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Argentina elects libertarian president Javier Milei - Update: Netherlands

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by AroundTheWorld, Nov 19, 2023.

  1. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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  2. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    A benevolent dictatorship, except that in China, it is not benevolent.
     
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  3. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Cult of personality - populism.
     
  4. Salvy

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  5. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    As much as Deng sold it, "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" wasn't a euphemism for Confucian values. China's current ruling structure with Xi isn't much different than dynasties of old.

    Even if there are still elements of planned/forced private sector coordination in East Asian nations, the Taiwanese government doesn't own land and companies as much as Singapore.Taiwan's trajectory in democratizing its markets has been similar to Confucian influenced cultures in Japan and South Korea.

    It's easy to simplify Eastern cultures as more collectivist than socialist, but the "traditional" millennia old reasons have greatly changed over the past century.

    How Capitalist Is Singapore Really?

    In the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, Singapore ranks as the second most “economically free” country in the world just behind Hong Kong. Since many use this index as a shorthand for “most capitalist” countries, a lot of prominent people end up saying some really weird things about Singapore. For instance, in his Liberty Con remarks, Bryan Caplan claimed Singapore was one of the closest countries to the capitalist ideal.

    It is true of course that Singapore has a market economy. But it’s also true that, in Singapore, the state owns a huge amount of the means of production. In fact, depending on how you count it, the Singaporean government probably owns more capital than any other developed country in the world after Norway.

    The Singaporean state owns 90 percent of the country’s land. Remarkably, this level of ownership was not present from the beginning. In 1949, the state owned just 31 percent of the country’s land. It got up to 90 percent land ownership through decades of forced sales, or what people in the US call eminent domain.

    The Singaporean state does not merely own the land. They directly develop it, especially for residential purposes. Over 80 percent of Singapore’s population lives in housing constructed by the country’s public housing agency HDB. The Singaporean government claims that around 90 percent of people living in HDB units “own” their home. But the way it really works is that, when a new HDB unit is built, the government sells a transferable 99-year lease for it. The value of that lease slowly declines as it approaches the 99-year mark, after which point the lease expires and possession of the HDB unit reverts back to the state. Thus, Singapore is a land where almost everyone is a long-term public housing tenant.

    Then there are the state-owned enterprises, which they euphemistically call Government-linked Companies (GLCs). Through its sovereign wealth fund Temasek, the Singaporean government owns a large share (20% or more) of 20 companies (2012 figure). Together these companies make up 37% of the market capitalization of the Singaporean stock market. The state also owns a large share of 8 real estate investment trust (REIT) companies (2012 figure), which they call GLREITs. The value of the GLREITs make up 54% of the country’s total REIT market.

    The sovereign wealth fund Temasek doesn’t just own domestic assets. It also is invested broadly throughout the world, especially in other Asian countries. In March of last year, Temasek had a net portfolio value of S$275 billion, which is equal to around 62% of the country’s annual GDP. To put this figure in more familiar terms, Temasek’s total holdings are equivalent to if the US government built a $12.4 trillion wealth fund.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t generally associate state ownership of the means of production with capitalism. One way to see whether libertarians or conservatives actually think Singapore’s system is uber-capitalistic is to imagine how they would respond to someone who ran a campaign in the US aimed at bringing the country up to the Singaporean ideal.

    In this campaign, the candidate would say that the state should expropriate nearly all of the land in the country, build virtually all of the housing in the country, move almost everyone into public housing leaseholds, become the largest shareholder of more than a third of the country’s publicly-traded companies (weighted by market capitalization), and build out a sovereign wealth fund that holds tens of trillions of dollars of corporate assets. Would this campaign meet with a warm libertarian embrace or perhaps be derided as a bit socialistic?

    The case of Singapore is more than just a funny gotcha to use against right-wingers. It actually raises an interesting question about what it is people care about when it comes to “capitalism” and “socialism.” Is capitalism primarily about markets or private ownership? Relatedly, is socialism primarily about ending markets or promoting collective ownership? Often these things are bundled together, but they are logically and practically separable. Singapore (and Norway, among others) shows that it is quite possible to collectively own the means of production while also using price systems to assist in the allocation of productive factors. This is what market socialists have been saying for a hundred years.​
     
  6. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    What Deng sold wasn't directly Confucianism but was the idea that the role of the state is to provide prosperity while the role of the people was thent to follow the state. He specifically rejected the political liberalization that Gorbachev undertook in Russia and his silence on Tiananmen showed that while he might have liked the hardliners he also didn't like the idea of social chaos. Those are vey Confucian.

