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    (Original post by viddy9)
    The point is, I support these protestors, just to clarify my position. From my point of view, the government ought to stand down, and I take a consequentialist view of morality; the only defensible view there is, as far as I can tell.

    It's clear that implementing massive spending cuts which disproportionately affect the poor does badly in terms of marginal utility; increasing taxation on the wealthiest in society hardly affects them; austerity measures affect the poor and the vulnerable a lot more.

    The Conservatives are perfectly within their rights to stay in government. I acknowledge that, which is why I don't have to suck it up. It doesn't mean that I don't hope that they become more enlightened and voluntarily stand down or change their policy agenda, nor does it mean that I will stand back and say nothing about their catastrophic plans.

    And, again, "the people" didn't ask for them. They got 36% of the vote and only 18% of the total population voted for them.
    You assume your view of morality is the only one which can exist, which is pretty closed-minded.

    Is it so hard to believe conservatives want to help society including—especially—the poor, but just have different ideas on how best to go about it?

    I think it's pretty clear that tax rises are the easiest way to screw the economy, and the poor with it. That doesn't mean I think everyone who disagrees me takes some perverse pleasure from watching people lose their jobs.
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    Most are what I call the college age liberal douche.

    I remember because I used to be one.

    I guess they just want to be part of something and feel like they're justice warriors when they're just conformists.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    When is the last time we had a government that took power with a vast majority of the popular vote? Blair had less in 05. Even the SNP with its massive majority only took 50%.
    I think you misunderstand what people are saying. No party commands an absolute majority, which is why we want PR to represent a whole spectrum of people, rather than just the largest minority.

    (Original post by felamaslen)
    Well you're right, technically half the people asked for a mixture of the Conservatives and UKIP, who have roughly similar fiscal policies, and most of the rest asked for Labour, which also believes in some sort of woolly form of austerity.
    This is not true at all. A very significant amount of people have no desire to see either Tory or Labour in power, and would not really agree that what they want is a mix of <their party> + <a Major party>. There are people that voted UKIP but have no desire to see a Tory government, and many that voted Green that would be just as angry about a Labour government.
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    (Original post by limetang)
    We should have a democratic system people approve of, be that FPTP, PR, or even direct democracy.
    It seems we don't.

    (Original post by limetang)
    My problem with these protests is that the "lack of legitimacy" is a smokescreen. The actual reason for the protests is very clear, they don't like this tory government. If it had been an equally legitimate labour government you would not see these people protesting. And THAT'S why I feel contempt for them.
    How could you possibly know what motivates them all, it couldn't possibly be both?

    (Original post by limetang)
    Not to mention the fact that if we go by the popular vote over 50% of people were voting for centre-right parties of one form or another.
    But only one form get any say, not to mention most of them will have voted the way they did only because they felt it the least worst option.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    This is not true at all. A very significant amount of people have no desire to see either Tory or Labour in power, and would not really agree that what they want is a mix of <their party> + <a Major party>. There are people that voted UKIP but have no desire to see a Tory government, and many that voted Green that would be just as angry about a Labour government.
    There are people that voted Tory that aren't overly keen on a Tory government.
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    (Original post by StarvingAutist)
    I think people felt that AV was a **** cop-out. That's what I've heard.
    I think it was more that most people really don't care that much and that they probably wouldn't have even understood it. AV is the best voting system, I'm not sure what else you could ask for.


    (Original post by viddy9)
    I do, however, think that the Conservatives don't represent the views of the majority of the population, as evidenced both by their popular vote and their vote as a share of the total population.
    Who do you suppose forms government then?

    (Original post by Captain Haddock)
    The alternative we were given was a weak compromise that nobody really wanted and the campaign was a total joke. The 'no' campaign was basically 'oppose AV because you're too stupid to understand it' and the 'yes' campaign was.. What even was it? I can't remember a single thing about it. That's how effective it was.

    That referendum was a total farce.
    It's not a weak alternative, AV is the best system.

    What people who care about politics never seem to realise is that most people really don't. People like my parents are going to be in the same position regardless of who's in government so they just go about their lives and don't have any interest in politics. Then you have those people who just like to moan and **** off whoever the prime minister is with no real knowledge of what's going on in politics. Most people get a bit interested when it's election season but apart from that most people couldn't care less what the voting system is




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    These social justice warriors are psychopaths by the definition of the term.
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    (Original post by jamestg)
    To the lefties saying that the 37% is not a majority - why weren't you complaining about 2005's result? Hypocrites.

