rtg24

RIP Capitalism

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Did it ever really, actually exist in the physical world, or is it like the "ideal gas" of thermodynamics, a useful abstraction formulated as a limiting case for real world gases, none of which are exactly the "ideal gas?

If it never actually existed then it cannot have died or been destroyed.

An abstraction is a grasp of reality in terms of essentials, omitting the inessential, not a free floating Platonic ideal that doesn't exist. To the extent a gas behaves like an ideal gas, it does so within limits on precision. If you want more accuracy you need a refined approach, but the original conception is still valid for what it is.

The same is true of capitalism. It was never implemented to the extent it could be, but in its essentials it did exist. If you use impossible Platonic-like ideals as the criterion then you can't use your concepts to identify and distinguish what is, and to say that something never existed in such terms is a reduction to sophistry and equivocation. It's bad enough to make such fallacies by mistake; don't adopt it as a standard of epistemology!

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Working now on a master's in social science, I have a class in global crime. My term paper will be on global corporate crime, the globalist crimes of capitalism. (Sorry... sort of stuck with that topic for now...) My thesis is that capitalism continues to evolve and survive, an successful system in a hostile environment.

Ayn Rand's concept of capitalism:

Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.

How does a social system based on the rights of the individual and banishing physical force from human relationships commit "globalist crimes"? What "crimes" are they talking about and who are the alleged victims? Or would defining one's terms and answering such questions make the purpose of the assignment too obvious by exposing it as a smear on behalf of collectivism and "social justice"? Crimes may be committed under capitalism, which then punishes the perpetrators; that does not make the actions of corporations -- which may or may not be criminal, fascist, etc. -- crimes of capitalism. The "globalist crimes" come from the imposition of statism and its toleration and encouragement of criminals, not a non-existent social system of capitalism.

A problem with the way you have framed your thesis of capitalism evolving within a hostile environment is that a social system is the environment. As long as human beings are left free at all it is true that there can to some degree be peaceful, voluntary interactions through trade, making survival possible at all, sometimes, but that doesn't make it the social system of capitalism somehow existing and evolving under the social system of statism. Successful moral social interactions that are "evolving" to get around statist controls are precisely what is not protected under the prevailing social system. To the extent they exist it is in spite of the hostile environment that inverts moral actions as "crimes" and in spite of the lack of a social system protecting them.

What you could write in your term paper without being flunked out is another matter.

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What you could write in your term paper without being flunked out is another matter.

I graduated a grade lower due to being honest in many of my essays (which graded first class during supervisions, when I faced the markers, and lower 2nd class in the exam). I strongly recommend pretending to be a socialist.

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ewv: "What you could write in your term paper without being flunked out is another matter."

rtg24: "I strongly recommend pretending to be a socialist."

Some of my Republican and libertarian classmates have, indeed, been punished for their beliefs. I gradiated summa cum laude because I play the game at a higher level. IN this case, my professor is Gregg Barak (google him) and he is more of a Faustian character himself -- Goethe's Faust, not Marlowe's, an eternal seeker. He does start from a Marxist perspective. That is his ground state. From there, empirical facts and non-contradictory theories are important.

I earned a bachelor of science degree summa cum laude here at Eastern Michigan University in 2008. I will complete the master's in social science April 2010 also here at EMU. The reason why I returned is that none of the professors who gave me the A grades for my honors baccalaureate would write a letter of recommendation for another program.

In Dr. Barak's case, our deal was that if I wrote a term paper for him good enough to be published in an academic journal, he could get me into the criminology program of my choice. Although I got an A on that, we both agreed that it was not ready for publication. That was for the grad class in criminological theory. Now, I have him for Global Crime. Same deal. But this time, I am writing a journal article, not a term paper. We'll see how it goes.

(In that ideal laissez faire capitalist utopia, of course, there would be no public education. Teachers would rent their spaces, advertise, and schools would be "education malls." I often say this -- sometimes I write it on the blackboard -- "In 100 years we have gone from the steamship to the spaceship, but education still consists of an authroity in front of a blackboard lecturing to a passive array of listeners.")

