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Old 02-12-2013, 10:25 PM   #76
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Please elaborate on how religion ties into all of this. I'm dying to hear it

It's the "anything goes" undead values of voodoo that have doomed Haiti.

But then Japan ... How do we explain godless Japan ...
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:44 PM   #77
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INDY, I am not sure if I should respond to your most recent post, but this...

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Explain why Israel prospers while Arab states with more natural resources live under oppression. How a mountain range between Haiti and the Dominican Republic separates a thriving country from a 3rd world country. Why Mexicans risk life to get to Texas but Texans don't leave everything to sneak into Mexico. Who the Berlin Wall was meant to contain.

No, you have it backwards, strong economies don't produce values -- values produce strong economies. Liberal, free societies don't produce values -- values produce free, liberal societies.
Holy crap. Talk about bigotry and severe superiority complex.

BTW, Mexicans are primarily Catholic - is that an inferior religion in your eyes? And what about the Persian Gulf states? They have high GDPs and successful economies, and - shock! - they're Muslim countries. India's economy is developing quickly and they're mostly Hindu. And let's not forget Japan.

I'm just disgusted, and I feel really sorry for you having such narrow, heartless views.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:46 PM   #78
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Boy!, do you have to leave children out of the equation and believe marriage is primarily about the emotional health and needs of adults to come up with that.
So, it is OK for a man and a woman to be incompatible and be miserable together, and raise children is such a household? And you wonder why divorce is common these days.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:51 PM   #79
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Only because I thought it was a given and obvious. I can't mention every cause and every symptom plus the usual qualifiers about generalizations, exceptions, etc. Of course people are putting off marriage to pay tuition bills, etc, etc. But marriage clearly is not viewed the same manner that it was 2 or 3 generations ago either.

But the main point about marriage I was making is about the incentives government programs have put in place that actually discourage it in lower income groups. It doesn't matter if it's solar panels or out-of-wedlock children, if you subsidize it you will get more of it. That's not heartless conservatism that's economics 101.

Have you actually done any extensive research into why marriage is less common these days? If you did, you'd find it is because many don't want to deal with the possibility of divorce and all it's heartaches and headaches.

You seem to get your beliefs based on one or two angles, and gear them toward every issue in this country. The welfare system is not the sole reason why America is not the way it was in the 1950s, nor is the increasing secularism. You make it sound so black and white when there is so much gray going on.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:52 PM   #80
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I appreciate your post but its length makes it kinda hard to respond so I'll just comment on a few of your thoughts.
Thanks for your thoughtful response, and welcome back to FYM.

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What if government policy is a structural impediment? Our corporate tax structure, over-regulation and inefficient labor unions all make us less competitive on the global stage. What if Obamacare and the higher taxes and mandates really is the job killer the GOP has been calling it?
I was thinking about this issue, and I should have talked about. Whether this fits into the structural category or the cyclical category is debatable, but that doesn't really matter too much. Regarding labor unions... I'm most sympathetic with your beliefs there, and I'm uncertain of my own beliefs on the matter, so I'm not going to get into a debate about them. Regarding the government... you are right, in a sense. Higher taxes, higher regulation, more demands on businesses, all things equal, all have negative impacts on job creation. What also has a negative impact on job creation? Lack of demand. Corporations create jobs to satisfy demand, and if there is cyclically depressed demand, job creation isn't helped either. So there's a careful balancing act to play. I tend to not ideologically believe that there is a correct level of taxes or regulation; rather, that taxes and regulation should be lower, and spending should be higher, when the economy is struggling. The Affordable Care Act brings a new long-term semi-structural, semi-cyclical dynamic into play. Inequality of opportunity is sorely lacking in this country, and it will probably help with that. Like I said, all things equal, mandates on businesses and whatnot hurt job creation. But so does inequality. A society of better equality of opportunity is one that can create new ideas, new products, new demand, and new opportunities that create new jobs. So, like I said, it's a balancing act.

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The fact that you describe it as a "bubble" tells me you understand the housing market was artificially pumped up, by both parties. Interest rates at historic lows (they still are but they shouldn't be), government guarantees of mortgages and their derivative that were never going to be paid off. No, the subprime fiasco had to happen after the government got involved with the Community Reinvestment Act.
I don't disagree with your basic ideas here. The government (primarily Democrats, though Republicans deserve some blame, and Alan Greenspan deserves a ton) made policies that were major causes for the subprime community (although I think that both the business community and the American populace deserve blame, as well). Interest rates being low... that's something that I disagree with in strong times, and agree with in not-so-strong times. Now is clearly the latter, although I do worry about the Fed's promises to keep rates this low into 2015. But you and I probably fully agree that expansionary monetary policy and acts like the Community Reinvestment Act that are in effect when the economy is booming can have... rather negative consequences.