    2005 - LABOUR MAJORITY - 35% - 355 seats
    2015 - CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY - 37% - 331 seats
    Because some of us were too young to even realise what the system is and how the parties are elected. Even in 2010 I had no idea how it actually worked but after having read up on it before the election, I can see myself that it's not entirely fair. Those who say 'the Conservatives were voted in fair and square' are both right and wrong, they were voted in fair and square in this election under this system however, it's the system that isn't fair in my eyes.

    It's inevitable that it won't change, that much is obvious, but instead of people complaining that they were protesting because they didn't get what they wanted and only cry for democracy when it suits them isn't right as I'm sure there are tons of people who had no idea how the system worked previously and have now only learnt the true unfairness of it.

    Right now, I am neither Left nor Right, I'm not sure what my stance is at the moment, both sides are desirable to me, so whether a different system would have meant a Tory/UKIP coalition or whatever, it doesn't matter to me. It only matters that whoever it is that wins, is voted in 100% democratically and not based on a very flawed system.

    I just want to reinforce that I can only speak for myself, and others maybe are being childish and crying because they didn't get what they want, but I wanted to point out that there are people who aren't like that and can handle defeat when they have to.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    I think you misunderstand what people are saying. No party commands an absolute majority, which is why we want PR to represent a whole spectrum of people, rather than just the largest minority.



    This is not true at all. A very significant amount of people have no desire to see either Tory or Labour in power, and would not really agree that what they want is a mix of <their party> + <a Major party>. There are people that voted UKIP but have no desire to see a Tory government, and many that voted Green that would be just as angry about a Labour government.
    I meant that some of the people in that half voted Tory, and the rest voted UKIP. I.e. half the population wanted either UKIP or Tory, which are both fiscally conservative.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    I meant that some of the people in that half voted Tory, and the rest voted UKIP. I.e. half the population wanted either UKIP or Tory, which are both fiscally conservative.
    Their spending/cut plans seem to be very different. I would argue that Labour are fiscally conservative as well. So all in all, I dont think it really means much.
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    Even good protests sometimes get hijacked by morons. The people who defaced the statue to the poor brave women who struggled and died for a great cause in WW2 are complete idiots with no moral values. That doesn't mean the protest itself was a bad thing though.

    I also hate it when the right wing press seize on the acts of a few stupid people in big protests and use that to attack the political cause.
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    So the system is not perfect and we could improve it, right? It certainly is odd for UKIP to be so insignificantly represented compared to the SNP when we count the votes but there is more food for thought.

    OK, let's take the demonstrators views as an example of a possible solution to this state of things. Everyone who thinks it is not 'fair' for the Tories to have it handed on a plate. No party allegiances come into this, let's just see if there is a better way.

    Can't quite get into their shoes on this, presumably they would love to bar the Conservatives altogether but what combination of political parties would they like to see based on the cold counting of the votes? Labour, SNP, the Greens and Lib-Dems, with the Tories as the largest party, how would they implement a viable government if everyone is to be represented in it? Suggestions welcome, the demo can only be validated by a constructive offering of what change needs to take place.

    It's easy to call out for 'proportional voting' of several types, the hard part is to try and figure out what the outcome may be on the ground. Having lived within it all their lives, many people don't realise what the alternative to FPTP may mean nor the potential benefits it has to offer. Throughout these decades of Labour and Con alternating in power, a politically bipolar state of affairs identical to that of the US, this country has benefited from a level of political stability to be envied by most European countries where coalitions and vote fragmentation made it impossible for a coherent direction ever to be adopted.

