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Peppermill
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Re: The Post-American World - Other Viewpoints

 


Jon -- is there an equally reputable  book in the current publishing marketplace that you would deem to speak in contrast to The Post American World?  I am especially wondering for the first two chapters about reduced conflict (war) in the modern world and about the sustainability of economic directions.
Jon_B wrote:

Good question Peppermill,

 

I haven't read it yet, but The World Is Curved  by David Smick - based on the reviews I've read of it - would seem to speak in contrast to some of Zakaria's conclusions about current and future economic directions and policies.  Both Smick and Zakaria are, to some extent, supporters of free market capitalism but Zakaria tends to favor more mixed economies.  Again, I'm just going by reviews at this point though the book is in my list of things to read.


Thx, Jon.  Will at least find out a bit more about the book and author when I get a chance.  The title suggests Smick may have been writing in response to Friedman.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

What you seem to be doing, Choisya, is attaching all sorts of meaning onto the term capitalist-based.  As though you think capitalism to be a dirty word

 

As I have explained that I agree with Marx that 'capitalism has within it the seeds of its own destruction', I think it stands to reason that I do not view capitalism favourably and see its effect on world markets, and on people,  differently.   It is perhaps important to remember that though the Soviet system of economics failed the Marxist analysis of capitalism still stands as an alternative viewpoint to understanding economics. 

 

very similar to the way you think Americans shun socialist ideology.

 

Are you saying I am wrong about this?

 

At this point I think I’ll stop trying to have a conversation about a book, with someone who hasn’t read the book. It was irresponsible of me to try.

 

I agree, it was irresponsible of me too:smileysad:.

 

 

 


RTA wrote:

Choisya wrote: What you (and Zakaria) appear to be doing is to assume that there are only two viable economic models in the world - a capitalist model and a communist one. 

 

No, let me assure you that neither of us are doing that.  I’ve spoken of capitalist-based models.  That is that most markets—including the U.S.—are mixed to one degree or another, but that they all have a capitalist base.  That is their capital is privately owned.  Again, are you claiming that the capital in Europe is not privately owned?  What you seem to be doing, Choisya, is attaching all sorts of meaning onto the term capitalist-based.  As though you think capitalism to be a dirty word—very similar to the way you think Americans shun socialist ideology.  Capitalism is simply the private ownership of capital.  A capitalist-based system is any type of economic system where capital is largely privately owned.  Is capital not largely privately owned in Europe? 

 

Either way, I urge you to not take anything I’ve written as Zakaria’s argument because, from what you’ve written thus far, I’ve done a deplorable job in trying to make you understand his position.  At this point I think I’ll stop trying to have a conversation about a book, with someone who hasn’t read the book.  It was irresponsible of me to try.  I wouldn’t mind continuing a general discussion elsewhere, if you want to start a different thread. 

 

RTA
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RTA
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

Choiysa wrote: As I have explained that I agree with Marx that 'capitalism has within it the seeds of its own destruction', I think it stands to reason that I do not view capitalism favourably and see its effect on world markets, and on people,  differently.   It is perhaps important to remember that though the Soviet system of economics failed the Marxist analysis of capitalism still stands as an alternative viewpoint to understanding economics.

 

What I’m saying is such an approach to the term invokes a lot of meaning that just isn’t there.  When I’m speaking of a capitalist-based system, I am simply speaking of an economic system in which the country’s capital, and its means of production, are largely privately owned.  And that’s all I take Zakaria to mean.  Anything else that you want to attach to the term capitalist-based, I am not.  So, essentially, that means we’re speaking two different languages.  According to the definition of capitalism, unless European countries do not have privately owned property, they are capitalist-based economies.  Which means nothing more than that they have economies in which capital is privately held.  I’m not using the term to mean anything further, and I don’t believe Zakaria is using the term to mean anything further.

 

Now, if you don’t view capitalism favorably, that’s a valid position.  But it doesn’t change the fact that European countries are largely capitalist-based (that is, they are countries in which capital is privately owned), which is the original issue you took with my post.

