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Old 07-14-2010, 11:56 AM   #1
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The disintegration of the welfare state - The Globe and Mail

"Put a democracy in charge of the Sahara and sand itself will become scarce."-Milton Friedman

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for lunch."-att. to Ben Franklin

Ha
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:03 PM   #2
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I guess I don't really think of Italy in the same breath as other democracies when I read articles like this one. I've been there (albeit briefly) and seen the overwhelmingly socialist aspects of the country. I can say that their public debt is staggering but I may not be as quick to attribute it to democracy as Reynolds is.


Incidentally, Capital Economics – the international consultancy company – said in a research note last week that Italy will find it hard to avert bankruptcy. “Italy’s public finances are a time bomb waiting to explode,” the company said. “We believe that it might take a decade or more of falling wages for Italy to restore its full competitiveness.”
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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The World Socialists’ website proclaims an age of rage ahead – and chillingly quotes British historian Simon Schama: “You can smell the sulphur in the air.
Ironic given the fact that socialists are responsible for much of the damage done to public finances in Europe over the past 30 years. It's like Marie Antionette threatening to decapitate whomever is responsible for starving the people...
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:09 PM   #4
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It's like Marie Antionette threatening to decapitate whomever is responsible for starving the people...
Hey, don't say she never did anything for the poor. She had at least one very helpful suggestion to satiate the poors' appetites.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:25 PM   #5
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Hey, don't say she never did anything for the poor. She had at least one very helpful suggestion to satiate the poors' appetites.

....and how did that work out for her?
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:19 PM   #6
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....and how did that work out for her?
Not very well considering there is no evidence that she actually ever said, "let them eat brioche (cake)".
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:32 PM   #7
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Didn't we go through this back when I asked...

Friedman NY Time Editorial "The Inflection is Near"
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:52 PM   #8
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Not very well considering there is no evidence that she actually ever said, "let them eat brioche (cake)".
"perception is reality"

-This is especially true today with the media spinning the news to suit their sociopolitical agendas.
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:55 PM   #9
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Didn't we go through this back when I asked...

Friedman NY Time Editorial "The Inflection is Near"
...yeah, but we also discussed 4% SWR, paying off the mortgage and bacon more than once, too. Everything old is new again.
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:59 PM   #10
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....and how did that work out for her?
She ended up with a gaping hole in her resume.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:14 PM   #11
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Not very well considering there is no evidence that she actually ever said, "let them eat brioche (cake)".
Just because she never said it doesn't mean we can't attribute it to her.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:26 PM   #12
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What happened to Marie Antoinette was fairly humane, compared to the fate of Princesse de Lamballe, who was raped, butchered, and mutilated by a mob. It was mainly because she refused to denounce her royal friends, despite having a reputation of being a gentle lady who had done charity work to help the poor.

It is interesting to know that in those old days, a woman would have such honor, integrity, and courage to speak her heart, compared to nowaways politicians who lie through their teeth, even when under oath.

Following is an excerpt from a Web site.

Princess de Lamballe was taken to La Force Prison in Paris. Brought to trial, she was asked to embrace the Revolution and its principles and denounce the Monarchy. While she agreed to take an oath supporting the former, she firmly refused to turn against her beloved Queen. With this refusal, she signed her own death warrant.

Actually, both Madame Du Barry and Princess de Lamballe received death sentences more for their royal connections than for any major crimes they had personally committed.

Death:
The end for the two ladies was neither peaceful nor dignified.

Madame Du Barry lost all of her former composure. As she was dragged before the blood-thirsty mob in the Place de la Concorde to be guillotined, she screamed and shouted and wept and begged for mercy. She tried to cling to life until the last, famously crying to the executioner, "Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment!" (Another moment, Mr. Executioner, just a little moment).

