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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    And Sanders is nothing like the genteel European Democrat Socialists.
    True, in reality he's well short of being a democratic socialist, and the most common comment I see from European Democratic Socialists is that the policies Sanders is advocating for look like average European centrism, not democratic socialism at all.

    Read what he has been proposing over the years.
    I have read a lot of what he's written, including his recent book.

    His model isn't Denmark but rather Cuba.
    That seems an utterly insane statement. Can you cite me even a single quote from him where he advocates for anything that is more Cuba than Denmark?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Plenty of socialist systems keep a free exchange of goods.

    Technological development has lifted people out of poverty. Increasing technological efficiency lets us make more stuff with less human effort, so instead of toiling all day and having almost enough to survive by the end of it, we end up with heaps of stuff for the same amount of labor. Farming, for example, is now about 150x more efficient with regard to total food produced from the same labor inputs, as compared to millennia ago. So it's been a ~150x multiplier in productivity. And that will continue to increase over time, as automation etc continues to increase the amount of goods produced from the same day's human labor.

    The free market, by contrast, is a method of distribution of goods. If the distribution method is perfectly efficient, then all goods that exist are distributed among people without loss. So it's a 1x multiplier at perfect efficiency (and a 0x at maximal inefficiency).

    So I would say Asia, like Europe before it, was lifted out of poverty due to advancing technology. The free market had very little to do with it.
    You can not dismiss the free market. People work, developed technologies, etc... largely to earn monies. Edison did not spend all that time and effort on the light bulb out of the goodness of his heart. He did it for profit. And profit is the driving force for most innovation and for that you need free markets...

    Wow.
    Yet true. Morally, why do you have a right to my hard earned wages?
    Last edited by seer; 02-25-2020 at 11:47 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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  3. #53
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    You can not dismiss the free market. People work, developed technologies, etc... largely to earn monies. Edison did not spend all that time and effort on the light bulb out of the goodness of his heart. He did it for profit. And profit it the driving force for most innovation and for that you need free markets...
    I work as a scientist. So I am well aware that even in the modern Western capitalist world, most science is government funded.

    Even when private companies do science they tend to be government funded in the form of specific subsidies, tax cuts, etc to fund their scientific work. e.g. Elon Musk companies have been subsidized to the tune of $5 billion by the US govt. IIRC Leonhard, like me, works as a scientist in a private company, and both our work is being government-funded. I've looked for stats on this in the past, and found the general stat seems to be that 75% of all science done in the world is government-funded, whether it be done in universities, government research institutes, or subsidized/funded private companies.

    Overall, most of the major scientific innovations in history have been government-funded or government projects. The invention of computers, getting to the moon, the internet, the mapping of the human genome, to pick a few famous ones. In the present day, governments fund the cutting-edge physics research at CERN with their LHC, the research on nuclear fusion being done at ITER, the building of new advanced telescopes (e.g. James Webb that will replace Hubble - itself also govt funded) that will give us new insights into astronomy and astrophysics, to name some of the more famous ongoing scientific projects.

    'Socialist' countries have tended to be particularly good at science. The USSR was famously world-leading across a variety of scientific fields because their government funded their science programs well. They got the first satellite into orbit, landed the first spacecraft on the moon (unmanned), and their tokamak prototype fusion reactors were an order of magnitude better than the designs current in the West at the time. Cuba has also been famously good at medical science, creating cancer vaccines and providing medical assistance to much of the 3rd world.

    When private companies do scientific research, you tend to quickly run into problems with patents. One company will have one good idea about how to design one part of a product and patent it. Another company will have another good idea about how to design a different part of the product and patent that. And while it would be optimal to use both ideas at once, nobody can because navigating the legalese of acquiring both patents gets too complex. This happened with trains when steam engines were first invented - two different patents were crucial in working together to make a decent engine, but it was too problematic to acquire both patents, so only once they expired and all were able to use them, did real progress begin. And a friend who works in wind turbine design has said he's seen the exact same thing happen with wind turbines, where different companies hold patents on different parts of the turbine and if you combined all of them you'd make a really great and efficient turbine, but nobody is legally able to.

