America and the European Storm?

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Post #41by Vincent » 20.01.2007, 21:10

Toti wrote:I am surprised by this statement. There's no equivalence relationship between liberalism and humanism. On the contrary, the apparently na??ve (and more properly cynical) extrapolation of the far reaching dogmas of the liberal paradigm to niches where it doesn't belong has too frequently resulted in a disastrous degradation of even the most basic human rights.
I entirely agree with Toti here.


Christophe wrote:This is getting uncomfortably close to the conspiracy theory. Who is trying to control the people? for what purpose? for the benefit of who?

Who would have any interest of keeping the largest part of the population in a state of intellectual and economical poorness?

If there is anything to learn from History since the industrial revolution is that EVERYONE benefit from the rise of the general level of education of the population.

Christophe, of course, this has nothing to do with the conspiracy theory. But isn't it obvious that big multinational companies are getting all the benefits of the current economical context, whereas the rest of the world population is getting poorer and poorer ? Isn't it obvious that an increasing number of media are loosing their independance from these big companies ? Isn't it obvious that these companies control and use the media to frighten the population to make people vote for the politics who defend their interest ?

That's why I do agree with you, Christophe, when you say that raising the level of education is fundamental. But is this what politics are currently doing, in USA, Europe, and all over the world ? Are they really investing money in education ??
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Post #42by Toti » 20.01.2007, 21:47

t00fri wrote:honestly that sounds like a very narrow point view.

You can grant me that I do have some considerable insight into the status of scientific research and the concrete problems associated with it in LatinAmerica as member of the HELEN Executive Board!
(...)


I do not disregard your knowledge of certain scientific and even technological aspects of LA's. I do claim, however, that this partial and second-handed view is not to be even compared to the full, in depth immersion of a well informed local citizen with a reasonable interest in the region. Remember also that LA's inter cultural bonds are particulary tight, very much like Germany's and the ?–sterreich, so there's an innate interest everywhere to know what's going on in the "brother countries".
I expect that I don't have to go on this argument, but just as an example (and I hope you forgive the harmless infidence), I know for sure that you were astonished by how the poverty levels in Rio de Janeiro had increased since your last visit, several years before. This panorama you witnessed with dismay is part of everyday life in the subcontinent and your reaction illustrates the substantial difference between a report targeted on specifics and direct knowledge.

Let me also keep for myself some reserves and incredulity about such "double way" integrations. While I do not doubt about your honesty and enthusiasm with this kind of ventures, and even the impulse that it may apply to LA's science development, I have good historical and political reasons to put myself in a distant and skeptical position.

Yet my point was misunderstood. I repeat that the kind of mind aperture that results from mere technical education is per se irrelevant to the development of the sophisticated thinking that -we agree- is a must for the consolidation of a better society made up of fully realized human beings. Without the intervention of a wider spectrum formation, the educand's full potential is reduced to no much more than an socially innocuous calculation machine. I see this every day.

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Post #43by Christophe » 20.01.2007, 22:58

Vincent wrote:I entirely agree with Toti here.

That's probably because you've been contaminated by the very narrow definition the media give of liberalism, i.e. restraining it to its economic aspect.

I explained above why you just can't oppose liberalism to human rights.

Vincent wrote:Christophe, of course, this has nothing to do with the conspiracy theory. But isn't it obvious that big multinational companies are getting all the benefits of the current economical context, whereas the rest of the world population is getting poorer and poorer ?

Exactly which part of the world is getting poorer? If there is one part of the world which is not growing as fast as the rest of the world, it is western Europe (France GDP growth ranks 182nd on 215 countries in 2006).

And don't forget that "big multinational companies" just represent the interests of their share holders who ultimately are individuals.

Vincent wrote:Isn't it obvious that an increasing number of media are loosing their independance from these big companies ? Isn't it obvious that these companies control and use the media to frighten the population to make people vote for the politics who defend their interest ?

I don't think the Disney Channel is frightening anyone (and that is one big fat multinational). TF1 is owned by Bouygues which surely would benefit much more from a socialist government and its usual keynesianism than from the conservatives.

I think the only motivation for sensationalism is to increase ratings, there is no hidden agenda.

Vincent wrote:That's why I do agree with you, Christophe, when you say that raising the level of education is fundamental. But is this what politics are currently doing, in USA, Europe, and all over the world ? Are they really investing money in education ??


