Economic Facts and Fallacies

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fltcoils
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:03 pm

Economic Facts and Fallacies

Post by fltcoils »

I respect this forum and wish I had 1/10th the skill and strength of purpose that these polywell pioneers do. Thanks for the forum.

I read the "news" thread which diverged to an economics and political policy discussion. I thought it might be kinder to start this over here in "general" if anyone was interested.

I found the topic of interest and pleasure last week, strangely enough. My wife gave me a copy of Thomas Sowell's newer book "Economic Facts and Fallacies." She said he used a lot of humor to make his points, my wife is an econ major. I'm an engineer. Humor is in the eye of the beholder I guess. I strongly recommend reading it before expressing opinions. Heinlein often stated how people are NOT entitled to their opinions unless such is well founded. So I suggest a foundation for such.

The book is consistent with Thomas Sowell's other writings and columns. As an engineer I appreciate his taking time to examine many of the leading public policy topics base facts and address the most common fallicious mythologies.

What I left with was a general exhalation of relief, the facts actually show that hard work, prudent consumption and savings, effort to learn skills and then consistent effortful application of skills ... works....regardless of gender or race. Throughout the world. It's not a bunch of bunk, the facts are and have been there for generations. And it works best in a free country with few government manipulations.

SF Calf had low housing costs until the early '70s when land use laws prevented building new housing. Houston Tx never passes such, and is 15% cheaper now than 20 years ago. DUH. Housing costs exceed build value because of the govt interference in the market.

People with high school degrees but without reading writing and 'rithmatic skills do not earn as high of an income, neither do those who choose to not work 40-60 hrs / wk. DUH. Sorry that cultural differences affect population groups efforts in these reguards, but that's just the way it is. Skills and hard work are consistently rewarded across all genders and races.

People who aspire to borrow but have no liquid capitol or history of financial responsibility are a greater risk of default, and industry charges a proportionately higher interest rate to the same. DUH If they didn't they would be out of business, right? If there were unfair rates, then the default rates would be skewed, but they aren't.

One discrimination factor. Skill & effort.

The ant will have food in the winter, not the grasshopper.
The little red hen has bread, not the fox and pig who would not help.

There is too much to do to be distracted by fallacies. "Bread and Circuses!" isn't what most of us are about. The way to make a better world appears to depend on education, prudent use and effort. Now doesn't that make sense?

ravingdave
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Re: Economic Facts and Fallacies

Post by ravingdave »

fltcoils wrote:I respect this forum and wish I had 1/10th the skill and strength of purpose that these polywell pioneers do. Thanks for the forum.

The ant will have food in the winter, not the grasshopper.
The little red hen has bread, not the fox and pig who would not help.

There is too much to do to be distracted by fallacies. "Bread and Circuses!" isn't what most of us are about. The way to make a better world appears to depend on education, prudent use and effort. Now doesn't that make sense?

Amen. Thomas Sowell is great. I Like Walter Williams better. His writting style is funnier and easier to read.

In any case, this is a better area for discussing stuff other than Polywell Fusion.


David

Nanos
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Location: Treasure Island

Post by Nanos »

> I thought it might be kinder to start this over
> here in "general" if anyone was interested.

An excellent idea. (I never really have any issues if a mod wishes to move part of a thread (If the software so allows it.) to another more suitable area.))


> they kicked out the troublemakers

So you could have had a similar outcome had you used more police/cops and taken the trouble makers out ?


The trouble is, they still end up someplace..

Its only a partial solution, in that it moves the problem elsewhere, a bit like pollution :-)

Fine for all of those tenants able to afford to buy, but those that cannot, and one might say that those that cannot, are more likely to turn to crime.. end up someplace to still go about their criminal ways, only they come by car to rob you rather than living down the road!


> no one has any incentive to keep the place up

I can agree that ownership is one way to provide incentive, but I don't reckon its the only way, if we actioned our laws then we would have another incentive.


Its like in religious communities where there is not ownership, nor a decent police force, yet their incentive is a religious one to keep the place up and that works!

So we are not limited to just one incentive that works, there could well be others.


> you don't "give people jobs,"

I was being simplistic for sake of argument, but if you used the income from the rents you could afford to pay many people to do jobs, rather than spend it on an expensive villa in another country and holidays therein..


