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  1. #21
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    Mcgyver- I have often used the roads and other services as examples of a successful form of socialism. What they amount to is instead of each person maintaining the roads in front of their houses, they all chip in to hire professionals. Likewise with folks like EMTs who require expertise few people have.

    The classic failure of socialism is that many people will not do their share but expect the full payoff. Look at almost any club and you will find a few people doing all the work and the rest coming to meetings and events and expecting their newsletter every month while doing nothing but complaining if something doesn't come up to their standards. The result is that people have to be coerced, propagandized, and eventually forced by a police state to simply do their jobs. Capitalism offers a carrot, income, and a mean stick, starvation. To quote the good book, "If a man shall not work, neither shall he eat." (That is from memory, possibly not exact but the meaning is correct.)

    I don't think socialism is intrinsically evil, in fact it can be very good. The problem is that it is so hard to implement.

    I think the reason our government services are successful, and around here they are very good, is that we have no choice but to pay the taxes, in the case of roads when we fill our gas tanks, and it is hard to use more than your fair share of a road. You just use it when you need it. Marx said "From each in accordance of his ability, to each according to his needs." The wealthy use more gas and contribute more to the road fund and each person uses the road as required.

    When I checked in to the Hotel Internationale in Magdeburg, the bell boy told me I had to go to the police. I had a long wait to get my papers checked and had time to look around the waiting room. On a wall was a picture of a comrade machinist standing at attention at his lathe wearing his Hero of the Revolution badge for exceeding his quota in the factory. The other noticeable feature was that the doors to other rooms had blobs of modeling clay, the type that doesn't harden, on the doors and jambs. There was a loop of thread between them and stamps on the clay like a signet ring makes so that anyone who opened it would leave evidence. This was only a local police station. The real one was down the street guarded by two men with burp guns. To me, that pretty well summed up the pile of shit they called their glorious socialism.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    Probably not the right forum for it, but its important stuff nontheless . . . . Compared to how much misery, torture and death socialists governments have dished out to their own citizens, this development (kids thinking socialism might be OK) should be about as shocking as if the majority of youth wanted a Nazi's government in power. . .
    Big difference between centrally planned economies with authoritarian leaders and largely socialist economies with democratically elected leaders. The list of "socialist democratic" countries includes a whole bunch whose citizens would argue against the "misery, torture, and death" characterization. List includes (in order of population) Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway . . . etc. None of 'em are perfect. But most of them are decent places to live, with good jobs, more affordable health care than the us, good schools, often innovative businesses, and so on.

    On the other hand, a centrally planned economy coupled with authoritarian leadership gives you China, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela and a whole bunch of despotic countries whose economies are in such sad shape it's hard to imagine anyone is planning them. EG is telling us China and its President for Life and reeducation camps are doing it right. They could be worse. Singapore may be the closest thing we've had of an authoritarian regime, with lots of central planning, but acting (so it seems) largely in its citizens' interest. Problem is, there really aren't checks and balances in authoritarian regimes -- and we end up with Putin, Kim, Maduro, Mohammed Bin Salman, Khamenhi, and dozens more throughout Africa.

    The original meaning of socialism was that the means of production were owned by the "community." And when a community gets small enough (family business, town funded Internet or water system, a company with great workers) it seems to work about as well as any other system. And in nations with some sense of community (time for Gordon to chime in) and democratic elections, it also seems to work OK.

    We shouldn't delude ourselves in thinking that free and transparent markets govern all our own economy. As the Great Recession, our health care costs, defense spending, for-profit prisons, and the like show -- many sectors of our economy are essentially controlled (centrally planned, if you will) by oligopolies -- and the regulations and tax breaks they want are increasingly the ones that Congress critters put in place.

    The better news is that we still have many sectors of the economy that don't have huge barriers to entry, where a better product will earn customers and profits, where there aren't a whole lot of special regulatory and tax breaks, and where a crappy or over-priced product or service will eventually get replaced.

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  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    The original meaning of socialism was that the means of production were owned by the "community." And when a community gets small enough (family business, town funded Internet or water system, a company with great workers) it seems to work about as well as any other system. And in nations with some sense of community (time for Gordon to chime in) and democratic elections, it also seems to work OK.
    I think you have touched on the critical point. In a small group an increase or decrease in production has an immediate effect so the "socialist" group is really a capsule of capitalism, a group rather than an individual feedback loop. When the group gets large enough that individual efforts are lost in the crowd, the problems of socialism show up and the regime has to resort to incentives beyond profit and loss they start haranguing the people and handing out Hero of the Revolution badges.

