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Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 29, 11:34am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Jesus never said he was God. He called himself "son of man".
And those who knew him thought he was the messiah.
Much later someone decided that "son of man" must have meant "son of God".

The same is probably true for his "miracles". He swam to a boat during a storm and someone wrote he "walked on water".

Your argument may be logical, but the real question is: what does it take away from Jesus's teaching?

We can learn from Herodotus without thinking he's a God, and without believing every single thing he wrote. Why not extend the same courtesy to Jesus?

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 29, 12:01pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

I disagree.

All these logical arguments only eliminate the roughest forms of dogmatism and leave the real content of religion and spirituality mostly untouched.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 29, 1:51pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

> Follow the money.

Mindless cynicism.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 5:32am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)     quote        

I love this video.
It hits exactly the nail on the head: This is about the experiences people have.
What is spirituality? It is something about the experience of life.

You see, Dawkins is right: we live in an objective world where physical laws reign supreme and where there is nothing magical.

He is right that religions are full of stupid dogmas. The Bible and other books are mostly useless rants and there is no objective way to separate the childish superstition from the wisdom they may contain.

And he's finally he's right that a religious experience happens ultimately in the brain, and the brain being a sometimes flawed physical instrument, aberrations can come out of it. Especially if you induce them.

So essentially, just like this video, he discards any religious experience as some kind of bizarre idiosyncrasy of the human brain.

But there's the rub: everything we experience in life comes from our brain. Our experience is all encompassing. And our experience is not something objective, it is something subjective by nature. It cannot be reduced or discarded.

Let's take an example: what is pain?: it is a signal following nerves and triggering some neurons. But is understanding this the same as understanding the experience of pain? Nope. Absolutely not. Experience cannot be reduced.

It cannot be discarded as irrelevant either, unless you want to discard the experience of food, the experience of love, fresh air in your lungs, and everything that makes life worth living. You could analyze any of these things down to each individual atom of your brain, that would be totally irrelevant to understand them. And this is not because I'm seeking god in the gaps of our scientific understanding, it's because science doesn't apply here.

This is why Dawkins is wrong. Our reality simply is not something that can be reduced to scientific knowledge.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 7:51am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)     quote        

Dan8267 says

you fail to recognize that explaining things like the creation of human life in a mother's womb in scientific terms does not reduce the subject matter but rather enhances it by showing us the beauty and details that would be invisible otherwise.

I totally recognize that.
By "reduce" I mean: decompose a phenomenon into its parts to show how the behavior of these parts logically create this phenomenon. You can't do that with the experience of pain. You can explain pain but this is not the same as the experience of pain.
You missed my whole point, read again.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 8:02am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

I wold say yes, both types of knowledge are objective. The neurons are indeed stimulating the sensation of pain in an attempt to alert to body to avoid the source of the problem.

It is not objective in the sense that it can't be measured. If you could observe pain going from the fingers to the brain of a person, you can't be sure of what this person is feeling. You can understand *why* pain exists, and get a raw sense of how it works. This won't help you the next time you feel pain.

The feeling of pain is irremediably attached to the point of view of one person and cannot be separated from this point of view. The same goes for almost everything in life: our taste of food, sex, the feeling of the sun on the skin, etc, etc... Our whole experience as human being escapes the scope of science.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 8:11am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

Our desire to think about alternatives to death and another reality (through heaven, rebirth, or even becoming one with the universe) is a self-defense mechanism evolved by the brain,

That's your *belief*. I don't think there is any proof of that, is there?

And as far as other realities... define real.
If you experience it, is it real?
Or is it exclusively real if you can explain it as something outside your brain?

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 8:31am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

So, what exactly in your life do you think cannot be explained rationally and explicitly using only nature and human language?

I think you underestimate the power of

- rationality

- science

- the human mind's ability to understand

- language's ability to express ideas

Let's be serious: science can't explain why there is something instead of nothing. It can't explain why the laws of physics are what they are. Therefore it can't "explain" anything I experience in this life, starting with gravity, except at a very superficial level.

