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Author Topic: EU/US: Need for explenation  (Read 4848 times)
neptop
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September 05, 2012, 05:42:02 PM
 #1

So a question that made me wonder for a while now is how (according to Wikipedia) the US can have more than twice as much debt (per citizen) compared to the EU and the EU and the Euro, which still is stronger than when it was when it started out compared to the USD is said to have trouble and people don't trust it.

Well, being a Bitcoin fan and relatively independent of the Euro, as well as being an Anarchist/Social Libertarian and so don't really care about countries. Also don't know in which one I'll stay in the long run, so please don't answer with EU/US is better. I am more interested into how that from an economical perspective makes sense and I don't know a better forum to ask.

Oh, actually the reason I ask is that I don't really get how most European countries can have so much welfare compared to the US. I know there is taxes and stuff, but still when I compare the US friends and the EU friends incomes (don't know it from everyone, but quite a few) then it seems to be about even. Are there statistics? What they are able to afford appears to be about the same.

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September 05, 2012, 06:18:13 PM
 #2

You rised a pretty good question, you have my congratulations for thinking about it.
There are several explanations to this, but it all comes back to conspiracy theories, at several levels.
The first level, the one you can't debunk is that the us dollar is used to buy oil - you need USD to buy oil. So the US can print as many dollars as they wish to, but till you will be able to buy oil only in dollars their currency could assume the value they wish it to have.

The war against Iraq started only a few months after that Saddam announced that they would begin to sell their oil in Euros too.

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September 05, 2012, 07:20:00 PM
 #3

being an Anarchist/Social Libertarian

so you aren't shocked of savage (Bitcoin powered) free markets like Chomsky is?

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September 08, 2012, 11:30:34 AM
 #4

In todays world, using fractional banking, countries can just continue to print as much cash as they want.  The issue is that the cash is worth less than it used to be!   This is how China is buying up US debt and keeping its currency artificially low, making its exports competitive.  If the Yuan was allowed to appreciate as it should, chinese imports would not look so appealing.

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Francesco
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September 09, 2012, 01:52:13 PM
 #5

So a question that made me wonder for a while now is how (according to Wikipedia) the US can have more than twice as much debt compared to the EU.

I guess the problem with EU is it's still too fragmented on some sides, and too united on others: its states can fail independently, but the banks are all connected. Since even the smallest of defaults is dangerous enough (we have seen it with Greece) to spread panic and eventually start a devastating chain reaction, the herd moves at the pace of the slowest member. Hardly ideal...

Oh, actually the reason I ask is that I don't really get how most European countries can have so much welfare compared to the US. I know there is taxes and stuff, but still when I compare the US friends and the EU friends incomes (don't know it from everyone, but quite a few) then it seems to be about even. Are there statistics? What they are able to afford appears to be about the same.

Maybe welfare, when it's also well done, partially pays for itself?  Smiley You can live your life much better if you know that you will be taken care of instead of abandoned if something heavy falls on you out of your control. Maybe you can also be more productive as an effect.
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September 09, 2012, 02:10:32 PM
 #6

I've wondered about this myself, not to mention related odd situations. For example, a country can have a fully functioning domestic economy with prices in some kind of equilibrium or 'homeostasis', yet the foreign exchange rate seems ridiculously low and imports seem unjustifiably expensive. Why?

I feel that has something do to with mercantilism. Tariffs, quotas... i.e. the idea that the nation needs to be 'defended' on an international level by such measures. Very prominent in the US and the EU.

I am more interested into how that from an economical perspective makes sense


Both the EU and US are in for a shitstorm. EU already. US is almost certainly going to face a devastated dollar in the near future.
I'd recommend Asia instead... Look at China. Lots of savings. No debt culture (not to say that their policies are any better... hardly so... but not as depraved as the West. Yet.)
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September 09, 2012, 02:33:27 PM
 #7

In todays world, using fractional banking, countries can just continue to print as much cash as they want.  The issue is that the cash is worth less than it used to be!   This is how China is buying up US debt and keeping its currency artificially low, making its exports competitive.  If the Yuan was allowed to appreciate as it should, chinese imports would not look so appealing.

can you expound on this?

