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macvirt

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  1. Textbook case of Big Lie methodology. I'm surprised RPS has not figured out EA's use of it yet. Could be that they are still a bit hesitant because of popular connotations attached to that concept, but still, it is textbook step by step.
  2. Sex education at school and at home is one of the most useful buffer mechanisms against the socio-environmental stimuli children are bombarded with outside of the extended family unit / circle (which includes school btw), which is pretty much everywhere else. And no, the solution is never segregation or isolation, that only results in group dynamics incapable of functioning among / collaborative with / competitive to other group dynamics. It's something that guarantees costly conflict. The mere idea of going against such a much needed buffer mechanism is beyond stupid. Truth be told, it is dangerous. Not just for children as individuals, but even more so for society as a whole as group behaviour always changes through individual behaviour being internalised by social dynamics.
  3. 4th world problems indeed.
  4. I would not say the dust has settled. To be honest, if there was any dust it was limited to community media first, mainstream media second, but more importantly to a relatively limited set of user types connected to the franchise. EA has made clear in its communications that it is business as usual, and that the road taken will be followed. To be honest, for them the correct decisions. SC2013 is a textbook case of adapting a niche product (with an established but niche audience) to a broader audience for commercial purposes. Yes, EA did leave a lot of gaps in that process of adaptation, and yes they did create several issues for themselves which could have easily been prevented. But this remains something that mostly affects that already existing franchise audience. Not the audiences of EA's targeted volume market. In many ways it is a very similar situation to that of the Civilization V release by Firaxis / 2KGames, at the time. Existing fanbase, used to provide foundation elements for marketing, product turns out to be tailored for a different market anyway, core users are frustrated, casual gaming users are happy. Company engages release of a lower development cost product, makes tons more with content based DLC, makes even more with feature based DLC so widen the experience of the main target and make good use of the previous core users who reach for the wallet because they want to believe. Meanwhile the studio takes flak, publisher practices standard "big lie" marketing and is happy because business is as usual. SC2013 is a franchise reboot. What did people expect. Be honest. Sure, server issues could have been prevented, but the default practice is to create the conditions to allow such issues to arise. It generates buzz, which is very easy to turn in to positive marketing instrumentation, while also cutting out those who are not the real target customer thus preventing them from inserting negative messaging in to the volume market community trending which marketing aims to create. Folks, it's business.
  5. Why shouldn't they? It pays more, it costs less, it even makes it easier and cheaper to tailor a release format to volume markets. As long as consumers buy in to it, this trend will only further itself.
  6. Discussion about City Tile Size

    Ofcourse there is such a spot. But that does constitute a niche market. Look at it this way, you have a limited budget that comes from investors looking for dividends. You can create something with that budget that sells to a niche market, or you can do that for a volume market cheaper and use some of the leftover budget to create a marketing campaign that uses the niche market so that you can sell to that too (even though the product was not designed to cater to it). In terms of venture development EA made the right decisions. Ofcourse, they did a less than stellar job in risk management and planning, but far from the acute terribleness of the marketing job. But that too is largely irrelevant because the product was designed to keep selling extra's, repairing the sales curve can be achieved. Obviously that will require more marketing (and frankly, a very different marketing approach if they do not want to achieve repair goals by degrading brand value in the long run) but it can be done. It's a bit of a divide right now in the industry. There is the publisher segment which has moved away from the creative and innovative challenges, and there's the chaos of everything else. Either way, niche markets are less than attractive, particularly to the publishers. It remains much more interesting to tailor products to cater towards volume markets while making use of existing franchise fanbase (the niche market) as a marketing catalyst.
  7. Personally I couldn't agree more with the RPS review of it. They even note EA's little escape option from potential exposure issues over DLC following the less than optimal launch and reboot issues.
