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  1. #41
    Hobbyist dday9's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
    I hope you realize you are asking God to protect all those things which cause all the wars?

    .
    I think that if the world has good morals, be it christianity, buddism, or just a guinuine love for another human being's life the world would be at peace(somewhat). My religion/lack of religion is better than the yours, so you can live and believe in mine or perish! Those are the people that make Earth an unpeaceful place.

    As for the op, I think right now it would be Isreal and Iran. But in a year or two it could be US v. Confeds. Then in another year or two it could be Switzerland v. Canada! Who knows, it will happen, just time will tell.

  2. #42
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    Re: World War

    [QUOTE=dday9;4162179]I think that if the world has good morals, be it christianity, buddism, or just a guinuine love for another human being's life the world would be at peace(somewhat). My religion/lack of religion is better than the yours, so you can live and believe in mine or perish! Those are the people that make Earth an unpeaceful place.
    QUOTE]

    You do realize, don't you, that all the religions basically started out the same way, but the very factors mentioned in your earlier post caused the people to change/amend/interpret the religions in ways which suited their selfishness?

    So it's not the religion, or the lack of it, but the greed in people out of all those vices which makes Earth what it is today.

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  3. #43
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    Re: World War

    The fault lies not in the stars, but within our selves.
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  4. #44
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    The fault lies not in the stars, but within our selves.
    I personally think that the fault lies with the swe's :P

  5. #45
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    Re: World War

    swe????

    Single White Elf?
    Swedes?
    Standard White Envelope?
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  6. #46
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    Re: World War

    Social Welfare Employees?
    Socio Economic Warfare (assuming it was a typo)?

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  7. #47
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    Re: World War

    Seriously wobbly evangelists?

    I blame the stars. Operah Winfreys been looking at me funny lately and Russel Crow's been asking for it for ages.
    When one of my minions says, "Hey, he's just one guy, what can he do?" I say "This"... and shoot them.

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  8. #48

  9. #49
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by dday9 View Post
    The people from switzerland :P I can't spell.
    Seriously! I laughed when I read that. Kind of an epic spelling failure, but quite entertaining. I even guessed a country and guessed the wrong one. That was a hoot!!!
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  10. #50
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    Re: World War

    Their neutrality is haunting o.O
    I really hope I spelt neautrality right :P

  11. #51
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    Re: World War

    See, you want to blame the neutralists!

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  12. #52
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    Re: World War

    The U.S. will help Israel when Iran finally invades them, and Russia will frown upon this. This is how WWIII will start.

  13. #53
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    Re: World War

    Well, does Iran have sufficient military power to overpower and invade Israel?

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  14. #54
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
    Well, does Iran have sufficient military power to overpower and invade Israel?

    .
    Did the us have sufficient military power to overpower the Brits in the late 1770's? Or did the VC have any military power to overpower the US and France(I think it was France that there before the us was...)? Either way, if somebody believes in something very passionately, then the tide can turn very easily for the underdog. I mean, haven't you ever watched an 80's boxing movie :P

  15. #55
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    Re: World War

    In all of those cases, the larger force was invading the territory of the smaller force. The US could not have successfully invaded England (several decades later we failed miserably when we attempted to invade Canada). The VC could not have gotten anywhere invading the US or France, either. Similarly, Israel would probably lose if they invaded Iran, but HB was talking about it the other way around: Iran invading Israel, where the underdog would have to be Iran, despite the relative land area size and population size.
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  16. #56
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by dday9 View Post
    Did the us have sufficient military power to overpower the Brits in the late 1770's? Or did the VC have any military power to overpower the US and France(I think it was France that there before the us was...)? Either way, if somebody believes in something very passionately, then the tide can turn very easily for the underdog. I mean, haven't you ever watched an 80's boxing movie :P
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    In all of those cases, the larger force was invading the territory of the smaller force. The US could not have successfully invaded England (several decades later we failed miserably when we attempted to invade Canada). The VC could not have gotten anywhere invading the US or France, either. Similarly, Israel would probably lose if they invaded Iran, but HB was talking about it the other way around: Iran invading Israel, where the underdog would have to be Iran, despite the relative land area size and population size.
    I am assuming you mean Viet Congs?

