Social Question

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Have President Eisenhower’s worse fears of America being taken over by a Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (as it is described in the first drafts of his speech) come true?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (9837 points ) January 25th, 2011

Has our democracy been stolen by multinational corporations through our system of funding political campaigns, the constant corporate lobbying/bribery of our elected state and federal representatives and recent Supreme Court decisions concerning corporate campaign funding?

If so, what changes need to be made to get our representatives back working for those who vote them into office and how do we institute those changes?

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123 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

IMO funding all high office campaigns with public funds would level the playing field and eliminate the ability to buy your way into office. Obama spent more than double the amount of $400 million Bush spent to get elected in 2004 and Obama is poised to spend over one Trillion dollars for his 2012 re-election bid!! Are you kidding me??? Something seriously wrong with that picture.

coffeenut's avatar

Lol….More of a….work in progress…

iamthemob's avatar

We need to, somehow, make information more transparent. Most of what we need to know is accessible – it’s just really disseminated.

More consumer/citizen education about donors their reps are beholden to. Simple breakdowns of voting records. Short descriptions of legislation voted for by reps along with all “pork” attached to that legislation. All amendments to legislation proposed by individual reps (so we can see who adds the most pork). Consumer watchdog groups that invest in ownership of major corporations. Grassroots information campaigns informing consumers of externalities associated with their purchases. Simplified SEC disclosures.

zenvelo's avatar

came true under Reagan. Perfected under Bush/Cheney/Rove. The War in Iraq was its crowning achievement to date.

incendiary_dan's avatar

It’s been true since well before Eisenhower’s time. Any system in which people or groups are allowed inordinate amounts of influence is likely to turn out that way.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I think his fears have been realized. Where does most of our budget go? DOD.

ETpro's avatar

The Corporatocracy is pretty firmly entrenched. We now spend more on defense than all the other nations of the Earth combined. The great danger in that is that the military industrial complex depends on war for profits. Peace is not profitable. And we now live in a nuclear age where we have the capacity to end all human life with one big war. Now certainly our big defense contractors don’t want it to go that far. They don’t even want to completely collapse the US economy—just extract almost all the money out of it to line their own pockets. But there is enormous danger of a miscalculation. They cannot escape Murphy’s Law, and right now, there is a whole lot that could possibly go wrong.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Any ideas on how to wrest our democracy back from the corporations?

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Can we get them to realize the truth of Reagan’s aphorism borrowed from JFK, “A rising tide lifts all the boats.” Right now, the water is being selectively pumped to only certain Olympic size swimming pools. It the corporatocracy kills the goose that lays the golden egg, there will be no more gold. There will be a world they won’t want to live in, despite all their billions.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Besides serious campaign reform and time limitations, and severly curbing the way lobbying is done in state capitals and DC, what other things do you think can be done?,

ETpro's avatar

I will think about that some. I an too far from a sanguine mood to add anything useful tonight.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I noticed. Sleep well.

ETpro's avatar

Here is my dilemma. I see the Corporatocracy as VERY real and recognize it is n death threat to American freedom. But there is another threat looming, and even if we put the corporatists beast back in its cage, the other and related threat will still destroy our freedom and well-being, along with that of all the free people on Earth.

The real threat is Consumerism. It is the fuel that drives the corporatist engine, and the problem is that whether you are a corporatist or a peon under their hobnailed boot, the Earth is running out of fuel, and its lands, air and waters are befouled with the leftovers of this incredibly powerful Ism. Watch The Story of Stuff and see if you don’t agree that Consumerism is really the beast we have to kill, and if we slay it we will sort out the problems with Corporatocracy in the bargain. But if we find a way to roll back the Corporatocracy only to continue with unrestrained Consumerism, we are doomed as a society anyway.

xseeken's avatar

All these accusations of Corporatocracy in America, yet not one shred of evidence. Where are the documentations/surveillance of the illegal activity that shows a direct link? Which corporations are involved? Do you also believe the world is going to end in 2012?

ETpro's avatar

@xseeken No need to be insulting in asking for evidence. 2012 is a separate issue. Personally, I believe the date is no more or less significanto than 2011 or 2013. I’m not a general conspiracy theorist. I know a number of the people who contributed their thoughts on the growing corporatocracy well, and they are not part of the black helicopter set either. I did not know President Eisenhower and don’t know what he thought of Ancient Myan prophecy, but I do know that he sounded the first warning about a growing corporatocracy, and he may have been in a position to know what he was talking about. He was the Supreme Allied COmander during WWII and had served two terms as President of the United States when he sounded his warning about the dangers of a powerful Military Industrial Complex. Eisenhower wasn’t a kooky conspiracy theorist.

You ask for evidence in the form of criminal prosecutions. There is little to show, because for the most part, those trying to gain control of our government have no need for such risky approached. They back the campaign of politicians instead, with the prior understanding that they have an agenda they would like pushed if the legislator wins office. They send lobbyists to wine and dine and enrich the life of those who do their bidding. They open doors to moves from government regulation to top management, and back into regulation. Occasionally there are slip ups like the embarrassment over the

Here is a brief article in Wikipedia about the Corporatocracy but there are a long list of reference links under “See Also” that will get you much more to read.

I could write a veritable wall of words listing all Congress has done in the past 30 years to help transfer wealth to billionaire investors while doing nothing to improve the US economy or economic outlook for any below the oligarchs. I will do that separately in a blog, as it would be quite a wall of words to post here. But an Internet search with Google will being you plenty on the topic.

xseeken's avatar

I’m well aware of how it all works, but if there is no evidence of wrong doing, then our democracy has not been stolen. Unjustified accusations is the only point I wished to bring out.The term speculation can only be found useful in economics.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@xseeken Do you live in the states? If you do, do you not pay attention to what has happened to gov. in the last couple decades? Big business lobbyist have pushed legislation for years and years. The recent decision by the supreme court doesn’t help at all either.

xseeken's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet,

Yes, and they’re allowed to by the right to petition in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s not limited to Corporations, so how exactly is corporation lobbying an evidence that corporations control the government?

ETpro's avatar

There is ample evidence of it. The recent Financial Crisis requiring trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to avert a depression is one piece of evidence. The two Savings and Loan bailouts of the 1980s another. All that money came out of taxpayer’s pockets, but it went somewhere. Follow the money.