> Wages for high-skill positions like
> architects,lawyers, doctors, and CEOs keep going
> up and up, because there is competition for
> their services

Sure, but not everyones cut out to do a job like that, the majority of people are pretty limited in what they can do, even with training, your lucky if they can pick up a box and put it someplace without killing themselves with an accident on the way.

Plus, if everyone was a lawyer/doctor, then who would clean the toilets...

(Its one of the reasons I see that people are kept poor and uneducated, or else no one would 'need' to clean toilets and do all the low paid unpleasent jobs that no one really wants to do.)

You'd think in the logic of things that such jobs as a toilet cleaner would actually pay rather highly!


> I doubt any entity controls more than 1% of
> rented property

Now I know this might be unpopular, but its strange how the majority of my rich friends with property also happen to be Jewish..

As I get to know more people, I do notice that religious groups are good at property wealth, with an ability to help each and family members, because they value the family.

I also notice that 2nd and 3rd generation immigant familes as they become westernised often lose that family values aspect somehow and end up not helping each other as much.

Yet some groups are able to maintain themselves, it interests me why. (I do notice that most of my Jewish friends for example are particularly very bright.)


But I have observed people of any race/religion/etc. that once they become rich, they work together with other rich folk and suddenly they change from helping the poor to exploiting them.

The change is very sudden and quite shocking, and I became aware at the time of why so many rich folk are hated by so many poor folk, because of the way the rich people are always out to take advantage of the little guy any way they can, with no real concerns about breaking the law to do so either..

So I'm not sure that its a conspiracy at all, its just they all work together by design, rather than too much of a conscious effort. (I was watching rich friends for example all talk about increasing their rents recently on property they own, and one saying they just upped their rent from $1800 to $2400 a month on a property because they can. When one person asked could the tenant afford it, the answer was it didn't matter as they could get another tenant in!)


> If one is keeping rents high, another can steal
> his customers by pricing them lower.

Except if there is not enough rented property to go around, then there are always more customers than place to rent and prices remain high. (I never see rents go down! 20 years ago I could rent a 1 bedroom flat for $30 a week, now its $400 a week, that seems a very steep rise when wages have only doubled in the same time period.)


> It shows how much better off the poor are
> compared to the beginning of the 1900's

The Annual hours worked in 1870 being 3,069, in my last low paid 9 to 5 job I worked 3,024 rather than the 2007 figure of 1,278..

I know an increasing number of people past the age of retirement who have to work to keep a roof over their head!


Speaking with elderly people from around that time, they mention how rented property was affordable even for those in the lowest paid jobs. (Even if the housing came with the job.) That they could afford to put a roof over their heads and fill their stomaches, something that nowdays is increasingly (At least in the UK.) getting difficult due to a lack of low paid jobs being available (All outsourced to China where they get paid 15 cents an hour..) and no cheap housing. (Thanks in part to our governments interference on insisting landlords have a certain minumn standard, which when it was introduced lead to a 100% increase in my rent, as if I needed double glazing!)

Sure we have mobile phones so cheap you can find them in the gutter, not that you could afford to put any credit on it, but thats another matter :-)

You might say we have improved medical care, but in reality, its not really improved that much in many ways since years ago. I still rather believe my old Nan whose best advice is never to go to hospital because your just end up dying there! (The number of friends/etc. who end up with complications from infections with MRSA/etc. or just doctors who don't do a very good job, or they cannot afford your medicine..)

But when they can help, its just to keep you alive longer so you can continue to work :-) and once you cannot, your home is taken off you to pay your old peoples home bills and you enjoy living in a place that prisoners would complain about!

For the homeless people I see living in the bushes down by the canal, life isn't really all that great for them, and there doesn't seem to be many options for them get out of that position once there, so whats really better now ?

(For example, a city church in the UK allows 100+ people in tents to live in the graveyard because they are homeless, did we have that 100 years ago ?)


> it strikes me that prostitution is an
> excellent example of supply and demand
> in labor markets trumping government mandates

I think drug dealing is a far better one, as its not so gender specific. (I was listening to a drug dealer the other day telling me how little profit they made from it all!)

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/stev ... omics.html

There you get in a totally free market the majority on wages lower than minumn wage and only the top dogs earning the megabucks.

ravingdave
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

I'm only going to address these points in my post. To address the rest would be just too much.