 

I wrote: …very similar to the way you think Americans shun socialist ideology.

 

Choisya wrote: Are you saying I am wrong about this?

 

The Americans I interact with aren’t as ignorant about socialism as I’ve inferred that you think they are.  But, no you’re not wrong that Americans shun a distorted image of socialist theory.  My point being, you criticize Americans for attaching not altogether accurate ideologies onto socialism, but you don’t seem to mind doing the same to the simple use of the term capitalism.

 

If you want to use the term differently than I do, then that’s fine.  But I think it’s probably more responsible to state that explicitly, rather than continuing to apply an inaccurate meaning onto how I use the term capitalist-based, after I’ve clearly defined how I’m using the term.
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

[ Edited ]

I would also agree with Marx that "capitalism carries the seeds of its own destruction" - but the same is true of socialism, and I cannot think of a single ideology of which this is not true. 

 

Of course capitalism involves vulnerabilities that can be exploited leading to the aggressive and greedy manipulating the populace.  But so does socialism.  And so does feudalism.  So do mixed economies.  There is no economic or political system that has been put in practice in any country in history that has proven capable of truly preventing those bent on manipulating it into catastrophe from doing so.  If you look at the history of the world's failed states you'll find a great diversity of political and economic systems among them.  

 

It reminds me of a Polish joke - "In capitalism man exploits man - in socialism its the reverse".  

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-11-2008 12:21 PM
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

I have not read the book either, and so won't try to discuss it with you, RTA, but I'll make one remark that seems safe to make.  Every economy in the modern world, and virtually every economy in the history of civilized man, is a mixed economy.  Every government owns at least some means of production, be it only roads.  In every country there is some private ownership of means of production, even if it is as simple as the needle that a seamstress uses to mend dresses for the wealthy.  So there is no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism.  Every economy is mixed: the only question is how mixed an economy is.

 

 


RTA wrote:

Choisya wrote: What you (and Zakaria) appear to be doing is to assume that there are only two viable economic models in the world - a capitalist model and a communist one. 

 

No, let me assure you that neither of us are doing that.  I’ve spoken of capitalist-based models.  That is that most markets—including the U.S.—are mixed to one degree or another, but that they all have a capitalist base.  That is their capital is privately owned.  Again, are you claiming that the capital in Europe is not privately owned?  What you seem to be doing, Choisya, is attaching all sorts of meaning onto the term capitalist-based.  As though you think capitalism to be a dirty word—very similar to the way you think Americans shun socialist ideology.  Capitalism is simply the private ownership of capital.  A capitalist-based system is any type of economic system where capital is largely privately owned.  Is capital not largely privately owned in Europe? 

 

Either way, I urge you to not take anything I’ve written as Zakaria’s argument because, from what you’ve written thus far, I’ve done a deplorable job in trying to make you understand his position.  At this point I think I’ll stop trying to have a conversation about a book, with someone who hasn’t read the book.  It was irresponsible of me to try.  I wouldn’t mind continuing a general discussion elsewhere, if you want to start a different thread. 

 

_______________
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Everyman
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

Perhaps we should point out that, based on comments you have made on BN, Choisya, you are a  capitalist.  You have stated that you have lodgers who help you afford some of your trips.  So they are paying you money.  You either own or control the capital (the building and whatever bedding, furniture, housewares, etc. you provide to your lodgers) whereby you make money.  That's capitalism, pure and simple.  So to the extent that you condemn capitlists, you condemn yourself. 
_______________
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RTA
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

Everyman wrote: So there is no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism.  Every economy is mixed: the only question is how mixed an economy is.

 

Evidently, I’m speaking Huttese, and that’s why I can’t make myself understood.  I’m not speaking about any economic system being purely capitalist.  When I refer to a capitalist-based system, I’m speaking of systems where the capital is largely in the private sector.  Most economic systems protect the private ownership of property, thus they are capitalist-based.  But I am not saying that any system reflects pure capitalism, nor do I think that any country is striving for pure capitalism.  I'm well aware that capitalist-based economies are all mixed to one degree or another.

