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  1. RandomGuy

    Videochat November 2018

    The environmental records of socialist countries like the USSR laugh at the notion that capitalism is particularly bad for the environment, or that capitalism's successes are due to disregard for it.
  2. RandomGuy

    Videochat March 2018

    Ross, that political incident you're referring to is Preston Brooks' caning of Charles Sumner. It started when Sumner gave a speech attacking slavery and slaveholders. Brooks, whose family were slaveowners, took offense and ambushed him in the house a few days later and beat him nearly to death with a stick while his friend, Laurence M. Keitt, held a gun on the other representatives and threatened to shoot them if they tried to intervene. Later a Congressman named Anson Burlingame called Brooks a coward for the incident. Brooks then challenged him to a duel; Burlingame accepted Brooks' challenge, and then watched Brooks wuss out of it when Brooks learned Burlingame had a reputation as a marksman. Brooks resigned soon after and was found guilty of assault but was not incarcerated and only fined a little over $300 (about $9,000 today). He was reelected (the assault was very popular in his home state of South Carolina) but died of a respiratory disease in 1857 before he could serve his term.
  3. RandomGuy


    Yes, the ultimate quote mine is BACK! "What the hell?! What's going on? Desperate women love me!" "I got my degree under the tutelage of Dr. Pepper." "It's best to grab it out of someone's hand on the street. Because they'll chase you, but they won't file a police report over a stolen hotdog."
  4. RandomGuy

    Videochat March 2017

    Shame I couldn't make this one. Though, it seemed like a couple of comments were aimed in my direction.
  5. RandomGuy

    Questions for November Video Chat

    So wait, is the chat at 4 PM EST or 10 PM EST? This thread says the former, Ross says the latter on the front page.
  6. RandomGuy

    Questions for November Video Chat

    1. What was your opinion on that Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco nearly five years back? I recall that blowing up to the point that even publications and groups that usually showed no interest in video games covered it. This question is not so much about the content of the endings themselves (since I'm not sure if you've even played those games), but more like: was the fan backlash justified, was Bioware's response sufficient, and does this whole event say generally good or generally bad things about the future of gaming in general, in your opinion? 2. Are you a fan of Mike Judge's work, besides Office Space? 3. Do you vote from abroad? (note: not asking WHO you vote for)
  7. RandomGuy


    There's a lot of disagreeable things in this video, but I'll just stick to one particular point. Ross makes a point to mention that wages have been decreasing as a percentage of GDP, and uses this as evidence that the globalist corporations are draining wealth to the top. If I recall correctly, I debunked this exact same myth several months ago when he brought it up in another form (saying wages haven't kept pace with overall productivity increases) by pointing out, among other things, the deliberate exclusion of non-wage benefits in the chart he was using, which have risen massively in the past 40 years. Ross simply responded that he didn't study such things and that what I was saying sounded like gibberish; which is fine. However, I do have to get a bit annoyed when he proceeds to make another video mentioning this subject and repeats the same myth using the same fallacious logic (excluding non-wage compensation). In case the argument I made earlier was really that poorly put/difficult to understand/whatever, here's a video that I think quickly sums up the whole issue in plain and simple terms: fHm7P4TA97U tl;dr: actual compensation has risen more or less proportionally with productivity increases. Now, on using percentages of GDP to see what people 'should' be paid: this is also fallacious. Corporate profits and worker compensation should be measured as a percent of corporate income, not the economy as a whole, because the GDP is not increasing solely on the back of corporate profits. Federal government spending in general as a percentage of the GDP has increased quite a lot, for example. To relate to another one of Ross's points, defense spending as a percentage of GDP has been generally decreasing since the Cold War started, so you can't say that all that GDP is going to the "military-industrial complex" either. In the 21st century in general, defense spending is lower than it has been at any time since WW2 ended, except for the brief period between then and the start of the Cold War where the Americans genuinely thought that Uncle Joe would be their bust bud. Anyway, when we measure employee compensation (not wages) as a percentage corporate profits (not the whole country's GDP), we get this result: Employee compensation as a percentage of corporate income has consistently stayed at 10-13%. Currently it is much higher than it was in 1970, and just about the highest it has ever been- the exact opposite of what Ross claimed (I put a thin black line on the picture to make that more noticeable). And overall standard of living, of course, has increased massively, just as productivity has. So yeah, there's no dystopia here. To relate this back to Deus Ex, I don't think there's another level to Deus Ex either. It's a hackneyed, stock, sci-fi plot that cherrypicks a handful of statistics out of context to lend its story some credibility. Really no deeper than any cyberpunk dystopia story with an evil corporate or government villain. It's still a fun game, though. EDIT: As a bonus, Ross also tries to use the progressively lowering corporate tax rate as evidence that the rich are gaining more power at the expense of the common man. Someone better go tell that to the anarcho-capitalist hellholes of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Pages 173-175 the World Bank and International Finance Commission's report puts the effective corporate tax rate of the USA at 27.9%. By contrast: Denmark: 20.3% Sweden: 16.1% Norway: 24.8%
  8. RandomGuy


