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Author Topic: Mexico City  (Read 19055 times)

penguinsscareme

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #15 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!
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penguinsscareme

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #16 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.
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Mike Lorrey

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #17 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.

Quote
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.
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LeopardPM

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #18 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
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penguinsscareme

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #19 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.
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LeopardPM

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #20 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
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penguinsscareme

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #21 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.
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lloydbob1

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #22 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
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Tony Stelik

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #23 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.
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lloydbob1

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2004, 02:30:21 pm »

Tony,
I'm hoping to get invited to dinner next tme you have chicken.
LLoyd
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penguinsscareme

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #25 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.
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thrivetacobell

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #26 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.
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Mike Lorrey

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #27 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.
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BillG

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #28 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
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Kelton Baker

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Re:Mexico City
« Reply #29 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.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2004, 11:13:09 pm by Kelton Baker »
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