The direction of change in our laws and their effect on the distribution of wealth is another. The bankruptcy laws making personal bankruptcy more difficult and exempting large areas of debt. The liberalization of corporate bankruptcies. The ability to deduct interest on corporate borrowing, coupled with the change to allow net operating losses to be carried forward led to the frenzy of leveraged buyouts followed by selling off whatever had intrinsic value in a series of acquired companies, and using the interest of the loans used to buy the companies plus the acquired net operating losses to avoid all corporate taxes. 60% of US companies now pay no taxes on their profits. The tax credit for off-shoring jobs means they can buy up companies with operating losses, sell off their real estate and machinery, off-shore production, pocket millions or billions and pay no taxes on the deal Great for the LBO experts. Devastating for people who had worked their entire lives at the butchered company.

The Citizens United decision will increase the pace of growth of corporatocracy, and make it much easier to advance the corporatocracy without any need to violate the law. The whole idea is don’t break the law, buy the lawmakers and have them change it so the game is rigged in favor of those funding elections.

Back when the colonists rebelled against King George, there was no evidence of “wrongdoing” by the King or the British East India Company. They made the laws, so naturally they didn’t need to break laws in order to do whatever they wanted to do. The Declaration of Independence elucidated the concept that there was a higher law than that of King George or the greed of the British East India Company. I hope a revolution isn’t needed to take back the USA’s Government of rule of the people by the people and for the people. I hope that just waking Americans up to what’s happening to this once great nation is enough to stop Government of the people by the Corporations and for the Corporations; If not, it will get ugly.

xseeken's avatar

You’re quite the flip-flopper. Didn’t you just write

“You ask for evidence in the form of criminal prosecutions. There is little to show, because for the most part, those trying to gain control of our government have no need for such risky approached.”

xseeken's avatar

Ah, and America is a democracy. I don’t see how comparing a historical King, writing up his own laws is in any relation to our current democracy. Influencing a policy is not the same as forcing the policy to get passed. There is no evidence to suggest that the law is passed based on the influence of the lobbyist. It may or may not be the case. Anyone who says they know is speculating and nothing more. You seem to forget that people have just as much equal influencing power as corporations due. All you’re doing is speculating the end result, and you’re doing so because the end result was not satisfying you enough, therefore, you blame the other side (corporation lobbyists).

xseeken's avatar

Also, by defaming corporations with speculation(I’m aware you didn’t mention the names of which, rather as a whole), you’re potentially jeopardizing the lives of the billions of people who work and invest for/with these corporations around the world(myself included). What you’re saying is no different then a hate speech that promotes violence, except you seem to be coining the idea of a revolution, a baseless one at that, which is far worse.

xseeken's avatar

By the way, if you have had a small limited government who was not involved in the lives of all the American people(other then for protection, which is the main reason for government), you wouldn’t have issues with corporations because there would be little that the government can do that effects the people and benefits the corporations.

This is the problem with America. The people think the government can solve all our problems. It’s the other way around. Small limited government solves problems.

xseeken's avatar

Society has a lot more healthy and producing people to carry for the poor and sick. If you
erect policies that don’t benefit healthy and producing people, then over time you’ll have less and less of such people. So, almost by definition poor and sick will do a lot worse. The best answer of course is what I said before. You have to get rid of all these social benefits and limit the power of the government to return it back to the people. It is precisely these social benefits enacted by the big government that is destroying the country. All because the people felt the government is a one answer for all problems.

xseeken's avatar

Check this out Unintended Consequences

I don’t know if you know who Milton Friendman is, but check this out as well Free To choose

Greed is good. Greed works.

Free market, free choice. very small government(no governments intervene into business, religion, money ANYTHING) at most provide few basic services: army, police, judicial, diplomacy, but I’m not even sure about those anymore either.

iamthemob's avatar

Government regulations are required in order to make sure there are democratic controls on advantages taken by corporate interests. This is an ideal, and doesn’t mean that they will be the right regulations – which is why they should be constantly subjected to review. what we would greatly benefit from is a streamlining of the regulatory system so that in necessary areas it can shift with the time.

One of the most dangerous assumptions that we can make is that the market is a fix all. The problem with this assumption in a corporate system is that it neglects the fact that corporations are legally required to privilege profits of shareholders above all other concerns. This is also the case with investment fiduciaries. These systems feed on each other so that we don’t produce the best environmental, human rights, or other policies in a free market system, but only the most profitable. At times, the most profitable may be the best. But many times, it is not.

The market can only react when it does damage because of its policies. Therefore, externalities that produce harm in areas outside the corporate interest are not repaired until it becomes clear that they will start to affect profits (which isn’t clear most of the time) or until they actually do. Government regulations, as part of their functions, bring the possibility of these externalities into the present required consideration of corporations, and therefore serve a beneficial purpose to the people.

xseeken's avatar

Clearly, you haven’t checked out the link or the work of Milton Friedman. Did you even read what I wrote? If the government has no power then the corporations can’t “steal” democracy.

iamthemob's avatar

Clearly, you have drunk the kool aid.

But I’m curious – why would you say that?

xseeken's avatar

Because your solutions are completely backwards. It doesn’t work and causes more devastation. Governments do not solve problems, they create problems. You’re missing the fundamentals of capitalism. The more limited the government, the better it is for everyone, even the sick/poor and unfortunate. If you would check out the links, you would see why. Stop taking things at face value. Stop feeling a sense of entitlement. Understand the roots of the problems. All the problems we have now is because the government sticks it’s ugly head in everything.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

You’re making blanket statements. That’s the problem. Legislative and regulatory actions have benefited people as a whole, and not business every time – and of course, they’ve done the opposite. Antitrust laws, for instance, have had both good and bad results – as monopolies are a natural outgrowth of a capitalist environment, but end up creating vast market inefficiencies that prevent innovation.

I’m not taking anything at face value – you are. I don’t feel entitled – you do. You’re simply dismissing any support of regulation where it might have a place. I’m very familiar with Friedman, the libertarian free-market viewpoint, research of the CATO institute (one of the think tank arms), etc. But they’re not right. They have good answers, but not all the answers.

The fundamental, essential quality of good capitalism is competition. Regulation can, in many places, intervene in the market where competition is stifled. Free markets cannot, as they depend on consumers knowing and reacting with a long-term view of what the market is doing (i.e., the “demand” side of the curve needs to know exactly what it’s demanding and act accordingly). Market power and efficiencies of scale can, in the end, skew consumerism to short-sided behavior.

