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    How are they being exploited? No one owes them a job, and if they have no skills that are desired, why should they be paid more?
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    Considering that your unemployment rate is under 5%, you'll be hard-pressed to show that there are substantially more workers than open positions. Sure, that might be true in high-paying positions, but those positions pay far more than the minimum wage anyway. And you're really going to define the term exploitation for me. If one worker is twice as productive as another, and he gets paid twice as the other worker, is the other worker getting exploited if they're getting paid $4 an hour (instead of the $8 like the first worker)? And no, a minimum wage is not good for the economy, or even for the poor. You know why? Because the poor tend to have the least skills. If you set a minimum wage, many of them won't have the skills necessary to justify getting paid that minimum wage, so they end up on the dole their entire life.

    No, any minimum wage is inefficient since it sets an artificial floor on the price of labor. All price floors harm economic activity. That's an economic fact. The laws of economics don't suddenly stop working when we discuss labor.
    A fair bit of it is regional, at least from my own experience.

    If the value of the employment is far less than the wage they are paid, then that is exploitation (where employers look to pay as low as they can get away with, rather than paying relative to the work being done).

    And as the minimum wage mostly applies to unskilled work (shop work, manufacturing work and other manual labour), the level of skills is not really an issue. In fact, it causes less unemployment as more people will consider going to work viable, because they are going to be paid a wage which they can live on (which therefore reduces benefits).

    The laws of economics are theory, not reality. They do apply, but not on their own, there are many other factors that need to be considered, and talking about the real life employment market from a perspective of economic theory alone is only going to give you a narrow response. The minimum wage has worked in the UK, in that it has stopped alot of exploitation of the lowest paid workers, and ensured that employment can guarantee some sort of standard of living. Arguing that it is because of the growth in the economy doesn't really work, as there is no proof either way, all that is obvious is that it has worked, and now the economy is slowing, i still believe that it will work.
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    (Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
    Blair is a charming populist. He had two ideologies: personal discretion and religion. I love the man, but you can't base your poolitical views on his.
    What exactly do you mean by 'personal discretion'?

    You criticise basing ideology on religion, but this can be a good thing - most religions, including Roman Catholicism (Blair) emphasise compassion and love, two decent starting points for any regime. Although I decry theocracy and intolerance, religion can be a good starting point for political ideology, although it should not be the only basis

    I don't base my political views on Blair's, but
    Ithink he is/was more ideological than you give him credit for. Yes, he was a charming populist, but I think he dis have a few main ideological viewpoints, notably
    - Interventionism/Internationalism (particularly with regards to the close relationship with America)
    - Accepting that private companies can have a role in State institutions such as education and health, for economic reasons and also to increase efficiency and decrease the level of red tape/centralisation.
    - Social progression (gay rights, empowerment of women, etc)

    I'd agree that Blairism isn't a solid ideology to the extent of Thatcherism for example, but that is because New Labour/Blair was always fairly compromising (one could say inconsistent), and willing to adapt action to fit circumstances rather than blindly follow a set ideology


    Anyway I have more questions..
    1) What is the Socialist stance on civil liberties and anti-terrorism laws?
    2) What are your foreign policy views. I'm talking interventionism, nuclear deterrent, EU/US relations.. I appreciate this may be different for all of you. I'm interested because although I would consider myself nominally Socialist in some respects, I do support the nuclear deterrent, invasion of Afghanistan, a close relationship with America (though not Iraq, although I don't blame Blair for going to war based on the evidence he was give), and further integration into the EU (probably the same as you).
    3) Josef Stalin's ideology went somewhere along the lines of: pursue Socialism until Communism can be acheived, the ultimate goal. Socialism and Communism are technically ideological neighbours. Do you all condemn the oppression and tyranny that is Communism,in reality?
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    (Original post by Overground)
    What exactly do you mean by 'personal discretion'?
    I mean that he made it up as he went along. He marginalised cabinet, so that he didn't have to tie himself to any ideology.

    You criticise basing ideology on religion, but this can be a good thing - most religions, including Roman Catholicism (Blair) emphasise compassion and love, two decent starting points for any regime. Although I decry theocracy and intolerance, religion can be a good starting point for political ideology, although it should not be the only basis
    Fundamental disagreement here. Humans have a less corrupted version of morality than any religion can offer us. If you believe in "love your neighbour as yourself", then great -- and a lot of Jesus' teachings were admirable. But it doesn't mean we should use religion as a moral basis. Either you believe those ethics or you don't; religion has sod-all to do with it.

    - Interventionism/Internationalism (particularly with regards to the close relationship with America)
    Well, those are completely seperate ideas, and they way you link them actually illustrates the flaw in your point: Blair didn't support interventionism -- particularly not the altruistic kind (he never so much as sniffed at Darfur. He supported interventionism to the degree that it was convenient and strengthened our relationship with the U.S. And that relationship was a very personal and arbitrary one.

    "I want to be friends with the U.S.A." does not constitute ideology, no matter how pragmatic and sensible it was.

