Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Socialism and Social Democracy

For no particular reason I just want to clarify a confusion that I have encountered fairly often, that's what the difference is between Socialism and Social Democracy. Socialism aims to achieve a more just society by putting the means of production in the hands of the government, it is against privatization (though not necessarily for common ownership, that's communism). That has a priori nothing to do with planned economy in case you wonder.

Social Democracy means you acknowledge that the free market fails to automatically take into account certain goals your society might value, that are most often those based on solidarity and long-term plans. For example environmental protection, help for medical emergencies, social help etc. An unregulated free market is merciless on the sick, the old, the poor, or the unlucky, simply everybody who fails to contribute directly to economic growth for whatever reason, e.g. by having too many kids. Social democracy includes the human wish not to see your neighbors starve the moment they can no longer be productive, and recognizes that one day you might be in that same situation.

The way it is typically done is to take away money from those who have plenty, e.g. by taxes, and give it to those who need it to survive. Yes, that means redistribution of wealth. You do that backed up by a democratic system to ensure this redistribution is considered just by the majority of people and not in conflict with more fundamental laws. Needless to say, the people who have the big money will complain about it. Keep in mind they made their money in a system that is considered unjust by the majority of people living around them. The outcome is a social market economy, that is, one that combines a capitalist mode of production with the belief that society should protect all its members from economic and social need.

Justice is however something that is perceived very different depending on what culture one has grown up in. I for example find it quite amusing that Americans like to talk about Germany as a 'social welfare' state as if that was something undesirable. As far as I am concerned, I am very relieved that if I am in Germany I know all my neighbors do have a health insurance, I know all my friends have an unemployment insurance, and I know they can live from social help should it be necessary. Of course there's parties in Germany who are more left or right leaning, more or less liberal, more or less conservative, but overall the idea of a social market economy is more generally accepted.

Choose what you want. That's what democracy is good for.


  1. An unregulated free market is merciless on the sick, the old, the poor, or the unlucky, simply everybody who fails to contribute directly to economic growth for whatever reason, e.g. by having too many kids.

    That is why China works and America died. "March or die" is the formula for national success ever since Cain slew Able. When the Officially Sad are valued over the productive there obtains precisely the future being purchased at outrageous cost. Suddenly tomorrow arrived yesterday.

    No State coddling its scum remains viable in 2008. The future was traded for a bowl of pottage (plus sales commissions).

  2. Hi Uncle,

    One can be merciless in many ways. It generally increases productivity on the expense of humanity. How much people are willing to accept suffering depends on the success of indoctrination. Both in the USA and in China. Best,


  3. The difference between socialism and social democracy is that social democracy is a propagandistic trick to push a democratic society towards socialism. These things and wealth redistribution are always bad - both morally as well as for the future development of a society. How much bad they are depends on the degree to which they are promoted. Behind a certain critical point, every socialist or social country inevitably becomes a totalitarian system.

    "Keep in mind they made their money in a system that is considered unjust by the majority of people living around them." Wow: I suppose that the "majority" considers capitalism itself unjust. In that case, the unlucky successful person lives in a community dominated by jealous human crap who love to steal from others. My condolences.

    West Germany and post-1990 Germany hasn't fell into real trouble because its relevant politicians, including those from SPD, were not "real" socialists or social democrats. Even Gerhard Schröder was always appreciating the key role of the free markets.

    In other words, the "social market economy" remained a politically correct buzzword that remains popular in Germany (although it is discredited in Czechia and elsewhere). Most of the life and production in the German society still followed the rules of capitalism and a relatively small percentage of the wealth produced by capitalism was given to social programs etc. Because the German GDP has been so high for quite some time, even the small percentage was enough to pay for extensive welfare and social programs. But the percentage was small, anyway. In this counting, Germany was always more "market economy" than a "social state".

    Of course, once the priorities become different, and Germany may be close to it, Germany would gradually sink to the bottom of the sea - glub glub glub - much like Cuba, North Korea, and dozens of other nations in the past.

    The purpose of a democratic government based on the rule of law is never to "redistribute wealth". Its task is to bring certain services to the citizens who pay for them from their taxes - the type of services that are difficult to be realized by the private sector.

    On the other hand, any country that defines its goal by punishing a certain group of people - for example, the Jews or richest 5% - is a screwed, unjust country. Mrs Hossenfelder, you may picture yourself as innocent but the tens of billions of people that your soulmates have killed because of similar "ideas" will never be forgotten.

  4. Lubos,

    thanks for the deep insights in the recent history of my country. How could I live without your wisdom.

    In case you you are unable to understand irony - just stay where you are, turn it into your personal wonderland, and keep your mouth shut until you have succeeded.


  5. Bee said: “Socialism aims to achieve a more just society by putting the means of production in the hands of the government, it is against privatization [...]. That has a priori nothing to do with planned economy in case you wonder.”

    There is a contradiction between the two statements: nationalised economy needs planning as a major element, in one way or another. In fact, it is the very meaning of “nationalisation”.

    “Social democracy includes the human wish not to see your neighbors starve the moment they can no longer be productive, and recognizes that one day you might be in that same situation.”

    So, everybody who is not particularly attached to social democracy is a dirty killer of “thy poor neighbour”. It seems that it's you who confuse general human values and particular version of political and economic structure of society. We have relatively big taxes in Germany and huge taxes in Scandinavian countries, but it happens under various, permanently changing political tendencies at power. A typical argument of the “right” camp is that before “distributing” the wealth, one should first create it, so let's first be efficient in the latter process. Nobody knows the “best” border between the two (in particular, it varies for different nations) and in practice we have often had a “self-organised” alternation of “right” and “left” governments: the first “create”, the second “distribute” (but it doesn't seem to be a working problem solution any more). In any case, it's almost 100 % economy and almost 0 % “feeling”, contrary to “people's attitude”, such as yours expressed here.

    Also, what happened to another important (actually, most important!) idea underlying all successes of Western civilisation, the liberal idea (priority of individual freedoms and personal opinions)? It is the more and more often forgotten behind various “isms”, while being the true meaning of e.g. “democracy” (we have formal democracy in countries like Russia but people don't feel they need their individual freedoms to be realised in the first place and they freely and massively “delegate” their power to decide to powers-that-be). There are many “outcasts” in Western countries who are in their “special” position because they don't want to play usual “game” and want instead remain “truly free”, rather than because they cannot get the necessary help. When you have the ideal “socialist” and/or “social-democratic” society, are you sure there will be the suitably large place there for true, individual liberties? What about modern, already dominating “collectivism” in science operation (which is a sufficiently separated system) making impossible practical realisation of any truly novel idea and thus progress of knowledge itself? Newton, with his “crazy” unification and novelties, would be killed by peer-review mafia today, without any hope...