  8. Current goings on in Cyprus

    I was referring to the recent stream of proposed and effectuated changes in quite a few western European countries where the topics of student loans, reeducation loans as well as child budgets have become caught in an interesting set of changes. What struck me was that a lot of the debates were focused around changes which would make the results of those changes quite similar to American constructs. Ofcourse, the idea is always that a job yielded by education in return yields income to repay the incurred debts in such a manner that it does not conflict with the economic requirements of consumerism. Unfortunately that kind of thinking does make me nervous, because it is fine theory but the practice can be very different when the wrong knobs are turned (as we have seen in the US). But, lets's get back on topic, because there is an interesting case in point. Debt is only bad if you can't finance it with more debt. Let's think about that statement for a moment, it is a reality of our thinking today. But it is an artificial reality (ofcourse, that is always the case with our species), more importantly it is one that rests on a set of circumstances & conditions and is only stable as long as the dependancies for it remain under control. Let's not go in to a moral aspect of how healthy it is to institutionalise and internalise on a cultural level that spending what you do not have is good. Let's take a look at dependancies. Every system of organisation, every reality effectuated by human beings has them. But they are not static, they do change. More importantly, they can be outside of the realm of control and influence required to maintain them and their state. This is something we see in our modern patterns of globalisation in many regards, dependancies shift. What was once a domain of say politics today is a domain of economics, what was once a given set of circumstances within the national economy of a country today under the influence of finance no longer rests within a national economy, and very often not even in the actual country. The way we organise things are indeed based on our ideologically influenced systems of declaring debt. But we forget the dependancies of these influenced systems. In essence, our governments and banks are trying to treat symptoms. They are not acknowledging the possibility that the body has to operate in a changing environment, nor how that affects that body, or even how such changes can cause a disease or injury because the body continues to operate as if it is still walking around in the previous environment. Equally, we should not forget that the premises on which we base our influence of ideology on our systems of organisation are artificial constructs as well. Ofcourse we seek models and ways to capture our desired reality in order to control it, but that takes us right back to the challenge of changing circumstances. Whereas here we have to think about that influence, and the premises it rests on. Capitalism once had natural limitations to growth as an integral part of ideology, today however it does not. It is interesting to see that most debates on that tend to point to how throughout history there is always growth! Well ofcourse, after all if we forget about the demographics underneath it all we are ofcourse free to creatively use statistics for graphs that support our desired convictions But we no longer acknowledge that there are limits to growth, most of the fear in high finance today (which creates most of the causes of both excesses in human behaviour connected as well as the reflexive focus on concentrating wealth in a sense of planning for the "expected" next cycle of growth which has to happen because that is what our convictions tell us) comes from not being able to come to terms with this. We've had that fundamental problem since decades now, and our only solution has been to artificially inflate the volume of wealth by thinning the stream. It's the crux of having cake and eating it too. Since there is but one cake, and we are seemingly unable to bake another, we inflate the cake to make it look bigger. No wonder the sides of the cake crack a bit already. So if our idea of paying debt by financing it with more debt is such a good system, why is that not solving the problems today? Our cyclic models that predict" that the system works flawlessly have already faltered and failed. The most known ones today are covering behinds with claims of the cycles stretching but all the variables and dependancies being the same. Yet if we look out in to the world and the practical reality we see that those are increasingly not the same. Don't get me wrong, I fully agree that most governments in this conflict with our financial industry misses quite a few things, and that many actions taken are counterproductive to the realities of human psychology. But might it not be an idea in light of limits to growth being an actual reality and not a mere conviction (as today's theorem of unlimited growth being a natural state of capitalist organisation) to reinvestigate this notion of "it is good to pay debts by financing it with more debt"? Throughout our history as a species we have had the opportunity to organise ourselves according to the circumstances and challenges we faced, but every so often we arrive at a point where our forms of organisation no longer match the circumstances as they have changed as (depending on era and event ofcourse) either dependancies have shifted to outside forms of organisation or they have degraded or even disappeared. At such times in history we - with the obvious luck of hindsight later in history - see that after quite a bit of turmoil we create and adopt new systems of organisation because the old ones no longer work. We try to adapt them for a while, things go badly, cultural catalysts ensue, and after a lot of costs that could have been avoided we come up with new forms of organisation for new circumstances. The question in economics in our day & time now is whether we can stretch current systems through limited adaptations because it is still part of the "normal" cyclic forces of economics as we "see" them (and thus no necessity to create new forms of organisation) or whether we have reached limitations of our current organisation as the dependancies for it are shifting and whether that signals another such point in history of having to say goodbye to the old and come up with new forms of organisation. It does not take much to see the extreme potential for conflict between these paths. Nor to see the potential for conflicts for either, regardless of whichever is the case. But we can't ignore the necessity to look without the glasses we have been wearing to see whether there is a fork on the road or whether we missed it. It is only natural for us given our nature to seek status quo as a factor of enablement and growth, but we can not deny that there are structural limits to our ability to maintain an artificial state of affairs as a stable foundation for anything we might dream to build on. I fully agree that the timing and nature of actions taken and considered is far from right. Yet none of the alternatives where effectuated in countries (or even global economics) show themselves to be closer to being right. That alone should tell us something. All I am saying is that at minimum it should tell us that we need to examine our circumstances, our dependancies, our assumptions, our convictions, and figure out how and where changes are still under influence or control. And to take it from there. Every now and then we have to look at not just the horizon, or the road, but also our shoes, feet as well as the other people on the road (including those sitting on the side and the dead ones at the horizon behind us).