    Bill

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    The author is not affiliated with Forbes, the contributor zone just hosts public blogs.

    Anyways, the article is dumb. The argument is effectively: "If you owned your apartment, you would be collecting thousands of dollars in rent instead of paying it!"
    This is true, but requires that you buy the apartment from its current owner.

    This can be accomplished legally if you have enough cash on hand, or can access enough credit to buy it with borrowed money; but I don't think the blog post was suggesting either of of those methods.

    The author seems to believe that Apple has no current owners, or that the owners have no moral authority to own a company they do not directly operate. I mean, taking other peoples stuff is an easy way to make money, but if it become commonplace there might not be enough society left for you to buy anything...

    I'd love to wake up tomorrow as the owner of the apartment I live in, but real life doesn't work that way. You do sometimes find real grown up adults who believe that its immoral for a landlord to collect rent on a building they did not physically assemble themselves, but I'm not going to even start on that can of worms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    The list of "socialist democratic" countries includes a whole bunch whose citizens would argue against the "misery, torture, and death" characterization. List includes (in order of population)..... Denmark, ...... None of 'em are perfect.
    Pete, Pete , Pete, I for one am SURE that this is a typo on your part, we have read a thousand times how perfect that little country is

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    Made me grin . . .

    Still, it's a nice place, however short of perfection all countries are.

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    There are no Socialist countries in Western Europe.

    You want to see real socialism, keep voting for the likes of Comrade Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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  12. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    Pete, Pete , Pete, I for one am SURE that this is a typo on your part, we have read a thousand times how perfect that little country is
    The total population of Denmark is about 3/4 of New York City's and 5/6 are ethnic and racial Danes. A lot easier to keep uniform views and behavior there. Anyway, it really is a great place.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Big difference between centrally planned economies with authoritarian leaders and largely socialist economies with democratically elected leaders. The list of "socialist democratic" countries includes a whole bunch whose citizens would argue against the "misery, torture, and death" characterization. List includes (in order of population) Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway . . ..
    Come on, I SAID socialism, not socialist democracies re misery etc! Those you listed are NOT socialist countries. Those are social democracies and have capitalist based economies. Socialist countries are those like Cuba, former USSR etc. Their economies are really little different than ours in basic operations except the slider on the regulate tax and spend control is set quite a bit more to the left. Governments do NOT own or control the means of production for most of the economy). A key thing to realize is "socialism" is an economic term, describing an economic model. "Social Democracy" is a political term probably describing a set of fiscal policy beliefs and does not at all mean the economic model is not still market based/capitalist.

    I can't believe this need explaining, but have a look at the near perfect correlation between socialism and totalitarianism. In theory and practice totalitarianism results form socialism. Socialism means the the means of production is controlled by that state, that leads central planning setting prices and production quotas and that seems to always lead to totalitarianism. Then look at the worst regimes insofar those who inflicted misery torture and death on their citizens. Notice another correlation? Communist China, Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, the list goes on and on. East Germany was mentioned; at one point its was estimated 1/3 of its citizens were government informants!

    No, with basic definitions settled, no one has trouble seeing the tried and true connection between socialism and tyrannical totalitarianism. What should concern you is that >50% of your youth are asking for socialism without a clue as to what they are asking for. They are not asking for higher tax and spend, they're asking for socialism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    Pete, Pete , Pete, I for one am SURE that this is a typo on your part, we have read a thousand times how perfect that little country is
    and its most certainly not socialist. Here, the Danish Presidents makes it clear in an addresses to those on the economics short bus who think it is

    Danish PM in US: Denmark is not socialist - The Local

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  17. #31
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    Those of us who pay attention can see the undermining of real democracy the more the left/marxism takes hold in our countries. They've been trying to delegitimize Trumps win for 2.5yrs already.

    The extra interesting part is much of Europe will soon burn once again as the people are tired of being bled dry to support this leftist ideology on the back of free market capitalism that's been funding it, but its starting to really crumble as it always does.


    Meanwhile, Canada's GDP is now down to 0.1% last quarter, roughly 0.4% for all of 2018 and these are the optimistic figures, with massive deficits with no end in sight. Our extreme left Trudeau government has done just about everything possible to destroy our economy while creating and importing more dependents who will vote for them, and borrowing the $ for it on the backs of the very few of us still working/trying to survive. They're also pushing another anti-gun bill aimed at further disarming much of the population, nothing surprising there...

