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Anti-austerity protests sweep across Europe

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Japan is going through its own austerity sweep. Now Europe, will the world economy recover? Maybe not like we've known it for decades.....is what people are saying.

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Well expected action coming rather late.

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Wow! Too bad for Europe!

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Good. When it is such a shame anyhow. Ireland did EVERYTHING in the book to clean up its finances and then Moody's as a result, LOWERED their ratings which made interests even higher for them. I think Moody's needs to be replaced by an international ratings agency, instead of a private "entity" which was shown to be very corrupt back in 2008!

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Moody, Standard&Poor and others are useless. They rate according to the info they have they say. The subprimes had the highest rating. Can't really trust a government in rating their finances. Look at Greece hiding their problems with the help of ... Goldman Sachs ...

The money changers are behind all of this and decide what fits their agenda.

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These will morph into 'tea parties' which the Euros will then claim they originated.

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It will automatically readjust.

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TimRussert: Dream on! TeaParty won't solve anything.

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People are finally realizing, that the government can't pay for everyone to have everything. Having been promised this for years, these people are now upset by the government essentially abandoning its promises. Reality is finally setting in, that in order to get what you want in life, you actually need to work for it.

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Molenir: "Reality is finally setting in, that in order to get what you want in life, you actually need to work for it."

I agree with the first part of your sentence, and to an extent that you have to work for what you want, but there is also wreckless government spending that can destroy the lives of its constituents, and that's what we're seeing. We could see some pretty drastic changes in how things are led/ruled in the future if the situation doesn't improve.

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Molenir, stop making sense!

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Let's face facts. Workers have paid the greatest price for the greed of bankers, real estate speculators and corporations. We are the ones who lose our jobs, struggle to get by on less and worry for the future of our children. While those who made the decisions that led to these problems continue to collect more in one year than many will earn in their entire lives.

We have empowered a new gentry and priviledged class. We admire them, want to be them and believe the lies that we can be rich one day too. We even tell ourselves that it is ok for a CEO to make 150 million a year while the average worker makes 40,000 a year. We lie and decieve ourselves.

I am happy to see workers standing up again. It has been far too long since they did. I wish workers in Japan would stand up too. And those in America. We should demand a greater piece of the pie, better security for our lives, better opportunities for the future and services that make sense like health care and housing.

The world has plenty of wealth people. It hasn't gone away. It has just been redistributed to a tiny percentage of people who control almost all of the global wealth. While the rest of us go without. And many go by with nothing.

It is time to change. Workers of the world need to once again unite. And this time get the changes right.

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The world has plenty of wealth people. It hasn't gone away. It has just been redistributed to a tiny percentage of people who control almost all of the global wealth. While the rest of us go without.

All talk, no stats to back up your ridiculous assertions. "Wealth" is not a pie with a finite number of pieces we all compete for.

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elbudamexicano "Wow! Too bad for Europe!"

Actually too bad for us in Japan and our friends in the US who are not doing this. It is time for working people to demand change!!!

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TimRussert. Let's face facts. There is a lot of wealth in the world and stats do show that about 40% of that weath is controled by roughly 1% of the world population. If you bother to read you can find the information on your own.

Where did I say compete? It is a fact that many senior business people make exponentially more than workers. It is also true that cost reductions disproportionately impact working class people and not priviledged class people. Prove me wrong on this if you can. Which I sincerely doubt you can even begin to.

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Tim- One more thing. There are also adequate resources of food, water and funding for essentials world wide. Yet the distribution of that wealth is again askew with much of the world living in abject poverty and suffering from severe shortages of resources.

It is good that workers are doing their best to raise their voices for better balance!! More power to them!

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It is also true that cost reductions disproportionately impact working class people and not priviledged class people.

Well said, tkoind. Your cell phone, 20 - 25 years ago, would have cost you probably 2 or 3 month's salary, just to purchase. Think of the movie Wall Street and the one Gordon Gecko lugs around.

I got my cell for free and pay a monthly fee equal to what I used to waste each month on a daily eiji-shimbun.

Lear jets, in contrast, have not fallen in price...

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A big issue is that governments have backed away from splitting banks into casino and retail divisions and look set to do nothing more than impose a levy on the banks. The banks will/are increasing their charges on consumers as a result whilst their gambling operations continue as before.

Thus, a few years down the road the whole crisis will be repeated. We were promised strong regulation when the banks were bailed out and we are not getting it. No wonder people are angry.

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Tim- What?!?!

Let me spell it out for you.

When economic times turn down, ordinary workers are the ones most often cut. In the recent economic downturn, they have had a much more difficult time returning to work, thus suffering even greater hardship than in previous downturns. Many have lost their homes as a result. Austerity has been experienced in the form of having to pull kids out of school or college and having to default on loans and payments. The cost of cell phones has been the least of worries for people who lost insurance and benefits along with their jobs.

