The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 6 12:15:36 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: BillK <pharos at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Sent: Sat, June 5, 2010 11:30:29 AM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Book: THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL
> 2010/6/5 Samantha wrote:

> Not possible.  Those programs and the mentality 
> behind them are destroying
> the economy that is the real thing that keeps 
> anarchy, and mass destitute
> conditions, at bay.   The programs are 
> parasitical.  They produce nothing
> but only consume.  When the host, the 
> economy, dies  they also die.

To call people on welfare parasites is an unfair characterization. Docile sheep-like consumption is all modern society expects or wants of most individuals whatever the rhetoric might be. Society actively discourages them from producing anything by placing high barriers to entry in most businesses and by promoting economies of scale that individual producers cannot compete against. Furthermore it is not like welfare money disappears into a black hole because the recipients don't hoard it. They spend it on fast food and cheap manufactured goods putting most if not all of it right back into the economy where it inevitably ends up back on the balance sheets of the rich the next fiscal quarter. And if these days a good deal of the money flows to China via Wal-Mart, then it is not entirely the fault of the consumer on the dole. 

> Not entirely but there are 
> similarities.  Both over-promised at home and
> over extended massively 
> abroad.  Both played financial games to attempt to
> pretend all is well.  
> All dying empires do this.

All empires die but empires can be centuries dying and there are decisions to be made that can either delay or hasten this ones demise. In our favor we are still officially a republic albeit a corrupt one. And corruption can be cleaned up at least in the short term until such time as the safeguards put into place are again circumvented. Doomsaying seems to be in fashion these days but if we survived the Great Depression, then we can survive this downturn. That is not to say that there are not some really important lessons to be learned. We might not be so fortunate next time around.  

> Bill wrote:

> It is not welfare for the 
> people that has destroyed the economy. The
people need welfare because there 
> is nothing left for them. The money
and power has been concentrated into 
> fewer and fewer hands.
Capitalism only works while you have a stake in 
> the game. Now that a
few percent of the population own virtually everything, 
> the game is
> over.

I don't think the game is over yet. During the Great Depression, unemployment rose to 25% in the US and 33% in some other countries. Yet the Great Depression did not end us. Neither will this. The worse danger is losing sight of the long term problems due to short term difficulties and the elation of recovery. For example, an economic recovery will exacerbate the energy crisis, as people rejoining the workforce start commuting again and production of everything is stepped up.  

The capitalists realised that 
> fraud pays much better than producing
stuff. And now that they have captured 
> the government, there is
nothing to  stop 
> them.

That is an unfair characterization of capitalists in general. A small percentage do this. The rest have ethics and are just trying to make an honest buck by providing valuable goods and services to the people. That the bad apples may have captured the government is cause for concern but democratic governments can be fixed. The trick is to figure out where and how the foxes are getting into the hen house and plug those holes. That and not naively trusting them to guard it in the first place.

Stuart LaForge 

"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight." - Joseph Joubert


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