Occupy Wall St.

... They are not concerned with the effects on overall utility of the policies they support, but rather with the effects on liberty.

I must be missing something, because his last couple posts seemed to imply exactly that. I don't have an issue with liberty and agree with some of their tenets.
 

DanM

Math Student
I must be missing something, because his last couple posts seemed to imply exactly that. I don't have an issue with liberty and agree with some of their tenets.

I agree, he does seem to be a utilitarian libertarian. I just wanted to point out that deontological libertarianism is more rigorous and logical than utilitarian libertarianism or any other political ideology based on utilitarianism.
 

Abdel

Economist
Abdel: Interpretation? Is the U.S constitution written in chinese?

Abdel: Knowing these facts, you still don't want to follow the constitution?

That's interesting. First you talk about how it's as simple as following or not following the Constitution. Now you say it isn't perfect.

Look at my reply post to BBW (post #83) where I said: ''The US constitution is not a perfect document. But it is by far the most important document in human history in my opinion.''

and my reply post to you (post #88) : ''Sure, you can bring up some small technicalities here and there, but I'm talking about the big picture (the foundations of the house) and how since the US drifted away from those basic principales of small governement, no income tax and low regulations braught the coming economic armageddon.''

As you can see, I've been talking about the big picture. What I meant by ''interpretation'' was regarding those founding principales.

Honestly, I think the Constitution allowed us to have a successful economy- however, it wasn't the only factor.

There is a difference between a successful economy and the wealthiest nation in human history. IMO the Constitution is THE main factor that allowed that success to happen. If you don't have the right environement, you can try to apply a free market economy in pieces (as in most countries) but it will end up in a mess.

Per capita income, even when taking inflation into consideration, is actually as good as it has ever been. I dont understand the 100 years up 100 years down argument.

Well, back in the days, a man could have a job, a house, a wife and plenty kids. His wife didn't had to work, his kids went to school and he even was able to save money.

Fast forward to today where a couple cain't make ends meet. They have alot fewer kids, they cain't afford to send them to college and there is no money left for savings and they rely on a governement ponzi scheme for retirement.

How is that progress?

And don't get me started with the phony CPI that doesn't include food & energy. Where they use hedonics, substitution and weighting to hide the real rate of inflation.

Some point out how price fixing and other things are results of the gov't becoming too involved in business. What about child labor? Scams?
Why there was no protest of child labor back in the 1300's etc? Because it was a fact of life. Then, humans implemented a somewhat free market economy that generated enough wealth that allowed kids to stay at home and go to school.
For the scams, I refer you to my reply post to Anthony - post #85

Do you remember how we got into this financial mess in the first place? Predatory lending? Not taking insurance out on risky loans? The failure of the US regulatory agencies to do their job? Lack of regulation is what caused this. Bush and McCain themselves warned us. People with money can be corrupt and blinded by the almighty dollar. Human nature won't allow us to effectively police ourselves.
Yup, I remember how we got into this financial mess ;)

Step 1: The FED artificially lowered interest rates to 1% that in turn allowed the teaser rates. People who normally couldn't afford a mortgage now were able to have one = starting of the housing bubble = 1st GOVERNEMENT INTERVENTION.

Step 2: Fannie & Freddie guaranteed most of US mortgages. And that's where Wall Street came in. Since the GOVERNEMENT guaranteed mortgages, they created products that were backed by these mortgages without making sure the people who held the mortgages were solvent.
Why? Because the GOVERNEMENT created the moral hazard. There was no risks. It is as if, the governement tells people that he guarantees their loses at the casino. Everybody will rush to a casino.

Step 3: Since these products offered a higher yield, managers in the U.S and around the world baught them (because their salaries depends on their performance) without looking at the viability of the mortgages. After all, why would they? These products were rated AAA by rating agencies wich by the way, are GOVERNEMENT approved agencies only. That is why this US crisis went global.

So if you want regulations, sure you can have them, but on the governement ;)
 

Abdel

Economist
Anyhow, thanks for the conversation gentlemen.

I have to go out for the moment, so I'll reply to your posts later tonight or tomorrow :)
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
All parties are coalitions of people who share much less consistent views than they would like the outside to believe.
Movements like the Tea party or the Occupy crowd aren't actually all that different and beyond things that people care about are the many many things that any given individual does not care about. Hands up who has based their vote on rural poverty in Georgia or the US foreign policy to the country Georgia ?