    Your praise for German social system is unfortunate because they have just liberated the information about its total failure, just in terms of equality. Contrary of standard ideas, it appears that despite really big “social” elements in Germany, its differences between rich and poor have grown much stronger than in other, less “social-democratic” countries: by supporting the “poor” (letting them comfortably survive eternally), you inevitably increase their number. It's even one of the last-time scandals, just confirming that the dominating unitary system is falling in all its versions, beyond any illusive hope... The growing dollar is another firm “argument”: when really “pressed”, people tend to believe in “real” values, rather than “good feelings”, otherwise they would sell dollars and buy euros, especially in times of crisis originating in “anti-social” America.

    So, are you really “deviating” from theoretical physics to economy-governance? Is your “project” from the previous post more in the latter direction? (just to check my intuition). Want to become useful, finally :-)? In any case, if your attitude that “we” (scientists) should “participate much more actively” in social and political activity is serious, then we rather need to propose something qualitatively more advanced than usual “right” and “left” ideologies, their fight, etc. They're already dead, all those “isms”, in their best realisations (already attained). One should propose something essentially different and provably more efficient or ... “shut up and calculate” :-).

    In fact, this last-time resurgence of canonical, banal “ideologies” in the West is truly surprising, after their apparent disappearance already decades ago. In which millennium are you leaving, people, in your highly privileged, educated and technically advanced part of the world? It is so surprising, this absolute inability to understand and change one's own, “developed” world, in full power and “magic” material possibilities... Either you change or you disappear: basic evolution laws persist through all millennia. OK, when you feel you really need it, you can ask us, “chinese” (we even sometimes happen to be Europeans, surprisingly)...

  6. Lumo;

    > Behind a certain critical point, every socialist or social country inevitably becomes a totalitarian system.

    Do the initials FDR ring a bell? I'm unclear if Sweden is spiraling into fascism. Perhaps you can check after the ceremony.

    Uncle Al;

    > No State coddling its scum remains viable in 2008.

    That's going to be hard on you. It's unclear whether your world view is surrealist libertarian or you're just a troll. Or both.


    It's instructive to note that the noted socialist William Gates Senior (whose son has done very well in IT) pointed out that the accumulation of great wealth requires a functioning society. Roads, law and order, et cetera. There is no incentive for private interests to finance infrastructure. This is part of (I think) the tragedy of the commons. The state has to act as a gardener to prevent one plant or plants choking the ecosystem. That's why there are anti-trust laws. The state also regulates substance abuse in the financial casino to prevent benders and hangovers. Unfortunately the US (and to a lesser extent the European) economy has been run by ideologues who read Ann Rand over and over until they forgot 1929. Their ideology now joins their old nemesis fascist communism in the dust bin of history.

    The unpleasant part, at least for a US citizen like myself, is this ideology is still attractive to wanna-be tough guys (see above comments) who tend to view these complex issues the way adults view sports: Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Hopefully soon the adults (Mr Buffet, if you're available, can you teach these children a lesson after bandaging their knees) will be back in charge. At least for a while.

    As a postscript I'd point out that, while health care has not in the past been considered a right, societies, like organisms, evolve.

  7. (USA perspective): One thing that irks me is the complaint by McC/Palin that a slightly higher graduated income tax (not even having versus not) is "socialist." Hey, when are those who say they don’t like “redistribution” by tax rates, going to prove your honesty by opposing a cap gains rate (in advance of inflation indexing, which I support - I mean, the base CG tax rate before any “time” adjustments) which is lower than the tax on people who, ironically, actually did work hard to produce new value and earn the money directly? I don’t want my earned income to be redistributed to worthless traders/traitors!

    And regarding just employee income: consider that employers can offer higher gross pay to offset taxes anyway. If net pay is the actual "sale" of the labor from being the "observed quantity" - that likely means that higher-earners aren't even losing out in relative terms compared to without the taxation. Few appreciate this issue.

    Haven't you wondered, how companies can complain about "worker salaries" making them uncompetitive for export, but still paying so much to CEOs? The pressure to do so derives from corporate Boards not really paying for value in a free market. In a true market economy, purchasers must allocate (as money, a zero-sum game at a point in time) from their own scarce buying power. If I spend my own money, I won't pay $400 for a haircut unless it is damn good for me, because I'd have $400 less to buy other things. But the Board members don't use their own personal money! They use control to allocate company funds - if they decide to pay the CEO 10 M instead of 5M, no skin off their personal backs. They still have whatever they earn as members regardless. Hence there is no responsible pressure for thrift as there is for a genuine market buyer.

    Finally, does "capitalism" require letting companies do as they please? No, it doesn't. Regardless of how much "natural freedom" individuals may have to buy and sell including of labor, corporations are artificial entities given rights, from the government, of limited liability and limited (and not by enough) legal personhood. Groups like that, versus individuals, do not have such rights by natural law or whatever source you think offers them to individuals. Hence government/society has the right to demand conduct according to some permitted rules and charter for corporations, including how much to pay, etc. I can't prove that individuals (like tree-trimmers asking householders for work) are subject to such a quid pro quo, but corporations certainly are.

    Note of course that nothing in the argument "of principle" over taxation and regulation rights proves that high rates or many regulations etc. are good. It only shows that taxation and regulation have a right and foundation for their very existence.

  8. Bee said: “Choose what you want. That's what democracy is good for.”

    Now, this is plain wrong (unless it's merely “ironic”). The real choice under democracy is close to its absolute minimum: you can really have only what the majority votes for. Under “true” democracy other choices are formally “tolerated”, which is better than totalitarian absence of tolerance, but it doesn't make real, practically executed choice larger. Real choice of those different “squares” one needs to cross in a ballot-paper has nothing to do with “choose what you want”: you can choose your favourite square (if yet you can find one!), but not the winning one, which is chosen by majority to which you happen to belong or not irrespective of any your additional choice or action. And the actually winning choice of the crowd can hardly be great, especially at a time of complex problems... Democracy is good for letting survive the losing minority, that's all. They don't kill the outcasts, usually. By they never let any of their ideas to progress either, which can be considered as “intellectual/spiritual killing” (of the best, among others), not a very pleasant thing either, especially at a time when a decadent, exhausted society just needs dramatically novel ideas for its very survival... Hence certain modern tendency for elements of more totalitarian “rule”, either “left” (“socialism”) or “right”, even within “old democracies”. They are becoming very nervous today, our “convinced” democrats (it can be felt also in comments here, as well as elsewhere). But none of it will help, of course: only a qualitatively new future can help, while any form of the ending unitary system cannot be efficient any more.

  9. Interesting, thanks. It is true that here in the US, the term 'social democracy' is viewed by disdain by some people; the archetype these 'conservatives' like to point out to is France (I, for one, like France!).