    Taiwan and SK are far less Confucian in outlook and their democratic culture is far more Western with actual contested elections. Singapore has elections but the PAP party uses the tools of the states to marginalize and even punish political opponents. While not officially it is practically a one party state. Lee Kuan Yew himself spoke of Confucian values and frequently cited the success of Singapore as justification for borderline authoritarian rule.
    While the concept of the Mandate of Heaven isn't taken seriously anymore the same reasons for a more collectivist and conformist culture in places like Singapore, PRC and Japan still exist. Social order and harmony are very important to Confucian systems. The measure and means of success in that thinking is dependent upon an orderly society. If you listen to not just PRC propaganda but even Singaporean criticism of the Western democracies (including Taiwan) is that those systems are very disorderly. The PRC trumpets things like Jan. 6 and the turmoil with electing a speaker to say that Western democracy is a failure.
    I agree and am aware of everything in that piece. My graduate thesis was based off of Singapore's HDB system and when I was researching it in Grad school I was surprised at how much control the Singapore government had on the land and economy of Singapore.
     
  7. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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  8. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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  9. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    I had a longer reply written up that was somehow lost, and I disagree that Taiwan and SK are "far less Confucian." Yes, they are secular governments, but they are individually allowed to practice and express far more than whatever China or even Singapore could. I would argue the transplants that came from mainland to Taiwan have spread Confucian culture far better than whatever is being practiced in the mainland today.

    Whatever the CCP is promoting is not truly Confucian rather a bastardized state approved version of it. Just look back at the cultural revolution and how they destroyed their own heritage to the point where the Nationalists looting their historical artifacts to Taiwan can be seen as a positive thing for culture and posterity. Their Buddhist monks that roam around cities can eat meat, marry, smoke, and drink. They can use their phones to shitpost when they're "off the clock" on their smoking breaks. Even the state approved Catholic Church walks on eggshells with a bastardized version practiced in China that the Vatican can only waver for the sake of access.

    The old One Child Policy created Little Emperors that greatly distorted traditional family hierarchies...which is multiplied with the aforementioned Cultural Revolution that encouraged ratting on parents, cousins, and distant relatives for public humiliation.

    Gutter oil and tofu dregs aren't as pervasive in Taiwan as in China. While getting an edge in capitalism encourages businesses to cut corners, it's nowhere as bad as the rampant consumer fraud the Chinese wreck upon their own people.

    Not very Confucian-like if you ask me, but the CCP can boast and lie freely non-stop inside their internet firewall.

    As for authoritarian leaders dismissing "Western Democratic influences", that's the tried and true Socialist playbook to convince starving people that they're more well off if "their betters" make decisions for them and that "choosing/voting" is a messy and chaotic responsibility ill suited for Our Culture. Authoritarian Muslim leaders claim the same thing.

    Democratic and legislative chaos is a feature, not a bug. Rather than suppressing the conflict with censorship or secret police, it's out in the open for people to discuss and vote upon. Yeah, it's being attacked every day, but what is the realistic alternative that you want to live in?

    There was more detail, but pretty much what I was getting at with the lost reply.
     
  10. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I’m not saying they are exactly Confucian as obviously no one’s brought the position of emperor back but the Taiwan and SK are far more politically liberal than Singapore of the PRC which are either openly or practically one party states. The paternalism and emphasis on top down leadership is what is Confucian. Also it’s not just the PRC that has criticized Western politics as Lee Kuan Yew did too.

    Also am talking about the current CCP and not the party at the time of the cultural revolution which was ahistorical madness. The current leadership and much of PRC propaganda harkens back to the time greatness of past dynasties and Confucian values.
     
  11. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    1) You can't dismiss the cultural revolution as "historical madness" when a) Xi is selling a revionist harkening of Mao and a modern Marxist visiion for China* and b) they have censored the past and still maintain lies being taught in their history classes. What is that Orwell/Rage quote about controlling the past to control the future?

    Your point about political v individual practices for China is harder to compartmentalize because the government forces its people what to think with an iron or velvet fist. They actively deincentivize free thinking and creativity to the point that producing new innovative products are difficult in high end industries such as aerospace or ballpoint pens because it's easier to steal tech than rock the boat with new ideas.

