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Author Topic: Which is more important: the gadget, or the software and apps that runs it?  (Read 11237 times)
Stoic Joker
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« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2011, 07:01:44 PM »

Then, when a guy like Madoff gets caught with a Ponzi scheme in the economic crisis, he is vilified and sent to prison.  Good, right?  (I'm not defending him, I'm using this as an academic example).  However, when AIG or the government does the EXACT SAME THING, what happens?  We print more money and dump it into the top of the pyramid.  And that's the "right thing to do".

I hear ya man. I was in favor of lining up the leaders of AIG and ass raping them with a chainsaw. But...Justice only prevails in the movies. *Shrug*

But I still think that software is the make or break point for the topic. Does it do what I want, and does it do it well? That is the primary question IMO.

For most of the (heard) typical end users (sheeple) that don't have a clue what any of those cryptic letters and numbers actually mean.  The sales (drone) person can tell (spin) them any version of the "truth" that will close the sale. Only thing the user has to gauge with is the UI, and how easy it is to navigate when they start poking at it with a finger.

Hell, I've done it a few times. Stroll up to a counter, pickup a new unfamiliar device, and try to open a web page. It should be simple as bloody hell... But it ain't. Not consistently. Next test is to close the browser & open a text file. If I gotta hunt for an off button, Fail!. The UI is either completely obvious ... Or it's completely garbage ... There is no middle ground.

Numbers is nice, but the UI decides if money changes hands.
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superboyac
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« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2011, 09:59:59 PM »

(2) The problem I'm having -- as an open source guy -- is that each of these devices limit my choices. If I go with Google, then Amazon locks me out. If I go with Amazon, then they've shown they have no problem deleting your purchase if they need to. If I go with Apple, then I've gone to a dark, dark place where no one ever comes back, where Steve Jobs chokes any choice right out of your soul.
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Given this state of affairs, I think I'd have to go for the hardware and hope everyone eventually supports ePUB files. I can't let a corporation control the format of my files -- especially ones I'm purchasing! -- ever again.
If I were in your shoes, I'd go out of my way to break all the "ties" that bind.  For example, if you go with Apple, like I have for the ipad, then I would recommend jailbreaking it.  once you do that, you can sort of access the files and folders and do things with it that you prefer.  however, it's not very elegant, and it does affect the performance of the device.  As for the ebooks thing, forget it.  I don't even bother with that stuff.  I'm not really involved with it because I still very strongly prefer reading paper over these devices.  BUT...if I did, and I've said this before...I'd buy the book, and find a pdf somewhere and use that.  yes, it's illegal, but I feel that's a good compromise.  In the end, my objective is to support the people who are giving me what I desire.  All these laws and regulations are out there to protect the people who are trying to make as much money as possible WITHOUT offering the consumers anything that they want.

If you buy music from Amazon, make sure it's the mp3 format so you can keep it forever.  It's so hard to just buy something now without worrying about what it's going to cost you in the future.  You know, I truly miss the days when you'd go into the store, buy a cd, and that was it.  You held it and it felt special.  You waited for it, thought about it, but when you were ready to buy it, it felt really good.  Now, I never feel all that good.  I'm always suspicious and scared I missed something in the small print.  It has sucked a lot of enjoyment out of the whole process.
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Renegade
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« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2011, 10:06:19 PM »

...It has sucked a lot of enjoyment out of the whole process.

Nothing personal... It's just business...  ohmy

I know what you mean. It would be nice if companies would view customers as people that they can make happy and be profitable while making people happy, rather than viewing people as cash cows that they can milk and abuse.
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zridling
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« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2011, 01:51:39 AM »

Wouldn't you love to see all the devices on the table and be able to say:
I want THAT tablet,
with THIS OS,
without a cellphone contract,
with THESE apps.

