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Post  Post subject: UK Riots  |  Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:31 pm
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I'm not sure if many people have seen the news of riots in the UK, but most of the news of the riots can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14450248

The riots have recently spread to Birmingham (where I live) too as several shops have been smashed up and looting has taken place, as in London. It makes me sick watching the news of this and realising that the culprits are in my generation of older teenagers/young adults- the protests, about police shooting someone in Tottenham, initially started in London with little to no violence, but- as always happens in England- the scumbags of this country took to the streets just to cause a fight, loot shops and cause general destruction.

It worries me of how stupid these people are, they do not realise that through their actions that taxes will inevitably rise to pay for the destruction and shops will raise their prices- as well as many local businesses shutting down due to the damage caused to them (and insurance companies probably wouldn't pay them as they would claim that "they should've had shutters/other defences".

It just disgraces me, we are supposed to be a civilised western country- evidently not looking at the news today; I suppose it doesn't help that the police aren't really stopping the looters (they'd probably be shot in the US!) and that we have a cabinet composed of pure toffs (such as our PM whom is not even returning from his holiday to try to sort the situation out) who will just blame my whole generation.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: UK Riots  |  Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:54 pm
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I understand your disgust. I fear that things will get worse and this type of behavior will become much more common if we begin to suffer some of the more severe consequences of global warming like water shortages and mass refugee migrations.

Either way, here are some powerful images of what's going on right now in the UK. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these offer an epic anthology:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/0 ... riots.html

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x(x-y)
Post  Post subject: Re: UK Riots  |  Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:07 pm
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iNow wrote:
I understand your disgust. I fear that things will get worse and this type of behavior will become much more common if we begin to suffer some of the more severe consequences of global warming like water shortages and mass refugee migrations.

Either way, here are some powerful images of what's going on right now in the UK. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these offer an epic anthology:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/0 ... riots.html


Too true.

Looking at those images too, it looks like a warzone- burnt out cars, destroyed buildings etc...

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: UK Riots  |  Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:20 pm
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Holy shit! Those pictures are crazy. They look like they're from a movie... But they're not, they're real and that people behave in such a way is disgusting. I'm ashamed to be around the same age as those protestors.

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: UK Riots  |  Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:55 pm
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Stuff's just up the road from me, but i haven't seen anything. Mind you i haven't got anywhere except work and library for a while.

Looks like we're set for a third night. Police were overly brutal with the student riots - where's their heavy handiness when you need it?


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x(x-y)
Post  Post subject: Re: UK Riots  |  Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:15 pm
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Prometheus wrote:
Stuff's just up the road from me, but i haven't seen anything. Mind you i haven't got anywhere except work and library for a while.

Looks like we're set for a third night. Police were overly brutal with the student riots - where's their heavy handiness when you need it?


Exactly, with events like this I start to get right-winged about the whole thing as sometimes I think the culprits (who are no more than chavs) need to be shot- this planet won't miss them.

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Ophiolite
Post  Post subject: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:16 pm
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MOD NOTE: The posts above were merged into this topic from another thread.
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The widespread rioting in Britain over the past few days shares some things in common with the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and abortively in Syria and Bahrain:
Crowds of disgruntled people; violence; organising via mobile phones and social networking sites, dissatisfaction with the government, feelings of helplessness.

In the West, including Britain, the happenings in the Middle Eaast were generally welcomed. The current riots in Britain are generally condemned. Is this because the underlying causes are truly different, or is it another example of Western hypocrisy?

(Note: this is why I don't like starting threads. I don't know how to do it without being controversial and sounding like a bit of a prat.)


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:17 pm
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Hmmm, I dont have the full story on the reasons behind the English riots at this point. Fist blush I think one of the major differences is the opportunity that is present in England to have more participation in the govenment, while in the Arab spring uprisings were mainly in response to not having any way to participate. I could be totally off on this and welcome correction if I am.