Do you get it now? How cost reductions hit the working class harder? No golden parachutes for the vast majority of workers. And no multi-million dollar incomes to have massive savings to fall back on. Workers fall hard whne things go bad. The wealthy carry on.

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The power to change things rests with us.

We can form new parties to assure that government represents the majority of people and not just the business and wealthy interests.

We can vote with our wallets by boycotting or banning products from companies who don't take care of their workers or who pay disproportionate salaries to senior staff and low salaries to everyone else.

The market will respond, in time, by favoring companies that the public approves of. That at risk of consumer backlash will have to change or see their value fall.

New Deal programs need to be created to generate work and opportunities. Yes this means government spending, but past actions of this kind have helped stimulate demand and result in decent returns on government investment.

The bottom line is that workers, their families and those who support them have to start raising voices as we are seeing in Europe. We are the majority and we should demand better consideration and solutions to our problems.

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I think the point is: the rich are suffering. They can't afford their Lear jets???

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it is ridiculous to claim that the wealth is not finite, as if we all live in some financial vacuum of numbers or smt. we live in very finite world and the wealth that privileged few horde in the amounts they do, can only be at the expense of everyone else. to deny this is to be either delusional or deceitful.

i support tkoind2 in his calls for international citizens' solidarity against the attacks of financial and political elite on the living standards of the population!

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Bholder. thank you for your support. Wealth is indeed finite. The key issue is that it is distributed in a way that leaves the vast majority of people on this planet out in the cold. Why do we tolerate that? It is time for change. There is enough to go around if the few do not take more than their share from the many.

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Keep fighting people. Defeat these corrupt tyrants. They are wasting your money and then telling you they don`t have any. Governments are out of control everywhere. The world is getting worse despite the "cover-up feel good talk" we hear. Most people are working hard but paid a pittance or just let go. Horrible! The past two years have seen jobs and wages cut but the "Elite" have become wealthier. Keep fighting. Sitting on the sofa will change nothing.

tkoind2,

You got it!

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All talk, no stats to back up your ridiculous assertions. "Wealth" is not a pie with a finite number of pieces we all compete for.

Yeh, it is. It is FINITE. The resources on this planet are finite. The wealthy OWN this reality because the own the media, and they alone can shape the politics and the outcomes. Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated within a few corporate and family groups. Kind of like El Salvador in the 90s when 19 families owned the country. Or like South Vietnam where one landowner owned much of the country. Moodys was just one tool to bring down governments and to shake out the last bit of wealth from the working people. Yeh, my heart BLEEDS for these rich whiners who have the audacity to complain about not affording 1,000 a dollar bottle of wine like they used to while 1 BILLION people starve on this planet. The only thing lower than a rich person is a lackey who supports them and who is not rich!

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I'm sensing several of you have never worked for a union..... You are aware that those union bosses bring home a lot and while we are on strike, barely living off chump change in stipends, they go home to their mansions.

Face it, unions are just another form of business and being in one makes you complicit in their corrupt ways.

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skipthesong. I don't think I have seen much here about Unions. I think we all recognize two facts. 1. Unions, which were supposed to free workers in the early 20th century did more to fatten their leaders than they did to support labor. 2. State Capitalism (Soviets, Maoist systems) failed to liberate workers and instead oppressed them.

We need a new paradigm. One where social-democracy and law prevent the exploitation of government by business and individual interests over those of the vast majority of citizens. I know it is radical and revolutionary, but it is necessary.

Why?

We cannot maintain the greedy consumerism of the past century. There are not enough natural resources, too much environmental impact and declining energy resources. It will collapse on its own unless we change. So we much be proactive and change.

We do that by changing the priorities of government from business to the people. We exercise greater control over wealth so that it is better distributed. We assure true democracy by killing of avenues for special interests, graft and undue influence by big business. And we empower working people to take greater control over the political system and to have greater share and benefit from the means of production.

Above all, we learn to live in greater balance and to do with less rabid consumption and more tempered conservation and sharing.

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tkoind2

Socialism is not the way to go. I'm surprised you haven't learned that before now. What you suggest would create anarchy in society.

Are you seriously suggesting that wealth be better distributed? How do you do that? By taking money from the Bill Gates of the world and giving it it lazy people?

No, if I work hard, am innovative and have a good product, then I have earned the right to my wealth. Why should it be taken away from me to "better distribute it?"

Austerity crises can be avoided by one simple rule taught to me by my dad: Live within your means. Don't buy something unless you can avoid it. It applies (or should apply) to corporations and governments, as well.