If only I could say it with such brevity. Thanks! And as you say, we have to ability and for the most part, the [open] formats to make it so. But as you note, companies are after excessive profit, and to get that, they run a continuous series of lawsuits against everyone else under the guise of patent infringements. Patents were around for centuries before the US adopted its own Patent Act in 1790. In the following century a certified Steve Jobs-like jerk named Tom Edison patented everything he looked at, and then spent the rest of his life suing everyone on the planet (sound familiar to today tech landscape?). Until this line of thinking is changed by governments, then my Holodeck ain't never gonna come true.

Patents are not the sole evil of the modern world, but they are a big one. Capitalism has always been far too wasteful with resources:
-- Kill the environment, to hell with the future;
-- Distribute all the wealth to few at the top, creating a plutocracy;
-- Enact laws like DMCA, ACTA, et al., then sue everyone from former employees to competitors to even your own customers;
-- Find ways to charge people for every little move they make --
  • Want to own and drive a car? Let me see how many ways I can tax it and fine you over it.
  • Want to start a business? Let's see if you have the guts to withstand the crushing regulations and taxes you'll pay every three months.
  • Want to listen to a song? Let me see how many ways I can make that act illegal.
  • Want to read a book? Let me make sure you pay for every time you try to read it for the rest of your life.
  • Want a college education? Let's saddle you with crushing debt that will last a lifetime and hinder your future with each decade that passes.
Oy.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 01:53:24 AM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2011, 02:02:25 AM »

Wouldn't you love to see all the devices on the table and be able to say:
I want THAT tablet,
with THIS OS,
without a cellphone contract,
with THESE apps.

If only I could say it with such brevity. Thanks! And as you say, we have to ability and for the most part, the [open] formats to make it so. But as you note, companies are after excessive profit, and to get that, they run a continuous series of lawsuits against everyone else under the guise of patent infringements. Patents were around for centuries before the US adopted its own Patent Act in 1790. In the following century a certified Steve Jobs-like jerk named Tom Edison patented everything he looked at, and then spent the rest of his life suing everyone on the planet (sound familiar to today tech landscape?). Until this line of thinking is changed by governments, then my Holodeck ain't never gonna come true.

Patents are not the sole evil of the modern world, but they are a big one. Capitalism has always been far too wasteful with resources:
-- Kill the environment, to hell with the future;
-- Distribute all the wealth to few at the top, creating a plutocracy;
-- Enact laws like DMCA, ACTA, et al., then sue everyone from former employees to competitors to even your own customers;
-- Find ways to charge people for every little move they make --
  • Want to own and drive a car? Let me see how many ways I can tax it and fine you over it.
  • Want to start a business? Let's see if you have the guts to withstand the crushing regulations and taxes you'll pay every three months.
  • Want to listen to a song? Let me see how many ways I can make that act illegal.
  • Want to read a book? Let me make sure you pay for every time you try to read it for the rest of your life.
  • Want a college education? Let's saddle you with crushing debt that will last a lifetime and hinder your future with each decade that passes.
Oy.

+1

You said what I could never say without resorting to massive amounts of obscenity and profanity.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2011, 07:58:47 AM »

Wouldn't you love to see all the devices on the table and be able to say:
I want THAT tablet,
with THIS OS,
without a cellphone contract,
with THESE apps.

If only I could say it with such brevity. Thanks! And as you say, we have to ability and for the most part, the [open] formats to make it so. But as you note, companies are after excessive profit, and to get that, they run a continuous series of lawsuits against everyone else under the guise of patent infringements. Patents were around for centuries before the US adopted its own Patent Act in 1790. In the following century a certified Steve Jobs-like jerk named Tom Edison patented everything he looked at, and then spent the rest of his life suing everyone on the planet (sound familiar to today tech landscape?). Until this line of thinking is changed by governments, then my Holodeck ain't never gonna come true.