The problem is not regulation, but determining the appropriate areas for regulation, the type, the imposed demand of compliance, as well as where social safety nets work and do not. If you want to talk about that civilly, we can. I’ll probably agree with a lot of your assertions. But right now, it’s all “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

xseeken's avatar

Monopolies have only come into being thanks to government involvement. Such would not and has not been the case if/when done otherwise. People like you say the things you say because you think that consumers are dumb, and that entrepreneur (free market) cannot come up with a business market to regulate certain things and provide expert advice to otherwise dumb consumers. It is very true that in a modern world, one cannot know everything in detail, and be able to judge what’s best, but so CAN’T a bureaucrat. At least a consumer has his/her own interest at hand and stand to benefit or lose from bad decisions. A bureaucrat doesn’t care, He gets his/her salary regardless. Also this will incentive private markets to create various experts who will sell their advice, and there are many examples of that

Why is it that I’M FORCED to contribute to social security fund?

iamthemob's avatar

“People like me.”

That’s the type of free-market thinking I love to see. Perhaps we should call it “Fried-market thinking.”

Consumers aren’t dumb – but they are often deceived. They aren’t stupid – but they are often uninformed. Large chains may offer low prices, but often they reduce local sales tax revenues. Now, this is because of both government and corporate involvement.

And you’re confusing long and short term interests. We are inclined to favor savings now as opposed to savings later. For instance, when you look at a city like Austin, they did a study which showed that $100 dollars spent at a big box store (which can undercut prices – not intentionally, but because they’re more efficient), resulted in 2–3 times the revenue leaving the city. Spending at local stores and businesses results in intelligence growth (as the legal, commercial design, etc.) growth locally instead of outsourcing it to big-city firms supporting the box stores.

There are many things to consider. The problem is that corporate heads won’t consider these things…whereas governments have to.

I think that the problem is shifting regulations away from the federal and to the municipal. I think this is the disconnect between those advocating “small” versus “big” government. We should be looking at the regulatory debate from a level of what the federal government has no business regulating, but may have a role in defending what municipalities regulate.

xseeken's avatar

No, I disagree entirely. Consumers are not dumb, and therefore are NOT often deceived. Consumers are not dumb, and therefore are often INFORMED. If you’re aware of the different schools of thought and still unconvinced, then there is little I can say to per-sway you. Although, you’re to much of a populist and therefore, not only are your conclusions wrong but you keep blaming a particular group when the cause of the problem is something entirely different. You blame corporations, but fail to realize, that it’s only size and muscle of government which allows these fat cats to exercise their influence. Correlation is NOT causation. As it stands for me, the governments should be nearly non existent. It’s not the job of the government to watch out for us. We’re not kids. If you allowed someone else to do the decisions for you, then it’s your own fucking problem. Furthermore, currently, accusations of Corporatocracy are baseless and causes more harm then good when doing so. Even if it is true, limited government is the solution, not big government. Unintended Consequences!

bob_'s avatar

I’d just like to say, I think consumers are, on average, pretty dumb.

xseeken's avatar

Your school of thought is exactly what promotes a revolution. This has been proven over history time and again. It’s very easy to sell this kind of crap to the masses. It’s always easy to blame the rich when you’re poor. See history. Greece, Roman Empire, British empire, why did they fall? In generalities, Romans got too relaxed, lazy, and lost touch with reality. They decided to have shit they cannot afford.

iamthemob's avatar

Negative Externalities!

(you’ll notice that the article doesn’t advocate government involvement, but recognizes the necessity of some of it).

No one is saying the government needs to watch out for us. However, they need to help us watch out for ourselves. If you think that businesses, even outside of corporations, are going to tell us when they’re screwing us over so that we don’t get fooled…you’re perhaps an example of the problem.

I’m aware of the benefit of free market arguments. However, you’re the one that’s arguing a wholly complete theory that excludes government involvement completely.

And market economists assume a positive level of fraud in the market because of uninformed consumers due to the cost of getting the right information. Marketing firms are designed to distract us from this, get us not thinking about it, buying things we don’t need.

Hell, the current crisis is, essentially, the problem of the uninformed consumer. Both those (1) purchasing the underlying assets and getting the mortgage on them and (2) purchasing and selling the securities and other financial products caused by the securitizations of those assets were totally uninformed about what they were buying – they were driven by the increased market, and freed from government oversight regarding the interests.

I’m not calling for revolution. I just don’t trust the government or the market or the corporations. You seem to fully trust one side. The reason by I’m not convinced by the rhetoric is that I prefer information. You keep listening to Fox News – they agree with what you think. ;-) So they must be right.

xseeken's avatar

“Adverse seleciton” is inevitably a byproduct of division of labor and the market will systematically minimize this problem far better than government. People think that when the markets go UP, it’s good. On the other hand, when they FALL, it’s bad. That is very wrong line of thinking, but unfortunately, it is how most are conditioned to, which affects many policies. There are even theories (wealth effect) that state that higher the market results, the more demand. Hence, more economic growth. I think the reason this policy may be true is because people are conditioned to treat the market going higher (which has many specific reasons for) as POSITIVE. If you think that “adverse selection” is a problem (which I can accept), I can simply respond that if it’s a real problem, then there is a real opportunity to make profit. Hence, market will provide a solution. If you don’t trust me, then look at a very simple example. finance.yahoo.com and other quoting services, which gives you tons of free and up to date information. This is something that you had to pay top $$$ for, 20 years ago. If you think company A, engages into unethical practices, then instead of bitching about it, STOP buying its product/service and start convincing other people to do the same. If you think they really crossed the line, SUE them. Also, about negative externalities. It’s is very tempting to blame “evil corporations” and in some cases it’s not without grounds, but again, you fail to take this theory further and ask the next questions. Why do corporations exist? A: To make money. How do they make money? A: To sell goods/services that consumers want. So why do you stop at corporation, and don’t go further and blame those evil consumers who’s greed and desire to pay less incentivizes corporations to a) create production and b) cut corners to achieve low price market is willing to pay? Also, people who’re fast to blame corporations, fail to give them benefit for the improvements they bring. Thirdly, even if what they practice is bad, the idea that some bureaucrat will fix the situations is preposterous. Yet, that’s what people believe, though there is very little evidence for that. Finally, yes they might be polluting, but WITHOUT what they produce, people would be even worse off i.e. a lot more people would die, or be poorer, but such things are very hard to see. Don’t think that I think that these corporations are innocent, far from it. But it’s childish to blame everything on them, and skipping yourself.

bob_'s avatar

And now I’ll just quietly show myself out.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’d contribute with a veritable library of list of links and resources, if I thought this was anything more than a shouting match. I doubt you’re going to get through with anything constructive, @iamthemob. @xseeken doesn’t seem to want to consider anything new.

iamthemob's avatar

(1) Companies that engage in unfair practices can often offer products at a lower price than those that don’t. Therefore, a consumer has to care (a) more about people he doesn’t know than himself, and (b) has to find a replacement if possible. This, however, often doesn’t happen – which is an understandable reaction. So, this can’t control for the negative impact as it will often fuel it. Not a guarantee, but a consideration and a likelihood.