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September 09, 2012, 09:33:59 PM
 #8

Thes videos, although a bit on the long side, give an introduction to the sorts of concepts I was talking about:

http://vimeo.com/2244372
http://vimeo.com/6822294

Money is not what the majority of people think it is, it is simply debt, created by the banking sector in order to generate interest.

For more info on central government manipulation start with:

The New Depression- Richard Duncan

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September 13, 2012, 12:29:29 PM
 #9

being an Anarchist/Social Libertarian

so you aren't shocked of savage (Bitcoin powered) free markets like Chomsky is?

I didn't describe myself as a Social Libertarian because of my view on market systems. I can see that a lot of them suck and maybe (not an opinion, but to make a point) a system without so much abstraction of values (in form of money or commercial papers) would be better. I am honest, I don't know what it is. The reason I described myself as Social Libertarian is that I am for freedom and that I think it should be a right to people and as far as possible not be based on stuff like luck, having rich parents, being healthy, whatever for moral and practical reasons, like the maximum possibility that the individual can contribute to society in the most optimal way, which means the technician should get the knowledge he needs and the artist should be able to create art for minorities and give it to as much people as he likes to. I mean we are human, being social, helping others out, not being what most people call completely logic is maybe what brought us so far. I think humanity would be able to create a society where everyone is well supported without anyone having to feel like something is taken away or at least is fine about it making it an act of free will, cause like I said, humans usually are very social.

So what I meant to say is that it isn't just about currency and money to me. I mean I am currently "forced" to earn money to live, but by doing something I like I actually make more than I'd need (currently). I described myself as an anarchist, because I think people free and not be a slave, neither of a dictator of a market system, unless they really want to. Freedom isn't just about money, markets and politics though, so there are many things that would shock me more than that.

What I think is worst about the current system, both politically and financially is that people are prevented from living from work they are good at. There are people that are unemployed, but really want to work, people that were doctors, but went to another country for whatever reason and end up driving around people in taxis instead of for example creating the technology of taxis that drive on their own. I know, that's like the ideal world and maybe not completely realistic, but preventing people from working and feeding themselves and the people they love seems to be kinda stupid in a society that on the other hand "simply" wastes what would allow someone to live without doing anything at all.

Nope, I am not shocked by free markets at all. I think that a free market would be a tool that would allow us to create a society where bad things are more easily prevented. See, I don't think a capitalist is a soulless monster wanting every poor person to die. What we have now is a system where a lot of people are like moaning about how the government takes taxes, yet I guess most people would not be like "uh, who cares about this guy dying?" and some people seem like moaning, because they don't really have another reason to. I mean really, what kind of whiner is someone who complains about having to invest into a system that grants everyone including himself access to what he needs to survive? Of course it isn't great if it's like money being taken away and stuff, but seriously when it's invested into granting someone the privilege to survive by (exaggerated) lowering some number on a sheet of paper of computer screen and you don't then you must be a mentally ill person with most likely no friends. You are pretty much acting like a drug addict and I wouldn't call someone with an addiction to be free.

But like I said, it would be better if people had will to make something better and as social being that's one of the few things that doesn't come from outside. People want to help and contribute in some way, if they don't then it's usually a mental thing (including still sane stuff like adolescence or simply having a bad day). So this is another big problem of the current system. People always want to help, but they are like forced/money is taken away and so they suddenly don't want to.

And seriously, whether it is the government or whoever doesn't matter. I think Ron Paul, like many others often tend to use the term liberty in a way that reminds me of an extremist, who wants something and then forgets why and also what it really is about. You know, a bit like all the religions where people are like "we are all children of god and should love each other" and suddenly end up in wars against each other, possibly because some self-proclaimed authority says "in the name of our religion". Most governments do something similar and I don't know, maybe they don't even do that in bad faith, maybe it was their sick education, the corruption of power or whatever.