Furthermore there are good reasons to think it can never explain these things.
Take gravity for example: you can describe it quantitatively like Newton did. That's not the same as "explaining" it, as in "knowing why it's here". You can say the curvature of space-time causes gravity as Einstein did, but it just pushes the problem one step back: Why does mass distort space-time? And even if tomorrow we find cause X for this distortion, then my question will be: "What causes X"? At the end of the day, the laws of physics are just quantitative patterns. They are just observations.

And btw the goal of science is not to explain everything. It's to observe a few rocks and learn a few bits within an ocean of ignorance.

For all of us, human beings observing the universe, we can say we are confronted to a mystery. It would be very arrogant to pretend otherwise.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 9:48am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

I have read nothing in your arguments that presents a good reason to limit scientific inquiries or to respect the lies of religions. Nothing you have written suggests that there exists a better alternative to naturalism and rationality. Nor does anything you wrote support the opinion that science should be less respected by our society.

That's because I said nothing of the sort. Science is great at doing what it does. I don't think we need an alternative.
I also agree that religions are full of lies.
This doesn't mean spirituality doesn't make sense and should be rejected as "delusion" (Dawkins's premise), which is the claim I attacked.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 10:08am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

Prove any of those assertions.

It's a simple observation: there currently exists no scientific theory that explains why there is something instead of nothing. And there no scientific explanation either of why the laws of physics are what they are.

Infinite regression of causality is a copout.

Absolutely not. This is a simple observation that the nature of the universe is certainly not revealed by listing quantitative patterns verified in this universe.

I have no reason, whatsoever, to believe that the universe is, at a fundamental level, unintelligible.

I have many simple reasons to believe that there is no explanation for the existence of the universe as a whole.

Here is one more: To seek an explanation is ultimately to seek a cause. And physical causes by nature are part of the universe. Therefore you can't find a physical cause to the existence of the universe because this cause would be 'in' the universe.

Religion and mysticism have been around for 200,000 years and have yet to explain one damn thing.

Agreed. So what? So far I claimed human experience could not be explained by science or discarded as a delusion, and I claimed the laws of physics provide no explanation for the universe outside a superficial level. If you want to debate, at least answer my points.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 10:40am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

The experiences you say cannot be described in pure logic will, someday, be written in source code with by high school students on computers cheaper than a Starbucks coffee.

This is where I think you still missed my point.
Let's say you write a program that "experiences pain". What will you write exactly? That the program will try to avoid certain situations? Is that the same as "experiencing pain"? clearly that wouldn't be enough.

Even if you were to write a sentient program (And disclaimer: I believe this is possible), how could you ever be sure that the program is "experiencing pain" in the same sense that I am. You could never be sure of what the "experience" from the program's perspective is.

I repeat what I said: the experience of pain, as other human experiences, is irreducibly attached to a unique point of view. This is why also this is not a question of language. This is not a question of how you communicate. It's a question of point of view.

Having an experience is not the same thing as having knowledge. Having knowledge doesn't imply that you have the experience.

Even if this were not true, even if the "experience" of pain could not be described by language or understood by the rational mind, does not mean that there exists anything "supernatural" or beyond nature [...]

Well... it means just that human experiences are beyond the scope of scientific knowledge. Once you admit it true for pain, you will see it is true as well for pleasures, and in fact the complete range of human experiences. We live in a world made of these experiences.

[...] and therefore would not give any credence to "spiritual" experiences or religions.

We also know some people have spiritual experiences. Can we say they are not real?
Define real.

If someone has an experience, in what sense could you say "it is real", "it is not real"?
It is real for this person, in the same sense that pain is real, is it not?

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 3:25pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

I disagree with the premise that to seek an explanation for the universe is to seek a cause of the universe. Causality, by the layman's definition, requires linear time. A cause must precede its effect. Our notion of linear, infinite time breaks down at singularities and therefore the concept of causality does as well. Asking what occurred one second before the Big Bang is like asking what is located one mile north of the north pole. It is a meaningless question. This does not mean that the universe itself isn't intelligible and understandable, only that notions serving the evolution of creatures on Earth aren't necessarily sufficient.

I think you just established that there is no cause to the big bang in the traditional sense of cause and the question of its cause is in fact meaningless.