Nanos wrote:> I thought it might be kinder to start this over
> here in "general" if anyone was interested.

An excellent idea. (I never really have any issues if a mod wishes to move part of a thread (If the software so allows it.) to another more suitable area.))


> they kicked out the troublemakers

So you could have had a similar outcome had you used more police/cops and taken the trouble makers out ?
Police cost money. Making everyone in the building a Cop that works for free is far cheaper and more effective.
Nanos wrote: The trouble is, they still end up someplace..

Its only a partial solution, in that it moves the problem elsewhere, a bit like pollution :-)
The analogy would be correct if pollution was synergistic. Bad people having a place to congregate create more bad than the sum of the parts.

Perhaps I'm mean, or evil or something, but my philosophy on bad people is that they are to the body of mankind what cancer is to the body of a man. I think chronic criminals (robbers, thieves, rapists, child molesters ) ought to be put out of everyone's misery.
If they can't be reformed. Get them out of society one way or the other.
(I actually have an idea beyond just killing them.)
Nanos wrote: Fine for all of those tenants able to afford to buy, but those that cannot, and one might say that those that cannot, are more likely to turn to crime.. end up someplace to still go about their criminal ways, only they come by car to rob you rather than living down the road!
See above. :)
Nanos wrote: > no one has any incentive to keep the place up

I can agree that ownership is one way to provide incentive, but I don't reckon its the only way, if we actioned our laws then we would have another incentive.


Its like in religious communities where there is not ownership, nor a decent police force, yet their incentive is a religious one to keep the place up and that works!

So we are not limited to just one incentive that works, there could well be others.

Religious constraints work, but are subject to modification by the latest new Representative of God. Human nature, on the other hand, is hardwired into our genes. We will always revert back to our true nature in the absence of other motivating factors.


In any case, I have long had an idea which I considered excellent and reasonable for the problem which you have just outlined. Some people would consider it overly harsh, but my simple rule of thumb is this. I would ask nothing more for myself, if I were the person to whom the idea would be applied. Indeed, I have asked for nothing more than what I am going to propose in a future message for I have to go now. Hopefully I will be able to resume in a couple of hours or so.


David

Nanos
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Location: Treasure Island

Post by Nanos »

> Police cost money

Agreed, but I reckon is affordable, especially if police do double duty at the same time, eg. litter pickup, street cleaner..


> create more bad than the sum of the parts

Agreed, but still the fallout is being felt daily by the comfortable well off middleclass who previously thought the problem would just go away, but instead its just slowly grown.


> ought to be put out of everyone's misery

I have some agreement there, but I would prefer to not create them in the first as I reckon that approach is overall cheaper.


> If they can't be reformed. Get them out of
> society one way or the other

Agreed, more prison space would help for example.
(Though its maybe another argument on how ineffective prison is in many ways..)


> Human nature, on the other hand, is hardwired
> into our genes

True, but..

We are evolving, the newer humans, human nature is more cooperative than previous exploiative genes, because once you get a group being cooperative, their output is far superior.


> Hopefully I will be able to resume in a couple
> of hours or so.

I look forward to more answers and questions, and possibilities.


Incidently, on the issue of rented property being more damaged because people don't care. I'd agree that is a real concern and having lived in such places for 10+ years with 50+ people and seen first hand the destruction I do have a few solutions which have worked.

Regular maintence to catch issues before they get out of hand, eg. fix something before it competly breaks.

Design things to be more robust, I've replaced many items with more durable designs which have withstood all that the most stupid tenant has thrown at it :-)

So I reckon a combination of robust design, regular maintence checks and fixes, and penalities of loss of home for severe acts (With associated high rewards for being a tenant, eg. well paid job, nice neighbourhood.) would work well in practice.

(As such I'm looking forward to more study in the area with the tool of a MMORPG I'm writing for this purpose so I can test out approaches with human guinia pigs, before building actual housing to try it for real.)

Plus listening to you all good folk who can give me many more ways to look at the problem and possible issues/errors etc.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

nanos,

I think the Birtish problem and the Euro problem in general is restriction of entry into the market. And you still have hangovers from the feudal era.

Also your endless rules and regulations limit the growth rate.

