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Unread 25 Jun 2012, 11:15   #1
Paisley
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RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Alright folks.

have a read up.

http://news.sky.com/home/business/article/16252707

http://www.itv.com/news/story/2012-0...gry-customers/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/rbs-at...sues-statement

http://www.independent.ie/national-n...y-3145647.html

Seems either RBS group has either a genuine system failure OR
Moody's has downgraded RBS credit rating, some margins calls were made which affected RBS liquidity and (MF global being the Precedent I.E. been done before) dipped customers funds to cover for the liquidity issue to buy time so that RBS can still function.

Thoughts comments please.
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Unread 25 Jun 2012, 12:18   #2
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

I don't see how they'd be having anything other than a fairly catastrophic fallout after a bad release went in. I don't think there's any deceit here tbh. It's just more bad news
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Unread 25 Jun 2012, 13:57   #3
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

TBH I would not be surprised if there is a bank run on RBS... as a result of the technical problem.

But I have also heard rummours of RBS liquidity portfolio are at risk and possible job losses in some of their financial sectors. which sparked (to be confirmed) the credit rating for RBS at Moody's
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Unread 26 Jun 2012, 12:05   #4
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Credit rating agencies are a funny bunch. Someone should punch a hole in them or at least put them under some supervisory organization. It's incredible how they've, as what essentially constitutes a private rent-seeking organization, managed to achieve a position of some divine righteousness. They're not infallible, they're really not much better at assessing risk than any other (proclaimed expert) is. For some reason, however, they're perceived "the neutral ground" or "the hand of god". I don't believe however that it is in their field of business to evaluate the impacts of a bank's technical systems to it's future functional capability.

Honestly, I'm quite convinced the triad could drive down a perfectly healthy a financial organization by systematically bombing it's ratings. It doesn't really matter if it'd all be facades and smoke bombs, but the major damage would be done before any of this would resolve. And probably, despite it, the rating agencies would maintain their position as the holy justice of the status quo. They have just that much power, why, I don't really know. Are financial institutions too dependant on them, lacking staff/expertise to analyze risk on their own, or are they just driving herds?

No bank has sufficient liquidity to cover all it's loans on spot. "Dipping" to customer funds in order to cover liquidity isn't necessarily anything dramatic as long as the balance sheets maintain qualification for whatever the local endorsement of Basel criteria are. In essense, dipping to customer funds is what has been the core of banking (through credit expansion) for all it's existance. Typically liquidity problems are temporary and not much of a hassle (unless made into hassle by certain people). They're called liquidity problems because the arise from the temporal components: the bank is wealthy enough to take care of their liabilities, however, because parts are obviously invested on long term, it's not necessarily possible to liquidate all assets on their true values on a spot moment.

That however doesn't really constitute as a portfolio issue or a risk as such, this is why in most development countries there are insurances in place not so much to soften the blows of bank runs but to alltogether prevent them, since most bank runs seem to be dictated by herd mentality rather than anything that'd have to do with the banks' portfolio. If a (most likely very) temporary technical problem ends up causing a run on a bank, this is a simple practical example of how a run doesn't have to have much to do with the balance sheet of the bank in question. Assuming there is sufficient insurance in place in the UK though, I don't see why this'd be particularily likely or why people would bother. But you never know.

If a triad member has downgraded a bank because of technical problems then someone needs to give them a proper spanking. If they've done it for reasons related to the bank's assets and liabilities, then they're just doing their job. It's becoming increasingly difficult however to distinguish when they're actually doing their job from when they're driving self-fulfilling prophecies for their own/someone else's good.
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Unread 26 Jun 2012, 15:36   #5
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

An interesting way of looking into it. I'll wait to see if RBS do any redundancies.

I've been reading up on

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/security...438/?s_cid=164

some interesting reading
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Unread 2 Jul 2012, 12:09   #6
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

How very fitting that ESMA has decided to investigate the CRAs and two of the majors have declined to comment on the subject.
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Unread 10 Jul 2012, 10:38   #7
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

I'm just updating this in case someone happens to wander about - Bloomberg has an article on the CRAs again, it's probably nothing new or surprising, though.
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Unread 10 Jul 2012, 20:03   #8
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

have to ask who are the CRA's customers?
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Unread 10 Jul 2012, 21:26   #9
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Financial institutions, institutional investors, when issuing new papers, need to often have them checked for credit ratings. They also do consulting for the same group of people, ergo advise them on how to build low risk instruments. This is probably going to be less trendy now than what it was five years ago due to the explosion.
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 10:38   #10
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/bu...y-7932716.html

just reading up on barclays and how the former CEO bob Diamond being grilled about the libor rate scandal
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 11:13   #11
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Mmm, grilled banker. The Marxist in me loves nothing more.
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 11:20   #12
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Marxism is a fun subject.

It's hilarious how far - at least in Finland - we've moved from the work ideals and how we're still able to guise it under the umbrella of political "left". It's a very different a "left" for a nordic wellfare state.
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 12:19   #13
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Agreed. If we compare what we call leftist now to what it was 50 or even 30 years ago, you see some serious shifts in ideology, but not without reason. Authoritarian socialism was gotten rid of, in two ways. The Soviet Union fell apart, putting an end to socialism as a world power, and socialists in the West became more desillusioned with it, putting an end to socialism as a ideology, especially among intellectuals.

At the same time, while the left fell apart, the right (having 'won' the Cold War) prospered. First 9/11, and then the ongoing economic crisis gave them all the excuse they needed to move further to the right than they already were, while still achieving electoral victory. We in the netherlands currently have our first Liberal prime minister in 92 years, and they weren't even the most right wing party in the cabinet (while it lasted, it fell a couple of months ago). Meanwhile, the political left, faced with a rightward moving electorate, and at a loss for a storyline, has felt compelled to go with the flow and move towards the center.

I intentionally wrote "felt", not "was", because our most left-wing party (straight-up socialists, not watered down social-democrats) currently polls record numbers, and we're seeing similar trends throughout Europe (France, for instance). Now, I'm not sure if that actually means anything. I've heard it said that if the crisis had hit while the nominal-left was in charge, then the right would now be on the up.

These continue to be interesting times. I've never been able to understand why most people aren't into politics.
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 13:42   #14
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
Agreed. If we compare what we call leftist now to what it was 50 or even 30 years ago, you see some serious shifts in ideology, but not without reason. Authoritarian socialism was gotten rid of, in two ways. The Soviet Union fell apart, putting an end to socialism as a world power, and socialists in the West became more desillusioned with it, putting an end to socialism as a ideology, especially among intellectuals.
This would warrant a new thread but let's be honest here, I don't think we have much viewers apart from you, me, and Paisley, and maybe he's keen on this subject too.

I suppose the discussion here in nordics is a little bit different. We've not had a serious party that'd support the idea of expanding the work force (the Marxist ideal of 'everyone' having a job) which was the core of local communist politics. I don't agree with socialism as a economical/political system, but I do see a point here. However, we've essentially split the field in two: the social subsidies' supporters (the left) and the others (the right). The right is concerned about the state of the capitalists, of course in it's due right. The left is, not as you'd expect, concerned on how to get unemployed people employed, or what the effective tax burden of a middle-class worker is (as you'd assume they'd be), but are the social subsidies sufficient to provide an idle pair of hands for a living. I'm writing in a sharp fashion, but it's there.

I'll work my way from the middle to the bottom and back to the top. It's my favourite dog toy I chew each time an artistic liberal feminist or arts student starts rambling to me about it. They consider "socialism" sancrosanct. In a double-standard fashion. They will blame to empirical failures of socialist systems mostly on corruption (which is unarguably true): the authoritarian Soviet socialism didn't fail because communism/socialism would be a bad idea, it failed because it was implemented poorly. Then they proceed to blame "capitalism" for the flaws of the current system. However, here they perceive capitalism or neo-liberalism as something that's been implemented "as it should be", unlike socialism which was implemented "wrong". Thus, capitalism is inherently bad: socialism is inherently good, but was implemented wrong. This is just confirmation bias and double standards - capitalism needs to be able to measure up against both the market as such and corruption as such, but socialism doesn't - if capitalism suffers from corruption, it's the fault of capitalism. If socialism suffers from corruption, people are evil and don't fund art enough.

Unlike Marxist theory, however, where the point was to underline the value of work, these people would prefer underlining the value of hobbies. A lot of especially the young political left (I've been there, sadly) aren't very keen on entering work force. They don't want to: they're arguing that they're doing productive work (ergo paintings, small-community hangarounds, voluntary work) but it's simply not being paid for since capitalism doesn't appreciate it. They're asking for a citizen wage system to fix this. This involves the fundamental flaw that Soviet socialism also met. All work just isn't worth the dollars. Nobody can afford to put grannies to guard every single painting of a museum with a reasonable wage without going bust. In fact, since the share of capitol income in compared to earnings income is so shy, the only reason to fund such citizen wage systems (or generally 'heighten' the level of the social security to a point where a person could go through his life without a day in the work force and still have a 'reasonable' living) is to do what Marx wouldn't have done.

Ergo punish the average labourer through taxes. This is really the ploy of the left right now: they want to raise the level of social subsidies (in order to allow independent liberty to those who don't want to work in the "capitalist work system"), they know they can't afford to do it in any other fashion than to increase the tax burden on the employee-emplyoer -side, which obviously yields a degree of unemployment especially if pushing costs on the employer side.

I don't see what this has to do with the idea of "everyone having work and getting paid reasonably for it". One of socialism's failures (apart from the obvious ball of corruption) was the inability to put people working into jobs that'd been productive. We're headed the same way, just taking a different path. The right doesn't care too much about the size of the labour force and the unemployment rate, and the left is more concerned about the subsidy level of the unemployed rather than how to get them employed.

It's shit. It's difficult to say whether it's like communism in the 70s Finland - popular, but once they all grew up adults they shrugged and laughed at their past idiocy - or is it a trend. The truth really is, no matter how much general adoration across the globe is put on the nordic model of running things, it's all pre-emptive. The model hasn't yet lasted through a single generation, let alone two. Until it does that, it's not very purposeful to be admiring it since it could equally well just be another bubble waiting to go bust.

The verb "feel" is a good one. Politics, the way I see it, is moving rapidly away from the "logical objective approach" where the reasonability of a system would be judge on how the ends meet (expenses, incomes, incentives), not how it would "feel" right and humane. To me, politics is just a system that makes the work of field experts more difficult than it should be: it's not much more than a hindrance. Modern democratic decision making is slow, clumsy, and prone to short term rend-seeking and fallibility to lobbyists.
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 13:46   #15
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Oh, yes, an example of - to me - succesful ideas that aren't exactly capitalistic or communistic would be the national income policy agreement (which was eventually abolished, ironically aided by the social democrats, who also had their game in the removal of the wealth tax - more irony from the left). It consisted of an idea that wage-bargaining would happen in a three-way-discussion between the state, the employer unions, and the employee unions. I never had much to say about it; most of the critisism had again to do with how it treated people outside the labour force, but let's be honest, I believe that the state of the labour force regardless dictates the level on which we can afford to treat people outside it.
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Unread 11 Jul 2012, 22:21   #16
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I suppose the discussion here in nordics is a little bit different. We've not had a serious party that'd support the idea of expanding the work force (the Marxist ideal of 'everyone' having a job) which was the core of local communist politics. I don't agree with socialism as a economical/political system, but I do see a point here. However, we've essentially split the field in two: the social subsidies' supporters (the left) and the others (the right). The right is concerned about the state of the capitalists, of course in it's due right. The left is, not as you'd expect, concerned on how to get unemployed people employed, or what the effective tax burden of a middle-class worker is (as you'd assume they'd be), but are the social subsidies sufficient to provide an idle pair of hands for a living. I'm writing in a sharp fashion, but it's there.

