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HairyHammer 2:01 Thu Feb 18
China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Russia have apparently sent a missile to a disputed island with Taiwan and Russia has had a go at Ukrain and is flexing its muscles against Turkey. Is Communism getting an erection once more.
Or is the loss of prosperity in China and Russia the real issue ?

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Hammer and Pickle 8:28 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Nobody is talking about eliminating boom and bust or the accumulation of capital or that night follows day.

The point is that with the economic and sociopolitical knowledge available to us, governments are entrusted with a job to do and some have been doing that better than others.

The UK Tories have been a historical failure in this respect.

Infidel 6:05 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Capitol

You can't eliminate boom and bust. Many of the factors which drive economic cycles are external for a start (eg oil prices).

Even if you insulated the economy from external factors it would still run in cycles (as every first year economics student knows).

If socialists are peddling the lie that they have a magic dust that will smooth out the economic cycle then they are really scraping the barrel. Surely not even a Labour Chancellor would ever claim to have eliminated boom and bust?

Vexed 4:16 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Discounting both China and Russia strikes me as a bit ignorant of the situation(s).

the exile 4:09 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel

I can't believe for one moment that politicians like Sanders and Corbyn would seek to impose anything remotely like the kind of state control on the markets that you are talking about. The way I see it (I'm open to persuasion/correction on this), they are the only breed of politician who would genuinely set out to tackle the "corporatism" that you so eloquently describe. The trouble with the politicians of the centre and right is that they have their snouts in so many troughs, both political and personal, that they are incapable of acting for the benefit of wider society including the poor.

Capitol Man 3:22 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Nonsense infidel.

Markets would be great in the way you describe, but they never function like that, because people get in the way. Markets tend toward corruption and they also tend to benefit some and screw others. They are also prone to boom and bust. That is fine in Henry as creative destruction results, but is it a good thing in terms of the human condition?

Is it a good thing to potentially have a generation lose its live savings at or near retirement because of a bust cycle,?

Bacuase markets aren't the perfect solution some would have you think regulations get in the way. Thus when issues come along the less bring among us get to blame the regulation rather than the issues in the market itself.

Brucies_Star_Prize 3:09 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel 12:04 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West

Agree in the main but not with the idea that the gap between rich and poor is irrelevant.

It's very relevant because it's one of the driving forces behind the rise of said socialist movements. If the poor are better off under a market economy, then why are they voting for a planned economy?

It's easy to tell someone living in *relative poverty* in the UK, that they live like a king when compared to 50 years ago or indeed their counterparts in the third world. However that's not their benchmark. Their benchmark isn't *absolute poverty*, it's the 'haves' in the society they live in.

That's why it's relevant.

HairyHammer 2:50 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel

You are obviously far more in the know (Educated) than i am, i still think that something might happen regarding the whole Syria issue but we will see, God forbid.

Annony 12:59 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
It's human nature to lie and cheat (present company excluded :-)) at some point, that's why corruption is rife in may walks of life. This will never change.

Infidel 12:57 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Oxsaw

Correct.

Debts are out of control and also pose a serious threat.

Mike Oxsaw 12:49 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
One of the issues at play at the moment is that those holding debt are running out of places where they can park it/sell it/cash out on it.

More & more people are seeing buying debt (and the interest it is supposed to generate) as less attractive as the risk of a multiple simultaneous default increases.

Imagine buying $10 billion dollars of debt at five cents on the dollar to see even that fuck off into the sunset on the last coach out of Dodge. No way Jose.

The game of pass the (debt) parcel is about to end and many, many fingers are about to get burnt.

Infidel 12:46 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Comma

"The markets themselves too have not played the straight arrow game either because they have rigged the game."

This makes my point perfectly. You simply don't understand what a market is.

A 'market' can't rig anything because it isn't a person. It isn't even an entity like a company or a trade union. A market can't have feelings,or greed, or a political point of view.

Markets are the aggregation of millions of individual decisions made by people like you and me. Each one of us alone can't influence the outcome but collectively we determine what happens.

When markets function poorly it is usually because government has intervened to distort the market - for example by setting regulated prices or by taxing or subsidising certain types of activity or by protectionism.

Most dangerously of all, governments are lobbied and seduced by - and sadly too often bribed by - large corporations who win favours from government (soft loans, subsidies, lucrative contracts, protection from competition) that stifle competition and make us all poorer.

This type of capitalism has a name - "corporatism" - and I think it's unarguable that we are in the midst of a corporatist nightmare right now. Just look at Davos - an annual secret lobby-fest of heads of state and CEOs of big companies - are we seriously to believe that this is anyone's interests but the people actually attending?

The solution to making markets work better is to end corporatism,which we could do at a stroke by passing a transparency law requiring every contact between business and any government official to be filmed and put up on You Tube so that the public can see what is being requested and what is being handed over - with stiff jail sentences for anyone who engages in secret dialogue.

The socialists are right to say that our market economy is not functioning properly right now but their analysis of it is wrong, because like Comma they think of the market as a person. As a result they think the solution is more government control, whereas in fact we need a lot less.

Annony 12:35 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
It will be interesting to see how the oil trade (or military if it escalates) war will pan out, and whether it will escalate. Russia agreeing with the Saudis to cut production, but Iran unlikely to agree and keep pumping now the embargo is lifted, not that they need the money with $100bn of assets unfrozen.

Iran and Saudi reportedly hate each other and difficult to get them in the same room. Iran didn't bother turning up to last Opec meeting.

The Saudis are nervous of Iran and ISIS invading and have constructed a "Great Wall" of 600 miles just 18 months ago. They know the US does not rely on their oil now.

Steve Bacons Lenscap 12:28 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Rotary phones, vinyl records and Trabants are infinitely cooler than iPhone, Spotify and Tesla electric cars.