    There's been doomsayers about oil every year since we started using it. Them being wrong about a 2015-2016 crash is only the latest of dozens of examples of this happening.
  9. RandomGuy


    Malik mentions that she has augs to let her fly vehicles better, so there's that. This game was always so much more fun in a non-lethal playthrough. Short, forgettable gun battles become intense encounters as you have to strategize exactly how to stealthily knock everyone out with nothing but your fists, a short ranged taser, gas grenades, flashbang grenades, and occasionally tranquilizer darts. Usually the first two. As well as figuring out non-conventional ways to beat the superpowered bosses* (which works on all but one of them, and all of them period in the Director's Cut). It feels like you're cyborg Batman. *
  10. RandomGuy

    General American Politics Thread

    With Clinton's 16-point victory in New York, the Democratic primaries are pretty much over.Three guesses on why she curb-stomped Bernie in that state, and the first two don't count. So, same pattern as always.
  11. RandomGuy

    End of March update

    1. What's the best city you've lived in? 2. What's the worst city you've lived in? (it's LA, isn't it?)
  12. RandomGuy


    So, in other words, things are going how the Harvard paper said they were; as trade makes the country wealthier, the country becomes rich enough to actually slowly reduce its damage to the environment as it becomes cost effective to do so. China is at the beginning of that stage and will continue through it in 2030, when it is expected to replace 1/5 of its current energy sources with zero-emission sources. So basically exactly what happened in nearly every other industrialized nation. No cause for alarm, and no reason to start a trade war. China right now is just doing exactly what Japan and South Korea were doing a few decades ago. That includes a poor environmental record and sweatshops. The result of that is actually this: This is really the base of the problem. The emissions growth with globalization is due to increasing incomes (IE people in China are richer so they consume more). In the short term, you're going to get this problem no matter what you do unless you deliberately keep China poor. The best way to offset it is to heavily encourage as much free trade as possible. Multinational corporations tend to pollute less because they're advanced enough to not have to rely on coal so much, and bring in new more efficient technologies at lower prices. To quote a DIFFERENT Harvard paper: (which, by the way, is a very good read... though it's understandable if you don't have the time since it's 40 pages long) Pollution per capita (and energy consumption) is at an all time low, yet the US manufacturing output is actually larger than it has ever been. China's in trouble specifically because it uses less efficient sources like coal for many purposes because it's cheap, which they're working on replacing with nuclear and wind power. However to truly solve this problem, they need a US style petroleum revolution utilizing shale (they're starting to do this). If you can lower the price of natural gas to the point where its more cost effective than coal like we did in the US, economics will go to work in your favor and people will start buying cleaner burning propane stoves and building natural gas power plants instead. Until then, though, not just the factories but the average person cooking food that will contribute (most people in China cook with primitive coal stoves: "Perhaps 80 percent (by population) of world exposure to particulates is indoor pollution in poor countries -- smoke from indoor cooking fires -- which need not involve any externality"). What exactly is your plan to fix China's environment (or, rather, to make them go faster than they're going now) and why are your ideas superior to those of a panel of well respected economists who more often than not say the basic premise of what you propose will result in a net negative? It's not something any culture is accustomed to because typically complaints about how everyone is using too much resources turn out to be incorrect. The human appetite for ever greater consumption hasn't stopped at any one of these points over the past million years: That's literally the definition of the word. Specifically, bullying is "to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants". Threatening to wreck China's economy and reduce hundreds of millions of people to poverty unless they apply the environmental standards you want them to is indeed an example of that. I never said it was entirely the fault of anyone. I just said that free trade has made sure China's average worker wage has risen four fold in two decades, that trying to make China cut down pollution quicker is not practical, and that the majority of economists disagree with your ideas. It's not a tactic, I'm stating the reality of the situation. If you cut back the level of trade with China, the average person gets much poorer. That is why those economists I cited said that refusing to liberalize trade with a country unless they apply the environmental standards you want was a bad idea. China's already reducing pollution. I think you're framing this issue disingenuously by saying that all that will happen is "the companies running these would make less profits"; one, you're underestimating the impact that will have (or at least I think you are, since I still don't know exactly what stricter standards you'd make a requirement), two... well let's assume that you're right, and that the companies in question