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Old 11-29-2011, 09:08 PM #22
Pail Ail (Banned)
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Oakeshott is phenomenal and you really can't properly discuss political actors without reading his rationalism in politics. The man hated ideological bias, and for good reason.

Thanks for the tips, I'll look into them.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:31 AM #23
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Right, but I'm a little confused on how the world isn't zero-sum. How is it that when the self interest of capitalists comes into affect, things like the environment are not harmed? Or the situation in which a worker is forced to be subjected to the self interests?
Capitalism isn't perfect, and that's why no country employs it exclusively. If a country based everything on capitalism, it wouldn't be long until one person owned everything and all others were pretty pretty much slaves to that person. If that person didn't care about environment then no money would be put towards dealing with it etc...

This is why many countries employ Capitalism with a communal twist on certain issues. If things get too lopsided (a disaster happens, insurance company gets a monopoly, etc...) usually government will create laws that either spread the wealth or spread the bill.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:31 PM #24
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Can you provide any empirical examples of that happening, like, ever?

I'm talking well-defined property rights, rule of law, cultural values, western capitalism to the fullest extent.

I really don't think Hong Kong citizens consider themselves slaves.
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:08 PM #25
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One of the ideas behind capitalism is that the capitalists, those making the huge profits, are supposed to re-invest that money in human and technological capital to stimulate economic growth; which isn't happening to the extent it should be.

Normative concepts such as ethics only become relevant when CEOs are getting $100mil Christmas bonuses funded by tax payer money. But that's more of a result of Obamafail.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:58 PM #26
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Originally Posted by MaTtBoy-II View Post
One of the ideas behind capitalism is that the capitalists, those making the huge profits, are supposed to re-invest that money in human and technological capital to stimulate economic growth; which isn't happening to the extent it should be.
That is a moral analysis, not an economic one. Economics is value-free. Capitalism also has a foundational aspect that most people forget: removing legislative and/or collusive barriers to entry. The occupational licensing cartel is a perfect example and it only breeds unemployment, artificially higher wages, special interests lobbying power, and keeping the less efficient workers employed at higher wages while punishing new entrants to the market.

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Normative concepts such as ethics only become relevant when CEOs are getting $100mil Christmas bonuses funded by tax payer money. But that's more of a result of Obamafail.
No, they are never relevant in a value-free economic analysis. Maybe in economic history, but that's a different story. The bailouts are a great example of why the free market is likely more altruistic than a hampered market with american-bureaucracy.
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:28 AM #27
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That is a moral analysis, not an economic one.
How so? The key to economic growth in a capitalist structure is technological change. There could be much more technological change and innovation if billions of dollars were spent on research and development, instead of fleets of private jets, yachts and vacations homes. Both the processes of, and the results of research & development, and innovation can produce many new jobs.

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Economics is value-free.
I don't know what this means. Elaborate please.

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Capitalism also has a foundational aspect that most people forget: removing legislative and/or collusive barriers to entry. The occupational licensing cartel is a perfect example and it only breeds unemployment, artificially higher wages, special interests lobbying power, and keeping the less efficient workers employed at higher wages while punishing new entrants to the market.
I don't know what this has to do with what I said. But I agree. Decentralized structures can promote more competitive markets, which can be better for both consumers and producers. Anything the government seems to meddle in turns to ****.

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No, they are never relevant in a value-free economic analysis. Maybe in economic history, but that's a different story. The bailouts are a great example of why the free market is likely more altruistic than a hampered market with american-bureaucracy.
I just meant in the sense that the bailouts were somewhat reckless and there was much oversight. Disgusting results ensued. I'm still not sure what you mean by value-free economics; it's not a term I've ever heard before. But I agree, it is more relevant in economic history; we need to ensure atrocities like these never happen again.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:51 PM #28
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_economics ?
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:47 PM #29
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Originally Posted by MaTtBoy-II View Post
Anything the government seems to meddle in turns to ****.
I want to jump back on this notion (and this isn't aimed specifically at you because this notion is often used). I so often see government involvement written off by this statement, but I never really got it. Do you all feel that government inherently turns things to **** or simply that OUR government turns things to ****? If our government was drastically changed and competent selfless individuals were brought into office, would the notion still hold? Or is it still doomed to fail because of the nature of government itself?