    I suppose, as a zeroeth-order approximation one could classify capitalist philosophies in two branches: one is your social democracy where it is recognized that the market does not solve all problems (Keynes? Applied in most of Europe?), and the other is the libertarian point of view (M. Friedman's ideal: shall we call it Lubosland??). The republicans in the US (starting with reagan), and especially the bushites have tried with varying degrees of success to approach that 2nd branch. If I recall, one of the slogans of bush II was that of forming an 'ownership society'.

    I think you'll probably get a lot of comments on this post...!

  10. Hi Lubos,

    Your comment is completely ridiculous. I have spend several years of my life with the Social Democratic Party in Germany, and I know very precisely they are in no way even remotely interested in making Germany into Socialism. It is correc what you say that leaders of this party did not quite live up to the expectations, and as far as I am concerned did not represent it well (which is also why I stopped my engagement with them). Whether or not one considers this a good or a bad thing depends on political orientation. It is pretty clear that mine is very different from yours. And yes, I do consider capitalism itself unjust because not everything that is important for a society is productive in the capitalistic sense, but valuable nevertheless. Hopefully you have noticed that no country on this world is run by pure capitalism.



  11. The purpose of a government even in a capitalistic democracy is to spend on things that individuals wouldn't spend enough on for whatever reason. This can be defense, infrastructure and the social safety net (public or privately run). The problem is priorities are very wrong worldwide and the U.S. is the biggest bully with the wrong priorities.

    Chris Floyd hammered the point home:-
    Let's say it again: The money was there all along.

    Money to build and generously equip thousands and thousands of new schools, with well-paid, exquisitely trained teachers, small teacher-pupil ratios, a full range of enriching and inspiring programs.

    Money to revitalize the nation's crumbling inner cities, making them safe and vibrant places for businesses and families and communities to grow.

    Money to provide decent, affordable and accessible health care to every citizen, to provide dignity and comfort to the elderly, and protection and humane treatment for the mentally ill.

    Money to provide affordable higher education to everyone who wanted it and could qualify for it. Money to help establish and sustain local businesses and family farms, centered in and on the local community, driven by the needs and knowledge of the people in the area, and not by the dictates of distant corporations.

    Money to strengthen crumbling infrastructure, to repair bridges, shore up levies, maintain roads and electric grids and sewage systems.

    Money for affordable, workable public transport systems, for the pursuit of alternative sources of energy, for sustainable, sensible development, for environmental restoration.

    Money to support free inquiry in science, technology, health and other areas -- research unfettered from the war machine and the drive for corporate profit, and instead devoted to the betterment of human life.

    Money to support culture, learning, continuing education, libraries, theater, music and the endless manifestations of the human quest to gain more meaning, more understanding, more enlightenment, a deeper, spiritually richer life.

    The money for all of this -- and much, much more -- was there, all along. When they said we couldn't have these things, they were lying -- or else allowing themselves to be profitably duped by the high priests of the market cult. When they wanted a trillion dollars -- or three trillion dollars -- to wage a war of aggression in Iraq, they found it. Now, when they want trillions of dollars to save the speculators, fraudsters and profiteers of greed in the global market, they suddenly have it.

    The U.S essentially dictated after World War II what the world's financial system would be (basing it on the dollar) and has continued to be a bully ever since trying to change things when inconvenient (like the gold standard). If a new financial system is needed now, the U.S. may find it more difficult to dictate the terms.

  12. Socialism has become the talk of town on the blogosphere ever since both McCain and Palin have made hints that Obama is a socialist. But they made these hints in hopes of gaining electoral brownie points by stirring up fear in the minds of those who are still trapped in a cold-war mindset.

    But seriously folks, Palin has no business called someone else a socialist when she herself lives in a state that receives more federal handouts on a per capita basis than any other state in the Union! She's also quoted as saying this:

    "[Alaska] is set up. unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs."

    (sounds like socialism to me]

    And McCain has no room to complain about Obama being a socialist, either. Back in 2000, he is quoted as saying this:

    "...when you reach a certain level of comfort [meaning wealth], there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat more in taxes."

    [he also sounds like a socialist]

    Let's just hope that American voters can see through the fact that Team McCain is wading knee-deep in hypocrisy when it comes to just about every issue that comes their way.


  13. Capitalism has clearly seen better days when Greenspan, a man who has based his monetary policies on the anti-altruistic philosophy of Ayn Rand and the hands-free economics of Milton Friedman, recently made a public announcement that unbridled capitalism is deeply flawed and has gone badly awry. He went on to say that he should have called for more oversight and regulations in the shadow banking industry.

    Let me go out on a limb by saying that had we had a Keynesian, instead of Friedmanite, as a Fed Chair for the last two decades or so, the credit markets across the globe wouldn't be nearly as messed up as they are today!

  14. I enjoy this blog for the the insight into physics which can only be provided by working physicists. The views expressed on this topic unfortunately are not balanced, discerning or even entertaining but obviously heartfelt.Regrettably it does not display your best talents. Why engage in this?

  15. Hi Morris:

    Why engage in this?

    Because I have interests outside physics, and I like to discuss them as well.

    What do you think is not balanced about my writing? I tried to make clear that what somebody considers fair or doesn't is a matter of personal political opinion before I offered mine. It was not my intention to to raise the impression I have provided the correct definition for justice. Best,


  16. Hi John,

    I largely agree with you, except that the government has also other purposes than spending money in things individuals wouldn't. For one, they have other means to correct these trends, e.g. by issuing laws or educational campaigns. But besides this there is of course the most important task to find out what the strategy is to achieve the highest benefit for the most people, to include long-term and large-scale development plans, and to ensure laws are obeyed. Best,


  17. Hi Andrei:

    There is a contradiction between the two statements: nationalised economy needs planning as a major element, in one way or another. In fact, it is the very meaning of “nationalisation”.

    One can operate a business for profit, even if it is not privately owned, you can even do that if the employees never see anything of that profit. Not saying that would work very well, but not privatizing does neither make planned economy necessary nor does it necessarily exclude competition.

    Now, this is plain wrong (unless it's merely “ironic”). The real choice under democracy is close to its absolute minimum: you can really have only what the majority votes for. Under “true” democracy other choices are formally “tolerated”, which is better than totalitarian absence of tolerance, but it doesn't make real, practically executed choice larger.

    You are critizing the simplest democratic system that one can consider and if I understand that correctly you are saying it does not seem quite optimal. I agree on that, but there are better ways to democratically come to conclusions than just doing majority vote.

    What one actually wants to have in a democracy is that everybody is as happy as possible. That means you'll have to negotiate on options to achieve that, and not just take a majority vote.

    Consider you have 100 people and 51 are totally happy with A, whereas 49 are totally unhappy. You do A, you have 49 people being unhappy. Now you modify A such that the 51 are .9 percent happy, but the 49 are .4 percent happy. If you'd do a majority vote, the outcome is the same, yet if you'd look for total happiness, the modified A option increases it.

