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  #2701  
Old 06-21-2012, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

How does proving that these things would have happened regardless indicate whether government can be (or was) useful.

It has nothing to do with what might have happened. It's what did happen. You can play the "what if" history game all day, but it's largely irrelevant. I could ask you to prove these things wouldn't have happened without government leading the charge.

I have no doubts that the things I put forth as examples might, even would, have happened without government leading the way, but I'll go out on a limb and posit that they wouldn't have happened on nearly the same schedule.

I really don't see how government is toxic i this context.

As with most things the whole subject is grey with a large degree of subjectivity. A degree of government regulation, spending, etc, is helpful, until the balance point tips. Too much regulation, the wrong type of regulation, regulation that was good but becomes obsolete, etc, leads to the free market circumventing, suffering, gaming, etc. The inverse also occurs. A lack of regulation also causes the free market to circumvent, suffer, and game.

At the end of the day, every system self corrects. The challenge is mitigating the downside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomPholly View Post
Really? Please prove that these things would not have happened without government assistance.

I'll wait....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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  #2702  
Old 06-21-2012, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

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Originally Posted by IamIan View Post
Out of personal curiosity ... do you think that this benefit you describe here from a society vs collection of individuals continues to hold at any scale? ... or do you see a point of diminishing returns?
I'm curious how Duncan will respond to this.

My impression is that most people are in some agreement that there is a point of diminishing returns. However where that point ultimately lies is where we start digging up political corpses to test Perpetual Motion....
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  #2703  
Old 06-21-2012, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

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Originally Posted by david85 View Post
My impression is that most people are in some agreement that there is a point of diminishing returns. However where that point ultimately lies is where we start digging up political corpses to test perpetual motion....
True.

I would also add that it is not a fixed thing ... costs can change with changes in technology ... and not all of society's costs are always the same for all social systems.

- - - - - -

Although I do wonder a bit about the difference between social systems that have higher enforcement costs ... vs ... other more 'symbiotic' systems where some of the social benefits can be had with less 'enforcement' costs.

Some of the 'benefits' of working in a group can also be had by individuals with a symbiotic relationship ... but the symbiotic relationship can potentially have less 'enforcement' or 'maintenance' costs.

For example:
I don't have to spend my time or my energy recruiting or maintaining the bacteria in my gut ... they voluntarily help me digest food that I could not digest otherwise ... I don't have to spend my time or my energy ... the energy spent is energy they extract from what would have been waste to me without them ... the time spent is their time... we both benefit from the symbiotic relationship ... if I had to spend my time and my energy to evolve and produce and maintain organs and tissues to do all those same functions , If I had to pay those costs, it would come out of my energy and my time , so the 'cost' is different.
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  #2704  
Old 06-21-2012, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamIan View Post
Out of personal curiosity ... do you think that this benefit you describe here from a society vs collection of individuals continues to hold at any scale? ... or do you see a point of diminishing returns?

for example:
a society of 1,000 people has less 'society' overhead costs to maintain it , than a 'society' of 1 million people ... which has less than one of 1 billion people which has less than one of 1 trillion people ... etc... the costs of maintaining a society grow with the size of the society.
Hi Ian

I don't think this has a simple answer
I believe it is easier to have a sensible democracy here in NZ with 4.5 million people than in the USA with 300 million

So for the "Governing" part smaller is easier
- overhead costs? - as in overhead, not used, unlike water, roads, defense...
I bet we spend more per head - we have 120 MP's - the USA doesn't have 10,000

But
New Zealand in isolation is too small - we don't make lots of the things we use,
There are a number of things that are only made at one or two factories worldwide

So society as a whole physically benefits from being bigger - but bigger is more difficult to govern

Large companies are said to benefit from "Economies of scale" - but then suffer from clumsiness and slowness to change

For large units some sort of federal structure would seem to be best

As always the devil is in the details
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  #2705  
Old 06-21-2012, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamIan View Post
True.

