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Posted by on 01/25/08 (G7)

I know it’s been some time since the last sprinkling of news or commentary spreads here at G7′s dot com property, so we figured we’d post an update to let you know what’s been going on, and what we have in the works for 2008.

So let’s get started!

Yup. Let’s fire this thing up!

Uh.

What’s that?

Oh. Nothing? Nothing. Aaalllllrighty.

Sorry folks, false alarm.

43 fragments of dialogue thus far ...

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  • Comment by tom on January 25th, 2008 at 8:09 pm:

    good to hear! well, the beer is showing, and so is your dink. please. do. something. anything. i got nothing. damn.

  • Comment by tom on January 25th, 2008 at 8:27 pm:

    oh id like to thank bits for offering me some mind bending criticisms back there. by that i mean thank you, your post hit my brain like a…um…i really appreciate it! i learn from. it. k. thanks bits. beer.

  • Comment by asshole on January 26th, 2008 at 3:40 am:

    Stuck for something to talk about?

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A

    Discussion time? Or not?

  • Comment by DickShit on January 26th, 2008 at 7:33 pm:

    I’d just like to say that I’m just over 300 pages into Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” and I can already tell this is the most important book I’ve ever read.
    Being both a young banger and activist, forged in the flames of the post illegal invasion of Iraq, this book is making it all make sense.

    It’s about fuckshit up there and his economic model; it’s about globalization; it’s about capitalism; it’s about the full and complete amalgamation of business and state; it’s about (p.r firms, politicians) War prophiteers; it’s about fuckshits around the world being callous and complict throughout the whole thing and not having a full understanding of what’s going on.
    Don’t be a fuckshit. Read this book.
    The next time some poseur asks you why the U.S invaded Iraq, you can say more than just “oil, Israel or Halliburton.”

    The premise of the book is that it takes a “shock” to initiate a policy that has been sitting around for a while. For example, in Iraq it took lots of bombs and an invasion to ‘shock’ the country. Further, with mass violence surrounding people there everyday, they now don’t give a fuck about who’s looking at privitizing and prophiting off what, they care about surviving. Thus, with the shock in place, Iraq is now ‘open for business’ for mulitnational corporations.

    Klein says that this started with Milton Friedman and Pinochet in Chile in 1973 and has continued ever since.

    Now, I wonder with all this talk about the U.S economy hitting a recession and the talks of the SPP (security and prosperity partnership), if we should keep our heads up for that one?

    Shock of recession + people being dumb = SPP implementation?

    Info on SPP: http://www.canadians...ers/guide/index.html

  • Comment by asshole on January 27th, 2008 at 3:36 am:

    The Shock Doctrine was half useful information, half utter crap. When she presents all the facts, they turn out to be very useful. The chapters on war profiteering and use of torture were very good. But she is VERY deceitful when she comes to presenting her arguments about the free market.

    She, if anyone, is the one guilty of using the ‘shock doctrine’. She slaps a book together with a stand-out cover, delivers a very emotionally charged sprint of tiny chapters, each briefly explaining about 15% of a disaster around the world. She explains very little, only that Milton Friedman destroyed (insert nation here) and caused a wave of tyranny. For example, Chile. The revolution started, there was a coup. According to Klein, the fascist dictators using Friedman’s policies, started torturing and killing people. I’m not shortening down anything, when you read through the emotional passion she puts into her book, you really learn nothing. The facts are sparse and twisted. Chile WAS overthrown by a dictator who went around torturing and killing people. But this has NOTHING to do with a free market! It would of happened even if Pinochet was a socialist! And whats more, before and for the most part of the time he was in control, the market was NOT free and the economy continued to suck. Until the late 80s, where he tried opening up the free market, and what happens? Chile’s economy recovers, and it becomes a prosperous nation. During the late 80s, it’s GDP capita went from one of the worse on the continent to the best, all due to the free market.

    However, she ignores the above ‘details’, and just dives straight into her association game: “dictatorship and free markets around the 70s-80s in Chile caused oppression and torture!”, relying on the fact that due to her incredibly emotional style of writing, the reader will take her word for it and not do any further research. Using a state of euphoria and excitement to get readers to believe “facts” which are wrong when you dig down to the roots? Look whos using the shock doctrine now Klein.

    God I hate Klein.

  • Comment by DickShit on January 27th, 2008 at 2:42 pm:

    Did somebody say “utter crap [song]“?
    “I laughed, I cried (well I tried, but I laughed again) . Who the fuck needs a caricature to be their friend?”

    Just kidding A-hole, you’re not a ‘caricature’, but I do disagree with you about “the shock doctrine” and Naomi Klein.
    To me, this book has been connecting so many dots. It’s taken the knowledge I’ve obtained from authors like William Blum and provided a viable motive as to why the U.S and its allies have interfered with so many countries around the world. Moreover, I personally do not feel she relies on “her incredibly emotional style of writing.” Conversely, I feel she has done some amazing investigative journalism, and coined one of the most important books out there right now.

    You mentioned that you thought the fact that Pinochet was torturing and killing people in Chile had nothing to do with his economic policies, Milton Friedman or the United States. I disagree. I am inclined to suggest that the reason mass killing and torture were used was because Pinochet was not democratically elected (like Allende), he was a puppet to the U.S. and he was used to initiate a ‘shock’ so Friedman and various other right wing ideologues could embark upon creating the “free” market economy prevalent today all over the world.

    Now, back to hide “inside my room like a fucking coward (what? please kill me).”

  • Comment by asshole on January 28th, 2008 at 6:05 am:

    That’s kind of what I was trying to describe when I said she was using the association game. She tries to get the reader into believing that economic policy implementation is the same as shock used in warfare. But in this case, Chile really benefited Friedman. Klein might try to suggest that ‘several right wing groups’ in the US wanted to open the free market, but this simply isn’t true. Friedman and another lecturer I can’t remeber were the only Americans involved. They educated a bunch of Chilean students who then went to advise Pinochet, and bam the country shoots up. The US government had nothing to do with it. On the contrary, the US government would HATE a free market. How could they exist without all the tax thier mixed economy takes? A free market would mean a budget not big enough for the US’s empire building. You see Bush shaking hands with Milton, but in fact Bush is (was…) scared shitless of him.

    How dare Klein accuse him of being some torture loving war fanatic. He is the enemy of the people in the whitehouse, the polar opposite. He has improved the lives of so many people around the world (in Chile, India, Hong Kong…), not for his own benefit, but because he wanted to help people. What has Klein done? Cashed in with a book.

  • Comment by rippin on January 28th, 2008 at 7:10 pm:

    I just read this tidbit from The Rebel Spell’s page. http://71.18.58.125/wordpress/?p=35
    Fuck it scares the hell out of me more and everyday of what our “World Leaders” have planned for us. I think I’ll fire some of my own missiles in the form of emails to ATK.

  • Comment by DickShit on January 28th, 2008 at 10:43 pm:

    In the book it is said that NeoLiberalism is “planned misery”.
    Eh men.

    As we saw in Chile in 1973 with Pinochet, Milton Friedman’s ideological crusade consists of no minimum wage, no social spending or programs, no rights for workers and no government (that works for the people).
    Naturally, for a leader like that to come in to power violence, repression, subversion of democracy, terror, etc. are all necessary (the shock). There is simply too much for the average person to lose.

