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Boomers: The Evil Generation!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Birdjaguar, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Did you wipe 2008 from your memory? People lost jobs, houses foreclosed, the thing about how the current generation is never going to be as wealthy as our parents?

    We've also talked about the burgeoning environmental crisis. These are not new ground in this very thread.

    But clearly at some point we need to realise that there's no point trying to convince obstinate boomers. Your time is ending anyway. I agree that the younger generations need to do more, and the first step is to stop wasting time on boomers.
     
  2. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    State socialism has just as bad an environmental record as capitalism. Both saw ever increasing production and consumption as the model to follow.
     
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  3. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Good thing most people don't simply recommend replacing captalism with state capitalism (that's the conventional term - there's no "state socialism"), then.
     
  4. Modder_Mode

    Modder_Mode Chieftain

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    I see modern capitalism as more environmental than any socialist state can ever be, and it mostly comes not from companies taking the environmental initiative but more so consumers demanding sustainable materials and boycotting products that don't comply.
     
  5. Modder_Mode

    Modder_Mode Chieftain

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    Look what happened in China when they switched their economy to state/authoritarian capitalism, millions have been lifted from poverty, a lot of it from foreign capitalist investment (they have really weird investment laws in China btw), lots of manufacturing jobs went to China for obvious reasons, so there was this kind of unspoken trade off between jobs being lost in the West and cheap consumer goods coming back to the West (along with good trade deals) and ultimately a lot of Chinese being lifted from poverty, all from an economic system they apparently despise. The Chinese are a long way from Communism, The Chinese want to achieve Socialism by 2035, which is a stepping stone to Communism, which gives a good indication on whether China will ever reach Communism in our life time.
     
  6. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    First of all: the ecological and climate crisis has gotten exponentially worse over the past decade. This issue will push all the others aside over the next decade or two.

    An important consequence of the configuration of global capitalism (the increasing emphasis on seeking rents and profiting by receiving public money rather than through the creation of value, going hand-in-hand with the increasing share of US GDP claimed by finance, insurance, and real estate) were the disastrous wars and interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, driven by the hunger of arms manufacturers and various other contractors for public money to pad their profits. I suspect that the operations currently going on in Africa are likely the shape of the future: perpetual "involvement" which the public is only dimly aware of, and which can be blown up into more full-scale intervention as needed with a bit of propaganda to grease the skids.

    As if it weren't enough that we allow bankers to extract private profit from a public monopoly, moral hazard has drastically increased since the GFC with an implicit guarantee of federal bailouts for banks deemed "systemically important financial institutions", encouraging them to continue fraudulent and harmful practices: many banks and other financial entities are only profitable because of this implicit guarantee.

    A political economy in which private profit is largely guaranteed by the state, which also gives business a hand by repressive measures that restrict the ability of people to organize to change these things (which we see in, among other things, "right-to-work" laws and the recent Supreme Court decision allowing companies to force their employees and customers into private arbitration), is characteristic of fascism.

    The rise of precarity in employment, which is related to wealth/income inequality but not an identical issue, is another serious problem. Goes hand-in-hand with directly repressive measures by the state, but hardly anyone who, in the terminology of this paper, experiences "routine work schedule instability" has time to be a citizen and organize for change. Another mark of how near our society is to fascism is that precarity has been rebranded through propaganda to "flexibility" and people are expected to be grateful for their own immiseration.

    The rise of social media means that unaccountable private entities exert increasing control over the flow of information to which the majority of people are exposed. Many have hailed this as a positive development but this is preposterous. The Russian disinformation campaign in 2016 barely scratches the surface of the problems introduced by this model of information creation and consumption. In accordance with the rise of social media, technologies like smartphones that have genuine liberatory and other potential are being designed to function like slot machines, keeping the customer on the phone as constantly as possible with little injections of dopamine. The whole life-cycle of these devices involves the massive externalizing of costs, mostly onto the workers and bystanders in the developing world who are exposed to various toxic pollutants and dystopian working conditions.

    I could probably go on but that's all I can think of now.

    edit: oh, wait, how could I forget? the increasing concentration of ownership and control in 'traditional' media has had a similar erosive effect on the information infrastructure necessary to reproduce an informed citizenry capable of actually participating in government in a meaningful way. Again, the theme is increasing control exerted by unaccountable private entities which exist to turn a profit, not to inform people.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
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  7. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Thats an optimistic pov. What was the reaction of the tobacco industry to health concerns? Disinformation.
    What was the oil industries reaction to climate change? Disinformation.
    Capitalism is built on consumption, it encourages waste, deliberately builds products with limited lifespans rather than to last, encourages us to continue on our current path and rely on technological miracles rather than change our ways.
     
