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Author Topic: Is industrial capitalism done for in the United States?  (Read 2517 times)
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« on: July 05, 2009, 08:08:05 pm »
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I think it is. I've already made my economic viewpoint clear elsewhere, but to summarize: I think that the crisis currently in place - the result of decades of the Reaganist policy of exporting the means of production to foreign lands - has given us a remarkable opportunity, unique in the annals of history: to intentionally, knowingly, 'uplift' our economic system. Note that I do not believe in socialism or Communism; rather, it is my opinion that the future will be a decentralized version of capitalism, in which every individual owns the means of production, and specializes in the production of a specific thing, buying and selling and serving his community on a local basis. As projects like RepRap and desktop manufacturing generally matures, I believe we will see a gradual shift towards this inclusive form of capitalism. In a word, this new system of economic decentralization would best be described as 'left-capitalism'.

This will be a painful process, throwing into tumult all of the old order: the industrial bosses will loathe the transition because it deprives them of their economic hegemon; the powerful unions will feel threatened by it, because it will vastly diminish or totally destroy their utility. But it must be done.
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 08:25:39 pm »
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Here's what I wrote in your "New Fusionism" thread:


1. The left-libertarian, unlike the Marxist, believes it to be the responsibility of the individual to take ownership for that which he himself creates. Likewise, it is the domain of the individual to produce that which he sells. Therefore, the left-libertarian ought to co-opt the growing desktop manufacturing movement and endorse and promote it (through such projects as Fab@home and RepRap), in order to liberate the individual man from consignment to the current, rotting industrial-capitalist order. This movement is the seed that will one day germinate into the New Post-Industrial Economy, as opposed to the ideological swill we have been force-fed every day for the last thirty years. Only a genuinely de-centralized economy can pull us through this crisis. And by relocating the means of production in the individual home, the stress inflicted upon the environment by industrial production will be massively reduced, conserving the existing oil supplies for the transition.

Again, I don't see how any of this isn't possible in current society.  Every man is fully entitled to pursue any entrepreneurial desires he may have.  If he can develop a new product; or a more efficient/safer/better product, he can take down the largest industrialist...or at least be compensated for his innovation. 

Is "desktop manufacturing" technologically advanced enough for an individual to create marketable goods?  Even if it is, I'd bet a lot of developers would sell their products to industrial concerns that have the mass-production and distribution channels already in place.
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 08:29:59 pm »
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Is "desktop manufacturing" technologically advanced enough for an individual to create marketable goods?  Even if it is, I'd bet a lot of developers would sell their products to industrial concerns that have the mass-production and distribution channels already in place.

Rapid manufacturing methods have been used in the nation by the large conglomerates since 1986; it's not per se a new technology. But since that time the technology has evolved significantly - it's now possible, for instance, to create a cup in half-an-hour, using a machine no larger than a laser printer -- and the people who are creating these machines believe that this production time will be radically reduced by the time it's ready for the mass-market. To make a loose analogy, rapid manufacturing today is where computing was two decades ago.

Here's the thing: once these become affordable, everyone will be able to be an entrepreneur, and therefore the larger industries will have become obsolete. The current system will provide the technology to let it happen -- and will therefore "plant the seeds of its own destruction", to borrow an old Marxist concept. It just won't happen the way the Marxists think it will.

Piece by piece we have already been creating the post-industrial world: individuals can now download and print books; we can download music; we can access all the information in the world from our own fingertips: entrepreneurship has never been easier, and yet it will become even easier yet, the standard of the day by the time we are old men.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 08:33:25 pm by Einzige »Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 08:45:35 pm »
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Probably.  That sure appears to be obamas goal
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 08:49:16 pm »
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Probably.  That sure appears to be obamas goal

Don't be an idiot. Obama's economic protectionism is designed to appeal to a dying breed: the mass worker, who is himself a product of industrial capitalism. By transitioning to my decentralized, entrepreneurial 'left-capitalism', we would rid ourselves of unions, populists, protectionists, etc. Obama could never be elected in a world in which the individual man himself owns the means of production, and produces out of his own home. You also remove the need for welfare, because any chump who can save up the money to buy this machine would be able to make a living.
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2009, 09:14:41 pm »
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A couple things:

1. Why would the individual own the means of production where they have to go to a store, buy materials, then build it at home? It's easier to have robots in large factories mass produce items that are sold at a store fully made. These technologies sound good on paper, but in the real world I doubt they'll amount to much.

