Author Topic: World economies in shambles?  (Read 4360 times)

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Offline Kobuk

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World economies in shambles?
« on: May 25, 2010, 11:22:17 pm »
Is the U.S, headed for another major economic downturn due to sluggish economies in other countries? Over the past several days/weeks, I've heard and read various reports about how serious Greece is in debt, How the Euro is falling against the Dollar, and now it seems like Spain is having economic troubles. Is the world ever going to stabilise? What can or should be done, if anything?
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Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2010, 11:30:43 pm »
oh, it'll get better - though it may take a long time, and it may be a rough ride
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2010, 12:09:43 am »
I think the global economy is going to melt down big-time, but not due only to one single cause. Think of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl: they were coincidental, in no way related (unless, like me, you suspect that random isn't really random), but the latter seriously exacerbated the former.

Taxpayer-funded bailouts (welfare for the richest people on Earth) will only delay the inevitable. The elites are already throwing that money away like drunken fratboys at the BunnyRanch, and when it's gone, it's gone. U.S. consumers drive thirty percent of the global economy (or used to), but that has reached an end. Those same wealthy fatcats have bribed their lackeys in Congress into rewarding them for exporting American jobs to Third World countries with virtual slave labor. At the same time, those Congressional lackeys have opened the door to cheap Mexican labor. They say they want to stop it, but that's a lie. All the "solutions" that end up being implemented (building walls and fences, profiling Mexicans, etc.) are worthless. If they really wanted to end the problem of illegal labor they'd go after the companies that hire it, but you'll notice that that's the one thing they DON'T do. Why? Because those employers are members of the elite few who buy our politicians' astronomically expensive tickets into office, that's why. The Supreme Court has decided: corporations are "persons" and money is "speech."

Corporate management is corrupt, greedy and incompetent, and it owns a majority of high U.S. government officials. It is creating disaster after disaster, both environmental and economic. Natural disasters don't help, but at least they are manageable given competent leadership. Uh... can you say "Hurricane Katrina"? I knew you could! The Peter Principle is maxed out with a vengeance. Management wants short term gain, and that includes hiring cheap labor. However, now U.S. consumers can no longer afford all those expensive toys. At some point, there will come a catastrophe--either natural or manmade--that breaks the camel's back.

We're in a death spiral. Believe it. Nothing will pull us out of it except a massive paradigm shift, a drastic change in the status quo, and that's the last thing the weasels at the top of the heap want to see.

The good news is, economic collapse has a way of demolishing the status quo. Maybe we'll get a better world out of this eventually. I hope I live to see it.

Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2010, 12:59:36 am »
well, capitalism may be corrupt and bad, but when you're working with humans, who for the most part are apathetic, greedy, and self-centered, (as evidenced by the success of capitalism, and the failures of communism, both in human societies), it's pretty much the only workable solution short of a takeover by a non-benevolent dictatorship.

Thus, the solution is to create a people who are specifically designed to work and live in a utopia. With humans, a utopia at any significant level is IMPOSSIBLE. I say that with absolute certainty. (By significant, I mean to say you can have a small utopian community of dedicated volunteering members, but on a scale of a real nation, it wouldn't work, because you WILL get lazy parasites and those who certainly do not think for the greater good)
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 02:15:22 am »
Avan: "...capitalism may be corrupt and bad..."

What we have isn't capitalism, though; it's corporatism, which has been very cleverly confused with laissez-faire capitalism by corporatists. Fortunately for the powers-that-be, sheeple are stupid and don't know the difference. Actually, however, Adam Smith, the "Father of Capitalism," was opposed to corporatism, but the sheeple never read An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, either.

Sheeple like labels and slogans. They don't like to read or think.

Avan: "...on a scale of a real nation, it wouldn't work, because you WILL get lazy parasites and those who certainly do not think for the greater good..."

As long as there's enough food, shelter and energy to go around, lazy parasites don't bother me. Their lifestyles are none of my business. Let 'em loaf. I don't really believe there are as many of them as one might think, though. Loafing is boring, and you'll notice that not even people who were born with silver spoons in their mouths often choose to become playboys and non-stop partiers. Work is play. Useful activity is fun!

Actually, I don't believe money is necessary at all. I think that enough people would want to work simply to provide for their fellow human beings. But, money allows bankers, robber barons and other weasels to magically stay at the top of the heap. It's just Monopoly money, worth nothing except to usurers, possessing no value except itself, but it allows the scam of outrageously unequal distribution to continue.