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(In that ideal laissez faire capitalist utopia, of course, there would be no public education. Teachers would rent their spaces, advertise, and schools would be "education malls." I often say this -- sometimes I write it on the blackboard -- "In 100 years we have gone from the steamship to the spaceship, but education still consists of an authroity in front of a blackboard lecturing to a passive array of listeners.")

Go visit India. Private schools in slums for $10/month/kid.

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The same is true of capitalism. It was never implemented to the extent it could be, but in its essentials it did exist. If you use impossible Platonic-like ideals as the criterion then you can't use your concepts to identify and distinguish what is, and to say that something never existed in such terms is a reduction to sophistry and equivocation. It's bad enough to make such fallacies by mistake; don't adopt it as a standard of epistemology!

I give great weight to genuine facts. If Capitalism ever existed in the real world, then it must have existed somewhere at some time. O.K. If Capitalism existed, then where did it exist and when? Was it British Hong Kong? Hong Kong in its best day looked like a Capitalistic place. Did it ever really exist in the United States? If so, where and when?

Any guidance you can give along these lines I will surely appreciate.

Bob Kolker

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... but that doesn't make it the social system of capitalism somehow existing and evolving under the social system of statism. Successful moral social interactions that are "evolving" to get around statist controls are precisely what is not protected under the prevailing social system. To the extent they exist it is in spite of the hostile environment that inverts moral actions as "crimes" and in spite of the lack of a social system protecting them..

Suppose the entire world were laissez faire, but Slobovia were socialist, Red Flag and all. "Capitalism" would exist. Suppose the entire world were socialist, but Freedonia were capitalist. "Capitalism" would exist.

Suppose the entire world were a 51% mixed economy. Would capitalism exist?

Suppose the entire world were a 49% mixed economy. You see the problem. Definitions are important. Consider the way that the computer industries are basically unregulated. Anyone can be a programmer by calling herself a programmer. The next time you buy a computer, read the warrantee. (... and you thought you had a promise... har...) It is a laissez faire context. That is why it is still resilient.

Bob Kolker and EWV offered the Post Office under the Federal Constitution as example of a monopoly. We might say that if that were only exception to a 99% capitalist society, that this would still be "capitalism" -- unless you were the person wanting to deliver first class mail.

It is nice to say that abstractions deal with essentials. Essentially, what is a "society"? What requirement is there that a society be confined to a geography? Are all groups calling themselves "The International Society of ...." engaged in a fallacy of misidentification?

Essentially, what is "capitalism"?

Peter Bernstein in Against the Gods: the Remarkable Story of Risk points out that (nearly) every society had merchants. Capitalism was possible only after Fermat and Pascal invented the mathematics of statistics which allowed risk to be calculated. In the current issue of The New Individualist, David Kelley and Roger Donway discuss whether entrepreneurs are paid via the profit from risk or for predicting the uncertain. Traditional economics teaches that profits come from risk. The Austrians have a slightly different explanation.

If we accept Ayn Rand's definition of capitalism, then it has never existed.

"Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned."

(Ownership, of course, requires control. Nominal "ownership" via government sanction which comes with government control is not ownership.)

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[...]

From a qualitative point of view I think we would have a much brighter and healthier society than we have now if there had be less government meddling with the minute portions of our lives.

Bob Kolker

Bob,

May I add just one more piece of bad news to the thread?

I read that German corporations are now registered with a European taxation agency, and they are given numbers of the form, "INT VAT (number)". Is that the case?

What if Obama manages to persuade the U.S. Congress to ratify a EU ObamaTax Treaty to have U.S. corporations pay such taxes? It may be commonplace in the EU, and should be resisted in the USA. WorldForce taxation must be resisted with every means.

What measures are already in place in the EU that are necessary to have a WorldForce Government?

Its OK with me that the "U.S. of Europe", that is the European Union or EU, if a volitional state, is the product of all of what is happening. But a treaty with the USA to form a combination force system with the world's nations and the USA is outside the realm of possibility.

Nowhere in the U.S. Consitution does it say that force shall be used to collect taxes, imposts, and duties for the government. The law is silent on that point.

Is the US Military on the side of free enterprise, liberty, and the U.S. Constitution? So far that seems to be the case.