    There are other ways to omit the minority problem you mention. One is to ensure a plurality in options, such that people can chose whatever their preferences are e.g. by moving into a different district/state (usually called 'voting with ones feet'). That has a similar effect in which you can have more people being happy than by choosing one option and imposing it on everybody.



  18. Hi Changcho,

    I think you'll probably get a lot of comments on this post...!

    Yeah, I guess I should have known. The three topics people just love to discuss: Politics, Religion, and Sex. I usually try to avoid the first two because people tend to get too irrational. I'd be fine with the third, and irrationality not something to avoid on this matter, but would maybe not exactly raise the impression I want to publicly communicate.

    I roughly agree on your classification, except possibly that this seems to be the neo-liberal point of view. I'm not much of a historian, but I think the original libertarian ideal wasn't so much about the free market ideal. I find it very disconcerting sometimes this nomenclature, because I actually think that some social welfare increases personal 'liberty', because one is not bound so much to economic survival needs.



  19. Hi Sciencetourist,

    Yes, I think everybody who knows anything about political theory knows that it is essential for progress the state provides a good infrastructure and stable laws. As John pointed out above, there are just things that don't 'happen' by themselves if everybody is operating for personal advantage. Yes, the tragedy of the commons is one of the cases where one sees the failure. More generally it's the collective action problem: It's not sufficient if everybody thinks X would be a good idea if everybody did X to get people to actually do it. Best,


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  21. Hi Bee,

    “I for example find it quite amusing that Americans like to talk about Germany as a 'social welfare' state as if that was something undesirable.”

    Interesting, for briefly today this ‘social welfare state’ became the home of the largest company on the planet in relation to its total relative capitalization. It may not serve to ruffle any feathers, yet it might 'bug' a few:-) It must have been a fluke don’t you think?



  22. Stefan, indeed, I realize that it will sound counterintuitive to you but people just like you or Bee - socialists - are those who transformed Czechoslovakia, one of the most developed countries in the world, and others into members of the second (class) world. I find it kind of "strong tea" for you and Bee - who are really living out of other people's results all your life, if you want me to avoid the word beginning with "para" - to speak in the extraordinarily arrogant way you chose.

    So if you use the (so far continuing) relatively higher prosperity of current Germany over Czechia to promote a "social" system over pure market economy, it indicates that something is seriously wrong with your brain.

    Sciencetourist, yes, of course, FDR was clearly one of the representatives of a screwed totalitarian countries. Did I insult your political heroes? Honecker? They were bastards just like all other commies in the Eastern Bloc. On the other hand, Sweden has had a center-right government for several years which might explain why it is not spiraling into a dictatorship right now. ;-)

    Bee, concerning SPD, yes, I wrote the same thing as you did. I realize that you had to suffer in SPD because none of them was as much a socialist as you are.

  23. Lubos,

    you do not know what you are talking about, and it's helpful that you make it plainly evident for everybody.

    As you address me personally: Just use your own platform to propagate your lies and your silly worldview - and never come back to any thread by me.

    Thanks, Stefan

  24. Hi Bee,

    It is interesting to note that by in large the more a country leans towards social democracy, the less it generally spends on its ability to take part in or wage wars. I would maintain this correlation is recognized as a down side for many that fervently appose such a shift. I’ve always found it interesting as to which types of infrastructure are supported as it relates to what political philosophy one subscribes to. I’m also curious if the sacrifice of one’s youth to maintain the interests and security of the older is natural in the Darwinian sense as many of those that support a more pure capitalist ideology contend their policies reflect. For me I guess when it comes to look at our state of civilization it is first to ask how civilized it actually is?



  25. Hi Lubos,

    I'm not a socialist which wouldn't have been hard to find out if you'd at least occasionally actually read what I write. But then, we all know that you prefer to accuse people of holding opinions they don't. I would however appreciate if you would perform this nonsensical entertainment program on your own blog. Best,


  26. Hi Phil,

    It is interesting to note that by in large the more a country leans towards social democracy, the less it generally spends on its ability to take part in or wage wars.

    I am really confused by this sentence, did you indeed mean 'less' or should it have been 'more'? The social democratic movements in many cases go back to worker unions, which also in Germany are still quite strong and fight for wages (which can be damned annoying). I thought this to be an elementary part of the economy until I moved to the USA and noticed that sort of negotiation basically doesn't exist. Best,


  27. Hi Bee,

    I simply meant that a state whose system is based on social democracy becomes less of a war monger and less imperialistic in nature.



  28. Hi Phil,

    Gosh, sorry, I completely misread your sentence, I didn't realize 'to wage' is a verb as well. Hard to say whether this is a causal connection or just a correlation though. Best,


  29. Hi Lumo,

    Although I for the most part disagree with almost all of what you say there is one thing that you both allude to and exemplify here that I believe we should all be wary of and that be extremism. I would say that any system that becomes polarized in its ideology is subject to fail. It is indeed important that our systems be able to identify such shifts and have mechanisms capable of countering them. I would also acknowledge that censorship it oft times considered as being one such mechanism yet would agree it in itself more often proves being counter to the purpose. In the end I suppose all one can hope for is that somehow reason rather then rhetoric will prevail.



  30. Hi Bee,

    Yes the language is a confusing one. Perhaps that should be the first thing science does for us all and that is to compose one that is more precise as to promote a greater universal understanding. I realize many mathematicians would say we already have one and so why bother:-)


  31. Hi Bee.

    Now that I come to think of it I made the error, for it should have been “wage war” rather the “wage wars” as the former already can be taken as the plural. I’m sorry about that.



  32. Hi Phil,

    Don't worry, that was an easy communication problem to solve. There are much more severe ones represented in this comment section. Best,


  33. Hi Bee,

    An unregulated free market is merciless on the sick, the old, the poor, or the unlucky, simply everybody who fails to contribute directly to economic growth for whatever reason, e.g. by having too many kids. Social democracy includes the human wish not to see your neighbors starve the moment they can no longer be productive, and recognizes that one day you might be in that same situation.

    I am glad you pointed out your views on the differences and the idea of communism, under this context.

    To many kids?:) How would you support the infrastructure if not by introducing new consumers into the market place? Support existing programs?:)

    Besides, you get to know how a innocent "intelligence is born" into these new little people.:)

    I held back here to let others comment first.

    It does take awareness to see the transitional effect that can take place with these social structures you mentioned to move too, "for profit schemes" at the expense of creating that "ever wider divide" in the society, beside those who have money and those that do not.

    It has always been my effort to help people identify not the option of a secondary system that would overtake an existing social institution, but to direct money to make it ever better. This with the uninformed would seem extremism, but on the contrary, it is to remove that divide between those who have and those who have not.