(2) Consumers have to learn about the unfair practices. If the practices are not illegal, or not known to be, the producer will not reveal them and will suppress information about them. This is its duty to protect profits. Further, finding out about the facts is an information cost, and most people won’t look to find this information if they’re getting a good and cheap product. These are barriers to having the information.

(3) Consumers have no standing to sue for unfair practices, as they are not harmed directly by them. Shareholders can initiate a derivative suit, but these are rare. Further, derivative suits will fail if profits were helped (best interests of the company). And those affected directly by the practices are often ones that have no access to courts, or limited access to justice. Suits are an unsuitable (pun intended) method.

Why do corporations exist? A: To make money. How do they make money? A: To sell goods/services that consumers want. So why do you stop at corporation, and don’t go further and blame those evil consumers who’s greed and desire to pay less incentivizes corporations to a) create production and b) cut corners to achieve low price market is willing to pay? That’s you recognizing the problem without realizing it. I have no problems holding consumers responsible. But again, is it human nature to sacrifice for the good of people they don’t know, or search out information about things that they like to determine if they should get them? Not. This should be part of the solution, but it’s not all of the solution. You claim that I’m ignoring it – but I’m not. I haven’t made any claims about the fact that corporations are to blame. I think that it’s in their nature to do this – and I don’t say that’s evil. I say it’s a problem, and in a free market the problem will be compounded because there is nothing stopping the corporations from exploiting all the resources they can to make a profit until after the harm is clear, realized, and pervasive – and hurting profits.

The rest of your argument is criticizing people who blame the corporations. That’s not a defense of corporations. It’s a diversion. Because there are benefits that corporations have offered doesn’t mean that these benefits can’t be achieved in capitalist markets without the benefit of massive, unregulated or functionally unregulated corporations.

Now, when I’m in these conversations, I often am quick to bring people around to the point where we need to recognize that outsourcing and “underpaying” in third world nations is something that isn’t bad, by necessity. It can be a form of good exploitation, as the low wages are often much higher than offered elsewhere, and the influx of industry assists potentially in the economic development and increased independence of these markets. But that doesn’t make them good – and the problem is that the wages can be low, but are often lower than they should be because the countries are free from many labor, safety, and discrimination regulations so that the practices are unfair, but simultaneously legal.

The idea that government can fix the problem is not preposterous, as there are many that should be fixed. You refuse to hire women? That’s illegal. You refuse to hire blacks? That’s illegal. You’re charging people fees for renting facilities that they work at so they’re going into debt working for you? That’s illegal. These aren’t about fixing business problems – they’re about fixing human rights problems. And recognizing human rights is, unfortunately, a cost to business that, if it can be avoided, it will be in a corporate structure – as the corporation is freed from the responsibility because duty is only to profit.

And pollution is a necessary, at this point, side product of industry. But the contrary is “without the products we live worse.” No one is saying “stop making it!”

People often resort to the free market call when people start talking about corporations. The yell about government regulation. The rally to the call of business.

The problem is that @ETpro was critiquing the Military-Industrial Complex as well as Corporatocracy. These concepts are a critique of both the government and big business. They recognize the problems the legal system plays in it, as well as the consumer support. It’s about the interplay of all the contributing factors.

That’s the problem with bringing Friedman ideals into the discussion – because they are already incorporated into it. Some of the ideas are the basis for the critiques in a critique of corporatocracy. The idea of corporatocracy is that the market is less free because of the complementary relationship of interest, not control, in the government and the coporate industry, and from the lobbyists. And no one need claim it’s evil to be gravely concerned that it’s happening. The fact that it’s happening is not worrisome – its the problem that it’s being defended through the free market rhetoric that distinctly argues against the idea of a corporatocracy.

ETpro's avatar

@xseeken wrote here. “You’re quite the flip-flopper.” And you are quite the insult artist. I have tow things to say about this particular insult. In truth, there is no reversal or inconsistency in what I said. You first said that there was zero evidence to support my claims America is heading toward corporatocracy, or is already there. Then you conveniently defined evidence as being only proof of criminal wrongdoing. If that is what evidence really means, then there is no evidence that gravity exists either.

I siad there is scant evidence of criminal wrongdoing, but a great deal of evidence that the USA is more and more a corporatocracy> I stand by that statement. There is no flip flopping incolved.

Second, the notion that flip-flopping is the a great sin is deeply flawed, but fondly held by ideologues of all stripes. Rationalism calls for the willinngenss to change ones mind when new evidence emerges calling for such a change. Only the extreme ideologue dwells in an evidence free zone, and actually celebrates this resistance to truth as a virtue.

Your definition of evidence again comes into play here. In 2009 lobbyist spend $3.48 billion dollars in Washington. We cannot know how much Corporations and industry trade groups spend to influence elections. That is secret. We do know from campaign spending in the 2010 election that the sum was enormous, well up in the billions. Are you trying to claim they have no idea whether that their tens of billions in spending will buy them anything, but they just spent that much on a whim? They had evidence that it would get them something or greater value than the investment, and the spending is evidence that corporations are spending to get what they want from Congress and the White House.

The claim that I have the same rights to lobby and fund campaigns as do corporations and trade groups is true, but misleading. I have the right to spend, but not the money to spend. The Golden Rule for the “Greed is Good” set is that “The man with the gold makes the rules.”

Here we have both an insult and a false accusation. I have not defamed any single corporation nor have I defamed all corporations. I own my own business, so I would be defaming myself if I were to do such a thing. I will not be intimidated out of speaking my mind about large multinational corporations and trade gfroups using their vast economic resources to fill the legislative and even executive branches with people who will do their bidding and rig the game so they have an unfair advantage over small businesses and start-ups. They hve plenty of advantage just given their financial resources. Make no mistake, I do not want revolution. That is why I am pushing for a level playing field. I don’t want us to see here what Egypt is seeing today.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

I’ll get back to you on Monday, don’t have the time now.