I'll work my way from the middle to the bottom and back to the top. It's my favourite dog toy I chew each time an artistic liberal feminist or arts student starts rambling to me about it. They consider "socialism" sancrosanct. In a double-standard fashion. They will blame to empirical failures of socialist systems mostly on corruption (which is unarguably true): the authoritarian Soviet socialism didn't fail because communism/socialism would be a bad idea, it failed because it was implemented poorly. Then they proceed to blame "capitalism" for the flaws of the current system. However, here they perceive capitalism or neo-liberalism as something that's been implemented "as it should be", unlike socialism which was implemented "wrong". Thus, capitalism is inherently bad: socialism is inherently good, but was implemented wrong. This is just confirmation bias and double standards - capitalism needs to be able to measure up against both the market as such and corruption as such, but socialism doesn't - if capitalism suffers from corruption, it's the fault of capitalism. If socialism suffers from corruption, people are evil and don't fund art enough.

(....)

It's shit. It's difficult to say whether it's like communism in the 70s Finland - popular, but once they all grew up adults they shrugged and laughed at their past idiocy - or is it a trend.
I don't think it's fair to use the opinions of random liberal arts students as the prototype for all left-wing politics. That said, I see your point of how capitalism's flaws are treated, compared to those of communism or socialism. I've certainly been guilty of that from time to time, and I'm sure I will be again.

What I will defend is that we as a people should care for those who are unable to work, who have retired after a suitable number of years in the work force and for those who were recently fired and are looking for a new job. I'm not sure if you were attacking that notion at all, though, so maybe I don't need to defend it at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
The right doesn't care too much about the size of the labour force and the unemployment rate, and the left is more concerned about the subsidy level of the unemployed rather than how to get them employed.

Unlike Marxist theory, however, where the point was to underline the value of work, these people would prefer underlining the value of hobbies. A lot of especially the young political left (I've been there, sadly) aren't very keen on entering work force. They don't want to: they're arguing that they're doing productive work (ergo paintings, small-community hangarounds, voluntary work) but it's simply not being paid for since capitalism doesn't appreciate it. They're asking for a citizen wage system to fix this. This involves the fundamental flaw that Soviet socialism also met. All work just isn't worth the dollars. Nobody can afford to put grannies to guard every single painting of a museum with a reasonable wage without going bust. In fact, since the share of capitol income in compared to earnings income is so shy, the only reason to fund such citizen wage systems (or generally 'heighten' the level of the social security to a point where a person could go through his life without a day in the work force and still have a 'reasonable' living) is to do what Marx wouldn't have done.
During my last year in uni, I was definitely very unhappy about the prospect of getting a job. Not so much because I felt I was already contributing my share to society (I wasn't, not the slightest bit), but because I had a problem with essentially selling myself (or at the very least, renting myself out) to make rich people richer.

There are forms of employment that sit better with me. For example, working for the government would (theoretically at least) benefit society at large. A non-profit organization I believed in would be another possibility, as would an anarcho-syndicalist setup. Alas, here my apathy shines through: I'm currently working at a very ordinary public company, have done so ever since I finished uni, and am not actively looking for anything 'better'. I don't know if that makes me a hypocrite or just a lazy jerk. It may also mean I'm just not one of the typical liberal arts students you're so happy to chew out.

I've actually given the notion of guaranteed minimum income some thought from time to time, and generally like it, but don't have the economics wherewithal to know whether or not it's viable (yet). That mostly comes from a deep-seated dislike of boom-and-bust, which continues to plague our current global economic system. It seems strange to me that we continue to require "growth" (whatever the hell that means), when we're already as rich as we are. Intuitively, it seems just stupid that we're all getting our panties in a twist over what, that we're now back to a early 00s level of prosperity? Late 90s maybe? Did we really have it so bad then?

Of course, I do realise that the problem is not that we're now slightly less rich than we were 10 years ago, it's that we are afraid to spend money. Consumers are afraid they'll lose their job, so they want to save up in case that happens. Investors are afraid to because they no longer believe that spending money will give them a ROI.

My take on it is that at some point, we should be so rich, and so technologically advanced, that we could actually reduce what we now call jobs to hobbies, by giving everyone a flat minimum living wage and instating a flat income tax. Whether we've reached that point already, I don't know. It would certainly not perform as well on the classical economic indicators like GDP, but then I'm not really a fan of those anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I don't see what this has to do with the idea of "everyone having work and getting paid reasonably for it". One of socialism's failures (apart from the obvious ball of corruption) was the inability to put people working into jobs that'd been productive. We're headed the same way, just taking a different path.

The truth really is, no matter how much general adoration across the globe is put on the nordic model of running things, it's all pre-emptive. The model hasn't yet lasted through a single generation, let alone two. Until it does that, it's not very purposeful to be admiring it since it could equally well just be another bubble waiting to go bust.
It really doesn't have anything to do with it. I would not characterize any European (and certainly no Dutch) political party of the past 20 years as Marxist. All of our parties, from the liberals to the socialists basically accept capitalism, and basically accept that unions are a fact of life. What they fight for are basically fringe issues. We already have a fairly decent middle road and there really isn't anyone over 30 who's up for either a workers' revolution or a oligarch one. We are all too satisfied to go crazy like that. So instead, we focus on questions like: do we get to retire at 65, 67 or after 40 years of job experience? Do we get 2 years unemployment benefits of X, or a year's worth of 1.5*X? Should our highest tax rate be 50% at 50k, or 60% at 150k?

It's almost completely meaningless. No wonder people are disillusioned with politics.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
The verb "feel" is a good one. Politics, the way I see it, is moving rapidly away from the "logical objective approach" where the reasonability of a system would be judge on how the ends meet (expenses, incomes, incentives), not how it would "feel" right and humane. To me, politics is just a system that makes the work of field experts more difficult than it should be: it's not much more than a hindrance. Modern democratic decision making is slow, clumsy, and prone to short term rend-seeking and fallibility to lobbyists.
Yes, I largely agree that the way politics has changed into a media circus is going to harm us in the long term (and quite probably in the short term too). For all of the left's flaws, here I lay the blame squarely in the court of right-wing populism. You have your True Finns, we have our Freedom Party and we're all in the business of some good old 1930's scapegoating.

Not that the left isn't tagging along, to an extent, but it's always easier for convinced liberal individualists to stir up fear and hatred, because it fits so well with the notion that a spontaneous order will arise from a society in which everyone is out for their own gain. If you believe in a more cooperative way of shaping society, it seems to me that it's much harder to justify empowering such (purely destructive) forces.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Oh, yes, an example of - to me - succesful ideas that aren't exactly capitalistic or communistic would be the national income policy agreement (which was eventually abolished, ironically aided by the social democrats, who also had their game in the removal of the wealth tax - more irony from the left). It consisted of an idea that wage-bargaining would happen in a three-way-discussion between the state, the employer unions, and the employee unions. I never had much to say about it; most of the critisism had again to do with how it treated people outside the labour force, but let's be honest, I believe that the state of the labour force regardless dictates the level on which we can afford to treat people outside it.
It may interest you that this is the system that is in place in the Netherlands. We call it the Polder Model. The recent surge in right-wing populism has put some dents in its legitmacy, at least in the eyes of the masses, as has recent internal trouble in our largest labour union, but it's still going strong.

You're not alone in admiring it, according to the Wikipedia article I linked, it's met with "universal acclaim". I never knew.
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Unread 12 Jul 2012, 08:10   #17
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
I don't think it's fair to use the opinions of random liberal arts students as the prototype for all left-wing politics.
It's not my fault they're all alike.

edit. To make it sound less obviously insulting, I've been pseudo-actively involved in both youth organizations of the leftist parties, the left alliance and the social democratic party; and on the youth side, the active 'lead' women and men are all what you'd call that internet meme that rolls around, and you can hear them rant the exact shit.

to make an example, there was a discussion on the citizen wage where the left alliance and the green party youth were discussing it; the greens had, earlier, suggested a level of 500 euros, the left alliance wouldn't agree below 1000 euros plus subsidies related to costs of living.


Quote:
What I will defend is that we as a people should care for those who are unable to work, who have retired after a suitable number of years in the work force and for those who were recently fired and are looking for a new job. I'm not sure if you were attacking that notion at all, though, so maybe I don't need to defend it at all.
No, I am not attacking the idea of a welfare state. Quite the opposite - I am sincerely extremely concerned it won't make it. I may have written about it before, but let's say the pension system. People are spending more time outside the work force than in it and yet expecting to be able to consume as if they were in it (I understand the argument of downshifting, but it involves reducing consumption. Asking for the government to give you more subsidies while you downshift doesn't sound like this).


Quote:
There are forms of employment that sit better with me. For example, working for the government would (theoretically at least) benefit society at large. A non-profit organization I believed in would be another possibility, as would an anarcho-syndicalist setup. Alas, here my apathy shines through: I'm currently working at a very ordinary public company, have done so ever since I finished uni, and am not actively looking for anything 'better'. I don't know if that makes me a hypocrite or just a lazy jerk. It may also mean I'm just not one of the typical liberal arts students you're so happy to chew out.
I'm an idealist so I work for the government, I've always worked for some branch of it (varying). I don't see any problem with what sector people work on, as long as it's a sector that pays wages, thus earns the state earnings tax income, and thus earns the state pension funds. If it doesn't pay wages, then it's an expedinture to the state and thus not so much work as a hobby.

I can imagine dozens and dozens of societally really productive hobbies that would involve less stress, less responsibility, and less involvement to schedules and bureaucracy than my current work does. I'd probably have an easier and a nicer time.

There is a dinstict difference between expecting the society you don't want to contribute to on it's terms to provide for you a living and expecting a society you want to participate in to provide you with a safety net for the unfortunate events.


Quote:
I've actually given the notion of guaranteed minimum income some thought from time to time, and generally like it, but don't have the economics wherewithal to know whether or not it's viable (yet).
As long as the robots (mentioned below) aren't around, we need a model of a society that revolves around labour force participation. The higher we want the safety nets to be set (optimally, we don't want people to be left out of the society due to unfortunate events, so we need tight safety nets) the higher labour force participation and employment rates we need to fund this.

It is counter-intuitive to work against it. It's wrong on not only economic grounds, but it's wrong on terms of being a violation of perfect duty since if we take it to a maxim, we will have no people who work and only people who live on minimum income and there is nobody paying for it. In essense, no-strings-attached minimum income systems are designed by those people who don't want to participate on the economic model we're in (capitalism, labour force participation) but want to reap the benefits of it (the standard of living) regardless. In terms of political right and left, these people are located on the left wing but they're more right wing than anyone else. I'll explain.

For people who are physically or mentally unable to participate (elderly people, severely handicapped people) there are systems in place. For the healthy, work-able 30-year-old, there are no persistent strong networks in place, because these people are expected to participate in order to fund the non-participation of those who cannot.

In human history, there have been plenty of examples of people who have the positive freedom of being able to do what they will without having to be concerned about sufficient income. Citizen wage systems are akin to this. History knows these people as kings, nobility, monarchs, sons of warlords, and so on. The only reason they were able to live so was because others paid for their living.

I prefer earned income tax credit systems which essentially are of the idea that there is a negative income tax on lower levels of income. They are mathematically more sound (in economic terms), they are morally more sound, and they retain the idea of high labour force participation rates, without potentially damaging wage-competitiveness (in the way certain minimum wage systems can: see case Germany and their recent wage politics). And I'd believe people would be far more willing to accept the notion that we will subsidies low-pay workers for working rather than subsidising people for being idle. Since it's going to come from the working people's purses anyways. The idea that we could fund any of these systems with some bizzarre notion that has to do with capitol income tax is just hilarious, at least in Finland.