    Shaggy has nailed it. Although when I compare Israel and Iran, Iran seems to be the undisputed underdog (not that it's likely to use that status effectively).

    I won't claim to know what Iran has in its arsenal, but I believe it's far less than what Israel has. Even if Iran did get hold of an atomic weapon I doubt it would be used. Even if it were to be used, Israel would have already deployed counter measures to prevent it. I am sure Israel has the plans A, B, C and maybe even D already worked out in these scenarios, and even if Iran did manage to pull a surprise attack, Israel would be ready with a counter-attack in no time.

    So I actually thought 'thebuffalo' was being funny when he/she said Iran would invade Israel.

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  17. #57
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    Re: World War

    I was, I was. The only way they would invade anywhere is if they were to somehow manage to find an ally willing to politically and almost literally commit suicide.

    I do believe that if there were to be a WWIII, it would be between China and the U.S mainly and then others would branch it according to who they like more.

  18. #58
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
    I am assuming you mean Viet Congs?
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    In my case, I was talking about Venture Capitalists, but dday may have been refering to Viet Cong.
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  19. #59
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    Re: World War

    Yup, I was my wife's papa calls the Viet Cong, the vc. But thebuffalo, I couldn't see China and us going to war. Atleast not with our current dependency on china, what's the biblical verse... Ah, the borrower is a slave to the lender.

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    Re: World War

    Yeah but when that slave doesnt pay you back.. then what do you do?

  21. #61
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    Re: World War

    In this case, there is a mutually co-dependent relationship. China is tied to us just as tightly as we are tied to them. That can all change, but the current situation is that if China called in its loans, we'd go belly-up, and they'd be crushed. The hit they'd take to their economy would be harsh enough to destabilize their government, and they fear that more than anything.

    On the other hand, some people said that about western Europe in the years prior to WW I. Still, the debt relationship between the US and China is a pretty peculiar one, if only because of the size.
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    Re: World War

    I agree with Shaggy. If history teaches us anything it's that any predictions we make will be wrong. I reckon you can predict major events maybe 20 years ahead at most in Geo-Politics and even then you'll get it wrong more often than not. I don't think anyone would have predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall more than 5 years ahead. Nobody saw the war on terror coming before 9/11 actually happened. And I didn't see many people talking about an Arab Spring until things kicked off in Egypt.

    The world tends to stay still for a long time, then change comes real fast.
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  23. #63
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    Re: World War

    I read a few comments in one of the issues of 'The Economist' on the elections in some European countries, including Greece and France, and the tone indicates that the mood is slowly swinging towards getting out of the European Union and going solo (the author has actually said these countries would shut themselves out of the rest of the world). So the EU won't get involved into any wars, most likely there won't be any EU in the next few years.

    The US and China are so tied together, they both need to prop each other to survive, or else both of them are doomed, just like Shaggy said above. It's true that China holds a massive stake in the US through its investments, but the US is probably one of the biggest market for the Chinese products. If the US collapsed, there would be no place where the Chinese factory output can sell, prices will crash and the Chinese economy will collapse too.

    The middle eastern nations like Iran are still at risk, since they are being ruled by people who can be labelled more fanatic than rational. Although personally I think Ahmedinejad is a rather shrewd man, there's no guarantee what he will NOT do if pushed into a corner.

    North Korea seems to have been forgotten for a while now, so we can assume it will take a few years more for things to get back to the war levels between these two Korean fractions.

    Nope, I don't see a war (at least a military one) looming on the horizons as yet. I fear more about an economic war. Japan has shut down all its nuclear reactors, and has now become dependent on imported oil and gas. This is bound to shoot costs up, increase production costs and prices and force the Japanese manufacturers to move their production activities outside Japan or lower the wages and consequently the living standards of the average Japanese Joe (or do you call him Joe-san?). Either way it's a blow to the economy and it will reduce the demand that Japan generates for the various products/services.

    India is facing a lot of economic issues along with massive scandals in almost every government operated sector, at both the central and the state levels. It would be a miracle if the Congress coalition could retain power. The new government is likely to mess up the policy confusion even further. This would force investors (not the speculative share market FIIs but serious industry players like Arcelor-Mittal for eg.) to either freeze or pull out their investments. This will affect not only India but also the respective companies. I am doubtful if this alone could spiral into a crisis beyond the national levels but given the role India is playing in the world market there's a chance it could.

