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    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2011
     (10239.1)
    Sometimes it's okay to point out that something's pretty fucked up, without actually having a solution to it or offering an alternative. That can be enough to get other people who do have solutions and alternatives involved and as many people as possible thinking about it.


    This, exactly this.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2011
     (10239.2)
    I'm really coming around to this protest, if for no other reason than the asinine way the police have been handling it. If it persists and does nothing more than remind police that they really truly do have to allow people to demonstrate, even that will have been worthwhile.
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.4)
    It is true that the United States government, for decades now, has covered the asses of big business: its influence, its CEO's, its cash. (snip) But if Sheldon Richman believes that a dissolved and tiny government, or none at all, will somehow make the corporate world, the world of big business, a more honest and altruistic place then he is just as naive as he claims these protesters to be.


    But how would any would-be crony fat-cats be able to create big business if it didn't have the huge, powerful, big government to grease palms and influence?
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      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.5)
    How would the population be able to resist the exploitation of large profit seeking businesses if they didn't have government that can challenge these organizations?

    The major problem with governments is not the fact that they are large but the lack of democratic representation, This lack of representation, has a number of causes but they can all be traced in part to the effect and influence of large corporations: Consolidation of corporate power in the media, the rise in think tanks and lobby groups largely funded by business groups, forms of economic blackmail practiced by the banking sector.

    The government has been largely co-opted by these private organizations. I am actually for the devolving of the power of government, because I believe that the larger the government the more unrepresentative it will be, but the source of the protection that these companies have came from them influencing government, that influence will have to broken if we want change.

    If we leave the corporations unchecked and reduce the size of government we may be in a worse position to resist them.
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      CommentAuthorSonny
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011 edited
     (10239.6)
    But how would any would-be crony fat-cats be able to create big business if it didn't have the huge, powerful, big government to grease palms and influence?


    Swap out "the huge, powerful, big government" with "a regulatory system" and that question looks a little silly doesn't it? See, you've done to me here what Richman has done with his article. You've totally removed the distinction between working government and corrupt/broken government. That distinction is one that is largely going ignored by many, many people in this country right now. And I'm not quite sure why because that is at the heart of what's going on, and it's something everyone can agree on.
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.7)
    The lesson I'm learning with this protest seems to be this: When a bunch of freaks, geeks, losers and hippies get together to protest a dozen things at once, nobody cares. When the police start arresting and brutalizing them for doing it, that's when people start to take notice.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.8)
    Yeah, when I used to do the protesting thing, the best way to get that to happen was to take your clothes off.
  2.  (10239.9)
    Works for selling beer
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      CommentAuthorNygaard
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.10)
    Lost track of the discussion; will try to pick up the thread later. Meanwhile: did anyone post this yet? The 99% tumblr.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.11)
    Government is an obstacle corporations must overcome with lobbying, bribes and blackmail.
    No government is corporate heaven where the only obstacles are other corporations.

    I was discussing this with my little brother the other day, he lives in Alabama which, i suppose, gives him a slightly better perspective on the whole thing. In his opinion, Wall Street is occupied by incompetents at every level. I can't find fault with that.

    Oh and @ BrianMowrey: depends on who's taking their clothes off...

    My eyes! My eyes!
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.12)
    John Robb's (from Global Guerrillas) take on #OccupyWallStreet and a response that echoes John's analysis.
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      CommentAuthorBrianMowrey
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011 edited
     (10239.13)
    Government is an obstacle corporations must overcome with lobbying, bribes and blackmail.

    So, the thing is,

    1 everyone is a special interest. The US Federal government is built on Madison's ideas of empowering and protecting minority interests. The way corporations influence government comes through using democracy, not subverting it. Liberal ideas about democracy need to take this into account. The first amendment wants to give the 1% their voice.

    2 The story about business and legislative outcomes (that laws protect existing entities from competition) isn't just a story of corporations it is a story of smaller companies as well. Why do we have laws in this country that hairdressers must be licensed? Because existing hairdressers don't want competition. Why do we have sugar tariffs? Why does the government have thousands of ways to give small farmers money? Why do prison guards in California get full-salery pensions if they were hired at age 45 and retire at 50? Why did California fail to pass a law that would simplify taxpayer responsibilities by stating what the government already knew about each person's taxes each year?

    Every business looks for laws that move the ax of free market a few inches further from their neck. They do this because going out of business isn't fun! Yes, the influence of the financial sector in practice has a lot more undesirable (from a citizen's perspective) outcomes because of their scale and power, but the mechanism at work here is the same one used by the vaunted imaginary small-business owner from a few pages back in this thread, who would have used his local influence to hand himself a tax credit for "tortilla redistribution", or used it to move police patrols out of poor neighborhoods and to the street that his insured store sits on, or ran for city councilman to help pass Jim Crow laws that let him keep black people out of his restaurant. The point is that small businesses are just as frequently a font of illiberal legislative outcomes as Exxon and Goldman Sachs -- and the actions of big corporations often hold as many progressive credentials as small businesses. See Walmart's offering of check cashing which gives low income people an alternative to rip-off payday loan firms.

