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GDP means "Grave Domestic Problems"!

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  • GDP means "Grave Domestic Problems"!

    Have you guys read this? I find WISP to be a better unit of analysis for a countries prosperity and overall health than GDP.

    http://www.nnn.se/n-model/indexes.htm

    BTW Al Burke is a socialist American who moved to Sweden and now seems to be fighting for the model capitalists detest.
    I tried getting a hold of him but his email adress bounces..

  • #2
    What's that Republican comedian called - he did a world tour and concluded that Swedish Socialism worked, while in many countries capitalism didn't. His conclusion was one that I agreed with - economies work where they reflect their population - the Swedes, in general, value what their taxes provide and thus don't object to the high level of taxation.
    (I would say that having seen the places my Swedish friends live in, their standard of living is equivalent or better - we just take all that money we don't pay in tax and throw it into ridiculous mortgages).

    I think that explains the failure of top-down economic reforms - they don't reflect the people they are imposed on (although maybe they eventually change the people, as Thatcher's Americanisation of Britain did).

    It also reminds me of an article I read in The Economist about 'The French Paradox'. The paradox was that they spent too much on their social infrastructure, had high taxes and high productivity. There was no 'paradox', only that they had an economy that worked and didn't fit the model trumpeted by the Economist. A scientist would never call a contradictory piece of evidence a paradox.

    Finally, there was some survey that did a 'happiness index' of the UK and found people were happiest in 1976 - supposedly the midst of industrial unrest and Britain in decline, but also (not coincidentally I think) a time when a lot of the British workforce still bought into Socialism and Unions as an ideal.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jules
      What's that Republican comedian called - he did a world tour and concluded that Swedish Socialism worked, while in many countries capitalism didn't. His conclusion was one that I agreed with - economies work where they reflect their population - the Swedes, in general, value what their taxes provide and thus don't object to the high level of taxation.
      (I would say that having seen the places my Swedish friends live in, their standard of living is equivalent or better - we just take all that money we don't pay in tax and throw it into ridiculous mortgages).
      I've always wondered why, in american movies et al, americans piss and moan about "The Mortgage". Is it an economical sinkhole or what?

      Well of course "Top Down" economic reforms never work.. Precisely what I think Wallersten is alluding to in his work. Thats why I think management in corporations today suck because of the egalitarian way they are directed in a "top down" fashion. I think we could democratize a workplace without turning "commie".

      I think most americans get spoked by Sweden. But some understand later and see that high taxes don't really hurt too much.
      If there are more people who have jobs the government should lower taxes. The Swedish goverment has been trying to introduce neo-liberal economic reforms, which is detrimental to the country.
      I've heard young kids thinking neoliberalism is a good solution but its still in a 70/30 procent way i guess. The welfare state is called "the nanny state" by economists in more market driven countries (like the US). Failing to see that we took the idea (historically) from the US and continued implementing it further. A trend now is that people are spending more money than they have.

      Originally posted by Jules
      I think that explains the failure of top-down economic reforms - they don't reflect the people they are imposed on (although maybe they eventually change the people, as Thatcher's Americanisation of Britain did).
      "Culturalism" was something that was tried after "developmentalism".
      Maybe that could explain it. I never understood why englands populace, at least those who own less, didn't fight harder against those stupid reforms.

      Originally posted by Jules
      It also reminds me of an article I read in The Economist about 'The French Paradox'. The paradox was that they spent too much on their social infrastructure, had high taxes and high productivity. There was no 'paradox', only that they had an economy that worked and didn't fit the model trumpeted by the Economist. A scientist would never call a contradictory piece of evidence a paradox.
      'The Economist' has some good reporters and really bad ones too. I'm not registered there (costs money) but I've seen freemarket panzies writing ludicrous stuff in there as well. We can really see now a stand off between socialism and liberalism maybe. Wallerstein argues that it's a stand off betweem Conservatism and Socialism, but I wonder?

      I think liberals make the worst kind of scientist really.

      Originally posted by Jules
      Finally, there was some survey that did a 'happiness index' of the UK and found people were happiest in 1976 - supposedly the midst of industrial unrest and Britain in decline, but also (not coincidentally I think) a time when a lot of the British workforce still bought into Socialism and Unions as an ideal.
      Perhaps it was because of my birth that year? *smirk*

      Alot has changed in the socialist arena 30 years since then.
      I'm still trying to make sense of it and what is really going on today.