    I am just citing two examples that I know a little about. I am sure various factors are adding to such economic crises the world over. So it's these little battles which may scale up into full-fledged wars.

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  24. #64
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I reckon you can predict major events maybe 20 years ahead at most in Geo-Politics and even then you'll get it wrong more often than not.
    If a coin flip would be more accurate, I wouldn't call that a prediction, I'd call it a guess.
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  25. #65
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I agree with Shaggy. If history teaches us anything it's that any predictions we make will be wrong. I reckon you can predict major events maybe 20 years ahead at most in Geo-Politics and even then you'll get it wrong more often than not. I don't think anyone would have predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall more than 5 years ahead. Nobody saw the war on terror coming before 9/11 actually happened. And I didn't see many people talking about an Arab Spring until things kicked off in Egypt.

    The world tends to stay still for a long time, then change comes real fast.
    Maybe because we don't have a 'handle' to all those things which influence the course of things? There are so many variables, you simply cannot track each of them and then correlate its movement with the outcome.

    Maybe game theory will help, but I have no clue what it is. Might as well learn it!

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  26. #66
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    Re: World War

    I read a few comments in one of the issues of 'The Economist' on the elections in some European countries, including Greece and France, and the tone indicates that the mood is slowly swinging towards getting out of the European Union and going solo (the author has actually said these countries would shut themselves out of the rest of the world). So the EU won't get involved into any wars, most likely there won't be any EU in the next few years.
    My personal prediction is that they'll bomb out of the Euro but stay in the EU. Technically the rules of the Euro say that if you leave the Euro you have to leave the EU as well but that rule was created as a deterrent to stop people leaving the Euro rather than somehow protect the EU; there are plenty of countries (UK for example) who are part of the EU but never joined the Euro in the first place. With that in mind I think the rules will be relaxed and Greece will be allowed to remain in one while quitting the other. After all, having them leave the Euro is going to be damaging enough (and not just to Greece) so why further that damage by forcing them out of the EU.

    Alternatively, Germany may get it's head around the fact that, if it wants the trading advantages it undeniably gets from having a stable Euro, the price is going to be to pay for Greece's deficit, at least until Greece can get back on it's feet. And there's no point in forcing austerity measures on them because, the truth is, they just can't afford to maintain them.

    If a coin flip would be more accurate, I wouldn't call that a prediction, I'd call it a guess.
    True. I started that post thinking maybe 20 years was short enough to make a prediction then, as I started thinking of examples, I started realising that it just isn't. A bit of careless editing left me making a non-sensical opening statement

    Maybe game theory will help, but I have no clue what it is. Might as well learn it!
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  27. #67
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by funkydexter View Post
    and there's no point in forcing austerity measures on them because, the truth is, they just can't afford to maintain them.
    !

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  28. #68
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    And there's no point in forcing austerity measures on them because, the truth is, they just can't afford to maintain them.
    holy, what?! I had to look up 'austerity' again because, seriously....what!? This is what we refer to in the good ole' US as 'Drinking the Kool-Aid'.

    The word 'austerity' doesn't actually exist those who act responsibly and are responsible for others. Usually, before enough time has passed for some lame-brain, high-altitude, economist invents such a word, the corrective action takes place. In this case: STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE.

    The EU is destined to break apart as the reality of debt starts to crumble the facade of a European economy.

    European countries, over the decades, have had each other to hide their own failing government policies which have destroyed a sustainable economy, culminating in the transition to the Euro. As the failed economies were hidden - and supported by - more robust economic entities (read: productive) those failed mechanisms have continued and appeared to demonstrate a 'successful' social-economic structure.

    It is baffling that so many hide behind the argument of a 'depressed world economy' for such a tragic failure [Greece]; they ignore the real reasons for failure. The tragedy being that Greece's very own people continue to gnaw away on the bones of the long-dead golden goose, mystified - and violently angry - that they don't get what they want.