    Not the "redistribution of wealth" but of one that is more kind to recognize the benefit of a healthy society is a very productive one. Not to supplant their independence by making them dependant but to instill the ethics of contributing to society as a ultimate goal. Make them feel their vote actually counts what ever there "ilk" toward is one toward a balance and just society.

    I think more attention should be paid to the universal language and that does not just mean the math.


  34. So a few awake here.

    Any real time questions?

  35. Hi Plato,

    Not the "redistribution of wealth" but of one that is more kind to recognize the benefit of a healthy society is a very productive one. Not to supplant their independence by making them dependant but to instill the ethics of contributing to society as a ultimate goal.

    Sure. If one had an enlightened group of kind and reasonable people, one wouldn't have to channel actions through a government. I just don't see this happening in practice any time soon. Best,


  36. There is no doubt that one can be coloured by the very principles that they were raised under. If under a "communistic agenda" the views are strong as per Lumos without understanding what is causing the anxiety toward what was once overruling them. Possibly, their freedom?

  37. Bee:Sure. If one had an enlightened group of kind and reasonable people, one wouldn't have to channel actions through a government. I just don't see this happening in practice any time soon.

    First do you see a benefit to a real time conversation under a bloggery format?

    Resistance to current programs that are identified for the general public is part of bringing awareness to a democratic culture. A "full democracy" this has t be defined I think, would not see itself supplanted by secondary rules apart from the constitutions that currently exist. Making sure our governments do as they are told is part of watching this redistribution to other agendas and with no observance in banking look what happened. Continues unabated.


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  39. Report from the Socialist International Conspiracy

    How would you identify elements of the "ole school" :) that has moved to new generation of thinkers?


  40. The toppled Berlin Wall revealed WWII ruins persisted in East Berlin. If socialism can do that to Germans it can do nothing in balance to save itself.

    Government does not uncouple price from cost, insulate people from the results of their own decisions, make stupidity a cherished resource... or allow same-sex marriage while prohibiting heterosexual polygamy or polyandry. Government is a peripheral set of guidelines and a latticework of large fundamentals - transportation infrastucture, treasury, national military, a uniform system of justice. Decent government then shuts up.

    Citizens not bureaucracy comprise the State - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those who live life poorly earn their rewards with no less validity than those who do it well. Equal opportunity, then march or die. Charity is not State-mandated past public health and public schooling.

    A Trisomy-21 chld is not cute nor is it deserving of means beyond that of its family to pay. Lubos alludes to certain WWII social indiscretions. At no point in the process was the ratio of guards to inmates anywhere near sufficient to prevent insurrection. A State that can give you everything can take it all away. Support evolution - shoot back.

  41. Phil,

    Not to burst your bubble, but VW becoming the largest company on the planet yesterday doesn't represent capitalism at its peak. If anything, it represents capitalism at its nadir...

    What you saw happen to VW's stock price has nothing to do with wealth creation; it has everything to do with squeezing the shorts, especially naked shorts. And until most of the toxic waste generated by the derivatives industry works its way out of the economy at large, we'll continue to see more and more short squeezing taking place in markets across the globe.

    It's ugly; it's nasty; it's heartbreaking. It's equivalent to watching someone go in and out of an almost never-ending series of epileptic seizures, despite the fact that doses of anti-convulsives have all been titrated up to their maximum flow rates!

    And I'm sure that Alan Greenspan isn't getting much sleep at night these days, just knowing that if there was a man on the planet who could have prevented this series of epileptic seizures from occurring throughout the market, he was this man!

    Plus if there's any lesson to be learned from this seizing up of the credit markets, it is that paper wealth on Wall Street isn't worth a damn if it doesn't have the strength of the real economy on Main Street to back it up!

  42. Lubos

    You are such an intellectual light weight.

    There is a big difference between toalatarian welfare states such as the former Soviet Union and Northern European social welfare states.

    Jeffrey Sack's capitalistic shock porgram significantly reduced the average life span for millions of Russians,and as a consequence, Russia has experienced a population collpase. Stalinism and free market out of control capitalism is a false choice.

    I resent the fact that you were ever allowed to live in America. Your another example why the H-1 L-1 and foreign student visa program should be shut down.

    Joshua Chamberlain

  43. The American people revolted against the privatization of Social Security. They will revolt against other extreme free market shennanigans. If you take the screw ball Lubos Motl seriously, the American people, in rejecting extreme privatization, have given their blessing to a future Gulag.

    Joshua Chamberlain

  44. Bee it would be better if you could tell us the difference between the Social democratic and the conservative parties in Europe. In Germany for example what is the difference between SPD and CDU? Similarly what is the difference in practice between the conservative and the labor party in UK?

    Let me answer that question: Absolutely none. The one is of Coca-cola and the other of Pepsi-cola:-)


  45. Hi Giotis,

    There is a huge difference between Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola if you frequently drink it.

    I am not particularly interested in documenting differences between SPD and CDU. I haven't really been following German politics for the last some years. Otoh, I think there's an election next year, so maybe should get myself up to date. I roughly agree that the differences between the major parties are become more and more washed out. That's not only something one can observe in Germany though. I think the reason for this is the typical mixup between political process and opinion (on which I commented in this recent post, but will probably come back to in more detail at some point).


  46. Yes, Lubos, Sweden has had a center-right government for two full years now. That oughtta counteract any totalitarian tendencies. (Except that one of the things they've done recently was to push through a US-inspired warrantless wiretapping law to spy on all internet and cell phone communication. So who is the totalitarian there?)

    But keep it coming, it makes for amusing reading.

  47. What you say doesn't surprise me in the least, Rien. Right-wingers tend to have a fascist streak in them, whether they are living on the left or right side of the pond.

  48. Bee, you often tell us that the scientific method should be applied to social "science" problems. Why not do that here? Look around the world and see for yourself how often and under what circumstances social democracy etc etc actually work when real life "experiments" have been performed. Don't assume that what goes on in Germany or the USA are the only alternatives.

    My collation of the experimental evidence suggests to me that everything depends on the nature of the laboratory. Things that work fairly reasonably in Germany have failed catastrophically in parts of Asia and Africa for example. [In other parts, the social-democratic programme would so obviously lead to disaster that nobody has bothered to suggest that the experiment should be run.] Anyway, my advice is: look at the experiments and *then* draw conclusions.

  49. Hi Cynthia,
    “It's ugly; it's nasty; it's heartbreaking. It's equivalent to watching someone go in and out of an almost never-ending series of epileptic seizures, despite the fact that doses of anti-convulsives have all been titrated up to their maximum flow rates!”