Patents are not the sole evil of the modern world, but they are a big one. Capitalism has always been far too wasteful with resources:
-- Kill the environment, to hell with the future;
-- Distribute all the wealth to few at the top, creating a plutocracy;
-- Enact laws like DMCA, ACTA, et al., then sue everyone from former employees to competitors to even your own customers;
-- Find ways to charge people for every little move they make --
  • Want to own and drive a car? Let me see how many ways I can tax it and fine you over it.
  • Want to start a business? Let's see if you have the guts to withstand the crushing regulations and taxes you'll pay every three months.
  • Want to listen to a song? Let me see how many ways I can make that act illegal.
  • Want to read a book? Let me make sure you pay for every time you try to read it for the rest of your life.
  • Want a college education? Let's saddle you with crushing debt that will last a lifetime and hinder your future with each decade that passes.
Oy.

+1

You said what I could never say without resorting to massive amounts of obscenity and profanity.
+2 (one for each)
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wraith808
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« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2011, 08:03:42 AM »

Two snips from the post:

companies are after excessive profit

Capitalism has always been far too wasteful with resources

Sounds like advocacy for socialism?  Just curious...
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Shades
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« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2011, 12:49:13 PM »

Why socialism?

A lot of profit lies in the mismanagement of waste. Profit is one of the main ingredients of capitalism, last time I heard.

<rant>
Many US citizens are immediately up in arms when their sacred short-term profit mantra is being questioned.
The current crisis is in my point of view a good reason for adapting the thinking style to long term profit and resource management.

If I may be so bold, the lack of this simple wisdom brought the US economy (almost) to its knees. And it negatively affected the position of the almighty dollar as global currency. That is also why the powers at Wall Street are busy to hurt the IMF with baiting Strauss-Kahn , which will hurt Greece (in getting/paying their loans), which will cause a lot of trouble for the stability of the Euro as a whole. A currency that grew to a very important important position on the global market in a very short time. Very much to the chagrin of Wall Street.

Businesses in China think about 25 to 50 years ahead. A trait similar to good chess players. And something future generations will appreciate. That the US should learn (again). The US is a lot like Bobby Fischer...(in his day a genius, to become insane destroying everything in his wake.

Fortunately though, the DC crowd has their heart and mind in the right place.

Sorry, I saw yesterday the documentary 'Inside Job'. That doesn't help my view on the world.</rant>
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Renegade
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« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2011, 01:22:09 PM »

The TDF page:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/inside-job/

Looks very interesting. I don't think I've seen it though.

Still, the American allergy to "socialism" can be pretty disturbing. In the same way that American capitalism is... Time for me to shut up... Not going political here.
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superboyac
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« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2011, 01:39:38 PM »

Why socialism?

A lot of profit lies in the mismanagement of waste. Profit is one of the main ingredients of capitalism, last time I heard.

<rant>
Many US citizens are immediately up in arms when their sacred short-term profit mantra is being questioned.
The current crisis is in my point of view a good reason for adapting the thinking style to long term profit and resource management.

If I may be so bold, the lack of this simple wisdom brought the US economy (almost) to its knees. And it negatively affected the position of the almighty dollar as global currency. That is also why the powers at Wall Street are busy to hurt the IMF with baiting Strauss-Kahn , which will hurt Greece (in getting/paying their loans), which will cause a lot of trouble for the stability of the Euro as a whole. A currency that grew to a very important important position on the global market in a very short time. Very much to the chagrin of Wall Street.

Businesses in China think about 25 to 50 years ahead. A trait similar to good chess players. And something future generations will appreciate. That the US should learn (again). The US is a lot like Bobby Fischer...(in his day a genius, to become insane destroying everything in his wake.

Fortunately though, the DC crowd has their heart and mind in the right place.

Sorry, I saw yesterday the documentary 'Inside Job'. That doesn't help my view on the world.</rant>
I saw it, too.  Very powerful movie.  At the end, i couldn't tell if I was affected because I was manipulated...OR...if I was affected because it was true.  I found it difficult to argue against the main points made in the movie.
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wraith808
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« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2011, 02:26:32 PM »

Why socialism?

A lot of profit lies in the mismanagement of waste. Profit is one of the main ingredients of capitalism, last time I heard.

<rant>
Many US citizens are immediately up in arms when their sacred short-term profit mantra is being questioned.
The current crisis is in my point of view a good reason for adapting the thinking style to long term profit and resource management.

