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Friday, August 10, 2007

Larisa Alexandrovna States Her Position

In the comments section of this post, commenters (including me) were trying to classify Larisa Alexandrovna's world view. I think that there was the assumption that since she was attacked by the right wing bloggers "The Sanity Squad", that Larisa must be left wing. Larisa was kind enough to outline her world view in the comments which is reproduced by the following:
So my position is basically the following (very high level), listed as sort of statements (you decide on the label):

1. All forms of centralized power work against the people, although representative government can work well if the people are indeed represented.

2. Basic survival needs should not be delivered by a for-profit structure, like water, for example, delivered by Halliburton, for example. Same goes for law enforcement needs.

3. Companies who make their bottom line demands by profiting off of war are dangerous to a democracy, because they make their biggest profits during war time.

4. Illegal immigration allows for human rights abuses and allows for the importation of slave labor. It is a human rights issue first foremost.

5. The Constitution is more important than any single person or office and it must be defended if we are to have a democracy. Party above country is the Soviet Union, if memory serves.

6. Voting rights, free press, civil liberties, and human rights are all key foundations of democracy.

7. Separation of church and state are necessary to the survival of a democracy.

8. The death penalty is amoral because a). we cannot be 100% sure that every single person put to death is truly guilty or rightly sentenced and b). because we can never be sure that human beings with power won't abuse it.

9. Terrorism is not a country, it is a type of crime and should be treated as a criminal act, not an act of war (with but a few exceptions).

10. There is no single property more valuable nor more fully my own than my body. The government or religious groups or anyone else has no right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. I am pro-choice, but also responsible choices.

I'm going to end this post here and begin commenting on her various points in the comments section. Please join in!

28 comments:

Mr. Mick Bright Kim said...

Hello everyone will you come to my blog?

erp said...

I don't agree with them all, but fiercely agree that you ye'r entitled to them all.

As things come up, we can have reasoned discourse and clarify this and that and learn a bit more about each other.

Glad to know you're not a moonbat.

Bret said...

Here's my view of Larisa's position:

1. (All forms of centralized power...) I totally agree.

2. (Basic survival needs...) I agree with the law enforcement part per Nozick's argument in Anarchy, State, Utopia. However, I think things such as water can be better delivered by markets if there is indeed a market (i.e. non-monopoly). I can support some subsidies for the poor for things like water. But there I would simply give them money and let the market take care of the rest. For things like water, there is the problem of the "last mile" which is (nearly) inherently a monopoly so some sort of regulation may be required.

3. (...profiting off of war...) Such companies are probably dangerous but allowing the government to control all of the levers of war would be even worse in my opinion. In other words, having the government get directly into the production of weapon systems would remove an check on government power which I think would be bad.

4. (...Illegal immigration...) I'm rather torn since my grandparents were all (legal) immigrants. Not allowing others to come here seems rather like saying, "I'm here - now close the door!" I think immigration should be made much easier (then it's legal, of course).

5. (The Constitution...) I agree. The only problem is in the interpretation of said document. There is certainly room for differing interpretations.

6. (...foundations of democracy) Agree, though "human rights" is subjective and can be taken to extremes.

7. (Separation of church and state...) Agree. Though there is some grey area even here. In some sense, true separation is either impossible or would allow only agnostics to work for the government.

8. (The death penalty...) I don't have a horse in this race.

9. (Terrorism is not a country...) There are a pretty wide range of responses to terrorist attacks that I find rational. Certainly, treating terrorism as a crime is one of them. However, I also find more aggressive and militaristic approaches as perfectly rational as well. Which do I think is better? Unfortunately, I think the situation is so wildly complex that I simply don't have enough information to make that call. As a result, I feel that I have to rely on the government to make the call. I do think that now that we're in Iraq, a poorly thought out withdrawal would be a very bad thing.

10. (There is no single property...) Sure. The debate is whether or not the other life form inside the womb is part of the woman's body or not. Being male and not religious I don't have a very strong opinion and can see both sides of the debate. However, I would prefer that the abortion laws be enacted at the state and local level as opposed to the federal level.

erp said...

bret, thanks. You expressed my points of view too and rather well.