I would also add that it is not a fixed thing ... costs can change with changes in technology ... and not all of society's costs are always the same for all social systems.

- - - - - -

Although I do wonder a bit about the difference between social systems that have higher enforcement costs ... vs ... other more 'symbiotic' systems where some of the social benefits can be had with less 'enforcement' costs.

Some of the 'benefits' of working in a group can also be had by individuals with a symbiotic relationship ... but the symbiotic relationship can potentially have less 'enforcement' or 'maintenance' costs.

For example:
I don't have to spend my time or my energy recruiting or maintaining the bacteria in my gut ... they voluntarily help me digest food that I could not digest otherwise ... I don't have to spend my time or my energy ... the energy spent is energy they extract from what would have been waste to me without them ... the time spent is their time... we both benefit from the symbiotic relationship ... if I had to spend my time and my energy to evolve and produce and maintain organs and tissues to do all those same functions , If I had to pay those costs, it would come out of my energy and my time , so the 'cost' is different.
Although I do wonder a bit about the difference between social systems that have higher enforcement costs ... vs ... other more 'symbiotic' systems where some of the social benefits can be had with less 'enforcement' costs.

I believe this is where we need to go towards where everybody understands and accepts their social contract
Possibly in the form of a formal written contract

Robert Heinlein had a contract like this in some of his stories - those that did not accept the contract could go to "Coventry" and work out their own society

Different societies could compete by offering different contracts

As far as your gut bacteria is concerned - there must be some form of internal "enforcement" or a "mutant" bug could take over and spoil things for the rest by killing the host - pollution anybody?

A big part of the problem in "designing" a society is that the internal dynamics are unstable
Wealth provides positive feedback - them as has gets - this means that even with identical players all of the wealth ends up concentrated into a few hands and the society dies

Part of society's function is to prevent this - just like your stomach
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  #2706  
Old 06-21-2012, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

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Originally Posted by Overlander23 View Post
How does proving that these things would have happened regardless indicate whether government can be (or was) useful.
Not my burden of proof. You offered them as examples of the "benefits of government" - or at least that is how it appeared to me. When you make claims that X caused Y, you are generally expected to support that with some evidence. Lack of evidence relegates such statements to the bin of "opinion."

Quote:
It has nothing to do with what might have happened. It's what did happen. You can play the "what if" history game all day, but it's largely irrelevant. I could ask you to prove these things wouldn't have happened without government leading the charge.
In effect then, you are saying your entire post was simply opinion.

That's fine, but it doesn't support your position any better than saying, "I'm right because I know I am...."

Quote:
At the end of the day, every system self corrects. The challenge is mitigating the downside.
That is demonstrably false. Every system is NOT self-correcting - unless you are calling total collapse a "self-correction mechanism." If they were, Democracies and other types of government would not sometimes collapse.
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  #2707  
Old 06-22-2012, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

Phantom said

Incorrect. Our Founding Fathers knew that TRUE Democracy was the quickest way to destroy a stable Republic. The poor will always vote for whoever promises the most from another mans' pocket, and at some point you run out of other people's money and it all collapses. In fact, Democracies can and have been some of the most brutal tyrannies in history.

The poor will always vote for whoever promises the most from another mans' pocket, and at some point you run out of other people's money and it all collapses.

This interests me - it is a standard comment
Robert Heinlein - who did talk a lot of good sense - uses it BUT I can't think of a single point in history when it actually occurred

I have asked this question on some other forums - still no examples

Even if we can find an example it is obviously rare and not a common never-mind universal occurrence

In your recent American history the poor and middle classes were massively in favor of Clinton's - pay back the debt
It was the rich who torpedoed it


To another aspect -

Military prevents invasion. Military provides no net positive, just alleviates concern of a bigger negative. As those to the Left are quick to point out (and I agree, although not with their idea of the "optimal point") the best military is the minimum military. The trick is, when is it so little it invites either attack or simple political abuse? Or, from an ethical perspective, if the military grows large and is used to steal the wealth of other nations. Net negative on the global scale; slight but temporary positive to the winner but creates a backlash making it impossible to ever reduce the military - which eventually consumes what was gained tenfold.
How much is optimal - I remember being amazed by the sheer chutzpah in the Imperial - Two Power Standard -
(The Royal Navy shall be larger than the next two navies added together)

And the strident editorials when it was abandoned
(In history - I'm not THAT old)


What then should we think of the American Six power standard?