Quote:
That mostly comes from a deep-seated dislike of boom-and-bust, which continues to plague our current global economic system. It seems strange to me that we continue to require "growth" (whatever the hell that means), when we're already as rich as we are. Intuitively, it seems just stupid that we're all getting our panties in a twist over what, that we're now back to a early 00s level of prosperity? Late 90s maybe? Did we really have it so bad then?
Yes, we require global growth. We have four choices: we rapidly reduce the amount of people on this planet, we dramatically reduce consumption in the west, we accept the notion that the majority of the planet's inhabitants are going to remain extremely poor on western standards, or we strive for growth. This is why we strive for growth. I'll return to this on the technology side of the discussion.

What comes to having so bad: on real terms, the amount of subsidies for say unemployed has steadily grown and grown. And more is being required over and over. Why do even the most fervent of the leftists that are thinking about safety nets requiring more and more, whilst on their other hand they're critisizing growth as a paramount? How can they have both?

They can't. They're just blinded by their ideology. Earlier this year I was in a pseudo-conference arranged by the leftist youth parties. A presentee there laid down some alternative measures to GDP, such as the happy planet index. I asked if we should correct it's figures for revolutions and uprisings, given that China, Egypt, and Syria all beat Finland on it. The next presentee I asked on poverty and growth. She critisized growth, and mentioned that this and that many people still live with less than a dollar a day. I quickly calculated for how long we could triple their income (to a presumed three dollars a day) if we socialized and fully liquidiated the worth of Berkshire Hathaway. It yielded a result of a few days. The 99% on global level is so massive that we can blame the 1% all we want but even the wealth they possess wouldn't be sufficient for long.

The answers were, in order given: "You're right, perhaps it should involve something concerning the freedom of expressing one's opinion too" (so to say, she considered a revolution an "illegitimate form of expressing opinion" - I felt this was missing the point). "Perhaps we need to produce more in addition to more fair allocation, but it doesn't have to mean it happens through GDP growth" (this is an oxymoron: if we produce more, we either a) increase the GDP and are able to measure it, or b) increase the GDP in a way we can't measure - even now, we can't completely account things like domestic work to GDP, but we acknowledge that it is there).

Quote:
Of course, I do realise that the problem is not that we're now slightly less rich than we were 10 years ago, it's that we are afraid to spend money. Consumers are afraid they'll lose their job, so they want to save up in case that happens. Investors are afraid to because they no longer believe that spending money will give them a ROI.
But paradox of thrift is a different story altogether.


Quote:
My take on it is that at some point, we should be so rich, and so technologically advanced, that we could actually reduce what we now call jobs to hobbies, by giving everyone a flat minimum living wage and instating a flat income tax. Whether we've reached that point already, I don't know. It would certainly not perform as well on the classical economic indicators like GDP, but then I'm not really a fan of those anyway.
You're arguing that reducing the amount of human capitol required in production outputs is somehow not going to be visible on GDP. Here you're wrong. 99% of the GDP growth you perceive on a trend doesn't come from people being better or more productive. I would argue that the average worker is far less productive now, through hours worked alone, than he was in the agrarian society.

99% of the GDP growth is development of better technology. It's easy to be a technocrat in this setting, and I perceive it as the only probable out. It doesn't need to mean only increasing productivity, but also more durable, more "green" production. If we replace all workers with robots that do four time the work, and spend 2 hours a day monitoring and maintaining them, we'll be left with far more time for hobbies and the joys of life, and we'll experience an unpreceeded rise on all economic indicators that have to do with productivity. Of course, the more "effective" these robots are, the higher we can set the fixed amount we pay to people, no? It's an utopia.

Technology is a big deal. From plows to tractors, from cards to databases. It's always been a big deal, and it's the biggest of all deals in terms of GDP growth.


Quote:
We are all too satisfied to go crazy like that. So instead, we focus on questions like: do we get to retire at 65, 67 or after 40 years of job experience? Do we get 2 years unemployment benefits of X, or a year's worth of 1.5*X? Should our highest tax rate be 50% at 50k, or 60% at 150k?

It's almost completely meaningless. No wonder people are disillusioned with politics.
It's extremely meaningless. It's meaningless to the point where the future of the welfare system depends on it. Two years higher a retirement age could mean massive savings that could be directed elsewhere. But people have a strong habit of not wanting to work.


Quote:
Yes, I largely agree that the way politics has changed into a media circus is going to harm us in the long term (and quite probably in the short term too). For all of the left's flaws, here I lay the blame squarely in the court of right-wing populism. You have your True Finns, we have our Freedom Party and we're all in the business of some good old 1930's scapegoating.
True Finns isn't a political party with a clear agenda, however. It's simply a manifestation or a backlash to leftist feminism. Leftist feminism considers all women and all ethnic minorities to be victims that need understanding - if something doesn't go as they'd want, it's the society's fault. White men are excluded from this, despite forming the majority of say unemployed and school drop-outs. True Finns is an umbrella term under which more or less every disillusioned white male from the ghettoing neighbourhood falls under. It's also a leftist movement by economic terms, or at very "worst" central.



Quote:
It may interest you that this is the system that is in place in the Netherlands. We call it the Polder Model. The recent surge in right-wing populism has put some dents in its legitmacy, at least in the eyes of the masses, as has recent internal trouble in our largest labour union, but it's still going strong.

You're not alone in admiring it, according to the Wikipedia article I linked, it's met with "universal acclaim". I never knew.
This is interesting indeed. I'll read the economist pieces on the links. Thanks. I view it as a very good way of the state as a "neutral" ground bringing some moderation to the demands of both sides and trying to settle it in a fashion that'd benefit the "big picture".

Last edited by Tietäjä; 12 Jul 2012 at 10:28.
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Unread 12 Jul 2012, 14:23   #18
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

I'll reply later in the evening. For now, I give you this little gem.
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Unread 12 Jul 2012, 16:47   #19
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

I'm not a big fan of the financial cycle discussion. I consider it herd mentality in a Shiller-Akerlöf -way. Here's proof: ever since the increase in the efficiency of communication and availability of information, the cycle seems to have taken more and more rapid fluctiaton. For some reason, I just don't find it very interesting.
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Unread 13 Jul 2012, 00:11   #20
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I've been pseudo-actively involved in both youth organizations of the leftist parties, the left alliance and the social democratic party; and on the youth side, the active 'lead' women and men are all what you'd call that internet meme that rolls around, and you can hear them rant the exact shit.

to make an example, there was a discussion on the citizen wage where the left alliance and the green party youth were discussing it; the greens had, earlier, suggested a level of 500 euros, the left alliance wouldn't agree below 1000 euros plus subsidies related to costs of living.[/i]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Earlier this year I was in a pseudo-conference arranged by the leftist youth parties. A presentee there laid down some alternative measures to GDP, such as the happy planet index. I asked if we should correct it's figures for revolutions and uprisings, given that China, Egypt, and Syria all beat Finland on it. The next presentee I asked on poverty and growth. She critisized growth, and mentioned that this and that many people still live with less than a dollar a day. I quickly calculated for how long we could triple their income (to a presumed three dollars a day) if we socialized and fully liquidiated the worth of Berkshire Hathaway. It yielded a result of a few days. The 99% on global level is so massive that we can blame the 1% all we want but even the wealth they possess wouldn't be sufficient for long.

The answers were, in order given: "You're right, perhaps it should involve something concerning the freedom of expressing one's opinion too" (so to say, she considered a revolution an "illegitimate form of expressing opinion" - I felt this was missing the point). "Perhaps we need to produce more in addition to more fair allocation, but it doesn't have to mean it happens through GDP growth" (this is an oxymoron: if we produce more, we either a) increase the GDP and are able to measure it, or b) increase the GDP in a way we can't measure - even now, we can't completely account things like domestic work to GDP, but we acknowledge that it is there).
Those anecdotes are painful to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
As long as the robots (mentioned below) aren't around, we need a model of a society that revolves around labour force participation. The higher we want the safety nets to be set (optimally, we don't want people to be left out of the society due to unfortunate events, so we need tight safety nets) the higher labour force participation and employment rates we need to fund this.

It is counter-intuitive to work against it. It's wrong on not only economic grounds, but it's wrong on terms of being a violation of perfect duty since if we take it to a maxim, we will have no people who work and only people who live on minimum income and there is nobody paying for it. In essense, no-strings-attached minimum income systems are designed by those people who don't want to participate on the economic model we're in (capitalism, labour force participation) but want to reap the benefits of it (the standard of living) regardless. In terms of political right and left, these people are located on the left wing but they're more right wing than anyone else. I'll explain.

For people who are physically or mentally unable to participate (elderly people, severely handicapped people) there are systems in place. For the healthy, work-able 30-year-old, there are no persistent strong networks in place, because these people are expected to participate in order to fund the non-participation of those who cannot.

In human history, there have been plenty of examples of people who have the positive freedom of being able to do what they will without having to be concerned about sufficient income. Citizen wage systems are akin to this. History knows these people as kings, nobility, monarchs, sons of warlords, and so on. The only reason they were able to live so was because others paid for their living.
I largely agree with what you're saying here, especially that it's rather mind boggling that people think we can collectively tick the 'all of the above' checkbox and expect to be fine. I'll get back to that later.

That said, one caveat: I'm not so sure a citizen's wage would result in everyone refusing to work. Such a citizen's wage would after all be a living wage, not a yacht-jet-villa wage, no matter how many idealistic kids would like that. And in any case, I for one don't think I'd be happy idling the rest of my life away. Sure, a couple of weeks of vacation from time to time is nice, that always feels like it's over too soon. But 40 years? I'd get bored out of my skull. Then again, I'm fairly privileged: I'm reasonably intelligent, fairly well educated and as a result, have a generally nice job. The construction worker or cashier next door probably doesn't quite feel the same way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I prefer earned income tax credit systems which essentially are of the idea that there is a negative income tax on lower levels of income. They are mathematically more sound (in economic terms), they are morally more sound, and they retain the idea of high labour force participation rates, without potentially damaging wage-competitiveness (in the way certain minimum wage systems can: see case Germany and their recent wage politics). And I'd believe people would be far more willing to accept the notion that we will subsidies low-pay workers for working rather than subsidising people for being idle. Since it's going to come from the working people's purses anyways. The idea that we could fund any of these systems with some bizzarre notion that has to do with capitol income tax is just hilarious, at least in Finland.
That does sound pretty interesting. I'll read up on it, thanks for the pointers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
But paradox of thrift is a different story altogether.
That seems to fit pretty well with what I said about people being afraid to spend. Doesn't it?

By the way, you should give Michael Sandel's justice lectures a view, if you haven't already. They're all available online, here's the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
You're arguing that reducing the amount of human capitol required in production outputs is somehow not going to be visible on GDP.
No, no, no. I did not mean to imply that we can reduce the labour force by an appreciable fraction without feeling it somewhere. Earlier in your post, you wrote this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiet j View Post
Yes, we require global growth. We have four choices: we rapidly reduce the amount of people on this planet, we dramatically reduce consumption in the west, we accept the notion that the majority of the planet's inhabitants are going to remain extremely poor on western standards, or we strive for growth. This is why we strive for growth.
I've rarely heard this expressed as succinctly and as accurately. If I were the benevolent dictator of the world, I guess I'd be more inclined to focus on the second (and first, to a lesser extent) choice, rather than the fourth, partly because exponential growth is not maintainable and partly because the extreme equality that exists in the world today is something I have a serious problem with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
99% of the GDP growth you perceive on a trend doesn't come from people being better or more productive. I would argue that the average worker is far less productive now, through hours worked alone, than he was in the agrarian society.

99% of the GDP growth is development of better technology. It's easy to be a technocrat in this setting, and I perceive it as the only probable out. It doesn't need to mean only increasing productivity, but also more durable, more "green" production. If we replace all workers with robots that do four time the work, and spend 2 hours a day monitoring and maintaining them, we'll be left with far more time for hobbies and the joys of life, and we'll experience an unpreceeded rise on all economic indicators that have to do with productivity. Of course, the more "effective" these robots are, the higher we can set the fixed amount we pay to people, no? It's an utopia.