You can check the OECD figures, there is no drop in education expenditure. In France Education is the first spending item in the state budget (19.7%). The current problems have more to do with the terrible organization of the Education National than with its budget.
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Post #44by Vincent » 20.01.2007, 23:22

Christophe,

I really respect your point of view, even if don't share it. However, I won't feel comfortable at all discussing more deeply about politics on a Celestia forum. Since this is a subject I'm really interested in, and since I really appreciate exchanging ideas with people like you, i.e., with a high level of education :wink: , what about continuing this interesting discussion some other day by e-mail ?
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Post #45by ElChristou » 20.01.2007, 23:44

Christophe wrote:
Vincent wrote:So I would say that Bad TV programs are both a cause and a consequence of the decaying state of our culture. As an addiction based uppon a vicious circle effect, it is a very handy way to keep people into a state of intellectual and economical poorness, and thus, to have a better control on them...

This is getting uncomfortably close to the conspiracy theory. Who is trying to control the people? for what purpose? for the benefit of who?

Who would have any interest of keeping the largest part of the population in a state of intellectual and economical poorness?

If there is anything to learn from History since the industrial revolution is that EVERYONE benefit from the rise of the general level of education of the population.


Oh please, no question of conspirancy, just question of an elite who need to preserve a certain freedom in decision...

What I find really fantastic and I don't understand is that we Europeans/Americans are so noble and generous so why the world is falling apart? Someone with good brain can explain please?
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Post #46by Toti » 21.01.2007, 00:28

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:I am surprised by this statement. There's no equivalence relationship between liberalism and humanism. On the contrary, the apparently na??ve (and more properly cynical) extrapolation of the far reaching dogmas of the liberal paradigm to niches where it doesn't belong has too frequently resulted in a disastrous degradation of even the most basic human rights.

I have to strongly disagree here. Liberalism was born in XVIIth century "Enlightened" Europe, the American and French revolutions, and of course the Human Rights declaration could not have happen without it. There can be no true Liberalism if you don't believe that every individual has the capacity to have a critical and open mind and to make its own reasoned decisions.
It is in fact a British conception, from which France, USA and slightly later Latin America fed. But the fuel that drove it was always the benefit of increased commerce opportunities, which were harmed by the threat of religion wars. From its very inception and until this day, the liberal ideas of human rights were the interested consequence of the more prosaic economic greed and not the gracious cause of a new philosophical renewal. There are several humanists in recent history, some of them truely intellectuals, who gave their lives for the cause and nevertheless abhorred the ultimate consequences of the liberal contract. This is why I tend to separate both concepts.

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:I would be inclined to accept this hypothesis in the case of e.g. South American states, where education is still a notorious pending subject. But this media market's trend has its roots in central countries such as USA, Spain, Great Britain, Japan, etc. that have since long implemented highly ambitious educative systems, which have resulted in nil levels of illiteracy, with most people having at least a secondary school degree, and with never before seen ease-of-access to the finest art and cultural expressions.

Litteracy is hardly the sign of a good education, it is only the sign of basic education.
We coincide here, but you'll agree with the central idea: that Western Europe, Japan and USA's educational systems are among the best of the planet and yet this seems not to be an obstacle for the successful grow of low quality media content, because it is not built upon lack of intellect but on unspeakable visceral appetites like morbidity, racism, violence, exotism, etc.

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:Yet this model of a solely market-driven media has proven to be extremely successful in these countries (in economic terms, of course), to the point that it's being exported to the rest of the world where it's quickly pushing the old-fashioned competition into a "imitate us or disappear" dilemma.

Well, in France you can hardly talk about "solely market-driven media". If I'm counting right, we have no less than five public (fully state owned) TV channels (France 2, 3, 4, 5, ?”) and eight partialy state owned channels (Arte, France 24, TV5, Gully, Mezzo, Ma Plan??te, Plan??te Thalassa and Euronews) and the private channels are tightly controled.
With "solely market-driven media" I meant, media whose decisions are exclusively in hands of particulars, without the approval of a superior instance.

Christophe wrote:I think offering viewers the widest choice is the farthest you can go without giving up democracy. And before meddling with the private channels' programs, having decent ones on the public channels would be a first step. For example, on those thirteen French public channels there is a grand total of one scientific program (C'est pas sorcier), it's an excellent educational program for kids but this is hardly satisfying for the 7th economic power, home of CERN and ITER!
The problem would persist. There's no point in partial interventions: if you end up with all but one channel under the hood of a quality assurance program, we know for sure who will get most of the share.
But I see France's situation is not that bad after all...

