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The Mighty Have Fallen

Entry 1198, on 2010-06-11 at 18:42:08 (Rating 4, News)

BP is one of the world's biggest corporations yet several commentators are now saying it could be soon bankrupt after the debacle of the oil leak in the Gulf. How can this happen? How can just one mistake cause the whole mighty edifice to crumble? It's simple really: the whole corporate system is totally corrupt (according to multiple meanings of the word) and it doesn't take much for that corruption to lead to catastrophic failure.

The banks which have recently failed in the US and Europe were just as corrupt (probably more so) but they were saved by government hand outs. I'm not sure whether BP will get similar charity because the disaster and most of the financial activity is happening in the US and BP is a British based company. I suspect the Americans would be more generous if BP was American but there's no way to know for sure.

So what do I mean when I say BP is corrupt? Well first I have got to say that I have no reason to think that it's any more corrupt than other companies of a similar size. Basically most companies become successful by using dirty tricks, corrupt business deals, and barely legal political persuasion (effectively bribes) so it's probably more through bad luck than anything else that it's BP which has lost out in this particular case.

After reading through the reports on what has caused this and other disasters it seems to stem back to the one factor which above all is essential for successful business: greed. BP have systematically taken shortcuts to minimise costs on several projects. These have been allowed by the agencies who should be checking that the safeguards are in place because of political interference or pure incompetence. And many people have died as a result. But BP's profits have steadily increased and what else matters to the corporations?

Yes, this is really another anti-capitalism, anti-free market, anti-corporate rant! I don't apologise for that because I think corporations are responsible for most of the problems we have in the world today. I also recognise that corporations often efficiently produce the goods and services the modern world wants so the question naturally becomes: is there a reasonable alternative?

I commented in another blog entry ("Too Big to Fail?" on 2010-06-01) that I think there should be an upper limit on how big companies can get. If they can't get too big to fail then bail outs won't be necessary. And if there are many smaller companies instead of a few big ones then there will be more competition and less repression of new ideas.

As I have said many times before I have no trust in the free market and competition is often not the best answer. But realistically we aren't going to abandon capitalism any time soon so the next best thing is to optimise the way it works.

Abandoning the corporate model seems like a good first step. Smaller companies would not be bribing political leaders like the big ones do now. There would be more competition amongst smaller companies. And there might be a slight reduction in efficiency but I think that would lead to greater employment and an overall increase in standards for most people. It might even lead to a reversal of the recent trend of the rich-poor gap increasing.

I think there is growing support for tough action against corporations. I have seen several articles in reasonably mainstream sources calling for severe action against BP. The proposals include:

1. Make BP pay and pay and pay (raise their federal civil liability limit to $10 billion).
2. Void all its government contracts (already being considered).
3. Kill the company (America already shuts down rogue companies).
4. Boycott BP, far and wide (a consumer rebellion against BP brands).
5. Throw the executives in jail (for involuntary manslaughter of the 11 workers).
6. Execute CEO Tony Hayward (they do it in China, so why not?).

These may seem rather extreme (and some of them are!) but the EPA was already deciding whether to declare BP ineligible for US government contracts because of four separate cases of criminal conduct in the past decade (yes, that's criminal conduct, not just poor decisions or dodgy accounting).

The problem is that, as I said above, BP has got into this situation as much through simple bad luck as anything else. I have no doubt that many other companies take just as many shortcuts and are just as evil as BP but maybe this is an opportunity to make an example of one to act as a warning to others.

One thing seems clear to me: after the numerous corporate debacles recently I think most people can now see that the world of big business is nothing to admire and aspire to joining. Unless, that is, you are a true capitalist and death, destruction and total lack of morality is just the price you are prepared to pay for more profit.

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Comment 1 (2678) by SBFL on 2010-06-21 at 07:39:33: (view recent only)

Well first I have got to say that I have no reason to think that it's any more corrupt than other companies of a similar size.

So it's merely based on size? The bias is so transparent....

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Comment 2 (2679) by SBFL on 2010-06-21 at 07:42:07:

"Basically most companies become successful by using dirty tricks, corrupt business deals, and barely legal political persuasion (effectively bribes) so it's probably more through bad luck than anything else that it's BP which has lost out in this particular case."