The trouble with neoliberal free marketeers is they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

, 12:24 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel, are we not, in the west, also experiencing the downside of politicians who are in thrall to the markets. The markets themselves too have not played the straight arrow game either because they have rigged the game.

Sanders does not want to dismantle markets so much as make more people the beneficiaries of the markets. His arguments seem to me also to be more about bankers and money movers than the markets per se.

I cannot name any credible politician in the west who advocates dismantling markets. It's more like they want to curb the excesses without impeding entrepreneurship.

The Kronic 12:18 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
The rich don't really notice the accumulation of more wealth

_________


HAHAHAH. Such a fucking knob.

Infidel 12:04 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Certainly.

We are seeing an alarming rise in the democratic West of politicians who do not understand how markets work.

Their policy platform is to dismantle the market economy and replace it with a centrally planned economy in which technocrats would decide what to produce, when and how. The exact formula varies by country but the basic theme is the same: the technocrats can pull all the levers of the economy better than the markets.

It isn't just Corbyn, who makes no secret of being a socialist. It's also Sanders in the US, a socialist who has just won the New Hampshire primary and is on course to become the Democratic candidate for President.

Then we have Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain -both at the extreme left end of the spectrum. And finally there are all the nationalists, who are mistakenly labelled 'far right' but are in fact nearly all in favour of full blown nationalisation, closing borders to international trade and punitive taxes on 'the rich'. Here I am talking about parties like the National Front in France - Marine Le Pen's economic policy is almost identical to Jeremy Corbyn's.

The facts are that state control of the economy, in every one of its many incarnations, has performed considerably worse than almost any market economy.

As Adam Smith described so elegantly in the 18th century, the price mechanism in a market economy directs resources to the most efficient uses like 'an invisible hand', making everybody richer.

A state planner can't do that. State planners make mistakes because they can't possibly know what aggregate demand for any good or service is and because there is little or no competition in a centrally planned economy. Without competition you don't get creative destruction, you don't get innovation and you don't entrepreneurs.

Or put another way you don't get iPhones, Spotify and Tesla electric cars, you get rotary phones, vinyl records and Trabants.

The support the neo-Marxists are drawing is genuinely concerning. People are drawn to the idea that 'capitalism is failing' because the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger. In fact the gap between rich and poor is irrelevant - what matters is only whether the poor are getting richer, which they are.

In fact the poor are the great beneficiaries of the market economy. The rich don't really notice the accumulation of more wealth but the poor now have universal free education, universal free healthcare, universal free pensions and universal free social security,plus electricity and central heating in every home, none of which existed before 1939. Their lives have been transformed in just a few decades, thanks to the wealth created by the market economy.

The new Marxists would have us all believe that they can run the economy better but every piece of evidence we have suggests they would make a mess of it.

Just ask a Venezuelan.

threesixty 11:50 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel

Alot of the BRIC's are having a very hard time right now. Brazil economy is fucked. China isnt doing to well and Russia was hit hard by oil prices dropping seeing as most of their economy is energy based. Not sure about India, but I'd dispute that 4-5% growth thing right now.

Also, People keep focussing on nuclear weapons like it's the only bad thing Russia or anyone can do. In the last 10 yrs, hundreds of thousands of people have died, whole countries have been decimated and not 1 atomic weapon used.

The problem with Russia is that they have nukes not that they will use them. If they were to do the unthinkable like invade another country (like Ukraine.. oh fuck, they already did that one..) who is going to risk getting nuked by them in retaliation?

The reason why Poland and all those other eastern block countries are so edgy is that they know the game theory behind this. Even a nuclear missile is unlikely to mean a nuclear attack in retaliation from NATO members. The UK will say, fuck that, you're on your own with that one.

I dont think any of the eastern bloc countries are safe from russian provocation at the moment. Ukraine proved that completely.

the exile 11:13 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel

Great post - very informative and just right for putting the knicker-wetters in their place. However, I'm surprised by your comments on "the alarming rise of socialism in the democratic West." Care to elaborate a little on that?

, 11:09 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Infidel can you explain how democratic socialism is a threat please? Oh and what proportion of this world's population is it a threat to?

BRANDED 11:06 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
You tel em inf

Infidel 11:04 Thu Feb 18
Re: China v America/West Russia v Turkey/West
Hairy

No, the threat and actions are not remotely the same as they were when Russia was run by the Soviet Communists.

The USSR was locked in an arms race with the West between 1945 and 1989. We came to the brink of a nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis that would have wiped out most of humanity - and that was just one of several near misses.

Russia poses no threat whatsoever to the West today. There is no chance - absolutely zero - of the Kremlin launching any nuclear strikes on any other state. We live in a new and much less dangerous world since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Russia defends its interests robustly, as indeed do many other countries. When it does so it attracts comments from people like you that 'nothing has changed' since the days of the USSR, which means you outrageously equate conventional military engagements in an obscure part of eastern Ukraine with global thermonuclear war. How can these two things be considered even remotely equivalent?

As for China, it manifestly isn't communist any more because (i) it doesn't have a centrally planned economy and (ii) it does not even attempt to equalise economic outcomes amongst its citizens.

It is also not getting poorer, as you mistakenly stated. It is getting richer, just at a slower rate than before.

Italy is getting poorer - GDP down 12% since 2008. Greece is getting poorer (GDP down 22%). But China is galloping ahead with economic growth outstripping the rest of the world comfortably. The BRICS in total will grow GDP 4-5% this year, a rate which doubles the size of their economy every 15-20 years.

The real threat the world faces today is not Russia or China but the threat to the market economy - the greatest engine of prosperity ever invented - from the alarming rise of socialism in the democratic West, and to a lesser extent the security threats from the spread of radical Islam.


















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