Can they build a car? A computer? Even a computer chip or microwave? No. Sure you could build cups, plates, maybe even a desk if you had the money and space, but the point is is that these technologies aren't going to be as great as you and these websites say. I just can't see how the machine can get any better than it is. Sure it'll be a cool gadget, and yes we may be able to build plastic parts with it, but it's expensive, slow, and big.

2. I really don't see what's wrong with the structure and essence of our current system.  Why go through all that pain when we can improve the current system?

It's no longer industrial capitalism, but engineering/creativity/idea driven capitalism. But the basic framework will still be the same.
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2009, 09:24:18 pm »
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1. Why would the individual own the means of production where they have to go to a store, buy materials, then build it at home. It's easier to have robots in large factories mass produce items that are sold at a store fully made. These technologies sound good on paper, but in the real world I doubt they'll amount to much.

Most rapid fabrication suppliers ship materials directly to the location where the objects are manufactured.

Quote
Can they build a car?

Behold, the Audi RSQ

Quote
A computer?

Yes.

Quote
Sometime in the next decade or so, Hopkinson anticipates that rapid manufacturing techniques (both laser and nonlaser) will find their way into the consumer market as well. And he is not alone; researchers at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms have built miniature mobile manufacturing systems (dubbed 'fab labs) that combine a personal computer, laser cutter, 3-D scanner, drill, and numerically controlled X-Acto knife to create solid objects ranging from eyeglass frames and action figures to electronic devices such as radios and computers.

Quote
2. I really don't see what's wrong with the structure and essence of our current system.  Why go through all that pain when we can improve the current system?

Why continue to accept the pains of mass industrialization - employment and health-care benefits, unionization, and lack of innovation?
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2009, 09:25:35 pm »
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Here's the thing: once these become affordable, everyone will be able to be an entrepreneur, and therefore the larger industries will have become obsolete. The current system will provide the technology to let it happen -- and will therefore "plant the seeds of its own destruction", to borrow an old Marxist concept. It just won't happen the way the Marxists think it will.

These larger systems will alter according to the demands set upon them. Materials still have to be created in order for the simplest "entrepreneurial" endeavor. This system has already negated the seed of it's own destruction, corrected it's supposed contradictions, post-industrialized or not. This system has very little in the way opposition, and could realistically function with a continuous stream of homegrown workers entrepreneurs decentralizing information production into their own homes.

Piece by piece we have already been creating the post-industrial world: individuals can now download and print books; we can download music; we can access all the information in the world from our own fingertips: entrepreneurship has never been easier, and yet it will become even easier yet, the standard of the day by the time we are old men.

Individuals are still beholden to the medium they resort to, to gain whatever it is they need to further their creations. Software, materials, money; very little is actually decentralized that enables people to come out from under the shadow of the older business model. For instance, suffocating copyright laws preventing people from acquiring additional information, lack of funds for upgrading computers, technical knowledge beyond wiki, affordable printing capabilities, etc.

 Much of it is an illusion; this libertarian fantasy of decentralized, power-in-your-hands scenario. As each new avenue opens, it becomes another way for business to adapt, and there's nothing to say an increase of DYI offers a paradigm shift that endangers industry. Interdependence is the norm; more so in our post industrial society than in the past. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2009, 09:30:14 pm »
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These larger systems will alter according to the demands set upon them. Materials still have to be created in order for the simplest "entrepreneurial" endeavor. This system has already negated the seed of it's own destruction, corrected it's supposed contradictions, post-industrialized or not. This system has very little in the way opposition, and could realistically function with a continuous stream of homegrown workers entrepreneurs decentralizing information production into their own homes.

The fact is that, yes, it's still a form of capitalism: simply a much improved version of the model that has been used since the Civil War.

Individuals are still beholden to the medium they resort to, to gain whatever it is they need to further their creations. Software, materials, money; very little is actually decentralized that enables people to come out from under the shadow of the older business model. For instance, suffocating copyright laws preventing people from acquiring additional information, lack of funds for upgrading computers, technical knowledge beyond wiki, affordable printing capabilities, etc.

