great power anywhere is a dangerous thing.
You correctly show that the free market has automatic controls built in.  You know what, Tony?  So does the Constitution.  To think either is incorruptible because of internal controls is just naive.  There are always those forces at work which will find ways to get around those safety measures and corrupt the system.  Vigilance against government corruption must come from outside of government; vigilance against corruption of free trade must come from outside the free trade system.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 01:06:19 pm
Michael, I am getting to like you.
I buy into your voluntary trade model, on both the micro and the macro scale.  But humans can ruin anything.  Free trade is no exception.  This is why I advocate oversight.  Please see my most recent post.
This is going to sound like a cliche, but I'm going to say it nonetheless:  people should run corporations.  I look around me and I see corporations running people.
Like government and religion, I think free trade should exist to serve the public.  And like government and religion, I think free trade can become a self-serving, self-perpetuating, bloated plague.  I think when free trade hollows out communities, when irreplaceable natural resources are ruined by industrial greed, then the public must act to save itself (NOT saying government must act to save the public).  I think we are at that point now.  Very simply, free trade is a product of human nature, and as such it is vulnerable to all the same vices as anything else we endeavor.  If we don't regulate the system from outside of itself then we invite our own downfall.  Imagine Phil's super ego decided Phil's id could regulate itself...nuff said.
You're all very fortunate that I'm here to set you straight on this complicated grownup stuff.  ;D

Kidding!  Just kidding -- jeez, you people are sensitive.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 04, 2004, 01:11:53 pm
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Except, Bill, you define government protection of personal property to be one of those government granted special priviledges

depends on how you define "personal" property...fruits of your physical and mental labor only?
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 04, 2004, 01:42:31 pm
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Michael, I am getting to like you.
a natural phenomenon<sp?> - I like you also, if for no other reason then because you have 'penguin' in your name...

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This is why I advocate oversight.
ok, here we go... who exactly does this 'overseeing'?  I assume it will be either a human or group of humans, each with the distinct possiblity for having the same exact human qualities which you are deploring.  And so you would abdicate power (or a portion of it) over your life to make choices to a group of people with their own agendas and priorities?  By granting them power does two things: it ATTRACTS people with desires to institute and accumulate power over others, and it opens an avenue for others to actively seek to manipulate this power.  

Truth is, whatever system we devise, the heart of it will be humans.  Good and Bad humans.  The only way to mitigate the potential for abuse of 'rights' of individuals is to deny the power in the first place (ie: a company, no matter how large, does not have the 'right' to aggress against you or physically harm you - the government does and that is scarey).

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Like government and religion, I think free trade should exist to serve the public.
free trade is just a term describing a natural condition that exists between individuals without outside interference.  People CHOOSE to trade freely because it is in their best interests.  Their is no 'public' - only groups of individuals, each with their own priorities an desires/wants/needs.  Nothing can 'serve the public', it can only benefit some while harming others.  The 'public' as you term it is best served when 'allowed' to express their desires freely - when people make wrong or harmful choices, they pay the natural consequence, it is in this way that the 'public' learns and continuously makes 'better' choices in the future.  Denying or instituting other consequences (regulation, fines, fees, taxes, etc) is a misguided attempt at moral manipulation with the result being: lazy thinking, abdication of responsibility, general sloth.  When the market determines a 'universal' truth or idea (such as how we 'all' believe it is wrong to be murdered or aggressed against) then, by virtually unanimous consent, the idea becomes part of the 'law'.

running low on time, will continue later on - it has been a pleasure, Mr. Penguin!

michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Tony Stelik on February 04, 2004, 02:17:23 pm
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Okay.
Tony, we agree that only through constant vigilance can we keep our freedom. I'm preaching the gospel of decentralization.
Freedom and Power. They might be synonymous. They're definitely linked. I think as much of that freedom and power as possible must be kept at the lowest possible level of control. In political terms that means it must be from the municipal level, not the federal.


I agree with you here. I would specify further the town government is at pleasure of the people.

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In private terms it means the individual, not the corporation. The consolidation of great power anywhere is a dangerous thing.
You correctly show that the free market has automatic controls built in. You know what, Tony? So does the Constitution.


I am talking about objective laws of nature, like the law of supply and demand. Constitution is not the objective law. It is set of privileges given by the people to artificial construction – namely government. It was supposed to be just a chain (hand cuffs) limiting government’s powers. What happened next is that government (servant or slave of people) decided to ignore the master’s rules, grew big and powerful and is bullying the master. It now calls itself master and takes us all as its servants. Happens all the time when people are not watching – think of gardener in your garden if you let him do whatever he wants, or look at the people providing help to elderly and incapable of taking care of self. Did you hear about companion killing, or stilling money from elderly?


