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-   -   Words Are Wind (Robert Farley & Michael Cohen) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=7215)

Baz 12-08-2011 12:40 AM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 233917)
Good answer. I accept your implication that the US Defense Secretary is a highly credible source.

This was more than likely a slip of the tongue from Gates but Israel has deployed nuclear weapons openly anyway.

Israel deploys nuclear arms in submarines

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 233917)
Just to head off any misunderstanding on this narrow point - I was using the word "holocaust" in its generic sense, having nothing to do with Jews.

I apologize for my flustering so.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 233917)
Kindly remind me of all the reasons Iran is a stable, trustworthy partner in peace, and perhaps we can come to some agreement.

When was the last time Iran attacked another sovereign nation? Did Iran invade and occupy Iraq? Or did Iran invade and occupy Afghanistan? No. All the actual aggression is from the US. Look at the constant threats and illegal covert operations coming from the US against Iran. Trustworthy...give me a break.

badhatharry 12-08-2011 09:50 AM

Re: According to Intrade: Romney 43%, Gingrich 35%
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 233903)
...and Obama has a 50% chance of winning the general election.

If the idiot Republicans had their act together even a lttle bit it would have been zero.

stephanie 12-08-2011 11:16 AM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 233887)
BTW, I saw a poll showing something like 50% of Americans are prepared to go war with Iran.

What poll? Here are some. Even with the likelihood that people will more positive when the details are not being discussed (people could assume that the discussion is about some bombing raids, like with Iraq during the Clinton admin), the current numbers aren't anywhere near 50%.

The recent ones are:

CNN: 16% for military action (more say no action, a lot more say diplomacy/economic)

CBS: 15% for military action (again, more say no threat, a lot more say diplomacy)

The other polls with larger numbers are from periods in the past and I'm skeptical about them for various reasons. However, the one that indicates that a majority believed Iran already had nukes is interesting.

stephanie 12-08-2011 11:29 AM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 233891)
I don't know - I doubt Bolton can do that kind of damage because he's not the candidate, he's just part of Newt's red-meat-for-the-right formula. Newt will find a way to shoot himself in the foot more directly.

I think this is right. The only people likely to care about Bolton are people who wouldn't have voted for Newt anyway and people for whom it's a plus -- the intended audience. Most undecided types in the general would probably be "who?"

stephanie 12-08-2011 11:31 AM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 233846)
Depends on what you mean by "real" evidence. All the items below are bits of evidence, some stronger than others. As with any mystery, you have to correlate all the bits of information you have to arrive at an estimate. Or you can accept the assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (see Nov 8, 2011, below).

Here's what appears to be a decent analysis of the IAEA report.

Don Zeko 12-08-2011 09:09 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 233769)
Cohen brings up Serbia in WW1 as an example of national suicide to which Farley responds and totally objects to as an example of national suicide but rather coherent rational long tern planning...Cohen replies "Well ok...I'm not sure I agree with that but we don't have to talk about WW1 here."

Ok carry on...

I felt like Cohen spent that whole section of the DV conflating the end of a country as a political entity with the literal destruction of the population of that country in a very problematic way.

Parallax 12-09-2011 03:24 AM

Yet another diavlog on Iranian nukes fails to consider all arguments
 
Well how many diavlogs on Iranian nukes have we had so far? None of them really go beyond a single rather primitive argument. At this point if I had enough money I would take a full page ad in NYT and list the arguments anyone who says we can live with an Iranian nuke should address.

To be fair the fact that an Iranian nuke might make Saudis and Turks to go for one too was mentioned briefly at the end. Anyway instead of repeating myself I will make some points on what was actually said in the diavlog rather than the topic the heads were trying to debate:

1. At the end Cohen says Iranian nuclear program has been a gigantic waste and it was not worth it for Iran to pursue it, Farley agrees. Now isn't this an argument against Iran being sane?

2. Lets assume a single nuclear bomb in Tel Aviv won't do the job for Iranians but would 5 be enough? How about 15? What if the Iranian have a higher yield bomb than Farley assumes? On what basis does Farley argue that Iran's bomb would be on par with US WWII bombs?

3. Given US rhetoric on Iran's nuclear program, if Iran goes nuclear US will have no credibility with Saudi and other allies in the region. I doubt that they will trust the US umbrella instead of their own nuclear program.

4. An hour of talking about nuclear deterrence and no mention of salami tactics? Lets imagine Iran gets the bomb, in the next Iraqi election a pro-US coalition is winning the election, Maliki rigs the vote, there are widespread riots and clashes, IRGC crosses over the border, on Maliki's request of course, and starts helping riot police in major cities, after things cool down Maliki asks them to stay and also take care of some oil fields in southern Iraq. At which point and how should the US respond?