Which is why Network Neutrality will be so important in the new paradigm, and which is why libertarians will eventually find themselves allying with 'the Left' to preserve it. I would not be surprised in thirty years to find myself voting for a candidate who champions an expansion of Network Neutrality and makes it a core premise of his platform.

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Much of it is an illusion; this libertarian fantasy of decentralized, power-in-your-hands scenario. As each new avenue opens, it becomes another way for business to adapt, and there's nothing to say an increase of DYI offers a paradigm shift that endangers industry. Interdependence is the norm; more so in our post industrial society than in the past. 

Certainly, which is where the 'left' part of my 'left-libertarian' paradigm fits in.
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2009, 09:54:33 pm »
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Probably.  That sure appears to be obamas goal

If that's his goal (and I don't think it is), then my support of him just increased.

If industry can't make it in America, then it should just fail and go somewhere else.  Most of us could survive without it.  People who've worked their entire lives in factories couldn't, but that's what happens when you make a bad career choice.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2009, 09:57:47 pm »
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Probably.  That sure appears to be obamas goal

If that's his goal (and I don't think it is), then my support of him just increased.

If industry can't make it in America, then it should just fail and go somewhere else.  Most of us could survive without it.  People who've worked their entire lives in factories couldn't, but that's what happens when you make a bad career choice.

If you're a real Greenie, you ought to consider becoming a left-libertarian. By decentralizing the means of production, the environmental impact of industrial capitalism is largely distributed evenly and minimalized. We can accept property as the only ethical order of arrangement; we can rebuild our communities; we can make access to the means of production more egalitarian; and we can protect the environment and preserve energy - we can do all these things and more; but it would require a dedicated effort on the part of the people to sacrifice the current stagnating order for the future.
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Life is change --
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And be alive
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- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2009, 11:33:05 pm »
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1. Why would the individual own the means of production where they have to go to a store, buy materials, then build it at home. It's easier to have robots in large factories mass produce items that are sold at a store fully made. These technologies sound good on paper, but in the real world I doubt they'll amount to much.

Most rapid fabrication suppliers ship materials directly to the location where the objects are manufactured.

Quote
Can they build a car?

Behold, the Audi RSQ

Quote
A computer?

Yes.

Quote
Sometime in the next decade or so, Hopkinson anticipates that rapid manufacturing techniques (both laser and nonlaser) will find their way into the consumer market as well. And he is not alone; researchers at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms have built miniature mobile manufacturing systems (dubbed 'fab labs) that combine a personal computer, laser cutter, 3-D scanner, drill, and numerically controlled X-Acto knife to create solid objects ranging from eyeglass frames and action figures to electronic devices such as radios and computers.

Quote
2. I really don't see what's wrong with the structure and essence of our current system.  Why go through all that pain when we can improve the current system?

Why continue to accept the pains of mass industrialization - employment and health-care benefits, unionization, and lack of innovation?

A prop and a prototype are one thing, a fully functioning product is another.

I read the links about that Audi. It took a large team of people to design and build.

Hopkinson may predict that these will be mainstream, but will they?

A few examples of wrong predictions:

1. In the late-60s Arthur C. Clark predicted that, buy 2001, we'd have a space station orbiting earth that could hold thousands of people, and that we could have a sentient computer and fly humans to Jupiter, all wrong.

2. Many scholars of the past believed that the advances in technology would make life easier, and that by 2000, most adults would work only a few hours every week. Most daily tasks would be automated and computers or robots would be intelligent enough to complete them. Citation

3. Of course, the best comparison to these 3d printers are humanoid robots. Robotics in this area have advanced very little relative to computers and other technologies. Lots of potential, but probably won't be practical for a few centuries, if at all.
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2009, 12:53:00 am »
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If you say so.

From today: Printable batteries

Quote
The characteristics of the battery differ significantly from those of conventional batteries. The printable version weighs less than one gram on the scales, is not even one millimeter thick and can therefore be integrated into bank cards, for example. The battery contains no mercury and is in this respect environmentally friendly. Its voltage is 1.5 V, which lies within the normal range. By placing several batteries in a row, voltages of 3 V, 4.5 V and 6 V can also be achieved. The new type of battery is composed of different layers: a zinc anode and a manganese cathode, among others. Zinc and manganese react with one another and produce electricity. However, the anode and the cathode layer dissipate gradually during this chemical process. Therefore, the battery is suitable for applications which have a limited life span or a limited power requirement, for instance greeting cards.