And then there is Monty. Who is Monty for? The US polititians of WW2 never quite understood that one.

Inventor

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What if Obama manages to persuade the U.S. Congress to ratify a EU ObamaTax Treaty to have U.S. corporations pay such taxes? It may be commonplace in the EU, and should be resisted in the USA. WorldForce taxation must be resisted with every means.

It requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate to ratify a treaty. I don't think Lord Obama will have the votes to do as you have described.

Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratification

Bob Kolker

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Such a treaty would be disastrous. The current hunt to shut down tax havens is really about stopping brain drain. As soon as the EU and US coordinate tax policies (starting with VAT, and then moving on to income tax) they will have a lot more leverage with the highest rates possible.

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Such a treaty would be disastrous. The current hunt to shut down tax havens is really about stopping brain drain. As soon as the EU and US coordinate tax policies (starting with VAT, and then moving on to income tax) they will have a lot more leverage with the highest rates possible.

The real brain drain I would be afraid of is related to immigration. If you look in hard science departments at Universities over the last few years you'll see Americans being increasingly replaced with foreigners, as America has become too dumb to produce its own scientists. However these foreigners must deal with expensive and inane immigration regulations that appear to be getting worse. As the standards of living improve in their home country, and as Canada and countries in Europe continue to keep their immigration wide open, I think we'll find that serious research scientists in America will disappear.

If we cannot continue to import scientists as we are doing now, then it will simply disappear in America. I cannot emphasize enough how much our education, particularly in the realm of mathematics and science, has degenerated and fallen behind over the last 40 years.

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Such a treaty would be disastrous. The current hunt to shut down tax havens is really about stopping brain drain. As soon as the EU and US coordinate tax policies (starting with VAT, and then moving on to income tax) they will have a lot more leverage with the highest rates possible.

The real brain drain I would be afraid of is related to immigration. If you look in hard science departments at Universities over the last few years you'll see Americans being increasingly replaced with foreigners, as America has become too dumb to produce its own scientists. However these foreigners must deal with expensive and inane immigration regulations that appear to be getting worse. As the standards of living improve in their home country, and as Canada and countries in Europe continue to keep their immigration wide open, I think we'll find that serious research scientists in America will disappear.

If we cannot continue to import scientists as we are doing now, then it will simply disappear in America. I cannot emphasize enough how much our education, particularly in the realm of mathematics and science, has degenerated and fallen behind over the last 40 years.

Example: Literally all of my professors in physics grad school have been foreign, my research advisor and our research group is foreign, virtually all the grad students are foreign, and all the post-doctorate researchers I've ever seen in our department were foreign. I'm in a typical American university. If America doesn't import Science, she won't have it anymore. Now that's a scary potential brain-drain.

More generally from what I've seen in science departments, the American professors are usually from the older generation and getting on in years, and when they retire they will be replaced by Europeans/Asians, as the modern American generation is too poorly educated to fill their own shoes. If America doesn't import Science, she won't have it.

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Carlos, I have two comments to make:

1. Americans ARE foreigners by definition! America is the meritocratic place where you can make it, or at least try. Whether they are first generation or off the Mayflower, I think many Americans ought to remember how their country was built. I had interviews with some seriously high profile US hedge funds. Once I told them my visa status ("foreigner") they just cut off the process because it is too much bother for them.

However, the US can get away with it, because it is still pretty much the only place where true meritocracy exists to that extent. Unless you really feel like being rained on every day and insulted for being rich (London), speaking Cantonese and living in 200 sq ft (HK), being unable to read half your library (Singapore) or dealing with Germanic slow speakers (CH). So despite an effective tax rate of 54% in NYC (according to a specialist in this stuff I shot with last weekend) we still all want to come here. It still draws the best of all nations. And that's what is so cool.

I completely agree with you. So many of my friends in investment management have been denied visas for stupid reasons (or no reason). Some are seriously good traders moving a lot of money (and now extracting this money from US managers and importing it into their country, well done USA). The limit on high skilled visas makes very little sense.