5. Farley's comparison of China/US with Iran/Israel is so bad it borders on a bad geeky joke. The Iranian regime was born on anti-Israeli sentiment over 30 years ago, it has continuously pursued its anti-Israeli policy and unlike China the crazy elements in Iranian regime are becoming more and more powerful. Moreover China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964 and Mao died in 1976. So Mao had the bomb for less than 8 years, which raises two questions:

(a) during how much of that period China also had the delivery technology for firing a nuclear warhead at US?

(b) for how long Mao was actually in charge?

I don't know the answer to (a) but we know he died from a neurodegenerative disease. Note that during Nixon's visit to China he only met Mao once while he had numerous meetings with Zhou Enlai which was a close ally of Deng Xiaoping, the man who brought us the modern capitalist China ...

Florian 12-09-2011 04:23 AM

Re: Yet another diavlog on Iranian nukes fails to consider all arguments
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Parallax (Post 234055)
1. At the end Cohen says Iranian nuclear program has been a gigantic waste and it was not worth it for Iran to pursue it, Farley agrees. Now isn't this an argument against Iran being sane?

If you mean that wasting money on nuclear weapons proves insanity, I think you will have to say that there is little sanity in the world. If you mean that Iran's wasteful, unnecessary nuclear program proves that Iran is insane and intends to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, I think you are making an unjustified inference. It would be insane for Iran to launch an attack on Israel because Israel could (would) annihilate it in a counter-attack. It is not altogether insane for Iran to want to acquire nuclear weapons as long as Iran thinks that Israel, with or without the help of the US, might want to attack it using conventional forces. I am not saying it is altogether sane either, but it makes as much sense as nuclear deterrence makes in general.

Sulla the Dictator 12-09-2011 05:25 AM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 233769)
Cohen brings up Serbia in WW1 as an example of national suicide to which Farley responds and totally objects to as an example of national suicide but rather coherent rational long tern planning...Cohen replies "Well ok...I'm not sure I agree with that but we don't have to talk about WW1 here."

Ok carry on...

Depends on what we're talking about. Splinter groups, like the Black Hand, or Al Qaeda, or arguably the IRGC, have interests which can diverge from what is obviously national interest. A group like the Black Hand (Or the others mentioned) can gain power and advance a cause even if the nation's overall health suffers. Indeed, they often feel that cause is more important than the national interest. In the case of the Black Hand, it was the Greater South Slav dream.

So yes, it is an example of national suicide. When institutions are too weak to defeat extreme militants, history simply becomes a death watch. It is also "rational self interest" for the extremists. If you seek to remove Germanic barriers to your desire for an ethnic superstate (Comparably), or a religious one, then "worse is better" in many ways. Also, your calculations simply differ from the official leadership because your assumptions are different. The Black Hand assumed that rational self-interest/fear would stay the hands of the Austrians if the Russians came to Serbia's defense, and if not the Austrians, then the Germans from the threat of war with both France and Russia.

What the Left and people like Farley don't want to grasp is that you don't need to be "insane" to destroy the prevailing world order and ruin your own nation. You just need to start with different assumptions which lead to self interest. If it is better for men to die by the tens or hundreds of thousands rather than live in a world where Austrians dominate Serbs, then your approach to this matter differs. If it is better to live in a world where Tehran (Home to traitorous youths and corrupt bureaucrats) smolders but the world has been cleansed of the "Zionist entity", then your calculations differ.

The Iranians obviously aren't going to launch a weapon the day after they get it. But the kinds of things which can trigger the Iranians into launching it are far more delicate than anything the Soviets would have considered a provocation. The Soviets also didn't have a constituency in the USSR which was excited by the thought of launching its weapons. Of course, the Soviets didn't really even have a "constituency" at all. But the IRGC does.

Baz 12-09-2011 02:26 PM

Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Parallax (Post 234055)
I don't know the answer to (a) but we know he died from a neurodegenerative disease. Note that during Nixon's visit to China he only met Mao once while he had numerous meetings with Zhou Enlai which was a close ally of Deng Xiaoping, the man who brought us the modern capitalist China ...

China is a disaster waiting to happen.

Supply and demand...market capitalism? Ponzi scheme just like the US housing bubble.

What's capitalist about a communist centrally controlled economy that makes it their number one goal every year to get 8-10% GDP growth regardless of how they do it.