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To think either is incorruptible because of internal controls is just naive.
 There are always those forces at work which will find ways to get around those safety measures and corrupt the system. Vigilance against government corruption must come from outside of government; vigilance against corruption of free trade must come from outside the free trade system.

Constitution was not providing internal controls. It was meant to work with the vigilance of the people and the people failed to do their part. But objective laws of universe in this case law of supply and demand are enough to have equilibrium and stability in the market.
You are outside corporation and you are controlling it by voting with your wallet. No business will grow if it will not be voted into existence with customer’s wallets. If business has many happy customers it will grow big. But will never achieve monopoly. It would be impossible. Any monopoly was happening after government mangling with the business. So government created anti monopoly rules while it was cause of monopoly in the first place.
BTW government involved in the business constitutes fascism. All you can see around is in fact fascism, safe when business is actually owned by government – this of course is communism.
Also if you read book “Creature from Jekyll Island” by Griffin (second most important book after bible –religious people say), you can see that cartels want to create global control system with all property owned by one world government. These cartels deliberately avoid word “socialism” to not scare the public before time.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 02:43:38 pm
Anyone else want to open up a third front on me?  Mike, I haven't felt the hot sting of your rhetoric lately.
Seriously, I welcome the opposition or I wouldn't have asked for it.  I'll try and have full responses up no later than tomorrow.
Preview:

Michael, we are getting closer.  I think I actually agree with more from your last post than I disagree with.

Tony, your caveman-style prose is simply intoxicating; but I'm afraid my business with you is much further from conclusion.  I'm not talking about messing with the natural law of supply and demand.  I'm saying okay, free trade is corrupted by government intervention.  Yes.  Fine.  But free trade is also corrupted from within.  This is what I will get into more when I get to it.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Tony Stelik on February 04, 2004, 03:49:36 pm
Tony, your caveman-style prose is simply intoxicating; but I'm afraid my business with you is much further from conclusion.  I'm not talking about messing with the natural law of supply and demand.  I'm saying okay, free trade is corrupted by government intervention.  Yes.  Fine.  But free trade is also corrupted from within.  This is what I will get into more when I get to it.

Andrew
Dying in anticipation.
If person A goes in to business agreement with person B voluntarily it is something corrupted from within? Or it is if person A is bigger business than person B, getting in voluntary agreement? Or is it when person A is big corporation and person B is simply individual – that would create internal corruption? Or maybe when business agreement is between big corporation buying service from small businessman called worker?
Well my friend, you are lucky back in XIX century Marx wrote Capital and defined sub-group of businessmen relations calling class of capitalists and the other class of laborers. Without this classification you would be in trouble.
BTW, I am using here definition of person as stated by XIV amendment to the constitution. If we do not wave voluntarily our rights business will not be a person and just property, and person would mean sovereign individual having or having not a property. In fact such person will always have some property – at least own body, skills, time to engage in business.
Forgive me my friend cave – style, as you can see this is not my mothers language. I come from communist block. This actually is advantage since I can now smell socialist (both going towards communism as well as going towards fascism) for hundreds miles away.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 07:21:12 pm
Michael, I am trying to achieve the reclamation of power over self, not its abdication!
Who's going to be the regulating force?  The only appropriate body for that is groups of individuals.  Consumer groups.  Built in the same way as Underwriters' Laboratories and Consumer Reports.  Mike gave me that idea.
You rightly point out that people choose to trade freely because it is in their own best interest.  But corporations act in the same way.  Corporations are entities that trade in their own best interest.  Some corporations are actually big enough to manipulate entire markets to their own interest.  And it is inevitable that the corporate interest is to create a dependency in the public, or the individual, if you like.  Several years ago Toys R Us used its strength to leverage a toy wholesaler to supply only Toys R Us.  Competing businesses were cut completely out of the loop.  Toys R Us served its own interest very well in this case; the interest of the individual consumer was very, very badly served.  I'd say violated.  This is an example of what I mean when I talk about the free market becoming bloated and self-serving.  This is documented fact which you can confirm for yourself.  And it tears me up inside that this sort of thing can happen under the guise of free trade.  That's not what I call free trade.  I'd like to see a form of regulation that could stop that from happening.  Better yet, I'd like to be smart enough to invent a system that didn't need to be regulated against a superpower.  Free trade on the scale of a Toys R Us becomes anti-competitive.  It is destructive to exactly the ideal that allowed for its existence in the first place.
I'm not a busybody; I have better things to do than worry about somebody else's business.  But stories like the one above lead me to believe that megacorporations are my enemy.  There are entities within the free market that excercise unwarranted control over individuals, that limit the choices available to me, to you.
I'm trying to tell you that I want what you want, and megacorporations are a threat to that.  I'm telling you I'm worried about it and I think you should be too.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 04, 2004, 07:48:46 pm
Tony, you've got me wrong about a number of things.  I am not a marxist.  I am not a socialist.  I am not a communist.  I am not a fascist.  And I am not your friend.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 07, 2004, 12:05:24 am
Anyone else want to open up a third front on me?  Mike, I haven't felt the hot sting of your rhetoric lately.
Seriously, I welcome the opposition or I wouldn't have asked for it.  I'll try and have full responses up no later than tomorrow.

