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Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe][masked] questions and discussion

From: Mike M.
Sent on: Sunday, May 20, 2012 4:27 PM
I am sorry that I missed last Wednesday's meeting, and not just because I wanted to hear about having sex with a duck. Can we recycle that question for a future meeting ?
Seriously, America was previously driven by the Protestant Work Ethic. With that in terminal decline we are driven by demographics & technology, as well as the pursuit of ''Alternative Lifestyles.'' What Americans want is to live like the people on television and in the movies ! The point I wish to make is that a shorter and more comfortable life would arguably be preferable to a longer, boring and sickly one. We should remove the stigma that suicide presents and search for ways to cushion the middle years for the average American. Forget about pensions & Social Security, as well as Obama Care.
It is also apparent that in time, Canada, the US, Central America and South America will merge. This will provide new frontiers for people to seek out. This new nation will be able to stand against China.
Hemingway once wrote that ''Bars are full of sad & lonely people, waiting for something to happen''. This makes me think of what we now resemble.    

From: Jon Anderson <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, May 20,[masked]:53 AM
Subject: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe][masked] questions and discussion

5/16/12 questions and discussion

1-if success trumps happiness, what is happiness for?3
2-is one born homosexual?4
3-should love be experienced as a deep well or a wading pool?6
4-did we treat our Vietnam vets poorly?3
5-is it moral to have sex with a duck? 5


how do we stop this recession dead in its tracks?

Tor: lately our world's best economists got together and talked for 3 days about ways to solve current economic troubles. Their recommendation: read old economics books -- everything economic has happened before, so use history to decide how to proceed with present difficulties. Cutting either government or private sector money creates a downward spiral into economic depression. Irving Fischer in 1936 said in economic deflation the more you save the more you will be in debt.  If we spend now what we did in 08 our economy would be healthier. The simplest way to boost economies has always been to increase demand. It may be Keynesian, it is definitely not austerity-based. I'm against stupidity. Keynes -- probably tongue in cheek -- said we could drop money from helicopters or hide it in coal mines, challenging people to find it themselves. Just get money moving/out there. Economic health can be restored by 1) printing money, 2) adding to productivity (human beings foremost), 3) we currently have projects that we know will bring goods to market and put people to work. W.W.II gave the US economy 22% growth (average is 3%). This paid for the GI bill which created the middle class. This paid for the Marshall plan, which saved Europe.It paid for the interstate highway system. All this generated economic growth.

Jon: what's your guess as to why we're not doing these things now?

Tor: the partisan rhetoric about "job killing taxes" is getting traction and is insane. What is "job killing" is not using tax revenues to spur the economy. It wasn't a partisan issue in Minnesota until 2000. the problem is lack of demand.

Art: why are we doing that?

Tor: we are acting in their own self interest to our own harm: folks say "lower my taxes" and increase the risk for everyone else. It's selfishness run riot, plus the ability to buy political outcomes.

Art: we've known this problem since 1880. We don't need a war to boost our economy we just need an "all-in" mind set. Remember Kennedy's man on the moon goal? We need that kind of big goal thinking again. It gets money moving, gets it out of the hands of the few, generates invention, creates jobs. This reaffirms Tor's opinion. Letting corporations act like people is a big mistake: corporations are not people, they are both immortal and amoral. Profit is their only interest, this is not human.

Tor: people understand this. Research and development and innovation are very important. One of the best sources for good R & D is the proper use of tax revenues. The top tax rate during Eisenhower's administration was 90% Imagine how much innovation and economic energy we could generate with even half that revenue!

Art: the problem is we've been taken over by non-humans.

Danny: conservative happens when one has something to conserve. In a capitalist society, everybody needs something to trade. Trickle down philosophy takes away from the capitalist spirit. Giving money to corporations won't go to saving an economy but will instead go to increasing profit. Rich people save and poor people spend. Giving more money to the rich leads to saving, giving money to the poor leads to spending.

Tor: in 1946 income distribution in the US was relatively even. by 1968 we were comparable to Scandinavia in terms of living standards, thereafter it changed dramatically. Now we're comparable to Uganda.

Larry: the conservative idea of fairness is everything is proportional: what you put in you get out. The Liberal idea is about equality.

Tor: if we don't understand how self-interest works we will be at the mercy of self-interest run riot.

Larry: it's financial security. Everybody wants that. The political right doesn't want to give up anything: the poor deserve their poverty. The Germans are pushing for austerity, will it work?

Tor: no.

John: this is a fascinating subject. Politics get ugly. One danger here is getting too complicated. So far we've talked about war as a stimulus to economy. Isn't that a "broken window fallacy?"

Art: the idea there is not a need to go to war but instead to develop a national mindset commitment to doing (and paying for) the research to find new things, create new goals, big goals.

Tor: the issue is political economy because the two are currently indivisible.

John: I understand that for some fields of research only government can afford to bankroll very risky technologies that have minimal guarantees of being profitable.

Bet: doesn't that get the money moving?

John: the question is what gets the money moving? If I shop for something how do I choose? Self-interest means we want stuff for less. Self-interest can result in mass cultural movements, like war support. But we're not there now.

Tor: all people's basic self interests are guaranteed education, then guaranteed health care.

Beth: the main thing, what ever the motivation, needs to be getting money moving. People are scared and the ones with most of the money now are afraid to risk spending it.

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Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] | [address removed]

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