12 votes

It's a great time to be an American

25 comments

  1. [24]
    Silbern
    Link
    Feel free to change the title, I was worried the original was a bit too long. The article sums up the odd feelings I've experienced the last few months, and I was wondering if anyone else relates...

    Feel free to change the title, I was worried the original was a bit too long. The article sums up the odd feelings I've experienced the last few months, and I was wondering if anyone else relates - despite all the bad going on right now, I feel strangely optimistic for the US' future, for the first time in years. It seems like we've reached a genuine turning point, and I'm excited to see where we go over the next decade. Much more so than I was December 31st, 2019.

    8 votes
    1. [19]
      vord
      Link Parent
      Here's hoping November goes well and Democrats become a solid progressive bloc and unravel 40+ years of bad decisions, hopefully taking drastic measures to combat climate change and pollution in...

      Here's hoping November goes well and Democrats become a solid progressive bloc and unravel 40+ years of bad decisions, hopefully taking drastic measures to combat climate change and pollution in the process.

      There's a glimmer of progress on the horizon, but there are a ton of obstacles in the way.

      10 votes
      1. [11]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        “Unraveling” makes it sound like we’re restoring something by scraping off some barnacles or touching up some scuffs. But this is a total overhaul we’re in need of. Full modernization of the...

        unravel 40+ years of bad decisions

        “Unraveling” makes it sound like we’re restoring something by scraping off some barnacles or touching up some scuffs. But this is a total overhaul we’re in need of. Full modernization of the administrative state and a transformation of how we approach governance. It’s time to usher in a new chapter and shrug off baggage from the past.

        9 votes
        1. [10]
          vord
          Link Parent
          I 100% agree, it's just that a lot of progress could be done by simply wiping the slate of almost everything Republicans (and tbh a lot of Democrats) have done over the course of my lifetime. That...

          I 100% agree, it's just that a lot of progress could be done by simply wiping the slate of almost everything Republicans (and tbh a lot of Democrats) have done over the course of my lifetime.

          That would be my '100 day plan.' Doing that would set us up for tackling the upcoming problems, not just undoing the prior breakage like the crippling of unions, crippling anti-trust, expanding drug prohibition, and the expansion of the surveillance/police state.

          The subsequent time would be doing the new stuff like addressing climate change and reforming voting top-to-bottom. My personal wish list would include a planned economy and the abolition of money, but that's likely a long way off despite being easier to implement than ever....we're still having trouble re-convincing people that the labor theory of value is correct.

          2 votes
          1. [9]
            NaraVara
            Link Parent
            You are definitely going to have trouble convincing people of something that’s been thoroughly debunked by economists from multiple opposing schools of thought. The Wikipedia page lists several,...

            we're still having trouble re-convincing people that the labor theory of value is correct

            You are definitely going to have trouble convincing people of something that’s been thoroughly debunked by economists from multiple opposing schools of thought. The Wikipedia page lists several, and it’s not even exhaustive.

            Turning a page means making something new, not fealty to the ideological commitments of a bunch of dead, Eurocentric Hegelians from more than a century ago.

            3 votes
            1. [8]
              vord
              Link Parent
              I'd be curious to know which schools of thought outside of the neoclassical. While I'm quite biased, I find the labor theory correct purely on reasoning from first principals. Labor is the single...

              thoroughly debunked by economists from multiple opposing schools of thought

              I'd be curious to know which schools of thought outside of the neoclassical.

              While I'm quite biased, I find the labor theory correct purely on reasoning from first principals. Labor is the single highest cost of almost everything made (those raw materials got out of the ground somehow). Price will rarely, if ever, drop below labor cost in the long term, you can make reasonable guesses of costs (not prices mind) based on labor, especially once you abolish fiat in favor of a labor-based token economy.

              I love Paul Cockshott, his videos and books have been the most eye-opening economic material. Here is a scathing rebuttal of the entire concept of supply and demand.