will do what you say, AND that they'll still function well rather than being unable to afford the new regulations and go out of business. What then? Who's paying for this? "The companies" implied it would be entirely on the backs of the rich, but this is not the case. It will be the average Chinese worker. Losses in profits will be passed down to them, rather than just making sure that a rich businessman has to live in a slightly smaller mansion. To reiterate what the economists and the Harvard papers said: it's not worth the cost, unless your proposed measures are really minor. As such, in a nation still developing like China, the best way to help the environment is to help make the people there wealthy enough to be able to afford to care about the environment. We're slowly approaching that stage. Much less than are saved in the long run (the long run includes a cleaner environment) by massively boosted wealth. The average life span in China rose from 71 to 77 between 1990 and 2014, after free trade really took off, despite horrible pollution. The increase in pollution wasn't anywhere near bad enough to offset the massive benefits gained from increased income across the board. And after 2014, their pollution started falling. China's playing the long game and it's working out well for them so far. I don't know. How many? Considering that China's pollution laws have been getting stricter and they've agreed to power themselves with 20% zero-emission sources by 2030? Nope. In fact continuing rather than hampering trade will help the environment, as it eventually becomes more profitable to not pollute that much. From that Harvard paper: I would like comprehensive proof that what China is doing now won't be enough, and that threatening to withhold trade is a way to fix this. Because I'm sorry, the experts just don't agree with you here. That wasn't my intention. Why don't you tell me what your non-flawed approach would be? Here's mine: continue free trade as this will result in the average person getting wealthier which will reduce pollution in the long term. Expand free trade to include relaxation on nuclear export regs so it's cheaper (China has a shortage of human capital to train engineers) to build, maintain, and operate nuclear plants, in the process creating a larger market for skills in the US. That's a bit hypocritical considering you called the TPP "absolutely monstrous", wouldn't you say? What does that make people who support it? Anyway, this is rather far off from my original post about compensation. I'll try to summarize my original point in a concise manner: excluding supervisory personnel (15-20% of the work force), using two different price deflators, and leaving out non-wage benefits gives a distorted picture, because the increase in supervisory personnel represent a shift of workers to higher paying jobs, the deflators clash with each other,* and a disproportionate amount of the new wealth has gone to non-wage benefits for workers (e.g. healthcare, paid vacation, pensions; all of them together are one third of the average worker's compensation), respectively. The reality is that compensation has been rising proportionately with production, per OECD and the St. Louis Federal Reserve (plus some economists who wrote an article). *Specifically, the chart Ross used uses the Consumer Price Index which overstates the rate of inflation because of inadequate adjustment for quality changes and inadequate adjustment for substitution effects, while using another deflator for production. As OECD says, "If you want to compare productivity and pay fairly you should use the same deflator for both—that is, the GDP deflator" (also called the implicit price deflator). Making the simple correction of dividing earnings by the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD), instead of dividing by the CPI, already closes about a third of the gap. I think that's all I have to say. Well, besides this: props to danielsangeo for the posts about the unemployment rate. I think knowing how people come to incorrect or disingenuous numbers like "40% of people are unemployed" is extremely useful (and interesting). Otherwise they just get thrown around and you have no idea where they came from. I see that happening on the internet ALL THE TIME, so it's nice to know how to debunk the most common ones in detail. EDIT: Spoilered the graphs. Post didn't need to be that big.
  13. So. This never happened. Just like the predicted peak oil crisis ten years before never happened. Or that prediction that we'd hit peak oil in the early 1970s. Relevant article to hopefully end the thread:
  14. RandomGuy


    I would assume so. All TPP really does is expand US law to other countries so the USA can profit from its IPs overseas. I'd be a lot more receptive to this argument if there was about to be some copyright law reform and it was ruined by the almighty TPP, but that is simply not the case. I don't really want to get into this, but it is simply not an issue that matters to most people. For the most part only a subset of 18-35 year old people on the internet care about it. (coincidentally, these people don't vote much). Anyway, the general population in all of the involved countries heavily support the TPP, because the average citizen in a TPP country isn't going to care that US copyright laws are now the norm. Instead they're going to notice something like "hey, those shoes I wanted are 20 bucks cheaper", or maybe "wow, I'm making literally three times as much as I was ten years ago and my country's GDP per capita is no longer lower than Congo's!".
  15. RandomGuy