 

Regarding your other post, Everyman, I’d really appreciate if you not attempt to deteriorate this thread, which is supposed to be focused on a book that you haven’t read, by posting your worn, personal-based remarks to Choisya.  You have free reign to do so elsewhere on this site, and I’m asking that you not do it in this thread.  Note, that's a request.  I recognize that you are free to post what you want, where you want; but, I thought I'd at least ask that you refrain from posting those types of remarks in this specific thread.
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Choisya
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

[ Edited ]

WE??  Ad hominem remarks apart,  do you know anyone who is not a capitalist?  Every cent we spend within a capitalist system 'makes' money for someone else. It is the extent to which that money is used for the exploitation of others which is the question. Only those who live within a cooperative system based on barter (and I know of none such in the world today) are not capitalists. That does not mean that you cannot criticise the system and hope for a future that is different, as say, Thoreau propounded in Walden or More in Utopia.   Being part of any system does not mean that you cannot criticise it or think that it is abhorrent.  There are those who, like Thoreau, choose to opt out and live a different life (if only for awhile) and there are those who work within to change it whilst, hopefully, not exploiting their brethren too much in the meantime.

   

 


Everyman wrote:
Perhaps we should point out that, based on comments you have made on BN, Choisya, you are a  capitalist.  You have stated that you have lodgers who help you afford some of your trips.  So they are paying you money.  You either own or control the capital (the building and whatever bedding, furniture, housewares, etc. you provide to your lodgers) whereby you make money.  That's capitalism, pure and simple.  So to the extent that you condemn capitlists, you condemn yourself. 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-12-2008 05:01 AM
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Choisya
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Free reign???

RTA wrote: 

Regarding your other post, Everyman, I’d really appreciate if you not attempt to deteriorate this thread, which is supposed to be focused on a book that you haven’t read, by posting your worn, personal-based remarks to Choisya.  You have free reign to do so elsewhere on this site, and I’m asking that you not do it in this thread.  Note, that's a request.  I recognize that you are free to post what you want, where you want; but, I thought I'd at least ask that you refrain from posting those types of remarks in this specific thread.

 

 

I hope you didn't mean this RTA?!!  Surely no-one on any thread has 'free reign' to post personal remarks about another or should be encouraged to make ad hominem comments? There are, after all, Site Guidelines about this (not that they are enforced:smileysad:).

 

 

 

 


RTA wrote:

Everyman wrote: So there is no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism.  Every economy is mixed: the only question is how mixed an economy is.

 

Evidently, I’m speaking Huttese, and that’s why I can’t make myself understood.  I’m not speaking about any economic system being purely capitalist.  When I refer to a capitalist-based system, I’m speaking of systems where the capital is largely in the private sector.  Most economic systems protect the private ownership of property, thus they are capitalist-based.  But I am not saying that any system reflects pure capitalism, nor do I think that any country is striving for pure capitalism.  I'm well aware that capitalist-based economies are all mixed to one degree or another.

 

Regarding your other post, Everyman, I’d really appreciate if you not attempt to deteriorate this thread, which is supposed to be focused on a book that you haven’t read, by posting your worn, personal-based remarks to Choisya.  You have free reign to do so elsewhere on this site, and I’m asking that you not do it in this thread.  Note, that's a request.  I recognize that you are free to post what you want, where you want; but, I thought I'd at least ask that you refrain from posting those types of remarks in this specific thread.

 

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Choisya
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

[ Edited ]

Of course capitalism involves vulnerabilities that can be exploited leading to the aggressive and greedy manipulating the populace.  But so does socialism. 