  9. Anyone else lost interest?

    Older build videos like one remind me why the release version just does not manage to keep my attention, sadly. If only they would have taken more time, less DLC focus and very different marketing.
  10. Current goings on in Cyprus

    We are currently doing that and it is not doing our economy any favors. Just cutting back billions after billions on top of more billions is destroying our economy just as much as not doing anything. It is destroying the social safety net, it is further eroding the public's trust in both the government and the economy, which only results in declining consumer trust, it is destroying more jobs than it creates. And does it make things more efficient? No, it does not, things are just cut out or outsourced to private companies who do the same work for double the price (which the government ends up paying). Meanwhile we also made education more expensive, when the benefits on education are huge. Every euro spend on educating people will pay itself back when you have a well educated workforce who can do good jobs that pay more. I could not agree more with the absolute necessity to invest in people. Trouble is, for our current system in its circumstances of facing natural limits to growth it does not pay to invest in all people for those sectors which have the deepest footprint in our societal economics. I fully agree that it is an extremely short sighted perspective, one that does not take even the most basic lessons of history in to account. Unfortunately this is a consequence of our general mentality as well as the theories of our systems of organisation where people are part of available categories of resources. This is extremely visible in liberal orientation towards education today. If we must invest, we must do it in such a way that those who receive education a) receive it in a very specific job / function specialised format and b) receive with it a structural debt which binds them to the connected role for that path of specialisation for the bulk of their productive life. It does not take a genius to see how that conflicts not just with basic social orientation or the generic human dynamic (consider for a moment the relation between facing such a debt and on top of that also engaging on further debts for buying a house, bypassing the direct relations between participatory consumption and one of the biggest elements of national economics: the housing / construction industry), but more importantly how this encourages consumptive behaviour which is - to say the least - hardly in line with the requirements of the economical functioning of current society: consumerism. No wonder that in Europe people are less and less inclined to buy houses and more inclined to rent them, to name but one thing. The one thing I notice here in Europe is that in this struggle between political and economical forces both sides are a complete mismatch not just for each other, but also for those on who's shoulders they really rest (whether they admit or even realise it or not). Not a day goes by reading newspapers here where I wonder how both those sides completely miss the basic functioning of human psychology in their decisions and negotiations. Well, with the notable exception of Germany. For some reason there politics and economics still work in their roles together. Remarkable, and it shows. In Holland both the government and employer & industry organisations and representations somehow completely sidestep every sign of human psychology that does not underwrite their desired outcomes of ideas. Most recent example being the changes in their taxations of private capital for the healthcare system. How hard is it to understand that if you increase taxation on a basis of reserved private capital that people engage in methods to artificially decrease their capital so that they pay less. Yet both the advisories from their insurance companies and banks as well as the government in place elect to ignore the signs. Even worse, both sides spend a lot of energy and money declaring how people will not do such a thing. Practical result: people do it en masse.