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Seems as if the best functioning societies these days are the socialistic societies of the Nordic Countries where wealth is more equally distributed than most other places combined with very high tax. You would think this would lead to higher unimployement due to people wanting to exploit the system but the unimployement rate is lower in the Nordic countries than in most other places in Europe or US for that matter.

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smartacus. How do you know that socialism is not the way to go? We have never had real socialism anywhere. Just state capitalism. Your definition is the product of propaganda and not a proper definition.

We see very vibrant and working social-democratic states in Norther Europe with much more balanced economic strata. Clearly forms of Socialism work.

"No, if I work hard, am innovative and have a good product, then I have earned the right to my wealth."

This is dream you have been sold mate. The vast, VAST majority of people who are working very hard out there have zero hope of achieving that dream. They will work hard and die within the same economic strata. That is reality.

And how do you think the CEO of a major institution gets rich? All alone by himself? What about the legions of workers who empower his success. The lowly janitor who assures a good clean and safe place to work. The back office people who handle all the logistics and foundations that make work possible, the IT guy who supports and keeps systems funcational and the others who all contribute.

Why should these legions of people make 1% of what the leaders make? It that fair? Rational? No!!!

We can pass laws to restrict salaries of public companies. We can demand, politically, socially and through our buying habits, better equality in compensation. We can and should start to demand redistribution through such measures.

As for living within your means. The problem is that within your means for the majority of people on planet earth means going without basics. That is unacceptable when others have concentrated wealth, unfairly.

Redistrubution is a moral imperative.

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smartacus,

It seems that Democracy and Capitalism are`t the way to go either.

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The power to change things rests with us. 1.We can form new parties to assure that government represents the majority of people and not just the business and wealthy interests.

Might work in Europe. But you chose the wrong man and wrong party to effect 'change' in America, or at least the kind of change that will alleviate the poverty and despair spreading across our country.

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There should be no retirement age anywhere.

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Tim-san, I know you really have it in for President Obama. But come on, what was your alternative? Let's face facts, Democrats and Republicans are separated by a modest set of differences that ultimately do very little to improve conditions for the working people. The GOP being the greater of two evils does even less.

If you want real change anywhere, the current political systems have to be radically revised. Removal of the "in pocket" people and replace them with people who are directly and more immediately accountable to the people they are tasked to represent. True, real, representative governance. Not rule by the elite over the masses on behalf of the rich which is the case today in most countries.

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We see very vibrant and working social-democratic states in Norther Europe with much more balanced economic strata. Clearly forms of Socialism work.

Norway benefits from huge budget surpluses generated by wealth they extract from the sea floor. Oil.

Sweden, in case you missed, has recently gone 'conservative.'

And don't forget that the Christianity you loathe played no small part in the work ethic of the very industrial northern European nations you mention. American Lefties like to point to Northern Europe as the model to imitate but ironically they denounce the still very powerful impact immigrants from these nations made upon America and like to demonize 'WASPS.'

Nearly all of Europe's socialist standard bearers face a slow form of auto-extinction. Why have kids when the state has promised to care for you cradle to grave? You need a birthrate of 2.1 per couple to propagate your kind. In places like Greece and Portugal the birthrate is well below that.

Socialists never understand incentive.

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This is dream you have been sold mate. The vast, VAST majority of people who are working very hard out there have zero hope of achieving that dream. They will work hard and die within the same economic strata. That is reality.

Thats true, but where you go off track, is in thinking that the "rich" are some monolithic group who have had everything given to them. That, is quite frankly not true. Almost all the millionaires in the US for example, started with nothing. They were the working class you so strongly support. They made it by working hard, and having a bit of luck. Bill Gates didn't exactly come from an uber rich family either. The point is, most people making lots of money, started out with next to nothing, and your goal seems to be to punish them for their hard work and success, by taking their money, and giving it to someone else who chose not to work for it.

Thats the problem with socialism and communism. The redistribution paradigm essentially makes it so hard work, gives you nothing, and makes the government your nanny. This leads to totalitarianism, as we've seen too often the last century. With Communism's main accomplishment being the murder of about 100 million people. Capitalism on the other hand, allows people to succeed. It doesn't guarantee success, theres plenty of people falling through the cracks, but it basically allows anyone, to have the dream, and quite a few people, to achieve their dream. Or at least to improve the situation they had growing up.

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pls, enough with the "you don't understand socialism" my father, RIP, was part of the socialist movement in the US before most of yous were born. I might not know the entire encyclopedia definition of it, but quite a bit like 6 days pay for 5 days work" has been grilled in my head back then.

Look tkoind2, I hire people, they work, I pay them. Why must I go so far out of my way to go beyond the shop? yeah, some of those at the top of large corps make a lot, but most of them didn't start out that way.