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Ophiolite
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:22 pm
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A counter question would be: do those at the base of the pyramid truly have an opportunity to influence government policy and social direction and even if they do, are they properly aware of this oportunity/ability and have they been prepared to to realise it. In short are they, perhaps, as lacking in empowerment as the average Egyptian citizen?


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spuriousmonkey
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:31 pm
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I believe that in the western democracies of Europe there is the feeling that the people cannot participate in the governing of their country in a meaningful manner.

That would make them very much like the 'arab' uprisings.

I don't think the degree of actual possible participation doesn't matter. It matters how people feel about it.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:24 pm
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There was a topic already open on this in the Coffee Shop. I've gone ahead and merged the two, and placed them in Politics since that seemed like the more appropriate home.
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Ophiolite wrote:
In the West, including Britain, the happenings in the Middle Eaast were generally welcomed. The current riots in Britain are generally condemned. Is this because the underlying causes are truly different, or is it another example of Western hypocrisy?

I think the causes are different. In the Arab spring, it is people who have been repressed coming together with a unified voice demanding to have a role in how they are governed. In the UK, it's a bunch angry mobs lashing out against a system which is free, but which one time over stepped their police authority and boundaries. I see the difference in that one group is responding to a small handful of incidents, wherein the other group is responding to decades of tyranny and thwarted freedoms.

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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:10 pm
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In no way do I intend to defend the burning of shops, or violence against persons, these things are of them selves wrong. But if there were large civil displays here in America when the police committed a blatant murder, perhaps they might be convinced to commit their murders more discretely.

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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:16 pm
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GiantEvil wrote:
In no way do I intend to defend the burning of shops, or violence against persons, these things are of them selves wrong. But if there were large civil displays here in America when the police committed a blatant murder, perhaps they might be convinced to commit their murders more discretely.


Ahhh that is what these have been reminding me of, the Rodney King Riots in 1992.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:39 pm
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paleoichneum wrote:
Ahhh that is what these have been reminding me of, the Rodney King Riots in 1992.

Bingo. That was my first thought, too. Can't we all just get along?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: UK Riots  |  Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:59 pm
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iNow wrote:
here are some powerful images of what's going on right now in the UK. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these offer an epic anthology:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/0 ... riots.html


And a few more were posted today: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/0 ... pdate.html


To be perfectly honest, this truly doesn't strike me as analogous to what we saw with the Arab spring, wherein a group of downtrodden citizens who had been ravished by poverty for decades due to selfish actions from despotic leaders were desperately searching for freedom and better representation in government.


Image

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spuriousmonkey
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:14 am
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There wasn't much too loot in these arab nations. So you can't really compare that aspect.

Why focus on the physical aspects all the time. It is better to compare feelings and ideas.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:16 pm
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The physical acts are not my only focus, not by any means. The above was just an example of some of the great photos at my links.

To your point about feelings and ideas, I tend to agree. The sentiment underlying the frustration is largely similar in both situations. Leaders and/or rulers have overstepped their bounds, and the public is acting/speaking out against that trespass. However, I think where the critical difference and distinction in this whole matter is in the scale of the response by the public.

The scale of the response in the Arab world is seems appropriate to the injustices they faced.
The scale of the response in the UK right now seems significantly out of proportion to what occurred.

That is, IMO, of course.

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x(x-y)
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:51 pm
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The differences between the Middle Eastern uprisings and these riots are fairly clear, I would say- it seems that the majority of rioters in England now are just being carried out by thugs and naer-do-wells who just want to steal a 50" plasma TV just because they can; in the Middle Eastern countries they are fighting against their oppression and against the corrupt system which has been in place for decades, in England (most) people are fighting for the sake of it just to satiate their greed.

Don't get me wrong, there are bound to be many people here in the UK who are angry about the wide ranging public sector cuts and huge loads of job losses- but these people don't seem to be the ones rioting, just the pictures of the rioters can tell you who they are (with a little bit of stereotyping, admittedly). I mean, I am not happy about the huge cuts, university funding decreases and £9000/year tuition fees- all of which I'll have to face; I'm especially not happy about the cuts to particle and astrophysics which are fields I hope to go into. Anyway, I may be moving to the US next year if my father accepts a job there- that may be for the better or for the worse, only time will tell.