Surely if the USA spends more than China + Russia that would be enough?

Especially as you would have the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, France as allies in any serious conflict

What would that be? - 25% of your current spend - enough savings to have a superb health service, education system and rebuild your infrastructure with change left over
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  #2708  
Old 06-22-2012, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

I cited several industries that arose around government's involvement. History is my evidence. The internet arose, in part, because of DARPAs research with ARPANET. That is an event that actually happened.

Miniaturization arose, in part, because NASA needed to send very lightweight electronics into space at time when your average radio was the size of a dish washing machine. Again, it actually happened.

Nationwide, interstate commerce and transportation arose, in part, because the of government's investment in road infrastructure. Need I say, this happened too.

These are and were benefits. Government was actually involved in spearheading the call to research or the funding of their creations.

Please prove that these things aren't benefits or that the government played no role in their development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomPholly View Post
Not my burden of proof. You offered them as examples of the "benefits of government" - or at least that is how it appeared to me. When you make claims that X caused Y, you are generally expected to support that with some evidence. Lack of evidence relegates such statements to the bin of "opinion."

In effect then, you are saying your entire post was simply opinion.

That's fine, but it doesn't support your position any better than saying, "I'm right because I know I am...."
This is really isn't about right and wrong. The government did facilitate the creation of the these industries. That is unquestionable.

The only subjective part would be whether you see it as beneficial or not. You obviously don't, but haven't really given a reason why. The fact that we have these very successful industries today indicates to me that the endeavor was successful, and that government played a positive role in their development.

I'm unclear why you think that we'd be in the position we're in now (regarding said industries) without government intervention?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomPholly View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlander23 View Post
At the end of the day, every system self corrects. The challenge is mitigating the downside.
That is demonstrably false. Every system is NOT self-correcting - unless you are calling total collapse a "self-correction mechanism." If they were, Democracies and other types of government would not sometimes collapse.
Total collapse is absolutely a self correction. Which is why my second sentence was, "The challenge is mitigating the downside." Self-correction can be both good and bad, but the most painless outcome is a system which has neither tremendous highs nor lows.

A free market run-amok will experience tremendous highs and lows. A free market with the appropriate regulation will even the system out. Inappropriate regulation is just as a bad as an unregulated system.

Edit: Oh, and of course what I write is opinion, opinion corroborated by examples of actual events. This doesn't really fall under the category of, "I'm right because I know I am....". Rather, the assertion that these industries would have risen without government's involvement, and then failing to cite any example or mechanism of how this could occur... well that might pass your test of opined irrelevance.
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Last edited by Overlander23; 06-22-2012 at 12:56 AM.
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  #2709  
Old 06-22-2012, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
Phantom said

Incorrect. Our Founding Fathers knew that TRUE Democracy was the quickest way to destroy a stable Republic. The poor will always vote for whoever promises the most from another mans' pocket, and at some point you run out of other people's money and it all collapses. In fact, Democracies can and have been some of the most brutal tyrannies in history.

The poor will always vote for whoever promises the most from another mans' pocket, and at some point you run out of other people's money and it all collapses.