    In order for Friedman’s economic models to be implemented, goofs like Pinochet and Suharto were necessary: http://www.democracy...ictator_us_ally_mass

    I don’t think Bush, or any other bullshit politician, is (or was) too scared of neither Friedman nor his cronies.

  • Comment by asshole on January 29th, 2008 at 6:15 pm:

    Liberalism isn’t planned anything. It’s government non-interventionism, which means a more flat, fair playing ground for everyone.

    I could write essays on why the minimum wage fucks people up. It does protect some people (mainly adults who haven’t progressed past minimum wage work), but it keeps a vast number of people unemployed, which means higher tax for social welfare, which brings down wages anyway… but instead of me ranting, try google. These are good ones (if G7 allows links):
    http://www.balancedp...org/minimum_wage.htm
    http://www.fff.org/comment/ed1298a.asp
    And I think you would be one of the people to realize that governments never work for the people… and what’s more, these ideas don’t need aren’t necessary, for lots of reasons. One, because they create a fare more prosperous country, as shown by the huge changes in welfare of the people in places like India and Hong Kong. Two, because these ideas might be bought into practice in the USA next election, if Ron Paul gets in. That’s why I feel like sticking pencils up Naomi’s nostrils, when she says ‘these ideas are always tremendously unpopular, causing unemployment, war’ ect… they aren’t unpopular, most people who have studied economics have the brains to see that it is the best way to run society. Which is why it’s so popular in universities and colleges. It causes unemployment? This is what pisses me of. It does the polar opposite, it helps employment rates 10 fold. But once again, she just says it with no proof, and boom. You have a whole army of book readers convinced that free markets are the tools of the devil. Fucking Klein…

    Look in the republican debates to see how scared the politicians are of Ron Paul (aka Friedman in politician mode). They hate him, they all gang up to try and make him look bad. He opposes his ‘fellow’ republicans on nearly every issue. But he’s constantly winning the debates, just look at the polls.

  • Comment by asshole on January 29th, 2008 at 6:18 pm:

    Above, when I said ‘these ideas aren’t necessary’, I was referring to when you said ‘Naturally, for a leader like that to come in to power violence, repression, subversion of democracy, terror, etc. are all necessary (the shock)’. My mistake.

  • Comment by diddee on January 29th, 2008 at 9:48 pm:

    Asshole, what do you think of Chomsky’s responses to the below questions? I’m curious to hear a libertarian rebuttal.

    Hello Mr. Chomsky.
    I’m assuming you know who Ron Paul is.
    And I’m also assuming you have a general idea about his positions.

    Here my summary of Mr. Paul’s positions:
    - He values property rights, and contracts between people (defended by law enforcement and courts).

    Under all circumstances? Suppose someone facing starvation accepts a contract with General Electric that requires him to work 12 hours a day locked into a factory with no health-safety regulations, no security, no benefits, etc. And the person accepts it because the alternative is that his children will starve. Fortunately, that form of savagery was overcome by democratic politics long ago. Should all of those victories for poor and working people be dismantled, as we enter into a period of private tyranny (with contracts defended by law enforcement)? Not my cup of tea.

    - He wants to take away the unfair advantage corporations have (via the dismantling of big government)

    “Dismantling of big government” sounds like a nice phrase. What does it mean? Does it mean that corporations go out of existence, because there will no longer be any guarantee of limited liability? Does it mean that all health, safety, workers rights, etc., go out the window because they were instituted by public pressures implemented through government, the only component of the governing system that is at least to some extent accountable to the public (corporations are unaccountable, apart from generally weak regulatory apparatus)? Does it mean that the economy should collapse, because basic R&D is typically publicly funded — like what we’re now using, computers and the internet? Should we eliminate roads, schools, public transportation, environmental regulation,….? Does it mean that we should be ruled by private tyrannies with no accountability to the general public, while all democratic forms are tossed out the window? Quite a few questions arise.

    - He defends workers right to organize (so long as owners have the right to argue against it).

    Rights that are enforced by state police power, as you’ve already mentioned.

    There are huge differences between workers and owners. Owners can fire and intimidate workers, not conversely. just for starters. Putting them on a par is effectively supporting the rule of owners over workers, with the support of state power — itself largely under owner control, given concentration of resources.

    - He proposes staying out of the foreign affairs of other nations (unless his home is directly attacked, and must respond to defend it).

    He is proposing a form of ultranationalism, in which we are concerned solely with our preserving our own wealth and extraordinary advantages, getting out of the UN, rejecting any international prosecution of US criminals (for aggressive war, for example), etc. Apart from being next to meaningless, the idea is morally unacceptable, in my view.

    I really can’t find differences between your positions and his.

    There’s a lot more. Take Social Security. If he means what he says literally, then widows, orphans, the disabled who didn’t themselves pay into Social Security should not benefit (or of course those awful illegal aliens). His claims about SS being “broken” are just false. He also wants to dismantle it, by undermining the social bonds on which it is based — the real meaning of offering younger workers other options, instead of having them pay for those who are retired, on the basis of a communal decision based on the principle that we should have concern for others in need. He wants people to be able to run around freely with assault rifles, on the basis of a distorted reading of the Second Amendment (and while we’re at it, why not abolish the whole raft of constitutional provisions and amendments, since they were all enacted in ways he opposes?).

    So I have these questions:

    1) Can you please tell me the differences between your schools of “Libertarianism”?

    There are a few similarities here and there, but his form of libertarianism would be a nightmare, in my opinion — on the dubious assumption that it could even survive for more than a brief period without imploding.

    2) Can you please tell me what role “private property” and “ownership” have in your school of “Libertarianism”?

    That would have to be worked out by free communities, and of course it is impossible to respond to what I would prefer in abstraction from circumstances, which make a great deal of difference, obviously.

    http://www.geekarmy....on-paul/#postcomment

  • Comment by Yaniv on January 30th, 2008 at 12:12 pm:

    Paul’s libertarian, raw capitalist ideas have their theoretical foundation in different thinkers, but I think the most important and contemporary is Nozick and his “Anarchy, State, and Utopia.” Some anarchists like Murray Bookchin have been tantalized in the past by the Libertarian Party’s anti-state ideas. But anarchists, or libertarian socialists, are opposed to capitalism, too. So it makes no sense to support “libertarians” who want to privatize everything conceivable in this planet and subsume everyday life under markets and exchange-value.

    It is politically inconsistent to vote for someone like Paul insofar as one claims to be opposed to capitalism and work to reverse and dismantle its logic and foundations. It is also less probable that real fundamental and systemic change will come by seizing state-power. The answer lies in changing power-relations without taking power, I think.

  • Comment by asshole on January 30th, 2008 at 10:20 pm:

    I’ll try to briefly sum up my responses, again more detailed answers can be found by google.

    1: Workers rights: if a man has to work 12 hours a day to afford to live, he should be able to. Why would stopping him be a good idea? As for safety, it is in the companies best interests, in a free market, to keep thier workers safe. There is always a demand for workers. If one company offered a job with the same rate of pay, but with a record of workers not dying, then workers will employ there, the place which kills/injures workers will not get employees. In a free market, where companies would have to compete for employees, it is always in the best interests for a company to keep it’s workers safe.