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:51 pm
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Last night my friend convinced me to go and watch the riots (he's never seen one - and neither had i). We walked up to where we heard there were 300 hoodies trying to start trouble at Westfield shopping centre. Fortunately we found nothing. The streets were full of police, nearly a one to one ratio with other paedestrians. Strangest, and quietest, walk i've had in London - quite nice actually.

I come from a 'chav' area and went to a poor school. One day the posh boys came to play football. They thrashed us so we gutted their team bus. It was borne from frustration. They had everything better than us, and were better at everything than us. We just wanted to beat them at something...

I'm not trying to condone this, or any, violence but it does come from somewhere other than a simple love of violence (although that is ever present in England - just go to a football match). There is an underclass of people who have been raised to believe they can achieve nothing and that they are powerless to change their lot. It's not actually true, but the belief is strong enough to keep people in a cycle of hopelessness and mindlessness, chasing after commercialist dreams while living off the state. I think it's from this 'hoodie' mindset whence the riots come.


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x(x-y)
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:41 pm
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Prometheus wrote:
Last night my friend convinced me to go and watch the riots (he's never seen one - and neither had i). We walked up to where we heard there were 300 hoodies trying to start trouble at Westfield shopping centre. Fortunately we found nothing. The streets were full of police, nearly a one to one ratio with other paedestrians. Strangest, and quietest, walk i've had in London - quite nice actually.

I come from a 'chav' area and went to a poor school. One day the posh boys came to play football. They thrashed us so we gutted their team bus. It was borne from frustration. They had everything better than us, and were better at everything than us. We just wanted to beat them at something...

I'm not trying to condone this, or any, violence but it does come from somewhere other than a simple love of violence (although that is ever present in England - just go to a football match). There is an underclass of people who have been raised to believe they can achieve nothing and that they are powerless to change their lot. It's not actually true, but the belief is strong enough to keep people in a cycle of hopelessness and mindlessness, chasing after commercialist dreams while living off the state. I think it's from this 'hoodie' mindset whence the riots come.


I understand your point- and I hardly live in the best area anyway; and I most certainly don't go to a prestigious school! Anyway, yes, I guess it is partly the fault of the government for not "providing a decent quality of life" for many people living in poorer areas. However, I will say that many of those causing riots in the streets now (well, during the past few days) are- probably- just doing it out of greed and even for fun, as I've seen that in some videos they are cheering and laughing about smashing shops up and looting their stock.

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:02 am
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These people just need to get a sense of worth and purpose.

It'll be interesting to see what the backlash is like . An e-petition has already forced the government into considering whether to have a House debate into withdrawing benefits from anyone convicted of rioting.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:31 am
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Prometheus wrote:
These people just need to get a sense of worth and purpose.

I think this is a critical point. Taking it deeper and broader, I read an article earlier this evening which summarized it thusly:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/opini ... rt-of.html

Quote:
So let’s review: We are increasingly taking easy credit, routine work and government jobs and entitlements away from the middle class — at a time when it takes more skill to get and hold a decent job, at a time when citizens have more access to media to organize, protest and challenge authority and at a time when this same merger of globalization and I.T. is creating huge wages for people with global skills (or for those who learn to game the system and get access to money, monopolies or government contracts by being close to those in power) — thus widening income gaps and fueling resentments even more.

Put it all together and you have today’s front-page news.

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Nikelodeon
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:22 am
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Prometheus wrote:
These people just need to get a sense of worth and purpose..

Or just get laid.


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spuriousmonkey
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:02 pm
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Hard to get a sense of worth and purpose if the current economic system is based on the concept that people are worthless.

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x(x-y)
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:25 pm
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spuriousmonkey wrote:
Hard to get a sense of worth and purpose if the current economic system is based on the concept that people are worthless.