We may make a convert out of Larisa, a very beautiful name BTW.

Larisa, please read "The Intellectuals" by Paul Johnson. You can order a used copy for a couple of bucks. It's fascinating and will clarify a lot of things

Bret said...

erp,

Convert Larisa? To what? That's definitely not my goal. I'm more interested in discussing things with Larisa. Ultimately, I suspect that'll happen more on her blog since she's more prolific than the post-Judd Alliance. But it's fun to start here.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

I noticed how poorly stated my list was. I was sleepy and writing in "comments." Had I known I would get my own post, I would have presented a bit more formally. In any case... to address the key points...

Bret:

#2. I think basic survival needs would best be served if those resources can be put into a public trust or holding that is operated by a small elected office, which is funded by by tax dollars. When a mediator is needed, government can step in to handle issues of dispute, such as - as an example - where a water source is on private property. People pay the resource tax for water, and other such basics. No political appointment to the administration offices, no overt party affiliation. The person must be vetted on expertise in resource management, etc. In the event where land - in the water example - has resources wanted by the public trust, they can offer to buy it, which the land-owner can of course refuse. The other option is to declare an area, like we do with national parks, a "federal resource" area that is used for drinking water. Just an idea, but this is how I would ideally like it to work.

#3. The revolving door has made the corporations and their owned officials one and the same. I think we do what we did during WWII. During a time of war, the country comes together to provide needed services and equipment. It worked well, there was no profit interest and we won and remained united. I think it insane to invest this kind of money in an army during piece time.

#4. You misunderstand. I am all for legal immigration and I am for amnesty as needed. I am not for the mass importation of a cheap work force who are then abused because they have no legal standing. I also think if we are going to impose corporate exploitation on another country, then we are responsible for what happens to those citizens.

Finally and still on this point, if we spent more money on helping the Mexican government develop social services (like the basics we discussed above, as well as basic education, etc.), the issues facing many of the Mexican people would be that much closer to being resolved and illegal immigration would be more manageable from a law enforcement perspective. Of course there has to be sound policy as well and there has to be severe punishment for corporations who continue to traffic in slave labor. But the issue at heart is one of human rights, human needs, and the consequences of corporate exploitation of our neighbor states.

ERP: what are your thoughts?

erp said...

Convert her by discussing issues. Did you think I meant nefarious means?

Bret said...

Larisa,
#2. Food is the most basic need. Even more basic than water in that 99%+ of water is used for other than drinking. Does that mean you'd propose putting all farmland into a public trust operated by a small elected office? That's kind of like what the communists did when they took over Russia/Ukraine/etc., no? That didn't seem to me to work out very well.

#3. My understanding was that during WWII, many of the big defense companies were born as "for profit" companies: Hughes, Northrop, etc. The government bought weapons from these companies. Howard Hughes became a billionaire. So I think that the structure you don't like actually came into being during WWII so I don't think it was true that there was no profit motive.

I agree that the concept of having military buyers later go work for civilian defense companies they bought from is a bad thing. It's inherently corrupting. The solution is complicated though.

#4. You say you are not for "mass importation or a cheap work force". Do we actually import them? I thought they came here on their own and were certainly free (encouraged even) to leave at any time and go back from whence they came.

Bret said...

erp,
I wasn't asking how. I was asking to what? Larisa already eschews centralized power. What more could a mild libertarian such as myself ask for?

erp said...

Here's very nice simple definition of a system that works first time and every time.
George Mason economist Walter E. Williams expounds:

First, let's establish a working definition of free markets; it's really simple. Free markets are simply millions upon millions of individual decision-makers, engaged in peaceable, voluntary exchange pursuing what they see in their best interests. People who denounce the free market and voluntary exchange, and are for control and coercion, believe they have more intelligence and superior wisdom to the masses. What's more, they believe they've been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Of course, they have what they consider good reasons for doing so, but every tyrant that has ever existed has had what he believed were good reasons for restricting the liberty of others. h/t Great Guys Weblog (Sorry the link got corrupt)

Susan's Husband said...