    Anyway, back to work, while I still can...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    . . . What should concern you is that >50% of your youth are asking for socialism without a clue as to what they are asking for. They are not asking for higher tax and spend, they're asking for socialism.
    I've talked to bunches of those kids, probably hundreds. While they may not have thought it all the way, most of them are asking for something much closer to a social democracy (all those countries mentioned above) than a Cuba or Russia.

    It turns out lots of them have aspirations of running their own business or joining a start up (tech, construction, restaurants, yard services, more tech, etc.). What bugs them is that they don't see any way of getting there, or even a good job, given:

    - A college education will cost $100,000 and put them in debt. For those on the edge of competency, they may get stuck going to some for-profit degree mill, of the sort our current President once made popular.

    - If they get sick (most still think they're immortal), they're screwed. I've gotten to talk to several of the ones who turned out not to be immortal.

    - Just the cost of an apartment in places where jobs are, much less a home, is astronomical. It's ten kids to a rented home. That's the ones not living in their parents' basement. Might not be as much an issue for rural kids, but also less job opportunities in many cases.

    - Unless they've got that $100,000 technical degree, they're stuck competing with a hundred others for some low level part time job. Most competent kids short of the tech grads are looking (and looking hard) for the few well-paying jobs left; paramedic etc.

    - The future (various discussions of automation taking the jobs, climate change, school shootings, partisan politics, working two part-time jobs) doesn't look all that great to them. They're not super impressed with how the "adults" are dealing with the world. Just like Trump supporters wanted to try something different (and are continuing to screw a lot of things up in their eyes), they want to try something different. Maybe something useful comes out of this. Maybe not.

    Kids aren't asking for a Cuba, Russia, North Korea. Or someone centrally planning the business they hope to start or join. They're asking for a break. To many of them that means the notions of a cheaper education, modestly priced housing, and the sort of employment opportunities their parents had. For them, it really and probably does come down to a society where the very rich pay higher taxes, just like all those other social democracies.

    In a way, capitalism and social democracies provide a sort of check and balance on each other. A lot of kids, while not particularly political, simply recognize and feel that it isn't all that well checked and balanced for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    What should concern you is that >50% of your youth are asking for socialism without a clue as to what they are asking for. They are not asking for higher tax and spend, they're asking for socialism.
    Aaaaand they know not what they do. Collectivism of any stripe means the reduction of everybody to the lowest common denominator and eventually runs afoul of human nature, whereupon compliance has to be coerced via snitchery and reeducation camps (and we think the IRS is bad).

    Which is why I am glad I'll be gone before they get to vote themselves, say, 70 years of it like the most recent large-scale example...once it's in place it's for a lifetime, and a miserable one at that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    In a way, capitalism and social democracies provide a sort of check and balance on each other. A lot of kids, while not particularly political, simply recognize and feel that it isn't all that well checked and balanced for them.
    Social Democracies are capitalist/market economies, mostly with a different views on what is good fiscal policy than say the US. So far as what kids are asking for, one can only hope they receive an education before they vote or least because they're kids aren't taken too seriously. If you're asking for a Mack truck, its kind of dysfunctional to do so if what you really want is a station wagon. Might be too late when the Mack truck shows up. Maybe youth angst is superfluous; perhaps just saying youth implies a lot of angst. Nevertheless, asking for something when you don't know what you're asking for is a BIG problem when (in angst and ignorance) what you are asking for pretty much without exception results in tyrannical totalitarianism.

    Kids wanting things different or better is fine. Kids wanting socialism is not. It don't know how there could be a position from which to argue against that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    Social Democracies are capitalist/market economies, mostly with a different views on what is good fiscal policy than say the US. So far as what kids are asking for, one can only hope they receive an education before they vote or least because they're kids aren't taken too seriously.
    But they *can't* get an education because it's gotten too expensive to pay for it. Sort of a Catch-22.

    I'm pretty conservative fiscally but even I think some things have to change. The rise and rise of automation is really starting to pinch off even jobs that used to require a reasonable level of intelligence. Those young people have good cause to be scared and angry IMO.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    But they *can't* get an education because it's gotten too expensive to pay for it. Sort of a Catch-22.

    I'm pretty conservative fiscally but even I think some things have to change. The rise and rise of automation is really starting to pinch off even jobs that used to require a reasonable level of intelligence. Those young people have good cause to be scared and angry IMO.