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  8. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Warlord

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    I've been listening to some podcasts on the global warming and it seems that around 1989, fossil fuel companies began dumping a lot of money into questionable (to be charitable) studies to prove global warming is fake news. At the same time, they began building their oil drilling platforms to stand higher in the water to offset the expected sea level rise caused by global warming. I'm curious how successful these disinformation efforts have been in Europe and the rest of the world?
     
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  9. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Recessions happen with regularity. In every case, there is a recovery. Depending upon a person's age and work situation at the time of the recession, they are affected differently. The Recession of 2008 was a killer for anyone who had just retired or who was getting ready to retire if they were were heavily tied to the stock market. It also hit hard anyone new to the job market. it was a boon to those looking to buy a home or invest in real estate. I'm glad you can predict the future. You predict that the younger generation will never be as rich as the boomers/gen X, but did you predict the 2008 recession? Can you predict the next? The politics/economics of the 80s wiped out pensions as a viable expectation for future workers in retirement. We got 401ks instead. We never were/will be as rich in retirement as our parents! When we were buying homes interest rates were 18%.

    Recessions:
    1969-70 lasted 11 months highest unemployment was 6.1%
    1973-75 lasted 16 months highest unemployment was 9.0% (I was just out of college)
    1980 lasted 6 months highest unemployment was 7.8%
    1981-82 lasted 16 months highest unemployment was 7.8% (I was in Business school)
    1990-91 lasted 8 months highest unemployment was 6.1%
    2000-2001 lasted 8 months highest unemployment was 6.3%
    2007-2009 lasted 18 months highest unemployment was 10%

    For all of those for whom the great recession was ill-timed, you had bad luck. If you are young, you have time to fix things and retire well. As I have said elsewhere, the retirement of the boomers is both a huge challenge and a huge opportunity for the following generations. You should take advantage of those opportunities.
     
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  10. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Exactly. It has been going on for decades and no one really paid any attention to it until recently. It is global and was set aside/ignored to the benefit of global trade and economic growth, for better or worse.

    A pretty standard rant against capitalism as it has evolved since WW2. Eisenhower spoke out against the military industrial complex in his farewell address to the nation in 1960. Yes, wars are terrible and stupid ones worse. Republican policies have favored corporations over workers, but the struggle for improved workers rights has been going on for centuries. Improvements are slow but they do happen. You don't like the internet? OK, good luck with putting that genie back in the bottle. Do you like the Chinese model better? Yes, banks are pretty terrible. You forgot healthcare.

    And what are your solutions to all these? It is always easy to point out all the bad stuff, but if you can't offer up real solutions, you only add to the problem.
    • Profit motive
    • Government spending contracts
    • Income inequality
    • Military industrial complex
    • Banks
    • Real estate
    • Healthcare
    • Exploitation of workers
    • Globalization
    • Media consolidation
     
  11. uppi

    uppi Warlord

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    It had some successes, especially at the fringes of the political spectrum, but in my opinion it was much less successful than in the US. Climate change denial never really entered the mainstream and openly engaging in such activities always carried the danger of making yourself an outcast. But that hasn't really spurred anyone into action. Theoretically knowing about the consequences of greenhouse gases is one thing, actually doing something about it is something else, especially when the action would require you to lower your standard of living. And the actions of the US have always provided a big excuse: "They are much worse than us, and they aren't doing anything. Why should I suffer, while they are partying?".

    So drastic measures never had any support and most measures have been somewhere between half-hearted and symbolic. The very slight reductions of CO2 levels have resulted in complacency "We are doing our part" and self-deception "I have supported project X and thus I don't have to have a bad conscience about my 20 flights per year"
     
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  12. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    Do you really think that's a good summary of what I said about social media in my post, or did you not read carefully?

    A platitudinous response without much substance. The dominant feature of the "recovery" from the GFC has been that the top 10% or so of households have recovered and are even doing better than before the crisis while the bottom 90% or so have recovered only partially or barely at all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  13. REDY

    REDY Duty Caller

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    In the Czech Republic the general opinion is that global warming exists but people cannot do much about it. The previous president Vaclav Klaus even wrote some books about it. The current one lobbies for nuclear energy.
    Greens party have very bad reputation, partly because when they were in government the infamous corruption bill was passed and now we pay billions to so called Solar barons (BTW I voted Greens that time, they were suprisingly right wing liberals that time). Since then they turned left and now is their preference under 5%. But there is generally ecological politics by all parties, everybody remember smoky air during communism.
     