The batteries are printed using a silk-screen printing method similar to that used for t-shirts and signs. A kind of rubber lip presses the printing paste through a screen onto the substrate. A template covers the areas that are not to be printed on. Through this process it is possible to apply comparatively large quantities of printing paste, and the individual layers are slightly thicker than a hair. The researchers have already produced the batteries on a laboratory scale. At the end of this year, the first products could possibly be finished.

And you tell me this technology isn't going to have significant future applications. This right here is a direct amalgamation of energy concerns (smaller, more durable, more potent batteries) with 3D printing. I expect to see much more of this in the future.
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2009, 12:57:54 am »
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Technology isn't going to suddenly create the necessary jobs to replace all of those jobs that have been either offshored, or entirely eliminated due to automation. The pattern of the past is not happening now, there's no great new field that will suddenly have rapid job growth.
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2009, 01:07:11 am »
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Technology isn't going to suddenly create the necessary jobs to replace all of those jobs that have been either offshored, or entirely eliminated due to automation. The pattern of the past is not happening now, there's no great new field that will suddenly have rapid job growth.

Of course not. That's why you create your own jobs, which is entirely in keeping with the character of Western-style freedom: you find a niche and exploit it, using the tools provided to you to the best of your abilities.

Why the far-right and the far-left have to unite on one issue - on the axis of neo-Ludditism - infuriates and depresses me. In a sane world, the Right would see technological progression as the welcomed and encouraged outcome of the free market, and the Left would understand it to be the means to achieve a more stable and fair society. Yet both branches now seem content to retreat into a frenzied, apocalyptic nihilism.

Man up, you blubbering pussies, and work together on this.
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« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2009, 01:14:41 am »
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Technology isn't going to suddenly create the necessary jobs to replace all of those jobs that have been either offshored, or entirely eliminated due to automation. The pattern of the past is not happening now, there's no great new field that will suddenly have rapid job growth.

Of course not. That's why you create your own jobs, which is entirely in keeping with the character of Western-style freedom: you find a niche and exploit it, using the tools provided to you to the best of your abilities.

Why the far-right and the far-left have to unite on one issue - on the axis of neo-Ludditism - infuriates and depresses me. In a sane world, the Right would see technological progression as the welcomed and encouraged outcome of the free market, and the Left would understand it to be the means to achieve a more stable and fair society. Yet both branches now seem content to retreat into a frenzied, apocalyptic nihilism.

Man up, you blubbering pussies, and work together on this.

Starting your own business is a lot of work and has a very high risk factor. Since you wouldn't be too big to fail, no bailouts for you. The government doesn't do much to help small businesses. When Republicans talk about pro-business, they mean those large corporations that they have connections to, not some guy working 90 hours a week for peanuts. I'm not saying that it's impossible to start your own business and have it be moderately successful, but I'm saying that the odds are really against it. And this leaves tens of millions of people unemployed.
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« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2009, 01:20:19 am »
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Technology isn't going to suddenly create the necessary jobs to replace all of those jobs that have been either offshored, or entirely eliminated due to automation. The pattern of the past is not happening now, there's no great new field that will suddenly have rapid job growth.

Of course not. That's why you create your own jobs, which is entirely in keeping with the character of Western-style freedom: you find a niche and exploit it, using the tools provided to you to the best of your abilities.

Why the far-right and the far-left have to unite on one issue - on the axis of neo-Ludditism - infuriates and depresses me. In a sane world, the Right would see technological progression as the welcomed and encouraged outcome of the free market, and the Left would understand it to be the means to achieve a more stable and fair society. Yet both branches now seem content to retreat into a frenzied, apocalyptic nihilism.

Man up, you blubbering pussies, and work together on this.

Starting your own business is a lot of work and has a very high risk factor. Since you wouldn't be too big to fail, no bailouts for you. The government doesn't do much to help small businesses. When Republicans talk about pro-business, they mean those large corporations that they have connections to, not some guy working 90 hours a week for peanuts.

Look here: you believe in protecting the environment, right? Well, so do I. I believe in it strongly - and I believe it can be done on the basis of the local free-market.