Very true.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:45 pm
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spuriousmonkey wrote:
Hard to get a sense of worth and purpose if the current economic system is based on the concept that people are worthless.

Can you elaborate what this means? In what ways specifically is the UK economic system "based on the concept that people are worthless?"

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spuriousmonkey
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:52 pm
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First priority is share price and bonus size of management.

This will result in de-humanizing events such as mass lay-offs even when the company made a large profit.

And then there is the modern trend of short contract work. Permanent contracts have become a thing of the past. You, as a human, are good for a year or shorter. A future as a concept has changed from the age of stability to a constant worry.

Etc- etc.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:01 pm
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spuriousmonkey wrote:
This will result in de-humanizing events such as mass lay-offs even when the company made a large profit.

Let's examine your logic more closely, though. You seem to concede that large profits are the goal. Well, given that, then of course they will layoff people who they don't need in order to maximize that profit.

If I open a lemonade stand, and I need 6 people to get it rolling, but then we become more efficient and only need 2 people to sustain that effort, aren't you basically suggesting we keep paying those other 4 people even though they are no longer needed?


spuriousmonkey wrote:
And then there is the modern trend of short contract work. Permanent contracts have become a thing of the past. You, as a human, are good for a year or shorter.

I understand your central argument, but wonder why this seems like such a surprise or like something so nefarious. The contract is not for the person. It is for the output and work they are hired to do. Once that project or work is completed, the person has fulfilled their contract and the contract ends. It's not that the person is worthless, it's that the payment was for the specific work they were doing, not for who is doing it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I fully recognize that contract labor is a way to avoid paying benefits and other costs implicit to having employees, and how much that can suck. I also acknowledge that contract staff are the first to get terminated during a downturn in the economy (since the projects for which they're contracted generally get cancelled).

However, where I'm a little uncertain is in why you take this to mean that the entire economic system is based on the concept that people are worthless. I would think that, even given these points here, it is more likely that the economy is based on the concept that you must be as efficient as possible and that it's better to cut temporary projects instead of cutting your sustaining/core business when the economy softens.

Maybe I'm just parsing it a bit too much, but it sounds like you're arguing that we should decrease efficiency and lower the total income of a business by continuing to pay people who aren't needed.

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spuriousmonkey
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:45 pm
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whatever.

there has been a major social change, from the focus on social stability and welfare to economic considerations only.

It's well documented.

I can't be arsed to discuss the intricacies of the concept of worthless. As it is people feel that they are either worth something or that they are worthless, that they do not matter. Good recipe for social unrest.

And I don't really care if you find the modern society attractive personally. Maybe you are a young person and haven't seen much of the world and the time. I can actually remember a different time, and I have seen different social systems, and what they do to the mindset of the people.

WW2 didn't come by because of Hitler. It happened because of the social instability in Europe. The huge drive towards the social welfare state in Europe didn't happen because people wanted to buy a fridge. It's because both the people and the political leadership realized that major changes had to be made. This didn't happen after WW1.
And so the modern European welfare state was born. And we have been throwing it away in the last 3 decades. The concept of job security has disappeared. Political leadership seems to be mostly interested in self-enrichment. Social cohesion has been lost completely. We are a society of individuals. The average person nowadays is completely worthless. The factories have moved to china. Job security is lost. Unions have become an instrument of the political elite. (their leadership goes to the same schools, end up in the same cushy jobs, etc). Decades of massive immigration has been a failure on a social level.

Is it a miracle people vote on a massive scale for populist parties? It's a sign of times. People don't feel in control any more, they are not happy on a social level. They feel that they were made pretty fucking worthless by those in control. And they certainly don't feel in control themselves.

and you want to discuss the merits of laying off 2 people because it would make something more efficient? How rational is that? Who is going to pay for the unemployment benefits of those 2 people that were laid off? That's you.
Massive profits and still massive lay-offs is fine? May I remind you that those companies are those multinationals that have a tiny office in the Netherlands so that they can pay minimal tax in the countries their operation is actually physically based in. You think the average person gives a flying fuck about the increase in share profit of these companies? They are more worried about the fact they just earned a trip to the unemployment office. Or that they have to pay more tax to support these massive lay-offs that are unnecessary. The company is still making a large profit after all, before the lay offs. Companies that can't be arsed to pay society in the form of taxes.