    World war? Not so much, but there are only so many body parts you can cut off to feed your starving children.
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  29. #69
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    Re: World War

    All that pent up anger... I felt the steam hiss out of the post and the monitor.

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  30. #70
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    Re: World War

    STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE
    In general I agree with you. Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Iceland... all these countries have spent the last two decades hiding their deficits and spending money they didn't have. And yes, it is irresponsible for a government to spend money it doesn't have. In that regard I'm definitely not a Keynesian. I don't believe spending money on public services purely in the name of growth is sensible because that growth will be illusory. (I do believe in high public services investment because I believe it's good for society but that's a whole 'nother argument)

    However, with the situation as it is now is the reality and needs to be dealt with. The productive members of the Euro are faced with a choice of bank-rolling the poorer members or watching the system they built collapse. Thus far they've chosen to bank roll the poorer members but have said these nations must reduce their government deficit to the 3% of GDP level that was originally stipulated for entry into the Euro (and which, BTW, even Germany failed to achieve at least once in the last decade). And Greece has attempted to do just that. It's raised it's tax levels through the roof, it's selling off it's infrastructure (including it's road and rail networks) and it's reduced public spending as close to zero as makes no difference... and it still isn't enough. The truth is they're a tourist and agrarian economy and, while locked into the Euro and therefore into an unrealistic exchange rate parity with Germany, they simply have no mechanism to make those industries competitive. Normally they would reduce their exchange rate, therefore making those goods cheapper and more competitive, but the Euro removes that option. Simply put, their is simply nothing Greece can do in the present climate to reduce their deficit any further. They just don't have the means.

    Now, I'm sure you'll argue that they shouldn't have got themselves into that situation in the first place and you're right, they shouldn't have. But that doesn't change the fact that they did and that's the reality that has to be dealt with now. You're saying that Greece should stop spending money it doesn't have and that's exactly what they've done... but the bills are still coming in and they simply don't have the money to pay them.

    So where does that leave Germany? Well, they're going to continue to posture and demand further austerity (it's a real word by the way, it's in the dictionary and everything) measures because that's going to please their electorate but they already know that the Greeks can't actually meet those demands. So sooner or later they're going to be faced with a choice: 1. Back off the posturing and continue to bank roll Greece but without imposing conditions or 2. Refuse further finance at which point Greece WILL default on it's debts, crash out of the Euro, reduce it's exchange rates and finally have a shot at becoming competitive.

    On the surface it might look like option 2 is the obvious one for Germany to take, why shackle yourself to a drowning man, right? The problem is those debts Greece is going to default on. The creditors are Germany and Britain. Option 2 will lead to a second banking lockup in those coutries and we'll all head into another massive recession.

    The truth is neither option is attractive and either is going to lead to a bunch of pain. Option 1 will mean ongoing moderate pain for at least a decade, probably 2 or 3. Option 2 will lead to massive pain right now. Bankrolling greece is essentially just about deferring that pain and buying time. Which is Ghe right option really depends on whether you think we can buy enough time for growth to come back into the world economy. If we can then we will be able to take that pain during a period of growth when we're fairly well equipped to cope with it. If we can't then the pain will be even worse and we'll still be taking it in a time of recession when it's going to hurt most. I personally think we can buy enough time but I certainly wouldn't claim to know it. Anyone who claims to know what's going to happen is a liar.

    And before you climb on your high horse you may want to look at this chart. The US and the UK are actually both in worse shape than Greece. The only difference is that the money markets believe we can handle it. If that belief changes, and it's ephemeral at best, then we face exactly the same situation that Greece is now.
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  31. #71
    Hobbyist dday9's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    I would like to see where China and Russia are on that chart :P

  32. #72
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    Re: World War

    I think Russia has long dropped out of running and I don't know if it really mattered economically. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union at least the truth is now bare. With the European Union it's difficult because as long as the union stands the individual members will never be scrutinized enough to know how bad off they are.

    China is most likely in the place where it needs the US to survive because a lot of Chinese money is invested in the US, plus most factories there are being run for the US companies. So if the US goes down, it might drag China along too.

    Looks like barter economy was better! We surely seem to be heading that way, maybe in the next fifty years or 100 years. Now if that prediction came true, FD will have proved a point!