If a guy in your neighborhood is able to, say, fashion a stereo system using technology in his own possession, and it works every bit as well as one you can buy in the store today, then wouldn't it make sense to buy it, and, by buying it, support your local economy, not pay any sales tax, minimize the gas expenditure involved in making a trip to the store, stick it to the large corporations and promote the use of a new innovation in one fell swoop?

You people on this forum are atherosclerotic in your ideologies, and, because you all hate the other side, you refuse to consider the potential of combining elements from both towards a common end for the good of all.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2009, 01:22:17 am by Einzige »Logged

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And be alive
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- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2009, 01:26:29 am »
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Technology isn't going to suddenly create the necessary jobs to replace all of those jobs that have been either offshored, or entirely eliminated due to automation. The pattern of the past is not happening now, there's no great new field that will suddenly have rapid job growth.

Of course not. That's why you create your own jobs, which is entirely in keeping with the character of Western-style freedom: you find a niche and exploit it, using the tools provided to you to the best of your abilities.

Why the far-right and the far-left have to unite on one issue - on the axis of neo-Ludditism - infuriates and depresses me. In a sane world, the Right would see technological progression as the welcomed and encouraged outcome of the free market, and the Left would understand it to be the means to achieve a more stable and fair society. Yet both branches now seem content to retreat into a frenzied, apocalyptic nihilism.

Man up, you blubbering pussies, and work together on this.

Starting your own business is a lot of work and has a very high risk factor. Since you wouldn't be too big to fail, no bailouts for you. The government doesn't do much to help small businesses. When Republicans talk about pro-business, they mean those large corporations that they have connections to, not some guy working 90 hours a week for peanuts.

Look here: you believe in protecting the environment, right? Well, so do I. I believe in it strongly - and I believe it can be done on the basis of the local free-market.

If a guy in your neighborhood is able to, say, fashion a stereo system using technology in his own possession, and it works every bit as well as one you can buy in the store today, then wouldn't it make sense to buy it, and, by buying it, support your local economy, minimize the gas expenditure involved in making a trip to the store, stick it to the large corporations and promote the use of a new innovation in one fell swoop?

You people on this forum are atherosclerotic in your ideologies, and, because you all hate the other side, you refuse to consider the potential of combining elements from both towards a common end for the good of all.

Sure, but the economy favors multinational companies using overseas labor over a local small business using local labor. You could see your new stereo to some small percentage of the population, but most will buy from Walmart, since the trade laws favor them.

Let's see how much longer that pattern holds. The large multinationals are a very recent innovation; I see no reason to believe that they will survive this crisis - which I believe will be as fundamentally altering to our present economic system as was the Depression before it. And this is where the 'left' element of my left-libertarian fusionism enters the picture: I am more than willing to support anti-monopoly action against Wal-Mart (monopolization perverts the free-market by causing innovating competition to cease), provided that you can support the establishment of a localized, decentralized capitalist society.
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 01:34:35 am »
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Let's see how much longer that pattern holds. The large multinationals are a very recent innovation; I see no reason to believe that they will survive this crisis - which I believe will be as fundamentally altering to our present economic system as was the Depression before it. And this is where the 'left' element of my left-libertarian fusionism enters the picture: I am more than willing to support anti-monopoly action against Wal-Mart (monopolization perverts the free-market by causing innovating competition to cease), provided that you can support the establishment of a localized, decentralized capitalist society.


Who is too big to fail, the small business or the large corporation? The problem is that you can't even begin to compete with Walmart. After NAFTA passed, a lot of the manufacturing jobs in this country went to Mexico, where they paid their workers $1 a day. I'm talking about Mexico in the past sense, because they couldn't compete with the Indian companies on wages, so Mexico lost their manufacturing jobs too.


What you are suggesting is some major changes in how we regulate "free trade" and monopolies, and I don't think that's going to come from Obama. Large corporations are heavily favored over small businesses.
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2009, 01:40:00 am »
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Let's see how much longer that pattern holds. The large multinationals are a very recent innovation; I see no reason to believe that they will survive this crisis - which I believe will be as fundamentally altering to our present economic system as was the Depression before it. And this is where the 'left' element of my left-libertarian fusionism enters the picture: I am more than willing to support anti-monopoly action against Wal-Mart (monopolization perverts the free-market by causing innovating competition to cease), provided that you can support the establishment of a localized, decentralized capitalist society.