Technology is a big deal. From plows to tractors, from cards to databases. It's always been a big deal, and it's the biggest of all deals in terms of GDP growth.
I'm not sure if you're making reduced worker productivity (when we ignore technology) out as a bad thing, especially because you also used the word 'utopia', which is rarely used in a positive sense, in my experience.

I can't help but think it's a genuine first step towards a world in which people aren't forced to work for 40-80 hours a week (depending on your geographical location) just to survive. You could also say it would be the second step, if the industrial revolution was the first, or even the third, if the agricultural one was the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
True Finns isn't a political party with a clear agenda, however. It's simply a manifestation or a backlash to leftist feminism. Leftist feminism considers all women and all ethnic minorities to be victims that need understanding - if something doesn't go as they'd want, it's the society's fault. White men are excluded from this, despite forming the majority of say unemployed and school drop-outs. True Finns is an umbrella term under which more or less every disillusioned white male from the ghettoing neighbourhood falls under. It's also a leftist movement by economic terms, or at very "worst" central.
Interesting. It was my understanding the True Finns were largely nationalistic and eurosceptical, as opposed to our Freedom Party, which started out islamophobic and only became eurosceptical when 'the people' became disillusioned with the demands 'Brussels' made of us.

They are however similar in that there's a dichotomy between their economic views (left-wing) and their societal ones (right-wing). Being left-wing on economic issues appeals to the same feelings of entitlement that enciting hatred and fear of outsiders does, be they Muslims or Greeks. This is not strange or non-sensical, but it is new.

By the way, this isn't the first time I hear you talking about feminism in a negative fashion. Is that a general anti-feminist conviction shining through, or just a dislike of a particular incarnation of it (that, in my view, misapplies the label)?
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Unread 13 Jul 2012, 08:01   #21
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
That said, one caveat: I'm not so sure a citizen's wage would result in everyone refusing to work. Such a citizen's wage would after all be a living wage, not a yacht-jet-villa wage, no matter how many idealistic kids would like that. And in any case, I for one don't think I'd be happy idling the rest of my life away. Sure, a couple of weeks of vacation from time to time is nice, that always feels like it's over too soon. But 40 years? I'd get bored out of my skull.
I think the idea of perfect duty invalidates all this. No matter what you make of it, citizen wage models are structures where the work of some people is used to grant some people a high degree of personal freedom. If you're opposed to capitalists stealing money from the middle class (to live a life of a free lord), and you're not opposed to leftists stealing money from the middle class (to live a life of a free lord, even if on lower level) then I'll just invite you to join the people in the golden robes in Bolgia six.

If you discuss it with the left, they don't feel they're idling. They feel they're doing all sorts of things. Typically this is art or meditation or philosophy or something like this. They're just not in it for money (for most of them have realized they lack the talent for it).

In short, a lot of them are (on personal level) driving for it because they've realized they've got things to do, but the things they'd want to be doing aren't things anyone could ever actually be paying a salary for, but they don't want to be doing things that'd be paying them a salary. But they want a salary. So they turn to the state, and ask to reduce enough from other people's salary, in order to pay them a granted salary.

The problem of scope is vivid on the differences between the coalition party (right wing, suggesting as low as 300 euros), the greens (who are unarguably the most realistic and intelligent in their suggestion - it still heaps a lot higher a tax on the median worker than there is right now, though), and the left alliance (who will blow it completely out of proportion). Incidentally, social democrats aren't very interested in it, surprise surprise, because there's still the trade union pressure: trade unions rightly see citizen wage models as attempts to tax their members more, thus they're reluctant to give them support.

Then there becomes questions of what's okay and what's not. Some want living expenses related subsidies added on top: this is due to the obvious fact that in certain parts of Finland 1000 euros a month tax-free is well able to get you rent (maybe 300-400, if you live in a cheap place, for a one-room flat, less if it's say state built for the purpose of giving home to low-income people!). In Helsinki, 700-800 is the rent level. So if you top it with tax-free living subsidies, you wind up with 1500-1600 euros net income per month.

This is more than a low-salary worker earns (net).

If you drop it below, people will complain it's not sufficient for minimum living, while it ideologically should be, and they'll use this as a political hammer. In fact, they even suggested - the lefts to the greens - that they should, strategically, initially accept a low level of citizen wage as a system (in order to get the system in place with the agreement of other parties), and then start using leverage to slowly heighten it.


Quote:
Then again, I'm fairly privileged: I'm reasonably intelligent, fairly well educated and as a result, have a generally nice job. The construction worker or cashier next door probably doesn't quite feel the same way.
I'm on your boat too. However, I do sometimes consider, that if it was fiscally realistic right now, I might read a PhD (it's possible I'll do it anyways at some point), or MsC on something interesting (sociology and psychology are topping the list right now). That being said, as a student, I had subsidies in the range of 400 euros a month (8 months a year, that's 3200 net) and and I worked the first summers on lower-pay (say 4 months, total 5000 net), which means I managed quite fine on around 700. But this is a bit off. But yeah, right now I'm quite a rare a commodity in a sence that I'm on a job I genuinely like, and well, I'm writing on the field of my work on a forum so I suppose that does somewhat mean my job's a bit of a hobby too.


Quote:
That does sound pretty interesting. I'll read up on it, thanks for the pointers.
It's also curious in the fashion that a negative earnings tax would also be oblivious to the source of earnings. Maybe you would be working 3 days a week spending the rest of the week doing something else. Maybe you'd be in between schools on contingency of temporary low-salary jobs.

Quote:
That seems to fit pretty well with what I said about people being afraid to spend. Doesn't it?
It does indeed. Has to do with the business cycle thinking.

Quote:
No, no, no. I did not mean to imply that we can reduce the labour force by an appreciable fraction without feeling it somewhere. Earlier in your post, you wrote this:

I've rarely heard this expressed as succinctly and as accurately. If I were the benevolent dictator of the world, I guess I'd be more inclined to focus on the second (and first, to a lesser extent) choice, rather than the fourth, partly because exponential growth is not maintainable and partly because the extreme equality that exists in the world today is something I have a serious problem with.


I'm not sure if you're making reduced worker productivity (when we ignore technology) out as a bad thing, especially because you also used the word 'utopia', which is rarely used in a positive sense, in my experience.
I'm not making reduced worker productivity a bad thing; I was simply pointing out your misinterpretation on GDP. It doesn't matter whether it's createn by robots with artificial intelligence or not. The "value" of our manual labour in comparison to the "value" of machines and tools is already a tiny minority: which is why the reference to plows and tractors.

Yes, I agree with you: the more technology we can develop that can realistically take over people's jobs and do them instead, the more time off we can have (we're already having a lot in comparison to agrarian cultures; yet we're producing a lot more. it's not because we're better as humans, it's because we're equipped with superior gadgets).

That said, advancing technology is the only reason we've had a period of "exponential growth" in the first place, and it's the only thing that will ever be able to allow it to continue, or transform into more environmentally friendly. More efficient technology, more environment-friendly technology, all will increase GDP when put into production.

There are of course problems: an engineer of the field might argue that we'd already have sufficient AI to set up say car traffic as computer controlled. They might claim, that this could reduce the amount of traffic accidents dramatically. They'll admit, that some accidents would happen and this would be the fault of imperfect AI and programming. Just that, it'd be a big a societal step to lay the blame on something else than a human: would the company that made the code be held responsible, and to which level? Which company would want such responsibility?

If I was the benevolant dictator, I'd put all the best minds available working tirelessly to produce technology that could free more people from what essentially is "forced work" (in terms of philosophical freedom, very few of us would probably - I might be - doing the work they do currently if they hadn't had the need to do it for sustenance. this isn't "freedom" in the sense where citizen wage would grant it, but it could only grant it to a select few).


Quote:
Interesting. It was my understanding the True Finns were largely nationalistic and eurosceptical, as opposed to our Freedom Party, which started out islamophobic and only became eurosceptical when 'the people' became disillusioned with the demands 'Brussels' made of us.

They are however similar in that there's a dichotomy between their economic views (left-wing) and their societal ones (right-wing). Being left-wing on economic issues appeals to the same feelings of entitlement that enciting hatred and fear of outsiders does, be they Muslims or Greeks. This is not strange or non-sensical, but it is new.
Yeah, they're pretty much opposed to anything the liberal left would come up with (as it occurs to me now, perhaps they're "conservative left"). Feminist-liberal left would allow more immigrants: because everyone's worth their humane value. True Finns feel this ignores the fact that they, as lower middle class white people, are made the pay dogs. They don't want more people here consuming the social welfare network. They're not anti-immigrant: they'd welcome immigrants that work, but probably simply kick out ones that don't (if they had a trigger).

Euroskeptical, yes. But this is another pony they flog with the "they're making us pay for the living expenses of the slacky meditarrenean people". It's knit to the same bit. It's wrong and leftist propaganda to understand this as systematic hatred towards immigrants, it's not. I believe most of them would genuinely welcome immigrants that work hard to in the system, but they perceive most immigrants as deadweight. In the same way they perceive euro as a system to attach deadweight (Greece) to us. They're simply, on their immigrant stance, more in favour of assimilation than immigration.

Their intellectual arguments are no better than that of the liberal left (which is often poor too), but they're just less "socially acceptable". I'll go further about this in the feminism part.

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Unread 13 Jul 2012, 08:34   #22
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
By the way, this isn't the first time I hear you talking about feminism in a negative fashion. Is that a general anti-feminist conviction shining through, or just a dislike of a particular incarnation of it (that, in my view, misapplies the label)?
I'm not really anti-feminist in any fashion, however I also don't consider myself one: I consider myself a humanist or egalitarian. I might be tempted to agree with certain feminists (Michael Kimmel for example), but then again I might be tempted not to agree or frankly be very afraid of certain feminists (Valerie Solanas, Andrea Dworkin, Sheila Jeffreys). It's possible my view of the subject is very biased due to the fact that I mostly follow on what happens on media and what the youth politics representing the subject are like (zealous).

First, there is the case of the giant umbrella. Feminism is a movement that's main perception is to liberate women: everything else is non-interesting. Yes, there are parts in the discussion (Kimmel being probably the lead example) that are also interested in equality on a broader level and apply the theoretical tools of feminism to discuss it. But it doesn't mean that at the same time the same movement wouldn't also be the home to a different bunch of people (Google radfemhub) who have the interest of aborting male fetuses to control the amount of men in the population down to 10%. They're both feminists; they're both interested in women's rights (which is not wrong). Whatever else they do is secondary, ergo their stance on men, trans, and so on (some feminists have also said that trans-men are simply seeking to objectify women and to become victimized, which I find hilarious).

Second, there is the subject of inclusion. I believe feminism has it right on a societal sciences level - there is a gender system that causes a lot of prejudice, stigmatization, and is essentially an uncomfortable straight jacket that causes harm. I'm a fan of personal liberty of choice, and I do acknowledge that as a female it's difficult to say enter certain fields due to societal factors, and that you're pressured to certain things. However, I don't think gender is a construct that can be discussed only acknowledging the female side of the view. This currently seems to happen a lot through a certain type of logical fallacy: we compare all women to the priviledged upper class white male. We forget that say across Europe, young men's unemployment is a big problem. But these men, despite being on the streets of London robbing and stealing (which is blamed on their lack of fathers!) are so privileged they're not interesting; surely their rising numbers only have to do with young men being lazy and not having ambitions for a career to become breadwinners like they should?