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  14. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Ofcom and the BBC Trust both had concerns that the BBC was giving climate change deniers (and some other groups such as anti-vaccine campaigners) more credibility than they deserved by not challenging their claims vigourously enough and putting them on programs to provide "balance". I think the UK has seen a decrease in trust of experts and an increase in belief that everyone has an agenda. Not quite to the level of pick your own reality displayed by Trump and Fox yet but getting there.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/exclusive-bbc-issues-internal-guidance-on-how-to-report-climate-change
     
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  15. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I think it sums up what you posted pretty well, except you added your gratuitous anti capitalism rant woven in.
    Except that it is true.

    If you were king in 2008, what would you have done?

    And again, you seem quite willing to ignore good things, point out bad things and offer nothing in the way of solutions to resolve all the situations you cry about. Clearly you don't like the evil capitalist model for the internet, Do you like the Chinese model better? They certainly don't have any interference with their elections. Or do you have something better? ....[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  16. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    So implicitly your position is that the only two possible models for the internet are China's and Facebook/Amazon/Google's??
    Perhaps ironically, my view is that these two models are gradually converging, just as the US governing model is gradually becoming more like Russia's and China's.

    It's a truism, as I said: a statement with next to no actual substance. What I said is true as well and a substantive assertion, though you ignored it.

    If I were king? I'd have deported the controlling officers of basically every bank in the country as well as almost all prominent Republican politicians to CIA black sites and, at least temporarily, nationalized the banking system. Then we'd get into sweeping debt cancellations and direct expropriation from rich people.

    Well, except you know better than this. Remember this post? You even called it nice. Those solutions are a working start and I don't want to repeat what I already wrote there. I'm also interested in experimenting with the use of machine learning and other information technologies to try to make central planning work, but I'm open to the possibility that this will fail (hence experimenting).

    A truly democratic internet would be vastly superior to either the "evil capitalist model" or the "Chinese model." I am not sure in much detail what such an internet would look like; part of the idea is harnessing the spontaneity and ingenuity of people in ways that are unpredictable ahead of time.
     
  17. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Not at all. i am quite open to suggestions; The US model and the Chinese model seem to be the dominant choices atm. I am not sure what is going on in Europe though.

    It is not a truism at all. It is a fact. Every recession I listed had a recovery. that brought the economy back to some equivalent of its pre recession level. And yes recessions can change things for the worse for some segments of society. For others, the crash and recovery are helpful.

    Yes, many bankers should have gone to jail. Jailing politicians is a difficult matter even when they "deserve" it. It sets a pretty terrible precedent when power changes hands or when you get a Trump in office. Too big to fail banks are a problem and I agree that they should be broken up. I don't think nationalizing the banking system is a solution. whose debts get cancelled? the poor? the middle class? Rich peoples'? CC? College? auto loans? Mortgages? what are you trying to benefit and who are you trying to punish? Will you cancel the debts of the US government? When you cancel all that debt, how many jobs will be lost? Expropriation of wealth is interesting. Will you only take investments and cash or houses and and other stuff too? Since $10 million is certainly sufficient for any family to live well, will you take all wealth over that?

    It was a nice post because you actually answer my questions and put forth your ideas. i don't necessarily agree with everything you said though. If you think bankers are cruel and heartless, I don't think you will think better of AI planning. ;)


    What is a truly democratic internet? In every age, in every situation, people have worked and will continue to work very hard to subvert any system to meet their selfish needs. You are doing it now. You say your goal is a centrally planned economy, even though such things have failed repeated in the past, and you want to find a way for AI to make it work and end the current capitalist system. You are not looking for the best system that promotes the most health and happiness while reducing hardship, you are looking for a way make central planning work. If your goal was actually well being, you would not be so focused on a single solution. We all do it. That is what people do.
     
  18. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    Alright, let's move beyond truisms. Can you talk about for which segments of society you think the most recent crash and recovery have been helpful?

    Well, you may be right, which is why I used the word 'experiment' and said I was open to the possibility of that failing.

    I suppose it's futile to talk about the internet in isolation from the rest of society. Destroy the power of the large corporations that currently control most of the internet and it's possible that what emerges would be a democratic internet.

    So, let's talk about your ideas. Your position is presumably that the currently-existing "system" is the best possible one for promoting the most health and happiness while reducing hardship?

    This is just a bad strawman. I explicitly said this was an idea I was willing to explore. You are projecting a caricature of Marxism onto me.
     
  19. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    For rich people with cash recessions are “wonderful”, @Birdjaguar
     
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  20. rah

    rah Warlord Supporter

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    Actually, most people that keep their jobs do ok.
     
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