- an opinion coming from a university tutor. Hardly your ultimate "insidser".

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Comment 3 (2680) by SBFL on 2010-06-21 at 07:45:49:

"BP have systematically taken shortcuts to minimise costs on several projects. These have been allowed by the agencies who should be checking that the safeguards are in place because of political interference or pure incompetence. And many people have died as a result. But BP's profits have steadily increased and what else matters to the corporations?"

It appears to me that BP have not been socially responsible. But this should not be the job of (essentially external) regulators. BP should have fronted up and they didn't. They alone are to blame (or their subcontractors). You should not place blame on the regulators.

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Comment 4 (2681) by SBFL on 2010-06-21 at 08:47:23:

As I have said many times before I have no trust in the free market and competition is often not the best answer. But realistically we aren't going to abandon capitalism any time soon so the next best thing is to optimise the way it works.

Yet you offer no viable alternative. BP deserve to be punished, I agree. Companies must be socially and environmentally responsible. Lets focus on that because the focus must be on them (the individual) not the system of govt, or the regulators. Free market calls for responsibility at the level where it occurs. BP and their sub-contractors need to front up. If they don't then they will be punished. Death to the irresponsible, and the way their CEO is acting, this is imminent. It is possible we will agee.

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Comment 5 (2682) by OJB on 2010-06-21 at 09:18:57:

Agreed. I haven't got a better answer, or at least an answer I can prove is better. But the first step to achieving change is to recognise how poor the current system is. The right of the political spectrum often pretend capitalism is perfect and libertarians want to give business even more freedom and control. These people are deluded.

I don't think we should focus on the individuals because I think it *is* the system which is at fault. As far as I can tell every oil company is run just as poorly as BP. It just happened to be BP who was caught out this time. So we need to fix the system not just patch up individual cases.

Free markets call for responsibility? Are you for real? Surely it is the complete opposite. Free markets call for corruption, greed, and short term action for the detriment of the majority. They just don't work!

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Comment 6 (2683) by OJB on 2010-06-21 at 09:25:16:

In answer to comment 1... Size is a good indicator of the way a corporation will act. You don't tend to find your neighbour's one person plumbing company offering the government bribes do you? It's the *big* corporations who do that. Size does matter!

And comment 2... I'm a computer consultant and programmer, not a tutor. And I have worked in the private sector before working at the university. Also, there is no reason someone can't make a fair appraisal of something they're not part of. In fact it often helps.

And comment 3... Left to themselves all (or most) companies will take shortcuts to maximise profit. That's why the free market doesn't work. Its just a fundamentally flawed system. And that's why all "free" markets are regulated.

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Comment 7 (2684) by SBFL on 2010-07-04 at 13:04:07:

Hmmmm,we seem to agree on some points but not others. In this particular BP Gulf of Mexico event I would say that BP did not INTEND for this to happen. It seems to be from a mechanical fault, and not a result of corruption and bribes. Shortcuts? Maybe, but they and their sub-contractors need to learn from this (agreed, a bit late in this occurrence). Today the public demand companies be socially and environmentally responsible and this is a good thing. But this is a result of the free market. Make no mistake. They change their behaviour because of the free market, because of the demand. Can you imagine how the public perceives BP right now, compared to their competitors (I am not happy)? Demand for their product drops and therefore they need to change their behaviour. This is the greatest hurt. Hurt to the pocket. For BP they deserve to suffer, at least until they make amends. No regulator can have this influence, though I agree they can help by putting in place safety and environment standards, as a request from the public also.

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Comment 8 (2686) by OJB on 2010-07-05 at 21:07:24:

Of course they didn't want it to happen but it happened as a result of their incompetence and negligence. Corruption did contribute to the problem: big business bribed politicians who reduced the level of inspection allowing the companies to save money by installing inadequate safeguards. I think this is fairly well accepted.

The free market is exactly what causes these issues. It never has worked and it never will. Most people are beginning to see this. Its only total libertarian nutters who can't see past their own propaganda about the free market. Your pathetically naive faith in it is just sad!