What you are asking for is more government to solve the problems caused by government.

Have you considered coming to America where you can live like a King (gas, water, central air, lots of room) on minimum wage.

BTW why are wages for gangs so low?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UGC2nLnaes

The job is no fun (after a while) and there is a lot of competition.

How do you limit competition in the normal market? Union rules and rules that make it hard to fire employees. Hard to fire limits the incentive to hire.

Sadly America is slowly moving in the Euro direction. It will eventually kill the golden goose.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Regular maintence to catch issues before they get out of hand, eg. fix something before it competly breaks.

Design things to be more robust, I've replaced many items with more durable designs which have withstood all that the most stupid tenant has thrown at it
That is a question of capital vs labor. Who is more competent to make that decision? A local or some desk jockey (what is the Brit term?) in Whitehall?

Go down to the store and buy what you need or fill out 13 forms and wait?

Government adds friction. What is better? More friction or less in an economy?

Private property is empowering. Government property makes citizens subjects.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

djolds1
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:03 am

Post by djolds1 »

Nanos wrote:
If they can't be reformed. Get them out of society one way or the other
Agreed, more prison space would help for example. (Though its maybe another argument on how ineffective prison is in many ways..)
Reformation for many cases is possible, but requires much harsher means, for an extended period, than the West seems willing to do.

Nanos wrote:
Human nature, on the other hand, is hardwired into our genes
True, but..

We are evolving, the newer humans, human nature is more cooperative than previous exploitative genes, because once you get a group being cooperative, their output is far superior.
Not sure about that.

1) We are not really evolving any more. We can keep our profoundly handicapped alive and able to reproduce, and those with moderate physiological problems (say fertility) can also be assisted to reproduce. Human "evolution" is now in human hands. Provolution is the scifi term.

2) Social cooperation has been around since the first multicellular organism. Every iteration of genus homo has been a cooperative species.
Vae Victis

ravingdave
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

Nanos wrote:> Police cost money

Agreed, but I reckon is affordable, especially if police do double duty at the same time, eg. litter pickup, street cleaner..
You must have far more tolerant Cops across the pond ! :) Over here Many if not most Cops consider themselves to be "Blue Knights." Superior to the people they serve, and rightfully holding special privilages. I dare say there isn't anyone that is going to get away with making them do double duty.


Nanos wrote:
> ought to be put out of everyone's misery

I have some agreement there, but I would prefer to not create them in the first as I reckon that approach is overall cheaper.

I have some ideas in that regard, and I have been annoying my friends with these ideas for years. Yes, it's far better to not create them in the first place, but unfortunately people are going to behave according to their nature, and the dumber they are the more guided by nature they are.

Nanos wrote: > If they can't be reformed. Get them out of
> society one way or the other

Agreed, more prison space would help for example.
(Though its maybe another argument on how ineffective prison is in many ways..)
I have long railed about taxpayers being sentenced to "life in prison."
Over here it costs (Last I heard) $50,000.00 per year to house an inmate.

Nanos wrote: > Human nature, on the other hand, is hardwired
> into our genes

True, but..

We are evolving, the newer humans, human nature is more cooperative than previous exploiative genes, because once you get a group being cooperative, their output is far superior.

We are evolving in all directions, including downward as well as upward and sideways. I have long worried that the stupider people in the world are going to get us all killed before the smart people of the world figure out a way to get us off this rock. :)

Nanos wrote: > Hopefully I will be able to resume in a couple
> of hours or so.

I look forward to more answers and questions, and possibilities.


Incidently, on the issue of rented property being more damaged because people don't care. I'd agree that is a real concern and having lived in such places for 10+ years with 50+ people and seen first hand the destruction I do have a few solutions which have worked.

Regular maintence to catch issues before they get out of hand, eg. fix something before it competly breaks.

Design things to be more robust, I've replaced many items with more durable designs which have withstood all that the most stupid tenant has thrown at it :-)

So I reckon a combination of robust design, regular maintence checks and fixes, and penalities of loss of home for severe acts (With associated high rewards for being a tenant, eg. well paid job, nice neighbourhood.) would work well in practice.

(As such I'm looking forward to more study in the area with the tool of a MMORPG I'm writing for this purpose so I can test out approaches with human guinia pigs, before building actual housing to try it for real.)