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  33. #73
    Hobbyist dday9's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    A barter economy is an economy that lacks a commonly accepted currency, so all exchanges must be made with goods and services because money does not exist in these economies.
    I can honestly say that my own grandfather remembers trading 3 chickens for his first truck

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    Re: World War

    China is most likely in the place where it needs the US to survive because a lot of Chinese money is invested in the US,
    China is to the US what Germany is to Greece, just on a bigger scale. The one obvious difference is that in the German-Greek relationship the creditor is the more advance country while in the Sino-US relationship the creditor is the less developed economy.

    It's quite interesting to ponder how that will play out politically if the US economy did get into trouble and teh money markets started turning their backs in it. Internationally we can kind of understand Germany making political demands of Greece because we view Germany as more politically advance so we tend to assume they're demands will be just (which is a wholly fatuous assumption btw). I wonder how the world would look on China making political demands of the US.

    edit>
    Looks like barter economy was better!
    Definitely not! It's always tempting to take this view because it's simple and easy to understand. You know you're getting a fair shake. Economics is complex, obtuse and leaves you with the vague feeling that someone somewhere is taking you for a ride. But a barter economy simply could not sustain the world population today. The same is true of the gold standard. It feels solid and reliable but all it actually does is limit your options for no real benefit. Money is trust. As long as we trust each other money works. When the trust fails the economy fails. But neither barter or gold standards change that.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; May 21st, 2012 at 04:16 AM.
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  35. #75
    Randalf the Red honeybee's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    In barter I at least know what I am getting for my goods/services. With the currency values falling rapidly you never know the real worth of whatever you are getting.

    Imagine this: I get salary at the end of the month. After that I spend it over the next month. If the currency were to decline in value during the month, I am incurring a loss. Though some might argue that I receive and spend in a single currency, whatever I spend on has been procured from other currencies at some point in time. So somewhere the floating currency hurts me. This effect is more obvious over a longer period of time or in very highly volatile currency market.

    In case of Greece, the Greek currency may lose its value very soon (in case it breaks away from the Euro) or the Euro will suffer (if it stays on and the EU foots the bill for its economic problems). Either way residents of other EU members will be paying for what happened with Greece.

    I have read reports of cash withdrawals from the Greek central bank which will trigger a collapse of the banking system there. This cash will be as good as useless if the economy collapses. What better than resorting to a barter system then?
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  36. #76
    Hirsute Mumbler FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    The problem with barter is that it only works between two individuals and only if they each produce what the other wants. I paint fences, you raise chickens. I want a chicken and you need your fence painted. There's a pretty easy deal to be done there.

    But what if I don't paint fences? What if I bring Joy. Dday's been feeling a little low but he does paint fences. He's not going to paint your fence because you can't make him happy. You're not going to give me a chicken because I can't paint your fence. And I'm not going to cheers Dday up because he can't give me a chicken. None of us get what we want even though everything we all want is available somewhere within the system. We could all win but instead we all lose.

    The solution is quite obvious, of course, it's an extended barter system. Dday agrees to paint your fence in return for a chicken he doesn't actually want and then he exchanges that chicken with me for one of these:

    What Dday just did was make an investment. He trusted that by the time he came to me with the chicken I would still want one. He trusted that the bottom wouldn't fall out of the chicken market while he was holding it. He also trusted that the chicken you gave him was going to live long enough for hiom to pass it on to me. He trusted it would retain it's value. And, as I said before trust is... money. Money is trust (or belief if you like). It's purpose is to move a resource from where it is to where it's wanted.

    Barter does not remove these fundamental issues. It merely means you know you're getting a fair shake right now. But you still don't know that the deal you're getting is going to be fair tomorrow. And it doesn't guarantee that Dday's not going to use dodgy paint that runs off the first time it rains. There simply is no system that will guarantee those things.

    Money's actually the best system we've ever come up with and the more abstracted it becomes from real resources the better. Because those real resources lead us into a false sense of security nad also add an external instability because the world can change and the suppply of that resource can go up or down, artificially pressuring the currency that's tied to it. If you want to see an example of this phenomenon the best one I know is the collapse of the Spanish Empire. It's quite bizarre that the Spanish Empire collapsed because it became too wealthy.