If I may be so bold, the lack of this simple wisdom brought the US economy (almost) to its knees. And it negatively affected the position of the almighty dollar as global currency. That is also why the powers at Wall Street are busy to hurt the IMF with baiting Strauss-Kahn , which will hurt Greece (in getting/paying their loans), which will cause a lot of trouble for the stability of the Euro as a whole. A currency that grew to a very important important position on the global market in a very short time. Very much to the chagrin of Wall Street.

Businesses in China think about 25 to 50 years ahead. A trait similar to good chess players. And something future generations will appreciate. That the US should learn (again). The US is a lot like Bobby Fischer...(in his day a genius, to become insane destroying everything in his wake.

Fortunately though, the DC crowd has their heart and mind in the right place.

Sorry, I saw yesterday the documentary 'Inside Job'. That doesn't help my view on the world.</rant>

It was a simple question, especially as he espoused that <quote>Capitalism has always been far too wasteful with resources<unquote> rather than the people that make up the system.  It's one thing to say that some of the decision makers have been wasteful with resources... even always.  Quite another to say that a system is too wasteful with resources.  The other thing that bothers me is <quote>excessive profit</quote>.  What is excessive profit?  Who decides that?  One can ask these questions without being up in arms about the decisions that led to the current economic state.  And that had little to do with capitalism, and a lot to do with the stupidity of investors, and the mentality that there's always someone that will come along that's stupider.  Everyone was trying to ride the wake, instead of realizing that the wave's natural tide was being spurred by their actions, rather than this becoming the new norm.

My "allergy" to Socialism in it's purest form has to do with the implicit statement that makes that the government is my provider.  I do believe in providing for the citizenry, but not at the expense of the individual.   There's a middle ground that very few seem to be willing to see or espouse in the current global climate.
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zridling
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« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2011, 11:12:04 PM »

It was a simple question, especially as he espoused that <quote>Capitalism has always been far too wasteful with resources<unquote> rather than the people that make up the system.  It's one thing to say that some of the decision makers have been wasteful with resources... even always.  Quite another to say that a system is too wasteful with resources.
I'm not anti-capitalist, but I am for highly regulated capitalism. In the US, we suffer from amnesia every time our plutocratic overlords wreck the economy and send the bill to the taxpayers. In effect, banksters and politicians perpetually go to the market casino, gamble with our money, promptly lose it, and then turn to us to bail them out. We also export this same pain on much of the world because of how much US debt other countries own. Our government -- liberal or conservative -- gives corporations tax breaks to ship jobs overseas, tax breaks to bring their goods back into the country, and then more tax breaks in the form of not having to pay taxes at all! Building the "best mousetrap" isn't the goal anymore given the current patent climate. Besides, the goal of capitalism is to increase profits, pure and simple, not to seek the best solution or to consider future repercussions of today's actions (drill baby drill! let me dump my toxic waste in your river, store my nuclear waste on your property, and so on).

The other thing that bothers me is <quote>excessive profit</quote>.  What is excessive profit?  Who decides that?  One can ask these questions without being up in arms about the decisions that led to the current economic state.  And that had little to do with capitalism, and a lot to do with the stupidity of investors, and the mentality that there's always someone that will come along that's stupider.  Everyone was trying to ride the wake, instead of realizing that the wave's natural tide was being spurred by their actions, rather than this becoming the new norm.
First, excessive profit is the opposite of "dumping"; that is, where I charge much lower prices for the same goods you're selling just to run you (or your country) out of the business (of steel, microchips, etc.). Excessive profit is when it's never enough. To squeeze another drop of money out of iPads, Steve Jobs is perfectly willing to let FoxConn workers die, or should I say, commit suicide. Really?! Necessities such as energy, food, healthcare, often government-sponsored, charge far more profit than they need to be richer than rich.