  11. Current goings on in Cyprus

    Wasn't aware that "staying within your means" and "conservative fiscal planning" is "crap".... but to each his own. I know here in the U.S. the most well off states and cities are run by republicans. But by the same token George Bush didn't do a thing to stop us from going down this horrible path, and he claimed to be a conservative.. Sadly (I am a Republican) that is merely the narrative, not supported by the economic figures after they have been corrected by ranking agencies. Ofcourse, we could argue that because those are not American they are evil, but there is a rather bitter truth in how we tend to get caught in how we present things and the reality beneath it. The idea that because we Republicans out of our ideology are better suited for making money is a popular myth, but it is a myth. We are good at artificially inflating economic circles yes, but there always remains the difference between the virtual economy figures and those of spending figures in reality. I'm a liberal, and I am a moderate conservative, but I will always be the first to admit that we always need to make a reality check to discern between our propaganda and the difference between our wishes & wants versus reality. It does not matter whether we look at federal, state or urban level, we're good at making economics work for special interests, but we always do so by declaring debt shouldered by the general interests. That is something which has worked very well, particularly ever since we removed a lot of restrictions against such methods on the federal level under Reagan, but there are limits to such artificial constructs. The most notable one is that of the psychology of human behaviour, the absence of buffer mechanisms always leads to excesses in behaviour. The costs of which have traditionally been shifted to the society as a whole. In a way having a Democrate for President these recent terms is pure irony, because the policies are more Republican than most of us Republicans are willing to admit. Biggest example recently is the bank bailout. Both concept and methods put together out of an advisory circle of liberal conservative orientation. Pure irony. As much as I dislike that Obama is a Democrate I have to admit that when push comes to shove on matters of economics he is a liberal conservative who operates directly in line with the special interests our own party has spent 70 years securing as part of our networks. As for Cyprus, it is quite hard for us as Americans to understand the resistance of Europeans against offloading problems created by financial institutions through excesses in human behaviour on the tax payer. The recent storm of the financial world against that Dutch Dijsselbloem guy is absolutely hilarious, even if it is sad because his statements made clear that the conflict between politics and economics has reached the point where in Europe it is no longer a given that enterprises and institutions of finance who aspire to abusing the dependancies between economics and society by means of offloading their problems on the shoulders of citizens can continue to do so. That was the crux of the media madness. Why are you saying that you will no longer use tax payer money to pay our debts man! How are we going to keep making our money. Twisted. Ofcourse the Russian connection is interesting, but it was a given that their money would find a backdoor to leave. That is what they invested for after all. What is really surprising is that Russia did not use this opportunity to insert Gazprom in to the mix and secure yet another vaste reservoir of natural gas for strengthening the energy stranglehold on the EU. That is the real surprise of all of this. Cyprus basically went to Russia to negotiate, and unlike every other similar situation in the past the Russians said "no, we're not even interested in getting your gas fields". A very strange hiccup in Russia's foreign and economic policy. Personally I do not see any problem with allowing enterprises and institutions who screw up to fail, no matter how big they are. Not only is it morally right, it is also commercially and economically rewarding for the society they are connected to (ofcourse it creates chaos, but it creates more opportunities than it destroys, that is after all what upsetting any status quo does in human history). We've seen the examples of Argentina and Brasil where matters were too big to fail and they failed anyway, after which a guided approach at covering debts through declaration of further debts has created an economy inherently unstable and prone to the demise of opportunity trending, but we have also seen other examples where societies decided to not take that road and where it took a mere few years to revamp the society in to an extremely productive one. Look at Iceland for example, lots of madness, lots of drama, lots of lobbyism from the financial world but they let the banks go bust. And as a result their economy is in better shape now than it has been for the past 40 years (which incidentally marks the time where banks created the same problems as well, equally incidentally problems created by the fathers of the very same people who inflated Iceland's economics and ran off with billions in the most recent crisis). But really, what could possibly be wrong with refusing to let a society pay for the deliberate and conscious decisions of financial entities to create problems for themselves and their invested parties. It's not like letting them fail kills economies. It's not like letting them die introduces instabilities among dependancies, those after all are already in place because they are created by such policies of such enterprises. Look, I'm sorry, but the bulk of all the storms is nothing more than marketing from interest groups who do not want to adapt to circumstances changing and their ability to offload debts on a society as a whole being negated. Sure, that is how they tend to make the most money, but where does the idea even come from that a society as a whole has to bear the load of deliberately created debt and failure of a mere few. Where does the idea of "too big to fail" even come from? It's marketing, that is clear yes, but where does it come from? From those entities who stand to make as much money as before when they have to carry their own risks. Twisted. The truth in it is that our financial sectors are just lazy, and scared, but they have left no room for competition deliberately so their only recourse is to seek a structural influence over politics for as long as that still is a limiting factor. In that sense it is again pure irony that stateside they have won that battle (we're once again artificially inflating our economy with business as usual) whereas in the EU that conflict has now taken a different turn. I get the idea here in Europe that exactly because they carry so much history they may be less prone to flexibly seize circumstances as for example the US, but equally because of that history they also have a much deeper cross cultural memory of how bad things can get when powers of systems and organisation are not seperated. Let's not forget that the period since the second World War until today is the longest period in the history of the continent where its peoples have not alternated between the continent burning from war or poverty or the right of kings every few short decades. The idea behind the concept of the EU is that of a security mechanism against the lessons of history. Sure, it is diverse and often enough even almost schizofrenic, but they invest much more in the processes rather than temporary outcomes. Something which for the long term will actually stabilise matters better than any other approach. There will be tough lessons, and it is not going to be easy, but it is a continent which has known so much worse in its history. And let's be honest, they all individually have a lot to lose from remaining individuals. Even more honestly, they are figuring out how to make money out of the screwups of the financial world. Remarkable. I can't see the EU fracturing, but I can see it changing. In many ways it reminds me of its precursors like the league of city states in more ancient times where Athens was rather a lot more than today's tourist attraction. What they will have to do eventually is decide which direction to take. They are required to grow their interconnectivity, and they are doing that (because it pays to do so), but there is a big choice between seeking political union and economic union. Right now it is moving towards the latter, but in full recognition that if that is to be the road it is to be one under control of their implementation of trias politica and not as in the us under control of special interest constructs. For me as an American it is hard to get my head around, especially as a Republican even, but regardless of what European country you visit there is this wierd thing of going wherever you like to go and always seeing the signs of destruction and causes of that in the past. Maybe that is what we back home miss, we have plenty of monuments, but we have no scars on our soil that constantly scratch our legs when we try to walk.
  12. Capitalism versus Socialism

    But there is no such thing as a capitalist or socialist society. We confuse ideology with systems of organisation. This is how we are brought up, regardless of in which ideology we are taught to believe. And that is the crucial element, taught to believe. Our perspectives of which ideology creates what is just that: what we are taught to believe. The information we are given is always in service of which ideology is dominant in and over our lives. So ofcourse we as Americans believe that capitalism creates opportunity. Which is true as long as you believe it. Unfortunately opportunity comes from something much, much more basic: human beings exchanging their perspectives, human beings exchanging trust. That is what creates opportunities. It does pain me to have to recognise this as an American, because until I moved abroad I found such "notions" tantamount to everything I had ever learned. Trouble is, I can't deny it any more. Not in the light of information that quite simply would never have been put on our table back home. Opportunity is created everywhere people come together. Ideology has nothing to do with it. There is not even a statistical relation between any ideology and number of opportunities or even economic growth or cultural progression. We forget that we Americans elected to engage in a conflict between ideologies as an extension of a conflict of politics, and later on economics. Socialism did not fail in Russia because it did not create systems of organisation that were created. We forget that there was no opportunity for socialism as ideology to even be tested in its own right there. Quite simply because of the Cold War. Socialism in Russia went bust because our ability to gain flexible control over resources globally outperformed that of Russia's own attempts because they were in shambles from winning a very costly war while we had used that war to build the foundation for economic dominance. In a nutshell, we forced them to compete militarily and the cost of engaging in that conflict forced them going broke. Socialism, communism, whichever form of ideology was put on a table, did not work because it was not an ideological conflict but an economical conflict forced in a format of military expenditures which Russia was unable to compete in structurally because of our headstart following WWII. Now on the level of theory, you are right, in terms of the orientation of the theories beneath what turned in to ideology. A focus on human interaction from the perspective of social exchange as the basis beneath all other exchanges is something which in theory is more prone to generate an equality which is not present in forms of human interaction which prioritise the theoretical concept of opportunity management - because the latter is a case of resource management, and when we classify the human element as part of our resources we by default create a form of organisation where the inequality of resources is paramount to the functionality of that organisation. Which - again still on the level of the