    In democracies, institutional cultures are way less rigid than in authoritarian governments or militaries. So whether it's confucianism or Buddhism from the people, a top-down and bottom-up dynamic will be seen more in their governments than whatever authoritarian state pretends to be. That's why you're discussing "different eras" of the CCP because that happens at the whim of it's supreme leader rather than a nation's cultural and social zeitgeist.

    To reiterate, they tore down institutions like Buddhist sects and rebuilt them into their Disneyfied image. "Paternalism and emphasis on top down leadership is what is Confucian" is a shoehorned rationalization for their legitimacy, as the oft repeated talking point around the 2000s where "yeah, the CCP has been historically awful, but you have to understand they kept us safe at a time when we were weak. LoOk aT uS nOw." China is still weak? Neoliberalism and open elections swept through E. Asia in the 1980s, which also influenced students in Tianamen at the mainland. S. Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines all saw reforms despite being "weaker nations".

    So it's unadulterated hokum that control and oppression of the people is for the good of the people with Confucianism as the basis. At the individual level, the CCP doesn't give a **** about it's people, yet still brainwash their people about the marvels of the family/state dynamic? Is that before or after pregnant mothers were forced to abort their child at the government's behest? When did that Historical Madness end?

    2) LKY liked playing both sides and over time, he also praised the Taiwanese system when he saw power transfered between KMT and DPP without bloodshed.

    *BTW, unless Karl is a reincarnated version of Confucius, nowhere is confucianism mentioned in Xi's list of thoughts.
     
    #231 Invisible Fan, Jan 22, 2024
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2024
  12. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    You’ve got a lot here but to give a succinct response. Yes what the PRC and
    Singapore is doing is not exactly ancient Confucian but they are deliberately citing Confucian values. The emphasis on order and harmony is fundamental to Confucian thought.

    While the CCP and Xi in particular have rehabilitated Maoism they are certainly not bringing back the cultural revolution but have talked about Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Those characteristics are Confucian. This is a piece that explains some
    Of that:
    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-01-...-Jinping-s-Davos-speech-XmEdCKk6mk/index.html

    The PRC openly advances the Confucianism through funding of the Confucius Institute which has several branches throughout the World.
     
  13. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    Dubček faints.
     
  14. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    lol I gotta read that
     
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  15. ROCKSS

    ROCKSS Contributing Member

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    For real.......you would go for this? To each his own, but I would never be down for this.

    Anarcho-capitalism (colloquially: ancap or an-cap) is an anti-statist,[3] libertarian[4] political philosophy and economic theory that seeks to abolish centralized states in favor of stateless societies with systems of private property enforced by private agencies, the non-aggression principle, free markets and self-ownership, which extends the concept to include control of private property as part of the self. In the absence of statute, anarcho-capitalists hold that society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through participation in the free market, which they describe as a voluntary society involving the voluntary exchange of goods and services.[5][6][7][8] In a theoretical anarcho-capitalist society, the system of private property would still exist and be enforced by private defense agencies and/or insurance companies selected by customers, which would operate competitively in a market and fulfill the roles of courts and the police
     
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  16. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    It sounds exactly like feudalism with kingdoms, warlords and mercenary armies. :D You just have to make sure your castle has big walls, that you have a moat, and that you store enough pigs for yourself and your family during the long winter. Sounds like a lot of gated communities in Florida, TBH. Haha.

    EDIT -- Argentina: Fury Road, coming to a theater near you
     
  17. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    I have to read more about it.

    But anything is better than big government.
     
  18. rimbaud

    rimbaud Contributing Member
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    Yeah and you had people like Nozick arguing for “consensual non-coercive enslavement contracts” where you basically buy into the controlling corporate entity of a particular state. Because corporations controlling even more of our lives is liberty something something.
     
  19. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    Anarcho Capitalism sounds like another branch of Libertarianism and Objectivism. It sounds very utopian.

    On a related note it’s interesting that many who claim to follow Libertarian ideals are also so concerned about nationalistic issues like protecting borders. Under the libertarian ideal and it sounds like the Anarcho Capitol ideal there would be no borders and labor and capital would move freely.
     
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  20. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    Except apparently in Florida where big government, censorship, and cancel culture are the rule of the day.
     

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