2. Agree on the "Americans are dumb" assertion. I hesitate to say this here, because obviously I am exposing myself to some serious flak :P but in my week here I have been astonished at the slow and limited mind of a lot of the people I meet here on the East Coast compared to say France or the UK, from working class to some of the investment management nobility (think trust fund WASP kid). I will mitigate this by saying that the (log) distribution of intelligence is seriously leptokurtic. I.e. there are a lot more very smart people, even if half are foreigners. But the mean is much lower! SoCal was actually much better in that respect.

Is it just a failure of state education? Part of it, I guess, is that the "natives" do not realise that THEY also have to prove themselves, especially if they are white and from a well-off background.

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Such a treaty would be disastrous. The current hunt to shut down tax havens is really about stopping brain drain. As soon as the EU and US coordinate tax policies (starting with VAT, and then moving on to income tax) they will have a lot more leverage with the highest rates possible.

The real brain drain I would be afraid of is related to immigration. If you look in hard science departments at Universities over the last few years you'll see Americans being increasingly replaced with foreigners, as America has become too dumb to produce its own scientists. However these foreigners must deal with expensive and inane immigration regulations that appear to be getting worse. As the standards of living improve in their home country, and as Canada and countries in Europe continue to keep their immigration wide open, I think we'll find that serious research scientists in America will disappear.

If we cannot continue to import scientists as we are doing now, then it will simply disappear in America. I cannot emphasize enough how much our education, particularly in the realm of mathematics and science, has degenerated and fallen behind over the last 40 years.

Also, when was the last time "Americans" lead the sciences? How many natives on the Manhattan project? What about the team that developed radar and electronic counter measures in Stanford during WWII? The Space Program?

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2. Agree on the "Americans are dumb" assertion. I hesitate to say this here, because obviously I am exposing myself to some serious flak :P but in my week here I have been astonished at the slow and limited mind of a lot of the people I meet here on the East Coast compared to say France or the UK, from working class to some of the investment management nobility (think trust fund WASP kid). I will mitigate this by saying that the (log) distribution of intelligence is seriously leptokurtic. I.e. there are a lot more very smart people, even if half are foreigners. But the mean is much lower! SoCal was actually much better in that respect.

Is it just a failure of state education? Part of it, I guess, is that the "natives" do not realise that THEY also have to prove themselves, especially if they are white and from a well-off background.

This is something I have discussed at length with many Europeans, and the inescapable conclusion is that our education system on all levels is pitifully behind theirs on every level you could want to measure it (except of course on funding and facilities, where we excel).

You have to realize something about our system: not only do kids here not learn anything, they never learn what 'learning' is. Math is the blind execution of commands on a graphing calculator, the blind memorization and execution of algebra rules; Science is the blind memorization of disconnected facts. Understanding of material is evaluated solely through multiple choice tests, which have no intellectual rigor at all.

Public education in America is the silent rape of generations of minds. The end result at the college level is students who know basically nothing, have never exercised critical/abstract thinking, and worse, have had their inner fire to learn put out permanently. Based on my experiences so far, I do not want to teach on the college level, because you cannot revive a corpse; if I ever teach I want to do so on the high school level, where there are still at least fading signs of life that can be restored.

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2. Agree on the "Americans are dumb" assertion.

They aren't dumb, they just have received basically zero formal education of any quality, and as a result are innocently ignorant of what education even is anymore.

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Having worked in Public Finance for 30 years, I can tell you that the primary goal of must public education is the provision of upper middle class American lifestyles for as many like minded "professionals" as possible. here in Michigan, with school financing being cut, the MEA, the teacher's union is running well produced "commercials" for their programs. Another union representing Detroit Schools employees, by results the worst in the country, begins its new commercial "we don't work in the classroom, but..." and sees no irony in that premise.

To head back to the original thread, such people - all the big government activists possess "capitalist" virtues. They are entrepreneurial; they work hard, very hard and they are smart at manipulating the world around them for their ends. They resent denigration of their achievements; after all, it's a dog eat dog world, isn't it?

My favorite amateur secular philosopher said "Honor is a pattern of behavior". A dishonorable act, a few dishonorable acts does not make a man "dishonorable" in any ultimate way; capitalist tendencies may or may not make sensible talk of a society's being capitalist. Buck an outright repudiation of honor makes it impossible to refer to a man as honorable.

