Author Topic: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?  (Read 15609 times)

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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #80 on: December 21, 2010, 01:35:44 pm »
Key word - 'moneyspinners'. They don't do it because they believe in it per se - they call it 'cause marketing' - they only for the duration it gives them a measurable return on the bottom line.

This smells like the Labour pre-election promise of them making cuts through tear-stained faces while the Tory (the same) cuts would be done while they rub their hands with glee. A cut is a cut. Being ethical and helping the environment is just that - it's only your personal perception that influences how you view it.

If people do good things, I really don't care very much why they do them, they're still doing good things.

It's like the people who say that Mother Theresa's motivation for her work was because it made her feel good about herself. Would it have been better if she'd been prevented from doing so?

Money and high capitalism corrupts. Its a system which motivates - but it needs management - and there also needs to be a system which picks up those who fall through its selfish fingers.

Capitalism is merely the closest economic model to human nature. Human nature itself isn't, at its core, overly pleasant, no matter how much we'd like to believe otherwise. Coincidentally (or maybe not), Capitalism is the only economic model we've yet come up with that has proven to work over the long-term, not perfectly (nothing is) of course, but better than any alternative.
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Offline Mellon

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #81 on: December 21, 2010, 02:06:02 pm »
Mellon - I thought you were scoffing glazed donuts?!

nope........choccy digestives and a coffee :santa_cheesy:
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #82 on: December 21, 2010, 02:20:05 pm »
Quote
Capitalism is merely the closest economic model to human nature.

No it isn't. High capitalism - as opposed to a society in which it has its excesses reigned in by the state and by regulation - almost always (by definition!) ignores the concept of altruism. Without altruism, we are not a society, but a collective of utterly self centered and selfish individuals. Altruism is the glue which gives us some hope that *maybe* things will be sorted for the common good - not for the advantage of those lucky enough to be at the top of the tree. Altruism also gives us some hope that people will invest time and money into things which will benefit not simply us (or a CEO, politician or shareholder within the next three years) but our neighbours, those less fortunate than ourselves, and, god knows, maybe those who follow us in 10, 20 or 100 years time. Altruism is about doing something because it is right, NOT because there is a financial reward.

Just as the worst excesses of Labour revealed the failure of their doctrine, the arguments you're expounding are those which did for the Tories in the end. They are morally and literally bankrupt ideas.

To get back to the subject of the thread, farewell to dogma.

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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #83 on: December 21, 2010, 02:31:02 pm »
Quote
Capitalism is merely the closest economic model to human nature.

No it isn't. High capitalism - as opposed to a society in which it has its excesses reigned in by the state and by regulation - almost always (by definition!) ignores the concept of altruism. Without altruism, we are not a society, but a collective of utterly self centered and selfish individuals. Altruism is the glue which gives us some hope that *maybe* things will be sorted for the common good - not for the advantage of those lucky enough to be at the top of the tree. Altruism also gives us some hope that people will invest time and money into things which will benefit not simply us (or a CEO, politician or shareholder within the next three years) but our neighbours, those less fortunate than ourselves, and, god knows, maybe those who follow us in 10, 20 or 100 years time. Altruism is about doing something because it is right, NOT because there is a financial reward.

There are sound arguments to suggest that true altruism doesn't actually exist, because, on some level the individual benefits to some degree.

Capitalism does include elements of altruism - it's laughably Socialist Workeresque to simply conclude that all Captialism is selfish and evil.

Or, maybe, all those selfish companies should stop being so selfish, close their doors and let all their employees go and work for less selfish organisations?

Just as the worst excesses of Labour revealed the failure of their doctrine, the arguments you're expounding are those which did for the Tories in the end. They are morally and literally bankrupt ideas.

That's just not true. Companies that work, work. Companies that don't, fold. It's really that simple. And, it's worth saying again, the banks didn't fail, some banks failed. Very few companies can go on forever, but one thing's for sure, Capitalism existed long before the Welfare State and it'll exist long after the Welfare State.
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Offline Spectre

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #84 on: December 21, 2010, 04:11:27 pm »
Yes - Ringer's example rather clearly buggers your assertion 20...

The concept of unmitigated greed as the prime directive for 'success' is as outmoded as the assertion that dictatorial central conrol is best. Like I keep saying, stop being so partisan and think - just because one system is wrong doesn't mean that the diametrically opposed opposite must be true.

That, if anything, is the thing the electorate have learned after 3 of blue and three of red - they all lie, they all overclaim, they all spin and they all suffer from their slavish addiction to dogma.


