Good detailed answer. May I ask - how would you challenge those, such as the author of this article, who say that during a recession, people’s lives actually improve? www.google.co.uk/.../a-recession-devastates-peoples-lives-but-there-are-surprising-health-benefits-when-capitalism-stops-working
There are health benefits. A working and active economy adds stress. That has all sorts of knock-on effects. In an imperfect world of imperfect beings, there is no such thing as a totally unmixed blessing.However, weighing up the goods and the bads. The costs and benefits, it is quite clear that it is, on balance, to have a growing economy than not. There is stress that comes with having to get to your job. There is even more stress when you cannot feed your family because you do not have one. In any case, one of the features of the modern economy has included more vacation time, more paid family leave, and other benefits designed to offset some of the stresses that come with a growing economy.There is, in the author's formulation, a pitiless abstractness and disrespect for life. I do not wish to seem pejorative, but. iIt is the analysis of the comfortable who do not expect to be uncomfortable. Telling the suffering that their suffering is good for them but that they are not bright enough to know it.Think of it this way. By the author's logic we need not concern ourselves for the famine stricken in Africa. They are far better off than they realize.
So also a bit like saying poorer countries have less illnesses than we have in the developed world such as cancer, heart disease and they also lead a healthier lifestyle with less tobacco and alcohol?
Sorry, I don't follow your question. Other than to add that while there may be more incidence of some health issues in rich than in poor countries, it is also true that rich nations often have the means to treat such illnesses.Also, it should be added that poor countries are more apt to have illnesses that are by now all but non-existent in the industrialized world. Again, it is a matter of trade-offs. In that connection would you rather have the child mortality rate of the United States or the Central African Republic? Better still, give it a try yourself.The abstract perfection of the author's argument is its practical defect.
Can you point out the flaws in this article? What would happen to the world if the world became a place where health and wellbeing became the priority at all costs over economy? https://amp. theguardian. com/society/2020/may/10/britons-want-quality-of-life-indicators-priority-over-economy-coronavirus? CMP=share_btn_tw&__twitter_impression=true
Well, there is nothing wrong with the article per se. It simply describes a certain perspective in the British public. However, the distinction the public appears to be making is more perception than reality.Aristotle said that virtue is a mean between extremes. So, to use a distinction cited in the piece, if the public emphasizes health over the economy as an either/or, it will likely get neither. Lower economic growth means fewer jobs which means less money to buy food.It is a false dichotomy. While the two are not the same, they are not unrelated. Frankly, speaking of the poll itself, it is a pretty useless one. Essentially it asks, do you want the end without willing the means to the end? Most people usually do, but in grown-up land we know that it is not possible.
What about a perception where the rich and higher earners should be taxed more to repay national debt instead of spending cuts? Is there a false dichotomy in this thinking?
That is pretty standard fare in populist times anyhow. That is not something peculiar to the current circumstances. Again, it is a trade-off.To save space, I offer my response to these questions - all variations on the theme:1) Do you support increased taxes on the super wealthy (please read the details)? ↗2) Do you think Rich people should pay less taxes? ↗3) Do you think rich people should be forced to pay real taxes with their companies? ↗The same general principles I articulate in these questions apply in the current situation.
Yes a trade off. Populism is easier and people are driven by emotions. But since there are a lot of people who hold labour views Without populist views, there must be some who have looked into this in detail and genuinely believe the labour trade off is better for society as a whole.
Or is there a false dichotomy in what I’ve just said?
Forgive me, I can't even follow what you are trying to say. As a general view, those who Americans call liberal believe in a "tax the rich" approach. Those who Americans call conservative do not. The populist tone of our politics - a tone of envy and resentment and a belief in the inherent virtue of the common man - is giving added force to that inclination. (Though populism tends, as a matter of policy, not to be consistent on this question.)That said, policy usually comes out of the interaction of philosophical views and an analysis of extant conditions. For reasons I will not go into now, I tend to favor an across the board tax increase. EVERYBODY pays more. However, in the context of a depressed economy, any tax increase is apt to further weaken the economy. Thus in principle I support - for eminently conservative reasons - a tax increase. Now however, given the current circumstances, is not the time.Hope that answers your question. As to what you just wrote, I can't make head nor tails of it.