Extremely large corporate profits don’t necessarily translate into large amounts of personal wealth for anybody. Consider the fact that a company that has several billion dollars in profits — a lot of money, by anyone’s accounting — might have hundreds of millions of shares outstanding, spread across thousands (or even millions) of shareholders, and might pay out only a tiny dividend (say, a dollar per share). So a massive profit doesn’t necessarily translate into massive personal wealth for the investor. Our intuitions of fairness guide excessive profit. But we all know what a few monopolies in the sectors of energy, transportation, healthcare, insurance, education, and housing can do great evil in a short time.

My "allergy" to Socialism in it's purest form has to do with the implicit statement that makes that the government is my provider.  I do believe in providing for the citizenry, but not at the expense of the individual. There's a middle ground that very few seem to be willing to see or espouse in the current global climate.
No problem there as long as the rules are the same for everyone and practices the same capitalism. Governments are enablers of entities like Goldman Sachs, AIG, and large sectors of the economy (above) gaining extraordinary advantages over others. The greatest socialism of all is practiced by the banks -- if I know I can't fail, and if I do, the government will charge the taxpayer to make me whole again, then I can never lose. Ever. If Wraith or Renegade or Zaine goes broke in business, I don't get the benefit of a government-funded backstop. Goldman, AIG, et al. were lying and selling its customers (investors) pure trash, knowing it was trash, and then running to the market and betting AGAINST its own products -- knowing they would fail -- just to make a profit.

There's a long, long story in here about leverage, too. Let's just say if I gave you to opportunity to borrow a billion dollars to start a business, you might fail. But if I gave you the ability to to borrow $400bn, you'd have a hard time failing! And even if you did fail by making the worst decisions possible -- as the banks did -- then knowing that you'd get to keep your $400bn because someone else would bail you out (the taxpayers), even if you failed completely, you'd still profit and could call yourself a success. Wiping you out so I can succeed via fraud or incompetence is socialism at its worst. Not the guy trying to afford a needed operation on his kidneys.
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- zaine (on Google+)
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« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2011, 12:54:00 AM »

+1 for Zane.


Now...

Anyone feel like lending me $400bn?  embarassed
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« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2011, 04:34:09 AM »

I'm not anti-capitalist, but I am for highly regulated capitalism.
a big +1 there

Excessive profit is when it's never enough[/b]. To squeeze another drop of money out of iPads, Steve Jobs is perfectly willing to let FoxConn workers die, or should I say, commit suicide. Really?! Necessities such as energy, food, healthcare, often government-sponsored, charge far more profit than they need to be richer than rich.

would be nice if there were more awareness and less acceptance of "this kind of thing".
In "fairness" to Apple though, I think most big companies work this way. Some are more blatant about it (e.g. Nike).
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« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2011, 07:21:04 AM »


would be nice if there were more awareness and less acceptance of "this kind of thing".

Back in 1983, LeGuinn delivered a commencement address where she sounded a note of caution on the growing complacency of American youth towards the stark truth that lies beneath some of its nation's most cherished ideals:

Quote
Success is somebody else's failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty.

In the 28 years since she spoke those words, nothing much has changed, except that the number of people who now live in poverty has increased drastically. Food for thought...


 
Ms. LeGuinn also wrote a beautiful parable about this sort of thing. It's called: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.

You can read a copy of it online here.

And you really should. Because few authors can pack as much of a punch into 7 short pages as LeGuinn can.

(WARNING: This story is one of those seemingly small things that might forever change your outlook on life. Proceed with caution.  Wink)

 Cool

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« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2011, 11:53:16 AM »

Quote
Success is somebody else's failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty.

See, this I totally disagree with.  For me to succeed doesn't mean that someone else has to fail.  It never has meant that, and it never will.  It can be achieved at such sacrifice, but that doesn't mean it requires such.

Ms. LeGuinn also wrote a beautiful parable about this sort of thing. It's called: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.

You can read a copy of it online here.

And you really should. Because few authors can pack as much of a punch into 7 short pages as LeGuinn can.

There was a similar Doctor Who episode I just watched a bit ago, "The Beast Below".  I like the ending of that particular episode, because it makes the point that I do above- that though it is possible to take the easy way out of the morally ambiguous decision, it's not a necessity.

