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Is American Excess Now Realizing Its Limits?

 
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 10:35 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;90486 wrote:

I see their ads on T.V. and everywhere in the media, all over.

They state that if anyone who has been hurt in any kind of accident should call 800-LAWYers and such.
They say that if you have been hurt on the job or anywhere that they will sue for you. And of course the lawyers are taking the bulk of the awards they get from the courts.

They also seek out bad products and produce class action suits. This type of ambulance chasing for decades in America was considered immoral and illegal.


Sure, some lawyers out there are just greedy bottom-feeders. But in a day when all of the politicians are in bed with all of the corporate executives they are supposed to be 'overseeing', these types of lawsuits are the best line of defense against corporate corruption. Our regulatory agencies only give slaps on the wrist, so it is the lawyers who the corporations must fear when they decide to release an unsafe product or dump toxic waste in the local water system.

Private attorneys are much less deserving of blame than our publicly-appointed officials who are supposed to be looking out for the common good. Anyway, the system is corrupt up and down, as you seem to be saying; everyone's in it for themselves. But, at least lawyers are up front about it, while politicians tell you they're doing it for 'the people'. :cool:
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 05:51 am
@Pythagorean,
Seems to me that Wall Street in particular, and the whole system in general, is driven by fear and greed. This is common knowledge - people talk about cycles of greed, then cycles of fear. But any system built on fear and greed must fail. Of course, not everyone is driven by this all the time, they are also humans with many other qualities. But it seems to me 'the system' is built on pretty shaky ground. But - what is the alternative? Wall St might be fear and greed but communism seems to be oppression and deprivation. What would a better society be based on?

---------- Post added 09-16-2009 at 09:53 PM ----------

It seems to me the whole value system needs to be replaced. But will this happen voluntarily? I can't see it. There are some signs - if the world does pull together to counteract climate change it would be a huge change, but it is a big 'if'.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 05:04 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;90547 wrote:
What would a better society be based on?


You went in the right direction in the edit - a better society would be one that is based upon the understanding that we do not need so many things in order to be happy, that having so many things often times gets in the way of happiness.

A better society would be one that rightly shuns excess and hedonism. At the moment, we glorify those qualities.
0 Replies
 
Solace
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 05:35 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;90499 wrote:
Sure, some lawyers out there are just greedy bottom-feeders. But in a day when all of the politicians are in bed with all of the corporate executives they are supposed to be 'overseeing', these types of lawsuits are the best line of defense against corporate corruption. Our regulatory agencies only give slaps on the wrist, so it is the lawyers who the corporations must fear when they decide to release an unsafe product or dump toxic waste in the local water system.

Private attorneys are much less deserving of blame than our publicly-appointed officials who are supposed to be looking out for the common good. Anyway, the system is corrupt up and down, as you seem to be saying; everyone's in it for themselves. But, at least lawyers are up front about it, while politicians tell you they're doing it for 'the people'. :cool:


Through no fault of their own, lawyers aren't able to do enough on behalf of the victims of corporate crime. Take the movie Erin Brockovich for example, based on events which, at the time, resulted in the largest corporate monetary compensation in U.S. history, I believe. But a corporate entity knowingly poisoned people resulting in cancer and death for many, and no one was criminally prosecuted. If people should be outraged over anything, it should definitely be this sort of thing. This thread is about American excess; is there anything more excessive than paying to get away with killing people? Let's hope that this is one is excess that has indeed reached its limit.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 06:45 am
@Pythagorean,
Agree with virtually all that was stated in the opening post here. Nice job

But the answer to the topic's question, I'd have to say, is: No, American Excess isn't realizing it's limits. It may never.

... just my take
Labyrinth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 07:29 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;91232 wrote:
Agree with virtually all that was stated in the opening post here. Nice job

But the answer to the topic's question, I'd have to say, is: No, American Excess isn't realizing it's limits. It may never.

... just my take


You have a lot of history to back up your take. Sadly, this realization will be one that is forced.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 11:41 am
@Pythagorean,
It's a wake up call for America, for all of us, come and unite before you lose the nature of harmony.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 08:05 pm
@Caroline,
Labyrinth;91244 wrote:
You have a lot of history to back up your take. Sadly, this realization will be one that is forced.


I think what Khethil is saying is that while America may be reaching her limits, people by and large do not recognize this.
Labyrinth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 09:19 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;91592 wrote:
I think what Khethil is saying is that while America may be reaching her limits, people by and large do not recognize this.


Yes, that's how I read what Khethil posted also. Failed recognition can't go on forever though. It will be forced upon America from within the nation or from another nation without if realization is delayed too long.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Sep, 2009 10:06 pm
@Pythagorean,
Ultimately the world has limited resources which are available.
The world population is approaching unsustainable limits.
If all the peoples of the world were to strive for or attain American lifestyles there would not be sufficient resouces to permit this.
One can argue that science and technology will provide alternatives but the quantities of gold, lead, silver, copper, arable land, fresh water and other resources seem inherently limited.
We have the technologies to limit population and to provide basic sustenance for all but not the social, political or economic structures in which to implement them.
The best hope is for the eventual adoption of both sustainable lifestyles and populations. Americans are hoping science and technology will continure to provide the resources for their extravagant lifestyles. There is no real will or consensus on change or sacrifice yet.
0 Replies
 
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 12:01 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;91592 wrote:
I think what Khethil is saying is that while America may be reaching her limits, people by and large do not recognize this.