Anyways, if you think liberty is about letting people die in the hospital then I'd say you didn't get it at all.

Some people are like you aren't allowed to be nice if you are liberal and Ron Paul talks about freedom and on the other hand sometimes(!) is like "the government isn't allowed to do this and isn't allowed to do that", with arguments like that's not the government's job and maybe he is right, maybe we should get rid of the government, not talking about a violent revolution here, but more like hey, we have Bitcoin now, hey there are a lot of people who actually love what they do and the bad stuff can be done either by people who like to, by robots or whatever. And hey lots of people like to teach others what they know and want to become the best at that and so they do it. Works for open source, works for lots of people doing great work, because they are not forced to and hey all this government, capitalism and whatever stuff maybe also was made by people who just thought they could it better. Maybe it was needed, maybe it still is, but maybe we won't in future or all of this goes into a wrong direction. Again, I don't know and the reason I asked the question this thread is about actually is that I want to know. Maybe I am completely off track, chances are actually quite good with so many different opinions. However, I think I am fairly right when I say that systems we create (or at least use/follow) should make things better and are in no way a self-purpose and I don't think we should say the free market is a justification for letting people die, just not like communism, socialism or whatever.

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September 13, 2012, 12:55:08 PM
 #10

Both the EU and US are in for a shitstorm. EU already. US is almost certainly going to face a devastated dollar in the near future.
I'd recommend Asia instead... Look at China. Lots of savings. No debt culture (not to say that their policies are any better... hardly so... but not as depraved as the West. Yet.)

Yeah, but they are doing lots of weird stuff. I mean kinda itself is odd. Quick example: If you live on the country, you don't have rights and nobody will help you. Also you are pretty much in the middle ages (not an exaggeration!) and support the city population that has insurance and stuff. Now however China is forced to move lots of farmers into cities and actually out of nowhere creates cities with millions of millions of people pulling the population together. Now, just giving them all the same rights as everyone else would kill their systems, but not giving them the rights could potentially cause a few million people to be very angry, especially when they see the huge difference. This could lead to social problems and maybe to something like a revolution, rebels, whatever. On the other hand China is really very good at controlling their people, so that's going to be interesting.

Still the "Western World" will most likely lose in the long run, even if both US and EU don't want this to be true. Such things, historically always led into wars and some -ism extremists taking power. Europe with the Euro problems could kill the union, no idea what happens then and the US became really conservative/authoritarian (don't want to use the term fascist here, but if you follow the recent developments..) in the last decade. Also in Europe the conservative authoritarians and extreme nationalist have an easy play these days. So I guess both of them will fall back when it comes to social liberties or are in progress of doing so. When one thinks about the Statue of Liberty and what it is about, how the US in its beginnings also inspired European people to be free and rid themselves of oppressors (French Revolution) then this will actually be a sad end. Well, exciting times.

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September 13, 2012, 01:58:56 PM
Last edit: September 13, 2012, 02:39:23 PM by herzmeister
 #11

thanks for your elaborate answer @neptop, quite overwhelming  Cheesy

it's the age old dichotomy individualism vs collectivism again, both in their extremes are dystopian. And if we really want to live without formal rulers one day, it will all depend on mankind's maturity.

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September 14, 2012, 04:50:03 AM
 #12

being an Anarchist/Social Libertarian

so you aren't shocked of savage (Bitcoin powered) free markets like Chomsky is?

OMG!! 

Chomsky Sad   
Which one is it, corporatism needs the nanny state?  Or keeping the nanny state small leads to corporatism? 

Well we all have off days, lets hope it's not senility or blind obeisance by his groupies.   

Or maybe I am missing the subtext and he is deliberately contradicting himself to make some kind of point? 
 