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Comment 9 (2688) by SBFL on 2010-07-06 at 07:50:53:

We are just going to have to agree to disagree (was always going to come to this!). At least I put some reasoning and logic to my argument (even if you disagree with it), from you all I see is a conspiracy theorist with Marxist tendencies!

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Comment 10 (2690) by OJB on 2010-07-06 at 09:01:28:

I didn't see any reasoning, just the unsupported assertion that the market is the best way to resolve all our problems! Let's look at the two biggest disasters to hit the western world in the last few years: the financial crisis and the oil spill. Both caused by out of control corporations with insufficient regulation. The market is always the best way? Yeah, right!

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Comment 11 (2693) by SBFL on 2010-07-06 at 10:13:19:

Yes I spoke of demand and the public purse. I gave some thought to my argument in even such a brief comment, yet as for you, you offered what at best could be called unsubstantiated propaganda....some raving about big money and bribery. Even CNN hasn't taken that line! We all know the financial crisis was spurred on by the Democratic-controlled congress desire to provide cheap loans to those who couldn't ordinarily afford homes. Fact. I agree that unregulated speculators also played a significant part. So to did the Michael Cullen public spend-up, closer to home.

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Comment 12 (2696) by OJB on 2010-07-06 at 10:48:20:

The financial crisis was fundamentally caused by out of control private banks and their imaginary financial dealings. They must be controlled because they are greedy and corrupt: exactly what pure capitalism requires them to be. You really should look at the facts and forget your libertarian propaganda on this one. The system has been revealed for what it really is. Its time to face the facts: free markets just don't work.

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Comment 13 (2698) by SBFL on 2010-07-06 at 11:28:29:

I acknowledge that banks thirst for lending played a significant part in the cause of the crisis. But everyone joined in on this, not just the banks. I myself bought property in 2001 and another in 2005. I did the sums, others less so in what was now known to be a bubble. It would be foolish to only blame the banks. We (Joe Public) were part of the demand. The fact is that now the market is correcting itself. Big spending govts chose to calm this with rescue packages. I say let the foolish fall on their sword. This is how the system should work, not by propping up the greedy and foolish. May others learn the lesson.

Free markets do work. We know this because this is the world we live in, more well off than we ever have been. Do you dispute this? Perfection is some time away, but you have yet to offer something better.

And funnily enough, ever since the crisis hit, mostly right-wing governments have been voted in. It is clear who the public trust in times of need of fiscal responsibility: France, Germany, Italy, NZ, Canada, Czech Republic, EU parliament, recently UK, Chile, the list goes on....

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Comment 14 (2700) by OJB on 2010-07-06 at 11:38:02:

I'm not only blaming the banks but they were the prime cause. Its the system as a whole which is at fault. Allowing people motivated almost solely by greed and short term gain to have control of the world's financial system is a disaster waiting to happen... and it did happen.

We live in a world where we are better off primarily because of scientific and technological progress. We live longer because of modern medicine, not the free market. And a lot of our wealth which does come from that system is achieved through exploitation. That's why a significant proportion of the world don't have a good standard of living and why we are facing various ecological disasters.

The type of government in power is mostly a cyclic thing and very little to do with economic conditions. It just happens that people wanted a change from more left oriented governments which had been around for a while (NZ, UK, etc).

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Comment 15 (2702) by SBFL on 2010-07-06 at 12:04:38:

Oh so it was only a few people with overall control...that's the nice comfortable answer for you obviously. Sleep easy.

Don't change the topic. Modern medicine = longer lives sure. But I was speaking of standard of living. Free trade and FTA's have lifted millions above the poverty line. That is fact. Look to China, India, Brazil. Those still in the dark ages are subject to the greed and corruption of their politicians. Look to Africa. Good governance and economic freedom are the key to better standards of living as has been demonstrated time and time again. You can hang on in hope with the Venezuelan model. Good luck with that.

Maybe so, but if it was the evil capitalist right-wingers who caused the crisis, as you claim, why wouldn't they vote back in the left wing governments, who would implement your flawed models of spend, spend, spend...(Hint: debt, debt, debt).

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Comment 16 (2704) by OJB on 2010-07-06 at 12:25:13:

Not sure what you're getting at with the first comment but let's move on.