You think this makes the people think they are worth something?

People aren't machines. If people are treated like economic assets only, you disregard everything that is human. The human species is a product of biology, not of economy. They have feelings, needs, urges, and desires.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:17 pm
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spuriousmonkey wrote:
whatever.
<...>
And I don't really care if you find the modern society attractive personally. Maybe you are a young person and haven't seen much of the world and the time.

Frankly, I was very careful to avoid expressing my views, and instead asked you about yours. You sure are attributing a lot to my mindset and views which I haven't even expressed. You're arguing against some version of me you have in your head instead of engaging in a rational discussion. And let me just say that even if your view of me was correct, it's irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Your appeal to authority and strawman of my position are not appreciated.

I asked you to clarify a comment, and when you did, I poked holes in it. That's what we do, isn't it?


spuriousmonkey wrote:
People don't feel in control any more, they are not happy on a social level. They feel that they were made pretty fucking worthless by those in control. And they certainly don't feel in control themselves.

This seems to get to the heart of the unrest we're seeing. I think you're quite correct. People are angry and feel out of control, and this is bubbling up into the response we saw in the UK riots.

I don't disagree with that, but I am old enough and mature enough to recognize that this unfocused rage is not what it will take to improve the situation. That's the root of all of this. People want to make the situation better, and breaking windows and stealing shit won't exactly do that.


spuriousmonkey wrote:
and you want to discuss the merits of laying off 2 people because it would make something more efficient? How rational is that?

I think it's very rational. If you have people you don't need, what is the merit of continuing to pay them? Please help me understand this. I'm not trying to be cold, but that's simple business. Sorry, but people ARE resources when it comes to running a business or operating in an economy, and it's ALWAYS been this way. If you only need 10 kilograms of a material to do your work, you're not going to buy 50 kilograms for no good reason. It's the same with people. If you only need 100 people to run your business effectively, you're not going to pay 150.

You don't pay people you don't need, and when the economy gets bad you do what you must for the business to survive so you can have a chance of growing and hiring more people in the future. Case closed. I don't deny your point that this results in other societal and cultural issues and has a negative impact on those former employees, but you can't deny that it makes zero sense for a company to pay for employees who they don't need, especially when their business is being squeezed during an economic downturn and only a core group of people are required to keep it alive.


spuriousmonkey wrote:
Who is going to pay for the unemployment benefits of those 2 people that were laid off? That's you.

I'm unsure how this relates to the point. I made a post which added to a previous post about some of the factors contributing to this situation. You replied that people feel worthless in part because they're part of an economic system that treats them as worthless. I asked you to clarify, and you did. Then, once I better understood your point, I largely agreed that this is part of what is feeding that feeling in the populace, but questioned the implicit assumption being made that this was somehow any different than it's been at any time in our past.

Businesses are in place to make money, and the more money they make the more successful they are. If they pay people they don't need, they make less money. They seek efficiency and maximal output for minimal expenditure. This is very logical, rational, and makes very good sense.

I don't disagree with your point that people are angry, feel out of control, and are struggling with this sense that they're replaceable. I think you're right. However, let's be grown-ups here and admit that... you know what? ... they ARE replaceable and expendable. We all are. I think their previously held sense of entitlement was not rooted in reality. It sure was nice to have that feeling of security, and that sense like they were in control, or that sense that their humanity was ever a factor in any of these decisions... but that perception was not real. That was never true.

In much the same way that species going extinct through natural selection may not be fair, people losing jobs and companies going out of business isn't fair, either. That doesn't mean it's not the reality in which we find ourselves, though.


spuriousmonkey wrote:
Massive profits and still massive lay-offs is fine?