Tens of millions of empty homes all over the place.

Diane1976 12-09-2011 08:38 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 233953)
What poll? Here are some. Even with the likelihood that people will more positive when the details are not being discussed (people could assume that the discussion is about some bombing raids, like with Iraq during the Clinton admin), the current numbers aren't anywhere near 50%.

The recent ones are:

CNN: 16% for military action (more say no action, a lot more say diplomacy/economic)

CBS: 15% for military action (again, more say no threat, a lot more say diplomacy)

The other polls with larger numbers are from periods in the past and I'm skeptical about them for various reasons. However, the one that indicates that a majority believed Iran already had nukes is interesting.

The Quinnipiac poll. Should have mentioned it refers to people who would support a war if other measures fail. But that's similar to one of the CNN polls on your list (third one/2010) if you add those who would support a war now and those who would support a war only if other means fail.

But, as you say polls also indicate that a high number of people already think Iran has a nuclear program. US policy is that a nuclear Iran is not tolerable, and "all options are on the table". So, I would say that sort of sets the stage, so to speak, should a future president want to go to war with Iran. I don't think Obama does. I see the Republican candidates talking it up, even if only for vote getting reasons, as adding to that atmosphere of acceptance of war as a solution.

I was also thinking of the diavlog with Bob and Heather Hurlbert. He made the point that accepting that a nuclear Iran is intolerable is like conceding the argument, should, say, a president want to start a war at some point. But Heather said arguing against that idea that a nuclear Iran is intolerable would result in being "marginalized", not being taken seriously by anybody with influence over policy. This was an interesting debate because I've been thinking ever since the Iraq war that those who are generally anti-war need to improve their arguments and strategies. I would say the pro-war side has done that. (I mean did that, post-Vietnam and pre-Iraq.)

The Q. poll was criticized as "leading", but that would actually apply to these polls generally. If you ask people for their thoughts on Iran's wmd, they're likely to think they exist. If you talk about military action as the solution of last resort, they're, perhaps, not likely to consider it may not work or will have horrible consequences, unless you remind them of, say, Iraq, first. I don't think this makes this poll any more inaccurate than most of the others, but it's a good point.

I noticed people don't seem very hopeful about sanctions working, but they are positive about diplomacy. BTW, I thought the US effort to create a "virtual embassy" in Iran was really interesting. Hope that gets discussed in some diavlog. It's a very creative idea. Unfortunately, it has already been taken down by the Iranian government, but maybe it will be back.

PS: I thought article you found on IAEA was good. I think that sums up the situation.

http://thinkprogress.org/security/20...ll-inaccurate/

Virtual Embassy
http://iran.usembassy.gov/

Simon Willard 12-09-2011 10:30 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 234156)
The Quinnipiac poll. Should have mentioned it refers to people who would support a war if other measures fail.
...
The Q. poll was criticized as "leading", but that would actually apply to these polls generally. If you ask people for their thoughts on Iran's wmd, they're likely to think they exist. If you talk about military action as the solution of last resort, they're, perhaps, not likely to consider it may not work or will have horrible consequences, unless you remind them of, say, Iraq, first. I don't think this makes this poll any more inaccurate than most of the others, but it's a good point.
...
http://thinkprogress.org/security/20...ll-inaccurate/


I was reading the Thinkprogress article and was struck by the word "fail".

Quote:

While Quinnipiac University’s findings that “50 percent of U.S. voters support military action if sanctions fail” are disturbing, the pollsters may have seriously misled respondents by suggesting that there is conclusive evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program or that a military attack could be effective in destroying Iran’s alleged weapons program.
What does it mean for "sanctions to fail"? It must mean that Iran builds a weapon. What else could it mean? But if the question is contingent on Iran developing a weapon, then how can the Quinnipiac "leading" assumption that Iran has a nuclear weapons program affect the polling results? In other words, how does the assertion of a weapons program lead the respondent if the question posits up front that Iran develops the weapon? I think this is a simple logical inconsistency that negates the Thinkprogress argument.

I could be missing something. Can anyone illuminate?

Baz 12-09-2011 10:44 PM

Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Here's the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from Feb 2010.

The content dealing with Iran begins on page 14 but here's the assessment on Iran's nuclear program.

Quote:

Iranian WMD and Missile Program

The Iranian regime continues to flout UN Security Council restrictions on its nuclear program. There is a real risk that its nuclear program will prompt other countries in the Middle East to pursue nuclear options.

We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that bring it closer to being able to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

I would like to draw your attention to two examples over the past year that illustrate some of the capabilities Iran is developing.