To squeeze another drop of money out of iPads, Steve Jobs is perfectly willing to let FoxConn workers die, or should I say, commit suicide. Really?! Necessities such as energy, food, healthcare, often government-sponsored, charge far more profit than they need to be richer than rich.

How do you know this?  The fact that it is happening doesn't mean that he has any desire to make such a sacrifice, or indeed any measure of control over the situation, other than pulling out of the relationship, and any pressures put on the relationship could indeed make conditions worse.  There's a reason that people go there for work voluntarily- because they don't have better options.  And if those options are taken away, what happens to them?  It's a lot less simple when you are actually in the driver's seat, as many have found out when pressed to such heights.  And it's a lot easier to criticize when you don't know the intricacies of the decisions that brought this to pass.
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« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2011, 02:32:52 PM »

Quote
Success is somebody else's failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty.

See, this I totally disagree with.  For me to succeed doesn't mean that someone else has to fail.  It never has meant that, and it never will.  It can be achieved at such sacrifice, but that doesn't mean it requires such.



There was a time when I would have agreed with you 100%.

And, if we were restricting the discussion to a purely personal form of success, I still would.

But one thing I have observed, over the years, is that no matter how much we wish to talk about the desire to play non-zero sum economic games, in reality, they inevitably morph into zero-sum games once they reach a certain number of players (usually somewhere around 5 or 6) competing for a share of the same pot.

So yes, our own individual success may not depend on somebody else failing or being made to do with less. But when the population of the United States (or the United States and Western Europe to be more correct) continues to consume total planetary resources vastly out of proportion to the population of the rest of the world, one has to wonder why.

And the answer that becomes most apparent is simply because (a) they want to - and even more importantly - because (b) they can.

There used to be the argument that the West could justify acquiring so much material resource because only the West had the technology and manufacturing capabilities to properly use and derive maximum benefit from them. But now that the technology and the manufacturing (along with their environmental and human abuses) have been farmed back as some odd form of 'sharecropping,' this justification merits far less credence than it once did.

You could say (and many have) that such practices represent the return of feudalism, except this time in nation-state form, and on a global scale.

Truth is, much of the current western economy is dependent upon cheap labor and raw materials. Usually provided by corrupt governments that maintain their positions of power by effectively selling off their countries' natural resources and labor pool (on the cheap) to whichever power or superpower will back them with sufficient military and financial resources that they can remain in power.

The western democracies seriously do believe they stand for freedom and democracy. But only insofar as it maintains their own internal status quo. There is no interest now (or ever) in taking a smaller piece of the pie in order to give somebody else a bigger slice. The best those with a smaller piece can hope for is to buy into the capitalist argument that if only the pie itself could be made bigger, then everybody could get a better portion to enjoy. It's the age old "rising tide floats all boats" economic argument. True enough, when and if it happens. But that's not an automatic given.

However, at no time does anyone in a position of power ever seriously suggest that the proportion of one piece to another should radically change. That's what the socialists argue. Oh horror of horrors!

The real problem is we say we believe one thing, yet do another. And when belief and behavior contradict each other, our most common response is to go into denial by saying things like" "It's not always the case" - even if (in practice) it almost always is.

What a dilemma...  ohmy

Unfortunately, EVEN the socialists don't have much to point to, since they too have demonstrated a distinct talent for making a complete hash of things once they've been put in complete charge of a nation or economy. And if history is any guide, they've done considerably worse for the "common man" and "the worker" than capitalism ever has.

Barring a fundamental change in global awareness, I don't see anything changing for the better.

Even slavery and child labor, which were largely considered unacceptable during the last century, are now making a major comeback - all decked out in shiny new clothing and called something else in order not to be too obvious about it.