All I can say is not to put your faith in groups. Caveat emptor means it is all ultimately your own responsibility to watch out for yourself. Trust the individual, trust your fellow man, but most of all, trust yourself. Put not your faith in groups, of any kind be they governments, corporations, or anything else.

Quote
Preview:

Michael, we are getting closer.  I think I actually agree with more from your last post than I disagree with.

Tony, your caveman-style prose is simply intoxicating; but I'm afraid my business with you is much further from conclusion.  I'm not talking about messing with the natural law of supply and demand.  I'm saying okay, free trade is corrupted by government intervention.  Yes.  Fine.  But free trade is also corrupted from within.  This is what I will get into more when I get to it.


Tony is a polish immigrant, so please don't put down his prose (hey, in Poland, that grammar structure is elegant...;) )
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 07, 2004, 12:00:52 pm
Yeah, I actually felt really bad about that until he started calling me a marxist.  Knowing the intimate familiarity he has with those concepts actually makes the insults that much more deeply meant and deeply felt.  It's no big deal, though.  Porcupines can't be too easily hurt.
Hey, Tony, I'm sorry I criticized your English; I wouldn't have done it if I'd known you were Polish.

Mike, my mistrust in groups is exactly why I fear corporations almost as much as government, and why I keep pushing for decentralization everywhere we can cause it.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 07, 2004, 04:19:24 pm
Mike, my mistrust in groups is exactly why I fear corporations almost as much as government, and why I keep pushing for decentralization everywhere we can cause it.

This is entirely appropriate. Distrust of corporations is widespread among us here, so you aren't alone. The problem is that the behaviors which spawned that mistrust were not enabled by the corporations, they were enabled by government.

Firstly, government in the late 19th century started giving very excessive powers to corporations. Secondly, the whole tax structure is arranged to put excessive emphasis upon quarterly profits instead of long term growth. Fixing these two areas will return the behavior of corporations to a much more benign level, because they would once again be subsumed by the market, requiring them to be much more responsive to the consumer without needing government oversight agencies.

Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 07, 2004, 05:42:53 pm
Mike, my mistrust in groups is exactly why I fear corporations almost as much as government, and why I keep pushing for decentralization everywhere we can cause it.

This is entirely appropriate. Distrust of corporations is widespread among us here, so you aren't alone. The problem is that the behaviors which spawned that mistrust were not enabled by the corporations, they were enabled by government.

Firstly, government in the late 19th century started giving very excessive powers to corporations. Secondly, the whole tax structure is arranged to put excessive emphasis upon quarterly profits instead of long term growth. Fixing these two areas will return the behavior of corporations to a much more benign level, because they would once again be subsumed by the market, requiring them to be much more responsive to the consumer without needing government oversight agencies.



we could also start by not adding things like health care costs to the GDP to get a true picture of how healthy the economy is...
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: RhythmStar on February 07, 2004, 06:14:40 pm
Mike, my mistrust in groups is exactly why I fear corporations almost as much as government, and why I keep pushing for decentralization everywhere we can cause it.

This is entirely appropriate. Distrust of corporations is widespread among us here, so you aren't alone. The problem is that the behaviors which spawned that mistrust were not enabled by the corporations, they were enabled by government.

Firstly, government in the late 19th century started giving very excessive powers to corporations. Secondly, the whole tax structure is arranged to put excessive emphasis upon quarterly profits instead of long term growth. Fixing these two areas will return the behavior of corporations to a much more benign level, because they would once again be subsumed by the market, requiring them to be much more responsive to the consumer without needing government oversight agencies.



Two challenges:

1) Harnassing just anti-corporate sentiment for libertarian purposes

2) Causing people to see that using socialist remedies to corporate misbehavior only increases the grip of BOTH government and corporate collectives over the individual -- first, the government coercion usually restricts individuals as much or more than it restricts the corporate targets, and secondly, the corporates evolve effective workarounds that are often worse than the original issues.