No one wants to deny fair trade (notice I say that instead of free trade) to anyone. And no one wants corrupt governments in control. What we should aim for is a system based on individual freedom but with strong control over big corporations and other organisations who distort these freedoms. We don't want a free market, we want a fair market.

Most people don't vote in any logical way. The winning party has very little to do with who is the most suited to govern. Just look att the way the two main parties "take turns" to govern in NZ. There's obviously no logic to it!

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Comment 17 (2706) by SBFL on 2010-07-08 at 10:51:09:

While I am keen to move on I will at least acknowledge that it would be naive to say that there were no greedy individuals involved in part to the financial crisis we have today. I despise these people as much as you (Madoff is the poster boy). But there will always be people around to take advantage (in any system), such as human nature, however conversely, lets be realistic as say that it cannot be blamed on a handful of selfish individuals. We need to dig into the more complex issues that involve the environment created and the incentives and disincentives that come with this. This is what drives govts, people and businesses. Do we completely surpress it or do we completely let its take it own course? You know I am not far right and I am in favour of a balance, albeit in favour of economic freedom.
That was a long paragraph for a thread I was also willing to kill!!

Okay as it turns out my elongated first paragraph rolls into the second point. First off, please don't give me the semantically-challenged platitude of "we want 'fair' trade not 'free' trade". You know I am not going to fall for that line. We both want a fair system, but how to get there is where we differ. NZ has mechanisms to keep the "big companies" in check (laws & regulations such as commerce commission, OSH, ERA...), but we also give them the freedom to grow. I am satisfied where we are at in these aspects. The challenge is how to encourage even more growth, and jobs (and how to get the edge over Aus, like IRL did over UK in the late 90s). Do we change our tax rate to be lower than our neighbours to attract foreign currency (that's money IN by the way), or can we alter our tax rates to give preference to internal investment (that's money in that stay in) but how does that impact our tax take for services etc. (esp for existing health, social welfare and education). For me it is simple. More money in means more money for services, even if it also means more money out of the country in an relative sense (since afterall it is after tax). We must not be jealous of foreigners who want to place their cash in NZ, we must encourage it so we can maximise our own wellbeing. Likewise we must do the same, investing and contributing to overseas markets.

Sorry I don't buy that. There was a reason Labour won in 2002 and 2005. In a heads and tails scenario of course power is a two-way switch. I am sure you understand this basic logic. But in light of the massive international impact of 2008-09 it is clear the public trust right-leaning parties over left-leaning with regard to the country's finances. But this should come as no surprise as it is consistent with the philosopies (at least). not all right-wing parties fall into line though, Berliscone and GW Bush some to mind!

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Comment 18 (2708) by OJB on 2010-07-08 at 14:28:24:

You say there will always be greedy people around and that you despise those who take this greed to extremes, but the free market and capitalism specifically encourages this behaviour. If you don't like greed why support capitalism? It doesn't make sense.

You can't get past the old, unsustainable model. Growth cannot go on forever. We need a system which doesn't require growth and one which doesn't require massive handouts to those who already have far too much. The system will change, if we don't do it through deliberate action it will happen through environmental and social disaster. Its just a matter of time.

So you ascribe to the old theory that Labour rules for a few years, messes up the economy, then gets voted out so that National can fix things, and after they are fixed the voters forget what they've done and vote them out, perpetuating the cycle? What a convenient myth!

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Comment 19 (2713) by SBFL on 2010-07-16 at 10:23:07:

I support the free market because it is the best for everyone, with the benefits outlined in my previous comment. I am not aware of a better model. Are you?

So what is the idyllic model that suits the environment without growth? Anyway I disagree, since 'growth' doesn't necessarily mean getting bigger, but rather becoming more efficient. There is always improvement to be had in this area.

No two Labour governments are the same. No two National governments are the same. But clearly you have joined the current Labour caucus in thinking that the NZ public made a huge mistake in 2008. The facts, as outlined by this left-wing blog, state otherwise:
Chart of the day, polls and party leadership

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Comment 20 (2717) by OJB on 2010-07-16 at 19:43:21:

You say the free market is best without any real evidence that it's true. I have noted two recent crises where the market was the major cause. Clearly it has problems. A better model? Sure, one where the market is controlled for the benefit of the majority. Not asking for a revolution, just some fine tuning.