Plus listening to you all good folk who can give me many more ways to look at the problem and possible issues/errors etc.
And here i'm back. Okay. Here's the genesis of my idea. I'm a conservative, but i'm not a libertarian. In my opinion conservatism is the exact middle of the political spectrum between total government (Liberals) and No government at all. (Libertarians)

If you grant the postulate that we have to have SOME government then there are things that this government MUST do. The most important thing of course is to defend it's people from others trying to kill or enslave them from without and within. (enemy conquorers and criminals)
Other than that, the government should pretty much leave people alone to do what they like.

Unfortunately, some people fall through the cracks and become destitute. (Usually, but not always through their own fault.) In my opinion, the government should regard these people as economic refugees, and should treat them as they would long term refugees.

Most of these people haven't the slightest idea how to manage money, and so the stupidest thing you can do is to give them money to manage. That happens to be exactly what we do.

We give them Food stamps, or in the case of my state, a food credit card. Funny thing is, I planted the idea of the food credit card into the mind of the state legislator (Ron Kirby) that proposed and got the idea adopted, and of course they go and screw it up. The problem was food stamp fraud. People with stamps would sell them for cash or drugs, thereby defrauding the system. I envisioned an ID card with their PICTURE on the card so that the card could only be used by the person that it was issued to.

Of course they left off the PICTURE ! @#$%^$%##
The fraud continues, same as before. It's even easier now.

This all happened 20 years ago, and since then I realized giving them money for food is stupid. They buy crap that isn't good for them or their children. What would work better is requiring them to buy staples. (e.g. Meat, eggs, flour, vegetables, oatmeal, etc. ) No chips, soda, candy, icecream, etc.

At some point I came up with the idea that welfare should not be fun. It should not even be pleasant. We don't WANT people on welfare, and we should only be required to help those people to the extent necessary to keep them alive and safe. We should encourage people to get off the dole and STAY off the dole, and the best way to do it is to make it unattractive.

I propose something like public housing. I propose that the housing project will have a kitchen and maintenance staff as well as Guards. The apartments should be bare, and should contain no electrical outlets. There should be beds for the number of people who will be staying together in the apartment,(Families only) as well as the basic necessities. Food will be served cafeteria style at appropriate times. No visitors allowed in the building. Everything going in or out to be screened by the guards. No electronic gear allowed. People are free to come or go when it is safe for them to do so.

If there is any entertainment it should be in the form of educational books, or educational TV channels. (That is, if there is to be any sort of TV at all.) Educational efforts should be part of the program.

In other words, a lot like a prison, but one in which people may leave any time they wish. The idea is that we shouldn't let people die, but we should push them constantly towards making their own way in life.

This is nothing more than I would ask for myself if I were destitute. I would immediately go out and see if I could find a job just to get myself OUT of this situation. For those that cannot, or will not, they still have the freedom to walk away.


From my philosophical perspective, all the requirements are satisfied. The freedom of the weakest people is perserved, the obligation of government not to let people die of hunger or lack of shelter is satisfied, and people are given means and opportunity to better themselves while the taxpayers burden for this is as light as I can conceive it being made.


David

ravingdave
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

djolds1 wrote: Reformation for many cases is possible, but requires much harsher means, for an extended period, than the West seems willing to do.
.
Amen. I used to debate people about the death penalty. They said it didn't work. I said Saudi Arabia has very little crime because almost everything is punishable by death. (or something extremely harsh by western standards)

Their response was always "Do you want to live under such harsh rules as Saudi Arabia ?" I would respond that the point is that the Death Penalty does indeed work, and Saudi Arabia proves it. Whether I want to live under their system of justice is irrelevant to the point.

Positive and Negative reinforcement works.
djolds1 wrote: Not sure about that.

1) We are not really evolving any more. We can keep our profoundly handicapped alive and able to reproduce, and those with moderate physiological problems (say fertility) can also be assisted to reproduce. Human "evolution" is now in human hands. Provolution is the scifi term.

2) Social cooperation has been around since the first multicellular organism. Every iteration of genus homo has been a cooperative species.
I get uneasy when the concept of engineered evolution is discussed. I always get the notion that I might not live up to the standard necessary to be a survivor. :) Unfortunately, I see it comming. Once the science of genetics becomes sufficiently precise, people are going to engineer their kids to be "homo superior" .