              1. [7]
                NaraVara
                Link Parent
                Even modern economists who are sympathetic to Marxian views, like Pilkington don’t really subscribe to it. The gist of it is that there ends up being so much special pleading and semantic...

                Even modern economists who are sympathetic to Marxian views, like Pilkington don’t really subscribe to it.

                The gist of it is that there ends up being so much special pleading and semantic caveating for it to make sense that it has no practical utility for actually valuing things, which is the whole point. If you can’t use it to derive prices or allocate resources it’s not even a useful abstraction. It doesn’t help us determine exchange value or use value at all.

                And it’s not even necessary to still understand the concept of surplus labor, so I really don’t get why online Leftists get so hung up on this particular shibboleth. At some point it just starts to look like a form of anti-intellectualism against economists. It’s a much more diverse discipline than Leftists online seem to think it is, probably because their idea of “what economists think” is based on arguing online with undergraduates who don’t know much past the basics. Most of the criticisms of the field seem to be stuck on where things were in the 90s and early aughts and don’t seem to have assimilated any new criticisms since.

                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  vord
                  Link Parent
                  Economics has a lot more in common with religion and philosophy IMO than anything else. It's a social science (and socialist/planned economies have a better shot of attaining that natural science...

                  At some point it just starts to look like a form of anti-intellectualism against economists.

                  Economics has a lot more in common with religion and philosophy IMO than anything else. It's a social science (and socialist/planned economies have a better shot of attaining that natural science status IMHO), but those particular aspects mean that almost everyone can have a somewhat valid stance regardless of their background.

                  the concept of surplus labor

                  There shouldn't be any such thing. There is always something that needs to be done. Whether or not somebody is willing to pay for anybody to do said thing is the problem. And if by some miracle we manage to accomplish everything we desire and we have 'surplus labor,' the correct answer is to reduce workweek and give everyone more leisure time.

                  no practical utility for actually valuing things, which is the whole point

                  Even modern economists who are sympathetic to Marxian views, like Pilkington don’t really subscribe to it.

                  I read through this article. And my feeling is that Pilkington (and others) are missing the forest for the trees, as value and price are different things. LTV is a more egalitarian way of determining value, as the value of a good is directly proportional to the hours of human life spent making a product. Just because last year's fashion dropped in price and the company slashed/burned the excess to make way for the new line doesn't eliminate the human cost required to create that good in the first place. By ignoring the labor value (instead just accounting for wages), you end up with a 'all humans are equal, but some are more equal than others' situation where manufacturing is exported to less-developed countries to pay lower wages for the same labor. It shouldn't matter what country the good is manufactured in...8 hours of a person's life holds the same value no matter where they live.

                  1. [5]
                    NaraVara
                    Link Parent
                    If you’ve never actually studied economics how would you know this? You’re just working on hearsay from other people with an anti-intellectual bent. This is like saying anyone can be a doctor as...

                    but those particular aspects mean that almost everyone can have a somewhat valid stance regardless of their background.

                    If you’ve never actually studied economics how would you know this? You’re just working on hearsay from other people with an anti-intellectual bent. This is like saying anyone can be a doctor as long as they have a body. It’s not any different from anti-vax rhetoric. It doesn’t sound like it comes from a place of any real understanding of the disciplines involved. Social sciences aren’t natural sciences and that’s not a goal they have. Sociology is complicated and understanding human behavior is too. You can’t wish away the inherent complexity and ambiguity because it’s ideologically inconvenient.

                    There shouldn't be any such thing.

                    This is a Marxist concept that doesn’t mean what you seem to think. Review Das Kapital.

                    LTV is a more egalitarian way of determining value, as the value of a good is directly proportional to the hours of human life spent making a product.