If you really want to go with distribution the wealth - I ain't working.

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people who cannot comprehend why we complain that abject poverty and deprivation is allowed to coexist side by side with enormous, publicly unaccountable wealth seem to think they live in a vacuum, cut off from society at large in a garden with money-growing trees with magical money that can create more money just by being timely invested or withdrawn.

in effect, wealth is created by workers, that is overwhelming majority of population who work for pay, as opposed to invest money and expecting return on their investment. clearly thinking people must realize that money cannot breed, it is just numbers we extrapolated from existing wealth to ease the transaction of it. real wealth is only created by work! illusional capital is born when a part of the real wealth created by workers is being plundered from above and privatized by expropriation.

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Skip the song and Molinir: You point to examples of failed state capitalistm and try to call is socialism. It wasn't. Ask any poly-sci professor or economist. You are repeating bad propaganda only.

Redistribution through changed priorities can and must work. Capitalism as it is based on exponential consumption cannot endure in a world running out of resources. A balanced, less profit driven society is inevitable. The only alternative is extinction or massive die offs of people around the world. Even then, change to a more socialistic model is the only potential positive outcome. The alternative is a return to feudalism.

Oil will run out. And when it becomes scarce capitalism will collapse. So we had better think of sustainable, micro-economic systems that demand greater equality and more even distribution of resources.

As Bholder said. "Wealth is created by workers. It is time that workers kept more of that wealth and stopped allowing it to pool in tiny segments of society. Let's face facts. No single family needs 100mil a year while others live on 3,000. Anything over a certain level is just greed. Something immoral, unthinkable and no longer tolerable.

You talk about oppression. Well, the majority of the world's population are exploited by a tiny few. This is true oppression and tyranny. People having to watch their kids starve is tyranny. It is time we put an end to such criminal rule.

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Wealth is created by workers" No wealth is created by those who go out and focus and most of them to date were not big named school grads, they were/are from the rank and file. If you think about it, it is yous, the highly educated, advanced thought process, lillies who feel that a guy who keeps pushing shouldn't get what is his.

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I don't get it. When times are hard, you tighten your belt. I mean, unless, you know, you are Greece. When times are hard, you pretend it's 1999 and you spend every red cent you got.

What is it now, every living person in Greece "owes" €500,000. Government was lowering the retirement age, people got raises. People who picked up the garbage were making as much as people with PhDs. Living high on the hog.

Now it's time to pay. Someone is calling in the debt and now they cry foul? What a bunch of little pansies. I mean, c'mon. Did they really think that was tenable?

So, yeah, when times are slim, you have to make changes. Make changes now and come out with a few scrapes, or change will come to you and you will have contusions instead.

No free lunch.

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skipthesong. It is propaganda BS.

Show me one example where someone generated wealth without labor! Every major company out there depends upon cheap labor to make the income and profits that they desire. These people become rich not on their innovation or imagination alone. Of course those qualities should be rewarded. They become very rich based upon their exploitation of labor to achieve and generate wealth. Often having very substantial gaps between ordinary workers and themselves.

"...get what is his." It is precisely this thinking that is the problem. Finite resources and everyone wants to get what is "his". Well, that system doesn't work because many people define what is "his" as things belonging to everyone. They pollute everyone's air to get rich. They pollute everyone's water to get rich. They exploit everyone else to get what is "his.' this is the ultimate lie of Capitalism, this rabid expectation of entitlement. When the world does and should belong to all the people and creatures that live here.

Someone should have put the first guy who fenced off land and called it "his" in the ground he fenced off. The world does and should belong to everyone. No person should starve when the world can feed everyone. No person without shelter when the world can shelter everyone. No one without a chance to live safely and peacefully when the world is more than capable of making that happen. It is immoral. The redistribution imperative stands.

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@tkoind2

Many (most?) ideals die at implementation.

Some people don't like to work hard, others thrive on it. Some people think the world owes them, others think the world is theirs to make what they can from it. Now, exploitation, i.e. someone or something getting more out of the bargain than the other, in some way, I think occurs in most societies and amongst individual humans. Couples, friends, etc. There is no 100% equality. Someone does more and someone does less for the same return.

When an entrepreneur hoards, saves, scavenges, eats ramen for breakfast lunch and dinner and borrows from anyone and everyone to place a bet on their idea, their a** is on the line. When the bill collector comes, they answer. They also create jobs for others who don't have the aptitude or stomach etc. required to create a business. When the business goes south, is any worker going to help the proprietor pick up the pieces? No, some people simply like the rhythm of clocking in and clocking out, as it were.