"I think basic survival needs would best be served if those resources can be put into a public trust or holding that is operated by a small elected office, which is funded by by tax dollars."

So if you're on the wrong side of 51% of the local voters, they can legally starve you to death? Also, someone needs to introduce Larisa to the tragedy of the commons.

But the real objection is that this directly contradicts Larisa's principle #1. Nothing centralizes power more than creating a monopoly control of essential survival goods. Those are called water monopoly empires and generally end badly.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Brett: on #2, you confuse with ownership by the government machine and its military police force to ownership by a group of people. I do not envision this experiment on a federal level, enforced across the nation. I see this at a community, local level. I do agree that this is complex and of course, as with all representative government, you will always have the minority who have to compromise on a particular thing.

I think most people at a local level are more likely to reach compromises as they likely share similar values. The arrangement is one that nicely works within the free market philosophy. The current system is more like a cartel where the consumer has no say almost. Tax dollars go to a middleman - a corporation - who charge over the value of the service and/or product purchased and the consumer gets less for their money and less quality. I think a healthy free market would see groupings of these types of local arrangements. Having lived under the Soviets, I can tell you that it was a military regime that owned and distributed resources, property, freedom. I would never endorse such a thing. I am sorry if I gave that impression.

On the question of defense contractors. They did not become monsters of war during WWII, but after, when they realized the potential. I am simply saying that during war time, the nation must contribute and carry the burden collectively and in doing so, they are both a united force of support, labor, contribution, etc., and they are also made aware of the burden of war. During WWII companies contributed their services toward the war effort. That is the model I am speaking of, not the later military industrial complex that thrives off of tragedy.

On the question of food vs. water, no disagreement. I was simply using water as an example. But in the context of what I describe above, local communities sharing resources and the management of resources.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Husband:

I think you misunderstand or perhaps I misread your comments. A democracy requires some compromise. If we lived in a society where it was 100% agreement or nothing, then we would in fact live in a utopia, floating on crispy treats, carried by the clouds (but you get the idea... the dreamlike reality that cannot exist given free will).

In a democracy, it is the collective opinion that is important to the decision making process - as it should be. At the same time, I make my point about resource sharing in the context of local communities coming together.

I know many immigrants who barter with goods and services for other goods and services. They are not taxed for their labor because the labor does not bring an income (I don't mean across the board, but on certain needed and available resources).

I even knew a doctor when I was younger who would visit patients (at their homes if you can imagine someone still doing that in this day and age)and many of those patients were other immigrants, who could only afford to pay through this type of system. So - as an example - a car mechanic might agree to fix the doctor's car in exchange for a free checkup. The goods and services belong to the people who are providing them and sharing them. There is no government tax on such agreements between two parties and both parties are able to provide and receive that which they need. That is not a utopia, that is a workable model. Frankly, given the way things are going, it might be the only model that is workable should their be a resource shortage.

If you don't agree that this is a workable model, that is fine. But we need to figure out a workable model because we are paying taxes which are then handed off to corporations who then abuse the system by overcharging and usually not all that interested in delivering quality goods and/or services... it is 3 am.. hope my rambling makes sense.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Bret: on the issue of slave labor. You need to look at the research that has come out. There is a whole market of "delivery men" who traffic in human labor. They do in fact smuggle and in more horrific cases, kidnap, people who are then "outsourced" as human labor or in the sex trade (the latter is not as big an issue here in the states as it is abroad).

A good example of this is an article I did on how a group of Indian workers were tricked into coming to the States by a middle-man/broker whom a large corporation hired to locate "needed labor." But if a company has to hire a third party to locate labor in a country with plenty of able bodied people, one can infer from this that the company is interested in cheap labor.

Here is a link to that article (I found a republished link... the original is cited within)
http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/04/19/guest-workers-exploited-by-recruiters-and-employers/

But that is the most benign example. Remember Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay? Look up their little business

Here is one example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Abramoff_CNMI_scandal

So yes, there are serious issues. Halliburton, for example, got a no bid contract for NOLA and instead of hiring the locals who had lost everything and would have benefited from a job as well as provided a needed service ... the company imported "migrant" workers - some of whom were later picked up by ICE

Oroborous said...

