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Everything posted by Maarten

  1. Maarten


    I think the main point of dissent comes from the fact that most people here (me included) are talking about how an economy should properly work, rather than how it is working today (with our fiat currency, and all that). Felix, on the other hand, is only talking about how the situation currently is, and what is wrong with that. We had a very long discussion last night about this subject, and I think we have managed to reach a good resolution. I will leave it to him to post his final treatise on this, though. To summarize some of the discussion, I agree with him that if interest rates are higher than the amount of growth in production and currency (real currency, not paper money) that compensates for it, then you would have a problem. At a certain point there wouldn't be enough money floating around in the economy to pay for all the debt, which is a very strange scenario. Rather than condemning the economy for this reason, however, I think it is more fair to say that it is irrational for banks to ask more interest than the economy can properly support. If there were only 100 gold coins in existance, then it would be utter madness for the banks to ask for more than a total of 100 coins in return. Instead, however if they loaned money to someone, and that person used it to become much more productive, the bank owners also profit because the coins they get in return (at 0% interest) now buy more than they did previously. This is mainly to show that interest is not necessarily needed in an economy if productivity rises. This is another reason why it is so important for money to be linked by goods, something which hasn't really been the case since we switched to a fiat currency. If you divorce the two, then the only way to keep up with interest rates would be to print more money, which makes the money have less buying power, which in turn further causes interest rates (and inflation) to rise, and etcetera. As far as we could tell, however, if you have actual goods backing your currency, rather than the promise of a future claim to something (whether it be taxes or future production), you inherently limit the abuse the system can take. If gold was the only currency in use, then the interest rate could equal the amount of gold entering the economy that compensates for it without any trouble. If the amount of gold starts running low, you could easily switch to another type of valuable metal to use as a medium of exchange, and I think this could go on indefinately. In conclusion, I think this thread shows yet another problem with the concept of fiat currency, which would be more motivation to change back to a gold-standard.
  2. Hmm, maybe we could borrow their PR-managers to crank up the image of the US. Trade them a few intellectuals for it? But on a serious note, especially over here I don't think anyone is in favor of a war there. Most people are still whining over the war in Iraq, and I doubt there will be much support from Europe...
  3. Congratulations, may he bring much enjoyment to your life
  4. They are really quite cheap, and I don't think the ancillary services cost that much It's a shame they do not fly to some of the larger airports, though..
  5. Thanks for the reply, it cleared up quite a lot of questions I still had about this. I see I mixed up certain issues there.
  6. This was a mail I sent to a radio show host, where one of the people was talking about private police, and how competition was a good thing in that case. For clarity's sake, I am arguing against this idea. What do you all think about this, and why do you think this is a good or bad thing?
  7. That does seem strange, but perhaps they are also counting what goes through our harbors as export. No way that the Netherlands has enough agricultural land to supply that much food. Heh, the highest point is about 300m high, and that's somewhere in one end of the country, far away from where most of us live. When I take my daily train ride to my university most of what I see outside is either city or grass (with or without cows), so I would agree it is rather boring here. It is interesting, though, to live about 5m below sea level without ever noticing it. But let's get back on topic
  8. Arrr! I will see if I have some time
  9. I put a picture in my profile. My free photoshop trial is long over so I can't reduce it in size enough to make an avatar. Oh well
  10. I don't think this is true. Not every human being is rational either, but that doesn't make the definition of man being a rational animal any less valid. If it is possible to show that women have a certain nature, and part of that nature is to be feminine and be attracted to masculinity, then you have found a principle that's true regardless of whether or not every single woman actually accepts this.
  11. I'm a INTJ Introverted 44 Intuitive 50 Thinking 75 Judging 33 But I agree with many other people here, there are way too many false choices in these tests.
  12. I didn't word my last post very accurately, I see. I was trying to say something against emotionalism there; that you cannot say that something is good for you simply because you feel that it is. I think what I said is true in the proper context, but I didn't correctly specify the context. One thing is not clear to me, though. Could someone point out where I make a mistake in my reasoning? A code of morality is a code of values designed to guide human action. This has to be based on a process of reason, if it is going to be a good (in the sense that it furthers your life if you practice it) one. If all volitional action is open to the realm of morality, then would this not necessitate you to use reason as your guide to action in every instance? I agree that when you have proper knowledge of your feelings and know where they come from it can be safe to follow them, but I think the decision in such cases is ultimately based on the use of a process of reason. To take your example of seeing an attractive woman; you probably know in such a case what you value in your romantic partner, and that is ultimately where the feeling comes from.