And as to whether causes are necessary for 'understanding': obviously if events happened without cause we wouldn't have a very good understanding of these event.

All we know of the big bang is that it happened. As to why the universe was condensed in one point...there is no why, no cause and no understanding. And contrary to your optimistic notions, it's not a question of more science and more inquiry, it's simply that there are things that are beyond our brains.

You seem to in fact agree that our brains may not be sufficiently evolved to understand some notions. But this goes well beyond the question of evolution. We understand causal things because our brains are based on matter that acts causally too and can simulate physical states. When things are not causal, logic doesn't apply, deductions are useless, the whole edifice of human reasoning collapses. Questions like "why is there something instead of nothing?" simply are beyond reasoning for humans. (In spite of people generously selling books about the matter).

I brought this question simply to show that your idea that "we can understand anything with enough inquiry is way too optimistic. You may not agree but there are strong reasons to think this is not the case.

In any case I'm not trying to claim that God created the big bang, simply that there are things beyond our understanding and I stick to that.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 3:43pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

Ah, but no point of view is unique. If I take a collection of atoms and arrange them, one by one, to form an exact copy of your body, including your brain, then I have recreated you as a person with all the shared experiences.

If you did that you would create a copy of me with my memories but it's current experience from the moment you activate it would be different. You would create a different person with a different experience. Once again the experience cannot be detached.

Dan8267 says

Having an experience is not the same thing as having knowledge. Having knowledge doesn't imply that you have the experience.

Semantics. Those virtual copies of you didn't have the experiences of your life, but as far as they are concerned, they did.

This is not semantics. This is the heart of the question: observing a color is one thing, understanding color perception is something totally different. You may have a raw understanding of how a cat perceives red, it doesn't mean that you have the experience this cat is having.

If you don't see the difference then there is nothing I can do for you.

Having the experience of the cat is beyond the scope of science. It cannot be extracted from the cat.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 Apr 30, 4:19pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

If I think I am Napoleon and I invaded Russia, that doesn't make it real. Real is what has actually happened.

Saying that you think you are Napoleon doesn't mean you have the experience of being Napoleon. Sorry, you can't have an experience that you know you don't have simply by claiming you have it or imagining it.

And for these people who truly have an experience, again, how do you claim it's not real?
If Buddha claimed he vanquished pain, how do you know he didn't?

Dan8267 says

The real question is, what do you mean by "spiritual"? I have been using the term as it is used colloquially, to mean something supernatural like a "god experience".

I mean what people usually mean by it.

And it comes down to psychology. But it doesn't mean it is *just* psychology as in an idiosyncrasy of the brain. You can call that *emotional* if you want, but it is all encompassing. Everything in our lives we experience through psychology. The question ultimately is how do you live your life, how do you experience it.

Dan8267 says

Finally, I propose that mysticism, even in the absence of religion, is still a bad thing and a lie. Naturalism, the acceptance of verifiable natural explanations, is a far better and more useful philosophy.

You are still trying to frame this as a question of explaining the outside world. It is not. Science is there to explain the world. I don't need mysticism for that. The mind is there for that. But the brain is only one organ and life is a full body experience. Before saying spirituality is a bad thing you should at least understand what it is.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 1, 3:13am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

I think it's safe to assume the world is real outside of the brain, and continue on the basis that reality-in-the-brain-only is a more complicated explanation and extraordinary to boot, that it requires extraordinary evidence to be considered.

I agree that there is a reality outside our brain that is shared with other people. Otherwise I wouldn't be talking to you now would I? :-)

It is not incompatible with the assertion that everything we experience, we experience through the brain. Part of what we experience is just an echo of the outside world through the senses. But part of the experience is created by the brain. This is the case for pain in particular. There is nothing in the outside world called pain that we can observe.

I didn't say either that the brain encompasses every aspect of the outside world. But it encompasses every aspect of *our* reality as we experience it. I think we will agree this is the case, unless you can find something that you experience outside the brain.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 1, 3:20am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

I think pain is universal. That particular degree of pain in the particular person and whether they react by going "Argh" or "Ugh" may be unique to that person, but the general concept is the same in everybody.

You can reasonably assume that other people experience pain as something close as what you experience with pain.
Is it the same as experiencing pain yourself?