Of course, we already do that. it's called picking the best mate that you can get ! :)

Anyone see GATTACA ?


David

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

If you grant the postulate that we have to have SOME government then there are things that this government MUST do. The most important thing of course is to defend it's people from others trying to kill or enslave them from without and within. (enemy conquorers and criminals)
Other than that, the government should pretty much leave people alone to do what they like.
Actually that is the Libertarian position. I spent about 10+ years with the Libs. You are thinking Anarchists. A different kettle of fish. However, not so different. They go from limited gov. - the Libs. - to no government - Anarchists.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Nanos
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Location: Treasure Island

Post by Nanos »

> is restriction of entry into the market

I don't understand what you mean by this.


> your endless rules and regulations

Agreed, every day it seems we add to the paperwork mountain, rather than simplifying it, which is what I would try to do.


> Have you considered coming to America

The thought has crossed my mind, but I imagine I'd be refused entry/allowed to stay on the basis of my age/education/criminal history. (A window broken during a fight, though technically its a spent conviction and I'm not supposed to talk about (Don't you just love English law!) my understanding is that its still taken into account for immigration purposes to some other countries.)

Where as Uruguay seems a popular destination for even well known ex-drug dealers and is the number one choice at the moment from here in the UK.


But I do feel a sense of duty to help my own country first, rather than to necessarly jump ship to someplace better and leave my fellow man to suffer with no one to help them.


> Hard to fire limits the incentive to hire.

Agreed, and is one reason why I see temp agencies being more popular here as its easier to fire people that way. The problem is you get a constant stream of people who take ages to train and just as they get good at the job, leave!

So you end up with a large section of the workforce not really any good at the job, with the few that do know it inside out spending their time training the rest, and everything squeeking at the edges, especially as those higher up like to save a bob or two and cut staffing levels below that which I consider necessarly to maintain a working system. (Eg. they say you need 10 people to do a job, but forget that 1 or 2 of those will always be off due to ill health, training days, holiday/etc. ) or do something crazy like everyone goes to lunch at the same time and there is no one in the office for an hour to even answer the phone!


> Who is more competent to make that decision? A
> local or some desk jockey (what is the Brit term?)
> in Whitehall?

I can understand desk jockey :-) I think its pen pusher here, but I pick up so many sayings from all over the place, its hard to remember if its a Brit term or not!

The difficulty with a local deciding things, is it does lead to a lack of the larger picture being taken into account, eg. country planning wise, particularly say road network, or rail network.

I quite like the zoning approach to things, as I reckon you need to give local people a large say in what they need to do themselves, but you need to guide them in various directions so you don't end up with all the firestations in one of the town and nothing in the other side :-)

Having watched and taken part in evolved V planned MMORPG environments I do notice that the, let the people decide things can lead to overcrowding as everyone wants a piece of the pie and no one queues, but organisation can smooth out that and give everyone a bite at the cherry in turns so to speak.


> Go down to the store and buy what you need or
> fill out 13 forms and wait?

That might depend, no really!

Too much freedom of choice, and we end up making lots of bad choices, so whilst I'd love to see the majority of things form free, I still think some control is necessary to look after us.

I tend to view people just like pets, you wouldn't give your pet free access to its food or it would become overweight and eat you out of house and home in no time at all.. So you restrict its diet and make sure its had the snip to keep it well looked after.


> Private property is empowering. Government
> property makes citizens subjects.

Only to the ones with the private property.

Which is better, for a small segment to have it all, and the majority suffer, or everyone to have a share and have it all ?

I don't see it being about equality, but instead workers getting a fair pay for a fair days work, rather than than them getting taken advantage of and people living off their backs.


> 1) We are not really evolving any more

I disagree with that, whilst I would agree that we are de-evolving in many ways due to as you say, there does appear to be cultures and ethnic groups more able to work together than others, I reckon some of that is down to genes. (I remember reading someplace that those of a calm disposition are more able to be civilised and cooperative than those who are not.)


> Social cooperation has been around since

Often its more by accident than design, the capitalist system for example is cooperative because it bases rewards on everyone scamming each other, which from my understanding is what the human brain is best designed for!