 :agreed:Tobes, But, oh dear, surely you aren't advocating that there's a "third way" :santa_wink:

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #85 on: December 21, 2010, 04:36:43 pm »
Quote
Capitalism is merely the closest economic model to human nature.

No it isn't. High capitalism - as opposed to a society in which it has its excesses reigned in by the state and by regulation - almost always (by definition!) ignores the concept of altruism. Without altruism, we are not a society, but a collective of utterly self centered and selfish individuals. Altruism is the glue which gives us some hope that *maybe* things will be sorted for the common good - not for the advantage of those lucky enough to be at the top of the tree. Altruism also gives us some hope that people will invest time and money into things which will benefit not simply us (or a CEO, politician or shareholder within the next three years) but our neighbours, those less fortunate than ourselves, and, god knows, maybe those who follow us in 10, 20 or 100 years time. Altruism is about doing something because it is right, NOT because there is a financial reward.

Just as the worst excesses of Labour revealed the failure of their doctrine, the arguments you're expounding are those which did for the Tories in the end. They are morally and literally bankrupt ideas.

To get back to the subject of the thread, farewell to dogma.
I would have to agree that Capitalism is the closest thing to human nature. It is a hierarchy that is tribal in nature and origin. Those at the top of the tree will use all methods necessary to keep those at the bottom in their place in order to maintain their status and will push it as far as the incumbent society will let it.

Post war Northern Ireland is a case in point where capitalism was allowed to continue unchecked, un-equitably. You can strip away religion and nationalism / republicanism, loyalist-ism and you are left with

Top layer:  politicians / industrialist / Bankers / Buisnessmen (Barons)
Middle layer:  upper / middle management / Police etc (foot soldiers)
Bottom layer: and the workers (peasants / servants)

The top layer use the middle layer to keep the lower layer in their place. In the case of NI when the bottom layer decided that they wanted equal rights, better housing etc and started a civil rights movement, the top layer mobilised the middle layer to slap them down on their behalf. After all, it was in the interests of the middle layer of this society also to maintain their status quo. They went too far and a monster was created. This had little to do with religion or nationalism in the top layer psyche. These were just convenient tools used very effectively to manipulate the masses to do their will, until it caused an equal and opposite back-lash and escalation occurred.

Arguably, a strong socialist / trade union movement rooted in the bottom layer, at this time in NI, may have gone some way to reducing the poverty gap and therefore the need for extremism and violence.  Gerrymandering Stormont put pay to that ever happening and the path was set.

You can draw many parallels of this with the UK 70 years earlier at the tail end of the 19th century.

I see modern day socialism as a way of regulating capitalism. (or that is what it should be)
If Government does not regulate capitalism fairly, unrest will surely follow. The green shoots of this can be seen already with the students and the general feelings towards bankers and tax exiles.






 

Offline Chris Watts

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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #87 on: December 21, 2010, 04:48:33 pm »
I would have to agree that Capitalism is the closest thing to human nature. It is a hierarchy that is tribal in nature and origin. Those at the top of the tree will use all methods necessary to keep those at the bottom in their place in order to maintain their status and will push it as far as the incumbent society will let it.

Absolutely.

What's even more interesting is that Capitalism allows human nature to dictate what it wants/agrees with. In other words, people know that certain clothes shops cannot possible sell products at the price they do without somebody, somewhere being treated and paid in a certain manner. If they don't agree with that, they can pay more elsewhere - if the majority of people shun companies that employ what they perceive as bad practice, those companies either change their operation or go to the wall.

I suppose a prime example of this, in recent times, are Free Range eggs. Who would put their hand up today and admit to buying battery farmed chicken eggs (is it possible to even buy them anymore?)

We get what we ask for with Capitalism, that's kind of the whole point - if businesses don't provide what we want, they have no business.

Unlike State provided services/products, where we're told what we're getting (usually based on the prevailing political whims of those in office), are forced to pay an amount for it that we have no control over, regardless of how good or bad the service/product is, and that's the end of it.

It seems odd for those who view Capitalism as evil to dislike it when consumers decide to reward those companies that can demonstrate ethical and environmental credentials - surely if companies are being forced to do good things (and rewarded for it) it's better than them not going good things. To bitch about the motivation seems very much a case of cutting one's nose to spite one's face.
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #88 on: December 21, 2010, 05:05:00 pm »
We get what we ask for with Capitalism, that's kind of the whole point - if businesses don't provide what we want, they have no business.
We did not ask for the banking crisis...

Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #89 on: December 21, 2010, 05:19:55 pm »
We did not ask for the banking crisis...

Not directly, maybe.

But the banks didn't forge people's signatures.

Just because the bank allowed a one-man band painter & decorator to say he was on £60kpa so that he could buy the house his wife wanted (when he was actually on £25kpa) didn't mean the painter had to lie.

Just because the bank offered a £10k credit card limit to somebody earning £25kpa didn't mean that person had to spend it all.

Indirectly, yes, we did ask for the banking crisis. People were more than happy to turn a blind eye while the banks allowed them to live lifestyles that their actual earnings could never have bought for them.

Banks operate within society, they can only make (or lose) money from their customers. To imply that their customers had nothing to do with what happened is naive, at the very best.
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #90 on: December 21, 2010, 05:42:39 pm »
We did not ask for the banking crisis...

Not directly, maybe.

But the banks didn't forge people's signatures.

Just because the bank allowed a one-man band painter & decorator to say he was on £60kpa so that he could buy the house his wife wanted (when he was actually on £25kpa) didn't mean the painter had to lie.

Just because the bank offered a £10k credit card limit to somebody earning £25kpa didn't mean that person had to spend it all.

Indirectly, yes, we did ask for the banking crisis. People were more than happy to turn a blind eye while the banks allowed them to live lifestyles that their actual earnings could never have bought for them.

Banks operate within society, they can only make (or lose) money from their customers. To imply that their customers had nothing to do with what happened is naive, at the very best.
When I got a loan or a mortgage I had to produce wage slips and bank statements. The banks then decided if I was good for the loan. If they had since decided to forgo these basic checks and balances for the sake of expediency in the unfettered feeding frenzy of credit then that has got to be neglect on behalf of the bank sector.

I think that the root of the problem was the mortgage industry in the States. Fanny Doo-Da and Freddie Flintoff or something like that. The problem with the mortgage industry was that a broker would be paid on completion and perhaps would help secure mortgages with creative accounting in order to secure his 'not so well earned' coin. The industry allowed this on and industrial scale. The industry should have regulated this effectively.

As libertarian as it may sound, you can not let individuals financially regulate themselves on a global scale as to how much credit they think they can handle. Letting banks self regulate is bad enough.

Offline Spectre

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #91 on: December 21, 2010, 05:59:27 pm »
We did not ask for the banking crisis...

Not directly, maybe.

But the banks didn't forge people's signatures.

Just because the bank allowed a one-man band painter & decorator to say he was on £60kpa so that he could buy the house his wife wanted (when he was actually on £25kpa) didn't mean the painter had to lie.

Just because the bank offered a £10k credit card limit to somebody earning £25kpa didn't mean that person had to spend it all.

Indirectly, yes, we did ask for the banking crisis. People were more than happy to turn a blind eye while the banks allowed them to live lifestyles that their actual earnings could never have bought for them.

Banks operate within society, they can only make (or lose) money from their customers. To imply that their customers had nothing to do with what happened is naive, at the very best.

But, didn't the banks have a responsibility to ensure that their money was repayable? Not only for their benefit, after all a default on a repayment is a loss to them, but also a moral responsibility to the customer who, after all, is providing them with their finance through the interest charged.

The introduction of self certification of earnings to obtain morgages was the greatest error. It lead directly to the situations you quote above. The banks were falling over themselves to be the top lender and brokers were bending the rules to earn their commissions in true capitalist style.

Offline moley

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #92 on: December 21, 2010, 06:29:47 pm »
The introduction of self certification of earnings to obtain morgages was the greatest error. It lead directly to the situations you quote above. The banks were falling over themselves to be the top lender and brokers were bending the rules to earn their commissions in true capitalist style.

Self certification of earnings was a reaction to another trend...

Increasing number of people end up on various types of short term or irregular incomes.  So looking at a load of wage slips from an employer doesn't work for them (and getting rid of self certification reintroduces a problem).  There are some good examples of groups of people who have problems in this area who could genuinely pay their mortgages (e.g. IT contractors).  The problem comes when people lie (which unfortunately is the way of the world).  So either there needs to be a mechanism in place to punish the liars (random very detailed checks of some mortgage applicants with heavy credit penalties if you're caught out??) or surely for people applying for self certified mortgages it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask for (say) a year's worth of bank statements.  (it's much harder to give the impression of a higher income than you have over this period).