    The nations of Europe made their currencies out of gold. When the conquistadors conquered the tribes of South America the volume of gold coming out of the region flooded the markets. The Spanish thought this was making them rich. After all, they now had all the gold so they had all the money, right? What was actually happening, of course, was that the real value of gold plumetted like a stone. All the other nations switched to printing money as paper promissary notes while the Spanish insisted on sticking to gold. The other nations got on just fine because it wasn't actually the gold they wanted anyway, it was what the gold would buy them. And the paper was happilliy fulfilling that role now. Meanwhile the Spanish got left with a worless resource and a worthless currency. Massive inflation, bye-bye empire.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; May 21st, 2012 at 07:35 AM.
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  37. #77
    Fanatic Member SJWhiteley's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
    All that pent up anger... I felt the steam hiss out of the post and the monitor.
    I read the federal Treasury Statement every 8th business day of the month: it raises the blood pressure (interestingly, April gave a surplus of around $59 billion due to increased revenue - it was April, after all - not that it matters much. We are in the hole $719 billion since October. The debt ceiling will be hit AGAIN around September/October by my guess).

    However, Greece is going to have to default. And it will be painful. while the government has attempted to reign in spending, the people that they represent continue to try to throw them out for doing what is their own best interests. This is the root problem - several generations that have grown accustomed to the government giving all that is both needed and wanted.

    Oh, and I know what Austerity is - I was being quite facetious. it is one of those words/phrases designed to hide the reality of it's meaning (kind of like saying someone dies of lead poisoning).

    The reality of accumulating debt is a double-whammy. For example, when you get paid, you have $100 cash. You also have a credit card which you spend an extra $100 [credit]. That's $200 [cash and credit] of stuff that you can buy (woohoo!). However, to pay off the debt - with that $100 cash - means that you have $200 less to spend and you only pay off $100. In effect, the 'spending loss' is far greater than the gain. This is why so many entities are in trouble (individuals to governments to whole countries).

    Also, you have to understand: where does this credit come from? We cannot ignore the interest - The US paid (double checking the figures, here) $30 Billion in April. Someone is getting rich. It's not just the Chinese, but the UK has a big holding of our federal debt. It's the fact that the US individuals give [sic] approximately $200 billion every month that prompts people to lend money to the US: the ROI is pretty good. It's also a good reason to not piss off those taxpayers (note, I say again, Taxpayers, not people). The revenue stream is good for the lenders.

    As far as barter goes, it's good for goods and services of almost equivalent value. as a world gets more technical and advanced, disparity of localized value in goods and services promotes a common currency. But an economy needs to be suitably advanced: the European nations are not advanced enough to adopt a inter-nation currency (this was, I guess in hindsight, the hubris of European governments and self professed enlightened thinking). I do have a lot to say why the US has succeeded in a common currency but that's a story for another time.
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  38. #78
    Hirsute Mumbler FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    Oh, and I know what Austerity is - I was being quite facetious
    I know. So was I.

    However, Greece is going to have to default.
    It already has. It's creditors agreed to write off a portion of it's debt several months ago when the bail out was agreed - that's a default right there. The only question is whether it will be uncontrolled default called unilaterally by Greece or a controlled default agreed with the creditors in advance.

    while the government has attempted to reign in spending, the people that they represent continue to try to throw them out for doing what is their own best interests. This is the root problem - several generations that have grown accustomed to the government giving all that is both needed and wanted.
    I pretty much agree but the one point you seem to be missing is that the reality is what the reality is. And the reality is that, even with low public spending and high taxation, the interest on the loans Greece already has is larger than it's income. The answer to this isn't austerity measures, it's getting Greece out of the Euro so it can control it's own exchange rates and make itself competitive. The choice to be made is whether they leave now in a crisis or later in (hopefully) a controlled manner. A controlled manner would be less painful but does mean they'd have to be bank rolled in the meantime.

    when you get paid, you have $100 cash. You also have a credit card which you spend an extra $100 [credit]. That's $200 [cash and credit] of stuff that you can buy (woohoo!). However, to pay off the debt - with that $100 cash - means that you have $200 less to spend and you only pay off $100.
    Sorry, I didn't follow that. You seem to be saying you'd be $200 worse off for having spent spent the credit but that's not right. You're $100 worse off in cash but you're holding $100 worth of goods. You're not actually any better or worse off at all. The cost of credit is the interest accrued. I can't help feeling I've miss-understood you here though.