@ETpro,

Maybe if you read what I wrote a bit slower, you wouldn’t have a need to defend yourself. Anyway, thanks for another speculation run. I’ve said what I needed to say to you, so you know where I stand.

ETpro's avatar

@xseeken Self declaration is the poorest form of proof of soaring intelligence and argumentum ad hominem is not a sign of a great command of facts supporting your case. Quite the opposite, it is what debaters turn to when they either lack a cogent rebuttal or don’t wish to bother with presenting one. My ability to read with comprehension is quite fine, thank you. And my likelihood of being verbally bullied into agreement is just about nil.

xseeken's avatar

I don’t need a rebuttal since the burden is on the claimer. You failed to provide adequate evidence to support your conspiracy theory, therefore, I dismissed you. Speculation without a direct link is not evidence, I’m sorry. “Follow the money”<<< If that’s what evidence means to you in your head, then I have no other choice but to dismiss you.

ETpro's avatar

@xseeken No, I did not fail to provide evidence. You asked for evidence of something I had not claimned existed. I said there is evidence of a cprporatocracy, with big-money interests paying for election campaigns and using lobbying and cushy jobs to get laws modified to stack the deck in their favor. In response, you asked for evidence of criminal wrongdoing. There is none. You set the stage to paly no true Scotsman. I am not taking the bait. If you want evidence of the stacked deck, I will be happy to provide that.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken – The problem with your argument is that you are trying to make it a conspiracy. We don’t need to claim intentional wrongdoing or an outlined plan for control…corporatocracy is simply a recognition that government and corporate interests have aligned to a degree that the legal and regulatory framework, practically as well as prima facie, favor corporations to an undue degree, or allow them more freedom than is warranted, or encourage the primacy of profit-seeking as opposed to a demand for a social benefit of some sort.

What you don’t seem to recognize is that corporatocracy isn’t a criticism of corporations, but more a recognition of the limits of the benefit in a democracy that corporations can play. The claim of corporatocracy is a critique of the government. It’s not a critique of capitalism – it’s the realization of the limits of free market in a capitalistic democracy.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob, wrote “favor corporations to an undue degree”

All I asked for is that you show me evidence that corporations are controlling the government. Telling me that “since they give more money, then obviously the policy is set up for them” is not evidence. You can’t possibly know the amount of impact money has over the decisions of a bureaucrat. It’s your assumptions. You think everyone likes/needs money? You think everyone can be bought? If your answers aren’t the holy grail of subjectivity, then I don’t know what is. I suggest you take a break from the propaganda machine, because CNN/MSNBC has turned your mind in to mush.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

You are the most adorable, by far. Again, I think for the third time if not more, this is not an issue of control, but influence. It is profoundly naive to argue that money does not influence politics. It is naive to argue that more money does not equal more influence. And it is profoundly foolish to attempt to argue that money isn’t what all of this is based on when free markets and capitalist structures end up being productive because of their financial success.

No one is saying the policy is set up for them – but it serves corporate interests. This is a natural effect, along with some policies which do appear egregious. Naturally, there is a conflict of interest when there is a revolving door between corporate regulators and the industry they regulate.. Naturally executive compensation laws favored short-term profit seeking over concerns for long-term individual and market stability. Naturally, politicians desiring to be reelected cannot ignore the influence lobbying forces have over voters who will be responsible for electing and reelecting candidates. Clearly, the deregulation push ended up hampering government oversight of financial trending to dangerous reliance on securitization and leverage. But there are also insidious and direct influences on both the general population as well as government officials: the veggie libel laws clearly protect industry at the expense of free speech, and corporate science propaganda has created the illusion of scientific disagreement about certain harms where there is none.

Your accusations about propaganda are, ironically, the propaganda. You seem to be the only one who’s bought an argument hook, line and sinker – it’s just not appropriate to state that corporations have undue influence.

Corporate money doesn’t influence policy? Prove that.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Haha, you’re still at it again? You think if a corporation benefits from the policy, then it suddenly means their money influenced this to happen? Half the links don’t even discuss your claims…

I am proving it. Lobbying is an ATTEMPT to influence. It’s different from IS influencing.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

Again, no. You’re creating a false dichotomy of sorts – lobbying by definition is the intention to influence – to get regulatory and legislative policies to pass that serve the group you’re lobbying for.

Now, there are some great resources on how lobbying has been successful, and the greater the investment, the more successful they are.

Now, please show me evidence that lobbying doesn’t influence politics.

PS – although I maintain that there is no corporate conspiracy to control the government – there is certainly clear evidence that there have been attempts that qualify as attempting to center government policy around corporate interests. The Powell Memo is a great example, and issues around it are summarized here. Pure anti-government rhetoric from the Chicago school of Friedman’s influence work more from a propaganda standpoint pushing a problematic idea that the manager should be amoral and profit-driven. Of course, the government is no innocent party in the profit-driven culture. However, free market thinking distorts the importance of moral and ethical behavior that must temper an unfettered free market philosphy that Adam Smith emphasized in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (discussed here and here.)

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Look at your definition. “and lobbyists >>>TRY<<< to influence legislation”
Do you even know what Casino Jack is about? If you do, then ask yourself how you use him as a success story, when in reality he went to jail for the things that he did? You think going to jail is success? You keep asking me to prove that lobbying doesn’t influence, but your answers are proving it for me. ATTEMPT TRY MAKE EFFORT

How do you know what is moral and ethical? Moral and ethics are subjective. You think I don’t know about your hidden agenda? I skimmed through some of your previous questions and answers.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken – And why did he go to jail?

Again – prove to me that lobbying does not influence policy. Present some evidence. That’s all I ask you to do.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

He went to jail because he was a fraud. Instead of ATTEMPTING to influence the legal way, he cut corners. I can’t prove to you that lobbying does not influence policy because I don’t know whether it does or doesn’t. I never mentioned once in this thread that it doesn’t influence policy, but a hand full of others on this thread, said that it does influence policy. Since you claim to know that in does influence policy, then the burden of proof is on you, and so I asked for evidence. Instead of evidence, I get a series of populist propaganda full on speculations, to which I debunked with key terms that you neglected in your reading.

iamthemob's avatar

Firms invest in lobbying because they believe it best serves their interests. In face, economic models have been developed to assist firms in deciding whether to bribe or simply lobby officials.