For these and other reasons I don't think this kind of basis for the economy is outmoded. Is there another one you think might work better? Sure, the example is for a small company, but small companies are the majority of the economy. Big companies get the headlines and grab the eyeballs but it's the small and medium businesses which are the real engine of any economy.

On the other hand, I think there ought to be caps on the spread btwn lowest earner and highest earners in publicly traded companies. I think 50x is outrageous. I wouldn't outlaw it, but I's tax the spread.

In any event, with 6 billion plus, we're there's no going back to idyllic pastoral times where everyone has a farm and is self-sustaining and everyone is more or less equal. Only places I can see that working is in limited communities like Mennonites and the like (if they'd accept and atheist, I might join them). Even hippie communes broke down due to varying reasons.

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Redistribution through changed priorities can and must work. Capitalism as it is based on exponential consumption cannot endure in a world running out of resources. A balanced, less profit driven society is inevitable. The only alternative is extinction or massive die offs of people around the world. Even then, change to a more socialistic model is the only potential positive outcome. The alternative is a return to feudalism.

Where have I heard what you're saying before? Can't place it. Its completely wrong of course, but is what we can expect. Allow me to correct a few of your basic issues here. First, saying something can and must work, is not a method that leads to success, rather it leads to someone like Mao saying, this must work, so I'll kill anyone who doesn't go along with me, or who might see things differently. Or Stalin who had millions murdered because they stood in the way of what he thought should work.

Capitalism is not based on consumption. Thats a fallacy spread by people with certain specific ideological agendas. (I've mostly heard that from avowed communists.) Capitalism is about rewarding people for their hard work. It harnesses human nature, in order to encourage success. Communism on the other hand, is about equalizing the outcome, and punishing people for being successful.

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The redistribution imperative stands.

Where it is enforced, at gunpoint, by people who claim we are all equal, but some are more equal than others...

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government used tax (population's) money to bail out banksters, and now population has to pay for it again, through cuts in social services (inadequate as they were to begin with). this amounts to having someone unilaterally take your money to casino, lose it, AND have the nerve to ask you to repay him the loss!!! this is what these protests mean! we won't foot your bill. we will not have the losses and risks socialized again while the profits remain private! as simple as that.

citizens have a formidable front to oppose: world financial elite and their national govt managers PLUS the corrupt unions who have long since stopped representing workers and advancing their rights, and formed a backstabbing coalition with the big capital, for the small piece of the cake. divided by nations, creed, race or any other reactionary notion mainstream propaganda spews we will not rise to the challenge. we are in desperate need of a common identity, one that will not necessarily negate any of the old ones, but will be able to transcend and integrate them all and dominate in times of class struggles.

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tim: "Where it is enforced, at gunpoint, by people who claim we are all equal, but some are more equal than others..."

i think this is the exact description of the way things are now. we are told that we're all equal but if you try to materialize that equality by asking (god forbid striking) for it, you will only get suppressed, at gunpoint!

so is it fairer that the minority oppresses the vast majority or are we allowed to fight back?

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government used tax (population's) money to bail out banksters,

blah blah blah blah...

The thing is, they, the gov'ts (whether they gave the money away, squandered it, burned it, flushed it down the toilet, fed it to their dogs) d o n ' t have an y more to give.

Unfair? Perhaps, but there is no money. When there is no money (b/c a bully brother or drug addicted father, whatever dipped into the jar) then, there is none and all the hollering and yelling ain't gonna bring it back.

Better adjust now and deal with it than let it make things worse. It's really untenable. Anyhow, the bailouts, are a pittance in comparison to what the gov'ts will owe for all the social benefits. The problem is systemic and it has to be addressed.

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we are told that we're all equal but if you try to materialize that equality by asking (god forbid striking) for it, you will only get suppressed, at gunpoint!

Examples? You have none?

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the blatant lie that there is no money will simply not fly! we know how many has been horded, we see the incomes rising for the elite all through the crisis. even now corporations are posting record profits due to all the sacked workers or so called cost cutting measures. just look at the new census data in the us!!

when all banks and major resources (including the biggest corporations) are put under democratic control and made to work in fulfilling the needs of the majority of the population you will see how hidden money turns up.

i see you appreciate the fine point that this is a systematic problem which has to be addressed. this is precisely why it cannot be any individual solution to this (systematic) problem and why we need to mobilize to fight it, now! this is what we've been saying all along!

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you want examples tim? commenting on an article that describes the struggle of european people for basic human rights and being denied them brutally?!?! what do you think the tread is all about?

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it doesn't allow me to post links for some reason but go to world socialist web site for yesterday's coverage of this strike and you can find millions of other examples as well

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when all banks and major resources (including the biggest corporations) are put under democratic control and made to work in fulfilling the needs of the majority of the population you will see how hidden money turns up.