theoretical debate - in a moral sense can very honestly be described as less socially oriented. But again, what once was theory became ideology. And in truth, through all the persistance of the required propaganda it became something very close to religion. The forms of human organisation we as human beings come up with have the requirement of participation in it, it is our ultimate catch22 of human existance. For a chosen form of organisation to persist people must participate in it and thus must believe in it. But that can all too easily become a problem, because this requires a status quo which is not a given in the world we live in. It is ofcourse understandable that we try to maintain our status quo, but we should recognise that a) we can go too far in our methods in service of that and b) that there are always times where we have to adapt to changing circumstances and changing dependancies. If we then solely cling to our ideologically created narrative we deny ourselves the mere chance of seizing the opportunities of a changing world. It denies us from learning our lessons, from preserving and strengthening that which balances the interests of the whole with those of its parts, it denies us survival and growth on our own terms. We make the choice to not seize opportunities because we persist in our thinking only because we believe that our ideology is reality. This is so contrary even to our own ideology that it is almost mindnumbingly baffling. Yet we still make that same choice to believe and continue "as is". Why? Who benefits, the eternal question. Not society, that much should be clear to even the most stubborn ideologically guided person today. So what is the solution then? Going all the way to one extreme end of a scale? How is any position on a far end of a scale ever a good recipee for balance? It is madness. But there is no such thing as a capitalist or socialist society. We confuse ideology with systems of organisation. This is how we are brought up, regardless of in which ideology we are taught to believe. And that is the crucial element, taught to believe. Our perspectives of which ideology creates what is just that: what we are taught to believe. The information we are given is always in service of which ideology is dominant in and over our lives. So ofcourse we as Americans believe that capitalism creates opportunity. Which is true as long as you believe it. Unfortunately opportunity comes from something much, much more basic: human beings exchanging their perspectives, human beings exchanging trust. That is what creates opportunities. It does pain me to have to recognise this as an American, because until I moved abroad I found such "notions" tantamount to everything I had ever learned. Trouble is, I can't deny it any more. Not in the light of information that quite simply would never have been put on our table back home. Opportunity is created everywhere people come together. Ideology has nothing to do with it. There is not even a statistical relation between any ideology and number of opportunities or even economic growth or cultural progression. We forget that we Americans elected to engage in a conflict between ideologies as an extension of a conflict of politics, and later on economics. Socialism did not fail in Russia because it did not create systems of organisation that were created. We forget that there was no opportunity for socialism as ideology to even be tested in its own right there. Quite simply because of the Cold War. Socialism in Russia went bust because our ability to gain flexible control over resources globally outperformed that of Russia's own attempts because they were in shambles from winning a very costly war while we had used that war to build the foundation for economic dominance. In a nutshell, we forced them to compete militarily and the cost of engaging in that conflict forced them going broke. Socialism, communism, whichever form of ideology was put on a table, did not work because it was not an ideological conflict but an economical conflict forced in a format of military expenditures which Russia was unable to compete in structurally because of our headstart following WWII. Now on the level of theory, you are right, in terms of the orientation of the theories beneath what turned in to ideology. A focus on human interaction from the perspective of social exchange as the basis beneath all other exchanges is something which in theory is more prone to generate an equality which is not present in forms of human interaction which prioritise the theoretical concept of opportunity management - because the latter is a case of resource management, and when we classify the human element as part of our resources we by default create a form of organisation where the inequality of resources is paramount to the functionality of that organisation. Which - again still on the level of the theoretical debate - in a moral sense can very honestly be described as less socially oriented. But again, what once was theory became ideology. And in truth, through all the persistance of the required propaganda it became something very close to religion. The forms of human organisation we as human beings come up with have the requirement of participation in it, it is our ultimate catch22 of human existance. For a chosen form of organisation to persist people must participate in it and thus must believe in it. But that can all too easily become a problem, because this requires a status quo which is not a given in the world we live in. It is ofcourse understandable that we try to maintain our status quo, but we should recognise that a) we can go too far in our methods in service of that and b) that there are always times where we have to adapt to changing circumstances and changing dependancies. If we then solely cling to our ideologically created narrative we deny ourselves the mere chance of seizing the opportunities of a changing world. It denies us from learning our lessons, from preserving and strengthening that which balances the interests of the whole with those of its parts, it denies us survival and growth on our own terms. We make the choice