Thursday, January 29, 2009

Events coming to a town near you?

The global financial crisis hit hard at the end of last year and the government warned if swift action and large sums of money were not spent the world would end. Now here we are with things worsening at an exponential rate. The collapse looks far from over. So what can we expect?

There have been massive and ongoing protests in France. Literally hundreds of thousands of people in the streets. Estelle Yousouffa, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Paris, said at least one million people had taken to the streets, with protests held in about 200 towns and cities.

"The country is literally is on hold," Yousouffa said.

"Things are functioning, some classes in school are open, but all public offices are closed, 30 per cent of the transport and the trains are working."

Francois Chereque, of the CFDT union, said the protests were "the biggest workers' rallies in 20 years".

Signs read: "We refuse to pay for the capitalist crisis," "The capitalist economy is sick... let's let it die".

France's eight national unions have backed the strike, drawing up a list of demands for the government and French companies, who they have accused of using the crisis as an excuse to lay off workers and cut costs.

Yousouffa said the government is determined to "press on with its reforms and will not change its course".

In Greece farmers have been protesting low commodity prices for 9 days. They stepped up their protests yesterday paralyzing the country. Using tractors and trailers, the farmers have blockaded around 70 main roads, cutting Athens off from the second city of Thessaloniki in the north and closing border crossings with Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey. These roads link with its neighbors and have left tonnes of fruit and meat rotting in lorries.

"Tractors are our weapon and we are determined to use them until our demands are met," said Christos Sideropoulos, a farmer and one of the leaders of the protests. "Let them say what they like. We are not going to give in."

The latest protests have exposed the frustrations of Greece's underdeveloped agriculture regions. Despite EU subsidies, successive governments have failed to modernize a farming industry that remains dependent on state handouts, said Dimitris Keridis, a political scientist. "It's an industry that depends on government handouts and is incompatible with the demands of modern societies. They produce produce that nobody buys."

Yesterday, farmers' leaders rejected a €500m (£465m) subsidy package offered by the conservative government, demanding tax rebates and interest free loans.

"This is a very generous package, especially in light of the financial crisis," the agriculture minister, Sotiris Hatzigakis, said. "The longer [the farmers] wait, the worse things will become for them."

Last night, there was little indication that the protesters would back down. "If need be we will stay here until Easter. If need be, our tractors will grow roots," said one farmer. "We are bankrupt. We've got nothing to lose."


Whalertly said...

I do not believe that we should give in to socialism if we can help it

Ander said...

Why not? Capitalism is socialism for the wealthy.

Peter said...

How is capitalism socialism for the wealthy? And if you call our current system of subsidies and pork-barrel handouts capitalism, permit me to laugh.

Andrew Beyea said...

Vladimir Putin had some interesting comments about past financial mistakes and future possibilities as keynote speaker at Davos. I'd recommend a read of it.
Putin's speech

Ander said...

So you're saying we don't live a capitalist society?

Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned and controlled rather than publicly or state-owned and controlled.[1] In capitalism, the land, labor, and capital are owned, operated and traded by private individuals or corporations,[2][3] and where investments, distribution, income, production, pricing and supply of goods, commodities and services are primarily determined by private decision in a market economy largely free of government intervention.[4][5] A distinguishing feature of capitalism is that each person owns his or her own labor and therefore is allowed to sell the use of it to employers.[2][6] In capitalism, private rights and property relations are protected by the rule of law of a limited regulatory framework.[7][8]

Where do those subsidies and hand-outs go? Rich people. Giant corporations. They pay millions each year to ensure they get that money. Risks are socialized through the state, profits privatized. Profit doesn't care where the money comes from as long as it's in the positive column on the books. All social wealth is transferred to a minority through profit. In other words, the amount of money received by those at the top vs how much value their "labour" adds to the product is vastly disproportionate and misrepresented. The poor and middle classes work so the wealthy can make a living from "nothing" (interest, rent, profit)and live their lifestyles and continue to exert a massive amount of force and control.

Ander said...

Capitalism provides all the positive byproducts of peoples hard work (The "Real" economy) and gives a certain group of people the privilege of having access to those byproducts without having to lift a finger. Well, I guess they do have to thumb through all that cash and pee on it in front of the homeless but hey! thats capitalism. The only system where you get to keep what you steal.

Barga said...

we are not capitalistic nor ever were. There can be no capitalisim if there is a government
that said, we are also not yet socialist, nor will we ever be, per say.

All forms of economy are good and bad, we should use them as we need

Ander said...

In capitalism, private rights and property relations are protected by the rule of law of a limited regulatory framework.[7][8]

the state is a tool of the capitalists. it's structure is owned by the capitalists. politicians have paychecks. someone creates those loans to create that money. not to mention who has a bigger pay check? CEO's or politicians? It's not about the state being totally gone. It's about it being ineffective and under control.

Barga said...

Bullshit, pure capitalism requires no governmental interference with businesses, that include how they treat each other

Ander said...

then why do the capitalists keep the government around? They have armies, they have all the money. They could easily get rid of it and have been rolling back its authority for about 200 years now. Why do we have so many people who believe in capitalism in government? As long as government serves the dominant interests it is favorable. There is an advantage to having the massive army of the state at the hands of private interests.

There is a huge revolving door between business and state. Capitalists in the business world take over the instruments of the state and eliminate those aspects of it that do not serve or work towards their ideal. Look at the last 30 years. There are parts of the state that do serve towards working towards that ideal. They "need" the military and police to "defend" and "protect" their way of life.

Ander said...

What they end up using it for is wars of conquest to gain access to new resources to bring new things into the realm of money and "spread freedom and democracy" and to beat a population into submission as a last resort if just lying and scaring them doesn't work.