First, published information from the International Atomic Energy Agency indicates that the number of centrifuges installed at Iran’s enrichment plant at Natanz has grown significantly from about 3,000 centrifuges in late 2007 to over 8,000 currently installed. Iran has also stockpiled in that same time period approximately 1,800 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. However, according to the IAEA information, Iran also appears to be experiencing some problems at Natanz and is only operating about half of the installed centrifuges, constraining its overall ability to produce larger quantities of low-enriched uranium.

Second, Iran has been constructing—in secret until last September—a second uranium enrichment plant deep under a mountain near the city of Qom. It is unclear to us whether Iran's motivations for building this facility go beyond its publicly claimed intent to preserve enrichment know-how if attacked, but the existence of the facility and some of its design features raise our concerns. The facility is too small to produce regular fuel reloads for civilian nuclear power plants, but is large enough for weapons purposes if Iran opts configure it for highly enriched uranium production. It is worth noting that the small size of the facility and the security afforded the site by its construction under a mountain fit nicely with a strategy of keeping the option open to build a nuclear weapon at some future date, if Tehran ever decides to do so.

Iran’s technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our 2007 NIE assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements lead us to reaffirm our judgment from the 2007 NIE that Iran is technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon in the next few years, if it chooses to do so.

We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon. Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East and it continues to expand the scale, reach and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces— many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

We continue to judge Iran’s nuclear decisionmaking is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program.

That is as far as I can go in discussing Iran’s nuclear program at the unclassified level. In my classified statement for the record, I have outlined in further detail the Intelligence Community’s judgments regarding Iranian nuclear-related activities, as well as its chemical and biologicalweapons activities and refer you to that assessment.

Iran’s growing inventory of ballistic missiles and its acquisition and indigenous production of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) provide capabilities to enhance its power projection. Tehran views its conventionally armed missiles as an integral part of its strategy to deter—and if necessary retaliate against—forces in the region, including US forces. Its ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and if so armed, would fit into this same strategy.

thouartgob 12-09-2011 11:32 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 233953)
However, the one that indicates that a majority believed Iran already had nukes is interesting.

This reminds me of polls done back in '02-'03 time-frame when large majorities of respondents thought that Saddam Hussein was somehow complicit in 9/11. Gee that went well back then didn't it.

As before ignorance helps one side and not the other.

stephanie 12-10-2011 03:52 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Diane1976 (Post 234156)
The Quinnipiac poll. Should have mentioned it refers to people who would support a war if other measures fail. But that's similar to one of the CNN polls on your list (third one/2010) if you add those who would support a war now and those who would support a war only if other means fail.

I was going to link the thinkprogress response to this, but saw you did below. More generally, I see a problem with the '09 and '10 polls too, because they are in the context of "if military action was the only way to prevent nuclear Iran" and, especially, at a time when military action and what that would mean was not being seriously discussed. I think people are more willing to say yes if something is really vague and hypothetical. Also, I'm not sure when people say yes they necessarily envision something other than the kinds of bombing raids we did on Iraq during the Clinton admin. The CNN and CBS polls seem more consistent with the US opinion I've heard, including from Republicans not running for president.

Quote:

But Heather said arguing against that idea that a nuclear Iran is intolerable would result in being "marginalized", not being taken seriously by anybody with influence over policy. This was an interesting debate because I've been thinking ever since the Iraq war that those who are generally anti-war need to improve their arguments and strategies. I would say the pro-war side has done that. (I mean did that, post-Vietnam and pre-Iraq.)
Yeah, I agree. In particular, I think the people who aren't pacifists but who think that we should be conservative in our willingness to jump into war need to do a better job of addressing the various arguments, rather than leaving the loudest voices against to be the pacifist types. I respect pacifists, but the fact is that most people don't agree with them, so when -- as to a certain extent pre Iraq -- they form the main opposition, because so many others are unwilling to come out with strong opinions or aren't getting heard, then it's not going to be a successful argument from the POV of non-pacifist opponents (or opponents generally).

stephanie 12-10-2011 03:53 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thouartgob (Post 234170)
As before ignorance helps one side and not the other.

Well, I was kind of thinking that if people have already gotten used to a nuclear Iran in their own minds a war to prevent that intolerable situation wouldn't seem so worthwhile or the situation so intolerable.

But you are likely right.

thouartgob 12-10-2011 04:34 PM

Re: Robert Farley & Michael Cohen
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 234224)
Well, I was kind of thinking that if people have already gotten used to a nuclear Iran in their own minds a war to prevent that intolerable situation wouldn't seem so worthwhile or the situation so intolerable.