                    The point of a metric isn’t to be egalitarian, it’s to be accurate. Hours of human life doesn’t reflect value, it just reflects time spent. Having people dig ditches and fill them up again for no reason isn’t useful labor so why value it the same as an hour spent doing something useful? By the same token, an experienced ditch digger’s hour is worth more when digging ditches than a nurse’s. But a nurse’s hour of healthcare work is worth more than a ditch digger’s. The labor time isn’t the meaningful element of the value chain, and if your valuation scheme is useless for actually making decisions about who to send where or how to allocate resources then it’s not actually good for anything.

                    By ignoring the labor value (instead just accounting for wages)

                    Wages aren’t a measure of value either. Utility of the production is.

                    8 hours of a person's life holds the same value no matter where they live.

                    What about 8 hours of a fresh out of school entry level worker versus a highly trained and educated worker? How about an 8 hour cello performance by YoYo Ma versus 8 hours by me (who has no musical training)?

                    Sadly, it’s simply a fact that Ariana Grande adds more utility to more people’s lives in a 3 hour performance doing what she does best than I do in a full workday doing whatever I do best. People just don’t care about me very much, so I don’t think it’s particularly unfair that she gets paid more. Now there’s plenty of exploitation that comes from monopoly power over productive capital or logistical capacity, but none of it comes from people valuing hours of time differently. Distinctions between types of earned income aren’t even a major driver of inequality, that mostly comes from distinctions between earned and unearned income.

                    5 votes
                    1. Loire
                      Link Parent
                      If it's any consolation, I value your contribution to tildes far more than I do the musical contributions of Ariana Grande.

                      Sadly, it’s simply a fact that Ariana Grande adds more utility to more people’s lives in a 3 hour performance doing what she does best than I do in a full workday doing whatever I do best.

                      If it's any consolation, I value your contribution to tildes far more than I do the musical contributions of Ariana Grande.

                      3 votes
                    2. [3]
                      spctrvl
                      Link Parent
                      So, not that I back using LTV to set prices, but the response to those examples would be that there's more embodied labor in those services than the actual amount of time needed to perform them....

                      So, not that I back using LTV to set prices, but the response to those examples would be that there's more embodied labor in those services than the actual amount of time needed to perform them. There's the thousands of hours of study and training to be a nurse or other skilled worker, and if you look at things statistically, there's even more work going in to supporting enough people for one of them to come about with unusual artistic talent. I also think LTV isn't really essential to socialist thought, and shouldn't be the hill we die on, but while there're valid objections to LTV, skilled versus unskilled labor time isn't really one of them.

                      1. [2]
                        NaraVara
                        Link Parent
                        Even embodied labor isn’t really reducible to “time spent” though. Ditch digging to nursing is a bad example there. A better one would be that an MFA takes about as long as a nursing degree, but...

                        There's the thousands of hours of study and training to be a nurse or other skilled worker, and if you look at things statistically, there's even more work going in to supporting enough people for one of them to come about with unusual artistic talent.

                        Even embodied labor isn’t really reducible to “time spent” though. Ditch digging to nursing is a bad example there. A better one would be that an MFA takes about as long as a nursing degree, but nurses are still way more in demand than a Masters in Fine Art.

                        The trouble is, once you get past what’s needed for pure subsistence it’s basically impossible to quantify how much things are worth because value is inherently subjective. The whole point of modern, industrial society is to not have to be fixated solely on subsistence.

                        1. spctrvl
                          Link Parent
                          I pretty much agree with you there. I think labor theory of value is an interesting lens for identifying and examining exploitative economic relations, but is very ill suited to be the only or...

                          The trouble is, once you get past what’s needed for pure subsistence it’s basically impossible to quantify how much things are worth because value is inherently subjective. The whole point of modern, industrial society is to not have to be fixated solely on subsistence.

                          I pretty much agree with you there. I think labor theory of value is an interesting lens for identifying and examining exploitative economic relations, but is very ill suited to be the only or even primary determinant of pricing, mostly for those reasons. I essentially hold with Kropotkin that the idea of trying to build a socialist society on what is basically an LTV-equalized wage system, is a first generation solution to what supersedes capitalism that is simple, intuitive, and wrong.