    That said, I'm proud of the way he had us stand by the U.S. after 9/11. That wasn't a political manoeuvre... it was gennuine friendship -- on a large scale and as a microcosm. It brings shivers to my skin when I see footage of him being applauded in Congress. The world needs more of that.

    - Accepting that private companies can have a role in State institutions such as education and health, for economic reasons and also to increase efficiency and decrease the level of red tape/centralisation.
    Again, how is that ideology? That is clearly pragamatism, ideological dilution and populism. Economic growth sounds pretty when you say it in election campaigns

    - Social progression (gay rights, empowerment of women, etc)
    He hardly went after those things like a man posessed, though, did he?

    I'd agree that Blairism isn't a solid ideology to the extent of Thatcherism for example, but that is because New Labour/Blair was always fairly compromising (one could say inconsistent), and willing to adapt action to fit circumstances rather than blindly follow a set ideology
    Agreed.


    Anyway I have more questions..
    1) What is the Socialist stance on civil liberties and anti-terrorism laws?
    A socialist wrote the recently passed human rights bill, so that should offer a clue. Personally, I'd rather be free than safe. Of course, I'd say you have to be practical in these times, and we should debate what rights are important to us: but none of the rights which *are* should be violated. I hope that makes sense.

    2) What are your foreign policy views. I'm talking interventionism, nuclear deterrent, EU/US relations.. I appreciate this may be different for all of you. I'm interested because although I would consider myself nominally Socialist in some respects, I do support the nuclear deterrent, invasion of Afghanistan, a close relationship with America (though not Iraq, although I don't blame Blair for going to war based on the evidence he was give), and further integration into the EU (probably the same as you).
    Personally: I think it's a case-by-case decision-making process, and while you could generally describe me as 'anti-military', I'm not stupid enough to think that we aren't going to need bullets to survive the rise of extremism. It's irresponsible to make sweeping statements.

    My general feeling on this, however, is that every human life should be valued equally and considered compassionately. (Those are often my buzz words: equality and compassion.) In practice, this means that we DON'T bomb people to go after oil/strengthen ties with the U.S.A./gain a minor strategic advantage. We SHOULD go in and protect those being persecuted in foreign countries, if we are able to.

    (I've been considering a bill to move British troops into Darfur, but I dunno how popular a war-starting bill would be...)

    3) Josef Stalin's ideology went somewhere along the lines of: pursue Socialism until Communism can be acheived, the ultimate goal. Socialism and Communism are technically ideological neighbours. Do you all condemn the oppression and tyranny that is Communism,in reality?
    Do we condemn tyranny and oppression? Yes. Does that mean we condemn Communism as an ideal? No. They're not the same thing and gennuine Marxism -- if possible -- is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Do I believe it's possible within the context of human nature? Probably not. Socialism takes the best bit from Communism: equality. We'd never seek to enforce it via dictatorship.

    Indeed, Socialism is a far-reaching idea. Tony Blair once supported socialism, but his ideas are not remotely comparable to our own.

    We're just left-wingers, trying to determine and apply our versions of morality to a political context.

    Of course, UKebert and Alasdair may disagree with me on any or all of that.
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    (Original post by Overground)
    1) What is the Socialist stance on civil liberties and anti-terrorism laws?
    Grief, hole with no bottom. Obviously it depends what flavour of socialism you apply to, but I'm generally fairly against anti-terror laws. And I think that civil liberties are very important. Indeed in theory i would subscribe to the libertarian maxim of "a man is free to do anything that will not interfere with the freedom of others" or however it goes. In other words I have anarchist sympathies. However I don't think that's really practical, so i accept that legislation, government and beaurocracy are to some extent inevitable.

    2) What are your foreign policy views. I'm talking interventionism, nuclear deterrent, EU/US relations.. I appreciate this may be different for all of you. I'm interested because although I would consider myself nominally Socialist in some respects, I do support the nuclear deterrent, invasion of Afghanistan, a close relationship with America (though not Iraq, although I don't blame Blair for going to war based on the evidence he was give), and further integration into the EU (probably the same as you).
    i don't, as a rule think that individual countries should interfere with the development of another. There I'm talking iraq. Such matters should be done on an international level. Obviously that doesn't include trade, but it precludes all forms of imperialism. As for the nuclear deterrent, well part of me thinks that if we got rid of it then we would no longer be threat, so nobody would bother of us. But I don't see that coming off somehow. What worries me with the upgrading trident thing is that the government obviously thought that an enemy nation was developing weapons of similar capabilities, a worrying thought. As for the EU, I think that a European Superstate would be unwieldy, unfair and overly beaurocratic. However I do support Europe as long as it holds off that outcome. I think Europe has a huge benefit to its member states.

