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Mar 29 16 9:50 PM
Life is mystery
Equivocation. What I'm talking about and what has existed in Britain for centuries aren't the same thing. The latter influenced the former, though.
As for due punishment, human rights does not prevent them. The vast majority of the punishments dished out by the British state are within the limits - it's only a tiny minority of the cases where it's out of line.
Are you familiar with Americas three strikes out policy? If not, in short it means that your third sentence will be for life. The idea was that people would stop comitting crimes once they'd been sentenced twice. The only result seen so far is that the prison population of the US dwarfs that of other nations.
One of the architects behind three strikes out ended up in jail a handful of years later (for fraud IIRC). Once he got out his attitude had changed to "three strikes out is a disaster - it's based on false premises and therefore doesn't work at all". Because it turns out identity criminals are idiots. If they hadn't been they wouldn't have been criminals. They don't know what the penalties are, they don't care what the penalties are. They figure they won't get caught so the penalties doesn't matter. The difference between the smart and the dumb ones are how sophisticated their measures for avoiding getting caught is.
You don't need harsh penalties to deter people who think there's a risk they won't get away with what they're doing. For the vast majority a fine or a month or two in jail is more than enough deterrence because they don't think they'll get away with it and therefore there is no gain. The small minority who isn't deterred by this are the people who realize people usually get away and who therefore figure they'll get away too. For them instead there is no loss.
That's deterrence in a nutshell. You need mild penalties to keep the vast majority in check and the rest needs to be handled in other ways (mostly by increasing the risk of getting caught in the first place since that's the actual bottle neck).
I have referred to international law, you have referred to nothing. Even worse, you're the one who started making claims about the primary duty of a country which means that if the burden of proof is on anyone it's on you.
No, it's because fixing a place like Iraq is easier said than done. We want to leave the people in charge, not "someone". Leaving "someone" in charge is a recipie for disaster. "Someone" will inevitably turn into a dictator and pretty soon we're back at square one.
As for Assad, he is one of the main reasons Syria turned into a civil war and between him and ISIS it's hard to tell which is the biggest villain. Putting him in charge means it's only a question of time before this all starts again. He has proven himself inedequate when it comes to delivering the reform that Syria needs for long term stability. Why go with a proven failure?
How much people accept is fluid, though. Acceptance isn't binary, especially not on population level. You're not going to get downright rebellion because a million is divided across Europe, even if there might be protests in the streets and an increase in racist violence. Right now Sweden has issues with right wing extremist violence, but at large the current policy is accepted. Another batch like this would probably had led to more grumbling but it would still have been accepted.
They need to go here with armies to do as much harm as they'd be able to do to a safe enclave residing next door to them.
Integration doesn't change their inpact on the infrastructure by any noteworthy amount.
This is why the Conservative rule of Britain in the last six years hasn't produced any reduction of government debt despite big attempts to reduce government spending. The decrease of government spending has been accompanied by a similiar decrease in economic activity which has led to similar reduction of government income. So basically the only result was that the economy shrunk. The reason they did this, rather than go the US route of investing their way out of it (they really did, which resulted in them getting out of the recession a lot quicker than Britain without having any extra debt to show for it), was pure ideology. If they'd known infrastructure at this point pretty much pays for itself I'm doubt they would have cared, because the current political climate is such a great opportunity for them to gut the state. Of course, Labour didn't understand it either, but Labour are incompetent nowadays.
Mar 30 16 10:50 AM
elliotkane wrote:Equivocation nothing. I am flat out stating you are wrong, and why. Human rights cannot be a response to Hitler as they existed long before he did.
elliotkane wrote:That's not entirely a result of the three strikes policy. It's a result of the USA locking up more people than any other country and for far longer, on average.
elliotkane wrote:We are talking about petty criminals being punished far beyond what they should be, right? Because it doesn't occur to them not to steal something that's easy to steal, or similar. It's completely different to really serious crimes, like murder, rape, etc....