    3. We need lobbyists. The US congress has 535 voting members. Only 535! The US economy has 6 million companies that employ at least one person and another 21 million non-employer firms (self employed people). These companies need a way to influence laws that impact them. A congressperson isn't going to take up a college course and do weeks of self-research every time they need to vote on a bill, but these bills all affect the 99.8 percent of the economy that the average cogressperso has absolutely no expertise in. Would you self-research, if you were in congress? Or just vote on your gut, and fuck what happens to those 27 million companies? How would you get appraised on the business impacts of the bill currently before your committee? The answer is special interest groups and lobbyists.

    All of this doesn't have a lot to do with OWS. Just pointing out how the libertarian article from a few pages back contains a more nuanced treatment of government realities than has been credited to it in the reax here -- and the perspective it takes -- that democracy does a lot to enable protectionist legislative outcomes -- is one a liberal should keep in mind if they want to provide useful ideas about government.

    Typed on mobile
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      CommentAuthorScottBieser
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011 edited
     (10239.14)
    "I'd rather have a vote than a dollar.

    Libertarians think they're the same thing."

    No, we don't. A vote is a gun in your hand, pointed at the head of a neighbor who disagrees with you. Your neighbor also has a gun pointed at yours. A democratic polity is hundreds, thousands, or millions of people each holding a gun pointed at someone else's head. A count is taken, and whichever side of a debate has the most guns wins. Then the guns are lowered (but not given up) until the next election. The losers must then obey the commands of the winners, until they can get more guns on their side in the next go-around.

    A dollar (or pound, or shilling, or Euro, or gram of silver), on the other hand, is an offer of cooperative exchange. I have a dollar, you have a loaf of bread. Shall we trade? You might refuse. I might offer two dollars, or you might offer half your loaf, or we both just might walk away. No threats involved.


    Also, considering government a countervailing power against corporations is silly. Corporations are CREATED by governments, and cannot long survive without governments shielding stockholders from liability, or rescuing them from their own stupid mistakes. "Good government" may pop up once in a long while in this place or that place, but otherwise is a fantasy, and more likely an illusion.
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.15)
    @Scott

    You have some very interesting ideas about political philosophy. Unfortunately, they're wrong.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.16)
    @ BrianMowrey:

    I don't know or understand much about the US political situation, i don't understand much about the situation in the UK and i live there.

    From what i do know, those of the population entitled to vote get to do so every four years or so in the hope of getting their preferred candidate elected from the choices offered to them. In between they get to influence their elected representatives by using such means as may be available to them. Certainly over here a company the size of Tescos (i suppose that would be Walmart where you are) has a lot more in the way of means available to it than someone such as myself, which is why my ideas for say, food labelling or the location of new supermarkets don't seem to carry much clout. You get what you pay for and that applies to government as much as anything else.

    However, without government, Tescos still has just a teeny bit more in the way of means and resources than the likes of lowly vermin such as myself and my associates, except that now, they no longer have the mess of inconvenient laws and regulations that they previously had to divert valuable assets into overcoming or subverting. Good for Tescos, not so good for the cornershop down the road.
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.17)
    No, we don't. A vote is a gun in your hand, pointed at the head of a neighbor who disagrees with you. Your neighbor also has a gun pointed at yours. A democratic polity is hundreds, thousands, or millions of people each holding a gun pointed at someone else's head. A count is taken, and whichever side of a debate has the most guns wins. Then the guns are lowered (but not given up) until the next election. The losers must then obey the commands of the winners, until they can get more guns on their side in the next go-around.
    I was writing something big and way above my argument skills in English but then I found what I think is a definition for this mindset:
    dictatorship of the majority (plural dictatorships of the majority)
    (politics) A situation in which a government or other authority democratically supported by a majority of its subjects makes policies or takes actions benefiting that majority, without regard for the rights or welfare of the rest of its subjects.
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      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.18)
    @DC Which is exactly what Mr. Mowrey was talking about. Madison had a lot of influence over ensuring the minority had a voice as much as the majority, and that through disagreement there could be mutually beneficial compromise. Seeing democracy as simple majority rule is ignoring 250 years of political history and philosophy.

    The idea was to reduce disenfranchisement, but it's been corrupted by some very smart, very immoral people.

    Also, people with more resources have a distinct advantage when entering contracts, especially when they have all of what someone else needs, like property or money (when money = food).
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
     (10239.19)
    @ScottBieser

    The losers must then obey the commands of the winners, until they can get more guns on their side in the next go-around.

    No, no they don't.
  3.  (10239.20)

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