Add in government sponsored religious persecution; genocidal purges and ethnic 'cleansing;' the reintroduction of detention without trial or (in many cases) a shred of legal authority; the sanctioned use of torture as an acceptable part of 'criminal procedure'; and the gradual centralization of all real authority in the executive of many governments (i.e. the return of absolute kings and privy councils) - and you have some strong indications that the "bad old days" are making a big comeback.

Which means when the members of a society reach a breaking point (which they inevitably do) the fact they've been systematically disenfranchised and denied legal remedies will lead to the usual violent form of 'remediation' most human societal change comes out of.

Such a high tariff to pay for "low prices.'" You'd have thought we learned that lesson by now.   undecided
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 02:42:28 PM by 40hz » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2011, 04:57:18 PM »

Ooo...serious, scary truths by 40.  Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time disagreeing with any of it.
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« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2011, 06:49:03 PM »

+1 for 40hz

Add in government sponsored religious persecution; genocidal purges and ethnic 'cleansing;' the reintroduction of detention without trial or (in many cases) a shred of legal authority; the sanctioned use of torture as an acceptable part of 'criminal procedure'; and the gradual centralization of all real authority in the executive of many governments (i.e. the return of absolute kings and privy councils) - and you have some strong indications that the "bad old days" are making a big comeback.

Which means when the members of a society reach a breaking point (which they inevitably do) the fact they've been systematically disenfranchised and denied legal remedies will lead to the usual violent form of 'remediation' most human societal change comes out of.

Try telling people that "detention without trial" is unjust, and they'll simply write you off as a nut case. Because it's not "detention without trial"... It's "Guantanamo" for war prisoners. Or some other excuse. Bradley Manning? Oh... He deserves it. Oh... They're still gathering evidence. Oh... <insert excuse />...

etc. etc.

Morphine is great to relieve the pain of serious trauma, but continual use is little different than heroin addiction. Too much of a good thing, perhaps?

In the same way capitalism is subject to abuse. Similarly, socialism has been abused horribly. Blaming "capitalism" itself, or "socialism" itself, or "whatever", isn't going to solve anything. The Aristotelian value of moderation seems to still have some 'value' in it.


I read a news report the other day about peaceful protesters being arrested. Hmmm...
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« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2011, 10:40:28 AM »

In the same way capitalism is subject to abuse. Similarly, socialism has been abused horribly. Blaming "capitalism" itself, or "socialism" itself, or "whatever", isn't going to solve anything. The Aristotelian value of moderation seems to still have some 'value' in it.

+1 for this.
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« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2011, 11:42:47 PM »

To squeeze another drop of money out of iPads, Steve Jobs is perfectly willing to let FoxConn workers die, or should I say, commit suicide. Really?! Necessities such as energy, food, healthcare, often government-sponsored, charge far more profit than they need to be richer than rich.
___________________________________________
How do you know this?  The fact that it is happening doesn't mean that he has any desire to make such a sacrifice, or indeed any measure of control over the situation, other than pulling out of the relationship, and any pressures put on the relationship could indeed make conditions worse.  There's a reason that people go there for work voluntarily- because they don't have better options.  And if those options are taken away, what happens to them?  It's a lot less simple when you are actually in the driver's seat, as many have found out when pressed to such heights.  And it's a lot easier to criticize when you don't know the intricacies of the decisions that brought this to pass.

You're right, I don't know. However, does Jobs have the power to do something about this? Absolutely. Has he? Absolutely not. Now I ask: Why not?

Why has he chosen to make iPads in China? Why not Britain, Canada, Africa, Norway, Australia, or Poland? Surely it's not because of price, because we all know Apple fans wouldn't mind paying an extra €100 for the device; in fact, they'd probably like it that much better! It's like the Japanese killing as many whales as possible every year -- if you're going to eat whale meat, then at some point you must take responsibility for the consequences of that action, with what little power you have. Steve Jobs, however, has all the power to change the Foxconn situation, even if the decision is to stop production. He could afford to pay those workers a generous annual salary for the rest of their life -- out of his own pocket, and I assure you he wouldn't miss the money. (But not if it gets in the way of adding another penny to the stock's performance this quarter.)