 

 

When you say 'socialism' John, do you mean 'communism' here?  That is, state controlled economies.  Whilst I agree that no economic system has been proved perfect, I think it can be seen that there was far more exploitation of workers under the sort of rampant capitalism we saw in Victorian times than in the mixed economies of more recent history, where the checks and balances of 'intervention' have been built in to prevent this.  In earlier modern times such books as Sinclair Lewis' The Jungle (read recently on B&N) have pointed out the dangers of unchecked capitalist exploitation and of course Charlie Chaplin's great film Modern Times was a brilliant satire upon capitalism earlier in the century, of the kind that led to the Great Depression.  I know of no book or film which shows such horrors existing in more recent social-democratic mixed economies, especially the advanced ones in Europe and Scandinavia.  Marx clearly spells out why he thinks capitalist economies will fail but there are few economists in the world today who write about mixed economies failing drastically and who advocate 'pure' capitalism as a solution.  Whatever we think of 'Marxism' today there can be no doubt that Marx's writing has profoundly influenced economists since 1848 and has led to the 'taming' of capitalism. 

 

It reminds me of a Polish joke - "In capitalism man exploits man - in socialism its the reverse".  

 

This joke probably refers to the earlier communism in Poland, not to socialism.  I think that in this discussion we should try to make a clear distinction between the two.  Socialism today, as practiced by, say, the social democratric governments of Europe & Scandinavia, is not at all like communism.  Social democrats believe in the democratic process and do not believe in full state control of the economy.  The words social-democracy or social-democrat are, I think, clumsier than socialism or socialist  which today mean the same thing.  I know that in the UK no-one equates socialism with communism and that it is understood that one ideology believes in democracy whereas the other does not. Somehow the two words still seem to mean the same in the minds of Americans. 

 

There is no economic or political system that has been put in practice in any country in history that has proven capable of truly preventing those bent on manipulating it into catastrophe from doing so.

 

I do not think that there have ever been those who have been 'bent on manipulating' systems into catastrophe (unless it be foreign invaders).   Catastrophes come about for a variety of reasons, not due to one or more malevolent people. Hitler was propelled by adverse economic circumstances, for instance.  The bankers of today weren't in the business of creating catastrophe; quite the contrary, they thought they were doing the right thing for their industry.  Ditto the Soviet communists, who thought they were doing the right thing for their country. 

 

One of the things we might be seeing at the present time is that the increased checks and balances that have been built into the more mixed economies of today (including that of America) can better cope with the present catastrophe than what happened in the 1930s.  It may be that government intervention, 'bailouts', new New Deals etc., and greater global cooperation betweeen financiers and leaders, can prevent the extremes of what our parents and grandparents experienced.  If so, this will be a vindication of 'mixed economies' and we may see further movement towards them in the shape of more government intervention in the economy than hitherto, even in the USA where 'small government' ideals militate against it.  The jury is still out on this but we are living in interesting economic times! 

 

To get back to the book:  I believe Zakaria comments on the move towards more mixed economies globally but does he also postulate that this might lead to fewer catastrophes and/or better management of them?   I certainly see the increased cooperation between financiers and world leaders as hopeful in this regard and an improvement on what has happened hitherto when financial catastrophes occurred.     

 

       

 


Jon_B wrote:

I would also agree with Marx that "capitalism carries the seeds of its own destruction" - but the same is true of socialism, and I cannot think of a single ideology of which this is not true. 

 

Of course capitalism involves vulnerabilities that can be exploited leading to the aggressive and greedy manipulating the populace.  But so does socialism.  And so does feudalism.  So do mixed economies.  There is no economic or political system that has been put in practice in any country in history that has proven capable of truly preventing those bent on manipulating it into catastrophe from doing so.  If you look at the history of the world's failed states you'll find a great diversity of political and economic systems among them.  

 

It reminds me of a Polish joke - "In capitalism man exploits man - in socialism its the reverse".  

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-12-2008 06:41 AM
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:

, I think, clumsier than socialism or socialist  which today mean the same thing.  I know that in the UK no-one equates socialism with communism and that it is understood that one ideology believes in democracy whereas the other does not. Somehow the two words still seem to mean the same in the minds of Americans. 

 


 

I don't consider socialism and communism to be the same thing.  I consider true communism -in actual practice, not as the name of myriad movements - to be a goal of certain forms of hardline socialism (Marxist-Leninism if you like) - an ideal socialist form of government that has reached the stage where a central authority is no longer necessary.