Trying to deter minor crime is a whole different thing to trying to deter really serious crime. You are right that minor crimes (Especially those caused by thoughtlessness or stupidity) won't be deterred by tougher sentences. But conflating petty crime with murder or other serious crimes is a huge mistake. They are not the same thing at all, and need tackling in different ways.
elliotkane wrote:Nothing simpler. Why do countries exist? The answer to that is the prime duty of any nation. Because that's why they exist in the first place.
elliotkane wrote:Leaving 'the people' in charge IS leaving 'someone' in charge - and without knowing who, yet! We ledt 'the people' in charge in Iraq and, more recently, in Libya. Hardly worked well, has it?
elliotkane wrote:The actual best result for Syria is probably to split it up, but that may not be acceptable to most Syrians. But failing that, we are not looking for an ideal candidate, because there isn't one. We are looking for the 'least worst option'. If you know of a better candidate than Assad, that'd be great. He's certainly a dreadful person. He's just the person there at the moment with the largest following who is not ISIS.
elliotkane wrote:Until the point is reached where it is not. I don't know that exact point, but I'd say it's a bad area to experiment in, wouldn't you?
elliotkane wrote:If we let them grow unchecked, some day they will do exactly that. ISIS are not interested in peace or compromise; they want the rest of the world to become a part of their Caliphate and they will not take no for an answer. Their entire idea of diplomacy is 'submit or die'.
elliotkane wrote:It's an easy mistake to make, seeing the rhetoric coming from Conservatives and Labour alike, but it is not actually true that Britain has reduced government spending. George Osborne has in fact increased government spending and government debt along with it. The main difference between Labour and Conservatives is their choice of vanity projects. Both consider it useful to talk up 'harsh Tory cuts', but talk is all it is.
What has most likely kept Britain in debt is a combination of very low interest rates, which mean 'zombie businesses' continue operating, even though they are making no profit, whilst also making banks reluctant to loan money; general world problems (This is not helping all over), including the disastrous Euro and the precarious Chinese undervaluing of their own currency; a Chancellor whose grasp of finance does not appear to be very good (Understatement!) and government borrowing at a crazy level. Under the Tories, Britain borrowed more money in five years than Gordon Brown did in ten (Yeah, that's 'austerity', apparently).
I found a really good article on the general problem facing the world right now, economically. I'll see if I can find it again...
Mar 30 16 7:08 PM
When I say human rights I mean the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Something similar has existed for a very long time in British law, but the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still to be fully ratified, IIRC (if it isn't then it was ratified as part of the Lisbon Treaty and thus can't have happened any sooner than 2009).
No, the bottle neck is still the low conviction rate (or the perception of it, anyway). People who rob banks, kill people in cold blood, or repeatedly rape others are people who trust in their ability to avoid getting caught (or at the very least don't consider the legal entities to be a factor that's going to affect them).
Countries exists because the ruling elite invented them. And the ruling elite invented them to serve themselves. National States had better armies, since it was easier to dupe the commoners into make sacrifizes they had nothing to gain from. People made more eager cannon fodder and tolerated higher taxes when those sacrifizes were made in the name of "the glory of the nation".
In order to pull this off they indoctrinated into believing in nations. And we still believe in them because of inertia - the first indoctrinated generation indoctrinated their kids, who indoctrinated their kids, who indoctrinated their kids and so on. Nowadays we all grow up in environments where the existance of nations are taken for a given, and therefore most people never question them.
Leaving someone in charge implies leaving one person in charge. The people isn't one person.
As for Iraq, the problem wasn't that we left the people in charge, it was that the Americans was too eager to get out so they didn't build a proper democracy before they left. For that reason the democracy was hijacked. In other words, the people wasn't really left in charge at all.
Building a proper democracy isn't trivial. But it is necessary if we want actual change in the region.
We're not looking for an ideal candidate but we are at the minimum looking for a candidate that isn't hated by a large share of the population, and who deals with such hatred by repressing those who hate him. Because that is going to lead to a new rebellion sooner or later.
If we want to leave a person in charge rather than trying to build proper democracy (including staying long enough for it to establish itself) then we're bound to be able to find someone who isn't guaranteed to start a new civil war.
Accepted by whom? There is a small minority of people who don't accept the current situation. Bring in another batch of refugees and there's going to be more. There isn't going to be a point where half the population has suddenly had it, at least not any time soon.
And while experimentation isn't all that desirable, there are no desirable alternatives to it either.
Keeping them down and dealing with the people who flee from them are two different problems. Letting half of Syria move to Europe can easilly be combined with combatting ISIS in Syria. We don't even have to do all that much ourselves - they're hated by pretty much everyone and their resources are growing thinner by the day. Right now they're slowly dying.