If those with power won't make the world a better place, then short of revolution (against a corporation?), how can those without do so?
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« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2011, 07:17:41 AM »

@Zridling - you make an excellent point. Because if there were any one person in the world who could possibly go up against 'corporate 'wisdom' and "business as usual" - get away with it - (and maybe even pull it off) it would be Steve Jobs.

Too bad "Think Different" only goes as far as bashing competitors and generally feeling superior to everyone else.

What a wasted opportunity to change the world.

Like George Ade said:

Of all sad words of tongue or pen , the saddest these: "It might have been."
 Sad
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« Reply #47 on: May 31, 2011, 11:36:53 AM »

I just read that 70% of the US economy is tied to mortgages.  That's very very scary bad.  Last month was the lowest the home market has been in 8 years.  So what does this mean?  They say it means the double-dip recession is coming, and I believe it.  What else could it mean?  how will the world cope with it?  More bailouts?  I don't know.  There's talk of bailing out Greece.  So now entire countries are being bailed out to keep the economy afloat.  These are not good signs.

One thing the banks can start doing is actually using the bailout money to let homeowners restructure their mortgages to current market prices.  Either that, or expect even more foreclosures.  Either way, it will reduce the flow of money in the economy by a lot (remember, the mortgages are 70% of the money that's being traded around).  This means fewer transactions for the Wall Street millionaires, which means the wheels of this fucked up engine will slow down even more.  Less powerful countries will continue to struggle and fail, they will ask for more bailouts.

At some point, more bailouts will be impossible.  you can't just keep creating money out of thin air.  If the bulk of the population doesn't have enough money to pay for a lot of things, it's over.  Our global pyramid scheme will have to start collapsing.

What I described above is what SHOULD happen.  It doesn't mean it WILL happen.  I have a feeling that most of the doom and gloom talk will be ignored by the masses, and they just chug along as best as they can.  After all, they have their own lives to worry about and don't have the time and energy like me to worry about all the depressing details.

But that means the plutocracy will grow even more, then.  It's one or the other, and both are bad for the majority of the population.  What probably will happen in our lifetime is the continual erosion of the middle class.  Most of us will gradually feel the pinch of the economy as we go through life.  Coming out of the crazy bubbles a decade ago, it's going to be hard for us to accept certain things.  There aren't going to be many opportunities for the non-wealthy to go to good colleges, or even medium-grade colleges.  Education as a whole (elementary, high school) will become poorer in quality and will feel like spinning wheels.  The true, good education will not be available if you don't have a lot of money.  It will really be a plutocracy.  A gradual disappearance of the middle class.
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superboyac
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« Reply #48 on: May 31, 2011, 12:49:17 PM »

Ms. LeGuinn also wrote a beautiful parable about this sort of thing. It's called: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.

You can read a copy of it online here.

And you really should. Because few authors can pack as much of a punch into 7 short pages as LeGuinn can.

(WARNING: This story is one of those seemingly small things that might forever change your outlook on life. Proceed with caution.  Wink)

 Cool
Oh shit, 40.  That is a legit warning.  This was written over 30 years ago?!  It confirms my suspicion that my feelings are not a product of the specific events of today, but more of me growing up and becoming aware of the universal truths of human history.
Walking away is indeed the only choice.  The scary thing to think about is what does walking away mean?  I've been thinking about this for a few months now, and I just don't know.  Obviously, there's the ultimate walking away...which is not something I'm willing to think about right now.  Then there are other forms of walking away, all of which would be very tough decisions.

I like your warning...it's almost unnecessary.  If you read the story and it affects you the way it's intended to, you were already thinking like this in the first place.  If you weren't already thinking like that, the story will just read as pessimistic, utopian story and will be interesting at best.  I need to go back and read Animal Farm and 1984...I was much too happy as a child to have any of those themes make sense to me.

Along similar lines, here's an AWESOME movie recommendation:
Visioneers
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Edvard
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« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2011, 03:46:31 PM »

... And Brave New World!! Don't forget about Brave New World!!  Cry Cry
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