      2. [7]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        Americans need to show up and vote. Irregardless of the threat of COVID. Irregardless of conservative electoral fraud making the endeavour uncomfortable. The higher the voter turnout the more...

        Americans need to show up and vote. Irregardless of the threat of COVID. Irregardless of conservative electoral fraud making the endeavour uncomfortable. The higher the voter turnout the more inevitable a Democratic win.

        The Republicans will attempt to steal this election. Trump will attempt to steal this election. Certain foreign nations will attempt to steal this election. If Americans don't show up to the polls en masse, then the electoral fraud will likely succeed.

        There are a ton of obstacles on the horizon for just democracy, let alone "progress", even if ignoring the Democrat's inevitable infighting. Everything is stacked against the voters this election.

        6 votes
        1. [6]
          vord
          Link Parent
          I agree, but it likely isn't good enough on its own. Real progress only seems to be getting made these days when 500k+ people protest with a decent bit of rioting mixed in. And remember the...

          I agree, but it likely isn't good enough on its own. Real progress only seems to be getting made these days when 500k+ people protest with a decent bit of rioting mixed in. And remember the Million Man March? Apparently nobody else does.

          If Americans don't show up to the polls en masse, then the electoral fraud will likely succeed.

          The beauty of electoral fraud is that it doesn't really matter if people show up to polls en-mass if the results are easily manipulated.

          The higher the voter turnout the more inevitable a Democratic win.

          Generally true for the Senate, but not necessarily for anything else thanks to heavy gerrymandering. My cursory glance through the 2016 results of many states is that while Hillary had a slight dip in turnout relative to 2012 Obama, Trump brought in tons more voters in huge numbers (in the few states that matter).

          4 votes
          1. [5]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            I'd like to believe (but who knows) that American democracy isn't yet at Russian levels of complete fraud. If a significant majority shows up to the polls (and some experts were predicting a...

            The beauty of electoral fraud is that it doesn't really matter if people show up to polls en-mass if the results are easily manipulated.

            I'd like to believe (but who knows) that American democracy isn't yet at Russian levels of complete fraud. If a significant majority shows up to the polls (and some experts were predicting a record turnout pre-Corona) the results will be undeniable.

            Generally true for the Senate, but not necessarily for anything else thanks to heavy gerrymandering. My cursory glance through the 2016 results of many states is that while Hillary had a slight dip in turnout relative to 2012 Obama, Trump brought in tons more voters in huge numbers (in the few states that matter).

            The 2012 election year was a bit of a down year for turnout. It's better to compare between 2008 and 2016 where the voting population increased by 21 million Americans and the turnout only increased by 7 million for a decrease of 3%.

            Hillary was an unquestionably bad candidate not only due to her own failures, but due to two decades of consistent character assasination by the Republican party. She encouraged absolutely no one to show up to the polls.Trump on the other hand tapped into the deplorable Republican base in a way an actually respectable candidate like Romney never could.

            In a normal election, I would confidently be predicting a Biden landslide. With Corona virus scaring Democrats more than Republicans, I don't know what to think anymore. Voter suppression certainly isn't good for the Democrats no matter how you look at it.

            3 votes
            1. vord
              Link Parent
              It generally would be, I think so. But my bet is we'll be seeing 2016 levels of Trump voters and 2008 levels of Biden voters. Even with all the new added suppression and other issues, I'm still...

              The 2012 election year was a bit of a down year for turnout. It's better to compare between 2008 and 2016 where the voting population increased by 21 million Americans and the turnout only increased by 7 million for a decrease of 3%.

              It generally would be, I think so. But my bet is we'll be seeing 2016 levels of Trump voters and 2008 levels of Biden voters.