    Usually with science, it takes a series of ideas building on each other. So one person will discover something. Ten years later someone on the other side of the world will improve on it. Then 5 years later someone on a 3rd continent will use both their ideas to discover something else. And finally someone ten years later somewhere else might make another discovery which builds on those previous ones and makes a marketable product possible based on the discovery. Capitalism/private companies don't tend to cope particularly well with the long time-frames in science, nor with the necessity of making the information as freely available worldwide as possible for others to build on. They just like the marketable products that tend to come at the end of the process. So they do tend to prefer that the government funds that first ~40 years worth of blue skies scientific research, and then they just fund the last couple of years worth of tinkering to make the marketable product that comes at the 'end' of the scientific process and make money off all the government research that came before.

    In short, no, you don't need free markets for innovation. If anything, they have a tendency to limit it, due to lack of investment in long-term scientific projects from private companies, and due to patents and companies trying to keep their innovations secret from competitors who would otherwise be able to use them together with their own innovations to create products superior to what either private company could create alone.
    Last edited by Starlight; 02-25-2020 at 11:57 AM.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I work as a scientist. So I am well aware that even in the modern Western capitalist world, most science is government funded.

    Even when private companies do science they tend to be government funded in the form of specific subsidies, tax cuts, etc to fund their scientific work. e.g. Elon Musk companies have been subsidized to the tune of $5 billion by the US govt. IIRC Leonhard, like me, works as a scientist in a private company, and both our work is being government-funded. I've looked for stats on this in the past, and found the general stat seems to be that 75% of all science done in the world is government-funded, whether it be done in universities, government research institutes, or subsidized/funded private companies.

    Overall, most of the major scientific innovations in history have been government-funded or government projects. The invention of computers, getting to the moon, the internet, to pick a few famous ones.

    'Socialist' countries have tended to be particularly good at science. The USSR was famously world-leading across a variety of scientific fields because their government funded their science programs well. They got the first satellite into orbit, landed the first spacecraft on the moon (unmanned), and their tokamak prototype fusion reactors were an order of magnitude better than the designs current in the West at the time. Cuba has also been famously good at medical science, creating cancer vaccines and providing medical assistance to much of the 3rd world.

    When private companies do scientific research, you tend to quickly run into problems with patents. One company will have one good idea about how to design one part of a product and patent it. Another company will have another good idea about how to design a different part of the product and patent that. And while it would be optimal to use both ideas at once, nobody can because navigating the legalese of acquiring both patents gets too complex. This happened with trains when steam engines were first invented - two different patents were crucial in working together to make a decent engine, but it was too problematic to acquire both patents, so only once they expired and all were able to use them, did real progress begin. And a friend who works in wind turbine design has said he's seen the exact same thing happen with wind turbines, where different companies hold patents on different parts of the turbine and if you combined all of them you'd make a really great and efficient turbine, but nobody is legally able to.

    Usually with science, it takes a series of ideas building on each other. So one person will discover something. Ten years later someone on the other side of the world will improve on it. Then 5 years later someone on a 3rd continent will use both their ideas to discover something else. And finally someone ten years later somewhere else might make another discovery which builds on those previous ones and makes a marketable product possible based on the discovery. Capitalism/private companies don't tend to cope particularly well with the long time-frames in science, nor with the necessity of making the information as freely available worldwide as possible for others to build on. They just like the marketable products that tend to come at the end of the process. So they do tend to prefer that the government funds that first ~40 years worth of blue skies scientific research, and then they just fund the last couple of years worth of tinkering to make the marketable product that comes at the 'end' of the scientific process and make money off all the government research that came before.

    In short, no, you don't need free markets for innovation. If anything, they have a tendency to limit it, due to lack of investment in long-term scientific projects from private companies, and due to patents and companies trying to keep their innovations secret from competitors who would otherwise be able to use them together with their own innovations to create products superior to what either private company could create alone.
    Pure bull. Even if you needed help with patents those who were developing steam engines or wind turbine or the light bulb (which had patent problems) were largely motivated by profits. Why do you think they got patents in the first place? And once you have the product who manufactures it? The government? No, investors take that risk. And take that risk for profits. No country in the world has had the innovation of the US, and that is because of the free market. During the Cold War Star, who had the higher standard of living - the US or the USSR? And even where the government helps where do they get that capital? From tax monies supplied by the free market.
    Last edited by seer; 02-25-2020 at 12:35 PM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