    2: Um, there seem to be too many points risen to counter them all, but if you study free market economics, you will see that privatized roads, schools and such are far better than government funded alternatives. The market creates a demand for roads to be kept in good condition, for schools to keep students getting good grades ect, instead of giving everyone a government cheque, making a botched job (as we see in transport and schools today), and not getting any financial injuries. Market = efficiency. Also look up free market environmentalism.

    3: I’m not too sure what Chomsky means here, but he’s wrong if he thinks thats governments will support owners as opposed to employees. The state won’t ‘support’ any company. The open market does a far better job.

    4: And so it should be. Why should the government forcibly take away our money, to use it how they see fit overseas? Why shouldn’t we be free to give it as we see fit as individuals, through charity? Sounds a lot more fair to me, and that way government won’t be supporting revolutions in foreign lands any more. Remember, Ron Paul doesn’t want to stop foreign aid, he just wants people to make up thier mind as individuals if and how much to give, instead of governments deciding for us.

    5: As again, he’s not stopping social security. But it should be done by voluntary donations, as opposed to the government forcing money out of our hands. You might think it’s OK to take money in such a way, but I consider it theft.

    6: I think that Chomsky’s views are more similar to capitalist libertarianism then he thinks. His comments about how ‘safety regulations aren’t enforced by law’ is fairly strange, seeing as he is the one who supports anarchism.

    Yaniv, I’m not an anti-capitalist. I think it’s the best way of conserving the right of the individual to do as he/she pleases.

  • Comment by tom on January 31st, 2008 at 1:08 am:

    hey asshole! haha…here’s my counter points. i find it interesting to see ron paul on this sight, i’ve been argiung with one of my friends about him.

    1. having worked a non-unionized, private sector job(s) for the past 10 years of my life, i just cannot agree with anything you said in point one. free market rhetoric looks good on paper, but in practice, unless you’re very lucky, it’s a very different world. your statements completely ignore the plight of poor and working people who have to work 12 hours days to feed their children. shouldn’t the question be why do people have to work 12 hour days to stay alive, while, largely, owners and managers live in economic security, excess, and extreme privilege? sure, a lot of bigger, more publicly known institutions encourage safe workplaces, but for the most part, employers and owners are more interested in saving a buck than safety. just look at the injury/death on the job statistics. they speak for themselves. just seems like what you said is completely out of context of the countless millions (in western industrial nations, not too mention the endless number of sweatshops in the “developing world”), who will get whatever job they can land, regardless of the lack of safety conditions etc… especially immigrant labour, where there’s no security at all. immigrants all over north america work in the most slave-like conditions of all.

    2. oh, i live in quebec, i think i can claim that government funded roads are total shit, a completely outdated method of mass commuting. a failure. not to mention the public screaming for cleaner, more efficient methods of transport. and as we can clearly see schools, and in canada, health care, is slowly going down the drain. but for you to suggest private schools and privately-funded public infrastructure etc…as a future goal really scares me. to think that everyones education would be in the hands of private power is just fucking terrifying. just completely unviable, unsustainable solution that only the rich could afford. not to mention, the countless billions of dollars, through tax relief, loop holes etc fed to so many giant, rich corporations, who are largely funded by the public to begin with. and so the conentration of wealth and power continues…

    3. governments do support employers. puh-lease, in north america at least, where people have to work 40-50-60 hours a week just to scape by? with so little time alloted to leisure, vacations etc… while owners/managers get all the benefits, security etc…with welfare and unemployment benefits continually being cut, economic security for most workers is nearly all but evaporated. while owners, managers make 3-10 the amount of “unskilled” labour…c’mon, theres a huge gaping disparity that is so clear to see.

    4. well id agree on the whole choosing where our tax money goes thing. i wouldnt support any current foreign intervention policies, corporate welfare. i would however support immense increases to taxes for the rich, and corporations. i would support mandatory taxes for schools, hospitals, housing, and public economic security, which does not exist in north america.

    5. so, no.

    6. umm, what? he’s speaking in context of safety regulations which exist right here and now but are not enforced. im too tired.

    anyways, thats my bit. yaniv man your posts are cool. thats awesome.

  • Comment by falcore on January 31st, 2008 at 2:00 am:

    Asshole
    I) Companies have in the past hired paramilitary organizations to intimidate and even murder workers fighting for their rights not to have to work 12 hours a day. As far as safety I have yet to have the experience of a safety or injury report shown to me during the interview process.

    2)markets=efficiency=profits(for owners)=wage slavery(for the rest)
    Look at South America or India, Neo-liberal policies seem to me very close to a free market system which collapsed in places like Argentina and let to ridiculous attempts at privatization such a Bechtel trying to privatize the water system including the collection of rain water. Or Monsanto in India lobbying to make seed saving illegal while they sold their self terminating seeds.

    3) Have you been sleeping for the past 6-60 yrs Government (the US) has bailed out the airlines, banks, and has been giving away publicly subsidized technology to business. Not to mention protecting Corporations rights to monopolize profits while restricting access to things like Pharmaceuticals. Not to mention the DEA ‘s war on Hemp which was made illegal on behalf of Dupont’s processing oil interest. Also I will just assume you have heard of Iraq and the attempt to privatize about half of their oil.

    4)I agree that people should have the right to choose whom they support or to insure that the support (economic) given is being used as intended. You can find out how much the Government takes from you each year but how much do private companies take every year and I mean not just from their workers not including the communities they operate in.

    5) Then the share holders or owners of the company you work for are also thieves. They take in the same way you are not asked if you want to give a certain amount to the Company they just take it and you have no representation that you could possibly influence to direct where the money goes

    6) I think with that comment about how ’safety regulations aren’t enforced by law’ he was illustrating that companies do not follow safety protocols
    and to their benefit the Government regulatory system ie: OSHA (in the US)
    do not enforce the regulations. Like the FCC allowing massive amounts of multimedia and Telecom consolidation. The FDA playing musical chairs with CEO’s in the Pharmaceutical industry to approve drugs that are not fully tested and are latter recalled .

    I think this quote from John Dewey (which i originally heard from Chomsky)
    does a nice job of summing my point of view up…
    “Government is the shadow cast over society by big business”

  • Comment by asshole on January 31st, 2008 at 10:21 pm:

    Hey guys! I’ll both try to answer both your points in one go, so here goes…

    1) In a free market, people will never be forced to work 12 hour days, so I don’t know the situation you are talking about, but in a libertarian free market, peoples individual rights are protected by the law. This includes the right not to work. Contracts are only made if both parties are willing.

    2) The idea of wage slavery is fairly redundant. It is trying to avoid the simple fact that in order to exist, you have to do something that will make it worth people supporting you. Even in anarchist society, I’d say people don’t have wage slavery, but social slavery. The Argentinian Crisis wasn’t caused by liberal policies, but by a huge government deficit, which would never happened if the government were contained, like in a free market.

    3) No government subsidization would occur in free markets. Most wester democracies are mid way between capitalism and socialism. In NZ, we had a period of privatization in the 80′s which resulted in a booming economy. Too bad it was all nationalized as soon as government realized it was missing out on a big profit… the only case where a service had to be nationalized was Auckland Airport, which was due to internal corruption.