    3) Josef Stalin's ideology went somewhere along the lines of: pursue Socialism until Communism can be acheived, the ultimate goal. Socialism and Communism are technically ideological neighbours. Do you all condemn the oppression and tyranny that is Communism,in reality?
    Well, obviously we all decry stalinism, but lets make it clear that that wasn't communism. However, communism is by it's very nature authoritarian, which isn't really the way that I would wish society to go.
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    (Original post by alasdair_R)
    Yes, I do...
    Ok if that's so, what is your opinon on the human rights abuses? Would you concede that Castro was little more than an authoritarian dictator who in his later years, clung to power despite it being against the best interests of Cuba? Would you concede that it is now time to see the development of democracy in Cuba?
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    (Original post by Skipper)
    Ok if that's so, what is your opinon on the human rights abuses? Would you concede that Castro was little more than an authoritarian dictator who in his later years, clung to power despite it being against the best interests of Cuba? Would you concede that it is now time to see the development of democracy in Cuba?
    What do you mean, 'concede this', 'concede that'? Equally, would you concede that Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the United States - the lowest, in fact, in the Americas? Would you concede that Cuba has the second highest doctor to population ratio in the world?

    Are there things I don't like about the Cuban system? Sure. Do I think it's a thousand times better than the many developing countries run along the lines of the Washington Consensus? Definitely.
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    (Original post by alasdair_R)
    What do you mean, 'concede this', 'concede that'? Equally, would you concede that Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the United States - the lowest, in fact, in the Americas? Would you concede that Cuba has the second highest doctor to population ratio in the world?

    Are there things I don't like about the Cuban system? Sure. Do I think it's a thousand times better than the many developing countries run along the lines of the Washington Consensus? Definitely.
    Firstly I feel you have side-stepped the question that I was putting across:

    Considering the human rights abuses, how do you justify that Castro is a "hero of the left"?

    I was not asking for a comparison against other developing countries, but yes, I would agree that the healthcare system in Cuba is excellent- but you are surely not suggesting that this justifies how he suppressed any opposition to his regime?
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    I really don't see why we should have to take responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened in a socialist (or even communist!) state. There is such a thing as a tyrannical capitalist regime, you realise.
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    I never claimed you should. I'm just curious at how any person can consider Castro a hero. It just amazes me that's all.
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    People idolise Thatcher. She destroyed entire communities, used the police force against the striking miners in 1984 and withdrew free school milk. Now, I'm curious how any person can consider her a hero. It just amazes me...
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    Are you seriously comparing Thatcher to Castro?
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Did the introduction of a minimum wage create an economic disaster?
    In 2006 only 1.4% of the population were paid minimum wage. Given that the whole period it has been in place has coincided with a natural boom, it's no wonder that there wasn't an economic disaster. Try setting a minimum wage well above the market price in a downturn and see what happens, if you're feeling brave.
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    (Original post by Skipper)
    Are you seriously comparing Thatcher to Castro?
    I think he's saying that both are considered heroes by their respective ideologies , and vilified by the opposite...
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    I've say Castro is a little more extreme than Maggie T. The latter didn't make people "disappear" for one thing. I'd prefer to compare Castro and Franco
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    Did it happen to coincide with a major economic boom? The minimum wage is still sufficiently low to only affect some unskilled labor and the young, which also happen to be groups that are disproportionately unemployed and stuck on benefits.

    You're not even using an economics argument. Economics relies on the concept of ceteris paribus. If that doesn't hold, you can't simply compare two situations without isolating the variable you want to study. Please provide me an economic rationale on why raising the wages of unskilled workers (and that's who the minimum wage affects) doesn't lead to more reliance on capital and high-skilled workers.
    Seems to me that your argument is a ngetaive one: "minimum wage will prove itself damaging when the economy fails". Great, not only a lack of confidence in capitalism by a capitalist but the negation of mimimum wage as a problem 'of itself' because it's only when an economy has got into trouble that it allegedly has a damaging effect. You've out argued yourself, well done. By corollary a successful economy has no problem with a minimum wage!

    Having both friends and family who work for minimum wage (and who have in some instances worked for shockingly exploitative wages prior) I am all for it. Nothing anyone says in this thread will make me reject the idea - it's a glimmer of socialist value in an all too socialist-lite Labour Party.
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    (Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
    We're not really strict socialists, in the sense that we want business to exist to the extent that it supports the common good.
    Are you making a sweeping statement for all of the TSR Socialists, or do you mean this for yourself?

    (Original post by Mozman)
    Blair is a charming populist. He had two ideologies: personal discretion and religion. I love the man, but you can't base your poolitical views on his.
    Why not?
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    (Original post by Skipper)
    Are you seriously comparing Thatcher to Castro?
    Alastair is correct about my intentions but mate, look at your history books. Thatcher supported General Pinochet right through the 1980s. A man who made thousands 'disappear' and curtailed democratic rights. I'm sorry but she really does have a problematic record if you dig under the surface. Salvador Allende won a legitimate election in 1970 and was killed fighting against American-backed insurrectionists on September 11th (!) 1973. Democracy disrupted because Nixon hated the Left. Thatcher supported that regime and gave British consent to what was going on in Chile. She's not the saint people think she is.
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    (Original post by Jangrafess)
    Are you making a sweeping statement for all of the TSR Socialists, or do you mean this for yourself?
    If you're a pragmatic socialist you recognise that some degree of business is inevitable.
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    (Original post by ukebert)
    If you're a pragmatic socialist you recognise that some degree of business is inevitable.
    Thank you. (I agree.)
 
 
 
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