    Some of those countries ended up gravitating to an increasingly bi-polarised scenario and at last some stability in terms of a government's lifespan started to emerge. Countries like Portugal, Italy, France and more. Ask the natives what they think of what FPTP delivers and there will be a few that will actually like the sound of it.
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    This wasn't even a protest, it was a childish outpouring of anger from people who spend so much time on social media that they convinced themselves that Labour had it in the bag and couldn't handle the result when it came in. Bloody Marxists.
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    Dunno much about politics to be honest
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    Well you're right, technically half the people asked for a mixture of the Conservatives and UKIP, who have roughly similar fiscal policies, and most of the rest asked for Labour, which also believes in some sort of woolly form of austerity.
    Labour's austerity plans involved at least £50bn fewer cuts than the Conservatives'. That's a lot less austerity. There were around 600,000 votes between leftwing parties and rightwing parties in the election (the rightwing parties getting 600,000 more votes), and it's likely, given the swing from Labour to UKIP, that many working class voters voted UKIP not because of austerity, but because of immigration/EU concerns.

    (Original post by felamaslen)
    Criticising government policy is not the same as telling the government to leave office, which is what these protesters are/were doing.
    As I said, I think that this government should voluntarily leave office.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    You assume your view of morality is the only one which can exist, which is pretty closed-minded.
    Strawman argument; I said that my view of morality is the only defensible view of morality. I'm cognizant of the fact that there are all sorts of weird, wonderful and inconsistent views of morality out there.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Is it so hard to believe conservatives want to help society including—especially—the poor, but just have different ideas on how best to go about it?
    No, but intentions don't matter; consequences do, because irrational people with good intentions tend to produce bad consequences. And, if the Conservatives were to objectively review the last 35 years, they'd see that their policies have directly contributed to the suffering of the poor. Under Margaret Thatcher's Tory government, we saw the fastest rise in inequality in British history and poverty not seen since the Great Depression. Under this government, we've seen a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, particularly the top 1%, under the pretext of "deficit reduction", as well as the longest fall in living standards in British history, not to mention the NHS performing at its worst.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    I think it's pretty clear that tax rises are the easiest way to screw the economy, and the poor with it.
    Unsubstantiated assertion. The top rate of tax shouldn't go above 65%, but there are plenty of countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, which have high(er) taxation rates and they have the lowest rates of poverty and inequality in the world. Denmark, for instance, has a top rate of tax of 61% (along with a high public sector workforce, incredibly strong trade unions, an incredibly high minimum wage, high public spending, and so on), and it has the 2nd lowest rate of inequality in the world, an extremely low poverty rate and is one of the happiest societies in the world.

    What was that about high taxation screwing the poor?
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Unsubstantiated assertion. The top rate of tax shouldn't go above 65%, but there are plenty of countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, which have high(er) taxation rates and they have the lowest rates of poverty and inequality in the world. Denmark, for instance, has a top rate of tax of 61% (along with a high public sector workforce, incredibly strong trade unions, an incredibly high minimum wage, high public spending, and so on), and it has the 2nd lowest rate of inequality in the world, an extremely low poverty rate and is one of the happiest societies in the world.

    What was that about high taxation screwing the poor?
    There may well be other factors which you're not taking into account, such as work ethic, cultural homogeneity, size of population, type of economy, etc. I'm willing to bet that if you suddenly implemented Denmark's fiscal policies in Britain, you'd end up with an economic disaster.

    Milton Friedman made this point when he pointed out, in response to the challenge that poverty has been eradicated in the "socialist" Sweden, that amongst Swedes in America there is no poverty either.

    Socialism stopped working in Britain in the 1970s, when the country almost fell apart due to constant industrial action by undemocratic Marxist unions. Whatever you think of Thatcher, you can't say her radical policies were there for no good reason.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Strawman argument; I said that my view of morality is the only defensible view of morality. I'm cognizant of the fact that there are all sorts of weird, wonderful and inconsistent views of morality out there.
    It's not a straw man, it is exactly what you believe. You are exceptionally closed minded and arrogant, to be able to make such assertions without a hint of irony. What is it that makes you such a great sage, that you can at a stroke swipe away all the philosophical questions which have plagued mankind for millennia?

    In the words of Cromwell: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

    No, but intentions don't matter; consequences do, because irrational people with good intentions tend to produce bad consequences. And, if the Conservatives were to objectively review the last 35 years, they'd see that their policies have directly contributed to the suffering of the poor. Under Margaret Thatcher's Tory government, we saw the fastest rise in inequality in British history and poverty not seen since the Great Depression. Under this government, we've seen a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, particularly the top 1%, under the pretext of "deficit reduction", as well as the longest fall in living standards in British history, not to mention the NHS performing at its worst.
    Your leap of faith is to assume the Conservatives are irrational. I'm sure it makes it makes justifying yourself easier, to just know your opponents are wrong.