Princess de Lamballe was turned over to an angry mob waiting with hammers, swords, and pikes in an alley outside La Force. They converged about her as soon as she stepped out the door and it is said that she was gang-raped before they bludgeoned and hacked her to death. Her head, her breasts, and her genitals were mounted up on pikes and paraded through the streets of Paris and taken to be displayed before the window of the imprisoned Queen. Marie Antoinette, whose hair had turned white after their capture in Varennes, is said to have fainted away on seeing the gruesome fate of her friend.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:40 PM   #13
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What happened to Marie Antoinette was fairly humane, compared to the fate of Princesse de Lamballe, who was raped, butchered, and mutilated by a mob.
Or of William Wallace. Here is a toned-down account of his execution:

"Braveheart": Execution and Womenfolk

Google for more graphic descriptions of how civil we humans are.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:44 PM   #14
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Err, Um...
Happy Bastille Day?
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:49 PM   #15
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Happy Bastille Day?
I didn't think someone would make the connection...
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:26 PM   #16
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Ironic given the fact that socialists are responsible for much of the damage done to public finances in Europe over the past 30 years. It's like Marie Antionette threatening to decapitate whomever is responsible for starving the people...
I think this statement from their website is simply a threat. Give us candy or we will burn cars, fail to pick up the garbage, do slowdowns in hospitals...

That is why democracy does not have long to run. Remember what the Italians were supposed to have said about Mussolini in the 30s? "At least he made the trains run on time."

IMO what will make the tipping point is when/if crude oil prices go up again.

What is popularly called socialism is actually the democratic welfare state.

And what is called communism in China is actually state capitalism which used to be called fascism. Arguably today’s most successful state is in fact a fascist state.


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Old 07-15-2010, 12:38 AM   #17
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Arguably today’s most successful state is in fact a fascist state.
Delicately put. Pardon me for taking it out of context.
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:40 AM   #18
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And what is called communism in China is actually state capitalism which used to be called fascism. Arguably today’s most successful state is in fact a fascist state.


Ha
If I had to chose between living in a country with some serious short and long term economic and political problems like (say) America and living in a high growth, well managed economy like (say) China, I would chose America. "Success" is not just measured in monetary terms.

That said, the psuedo-democracies like Hong Kong and Singapore have done a pretty good job of balancing economic growith and other quality of life factors.

Of course, opinions differ on what is the "best" place to live: Mercer's 2010 Quality of Living survey highlights
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:38 AM   #19
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Oh puz-leeze. It's an Op-Ed piece. What do you expect?

It starts with a complete red herring: "Democracies produced Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy". Well, up to a point: I'm not quite sure how democracy produced Mussolini's "March on Rome". And democracies got together to destroy both of those, once the US proved Churchill right in his classic statement "One can always rely on the Americans to do the right thing, after having exhausted all other possibilities" )

Then it continues in the same scattergun vein, trying to Scare The Whole World by extrapolating the specific economic problems of one country. There's even the obligatory namecheck of Greece as "birthplace of Athenian democracy", as if there's been some uninterrupted Aristotelian regime in place for 3000 years. This is just lazy polemical journalism as usual.

Another example: "Already, hundreds of thousands of middle-class people have thronged the streets of Paris and Rome, of Milan and Sarajevo, of Reykjavik and Bucharest (where demonstrators stormed the presidential palace, an insurgent act that evokes the spectre of revolution).". Whoa. Europe must be on fire, right? Middle-class people in the streets in their hundreds of thousands? Must be some other Europe than the one I live in. The number of people "storming the presidential palace" in Bucharest in June was, er, 600, who incidentally failed to storm the palace. The people in Reykjavik were protesting about the banks stealing all their money, and proceeded to vote in the Social Democratic (ie, left of centre) party. And... Sarajevo? Who? When?

And a web site calling itself "World Socialists" claiming that there is rage ahead? Wow. Next you'll be telling us that the Tea Party doesn't like Obama, or that the Pope isn't big on Methodism. Never mind that "middle-class people" anywhere don't tend to like socialism. Just throw the mud. Democracy, socialism, government employees. He missed out immigrants, for some reason.

I notice that he also fails to propose any alternative. It reminds me of those people who say that the world will definitely end in 18 months and then you discover that they hold government bonds and just increased their IRA contributions.

It's particular ironic to find it in a Canadian publication. Canada was a democracy last time I checked, and they seem to be doing just fine right now on the public debt and bank bailout fronts.
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:32 AM   #20
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For Italy, and for other democracies, the worst is surely yet to come.
Yes, the author is lucky he doesn't live in one.

Chronic overspending is a bad idea, regardless whether it's done to fund unsustainable social benefits or endless wars.

Democracy is horribly flawed, but the other systems I know of are worse. I have no idea how to fix it.

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