The reason that is important is because party/group policy on these matters gets led by activists who care a lot about the above unless and until something big happens. America has an oppressive two party system, attempts to work outside the two large parties are met with legal repression of such force that it only just stop short of violence. Note how the Tea party which seems to have a distinct set of ideologies has essentially become a faction in the Republican party. Why can't it run its own candidates ? We all know why and in times of stress it means that people can't express their distinct position without playing the game of parties who have corrupted the democratic process down its most basic level.
The process of primaries makes this worse, amplifying the influence of activists whose influence is at least as pernicious as highly funded lobbies.
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Interpretation? Is the U.S constitution written in chinese?

It doesn't need interpretation...
You have a poor understanding of the law, and the US Constitution is a legal document. In addition, since you regard anything written as not needing interpretation, you show a poor understanding of language in general, as all languages need to be interpreted to have meaning. The entire legal system exists to interpret and apply the law, a category that the Constitution falls under. A big reason for that is the law is vague, complex, possibly outdated, possibly unfair, and at times contradictory.

I have no opinion about your assertion that following the Constitution more closely will lead to better economic outcomes, however you show a gross misunderstanding about the nature of law with the above statement.
 

Abdel

Economist
You have a poor understanding of the law, and the US Constitution is a legal document. In addition, since you regard anything written as not needing interpretation, you show a poor understanding of language in general, as all languages need to be interpreted to have meaning.

Actually, you're the one with a poor understanding. Or maybe you're just too quick on the trigger and clearly you don't know how to aim.

''Interpretation? Is the U.S constitution written in chinese?'' = This is called '' sarcasm''.

Of course for the small technicalities you need to look at the context. What I've been saying in my posts is related to the foundations of the constitution (small governement, no income tax, low regulations).

I have no opinion about your assertion that following the Constitution more closely will lead to better economic outcomes.

When the U.S followed the basic principales of the consitution (small gov, etc.) = Wealthiest nation in human history

When the U.S. stopped following those principales (with federal social programs in the 30's, etc)= Most indebted nation in human history

So, for next time, before you tell me what I lack & what I don't lack, go read what I've wrote before on that topic.
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Actually, you're the one with a poor understanding. Or maybe you're just too quick on the trigger and clearly you don't know how to aim.

''Interpretation? Is the U.S constitution written in chinese?'' = This is called '' sarcasm''.

Of course for the small technicalities you need to look at the context. What I've been saying in my posts is related to the foundations of the constitution (small governement, no income tax, low regulations).
Again, I have no conflict with you on the foundations of the Constitution. However the notion that laws are immutable/inflexible or do not need interpretation is erroneous.

I read very well your sarcasm, it clearly indicates your opinion that the Constitution does not need to be interpreted. Implying that I don't understand sarcasm won't change that.

The technicalities are not always small, and that is again why we have Amendments and why e.g. the Supreme Court needs to determine whether certain laws are constitutional or not. If the Constitution were not open to interpretation, no court would have the function or power to determine if laws are constitutional, nor would we ever pass any laws that need to be judged in such a way.
 
I don't think you can make it as black and white as you are Abdel. There were many things going on at the time. By your argument, I could just as easily say that when we were a slave holding nation (first ~100 years) we were great, and ever since we freed them we've been a terrible country. Would you call that a solid argument too?
 

Abdel

Economist
I don't think you can make it as black and white as you are Abdel. There were many things going on at the time. By your argument, I could just as easily say that when we were a slave holding nation (first ~100 years) we were great, and ever since we freed them we've been a terrible country. Would you call that a solid argument too?

Not exactly TBeas, there is a big difference!

Plenty of nations before had slaves and yet, they never achieved or came close to what the US did.

My point is, during ALL human history, the ONLY time we tried small governement, no income tax and low regulations, the richest nation of human history was born. Clearly, this rare & short experiment with freedom (at all levels) paid off!
 

Abdel

Economist
Again, I have no conflict with you on the foundations of the Constitution.

My issue is with trying to interpret the foundations of a Constitution that made this country so wealthy & great.

Now, in practice, sure, anything can happen and anything can be changed. Just look at the commerce clause and how the federal governement abuse it. I mean, why even have a constitution if the governement can use it for almost anything he wants to do?

Same goes for the 'General Welfaire' clause. Hey, let's set the income tax to 60% for all working americans and give it away to poor americans, why not? it's general welfaire, that's my interpretation! Obviously it isn't, but you get my point.