We already have a problem with lazy parasites: we call them elites. They own our government officials and they run this Godforsaken planet! And weirdly, through Machiavellian tricks and slogans, they command vast armies of poor, powerless sheeple who'd call me a "communist" for even suggesting such a thing.

In point of fact, I am not a communist; I'm a radical, and you can take that to the bank. :)

Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 08:31:24 am »
I think that enough people would want to work simply to provide for their fellow human beings.
Fat chance.

And what I do for humanity is either out of pity for what a horrible world this is, mostly as those I help can't help the situation they are in, or for the Process, nor are they my 'fellows'.

I do agree though that money is not necessary, though with humans, it will be, or at the very least SOME form of expedient perceptual-gain-based commerce. It's that money is not necessary for a people that is created without the petty greedy little desires humans will get.

Nobody is going to convince me that a true utopia can be made with unmodified humans on a meaningful scale, proportional to the total population.
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2010, 07:10:31 pm »
Avan: "Fat chance."

Wow. And people tell me I'm cynical. :D

Avan: "Nobody is going to convince me that a true utopia can be made with unmodified humans on a meaningful scale, proportional to the total population."

I wasn't describing a Utopia, just an improved system. There's enough misery built into the physical universe without us gratuitously adding to it. I'll go even a step farther than you did: we won't get a Utopia without altering space/time and the laws of nature.

But, I don't believe the moneyless system I described requires genetically modified humans, just socially modified ones. Our socialization process is all wrong. We reward the wrong things. One interesting aspect of socialization is that people come to see their society as "the real world." It isn't. It's a fabrication. Money is an abstraction. Law is an abstraction, but people (provincial as they are) come to see such things as rigid laws of nature. They're not rigid. They are infinitely plastic.

As things stand, we reward greed. We reward lying and Alpha displays. We reward subterfuge and yes, conspiracy. A kid has that figured out by the time he is three. We don't have to teach it to him in so many words. Kids aren't stupid. They see what works.

Imagine a world where kindness and altruism are consistently rewarded, and greed is slapped down with a vengeance. Imagine one where intellectual endeavor is held in higher esteem than physical prowess. You'd get a whole different kind of animal without changing a single line in the genetic code.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 07:12:07 pm by J. March OHare »

Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2010, 07:36:19 pm »
Well, I'm looking at a vastly improved system. A Eutopia - achievable. It's a finite value rather than an infinite one like Utopias are. That make sense?

As to social structures, the problem is that the social structures humans have is that they are pretty much the result of basic pre-programmed functions of their brains.
The vast majority of human minds are not as plastic as you would seem to suggest. They are so weak and petty and shallow... To achieve the social modification you're talking about, steps would have to be taken to ensure that the base behaviors and tendencies are suppressed or outright removed and supplanted with ones that would strongly push for an ideal society.

It's within the range of plausibility that I'm not giving humanity enough credit, however I won't leave anything to chance. Social modification ONLY leaves a massive amount to go wrong (mainly in that it would not last). They would succumb to their base behaviors in the end.
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 12:50:57 am »
Avan: "...I'm looking at a vastly improved system. A Eutopia - achievable. It's a finite value rather than an infinite one like Utopias are. That make sense?"

Yes. We probably agree more than we disagree, right up to this point, anyway:

Avan: "As to social structures, the problem is that the social structures humans have is that they are pretty much the result of basic pre-programmed functions of their brains. The vast majority of human minds are not as plastic as you would seem to suggest. They are so weak and petty and shallow..."

This is where we'll just have to agree to disagree. Not all are, and I'd argue that pettiness and shallowness might come with some people's genetic predispositions, but so what? The problem is that we tolerate it. We even reward it. If you've ever been to Middle School, you already understand the saying, "The big chunks always rise to the top."

We encourage that. I was thirteen once. I watched the teachers and administrators reward the jocks, the soshes, the mediocre minds that tended to parrot rather than thinking. Ever notice that the brightest kids got B's and C's, while the mediocre ones got straight A's through rote memorization and sucking up? That system carries right on into adulthood.

Adults are rigid, but babies are plastic.

