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Maarten last won the day on November 13 2011

Maarten had the most liked content!

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  1. I don't think you necessarily need taxes for short term funding. An alternative is to issue bonds and repay them later. That's basically how we fund half the government these days, so it should certainly not be overlooked. Whether it's a good thing is another matter entirely
  2. He might be paraphrasing her thoughts on student loans. I think that was essentially what her argument came down to in that case (that you had either already paid taxes or would pay taxes in the future, so student loans aren't immoral to accept)... But possibly that is not analogous to this situation. Or am I confusing this with fellowships?
  3. How is an island with only enough resources to have 1 million worth of paper/gold equivalents going to have an economy that booms so much that they're having currency shortages? That seems a tad counter-intuitive?
  4. Also, in the very long term, there are considerable amounts of gold (and other rarer elements) present on both other planets in the solar system, as well as asteroids. I think the price of gold is already high enough (at 1700/oz it's about $54 500/kg or 54.5 million per metric ton) that it could be profitable to launch a spacecraft and get the stuff somewhere else. If not profitable today, that would certainly become profitable very soon if either the price of gold continues to rise, or it gets cheaper to launch stuff into space. There are basically limitless quantities of gold in the Universe
  5. Also, it is worth asking how whatever standard is supposedly more important than life is justified itself. Why is that important to achieve? Basically anything besides life cannot be an ultimately value because it can't be good in itself; you can't say world peace (to give a nicely trite) is your ultimate value without justifying why it is important. How do you do that if not by placing it in relationship to some other value? Rand makes the argument convincingly that life CAN be the ultimate value (and is), how do other people defend their "equally valid" ultimate values? I have never seen a
  6. Isn't that how issues such as discrimination would ideally be solved, though? It was my understanding that in the case of discrimination, Objectivism rejects laws banning the practice (because they restrict the right of a business owner to hire whom he pleases to) in favor of what basically amounts to the same as what I was talking about (i.e. businesses that are discriminatory should be shunned, and market forces will take care of the matter in the longer term). Why is the only possible solution something that is mandated to everyone by law? You can come up with these types of scenario
  7. Exactly, which is why I stated several times that this should be something determined after the fact; not a prerequisite for whether the police comes to your house. However, I don't see any issue with charging people after the fact. Not paying could have other consequences, though. They could publicly post a list of people who refuse to pay, for example. That probably would provide quite a bit of incentive for anyone who really does have the ability to pay to actually do it. Maybe there are fundamental issues with this proposal, but I don't think this concern people keep bringing up is nec
  8. Ice, that graph really doesn't show what you're claiming it does very convincingly. Yeah, for the US the point comes in conveniently at the depth of the crisis, but several other countries did it before their worst crash, or once things had already gotten better. Besides, there are so many reasons as for why a depression can be prolonged that saying based on this that it was obviously the gold standard's fault is ludicrous, to be honest. There's a million different government policies and economic facts that come into play there. I'd be very interested in seeing how much of the drop in income
  9. I have a Hyundai Elantra, and I really like it. It's very dependable, maintenance doesn't tend to cost very much, and it gets fairly great gas mileage (I get 33-35 mpg when driving long distances on the highway, which is quite nice). It's pretty spacious, too, even though it's a compact car. Mine is an '05, so not sure if they made a lot of differences since then. I would probably buy another one if my current car dies eventually Oh, I got it at 49k miles, used, about 2 and a half years ago, and it was still under warranty until 60k miles which I thought was pretty nice for a used car. I thin
  10. The European debt crisis probably isn't directly related to the US, but it probably is relevant because of how interwoven the economies are these days, so I thought I'd give my perspective on that in case anyone wants to know . I don't think the whole place is going to fall apart, literally, although it is always possible if they have a major panic and for some reason can't muster the political will to paper over any policy differences and bail out whatever countries they need to. Having said that, the system in Europe is absolutely unsustainable, and in the longer term can't stay together
  11. You're welcome. It'd probably have been better for the original quote to have included another sentence or two linking the thoughts. I think the quote you gave is correct, but it relies upon quite a bit of pre-existing knowledge on the part of the reader for it to truly make sense.
  12. For the first question: think about what the term supernatural refers to, in essence. If something is beyond natural, and Nature is that which exists, then something that is beyond nature by definition couldn't exist. The concept doesn't refer to anything in Reality, therefore anything supernatural can be known to be false. The other part of the answer rests upon the idea that positive claims have the burden of proof; it's not up to anyone else to disprove that the supernatural cannot exist... If you think it exists, then you need to provide good evidence as for why that is the case. In th
  13. Most of those countries have their own distortions in the housing market; they're certainly not capitalist paradises that are completely unregulated. And in Europe, to a large extent their bubbles had to do with the Eurozone and many of their banks making terrible investments in peripheral countries, the results of which are currently playing out with all the sovereign problems they're having over there. Bank nationalizations are a form of bailouts, because the taxpayer assumes the risk at that point. Granted, it's a more explicit form of government involvement, but you can't argue that na
  14. That is correct, but under Clinton the program was put into overdrive and became a lot more involved in banking practices. That may have been what Thomas was referring to. If it wasn't for the implicit backing of potential losses by the government, a lot of these loans wouldn't have been made because the risk would be too great. Bankers normally don't make terrible loans if it's their own money that is at stake. They're not stupid...
  15. Agreed, the socialization of risk is ultimately what leads to these huge excesses. Even before the '08 crash it was pretty clear from history that the government wouldn't let a big investment bank fail in all likelihood (as they didn't in S&L crisis), so it really wasn't much of a stretch for people to assume that would happen again.
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