Tax dollars go to a middleman - a corporation - who charge over the value of the service and/or product purchased...

But in America, and I assume in almost all other advanced nations as well, such "utility" corporations are very highly regulated. Yes, they do extract a profit from clients who NEED to purchase their product, be it water, electricity, nat. gas, etc., but the maximum amount of profit that they are allowed to earn is capped, and indeed such utilities sometimes lose money, and aren't allowed to pass on the costs to their clients.

These utility franchises are subject to voter approval at the state or local level, and occasionally voters will decide to abolish the fiat monopoly, and allow competition, with varying results.

So I'm not really seeing the problem...

I know many immigrants who barter with goods and services for other goods and services. They are not taxed for their labor because the labor does not bring an income...

Actually, in America, such exchanges are taxable, are required to be reported as income, and if the IRS can establish that such a transaction has occurred, they will come looking for their cut.

Naturally, almost nobody reports such transactions, and the IRS rarely does prosecute people for not reporting them, but they officially CAN.

Halliburton, for example, got a no bid contract for NOLA and instead of hiring the locals who had lost everything and would have benefited from a job as well as provided a needed service ... the company imported "migrant" workers...

Halliburton and others may have imported some workers, but not very many. Most of them showed up on their own.

Further, anyone who wanted work after the hurricane could get work. People were being hired right off the busses, with no ID needed, for $ 15 - $ 20/hr, plus lodging. Guys would literally arrive in the morning and be working after lunch.

Also, local fast-food places were paying $ 10/hr, and paying hiring bonuses of up to $ 1,000, for people who promised to stay for a year.

So if there were any NOLA residents without jobs, it was because they didn't want to do the work that was available, not that they couldn't get hired on.

Additionally, there were at the time roughly 8 million unemployed Americans across the nation, and yet so few of them showed up at hiring time in NOLA that (presumably illegal) immigrants made up well over half of the labor force.

The issue wasn't Halliburton and no-bid contracts, it was that NOLA locals didn't want to do the messy, nasty work of cleaning up their own city, at least not for $ 30K/yr.

Susan's Husband said...

Larisa;

No, I think that you haven't thought through your own belief system.

"In a democracy, it is the collective opinion that is important to the decision making process - as it should be."

Right there is the centralization / totalitarian root in your thinking, that there has to be one decision, one collective opinion. What's more central than that? And when it's about essential goods, that's totalitarian because it gives total control to those who own the resources.

The market lets a veritable ecosystem of choices exist, rather than flattening them all down. It allows people to be different, to make different choices about their lives and how to live them.

Your problem is that you favor both of these despite their fundamentally incompatibility. For example, you agree with Bret on collectivization, yet still want to do it.

Another example is the anecdotes you relate in your response to me. Every one of them involves individuals controlling their own resources and property, the exact opposite of your "democratic control" and "collective opinion".

And what's really amusing is the examples in your last comment to Bret. Did you not note that every one comes directly from it being run by government / elected officials instead of driven by private individuals using private resources? These are exactly the sort of problem your #2 will create / perpetuate.

In summary, you have to decide between markets and collectivization, you can't use the latter to get the former.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Husband:

A compromise is not centralized power. I am not sure how you can say that. That is why we have state government, county, city, and so forth. At each level there has to be a compromise and agreement. That is the beauty of the United States. Centralized power, on the other hand, is what is happening now. You have a President who wants to override the state government, county, city, etc., as well as the rule of law under the banner of security.

With respect, I don't think you understand the definition of totalitarianism. Just like most people actually believe that Communism in practice was somehow a left-liberal model. In theory, Communism imagined a liberal utopia. In practice, the term was co-opted after the revolution by the military regime. When most people say Commie, they think of the Soviet Union, but they still define it as leftist and liberal. The same can be said of the Nazi party. They labeled themselves Socialists, but in reality they were fascists. And even now, a good example is the Saudi Republican Guard, which is nothing more than yet another incarnation of the praetorian guard.