"Capitalism" is an abstraction that both describes and explains certain states in the concrete world; as a definition it has core requirements. The right to life is a necessary element and never in our history has the right to ones own life been under such explicit and deliberate attack.

If this mess (Gov Care, Cap and Tax) passes it WILL BE RIP CAPITALISM.

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The same is true of capitalism. It was never implemented to the extent it could be, but in its essentials it did exist. If you use impossible Platonic-like ideals as the criterion then you can't use your concepts to identify and distinguish what is, and to say that something never existed in such terms is a reduction to sophistry and equivocation. It's bad enough to make such fallacies by mistake; don't adopt it as a standard of epistemology!

I give great weight to genuine facts. If Capitalism ever existed in the real world, then it must have existed somewhere at some time. O.K. If Capitalism existed, then where did it exist and when? Was it British Hong Kong? Hong Kong in its best day looked like a Capitalistic place. Did it ever really exist in the United States? If so, where and when?

Any guidance you can give along these lines I will surely appreciate.

19th century America in its essentials. If you want something in which every principle was implemented in law, even if not fully applied, that didn't happen. But in comparison with other societies, America was essentially capitalist, a distinction of fact that must be retained. The success and then loss of that earlier character is real and worth noting. Arguing by a standard of Platonic-like ideals and glibly lumping everything together that doesn't qualify is not very helpful. Neither are diversions about what percentages of which features occurred exactly when to push it over the edge into a mixed system. It is more useful to identify conceptually that America was essentially capitalist and then look at specific historical facts of what went wrong and right and how we got to today's mess. The things that were wrong in the early days are not unimportant and were certainly not irrelevant to those hurt by them, but they are irrelevant for purposes of general classification. Still, we know that capitalism was never fully implemented or fully intended to be, and we do not pretend otherwise. Not to further discourage you, but a good book, mentioned here on the Forum previously and showing that in some ways things were already being undermined in America from the earliest days in ways most people don't know about, is Arthur Ekirch's The Decline of American Liberalism -- it didn't wait to start to go bad until 1936 :-(

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2. Agree on the "Americans are dumb" assertion.

They aren't dumb, they just have received basically zero formal education of any quality, and as a result are innocently ignorant of what education even is anymore.

Having better immigration policies would alleviate this problem to a very large extent, though. There is really no negative I can easily think of for just importing your scientists; and the U.S. still vastly outperforms the rest of the world in terms of patents, research articles published, clinical trials and many other measures of intellectual productivity. I don't think it matters what nationality the producers are, as long as they choose to live and work in the U.S.

But agreed, I can see first-hand that in many ways curricula here are nowhere near as demanding as they were back home; although I also work harder than I used to so that may make it easier as well, and I think most of my professors are better. But the basic material in school also put much higher expectations on you when I was a student in the Netherlands, both through elementary and high school and undergraduate years.

One example there is just how absolutely absent any kind of mathematics is from many life science disciplines... We had tons of courses in undergrad on calculating growth rates, yields and productivities for cell systems, as well as trying to model them correctly. I have never seen anything like that in my classes here in the US (even graduate level), and the one time a professor here tried the basic stuff he lost literally 95% of the class' attention and they just couldn't do it.

I most definitely am not going to send my kids through public schools. I may send them to a good private school if they want the social interactions when they're slightly older, but I intend to home school them (virtually) all the way because I know for sure that I can teach many subjects better and in a more integrated and personalized manner than almost any school right now could. That, and just showing them the joy of thinking and teaching them how the basics of that work.

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19th century America in its essentials.

America of the 19th century (up until 1865) was a slave republic. While it was illegal to buy and sell slaves in some states, property rights in slaves were to be recognized in ALL states. This was the thrust of the infamous Dred Scott decision wherein Justice Tanney of the highest court in the land ruled that human slaves had no rights anyone was bound to recognize. Furthermore the U.S. Constitution required that the legal authorities in all States co-operate in the return of escaped slaves. The Fugitive Slave Act spelled this out in further detail.