    4) Well if you want to support schools, social security and so forth, that’s your decision Tom. Do it through donations. But why do you think you have the power to force your beliefs on others? This is why I’m skeptical about the name ‘libertarian socialists’. Libertarianism means freedom to make choices yourself. Socialism means others tell you what you do (as you are doing, saying it is mandatory for people to pay for schools, social securities…). Taxing the rich very highly will result in what happened to the USSR; nobody is motivated to put up big business, which leads the economy to a standstill, and countries collapse. Reward is the reason we have all the amazing technology around us.

    5) I’m not too sure what you mean here, Falcore. Do you mean when companies (or in most cases, governments) force us to pay for workers insurance?

    6) Which is why I support abolishing all the departments of regulation. They are just bureaucracies which one a product has the ‘official stamp’, the company is protected from any blowback from the market. There is HUGE proof that the FDA has done more harm then good, that more people would be alive today if the FDA didn’t regulate anything. If drugs were released prematurely, before all testing is completed, then sure, some will be bad. I’m sure you can name some examples, where USA managed to save lives through keeping a drug out the country. However, these amount of lives saved are tiny, compared to the number of lives that have been lost, waiting for drugs which turn out to be completely safe, from entering the market, due to the FDA. I support private companies, which can test drugs, and give them a seal of approval. If you want to buy drugs without this seal, then it is your own personal freedom to do so. If you are faced with death, surely even untested drugs would be better than just dying without a hope.

    Government IS the shadow cast over society by big business. So let’s stop government from helping the big business, and stop government regulating new businesses to the point where they have no money.

  • Comment by asshole on January 31st, 2008 at 10:42 pm:

    which *once* a product has the ‘official stamp’… my mistake again.

  • Comment by falcore on February 1st, 2008 at 5:19 am:

    asshole
    i think the real solutions will come from the population at large and the organizations they create i don’t think that one person can possibly imagine what every body else needs so instead of putting your faith in arbitrary positions of power especially ones that rely on economic power such as Presidents, Senators, CEO’s, and Dominate shareholders its okay to put faith in those around you we are all stronger that we think we are. We are capable of running our own lives as individuals as a well as in organizations and the byproduct of these should be , if the species is to survive, that we all have equal access to life’s necessities as well as an equal share in the surplus that we create. I think that we only need the space to create the organizational structures on how to achieve these basic goals. Any dogmatic definition of how to interact with each other will always be a prison because people change and so society as a whole should be able to to react and not be under economic duress or political suppression.

  • Comment by falcore on February 1st, 2008 at 5:52 am:

    i cut and pasted these enjoy:

    The explosive events of mid December 2001 that toppled two presidents and left 30 dead in Argentina represent the culmination and logical outcome of almost 26 years of neoliberal economic policies. The common demand among the looters, the looted, and most of the middle classes was that the economic regime had to change.

    People also said “Enough!” to politics as usual, corruption, and clientelism. Colorful chants peppered with plenty of insults were directed at finance minister Domingo Cavallo, then-president Fernando De la Rúa, ex-president Carlos Menem, the Supreme Court, and the entire political class.

    Neoliberalism takes root in Argentina: 1976-1999

    Absent from most media coverage, however, was the massive looting of Argentina’s wealth and assets, the product of 25 years of neoliberal policies.

    The country’s neoliberal experiment began on March 24, 1976 when the most brutal dictatorship in Argentina’s 20th century history came to power through a military coup. The military’s economic policy reversed decades of protectionist development policies aimed at industrialization and developing the internal market.

    The main contributions of the military government to neoliberalism were the partial opening of goods markets to trade, (causing many local enterprises to go bankrupt), the opening of capital markets giving rise to the prominence of international financial speculation in Argentina, and brutal repression of what was a militant and organized labor force, leaving 30,000 “disappeared” and wiping out a generation of activists.

    The dictatorship ended in economic, social, and military disaster (remember the Falklands/Malvinas war?). The country’s industrial capacity had shrunk by 30 percent and capital flight had dramatically increased Argentina’s foreign debt. To make matters worse, income distribution had become highly unequal, leading to the disappearance of much of Argentina’s middle class.

    Civilian Raúl Alfonsín came to power in 1983 and tried to reverse the military’s neoliberal policies. While initially successful, support for Alfonsín’s plan began to erode when both labor and capital found themselves with declining real income.

    After several increasingly orthodox adjustments, the economic situation once again became unmanageable. Argentina’s foreign debt spiraled out of control, capital flight resumed, and increasing hostility from the international financial institutions created a chaotic domestic situation that forced Alfonsín to hold elections and leave office five months early.

    Carlos Menem, the candidate of the historically pro-labor Peronist party, came to power in 1989. While he had campaigned on traditional populist themes, once in power he made a 180-degree turn towards neoliberal fundamentalism. After a year and a half of macroeconomic instability and two bouts of hyperinflation, Menem named Domingo Cavallo, a Harvard-trained economist, as finance minister.

    With Menem’s full backing and under the guidance of the IMF, Cavallo implemented the most far-reaching structural adjustment program in Argentine history. He effected an immediate and radical opening of Argentina’s goods markets to trade, an opening of capital markets to unrestricted foreign capital inflows, and privatization of all state enterprises.

    The cornerstone of Cavallo’s policy package was a currency board system that pegged the Argentine peso to the US dollar on a one to one exchange rate. While this initially helped to curb inflation, as the dollar strengthened vis-a-vis other currencies, Argentina became increasingly unable to export.

    Menem’s ten years in office resulted in a radical restructuring of Argentina’s economy and society. Abrupt trade liberalization bankrupted much domestic industry and production, turning Argentina into a primary product and service economy.

    Privatization of state enterprises was taken to ridiculous levels: mail services, airports, the rail system, social security, the national oil company, and all utilities were sold, often at laughable prices. State monopolies were transferred to the private sector, resulting in the remittance of extraordinary profits to company headquarters abroad.

    Massive inflows of foreign capital to Argentina in the early 1990s fueled a boom in consumer credit, which in turn resulted in a large increase in consumer demand and positive growth rates from 1991 to 1994.

    However, the December 1994 Mexican peso crisis resulted in massive capital outflows, which caused a strong recession in 1995 with unemployment reaching a record 18.4 percent. The tequila effect, as it came to be known, underscored the central structural flaw of Argentina’s neoliberal experiment: the economy’s dependence on foreign capital which could leave the country at vertiginous speeds.

    The Asian, Russian, Brazilian and Turkish financial crisis of the late-1990s all had substantial repercussions in Argentina. Growth rates were erratic after 1994, and unemployment never dropped below 13 percent. Furthermore, inequality reached unprecedented levels, as did the number of Argentines living below the poverty line.

    1999: Enter De la Rúa

    Fernando De la Rúa, the conservative presidential candidate of the center-left Alianza coalition, won the 1999 election. He soon thereafter pulled a Menem: he deliberately and blatantly betrayed any progressive campaign promises and subserviently catered to the IMF and international financial capital establishment.

    However, there was an important difference between De la Rúa and his predecessor: Menem had the smarts to channel enough cash to the indigent poor to hold their number more or less constant throughout his ten years in power (roughly 2.9 million). De la Rúa did no such thing, and by the time massive protests ejected him from office two years later, Argentina had 5.7 million indigent poor.

    De la Rúa’s economic strategy was to administer the economy he inherited according to IMF austerity guidelines. According to the IMF, when Argentina brought its government expenditures under control (i.e. reduced already dangerously low social expenditures) and reduced its fiscal deficit to zero, foreign capital would flow back into the country.