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    Quote Originally Posted by simplicio View Post
    I assume you mean Laissez faire when you say "complete capitalism", but capitalist systems can be very moral, as can the democratic socialism. It depends how it is structured, guided.
    I'm just saying that democratic socialism is a form of capitalism, that they can exist together as they do in other countries.
    At one time, many saw the problems of child labor etc of nineteenth century capitalism as unavoidable. But we did manage to squelch the abuses and still maintain a captialist system. I do notice that you reject notions of good and evil, yet I suspect that you also recognize some things as good, other things as evil.

    I think one of the problems of discussing a topic of capitalism vs socialism, some define the filling of pot holes on my street as socialism since money is coercively taken from others for my needs of street repair. But rural electrification under FDR finally brought electricity to large swaths of the nation, a federal highway system was filled out under Eisenhower, and the GI Bill under Truman educated many men. I see none of those as especially socialist, and I think they were wise moves, albeit expensive moves. And each of those made this country stronger.
    Exactly, which is all that Sanders is saying. The mistake people are making is equating those government programs initiated by FDR, Eisenhower and Truman, or universal healthcare and free education as proposed by Sanders, with pure socialism.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Pure bull.
    It's sad you're so fervently ideological and so stupid that you can't even accept basic facts about how science gets funded currently.

    No country in the world has had the innovation of the US
    I don't know whether I would agree with that or not. I'm not sure how anyone would measure it. What about the Industrial Revolution in Britain?

    and that is because of the free market.
    I would instead point to the massive amount of money the US govt poured into education and science in the 1960s, when the USSR's advanced space program caught America flatfooted and JFK responded with a massive government investment in science, as being a major factor in US scientific development. Also, the military industrial complex, where the govt pays companies to invent military tech for the sake of it.

    During the Cold War Star, who had the higher standard of living - the US or the USSR?
    Are you aware that before it became communist, Russia was a very very poor country, and the US was a very rich country? The communist government raised Russia up so far that what had been one of the poorest countries in the world was subsequently being constantly compared to what had been one of the richest countries in the world. Asking which one had the higher standard of living is silly because they didn't start from the same starting point.

    those who were developing steam engines or wind turbine or the light bulb (which had patent problems) were largely motivated by profits
    Most general scientific research today is done in universities, which in most countries tend to be government funded in whole or part. The motivation of the average researcher at a university is almost never profit because the university funding system is almost never structured to financial reward a person who discovers something. Scientists usually do what they do because they enjoy it, not because they expect to get massively rich out of it. As far as earning an average paycheck goes, doing science is a fun and enjoyable job.

    Even those scientists like myself who work at a private company (albeit one that is getting government funding to do scientific research), aren't motivated by profit on a personal level... if my research goes well and is profitable for the company my own paycheck is unlikely to be affected by that. The outcomes of my research, good or bad for the company, profitable or non-profitable, are unlikely to particularly affect my own salary - company shareholders would pocket the profits not me. My emotional interest in hoping my own research goes well is from a point of view of feeling successful and feeling like I've achieved something, not from somehow making money from it. The vast majority of scientists who do great science or invent something useful, don't themselves get rich from that thing. I think if you looked down a list of Nobel prize winners in science, that would not be a list of people who'd gotten rich from their scientific inventions/discoveries (aside from the Nobel prize money itself).
    Last edited by Starlight; 02-26-2020 at 01:16 AM.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Morally, why do you have a right to my hard earned wages?
    There's a long list of reasons I would give. A few of the simplest are:

    1. You live in a society where you have been able to succeed and earn those wages because other people in that society / the government have provided you with a long list of things you needed to achieve that success (education, roads, police, business laws, currency, markets, etc) and those things weren't free and taxes is you paying back what you owe.

    2. A different reason would be that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. And so instead of being selfish and greedy hoarders of our own earnings, sinning in our love of our money, instead we should do good with it and contribute some of it to the good of society as a whole and those around us.