Also, does this notion that government turns everything to **** rest upon the nature of our government or any government? If we were able to bring competent selfless people into office and government still failed, could the problem be fixed by altering the way government does things? Or would any change to government still naturally cause a lack of efficiency?
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:17 PM #30
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I've always seen that position as a form of confirmation bias.

People tend to notice failures and ignore/become accustomed to successes.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:43 PM #31
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Originally Posted by MaTtBoy-II View Post
How so? The key to economic growth in a capitalist structure is technological change. There could be much more technological change and innovation if billions of dollars were spent on research and development, instead of fleets of private jets, yachts and vacations homes. Both the processes of, and the results of research & development, and innovation can produce many new jobs.
The key to economic growth is entrepreneurial discovery. Technological change really doesn't explain it. Deirdre McCloskey's recent work on the industrial revolution provides very convincing evidence that the key to the start of the revolution was a changing social ethic regarding the social utility of the merchant class. That's social ethics, not technology, and it was the key to the greatest increase in standard of living that the world ever experienced (not an absolute statement).



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I don't know what this means. Elaborate please.
The job of "economics" is not to recommend policy X or Y, but to answer the question of whether policy X will accomplish its goals. It isn't about normative value-judgments, as two of the pillars of economics are subjective value theory and the theory of marginal utility.



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I don't know what this has to do with what I said. But I agree. Decentralized structures can promote more competitive markets, which can be better for both consumers and producers. Anything the government seems to meddle in turns to ****.
It was meant to be a partial explanation for why we don't see more investment. Consumption and government spending are back at pre-recession levels, but investment isn't, and the problem persists.

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I just meant in the sense that the bailouts were somewhat reckless and there was much oversight. Disgusting results ensued. I'm still not sure what you mean by value-free economics; it's not a term I've ever heard before. But I agree, it is more relevant in economic history; we need to ensure atrocities like these never happen again.
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by Umami View Post
I've always seen that position as a form of confirmation bias.

People tend to notice failures and ignore/become accustomed to successes.

Not accusing you of this, but within the economics profession the proportion of economists discussing market failure versus government failure is probably 99:1, and only in recent years have keynesians begun to give respect to nobel prize winning public choice theories. I certainly don't like the view that the market is perfect at optimizing resources, but I certainly do believe the cost of government action to fix the problem (government failure is extremely common) is much, much higher than the cost of market failure.


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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
I want to jump back on this notion (and this isn't aimed specifically at you because this notion is often used). I so often see government involvement written off by this statement, but I never really got it. Do you all feel that government inherently turns things to **** or simply that OUR government turns things to ****? If our government was drastically changed and competent selfless individuals were brought into office, would the notion still hold? Or is it still doomed to fail because of the nature of government itself?

Also, does this notion that government turns everything to **** rest upon the nature of our government or any government? If we were able to bring competent selfless people into office and government still failed, could the problem be fixed by altering the way government does things? Or would any change to government still naturally cause a lack of efficiency?
Our government changes things to ****, and the modern western democratic institutional structure has gone to ****. It's both.

Hayek had a theory about why the communist states were so evil, mainly, bad men get to the top and boy are they good at it.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:27 PM #32
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Originally Posted by Pail Ail View Post
The key to economic growth is entrepreneurial discovery. Technological change really doesn't explain it. Deirdre McCloskey's recent work on the industrial revolution provides very convincing evidence that the key to the start of the revolution was a changing social ethic regarding the social utility of the merchant class. That's social ethics, not technology, and it was the key to the greatest increase in standard of living that the world ever experienced (not an absolute statement).
I disagree. Technological change lowers costs of production, increases output, lowers the prices consumers pay, facilitates expansion of industry, provides new jobs in R&D departments (people with PHD and graduate degrees actually get employment), and facilitates entrepreneurialism. How many entrepreneurs in any given TED talk are promoting some kind of technological innovation? It's much harder to be an entrepreneur (especially when you consider barriers to entry) in an industry without some kind of competitive advantage. Technological innovation allows entrepreneurs to enter new markets and industries; it provides that advantage.