There is room for improvement in everything sure, but most efforts I see at achieving it are rather clumsy and counter-productive.

I don't think the public made a mistake in 2008 because Labour had become stale and needed a good shake up. I didn't vote for them!

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Comment 21 (2719) by SBFL on 2010-07-18 at 11:33:14:

I am sorry but I have to call BS on that claim. The proof is in the pudding. All societies that have adopted the free market have moved forward. Not just western nations but also developing nations. Millions of people have been lifted above the poverty line as a result (of adopting the free market in the past few decades). Don't you wish to eliminate poverty? Yes you are right that the execution has been far from perfect, and some regulation is needed, but on the whole, this it the direction we are taking, with good reason.

Some efforts are clumsy, and some are progressive. Hopefully the latter outshines the former, despite the govt in place.

Good to hear and at least this means to me that you can be rational. Of course you probably voted Green and this is worse but at least you acknowledge that Labour became stale (and still is). It's too early to say the same of National but I hope they won't fall into the same trap:
National candidates

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Comment 22 (2724) by OJB on 2010-07-18 at 13:31:12:

Have a look at which countries consistently come out on top for quality of life, happiness, etc. Its the social democracies of Europe (Denmark, Sweden, etc) not the hard-line free market driven countries. As I keep saying, I'm not asking for Soviet style socialism, just strong controls over the market.

I voted Green because I want some of their ideas in the mix of policies we have, not because I think they would make the best government or that their ideas are always right. It seems like a logical action to me!

Of course National will become stale. All governments do after 2 or 3 terms. And they also become arrogant, uncaring and unimaginative. Its inevitable.

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Comment 23 (2728) by SBFL on 2010-07-18 at 14:55:42:

So you agree with me. Free market (with necessary and reasonable controls) is the way forward. Thanks for your supporting examples. Yes, extreme Marxism is counter-productive, but society can take a step forward with a free market.

The Greens have the right intentions, I will give them this, but they lack in execution, and they lack in the bigger picture. However the fact they have a MoU with National gives me some hope (that they can be rational).

On the last point you are probably right, but I hope that you will be wrong (evidence is on your side). The Nats should learn from the arrogance of Labour 2005-2008.

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Comment 24 (2730) by OJB on 2010-07-18 at 15:35:00:

Maybe our definitions of what a free market is differ. If there are significant controls is it still free? And I suspect that the degree of control we would recommended might be quite different. We do need significant controls and relatively high taxes to fund the things that really matter.

Its hard to say what the Greens lack in execution since they have never been in government. We need better environmental and social policies and influence from the Greens seems a good way to get it.

The evidence is on my side. National will fail, that's certain, but I predict they will survive 3 terms this time.

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Comment 25 (2733) by SBFL on 2010-07-19 at 00:44:46:

I don't see why "significant" controls are necessary. And yes, then the market is no longer free. I prefer "reasonable" controls. So we differ on the level if intervention. Creo tenemos charlando sobre esto antes.

But why the need for high taxes? What really matters? According to you this includes hotel porn and excessive dinners. So don't even start with me with health and education. Whilst you still excuse Chris Carter, Jim Anderton and Shane Jones, you really don't have a leg to stand on.

Re Greens: good point, Helen shafted them time and time again. National on the other hand have established a MoU with the Green Party. Why? Most people (incl me) believe we need better environmental policies. It's just a shame The Greens are also far-left nutjobs (on social issues). They are their own worst enemy.

Three terms is a long time. But I agree. What I hope is that in the third they don't become arrogant like Labour did in their third. They may well lose in 2017 but it shouldn't be for the wrong reasons.

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Comment 26 (2735) by OJB on 2010-07-19 at 08:48:33:

You have a political philosophy which requires that you believe capitalism and free markets must work even when real evidence demonstrates they don't so of course you don't see the need for significant controls. Here's a list of reasons we need them: the financial crisis, global warming, the increasing gap between rich and poor, exploitation of the third world, the Gulf oil spill. Need I go on?

