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Ralph

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  1. I don't want to sound like a snob but J.K. Rowling is children's fiction, how can an adult read this? I agree with Rand that 99.9% of science fiction is junk, I went through them in junior high and enjoyed Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury and Verne. However after reading classic good literature it was impossible to go back to these, the kind of science fiction that passes muster for me today is Orwell and Huxley.
  2. "The world has NEVER experienced laissez-faire capitalism." The real answer is that it is based on principle, whether it actually works or not isn't important. I have issues with a philosophy that has no demonstrated track record unless of course you accept the previous proposition. There are a lot of good products out there as well. I think the point he is trying to make is that in the absence of any regulation the bad products would multiply enormously, sure people would eventually get caught but usually after it is too late. It can sometimes take decades to ferret out an issue. I don't agree with forced regulations, it would be interesting to administer voluntary ones through private corporations. Say you had to chose between a fish from a manufacturer that had no oversight (like in China) and one who voluntarily submitted to it, would you be willing to pay more for the second? I would.
  3. Ralph

    'Big' Trends

    Charge people based on their fitness level. If they don't want to be healthy, they have to pay extra because they cost extra.
  4. Our demise began when we switched to a nation of consumers living on debt. What we are seeing today is merely the reflection of irresponsible behavior over the last three decades. To say that it started in 2000 is way off the mark, we were already living on borrowed time well before then.
  5. I never downloaded music and I would not pay for it either as the quality is sub par. I did get some "free" software and regretted it later, since about 10 years ago I have paid for all software and will not use pirated copes again. People are shocked and act as if I am a little strange, who pays for software?
  6. I am almost 3/4 of the way through Atlas Shrugged, the first novel I have read by Ayn Rand. I am intrigued by her philosophy of objectivism however it leaves many unanswered questions and I hope this forum will help me to understand it better. Characters like Hank Rearden seem to be idealized prototypes of businessmen, in my life I have worked for 9 corporations and never met someone even close to him. One of the issues I have is with the assertion that businesses will rationally act in their own self interest. I worked at a bank and watched thousands of junk loans being processed, nobody cared because they were going to be securitized and the bank earned a hefty fee income. Sure, many of these people are out of work now but they earned such fantastic sums that the wiser ones are now happily retired. In Atlas Shrugged products and services made by those who follow objectivism are invariably wonderful and of the highest quality and integrity. In my experience most manufacturers don't operate under this principle but try to get by with the least quality possible and worry about the consequences later. I guess since most people want junk, that is what they get. Planned obsolescence is rampant and everything is practically disposable, all geared towards a nation of consumers instead of producers. Atlas Shrugged seems to suggest that objectivism only works in isolation and I tend to agree. Hypothetically let us suppose we have two countries and one runs on pure objectivist principles, the other is a diluted form of it. The pure one does well but is outpaced by the second scientifically and technologically because the second taxes it's citizens for government research and development on the scale that the private sector doesn't have the wherewithal or inclination to do. You may disagree but just accept the proposition for the sake of argument. My understanding is that Rand's principles cannot be compromised even if it meant that as a nation we would be second rate, is that correct? If a business were to buy all the roads leading to a city and the people running it were short sighted they could easily starve the city through toll hikes, enrich themselves then take the money and do this again somewhere else. Not rational but again the principle of making a quick buck which few seem able to resist. Appreciate your comments and insights, I have a lot to learn.
  7. All the family members in my generation. My parents were very honest but I seem to be the only one that believed in their values, my baby boomer relatives were out to get as much for themselves by cheating, lying and stealing whenever possible. I heard so often "everyone else does it" that it made me sick. One of them asked me if I had ever done something wrong, when I answered "yes", this person took it as justification to do anything he wanted.
  8. Fundamentalist is exactly the term that religious people want you to use. This way they can refer to atheism and/or objectivism as just another religion.
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