There's no doubt that entrepreneurial discovery could have been a key factor in economic growth during the industrial revolution. But that's because it's just that, a revolution. It was a time where new technologies were revolutionizing every industry. During this time, entrepreneurialism and technological innovation went hand in hand.

In today's world, many industries are already well established. Yes, entrepreneurial discovery can stimulate growth in industries; but further growth can also be facilitated by industry leaders who invest their capital in R&D.

And as for 'value-free economics' I understand now. I didn't realize it meant positive economics. I'd just never heard it referred to as that in any of the courses I've taken.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:46 PM #33
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I disagree. Technological change lowers costs of production, increases output, lowers the prices consumers pay, facilitates expansion of industry, provides new jobs in R&D departments (people with PHD and graduate degrees actually get employment), and facilitates entrepreneurialism.
No, it's the opposite. Without entrepreneurial discovery or investments (i.e. they try to predict the changing needs and wants of consumers) no one would know how to invest, where to invest, which technology works best, etc.

Without entrepreneurial initiative (which isn't what you're portraying it as, i.e. business owners) the market cannot optimize resources. The market is a process, and the driving force behind that process is entrepreneurial initiative.

But besides those quibbles, what you said of technology is all true, and technological innovations are one of the gifts of the market process and proper government policy.

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How many entrepreneurs in any given TED talk are promoting some kind of technological innovation? It's much harder to be an entrepreneur (especially when you consider barriers to entry) in an industry without some kind of competitive advantage. Technological innovation allows entrepreneurs to enter new markets and industries; it provides that advantage.
You're using a very basic, non economics theory definition of entrepreneur.

I'm on the phone so I must apologize for the poor explanation that follows, but here is reading:

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...epreneu_1.html
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/A...Economics.html
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/E...eneurship.html
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...lism_as_a.html
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...on_mandel.html
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...ble_wit_2.html
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/...am_an_aus.html

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There's no doubt that entrepreneurial discovery could have been a key factor in economic growth during the industrial revolution. But that's because it's just that, a revolution. It was a time where new technologies were revolutionizing every industry. During this time, entrepreneurialism and technological innovation went hand in hand.
You missed my point. The key factor was changing social ethics. Before the IR, people viewed merchants as members of the lower class, that changed, and subsequently the west experienced the IR.

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And as for 'value-free economics' I understand now. I didn't realize it meant positive economics. I'd just never heard it referred to as that in any of the courses I've taken.
I'm old school 8)
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:51 PM #34
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I see, well said.

On another note, here's a cool video:

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Old 12-05-2011, 11:54 PM #35
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Funny.

@5:45, Scott Walker/Koch brothers are trying to blame Unions.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:12 AM #36
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Unions exacerbate problems, and they create them, but they don't cause a financial crisis.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:08 PM #37
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Originally Posted by Pail Ail View Post





The job of "economics" is not to recommend policy X or Y, but to answer the question of whether policy X will accomplish its goals. It isn't about normative value-judgments, as two of the pillars of economics are subjective value theory and the theory of marginal utility.





I guess one could argue that capitalism is "value-free" but that's not to stop another from arguing that through that kind of "economic efficiency" mindset, the values of others under the system could possibly be exploited. Paula Cerni ("The Age of Consumer Capitalism") talks about how under capitalism, morality, pleasure, and pain lose its values for the sole idea of achieving goals, knowledge, and information. Also, capitalism could also support biopolitics because when the maximum potential for production is desired, capitalists tend to resort the biopower to ensure the working class's potential

sorry if this is far from the truth, that's just my opinion
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:04 AM #38
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It's a fine opinion. I recommend that if you want a good dose of reading on consumerism, check out Robin Hanson.

http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/0...-ridicule.html

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The Versailles courtiers described in Ridicule were clearly intended to be despised by movie viewers. Yet they avoided consumerism and returned to forager ways in important ways. That is, they gained status not by buying things but attracting loyal allies and by displaying very personal rich story-full signals, little mediated by wealth or institutions: spontaneous verbal wit. Courtiers also revived forager-levels of promiscuity which, by his go-back-to-what-worked logic, Miller should also approve. But I’ll bet he doesn’t.