I believe Khethil may be correct. They will play political games with the imminent failures to come. They will cover up the true nature of the problems with politicization and play the superficial blame games.

Excellent comments! Smile
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 11:05 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;91690 wrote:
I believe Khethil may be correct. They will play political games with the imminent failures to come. They will cover up the true nature of the problems with politicization and play the superficial blame games.


Simply look at the latest bailout plan. The government wants to turn one bubble into an even bigger bubble by flooding the economy with more and more credit. The problem is that growth will never be enough to pay off the massive debt. No politician will do what's right, because they don't want the huge collapse to occur on their watch and take the fall for it.
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 03:04 am
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;91872 wrote:
Simply look at the latest bailout plan. The government wants to turn one bubble into an even bigger bubble by flooding the economy with more and more credit. The problem is that growth will never be enough to pay off the massive debt. No politician will do what's right, because they don't want the huge collapse to occur on their watch and take the fall for it.


I agree completely Pangloss. They lack the political will to do the hard things today that will begin to solve these difficult problems.

Part of the problem is that they let things get so bad for so long that now the cost of actually and honestly attempting to begin to fix things is too high. They are politicians and not economists.

Americans are spending and consuming more than we are producing and we are borrowing money from countries - Japan and China - who produce and save more than they consume. This leaves us as the biggest debtor nation in the world -perhaps the biggest debtor nation in the history of the world.

The day of reckoning is approacing...
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 02:15 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;92183 wrote:
They are politicians and not economists.


Right, but you'd think with all of the economists that are supposedly advising our politicians, they would have some sense to shut down the engine before it sends us hurtling off the tracks...

The problem is that the economists can scream whatever they want about the economy, but politicians only see things within their limited view of 4-year terms and re-election campaigns. My guess is that they know we are headed for a crash, but would rather just make themselves look good and "get theirs" while they still can. Meanwhile, everyone else will be left to pick up the mess.

Pythagorean;92183 wrote:
The day of reckoning is approacing...


Our involvement in World War 2 is really what stimulated the economy enough to pull us out of the last depression...I wonder if it will take another war to turn things around this time. The simple fact is that we are headed for a crash unless we can either:

1) significantly increase the average rate of growth

or, 2) significantly decrease average rate of debt accumulation.

The current administration is obviously going for #1. Based on the old Keynesian myth that is the 'multiplier effect', govt. spending is going to stimulate and save the economy. Unfortunately, there's no evidence that this works, and our economy is now entirely hedged on this bet that massive govt. spending will spark enough growth to pull us out of certain recession or depression. Of course politicians are willing to go for a flawed economic program like the Keynesian approach, if only for the reason that they get to spend and start up new programs. They are unable to just suck it up and make wide scale cutbacks.

As for curbing debt accumulation, it seems nobody, not our politicians, citizens, anybody in the US, is willing to accept this proposition. We all need to have things now and pay for them later, and blind optimism is unfortunately not enough to carry us through this strategy.
Pythagorean
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Sep, 2009 08:34 pm
@Pangloss,
That is nicely stated Pangloss. I don't think that in the last 70 years the government has ever gotten even a little smaller at any time. The government has steadily grown, they never cut the budget.

And I don't see how the economy can sustainably turn out any worthwhile growth going forward. We are really facing economic apocalypse in America. Certainly we can't grow enough to begin to narrow the size of the deficit, which is headed toward the 20 trillion mark.

If you look at the last economic expansion you will see that the engine of that post-September 11th expasnion was primarily focused around rising real estate prices. And people cashed out the equity on their homes or refinanced etc. But let us ask what kind of expansion that was. Because it produced nothing, there was not an expansion in the production of real tangible manufactured goods.

The last expansion was centered around high finance and mortgage debt that was fueled by non-market forces i.e. the federal reserve keeping interest rates artificially low. The entirety of that last expansion period was based upon financial chicanery.

So how does anyone expect the American economy to grow in the future? The impossible answer that the politicians are selling us is that we can grow only by more financial chicanery and more debt. The real underlying problem is that America does not produce the goods that we consume. The so-called "new economy" is a sham. The manufacturing sector has shrunken too low. The working class family has all but dissappeared.

The debt we are currently incurring will not bring back the factory jobs. These jobs are now overseas. Nothing will bring these factory jobs back, because our culture has changed. We are no longer a producing nation.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2009 08:49 am
@Pythagorean,
The US government has grown, beginning at day one. Never has American government shrank.
0 Replies
 
 

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