The question for you is, why would large industries and firms invest in political lobbying if they did not believe that it served their interests on a policy front?

xseeken's avatar

The answer is quite simple. Opportunity cost. Diversity minimizes losses. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s worth a shot.

iamthemob's avatar

But what are they losing by failing to lobby?

xseeken's avatar

An attempt to influence a policy. Likewise for the people.

iamthemob's avatar

So corporations have an incentive to invest money in pushing policies that serve the interest of the corporation?

xseeken's avatar

Hence the word lobbying. Anyone is allowed to lobby. The rest of the American citizens can lobby for their interests.

The whole issue is that no one knows if the money from either contributor was a benefactor in the making of the policy, but because there is a chance that it can, people and corporations try.

iamthemob's avatar

Well then, we can’t ignore the problem of corporate money in terms of influence in Washington.

Now, as to lobbying generally – it’s just impossible to track. I don’t consider it a focus in my critique, except that money spent on lobbying includes strategies that skew information so that it becomes more difficult for a citizen/consumer to determine accurate information regarding the actual practical results of certain policies, both governmental and corporate.

And I think that Republican big-government conservatism that may tend to favor corporate lobbying strategies is on par with Democratic big-government liberalism that may tend to favor labor/union lobbying strategies, which is where my concerns are. Large organizational influences come from both ends of the spectrum, and corporate lobbying as well as union lobbying ends up giving us big governments of different kinds.

Because of that, my criticism of corporatism is not a criticism of corporations – it is still a criticism of government.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

We can’t ignore it, but you can’t make claims that you know its effect. Therefore, you can’t claim whether it’s harmful or not. It’s just silly to make claims without evidence. Mere opinions of critiquing the government, indirectly effects the images of corporations. I work for a very large corporation and so I consider it harmful to me as well. As for how things should be, that remains subjective. I hear your opinion, and you have heard mine.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

That’s fine. I never made an argument that you could know it’s effects. But it’s foolish to say that there is no effect. That’s as much an assertion as any other. It’s also silly to argue that lobbying isn’t a concern for those worried about the effects of a corporatocracy.

There are many competing factors that drive a corporatocracy. But if you are inclined to argue that corporate behavior isn’t part of the problem, and a huge one, then that requires support.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

I never made an argument that it has no effect. I said that you and the rest of the people who do/did make claims that there is an effect, is foolish. Since we’re in agreement that we can’t know whether lobbying has an effect on policy or not, then no one can make claims of anything. If lobbying is a concern to you, isn’t it wise to first get evidence prior to making claims of unfairness’s?

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

What is the functional difference between saying “there is no effect” and saying “it’s foolish to claim there is an effect”?

The problem with lobbying generally is that it reduces clarity rather than increases it. The fact that the influence of lobbying is a concern for all should be a matter of common sense, but besides that it is consistently recognized as something that needs to be controlled for to insulate the government from moneyed influence.

The question is not whether lobbying has an influence – it does, and all recognize that. The questions are (1) how much and (2) on how many levels?

I think those questions are too complex and that putting limits or attempting to regulate the type of lobbying forces is unproductive. Rather, regulation needs to be focused on disclosure and clarity (as some of it is). Regulating lobbying, in my opinion, based on who is doing it decreases clarity, as regulated bodies will generally create “nonpartisan” vehicles as intermediaries. It’s the same issue I have reading criticism of the Citizens United case regarding campaign finance reform.

It’s a problem that government complicates by trying to control. We all know money influences people, whether they know it or not. And we all know that people will always pay to influence people. Trying to stop them only makes it more difficult to tell what they’re doing.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@xseeken If lobbyist garner no influence on legislation, then why are there so many lobbyist groups? If they were as un-influential as you seem to believe, what is the point of lobbyist? Think about it.

xseeken's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet,

Scroll up, your question was already asked by @iamthemob to which I answered.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Saying there is no effect is a one sided claim that an effect can never occur despite the amount of lobbying. Saying there is an effect is also a one sided claim that an effect occurs with every lobbying. Saying, I don’t know whether lobbying effects or doesn’t effect a policy is neutral. You’re at it again, we’ve been over this…

And I told you, I feel that a real solution to this, is to destroy any government involvement in the lives of the Americans citizens. This solves all insecurities you may have with lobbying.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@xseeken Let me put it this way. Maybe you’ll get it. If lobbyist groups were not effective at influencing policy, why would every special interest, and big business spend MILLIONS on lobbying? If they thought it had little or no effect, (as you seem to believe), why is it the various groups spend so much on lobbying? You don’t think before they examined the effectiveness of lobbying before committing millions of dollars? I don’t think they are quite as naive as you.

xseeken's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet,

Look up opportunity cost

Then re-ask who is naive.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

Saying that there is an effect does not mean that there is an effect with each lobbying effort.

You were not saying that you didn’t know whether there was an effect, but rather that a statement that there was an effect was foolish.

I state that most people agree that lobbying does have an effect. It is like campaigning. It is like advertising. And like all of them, it is generally not clear exactly which tactic at which time was most effective, or why, or how one group using it was more successful at it. Therefore, I think it’s not a productive area to argue about.

If you claim that we don’t know whether lobbying has an influence, I disagree. I just don’t think it’s worth the effort to explore what the direct effects are, because everyone is lobbying.

bkcunningham's avatar

Why did then President-elect Obama spend more than $740 million to get a job where he makes $400,000 annually, plus a $50,000 a year expense account and some other expense monies? There was a record breaking $1.7 billion spent by candidates in 2008 for this position making less than a quarter of a million annually. Why?

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham

I don’t think either candidate spent that much money. What are you asking about in the above, and what’s it in response to?

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob look it up. I may be wrong. It is just a question.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Alright, but saying there is an effect implies there is an effect with at least some lobbying. Exactly, I was saying that a statement that claims there is an effect with even one lobbying, is a foolish statement. A statement without evidence. I completely disagree with your opinions since they’re baseless.

So then I guess we agree to disagree.

@Russell_D_SpacePoet,

So did you look up opportunity cost? Still think I’m naive or did the cat get your tongue?

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham

Obama doesn’t have 740 million dollars.

@xseeken

My opinion that lobbying can have an effect is based on the fact that lobbying is simply a form of political marketing. It is a broad, inclusive term. And it is a built-in product of democracy. It’s the way private interest groups attempt to further their agenda.

The problems with claims about lobbying are not that they’re baseless, or without evidence. They may be arguably foolish – but it’s because they’re overgeneralized. Bringing lobbying into the argument is useless, as the complaint should be regarding the attempts, tactics, and monies spent by particular lobbyists.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

I wasn’t the one who started this thread in generalities, and even if you talk about specifics, you still need evidence to show the cause and effect of these attempts, tactics, and monies on policies.

xseeken's avatar

@bkcunningham,

The link is not working.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t know how to make it work. This is the information. You can do the search on the website’s home page.