    As any student of introductory macroeconomics could predict, such fiscal austerity policies-worsened Argentina’s two-year recession. Argentina was thus caught in a downward spiral of falling growth and government income, larger deficits, more austerity, and so on.

    When in March, 2001 it became obvious that the economic strategy was not working, De la Rúa brought back Menem’s finance minister, Cavallo, who made a last ditch effort to save Argentina from disaster.

    Cavallo continued with the brutal austerity and adjustment policies of his predecessor. The recession progressively worsened with each of several adjustment packages in the second half of 2001. Domestic investors lost confidence in the economy, and began withdrawing bank deposits en masse. In order to halt the run on deposits, Cavallo issued a decree on December 1, 2001 known as the “corralito”, (or little corral) limiting cash bank withdrawals to $250 a week.

    The “corralito” affected the whole social spectrum. Given Argentina’s recession and high unemployment (currently estimated to be at least 20 percent), informal sector and “under the table” employment is substantial. All of this operates exclusively with cash. Furthermore, most middle class people pay for rent, condo fees, domestic help, and children’s schooling with cash. Bank lines grew long and people’s frustration mounted.

    The December Crisis

    The first sign that Argentina was about to explode came on Wednesday, December 12 with an ill-publicized call for a “cacerolazo” (a form of protest where people take to the streets banging pots and pans, or “cacerolas”) by a small merchants association. What was supposed to last 15 minutes turned into a deafening half hour long cacerolazo. Everyone involved was surprised at the extent of the protest, although those in power barely acknowledged it.

    A second dramatic indication of people’s discontent came on December 14-17, when the Frente Nacional Contra la Pobreza (FRENAPO, National Front Against Poverty, a broad coalition of groups of unemployed, progressive labor, human rights, and small business organizations) held a national consultation, run exclusively by volunteers, on whether the government should implement a subsidy to all unemployed heads of household.

    More than 3 million people voted “Yes” to the proposal— more votes than the Peronists, the most successful party, got in the October 14 midterm election.

    When poor residents of the city of Rosario started looting supermarkets on December 18, many analysts remembered the looting (in the exact same neighborhood) that eventually led to the fall of Alfonsín in 1989.

    Throughout the night of December 18th and on December 19th looting spread to other cities and many Buenos Aires suburbs. Images of poor people looting supermarkets and durable goods stores filled Argentine TV and made their way around the world.

    At 10:45 p.m. on December 19, President De la Rúa went on national TV. In his short speech he declared a national state of siege, and condemned opportunistic and violent looting (real but minor), showing a profound lack of understanding for the very real needs of millions of Argentines.

    The president’s speech hadn’t ended when clanging saucepans were heard throughout the city. By midnight there were thousands of people in the streets banging pots and pans, shouting colorful chants and insults at Cavallo, the economic model, De la Rúa, and Menem, in that order.

    Spontaneously people started marching to four congregating points: the finance minister’s private residence on swanky Libertador Avenue, the president’s residence in Olivos (a suburb on the northern side of the capital), Plaza de Mayo (the meeting place of many historically significant demonstrations), and Congress.

    Crowds swelled, calmly if noisily demanding an end to neoliberalism and political corruption. By 1:20 a.m. on December 20th, the finance minister had resigned.

    Peaceful protests continued through the night and the following day in spite of the most brutal police repression in decades, which left five dead downtown. By 7:30 p.m., when it became clear that the Peronists would not come to De la Rúa’s rescue, the president resigned. Argentines were ecstatic. Spontaneous, massive mobilizations had caused a hated regime to fall.

    De la Rúa’s resignation caught the splintered opposition off guard. The Peronists had at least six presidential aspirants, none of whom were willing to set personal political aspirations aside for the national good.

    Furthermore, initially Peronists grossly misunderstood the popular mood and the message of the popular uprising and “cacerolazo”. This became clear with the way the first interim president, Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, conducted office and by his appointment of several corrupt Menem-era officials as cabinet members.

    Argentines again poured into the streets, this time protesting corruption and the banking restrictions still in place. The old popular belief about Peronists, “roban pero hacen” (they steal, but at least they do something) appeared to no longer hold. When the most important Peronist governors failed to support him, Rodríguez Saá was forced to resign after only a week in office.

    What next?

    After much internal party wrangling, Peronists nominated Eduardo Duhalde, then senator for Buenos Aires province, to complete the term of De la Rúa, who soundly defeated in the 1999 presidential elections. He had also been Menem’s first vice-president and governor of Buenos Aires province after that, with many allegations of corruption and drug trafficking. Still, according to Peronist congressmen, he was the best they had to offer.

    Duhalde declared that the old marriage of government and finance capital was over, he upheld the default on foreign debt, and chose to break the decade-long peg of the peso to the dollar, first converting rent contracts, utility fees, and some dollar debts, to pesos.

    Has neoliberalism died in Argentina? While it has clearly been given a crippling blow, and a change of economic model is badly needed, there are still worrisome signs.

    First, the government continues to maintain the politics-business alliance as the main force behind economic policymaking. This is precisely what people in the street were clamoring against. As long as foreign banks, privatized utilities, and oil conglomerates have direct access to government, it will be politics as usual at the expense of the basic needs of the poor and indigent Argentines.

    While it is true that the Duhalde government is structurally weak due to its transitory nature, it might benefit from changing the power axis to politicians-people, leaving the business lobbies out and really changing the economic model.

    Second, a currency devaluation does not constitute a break with neoliberalism. Income redistribution and domestic market reactivation policies are fundamental to address the high level of concentration and inequality which have resulted from ten years of neoliberalism.

    Furthermore, some form of capital control should also be implemented as a way of preventing the massive capital flight, mostly by banks, large corporations, and wealthy individuals, which has taken place over the last year.

    Finally, while the government has explicitly stated that it upholds the public debt default declared by Rodríguez Saá, it still looks for IMF approval. Since the IMF is to blame for Argentina’s current disaster, it is hard to visualize how it could be a part of the solution to the country’s problems.

    However, there are signs of hope. People have become aware of their power and it is unlikely that they will passively put up with more hardships. Furthermore, in many towns and cities people are holding neighborhood councils to discuss the situation, make proposals, and hold local politicians accountable.

    There is also a growing, progressive opposition, which did very well in the October mid-term elections. They could become a real contender in the 2003 elections, or if the Duhalde administration falls and early elections result. In a very real sense, history is still being written.

    Neoliberalism refers to a historically-specific reemergence of economic liberalism’s influence among economic scholars and policy-makers during the 1970s and through at least the late-1990s, and possibly into the present (its continuity is a matter of dispute).

    In many respects, the term is used to denote a group of neoclassical-influenced economic theories, right-wing libertarian political philosophies, and political rhetoric that portrayed government control over the economy as inefficient, corrupt or otherwise undesirable. Neoliberalism is not a unified economic theory or political philosophy — it is a label denoting an apparent shift in social-scientific and political sentiments that manifested themselves in theories and political platforms supporting a reform of largely centralized postwar economic institutions in favor of decentralized ones. Few supporters of neoliberal policies use the word itself.

    Neoliberal arguments gained a great deal of clout after the Stagflation Crisis of the 1970s, the Developing World Debt Crisis of the 1980s (which primarily affected Latin America but was felt elsewhere[2]), and the Soviet Collapse of the early-1990s.

