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Old April 30 2013, 07:13 PM   #350
Bomber Harris
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Ehm, the topic is Roddenberry's worst ideas and "no money" clearly is a Roddenberryian idea. We are not derailing the thread but digging a bit deeper.
You were digging deeper but you (i.e. the general you) were also going off on tangents only strenuously linked to the discussion at hand, if that.

The first one started off from this post (I won't quote all posts because that would make this post unreadable):
horatio83 wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
It is also a matter of fact that the ruling economic theory does not correctly describe reality. Indeed most of it does not even make an attempt. The primary contribution of academic economists is the repeated attempt to prevent/explain/explain away the business cycle. If you keep score as you go through life, you'll see how well they've been doing.
No. Kalecki and Keynes basically founded macroeconomics in the thirties and while there has always been an ideological battle between Keynesian and classical economics the syntheses that resulted from the clash of these two schools are not at all denying the business cycle. This is contemporary macro and if you just read the abstract you will realize that it actually does deal with demand management problems. There is no business cycle denial as business cycle is the very research topic!

There is a difference between academic research and the popularization of it. When Bob Lucas or John Cochrane or some other right-wing asshole from around Chicago denies that one can do something about recessions it is propaganda and not academic research.
But you brought it back on topic, and if that had been the only occurrence, I wouldn't have said anything. These things happen.

But then the next tangent occurred, starting with this post, which has nothing to do with Roddenberry's ideas but is a rant about conservatives. Which is a legitmate topic but not in this sub-forum.

stj wrote: View Post
Political conservatives believe that poverty is a just reward. Systemic action to alleviate poverty is intrinsically unjust, an immoral attempt to undo the verdicts of the market/God (no functional difference here.) Worse, taxes or any other perceived burden are aggravated injustice, punishing the virtuous in this vain attempt. And any attempt to systemically abolish poverty is a hubristic attempt to create utopia. Wealth and poverty are the only just and moral compulsions to labor. Everything else is by definition evil, like liberalism, socialism, communism, etc.

In practice, most philanthropy focuses intensely on moral reformation of its clients even to the point where it causes negative consquences. For instance, poorhouses were deliberately designed to be oppressive. The refusal to grant aid to households with unemployed husbands allegedly played a role in breaking up families in the Sixties, though I don't know how significant it was. Private philanthropists very commonly exercise prejudices in the choice of their objects of charity, then demand subservience as the unacknowledged price. Dickens was pretty accurate about philanthrophists.

Eventually, the thread got back on topic. Then it got off on a tangent for the third time with this exchange:

sonak wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
Indeed, it is strange that nobody questions why work hours have been reduced to 40 hours and below, a fairly natural trend in a society with real GDP per capita growth rates of around 2%, but then started to rise again. It is perceives as totally natural while it actually isn't. Capital is happy about it in the immediate economic sense (labour's share of income decreases) and in the indirect political sense: overworked citizens have no time or energy to do political work.

Keynes, a guy who made money on the stock market and wrote that Marx misread Ricardo, i.e. not a crazy leftist prophet but a centrist liberal, wrote about the future reduction of workhours (this is a good modern follow-up). The economic world of Trek, not working at all anymore out of necessity, the step from work as a means for consumption to a means for social contribution / self-fulfillment, is just the next step. And unlike working like crazy and then being too exhausted to do anything but passively consume and perhaps enjoy one hobby it sounds like a better life.

About work incentives, they are overrated. Socialism didn't fail because of work incentive issues (they existed but were of minor relevance and compensated for by Western inefficiencies like lack of competition on output markets) but because of the absence of a capital market: companies couldn't fail. Interestingly the problems we face today also have more to do with a badly functioning capital market than with lazy, shirking workers.
So yeah, I have no idea where these obsessions with work incentivzes come from. Somehow people are masochistic, they prefer a world without democracy in the worldplace and the constant fear of job loss to either a full employment world where they could actually tell their boss to fuck himself and easily change the job or a post-scarcity world in which they could merge work and hobby.

they're not "masochists," they get bombarded with 24/7 propaganda that's very cleverly designed to deliberately mislead them give them misinformation, and make them not question. It's like the line about the "greatest trick the devil ever pulled."

the greatest trick the right-wing neoliberals ever pulled was convincing the poor and the exploited to DEFEND the very system that exploits them.
I then decided to say something and remind people to stay more on topic.

horatio83 wrote: View Post
This is what I call moderating when it clearly isn't necessary. Nobody has been insulted, nobody plays some stupid "my party is better than yours" game or whatever.
Well, the disdain for people on the right was pretty evident in some posts but thankfully no flaming or trolling took place, I agree. But those aren't the only things moderators should look out for.

horatio83 wrote: View Post
It is impossible to not become political when talking about these elements of Trek ... unless one wants the discussion to purely focus on trivial matters.
Yes, and I said that in my post. But there's a difference between that and going off on tangents. Just try to maintain a link to the overall topic in your posts and it's fine. I hope the examples above give you a better idea of what I meant.
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