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September 14, 2012, 06:13:37 AM
 #13

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/china-and-russia-are-ruthlessly-cutting-the-legs-out-from-under-the-u-s-dollar

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September 14, 2012, 07:15:21 AM
 #14

Chomsky Sad   
Which one is it, corporatism needs the nanny state?  Or keeping the nanny state small leads to corporatism? 

Neither, he's Libertarian Socialist.


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September 15, 2012, 01:50:11 AM
 #15

Look at China. Lots of savings. No debt culture (not to say that their policies are any better... hardly so... but not as depraved as the West. Yet.)

This is changing radically fast, my business contacts in China all drive expensive American cars, and no one owns them, they buy expensive iPhones on debt, and they say they have to do it to look successful.   

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September 15, 2012, 02:41:19 AM
 #16

I have thought about this a bit, The only difference I see between the US and EU is the US money supply is controlled by the single Fed, and the EU need consensus for 20 odd participants, who all see different issues. No one has solved the problem.   

There is a currency war going on, the contrary with the dominant currency is the defalt base currency and they get a competitive advantage in that commodity prices are relative to the base currency, so commodity prises are somewhat in your control and the market tends to have no definitive point of measure by witch to evaluate the market price.   

Many international Bank loans are also denominated in USD so when called on it create more demand for USD.

One of the reasons the USD is strong is that other nation's reserves takes USD out of circulation and allows the US to inflate the money supply beyond its economic growth.

Inflating the Money supply also allows a state to be more competitive internally, unless everyone does it at the same time. The base for the currency war is to be the dominant currency so you have buying power, and devalue your currency so you can compete.   Or at least manage the 2 independently of optimum state competition.

This part I understood at the time but can't recall it was somewhat a bait and switch, it went something like the FED is looking to bail our European Denominated loans via SDR's and have other states deflate there currency and pay back the SDR at a deflated rate, the US can then withdrawal the SDR at a new rate after inflation to justify further inflation of the money supply, this Leave the US with lots of EU purchasing power for base commodities but still improves there internal competitiveness.     

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September 15, 2012, 03:00:27 AM
 #17

the EU need consensus for 20 odd participants

The European Central Bank does not need consensus to act, it's technically independent. However it does certainly experience pressure from countries e.g. Greece debacle.

[edit] Unless you meant the NCB governors.
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September 15, 2012, 05:27:06 PM
 #18

the EU need consensus for 20 odd participants
[edit] Unless you meant the NCB governors.

To be honest I don't know how the EU works, I just premium there are more dissenting voices.

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September 15, 2012, 06:09:05 PM
 #19

Chomsky Sad   
Which one is it, corporatism needs the nanny state?  Or keeping the nanny state small leads to corporatism? 

Neither, he's Libertarian Socialist.

I think opposition to privately owned business property might be barking up the wrong tree, but at least that Chomsky guy seems to give morality priority ahead of political ideology.



I'm not so sure.  RP treated people with no insurance.  Noam's lectures however, aren't exactly open to the public. 






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October 07, 2012, 01:22:16 AM
 #20

Okay, here some reflection of things. These are all just opinions and I share them, because it would be nice to hear of other thoughts. Maybe I am completely wrong here and I guess here someone is going to tell me. I know, most of that is like idealism, but it's mainly because I think that one would stall without having something to move towards to.


I shouldn't make such statements I guess. The thing is that I am quite individualist, trying to think about what's really important. Just to make it clear: I am certainly not going to call myself a Libertarian Socialist when there will be a party or something basically saying "We are the Libertarian Socialist".

Currently I am just fine with calling myself one, because it really seems to fit with my views on things and while I would call myself an Anarchist for being individualistic and sharing both the view that people should be free and independent of politics/religion/... if they desire so I didn't ever feel really connected to some group or something. I know, some people call it theoretical/philosophical Anarchism and maybe that would fit it, but wouldn't it be the same as saying that I prefer to think for myself?