    For instance, under Thatcher's government, the wealth of the bottom 10% grew by more than in any other decade of the 20th century. We were all better off in 1990 than we were in 1979. I'm not saying this is proof positive economic liberalism is the way forward (although it is), but the situation is markedly more complicated than you make out. If I were you, I would consider that people might disagree with me for other reasons than spite or 'irrationality'. However, as you seem to have the intellectual curiosity of a teaspoon, I think this unlikely to happen.

    Unsubstantiated assertion. The top rate of tax shouldn't go above 65%, but there are plenty of countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, which have high(er) taxation rates and they have the lowest rates of poverty and inequality in the world. Denmark, for instance, has a top rate of tax of 61% (along with a high public sector workforce, incredibly strong trade unions, an incredibly high minimum wage, high public spending, and so on), and it has the 2nd lowest rate of inequality in the world, an extremely low poverty rate and is one of the happiest societies in the world.

    What was that about high taxation screwing the poor?
    You completely miss the point. I wasn't trying to argue that specific detail, but to point out people can sincerely hold views you disagree with, and to just write them off because you disagree with them is intellectual sloppiness at its finest.

    That said, I'm fine to go into detail if you want to, but it is absolutely peripheral to the point.

    The tax burden In Denmark is high, though not absurdly higher than the UK, but it can be convincingly argued that the negative effects of tax burden are offset by legal, regulatory and tax regimes which are extremely transparent and friendly to business. Indeed, Denmark is rated as having higher economic freedom than the UK or the US. Hardly a socialist nation then! There is nothing inconsistent about criticising high tax, and recognising Denmark's overall efficiency.

    Then of course you look at countries like Singapore, which have had a phenomenal rate of growth, bringing millions out of poverty. Was this done by tax and redistribution? But of course, single examples don't prove anything, because there are innumerable other factors at play. It is perfectly possible if Denmark cut its tax rate it would do even better than it is currently. It is even possible Singapore would be better off with an uncompetitive tax regime, although personally, I doubt it.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    It's not a straw man, it is exactly what you believe.
    You claimed: "you assume your view of morality is the only one which can exist, which is pretty closed-minded."

    Once again, I don't believe that my view of morality is the only one which exists, or can exist. Ergo, it was a strawman argument.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    You are exceptionally closed minded and arrogant, to be able to make such assertions without a hint of irony. What is it that makes you such a great sage, that you can at a stroke swipe away all the philosophical questions which have plagued mankind for millennia?
    These philosophical questions have plagued mankind for millennia because there is no answer to them which cannot be derived from a first principle. The fewer first principles there are and the more fundamental they are, the more defensible the view of morality. Given that my view of morality is derived from a first principle applicable to every organism in the universe, I'd say it is the most defensible: if you have a counterexample, I'd be happy to discuss this with you, but perhaps not on here.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Your leap of faith is to assume the Conservatives are irrational. I'm sure it makes it makes justifying yourself easier, to just know your opponents are wrong.
    I'm saying that they are irrational given the evidence which leads me to a prior belief...

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    For instance, under Thatcher's government, the wealth of the bottom 10% grew by more than in any other decade of the 20th century. We were all better off in 1990 than we were in 1979.
    ... now that you've provided me with this evidence, I can factor it in to update my beliefs if necessary to give a posterior belief.

    Even if this were true - I've only seen a graph of this - the general trend even before 1979 was that everyone was becoming better off. By contrast, poverty and inequality rates shot up under Thatcher, as did the number of the 'core' poor.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    If I were you, I would consider that people might disagree with me for other reasons than spite or 'irrationality'.
    Either they're intentionally holding an incorrect belief, or they haven't proportioned their beliefs to the evidence in the correct manner, thereby acting irrationally. Either that, or I haven't proportioned my beliefs to the evidence in the correct manner, and I am acting irrationally. Your input regarding wealth creation has been noted and factored into my confidence levels, but, considering the levels of poverty and inequality during the Thatcher years, the lives of the poorest in society could have been improved much more efficiently and, again, I do not make a distinction between action and inaction, so, if (and I believe she did) Thatcher failed to act as efficiently as she could have done, she did in fact harm the poor. And, from an economic perspective, high rates of inequality are bad for the economy, meaning that wealth creation will become less efficient, thereby hurting the poor.

