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Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799349 10/29/03 03:27 PM
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It is also the stage wherein we went from subsistence agriculture, candlelight, horse drawn transportation, you know, agrarian lifestyle to the life we live today that could not be supported by anything other than the present capitalist system.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
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Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799350 10/29/03 04:55 PM
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No disagreement. What's your point?

Is it that business must be destroyed and wealth socialized (whether in the hands of the rich, or that of the poeple as a whole) in order to maintain post-industrial culture, a culture that was produced by that socialization?

I don't think the maintenance of corporate capitalism is inevitable anymore that I think the maintenance of the Pharoanic dynasties was inevitable. I'm no Marxist-Leninist (as, when it comes to interpretations of history, your brief post above suggests you are.) It will change, it will morph, much as it has in the past 30-40 years, or 150-200 years. It will continue to outgrow its nation-state construct, as it owes no allegiance to states or nations. It will continue to constrict the zone in which either nationalist or democratic values are allowed to operate (that's what WTO is all about), and will attempt to crush any opposition in furtherance of its essentially "religious" aspirations.

Or at least it will attempt to. It is a very efficient piece of machinery. It can buy and sell the best minds, and the best governments in its service, and cast them off as necessary.

The biggest enemy is the free market. But that was crushed a long time ago. cool

Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799351 10/29/03 05:04 PM
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Jolly Offline OP
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Alliance have always occurred between nations, both militarially, and economically. Granted, today's world economy is like nothing envisioned by man 150 years ago, but I'm betting on the nation vs the business.

Why?

Because the natural theory of chaos reigns supreme when business hits a certain level, plus the fact that nations have a nasty habit of asserting their sovereignty.


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Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799352 10/29/03 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by shantinik:
No disagreement. What's your point?
My point, as you very well know, is that it took economies of scale under capitalism to mass produce the sorts of commodities and luxuries we take for granted today. If you believe that refrigerators and cars and etc. could be mass produced by Joe blacksmith or Henry cooper of the economy of 100 plus years ago then you are deluded. And if you believe that makes me a Marxist - Lenist then you are worse than deluded.

This:

Quote
Is it that business must be destroyed and wealth socialized (whether in the hands of the rich, or that of the poeple as a whole) in order to maintain post-industrial culture, a culture that was produced by that socialization?

I don't think the maintenance of corporate capitalism is inevitable anymore that I think the maintenance of the Pharoanic dynasties was inevitable. I'm no Marxist-Leninist (as, when it comes to interpretations of history, your brief post above suggests you are.) It will change, it will morph, much as it has in the past 30-40 years, or 150-200 years. It will continue to outgrow its nation-state construct, as it owes no allegiance to states or nations. It will continue to constrict the zone in which either nationalist or democratic values are allowed to operate (that's what WTO is all about), and will attempt to crush any opposition in furtherance of its essentially "religious" aspirations.

Or at least it will attempt to. It is a very efficient piece of machinery. It can buy and sell the best minds, and the best governments in its service, and cast them off as necessary.

The biggest enemy is the free market. But that was crushed a long time ago. cool
Is pure baloney sliced extra thin. cool


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799353 10/29/03 06:29 PM
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All I have to do is go to the Mondragon region of Spain to see refrigerators produced successfully in a market context, with a profit motive recognized, and without corporate capitalism. But, no question, it takes longer when the state and its tools for manipulating markets is not at one's disposal.

You are M-L in your view of historical inevitability. Nothing was inevitable about the first Quaker selling the first cannon to George III, thus putting the first nail in the coffin of Adam Smith's "free market capitalism", which hasn't existed since. Nothing was inevitable about the state becoming a tool of corporate enterprise, nor is anything inevitable about the state withering away in the face of globalization.

Things will change. Always have. cool

Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799354 10/30/03 07:05 PM
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I would like to add just a couple of footnotes to the excellent points already made by Cindysphinx in her several posts.

First, the point of the proposed shift of the bulk of these case to federal court is that federal procedures make such cases much more expensive for plaintiffs' counsel to pursue. Among other things, the class action counsel must foot the front costs for the several notices that must be sent to the class. And if the class is large, that can be a very large cost to be absorbed, at a stage where the case is still likely to be a huge gamble for plaintiffs' counsel.

Second, I can tell you from my own experience, close up and personal, that the fear of class action suits is a major factor in keeping public company financial and business disclosures reasonably honest. Fear of being nailed by one of the class action sharpshooters looms far larger than fear of the SEC. So while there is no question that there are abusive and wasteful class actions, there is also no question, in my mind at least, that they serve a very useful purpose.

Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799355 10/30/03 10:35 PM
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Originally posted by JBryan:
My point, as you very well know, is that it took economies of scale under capitalism to mass produce the sorts of commodities and luxuries we take for granted today.
In my humble, very ignorant, illiterate [eek - - liberal] opinion, the fact that we take these luxuries for granted is our eventual demise. THese luxuries are more and more being manufactured by slave labor in countries which are manipulating their currencies to take advantage of our insatiable desire to consume [read - China stocks Walmart's shelves] while increasing their own standards of living (can't blame them for that) which is increasing greenhouse gas emissions at an alarming rate (can't blame them for that either - their pollution is nowhere near ours per capita), while we stuff our piggish faces with plastic rot to feed our ever shrinking landfills.

Doesn't it sicken you to see the piles of throw-away McDonald's toys your kids have accumlated. Doesn't the excess of Christmas make you want to puke? Plastic decorations for halloween, Thanksgiving, Columbus, God know what filling the isles of these stores? Why do all families these days need to have two parents working? Why do people need to have steroid houses?