    PDW
    Perhaps. You're wading into what should or shouldn't be. I have no interest in that discussion as it will go on forever and nothing will be accomplished. I have restricted my remarks to the very narrow and I think factual point that its a problem that so many wish for something the have no clue about and something is whats produced the most horrific treatment of people by their state, certainly in the modern era. If half of youths said they wanted a Nazi government everyone would be horrified. Thats more visceral but I don't really think much different, just another socialist totalitarian state. Obviously a thinking person has to believe youth want neither.....but imo you have to call it out as there is risk in the majority asking for something so terrible, even if done in ignorance.

    Whats right to wish for, I'll leave to those smarter than I

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    Perhaps. You're wading into what should or shouldn't be. I have no interest in that discussion as it will go on forever and nothing will be accomplished. I have restricted my remarks to the very narrow and I think factual point that its a problem that so many wish for something the have no clue about and something is whats produced the most horrific treatment of people by their state, certainly in the modern era. If half of youths said they wanted a Nazi government everyone would be horrified. Thats more visceral but I don't really think much different, just another socialist totalitarian state. Obviously a thinking person has to believe youth want neither.....but imo you have to call it out as there is risk in the majority asking for something so terrible, even if done in ignorance.
    Funnily enough, Venezuela comes to mind...... that's worked out so well, other countries should follow the example.

    Nonetheless my point was, it's all very well you saying they should be better educated, but the education system & costs are aiding in the prevention of that very thing. So you get what you get and complaining about their lack of education is kind of like Marie Antoinette talking about cake.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    ... Our extreme left Trudeau government ...
    Hah! That's funny. The only reason no one comments here on such matters is they have little to no clue about Canadian politics - many Americans would struggle to place Canada on a world map for that matter.

    Let's see now, the 'Liberal Party of Canada' - sounds a lot to most Americans I'm sure that it must be far left due to the word 'Liberal' in the name. Hmm...

    In reality it is a corporatist party that most sane observers would characterize as center-right, in favor of 'free-market' economics, not willing to shoot itself in the foot by trying to privatize health care unduly.

    Have the dastardly Liberal Party Elites been nationalizing the banks by any chance, or are the banks largely running the show as per usual?

    Looking through a page describing the biggest donors to the various political parties in Canada, it is readily apparent that none of the more overtly worker-centered types of entities (United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Hospital Employees Union, B.C. Federation of Labour, etc.) gave any money whatsoever to the Liberal Party - on the other hand, they received plenty of donations from the typical corporate sources. That tells you something, just as following the money nearly always does.

    And if you see the Liberal Party of Canada as 'far left', you don't leave much room, it would seem, for parties that actually are on the left, like the NDP or Green Party. Where might those be on the spectrum?

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    This thread is pretty funny, actually. It's like a giant argument between Lutherans and Baptists about the nature of God.

    But it's all hot air, ya know ? A country can be fascist, socialist, communist, capitalist, or aliens from Mars and none of it makes any difference. If the people running things do a good job and look out for their people it will be an okay place. If they are selfish greedy pricks it will be a bad place. -isms are just irrelevant theology ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    This thread is pretty funny, actually. It's like a giant argument between Lutherans and Baptists about the nature of God.

    But it's all hot air, ya know ? A country can be fascist, socialist, communist, capitalist, or aliens from Mars and none of it makes any difference. If the people running things do a good job and look out for their people it will be an okay place. If they are selfish greedy pricks it will be a bad place. -isms are just irrelevant theology ....

    Copy that but theres only one problem... They only look out for themselves, that’s the way it’s always been. Apple put aside $100 billion for stock buybacks and spent $30. My money says when they miss their earnings, they’ll artificially prop it up with more buybacks. What was illegal 35-40 years ago is now common practice. Corporate America, with their “MAGA Tax breaks” spent $1.1trillion on stock buybacks in 2018. That’s the most in the history of our country.

    I had a psychology teacher that always talked about intelligence inequality.He claimed, when he was growing up in the 1950’s, it really didn’t matter if you were 5-10% smarter than the guy next to you. There was a good chance you’d be working on a farm or in a factory with only a few dollars difference in pay. Fast forward to today’s world and it’s now life altering. That 10% gets you accepted in to the best University’s, have the best health care and the privilege of being in the top 10% for life. Everyone else gets left behind. It’s not because they’re stupid or don’t work hard, they never got the opportunity. Sure, there are success stories but not enough for 300million ppl.

    I know a lot of younger kids think the system is stacked against them and they’re right, it is. The system has been manipulated towards rich, plain and simple.


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