    Not to worry no bubble was burst, except perhaps the markets one. You will note I mentioned it was briefly. I also notice you express yourself as if you are a nurse or perhaps a doctor. I suggest you turn your diagnosis inward to be certain you are not suffering a panic attack before you make any final assessment on the overall health and fate of the global economy.

    You talk about short is that to relate to short sellers or short positions. In this respect it looks to me like it has driven many of the speculators out of the markets as can be seen in the spot oil prices. I would ask what happened to all that hurricane damage, refinery undercapacity and regional uncertainties that was suppose to justify the high prices. It’s amassing the prices have dropped so much with little real change in demand. You will also note the house buying numbers rising as the pricing drops as well. Although I would not make light of the current situation it has served in some respects to drive much of the inflationary speculation out.



  50. Cynthia said: “Right-wingers tend to have a fascist streak in them, whether they are living on the left or right side of the pond.”

    When do you think can it happen that those “fascists” and “communists” will collapse upon each other and annihilate, like matter and antimatter particles, after which the remaining normal people will live peacefully and creatively on all sides of the pond? [Annihilation = marriage ?! :-)] It may also be internal process, within a single person, like you waking up one day and seeing that there are no more fascists, no “right” or “left”, only poor lost humanity always desperately looking for a new “saviour” and unable to solve its practical, not political problems... Why is it so persisting today, that “ideological” hysteria, while it is so evident that even the latest, most pressing problems are of purely economic/financial origin (are stock-market brokers typically fascists?!), not to mention climate change or string theory? It may be easier to replace those accumulating real, truly urgent problems with “political” oppositions, but ... maybe it's a bit too easy, for the “third millennium” and most “developed” countries (where these ideological beliefs seem to have a strange renaissance)?

    Anyway, Cynthia, “ours” will win! Don't you even doubt about it, the more so that in such formulation it will be OK for all parties. Moreover, ours will win just when their victory will lose any importance because other level of problems and victories will become important. Or may it be the case already today?! Have a refreshing swim in the pond!

  51. Phil,

    Since you think I'm having a panic attack, then you should also think that Warren Buffett and Joseph Stiglitz are having panic attacks, too! While I describe what is happening in the market as akin to having a bout of epileptic seizures, Buffett and Stiglitz have described it as akin to being in full-blown cardiac arrest or having severely occluded coronary arteries, respectively. Either way, the market is far from health!

    And you really don't need to worry about me. I have you know that I've already worked my panic attack out of my system a little over a year ago when I moved most of my assets out of stocks and into cash and treasuries. Luckily, I had enough sense to listen to market-doomsayers, such as Paul Krugamn and especially Nouril Roubini, said that a major downturn in the market is just around the corner. And let me give Roubini a big hand for choosing to chase skirts, instead of stocks.;)

    Since you were nasty enough to accuse me of having a panic attack, I feel compelled to turn around and accuse you of being very much behind the times! Maybe you still think that there's nothing wrong with letting bubble-mania run amuck in the market, but even the most libertarian of libertarian economists are starting to have serious doubts about laissez-faire capitalism. In fact, ex-Fed Chair Greenspan -- the man who ate, drank and breathed laissez faire as he shaped monetary policy for 19 damn years -- now admits that he should have taken a more active role in preventing bubbles from occurring in the market.

    You're also behind the times if you truly believe that speculators are largely responsible for causing the sharp rise in oil prices this past summer. Oh sure, there was a speculative bubble in the oil market that burst this fall, but this bubble was relatively small by speculative standards. What's mostly driving the price of oil back down to pre-bubble levels right now is the simple fact that the global economy is heading south in a big way! The only kind of people who believe this big shift (from boom to bust) in oil prices was primarily caused by over speculation, not supply and demand, are the same kind of people who are dead set on believing that there's an almost endless supply of oil in the ground!

  52. Hi Imam,

    Yes, of course, the past has a long and documented history of 'experiements' from which to learn. For this to work, one has to state precisely the conditions and identify the relevant factors. Custom designed 'experiments' in social sciences are chronically difficult, but are on small scales possible and also used in research. I think they could and should be done on larger scales, i.e. a controled testing of what works well and what doesn't work. You are of course right, and research has confirmed this repeatedly, that what works well in one cultural environment might completely fail in others. That's why I was emphasizing there is no right or wrong, people all have different feelings about good and bad, about justice and fairness, and they are all entitled to have them as long as it doesn't harm others. There is thus no universal solution that will work globally and for all times. Best,


  53. Hi Andrei,

    What you seem to be saying, assuming I'm reading you right, is that all extremists, whether from the Left or Right, have no place in Reality. I couldn't agree more!

    Let me skip over pure-play politics and say a word or two about economics laced with a little politics...

    It strikes me as ironic that Joe McCarthy and his band of fascist followers had many of JM Keynes' works banned from schools across the US because they were so paranoid as to classify his works as commie material. But at the same time, they were too stupid to realize that Keynesian economics is what literally saved Capitalism from death following the Great Depression. Go figure...

    So what worries me most is that we'll witness a replay of the 50's Red Scare -- meaning that those who are following in Joe MCarthy's footsteps will do their damnedest to paint today's Keynesians -- Paul Krugman, James Galbraith, and Joesph Stiglitz, to name a few -- as a dangerous gang of militant economists who are out to nuke Capitalism off the face of Earth. My hunch is that those from the far Right (Joe McCarthy's political descendants) will use every fascist trick in the book to try to brainwashing the public into believing that Keynesians have close ties to Marxists, despite the Reality that Keynesian economics is dead center between laissez-faire capitalism at one extreme and classical Marxism at the other.

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  55. Hi Cynthia,

    First off let’s not confuse my disagreeing with you as being nasty, for what I meant in referring to you having a panic attack was strictly my considered reaction to the fear you were not only expressing, yet propagating. I believe at any time of crisis one needs to control fear rather then build on it or spread it to others. If you have read what I’ve had to say on the subject in the more appropriate posts you will find that I haven’t down played this crisis, yet rather cited it early as being a global one that requires global cooperation to minimize it’s impact and allow us to proceed forward as quickly and with as little long term damage as possible.

    As for Warren Buffet I’m not sure if you actually been listening to him or watching his actions since the statements he made that you refer to Buffet describes your patient who was going into cardiac arrest as a great athlete which is to say the U.S. economic system has always been and believes will continue to realize the benefits of great potential that will remain so if revived with defibrillation (shock treatment). It appears like many you simply read the headlines without bothering to learn or understand what was actually said or in what context. For me just as I have conceded with others what you or I will say has little value as for what truly matters most is the collective actions and reactions of the many. What Buffet knows and has expressed is that the consequence of disproportional fear will be what will have all fail rather then have it succeed.