    Borrowing is not necessarily a bad thing (stupid and irresponsible borrowing is). To go back to my bartering analogy, suppose HoneyBee's chickens aren't laying because they find the current colour of the fence distressing and he can't afford to give away a chicken yet because he needs them to lay the next generation of eggs first. In that scenario it makes sense for him to agree to pay Dday 2 chickens in a years time to get his fence painted now because getting his chickens laying again now is worth more to him than the extra chicken it's ultimately going to cost him.

    Of course, it's possible a fox'll get into the coop tomorrow and kill all his chickens anyway and then he'll be really stuffed He'll now owe two chickens and his nicely painted fence won't be doing him any good at all. That's the risk with all transactions. We don't know what tomorrow will bring so we can only go on the balance of probability.

    The revenue stream is good for the lenders.
    Agreed but there's a tipping point and that's where Greece is now. To a creditor, a debt is an asset, it's a revenue stream exactly as you say. But only as long as it's actually getting paid. When a debtor becomes unable to pay (or just refuses) that asset becomes worthless. At that point the creditor is faced with a choice 1. Take the debtor to court to get as much of the debt as they can enforced (this is the equivalent of kicking Greece out of the Euro) in the knowledge that that's all they're ever going to get or 2. Agree more affordable terms with the debtor (this is the equivalent of continuing to bail Greece out) in the hope that the debtor will be able to pay more back over a longer period. That's a tricky judgement call to make.

    But an economy needs to be suitably advanced: the European nations are not advanced enough to adopt a inter-nation currency
    Here I'm afraid I really disagree with you. You cannot seriously be saying the dollar is somehow more advanced that the franc or deutschmark were or the pouns is. The differenc is nothing to do with advanced economies and everything to do with political unity. The US has it, europe doesn't.

    A currency cannot work if it's not controlled by single government. Interestingly the Euro was really an attempt at political rather than fiscal unity. The Franch and German governments have been pushing for a Europe wide super state since the end of the second world war. The Euro was basically a gamble that a fiscal union would force the hand of dissentors because a political union would be the only wasy to avoid the situation we're now facing. Unfortunately they underestimated the will of the constituants of the EU to avoid a federalised Europe and now find themselves hoist on their own petard.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; May 21st, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
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  39. #79
    Fanatic Member SJWhiteley's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    ...

    Here I'm afraid I really disagree with you. You cannot seriously be saying the dollar is somehow more advanced that the franc or deutschmark were or the pouns is. The differenc is nothing to do with advanced economies and everything to do with political unity. The US has it, europe doesn't.

    ...
    To clarify, you are exactly correct: you cannot bring independent and diverse countries together with differing socio-political mechanisms and expect them to play nice under a unifying inter-government with a single currency. It is not just the economics that drives currency, as you noted.

    The US, on the other hand, was built from a single political framework - independent states are reserved full control under that framework, with a minority of control explicitly defined for that central government.

    This has nothing to do with the individual nations currencies - except for the fact (lets face it) that no-one outside of the US liked the fact that everything was compared to or traded in US dollars. The US Dollar was the, undoubtedly, largest currency in the world by almost any measure. The Euro (perhaps necessarily) makes the dollar slightly less a dominant currency. A prime example of the folly of trying to unseat a dominant currency is the British pound: while not necessarily a minor currency, it isn't going to be challenging anything for dominance, except in the fact that it is a persistent and strong currency from a small but influential nation (even without the Empire!). Currency investors will take the Pound over the Euro in almost any world-wide economic situation, if the aim is long-term stability - the Euro is a good 'get rich quick' scheme. But as most schemes turn out, losers lose hard (sorry, Greece).