But you are likely right.

I take your point here actually and it wasn't sinking into my head the way you were intending ( my "buoyancy" issue not yours ) but I would also suggest that if the americans polled are so out of it then they might also have no idea what it would take to "de-nuclearfy" by force and so ignorance still might play a role. As I said your take has merit and maybe the way things are.

Parallax 12-11-2011 05:41 AM

Re: Yet another diavlog on Iranian nukes fails to consider all arguments
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 234056)
If you mean that wasting money on nuclear weapons proves insanity, I think you will have to say that there is little sanity in the world. If you mean that Iran's wasteful, unnecessary nuclear program proves that Iran is insane and intends to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, I think you are making an unjustified inference. It would be insane for Iran to launch an attack on Israel because Israel could (would) annihilate it in a counter-attack. It is not altogether insane for Iran to want to acquire nuclear weapons as long as Iran thinks that Israel, with or without the help of the US, might want to attack it using conventional forces. I am not saying it is altogether sane either, but it makes as much sense as nuclear deterrence makes in general.

I am not making that inference. My point is that it is not obvious that Iran is a sane self interested regime and anyone who makes that claim should argue that point. Just consider what Iran gave away for its nuclear program: all the EU offers in early 00s which included lifting sanctions and foreign capital to invest in Iran's economy (specially the rapidly declining oil industry) plus a much bigger geopolitical influence (I think if Iran was on good terms with EU & US Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline would never materialize). In other words, in late 90s Iran had the opportunity to become what Turkey is now, yet it decided to press on with its nuclear program instead. It is not something a sane self interested actor would do and people who argue Iran is sane and self interested need to explain how this (among other things) fits in their narrative.

Parallax 12-11-2011 05:49 AM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234109)
China is a disaster waiting to happen.

Supply and demand...market capitalism? Ponzi scheme just like the US housing bubble.

What's capitalist about a communist centrally controlled economy that makes it their number one goal every year to get 8-10% GDP growth regardless of how they do it.

Tens of millions of empty homes all over the place.

Is US a capitalist country? Is your argument that China is not a capitalist country because bubbles only happen in non-capitalist economies and they have a bubble? Are all the foreign companies doing business in China part of their socialist regime?

China is having a enormous investment boom which eventually will go bust but that has nothing to do with the point I made.

Baz 12-11-2011 08:30 PM

Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Parallax (Post 234300)
Is US a capitalist country? Is your argument that China is not a capitalist country because bubbles only happen in non-capitalist economies and they have a bubble? Are all the foreign companies doing business in China part of their socialist regime?

China is having a enormous investment boom which eventually will go bust but that has nothing to do with the point I made.

No. There is no capitalist country in the west. The main reason the west became developed was from massive protectionist measures against the east (and each other). The only reason western corporations can even attempt to compete with third world indigenous industries is because their heavily subsidised (corporate welfare) by the public. Parts of the economy do operate in a market type system but to say its capitalism is nonsense.

Again...are you saying that when the Chinese communist party continues to build thousands of empty ghost cities in order to maintain a 8% GDP growth rate that this is a typical market bubble? Whats a basic principle of a capitalist market economy...supply and demand right?

Parallax 12-11-2011 11:31 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234371)
No. There is no capitalist country in the west.

If US is not a capitalist country then obviously China is not one either. But you realize this simplistic narrow definition leaves no room for discussion and it also makes your objection a waste of time. Form the context it was pretty obvious that I thought capitalist countries existed and that China joined them under Deng's leadership.

Don Zeko 12-11-2011 11:35 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Parallax (Post 234402)
If US is not a capitalist country then obviously China is not one either. But you realize this simplistic narrow definition leaves no room for discussion and it also makes your objection a waste of time. Form the context it was pretty obvious that I thought capitalist countries existed and that China joined them under Deng's leadership.

Capitalism can never fail, it can only be failed, or something. I'm kind of liking Baz's left-wing analogue to all of the Socialism!!! hysteria on today's right, actually. It's foolishness, but new and refreshing foolishness.

Sulla the Dictator 12-11-2011 11:52 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234405)
Capitalism can never fail, it can only be failed, or something. I'm kind of liking Baz's left-wing analogue to all of the Socialism!!! hysteria on today's right, actually. It's foolishness, but new and refreshing foolishness.

Actually the "left wing analogue" is the origin of that argument. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was common for the left to dismiss the failures of socialist enterprise as "deviations".