I freely admit, I don't see a way to change that other than the environment changing to produce kinder, more intelligent people. On the bright side, I've noticed that people are kinder and more resourceful during tough economic times. They're at their worst during times of plenty. The economic bubble of the 'nineties produced some truly horrible monsters, and they're sill with us. They need to be slapped down, and slapped down hard.

I remain hopeful, while nevertheless having no idea how we get from A to Z. I might as well pray for it (or chant, or perform rituals, or do whatever is equivalent of praying for an old pagan like me). Reality has a way of surprising us. It could turn out that, in a trillion-to-one shot, the pieces eventually just fall into place.

But, I don't believe that random is really random, either. :D

Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2010, 09:01:33 am »
Well, I never did say, "all" now, did I? Just "vast majority"...
Not much really to debate at this point, since we're really just stuck on the issue of who's being cynical/not cynical enough in assessing the situation.
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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2010, 11:17:14 am »
As to social structures, the problem is that the social structures humans have is that they are pretty much the result of basic pre-programmed functions of their brains.
The vast majority of human minds are not as plastic as you would seem to suggest. They are so weak and petty and shallow... To achieve the social modification you're talking about, steps would have to be taken to ensure that the base behaviors and tendencies are suppressed or outright removed and supplanted with ones that would strongly push for an ideal society.
This is completely false. And adding "vast majority" doesn't change that. Yes, there are some basic personality traits. But these traits do not define the individual as often the individual overcomes these traits in order to fit into their society. And by the way, this isn't just true of humans. The same can be observed in puppies for example.  And there have also been experiments on animals that are usually solitary to raises them in a social environment, and they will begin to exhibit the same kind of behaviors seen in more social species. (I wish I remembered exactly what it was, I'd give a link) The point is, the environment a brain is raised in has a -huge- impact on the resulting behavior.

As for the actual topic, the world economy, I don't really have much to say on that other than I hope things don't get too bad.

Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2010, 01:45:57 pm »
On the original topic, I'm optimistic that the US and world economies will stabilize and turn around.  Things have gotten a bit better in the US, though I'd agree we are still on very shaky ground.  Now, I am speaking as someone who has felt only a minimal impact from the recession, so my viewpoint may be colored by this.

As for what should be done, well, we are past the prime the pump stage and it's time to start cutting the deficit.  There are no easy ways to go about this, as any changes to cut deficit spending are going to hurt some group of people, but it needs to be done. 

The latest panic was caused by Greece coming clean with how much deficit spending they are doing, and when the real amount was known, the groups buying their bonds stopped buying.  Greece, Portugal and Spain all need to get their budgets in order, and Germany and France will need to help them out.  They all share a common currency, so if one of them is in trouble, it impacts them all.

Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2010, 06:55:07 pm »
As to social structures, the problem is that the social structures humans have is that they are pretty much the result of basic pre-programmed functions of their brains.
The vast majority of human minds are not as plastic as you would seem to suggest. They are so weak and petty and shallow... To achieve the social modification you're talking about, steps would have to be taken to ensure that the base behaviors and tendencies are suppressed or outright removed and supplanted with ones that would strongly push for an ideal society.
This is completely false. And adding "vast majority" doesn't change that. Yes, there are some basic personality traits. But these traits do not define the individual as often the individual overcomes these traits in order to fit into their society. And by the way, this isn't just true of humans. The same can be observed in puppies for example.  And there have also been experiments on animals that are usually solitary to raises them in a social environment, and they will begin to exhibit the same kind of behaviors seen in more social species. (I wish I remembered exactly what it was, I'd give a link) The point is, the environment a brain is raised in has a -huge- impact on the resulting behavior.

As for the actual topic, the world economy, I don't really have much to say on that other than I hope things don't get too bad.
Very interesting - never knew that.

Still, I honestly doubt you can stamp out something like greed though with a method such as that.
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2010, 08:24:15 pm »
Drake Blackpaw: "...we are past the prime the pump stage and it's time to start cutting the deficit.  There are no easy ways to go about this, as any changes to cut deficit spending are going to hurt some group of people, but it needs to be done."

One way would be to increase the level of taxation on the richest one-tenth of one percent, and make corporations chartered in the U.S. (or any country) pay stiff penalties for hiring outside the country where they're chartered. I like to think of that as "trickle-up economics." We've tried trickle-down, and you can see where that's gotten us.