The price system then disappears. Central Planning - - a handful of mandarins - - then sets about trying to "guess" how people live, what they value, how the make choices. And the economy goes into its death spiral. It has never worked. It never will. Read a little history sometime.

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it has never been established! we're not talking about mandarins but of involving the interests and needs of the masses into political process and holding those invested with power responsible for its use!

the stalinist and other national-capitalist projects' failure only shows that socialism can never be established unless on a world-wide scale. you trying to represent this as failure of socialism or rationalization of the economy shows either that you've been brainwashed by propaganda or have an ulterior motive in prolonging the confusion of the population.

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These protests do nothing but mark the death of socialism in Europe. Greece had something like 300 different government jobs from which the holder could retire at fifty. Retired - at 50! And yet the EU expected some hard-working German to pay for the schlub's pension and health care. Glad to see it go. They can protest till the cows come home. 3 bn capitalists in China and India have changed the rules. Aint no turnin back.

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I think most of the protesters have a valid point. They are seeing their world shaken up while continuing to pay for the bankers continued cynicism.

I doubt many want to see a return to hardline socialism but voters may well go that way if they see no justice. The bankers and others responsible for pushing the global economy to the brink (and so losing the tax and insurance revenues that pay for peoples benefits), should take an equal share of the pain.

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it has never been established! we're not talking about mandarins but of involving the interests and needs of the masses into political process and holding those invested with power responsible for its use!

Socialism

A progressive political system that takes the power away from wealth creators and gives it to wealth distributors. Wealth distributors are typically a class of highly trained government bureaucrats who are being watched by a class of political commissars, who, in turn, are being watched by a class of secret police, all of whom are banded together by shared progressive morals. Because progressive morals are relative by definition, a certain measure of absolute propaganda is necessary to encourage collectivism and discourage counter revolution. Since such propaganda is delivered through mass media, arts, and schools, a degree of ideological monopoly, uniformity, and censorship is also required in those fields. The resulting mass enthusiasm creates a vibrant state-subsidized culture, leading to great economic successes and technological breakthroughs, e.g., in North Korea.

Nuff said

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sailwind, a fair bit of your own propaganda there I think.

The protesters are in general hard working people who see the rolling back of hard won benefits as unjust. Bankers are seen to be gaining from government bailouts and cheap money, increasing margins and restricting money supply to small and medium size businesses. No-one believes government borrowing to pay for welfare and pensions is sustainable, but the situation has come about by the failure of revenues from working people and businesses starved of work and operating cash. Why? Because the so called wealth creators as you call them have pissed the wealth up the wall.

The arguments seem to be that punishing the banks by taking levies and forcing more regulation would mean banks move to other more liberal territories. Frankly most developed economies can survive the loss of the gamblers. They cant survive a collapse of faith of their working populations.

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The problem to me seems to be the loss of fundamentals. That's probably why everyone is buying gold nowadays.

The market has created too many opportunities for speculation. It's all a big gambling game now. You also have increased technology and larger pools of money available which can have drastic impacts on markets in a very short amount of time.

Look at the cocoa supply in Europe....recently bought by a single hedge fund. That's all of the cocoa supply. They refuse to release any statements about their plans but my guess is that they're going to try to make as much money as they can by cornering the market. Either that or they really like chocolate.

When faced with that situation the whole "lazy people who don't work hard" argument goes right out the window. What's probably going to happen is that people in the chocolate industry are going to have to work twice as hard to make the same amount of money. In the past it probably was easier to "work hard" when you didn't have the sheer number of predators that exist today hanging over year head and attempting to make all of your hard work worthless so they can add to the pile of money they couldn't spend in their lifetime.

Do you work in the airline industry? Trucking? Transportation? Logistics? In the past fuel costs were a function of demand, but now it's a commodity for speculators or a place to park US dollars. Prices go up while demand is going down. It's nonsense. Now someone working his ass off at a company that depends on oil could see his pension or salary cut. I guess he just wasn't working hard enough?

How about the dollar/yen? I just got an email from my bank inviting me to get involved in the exciting game of currency trading. It's nice to know that retirees, housewives, hedge funds will play a part in determining the profitability of an importer/exporter. Working hard? Too bad....the yen just got stronger. I guess you'll have to work harder now. But the gamblers who guessed right made a little bit of cash. Adios jobs in Japan....

The entire credit default swap situation was one where a couple of people literally sat down and invented a new way to speculate. It was all about moving numbers on a sheet around and making money from it. We can see where that left us.

I won't even get into the real estate market. Let's just say the speculators just don't know when to quit.