No it is not.
Knowledge is not experience. And experience cannot be described as knowledge, as in something that can be written in a book. Either you have it, or you don't.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 1, 8:12am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

The fact that the experiences of the copy and yours would diverge when subject to different environments is irrelevant. The point remains that his "experiences" at that moment would be indistinguishable from yours.

Are you saying that I would perceive through the eyes of this "clone"?
Are you saying it would experience pain when I do, or I would experience pleasure when it eats?
Obviously I would not have its perceptions and it would not have mine. It would be a separate person in separate position having separate experiences.

The same if you would copy 80 light years of universe for 80 years. Separate solar system, separate person and separate experience. Doesn't change anything. Just because it duplicates mine is irrelevant, it wouldn't be mine.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 1, 8:44am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Dan8267 says

Heraclitusstudent says

You may have a raw understanding of how a cat perceives red, it doesn't mean that you have the experience this cat is having.

Also irrelevant. No one has made a claim contradicting this either. The claim I made is that one can understand what the cat is experiencing, not that one's mind will have the same emotional response as a cat. The claim that you have been attempting to refute is whether or not the experience of the cat can be understood without resorting to mystical bullshit. Of course, it can. It can be understood in purely natural terms.

Nope, you still missed my point. This is not irrelevant, it's the whole point I've been making since the beginning of this thread.

Look, when you go to the restaurant, do you:

- (A) analyze the exact chemical composition of the food, understand the exact mathematics, physics, biology, and neural science involved in the tasting of food, and leave the restaurant without eating satisfied for yourself?

- (B) create a clone of yourself, give him the food, and leave the restaurant without eating?

- (C) eat the damn food and enjoy it?

If you answer (A) or (B), I'm sorry something is very wrong with you.
If you say that in (A) or (B) you actually understood the experience of the food, so you didn't need to eat it, then something is wrong with you.
If you say the difference between (A) and (C) is just semantic, or irrelevant because (C) can be explained without loss of information from (A), then something is very wrong with you.

Dan8267 says

Software engineers, unlike philosophers, don't have the luxury of remaining ignorant of their mistakes for years or millennia.

Yes. In fact I'm a software engineer too, and I thought like you before I spent a long time thinking about it.
I'm stating a fact, that should be obvious, that experiencing pain, color or food is something different than reading about these experiences in a book. And I made no claim that violates any known laws of physics.
But all I'm getting is patronizing about how mysticism and spirituality are bad by someone is not making an honest attempt to understand what I'm talking about.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 1, 12:40pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

If you want to be an arrogant jerk, fine, let's end this conversation.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 2, 4:54am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

Even if I never personally touched the hot stove, I can reasonably gain the knowledge that stoves are painful when hot to people.

I agree that knowledge can come from others people experience.

So let's say you read a scientific paper that says that when people put their hand on a hot stove they will feel pain, and also give a description of the pain (as good as one can make it), including what nerves, neurons are involved, etc...

Now when you read that paper, is it the same as having the experience of pain yourself?

No. You don't feel pain by reading a paper.

When you read a paper (or otherwise obtain knowledge from other people) this information goes in one part of your brain circuitry, let's call it [conscious intellect].

When you have the experience of pain yourself, a different circuitry of your brain is activated, let's call it [pain experience generator].

1 - Do we agree that they are different?
2 - Do further agree that any knowledge about pain coming to you, could activate only your [conscious intellect], and not your [pain experience generator]?
3 - Do we agree that as a result there is no way to capture the experience caused by the [pain experience generator] of person A and inject it in the [pain experience generator] of person B? All you can do is send a description of person A [pain experience generator] to person B's [conscious intellect].

The distinction may seem trivial, but it opens an entire world. It makes you realize that even if you have a perfect scientific description of the world it will not go further than your [conscious intellect]. This is not how you actually experience the world. The world comes to you in your various [experience generators]. Scientific descriptions of this or that are pretty much irrelevant as far as how you experience life.

You can explain exactly what part of the brain is activated with the God helmet and why. But if people have this experience in their lives as normal human beings (without helmets), and if this experience impacts them, then why should they ignore it? You could claim it is not "real" as a part of the physical world, but it is *real* for them as they experience it.