  13. I am pretty sure Moose is Ex-christian. If he's Moonglow he's been pretty busy over there, that guy has 16000 posts!
  14. Well, I think the main point is that happiness is a feeling, and you should not use your feelings as a guide to action. It is something that follows when you lead a succesful, moral life, but you cannot simply say that you will do whatever makes you happy and then claim it is good because of that. This leads to the subjectivist viewpoint that something is good because you think it's good. Because you can't know why you feel a certain way immediately, without some serious introspection, it is not a good idea to follow any feelings, because you do not know if what makes you happy is also pro-life (like it should be, properly). If you accepted some ideas at a younger age that interfere with your rational judgment you could get feelings of "happiness" when doing things that are actually downright bad for you, and others. (I put happiness in quotes because it's not really happiness in this context, but more something which substitutes for happiness in a person who holds contradictory ideas)
  15. My internet connection at home is down for the next few weeks, so I can only manage to log in once in a while now
  16. Every bloody colony I colonize has 50 fields... =/ It's starting to drive me crazy..
  17. CF, the same applies to a man in a division of labor society. If you're really good at, say, manufacturing cars then you don't need to know any programming languages, either. I assume you mean that the important difference here is that a woman can focus on pursuing beauty as a means to her values, while for a man this won't work? Also, would you consider it proper for a man to earn money by using his beauty? (for example if he is a model)
  18. I went to see it when it first came out here last thursday, and I must say that it is probably one of my favorite movies. It was very uplifting to see this movie, which is quite different from the feeling the majority of movies you see these days leave you with. I think the positive parts of the movie far outweighed any negative aspects. Sure, it was not perfect, but I do not think it's right to condemn a movie on that basis when there aren't any better alternatives. You should just focus on the good aspects and enjoy those, and make a mental note as to what could be further improved.
  19. I agree, when I get to the end of a great book such as Atlas Shrugged, I find myself wishing it was longer. I am not sure if it would actually be a good thing, though. Especially in the case of AS I doubt there are many, if any, important points Miss Rand didn't enter into the novel, and I don't think it would be a better book if she had included more information, like what would happen after the scene where the book ended, for example.
  20. Yes, but at a certain point the situation will be so bad that it will become unbearable (if they keep increasing the laws and all that). You have to judge for yourself when this is, but I don't think you can remain rational for long once this occurs, when the country has become a virtual dictatorship for example. When it becomes impossible to live rationally, then you can either become irrational or do something about the situation and perhaps die. I think I would prefer that, to living when no further values are possible to me.
  21. I think the value she trades is herself, in this case. It requires a quite profound amount of self-esteem (for one thing) to regard it as natural that someone should want you, because of who you are and what you have achieved. I think what she looks for in a man is best described as the ability to value, and pursue, her succesfully.
  22. In OPAR Dr. Peikoff discusses this in some detail, in the chapter about virtues. Each of them has an existential as well as an intellectual component, and both need to be practiced in order to reach values. If you live in a brutal dictatorial regime where you are prevented from exercising every major virtue; where you can't act on your best judgment, your productivity is used to slowly strangle you, the virtue of justice is severely undermined (because you can't speak out in defense or approval of others for fear of repercussions), then the ultimate result will be that you cannot sustain this. In the long run it is impossible to be happy if you can't practice what you preach, so to speak, because it introduces a very dangerous dichotomy between the realm of thought and the realm of action. I think most statists know this, they know that you don't have to control someone's mind, as long as you control their actions, because the mind is unable to function by itself. Such a situation would be pure torture, I think, for a rational person, and there's a good chance that he will eventually seek escape into some other avenue, as seen in We the living.
  23. I know it is done in Brazil, but for example here in Europe the raw materials needed to produce ethanol are much more expensive. I should have clarified that, however. It is probably a good idea to mix the two, if the engines can handle it, because you are more resistant to price fluctuations that way. On another note, I think it's disgusting how the legislators over here decided that by 2020 20% (I think) of the fuel consumption should be bio-ethanol or other renewable fuels. One more example of government interference into the economy. And it's stupid, because the market will pretty much automatically adjust itself if gasoline gets far more expensive, you don't need some legislator to decide that for you...
  24. I've had quite a large amount of classes about the use of bio-ethanol and other renewable fuels. Those things have become interesting to a lot of people because the carbon cycle is much shorter, about 10-100 years or so instead of something like 100 million years (for fossil fuels). For a long time, however, it was just not economically viable to use them; it was way too expensive to produce ethanol this way unless someone gave you the feedstock for free. It's been improving as gasoline prices rise, but some time ago we had to do a project on it, and the conclusion was that without some major subsidies it was just not competitive with gasoline or natural gas (which would harm the economy greatly) One other thing is that to supply 10% of the US energy needs, that are currently provided for by oil (and various derivatives) you would need to use 40% of the available land as feedstock for your ethanol reactors! In other words, it is impossible to fully replace fossil fuels with renewable ones (and this doesn't even address the question of whether you would want to invest in that). It is possible to use waste material from other industries for this, but the processes are a lot more complicated, and expensive. As the gasoline prices continue to rise there might come to be a time when it's cheaper to use bio-ethanol, but the fact of the matter is that it can't replace gasoline completely, even if they wanted to. Unless, that is, someone decides that humans should live in the sea, and we should use all the land we have for plants and make ethanol out of that .
  25. But it is personal gain for the person doing it. Would you call a soldier defending his country from foreign enemies also self-sacrificial? He gets very little "personal gain" out if it as you say it, also. But it is in his self-interest to do what he does, even if it might not pay an exorbitant amount and even though he risks his life in the process. It shows just how much someone values freedom. And besides, a value is "something which you act to gain and/or keep"; defending your values is also very valuable in this way, because you can prevent someone else from taking it, and thereby prevent loss.
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