When I applied for my first mortgage, I was asked to account for a large payment I'd made shortly before taking the mortgage out (they were clearly curious to see if it was a regular or one-off payment) and I got the impression they were far more interested then about whether I could afford to pay the mortgage back than when we took our current mortgage out (adviser was surprised we didn't want to borrow more money!!)

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Offline James

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #93 on: December 21, 2010, 07:32:43 pm »
The basic problem was not with the people who were getting the loans.
The problem was with the way banks were reselling bundled mortgages as assets to other banks (collatoralised debt obligations, CDOs and others).
This opportunity to resell increased the value of a mortgage to the issuing bank.
Once a mortgage was worth more than a mortgage was worth (?), it was worth taking a little risk. "House prices always go up, why not stretch your borrowing?" "You'll get a promotion before the end of your fixed rate", and anything else to persuade people to borrow too much money.
This works well in a rising market, but the value of the mortgage assets is dependant on the underlying asset (houses) maintaining it's value.
As soon as house prices peaked, the values started to drop.
CDOs which were triple a rated, suddenly became rather riskier with the falls in house values putting more and more pressure on them. These have now become the toxic debt which governments have been attempting to deal with.

The driver was bank profit now, not sensible lending.
You have got to love the way a badly regulated free market works.

Offline Ringer

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #94 on: December 21, 2010, 08:41:37 pm »
Looking back we can see what happened but looking forward will we leave the European Market which I am never sure is not a social economy with all its socialist countries. Socialism by command economy is nothing to shout about and capitalism with several state controlled banks is nothing to shout about either, the banking crisis demonstrates that the market does not work perfectly. Thatcher it is claimed  believed the market was the panacea, Stalin and the Soviets and East Germany believed the command economy was the panacea. Mao had a cultural revolution, that flattened the market in his country.

China mixes the two of them state control and capitalism and at the moment is doing very well, what concerns me, is if it wobbles the  impact on the US economy  will have consequences for us.  I recall Thatcher telling parliament in 1988  “There is no way in which one can buck the market”  Thatcher was clear. Market economies whether capitalist or command economies cannot simply avoid the effects of spending more money than they earn as they run out of money making savings and cuts follow. However despite her insight we to this day remain in the stilted market place of the EU.

For example Europe needed the UK for its armed forces, now that Cameron is ensuring that they are being cut beyond the pale, will the EU be prepared  to bid us farewell and have a Mediterranean based market/group as Sarkozy mooted in 2007? Perhaps that is why Cameron's cuts are too deep and too fast? I believe that Cameron's cut are a back door way out of Europe. Here is his  manifesto http://www.conservatives.com/Policy/Where_we_stand/Europe.aspx

This survey is worth a looking at  s it demonstrates that Britons don't want to be in that market place see Page 95/96: Question: Generally speaking, do you think that (OUR COUNTRY)’s membership of the European Union is A good thing? [In 7 countries, less than half the citizens believe that their country has benefitted from EU membership.] The UK i (34%, -2 points since January-February 2009),

[/b] http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb71/eb71_std_part1.pdf

As only a third think membership  is a good thing, it is likely to be the explanation as to why Cameron has gone into a military treaty with France to stop them having a reason for Britain to remain in Europe.
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Offline moley

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #95 on: December 21, 2010, 08:47:38 pm »
There's another interesting one out of all of this...

if you take Heathrow as an interesting private enterprise, it is effectively almost a monopoly.  Because of planning regulations, it's very, very difficult to set up or expand another airport to the level which it has (there are very few airports in this country capable of taking an A380 for example).  So without suitable regulation (to counter their monopoly position) there's nothing to stop the airport's owners from just treating it as a cash cow - they may lose some transit traffic, but as the airport is full, this would probably be happily taken by other routes anyway.

Same with many utilities - they are always going to be monopolies and it is very difficult to introduce real competition in an acceptable way to people to major infrastructure.. (you only need to look at the furore about the fast rail link to see the issues, or new power stations etc).

So how can you make pure capitalism work in such projects?

(In China they have solved this problem, but their solution would be viewed as unacceptable here...)

