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  1. Just a few random thoughts as I need to go to bed and probably will miss something but... Let's say you put in place UBI, but that instead of mostly financing it through taxes you use monetary creation. Your basic problem would be inflation, right? Either the value of money goes down (i.e. you need more money to buy the same stuff) or the value of stuff goes up through the black market (Soviet-style inflation, i.e. stuff is sold through the black market, leading to or worsening shortages in the regular avenues). Except... What if you couple UBI with mass production of most stuff? Isn't inflation linked to the fact that there is a finite amount of products to buy in the first place? My point is, if you implement UBI, but are careful to have a considerable amount of products that can -and will- be purchased by the people benefitting from it (houses, foodstuff, cars, electronic devices... etc), wouldn't you not only negate the worst effects of inflation, but even possibly obtain economic growth? Or am I being too economically naive here? It seems to me there must be a way to make UBI work if it's coupled with an adaptation of production. Which wouldn't even be that important in most developed societies. Of course, in order for this to work, you'd need a decent corporate tax rate (so the state gets part of its expenses back), as well as some form of prices control (since left to its own devices the market would see prices rise). In a nutshell you would need significant government control of the economy. But it would still be far from communism, in the sense that the means of production could still be privately owned. At least at first, eh eh... So, while UBI might be nigh-impossible to implement in the US (where it would just end up as an indirect subsidy for large corporations), I can definitely see it work elsewhere.
  2. I see what you mean. Yes, it's true that Orville presented religion as a foolish, yet ineluctable phase in human progress while TNG clearly presented it as nonsense full stop. And yet, at the same time I found that Orville also presented some much darker aspects of religion than TNG had, even going as far as showing it as a means of population control for the upper classes. There was even a clear reference to Roy Moore in there imho. I saw the final speech as more of a philosophical perspective than a crowd-pleaser. The episode went to great length to show how a benevolent gesture was turned by religion into a cruel parody of justice. I found it to be a surprising take on it for an American show, even one with a liberal bias. I couldn't help but see a harsh criticism of modern Christianity, especially with all the anguish that Kelly experienced in the episode.
  3. Really liked this finale. The whole romance thing was boring as f**k though and threatened to overshadow the much more interesting central plot. And sure, this was all about the prime directive, which made it quite predictable, but it was still very entertaining and uplifting. I dunno. To me, the episode clearly said that religion is basically a primitive thing that must be overcome through reason.
  4. Have you guys been following this? Economists on inequality (yes, again): The conclusion: And today's statement by the UN special rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty in the US: I'm quite certain the folks over at Breitbart would call this "anti-American lib'rul bulls**t" but the statement is quite damning: Take for instance this selection of mine:
  5. Ok, point well taken. I see what you mean now.
  6. So -having read the article- are you saying that people who are open to bisexuality but who have never actually acted on it (or very little) should just identify as bisexual?
  7. This should be really interesting (it'll go live at noon ET):
  8. Ok, thanks for the explanation. I've read quite a few articles listing several worrying trends though: There's no doubt a bit of fearmongering going on. But even with my limited knowledge of economic matters I can see some worries seem legitimate. Like this one: Because the thing is, the ECB doesn't exactly have a great record of dealing with crises. I can easily see a relatively minor crisis snowballing in Europe. He already is.
  9. I've seen a few that do and say that they "can afford to pay." Weird. But at least those ones stand by their principles (i.e. their belief in laissez-faire economics, even knowing what it entails). Also, some people believe that they will pay less if they don't use streaming services. That's wishful thinking in my book. Generally speaking, it's an issue that's interesting because I would have thought that even die-hard conservatives would have been able to see that the regulation in question helped them. But as you say, there is an incredible hatred of liberals and Obama that blinds them to what is happening. There's also an irrational faith in the market and laissez-faire. I've even seen some people say that government and progressive taxes are basically evil since the market correctly values each person's work and there is no need for wealth redistribution. It's rather scary to realize how different the worlds we live in are. I have zero faith in the market, in corporations, or ISPs. I'd trust the Chinese or the Soviet government with my welbeing before I trust people whose main goal is to make profits. And on that note, there was a recent article by Branko Milanovic explaining why economic inequality is incompatible with democracy. I found an older version in English here: What is painful in my eyes is that by the time ISPs actively profit from this (in other words, by the time they raise their prices for some services), Trump will probably be out of office and most of these people will find a way to blame the Democrats for it.
  10. On the economic front, the Trump facebook feed is celebrating what they call the "Trump economic miracle." It almost makes me wish for the next economic crisis to hit sooner than later. In fact, quite a few serious economists say that there are many things indicating that it is imminent, and that it's going to be pretty bad. Apparently the Schiller CAPE is very worrying right now. I'm not sure I really understand it ; I believe what it means is that the valuation of shares is artifically high right now, meaning that there is at least one bubble somewhere that is about to burst.
  11. What's even cuter is all the conservatives arguing this is a move in favor of free spech. Not to mention all those who basically say they are against anything that came from Obama. The few decent arguments I've seen against NN is that the market can -and will- self-regulate through customers choosing the ISP that best fits their needs (i.e. that doesn't charge them more to watch netflix or that doesn't make some specific websites sluggish). Of course, that's optimistic to say the least. For a eurocommie like myself it's fascinating to see how conservatism can lead people to be completely blind to their own self-interest. What I woner is whether it's sheer stupidity, FOXNews brainwashing, or both.
  12. That is completely untrue. For starters, even when you can't imagine a specific product, there still may be demand for its effects. Typically, even if motor cars were hard to imagine a millenium or two ago the improvement of transportation was always pretty high on the to-do list of humanity. In a similar way, some historians argue that the abacus was in fact the first computer. Subscription TV services are just the logical endpoint of decades (at least) of evolution for entertainment. As for smartphones, the only thing truly remarkable about them is that they have so many functions, most of which have been around for a very long time (imho taking a picture is just the very modern version of cave painting). You'll find it very difficult to name a product that did not exist in some form or the other at least a century ago. Most of the stuff we have around us is just the modern version of what existed many centuries ago. There are exceptions of course, but you won't find that many. In fact, I'd be curious to see you try (as a thought experiment). And of course, the closer you get to the date of an invention and the more demand you will see for it. Smartphones or tablets were imagined more than fifty years ago for instance. Historical perspective and literary knowledge (of science-fiction that is) show that imagination is a very powerful thing. Of course, history also tells us that demand does not automatically translate into immediate commercial success (the tablet being a case in point). Edit: wow, I've really been ninja'd on this one. ^^
  13. This article seems kind of relevant to the current discussion:
  14. Actually, for eurocommies like myself, the word we'd want to use to talk about Moore is "nutjob." You're welcome.
  15. Makes sense. I guess racial discrimination and racial politics fuel each other in an endless vicious circle.