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:Like you, I also believe that education (in a wide sense) is a fundamental part of the conjure for several of the most critical social issues of our time, but I naturally tend to suspect of simplistic solutions, even more when these are proposed by the same people who brought the problem in the first place. ;)

I agree with you, and out-lawing reality TV shows and the like is certainly the most simplistic solution of all ;-)

No, the most simplistic one, by far, is letting the most powerful tool conceived so far for education, human development and social justice be ruled by the same laws that govern the trade of candies. ;)

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Post #47by Christophe » 21.01.2007, 10:42

Toti wrote:It is in fact a British conception, from which France, USA and slightly later Latin America fed. But the fuel that drove it was always the benefit of increased commerce opportunities, which were harmed by the threat of religion wars. From its very inception and until this day, the liberal ideas of human rights were the interested consequence of the more prosaic economic greed and not the gracious cause of a new philosophical renewal.

This is quite a historical shortcut. Even if John Locke is generaly accepted as the father of Liberalism, his ideas were inspired by other european philosophers like Descartes and inspired in turn new ones, Montesquieu and Voltaire for example. Pinpointing a single country at the root of this cultural revolution is a bit of a strech.

And this is forgeting a bit fast that our modern democracies and the separation of powers are direct descendant of these ideas. Now you can argue that our democracies are organized for the sole benefit of a ruling minority and that the population was better off under the rule of absolute monarchs... ;-)

Toti wrote:There are several humanists in recent history, some of them truely intellectuals, who gave their lives for the cause and nevertheless abhorred the ultimate consequences of the liberal contract. This is why I tend to separate both concepts.

This is throwing the baby with the bathwater. Even Adam Smith called for a regulation of the market, particularly in the industrial sector where cartels can form easily. Liberalism is more far reaching than the current economic liberalism trends, you can't reject it in block because of deficiencies in the market organisation and regulation.

Toti wrote:We coincide here, but you'll agree with the central idea: that Western Europe, Japan and USA's educational systems are among the best of the planet and yet this seems not to be an obstacle for the successful grow of low quality media content, because it is not built upon lack of intellect but on unspeakable visceral appetites like morbidity, racism, violence, exotism, etc.

Ok, the educational systems of those countries are among the bests, that doesn't mean they can't be improved. Do they teach how to be a good citizen? Do they teach how to watch TV, how to analyze it? In France pupils do dissertations and text commentaries, but no TV show commentaries.

Toti wrote:With "solely market-driven media" I meant, media whose decisions are exclusively in hands of particulars, without the approval of a superior instance.

In France, and probably in most european countries, media still have to bow to a regulatory body.

Toti wrote:The problem would persist. There's no point in partial interventions: if you end up with all but one channel under the hood of a quality assurance program, we know for sure who will get most of the share.
But I see France's situation is not that bad after all...

Ok, so you call for an all state organized media. This is close to Pierre Bourdieu's stance on television.

I still think a better civic, moral and humanist education would be a better solution.

Toti wrote:No, the most simplistic one, by far, is letting the most powerful tool conceived so far for education, human development and social justice be ruled by the same laws that govern the trade of candies. ;)


But education is the most difficult challenge!
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Post #48by t00fri » 21.01.2007, 11:19

Christophe wrote:...
I still think a better civic, moral and humanist education would be a better solution.

Toti wrote:No, the most simplistic one, by far, is letting the most powerful tool conceived so far for education, human development and social justice be ruled by the same laws that govern the trade of candies. ;)

But education is the most difficult challenge!


As so often, I agree with you, Christophe.

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Post #49by Vincent » 21.01.2007, 11:55

Christophe wrote:Ok, the educational systems of those countries are among the bests, that doesn't mean they can't be improved. Do they teach how to be a good citizen? Do they teach how to watch TV, how to analyze it? In France pupils do dissertations and text commentaries, but no TV show commentaries.
Christophe,

That's precisely what I teach everyday in my classes ! To me, learning how to filter/analyze information is one of the most important aim of education. But unfortunately, the current ultra-Liberal (= ultra-capitalist) french government doesn't have the same feeling : no previous government has been so active in the opposite direction !