True cooperative behaviour I think is still fairly rare.


> I dare say there isn't anyone that is going to
> get away with making them do double duty.

Oh I don't think the regular police force here would be happy with that either!

But I do reckon a private funded security force would be willing to. (People seem to do anything if you pay them enough..)


> Over here it costs (Last I heard) $50,000.00 per
> year to house an inmate

From a logic point of view, it would probably make more sense to pay them half that not to live in prison and be well behaved in exchange for the money!


> I have long worried that the stupider people in
> the world are going to get us all killed

I worry about that also, and have seen over my lifetime at least, the stupider ones getting more and more of the upperhand in every day life.

Hence another reason why I want to create a community where this isn't the case.


> and of course they go and screw it up

I have noticed politicans have a habit of taking a good idea and not fully implimenting it.

(Point in case, a city government wondered what to do about all the empty buses that cost a fortune to run and didn't make a profit, and it cost say $10 to go from one side of the city to the other. Someone had the bright idea of charging a flat fee of $1 to go any distance, and suddenly the buses was full, they had profits! local shops was full of shoppers, everyone was happy! but then the politicans decided that the 'experiment' was over and went back to the old ways!)


> I realized giving them money for food is stupid

Agreed.


> What would work better is requiring them to
> buy staples

Agreed.


> At some point I came up with the idea that
> welfare should not be fun.

Agreed.


> best way to do it is to make it unattractive.

Agreed.


> I propose something like public housing

Agreed, I have had a similar thought myself to include some of that type of housing/welfare in my community design.


> This is nothing more than I would ask for myself
> if I were destitute.

Agreed, I base many of my design thoughts on what would I be prepaired to do myself.


> Death Penalty does indeed work, and
> Saudi Arabia proves it.

Agreed.

I'm reminded of the time I spent at school, I lived during the period when we ended physical punishment in our schools, and I can remember how one year in a school of 1,500 kids we had maybe 2 or 3 bullies, with everyone else behaving for fear of the cane.

The next year, with no more can, we had 100+ bullies as now if you did something wrong the worst that could happen is you'd be told not to do it again..


> Positive and Negative reinforcement works.

Agreed.

I reckon if I had a really nice community for people to live in, that banishment (And minor punishments such as say, community service orders.) from it would be an effective punishment. As in the UK at least, you can be quite a criminal and yet still live in your comfy government provided home!

(Its interesting that looking at the figures here, a single parent with 2 kids is given the economic equalivant of $80k a year in government benefits, and with minumn wage jobs offering you only $20k you can see the reason why so few people once on benefits stay on them.)

(Amusingly, if you can call it that <grrr> I'm not entitled to any, because of some weird loophole that exists, if you go to university but you didn't take out a government loan, then that potentional loan is counted as capital and disqualifies you from benefits. And as you never had it, its impossible to ever spend it!)


So I reckon that a private funded community could provide very low cost rented housing, its own social welfare system, high wages from cooperative style business practices, and with something like 20% of the population security guards, keep crime at an all time low, making it an attractive place to work. That at the end of the day also makes stakes of money for all of its residents, rather than just a few.

jmc
Posts: 427
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:16 am
Location: Ireland

Post by jmc »

Nanos,

From your previous comment that a single flat in the UK costs at least $200,000 I thought you might be interested in house prices in Hull:

http://www.home.co.uk/guides/house_pric ... hull&all=1

as you can see the average flat cost $128,000 while the average terraced house costs $185,000. That's the average, I'm sure you can find places below that.



ravingdave:

Maybe your foodstamp/ID idea might have a point, the whole guard in the house and going out of your way to make unemployed peoples existence miserable is something I cannot condone. Frankly I think it may be the result of never living during a recession. Sometimes people just lose their jobs, sometimes its not their fault making them put up with misery and a lifestyle close to incarceration in the interim period does not seem a good idea. If someone moves into these state housing and comes across some secondhand furniture that being thrown out anyway, or a spare TV why shouldn't he bring it in?

All those guards acting as Big Brother over all these "evil" unemployed people who've been temporarily fired are going to cost taxpayers money and are just going to make the lives of those who have committed no crime worse, why should tax-payers pay for that?