    Policies Advanced by Neoliberalism

    Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer control of the economy from the public to private sector[3]. The definitive statement of the concrete policies advocated by neoliberalism is often taken to be John Williamson’s[4] “Washington Consensus” , a list of policy proposals that appeared to have gained consensus approval among the Washington-based international economic organizations (like the IMF and World Bank). Williamson’s list included[5]:

    * Fiscal rectitude, meaning that governments would cut expenditures and/or raise taxes to maintain a budget surplus
    * Competitive exchange rates, whereby governments would accept market-determined exchange rates, as opposed to implemented government-fixed exchange rates, as had prevailed under the Bretton Woods System
    * Free trade, which means the removal of trade barriers, like tariffs, subsidies, and regulatory trade barriers
    * Privatisation, which means the transfer of previously-public-owned enterprises, goods, and services to the private sector.
    * Undistorted market prices, meaning that governments would refrain from policies that would alter market prices.
    * Limited intervention, with the exception of intervention designed to promote exports, some kinds of education or infrastructural development.[6]

    Other studies also cite the following policy changes associated with neoliberalism[7]:

    * Reduced capital controls, which involve removing governments laws that hinder or control the cross-border flow of finance
    * Deregulation, the abolition or reduction of government-imposed restrictions on the conduct of business’ decision-making
    * Union busting policies, as unions are generally taken to be impediments to economic development by adherents of this worldview
    * Export-led development, as opposed to a development strategy that emphasizes the protection of domestic industry

    [edit] History

    [edit] Before Neoliberalism

    Arguments that stress the economic benefits of unfettered markets first began to appear with Adam Smith’s (1776) Wealth of Nations and David Hume’s writings on commerce. These writings were directed against the Mercantilist ideas that had been dominant during the previous centuries, and served to guide the policies of governments throughout much of the 19th century. Nevertheless, statist ideas slowly began to regain a following amongst the intellectuals that had rejected them during the early Enlightenment. While state interventionism increased towards the end of the 19th century, the Progressive Era saw an accelerated movement to re-institutionalize government controls over the economy.

    With an intellectual and political foundation in place, the onset of the Great Depression and the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union led to increased support for government economic control as a means of securing rapid industrialization.[8] By the end of World War II, many countries decided to expand their governments dramatically.[1]

    Across much of the world, the economics of John Maynard Keynes, which sought to formulate the means by which governments could stabilize and fine-tune free markets, became a highly-influential ideology. Within the developing world, several developments – among them decolonization, a desire for national independence and the destruction of the pre-war global economy[9], and the view that countries could not effectively industrialize under free market systems (e.g., the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis) – encouraged economic policies that were influenced by communist, socialist and import substitution precepts.

    A free market is a market in which prices of goods and services are arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers. By definition, in a free market environment buyers and sellers do not coerce or mislead each other nor are they coerced by a third party.[1] In the aggregate, the effect of these decisions en masse is described by the natural law of supply and demand. Free markets contrast sharply with controlled markets, in which governments directly or indirectly regulate prices or supplies, distorting market signals.[2] In the marketplace the price of a good or service helps to quantify its value to consumers and thus balance it against other goods and services. In a free market, this relationship between price and value is more clear than in a controlled market. Through competition between vendors for the provision of products and services, prices tend to decrease, and quality tends to increase.

    Free market economics is closely associated with laissez-faire economic philosophy, which expands this environment by confining government intervention to market failures. Hence, with government force limited to a defensive role, government itself does not initiate force in the marketplace beyond levying taxes in order to fund the maintenance of the free marketplace. Some free market advocates oppose taxation as well, claiming that the market is better at providing all valuable services of which defense and law are no exception, and that such services can be provided without direct taxation. Anarcho-capitalists, for example, would substitute arbitration agencies and private defense agencies.

    While some economists regard the free market as a useful if simplistic model in developing economic policies to attain social goals, others regard the free market as a normative rather than descriptive concept, and claim that policies which deviate from the ideal free market solution are ‘wrong’ even if they are believed to have some immediate social benefit. Samuelson treated market failure as the exception to the general rule of efficient markets[citation needed].

    In political economics, one opposite extreme to the free market economy is the command economy, where decisions regarding production, distribution, and pricing are a matter of governmental control. Other opposites are the gift economy and the subsistence economy. The mixed economy is intermediate between these positions and is the preferred basis of socioeconomic policy for most countries and political parties.

    In other words, a free market economy is “an economic system in which individuals, rather than government, make the majority of decisions regarding economic activities and transactions.”[3] In social philosophy, a free market economy is a system for allocating goods within a society: purchasing power mediated by supply and demand within the market determines who gets what and what is produced, rather than the state. Early proponents of a free-market economy in 18th century Europe contrasted it with the medieval, early modern, and mercantilist economies which preceded it.

  • Comment by asshole on February 4th, 2008 at 10:38 pm:

    (Sorry, I don’t have enough spare time to read the huge post, I’ll try to find time whenever I can)

    “i don’t think that one person can possibly imagine what every body else needs”

    I hate that sort of thinking. You think of people as if they are tools of a larger machine, as if their point in life should be to benefit the collective. People should never feel like they have an obligation to help anyone else, I don’t see any difference between that and the argument christians give that babies are born sinful. I have no contacts other than the ones I sign. Helping out fellow man is voluntary. People should be able to search for, seek and meet thier own objectives in life, as long as they don’t impose on anybody else’s freedom. Anything else (including what you are saying) is slavery.

  • Comment by asshole on February 5th, 2008 at 3:32 am:

    contacts? I meant contracts. My spelling is never 100% here, for some reason.

  • Comment by saoirse on February 5th, 2008 at 9:28 am:

    As interesting as this debate is, I’m disrupting it to point y’all in the direction of this wee (and by wee i mean HUGE) World Report by Human Rights Watch, monitoring the events, concerns and general craic of 2007. Looks to be an invaluable [if daunting and depressing] resource. http://hrw.org/wr2k8/pdfs/wr2k8_web.pdf

  • Comment by falcore on February 6th, 2008 at 6:34 pm:

    Saoirse
    im gonna have to side step the HRW report for a few more post.

    Asshole
    do you think that in order for a libertarian society to exist the government should be done away with?
    do you think that in order for a libertarian society to fucntion ideally the current dominant private organizations should also be done away with?

    if you can spare the time pls explain why yes or no?

  • Comment by asshole on February 6th, 2008 at 11:34 pm:

    I don’t think government should be done away with. It has a role to play, to make sure that individual liberties are protected from others trying to use force. This means keeping the police, courts, military, and emergency services (emergency ward, fire departments). These can be supported by a 1% sales tax, state lotteries and voluntary donations, and many other ways. I know I would donate 3 or 4% of my income to keep the state running, as would most others. If they don’t want to, that’s fine.

    The dominant private organizations, do you mean totally privately owned, or just non-government companies? If you mean companies like Coca Cola, Microsoft and Virgin, then no. I guess what you are digging at, is if I think companies which have inflated due to government subsidies, should be shrunken. I don’t think they should be, they got there by legal (in the current state of law) contract. I obviously support immediately cutting all subsidizations.