RS
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 07, 2004, 10:03:31 pm
Mike, as previously stated, I am not a student of economics, but if this quarterly profits v. long term growth tax structure of which you speak will help the MARKET (which, Michael, is probably the word I should have used all along instead of "public" -- there's that semantics thing again!) to subordinate the power of the corporations, then I am in favor of it!

RhythmStar, you are still a mad genius!  Hey, I really think you're on to something with this anti-corporate sentiment thing.  Especially with people my age, or maybe a few years younger.  Kids in college are already being taught to hate the government, albeit for the wrong reasons (the government doesn't do ENOUGH, believe it or not).  So to them the FSP just sounds like another bunch of conspiracy theorists yammering on about the damn grassy knoll.  Not that that's accurate, but you've got to understand that we're talking about college kids, and college kids are, in the aggregate, dumb.
But CORPORATIONS!  Now that's a different thing.  Look at those anti-tobacco ads.  Truth.org or something like that puts those out.  Those have got to be having an effect.  What was the demographic of the people who participated in the WTO protests in Seattle?  What's the demographic of the people who purchase the book NO LOGO, by Naomi Klein?  You go to amazon.com and punch in the name of the book and it tells you people who bought this book also bought ______.  I mean this stuff can be found out.  Anyway, those are the people I think need to be targeted.  And I don't know for sure, but I think there could be a lot of potential freestaters on college campuses.  I know, college campuses are hotbeds of liberalism, but for every 50 or 100 liberals there's a conservative just dying to be validated.  Let's give him that validation.
And as long as we're straying from the thread, has anyone in the Boston area ever heard of a radio talkshow host named Jay Severin?  Dude, I'd be shocked if that guy's audience isn't populated with dozens -- if not thousands -- of freestaters waiting to happen.  Imagine, right in Boston!  You'd think people so close to the free state would know what's going on, but I'm willing to wager it's almost unheard of.  The only reason I know is because of an archived column I read on the backwoodshome.com website by Claire Wolfe.  I'm really glad I did, but I think the FSP has gotten all the members it's likely to get from that referral.  I think it would be money well spent to run one week's worth of ads on his show, or a Sean Hannity show.  Look, whether you agree or disagree with the individual show here is not relevant.  The thing is it gives the FSP exposure to millions of the right kind of people.  I'll say right here on the forum that I'd put up a hundred bucks to help finance a series of ads on the Jay Severin Extreme Games show in Boston.
Oh, better yet!  Someone with a pleasant image and a little charisma needs to call in to a show like that...hey, that's what I'm going to do!  I'm going to try and call the radio show and get a plug!  C'mon, gang, whaddaya think?
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 08, 2004, 12:03:29 pm
Sure, why not? We all do what we can to generate publicity. I've done several interviews, written several essays that were published, letters to the editor as well. I'm going to be interviewed this evening in an online chat at the Immortality Institute about the FSP.

Individual initiative is about how it has been from the start. The only advice I'd give you is to read the FSP website in depth first, know the official policies, so that you can readily separate your personal opinions from the group stance.

Secondly, prepare yourself for trap questions. In our case, antagonistic reporters like two things to get us on: prostitution and drugs. Since we oppose prosecution of victimless crimes, the press likes to hype that up in order to discredit us.

To respond, cite what popular support there is for medical marijuana, for instance, especially if you have numbers for the listener/viewer area, and how the US now has the largest prison population in the world, many of whome are there on simple pot posession charges, wasting taxpayer money.

If they bring up the whole "drugs support terrorism" garbage go after the reporters candidates: if the reporter is conservative, ask if George Bush was thinking of how he was supporting terrorism when he was doing coke, or if its a liberal journalist, how Al Gore was thinking about it when he was stoning out at Harvard.

Close this issue out by empasizing that this is not a core issue with most members.

Same with prostitution. Say how its not a core issue, but that we feel that women should be entitled to police protection no matter what their profession is, and that making prostitution illegal gets in the way of that. Hooking is only exploiting women when it is illegal.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 08, 2004, 12:58:46 pm
Mike, as previously stated, I am not a student of economics, but if this quarterly profits v. long term growth tax structure of which you speak will help the MARKET (which, Michael, is probably the word I should have used all along instead of "public" -- there's that semantics thing again!) to subordinate the power of the corporations, then I am in favor of it!