    When it comes to the current Conservative Party, I don't see how freezing the incomes of the working poor through the benefits system, for instance, is going to help them when they're already working in low-paid jobs which don't meet the cost-of-living, and how refusing to raise the minimum wage in real terms will help them either. Yes, they have a policy to link the personal allowance to the minimum wage, but this is unfunded and will cost £3.7bn. The only way they are going to find this money, if they actually deliver on this promise (which is a questionable proposition) is if they make even deeper spending cuts, which disproportionately hurt the poor anyway.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    The tax burden In Denmark is high, though not absurdly higher than the UK, but it can be convincingly argued that the negative effects of tax burden are offset by legal, regulatory and tax regimes which are extremely transparent and friendly to business. Indeed, Denmark is rated as having higher economic freedom than the UK or the US. Hardly a socialist nation then! There is nothing inconsistent about criticising high tax, and recognising Denmark's overall efficiency.
    I didn't state that it was a socialist nation (although the Conservatives and the rightwing press would certainly state that the Labour Party was Marxist if they enacted many of Denmark's policies). Nonetheless, you specifically stated that high taxes would "screw the economy", which clearly hasn't happened. You can criticise high taxation, but your original statement was hyperbolic.

    As for Singapore, it has a much higher than average output produced by state-owned entities and the overwhelming majority of its housing is provided by a state-owned entity.

    When it comes to healthcare, the government enacts extremely efficient regulations and interventions: "there’s a minister of “wellness” who emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and works to curb smoking; there are high health care subsidies for those with low incomes; and the government invests heavily in medical education...[and has a] heavy hand in the marketplace and in society."

    Essentially, things are complex, and mixed-market economies may actually appear to do better than either side's preferred economy, but to claim that "tax rises will screw the economy" is a gross oversimplification. Incidentally, Singapore probably has a higher rate of inequality than even the United States.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    You claimed: "you assume your view of morality is the only one which can exist, which is pretty closed-minded."

    Once again, I don't believe that my view of morality is the only one which exists, or can exist. Ergo, it was a strawman argument.
    This is semantics. If you believe all other moralities are wrong, that implies you think yours is the only right one. That is, the only valid morality to exist. The only other interpretation of my statement is that I think that you think everyone agrees with you, which is demonstrably false.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, "my view of morality is the only defensible one" is a pretty bold claim.

    These philosophical questions have plagued mankind for millennia because there is no answer to them which cannot be derived from a first principle. The fewer first principles there are and the more fundamental they are, the more defensible the view of morality. Given that my view of morality is derived from a first principle applicable to every organism in the universe, I'd say it is the most defensible: if you have a counterexample, I'd be happy to discuss this with you, but perhaps not on here.
    Sorry, can I ask what this first principle is? As a libertarian, I would start mine with the non-aggression principle. I understand how whole philosophies can spring from very simple axioms, but the choice of those axioms is impossible to justifiable beyond question.

    Even in mathematics, the choice of axioms can be a subject of debate. Even to say 1+1=2 requires a leap of faith.

    I'm saying that they are irrational given the evidence which leads me to a prior belief...
    You believe them to be irrational. The leap to 'they are irrational end of' is not insignificant.

    ... now that you've provided me with this evidence, I can factor it in to update my beliefs if necessary to give a posterior belief.

    Even if this were true - I've only seen a graph of this - the general trend even before 1979 was that everyone was becoming better off. By contrast, poverty and inequality rates shot up under Thatcher, as did the number of the 'core' poor.
    I personally would argue relative definitions of poverty, where poverty can increase even if everyone gets richer, are an abuse of language.

    Either they're intentionally holding an incorrect belief, or they haven't proportioned their beliefs to the evidence in the correct manner, thereby acting irrationally. Either that, or I haven't proportioned my beliefs to the evidence in the correct manner, and I am acting irrationally. Your input regarding wealth creation has been noted and factored into my confidence levels, but, considering the levels of poverty and inequality during the Thatcher years, the lives of the poorest in society could have been improved much more efficiently and, again, I do not make a distinction between action and inaction, so, if (and I believe she did) Thatcher failed to act as efficiently as she could have done, she did in fact harm the poor. And, from an economic perspective, high rates of inequality are bad for the economy, meaning that wealth creation will become less efficient, thereby hurting the poor.
    Well, quite.