Thanks. So who’s right out of liberals and conservatives? Does the difference between them come from differing philosophical views and differing analysis of extant conditions?
The interaction of both. Their views, in general, set up the prism through which they view the extant circumstances. Here you ARE setting up a false dichotomy. American liberals will tend to argue that a tax increase can be used to redistribute income and thereby generate demand and thus offset the economically depressing effect of the tax increase. This while also attaining a more just distribution of income and reordering society along more just and fair lines.American Conservatives will tend to argue that the depressive effects on demand of a tax increase will worsen an economic downturn. This thereby depressing employment and reinforcing the downward spiral in the economy.Please note that these are the starting general positions and each will apply their general principles in light of particular circumstances. It is simply not possible, in 2000 characters, to cover all the variables that go into the calculations of each side.
So does whether liberalism or conservatism is better for society as a whole depend on the circumstances of the society at a particular time?
Does this mean you would become liberal if the circumstances are right?
No. There are a million assumptions behind the views of both sides. Assumptions about human nature, about the proper ordering of a just society, about how economies work and so on. It is not simply a reaction to a particular moment in time.To be sure, circumstance will condition how an individual of either side applies their basic principles. As I noted, in general I favor a tax increase across the board, but at the moment that would do more harm than good. My support for a tax increase in principle being that it will force the nation to choose what it wants and needs and to prioritize. However, at the moment, that is not a pressing need and indeed to apply my prefer method is apt to cause more economic distress and thereby undermine my ultimate goal.Bottom line, I believe in certain general principles and within reason apply them, making accommodation for specific conditions. My argument with liberals being in their conception of human nature and what is the just ordering of society. On those fundamental questions my views remain constant.
So your constant views are based on a million assumptions which you believe are correct?
Uhm, I have never counted the number. In general, I believe that man is neither perfect nor perfectible. That he is a social being but that such sociability depends on a complex web of traditions, laws, customs and institutions. That change must be slow and measured and that even the best intentioned reforms are apt to be of limited effect and as easily as not can go wrong and have all sorts of unintended effects.That liberty is not an end in itself but is a means to an end and that the purpose of politics is to nurture civic virtue and those habits that conduce to ordered liberty. That man is neither perfect nor perfectible and he lacks the knowledge and wisdom to shape society according to some a priori vision. Indeed that any attempt to shape society according to such vision is apt to result in brutal tyranny.Suffice to say, I could go on. However, whole books have been written on the subject and space limitations impinge. I commend to you the book "Statecraft as Soulcraft" by George F. Will to give you an outline of my brand of classical conservatism, which as my stance on taxes suggests differs in some important ways from American conservatism.
So how should one decide their political stance? What is the mature way of doing this?
Study history, read books of political philosophy and political science, become familiar with the contemporary political debate. For my part, I became interested in politics watching the 1976 presidential election. My mother is a staunch Republican and I was influenced by that.So for many years my views were pretty much standard Republican views and I tended to view issues in that light. In 1983, I read the Will book and that got me more deeply interested in political philosophy beyond just the politics I saw in the news and that is how I got to where I am.Beyond that, I cannot offer you much advice. How you develop your views depends upon your interest in politics and political issues. To which is added your level of education and your interest in exploring political issues more deeply.Most people just hold very general views that they pick up from family and friends and whose origins and nature they are largely not aware. In my case, I started there and then just went farther and took what you might call was a more scholarly turn.
Interesting. But sometimes reading into both sides of an argument can become confusing. For example, reading a conservative book then a liberal book could be confusing.
Sir, I cannot begin to fathom, without knowing you and where you start from and your education and I cannot reasonably be expected to walk you through the whole process of your political education.My suggestion to you is that you listen to the contemporary political debate and decide which side, to your mind, has the more compelling argument. This for you may come down to little more than intuition, but it is a start. Then pick up some books from the side you find the more compelling.That said, I suggest the Will book. Although not an easy read, it is relatively short and you can use it as a starting point. If you find it compelling, you can go further down the classical conservative path. If not, you can read books by more typical American conservative authors or even read works from the other side of the aisle.Beyond that, read more history and stay up on current issues.