Christophe wrote:I still think a better civic, moral and humanist education would be a better solution.
Once again, I do entirely agree with you. But is this going to happen by giving directors of big companies the possibility to finance the educational system, offering students some History books that they have written by themselves ? Have you ever asked yourself why pupils have to watch 20 minutes of adverts in some schools in USA before beeing allowed to go to their classes ? Do you really think that all these private sponsors are humanists, that their only aim is to help children to become good citizens ?

My deep feeling is that they only want the majority of them to become adults with no critical-mind, only able to work 10-12 hours a day to be more competitive than Chinese 8 years-old children, and to have as a single hobby to spend their money buying things they don't even need. Of course, that will increase the economic growth. But in all these countries where the economic growth is so high, what part of the population really benefits by it ?

Christophe wrote:But education is the most difficult challenge!

Indeed, and that's probably because we're not dealing with money, or merchandise here, but with children.
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Post #50by Toti » 21.01.2007, 16:42

Christophe wrote:
Vincent wrote:So I would say that Bad TV programs are both a cause and a consequence of the decaying state of our culture. As an addiction based uppon a vicious circle effect, it is a very handy way to keep people into a state of intellectual and economical poorness, and thus, to have a better control on them...

This is getting uncomfortably close to the conspiracy theory. Who is trying to control the people? for what purpose? for the benefit of who?

Who would have any interest of keeping the largest part of the population in a state of intellectual and economical poorness?

If there is anything to learn from History since the industrial revolution is that EVERYONE benefit from the rise of the general level of education of the population.

I always have the sensation that these kind of questions are really meant to banish any attempt to get answers, but I'll go on nevertheless: keeping people away from their educational rights has been common policy since way before the creation of most Third World countries.
The reason for these practices is simple and obvious: to ensure that a stratified social structure remains static: this is, that there's no social ascension possible: the poor cannot get richer, the governing families are always few and the same, which helps to keep their economic privileges intact not matter at what cost, and all political dynamics adopt the form of an epidermal alternation of names.

This "ignorance of the lower classes" makes possible for the elites to promote such (often stealth) practices to the rank of laws: if people lacks education, and since it would be crazy to put the country's fate in the hands of those who cannot decide for themselves, then the ruler is in the "moral obligation" to deny voting rights for them. The circle has completed, and from there on a perfectly legal oligarchy is covered under the letter of a democratic constitution. Again, a common place in Latin America's history.

There are several other advantages of keeping people in a state of total ignorance. If there's no way to impede them to vote, then they can simply be convinced to do so not only against the common good of the society they belong to, but even against their own immediate interests! Given the usual desperate economical state they are in, there happens to be many surprisingly cheap ways to "convince" them...

I could describe how the disastrous effects of these policies are very noticeable even today not only in the almost total inmobility of caste-like social structures, but also in the mass psyche of the lowest classes.

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Post #51by ElChristou » 21.01.2007, 19:04

Toti wrote:...This "ignorance of the lower classes" makes possible for the elites to promote such (often stealth) practices to the rank of laws: if people lacks education, and since it would be crazy to put the country's fate in the hands of those who cannot decide for themselves, then the ruler is in the "moral obligation" to deny voting rights for them. The circle has completed, and from there on a perfectly legal oligarchy is covered under the letter of a democratic constitution. Again, a common place in Latin America's history...


Toti, this is not only true for South America, this is true for all actual "democraties", at different levels; actually in Europe, even mid/high classes (with higher educational level) believe their knowledge make them imune to the global problems, believe they can control something, believe they can choose... I would say only a very specialised elite is able to deal with fates of nations...
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Post #52by Christophe » 21.01.2007, 19:05

Vincent wrote:That's precisely what I teach everyday in my classes ! To me, learning how to filter/analyze information is one of the most important aim of education. But unfortunately, the current ultra-Liberal (= ultra-capitalist) french government doesn't have the same feeling : no previous government has been so active in the opposite direction !

I'm glad you do teach this. The French educational system is not totaly bad in this regard, I've had excellent teachers and even if we didn't work directly on TV material we were taught to take a critical approach to all sources of information.

Regarding the current French government, I often hear, as you claim, that it is "ultra-liberal". I don't think that is the case, I place it center-right [edit on 22/01/06] with a good deal of Guaulian paternalism, meaning it strongly leans on statism. In most other countries this is called the conservative party. I think what most people who oppose its policies oppose its conservatism but wrongly idenitfy it as 'liberalism'.