Who is too big to fail, the small business or the large corporation? The problem is that you can't even begin to compete with Walmart. After NAFTA passed, a lot of the manufacturing jobs in this country went to Mexico, where they paid their workers $1 a day. I'm talking about Mexico in the past sense, because they couldn't compete with the Indian companies on wages, so Mexico lost their manufacturing jobs too.


What you are suggesting is some major changes in how we regulate "free trade" and monopolies, and I don't think that's going to come from Obama. Large corporations are heavily favored over small businesses.


Which is why Obama isn't going to be the one that pulls us out of this crisis. He's actually the most likable liberal I've ever seen at work on a national stage, but his politics are mired far too deeply in the old New Deal/Great Society/Reaganomics/Third Way cycle, that emphasized reinforcing the mass industrial society at the expense of the local culture. He'll try his damnedest, but it's not going to work.

But then again, neither will another Reagan-clone. We need fresh leadership, one that will challenge both the supply-side orthodoxy and the pro-corporate liberalism that has held power in this country since the end of the First World War. We need a genuine revolution of values, and neither major Party is offering one - but they might, if there's a big enough call for it.
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2009, 01:43:29 am »
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Let's see how much longer that pattern holds. The large multinationals are a very recent innovation; I see no reason to believe that they will survive this crisis - which I believe will be as fundamentally altering to our present economic system as was the Depression before it. And this is where the 'left' element of my left-libertarian fusionism enters the picture: I am more than willing to support anti-monopoly action against Wal-Mart (monopolization perverts the free-market by causing innovating competition to cease), provided that you can support the establishment of a localized, decentralized capitalist society.


Who is too big to fail, the small business or the large corporation? The problem is that you can't even begin to compete with Walmart. After NAFTA passed, a lot of the manufacturing jobs in this country went to Mexico, where they paid their workers $1 a day. I'm talking about Mexico in the past sense, because they couldn't compete with the Indian companies on wages, so Mexico lost their manufacturing jobs too.


What you are suggesting is some major changes in how we regulate "free trade" and monopolies, and I don't think that's going to come from Obama. Large corporations are heavily favored over small businesses.


Which is why Obama isn't going to be the one that pulls us out of this crisis. He's actually the most likable liberal I've ever seen at work on a national stage, but his politics are mired far too deeply in the old New Deal/Great Society/Reaganomics/Third Way cycle, that emphasized reinforcing the mass industrial society at the expense of the local culture. He'll try his damnedest, but it's not going to work.

But then again, neither will another Reagan-clone. We need fresh leadership, one that will challenge both the supply-side orthodoxy and the pro-corporate liberalism that has held power in this country since the end of the First World War. We need a genuine revolution of values, and neither major Party is offering one - but they might, if there's a big enough call for it.

Correction above, $1 an hour. Way cheaper than anyone can live on in this country, and yet too expensive to compete with India.

Anyways, I wouldn't expect too much from the deadwood politicians in office.

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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2009, 01:48:15 am »
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Let's see how much longer that pattern holds. The large multinationals are a very recent innovation; I see no reason to believe that they will survive this crisis - which I believe will be as fundamentally altering to our present economic system as was the Depression before it. And this is where the 'left' element of my left-libertarian fusionism enters the picture: I am more than willing to support anti-monopoly action against Wal-Mart (monopolization perverts the free-market by causing innovating competition to cease), provided that you can support the establishment of a localized, decentralized capitalist society.


Who is too big to fail, the small business or the large corporation? The problem is that you can't even begin to compete with Walmart. After NAFTA passed, a lot of the manufacturing jobs in this country went to Mexico, where they paid their workers $1 a day. I'm talking about Mexico in the past sense, because they couldn't compete with the Indian companies on wages, so Mexico lost their manufacturing jobs too.


What you are suggesting is some major changes in how we regulate "free trade" and monopolies, and I don't think that's going to come from Obama. Large corporations are heavily favored over small businesses.