Baz 12-11-2011 11:52 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Parallax (Post 234402)
If US is not a capitalist country then obviously China is not one either. But you realize this simplistic narrow definition leaves no room for discussion and it also makes your objection a waste of time. Form the context it was pretty obvious that I thought capitalist countries existed and that China joined them under Deng's leadership.

Yes my friend...it ends the simplistic ideological catch phrase arguments about "Capitalism vs Socialism vs Communism vs anyism".

I'm not trying to convince you of anything Parallax, just trying to get past the ideological propaganda that we're surrounded by.

Sulla the Dictator 12-11-2011 11:57 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234371)
No. There is no capitalist country in the west. The main reason the west became developed was from massive protectionist measures against the east (and each other).

That actually isn't true. The divergence between "Capitalist protectionism" and the free market variety was tried during the Napoleonic wars. Britain won. Continental system failed, economically.

Britain, the United States, and Germany prospered by developing an export market through the quality of their goods. The French languished as an economic power because they practiced the very protectionist policy you are describing.

Quote:

The only reason western corporations can even attempt to compete with third world indigenous industries is because their heavily subsidised (corporate welfare) by the public.
So Cap/Com arguments are no longer valid because the left has successfully subverted capitalism? I don't see how that follows.

Baz 12-12-2011 12:59 AM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 234411)
That actually isn't true. The divergence between "Capitalist protectionism" and the free market variety was tried during the Napoleonic wars. Britain won. Continental system failed, economically.

Britain, the United States, and Germany prospered by developing an export market through the quality of their goods. The French languished as an economic power because they practiced the very protectionist policy you are describing.



So Cap/Com arguments are no longer valid because the left has successfully subverted capitalism? I don't see how that follows.

What did I say? That Britain, the US, and Germany didn't trade, didn't import and export? Are you claiming that these and other western countries don't still to this day practice protectionism?

When the US signs a trade deal with Mexico which allows giant US agri corporations to flood the Mexican market with their goods without protection for the indigenous Mexican farmers this is called the free market which sounds wonderful. Except that the US taxpayer is subsidising these corporations up the ass with hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Its impossible for the Mexican farmers to compete in this centrally planned system. This is called free market capitalism. What a joke.

Parallax 12-12-2011 12:40 PM

Yet Another Blast in Iran
 
BBC:

Quote:

An explosion at a steel factory in Iran has killed seven people including foreign nationals, say reports in Iranian state media.

The blast in the city of Yazd was caused by discarded ammunition which arrived at the plant with a consignment of scrap metal, the official Irna news agency reported.
Red flags: foreigners and ammunition were involved.

Baz 12-12-2011 03:15 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234405)
Capitalism can never fail, it can only be failed, or something. I'm kind of liking Baz's left-wing analogue to all of the Socialism!!! hysteria on today's right, actually. It's foolishness, but new and refreshing foolishness.

What's foolish about calling a spade a spade? Instead of insults why not tell me what's foolish about saying China or the US are not capitalist countries. If the US was a capitalist country then most of the auto industry would have been bankrupt and let fail a few years ago...same with the biggest banks like Goldman Sachs etc. Am I foolish to point this out or critique it?

Florian 12-12-2011 04:10 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234444)
What's foolish about calling a spade a spade? Instead of insults why not tell me what's foolish about saying China or the US are not capitalist countries. If the US was a capitalist country then most of the auto industry would have been bankrupt and let fail a few years ago...same with the biggest banks like Goldman Sachs etc. Am I foolish to point this out or critique it?

No, you are not foolish to point this out. What exists in the US, as in Europe, is no longer the "pure" capitalism of economic textbooks. Bailing out banks is, as some wags said at the time of the bailouts, socialism for the rich.

But protectionism is not the same thing as state intervention to bail out banks. Protectionism is the opposite of free trade, not the opposite of capitalism, and contrary to what Sulla says above, it has been practiced by all countries from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present, not only by France---- once again the whipping boy for Sulla and American conservatives.

Don Zeko 12-12-2011 04:23 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234444)
What's foolish about calling a spade a spade? Instead of insults why not tell me what's foolish about saying China or the US are not capitalist countries. If the US was a capitalist country then most of the auto industry would have been bankrupt and let fail a few years ago...same with the biggest banks like Goldman Sachs etc. Am I foolish to point this out or critique it?