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You are quite right to talk about cyclical downturns and cycles but if there has always been a truism it is that the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. It was true in the 40's after the Depression and it was true after the recession in the early 80's. So I'll ask, though it would have been more painful in 2009 and 2010 would we be better off today, would the economy truly be in a recovery, if Barack Obama had not followed his policies of massive spending through stimulus, increased baseline government spending and QE monetary policies? Tarp whatever you think about it predates Obama so I don't buy for a moment that Obama saved us from a depression. Officially the recession was over 6 months into his term yet the recovery barely has a pulse.The workforce participation rate is lower than his first day in office. The whole thing seems to teter on government spending, there is no true private sector recovery.

If there are other factors involved that didn't exist in the 40's and 80's like globalization and our smaller manufacturing base (which are factors no doubt about it) then how is amnesty for 12 million or more largely low-skill workers a boon for our 2013 economy? A boon for Democratic voter roles sure...
It's silly to doubt that, all things equal, stimulus creates jobs and economic activity in a recession. Would we have gone into absolute depression without it? Maybe not, but it's hard to say. However, stimulus is historically quite useful for battling down cyclical components of recessions, when recession is more or less happening because money vanished. The recovery does not teter on government spending, anymore at least. Government employment is down as of late. Government stimulus helped create private sector employment, yeah, but stimulus isn't happening anymore. The employment-population ratio (probably the best measure of employment) is down from January 2009, but the falls in that number were more or less before the stimulus. The stimulus stopped the fall. Did it inspire a huge rebound? No. But I've seen no evidence that stimulus is the cause of any structural woes, and I can think of nothing in Economics that would make that the case (Ricardian Equivalence would say that it's useless, but that's empirically denied). The fact that the economy isn't rebounding as quickly as it did after previous cyclical downturns points to structural issues more or less out of the government's hands.

Amnesty is a rather conservative economic position, Indy. It is economically much the same as free trade; anything else is protectionism. Its long-term impacts (a new base of workers to support our aging population, a new group of people hungry for success who can grow our economy, cheaper labor allows company to invest more in products that take more expensive labor to engineer and develop) are probably very good, and similar to the effects of free trade. I don't see you rushing out for protectionism, and for good reason. Lump of labor is a fallacy.

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The money supply is one of the factors I am comparing from Obama's first day in office to now and again in 4 years I guess. You tell me if a 27% increase is warranted? It's doubled the price of gold from his first day in office if that tells you anything.
It's absolutely warranted, because of the amount of money that disappeared with the subprime crash. The price of gold increasing so much is pretty much meaningless. I've seen people such as Ron Paul try to link increases in the price of gold to some massive devaluation of the dollar as of late, but that's ridiculous, because gold has increased at a far faster rate than CPI and GDP Deflator. If the value of our money is decreasing so much, why is everything (expect for oil and gold) not seeing its price soar? Gold is so expensive probably because paranoid inflation hawks are investing in it enough to create a gold bubble.

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We weren't told about "a new structural norm" during the election speeches and debates. When did this happen? When did European-like dismal GDP growth and chronic unemployment become our new norm? I missed that.
I addressed this at length in my post, and I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. I'm suggesting that a new structural norm may be the case, and, furthermore, that the government probably can't do much to affect it.

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I can't help where people take a thread and what they wish to ask me about but I never said lower birthrates was solely a moral issue. Education, wealth, urban rather than rural life, a higher survival rate of children all contribute to the birthrate... but so does secularism. Religious people have more children than non-religious people. Europe, Russia and Japan have negative birthrates. Poorer Catholic and Muslim countries have babies. So does America but we're slowing down too.

You may think this is a good thing but Western Civilization has built up these huge welfare states with their wealth that are actually just Ponzi schemes requiring a growing population to maintain and fund. Hence the open borders of Europe and America -- culture be damned.
You are very right on your last paragraph. Immigration is a sort of solution, but the welfare states for retirees absolutely have to be cut down. In my mind, the best way to do this is by raising the retirement age... significantly. But I'm 19 years old, so maybe that's a bit of agism coming out. One concern that I have, that reaches far beyond a debate about government, is that lifespan may be rising, but I'm not entirely sure that years of productive life are rising. In other words, if people now live to 85 instead of 75, but can still only work until they're 65, and will require a lot of expensive medical care for the last ten years of their lives... that's a rather huge structural problem that I don't know how to solve. Even if secularism is contributing to declining birthrates, there are many other economic factors that are absolutely contributing too, and those aren't really possible to turn around.