    See this is a good example of "one side of the story." It's long, but I recommend reading this article. HSBC had a whistleblower against it, a long trail of evidence spanning a decade, and a DOJ scared to bring criminal charges. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214?page=4 Here's a few highlights: "They violated every goddamn law in the book," says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. "They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business." Anyway, this goes on and on and your article doesn't address half of what's mentioned. This is at the core of why I sometimes need multiple sources on some topics. I've read that article before. There's a noticeable lack of evidence in all of its claims. A lot of YELLING and pontificating on how the evidence exists, but that's about it. This would have been really useful when the DOJ was handling this case, as they explicitly didn't have enough evidence to convict HSBC of money-laundering then. I wonder if this Rolling Stone author had access to secret DOJ memos the public didn't get to see? Aside from that the article just confirms what I already said, that HSBC was only guilty of failing to follow proper anti-laundering procedures. You can argue about their motivations all you want, but the evidence didn't exist to convict them of anything worse in a court of law. To reflect this, part of the sentence was that they couldn't fail to follow these practices again in the next five years and had to both implement all the changes (confirmed by an independent monitor) and cooperate fully with the government investigation- lest it actually turn into a criminal indictment rather than a civil case. "As free trade expands, each one percent increase in per capita incomes tends to drive pollution down by 1.25 to 1.5 percent because of the movement to cleaner techniques of production." Free trade isn't bad for the environment nor does every economist view the environment as an externality. Free trade (or rather, the economic prosperity it brings) is bad for air and water pollution at the initial stages of industrialization, but later on it reduces pollution as countries become rich enough to pay to clean up their environments. We're seeing that happen right now in China, though to a small extent at the moment. Unless, of course, you're framing it as the choice between having an industrial economy and not having an industrial economy. I would recommend looking at the environmental record of the USSR and rethinking that position. I would also recommend taking a look at what pollution (which isn't only generated by factories) is actually costing China in lost worker productivity. Or maybe seeing what economists have to say about this issue. A statement was given to a panel of expert economists from across the country: "Refusing to liberalize trade unless partner countries adopt new labor or environmental rules is a bad policy, because even if the new standards would reduce distortions on some dimensions, such a policy involves threatening to maintain large distortions in the form of restricted trade". They were asked to respond based on how much they agreed with the statement. 41% agreed (8% STRONGLY agreed) 18% disagreed (none STRONGLY disagreed) 40% were uncertain or had no opinion The economists who agreed also had higher amounts of confidence in their answers than those who disagreed. Besides that, China has been cutting down on pollution in the past few years, passing a landmark green house emissions limit back in November 2014 (it promises to increase its use of energy from zero-emission sources to 20% in the next 15 years, and is currently investing heavily in wind and nuclear power). Given their current economic problems, you're not going to bully them into enforcing stricter regulations and cutting down their pollution even more by cutting off trade; if anything you'll get the opposite of your intended result since now everyone in the country just lost a shitload of money. It's also fairly unethical to reduce 1.4 billion people to abject poverty (which ending trade with China would result in, see the average Chinese wages before and after the implementation of free trade) because you care more about the environment than 1.4 billion people. If you're so concerned about the environment, your average Western uses many times as many resources as the average Chinese person while producing two to five times the pollution per capita. I don't see any of these people volunteering to swap places with Chinese peasants. The TPP is more strict on air pollution than NAFTA was and is a net good in this regard, though there's no way to know how effective it'll be until it goes into action (people have barely focused on the environmental aspects). Enforcement of the Montreal Protocol, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, CITES, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora will all be required. Failure to comply with these rules could result in economic sanctions. I'll also repeat again that it will result in massive increases to the income of Vietnamese workers, just like the trade agreements in China quadrupled the manufacturing wages there overnight. Being against it if you want to increase environmental standards and help the poor is insanely counterproductive, especially since it's not like TPP is coming in and crushing a better proposal. Does that just not factor in because "it doesn't do enough about pollution?" On that note, TPP is just the warm-up for the real prize, FTAAP, basically a Pacific NAFTA. That'll be great when (if) it finally passes.

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