Thanks. So back on the pandemic response, I just wanted to see if there is any more politics and philosophy reading material you could recommend as a highly experienced policy professional who is well versed in different economic views and differing philosophies also. To give some context to the reading material I am looking for, I have put in some details below. In the U. K., it seems that in the 2009 Swine flu pandemic, the response was probably closer to what “the General public” of the U. K. might have expected for this pandemic. But as the 2009 pandemic turned out to not be as bad as feared, there was widespread criticism of overspending on it. So a public inquiry was held where a recommendation was made that any response should be proportionate to the data available resulting in a revised pandemic response plan being publicised in 2011.The inquiry report is here - assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/.../...review.pdfThis was then further revised in 2014. assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/.../...13_Aug.pdfThis article appears to put the blame on sticking to the plan for too long. It also states that the inquiry found that the response needs to be proportionate and effective. Later, it states that any response should be effective and doesn’t need to be proportionate necessarily. It also mentions western governments taking time to weigh up the risk of an epidemic and risk of an over reaction. www.newstatesman.com/.../problem-our-response-covid-19-wasn-t-we-didn-t-have-plan-it-wasThis i guess becomes an interesting philosophical debate of what kind of society a society wants to be and what the implications are. Of course, you are correct in that there’s no way you could answer a question of what your thoughts are on this in less than 2000 words so to save space and time, maybe some further reading recommendations on this matter would be helpful.
Not sure of your point. There have been several pandemics numerous pandemics in the world long before this one. Probably the Black Death resulting in the deaths of up to 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351 and the 1918 to 1919 Spanish Influenza being the two most infamous.The "Black Death" helped to shape the development of Europe, not least because the science did not exist to explain it let alone alleviate it. The Spanish Influenza being perhaps the most deadly in contemporary times.As to how countries responded to these and similar events, much depends on how widespread they were, their mortality rates and the circumstances in which they took place. There is, therefore, no way to make a generalization about any of them. Tell me the pandemic and I'll tell you its impact - even this then likely varying by country and time.Suffice to add that I am not an expert on pandemics per se, so anything I could offer would be of a very general outline and not terribly useful.As to books, I can suggest, 1) "The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life" by Nancy Tomes2) "American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic" by Nancy Bristow3) "America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918" by Alfred W. Crosby4) "The Black Death: The Great Mortality of 1348-1350" by John Aberth5) "Doctoring the Black Death: Medieval Europe's Medical Response to Epidemic Disease" also by John AberthOf these, I never got around to reading "America's Forgotten Pandemic" though it sits somewhere in my stacks. Overall, my interest is European history from the 1860s to the present and political philosophy.
Interesting. Are there any books you think might be interesting And educational from Asian cultures also for comparison? Although I guess an issue might be that many of them might not be in English.
Sorry, I am an English speaker and, as I say, I do not specialize in pandemics in history. My suggestion would be, assuming that you are from an Asian country, that you go on Amazon or another such website and do a search.
I am not actually and don’t understand any Asian languages. But I am interested in different cultures and would like something in English which I can understand.
Well, as I say, try Amazon or Barnes & Noble and enter "Asian pandemics" or such. I would also add that although Asia is not the specific focus of the books I suggested, they do touch on it. (It also being noted that the Black Death came out of what is today, Turkey.)That all said, as I noted, I do not specialize in pandemics and such. As far as other cultures generally, you have your work cut out for you. Plenty of reading ahead.From relatively recent history I can suggest, The Rising Sun, by John Toland. Also, Barbara Tuchman's "Stilwell and the American Experience in China." Both provide a fascinating study of the juxtaposition of cultures.1) www.amazon.com/.../ref=sr_1_32) www.amazon.com/.../ref=sr_1_1
Isn't the government supposed to take care of the people? Oh, you said control.The government is supposed to work for the people, and that includes keeping them alive.
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Can’t they just borrow?
That’s what I mean. They borrow, but their debt then goes up. And if you borrow too much, like those other nations, they run the risk of defaulting and spending A LOT of money on interest rates, which makes having that debt really expensive.