To further the comparison with other countries, I would say that the Parti Socialist is (or rather should be) social-democrat, but because of lack of internal reform still can't admit it. And the UDF is christian-democrat (as are some members of the PS as Jacques Delors).

So for example, although the UDF is way more liberal than the UMP, the people who accuse the UMP of being ultra-liberal would never do the same with the UDF. I always find this very frustrating, the current use of 'liberal' as an insult both in France and the US (but for almost opposite motives) appears as a denial of history to me.

Vincent wrote:Once again, I do entirely agree with you. But is this going to happen by giving directors of big companies the possibility to finance the educational system, offering students some History books that they have written by themselves ? Have you ever asked yourself why pupils have to watch 20 minutes of adverts in some schools in USA before beeing allowed to go to their classes ? Do you really think that all these private sponsors are humanists, that their only aim is to help children to become good citizens ?

Yes, the american high school system is rotten in many ways, that doesn't mean all cooperation with the private sector in schools is inherently bad. I've had excellent experiences of such cooperation at Centrale (most of its budget comes from private companies).

Vincent wrote:My deep feeling is that they only want the majority of them to become adults with no critical-mind, only able to work 10-12 hours a day to be more competitive than Chinese 8 years-old children, and to have as a single hobby to spend their money buying things they don't even need. Of course, that will increase the economic growth. But in all these countries where the economic growth is so high, what part of the population really benefits by it ?


There is a lot of social instability in China, just like there was in XIXth century Europe. They will probably will go through the same crisis and reforms we have gone through, this will take time. There is no magic wand to instantaneously bring over one billion people from a pre-industrial world to a post-industrial one.
Last edited by Christophe on 22.01.2007, 20:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #53by Toti » 21.01.2007, 21:07

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:It is in fact a British conception, from which France, USA and slightly later Latin America fed. But the fuel that drove it was always the benefit of increased commerce opportunities, which were harmed by the threat of religion wars. From its very inception and until this day, the liberal ideas of human rights were the interested consequence of the more prosaic economic greed and not the gracious cause of a new philosophical renewal.

This is quite a historical shortcut. Even if John Locke is generaly accepted as the father of Liberalism, his ideas were inspired by other european philosophers like Descartes and inspired in turn new ones, Montesquieu and Voltaire for example. Pinpointing a single country at the root of this cultural revolution is a bit of a strech.
But the British were the first to create legislation and political organization under the new ongoing ideas (i.e. the strengthen of the Parliament role and the Bill of Rights in the last quarter of the 17th century).

Christophe wrote:And this is forgeting a bit fast that our modern democracies and the separation of powers are direct descendant of these ideas. Now you can argue that our democracies are organized for the sole benefit of a ruling minority and that the population was better off under the rule of absolute monarchs... ;-)
The separation of powers that vertebrates our modern democracies is, of course, a way to avoid the threat of tyranny, but also to minimize the speed of changes: a convenient way to ensure that things don't go too far from the place they were left.

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:There are several humanists in recent history, some of them truely intellectuals, who gave their lives for the cause and nevertheless abhorred the ultimate consequences of the liberal contract. This is why I tend to separate both concepts.

This is throwing the baby with the bathwater. Even Adam Smith called for a regulation of the market, particularly in the industrial sector where cartels can form easily. Liberalism is more far reaching than the current economic liberalism trends, you can't reject it in block because of deficiencies in the market organisation and regulation.
I am fully aware of Smith's objections to the "mutual understandment" of market actors, the inherent limitations of the whole model to reach equilibrium after sustained perturbations (that had deep impact in recent history) and the sophisticated yet so far futile attempts of revisionists and researchers to refine it. And of course, I know the pressure of several international fora to force the acceptance of all aspects of this flawed model as a new kind of religious dogma.
What I am rejecting is the concealed overlapping under the same name of a system made up of humanitarian contributions with another system that -as a natural corollary- imposes the application of darwinian-like principles to human society. Here's where the main fallacy lies: those who dare to object the realization of the latter are automatically accused of negating the achievements of the former. We are witnessing this in current day events.

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:We coincide here, but you'll agree with the central idea: that Western Europe, Japan and USA's educational systems are among the best of the planet and yet this seems not to be an obstacle for the successful grow of low quality media content, because it is not built upon lack of intellect but on unspeakable visceral appetites like morbidity, racism, violence, exotism, etc.