This interests me - it is a standard comment
Robert Heinlein - who did talk a lot of good sense - uses it BUT I can't think of a single point in history when it actually occurred
If you would read news sources other than MSNBC you would see it happens every single day, all the time. Statistically, your inner city poor (who have the benefit of "community organizers" teaching them not to get a job but instead to get more from the government) all vote Liberal. Of course there are always exceptions - people often vote emotionally. For example, nearly 95% of all black people voted for Barak Obama. It is statistically improbable, to say the least, that all of those people support Obama's political views. And, I don't blame them this once for voting for other reasons - but that is done and I don't think the votes will look like that in this election.

Quote:
I have asked this question on some other forums - still no examples
Don't know what forums you watch. Healthcare - the poor overwhelmingly supported. That's not good enough for you? Social Security (theoretically an insurance program, but bankrupt). Medicare. When you look demographically at the votes of those who pull their own weight and plan for the future vs. those who live paycheck to paycheck, if you were to eliminate the latter from the voting pool and have a vote today none of those programs would exist.

Quote:
Even if we can find an example it is obviously rare and not a common never-mind universal occurrence
YGBSM. SS, Medicare, Medicade, and Obamacare now consume 110% of our tax revenues. Yes, 110% - if we shut down everything today in government except for those and the IRS we would still run a deficit. It's not hard to find - what is hard to find is enough reason remaining in peoples' heads to recognize it for what it is: dependency addiction.

Quote:
In your recent American history the poor and middle classes were massively in favor of Clinton's - pay back the debt
Yep - that's an abstract concept that sounds reasonable. Few of them, however, were offering to give up their benefits to accomplish it - so your argument is irrelevant.
Quote:
It was the rich who torpedoed it
Which rich? You forget that among the rich it's not the freebies they care about. It is the power that offering those benefits yields to whomever controls Washington. And among those who seek power, all lie and few or none reveal their true beliefs. I have no more faith that most Republican officials would vote to balance the budget than I have in tinker bell running for office.

Quote:
To another aspect -

Military prevents invasion. Military provides no net positive, just alleviates concern of a bigger negative. As those to the Left are quick to point out (and I agree, although not with their idea of the "optimal point") the best military is the minimum military. The trick is, when is it so little it invites either attack or simple political abuse? Or, from an ethical perspective, if the military grows large and is used to steal the wealth of other nations. Net negative on the global scale; slight but temporary positive to the winner but creates a backlash making it impossible to ever reduce the military - which eventually consumes what was gained tenfold.
How much is optimal - I remember being amazed by the sheer chutzpah in the Imperial - Two Power Standard -
(The Royal Navy shall be larger than the next two navies added together)

And the strident editorials when it was abandoned
(In history - I'm not THAT old) <snip>
lol you and me and everyone else would like to know that. "Too much" is we never get attacked at all; "too little" is we get conquered. No one really knows, because people are somewhat unpredictable. From a strictly dollars and cents perspective, having a huge arsenal of nukes and sometimes using one might be "cheaper" than our standing armies - but it's probably not a stable solution as we would be universally despised and feared and the world would have a single bad guy to rally against. Unilateral nuclear disarmament would likewise be pretty stupid. I certainly don't have all the answers; my only point is that while it is a necessary expense to some degree it is always an expense (and will be until the world is full of only sane people).

We can mitigate risk in life, but what happens when something so bad happens that Lloyds of London goes bankrupt and can't pay out? Or, if you're dead? Insurance can only do so much and, statistically, most people lose money with insurance (a net drag).

Life is risk. We seek to optimize based on our own assessment of the risks vs the benefits. Sometimes we're wrong.

Last edited by PhantomPholly; 06-22-2012 at 07:49 AM.
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  #2710  
Old 06-22-2012, 07:03 PM
Duncan Duncan is offline
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Default Re: The Climate Change Debate Thread

The poor will always vote for whoever promises the most from another mans' pocket, and at some point you run out of other people's money and it all collapses.

Hi Phantom
What the inner city poor do when voting is irrelevant - unless it leads to a collapse

And historically it never has! - not once not a single example from history of -

- WILL ALWAYS - ?????

Last edited by Duncan; 06-22-2012 at 09:03 PM.
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