RhythmStar, you are still a mad genius!  Hey, I really think you're on to something with this anti-corporate sentiment thing.  Especially with people my age, or maybe a few years younger.  Kids in college are already being taught to hate the government, albeit for the wrong reasons (the government doesn't do ENOUGH, believe it or not).  So to them the FSP just sounds like another bunch of conspiracy theorists yammering on about the damn grassy knoll.  Not that that's accurate, but you've got to understand that we're talking about college kids, and college kids are, in the aggregate, dumb.
But CORPORATIONS!  Now that's a different thing.  Look at those anti-tobacco ads.  Truth.org or something like that puts those out.  Those have got to be having an effect.  What was the demographic of the people who participated in the WTO protests in Seattle?  What's the demographic of the people who purchase the book NO LOGO, by Naomi Klein?  You go to amazon.com and punch in the name of the book and it tells you people who bought this book also bought ______.  I mean this stuff can be found out.  Anyway, those are the people I think need to be targeted.  And I don't know for sure, but I think there could be a lot of potential freestaters on college campuses.  I know, college campuses are hotbeds of liberalism, but for every 50 or 100 liberals there's a conservative just dying to be validated.  Let's give him that validation.
And as long as we're straying from the thread, has anyone in the Boston area ever heard of a radio talkshow host named Jay Severin?  Dude, I'd be shocked if that guy's audience isn't populated with dozens -- if not thousands -- of freestaters waiting to happen.  Imagine, right in Boston!  You'd think people so close to the free state would know what's going on, but I'm willing to wager it's almost unheard of.  The only reason I know is because of an archived column I read on the backwoodshome.com website by Claire Wolfe.  I'm really glad I did, but I think the FSP has gotten all the members it's likely to get from that referral.  I think it would be money well spent to run one week's worth of ads on his show, or a Sean Hannity show.  Look, whether you agree or disagree with the individual show here is not relevant.  The thing is it gives the FSP exposure to millions of the right kind of people.  I'll say right here on the forum that I'd put up a hundred bucks to help finance a series of ads on the Jay Severin Extreme Games show in Boston.
Oh, better yet!  Someone with a pleasant image and a little charisma needs to call in to a show like that...hey, that's what I'm going to do!  I'm going to try and call the radio show and get a plug!  C'mon, gang, whaddaya think?

I listen every night coming home from Boston and have been on air 3 times...never about the FSP...probably to the relief of many on this forum!
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 08, 2004, 01:01:11 pm
re: the whole drugs support terrorism thing

if you can figure out a way to 'sound bite' it, you can explain how legalizing drugs is the ONLY way to stem the flow of drug money for terrorism.  I have a paper on it written by a military strategist... its pretty good - need to make it easy for ordinairy folk ta understand tho... it involves a bit of economics, which means most peoples eyes glaze over...
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 08, 2004, 03:53:51 pm
Yeah, see that's where I get less enthused.  I think it will be more effective to simply get the exposure to the right kinds of people, rather than to try and go on and make a really detailed pitch.  I'm talking about targeting people who are already ripe for conversion, if you know what I mean.  I think a sermon on the evils of big government would be preaching to the choir.

Why am I using so many church metaphors?

You know, as scintillating as it is to have our little debates on our little forum, I dare say most people think this is pretty nerdy stuff.  If you know anyone who goes to things like basball card shows, or Star Trek conventions, or gets seriously into those role-playing games, then you know how we are perceived by the teeming masses.  It's not a good idea to try and bring the atmosphere of the forum to a mainstream venue.  Face it, we're sociopolitical geeks.  And I for one am proud to wear the moniker, but we have to try for a slightly less "weird" public image.

If I were to do this on my own, I would simply go on the show and say hey, I'd like to encourage all of your listeners to go and check out freestateproject.org and give liberty in our lifetime a chance.  Or something like that.

If I took Lorrey's approach, I'm afraid of a couple things.  One, I'd almost surely say something wrong.  I've never tried to represent the views of anyone but myself before.  Two, calling in to a drive-time radio show to try and get a quick plug is a much different proposition than trying to be entertaining enough to hold the very jaded interest of a top-ten market radio audience.

Also, I like to think I've put together some fairly well-constructed thoughts in the brief time I've been participating in this forum.  But understand that I sit and labor over my posts, tailoring them to try and make them clearer and concise..r.  Speaking extemporaneously with a high-energy talkshow host is not my strongest suit.

Here's what I'm suggesting.  I'd be willing to contact the advertising department of the radio station in question and find out what it would cost for twenty thirty-second spots on the Severin show.  That's once an hour, every hour during the show, for one week.  And let's be realistic, here.  We're not talking about the country music station in Topeka, Kansas during the evening farm reports.  This is a million-plus listener market.  It's going to take some jing.  Okay, jing means money.  That's slang right there.  But hey -- if an ad campaign like that doesn't produce an additional 25,000 hits on the fsp website over and above the weekly average, then I, Andrew Wiegand, aka penguinsscareme, will personally man the dunk tank at the Porcupine Festival in June.  The Severin audience is generally adult, well-educated, affluent, constitutionally literate, and urban.  That means they're not only likely to check it out, but they're also going to be telling their friends to check it out.  Hey, let's at least put some more thought into it.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 08, 2004, 04:24:28 pm
Sample ad:

Do you know how much of your income you paid in taxes last year?  Do you want to pay even more this year?  Or do you want to do something about it?