Ok, the educational systems of those countries are among the bests, that doesn't mean they can't be improved. Do they teach how to be a good citizen? Do they teach how to watch TV, how to analyze it? In France pupils do dissertations and text commentaries, but no TV show commentaries.
They could be enhaced, and I don't doubt there would be improvements (in media content in particular) as a result. But as I said, my key point is that the mechanisms that give birth to such phenomena are deep inside human nature, and are not completely immune to the effects of education. In my view, a combination of full intellectual formation and careful content planning is the best alternative to ensure a sustained solution for the problem.

Christophe wrote:In France, and probably in most european countries, media still have to bow to a regulatory body.
In my experience those regulatory bodies are usually too restricted, and often they act after the damage has been done. And frequently, the fines they impose for infringements are way smaller than the profit byproduct of the offense. Finally, such departments do not have enough legal attributions to conduct any content planification policy.

Christophe wrote:
Toti wrote:The problem would persist. There's no point in partial interventions: if you end up with all but one channel under the hood of a quality assurance program, we know for sure who will get most of the share.
But I see France's situation is not that bad after all...
I still think a better civic, moral and humanist education would be a better solution.

I am afraid it wouldn't be enough.

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Post #54by psCargile » 22.01.2007, 20:11

Should people have freedom of choice?

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Post #55by Vincent » 25.01.2007, 11:51

Christophe wrote:Regarding the current French government, I often hear, as you claim, that it is "ultra-liberal". I don't think that is the case, I place it center-right [edit on 22/01/06]...
OK, that makes a little difference... :wink:

Christophe wrote:So for example, although the UDF is way more liberal than the UMP, the people who accuse the UMP of being ultra-liberal would never do the same with the UDF. I always find this very frustrating, the current use of 'liberal' as an insult both in France and the US (but for almost opposite motives) appears as a denial of history to me.
I agree that the UDF is at least as liberal as the UMP. I don't use 'liberal' (= capitalist) as an insult. What is terrible is that no discussion is currently possible about a system that makes a minority of people become richer and more powerful than ever and that makes the majority of the world population become poorer in the economical, social and cultural points of view.

It just seems more and more obvious that the consequences of an ultra-liberal (= ultra-capitalist) system on a social point of view are not far from the tragedy that happened in communist countries.

>> Here's a very interesting fresh paper from the International Labour Organization : [ http://www.ilo.org/public/english/burea ... 2007/2.htm ]

The number of people unemployed worldwide remained at an historical high in 2006 despite strong global economic growth...

The ILO also reported only modest gains in lifting some of the world's 1.37 billion working poor - those working but living on less than the equivalent of US$ 2 per person, per day - out of poverty, stressing that there weren't enough decent and productive jobs to raise them and their families above the US$ 2 poverty line.

"The strong economic growth of the last half decade has only had a slight impact on the reduction of the number of workers who live with their families in poverty and this was only true in a handful of countries. In addition growth failed to reduce global unemployment", said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. "What's more, even with continued strong global economic growth in 2007 there is serious concern about the prospects for decent job creation and reducing working poverty further."
And as a conclusion :
"Nowadays the widespread conviction is that decent work is the only sustainable way to reduce poverty, which is why the target of `full, productive and decent employment?? will be a new target within the Millennium Development Goals in 2007. Therefore it is now the time for governments as well as the international community to make sure that the favourable economic conditions in most parts of the world will be translated into decent job growth", concludes the report.

So what about the UMP whose aim is to generalise the use of work contracts like the CNE that allows companies to fire someone without having to provide one single argument ? :wink:
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Post #56by Christophe » 28.01.2007, 18:34

Vincent wrote:
Christophe wrote:Regarding the current French government, I often hear, as you claim, that it is "ultra-liberal". I don't think that is the case, I place it center-right [edit on 22/01/06]...
OK, that makes a little difference... :wink:

Let's call this a bungled action. The truth is, Chirac is closer and closer to Lula, he is commonly labeled "center left" if not "socialist" in foreign newspapers.

Christophe wrote:It just seems more and more obvious that the consequences of an ultra-liberal (= ultra-capitalist) system on a social point of view are not far from the tragedy that happened in communist countries.

Would you care giving an example? I'm sorry, but comparing even the less successful free market democracies to communist countries is an insult to the millions of people who suffered and died under communist dictatorships.