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Explain why Israel prospers while Arab states with more natural resources live under oppression. How a mountain range between Haiti and the Dominican Republic separates a thriving country from a 3rd world country. Why Mexicans risk life to get to Texas but Texans don't leave everything to sneak into Mexico. Who the Berlin Wall was meant to contain.

No, you have it backwards, strong economies don't produce values -- values produce strong economies. Liberal, free societies don't produce values -- values produce free, liberal societies.
It goes in both directions. Obviously, a government that values liberal democracy and generally free markets over theocracy, fascism, communism, or whatever, is going to produce a stronger economy (and a society that I would much rather live in) than a government that values autocracy. I am more interested in why societies adopt certain beliefs. I hope we are beyond Social Darwinism here... you are probably smart enough to believe that there is not some sort of gene in non-white peoples that makes them inherently inferior to white people. So where are we left?

There are tons of empirical examples of economic situations affections societies' outlooks and values. For example, Glasnost. The Soviet Union was obviously struggling before Glasnost, but commercial openness to the West suddenly wrought more political change to the USSR than any politician could have. Or take post-WWI Germany. The Entente caused economic disaster in Germany, and... surprise! Resentment grew in Germany, and resulted in one of the worst governments ever to exist! That's a very common theme in places economically hurt by the West... a prime example of which is the Middle East. Identical religions manage to create wildly different value systems through the ages. Again, compare Europe today versus Europe in 900 CE, or the Middle East today with the Middle East in 900 CE.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:14 PM   #81
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INDY, I am not sure if I should respond to your most recent post, but this...

Holy crap. Talk about bigotry and severe superiority complex.
Whoa, I hit a nerve didn't I? Must have said one of your buzzwords.

Where is the bigotry in contrasting E German culture with W German culture? Where is the bigotry in noting that American Hispanics don't try to become Mexican citizens but Mexican Hispanics will risk their life to become an American? Forget about economics are you telling me there is no difference between the culture of Israel and its neighbors regarding personal freedom, religious tolerance, the justice system, the arts, the value of life or intellectual curiosity?

This isn't about race its about culture. Blacks can have good values, Mongolians can have good values. Whites can have terrible values and many have and do. It's about culture and behavior. Is culture determined by values or is culture determined by economic conditions and politics.

Question. Generally speaking, are American values superior to most other cultures? If no, is that because you believe all cultures are relatively equal? If yes, what is wrong with believing that and sharing those values with others or passing them on to future generations.
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BTW, Mexicans are primarily Catholic - is that an inferior religion in your eyes?
No. This isn't about theology per say either it's about values. Atheists can have good values. Muslims can have good values. Christians can have terrible values but America is great because of the values it has stood for and most Americans have tried to live by all these years. They are not exclusive but neither are they permanent. And they have largely been influenced by Judeo-Christian values and you'd have to be a college professor or ignorant of history think otherwise. In God We Trust is the national motto for a reason.

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And what about the Persian Gulf states? They have high GDPs and successful economies, and - shock! - they're Muslim countries.
Quick poll, does anybody agree with this statement?

I don't in any manner. From Northern Africa to the Persian Gulf the Arab States are a economic mess and a societal backwaters. High GDPs? Who? Successful economies? Which of these monarchs, despots, kleptocrats or theocracies are you deeming a "successful economy"?

Yes, and they are Muslims. I have no problem with Islam or its followers, I do have a problem with the values inherent in theocracies and Sharia Law as interpreted by Islamists. Do you see those values as equal to American values? Compatible with Western democracy, individual liberty or equality before the law?

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India's economy is developing quickly and they're mostly Hindu. And let's not forget Japan.
Capitalism

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I'm just disgusted, and I feel really sorry for you having such narrow, heartless views.
I'm not worried about "will it hurt anyone's feelings?", I am only worried about "Is it true?"

Is it true that some values are better than others?

Is it true Western values historically been derived to a large part from the Bible?

Is it true that values determine culture and economic prosperity or is it the other way around?

Is it true America is prosperous because of our values or is it because of slavery, killing off the Indian tribes, imperialism, greed and our exploitation of 3rd world countries?

Is it true disco still sucks? (Just seeing if anyone made it to the end)
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:33 PM   #82
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Thanks for your thoughtful response, and welcome back to FYM.
Thank you, it will be a few days but I'll respond to you.

You challenge ideas and think rather than emote. Pretty rare for the internet.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:38 PM   #83
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And they have largely been influenced by Judeo-Christian values and you'd have to be a college professor or ignorant of history think otherwise. In God We Trust is the national motto for a reason.
Your mistrust of educational institutions betrays your preference for horseshit over facts. When unbiased facts don't give you the answers you wish were true, you decide it must be the schools problem and not yours. It's a little pathetic, if I'm being completely honest

And what's the reason for your national motto? Please share with us. Include the religious leanings of your founding fathers
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:39 PM   #84
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I am only worried about "Is it true?"
hahahahahahahahahaha.