    As for my contention that wild speculation being what’s at the heart of it, all one must do is look at Exxon Mobile's record profits posted today and you will see that they are more then 30% greater then the record ones they posted last year. I would then ask, do you think this was realized because they increased the production and sale of oil by an equal amount? As Buffet said as to what was the catalyst for this crisis defines as being the misuse in being the overuse of leverage in the housing market and leverage is the prime instrument of speculation..

    “I am fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”

    -Warren Buffet

    “Beware of geeks bearing formulas”

    -Warren Buffet



  56. Bee wrote about doing controlled social experiments. The best you can do is look at similar social experiments that were performed in the past. Of course, no two situations past and present can be perfectly identical-all things not being equal.

    Also, rational counterfactual scenarios are/can be very uselfull. Actually, I think these are very important in avoiding bad policies. Looking to the past will be important for doing counterfactual analysis of policies.

    Now, to be much less abstract. Since some of you raised the issue of the current economic meltdown triggered by the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe....consider the following.... Let's not make this more complicated than it really is. The sub-prime mortgage meltdown is primarily a direct consequence of financial market deregulation,massive greed and the unintended consequences of post-1965 immigration policy. The passage of the 1965 immigration refrom act opened the flood gates to Mexican and Central American immigration. As a consequence, a huge market of low income people seeking the American middle class dream was created. Throw in the free market nonsense of Bill Clinton who effectively ended the regulation of finacial markets and massive Wall greed.... bingo, the US economy teter-toters on catastrophe.

    Counterfactual:would the probability of the subprime catastrophe be much lower if the 1965 immigration refrom act had not been passed-all things being equal. It is kind of obvious that it would be.

    Underlying the subprime mortgage crisis and the current economic meltdown is that the resources of the America are in fact scarce and thanks to the passage of the 1965 imigration refrom act the US population is exploding. The most likely solution to this problem in the short term-to keep the peace-is the emergence of a Totalataran Goverment that will be unable to afford a Socialist or a Social Democratic form of Goverment. You've been warned.

    Joshua Chamberlain

  57. "The passage of the 1965 immigration refrom act opened the flood gates to Mexican and Central American immigration. As a consequence, a huge market of low income people seeking the American middle class dream was created. Throw in the free market nonsense of Bill Clinton who effectively ended the regulation of finacial markets and massive Wall greed.... bingo, the US economy teter-toters on catastrophe."

    Well then just give the immigrants a good union and make them high income workers? Apparently there are trillions of dollars available for banker crisis, why not worker crisis (including Joe the Plumber and did you catch Tito the Builder on Hannity and Colmes).

    Seriously, the problem to a large extent is not the president and congress but other agencies/groups and the people in them that stay around. One example would be the Trilateral Commission which strangely is neoliberal but neoliberal to me seems to be just another face for neocon/dominionist:

    From Wikipedia

    The organization has come under much scrutiny and criticism by political activists and academics working in the social and political sciences. The Commission has found its way into a number of conspiracy theories, especially when it became known that President Jimmy Carter appointed 26 former Commission members to senior positions in his Administration. Later it was revealed that Carter himself was a former Trilateral member. In the 1980 election, it was revealed that Carter and his two major opponents, John B. Anderson and George H. W. Bush, were also members, and the Commission became a campaign issue. Ronald Reagan supporters noted that he was not a Trilateral member, but after he was chosen as Republican nominee he chose Bush as his running mate; as president, he appointed a few Trilateral members to Cabinet positions and held a reception for the Commission in the White House in 1984. The John Birch Society believes that the Trilateral Commission is dedicated to the formation of one world government.[4] In 1980, Holly Sklar released a book titled Trilateralism: the Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management.

    Conservative critics claim the "Commission constitutes a conspiracy seeking to gain control of the U.S. Government to create a new world order." Mike Thompson, Chairman of the Florida Conservative Union, said: "It puts emphasis on interdependence, which is a nice euphemism for one-world government."

    Sen. Barry Goldwater wrote in his book With No Apologies: "In my view, the Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power: political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical. All this is to be done in the interest of creating a more peaceful, more productive world community. What the Trilateralists truly intend is the creation of a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved. They believe the abundant materialism they propose to create will overwhelm existing differences. As managers and creators of the system they will rule the future."

    Since many of the members were businesspeople or bankers, actions that they took or encouraged that helped the banking industry have been noted. Jeremiah Novak, writing in the July 1977 issue of Atlantic, said that after international oil prices rose when Nixon set price controls on American domestic oil, many developing countries were required to borrow from banks to buy oil: "The Trilaterists' emphasis on international economics is not entirely disinterested, for the oil crisis forced many developing nations, with doubtful repayment abilities, to borrow excessively. All told, private multinational banks, particularly Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan, have loaned nearly $52 billion to developing countries. An overhauled International Monetary Fund (IMF) would provide another source of credit for these nations, and would take the big private banks off the hook. This proposal is the cornerstone of the Trilateral plan."[5] He went on to say, "Although the Commission's primary concern is economic, the Trilateralists pinpointed a vital political objective: to gain control of the American Presidency... For the third time in this century, a group of American schools, businessmen, and government officials is planning to fashion a new world order..."

    Craig S. Karpel wrote in a November, 1977, Penthouse magazine article Cartergate: The Death of Democracy: "The presidency of the United States and the key cabinet departments of the federal government have been taken over by a private organization dedicated to the subordination of the domestic interests of the United States to the international interests of the multi-national banks and corporations. It would be unfair to say that the Trilateral Commission dominates the Carter Administration; the Trilateral Commission is the Carter Administration."

    U.S. News and World Report stated: "The Trilateralists have taken charge of foreign policy-making in the Carter Administration, and already the immense power they wield is sparking some controversy. Active or former members of the Trilateral Commission now head every key agency involved in mapping U.S. strategy for dealing with the rest of the world."

    Funding for the group came from David Rockefeller, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

    Other founding members included Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, both eventually heads of the Federal Reserve system.

  58. john g

    You might have heard of something called the law of supply and demand. It is one of the few things economist have ever gotten right. The blueprint for keeping wages low for American workers is to maintain or increase curret levels of legal and illegal immigration.There is 42 years of evidence for this. A blueprint for reducing union memebership:maintian or increase curretn levels of legal and illegal immigration. There is 42 years of evidence for this.

    The economic justification for the level of immigration that immigration enthusiast would like to have is baseless. The united States is quite capable of being labor self-sufficient just as India and China are.

    But the economic argument isn't even close to being the fundamental issue. The fundamental issues are the massive demographic transformation of the US and massive population increase that comes along with it. I along with an increasiong number of Amerians reject this. If Barack Obama gets his way, the US will experience a massive demographic transition and very rapid population increase. With Barack Obama or John McCain as president, their bipartisan immigration policy -tripling legal immigration and wiping away the US border- the US population could hit the one billion mark within 25 years.

    Economics is not fundamental. Values and non-economic preferences come before and are more fundamental than economics. The United States like every other nation on the planet is not reducible to a mass collection of free market exchages.