  • Comment by david on February 7th, 2008 at 4:54 pm:

    asshole, do you not realize that a “booming economy”, or the other one commonly used, a ‘growth in gdp’, most often has absolutely NOTHING to do with the average quality of life, with a healthy and happy populace, or any real indicators of a successful society? you should read ‘confessions of an economic hitman’ to learn how these “libertarian” policies are actually brought about and what your economic growth really means.

  • Comment by asshole on February 7th, 2008 at 9:31 pm:

    I lived through our period of privatization, and I can definitely tell you it was a positive thing, as can everyone else in the country. And, if you think Chile was better of in the early 80s, than it was in the early 90s (when free market policies had been employed), then you have your eyes closed. Although I take your point, I know it can be used as a cheap thing to say (for example, japanese workers earned more than americans for a while, but standard of living was lower). But in my cases, I’m right.

  • Comment by wastingyourtime on February 8th, 2008 at 6:57 am:

    Asshole, you are wasting your time, I don’t think you’re going to find anyone who’ll spend any reasonable amount of time researching him as you have. And rightly so, because again it’s a waste of time. But I’m pretty sure that’s why you raised the point, to argue this out, and shout down nay-sayers. Or maybe I’m wrong. Apologies, but I really don’t see how debating Friedman is useful here to anyone.

    I have zero understanding of Privatization in the US. In the UK privatization has been a colossal failure. If you can show me how privatization has been successful in the US, that would be great.

    I think you have some interesting points about human nature, that are reasonably truthful. But I think you come across as an academic authoritarian, who has, in my opinion, lost the plot. I don’t care much for macro economics because it makes me lose sight of the problems. Yes *flinch*, I did say that.

    Privatization means families on my street can’t heat their houses. My local politician doesn’t see a problem with the Palestinian diaspora. HMV and Virgin have screwed any chance I’ll ever have in this city of finding some fine independent rock and roll. The problems are a lot closer to home. God damn I love message boards.

    Stuck for something to talk about?

    http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=lhVjVqnG6eg

    Discussion time? Or not?

  • Comment by falcore on February 11th, 2008 at 2:24 am:

    asshole
    what country are you from?

  • Comment by asshole on February 11th, 2008 at 9:26 pm:

    I haven’t researched Friedman intensely. I have researched his ideas intensely.

    “I don’t care much for macro economics because it makes me lose sight of the problems.”

    I cry at statements like these.

    “Privatization means families on my street can’t heat their houses”

    Privatization means prices go down, and we can choose who provides our power. This isn’t theoretical. I’m speaking from experience. New Zealand’s power was privatized around a decade ago, with huge benefits.

    Virgin have screwed your chance of finding any fine rock and roll? Wuh?

    I’m from New Zealand. I said it in one of my first posts actually, but I said NZ. So I’ll make it clear now!

  • Comment by falcore on February 12th, 2008 at 1:47 am:

    asshole
    In California electricity was deregulated and peoples bills tripled and tax payers got soaked bailing out electric companies

    http://en.wikipedia....a_electricity_crisis

    so it doesn’t always work to open up markets.

    Do you see a wage system existing in a free-market especially if large business stay around?
    What will stop them from limiting access to necessities like water, food, shelter, and power for their own personal gain?

  • Comment by tom on February 13th, 2008 at 2:13 pm:

    hi. it seems that by opening itunes i inadvertendly downloaded an obscure video of a previously unknown song by a totally amazing band called Clann Zu. i also noticed that there hasn’t been an update about this. and i don’t even work at this fucking place. so uh…yeah. its cool.

    also, id like to start a petition for a forum topic about vegan recipes, cause damn, im fucking stuck. the meals ive made for the last two weeks have been total shit so i ve reverted to the toast and peanut butter glory of my hey days. yay!

  • Comment by diddee on February 14th, 2008 at 3:15 pm:

    Hahahaha! I just noticed this:

    oh id like to thank bits for offering me some mind bending criticisms back there. by that i mean thank you, your post hit my brain like a…um…i really appreciate it! i learn from. it. k. thanks bits. beer.

    Hahahahaha … YEAH! Got a bit presumptious there, didn’t ya dittohead?

    Next time find out exactly where your master stands on an issue is before you open your mouth about it!

    Pathetic slave.

  • Comment by bits on February 15th, 2008 at 5:09 pm:

    “New Zealand’s power was privatized around a decade ago, with huge benefits.” -asshole
    so. what exactly are these benefits? Here’s some things I came up with in two minutes about said business transaction:

    “After the privatisations, many more workers were laid off as maintenance and other areas of work were contracted out. Many full-time employees were forced to become self-employed contractors.
    The end result of subordinating electricity production directly to the dictates of the market, firstly through corporatisation then outright privatisation, has been job losses, rising prices and calamities such as last year’s lengthy electricity blackout in central Auckland, as a result of cost-cutting and lack of maintenance.”

    not to mention ECNZ was not, nor even close to, the lead competitor in electricity distribution so it’s not like there was a huge monopoly that was sucking citizens dry. They did own a big proportion of electricity PRODUCTION (a whopping 30%). Considering an interest for the government is long term stability and at least marginally satisfying citizens, ownership of the means of energy production for the government (or The People, as you seem to be such a frothing Adam Smith-ite) isn’t nearly as bad (think unionized jobs, some environmental accountability, and I hate to say it, but security, and a slightly better ability to have citizens concerns voiced). In contrast, as we all know, the major interest of a corporation is profit increases for shareholders (mainly US citizens in this case and apparently a handful of albertans, amoungst others).
    It seems to me that you can go ahead and believe in unfetterd freemarket capitalism. you can hope that after 40 years with a company they will benevolently provide for you, will care enough for you (as its become so hard to find cheap labour) to provide benefits, a good wage, will care for the environment, will not raise costs, will applaud your forming unions to stand up for what you believe in, pay for your childrens education and health, blahblahblah. i myself will believe they’d skull-fuck me and leave me for dead if it would earn them a cent.

    why dont we talk about how to move away from energy dependence and take production more into our own hands instead? I say that as tomorrow’s the 16th, a.k. in north america as the day against the SPP: it s a good time to discuss not only how to prevent/prevail against such travesties of the land and people, but how to move to a place where the communities that use the power can create and maintain it themselves.

    now, i have to get back to my friday afternoon cartoons and prepare for the saturday morning ones.

  • Comment by diddee on February 15th, 2008 at 6:02 pm:

    Out of all the various socio-ecomomic ideologies out there, I’d have to say that right-wing libertarianism is the LEAST impressive.

    The whole Ron Paul staunch stance against the Iraq War and military interventionism in general momentarily piqued my interest in Libertarianism, but the more i learned the more i kept asking myself how any sane person could advocate for it.

    I think the Chomsky interview i posted above really exposed Libertarism for the pure horseshit that it is.

  • Comment by asshole on February 16th, 2008 at 2:01 am:

    Didee, you can argue against the implications of libertarianism, as others are doing. But until you give me a response as to why you think you have the right to FORCE your beliefs on me (by sending me to jail if I don’t pay for your social services), then don’t try to put forth the picture it’s some insane, evil system. I consider your ‘do as you are told’ society to be far more perverted, morally.

    Bits, you are right, jobs were lost. This comes as no surprise. These jobs were propped up by government subsidization, at a cost to the citizens. It is uneconomical. So, when privatized, jobs which were only there because of subsidization, will be temporarily lost. It’s economics, if there is no benefit to a job, it shall be lost. Unfortunately, when the government sticks it’s nose in, this balance is lost. And the inefficiency is paid for by us, through taxes. You only have to look at what happens when privatization occurs, you can get the same job done, but without any of the waste. Ideally, this should mean cut taxes, but the government in the 90s decided to reallocate funds instead. Bastards.