What really matters is progress through study of new technologies: hydrogen fusion, space exploration, advanced theoretical physics, etc. All the things the private sector won't touch because there's no immediate gain.

The Green philosophy includes social reform as well as environmental. I think these two aspects have equal importance.

They will become arrogant a long time before their third term. There are signs its starting already. That idiot Tolley for example, and John Key isn't quite the "nice guy" he used to be!

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Comment 27 (2745) by SBFL on 2010-07-23 at 08:42:02:

Possibly you could investigate root causes to the negative impacts of the extremely complex examples you give. But I know you like to avoid the specifics and prefer to keep it simple by blaming everything on capitalism. Pure laziness, really.

Nice example of the term "vested interests".

Of course you do.

Only slightly subjective, but I wouldn't expect anything less!!

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Comment 28 (2749) by OJB on 2010-07-23 at 12:07:19:

I don't blame everything on capitalism but most unbiased people agree those incidents are basically caused by capitalism getting out of control. Again you resort to denial instead of a real defence.

Vested interest? What are you talking about? I'm talking about real scientific progress through real, long term research. The private sector has basically zero relevance in that area.

I think balance is required. The Greens provide that. Let's just leave it there.

There are numerous examples of National embarking on far more unpopular policies now than they did during their first year. Key is clearly not such the "nice guy" any more.

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Comment 29 (2753) by SBFL on 2010-07-24 at 06:24:58:

In other words: "I don't blame capitalism but I do blame capitalism". You're on a roll!!

Your examples are all your pet loves. Clearly you´re not one of those unbiased people you referred to in the first paragraph of your previous comment.

Agree we should leave it there. Clearly we have opposing views on Green's social policies.

Unpopular to lefists maybe but as you know the centre ground is where the battle is won. Most major dailies have come out in support of recent labour law changes, for example. And at least the polls don't (yet) reflect your view. National implemented considerably more unpopular (yet needed) policies in their first term last time (1990-93) and even then managed to get back in power at the next poll. If that is anything to go by, "Nice guy" Key will saunter through in 2011.

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Comment 30 (2757) by OJB on 2010-07-24 at 10:11:54:

I thought I had made it clear but I'll try again. I don't blame capitalism for all the world's problems and I don't blame it entirely for any specific problem. What I do is blame it as the major cause of many of the problems we now face. Does that make sense?

Fact. Very little truly fundamental research is done by the private sector. Fact. The truly fundamental research it what leads to the really big gains. Fact. The market doesn't work (well OK that's partly opinion :)

OK Green social policies forgotten for this discussion.

I have already said that I think National will be there for three terms. Just observing that the nice guy image is beginning to slip.

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Comment 31 (2763) by SBFL on 2010-07-30 at 21:54:54:

Indeed, so again you effectively say "I don't blame capitalism but I do blame capitalism".

Universities have to be given something useful to do after the lectures have finished ;-)

Slipping from "100" to "99" is probably of no great concern. He is already exceeding expectations. Considering his approval ratings in the time of worldwide recession, he can only go down, so your glee is probably somewhat misguided.

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Comment 32 (2767) by OJB on 2010-07-31 at 10:40:38:

Its this simple: capitalism is mainly to blame for many of the world's problems, but not all of them. Sorry, but I can't make it any simpler than that.

Universities do both research and teaching. Generally its considered the two have roughly equal importance.

Well its hardly from 100 to 99, and its the trend which should be the concern. I have said before I think Key is quite a good PM. I just hope he maintains his moderate stance and doesn't descend too far into the usual right wing agenda of privatisation and cost cutting.

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Comment 33 (2772) by SBFL on 2010-08-05 at 08:10:58:

The cost cutting is already well underway after the pet project extravagance of the Clark years. Maybe you missed those news articles.

Of course it doesn't bother you that the country is having to borrow $250m a week to maintain govt spending. You just don't understand the burden of debt. Like any true leftie, it's spend, spend, spend and boo to those damn consequences!

I will let you in on a little secret: Debt has to be paid back!