CANDIDATE NAME DIS NET RECEIPTS NET DISB CASH DEBT THROUGH
Presidential Candidate
OBAMA, BARACK PRES $778,642,055 $760,369,688 $18,272,367 $434,954 12/31/2008

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham

Obama didn’t have or spend any of that, though. It seems that the candidate contribution to the campaigns this last election was $0.00. This is the link.

@xseeken

That’s fine. But it’s equally foolish to argue “Greed is good. Greed works.”; that we need to get rid of social programs because they’re what are destroying the country, etc.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

It’s equally foolish, yes. All of economics is equally foolish. It’s not empirical evidence. It’s all based on speculation. It’s just my personal school of thought. I’ve heard both sides to the story, I’ve did comparisons in history and now, and I came to the conclusion that greed is good and greed does work, and free choice, free market and limited government is the end all answer.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob he ran campaign ads, traveled and won without spending any money. Cool.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob I have no idea what you are talking about to be honest. Of course he spent the money in the 2008 Presidential campaign.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken – Greed isn’t good – greed is about more, and it’s not greed but self interest that drives instead of undermines capitalism.

@bkcunningham – When you say that Obama spent the money to get elected, it isn’t at all the case. Many, many people spent money in support of the campaign to get him elected – as did many for McCain. Obama didn’t spend money to get a job – parties push for their candidates, pretty much at this point, to win, as far as I’m concerned.

So…why are we bringing up campaign spending?

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

You know what is moral and ethical? Can you justify it? Or are you going to give me more subjective reasons?

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob lobbying groups, special interests, PACs, nonprofits, individuals all gave the money that Obama used to get elected.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken – I cited to the article I think says it best. The arguments are outlined there. That was in response to you claiming greed is good.

Now, what are your objective, empirical reasons for saying greed is good. I mean, you know what is moral and right? If so, do you have more than subjective reasons for it?

@bkcunningham – Indeed. Which is why I don’t think lobbying in general is anything but a red herring. It’s important to keep an eye on it, but one can’t claim it’s good or bad without generalizing to the point where it loses sense as an argument.

Why do you think it’s important to bring up then?

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob I was just making an observation in my mind when I was reading through the comments. I thought I would give it some life by typing the words.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Did you read anything I wrote? I said empirical evidence doesn’t exist in economics. All of it is speculation, but if you want my “empirical evidence”, that greed is good, then I have already given it to you.

Ludvig Von Mises – Austrian School

I also didn’t say anything about moral and ethical. I was asking you, if you, or anyone else can justify what is moral and ethical. As far as I know, morals and ethics are subjective. Technically, even on fundamental levels, everything is subjective.

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken – We all do our best. To stop just because we’ll never get it spot on most likely is to succumb to moral relativism. So…you argue yours, I’ll argue mine.

And I read everything you wrote. But if you really believed any of it, I doubt if you would have asked me whether I knew what was moral or ethical. It’s irrelevant unless you’re trying to set a trap.

I also didn’t say anything about moral and ethical.

But earlier:

You know what is moral and ethical?

I have to ask you – did you read anything that you wrote? ;-)

@bkcunningham – OkeeDokee.

xseeken's avatar

Yes, a rational person succumbs to moral relativism. That is why we should be free from government, so that we can pursue our own subjective objectives. Otherwise, under a government, all that matters is what the majority wants. It doesn’t matter if it’s wrong, if majority wants it, it’s going to happen under a government system. As it stands of right now, my loyalty and biases lean towards Austrian economics. Rothbard takes the free market to a whole new level then friedman intended. Check it out, and you will see why greed is good, greed works. The points being discussed in the link you provided is highly subjective. It’s showing why greed is bad based on subjectivity… That’s the point I was trying to bring out. When I said “I also didn’t say anything about moral or ethical”, it meant that I did not comment whether I know what is moral and ethical.

I really suggest you look into it, it will answer all your concerns on a solely free market.

xseeken's avatar

Why do you have food on the shelves? The most basic factor is a GREED of a farmer. Keep that in mind.

xseeken's avatar

Free market levels the playing field for everybody, and doesn’t by itself create winners and losers. Regulation of ANY kind always picks winners and losers directly or indirectly

xseeken's avatar

@bkcunningham,

Yep, classic. I built of him to Rothbard. Rothbard argued that even army, justice, and police could be carried by free market, and most definitely money issuance

iamthemob's avatar

@xseeken

When has the free market leveled the playing field for anyone? I’d like you to point out how (1) your example is a free market, and (2) that there were no forces outside the market working on it.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Well, my argument would be 18/19 century was the closest we came to the LEAST regulated market. This would be the ideal Anarcho-Capitalism

iamthemob's avatar

So you have no examples of a free market actually leveling the playing field?

And also, what nation exhibited the free market principles to the extent that it showed that the free market leveled the field for everybody?

xseeken's avatar

No, only the least regulated one. The nation is America 18/19 century.

xseeken's avatar

@iamthemob,

Was thinking about the link you sent me. The Difference between self interest – selfishness and greed is of QUANTITY, not QUALITY. i.e. you can say that greed = selfishness x2, where is selfishness = self interested x2. So, this article is largely weight or time, though it is supportive of free market. Author simply picks on technical definitions of certain words such as “greed”. However, don’t confuse differences of a “degree” vs. differences of a “kind”.

iamthemob's avatar

But that was when we had slavery, child labor, and sweatshop style manufacturing economies and the immigrant ghettos, right?

Also – that’s an interesting take – but it’s not really math so much as a metaphor. But “self interest” and “greed” are not at all different solely in quality. Self interest is wanting to have the best life possible. The focus is on doing what is best for oneself – which includes the possibility that, at times, privileging the needs of others may serve oneself best in the long run (i.e., enlightened self interest). Greed is the excessive desire for wealth and goods with the intention of keeping them for oneself.

Self interest implies an investment in others that is not inherently altruistic, but does lead to productivity. Greed implies hoarding of resources so that they remain under the control of the owner, which leads to a grossly inefficient market.

dimxhazy's avatar

I think the reason why corporations are lobbying and funding political campaigns so much, is because there are a lot of government regulations. The best solution I can think of, is to have no regulations and as a result, no more lobbying. It would go hand in hand.

iamthemob's avatar

No regulation has in the past led to disasters like the Triangle fire.