Do you want to just go on complaining about government inefficiency and the erosion of liberty?  Or do you want to do something about it?

The Free State Project is a non-politically affiliated, nonviolent, non-profit grassroots effort to achieve Liberty in Our Lifetime.

The Free State project isn't just an attitude; it's an act.  When you're ready to act, please visit www.freestateproject.org.

The Free State Project.  Are you ready for Liberty in Our Lifetime?



Well?  How 'bout it?  Provocative enough to get attention, but not lunatic-sounding enough to scare away mainstream types.  Well, maybe enough to scare soccermoms, but they're not really the target demographic anyway.  I think something with a slightly sinister, deep-bass techno downbeat playing behind a professional voiceover of something like that script would definitely catch the ears of a hungry audience.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 08, 2004, 04:36:43 pm
Also maybe we can consider a billboard on the Mass Pike right near Fenway Park w/ nothing on it but the web address.  Holy exposure!
Well, that's all a lot of grand planning.  I realize the hundred bucks I promised toward such an effort is no more than a small deposit.
But let's see, we have over 5000 members, and a lot more friendlys.  Look, anywhere you can scrawl freestateproject.org where it will be seen by other people, preferably lots of other people, is a good thing!
I think if the fsp ends up chucking a furball it's not going to be for lack of willing participants.  It's going to be for lack of exposure.  Cripes, I'm going to start keeping a piece of chalk in my pocket at all times and scratch it onto every wall I can find until they lock me up.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 08, 2004, 04:40:42 pm
How about just a businesscard-sized ad in the back of Mother Earth News?  Those crunchy granola types would be all over this!
Man, I just see so much more we could do for ourselves.  He'p me, Jesus!
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 08, 2004, 06:54:50 pm
How about just a businesscard-sized ad in the back of Mother Earth News?  Those crunchy granola types would be all over this!
Man, I just see so much more we could do for ourselves.  He'p me, Jesus!

not if the FSP's approach to the environment is to further privatize the commons it won't...

I represent a minority position within the greens (Geo-Lib) and there is no give and take at all on this issue here on this forum...
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 08, 2004, 08:02:24 pm
No, no, Bill, you're not doing it right.  Stop thinking about the specific issue of tree hugging!  Think of the amazon.com model (I realize you can't see me right now but I want you to know I'm making condescending gestures regarding your intelligence).  Not one specific title, but "people who bought this book also bought _____."  I.e., people who read Mother Earth News also tend to embrace self-reliance.  Self reliance -- hey!  I bet people who like self reliance would be more open to the idea of the fsp than, say, readers of The New Yorker!

Not all Mother Earth News readers will be rugged individualists, of course.  But I'll bet there's significant overlap.  Ask around -- I'll bet several fsp members also read or used to read Mother Earth News.  Ask Tracy Saboe, or Rod Schmidt, or Top Dollar.

There's a market here!  I'm telling you, once you learn how to look, you just see more and more until it's just overwhelming where such a short time ago it seemed so empty!


Oh, hey, and that's not the best part.  Listen to what I thought up while I was finding money in the washing machine again.  If all the fsp members just wrote the web address on all their cash whenever they got change, or went to the atm, or got paid, or robbed a drug dealer, our exposure would increase, like, exponentially!!  And it wouldn't cost any money at all!  It would just happen in the natural course of business!
Wow, man, that's hot.

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: penguinsscareme on February 08, 2004, 10:13:54 pm
I've started a new thread specifically about the dollar bill thing.  Check it out on publicity and recruiting.

http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=4;action=display;threadid=5516

Andrew
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 09, 2004, 12:56:46 am
No, no, Bill, you're not doing it right.  Stop thinking about the specific issue of tree hugging!  Think of the amazon.com model (I realize you can't see me right now but I want you to know I'm making condescending gestures regarding your intelligence).  Not one specific title, but "people who bought this book also bought _____."  I.e., people who read Mother Earth News also tend to embrace self-reliance.  Self reliance -- hey!  I bet people who like self reliance would be more open to the idea of the fsp than, say, readers of The New Yorker!

Not all Mother Earth News readers will be rugged individualists, of course.  But I'll bet there's significant overlap.  Ask around -- I'll bet several fsp members also read or used to read Mother Earth News.  Ask Tracy Saboe, or Rod Schmidt, or Top Dollar.