What people need most is stability and that's what they don't have right now. You have companies losing half their value in a week or a house losing half it's value in a month. It's just insane. Currencies and commodities price changes happen so rapidly that a business can't possibly keep up. Without stability people are going to spend less. Right now we have corporations sitting on record amounts of cash since they "cut costs" to the bone, but they refuse to hire. They reduced worker benefits but now that they're back to profitability the benefits aren't returning. They've become a permanent reduction. There has to be a breaking point where a business realizes that by paying their employees less they will eventually decrease demand if all of the other businesses are doing the same thing.

In the end we need more management, more oversight, and more controls on entities that have the ability to change the market so rapidly. I'm not ready to scrap capitalism but I am ready to stop paying for people who can't handle their own losses, or losses that are created by people halfway around the world who don't know the first thing about how investing can affect people's lives. In the past I believed in the "hard work" philosophy by now it seems more people taking risk with other people's lives. Some people see money like a race to the finish line and the fastest person wins, but those who crash and burn end up taking out a dozen pedestrians who are just walking to work on any given day...

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I won't even get into the real estate market. Let's just say the speculators just don't know when to quit.

Remember a few years ago, when the price of Oil spiked, not because of scarcity or demand, but because speculators drove up the price? I've long since come to the conclusion that people not involved in production or distribution of a particular product, should not be able to purchase it, except in limited quantities. Be that product cocoa, oil, or gold.

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Bottom line, hard working people all around the world have been at the mercy of speculators, corporate gamblers and a wealthy class that don't give a damn about everyone else. This has to stop.

The inescapable fact is this, the world is about to change. Oil reserves are drying up and the environment is dying. Unless we radically change how we live we cannot survive. This means drastic cutbacks in oil consumption, it means unifying to find alternatives that are clean and workable. It means putting an end to rabid consumerism.

All of this spells disaster for traditional capitalism. You cannot have a profit driven world where consumerism is forced to decrease. We need a new model that rewards work on systems that are green, that keep people working, fed and housed. And we need that now. Greed that demands millions per year in salary has to end.

The 20th century taught us that state capitalism worked even worst than untamed capitalism. The early part of this century is teaching us that the current capitalist model is about to collapse. So you can argue all day about the merits of various systems, but the fact remains that dramatic change is coming in our lifetimes and we need to be thinking about a new approach. One that is inclusive for all people and not based on greed.

A blend of democracy, socialism, meaured capitalism is what we need. An economy not based on global macro-economic madness, but more on local sustainable micro-economic systems that keep people involved and secure locally.

You can defend the status quo all day if you like, but the day is coming, and it is coming soon, when there will be no point to doing so, it is changing fast and will accellerate in change in the coming decades. These strikes are just the start of working and ordinary people demanding better consideration. You can work with us for change and make things better through measured change. Or you can face a confrontation that will be bad for everyone.

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You can work with us for change and make things better through measured change. Or you can face a confrontation that will be bad for everyone.

Sounds like a veiled threat there, typical of the 'tolerant' and 'inclusive' politics you espouse.

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tkoind2

When you say "You can work with us for change," who is "us?" Are you trying to portray yourself as a leader of the revolution? As I told you earlier, your idea of socialism is a failure. Try visiting North Korea to see why. There will be no revolution, no downfall of capitalism and no end to consumerism. There will always be innovators and they will always earn more.

By the way, you'd like to have more money and be able to buy more things, just like anyone else, wouldn't you? If you work hard and earn the money, then you can do it. But how will you react when someone who is not as well off as you, decides that you have too much wealth and that it needs to be redistributed?

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MisterCreosote. The threat is hardly veiled. The facts tell us that change must come. People then must fall into one of two categories. Those who accept the inevitable change and elect to work to make that change positive and those who refuse to acknowledge the coming changes and adhere to the old paradigm.

Smartacus. Who are "we". I hope all of humanity.

Do you both suggest that we simply ignore the facts? Oil reserves are in decline, this is a fact. Yet demand is increasing. Oil will become more and more expensive and supplies will continue to decline. It is a finite resource. It does not take an economist to predict what impact that will have on the the global systems of trade and economics. Nor to tell you that it spells dire consequences if we do not urgently make changes to our behavior and planning.

Apply the same facts to the environment. The world can not sustain the consumer model.

You ask what is people less well off tell me that I have too much wealth. This is already a fact if you choose to listen friends. Talk to people from the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the world. I make more in a week than many of them do in a year. And my wages per year are far less than many monthly salaries of the top people in my industry.

I am lucky and I know it. I have shelter, food and don't want for any of the key basics. But I know people here in Japan who do struggle for basics. And I am sure you do too.