So I think when you use terms like totalitarianism in the way that you have, you are using it on the basis of what you think it means. Not what it does mean. And as I said, there is a world of difference between a representative democracy and a totalitarian state.

Bret said...

larisa wrote: "I see this [group ownership of essential goods] at a community, local level."

Water in San Diego is rather like that now. The San Diego County Water Authority is a local government organization that imports water (we don't have much of our own) and pumps it to our houses. We pay a fee based on usage. The first few gallons a day are very cheap (so everybody can at least afford enough to drink and flush the toilet a couple of times) and then further gallons get quite expensive to cover cost. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind, or is there something you would change? Would you propose the same thing for food where the county buys all the food and distributes via county government run stores?

larisa also wrote: "There is a whole market of "delivery men" who traffic in human labor. They do in fact smuggle and in more horrific cases, kidnap,..."

I see. Because illegal immigration into the United States exists, it enables the kidnapping and importation of slave labor. I agree as long as it's clear that the vast, vast majority of illegal immigrants are here of their own volition (frequently with the assistance of smugglers). The bottom line is that I think we're in agreement on this one in that it would be better to not have illegal immigration. How to get there from here is unclear to me.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

O:

You wrote:
"But in America, and I assume in almost all other advanced nations as well, such "utility" corporations are very highly regulated. Yes, they do extract a profit from clients who NEED to purchase their product, be it water, electricity, nat. gas, etc., but the maximum amount of profit that they are allowed to earn is capped, and indeed such utilities sometimes lose money, and aren't allowed to pass on the costs to their clients."

With respect, you assume incorrectly. Since the late seventies and especially in the early 80s, much of everything has been deregulated. There are 5 media giants that own/run the media, but not just the media. Take for example General Electric, which happens to also be a defense contractor. You see how this type of arrangement can create problems for the press when they are trying to report on the arm of GE that happens to be the defense contractor. Since the Bush43 administration, things have become deregulated to the extreme. Enron, for example, has become the poster child of corporate crime and abuse under the nose of "regulation" as have mining companies. So again, with respect, I must completely disagree with your opinion in light of the facts.

You wrote:
"Actually, in America, such exchanges are taxable, are required to be reported as income, and if the IRS can establish that such a transaction has occurred, they will come looking for their cut.
Naturally, almost nobody reports such transactions, and the IRS rarely does prosecute people for not reporting them, but they officially CAN."

Yes, they can, but this is something that is difficult to track and as you say, they rarely prosecute. So not sure of the point, because the end result is the same.

You wrote:
"Halliburton and others may have imported some workers, but not very many. Most of them showed up on their own.Further, anyone who wanted work after the hurricane could get work. People were being hired right off the busses, with no ID needed, for $ 15 - $ 20/hr, plus lodging. Guys would literally arrive in the morning and be working after lunch.

So if there were any NOLA residents without jobs, it was because they didn't want to do the work that was available, not that they couldn't get hired on."

Is there a source for this? Because I have to again disagree based on the facts.

With respect, I have to say that is an extremely ignorant opinion based clearly on political assumptions. To claim that people did not want to work in order to justify the no-bid contract to Halliburton is obscene. You don't know what you are talking about at all and it is almost racist to use as justification the stereotype of "lazy" when describing the poor or even assumed poor. Read the below article and tell me why people with graduate degrees cannot find work in NOLA:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/16/us/nationalspecial/16orleans.html?ex=1329368400&en=7940d6eef74c9549&ei=5124&partner=digg&exprod=digg

Or this article about Katrina victims unable to find work:
http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=900921

There is a wealth of information available to you if you are actually interested in facts. I don't mean to be harsh, but I am really shocked that someone would claim the "lazy" worker argument in defense of cheap labor, especially in an area where people have lost everything.

Having talked to many of the residents, having seen the devastation, having heard the desperation as people were left with few options, I take personally such generalizations from afar of the work ethic of a group of people you do not know who have been and continue to be victimized.