    My point is not that you are wrong and I am right. I mean, that's true but irrelevant. But the assumption of your correctness can lead you down all sorts of questionable logical paths. Of course, we all believe our beliefs are rational. If we didn't, we wouldn't believe them. But to say therefore your opponents are irrational is a weak argument.

    When it comes to the current Conservative Party, I don't see how freezing the incomes of the working poor through the benefits system, for instance, is going to help them when they're already working in low-paid jobs which don't meet the cost-of-living, and how refusing to raise the minimum wage in real terms will help them either. Yes, they have a policy to link the personal allowance to the minimum wage, but this is unfunded and will cost £3.7bn. The only way they are going to find this money, if they actually deliver on this promise (which is a questionable proposition) is if they make even deeper spending cuts, which disproportionately hurt the poor anyway.
    The two are obviously related though. The rise in the personal allowance is in part affordable because of freezing working age benefits, which have risen much faster than wages in recent years anyway. There are good reasons why, when you must choose, a higher tax-free income is better for those in full time but poorly-paid work than taxing their income and giving some back.

    I didn't state that it was a socialist nation (although the Conservatives and the rightwing press would certainly state that the Labour Party was Marxist if they enacted many of Denmark's policies). Nonetheless, you specifically stated that high taxes would "screw the economy", which clearly hasn't happened. You can criticise high taxation, but your original statement was hyperbolic.
    It is generally accepted that tax curtails economic growth. Now, I don't think we should have absolutely no tax, but we are already a highly-taxed nation and tax cuts would be very welcome. Lower growth means fewer jobs and lower wages. So no, I don't think it's hyperbolic to say people are screwed by tax rises.

    As for Singapore, it has a much higher than average output produced by state-owned entities and the overwhelming majority of its housing is provided by a state-owned entity.
    Singapore is a corporatist state and I don't want to big it up too much. But it has very low taxes and very high business freedom, which allow it do things it wouldn't be able to do, had it a weaker economy. Even so, government expenditure is a very low percentage of GDP by European standards.

    When it comes to healthcare, the government enacts extremely efficient regulations and interventions: "there’s a minister of “wellness” who emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and works to curb smoking; there are high health care subsidies for those with low incomes; and the government invests heavily in medical education...[and has a] heavy hand in the marketplace and in society."
    Singapore has a market driven system, which is much more capitalist and liberal than ours. Yes, of course the poor are subsidised, but this just goes to show that, despite lefty histrionics, the NHS is far from the only way (or the best way) to provide decent healthcare for the poor.

    Essentially, things are complex, and mixed-market economies may actually appear to do better than either side's preferred economy, but to claim that "tax rises will screw the economy" is a gross oversimplification. Incidentally, Singapore probably has a higher rate of inequality than even the United States.
    It does. I am not of the opinion inequality is necessarily a bad thing, as it tends to correlate with economic freedom and growth. Put it this way, I'd rather be poor in the unequal UK, than average in most socialist nations.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Sorry, can I ask what this first principle is? As a libertarian, I would start mine with the non-aggression principle. I understand how whole philosophies can spring from very simple axioms, but the choice of those axioms is impossible to justifiable beyond question.
    All sentient beings aim to satisfy their preferences. Taking this as a first principle, there is no logical reason why humans should view their preference-satisfaction as being more important than anybody else's. If they try to satisfy and maximise their own preferences, which everybody does (seeing as not satisfying your preferences is itself a preference), then there's no reason why they shouldn't try to help to satisfy and maximise others'.

    There's no objective reason why anyone should be satisfying their preferences in the first place, of course, but as far as a first principle goes, it has to be accepted by every sentient being in the universe if they want to continue to satisfy their own preferences and, even if they refused (in their mind) to satisfy their own preferences, they'd still be satisfying a preference.

    As for the non-aggression principle, I'd say it has numerous flaws. For one, it implies that it isn't wrong to allow your child to die of starvation as long as you don't forcibly prevent them from obtaining food themselves. It's also wrong for somebody to trespass on "muh private property" and violate "muh property rights" in order to feed the child. There's also the ambiguous definition of 'aggression' - what constitutes aggression and what doesn't?