What's foolish about this is that your definition of "capitalist country" appears to be "a country in which the government doesn't interfere in any aspect of the market's function." This is a bad definition of the term, because under it there are no capitalists countries anywhere in the world, there have never been any capitalist countries anywhere in the world at any time, and if you ask me there can never be a capitalist country anywhere. In ordinary discourse among most people along all sides of the political spectrum, the modern mixed economy that is basically capitalist in nature but has a welfare state, regulation, central banks and the like is considered capitalist. There's no reason to depart so radically from this definition, particularly when you depart in this way in order to elide very real differences between how the economy of the United States is structured and how the economy of China today and China fifty years ago are structured.

Sulla the Dictator 12-12-2011 05:40 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234417)
What did I say? That Britain, the US, and Germany didn't trade, didn't import and export? Are you claiming that these and other western countries don't still to this day practice protectionism?

I'm saying that the difference, and degree, and period of time make the charge of "practicing protectionism" vague beyond utility.

Baz 12-12-2011 06:28 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234449)
What's foolish about this is that your definition of "capitalist country" appears to be "a country in which the government doesn't interfere in any aspect of the market's function." This is a bad definition of the term, because under it there are no capitalists countries anywhere in the world, there have never been any capitalist countries anywhere in the world at any time, and if you ask me there can never be a capitalist country anywhere.

Right, so why not call it what it is.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234449)
In ordinary discourse among most people along all sides of the political spectrum, the modern mixed economy that is basically capitalist in nature but has a welfare state, regulation, central banks and the like is considered capitalist. There's no reason to depart so radically from this definition, particularly when you depart in this way in order to elide very real differences between how the economy of the United States is structured and how the economy of China today and China fifty years ago are structured.

Did the policies that were implemented after the crash in 2007 not radically depart from any notion of capitalism that even the mainstream describes?

Too big to fail? This is now enshrined in the mainstreams definition of market capitalism..."it's not right but it's better than the alternative" is a common one I hear now.

Stick to the mainstream doctrines if you want, I'll carry on being the fool on the hill.

Baz 12-12-2011 06:42 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 234446)
But protectionism is not the same thing as state intervention to bail out banks. Protectionism is the opposite of free trade, not the opposite of capitalism, and contrary to what Sulla says above, it has been practiced by all countries from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present, not only by France---- once again the whipping boy for Sulla and American conservatives.

Yes...I didn't mean to imply protectionism is the opposite of capitalism.

Don Zeko 12-12-2011 06:48 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234454)
Right, so why not call it what it is.

See, that's not what it is; that's what it isn't. As I just described, you're only the only one willing to say the truth if you assume some bizarre definition of words that nobody uses. If I decide that when I say "cheese" I really mean "mix of silica, iron and other metals" and then I run around insisting that the moon is made of cheese and everybody else is too blind to see the truth, that doesn't make me some kind of prophet. It makes me someone who isn't communicating very well.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234454)
Did the policies that were implemented after the crash in 2007 not radically depart from any notion of capitalism that even the mainstream describes?

Too big to fail? This is now enshrined in the mainstreams definition of market capitalism..."it's not right but it's better than the alternative" is a common one I hear now.

Stick to the mainstream doctrines if you want, I'll carry on being the fool on the hill.

No, I don't think that TARP or the Fed's lender of last resort activities during the crisis were that fundamental a departure from either the basically capitalist nature of our economy or from the historical way in which the state and the economy have interacted. They certainly weren't enough of a departure to accurately say that the US is no longer a capitalist country.

Baz 12-12-2011 07:08 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234459)
See, that's not what it is; that's what it isn't. As I just described, you're only the only one willing to say the truth if you assume some bizarre definition of words that nobody uses. If I decide that when I say "cheese" I really mean "mix of silica, iron and other metals" and then I run around insisting that the moon is made of cheese and everybody else is too blind to see the truth, that doesn't make me some kind of prophet. It makes me someone who isn't communicating very well.



No, I don't think that TARP or the Fed's lender of last resort activities during the crisis were that fundamental a departure from either the basically capitalist nature of our economy or from the historical way in which the state and the economy have interacted. They certainly weren't enough of a departure to accurately say that the US is no longer a capitalist country.

So guaranteeing that most of the biggest companies don't fail and the state (public) take the potential losses is capitalism. The fed won't even let their books be open because "it'll collapse the whole economy" if this information was made available, information like this is a bedrock of market capitalism...or thats what we're taught in school anyway.

How many deviations from the textbook version of capitalism are needed before we stop calling it capitalism?

And btw...TARP is only the icing on the cake.

Don Zeko 12-12-2011 07:13 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baz (Post 234466)
How many deviations from the textbook version of capitalism are needed before we stop calling it capitalism?