Moley

Offline Simon

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #96 on: December 21, 2010, 09:52:52 pm »
The basic problem was not with the people who were getting the loans.
The problem was with the way banks were reselling bundled mortgages as assets to other banks (collatoralised debt obligations, CDOs and others).
This opportunity to resell increased the value of a mortgage to the issuing bank.
Once a mortgage was worth more than a mortgage was worth (?), it was worth taking a little risk. "House prices always go up, why not stretch your borrowing?" "You'll get a promotion before the end of your fixed rate", and anything else to persuade people to borrow too much money.
This works well in a rising market, but the value of the mortgage assets is dependant on the underlying asset (houses) maintaining it's value.
As soon as house prices peaked, the values started to drop.
CDOs which were triple a rated, suddenly became rather riskier with the falls in house values putting more and more pressure on them. These have now become the toxic debt which governments have been attempting to deal with.

The driver was bank profit now, not sensible lending.
You have got to love the way a badly regulated free market works.

Well said James  :santa_afro: I concur that the root cause of the problem was the way that some slightly dodgy mortgages were packaged up and sold off and repackaged and resold and repeat ad infinitum until suddenly in 2008 lots of people who thought they had bought safe investments found that what they actually had was an investment with a return rate of less than 100%. And at what point did this process of repackaging and reselling benefit society at large (even when it was working) in the way that, say, manufacturing actual real things and trading them does?

It didn't. It only benefited the brokers and traders who did the repackaging and reselling. It did diddly squat all for the rest of us, other than a reduction in public services to pay for the bailouts to the banks who got tangled up in such stupid activities.

This, for me, is a prime example of why capitalism doesn't work.

But, didn't the banks have a responsibility to ensure that their money was repayable? Not only for their benefit, after all a default on a repayment is a loss to them, but also a moral responsibility to the customer who, after all, is providing them with their finance through the interest charged.

Absolutely!

I suppose a prime example of this, in recent times, are Free Range eggs. Who would put their hand up today and admit to buying battery farmed chicken eggs (is it possible to even buy them anymore?)

Yes, they're still available, albeit under more palatable descriptions ("eggs from caged hens" etc). And I bet the people who will admit to buying them are outnumbered by the people who actually buy them. I only buy eggs with the Soil Association logo because I'm very sceptical about the welfare standards involved in the production of eggs under some other schemes. But I'm lucky in that I'm able to do so because I haven't yet been squeezed to the point where my pips squeak. Most of the other people I see in my amble round Sainsburys most likely don't have that opportunity and need to fit their purchasing choices to their budget. So the battery eggs continue to sell because they're the cheapest, even if that's not how the average consumer wants their eggs produced.

There are sound arguments to suggest that true altruism doesn't actually exist, because, on some level the individual benefits to some degree.

Maybe... I've already said that climate change is a big concern for me because I'd like our planet to still be habitable if/when I finally get to retire. But it should be a more pressing concern for my friends who have children and grandchildren who will experience the worst effects if we don't do something about it.

And maybe the £50-odd that I send to various worthy causes each month is just to help me to get over the feeling of guilt that I can't be there to help them on the front line because I'm too busy doing my full time job.

But mainly I do it because I think it's the right thing to do. There's a bit of self-interest and a bit of wanting to feel good about myself, but mostly it's altruism.
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline moley

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #97 on: December 21, 2010, 10:21:27 pm »
Personally, this summed up the ugliest side of capitalism:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12052454

Quote

London Mayor's loan firm Tube deal branded 'shameful'

Wonga.com posters have been put up on London's transport network

The London mayor's decision to accept sponsorship from a high interest loan firm for free travel on the Tube on New Year's Eve has been branded "shameful".

Their random number interest rate generator comes up with 2689% APR....


Offline Spectre

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #98 on: December 21, 2010, 11:30:48 pm »
Great reading on this thread today TSers  :clap:

Offline Tobes

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Re: Thursday 13th January 2011 Will There Be A big thaw as Lib Dem Vote Melts?
« Reply #99 on: December 22, 2010, 01:09:21 am »
Quote
Capitalism does include elements of altruism - it's laughably Socialist Workeresque to simply conclude that all Captialism is selfish and evil.

... and there you go again, its equally laughable that you insist on polarising an issue and falsely attributing any resistance to your outmoded dogma as de facto 'Socialist Workeresque', 'leftie' etc. Why do you keep doing that?

Out of interest and in reaction to your rhetoric, I've just carefully re-read the thread. NOBODY has suggested or concluded that that 'all Captialism is selfish and evil'. What contributors can all clearly see for themselves though the numerous examples discussed is that some definately is. As for the remainder of capitalism, whilst it might not be imoral, its certainly mostly amoral. I think we all know that without the intervention of the State through law, regulation and targetted welfare, how much worse it would be.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - Voltaire 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita

 

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