For whatever female role or stereotype there is, there is a corresponding male situation. It's fair that we work to enable women to enter the work force and thrive in it equally well with men, and talk about the problems involved with this, the family, the housework, and the career. But it's not intelligent to forget, that at the same time we also have a set role for males: whereas stereotypically we'd expect women to take care of the housework, the man is expected to bring home the bacon and succeed at work. Men are, on this side of the coin, very much assessed based on their work and career and success in these. I consider it equally a restricting role as the female one, however, most feminists aren't concerned in this. Rather than considering it as a restriction, they consider it a "price" to pay for the priviledge of being a patriarch. I think the two genders are so entwined, that this is part of the thinking that has lead to the "second" shift mentality, where women have both careers and excess housework, and men simply have careers (and result having in higher pay partly due to higher hours worked, since women's second shift isn't paid for). To discuss problems like this, or to reach genuine equality, feminism would need to give up on the stance that women are the sole and only victims of the system of social pressure and restriction.

Third, there is the question of generalization. Feminists can be very hostile even to women who make choices feminism doesn't "approve". Whether we like it or not, some women do genuinely enjoy and genuinely want to be housewives. It's not something bad, something inherently wrong; it's equally good and okay as some women wanting a career instead (of course, you don't get to have both). Discussing problems related to citizen wage, the leader (female, feminist) of the youth left alliance brought up this point: have we considered what the effects of this are to women? Will this simply encourage more women to become stay at home moms, since it essentially funds them too? Needless to say, I didn't see this problem arising in the citizen wage discussion. I think it's trash. The easy Jungian example has to do with sexuality, but it's broader than that. Objectifying women is harshly wrong - but what if some of them like being objectified and want such? The sales figures of 'The Fifty Shades of Grey' are a story itself. (I'll order and read the book once I'm on vacation). I think a lot of hypocrite elements are instilled in this ideal.

Fourth, there is the discussion of double standards. A Finnish newspaper, on it's editorial, a while back, had written statistics on Finnish men's alcohol related violence towards women. They proceeded to speculate, paraphrasing and citing here, "perhaps there is a genetic trait to drunken violence in Finnish men". A True Finn member of the parliament made a complaint to about it, but it was deemed acceptable. He wrote on his own blog, later, about Somalis. First citing statistics, and then speculating "perhaps there is a genetic trait to theft and crime in Somalis". He got gutted, grilled in the media, lost some of his positions in work groups of the parliament. And he's taking the case to EU courts, which should be a fun gist to follow. In enforcing their views of the world, the feminists often have a habit of becoming what they critisize: a rigid system of social rules.

Fifth, there is the case of exclusion. The local Union of the field gets public funding and runs say educational conferences that are only open to members of one gender. It's not something you'd expect a movement that's aiming for equality to be about - unless the definition of equality is that only one gender has issues (and maybe, intersectionality, can grant us that ethnic minorities and sexual minorities also have issues, but there are no social pressures or problems related to being male and white).

I think this is simply an approach that won't yield an optimal outcome on the long run. If we want to abolish the gender roles, we need to make it so that it's equally acceptable for a higher earning woman to date a low-earning man as it is vice versa. That it's equally acceptable for a man to stay home taking after the children without being called Mr Mom (which would be an important part in enabling a career-orientated female to have a family and be able to pursue a career). None of this is really interesting to feminists. Until it becomes so, I can't really share their views.

edit. disclaimer: if opposing the idea that the society needs to control the birth rate of male individuals through abortion makes me an anti-feminist (since this idea has also been proposed by people who label themselves feminists) then I'll gladly label myself as one. however, I do still consider that it is ultimately down to feminists to make clear what is and what is not acceptable in their philosophy; much like it is for any other political lobbyist group. i'm not really down to discussing whether "feminism" thinks like this, or whether "some feminists" or "radical feminists" think like this, but as long as there's no consensus along feminists reached about this it's a fair point to make that opposing it would make one technically anti-feminist.

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Unread 15 Jul 2012, 10:53   #23
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I think the idea of perfect duty invalidates all this. No matter what you make of it, citizen wage models are structures where the work of some people is used to grant some people a high degree of personal freedom. If you're opposed to capitalists stealing money from the middle class (to live a life of a free lord), and you're not opposed to leftists stealing money from the middle class (to live a life of a free lord, even if on lower level) then I'll just invite you to join the people in the golden robes in Bolgia six.
Well, yes, this kind of exceptionalism never actually works out in the Real World.

I don't think that's much different from the system we currently have, in which the West collectively believes it deserves the ridiculous wealth it has accumulated while paying little to no need to the plight of the truly poor in the world. Here, the right is only a little more blatant in its disregard to suffering than the left is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
The problem of scope is vivid on the differences between the coalition party (right wing, suggesting as low as 300 euros), the greens (who are unarguably the most realistic and intelligent in their suggestion - it still heaps a lot higher a tax on the median worker than there is right now, though), and the left alliance (who will blow it completely out of proportion). Incidentally, social democrats aren't very interested in it, surprise surprise, because there's still the trade union pressure: trade unions rightly see citizen wage models as attempts to tax their members more, thus they're reluctant to give them support.
I think it's interesting that a right wing coalition party would be interested in discussing a citizen's wage at all. It's not on the mainstream political agenda here, not even for the left, let alone for the right.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Then there becomes questions of what's okay and what's not. Some want living expenses related subsidies added on top: this is due to the obvious fact that in certain parts of Finland 1000 euros a month tax-free is well able to get you rent (maybe 300-400, if you live in a cheap place, for a one-room flat, less if it's say state built for the purpose of giving home to low-income people!). In Helsinki, 700-800 is the rent level. So if you top it with tax-free living subsidies, you wind up with 1500-1600 euros net income per month.

This is more than a low-salary worker earns (net).
So how do they afford it now? I think the mistake (not yours, but theirs) here is one of degree. A citizen's wage cannot support our desired standard of living (and probably never will be able to), it can merely support a required standard of living, plus a little extra. If you want 3 children, or go on holidays twice a year, or want to live in an expensive Helsinki appartment, you're going to have to make it happen yourself, just like you do now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I'm not making reduced worker productivity a bad thing; I was simply pointing out your misinterpretation on GDP. It doesn't matter whether it's createn by robots with artificial intelligence or not. The "value" of our manual labour in comparison to the "value" of machines and tools is already a tiny minority: which is why the reference to plows and tractors.

Yes, I agree with you: the more technology we can develop that can realistically take over people's jobs and do them instead, the more time off we can have (we're already having a lot in comparison to agrarian cultures; yet we're producing a lot more. it's not because we're better as humans, it's because we're equipped with superior gadgets).
We're not 'better as humans', but we are better at using those gadgets, not to mention that our civilization (again, focusing on the West) has a degree of stability that, for example, allows us to set up systems that will provide us with a pension in 40-70 years from now.

However, those reasons are themselves probably also caused by the same technological advances that have driven the rest of human progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
That said, advancing technology is the only reason we've had a period of "exponential growth" in the first place, and it's the only thing that will ever be able to allow it to continue, or transform into more environmentally friendly. More efficient technology, more environment-friendly technology, all will increase GDP when put into production.

There are of course problems: an engineer of the field might argue that we'd already have sufficient AI to set up say car traffic as computer controlled. They might claim, that this could reduce the amount of traffic accidents dramatically. They'll admit, that some accidents would happen and this would be the fault of imperfect AI and programming. Just that, it'd be a big a societal step to lay the blame on something else than a human: would the company that made the code be held responsible, and to which level? Which company would want such responsibility?

If I was the benevolant dictator, I'd put all the best minds available working tirelessly to produce technology that could free more people from what essentially is "forced work" (in terms of philosophical freedom, very few of us would probably - I might be - doing the work they do currently if they hadn't had the need to do it for sustenance. this isn't "freedom" in the sense where citizen wage would grant it, but it could only grant it to a select few).
It makes me wonder though: if the current phase of exponential growth is due to technology, how long can that continue? There are two reasons that make me ask that question. One is objective: there is a limit to what technology can achieve. We can't go faster than the speed of light, there is a limit to the amount of information we can store in a certain amount of stuff, and there's a limited amount of resources and space. We are a fairly long way from hitting any of those limits (further from some than from others), but as a race, we'll hit them eventually.

The other is more subjective: we in the West have been in a unique position of privilege in that a succession of global economic, political and scientific events put us far ahead of the rest of the world, in a way that we never had been before. Now that balance seems to be shifting back into the direction of Asia (as it's historically been), which brings up the question: how much longer we'll continued to be the preferred place for investment? I don't feel qualified to answer that question, so I won't (but I'm interested in yours).

However, what seems undeniable (and unavoidable) to me is that even if it never happens, we'll still need to deal with the fact that there will be a lot more people who strive for a standard of living comparable to that of people in the West, with all the ecological and economic effects that go along with that. Asia is just the beginning, many (but by no means all) African countries are getting started, but South America is probably closer.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Yeah, they're pretty much opposed to anything the liberal left would come up with (as it occurs to me now, perhaps they're "conservative left"). Feminist-liberal left would allow more immigrants: because everyone's worth their humane value. True Finns feel this ignores the fact that they, as lower middle class white people, are made the pay dogs. They don't want more people here consuming the social welfare network. They're not anti-immigrant: they'd welcome immigrants that work, but probably simply kick out ones that don't (if they had a trigger).

Euroskeptical, yes. But this is another pony they flog with the "they're making us pay for the living expenses of the slacky meditarrenean people". It's knit to the same bit. It's wrong and leftist propaganda to understand this as systematic hatred towards immigrants, it's not. I believe most of them would genuinely welcome immigrants that work hard to in the system, but they perceive most immigrants as deadweight. In the same way they perceive euro as a system to attach deadweight (Greece) to us. They're simply, on their immigrant stance, more in favour of assimilation than immigration.

Their intellectual arguments are no better than that of the liberal left (which is often poor too), but they're just less "socially acceptable". I'll go further about this in the feminism part.
I don't think that the average xenophobe welcomes immigrants that work, as the prototypical "they're taking our jobs!" illustrates. Interestingly, that sentiment, though distasteful to me, is not actually wrong: an increase of the size of the work force will tend to cause a reduction in wages (though other factors may hold that back or even prevent it altogether). Here too, inequality is largely to blame: a world in which a large portion of the population lives at or below subsistence levels, while a minority lives in abundance is simply not stable.

The left has traditionally marshalled support support for the notion of solidarity between workers of any creed, nationality or skin colour, which has served them well for over a century. There are factors that should make that easier now than ever: workers are richer now than they were when unionization first came along, so they have more financial means to use and laws now exist that make it much harder (though not impossible) for employers to punish their workers for attempting to better their situation. I feel these are overshadowed by a sharp increase in individualism, the (strongly related) idea that the only good policy is one that improves my personal situation and the (almost as strongly related) feeling of entitlement: not only do I want more, I deserve more.

That last change is especially insidious, as it changes selfishness from "I want this, but that probably means other people want it as well; we can't all get it, so this is possibly/probably unattainable" to "I deserve this, and that means no one else does; therefore, this is the right thing to do".
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Unread 15 Jul 2012, 11:04   #24
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
First, there is the case of the giant umbrella. Feminism is a movement that's main perception is to liberate women: everything else is non-interesting. Yes, there are parts in the discussion (Kimmel being probably the lead example) that are also interested in equality on a broader level and apply the theoretical tools of feminism to discuss it. But it doesn't mean that at the same time the same movement wouldn't also be the home to a different bunch of people (Google radfemhub) who have the interest of aborting male fetuses to control the amount of men in the population down to 10%. They're both feminists; they're both interested in women's rights (which is not wrong). Whatever else they do is secondary, ergo their stance on men, trans, and so on (some feminists have also said that trans-men are simply seeking to objectify women and to become victimized, which I find hilarious).
If whatever else they do is secondary, then you can be a 'good' feminist and a terrible human being (I didn't check radfemhub, I'll take your word for it).

I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with focusing your efforts on one particular issue. In fact, it's usually a good thing: it gives your movement focus. We see the opposite of this principle at work in the Occupy movement: there are a lot of well-intentioned people involved in it, but because they try to achieve up to a dozen unrelated goals at the same time, it'l' probably fizzle out without having achieved much of anything. Better to define a single concrete goal and achieve it, than define a complete utopian picture of What Society Must Become and then fail to achieve concensus.