Ander said...

I understand what the utopian ideal of capitalism but there is reality that stands in between every ideal circumstance we can manufacture in our heads and taking it to the utopian sense. Everyone will find things that make life easier and have different things to contribute but when a group says "NO WE'VE FIGURED IT OUT! and now we're going to try and mold and shape everything according to our ideal" is when you run into the problems of reality and thats where we get conflict. When we start running into limits that can't be seen before hand until the ideology is tested against reality. Well I say why fight over what is right and wrong and put us all in a heated battle for "right" and "wrong" and just work together to find our natural limits and work within those limits to improve our quality of life and increase the amount of enjoyment out of this life. Because whether or not you believe in an after life, you cannot prove definitively that there is one. But you can prove that you have this life. So why not try to have the best time possible anyway? I think its pretty obvious that we are not on that path with huge suicide numbers, bombing the crap out of each other, and huge depression numbers. The list goes on. We spend $4.7 billion a year on "science". What if instead of spending $300 billion dollars on our minimum payment to our creditors, and $515 billion on our military empire, we spent $819.7 billion dollars a year on finding cures to diseases and sicknesses and research to find what our natural limits are.

Whalertly said...

you seem to be mixing up termenology with actual use
sure, they claim to be capitalists 100% but then they support public roads and cops and the military
see the issue?

Ander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ander said...

where am I mixing up terminology with actual use?

I go by definition. There are multiple definitions of Capitalism from different perspectives. If you're a capitalist and hold to the utopian capitalist ideal, then from your perspective the state holds certain advantages to advancing your perspective. Mainly its monopoly on violence.

Ander said...

No I don't see an issue. What advantages do roads and police and the military have to the capitalists? As long as they operate the arms of government, why try and replace something that has been so deeply established when you can just change it.

Ander said...

Not to mention large numbers of people believe in the state. If the capitalists came out and said they were anarchists, the popular definition and connotation of that is "chaos" and "everyone killing everyone" so knowing that why would they try and compete with the state when they could just make a small compromise with it and just own it like anything else they own? They automatically gain wide popular support for their ideals just by supporting the state and the "public good" it supposed to serve.

Barga said...

capitalism is no governmental interaction in business and no government run/funded business
roads that are governmental paid are socialisim

my point is that they claim to be capitalistic but they really are not

Ander said...

who claims to be? the politicians? of course they do. The true capitalists dominate almost every aspect of our lives. If the capitalist ideal holds the most power then the politicians will change their tune to serve those interests and in turn, get votes and get elected. Politicians jobs are to get elected. Not solve problems. As long as the politicians sing the tune of the capitalists, and use their apparatus to serve those interests, limited government will be allowed to remain because it doesn't interfere with capitalism and the monopoly on force will work to ensure the capitalists get to own everything and that we participate in that system.

Ander said...

what about business action in government?

Barga said...

you seem to be missing my point. I am saying that no politician can be a capitalist as they all accept certain percentages of socialism

Ander said...

The bottom line of the State is it's monopoly on force. Not it's socialist tendencies. No politician is anything. They are people who will say whatever people want to hear when it is popular to get votes. As we have progressed and the struggles of common people have prevailed, the state has been forced to become more and more about serving the public good because people demand it and on occasion are willing to fight for it. If the state did not, politicians wouldn't get to tax us to have $200,000 and all those nice gifts.

Barga said...

political pay is a whole different issue

i agree that they are a mono of force, but that is the basic premise behind social contract theory

Ander said...

thats not the point of mentioning salary, the point is, if politicians did not parrot the dominant interests and make it compatible with what people want, they couldn't get votes and they would be out of jobs and couldn't wield the state monopoly on force.

"Social contract describes a broad class of republican theories whose subjects are implied agreements by which people form nations and maintain a social order. Such social contract implies that the people give up some rights to a government and other authority in order to receive or jointly preserve social order.

Social contract theory provides the rationale behind the historically important notion that legitimate state authority must be derived from the consent of the governed."

They can take their theory and shove it up their ass. I don't consent. I don't belong to a nation. I have no interest in imperial wars. I have no interest in demonizing religious and ethnic groups. I have no interest in locking up non-violent drug offenders. I shouldn't have to give any rights up. If the state grants rights it can take them away and conversely if it can take them away it can grant them. No one should be able to do that to another person.

Ander said...

Ander said...

And if social contract is supposed to imply that the people give up some rights to a government and other authority in order to receive or jointly preserve social order. Where is the social order? Everyone is shooting each other. Millions are starving. Millions more dying of disease. The FDA approves medicine that kills 100,000 patients every year while Cocaine and Heroine related deaths total 10,000 every year.

Giving authority, to whoever can win the competition for it, over other humans does not create social order. See my other post. It creates chaos and reactionary, helpless behavior.

Barga said...

I was not saying that the US gov't is a socialy contracted one, only that that is how governments form

ander, take the number of deaths per capita of America vs. those in a lawless country and see that we most certainly have more order and stability. Nothing is perfect

You do not need to consent for this form of government. Feel free to leave and denounce your citizenship... that is how it would work, to leave a contract with the country you merely leave the country. Staying here proctors a 'yes' responce

Ander said...

How are we not one? We have a government.

And go where? To another piece of land a group of people claimed to be theirs and placed a different type of imposed social contract where force is legitimate?

Yeah and most of those countries that are higher on that list than us have had billions in arms sales and billions worth of secret CIA operations go on. If it wasn't us its Russia and the KGB.

Not to mention, they are states. They are nation states. Take a look a egalitarian stateless societies. Almost no crime, no killing, a large sense of community, and a large amount of cooperation. They have problems, as you said nothing is perfect, but they agree that force and coercion is unacceptable.


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