to not seize opportunities because we persist in our thinking only because we believe that our ideology is reality. This is so contrary even to our own ideology that it is almost mindnumbingly baffling. Yet we still make that same choice to believe and continue "as is". Why? Who benefits, the eternal question. Not society, that much should be clear to even the most stubborn ideologically guided person today. So what is the solution then? Going all the way to one extreme end of a scale? How is any position on a far end of a scale ever a good recipee for balance? It is madness. While I have not lived abroad, I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to a great many countries, experienced numerous cultures, custom and ideologies. And as I understand things (I am certainly not an expert) and my opinion I would have to disagree with you on ideologies vs. systems of organizations. Political ideologies typically consist of two things. The first being the goal, which is how the society should be organized and second being the method on how to achieve this goal. Based on that, I believe that one's belief in a particular system of organization is based upon one's ideology and are not mutually exclusive from one another. I must also partially disagree with you on your statement that opportunity is created when we all come together. I find that to be a perspective and on a case by case basis. Without confusing success or failure with opportunity, we can site numerous examples where the individual thinks of and seizes an opportunity. And while I disagree I won't say that you are wrong and I am right it is just my opinion based on the limited knowledge I have on the subject. I would agree with everything else you have stated and you are apparently far more knowledge than myself on the subject. It does get rather mindnumbing when ones gets too deep into this and I almost feel as though I need a cocktail after getting as far as I have in the discussion. With "where people come together" I do not refer to a social get together or something like that, or a sort of value statement on how people need to find each other (touchy feely hippy thinking). What I refer to is the basic tendency of people to be in contact with other people, both purposely and not, as a simple extension of being social animals. We're not a unique species in this, gorilla's engage in trade as we do for the same primal reasons, they also observe circumstances and exchanges in order to seize opportunities (chimps even more so, incidentally), but we as a species do take it to very different levels of complexity, obviously, and we also impose that on our environment (resources, people, time, conditions, etc) while they do not go beyond the interaction of the social circle. That is, indeed, that which among us humans makes it a person by person case always. We do engage as group dynamics, but largely without individual cognitive appreciation of that, we tend to engage much more from and for our individual dynamics. As the saying goes, a human is an individual, a group of humans is a chaotic group of individuals. Heh, a cocktail every now and then is never a bad idea. The irony is that the cocktail concept is quite an interesting analogy for an approach to the challenge itself. We try to persist in one drink or the other, whereas mixing things up is much healthier (pun intended).
  13. Capitalism versus Socialism

    Think. Systems of organisation are created, by human beings, for dealing with challenges based on circumstances, based on ideas those human beings have - and the struggle between different ideas (the difference between concepts of theory versus the reality of practice and the compromises required) for the implementation of and influence over systems of organisation. Capitalism is a theoretical construct, and over time it has become an ideology, and today it is rapidly degrading in to nothing more than a marketing instrument for concentration of wealth (as opposed to creation of wealth). We tell ourselves that the cake always grows, but inflating it with hot air just is not the same as growing it. More to the point, if we want more cake we have to bake more cake. So again, ideology does not equal systems of organisation. There is no causal relation, even though there is a clear relation of influence, which however is not unilaterally determined by ideology - because ideology deals with wishes & wants, versus the realities we have to deal with on a daily basis. We strive to impose our convictions, we do not strive to learn lessons or adapt to changing circumstances. We seek status quo out of the same ideological convictions, and try to influence systems of organisation as well as limit systems of organisation because of it. Our thinking today is shaped by the necessity of participation in systems of organisation in service of ideology regardless of whether those systems still have an effective match in practice or whether those are mere desires imposed on participants and dependancies alike because we expect them to correspond to our own ideas and convictions. Which indeed is why ideology has grown to something to close to religion, because belief is taught to be required for continuity and growth. A little revolution yes, but as much as I see the structural necessity for it I can not see any potential foundation for it to happen in the US. It is not a country anymore which shares a singular culture required for the kind of mass internalisation of necessity of adapting to changing circumstances. Our country has become a conflict zone between internal interests and their dependancies. And that in a time where we should, and could, lead by competing as a united society. Not through an abused marketing sense imposing a necessity to point all noses the same way because not doing that is evil or does not correspond to interests, or anything like that, but through acceptance that diversity is key, that all people share basic needs and room for opportunities and that the whole should be bigger than the sum of its parts exactly because the parts are diverse and are enabled for opportunity and basic needs.