    Now, for sure you can say ‘but those workers need thier jobs, you can’t just throw them out on the streets if we don’t need them’. But it’s madness. Why don’t we pay all our homeless people $50k a year, to pick up street litter? You can’t go around taxing people so that you can provide someone with an unnecessary job. It’s 100% theft.

    As for the rising costs, I think it’s a good thing. Instead of government subsidies creating artificially low prices for electricity, the market showed us how much the energy was really costing the country to produce. This is a perfect example of free market environmentalism. If people pay the REAL price of energy (not a government issued price), then people are obviously more careful about how much they consume.

    I live in Auckland. The ‘horrific blackouts’ were remarkably ordinary. You get blackouts no matter where you are in the world.

    To be honest, I’m not a total libertarian. I think that even some institutions mostly rejected by true free-marketers should be state owned. I think that primary (or I believe, it’s called elementary in north america) education should be publicly funded, for example, as there isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t need to know how to read and write. I guess some hardcore libertarians would call me more ‘liberal’ than libertarian. I’m not one for being labeled though.

  • Comment by blackmetal666 on February 16th, 2008 at 10:30 am:

    Asshole,
    Ideally, I think that workers should cooperatively run/manage their workplaces without bosses and that people should be able to do as they wish (obviously as long as you’re not impeding someone else’s liberty) without any government at all. You’re speaking of government theft (I partially agree) but continue to ignore the theft of labor from anyone who isn’t an owner or manager. My biggest problems with “right-libertarianism” are that those who support it continue to be hypercritical of government as evil but won’t say they’d abolish it completely, and that they tout the greatness of the “free market” and how privatization will make everyone wealthier. Do you really think that A)businesses as they’re run within the current structure don’t want to maximize profit at ANY expense, i.e. environmental degradation, paying the lowest wages possible, etc. or B)That they won’t collude and limit the competition that libertarians typically espouse? Just a few rambling thoughts, but in my opinion as long as we’re going to have a government at all, the welfare of all it’s citizens should be it’s objective. Sorry for the incoherent rant, it’s early. Oh and fucking go Devils!

  • Comment by diddee on February 17th, 2008 at 2:22 am:

    “Didee, you can argue against the implications of libertarianism, as others are doing. But until you give me a response as to why you think you have the right to FORCE your beliefs on me (by sending me to jail if I don’t pay for your social services), then don’t try to put forth the picture it’s some insane, evil system. I consider your ‘do as you are told’ society to be far more perverted, morally.”

    It’s simple really. Humans are social animals. We live in societies. We all depend on each other to some extent for our survival. The libertarian world you desire is entirely cut throat, where it is considered a virtue to only look after yourself. To the extent that you could even call this a society, I certainly don’t think it’s the best way to get the most out of our short time on earth. And I can’t imagine too many people yearning to go back to the days when life was “nasty, brutish, and short.”

    Furthermore, Marx’s predictions of capitalism would indeed come true w/ unfettered free-markets. I don’t necessarily think a “worker’s revolution” would ever come to fruition, but i can easily see a return to quasi serfdom with a few monopolies owning everything.

  • Comment by bits on February 17th, 2008 at 3:56 pm:

    “Out of all the various socio-ecomomic ideologies out there, I’d have to say that right-wing libertarianism is the LEAST impressive. “ -diddee
    haha. I think the worst are straight up libertarians – popularized by ochs (and later biafra!) in “love me a liberal”. I always found anarcho-capitalists to be the most interesting. They share at least 90% of my beliefs and yet we have nothing in common. If I found a Rand-ian (friedian, corporatist, laissez-faire, neo-liberal etc ad infinitum) with similar features it would be like finding an evil twin!…man, I love the fraser institute (the canadian equivalent of the Ayn Rand institute): they’re good for a laugh (in a scary kinda way).

    “So, when privatized, jobs which were only there because of subsidization, will be temporarily lost. It’s economics “
    -this is a great argument! The only problem is that it makes it sound like the poor citizens were shelling their hard-earned money into the pockets of cushy bureauocrats/whiney union workers. New Zealand is an oil producing country, the rest of its electricity (all on the decline now except crude petro) is from geothermal and some hydro/wind – and you’re trying to convince us that the state-owned electric company was running a DEFICIT? That’s funny. No, those unionized workers were paid from the profits made from their product. They weren’t even paid a decent percentage of that. The externalities of the industry are obviously things such as resource depletion, industrial waste, fresh water depletion and other eco. factors. At least with a state owned company profits went back to the departments that had to clean these externalities up and in (hopefully) not raising the price of electricity to consumers (citizens) plus other benefits like other profits going towards the gov’t budget, regulation, fair union negotiating, so overall the money produced off the land that “everyone” owns stays in the country. Now it’s just siphoned off to the States to pay for oil lobbying and allah knows what else and the citizens are left with the cost of corporatism externalities (http://www.cowlesgal...nsky/oilfields2.html)

    oh, and I’ve never been in a blackout. I’ve had the power beep out for one minute (so annoying! NOOO – the clocks!) or so, but that’s about it. My power comes from a provincial company. I hate them but it would evoke my pathetic wrath if it were privatized.

    I don’t think you should be forced into anything either, but I think everyone deserves everything their labour had created, I don’t think you deserve more just because your great-grandad liked to kill natives (exterminate/cause extinction in new zealands’ case) so you have some inherited capital. I do think that resources belong to the community (a definition to which I include the surrounding ecology), they all have equal rights and a vested interest in maintaing sustainability, and therefore would entire in voluntary contracts of what to do with (such as schools) and everyone can come to agreements based on the knowledge that everyone has a right to liberty and freedom (im a pareconist. I like bakunin and some bookchin and in the past considered myself an anarcho-syndicalistbut I dont really get what all these names REALLy mean enough to adopt one to define myself (such as “revolutionary anracho-socialism yo)

    man, .(dot)fuckingcom rocks my socks, the line in Hesitation where she screams out “corporate ass kisser” reminds me of you, asshole and sorry if this is long, suckers. Here’s an early “Happy Louise Riel Day!” fer ya’lls.

  • Comment by bits on February 17th, 2008 at 9:08 pm:

    oh man, there’s nothing like an “article” which makes you laugh, cringe, cry and causes your mouth to do this> :O

    http://www.theonion.com/content/atlas/

  • Comment by bits on February 18th, 2008 at 9:55 am:

    here’s a post just because i love to do things only in three
    so pretty much ignore the above link, apparently it changes countries on sunday nights. but it was rwanda. and it was funny, dammit.

  • Comment by Dude Incredible on February 19th, 2008 at 4:32 am:

    Guess the US courts shut down the servers of wikileaks.com (site where government informants can leaks highly classified info) after China and Thailand did the same thing.

    but good news, there are things called emergency backup servers: http://www.wikileaks...tegory:United_States

  • Comment by falcore on February 23rd, 2008 at 2:42 am:

    Check out Malcolm X’s speech and the things he says about Africa among other things on
    February 14, 1965

    http://www.malcolm-x...d/malcolmdetroit.ram

Dialogue has ended on this post.