 

It's never happened on a national level (though some small communities - such as Israel's kibbutzim - have come close)  and I don't consider the USSR and its satellite state to have truly been communist countries.  They functioned more as fascist countries run by a political party calling itself communist.  That party certainly claimed to adhere to the tenets of socialism but often failed to do so in practice.    

 

I also don't think that the social democracies of Europe are the same thing as outright socialism.  Which, as Everyman points out, is not "pure" socialism because there will always be some private control (even it it isn't legal ownership) of some means of production but I tend to think of socialism as involving a much greater government control of the economy than exists in these countries.         

 

 


I do not think that there have ever been those who have been 'bent on manipulating' systems into catastrophe (unless it be foreign invaders). 


 

I phrased it poorly, but what I meant was that there are often those bent on manipulating a system to their own personal advantage (or more commonly, for the advantage of their own particular group) and this has a tendency to result in catastrophe for everyone else.   This is true of both relatively laissez-faire capitalist societies and relatively socialist societies as well.

 

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 07:13 AM
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

On an unrelated note please keep personal remarks about each other's lives etc. out of this discussion. 
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:

WE??  Ad hominem remarks apart,  do you know anyone who is not a capitalist? 


Choisya, I hope you recognize that this is all I’ve been stating when I say that most societies are moving toward a capitalist-based system.  But you seem to take issue with me stating that most of the world’s economies are capitalist-based.  All the corruption you wish to note, and the criticism you wish to lodge regarding capitalism—much of it, I’m sure, fully warranted—does not change the fact that in the majority of the world’s economies, capital is privately held.

 

That is significant to Zakaria’s position because he draws out a long discussion demonstrating, through history, how property rights for private citizens contributed to efforts at democratic representation and liberalism.  I suggest you read the book, it’s an interesting discussion.

 

Just to clarify my position, I wouldn't argue that Everyman's post in this thread is ad hominem.  I thought it a personal remark that had the potential to degrade the discussion into a bickering match.  I regret the request, now, because it probably just resulted in propelling the bickering. 

EDIT:

BTW, these types of statements--"Somehow the two words still seem to mean the same in the minds of Americans"--are what lead me to believe that you fancy Americans ignorant about socialism in a way that doesn't reflect my actual interactions with Americans on the topic.

 

Message Edited by RTA on 11-12-2008 10:43 AM
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

[ Edited ]

Jon:  I think you are failing to acknowledge that the meaning of words change as time goes on and that the meaning of the word socialist has also changed as social democracies have emerged.  In the UK most members of the Labour Party are proud to call themselves socialists and in no way associate themselves with communism.  I speak as a member of the Labour Party for over 50 years and as the grand-daughter of a founder of the Labour Party.  Ditto members of  Labour Parties in Europe with whom I am familiar.  This is quite a good definition of social democracy, explaining how European socialists rejected revolution and took up more moderate, democratic, positions about the economy and other things.   

 

I do not think there is anywhere that operates a 'pure' ideological political system - not even the kibbutzim, which I greatly admired for their cooperative ideals.  But the Soviets certainly thought they were implementing communism a la Marx's Communist Manifesto and felt that by following that manifesto they were on the way to achieving socialism via communism, in the classical sense you outline.  I agree that they failed and that no system has come anywhere near to achieving classical socialism via communism.  These are ideals, hopes, dreams and may never become reality.  They represent the paradise on earth spoken of by religions too. But who knows - at one time the saying 'Next Year in Jerusalem!' represented the wishes of Jews to spend Passover in their own land and that wish came true:smileyhappy:

 

I have not claimed that the social-democracies of Europe practice 'outright socialism'.  Nor that anywhere practices outright anything.  I am merely trying to reclaim the word socialist for those who believe in social democracy, who believe in more state intervention than people in the US do.  How many Democrats, for instance, would agree with 60+% of state ownership of certain utilities as practised in Scandinavia or the full nationalisation of the railways as practiced in France & Germany?  Or in a fullly nationalised Health Service as in the UK? And at what stage do you see these countries as operating a socialist economy as opposed to operating a social-democratic one? 