These are not words I've said. I merely suggested they are part of doing business sometimes. They are not ideal, but sometimes necessary and appropriate when viewed objectively.


spuriousmonkey wrote:
You think this makes the people think they are worth something?

I don't disagree with your underlying point, I am just saying that the "humanity" and "compassion" components you mention have NEVER been a part of economy. The mistake people made was assuming that it was.


spuriousmonkey wrote:
People aren't machines. If people are treated like economic assets only, you disregard everything that is human. The human species is a product of biology, not of economy. They have feelings, needs, urges, and desires.

And they are expressing those feelings now in the riots. IMO, that's not exactly helping to resolve the central issue feeding their passion.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:02 pm
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Thinking about this a little more... Even if I accept your argument that we need to focus on the people and protect humans from harm, laying people off is generally STILL the best option.

If your company has 100,000 employees, you may have to layoff 20,000 to ensure the company doesn't fail and you can continue to pay the other 80,000. You're focused in a humanitarian way on 80,000 people. It sucks that those other 20,000 had to get laid off, but you still made the best choice in a bad situation which benefits the greatest number of people. If you didn't layoff those 20,000, it's quite possible that all of the entire 100,000 would be out of work when the company fails due to its inability to make tough decisions.

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:45 pm
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iNow wrote:
Businesses are in place to make money, and the more money they make the more successful they are...


This seems to be the crux of the matter. No longer does someone go into carpentry with the aim to make good furniture; they go into to make good money. The product suffers.

Companies exist only to make money, the means have become irrelevant. Share holders are the corporations only concern. Customers and staff are kept content only to the degree which maximises profits.

The need for more money needs more demand. All advertising is based on the premise your life is rubbish/missing something and buying this product will improve it. The idea is so imbued on our culture that it is automatic to want the newest product despite actually being content with the last one. No matter, the old product will 'expire' soon anyway - whatever it was.

There's an obsession with economic growth. Early In the previous decade growth was excellent. But the gap between rich and poor actually grew. That was considered fine so long as everyone, on average, was getting richer. But corporations still want more money so create more demand by creating more desire in the population. Poorer people have a bit more money, but pressure to buy has grown more. People are no longer willing to live within their means if it means they can't have the latest console or whatever gadget.

The gap between those who have and those who have not grows. And those who don't are the less well educated, those not taught to think critically about their own lives. They simply don't know how to improve their position even if the means to do so are there. Kind of like the analogy of the primate that won't leave a cage despite the door being open because he's been taught his cage is his life.

I used to think that i was just economically naive; the generation of wealth for it's own sake brought about the affluent society we all love. Now I think there is a big difference between capitalism and consumerism. The lemonade example is capitalism, but at some point it becomes commercialism; just wish i knew where.


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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:01 pm
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I see a lot of immigrants from foreign ethnic groups in those pictures. I think recent events are disproving the "salad bowl" theory of society. The "mixing pot" was better (and was very real in the early 20th century). How do you get community solidarity when people are divided along cultural lines into separate communities? But, I wouldn't see anything wrong with different people having and keeping different customs, so long as it were limited to that, and everyone still acknowledged that they had to be contributing members of a common community. I don't see anyone out there striking that balance, though.

As it stands now, thugs from one cultural group have no reason to feel guilty attacking ordinary citizens from another group. Those victims are not "one of us" to them. If their fellow members of their own group disapprove of the violence, they can question those members' loyalty to the ethnicity by pointing out that the victims were from the other side, and asking if they are going to choose outsiders over "their own". The police will inevitably find that nobody wants to help them find those thugs. In a mixing pot, on the other hand, the victims are all "one of us". There is no conflicting loyalty involved. Any thug who attacks anyone is attacking "their own", and can expect to be betrayed to the police by any members of their own ethnic group in whom they confide.