Perhaps you think it Platonic of me to regard the legal status of ownership in human beings as an evil thing. I am a propertarian from top to bottom and left to right and from front to back. All humans own their bodies, their time and their energy. Capitalism is all about the private ownership of the means of production. Our bodies (including our mind/brains) are our means of production. We own them fully, exclusively and privately. Any political order that contradicts self ownership is not only unjust, it is anti-captitalistic. In this regard (and it is an important regard) 19th century U.S.A. was anti-capitalistic.

Human Slave toleration and Capitalism are contrary. Period. End of statement.

But that is just me being Platonic again. Or is it me being concrete bound?

Bob Kolker

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2. Agree on the "Americans are dumb" assertion.

They aren't dumb, they just have received basically zero formal education of any quality, and as a result are innocently ignorant of what education even is anymore.

Having better immigration policies would alleviate this problem to a very large extent, though. There is really no negative I can easily think of for just importing your scientists...

Besides the crushed dreams and ambitions of many American high school/undergraduate/graduate students who wanted to be engineers or scientists but soon discovered that they were never taught the basic skills needed, and now find themselves in the situation years later where they need those skills but have neither the time nor inner-fire left to correct and fill the gaping holes in their knowledge?

This is a generation by generation rape of intellectual potential in our young; the Eddy Willers lack the inner-strength and/or mental ability to push themselves and independently make up for the education they didn't receive, and the Dagni Taggarts still manage to succeed, but at a reduced rate because so much of their mental energy was wasted on re-educating themselves and dealing with the mental anguish of an education system that was designed to fail.

When I was a tutor for Texas Tech I encountered kids who came from schools in farm-towns that care more about Friday night football than every day education, and I saw first-hand the tragic futility of their efforts to catch up on the knowledge in college that they should have already had in high school.

Some kids like me can find ways to make up for their lacking education; others can't and fail at their original academic aspiration. Fail or succeed though, their full potential was permanently clipped by their original education, and this is a serious thing that no one seems to care about in America.

and the U.S. still vastly outperforms the rest of the world in terms of patents, research articles published, clinical trials and many other measures of intellectual productivity. I don't think it matters what nationality the producers are, as long as they choose to live and work in the U.S.
So long as the economic differences between their home countries and America is enough of a potential to drive them through the cultural and immigration/legal barrier, then America will have Scientists. If the economic difference continues to shrink while the immigration barrier continues to grow, as they both are doing now, we may find that the influx of Scientists starts drying up.
I most definitely am not going to send my kids through public schools. I may send them to a good private school if they want the social interactions when they're slightly older, but I intend to home school them (virtually) all the way because I know for sure that I can teach many subjects better and in a more integrated and personalized manner than almost any school right now could. That, and just showing them the joy of thinking and teaching them how the basics of that work.
How long will you have the option of private school or homeschooling? Leftists hate private schools and homeschooling, as it is explicitly anti-collectivist.

In both cases, you can't continue to rely on alternatives that have no long-term stability in this country.

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Philosophy; who needs it? To what, precisely, does "19th Century USA" refer? If it refers to the majority in the US Congress, the Administration pre Lincoln, certaincourts, states, etc., then 19th Century USA was "anti capitalist", granted salvery was anti capitalist. But slavery fell and the "anti capitalist" government was destroyed. So 19th Century USA was really "capitalist" after all? Was the subsequent, eventual growth of big business "capitalist"? Read Ron Chernow's excellent biography of John D. Rockerfeller. Would JDR as he really existed be a hero in an AR novel? I don't think so.consequential

To know what's true you have to go look at concrete envents and people, at proveabe facts. What can be said with a high degree of confidence is that there have always been both "capitalist" and anti-capitalist strains in American culture. Few progressives will argue that "capitalist" behavior has produced prosperity.

Capitalism, as discussed by AR and as discussed by Joseph Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is a moral system that governs personal behavior at personal, social and political levels. Capitalism is a cahracteristic of individual lives and actions. If a significant, a sufficient number of individuals are "capitalist" and if those conditions are part of one's concept, then it may be proper to characterise a society as "capitalist".

Generalities have only so much power.