      I'm glad that the old "Top Down", or Middle Class Lefties are getting a kick in the ass.

      I need to read up on the "world revolution" of 1968.

      All in all, I think ideologies are dying out.
      And I wonder if it's a good thing?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jules
        What's that Republican comedian called - he did a world tour and concluded that Swedish Socialism worked, while in many countries capitalism didn't. His conclusion was one that I agreed with - economies work where they reflect their population - the Swedes, in general, value what their taxes provide and thus don't object to the high level of taxation.
        (I would say that having seen the places my Swedish friends live in, their standard of living is equivalent or better - we just take all that money we don't pay in tax and throw it into ridiculous mortgages).
        Astute observations, Jules. Nearly every quality of life index I've seen shows Sweden to have a higher quality of life than nearly anywhere else. Most include pretty objective measures like infant mortality, jobless, and poverty rates, as well as subjective measures about feelings of well-being.

        Interestingly, many studies point to the lower levels of relative inequality to be a factor in general feelings of well-being amongst nations with relatively high quality of life measures. Which connects to your next point...

        Originally posted by Jules
        I think that explains the failure of top-down economic reforms - they don't reflect the people they are imposed on (although maybe they eventually change the people, as Thatcher's Americanisation of Britain did).
        Top down economic reforms couldn't work because they assume that the rich will share the wealth. If that is the lynchpin, your point about not reflecting the population is especially on the mark.

        As an aside, I find it interesting that Thatcherism/Reaganism used slogans to try to make people forget the enormous disparity between the rich and everyone else. Slogans make you feel good, but don't pay the bills. I fear that people are still living on feel-good slogans, rather than confronting their own realities.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jules
          Finally, there was some survey that did a 'happiness index' of the UK and found people were happiest in 1976
          I was pretty happy then. Apart from the homework. A lovely long hot summer, and a ladybird invasion. The start of punk rock, but I didn't pick up on that until '77. Malcolm Maclaren has a lot to ask for.

          Seriously, though, there are a lot of indicators of economic success. By no means does Britain come out on top of them, even with the great 'Anglo-Saxon' model. It's all just sleight of hand, really.

          Of course, capitalism is fuelled by unhappiness. If we were happy we wouldn't work hard enough to keep the GDP rising. I can quite believe that people were happiest in the 70s. We were told it was a crap decade, but it seems like a golden age now.
          \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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          • #6
            People just won't believe the facts they're presented. Or they'll be brainwashed enough to prefer anything to being a bloody commie...
            I have been deeply disappointed that I never managed to convince any american or UK right-winger that the swedes have better standards of living / the french have better health care / whatever along these lines - not to mention many european economies being actually more efficient than USUK economy!! - , for as much factual evidence that I gave. Then i found out people could be even more disappointing - the day someone answered "could be, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for my freedom". I could have started over on that theme: europe has almost no censorship, comparably little criminalization of drug abusers, no laws regulating peoples' sex lives...but hey, he was a conservative so those examples would only have made things worse. I guess I'll never know what he meant by freedom. freedom=not being a f*n commie????

            Comment


            • #7
              I feel your pain, Mord.

              I tried convincing someone that U.S. health care couldn't be the best in the world, and supported that by showing him our horrid infant mortality rates and percentage of the country that was uninsured and had access only to the health care that they could get from hospitals with a charity mission.

              His response was to tell me that American medicine was superior to anything in the world, and that you could buy better care here than anywhere else. He seemed to forget that even he couldn't buy that good care. When you buy into the Horatio Alger myth*, you have to believe that it can happen to you, even though the odds are against you drastically. This is also some of the logic that explains economic conservatives who are poor.


              *In case that reference was a bit obscure--
              The Horatio Alger myth refers to the idea that your opportunities are limitless and you can have everything you want, if you only work hard enough to get them. It is the logic behind "pull yourself up by your bootstraps."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mordenkainen
                Then i found out people could be even more disappointing - the day someone answered "could be, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for my freedom". I could have started over on that theme: europe has almost no censorship, comparably little criminalization of drug abusers, no laws regulating peoples' sex lives...but hey, he was a conservative so those examples would only have made things worse. I guess I'll never know what he meant by freedom. freedom=not being a f*n commie????
                "A heavy price... But i'll gladly pay it!" From the movie "Equilibrium".
                A poor ripp-off of "Brave New World".