Unless we see dramatic changes their days as a major political factor are numbered.
When the Conservatives took over government government spending was roughly 47.5 % of GDP - nowadays it's down to around 41 %. Besides 2013/2014 this ratio has shunk every year compared to the one before it. That is around a 13 % decrease in government spending as a share of the GDP, compared to where it was when the Conservatives took over. So the Conservative measures has resulted in cuts in government spending - if they had done nothing the spending would still have been 47 % of GDP.
As for the increase in borrowing - did you miss the financial crisis? What happens in financial crises is that economic activity drops significantly. That naturally results in more welfare payments that are to be funded with lower levels of tax revenue which in turn natually leads to higher levels of borrowing. The alternatives would have been to impose riot-inducing levels of welfare cuts.
(As for high debts limiting growth, that's not what the evidence seems to point to.)
Apr 1 16 8:40 AM
elliotkane wrote:Ah. Completely different things, then. One treaty is not the same as 'Human Rights'.
elliotkane wrote:Or they consider the penalties are worth the crime. In any case, this is an old debate that has been going on for longer than you or I have been alive. I doubt we will resolve it. In truth, the reality probably lies somewhere between our two positions, with a deterrent stopping some people but not others.
elliotkane wrote:Wrong on every level. There are no 'ruling elites' without a hierarchy; there are no hierarchies without tribes. There are no tribes without a perceived need for tribes... Come on Ube, this is really easy stuff. 'Nations' are just the latest end point in a chain, which began long ago with a perceived need for...?
elliotkane wrote:Unless you are advocating pure anarchy, 'The People' always comes down to one person or one group.
elliotkane wrote:Democracy requires a demos. In order for Democracy to work in Iraq, the Iraqis would have to consider themselves one people, not a number of mutually hostile tribes.
Democracy rises naturally once a number of conditions are met, including education levels, social cohesion levels, and the separation of church from state. Iraq meets none of those criteria, nor could anything bar education have been imposed by outside forces.
This is why it is impossible to walk into random countries and day, "Congrats! You're a Democracy now!" The will of the people also requires the co-operation of the people.
elliotkane wrote:I agree with you. But if such a person does not exist, what then?
elliotkane wrote:Yes there are, but we've been over them already.
elliotkane wrote:I wonder if they know that? They may be losing in Syria and Iraq, but they've now taken large chunks of Libya, instead. Only a matter of time before they move down into other parts of Africa, most likely.
I hope you are right; I fear you are not.
elliotkane wrote:No, it wouldn't. All this proves is that the economy is growing at a faster rate than government spending is growing, which is not the same thing at all as making spending cuts.
elliotkane wrote:The last crisis happened under Labour. It's part of the reason why Cameron got to be PM instead of Gordon Brown. Since then, first the Coalition and now the Tory govt have increased borrowing.
elliotkane wrote:High debts are bound to limit growth, because of all the money wasted on interest repayments. Plus - Greece. The most unfortunate example of a nation that borrowed vastly beyond its ability to repay. I think we need less Greeces, not more, don't you?
Apr 1 16 4:52 PM
It is the closest to the actual thing that has ever existed.
If the consequences were guaranteed they'd never do so.
And I've never said that penalties doesn't deterr anyone. I've said that harsh penalties doesn't deter more people than mild penalties (and I'm sure there are exceptions but they're too few to make any difference).
You conflate need with attractiveness. Hierarchies exists because some people managed convince others it was in their best interest to follow them. This way they managed to build a power base that made it possible for them to force their will upon others. So the only need that existed was the need to have as many resources and as much control as possible. And this only had to benefit as many people as was required to keep the hierarchy in place and thus it only benefitted some.
As for National States, which is the institution you claim was created to serve the people, it was invented at a time when the people was ruled by aristocrats. And the only sense that aristocrats cared about the people was in the sense that if the people get too angry they will revolt, and that is bad for the aristocrats. It wasn't designed to serve the people, it was designed to serve the aristocrats. The aristocrats had a need for better armies in order to be able to get hold of even more land and thus even greater wealth. So sure, their invention was motivated by a need, but that need wasn't the need of the people.
The key is that we're supposed to put an institution that is in the hand of the people in charge. Who populates this institution is for the people to decide, not us.