No you don't. You only worry about "how can I twist this to fit my world view?"
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:41 PM   #85
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Is it true Western values historically been derived to a large part from the Bible?
no. Unless you're only picking and choosing certain values that fit with your bible's values. If the values in the bible were the basis for American society, it would be a shithole indeed.

What are Judeo-Christian values exactly? Can you list some for us? I wonder which ones you'll leave out.
And why combine Jewish and Christian values? Are they the same thing? They're far from the same holy books. Do you know when that phrase came into existence? You might as well call them Pagan-Christian values. It would make a lot more sense, but giving credit to a non-Abrahamic culture wouldn't fit your world view and make your team feel less important and icky

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Is it true that some values are better than others?
Yes. But do you really think your xenophobic, homophobic, anti-intellectual values are good? I think they're shit. And you keep talking about "American Values". What makes you think you're representative of American values?
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:50 PM   #86
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:25 PM   #87
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INDY, when you mentioned those countries initially, it sounded prejudiced to me. Even other posters are voicing that sentiment. You also seem to be backtracking on what you said and acting like I read something wrong or read a "buzzword".

Cute.

The Persian Gulf countries have very good economies and even some of the highest GDP per capita in the world. Qatar ranks first, Kuwait is at 16th and the United Arab Emirates rank 13th. Even Brunei in Southeast Asia, which primarily Muslim, ranks 11th.

Don't believe me? https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...tryName=United Arab Emirates&countryCode=ae&regionCode=mde&rank=13#ae

Also, many Europeans are relocating to Dubai and Qatar because of the opportunities there. Yes, those places have human rights abuses, their economies are based on oil, and there's not a lot of freedom and their governments are theocratic, but it is just inaccurate to say:

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...to the Persian Gulf the Arab States are a economic mess
Furthermore...

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Compatible with Western democracy, individual liberty or equality before the law?
I may be changing the subject, but I can't ignore this. You value the above so much, yet you don't believe in same-sex marriage, which is part on individual liberty and equality before the law. So, you are completely - and openly - contradicting yourself.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:31 PM   #88
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Yes. In God We Trust....only took nearly 200 years for America to realize what the Founders wanted right? (And only took nearly half century after to put it on our coins first).

Take the treaty of tripoli "the gov of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" and signed by George Washington

Please stop trying to rewrite history. A majority of the founders appeared to be deists and not Christian. And had atheism been a term then, it's fair to say a few would have adapted it.

The original constitution had one reference to religion and it was "no religious test shall be required".

All this under god stuff was adapted by congress many, many years later (1954) and its primary reason was to combat the fear of communism
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:26 AM   #89
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Question. Generally speaking, are American values superior to most other cultures? If no, is that because you believe all cultures are relatively equal?
No and no. Not all cultures are equal. And not all of them worship money.

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Capitalism
I am a capitalist too. Truly. But there are different types of capitalism.
Generally speaking here...I don't think those countries are unabashed soulless consumers and capitalists (like the U.S. has become) just yet. I don't know but perhaps they are more empathetic cultures. I am unsure. I do know they still care about the elderly and prioritize family and care about things such as integrity and morality and helping their fellow man...while the US is largely becoming more and more a superficial materialistic society. I am not religious but it is no secret that there is a large movement away from those kinds of values. I am talking more about the Golden Rule, generically, than any specific Christian value (although that is one). Maybe that's a discussion unto itself.

So, I think you are wrong in your evaluations of our current "values".
You keep talking about these Biblical Western values as if they still apply.
We would do better to emulate some of those older values, as long as they promote true equality and a separation of church and state. It's just too hard to keep the extremists in line.

Again, I am not religious and haven't been in MOONS but I believe in many of those values still. And I do not see them reflected in much of our society.

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Is it true America is prosperous...
Not any longer. Wasn't that the point of this entire thread? "America" is the vast majority of us. We aren't that prosperous. "America" as the military industrial complex? Or the Banking/Corporate leviathan? We're doing great!

Hope I didn't jump into a conversation and fail to grasp the context.
It is an interesting discussion to have.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:13 AM   #90
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Jesus Jumping Jehosapha there is some serious horseshit going on in this thread. The teachings of Christianity are 100% opposed to a phenomenon like capitalism in its modern form. American civilisation is a hybrid with a little bit of protestant Christianity, a little bit of Enlightenment self-improvement, a little bit of plain old gold-digging, a dash of romance... it's no one single thing.

FUCK!
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