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What about the bribes? What about the goons? What about the competitors systematically and deliberately ruined so "efficient porduction" could be established? Rockerfeller's career was as much about personal power and control as it was the efficient production of petroleum and the lifting of economic levels. I admire the Rockefeller portrayed in Chernow's book and marvel at his life, but realizing that he was not some idealized character from a novel, but a human being who had his share of failures as such. Reread the section where Dannager offers to give his business to Dagny. What would Rockerfeller's reaction have been? What would a "real capitalist" do?

Look at this post from today's WSJ.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...3255957640.html

The Progressives would call this person a capitalist. She's an agent of massive private businesses. If Rockefeller could have pulled this kind of stunt to increase his "market share", would he have done so?

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Having better immigration policies would alleviate this problem to a very large extent, though. There is really no negative I can easily think of for just importing your scientists...
Besides the crushed dreams and ambitions of many American high school/undergraduate/graduate students who wanted to be engineers or scientists but soon discovered that they were never taught the basic skills needed, and now find themselves in the situation years later where they need those skills but have neither the time nor inner-fire left to correct and fill the gaping holes in their knowledge?

Agreed. It is a terrible tragedy that current US education is so bad. I was certainly not saying that this is a desirable or tenable situation. However, if it was very easy to immigrate here there would be many more highly educated scientists here, and no matter how you slice it that's a good thing.

This is a generation by generation rape of intellectual potential in our young; the Eddy Willers lack the inner-strength and/or mental ability to push themselves and independently make up for the education they didn't receive, and the Dagni Taggarts still manage to succeed, but at a reduced rate because so much of their mental energy was wasted on re-educating themselves and dealing with the mental anguish of an education system that was designed to fail.

When I was a tutor for Texas Tech I encountered kids who came from schools in farm-towns that care more about Friday night football than every day education, and I saw first-hand the tragic futility of their efforts to catch up on the knowledge in college that they should have already had in high school.

Some kids like me can find ways to make up for their lacking education; others can't and fail at their original academic aspiration. Fail or succeed though, their full potential was permanently clipped by their original education, and this is a serious thing that no one seems to care about in America.

I really don't see that situation improving in public schools, though. I think in most places those are just too far gone and too unionized to have any chance at reforming them. I think all we can hope for is making it easier and cheaper for people to access alternatives like private schools for their kids.

and the U.S. still vastly outperforms the rest of the world in terms of patents, research articles published, clinical trials and many other measures of intellectual productivity. I don't think it matters what nationality the producers are, as long as they choose to live and work in the U.S.
So long as the economic differences between their home countries and America is enough of a potential to drive them through the cultural and immigration/legal barrier, then America will have Scientists. If the economic difference continues to shrink while the immigration barrier continues to grow, as they both are doing now, we may find that the influx of Scientists starts drying up.

Again, I agree with that. But it's why removing those immigration barriers would be so beneficial.

I most definitely am not going to send my kids through public schools. I may send them to a good private school if they want the social interactions when they're slightly older, but I intend to home school them (virtually) all the way because I know for sure that I can teach many subjects better and in a more integrated and personalized manner than almost any school right now could. That, and just showing them the joy of thinking and teaching them how the basics of that work.
How long will you have the option of private school or homeschooling? Leftists hate private schools and homeschooling, as it is explicitly anti-collectivist.

In both cases, you can't continue to rely on alternatives that have no long-term stability in this country.

I come from a country where home-schooling is illegal as such. They can literally take your kids away from you if you want to home-school because your kids are required to be in a public school. One of my friends had to fight for about a decade to finally get permission to be home-schooled, and that was just in their situation where they somehow convinced a bureaucrat that it was okay.

The thing is, if I have kids in a few years' time I think it is highly unlikely that the educational system has improved by a vast amount, and I see home-schooling (or finding a really nice private school close by) is really the only viable alternative you have as a parent if you have the time for it.

I can and will speak out in favor of education reform, but it's not something you can count on to happen in the next few years, and you just have to make do with your current options. If they ever banned home-schooling in my state I'd probably move, because some states are much more pro-freedom in that respect than others. Yes, it's a stopgap measure, but you have to live within the system while we work to (hopefully) improve it. If that happens before my kids are older, then great. But I don't want to count on a total reversal of educational policy here in the next fifteen years, because I sincerely doubt that will ever happen in that time frame.

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