  14. Capitalism versus Socialism

    But there is no such thing as a capitalist or socialist society. We confuse ideology with systems of organisation. This is how we are brought up, regardless of in which ideology we are taught to believe. And that is the crucial element, taught to believe. Our perspectives of which ideology creates what is just that: what we are taught to believe. The information we are given is always in service of which ideology is dominant in and over our lives. So ofcourse we as Americans believe that capitalism creates opportunity. Which is true as long as you believe it. Unfortunately opportunity comes from something much, much more basic: human beings exchanging their perspectives, human beings exchanging trust. That is what creates opportunities. It does pain me to have to recognise this as an American, because until I moved abroad I found such "notions" tantamount to everything I had ever learned. Trouble is, I can't deny it any more. Not in the light of information that quite simply would never have been put on our table back home. Opportunity is created everywhere people come together. Ideology has nothing to do with it. There is not even a statistical relation between any ideology and number of opportunities or even economic growth or cultural progression. We forget that we Americans elected to engage in a conflict between ideologies as an extension of a conflict of politics, and later on economics. Socialism did not fail in Russia because it did not create systems of organisation that were created. We forget that there was no opportunity for socialism as ideology to even be tested in its own right there. Quite simply because of the Cold War. Socialism in Russia went bust because our ability to gain flexible control over resources globally outperformed that of Russia's own attempts because they were in shambles from winning a very costly war while we had used that war to build the foundation for economic dominance. In a nutshell, we forced them to compete militarily and the cost of engaging in that conflict forced them going broke. Socialism, communism, whichever form of ideology was put on a table, did not work because it was not an ideological conflict but an economical conflict forced in a format of military expenditures which Russia was unable to compete in structurally because of our headstart following WWII. Now on the level of theory, you are right, in terms of the orientation of the theories beneath what turned in to ideology. A focus on human interaction from the perspective of social exchange as the basis beneath all other exchanges is something which in theory is more prone to generate an equality which is not present in forms of human interaction which prioritise the theoretical concept of opportunity management - because the latter is a case of resource management, and when we classify the human element as part of our resources we by default create a form of organisation where the inequality of resources is paramount to the functionality of that organisation. Which - again still on the level of the theoretical debate - in a moral sense can very honestly be described as less socially oriented. But again, what once was theory became ideology. And in truth, through all the persistance of the required propaganda it became something very close to religion. The forms of human organisation we as human beings come up with have the requirement of participation in it, it is our ultimate catch22 of human existance. For a chosen form of organisation to persist people must participate in it and thus must believe in it. But that can all too easily become a problem, because this requires a status quo which is not a given in the world we live in. It is ofcourse understandable that we try to maintain our status quo, but we should recognise that a) we can go too far in our methods in service of that and b) that there are always times where we have to adapt to changing circumstances and changing dependancies. If we then solely cling to our ideologically created narrative we deny ourselves the mere chance of seizing the opportunities of a changing world. It denies us from learning our lessons, from preserving and strengthening that which balances the interests of the whole with those of its parts, it denies us survival and growth on our own terms. We make the choice to not seize opportunities because we persist in our thinking only because we believe that our ideology is reality. This is so contrary even to our own ideology that it is almost mindnumbingly baffling. Yet we still make that same choice to believe and continue "as is". Why? Who benefits, the eternal question. Not society, that much should be clear to even the most stubborn ideologically guided person today. So what is the solution then? Going all the way to one extreme end of a scale? How is any position on a far end of a scale ever a good recipee for balance? It is madness.
  15. Capitalism versus Socialism

    Extremes never work. It is that simple. Balance is always required. Unfortunately, as we confuse ideology with reality we prevent ourselves from creating a balanced foundation for sustainable growth on a basis of our founding principles as well as that intrinsical balance between our human ethics and the seizing of opportunities. Seizing opportunities in an unstable environment of extreme positions only creates servitude and requires a continuation of structural imbalance within a society. A simple lesson of history. There is no such thing as a working or even practical ideology. It is about convictions, worse, we use opinionated convictions as a basis for decisions? It is just institutionalised insanity of a system created to concentrate wealth in the guise of marketing that requires you to believe that everybody is equal. Look at how we are paralysed today in our American society by the sheer lack of understanding of how polarised we are, why we are polarised and divided, and how that came to be. We cannot even discuss the very concept of ideology without falling prey to waving red flags of evil here, there, everywhere. In a world where countries and cultures alike find themselves in competition over limited resources and in circumstances of a structural shift in dependancies, how can we even contemplate basing our system of organisation for ourselves on an ideology which requires a structural inequality of people in order to function. We often say and believe that the US is a business, well, show me one business which even merely prevails over time which divides its participants in classes of those with ownership and those without. Living businesses I mean, because there are ample examples of dead ones like that to find ...
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