We just have to accept that thugs are, and always will be, a part of society. Then ask ourselves: how do we best manage those people? Not: how do we make those people go away? They'll never go away. The best we can hope is to put them in a situation where they feel so discouraged that they just sit in the taverns all day, drinking themselves to death, talking smack, but not having the nerve to act on it. Only "thought control" would make them disappear entirely.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:18 pm
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But, as the posts preceding yours clearly suggest, this issue is about much more than mere thuggery.

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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:03 am
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Sorry. Somehow I didn't notice there were 4 pages. Spurious' response really seemed to capture the issue.

spuriousmonkey wrote:
whatever.

there has been a major social change, from the focus on social stability and welfare to economic considerations only.

It's well documented.

I can't be arsed to discuss the intricacies of the concept of worthless. As it is people feel that they are either worth something or that they are worthless, that they do not matter. Good recipe for social unrest.

And I don't really care if you find the modern society attractive personally. Maybe you are a young person and haven't seen much of the world and the time. I can actually remember a different time, and I have seen different social systems, and what they do to the mindset of the people.

WW2 didn't come by because of Hitler. It happened because of the social instability in Europe. The huge drive towards the social welfare state in Europe didn't happen because people wanted to buy a fridge. It's because both the people and the political leadership realized that major changes had to be made. This didn't happen after WW1.
And so the modern European welfare state was born. And we have been throwing it away in the last 3 decades. The concept of job security has disappeared. Political leadership seems to be mostly interested in self-enrichment. Social cohesion has been lost completely. We are a society of individuals. The average person nowadays is completely worthless. The factories have moved to china. Job security is lost. Unions have become an instrument of the political elite. (their leadership goes to the same schools, end up in the same cushy jobs, etc). Decades of massive immigration has been a failure on a social level.

Is it a miracle people vote on a massive scale for populist parties? It's a sign of times. People don't feel in control any more, they are not happy on a social level. They feel that they were made pretty fucking worthless by those in control. And they certainly don't feel in control themselves.

and you want to discuss the merits of laying off 2 people because it would make something more efficient? How rational is that? Who is going to pay for the unemployment benefits of those 2 people that were laid off? That's you.
Massive profits and still massive lay-offs is fine? May I remind you that those companies are those multinationals that have a tiny office in the Netherlands so that they can pay minimal tax in the countries their operation is actually physically based in. You think the average person gives a flying fuck about the increase in share profit of these companies? They are more worried about the fact they just earned a trip to the unemployment office. Or that they have to pay more tax to support these massive lay-offs that are unnecessary. The company is still making a large profit after all, before the lay offs. Companies that can't be arsed to pay society in the form of taxes.

You think this makes the people think they are worth something?

People aren't machines. If people are treated like economic assets only, you disregard everything that is human. The human species is a product of biology, not of economy. They have feelings, needs, urges, and desires.


In economic terms, the effective population has grown massively. I mean, when the labor pool available to hire for working in a factory was limited to people who lived locally, a worker was worth an awful lot. Now that it's globalized, the labor pool is all 6 billion inhabitants of the Earth. That means the labor pool grew exponentially, but the available manufacturing resources didn't grow much at all. (They can't grow, because their inputs are natural resources, most of which will never be more abundant than they are today.)

We measure our worth by what we can get for our trouble. Well, we can't get much now, because we end up tripping over the hordes of people in the third world who want their share and are willing to work for nothing to get cut in.

People feel helpless because they are. Isolationism would fix that somewhat, but at a terrible cost for all those people outside the borders that get cut out. It's not a "false dichotomy". It's the central question of our age. Do we hog our wealth, or try to share it and end up broke and miserable?


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Riots in Britain echo Riots in Egypt?  |  Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:13 pm
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kojax wrote:
We measure our worth by what we can get for our trouble. Well, we can't get much now, because we end up tripping over the hordes of people in the third world who want their share and are willing to work for nothing to get cut in.

People feel helpless because they are. Isolationism would fix that somewhat

And how do you figure that? If the jobs are being done "in the third world," how does further isolating yourself from "the third world" change that at all? I'll give you a hint. It doesn't.

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