    Joshua Chamberlain

  59. From a values point of view, one should think of people in other countries too not just their home country. If bankers can get bailed out from low demand problems, shouldn't workers get bailed out too! Supply and demand is actually why we have products made with cheap Chinese and immigrant labor. I think you need to stick to keeping the blame on the totalitarian rulers rather than falling into the game of pitting worker against worker. As you say, the totalitarian part may become less behind the scenes in the near future.

  60. john g

    I am all for forgiving worker debt. It has been done before-as far back as three thousand years ago in the middle east. But I am oppposed to bad policies that increase the scale of pre-existing policies.

    Joshua Cahmberlain

  61. >If Barack Obama gets his way, the US will experience a massive demographic transition and very rapid population increase. With Barack Obama or John McCain as president, their bipartisan immigration policy -tripling legal immigration and wiping away the US border- the US population could hit the one billion mark within 25 years.

    That's just weird.
    What is it about the strong border / racist / sometime libertarian echo chambers that promotes surrealism?

  62. Economic uncertainty, a high unemployment rate, low social security and lacking medical care doesn't increase the female reproduction rate if the culture accepts birth control. The only way the US population will increase to 1 billion any time soon is massive immigration. If Obama doesn't win the election, I wouldn't be surprised however if it's Canada instead who sees an increase of immigration from its South border.

  63. Anon

    I'm a realist about reality. The facts about reality aren't going away because you pretend they don't exist.

    The recent study by the Havard sociologist Putnam-"Bowling alone in America"-makes it very clear that America is breaking up into race based micro-states. Of course, ordinary Americans already understood that this was going on. Liberal academics are just waking up to this obvious fact and are becomming increasingly terrified that their fantasy of America-the universal idea nation united by free market transactions and the Constitution is becomming unglued at the seams.

    Both McInsane and the prophet Obama are on the same page when it comes dissolving America's borders,an aggressive policy to the Russia because of Georgia/ Ossetia- which could very easily trigger a nuclear confrontation-export of the US manufacturing base and the massive importation of replacement workers. Nothing good will come out of this.

    It is complete magical thinkng to believe that America will be a high wage economy for a bilion people. Bee mentioned a billion people living America. That is the 60-80 year projection into the future with current levels of immigration+immigrant fertility levels. McInsane's proposals and the prophet Obama propsal-this is how his worshippers at places such as Cal Tech view him-is to triple legal immigration levels and to grant amnesty-which guarantees a powerfull voting block for higher levels of immigration.

    Even if/when the US population hits the one billion mark, there demographic structure of the US-and Canada-will guarantee- easily- another 100 years of robust population growth-assuming that ecosystems don't collapse and nature solves the problem for us.

    In Vancover, Indian political candidates rountinely go to Vancouver to campaign. The same thing is already happening in California with Mexican political candidates. In a tight US presidential race, Mexccans living in Mexco with dual US citizenship could potetnially determine the outcome of an American presidential election in the very near future!!!! America is becomming a joke nation.

    Billions may be spent at some time in the future to quell civil unrest. But this is $$$$ that could be spent on scientific and medical research. This is what economist call opportunity cost.

    Borders keep the social peace.

    Canada has very likely passed the point of no return. The breakup of Canada may only be a few elections away if that many.

    Barack Obama is your basic run-of-the mill- bullshitter that we have all come across at work and at university who has been promoted to the status of a diety by his college educated followers Be scared if you aren't.

    Social stability preceedes everything.

    Joshua Chamberlain.

  64. Joshua;

    You're a racist (and a probable science fiction fan but there's no shame in the later). Reread your comments. You make no sense. If interested, research 'know nothings'. The arguments you make, the ones that are (barely) intelligible, were made in the 19th century. Somehow the country didn't collapse.

    re: 'Barack Obama is your basic run-of-the mill- bullshitter'

    Name one national United States politician that this statement doesn't apply to. You can't without revealing your sectarian ideologue and racial fears.

    So why not stock up food and ammo for when the darkies come up your driveway and leave these smart people to talk (blog) physics?

  65. Anon 2:11 PM

    These days, When I come across comments like the ones in your post, I do a big yawn.

    With very high probability, you know very little about the Know Nothings. Can you tell me the origin of the expression "Know Nothing?"

    The Northern faction of the Know Nothing party-and this was a the poltical strongest faction of the Know Nothing party-was fanatically opposed to the institution of slavery.

    There was very strong opposition to immigration in the 19th century in America. Scoundrels such as Carniege and Fricke always had the threat of immigrant scab labor close at hand to pound the Native Born American workers into submission. The result:six day work weeks,child labor and a 12 hour work days.

    Immigration enthusiasts don't care about the consequences of very high levels of immigration. They don't give a hoot about the victims of the policy.

    There would have been much greater level of unrest and social instability in the 19th century and early twentieth over immigration if immigration had not been almost completely shut down during World War 1 and then during the great depression era and WW11-up through to 1973 the year real wages began to stagnate and economic growth took a nose-dive. Both htese trends continue to this day. The prophet Obama will work very hard to continue these trends. There was a massive transfer of wealth from Native Born American Workers to scum such as Andrew Carniege and his sidekick Fricke. The same thing is happenning today.

    Be very carefull with the racism charge, it works both ways.

    Silicon Valley is becomming a colony of China and India. This is a direct consequence of the hated H-1 B and L-1 B visa programs. Anytime an attempt is made to shut it down, the Chinese and Indian immigrant communities organize to keep the hated H-1 B and L-1 B visa programs in place. Moreover, on more than one occasion, representatives from these communities have gone on national American TV-Lou Dobbs show six years ago...twice!!!!- an issued public threats of political retaliation if the H-1 and L-1 visa programs are shut down. How's that for racism.

    Since you mentioned science fiction, I would say the America's immediate future is some mutant hybrid of Dick's Blade Runner and Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

    Joshua Chamberlain

  66. Joshua

    > Silicon Valley is becomming a colony of China and India.

    So you 'know nothing' about the IT industry as well. Instead of watching hate TV and listening to hate radio you should actually talk to some of us in the business. And yes I can tell you the origins of the name and I could before wikipedia.

    You babble about US population explosions and elimination of the border, you spew about 'the prophet Obama'. Given the references I now doubt you're a science fiction fan.
    You are, however, a fringe weirdo.


  67. Lumo, and others who clearly don't know what social democracy is, don't be ignorant. Learn about it before you claim to know about it. It's very clear you have no idea what you're talking about. I'm from Sweden but living in the US now, and I can for my life not understand how/why people fail to educate themselves on a subject before they start talking about it. It's especially interesting how anyone who has not lived in a country will tell us who lives or lived in a country how "it really works." I don't know if I should laugh or cry... Really...



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