    3. Those of us who are morally concerned about the well-being of others would like to see a society in which everyone thrives as much as possible, so we are morally motivated to organize society in such a way that it benefits everyone, and especially that it helps those in need. Of the many and various societies we have seen around the world and in human history, the most effective at achieving a just and humane society that helps those in need, appears to be the welfare state, in which a benevolent government looks after its people and this is funded through taxation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    You can not dismiss the free market. People work, developed technologies, etc... largely to earn monies. Edison did not spend all that time and effort on the light bulb out of the goodness of his heart. He did it for profit. And profit is the driving force for most innovation and for that you need free markets...



    Yet true. Morally, why do you have a right to my hard earned wages?
    Is greed the centerpiece? John Galt and Gordon Gekko are hardly the spiritual masters!

    Is there a moral basis for the taking of wages/money to use for the collective purposes?

    Yes. The Old Testament provided an example, G-d had claim to those wages which were put to a public purpose, the public good. The basic unit of society is not the individual, man was made for society, the whole of salvation history is about man operating in society, whether rightly or wrongly. Widows mites were collected from widows, and dispersed as the elite class saw fit. Justice was not a matter for the individual, but the prerogative and obligation of society.

    So it is moral that hard earned dollars are taken from some and put to public purpose, the streets are repaired and the interstate system uses those dollars taken from some and used for all, the dollars taken from some are given to soldiers for wages for the public good of war (!).

  9. #59
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I don't know whether I would agree with that or not. I'm not sure how anyone would measure it. What about the Industrial Revolution in Britain?
    Over time yes, if we didn't invent it we mass produced it.


    Are you aware that before it became communist, Russia was a very very poor country, and the US was a very rich country? The communist government raised Russia up so far that what had been one of the poorest countries in the world was subsequently being constantly compared to what had been one of the richest countries in the world. Asking which one had the higher standard of living is silly because they didn't start from the same starting point.
    And why was the US a very rich country back then? FREE MARKETS!

    I would instead point to the massive amount of money the US govt poured into education and science in the 1960s, when the USSR's advanced space program caught America flatfooted and JFK responded with a massive government investment in science, as being a major factor in US scientific development. Also, the military industrial complex, where the govt pays companies to invent military tech for the sake of it.

    Most general scientific research today is done in universities, which in most countries tend to be government funded in whole or part. The motivation of the average researcher at a university is almost never profit because the university funding system is almost never structured to financial reward a person who discovers something. Scientists usually do what they do because they enjoy it, not because they expect to get massively rich out of it. As far as earning an average paycheck goes, doing science is a fun and enjoyable job.

    Even those scientists like myself who work at a private company (albeit one that is getting government funding to do scientific research), aren't motivated by profit on a personal level... if my research goes well and is profitable for the company my own paycheck is unlikely to be affected by that. The outcomes of my research, good or bad for the company, profitable or non-profitable, are unlikely to particularly affect my own salary - company shareholders would pocket the profits not me. My emotional interest in hoping my own research goes well is from a point of view of feeling successful and feeling like I've achieved something, not from somehow making money from it. The vast majority of scientists who do great science or invent something useful, don't themselves get rich from that thing. I think if you looked down a list of Nobel prize winners in science, that would not be a list of people who'd gotten rich from their scientific inventions/discoveries (aside from the Nobel prize money itself).
    And where does all this Government funding and investment come from? Right, tax dollars, and what generates tax dollars - free market commerce.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by simplicio View Post
    Is greed the centerpiece? John Galt and Gordon Gekko are hardly the spiritual masters!

    Is there a moral basis for the taking of wages/money to use for the collective purposes?

    Yes. The Old Testament provided an example, G-d had claim to those wages which were put to a public purpose, the public good. The basic unit of society is not the individual, man was made for society, the whole of salvation history is about man operating in society, whether rightly or wrongly. Widows mites were collected from widows, and dispersed as the elite class saw fit. Justice was not a matter for the individual, but the prerogative and obligation of society.

    So it is moral that hard earned dollars are taken from some and put to public purpose, the streets are repaired and the interstate system uses those dollars taken from some and used for all, the dollars taken from some are given to soldiers for wages for the public good of war (!).
    And now you use Scripture which you don't even believe in? And using one's tax dollars to pay for services like roads, fire and police is one thing, paying for another person's food, housing, health care is another.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgC1tqifV8

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