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Comment 34 (2776) by SBFL on 2010-08-05 at 10:50:06:

The evilness of capitalism at work:
US billionaires pledge 50% of their wealth to charity "Thirty-eight US billionaires have pledged at least 50% of their wealth to charity through a campaign started by investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates."

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Comment 35 (2778) by OJB on 2010-08-05 at 11:39:50:

Giving away the wealth they have gained has nothing to do with capitalism. These people are being charitable and that is great, I fully commend them for that. But that is not capitalism.

Also they made little real contribution to the advancement of society (there would be a case that they achieved the opposite although that's debatable) so they should never have had that huge wealth in the first place.

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Comment 36 (2782) by SBFL on 2010-08-09 at 10:18:50:

Typical. You only focus on your perceived negatives (re capitalism, Church) but never on the positives. Hardly a balanced view.

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Comment 37 (2784) by OJB on 2010-08-09 at 10:31:24:

Typical. You avoid the question and instead of answering my reasonable points you try to deflect the questIon back onto me!

I have already stated in multiple posts that both the church and capitalism have some positive points but I think there are a lot of negatives as well. Until people like you concede these negatives are significant nothing will improve.

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Comment 38 (2795) by SBFL on 2010-08-11 at 08:41:12:

So capitalism is only evil. That's what you're saying. Giving away wealth to those in need, wealth gained via a society that embraces capitalism/free market. Sorry OJB, but you just can't have it both ways. I am not avoiding at all, only clearly pointing out that you have a one track mind on this issue.

If true they are few and far between and littered with conditions and exceptions no doubt. In my view capitalism is indeed the best from as an economic model, though like any system, it is not without its hitches. But it is the best. Again I ask, name one better. On the Church, there is no doubt that man (incl Popes) have failed to live up to the values it promotes. History has shown this time and time again. But the failure of a few does not diminish the outstanding and admirable work of the many. By the many I am referring to those who care, educate, nuture and feed (without need for monetary compensation). Those who follow in the footsteps of the Son of God. And then there are those ordinary folk who try to live their lives through more modest - yet no less admirable - achievements, also in the footsteps of Jesus. However those who profess to speak in God's name - yet fail to show this by actions - receive the same condemnation from me that you would give them.

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Comment 39 (2800) by OJB on 2010-08-11 at 10:25:42:

What are you talking about? Where have I said that capitalism is only evil? Nowhere. please stick to what I am saying instead of some straw man of your own invention.

So we both agree that the church and capitalism have both good and bad points. I guess it gets down to where the balance between good and bad actually lies then.

I have said in many posts that capitalism is probably the best of a series of bad options but I want to see it more tightly controlled and directed in positive directions. As far as the church is concerned I think it is very clear: the evil far outweighs the good. You can drivel on about some silly myth about the son of a god as much as you like but I prefer to stick to the facts.

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Comment 40 (2802) by SBFL on 2010-08-11 at 11:25:22:

As I said, you ignore the benefits. Up to you.

I don't put both in the same boat. Capitalism is the best economic system, but it has flaws. If you fail to offer better system then you need to put up and shut up. If you do indeed think it is the best (albeit of a bad bunch) then you really need to focus on how to improve it, rather then attempting to tear it down.

The path of Jesus is the only way, there is no compromise to this. Sinners (like me) need to find their way back to this path. It that's simple. You choose not to believe. Okay, your choice.

and as a result of your bias, you choose to ignore the good. Here is a link to the order who run the parish that I go to in Madrid (in English). Shock! Horror! Those evil Catholics!

You may not believe in their faith, but do you disbelieve their actions?

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Comment 41 (2805) by OJB on 2010-08-11 at 13:39:24:

I don't ignore the benefits at all. I have said on many occasions: its a matter of balance.

I have siad many times that I can't think of a better system and have proposed a form of capitalism with tighter controls and a greater sense of long term direction. We do need to be very aware of the faults though and its that awareness I'm trying to increase.

What a load of superstitious, primitive nonsense. If you want to believe that junk then good luck to you!

Difficult to say how positive their impact might be based on that web page. Maybe they do some good in the community (probably do), but is it enough to overcome the genocide, child abuse, and other atrocities the church is responsible for? I doubt it. Again, its all about balance.

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