Weekly Open Thread (24 February 2007)

Happy February! -- Discuss amongst yourselves.

The Paradoxes of Capitalism

HankP's picture

In memory of Jackson Mead, who undoubtedly would have explained that I just don't understand business, economics, or much of anything else for that matter :)

In my entirely informal studies of economics and markets*, there are a number of questions that have come to me about modern corporate capitalism and some of the seeming paradoxes that it involves.

- We are told that capitalism is the most efficient way to allocate resources, yet when our country last faced a serious military threat in WWII we changed in large part to a command economy (actually closer to a fascist economy, with government command and nominal private ownership). Does this mean that capitalism isn't really the best way to allocate resources, or just that in truly dangerous times we don't trust it to do so? If the government had not commandeered the economy, would it have helped or hurt the war effort?

Tony Blair and the Mirror of Erised

HankP's picture

(For those of you fortunate enough to not have a child who watched and read everything Harry Potter for several years, the Mirror of Erised was a mirror that Harry Potter discovered in a back room at his school. It was explained to him that the mirror reflected an image of the watcher's deepest desires.)

Tony Blair announced today that Britain will withdraw 1600 troops from Iraq in the coming months and may reduce it's forces in country by over 40% by the end of the year if conditions on the ground allow it. There have also been announcements by Denmark and Lithuania that they are reducing their troops in Iraq, even as the US is in the process of increasing troop levels to carry out the "surge" that is the strategy of the month. The report referenced above implies that Basra will in effect be turned over to the Shiite militias that have increasingly controlled the area over the past year or two.

Iraqi Oil Law

A preliminary draft has been leaked for over a month now. Someone translated it into English recently here: http://www.al-ghad.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/iraqi_oil_law.pdf

Just because the rest of the US isn't discussing it doesn't mean we shouldn't. A quick few questions:

(1) *Why* isn't this on the US media's radar?

(2) What to make of the decision-making process? As I understand it, the terms have been set essentially by the oil cos, the Bush admin. and a subsequent review by the IMF. Should the Iraqi parliament be more involved? Do Ds in Congress intend to participate in the decision-making process?

A Liberal's Ruminations on Saturday's Vote.

In our highminded zeal to obstruct the will of George W Bush, the Progressives have forgotten the political winds which blew Bush into power. The Neocons are described as Conservative, but that is something of a misnomer. They are the old Pinkos under a new label, and were once labeled unreconstructed Liberals. They felt they could change the world by breaking up the calcified foreign policy of the State Department and the intransigent military.

Unfortunately, a certain wing of the Progressives sound dangerously like the old Neoconservatives. Prosecute! Stop them! Stop the Killers! This is patent nonsense, and I do not care who I offend in so saying. America has an unfortunate tendency to believe Throwing Out the Rascals is a valid substitute for a plan: it is not. Few revolutions have produced good things, our own included. Only the glacier-slow pace of legal reforms have made any difference in the lives of men: the usual aftermath of mere revolution is worse than before.

Forvm News and Open Thread 2-16-07

Time for an open thread in these parts. I's a little sick of seeing our current top post on the F-P.

So Elagabulas, give us some clips to some jazz artists! And all of the rest of you follow suit!

And special congrats to our 30,000th commenter, Bill White, as well as our newest moderator, the one and only, MScott!!

History will not be kind

Representative Raul Grijalva's speech in the House anti-surge debate, regarding Iraq:

history and fact will not be kind to the decision-makers

A condemnation he makes of Republicans and Democrats alike, with the caveat that the proposed resolution offers a way to redress past errors:

The lack of leadership by this administration requires - no, demands - that this Congress assert its Constitutional duty, to check and balance this Administration and to respond to the crisis in Iraq with purpose and resolve.

I Hereby Resign

as a moderator, and will cease any and all affiliation with the Forvm. Thank You.

I'm trying to make the best out of a bad situation. I don't need to hear crap from a bunch of hippie freaks living in denial! Screw you guys, I'm going home!

Shorter Glenn Reynolds: Uncle Sam Should Lead With His Chin

Glenn Reynolds recently stirred up outrage among several anti-war web-loggers with his
suggestion that the United States assassinate Iranians the US government- or Mr. Reynolds- considers inimical to US interests. His list includes radical Mullahs and nuclear physicists. Now, the protests against this suggestion have focused on the moral and legal issues it raises, and they have good reason to do so. We resist erasing the distinction between war and murder, for the very good reason that we don't want to turn soldiers into murderers.

But whatever your opinion of the moral and legal implications of Mr. Reynolds's suggestion, consider its strategic absurdity. The United States has a trillion dollar investment in the most technologically sophisticated military in the world, and Mr. Reynolds wants to get into the back alleys of asymmetrical warfare and fight it out with the equivalent of a switchblade and a brick in a sock. Sending a carrier to the straight of Hormuz makes sense partly because Iranians have no aircraft carriers they can send to Cape Hatteras. But if the US government insists on sending assassins to Iran, the Iranians can reciprocate.

Why I think Jimmy Carter is a Useless Jerk, Pt.1

Bernard Guerrero's picture

Is Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic?

I’m posting this as a partial reply to a legitimate question by one of our regular posters, “catchy”. I implied, by way of a comment on a prior diary, that Carter was, if not a full-blown anti-Semite, on his way to becoming one. I’ll stand by that. I can’t know what the man is actually thinking, men’s souls being islands, but his actions and words at the least give great comfort to anti-Semites, and at times approach the level that one could label him as such.

A) Quoting from Carter’s most recent book: “There are constant and vehement political and media debates in Israel concerning its policies in the West Bank but because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the U.S., Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, voices from Jerusalem dominate our media, and most American citizens are unaware of circumstances in the occupied territories.”

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