The only sense in which a democracy requires a demos is in the sense that people living in said democracy are allowed to vote on things. That said people need to all think of themselves as part of the same tribe is a requirement for national states, not for democracy.
None of those things you brought up are really requirements for democracy, by the way. Sweden was a democracy long before we had separation of church and state and we were a democracy long before we had education levels to match those of modern times. What you need are things like a free, critical press, an independent justice system and checks and balances that keeps government from comitting atrocities.
I don't know. My guess is that the west is the best suited power for ensuring peaceful transision to functioning democracy. But that is going to require that we stay far longer than we did in Iraq.
Also, I believe one of the opposition coalitions is the best bet, coupled with heavy oversight from the UN to ensure they behave.
Considering that your economy has barely grown due to being in a recession during this time this seems highly unlikely, though. It's also worth noting that (as I mentioned before) government spending naturally increases during recessions which makes it even stranger to claim that government spending has decreased as a % of the economy because the economy has outgrown government spending.
The last crisis STARTED under Labour (it started because of lax banking regulations, by the way, not because of reckless government spending). The resulting recession wasn't close to being over when the Conservatives took over and thanks to cuts to almost everything the recovery was drawn out by years (and I'm not even sure the economy has yet to fully recover).
As for government borrowing - that depends on the deficit. And the deficit was a lot bigger when Gordon Brown left office than it is now. When the economy was doing fine in 2006 and 2007 it was 2.1 %, in 2008 it jumped to 5.1 % and in 2009 it jumped to 11.4 %. Every year since (except for 2012) the deficit has been shrunk.
The map says that high debts limit growth but when you look at the actual world you find something else. Your claim that high debts decreases growth is clearly based on false premises.
I think you make two mistakes. First you only look at the cost of borrowing, not the benefits. When you borrow money you get means you can invest, and if you invest those means wisely they will generate revenues that are higher than the interest payments. At that point lending increases growth rather than hamper it. The second mistake you make is that you don't realize that debt sovreign nations (which most nations are) basically loan money from themselves. Britain lends money from Britain so Britain basically doesn't lose any money at all from borrowing.
Greece is a special case and therefore isn't a good example of the consequences of deficit spending. That can happen but not in normal circumstances.
Apr 2 16 7:41 PM
Apr 5 16 12:41 PM
elliotkane wrote:No it isn't. Just one of many attempts. But, opinions & all that.
elliotkane wrote:Actually, I am conflating need with survival. I think it's a fair conflation. There are no conspiracies, Ube.
elliotkane wrote:I have never once said nations were created to *serve* the people. Nations arise out of a need for mutual protection, as tribes did before them. It's not about power, it's about survival.
elliotkane wrote:'Supposed to'? Says who? If Democracy is not going to work, it's better to have some other form of government than none.
elliotkane wrote:If they don't think of themselves as the same people, they will not accept distribution of resources, nor rule by those not of their own tribe. Look at Catalonia or Scotland right now for easy examples in the West. If there is no Demos, rule by democratic means is all but impossible without the serious threat of secession.
elliotkane wrote:* Did Swedes take direction on how to vote by the Church? Did the Church have a say in how Sweden was governed? If the answer to both those questions is 'no', you had separatin of Church and state.
* Whether Swedes were educated 'to modern standards' or not, were they at least educated? I said 'a certain level of education', you will recall, not 'to modern standards'. Which is, in any case, a sliding scale.
elliotkane wrote:The West is weak, indecisive, divided and engulfed in its own problems right now. If we weren't, we would have crushed ISIS long ago instead of dithering and waffling until Russia got bored enough to step in. The West is having trouble running itself. I'm not seeing the resolve or the will that would be needed to help run other nations, too.
elliotkane wrote:Bizarre as it sounds, Britain's economy is the fastest growing in the EU and, IIRC, about the third fastest in the developed world. I think this has more to do with the troubles the others are in than anything useful we've done, though.
elliotkane wrote:The banks in Britain were actually at their most regulated to that point, though claiming otherwise is a popular myth. What actually set off the whole thing worldwide was Clinton stupidly repealing Glass-Steagal and giving too much of a free hand to US banks. Greed did the rest worldwide.
The crisis was made worse in the UK by reckless government spending.
elliotkane wrote:That is true. The deficit has shrunk, but the debt has grown enormously.