This guy obviously gets it. Too bad so many voters don't.

As for cuts, I can see a lot of places to do it with minimal damage: end the War on Drugs. End corporate welfare (bailouts). End the useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those three things are astronomically expensive, but all three amount to corporate welfare for Big Pharma, Big Banking and the Military-Industrial Complex respectively.

Those cuts will cause a shock, too. It'll put a lot of parasites out of work, but so what? When any action is going to result in a disruption, you have to fall back on doing what's right. Those cuts are moral and ethical. There are no easy answers.

It's way past time for well-connected fatcats to shoulder their fair part of the burden. If Obama and the sold-out weasels in Congress won't make them, perhaps we'll eventually elect people who will.

Avan: "...I honestly doubt you can stamp out something like greed though with a method such as that."

I don't believe anyone here thinks you can. I certainly don't. I simply believe we should stop rewarding it. As things now stand, we lionize the greedy. We slap 'em on the back and elect them to office, or put them in charge of multi-billion dollar multinational corporations.

The greedy should be cleaning toilets and tarring roofs, like honest people do now. Let's give them their proper place in the "Service-Based Economy" they created.

Offline Avan

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2010, 09:07:59 pm »
Thus my entire reasoning behind creating a brain that doesn't register individual-first greed and other undesirable factors still stands.
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2010, 09:32:27 pm »
Avan: "Thus my entire reasoning behind creating a brain that doesn't register individual-first greed and other undesirable factors still stands."

You implied that it would have to be done genetically. I disagreed, and said that socialization would be sufficient. Vararam agreed with me. Incidentally, Vararam, the experiment you were thinking of was probably the Harlow "wire monkey" experiment.

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2010, 09:37:55 pm »
 x_x
But you just said stamping out greed wouldn't happen (not with social engineering anyways)

I'm saying that I want to create one that simply lacks the capacity to compute it. Thus you won't have to worry about social-engineering it out. (nor worry about having it pop back up again)
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2010, 09:53:19 pm »
Avan: "But you just said stamping out greed wouldn't happen (not with social engineering anyways)"

What I meant was that stamping out the impulse is impossible. Stamping out the impulse to beat the living tar out of someone who's desperately asking for it isn't possible either. Not a day goes by that I don't feel that impulse... but, I haven't acted on it since I was twelve. Violence among adults is actually rather uncommon, regardless of the news media making it seem otherwise.

We can't stamp out greed, but we can make displays of it a seriously anti-social act. That's enough.

Avan: "I'm saying that I want to create one that simply lacks the capacity to compute it."

Then you're scary. Tinkering with the human genome is strolling into Nazi territory. Who decides what traits to reinforce? Given the people currently in power, you sure don't want them doing it. They'd keep greed and aggression for themselves, and turn everyone else into sheep.

The majority of humans are sheeplike enough as it is. Tinkering with the genome, whether through selective breeding or genetic engineering, should be off-limits. We aren't ready for it yet, and absent the cultural changes I've described, we never will be.

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2010, 11:08:29 pm »
Who ever said I would enforce it on humans? Or give away the technology to humans for that matter.

First off, I would never make any process such as this involuntary/forced. Any programs that involve the limiting of one's abilities must be strictly voluntary.

Secondly, I would not replace humans, but to create a separate and independent society. The same safeguards that prevent intra-species malevolence would be emplaced to prevent any acts of aggression against humans. We will be capable of self-defense however, in the event we are attacked, because I am more than aware enough that humans are unrestrained.

Thirdly, there is a difference between using this ability to create mindless drones and to create an internally cohesive people; mindless drones have had all freewill removed; an internally cohesive people have simply had any ability to do harm towards each other.

I know my ideals can make me come off as a "well intentioned extremist" [trope] however I actively defy this [defied trope] with my first point and in that: "Certainly I would do anything - give my own life as many times as needed to complete the process. But to be generous with the lives [actual lives and/or their livelyhood] of others? No, I couldn't do that"

The Nazi analogy is a false analogy in that the Nazis clearly were forcing others into their ideals of perfection; if they did not fit, they would be destroyed.
I would not, will not, and cannot, do that.

Furthermore, I don't intend to remove individuality; malevolence and greed and the like are not responsible for the bulk of individuality, if any parts of it at all, (possibly varying from individual to individual).