                So what freedom is he really talking about do you think?

                "One mans freedom=One mans oppresion"

                Comment


                • #9
                  England's populace did fight hard against them - they just lost.


                  Of course, part of the issue was the confrontational approach between management and unions. And while exagerated, a lot of the unions were being unrealistic in their demands - that's actually another good reason for more democratic workplaces - occasionally things do go wrong and businesses start losing money and need to make cuts. If everyone felt responsible for where they worked then that would be their responsibility - in a confrontational environment, the workers always feel they have suffered from bad management (i.e. our cars aren't selling - that's your fault for not designing and marketing them better, we work hard making them). And the management always blame the workers for not being more productive (as if the issue is always the price at which you can sell).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jules
                    England's populace did fight hard against them - they just lost.


                    Of course, part of the issue was the confrontational approach between management and unions. And while exagerated, a lot of the unions were being unrealistic in their demands - that's actually another good reason for more democratic workplaces - occasionally things do go wrong and businesses start losing money and need to make cuts. If everyone felt responsible for where they worked then that would be their responsibility - in a confrontational environment, the workers always feel they have suffered from bad management (i.e. our cars aren't selling - that's your fault for not designing and marketing them better, we work hard making them). And the management always blame the workers for not being more productive (as if the issue is always the price at which you can sell).
                    But, in this democratic workplace, would the surplus be a democratic issue? Because it's the surplus management gets anxious about. And if workers have more control or more insight into the company ledger.
                    Owners and shareholders would shit in their pants.

                    I agree mostly with Wallerstein in that socialism failed because it still tried to play the game of capitalism. Why that is, is another issue..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not sure I get what you mean by the surplus. Presumably you mean the bit on top of labour costs that the management can cream off for themselves without doing any productive 'work'?

                      What I'm talking about specifically is the decline in the big nationalised industries in the UK - i.e. cars, steel, coal. There was definitely an intention on the part of the Thatcher government to destroy the unions - released papers show that MI5 agents were placed into unions, which is a disgusting abuse of democracy. But it should also be said that they were their own worst enemy in this - by electing radical leaders who made promises they couldn't deliver - i.e. standing against any job cuts whatsoever, in ignorance of the reality (the cars you are making are not selling).

                      What ways forward were there out of that?

                      Block or tax imports, so that people will buy British cars even if they didn't want them?

                      Make the cars and then scrap them (well, it works for French farmers!)?

                      Invest in making better cars that people want and more productive manufacturing (the path that German car manufacturers took, along with far better employee relationships to achieve it - and also the path that foreign firms with UK plants (Ford and Nissan) have taken.

                      Now I think that's where a democratic workplace would actually be good - faced with a negative balance sheet, every worker is responsible for it - in the confrontational environment, everyone puts the blame on someone else. The guys on the production line are working hard so they don't feel it has any connection to them that the business isn't doing well. Plus there is that wish to stick your head in the sand over issues of competition - even if all businesses were given to their employees overnight, that wouldn't go away. (And like in Animal Farm, I would wager those businesses would naturally structure themselves so that people comfortable with taking responsibility would find themselves deferred to by others - I watched this happen the other week while doing a group test with 6 people who'd never met).

                      I actually work at a firm where employees do have access to the balance sheet - we are constantly reminded how many months until bankcruptcy - now up as far as nearly 12!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't believe in unions either (sorry mikey!) because they're fundamentally conservative. Their role is to defend jobs that are often neither socially useful nor a desirable situation for the workers themselves. I don't believe in state action either - french farmers, yeah. Well, not only them. the whole CAP is plain robbery and only encourages overproduction and low quality.

                        however, the whole responsibility stance is bogus, too. More often than not, it's precisely the capitalist's complete irresponsibility re: investment, long-term administration and taking as much money as possible to remunerate capital that sucks a company dry. then they move on to another one, and the workers can go to the unemployment office...Not to mention (again!) the idea that someone who like to think of themselves as a leader deserves better social status.
                        I have participated in some of these groups. I never ended up being the leader. Never ended up following the leader either. The whole idea reeks of أ¼bermensch IMHO...

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