Also worth noting that the deficit has largely shrunk because of the growth of the British economy, not because the govt is spending less.
elliotkane wrote:If you invest wisely, it is true that you can make back more than you borrowed. The problem is that most governments do not invest wisely.
One really easy example for Britain is the foreign aid budget, all of which is borrowed money given to foreign projects and governments to help support them. All very noble in theory, yes. But in actuality, the amount spent on foreign aid is fixed and the job of the department spending it is to send it all out, regardless of whether or not it is needed.
A sensible approach would be to determine need, then allocate a budget to match the need. The reverse of how they are actually doing things. Worse, the foreign aid budget is ring fenced, meaning the government has declared they will not cut it, come hell or high water.
This is far too much of government spending in a nutshell; certainly in Britain. If you look at many manifestos, they speak of 'increasing spending in X' as if spending itself is somehow a solution, and what you are spending on does not matter.
Then there are the vanity projects that all governments build for no other reason than to make themselves look good...
Greece is indeed an outlier, but the same problem exists in many other cases. Remember how much of US debt is held by China, for example. It's similar with most other nations: there must come a point for many where debt repayment becomes unsustainable. A number of nations have had to declare bankruptcy in the past, and more will doubtless have to do so in the future.
You may think it cannot happen to a rich country, but it surely can. It's just that the thresholds are higher.
Apr 9 16 12:25 AM
Can you think of something else that has been closer to being applied universally?
We didn't need national states to survive and it can be argued that some of the worst and most lethal disasters in the history of mankind wouldn't have been possible without national states (imagine the two world wars if Germany had still been a bunch of city-states).
And you can say whatever you like, the concept of nobility and royalty were conspiracies and a lot of the things they did they did out of sheer egoism. I find it hard to believe you've missed that aspect of it because it's one of the most obvious facts of history.
I get the feeling you've never really considered when national states came to be and who was the driving force behind their creation. They make sense on a conceptual level so you never imagine they could have been created for some other reason.
Fair point. But they weren't designed to protect the people either (just look who it was who died in droves in all those offensive wars...). The people didn't matter to most of the aristocrats who created countries (and very little to those who did have some concern). And besides, all of the wars the grand armies of these national states took part in were instigated by someone. They existed for attack as much as for defence.
And besides, they were supposed to protect us from invading armies, not from immigration. Border control didn't even exist back then.
Government is one part of the institution I'm talking about. But there is more to democracy than government.
There are plenty of Swedes who has a hard time accepting the ruling of our current government and plenty of foreigners who don't. That kind of thing isn't really about a demos, it's about something else. There is far from one people in the US and that works just fine.
Separation of church and state refers to the existance of a state religion. Being a member of the Swedish church was mandatory until the 50:s. If that's not what you mean then it's not about the church, it's about unelected institutions in general (*cough*THEHOUSEOFLORDS*cough*).
As for education, everyone are educated to some level. You said you need a certain level of education - considering that most people in Sweden had four years of public education and nothing else when we became was can be considered a democracy there isn't an awful lot of education needed (modern Syria certainly has us beat, for instance).
I don't find it likely that we will do it, but if anyone's going to do it then it's us. Nobody else has the required experience of democracy.
(And Russia didn't do this out of boredom, they did it to strengthen their own power base and to show off.)
Q4 2015 your economy was 6.7 % higher than the peak before the crash. In other words, between 2007 and 2015 your economy grew 6.7 %, which is roughly 0.8 % per year. That is very modest growth. Your growth last year was about half that of Sweden, by the way (of course, ours was over 4 % which is rather staggering).
It wasn't just US banks - banks all over Europe fell into the same trap (both Iceland and Ireland comes to mind).
As for out of control spending under Labour, that is a myth.
On the other hand, the reason they're not spending less is because of indirect cost increases (like population growth and increased unemployment), not because they've run policies to increase spending (except for election pork prior to the last election). If you look at government policy you'll have to look hard to find something that directly increased costs, since most things directly decreased costs (but indirectly increased them due to effects on, for instance, unemployment).
And no, there has not been an enormous growth in government debt. Your current debt level is perfectly normal.
Clearly governments on average invest wisely enough since the track reckord is that countries with high debts aren't outgrown by countries with low debts.
As for the US, most of the debt is owned by either the American public or by private Americans (something like 2/3 of the debt). And IIRC the debt is in dollars.
May 31 17 11:25 AM
Jun 1 17 3:06 AM
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