    And, compared with my first principle, insofar as I am aware, there's no reason why we should accept it in the first place, which should be the aim of any first principle: to be universal.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    You believe them to be irrational. The leap to 'they are irrational end of' is not insignificant.
    It is insignificant. Many people can be very rational in one area and very irrational in another.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    I personally would argue relative definitions of poverty, where poverty can increase even if everyone gets richer, are an abuse of language.
    I personally would not. Relative poverty is indicative both of social exclusion and of a lack of equality of opportunity. This is quite straightforward to demonstrate: a child born into a family in even relative poverty won't have the same opportunities as a child born into a family of millionaires: this will continue the cycle of poverty.

    I don't think it is fair, or moral, that people's preferences (which are shaped by the society in which they live) are thwarted because of rampant inequality.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    My point is not that you are wrong and I am right. I mean, that's true but irrelevant.

    But the assumption of your correctness can lead you down all sorts of questionable logical paths.
    Precisely, and you do appear to be wryly suggesting that you "are" right.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    It is generally accepted that tax curtails economic growth. Now, I don't think we should have absolutely no tax, but we are already a highly-taxed nation and tax cuts would be very welcome. Lower growth means fewer jobs and lower wages. So no, I don't think it's hyperbolic to say people are screwed by tax rises.
    I suppose it depends on your definition of "screwed". Once again, plenty of people in countries with higher taxes than us aren't exactly "screwed".

    And, I'd question your assertion that tax curtails economic growth. In fact, as leading economists at even the IMF (who generally prefer freer-markets) have said, inequality does curtail economic growth and tax rises have a neutral or perhaps even a slightly positive effect when used to curtail inequality.

    This addresses your point below about not being concerned as well. Recent research published by the OECD corroborates this.

    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Singapore is a corporatist state and I don't want to big it up too much. But it has very low taxes and very high business freedom, which allow it do things it wouldn't be able to do, had it a weaker economy. Even so, government expenditure is a very low percentage of GDP by European standards.

    Singapore has a market driven system, which is much more capitalist and liberal than ours. Yes, of course the poor are subsidised, but this just goes to show that, despite lefty histrionics, the NHS is far from the only way (or the best way) to provide decent healthcare for the poor.
    This is exactly what I mean when I say that both sides of the argument are presenting a false dichotomy. You don't want to big Singapore up too much because it contains government intervening quite regularly, particularly with big businesses, in a relatively free economy, but the only reason you don't want to big it up, I presume, is because of your ideology.

    Take the ideology away and look at the results, and you'll agree, seeing as you were the first one to point it out, that Singapore has done some good. Using the evidence I have presented above, in my view, it has also done some bad: it has let inequality rise and this harms economic growth and eats away at the social cohesion of society.

    And, tax rises, and investment in education, have been shown, at least from the research I have gathered and presented above, to have a neutral effect on the economy and can be beneficial when it comes to reducing inequality.

    To borrow your phrase: despite righty histrionics, perfectly free-markets and societies in which the government hardly intervenes are far from the only way (or the best way) to help the people. We can see this in Singapore and we can see it in Denmark and in plenty of other mixed-market economies. Both sides are guilty of being too entrenched in their views and too unwilling to ensure that their only ideology is to endorse the best system that works for people themselves.

    The fact that people in countries with high degrees of economic freedom in some areas tend to do better on paper does not daunt me. We need to look at things on a step-by-step basis, or policy-by-policy, basis though. For example, the deregulation of the financial sector is, across the board, accepted to have been largely responsible for the financial crisis of 2007-08. And, we also need to be careful not to misrepresent countries who rank highly on, say, the Heritage Foundation's scores of economic freedom, because they often contain a lot of state involvement, such as high taxation, which is regarded, in the published literature, to be beneficial to society, and which certainly hasn't "screwed" the people.

    The Left need to be careful not to misrepresent these countries as well with respect to state involvement and economic freedom, and the interesting thing about many of the Scandinavian countries is that businesses don't hate trade unions and trade unions don't hate businesses, and this is despite having trade unions much, much stronger than our own in this country.

    So, let's try to present and cite evidence in favour of specific policies and talk more on a policy-by-policy basis.
 
 
 

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