 

It cannot be denied that the governments of Europe and Scandinavian practice more state intervention than the US and therefore that their economies are more 'mixed' than the US.  The cries that have gone up against Obama for proposing to introduce 'socialist' policies, and the statements by Republican Senators about Bush being a 'Bolshevik' imposing 'trickle down communism', 'financial socialism'  because of his 'bailout' show the extent of the difference between Americans and Europeans on this matter.  There were no such cries in our Parliaments when these measures were introduced because we already accept the idea of such interventions by government.  Even our conservative parties agreed with it!  There have been many times on these boards when I have mentioned the interventionist policies the UK and European governments follow, only to be told that they are 'Stalinist' or 'Maoist', yet they are common enough in the social democracies Over the Pond. 

 

I phrased it poorly, but what I meant was that there are often those bent on manipulating a system to their own personal advantage (or more commonly, for the advantage of their own particular group) and this has a tendency to result in catastrophe for everyone else.   This is true of both relatively laissez-faire capitalist societies and relatively socialist societies as well.

 

Can you give me an example of what you mean here? 

 

 

 

 


Jon_B wrote:

Choisya wrote:

, I think, clumsier than socialism or socialist  which today mean the same thing.  I know that in the UK no-one equates socialism with communism and that it is understood that one ideology believes in democracy whereas the other does not. Somehow the two words still seem to mean the same in the minds of Americans. 

 


 

I don't consider socialism and communism to be the same thing.  I consider true communism -in actual practice, not as the name of myriad movements - to be a goal of certain forms of hardline socialism (Marxist-Leninism if you like) - an ideal socialist form of government that has reached the stage where a central authority is no longer necessary.

 

It's never happened on a national level (though some small communities - such as Israel's kibbutzim - have come close)  and I don't consider the USSR and its satellite state to have truly been communist countries.  They functioned more as fascist countries run by a political party calling itself communist.  That party certainly claimed to adhere to the tenets of socialism but often failed to do so in practice.    

 

I also don't think that the social democracies of Europe are the same thing as outright socialism.  Which, as Everyman points out, is not "pure" socialism because there will always be some private control (even it it isn't legal ownership) of some means of production but I tend to think of socialism as involving a much greater government control of the economy than exists in these countries.         

 

 


I do not think that there have ever been those who have been 'bent on manipulating' systems into catastrophe (unless it be foreign invaders). 


 

I phrased it poorly, but what I meant was that there are often those bent on manipulating a system to their own personal advantage (or more commonly, for the advantage of their own particular group) and this has a tendency to result in catastrophe for everyone else.   This is true of both relatively laissez-faire capitalist societies and relatively socialist societies as well.

 

 

 


(Forgive me if some off this does not make sense or for any typos.  I sprained my calf this afternoon and sit here in some pain, trying to take my mind off it!  Heigh-ho!)

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-12-2008 11:06 AM
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

Jon B wrote:  On an unrelated note please keep personal remarks about each other's lives etc. out of this discussion.  

 

So it is improper, for example, for people to refer to the fact that I am a lawyer?  Or to mention books they have talked about reading?  Or politicians they choose to reveal that they voted for?  Those seem to be remarks about their lives.

 

I had assumed that when people chose to post facts about their lives, a respectful comment on those facts would not be inappropriate. 

 

If we are to keep all personal remarks about peoples lives out of these discussions, then are no remarks about people's ages, professions, place of residence, etc.  to be permitted? 

 

I'm not arguing with you, just trying to understand clearly what it is that you are saying.  

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Jon_B
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:

Jon B wrote:  On an unrelated note please keep personal remarks about each other's lives etc. out of this discussion.  

 

So it is improper, for example, for people to refer to the fact that I am a lawyer?  Or to mention books they have talked about reading?  Or politicians they choose to reveal that they voted for?  Those seem to be remarks about their lives.

 

I had assumed that when people chose to post facts about their lives, a respectful comment on those facts would not be inappropriate. 