A bare minimum regulation is necessary. What and how that regulation should work is the tricky part.

The problem with the market is that when a company is profitable, small percentage risks are ignored because the high human and profit cost is minimized by the likelihood of that cost.

dimxhazy's avatar

@iamthemob,

A bare minimum regulation is not necessary because as long as there is a need there is a solution.

iamthemob's avatar

That’s a faith-based argument. I base my trust in minimum regulation in the fact that areas where there has been no regulation the market has failed.

I put my faith in no one. Certain safety regulations (and not all) are sensible in that they act as a proactive defense of exploitation of those with little market power. That’s not saying that they work – it’s a statement that they’re reasonable.

dimxhazy's avatar

First you say you put your trust in minimum regulations and then you say you put your faith in no one. So which is it? If regulations don’t work, then how are they reasonable? It’s just as unreasonable/reasonable as saying when there is a need, there is a solution. Also, the market was still never truly free.

iamthemob's avatar

Lack of regulations has created harm (see the triangle factory).

Whether certain policies, enacted in industry or outside it, cannot be proven to have a positive, negative, or no effect on whether they actually prevent a harm from being repeated.

We privilege certain types of harm to individuals over harms to the market.

The market does not privilege harms to an individual unless such harms are also harm to the market.

Because of the above, it is reasonable to favor the passage of certain regulatory measures that are meant to prevent harms that are not a priority of the market, and the lack of regulations have shown are harms that occur within the market.

This is an argument derived from assumptions based on proof.

dimxhazy's avatar

Firstly, regulation causes the same harm as deregulation harm. People still die from fires. People still die in industrial environments. The regulations are useless. Secondly, in a free market where greed happens, anytime someone has a need to fix the harm, there will be an entrepreneur to provide the solution.

iamthemob's avatar

@dimxhazy

Regulation doesn’t cause people to “die from fire.” Regulation doesn’t stop death. Your claim that it is useless has no grounds – it’s based on a logical fallacy. It also proves the contrary.

If people died in a fire because the market had no safety regulations, according to your logic, the market caused the fire.

No. Neither markets nor regulations cause the fire. Regulations are meant to (1) make the harm less likely to occur, and/or (2) decrease the possibility of harm or the magnitude of it when they do occur.

For regulations preventing someone from locking their workers into a building, the purpose is to prevent the possibility of the harm resulting from a fire where people are trapped in the workplace.

The fact that harm still occurs where there are regulations is not an argument that regulations are bad. In order to show that, prove that the harm occurs more often because of the regulation.

dimxhazy's avatar

Can you prove that within a deregulated market entrepreneurs can’t create the same preventative measures that governments can?

iamthemob's avatar

Nope. But I’m not saying that it can’t, I’m saying that it doesn’t.

When the market was left to itself, we had the triangle fire. That is proof that the deregulated market did not, in fact, have proper safety measures for workers in place.

With regulation, there has never been another instance like that.

We can only rest on the proof that the market did not do anything to prevent harm it new possible.

I’ve proven that it didn’t put safety measures into place that would have prevented this harm.

dimxhazy's avatar

If there is no proof of either, then there is no caution. It’s a delusion. The only difference is you want to pay bureaucrats for this delusion, and I don’t. Enjoy corporate lobbying and funding.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob remember the Hamlet, NC, chicken plant fire in 1991? Doors were locked because workers were allegedly stealing boxes of chicken through the doors and to the outside. Regulations didn’t keep 25 people from burning to death and 49 others from being seriously injured.

dimxhazy's avatar

@bkcunningham,

He already admitted in the other thread “is greed good” that he can’t prove either.

bkcunningham's avatar

Who was greedy in Hamlet?

iamthemob's avatar

@dimxhazy

Epic fail. There is proof is that deregulated markets have failed to account for worker safety.

Over-regulation sucks, but deregulation sucks too. Hell, I’ll enjoy the corporate lobbying and funding in an overregulated market like that of the U.S. where our standard of living is incredibly high.

You head out to the third world where markets are currently free from pesky government interference, or are based on bribery structures. Enjoy the sweatshops.

@bkcunningham

And the market would have prevented that? If there was no legal recourse for it, would it have been stopped?

Consider this: Due to a lack of inspectors, in 11 years of operation, the plant had never received a safety inspection.

That’s not about regulations – it’s about enforcement. In essence, the plant was free from regulatory enforcement – and therefore, worked free from regulation.

The full extent of the violations is here.

dimxhazy's avatar

There was never a time when markets where ever truly free, epic fail on you. Epic fail number two, is not proving that an entrepreneur can’t provide the solution of preventative harm as effectively as the government can. I don’t need to head out anywhere because I’m wealthy in any environment. I’m an entrepreneur and regulations can’t keep me down.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob you are only making my point. I know the violations. I happened to have been about two miles from the accident, filling up my vehicle with gasoline, as news crews arrived on the scene. Nothing would have prevented the accident. Sometimes, bad things happen.

It is like the Station Night Club fire in Rhode Island. What would have prevented that fire where 100 people died and more than 230 people were seriously injured?

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham

The question is not, again, whether there is anything that can prevent disasters. Regulations aren’t meant to prevent harm but attempt to decrease it’s likelihood.

It’s fallacious to say that regulation cannot stop more incidents from occurring and using evidence that incidents still occur as proof.

Let me ask you this: on 9/11, terrorists took over planes and flew them into the WTC and Pentagon. We have screening to let people get on the planes, and this still happened.

Did the safety regulations cause 9/11? Without the regulations, would there have been a greater or smaller likelihood that something like it would have happened? Isn’t the news of certain attacks being prevented because of the regulations relevant?

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob no the regulations didn’t cause the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The tighter TSA regulations are insane to me. Let’s talk about specific “attacks” that have been prevented because of the regulations.

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham – The tighter regulations are insane! But what’s hilarious is that the new regulations are creating business opportunities ;-).

We can make calls for deregulation where regulations are clearly not narrowly tailored to serve purposes they propose to serve. The new TSA ones are clearly over-inclusive and do little to add protections.

But even these regulations are creating market opportunities for new markets. And a call for deregulation without purpose, saying that the market is constrained by regulations inappropriately, is too broad.

bkcunningham's avatar

@iamthemob too flipping funny!

iamthemob's avatar

@bkcunningham I know right!?!? I want to buy twelve.

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