So why don’t anti-consumerist let’s-signal-via-storyfull-human-interaction folks celebrate Versailles’ witty courtiers? I’ll bet it is simply that they were rich while others were poor. But we are rich in a world where others are poor. So how could anti-consumerist habits ever vindicate us?
http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/0...and-glory.html

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This article said nothing on banning Everest climbs; few articles on Everest climbs do. Yet:

The overall mortality rate for Everest mountaineers during the entire 86-year period was 1.3 percent; the rate among climbers was 1.6 percent and the rate among sherpas was 1.1 percent. During the past 25 years, a period during which a greater percentage of moutaineers climbed above 8,000 meters, the death rate for non-Himalayan climbers descending via the longer Tibetan northeast ridge was 3.4 percent, while on the shorter Nepal route it was 2.5 percent.

Contrast this to strong widespread feelings that bike helmets should be required, even though cyclists suffer only about 7 injuries per million miles of biking, and despite serious doubts if helmets help. Even the proverbial banned lawn darts caused ~30 deaths a year with 10-15 million of them in use, far far less than a 2% user death rate.

Why do ban activities with very low risks yet celebrate very high risk mountain climbing? Status seems the obvious explanation. It takes a lot of money to even attempt to climb Everest. We celebrate high status risk-takers, and ban low status ones.

Need more data? Consider the widespread bans on “noodling”, i.e., catching fish with your bare hands:

Brady Knowlton believes it’s his inalienable right as a Texan to shove his bare hand into the mouth of a 60-pound catfish and yank it out of a river. But wrestling a flapping, whiskered giant as it latches onto your arm with its jaws isn’t among Texas’s accepted methods of capturing fish. It is, rather, a class C misdemeanor, with fines of up to $500. … Rod-and-reel anglers … say noodling is unfair to the fish, since they’re grabbed in their burrows without a chance to swim away. … Missouri … prohibits fish-grabbing on grounds that it would deplete the fish population. (more)

When you picture a fish-noodler do you picture someone high status? Didn’t think so.
http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/0...lionaires.html

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Quote:
Steve Jobs stepped down from his post as CEO of Apple yesterday. The internet instantly erupted in adulation. … Mr Jobs’s wealth … was built in no small part upon an intellectual-property regime that I and many others believe to retard progress. … Bill Gates used to get plenty of heat from the class warriors, but some time after … [he] devoted a huge portion of his fortune to his charitable foundation, he ascended to a sort of philanthropic secular sainthood. … But Mr Jobs has eschewed charity. …

[Yes,] charity very often does rather less to improve quality of life than selling people ever better products at ever lower prices. But this line of reasoning hasn’t convinced very many of us that, say, Charles and David Koch’s vast wealth is proof of their successful service to humankind. Mr Jobs’s relative immunity from the scorn of those otherwise keen to stick it to billionaires is due, I think, to the admiring pleasure wordsmiths takes in the elegance of the Apple devices they use for work, play, and status-signaling. …

Steve Jobs is a white wizard in wire rims who offers …. mesmerising portals to a better, beautiful, more enchanted world. … So who gives a fig if he doesn’t shower his billions upon worthy causes. … But what about the guys who get rich digging oil out of the ground so we can charge our iPhones? Stick it to ‘em, the greedy bastards. All of which is to say, our intuitions about economic desert and fair distribution are…complicated. (more)
Consider: what elites did foragers worry most about? Foragers worried most about elite capacity for violence, and an inclination to use it. They also worried lots about unequal access to food and shelter, and to tools useful for all these things. So foragers enforced strong norms against giving orders or doing violence, and norms favoring sharing of food, shelter, medicine, and tools. In these senses foragers were egalitarian.