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Sorry, I didn't follow that. You seem to be saying you'd be $200 worse off for having spent spent the credit but that's not right. You're $100 worse off in cash but you're holding $100 worth of goods. You're not actually any better or worse off at all. The cost of credit is the interest accrued. I can't help feeling I've miss-understood you here though.
    Most people I talk to don't understand this. until you start thinking about it dynamically, rather than statically. Also, play it out: get out a wad of $100 bills and start spending (use pennies, match sticks, or whatever, to physically represent the flow - dynamic - of money). You can get used to spending $200 every period. But when the time comes to start paying off the debt, instead of spending $200, how much are you putting towards paying off that debt? If you spend $200 less does that mean you can pay off $200 of debt? Obviously not. If you spend $200 less, you can only pay off $100 of debt.

    These are some of the simplest numbers to represent the dynamic of money flow with respect to debt, and it is surprising how few don't really get it. It gets more worrisome when you start to think about what is purchased with that debt. And that's the critical issue: there is almost nothing that someone or an entity buys with credit that is actually worth what they spent (and don't say 'property' as if this is a healthy and 100% safe investment opportunity...).

    The 'cost of credit' being interest is, indeed, a cost. But the cost actually is quite small: and that's why people do borrow money, regardless of interest rate. That isn't what cripples them. It is the capitol - borrowed amount - that is the coffin: the interest determines whether you have gold fixings and satin or plain iron and cotton.

    (Not much of a world war...but meh).
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  40. #80
    Hirsute Mumbler FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: World War

    To clarify, you are exactly correct: you cannot bring independent and diverse countries together with differing socio-political mechanisms and expect them to play nice under a unifying inter-government with a single currency. It is not just the economics that drives currency, as you noted.

    The US, on the other hand, was built from a single political framework - independent states are reserved full control under that framework, with a minority of control explicitly defined for that central government.

    This has nothing to do with the individual nations currencies - except for the fact (lets face it) that no-one outside of the US liked the fact that everything was compared to or traded in US dollars. The US Dollar was the, undoubtedly, largest currency in the world by almost any measure. The Euro (perhaps necessarily) makes the dollar slightly less a dominant currency. A prime example of the folly of trying to unseat a dominant currency is the British pound: while not necessarily a minor currency, it isn't going to be challenging anything for dominance, except in the fact that it is a persistent and strong currency from a small but influential nation (even without the Empire!). Currency investors will take the Pound over the Euro in almost any world-wide economic situation, if the aim is long-term stability - the Euro is a good 'get rich quick' scheme. But as most schemes turn out, losers lose hard (sorry, Greece).
    I couldn't agree more with this and obviously miss-understood where you were going with the previous post. I've thought the Euro was doomed from the start. The ERM failed because it was too constraining on the currencies involved so why anyone thought that developing a similar but even more constrained system was going to work is utterly beyond me.

    I was actually working as a financial analyst at the AA when Black Wednesday happened and I'd managed to predict it using nothing more than a spreadsheet. My boss, who was the forecaster, had asked me to build a spreadsheet comparing the exchange rate limits the ERM specified with the interest rates from teh various member states. It looked fine at first but as the Germans started dropping their interest rates the whole thing turned into a sea of red. The first thing he said was "your spreadsheet's wrong". Sadly it wasn't.

    Most people I talk to don't understand this. until you start thinking about it dynamically, rather than statically. Also, play it out: get out a wad of $100 bills and start spending (use pennies, match sticks, or whatever, to physically represent the flow - dynamic - of money). You can get used to spending $200 every period. But when the time comes to start paying off the debt, instead of spending $200, how much are you putting towards paying off that debt? If you spend $200 less does that mean you can pay off $200 of debt? Obviously not. If you spend $200 less, you can only pay off $100 of debt.
    Ah, I think I get where you're coming from. You're talking about the relative pain between the position you were in when you were spending vs the position you're in when you're trying to pay it back. I'm talking about the actual pain you're in at any given point in time. Both are useful measures and need considering. It's the actual pain that truly constrains how much the Greek government can pay back but it's the relative pain that the people will feel because that describes the drop in their living standards.

    don't say 'property' as if this is a healthy and 100% safe investment opportunity...
    Hah, I wouldn't. Property is widely recognised as one of the worst investments there is. It's no safer than anything else and and it's about a non-liquid as you can possibly get. I think it's popular mainly because it's an investment that's easy to understand. The only people who really make money on property are those who put work into the property to directly increase it's value.
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