 

If we are to keep all personal remarks about peoples lives out of these discussions, then are no remarks about people's ages, professions, place of residence, etc.  to be permitted? 

 

I'm not arguing with you, just trying to understand clearly what it is that you are saying.  


 

Ok, I'll elaborate. 

 

There's nothing wrong with a reference to some element of someone's personal life that they've mentioned such as their profession or age when that references is appropriate in the context of a discussion.

 

But making a remark about someone's personal life - not in order to make a point about the book at hand or about the general discussion - but to make a rather negative point about the person themselves - thats rather uncalled for.  Whether or not Choisya supposedly "condemns herself" according to your views has nothing at all to do with the Post-American World or about the broader political philosophies we've been talking about here and it does nothing to further the discussion.

 

I'll make an exception to this, which is if we are talking about the author of a book under discussion.  It's perfectly reasonable, for example, to say that Fareed Zakaria's own experiences growing up in India might have in some way affected the arguments he's making about India's development in this book and to make arguments about what this says about him as an author.  It's a reasonable part of discussing a book. 

 

But there's no need to make remarks about the personal lives of other members here - and I'm not taking about using some element of your life or something someone else has mentioned to support an argument about the book or an argument about a particular ideology - I'm talking about when the purpose of your reference is rather obviously to make some detractive statement about another member. 

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 08:30 AM
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Everyman
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

I'm talking about when the purpose of your reference is rather obviously to make some detractive statement about another member.

 

Fair enough.  But I didn't see it as a detractive statement, but a recognition that a broad scale condemnation of capitalism may be inconsitent with a lifestyle which benefits directly from the exercise of capitalism in one's personal life.

 

I think equally, for example, that if I were to make a post condemning all lawyers as dishonest and unethical, it would be fair for someone to point out that I have self-described myself as a lawyer, and that therefore I would be condemning myself as dishonest and unethical.  I would not see that as personally detractive, but as a recognition of inconsistency that would be appropriate to bring forward.  


Jon_B wrote:

Everyman wrote:

Jon B wrote:  On an unrelated note please keep personal remarks about each other's lives etc. out of this discussion.  

 

So it is improper, for example, for people to refer to the fact that I am a lawyer?  Or to mention books they have talked about reading?  Or politicians they choose to reveal that they voted for?  Those seem to be remarks about their lives.

 

I had assumed that when people chose to post facts about their lives, a respectful comment on those facts would not be inappropriate. 

 

If we are to keep all personal remarks about peoples lives out of these discussions, then are no remarks about people's ages, professions, place of residence, etc.  to be permitted? 

 

I'm not arguing with you, just trying to understand clearly what it is that you are saying.  


 

Ok, I'll elaborate. 

 

There's nothing wrong with a reference to some element of someone's personal life that they've mentioned such as their profession or age when that references is appropriate in the context of a discussion.

 

But making a remark about someone's personal life - not in order to make a point about the book at hand or about the general discussion - but to make a rather negative point about the person themselves - thats rather uncalled for.  Whether or not Choisya supposedly "condemns herself" according to your views has nothing at all to do with the Post-American World or about the broader political philosophies we've been talking about here and it does nothing to further the discussion.

 

I'll make an exception to this, which is if we are talking about the author of a book under discussion.  It's perfectly reasonable, for example, to say that Fareed Zakaria's own experiences growing up in India might have in some way affected the arguments he's making about India's development in this book and to make arguments about what this says about him as an author.  It's a reasonable part of discussing a book. 

 

But there's no need to make remarks about the personal lives of other members here - and I'm not taking about using some element of your life or something someone else has mentioned to support an argument about the book or an argument about a particular ideology - I'm talking about when the purpose of your reference is rather obviously to make some detractive statement about another member. 

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 08:30 AM

 

 

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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:

I'm talking about when the purpose of your reference is rather obviously to make some detractive statement about another member.

 

Fair enough.  But I didn't see it as a detractive statement, but a recognition that a broad scale condemnation of capitalism may be inconsitent with a lifestyle which benefits directly from the exercise of capitalism in one's personal life.