Again, I am trying to be respectful and I don't mean to be at all harsh. But you hit a nerve with that one. Hope you understand.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Bret:

No question, of course the majority of illegal immigrants are here of their own volition. I don't mean to imply otherwise and if that is the impression that you got, then I am sorry I was not more clear. But there is also a large market in human trafficking and those that are here of their own volition are open to all sorts of abuse because they have no legal standing. That is what concerns me the most, the human rights issue in this. Not so much violation of immigration law. I say this last part because I know how desperate a father can be to save his children from starvation or from persecution, or from oppression. I cannot judge people who for being human and wanting nothing more than the basics. Until we all have been faced with such a situation, I don't think we can judge anyone for trying to feed their family. But that aside, I am concerned about controlling illegal immigration because of the human rights issues and the serious abuses that occur when a person has no legal standing.

I think we can come up with a solution that is both humane and addresses the needs of US workers being displaced by illegal labor and I think that solution must start with the corporations that see one as the enemy (the American worker) and the other as a tool of exploitation (the illegal alien).

Oroborous said...

Larisa:

If you believe that most local utilities in America are not regulated, because in some places power companies have been deregulated, then it is not I who needs to do more research.

Bush, by the way, had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with deregulating power in California, which is what I assume that you're referencing by talking about Enron, and the bulk of Enron's illegal activities took place under the previous administration, which anyone who can add and subtract dates should be able to figure out.

Enron just happened to blow up while Bush was in office.

Are you saying that since GE owns media companies, that there is something that they've somehow managed to cover up, with regard to their activities as defense contractors ?
And if not, then your point is... ?

Yes, they can, but this is something that is difficult to track and as you say, they rarely prosecute. So not sure of the point, because the end result is the same.

The point is that such a system of barter cannot become a widespread way of evading taxation, which seemed to be what you were advocating.

As for NOLA, do you dispute that people were finding work the same day that they arrived, or that local businesses were offering 50% higher wages than they had previously offered ?!?

You could, like, look it up; it was quite widely reported at the time. There is a wealth of information available to you if you are actually interested in facts.

People with graduate degrees cannot find work in NOLA because that type of labor is not in demand, but so what ?
All you're really doing is reinforcing my point that there was plenty of work available, but not of the type that non-illegals cared to do.

As I wrote, that was just as true for unemployed people across the nation as it was for NOLA locals - there just wasn't much interest.

I don't mean to be harsh, but I am really shocked that someone would attempt to claim that there was no work to be had for locals in NOLA post-Katrina. That's an extremely ignorant opinion clearly based on political assumptions; for that to be true, there would have had to be a massive disinformation campaign involving all media, which were reporting nationwide on the labor SHORTAGE in NOLA.

Could you perhaps provide examples of American corporations that see American workers as "the enemy" ?

Wal~Mart, America's largest employer, for example, sees their workers as both resources and customers, but they don't seek to exterminate or impoverish them.

And American workers love Wal~Mart - often hundreds or even thousands of people will apply for jobs at newly-opened stores. Now, that could be a symptom of a really weak labor market, and desperate workers, but that clearly hasn't been the case for the past five years.

Workers just find Wal~Mart a desirable place to work, which seems antithetical to a theory that the workers and corporation are somehow in conflict.

Oroborous said...

Also, what did you want to communicate by referencing the NYT article ?

It had two main informational points, amid a sea of "human interest" fluff:

"Employers say they have raised salaries for skilled workers," which counters your argument that there is no work to be had in NOLA; indeed, it appears that there's a SHORTAGE of skilled workers.

And that many professionals are seriously considering leaving NOLA. But not because they have no work: "Their reasons include high crime, high rents, soaring insurance premiums and what many call a lack of leadership, competence, money and progress."

All in all, roughly the opposite of what you implied. But maybe I'm missing something...

Bret said...

larisa wrote: "I think that solution must start with the corporations that see one as the enemy (the American worker)..."

As one who was a founder of 3 corporations (2 of which are still in business) and currently holds a significant minority interest in the last one I co-founded, I can tell you that I'm seriously skeptical of the claim that corporations see the American worker as the enemy. I know with absolute certainty that I do not view my employees as enemies. Indeed, several of them are friends from when I was at college over 25 years ago, and almost all of them have worked with or for me in past employment situations and all chose willingly to work for me again at somewhat below market rates.