However, foragers worried far less about unequal capacities for art, music, conversation, charm, social popularity, or sex appeal. After all, in a forager world unequal capacities of these sort just couldn’t go anywhere near as horribly wrong as unequal violence or food. Because of this humans seem evolved to tolerate, and even celebrate, unequal abilities in art, popularity, or sex appeal.

Fast forward to today, and consider which billionaires are liked versus disliked. I’d bet that artistic billionaires like Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Oprah Winfrey are among the most liked, even after one controls for how well know they are. Same for rich actors and talk show hosts. In contrast, billionaires who are merely associated with an ordinary business are probably the least popular.

Note that while it was pretty functional for foragers to tolerate artistic inequality more, an added tolerance today for artistic billionaires over mere business billionaires has few functional benefits. Your added envy and hostility to mere business billionaires is just an arbitrary dysfunctional vestige of times long since past. Yes it might feel better to bash them, but is that really a good enough reason to do so?


Not related to your exact topic, but the signaling theories discussed by Robin Hanson (and sometimes Bryan Caplan) are incredibly interesting to me, yet I'm not well-read enough on the other side's argument to feel comfortable presenting my own analytical belief on the issue.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:21 PM #39
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Capitalism is nothing more than a market allocation of scarce resources, versus socialism which is government allocation. Greed in my opinion is not a "integral" part of it's success. The success of capitalism in my opinion is largely credible to the equity of the approach. That being you have all the same opportunities I do in life to "get rich or die trying". Are you pinning a recession on coprorate greed? You might like to know that recessions are unavoidable, and even necessary for long run-economic growth (capital accumalation vs expiration) and just shifts in supply/demand.

Pail ail- This guy has I think said the most pertinent thing to the original question. That being that greed existed before capitalism.

Market structures are just efficient. And how one person uses enterprise to become economically wealthier than someone else is their own business, not greed.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:56 PM #40
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Capitalism is nothing more than a market allocation of scarce resources, versus socialism which is government allocation. Greed in my opinion is not a "integral" part of it's success. The success of capitalism in my opinion is largely credible to the equity of the approach. That being you have all the same opportunities I do in life to "get rich or die trying". Are you pinning a recession on coprorate greed? You might like to know that recessions are unavoidable, and even necessary for long run-economic growth (capital accumalation vs expiration) and just shifts in supply/demand.

Pail ail- This guy has I think said the most pertinent thing to the original question. That being that greed existed before capitalism.

Market structures are just efficient. And how one person uses enterprise to become economically wealthier than someone else is their own business, not greed.
I guess I'll concede that greed came before capitalism. But I wouldn't necessarily say the success of the system is based off of "equity of approach". From what I understand about the "equity of approach", it's inevitable that some individuals will succeed. But like I said before, that kind of "economic efficiency" mindset is what exploits the workers of capitalism and causes the loss of feeling, morality, pleasure, and pain. That's just my 2 cents
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:33 AM #41
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In nearly every aspect of human life, the Northern European nations surpass the United States. People live longer, have more upward mobility, are generally healthier and have a higher standard of living. Those countries are socialist, and largely athiest.
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:50 PM #42
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In nearly every aspect of human life, the Northern European nations surpass the United States. People live longer, have more upward mobility, are generally healthier and have a higher standard of living. Those countries are socialist, and largely athiest.
Hmm lets take a look:

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Across Europe, birth rates are falling and family sizes are shrinking. The total fertility rate is now less than two children per woman in every member nation in the European Union (see Figure 1). As a result, European populations are either growing very slowly or beginning to decrease.

At the same time, low fertility is accelerating the ageing of European populations. As a region, Europe in 2000 had the highest percentage of people age 65 or older — 15 percent. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, this percentage is expected to nearly double by 2050.[1]

These demographic trends portend difficult times ahead for European economies. For example, a shrinking workforce can reduce productivity. At the same time, the growing proportion of elderly individuals threatens the solvency of pension and social insurance systems. As household sizes decrease, the ability to care for the elderly diminishes. Meanwhile, elderly people face growing health care needs and costs. Taken together, these developments could pose significant barriers to achieving the European Union (EU) goals of full employment, economic growth, and social cohesion.
Not looking so hot.
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