You have to interpret these things in the context of the constitution, wich is to restrain the federal governement (''by the chains of the constitution'').
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
I mean, why even have a constitution if the governement can use it for almost anything he wants to do?
This is the point of the US Courts system, even if it's not perfect. It is part of the system of checks and balances. Remember that vacuums tend to get filled and this goes for power vacuums as well. So the idea of "just keep to the Constitution" as a guideline, without the legal and enforcement apparatus to go along with it, is just an empty statement. A balance of power is needed.
 

DanM

Math Student
With regards to how to interpret the constitution, judicial interpretation is an important part of law. It's something you'd learn in a Constitutional Law course along with statutory interpretation. So I disagree with the notion that the constitution cannot, or should not, be interpreted. That being said, there are certain principles of interpretation that are more logical and make more sense than others, in particular "original intent theory." From what I gather, Abdel subscribes to this theory, even though he may not have articulated it.

Anyways, I agree with him, in that the Constitution does limit the size & power of the federal government, and the majority of social programs in existence are unconstitutional - which is why most of them are contested in court on those grounds.
 

Abdel

Economist
This is the point of the US Courts system, even if it's not perfect. It is part of the system of checks and balances. Remember that vacuums tend to get filled and this goes for power vacuums as well. So the idea of "just keep to the Constitution" as a guideline, without the legal and enforcement apparatus to go along with it, is just an empty statement. A balance of power is needed.

Obviously.

But as you can see, almost everything the federal governement do is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court is backing his actions.

So, there is no real checks and balances (sure, there is, but you get my point- it's a slow drift)

If there is no 180 degree change, I wouldn't be surprised if some states will want to secede in the near future.

Remember, seeing the politics coming out of washington DC, things will only get worse. Cain't look at the situation in a static way.

Anyhow, I polluted this topic enough.

OCCUPY THE FED! :D
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
My point is, during ALL human history, the ONLY time we tried small governement, no income tax and low regulations, the richest natio of human history was born.

On the CQF I teach a lecture which I was persuaded to not call "Remedial Logic", but this comment illustrates why it is necessary.
You really need to understand the difference between causality and correlation, plus the net result of the American revolution was to increase the amount of governing being done. You might argue that more efficient government was created, but the amount of it went up, so you don't even really score correlation. Georgian England really didn't govern its colonies all that much at all.

Also America has never at any point in its history been the richest country on Earth. It currently enjoys the highest GDP of any country, but "rich" is not how much money a set of people have, it is how much money they have each, else you end up treating India as a rich place, which it ain't.

So what you have is a logical fallacy based upon an assertion that isn't correct in the first place.

If we look at nations and times with very low levels of government we have such success stories as:

Somalia, practically no government at all
Pre-Invasion Afghanistan
Native Americans
Dark Ages Europe, the hint is in the name
Pre-unification Italy is a great laboratory of why you are wrong, but as well as logic, you didn't trouble yourself to learn any history did you ?

Did the constitution make the USA great ?
Maybe, I'd like to see some evidence that copes with how you ignore the fact that the greatest competitors to the USA destroyed their economies in wars, was that the constitution or two big oceans ?
 

bob

Faculty (Undercover)
I have to agree that the constitutional cheerleading is driven by a deep misunderstanding of US history. Far from being the richest country on Earth, the US was an agrarian backwater for nearly a century after the Revolution. What made us a "modern" country--or a country at all, really--was the Civil War, which many citizens here still believe was unconstitutional, and they have a pretty good argument.

Thereafter, the US has been a country of boom-and-bust capitalism, with some of its greatest contributions being made by the kind of aristocracy--the Rockefellers and JP Morgans of the world--that our egalitarian society is supposed to abhor. When most Americans think of our past greatness, they are really thinking about a slice of 50 years or so after WWII. It's a trick of human memory that those 50 years wind up coloring what came before.

What hasn't changed--and what did exist over those centuries before the Civil War--is the story of exceptionalism and manifest destiny the US has told about itself from the beginning. There is a lot that's good about the country as a consequence of this, but it's important to understand that this is what Lyotard called a "legitimating metanarrative," and shouldn't interfere with an honest appraisal of the past, inasmuch as such a thing is possible.
 
... but it's important to understand that this is what Lyotard called a "legitimating metanarrative," and shouldn't interfere with an honest appraisal of the past, inasmuch as such a thing is possible.

You're quoting Lyotard on QN -- surprises abound. I am not alone here.
 
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