It's a bit like when I try to buy quality products from companies that (to my best knowledge) treat the workers well, not treating them in an unfair (completely subjective) way. They can be quite indoctrinating, just like most -isms. On the other hand, being honest here I like to be able to give a few words to describe a lot of my views instead of writing an essay every time. So to me it's a bit like saying "I like <musical genre>". It doesn't mean I wouldn't ever listen to anything else or that I like every piece from the genre. It's kinda what I consider extremism. You know, someone usually becomes a member of a religion or share a political view because he aspires things like peace, fraternity, etc. but it might happen that for whatever reason this becomes an obsession and maybe even causes one to get wrong views (in the sense that that's not at all what the political position or religion is about) on things because of it, doing the exact opposite, causing war instead of peace. One can read a political manifest or the bible and be like "it's about forgiving each other, about piece, freedom, .." and then have an extremist saying it's about killing everyone else.

I think capitalism suffers from this. You know, for one it's just about free markets, being a tool on which to build upon, being a great way to cause people to create better, cheaper products and allowing people to not buy from corporations that create low quality products, are intransparent, exploit poor children, etc. Maybe it isn't too good at doing so, but I think it's the best we have got. And for extremists it can mean, that only the capital counts. It's way more important that some guy can speculate, let his computer run its algorithms making food more expensive, supporting people that are unlawfully(!) exploiting/disowning/dispersing/killing farmers in other countries than preventing this, because it's just not where we want to head. My (personal) opinion is that as a free society we should be able to do decide that this simply goes too far. This doesn't mean I want to kill the stock market, capitalism or want anyone to be less free, but simply that money and the free market are tools for people and therefor should never be valued higher than people. In fact I (again personal opinion) don't think life should ever be valued, since it only causes problems.

This is what I meant with not becoming a slave to a system/money and why I maybe am not really in some kind of -ism. I have my own set of things that I consider important and try my best to respect anyone elses. However I doubt that someone who maybe does so really wants to make money off poverty. The argument usually is like "someone else would do it" or that you can't forbid it, because it's freedom. But not being able to do so despite of everything doesn't sound like freedom to me.

And yeah, that's no study or something, but when you talk to people, no matter whether they call themselves communists, liberals, anarchists, nationalists, Christians, Muslims or whatever. They all basically want the same things and my guess is that it's not because of the party they vote or the country they live in, but because they are just normal, social human beings that are happiest when they can help others. I mean seriously, most (all) people want to be rich, so they have money for their family, because they want to be respected by others and things like that. I don't think one even would have to force someone to not do something. People don't do what they do, because of the law. They do it because of social reasons. It's why you are in an enthusiastic team, you will be enthusiastic too. It's why every decade and society has its fashion and on the sad side also, why there have been genocides where most people, especially the ones "inside the society" took part.

The reason you don't murder probably isn't because it's forbidden and the reason you help a friend and try to be polite probably isn't, because someone forces you to. It usually is, because society expects you or because you feel great about this. Maybe it even became some form of value that you follow, that life is important and you don't want to harm it and that friendships are important and go over everything else.

It's why I think, thinking and feeling people, that we are don't really need some kind of authority that tells us what to do. It doesn't mean that we can't have some form of government as a mean to organize. Or that we don't have something like taxes to support society, make us feel good about giving something back. Expectations and the will to be someone brings you there. Besides that one can see that one profits living in a rich society. One profits from people being able to get education, research, bringing us the next generation of mobile phones, medicines, whatever. I mean one can even prove it. We have a government and democracies because people wanted to work together making things possible, working together more effectively. At some point people must have decided it is a good things, without anything but their own thought of things being better that way forcing them.

Nobody really is satisfied doing nothing. I know there are computer games and stuff, but they in first place a way to escape all the things you are forced to and actually are work themselves. Just like contributing to Wikipedia, an Open Source project, writing a tutorial on this forum or introducing someone to Bitcoin. All stuff that's actually work, but you do it nevertheless.

Yes I am sure in a free society people would contribute with money, work, whatever without anyone being forced and without someone "having to die for freedom".

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