Another problem is that you keep using liberalism and capitalism interchangeably, they are not synonyms! Capitalism describes the way the means of production is financed: who owns it and who gets profits from it. Liberalism describes in a much broader way how society works. You can have a capitalist economy thriving in a totally anti-liberal society, China for example.

Vincent wrote:>> Here's a very interesting fresh paper from the International Labour Organization : [ http://www.ilo.org/public/english/burea ... 2007/2.htm ]

The number of people unemployed worldwide remained at an historical high in 2006 despite strong global economic growth...

The report also says that the number of jobs has never been so high. Obviously we also have to cope with a growing population, economic growth will be able to translate into better employment rates and less poverty once the demographic transition has happened everywhere, just as it happened in Europe.

If you compare two similar sized and developed countries, the more liberal one always has a higher employment rate.

Vincent wrote:So what about the UMP whose aim is to generalise the use of work contracts like the CNE that allows companies to fire someone without having to provide one single argument ? :wink:


Come on Vincent, I doubt the ILO's main worry is employment in France. CNE/CPE might not be fair, but it still gives right to the dole. And I don't think that a CNE doesn't qualify as a "full, productive and decent employment", ok you can be fired quite easily but big news: you can be fired with a CDI too! No job is for life (thank god!)

Moreover, I would say the CNE/CPE is more a sign of the government's conservatism rather than liberalism. It gives more security to the already secure older generations and less to the younger. A truely liberal move would have been to generalise Danish-type contracts (which basically is what the CNE is) to all age groups.
Christophe

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Post #57by Vincent » 31.01.2007, 15:56

Christophe wrote:Would you care giving an example? I'm sorry, but comparing even the less successful free market democracies to communist countries is an insult to the millions of people who suffered and died under communist dictatorships.
Well, here are two significant examples : Mexico and Argentina.
About Argentina, here's the result of the neoliberalist politics appplied during the 90's : [ http://www.latinamericabureau.org/?lid=83 ]

Wealth and poverty:
In May 2001, an official survey carried out in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area showed that 32.7% of the population were living below the poverty line. In 1994 this figure had been 16.4%

The income distribution has become more skewed since the 1990s.
In 1990 in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the earnings of the richest 10% of the population was 35.3% while that of the poorest 10% was 2.3%. In 2000, the earnings of the richest 10% of the population had increased to 35.3% while that of the poorest 10% had dropped to 1.4%.
This means that in 1990 the earnings of the richest 10% was 15 times the earnings of the poorest 10%. However, by 2000 the earnings of the richest 10% had increased to 26 times that of the poorest 10%.

Christophe wrote:Another problem is that you keep using liberalism and capitalism interchangeably, they are not synonyms! Capitalism describes the way the means of production is financed: who owns it and who gets profits from it. Liberalism describes in a much broader way how society works. You can have a capitalist economy thriving in a totally anti-liberal society, China for example.
Yes, you're right. I also know the difference between liberalism and capitalism. However, "liberalism" or better "neo-liberalism" are often commonly used to define the ultra-capitalist politics applied during the 80's by Reagan, Thatcher, ...

Christophe wrote:If you compare two similar sized and developed countries, the more liberal one always has a higher employment rate.
Once again, the problem is that ultra-capitalism creates undecent jobs, and that was the conclusion of the report :
'decent work is the only sustainable way to reduce poverty'
Therefore it is now the time for governments as well as the international community to make sure that the favourable economic conditions in most parts of the world will be translated into decent job growth", concludes the report.

Christophe wrote:Come on Vincent, I doubt the ILO's main worry is employment in France. CNE/CPE might not be fair, but it still gives right to the dole. And I don't think that a CNE doesn't qualify as a "full, productive and decent employment", ok you can be fired quite easily but big news: you can be fired with a CDI too! No job is for life (thank god!)

Sorry Christophe, there's a big difference : in the case of a CDI (~undertermined length contract), a solid argument is needed to fire someone. That means that a woman can't be fired because she went pregnant - what really happened with CNE. Some equitable rules have to be fixed. This makes all the difference between a decent and an undecent job.

As a conclusion, I can't have confidence in an economic system that asks the majority of the population to work harder and harder to survive while a minority is taking advantage of all the profit. Profits have never been so high, this is a reality claimed in all economy papers. Do you really believe that a consequent part of this money is invested in education, or more generally in social progress ???
@+
Vincent

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