On the other side of this argument, I'm not claiming that there is something supernatural at work here. I just don't need to.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 14, 10:38am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

ForcedTQ says

You've hit at the crux of the problem, which is they are not "homeowners" at all, they are mortgage payers, that may one day pay off that mortgage and be given the "title" to that home. Where, if they fail to pay a yearly "tax" (rent to the government) they are quickly kicked to the curb.

The goal of banks is to come up with a mortgage that you pay your entire life and never fully pay-off except by selling it to the next "tenant" before you die. And with taxpayer guaranty too.

In essence, they want to rent real estate they don't own.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 14, 10:40am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Nonetheless, with this kind of article published in the NYT, it seems there are now some actual political opponents in DC to the real-estate mafia.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 20, 6:25am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Authorities have one key goal, which is to load people with debts at all cost. They absolutely need this to create fake 'demand' to maintain the status quo in a country with stagnant wages.

Every $ a private individual borrows is a $ that will not have to be borrowed by the government in his name.

They used housing for years, making sure most people have to load themselves with debts up to the eyes balls just to live what they see as a normal life.

But in the absence of housing, student loans will do it, and car loans if necessary.

This disaster is not a bug: it's working as designed.
And they won't "fix it", maybe just adjust it so the donkeys are not killed by the load they carry.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 20, 10:26am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

dublin hillz says

I always believed that much of spending that occurs at shopping malls is via credit card debt.

It's a direct or indirect spending. Students borrow money, which goes to professors, who spend it to buy something. Or person A buys a used house to person B who pays back the remaining of her mortgage and use the rest of the money to buy something. These purchases were financed by debt, though people who did the spending didn't realize it.

When there is a deficit between a country revenues and what it consumes in aggregate, the difference is financed by an increase in the aggregate debt. This is why authorities (president, congress, central bank) are bent on pushing people in debt.

This is also why the idiosyncrasies of real-estate agents is not the heart of the problem. The account deficit (trade), and the monetary system, including the way banks create money, is where the problem is.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 21, 8:50am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Make them sign a fiduciary pledge, that legally forces them to at least act in your interest. Otherwise they will sell you stuff that they are paid to sell you. If they refuse, fire them.

This being said, it has been scientifically proven that the best money managers are no better than a monkey throwing darts.

So I recommend the monkey.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 21, 11:02am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

I'd say Japan will probably blow up before the US, and that means treasuries have some beautiful days in front of them and US real-estate as well.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 21, 11:15am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

donjumpsuit says

I desperately desire to do the same, however cannot compete with all cash investors who bid the price higher than the home is willing to appraise for a mortgage.

As for the comments that come like "Perhaps you should start with an apartment", fuck off.

I have an evolutionary tick that prevents me from buying into a swelling and over demanded market.

I share the feeling.
But talking of the Bay Area, a lot of people have salaries just as inflated with cheap money as RE.
There *are* cheap houses to be bought - just not in places I would want to buy them - but that's a choice.

Participating the frenzy is optional for all of us. There are other choices.
We just don't like these choices.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 21, 11:22am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Bellingham Bill says

yeah, I can compete with 2.5 billion Chinese & Indians for all these wonderful tech jobs . . .

Aren't we competing with them whether they come here or not?

Look at it this way: it's easier to compete with them once they have to buy a house in the US, send their kids to US school, and pay a US health insurance.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 22, 3:19am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

indigenous says

Do away with the incessant government tinkering and it will fix itself right quick

Yep it would go in deflationary collapse and the rot would be purged.

Realtors, banksters, speculators... they would have to sing in the subway to make a living.

Bring on the bread lines!

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 22, 9:42am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

iwog says

Right wingers never want to admit their standard of living is built on exploitation of the poverty stricken.

Wealth is a relative thing. Money is a claim on the work of other people.
Therefore you can be rich only if others are poor compared to you.

While the feds are printing tons of money, they are careful to ensure that most people never get to see the color of it. That's how they make sure there is little inflation. The extra money is only allowed to inflate the assets of those people who have them.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 22, 10:17am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote
Exports increased to 17.9 billion euros ($23.1 billion) from 17.8 billion euros in December, the Economy Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Exports rose 7.9 percent from a year earlier.