Which is why Obama isn't going to be the one that pulls us out of this crisis. He's actually the most likable liberal I've ever seen at work on a national stage, but his politics are mired far too deeply in the old New Deal/Great Society/Reaganomics/Third Way cycle, that emphasized reinforcing the mass industrial society at the expense of the local culture. He'll try his damnedest, but it's not going to work.

But then again, neither will another Reagan-clone. We need fresh leadership, one that will challenge both the supply-side orthodoxy and the pro-corporate liberalism that has held power in this country since the end of the First World War. We need a genuine revolution of values, and neither major Party is offering one - but they might, if there's a big enough call for it.

Correction above, $1 an hour. Way cheaper than anyone can live on in this country, and yet too expensive to compete with India.

Anyways, I wouldn't expect too much from the deadwood politicians in office.

Then let's get the ball rolling: all genuine political revolutions begin from the grassroots.

I want to attempt something that hasn't been done before - and that is to bring together a variety of people, from all ends of the political spectrum, around an agreed-upon set of prescripts, grounded in principles that draw from the best traditions of all philosophies, to meet our present crisis. How this could be done in the context of a forum, I don't know; if it were ever to take off into the larger world, however, I have some ideas as to how its evolution could be guided.
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Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2009, 06:36:18 am »
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Einzige your optimism is as foolish as your attachment to the system which has destroyed your sad land.

The future is - many americans will live in violent slums without much employment of any kind.  There will remain a core of some modest economic activity, based on brutal exploitation of a very poorly paid (relative to cost of living) working class.  The model for the future of america is clearly to be found in the 'third world', not science fiction.

Look at it this way - the last 30 years have seen far more technological innovation than the previous 30, but what do we find?  Severe and ongoing impoverishment of most people since 1980, in contrast to fairly well distributed increase in the standard of living from 1950-1980.  Technology is nice, but it is political will that creates economic well being.
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2009, 11:16:22 am »
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Much of it is an illusion; this libertarian fantasy of decentralized, power-in-your-hands scenario. As each new avenue opens, it becomes another way for business to adapt, and there's nothing to say an increase of DYI offers a paradigm shift that endangers industry. Interdependence is the norm; more so in our post industrial society than in the past. 

Certainly, which is where the 'left' part of my 'left-libertarian' paradigm fits in.

There's nothing 'left' about it, beside a vague inclusive feeling.
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« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2012, 12:29:57 pm »
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The third industrial revolution
The digitisation of manufacturing will transform the way goods are madeand change the politics of jobs too


"A number of remarkable technologies are converging: clever software, novel materials, more dexterous robots, new processes (notably three-dimensional printing) and a whole range of web-based services....

The old way of making things involved taking lots of parts and screwing or welding them together. Now a product can be designed on a computer and printed on a 3D printer, which creates a solid object by building up successive layers of material....

An engineer working in the middle of a desert who finds he lacks a certain tool no longer has to have it delivered from the nearest city. He can simply download the design and print it. The days when projects ground to a halt for want of a piece of kit, or when customers complained that they could no longer find spare parts for things they had bought, will one day seem quaint....

New materials are lighter, stronger and more durable than the old ones. Carbon fibre is replacing steel and aluminium in products ranging from aeroplanes to mountain bikes. New techniques let engineers shape objects at a tiny scale. Nanotechnology is giving products enhanced features, such as bandages that help heal cuts, engines that run more efficiently and crockery that cleans more easily. Genetically engineered viruses are being developed to make items such as batteries. And with the internet allowing ever more designers to collaborate on new products, the barriers to entry are falling. Ford needed heaps of capital to build his colossal River Rouge factory; his modern equivalent can start with little besides a laptop and a hunger to invent.....

Most jobs will not be on the factory floor but in the offices nearby, which will be full of designers, engineers, IT specialists, logistics experts, marketing staff and other professionals. The manufacturing jobs of the future will require more skills. Many dull, repetitive tasks will become obsolete: you no longer need riveters when a product has no rivets....

Factories used to move to low-wage countries to curb labour costs. But labour costs are growing less and less important: a $499 first-generation iPad included only about $33 of manufacturing labour, of which the final assembly in China accounted for just $8. Offshore production is increasingly moving back to rich countries not because Chinese wages are rising, but because companies now want to be closer to their customers so that they can respond more quickly to changes in demand. And some products are so sophisticated that it helps to have the people who design them and the people who make them in the same place...."
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