In that light, even "liberating women" may be too ambitious a goal because it inspires concrete changes from "revoke all laws that ban women from doing things that men are allowed do" to "kill all men", neither of which quite gets it right (one because it's a subset of what 'feminism' is, the other because it's a superset).

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Second, there is the subject of inclusion. I believe feminism has it right on a societal sciences level - there is a gender system that causes a lot of prejudice, stigmatization, and is essentially an uncomfortable straight jacket that causes harm. I'm a fan of personal liberty of choice, and I do acknowledge that as a female it's difficult to say enter certain fields due to societal factors, and that you're pressured to certain things. However, I don't think gender is a construct that can be discussed only acknowledging the female side of the view. This currently seems to happen a lot through a certain type of logical fallacy: we compare all women to the priviledged upper class white male. We forget that say across Europe, young men's unemployment is a big problem. But these men, despite being on the streets of London robbing and stealing (which is blamed on their lack of fathers!) are so privileged they're not interesting; surely their rising numbers only have to do with young men being lazy and not having ambitions for a career to become breadwinners like they should?

For whatever female role or stereotype there is, there is a corresponding male situation. It's fair that we work to enable women to enter the work force and thrive in it equally well with men, and talk about the problems involved with this, the family, the housework, and the career. But it's not intelligent to forget, that at the same time we also have a set role for males: whereas stereotypically we'd expect women to take care of the housework, the man is expected to bring home the bacon and succeed at work. Men are, on this side of the coin, very much assessed based on their work and career and success in these. I consider it equally a restricting role as the female one, however, most feminists aren't concerned in this. Rather than considering it as a restriction, they consider it a "price" to pay for the priviledge of being a patriarch. I think the two genders are so entwined, that this is part of the thinking that has lead to the "second" shift mentality, where women have both careers and excess housework, and men simply have careers (and result having in higher pay partly due to higher hours worked, since women's second shift isn't paid for). To discuss problems like this, or to reach genuine equality, feminism would need to give up on the stance that women are the sole and only victims of the system of social pressure and restriction.
I don't know. To me, it feels a little like saying "yes, slavery is bad, but we shouldn't forget that slave owners have a lot of responsibility because they need to care for their slaves". Of course, the analogy doesn't hold: slave owners can choose to not keep slaves, while men can't change their gender without some extremely invasive surgery and hormonal treatments.

However, I agree with one point, which is that feminism isn't just a women's issue. It's merely framed from women's perspective because it is easier to ask for equal rights for women than it is to ask for a reduction in privilege for men (even though they amount to the same thing). In any case, a 'proper' feminist society would be good for everyone, men and women. It would (should) solve both the issues men have with the roles they're forced into and the issues women have with the roles they're forced into. Phrasing it like that, I'm having a hard time taking seriously anyone who's concerned with either "women's rights" or "men's rights"; 'proper' feminism takes both into account.

(I realise I keep using the term 'proper' without explaining what I mean by that. I'll get to it, eventually.)

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Third, there is the question of generalization. Feminists can be very hostile even to women who make choices feminism doesn't "approve". Whether we like it or not, some women do genuinely enjoy and genuinely want to be housewives. It's not something bad, something inherently wrong; it's equally good and okay as some women wanting a career instead (of course, you don't get to have both). Discussing problems related to citizen wage, the leader (female, feminist) of the youth left alliance brought up this point: have we considered what the effects of this are to women? Will this simply encourage more women to become stay at home moms, since it essentially funds them too? Needless to say, I didn't see this problem arising in the citizen wage discussion. I think it's trash. The easy Jungian example has to do with sexuality, but it's broader than that. Objectifying women is harshly wrong - but what if some of them like being objectified and want such? The sales figures of 'The Fifty Shades of Grey' are a story itself. (I'll order and read the book once I'm on vacation). I think a lot of hypocrite elements are instilled in this ideal.
Objectifying women is wrong, but objectifying a woman may not be, if that's what she wants.

One of the main issues feminism struggles with is drawing the line between the two. When Beyoncé writhes on the screen like a porn actress, is she empowering herself through her sexuality, or is she setting a role model for teen girls everywhere that 'your body is the only thing that matters'? The unfortunate truth is the same that human nature hits on time and again: that there is no line between black and white, there is only a gigantic grey area. Beyoncé is doing both at the same time.

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Fourth, there is the discussion of double standards. A Finnish newspaper, on it's editorial, a while back, had written statistics on Finnish men's alcohol related violence towards women. They proceeded to speculate, paraphrasing and citing here, "perhaps there is a genetic trait to drunken violence in Finnish men". A True Finn member of the parliament made a complaint to about it, but it was deemed acceptable. He wrote on his own blog, later, about Somalis. First citing statistics, and then speculating "perhaps there is a genetic trait to theft and crime in Somalis". He got gutted, grilled in the media, lost some of his positions in work groups of the parliament. And he's taking the case to EU courts, which should be a fun gist to follow. In enforcing their views of the world, the feminists often have a habit of becoming what they critisize: a rigid system of social rules.
While I acknowledge the hypocrisy at work here (and am fundamentally opposed to it), I don't agree feminism opposes rigid systems of social rules in general; it's just opposed to one that currently defines what behaviour is appropriate for each of the genders.

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Fifth, there is the case of exclusion. The local Union of the field gets public funding and runs say educational conferences that are only open to members of one gender. It's not something you'd expect a movement that's aiming for equality to be about - unless the definition of equality is that only one gender has issues (and maybe, intersectionality, can grant us that ethnic minorities and sexual minorities also have issues, but there are no social pressures or problems related to being male and white).

I think this is simply an approach that won't yield an optimal outcome on the long run. If we want to abolish the gender roles, we need to make it so that it's equally acceptable for a higher earning woman to date a low-earning man as it is vice versa. That it's equally acceptable for a man to stay home taking after the children without being called Mr Mom (which would be an important part in enabling a career-orientated female to have a family and be able to pursue a career). None of this is really interesting to feminists. Until it becomes so, I can't really share their views.
Postive discrimination is something I've had a problem with from time to time. Ultimately, it's just disguised negative discrimination. Giving half the population 50 bucks is morally equivalent to taking 50 bucks from the other half.

However, if your goal is 'creating equality', then taking from the over-privileged portion of society and giving to the under-privileged portion is an entirely valid action. It compensates for an unequality inherent in our current society. In that light, it is no different than heavily taxing high incomes in order to pay for the negative taxation of lower incomes. The major difference is that we consider our gender more sacred and more personal than our income level.

Finally, I'll add that it's entirely possible that my pragmatism in this matter is solely due to my support for the ultimate goal (I tend to be an egalitarian), rather than a fundamental agreement with the means used, and that in other situations, I might not be so tolerant.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
edit. disclaimer: if opposing the idea that the society needs to control the birth rate of male individuals through abortion makes me an anti-feminist (since this idea has also been proposed by people who label themselves feminists) then I'll gladly label myself as one. however, I do still consider that it is ultimately down to feminists to make clear what is and what is not acceptable in their philosophy; much like it is for any other political lobbyist group. i'm not really down to discussing whether "feminism" thinks like this, or whether "some feminists" or "radical feminists" think like this, but as long as there's no consensus along feminists reached about this it's a fair point to make that opposing it would make one technically anti-feminist.
As promised, I'll get back to the word 'proper' I keep using. I realise you aren't interested in discussing the exact definition of the word 'feminism', and I agree that it reeks of a level of meta that I usually can't be bothered with either. However, in a discussion about a certain topic, the definition of what that topic actually is needs to be clear, or you just end up talking past each other. My definition of 'proper feminism' pretty much matches Wikipedia's (and as far as I know, that of the wider feminist movement), so I'll quote that:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist is "an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women."
To me, the most important word in that definition is not 'women', as you might expect it to be, but 'equality'. People who instead seek to switch the gender roles, or at least the levels of privilege associated with them, are not actually feminists, but misandrists. As might be expected, they're usually women, just like misogynists are usually men. Just because they call themselves feminists doesn't mean they are that.

Similarly, just because some people who you disagree with call themselves feminists doesn't mean you're anti-feminist; I'm going to assume you're against terrorism too, but that doesn't mean you're anti-Islam, even though some terrorists label themselves as Muslims.

The term 'feminist' is simply not a very good one, because it lends itself to abuse and misunderstanding (both from people who are afraid of mislabeled misandrism and people who are in favour of same) so well. We should've picked a better word, and that is a failure of the [strike]feminist[/strike] movement.
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Unread 15 Jul 2012, 14:02   #25
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

It's going to be a very gradual an answering process. Brace yourself.

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If whatever else they do is secondary, then you can be a 'good' feminist and a terrible human being (I didn't check radfemhub, I'll take your word for it).
I suggest you read this and this. Since you're probably well more into the theory than I am, you can probably explain it to me.

And yes, this is - that you can be a very terrible human being while being a celebrated feminist - one of the reasons why I don't support the movement.

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I don't know. To me, it feels a little like saying "yes, slavery is bad, but we shouldn't forget that slave owners have a lot of responsibility because they need to care for their slaves". Of course, the analogy doesn't hold: slave owners can choose to not keep slaves, while men can't change their gender without some extremely invasive surgery and hormonal treatments.
Yes, however someone's made the value decision to call "being housewife" the slave, and calling "being a mine shaft worker" the slaver. This is purely a value decision that appreciates the opportunity to participate in work force above the opportunity to stay home. This is very visible because of the history of where feminism came from and how feminists are right now. When the movement came out, it was a movement of those women who already had things excellent. They were upper middle class. Intersectionality is a very new a term for feminists and they still struggle with the issue that the woman really doesn't want to go to the mine shaft even if it'd be "empowering" above a housewife's duty.

If you really want to compare old-system housewives to slaves, then you'll also want to remember that a husband could be held legally responsible for his wife's crimes, ergo, if your slave murdered someone, you could get hung. It's not a "pick your cherries" festival; but again, a very entwined system of two genders where both have strong roles which both involve responsibilities and (dis)&advantages


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Phrasing it like that, I'm having a hard time taking seriously anyone who's concerned with either "women's rights" or "men's rights"; 'proper' feminism takes both into account.
I call no true scotsman. Please provide with an accurate definition of what a proper feminist is like and then proceed to tell me if radfemhub feminists are proper feminists or not, and have a proper feminist inform them if they're not.

Let's assume you would do this. You'd find a true scotsman who would then champion down radfemhub and tell them "Could you please understand that both women and men have problems in our societies and these problems are sometimes entwined so that it might be a good idea to try solve them together". I'll tell you what the answer will be: your true scotsman will be called a not true scotsman, instead, the title will be "We've had enough of you apologists".

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Objectifying women is wrong, but objectifying a woman may not be, if that's what she wants.

One of the main issues feminism struggles with is drawing the line between the two.
No, you're missing the point. What feminism struggles with is the fact that sexuality can also be a source of power: especially for a very beautiful woman like Beyonce. They're not willing to admit, that through sheer force of a beautiful body, she holds power. This is of course, passive power in compared to say violence, which is active power (bulky caveman). But it is still there, and what "empowerment" is to Beyonce is probably best described as using that power in practise.

Just that, it'd be a bad beat for a lobbyist group to admit that women aren't a homogenous group (and men aren't either) and that what is "priviledge" is mostly defined very heterogenously. It doesn't fit the scheme.

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I don't agree feminism opposes rigid systems of social rules in general; it's just opposed to one that currently defines what behaviour is appropriate for each of the genders.
Here's the question: we know what we're being liberated from. Do we know if what we're being liberated into is better than what we're being liberated from, and from whose perspective is it better?

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However, if your goal is 'creating equality', then taking from the over-privileged portion of society and giving to the under-privileged portion is an entirely valid action
Define privilege. Remember that there are also value decisions related to privilege.