More, and on a far more permanent basis than this. It's not like the modern mixed economy is that complicated or controversial a concept.

Baz 12-12-2011 07:32 PM

Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234468)
It's not like the modern mixed economy is that complicated or controversial a concept.

The modern mixed economy is very much a complicated and controversial concept. It's the main reason for the discontent that's going on in many cities across the planet.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 234468)
More, and on a far more permanent basis than this.

Maybe you're unaware of the extent of the deviations?

Sulla the Dictator 12-12-2011 11:08 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 234446)
But protectionism is not the same thing as state intervention to bail out banks. Protectionism is the opposite of free trade, not the opposite of capitalism, and contrary to what Sulla says above, it has been practiced by all countries from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present, not only by France---- once again the whipping boy for Sulla and American conservatives.

I didn't say France was the only nation which practiced protectionism. I'm saying that it was the one which practiced it rather consistently from the beginning of the Industrial Age until now. No other nation has had the same continuity of trade policy than France, and in my view it is the reason France lagged behind the British and the Germans in the 19th century as an economic power. From Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Republicans to Gaullists.

Nothing particularly controversial about this. I don't even think French historians deny it. Rather, doesn't the argument follow something about "preservation" of lifestyle rather than growth?

Florian 12-13-2011 10:35 AM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator (Post 234480)
I didn't say France was the only nation which practiced protectionism. I'm saying that it was the one which practiced it rather consistently from the beginning of the Industrial Age until now. No other nation has had the same continuity of trade policy than France, and in my view it is the reason France lagged behind the British and the Germans in the 19th century as an economic power. From Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Republicans to Gaullists.

Nothing particularly controversial about this. I don't even think French historians deny it. Rather, doesn't the argument follow something about "preservation" of lifestyle rather than growth?


I think it would be somewhat controversial for an economic historian to say that free trade is the most important factor in the development of capitalism, of "growth," a rather ambiguous concept anyway that is hard to measure before the 19th century. Population, natural resources, investment, education, technological innovation seem to me more important. The main reason France lagged behind Britain in the first half of the 19th century and Germany in the second half, was population stagnation and a relatively large agricultural sector.

That's history, as Americans say. It is not obvious to me that a country that today has more Fortune 500 companies than Germany still "lags behind" Germany or what that even means. In any case, I would rather be wie Gott in Frankreich than wie Gott in Deutschland.

Sulla the Dictator 12-13-2011 04:28 PM

Re: Modern capitalist China?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 234505)
I think it would be somewhat controversial for an economic historian to say that free trade is the most important factor in the development of capitalism, of "growth," a rather ambiguous concept anyway that is hard to measure before the 19th century. Population, natural resources, investment, education, technological innovation seem to me more important. The main reason France lagged behind Britain in the first half of the 19th century and Germany in the second half, was population stagnation and a relatively large agricultural sector.

By 1810, France had the second largest population in Europe, after Russia. The population was considered stagnant only because of the "large agricultural sector". France had experienced a demographic boom before the rest of Europe, so it was only "stagnant" in growth at its already elevated levels. None the less, by 1900 the population of Britain was about 35 million people, the population of Germany was 56 million, and the population of France was about 40 million. Britain had the fewest people, but was a greater economic power than Germany during the entirety of the 19th century, matched it for the first 20 years of the 20th. For the first half of the 19th century, France had a population 30% larger than Britain's, and I don't think it has been an economic competitor since the 17th century. Until now, of course.

So I don't know if population can be blamed. And I would say the large agricultural sector is directly attributable to protectionism. That France closed markets to foreign goods (Strangely enough, the French rural gentry actively opposed the import of colonial foodstuffs....kind of defeats the purpose?) kept France from being subject to the modernizing industrial forces of competition.

Take textiles for example. India was a rich source of textile fabric for Britain. Cheap fabric means more volume sold, because products can be sold for a lower price. That means more factories built, better equipment to maximize efficiency, more people employed in textile mills. That is more trained workers in a city, with a greater number of children centrally located for public education.

But in France, textile manufacturers preferred locally (And American) developed fabric because they considered the high prices and current ownership arrangement superior for "stability". They didn't think of competition as being in their interests. So no, you don't have the draw from the country to the city, the way you do in England. You have rent-a-mobs staging demonstrations where they burn Indian cloth.

I actually think that this divergence is why you see the outsized influence of Paris versus the rest of the country, which has usually been problematic.


Quote:

That's history, as Americans say. It is not obvious to me that a country that today has more Fortune 500 companies than Germany still "lags behind" Germany or what that even means.
Simply a measure of GDP.


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