The whole point of this is to give my children a place and bodies to live and to grow in without the fear of feeling the emotions of malevolence, of hatred - and without the fear of having it directed towards eachother.
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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2010, 11:24:00 pm »
Avan: "...I don't intend to remove individuality; malevolence and greed and the like are not responsible for the bulk of individuality..."

Individuality? How about simply what makes us human. Check out the attempts to breed tame foxes. Breeders have tried: long ago the fur industry figured out that people would be ga-ga over pet foxes, so they separated out their gentlest, most domesticable animals and started breeding them.

What they got was a surprise. They didn't get foxes. They didn't even LOOK like foxes. They were uninteresting, relatively unattractive dogs.

It turned out that the genes that cause the adrenal gland to go into fight-or-flight mode, which must be suppressed when breeding tame animals, invariably produces other major somatic and behavioral changes. Domesticated foxes aren't foxes, and domesticated humans would not be human, either.

Offline Kobuk

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2010, 11:25:18 pm »
*cough, cough* Getting back on track.............

So how would you guys FIX the world economies? What must not only the US do, but also Spain, Greece, the European Union, etc. do to overcome their problems? Is having Germany, France, and any other countries bail out Greece or other problem countries a good idea or not?
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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2010, 11:29:13 pm »
Kobuk: "So how would you guys FIX the world economies?"

I answered that one in Post #13 above. No bailouts. If we really believe in laissez-faire capitalism and social Darwinism (and Americans love to say they do), then failed institutions, including governments, need to go belly-up. Leave room for leaner, fitter competition to take the place of the fat, spoiled and out-of-shape.

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2010, 12:27:20 am »
I'm no economist... nor historian, though I've heard economists saying that this isn't comparable to The Great Depression, so... not even the trained professionals agree on how to approach this new problem. Whatever immediate course of action is taken to attempt to rectify the economic situation, there will doubtless be setbacks, and following, detractors of that course of action. And whether it succeeds or fails, well, that's entirely up in the air.  x_x
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Offline Yip

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2010, 01:29:45 am »
Incidentally, Vararam, the experiment you were thinking of was probably the Harlow "wire monkey" experiment.
No, that one they took normally social creatures and raised them in solidarity. The thing I'm thinking of was almost the opposite of that.

I did want to mention that when people talk of big corporations controlling everything it sounds too much like a conspiracy theory to me.  I don't think there is any mastermind behind it. Have you heard the term meme?  Ideals can act and spread through those that hold them. And through those that hold them, they act not with any goal in mind, but only to ensure their own survival. Of course the results are about the same. ;)


@ Avan: hearing you talk of things like "parasites" and building a separate society, I keep thinking Bioshock.


As for the question, how to fix the world economy, I think the first thing would be to understand the underlying causes. Which unfortunately I don't.

Offline J. March OHare

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Re: World economies in shambles?
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2010, 02:02:16 am »
Vararam: "I did want to mention that when people talk of big corporations controlling everything it sounds too much like a conspiracy theory to me.  I don't think there is any mastermind behind it. Have you heard the term meme?"

Of course I have, and the notion that conspiracy theories are silly is a meme in itself--an incredibly stupid one. Conspiracies go on around us all the time. You've probably been part of a few yourself (I know I have), and if you think the richest people on the planet don't conspire to stay at the top of the heap, you're naive. Consider the stakes, consider their social circles and the privacy they can buy, wake up and smell the coffee.

Here's one I'd love to see: the next time the Feds have some racketeer up on conspiracy charges, the jury returns a verdict of Not Guilty because "The defendant was charged with conspiracy Your Honor and we all know that conspiracies do not exist."

However, I wasn't talking conspiracies mostly, just business as usual. It doesn't take any vast conspiracy to say to a politician whose election you've contributed to lavishly, "Okay, I've scratched your back, now you scratch mine."

Business as usual.

As for the economic mess we're in, I understand it perfectly. The big chunks have risen to the top and they've been there too long. The system is corrupt. Only corrupt people can thrive in it. If you're not corrupt, you won't even get your foot in the door. It's a con game, but the con could only go on for so long before the house of cards collapsed, because most of the "wealth" that was created from 1980 onward was as phony as a three-dollar bill.

It's bloated bureaucracy, flabbiness, overreaching and corruption, period: basically the same stuff that did in Rome.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 02:06:46 am by J. March OHare »