Actually defaulting would potentially be catastrophic for the financial market and creditworthiness of the country, which could lead to problems for decades. It’s by no means a solution to basically anything
To what end? You must pay back money borrowed, at an interest rate
Really? Does a country really have to repay debts? Surely a country cannot go bankrupt since it’s not a business.
Yes a country must repay debts eventually. When they are indebted the other country can have influence and power over them until debts are paid
Not if every single country owes debts to each other.
Sure and utopia would be ideal also
It’s not utopia. If every country owes debts there’s no political advantage for anyone.
You missed my point entirely. If every country was equal and owed equal debt to each other then the world would be in a mythical new state. That’s why I mentioned utopia; it will never happen.Countries are different both in size and power. There can never be a time when all are equal as long as each has separate cultures and political systems. What you are describing cannot be reality so it’s not worth the discussion for practical purposes.
Well, it’s a good thing then that in no developed economy the government can actually turn on the printing press. Monetary policy in general is strictly separated from the executive or legislative body in decision-making. The government can borrow money on the financial market, which is just standard practice for a very long time now.Also, printing extra money (which is what the ECB has done for the lst 10 years and the FED) does not have that strict effect. They have printed staggering amounts, yet inflation has barely been above 2%.
That article is flawed because part of the premise is wrong. Farmers are in trouble which produces our food. You can give away all the money you want but if the farms fail so goes our food supply lines
You can give the farms money.
The government can.
Government can print money that only delays the inevitable, cause hyper inflation so no one working now loses any money they saved and loses money to buy the food.
They don’t need to print money. They can just add it to the public debt.
That is not how that works. Public debt is caused by the government borrowing money it does not have to pay I don't know the farmers in question or 1,200 check to every American. It only gets worst when you realize if you took every dollar made in 2019 and pay it to the intrest there would still be interest unpaid for this year.
Yes so why not just increase the public debt and keep borrowing. A country can’t go bankrupt.
Actually it can and when it does bad things happen. A very famous country that has gone bankrupt is Venezuela where people work an entire month to afford a single hotdog
A country can’t go bankrupt. It can default. Defaulting is a policy decision. It’s not forced.
That is a misconception but yeah they can definitely go bankrupt. The reason for the default was because their treasury went bankrupt so they tried to hyper inflate their way out and now no one in the world wants their currency making it almost useless.
Isn't that what people like you have been saying for more than a decade, now?
@goaded People like me?
People who say government action will lead to inflation. There's a long list at the link below. Productivity is pointless if there aren't any customers.www.nytimes.com/.../...man-the-inflation-cult.html
@goaded I didn't say government action, I said giving people money. If the government spent money on infrastructure projects that would help everyone.
That's the sort of thing that would work well in normal times, especially in a recession, but at the moment we kind of need to pay people to stay home.
@goaded I suppose that's true but why do they call it a stimulus check? If they want people to stay at home they should be doing anything but stimulate them. Maybe call it a stay-at-home check or a subsistence check?
I really don't know why they called it that, it's really more disaster relief. I expect it's so it didn't look out of place with the huge amounts for corporations.
I expect that's what's contributing to the continuing 1-2000 deaths a day in the US. New York's numbers are coming down, but everywhere else is making up for it.
How’re they going to repay?
This is millions of dollars you’re talking about
It’s repaid the same way debt is always paid off, either the governments commits to austerity (= cutting expenses, such as 150 billion less on military) or increases taxes.
This is why we are always balls deep in debt-
Or they cAn default.
Bad times are when you can reasonably run a deficit, good times are when you're supposed to make up for it. How was the economy under Trump?
The debt decreased.
And who benefitted? The economy was doing well (because of a consistent improvement over the previous six years), so that was the time to keep fixing the deficit (it had been going down), if not the debt.Of course, someone said "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter"...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D5ruUmFRmoMeaning Republican deficits don't matter.
Wait, did you say "The debt decreased." in reponse to my question: "How was the economy under Trump?"?
@tartaarsaus The US has given up on repaying the debt. Now they just keep borrowing more to pay the debts they already have. Ultimately the US is lending to itself because the US Treasury issues bonds which are puchased by the Federal Reserve. Nobody goes broke and everyone is happy.