There's a market here!  I'm telling you, once you learn how to look, you just see more and more until it's just overwhelming where such a short time ago it seemed so empty!

Coming from the decentralist & self-reliance wing of the greens I have been pointing out the connections to folks here but have mostly been derided for my attempts...good luck!
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 09, 2004, 06:14:13 am
bill,
Re: Greens and the commons and not liking privatization....

I don't know, I am sure not all 'greenies' are into the georgist thing... but I think you are right in that the environment is the lib achilles heel when dealing with the left (dems, socialists, greens, et al).  Although I truly believe that the 'environment will be better taken care of in private hands, we need more 'proof' to show...

michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 09, 2004, 06:25:42 am
bill,
Re: Greens and the commons and not liking privatization....

I don't know, I am sure not all 'greenies' are into the georgist thing... but I think you are right in that the environment is the lib achilles heel when dealing with the left (dems, socialists, greens, et al).  Although I truly believe that the 'environment will be better taken care of in private hands, we need more 'proof' to show...

michael

dead on, Michael!

thanks for "going out on a limb"...
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 09, 2004, 07:37:28 am
Bill,
why do you say 'out on a limb'?

I doubt if there are many, if any, AnCappers/NeoCon libs/Rightie Libs that would disagree with that statement... its pretty obvious we need more 'proof' that privatization works, AND, if in the process of 'testing' these 'theories' it doesn't seem to be working, then I would gladly sway over a bit to the 'greenie' side of things... I believe that privatization increases liberty AND is generally in the better interests of all involved... if a great amount of people are 'harmed' by the privatization, I would second guess my dogma...

always with you in spirit, Bill, we want 'good' not rampant evil...
michael
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Tony Stelik on February 09, 2004, 02:55:14 pm
Stewardship of the private owners is providing much better results than common ownership, which means nobody owns it and respectively nobody cares (see socialism in former soviet union, and everywhere).
The solution for right environmental conservation is executing end protecting individual rights of the owners. I am not able to provide examples of results of private ownership but it is very easy to see what happens when government is taking care of environment. Taking a swim in Vistula – Poland back in 1980 was causing serious dermatological problems. It was not the most polluted river by the way. Forests were cut down without even the reason and pine trees were planted only by private farmers. Chemical fertilizers were spread in February or March when ground was still frozen and heavy equipment could travel through. Result – the snow on cooperate farms in all eastern block was red. Soon after, all chemicals where going with the melted snow directly to the rivers, but this did not bother anybody. Plan of fertilization was done in 110% ahead of time and party members received annual portion of honorable orders and recommendations. Or look what is happening in reign forests in Latin America. Those governments over there are experimenting now with the “fairest” system under the sun – international socialism (communism) with some  touch of national socialism (fascism) and they are bypassing achievements of even former eastern block.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 09, 2004, 03:37:18 pm
Good points, Tony. All one has to do to compare private ownership of land with public ownership is look at the environmental records of eastern europe and the USSR, as well as China, vs the US.

Even today, where we have the UN trying to come up with a fair accounting system for CO2 sources and sinks, the US and Canada are an immense CO2 sink because there is so much private land where forests are growing and being properly managed. Europes socialistic systems do not provide as much stimulus, and as a result Europe is still a CO2 source.

Within the US, we can look at public lands vs private lands, and see that all of the massive forest fires occuring in the West occur on public lands under federal management/mismanagement, where idiot special interest Green groups block all attempts at forest management, resulting in widespread overfuelled ground. Private land owners manage their lands, log responsibly, because they know they will see mismanagement impact their resale value.

I went camping a few years ago in the Bitteroot Mountains in southwestern Montana. I was amazed at the immense amount of dead wood on the ground. I attended a National Rainbow Family Gathering, which attracted 20,000 people for a month of camping. By the end of the month, only half the dead wood on the ground had been consumed by campers.

That is a LOT of dead wood on the ground. I estimated it averaged a cord of wood on the ground for every 200 square feet.

This was national forest land. A month after we left, the Bitteroot forests went up in flames.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: RhythmStar on February 09, 2004, 04:00:38 pm
Good points, Tony. All one has to do to compare private ownership of land with public ownership is look at the environmental records of eastern europe and the USSR, as well as China, vs the US.

Even today, where we have the UN trying to come up with a fair accounting system for CO2 sources and sinks, the US and Canada are an immense CO2 sink because there is so much private land where forests are growing and being properly managed. Europes socialistic systems do not provide as much stimulus, and as a result Europe is still a CO2 source.