              I would confidently be predicting a Biden landslide

              Even with all the new added suppression and other issues, I'm still predicting a Biden landslide (in actual legitimate votes, regardless of actual tallies). If it's not, I'm betting a lot more folks are gonna start thinking 'would a civil war really be that bad' (mostly a joke).

              3 votes
            2. [3]
              Kuromantis
              Link Parent
              By normal I assume you mean without COVID. I'm not sure. Without COVID there is no reason to think about healthcare. Without a reason to think about healthcare, old people don't see a reason to...

              In a normal election, I would confidently be predicting a Biden landslide.

              By normal I assume you mean without COVID. I'm not sure.

              Without COVID there is no reason to think about healthcare. Without a reason to think about healthcare, old people don't see a reason to critique Trump.

              Without COVID, there is no reason to think about the economy, without a reason to think of the economy, many Republicans don't see any important reason to ditch Trump.

              Without COVID, there is no mass unemployment and with no mass unemployment, the George Floyd protests probably don't surpass 500k people and can be dismissed because all the protesters are rich enough to be able to protest, even if the video is still recorded and stands on it's own.

              Without the George Floyd protests, there likely is no tear-gassing at Lafayette square.

              Everything above has been mismanaged by Trump and affects a majority of people to some extent, so without it, Trump seems a lot less incompetent to conservatives and Biden seems a lot less palatable to progressives by comparison.

              1. [2]
                Loire
                Link Parent
                COVID affects Democrats and Republicans differently. Republicans either flat out refuse to believe in it or are willing to risk exposure in order to stand in line at the voting booth. Democrats...

                COVID affects Democrats and Republicans differently. Republicans either flat out refuse to believe in it or are willing to risk exposure in order to stand in line at the voting booth. Democrats are largely more frightened of the virus and may choose to stay home rather than risk exposure in (even longer) crowded lines.

                Broad political opinions don't really matter, what matters is which people will show up to vote. In many elections Conservatives already present more reliably than left-leaning voters and that's without the disparity created by COVID fear. Trump's base's opinions are immune to any of his failures. And polls aren't necessarily able to predict for this factor.

                1. MonkeyPants
                  Link Parent
                  I don't think it's that simple. There are a lot of youthful protestors who are clearly not afraid of COVID. Republicans tend to be older, and therefore more at risk of COVID. 80% of Americans said...

                  I don't think it's that simple.

                  There are a lot of youthful protestors who are clearly not afraid of COVID.

                  Republicans tend to be older, and therefore more at risk of COVID.

                  80% of Americans said they wore a mask in stores some of the time in the last month.

                  Plus COVID hasn't run it's devastating course in Florida or Texas yet.

                  While there are undoubtedly some older Americans unafraid of COVID now, that is unlikely to be the case in a month or two.

                  Honestly, I think it's too soon to say if the Republican strategy of blocking vote by mail is smart or not. Historically this has worked well for them. But the times are changing, and they are not doing a very good job of keeping up.

                  1 vote
    2. Grimalkin
      Link Parent
      While I don't share your optimism I'd be curious to see if you still feel this way on December 31st, 2020, after witnessing whatever the next 5+ months bring.

      While I don't share your optimism I'd be curious to see if you still feel this way on December 31st, 2020, after witnessing whatever the next 5+ months bring.

      4 votes
    3. [3]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      I too watched Hamilton yesterday :-p “Raise a glass to freedom. . .”

      I feel strangely optimistic for the US' future, for the first time in years.

      I too watched Hamilton yesterday :-p

      “Raise a glass to freedom. . .”

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        vord
        Link Parent
        I'll just drop this here, because I found it hilarious as a Weird Al fan and you just reminded me of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v0c6smpHSk

        I'll just drop this here, because I found it hilarious as a Weird Al fan and you just reminded me of it.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v0c6smpHSk

        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          I am cracking up right now 🤣

          I am cracking up right now 🤣

          1 vote