 

It might well be inconsistent, but the consistency of other members' personal lifestyles and related views is not the subject of this discussion,  which is why it is inappropriate.   

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 09:04 AM
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Choisya
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - a Digression.

[ Edited ]

I hope you recognize that this is all I’ve been stating when I say that most societies are moving toward a capitalist-based system.  But you seem to take issue with me stating that most of the world’s economies are capitalist-based.   

 

Again, I have not taken issue with you about this, I have been trying to point out that there is a big difference between the American economic system, whatever you call it, and European/Scandinavian ones, whatever you call them, the latter being much more interventionist, perhaps more interventionist than you realise.   That capital is privately held in most of the current world economies goes without saying, that is not the point I wished to make.  But no matter.  I weary.

 

BTW, these types of statements--"Somehow the two words still seem to mean the same in the minds of Americans"--are what lead me to believe that you fancy Americans ignorant about socialism in a way that doesn't reflect my actual interactions with Americans on the topic.

My interactions with Americans in the UK (which are not inconsiderable and I also had American students of politics working for me at one time) my reading and my interactions over four years on these boards do not lead me to agree with you on this.

I wouldn't argue that Everyman's post in this thread is ad hominem.  I thought it a personal remark that had the potential to degrade the discussion into a bickering match.  I regret the request, now, because it probably just resulted in propelling the bickering. 

I have been at the butt of so many nasty personal remarks of late that perhaps I can no longer see the difference between ad hominem arguments and non ad hominem.  Don't worry I won't object to them in future, I will let them ride, just as the Admin people do most of the time.  (Did the word 'B*tch addressed to me ever get removed from Ilana's board I wonder?)

I do not wish to read Zakaria - I have had American books on economics coming out of my ears for the past 20 years - since 'Reaganomics' and Mrs Thatcher's adventures with Friedmanomics.

 


RTA wrote:

 

 


Choisya wrote:

WE??  Ad hominem remarks apart,  do you know anyone who is not a capitalist? 


Choisya, I hope you recognize that this is all I’ve been stating when I say that most societies are moving toward a capitalist-based system.  But you seem to take issue with me stating that most of the world’s economies are capitalist-based.  All the corruption you wish to note, and the criticism you wish to lodge regarding capitalism—much of it, I’m sure, fully warranted—does not change the fact that in the majority of the world’s economies, capital is privately held.

 

That is significant to Zakaria’s position because he draws out a long discussion demonstrating, through history, how property rights for private citizens contributed to efforts at democratic representation and liberalism.  I suggest you read the book, it’s an interesting discussion.

 

Just to clarify my position, I wouldn't argue that Everyman's post in this thread is ad hominem.  I thought it a personal remark that had the potential to degrade the discussion into a bickering match.  I regret the request, now, because it probably just resulted in propelling the bickering. 

 

EDIT:

 

BTW, these types of statements--"Somehow the two words still seem to mean the same in the minds of Americans"--are what lead me to believe that you fancy Americans ignorant about socialism in a way that doesn't reflect my actual interactions with Americans on the topic.

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 11-12-2008 12:16 PM
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Everyman
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Re: The Post-American World - Chapters 1 and 2 - Social democracy.

We will just have to disagree here.  I think it is entirely relevant to a discussion of principles to point out discrepancies between facts realated here about one's life and positions taken here by a poster.  Others have done the same for me in the past without objection from the moderators.  

 

I recognize that you have the power here, but sometimes one must speak truth to power. 

 


Jon_B wrote:

Everyman wrote:

I'm talking about when the purpose of your reference is rather obviously to make some detractive statement about another member.

 

Fair enough.  But I didn't see it as a detractive statement, but a recognition that a broad scale condemnation of capitalism may be inconsitent with a lifestyle which benefits directly from the exercise of capitalism in one's personal life.


 

It might well be inconsistent, but the consistency of other members' personal lifestyles and related views is not the subject of this discussion,  which is why it is inappropriate.   

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 11-12-2008 09:04 AM

 

 

 

 

 

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