Within the US, we can look at public lands vs private lands, and see that all of the massive forest fires occuring in the West occur on public lands under federal management/mismanagement, where idiot special interest Green groups block all attempts at forest management, resulting in widespread overfuelled ground. Private land owners manage their lands, log responsibly, because they know they will see mismanagement impact their resale value.

I went camping a few years ago in the Bitteroot Mountains in southwestern Montana. I was amazed at the immense amount of dead wood on the ground. I attended a National Rainbow Family Gathering, which attracted 20,000 people for a month of camping. By the end of the month, only half the dead wood on the ground had been consumed by campers.

That is a LOT of dead wood on the ground. I estimated it averaged a cord of wood on the ground for every 200 square feet.

This was national forest land. A month after we left, the Bitteroot forests went up in flames.

As of 1990, the US was a net producer of CO2 by 4956 million metric tons.   I doubt that much has changed to the positive in the intervening 14 years.

http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~owen/CHPI/IMAGES/co2emit.html (http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~owen/CHPI/IMAGES/co2emit.html)

So, despite the 436 million metric tons worth of sink represented by forestry, we are still HUGE producers of CO2.

RS
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 09, 2004, 04:44:31 pm
None of which disputes what I said. You did not, I'll note, specify what the size of the european sink is...
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: BillG on February 09, 2004, 08:15:07 pm
Tony and Mike - once again you are completely conflating the differences between private - collective - common ownership...

common ownership rights are individual and inalienable, equal access rights to natural resources

collective ownership rights are delegated to the state and their elected officials who can dispose of the property as they see fit.

For example, a public right of way is literally a *right* of way. Under principles of common law, nobody, not even the king, could close a travelled road and make it private property. A state maintenance truck, on the other hand, is state property, which can be sold if it no longer suits state purposes.
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: LeopardPM on February 09, 2004, 08:48:33 pm
inalienable?

you're telling me that 'the king', could not impose a road toll, or close the road as he saw fit? even with force of arms?  I doubt it
Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: RhythmStar on February 09, 2004, 11:11:59 pm
None of which disputes what I said. You did not, I'll note, specify what the size of the european sink is...

You said

Quote
Even today, where we have the UN trying to come up with a fair accounting system for CO2 sources and sinks, the US and Canada are an immense CO2 sink because there is so much private land where forests are growing and being properly managed. Europes socialistic systems do not provide as much stimulus, and as a result Europe is still a CO2 source.

My reading of this was that you were implying that somehow, the US and Canada were "an immense CO2 sink", whereas Europe was "still a CO2 source".  In fact, both continents are net CO2 producers by a vast margin.

Furthermore, your politically-motivated ramblings wrt to the carbon sinks in Europe vs North America are simply that -- the data that I have found indicates that your claims of US forests being more efficient carbon sinks than European ones is pure conjecture and demonstrably false:

http://www.efi.fi/news/2001/pnas_eng.html (http://www.efi.fi/news/2001/pnas_eng.html)

The American and European forests contained more carbon than the Canadian and Russian forests (56 versus 41 tons per hectare). Among the European countries, Austria, France and Germany had notably large stocks. The rate of storage, in tons carbon per hectare per year, varied from country to country during the 1980s and 1990s. It was highest in Europe (0.84) and America (0.66), and least in Canada and China (0.29), with values for Russia in between (0.44). Thus, the sink distribution between North America and Eurasia was roughly in proportion with the forest area.

So, the managed forestry of the US is not any better at carbon sink performance than the forests of Europe.  And in fact, Russia has the most carbon sink forest of any nation, while Canadas boreal forests are actually losing carbon.

FWIW, this study is a bit dated... new information has become available for Europe.  The EU now claims that almost 30% of their industrial emissions are already being sequestered by their forests:

http://www.edie.net/gf.cfm?L=left_frame.html&R=http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/4934.cfm (http://www.edie.net/gf.cfm?L=left_frame.html&R=http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/4934.cfm)

After much argument about whether countries should be allowed to use carbon sinks to offset carbon emissions - with Europe adamantly against their use until recently - EU research commissioner Philippe Busquin has announced evidence that nearly 30% of annual industrial carbon emissions in Europe are absorbed by the European biosphere.

So, politics aside, it looks like EU is doing pretty good on the carbon issue and is poised to do better.   Rather than pat ourselves on the back for 'right-thinking', we should be thinking of non-socialist ways to do better than them at balancing our own carbon cycle.

RS

Title: Re:Mexico City
Post by: Mike Lorrey on February 09, 2004, 11:28:02 pm
I never said that the US forests were more efficient carbon sinks. You are putting words in my mouth. I said that the US has more forest land than europe (it does).