I view workers/employees as team members, not the enemy, and I strongly suspect that most other employers do as well. Certainly the ones I know tell me they do. Perhaps if you start a business one day, you'll find that you don't view your workers as the enemy either.

I have no doubt that you can reduce illegal immigration by enacting and enforcing severe civil and criminal legislation punishing the hiring of illegal immigrants. Even that's trickier than one might think, however.

I work with citrus growers. They no longer hire the workers directly. Instead they hire a subcontractor to perform various tasks such as picking the fruit. In the contract with the subcontractor, the growers insist that the subcontractors hire only legal employees. The subcontractor, of course, ignores this clause and hires illegals to his heart's content. The subcontractor gets a nice cut of the wages. When the INS finally appears, the subcontractor simply flees the country with his collected profits so far and lives happily ever after. The process then repeats with a new subcontractor who rehires all the illegals once they sneak back in.

Perhaps new legislation could be enacted to make that more difficult. However, people are clever and, in my opinion, will likely thwart the new legislation as well.

Susan's Husband said...

"A compromise is not centralized power."

And a fish is not a bicycle.

"I am not sure how you can say that."

I'm not sure either, since I didn't. I said that centralized control of essential goods was centralized power. Your claim seems to be that if "compromise" is involved somehow, that makes it not centralized power. Sounds to me like two wolves and a sheep, voting on what's for dinner. If the wolves compromise how to cook, does that make it OK for the sheep?

But let's pull out an historical example — water fountains. Once upon a time in America, in large areas, elected officials who controlled the water decided that access should be racially segregated. These were honestly elected officials, put in office by true majority votes. That's what I think of when I think of your point #2. Note further than that limited access and other oppression were the result of laws put in place by elected officials. Once the laws were removed, businesses changed to be much less segrated. Do you think that kind of deregulation was wrong as well? Centralized power is centralized power. It corrupts who ever has it, how ever they got it.

Bret said...

Larisa,

Reviewing the discussion thus far, I'm wondering if I'm missing some nuance regarding #1 (centralized power works against the people). Is there a distinction in your view between centralized power and centralized management, where the former is bad but the latter is okay (in fact desirable in the cases like managing resources to provide for basic survival needs)? Or do you think that centralized management
is indistinguishable from centralized power? Is centralized power (management?) bad only at the federal level or can it be bad at lower levels as well (state, city, community)?

By the way, I'm enjoying this discussion very much.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Bret: I too am enjoying the discussion. Can we move it to my place for a bit and then move it back here again? I can start a thread... because I need more room (blogger interface for comments is making me nuts) to express what it is I am trying to say. We can do a round at my place, and then bring it here. I do think we should perhaps keep it single topic oriented for each round. What do you think?

So I can start a thread about centralized government power and we can focus on that for a bit. We can then do another round (here) where we pick the topic for discussion... that way, a single topic per single round is much easier to work with and the conversation much easier to follow.

Let me know what you think about my idea. Also, let me know if you want to stick to the centralized power discussion or if you want me (or if you wish to) pick a different topic.

BTW, this is a great way to distract myself from my recent flare. I have Lupus and my joints have been on fire for a few days now. So thank you so much for giving me a fun and informative way to distract myself from the pain of it:) And do excuse my errors in typing because I am operating with stiff fingers. ERP and others, please join on at my place. You are all welcome and your opinions are much appreciated.

Bret said...

Sure, a post on your blog would work well, I think. Personally, I'd prefer you stick to the topic of centralized power. I think the majority of the open questions by the commenters here are about that topic.

Let us know when it's ready by posting one last comment here (I scan your blog from time to time but I'm not sure that anybody else is).

Lupus and there was something about chemo on your site? Sounds like you've had a lot of trouble with your health? Hope you feel better.

Larisa Alexandrovna said...

Bret: will do... am working and still a bit tired, so will post something tomorrow.

Chemo is used to treat intense Lupus flares. Just fyi. It helps to be occupied with interesting conversation:)