What is wrong with this picture! This is capitalism gone amuck! This is NOT healthy and it's going to do us in!

P.S. An interesting aside. When I was a kid (Yarghh, can't believe I say that now!) I was really into clothes and my parents would not buy the ones I wanted or the quantity. Being sort of resourceful, I learned to sew, and would buy fabric, patterns and make my own. It was very economical and it worked for me. Well, I stopped sewing eventually because I didn't have the time - I thought. But, it dawned on me recently, there was more to it than that. Recently, I wanted to make my daughter a dress with one that matched for her new American Girl doll because the prices of the matching sets were so ridiculous (I thought) in the AG catalog. So, we set out shopping for a pattern and fabric. To my shock, I ended up paying nearly $40 for them and on top of that spent an entire day at the project (hmm? how much per hour is my labor worth?). It was fun and a delight to my daughter, but the economy part is completely gone. Why? Because of the screwed up global economy.

Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799356 10/30/03 10:56 PM
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Jolly Offline OP
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Color me dense, but the vast majority of people will pay no more for an item than they have to. If the widget is of reasonable manufacture, and it does the job, most folks don't care who made it, or whether it was produced in Outer Mongolia.

Maybe not the most ethical position, but definitely the most realistic.

As for the Spanish refrigerator manufacturing story, I assume these folks compete on the open market, without benefit of tariffs, or import restrictions? And what market share do they have?


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Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799357 10/30/03 11:01 PM
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kathyk,

You could always move to China. Their lifestyle is somewhat more spartan. Trouble is, they are avidly in pursuit of the very things you find so disgusting.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799358 10/31/03 12:43 AM
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Jolly said:
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Color me dense, but the vast majority of people will pay no more for an item than they have to. If the widget is of reasonable manufacture, and it does the job, most folks don't care who made it, or whether it was produced in Outer Mongolia.
There are at least two crucial elements missing here in what people buy:

1) The manipulation of what people think they need

2) The manipulation of which brand of something people believe they need.

Both aspects of consumers' spending choices are determined almost exclusively by advertising. Advertising is the pied piper which convinces us what "indispensible" toys and perks we "need" to follow the lifestyles we "deserve". Not price, intrinsic quality or even common sense!

And I mean by "advertising" far more than just TV or magazine ads, but the deliberate (if brief) panning of brand-names in movies, celebrities' tacit endorsement of products they obtain free (Steinways??), free samples of medications doctors hand out, and even - arguably - the publicity attendant on sponsorship of worthy causes, such as science competitions, and the Arts.

"I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right" seems to be as true of products and manufacturers as it is of celebrities. Name recognition is the way to stand out when a consumer hesitates in front of a wall of cleaning products - or candidates.

To create name recognition, consumers, kids especially, have even been shanghaied lately into providing advertising to their peers, at their own expense! In a major stroke of genius for teen-oriented industries, adolescents have been hypnotised into ostentatiously wearing garments and reusing shopping bags, labelled with the names of the most prestigious makes. "I can afford this" "I know what's 'in' " and "I have good taste" are all proclaimed by the use of these self-advertising products.

Pretty much the same thing as not only "seeing" the Emperor's invisible clothes, but also lining up to buy equally transparent knock-offs!

Which leads into the second manipulation - not just whether we NEED something, but which product is the best quality and the trendiest? What message does it give if I choose this brand speaker-system or jeans?

One tool to accomplish this "as seen on TV" Life, is the deliberate undermining of individual self-confidence. Consumer don't trust themselves to go into WALMART and recognize which are good quality shirts, or, conversely, to walk out of Abercrombies after rejecting a bunch of shabbily made ones. "If it's more expensive it must be better", the public is taught from an early age.

So the price point is chosen accordingly too. And the same motivational researchers working on this, have such a handle on the public tastes - not just reading them, but creatinga them - that they basically decide such things as what colors will be popular the next year: in cars, in designer fashions, in computer towers.

We may think we are choosing, but how come all of a sudden 50 out of 75 million new car purchasers decide one year they want, say, silver cars? The only rule in the prevailing color choice, being change.

The favorite colors have to change every few years, the same as kitchen appliances need to acquire new features and computer processors have to keep getting faster. Because if people are not dissatisfied with what they have, they won't switch them. And then the economy would collapse.

So, to come back to the trigger for my rant, Jolly - No, I DON'T think the public just chooses the cheapest widget that works. First of all, I think there are darned few widget-like products sold that we actually need without external persuasion. And as far as WHICH "widget" - well, I think that's as manipulated as WHETHER we need one at all.

Our choice of WHICH product is multi-determined. Some factors are: the catchiness of the product's brand name (and how well recognized it is), and the Image it projects. Most of all, perhaps - how well the marketers have learned to decipher and recipher the collective unconscious of the Consumer Mind.

I am not a fan of Madison Avenue, if anything, less than of Wall Street - which it may well be said to drive even more than the reverse!

End of rant.

Ariel


If this is coffee, bring me tea. If this is tea, bring me coffee.
~Abraham Lincoln~
Re: The trial lawyers win another one.
#799359 10/31/03 12:57 AM
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Originally posted by Jolly:
Only JA would reason the best way to keep companies honest, is to make lawyers rich, and take as much money away from the plaintiffs as possible.

Will you suggest a better way?

Or are you saying that corporations should be free to make and sell whatever they like, no matter how dangerous? Or to mislead their shareholders in any way they see fit?


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