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The major difference is that we consider our gender more sacred and more personal than our income level.
Notice: we are also able to define income level accurately person per person (apart from "grey" trade). Privilege is more vague. It is very difficult to measure, and both genders seem to have their ups and downs - notably, I would have gladly given up my privilege of obligatory military service to any keen feminist willing to take this privilege from me. Saying that one gender has more than the other requires an amount of value calls that appreciate certain things over others. This isn't typically how "science" works - most scientific discussion isn't based on making value choices and then asserting reality as a sum of implications of these choices.

Which one do you reckon would have more privilege, in Netherlands - a girl born into the royal family or a boy born into an immigrant Indonesian family? Surely the boy, since he's a patriarch-to-be. It's not so easy as to say "all men have privilege x". Male privilege is also attached to social status. So is female privilege. Both downsides are also attached to social status: say, poverty tends to have an inheritage (children of poor tend to remain poor and so on).


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Just because they call themselves feminists doesn't mean they are that.
I call no true scotsman again. Why and how are you in a position to define someone as a feminist, or not feminist, especially when we're discussing acredited people like Julie Bindel, Sheila Jeffreys, and Andrea Dworkin.

I'll get to the economic bit on the next post.

But the point is: If I could label myself a feminist, and know that doing so I would only support the egalitarian feminists I would gladly do so and embrace their tools and knowledge. Hell, I would even donate money for that cause, honestly. But I can't. The true scotsman will always be a massive problem for the movement, and if I'd support the movement, I'd also support things like plans to murder male fetuses.

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Unread 15 Jul 2012, 15:56   #26
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Right, round two.

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
I don't think that's much different from the system we currently have, in which the West collectively believes it deserves the ridiculous wealth it has accumulated while paying little to no need to the plight of the truly poor in the world. Here, the right is only a little more blatant in its disregard to suffering than the left is.
Things like aid to Africa are bits and pieces used to sooth the conscience due to the fact that nobody genuinely cares. "Time jesum transeuntum et non riverentum", as per the Dirty Three, there are very very few altruists around, and those that appear altruistic are probably also masochistic.


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I think it's interesting that a right wing coalition party would be interested in discussing a citizen's wage at all. It's not on the mainstream political agenda here, not even for the left, let alone for the right.
They're in it for practical reasons. And uncanny knives. The system currently is fairly complicated and somewhat not very fair (between people receiving subsidies; there can be a thin red line between getting one and not getting). Their main incentive to it is to cut the costs of a heavy complex system.


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So how do they afford it now? I think the mistake (not yours, but theirs) here is one of degree. A citizen's wage cannot support our desired standard of living (and probably never will be able to), it can merely support a required standard of living, plus a little extra. If you want 3 children, or go on holidays twice a year, or want to live in an expensive Helsinki appartment, you're going to have to make it happen yourself, just like you do now.
You can afford a lot of things by raising earnings income tax rate. For me, a 1000+ adds level would mean an earnings income tax increase of 15-20% (on their progressions, depending on the adds levels).


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We're not 'better as humans', but we are better at using those gadgets, not to mention that our civilization (again, focusing on the West) has a degree of stability that, for example, allows us to set up systems that will provide us with a pension in 40-70 years from now.

However, those reasons are themselves probably also caused by the same technological advances that have driven the rest of human progress.
Interwoven, dramatically. The education-technology -drive.


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It makes me wonder though: if the current phase of exponential growth is due to technology, how long can that continue?
For the sake of all the poor in Africa and China, let's pray it can last long and accelerate. We've got little alternatives.

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The other is more subjective: we in the West have been in a unique position of privilege in that a succession of global economic, political and scientific events put us far ahead of the rest of the world, in a way that we never had been before. Now that balance seems to be shifting back into the direction of Asia (as it's historically been), which brings up the question: how much longer we'll continued to be the preferred place for investment? I don't feel qualified to answer that question, so I won't (but I'm interested in yours).
I don't think it's a question of nationalism anymore. I believe it's a question of a direction towards a "corporatocracy". But it's another massive a subject.


Quote:
I don't think that the average xenophobe welcomes immigrants that work, as the prototypical "they're taking our jobs!" illustrates. Interestingly, that sentiment, though distasteful to me, is not actually wrong: an increase of the size of the work force will tend to cause a reduction in wages (though other factors may hold that back or even prevent it altogether). Here too, inequality is largely to blame: a world in which a large portion of the population lives at or below subsistence levels, while a minority lives in abundance is simply not stable.
They're not all xenophobes - the xenophobes are probably a tiny minority of True Finns (they certainly exist). Most are probably around the call "if they're long term unemployed or criminals, exile, otherwise, okay".

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The left has traditionally marshalled support support for the notion of solidarity between workers of any creed, nationality or skin colour, which has served them well for over a century.
My grief with this is that the left has forgotten it's roots - work. And paid work. And supporting that. And the system we have is built on it.

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feeling of entitlement: not only do I want more, I deserve more.
This is a curious phenomenom. I think it's something that generally plagues the west.

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"I deserve this, and that means no one else does; therefore, this is the right thing to do".
It's remniscent of monarchies. Self-righteous decision to allow oneself something with the cost of it to others.
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Unread 15 Jul 2012, 16:30   #27
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
a world in which a large portion of the population lives at or below subsistence levels, while a minority lives in abundance is simply not stable.
Another interesting question here is if there is a possible (classic) equilibrium solution that would be stable, or is the state of things more of a cobb-webb equilibrium, where the shifts aren't in the disparity but more in who is rich and who is poor.
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Unread 16 Jul 2012, 11:15   #28
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Some interesting reading keiz and mz.
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Unread 16 Jul 2012, 11:37   #29
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

yea sorry for hijacking it though
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Unread 16 Jul 2012, 20:37   #30
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Another interesting question here is if there is a possible (classic) equilibrium solution that would be stable, or is the state of things more of a cobb-webb equilibrium, where the shifts aren't in the disparity but more in who is rich and who is poor.
I am working on my replies, but I could not find any reference to the Cobb-Webb equilibrium.
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Unread 16 Jul 2012, 21:03   #31
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
I am working on my replies, but I could not find any reference to the Cobb-Webb equilibrium.
Yeah sorry, that's probably my bad. It's actually cobweb. They're not always convergent towards a "stable" equilibrium, might even diverge from it. The idea I was trying to imply is that I'm not sure if there's a "stable" equilibrium the state of things could ever converge towards, or if the history's simply a movement between different points around a stable equilibrium where simply the winners and losers change (maybe geographically, or culturally) from time to time but the general lack of "fair allocation" of resources remains.
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Unread 17 Jul 2012, 07:25   #32
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Right, round two.
Huh. Most of what you wrote seems fairly reasonable; it appears I've run out of things to say. One last question though:

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
You can afford a lot of things by raising earnings income tax rate. For me, a 1000+ adds level would mean an earnings income tax increase of 15-20% (on their progressions, depending on the adds levels).
What is 'adds'?
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Unread 17 Jul 2012, 07:34   #33
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I suggest you read this and this. Since you're probably well more into the theory than I am, you can probably explain it to me.

And yes, this is - that you can be a very terrible human being while being a celebrated feminist - one of the reasons why I don't support the movement.
I'm not sure what you want me to explain. I can comment on some of the points in both articles though.

Julie Bindel
First, I am bothered by how Bindel consistently splits the world into the groups "all men" and "all women". From "men hate feminism" to "I would be happy if men were appalled by male violence", and from "men will not change" to "what men do to us in private". The implication is that that the fact that I have a penis means I'm evil, rather than my motivations and actions as a human being.

Second, the number of straw men that are put up is really quite impressive: "it is not fair to exclude men, from anything", "we know you're oppressed, but you have been for ages and you're used to it, but what about us?", "[sarcastic] All violent men need is a big cuddle and an invitation to a feminist meeting.", "Every other liberation movement involves men. So why not feminism?".

Ignoring those two points, I don't think she is not entirely wrong; what makes you free is not the law that's signed by your president; what makes you free is the the very act of freeing yourself. It is therefore not unreasonable for women to politely refuse the help of men in their struggle.

On the other hand, that last straw man I quoted holds the seed to a real argument against barring men from participating in the feminist movement. The straw man itself is fairly weak, but if you translate all of the terms used, rather than excluding some, it actually becomes a proper argument: the campaign against racism in the 60s involved white people. The campaigns against class privilege involved rich people. The movement against disability discrimination involves healthy people. The movements against homophobia and transphobia contains straight and cis people. What basis does there exist for the feminist movement to ignore this rich history of involving both the repressed and the 'oppressors' (obviously, the actual people involved were not oppressors, they merely belonged to a group that was considered oppressive; I can't think of a better shorthand)?

All things considered though, I don't think explicitly banning men from participating achieves much. If someone agrees with your point and wants to help make it reality, then by all means, penis or no penis, put them to work!

Luckynickl
Lucky's post is truly vile. I have no other word for it. I was angry when I read it yesterday, and on second reading, I'm still angry. The consistent use of quotation marks around the words 'trans' and 'transgendered' tick me off, as does the consistent use of the label 'male', as if having (had? I'm not sure) a penis invalidates all of one's opinions. And of course 'transphobic' is surrounded by quotation marks; because apparently refusing to admit the possibility that some people who were born male might simply be happier going through life as a woman is transfriendly.

I read some of the comments too. The author of the article posted a comment calling Lees a "pig in a skirt", and a commenter spoke of how Bindel mentioned she was tired of the "'war' between transactivists and radfems". Apparently there's some history here that I was not previously aware of. These are not generally places I frequent, and I'm happy to report I will continue to avoid them.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Yes, however someone's made the value decision to call "being housewife" the slave, and calling "being a mine shaft worker" the slaver.
(...)
If you really want to compare old-system housewives to slaves, then you'll also want to remember that a husband could be held legally responsible for his wife's crimes, ergo, if your slave murdered someone, you could get hung. It's not a "pick your cherries" festival; but again, a very entwined system of two genders where both have strong roles which both involve responsibilities and (dis)&advantages
I didn't mean to compare the roles of men and women with that of slave owners and slaves, but reading back on it, I guess that's exactly what I did.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Yes, however someone's made the value decision to call "being housewife" the slave, and calling "being a mine shaft worker" the slaver. This is purely a value decision that appreciates the opportunity to participate in work force above the opportunity to stay home. This is very visible because of the history of where feminism came from and how feminists are right now. When the movement came out, it was a movement of those women who already had things excellent. They were upper middle class. Intersectionality is a very new a term for feminists and they still struggle with the issue that the woman really doesn't want to go to the mine shaft even if it'd be "empowering" above a housewife's duty.
(...)
What feminism struggles with is the fact that sexuality can also be a source of power: especially for a very beautiful woman like Beyonce. They're not willing to admit, that through sheer force of a beautiful body, she holds power. This is of course, passive power in compared to say violence, which is active power (bulky caveman). But it is still there, and what "empowerment" is to Beyonce is probably best described as using that power in practise.

Just that, it'd be a bad beat for a lobbyist group to admit that women aren't a homogenous group (and men aren't either) and that what is "priviledge" is mostly defined very heterogenously. It doesn't fit the scheme.
I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, but there is a definite difference in quality between feminism's reach for empowerment and Beyoncé's. Beyoncé's sexuality empowers only her. That source of power is not accessible to women who are not as naturally well endowed, or as capable of affording the various means by which to look better, or with as much access to the media's tools of the trade. Feminism, on the other hand, seeks to empower women (and to a lesser degree, men) in general, by removing the gender obstacles/barriers. For all her power, Beyoncé's very explicitly leaves those barriers in place.

That said, even that line of reasoning (which I think is a good one) does not jive well with the notion that some people may genuinely feel better with the current set of gender rules (no matter how limiting) than with any new set feminism may come up with (no matter how freeing). Nevertheless, I feel it is better to strive for freedom than the alternative, even if some of us don't currently feel trapped or don't even mind being constrained. Once free, people can still choose to conform to the gender rules as they previously existed; what would be impossible is for our society to coerce people into conforming to them.