I think in the U.K. when you add up rent allowance, to unemployment allowance, to housing benefits, you actually end up finding that the lot of someone working 10 hours a day on a poorly paid job is about the same as someone completely unemployed, unemployed people alsio end up getting more benefits in the U.K. then pensioners who have worked their whole lives. That seems completely insane. Its a miracle unemployment in Britain was so low for so long, I can only ascribe it to a good work ethic!


* * * *

I'm not completely against the death penalty either, though I would limit it to murderers and drug dealers, as a huge amount of crime and misery is linked to drug abuse, and those who support it deserve to die. What's more I think only something as extreme as the death penalty is enough to overcome the lucrative nature of the industry.

To me prison seems like one of the worst ways of dealing with someone who has committed crime. Place them in an environment full of like minded criminals where they organise themselves and form gangs and then let them out early before they've served their term to reduce the overcrowding problem in prisons!!!!!!

The cheapest, non-lethal way to punish someone is to flog them and unlike fines it hurts the rich as much as the poor.

Additionally while I'm all for reform when it works, I get the impression that many criminals just join up onto these reform programmes to get out earlier and then go back to crime.

If you take up a reform programme and are disingenuous and don't actually reform then you have wasted tax-payers money to hire all these social workers to visit you and hold all these reformative courses. As such you should be punished more for reoffending. I agree if a criminal participates in a reforming programme their sentence should be lightened somewhat, but if they reoffend after that, then their sentence should be made far harsher then if didn't waste everyones time in trying to reform them.

Finally and this is a bit futuristic, if someone hasn't committed a crime meritting death, but is likely to reoffend, and you want to put them away and give society a break from them for a while, the cheapest way I can think of to do it, may well in the future be to put them into a state of suspended animation. No prison riots, no prison suicides, no arse-raping in the shower, less guards required, the criminal could be placed in a box 2 feet by 3 feet by 7 feet rather than having a cell and a mess area, thus it would also be more land efficient.

Nanos
Posts: 341
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:57 pm
Location: Treasure Island

Post by Nanos »

The difficulty with Hull and simlar places is the very high crime and unemployment levels means its not realistic for many to live there.

(I have attempted previously to live in such places, but you end up litterly povety striction with no home (because someone burn't it down..), no job, and no means to improve. (No education or training facalities.))

(Where I am at the moment is slightly better, in that the crime is low enough that you can stay alive and keep your home and possessions, but jobs are pretty hard to find above minumn wage levels, housing costs are insane, and education/training either non-estistant or beyond ones ability to afford. (Eg. to go to university and get a degree would cost me $150,000 up front, if I had that much I could afford to buy a house!)

Much a catch 22 situation for many people.


> unemployed peoples existence miserable

I wouldn't class it as being miserable to have a roof over your head, to be fed and yet to be restricted in things you can do beyond that.


> just going to make the lives of those who have committed
> no crime worse

I disagree, look at Monaco for example, it has the highest ratio of police to people, yet none of the rich people complain about all the guards!

What poor people really want is lots of police on the streets keeping them safe! (Sure we don't want the wrong kind of policing, like getting fined for dropping litter say, we want them to just target the muggers/murders/rapists and leave the little things alone.)


> Place them in an environment full of like minded criminals where
> they organise themselves and form gangs

I've always wondered that perhaps prison should be a place where you cannot communicate with anyone, TV is on 24/7, your not allowed to exersize and your force fed a diet to make you hugely overweight so you really don't feel like getting off the sofa to commit any crimes when you come out!


I tend to see education as an investment aspect, pay to train someone today and they can earn more tomorrow to pay back your investment and generate more income.

ravingdave
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

MSimon wrote:
If you grant the postulate that we have to have SOME government then there are things that this government MUST do. The most important thing of course is to defend it's people from others trying to kill or enslave them from without and within. (enemy conquorers and criminals)
Other than that, the government should pretty much leave people alone to do what they like.
Actually that is the Libertarian position. I spent about 10+ years with the Libs. You are thinking Anarchists. A different kettle of fish. However, not so different. They go from limited gov. - the Libs. - to no government - Anarchists.
I have long regarded libertarians and anarchists to be almost the same thing. :) Anarchists would have only slightly less government than libertarians! (snicker) Just Joking.

Anarchy is unstable. It always evolves into dictatorship.

David

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