Business confidence in Spain increased for a sixth month in February, even as the economy remains mired in recession
Austerity is the only way to force an economy to change itself.
Provided austerity continues for a few years without popular revolt, Europe will emerge far more competitive than it has ever been.

This contrasts with the US/England who are hiding their problems by printing money. It feels good while it is going on, but nothing is resolved, and it can't last forever. The country's economy is still consuming more than it produces, and it's not changing. Inequalities are increasing. Assets get inflated. Young people are made to pay through the nose to buy a house... Until the next crisis inevitably bring these assets down again. Debts continue to accumulate.

Japan, which is way ahead of the US, will prove that a country that can prints its currency can in fact go bankrupt.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 23, 5:53am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

mell says

It's much easier to get repaid for the bankers with printed money than through austerity

That's exactly true. The idea that austerity is good for banksters is the opposite of reality. Bonds were defaulted on or lost value. Banksters lost. The rich saw their assets lose value.

Printing money preserves the possibility of the rich to extract money from the population through rents, dividends, and interests, and also inflates assets prices for those who have them. This is why the self-indulgent ways of the US where 100+% of new revenues since 2009 went to the top 1%.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 23, 6:08am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

thunderlips11 says

I'd like an example of austerity succeeding.

I'd take Germany through the 2000's as an example of that, arguably against a more benign background.

thunderlips11 says

I'm glad FDR didn't choose Austerity in the 1930s.

He didn't... but he also came after the violent reset had already occurred.
After that phase it was a good idea to help the recovery.
But trying to prevent the reset from occurring by spending $trillions would have been stupid. And that's exactly what the Bernank is trying now. All the political will to reform Wall Street is drying up as people feel better about the current situation. Until the next crisis. You see people starting to speculate on housing again - instead of doing the hard, productive work.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 23, 7:02am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

What's the "hard, productive work"?

Picking up strawberries? Manufacturing?

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 23, 11:10am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Heraclitusstudent says

Could you explain why you think money printing prevents people from picking strawberries?

It's easier to be a RE agent or RE investor, when the government poor trillions into maintaining artificially high housing prices.

All the incentives are to speculators, not to people who actually produce something of value. The US has become a country of speculators, trying to front run the Feds through the cycle. Nevermind the fact that speculation is a zero sum game.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 23, 11:14am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Rin says

manufacturing will be done by robots, no sooner than a dozen years from now.

That's a separate line of thought, orthogonal with mine.

It may well be that eventually there will be only one big self maintaining machine building everything on demand. (owned by one person, with everyone else unemployed). But I think it will take a long time to get there.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 24, 4:38am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

All the incentives are to speculators, not to people who actually produce

something of value.

That's BS. Like you said--it's a zero sum game so the risk/reward is no better now than it was 10 or 20 years ago.

It's a simple fact that the Feds actions force people with savings to buy assets at a high price, where the only hope of gain comes from more short term inflation and timing the market.

And yes, on the way up real-estate agents and investors profit from these inflated prices. Of course this all gets lost on the way down, hurting mostly naive people in the process.

In Germany, where housing prices were flat for a long time, you don't see real-estate agents taking-in huge commissions. People have to do a lot of actual work to make what some agents make on a single sale here. And consequently the German economy is focused on more productive endeavors.

Heraclitusstudent   ignore (1)   2013 May 24, 4:52am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

turtledove says

So, like us, people cut back on their spending habits. The next thing you see is that a store, a restaurant, or a movie theater is closing its doors, leaving all those workers unemployed.

Well these restaurant owners didn't complain on the way up. You go through this cycle where people spend a lot of money based on debt. A lot of jobs are created based on this unsustainable flow. And then the bust come... But the problem is not with the bust, it is with the flood of cheap money that created the problem before that. The same flood that is now recommended as a solution by the opponents of austerity.

What Ireland should have done is actually refuse to bailout its private banks. Let them sink. That would have been real austerity. The bust would have been even more violent. But you could start again without having a crippling load of debts still on your back to be paid.

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