I am not saying we will come to joe average worker and try to redistribute his wealth. But in a world where some make $300 a year and others make $300Mil a year, we need to change this. The world can and must create a sustainable balance so that the 60% or more of the world population who live in poverty no longer have to do so.

I know what I am saying frightens you. It should. I should incite you to seek options. Democratic and balanced options to make the world better, more sustainable and more balanced.

It isn't me you need to worry about. The legions of the world's population are getting tired of this disparity. It will begin with increased protests and workers see their situations decline. It will spread into poor communities as being poor becomes increasingly desperate for people. And all of this will be in 1st world nations. As we are already seeing.

Soon after it will begin in other places. And as the enviroment and energy issues kick in harder, this will visit everyone in ways we can hardly imagine.

Do I want you to feel threatened. Yes. Why? Because I want you to think and get involved in making change something positive and not negative. If you feel threatened by that, then at least you are awake and starting to think. Because failure to act, denial and stubborn resistance are all acts of futility. Change has been in the works for a long time. We just have to decide if we want to actively work to make that positive or ride out the negative natural process.

Up to you. Up to all of us. I have elected to work for positive change.

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I love it when these right-wingers pretty much blame the current recession on workers for NOT working hard enough instead of greedy bankers and incompetent government officials whose campaigns were financed by bankers and other corporations. As if someone in Walmart who worked as hard as he/she could, seven days a week would EVER see a substantial raise or wage increase. HAH! What we have now is corporate communism, whereby the worker gets a meager salary and that is it. The rest goes to the CEOs. Not much different from communism in which the bosses got the best stuff. Wealth redistribution is necessary unless you want chaos.

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TheRat. Well said.

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And ever notice how these corporate entities like Walmart and about every other one just LOVES the Chinese communists! Trippin over themselves to please them, especially Walmart.

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they want cheap labor and cheap goods to price up and make cash on in the US. If they could import cheaper labor for those shops, they would do that too.

Change starts by boycotting shops like Walmart.

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And ever notice how these corporate entities like Walmart and about every other one just LOVES the Chinese communists!

Ever notice how much the Nazi Party hated large retailers? There is a precedent for your line of thought, and it aint pretty, or democratic, or sane.

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MisterCreosote - "Ever notice how much the Nazi Party hated large retailers? There is a precedent for your line of thought, and it aint pretty, or democratic, or sane".

Smoke and mirrors fella. The Nazis hated Jews (or more accurately needed a scapegoat for the then high levels of German poverty), their occupation was irrelevent. It so happened that several notable German Jewish families were large retailers in the 1930s.

TheRat and tkoind2 are advocating economic democracy. As front runners in the race to the bottom, Walmart should be encouraged to promote local jobs. There may well be a good profit for shareholders in offshoring all the production, but theres little economic security and the only social benefit comes from low value retail jobs.

I wouldnt advocate completely boycotting businesses but I do think that people that can afford to, should choose locally made products where they can even if they cost a little more. Walmart would then have to stock more, stimulating greater local production and retaining more of the economic benefits locally.

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Your comment was not posted because it contains potentially offensive content. Please edit and try again.

In what why?

Moderator: In an effort to block spam, we are blocking http://www as a temporary measure.

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Smoke and mirrors fella. The Nazis hated Jews (or more accurately needed a scapegoat for the then high levels of German poverty), their occupation was irrelevent. It so happened that several notable German Jewish families were large retailers in the 1930s.

And statements like this one... are what precisely?

I love it when these right-wingers pretty much blame the current recession on workers for NOT working hard enough instead of greedy bankers and incompetent government officials whose campaigns were financed by bankers and other corporations

Talk about smoke and mirrors. Which right-wingers have blamed the current recession on workers not working hard enough? Just curious here. Incompetent bureaucrats, and government officials response, either to do nothing but vote to bailout large corporations, or vote to give the very same incompetent bureaucrats more power, in the hope that maybe next time they'll get it right.

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Molenir - "And statements like this one... are what precisely?"

MisterCreosote feels a distrust of large retailers is akin to Naziism. I pointed out the real reason behind Nazi Germany's dislike of certain retailers in order to refute his link and clear up any misunderstanding.

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Blame the current recession in America on the government, the us government forced banks to give home loans to people who coult not afford it. That was the first domino that caused all the others to fall. What I love is hearing people talk about more government is the solution.

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Europe will become more like Arizona. Pretty ironic.

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tkoind2 are you pushing the Resource-Based Economy advocated by Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist movement ?. I am not trying to change the topic but a lot of what you say tends to lean in that direction .

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I agree with them that the bankers and politicians are a major cause of this problem, but Europe has enjoyed an extravagancy for years that could never sustain itself in the long term. These changes are necessary and realistic, the only problem is that - again - it is the ordinary people who will be paying for it and suffering most.

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