And yes, I do realise how utopian that all sounded; that's because it is. I also realise I've only spoken about my (fairly moderate) interpretation of feminism, not that of so-called 'radical feminists'. I'll get to that.

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
I call no true scotsman.
That fallacy went through my mind several times while I was writing my previous post, but it doesn't apply. This definition of feminism that I've been using simply does not cover 'radical feminism', what I call misandry. You won't hear me say everyone who calls themselves a feminist fits that mold, but by the common definition of what feminism is (and you can't get much more common than the first paragraph of a Wikipedia article), they do not. I'll also refer to the 'no true scotsman' article, especially the 'Discussion' section, which explains the subtle difference better than I ever could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Here's the question: we know what we're being liberated from. Do we know if what we're being liberated into is better than what we're being liberated from, and from whose perspective is it better?
If we stick to (Wikipedia's) common definition of feminism, then yes, by this and my previous post, we do know what we're moving towards. Whether that is 'better' or not is for everyone to figure out for themselves. I think I've done alright so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Define privilege. Remember that there are also value decisions related to privilege.
I won't. Two reasons: it'd take me too long (because it isn't a handful of big things, it's tens or hundreds of small things) and I don't feel qualified to list what are largely other people's grievances, not my own. If that's a cop-out, I apologize.

However, I will say this much, regarding military service: I do not consider any such obligation a privilege. Maybe that was your point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Which one do you reckon would have more privilege, in Netherlands - a girl born into the royal family or a boy born into an immigrant Indonesian family? Surely the boy, since he's a patriarch-to-be. It's not so easy as to say "all men have privilege x". Male privilege is also attached to social status. So is female privilege. Both downsides are also attached to social status: say, poverty tends to have an inheritage (children of poor tend to remain poor and so on).
I've never said that gender or sex is the only dividing factor in our society. Feminism doesn't either, it just has a certain focus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
But the point is: If I could label myself a feminist, and know that doing so I would only support the egalitarian feminists I would gladly do so and embrace their tools and knowledge. Hell, I would even donate money for that cause, honestly. But I can't. The true scotsman will always be a massive problem for the movement, and if I'd support the movement, I'd also support things like plans to murder male fetuses.
You can easily support the kind of feminism you agree with, without supporting the kind you don't. The feminist movement does not have a single pot of money, so you can control what kind of feminists you support. You'd probably sometimes have to explain to people that no, you don't support these people, but you do support these other people, but other than that, I don't see the problem.
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Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 17 Jul 2012 at 07:42.
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Unread 17 Jul 2012, 08:42   #34
Tietäjä
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
It is therefore not unreasonable for women to politely refuse the help of men in their struggle.
Is this a concession that feminism is actually a struggle to "improve the state of women in those things where women systematically have it worse than men" (this statement excludes "improve the state of men in those things where men systematically have it worse than women"). This would make it a one-side equality movement that would be interest in solving only one side of the coin (which, I think, is a vanity because the coin will always consist of two sides that inevitably interact).

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What basis does there exist for the feminist movement to ignore this rich history of involving both the repressed and the 'oppressors'
If you mean trans here, it's because radfems want to perceive women as an exclusive "club". Which to me is in fact counterproductive to the point of dissolving gender roles: if we want to make it so that gender doesn't matter (at all, so much) in your social interaction why would we enforce gender-based barriers? Only to build a "cult group".


Quote:
All things considered though, I don't think explicitly banning men from participating achieves much. If someone agrees with your point and wants to help make it reality, then by all means, penis or no penis, put them to work!
Isn't this the point of feminism. Penis or no penis, it doesn't matter?


Quote:
"'war' between transactivists and radfems". Apparently there's some history here that I was not previously aware of. These are not generally places I frequent, and I'm happy to report I will continue to avoid them.
Radfems are a bunch of their own - but historically speaking, many of their lead figures are a lot of "bread and butter" of even college feminist literature. I'm not sure you can simply nod and say "that's not my feminism". The point of these two articles was just to elaborate that even the radfems between each other have trouble agreeing on the "definition".


Quote:
That source of power is not accessible to women who are not as naturally well endowed, or as capable of affording the various means by which to look better, or with as much access to the media's tools of the trade.
Most privilege in the world is such that it's not accessible to most people and is naturally endowed. Birth is the most defining factor here: if you're born wealthy, you're given a massive doze of it. The point was to elaborate how difficult it is to put homogenous tags on groups of people and say "these are under-privileged in comparison to those" because a person born wealthy (or noble) is going to be more privileged than one born into poverty.


Quote:
Once free, people can still choose to conform to the gender rules as they previously existed; what would be impossible is for our society to coerce people into conforming to them.
Yes. I agree this would be ideal.


Quote:
That fallacy went through my mind several times while I was writing my previous post, but it doesn't apply. This definition of feminism that I've been using simply does not cover 'radical feminism', what I call misandry. You won't hear me say everyone who calls themselves a feminist fits that mold, but by the common definition of what feminism is (and you can't get much more common than the first paragraph of a Wikipedia article), they do not. I'll also refer to the 'no true scotsman' article, especially the 'Discussion' section, which explains the subtle difference better than I ever could.
See but that is the point. It's such a matter of personal opinion, what "feminism" is. One person could perceive me as a feminist (on the crude term that I think women - and men - have the full right to decide what happens to their bodies) but another might consider me not one.

It could very well be the case that Alice only uses the term "Scotsman" to refer to people who like haggis, while Bob uses it to refer to people born of Scottish parents. If that is so, Alice is in fact properly conforming to her definition, but not to Bob's, but unfortunately each of them incorrectly assumes that the other is using their own definition.

Case: you and radfems? I'm sure you're both using a very different definition to feminism. I don't think they'd agree to being labeled 'misandrists'. They'd probably just call you a 'misogynist' for it. (I dislike the tags "misandry" and "misogyny". They're over-used and mostly just empty punchlines).


Quote:
If we stick to (Wikipedia's) common definition of feminism
But the problem still persists that feminists along each other cannot agree on the definition. How could anyone, then? This is why I took the "primary" and "everything else is secondary" -approach. If we tag "women's rights" as the primary cause, then yes, you and radfems are both feminists. You just have slightly different "secondary" ideals but they're not as "interesting" to the definition.


Quote:
However, I will say this much, regarding military service: I do not consider any such obligation a privilege. Maybe that was your point?
My point was that many feminists consider it as a privilege. However, what fights against this thought is that if it was one, then surely women would absolutely flock into service since they have all the right to participate on volutary basis. They don't. This is mostly the bluntest possible instrument available to show that the coin DOES have two (or three, trans, or infinite, individuals) sides: systemic discrimination that comes from the gender roles doesn't only hurt women.

One would expect the military service to be the priority target for feminists to dismantle because if you want a dictionary definition of patriarchy there is a picture of military service next to it. It enforces gender roles, it enforces and encourages discrimination by gender. But all of this is indirect consequence from a woman's perspective: they don't have to attend. However, doing this to essentially all of the male population has an indirect consequence to women. Because removing this would involve "also considering men's position", it is a feminist taboo. They won't touch it - they're not interested (which is ironic).

In fact, a female feminist presidential candidate, when asked on a panel during the previous election round, said that military service actually discriminates women: because men are automatically given medicals during their allocation, and women have to take care of this themselves in order to voluntarily participate. She would have, as a feminist, found it not discriminating if medicals were also automatic to voluntary women. No mention of obligatory towards men.


Quote:
You can easily support the kind of feminism you agree with, without supporting the kind you don't. The feminist movement does not have a single pot of money, so you can control what kind of feminists you support. You'd probably sometimes have to explain to people that no, you don't support these people, but you do support these other people, but other than that, I don't see the problem.
It's difficult here, though. Since say the major national organization for example uses it's funding for women-only conferences (which I don't agree on). A while ago, the ministry of health and social services was planning on giving a funding to an academic project that had the goal of researching female violence. The women's sections of essentially all political parties and a good bunch of non-political feminist groups signed a petition to refute this (the research ultimately did not receive funding). The argument was that it's already been proven that women aren't really violent, and if they are, it's only self-defense, and that the money should be instead invested into protecting women.

In brief, there isn't a feminist group available here that'd define feminism as you define it (on the 'proper' section) so there's really nothing to support or take part in (attend places and stuff). Plus, really - for all the reasons mentioned before (like radfems and such) I don't really want to be labeled a feminist. It could imply what you call misandry. There's no 'commonly accepted' definition to it you could attach. Calling oneself a feminist will trigger this same conversation around and around, really. And for a good reason too.


Quote:
This definition of feminism that I've been using simply does not cover 'radical feminism', what I call misandry
A number of feminists will argue that misandry can't exist, or it exists only when it mirrors misogyny (ergo; homosexual feminine men face discrimination due to their feminine traits that are subject to misogyny).



But yeah. I get your point - if one narrows down the definition of a feminist to what you earlier called 'proper', then it'd be very difficult (even from a moral philosophical viewpoint) not to sign it and tag oneself a feminist. But the problem persists that feminism involves and is so much more than that. And there are parts to it that would be contradictional to this. I'd probably just rather call myself a humanist - or a supporter of negative liberty (from both social rules and legistlative rules in that sense).

I completely agree with you on the fact that certain groups that call themselves feminists really aren't, but, I'm eagerly waiting for a media-power wielding feminist to toss this skeleton out of the closet. It'd sound like a risk of loosing a lot of support from the fringes, but possible gaining a more "positive" image along those people that keep distance to the subject due to these fringes.
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Unread 17 Jul 2012, 17:30   #35
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Re: RBS / Natwest / Ulster bank system Failure.

Oh yes, and it occurs to me now, since you're in a position of expertise (you're Dutch if I remember correct, and obviously deeper into this stuff than I am). Prostitution.

As it stands, buying and selling sex is legal, but advertising in public spaces or pimping is illegal.

Right on the very spot of time, there is a feminist movement stretching to the parliament level - with ministers taking the initiative - working on a ban on buying sex (making buying sex illegal - not selling it, however, this is how it is apparently in Sweden). There seems to be a bunch of views to this:


1. Feminist #1: The trading money for body is wrong -view: Buying it should be made illegal, because it involves human trafficking (which is however already illegal through pimping being illegal) and it's discriminatory towards women's bodies. It's also perceived that this would be easier to enforce than a ban on pimping. However, selling sex should not be made illegal because it makes the position of those selling sex even more difficult than it is now. The law should be changed.

2. Feminist #2: The everyone should have a free choice -view: Buying it should not be made illegal. Pimping is already illegal, so nobody should be a victim to another person's coercion or violence. Women should have the choice to work as prostitutes if they so desire: instead of potentially making life harder for them, we should build security networks so that their work is safer and they'd be inside the regular labor market. The law should not be changed.

3. Non-feminist #1: The legal paradox view: if the purpose isn't to simply stigmatize customers, would it not be more effective to simply outlaw both selling and buying sex. Then all of it would be illegal, thus there would be less legal difficulties. If the law were to be changed, then both buying and selling should become illegal.

4. Non-feminist #2: The thin red line view: where does the line go, what constitutes as a transaction for sex. Does a rich man marrying a poor woman constitute as buying sex? How about a rich man importing a foreign wife? How about treating a dinner in a fancy restaurant, buying a nice piece of jewelry, and getting a one-night stand in return? The law should not be changed.



How does it go in Netherlands? I'm personally mostly a fan of the feminist view #2 (which incidentally, happens to also be the view of most "legal" sex workers - of course, it's difficult to accurately tell how much say illegal immigrants there are in the country currently being forced to sell their bodies). The non-feminist views are mostly critique to the "problems" related to the feminist view #1 (which is the one being poked towards the law by feminists).
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